Archive for category Adventures

Bikes4Kidz

Bikes4Kidz is a non-profit organization that has fixed up thousands of donated bikes to give away to children in the Twin Cities area.  We volunteered our mechanical talents to repair bikes and to help with distributing them.  Bikes4Kidz has a repair and storage site conveniently located near Speedhound HQ, so we went over on a recent morning to pitch in.

Chris repairs a "Bratz" themed bike.

There were eight volunteers on hand in a space the size of several football fields.  Plenty of tools, bike parts and cleaning supplies were available for us to transform unloved and unwanted bikes into safe and sparkling rides that will delight some deserving kids.

Hundreds of bikes for kids.

Turns out this is also where the Nice Ride bikes go to spend the Winter.

Nice Rides hibernating at an undisclosed location.

Someone’s going to be pumping up a lot of bike tires next Spring!

Minnecycle 2011

Gun Metal BlueWe had a great weekend with our brothers-in-arms at the 2011 Minnecycle bike art show.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by to see us and check out the wonderful bikes on display.  We were especially proud to feature our new Gun Metal Blue creation.  This unique finish was accomplished by hand applying gun metal bluing to the frame in multiple phases.  The finish is protected using good old-fashioned auto wax.  It’s a one-of-a-kind.

We’ve posted a few pics from the event on flickr.  Enjoy!

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Heartland Velo Show Pics

Thanks to the talented Dennis Bean-Larson of Fixed Gear Gallery, we’ve got some great photos from the Heartland Velo Show in Madison, Wisconsin.  Click here to see the Speedhounds we brought to Madison.

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Speedhound at Heartland Velo Show

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ll be invading Wisconsin this weekend as we exhibit the Only One frameset at the Heartland Velo Show this weekend August 27-28 in Madison.  Here’s a little bit about the Heartland Velo Show.

For over 100 years, the Midwest has been at the forefront of bicycle manufacturing, racing, and recreational riding. On August 27  & 28, the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin will house a weekend-long celebration of everything bicycle. Artisans and manufacturers of bicycles, components, cycling accessories and apparel will display their wares. Exciting demonstrations, informative panels and seminars as well as parties and entertainment will create a “something for everyone” atmosphere to delight cyclists and non- cyclists alike. The Heartland Velo Show is designed to inspire aficionados, enthusiasts, casual riders and those who may just be curious about the fun, fitness and freedom to be found on two wheels.

Learn more about the Heartland Velo Show at their website.

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Riding Bikes and Racing Bikes

Allow me a short story about cycling in Hawaii, and the difference between a bike for racing and a bike for riding.  It takes place some years ago, before Speedhound was born, on a trip with friends to the island of Kauai.  In addition to having the rainiest place on Earth (460 inches and 335 days per year), the southwest area of the island also features the breathtaking Waimea Canyon, with a ridgeline road that rises from near sea-level to over 3,000 feet in about 12 miles.  Naturally, this presented a riding challenge for me (my friends, not so much).  After a day of settling into our vacation cottage and knocking around the beach, I was itching to spin the pedals, and managed to find a road bike to rent.  It was one of the big brands, with an aluminum frame and a 27-speed drivetrain (52-42-32 X 12-23).  Riding back to the cottage before setting out on my hillclimb challenge, I immediately noticed something quite peculiar about this bike:  the handling was exceptionally darty.  Keeping the bike on a line took much more concentration than I cared for, and any inattention required immediate correction.  I’m not a bad bike handler, and would ordinarily think nothing of riding “no hands,”  but not on this crazed machine.  It wanted to go left and right, but not straight ahead.

My point is not to criticize a bike brand or frame material, but to highlight the importance of frame geometry (and the resultant handling) to a bike’s intended purpose.  On closer examination, my rental bike appeared to have a very steep head angle (around 74 degrees or higher).  Because I don’t make a habit of packing the precision tools needed to measure frame and fork geometry, I can’t say for sure what the spec was.  But I do know that this bike was far less stable than anything I was used to riding back home.  Despite the triple chainrings, it was a bike best suited for racing in a downtown criterium, not for riding Kauai’s narrow and steep roads.

As it turned out, I was able to manage this twitchy beast and climb the ridgeline.  I got to the top in about 1:20 of grinding work in the smallest ring.  A view of the canyon from a turnout provided all the reward I needed, and there was even a vending truck with cold drinks.  After a refreshing pause, I descended back down to the shore in about 25 minutes, touching the brakes only once or twice before entering some hairpins.  I had to concentrate for every one of those 1,500 seconds to keep the bike on the right side of the road and out of the ditch.  It was exhilarating, but I would have enjoyed it far more on a bike designed for riding.

Bike Night at the MIA

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is hosting Bike Night this Thursday, July 21, starting at 6:00 p.m, and we’ll be there!  A group ride departs for the MIA from Gold Medal Park (next to the Guthrie Theater) at 5:00 p.m.  Or just ride over to the MIA at 24th Street and Third Avenue South in Minneapolis for the cycling scene’s social event of the summer.  Bike Night includes:

  • The opening of the Bicycle Film Festival, with shows at 7:00 and 8:15 p.m.
  • Live music
  • Outdoor cocktail lounge
  • Exhibits by Speedhound, Peacock Groove and other notable home-grown bike frame builders
  • Drawings for bike and swag giveaways
  • Bike art activities
  • Local bike shop clinics
  • Thousands of Twin Cities bike hipstas!

We’re planning to show two of the Speedhound family’s personal rides, plus a naked frame and some of the unique components that make the Only One one-of-a-kind.  See you there!

Speedhound at Art-A-Whirl

We’re showing Speedhounds during Art-a-Whirl in Minneapolis this weekend (May 20, 21 and 22).  With over 500 artists displaying their work, Art-a-Whirl is an incredible way to experience the diversity of our urban art scene at multiple locations throughout Northeast’s arts district.  See us at Bicycle Theory’s Bikehaus event in Suite 400 at the Northrop King Building, 1500 Jackson St. NE, Minneapolis MN 55413 (link below).  Friday (5/20) 5-10 pm, Saturday (5/21) Noon – 8 pm and Sunday (5/22) Noon – 5 pm.  We’ll be there with our nickel-plated NAHBS special, a New Black lightweight roadie build, and Only One #1 decked out as a belt-drive fixie.

Hope to see you there!

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Speedhounds love gravel!

Riding and racing on gravel roads have become extremely popular in the last few years.  Road and cyclocross bikes on skinny tires share the country lanes and forest service roads happily with MTBs.  Gravel events are springing up all over the country.  The Speedhound geometry is perfect for off-road adventures where farm dogs outnumber motor vehicles.

Gravel riders face a variety of conditions from dusty hard-packed roads to muddy, rutted lanes that barely qualify as “roads”.  That diversity of terrain requires a different set of skills and a greater attention to the road surface.  Wise gravel riders take corners at much less than criterium speeds to avoid laying the bike down in a spray of pebbles.  Safe drafting distances increase, also.  It’s particularly important to use the brakes lightly – that keeps skidding and slipping to a minimum.  Of course, staying on the right side of the road is absolutely critical, especially on country hills.  Farm vehicles don’t expect cyclists to occupy their lane as they come over the top of those rolling hills and won’t be able to stop or swerve in time to avoid you.  Remember that the speed limit on unpaved roads can be as high as 55 mph.

Accessories can make a major difference in gravel bike performance.  Most gravel riders run at least 28 mm tires with some tread.  Many opt for cyclocross tires if the surface is particularly rough or muddy.  A set of flared drop bars can create a stable ride with multiple handholds.  The shorter drop these bars offer means the height difference between the saddle and your hands is minimized.  Cantilever or V-brakes allow more clearance when mud and dirt collect on your tires.

There’s a world of gravel riding adventure out there.  The Speedhound Only One frameset makes a perfect partner for off-road trekking.  If you’re interested in learning more about gravel riding and racing check out these resources:

Events

Barry-Roubaix – MI

Almonzo 100 – MN

Trans Iowa – IA

Dirty Kanza 200 – KS

 

Websites

Guitar Ted Productions

Gravel Grinder News

 

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