Archive for category history

How a Bicycle Is Made (1945)

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in the saddle…

I’ve set out in the rain and come home dry, or mostly dry.

I’ve sat comfortably behind big men, the ones that are as wide as Volkswagen Beetle.

I’ve dropped those same men.

I’ve been dropped by women.

And old men.

I’ve set out in the sunshine and come home wet.

I’ve stopped, not because I needed to rest but because I wanted a moment to take it in.

I’ve sat up when the gap was too big.

I’ve had road rash.

I’ve run red lights.

I’ve been defeated by headwinds.

And Coleman Valley Road.

I’ve stopped for wildlife.

I’ve been honked at.

And yelled at.

And waved at.

And smiled at.

I’ve slowed down to chat with strangers.

I’ve taken turns at the front.

I’ve been stopped by the police.

I’ve underdressed.

And overdressed.

I’ve suffered.

But mostly, I’ve had fun.

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Sacramento Tweed to host Seersucker Ride

Local sartorialists Sacramento Tweed will stage an informal group ride on Sunday, June 26th at 11am in downtown Sacramento. The event will incorporate a picnic in Land Park, a tour of the Crocker Art Museum, and a post-ride tipple at DeVeere’s Irish Pub.

Originally scheduled for the weekend of the 3rd June, the ride was postponed due to the filthy weather. Forecasts are much more favorable for the coming weeks, promising a warm and dry day of cycling-related revelry and Edwardian fashion.

Fans of classic European fabrics will rejoice at the event, which will offer riders the opportunity to showcase their finest seersucker suits. The organization’s blog briefly outlines a suggested dress-code, emphasising a “spirit of inclusiveness and conviviality, which means we don’t care about what you wear (although please wear something appropriate for warm weather–no heavy tweed, please!), or what you ride. All we want is that you wear a smile, and ride what you’re happiest riding.”

The ride begins at 11am in front of Revolution Wines. The shop, located at 29 & S St, will be open an hour early to service the congregated houndstooth enthusiasts in the form of handmade sandwiches for the picnic. Riders will depart and observe a leisurely pace south towards Land Park, where several hours have been set aside for communal luncheon. Cupcakes and iced popsicles will be made available by local retailers for those riders with a sweet tooth.

Post-picnic, aesthetes will again mount their cycles and head to the Crocker, where a special group rate for admission has been offered by the gallery. The thirsty may adjourn to the cafe for a glass of pinot gris, or wait until the group reaches its final destination, DeVeere’s Irish Pub on 15th & L Street. Live music has been promised, the genre of which is yet to be announced. At least one accordion would be appropriate, and no doubt greatly appreciated by the cyclists.

Sacramento Tweed encourages all participants to observe contemporary highway bylaws, while maintaining a certain historic perspective. Cellphones have not been banned, but would probably impinge upon the authenticity of the event.

For more information, visit Sacramento Tweed.

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post-Armstrong, again

Two days ago Lance Armstrong announced his retirement from professional cycling, again. Talking Treads didn’t exist the first time Lance Armstrong retired from the sport of cycling. Good thing too, because if it had, you’d be reading the same post for a second time. My relationship with the idea of Lance Armstrong is complicated. During his reign as champion of the sport I only moderately cared about cycling. I worked at the Recreational Sports office on campus and, as a result, had a passing interest in all sorts of sports I’d previously had no interest in.

It shouldn’t have surprised me that I would become more seriously interested in cycling. I had been a track and cross-country runner in high school and the parallels are pretty obvious. Without getting too far into my history as a cyclist, it was in this timeframe that I got out the Giant Boulder I purchased when I graduated from the 8th grade, and started riding a little single track. It would be a few years before I bought my first road bike (an unbranded steel frame from the late ’70s with shifters on the down-tube with a top tube that measured 6 cm longer than the bike I ride today) but I always see that time working in a bike shop, talking about Le Tour and Lance Armstrong as the catalyst to my self-identification as a cyclist – a roadie to be specific.

So, my history as a cyclist feels linked to Lance. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Lance is credited for inspiring to the renaissance of road cycling in America – and, judging by the number of those ugly Radio Shack jerseys from last year I see out on the road, he still inspires people to start riding. The truth is that, at least for a time, I counted Lance as something between amazing athlete and hero. How couldn’t I? A man, a jerk maybe, but a man who survives testicular cancer and comes back to the sport of cycling and dominates one of the most grueling and difficult events in sports. How couldn’t we mortals be impressed.

It is impossible to talk about Lance without talking about doping – trust me, I’ve tried. The question of whether or not Lance doped might never be answered. Personally, I’m long past defending or accusing Armstrong. It’s not that I don’t care or need to rationalize away the likelihood that all my cycling heros have bent or broken the rules. It’s more that the accusations and positive tests for athletes like Floyd Landis have left me unwilling and unable to say, one way or another, which cyclists are cheaters. Instead, I watch to tour the same way I watched Barry Bonds break the single season home run record – interested but disconnected.

It’s not going to matter if Lance is a convicted or exonerated as cheater (or, more likely, neither) his story has already affected cycling. People like me started riding on the heels of his post-cancer domination. Some long time fans stop caring about the pro-tour as the evidence against Armstrong and other top cyclists grew.

There’s a lot of talk about what the post-Armstrong era of professional cycling in America will look like. Will the new fans stay? Will they abandon the televised races? In my mind, none of that matters. The pro-peloton will survive. The question I think is most important, is will the cyclists that are out there because of Lance – the ones in their US Postal Service jerseys and on their Trek bikes – will they take up the mantle and pass their love of riding to a new batch of cyclists?

Well, will you?

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History of Oakley


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The GPV (Gravity Powered Vehicle) was a super-stretched, pedal-free bike almost fully enveloped in fiberglass fairings.


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bike note

On six-day races from the March 10, 1928 issue of The New Yorker.

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mustang of steel

The bicycle ranks among those gifts of science to man, by which he is enabled to supplement his own puny powers with the exhaustic forces around him. He sits in the saddle, and all nature is but a four-footed beast to do his bidding. Why should he go a foot, while he can ride a mustang of steel, who knows his rider and never needs a lasso?.. The exhilaration of bicycling must be felt to be appreciated. With the wind singing in your ears, and the mind as well as body in a higher plane, there is an ecstasy of triumph over inertia, gravitation, and the other lazy ties that bind us. You are traveling! Not being traveled.

From the “The Winged Heel” column in the San Francisco Chronicle of January 25, 1879.

via Streetsblog San Francisco. hat tip Kelsey.

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