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Panda Bicycles’ bamboo/steel commuter bike at NAHBS

We don’t often provide coverage of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS)…while there are a few commuter-worthy “dream bikes” at every year’s show, the overwhelming majority of the bikes on display aren’t what we might consider practical machines.

Panda Bicycles’ new creation, “The Action”, is worth a look, though — Jacob Castillo, co-founder of the company, was kind enough to send over a couple of photos and a press release of this bamboo/steel bike, and it’s quite drool-worthy:

Panda the action side view_1c

Panda Bicycles Introduces “The Action” City Bicycle
Gorgeous, smooth, city bike with available as limited edition in Spring 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 2, 2012

MEDIA CONTACT: Jacob Castillo; Jacob@PandaBicycles.com, 970-372-2123

North American Handmade Bicycle Show Booth #827

FORT COLLINS, CO (February 24, 2012) – Panda Bicycles is adding to their bicycle line for 2012 with the introduction of “The Action”. “The Action” is light, smooth, and elegant; designed for city riding and longer commutes. Developed to be comfortable and relaxed, this bike offers a ride feel that is unlike anything on the road today, and a look that is unmatched. Like all bicycles in the Panda line, “The Action” is hand crafted to Panda’s exacting standards in Fort Collins, Colorado.

“The Action” is the fourth model in Panda’s offering, and is the only model that incorporates steel stays, top tube and down tube, rather than bamboo. “The One”, “The Natural”, and “The Legacy”, all steel jointed bamboo frames have been available through Panda Bicycles and select retailers since 2009. Panda bicycles are purposefully designed for superb comfort, durability, and functional style.

“We leveraged the special feel of the strongest species of bamboo on the planet and incorporated that into a traditional lugged frame to create a light, strong, smooth city bicycle with unrivaled style and commuter functionality,” said Jacob Castillo, Panda Bicycles’ Co-Founder.

Artfully handcrafted in Fort Collins, Colorado from 4130 chromoly and iron bamboo sourced from a sustainable farm in Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, “The Action” commuter sensibilities include:

• A bamboo seat tube that yields a lively, comfortable ride with outstanding vibration dampening
• 4130 chromoly tubing for durability and longevity
• A comfortable and flexible geometry that works with various commuter riding styles
• A rear triangle with greater tire clearance to accommodate various tire sizes

“The Action” joins the existing Panda full bamboo line, which includes “The One”, a single speed commuter, “The Natural”, an elegant city bike, and “The Legacy”, a cyclo-touring inspired road bike. Panda was one of the first in the industry to introduce a steel jointed bamboo frame in 2009. Panda’s line has continued to grow since its inception, and the company is pushing its design and performance limits with every new release.

“Over the past several years Panda has continued to develop and refine its line of bikes and product offerings to cater to a clientele that looking for a bicycle-centric sustainable lifestyle”, said Castillo. “The Action” is a next step in our growth and focus on customer needs. As the newest member of the Panda line, “The Action” is designed to be a superb city bike with amazing style.

“The Action” is available through Panda Bicycles in a limited edition run during the Spring of 2012. Full release will follow in the Fall of 2012. “The Action” will be available in small, medium, and large sizes. Custom frame options include paint colors, rack eyelets, and fender mounts.

About Panda:
Panda Bicycles is a Fort Collins, Colorado based frame building company that specializes in hand-crafting steel jointed bamboo bike frames for urban riders, daily commuters, and weekend warriors. The company is known for its craftsmanship, attention to detail, and its unique design which yields superior comfort, rideability, and style. Panda has an emphasis on incorporating natural materials in its designs and is committed to environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Panda bicycles are enjoyed by discerning riders all over the world, and are available directly through Panda Bicycles and high-end specialty bike retailers in the United States. For more information on Panda Bicycles, visit www.pandabicycles.com

Panda The Action_seat post c

If you’re itching for coverage of this year’s NAHBS, please visit our friends over at Urban Velo, home to some of the very best NAHBS bike photography on the web. There are a few stunners this year!

Even Motor Trend Hates the GM “College Discount” Ad

By now I’m sure all of you have seen the many dozens of bike blogs and the overwhelming response to General Motors’ ill-conceived “Reality Sucks” college student discount ad campaign — this thing has heated up the Intertubes like nobody’s business over the past week.

One real surprise in the camp of “man, that ad campaign blows” is none other than Motor Trend Magazine. They’ve got a well-thought-out response on their blog that is quite humorous. Take a look at it by visiting the Motor Trend blog.

Perhaps my favorite response to the ad comes from Giant Bicycles. As we posted over on our Facebook page, the good people of Urban Velo reported on Giant’s parodical response. Run over and take a look.

Riders’ Collective…and a Special Treat

There are a handful of really great online bike magazines…and Riders’ Collective is one of my personal favorites. So, I was happy to hear from publisher Paul Kramer recently when he asked if he could republish one of the articles from our archives for the August issue.

That article was titled “Commuter Racing“, published in March 2008 and written by one of our guest contributors, Jack Elder. His article preceded the “Category 6” commuter racing phenomenon, which we also wrote about a while back.

Anyhow, swing on over to Riders’ Collective for a look — the article now includes photos to accompany the words. You can view the August issue online or click here to download it to your computer. The August issue is chock-full of goodness, including a haunting photographic/poetic look at abandoned bicycles. If you’re unfamiliar with Riders’ Collective, you owe it to yourself to catch up on your reading, and you’re in luck: the back issues are available for download here.

riders_collective

Enjoy!

Review: Pryme Trailhands Full-Finger Gloves

Back in the early springtime, the good folks at Seattle Bicycle Supply (SBS) sent me a courtesy pair of their company Pryme’s “Trailhands” full-finger gloves to try out.

DSC05603s

The gloves are very simple and lightweight…Amara palms (sort of a synthetic suede), a terry wiping surface on the thumb and a stretchy spandex mesh back. There is no padding to speak of, and the wrist closure is a simple strip of hook-and-loop material with a rubberized pull tab. These gloves are aimed squarely at the mountain bike crowd, where handlebar control trumps the need for comfort, so palm padding wasn’t a consideration. With typical mountain bike grips and flat bars, these gloves are utterly unobtrusive and grippy without the need for any silicone dots on the palms. On road bike-style drop handlebars, some folks may want a bit more padding, but I found them comfortable when paired with foam bartape…up to about 20 miles or so. Beyond that, I could use a little more cushion for the nerves in my hands.

The mesh back is airy and comfortable, letting a cooling breeze in at all times. That mesh extends the full length of the fingers, too, and is incredibly lightweight against the skin, even in summer temps. If you’re planning on cooler-temperature rides, these may not offer enough insulation for sensitive fingers. I wore them in temps down to about 60 degrees; below that, my thin fingers cried out for more warmth.

Cool mesh:
DSC05635s

One of the features I enjoyed about the gloves is the reinforcing gusset at the connection between thumb and index finger. I’ve blown out dozens of gloves in this area, both on- and off-road. I have big, flexible hands and my hands seem to terrorize gloves in that location. The gusset on the Trailhands gloves prevents any stretching or blowout in that crucial spot, and I appreciate it. By nature of the way a MTBer grips their handlebars, this area is a weak spot on many other glove models. Good engineering, Pryme!

Amara palm, reinforcing gusset:
DSC05634s

As I mentioned in my Ergon gloves review, I really need a soft nose-wiping surface on my gloves. The Pryme Trailhands have me covered…with an entire thumb covered in luxurious terry and not a rough seam in sight. Sheer snot-wiping bliss! What seams ARE located in this area are covered over with spandex piping, making them soft and scratch-free. Also, I like gloves with simple closures — a big flappy pull tab gets in the way and annoys me to no end. The Trailhands gloves are stretchy enough to fit snugly around my hands, and a simple, narrow pull tab is all that is needed to keep things secure.

Terry thumb, simple pull tab:
DSC05632s

Does a bike commuter really NEED gloves? Perhaps not, at least not in the way that a mountain biker might. I like the added protection for my hands, although I don’t always wear gloves when I am riding. And, I do love something to wipe my nose on…keeping your hands clean on the way to work is always a plus as well. For a retail price of about $24.00, these gloves are reasonably priced for what they offer — a simple, grippy, light solution to basic hand protection.

Check out the rest of the Pryme accessories line by visiting their site…they even have a whimsical pair of basic bike gloves that ties in nicely with our “Zen and Bicycle Commuting” article yesterday!

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

More Bikes in the News

Here’s a roundup of various bike-related things clogging up my inbox…what better way to clear that out than to share them with you?

First off, the United States Postal Service announced that they will be printing “Bicycle Forever” stamps in 2012.

“We are excited to promote one the nation’s most popular outdoor activities with the issuance of these four Bicycling stamps,” added [Stamp Services manager Stephen] Kearny. “These days, increasing numbers of Americans ride bikes to work or use them to run neighborhood errands. Many travel organizations offer cycling tours, from leisurely half-day jaunts to weeks-long excursions. No matter how long the ride, choosing to bike rather than to drive cuts down on traffic congestion, fuel consumption and vehicle emissions, which benefits the environment and helps improve air quality.”

bikestamps
Information via press release, Beyond the Perf and Urban Velo.

Going to Interbike this year? Some of the staffers at Bikecommuters.com/Mtnbikeriders.com are…and when we do, we’re going to get a chance to ride on Circulus, which Vince wrote about last week. From the Interbike press release:

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. – July 26, 2011 – Celebrating urban, fixed and track bike culture, Interbike is installing Portland Design Works’ Circulus, a 132-foot circumference (40.2m), 45-degree wooden mini-velodrome inside the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

Sponsored by Paved magazine, Yakima, All-City Cycles and Portland Design Works (PDW), Circulus will be the site of multiple events at the Interbike Expo in Las Vegas September 14-16.

Circulus will be setup next to the Urban Lounge, home of the Interbike City Style Fashion Show, and The Pub, a new beer garden and bar located on the show’s street level expo space. Show attendees will be able to hang out, ride All-City Cycles bikes on the track and compete in events on the first and second days of the show, including the PDW/Paved Pro-Am Classic at Circulus.

“Circulus will add something completely new and unique to this year’s show,” said Interbike Brand and Communications Director Rich Kelly. “We’re placing a big emphasis on urban cycling and the brands that support it and having Circulus there will be a big draw for that segment of the market. And, of course, I can’t wait to take a spin on it myself.”

Normally housed at PDW’s headquarters, Circulus will be dismantled, transported to Las Vegas and reassembled for the 30th edition of the bicycle industry’s annual trade show.

“Over the years, we’ve watched urban cycling grow to be on par with any other segment of cycling. We love that, and believe the universal appeal of Circulus is a reflection of the passion and vibrant growth of urban cycling,” said PDW Co-Founder Dan Powell. “We can’t wait for folks to hop on and turn some hot laps on the show floor.”

The circular track was originally conceived and built by Claremont, Calif. Pomona College art student Samuel Starr as part of his 2010 senior thesis. Circulus was later purchased by PDW and all 39 sections of the track were shipped to the company’s Oregon warehouse where it was reassembled.

“Since I first heard about Circulus, I knew Paved magazine had to be involved in some way,” said Paved Editor Joe Parkin. “Circulus combines design and a passion for bikes, but with a light-hearted demeanor – kind of like what we try to do with Paved. I can’t wait to see peoples’ reactions to the events at Interbike.”

Next up, I got a press release from Transportation For America that has been making the rounds on various bike news outlets. It seems that the U.S. House of Representatives are proposing some drastic cuts to transportation funding:

Late last week the House released an outline of their transportation bill and the news was not encouraging. The proposal would cut total transportation funding by one-third. It would also kill the tiny slice of dedicated funding for safer walking and biking and drastically reduce transit support, while failing to focus on fixing and repairing our crumbling roads and bridges.

While I understand that the Federal Government can’t possibly pay for everything, and in fact shouldn’t in many cases (the states should be responsible for the bulk of their bike/ped improvements…we’ve discussed this many times around here), this sets a dangerous precedent. But this transportation bill proposal cuts into infrastructure funding of ALL kinds, not just bike/ped stuff, and losing those funds can offer states an “out” in that they may not want to proceed with improvements/restorations without that federal “seed money”. Tough times we’re living in, folks…the economy is affecting everything now, and our cities are crumbling from the streets on up. Anyhow, if you’re inclined, you can contact your state representatives to tell them how you feel by clicking here.

Finally: Need more proof that bikes are the hot fashion accessory these days, and that people of all kinds are flocking to them? Look no further: fashion designer Philip Lim provided a promo of his Fall/Winter 2011 collection by outfitting models with Linus citybikes. It’s a fun, Kraftwerky video preview, and the models and bikes are stunning: