Category Archives: how to
Tips from Tim Johnson’s Austin Cyclocross Clinic
Tyler in true and proper form.

It’s no secret that cyclocross is closer to MTB racing than it is road racing. The degree of separation between the two sports is often blurred, especially when compared to XC racing. In short: you’ve got to have bike control to excel at the sport. Sure fitness is one thing, but learning how to ride is key and tied directly to that is your position on a bike.

Tim Johnson is an advocate of the MTB position on a cross bike and on Saturday, he ran a clinic with Bicycle Sport Shop in preparation for the 2015 Cyclocross Nationals here in Austin.

There were three groups that day: A, B and C – depending on rider skill level. From there, Tim, with the help of two others, Johnny and Pete, broke down the basics of cyclocross racing. I hung around for the most important part: riding position… Read on in the gallery for a break-down of what Tim taught the clinic about how to race their cross bikes and check out some bullet points below.

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Apr 14, 2014 5 comments
Richard Sachs: On In-Shop Photography
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Last week on Facebook, I read Richard Sachs complaining about how his new camera, the Sony RX100 wasn’t delivering quality photos like he had hoped. From there, a torrent of fans replied with a mountain of tips, ranging from “get a tripod” to “get a photo studio”. I emailed Richard promptly and offered some advice.

He was shooting wide open with the RX100 on auto. My first advice: set it to aperture priority, then stop it down to around f3.2 to f5.6. After explaining what that meant, Richard went back into his shop and started taking more photos and he was pleased with the results.

Personally, I love watching the process a frame builder goes through while assembling a frame, as much as I enjoy the final product. Part of that entails documentation. No builder wants to call in their photographer buddy to shoot while they’re brazing or welding, so it helps to have a pocket-sized camera like the RX100, the right settings and a steady hand.

Builders like Bishop, Richard Sachs, Firefly, JP Weigle, Winter, MAP and others I’ve featured here do a great job at documenting their process and I think that’s a large reason for their customer’s, both returning and future, engagement.

See more of RS’s work at his Flickr.

I’ve since given my RX100 to Lauren, who was convinced she needed a 5Dmkiii and a f2.8 24-70mm mkii L lens to travel to Myanmar for her work. After giving her a tutorial, she loves it. Meanwhile, I’ve just opted to shoot more 35mm film

Mar 3, 2014 5 comments
A Guide to Buying Your First Custom Bicycle
Custom-bicycle-01

I’m sure it’s maddening as a viewer of this site being constantly bombarded with high-end, custom bikes on a daily basis. Meanwhile, your apprehension and financial situation has you riding something from [insert big brand here]. Not that there is anything wrong with that. The best bike for you is the one you are able to ride.

In the time I’ve been covering frame building, builders and custom bicycles, I’ve dealt with this internal debate: am I being exclusive here? Custom and production frame building is anything but exclusive, it is however something that requires financial planning. I’m here to break it down for you in what I’m so nonchalantly calling “A Guide to Buying Your First Custom Bicycle”.

Check out more below.

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Sep 30, 2013 35 comments
How Shooting Film Made Me a Better Photographer
Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Clothing Cart, China, 2013 / Mamiya 7ii / 80mm / Kodak Portra 400

Like many design students, my first experiences with photography came from an educational environment. In architecture college, we were taught some very simple, fundamental ideas to capturing space through light and composition. While I wouldn’t consider my early experiences with photography the same as actual photo students’, I would say that it greatly influenced my eye and in a lot of ways, hindered my ability to produce a decent photo.

The most pressing reason being the architectural ‘rules’ of photography: vertical lines should always be straight, view a space like a 2-point perspective, before examining other possibilities, rules of thirds, etc. We were told to idolize Francis Ching, which can make for great architectural photos but when it comes to moving, vibrant moments, can make life rather boring and stagnant. Unless you’re into that sort of thing.

One of the biggest downfalls with my introduction to photography was the lack of precedents. It’s a shame for me to admit that most photographers I studied, or had any interest in learning about shot only (or mostly) buildings. Which, as I would find out later on, during a major ‘career shift’, wouldn’t apply as much as I had hoped.

If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed a change in my photography. The only reason I’m even bringing this up is because multiple people have pointed it out to me. Now, I do not like talking about my ‘work’. It’s not that I’m overly confident with it, it’s that I have a hard time considering myself a photographer. I’m confident with what I do, just not presenting it in any artistic light.

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Aug 12, 2013 34 comments
Notes on Flying with a Bicycle
NYC_Day-01-2

If anyone can tell you about traveling on an airplane with a bike, it’s me. I spend just about every other week flying with my bike, all over the country and the world. In doing so, I’ve established a routine that works without issue but it takes a little bit of planning before you even begin to pack.

Check out more below.

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Jul 30, 2013 65 comments
Fixpert Comics: How to Fix a Flat

Sure, most of us can fix our own flats (at least I hope so!) but for those who can’t Fixpert Comics put together this informative how-to guide, complete with illustrations. Check out the preview pages here.

Jul 11, 2013 Comments are OFF
A Common Problem: Avoided and Resolved

If you happen to have a girl wearing a skirt and a beanie living in your tool shed, then you obviously don’t have to worry about the inevitable galvanic corrosion that can plague your trusty steed.

But if you don’t, then you need to check that your stem is greased quite frequently or you’ll end up like these two. Let me just say that the only reason I posted the top video was to offer a striking contrast between the latest from Fyxomatosis. I don’t know about you, but Andy’s shorts are getting me all hot and bothered. Good thing Gonz has that facemask on…

Feb 12, 2013 10 comments
Fyxomatosis: I Hate Surprises
HowTo

Packing a bike shouldn’t be that hard to do and yet, I’ve seen some horrid examples. Boxes made from three, with the edges exposed and the cardboard literally falling apart. Like everything FYXO, Andy did a little tutorial on his site not necessarily showing how to pack a bike, but how he packs a bike. Check it out here.

Jun 5, 2012 4 comments
How a Bicycle is Made

This is one of those videos that I watched one night and blanked on posting, then I received a flood of emails from readers sharing it with me. Though rudimentary by today’s standards, this 1945 video depicts how Raleigh bicycles were made in England. I love the dry and sterile explanation, reminiscent of an old sex ed video you’d watch in grade school, but with better visuals. Don’t miss the hub packing clip…

For more sexiness, head to Raleigh‘s website to see how far they’ve come.

May 14, 2012 1 comment