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


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.

Keirin grips

February 21, 2008

The most challenging task that students at the Japanese Keirin School face is putting Keirin grips on drop bars with only their hands, a bowl, and a small pot filled with water. Once they complete this task they are enlightened to the much guarded NJS approved secret technique discovered by the monks of the Nihon Jitensha Shinkokai that allows them to aclompish this task with ease.

I decided that this traditional rite of passage would enhance my connection to my bike, and grant me powers of cadence that can not be gained in any other way.

I boiled my grips for about seven minutes, and retrieved them from the water (those smarter then me will not reach into the boiling water) . The left grip slid on with only some slight shoving and twisting. The right grip slid about half way on, then stopped faster then a day-glow commuter at a red light. I pushed with all the strength in my upper body, but didn’t gain a millimeter. I put the end of the rubber back in the hot water for a few more minutes, but no advantage was gained.

I enlisted the help of a friend at this point, and with a lot of pulling and pushing, we got the grip back off. Toss it back in the water and try again, this time with my friend holding the bars, braced against the steps with me pushing down and twisting, finally the grip slides on.

At the end of all this my grips look like they have finished a season at a Tokyo velodrome, and my hands look like this:


Now I will share with you the NJS approved blister free way of installing Keirin gips:

Turn the grips inside out, leaving about 1cm the right side out, then coat the outside (now inside) with lighter fluid. Now roll the grips onto the the bars while turning turning them back right side out. This worked even with my blistered hands (five blisters total)

Internet = Lawsuit?

February 14, 2008

In my short time as a member of Londonfgss.com there have been two lawsuits threatened against the site or its members. The first came from Tony Malone, the man who may be responsible for the downfall of Whitcomb (who are still building quality bikes but should stop listening to useless designers), he is also responsible for the Old Kent Road Cycle Co., and the copyright infringing Morpheus Cycle Co. He wanted to sue us for failing to recognize him as the god of all things design and fixed gear, and we made the outlandish claim that his 30 quid lectures on the bicycle and fashion where a tinny bit over priced.

The Second is much more important as it was aimed at me. A fashionable young man asked members of the Londonfgss.com forum for our advice on a bike he was considering purchasing, some of the forum members and my self advised him against the purchase. A few days later I found an interesting email referring to that advice here is the email, I have not edited or abridged it in any way

Ian dropped the lawsuit, and seems like a nice guy.  the whole thing is just peoples first reactions being a bit to much.

Stolen Bike London

February 7, 2008

London is a unique city for riding, it has a great messenger scene (read its messenger zine moving target), the mayoral candidates campaign around cycling, there are posters in buss stops and on the underground encouraging people to comute by bike, and the evening papers are filled with columns on how dangerous cycling is.

London also has a huge problem with thieves, one the police ignore in favor of doing what ever it is that they do. Some london cyclests, encluding me (in exile) have decided to do something about this, we are hosting a website with a list of stolen bikes in London. We will also be posting photos and details of thieves or sellers of stolen bikes, and going to where stolen bikes are sold in an attempt to recover them. check out the project Stolen Bike London

How To Skid

February 4, 2008

You just finished building your first fixed gear, you take it for a ride, get going fast, and then the car in front of you slams on the breaks, you think stop, then you think how do I stop? Grab your iPhone, and CrashBlog is about to save your life.

1. Find a long empty flat space free of debris, cars, and large pot holes or cracks.
2. get on your bike, feet in the cages/ clipped in, and get going kind of quick. Skidding is a little easier at higher speeds, but it hurts more if you mess up.
3. Deiced what leg you want to have forward, this should be your strongest leg probably your right. If its your left just change left and right in the rest of the instructions.
4. As your left leg passes the bottom of your stroke start to resist the motion of your pedals (push against the forward momentum). This should push you up out of your seat.
5. Lean forward and put your primary sex organ on your stem, your shoulders should not be too far forward of your bars.
6. As your right leg reaches about the 2 o’clock position kick back with your left and pull up with your right leg.
7. Lock your legs. You should now be skidding. If your not don’t worry, just try again and push a little harder.

Practice this a lot before you rely on it to stop you in traffic at full speed. After you get pretty good with your strong foot forward learn to do it with your other foot, this will double the life of your tires. Also practice stopping in different distances, the more weight you put further the longer your skid.

Once you get all that practice skidding and pushing your rear wheel to the left or the right. If your really into practice skidding around corners.

Note: this is just want works for me, it might not work for you I’m not any kind of expert, I just like riding bikes. Be safe ride with a brake unless you are an experienced rider.

Denver Rock Stars.

January 27, 2008

You can meet some interesting people on a warm day downtown.

This guy only plays mornings, and open mikes, in town a limited time from New York.







Punks with banjos have this strange rightness about them.



Michael Moore is now living in a $10 a night hotel, working for his rent.



more Denver photos on my flicker http://www.flickr.com/photos/22698798@N03/

Phlegm Into The Wind

January 26, 2008

Riding down a road that is way to busy at 11am in the middle of nowhere I get the dust kicked up by the wind and cars stuck down my throat.  I try to cough it up over my shoulder, but it has other plans, and as I look forward again, it all comes up in a huge glob of phlegm, which hits the head wind, then smacks the side of my face, and trails off my cheek.  Instinctively I wipe at it, which only smears it across my face and my left hand.

I get to the DMV, slop the glob of phlegm on my hand off on the ground, lock up and go in.  just after the camera flashes for my id photo i realize i still have phlegm all over my face.  that explains the weird looks i got from every one in line.  Also, inseatd of a state id, they gave me a drivers license, with out any kind of test.