Posts Tagged commuting

Just Ride: A Review of Grant Petersen’s New Book

There’s a high likelihood that you’ve heard of Grant Petersen and Rivendell Bicycle Works.  (Speedhound tends to attract riders who dig steel bikes, and nobody has done more than Grant Petersen to praise the many virtues of steel.)  If G.P. and Riv mean nothing to you, though, it’s your lucky day.  G.P.’s new book, Just Ride (subtitled “A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike”), might just change your life.  As the author says in the Introduction, “my main goal with this book is to point out what I see as bike racing’s bad influence on bicycles, equipment, and attitudes, and then undo it.”

I’d subscribed to G.P.’s Rivendell Reader for years, and whether I agreed or disagreed with his many opinions, the Reader was always entertaining and useful.  G.P. challenged conventional biking wisdom and rejected the racer as a role model.  He gave us permission to raise our handlebars, lower our tire pressure, and leave the Lycra at home.  In large doses, his writing could come off as judgmental and cranky, or sometimes painfully wordy and confessional.  It pulled you in anyway, with a vaguely cult-like vibe you wanted to be a part of, even if it just meant ordering a Rivendell handlebar bag.

The last print edition of the Reader was published in February 2009, and I hadn’t gotten around to reading the two later, on-line volumes until recently.  (Available to download free at www.rivbike.com/product-p/rr.htm.)  So when I started reading Just Ride, it was like a visit from an old friend.  All of the familiar themes were there, including G.P.’s pet equipment likes: steel frames, lugs, wheels with lots of spokes, puffy tires, flat pedals (not clipless), friction shifters, threaded forks, quill stems, fenders, saddle bags, kickstands, leather saddles, cotton bar tape, shellac, hemp twine, and wool.  Practical, durable stuff, not for racing.

So what’s new?  Part 4 of Just Ride is titled “Health and Fitness,” and G.P. says it’s his second-favorite chapter in the book.  It’s my favorite.  Here are some of the section headings:

  • Riding is lousy all-around exercise.
  • Riding burns calories and makes you eat more.
  • Carbohydrates make you fat.
  • Branch out and buff up.
  • Stretching is overrated.

Wow, G.P. has gone all low carb and paleo!  (He doesn’t use the term.)  It’s offered as his own advice, but it’s really a distillation of, among others, Gary Taubes (Why We Get Fat) www.garytaubes.com and Mark Sisson (The Primal Blueprint) www.marksdailyapple.com. These books, two favorites in my library, are offered for sale on the Rivendell site.  G.P. says “My education will be questioned.  Some will accuse me of making irresponsible, even dangerous claims, and will want to see the studies.  The studies are out there; look them up.  I’ve been careful.  I’ve read everything, seen through the BS, seen the results in others and in myself.  Do what I recommend here, and you will get healthier.”

Believe it.  I’ve followed my own primal lifestyle experiment for almost three years and it works.  You’ll disagree with much of G.P.’s advice when it comes to bikes and riding, but you owe it to yourself to read Just Ride, and when you’re done, Why We Get Fat (even if you’re not) and The Primal Blueprint.  This is life changing stuff.  Now go out and just ride!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Twin Cities Business Feature

Speedhound is featured in this month’s Twin Cities Business magazine.  This great feature shows how Speedhound has solved the greasy pants leg problem for commuters.  Our unique modular Speedhound Dropout System allows a clean maintenance-free belt drive to power your commute.  Here’s the article from the print edition. The online edition doesn’t include the article, but you should check out the magazine anyway!  Visit the Twin Cities Business website.

Twin Cities Business feature on Speedhound

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

ACE Red!

Recently, we built a beautiful ACE Red Speedhound with a Nuvinci internally-geared hub.  it’s a sweet commuter with some beautiful lines and curves.  Pictures of this beauty are up on our flickr stream.

See all the glamour shots here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why belt drive?

Why Belt Drive?  It’s like a human-powered motorcycle!

Belt Drive CranksetThe unique Speedhound Dropout System takes the fuss and muss of chains, derailleurs and chain lube out of the daily commute by accommodating a belt drive.  The unique slot in the dropout receiver makes installation and removal of drive belts a snap.

Why would someone want a belt-driven bike?  There are good reasons, especially for commuters.

  • Low maintenance  - Belts do not rust and are more resistant to debris than chain drives.
  • No grease! – Lubrication is not required, making the bike ideal for commuters – no more pants straps!
  • Light weight
  • Durability
  • Smoother, quieter operation. A belt’s teeth completely engage into the system for decreased friction.

History of the Belt Drive

Bridgestone PicnicaThe Bridgestone Picnica belt-drive bicycle was introduced in the early 1980s. It used a tooth-belt drive like auto timing belts and Harley-Davidson drive belts, along with a novel two-part chainring that increased belt tension with increasing load. The Picnica was a folding bicycle, and part of the appeal of the belt drive was cleanliness. The Picnica was a small wheel bicycle, so belt tension may have been less than on a bicycle with standard-size wheels. The Picnica was apparently successful, but was offered mainly in Japan.

In 1984 and 1985, Mark Sanders, a designer who had earned his degree in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College, London, designed a folding bicycle as part of his graduate studies in an Industrial Design Engineering program.  He collaborated with a design engineer from Gates Corporation to outfit his bicycle with a belt, rather than a chain.

Possibilities for belt-driven bicycles have widened as hub gears inside the rear hub, were applied. In lieu of a derailleur, the hub gear allows riders of belt-driven bicycles to shift easily. Major internal hub makers include Shimano (Nexus), SRAM and Rohloff.

Suggested belt drive build kit:

The late, great Sheldon Brown posted an excellent summary of belt drive systems on his site.  It’s worth a read.  Check it out here.

Belt drives recently “dropped” with some mainstream press in the NY Times, too.  Read the article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Belt Drive Commuter Glamour Shots

Here are some elegant shots of the Belt Drive Commuter concept bike we profiled last week.

The Belt Drive Commuter concept bikeBelt Drive Crankset

See all the photos on our Flickr stream.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Belt Drive Commuter Concept Bike

You’ll get to work in style on this handsome bike-about-town.  This elegant Speedhound’s split dropout makes belt drive the perfect propulsion system for your daily ride. No more chain lube on your pants leg. No more dorky pants straps. Don your best tweed or your prettiest skirt and ride in luxury.

Belt Drive Commuter Concept BikeThe sturdy ONLY ONE frameset makes a comfortable ride with some classic swept-back bars and a Brooks leather saddle. The unique rear fender mount provides ample clearance for bigger tires. The ONLY ONE frameset also sports multiple rack mount options for all your work stuff, groceries or your picnic lunch.

 

Belt Drive Commuter Specs

  • Speedhound ONLY ONE 61 cm frameset in TiS Grey
  • SDS stainless steel track dropout insert
  • Shimano Alfine 8-speed internally-geared hub
  • Gates Carbon Drive 50t front sprocket and 24t rear sprocket
  • Gates Carbon Drive toothed belt
  • Sugino 130 bcd cranks
  • Phil Wood bottom bracket
  • Hand-built wheels with Velocity Dyad rims and DT spokes
  • Avid Shorty 6 cantilever brakes
  • Cane Creek Flattop brake levers
  • Brooks B68 Imperial saddle
  • Panaracer T-Serv 700X32 tires
  • ESGE fenders

One of our clients has recently created his own belt drive commuter – it’s a fixie.  Browse the photos in our Flickr photostream.

Visit an authorized Speedhound dealer to create your own Belt Drive Commuter.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,