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Category Archives: Bike Gallery

A Closer Look: 2008 Lemond Poprad Cyclocross Bike

Way back in 2007 I was a triathlete, century rider and mountain biker who heard about this thing called cyclocross and was intrigued. Cyclocross is the steeplechase of bike racing, with barricades where you dismount and run, steep run-ups where you shoulder your bike, and loose corners, sand pits, and soul-sucking grass to keep you on the ragged edge. And in our local scene, doing all this in costume for bragging rights.

I had both skinny tire and basic dirt skills, I could run (not fast) and loved costumes and the irreverent attitude that comes with it. Races are 30-45 minutes of all-out effort I felt I could manage since the pain may be intense, but it’s mercifully short. So I bought a steel Lemond Poprad cyclocross bike and raced it. It was a blast.

The Poprad was replaced by a lighter steed who stole her drivetrain and her place at the starting line. Retired from racing and outfitted with low gears, she has been reborn as Liberty, the ultimate all-terrain touring machine.

Poprad on the Trail
Faster than my mountain bike but hardier than my road bike, Liberty is made for the dirt trails and gravel roads that criss-cross the hills around San Francisco Bay. She’s no stranger to off-road rides and has hauled overnight gear, but I have yet to fully test her strength. Where should we go? How deep into the wild can she take me?

Lemond Poprad 2008 b

Configuring the gearing on this bike was no easy task since I wanted low mountain bike gears with road levers. So I took it to Charles at Passion Trail Bikes. He and his staff found the right front derailer (Tiagra, no less) that would shift properly for this unconventional setup. Thanks, Charles, for doing what Sheldon said was impossible!

Location: Enid Pearson Arastradero Preserve, Palo Alto, California, USA

 
11 Comments

Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Bike Gallery

 

A Closer Look: 2011 Viva Juliett Dutch Bike

I’ve never believed in love at first sight. Interest, yes. Attraction, yes. But head-over-heels love? I think not. But sometimes the interest is so great and the attraction so strong that you can’t shake it, even if you aren’t looking for love. That’s how it was with my husband; interest and attraction turned quickly into a crush I couldn’t deny.

And that’s how it was my Viva Juliett. I first saw Juliett at the San Francisco Bike Coalition‘s Winterfest where Mike’s Bikes had donated her for the benefit auction. She was cherry red and luscious cream and shiny chrome and I was smitten. But I certainly didn’t need a beautiful but impractical bike so I didn’t bid on her.

Still, I couldn’t forget her. After two test rides and much consternation, I took the plunge and brought her home. Now, two years later, I can’t imagine how I didn’t see her practicality along with her beauty. I love this bike.

Viva Juliett 2011
Juliett came equipped with almost everything I needed for my short commute and for errands all over town.

It’s been two years and I’m still in love. Do you have a bike that you’re head over heels in love with?

Viva Juliett Rear View

Location: Gamble Gardens, Palo Alto, California, USA

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Bike Gallery

 

A Closer Look: 1951? Världsmästarcykel Crescent

Hidden away in garages all over the world are beautiful bikes, barely used back in the day and never ridden today. Like my ex’s 1986 Pro Miyata that hung unused in my garage for years. Fortunately, many of these bikes find new lives in new homes with riders that cherish them. Like Erik, who I met one morning on Caltrain.

Erik’s bike caught my eye immediately with its classic lines and svelte steel tubing. It was his great-uncle’s bike from back in Sweden that he brought with him to San Francisco. Now set up for everyday use as a single speed with new handlebars, rear rack and fenders, I had to get a closer look.

Crescent Side View

Erik said this Världsmästarcykel Crescent was a 1951, but it doesn’t quite match the bike in that year’s catalog. Unlike the 1951, Erik’s bike’s fork and rear stays aren’t chrome and his has a nifty wheel lock that’s welded on. I searched the internet in vain for clues to its heritage and failed.

Can you help me solve this mystery? Is it likely to be before or after 1951? Did it originally have drop bars?

 
3 Comments

Posted by on December 13, 2012 in Bike Gallery

 

Bike Spotting: Autoshifting GT AutoStream Cruiser

Some ordinary-looking bikes deserve a second glance, like this cruiser with AutoShift we saw on Caltrain.

We sat next to its owner, who fell in love with his first AutoShift bike on first ride. So when the cops repossessed it for being a stolen bike, he searched until he found a replacement. He plunked down a whopping $40 on it used, a huge discount over the original price of 4 payments of $99.95 each (a special TV offer!).

How could you not love a bike with an infomercial like this?

Location: Bicycle car on the Caltrain commuter railway, Mountain View to San Mateo, California, USA

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Bike Gallery

 

Bike Gallery: Historic Mountain Bikes at SFO Airport

When I was searching the San Francisco Airport web site for details on how to bike to the airport last week, I was surprised to find “SFO Museum presents: From Repack to Rwanda. Now on view.” Who would have guessed that SFO had a museum and that mountain bikes would be on exhibit in time for my trip?

Despite the unusual location, the exhibit wasn’t out of place since the sport of mountain biking was born on the slopes of Mt Tamalpais across the Golden Gate from San Francisco. I already knew some of the early history from watching the movie Klunkerz, and from hearing pioneers like Joe Breeze and Gary Fisher speak at events hosted by our local mountain bike club. But I had never seen the actual early mountain bikes before.

Of the dozen or so bikes on display, my favorites were the 1941 Schwinn fat tires that the early riders modified to charge down a steep dirt road they named Repack because they had to repack the coaster brakes with grease after every hard-braking run. Maybe I was drawn to them because I just met Alex LaRiviere of Faber’s Cyclery, who sold Joe Breeze one of those 1941 Schwinns from his original shop in Santa Cruz.

Or maybe because they were the kind of bikes my dad and his brother rode to deliver newspapers in small town Louisiana during World War II. The streets were dirt and bike parts were scarce, so the boys developed some mad mechanical and riding skills tout suite. Even at 81, my dad rocks the bike off-road with surprising grace.

To see the Repack to Rwanda exhibit in person, visit the International Terminal at SFO airport through February 2013. No airline ticket is required. For more photos check out the online slide show courtesy of SFO.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in Bike Gallery, Dirt Trails

 

Bike Spotting: Handmade in Bamboo—by You?

The beauty and creative spirit of handmade bicycles draw thousands of bike geeks like me to the shows like the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in cities like Austin and Sacramento. But for some bike geeks, admiring the handcrafted work of others isn’t enough. They need to make one for themselves.

If you are one of these Makers, you should know that in one weekend you can build your own bicycle frame–out of bamboo. Like Brad did at the Bamboo Bike Studio in San Francisco last year. I met Brad on my evening commute on Caltrain where he gave me the quick run-down. In two days he built his single speed for about $800, which included everything: bamboo and resin for the frame plus a fork, drivetrain, handlebars and wheels.

I was impressed by Brad’s work. Being built in two days work by a novice, it’s not the finely-crafted precision machine of a Calfee or Boo Bicycles bike, but it looks sharp and feels solid. And most importantly, Brad’s handmade bamboo bike has served him well for over a year as a daily commuter to his job at the Tech Shop in San Jose, a place where Makers like him can build almost anything their minds can imagine.

Have you ever dreamed of making, or actually built, a bicycle? If not a bicycle, what would you make?

Location: Bicycle car on the Caltrain commuter railway, San Jose-Sunnyvale, California, USA

 
6 Comments

Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Bike Gallery

 

A Closer Look: 1972 Bottecchia Road Bike

“Collecting is much like a quest, a lifelong pursuit which can never be complete. Collections allow people to relive their childhood, connect themselves to a period in history or time they feel strongly about, … and to keep the past present.” So says Wikipedia on the psychology of collecting. I agree, especially for bike collectors.

When Cindy and I stopped in at La Dolce Velo last week, I was quickly drawn to this classic steel road bike with a little tool pack mounted on the seat stays. Rob the shop owner quickly filled in details: it’s a Bottecchia road bike circa 1972 loaned to the shop for display. His friend bought it in the late 1970s as a museum piece for his personal collection. It’s never been ridden. It’s never even had its sew-up tires glued on the rims.

Despite my growing stable of bikes, I don’t consider myself a collector. But I do appreciate the elegant lines of a well-made bike so I shot these for my bike photo collection. Meanwhile, Rob told me more about the Bottecchia heritage: how Greg Lemond rode to his first Tour de France victory in 1986 on a Bottecchia and how he chose Bottecchia as the first builder of his LeMond brand bicycles before switching to Calfee and finally Trek.

Do you notice anything unusual about this bike, a part of its history that Rob didn’t mention?

Location: La Dolce Velo Bicycles, San Jose, California, USA.

 
13 Comments

Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Bike Gallery

 

Bike Spotting: ElliptiGO Everywhere

A couple of hot Saturdays ago as I struggled to turn the pedals on the climb up Old La Honda Road, I heard a strange whirring sound behind me. I looked back and saw two men in matching t-shirts pumping away on matching machines. As they passed I thought: “What are those things?” and “Man, I’m really dragging today.”

Fortunately, they were still at the top when I arrived so I got a closer look. The ElliptiGO is what happens when exercise equipment escapes the gym and hits the open road. The riders said it gives then the intense workout of running without the impact on the knees. Given my struggle on the hill that day, I’m sticking with my bike.

If you want to try an ElliptiGO for yourself, Sports Basement in the Presidio in San Francisco rents them for $25 for three hours. And there are plenty of hills and a famous bridge nearby to challenge yourself.

Location: Top of Old La Honda Road, Woodside, California, USA

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Bike Gallery

 

Bike Spotting: Whizzer Motorbike

It’s a bike! It’s a motorcycle! No, it’s a motorbike! This Whizzer motorbike caught my eye outside Walt’s Cycle in Sunnyvale. I was perplexed: the pedals and chain are clearly driving the rear wheel, as are the gas motor and belt. Is a motorbike pedal-assisted like a moped? Or are the pedals just used to start the motor?

An internet search revealed that Whizzer got its start in the late 1930s and had to petition Congress to continue production through World War II. Sales took off after the war, selling hundreds of thousands of motorbikes until they shut down operations in 1965. In 1998, the Whizzer brand was revived with reproductions like this one.

But I’m still perplexed about how they work. If you know, please enlighten me…


This Whizzer may be a reproduction less than 10 years old, but it could have fooled me.

Location: Walt’s Cycles, Sunnyvale, California, USA

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 7, 2012 in Bike Gallery

 

Fashion Friday: San José Joe and his Batavus

City managers understand the value of bicycling in creating a vibrant, economically growing city. When city managers ride their bikes to City Hall in professional dress, people take notice. And when the city managers and their bikes are as stylish as Joe Silva and his vintage Batavus, it’s a bicycle advocate’s dream come true.

About Fashion Friday: Inspired by a 2011 Bike to Work Day challenge sponsored by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, this series highlights the broad range of “dress for the destination” bicycling fashions.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on June 28, 2012 in Bike Gallery, Cycle Fashions

 
 
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