Cyclelicious

Sea Otter Stories: Fear And Loathing In Laguna Seca

Cain Ramirez is the Co-Founder and CEO of Cowgirl Bike Courier. He has been designated by Cyclelicious as part of the less-than-one percent of transportation cyclists that identify as “Strong & Fearless”.

It started off as a joke.

Rich had just posted a press release for the Sea Otter Classic on Twitter. In it was mention of the Second Iteration of their infamous eMTB Race. I laughed. I don’t ride mountain bikes. Truth be told, I don’t particularly like mountain bikes, or mountain bike culture for that matter. Despite these preconceived notions, I’m a complete sucker for erratic and quirky cycling concepts.

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Sea Otter Stories: Hans No Way Rey

I’m standing in the shade near the GT Bicycles booth at the 2017 Sea Otter Classic when I turn around and see an old guy performing crazy flatland tricks on a 90s GT Zasker mountain bike with 3 spoke nylon wheels. A beat after he says something in German-accented English, I suddenly realize I’m standing right next to Hans Rey. I automatically shout “No way!” without thinking about it.

The young, early 20s guy who owns the vintage GT obviously knows the reputation of Hans Rey, and grins ear-to-ear as the Mountain Bike Hall of Famer who popularized trials riding autographs his old Zaskar.

Hans Rey signs autographs - I literally said "No Way" when I bumped into him.

A crowd of children soon appear, and Hans happily signs his name “Hans No Way Rey” for them.

Hans Rey signs autographs - I literally said "No Way" when I bumped into him.

GT has been sponsoring Rey since the 1980s, and I’m thrilled to see that they continue to do so in spite of their cycles of ups and downs in the bike industry.

At Sea Otter, GT displayed their “Grade Carbon Pro” endurance carbon fiber endurance road bike which GT advertises is for “the gravel road to work” which really appeals to my idea that bikes should be about utility as well as fun. The seatstays are those low-modulus resin-impregnated glass fibers (as opposed to higher modulus carbon fiber used for the rest of the frame) that twang like bass strings when you pluck them, and give a ton of cushion at the rear end. It’s pretty incredible. Other features include fender mounts, SRAM Force 1×11 drivetrain, SRAM HRD brakes, WTB Exposure 32c tubeless bead tires on 700c wheels. This bike punches a lot of the right buttons for me; I wish I had decent photos of it.

Sea Otter 2017 Stories: The Legend of Joe Breeze

I arrived early for the 2017 Sea Otter Classic with vendors still setting up at Laguna Seca Raceway. I’m getting the lay of the land in the morning chill when I see a grandfatherly gentleman by himself unloading boxes and adjusting bikes at the Breezer Bikes tent and, whoa! It’s the legendary Joe Breeze himself!

I caught Joe Breeze setting up at the Breezer Bikes booth at #seaotterclassic early this morning. He reminisced about Jobst Brandt's quirky mansplaining personality.

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Crazy eBike race at Sea Otter, 2nd Edition

Bosch eBike Systems invites racers to participate in the 2017 Haibike eMTB Race epowered by Bosch, which will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 21st at the Sea Otter Classic.

Bosch’s Brian Sarmiento competes in the 2016 “Industry Challenge,” part of the Haibike eMTB Race epowered by Bosch. Contributed press photo from Bosch

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Secure bike storage in the garage or shed

Bike theft from a garage, shed, or the back porch inside of a fenced yard is a fairly common problem around these parts. One solution is to install a floor anchor to which you can cable your bike.

Later this week at the Sea Otter Classic, Hiplok will introduce another option: the “Airlok,” a secure wall-mounted bike hanger for those who want to display their bikes, or if you need to keep your floor area clear.

hiplock airlok wall mount bike security

Secure wall fixings, hardened steel framework, and a secure lockable bolt combine to keep your bike safe while displayed on your wall. An impact resistant outer casing further prevents access to the framework and fixings. Hiplok says providing the Airlok design accommodates mulitiple styles and sizes of bicycles, while the rubberized mouth prevents frame scratch. The Airlok will be available beginning in May for $195.

Hiplok also announced Z LOK, an armored ratcheting cable-tie style lock to discourage crimes of opportunity from car racks. Z LOK is a 40cm long security tie consisting of a reinforced steel core with a durable nylon outer. Its double-sided ratchet system allows it to automatically lock when looped into place, and unlocks only with the included universal key. This looks like it might be convenient for quick coffee-shop stops at low risk locations during long road rides, too.

Hiplok cable tie / zip tie Z LOK

You can see all Hiplok products on display at the Sea Otter Classic this weekend in Monterey, California. The Z LOK will be available for purchase at Sea Otter.

My Kickstarter rules and a GPS bike

When Kickstarter became popular shortly after its 2009 launch, I and many of you were amazed and thrilled with the awesomely creative crowd-funded bicycle projects available. Before long, however, we began to see funded projects that failed to deliver, and I cringe at some projects from folks with little to no obvious background in bicycles who sell product with possible safety issues.

These days, I try to limit Kickstarter product mentions for ideas that are truly innovative, or that come from people with a proven background in product design and delivery and provide value for the cyclist. The perfect suspension saddle, airless tires, Bluetooth handlebars, and supposedly theft-proof locks are a dime a dozen, as are people crowdsource funding for a container of cheap singlespeeds and space at the Port of Los Angeles to assemble and ship these discount bikes, assuming they haven’t been seized by U.S. Customs for failing CPSC safety requirements.

Hence, I’m happy to mention Mission Bicycle Company’s current Kickstarter for the Lyra, a basic bicycle with built-in lights with one-touch on-off, and a real GPS tracking unit.

Mission Bicycles Lyra

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