Rock The Bike

Chicago has a long, tall history of innovation in the field of tandem tall bikes

El Arbol will not be the first tandem tall bike. Check out this lamplighting bike from Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. Read the Full story here:

Or how about this family contraption, complete with treddle-powered sewing machine:

Thanks Flickr friendĀ Whymcycles

More recent but also notable, from Chicago Critical Mass, via Georgeaye. The photo has been viewed 4500 times on Flickr.

The Original Suicide Shift

This bike is just one of the antique racing bikes hanging on the wall of my neighbor Gian Bongiorno’s shop. It’s one of Campagnolo’s earliest shifting mechanisms. Apparently Fausto Coppi won the Tour on it. To operate it, you pull one lever to undo the axel quick release. At this point, the axel is imobilized in the dropouts only by notches in the dropout! Then you pedal backwards, using the other lever to change gears. Once the chain has moved to the new gear, you redo the QR for the axle, then pedal forward. Apparently these were popular because they were light weight, but they caused many accidents.

Jacquie Phelan gives the low down on women and bicycling at Velosport in Berkeley

Geoffrey and I headed to Velosport after work to hear Jacquie Phelan, the former women’s mountain bike champion, discussing her experiences as a woman in the world of mountain bike racing. Here are a few highlights:

At 15:35: “I am a racer… I’m intensely competitive. I’m more motivated when I can tell the person next to me has an issue with me passing them. It’s like getting a caffeine suppository… Maybe it’s the testosterone… There’s got to be a safe place for that to come out… So you don’t actually beat people up…”

At 22:00: A woman in the audience who has worked with Jacquie in the past relates a story of Jacquie pulling her Eldridge Grade (Mount Tam) with a bungie cord.

At 28:00: Jacquie tells a story about Honda sponsoring the Safe Routes to School program in Marin Country. The son of Joe Breeze notices that, in the instructional DVD she was required to play, all the cars are Hondas except for the one that mows down a little kid on a bike.