Archive for the 'Cycling' Category

Colorado Representative Andy Kerr briefs Colorado Bicycle Summit attendees prior to sending them out to meet with their representatives in support of House Bill 1092.

Let’s get this out of the way right at the top: I’m not from Colorado. During two days of inspiration and advocacy at the Colorado Bicycle Summit last week Chip and I had to explain more than a few times that we Utahns were just along for the proverbial ride. In Denver to meet with Primal Wear. Lucky coincidence. Just interested, no real skin in the game in the cycling fights of the Centennial State. Or so I thought.

Though I’m a bit of a political junkie (I rubberneck at car accidents too…), I’ve never dabbled in any political advocacy because of my newspaper background. With objectivity always on the mind, I’ve tried to stay above the fray. So listening to the battles being waged in the state next door and what cycling advocacy groups like Bicycle Colorado are doing about it was a huge eye-opener.

Trek President John Burke gave a great talk at the summit, outlining how cycling can solve a lot of our country’s less attractive trends (traffic congestion, crowding, environmental issues and obesity) and how to get organized and make a difference.

The takeaway: Democracy is for the people who show up.

I can’t begin to count the number of public meetings I attended as a reporter where the only people there were the board members and me. When folks did show up, the elected officials were likely to listen, if for no other reason than to hear a voice besides their own.

It’s not easy to show up. Just like it’s not easy to wake up early for a run or hit the trainer when there’s a cold beer waiting in the fridge. But if you’re not there to fight for it, nothing gets said before a vote is cast that changes your life for the worse.

So consider this a belated New Year’s resolution: In 2011, whether it’s an email to my congressman, a community council meeting or, yes, bicycle advocacy, I’m going to do my best to show up. It wouldn’t kill me to hit those morning runs, either.


Cruisers Have Soul

SOAR’s own Elizabeth O. Hurst writes about beach cruiser bikes in North America for Momentum Magazine.


Nearly two months ago Bikes for Kids Utah hosted its first-ever omnium event with the University of Utah cycling team to raise money to get new bikes to kids and to support the U’s team. Both organizations did a ton to pull off the weekend-long event that included a criterium, hill climb time trial and road race. Bradlee Duncan, the U of U team race director, spearheaded and coordinated a good portion of the event, and helped make it a really successful fundraiser. Below are 10 of his tips for for race organizers, or, for racers 10 reasons to be nice to the race organizers and officials. It’s not as easy as it looks.

1. Sometimes people lose track of time and forget to do things, so build extra time into your plan.

2. Charge late registration fees, and make them expensive! Most of us are procrastinators and we need a little extra incentive to commit to a race in advance.

3. You can never have too many volunteers, so treat them nicely.

4. The officials are your best friends, the officials are your best friends, the officials are your best friends.

5. Government entities are slow and bureaucratic. You can’t start talking to them too early.

6. Have a specific registration game-plan, otherwise it’s chaos. Did you hear me? it. is. chaos.

7. People can be impatient, that’s why it’s so important to be patient.

8. Be patient.

9. Sometimes even Mother Nature loses track of time and gets things mixed up; be ready in case she sends warm, sunny weather in March and a few feet of light fluffy Utah powder in April.

10. Have fun!!!!!!!!! You’re doing something that fosters and grows the sport you love!

To read the press release about this event, click here.

Check out Bradlee’s blog too,


Cycle Style Show-Salt Lake City

While attending the first annual Salt Lake Bicycle Summit this weekend, I had the chance to meet the fabulous Tara Mckee, organizer of the 2009 Cycle Style Show-Salt Lake City.

The Cycle Style Show is a local outdoor fashion show that will show off functional and fashionable commuter cycling clothing and accessories (see preview here), in action, on some really cool commuter-friendly bikes.

Whether attendees currently commute into town for work, to shop, to hang with friends or (gasp!) do not ride a bike at all, this show is sure to inspire folks to dust off the bikes in their garage and get out on a bike this summer.

The Cycle Style Show is Friday, May 15 at 7 p.m. at the Gallivan Center in SLC. Hope to see you there!

Courtney enjoys the signs of Spring on the Electra Amsterdam with the tulip design

Courtney enjoys the signs of Spring on the Electra Amsterdam with the tulip design


Bike Month Starts May 1

I pledge to reduce my greenhouse gas emissions by 450 pounds during May, which many U.S. cities, including Salt Lake City, recognize as Bike Month.

I have the farthest commute of all the SOAR team members (about 30 miles), so I’m not going to attempt to commute the entire way by bike. But I will take the bus two to three times per week, and stop asking my husband to drop me off and pick me up from my home bus stop (I learned at the Bicycle Leadership Conference that 40 percent of trips in the U.S. are just two miles and are the most polluting). If I do this during the month of May, tells me that I can reduce my vehicle trips by 450 to 680 miles and my greenhouse gas emission by 380 to 575 pounds.

Me prepping for the Momentum bike fashion show at Interbike

Me prepping for the Momentum bike fashion show at Interbike

I first started using mass transit because it was cheaper than buying snow tires for my 1988 California-raised Volvo. Even though the threat of snow is gone (let’s hope), I still try to commute by bus twice a week. The entire commute from point to point takes about 30-40 minutes longer than it would if I drove by myself, but I think it is worth the extra time spent. One-way bus fare cheaper than a gallon of gas and the time I have on the bus to read Newsweek and study Portuguese is priceless. Plus, I get home to my husband in a much better mood not having fought traffic for 45 minutes.

I’ll also reduce my green house gas emissions by biking around town more. I’ve been assessing every road I drive on for its bikeability and often think, “I could totally bike this. Why am I even driving a car?” I see bike trips to the gelaterie are in my not-so distant future.

You can learn how many pounds of carbon emissions your commute reduces by registering at UtahCommuter. com (hint: if you only commute by a car alone, your commute reduces NONE! Think about it.)


Women on Bikes

Woollen bloomers at their best

Woollen bloomers at their best

The first bikes were manufactured in America circa 1878. It took over 15 years of women experimenting with these new devices, breaking their bones trying to ride them with full, ankle-length skirts, before fashion began adapting to the self-propelled women. Even then society resisted the look and function of the woollen bloomers that allowed the female rider to bike safely and modestly.

This reaction born of the 19th century, Western mentality doesn’t surprise me. However, it does surprise me that only 10 years has passed since major bike companies began seriously accommodating female cyclists.

A recent Deseret News article “More attention being paid to women’s biking needs” quotes this figure. However, the article doesn’t address the huge time lapse between the bike’s inception and the establishment of the women’s cycling market.

As the DN article explains, 21st century designers are developing ways to make bike equipment and paraphernalia better fit the female anatomy and active lifestyle. Too embarrassed to go to the grocery store with your Lyrca shorts? Throw on a matching sarong! Leave your woollen bloomers at home! Even the statistics show that cycling women, who occupy 42% of the world’s cycling arena, deserve such attention from the cycling marketplace.

Still, you can’t fully appreciate this achievement without knowing at least a little bit of its arduous back story. Annie Londonberry, for example, finished riding her bike around the world a year before the first Olympic cycling event took place in 1896. Ironically, it took 98 more years for women’s cycling to become an official Olympic event.

This era is the most convenient one in cycling history to be a female cyclist, but not entirely because of progressive designers. The women who caught their dresses on their bike pedals, who competed in the first women’s Olympic cycling event and who dared to wear Lycra shorts into the grocery store deserve the bulk of the credit for this victory.

Let me say from the onset that I’m a fred when it comes to cycling. But, I’m hoping that changes with a little time, road time and patience.

I’ll back up a bit here, with all the time I spend in the office with our resident roadie, Chip, it was hard not to get infected with the cycling bug, so when the opportunity to get a new bike, at a terrific price, came along, I jumped at the opportunity. So, after we figured out what kind of a deal we could get and I perused the different bike manufacturers — and tried not to faint at some of the prices. Some of these bikes are priced at $1,000,000, okay, not quite that much, but take a look at the price on some of the cyclocross bikes, and be sure you’re sitting down.

My new ride

It was a great day when my bike arrived, little did I know it would evoke the same kind of excitement in Chip as a young boy on Christmas morning about to get his first Red Flyer wagon. Chip explained to me that, as part of cyclist culture, I needed to become “one” with my bike by putting it together. With tools in hand, Chip and I set out to get my bike together and begin the process of symbiosis.

Well I think I will never buy a bike from a big box retailer again. There is something to be said for dealers, bike pros, etc.; there are just so many things that can go into tweaking and tuning a bike so it runs like a top notch, two-wheel machine. I could tell Chip was stoked to help me out when his pupils turned into little bicycle wheels. We got the bike set up in about an hour and then Chip gave me and the bike his master cyclist’s blessing.

Here’s the list of new terms I learned:

  • Cassette (I thought we’d moved on to CDs by now)
  • Sprocket (not new to me, but a cool word all the same)
  • B spring
  • Fred (what I am ’til I ride down a mountain)
  • Crank
  • Pedal (okay, I knew this one too)
  • Lawyer Tab (it seems the legal system is everywhere)
  • Headset (not the white earbuds coming out the sides of my head)

I’m excited to get riding, as odd as that sounds during the Winter, but I’ve got enough insulation, I should be fine. Chip informs me that now that I’ve got my bike, it’s time to accessorize, I’m game — after I learn all these new words! (Seriously though, thanks for your help Chip.)

[If you want to learn some of the popular cycling slang, check out these sites MTB slang and roadie slang.]


Trips for Kids Israel

Samson Riders Bicycle Club

Samson Riders Bicycle Club

Considering the plethora of well-established mountain biking cultures that exist worldwide, it is telling that Trips for Kids (TFK) would establish its first international chapter in Israel. In addition to the typical complexities that challenge childhood, Israel’s youth faces the challenge of developing tolerance for the variety of ethnic, educational, socio-economic and immigrant groups in their communities.

I imagine this is true even in Beit Shemesh, Israel, where Trips for Kids Israel- Samson Riders Bicycle Club (TFK Israel-SRBC) has been established. This community in the heart of the Judean Plains merits a group like TFK Israel-SRBC that encourages young people to understand and unite with their peers of all backgrounds. Before Samson Riders Bicycle Club became the foundational group for TFK Israel, it had already been successful in bringing Jewish and Arab youth together to ride, learn about each other, break down barriers, discover new interests and respect the land. The club’s new relationship with TFK will make it possible to expand this program, Riding for Co-Existence, to give more underprivileged youth in Israel a chance to experience mountain biking and involve youth from other local ethnic communities in the bike ride planning and implementation.

Come late November, riders with TFK Israel-SRBC will take their first tour of the monasteries, water springs and olive groves as an official chapter of the Marin County, Calif.-based non-profit organization. For many of them, it will be their first time exploring their historic surroundings. For some, it may be their first time riding side by side with a peer who claims a different culture than their own.

You can learn more about Trips for Kids at

Tyler Tapeing of an AranitixDavid, Maura and I visited Delta 7 Sports in Payson, Utah last Friday. Things are going pretty good for the start-up. They are putting the finishing touches on the first few Arantix IsoTruss mountain bike framesets going out to distributors in the UK and Australia, a dealer here in the U.S. and the first frame to a consumer (a doctor in Texas). The photo to the left is of Tyler Evans, Delta 7’s bicycle program manager, tapeing off one of the frames for its final clear coat.

We met with Delta 7’s executive team to check in on them. They are pretty happy about getting some bikes out the door!

Chip’s first TrekTuesday on I read that Dick Burke, founder of Trek Bicycles, died Monday night, March 10, due to complications from heart surgery. It was sad to hear the news. It made me think about what Dick and Trek have accomplished and about what bicycles have done for me.

When I was in high school, my brother Steve was an Italian fanatic who had an Alfa Romeo Spider and a Pogliaghi road bike. I wanted to ride road bikes like him, so I bought a Japanese made Centurion (I couldn’t afford a nice Italian bike). I didn’t ride the Centurion too much. Riding bikes wasn’t the cool thing to do in high school. Continue Reading »