Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia: Keeper of the flame

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, a full service bicycle advocacy group, and a Philly Bike Expo sponsor, is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year. From its humble, grass-roots beginning in 1972, the BCGP has effectively lobbied the highest levels of city and regional governments to provide more and better accommodations for cyclists. And it appears to be working: for many years, Philadelphia has consistently ranked in the top three large cities for bike-friendliness.

 

"We've gone from bike-ins (bike protests) to a downtown office building." says Ashley Vogel, Development Associate with the BCGP.

 

What the ramping-up of influence has accomplished is impressive. Philadelphia has an extensive and ever-expanding trail network that effectively connects the suburbs to downtown. In the city itself, there is existing and planned bike infrastructure. There are adult education programs to empower current and future bicycle commuters, and a yearly increase in the numbers of people using the city's bikeshare program. And finally, there is a legacy plan: the BCGP runs a youth cycling program that travels and competes in regional races, and which is run by local cyclocross standout Taylor Kuyk-White.

 

What Philadelphia had naturally going for it in terms of bike accessibility was its long history as a major city. The city was planned and roads were built long before cars came onto the scene in the early 1900s. But according to Vogel, these narrow streets are a "double-edged sword."

 

"While the old, narrow streets do their part to discourage speed and multiple lanes of traffic, they can also become dangerous when parked cars are added to the mix."

 

Increasing bike infrastructure is a big goal for the organization. They are working hard to expand the city's network of protected bike lanes. Vogel claims that there are a lot of "interested but concerned" potential adult bike commuters who would make the commitment when more protected lanes are developed.

 

Another laudable program that the BCGP is working on is "Vision Zero", which is a bike safety initiative that aims to eliminate bicycle fatalities in the city. Vogel quoted a concerning statistic that four children are hit by cars while riding their bikes in Philadelphia each day. 

 

But given the enormous strides made by the BCGP in its 45-year history, and the development of a dedicated paid and volunteer staff, the future for safe routes and extensive cycling infrastructure in the city of Philadelphia looks bright indeed.

The History of the Schwinn Paramount

On Sunday November 5, Richard Schwinn of the famous American bicycle brand family gave a talk on the history of the Schwinn Paramount model, the flagship line of the brand. The fortunes of the Paramount have risen and fallen with the peaks and valleys of the bicycle industry throughout the 20th century and beyond. 

 

Richard Schwinn explains the origins of the company started by his great great grandfather Ignaz Schwinn  

Richard Schwinn explains the origins of the company started by his great great grandfather Ignaz Schwinn

 

To understand the story of the Paramount, some background on the Schwinn brand's history is necessary. Schwinn's great great grandfather, Ignaz Schwinn, emigrated to the United States with a background in engineering and manufacturing in his native Germany. When Schwinn settled in Chicago with $150 in his pocket (actually a substantial sum in those days), he met fellow German immigrant Adolph Arnold, a meat packer, who provided financial backing for a joint venture in the latest and greatest industry of the day, bicycle manufacturing. The two men named the venture Arnold, Schwinn & Company, and began producing and selling bicycles made in a Chicago factory with the name World Bicycles in 1895.


In that time just before the turn of the century, Chicago was the epicenter of a healthy and booming bicycle industry that produced over one million units in 1900. The boom was short-lived, however, as the new automobile cut into the bicycle's role as basic transportation. By 1905, sales were just 25% of their previous zenith. Throughout the next 20 years, Ignaz Schwinn acquired several smaller bicycle brands and entered the motorcycle industry to diversify production and revenue streams. By 1928, Schwinn's motorcycle brand Excelsior-Henderson was in third place behind Indian and Harley-Davidson in total motorcycle sales.

 

The Great Depression began with the stock market crash of 1929, and the motorcycle industry was nearly wiped out, so Schwinn dropped Excelsior-Henderson to focus on bicycles and try to stay afloat. Among the bright lights during those dark days of American industry was Schwinn's bicycle racing program, which sponsored six-day racing and teams throughout the 1920s and 30s. Richard Schwinn likened the popularity of six-day racing in the pre-WWII days to modern-day NBA basketball, and the top riders, in relative terms, made nearly as much as top sports stars today. Among those six-day racers Schwinn sponsored was Belgium-born Emil Watsyn, who advised the creation of a European-influenced racing line of bikes. In 1938, Schwinn, now under the direction of Ignaz's son Frank W. Schwinn, introduced the Paramount.

 

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With American involvement in WWII, Schwinn entered wartime munitions production (Schwinn was a fierce opponent of his distant Nazi German brethren), and the popularity of six-day racing had sunk as soon as 1942. Watsyn and a small team of builders produced the Paramounts in a separate frame shop in Chicago, in small numbers and using advanced chrome-molybdenum tubing, lugged construction and silver brazing. With competition from foreign brands increasing after WWII, the Paramount line suffered from a lack of updated technology (such as derailleurs), despite a continued presence in American races.
 

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Involvement as the bicycle supplier for the U.S. Olympic teams during the 1950s and 60s exposed the Schwinn Paramount to its shortcomings as compared to foreign competitors, and the model saw an upgrade to British Reynolds 531 double-butted tubing, French Nervex lugs and Italian Campagnolo rear dropouts.  At the start of the bike boom of the early 1970s, the Paramount was well-poised to surf the wave of popularity that swept the nation, and which extended to racing and high-performance bike sales.


Into the 1980s, the Schwinn Paramount continued its involvement in racing as the first bicycle provider to the 7-Eleven team that featured U.S. speedskating star Eric Heiden. Continuing its role as a premium and separate cousin of the Schwinn brand, in 1983 the Paramount frame shop moved to Waterford, Wisconsin. Schwinn Paramounts were ridden by the Schwinn/IcyHot and later Wheaties/Schwinn pro teams throughout the 1980s.

 

If the Paramount's fortunes were rising or at least staying stable, the rest of the Schwinn brand was suffering as the 1990s began. Production had closed at the Chicago plant and later at a newer Mississippi factory for the cheaper labor of Asian production. In 1992, Schwinn declared bankruptcy, and its assets and name were purchased by an investment firm. Richard Schwinn and his business partner in the Paramount unit, Marc Muller, purchased the Paramount frame facility in Waterford, Wisconsin, and the legacy, if not the outright name, is continued in Waterford Precision Cycles. 

Expo shorts, Day One

Enjoying the largest Saturday attendance in its history, Day One at the 2017 Philly Bike Expo was an amplified version of the hive of fun, learning, riding, ogling and purchasing for which this show has become renowned.

Noah Rosen's Velocolour booth was near the entrance, offering show-goers an amazing display of bike paintwork immediately on entering the show hall.

Noah Rosen's Velocolour booth was near the entrance, offering show-goers an amazing display of bike paintwork immediately on entering the show hall.

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The Neighborhood Bike Works crew was kept busy all morning managing the bike valet, and the bike parking area was full before noon. Cyclists who showed up by bike were pointed to alternative spots to park.

The Neighborhood Bike Works crew was kept busy all morning managing the bike valet, and the bike parking area was full before noon. Cyclists who showed up by bike were pointed to alternative spots to park.

Weaver CycleWorks, an exhibitor at the expo most years since 2013, took a year out last year so he could buy a new mill for his workshop. He came back in 2017 with an array of powder coated bikes that were beautiful in their simplicity.

Weaver CycleWorks, an exhibitor at the expo most years since 2013, took a year out last year so he could buy a new mill for his workshop. He came back in 2017 with an array of powder coated bikes that were beautiful in their simplicity.

Weaver managed an elegant bend on the rear stays of this bike. The main triangle is primarily made with Vari-Wall's new ThermalX tubing.

Weaver managed an elegant bend on the rear stays of this bike. The main triangle is primarily made with Vari-Wall's new ThermalX tubing.

Mark Weaver has been selling bikes from his shop in Collingswood, NJ, since 2012, having completed his first frame in 2009. The rear end of this black frame was built around the new low mount thru-axle dropout from Paragon Machine Works.

Mark Weaver has been selling bikes from his shop in Collingswood, NJ, since 2012, having completed his first frame in 2009. The rear end of this black frame was built around the new low mount thru-axle dropout from Paragon Machine Works.

Hed was displaying their new Vanquish 6, a 60mm deep carbon clincher rim. It's the first carbon clincher the company's made. "It's made for disc brakes. We're just not going to do a rim brake carbon clincher because of the overheating issues.  At its widest point, the bulbous 30mm rim is 9mm wider than the tire seat inside. Hed's Andy Tetmeyer said "the airflow from the tire to the rim makes it a really fast wheel." As to the airflow disruption caused by the disc brake, Tetmeyer said "We've not seen it in our wind tunnel tests. The main thing is how the air passes over the leading and trailing edges of the wheel." The intention is that this wheel will be used extensively in road competition as well as triathlon. On that note, Tetmeyer told us Cervelo is selling the P5x frames just as fast as Hed can make them.

Hed was displaying their new Vanquish 6, a 60mm deep carbon clincher rim. It's the first carbon clincher the company's made. "It's made for disc brakes. We're just not going to do a rim brake carbon clincher because of the overheating issues.  At its widest point, the bulbous 30mm rim is 9mm wider than the tire seat inside. Hed's Andy Tetmeyer said "the airflow from the tire to the rim makes it a really fast wheel." As to the airflow disruption caused by the disc brake, Tetmeyer said "We've not seen it in our wind tunnel tests. The main thing is how the air passes over the leading and trailing edges of the wheel." The intention is that this wheel will be used extensively in road competition as well as triathlon. On that note, Tetmeyer told us Cervelo is selling the P5x frames just as fast as Hed can make them.

Eric Baar of the Ground Up Designs demonstrates the skills of pinstriping to a young attendee, just across the aisle from the ArtBike! area.

Eric Baar of the Ground Up Designs demonstrates the skills of pinstriping to a young attendee, just across the aisle from the ArtBike! area.

ArtBike! featured for a second year at the Philly Bike Expo. As last year ArtBIke! comprised a ride to the expo and then bike themed art inside. Bike art was available for sale, and attendees were invited to make their own. Children were seen at the tables throughout the day.

ArtBike! featured for a second year at the Philly Bike Expo. As last year ArtBIke! comprised a ride to the expo and then bike themed art inside. Bike art was available for sale, and attendees were invited to make their own. Children were seen at the tables throughout the day.

Jamie Swan enlightened and entertained his audience in the seminar room in a session entitled Traditional Steel Bicycle Construction. Seminar highlights will be posted. Another name for the session, as the video will reveal, might have been "Everything you wanted to know about steel frame construction, but were too afraid to ask." Swan's engaging style is making his seminars must-attend events.

Jamie Swan enlightened and entertained his audience in the seminar room in a session entitled Traditional Steel Bicycle Construction. Seminar highlights will be posted. Another name for the session, as the video will reveal, might have been "Everything you wanted to know about steel frame construction, but were too afraid to ask." Swan's engaging style is making his seminars must-attend events.

Wheel Technology Seminar

On Saturday afternoon, four representatives of the biggest names in bicycle wheel technology and manufacturing came together in a seminar room at the Philly Bike Expo to discuss the present and future of wheel building technology. The four panelists were Boyd Johnson of Boyd Cycling, Andy Tetmeyer of HED, Brian Roddy of Rolf Prima, and Alec White of White Industries. The panel discussion was moderated by Tommy Barse of Cutlass Velo.

 

The days when cyclists would purchase separate hubs, rims and spokes to be assembled by a wheel building expert at their local pro shop are largely gone now. This has both disadvantages and advantages, but it's when you consider the wheel as a holistic balance of forces and tensile materials that building such a delicate system under the guiding philosophy of a single manufacturer makes a lot of sense. While there was some gentle disagreement and debate about some topics such as tubeless tire technology (most panelists said that the technology is still far from perfection), there was a consensus on a lot of topics, including the efficacy of wider rims. Here, Andy Tetmeyer of HED describes the development of the wide rim, and the discovery of its benefits:
 

Vintage Bike Concours

For this year's Philly Bike Expo, Richard Schwinn of the iconic American bicycle family organized a vintage bike concours d'elegance that included a large number of his own namesake Schwinn Paramount bicycles from several different decades. Here's a look at some of the notable bikes in the display:

 

Team Schwinn Paramount from 1970s.

Team Schwinn Paramount from 1970s.

Pre-WWII Schwinn Paramount from College Park Bicycles/Larry Black collection  

Pre-WWII Schwinn Paramount from College Park Bicycles/Larry Black collection

 

1938 Schwinn Paramount, repainted by successor company Waterford 15 years ago.  

1938 Schwinn Paramount, repainted by successor company Waterford 15 years ago.

 

1967 Paramount track bike ridden by Larry "Torpedo" Black  

1967 Paramount track bike ridden by Larry "Torpedo" Black

 

1960 Paramount touring model. College Park Bicycles/Larry Black collection  

1960 Paramount touring model. College Park Bicycles/Larry Black collection

 

Circa late-1960s Paramount with curved seat tube.  

Circa late-1960s Paramount with curved seat tube.

 

1970s Paramount with modern components.  

1970s Paramount with modern components.

 

1988 Fiftieth Anniversary Paramount with Campagnolo C-Record components including Delta brakes.  

1988 Fiftieth Anniversary Paramount with Campagnolo C-Record components including Delta brakes.

 

Erickson steel frameset with Suntour Superbe components  

Erickson steel frameset with Suntour Superbe components

 

Gilded Raleigh  

Gilded Raleigh

 

Richard Schwinn will be presenting a history of the Schwinn Paramount model tomorrow morning, November 5 at 10:30 a.m. as part of the Philly Bike Expo.

The Philly Bike Expo Criterium Classic

No, not really!  But that's not a bad idea for the future...
 

Both adults and children were making good use of the extensive test tracks set up inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Exhibit Hall E. Adults were testing out e-bikes from vendors Raleigh Electric, iZip and the adjacent E-Bike Expo, as well as regular bikes from selected vendors on the test track sponsored by VanDoIt. Kids were working off last week's Halloween candy on their own Pello Bikes test track. The test tracks are open during regular floor hours 10-5 Saturday, and 10-4 on Sunday.
 

November is a little bit late for the road season though, isn't it? Do you think the PA Convention Center would let us load in dirt and barriers??

2017 Philly Bike Expo opens with great success!

The 2017 Philly Bike Expo got off to a roaring start as the doors at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Exhibit Hall E opened to the public. Before the 10 am opening, there were new Industry hours, from 8-10 am, where we caught up with many of the 170 exhibitors and the cool new products they brought with them to the show:
 

Bingham Built's Ti mountain bike

Bingham Built's Ti mountain bike

Royal H Hollingsworth's People's Choice Award entry.  

Royal H Hollingsworth's People's Choice Award entry.

 

Josh Simonds of NixFrixShun

Josh Simonds of NixFrixShun

Wayne Bingham of Mel Pinto Imports  

Wayne Bingham of Mel Pinto Imports

 

Rolf Prima  

Rolf Prima

 

Sojourn Cyclery  

Sojourn Cyclery

 

The king of understated elegance, Richard Sachs  

The king of understated elegance, Richard Sachs

 

VonHof Cycles  

VonHof Cycles

 

Intricate lugwork from Royal H Hollingsworth  

Intricate lugwork from Royal H Hollingsworth

 

Don't forget that all attendees to the Philly Bike Expo are given a ballot to vote for their favorite entry for the People's Choice Award. One person, one vote for one bike out of several entries (some of which we posted here). You simply write your choice down and drop it in the box at the hall exit. There are, however, no absentee ballots, so get down here to the expo and make your choice!

Handbuilt Bicycle Guide: The Hub of the Handbuilt Industry

Handbuilt Bicycle Guide is your online guide to the world of handbuilt and custom bicycles, components and accessories. The soon-to-launch guide will help consumers navigate the head-spinning variety of choices and builders in the custom bicycle world. Say you want a cyclocross frame made of steel tubing, TIG-welded, and built in (or near) Denver, Colorado. HBG will process these choices and provide you a list of builders who can produce this type of frame, with their geographic proximity plotted on a map.    

 

The Handbuilt Bicycle Guide was the idea of Paul Skilbeck, a veteran cycling journalist and communications expert. The idea came to him in the early years of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS), which hired him as a communications consultant to build the international status of the event.


“Even though I had been a cycling specialist journalist for almost 20 years by then, I found it difficult to research the handbuilt companies. The websites were all very different, they gave very little idea of the frame builder’s intrinsic quality and it took me years to get a handle on the industry as a whole.”


In talks with potential customers for the custom frame builders, Skilbeck found that some were turning to mass-market options for that very reason.


“If I was having difficulty, then imagine what it was like for somebody just entering the high-end bike market?”


Skilbeck, formerly a competitor on the road and international mountain bike circuits, fondly recalls the role of small manufacturers in the development of that industry, as well as the frame builders who made his first racing frames back in the 1970s.
 

“For me, the small manufacturers are both the heart and the brain of bicycle products. They just need to be found. As long as I’ve been around, I’m still regularly learning about companies for the first time, which have been around for several years and are doing really good things."
 

The advent of the mass-produced, non-ferrous Asian-made bicycle initially threatened to extinguish the fickle flames of the small custom builders. But concomitant movements toward organic and locally-produced craft beer and produce, and a renewed focus on traditional materials have fueled a renaissance in the handbuilt bicycle industry over the past few years. As shows like NAHBS and the Philly Bike Expo continue to place the spotlight on small companies, some larger, mass-market manufacturers have attempted to inappropriately use the term “handbuilt” to cash in on this renewed interest. This has muddied the term and has created questions about which bikes are authentically handbuilt.

 

“It’s important to know the person who will be building your bike, to look at some examples of their past work, and to ask questions,” says Skilbeck. “HBG will play a large role in fostering the relationship between customers and builders, and it’s by knowing your builder that the customer can properly determine the authenticity of their work. Builders who post a profile at HBG will be carefully vetted, and we won’t accept advertising from the mass-market manufacturers.”


The goal of HBG is two-fold. One is to make it easy for customers to more easily find the right frame builder, or the components they’ve been looking for. The other is to help the small businesses in the cycling industry promote themselves collectively as a category.


“I know frame builders say getting them to do things collectively is like herding cats, but heck, a cat’s got to eat doesn’t it?”


HBG aims to put more food on the tables of cycling’s small manufacturers at the same time as making it better for customers.


“The site is paradise for people who like nice bikes and nice cycling products. There are lots of pictures and snippets of useful and interesting information, and owners will be able to post photos and descriptions of their own bikes on the site so others can enjoy the bikes too and maybe even learn some things for a project they’re working on.”

Mel Pinto Imports/VAR Tools: French Connection

Mel Pinto Imports is a Virginia-based importer and retail business that specializes in French brands. The business is named after its now-retired founder, Mel Pinto (born 1923), a polyglot Moroccan who worked as a translator for the U.S. Army during and after the North African campaign in World War 2, and emigrated to the U.S. shortly thereafter. During the 1960s, he opened his import and retail business, becoming the first American importer of Gitane Bicycles, and later, Shimano Dura-Ace components. With the Gitane connection, MPI also started importing a lot of French component brands, some of which are now obscure, but will be familiar to a lot of cyclists of a certain age. Among them are Specialties T.A., Stronglight, Simplex, CLB, and VAR tools.
 

Bicycle collector and businessman Wayne Bingham bought the business in 2009, and moved it from its original Falls Church, Virginia home 40 miles west to the town of Purcellville, where he also runs vintage bike specialty shop Velo Classique. Among the relationships that Bingham maintained was one with French tool manufacturer VAR, which has been in business for 72 years.
 

VAR makes tools for both shops and consumers, running the full gamut from workshop benches, repair stands and stools to rim tape and water bottle cages. VAR also makes a lot of tools that framebuilders use, and that bike shops employ a lot more frequently than consumers, such as headset bearing presses. This is a critical reason that MPI comes to the Philly Bike Expo, with its large contingent of custom framebuilders and bike shops.
 

MPI will be displaying many VAR tools at its booth, and will be demonstrating VAR’s new professional quality hub bearing press tool, the RP-43700. This shop-quality tool allows one to accurately align and press bearings into the hub shell or freewheel body with or without a hub axle. Other features are:

• compatibility with bearing sizes 12x21x5, 12x24x6, 12x28x8, 15x24x5, 15x28x7,
  17x26x5, 17x30x7, 20x32x7, 25x37x7
• also fits bearings deeply seated into the hub or freewheel body
• thrust bearing ensures smooth rotation by preventing any friction between tool
  and bearings to be pressed
• hardened steel parts and machined anodized aluminum bushings
• ergonomic handle and magnetized back plate for easy and comfortable use
 

Come by to learn more about this tool, and all the other behind-the-scenes but essential tools that VAR makes for your framebuilder, your shop, and for yourself to keep you and your bike on the road.
 

VanDOit: Lookin’ for Adventure in Whatever Comes Our Way

By Janet Bressler-Bilenky

 

 

VanDOit Adventure Vans is a start-up, but it was born from a family-owned automotive and RV business established in 1947. With customizable interiors to suit any sport or lifestyle, a VanDOit is a self-contained call of the wild on wheels. I was thinking, “I’ll sell the house and get one of these!” But, I did have some questions for VanDOit Company’s Brent Kline, first. 

 

PBE: I was looking at the pictures on your website. Does a VanDOit start out as a Ford van? 

 

BK: Yes, our first VanDOit was a Ford van. We chose the Ford Transit for several reasons including dealership warranty availability, affordable maintenance / repair costs, quality, availability and affordability. We trust the Transit because we have leased hundreds of them since they began building them and they have performed so well. People love them...they drive like a high quality car. We hope that many people will utilize them as their daily driver.  We can (also) create a VanDOit adventure van out of a Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, Ram Promaster and Nissan NV.  

 

PBE: Did you design the custom fittings? 

 

BK: Yes, our engineering and design team designs and creates 100% of the non- electronic conversion components. With regards to our solar system, we utilized top shelf equipment providers but we configure and design how the system works. We have true SMART OFF GRID solar, with capabilities well above the typical solar system. With audio and video, we utilize equipment from very high end, trusted suppliers like JL Audio and Samsung Video. 

 

PBE: When did you build/equip the first VanDOit? 

 

BK: Though we have been doing upgrades to vans for 30 years, with roots going back even longer, We built the first "complete build" Generation 1 VanDOit about a year ago. Since then, our R&D department, as well as some beta testers, have been testing, torturing and upgrading the components and design. We have been selling minor up-fitted conversions for quite some time, but we now feel we have the best, most functional adventure van available. We have chosen the the American city that represents Freedom to set this van free by unveiling the Generation 1 complete build VanDOit at the Philly Bike Expo. It will go into full production and sales following the show. 

 

PBE: How does someone go about ordering/picking up a VanDOit if they're not near your Kansas City, MO location? 

 

BK: Since VanDOit is a sister company of Kline Van and Woody's Automotive Group AKA WOWWOODYS.COM, we have had a transportation department for decades where we move vans all over the USA and Canada. Purchasing a van from us is so simple. We illustrate to the customer all the options available, build the van for them and then deliver it. Leasing, selling and delivering vans is what we know and do best. 

 

PBE:What’s your favorite part of operating your business? 

 

BK: I love outdoor adventure-minded people and I love adventure vans. Adventure vans bring a bit of freedom to us. Vans are so functional. Vans are what I drive and have been driving for over 30 years. I am very, very passionate about this business because we are giving some of the greatest people on the planet the ability to affordably experience the great outdoors, to find some peace and nourish the soul, to disconnect while staying connected and to feed their free spirit.  All of us like-minded people have wanted to "live in a van down by the river"...at least for periods of time...Because of our quality and affordability, we are making it possible. That is what I love about this business.

Eagles Autism Challenge

The Philadelphia Eagles have launched the Eagles Autism Challenge, a cycling and 5K event set for May 19, 2018. The Eagles Autism Challenge will have an information and sign-up booth at the November 4 & 5 Philly Bike Expo. Eagles cheerleaders and SWOOP may make a surprise appearance at the Philly Bike Expo, too. 

 

The Eagles Autism Challenge is slated to become an annual family-fun day dedicated to raising money for Autism Spectrum Disorder research and support. The Challenge will feature cycling routes of 15, 30 and 50 miles, along with a family-friendly 5K run/walk. Eagles coaches, players, alumni, executives, cheerleaders and SWOOP will participate. Cyclists will follow routes through the City of Philadelphia and its suburbs. Runners and walkers will traverse a one-of-a-kind course through Lincoln Financial Field and the surrounding neighborhood. All four routes start at Lincoln Financial Field.

 

100 percent of participant-raised funds will go to autism research and programs at three nationally recognized institutions – Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Drexel University, and Thomas Jefferson University. These beneficiaries have formed a coalition of the top researchers in the field to help drive scientific breakthroughs.

 

“Autism affects equally all socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic groups. It has touched my family personally,” says Jeffrey Lurie, Chairman and CEO of the Philadelphia Eagles. “Autism is the single largest developmental disorder that touches the lives of millions of people and families around the world,” he adds. “You might assume that a widespread health issue of this magnitude would be met with large-scale private and public funding, but that’s not the case. In fact, autism has historically been underfunded, under-researched, and commonly misunderstood.” 

 

Joining the Eagles Autism Challenge involves a registration fee and a fundraising minimum. Those who participate receive access to the Friday Kick-Off Party and Saturday’s Finish Line Celebration at Lincoln Financial Field, free food and beverage for both days, a cycling jersey or 5K T-shirt, honorary medal and more. “Virtual participation” opportunities are also available.

 

Participants must be 13 or older for the 15-mile and 18 or older for the 30- and 50-mile rides. Children 12 and under may participate in the 5K free of charge under the supervision of a registered adult.

 

Milestone fundraising markers will be rewarded with additional Eagles experiences.

 

The Eagles Autism Challenge aims to raise funds for innovative research and programs while inspiring and engaging the community to make a lasting impact. To sign up for the Eagles Autism Challenge or to get more information, stop by their booth at the Philly Bike Expo November 4 & 5 or visit www.eaglesautismchallenge.org

What to wear? It’s Primal.

By Janet Bressler-Bilenky

 

 

Primal Wear is like that garage band that “made it”.  Dave Edwards, current President & CEO, started the business in an actual garage in Denver in 1992. His original plan

was to silkscreen T Shirts targeted to the MTB scene in Colorado, but within a few years the company, Primal Wear, Inc began producing road bike wear and kits as well.

 

Primal Wear now offers a wide array of cycling apparel products with vibrant and eye-catching images featuring limited-edition themes ranging from nature to beer to music to baseball and beyond. Primal’s custom line has exploded along with Primal’s in-house creative capabilities. Teams, clubs, advocacy groups and charitable rides can order their own designs on jerseys, shorts, bibs and more. There are no limitations on color or number of colors.

 

Primal Wear currently employs almost 50 people in Denver, CO, with additional offices in Plymouth, UK, and Seoul, South Korea.  All fabrics come from South Korea and all chamois from a single family in Italy.

 

The entire Art & Production department is controlled from Denver, where Primal has 10 graphic artists. Sales, accounting, marketing, events and administration are also headquartered in Denver.

 

“We are a family-owned business,” says Pat Mayben, Primal’s events manager 

“With women in two out of three top management positions.” 

 

Some of the Philadelphia-area groups that have partnered with Primal are Bike and Build, Bike MS City To Shore Ride, American Cancer Society Bike-A-Thon, Million Dollar Bike Ride, and Rare Disease Cycling.

 

As I browse through the ladybugs, butterflies, florals, abstracts and landscapes that make up the women’s collections, wondering what to choose, I’m thinking, maybe Primal will be doing one with a platypus, next. Anything’s possible.

Dirt Rag: Culture of Dirt

Cycling is famous - or maybe infamous -  for its various “tribes”: roadies with shaved legs, tattooed, beer-swilling messengers, and fixie-mounted hipsters, to name just a few among many. Author Mike Magnuson has even written a humorous guidebook to these cliched groups called Bike Tribes.

 

It wasn’t always this way. The first breakaway tribe were mountain bikers, who rode on the first real alternative to the drop-bar ten or twelve speed road bike. With their fresh, free-spirited take on cycling that took them off roads and into the backcountry came a unique culture that almost - but not quite - became mainstream as the numbers of mountain bikers proliferated in the 1990s.

 

Philly Bike Expo sponsor Dirt Rag was there nearly from the start of the mountain bike boom. Based in Pittsburgh since its beginning in 1989, the magazine under the tutelage of publisher Maurice Tierney has always covered more than just the bicycles that are ridden off-road. Dirt Rag has both chronicled and promulgated the ethos of mountain biking, deftly probing the spiritual dimensions of a day spent pedaling in the woods.  

 

Which is not to say that the bicycle itself isn’t important to the mountain bike subculture. It was the development of the mountain bike that gave us things like suspension, better tire treads, optimal (and non-standard) wheel sizes, cassette cogs, stronger seatposts and stems, sealed bearings and disc brakes. The early efforts of pioneers like Tom Ritchey and Gary Fisher inspired scores of other indie builders who followed, many of whom will be exhibitors at the Expo.

 

It’s this independent spirit that Dirt Rag both nourishes and feeds from, and it’s the same spirit that’s never left the magazine. Always relevant but never mainstream, opinionated and often irreverent, Dirt Rag continues to place its journalistic digit on the pulse of this most American discipline of cycling.

Ergon: Points of Contact

Ergon is based in Koblenz, Germany, and produces technologically advanced products for where the rider meets bike: namely, saddles and grips. Ask any cyclist what the most tech-heavy component on their bike is, and they might cite the crankset or shifters, but probably not the saddle or grips. With its product line-up blending science and ergonomically-inspired design, Ergon is forcing a rethink of these answers.

 

A new exhibitor at the Philly Bike Expo, Ergon will be displaying several notable products from its product line, including:
 


GP1 / GP1 BioKork Grips
Ergon’s original and groundbreaking GP1 continues to set the standard for grip technology and form factor in the bicycle industry. Offering optimal pressure distribution throughout the hands, the GP1 helps solve common hand issues caused by cycling including numb hands, sore wrists, and sore forearms. The GP1 is ideal for urban riders, commuters and leisure cyclists of all ages.
 


SFC3 Fitness Saddles
Virtually pressure-free seated comfort while pedaling! Ergon has developed the SFC3 Fitness Series to meet the demands of fitness, e-bikes and touring riders. Available in two sizes, the SFC3 is the choice saddle of many recreational riders around the world.
 


SR Women Saddles
New for 2018 and early 3 years in the making, the SR Women saddle series is the perfect fit for female riders tackling a variety of road cycling applications. Whether a challenging gran fondo or the weeknight group ride the SR Women saddles are formed and shaped to meet the cycling demands of all female road cyclists.
 


SM Women Saddles
New for 2018; MTB specific saddles for women by women designed from the ground up. SM Women saddles offer optimum pressure relief in the genital area, allowing ease of movement and positioning, even in the most technical and difficult terrain.
 


ST Ultra Saddle
The ergonomic saddle revolution for touring bikes, Ergon’s floating TwinShell concept with Ergonomic Core supports natural pelvic movements while pedaling. The saddle actively relieves sit bone pressure and reliably dampens bumps caused by the riding surface. The core incorporates the latest E-TPU material, delivering state of the art technology in responsiveness and damping. Thanks to the pronounced relief channel, numbness and pain are also effectively reduced. Available in early 2018, the new ST Core saddle is tailored to the needs and requirements of touring, fitness, and e-bike riders around the world.

 

With so many cyclists focused on the where the rubber meets the road, Ergon blends technology and aesthetics to bring performance, comfort and style to where the rider meets the bike - equally, if not more, important points of contact!

Going Electric: Raleigh Electric

By Janet Bressler-Bilenky

 

 

Like Bob Dylan at Newport in 1965, iconic bicycle brand Raleigh is fearlessly adapting to changing times. People of a certain age, (anglophiles all!) remember with fondness the Raleigh “English Racers” of their youth with that awesome “Nottingham, England” emblem. While controversy may be sparked amongst bicycle purists, just like die-hard folkies raged at Dylan for picking up a Strat, there are many others for whom an electric-assist bike makes sense. Also, from what I hear, (I haven’t tried one myself, yet), e-bikes are fun, providing an exciting wind-at-your-back sensation. At the Philly Bike Expo, we believe there’s room in the bicycle tent for everyone who wants more greenness, more fitness, and fewer cars. 

 

Raleigh comes by the electric revolution honestly. The Raleigh brand was born 130 years ago. Today, it’s the largest and longest operating bicycle company in the US. Along the way, they’ve made motorcycles, pioneered the 3-speed and 5-speed internal geared hub, and launched careers in international bicycle racing. Innovation is not strange at Raleigh. 

 

Raleigh Electric offers Pavement, Trail, Classic and Utility e-bikes with traditional-looking styling. Even some of the model names (Sprite! Superbe!) will bring on a wave of nostalgia. 

 

I’m thinking that bringing home groceries by bicycle would become much less of a chore with electric assist. I might just sing, “I Ain’t Gonna Work On Maggie’s Farm No More” while I do it!

Pedalino Bicycles: By Any Other Name

By Janet Bressler-Bilenky

 

 

Coming up with band names is kind of a hobby of mine. I’ve always been intrigued by folks whose given names could be easily manipulated into a nom de guerre (or were perfectly suited to their art “as is”). So, imagine my delight to meet Julie Pedalino, framebuilder and owner of Pedalino Bicycles, Lenexa, KS. 

 

Julie’s pre-framebuilding background is fine art and graphic design. Her aesthetic sense is evident in everything she makes. Each frame has exquisite details that reflect an underlying concept.

 

PBE: Where are you from originally?

 

JP: I’m not a Kansas native. I was born in Ohio and went to college in Chicago. After I graduated, I’ve been a bit of a gypsy - Chicago, Ajo (Arizona), SF, Monterey... KC is just the most recent landing spot!  

 

PBE: What’s your favorite part of the frame building process? 

 

JP: Learning and exploring new techniques. I think the most amazing side effect of my frame building adventure is that I have discovered a love for machining!  

 

PBE: What are you currently working on? 

 

JP: I’m wrapping up my two show bikes for PBE!  After I’m done with those, I’ll be doing a set of 24” fat bikes with special cat-themed bilaminate lugs.  

 

PBE: Before framebuilding, what was your preferred artistic medium?

 

JP: To be honest, I’ve dabbled in just about everything… painting, printmaking, fashion, drawing, jewelry, fibers. But nothing quite engaged me the way that frame building has. 

 

PBE: What’s different about making art for yourself (such as your “Sushumna” and “Gravel Queen” frames) as opposed to building for a client and does your education/experience in graphic design help? 

  

JP: I find working with others to be more interesting- interesting in some ways, because I have to work within certain parameters instead of just doing whatever I want. I find that the restrictions take me to creative places I wouldn’t have gone otherwise. I definitely think my educational background kicks in with clients - I’m grateful to have the ability to know how to get people what they want without completely losing my voice as an artist. It also helps to know how to take a critique!

iZip: Electric Fun

iZip is quick to point out that electric bikes are not a new thing. Early attempts were made in the 1890s, and a century later, increasingly sophisticated battery technology spawned renewed efforts to perfect an e-bike. It took about another 20 years of improved speed and pedal force sensors, along with lighter, more powerful, and more easily recharged batteries to place e-bikes at the forefront of a revolution.

 

This paradigm shift has already taken place in Europe, where e-bikes are a large and growing share of city and utility bike transportation. While purists may shun the use of e-bikes for recreation, it’s as basic transportation that e-bikes make a lot of sense: you can arrive at your destination fresher, and perhaps not dripping with perspiration, after using electric motor assist on your commute.

 

“Assist” is the key word here. E-bikes do not pedal themselves, and the rider still needs to turn the pedals over to make use of the motor assist that e-bikes provide. iZip’s website describes e-bikes as “hybrid bikes”, and that’s a good way to view them. It’s the combination of human and electric power that gives e-bikes such a commanding advantage.

 

iZip wants to bring fun to electric bikes. With bright colors and “beachy” themes that betray its southern California roots, iZip has 18 different models you can choose from, in trail, speed, leisure and utility categories. iZip offers three trail/MTB e-bikes that tempt you to consider the fun and reduced fatigue that motor assist can bring to an epic day’s adventure in the backcountry.

 

Come by the iZip booth at the Philly Bike Expo to see what all the fuss is about. You’ll come away a believer in the e-bike, and pleasantly surprised by this new technology - if not quite outright “shocked”!
 

ROTOR: Made in Spain

ROTOR is a Spanish component manufacturer that has been a brand since 1981, when Enrique del Rey opened a CNC workshop and began producing bike components bearing the ROTOR name. In 1994, Pablo Carrasco, an aeronautical engineer, and Ignacio Estellés, a lawyer, came up with an idea to eliminate dead spots in the pedal stroke, and the Q-Ring was born. Contracting with del Rey’s facility to manufacture the new chainrings, the ROTOR brand was revitalized, and an ethos of innovation and use of the latest technologies has been expanded to include new components for all types of bicycles.

 

At the Philly Bike Expo, ROTOR will display its new UNO road groupset, which has hydraulic-activated shifting and braking. With no batteries to worry about, the rider is treated to unprecedented smoothness of the shifting actuation and the lightest disc brakes on the market today. There is also a hydraulic rim brake option available, and an 11-speed cassette and chain are both a part of the UNO group’s offerings.  

 

The bread and butter of ROTOR’s component line-up remains the slightly oval Q-Rings, which come in 110 or 130 BCD, and five different Optimum Chainring Positions (OCP) that allow the rider to fine-tune her pedal stroke to result in less fatigue and greater speed. The chainrings can be mounted to any crank manufacturer’s models that use 110 or 130 BCD fitting, or to one of four Rotor crankset models, including the aero Flow model - the stiffest aero crankset on the market - designed with the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics.

 

ROTOR also makes cranksets and bottom brackets for MTB XC and Enduro/DH uses, and the INPower powermeter, which comes in road, triathlon, MTB and cyclocross versions. The INPower direct force measurement, captured through an integrated crankset and bottom bracket, combined with user-friendly software, allows the rider to analyze his power in various positions and gear combinations to determine optimum configurations for speed and power output.

 

What is particularly notable about the ROTOR component line-up, with all of its technical innovations and advanced materials, is that the parts are manufactured and hand-assembled at ROTOR’s production facility in Madrid, Spain, thus bucking an industry-wide trend toward Asian or Eastern European component production.

 

From its humble beginnings in Enrique del Rey’s machine shop to the roads of the Tour de France in just three decades, ROTOR has set high standards that it has continually met. Now you can join this tradition of excellence by using ROTOR components on all of your own bikes.

Africa Rising

By Janet Bressler-Bilenky

 

Among our 2017 Expo exhibitors there are many interesting and inspiring stories. Triumph over adversity, career changes, innovative products and more. Team Rwanda/Team Africa Rising is unique in its mission to lift up a desperate conflict-ravaged nation and ultimately an entire continent through the power of cycling. Begun in 2006, Team Rwanda/Team Africa Rising is dedicated to recruiting, training, and competing in cycling at the highest levels and also to teaching and training the next generation of coaches and mechanics. 

 

Team Rwanda was born through the raw talent discovered by the Rwanda Wooden Bike Classic. The first riders were childhood survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide- young people who had witnessed unimaginable horrors. Their homemade wooden bikes meant freedom and survival. With the real bicycles earned by membership in Team Rwanda, the passion, will, and hope of these kids was channeled into world class competition. Among other accomplishments, Team Rwanda has grown from it’s unlikely beginnings to a stage win in the 2017 Giro D’Italia.

 

Several documentaries have been created spotlighting the men and women of Team Rwanda/Team Africa Rising, most notably “Rising from Ashes” narrated by Forest Whittaker. There are multiple opportunities for the public to get involved- from honorary membership to African adventure rides with the team. A sure-fire way to put one’s “first-world problems” in perspective. 

The 1854 Cycling Company- Serious About Freedom

By Janet Bressler-Bilenky

 

 

What does it mean to be an abolitionist in 2017?  And what does abolition have to do with bicycles? The 1854 Cycling Company aims to show us. Increasing revelations of America’s ugly past heightens the awareness that slavery continues to the present day in the form of the prison system. A fundamental shift in attitude and action needs to occur for there to be freedom and opportunity for all. 

 

The first glimmerings of The 1854 Cycling Company followed a somewhat familiar pattern: founder Brandale Randolph was shopping fora commuter bike for himself and not finding anything that spoke to him. But, when this Wharton grad, former financial sector guy turned non-profit exec/activist launched himself into entrepreneurship, he knew that the concept of “making a difference” would be more that a catchphrase or marketing ploy- his company must impact people’s lives and be a tangible force for change. 

 

The 1854 Cycling Company does this through direct support to a most vulnerable population- the formerly incarcerated- those who have been released to the community without resources and with the stigma that often prevents them from landing meaningful and self-sustaining employment. 

 

By staffing his workforce with these men and women, training them in the skills of bicycle building and bag manufacturing, paying a living wage, and facilitating pride of accomplishment, Randolph aspires to revolutionize trends in public policy and thought and to light the way for other businesses to do more than nod or pay lip service to the causes they say they believe in.

 

Randolph is getting lots of press, (most recently in Bloomberg- the big time!) for his ambitious and visionary plans. We’re very pleased he’s chosen the Philly Bike Expo as the place to unveil 1854’s latest products. He’ll also be conducting a seminar about social justice and the bicycle industry on 11/4.

 

The Philly Bike Expo strives to represent the entire spectrum of the cycling community. We’ve succeeded in reaching racers and recumbent riders, hipsters and crapsters, road warriors and dirt demons, the hobbyist and the expert. We’ve highlighted artists, authors, and adventurers. We’ve hosted artisans and manufacturers of bicycles, components, apparel and accessories from around the country and around the world. In our mission of inclusivity, we embrace the entry of new exhibitor The 1854 Cycling Company.