Q&A: NYC’s top biking advocate wants you to talk more about death

BikePortland - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 12:50
paulswhite Paul Steely White at the 2010
National Bike Summit.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Talking about “livable streets” is out; talking about “safe streets” is in.

That’s the advice from Paul Steely White, executive director of the country’s largest local transportation advocacy group. The executive director of New York City-based Transportation Alternatives since 2004, White was a major force behind the city’s emergence as a national leader in reimagining streets as pleasant public spaces.

But as he heads to Portland for a keynote address Monday to the Oregon Active Transportation Summit, White is urging his fellow believers in livable streets to readjust their message when talking to politicians and the public. We spoke by phone on Thursday about why and how his organization has put Vision Zero, the campaign to completely eliminate road deaths, at the middle of their message.

Are you on a national Vision Zero tour, or is this a one-off thing?

“It’s coming to terms with the fact that we have tens of thousands of road deaths. It’s a bummer message, but it gets people’s attention.”
— Transalt Executive Director Paul Steely White on Vision Zero

My old friend Rob Sadowsky invited me out to the summit. I tend not to travel much at all lately. I did a lot of traveling a lot of years ago and sort of got it out of my system. There’s so much happening here in New York these days.

What’s something people misunderstand about the New York streets renaissance?

I think we’re trying to get away from livable streets reinassance, livable streets, vitality, etc. All of that stuff is great, but with that frame, with that language you’re still reaching only a certain segment of the population. Safety is a much stronger common denominator.

The best way to be a successful bike advocate is to be a successful Vision Zero advocate. Lowering the speed limit, as we were successful at doing, is going to have as much an impact on New York’s bikeability as anything we’ve done.

That’s interesting. What do you think puts people off about “livable streets”?

I don’t think it puts people off necessarily, but it’s just much harder to activate and communicate with people. I think the portion of the population that is civically engaged and understands all the economics … it’s a longer conversation you have to have with people. Also, I think it hits people in a different place. It’s a hopeful message, but it’s a complicated one. When you’re talking about safety, not only is it really easy to understand what you’re talking about, but it hits people in a really emotional place.

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I’m actually sort of a Vision Zero skeptic personally. I realize I’m an outlier in lots of ways, so I’m not representative, but the message of a complete lack of risk just doesn’t resonate with me emotionally. Vision Zero feels to me like it’s a worship of death instead of life. Is that something you ever hear?

That’s often a reaction we get, actually. But I’ll tell you what happens: the very people who have lost loved ones, who are staring death in the face, are the ones who become our most positive advocates. Queens Boulevard, for years people called it the Boulevard of Death. Now they’re talking about it as the Boulevard of Life.

It’s coming to terms with the fact that we have tens of thousands of road deaths. It’s a bummer message, but it gets people’s attention. And if you follow it up really quickly with a solution, as the mayor has I think really well, you can win more battles than not.

We’ve also found that it’s much easier to educate bike people about the advocacy around Vision Zero than it is to activate pedestrians around walking. The bike people are special because we are more engaged than maybe any other constituency out there. We do show up. We write our legislators. We’re proud that we’ve brought Vision Zero to the streets.

What advice do you have about setting the table for politicians to get interested in transportation issues?

For us with Vision Zero, it’s been largely about Families for Safe Streets. I’ve never seen a campaign have so much influence over elected officials in such a sort time as Families for Safe Streets. It’s very difficult for an elected official to deny a mother or father an ear, to not listen to what they have to say.

Whenever politicians talk about Vision Zero, they’re talking about their kids. They’re talking about their role not as politicians but their role as fathers. You’re just hitting a different part of their brain. You’re hitting them right in the heart.

The third step, that we’re just getting to now, is you have seen pedestrian fatalities going down pretty rapidly already. Now we have a virtuous cycle where we can go back to the politicians and say “Thank you for saving these lives.” And then they can take credit for that. Now all of a sudden instead of living in fear, people are now going to Queens Boulevard not because they have to, but because they want to.

Qs & As edited; the views in the Qs above are my own. Paul Steely White will discuss Vision Zero at 8:20 a.m. on Monday, March 30, at the Sentinel Hotel. 614 SW 11th Ave., as part of the Oregon Active Transportation Summit.

The post Q&A: NYC’s top biking advocate wants you to talk more about death appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Categories: Culture

Get ready to climb: Portland’s De Ronde/La Doyenne weekend is coming

BikePortland - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 12:48
2013 De Ronde -4 In Portland we call this fun.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

Rumor has it that Portland’s toughest weekend of cycling is coming up. “De Ronde” and its sister event “La Doyenne” are two unsanctioned road rides that have captured the imagination of thousands of riders (and the media) over the years because of the sheer difficulty of even finishing.

Our secret sources say the Big Weekend for both rides is April 18-19th.

We hope you’ve been training a bit because if you choose to do both you’ll need to climb nearly 15,000 feet over the course of about 100 miles.

Don’t take my word for it, check the elevation charts (yikes)…

derondeelev De Ronde. doyenneevel La Doyenne We rely on financial support from readers like you.

The Ronde PDX, also known as De Ronde Van West Portlandia, started in 2007 and its companion La Doyenne (De Ronde Van Oost Portlandia) was added in 2013.

We’ve covered De Ronde a lot in the past because it happens right here in the West Hills above downtown Portland. This year we wanted to share a bit more about La Doyenne from the guy who started it, 42-year old Andrew Springer.

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-19 Follow if you can.

Springer moved to Happy Valley (an unincorporated community southeast of Portland) from Bend in 2008. As soon as he got here, “Friends kept bringing me to the West Hills,” he shared, “to chase the Lions of De Ronde.” Springer is referring to the Lion of Flanders stencil that marks the De Ronde course (the event is inspired by the famous Flemish race Ronde Van Vlaanderen).

While Springer loved the steep West Hills climbs, he thought his local climbs were pretty darn nice too; but he was tired of riding them by himself. “Living in Happy Valley at the time, I was surprised that I rarely saw cyclists on and around Mt Scott, despite the fantastic climbs and close proximity to Portland.”

So Springer modeled La Doyenne as a tribute to De Ronde; “Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery,” he says.

The ride’s popularity has exceeded his wildest expectations. Many of the nearly 1,000 riders at Saturday’s De Ronde do the double and ride La Doyenne the following day.

And then there’s the story about how Springer met the woman of his dreams. After the 2013 La Doyenne, Springer checked the climbing segments on Strava to see how the leaderboards were shaken up. Then something caught his eye: “I kept noticing a particular girl took a lot of QOMs [Queen of the Mountains].” Springer made contact, they went on a bike date, and the rest is history. “We went for a ride together the next week. This past May we were married on top of Mary’s Peak on an 86 mile ride with 7,000 feet of climbing.”

If you plan to do the rides and want to prepare (mentally or physically), check out the routes of De Ronde and La Doyenne via Ride With GPS. On second thought, if you haven’t done the rides yet, you might not want to know what you’re getting into.

If you’ve already done La Doyenne, Springer wants everyone to know that he’s made some important changes to the route this year. The start/finish has been moved to the west side of the Springwater Corridor, making it easier to get to from Portland. He’s also added a few new climbs and improved the flow of the route. He even tells me you can expect some food about half-way through course.

Learn more about this Big Weekend of Fun and Pain at RondePDX.com.

The post Get ready to climb: Portland’s De Ronde/La Doyenne weekend is coming appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Categories: Culture

The Heavy Pedal: Passage Complete.

Lockedcog - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 12:41

The Heavy Pedal continues to grow with the Passage completes rolling into their bike lineup. A rad triple triangle frame with a proper selection of parts to keep you rubber side down in style. Cool to see a radial laced front out of the box and a carbon fork up front to lighten things up. Take a trip on over to the Passage page for the full run down!


Categories: Fixed

BSNYC Friday No Quiz Just Tedious Editorializing!

Bike Snob NYC - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 12:31
My Fellow Cyclists:

There is a creak in our metaphorical bottom bracket, and if we don't address it now it's only a matter of time before we squash our genitals on the Top Tube of Catastrophic Failure.
So what is this creaking?  Well, a California senator has introduced a bill for a mandatory bicycle helment law, and our beloved cycling media--which should be standing united against such nonsense in the interest of cyclists everywhere--is instead entertaining it, and in at least one case actually supporting it.
Now I don't care what your feelings on helment use are.  Maybe you're one of those people who thinks not wearing a bicycle helment is tantamount to suicide.  Maybe you're one of those people who refuses to wear one under any circumstances because they mess up your hair.  Or maybe you're like me and don't care much about your hair because you're losing it anyway, so you wear a helment when you're riding a go-fast bike in a special outfit but you don't bother when you're noodling around town in street clothes.
And don't tell me which one you are, because honestly I don't give a shit.
The point is that I have no problem with helments, but if you support a mandatory bicycle helment law then you are anti-cycling.  There, I said it.  You're a traitor.  A heretic.  Give up your bike and go lease a Hyundai, because you are playing right into the hands of your oppressors.  See, the Automotive Industrial Complex and their various lackeys need helment laws, and the last thing any self-respecting cyclist should do is help them.  Here's why:
They need everything to be your problem.
Really, we're practically there already, which is why you'll routinely read newspaper articles that say things like, "The cyclist's legs were crushed when the unlicensed operator lost control of his steamroller.  The victim was not wearing a helment."  So what if it's an irrelevant detail?  In America today, no helment = menace to society.
America may not be number one anymore when it comes to education, or health care, or overall quality of life, but you're goddamn right we lead the world in victim-blaming.  There's not anyplace else on the planet where people are more gleeful when the strong get one over on the weak.  If you don't understand this now, you certainly will when a driver hits you and you discover the entire system is built around shielding him or her from accountability.  You can thank the auto companies and AAA for that, among others.  (Do yourself a favor and read about the history of "jaywalking," a concept the auto industry more or less invented.  As for AAA, they're fighting against red light cameras not far from me even as I type this, on the basis that stopping for red lights causes rear-end collisions.)
Mandatory bicycle helment laws are just one more way of shifting responsibility away from the driver and onto you.  When I was hit from behind by a motorist who then lied to police about what happened, all her insurance company wanted to know was whether or not I was wearing a helment, even though my balding pate was completely unscathed.
Then, once the Automotive Industrial Complex has shifted all the blame onto you they can take it a step further and make it public policy. "Cycle tracks and so forth make cyclists safer and encourage more people to ride?  So what?  Make 'em wear plastic bumpers on their heads and be done with it."
Congratulations.  You're now a car fender.
If all of this is too complicated, let me explain your future in four (4) simple steps:1) Helment laws for cyclists 2) Self-driving cars over public transit 3) Privatization of roads 4) Future pedestrian: pic.twitter.com/n7YOBqtVYf
— Bike Snob NYC (@bikesnobnyc) March 26, 2015Yep, that's how it's all gonna go down.  It may sound crazy now, but 100 years ago nobody would have believed you could get arrested for crossing the street either.

(Read it, seriously.)
So it would be nice to think that the cycling world would dismiss mandatory helment laws out-of-hand and stand united against them.  Sadly, they're not.  First, I saw this on the "Bicycling" website yesterday:

I realize this is supposed to be an objective point-counterpoint type thing, but why should we even entertain this "debate" in the first place?  What is this compulsion in American society to entertain dumb ideas?  It's like when we pretend creationism is a legitimate worldview so we don't offend the religious kooks.  (I realize "religious kooks" is redundant.)  Hey, I know the helme(n)t deba(n)te makes good clickbait, but some of these ideas are downright toxic:
During the summer of 2014, while riding on a road closed to auto traffic, I survived a collision with another cyclist, only because I was wearing a helmet. Without a helmet, the front of my head would have hit the ground at 28mph, unprotected.
Just several months before my crash, a car that ran a stop sign struck one of my friends while she was riding her bike. She had massive facial trauma, and continues to suffer long-term effects from going through the automobile’s windshield. She “coded” while on the helicopter ride to the hospital. The only reason she is around today: A helmet saved her life.
Okay.  Firstly, I'm glad everybody's alive and all that.  But...but...you were both wearing helments!!!  So why does it follow that we need a law?  By all means, wear a helment when you're cycling for "sport."  Granted, I don't know about the friend who got hit at the stop sign, but I'm going to guess that someone who works for "Bicycling" and is riding on a closed road at 28mph was not on a townie bike picking up radishes from the greenmarket.  Yet because he crashed while engaged in high-speed cycling someone who's cruising around in a sundress should have to wear safety gear as well?  Come on.
Comparing cycling to other recreational pursuits, we see that football players—at all levels—wear helmets to lessen the risk of brain injury. 
Leave it to someone at "Bicycling" to reduce cycling entirely to a recreational pursuit.  The sporting component of cycling is a small one, and USA Cycling makes you wear a helment when you compete anyway.  And holy shit, football?!?  The sport of football is based on people slamming into each other on purpose!  How is riding your bike around town even remotely like football--or any of these other sports?
This is also the case for baseball, hockey, horseback riding, and virtually every other sport that may involve some risk of personal injury.
You gotta be kidding me.  I'm pretty sure baseball players only wear helments when people are throwing 100mph fastballs directly at them.  As for hockey, it's fucking hockey!!!  I do give him bonus points for working equestrianism into the argument though.  Sure, if my bike weighed a thousand pounds and had four steel-shod hooves and a mind of its own I'd make sure to wear a helment too.  But the amount of times my bicycle got scared by one of its own farts and threw me is exactly zero.
Anyway, everybody knows "cycling is the new golf," so why not just compare it to that?  Do golfers wear helments when they're out on the links or zipping between holes in their golf carts?  I don't think so.
And here's where the argument gets really dangerous:
The next logical step would be for insurance companies to deny claims for those involved in a bicycling accident while not wearing a helmet. This could be avoided by mandating helmet use, saving both legal fees and lives.
So wait.  You actually want insurance companies to deny claims for victims because they weren't wearing helments?
Holy fuck that's cold.
Anyway, reading this in "Bicycling" was bad enough, but then someone tweeted this post from the Red Kite Prayer blog at me:

Bike advocate groups might consider what others see when they see us. They see people who run stop signs, weave in and out of traffic, ride in packs, take up a lane, and so on. It’s not a pretty picture. Sure, most of us are wearing helmets as we bend rules and traffic laws, but that’s not what the pissed off drivers see. So when they hear cyclists are opposed to a helmet law, it only furthers their belief that we are selfish, unpredictable and dangerous.
Maybe we let this one go. Let the lawmakers and drivers have this one without resistance. We got our 3-foot law in California, we can put up with a helmet law on the books. Pick you battles as they say. This is one fight we can easily walk away from.
Wow.  "Let this one go?"  Leave it to the Freds to sell the rest of us out.  Sure, they've got nothing at stake, since the helments already go with their outfits.  Essentially what he's saying is that because people get irritated by the local crabon weenie group ride every person who rides a bike for any reason should cop to the Foam Hat of Shame as some sort of penance or polystyrene bargaining chip.  
I swear these goddamn Freds will ruin cycling forever if you let them.
By the way, check out the Red Kite Prayer post that immediately preceded that one:

Make of that what you will.
So go ahead, call me irresponsible.  Tell your "My helment saved my life" stories.  Bow to the people who say you're statistically insignificant and don't deserve bike infrastructure, yet somehow vast numbers of brain-injured cyclists are destroying the American economy.  Let them pass a bicycle helment law to appease the non-cyclists who find us annoying.  (Yeah, I mentioned appeasement.  DON'T MAKE ME GO GODWIN!!!)  
Just don't come crying to me in 20 years when you need a license and registration to operate a bicycle, and you're wearing a giant Dayglo bodysuit with illumination circuitry, one of those "smart hats," and a GPS beacon up your ass so you don't get hit by an Apple car.

In fact, you won't be able to come crying to me, because I'll have emigrated to the Netherlands, where they'll have granted me political asylum.
The rest of you can enjoy your dystopian Australian future:

Heroes and football players.

They never ask why.

Categories: Culture

Bus Driver Hits Woman at Intersection Where CB 9 Opposes Safety Fixes

Streetsblog New York City - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 12:01


A DOT proposal opposed by Manhattan CB 9 would slow turns at Riverside Drive and W. 135th Street, where a bus driver hit a pedestrian Thursday. Image: DOT

Yesterday, a bus driver hit a woman walking across W. 135th Street at Riverside Drive, an intersection in a crash-prone area where DOT has proposed a slate of safety improvements that are opposed by Manhattan Community Board 9.

The West Side Rag reports that the woman was in the crosswalk when the driver of a double-decker tourist bus hit her while turning right from Riverside onto W. 135th. The victim was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, according to West Side Rag, and NYPD said she was “‘not likely’ to die.”

A woman who came upon the scene after the crash told West Side Rag “the victim must have had the green light or the bus would not have been able to go.”

“This has always been a dangerous corner,” the witness said. “Vehicles driving northbound and making a right turn into 135th St. rarely slow down for pedestrians.”

In response to rampant speeding and a high number of serious injuries on Riverside, DOT has proposed a road diet between W. 116 and W. 135th streets, with additional pedestrian space at several intersections [PDF]. At 135th, DOT plans to extend the Riverside center median on the north side of the intersection and install a new pedestrian island on the south side, which should slow traffic there.

The DOT plan has the support of local City Council Member Mark Levine, but CB 9 hasn’t endorsed it. At its third meeting on the project, held earlier this month, the board’s transportation committee again contended that, contrary to DOT traffic models, reducing the number of traffic lanes on Riverside would create congestion. DOT says maintaining the number of lanes for through-traffic on Riverside would reduce the number of new pedestrian spaces near the General Grant National Memorial.

At the most recent meeting, CB 9 member Ted Kovaleff said pedestrian islands on W. 120th Street should be dropped in favor of angled parking, and in an informal poll a majority of board members present agreed. Kovaleff is the CB 9 member who said Riverside Drive should remain as is because traffic back-ups used to interfere with his weekend car trips to Vermont.

Community board votes are supposed to be advisory, but DOT rarely goes forward with a traffic safety project without board approval.

Levine could not immediately be reached, but he tweeted that Thursday’s crash was a “[s]tark reminder of [the] need for safety improvements on that stretch of RSD.”

Levine told Streetsblog earlier this month: “It’s all really sensible stuff that’s been succeeding in other parts of this district and this city. I certainly value all the community input, and it needs to go through all the steps on the community board, but… I think DOT should move forward.”

Categories: Culture

How to do Barbados like a Surfing Swim Issue model

GrindTV - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 12:00
We can't guarantee you'll look like this when you get to Barbados, so we'll guarantee sun, sand and surf instead; Photo courtesy of Surfing Magazine

We can’t guarantee you’ll look like this when you get to Barbados, so we’ll guarantee sun, sand, and surf instead. Photo: Courtesy of Surfing

What do Rihanna and pro surfers Quincy Davis, Bree Kleintop, Alessa Quizon, and Sage Erickson have in common? They all look really good in a bikini, and now that Surfing’s Swim Issue is out, they’ve all spent some considerable time on Barbados.

Yep, Rihanna’s hometown—a sun-soaked little landmass in the Caribbean dubbed “Little England” due to its colonial ties to the Merry Old—was the perfect backdrop for some of the best swimsuits of the season thanks to turquoise water, pink-sand beaches, and some of the most consistent surf in a 200-mile radius (because the Surfing Swim Issue models don’t just look good in bikinis—they surf well too). Here’s your primer on how to eat, sleep, surf, and throw back some rum just like a Surfing Swim Issue model.

 not just where Rihanna's from; Photo courtesy of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Barbados: Not just where RiRi’s from. Photo: Courtesy of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Fly into Grantley Adams International (BGI), the sole airport on the island, and immediately change into your bikini; the average daytime temperature is 86 degrees year-round.

Drop your bags at the Sea Breeze Beach Hotel in Christ Church, a little boutique resort on the island’s south coast. There are two pools and a handful of restaurants, but sparse lodging with just 78 rooms—which means you’ll want to book in advance, but you won’t have to deal with crowds once you get there.

The models of the Surfing Swim Issue stayed at Barbados' Sea Breeze Beach Hotel during their trip to the island; Photo courtesy of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

The models of the Surfing Swim Issue stayed at Barbados’ Sea Breeze Beach Hotel during their trip to the island. Photo: Courtesy of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Refuel at Champers Restaurant for lunch, a seaside joint with sleek architecture and an open-air patio. Fresh ceviche, shrimp and mango salad, and fried flying fish will get your taste buds on island time.

Bathsheba is known for its legends, and its legendary rock formations; Photo courtesy of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Bathsheba is known for its legends—and its legendary rock formations. Photo: Courtesy of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Start your tan at Browne’s Beach, one of Barbados’ largest, or try to forget about your growing unopened email count at nearby Carlisle Bay, a small natural harbor that plays hosts to a number of shipwrecks-turned-reefs. Why? Sugary white sand and warm, clear water: Do you need any more convincing?

Alessa Quizon taking a break from looking good in a bikini to do that other thing she's pretty good at—surf; Photo courtesy of Surfing Magazine

Alessa Quizon taking a break from looking good in a bikini to do that other thing she’s pretty good at: surfing. Photo: Courtesy of Surfing

Or give yourself a natural spa treatment at Bathsheba, a small village community of fishermen and their families where you can take a dip in seawater that’s said to have the same healing minerals that the legendary Queen Bathsheba bathed in (beats staying inside at the spa). Even if your skin looks the same, watching the waves crash against the beach’s giant rock formations makes this spot worth the drive.

Snorkel with sea turtles and explore reefs with the Boyceterous Catamaran Cruise; Photo courtesy of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Snorkel with sea turtles and explore reefs with the Boyceterous Catamaran Cruise. Photo: Courtesy of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Take a ride on the Boyceterous Catamaran Cruise for access to historic shipwrecks and to swim alongside sea turtles, or give yourself an excuse to day-drink on the Mount Gay Rum Tour, an introduction to rum refining, aging, and bottling (…and tasting).

Surf like a pro at Soup Bowl, Barbados’ premier surf spot. While the days of solo sessions in Barbados are long gone, the locals couldn’t be nicer, so join them in the lineup at the models’ favorite place to surf.


Fill your belly at the Friday-night fish fry at Oistins Bay Gardens, where lobster, tuna, swordfish, mahi-mahi, and marlin are all on the menu.

Don't leave Barbados without chowing down at the Friday night fish fry; Photo courtesy of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Don’t leave Barbados without chowing down at the Friday-night fish fry. Photo: Courtesy of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Do try a Surfing team favorite: the local Bajan hot sauce.

Don’t wear camouflage. No, really—it’s not permitted in Barbados.

For more info on Barbados, pick up the 2015 Surfing Swim Issue on stands March 27.

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The post How to do Barbados like a Surfing Swim Issue model appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Categories: Culture

Thomas emerges victorious from crash-marred E3 Harelbeke

VeloNews - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 11:45

Geraint Thomas (Sky) unleashed a punishing attack with four kilometers left in E3 Harelbeke and took it all the way to the line alone. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Geraint Thomas (Sky) claimed his first big spring classics win on Friday with a canny late-race attack in the closing kilometers of E3 Harelbeke.

Pre-race favorites Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quick-Step) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), who had broken away with him with 41km to go, on the Oude Kwaremont, had no response when the Welsh rider went.

“I thought if I could hit them a bit earlier, I could take them by surprise,” Thomas said. “They would look at each other. It worked out perfectly, really I can’t believe it.”

After Sagan was dropped in the finale, Stybar, the former cyclocross world champion, was no match for his quarry, the two-time Olympic gold medalist in the team pursuit. Thomas crossed the line with a comfortable gap at the end of 218 kilometers of racing.

“I just imagined I was trying to hold [Ed] Clancy’s wheel in team pursuit,” Thomas said.

Photo gallery >>

The race was shaken up by a major crash early on, which claimed perennial classics favorite, Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing). He will miss the rest of the spring season with two fractured vertebrae.

Ahead, the breakaway included Sean De Bie (Lotto-Soudal), Kristian Sbaragli (MTN-Qhubeka), Dries Devenyns (IAM Cycling), Adrea Dal Col (Southeast), Sjoerd van Ginneken (Roompot), and Sebastien Turgot (Ag2r La Mondiale). With 100 kilometers left, their lead was just under six minutes.

Soon, Dal Col was dropped from the lead group.

In the peloton, Daniel Oss (BMC) whipped up the pace on the Taainberg, breaking a small group off the front of the peloton.

They were soon brought back by the peloton after a few kilometers of flat road.

Tinkoff-Saxo began to chase hard, bringing the break’s gap down to under 2:30 with 67 kilometers left. Sky also pitched in at the front.

As the gap fell to 1:16 by 47km to go, with help from BMC, van Ginneken was dropped.

When the lead trio reached the Paterberg, their lead was merely 43 seconds, and Devenyns set off alone.

When the peloton reached the short, steep berg, LottoNL-Jumbo’s Sep Vanmarcke went on the attack, but a slipped chain derailed his move and nearly caused another crash. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) took over toward the top of the climb, stretching the field and breaking free with a small group

But the peloton consolidated again.

Next up was the Oude Kwaremont. There, Sagan, Stybar, and Thomas jumped free and soon passed Devenyns.

“I was in my backyard, and I received a lot of encouragement,” Devenyns said in a team statement. “I was not riding my best at the start of the season due to a virus I was suffering from, but then I found my groove. I am happy with my day, and it has done me a lot of good mentally.”

With the gap out to 13 seconds, BMC chased hard with help from LottoNL-Jumbo.

The three-man break worked well together, and with 20km left, their lead was 36 seconds.

With 17 kilometers remaining, BMC’s leader, Van Avermaet, crashed out of the chase group on a narrow righthand bend. Katusha then took up the reigns in the chase group as the lead extended to one minute approaching the final 10 kilometers.

Despite the frantic pursuit behind, the breakaway had a 40-second gap with five kilometers left. But that was not good enough for Thomas, who attacked and set off alone with four kilometers left.

Stybar opened up the throttle to chase and Sagan was dropped. Thomas’ advantage over the Czech was 14 seconds with two kilometers left.

“It’s no secret how I felt in the last kilometers, I think you could see it on television as well,” said Sagan in a press statement. “I feel confident that Sunday will be better.”

Thomas rode alone to glory, winning with a comfortable gap. Stybar was second, and his Etixx teammate Matteo Trentin sprinted to third from the peloton.

“[Thomas] went really fast and Sagan didn’t really react,” Stybar said in a team statement. “I hesitated for maybe two seconds too long, and the race was over. I was very disappointed in that moment because I felt I could win today.”

“I felt pretty good from the second half of the race, really just committed,” the winner said. “It was hard out there. The three of us had to work well together. Fortunately it was great for me.

“These six weeks from Paris-Nice to Paris-Roubaix was the big hit for me early season. Paris-Nice was really disappointing. To get the win now … anything else is really a bonus.”

Full results >>

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.

The post Thomas emerges victorious from crash-marred E3 Harelbeke appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Categories: News

Q&A: Melissa Wells on everyone’s stake in transportation equity

BikePortland - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 11:34
Melissa-Wells-Bio-Pic-e1422466978941 Melissa Wells, program associate
for the equity think tank PolicyLink.
(Photo via Bicycle Transportation Alliance)

In 25 years, half the U.S. workforce will be of Latino, black or Asian descent — so if you ever plan on having a nurse, you’d better start caring about social equity.

That’s the way Melissa Wells, a program associate at D.C.-based equity nonprofit PolicyLink and co-leader of the national Transportation Equity Caucus, explains every American’s stake in racial justice.

Wells, who’s headed to Portland for a keynote address Monday to the Oregon Active Transportation Summit, spoke with me by phone on Thursday about the dilemma of improving neighborhoods without raising rents and whether a new president is likely to roll back federal transportation policy changes.

You’ll be talking about transportation equity on Monday. Could you explain that a little?

Achieving equity is something that has to be done intentionally. A lot of communities, especially low-income communities, communities of color, people with disabilities, aren’t able to take advantage of transportation improvements. We already see the negative impacts in health disparities. Even the pedestrian death rates, they’re much higher in proportion.

What got you personally interested in these issues?

I’m a transportation person now. I come to the work from more of an economic opportunity perspective.

I grew up in Southern California, and especially with all the lovely weather we spent a lot of time outside. There was no fear of cars, you know, speeding past us at 30 mph or faster. Now in Washington DC I live in Northeast. When I leave home every day I walk to the bus stop. Oftentimes the path that I have to take, I notice there are not really sidewalks. Then I get off at Farragut North, and you have designated bike lanes.

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I’m on my neighborhood association board here in Portland, and the other day we were talking about a project to create our neighborhood’s first park. We all thought this plan was great, but then one board member who is a renter like me said, “But if we make this nice thing, the rent is just going to go up.” I realize you can mitigate that some by subsidizing housing, but you’ve still got the larger issue, right? How do you pick that lock?

Frankly, city planners have to prioritize accessibility. Transportation-oriented development — a lot of states and regions have these climate change plans. Part of their plan is to preserve a percent of affordable housing within a certain distance. You have to prioritize who you give the land to and you have to designate how this land is supposed to be used.

It seems to me that it’s easy for people, public officials in particular, to smile and nod when they hear about equity and say serious things and promise to think hard about it, and then not actually change anything because they may not be personally excited about the issue. What can get members of a dominant group excited about helping members of other groups?

It’s going to affect us all. In 1980, 80 percent of the U.S. population was white, 12 percent was black, 6 percent was Latino, and Asian was 1.5 percent. By 2040, whites are expected to be 50.9, blacks 13, Latinos 25 percent. Think of it as the share of the workforce. It’s in your best interest to make sure that you have an accessible quality care workforce. Also that they can have transportation.

“You also need to make sure that you’re investing in your communities, because your community is what helps you thrive as well.”
— Melissa Wells on why transportation equity matters

You also need to make sure that you’re investing in your communities, because your community is what helps you thrive as well. We’re all self-interested; you can’t do everything on your own. You need people to stock the shelves at the grocery store.

It’s an argument, and I think it’s compelling, but it still requires people to think.

In terms of getting politicians to act, they want to see the rallying cry, like how the Tea Party was. They were vocal enough and they were able to have a bullhorn. so I think it also requires elevating the issue. It just takes continuing to talk about it, I think.

From your vantage point in Washington, where do you see the federal Department of Transportation going? It seems like Ray LaHood and Anthony Foxx have been pretty committed to changing culture at USDOT. Is that an Obama thing? Is that a Democrat thing? Or is that an institutional thing and it’ll still be there under Scott Walker or whoever?

Will it change? The answer is yes, but how it would change, I couldn’t forecast it. I think we’re in a good direction. There’s just been a lot more coordination and willingness to listen to what’s happening. I haven’t followed this debate as long as others have. But even [1991 federal transportation bill] ISTEA, it prioritized low-income and disadvantaged communities. MAP-21 was weaker, and it happened under Democrats. The best way to advocate for changes is to propose something that’s needed and to show that it’s being implemented, show some successes of where this policy recommendation is taking shape.

Qs & As edited. Melissa Wells will discuss transportation equity at 8:20 a.m. on Monday, March 30, at the Sentinel Hotel. 614 SW 11th Ave., as part of the Oregon Active Transportation Summit. Stay tuned for another Q & A to publish later today with Paul Steely White, executive director of New York City’s Transportation Alternatives.

The post Q&A: Melissa Wells on everyone’s stake in transportation equity appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Categories: Culture

Valverde wins again in Catalunya

VeloNews - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 10:59

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) attacked his way to win number two at Volta a Catalunya on Friday. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) won his second stage of the week at Volta a Catalunya, claiming stage 5 in a late-race attack on Friday.

The 195-kilometer stage was a mostly downhill route from Alp to Valls, but it did offer a category-two climb in the final 15 kilometers. In the finale, Valverde launched a solo move to win the day.

“When I saw a gap, I dug. I was able to leave them behind and snatch those five more seconds,” Valverde said.

“I would like to ride like this until the Ardennes and this year will be the first time I go to the Tour of Flanders,” he said. I want to get to know it and I would like to do well, but obviously it is just to try it out.”

Photo gallery >>

Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quick-Step) finished second, and Astana’s Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) sprinted to third ahead of Richie Porte (Sky).

Porte and Valverde were among the beneficiaries when strong winds split the peloton into three groups with just under 50 kilometers to go. Overnight leader Bart de Clercq (Lotto-Soudal) was unable to stay with the leaders. Valverde was always well-positioned at the front of the leading group and made his successful break for the line three kilometers from the finish.

“It was a really beautiful day for all of us,” said Valverde. “We knew there was going to be some wind in the finale, the whole team was attentive and always riding on the front, and we decided to accelerate. We were able to make the gap, left De Clercq and Martin behind, and also cooperated well with the other teams, since we all had an interest to leave the rivals behind — we really pushed at 100 percent.”

Porte now leads the overall, five seconds ahead of Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale). Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) is seven seconds back in third. With his stage win and the time bonus, Valverde is now only 16 seconds behind in fourth overall.

“The race is a long way from over,” said Porte. “Not only for me, but for those behind me, as there are plenty of riders bunched together in the general classification looking for the bonus seconds.

“The next two days could be dangerous, but especially in Barcelona, it will be hard.”

On Saturday, the race will run 194.1km from Cervera to Port Aventura on a route that includes two categorized climbs.

Full results >>

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.

The post Valverde wins again in Catalunya appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Categories: News

Fred Clements: Six trends for bike retailers to watch

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 10:30
A blog by the NBDA's executive director.

Editor’s note: Fred Clements is the executive director of the National Bicycle Dealers Association. Clements’ previous blog posts can be read on bikedealerblog.wordpress.com.

Mobile bike repair, e-bike dealers, and private label bikes are industry trends worth watching, according to Scott Chapin, bicycle industry risk specialist with Marsh & McClennan Agency in Minneapolis.

Chapin has a unique perspective on the market as he focuses on insurance for the bicycle industry, both retail and supply side alike. Marsh & McLennan receives between five and 10 new inquiries per week from cycling-related businesses looking for insurance, many of them start-ups and potential start-ups. This gives him some useful insight on what is trending and what the future may hold for the competitive landscape for our industry.

Some of the trends from Scott's position on the front lines of the bicycle insurance world:

1) Mobile bike shops. Chapin sees a lot more mobile bike shops starting, many run by people with great experience with independent bicycle dealers as lead mechanics. "Obviously, this can be considered a threat to the retailer as they are losing their head mechanic," Chapin notes. "Since the overhead is super-low, it is pretty easy for these mechanics to do this. I am also seeing mobile bike fitting businesses following this model. Many of these mechanics are purchasing a small enclosed trailer and/or cube van to do the work in. If the job is too complex, they will bring the bike 'home' or to their garage."

2) E-bike dealers. "We are seeing a LOT of new e-bike dealers and manufacturers (product liability inquiries) come through our system," Chapin says. "I feel that most of these are exclusively selling e-bikes." He also notes that traditional bike stores have not yet jumped into e-bikes in a big way, in favor of stores that cater almost exclusively to this style of bike.

3) Spin-off bike rental business. "I have two large retailers in the past month that have created separate entities and will work with their respective city administrators to set up shop next to a popular bike trail and will provide rental services," Chapin reports. "Both of these entities followed a municipal RFP for these particular services and will share in the revenue."

4) Spin-off bicycle tour/guide services. Retailers are looking for ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors. "Many are starting tour companies to help bring new customers thru their door and a little added revenue," Chapin says.

5) Online retailers. "We have also been seeing many online-only retailers without a storefront," Chapin says, a trend with direct impact on bike shops.

6) Private labeling. "I am also seeing many experienced retailers developing their own bicycle brands by outsourcing everything overseas," Chapin says. This is not a totally new development, "but continues to happen and we are constantly working on the product liability solutions for them." Chapin points out the risks of this for both private labeling and directly importing a product. "They do not realize that they become the manufacturer when they do this, and that this has liability implications," he says.


Categories: News

Specialized recalls 8,300 aero bars

VeloNews - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 10:27

Specialized has issued a recall of about 8,300 aerobars that were sold on the Shiv — model years 2012 through 2015 — and 2013 Transition time trial bikes.

There have been four instances of users having the bolt, which holds the aero extensions, loosening. There have been no reported injuries. Owners of this bar are instructed to return it to their Specialized retailer and have it swapped for no charge. Riders who feel inconvenienced will receive a $100 credit toward Specialized merchandise.

The handlebars were sold in carbon and aluminum in black color with a white Specialized logo. Bars sold in the aftermarket were priced between $200 and $575.

Specialized dealers have been notified that the fix requires mechanics to swap to low-stack aero extension, which use two bolts, rather than a single bolt. This swap, Specialized claims, should put riders in a similar position, but if not, they can contact Specialized Rider Care.

For more information on the recall, take your affected bike into your local Specialized dealer, and read more here.

The post Specialized recalls 8,300 aero bars appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Categories: News

Comparing 20 Years of Housing Growth in American Cities

Streetsblog New York City - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 10:24

Here’s an interesting way to visualize how different regions are growing (or not). Using a tool developed by the University of Virginia Demographics Research Group, Michael Andersen at Bike Portland shares these charts showing where housing growth has happened relative to city centers. The dark brown lines show the number of occupied housing units at one-mile intervals from the urban core in 2012, and the orange lines show the distribution in 1990. The gap between the lines tells you where housing growth has happened, and there is huge variation between regions.

In Denver, for instance, you can see that housing growth was concentrated between eight and 20 miles from the city center:

 Bike Portland

Denver: The orange line shows occupied housing units in 1990. The brown line shows 2012. Image: Bike Portland

In other places — especially large, in-demand coastal cities like LA — housing growth has barely changed (note that the y-axis is scaled differently in each chart):


Los Angeles. Image: UVA via Bike Portland

And some rust belt metros, like Pittsburgh, have actually seen a decline in center city housing occupancy:

 Bike Portland

Pittsburgh. Image: UVA via Bike Portland

Andersen says Portland’s pattern is unusual:

 Bike Portland

Portland. Image: UVA via Bike Portland

Notice how housing growth tapers and then stays very low at about 15 miles out? That’s Portland’s urban growth boundary. Andersen thinks it’s helped the city’s development patterns evolve in a healthy way, but going forward he wonders if the city center will keep up with the times:

The more you look at, the more Portland’s chart up at the top stands out. Our urban growth boundary (including the fuzzier but still functional one in Clark County, Washington) hasn’t stifled growth; it’s directed it, mostly to the inner suburbs.

But things have been changing. For the fourth year in a row, the Census Bureau reported Thursday, Multnomah County added more residents than any of its suburbs.

Over 20 years, the Portland area has mostly kept up with wave after wave of demand for suburban homes. Will its central city be able to do the same?

Elsewhere on the Network today: ATL Urbanist discusses the link between poverty and car dependency in the capital of the South. And after visiting a monument to Sam Walton in Oklahoma, Strong Towns‘ Chuck Marohn reflects on how future generations will view the Wal-Mart founder’s impact on America’s transportation system and build environment.

Categories: Culture

VIDEO: Storey wins para-cycling gold

BBC Sport | Cycling - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 10:05
Dame Sarah Storey wins the 500m time-trial on a successful opening day for the British team at the para-cycling World Championships.
Categories: News

Aldag did not have ticket for doomed flight

VeloNews - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 10:00

Rolf Aldag was behind the wheel at E3 Harelbeke for Etixx-Quick-Step, despite false reports that he nearly boarded the jet that crashed in the Alps earlier this week. Photo: Andy Hood | VeloNews.com

Former pro Rolf Aldag confirmed to VeloNews that he did not have a ticket to fly on the doomed Germanwings flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, Germany, which crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 people onboard.

Aldag characterized media reports as “ridiculous” that the technical director at Etixx-Quick Step had a ticket for the flight, but did not board.

“I don’t know where these reports have come from. I never had a ticket for that flight. I never planned to fly from Barcelona,” Aldag told VeloNews. “I was never in Spain this week.”

A news story that Aldag had a ticket on the doomed flight went viral over social media, but Aldag just laughed and shook his head when he heard about the story. He said his phone was ringing off the hook the past few days following the unfounded media report.

“Perhaps there was some confusion, because I often do fly to Dusseldorf airport,” Aldag said. “I traveled straight from Italy after Milano-Sanremo to Belgium. I never went to Spain.”

On Friday morning, he was very happy to be safe and sound in Belgium for the start of E3 Harelbeke, and expressed condolences for the victims of the accident.

The post Aldag did not have ticket for doomed flight appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Categories: News

True Grit Epic Race Report, Part 4: Foul Language

Fat Cyclist - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 09:58

A Note from Fatty: Before reading this part of my race report, be sure to check out the previous installments: Prologue, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Today you should note that I will be including some foul language. Or at least, I will be discussing the fact that I used foul language, for comedic effect.

Also, you should be aware that my intended comedic effect wasn’t particularly funny.

Staying Behind My Friends

Brad Keyes is the inventor / owner of CarboRocket, which is my go-to energy drink for endurance events. 

He is also a member of the Core Team — one of the guys I’ve been riding with ever since I’ve been riding.

He’s also one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.

Finally, he is both fast and technical. Much stronger and faster than I ever have been, or ever will be.

Sadly, he has a pornstache, making him terrifying to women and small children. And men. Perhaps especially men.

Here he is, kissing Kenny, as I smile benignly at the camera:

IMG 1450

Just in case that isn’t creepy enough for you, here he and I are right before the race:

IMG 1680

OK, it may not be entirely clear which of the two of us is creepier in this photo.

Oh, and one more photo, just because it’s nice to know what folks who are going to appear in the story later look like:

IMG 1686

From right to left, that’s Cori, Kenny, Brad, Brad’s tongue, and me. But enough terrifying photography already. Let’s get back to the story.

Brad, Kenny, and Cori were all racing on singlespeeds, while I was racing a geared bike in my age division (40-49). Which meant that we were all starting in the same combined wave. However, with my start waaaay in the back, I knew all three were ahead of me.

Or at least I thought they were. 

Somewhere along the technical section of the Zen trail, Cori caught and passed me. The only thing that surprised me about this fact was that I thought he was already ahead of me.

“So I just went from being sure I was behind all my friends to being really sure I’m behind all my friends,” I thought to myself. But hey, I was OK with that.

No, I’m just kidding. I wasn’t OK with that at all.

But — apparently — my friends didn’t care about my feelings, and continued to stay ahead of me.


Catching Brad

And then something happened. 

I was bombing down what is arguably (i.e., I would happily make this argument) the single most fun part of the race: the Bear Claw / Poppy trail (linked video is not mine, but gives a great sense of the trail).

The Scalpel was in its element; I was flying down this trail faster and more confidently than I ever have before. So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised (but I was anyway) when, looking very far ahead off into the distance, I saw Brad.

And then I saw him far off ahead in the distance, but not quite as far as before.

And then he was not that far away. Indeed, he was somewhat close.

And then I was right on his tail. At which point it struck me that this would be an awesome time to make a hilarious joke.

Oh, and also I knew exactly what that hilarious joke ought to be: I would let loose with a massive string of angry profanity at the top of my lungs, demanding he immediately get out of the way!

Is it any wonder that I am a beloved internet cycling blog comedy superstar?

Is it?

I let loose. You wouldn’t believe how loose I let. I was shocked by my loosity. 

Brad merely moved right, yielding the left line to me. 

At which point I stopped understanding how my prank was funny. Eventually I’m sure it will come back to me.

“Hey Brad,” I said as I pulled alongside. 

“Hey Fatty, have a good race!” he replied. “And if you go hard, Cori’s just a couple minutes ahead.”

I resolved to remove “pretend outrage” from my joke quiver. Although now that I think about it, this is not the first time that I’ve made such a resolution.

The Hardest Climb IN THE WORLD

With Brad behind me, the biggest climb of the day was ahead: Stucki Springs. And this climb is huge. Monumental, maybe. Soul-crushing, really. In fact, I don’t think it would be out of line for me to suggest that this climb is the most difficult mountain biking climb in the entire world.

I base this, of course, upon my experience from a few weeks ago, when Kenny and Brad vanished off in the distance during this climb, and The Hammer had to hold back in order not to leave me toiling solo in the wind.

It was in fact this climb that had been my big bugaboo for this race. My memory of it was that of pure exhaustion and misery.

So it was a little bit of a shock to find that this time, it was no big deal. I climbed it fast, frequently passing people, without difficulty or incident.

It is so weird how, in cycling, a climb can be so difficult on one ride that you are utterly convinced that it is — objectively — an impossible task. And then the next time you just…ride it.

Hitting the summit, I asked myself, “So, is this actually a hard climb, or an easy one? Which time was I correct?

So much of cycling happens inside your head. 

So much.

PS: No cliffhanger today. I’ll post the final installment of this race report on Monday, with The Hammer’s report on Tuesday. And then some new awesomeness I’m not going to tell you about ’til Wednesday.







Categories: Culture

Jobs of the Week: Bike Works Seattle, NoPo Bike Works, CCC, eBike Store, Velotech, SoupCycle

BikePortland - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 09:47

We’ve had six great job opportunities listed this week. Learn more about them via the links below…

We rely on financial support from readers like you.

For a complete list of available jobs, click here. If you’d like more information about the BikePortland Job Listings, contact us, or visit the Job Listings page.

You can sign up for all the latest job listings via RSS, email, or by following us on Twitter.

The post Jobs of the Week: Bike Works Seattle, NoPo Bike Works, CCC, eBike Store, Velotech, SoupCycle appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Categories: Culture

Racing without Boonen: Etixx-Quick-Step refits classics tactics without star

VeloNews - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 09:43

Zdenek Stybar is on great form coming off a win at Strade Bianche, but will it result in more success for Etixx-Quick-Step in the spring classics?. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

HARELBEKE, Belgium (VN) — There were crowds of fans around the Etixx-Quick-Step bus Friday morning ahead of the start of E3 Harelbeke, but not Tom Boonen-huge crowds.

Without the presence of the Belgian superstar, who is missing the entire spring classics campaign with injury, there is a very different vibe around the team bus of the perennial cobblestone favorites.

With Boonen at the start line, there was a guarantee that Etixx-Quick-Step would be a favorite for victory in any of the northern classics. Without Boonen, the team is tackling the most important two weeks of its season, hoping to see different players step up.

“It’s very different, but it’s not necessarily easier for us during these classics,” Etixx-Quick-Step technical director Rolf Aldag told VeloNews. “We believe we have a super-strong team for the team classics. We can still frustrate others, because of the numbers we can have at the front. We hope we can maintain that strength with the team, even without Tom. The only thing that counts is to try to win.”

Perhaps more than any other team, Etixx-Quick-Step lives and dies in the spring classics. While the team has expanded its program to include GC aspirations with Rigoberto Urán and the sprints with Mark Cavendish, the team’s soul remains on the cobblestones.

And the rider that’s carried that pressure and success for more than a decade was Boonen. With seven monuments to his name, Boonen’s 2015 classics campaign came to an abrupt end in Paris-Nice, suffering an AC-joint dislocation. That immediately torpedoed his hopes for the northern classics, but Etixx-Quick-Step vows to push on.

Riders such as Zdenek Stybar, who won Strade Bianche in March, and Niki Terpstra, winner of last year’s Paris-Roubaix will look to fill the void. Behind them will be others, such as Matteo Trentin, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, dubbed as the ‘next Tom Boonen’ in the Belgian media, and Stijn Vandenbergh.

Boonen’s presence meant the others could ride without pressure, but with his absence, that pressure for results will move to their shoulders.

“Riders want those chances, but the pressure comes with that opportunity,” Aldag told VeloNews. “What changes is for the other guys, because with Tom in the race, you could always count on him, so the other guys riding at the front didn’t have the pressure.”

Stybar seems up for the task. Speaking to VeloNews during Tirreno-Adriatico, he said the team is making its adjustments to race without Boonen.

“We will have a strategy to race, even with Tom not being able to race,” Stybar said. “The good thing about this team is that there are many who are strong.”

Terpstra, too, is ready to step up. His dramatic victory in Paris-Roubaix last year came thanks to Quick-Step’s large presence at the sharp end of the action, when he was in the winning group that also included Stybar and Boonen. The others knew the numbers were stacked against them, and when Terpstra attacked, no one tried to chase him down, knowing the other Quick-Steps would counter from behind.

“Last year, we created many opportunities to win because this team is so strong,” Terpstra said. “That doesn’t change. We will have the same strategy, to race to win, like we always do.”

The team will lose its ace in the hole with Boonen, but Aldag said its strategy of riding as a group doesn’t change.

“It’s true that others have more chances, but it’s not like we’re going out there with eight guys, and say, ‘good luck!’” Aldag said. “We still have a good structure around Niki and Stybar, whom we believe can win. And we have others who can profit from that out of long breakaways.”

So far, Etixx has had a mixed run through some of the early season races. Stybar took a brilliant victory at Strade Bianche, thanks to his good form, but the team seemed out of sync at such races as Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Le Samyn. At Milano-Sanremo, world champion Michal Kwiatkowski and Stybar both crashed coming off the Poggio. Now that Flanders week is firmly underway, the team will be under the gun to deliver results.

Even without Boonen, Aldag said the team would not shirk from its role to control and be protagonists in the spring classics.

“This team lives for these races. It has more than 20 years of experience in the classics,” he said. “That won’t change.”

The post Racing without Boonen: Etixx-Quick-Step refits classics tactics without star appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Categories: News

Scott Scale 900 RC HMX: Out of the Box

Twenty Nine Inches - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 09:31

The final product ready for Spring training.

I announced my intentions here in the initial On Test post where I set out to build up a Scott Scale 900 RC HMX frame set with a goal in mind.  That goal was to select parts that would compliment the nature of the Scale and result in a light weight, capable, fast and ‘comfortable’ hard tail for long, fast rides or shorter faster rides, as the case may be.  Personally I am challenged by the typical geared hard tail.  I find them tiring over long rides and in a lot of cases only marginally faster than something like, oh, say the Scott Spark, to keep it in the family.  Chalk that up to my aging back and the nature of our trails and roads out in So Cal.

But under the right conditions and under the right rider, a bike like the Scott Scale RC 900 can be blazingly fast, especially uphill and on rolling terrain.  Look at the XC racing group as a whole and you will see it largely populated by 29″er hard tail riders.  The combo of big wheeled momentum, smoothness, and stability with the efficient hard tail frame is a potent one.


I rode this HMF version in 2014 at Park City.

I was very impressed with the 2 hours I spent on a lesser Scale (Non HMX) bike last year at Park City, not just for the ride quality, but also with the geometry. It felt surprisingly agile and calm and had an ‘all day’ feel to it, not all nervous and hyper feeling, yet fast. So I was curious to see what the latest in high end carbon lay-ups, (HMX being the term for the best quality carbon construction from Scott Bikes) could do to take the sting out of the trail.  I also wanted to run a wider rim, something that is all the rage at the moment, and take advantage of the lower pressures it allows. Nothing a frame by itself can do affects ride compliance as much as what a lower tire pressure does and a wide rim allows for lower pressures without a great loss in steering stability.

So I chose some components according to a few parameters.  In some cases it was what I had around and in some cases not, so those missing parts were sourced. All of them are solid yet light weight pieces of gear, although in some cases I could have gone lighter.  I also used what I was pretty sure would not detract from the bike…items I trusted and liked from previous experience.  And then I was curious about some new stuff on the market that I wanted to try, so I mixed a bit of that in as well.

***************************************** The Build:

238856_91682_tif_zoom_1The Frame – Sized XL 2105 Scott Scale HMX 900.  Scott does a fine job of selling frame sets as well as fully built bikes so you can, if you desire to, ‘have it your way’.  The frame comes with a Ritchey headset, Syncros carbon stem, Syncros carbon seat post, QR seat post clamp, and all the assorted bits and pieces to get the rear axle config to what you need.  No singlespeed option.  I weighed it, including the seat post clamp and the 142×12 rear axle, to be 2lbs/10oz or 1191g.  By the way, the MSRP is $2199.00.

The ForkDSC06610 – I went with a Magura TS8 R 100mm fork for this build.  There are a lot of good options out there for forks, all vying for your money.  Based on what I knew about the Magura series of forks, I felt that the chassis stiffness (although at 100mm, that is not a hard target to hit and stiffness is usually not an issue), the light weight, and the simple design would compliment the goals of the build.  And although the TS line of forks have not shown themselves to be super supple performers under a trail bike, on a fast XC hard tail like this the lack of dive under braking and the firmer nature overall could be a plus, not a minus.  I weighed it uncut at 3lbs/11oz or 765.5g with the 15mm axle in place.



The Wheels – Originally Bill Shook of American Classic had XC riding in mind when he developed the Wide Lightning wheels we reviewed X2 and although they turned out to be up to the rigors of longer travel bikes as well, at 1569g and with an internal width of 29.3mm, they are a player in the trend of wider yet very light 29″er wheels.  They were a natural for this build, being as light or lighter than many carbon wheel sets and more than stiff enough with the 32 spokes and wide rim.

The Tires – I passed on using weight weenie tires like a Specialized S Works Renegade or even a Schwalbe Racing Ralph.  Instead I went with a set of tires that I trust, that are still very capable all-round XC tires, and that have a good combo of volume, casing durability, tubeless reliability, and rolling performance.  The Continental X King 2.2 front and the Race King 2.2 rear, mounted up easily on the AC wheels and the rear Race King looks positively plump on the wide rim.  I did not weigh them, but Conti lists them as 655g for the 2.2 Protection X King and 645g for the rear Race King 2.2 Protection version.  They roll fast and feel lighter than that on trail.



The Drivetrain – SRAM XX.  Light, proven, expensive.  You can’t have it all, and so this stuff is not cheap, but XX is still a proper high end racers choice.  Why not 1×11?  Well, I did not have that around at the time and I know what to expect from the 2x based XX.  I did use an XO rear cassette however.



The Brakes – Magura MT 8.  Light and simple to work on with the mineral oil fluid, the improved power of the MT series brakes should do well in a single piston application for this bike.  The top of the line brake in the Next series, the MT 8 is light at 299g.



The Contact Points – Ergon supplied some of the latest performance/endurance items they offer. The SM3 saddle is last year’s model, but is still very close to what you would see in the SMR3 version coming soon.  It is an interesting shape and has less of a cut out than I am used to seeing on saddles.  I am skeptical, but we shall see.  It weighed 251g in the SM3-L Pro model I have (I have the wider of the two widths).  I also have a set of Ergon GA2 grips, something new from Ergon.  Billed as an AM/Gravity grip, I like the shape of them already, with a reduced diameter for better thumb/finger wrap at the inner section.  I weighed them at 107g.  I typically hate the typical ‘ergonomic’ grip with the shaped ‘wing’ sections, something Ergon loves, although JeffJ swears by them.  Personal preference.  Round or close to it is good for me.




For the bars, originally I was using a set of Answer carbon bars at a 720mm width, but the sweep did not feel right to me…not enough of it…so I requested a set of carbon bars from Syncros to match the stem and seat post.  I had to choose between a 700mm wide bar or a 740mm wide bar in the FL1.0 model with a more wrist friendly 9° of back sweep, so while 700mm might have been a better choice (but seemed a tiny bit narrow for me) I asked for the 740mm bar thinking I would trim it to around 720mm…oops…it turns out that the FL1.0 bar has a bar end insert that makes that difficult, so I will run it at 740mm and see.  I weighed it at 186g.


DSC06611I am concerned that the odd sized seat post diameter that Scott specs will, if I find it to be too stiff, make it really hard to find a more compliant replacement and running a shim is verboten per warranty requirements.  We shall see.  Who uses a 34.9mm post?  Scott does.

The build went well, all things considered.  I used a SRAM GXP to PF adapter to get the SRAM GPX BB to play well with the Press Fit BB shell.  The final weight was 21 lbs without pedals and 21&13oz with pedals and cage, etc.  That is not bad for a non-weight weenie build.  Rolling out in the street, the acceleration is impressive as even slight pressure on the pedals results in forward motion. Between the light weight, the quick wheels, and the stiff frame, it feels ready to run hard.


Quick take:


Typical So Cal riding…power towers and yucca plants.

I have over a hundred miles on it now with more to come.  My initial impressions are, well…impressive!  The geometry is unlike the typical ‘race’ hard tail in that it has a slacker head tube angle.  The long effective top tube of the XL and the rangy and flipped stem put me in an aggressive position that I did not go out of my way to lessen.  This is no Enduro bike.  And I am quite pleased with how comfy it is, especially when I add in what low pressures can be run on the wide rims and the relatively stiff casings of the Conti tires.  And surprise, surprise…the stock 34.9mm seat post is surprisingly compliant. But it is still a hard tail.

The bars could be narrower, but so be it.  The Magura brakes are bedding in and the TS8 R fork just might be a perfect application for this bike…for sure the best result I have had out of a Magura fork yet. The Ergon saddle is a real surprise and although a saddle is such an individual preference as to make a review kind of superfluous, I think it will be quite good with only one nagging thing to be revealed in time…still working through that.  The Ergon grips rock.

I can run 21psi in the tires all day on those Protection side walled Conti tires and the AC Wide Lightnings spin up fast.

The bike is a PR machine for any path that goes uphill and is even remotely smooth; keep the power on and impress Strava watchers. I set a PR on a long dirt climb I ride regularly.  More to come as we get enough miles and saddle time to really know it well, then we will talk some more.

loop cut


pr machine


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Note: All the components shown here were sent for test/review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.

Twenty Nine Inches - 29er Bike Reviews, Rumors and News

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Cancellara breaks vertebrae in E3 Harelbeke crash, out of classics

VeloNews - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 08:43

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) crashed out of E3 Harelbeke, breaking two vertebrae and ruining his plans for a run at Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

HARELBEKE, Belgium (VN) — Fabian Cancellara’s 2015 cobbled classics campaign ended before it began in earnest after a crash 39.4 kilometers into the E3 Harelbeke on Friday in Belgium. He fell on his left wrist and fractured two vertebrae according to early reports from the hospital.

“It all happened so fast. Someone slammed the brakes and there was no way to go, just straight into it,” Cancellara said to AFP. “I flew over a couple of riders and then landed in a pile of bikes. There were riders everywhere. I fell so hard and felt pain everywhere. It was sort of reflex to get back on the bike, but the pain was hard, in my lower back, left wrist, and my ribs on the back.”

The Swiss classics champion — a three-time winner of both the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) and Paris-Roubaix — crashed on the cobbled Haaghoek sector with around 40 to 50 other riders. He continued for 10km more, but the pain was too much and he abandoned.

“I felt right away that it was a serious crash, but I wanted to try to keep going. I had to stop; the pain was too much. We went to the hospital for scans and this confirmed the pain.”

“Unfortunately Fabian Cancellara has abandoned the race after his crash. We will keep you informed on his situation as soon as possible,” Trek Factory Racing said on its Twitter account of Cancellara, who won the 2009, 2010, and 2013 editions of the race.

A photo from the race showed Cancellara favoring his left wrist after the crash.

An update from journalists at the hospital confirmed he would have to end his classics campaign early. The problem was not his wrist, but his back. He will not require surgery, but will be forced to miss the upcoming classics.

“It seems that a water bottle fell on the cobbles and caused it,” Trek sport director Dirk Demol told Sporza TV.

“He hit his wrist and the lower part of his back. He couldn’t stay on the pedals anymore. He wasn’t looking good at all.”

The 34-year-old Swiss rider reportedly said his classics season is over. He is aiming to repeat in the Ronde van Vlaanderen on April 5 and Paris-Roubaix on April 12.

Cancellara went immediately to the hospital in Waregem for X-rays, which ended Demol’s and the team’s hopes for a quick recovery.

Milano-Sanremo winner John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and Lars Boom (Astana) were also involved in the crash. They continued. Abandoning with Cancellara were Niccolò Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida), Robert Wagner (LottoNL-Jumbo), Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale-Garmin), Vegard Breen, Gert Dockx (both Lotto-Soudal), Andrey Amador and Imanol Erviti (both Movistar).

Demol said Cancellara would skip Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, but his entire cobbled classics campaign could be a wash if his wrist is fractured. The update confirmed he could not continue, due to his back injury.

In 2012, Cancellara had to abandon the Ronde when he crashed and fractured his collarbone. He skipped Paris-Roubaix a week later. In 2013, he collected his third Paris-Roubaix title and in 2014, he did the same in the Ronde.

Cancellara’s long-time rival Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quick-Step) already had to pull the plug on his 2015 classics campaign. The Belgian crashed and dislocated his shoulder in stage 1 of Paris-Nice earlier in March.

“There is nothing you can do with this injury — no cast, no surgery — but just biting the pain,” he said.

The post Cancellara breaks vertebrae in E3 Harelbeke crash, out of classics appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Categories: News

VMBA, VAST and Fat Bikes

Single-Speed Slogging - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 08:20
Some good news from Vermont Mountain Bike Association.  Here’s the press release: State and Federal Partners Collaborate to Expand Fat Bike Access in Vermont Montpelier, VT March 23, 2015 The Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) recently met with the Vermont Dept. of Forests Parks and Recreation (FPR), the US Forest Service and, the Vermont Association […]
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