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Thursday, June 25, 2009
  "Klunkerz" interviews on kqed.org on 6/24/09
By Alison Chaiken 


Audio

Modern mountain biking was born on the trails of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County in the 1970s. We talk to some of the pioneers of the sport who are featured in a new documentary, "Klunkerz."
Host: Scott Shafer
Guests:
• Charlie Kelly, creator of the Repack races and founder of the first magazine devoted to mountain biking
• Gary Fisher, founder of Gary Fisher Bicycles and mountain biking icon.
• Joe Breeze, founder of Breezer Bikes
• Wende Cragg, one of the first female mountain bikers and a photographer whose pictures are featured in "Klunkerz."

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Sunday, April 12, 2009
  Davis, CA will be new home of Bicycling Hall of Fame
By Alison Chaiken 
Davis, often called the "bicycle capital of the United States," will have its own artifact-filled museum where star cyclists will be inducted each year.

Davis beat out Greensboro, N.C., to capture the bicycling hall, which for two decades has been in Somerville, N.J.


Courtesy of The Sacramento Bee and Bob Halem. Way to go, Davis!

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Monday, April 06, 2009
  High-wheels and recumbents
By Alison Chaiken 
Martin Krieg climbing Hanover St. in Palo Alto, CA
Martin descending Hanover Street

A little bit back I rode with Faye Saunders and Martin Krieg on a leisurely pace around Palo Alto. I borrowed Faye's Bike-E, she piloted her EZ-Racer, and Martin impressively demonstrated hill-climbing on an Eagle (shown above). The excursion was my first on a recumbent, so I was a bit nervous, but compared to riding the Eagle, it seemed a bit wussy. Believe it or not, starting on May 3, Martin is going to ride his Eagle across the U.S.

Watch Faye's video of Martin on Hanover.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009
  Mick Murphy, the Irish "Iron Man" Cyclist
By Alison Chaiken 
Mick Murphy, courtesy of The Bike Show from Resonance FM

the legend goes a bit like this: he trained with weights made from stone, he made a living as a circus performer, on one stage in the 1958 Rás, after his bike had broken down, he stole an ordinary bicycle from a farmer and chased down the leading pack. It 's said that he rode for three days with a broken collar bone, that he would cycle for forty miles having completed a gruelling stage just to cool down, that he drank cow's blood and ate raw meat. It's said he was indestructible.


Listen to Irish RTE Radio's documentary about Mick Murphy and his epic victory in the 1958 Ras circuit race around Ireland. Learn more about the Ras from The Bike Show's audio interview with the Rapha directeur sportif John Herety and documentary maker Peter Woods.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009
  not your usual bicycle tour
By Alison Chaiken 
When we say "bicycle tour," you probably imagine slogging up mountain passes with bulging panniers, but these bicycle tours are more traditional tourism-tours where participants happen to travel by bicycle.

Sustainability Tours from Santa Cruz:
Bicycle the beautiful coast and mountains of Santa Cruz, California. Visit organic farms, sustainable vineyards, and ecological homes. Taste varieties of wines, herb teas, juices, tomatoes, honeycomb, and more.


Bicycle History Tours in San Francisco:
CounterPULSE and Shaping San Francisco director Chris Carlsson conducts ~4-hour historical tours of San Francisco by bicycle. Bring a snack and water, and reserve your spot now! Meet at CounterPULSE, at noon on the dates above.


And for completeness, eleven Bicycle Architecture Tours in London last summer (tip of the hat to The Bike Show from Resonance FM).

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Friday, July 13, 2007
  The past and future of cycling
By Yokota Fritz 
"The Prologue" by Craig Richardson. Used with permission. See more of his Tour de France 2007 photos at his photostream.
Da Square Wheelman has an nice essay about how futuristic cycling seemed back at the turn of the last century.
Back in the last years of the 19th century, it was all about love. Bikes were the cutting-edge choice of the forward-looking Avant Garde. But with the fin de siecle came the fin du cycle as the epitome of all things modern. While declaring his joy of mechanical force in the Manifesto of Futurism, F. T. Marinette quite literally sideswiped bikes. The manifesto's preamble described a reckless, high-speed joy ride which inspired Marinette to become the father of 20th Century Futurism.
Read more at Slowmotion Revolution.

Speaking of the past, Dave Moulton blogs about cycling's past on occasion. He writes about personalities such as Jean Robic: "the little giant" who won the 1947 Tour de France; or technical items such as this one about so-called "suicide shifters."

Bike Snob opened up the time capsule to poke some fun at product innovation from early 90s and made his predictions of what we'll all lampoon twenty years from now.

I like technology and shiny new things, agog over the amazing technology in use in the Tour de France and I'm looking forward to new stuff at Interbike. It's always good to reminisce and remember, though, and appreciate how simple the bike really is.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007
  Underground Railroad Bicycle Route
By Michael 

Traditionally, bicycle routes do not offer much in regards to historical lessons. Most routes are either shoulders along highways or are converted railroad beds, neither of which share a big part of history. However, with the planning and efforts of the Adventure Cycling Association, a 2100-mile route from Alabama to Canada bridges the gap between cycling and history by retracing the Underground Railroad from Mobile to Owen Sound, Ontario.

Adventure Cycling put forth a great amount of planning, partnering with the University of Pittsburgh Center for Minority Health, to develop the route. They even went as far as contacting libraries along the route letting them know that cyclists may stop in for relief or to get in contact with friends and family members.

It's great to see a group creating more than the traditional bicycle route, with history being a major part of this route. More information regarding the route can be found at this site.

Map Graphic via AdventureCycling

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Thursday, March 08, 2007
  The bicycle comes back!
By Yokota Fritz 
An amazing article from Popular science:

THE bicycle is back. Four million Americans now pedal along streets and highways. And, last year, factories in the United States turned out 750,000 machines, nearly equaling the peak production of the gay nineties. News items from all parts of the country tell the story of this dramatic boom in popularity.

In Chicago, Ill., for instance, 165,000 persons recently signed a petition asking for cycling paths to be constructed in the city parks. In Washington, a huge crowd of enthusiastic spectators, last winter, braved frigid winds for hours to watch an amateur bike race. From coast to coast, cycling clubs are springing up. The veteran League of American Wheelmen has come back to life. The Amateur Bicycle League of America has approximately ninety affiliated clubs; the Century Road Club, promoting amateur races, has twenty-five or thirty, and there are upwards of 300 unassociated clubs in the country.

Almost every large city has bicycle rental stations, and several have schools for teaching the fine points of cycling. Railroads are running special “bicycle trains” that carry enthusiasts and their wheels to scenic spots for one-day outings. The bicycles ride in special baggage cars, where passengers may also rent machines if they so desire. Last summer, when the Boston and Maine Railroad inaugurated the idea, its first Sunday excursion to the wooded section of New Hampshire carried 200 cycling enthusiasts, in spite of the fact that the day was rainy!

Instead of subsiding, the tide of cycling popularity continues to rise. What is the secret of the bicycle’s amazing comeback?

[In Hollywood,] actors and actresses had been shown engaging in every form of athletics, wearing almost every known costume, and riding in almost every kind of motor vehicle. The publicity men hit on the idea of having their stars photographed riding bicycles. Almost overnight, Hollywood became “bicycle conscious.” What started as a mere publicity stunt turned into an authentic cycling craze.

One prominent actor pedals ten miles between his home and the studio twice a day, rain or shine. Some Hollywood stars adopted the bike as a pleasant form of exercise, others as an easy way to pedal off a few excess pounds. But most of them continued to ride because they had discovered that cycling was fun.

The bicycle craze spread up the California coast to San Francisco. Society leaders took up cycling as a novelty, and ended by adopting it as a regular activity. The popularity of cycling spread inland. Before it could reach the Atlantic coast, Boston, New York, and Washington had already been bitten by the bicycle bug from another direction.

Read more of this article at Modern Mechanix. Published in Popular Science in July, 1936.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007
  They like bikes
By Yokota Fritz 
Look at this interesting news:
Sales in many bicycle shops are racing 200% ahead of last year's level, and delivery dates for new merchandise are uncertain. Complains Gano Thomas of San Francisco's Nomad Cyclery: "The factories aren't making bicycles fast enough. If we order 100 bikes, we're lucky to get 25."

The shortage results from the bicycle's biggest wave of popularity in its 154-year history. Environmentalists are turning to the bike as a pollution solution; physical-fitness fans like the bike as a heart preserver. Groups of workers in some traffic-choked cities have been staging rush-hour races among car, bus and bicycle, with the bike usually triumphant.
What's especially fascinating to me: This article was published in Time Magazine in 1971. This was at the height of the 'bike boom' in the 70s. In 1971, about 7.5 million adult bicycles were sold, with a record high of just over 15 million bikes sold in 1973. Compare that to the 8.5 million adult bikes sold in 2005 in the United States.

Photo: Panda Portraits collage from Wally Grundle.

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