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Updated: 3 hours 34 min ago

The Man of Steel Video Series

7 hours 45 min ago

In the first episode of the upcoming The Man of Steel video series, Giovanni Battaglin takes you inside his workshop. That’s where he builds eponymous steel frames.

I can’t get enough handbuilt bike content and sharing the start of this eries for Battaglin’s emphasis on Columbus tubing. Over the course of the next 8 videos, Battaglin unveils the “secret formula” he has been using to make some of the most successful and iconic steel bikes in the late 80s and 90s, like Stephen Roche’s Triple Crown bike.

We wanted our customers to see how their steel frames are made. We’re proud of the final result, and we can’t wait to launch the complete series

That’s a big effort for a small company and while own production bikes, my custom is the go to. It was built right here in Seattle by Bill Davidson. Looking at Giovanni Battaglin’s site, the Power+ Disc model appeals to me the most for the fillet-brazing, front and rear axles with a carbon fork.

Stop Steel Features
  • Fillet –brazed steel frame
  • Columbus Spirit HSS tubeset
  • Carbon tapered fork
  • Tapered head tube 1”1/8 1”1/2
  • English BB
  • Front and rear thru-axle 142×12 mm
  • Head parts and seat collar included

While I prefer Ti, not going to argue with a high-quality steel bike. The last one I rode was a Wilier, another Italian brand and wrote about it in this post.

If you are into the bike, as a hobby or lifestyle, I strongly recommend you add a steel whip to your quiver. It’s like vinyl for an audiophile, shooting b/w for a photographer, or eating street-vending noodles for a foodie. Columbs tubing has stood the test of time too. And, will give you that steel is real ride quality you’ll never get with a carbon bike. It won’t be as fast, but that’s not what riding a classic like a a bike from Battaglin is about.


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MIPS Responds to WaveCel

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 10:35

There’s nothing brands in the bike biz like more than out standardizing each other with propriety products. That’s for sure and today MIPS responds to Wavecel with a resounding, “prove it.”

I noticed this in the study Trek cites too about their anti-slip helmet liner. The difference between their WaveCel and MIPS-equipped helmets are negligible. And, only slightly better than Koroyd that’s in Smith helmets. Here’s a quote from MIPS

Preliminary test results of WaveCel helmets by MIPS cannot substantiate these claims. While further testing is warranted, MIPS cannot see that the helmets perform in a way that the claims Bontrager/WaveCel makes in the comparison between WaveCel and other helmets/technologies.

Both have 5-star-ratings screenshot from Virgina Tech.

While Trek, MIPS, and Koroyd hash this out. What you need to know is if your current helmet doesn’t include an anti-slip system to keep it on your head in a crash then it’s a good time to replace it.

MIPs, Wavecel, Koroyd, and Composite Fusion from Kali work significantly better than helmets without a retention system. With all of them performing better, find one that’s comfortable and fits your head.

MIPS Responds to WaveCel

Also, pay attention to how well the helmet moves air. The first iteration of Smith’s helmet negated the Venturi effect and was too steamy for me. Later, Smith reduced the amount of Koroyd in the helmets. MIPS can fatigue your scalp during a ride because of  padding and straps touching your head. The MIPS inside a Lazer helmet, for example, I just can’t wear. The POC won’t even go on my head.

Any of those brand may fit you perfectly. I haven’t worn a WaveCel, but of the other three styles, Kali is the most comfortable and what I wear daily. In calling out Trek, what we can hope happens is more testing.


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Bontrager WaveCel Helmets

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 20:06

Today Trek introduced  Bontrager WaveCel Helmets with a safety technology similar to Koroyd and what Smith launched 5 years ago.

WaveCel, Koroyd, and MIPS deploy retention systems inside a helmet that prevent it from sliding around or popping off your head on impact. Kali Protective has a similar, but lesser known technology called Composite Fusion.

The reason Trek hyped WaveCel as the most innovative product they’ve developed in the past 30 years is they’re marketing it with science, studies, statistics, a university, a white paper, and this statement

We are cycling enthusiasts on a mission to help more people enjoy the benefits of biking and to do that with the most advanced protection possible.

Safety First, is a First

Of course, bringing more safety products to market is good for cycling. And,  Trek seems to be the only bike company with a safety culture that started with daytime running lights. Perhaps that’s why WaveCel is so important to them and was teased for the past two weeks.

Because the road market is down without anything new since aero and motors, the media and cyclists alike were expecting something quite different.

If your current helmet doesn’t include a system to keep it on your head in a crash like any of the 4 I’ve talked about in the post, it’s a good time to replace it. The study cited by Trek, indicates all the systems work significantly better than helmets without a retention system.

Find one that’s comfortable and fits your head. Pay attention to how well the helmet moves air. The first iteration of Smith’s helmet negated the Venturi effect and was too steamy for me. Later, Smith reduced the amount of Koroyd in the helmets. MIPS can fatigue your scalp during a ride because there are padding and straps touching your head. The MIPS inside a Lazer helmet, for example, I just can’t wear. The POC won’t even go on my head.

Any of those may fit you perfectly. I haven’t worn a WaveCel, but of the other three styles, Kali is the most comfortable.

How WaveCel Works

WaveCel absorbs energy on impact. The layers of the gel-like material move independently and flex until the cell walls crumple and then glide, actively absorbing direct and rotational energy and redirecting it away from your head.

This three-step change in material structure—flex, crumple, glide—is remarkably effective at dispersing the energy from an impact. Nearly 99 times out of 100, WaveCel can help prevent concussions from common cycling accidents, according to Trek.

Bontrager WaveCel Helmet Pricing

Bontrager WaveCel helmets are initially being offered in four models:

  • XXX WaveCel Road Helmet ($299.99)
  • Blaze WaveCel MTB Helmet ($299.99)
  • Specter WaveCel Road Helmet ($149.99)
  • Charge WaveCel Commuter Helmet ($149.99)

Find them online and at your local Trek store.

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ALLITE Concept Bike

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 10:56

Magnesium alloys, like Super Magnesium have been around for a long time. This ALLIT concept bike features “Super Magnesium” by its US manufacturer ALLITE.

Elemental magnesium is a very low density metal. Therefore, when alloyed with other elements the resulting metal tubes have really impressive physical characteristics.

However, alloys with great strength traits that are formed into tubes suitable are notoriously difficult to weld. For instance, that’s why you see magnesium alloys cast or machined into components.

The ALLITE concept bike at NAHBS is really about marketing the material to framebuilders.

Above all, success for ALLITE in the bike industry, requires convincing framebuilders that their “Super Magnesium” material has been tweaked to overcome weldability issues.

In addition, there will need to be a source of fittings. Those include

  • Dropouts
  • Bottom bracket shells
  • Integrated headtubes

The fittings must be in the same alloy. In other words, the current vendors who cater to framebuilders don’t have those items in magnesium. Ultimately, this is important in the age of thru-axle dropouts with flatmount disc calipers.

In a flat market, it’s great to see innovators. Especially, with a challenging material like magnesium. I won’t be at NABHS this year.

It starts this weekend in Sacramento. Magnesium as a frame material is a post Cold War affect. It came from demilitarized Russian sources. I saw a frame or two come through the shop back then. The material is lighter and stronger than aluminum and cheaper than carbon. ALLITE launched last year at Interbike.

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BUILT Presented by PEARL iZUMi

Wed, 03/13/2019 - 08:53

BUILT by PEARL iZUMi is a series of videos created to celebrate handmade bicycles. They partnered with Shimano and visual documentarian Justin Balog, to feature Breadwinner, Horse Cycles, and Sklar.

Three of the four-part video series is out and shared with us. I’ve embedded Sklar here. Watch the episodes about Breadwinner and Horse on our YouTube channel. The photos are on Google.

And, it’s great to see niche builders get the attention they deserve. We’ve been posting handmade (or handbuilt) bikes since we started this blog. Those include my bikes and Mark V’s collection.

Horse Cycles

The latest of those, the Modal, is a rolling test jig and is now configured as a 650b rando style bike. I carry my cameras in the front boxy bag.

View this post on Instagram

This bike is a workhorse to say the least. It’s been and done so many things. Inside that boxy bag is a camera.

A post shared by Byron (@bikehugger) on Mar 3, 2019 at 2:02pm PST

Speaking of handbuilt bikes, NAHBS starts this weekend in Sacramento where builders like the three mentioned in this post show off their wares.

NAHBS Poster Pearl is Back

Next to a worn out pair of Time shoes in my garage, I’m sure are Pearl shorts. It’s great to see them back in the business and from what I hear, they’re giving Assos and Castelli a run for their money. They now offer the best value in gear. Ultimately, PI Dry is like Castelli’s Nano, but more durable. It’s the fabric they use for tights.

Peal’s gear covers more bases than anyone else. They have five different fits, so no matter how fat or thin you are, they have stuff that will fit you. Same for your budget.

Pear’s gear covers more bases than anyone else. They have five different fits, so no matter how fat or thin you are, they have stuff that will fit you. No one can touch their $100 bibs. I expect the new $250 bib will rival Assos that costs $200 more.

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TIME Launches New Shoes, First Since 2013

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 17:16

Since the beginning, TIME’s longstanding mission has been to offer products that combine comfort and performance for the modern cyclist. Finally, After a 6 year absence from the market TIME launches new shoes.

Their long-awaited OSMOS line is back.

I’m sure I have a pair of original TIMEs in a box somewhere and put many miles on them.

The new high-end shoe range, was researched and designed in their Italian development center. The TIME OSMOS 15, 12 and 10 combined with their pedals provides a combination of comfort, support, and stiffness for maximum pedaling efficiency.


Price Range

TIME’s new shoes range in price from $250 to $400. In the past 6 years, they’ve been doing their homework on comfort. After all, gone are the days of a shoe hurting your foot if it does, find another pair.

  • Materials: Microfibers, PU film & Textile
  • Outsole: Polyamide + 20% carbon fibers
  • Inner sole: Sensor 2 Mono-material
  • Lacing: 1 boa IP1
  • Colors: White, Black
  • Weight: 480 g (size 42)
  •  Indicative price: $250.
  • Materials: Microfibers, PU film & Textile
  • Outsole: Carbon composite +
  • Insert Inner sole: Sensor 2 Mono-material
  • Lacing: 1 boa IP1 & 1 Velcro.
  • Colors: Red-White, Black-White
  • Weight: 500 g (size 42).
  • Indicative price: $325.
  • Materials: Microfibers, PU film & Textile
  • Outsole: Full Carbon
    Inner Sole: Sensor 2 + Bi-material
  • Lacing: 2 boa IP1.
  • Colors: White, Black
  • Weight: 480 g (size 42).
  • Indicative price: $400.

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Take a Detour

Mon, 03/04/2019 - 10:59

The aim of the project was to send a bicycle-based artist to ride the Japanese Odyssey and produce work based on their experience that encourages us to take a detour. That artist, James Robertson, has now published his series of medium format photographs with words and they are lovely.

So is the Art of Bicycle Travel. It reminds of the early days here at Bike Hugger. And, impeccably timed, I’ve been shooting with medium format cameras in the nooks and crannies of Seattle. Mark V toured Japan too and don’t miss Cycle Around Japan from NHK.

The Japanese Odyssey is an unsupported bicycle journey across Japan, through 12 checkpoints. It allows riders to choose their own path, deep into dense forests, hidden country roads, and through neon cities. As an endurance cycling event with no winner, exploration is the emphasis and riders have just 10 days to complete the 2,600km route.

James’ travel log reports each day and his observations like

On a bicycle, you see everything.

The film camera requires a slower, more formal approach. this in turn gets me off the bike and really forces me to decide what images to make.

James and I have so much in common…I’ve written the same about film. Here’s his bike, a Ritchey Outback equipped with Apidura and he’s wearing 7Mesh kit.

I strongly believe you should get out on your own adventures and with gear being so good these days, there’s nothing stopping you. Just the motivation to put in that many miles.

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Selle Royal Supports Cyclists

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 21:15

For our European readers, Selle Royal’s latest project ‘Support Cyclists On The Road’ offers free maintenance checks and cups of coffee to cyclists in ten cities across Europe.

Likewise, I hope they bring the project here.

Setting off this Friday (March 1st) from the Selle Royal base in Pozzoleone, the Van will make stopes in Padua, Milan, Innsbruck, Munich, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Düsseldorf, Turin and Mantova.

At each location, a dedicated team will set up the Selle Royal van along various cycling hotspots. In addition, the team will invite cyclists to stop for a free bike check and an authentic Italian Bristot coffee while they wait; the ideal solution to those who don’t have time for – or sometimes overlook – the basics of bike maintenance.

Selle Royal is very proud of the new project and excited to what crowds the yellow Van attracts. Selle Royal’s philosophy believes in community and their extensive range of saddles are derived from decades of research and development in the industry. Commenting on the project, Lara Cunico, Marketing Manager at Selle Royal, said

This year, to further improve riding experiences, we have the chance to offer cyclists something more than just our comfort – we are meeting them on the road to offer our expertise, useful bike tips and a little refreshment. We will bring some fun and entertainment, and look forward to an exchange of experiences with the communities; a great way to encourage and promote a sustainable cycling lifestyle!

Hello Selle! The road market here in the states could use the support too.

Support Dates and Cities

Padua, Italy
1-2 March 2019 – Piazza Portello

Milan, Italy
7 March 2019 – Upcycle Bike Cafè, via Ampère (pm)
8-9 March 2019 – Largo la Foppa

Innsbruck, Austria
12-13 March 2019 – Marktplatz

Berlin, Germany
15-16 March 2019 – Wingwheels, Kastanienallee
27-28 April 2019 – VELOBerlin, Tempelhof Airport

Rotterdam, The Netherlands
18 March 2019 – Eendrachtsplein

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
20-21 March 2019 – Wibautstraat

Düsseldorf, Germany
23-24 March 2019 – Cyclingworld, Hansaallee

Munich, Germany
27 March 2019 – Wiener Platz
28 March 2019 – Geschwister-Scholl-Platz

Turin, Italy
30-31 March 2019 – Corso Castelfidardo

Mantova, Italy
17-19 May 2019 – Bam, Lungolago Gonzaga

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How to Purchase a Sony a9 for $1000

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 11:03

I just bought the Sony flagship a9 for the price of their entry-level a6400 The Trade Up/Trade-In event is that good. You just can’t beat purchasing a Sony a9 for $1000. How it works is Sony is offering a $500 instant rebate on the a9 plus an additional $500 with a trade. So that’s $1000 off.

Trade In and Up

Then a retailer like Glazers or Kenmore Camera in the Seattle area deducts the value of your trade from the purchase. B&H is offering the trade up online. You ship them your cameras for evaluation and they make an offer. The event ends on March 30th.

Grand Targhee 18 taken with the a9.

I traded in two DSLRS I had plus their lenses and the price was about $3000. Of course, your trade ins will vary. I added the battery grip, which also has a $50 rebate, and a spare battery.

My total purchase was $4929 and the value of the rebates plus trade was $3975. Sales tax is a whopping 10% in Seattle, so your total could be even lower.

Sony’s most expensive camera has the biggest rebate, of course. If you’re interested in the high-rez a7r III or basic model a7 III those are part of the Trade Up/Trade-In event too listed below.

Instant Rebate and Trade-in Bonus Instant Rebates on Sony FE Lenses

Of these lenses, I’d suggest the 24-70mm. That’s shown in the photo above from Paris and a good all arounder.

Instant Rebates on Sony APS-C E-Mount Lenses

The 24mm for $100 off is my choice here. Use it for street shooting with a camera like the a6400.

Firmware Update

If you’ve been thinking of upgrade to a Sony mirrorless camera, now is the best time. The a9 was on sale during the holidays last year for $1000 off, but not with the trade-in value.

The best part is next month when the a9 firmware is released, I’ll have almost an entirely new camera. I tried the a9 firmware in San Diego when it was announced. It delivers enhanced autofocus performance and new functionality for the a9; including real-time subject tracking.

Of all the Sony cameras available, the a9 fits my shooting style the best; especially, when I’m taking photos while riding my bike. As I’ve shared, it puts me in the moment with no blackout, 24pfs, and real-time tracking. The camera calculates the focus, locking onto a subject, and the photographer can freely compose. The importance of this technological jump is the focus sticks on the person or subject you initiated, no matter how erratically they move, like in a sprint.

Just think about that for wedding, engagement, event, family, moments photography. My friends at DPR published this video demonstrating how well Sony’s tech works.

And, I got a camera with it for $1K. I call that a bargain.

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Tern GSD at The Seattle Bike and Outdoor Show

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:31

This weekend you can demo the Tern GSD at the Seattle Bike Show. A couple of weekends ago, I used it to get around Seattle documenting the viaduct and tunnel project.

It was my mobile studio and I took photos while riding it like this one

Battery Street Tunnel, taken while riding the Tern GSD.

and this one.

Apparently there were souvenirs?!

In case you missed it, Seattle’s Waterfront hasn’t changed this much since the Gold Rush. The elevated highway that runs along it has been replaced by a tunnel and is being torn down. The Viaduct Series I’m working on is capturing this historical event. I couldn’t have got the shots I did without the GSD.

That’s because Joe Towner from Pacific Northwest Medium format and I zoomed ahead of the Cascade ride and also maneuvered around the 10s of thousands of people saying goodbye to the viaduct and hello to the tunnel.

Joe was on the Specialized Turbo, another bike that serves its purpose. I was like the gear barge and he was the scout ship. As with any metro area, there’s no parking and it’s gridlocked.

With the GSD, I got shit done, literally.

The Tern GSD in the new SR 99 tunnel just before the Cascade ride. We rode through first to get ahead of the crowd and then took their photos. You can demo the GSD this weekend in Seattle and read the story on our blog.

Hundreds of Pounds Carried

At this start of this time-lapse from the Cascade ride, you can see me and Joe. The GSD carried a hundred pounds of gear plus me, from West Seattle to downtown, and back.

The best part is I barely put a dent in the battery life. You can demo a GSD and consider what you’ll get done with it too.

The Seattle Bike and Outdoor Show is at the CenturyLink Field Event Center and runs from both Saturday and Sunday from 9 to 5. They’ll have a test track. I can’t promise there’s camera gear for you to carry, but you’ll get the idea of how capable Tern’s cargo bike is.



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The Most Snow Seattle Has Seen in the Past 75 years

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 17:01

Occasionally, I’ll dabble in drone photography. When the situation calls for it, like the most snow Seattle has seen in the past 75 years. This is the approximate view from above Schmitz Park looking out at Alki Point. In the distance, Bainbridge Island and beyond that the Olympic Mountains.

Cyclists are like the postal service, they’ll ride in anything and I’m sure they were out. As I was writing this post, I saw a flash of green and yup, a bike went sliding by. To get down the hill, he hobby horsed it. That’s when you’ve got booth feet off the pedals and sliding on the ground. I don’t know how the rest of his ride turned out, but our hill he cleared.

Snow Day 5, this guy goes down the hill.

Good for him. I’m gonna wait another day. 3 more inches of snowfall is expected and we’re ready for it. Regarding the cold, read this from Issue 30 of our magazine

Indoctrination into serious road riding and racing happens by degrees, much like peeling layers from an onion. But there comes a point when cycling ceases to be an expression of the best of times. We experience the same transition in romantic relationships. At first, we date. Our most hallowed hours of the weekend are saved for the object of our affection, but soon, we can’t get enough of our heart’s desire and we begin to spend as much time as possible with them. For romantic partners, that means trips to the grocery store together and cleaning house. For cyclists, it means riding in the cold.

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MacBook Air a Laptop for Cyclists

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 08:31

My latest for Digital Photo Pro is about the MacBook Air a laptop for cyclists. And, how photographers are able to carry more power and capacity with far less weight than ever before.

Traveling Light With Mirrorless Cameras

As I shared, “Last fall and over the winter, I flew to Paris, Austin, Maui, and back to Seattle. I carried the a9, a set of Sigma lenses, the new MacBook Air and a rugged SSD. That setup worked marvelously well. I packed the gear in a Mission Workshop bag, like the Integer.”

Mini SSD

I reviewed the Integer for our magazine last year. If you’re into compartments like I am (v. a rucksack), it’s a great bag(the Vandal is on Amazon for $325).

No Compromise Compact

Traveling light used to involve compromises but not anymore. The latest MacBook Air and a camera like the a9 or even the just launched a6400 means you’ve got more than enough of everything (from the camera and computer) to get the shoot done. And, especially when you rely on a service like iCloud to offload space-hogging documents. My travel kit with the MacBook Air is

That’s about $6K, plus or minus a hundred dollars for your choice of bag. The grand total is a couple grand less if you bought the a7 III or an older model mirrorless camera of your choice, like one of the new Panasonics, Canons, or Nikons. And, I recommend you do.

Paris 18

At 2.75 pounds and 0.61 inches thin, the MacBook Air is certainly lighter than what I used to carry with me. What you need to know is the retina screen and powerful dual cores go to work, but the fast SSD is what makes it so capable. Even for short videos, like the kind I publish.

Read the rest of the story on Digital Photo Pro where I discuss the performance, keyboard, and sound. That was what surprised me the most about the MacBook Air, the sound from the speakers filled a room and I don’t carry a Bluetooth speaker with me any longer.

Carrying less weight is what I’m always trying to do.




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Seattle Snow 2019

Sun, 02/10/2019 - 09:02

Seattle Snow 2019 was epic in Seattleites reactions to it mostly. If you wondering, the reason Seattleites are such pussies about the snow is a big chunk of the populous just moved here AND it’s a wet, icy snow on coastal, steep roads. Also this one time, WSDOT decided to not salt the roads. That was a bad idea that people are still getting over.

Shelves are cleared out, the organic section of course.

Once it actually happened, everyone relaxed, and we got out in it, of course.

6 inches of snow accumulated where we live. Double and triple the snow fell north and south.

Of course we rode in it.

F Yeah Snow Day

The National Weather Service is predicting two more storms: this afternoon and tomorrow. Today, we’re stocking up on supplies and going for a ride again.

Winter Storm Watch has been issued for western Washington. There will be TWO systems that impact the area. The 1st system arrives Sunday afternoon-night with light accumulations. The 2nd system pushes through Monday-Tuesday.

We got the gear and the bikes…but nothing is good on black ice. Biking in the snow is like any other snowsport. Your fun is entirely dependent on the conditions. It can be crusty and perfect or greasy and frustrating. You should totally try it.

The other thing, it’s not that cold in the Pacific Northwest, but it’s a wet cold. A deep in your bones cold. When I get out, it’s with embrocation and pocket warmers in the gloves and boots.

The best winter-riding tip I can give you, is keep your hands and feet warm. Your bike will work fine.

When I was still racing, I wrote editorial for Issue 30 of our magazine

To be sure, cycling in the cold, if done well, is a submission. It is a submission to the temperature, to the wind, to all the crueler elements. It is a submission to the larger demands of the season, an admission that we cannot hope to be at peak form year-round. Even so, it does take a force of will to leave home when temps reach freezing. A frozen water bottle is only cool as part of a story told months later. The humility required to keep the heart rate in check requires banishing the ego for months at a time.

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Seattle is Somewhat Snowy and Mostly Cold

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 18:45

It was the first snow of the year in Seattle, so I sent the drone up for a look around. Most of it was blown away by high winds yesterday, but it’s still cold. Seattle is Seattle somewhat snowy and mostly cold.

I’ll ride in most any condition, but not black ice. That didn’t stop other cyclists, 55 were counted on the Spokane Street Bridge.

Cyclists are like the postal service, in any weather. 50 of them cross the Spokane Street bridge yesterday, on the coldest day of the year.

— byron@bikehugger (@bikehugger) February 5, 2019

It’s not that cold, but it’s a wet cold…deep in your bones cold. If I was in Park City, or any other dry climate, I’d ride a fat bike for sure.

And, good luck to those that did venture out. Keep the rubber side up.

The thing about modern cycling is it’s a 4 season sport now. The gear, bikes, and all are so good….there’s little to keep you from riding, except the black ice. Much has improved since I wrote about the snow for Wired. That includes access with destination grooming trails for cyclists, like the Methow Valley.

A couple of seasons ago, I wrote this

Fat tires open up new possibilities and in the years since the niche first emerged from Alaska, the product has only gotten better. Manufacturers have pretty much decided on a width (4.8″ wide), lightened up the bikes, and tightened the geo so they ride less like monster trucks, and instead like a regular old mountain bike with moto tires.

Fatbiking in the snow is like any other snowsport. Your fun is entirely dependent on the conditions. It can be crusty and perfect or greasy and frustrating. You should totally try it.

On the dirt.

This nice man here, David Atcheson, maintains the trails for Methow Fat Bike and works at the shop with Treks.

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Overlooked No More: Major Taylor

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 11:17

Overlooked No More: Major Taylor is a vignette from The Times about a World Champion bicyclist who didn’t receive a proper obituary when he died. Randal C. Archibold is the sports editor of The Times and wrote it.

The Black Cyclone was a squat strapping man with huge thighs. Prejudice undermined his fame. I’ve written about Major Taylor a few times and in context to the great work being done to get youth into cycling.

Last year, Major Taylor was featured in a Hennesy marketing campaign about a legendary Madison race.

Life is too short for a man to hold bitterness in his heart.

His self-published 1928 autobiography, The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World: The Story’s Indomitable Courage and Success Against Great Odds shares how he overcame.

His perseverance matched the athletic achievements including, one mentioned by the paper in 1897.

A Legacy Kept Alive

The French celebrated his dominant form. A 1988 Biography, Major Taylor: The Extraordinary Career of a Champion Bicycle Racer expresses his confident identity. Another published in 2008, Major: A Black Athlete, a White Era, and the Fight to Be the World’s Fastest Human Being covers his later life of bad investments and a broken marriage.

After all, the public’s fading interest in cycling as the automobile became more popular contributed to his decline. His dedication to never racing on Sunday was the inspiration for this blues song. The nickname “Major” came from the outfits he wore outside a bike shop.

The most important aspects of his legacy is his daughter. She was determined to keep the Major Taylor story alive. As a result, a group of former racers had him reburied in proper grave. And, there’s a memorial outside the Worcester Public Library.

The plaque reads

A credit to his race who always gave out his best.

The Times did a good thing here writing an overdue obit for an athlete that inspires today. Overlooked reveals the stories of remarkable people like Major Taylor.

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3T Exploro Speed

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 19:00

Now in its second generation, the Exploro certainly has made its mark on the gravel market. It’s a bike for racers and those wanting to reduce their stable (3 bikes in one). For those who ride in the Pacific Northwest, the Exploro is a choice for the variety of tire sizes. Mark V owns one and has run 32s to 47s on it, including mountain bike tires.

And, everyone that has a gravel bike knows they’re often used on pavement too. The Exploro is fast enough to line up at your local crit. You could even race CX if it wasn’t too muddy and you weren’t worried about carrying it on your hip instead of a shoulder.

Going Slow Faster

Shipping today, the Exploro speed, which as the name implies is more road than dirt. Distinguished by the build kit, what you need to know is all the pieces have come together for 3T and they’re expressing a point of view on the market with complete bikes.

Looking at their current line up, the Exploro Speed is the same flatmount frameset but with roadie-optimized kit.

You should get this bike for the crank. I have the Strada in on demo, with the same build. It’s remarkably advanced for those into going fast on the road.

Even if you’re happy riding 23s and rim brakes, 3T is releasing the most interesting products in road/gravel and this is an important milestone for them.

3T Exploro Speed Specs

You can build the 3T Exploro Speed several ways. I suggest the Torno Team and it costs $5500.

Frame Exploro LTD Frame sizes S-M-L-XL Frame colors Stealth Black Fork 3T FANGO LTD flatmount disk brake w/12mm thru axle Stem Arx II Team Stealth Handlebar Aeronova Team Stealth Headset 2 x 10mm & 2 x 5mm PC headset spacers Shifters SRAM Force 1 Hydraulic DoubleTap Rear Derailleur SRAM Force 1 Type 2.1 Medium Cage Crankset SRAM Quarq Prime Power Ready BB386 w/ 30mm 7050 AL spindle (optional upgrade to 3T Torno LTD) Chainring SRAM Force XSYNC, 46T (3T Torno crank ships with custom 44T chainring) Bottom Bracket Aluminum / Nylon Press fit cups for BB386EVO with 30mm i.d. sealed cartridge bearings Chain SRAM 11-speed XX1 Powerchain® II with PowerLock® connecting linkSRAM 11-speed XX1 Powerchain® II with PowerLock® connecting link Freewheel / Cassette SRAM 11-speed PowerGlide 11-36T Brake Levers SRAM Force CX1 Hydraulic DoubleTap Brakes SRAM Force Flat Mount Hydraulic Disc w/ SRAM CenterlineX 160mm Centerlock rotor Saddle Fizik Antares Versus Wheelset Discus C35 TEAM Stealth (700c) Tires Continental Grand Prix 4000 II S 700x28c

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Osprey Launched Bike Lumbar Packs

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 12:23

While I’m busy with Sony in San Diego, Osprey launched bike lumbar packs. The Seral and Savu feature Osprey’s new bike-specific, angled hipbelt and compression straps for stability when riding.

One carries a lumbar reservoir, the other water bottles—it looks like it’ll appeal to a minimalist looking for something other than a traditional over-the-shoulder pack or an alternative to Camelbak.

Specifications Osprey Seral | Savu

Shared Features Include:

  • Bike-specific angled hipbeltAirmesh wrap hipbelt with zippered fabric pockets provide stability and breathability
  • ErgoPull waist strap closure system allows for proper, snug and stable fit
  • Airscape Lumbar Backpanel with extra thick ridged foam with center air channel for excellent ventilation and stability
  • Easily accessible zippered main compartment
  • Internal tool organization
  • Dual zippered hipbelt pockets
  • Front panel bungee for extra clothing

SERAL | Features Integrated Hydraulics 1.5L Reservoir | $85

  • Direct access zip path to reservoir compartment
  • Magnetic hipbelt bite valve attachment
  • Hydraulics 1.5L Lumbar Reservoir included
  • Volume: 7 Liters

SAVU | Features Water Bottle Carry | $55

  • Dual tuckaway water bottle sleeves
  • Volume: 4 Liters

Read more about the new packs on Osprey’s site. I should have a pack into demo soon.

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Riding Through the Period of Maximum Constraint

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 16:22

If you haven’t already heard, our local Seattle news cycle is dominated with the permanent Closure of the Alaskan way viaduct; that’s the Period of Maximum Constraint I wrote about for Wired.

How to survive, plan, circumvent or outright avoid what will be a long three weeks followed with a new tunnel and loss of exits mid tunnel.

I stopped by Westside Bicycle in my neighborhood to see what commuters are considering to get around.

Demos Available

There, I spoke with Mitchell Morris. Mitchell stated there has been a significant increase for commuting by bicycle especially for this time of year.  He mentioned Westside Bicycles, Ride & Decide program that has added a small fleet of Specialized Vado 3.0 (electric assist) bicycles that gives the customer a 48-hour demo with a nominal fee applied towards their future purchase with or without assist.

Their other demos are Giant Trance & Pique. Specialized Tarmac, Enduro and Stumpjumper with 24- and 48-hour terms.

The Specialized Vado Demo comes well equipped with charger, pannier, lock & helmet. Mitch stated, if a customer picks it up Wednesday evening you can give it a try for two full commute days and drop off Saturday morning.

Pedal assist bikes have been pretty popular with new riders tending to be intimidated by pace of traffic, hills and a lack of fitness.

Not all electric bikes are the same and they have some different models from Giant and Flash to compare for a more traditional trail test.

If you’ve got cargo to carry, consider the Tern GSD too. The best part is getting to work sweat free, after a good workout. Also, the waterfront has probably never been quieter.

Taking photos of the #Viaduct from @smithtower and it's eerily quiet without the double-decker din of motors and tires on concrete. The black strip along the waterfall is where it still stands for 3 more weeks @wsdot @CityofSeattle

— byron@bikehugger (@bikehugger) January 13, 2019

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Tour Down Under Debuting Track Cycling

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 06:43

This year, the South Australian festival of cycling will include a night of track cycling featuring the world’s best. Tour Down Under debuting track cycling is great for the sport that could use a boost in good publicity.

Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur has finally realized his dream to bring track racing into the race. The move is a first step towards expanding the Tour Down Under to include all cycling disciplines.

Well, probably not CX.

Turtur, a former Olympic track cyclist, said the new event would give fans the chance to experience track cycling.

The Advertiser Track Down Under will challenge athletes in their best disciplines.

Exciting Racing

Tour Down Under debuting track cycling will be held at the Adelaide SuperDrome on Friday evening (January 11). It will feature eliminations, heartstarters and scratch races as well as a 1000m Madison Time Trial. Champion sprinters Matthew Glaetzer and Stephanie Morton will headline.

World Sprint Champion Matthew Glaetzer and Commonwealth Games Champion Stephanie Morton going head to head with the best competitors from around Australia.

Italy’s Elia Viviani and Denmark’s Michael Mørkøv have also signed up to race. Deceuninck-Quickstep Teammate Mørkøv won silver at Beijing 2008, and is looking ahead to Tokyo 2020 with the return of his preferred Madison event.

“Elia and I are going to participate and we both very look forward to it,” Morkov said. “We are both good track riders, we brought our own track bikes here and we are very happy that we get the opportunity to race against the Australian guys.”

The UCI sanctioned Women’s Tour Down kicked off today, with Stage 1 of the men’s event scheduled to take place on Tuesday, January 15. Watch highlights on YouTube and find the race from you cable operator or streaming online. The debut of track cycling is on the 11th.

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Northface Launched Futurelight

Tue, 01/08/2019 - 21:28

At CES, Northface launched Futurelight a new textile with bold claims like it’s the most advanced breathable-waterproof outerwear technology. Whether or not Futurelight will redefine the future of technical outerwear and change how we experience waterproof performance remains to be seen.


Breathable, waterproof fabrics are very hard to do. Just now, after years of working on it, Gore is making a stretch version of the Shakedry jacket that evolved from their active shell and it works exceptionally well.

Nanospun technology.

No matter the material or nanospinning technical approach, a manufacture still has to differentiate water molecule size and water vapor molecule size. One can pass through the membrane and the other can’t. Then it’s a determination of how light, durable, and flexible the material is.

I haven’t seen much detail on the Northface Futurelight besides the PR.

Maybe it’s awesome.

Unless they’re addressing for high-aerobic categories like bike/run/nordic ski, I’m very skeptical of any meaningful difference in performance.

That’s because mountaineering just doesn’t have the same sweat transport requirement as the more aerobic actives. And, especially in a proving ground like Pacific Northwest.

It could be applicable to fat biking in the snow. That The North Face is using completely recycled materials and non-PFC DWR (durable water repellent) coating as well is interesting. Because that’s the most eco-friendly material the company has produced.


LAS VEGAS, Jan. 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — In Las Vegas today, The North Face unveiled FUTURELIGHT, a new breathable waterproof material set to revolutionize the future of technical fabrics. Developed using innovative Nanospinning technology and sustainable practices, it is the most advanced breathable-waterproof outerwear material available.

“Right now, the expectation from a waterproof product is something loud, crunchy, muggy and unpackable. With FUTURELIGHT we can theoretically use the technology to make anything breathable, waterproof and for the first time, comfortable,” Global General Manager of Mountain Sports at The North Face Scott Mellin said. “Imagine a waterproof t-shirt, sweater or even denim that you actually want to wear. Today we start with jackets, tents and gloves, but the possibilities could be endless.”
With FUTURELIGHT technology, The North Face is also setting a new standard in sustainability through new practices in the  fabric creation process. These advances have allowed the brand to responsibly create  three-layer garments through use of recycled fabrics and production that cuts chemical consumption, all while being produced in a cleaner, solar-powered factory.

Pioneering Technology

The Nanospinning process used to create FUTURELIGHT fabric, has allowed the brand’s designers to add unprecedented air permeability into the membrane of a fabric for the first time. The process creates Nano-level holes, allowing for incredible porosity while still maintaining total waterproofness, letting air move through the material and provide more venting than ever before.

Additionally, Nanospinning gives designers the ability to adjust weight, stretch, breathability, durability, construction (knit or woven), and texture to match athletes’ and consumers’ activity or environment. Designers can customize the fabric for specific usage, for example, by increasing breathability in garments for aerobic pursuits or increasing protection for harsh, wet climates. The ability to adjust these factors in fabric construction is unprecedented in apparel, equipment and accessories.

“Disruption is one of the key elements in the DNA of The North Face brand. It is what our company was founded on and, to this day, we still believe that disruption is the key to future growth,” Mellin said. “Our teams are constantly thinking about the future of our product technology portfolio and how we can push the limits to create the next best innovation for our athletes and consumers, which is how FUTURELIGHT came to life and why it will forever change what consumers expect from their product.”

Athlete Tested

FUTURELIGHT fabric was born in the mountains, inspired by The North Face global team of athletes looking for increased performance and breathability in their waterproof gear. The material has since been tested extensively by the brand’s global athlete team and is expedition proven through use in the highest peaks and harshest environments, including the Himalayas’ Lhotse and Everest.

While testing FUTURELIGHT fabric The North Face team alpinist, Jim Morrison climbed, and skied three 8000 Meter peaks 2018, including Everest, Cho Oyu and the world’s first descent of Lhotse Couilor with his partner Hilaree Nelson.

“During the past two years, our world class team of climbers, skiers, alpinists, snowboarders and trail runners has been rigorously testing FUTURELIGHT across every discipline to prove this technology in varying weather conditions and climates all over the world,” Nelson, The North Face athlete team captain, said. “In all my years in the mountains, I’ve never experienced a product that moved and performed as well as FUTURELIGHT. It is creating a new paradigm for what I expect out of a waterproof material.”

Beyond The North Face athletes internal testing labs, the brand worked with third-party independent experts including UL (Underwriters Laboratories) a world-renowned safety certification testing organization, to push the limit of the FUTURELIGHT fabric. UL predominately tests waterproofing for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an organization that certifies first responder gear for firefighters, EMS and hazmat responders. The test methods developed were 50 percent more stringent than the current standard for the Outdoor Industry.

“The liquid integrity test for FUTURELIGHT is even more extreme compared to the NFPA testing that UL conducts, proving FUTURELIGHT is not only totally waterproof, but also fit for the harshest expeditions the outdoors has to offer,” Michael Seward of Underwriters Laboratories said.

The FUTURELIGHT Experience: Las Vegas 2019

Unveiled at the world’s largest technology show, The North Face partnered with world-renowned design agency Designworks, a BMW Group Company, to create physical and virtual reality experiences to demonstrate the array of FUTURELIGHT fabric’s technical capabilities, and potential to change how humans are protected from the elements. FUTURELIGHT fabric will first become available to consumers in The North Face’s Fall 2019 product line and will be featured across the brand’s pinnacle performance collections.

To learn more, visit


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