Category Archives: biketivism

Baltimore Bike Party July 2014 – A Visit From Georgia

Last Friday of pretty much every month I make the trek into Atlanta to participate in Critical Mass, which has been loads of fun.  This time around though, I was heading to Baltimore on vacation, and made sure to schedule my time off to include the last Friday of the month, so I could do Baltimore Bike Party.  This was my first time experiencing the end of month group ride anywhere else but Atlanta, so I was pretty excited to examine the differences.

bikeParty1

 

The ride started at St Mary’s Park and ended just a a short way away at the Maryland Historical Society, so this particular ride formed almost a perfect loop.  From what I have heard it does not always end so close to where it starts.  I was on the scene by 6:30 and by 6:45 there was already a pretty serious size crowd.

One of the things I dug about the start gathering was that there was repair station set up by Twenty20 Cycling.  There was definitely a lot of action at their table from people needing last minute adjustments and air.  Very good idea to have this included and certainly some great promo for the shop. BONUS LEVEL:  the organizers also posted info about bathrooms for use at the start point.  I like it.

Each BBP has a theme. This month was Boasting Baltimore and Maryland Mania. In addition to seeing a zillion tons of Ravens and Orioles gear, there was at least one person with a giant 3d steamed crab attached to his helmet, and one pink flamingo as a nod to John Waters. Best dressed won some gear from Hill Killer Apparel Co.

Pretty much right at 7pm the ride started.  How about this…the ride has a police escort as long as they do not get a call that supercedes leading the ride.  Yeah, I can support that to the fullness. The ride rolled out to a bunch of “Bike Partaaaaay” whoops and hollers, which would continue throughout the evening, the northern cousin of the “Happy Friday” heard along the way at CM ATL.

bikeParty2

Starting from such a dense traffic light area, the group got separated pretty quickly, and I tried to stay in the front group since I didn’t want to get lost.  We had only gone about a mile when I noticed that there were a LOT more 20″ BMX bikes than I am used to seeing, and you know I love that.

Then the craziest thing started happening. There were these kids riding all sorts of different bikes, most of which seemed to be department store mountain bikes in various states of disrepair, careening THROUGH the crowd at crazy speed, doing wheelies. I mean, looooong coaster wheelies, and then just when you thought the front wheels was going to drop, they would hit the gas and speed up even more. I’ve done wheelies…long wheelies, but never with the reckless abandon that these kids were doing.  But wreckless may not be the right word, because I never saw any of them wreck, never saw any of them have to hop off because they over pulled and came off the back of the bike. They were always teeter tottering on the brink of control, but never went over the line. It was pretty freakin sick.

bikeParty3

One very large contrast to the ATL CM is that about 80% of the riders at BBP did NOT wear helmets.  I don’t really have a point or agenda to state here,  just observing the difference.  Truthfully this ride was so much slower paced than our CM that I can see why people may leave the lid off.  I didn’t.  I really enjoyed how this ride was much more -party paced- and not the faster pace that ATL CM has sort of morphed into over time.  I have no trouble staying in the front group at CM, but I think it may have gotten a little fast  for the folks who come and bring kids in trailers, beach cruisers and such, wanting to support biking in Atlanta but getting dropped very early into the ride.  I feel so bad when that happens.

bikeParty4

The route was pretty cool and we definitely were well received by the folks hanging out outside, having card games, playing loud ass music, drinking booze and being hood. Fuck yeah man, I love my home city, and on this ride you saw things and heard things that you could never experience anywhere else.

Then all of a sudden, in the middle of a park along the way, the whole ride stopped to take a breather at the halfway point.  Wait, what? What a great idea!  There was shaved ice from Hula Honeys and people took the time to be social and conversate.  I even caught up with an old friend who spotted me in the crowd which was super rad.

bikeParty5

 

The rest stop was just long enough to not be -too long- and soon enough we were on the backside of the ride.  Somewhere not too long after we got going again, we were all stopped at an intersection when about 30 kids on dirt bikes came jamming down the street at a zillion mph, popping wheelies and in general owning that intersection until they were passed. I am not sure, but it could have been the 12 O’ Clock Boys.  The whole spectacle was pretty rad.

By this time it had started getting dark, and I noticed that what the Bmore crowd lacked in helmets they made up for in headlights. Everybody had one, and a lot of people had good ones, not some crappy toytown bizness.  I’m gonna chalk this up to the high number of insane potholes in the streets up here. You wouldn’t want one of them to sneak up on you after dark  for sure. It was a good choice to not bring my roadbike.

bikeParty6

The last part of the route was a long trek down St. Paul street which was a total blast, since it was mostly down hill and the whole group got going pretty fast. Stop lights were obeyed.  Fun was had.

Eventually we reached the end of the ride at the Maryland Historical Society.  The entire ride was less than 9 miles. Here is where the biggest difference between CM ATL and BBP happened…this was a full on after party scene!  

There was a parking lot with some security guards at the entrance.  Once inside there was an area specifically designated for bike parking, but it was a little weird, there was almost nothing to lock your bike to. So, people made the best use they could of the poles  and fence that was available, and there was definitely a lot of creative use of vertical space.  I kept thinking how rad it would have been to have the Atlanta Bike Coalition Bike Valet here.  Baltimore people, if someone isn’t doing a bike valet for big events around town, here is your opportunity to get in the game.

The rest of the lot was filled with food trucks, a dj, and they were selling beer!  Really?!  I love it.  The afterparty scene was super cool. so much so that I would be willing to bet that about 80% of the people who started the ride, finished the ride.  How awesome is that?

bikeParty7

Yeah man, it was packed. Packed enough that the smart money said to buy more than one beer from the beer line, which was a good strategy, but even when I did have to get back in line, it ran pretty fast.  I reaaaally should have tried some of the food from the food trucks. You Atlanta people know how the whole food truck thing has had it’s ups and downs, and they aren’t as ubiquitous in the A as they are in some cities which is too bad.

bikeParty8

As I had said earlier I was pretty stoked to see a lot of BMX representation at the ride, but there was one group who really killed it by bringing out the proper vintage gear.  They were running a Schwinn Apple Crate, two Hutch Trick Stars, a Skyway 26″ and a GT which I can’t recall as a 24″ or 26″ but it was definitely not 20″.  All of these rides were super clean and well done. I talked with the guy in the pic for a while but by this point I had had a few beers so I don’t remember his name. Great crew of people though.

The whole after party scene was just so good.  I was chit chatting bike talk with my buddy and his crew who I had met at the halfway point, and probably could have stayed til they kicked people out, but I had to bail to go meet some other friends. I am imagining that at some point maybe someone got on the mic and awarded the best dressed prizes or something, I dunno.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
When I set out to document my experience at BBP, I wanted to make sure that it did not come off as “Here is what we’re doing wrong in Atlanta”, because we aren’t doing it wrong.  We do it our way, and we love it.  I love it.  But I knew there would be a lot of exciting and fun differences I wanted to relay.  I had a pretty good idea of how it would be from following the BBP facebook page, and it was definitely what I thought it would be and more.  The ride here reminded me a bit more of  The Mobile Social back home. I guess the reason that I used so much comparison to CM is that since  BBP happens the last friday of the month, to me it came across as “Baltimore’s version of Critical Mass”.

 

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Super Fun! Terminus 5c Resurgens by Atlanta Bicycle Coalition

Saturday I participated in the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition TERMINUS 5C RESURGENS bicycle challenge in Atlanta Georgia.

The Terminus is not a race.  The object of the event is to ride your bike to all 5 of the participating bars and complete a mental or physical challenge at each location, for which you are awarded points.  Although it is not a race, there is a time limit, and everyone needed to be back at the after-party location by a set time to begin draining the complimentary keg of beer.  There was small entry fee for ABC member and a higher entry fee for non-members which got you into the event and a one year membership.

At the start of the event you received your map/manifest/score sheet which revealed the bars everyone would be riding to.   Most of the people who participated probably knew where all of these places were, but since I’ve been out here in Flowery Branch for so long I did not, so I did a little prep work finding the actual street addresses of all locations.   Then I plotted what I thought would be the most practical route and settled in to wait for the noon start.

My first stop was Octane Westside.   For each location you stopped at you received bonus points for buying something, and although I had already had some pre-ride beers, I kind of thought that I might skip a beer here and opted for a bagel instead.  The challenge at this location was about local artists/art.  You were given a stack of 10 numbered photos, and a list of artists, neighborhoods and streets. You had to match the right artist, neighborhood and street name  to each photo.  I’m not going to lie, I straght up guessed my answers, the only actual art in the set familiar to me at all was by R.Land, who has a very unique and recognizable style.  Downside (for me) was that you had to ID the artists by their twitter usernames, and I did not know any of them.  Using context clues I guessed as well as I could, and actually ended up doing -okay- at this challenge.  Better than I thought I would anyway.

The next stop for me was Villains in midtown.   I opted for a Fat Tire here since part of the loot for Fat Tire went to ABC as part of the events fundraising effort. The challenge here was a TRUE/FALSE quiz on Georgia Bicycle Law.   I did -okay-, not perfect.  I answered wrong about there being a law against “Tall Bikes” as I thought it was a trick question…I did not know that tall bikes were enough of a problem that there would actually be a law against them.   For bonus points you could draw a bicycle villain and make up a bio about him/her.  Here is mine:

bustaSpoke

My villains name is BUSTA SPOKE.  His villain superpower is “riding one gear taller than everyone else, always.” What put him on the path to evil was being made fun of by riders with super expensive bikes and fancy riding kit, so he devoted his life to being a LOW BUDGET SOUL RIDER, going twice as fast for half the price with three times the style. LBSR represent!  I didn’t get the full bonus points but rather a 90/100, which was fine by me.

The next location was Elliot Street Pub.  I grabbed another Fat Tire and headed to the outdoor area for the Bike Jousting challenge.  Here you had to ride an adult tricycle and joust with an opponent, using pool noodles that had been dipped in water soluble paint!  They had a bunch of gigantic overclothes you could put on if you wanted, some home-made “armour” and a bunch of masks.  You got different levels of bonus points for different masks.  One of the best masks was the white unicorn, but I opted for the gorilla.

joust

My opponent fought bravely, but on the first of three passes I landed a really good blow so I ended up winning the challenge.  As part of winning, I was eligible for the extra bonus points, which required writing a haiku to one of the folks who staffed this location, or maybe just a haiku in general.  I dunno I was kind of feeling the beers at this point. Anyway, I wrote what might be the worlds worst haiku and read it aloud to my opponent, who was also celebrating his birthday.

Happy birthday dood
We jousted like true white knights
A timeless battle

This challenge was so much fun I actually opted to stick around and see the next competitors, who upped the ante by riding two people on each trike, one driver and one jouster,  using two pool noodles.  So funny!  They also wore some of the crazy gigantic overclothes to guard from the paint splatter.  This challenge more than any other seemed made for photo opportunities and if you were for some reason not having a good time yet, you would be by the time you finished this challenge.  Easily my favorite challenge of the day.  My score was perfect!

Next up was Radial Cafe.  It has been years since I have been to Radial, but I knew the location from when I used to live right down the road a bit.  Since I knew where I was going, I took the opportunity to stop by my secret parking spot in 04W and grab a quick beer and Red Bull from my party cooler on the way. T his would turn out to be an unwise move as we’ll see later.

The challenge at Radial went like this. You have one chance to lower a big magnet into a pile of pieces of bicycle chain.  Then you have one minute to toss those pieces into cups of various sizes and point values.  I grabbed a quick beer to get the receipt bonus points and then dove in to the challenge.  Unfortunately I did not do well.  No…let’s be truthful here, I failed miserably, coming away with NO POINTS at all.  I stuck around afterwards to watch another competitor to get a gauge of how well others were doing, which was a mistake as we’ll see later. As soon as I saw one competitor get 300pts, I was on to the next and last challenge.

The final stop for me was Midway in East Atlanta.  First things first…I got a beer for the receipt bonus.  Unfortunately the place was swarmed busy so it took a minute to get served.  Well, it took about 10 minutes.  Not a big deal and I am not mad at them, there was only one lady working the gigantic bar so I just settled in and was patient.  But time was passing, and it was already  about 4:40pm.  I figured this was no problem since the after party location was only about 10 mins away and the cut-off for turning in your score sheets was 5:30.  I had almost an hour.

So I headed outside to the challenge which looked like a fun one.  The Grocery Getter challenge involved 1 minute of stuffing a messenger bag with as many items as you could, each item having a different point value.  Then once the bag was packed you had to ride your own bike around a short course that required navigating a very sharp almost 180 degree turn without any dabs from your feet off the pedals.   Some of the items you could stuff into the bag were a laptop, a six pack of PBR, a pumpkin, a bunch of flowers, a yoga mat, a half gallon of water, and the mandatory bicycle tools.  There was also a bicycle frame and fork which you could carry around your neck for 200 bonus points.

This challenge looked pretty fun and everyone was having a good time.  The only downside for me was that I wished I’d have not spent extra time at the last two challenges, or stopped by my car for 10 mins, as there was a waiting list to complete the challenge.  I put my name on the list and waited, and watched a few people have a blast competing.  But time kept passing and by 5:05 I knew I wasn’t going to get a turn and still be able to make it to the end point by the required time to turn in my sheet.  I decided that I’d rather get some points than no poinst at all by missing the cut off, so I went ahead and bailed without waiting for my turn, which I am sure would not come til after 5:30.  Oh well.

The after party/awards was at Mother on Edgewood.  There was a free keg for all the participants and we all went to work polishing it off.  There was about an hour before the awards, so I had some brisket tacos which were delicious and I highly recommend if you visit Mother.  Everyone was in good spirits and it was evident that whether you won anything or not, the event was a success.

There were a bunch of give-aways and winners.
It was pretty cool that there were not just overall winners but also prizes for the top scorers at each stage. I was one of a 4 way tie in the Joust so I got a rad set of bikey drink coasters.

coasters

The overall winner received a super cool vintage Miyata bike which I am pretty sure was donated by SOPO (I may be worng about that if so, let me know).  I had actually been chit chatting with the overall winner, one of the folks from The Spindle,  before the prizes were awarded.  The Spindle has a unique concept towards commuting bicycle clothing and sturdy but fashionable gear. Click that link to check them out.

Terminus 5C was the most fun day of riding I have had all year.  I am not fit enough to compete in an Alleycat race, but having to visit locations that were not revealed til the day of gave the event an Alleycat feel.  Because it was not a race though, even if you made to just a few locations, you still had fun and knew that your entry fee was going to a good cause.  Mid October is a great time for this event as it was not broiling hot which would have made it nowhere near as much fun.  Since I live so far out from Atlanta it has been kind of tough to make friends with a lot of intown bicycle people, but at this event I talked to more people than any other ride I’ve been on all year.  I really hope there is another event like this next year, I will definitely participate and this time I will make sure to bring a few friends along.

STRAVA STATS: 18.9 miles, 809ft climbing.  Add me to your Strava Friendlist.

To everybody that had something to do with making this event happen, thank you so much it was a blast!

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Georgia Proposed Bicycle Legislation HB689 Meeting – What I Saw

HB689 is a bill proposed by 3 Hall County Georgia lawmakers (Rep. Carl Rogers and supported by Reps. Lee Hawkins and Emory Dunahoo, all Hall County Republicans) that would require all bicycles in the state to be tagged and registered for a $15 fee, would limit riders to 4 at a time single file with 50 feet of space between groups, and would allow authorities to deem any road they they see fit to be off limits to bicyclists.  Needless to say there is huge opposition from the cycling community. Tonight there was a public meeting about the bill which I attended.

bikeMeeting

The room packed out completely, I would estimate about 300 in attendance.  There was a brief introduction and then people from the audience were allowed 3 minutes to speak. The first speaker delicately took the side of motorists, and genuinely seemed concerned for the safety of the cyclists and herself. Then the cycling crowd began to rock the mic one by one.

The most exciting part of the meeting happened when a gentleman named Robert Wilhite spoke at length very passionately and got the crowd fired up, then was asked to stop speaking as he was over his time limit.  He tried to make his closing point but was asked again to stop, to which the assembled crowd started chanting “Let Him Speak”.  Mr. Wilhite did sit down but the crowd continued to voice their displeasure with him not being allowed to close.  Then a security gaurd stepped over to Mr Wilhite, who had sat down and was complying with the instruction to not conclude his speech.  But for some reason, as the crowd got more and more vocal, the security gaurd ended up removing Mr. Wilhite from the meeting.  I doubt he was arrested as he was complying with their demand. I hope he wasn’t anyway.

More speakers took to the mic and there were some very good points raised.  Two speakers actually raised the point that I had hoped for all along, which was that we as cyclists need to realize that we aren’t always setting the best example, and that there are loads of cyclists out there who take the “Share the Road” mentality to mean that they can just ride however they want to and motorists should deal with it.  This is a horrible attitude and does not promote a sharing atmosphere at all.  Examples were given about how cyclists could be more courteous and also how their actions could be interpreted as smug and defiant.  It was great when someone pointed out that almost every cyclist in the room was ALSO a motorist and that we have all witnessed bad form by cyclists when driving.  You may not like that but it is true.  Each commentor that brought this up left the room with words of encouragement to NOT be that kind of cyclist as it ends up contributing to the polarizing effect.

One of my favorite speeches of the night was by a lady who I believe represented a tourism organization in Lumpkin County. She made excellent use of her time by providing examples of how fantastic the Six Gap ride is to Lumpkin County financially, citing 2600 riders in attendance from 31 states. Then explained that since this legislation has been introduced that she has been fielding messages from out of state participants who are concerned that they’ll have to tag thier bike in order to participate in the ride at risk of being ticketed. It really made an impact on the room when the issue got down to losing dollars because of legislation that was not well thought out.

The speech with the most impact though, happened early on in the meeting.  A man used a visual aid to illustrate the group ride that he was in this past weekend which had 32 riders riding 2 abreast.  The length of the entire group was 111ft, a manageable length for a car to pass providing the road allowed for it to be done safely.  Then, with the help of another participant, he brought out a visual aid of that same ride adhering to the specs of the bill…no more than 4 riders to a group with 50 ft between each group. People started applauding as the visual aid kept unrolling and unrolling, eventually stretching across a large section of the front of the room, representing the 638 feet that the group would now consist of if adhering to HB689.  No single moment of the night illustrated the absurdity of the bill as well.

Several other great points were made by advocates of the cycling community, including one great suggestion that the pocket cycling guide from georgiabikes.org be given out with each new bike sold in the state.

Another interesting moment happened when Jim Sysfan spoke.  Mr Syfan is a local businessman and has been largely regarded as the source of getting the representatives to write the bill.  He began by apologizing to the crowd if he had gotten any of us upset.  He made a comment that resulted in a heckler from the crowd shouting rudely, trying to make a point that money was some sort of factor in Mr Sylers influence.  The heckler would not reveal; his identity when pressed, and truthfully, it was probably for the better.  Mr. Syfan continued, and was obviously very nervous in hostile territory, but tried to make a point that the reason for his involvement was because he was concerned for the safety of the cyclists.  Unfortunately he was not able to strongly make his point and ended up coming off like he was backpedaling  on his stance.

I left the meeting before it concluded, and at the time of writing this I am happy to see that  Rep. Rogers concluded that the point of the bill was to get everyone together and begin a dialogue, and that since that process has been accomplished, nothing more will be done on HB689 and the bill will be pulled in the morning.

Congratulations Georgia cycling community, you have done yourselves well!  Let’s all do our part to make the roads safer for cyclists and motorists alike. 

dontread

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Atlanta Mobile Social – Damage Report

Mobile Social was a blast! I headed into Atlanta early to beat traffic and rode a bit on the beltline, then hit Sister Louisa’s Church of  the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium for a couple of pre-ride beers. The ride was pretty well attended. I think someone said 103 people…not bad for early March and a bit of chill still in the air. The ride went into some neighborhoods I have never been through, which was perfect since I love learning more about the city, which will probably never be as familiar to me as my hometown of Baltimore.

At a certain point someone flatted and I stopped to help out along with a few other people, about 4 of us. The main group was eventually out of site, but after a while one of the group leaders came back to grab us, which I thought was very cool. Once we got underway again, we were on a pretty major street, and I was -trying to draft a MARTA bus- which was great until I hit a pothole and pinch flatted. I was pretty deep in unfamiliar territory, but I never tried to stop the rest of our “chase group” because, well, honestly, at that moment the flat was only secondary to having to go to the bathroom very very badly.  I had to prioritize, and going solo was my quickest route to dipping into a sketchy backyard for needed relief, which I promptly did.

I had some cO2 and a couple of patch kits so I wasn’t too worried about the flat. It was easily fixed in just a few minutes, BUT…when I re-installed the wheel, I gave it a spin and the flat spot became made itself known.

dent_edit

 

The top side doesn’t look too bad, but check out the bottom to get a real feel for how bad the dent is. The spoke in the pic now has zero tension. For a better gauge of how bad it is check out this 9 second vid.

Back at Golden Ring Bicycle Shop circa 1992, we had some tools that I could use to get a wheel like this pretty much back to a usable state, but I’m not gonna vex about losing the OEM wheels on a bike that is probably almost 15 years old. I’ll just get a new set.  These bad boys have served me well. Big Ups Araya!

Anyway, I eventually made it to the end of the ride, which was a fundraising  jammy jam for SOPO and was cookin’ along pretty nicely. I like the “pay what you want/donation” price for beers. Approves Heavily.

sopoBHBP2013friEdit
I didn’t hang out long though…once again I failed to connect with actual people.  Maybe I come off sketchy or creepy or something I dunno. Whatever.  Next day was going to be awesome weather and I had a big ride planned with a couple friends so I bailed.

All in all the whole thing was a great way to spend a Friday night, and I’m looking forward to the next one. I think if I go to enough of group rides consistently I’ll make some actual bike friends said the loser/loner/creep.

DAMAGE REPORT

Ye Ol GT Talera needs some attention. Along with the busted up wheel, the ancient Rock Shocks have pretty much bit the dust. The rubber portion that protects the stanchion tubes has come loose on one side, and the oil seal has given way.

shox_edit

I’m planning to throw the rigid forks back on if i can find them. Also, the brakes have been in need of new pads since last simmer. While I have it apart I might as well go ahead and get the new handlebars I’ve been wanting for a while.

The Talera has been the most reliable bike I’ve ever owned. I’ve had better, lighter, cooler, more expensive, but never as reliable. For that, and other reasons, i just love the thing, and I’ll probably never sell it. It’ll be fun to get it dialed in with some new gear.

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The Mobile Social Atlanta

mobile social

Heading into Atlanta tonight, to check out a group ride called The Mobile Social, which I am pretty sure is hosted by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.  I get the impression that it’s a pretty fun bunch of folks from their Facebook Page and event invites.  The ride  happens second Friday of the month, and leaves at 6:30p from Woodruff Park (of Occupy Atlanta fame) which is the same location that Critical Mass starts from.  One difference I’ve already seen from TMS and CM is that  TMS, posts an established route beforehand.  This time around it’s a little over 9 miles, through a part of the city I have actually never been in. I like it.

brokenHeartsBicycleParts

The Mobile Social ends tonight at a location hosting the first night of SOPO Bicycle Cooperative Broken Hearts and Bicycle Parts annual fund raising jammity jam. It’s been a few years, but I’ve bee
n to some of the BHBP festivities before, and it was just swell Wally.

Rumor has it that Jay Starr is going to meet up with me for whole mess, which will be excellent since I go to these group ride things trying to connect with people and make some bike-people friends, but usually end up not talking to anyone cause I’m kind of shy like that. So it’ll be good to have my own crew, even if by crew I mean one person I actually know.  Low Budget Soul Riders.

One of the interesting things about a ride like this is deciding which bike to take, since I usually don’t know if there will be any urban Alpe D’Huez bizness along the way. My -go to- ride is always Ye Olde GT Talera, which is as comfortable on the street as it is on gravel or trails.  But since the route has been posted for tonight, along with a hill profile, I’m gonna opt for the ‘Pooj. I like to get some time in on the fixed gear when I can, and also, I’m pretty sure Jay is bringing a fixed, so we’ll be synced up like a couple of X-wings about to storm the trench on the Death Star.

Complication: The weather is supposed to be some of the nicest yet this year, BUT…the way it is looking, it’ll be warm enough for shorts all through the afternoon, but when the sun goes down it’s going to be a little too cold for bare legging it. So it’s gotta be thermals under bike shorts or brave the cold, which could effect the possibility of any extra miles after the group ride is done.

 

Another complication: Where the hell is my boozeflask? Bad Bwoy squad always bring something to put the “social” in the mobile, seen? I’m not trying to be riding around with a bunch of loose beers in my backpack, so flaskin’ it is the way to go. Also, my I left my party cooler in Greenville after a seriously high level ragemode, so I have no way to keep beers cold til ride time anyway. Hopefully I’ll find my gear before heading in.

Most likely I’ll head in early and tool around solo for a while…maybe get some slices at Vesuvius or something til it’s time to meet up with Jay.

SHOULD BE A FUN TIME. MAYBE YOU SHOULD COME TOO!

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Atlanta Critical Mass 2012 Halloween Edition

Since I live a zillion miles away from the city, I don’t get to go to Critical Mass much, but the Halloween edition is always loads of fun, so I try to make it if I can. It was pretty cool that the ride did a section of the Beltline. A Happy Friday was had by all.

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Critical Mass called a Bike Gang by CNN

Here is a screenshot from the current CNN website front page. The i-Report that was submitted regarding Critical Mass being broken up by the APD made it to the front page, but CNN has sensationalized it by calling the Mass a BIKE GANG.Second from bottom in photo…

SERIOUSLY? CNN, you are fired.

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Grubbs and wheel building class

You can have your X-Games, your Mountain Dew Action Sports Tour, your Woodward Camp, or any of the other stunt-fests that happen these days. Those are great, and they have done huge things for the BMX stunt crowd. But I would rather see some good old fashioned STYLE over tricks that might be better placed in a circus act any day. How do you tell when someone has good style on the bike? Well, as they say, it’s hard to describe, but you’ll know it when you see it. Clearly you can see a fine example of it here from Greg Grubbs circa 1982. Fully clicked, body waaaaay extended out over the front of the bike, fully in control, and you can take it for granted that he probably held this til the very last second he could before unclicking and riding away smooth. Bricking ain’t style.

Grubbs came out of nowhere MidWest and burst onto the racing scene in the early 80’s. All of a sudden this guy was winning everything against some real heavy hitters. Other big pros at the time were integrating strength training into their race preparation, while Grubbs had a training routine that focused on flexibility. As you can see, the flexibility helped tons by allowing him to twist all over the bike.

The actual jump he is doing, in my opinion, will always be called a Leary, after Harry Leary, the originator of this particular style of jump. There was a little controversy for a while, where some folks started calling the jump a Grubbs, because he did them so well. He is running a factory Redline Proline (with the 5″ head tune), Flight 401’s, and some kind of wicked high flange hubs. Standard kit for Redline factory team back then.

Absorb that pic, because it is a true definition of STYLE.

In other news, get your butt over to SOPO and learn how to build a wheel.

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Brownwood Bike Rally 2008

Brownwood Bike Rally 2008

Show us how you roll!

June 7, 2008 — 9 am – 2 pm

Brownwood Park in East Atlanta
602 Brownwood Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30316

Race, Volunteer, or Support
this fun neighborhood event

Rally Events Include:

  • Street Bike and Cyclocross-Track Races
    for Kids and Adults
  • Bike Rodeo for Kids
  • Stunt Bike Shows
  • Rally Prizes & Trophies
  • Face Painting & Games
  • Funky Bike Contest
  • Food & Drinks

Free for Kids 5 to15

$10 for Adult Fun Races

$25 for Adult Cyclocross-Track Races

Pre-Register at Active.com

Went to this last year and it was pretty fun. I’m interested in the “Funky Bike Contest”…that should be interesting. Its great to watch the kids race and have a blast. Great trick show from the Mama’s bike team last year also. You can watch a little footage from the event here.

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Critical Mass Atlanta 4.08

I finally made it out to participate in my first ever Critical Mass!

I’ve wanted to do this for quite a while, but since I live so far away it hasn’t ever come together til yesterday. The ride starts from Woodruff Park, which is smack in the center of downtown Atlanta. Myself, Graham and new riding buddy Chadd made the trek from East Lake to the start area to get a little warm up. Chadd did it on his mountain bike, but he had no trouble keeping pace at all. Somewhere on Edgewood we caught up with some other folks who were headed to Mass.

We got to the venue way early and met up with our buddy Josh who was already there. Folks started to trckle in and before long bikes and riders dominated the park area.

There was a bunch of general milling around chit chatting. Saw SOPO Rachael who had a bag full of SOPO pins. I snagged a green and a purple. Bike spotting-wise it was awesome. Every conceivable type of ride was there, but my favorite had to be the double down tube Colnago, which sadly I did not get a picture of. Eventually someone said, “Do you guys want to go for a bike ride?”,…and it was on!

The ride started out slow, which was fine with me. I don’t get to ride my fixed gear much, and I am not the strongest rider in general, but it was clear that this was in no way a race. After a few blocks it was easy to tell how much power the group had, making cars wait as people corked intersections so the riders could pass. Lots of people on the street were supportive and called out to the group, whooping it up. The riders themselves were ultra-festive. I definitely saw some questionable liquids being absorbed via water bottle. Cheers!

I’d love to re-trace the route but I have lived outside of town for so long that I really don’t kow the names of a lot of the streets. The pack stayed together as best it could, but the some hills had the effect of spreading out the pack. Once thepack was spread, sometimes the back would get cauht at an intersection they couldn’t cork, which further widened the field. Since I was new to this kind of ride, and had a fear of getting dropped, I started to stay as close to the front as I could. This worked out pretty good for me, and aftera certain point I really hit a stride, which is something thathasn’t happened to me on the fixed gear til then. I’ve actually been kind of sared to try and take the fixed gear on lng rides, especially if there are hills, because lets face it…lugging my heavy butt ofthe grade really saps energy. But I think the CM ride cured me of that. I hung in there about 1/3 of the way back, didn’t struggle too hard, and felt like I had energy headroom left pretty much the whole time.

I was pretty happy we had started to head back in a direction towards Grahams hut though. One of the questions I had always had about CM was, where does it end? Even though I felt opretty good, I kind of didn’t want to keep riding if the pack started to head away from Grahams hut again. We cruised through Inman Park and headed up into Little 5. I hadn’t seen Graham for a while, and El Myr looked like a good place to hop off and wait for him and Chad to catch up, to see what the plan was from there. It seemd like once we got to the L5P area, a lot of other people had the same idea and were breaking off, looking for some watering holes. We actually pushed on up until we were in the neighborhood behind Criminal Records, at which point the folks in front of us seemed to be headed towards midtown, so we decided to hit the brakes do our own thing. Now I can see how after a certain point the group just sort of disintegrates into whateverthey had planned next, which is kind of neat. It allows people to jump off any time, which creates an atmosphere with no pressure to -make it to the end-, since there really is no end.

We still had to make it back to East Lake, so we cut through the PATH and hit up La Fonda for post-ride nourishment and beers. After eating, we were not looking forward to the last few (smewhat hilly) miles, but they actually went by pretty fast.

All in all, it was a HUGE amount of fun. I wish I would have talked to more people, but shyness prevents as always. Still it was great to be around a zillion other folks on bikes as opposed to how much time I spend out in Flowery Branch riding on the solo. I’ll be back to do it again for sure.

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