Monday, March 4, 2024
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Park to Park Pedal Century Ride: A Post LOTOJA Event

By David Ward — October 7 of this past year found me in Nevada’s Kershaw-Ryan State Park, just outside of Caliente, Nevada, trying not to shiver in the 40°F temperature and awaiting the start of the Park to Park Pedal Century Ride. I chose this event as motivation to maintain my LOTOJA fitness for a while. This is always my best cycling fitness of the year, even though I now ride the annual LOTOJA as part of a relay rather than solo. This year I hoped to avoid an immediate dive into my post-LOTOJA/winter cycling fitness slump.

I really enjoyed this ride. The format was appealing, taking in four Nevada State Parks. Beginning in the Kershaw-Ryan State Park, the course takes you to Cathedral Gorge State Park, through Echo Canyon State Park, to the turnaround point at Spring Valley State Park and then finishes back in Kershaw-Ryan. And we had ideal weather: Clear blue skies with temperatures ranging from the aforesaid 40°F to mid 80°sF, but never uncomfortably warm, and very little wind.

A rider on the road to Pioche, NV in the Park to Park Pedal Century Ride 2023. Photo by David Ward

Though advertised at a total ascent of 5600′, my computer logged “only” 4500′. Though short of what was advertised, that is still a lot of elevation gain for most of us amateur, recreational riders. Additionally, the climbing is not harsh. There is a long, 11-mile climb early on from Cathedral Gorge to Pioche in which you gain about 1600′, another good climb after the lunch break at Spring Valley about two miles long and 600′, and the final climb back to Pioche and a little beyond of 500′. And even these climbs are not extremely daunting, the steepest sections being around 6%. The rest of the climbing was gradual uphill and small rollers, mostly between Echo Canyon Dam and Spring Valley. Frankly, it was a perfect post-LOTOJA ride for me, challenging in both distance and ascent, but not too overwhelming.

It is also a beautiful ride. Make no mistake, this is desert, and you are pedaling alongside a lot of sagebrush surrounded by other desert flora including an abundance of a yellow-flowering plant that covered the landscape. (I have tried to identify this plant, but with no success.) Born and raised in rural southeastern Idaho, this landscape felt like home to me, a landscape that I love. And the ride alongside the lush Meadow Valley Wash with its rising canyon walls from Echo Canyon Dam to Spring Valley is simply desert gorgeous.

 

But my loudest raves for this event are for the organization and support. Preceding the ride is a rider’s breakfast of muffins, fruit and/or oatmeal. There are five food stops along the way, the stop at Pioche technically being two stops, first on the way out and a very welcome stop on the way back. Each stop is well-stocked with treats, fruit, colas and other canned soft drinks, energy drinks and plenty of water. The lunch stop at Spring Valley is a true lunch stop, serving up sandwiches made with your choice of meat and cheese, and self-serve condiments, as well as chips, fruit, and other snacks. The only thing I would have appreciated but which they didn’t have was pickle juice.

At the end of the ride, we were served up a Dutch oven dinner I would have been willing to pay good money for. But I didn’t have to: It was included in my registration fee.

Also, and a very much appreciated perk, at both Cathedral Gorge and Pioche stops you can take off extra clothing. It is put in a bag with your number on it and you pick it up at the finish. This solves a common early morning dilemma for me: Do I dress so as not to be too cold (especially on an early, very cool fall morning) and later find someplace to stuff the extra gear, or do I suffer in the cold for a goodly time before I finally warm up? Problem solved.

This ride has a lot of support staff. Local police and park rangers patrol the roads keeping an eye out for, protecting, and helping riders. There are plenty of folks staffing the food stops, and they are cheerful and helpful, making the stops enjoyable as well as refreshing.

And finally, addressing one of my pet peeves, they didn’t give out water bottles. Maybe others like getting these, but I have way too many cheap plastic water bottles. I have taken to refusing them at registration. Instead, with the registration came a quality long-sleeved t-shirt instead of a cheap short-sleeved one of which again I have way too many.

So, I give this ride an excellent rating and high recommendation. It met and, indeed, exceeded all my expectations, both for the ride itself, its organization and support, and what I was looking for at this time of year. A great post-LOTOJA ride.

2024 Event Details: 

October 12 — Park to Park Pedal Extreme Nevada 100|, Caliente, NV, Road bike ride starting and ending at Kershaw-Ryan State Park. Cyclists visit the towns of Caliente and Pioche, and three other state parks: Cathedral Gorge, Echo Canyon, and Spring Valley. 3 rides available: 100, 60 and 40 mile options. There is a Dutch oven dinner at the end!, Dawn Andone, 775-728-8101, [email protected], parktoparkpedal.com, lincolncountynevada.com/exploring/biking/park-to-park-pedal/

Cannondale Recalls Dave Bicycles Due to Fall and Injury Hazards

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Name of Product: 2021 through 2023 Model Year Cannondale Dave bicycles

Hazard: The bicycle headtube/downtube weld can become damaged, and separate from the bicycle frame, posing fall and injury hazards.

Remedy: Replace

Recall Date: February 29, 2024

Units: About 660 (In addition, about 113 were sold in Canada)

Consumer Contact

Cannondale at 800-245-3872 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email at [email protected] or online at www.cannondale.com/en/safety-and-recalls or www.cannondale.com and click on “Recalls & Notices” at the bottom of the page for more information.

Recall Details

Description: This recall involves Model Year 2021 through 2023 Cannondale 26” Dave bicycles and framesets. The bicycles and framesets were sold in deep teal and stealth gray. “Dave” is printed on the bicycle frame top-tube. “Cannondale” is printed on the downtube.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled bicycles and contact an authorized Cannondale dealer for a free replacement frame.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received two reports of damage to the bicycle headtube/downtube weld, causing the bicycle headtube to separate from the bicycle frame. No injuries have been reported.

Sold At: Bicycle stores nationwide and online at Cannondale.com from June 2021 through September 2023 for about $1,300.

Importer(s): Cycling Sports Group Inc., dba Cannondale, of Wilton, Connecticut

Manufactured In: Taiwan
Recall number: 24-136

Report: Bicycling Surged in Metros During Pandemic

By Charles Pekow — The COVID pandemic not only triggered a surge in bike riding but also confined the surge primarily to metropolitan areas, especially suburbs, as suggested by a new report. Rural states, on the other hand, experienced declines.

An eBook titled Bike Boom or Bust? Metro & Statewide Bicycle Activity Trends from Streetlight Data, Inc. concludes that nationwide bicycle activity in the continental U.S. substantially increased in 2020 and 2021 and remained steady in 2022.

An e-cyclist in Manhattan. Photo by Dave Iltis

The report estimates a 24 percent jump in the number of bicycle trips from 2019 to 2020, another nine percent increase in 2021, and a stable figure in 2022. However, the growth was predominantly observed in the East, while several largely rural Mountain West states, including Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, saw a decrease in bike trips. Nevertheless, 41 states witnessed an increase in the number of trips.

It’s important to note that Streetlight’s data included the District of Columbia but not Hawaii and Alaska. The detailed report can be accessed at https://learn.streetlightdata.com/ranking-us-bicycle-count-trends

 

Dave Campbell’s Race Trivia: Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico

While the short stage races in Australia, the Middle East, and Spain during January and February serve as warm ups, the true season openers for the peloton’s GC men are Paris-Nice in France and Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy. The Italian event, known by the riders as “The race of the Two Seas” is the youngest of the two, having begun in 1966. The race crosses Italy from west to east, running from the Tyrrhenian coast to the Adriatic Coast and consisting of seven stages since 2002. The event, like the Giro d’Italia is also organized by RCS-Sport/La Gazzetta dello Sport will be held this year from March 4-10.

Paris-Nice 2019 – 2019/03/17 – Stage 8 – Nice / Nice (110 km) – 25 km from the finish. Photo by ASO/Alex Broadway

Paris-Nice consists of eight stages and was first held in 1933. Known as “the race to the sun”, the event starts in the chilly suburbs of Paris and heads straight south to finish on the Cote d’Azur of the Mediterranean Sea. It is not uncommon for the riders to encounter snow enroute. Organized by the Amaury Sport Organization, which also promotes the Tour de France, this year’s race runs concurrently with the Italian event, from March 3-10. Interestingly, two-time Tour de France winner Laurent Fignon promoted the 2000 and 2001 editions prior to selling the event to ASO. Essentially all of the world’s best professional European professionals will race one of these two stage races prior to the spring classics and shorter stage races. 

Q1. Who holds the record for victories in Paris-Nice?

Q2. What is the best finish by an American in the “Race to the Sun”?

Q3. Because Paris-Nice is organized by the ASO, it is an important showcase for Tour de France contenders and their teams. When was the last time a rider who triumphed in the March event also claimed Le Tour in July?

Q4. Who holds the record for the most victories in “The Race of the Two Seas”?

Q5. What is the best finish by an American in Tirreno-Adriatico?

BONUS QUESTION: Milan-San Remo is the season-opening classic and happens shortly after the finish of Tirreno-Adriatico. To win both in succession is very prestigious, especially for the Italians! When was the last time this happened?

Click to the next page for answers.

Study: Cycling Benefits the Common Good

By Savannah Cottam — A new study by Schuster, H., Van der Noll., & Rohmann, A. in Hagen, Germany examines how cycling plays a role in the orientation toward the common good. Orientation toward the common good describes how people feel responsible and willing to help others, as well as abide by basic rules and participate in social and political life (Schiefer and Van der Noll., 2016). In this particular study scientists hypothesize “that in an urban context, people who use bicycles experience a greater orientation towards the common good than those who use cars.” To test this hypothesis a sample of 410 participants in Germany surveyed from 2014-2019 were asked how often they biked vs drove, as well as questions that rated their political and social participation, local helpfulness, and neighborhood solidarity.

Students at Pacific Heritage Academy out for their community ride. Photo by Bike Utah

Cycling, as opposed to all other variables recorded in the study — homeownership, personal income, education, and sex — was the only variable that showed a positive effect and was significant in all four models tested. The authors conclude that cycling, rather than driving, is associated with participatory activities, helpfulness, and solidarity in the neighborhood. Cars reduce an individual’s direct contact with their environment. The direct experience that cycling has to the neighborhood environment leads to a stronger emotional bond within society. This emotional attachment of people to their neighborhood is considered a mediator for civic activities (Stefaniak et al., 2017). And thus, cycling gives rise to connectivity and orientation toward the common good in cities.

References

  1. Schuster, H., Van der Noll., & Rohmann, A. (2023). “Orientation towards the Common Good in Cities: The Role of Individual Urban Mobility Behavior.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, Academic Press, 2 Sept. 2023, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272494423001731.
  2. Schiefer, D., & Van der Noll, J. (2016). The essentials of social cohesion: A literature review. Social Indicators Research, 132(2), 579–603. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-016-1314-5
  3. Stefaniak, A., Bilewicz, M., & Lewicka, M. (2017). The merits of teaching local history: Increased place attachment enhances civic engagement and social trust. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 51, 217–225. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.Jenvp.2017.03.014

 

Video: We Are Rock n Roll Showcases the American Criterium Cup

“We Are Rock n Roll” chronicles the thrilling 2023 season of the American Criterium Cup, a captivating series that brings together ten of America’s most cherished criterium races.

Filmmaker and producer Justin Balog traveled back-and-forth across the country, capturing the essence of this uniquely American discipline of bicycle racing. The heart-pounding world of criterium racing is fast, technical, and tactically intense, allowing athletes and teams to showcase their unwavering love for the sport on the road to victory.

The 1896 ride of the Buffalo Soldiers through Yellowstone National Park

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‘No better troops.’ The 1896 ride of the Buffalo Soldiers through Yellowstone National Park

By Michael Poland, Idaho Capital Sun

Many would enjoy the adventure of a bicycle expedition to Yellowstone National Park. But imagine doing it in 1896, before pavement, lightweight cycles and modern camping equipment.

Members of the 25th Infantry Regiment Bicycle Corps of the United States Army, Buffalo Soldiers, pictured on Main Street, Livingston, Montana. The Regiment stopped in Livingston for rations during the 1897 bicycle trip from Fort Missoula, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri. The trip was led by Lieutenant James A. Moss included Sgt. Mingo Sanders, Lance Cpl. William Haynes, Lance Cpl. Abram Martin, Musician Elias Johnson, Pvt. John Fridley, Pvt. George Scott, Pvt. Hiram L.B. Dingman, Pvt. Travis Bridges, Pvt. John Cook, Pvt. Frank L. Johnson, Pvt. William Proctor, Pvt. Elwood Forman, Pvt. Richard Rout, Pvt. Eugene Jones, Pvt. Sam Johnson, Pvt. William Williamson, Pvt. Sam Williamson, Pvt. John Wilson, Pvt. Samuel Reid, Pvt. Francis Button. The six soldiers visible in the photograph are unidentified. Reverse reads, “Livingston, Mont. Soldiers passing through Livingston and Mr. Thompson of Thompson Mercentile.” Photographer unknown, Sax and Fryer Collection. Courtesy Yellowstone Gateway Museum and Montana State Library Archives and Special Collections.

The Buffalo Soldiers who made up the volunteer Bicycle Corps of the 25th Infantry Regiment were up to the challenge.

An iconic photo (below) from Yellowstone’s early history depicts eight soldiers of the 25th Infantry Regiment posing with bicycles on Minerva Terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs. These men were not stationed in Yellowstone, but rather cycled from Missoula to the park and back.  The regiment had been based at Fort Missoula since 1888, and although the ranks were composed of Black men, the officers were white. The 25th was one of four regiments (also including the 24th Infantry and the 9th and 10th Cavalry) that were made up of Black soldiers — these were the Buffalo Soldiers.

Group of black soldiers from the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps with bicycles posed on the side of Minerva Terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. 1896. Photo by
Haynes, F. Jay (Frank Jay), 1853-1921. Courtesy Montana State Library Archives and Special Collections.

Following the Civil War, Congress passed legislation to reorganize the military and included these regiments of African-Americans, many of whom were among the approximately 180,000 African Americans who previously served in the Union Army. From 1867 to the early 1890s, these regiments served at a variety of posts in the southwestern United States and the Great Plains regions.  It was from one of these regiments, the 10th Cavalry, that the nickname “Buffalo Soldier” was born.

In the field – the U.S. Army Bicycle Corps stationed at Fort Missoula, Montana. Corps in formation. The man riding beside the two rows of soldiers is Lieutenant James A. Moss. 1897. Photo by Ingalls, F. M. (Frank M.), 1861-1934. Courtesy Montana State Library Archives and Special Collections.

Indigenous tribes of the American plains who fought against these soldiers allegedly referred to the Black cavalry troops as “buffalo soldiers” because of their dark, curly hair, which resembled a bison’s coat, and because of their fierce nature of fighting. The nickname soon became synonymous with all African-American regiments formed in 1866.

Bicycles as a means of military transport in the U.S. Army was suggested by Lt. James Moss, an officer in the 25th Infantry, following the example of some European armies. Bicycles offered several advantages over horses — they didn’t require food or water, didn’t make as much noise, and could be repaired if they broke down. His proposal to test the concept was approved by Army leadership, so Lt. Moss began training volunteers from the 25th Infantry Regiment.
 
The eight cyclists of the Yellowstone expedition were Sgt. Dalbert P. Green, Cpl. John G. Williams, Pvt. John Findley, Pvt. Frank L. Johnson, Pvt. William Proctor, Pvt. William Haynes, Pvt. Elwood Forman, and Musician William W. Brown.
 
The Bicycle Corps pedaled into action for the first time in early August 1896, starting with a four-day, 126-mile ride in the vicinity of Missoula. This might not sound spectacular, given that Ironman Triathlon bicycle legs cover about the same distance, but remember, this was 1896.  The roads were not paved, and the one-speed bicycles, custom built by A.G. Spalding & Co. of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, each weighted more than 30 pounds. Importantly, unlike the Ironman, the soldiers also had to carry food, utensils, weapons, ammunition, clothes, repair parts and tools, bedrolls and tents — well over 100 pounds all told.
 

After a few days of rest, the Bicycle Corps began their next expedition on Aug. 15 — to Yellowstone National Park and Fort Yellowstone, a journey of more than 300 miles that took just more than eight days.

After two days of rest and reprovisioning at Fort Yellowstone, the Corps set out on a tour of the park on Aug. 25, stopping at Lower Geyser Basin, Upper Geyser Basin (where they observed Old Faithful, Giantess and Castle Geysers all erupting at the same time), West Thumb, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and its waterfalls, returning to Mammoth Hot Springs on Aug. 29.  After two additional days of rest, during which the iconic photo and several others were taken, the soldiers headed back to Fort Missoula, riding in on Sept. 8 — a total journey of nearly 800 miles.

Bicycle Corps walking bicycles along a railroad track. Rolling grassy hills extend in the distance. Photo by Edward H. Boos. Courtesy Montana State Library Archives and Special Collections.

As part of his official report, Lt. Moss recorded that the trip through Yellowstone included 132 miles completed in 19 hours of actual bicycling. The slowest pace was between Upper Geyser Basin and West Thumb, when the soldiers had to cross the Continental Divide — twice. The fastest time was between Fort Yellowstone and Norris Geyser Basin.

Although there are no records of what the soldiers themselves thought, Moss recorded, “The soldiers were delighted with the trip … thought the sights grand …and seemed to be in the best of spirits the whole time.” Moss also remarked on “the moral effect of the seething water, the roaring of the geysers and the sulphuric fumes.”

Even the Yellowstone journey was just a warmup. In 1897, Moss organized 20 soldiers of the 25th Infantry on a 40-day, 1,900-mile ride from Fort Missoula to St. Louis. A planned ride to San Francisco the following year was canceled owing to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, and the 25th Infantry was deployed to the Philippines.

Although never based in Yellowstone National Park, Buffalo Soldiers had a profound and lasting impact on the early national parks. Serving under perhaps the first Black officer, Charles Young, they were rangers and interpreters in places like Yosemite and Sequoia national parks, helping tourists and even blazing trails — for example, to the summit of Mount Whitney.

The next time you drive — or cycle! — around Yellowstone National Park, think of the challenging conditions that faced the intrepid Buffalo Soldier bicyclists of the 25th Infantry Regiment, who completed a tour of the park after riding from Missoula and carrying their own provisions, spare parts and equipment. And the challenges were not purely physical and logistical — of course, they also faced discrimination and were paid less than their white counterparts.

But wherever they went, the men of the 25th distinguished themselves, with one Montana newspaper editor remarking, “The prejudice against the … soldiers seems to be without foundation for if the 25th Infantry is an example of the [Black] regiments there is no exaggeration in the statement that there are no better troops in the service.”

For more information on the exploits of the 25th Infantry Regiment Bicycle Corps, see:

Republished under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. 

Photo: Cyclist Waiting for the Light

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A cyclist waiting for the light. Photo by Dave Iltis
Cyclist Waiting for the Light. Photo by Dave Iltis

Four Ways to Get Kids Racing Bikes in America

By Peter Abraham — In July I drove 45 minutes south to the VELO Sports Center in Carson, CA to spectate at the USA Cycling Track National Championships. I wanted to root for local athlete and friend Chloe Patrick and watch World and Olympic Champion Jen Valente racing that night in the women’s points race. It was a Saturday night, and given that this is the best track cycling facility in the US and the biggest event of the year, I was hoping to see a packed house of fellow cycling fans. Instead, I was greeted by a mostly-empty facility with maybe 150 spectators in attendance.

Moreover, I was surprised by not only the small field sizes, but the lack of local athletes particularly in the junior races. If we can’t attract young people to race at the best facility in the nation, which is right in the middle of Los Angeles, how are we going to build a team for the 2028 Olympics?

One of the youth races at VELO Sports Center during the USA Cycling National Track Championships in Carson, CA. Photo by Peter Abraham

This got me thinking about getting kids on bikes and into the sport of cycling. Are we, as a country, doing the best job we can building the sport? Or, in the cases where this is happening (on mountain bikes), how come we can’t continue the momentum into other cycling disciplines? I spoke to my friend Scott Johnson, owner of the Serious Cycling shops and their extensive cycling team. We decided to start talking to stakeholders around the country who could help us understand best practices and pain points within the American youth cycling journey.

Scott and I started by talking to people who had a handle on youth cycling in the US. We wanted to understand the issues from those on the front lines, including Dale Hughes at the Lexus Velodrome in Detroit, Steve Westover of the booming Team Booger in Seattle, David Huntsman of the LA Velodrome Racing Association, Drew Kogon from the VeloSport Club and Damon Turner at LA Bike Academy. And previous to this, I’d spoken with NICA high school MTB league President Amanda Carey, Scott Nydam from Silver Stallion in New Mexico, Roy Knickman from the now-defunct but wildly successful Lux junior program, and the St Augustine’s University HBCU cycling team

Many of the solutions we suggest below will require funding and staffing that don’t currently exist. We’re clear on that. How to come up with those resources is a subject for another post. So consider our ideas a starting point for discussion.

Here’s what we learned:

The start of a NICA race in the Los Angeles area. Photo by Peter Abraham

Problem 1: Cycling youth development programs are fragmented and disconnected.

Any healthy sport needs a strong foundation to build from. While there are some success stories across the youth cycling landscape, there’s nobody in charge of getting them working as a big system. Mountain bikes are currently the most attractive gateway for youth cyclists. NICA, the high school mountain bike league founded in 2009, has been a runaway success, with over 30,000 kids (counting the breakaway leagues) racing bikes in 33 states. NICA, as the world’s largest youth bike racing program, has essentially taken over the top of the funnel in the US to get kids started in competitive cycling.

NICA gets kids started on their cycling journey, but the organization is not set up to serve young athletes who want to try other disciplines outside of MTB. And there’s no path from high school racing into more competitive racing at the national and global level. This is not a bad thing; NICA is not trying to find the next Tour de France star. They’re just trying to get as many kids as possible onto mountain bikes so they can try out the sport and enjoy the outdoors. Some NICA athletes eventually find their way to road success (Neilson Powless, Megan Jastrab, Kevin Vermaerke, Sepp Kuss) or to the MTB World Cup (Kate Courtney, Gwendolyn Gibson). But those success stories are incidental, often driven by motivated parents or happenstance.

However, given the sheer volume of high school kids racing mountain bikes, there should be a way to connect passionate young athletes to other parts of the bike ecosystem: gravel, road, cyclocross, BMX, and track. Where does USAC, the national governing body for the sport, fit into this effort? Where does their job start and NICA’s stop? How does USAC collaborate with NICA (and other organizations) so that different programs are part of a national strategy? Given the USAC’s limited resources, it’s not possible for them to recreate what NICA has already built. But there are ways to work together. There is currently a huge gap between high school mountain biking and other forms of cycling. So even though we have the world’s biggest grassroots bike racing program, it’s not fully utilized as a tool to develop a lifelong love of cycling.

Solution:

USA Cycling should have regional staff whose only job is to serve as community managers and connectors who work hand in hand with organizations (NICA, college cycling) and events (CX, road, BMX, gravel, MTB, criteriums) with the goal of getting more young people into more cycling events. Someone needs to be “The CEO of Bike Racing” in the US.

Problem 2: Velodromes around the country are underutilized.

One thing I’ve learned in decades of youth sports work is that intentional onramps must be built that reduce the friction of getting new athletes into a program. The two best onboarding platforms for getting kids on bikes are 1) Mountain bikes (see above), and 2) track cycling. They both offer safe, closed course riding separate from cars and often in groups of other kids. Importantly, this is a scenario that parents are ok with; they can drop off their 12 year old without worrying about a distracted driver killing their child on the road. While youth MTB riding is growing, due to the thriving NICA league system, velodromes often sit empty. The 27 tracks in the US (here’s a map) are mostly owned by cities or counties that lack staffing, funding and expertise to build thriving youth programs at the tracks. These are also mostly outdoor facilities, so they’re unusable in bad weather or during the winter. The only indoor, wooden track that meets UCI guidelines is the VELO Sports Center in Los Angeles. It’s owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group, the world’s largest owner of sports teams and sports events. But the velodrome is an afterthought for them, just an add-on to the LA Galaxy soccer stadium next door. There’s nobody who has the job of filling the facility with kids and events seven days per week.

Solution:

Velodromes need full time community managers. Any track that wants a thriving community of riders needs someone who can build programs and reach out to schools, NICA leagues, parents and cycling clubs. Additionally, USA Cycling should have a national office sharing best practices in velodrome management to all of the different velodromes. They could coordinate across facilities for sponsorships, events and relationships with governing bodies.

Problem 3: The cycling development pathway for young riders is broken.

This is related to problem #1 above: there are a bunch of bridges missing between the various levels of the sport. In particular, getting from a NICA high school league to a travel team in either MTB or road is not an obvious transition. It’s possible, but oftentimes kids (and their parents) don’t know how to do it or who should guide them in the process. If a young athlete gets really good and wants to try racing internationally or at the U23 level, it’s another gap that’s hard to get across. Young bike racers are often asked by USA Cycling to fund their own trips to Europe, so the system is immediately biased against athletes without resources at their disposal. One very talented young professional cyclist told me that she had to choose between paying rent and taking a national team trip to race in Europe. So she stayed home. Road racing in particular is a sport that mostly happens in Europe. I would compare it to baseball, which is largely based in the United States. A young bike racer has to travel across the Atlantic to learn the sport. That’s expensive, time consuming and takes guidance. There is currently a lack of mentoring and education as it relates to racing in Europe, with just a few teams and programs that focus on that opportunity. USA Cycling has restarted their European development program, but it needs to grow much bigger to get enough kids learning and riding internationally.

Problem 4: College cycling needs a reboot

As a veteran of college cycling myself (UC Davis), I have seen how fun this sport can be: you’re with your friends, learning a sport together and traveling to races. The social nature of cycling aligns with being in college, where spending time with friends is often the most important thing in your life. And riding for a university team is a great next step for kids (like me) who got started racing in high school and want to keep going with the sport. There are 22 varsity (funded) teams in college cycling. These schools have some resources, maybe scholarships, paid coaches, equipment and are set up like a proper sports program. Mostly these are small colleges that have used their cycling team to build a national profile for the school: Lees-McRae in North Carolina, Milligan College in Tennessee, Marian University in Indianapolis and Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado are examples.

Then there are another 200 or so universities with club programs. These schools have no paid staff, no budget to speak of and no equipment. Many of the famous destination universities you’ve heard of — Stanford, UCLA, University of Colorado — have club cycling (all volunteer) teams. They’re entirely dependent on donations and the labor of their own athletes to keep the program going. I recently spent a couple years working with the new St Augustine’s University HBCU cycling team, and I saw how much work it is to get a program going from scratch. It takes fundraising, recruiting, event management, collaboration with university staff, equipment, transportation, and more. For college students, who are “just passing through,” to build and maintain a sports program is a huge ask. Often it’s too much. So club teams come and go depending how motivated the current group of athletes are. This DIY model in the non-varsity programs has set up college cycling to fail.

Solution:

As the existing governing body for college cycling, USAC should lean into this sport with greater involvement, more mentoring, and some fundraising help. In addition, more universities should build varsity programs. For a tiny fraction of the cost of a traditional college sports program, a school could build a thriving cycling team. They need continuity of staffing and some budget for travel and equipment. In addition, there needs to be a bridge built between NICA and college cycling, so high school kids know that riding is an option at the university level.

If we prioritize these solutions (along with many other things) we can get many more people outdoors and on bikes.

Please feel free to reach out with ideas or comments.

Peter started racing bikes in high school and has continued to ride his entire life. He also runs the Abraham Studio (ABRHM.com), which works with purpose-driven brands in sports, technology and healthcare to find their voices and tell their stories. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Silca Introduces Ultimate Chain Wax System & StripChip

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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (February 20, 2024) — Get ready for chain waxing revolutionized into a single step. Silca has created a game changing product in Silca StripChip, the first-ever in-wax chain degreaser, launching in conjunction with the Silca Ultimate Chain Wax System

Developed by Silca, a leader in high quality tools, pumps, and high-performance cycling lubricants, the Silca StripChip disrupts traditional chain cleaning methods with its innovative and user-friendly approach. Gone are the days of harsh hardware store chemistry sets and time-consuming processes. Silca StripChip offers a cleaner, faster, and more environmentally friendly way to keep your drivetrain running smoothly and extend its lifespan. Making chain waxing the ONLY step of the process.

The Silca Ultimate Wax System, with Silca StripChips. Photo courtesy Silca

“The Silca StripChip is a game-changer for cyclists who want a clean and efficient waxed drivetrain but struggled to have the time to do it all, or thought the process was too daunting” says Richard Pool, Marketing Director at Silca. “This product makes chain waxing step one, by removing the barriers we hear about, our hope is now with StripChip more cyclists at every level can take advantage of the benefits of chain waxing”

“When I first tried out a StripChip treated chain, I was pre-riding the Leadville 100 course. The team pulled a fast one on me and sent me what I believed was a traditional race chain and told me later about their new product. The chain was flawless, and they had to convince me there was a difference. Synopsis: simpler waxing process, just as fast on the bike.”

How it Works:

While developing Chain Stripper, Silca CEO Josh Poertner fell down a chemistry revolution occurring in the food industry known as oleogelation. This new concept developed to replace hydrogenation for food oils, for health benefits, also showed promise at converting lubrication oils into solids. This simple chemistry takes base oils which would normally act as solvents inside of waxes and converts them into binders that connect and extend wax molecule chains. Just a few minutes at the right temperature and oils and greases inside the factory lubed chain, convert into highly lubricious, long chain wax/lubricant molecules right inside of your hot wax. Simply drop one square of StripChip into your hot melt wax, let it melt, then drop in your new factory chain and let it work its oleogelation magic.

For StripChip to be most effective, it needs to be carefully controlled at a hotter temperature than typical waxing (125ºC compared to 75ºC). Enter the Silca Ultimate Chain Wax System. The first bicycle chain optimized, temperature adjustable wax system (75-125ºC / 167-257ºF). This all-in-one system has a 600 ml (just over 20 oz) pot, chain hanging coupler, as well as a drip stand. Drop in about 400g of wax, one square of strip chip, set the temperature to 125ºC and your factory chain is ready to wax. The system allows for the full range of chain waxing temperatures from 75ºC (perfect for Secret Chain Blend) to 85ºC (perfect for HotWaxX) to 125ºC which is the exact oleogelation temperature needed for StripChip.

“Since 2019 and starting to do a lot of my own wrenching, there have been quite a few advances in bike tech. Whether it is a waxed chain helping you go faster and be more efficient or the creation of tubeless to keep us moving forward, the first iteration of each product wasn’t perfect. With tubeless it used to take 3 friends, a bottle of soap and an air compressor to seat tires and now I can do it one handed with a normal pump because sealant and tire beads got better. StripChip represents a similar advancement for waxing, such simplification and ease that waxing doesn’t take hours anymore, but minutes and best of all you won’t have sore arms from shaking mason jars. Thanks, Silca.” – Alexey Vermeulen

Please note: StripChip will work with Crockpot and Instant Pot setups but must be carefully managed for temperature. Standard Crockpot Low is 90-110ºC, which is below the oleogelation temperature, and standard Crockpot Hish is 150-160ºC which is right at the over-temperature point of the oloeogelator and risks long term damage to the wax. If using the product with double boiler, Crockpot, or Instant Pot, we recommend using a thermometer and carefully ensuring that the wax never exceeds 130ºC.

Key Benefits:

  • Effortless Cleaning: Forget the hardware store chemistry sets, soaking, and time! The Silca StripChip does the arduous work for you while your chain is in the wax.
  • Faster Process: Clean your chain in a fraction of the time compared to traditional methods. Spend less time cleaning and more time riding.
  • Extended Chain Life: Chain waxing extends drive train life and makes you more efficient. StripChip makes the process of chain waxing more efficient
  • Developed for Silca Secret Chain Blend: For best results use with Silca Secret Chain Blend hot melt wax and the Silca Ultimate Chain Wax System.
  • All-in-one system with chain coupler and hanger included.
  • Temperature control produces the best performance possible.
  • Looks more dialed than your ole crockpot set up.
  • 600 ml pot for easy, mess free waxing.

The Silca StripChip is available for purchase online and at select bike shops nationwide with a US retail price of $24.00.

The Silca Ultimate Wax System is available for purchase online and at select bike shops nationwide with a US retail price of $99.00.

Bikepacking Roots Announces Renewed BIPOC Bike Adventure Grants

BALTIMORE, Maryland (February 20, 2024) — Bikepacking Roots (BPR) announced today their re-envisioning of their BIPOC Bike Adventure Grant. Set to launch this Spring, the grant program is in its 3rd cycle and it emphasizes the organization’s core focus on community building.

The grant aims to reduce barriers to bike adventure for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and has awarded over 20 grants totaling $50,000 since its inception. “We recognize that this program is a small step in the face of massive systemic racism and entrenched inequality, but we believe that bicycles and the outdoors are for all, and that everyone should have access to the freedom, joy and self-actualization they provide,” said Noelle Battle, Executive Director of Bikepacking Roots.

Devin Cowens – 2024 BIPOC Program Consultant. Photo by Dessa Lohrey, courtesy Bikepacking Roots

The program took a pause for 2023 to evaluate the feedback they received from past participants and BIPOC leaders in the bikepacking community. Battle highlights that “Bikepacking Roots maintains a long-term commitment to doing what we can to support diversity and inclusion in the bikepacking community. A key thing we have heard repeatedly is to support the BIPOC community leaders and organizations who are already out there doing great work.”

For 2024, awards will focus on providing grants to BIPOC Community Leaders to host trips, develop gear libraries, and other community building activities. Bikepacking Roots hopes to develop long term relationships with these leaders and to support diversity within their Regional Stewards Program.

Bikepacking Roots is currently looking to fundraise at least $25,000 to launch this 3rd round of grantmaking. The organization is seeking support from individuals and organizations in the community who share in the belief that bikepacking should be accessible to all, and that we all benefit from fostering a supportive and inclusive community.

Visit Bikepacking Roots’ website to find out more about the grant and to donate today: https://bikepackingroots.org/the-bipoc-bike-adventure-grant/

Folks interested in learning more can sign up to be notified when grant applications open. Are you a community leader who is interested in taking a group of individuals on a bike adventure? Or have interest in developing a gear library? Do you identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color? Then this grant may be for you!

HeartCycle Announces 2024 Supported Bike Tours

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DENVER, Colorado (February 20, 2024) — HeartCycle Touring Club announces fifteen road bike tours for 2024 are now open for registration. HeartCycle is in their 45th year of offering multi-day SAG supported road bike tours in USA and Europe. Ten domestic tours and five international trips are scheduled to run in 2024.
Photo courtesy HeartCycle Bicycle Touring Club

HeartCycle offers a number of exciting tours. Spring tours include club favorites:  Spring Training in Texas Hill Country in March and Paso Robles Wine Country in April are fixed base tours. A three-year adventure series will begin in Mobile, AL on April 27th following the historic Underground Railroad route for 2-week to Nashville, TN In 2025 & 2026 the adventure series will continue following the historic route as it heads north to Canada.

May offers a tour to the Balkan Peninsula one of the last undiscovered corners of Europe, biking through the mountains of four countries.

Photo courtesy HeartCycle Bicycle Touring Club

Springtime in the South Bay Area, CA has climbs over the coastal range and up Mount Hamilton.

Summer tour offerings include Explore the Door, WI (sold out). Bike & Barge Beautiful Belgium exploring Bruges to Amsterdam. Basalt and Aspen Road and Gravel Tour in July. Puget Sound Island Hopping a semi fixed base tour to get you into island time and beauty. August brings Over Hill and Dale, NW Vermont from Lake Champlain to the peaks of the Green Mountains.

Photo courtesy HeartCycle Bicycle Touring Club

Fall tours include Tuscany, Italy, Black Hills of South Dakota to bike through Custer State Park and see free range buffalo, a new tour in West Virginia, the green Mountaineer State and Le Monastère in Southern France (sold out).

Knowledgeable and experienced leaders lead each domestic tour. Tours are limited to 30-34 people including support personnel. Two support vehicles accompany each domestic tour to carry luggage, water, snacks, lunch, first aid supplies, repair equipment and to transport riders in emergency situations. All routes are Ride with GPS guided.

Foreign tours may be led by one of the club volunteer tour leaders or sub-contracted with a local cycling tour operator. These tours are smaller sized groups 12-20 and are SAG supported.

HeartCycle road bike tours stay in motels with 2 persons per room. Private rooms are available for additional fee.

Full tour descriptions are available on their website heartcycle.org

Tailwind signs cyclists Sonya Looney, Ellen Campbell, and Keiran Eagen

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Tailwind Nutrition announces 2024 sponsored athlete team

Team captained by boundary-breaking ultrarunner Courtney Dauwalter and highlights brand’s commitment to numerous endurance sports by including professional runners, cyclists, nordic skiers, and triathletes

DURANGO, Colorado (February 15, 2024)Tailwind Nutrition announces its 2024 Tailwind Athlete Team which includes 21 athletes whose specialties range across the spectrum of endurance sports. The team includes Tailwind athlete and ultrarunning icon Courtney Dauwalter, who last year won the Western States 100, Hardrock 100, and Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in the span of three months.

Dauwalter is once again working with Tailwind, having been with the brand the past 6 years and launching her limited edition ‘Dauwaltermelon’ Endurance Fuel flavor last year. Courtney and the brand have exciting plans for 2024 in the works. Dauwalter is joined on the team by other notable ultrarunners such as Annie Hughes, Sarah Ostaszewski, and Harvey Lewis, who all continue their relationships with the brand.

Ellen Campbell at Unbound Gravel. Photo courtesy Tailwind Nutrition

As Tailwind returns to its cycling roots, Sonya Looney is a new addition to the team for 2024. Looney is a 24 Hour Mountain Bike World Champion, a performance coach, and hosts The Sonya Looney Show, a podcast about how to live a high performance life. Looney is joined by fellow cyclist Ellen Campbell. Born and raised in Durango, Campbell competes in the premiere Life Time Grand Prix series,  where she uses Tailwind’s products to fuel efforts in races such as the feared Unbound Gravel 200 and Leadville Trail 100 MTB race.

In addition to these athletes, the team includes a cast of runners, cyclists, skiers, and triathletes who trust Tailwind Nutrition’s suite of products–Endurance Fuel, Recovery Mix, and Rapid Hydration–to support their fueling, recovery, and hydration needs throughout training and competition.

“It brings me great pride to call these athletes part of our Tailwind Team,” said Maggie Guterl, Tailwind Athlete & Events Manager. “They epitomize sportsmanship on and off the course. Each one of them pushes the boundaries to what is humanly possible and Tailwind will continue to be their support crew.”

Tailwind Nutrition 2023 Athlete Team Roster

Tailwind Nutrition celebrates its 12th birthday in 2024. For more information on Tailwind Nutrition and to keep up with Tailwind Nutrition athletes, please visit: www.tailwindnutrition.com, Tailwind’s blog and follow their adventures on Instagram (@tailwindnutrition) and Facebook.

 

Bell Sports Recalls Bell Soquel Youth Bicycle Helmets Due to Risk of Head Injury; Violation of the Federal Safety Regulation for Bicycle Helmets

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Name of Product: Bell Soquel Youth Helmets

Hazard: The strap anchor can become dislodged from the helmet when sufficient force is applied, and therefore violates the CPSC federal safety regulation for bicycle helmets. The helmets can fail to protect in the event of a crash, posing a risk of head injury.

Remedy: Refund

Recall Date: February 15, 2024

Units: About 2,425 (In addition, about 2,400 were sold in Canada)

Consumer Contact

Bell Helmets at 800-456-2355 (Option 3) between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, by email at [email protected], or online at www.thebellgarage.com/bell-sports-inc-is-voluntarily-recalling-the-bell-youth-soquel-helmet or www.thebellgarage.com and click on the recall banner at the top of the home page for more information.

Bell Soquel helmet recalled by CPSC.

Recall Details

Description: This recall only involves Bell Soquel Youth helmets made prior to September 2021. The helmets were sold in various colors in the U.S. and Canada. The recalled helmet can be identified by the inner helmet sticker which has the model’s name “Soquel” and “B0726Y” written on it. The helmets have a date code on the white inner label with August 2021 (“8/21”) or earlier. 

Label inside recalled helmets.
SKUProduct NameModel NameCountry Sold
7094740Youth Soquel Black / Red MipsBell Soquel Youth MIPSU.S.
7094741Youth Soquel Blue Lagoon / OrangeBell Soquel YouthU.S.
7107133Youth Soquel Blue Lagoon / OrangeBell Soquel YouthU.S.
7107134Youth Soquel Black / Red MipsBell Soquel Youth MIPSU.S.
7097932Youth Soquel Blue Lagoon/Poppy Bell Soquel YouthCanada
7097933Youth Soquel Matte Black Bell Soquel YouthCanada
7097934Youth Soquel Matte Black Mips Bell Soquel Youth MIPSCanada
 

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled Bell Soquel Youth Helmets and contact Bell Sports for a refund. To receive a refund, consumers should destroy the helmet by cutting off the straps and upload photos of the helmet with the straps cut to [email protected] to prove destruction, then dispose of the recalled helmet.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Sold At: Fred Meyer, Walmart and other stores nationwide, and online at www.Amazon.com from January 2017 through January 2024 for between $25 and $50.

Importer(s): Bell Sports Inc, of Irvine, California

Manufactured In: China

Recall number: 24-118

Congress’ Best Bike Advocate to Retire

By Charles Pekow — At the end of the current term, Congress will be losing its most ardent advocate for bicycling. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) announced he will not seek reelection. First elected in 1996, Blumenauer was known for commuting to work by bike and he founded the Congressional Bike Caucus, which now includes more than 130 members from 40 states.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer is a strong proponent of bicycling in the House of Representatives. Photo from blumenauer.house.gov

He was largely responsible for the Bicycle Commuter Act, which passed in 2008 giving tax incentives to bike to work. The law was repealed in 2017 and Blumenauer has been fighting ever since to reinstate it in some form. In the current Congress, he introduced legislation to allow cyclists to get part of the pre-tax benefit that drivers can get for parking at work.

Blumenauer’s home city of Portland constructed a bicycle pedestrian bridge over I-84 named after the representative, which opened in 2022.

Blumenauer pushed many other bicycle bills ranging from Safe Routes to School to tax credits for ebikes. Before being elected to Congress, he founded Portland’s Bicycle Program.

[Editor’s Note: See our interview with the congressperson here: https://www.cyclingwest.com/advocacy/interview-with-rep-earl-blumenauer-d-or-chair-of-the-congressional-bicycle-caucus/]