I just kicked in some cash to support the Jobst Brandt Ride Bike! book.
Jobst Brandt, who passed away at age 80 in 2015, was a gruff, know-it-all Bay Area mechanical engineer who developed bicycle computers, a touring bicycle shoe, and high performance bicycle tires. He’s perhaps best known for freely giving advice on the various bicycling forums on Usenet back before Jack Dorsey invented Social Media. Brandt authored The BIcycle Wheel, which remains the authoritative work on building bicycle wheels.
I ran into him exactly once. He and a friend were bicycling over Highway 9 from his Palo Alto home as is his custom when they stopped at the Foster Freeze in Boulder Creek, California, where he held court and opined on farm tractor design and computer company logos.
He’s also known for touring all over the Alps on unimproved roads, and leading crazy rides on dirt roads througout the San Francisco Bay Area, all on skinny high pressure sew-up tubular tires. You can read about some of Brandt’s adventures at the blog of Ray Hosler, another legendary local road cyclist.
Isola Press in the UK have launched a Kickstarter to publish a book on the life of Jobst Brandt. They promise to share some of the thousands of photos from his life. I’m still a fanboy of Brandt and I admit to an unreasonable level of excitement. You can learn more about this project at the Kickstarter Project Page.
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.
If you haven’t seen the zillions of posts about the LIFT cargo bike Kickstarter yet, here’s the gist: for $725 (early bird pricing), you get the front end of a bakfiets style cargo bike that hooks to the front of your existing bike in about a minute. Compare against $3,000 and up for low-end box bikes, and this looks like a pretty good deal.
I try to only mention Kickstarter projects that I think are truly useful, innovative and have a legitimate chance to deliver, especially when more than a few hundred dollars are involved. LIFT bike designer Scott Taylor is a small-business owner who’s well known to the cyclist community in Denver, Colorado.
This is so crazy I’m surprised to see it on Kickstarter: Yannick Read has rigged up a ceremonial blank cartridge to explode when his bike or motorcycle is moved. This gizmo can be yours for about US$71, plus shipping.
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