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Brain Fart: Dear Santa

Brain Fart: Dear Santa

It being Christmas time and all, I thought Santa might want some ideas for me: 1-New off road drop bars. I’ve tried everything on the market and I’m still not happy. I know a certain company that has some pictures of what I’ve got in mind, but maybe Santa can send some elves over to ...


Nobody is bigger than Giant

Nobody is bigger than Giant

When people talk about Giant, they usually save a little breath to mention that the company is the world’s largest producer of bikes — and that virtually any stock steel or aluminum frame, no matter what the brand, is likely produced by the Taiwan-based company. But so how big is big? Last week, Giant announced ...


A crash on dirt beats 14 on the track

A crash on dirt beats 14 on the track

Racing mountain bikes is frequently compared to time trialling on the road, because drafting doesn’t play a huge role, and racers are often strung out and isolated, racing against their own limitations as much as against their rivals. There are two upsides to this: When you crash, you typically have a soft landing and you ...


Celebrity cyclists: Buns of steel

Celebrity cyclists: Buns of steel

There aren’t a lot of celebrities who get around on bicycles just as a matter of transportation. David Byrne is about the only one that comes to mind, although Paris Hilton took a memorable ride on her Stumpjumper a few days before going to the slammer.   But earlier this week, Matthew Modine had a ...


2007: the year cyclocross and singlespeed got their closeup

2007: the year cyclocross and singlespeed got their closeup

While recreational urban cyclists embrace fixies and messenger bags, rank-and-file racers have a new favorite sport: Singlespeed cyclocross, a sport that arguably combines the roughest and toughest elements of all cycling disciplines. And lest there be any misunderstanding, one gear on a rigid bike with skinny tires can be just as fast as any other ...


Oh what fun it is to ride….

Oh what fun it is to ride….

This looks like way too much fun:


Who says video games are bad for you?

Who says video games are bad for you?

One of the lowest priorities in my own cycling regimen is riding the trainer. It’s so low, in fact, that I don’t even own a trainer, and I look disapprovingly on those who do. There aren’t many things I don’t like about riding a bike, but riding one without actually going anywhere just isn’t very ...


Catching air legally

Catching air legally

Whereas skateparks have bloomed like a thousand dandelions in every little burg coast to coast, most big-air mountain biking takes place on private land or unofficial trail. If you’re a fanatical outlaw dirt jumper tired of running from the law, you ought to consider moving to the Great Northwest. A quiet revolution is taking place ...


The eye on back of your head

The eye on back of your head

I’ve watched as my roadie buddies have added all kinds of computerized doohickies to their handlebarsto tell them wattage, speed, cadence, the phase of the moon, and so on. It’s funny that they want all that information right in their line of sight, and yet they’re too proud to even glance back to see if ...


DIY gifts for the tightwad cyclist

DIY gifts for the tightwad cyclist

If you’re like me this yuletide, you probably had to sell your watch to buy your spouse hair barrettes (while she was selling her hair to buy you a watchband). So if your cupboards are bare but your heart is still in it, it’s nice to have a few tips for homemade, DIY gifts that ...


Chicagoland Cyclocross

Chicagoland Cyclocross

If you’re in or around Chicago between September and December check out one of the Chicago Cyclocross Cup series races. I raced at Montrose Park this past weekend to test a Co-Motion Demon (more on that to come) and had a blast. Montrose Park or harbor is on the lake Michigan shore very close to ...


The thief and the vandal

The thief and the vandal

Puma and Biomega have teamed up to create a line of hipster urban folding bikes. The “Boston” is an interesting BMX-inspired ride with a wire downtube that reminds me of the Slingshot mountain bike frame from years back. But Biomega takes the idea one step further by making that cable an integrated lock. In other ...


What can brown do for your street cred?

What can brown do for your street cred?

The rock stars of urban cycling are, of course, bike messengers. Long hours in the saddle, lousy pay without benefits, constant life-threatening hassles from cars and trucks, filthy clothes, gearless brakeless bikes, thankless receptionists, and nifty-looking cargo bags– what’s not to like?   If you secretly wish you could somehow get the “cred” without signing ...


<i>Filmed by Bike</i> Calling for Entries

Filmed by Bike Calling for Entries

Portland’s annual film festival featuring bike-themed shorts is accepting DVD entries.


Brain Fart – Satan’s Drink Part II

Brain Fart – Satan’s Drink Part II

Have to admit, I’ve been thinking a lot about automobiles lately. Now, before you jump on my case for desiring to burn fossil fuels, keep in mind that I’ve gone without for roughly 6 years (excluding the motorcycle that followed me home in August). I grew up in a family where internal combustion toys were ...


Are you as tough as a Park Tool designer?

Are you as tough as a Park Tool designer?

Park Tool’s headquarters are in wintry Minnesota, so — along with all the good folks at Quality Bike Parts and Island Cycle Supply and World Cycling Productions and Twin Six and Kurt Kinetic and all of their groupies — there are an astonishing number of year-around bike commuters who have no problem riding in a ...


More singletrack in National Parks?

More singletrack in National Parks?

Back in 2005, IMBA signed a memorandum of understanding with the US Forest Park Service. The idea was to create a climate of happy negotiation in an effort to explore the possibility of thinking about talking about maybe proposing more singletrack in National Parklands. The Service has long been prejudiced against mountain bikes, for reasons ...


Free bikes worldwide

Free bikes worldwide

Velib, the public bike program in Paris, is just the most fashionable superstar of its field. There are actually low- and no-cost bike sharing programs in cities all over the world — including waddayaknow Tulsa, Oklahoma. Now some folks in Canada have put together an online “Public Bicycle Service Inventory,” a nifty tool if you ...


Baggie shorts, hairy legs, and all

Baggie shorts, hairy legs, and all

The mountain-biker love for “Hummer” gear continues. Endura, the British company that offers at least one jacket in the elusive but extraordinary fabric eVent (it’s said to be up to 80 percent more breathable than other micromembrane fabs like Gore-Tex, and I think it’s the bee’s knees) is now offering a baggie MTB short called ...


Get your dirt ride on — in Washington DC?

Get your dirt ride on — in Washington DC?

IMBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association, is sponsoring the 2008 National bike summit in Washington D.C. The party goes down the first week of March, and IMBA members and advocates can get a special discount on the conference fee, by registering at IMBA.com. IMBA also offers some helpful hints about how to come up with ...


I’ll take one, thanks.

I’ll take one, thanks.

After reading Karl’s blog post “2008 Fuel EX9: Post Punk Pondering” I’d like to share my own Punk Bike experience. While Karl was slogging through the Punk Bike trails on his fancy-schmancy 27 gear racing bike, I was on my recently purchased Bianchi Sok singlespeed. And that one speed was just fine with me. Truth ...


Cheating mother nature on your mountain bike

Cheating mother nature on your mountain bike

Students at Arizona State’s mechanical engineering school have designed a mountain bike that “regenerates” the kinetic energy of braking. (Watch the video here!) In other words, it stores the energy of your momentum while you’re braking, and then allows you to accelerate again, without pedaling — rather like spinning that rubber band on your balsa ...


2008 Fuel EX9: Post Punk Pondering

2008 Fuel EX9: Post Punk Pondering

Usually it’s meant as a joke, but this time there was more than a grain of truth to the old saying: Bike testing is a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. You see, the 2007 edition of the Punk Bike Enduro, was a cold, rainy and muddy affair. But, such is the life of a test pilot—needless to say, I soldiered on.


Dirt gets in the folds

Dirt gets in the folds

Despite being the object of some opprobrium, the “Hummer Tactical mountain bicycle” was actually commissioned by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in 1997, though it was called “the Paratrooper.” (Which actually brings some vivid fantasies to mind: For your next vacation, why not parachute with your folding bike into Chamonix?) Of course, most ...


BIG DUMMY-in da house

BIG DUMMY-in da house

After years designing, testing, riding, redesigning, retesting, reriding Surly is just about ready to release their cargo bike, the Big Dummy. It is based around the XtracycleSport Utility Bicycle concept. We’ve had a pre-production sample in house for a little over a week. Actually it has spent little time here, as I rode it home ...


Bringing bikes to the desert

Bringing bikes to the desert

Despite the fact that the most popular bicycling video on YouTube features a young Saudi burning a mean doughnut on his BMX, the Middle East has never been one of the world’s cycling hotbeds. That could change, as Giant Bicycles yesterday announced a big initiative launching in Dubai. The bicycle market is often boosted by ...


You think YOU know how to pick a line?

You think YOU know how to pick a line?

The gentlemen at Surly have announced that they’re now offering this tee-shirt, to complement the nascent utility bike of the same name (which has not yet rolled off the production line, though tongues are wagging). Surly management says: Warning: wearing this shirt may lead to laughter, disgust, or loss of employment. But if you’re not ...


Canadian bikes: strong and (almost) free

Canadian bikes: strong and (almost) free

Those clever Canadians. Not only do our friends in the True North have socialized medicine; they also have socialized bicycle riding. Yesterday, provincial leaders in Toronto announced that any new bike priced under $1000 will be available tax free in Ontario. British Columbia has already eliminated retail taxes on all bikes and bike accessories, and ...


Virtual downhill!

Virtual downhill!

As long as you’re blowing off work but still stuck in your cubicle, why not take this downhill big-rig for a ride through the teddy bears? (Don’t hit them; they appear to be made out of china and filled with C-4 or something. Also, someone appears to have replaced the air in your tires with ...


Bikes versus planes

Bikes versus planes

American air carriers all deserve a big Bronx cheer for refusing to carry non-folding bikes — or at least charging through the nose for it. For a time, many international carriers were glad to take bikes at no cost, but that’s beginning to change too. Why is the airline business — one of the least ...


Blast from the past – Mountain bikes in the New York Times

Blast from the past – Mountain bikes in the New York Times

 I happened to discover the very first article on mountain bikes to appear in the New York Times. It’s fun to see how times have changed… and how they’ve stayed the same. A STURDY MOUNTAIN BIKE WINS HEARTS IN THE CITYThe New York Times July 30, 1983, By JOSEPH GIOVANNINI ”My girlfriend whizzes right by ...


How to get your toddler up on two wheels in five minutes

How to get your toddler up on two wheels in five minutes

Americans are finally catching on to what Europeans have known for a while: Kids learn how to ride bikes much faster and fearlessly if you lose the training wheels — and while you’re at it, lose the pedals. That way, they learn how to balance safely on two wheels while scooting around with their feet, ...


Brain Fart: Hot Metal Baby!

Brain Fart: Hot Metal Baby!

Yesterday the Dirt Rag staff joined about 400 other cyclists, pedestrians and rollerbladers to open a vital cycling link in Pittsburgh that has been under construction since 2003. Hooray! For the Hot Metal Bridge! What is this molten steel-named span all about? Well, the Hot Metal Bridge was once a train bridge that actually transported ...


The sound of hope under your wheels

The sound of hope under your wheels

About 150 schoolkids competed in a bike race in Fallujah yesterday. The course was a 5 km sprint across what was formerly known as “the most dangerous city in Iraq.” But violence is down in Anbar province by as much as 50 percent, and that set the stage for the race. The winner, teenager Haitham ...


Aw, fer cute!

Aw, fer cute!

So, you’re hanging up the dirt bike for a few weeks and waiting for the ground to freeze. (You’re also doing hand-strengthening exercises so you can eventually get your Nokian studs onto your Mavic rims.) You’ve decided to put some energy into finishing off that lovely pink cruiser with the grip-tassles and the wicker basket. ...


The Dirt Rag Literature Contest Top 12

The Dirt Rag Literature Contest Top 12

A lot of people have contacted us asking about the other contestants in the Literature Contest. We got over 200 entries, and a lot of good stories. I read all of them—they came in really handy when I stepped in a groundhog hole, injuring my Achilles tendon, and was denied bike riding for a couple ...


Doing Good Work: Tom Ritchey in Africa

Doing Good Work: Tom Ritchey in Africa

A lot of people don’t realize what a rennaissance man Tom Ritchey is. He’s one of the original mountain bike inventors of Marin County, he’s the founder of Ritchey designs, and he’s likely the guy who supplied the headset, handlebars, stem, and/or seatpost on at least one of your bikes.Ritchey is also the founder of ...


Why cousins shouldn’t marry: Dirt bike edition

Why cousins shouldn’t marry: Dirt bike edition

Mountain bikers are probably the most ecumenical of all bike riders, at least the dudes I hang with. Often and without shame they’re willing to ride BMX, road, singlespeed, free — heck, they’ll even throw themselves at the track, even though fixies without brakes scare the dirt out of ’em. Their love of all two-wheeled ...


Pedal-drop: Know your trials-riding history

Pedal-drop: Know your trials-riding history

We all look on with undisguised envy when a trials rider shows up at the Wednesday Night Ride and hops around the picnic tables on his bicycle like it was a pogostick with a very low seat. Many bicyclists may not realize that trials riding originated in England and Spain on small lightweight motorcycles in ...


Commuter bikes: Turn it to up to 11!

Commuter bikes: Turn it to up to 11!

Rather than enjoying the dubious deals of Black Friday, I had a nice ride on the crossbike miles from the nearest shopping mall. But while I was dodging fat squirrels, it occurred to me that the biggest shopping day of the year might have been all that much “more blacker” (in the Spinal Tap sense ...


Brain Fart: Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer Day 2

Brain Fart: Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer Day 2

Earlier this year I rode my bicycle from Erie, Pennsylvania to Palmerton, Pennsylvania…over 500 miles in six days…to raise money for Cancer research. It was an amazing trip, and I can’t wait to do it again in 2009. The following is an excerpt from the journal I wrote on the trip. You can read all ...


2008 Fuel EX9: Size Matters!

2008 Fuel EX9: Size Matters!

In my previous post I talked about the fact that Trek offers the Fuel EX lineup two different "medium" sizes, and how I’ve always been a bit of a tweener—able to ride either a medium or a large bike, but often feeling that neither size fit me perfectly. The more I ride this (18.5") bike, the happier I am that larger Trek offer it in "multiple medium" sizing. The 18.5" bike fits me like a dream.


Bike Park Coming to Chicagoland

Bike Park Coming to Chicagoland

Back in September, I told you about Bikes Belong awarding a $10,000 grant to help the western chapter of the Chicago Area Mountain Bikers (CAMBr West) construct the Plainfield Bike Park. Recently, the CAMBr website, released details of the park design (which includes a pump track, skills section and dirt jumps)… This is the design ...


Lock ’em up

Lock ’em up

We dirt riders don’t worry too much about parking the bike — that’s why we carry no locks nor kickstands, right? Just more junk rattling around on the brake bumps, and attracting those rutting bucks. Just so, it’s good to note that Kryptonite is donating about 75 brand new bike racks to four American cities. ...


More dirt coming to the Olympics

More dirt coming to the Olympics

It’s hard to believe, but next year’s Olympics in Beijing will be the first time BMX racing will be a medal event. I mean, it’s been almost 30 years since the movie RAD came out. The BMX discipline (if you can call it that) joins track racing, road racing, cross-country mountain biking, and the time ...


The most-viewed bicycling YouTube of all time

The most-viewed bicycling YouTube of all time

In a twist on my well-established knack for stating the obvious, I thought I’d mention here what the most viewed YouTube bicycle video of all time is. It’s this video of a Saudi Arabian boy spinning big doughnuts on his BMX and actually burning rubber! This one has been viewed 1,914,250 times, and you’re about ...


Brain Fart: I Hate Road Biking

Brain Fart: I Hate Road Biking

I have a confession to make: I hate road biking. It’s strange to say it, that I hate any form of riding a bike. And to be clear, “hate” is too strong a word… “dislike” is probably more fitting. Whatever you call it, I just can’t see why people would choose to do it simply ...


The bearingless bike and the tubeless frame

The bearingless bike and the tubeless frame

Speaking of Shimano components, a few weeks ago I saw a prototype for a hubless bike — that’s right, a bike without any ball bearings, that has no physical contact point between wheel and frame, cranks and frame, or fork and frame. How’d they do that? Here’s how: All moving parts are suspended in powerful ...


Shimano Takes a Flyer

Shimano Takes a Flyer

Shimano is reporting that sales are way up — primarily due to Europeancustomers buying up Deore XT components — and as a result their stock, which trades on the Osaka Securities Exchange, got a big goose yesterday (actually at the end of trading today, which happened yesterday, because the international time line… uh, never mind). ...


Bikes vs. Cars vs. Trains vs. Speedboats!

Bikes vs. Cars vs. Trains vs. Speedboats!

In recent months, there’s been a proliferation of a certain type of media stunt that pits bike commuters against car drivers and public transit straphangers. In most larger urban settings, the winner is invariably the cyclist — owing no doubt to a somewhat, uh, lax approach to traffic signals and the rules of the road. ...


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