Saturday, January 26, 2008

OK, that's fast

Austrian Markus Stoeckl just set the world speed record on a mountain bike at 130 mph. Good thing he did not crash. Red Bull must have some great waivers.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Is Jessica Alba the Bike Messenger "Eve"?

As we are all keenly aware, urban areas are awash in a bike messenger craze. Some are actually professional messengers, but most people just want to look like they are one. While many debate the pros and cons of the huge boom in popularity, I feel it is a good thing as it has resulted in more people on bikes. A small change, but still a good change. One topic that continues to surface is "how did this all start?" That is, what was the messenger "tipping point".

Lots of people state that this is a long due delay to Kevin Bacon's movie "Quicksilver". As all things lead back to Mr. Bacon, it is quite possible, though unlikely. The trouble is the date of the movie, 1986. The kids riding fixies were likely just starting kindergarten then, so it is tough to say that this started it. So who might be their contemporary? Who is a recent role model? I have a hunch that it was Jessica Alba.

In 2000 Fox released the popular "Dark Angel" television series starring a very young and not quite yet superstar Jessica Alba. She played Max Guevara, an escaped Manicore soldier on the run from her former government trainers. Max survives in Seattle and makes her living as a Cannondale riding bike messenger for Jam Pony. Here she is with her television buddy Original Cindy. Check out Jessica's front wheel and compare it to the current craze for Aerospoke front wheels. Coincidence, I think not. The show was short lived, but its popularity lives on. This was the show that the current messenger crowd was watching in college, or possibly while still living off their parents at home. She is quite the Eve and likely started it all.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Several Riders Humiliated at Oakland Alleycat

This past weekend, local riders were treated to sunny skies and a novel approach to the now standard alleycat race format. Tired of the tried and true point-to-point messenger style race, the promoters opted to go with a new "street skills" approach.

After a quick warm-up down Telegraph, riders were told to enter the Hood Games ramp competition. This is a typically a skateboard only event, but the Games organizers were open to new faces in the event. Unfortunately riding a ramp on a bike proved disastrous for most, and the cyclists were booed out of the competition. One teary eyed rider noted that "Even the guys from Clean Skate Shop laughed at us, it was horrible. I mean, I go to Oz every month, I couldn't believe it."

Next up was an eating contest at China Town's Legendary Palace. Riders had to negotiate a 7th Street delivery truck obstacle course, before entering the restaurant. Once inside, riders were told they must eat a fried squab, bowl of duck tongues and a "dim sum surprise". Several riders immediately dropped out, one girl threw up, but the remaining competitors put their game faces on and tore into the meals.

After a nice cup of green tea riders were told to sprint to Lake Merritt for a skidding competition. No problem thought many, this is my signature move. Unfortunately for them, they would have to skid across the Geese nesting area by Fairy Land, an area covered in nearly an inch of goose poop. One rider stated, "This was the worst. After a day of suffering, we were now falling down into slimy, stinky bird shit." Several cyclists slid entirely into the Lake. One of these riders now has a nasty rash that just won't go away.