April 19, 2008

B.I.K.E and Wired to Win

I watched two bicycle related movies this week. Wired to Win, and B.I.K.E. These movies are very much on the opposite end of the spectrum as far as production goes. Wired to Win uses the Tour De France as a backdrop for a movie that is essentially about the brain. But since the brain is such an amazingly complex phenomenon the short IMAX movie is in no way capable of delivering any sort of comprehensive message about the brain to its viewers. The only thing I seem to remember about the message of the movie is that "the brain learns something every day." Not exactly breaking news there, Bubba. What stays behind however, are the great shots from the race it self. But since I inherently expect these great shots from an IMAX movie, I was greatly disappointed to see shots, that had the potential to be amazing, but were out of focus! In short, Wired to Win would have been better if they skipped the brain stuff and just "focused" on the race. Warning Spoilers.... B.I.K.E had impeccable cinematography, even though the budget for the movie was probably about 1% of the Wired to Win budget. The excellent cinematography is a bit surprising in the light of the rough shape the shooter is in at times, and the circumstances. But that movie misses it's mark, much like Wired to Win. Perhaps it is labeled in the wrong way. It's supposed to be about the main character's (and filmmaker's) infiltration into the Black Label Bicycle Club as an investigative documentary work. I did not feel this was what the movie was about at all. I think it's more of a coming of age - self search kind of a movie. I don't think that Anthony the main character was really trying to infiltrate Black Label in the end, he was trying to join them, to become one of them. He seemed to loose track of his goals and the best thing that happened to him was that the Club did not allow him to become a member. The movie's production, editing and cinematography is excellent though, and a testament of Tony Howard's and Jacob Septimus' professionalism as filmmakers. Verdict: Both movies are worth seeing, but both of them could have been done better.

April 18, 2008

My new 21 year old Bianchi

1987 Bianchi Campione Del Mondo is not the prettiest bike around. It's built in the black and Red years at Bianchi, but to me the "celeste" green is the only true color for a Bianchi. Is that to conservative of me? Probably it is. So to attack my own twisted values I'll keep the color. In fact, I'll play with it and learn to love it. Blood and darkness. A bike for $50 deserves some coin thrown at it. What do you think? I think I'll go with a black and red theme for this one. If I had the cash I'd black out all the chrome on the bike, get some black drop bars, black stem, seat post, cranks etc. But for now, on my meager budget, I'll go with what I can "afford" (it's always relative isn't it?). Next step for this one is the front wheel of of my cracked frame Peugeot. The shifters etc. will come of that one as well. There is an old red "loaner wheel" at the shop which I can have for little money. Get a red tire for the back, and maybe some red cable housings. What I'll end up with as a short term result, should be a pretty cool 14 speed. But I think some day I'll do this bike up lthey way I want to. It's not every day that you com across a 63cm Bianchi frame, let alone one for 50 bucks. Might as well have some fun with it.

April 13, 2008

Hacking bikes for less hassle

I travel a lot with my bikes and I know all too well that traveling with bikes is a bit of a pain in the rear at times. There are very few airlines (zoom airlines is one of those few) that have the decency to allow sporting goods on planes for free, and more often than not, a rather hefty fee is to be expected. Air Canada charges $50 for example and others treat bicycles as excess, oversize luggage and charge accordingly. In general, airlines seem to be looking to get to your bucks in any way possible. But that's business I suppose. S and S couplings (sometimes called BCT couplings) are the light at the end of the pitch dark tunnel of flying with your bike. The couplings were developed by S&S Machine Company of Roseville CA. The bicycle torque couplings allow you to break down your bike to fit a normal suitcase. The couplings are placed on the top tube and the down tube and only take minutes to take apart with the specialized wrench that comes with the couplings. This allows you to travel with your bike without any of the typical hassles of oversize luggage, such as extra costs and major headaches. All of a sudden there are no issues with bus drivers, cab drivers or just people waiting in line. No one gets to give you the "stinkeye" because no one realizes that you're traveling with a bike. All they see is another suitcase. S and S couplings have been around since 1994, and seem to be getting more common and popular. The only downside seems to be that the couplers will only work on a steel or titanium frame. The couplings will not affect the stiffness or strength of your frame and they have been approved by big names in the industry, including the lately gossip ridden Greg LeMond. I want S&S couplings on my next steelie, but it will have to be a nice one because the couplings are not cheap to install. According to Billenky Cycle Works which has been "hacking bikes" since the introduction of S&S couplings, the price for a single bike is roughly $450. But perhaps that is a reasonable price. The couplings will pay for themselves in about 5 flights with Air Canada.

April 05, 2008

DH Nainaimo, and minor frustrations

I finally got around to uploading some of the shots from the Nanaimo DH on March 23. I had some issues with Flickr.com which were holding me back. Case in point; you can only download a limited amount of pictures on flickr unless you go for the pro account which of course you have to pay for. On flickr you can upload 100mb per month, but you can only display 200 pics at any given time. Which means that if I posted the pictures from the 23, the Super D pics will disappear. Clever?...I don't think so. I've left flickr, and I'm sure that a lot of people have as well, and for the same reasons. Lets not forget that flickr like any other photo sharing site is an advertising agency, not a photo sharing site. So why should I pay them for trying to sell stuff to me? Does that sound right? Not to me. And so much for all that. The First Downhill Race of the Island cup season was held in Nanaimo on March 24. The course was in a different area of Nanaimo than the Super-D, and the course was just as impressive as the one in the Super-D. Which means that the good people of the Harbor City have two trail systems, minutes from the downtown core of the city. That's not to be sneezed at. Once again I had a great time photographing. This time I had no bike to ride down the trail so I took the shuttle to the top and shot my way to the bottom, twice. That was a good workout in itself so I assume that the contestants got a lot out of the race. There were 138 rider's that raced that day. 12 Ladies, and in the men's: 27 beginers, 57 intermediate and 42 experts. Quite a few spectators turned out as well, so overall the race was a success. My boss and president of SIMBS, Scott Mitchell, came in sixth in the intermediate class in his first downhill race. Good work Scott! more pics from the race here: http://s304.photobucket.com/albums/nn169/h-gunn/DH%20Nanaimo%20March%2023/