Sunday, July 31, 2005

Cycling with Christian #3

Cycling with Christian #3. Originally uploaded by ndanger.
Cyclelicious Feature Photo

Christian rides her quick-and-dirty singlespeed -- an old bike with the derailers removed and the chain wrapped around one of the rear cogs. Click on the photo to see great descriptive detail about the characteristics of the "poor-man's singlespeed."

Who am I?

I'm Fritz. My old blog is about bicycling in Longmont and Boulder County in Colorado. I was begining to lose focus there, so I started Cyclelicious. The Longmont/Boulder blog can now remain focused on local issues, while I can spew about everything else in the cycling world here. This is a team blog, so in the days and weeks ahead you'll also see writings from other individuals. Thank you for dropping by!

Handlebars and wrist injury

Utilitarian cyclists disagree on just about everything, and one of those things is handlebar style. Road bars with drops, or flat bars? (See note). Because of a recent trend of putting flat bars onto decently light road frames and calling these "commuter bikes," I thought I'd comment on this important issue.

Flat bars have their uses and advantages: increased manueverability, better turning and braking leverage, and other characteristics that are important in technical trail riding. For my average road commute, however, flat bars can be downright painful. When I ride much over ten or fifteen miles on my mountain bike with flat bars, my hands get numb and my wrists hurt. I've been told it's fit or that I need to move my hands more. Fit was done at a bike shop, and I've been biking enough years that shifting my hands periodically is automatic for me. I think it's the unnatural pronation of my forearm putting pressure on my wrists.

Jerry and Jeanette show in this case study of long distance touring on hybrids with straight bars the many advantages of drop bars over straight bars, especially for somebody with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Of course, there's a blog entry that got me thinking about this issue. Skip writes about his five mile commute on his old Stumpjumper. "During that time I began to suffer an incredible amount of pain in my right wrist." He was diagnosed with Repetetive Stress Injury (RSI) but couldn't find the cause of it.

When he moved, he stopped riding for a while and the pain eventually went away. Then, after an office move, he started riding again. "Within one week my wrist and arm were hurting more than ever, and the only thing that had changed in my routine was bombing down the valley to work. The mountain bike hand positioning was continually jarring my wrist and I was suffering once more."

Skip did some research and bought a cross bike with drop bars. "Within a couple of days I knew that cycling would no longer be a major source of wrist injury."

What do you think are appropriate for all-around non-competetive road riding? Drop bars, flat bars, riser bars, moustache bars, randoneering bars, or something else?

Yes, I know there are several other styles such as moustache bars. I'm ignoring them to (1) simplify things and (2) I have little experience with other styles of bars. I include riser/raised bars in overall "flat" category. Yes, I know they are different. When it comes to comfort and injury-prevention, moustache bars have many of the same positive characteristics as drop bars.

Life of Lance on film

Bike bloggers around the world are following the lead of BikeBiz in telling us (once again) that Lance's Life will hit the silver screen. Matt Damon wants to play Lance, and Matt is Lance's choice. Matt is into cycling. Matt is atthletic and disciplined. Matt and Lance are friends. Seems like a good fit. File this under

Transportation Equity Act

The U.S. Congress passed the $286.4 billion "Transportation Equity Act - A Legacy for Users" (TEA-LU). Gene Bisbee comments extensively on the portions of the bill that are of interest to cyclists.

TEA-LU is a follow-on to the six-year TEA-21 bill passed in 1998. Although TEA-21 expired in October, 2003, spending continued under extensions passed by Congress.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Submit your Cyclelicious feature photo

Show Off. Originally uploaded by NikonShooter.
Every day I blog On occasion, I'll try to select a Cyclelicious Feature Photo. This photo will remain at the top of the page until the next Feature Photo is selected at least the end of the day.

I browse through Flickr for most of my material. If you'd like to be sure I see your image, upload it to Flickr and give it the tag "cyclelicious."

Here are some tips to improve the chances of your photo being selected --

  • The photo should be technically good: In focus; good contrast, lighting and color; good optics on the camera.

  • I really like shallow depth-of-field. Make sure your subject stands out.

  • Tight cropping. Cut out all the extraneous junk. A wide angle of a beautiful mountain scene with a tiny biker on a tiny trail probably won't make the cut.

  • A descriptive caption. Please tell me who, what, when, where, how and why. If the photo is from a race, for example, tell me who won and/or link to a blog entry or news article about the event.

  • Action is better than static. I'm not interested in bike porn. People are better than just-bikes. Your bike leaning on a parking meter is boring.

  • It should still look decent at 240 pixels across. I'll link to your larger photo.

  • A 240 pixel wide image should be available for me to hot link from somewhere such as

  • Please give your photo a short but descriptive title. "DSC14520" is not a descriptive title.

  • It doesn't have to be a pure photo. Heavily edited photos and other image artwork will also be considered.

  • The image must be yours. Please don't dump Nike Ads into the photostream.

  • There's no need to resubmit a photo to the stream. If I see a photo I like but can't post it immediately, it gets clipped and put into a queue of pending photos.

For my part, I will link back to the photo on (as required in Flickr's Terms of Use), and I'll link to your site if you put a URL in your caption. Remember, I'll watch for your photos with the "cyclelicious" tag through an RSS feed from


"Conservation by bicycling" in Energy Bill

Jonathan pointed me to this little bit of news. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, as amended and agreed by the House and Senate, contains provision a "Conserve by Bicycling." This will be a Department of Transportation program to "use education and marketing to convert motor vehicle trips to bicycle trips; document project results and energy savings (in estimated units of energy conserved); facilitate partnerships among interested parties...; maximize bicycle facility investments; demonstrate methods that may be used in other regions of the United States; and facilitate the continuation of ongoing programs that are sustained by local resources." Any local project must have a 20% match from non-Federal funds. This act gives $6.2 million dollars to the DOT for this project of which "$5,150,000 shall be used to carry out pilot projects; $300,000 shall be used by the Secretary to coordinate, publicize, and disseminate the results of the program; and $750,000 shall be used to" document the results of the pilot programs.

To read the entire bill, visit Thomas, click on the final version of HR 6, and look for "SEC. 732" or just "bicycling." This bill is supposed to be signed by President Bush over the next few days. It should be interesting.

Bike shops and connections

By Richard Masoner

Jonathan frequently writes about the value of a good blog in marketing efforts. Cyclelicious is evidence that blogging can get you exposure. Cyclelicious is only three days old and I'm already getting close to 200 page views each day from over 300 distinct visitors over those three days. That's good for a brand-new personal website with no promotion other than visiting and commenting at other bike blogs and no exposure from search engines. I really appreciate the support from my visitors and from fellow bloggers.

Online participation gets you business

Harris Cyclery in West Newton, Massachusetts has a very clunky, old-fashioned website. They're hard to find on the web unless you know exactly what you're looking for. Yet, they do online business from all around the world because most cyclists who participate in online forums know about their head wrench Sheldon Brown. If you have a question about cold weather cycling, old bikes, new bikes, odd bikes, trandems or fixed gear bikes, there's a good chance that Sheldon will be around to answer your question. "I started doing email listservs in 1993 or 94," says Sheldon, "using AOL. I put up the Website in December 1994. I think we were one of the first half-dozen bike shops to have a Website." For Harris Cyclery, their online business helps to reduce the seasonal ebbs that affect many bike shops. "We are fortunate that the Internet business helps to even things out, because the Internet side doesn't die out as badly in the winter as the local business does." According to Sheldon, his participation in various Internet forums "is a significant part of the equation" in developing Harris Cyclery's online business.

Peter White, owner of Peter White Cycles in Hillsborough, NH, prefers face to face interaction with his customers. Because of arthritis in his back, however, he has been forced to change the focus of his business somewhat. "Doing bike repair is very tough on my back. Building wheels is much easier physically since I'm just standing up."

"Since I made the decision many years ago to direct the business away
from walk in traffic to mail-order, I've lost the interaction I used to
have with customers, which I enjoy," says Peter. Email discussion "takes its place."

Boulder County

In Longmont, Colorado, the bike shop that participates the most in local forums is High Gear Cyclery. Shop owner Buzz Feldman and several of his employees are members of the local cycling discussion email list. This online participation is free marketing for the shop, which is the largest and best respected among the four bike shops in Longmont.

In Boulder, Colorado, Peter Chisholm of Vecchio's Bicicletteria is an active Usenet user. Peter believes this active participation results in increased business for Vecchio's, "both in terms of calls or email requesting information and then that resulting in sales or people buying things just because of my participation in the newsgroups."

Weigh it out

Peter White goes online more to socialize than for marketing. "I doubt that the time spent on the several lists I'm on has paid off in business. I could probably put the time to better use working on the web site or just building wheels so I can ship orders faster." Peter is just being naturally social. If you blog or otherwise participate online, you must be real and transparent.

Being a part of the online community can work for your business, but you can't have a sock puppet providing the voice of your business. It's essential for you to be in the community. Stay tuned to Cyclelicious for specific tips on making effective use of blogging for your business.

Kids pickin' up goooood citations

While Chicago cops crack down on law-breaking cyclists, police in the north 'burb town of Lincolnshire are handing out "Ice Cream Citations" to children who ride safely and wear their helmets. A Safety Citation entitles the child to a free scoop of MaggieMoo's ice cream and an entry into a drawing for a bike and other prizes to be held in September. Using ice cream to promote safe cycling is cyclelicious. I'm pickin' up good vibrations from Ice Cream Citations.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Colnago: Made in Taiwan

Italophiles are all aflutter over this news that Colnago outsources their Carbon frame production to Giant Manufacturing in Taiwan. According to the press release, Giant also builds CF frames for Specialized and Trek.


Two more days of RAGBRAI

Nikki @ RAGBRAI 2005
The week-long party in motion in Iowa will wrap up in a few days. There aren't many blogs covering RAGBRAI -- I guess the participants are too busy actually riding and partying instead of spending time on the 'Net. Mike Eberts from Los Angeles reports that finding an Internet connection in the middle of northern Iowa can be a challenge.

Matt's RAGBRAI blog has pretty good photos from the ride. He apparently posts from an Internet tent provided for RAGBRAI riders. He writes about the Tubador, "the worst storm they'd ever seen on RAGBRAI," his encounter with Abraham Lincoln, camping, and ride preparations.

Ed Abbey in Iowa gives one of the better descriptions of the whole RAGBRAI experience.
"Riding, pancakes, more riding, punctuated by frequent stops for food and water, more riding, bicycling nudist sighting, more riding and finally pulling into the overnight town, spandex busting spaghetti dinners, carbohydrate induced comas, more walking around town, more fun and libations, sleep of the dead, and repeat."

Media coverage isn't exactly at the level of OLN and Phil Ligget, but Iowa papers are all over RAGBRAI. Of course, we also have the curmudgeonly musings from Iowa columnists who grumble that bikers belong on trails instead of "highways built for cars and trucks." Most papers, though, are small town papers that cover local sports, grain futures, and local human interest so 10,000 cyclists from around the world coming through town is a pretty big deal.


OLN's record breaking audience

While Lance Armstrong was making history with his record-breaking 7th Tour de France win, Outdoor Life Network broke their all-time viewership record with 1.7 million viewers watching live coverage of the final stage of le Tour Sunday morning, according to AP report. OLN averaged 607,250 viewers over the 23 days of live Tour coverage, which took place early in the mornings in the United States. OLN's average primetime audience is 330,000 people.

This news comes by way of BikingBis, who makes fun of the hunting and fishing shows that normally appear on OLN.


Alpenrose Velodrome

Warm-up lap on the Alpenrose Dairy Velodrome. Originally uploaded by nobleviola.
This track cyclist is riding on the Alpenrose Velodrome outside of Portland, Oregon USA. Riders are welcome to ride on this track at any time as long as it's not during an organized track session -- there are no locks or doors to keep you out. This velodrome is owned and maintained by the Alpenrose Dairy. Click on the photo for more images from a track session at the Circuit d’Alpenrose.

Best bike blog on the planet

The best cycling blog in my planet, anyway. That would be Jonathan Maus at Just Riding Along. He actually knows something about bike retail and marketing, unlike people like me who just froth at the mouth as we spout our nonsense. Just about every blog post he makes is something I really like to read.

Like todays's posts, for example. He's been talking for a while about how bike shops should improve their web presence on the web. He's in the August issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News (BRaIN) Magazine. You can read about it here. If you're involved in the bike business in any way, I highly recommend you read his article.

His other bicycle article today points out the faux pas the New York Times pulled in their article about new high-tech gadgets used by cyclists. The file photo accompanying this article shows a cyclist on an old bike with downtube shifters and "aero" brake hoods, 80's style aero bars, and wearing an old round poorly ventilated helmet with a helmet cover. Let's do the Time Warp again!


Cool motorist

sidewalk cyclist
Reppe nearly creamed a cyclist but he still seems like a pretty cool guy. How's that? Because he understands that a cyclist has a right to use the road. That's right.

The guy he nearly killed was a sidewalk cyclist going 15 mph on the sidewalk. If you ride far to the right and try to pass a guy turning right, you'll get hit and (in Colorado anyway) it will be your fault. Like Reppe, I don't have much problem with sidewalk riding as long as you do it at pedestrian speeds and otherwise behave like a pedestrian. That means you don't cross at the crosswalk until you see that the way is clear.

Not everyone believes cyclists should ride on the sidewalk, ever. The new blogger for cyclicious, John Ardelli, is pretty adamant about it and I expect him to post any day now about the topic. He believes strongly that a cyclist on the sidewalk should always walk the bike. Pedestrians -- like the guy who took the photo to the right -- really dislike sidewalk cyclists almost as much as some motorists do. I agree in cases where there's pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk. But if I'm on an eight-foot sidewalk with nobody on the concrete and a mile between intersections, I'll open it up.

Do you take the road, the path, the sidewalk, or the mud trail next to the street? Let me know in the comments below.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Bicycle blogs and MSN Spaces

MSN Spaces is Microsoft's free blogging and photo sharing service. I haven't looked at Spaces in detail, but leaving comments requires that I sign in with Microsoft's .NET Passport, which I do not have. Given that my personal information is all over the web I don't know why I feel uncomfortable giving that information to Microsoft; I just do. I suspect hordes of other people feel the same way. That's why I allow anonymous commenting on my blogs.

Anyway, it's a real shame. I ran across a wonderful blog on MSN Spaces from a new bike commuter somewhere in Denver. Open communication is a central aspect of blogging, but MSN Spaces severely restricts it. Too bad, because otherwise Commuter's Paradise would end up in my Bloglines.

Update: Another thing that really torques me off about MSN Spaces is they all show a trackback link, but every attempt I've made to trackback to an MSN Spaces blog results in the message "Trackbacks are disabled for this blog." That kind of bait-and-switch is slimy and unethical.

Law breaking cyclists

Traffic law and cycling are always big topics of discussion at the height of summer, especially with the much discussed ticketing of scofflaw cyclists in Chicago. Cycledog in Oklahoma writes, "It must be one of those perennial rites of summer, a complaining letter to the local newspaper about all those lawless cyclists on the road." Cycledog then describes his numerous run ins with outlaw motorists. While cyclists should ride lawfully, I agree with him and with Velorution that motorists contribute much more to fatalities, injuries, and property damage when they drive unsafely than cyclists do.

In the same vein, Matt in St Paul wrote a fantastic letter to the editor in response to a columnist's anti-cyclist rant about "Spandex-Obsessed Bicyclists who think they own whatever road they're on." Matt notes:

Running stop signs? Have you ever watched cars at stop signs? If there's no opposing traffic, cars hardly ever stop. Just watch the wheels, see if they stop turning.

Running red lights? Not like those innocent lambs in automobiles, 4,400 of whom were caught running red lights in just 30 days and 12 intersections in Minneapolis's test of the Stop On Red traffic camera system in June. It's reassuring to know that fourteen police cars, an animal control vehicle and a fire department SUV were among the harvest.

Law-Abiding Motorists? Just for a day, just once, try driving the posted speed limit on all the roads you drive all day long. I predict that many people will enthusiastically communicate with you!

I don't condone blasting through red lights and stop signs on a bike or in a car, but hoping that all those road-hogging scofflaw cyclists will now go away so that traffic can once again run free as nature intended is just silly. You should worry more about those scofflaw motorists. Every year we kill more than 42,000 people in auto accidents in this country, 567 last year just in Minnesota. Do you hold NASCAR directly responsible for this? Or is that just the regrettable but necessary cost of convenient transportation? Sharing the road with a smattering of bicycles should be the least of your worries.

What do you think? Should there be increased enforcement of traffic law on cyclists? Or does the benefit of any kind of cycling overcome the discouragement that enforcement actions may provide?

Squirrel in bike wheel

Originally uploaded by richardmasoner.
I've hits squirrels, birds, and bugs with my bike before, but none of them have ever ended up like this. I found this photo at bike pirates.

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Vive le Tour Forever

Everybody knows by now that Lance has won his seventh and final Tour. In spite of this expected outcome, the final stage of the race held some excitement, especially near the end with Alexandre Vinokourov's impressive breakaway. Vinokourov won the stage, giving the Kazakh just extra seconds he needed to move into 5th place.

Armstrong's victory speech (unprecedented in Tour history) was wonderful as he expressed his friendship toward Ivan Basso and admiration for Jan Ullrich.

Tdfblog tells us that Lance will again grace the cover of SI in this week's edition. Click through to see an image of the cover.

Check out le Tour video highlights at