Just like London, must be not-organized by the same person or group of people.

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Brew Finished

March 14, 2008

I finished my brew a few weeks back, but didn’t get around to taking pictures of it until yesterday. Its fast and smooth, I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Specifications:

Frame: Brew Custom, made by me with the help of Steve Garn
Fork: Profile Carbon
Wheels: Velocity Deep V laced to Phil Wood high flange track hubs with DT Swiss double butted spokes
Bottom Bracket: Phil Wood with JIS axle
Cranks: Sungino Messenger

Cog: Phil Wood 1/8th 16t

Pedals: Time Attak
Brew1

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brew face

by Alice Fisher
Style Correspondent
Riding a bicycle without brakes sounds like a rash move, but a new wave of cyclists is eschewing traditional bikes for a stripped-down machine known as a fixed-gear.
It is one of the most basic machines you can build with two wheels. A fixed-gear bike – or fixie – has no derailleur as it has only one gear, so as long as the wheels turn, so do the pedals. Its rider can’t freewheel and the only way to brake is to stand on the pedals.
The fixed-gear’s renaissance supposedly stems from West Indian immigrants in New York working as cycle couriers in the Eighties. They had used them at home because they were cheap and easy to maintain, and continued using them in the US. Their popularity spread throughout the courier community, crossing to the UK and other countries.
As the fixie craze has taken off so has the number of new riders who enter ‘alleycats’ – unofficial road races consisting of a series of checkpoints on a set route. Alleycats originated in America and were organised for and by cycle couriers but now inexperienced riders participate. Last Sunday in Chicago, Matthew Manger-Lynch, 29, was killed in a collision with a four-wheel drive vehicle after running a red light. He was competing in an alleycat known as Tour Da Chicago. A similar race – the New York Monstertrack, normally the biggest annual alleycat in the US – was scheduled to take place on 8 March, but was cancelled after the Chicago death. These races now take place in British cities and threaten to colour public opinion of the growing urban cyclist subculture. Around 30 cyclists took part in one organised by art students in central London last Thursday which finished with a party at a bar in Hoxton.
Roxy Erickson, 28, who is part of the women-only Trixie Chix collective, said: ‘Media reports don’t show the community spirit or the eco-friendly side of cycling. A working messenger [courier] who got hit by a double-decker bus wouldn’t get as much news space.’
The strength of the fixed-gear community is demonstrated on the messageboards that are full of updates on the welfare of cyclists injured in accidents, invites to parties and gallery openings as well as alleycats, which are often held to support injured cyclists or promote causes such as the war on drugs.
Andy Ellis, 28, who is part of the London Fixed Gear collective and builds fixies, explained why the bikes were so popular. ‘You can’t get more linked to a bike than on fixed-gear. There are aspects which compare to skateboarding. You enjoy travelling through the city in the same way, but on a fixed-gear, it’s faster and you have more control.’
The fixie’s simplicity and grace appeals to the fashion conscious, many of whom take customisation to extravagant levels, creating bikes with imported track-bike frames and hand-built wheels that cost thousands.
Ellis said: ‘At first it was anything to get them on the road, but I’ve built three bikes for one guy in the last year and every time he comes back he wants something more exclusive.’
The international fixed scene is now getting mainstream attention, including official sponsorship from bike companies. A cyclist known as Superted – part of the Fixed Gear London collective – is sponsored by cycle brand Charge Bikes. There’s also the Bike Film Festival, now in its fourth year, which showcases films documenting cyclists’ tricks and agility.
The most successful fixed-gear film is Mash SF, which features the Mash SF collective riding in San Francisco. ‘It’s the first big film about fixed-gear trick riding,’ said Laura Fraser, the London producer of the festival and a fixed-gear rider. ‘It’s gone around the world.’
Tom Bogdanowicz, of the London Cycling Campaign, the largest urban cycling organisation in the world, says: ‘Fixed is enjoyable and good for fitness, but you have to acquire riding skills. Once mastered, the bikes are good for urban cycling as they make you very aware of the road and you can maintain speed at a level that’s suitable for traffic. They make you think ahead.’ He suggested that anyone wishing to try fixed in London should go to Herne Hill Stadium where low-cost training sessions were on offer.

This cacophony of ignorance, bad writing and worse research graced the pages of the Observer in London on Sunday. Roxy Erickson of Trixie Chix fame valiantly attempted to stop this orgy of stupidity hot on the press, by writing an e-mail to Alice Fisher correcting all her mistakes after she saw an advanced copy. Alas her efforts where in vain. Andy of “London Fixed Gear Collective” or Fixed Gear London as it is actually called, never said a wheel set cost thousands. Roxy’s quote refers to two messengers who where injured this past week.

The most offensive thing about this is not the bad writing, its not the errors of fact, its not even Alice’s insistence on the word ‘fixie’, its that last week two messengers in London where injured by Heavy Goods Vehicles, and last month a commuter was killed by a bus, and there is no mention of this. I thought gore sold papers. How about an in depth look at the lives that could be saved by baning HGVs during working hours (7:30am to 7:30pm) from central London? Or about how a bike path is the most dangerous place to cycle? No sod that, lets send out our ironic facial hair reporter to do what a paper with a lower standard of journalism did a better job of six weeks ago, that almost a good idea as using a bike as a fashion accessory.

Underground Tea House

March 10, 2008

I bumped into an old freind, and he told me his band was playing that night at the Underground Tea House in Denver. I got to the venue a bit early, and ended up running the keys to one of the bands cars to the driver who had locked him self out. I got back, locked up the newly finished Brew, and went in.

The first band was playing some folk songs with two guitars, but I was after the free food sprawled across tables in back. I stacked my plate and covered all the food groups with: vegan gluten-free mac and “cheese”(carbs/ funny vegan food), vegetable soup (soup), salad (green), a bagel (more carbs), and tea (tea).

The place was packed with old friends, and I caught up with a bunch of them while I stuffed my face. My mate introduced me to the girl that was putting the night on, and volunteered me to spend the show taking pictures.

The next band was Finn Riggins out of Idaho, they had an indie sound going on with female vocals and good lyrics, They seemed influnced by everything from destorted noise rock to ska. They should be playing London next summer, so I will be seeing them again.

My mate Hunter Dragon‘s band Magic Circles from Denver followed. Once they got the batteries for their key board sorted they played six instruments between the the two of them, and kept it experimental, and fun. They where followed by Denver punk influenced folky bluesy band Zebra Junction who played songs about trains, love, booze and food on the worlds smallest banjo.

The Lisps from Brooklyn followed with more folk influences and female vocals. They swung back and forth from a fast punkesque tempo to sultry slow blues through their set. They where joined and then replaced on stage by Paper Bird from Denver who played un-plugged and was led by three sirens belting old-tyme harmonies, backed up by a guitar, and a drummer who banged on the stage and himself.

By the end of the show I had shoot 300 photos, caught up with old freinds, and missed most of the snow fall. My ego got stroked by admiring comments on the newly completed Brew. I road with a ways with a new freind, then cut through City Park in the eerie blue gray of florescent street lamps, low clouds, and silence. It was me the road, and numbing cold feeling in my fingers. Soon as I crossed Colorado north of the park the wind kicked up, and some snow fell again.

Earlier this week two messengers in London where hit by lorries in one day. One had his bike totally destroyed, and ended up in hospital with a foot injury. He will be out of work until he heals up.

The other was dragged by the lorry, and is recovering after 12 hours of surgery, it is doubtful he will ever ride again. I knew him, we road for the same company he was always smiling and having the time of his life, this could not have happened to a less deserving person.

Paypal donations for both couriers can be sent to bill.chidley(anti-spam replace with @)mac.com, mark all donations ‘EC Donation’.  Please give if you can.
Also please support the Bicycle Messenger Emergency Fund.

Sunday 6th, April 2008 1pm Speakers Corner (north east corner of Hyde Park) London W1

A short ride for all cyclists through central London

Come out and honor the captain

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If some one wants to help make, print or distribute fliers for this get in touch. Chris.crashblog@gmail.com

16th and Lincoln

March 7, 2008

Waiting to hear from the queen on if I will be going back to London was giving me an ulcer , so I hopped on the bike for a nice relaxing ride. I was also planning on picking up some new cleats.

After a few laps in City Park I headed down town via 16th. As i started spinning down the last hill into town I remembered why I don’t take 16th into town, at the bottom of the hill is Lincoln (one of Denver’s busiest streets), a skyscraper that is placed so there is no way you can see around it, especially from the bike lane, and a stoplight that is always red.

Half a block to the light I lift up a bit, pull hard with my right, kick back with my left and pop, my right foot comes out of the pedal, my left crank crosses the height of its rotation, and swings me down, bashing my balls on the top tube. I grab the front brake, bash my balls on the top tube again, and then get the pedals spinning slow enough that i can clip back in and stop at the light.

As I cross Lincoln, I have a vivid memory of that same hill two years ago on the way home from Macro-Monday, a ritual centered around macrobiotic food, and a generous amount of sake. I was going faster and braking later then I should have. I lost it on some black ice and slid to a stop in the second lane of Lincoln on my side as a cab flew past in the third.

My close calls can be chalked up to youthful ignorance, worn cleats, and too much sake, but it is one of Denver’s most dangerous junctions. The problem is, there is not a good way around it. Colfax/15th is one of those roads you just don’t ride on (like Oxford st.). 17th is the wrong way, and the 5 way junction at 18th is a prime spot for drivers cutting across 4 lanes of traffic with out a glance. 14th is the wrong way, and you cant ride down 13th with out a stop off at City O’ City for a Buffalo Tofu wrap, or checking through the local music section at Wax Trax.