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Biking in the LA TIMES

Our local paper, the LA Times, did a feature on a couple of local biking advocates. It’s great to see a positive spin on biking in the media. The LA Times did a feature on Monica Howe and Christ Kostman. Here’s a little excerpt:

“I guess I’m an activist by default because . . . what’s the phrase . . . ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ I just believe in certain things,” says Howe of her work with the coalition, a nonprofit organization with campaigns, programs and resources that support bike advocacy and education.

Click here to continue reading about Monica.

Here is an excerpt from Chris’ interview:

“I provide forums where people can have life-changing experiences,” he says. “They can appreciate their connection to the environment and one another. One of the things I appreciated from my very first 50-mile bike ride was that in a few hours or more you could have a really meaningful experience that’s exciting, interesting, engaging and enlightening.

Conintue reading here.

$100 a barrel…

With the recent news of oil reaching $100 a barrel, you know its just a matter of time before we’ll see increases in gas prices.

I remember seeing a report that asked people the question, “How much does gas have to be before you start making changes to your driving habits?” Of course the idiots were saying…”$5.00 per gallon.” Honestly, even at $10 a gallon, I really doubt that people will even begin to consider riding their bikes as a source of transportation. People love their cars too much to be “inconvenienced” by a bicycle…

Ok my rant is over…

Winter Warriors

A couple of our faithful readers sent in some pictures to share of their winter bicycle commutes. Let me just say right at the beginning here that anyone who commutes by bicycle in harsh winter conditions has my undying respect and admiration — you truly ARE winter warriors!

First is Ter from the frozen tundra of Canada:

Snow in Canada

He included the following information:
“Hello from the Prairies of Canada.

Love the site. Just thought I might send something from Canada. I took the bike today, it was 5 degrees Fahrenheit at 6:30 am. Not as cold as I would like but it was cold enough. Check out the picture. That is real snow.

Anyways, I commute everyday 2 miles to work and back. A rule for myself is not to ride my bike in HEAVY RAIN, I’ll run those days. It doesn’t getter any better than 4 seasons of riding. I made the mistake of taking the bike the day after a heavy snowfall. Bad idea, I ran into a snow covered curb and bent the right side of my handlebar. Learned my lesson from that day. Well, hope everybody has a happy New Year.”

The second photo is from our pal up in the Windy City, Elizabeth. Here she is rolling out for a brisk commute in snow…fully outfitted to conquer the cold:

Rollin' Chicago style

I had my first brush with real cold here in Florida last night on my way home…perhaps the coldest ride I’ve taken in 15 years — it was 28 degrees with 15MPH+ gusts. That probably doesn’t seem like much to you winter warriors out there, but for me it was brutal. I guess my blood is really thin or something! A t-shirt, lightweight wool sweater and a windproof Fox Racing jacket were all I needed to keep my body warm, and I had winter gloves and a balaclava under my helmet to keep the rest warm. Flannel dress pants, though, were not enough to keep my “boys” toasty. I imagine if I had to ride in conditions like this more often (instead of once or twice a winter), I’d invest in some windproof pants to keep the chilly breeze away from my junk!!! Ha ha…I had to throw that in there to make sure y’all were paying attention!

Anyway, I wish you all safe, happy and warm riding this winter — keep on rolling, you winter warriors!

First Impression: Sette Elite Carbon Road Shoe

I must have been a good boy this year because, after breaking a strap off of my cycling shoe, Santa Claus surprised me and brought a new pair of road shoes from Pricepoint.com: the Sette Elite Carbon shoe (MSRP: $210, PP.com: $89.98).

Here is what Pricepoint has to say about the shoe:

The new Sette Elite Carbon Road Shoes with their ultrastrong and ultralight carbon fiber sole providing excellent stiffness and torque transfer. Not to mention the four air vents in the toe and midsole combined with a breathable mesh upper to ensure your feet remain cool and comfortable all day. The Elite Carbon Road Shoes feature a premium fit and support that is provided by a molded heel cup and two hook and loop straps combined with a quality metal ratchet closed tab with quick release for easy adjustments.

I am young, and not rich, so this is a pretty fancy pair of shoes for me. My only other pair was bare-bones compared to the Sette Elite Carbon, so it might take me a while to get used to a better shoe.

The Sette Elite Carbon comes with a 2 strap and 1 ratcheting strap design, allowing for a nice, snug fit – as long as you are not in a hurry to get the shoe on as quickly as possible (it’s the triathlete in me…). The buckle is easy to manage with one hand, both for tightening and loosening, making it easy to get on and off. It also seems to be really sturdy and I am confident it would hold up to the stress of use as an everyday commuting shoe.

The shoe is incredibly comfortable – with no pokes or scratches on the inside – and good looking. There is a neoprene (or something like it) tongue that provides a really snug yet comfortable fit to the top of your foot. I bet this material makes the shoe extremely comfortable in the summer when your feet tend to get hot and sweaty. I could not get a feel for how functional the air vents are during my ride today because it was a “room temperature” kind of day: not hot or not cold. I am confident I will get to evaluate their cold-weather comfort in the weeks ahead and will report back with more detail!

The carbon sole provides a nice stiff “backbone” for a cycling shoe, which is good for optimum power transfer. I honestly don’t notice a HUGE difference in pedal-efficiency between my old, non-carbon shoes and the Sette Elite Carbon, but then again I have only used the shoes once on my flat commute. The winds were too strong today for me to have a desire to do a little sprinting or climbing…