2012 Seattle Bike Expo

Took a bunch of photos of the vintage bikes at the Bike Expo last weekend.  Enjoy.
Vintage water bottles…BPA free!Ornate head tubes were the order of the day.This was an aluminum bike. Not sure what this kind of joint is called? Straaange!Early derailleur. Maybe the first?!Vintage bikes have all sorts of mysterious accouterments. Some sort of chain tensioner?Pre-digital stopwatch. Back when everything was analog, did someone ever experiment with analog odometers or speedometers? Would be sweet to have an all analog bike computer!Another.Cool vintage touring bike.With battery powered light.Okay, here’s where it gets weird. One of these awkwardly (and dangerously?) located levers is for the rear derailleur. No idea what the other is for?This bike had a front derailleur lever.Nifty lug-work was the bee’s knees.Interesting.Bendy! I wonder if these bent stays were meant to absorb vibration?Some of the bikes were Stayer-racing track bikes. I’d never heard of this track event until I read about it here. Speeds can exceed 60mph. Wow.This beautiful beauty had no decals; it was all paint and pin striping!The really old bikes were sporting wood wheels! (I can’t remember––I think this one was 1920’s.) This is another Stayer race bike as evidenced by the backwards fork.Wood!With solid (non-pneumatic) tires.Speaking of wooden bike parts, bicycle builder Renovo had a booth showing off their hardwood-frame bikes.Their website addresses all the usual questions and concerns regarding wood as a frame material.Lastly, but not leastly, there was a mint-condition Schwinn “Orange Krate.” These now fetch close to $2000 if in mint condition. Crazy. They were like $100 new in the early ’70s.

Posted in Bike Expo, Bike porn, Nobody, vintage | 2 Comments


15 years ago today, FreeRange Cycles in Fremont hatched!  Happy Birthday, FreeRange.

3501 Phinney Avenue N
Seattle, WA. 98103

Hours (Winter):
Tuesday – Thursday: 10:30am – 6:30pm
Friday – Saturday: 10:30am – 5:00pm
Sunday – Monday: Closed

Established: March 1st, 1997

Owner (and founder): Kathleen

Wrenches: Kathleen, Kellen

Here are Kathleen and Kellen in the shop:

Kathleen with her Lyon:
“My [personal] bikes are steel. The drop-handlebar bikes I like because there’s a sense of power and fun. The upright [handlebar] bikes I also like because there’s a sense of playfulness and being a child again.”

How would you describe FreeRange Cycles?
“We’re a commuter-oriented shop that specializes in steel road bikes.”

Kellen doing what he does:
“I have an early ‘80’s Italian racing bike; a Bianchi. It’s the most impractical bike that I own because you can’t put full fenders on it very easily…it doesn’t take a very wide tire, I mean it’s like the most awful thing to have in the city, but one of the reasons why I like riding bikes is because I like to go fast, so this is my fastest bike…everytime I think I’m going to get rid of it I find myself going up a hill way faster than I would [on] any other bicycle I own.”

(Kellen also rides a Surly Cross-Check. And he plays drums with the terrordactyls.)

FreeRange’s most popular bikes?
The Surly Cross-Check, Surly Long Haul Trucker and Jamis Aurora.

Most popular products?
Fenders, leather/Brooks saddles, and panniers.

They also have a variety of bikes from builders other than Surly and Jamis. Like Rawland:

Most popular service?
Kathleen: “The Chicken.”  (Adjust bearing surfaces, adjust brakes and derailleurs, minor wheel true, lube, and safety check.)  “[We] go through your bike pretty thoroughly and…when we do that we check for other things…if other things are wrong we let you know…check your chain, make sure it’s not worn out, replace it if it is.”

Where did the name ‘FreeRange’ come from?
“Mytchell Mead and I were trying to figure out a name and I wanted a coyote on a bicycle. He said, ‘No, that’s too Eastern Washington.’ So he went down to visit his parents in Colorado and he found this old piece of metal in his dad’s barn and he just started cutting it out and realized it was going to be ‘FreeRange Cycles.’ Everyday we would run over to PCC and get ‘freerange food.’ So he did the freerange chicken with dreadlocks on a bike.”
“We had some t-shirts done in Nepal and the Nepalese man told the guy who was making our t-shirts, ‘I can make a better chicken than that.’ He didn’t think it was very true to life; he didn’t realize that it was a cartoon chicken.”

What is one thing all cyclists should know?
Kathleen and Kellen (in unison): “How to change a flat.”
Kathleen: “You don’t want it to paralyze you from riding and I think a lot of people sometimes [avoid riding] their bike in fear of getting a flat…if they knew how to repair a flat and knew it’s fairly easy…”

What’s the best thing about Seattle cyclists?
Kellen: “They actually ride their bikes all year. People aren’t afraid to go out in any kind of weather. And I get the sense that here–and probably a lot of the West Coast as well–people don’t think that you have to wear Lycra to ride bicycles.”

Kathleen: “I’ll agree with him, that people ride bikes year-round, and that the city promotes it.”

What would you change about Seattle bike culture and/or facilities?
Kathleen: “[I’d] get rid of the bike lanes…[There’s the danger of getting] hit by a door, and then if you get out too far you [can] get hit by a car.”

And the Sharrows?
“We call those ‘Death-rows’…Seattle has a pretty conscientious driving population, but I think we should do what Europe does and put the bike lane in between the sidewalk and the parked cars…separate from the (moving) cars.”

Favorite ride?
Kathleen: “Home.”
Kellen: “Vashon Island, Chuckanut Drive and anything around (near) Lake Washington.”
(Chuckanut Drive is the historic, scenic road between Burlington and Bellingham. Here’s a picture of it and a view from it:)

FreeRange Cycles has a lot of beautiful bikes. Here’s a Rivendell Hillborne with a unique double top-tube:

And another Hillborne, this one with some amazing paint (that the photo doesn’t adequately capture):

And for the girly-girls, this gorgeous Rivendell Betty Foy:
Just look at these lugs:
This bike should come with a t-shirt that says, “I ♥ lugs.”

Posted in Bike porn, Bike shop, Bike Shop Profile, Fremont, Rivendell | Leave a comment


Cool Swobo spotted in Fremont:
Model is the ‘Baxter.’ Check the rear light built into the seatpost:

Posted in Bike porn, Fremont, Nobody | 1 Comment

Ahwhh yeaahh…nice rack.

Great bike rack in front of Stumptown Coffee at S. Capitol Hill (1115 12th Ave.):
Takes up at least one whole car parking spot!

Posted in Capitol Hill, Facilities, Nobody | Leave a comment

Bike Shop Profile: The Bicycle Repair Shop

The Bicycle Repair Shop

928 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98104

Mon – Fri: 8am–6pm
Sat – Sun: Closed

Established: February 1, 2011

Owners: Jennifer, Michael

Wrenches: Andy, Jake

The Bicycle Repair Shop provides: Tune-ups, repairs (“We try to do same-day…and we do it all: disc brakes, suspension, etc.”), rentals, parts and supplies.

Andy w/ his Torker commuter bike (“It’s not super sexy, but it’s cool.”):
With a Sturmey-Archer 5-speed rear hub:
Also has: Redline 29er (mountain bike), loaner bike (for friends).

Andy’s advice to prospective cyclists: “You can go and buy a brand new bike or if you spend maybe, tops, 2–300 bucks on your bike it’s probably going to be better than any brand new bike you can buy, or at least as good. So basically that’s our mantra.”

TBRS’s most popular service: “Commuter” tune-up. ($40)

TBRS’s most popular products: Tubes and tires (particularly Schwalbe Marathon Plus).

Andy showing the tire sample ring:
And they carry studded tires!

Jake w/ his bike-polo bike (“Fuji Roubaix frame…mix of parts.”):
The “wheel covers” help to protect the wheels and spokes from damage during bike polo (custom art by Jake):
Levers for both front and rear brakes are on left grip. Rear brake lever is a modified thumb shifter lever (Clever!):
Jake also has a Surly Cross-check and a Traitor Exile. (Traitor is in Ferndale, WA.)

TBRS has a large supply of rental bikes:

Two people came in to rent a couple of bikes. Here’s Andy giving them detailed directions/ suggestions using Google Maps:

What’s the best thing about Seattle cyclists?
Andy: “The commuters; they really get into it…if something’s not working, they’ll figure it out…I would say the dedication and commitment [to riding].”

What would you change about Seattle bike culture and/or facilities?
Andy: “Continuing improvment of the bike lanes and infrastructure…Sharrows, I think, make things worse. I think it aggravates drivers more, because, for one, it confuses them and, two, it just gives cyclists a reason to do whatever the fuck they want. The Sharrows are ambiguous so [cyclists] are like, “I don’t know how to interpret this, but there’s a [bike symbol] on the road, so I’m just gonna ride here.” I don’t know what the answer is, because the streets are narrow…”

Jake: “I support bike lanes but not the Sharrows.”

What’s one thing all cyclists should know?
Jake: “You get a fine if you don’t wear a helmet.”

Andy: “Yeah, I would say, the value and importance of wearing a helmet.”

What’s your prediction of what the area out front is going to be like when the Viaduct is gone?
Jake: “It will be a parking lot and there will be a road, which will be, effectively, a parking lot.”

Andy: “It’s going to be exactly the same…Everybody has this idea that it’s going to be a park down here, but you have parking here and you have a road there; none of that is going to change…because the businesses can’t afford to lose the parking. You have one lane of traffic here and you have two congested lanes of traffic there, and the ferry can’t give up any parking…basically it’s a lose-lose; we lose the Viaduct, we lose access for all the businesses (Since the tunnel will bypass downtown with no exits.)…and we get a huge price tag of billions of dollars. I think when it’s finished it’s just going to be a huge disappointment.”

What would you be doing if you weren’t working here?
Andy: “I’d be doing IT stuff…I guess that’s what I’d be doing, but I’d rather be here.”

Jake: “I’d probably be in grad-school, or trying to get through grad-school…[with the goal of getting into] anthropology field-work.”

Posted in Bike shop, Downtown, Waterfront | Leave a comment

Vintage Bike Ads

Found these magazine ads at an antique store.  (Not Seattle related, but hey, what the hay.)  Too good to not share!  (Click on images to view full size.)

Posted in ad, murray, schwinn, vintage | Leave a comment

Bike lane and route symbols

Have you ever really looked at the cyclist symbol represented in the bike lanes?  What in the world is on his/her head?  A bowl?  An East-Asian straw hat?  Half a watermelon?  It’s obviously not a helmet.

Why not use the same symbol used on the bike route signs?  This cyclist is sporting much more restrained (and protective?) headwear:

Posted in Nobody, Signage, Symbol | 1 Comment