Saturday, February 16, 2008

North American Handmade Bicycle Show 2008

The second week in February was the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Portland, OR. I was fortunate to be able to go this year. It was certainly not what I expected. I had never been to Portland but if you haven't heard already, this is an excellent town to bike in.

At the show I was able to see a Sioux Falls native (Eric w/ GroundUp) with some of his latest creations. I also got to see one of my favorite custom frame companies (IF bikes). There certainly were a lot of companies that were new to me (Jones Bikes) as well. One thing I really liked about the show was seeing builders use a wide variety of color. Colors were even accented with misc. colored bike parts. I have put together a gallery for you to see all the pictures I took. You can get to that here.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sheldon Brown

Baseball players have Babe Ruth, golfers have Tiger Woods, bike mechanics have Sheldon Brown. I have never met Sheldon Brown but I have seen him at various trade shows. He's one of those people that you just can't miss even in a crowd of people. He will alway be one of my favorite mechanics.

NEWTONVILLE, MA (BRAIN)—Sheldon Brown, who could explain the intricacies of 40-year-old Sturmey Archer hubs with the same patient clarity with which he would explain suspension or integrated shifters, died from a sudden heart attack Sunday night. His death was unrelated to the progressive multiple sclerosis that had kept him off his bikes since September 2006. Most bicyclists encountered Brown through his technical writing on the Harris Cyclery Web site,, where he was webmaster and general tech guru for the West Newton, Massachusetts retailer.

Read the rest of the story over at

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Bike then Work

"You can't learn difficult material while you're exercising at high intensity because blood is shunted away from the prefrontal cortex, and this hampers your executive function. However, blood flow shifts back almost immediately after you finish exercising and this is the perfect time to focus on a project that demands sharp thinking and complex analysis."

“Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain” Dr. John Ratey

In his book, Ratey cited a 2007 study that showed cognitive flexibility - our ability to shift thinking and produce a steady flow of creative thoughts and answers (as opposed to a regurgitation of the usual responses) - improves after just one 35-minute treadmill session at either 60 percent or 70 percent maximum heart rate. The researchers had 40 adults (age 50 to 64) rattle off alternative uses for common objects like a newspaper. Half of them watched a movie and the other half exercised. They were tested before the session, immediately after and again twenty minutes later. The movie watchers showed no change, but the runners improved their processing speed and cognitive flexibility after just one workout. “So if you have an important afternoon brainstorming session scheduled, going for a short, intense run (or ride) during lunchtime is a good idea” Ratey wrote. Other studies also showed that exercise will reduce stress, lift your mood, and fight memory loss.

The impact of this research is potentially huge. Just think, some day it may be commonplace for businesses to encourage even top executives to ride to work so they are sharper and more creative when they get there, or when kids diagnosed with ADD ride to school rather than take Ritalin. Every bike we sell is making someone’s life better.