Friday, May 27, 2011

The Stork Brought Us Something (hint: it's not stork food)

First off let me apologize for the delay in communications on our end. The staff at Rigid Bicycles has been very busy lately; the engineering team was lending a helping hand with the latest (and next-to-last) space shuttle launch, the marketing team was trying to brainstorm ways to spin Lance Armstrong's upcoming doping defense, and the CEO took a few days off for the baby.
Mother nature is amazing: I look with awe on the movement of the ocean's currents, the methodical creep of glacial progress, the first sprouts of spring's flowers, and the birth of a baby. I am thrilled that all is well, the mother and the baby are healthy and recovering comfortably. We have a brand new baby girl to be thankful for; so add that to the list of things like mexican food and peanut butter.

Before this space becomes a forum devoted to peanut butter, why don't I move back toward other items of bicycle (dis)interest that are neither as fascinating nor as life changing as new additions to the family,

or even just New Edition for that matter. I was able to eek out a couple rides over the past couple weeks and thought you might like just a little documentation. Are you like me? Do you like the singletrack? and the mountainish style bicycles? That twisty thread of dirt in front of me is what keeps me grounded these days.

Pretty fun stuff. Since the last time I digitally scribbled on these pages a few notable things have gone down in the bike world.  The Tour of California wrapped up so let me offer a hearty congrats to the participants. Also, the Trek corporation announced a bicycle styled cycle collaboration with visual artist dynamo, Shepard Fairey
I am not sure how I feel about this, although it reminds me of the "game-ified" branding techniques like those contests that marketing teams create to see how many product labels children can collect (cereal), or contests to see who can frequent a business place as many times as possible (mobile phone app "foursquare"), or prizes that are hidden, but pictured, inside the actual product (cracker-jacks).  Maybe by cross pollinating the design and marketing seedbeds of the bicycle industry with the those of the street-art industry there may arise a new thirst for bicycles and bike lanes and outdoor recreation facilities and race coverage; but I pretty much feel like all it's going to really do is create a contest, measured in part by new triathalon entries, to see how many power broker business types will let the golf clubs sit in the closet for a bit and put in some miles on their new $10,000 bicycle.  Oh well, we'll see.  And by the way, if this is actually interesting to anyone, I think I remember reading a more artfully crafted commentary about bicycle "collabos" written by the Bike Snob a few years ago. Oh yeah, here it is.

Well, thanks for reading about babies, bikes and boy bands. That's it for another week at Rigid, hope all is well on your end, and feel free to send in some evidence of the single track from your corner of the planet: I'll post it up right here for all of us to share.  Ahhhhh, sharing feels good.


Friday, May 13, 2011


I am taking a break from bicycles this week and giving a shout to the Jamaican surfing scene.

Billy Wilmot, aka Billy Mystic, is the founder of the Jamaican Surfing Association; the creator of the first surfing camp in Jamaica, Jamnesia; the lead singer for the Mystic Revealers; and the man frequently recognized for his acting career, having played CC Campbell, in the longest running Jamaican TV show ever, Royal Palm Estate. Billy is a generous man, a community leader, and visionary regarding the development of surfing in Jamaica. I got to know him a bit when we lived in Jamaica, and my father even stayed at the Bull Bay compound once when he came to visit. Yard style to the world!

Jamnesia - Red Bull Highlight from Joel Burke on Vimeo.

If the video inspires you to read more about surfing, then by all means go check in with my good friend RAS, at Ku-Yah, who is shaping surfboards, with a Caribbean consciousness, for the cool waters of Novia Scotia. Closer afield, there is no news yet on the baby-having side of life; I will update that when it's update-able. Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Weekend Warriors

First off, sorry for the delay in communication on this front, things have been a bit hectic preparing for the arrival of a brand new human baby girl. I'll let you know the details when there are details. Also, thank you to all the folks who turned out for the Open Space plan meetings; though we were small in number, we were articulate in our demands.

If you happen to be in the Pittsburgh area and happen to tune into this little corner of internet drivel before10:30 am on Saturday, then by all means head over to Homewood for the Pedal Pale Ale Keg Ride.
2010 image from robjdlc's Flikr photostream

This week has been a whirlwind, but in between buying a bunch of baby crap and doing some "nesting" I did manage to squeak a few rides in. I hope to not let this forum devolve into mind-numbing ride reports, but since we're on the topic, I'll share a little from this evening's ride for you here. I made a break out of the house and jumped into some of this:
And this:
And then I experienced one of the most unpleasant 5 minutes on a bicycle I've ever had.
See the photo above, at the bottom of this little descent, there is a big right hand sweeping turn with that log lying sleepily across the trail? Looks innocuous, right? Well, to hop this little log, I made a quick forward movement of my weight after being over the rear wheel on the previous descent, and in the process, smacked my "crotch-tonsils" right into my seat. I forgot how hard something like this hurts. I think I went blind for a couple seconds; I felt like I had been kicked in the belly by a pack mule. I tried to wrench my intestines from out of my lungs with my bare hands just to get some relief. Thankfully, after a few minutes and a series of focused deep breathing, it passed, and I was back to this:

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful, by which I mean that it was super fun. Hopefully in the future I'll be able to limit the contact points between me and the bicycle to the traditional three body parts of hands, feet, and seat (my own). And speaking of hands and feet, here is a video of a couple of young guns who have some small ones. If the following three minutes bore you due to the slow pace of the bicycle riding displayed, keep in mind that the featured guns for hire were ages 3 and 7 at the time of filming. Now that coconut sales are up, I am in the market for a new camera, so sometime in the very near future I might have some more video of these two that doesn't take place so far in the very distant past.

Slagheaps July 2010 from rigid bicycles on Vimeo.

Have a great weekend everyone, and to my mother: you are the most caring, loving person I have ever met; I love you more than I know how to write. Thank you for everything. Happy mothers day to all the mothers out there.