Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bikes for women

With more women getting into cycling bike makers saw a hugh marketing opportunity and started designing cycles specially for women.

Nearly all major bike manufacturers now make bikes specifically for women. There are not just normal bike painted pink or powder blue with pretty flowers or butterfly decals. Women specific bikes have a geometry designed to better fit female anatomy. Generally women have longer legs and shorter torsos, in proportion to their body, than men. Their hands also are smaller and they are missing the dangly bits.

A handmade bike from Natalie Ramsland, owner of  Sweetpea, a Portland, Oregon based frame builder. One of the two female frame builders in the US who build bikes specifically for women

So designers redrew the spec for bikes. A longer seat tube (the tube that goes from the saddle to the bottom bracket - where the pedals are), shorter top tube (from the saddle to the handlebars), shorter reach brake levers for smaller hands and a shallower drop on racing handlebars... and made saddles a better shape.

They're still painted pink and light blue and made the pretty... girls will be girls just as boys will be boys.

And some brands appeared that only cater for women. The former Female World Cycling Champion, Kiwi, Sarah Ulmer has her own brand of bikes called, you guessed it... Sarah Ulmer Brand or SUB. SUB bikes are made by Aussie (or Kiwi, I can never remember) bike maker Avanti. Sarah had a major hand in the design, specification, and colours of the bikes that carry her name. SUB also produce a wide range of cycling apparel for women and as a designer I have to say they look pretty good.

Local cyclist very happy with her her SubZero bike designed World Champ, Sarah Ulmer.

Bikes Exhibit at Portland Airport

I came across this video when I was searching for something else (I was looking for handmade frames built for women, by women - Sweetpea is one of two such companies in the US). I wonder if we could convince Airports Fiji to do this in Nadi International... don't hold your breath :)

Portland, Oregon (USA) has a long history of frame building and the organisation that runs the Portland International Airport have commissioned an exhibition of bicycles handmade in Oregon.

The following was an article written by Jonathan Maus on

The exhibit which will run for six months and an estimated 3.3 million passengers will pass display bikes.

Since the exhibit is located beyond security gates, only ticketed passengers can view it. I joined a video crew today that was working on a project for the Portland Development Commission (a partner in the exhibit) to gain access and snap some photos (my slideshow is below).

I was full of Oregon pride as I walked up to the display. Passersby peered into the glass, studying the placards that described each of the ten bikes in the exhibit. One guy was so excited by what he saw, he chased down the rest of his group, and dragged them back to show them what he'd found (they were amazed at the 16.75 pound hardwood bike by Renovo).

The photo didn't come out, but a nice statement about the exhibit was written in stickers on the glass. It said:

Combining engineering skills, precious metal craftsmanship, cutting edge design, and a passion for cycling, these Oregon bike builders create functional works of art that appeal to today's rider.

The ten examples shown here represent only a few of the builders working in Oregon, but they share a common goal of providing one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted machines with a unique ride.

Each bike had it's own placard that provided details on the builder, the type of bike, and interesting tidbits — like the material used, or the builder's inspiration.

The ten bikes on display were built by: Cielo Cycles (Portland), Vendetta Cycles (Corvallis), Keith Anderson Cycles (Grants Pass), Stites Design (Portland), Jeff Jones Custom Bicycles (Medford), Renovo Hardwood Bicycles (Portland), Dropout Bike Club (Portland), Ahearne Cycles (Portland), Vanilla Bicycles (Portland) and Bike Friday (Eugene).

It was also a welcome surprise to see such a diverse range of bikes represented, from a tall "freak bike" built by Mark Veno of the Dropout Bike Club to a cargo trike built by SE Portland resident Bill Stites.

The exhibit was installed with help from River City Bicycles and was made possible through a collaborative effort by the Port of Portland, the Portland Development Commission, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, and Sweetpea Bicycles.

If you don't plan to fly out of Concourse E at the Portland Airport in the next six months, my slideshow below will have to suffice for now. (The PDC should have their video footage available soon as well.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

World Earth Day

This isn't much to do with cycling... apart from Discovery Channel being a past sponsor of Lance's old Team Discovery... but it's a nice little ditty and some pretty good editing, celebrating World Earth Day.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Is cycling safe?

Is cycling dangerous? Only if you have an accident... everything you do has a risk. I had a spectacular crash a couple of months ago that left me with the most horrific bruise you've ever seen. But, lucky for me it was just a bruise.

Statistically cycling is safer than walking. Close to ten times safer actually as you have a 1 in 600 chance of being killed as a pedestrian and as a cyclist it's close to 1 in 5000. Dying driving/riding in a car accident is even riskier, 1 in 84.

Ironically you have a much higher risk of dying doing nothing than doing something. 1 in 5 of us will die of heart disease, or a stroke, 1 in 24. People who cycle regularly live up to 10 years longer than people who have a sedentary lifestyle.

Of course the chances of dying from "anything" is 1 in 1, 100%... so you may as well get out and enjoy yourself.

Source USA National Safety Council

Friday, April 18, 2008

Folding Bike Race :)

Rapha Nocturn Folding bike race is a Crits style race around Smithfield Market in London. 40 cyclists dressed on suits raced in front to over 5000 spectators. There was a "le mans" style start wher the competitors had to run to their bikes and unfold them before setting off.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Velocity Buffet Breakfast at Holiday Inn

As part of our ongoing association with the Holiday Inn Suva we are please to announce the

Velocity Buffet Breakfast

The breakfast is after the Sunday ride and you're welcome bring your friends and family even if they're not cycling. The more we support the Holiday Inn the better for Velocity. Holiday Inn will be supporting our upcoming events and competitions.

Buffet Breakfast is $22

Eggs (cooked the way you like them)
Birchen muesli
Canned whole fruits
Assorted Danish Pastries
Freshly baked continental breads
A selection of cold meats & cheeses
Fresh (juice yourself) juice
Assorted ready made juice
Coffee and a selection of teas.

Children 12 and under EAT FREE!!!!! and there's "kid's corner" to keep them happy and 13-19 year olds pay only $11

If you're not into a FULL breakfast, Holiday Inn have their Express Breakfast with tea or coffee, fruit, eggs and toast for $12.50