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My Thoughts on Cycling and Weight Loss

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My Thoughts on Cycling and Weight Loss

Over the past few years – since moving to Austin in 2010 – I’ve been struggling with weight loss. Look, we’re all cyclists. We probably all ride with skinny, fit dudes and as a bigger guy, it’s frustrating. Even now, at the peak of my fitness, I still get dropped by “climbers”. What I found was to take these experiences and use them as part of my motivation. There was one defining moment however. A majority of it came from a ride I did in Australia a few years back…

Traveling Tip: Dry Your Kit in a Hotel Towel

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Traveling Tip: Dry Your Kit in a Hotel Towel

I spend a lot of time on the road, with my bike and over the past few months, I’ve dialed in just how many kits I need in that time. Say, for instance, I’m going to Santa Cruz for four days. I’ll bring one kit and never have to wear it dirty because of this one trick I’ve learned over the years of life on the road.

Check out the details below!

Ruckus on the Oregon Outback

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Ruckus on the Oregon Outback

With the success of the Bikes and Faces of the Oregon Outback post, I figured diving a little deeper into one bike couldn’t hurt. As I said before, a lot of people were on hardtail or rigid MTBs. While the top two finishers (Ira and Jan) were on drop-bar touring / road bikes, a majority of the field chose the stability and control of a full-on 29r, 27.5 and even 26″.

Shawn from Ruckus took the Oregon Outback as an opportunity to create a bike, specifically for this bikepacking outing and the resulting design is pretty bad ass, not to mention, featherlite!

Read up more below!

Yonder Journal: An Intro to Bikepacking

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Yonder Journal: An Intro to Bikepacking

If you’ve never bikepacked before and really want to get into it, or you have attempted before and failed miserably, then you NEED to read this post over at Yonder Journal. It’s a break-down on how to pack what, where and lists essentials for long rides / tours / camping trips.

Head over to Yonder Journal for the full article!

Tips from Tim Johnson’s Austin Cyclocross Clinic

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Tips from Tim Johnson’s Austin Cyclocross Clinic

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.

Richard Sachs: On In-Shop Photography

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Richard Sachs: On In-Shop Photography

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

A Guide to Buying Your First Custom Bicycle

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A Guide to Buying Your First Custom Bicycle

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.

How Shooting Film Made Me a Better Photographer

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How Shooting Film Made Me a Better Photographer

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.

Notes on Flying with a Bicycle

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Notes on Flying with a Bicycle

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.

A Common Problem: Avoided and Resolved

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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…

Fyxomatosis: I Hate Surprises

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Fyxomatosis: I Hate Surprises

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.

How a Bicycle is Made

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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.

Learning Curves

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Learning Curves

I mentioned yesterday that Cody Nutter gave me a little tutorial on color-correction recently. In 5 minutes, I began the process of learning curves. In the past, I’ve messed around with color curves but looking back at some of the photos, I cringe. They’re either too blue or too red and ultimately, they just look like a photo lab mixed the wrong chemicals when processing film. Andy from Fyxomatosis gave me the best advice anyone could give: the photo should look like it was taken with your eyes. With digital photography at an all-time high and apps like Instagram going viral, people love the nostalgia associated with a high-contrast, cross-processed image. But I’m not sure that’s where I want to go with my photos. Sure, this isn’t a rule but it’s a direction I want to stay clear of.

Back to the learning curves. The photo on the right is the original photo I posted of Matt Spencer during the LBC in ATX trip. The photo on the left is after balancing out the blacks and whites. Quite a difference huh?

Check out more below.