Its a thing! Bikes on smartcars

If you see three, its a thing.

1st sighting:
Driving north near Pojaque, I saw a smart car going the other direction with a Yakima hitch mount rack with a dual suspension MTB on the back. It was cattywumpus on the rack with the rear wheel above the roofline of the car.

2nd sighting:
not a week later

Framebuilder and tiny car aficionado Curtis Retrotech Giantman Inglis himself seems to have this set up, seen on his flickr stream click for source.

3rd sighting:
A day after number 2:
So cute
This guy in my neighborhood has a homemade rack added to the factory hitch on his Smartcar. Factory hitch! Who wouldathunkit. Note the sweet lustron home in the background.

It is now officially a thing. All the rage. I am going to get a smartcar and festoon it with biketites screwed directly into the plasticky smartcar body and mount as many bikes as I can simultaneously so I can join the fun.

Also, Smartcar v. Bakfiets

update! 4/30/10
From the comments, we received:
This excellent visualization of smartcar bike festoonage:
from reader JRA

And then this most excellent conceptually troubling folding bike on a smartcar:

Caught in california by andy R.

Thank you fellers! I knew it was a thing.


A formidable bunch

Buried way deep in the letters section on velonews is this lovely photo of a group of vintage cyclists.

(click for huge image at source)

That is a group that looks like they would put you in the curb before you knew what hit you. And then stop for wine and pastrami sammiches mid ride.

Previous and relatedvintage pic on moscaline.


Smaller velodromes

I have long been interested in the small velodrome phenomena. The vandedrome was the first one that hit my radar. Then, a great regret in my velolife, I never bought the ticket to go to canada and ride the Human powered roller coaster.

I noted recently there is this tiny redbull branded minidrome floating around the antipodes:

Red Bull Minidrome from Radar Films on Vimeo.

Pretty neat, but maybe needs more banking, wouldn't it have been cooler if it was cross bred with this:

(put that on youtube!)

Or maybe crossed with a pump track somehow?

Update 5/19/2010:
Welcome Coco's variety readers! Also, check your local paper for some more tiny velodrome action:

Pomona student Samuel Starr makes velodrome inside a library!
Read the rest at the la times
132 foot circumference, 5 second laps. Well done!


SF bike racks

Third street:

Not bad for arty racks, you might be able to get 2 bikes on each.

Church and Market. Virtual Racks:
I locked to them my invisible bike and all was whole.


Went to SF

Rode a ton, still gained weight, took many photos. Here they are:

I consult the oracle:
Doggie Diner and the pinhead

Done saw the bridge:
From Fort Mason

Mr Cell Phone Talking Bag head:
mr cell phone talking bag head

The Sealions among other landmarks:

Down on Cesar Chavez:

Pier 23 Fishbike:

Did some tiny wheeled fixie off road riding in Marin:
Coast trail

F-market Trolleys, still cost the same as a bus.

Better than cable cars:

I imported NM finest burrito for JimG to try.
He eated it.
He liked it!

This tiny woman fits in her own backpack:
Dwarfed by bag

Saw this place down on 20th in the Mission while trying not to drown in the rain:

All the photos here


29er rim opinions?

Normally I don't do this kind of blog post, but I have been out of the loop for a while whats new in the 29'er world.
Someone out there reading probably has some experience with this and I need some help.

I am imminently going to receive my new 29'er rigid single speed from Kelly.
First bike in the line is mine, look at those stays
First one in line is mine

It is designed to fit huge freaking 29er tires. Hopefully it will fit 29x2.75" tires when someone makes a set.

My current plan is to have two sets of wheels. A race wheel built on 32 hole disk hubs and 28-30mm rims using wtb weirwolf 29x2.55race tires.
My thoughts are either Salsa Semi Rims, Velocity Blunt or WTB speed disc.

The second wheelset will be more all mountainy and will be built on 36 hole disc hubs, 35mm rims and fatter tires. Probably WTB kodiak tires, or maybe Conti Mountain King 29 x 2.4
My thoughts here are for the Salsa Gordo or Velocity P35 rims.

I have built alot of wheels around velocities and I really like them. Anyone have any experience with either the Salsa or the WTB rims? Are the Salsa rims worth the extra cost? Any others that I am missing? WTB rims seem to be much cheaper. Any thoughts?

Any other fat tires in the 29'er size I should be looking at? I have been running the 26" weirwolfs for years and love them, so I am looking forward to the 29'er version.

Leave any opinions in the comments. Thanks pals.


Proud bikes


A set of well used rusty bikes proudly awaiting their field worker owners return.




The James Black Cycletruck (taco) experience

A few weeks back I was in Santa Barbara for a meeting/family visit, but we flew back through LAX, so I took the opportunity to FINALLY meet with James Black and try out his Cycletruck. I think this has been in the works for 2 years, I had a bunch of interviews in LA in 2007-8 and I was plagued by flight delays that prevented this test ride from happening. Until now!

First. The man and the bike. James designed this pucky, iterated it with David Wilson who built it. James got it and has been riding it around for about 2 years, David seems to have moved on to non-active building.

Click over to the new cycletruck to get the full scoop from James himself.

Second, note, Tacos Por Favor. In Santa Monica no less. Delicious.
Taquaria Por Favor

Also, for reference, James is hitting a taco joint a week around the LA basin, and blogging it, so please check out cincuenta taquerias. See the relevant review here. I think I have met James face to face now twice. He is a dedicated individual in search of truths of various type and well equipped with both motivation and vernacular to achieve these trooves. I am impressed. Especially since he used some architecture theory description (which I should have wrote down) to describe his preference for tacos arriving pre salsed from the taqueristas. I am not sure if he was kidding or not, but good stuff nonetheless.

Anyhow. The bike:

James generously let me ride his bike while Elena, Aida, Carmen and James chatted on the corner.


Aida found the conversation tedious and fell asleep, but Elena enjoyed meeting bike friends of mine, yet again, I am sooooooooo lucky.

So the bike riding was great. I probably did a mile or two of riding about, stopped to talk to James a bit betwixt mini rides. Here are the perceptions:

1. Nice overall wheelbase. It had that subliminally trackstandable geometry that I associate with a shorter wheelbase and a load that helps you damp out the nervousness, kind of like balancing a broom on the handle end vs. the broom end.

2. It rode smooth. The fact that the rack was fixed to the frame was weird (you can't see the front wheel at all). But I got over that pretty quick. It rode like a bike. I had the James Pizza Bag on it with assorted James detritus within. I would guess 10-15 pounds on the front rack maybe?

James' watchful eye and excellent pizza cargo bag:

3. It shimmied a bit when riding no handed and one handed. I rode it one handed with a light touch and it hit a low speed resonance. No handed it continued to the point that I was not ready to crash James' bike to see how far it went. James claims it is mild and ridable in the condition that it was in, but it can be much worse with more weight strapped on tight, even with two hands on bars. I believe him
No issues with the rack clamp says James. Also, James rides with nice shoes:

4. Nitto Promenade bars are cool and all, but way too narrow for my taste, especially on a cargo bike. This is the only hardware change I would feel obligated to make if I rode this regularly. I think Honking wide swept flat bars would be my initial choice. I probably would put much fatter bmx freestyle high pressure tires on it as well, but the bike rode great as is.

5. James probably has slightly longer legs than me and likes his seat at a messed up angle. Personal preference. The seat was an extra cool fuji-approved japanese leather saddle with white stitching around the skirt. Very nice.

6. The little Bendix-torpedo 3 speed shifter was a revelation to me. It was shifting a Sachs dreigang 3 speed in back. This was the best IG trigger shifter I have ever used and is absolutely better than the twist shifters that come on newer Sachs/SRAM 3 speeds. Anyone know if these shift sachs 3 speed coaster hubs of later vintage?

7. Overall it was a great bike. I wish I had a week in LA to ride it and play with the loading, but it was sweet. Big thanks to James for letting me ride his Cycletruck 001.
the grin of bicycle happiness:

8. The bike has a dual position fork. Lets call this one the JimG moneyshot:
James claims it makes little difference in the shimmy. I think my general experience jibes with this. If the frame and loading induces shimmy, you can probably change things a bit via load and damping, but the steering geometry (within reason) is not a good parameter to play with. James claims the biggest change in shimmy is with tightly lashed loads v. loosely lashed loads. L^3 better than t*l^2.

The Tacos:
I had three initially. The recommended chorizos con queso, the al pastor and the carne asada. Those that have come before me claimed the chorizos con queso was the thing to get, so I got it. It was great. but really, no where near as great as the al pastor. They were sublime. The carne asadas was right up there with the chorizons con queso, but man, the al pastor was just great. I was still hungry and got another al pastor and another taco. I have forgotten what the other was. The al-pastor was that good. I was really impressed with this taquaria. Their salsa rojo was also excellent. On a taco-taco head to head battle with Super-rica in Santa barbara, recently visited, I think Tacos Por Favor wins hands down. Super-Rica has great specials and other non-taco stuff, but their tacos are unaccompanied with salsa or cheese and do not quite meet the standard of excellence of los Por Favoritos. In battling Por Favor v. Taquaria San Jose in fruitvale/oakland (which I have not stepped foot in for a dozen or so, but last I did, I was eating there 1-2 times a week) I would declare it a tie. The pickled carrots and peppers were probably better at S-J, but the al-pastor was so good at P-F. I think the tiebreaker would be a throw-down between the lenguas and the sessos tacos at each place. In retrospect I am not sure I saw any organ tacos at all at P-F, they did tout their healthy lard free menu. So maybe S-J wins on a technicality...

Post tacos Elena and the baby had a disco nap on the ridiculously plush median on Olympic Blvd:


And then driving back to the airport we saw a Rock Racing escalade in Venice:
Rock on LA.


Moscaline Video Test Ride Exclusive, Specialized Hotwalk

Thanks to the kind sharing nature of my niece and nephew I was finally able to do a test ride on the specialized hotwalk I got my niece 2 years ago

Three part video for your viewing pleasure.
Part 1: In which I nearly run over my daughter and niece:

Part 2: In which I shred the patio drop with musical accompaniment from my brother

Part 3: The aftermath of the most daring stunt:

Verdict: Two thumbs up. Sophie can ride really well, even though she is now too tall for it at 4. Oliver, at 2, is mostly interested in the trikes. Aida, at 17 months, liked it but it is too big for her. I loved it. I was a bit scared my knee would slip from the seat causing great pain. I also feared that I might pinch flat it or put a wheel permanently out of round. But, no, it had a fairly predictable ride and it seemed to plane and the bike disappeared under me as I rode along. Very unusual for a fat tubed aluminum frame. I am impressed. The two years of use has rendered the paint on the frame very scarred, but it was still solid and rolled well.