3 for 1.

This past weekend there was a little gravel goodness that happened just south of Grand Rapids, the Barry Roubaix: The Killer Gravel Road Race. This is the 3rd year of this event and it has been growing each installment, and we have been extremely thrilled to be part of it. Each year, some of the Velocity crew has taken part in the event and this year Jacobi, Ryan and Matt decided to take the plunge. All took part in the 35 mile Men's single speed category.

I was able to get all three to do a little write up of their experience. Hopefully you enjoy, for more result check this link or see more photos from Ten Mile Media, Jack Kunnen Photography, and Andrea Tucker Photography.

First I'll give you Jacobi's write up on the race [photo on the left comes from Ten Mile Media, Jeff is the rider on the right of the photo]:

'Pure unadulterated ego stroking!!!'
That, is the definition my older and wiser friend Mike Roon once gave me on why we racers do such crazy things in this world. It is not for the children or to feed the needy or for a better cause. It is for the simple joy of proving to yourself you can do something. That is why I chose to race the Barry Roubaix.

This was my third installment of the race riding my 1920’s Iver Johnson. This is the bike that has captured my imagination of history, and what things were like in a time, when there was no spandex or high performance materials. The bike is simple, one gear, steel and heavy! This is my throw back to history much like a car guy that takes an old Ford Coupe and throws a flat head engine in it then takes it to the local drag strip. Yes, there are more modern ways to go fast. But, the fact that you have something unique and different is much greater than being the overall faster guy. (In my opinion). Now don’t get me wrong I love modern bikes and all the technology that comes with them. But in the case of the Barry Roubaix I will always try to go faster ever year on a bike that I gave a second chance.

Is there a Coaster brake class? NO.
Is there a Vintage class? NO.
Is there a bunch of classes of racers that want to kick everyone else’s butts? Yes!!!

So there you go, I’m just like every other racer that lines up. I want to kick ass! It just happens to be on a bike that is older that most of the racers grandparents. Now that’s fun!!! But, as for the race itself. I couldn’t have asked for a better day and the fact that I finished on two wheels. That is my victory.

First year, shorter start. 2:04:33
Second year, longer start. 2:06:42
Third year, long start, faster wheels. 2:01:32

The moral of this story is: Never, stop kicking another racers ass! Because, if given the chance they would do the same to you.

Classic Jacobi... now we'll transition over to Ryan's thoughts:

It was a cold start to the day but the sun was out in full force. The road conditions could not have been better. They were frozen solid and as fast as I've seen them in a long time. The start went off in waves depending on class and was a vast improvement over last years mass roll out. I was lucky enough to get with a group that was working very well together and made good time all the way to the dreaded Yeckley hill.

At that point the group broke apart leaving myself and a lady by the name of Kathy Everts who ended up winning the female overall. Nice job Kathy and thanks for all the long pulls! At the finish line I was greeted with many friends and FREE FOUNDERS BEER!!!! This event is not to be missed so if you haven't been to the Barry Roubaix I highly recommend you give it a shot. Go out and kick ass or just take it as a tour of beautiful Barry County Michigan.

Wheel choice for the race = Blunt SL single speed pro build. 36/15
gearing with 35c Ritchey Speed Max cross tires set up tubeless at around
50PSI. They were perfect!!

Time 1:58.12 with a 17.8 MPH ave... I'll take it

Finally, Matt's 2011 Barry Roubaix Race Report:

It's officially springtime in Michigan; the Barry Roubaix has been run. This was my first time racing the revered "Barry Roubaix Killer Gravel Road Race". After pre-riding the course several times and taking sagely advice from Ryan and Jeff, I created a personal goal of not having to walk any hills and to finish in less than 2.5 hours.

Well, I failed at the first part. The second hill section on Yeckley road got me. The surface was a bit looser than other portions of the course, and standing up on my 44x18 singlespeed All City Nature Boy was proving fruitless. My back wheel was slipping so I hopped off and hoofed it. Outside of Yeckley and a small bottleneck on Sager road, I was clipped in the whole time.

I learned a valuable lesson...don't transport your water bottles on the back of your car when it's only 18 degrees outside. Of the 1500ml of fluid I brought, I only got to consume about 500ml.


By the time I hit the final section of pavement, my right calf was cramping pretty hard every time I got out of the saddle. I was able to hook up with a couple of shaved leg roadies and pick off four single speeders in the final section of the race. I finished 19th in my class with a total time of just under 2 hours nine minutes.

Here are the final standings of the 35 mile: Men Single Speed class, with an edit from Matt that was passed around Velocity Headquarters on Monday.


Chacon Edit

Mike Chacon is currently overseas riding the streets of Europe and doing a few trick competitions along the way. He recently had a solid showing at the West Jam in Portugal along with a few of our other riders [shown in bold]:

1. Edward “Wonka” Laforte (USA) – Grime, Sadio,
2. Oscar Khan (Eng) – 14 Bike co, FGLDN, Sadio, Vans, Dickies, Velocity, Holdfast
3. Simon “Gomok” Andraca (Fr) – Atelier des vélos, Eastpak, O’pignon
4. Jõao “jotta” Carmo (Pt) – WF,BreakBrake 17 bicycles
5. Michael Schmitt (USA) – G.O.A.T. crew, Grime, Sadio, Burro, Wrahw bloodfam, Chari & Co
6. Michael Chacon (USA) -Leader Bikes,Palms Cycle,Hold Fast,T-Level,Velocity, Resist, Bubble It up, The Official Brand, Zlog

This morning we received an email from Mike letting us know of his knew edit from the trip and this weekend he took 2nd in another trick comp. Mike has been using our Psycho rims for a while now - solid choice to say the least.


Le Velo...

Ok, I'll admit it... the open parts of this short film got me... catchy music, urban riding, bike polo, track, messengers... Sure, it's in French but extremely well done.

If you've got 20 minutes... check it out... Le Vélo de Papi Fait de la Résistance!



Alex and I spent our "spring break" down south in Kentucky. Our host was the FINE club of Lexington Bike Polo. We arrived early Saturday morning and met up with our friends Nicola and
Kellen. We slept late and headed to Tally-Ho for some greasy breakfast and accuracy training, pictured left. Thoroughly fed and well sighted in, we headed into the heart of the beast that is the Lexington St. Patrick's Day Parade. We took in the sights, imbibed the local flavor, and headed to the courts at Coolavin Park.
The tweed ride had just arrived and the crowd was impressive. We rolled into the courts, met up with old friends and began to make new ones. Pickup games ensued on one of the two courts, while the other was occupied with a single day, 3v3 impromptu tournament.

A "pickup game" is the most casual form of bike polo. Players enter a game by placing their mallet in a pile, until the cap of six players is reached. Then the mallets are divided randomly into two teams and a game is played until five points are scored or a time limit is reached.
Place mallet here

Once the 3v3 tournament had been decided, the courts were divided in twain so a fury of pickup games could be played.
Prior to the tournament, a discussion had emerged and evolved into a dual state beer challenge. Indiana v. Michigan for the title of "Great Midwest Beer State". Growlers were sipped, opinions were shared, and I'm happy to announce that Michigan was the winner. Taking home top prizes were Founders' Red's Rye IPA and Double Trouble double IPA.

Ben from Chicago samples the Indiana brew
Distinguished, tri-state judging (Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky)

Pickup was played late into the evening

Al's Sidecar was the location for Saturday's afterparty. We met up with a few more friends from Grand Rapids, played some pool, drank some beer, and admired the charming ambiance of Lexington's favorite watering hole.

Sunday brought the main event, a full on 2v2 tournament for Spring Break 2011 Polo Champion bragging rights. Humans were not the only ones playing, this day.
The final game
Necessary Bike Polo Spring Break equipment
Our location was kept secure by a troupe of loyal K9s
To the victor belong the spoils...custom wheel covers to 1st place Rob & Lou (Chicago/Cleveland) and 2nd to Charlie & Pat (Buffalo/Lexington)

The sun sets on a Sunday evening in Lexington.

Had we become better polo players? Yes.
Had we made lasting memories with old and new friends? Yes.
Had we made connections with the locals and been ambassadors for our sport? Yes.
Most importantly, we had lived Spring Break '11 to the fullest. We had played hard, partied harder, and left behind nothing but skid marks, brain cells, and at the very least, a small part of our hearts.

See you in Lafayette


I spy

We recently received the latest edition of Bicycle Times to Velocity headquarters. During my morning 'office' time, I stumbled onto some great articles in their Advocacy Briefs section discussing helmet promotion and the recent rise of enforcement of traffic laws in NYC.

Living in a Twitter world, my concentration is often lost after 140 characters so needless to say I am a fan of pictures.

Enter the photo at the center the page.

At first glace, it's messengers.

At second, it's some of the crew of premier messenger service, Cycle Hawk NYC, helping to promote/support 'biking polite'.

At third glance, it's our man Squid [on the left]!

Good stuff. Get out and ride, spring is on it's way!


A fascinating story.

With the continual stream of difficult news coming out of Japan, this is simply a fascinating story...


Evolution... because we ride.

I've never denied that I have a problem when it comes to by bikes. It's not that I'm not happy with all of them, it's just that there is some thing in the 'tweeking' process or fine tuning on things on a bicycle that gets me.

For todays 'because we ride', I'll highlight the only bike that I've ever owned that I have given a name to. Red. Red originally got its name from the red bar tape from the flip and chop handlebar I rocked on it but since I had started to go a bit overboard on finding just about any red anodized part I could for it. From crank bolts to headset, to nipples to the chain, I had issues.

Actually I still might have issues. Here are a few photos of Red's 'evolution'... the first is from the summer of 2008.

Summer of 2009...
To Spring of 2010...

Which brings us to today. I had recently decided to give Red another facelift. The first powder-coating job that I had done wasn't holding up well and last fall I had decided to repaint thanks to a little help from Uncle Sam via my taxes. I also decided to get a new fork, which I know some traditionalists might question going from a steel fork to carbon but let's just say it together... this bike is far from being traditional.

Last week, I got the frame back from the powder-coater and I had decided to go from the off-white to a silver paint. With that and the black carbon fork seems to have really toned down all the red ano. I also am transitioning to single speed from it being fixed, thus the front and rear brake set-up you'll see in the video below. Unfortunately, I found out after finishing the build that the Flip camera battery ran out before I finished, thus the photos at the end of the final [for now...] product so you don't get to see the whole process.

Before we jump to the video of the REbuilding of Red, here is the spec:

Frame: Orbit steel road frame
Stem/Handlebar: Salsa S.U.L. Quill/Titec Hellbent bar
Brake Levers/Grips: Fly Bike levers/Ergon GX1 modified with PDX Speed Metal grips
Crank/Pedals: Sugino Messenger Crank with 46T ring/All-City Cecil Pro Pedals w/ the Clayton mountain double clips and Standard Double Straps
Wheels: Velocity Deep V's 32h laced 2x with DT Swiss Competition spokes and alloy nipples [one white spoke with single purple nipple] to our Solid Axle, Cutout Flange Track hubs.


The Art of the Wheelbuild

Early this week, I got an email from a friend and former co-worker, Brian from Europa Cycle, saying this after a personal wheelbuild:

Another notch in my wheel building belt. I think I am up to 7 now. It went together great. I used a Deore hub, easy and cheap. I hope that I never have to build anything besides Velocity rims.

Now, we all know, honestly, anyone can build some thing that ends up looking like a wheel but the art that is wheelbuilding is a skill that each person develops and hones with each wheel built. It truly is a beautiful mix of science and art.

After receiving Brian's email, it got me thinking about some of the photos you all had submitted over on our Facebook page...

From creative lacing patterns to attempting to eat your new wheel, each has been great to see. Keep uploading them to Facebook, tell a story or two about your wheelbuilding experience or you can email me, adam@velocityusa.com, and you never know, your story might be seen here! I'll leave you with a video that was recently posted by our friends over at W-Base Bicycle Garage, showing their build of a P35 to some track hubs.



Hats off to you...

We're not done with the Handmade Show quite yet. Some of these you saw earlier this week and regardless all the builders at the show deserve out highest praise; it's just that the next couple just won an award for their work and are sporting Velocity.

Let's start with the People's Choice from Naked Bicycles and Design rocking the Blunts....

Next up, with the P35's on the shows Best Tandem from Kent Eriksen Cycles.

Then the Best Road frame from Ellis Cycles outfitted with Synergy's.


Because we truly ride.

Today, we truly have our first '...because we ride' post. Should make sense once Jacobi tells the story, enjoy:

On September 25th, 2010, I have became father of my first, Curtis Russell. This means my time is spent changing diapers, feeding and waiting around to do it all over again. So my chances of grabbing the bike and going for a two hour ride is a thing of the past. Well, not anymore!
One day while building wheels and annoying [I mean entertaining] Paul, I had brought up the question of where I could get a trailer to haul my little one around in. Paul responded with 'I have one that I'm not using anymore.'

That was when the light bulb went off in my head. Paul promptly brought in the trailer and I fell in love. It was the right price and it had spoked hubs [very important]. It started with stock 20" wheels and skinny tires. And after a full day of dreaming of what to do with this thing, through talking with the rest of the guys, I decided to go with 26" P35's with some Kenda tires. Of course, making sure this thing super smooth so the little one doesn't fell a thing, was the most important.

After highly modifying the mounting points, building the wheels and making the mounting system for his child seat there was only one response - this thing rocks!

He is so secure that you could flip this thing upside down and shake him like a salt shaker [Alo note: Jacobi did not conduct said test nor condones such testing] and he wouldn't feel a thing! He is more secure than Dale Jr. in a stock car at Daytona. But, he won't be flipping over any time soon.

Here's the break down:

Wheels - 26" P35's 28 hole [yes, 28 hole we make them, if you're an All
Mountain rider interested lowering the weight,
these things are right up your alley]

Tires - Kenda Keniptions 26x2.3 *A nod to Kenda for sponsoring the Founders Brewery Race Team. Thanks!

The Build - 28 hole wheels with only 14 spokes in each wheel. The less spokes make for a more compliant ride and well... look cool. They will support the little guy just fine.

Oh, if you're wondering. They are set-up tubeless. Why not? I'm a nerd AND I can!