Olympic Fever

So, the Olympics have come and gone, and it seems that my moment of relevance has passed with it. As the BMX contributor to this blog I should have been cranking out the posts, but alas I was not to be found on the internet that week, and it wasn’t because Chinese censors had revoked my world wide web passport. I was building a new bike this last week, so I will use that as my excuse.

I did, however watch the olympics and thoroughly enjoyed the BMX coverage. Having some insight of my own on the sport made me realize that the coverage of all olympic sports is probably riddled with errors. I think I heard someone say that E.T. invented BMX.

Not true. The answer to the standing question as to whether clipless pedals make BMX racing uncool (posed here) is: yes. Well, yes clipless pedals do differentiate the current crop of BMX racers from both their racing ancestors and modern day freestyle counterparts. But it isn’t limited to that. What makes the attire of freestyle BMX appealing is that you could conceivable hop off your bike and walk into a bar or restaurant relatively unnoticed, whereas if you were a racer you would look like a pointy toed astronaut with your full race leathers, goggles and fullface helmet.

I think BMX racing has found a nice home at the Olympics. The athletes train incredibly hard and generate excitement from the spectators that synchronized diving or curling just can’t muster. BMX racing is the root of all things BMX, and also a doorstep to the wider world of cycling. Two of the women’s podium finishers are world champions mountain bikers by day, and many BMX world Champions have gone on to dominate mountain biking and even velodrome racing.

If you are interested in the history of BMX I can highly recommend the documentary JOE KID ON A STINGRAY, which premiered at the Bicycle Film Festival a few years back. And if a documentary about little kid’s bikes sounds dry than try to find a copy of RAD,the BMX feature film that debuted in 1982 and should come with the purchase of any new bicycle of any kind. It’s so cheesy you could put it on your macaroni.

And if you interested in the future of BMX stay glued to your TV, (great thevillagebicycle advice, right?) cause we are only four years away from the next really big race. (Actually if anyone is interested in BMX racing I encourage them to look up their local BMX track here).


August 25, 2008 at 4:41 pm 3 comments

A’s Bike Rally – Spread the Word!

Oakland A’s fans are taking to the streets on August 30 to bring the city and team exactly what they need: a rally parade!


From the East Bay Express:

Oakland Bike Rally for the Athletics

With the scraper bike craze in full force, two-wheel junkers are supplanting gas-guzzling automobiles as the sexy new form of transport in Oakland. Saturday’s bike rally for the Athletics attests for a new (albeit anachronistic) vision of civil society that’s gradually starting to catch on around here. Equipped with boom-boxes, noisemakers, and “tailgating grills,” the parade kicks off with a 10 a.m. breakfast at Lois the Pie Queen (851 60th St., Oakland) and runs through Oakland all day, stopping off at several BART stations before arriving at its final destination, the McAfee Coliseum parking lot. Then it’s off to watch the Oakland A’s spar the Minnesota Twins at 6:05 p.m. (Rally organizers will provide a safe space for participants to stow their bikes during the game.)

— By Rachel Swan

Price: free
Time & Date: Sat., Aug. 30, 10 a.m.
Lois the Pie Queen
851 60th St.
Emeryville CA 94608
Here’s the official schedule:
August 30, 2008:
10am Lois the Pie Queen
12pm Macarthur bart parking lot
2pm Ogawa park (in front of city hall on 14th and Broadway)
4pm Fruitvale shopping center (next to bart)
6pm Coliseum parking lot
I’d love to hear your feedback — T-shirts will be coming out soon!

August 23, 2008 at 1:04 pm Leave a comment

Hipster Bike Lesson 1: The Fixie vs. The Single Speed

Harry Campbell, NYT

Image by Harry Campbell, NYT

I love that biking has become cool. This month’s Paper Magazine features a spread of some of Brooklyn’shottest hipster cyclists. And to be one of those lanky, scraggly two-wheeled riders, you have to have the token hipster bike…the fixie. Only problem is that many of the citie’s “fixies” are actually single speeds disguised in fixie clothing.

There’s no shame in riding a single-speed. Your legs have to be extra tough to summit SF’s hills without the power of the ever-revolving cranks of a fixie and the bikes are still pure and beautiful looking. But there is danger. Serious danger.

So many of the single speeds dresssed as fixies have only ONE BRAKE. The single brake is helpful on the fixed gear, but DEADLY on the single-speed. Hipsters, don’t allow your ego to put you at risk of sailing over the handlebars.

Either flip that hub around and ride it like a fixed gear, using the front brake as a rescue or aid in the steep grade, or apply another brake. In a city where cyclists are killed annually, don’t put yourself at excess risk.

Don’t worry, you’ll still look just as hot with two brakes. Better yet, the messengers won’t make fun of you for posing with a single brake and limp cranks when you wheel it into Zeitgeist.

August 23, 2008 at 12:44 pm 1 comment

Talking (Helmet) Heads

While San Francisco is embattled in the outrageous Environmental Impact Study on bike pollution, New York is proving itself to be the coolest bike city in the country (sorry, Portland)

Talking Heads front man, David Byrne, has created a series of art bike racks designed to match the m.o. of the neighborhood–Williamsburg gets the guitar-shaped “Hipster” rack, while Wall Street gets the dollar sign.

The racks are only up for one year before being auctioned off, so sister city cyclists, lock up those fixies to the “Hipster” while you can.

August 21, 2008 at 8:19 am Leave a comment

Could Bike Lanes Cause Pollution?

Photo from the Wall Street Journal

This is the title of a Wall Street Journal article that focuses on San Francisco gadfly and anti-cyclist Rob Anderson.

Anderson, 65, has halted the city’s huge pro-bike plan, designed to provide more bike lanes, better bike parking and safer routes through the car-clogged city. Anderson’s claim is that more bike lanes mean more traffic jams, which translates into higher pollution.

With no apparent motive for hating cyclists (Anderson doesn’t even own a car), he has made it his full-time job to impede the bike plan. Anderson requested an environmental impact study to prove that more bikes don’t mean more pollution. When the city denied his request, he sued. Now San Francisco citizens must foot the bill for a study that proves that bicycles, zero emissions vehicles, aren’t harmful to our air.

When he isn’t busy filing briefs and sending excessive paperwork to City Hall, Anderson spends his days blogging about his hatred of cyclists. In one post, he compares cyclists who take to the street to suicide bombing Islamic Terrorists. Anderson is undeniably off his rocker, but unfortunately his instability comes at the risk of our safety.

Next time you find yourself trapped between trolly tracks and a speeding taxi on Market, you can blame Anderson for putting you at risk. And next time you have to lock your bike to a parking meter with seven other bikes piled up, you can blame Anderson for the lack of parking.

August 21, 2008 at 7:51 am Leave a comment

The Cyclist About Town

First off, I want to thank David for posting info about The Village Bicycle’s Oakland A’s Rally, August 30 on his blog Brooklyn Avenue. Please contact me (kathymcguirehascome at gmail dot com) if you have and bike locks to donate or would like to volunteer. We’re expecting a fair amount of people and need help making sure eveyone’s safe and happy.

Next, the Embarcadero BART was truly awful this morning. I mean, it’s weird, people will stare at me trying to walk down the stairs with a bike on my shoulder and a dripping coffee in my hand (Peets gave me a cup when I asked for the coffee to be poured in my water bottle – grrr), and not move out of my way. It’s like they see me, they make eye contact, they admire my bike, and then walk up the center of the stairway. I can’t take up any less room, buddy, you need to move.

Speaking of commuting. Men’s Health put together a consumerist-fed article about biking your work commute instead of driving (and all the gear you need to buy to make it happen). While I don’t like to look at cycling in terms of how much gas money I’m saving as it just reiterates our dependency on oil, I do like that they measured how many pounds of C02 emissions we’re saving by commuting (check out liveablestreets.com – join the movement!)

Your Commute: 15 miles, average speed 14 to 18 MPH
Calories burned in one day: 1,476
Gas Money Saved in one month: $122.40
CO2 Savings in 1 year: 7,722 pounds

Your Commute: 10 miles, average speed 12 to 14 MPH
Calories burned in one day: 884
Gas Money Saved in one month: $81.60
CO2 Savings in 1 year: 5,148 pounds

Your Commute: 5 miles, average speed 10 to 12 MPH
Calories burned in one day: 410
Gas Money Saved in one month: $40.80
CO2 Savings in 1 year: 2,574 pounds

Pretty interesting. I’d love to hear your commuting stories, btw. Where do you go, what do you love the most about it, and why the 24th and Mission BART elevator smelled so god awful this evening.

And here’s a question for you all, well, at least for you Jackson: Are the Olympic BMX races really “uncool” because the bikes have clips? Sports Business Daily seems to think so.

August 20, 2008 at 7:57 pm 2 comments

Dead Ray “Steve” on SF Market Street

I know it’s not about bikes, but it’s disturbing.  The first story I heard about this was from a office buddy who described a huge Manta Ray flopping down the market street in downtown SF for about 20 feet or so, struggling for life before one final flop of death.  It broke my heart.  Who would do such a thing to an animal — and then, how did they do it?  Manta Rays are huge.

Judging from the comments posted on SFweekly’s report of the incident, it wasn’t a Manta Ray but possibly an Eagle, Bat, or Cow Ray.  Also, according to one commentor, the ray was dead when it was left on Market Street after having it’s tail chopped off by a fisherman.  What creeps me out about the commentor’s comment was that he knew the ray’s name was “Steve.”


From A.Crazy:

The ray’s name was Steve. He was caught by a fisherman for his tail and thrown away. someone found him and brought him to One Post in a bag.
It’s not sad that he ended up on Market street. It’s sad that he was caught for the soul purpose of harvesting his tail.

August 18, 2008 at 10:36 am Leave a comment

Older Posts Newer Posts


_uacct = "UA-4811419-1"; urchinTracker();

Recent Posts