Friday, December 26, 2008

Electric bikes

There has been a growing amount of media attention on electric bikes in the US. Public interest has grown too judging by the number of inquires we have gotten. What does the future hold for electric bikes here in the US? Who knows? Here is a taste of what is happening elsewhere.

1) VietNamNet Bridge -
Electric bikes sell like hot cakes as petrol price soars
Sales of electric bicycles are surging like the price of petrol as they are far cheaper to run and their riders don’t need a license or helmet. Electric bikes have been on the local market for a few years but failed to take off until 12 months ago. Now that high school kids are no longer allowed to ride motorbikes and the price of petrol has soared, the electric bike shops are seeing hordes of customers.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the bike shops along Vo Thi Sau and Cach Mang Thang Tam streets have switched to selling electric bikes. “Most of our customers are after electric bikes, though once in a while someone asks for a straight bicycle. Since before the Lunar New Year, we have sold 15-20 electric bikes per week, sometimes double that number,” an employee of H-M said.

2) USA Today - Europe's latest craze: Electric bikes

More than 10,000 electric bikes were sold in France last year, up from 6,000 in 2006, according to the Conseil National des Professions du Cycle, an association of bike professionals.

And the trend is hitting all of Europe. Sales of power-assisted bikes in Germany this year[2008] are expected to double the 60,000 sold in 2007, according to Hannes Neupert, manager of ExtraEnergy, a nonprofit organization promoting light electric vehicles headquartered in Tanna, Germany.In the Netherlands, sales of electric-powered bikes increased from 45,000 in 2006 to 89,000 last year, according BOVAG, a motorized vehicles industry association, which expects that the meter will read 121,000 at the end of 2008. That compares with an estimated 10,000 units sold across the U.S. in 2007.


Well, all this leads up to the announcement that The Hub will be carrying the Giant Twist Freedom in 2009. The Twist is not a pure electric bike, but is a hybrid that still requires pedaling and has a computer and electric motor that assist the rider. The Twist incorporates state-of-the-art technology developed in conjunction with Panasonic. It is designed to assist the rider by measuring the pedaling pressure of the rider and providing an equivalent amount of assistance. It has a range of 70 miles and is one of the smoothest riding electric/hybrid bikes available. More info at:

All types of bikes for all types of people

While I have some personal reservations about electric bikes I try to weight them against some of the benefits. For example, while electric bikes are still generally plugged into a power plant, they do present a more efficient form of transportation than most other motorized vehilcles. They also open the door for folks that face physical restrictions.

signing out Fair and Balanced

Monday, December 22, 2008

This Just In....

A few late additions to the inventory, just in time for you last minute shoppers

The Continental UltraSport HomeTrainer Tire

Designed specifically for use with indoor trainers this tire has a special cold-running compound and stiffer casing to provide longer wear.

Perfect for the trainer. Just don't run 'em on your street bike.


Classic Brooks Saddles

What can we say about Brooks Saddles that hasn't already been said before.

It's one of those "If you have to ask, you'll never know" kind of things.

Fresh selection at both stores for the hard to please retro-grouch in your life.

Happy Holidays from your friendly neighborhood full-service bike shop.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Big Changes Downtown

The Minneapolis Transportation and Public Works Committee has approved the conversion of both Hennepin and 1st Ave. from one-way to two-way traffic.

The stated purpose was to improve the flow of traffic and to increase safety.

Safety was the primary driver as the project team evaluated all elements for the project. Bicycle
operations and bike lane placement became a main focus for safety. It also generated the most
comments through the public engagement process. The safety issues described here led to the
staff recommendation with respect to bike lane placement:
• Bike lanes located along the center of Hennepin Ave combined with the introduction of
southbound traffic created a significant safety concern. Conflicts between left turning
vehicles and bicycles made up 84% of the recorded crashes over the last 4 years. The
introduction of southbound traffic would result in an increase of this type of crash if a
center running bike lane was incorporated.
• Dedicated bike lanes along the curb lines of Hennepin Ave would result in conflicts with
the extensive curbside activity on Hennepin Ave including busses.

Traffic operations, although secondary to safety, was an important factor. Safety is directly
linked to traffic operations; congestion and delay create safety risks. The traffic analysis led to the
following conclusions:
• Hennepin Avenue requires left turn lanes. Without left turn lanes vehicle delay would
more than double from what is currently observed.
• A three lane configuration (2 – thru lanes and 1-center left turn lane) would result in 17 of
26 intersections operating at a failed level of service in the PM peak period.

You can view the complete layout HERE

As someone who has lived in a number of major cities, both here and abroad, I'm confused by a movement away from the typical grid of one-way streets that dominate American cities.

A close friend of mine, who attended all the public meetings to discuss this matter says it's clear that Minneapolis is looking to rejuvenate the downtown commercial district and feels that two way traffic on Hennepin (the theater district) and 1st Ave. (the bars and clubs) will help draw suburbanites who are confused by one-way traffic and a lack of street parking on Hennepin Ave.

I say, let's do what London did, and kick all the cars out, and charge exorbitant fees to bring a vehicle into the downtown area.

Friday, December 12, 2008

In The News....


Transportation chief says Americans' travel habits are fundamentally changing.

Associated Press

Last update: December 12, 2008 - 8:11 AM

WASHINGTON - Drivers clocked 9 billion fewer miles on the nation's roads in October even while gas prices were dropping, suggesting a downturn in driving that began a year ago is attributable to more than just energy costs.

Federal Highway Administration data released Friday show the number of miles driven dropped 3.5 percent in October compared with the same month a year ago. Between November 2007, when the driving decline began, and October, Americans drove 100 billion fewer miles. That's the largest continuous decline in driving the nation has experienced.


Minneapolis Midtown Greenway robbery spree: Bikers beware

By STEVE BRANDT and DAVID CHANEN •, Star Tribune staff writers

Last update: December 11, 2008 - 11:39 AM

Minneapolis police issued a warning Wednesday after several bikers were robbed -- some at knifepoint and one with a gun -- on the popular Midtown Greenway and a connecting route.

The safety of greenway users has been a concern since before it was even built because the middle third of the 5 1/2-mile route paralleling Lake Street lies in a former railroad trench. So extra features such as 911 call kiosks, security cameras and extra lighting were installed.

But that hasn't prevented about 10 attacks in recent weeks aimed at bikers on the trails. Typically, police said, they involve several men who block the trails and take backpacks, wallets, electronics and purses, but not bikes.

The robberies prompted police to step up patrols and some riders to ride without lights to avoid detection by assailants. A grassroots, Web-connected group has organized a Saturday afternoon ride called "Take Back the Greenway."

This is particularly troublesome, as a great many of The Hub's customers rely on the Greenway on a daily basis.

The portion of the Greenway where these attack have been occurring is right next to the entrance that I personally use everyday. I've got a pretty good dialogue with my neighborhood hoodlums (bike theft in my neighborhood has always been a problem with the youngin's), so I'm going to see what I can do to to get an intervention going.

Until then be careful.

Don't travel that section alone at night, and if you must, go REALLY fast from where the path crosses 28th St. until you get to Chicago Ave., wear goggles and pack some Mace.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Celebrate International Human Rights Day at The Hub

Make The Hub your hub on "Day Without a Gay"

Hello beautiful gay, lesbian, bi, trans, queer, allied straight-ies
community! The Hub Bike Co-operative would like you to join us on
December 10th in honor of International Human Rights Day to celebrate
the first national "Day Without a Gay."

The Hub Bike Co-op
3020 Minnehaha Ave S.
Minneapolis MN 55406

Wednesday, December 10th 2008
11:00am to 8:00pm

- Meet and greet at The Hub. Join up before and after your
volunteering for snacks, music, GLBTQA info sharing, and bike related
activities. Bring your instruments and play along.
- Get 10% off your Hub purchases (does not include bikes or labor)
when you bring in a business card thank-you from the GLBTQA
organization at which you volunteered on this day.
- Organize and schmooze at the information tables of OutFront
Minnesota, and other local GLBTQA organizations.

- 11:00am to 4:30pm D.I.T. (Do It Together) bike maintenance.
(with Chris, Sean, Mary, Ashley, and Richy)
Bring your bike for free Do-It-Yourself stand usage anytime between
11am and 4:30pm. Mechanics will be on hand to help teach you how to
do your bike fixing.

- 11:00am to 4:30pm Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Workshop
(with Chris and Seth)
Request a 1 hour tutorial on a basic bike maintenance subject of your
choosing if you gather 3 or more people for the class and submit your
request in advance to (requests will be
granted according to order received, project scale and tool

- 5:00pm to 6:15pm Workshop: Fix a Flat
(with Mary)
Never be at the mercy of the rusty street nail again – learn how to
remove your wheel, take off your tire, patch that flat tube and put it
all back together again.

- 5:00pm to 6:15pm Workshop: How to make your wheel "Straight" (true)
(with Sean)
Learn to steady out those wobbles by lubing and tightening nipples –
the spoke nipples.

- 6:30pm to 7:30pm Workshop: Winter "Trans"portation
(with Mary)
Find out how to prepare your pride ride to commute through all
seasons. Tell Jack Frost, "We're here, we're…" (you know the rest).
- 6:30pm to 8:00pm Seminar: How to make your bike "Gay" (happy)
(with Chris)
Practice basic maintenance on your bike. Learn how to center breaks,
adjust derailleurs, lube chains and pivot points, and other empowering

- * pre-workshop* Mobilize!
(with Kelly and OutFront Minnesota)
Spend 5 minutes before each workshop becoming enlightened on how to
get involved with GLBTQA organizing – actions, lobbying, legislations,

*RSVP: rsvp for scheduled events to so that
we can be sure to prepare enough space for you. Bring your bike, your
friends and your allies. (walk-ins welcome, but rsvp's encouraged)
*Donate: these classes (up to a $60 value) are free; however,
donations will be accepted, all of which will go to support a local
GLBTQ organization, OutFront Minnesota. Your financial contributions
would be a much needed and appreciated support for OutFront Minnesota
at this time.

December 10th is International Human Rights Day. Human Rights day
celebrates the universal human right to live and to do so peacefully.
Some of the world's occupants have this right suppressed [e.g. the
right to equality]. This day was declared to raise awareness of human
rights and those who are deprived of these rights.

On December 10, 2008 the gay (lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, queer,
and straight) community will take a historic stance against hatred by
donating love to a variety of different human rights organizations
that need our help.

The GLBTQ community invites us to fight the "H8" by joining in
solidarity for "Day Without a Gay": "On December 10, you are
encouraged not to call in sick to work. You are encouraged to call in
'gay'--and donate your time to service!"

Visit the website at for more information.
For more information on local GLBTQA organizing, visit the OutFront
Minnesota website at

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Hotness-The Chrome Cobra Hoodie

Along with our latest shipment of fresh Chrome-age, came these ultra-fabulous, limited hoodies.

100% Merino wool means you are warm and dry regardless of what the Minnesota winter throws at you.

Features include; thumb loops (smart), hidden front hand warmer pockets, full-length rear stash pocket, high neck collar and a three panel hood.

It could very well be the smartest piece of outerwear you ever buy. Move fast, cause they won't last long.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Have a kickin' FestiSolstiChristmaKwanzukkah

Fancy '09 Surlys in the mouth-watering new colors? That's right, we've got 'em. Creamrollers and a Truckaccino, who loves ya baby? And just in time for all those midwinter gift-giving holidays...

Saturday, December 6, 2008


We've got some sweet '09 bicycle eye candy at both Hub locations available for your gawking right now. We ordered a few of the fun to look at bikes that we will we carrying this year early so you would know we have'em and so we could gawk at them all dark winter long. We've also tried to provide equal opportunity gawking by stocking some very cool women's bikes. Up in the window now at the Minnehaha store is the Bianchi 928 mono Q C2C 105, which is much prettier than it rolls off the tongue. This bike is carbon all day fast, bladed spoke, 105 black and vibration damped with kevlar. If that leaves you saying "Who? What?" go here for answers.

In the other window at the Minne store is the Giant Aeryn2. Yellow, white, black and aero all over. It's a women's specific tri-bike. Giant has done a ton of work on their women's specific design, not only in geometry and components, but also in tube rigidity. The Aeryn is a serious tri-bike in entry level clothing. Aero bars, aero seat post, deep fat 42mm aero rims, aero carbon fork, aero tube set, aero dual bottle cage holder behind the seat. Stand outside the Minne store and imagine summertime gawking at it's yellow sunshine paint, swimmers leaving the water and jumping on their bikes. sweating into the open air. just 6 months from now.

Getting down on the floor is the Bianchi Vigorelli. Steel, black metal flake, classy, sexy I need it bad. Classic graphics and Ultegra love ride off in to the sunset and never look back. I ain't got the words. come look at it yourselves. Test ride with proper detachment, or you may be locked for ever on the cycle of death and rebirth, Vigorelli, out damn spot.

Pearlescent white Bianchis look gorgeous leaned up against street lamps at night. The Dama Bianca SheAlu 105 will sprint like mad through the twilight. The thick hydeoformed downtube will jump forward with every thrust of your thighs. The carbon/kvid fork and seatstays will take the edge off the bumps you miss as the light dims and further stars illuminate your way. Stop at a streetlamp down by the river rest your bike on the poll.
Pearlescent white Bianchis look gorgeous leaned up against street lamps at night. Don't worry you've got a triple chainring in case you fade coming back over Ramsey hill.

Next up gawkables At the 301 cedar store.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Iceman Cometh...Part II

So here we go again, Minnesota has plunged into the kind of weather that Norwegian black metal bands sing about; unending darkness, primordial elemental cold, howling winds. Weather that strips the trees bare, leaves skin raw and eyes watering. Yes Virginia, Winter is here.
So let's go ride!
Yeah, you heard me right, let's go biking. There's absolutely no reason not to, in fact some of the things that I love about cycling are even more present in the winter. Like the absolute silence of going on a night ride while it's snowing or just after, the way the city takes on this other-worldliness when all of the angles and man-made structures are rounded out and disguised by the snow. The air is sharp, crisp and clear. It's effing beautiful out, what, you going to spend the whole winter on the trainer or catching up on Gilmore Girls? Off your duff!
There are a few things that hold most folks back. First, you're absolutely right, it gets so cold that your friends and relatives in other, wimpier parts of the country think you're insane just for living here. This is easily dealt with with a bit of snappy dressing which is, incidentally, most of what I'll be talking about on this one but I'm going to touch on lights and some bike handling tips too.
Alright, let's start with your feet. This is the big one that makes most cyclists miserable in the cold months, they just get cold, it's probably the temperature or something. There's a few things you can do though so let's start right on your skin. Wool, I can stress this enough, wool is the best thing to wear on your feet, bar none. It wicks moisture, and more importantly it will keep you warm even if it's wet. Let me repeat that in case you missed it, wool will keep you warm even if it's wet. I've been a big fan of the smartwool stuff personally but I've had good luck with thrift store argyle scores too. When it get's really cold or for longer rides I'll toss some polypropylene sock liners in there for extra wick-age. Most important is to make sure that you're not compressing your feet though, a lot of folks make this mistake. You've gotta let those toes wiggle here kids, if your can't squidge your feet around a bit you're going to cut circulation off from the outer layers of tissue which will then tend to freeze. Frostbite is no joke, you can straight up LOSE toes to it. Yes, lose. If they freeze badly enough the docs will have no choice but to snip those little piggies right off in order to stop you from getting gangrene.
On a lighter note let's talk shoes. You're smart folks or so it would seem, so a few of these will just be review for you. First off, I know you love those Sidi's but stow 'em for the winter. Even with booties road shoes will not keep you warm enough, and that goes for all road shoes. Road shoes are made to keep your feet're quick, do the rest of the math. Mountain bike shoes tend to fare a bit better but the main problem with them is that you have this little SPD mounting plate hanging out on the ball of your foot which becomes a heat sink connected to the sub-freezing air, slush and whatever other nastiness old man winter has in store for you. Fortunately, the good folks at Lake, Shimano, and Northwave all have lovely offerings for winter specific kicks. The good news, you want 'em we'll get 'em. The bad news, they're a bit pricey, expect to drop about $170 at the least but if you want to run clipless in the winter and stay toasty they're the way to go. I've known quite a few courier types over the years that swear by the Lakes, our very own Neal has a pair of them Northwaves that he's all gooey over and I've been thinking about a pair of them Shimanos myself. For all of you non-clipless types the same rules apply, as far as setup I used to run Power Grips and my Redwings in the winter but basically a grippy platform pedal and a decent hiking or work boot will do the job well. Toss those Sorels on if you want to go fully gung-ho or if you just can't stay warm.
Next up let's do base layers, most cyclists are going to be more worried about wind and wicking than insulation, we can spin to stay warm so the expedition weight stuff will most likely be too much unless you're sub 2% body fat and have a low body temperature to boot. On the legs I go with a pair of standard cool weather cycling tights under my pants and toss a pair of long underwear over those when it's stupid cold out. I had a pair of the Pearl-Izumi AmFib winter tights that I got on closeout a few years back but I have since handed those down to my lady, they're too warm for me. For the upper body you should think like you do for your feet, you want to stay dry and warm, again wool is great for this and there are a ton of good long underwear type base layers on the market. Think thin, easily removable layers. No big sweaters here people, and I would stay away from cotton long johns like you can get at target or fleet farm or wherever, they are fine for hanging out but for active stuff like riding they tend to get sweaty and then they suck heat away from you. Again with the no fun.
Hands tend to be subjective, I tend to get away with fairly thin non-insulated gloves in all but the coldest weather, then I switch to some snowboarding type mitts with merino wool glove liners. Here's the basic rules; your hands are one of the leading edges of your body and are therefore very susceptable to wind, your hands will sweat if they overheat, and they are very like your feet in that they will get frostbitten of they are deprived of circulation. For keeping warm it goes like this, mittens will always be warmest because your fingers can share heat through contact and shared air, lobster or "ninja turtle" gloves are the next warmest for the same reasons as mittens but with the added dexterity of a split finger, gloves come last with the most dexterity due to all of the fingers being separated but will be the least warm for the same reason. Stuff with a water/wind resistant shell with a removable liner is ideal in any case because then you can use, you guessed it, wool glove liners. They're like $3 at Kaplan Bros, go get 'em tiger.
For your cabesa there's a ton of different stuff, there's even winter specific helmets. A bunch of different companies make little windtex/lycra/microfleece cycling yarmulkes that fit snug to your melon so they can slip under a helmet or maybe you're just into the whole medieval look, it's not my call. As usual, wool is a rockin' option, Grovecraft makes some awesome winter cycling hats, they're local, recycled and run by a woman, what's not to like?
Face-wise I'd recommend keeping your breathing holes uncovered, the condensation from your breath will soak a bandana or facemask and make it hard to breathe through and give you a nice clammy, wet drape over your face. Neck gaiters and scarves are my fave, wool rules and polarfleece is a good option as well, Alicia uses a silk scarf because she can pull it over her face and it stays pretty dry and breathable. For the eyes any standard ski/snowboard goggles will do for windy days and snowstorms, stay away from the military surplus sand/dust goggles though, they're totally worthless in the cold.
Finally we get to outerwear, along with shoes it's usually the big-ticket item when your setting up for the winter. Fit-wise, cycling specific jackets tend to have longer sleeves and tail, armpit zips for venting and will have a convertable hood if any at all. Wind and water resistance is the big deal here, not insulation so those big down parkas are probably a bad idea. Endura makes truly badass shells in a variety of flavors and they do women's specific stuff as well, I've got one and it rules, 'nuff said. Pants are a personal choice (no matter what the cops say!), some folks swear by rain/wind pants in the winter but I've never found them to be necesary. Again Endura does some sweet gear here and we've even got a bit of the also badass Burley stuff left that they don't make anymore.
All things considered it takes it bit of practice to get things dialed-in, staying warm and layering is very subjective and there are no hard and fast rules. There's no setup that's going to work for everybody but something to consider is if you do other active, aerobic type activities in the winter how do you layer up for them? I'm particularly thinking of cross-country skiing here as the aerobic level is very similar, they both demand freedom of movement and over-layering will make you soggy and miserable at the least and hypothermic at the worst. Don't be afraid to mess around with your gear, remember, practice makes perfect.
Remember way back when you started reading this, when I said I'd touch on lights? Well here's winter, there's less daylight, if you don't already have a headlight get one, and a tail light too. Are you eyeballin' me punk?!
Seriously though Cateye does some slick stuff in the headlight department, Planet Bike makes a retina-searingly bright tail light called the Superflash, and rechargeable trail lights will light your way and blind other cyclists all the way home.
Lastly we're going to talk about some bike handling stuff, then you can go do important stuff. I promise. Riding in the snow takes a little bit of finesse but I have faith in you, dear readers, and I think you can do it. Just remember keep your upper body loose, don't tense up, it will make your movements jerky and probably wipe you out. Snow has a tendency to pull skinny tires one way or the other, especially if it has that windblown crust on top of it but don't panic, just countersteer a little and keep a little power to the pedals and you'll be sailin' on with no problem. Fat tires don't really have this problem as much since you float up over stuff more than cutting through but fat or skinny ice is the enemy. Studded tires are the only way to be 100% on ice but they're kind of pricey and give you a lot of rolling resistance on pavement. If you're one of those aforementioned studly types you can relax for this bit but for this rest of us here's the rules, if you're on ice DON'T make sudden turns to get off of it, lock your brakes, or panic and tense up. Any of those can wipe you out, even on a pugsley, so stay loose, keep your weight even, and use those brakes lightly. Same goes for us fixed gear folks, as much as you may be tempted to lock it up half a block out and yell "check my wicked skidz b!", avoid the temptation. Falling down on a fixed gear still hurts and you might eff up your skinny jeans b. Finally, try to hold your line in slippery snowy icy conditions. Weaving around is a bad thing, for one it puts you off balance and for two it can make dangerous weaving ruts when that slush freezes. If you are worried about going too fast just drop to a lower gear and spin a bit more, it'll keep you more stable and keep you a bit warmer. Common sense is the rule here kids, if it's slick out cut your speed a bit, don't brake through your turns and whatever you do don't bank into them. Lastly, don't ever be afraid to put a foot down if you have to, if one of them trials snobs says something hit 'em with a snowball at the next red light.
Stay frosty.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The 10 Most Dangerous Intersections in Minneapolis

By C.C.

As a shop that prides itself on it's support of those who ride their bikes for transportation, we like to make certain everyone can ride safely, and get to where they are going in one piece.

With the recent spike in cyclists being injured, and even killed, by automobile drivers in the Twin Cities, local media has finally come forward, recognizing cycling as an increasingly common mode of transportation, and a greater need for drivers to be aware of cyclists when driving.

This week, City Pages posted a story calling out the 10 most dangerous bike intersections in Minneapolis.

Fellow Hubsters and I went through them one by one, every time, at least one of the group was in full agreement on the sketchiness of each particular intersection.

A good friend of mine was just hit at the Cedar/Riverside intersection a couple months ago, less the a block from one of our locations.

I myself was involved at a hit and run at the Portland intersection.

Personally, I think the intersection at Lyndale/Hennepin and 15th Ave. is where a cyclist is always taking their life into their own hands. For years I successfully avoided it by taking the private serviceway of an adjacent church, but recent renovations to the facility have closed that off, and now I'm forced to once again roll the dice as I head north toward downtown.

Enjoy the article.

And be careful out there.

Live to ride another day.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The first Critical Mass in Minneapolis

By The Chuff

I rode in the first Critical Mass in Minneapolis. Nobody is talking about Critical Mass right now, but when they were, the so called experts said they knew how it started, but they didn't have a clue. I first heard about Critical Mass in some cycling rag. The details are fuzzy. What I think the article that I read said, was that Critical mass started in Rio De Janero. Something about Masses of Cyclistas in Rio taking over the roads on the bay front every Friday afternoon. The enlightened Rio authorities gave in to the will of the Cyclistas and blocked off the bayfront roads to all but bikes. BOOYA!!!! Then the Mass moved to San Francisco. Hundreds, maybe thousands of riders participated. I don't know if it was before or after the first Mass in Minneapolis, but in Frisco they tried to ride the freeway. CHAOS, COPS, CRAPSTORM. Later we tried the freeway Critical Mass here, same results as Frisco. Back to the the original subject. Some time in the early 90's in January I was working in a millwork shop listening to Radio K, and someone announced "Critical Mass 5:30 Hennepin County government center" over the radio. BOOYA!!! The first Critical Mass in our town. You didn't have to tell be twice. Nine of us showed up for the first Minneapolis Mass. Hurl "freak in charge at carsrcoffins" was there, and some punk gurl named Justine who I haven't seen in years. The revolutionary 9 original Critcal Mass riders rode about 15 MPH in the slush, three to a lane. We rode a loop up 7th, and down 6th. We screamed at the striking Union Peoples outside the Ritz-Carlson. They screamed back at us. Lazy wet snow fell. It was a great buzz. The cars were annoyed, but not violently so. The 1st Mass in Snowtown rode a good clip and a few people just honked. That's what I know, and what's fuzzy. I guess my lack of certainty doesn't make me a quotable expert I can live with that. Go ask Hurl his story.

Reflections from BikeBike!

By Jason

Last week, I had the privilege to travel out to San Francisco, California for BikeBike – the national conference of community bicycle collectives and cooperatives. I was not there as a Hub representative – I was there mainly for Sibley Bike Depot (, a not-for-profit community bike program in St. Paul. However, the experience was insightful and relevant to our work here at the Hub as a worker-owned bicycle cooperative trying to promote bicycling within our community.

While at the conference in San Fran, I was able to take a tour of Box Dog Bikes, a worker-owned bike shop in the Mission district. Like the Hub, they are a fairly new shop – opening four years ago. They employ eight people: Five are worker-owners, two are on the path towards ownership, and one is only part-time. (Compare this to the Hub, where we have seven worker-owners and, during Spring/Summer, over 30 workers!) Their space is significantly smaller – roughly the size of our West Bank location. I think retail space is way more expensive in the dense, overpriced market of San Francisco.

Another interesting point: Box Dog Bikes formed with significant influence from people who were volunteer mechanics at the Bike Kitchen, San Francisco’s collectively run community bike shop. The Hub had a similar experience, with the original coop founders being mechanics at the Grease Pit who wanted to both receive monetary compensation for their work, as well as expand their ability to promote bicycling in our community.

And other exciting news: BikeBike 2009 is coming to Minneapolis! Keep an eye out around August/September for hundreds of community bike shop enthusiasts from around the country to descend upon our fair city to converse, share, and organize stories on how to better promote bicycling. The Hub hopes to have a role in discussing the ways that volunteer collectives and worker-owned shops can work together to promote bicycling as a sustainable means of transportation in our community!

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Ice Man Cometh or Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Winter Riding But Were Afraid To Ask

Willis here to drop a bit of science as to how to keep your ride happy during those sloppy, salty months ahead.
First off there's a lot to go over but I'll try to keep it quick and dirty for you and stick to mechanical and set up stuff, we can pad your sartorial resume later.
The big evil that you are going to run into is salt, it's EVERYWHERE in the winter and will eat your bike alive. "But wait Will" you say, "MY bike is made of aluminum", it's a valid point and good thinking but your axles, chain, cogs, and most of the pivots and fasteners are still going to be steel and will be devoured by the ravenous monster unleashed by the DOT every year. Luckily for you and your bike there are quite a few ways around this.
First off, bring that bike inside. This will give your ride a chance to shed the days accumulation of crud and dramatically decreases the likelihood of this. It's best to toss some cardboard on the floor to catch the lovely mixture of salt, snow and exhaust soot that will drip off of her. If you feel really frisky, toss your bike in the shower for a minute and let the fresh water rinse the salt and slush off.
A good, if labor intensive, steel bike solution is frame saver which requires stripping the bike down to the bare frame and then spraying down the inside of all the tubes and then stopping them up with rags, rotating the frame every now and again to ensure an even coat. You'll have to let the frame cure overnight so plan ahead for this one.
Next up comes the drivetrain. My personal preference for winter riding is the fixed gear but single-speeds in general have a huge advantage over multi geared bikes for snowy, mucky, salty riding. There's just less to get mucked up, fewer moving parts and generally less parts that you'll have to replace if you don't get all the salt out of 'em. I don't change my gearing for the winter, some folks gear down a bit but regardless of your set-up the choice of lube is vital. NEVER use parrafin based lube in the winter, ever. I don't care how awesome white lightning has been for you during summer cruising, don't even think of putting it on your chain in the winter. There are two ways to go here folks, I like a light weight oil generally and triflow in particular because teflon isn't affected by cold and it doesn't pick up as much grit and salt but the drawback is that you'll have to apply it more often. The other way to go is a heavier weight synthetic oil like pedro's synlube, it's thick and hangs on really well but a heavier oil will attract more crud into your chain, no free lunch. Either way check your chain, wipe it down with a rag after sloppy rides and oil it about once a week for the average commuter and every 3 days or so for all of you long-haulers.
Speaking of triflow make sure to hit those spoke brake pivots and cantilever posts. During the corrosive season it's vitally important to keep all of those pivots, cables and housing well lubed but hey, they're your brakes do what you like, it's a free(ish) country.
And finally we come to the wheels, they're a big deal, they're what let you roll around the city as the picture of cool instead of standing astride a metal bar looking dumb. First off as a carry over from the last paragraph, hit those spoke nipples with some triflow. Put a drop at the base of the nipple where it goes through the rim and one at the top where it meets the spoke, do this all the way around the wheel starting at the tire valve (it's easier to keep track of where you've been this way) and then give the wheel a good spin. It's a good idea to let the tires dry out before you do this but hey, don't let me stop you from learning by doing. Next up let's talk hubs, sealed or cartridge bearings are ideal because the sealed bearings don't let as much, if any, crud into the moving parts and the cartidges are easily replaceable even if they do get crapped up.
Last but not least we've got tires, tires are a religious argument among winter cyclists but it breaks down into four main cases with a rider with basic bike handling skills in mind;
-Skinny, smooth tires will cut through snow to the pavement beneath and have the least rolling resistance but don't do as well on ice.
-Cyclocross tires are about as good on ice as skinnys, still get a good amount of "cut" and have a little knobbiness for extra traction but will cost you a bit of rolling resistance for the extra grab.
-Fat, knobby mountain bike tires have a lot of grab and will "float" you above the deeper snow but still aren't that great on ice and can get snow impacted into the treads which ends up with you rolling on some ice donuts.
-Studded tires have the best grip on ice bar none and usually have a tread pattern designed to shed snow but they are heavy, have serious rolling resistance on pavement, and cost about $45 to $70 a piece.
Personally I ride on 700x25 panaracer t-servs all year round because they rule and panaracer doesn't give me anything to say that, they're just that good. Like i said it's a religious argument. No matter what tires you ride slap some fenders or a mudguard on that sucker, your butt will thank you.
Next time we can go over that winter couture thing for you and maybe even toss out some snow and ice bike-handling tips. Cheers, -willis

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The CC Interbike Report

Hey there Interwebbers. CC here, with a report from the 2008 Interbike convention in Las Vegas.

I arrived a day before the show in order to participate in the Outdoor Demo at Bootlegger's Canyon. Interbike has been doing this for a few years now so that shops get a chance to ride the bikes that they intend to stock in the store for next season.

I, along with two other Hubsters, got on the first shuttle bus out to the venue. Even though it was still quite early in the morning, the sun was already high in the sky, and from this Midwesterner's perspective, really hot.

Nearly ever domestic bike manufacturer was on hand with the latest and greatest. The focus, given the location, was obviously on off-road equipment and bikes, but there was also a sizable road loop set up to test ride road and commuter bikes.

We made a beeline for the Marin booth, and secured a number of their mountain bikes for our first test ride on one of the dusty loops.

I took out a Pine Mountain 29'er Single Speed. There have been some adjustments to the geometry based on feedback from last year's model and I have to say, this bike was awesome. It rode incredibly smooth, and the spec'd Reba fork handled the rocky terrain with ease. I also fell in love with the new model WTB saddle on this and the other bikes from Marin. I'm not fussy about saddles, but this was the best off-road saddle I've ever ridden.

Next up was the Nail Trail 29'er. Basically the aluminium, geared version of the Pine Mountain. Also a superb ride.

Then I tried to get on the Giant Anthem. but every bike in my size had already been check out. I went back a number of time to try to get a ride on one, but they were always checked out. I'll take this as a good review of the bike ("Chuff" rode one the day before and said it was a nimble bike that rode extremely well).

Since I was at the Giant booth, I took out one of their new pedal-assist bikes, The Freedom DX. There has been a lot of buzz about this, and pedal assist/electric bikes in general, and it was time to see if it lived up to the hype.

The bike has three settings that allow the rider to adjust the amount of power the battery provides to "assist" you as you pedal. I started in the middle setting, and rode out on the flat section of the road loop. The way this works is, the rider must pedal in order for the battery to engage it's "assist" mode. There is no throttle to help kick in power, the bike just intuitively provides power to the front wheel based on the effort being put into the standard drivetrain. Although it was difficult to gauge by feel just how much assistance the lithium/ion battery was providing on the flat section, I was keeping up with people on high-end road bikes on what is essentially a 50 pound hybrid bike. I'd say that's pretty good.

When I came to the long hill back to the venue, I clicked the battery into it's most powerful mode. It was here that it was obviously providing a great deal of assistance. Getting this bike of this weight up a hill would be very difficult under normal pedal power, but the pedal assist got me up with little effort.

Next up, a Surly "Big Dummy". I've had my eye one these for a while, but couldn't ride one until this day. The steel frame has a nice ride quality, essentially like a normal bike. The long wheel base gives confidence to a descent and rides smooth in the flats. The ride back up the hill was surprisingly like a regular bike. Yes, it's obviously heavier then a normal bike, but given it's carrying capacity, the perfect alternative to pulling a cargo trailer.

I rode a few other bikes as well, just to see what else was out there, but eventually the heat began to take it's toll, and I retreated back to my "quaint" downtown hotel to get ready for day two.

The next day was the first day of the actual "show". The size and scope of these things can be a bit overwhelming. Nearly every vendor from around the world wants to showcase their wares at Interbike; The Good, The Bad, and The Completely Ridiculous.

I'll sum it up briefly:

The new Bianchi bikes look outstanding
The 2009 Bianchi Dolomiti
(Lugged Steel Frame)
A New Pista
(Flat-Bar w/brakes)
hell yeah!

Also sweet was what will be offered by Knog, the company that brought us the extremely popular Frog light system.

If I told you all the cool stuff that they are bringing on next season, I'd have to kill you, but suffice to say, this stuff is DOPE.

Also look for new track/fixie bikes and gear coming to The Hub. There are awesome new things in the works for you fixed gear junkies (hint: it's all about matching anodized parts, and some really sweet wheel options, not to mention some new frame options as well. Stay Tuned).

But the highlight of the show this year was the Cyclocross race: CrossVegas.
Held at a soccer field in the foothills outside of town, this was sure to be blast.

They started with "Wheelers and Dealers" race, which our own SeanO participated in (after riding 6+ uphill miles to the event, in 98 degree heat, and nothing in him except for a couple beers consumed on the convention room floor).
SeanO suffered, but finished strong, doing The Hub proud.

But the big news was all about "Lance".

It had been rumored all day that the seven time TDF winner was going to be on hand to take place in his first ever cyclocross race, and sure enough he arrived just as the pro men were staging.

Cameras swarmed around him. The crowd surged to get a glimpse of him. It was quite a circus.

But once the race began it was all pro.
My best photo of the eventual winner: Ryan Trebon

Lance, being the consummate racer that he is, did his best to stay with the lead group, and to his credit, did so for most of the first lap.
Ten seconds after I took this picture, Mr. Armstrong took his first of two falls in the race.
This first time was a simple slip out caused by too much tire pressure, a common mistake made by roadies who try to race cross.

The second time Lance went down, I saw his face hit the pavement. When he went on Letterman a couple days later, you could see the bruise on his forehead. Glorious.

But despite these two hard falls, Lance never gave up, or even slowed down. He got right back on his bike both times and wound up finishing strong in the middle of the field.

The crowd went way crazier for him then they did for the actual winner, the same pro who won the race the previous year as well: Ryan Trebon.

But judging by this official video, no one really cared about anything but Lance.

Lance Armstrong Returns - Las Vegas Cyclocross from CYCLEFILM on Vimeo.

Well, that's all I've got. Stay tuned for more news of all things Hub

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Huff Bike Review

So, we've got some '09 entry level Giant road bikes in, at both
the Minnehaha store, and the west bank location. The women's all
bike we have is called the "Avail3", and the men's bike
is the "Defy3". The price for both bikes is $750.00 These bike are
kind of amazing to me in the frame technology available at this
price, and the questions about gender, and marketing that they invoke.

intransitive verb: to be of use or advantage: serve transitive verb: to produce or result in as a benefit or
advantage: gain
— avail oneself of also avail of
: to make use of : take advantage of

archaic : to challenge to combat2: to challenge to do something
considered impossible : dare3: to confront with assured power of
resistance : disregard 4: to resist attempts at
: withstand

What goes on at Giant marketing meetings? Another marketing decision
to wonder about is the feminization of paint schemes. Giant has got a
lot of color choices for both genders. The men's road bikes are the
bright side of earth tones with gray accents. The women's colors are
fruit candy with silver accents. In the defy/avail3 bikes that we have
in I think that the avail3's teal/white/silver with paisley like
tracery wins, over the defy3's blue/black/white "I don't look right on
this bike without spandex" scheme. Of course paint is subjective. So
come in and, have your own ideas, and test ride these bikes.
Erika and I took these bikes out for quick first impression
rides. Being people with bodies at opposite ends of the size spectrum,
I feel that we are a good test of how these fit.
Erika is 5'0" and 100lbs. rode the Avail3 X-small size. Her feedback
is that it fit well, and was comfortable, but that the 8 speed
shift/brake levers were large for her hands. Do they make road levers
for smaller hands? Googling "women's road components" I was unable to
find any road levers for women. Don't blame Giant for that one, they
don't make brake/shifters.
Giant has 38 women's specific models in the '09 catalog. Giant
for women, designs bikes according to their '"5 point" plan, which is
concerned with, styling, geometry, sizing, construction, and
components. It will be joy to be able to sell these bikes to women
without having to swap out stems to make them fit. Women specific
bikes, with shortened top tubes, shorter cranks for the the small bike
sizes across almost Giants entire bike range is something I haven't
seen any other bike company do. Maybe women actually like fruit candy
colored bikes, what do I know I'm a man.
I test rode the large size Defy3. I am 6'3" and 230lbs
and, I prefer bikes smaller than the size most people would put me on.
For those of you who follow giant bikes, the Defy/Avail series is
replacing the OCR line of bikes. These bikes are the relaxed side of
road geometry. The Defy3 is somewhere between a racing bike and a
touring bike in it's agility although it is definitely lighter than
your typical touring bike. A medium size Defy3 weighed 22.01 lbs. This
bike feels like a comfortable all day bike. I found the frame to be
very stiff laterally at the bottom bracket, but I have a qualifier. I
am recovering from fractured ribs, and am quite weak right now.
Probably best that I just describe the technology that goes into
making these frames stiff, rather than reviewing the results.
The entire Giant '09 road line now has frames with conical head
tubes. The top of the integrated headset is 11/8th inches, and the
bottom is 11/4 inches. It's all about having a wider more stable base
at the fork/frame, head tube/ down tube juncture to resist flex. All
the front end tubes on the Avail/ Defy frames are heavily shaped
through hydroforming to improve ride quality. This frame has also
received a lot of tube manipulation to soften it's aluminum ride. The
top tube and seat stays are curved to act like a spring to keep the
sting off your butt. This is a lot of work done to a frame on a bike
that only costs $750.
So, here's the skinny on the rest of the components on these
bikes, that I feel are worth mentioning. A 3x8 Sora drive train that
would climb anything, composed of a FSA Vero crankset 53/42/30, and a
SRAM PG 850, 11/26, 8 speed cassette. The drive train is nothing to
rave about. It worked, which is all you can expect at this price
point. The carbon composite fork is the same one you get on all but
the top of the line Giant road bikes. The wheels are 32 spoke, 3 cross
in the rear, and radial in the front. The rims are ALEX, DA22's, which
at a claimed 435 grams are only 20 grams heavier than the lightest
aluminium rims I could find on the web. The wheelset is what I really
like about these bikes. The 3 cross spokes on the rear wheel makes
the Avail/Defy3's
functional commuter/light touring bikes. The frame also has eyelets for
racks, or fenders, that also make it good everyday rideable bike.
In conclusion I feel that these are a great choices for an entry
level road bike. The frame and wheels could be the base of a more
expensive bike. So if you wore out these components the frame and
wheels would support a component upgrade. You could also improve your
motor keep the same components and embarrass people who spent a lot
more on their bikes।
After some research, I almost feel गिल्टी complaining about Giants marketing towards women. Giant has more women
specific models than any other builder that I could find, and a
women's cyclist web site with a lot going on.

Next I think I'll review The 2009 KHS flight 220 another entry
level road bike we now have that also comes in a men's and women's

peace, chuff

P.S. Shimano road levers are converted to women's levers by inserting
a shim that shortens the reach. Shimable levers are not available at
the Avail's component spec. level.