Monday, July 25, 2011


I had my first totally unscheduled/unplanned Sunday of the summer. What to do with a full day off and nothing that I have to do? So I thought I'd do some exploring by bicycle. I'd heard some good things about the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. It turned out to be a mellow ride out there- lots of bike path. The route I took also cut through the Minuteman National Historical Park, which was also pretty neat.

Here's the first cool thing about this place- it's FREE for cyclists! What!?! It would be well worth the $12 admission, but my wallet was waved away at the admissions booth. A new policy for this summer, it made what was already shaping up to be a great day even greater. Also there is a well-placed bike rack, which is welcome change from having to hunt for a street sign to lock up to. It felt like a nice "Hey, you, thanks for riding your bike!"

The sculptures on the grounds of the museum are really very cool. As are the grounds themselves. What a beautiful spot. If I had know, I would have brought a picnic. Next time. I grabbed a few pictures, although they definitely don't do the place justice. You'll just have to take my word for how rad it really is.

The woman at the admission booth also tipped us off to the great view from the 6th floor roof terrace of the museum. I have to admit, the weather was so beautiful I didn't spend any time in the museum, which I'm sure is also very cool, but I did get up to the roof terrace. She wasn't joking.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bungee of Death

I'm all for making your bike work for you. Whether you use a front or rear rack/basket you'll probably need to tie your stuff down at some point. I see a good number of folks using bungee cords to do this. I think this not a great idea for a couple of reasons. One- Bungees store up an explosive amount of energy when you tension them. Two- They have sharp metal hooks on the end. When the bungee lets go it sends that hook flying- into spokes, eyeballs, freewheels/cassettes, around hubs. The motivation for this post was a Hub Hall-of-Famer who came in last week after getting a bungee all wrapped up in his spokes, and had a slow motion crash situation. I'm not a fan in general, but especially not on rear racks, because you can't keep any eye on that deadly bungee.

What else are you suppose to use to tie stuff down, then? I have two better options. One costs a little bit of money, the other is basically free. Let's talk the money option first.

Toe straps. Those little guys you use on your sweet old school toe clips (or cages, if you must). They're made of nylon webbing, or leather, with a metal clasp at one end. The clasp has some little teeth that help hold the strap in place after you've cinched it down.

They hold nice 'n tight, without being elastic/explosive. The down side to using these guys is that they're pretty short. They're really designed just to go around your foot and a pedal, which doesn't take much material. You can attach a couple of them together, but there is a limit to what you can hold down. Surly fixed that problem by making Junk Straps- extra long toe straps for carrying junk.

Toe straps cost $5-10 for a pair, and the Surly Junk Strap costs $8. Super useful and versatile. If you want something for cheap. Super cheap. And you like recycling/reusing, you should think about using a dead tube. They're stretchy without being snappy. You can cut them to be whatever length you need (within reason). You probably have one laying around, if you've ever fixed your own flat tire. If not, you can come to the shop and take as many as you'd like (within reason).

To use the tube, cut it so it's no longer a circle. I personally like to cut the valve out, for convenience. Wrap it around your cargo/rack and tie a knot or two. Piece of cake. You can then either untie that knot or just cut the tube to free your cargo. No crashing or losing eyeballs.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

All Good

Yeah, summer!

Things are really in full swing here. Tune ups, custom bike builds, and flat fixes as far as the eye can see. All you folks prepping your bikes for racing, charity riding, long distance touring, brand new commutes to work, knee surgery recovery, and whatnot have been keeping us very busy. Thank you!

We had a great flat fix clinic this month. Great turnout and lots of great questions (that, I hope, were fully answered). I'm looking forward to the next round (August 3).

I got to go mountain biking with my Sig O last weekend. This was after a, I'm going to say 'mostly unsuccessful', first MTB ride last fall. This time nobody bled, and I (swear I) heard the phrase "Well, I didn't hate that." Brought a tear to my eye...

I'm headed out to Woburn for the start of the New England Classic tomorrow morning. I'll be out helping riders, who've helped raise money for the American Diabetes Association, who helps (in part) fund researchers, who will someday (in the next ten years...) cure diabetes! So basically, I'll be curing diabetes this weekend.

We got a super dope new shop bike:

Just try to not smile your face off while you're riding this thing.

Keep it up the good work, summer, keep it up.