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Thursday
Oct092014

See you at the Philly Bike Expo

I will be at the Philly Bike Expo to be held November 8, and 9, 2014, at the Convention Center, Broad Street, Philadelphia. I was fortunate enough to be invited as one of the guest speakers.

I will be speaking from 12 noon to 1:00 pm. on Saturday 8th November. I will do my best to make the talk both informative and entertaining.

Among the other speakers are two other framebuilders from my era, namely Tom Kellogg, and Ben Serotta. I will be looking forward to meeting up with them again.

The thing I love about these type of events, it is always an opportunity to not only meet up with old friends, but I often come away having made many new ones.

I will be hanging out for the entire show, so if you happen to be there please stop me and say “Hi.” After the show I will be heading up to New York City for a few days.

The last time I was in New York was in the early 1980s when they had an annual bicycle trade show there. And of course when I first came the US, in 1979, I was at Paris Sport in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, just seven miles outside NYC, and went there most weekends.

 

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Tuesday
Sep302014

Working Bike

It gives me great satisfaction to see a bike I built in pristine condition, but there is also a measure of fulfilment when I see one that has obviously been ridden hard and has seen a lot of use. Like this one pictured here.

In the heyday of my custom framebuilding, the years 1982, 1983, and 1984 I built only three of these pure track frames. (One in each year.) They were all actually raced on the relatively few banked velodromes that exist in the US.

No one rode a brakeless, fixed wheel bike on the streets back then, with the exception of a few New York City bike messengers, who started the whole trend.

I built so few that looking through my original frame numbers record book, I can safely say (Even though I don’t have its frame number.) this one was built in February 1983. It is a 61cm. frame, the other two track frames built were a 49cm. and a 57cm. which is definitely not this one. It was built for a Jim Zimmerman, who I seem to recall was a pretty good rider.

It is fitting that this bike is now being used by a Brooklyn, NY bike messenger. My thanks to Patrick Gilmoure who saw it by chance, and managed to snap a few pictures before the bike’s current owner had to rush off to make another delivery. How cool is that? Enjoy the pictures as I did.

 

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Tuesday
Sep232014

I Don't Suffer for my Art

I have a new book titled “I Don’t Suffer for my Art.”

The subtitle inside reads “It’s the people who read this shit that suffer for my art.”

It is a collection of over 1,500 short humorous quips, together with 100 cartoons also drawn by me.

The book contains some strong adult language, and anyone who would be offended by this, I would rather they not read the book. I give fair warning of the content in the opening pages.

Here are a few excerpts:

Did you watch the Kentucky Derby? I haven’t seen that many horse faces and funny hats since the Royal Wedding.

When I know I’m right is when I need to shut up the most.

People buying cake and ice cream never actually “run” to the store. 

“Stake my wife, please.” (Vampire comedian)

According to my eye doctor, my right eye is dominant and my left eye is tired of taking this crap. 

I sometimes feel I’d rather see a person holding a bloody hatchet than a clip board in front of a store.

If you see a guy wearing a suit on a bus he’s probably on his way to court.

I have several motivational posters if anyone is interested, because I don’t think I’ll ever get around to hanging them.

It’s harder for a woman to dance her way out of a welding job than it was in the 80’s.

Do they say? “He died doing what he loved,” about people killed texting while driving.

I’ve spent most of my life dealing with the issue of being a man trapped outside a woman’s body.

I’m paranoid AND needy. I think people are talking about me, just not as often as I’d like.

It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye. Then it’s a life of piracy on the high seas.

Danger is my middle name. First name: Avoids. Last name: Completely.

When I was a kid I stayed at my uncle’s farm. He said. “There’s 39 sheep out there, I want you to round them up.” I said, “OK there’s 40 sheep out there.”

True friends do not judge each other. They get together and judge other people.

If your kid can arm fart Ritchie Blackmore’s entire guitar riff from Smoke on the Water, he’ll probably go far in life 

I don’t have a problem with caffeine. I have a problem without caffeine.

It doesn’t take much to make a woman happy…. It takes even less to make her mad.

Parents today tell their kids, “Finish posting pictures of your food. There are children starving for attention in other countries.”

Iran declares “A Grand Day of Death to America.” With face painting for the kids.

Are retirement communities grey areas?

I once dated a Miss Universe…. But sadly not from this Universe.

I don’t get it, the accordion is such a difficult instrument to play. You could study to play one for 30 years and best case scenario you’re playing for three toddlers at a farmer’s market.

Did you know you can drop a baby off at any fire station, no questions asked? Doesn’t even have to be on fire. 

Note to every news channel…. Unless they are in a zoo, all bears are, “On the loose.”

Parents today don’t worry about their kids running away fromhome. Mainly because that would require going outside and gettingsome exercise.

Definition of irony: “Getting pregnant on a pull out sofa.”

 

 

The book will not be in stores until the end of October. If you would like a pre-release copy, email me at davesbikeblog[AT]gmail.com  

The book is in Paperback, 8.5  in. x 5.5 in. 195 pages. $14 plus $3 postage in the US (Media Rate.) $5 (Priority Mail.) You can pay with PayPal via the "Donate" button on the DaveMoultonRegistry. Overseas shipping unfortunately costs more than the book, but email if you are interested.

 

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Tuesday
Sep162014

NiteRider Rechargeable Bike Lights

Bicycle lights have improved tremendously since the introduction of LED light bulbs, emitting more light with longer battery life. There is really no excuse for anyone to ride at night without lights, and it amazes me that people still do. Most of the cycling fatalities happen during the hours of darkness.

Over the years I have always considered that the main purpose of bike lights was so that drivers of other vehicles could see me, I never really thought of it as a means to actually see where I was going in the dark. That was until a year or more ago when I bought a NiteRider MiNewt 350 headlight. (Below right.)

I bought it initially because I grew tired of constantly buying and replacing AAA batteries, and most annoying was that vibration caused the batteries to loose contact and the light would go out.

The NiteRider lights have rechargeable batteries.

The MiNewt unit has a separate rechargeable battery that straps firmly to the handlebar stem, and the tiny headlight fastens to the handlebar with a rubber “O” ring.

It throws a beam of light some 50 or 60 yards up the road ahead. The distance of the beam depends a lot on the angle you set the headlamp on the bars.

I am reluctant to set mine too high as the light can actually dazzle oncoming drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. I described the headlight as “Tiny,” but I was referring to its physical size. The headlight lens is only 3/4 inch (20mm.) in diameter, but the light is so intense that viewed head on in the dark, the light appears to be 3 or 4 inches in diameter. (75 to 100mm.)

The first thing I noticed was that when riding in the dark, cars approaching head on and wanting to turn in front of me, would actually sit and wait for me to pass. Even though there was often time for them to safely make the turn. On seeing such a bright light approaching, they might assume it is a motorcycle or motor-scooter approaching. The same is true for drivers emerging from side roads and driveways, they wait for me to pass before pulling out.

I ride on a local bike path at 6am. when temperatures are the coolest, but it is still dark. This headlight not only allows me to see the path ahead and ride at a reasonable pace, but I can see pedestrians and other bike riders without lights. Also the wildlife is still out including the occasional deer.

The headlight also throws a pool of light ahead so the cyclist is silhouetted in this pool of light making him more visible from behind. For this reason I continued to use my AAA battery power rear light, which I though adequate at the time. However, I was so pleased with the MiNewt Mini that I decided to put that one on my wife’s bike and I bought a NiteRider Lumina 700 headlight for my bike. (For 2015 it is a 750.)

This headlight (Picture at the top.) has an output of 700 lumens twice that of the Mini 350 I was using before.

The rechargeable battery and headlight is in one self-contained unit.

The lamp easily detaches from the handlebar mounting bracket, to facilitate recharging by plugging into the USB port of my computer. (Left.)

When I bought the new headlight I also bought two NiteRider Solas 2W taillights, for both my wife and my bikes.

I was a little confused at first by the clear lens in the center of this tail light. However, when in use it is the clear part that glows with an intense red light. When recharging it also glows red, but the light turns blue when fully charged.

The light has two flashing modes and a bright setting that are so bright that it is annoying or even blinding for another cyclist riding behind. For this reason there is a steady light “Low” setting. At this setting the makers claim it will run for 36 hours on one charging. On the low setting the light is bright enough that it can be seen at least half a mile away.

Above: The Solas rear light comes with a bracket that fits around the seat post. But I use a padded camera bag that I bought at Wal-Mart for around five bucks. It holds two spare inner tubes, tire levers, a Co2 pump and a patch kit. It attaches under my saddle the old fashioned way, with toe-straps. I made a loop for the lamp to clip on with a plastic zip-tie.

With these lights, I find that when riding in the dark, passing drivers give me more room in overtaking that they do in the daylight. I feel really safe. A must for someone commuting or training in the dark, and even in daylight, the headlight on flashing mode, really draws attention to your presence.

These lights are spendy, around $80 for the headlight, and $35 for the Tail-light. Shop around because prices vary. This is a quality product that comes with a 2 year guarantee. I have seen reviews where people have used these light for five years. So if you consider the cost and the hassle of buying batteries over a long period, plus the far superior light output, the initial cost I feel is worth it.

Finally, reflectors are good “No Maintenance” way to be seen at night, especially if on moving parts of the bike. Like these Salzmann Spoke Reflectors that turn your wheels into a spinning light show. (Picture above.) Salzmann also make a reflective back pack cover. Both the items are $14.99 each, an inexpensive way to be seen at night.

 

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Tuesday
Sep092014

Stan Higginson 1931 – 2014

Former British National 25 Mile TT Champion and Competition Record Holder, Stan Higginson, died on August 31st. He would have been 83 on the 20th of September.

On May 1st, 2009 I wrote an article here titled “The Higginson Twins: A Pedaling Phenomenon.” Back in 1952 the year I started racing at the age of 16, the two fastest time-trialists for the 25 mile distance were Stan Higginson and his twin brother Bernard Higginson. The picture above is a recent one of the twins, Stan is on the right.

Picture left: From 1952. Stan on the left, Bernard right.

In the 1950s and before that time, British Time - Trial events were almost exclusively ridden on a single fixed wheel.

It was common back then to ride thought the winter months on a single fixed sprocket with a gear ratio around 20 x 48 or 21 x 48, a gear in the lower 60 inch range.

A popular early season event back then was a 72 inch gear restricted 25 mile TT.

Everyone was restricted to a gear ratio no bigger than 48 x 18, which leveled the playing field and those who had learned to pedal fastest during the winter prevailed.

The 25 mile competition record (Unrestricted.) in 1952 was 57 minutes something. It was still a huge achievement for anyone to beat the hour for a 25, a feat that only a few top riders could manage. Stan and Bernard Higginson made history that year when they both beat the hour in a 72 inch restricted event.

Stan’s time was 59 mins. 20 secs, which meant he was pedaling at over 118 revs per minute for 25 miles. Bernard Higginson clocked 59. 48 for 2nd place and third that morning was the previous year, 1951 25 record holder, Dave Keeler with a time of 59.58.

As a result of posting the above article, Stan contacted me and shared with me some interesting pieces of information. He and Bernard normally raced on a single fixed gear of 84.4 inches. (50 x 16) He said it suited their slight build of 5’ 9 1/2” (176.5cm.) weighing 129 lb. (58.5kg.) and their very low profile positions.

Throughout the winter they trained on 62 inch gear. (46 x 20) This no doubt gave the twins their fast pedaling abilities.

Between 1952 and 1955 they won seven British National 25 Mile Championship Medals. 3 firsts, 2 seconds, and a third. Stan Higginson broke competition record 3 times. Their team. Halesowen C&AC won 3 National Championships, and broke competition record 4 times.

Stan’s fastest 25 was 56min. 21sec. and Bernard’s fastest time was 57min. 05sec.

As a 16 year old, just starting out Stan Higginson was one of my heroes, someone I aspired to be. Even though looking back he was only a few years older than me. As we go through life others inspire us, and hopefully we inspire others.

Stan had apparently had heart problems for the last eleven years. He is survived by his brother Bernard, his wife Helen, and his two children Michael and Carol.

There will celebration of his life is taking place on Monday 15th September at 2pm at St Laurence Church in Alvechurch , Worcs B48 7SB. UK.

 

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