Saturday, April 24, 2010

Some fun new videos

We've just added some fun videos to our YouTube collection. Take a brief tour of the Catrike Musashi:

You can also check out the new Carbent HPV Raven Team:

And finally, we just built up this beautiful HP Velotechnik Scorpion FS for a customer who plans on doing some serious touring:

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Walking and Bicycling to School - a National Epidemic is Ending?

As a member of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, I receive a weekly update on all things cycling and advocacy related in the LA County. The editor recently posted a link to an article on bicycling and walking to school. Apparently, walking and cycling to school have stabilized at an all time low of about 12%. This is absolutely amazing to me! In Los Angeles, most children live within a mile of school...why wouldn't they walk or ride their bikes? My daughter and I love walking/bicycling/scootering to school! But where are the other 88%? Oh yeah...I's too dangerous...

Hear me out here. This morning, a group of walking parents congregated at the school gate to chat (as we usually of the things you can't do in a car). We watched three cars blow right through the crosswalk as the crossing guard was standing in the middle of the street with children crossing to school! As if a crossing guard wearing a a reflective vest holding a STOP sign wasn't enough, there are three signs in each direction leading up to the cross walk signaling drivers that they are approaching a school zone and the speed limit is 25mph. And yet, they still just blow right through (and no, they were not on the cell phone). No wonder many parents don't feel safe walking/riding with their children.

LACBC hopes to address this type of concern by launching a Bicycle Ad Awareness Campaign. Their goal is "to help make drivers more aware of the growing number of bicyclists on our streets in order to create safer streets for all." Great! Are they the ones posting the white signs all over the city saying "Watch for cyclists" and "Share the road"? No, they will be posting ads in bus depot and public kiosks. So, how many drivers do you think are hanging out at the bus depot? Hmmmm.... While I can certainly get behind a cycling ad campaign to promote safety, I think they have mis-identified their audience. Unless I am missing some of the details here, I think they need to go back to the drawing board on this one... Me, I called the local police department and asked them to please station a police officer out in front of the school from 7:30 to 8am. Think of it as public safety and a great way of generating revenue for a cash-strapped city!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

More RAAM coverage - introducing our Crew Chief!

In the world of staying fit and active, a lot of folks talk the talk, a few walk the walk and yet others - like 74-year old local resident Lee Mitchell - pedal the, uh, pedal.

Mitchell, an instructor in geology, geography and oceanography at Woodland Community College, has been cycling for nearly three decades but unlike most folks who pull a bicycle out of their garage or storage shed for a leisurely five-mile ride once a week, Mitchell has logged more than 100,000 miles on his bike and chalks much of his passion for distance up to his first Davis Double Century event in 1975.

Since that one event, Mitchell has participated in hundreds of rides including racing in three Race Across America (RAAM) events - an annual 3,000-mile, coast-to-coast race that draws endurance riders from around the globe - and crewing another twenty.

Alternating between racing on a team (setting records in each for age-category race times) and acting as a crew chief to other teams, Mitchell has become a well-known face to the RAAM athletes who compete each year and 2010 will be no different. Beginning June 12, Mitchell will be crew chief for Team Bent Up Cycles, an all-male, all recumbent bicycle team as the four-man team leaves Oceanside, CA.

Sponsored by Bent Up Cycles, the premier retailer and manufacturer of recumbent bicycles in the States, the team consists of three Californians - Dana Lieberman, owner of Bent Up Cycles, Willie Hunt and Jim Verheul - and Texan Kent Polk.

Few riders or crew chiefs know the Race Across America route, high points or challenges the way that Mitchell - nicknamed "Fuzzy" for his Santa Claus-like beard - does and he's got great stories to share. In fact, Mitchell is a fun, lively character who treats the idea of 3,000 miles in non-stop cycling the way he treats life - with a great, great sense of humor.

In the last three months, Lee has pulled the team together by providing much needed insight, cinched the logistics of building a 14-person crew, making sure racers have the appropriate equipment for the race, and ensuring that all of the little things, those things that many forget about until the day of the race, get done! For that reason, we felt it appropriate to feature him first in our series of crew and racers for Team Bent Up Cycles.

For more information about sponsoring our team, email us at, or purchase a supporter T-shirt at the Bent Up Cycles website.

Photos by Chuck Bramwell, James Burger