Author Archives: rjames

#29 – Leave of Absence

… in which Randy talks to himself for 10 minutes to tell you:

  • Mike is away for a few weeks, but will have great stories when he returns.
  • We won’t be posting another show until early August (see first bullet).
  • Randy tries to convince you to support his cause.

Randy is riding in the Pan Mass Challenge for the 6th year in a row.  It’s a long bike ride to raise money for Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  If you can, show your support by donating to his ride here:

100% of your contribution will make it to Dana Farber.

Thank you so much.

#8 – Ices, Ices, We All Fall Down!

…in which Randy and Mike both re-discover the value of studded tires.

  • We each experimentally verify our hypothesis that slick tires on ice do not provide significant lateral traction when descending, and bruises are likely to result.
  • Somehow this leads to a discussion of the physics of turning and stability of bicycles (and motorcycles!).  Mike referred to research done on bicycle dynamics a few years ago, published in the journal Science, showing that neither trail nor gyroscopes are necessary to make a bicycle stable.  There are some good video demonstrations of it, and explanations of the research by both Arend Schwab and Andy Ruina.
  • Randy explains the best method of using training wheels.
  • We discuss the importance of anticipating inattentive drivers about to start their journeys.

#7 – Bunny-Hopping the Polar Vortex

…in which Randy’s goggles don’t just fog up, they get coated in ice, and Mike is schooled in the theory of curb-jumping.

  • On New Year’s Eve, Winnipeg was colder than Mars.
  • What’s worse in a balaclava — boogers or peanut butter?
  • Randy hits a milestone for the year 2013 with carefully recorded data; Mike makes a rough estimate wild guess, and comes up with the same number.
  • We make a brief reference to Freddie Hoffman, who has ridden a distance equivalent to not one, but two round trips to the moon.
  • Mike rescues a minivan with his new portable shovel.
  • Randy tries to convince Mike to have more fun in the snow.
  • We theorize that wheelies are impossible on bakfietsen, but it turns out that it can be done!
  • Randy finally gets to try riding a fat bike in the snow!

#5 – Deer in the Headlights

…in which Randy survives encounters with wildlife, Mike’s toes get cold, and we talk about how our tires and boots are holding up in the cold and snow, among other things:

#4 – WD-40 And Duck Tape

  • Mike explains what makes a Dutch bike.  For an even better explanation, try reading one of these articles from Clever Cycles and A View From the Cycle Path.
  • Randy almost drove to work because he was sick and it was raining, but didn’t!
  • When it’s raining, freezing, melting, freezing, raining, it’s hard to decide on tires.
  • Cleaning your chain is more important than lubing it.  But perhaps the lube cleans it?  Mike referred to some research on the efficiency of bicycle chains done at Johns Hopkins, which had some surprising findings regarding chain lube.  And no discussion of bicycle chains would be complete without referring to Sheldon Brown’s exhaustive article (heavily annotated by John Allen), which features such techniques as cleaning a chain in a soda bottle and boiling it in soap.
  • What’s in our tool bags? (Hint: mostly spare tubes and a pump).
  • Randy is excited to try out his new (Canadian) boots! Kamik – Canucks.

#3 – Dressed Like a Hobo


#1 – Introduction

Mike’s family owns zero cars.  They use only their bikes (and sometimes public transportation) to get where they need to go.

Randy’s family owns one car, but he has been commuting to work by bike and intends to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.