October 2012 Archive

A recalcitrant bicycle thief falls in love with the Budnitz bicycle he’s stolen in this stylish video created by Budnitz Bicycles and inspired by the films of François Truffaut. Even so, it’s a bad idea to leave your belt drive beauty unlocked outside the boulangerie.

Budnitz: Le Grand Tour from Budnitz Bicycles on Vimeo.

  • Share

Colorado cyclocross racing offers huge contrasts in conditions. One day you are racing on slow and soggy grass, the next on bone-dry and fast hardpack. That was the case last weekend as Team Gates Carbon Drive battled on the wet grass of the Interlocken course in Broomfield on Saturday, then lined up for the dusty and bumpy Xilinx course in Longmont on Sunday. Out of the dust and mud emerged Taylor Nye, who took the lead in both the Boulder Racing Cyclocross Series and the Colorado Cross Cup Racer competition!

Garret Davis hammers through the soggy grass at Interlocken.

Saturday’s Interlocken course is always popular because it is one of the few in Colorado with lots of grass, plus a good balance of sand, pavement and twisty turns. The popularity means the fields are big and the competition deep. Mitch Westall loves this course and was off like a shot right from the gun. The first two laps saw Gates grouping at the front as Taylor Nye, Ryan McFarling, Garrett Davis and Carlos Casali joined Mitch. Taylor Jung and I were a bit further back, mired in the deep and wet grass. Anyone unfortunate enough to make the front group was worked over by constant attacks from the Gates crew. Finally, Taylor and Mitch escaped off the front. 

Photo by Six Degrees to Slush

Both riders worked together to increase their lead until they were safe enough to start attacking one another for the win. Neither rider was giving up though, but a slip by Mitch made it look like the race was over. He managed to close back up to Taylor in the final turns, and even took the lead, but in the end it was Taylor taking the win while both riders celebrated. Behind them, Gates continued a strong day by putting five riders in the top ten as Ryan was 4th, Garrett was 6th and Carlos finished up in 10th. Taylor J was 16th, and I got lost in the mud, somewhere further back.

The dry and dusty course in Xilinx was the polar opposite of the previous day.

Most of the team was back on Sunday, racing on a completely different course at Xilinx. The wet grass was swapped for dry and dusty trails and a couple different styles of barriers. Fresh off the previous day’s win, it was again Taylor Nye leading the first lap. This created a small group at the front, and Taylor had Jesse Swift in the group as well. But this time the team was on the wrong end of the attacks when they caught the back of the Cat3 race and got tangled in the traffic.

The battle for the lead at Xilinx couldn't have been closer.

Soon it was Jesse doing most of the work while powerful Colby Pearce worked with him as they chased the lone leader. On the last lap Colby attacked and Jesse had to settle for 3rd place, but that third step of the podium was some great company to be in! Even after his impressive win the day before, Taylor stayed close: finishing in fourth. Carlos was 6th, I finished in 9th and chasing hard was Taylor Jung in 13th.

This weekend should bring more excitement. There is a UCI race at the Boulder Reservoir and another UCI race at Valmont Bike Park. Better still: it is snowing as I write this, which means great cyclocross conditions!

  • Share

Sam Whittingham of Naked Bicycles in British Columbia was one of the standout performers at the 2012 North American Handmade Bicycle Show, where he won the Best Mountain Bike category from NAHBS as well as first place in the Gates Carbon Drive design contest for a belt drive adventure touring rig. With NAHBS fast approaching (next February in Denver), we felt it was a good time to check in on Sam to see what interesting bikes he has built since then.

First up is the singlespeed 29er with Carbon Drive that he created for ripping the root-crossed trails on Quadra Island outside of Vancouver. Sam says the Carbon Drive on the bike is the perfect application for the muddy local trails because of its cleanliness and low maintenance. Who says you need a full-suspension freeride bike for BC riding?

“I was skeptical of belt drives when they first came out,” Sam says. “Just like suspension, tubeless tires, 29-inch wheels and clipless pedals, you have to experience it to realize what your missing. All of my initial fears about longevity, slippage and efficiency have proven to be completely ungrounded. The Gates system has proven to be far better on all counts than expected. It also has the added bonus of being lighter, smoother, cleaner and quieter. You don’t realize how rough and noisy a chain is until you use a belt. As a custom builder it is easy for me to incorporate the ability to run a belt into my designs.”

Sam also recently built a hot commuter that he calls “Merrill’s Adventure City Belt Drive,” pictured below. The bike is not only built for functional performance, but also styled to get noticed.

Live in the Denver area? Mark your calendar for next February 22-24, when custom builders from around the world will show off their coolest bikes for consumers at NAHBS 2013. If you’re a custom bike builder, make sure to sign up for the Gates Carbon Drive Belt Drive Bike Design Contest for a chance to win part of the more than $11,000 in cash and prizes Gates will be awarding. As Sam would say: “Time to get Naked.” To which we add: “Time to Get Belted.”

Click on the logo above or go to www.gatescarbondrive.com/designcontest to enter.

  • Share

It was another succesful weekend for the Gates Carbon Drive Cyclocross Team as the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross came to town for two days of racing in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Jesse Swift at the USGP Smartwool Cup #1

Saturday was the Smartwool Cup #1, and a single speed field of over 40 riders took to a chilly start line, just before the rains started coming down. Lining up for the the team was Jesse Swift, Mitch Westall, Carlos Casali, Taylor Jung, Tim Lucking and Ryan McFarling. Carlos drove the pace hard right from the start, working to setup a group of leaders. Ryan was there, but unfortunately had a skewer break which forced him to drop from the group. He was able to rejoin the race, and put in some of the fastest laps of the day, trying to chase, but unfortunately lost too much time at the start. Up front, the battle was on, and as the rain fell, making the course slick and treacherous, good handling was as important as putting down the power.

The lead group ended up just out of reach for Jesse, who fought his way home for fourth place in a stacked field. Gates wasn’t done representing though, as Mitch and Carlos finished together in 7th and 8th places, while Taylor and Tim weren’t far back in 17th and 24th.

Garrett Davis rounds one of the tight corners at USGP Smartwool Cup #2

The team was back the following day for Smartwool Cup #2, as the drier but slightly revised course provided just as many challenges under the sunny skies. Sunday Gates was represented by Mitch Westall, Ryan McFarling, Garrett Davis and Taylor Jung facing off against another 35 racers on day two. The previous day’s mud had dried into a fast, but bumpy course for the riders. Once again Gates drove the pace at the start, with Garrett and Taylor pushing hard at the gun. Mitch caught their goup, and as the real fireworks flew, he was able to stick close to the leader by pushing a big gear and riding consistently. Ultimately Mitch finished in 2nd place, while Ryan had some unfinished business after Saturday’s mechanical, finishing close behind in 3rd. That put two Gates riders on the podium, and Garrett was so close–coming home in 5th place.

There was no avoiding the steep steps every lap!

I wasn’t able to make it to the USGP races, but rather hit the first Boulder Ultra Cross “unofficial event.” It turned out to be a super fun ride, covering 50 miles with nearly 6,000 feet of climbing. Even with the racing in Fort Collins, nearly 80 people showed up for one giant lap of the course. Having the Gates Carbon Drive belt kept things simple and flawless, and it was easy to enjoy the incredible route, great weather, and riding with lots of different people I normally don’t get to. I hope there will be more non-events of this type!

  • Share

Coffee-loving bicyclists, meet the Velopresso: an ingenious pedal-powered mobile coffee stand designed to lower the carbon footprint of our collective caffeine habit. Created by two product design students from the Royal College of Art in London, the machine uses no electricity, making it perfect for street corners and off-the-grid locations. Velopresso not only gets around town by pedal power; the coffee grinder is also pedal-powered. Delicious coffee, no electricity, no motors, no noise.

“Velopresso was conceived against the backdrop of a global renaissance in cycling culture that is being driven by the desire for more sustainable cities and lifestyles,” says co-creator Amos Field Reid, pictured below kneeling behind the machine. “The urban coffee scene is also expanding and diversifying, including a convergence with cycling culture. Velopresso engages directly with these cutting-edge urban cultures.”

The only fuel use consists of a camp stove to heat the water and create steam. The stove now uses camping/mountaineer’s gas, but Reid and co-creator Lasse Oiva are researching methods to create ethanol alcohol from the spent coffee grounds, which would be used to fire the camp stove burner. “Research is underway to derive a zero-carbon fuel for the stove from waste grinds,” Reid says.

We love the Velopresso because it uses not one but two Gates Carbon Drives–one for locomotion and another to power the grinder, which produces a double-shot of espresso with five seconds of easy pedaling. With a click of a gear lever, the belt-drive transmission switches from powering the trike’s wheels to powering the custom-made grinder. The inventors say the clean and grease-free belt drive was the perfect solution: you don’t want toxic chain lube in your soy latte.

“The Gates Carbon Drive forms an integral part of the Velopresso,” Reid says. “The belt eliminated the problem of an oily chain getting mixed up with the coffee prep environment. It also rendered a chain guard unnecessary, allowing us to showcase this rational, progressive, pedal-powered technology and keeping it all naked as we intended. We wanted technology that looks good and performs perfectly. From the very earliest design sketches we located the Gates Carbon Drive that powers the grinder at the center of the machine–a statement of intent.”

Velopresso has already won several design awards including the Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Enterprises 2012, and second place in the Pininfarina Design Contest 2012. Reid and Oiva are now trying to commercialize Velopresso to sell them in Europe and North America. “The Velopresso project as a business is conceived around the production of multiple machines for sale or leasing to individual private vendors alongside coffee and bicycle related companies, as both an eye-catching new form of mobile retail operation and a highly visible promotional vehicle,” Reid says. The machine’s weatherproof side panels can be customized for company or corporate branding.

Until then, Velopresso is on our wish list. See more photos and contact Velopresso at: http://www.velopresso.cc/

  • Share