Another Reason to Support Your LBS

So when I was living in LA, Open Road was my local shop and Steve was the eccentric owner/operator.

Here’s a recent story he shared on Facebook regarding a customers stolen bike:

A customer of mine had his 5k, Bianchi Ifinito stolen out of his garage several weeks ago. So I am at work today with a couple of customers talking to me, and in walks a portly gent with a bike. From behind the counter he asks if I could look at a bike that his friend is selling him. Here in front of me is said Infinito with my cust. DNA all over it (salt).

Well that kid was faster then his 230lbs looked. I was told that I looked like a bunny hopping after him. I guess it attracts a lot of attention when a man is chasing someone running with a bike down the street. He’s in cuffs and I got a good workout.

Let’s talk about The Rules

Velominati

The Rules. Hang around roadies long enough, and you’ll eventually hear them quoted with deference, much like a devout pilgrim quotes scripture. It’s raining out? Rule #9. You’re tired? Rule #5. That new bike is cool and all, but c’mon. Rule #34. The Rules are written with a facetious tone, but embedded in every joke is a half-truth, and peeling away the outermost layer of flippant smugness reveals an ugly, toxic attitude that has permeated much of American cycling culture.

An imposing block of no less than 92 platitudes published by The Velominati, The Rules cover a narrow range of topics, mostly relating to fashion, both for you and your bicycle. Reading through them, and all articles related to them, one gets the distinct impression that they are concerned primarily with one thing: conformity to their narrow vision of what cycling should be. In short: very, very expensive, and as similar as humanly possible to professional road cycling. Anything else is subject to ridicule.

In a recent article “Gianni” (née John Andrews), discusses the “EPMS”, a.k.a. European Posterior Man Satchel, a.k.a. saddlebag, an object strictly forbidden by Rule #29. “I weaned myself off a discreet EPMS after twenty-five years of use. I was not happy about transferring the contents to a rear pocket but I’m a team player so I conformed,” says Gianni. So let me get this straight… an ubiquitous and practical object has served you well for the past TWENTY-FIVE years, and you abandon it for some weak notion of conforming with “the cool kids”? Fuck that, no thank you. A quick peek into the comments section reveals even more ugliness. One brave defender of the saddlebag posted a picture of his setup, and was met with ruthless derision: “It’s like your fucking bib shorts got caught when you tried to cyclocross mount yer road bike for a laugh and now they’re stuck under your saddle. Take off.”

People are, of course, free to adhere to whatever ridiculous codes of behavior they create with their buddies, but what I find troublesome is the pervasive and inescapable negativity that bleeds from this small corner of the Internet and stains cycling culture at large. Outsiders looking in on cycling as a whole see the pettiness, the vanity, and the douchebaggery, and it serves only to reinforce negative stereotypes about cyclists: that we are funny little men who dress up in logo-plastered spandex and clog up the streets with our overpriced plastic toys in a sad attempt to imitate the latest emaciated European pretty boy. And while The Velominati do not represent the majority of cyclists, their inane attitude offers up a prime target for those already inclined to despise cyclists to cherry-pick as fodder for their faulty generalizations.

I have no doubt that loyal acolytes of The Rules will jump to the defensive, armed with that most typical justification that all is said and done in the name of irony. The Rules are quoted and preached ironically and humorously, because to take them seriously would be just too ridiculous. But like with other familiar subcultures that employ irony as a core part of their existence (including much maligned groups such as hipsters and bros), it’s difficult to tell where the irony ends and real identity begins; especially so, when, as is inevitable, the comedic value of said irony peters out, yet all other manifestations persist.

We here at Boyz on the Hoods have our own rules, but only one of them is really important. They are the words of Grant Petersen, bicycle visionary and owner of Rivendell Bicycle Works — “Just Ride”. Bicycles in all shapes and forms are beautiful, and the right bike for you is the bike that makes you happy when you ride it. Don’t ever let anyone convince you otherwise.

Lucas Valley Populaire

The Lucas Valley Populaire is coming up on Saturday 09/14/2013 and we’re excited for sunshine (dat San Francisco summer yo!), good times, and good eats (sources over at TMZ the SF Randonneurs Google Group are reporting that there will be a killer picnic).

The route is a deviation from the tried and true Pt. Reyes Populaire and was created by Ely Rodriguez. The poster above was designed by Alice, who has been making awesome illustrations for other rando events.

Here’s an admittedly amateurish video of ours from the 2012 event.

Biking With Old Friends

One of the great things about social media is the ability to connect with your old friends. In this case, Strava helped me connect me with two old friends Phillip and Michael Muljana. Now that I live in San Francisco, the majority of our relationship involves giving each other kudos and comments on Strava. While I was planning my trip to Los Angeles, I decided to hit them up to see if they were interested in a bike ride over the weekend.

Phillip and Michael decided to take me out to Lytle Creek, north of Fontana in the Inland Empire. I was initially hesitant to start a ride at 6:30am in Fontana because it meant that I had to leave my house at 5:30am and wake up at 5:00am to make myself coffee to be a decent person. After we started riding I soon realized why the start time was so early. In the Inland Empire, you do not want to be caught riding outside after 10:00am. The sun becomes blazing hot! Strava Link!

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Overall the riding in the suburban valley of the Inland Empire was simply flat and uninteresting. Newer track homes lined the streets. Bike lanes were abundant. Air was dry. However, I beecame very excited as we entered the San Bernardino National Forest. Although there was no shoulders, cars were very polite about passing safely. Lytle Creek Road is a gentle climb in a canyon that goes on for about 15 miles. If you listen carefully you can hear the creek running right beside you. The last couple of miles is very exposed and would seem impossible if it wasn’t for the lingering cool morning breeze.

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An interesting thing I forgot about riding in Los Angeles is that sweat will evaporate right off you. The dry climate was an interesting change from the Bay Area’s cool/’humid-er’ climate. I found that I got very crusty with salt crystals as soon as the sweat kicked in.

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Since we were biking right along Lytle Creek I felt obligated to stop by the creek to refresh myself and cool down my body. It was a great break and a wonderful relief for my body.

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All in all riding with Philip and Michael was incredibly great. It was fun exploring their usual Saturday route and to ride in a completely different area and climate from the Bay Area. I look forward to show them my routes around San Francisco! Prepare your climbing legs Philip and Michael!

Manny’s Birthday Shenanigans

This past weekend, Manny invited us to his birthday camping trip and Brian, Emily and I were able to attend. We took BART over to the East Bay and met amigos de Manny before rolling from San Leandro BART to Lake Chabot Campground.

Living in San Francisco, it’s easy to get stuck in the city every weekend but that also keeps you inside this small bubble of San Francisco-centric mindedness and mannerisms. I think it’s really important to explore other areas in your region and expose yourself to different groups of people from various backgrounds. With that said, I’m glad I have friends like Manny, who is able to unite a wide array of people and then lead them on bike rides exploring amazing territory.

Just like how certain Pokémon are more easily found in different areas, Manny can most likely be found riding in the desolate and dry mixed terrain roads of the East Bay. Just take a look at his photos and you’ll see this picturesque backdrop appear repeatedly.

Another signature of Manny’s rides is that at some point, people start walking. Jan Heine recently came to the defense of walking your bike during a ride but I certainly have no shame walking my bike during a “Manny” ride. It’s just something I’ve come to accept given the terrain and the routes that Manny plans to ride through, and that’s a good thing!

One of the cool things about Manny’s birthday camping trip weekend was that it was not just exclusive to his cyclist buddies. His family and friends came along and we were all thankful, as they brought the delicious barbeque, snacks, drinks and supplies. Someone even made a cobbler in the cast iron dutch oven (yeah I dare you to carry that on your rear rack) over the fire pit! This served as a helpful reminder to me that camping shouldn’t be an exclusionary activity and fun can still be had by all.

The night winded down and everyone set up their hammocks or tents. We made some s’mores over the fire and shared some stories, while Dave showed us a pro tip by roasting the bananas in the fire before cutting them open and putting chocolate chips in the middle.

The next morning, we were greeted with immense amounts of sunshine at our campsight and individuals groggily set up their camp stoves and started the coffee. Afterwards we gathered and posed for the group picture. See all those smiles in the picture? That’s something that a paid camping trip just can’t buy.

There was more riding and of course, more bike walking, but we eventually made it back to San Leandro. The gang chowed down on some tasty Pho before Emily, Brian and I rolled back home via BART. Another weekend, but yet another quick and fun weekend camping trip.

As usual, Pictures Proved It Happened, so check out Manny’s Flickr for the rest of his great photos.

#savethetrackbike or #savethetouringbike ?

Donkel hit me up over the weekend and told me he was going on a #fixiefoo tour from SF to LA. He crashed on the couch of Boyz on the Hoods HQ and Brian made him a few cups of coffee in the morning. Peep his setup:

FixieFooTour

Surly Steamroller. 42×17 gear ratio (fixed). 700×38 tires (for sickkk clearances). Cetma HALFrack. Jandd panniers and a frame bag. Some unabomber-esque shades. Just RAD in general.

Not sure if this qualifies as #savethetrackbike or #savethetouringbike but either way, it’s one ballsy trip. Good luck and safe travels my friend!

What’s In Your Bag?

I love reading what people bring on tours and seeing the differences in gear choice. Geoff over at Box Dog Bikes recently “showed and telled” us what he brought on a three day tour, and Alice detailed her pack list from her Portland to Seattle trip.

I guess Manny really enjoyed the glowing review we gave for his acting performance in Back to Earth Two, so he invited us to his weekend Birthday bike camping trip.

I’m rolling solo this weekend, so no need for the bulky tent, and this will be my first time trying out the Grand Trunk hammock setup. In contrast to last weekend’s excursion, I decided to roll pretty lightweight for this trip. Peep the rest of my pack list below:

Stay Safe Out There!

With news of the latest fatality adding to the already long list of people killed while riding a bicycle in San Francisco, the community has seen a wide range of emotions from anger, grief, and general confusion on what steps to undertake to help prevent these needless deaths.

After reflecting upon this for a few days, I’ve realized that here are some takeaway points in general about riding in the city.

1. Ride safe.

 2. Be seen.

  • I used to care a lot more about looking cool on my bike and local randonneur Jack Holmgren even chastized us back when we were (still are) rando newbs. Being a young snot nused punk, I kind of brushed it off until I heard the story of why Jack was so commited to conspicuity.
  • Now I’m not afraid to wear my Mavic Vision vest or throw a reflective triangle or straps onto my bike.
  • Speaking of cool things related to being seen… our friend Ely, who is a fellow randonneur and bag maker, posted this on his website.

3. Get involved with your advocacy organizations.

  • Okay so long term, pedestrians, bikes, cars, trains and buses are all going to have to get a long with one another.
  • Go yell discuss cordially with your local council members (wait do I even know my council member?), local transit agencies, planning commissions, etc about how safety for all modes of transportation are important to you!