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Reposted from exlrrp by Lefty Coaster

Hi its exlrrp, still in Chile. I come here every year, have family here.

Most of my diaries are on Chilean wall art (which is everywhere) but I thought I'd try and give you a taste of what Santiago's like. To start with its a big city about like LA: sits in a bowl of mountains, pretty flat with a few hills scattered around in the middle. It has about the same weather as LA---generally warm and dry.
My son and his family live in Nunoa (said Nunyoa, it has a tilde on the n) which is a mostly upper middle class neighborhood. This is the house here, that's his red VW in front of it. Spanish style of architecture means putting up walls and or high bars with spikes on them all around the house. You can't see inside the yards of most houses, walls face the street, not yards. There's also bars on all the ground floor windows.
It makes it so every corner is a "blind" corner.
 photo DSCN2441_zpsddpyjbc8.jpg

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Sun Mar 08, 2015 at 02:13 PM PDT

Reviews of My Book

by RepackRider

Reposted from RepackRider by RepackRider

In 1979 my best friend Gary Fisher and I rented a garage, and gave our two-man enterprise the grandiose name of "MountainBikes."  As it worked out, we were onto something, a design which turned out to drive the biggest change in bicycling of the 20th Century, and an Olympic and World Championship sport which took its name from our little company

I wrote a book about this amazing adventure.  Every review has been overwhelmingly positive, and I thought I would post links to those reviews for any Kossacks who are members of the cycling community.

It wouldn't bother me if any of you bought it.

Cover of my book,
Dirt Rag

Wall Street Journal

Pez Cycling Bookshelf




Marin Independent Journal

US Cycling  Report

The Jersey Pocket

VeloNews Interview

Joe Breeze and Breezer #2

Factory Jackson

Book excerpt in Dirt Rag

"Fat Tire Flyer" Facebook Page


Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 12:09 PM PST

Anza-Borrego Exploration

by RepackRider

Reposted from RepackRider by RepackRider
Desert Rainbow
The four-day weekend was all anyone could ask.  On Friday, February 20, I flew into San Diego with Jacquie Phelan in tow, courtesy of Dave Duncan, owner of Bike Borrego.  Dave picked us up and after a two-hour drive, delivered us to Borrego Springs, a town that lies in the center of the enormous expanse of Anza-Borrego State Park. The "Anza" in that name is the Spanish explorer who eventually made his way to San Francisco Bay by this route.  This is desert country, and as in any desert, where there is an oasis such as Borrego Springs, there are people.

The purpose of my trip was to promote my book, Fat Tire Flyer: Repack and the Birth of Mountain Biking.  My traveling and cycling companion, Jacquie Phelan, is a three time national mountain bike champion.  In connection with my book promotion, she and I were the "celebrity leaders" on a couple of mountain bike excursions.  People paid, some dearly, to ride with us, with the proceeds going to the Anza-Borrego Foundation.

Desert sunset
More pix and story below.
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Reposted from this is only a test by Major Kong Editor's Note: Republished -- Major Kong

Last week, a young woman riding her bike to her job at a Target on a suburban strip road near Richmond VA at 5:40 in the morning was hit and killed by a snowplow. The first questions in the comments on the news reports were a typical mixture of sadness and finger pointing: Was she sufficiently visible? Shouldn't the plow driver have been able to avoid a slower moving road user, even if the bike was unlit? What if the obstacle had been a stalled car, a deer, a child?

To my mind, assuming the plow driver was alert and wasn't driving too fast or recklessly, this may be one of those (rare) cases where a crash and death on the road really was just a terrible accident. Blaming the bike rider or the driver of the plow seems pretty pointless. The weather was bad, and that's what the police cited as the cause of the crash in their report.

But what's really to blame in my opinion are the roads and the lack of transit in the suburbs. Why do we build roads like this? In the 2010s? Heck, in the 21st Century? Here is a Google Streetview picture of the road where Fedora Henderson was killed:

The Target is just up the road on the left. Notice how wide the road is, but with no sidewalks or bike paths. No trees for shade and wind protection. No bus stops or shelters. A sound barrier to protect residences from road noise pollution. Long acceleration and deceleration lanes. Notice the pedestrian sign. Good luck with that. It looks like there's a "desire path" behind the guard rail there?

This street/road may have a speed limit of 40mph or so, but it is designed for speed of 50mph or higher. This isn't a street for people. It's a sewer, designed to flush cars through as fast as possible. It's in a residential and commercial zone, but it's a community killer. It all but forces you to drive everywhere, even just across the street or just down the way to the store.

Or just over to Target to get to work for the early morning shift.

Notice also how new the road appears. We're building suburban streets like this right now, on purpose, as if this is the standard for street design in suburban America.

Fedora Henderson apparently didn't play by the suburban rules. Whether she didn't have enough money for a car doesn't matter. She may have just decided she wanted to bike instead of driving. Probably she didn't make very much at Target, and we all know it can be next to impossible to support both a decent life and a car on a service economy wage.

So she rides her bike. Great, bike riding is cheap. I save a ton of money riding my bike everywhere. And it's good for your health, at least when you don't get run over by a snowplow.

This is a street scene in my neighborhood in Maryland. I took this picture a couple days ago. I usually ride on that sidewalk for couple feet to get from a bike trail over to the parking lot, which then continues around toward a lower-traffic street.

You can really learn a lot about how a place prioritizes people by looking at the streets after a snow. Are the sidewalks plowed? Are the bike trails cleared? Are the bus stops sheltered? In my area, the answer is No.

In Fedora's area, it doesn't look like she even had bike trails or sidewalks or bus stops as an option. The news reports said that her bike "was the only way she could get to work."

A couple months ago, a bike rider in my area was killed by a drunk driver who was also texting at the time of the crash. In that case, there was a true villain.

In this case, the villains seem to be the suburban developers, traffic engineers, and road builders, who are sucking the soul of out of American life, one deadly community-killing, butt-ugly, treeless, guard railed traffic sewer at a time. Maybe they don't have bad intentions, I don't know. But the results of their efforts should be a crime.

By the news accounts, Fedora Henderson was dedicated and giving person. Sadly, she was killed by the suburbs.

In a better world, the road designers and suburban big box developers would attend her memorial. In a better state, Virginia officials responsible for those roads would attend her funeral and investigate how their roads contributed to her death. I hope her supervisors and colleagues at Target were able to attend, and maybe reflect on the big box culture of cheap stuff and low wages, and store locations at the fringes of towns or in the middle of nowhere, unsuited for workers or shoppers who cannot or choose not to arrive by car.

None of that introspection will happen, of course. May Fedora Henderson's family and friends be comforted, and may she rest in peace.

Reposted from this is only a test by leftykook

I'm feeling smug. A few weeks ago we went on a bike ride. It was called the Crop Hop and it was organized by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission. The purpose was to get bike riders out into the beautiful countryside and highlight nearby market farms at the rest stops. Sprawl hasn't yet overtaken our whole county, and it's great to see the thriving farm businesses hanging in there, often with admirable creativity and passion.

At one rest stop, a thoroughbred rescue farm, we city slickers parked our bikes along a fence. A very feisty horsey took a liking to my bicycle, perhaps because I had apples in the pannier. He (or she, I really don't know) reached over the fence, bit or became entangled on my seatpost, and tossed the bike over the fence, thoroughly startling himself (or herself, I don't know) before scarpering off with his (or her) buddies. There was no apparent damage to horsies, apples, fences or bicycles, but we city slickers moved our bikes further from the fence just in case.

At one point we rode past an Alpaca farm, and later we stopped at a farm shop that sold Alpaca socks, presumably from the same farm we had passed. Of course, I couldn't resist. And, of course, the socks are awesome.

Alpaca Farm in Prince George's County Maryland
Since I love my socks so much, I thought to myself, why not give Alpaca socks this year for Christmas presents?

So I Googled "Alpaca socks" and got a torrent of Internet shopping ads from the likes of Amazon and Ebay and big specialty sellers. Nope. I try to avoid those guys, just like I try to avoid the big box discounters. My wife owns a small business that competes directly with Internet sellers that don't charge sales taxes and discount boxes that mar the landscape and exploit their workers. As long as we can afford to do so, we won't shop with tax dodging Internet operations or support big box parking desertification and worker exploitation.

Then I realized -- duh, I don't have to patronize Amazon or order from some distant super-seller to get Alpaca goodness. I can use an old fashioned technology -- the telephone! With a little more Googling, I found the name of the Alpaca farm in my county. After a little more searching I found the phone number.

A very nice woman named Angel, the farm's owner, answered the call. She was in the field and asked if she could call back in a few minutes when she got back to the house. Sure enough, 20 minutes later she returned my call. I asked if she sold her socks by mail, and sure enough, she did, and she could send me 10 pair in various colors and sizes. She took down my credit card info and asked me how I learned about her farm. We had a lovely little conversation and she seemed really happy to get the call, even though it probably interrupted her work.

Today, the package arrived. I'm very pleased, and, yes quite smug. My shopping is all but done. Everybody will get socks -- they're convenient, comfortable, useful, and egalitarian. None of my family need to know how inexpensive they were, or how easy it was to order them, using old-timey telephone technology. They're just exotic enough to seem special, but useful enough to be very practical -- we all need warm socks, right? Even Grandma in Florida.

I even like that she shipped the socks via the good old-fashioned U.S. Postal Service. (I prefer the post office to FedEx and UPS because those guys constantly block the bike lanes on my commuting routes).

I have absolutely no idea if this particular farm has enough inventory or staff to take orders by phone routinely. But if you can afford it, I encourage you to consider patronizing a small business in your area for your Holiday shopping this year. There are plenty of local businesses making awesome crafts or useful products that are very grateful for any business they can get. For a small farmer or artisan or handicrafter, even small orders matter. I know it works that way in the bike business. Twenty extra customers a year can make a big difference.

Socks for the People!
Reposted from weinenkel by Lefty Coaster
Indonesian villagers push their bicycles across a bamboo bridge as sun rises behind them outside Yogyakarta city in Central Java.  Indonesian villagers push their bicycles across a bamboo bridge as the sun rises behind them outside Yogyakarta city in Cent
I am a touch late to this information but it seems pretty important. The first large-scale study on cycling's economic benefits was published about a year ago. In it the researchers tried to quantify the economic benefits of cycling. They looked at health costs, fuel savings (oil), the reduction in infrastructural stress to cities (people biking versus using traditional vehicles), reductions in air and noise pollution as well as reduced CO2 emissions. On top of that they looked into cycling and the tourism industry as well as the retail and bike maintenance industry. They found out some interesting, pretty exciting things:
On just two wheels, the industry is creating more jobs than Europe’s high-fashion footwear industry (388,000 jobs), its well-established steel sector (410,000), and the United States’ Big Three automobile companies (Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler) combined (510,000).
Cycling, it turns out, is not a bad way of reducing our carbon footprint, while continuing to grow our economies. Hopefully, studies like this one will provide European (and maybe American) governments/municipalities the evidence needed to up their cycling-related budgets.  

Wed Nov 12, 2014 at 01:19 PM PST

The Bicycle: A History

by Lenny Flank

Reposted from History for Kossacks by Ojibwa

The most popular wheeled vehicle in the world is not a car: it is the "Flying Pigeon", a bicycle manufactured in China. Over half a billion Flying Pigeons have been sold, making it the most widely-produced vehicle in human history. And even in the United States and Europe, bicycles consistently outsell automobiles every year. Here is the history of the venerable bicycle.

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Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 02:35 PM PDT

My Book is Finished!

by RepackRider

Reposted from RepackRider by RepackRider Editor's Note: This may be of interest to mountain bikers. -- RepackRider

Beginning in 1968 I was a roadie for the Sons of Champlin, a San Francisco band.  I worked on shows with the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Santana, The Byrds, Steve Miller Band, Credence, Sly and the Family Stone, Merle Haggard, Canned Heat, Doobie Brothers, Three Dog Night, Fleetwood Mac, The Tubes, Linda Ronstadt, Ten Years After, Donovan, Average White Band, Albert King, Hot Tuna, Chaka Khan, Flatt and Scruggs, Chambers Brothers, Chuck Berry, Eagles, Huey Lewis and the News, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Bo Diddly, Taj Mahal, Paul Butterfield, Jethro Tull, Van Morrison, Buddy Guy, Dave Mason, Joe Cocker, Ike and Tina Turner, Everly Brothers, Boz Scaggs, The Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker Band, Kingfish, John Mayall, Tower of Power, Leon Russell, Journey, just to name a few you have heard of.

I've smoked a joint with Jerry Garcia, met Janis Joplin when she was only wearing panties, been mountain biking with Bobby Weir.  I never had a drug habit, I was never drunk, I never went to jail, and in decades of service I never missed a show.  Okay, except for that night Bill Graham threw me out of the Fillmore...

But I digress.  Five years ago I sat down to write a book about the things I saw and did.  It has been a long process, but it will hit the shelves on September 17.

The people I met, the places I went and the shows I saw make mine one of the best rock and roll adventures anyone ever had.

But that's not what the book is about.

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Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 09:16 AM PDT

Choosing a Bicycle

by Major Kong

Reposted from Major Kong by Lefty Coaster

I have many loves: aviation of course, cooking, French impressionism (not sure how that one got there), but one of my lifelong loves has been bicycling.

I think I've had a bike almost as long as I've been old enough to ride one. Like most suburban kids of the 1960s I started out with training-wheels, then got the "banana-seat" bike with the tall handlebars that were all the rage back then. Somewhere along the way I upgraded to a my first "grown up" bike, a three-speed from Sears back when they sold bikes under their own brand.

I got my first Schwinn 10-speed when I was in High School. Kept it all the way through my senior year in college before some bastard cut through a 3/4 inch cable to get it.

Unlike many people, I didn't give up my love of biking once I got my driver's license. To this day I still ride for the exercise and the sheer enjoyment of it.

Now I'm sure there's somebody here who rode in the Tour de France or has managed a bike shop for the last 30 years. If so, by all means listen to them.

This thread is for the people who were thinking about getting a bike and maybe never had one or haven't had one since they were a kid. I'm gearing (heh) this diary for those people. The folks who ask me "what kind of bike should I get?".

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Reposted from Central Ohio Kossacks by Lefty Coaster

I recently decided that I needed to do something about my weight, which had been creeping up on me. You can only fool yourself for so long "Hmmmmm these pants must have shrunk in the wash".

Then there was the day I was suiting up for my first bike ride of the season. As I squeezed into my bike clothes I looked in the mirror and exclaimed "Ach! Ich bin ein bratwurst!"

The deal breaker was when I went to urgent care for a minor shoulder injury.

The tech who was checking my blood pressure asked "Have you considered going on medication for this?" The number was somewhere between "Not good" and "Call the Paramedics".

OK, this is a problem. My livelihood depends on me passing a physical every six months and I don't need the feds getting on me about my blood pressure. I was pushing the FAA limit, which is not a healthy blood pressure mind you, just what they'll let you fly with. I really didn't want to go on medication unless there was no other option.

I decided to see what I could do on my own before bring the pharmaceutical companies into the mix.

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Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 05:55 AM PDT

Cycling: Road Rules

by Tracker

I've been meaning to write this for weeks, but I keep getting sidetracked thinking, "stupid things drivers do will get me killed one of these days!"

And while I still maintain that the foremost rule is : assume every driver is drunk, distracted, mentally impaired and has a personal vendetta against you, I see cyclists do dumb, rude, and dangerous things every day.  

That's what this diary aims to prevent.

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Wed May 21, 2014 at 06:17 AM PDT

Bike Season!

by Tracker

Yes, for some of us bike season is all year.  But for many, this is the time of year you bring out the bike, lube it up, and get back out into the fresh air.  And many who don't have a bike wistfully wonder if it's time to buy a bike.

In honor of Bike Mmonth, this diary is for people who are considering buying a bike.

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