February 2010

Our usual late notice for shop events!  We need to get one of them online calenders or something.  Anyways, with Spring on the horizon (have we heard that before?) the Bicyclists of Iowa City have invited local bike shops to come down to the Iowa City Public Library tonight to show off parts, accessories, bikes, etc.  We will be there from 7 to 9pm in meeting room A with a selection of wares and at least one bike to show off.  Hope to see you!

Our neighbors made the happiest snowperson we have ever seen!

In never ending winter news, for those that don’t know, I (Steve) like to cross country ski and have been organizing some low-fi ski races here in Iowa City for the past 2 years.  I make some trophies and gather some prizes and say Go(!) when it is time to race.  This year we at 30th Century Bicycle have been kicking in some additional prizes, too, like waterbottles, beer, bags of fruit, sliced cheese, whatever.  Last night was the last Nordic TT of the year, but if you have missed out do not despair!  This Sunday morning, Feb 28th, at 9am, we are going to have a long format mass start ski race, calling it The Herkabeiner (like Birkiebeiner, get it?) until lawyers from the UI find out and come calling.  24k is the distance.  You can find other details and read all about the ski races that have been over at online race HQ.

So, hope to see you tonight, and Sunday morning if you want to do a ski race before the snow is gone and it is, indeed, finally, Spring!

We’re back from a whirlwind trip to the Twin Cities.  We attended two full days of Frostbike, Quality Bicycle Products‘ famous winter trade show.  We love QBP for a lot of reasons, and this show is definitely one of them.  We get to be face-to-face with a huge group of vendors and their wares, which means we get to check out product in-person and ask lots of questions.  We also come away with fresh ideas and inspiration.

Some things we’re excited about…

Pacific Outdoor Equipment is a company based in Bozeman, MT.  Their bike gear is designed for touring and commuting, and it’s really well designed stuff.  We got to inspect their dry sack style panniers, and we were impressed.  Check out their site for bags as well as a wide range of other outdoor gear.

Planet Bike is one of our long-time favorites, not just because they give 25% of their profits to bicycle advocacy, but also because they make some classic bike gear.  Not new but we’re still excited about these lights, first the Blaze Dynamo:

The Blaze LED lights have proven to be some of the best commuter lights around as well as great touring lights, especially if paired with another light for serious night riding.  I (Cody) built up a 3-watt SRAM i-Light front wheel last fall to connect to my Blaze Dynamo, and I absolutely love it.  No more batteries and the light is brighter than any LED I’ve ever owned.  If you’re interested in human-powered lights, come talk to us.  We can hook you up!

The other light is the Sport Spot:

As pictured the Sport Spot is a headlamp, which can be used for all manner of activity, including cycling, but what’s better is that it can attach to a mount on your handlebar or helmet to be a more efficient bike light.  Get to the campground, take the light off your bar, and strap it to your head.  Set up that tent hands-free!

Saris is a long-time maker of bicycle car racks, and the Bones trunk rack is their best-selling model.  The Bones is a sturdy, two- or three-bike rack that we’ve always considered the best of its kind.  For us, though, the rigmarole of renting a car (which is how we travel to Minneapolis) occasionally involves riding a bike with a Bones rack strapped to a backpack or, once, propped on my handlebar.  This is a heavy, cumbersome, and probably dangerous method (especially when jostling over the handlebar), and we don’t really like to do it.  Saris has now designed a small, lightweight yet still amazingly sturdy one-bike car rack.  The Bones Solo:

We even got to try it out when we got back into town.  Steve put this bike on the rack, so he could return the car to the rental place and still have a vehicle to get back to the shop.  The little rack is so lightweight that he just held it under his arm as he rode.

There’s lots more that got our attention, so stay tuned.  We’ll keep reporting as we inch ever closer to Spring.

We will be closing early tomorrow, Feb 18th, at 3pm so we can travel North to Minneapolis for the QBP Open House, Frostbike.  We will be attending some seminars on Friday, listening to Bob Roll talk about some funny stuff Friday night, and rummaging through their tradeshow on Saturday looking for free stickers and the latest and greatest cyling products!

We will be closed Friday Feb 19th and Saturday Feb 20th.

Also, for those that do not know, we are Velo Orange dealers.  That means you can order many of the parts you see on the Velo Orange website through us.  We are placing an order early next week, so if you have your heart set on some shiny bike parts and want us to order them for you, just send us an email.

There was a nice write up & review of the MASI 3VC 105 over on Velonews.com.

The article also covers some of the history of the MASI company and is a good read.  We focus on commuting and touring bikes, true, but we are ready, happy, and able to help you with a racing bike, too.  I (Steve) raced on the road seriously for 15 years and still like to ride road bikes as fast as I can, so rest assured I can answer your questions and load you up with advice, opinions, and glory days stories, if you can stand them.

And, if you are looking for less race oriented advice, Cody loves to ride the go-fast bikes, too, and has plenty of experience to share.

Those of you that follow Statewide bicycle advocacy initiatives are no doubt familiar with the Bicycle Safety Bill.  For those unfamiliar, there is a bill that died last year in the legislature looking to add some protections for bicyclists.  Opinions of the need for the legislation varied, of course, even amongst cyclists, and the potential effectiveness of the bill was similarly debated.  If you poke around on the IBC website you can learn more about the bill and the history of it, and if you dig in the email archives of the bikeiowa listserve you can find more.

distracted driving drawing courtesy of doktored

I (Steve) am of the opinion that this bill is a step in the right direction and can help cyclists, as long as it is just a step.  The bill could and should go further, but the protections afforded cyclists currently are woefully inadequate.  It is no joke that a person can run a cyclist over and kill them, claim that they did not see them, and drive away with a failure to yield ticket, a $200 fine, and a sad face, I would hope.  I took a few moments to write a letter to some legislators about this bill, here is what I said:

I am writing to urge you to support the Bike Safety Bill, amended Senate File 117.  I moved to Ames, IA in 1990 to study engineering at ISU from the Chicago suburbs.  Four years later I graduated with a degree in Community and Regional Planning, a working knowledge of healthy transportation systems, and four years of bicycle commuting under my belt.  Bicycle riding was easy here compared to those suburbs, and I quickly saw the value in it; to me, the City of Ames, the State of Iowa, these United States, and, indeed, the World.

Looking back now on 20 years of recreational cycling all over the state as well as 20 years of continued commuting wherever I needed to go in Ames, Des Moines, and lately Iowa City, I continue to love my favorite mode of travel.  Except when I get hassled by a car on the road.  It is hard to explain the fear and anger, yes, anger, that accompany being narrowly missed by a motorist, whether through their inattention (texting, talking on the phone, eating a bowl of cereal balanced in their lap – true!) or naked aggression I feel that even as an experienced cyclist I need help out there.  I ask you to help, please, by supporting this bill.

Just last Spring I opened my own business here in Iowa City, a bike shop focused on the needs of commuter cyclists.  My customers need your help.  My partner in business and life, Cody, also is a year round bicyclist, she needs your help.  Please support amended Senate File 117, for me, for my customers, for my partner, for the City of Iowa City, the State of Iowa, these United States, and, as ever, the World.

Contact your representatives and let them know how you feel about this bill!

Cody painted us a new sign.

We would have liked to have left it at that, but more detail is required.

Wonder how many bike frames you could turn out of a Ford F250?

That Pista down by the ICPL does not have enough parts left to even cast a shadow…

So we will go with the calendar and call it six weeks til Spring sproings, on March 20th.