Bike Shaped Objects

Funky bikes and news
 
Cycling around the news

cycling paper boyRemember, cycling isn’t all politics and traffic tickets.

We all know that history repeats itself, but I had no idea how far back that can go. Aluminum bikes keep coming and going in popularity but this trend started about 50 years earlier than I thought.

Forgive my metallurgical ignorance. I thought aluminum didn’t reach practicality till WWII. The Cycling Weekly story linked above proves me wrong.

Personally I like aluminum bikes frames mostly because I’m a fat guy and other materials have weight limits below my dieting ability.

Meanwhile in Wisconsin, kids are learning not really about bikes but learning through bikes.

“It’s about problem solving and empowerment,” said Gary Williams, who oversees the school’s Bike Shop.

When I was a kid my bike gave me freedom. If I was able to fix and maintain my own bike then I would have been invincible. I also might have understood what all those boring math and science classes were for.

Speaking of cycling freedom, the whole fat tire bike movement is opening cycling to whole new audiences. Cycling near the arctic circle is now possible, though reading the article makes me glad I live nowhere near the arctic circle.

For another cold blast from the past take a look at this article on gold rush cyclists. Without the fat tires and lightweight frames it took a hearty person to bike the Klondike, but the bike proved quick and cheap if, as the article points out, weather permitted.

I saved the best for last. I have this odd love/hate relationship with bike racing. I enjoy watching it but can’t usually recommend it to others. The rules are often excessive and weird. The bikes cost more than most cars I’ve owned. And the riders are constantly revealed to be mechanically or chemically enhanced.

A group of people in Virginia have addressed these issues and made what, for me, sounds like the ultimate bike race. They race down a parking garage. All ages, any kind of bike, and they even have a bar set up for the spectators. This may be the ultimate post-modern sporting event.

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