Archive for the 'Bikes' Category

Robot Overlords … attack!

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Finally I can say I made some robots!

Overlord Manga

I have always been fascinated by noisemaking devices, and for years I’ve been hoarding unwanted speakers, amplifiers and tape decks in my garage. Lately I’m in a closet-cleaning mood, so I conceived an art project around the idea of pushing these beautiful old machines out into the world.
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Chunks Ahoy!

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

The crew of the S. S. Snakebite (photo: Libby Borte)

I’ve just returned from an excellent near-death experience, courtesy of our local post-apocalyptic bicycle buccaneers known as C.H.U.N.K. 666 . We rode amphibious bicycles across the Willamette River, battled aqua-Nazi CHUDs, claimed Ross Island as our own nation, roasted weenies, amused the Coast Guard, drank whiskey and got home in time for tea.


CHUNK are the original Portland bike freaks — they put the rest to shame. I first wrote about them for the Portland Mercury way back in 2000, and they’ve only gotten worse since. The Chunkathlon, their yearly gladiatorial melee, was elevated to a higher plane of existence several years ago because they broke this one. The core team members have all grown, mutated and metastasized. Some have been raising a new generation of bicycle warlords. Others are writing books, playing the viola, doing jail time. Chunk 666 has kept such a low profile lately, some people have even dared to suggest they ride no longer.

But fuck those people. Chunk is still chunking along; they do it for themselves, not you. Last weekend’s ride was on the Willamette River. On it, not next to it. Try that on your fixie.
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100 Miles Later …

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Jetstream Peloton by Gabriel Amadeus

… we made it!  Ten of the eleven members of Team Jetstream reached the beach, on nine of our ten tallbikes.  (Sadly, Doc was hobbled by knee issues and had to take the sag wagon.  Those issues didn’t stop him from throwing beer at me when I reached the finish line.)

We started together at 6:30 AM, but soon split into Team Fast and Team Slow, with myself in the latter pack.  I got to the finish around 6 PM, so that’s a good eleven and a half hours to travel 104 miles — slow but steady.  About 3000 bicyclists rode in this year’s Reach The Beach; 2900 of them rode past me at some point.  Nearly a thousand of them asked me how I get down from that thing.  But I finished in front of two other tallbikes on our team, including the behemoth tandem captained by Max Taint with no stoker.

It almost didn’t happen; my three-speed rear wheel began to self-destruct a week before the event!  Even worse, my replacement 7-speed internal SRAM hub arrived with pieces missing.  Kudos to Aaron’s Bicycle Repair in Seattle for stocking the obscure sub-parts my obscure part needed.  I got the wheel built on Thursday and spent Friday riding off every curb in my neighborhood, testing it for strength.  On Saturday I rode it 100 miles, and it’s still straight as an arrow.

My butt hurt like hell, but three days later I feel just fine.  It’s remarkable what you can learn about your body by torturing it.  The team training rides we did this month were very helpful.  Last night I spent about an hour stretching out my sore, stiff body, and I noticed my legs have gotten larger.  Weird.

I would like to publicly thank my sponsors: Skeeter, Fiona, Patty & Ralph, the Vosaclos and the mysterious “Oxygn luvr!”  Together we raised real money for a great cause.  I’d also like to thank all the members of Team Jetstream for rallying with great purpose and effort around one of my most far-fetched ideas.

I suppose I should mention at this point that I have an article about tallbikes in the latest issue of Momentum Magazine, and that I’m organizing a tallbike picnic on June 26th in Portland, as part of Pedalpalooza.  Can’t get enough of them tallbikes, I guess.  (Although I haven’t been up one it once since I crossed that finish line.  Walking … I love walking … )

Jetstream Peloton needs YOU!

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Just got back from a great training ride on the tallbike:

Lake Oswego / Oregon city training ride

Myself and the members of Team Jetstream are preparing for a one hundred mile tallbike ride on May 15th.  Several hundred road riders will join us for the 20th annual Reach The Beach fundraiser ride for the American Lung Association.  They will all ride normal bikes, because they are pussies.  But we will ride the tall, proud, heavy, awkward, janky love-machines that we built ourselves … because we’re stupid.

Now, I’m just as sick of being asked for donations as anybody.  So just let me say this: the ALA is a great organization. In their advocacy for clean air, their work in smoking cessation, and their contributions to asthma research they have acheived much with little.  If you have lungs — and I know you do — then you really ought to take a moment to learn about what the ALA has been doing on your lungs’ behalf.  Here’s their website.

If that’s too boring and wonky for you, then just take my word for it and visit my fundraising page.  I’m sorry it’s so spectacularly ugly, but that’s a great example of the ALA’s frugality: they could have spend donor’s dollars on a fancier website, but they said “no, we’ve got to spend that money on lungs.”  Lungs like yours and mine.  Delicious, pink, juicy lungs.  Mmmm.


In all seriousness: my mother suffers from smoking-related emphysema, as did her father before her. It’s no fun — it’s a slow, irreversible slide.  In her golden years, she has to lug an oxygen bottle around whenever she leaves the house.  Mom and Grandpa came from an era in which tobacco company claims of the healthfulness of smoking went largely unchallenged.  They used to give away away free cigarettes at colleges during finals week — that’s how they hooked Mom.

Today we’ve come to a broad societal consensus of the tremendous dangers of smoking.  People still smoke, but they certainly can’t claim it’s for their health.  Thanks to the ALA, nicotine is finally regulated as a dangerous, addictive drug.  The ALA is doing everything they can to prevent smoking, to help smokers quit, and to protect non-smokers from smokers’ smoke.  That’s what they spend your donations on.

That’s my pitch.  Here’s my fundraising page again.  Take a deep breath and click.

Big Apple Attack!

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Tomorrow I fly to New York City.  If you see this bike, you know I’m nearby:

Guest List!

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Snazzy Portland: the first shoot!

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Whee!  We just had a great organizational meeting, and the weatherman says we’re ON for tomorrow morning’s shoot for SNAZZY PORTLAND!  Again I beg your wacky assistance: please come if you can.  Fun times are assured!
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Speed Vest @ Maker Faire!

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Brady and I are coming to the Bay Area on the 29th – 31st of May for Maker Faire 2009 in San Mateo!  Somehow we have convinced the lords of the Maker-verse that we are smart and our invention is nifty!  I’m excited to show it off, and doubly so to take it out for some night rides in San Francisco.  But mostly I’m just happy to get to see the Faire and visit my Bay Area pals.

If you’re at the Faire, come find us.  We’ll be at the table with the blinking lights!


Thursday, March 19th, 2009

UPDATE!  Who huffs paint?  We huff paint!


Painting a bike takes almost as long as building one. And if you think working with spraypaint is toxic, try working with enamel clearcoat.  It is to gack!  Never again without my respirator.  (How many times have I said that before?)

But it sure looks perty.

I also completed the front wheel lace-up, and replaced that ugly granny-step with a small and sophisticated accessibility device:


(Original post starts here.)
Spring is in the air, and a young man’s thoughts turn to bicycles.  It began with LIGHTBAR cleanup, and my wife’s reasonable question: what are you planning with that big pile of dead bikes in the garage?

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Minibike Winter VI at LIGHTBAR

Saturday, February 21st, 2009


Last Friday night, Portland’s awesome Midnight Mystery Ride left from Portland’s awesome (if I say so myself) LIGHTBAR at midnight, thus launching a mad weekend of gladiatory excellence known as Minibike Winter VI, brought to you by Portland’s awesome cult of speed, ZOOBOMB!

Portland is just awesome. This video gives you a taste of the whole weekend, with blue-drink action courtesy of master mixologist Matthew.  Includes subtleties for the thinking impaired.

Video: Speed-Vest in Action!

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

Welcome, Teh Internetz. Thanks for the sudden bump of interest in the Speed-Vest. Since our original posting over a year ago, the vest has undergone testing in both MPH and KPH, traveled from Minneapolis to Portland to Vancouver and back, been damaged in a disco and reborn on the workbench. If you’re in Seattle next month, come check out the 2008 Pro Walk/Pro Bike Conference, where Brady will have the Speed-Vest on display.

Here’s some video of the Speed-Vest in action. That’s me stunt-riding, with Brady on steady-cam. You can also find it, with other updates at the newly-relaunched

(music by The Golden Greats!)