Tag Archives: event

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Flowery Branch Criterium 2013

IMG_0034Headed over to downtown Flowery Branch to check out the first of two weekend criteriums that are part of Dingo Race Productions Dingo Days of Summer Series. I only found out about this race 3 days ago from the local Flowery Branch newspaper. I was hoping that the event would be well attended and go rain free because I’d love to see this be a yearly thing. I also thought it would be interesting to see some actual FAST people blaze around  a course made of streets I am very familiar with.

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Shooting was tough. I’m not anywhere near an expert photog, but I have a Canon point and shoot with “the most manual features you could get on a point and shoot” at the time I bought it. It has enough control over shutter speed/f-stop, & ISO that I can -sometimes- get some neat shots where the background shows the motion and the riders are in focus. Today that was hard though because overcast sky just screws with the camera, ugh sooo bright.

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Pretty sure this was the start of the cat4 crew.

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Tried to get one of those fancy arty shots you see from the big tours when the riders are small but the countryside is huge and beautiful, but hey, this is the FB so it didn’t really live up to the quality you see in the bike mags, aight?

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Found some giant old industrial cement blocks to stand on which allowed me to get a sort of overhead angle of the back stretch. The pace at this section was usually pretty tame as the riders had just come up the only real upgrade of the day and then hooked a 90 degree turn just before here, Strategy seemed to be planned here then applied just before turn 4 and the front stretch, which was blazingly fast. I may not be totally on point here but from my perspective that is how it was going…

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Both shots above from the same corner. For the second one I was laying down because I wanted to get the whole police building in the pic. That place is so Mayberry/Andy Griffith-esque.

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There was a somewhat gnarly manhole cover right in the middle of turn 1 which I am suprised nobody bailed after hitting today. Pretty sure these are the cat3 riders possible mixed with another class. Girl on the front was absolutely mashing it. Stupid white overcast sky.

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Really wanted to get a shot of a long string of riders across the storefronts of the whole block of downtown, but this was about as close as I got. I overheard the owner lady of Sample Pleasures saying that she wished she would have had more notice that this event was happening.  The Calliope Sweets folks and Liberty Candy folks seemed super stoked about the race and the foot traffic it was creating for them. I would love to see this race become an annual event in Flowery Branch, but to do so, Dingo Race may need to think about having some things happening alongside the event that will draw some non-bike people to check it out. One thing that may be helpful would be a printed handout that explains how crits work, primes, the different categories of racers, etc. It was super cool to have a handout explaining all the different kinds of races at Dick Lane Velodrome at one of the big events I went to there. There were still a decent amount of spectators today, but the event does have the ability to grow.

IMG_0112Overall I had a  good time, and I would like to have stuck around to watch the Pros, but I had to bail. The schedule may have been able to been tightened up a bit as there seemed to be a lot of time that passed between races. This gave the riders lots of time to warm up on course, but for spectators if the action isn’t supplemented with something between race action, it can get a little long.

Good job Dingo Race Productions and THANK YOU for bringing an event like this to Flowery Branch. I never dreamed I would see a bunch of road bikes hauling ass up Main Street in a real actual race here, so rad. Hope everything goes well up in Oakwood tomorrow and come back again next year.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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 Streets Alive Fall 2012

SO MUCH FUN!

This was an excellent event, family friendly yet at the same time sort of like a giant street party. It was great to finally get to ride a portion of the Atlanta Beltline. Here are a few pics from before the start. DOWNSIDE: I had a bunch of pics of Highland Bike Show Awards Winners also, but somehow I ultraflailed and erased them all, so there is only one pic of the winner of the Best Vintage category, at the very end of this stack.

 

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Critical Mass Halloween Atlanta…a few pics

Wow, I drastically underestimated the turnout for this thing. Thats what happens when you live so far away from the city I guess. This little clip of the mass crossing Moreland doesn’t even show the whole group. I hope homeboy found his wife lol (42secs)…

Since I lost my camera in a “party mishap” earlier this year, all i had to grab snaps with was the iPhone, so the quality isn’t very good on these pics, but you can get an idea of how everyone was in the halloween spirit for the ride.

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I couldn’t tell if this guy was running the full Rock Racing kit as a costume or if this is his normal riding gear.
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bicycle,atlanta,critical mass
AYHSMB southeast remix
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Probably the best “in theme of the event” costume I saw…
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bicycle,atlanta,critical mass
There was a whole gang of smart phone icons…Angry Birds! Wish I could have gotten a pic of the whole group together…
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bicycle,atlanta,critical mass
Probably my fave costume was E.T and Elliot. Great job on the E.T. sculpture/model…the only way it could have been better were if she would been riding the actual Kuwahara E.T. BMX bike.
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The ride was a blast, although I ran out of beer waaaay too early. Next year I’ll rig up some sort of way to bring more suds. One thing I thought was pretty rad was when the mass got out onto Moreland in East Atlanta and cruised up to Little Five Points. Since I don’t get to come to many of these events I have never been to one where such a long stretch of such a major road was infiltrated. I had some other things to do that night, so when we got to L5P I dropped off so I could ride back to Kirkwood since I had parked there, but the ride kept trucking along headed up towards Ponce and who knows where else. While I was riding away in the opposite direction I could hear all the ruckus from the crowd and the car horns from quite a distance away. I hope it went long and everyone had a great time.

If you only do one CM a year, Halloween is the one to do for sure.

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The Keiran @ Dick Lane Velodrome 5/8/2010

Saturday evening Graham said “come to DLV and get yourself in a better mood”, so I packed up a cooler full of cold ones and headed that way. The final rounds of their first pro racing series were due to start about 6ish. Waaaay rad poster for the events this year:

The weather was fairly cool which made it a great evening to take in some racing. Bonus level:  hottie NPR interview babe-tron Graham was recorded by last time was spacing around again with her headphones on. I love her so much.

The racing was great! We got there in time to catch some of the young riders from Bicycle Little League doing their thing. Those kids really have the spirit and it is great to see people that young already into the racing scene. My only other experience seeing young riders like that was BMX racing at Oregon Ridge Park in Baltimore circa like 1983 or something.

The adult riders were caning it proper. I took my camera but for some reason the only shots I got of any racing were on the iPhone:

Speeds were HIGH and there were a few spills. Track racing is just freakin sick when you are there in person to witness it. My favorite rider of the day was this dude Spiderman, who was all kitted out as the web slinger.  He might have gotten discounted for the novelty gear and considered an also-ran if he would have just brought up the rear every race, but he was riding fairly aggressively which made the wacky kit seem all the more wicked.

The whole evening (and I suppose a bunch of qualifying earlier in the day but I could be wrong) lead up to a really kick ass final. Here is a little vid of the final laps:

Please excuse my vertically oriented iPhone vid quality, I did the best I could. What I really want you to see if the energy of the crowd. People were hanging over the rail banging on the boards cheering on the riders…the whole mess coming to a huge crescendo with the that song from ROCKY running in the background.

While I was spacing around I grabbed a couple of snaps of this really interesting vehicle, which is used to motor pace the starts of the Kieran races.

Can’t help but wonder if it came with the Rock Shox or if someone did a little -upgrade-. I noticed that the driver was pedaling the entire time even though the motor seemed to be delivering the power. You think you can push a gear this tall?

One other thing I noticed was that the speed this thing would travel at seemed remarkable consistent. It may be diferent when you are actually on the thing, but from the bleachers it looked like there was almost no variation in speed once it got going, which is probably important when leading out a pace line of bikes that cannot stop or slow down quickly.

All in all it was huge fun, and Graham was right…it did get me into a better mood.

add me on twitter @RobertAshton 🙂

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Go Fast, Turn Left

The Festival of Speed at Dick Lane Velodrome is always fun, and the third and final for the year is coming up next weekend. There’s everyone from local kids (Bicycle Little League) to big-time pros racing. Looks like there’s a fierce showdown shaping up between Team Type 1 and Jittery Joe’s. Be there!

Click the pic for the full PDF flier.

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