Former Stanford climate change researcher David Kroodsma has bicycled from California to the southern tip of South America, from Turkey to Myanmar, and across the U.S. twice. Along the way he has talked to hundreds of people—both laypeople and experts—about climate change, gathering personal stories about its impacts across three continents.
Join David for a slideshow of his best photos and videos. In addition to stories of adventure—ranging from fending off a jaguar in Belize to hiding from police in Tibet—David will share how people across the globe are currently experiencing climate change, drawing on interviews with people in 28 different countries.
Copies of his recent book, The Bicycle Diaries, a Shelf Unbound Notable Book of 2014, will be available for purchase.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but it’s hardly winter doldrums at NYCRS. There are a lot of exciting developments in the bicycle world. And, this is the time of year that I get to take some of my own trips! And build a new website. Also, it seems that winter is a good time for cyclists to do research. I have had more long phone conversations during the winter than I have time for during the bike season.
Meanwhile, I’ve been traveling a lot but, aside from the usual city bike-commuting runs, doing a lot more running, hiking and skiing than bicycling. And in a couple days I leave for a NOLS field class for winter outdoor educators. I imagine I’ll come back with some new ideas related to winter cycling.
Creating safe roads for cyclists is as important as building and selling bikes.
The town of St. Charles and the surrounding area — where the show was held — has wonderful bike trails and paths and I was able to enjoy them with the Cruzbike team on the morning of the second day of the show.
But I didn’t see any bicycle advocacy organizations represented at the show. It is vital that each of us, as cyclists and industry workers, are involved in advocacy. We each play an important role in expanding opportunities to bicycle safely in the USA. We can’t simply be bike lane users. We must also be bike lane builders.
Here’s something you can do, starting today. It’s fun and you’ll meet people who may become lifelong friends. Dedicate just 4 hours per month — 48 hours in the year — volunteering for your local bicycle advocacy organization or otherwise engaged in bicycle advocacy. That small amount of time will help save lives — not to mention the planet. It will help save the life of somebody with a name, and a mom and dad. That “somebody” might be you or someone close to you. Toss this aside and you’re tossing aside someone’s life.
If you don’t have a local bicycle advocacy organization, then join Bikes Belong, a.k.a., PeopleForBikes and give them the equivalent of 48 hours/year of your income. Want to do more? Run for your local community board or city council.
Thank you to Charles Coyne, Coyne Publishing and the RCC Team for producing this show.
Charles Coyne and his crew do an amazing job of producing RCC. It’s is incredible that they are able to do so much. All the workers were friendly and professional. The show was well-organized and well-attended. He had nearly all the top manufacturers there. Also, on the above note of advocacy, Charles and his group are a great example of people working hard to promote bicycling with no eye — as far as I can tell — to personal gain. If anything, it seems to me he’s putting himself at significant financial risk to put on this show. Thank you, Charles and team.
The new Silvio and Vendettas are very impressive on many fronts – performance, adjustability, weight, features, capacity to work with wide range of drivetrains. Both bikes share many of the same qualities. I rode both and put in about 20 mi. on the Vendetta during the Cruzbike morning ride. Both models are better than ever and they’ve shaved 16 oz. off both frames, in part by making the new seat in full carbon fiber. I initially wondered if I’d like the new front boom and drive-triangle, shared by the V and S, but it’s excellent: stiff, highly adjustable, light, clean appearance. The new Vendetta’s paint is a metallic red. The white Silvio looks good too. All in all, the new designs are winners.There’s a very interesting spec effecting drivetrain options, but it’s not published so I don’t want to spill the beans in case something changes. In short, it’s great news and it looks like there’ll be more versatility than in the past.
The Cruzbike booth was popular and, often, nearly all the bikes were out on the test track. I’ve already sold several Silvios so I anticipate the current run to sell out, maybe by end of winter. Go and get yours now.
Nothing but top marks for HP Velotechnik. New Gekko fx 26 is perfect. The new Scorpion “Plus,” perfect. The new “adaptive” pedals and accessories are easy to use and well-made. The new seats, fine.
I’m at a loss for words when writing about the brand and the models, because there’s nothing more to say. They are the gold standard. There are no surprises. They simply continue to prove they are probably the most professional and reliable recumbent manufacturer in the market.
HP Velot. was one of the most popular booths at the show. No surprise there either.Hase
They’re continuing their tradition of being one of the foremost manufacturers of adaptive cycles. They are clearly entirely dedicated to producing the highest quality machines. Again, I don’t know what to say: they’re great. They too had one of the most popular booths at the show.
Patterson Transmission (from FSA)
Superb new internal gear system to replace front chain rings and rear wheel 3-speed hub gears. Inexpensive, quiet, works well. Only time will tell how durable it is over thousands of miles, but I liked what I saw and may well install one on one of my own bikes over the winter to use and abuse it.
I just returned to New York from the Recumbent Cycle Con (RCC) in Los Angeles. A superb experience and a fun trip. Loved the light, ocean, and mountains. Too bad about all the driving, highways, and traffic. I’ve heard people wonder how New Yorkers get by without cars. But how do Angelenos get by with them? I felt I couldn’t easily get anywhere!
But RCC was a blast. I continue to believe that the best things about bikes (and trikes) are the people you meet as a result of being a cyclist, and the experiences you have with those people, whether it’s shooting the breeze with a fellow cyclist at a traffic light, or going on a group trip, or racing, or advocating for cyclists’ rights, or helping a fellow cyclist you find sidelined along the road, or attending a bike show, or any of those other experiences that result from being an engaged member of the world’s cycling community.
Robert demonstrates a track stand on a Mirage Nomad, a shaft-drive ‘bent.
Glad to have had the chance to ride it. Photo copyr. 2013 R Matson
As for the machines themselves, bikes are cool, some more than others, but they’re just bikes; they’re a means to an end, not the end-all and be-all. They’re a lever, a tool for amplifying what your mind and body want to do and could perhaps do anyway. Without the machine, you could have similar life experiences, you simply wouldn’t go as fast, or as far, or, maybe, get into as much trouble. So, the potentially coolest thing about a bike show, for me, is the people; next, it’s the experience I might have with them; thirdly, it’s seeing what people are thinking about and the problems they’re trying to solve with human powered equipment — the bikes/trikes/drivetrains/chains/headsets, etc. Maybe it’s because I’m less a gear-head and more a traveler, but what excites me about a great machine is not the engineering; it’s the experiences a machine could open up for me and, then, whether that machine will get me safely to the other side. I feel similarly when it comes to dealing bikes. First and foremost it’s about people and the experiences a 2- or 3-wheeled human powered tool make available to them, whether during the sales process, or years after when they’re pedaling through Arthur’s Pass (South Island, New Zealand).
At RCC, I met many people who, till now, I knew only by name, e-ml, phone or photo. People turned out to be pretty much as I anticipated: people I thought would be super, turned out to be super. I had wonderful conversations with the people from Cruzbike and HP Velotechnik and I’m going to continue what I’m doing with them. In their own segments they are the leaders for good reasons. Had good conversations with several others, too many to name. I met Catherine and Hubert van Ham of Radical Design, the recumbent pannier manufacturers, who didn’t have a booth but attended the show as visitors; really nice people. Hase remains impressive. I was also pleased to meet the other dealers in my “neighborhood.”
Trisled Rotovelo, brought in by Nanda Holz of SpinCyclz. Photo copyr. 2013 R Matson
Several discoveries in terms of bikes and trikes. Yes, lots of trikes were shown as manufacturers try and respond to the demand for T’s. The average number of wheels per bike over the entire show was, I don’t know, 2.9 or so; less cleverly, more clearly said: trike showings dominated though maybe not in terms of speed. A few manf’s. had prototypes of clever trikes, folding and otherwise, and it’ll be interesting to see what they present as production models. A few new bikes, some of which I may bring in. I won’t be too specific right now so as not to disappoint people. Also, again, when it comes to recommending machines to customers, I’m highly concerned about reliability and quality and, with new machines that lack a track record, can we be sure to get that?
Cruzbike Morning Death March, group photo. Photo copyr. 2013 R Matson
Cruzbikes won the “slow-riding” as well as the “turning radius” contests. No surprise. But also the jockey Abram (photo of Abram) was, I heard, a gymnast in the past, so it might have been more than just “about the bike.”
I realize readers of this blog might like to hear my analysis of what I saw and liked or otherwise, but since I’ll be making business decisions based on my ideas, I’ll keep them to myself. Meanwhile, event organizer extraordinaire Charles (Chuck) Coyne of Recumbent and Tandem Rider Magazine was there, along with Chris Malloy and Travis Prebble of Recumbent Journal, and Bryan Ball of BentRider On-line, and I’m sure we can depend on them to write round-ups.
– Nanda Holz of Spin Cyclz (CA) imported a couple dozen of the Trisled Rotovelo and had one at the show. Good ride and nice idea for an inexpensive velomobile. Good enough in every way with one aspect I thought was non-ideal: the pedals rotate rather close to the pavement so I personally needed to adjust foot position to avoid heel strike. I don’t believe I personally, could ride it with clipless pedals or toe clips; someone with small feet might be fine. I pedaled near my instep with platform pedals, which is okay, but not my normal pedaling position. I’d recommend using heel straps with it. Lots of storage capacity inside. Call me if you want one.
– HP Velotechnik was, as expected, extremely polished and professional and was possibly the busiest booth. They had their usual top of the line bikes/trikes and the new dirt trike. They showed their new electric/pedelec system which is, in several important ways, an improvement over the Bionix solution. Call me if you want more info., etc. (Robert: T: 646-233-1219.)
– Cruzbike was possibly the darling of the show and Maria Parker gave one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard at the industry dinner. Entitled “Doing something hard,” it was ostensibly about her experience during RAAM, but was equally a TED-type talk about how to…do something incredibly hard. For the bikes themselves, only a very few people seemed to have trouble “getting” the Cruzbikes. I think we (the dealers) have gotten better at teaching people how to ride them. For a limited time, there is a slight discount on the 20″ folding model. Call me if you want more info., etc. (Robert: T: 646-233-1219.)
– Prototypes of several new folding trikes and bikes were shown in addition to the usual suspects who have production models. There’s a long way between prototype and production model, but it was exciting to see people working away at this challenge. I’ll keep folding machines on hand and will increase what I carry if and when the new ones pass the various quality tests and go into production.
– The Mirage Nomad shaft drive prototype was there. Nice idea and the ride quality is as good as similar designs.
– TerraCycle has a full length fabric fairing/sock. They are again making their tailsocks but now they are also offering a full length sock that attaches with velcro to their front fairings. So, if your bent can accept TC’s LARGE/FULL front fairing, and has the mounting points for the TC tail sock, you can inexpensively make a fully faired ride. Head opening at the top and totally open on the bottom. I’m a Terracycle dealer if you want more info., etc.
– Lightfoot showed several of their HUGE fat wheel bikes and their ATV-like Quad. They use Surly Large Marge rims/tires. Fun to ride.
Next Recumbent Cycle Con. slated for Sept. 27-28, 2014, in Chicago!
Warmer weather is here. I like it. But I also like skiing and this marks the tailing of the remotely-local cross-country ski season…and the tailing of my slow season.
A manufacturer in Finland, Mirage Bikes (www.miragebikes.com/en), wrote me that their x-c ski season is coming to an end as well, but he (the writer) hopes to complete 1000 km (!) of skiing — apx. 620 miles — before then. I’m envious.
Mirage Bikes’ Nomad.
I’m settling for one more weekend of skiing in the Adirondacks and then we’re in the backpack and pannier season. Today was the first day in ages to ride withOUT studded winter tires and WITH the sunshine, both. How nice.
Bike trips planned? There’s the 10-day 2014 Prince Edward Island bike trip I’m co-leading for the Appalachian Mountain Club, but that’s ages away. Sooner than that, if I can get away for a week, I may schedule an AMC trip in the Daks, VT, or Catskills. What’s with the idle chatter? I’m supposed to use the world’s most pervasive media outlet — FB — for marketing right? Or improving the world?
Okay, how’s this: HP Velotechnik’s new Scorpion fs 26 came in the other week. Unbelievably nice trike. Get your demos here.
Our neighborhood was spared (assuming nothing more happens). The electricity is on this morning and there wasn’t any flooding in our neighborhood which is in a high area of Brooklyn. When the wind dies down, I may go out and look around the neighborhood, but otherwise I plan to spend the day repairing and tuning bikes — my own bikes for a change — and doing things around home that I kept putting aside during the busy season. That should be nice. Feel very lucky.