Monday, March 31, 2008


I came across these frames a while back but just did a little research tonight, and I have to say, if you are looking for a steel, lugged, hand built track frame and fork, you really need to check these out. Made from Chromoly, so not the lightest, but so wha!

They are made in Chile and have only recently been made available outside South America.
I had a chat with the US Importer, Jorge Espina, and they will ship to Ireland for $79.
Frame and fork are $249, with custom paint $65 extra. Add this all up and you are looking at around €250 and that's including shipping! If I really didn't need another bike I'd be ordering one immediately. Anyhoo, I thought I'd pass on the info.
Check their (limited) website here.
Contact the US importer at:

Thursday, March 27, 2008


My heart jumped when I watched this the first time... sketch!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

World Track Championships...

...start today in Manchester.
I'm very excited. If you've never watched track cycling before do your best to try and catch some of the action, it's ridiculously exciting.
Eurosport are showing most of it live in the evenings so rush home from work to watch it and get the beers in for the weekend.

Ireland have one rider representing, David O'Loughlin, so cheer him on when yuo see him. Considering the Irish only have the crumbling mossy wreck that is Sundrive Park to train on, and have to travel to Manchester to get some real time on the boards, this is an achievement, and however he does kudos to him for getting on the world stage. He currently holds the Irish record for the 4k pusuit at 4min 29sec, so keep an eye out for him in that category.

Great Britain, of course, have the squad to beat them all. The superhuman Chris Hoy, an awesome beast of a rider, watch him in the Keirin, and of course Bradley Wiggins and Rob Hayles. In the womens they have the indomitable Vicky Pendleton and the young BMX star Shanaze Reade competing.

UK track riding has gone to the top of the world in the last 10 years due to massive investment in great facilities and coaching staff, here's hoping we can some day see soemthing like that in Ireland, it disgusts me that, even as a small country, with our proud cycling heritage more money isn't channeled into this noble pursuit.

Anyhoo, try and find a tv with Eurosport and enjoy 5 days of the most exciting bike racing you can find.
Check here for timetables and a full list of competing riders.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Another Stolen Bike

Massacre results will follow... as soon as my noggin gets back in order. If anyone has any snaps they want to send me that'd be nice, I left the camera at home all weekend.

Anyway, for now just a little news. 12 Tony(delaroni) had his bike nicked today from the Church Street area I believe. Blue and silver Trek 1000, all stock except for the wheels which were blue Mavic somethings, quite recognisable.

Hopefully we'll find it as it's especially painful for a working messenger to have his bike half-inched.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Rain rain go away...

Last night was a great success, about 35 racers and a lot of new faces. Everyone got back safe and had a good time.

Unfortunately, Dublin being Dublin, it has decided to piss down on us all day. No point in trying to skid etc in this crap so we're postponing all todays events.

As we have the bank holiday this year we have another day to play with so we're going to push all the events back one day.

So tomorrow 2pm Wilton place for all the side events, and 5pm for the Mel Gibson Logistical Challenge alleycat. And if people are up for it we can go to the track on Monday and have a few races there too. The weather looks good for the next 2 days, fingers crossed.

We still have the Bernard Shaw tonight, so try get in by 8.30 for the reserved seats, I'll be there anyway. It promises to be a fun night, hope to see you there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Paddy's Day Massacre Timetable *Update*

Boom... So Saturday night we have some seats reserved in George Bernard Shaw. Wanna be in there by 8.30, should be plenty of time as the race starts at 5pm. If you're in there early, the seats are reserved for Graham White, whoever that is, so ask for them...

Friday night we finish at Wood Quay, so I'm guessing Dice Bar has always been good to us, lets go there... there is also a good breakbeat night in Voodoo which I'm quite tempted by so there's a couple of things to offer around the area. Check out the dj's here.

Here ye be...
Party venues to be confirmed, but as of now it's Bernard Shaw, Anseo, Dice... something like that. I'll update as soon as I know the score...

Click on image for awe-inspiringly large view...

If anyone needs any more details or low-down send us a mail or comment and I'll help in any way I can.
Anyone coming from afar for this one? We've got couch space so don't be shy...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Guardian Article

Compounding my laziness at actually writing any original material for this blog, here is an article from the Observer today. Piece of crap fluff, and is just another compelling argument for ingnoring the press, as they're just going to write poo no matter what you tell them. Yes... poo.

"by Alice Fisher
Style Correspondent
Riding a bicycle without brakes sounds like a rash move, but a new wave of cyclists is eschewing traditional bikes for a stripped-down machine known as a fixed-gear.
It is one of the most basic machines you can build with two wheels. A fixed-gear bike – or fixie – has no derailleur as it has only one gear, so as long as the wheels turn, so do the pedals. Its rider can’t freewheel and the only way to brake is to stand on the pedals.
The fixed-gear’s renaissance supposedly stems from West Indian immigrants in New York working as cycle couriers in the Eighties. They had used them at home because they were cheap and easy to maintain, and continued using them in the US. Their popularity spread throughout the courier community, crossing to the UK and other countries.
As the fixie craze has taken off so has the number of new riders who enter ‘alleycats’ – unofficial road races consisting of a series of checkpoints on a set route. Alleycats originated in America and were organised for and by cycle couriers but now inexperienced riders participate. Last Sunday in Chicago, Matthew Manger-Lynch, 29, was killed in a collision with a four-wheel drive vehicle after running a red light. He was competing in an alleycat known as Tour Da Chicago. A similar race – the New York Monstertrack, normally the biggest annual alleycat in the US – was scheduled to take place on 8 March, but was cancelled after the Chicago death. These races now take place in British cities and threaten to colour public opinion of the growing urban cyclist subculture. Around 30 cyclists took part in one organised by art students in central London last Thursday which finished with a party at a bar in Hoxton.
Roxy Erickson, 28, who is part of the women-only Trixie Chix collective, said: ‘Media reports don’t show the community spirit or the eco-friendly side of cycling. A working messenger [courier] who got hit by a double-decker bus wouldn’t get as much news space.’
The strength of the fixed-gear community is demonstrated on the messageboards that are full of updates on the welfare of cyclists injured in accidents, invites to parties and gallery openings as well as alleycats, which are often held to support injured cyclists or promote causes such as the war on drugs.
Andy Ellis, 28, who is part of the London Fixed Gear collective and builds fixies, explained why the bikes were so popular. ‘You can’t get more linked to a bike than on fixed-gear. There are aspects which compare to skateboarding. You enjoy travelling through the city in the same way, but on a fixed-gear, it’s faster and you have more control.’
The fixie’s simplicity and grace appeals to the fashion conscious, many of whom take customisation to extravagant levels, creating bikes with imported track-bike frames and hand-built wheels that cost thousands.
Ellis said: ‘At first it was anything to get them on the road, but I’ve built three bikes for one guy in the last year and every time he comes back he wants something more exclusive.’
The international fixed scene is now getting mainstream attention, including official sponsorship from bike companies. A cyclist known as Superted – part of the Fixed Gear London collective – is sponsored by cycle brand Charge Bikes. There’s also the Bike Film Festival, now in its fourth year, which showcases films documenting cyclists’ tricks and agility.
The most successful fixed-gear film is Mash SF, which features the Mash SF collective riding in San Francisco. ‘It’s the first big film about fixed-gear trick riding,’ said Laura Fraser, the London producer of the festival and a fixed-gear rider. ‘It’s gone around the world.’
Tom Bogdanowicz, of the London Cycling Campaign, the largest urban cycling organisation in the world, says: ‘Fixed is enjoyable and good for fitness, but you have to acquire riding skills. Once mastered, the bikes are good for urban cycling as they make you very aware of the road and you can maintain speed at a level that’s suitable for traffic. They make you think ahead.’ He suggested that anyone wishing to try fixed in London should go to Herne Hill Stadium where low-cost training sessions were on offer."

Read a great deal of reaction to this 'article' on the london Fixed gear and Single Speed Forum here.

And one of said Londoners had me dribbling snot with laughter at this. Pure gold:

click to enlarge

thanks to Buffalo Bill and the ever excellent Moving Target, from which all of the above has been unceremoniously plagiarised.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Alleycat Death

So this is old news to some, but others may not have heard. During an alleycat in Chicago last weekend a racer breaking a red light at a 3-way intersection was struck by an SUV and killed.

While the initial reaction is to feel saddened by the death and sorry for the guys family, we must also stop for a minute and think of the driver. They did nothing wrong, in fact they may have been swerving to avoid other riders before they struck Matt. This driver has a death on their hands for the rest of their lives, and that's pretty fucking horrible to contemplate.

While nothing like this has happened 'yet' in Dublin, I think it is about time we took a look at ourselves and where we are going. For a while now I've been questioning some of the starting points and routes of alleycats in Dublin, in fact for the St. Patrick's Day Massacre the traditional out-of towners sprint up and down the quays has been knocked on the head. It just doesn't make sense to ask people to go through that many big, dangerous junctions on a Saturday afternoon, in fact I think it's irresponsible.

Maybe I'm getting old, but I believe first and foremost alleycats are a way for messengers to come together and have fun, to relieve the stress of the working day, and to get to know each other better. Nobody should have to prove anything. We take enough risks just by being on the streets 9 hours a day, 5 days a week. And maybe it's selfish of me, but I don't want someone to die or get seriously injured in a race I organised, I don't think I'd be able to live with myself.

Monster Track, one of the largest alleycats in the world, has been cancelled, due in no small part to this tragedy. I had the good fortune to be in New york for the race last year. Over 120 riders, all fixed, no brakes. There were some bad crashes. I think they were expecting over 200 competitors this year, and I think it was a brave and wise decision by the organisers. All the side events will still take place, and hopefully this will keep people from being too disappointed.

I don't think we need to hold off on any alleycats here, we don't get that many riders to begin with, and we aren't having a media spotlight on us at the moment the way they are in the US, but I do think that both organisers and competitors need to take a step back fro a moment and remember what the priorities are: Have fun, nobody get hurt. Simple yet important.

On a final note, on seeing the way the media has treated this tragedy, and the extra vilification of messengers it's undoubltedly going to bring, I think we need to revise the way we deal with the press, if at all. It seems cool to be in the papers and have a few photos to show the mates, but at what cost? At least twice a year, on a slow news week, some journo comes around looking for some column inches, and we're an easy target, at least we have been since I've been on the road. I don't know of one article in all this time that we've come out of looking good. Last years Totally Dublin was as close as it came, but even that had to sensationalise to a certain extent and talk about alcohol and drugs being a major part of the messenger culture. Shock horror! A group of 20-somethings in Dublin that are involved in drink and drugs! We don't need this shit, it does nothing for us except perpetuate peoples ideas of us as the wreckless, smelly, uneducated group that we most certainly are not.

If you want to read more about the tragic death of Matt, here are some links and accompanying comments:

One of the first reports to come out here.

Eye witness account:
"on the second stretch of the ride today, i was in the front pack, which was about 15-20 people. a fellow whom i'd only met that morning, a young guy named matt, passed me on the left, ... two blocks later, our pack was approaching a huge 5-way intersection (lincoln/irvingpark/damen), matt was in front. i was maybe 20-30 feet behind him, with a couple riders between us. matt proceeded into the intersection, probably assuming he could dodge traffic or (as had happened up until then that day), stop traffic dead, as they usually see a pack of unruly bikers and stop for us, not knowing what else to do. this time, in this intersection, that didn't happen. a GMC suburban SUV was coming from the right too fast - matt tried to swerve to miss it, but couldn't. i watched in horror as the suv plowed right over him and his bike, wheels rolling right over both. the vehicle pulled over at the side of the road; matt lay in the middle of the enormous intersection, bleeding, not moving. the other riders stopped traffic, and gathered on the sidewalk at the other side of the intersection. i called an ambulance. we didn't know if he was conscious or not - i tried, with the help of another rider (nico), to talk to him, shouting at him to stay awake, to stay with us, to hang on, to fight. there was so much blood. his helmet was ****ed on the front and the back, indicating that the wheel had likely impacted his head. he convulsed a bit, never opening his eyes, never responding to our cries. i now realize he was certainly unconscious during this time. police arrived quickly (we had passed two of them a few blocks before), and shortly afterwards a firetruck and then an ambulance. they took over dealing with him, put him on a stretcher and into the ambulance. the police kept asking everyone around if we knew him. no one did. a few knew his name, and gave it to them. no one seemed to know him personally. we tried to find any info we could about his contacts, his phone, his family. others were somewhat successful later.
we gave our names, and after much official delay, a few rode on to the hospital, and most of us went back to one of the rider's houses (stan + rachels). we waited for info. when it finally came, we were told he was pronounced dead on the scene. his wife had been found and had made it to the hospital. i can only imagine how she feels. my deepest condolences go out to his wife and family.
the scene of the accident plays over and over in my head. i don't know exactly at what point he died. i'm leaving the house now again, and heading directly to a bike shop to purchase a helmet."

First news report to mention 'alleycats' here.

ABC news video: 'The Alleycats' here.

Editorial Response from the Chicago Tribune:
Chicago Tribune, March 2, 2008
By Eric Zorn
"Bad news. Law enforcement officials tell me they have no plans to try to file criminal charges against the organizers of the Tour Da Chicago.
The Tour, an unsanctioned bike race through city streets, ended in tragedy a week ago when rider Matthew Manger-Lynch was struck and killed by a sport-utility vehicle as he rode against a red light through the six-corner intersection of Irving Park Road and Lincoln and Damen Avenues.
It was a tragedy for Manger-Lynch, 29, and his family and friends, but it could have been worse: The SUV could have swerved to avoid him and smacked into a hapless pedestrian, another car, a storefront or a concrete abutment. Bystanders could have been killed.
I drive through that intersection all the time and it's usually harum-scarum, with left-turners, right-turners, bus passengers milling about and customers from area shops crossing aggressively.
Those who planned to send bike racers through that spot or through any of the red-light intersections along the route showed contemptibly reckless disregard for public safety.
These events -- like outlaw drag races -- are exercises in selfishness dressed up in the self-righteousness of hard-core bicyclists.
"To blame the victim for dying such a tragic death, I think, is an injustice," a local cycling organizer told ABC-Ch. 7's Chuck Goudie. "It's an injustice that our culture is so embedded in auto use and the convenience of autos that we're willing to let our friends and loved ones be killed."
No. It's an injustice that those who organize these illegal races that risk the lives of friends and loved ones all around can continue to do so without fear of prosecution. The arrogant fatuity of hard-core bicyclists was on display last night on ABC-7 news when Chuck Goudie interviewed "longtime cycling organizer Alex Wilson " about the death of a Chicago man Sunday who ran a red light while engaged in an illegal cycle race through city streets and was struck by an SUV:
To blame the victim for dying such a tragic death I think is an injustice. It's an injustice that our culture is so embedded in auto use and the convenience of autos that we're willing to let our friends and loved ones be killed.
No, we are not "willing" to let them be killed. We think it's contemptible and odious that organizers and participants in such races are "willing" to risk not only their lives but the lives of all innocent people in their paths to participate in this "sport."
I'm sorry to report that Chicago Police and Cook County prosecutors are not planning to pursue charges charges against those who organized Sunday's race."

Response from Alex Wilson to ABC's editorial, in which he states his comments were taken out of context:

I am disappointed with your investigative report titled "The Alleycats" about the death of bicyclist Matt Mager. I feel that my points on the dangerous environment that we all live in because of auto use were not represented and that your report misrepresented me as an organizer and supporter of these unlawful and dangerous races. I was skeptical to speak with you on camera during our phone conversation before filming and even asked what the tone or view of
what the piece would be about. You assured me that you were just trying to get details and perspectives on the event that led to Matt's death and that it would not be an editorial piece. The piece "The Alleycats" reported very little on the actual events involved in Matt's death and
chose to focus generally about unsanctioned bike races on city streets. Over the phone and in person I gave you my perspective that we live in a culture and infrastructure that has been designed to let tragedies like this happen. I brought up that we all know someone that has been
killed or severely injured because of car crashes and that as a culture we choose not to address the larger issues that car use causes, such as over 40,000 Americans being killed each year, hundreds of thousands severely injured, health related illnesses, environmental damage and
the poor political position it has put the US in because of our world policies to acquire resources to feed our car addiction. I also commented that it is your responsibility as a journalist to report this larger story to the public but I was skeptical that you would because of the media's funding through advertisements by the auto and oil industry. You assured me that your reporting is not affected by these influences and that my point would be fairly represented. Boy, was I
ever duped into being a sucker. "The Alleycats" report was a sensationalistic piece of work that took a complex issue and simplified into a radical dichotomy that quoted me out of context in order to make compelling sound bites that polarizes the viewing audience into believing that one individual interviewed was the "good" cyclist and the other the "bad" without ever really raising
my points. I am not an organizer of alleycat races, I do not advocate breaking the law and this was not clearly made out in your report. I have received several emails in response to your investigative report insulting me and the work that I do without knowing me or the true causes that I believe. I have been told in these emails things such as "Do us all a favor, Alex.....hop on your bike, and ride into the lake.", "You have to be kidding, because if not, you should just die
now." and "Any decent attorney is going to tell you that your appearance on ABC 7 opens you up to a "deep pockets" liability suit to be brought by anyone who was injured by one of these unsanctioned, illegal races that your store clearly supports.". I don't believe that any of these people received the message I meant to purvey and surely viewed me in a poor perspective because of how this report was presented.

Your report has damaged my and West Town Bikes reputation and done nothing for car/cyclists relations. I have learned to be even more skeptical of the media and not step in front of the camera especially if a controversial topic is being reported. You have also showed me that there really is no such thing as journalistic morals or ethics, just whatever it takes to write a story. I will look elsewhere for informative and unbiased reporting.
Alex Wilson

Finally, the organisers on Monster Track explain their decision to cancel this years race:


The organizers of Monster Track 2008 have decided, after careful consideration, to cancel this year’s main race.

This decision did not come easy and was debated at length. Our reasons are many but the overall factor was that the race has become unmanageable due to the large participation and our concern for the participant’s safety.

As many of you know, Monster Track started as a race held for a small, close group of NYC bike messengers. It has now become an overwhelmingly all-inclusive event. This, on its face, may seem like a positive direction for a race but in the context of a solely track bike alleycat it brings many problems. First and foremost, the safety of the racers is compromised. We believe that this is not a tenable position for race organizers.

Another Stolen Bike

Got a mail from a chap that had his bike stolen recently. Apologies Oli for the delay in posting this.
Here's what he has to say:

"... was nicked over the weekend after being left in trinity. she's an early 80s raleigh steel road frame conversion to fixie.
blue and white frame... blue front end graded to white at rear half
white selle italia saddle (from same era)
red drop bars
front brake
blue and black orium tyres
MKS pedals and clips (one clip broken)
chrome forks

if anyone is offered it then please let me know - or
live about 50m from the bernard shaw so if anyone if bold enough to buy and ride it there I will know!
if anyone is offered quick deal on it please please please ring... don't know what to do without it as am on it every day, and can't afford to shell out for new stuff...
Thanks so much
Oli Welfare"

You know the pain of losing your only means of transport, and for many of us our means of earning a living. So keep your eyes peeled for this one.