Sunday, August 28, 2011

Use Your Head. Use A Helmet.

       When I was young(er), I never wanted to wear my helmet. My parents said that I had to but I didn't think that it was cool. Simple as that, I thought that since no one else was wearing one, if I did, I would look foolish. I felt this way for many years and it was only a few years ago that I began to realize that this ignorance could actually kill me. In retrospect, what is truly foolish is the mindset that I had for so many years.
       Now I strongly believe that wearing a helmet while cycling is one of the most important things one can do. Maybe it was hearing from my father that all the accidents he's seen on the road have involved dead cyclists. Maybe it was when I witnessed it for myself. Or maybe it's the fear of being that cyclist. Whatever it was that clicked, I'm thankful because now I wear a helmet every time I go riding. Regardless of how long or short the distance from point A to point B, I put on my helmet just like I put on my shoes. To me, riding a bicycle with safety gear is very similar to driving a car with a seat belt. It's just safer and you just do it.
       I have seen so many cyclists at night that don't have lights or a helmet. When cyclists don't have front and rear lights, in the dark, they are practically invisible. I just hope that people don't wait until it's too late to figure out what the right thing to do is. If you, your friends, or family members are cyclists, use your head and wear a helmet because one day, it could actually save your life.

- RideaBicycle

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Dad Visits From The Bay

With little hope that he'd be able to actually make it, I invited my dad to come up for a visit. Marlene was going to be on a road trip with her mom, and it sounded like fun to get a chance to spend some time with just my father.
He flew up from Oakland, CA last Thursday, less than a week after we started talking about it. The weather got real hot as he arrived and bicycle riding did not sound like fun.

This is what we did instead.

It was accidentally filmed with no audio, sorry.

We ended up going on a few rides when it wasn't too hot out but I didn't have a camera with me.
This was probably the most impromptu traveling experience my dad has had since I've been around. It was great to see him and even nicer to have him visit on such short notice. Visit again soon! Be sure to check out his amazing photography at!
It's always an interesting time with Bill Dane.

Cheers, Dad!

- RideaBicycle

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Henry's Complete Fixed Build

Built for the streets, Henry's IRO has been through two major accidents and is still holding up with perfection. He cleaned it up and it's looking pretty fresh. He's got the pedals back on and clean new grips from Champ Best Grip.

- RideaBicycle

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mash Transit

I grew up in the Bay Area so I have a bit of familiarity with Mash Transit, a group of cyclists in San Francisco that ride fixed and cross bicycles. I know them as the cyclists with mad skills for bombing the San Francisco hills. They regularly go on rides and welcome any cyclists who care to join them. They host cycling events, tour, and produce short films featuring their rides/riders. They produced a DVD that I have yet to purchase and watch that is self-titled. It's on my mental list of things to purchase this month. It comes with the 1 hour feature film, 1 hour of bonus features, and it also comes in a 120 page book that features the production of the film. It's definitely worth having.

These are such sweet builds. I love how they all have so much personality you can practically see the riding they've been through. In fact, I asked Mash if any of these were still in use, and apparently only the Ciocc and maybe the black Samson are being used. "Many broken bikes!!"
Figures though, right? They ride hard.
Check them out for yourself here or visit their shop in San Francisco at 773 14th Street.

Photo Credit: Garrett Chow

- RideaBicycle

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Product Review: Nitto B-125 Steel

I got the replacement in the mail for the defective bars I had first received and they looked great. No screwy uneven shim on this pair.
The first pair I ordered had a defect where the shim was skewed 1/4 - 3/8" to the left. It was whack but since Ben's Cycle has good customer service I got them swapped for new ones. Compliments to Ben's Cycle! Check them out here.

The new bars are mounted on my bicycle now and they feel nice and balanced. They ride great too.
I definitely recommend these bars. They have a 152mm drop and a 92mm reach. It's not so intense as the B-123 but you still get a super forward positioning when riding the drops (depending on your frame's geometry). I find that the steel also feels better because there's some weight to it. I have some alloy bullhorns and sometimes it felt a bit feathery in the bars when climbing hills.
The weight of the steel feels much more reliable to me and they're not heavy enough to weigh me down negatively.


- RideaBicycle

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

California Whip

Since I'm living in Washington and going to school up here, I brought my bicycle with me. But every visit home I wish I had a bicycle to ride so I got this one in California. It's unusual to find an inexpensive fixed gear bicycle without it having some issues, so this one needed a new bottom bracket, a new rear wheel, and some toe cages. After a bit of sanding and a handlebar trim, it was ready to ride. Oh, and Benson lent me a spare front wheel because the 27in front paired with the 700c rear rode awkwardly.
I've had this bicycle for a while now, and it's been great so far. I've been able to ride as much as I've wanted. I do still prefer the fit of my Mercier. The geometry is a bit more to my liking and the steel frame on my Californian is a bit stiff compared to the aluminum Mercier frame. But of course, I am happy to have a bicycle that works when I'm down in California.

Frame: Nishiki Sport 58cm steel
Rims: Solo ACLASS (front),  Dimension Track (rear)
Hubs: Bianchi 28H (front), Formula 32H (rear)
Spokes: Bianchi stainless, brass nipples (front), stainless, brass nipples (rear)
Cog: 17T
Tires: Forte GT2 (front), Duro Elimin8er Kevlar Shield, white (rear)
Saddle: Black Vinyl Diamond Pattern
Seatpost: unknown
Headset: unknown
Stem: Custom
Bars: Icon risers
Grips: OURY white
Bottom Bracket: unknown tapered square
Cranks: Sugino VT 170mm
Chainring: 52T
Pedals: unknown road type
Toe Cages: MKS Silver L
Straps: Origin 8 white leather (double straps - cut in half for each pedal)
Chain: unknown

The drop bars on this bicycle in previous posts are Nitto B-125s. They had a defect and I just got them replaced, but those are the defective pair before I sent them out for a free replacement. (Thanks to Ben's Cycle!)

- RideaBicycle

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Esther's Bicycle

I was visiting my family this week in California and my sister was home as well. She has a pretty nice bicycle that she brought home with her from college on the east coast for the summer so I was lucky enough to snag a bit of time to ask her some questions about her experiences as a cyclist and I got to take a few photos as well.

Frame: CYCLEPRO Optima step-through (Cr-Mo double butted tubes)
Rims: Araya 27
Hubs: JoyTech
Spokes: stainless steel, brass nipples
Tires: Michelin A2 World Tour
Saddle: Vento Propizio
Seatpost: Kallou

Headset: yst-corp SunTour
Stem: unknown
Handlebars: Champion drops
Bottom Bracket: unknown
Cranks: Sakae SX double

Pedals: HTI
Chain rings: SX-307 52T, 42T
Cassette: SunTour
Chain: unknown
Brake Levers: STAR
Caliper: Chang-Star Forged
Gear Shift: SunTour 3000
Derailleur: SunTour LX 3000

How’s life treatin’ you?
pretty good I guess its good to be on the west coast. You, oh twin brother of mine, take bikes super serious so here I go.

How long have you been riding?
I rode a trike when I was a little kid then I used training wheels only for a very short time, probably a day because I was a boss of a child, with one of those big fat styrofoam looking helmets and then I was cruising.

What makes you want to ride your bicycle?
I mostly ride to get around when I don't have a car available. But knowing how good I feel after I get to where I need to be is motivating. When I was living by lake merritt in Oakland, I biked to work everyday which felt good because I would really be awake by the time I got to work and it was the best workout EVERRRRRRR going up the hill to my house on the way home. I would ride to Bart more now that I've moved but I get annoyed bringing my bike on bart when I don't realllly need to. 

but if the weather's nice like a cool morning or a hot night and there's not too much uphills its the BEST.
Also, massachusetts landscape on a day with a breeze and I have nothing I have to do

Do you have a favourite route when you ride? Anywhere you especially enjoy?
If I were to pick I'd say down Gilman to Frontage rd. along the bike path along the bay to Emeryville but thats a pretty windy one. To work, my route is down E. 18th to Lakeshore and around the lake to 14th, all the way down to Broadway, through Frank Ogawa Plaza and down the steep ramp of the parking garage where I lock it for the day. I decided to ride from Oakland to Albany one day and I went down W. Grand to Telegraph then all the way down Telegraph to Bancroft to Oxford and then I stopped at Nations and continued down Sac. to Gilman..that was probably the most intense ride I've done all summer. 
One of the most beautiful places I've ridden my bike is Groveland, CA at the Evergreen Lodge which is close to Yosemite, that ride downhill to a swimming hole has not been topped!! In Massachusetts, the best ride besides to the reservoir to swim is one I just did one time it was a Yellow Bike RIDE wooooott, to the Northampton Bridge with beer and pizza Intense ride back lots of uphill BEASTING IT best place to watch the sun set over the Connecticut River.

What do you fancy besides bicycles?
I FANCY A LOT. I fancy my studies in school, which are Public Health and Art. I think a lot about how to improve American's quality of life through increasing access to resources like food and health care, I want to be a Nurse I want to influence policy changes around community development and be involved in working to eliminate Environmental Health Disparities!!!! GOOGLE IT.

I do art ( coming soon, thanks to Nick Powers) mostly illustration but some plaster body casting and woodwork as well as painting. I had a show and made some money last summer in the Mission of SF and this summer I have my work up in a cafe called Au Coquelet in Berkeley. I'm also doing some commission work. I fancy spending time with my family and friends and my AMAZING little niece. I love to sleep and eat too.

If you had to pick one place on earth, where would you ride?
Where is beautiful and flat? ....Once I go outside of the U.S., If I could get a bike, I would ride in New Zealand, I would ride in Egypt with the pyramids, I would ride in tropical forests if there was a path and a big forcefield around me to catch big spiders and bugs that would fly in my face. I would ride right here in the bay area probably accross the bay bridge or the golden gate. I would ride in antarctica with the polar bears and go ice fishing. and probably Fiji!!

What’s your favourite part on your bicycle?
I think my favorite part are the brakes because they keep me alive My handlebars are really cute and I like the fade from blue to white on my frame because you've got to admit, that's a Great blue!! But above all, the best thing about my bike is me on it and the fact that I got it for $60 and it was in perfect shape all vintage and well taken care of. Also I got it just in time to ride it in my school's famous Tour de Franzia bike race. Thanks, craigslist western mass, you actually served a purpose.

We all know helmets save lives, do you wear one?

What's next for you? Got any plans?
I'm about to go to sleep.

And do you have any words for the bicycle riders of tomorrow? 
Bicycle Riders of Tomorrow, invent something cool that's not a prone bike. Do not attach your children in a cart that should hold groceries and bike in the street. Don't think that just because you're reducing your carbon footprint by riding your bike you have the right to scorn others for not doing so. So BE POSITIVE!!!! Smile when cars go by you, soon they will all be priuses so watch out because you won't hear them sneak up on you. do not get to cocky, do not act like a douche and think you know everything cause you look like a douche. BE SAFE

Bike Riders of Tomorrow give your balls a breather from those frito lay sponsored spankies . Open a local bike shop. go on a lot of tandem bike rides with your pals and buddies and hold hands at stoplights and look both ways and get glittery powder coats on your bike and other shiny things!!!!

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions! I'm curious to hear about the other bicycle you have back east. Ride safely.

- RideaBicycle

Monday, August 08, 2011

Downtown Berkeley, CA

Bens and I went riding Saturday night to this garage downtown. The night wasn't too cold and the ride over there was decent.
We rode the garage for about an hour before the UC police started to catch on and as we were coming out of the elevator and around the corner to the entrance to ride through the garage as we had repeatedly been doing, a squad car was pulling out. We stayed on Channing and rounded the block only to find the same car lurking in the dark opposite the Haste St. entrance waiting to spot us speeding through the garage. We continued up to the corner of Haste and College as another UC squad car drove past. Since they were already looking for trouble, and we didn't want any, we called it quits just before midnight.

Clip from Benson's iPhone:

The ride back was super nice - hardly stopped the whole way and we had the streets mostly to ourselves.
The photos we got weren't great, but no matter.
I wish I had more time to go back before I leave the area Tuesday.

- RideaBicycle

Friday, August 05, 2011


I'm visiting my home in California right now and I've been trying to take advantage of the weather and the riding opportunities here. Benson and I rode north out on the East Bay Trail to Point Richmond yesterday. The ride from Albany was about 30-40 minutes one way. We were taking it easy most of the ride, but because of how windy it was on the water, it didn't quite feel that way.

We went out to Keller Beach once we got to Point Richmond and walked through the train tunnel. Once we were out the opposite end, I noticed my gloves were no longer on my persons. I backtracked and tried to find them in the tunnel but to no avail. They were once my closed finger BMX riding gloves, and last year I dug them out of a pile of old things and cut the fingers off so they would fit (my hands were on the verge of bursting out of the finger tips). Since then I've used them for my everyday riding. They've served me well.
I guess it's time for some new gloves.

But none the less, the ride was fun - I hadn't seen Benson in a long while so it was great to ride and catch up with him. 

I'm sure there'll be more rides in the next few days before I head back up to Washington.

Ride safe!

- RideaBicycle