Monatsarchiv: November 2007

Music whilst you ride..

Biking to a Different Beat photo gallery

„Mohan Samaroo, 19, is part of a mostly teenage crew in Richmond Hill, Queens, who lavish their time and money on bicycles outfitted with elaborate stereo systems.
Turning bicycles into rolling outdoor sound systems is a popular hobby in the home countries of these riders who are of Guyanese and Trinidadian background.
Car batteries power these mobile stereos, tricked out with amplifiers, bass woofers, and speakers. Some bikes, like this one, even have DVD screens for viewing while riding.
Extra braces rest on training wheels to support the heavy system and an extra rider who can stand on back.
Usually, the riders crank heavy Caribbean beats out of their stereos.
Mr. Samaroo’s sturdy Mongoose supports a system with four 12-inch speakers that can handle the 5,000 watts. He’s co-owner of a business called Legal Intentionz that mounts steroes on bikes.
The group rides in packs just west of the Van Wyck Expressway in Richmond Hill, each taking turns playing his sound system. When they’re not cruising the streets, the riders tinker with their bikes in a garage.
Many riders finance their hobby by installing car stereos and doing other such handiwork.
The motocross bicycle of Stephen Sonnylal, 17, bears a 200-pound system with a 50-CD changer. It has 3,000 watts of power and cost $800. „People say, ‚It’s the next best thing to having a system in a car.‘ But it’s better because you don’t even have to roll down the
windows,“ said Nick Ragbir, 18.


Think I’ll stick to an iPod.

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Twin Chain Fixed/Free Bicycle Drive System

Click here for an admirable bike hack.

The obvious question is.. Why?

I like the caveat.. „Disclaimer: This is a highly-advanced hack! Do not attempt it unless you have great confidence in your metalworking and mechanical ability. This article assumes that you are already very familiar with the inner workings of Sturmey-Archer AW 3-speed hubs. If you have any questions that you can’t figure out the answer to from this article, you’re not ready for this!“

I began riding, as many did, years ago on a Raleigh Chopper and a Raleigh Commando (my brother had the Grifter) which had the classic 3 speed Sturmey Archer setup. It had a little oil grommet through which you could top up the oil in the hub. It meant the hub got quite oily and picked up dirt easily. Difficult to clean. Can you believe the Chopper has an owners club! Crikey.

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Winter tires

I am sure that like me you are looking forward to some of those bright clear winter day rides.

If you are thinking of switching over to winter equipment such as a different set of wheels or even a winter bike, then perhaps you might like to consider these tires pictured to the left.

Name: Hello Kitty (SKU:1917)
Type: Tire Size: 20 x 2.125“
Color: White Side-wall
Description: Hello Kitty by Nirve
20 x 2.125 tire white side-wall with black tread.
World famous Hello Kitty molded into the tire.
Price: $19.99

I am sad to inform you that it they are currently only available in a 20×2.125 size and with a white sidewall.

Surely some of you Positivo Espresso readers would be interested in a 700x23c version? Any takers?

via and

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Bike sex man placed on probation

I would like to thank David Jacob for providing this valuable piece of news to me this morning. I immediately discountinued any activity which I normally should do between 8.30 AM and whatever on weeksdays and hasten to update the blog. The purpose is of course to show to our wifes and families that although we spend a lot of time on our bike, we are not completely insane – like some Scottish guy [from the BBC news].

Bike sex man placed on probation

A man caught trying to have sex with his bicycle has been sentenced to three years on probation.

Robert Stewart, 51, admitted a sexually aggravated breach of the peace by conducting himself in a disorderly manner and simulating sex. Sheriff Colin Miller also placed Stewart on the Sex Offenders Register for three years. Mr Stewart was caught in the act with his bicycle by cleaners in his bedroom at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr.
Gail Davidson, prosecuting, told Ayr Sheriff Court: „They knocked on the door several times and there was no reply. „They used a master key to unlock the door and they then observed the accused wearing only a white t-shirt, naked from the waist down.
„The accused was holding the bike and moving his hips back and forth as if to simulate sex.
Both cleaners, who were „extremely shocked“, told the hostel manager who called police.

Sheriff Colin Miller told Stewart: „In almost four decades in the law I thought I had come across every perversion known to mankind, but this is a new one on me. I have never heard of a ‚cycle-sexualist‘.“

Stewart had denied the offence, claiming it was caused by a misunderstanding after he had too much to drink. The bachelor had been living in the hostel since October 2006 after moving from his council house in Girvan He now lives in Ayr.

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Saiko Race : Kraehe Family

Apart from the less than average performance of my twin-brother Jan, the weekend in Saiko proved to be very pleasurable. I had a lot of difficulties to register both of us : Jan and me with the organizer Nikkan Sports. Finally I got a call and the supervisor asked me, to confirm that he got two registrations, one for a Michael Kraehe and one for a Jan-Ulrich Kraehe. This I confirmed. Then he said: „Yes we noted that also for both riders the birth day is the same [note: pretty stupid of me in the first place], so are you twins?“ „Yes, of course, my brother Jan and me are twins“: In confirmed. „Ok fine, then the matter is settled, you re registered.

Henri and our Aupair Anna took the BMW and headed in the morning for Saiko. Because of the stupid BMW navigation system we missed the right exit from the Chuo Highway. Bad enough. But it turned out to be a very good mistake as we entered the Saiko area from the West side by a beautiful road through the mountain area we have never taken before. Thank you BMW. Then, we met at the Cafe M which is our favourite hang out in the Saiko area and had huge bowls of spaghetti with mushrooms and excellent curry.

After a good lunch it was time for some training laps. The road surface was still a little bit wet but it was not raining as when we left Tokyo. So I took a lap first on my own which felt good. Then I rode together with Henri who was registered for the 10 km race for the first time. He had no problems to complete one 10 km within 30 minutes or so which made me confident that he would finish the race on the next day – this year it was anyway the idea to set a benchmark time against which he can measure himself in the years to come.

After that we all went to the Onsen next to the ex Kuwarubi Hotel on the shore of the lake and enjoyed the outside pool. Still Stephen and Ryoko haven’t arrived so we settled again for a nice dinner at the Cafe M and went to bed early.

Next morning I started to do some training rides in the area and then I went to attend the D class race. I felt very confident. When racing in Saiko I always have some worries despite the fact that I really love the race: In 2005 I got dropped by the peloton after being too optimistic in my strategy to run out the peloton together with David Litt [also I was under the influence of drugs which were given to me because of a stiff back on the day before the race]. Then I am worried that I am surrounded by riders on the left side of the peloton and have no room to sprint. And then I am afraid of crashes, so I stay in the first third of the peloton, also because I am not a technical very good rider and I always loose some meters in tight curves.

Ok, consequently I tried to stay in the front group. After the first lap I was in the third position – this was not really necessary but a good show for my family that was waiting for me at the finish line. Then after relaxing the next 5 km and falling back, I attacked the front again and from 15 to 19 km I was almost all the time in the front doing a lot of drafting work for the rest. But I still felt strong. And suddenly I was also in front at the 19 km mark, so there was only 1 km to go until the finish. So I accelerated even more, but then I ran out of steam. About 400 meters before the finish is a slight uphill stretch and I couldn’t keep up with the other riders. Just as every year, good run but then wrong strategy at the end. A lot of riders overtook me on the last stretch and also Stephen managed to pass by. The race was rather slow as the road surface was still wet (31 minutes winning time), so the peloton stayed together until the end, not many riders were dropped.

So in the end a result like every year, a 29th place (out of 41 riders), but only 4.4 seconds behind the winner. in 2006 I was 25th in the D Class out of 42 riders 8 seconds behind the winner. 2005 was a disaster. 2004 I was 28th out of 62 riders 5 seconds behind the winner.

Ok, I thought it would be better to have two chances … so later my twin brother Jan started in the E class race.

Ok, the next event was the Milky Way race for my daughter Karen. This is only a 500 meter race from the parking space at the bat cave to the finish. The two years before Karen went on her bike with supporting wheels, but this year she tried without for the first time. I waited with her at the start area with my bike somewhere parked 10 meters behind. So suddenly there was the start sign and the race started. I ran back to my bike as I wanted to ride together with Karen. But she was so fast! I caught her only close to the goal.

There are no results for the Milky Way race, as this should be non-competitive, but she was really strong. Ok, her future fate is already decided as her mother set her career course in figure skating … but with some subtle manipulation there might be still a chance to convert her to bicycle riding.
In the years before all Milky Way kids got medals fro
m Mr. Nakano presented, however this year there were a lot of riders in this class so unfortunately Nikkan Sports decided to abolish this ceremony. But all the kids got some toys and Karen was happy with that one too. Of course, nothing can be beaten by a medal handed over by P-cup idol Fuko. Alas, only Flat-cup idols Lady Marmelade, partly dressed in fashionable Scottish pampers,made it to the race and Dennis collected his 5th place MTB certificate.

Then it was time for Henri to start the Primary School higher grades 10 km race. He hates loud noises so when the start pistol was shot he covered his ears and he couldn’t pick up speed fast. Hm, he is special anyway but that is ok. He also made a good race and he ended up in 28th place, so one place better than his father [ok : 5.50 min gap to the winner]. But I was very impressed that he managed to finish the race in a good time of 22:56 minutes and an average speed of more than 26 km/hr. Last year when he rode the 3.2 km race with the same bike he was at 20 km/hr average speed. So, as every father should be, I was very proud of my son.

We then went home quickly has we wanted to avoid the traffic jam on the Chuo. The weather was now beautiful and we could see mount Fuji with the summit in the clouds on the right side of the road home. Jan was driving. His body started to hurt and it was painful to make it to Tokyo – but surprisingly fast. There was still some time to visit the fantastic WORKMAN shop on the Nakahara Kaido, introduce Anna to cheap construction worker T-shirts, Pump trousers and tabi socks and to buy a nice orange handkerchief for my daughter as a bonus.

A very nice weekend for me and my family. Not so nice for Jan although.

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Jan-Ulrich’s disastrous comeback

dpa / After being inactive for over a year in Germany, Jan-Ulrich decided to attend the E-class race at this year’s Saiko event of the Tour de Japon. When the race started, the sky was a full blue and the road surface had almost completely dried up, perfect conditions for fast two laps at this 10 km round course around the lake of Saiko. Against strong contenders from Japan as well as from the French NFCC team, Jan-Ulrich controlled the peloton from behind and managed to stay with the field until the sharp corner at the 15 km mark. When he start to accelerate hard out of the saddle after the curve, his rear wheel blocked and he flew right over his bike on the road. Three other riders were also caught in the crash, but all of them managed to continue the race after a short break.

It later turned out that the rear wheel has not been fixed securely in place as the tension device of the TUNE spanner has dropped over time. The rear wheel then jumped against the seatstay and blocked. Accelerating Jan-Ulrich virtually catapulted over his bike when he couldn’t stop his feet movements.

He then proceed to the next first aid station, where he got some band aid and bandages – his orange jersey has been ripped to pieces. „I was lucky not to broke my two wrists when I tried to dampen the impact to fall on the road.“ he said later. Also he was lucky that none other rider rode over him.

He then completed the race, stopped on the way to chat with some supporters from Ireland and finished last in dismayal 44 minutes.

Three days later he seems to be on the road to recovery, although every move still hurts. „First I didn’t felt any pain as I was still under shock and I could even enjoy the Milky Way Race. But driving home was already very painful and I still can’t move properly. I guess my comeback is over.“

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Giro de Hotaka

Last weekend, I met Michael & his family, Marek, Stephen & Ryoko at Hotaka. I was there with my “French team” to participate in the Day Two “Giro de Hotaka,” a 121km ride around Mount Hotaka in Gunma Pref. The size of this event (max. 300 riders), gorgeous surroundings and variety of the parcourse (more downhill than uphill) makes this event a very attractive & recommendable one to all Positivo Espresso riders!

One drawback as David pointed out correctly is the dangerous „touristy ride-cum-race“ mixed format and this is what our friend Marek found out much to his frustration. Some guy touched Marek’s back wheel at the first downhill section at 40-50km/h, started to whobble and crashed! Marek, his wheel damaged beyond repair, was forced to sit out the rest of the race in the “broom wagon” trailing behind the last rider (which Marek told me was a pain to look at).

For some people including me, the event did not fully live up to its expectations. A lack of race marshals on major turns and intersections caused too much confusion. At the “Junction of Doom,” I led a pack of about 15 riders on the wrong road losing more than half an hour! Otherwise the organization was good…o-miyage maitake mushrooms, bananas & VAAMs at two aid stations, mushroom soup, a piece of apple & lunch box at the end of the race…

“Giro de Hotaka” + the short Hotaka Hillclimb on Day 1 is a two-day event I definitely want to participate in again next year. Hopefully there will be many of the Positivo Espresso riders going as well.

Here is map / elevation chart of this marvelous „Giro“:

mob: and here are the results :

And I have some more pictures I wanted to add :

One showing Marek still optimistic before the start of the race. If only his speedmeter would have worked properly.

My family was also completely at the race and Anna our Aupair also joined. I hope that I can convert her during her 10 months stay in Japan into a cycling addict.

Should present her with the TREK bike from Tom.

TOM: If it’s for Anna I’ll fix you a special price!!

MOB : Did you see that Anna? Tom and me are getting serious here. I think you can do it, I mean you can still watch our kids, learn Japanese, go to HipHop dacing classes, enjoy nights out in Roppongi, Skype all your friends in Germany, get your friends to come to Japan, maintain your blog

ANNA: Ok, here is the deal: I’m looking for the kids, going to my Hip Hop classes, keep on stalking my family and friends in Germany (and get them to visit Japan), BUT: I’m quitting my Japanese class. Because I don’t think that I need any Japanese skills during cycling… 🙂

Then there is a photo of Ryoko, actually taken when I wanted to take a photo of Stephen as he was assembling his bike before the race. But as he was bended over and showed bis back to me it turned out not to be a good photo at all. But just by chance Ryoko was also somehow on the photo and she looks here very mysterious like Bernard Albrecht from NEW ORDER on the famous cover of FACE magazine, designed by Neville Brody in the Eighties. Stephen and Ryoko are really nice people and as a couple very harmonious. I should be full of praise.

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