Make way for the JCC

September 12, 2008

Introducing a new Atlanta bike blogger, the Jewish City Chick. Welcome! JCC rides single speed here in town. I look forward to her musings about biking in this car-crazed metropolis.

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Oddly Ikea-like

September 9, 2008

Wahey! I’ve received and installed my new bike computer. I’m replacing my wireless front wheel computer with a wired rear-mounted one, so that I can get accurate mileage while on the trainer. Not that I’m actually going anywhere when on the trainer, but you get the picture. It also measures cadence, which is not something I’ve been able to do before.

Installing it was predictably simple yet simultaneously tricky: the concept is easy, but the zip ties… oh the zip ties! And there was no way to get the cadence sensor close enough to the cadence magnet. The picture in the instructions alluded to some sort of extra plastic thingie and yet… no extra plastic thingie. But I padded the magnet out a few milimeters with some inner tube rubber and everything now seems to be hunky dory (as Bowie would say, were he into this sort of thing; I assume he has people to install bike computers for him).

Next stop: an actual ride.


First Person

September 8, 2008

An account of the Faster Mustache 24 race from the point of view of the male lap leader, Eddie O. He did 371.93 miles in 24 hours. I am in awe of these maniacs.


Weekly Record

September 7, 2008

This week brought an all-time record in my cycling mileage: 73.51 miles. The crazy thing is, I did that Monday to Friday, in rides taken after I’d finished work for the day. Last night, while under the influence of a martini, some beers and a few gin and tonics, I contemplated a Stone Mountain run this morning to get that up to 100 miles. Strangely enough, I was too hungover after I woke up to even think about getting on a bike.

Of course, had I been crazy enough to do the Faster Mustache 24 I could have done a couple of centuries in one day. Erm… or not.


24 Hours of Cycling Madness

September 7, 2008

So my friend Emily just came tops among female riders in the Faster Mustache 24, completing more laps than any other woman. That’s an insane 24 hours of Atlanta urban cycling. She rode twenty circuits of this route with no sleep, amounting to 240-something miles. Lunacy!

This is what someone looks like after they’ve been riding a bike for 24 hours:

Oddly normal, given the circumstances. Here’s her amazingly glorious bike:

Riders were trackable live on Google Earth, as they carried RFID cards and had to swipe in at a number of locations around town. Here’s a snapshot from this morning:

Now this wasn’t necessarily 24 hours of solid riding. Just a race to complete the most number of laps possible within a 24 hour period. So, if you wanted, you could rest, eat pizza, take a nap, have a beer, etc. But if you’re serious about winning, obviously you want to do as little of that as possible. Hence Emily’s insane 24 hours of riding, with no sleep. Shivering madness, I tell you! But also totally cool and an amazing achievement. Especially four months after back surgery.

The atmosphere at the finishing point today (Johnny’s Pizza) was a glorious mix of exhaustion, drunkenness and bike nerdiness:

And insanity. Did I mention the insanity?

Anyway, congratulations to Emily on a majorly ass-kicking achievement. All due, in her own words, to “pure stubbornness.”


Are Fixies More Shabbat-Friendly?

September 3, 2008

Time to discuss the overlap of two things dear to my heart, cycling and being Jewish. Now I’m not even remotely observant, but I do know a good debate when I see one. And I was just reminded of this discussion on soc.culture.jewish.moderated, sent to me ages and ages ago by Cycledork.

In short, can observant Jews ride bicycles on Shabbat?

The answer, of course, depends on what you mean by “observant,” “ride,” “bicycle,” “Jew,” and “Shabbat.” But it also makes for an interesting discussion.

The crux of the matter lies with what constitutes work. If riding a bicycle is work, then no, obviously cycling is forbidden on Shabbat (unless, maybe, you’re just freewheeling downhill). But what if merely repairing a bicycle is work? Well then, of course, you need a track bike. As one of the participants suggests:

With all the great technological developments in Shabbat-compliant appliances and equipment — everything from stoves to electric wheelchairs and telephones that can be used on Shabbat — why is it so hard to make a bicycle that would satisfy the rabbinical authorities?  Take, for instance, my old track bike. No gears, no brakes, just direct chain drive without a freewheel, and the addition of some non-pneumatic tires could eliminate the risk of a flat tire.

Who knew?! Fixies aren’t just cool for their stripped-down aesthetic. They’re also appropriate for those who are Shomer Shabbos.


Note to self…

September 3, 2008

Smoking past a patrol car in your car is terrifying and stupid. Smoking past a bike cop on your bike, though, is just plain awesome.