Saturday, January 23, 2010

Key Biscayne Memorial Ride.

Cristophe Le Canne was killed while riding his bicycle last week by a motorist in a hit and run accident. As many as one thousand cyclists are expected to participate in a memorial ride tomorrow morning to pay their respects to Cristophe and to raise bicycle awareness. More info here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

IRHM product review: Bern "Baker" helmet

Anyone who has seen me ride anything knows that I'm strangely fond of white helmets. I think it is because I secretly long to look like a rebel soldier.

This fact, as well as my lady-friend knowing me as well as she does, has resulted in my most recent and awesome-est christmas present ever: The Bern Baker.

This fine piece of equipment is super-strong and useful for everything from cycling to skiing to water-sports. On top of all that, it's just about as stylish as a helmet can get. The Bern helmets have a "sink-fit" style of fitting which lovingly cradles the cranium. Plus, the built-in visor is great for keeping the piercing Miami sun out of my eyes, greatly reducing my need for sunglasses or for wearing a cycling cap under my helmet. This is all well and good, but the most ultimately-awesome aspect of this doo-dad is the fact that the winter lining (which can be traded out for a lighter, summer lining) is equipped with built-in speakers! Perfect for jamming out to whatever genius-mix or book-on-tape you've got stored on your mp3 player. Your ears will assuredly be both toasty and entertained.

If I had any issues at all, it would be that the winter lining covers a bit more of my forehead and neck than I'd like. It makes it sort of difficult to keep my head up when I ride. Of course, this is a non-issue with the summer lining, and is largely resultant from my head being about half as long as everyone else's.

The International Bicycle Film Festival: Miami

As we wander from day to dreary day here in Miami, there is little that is exciting enough for us to mark on our South Floridian calendars. The first half of December was a hot and moist collage of sweat. Sweaty bike-riding. Sweaty car-riding. Sweaty getting-the-mail. Sweaty standing-still-for-two-minutes. With all this dehydrating perspiration, it's easy for people to lose track of time. Fortunately for a fair number of Miami cyclists, we had the Bicycle Film Festival to look forward to!

An event that lasted from December 10-12th in Miami, the Bicycle Film Festival (BFF) is an annual, international affair that hits up cultural hubs such as NYC, London, and Tokyo. Since it's commencement in 2001, it has been gaining popularity and steam, expanding its reach to more new cities yearly. The 2009 edition was Miami's debut on the BFF circuit, and it was a fun one. There were dance parties. There were races. Of course, there were films. Although the BFF's true stars were the films, the alleycat race on Saturday was one of the main events for many participants. Renowned race-photographer Lucas Brunelle was there to film, and Miami locals were eager to sweat for a reason other than standing still. Even this blogger was pumped for the main event.

As you can see, I was equipped with all the necessities:

  • racing jersey
  • bulbous white helmet
  • messenger bag
  • smug air of confidence
Unfortunately, all these attributes, including my burning desire for victory, were not enough for me to win. In fact, It wasn't enough for me to finish 3rd, 20th, or even before anybody. To tell the truth, I came in last. "Dead Fucking Last", or "DFL", as many amateur racers might call it. Maybe it was the intense winter heat (contrary to now, where we can expect daily highs in the 50's farenheit), or maybe my smug air was too confident, but I took such trivial things as "maps" and "directions", and threw them out the window. Long story short, I spent something in the order of 15 miles outside of the race's original 20 mile loop. By the time I broke down and called for help, the race was basically over. It was pretty rough, and it made it very difficult to remain either smug or confident. Defeated, I made my leisurely, loser-ly way to the Colony Theater in South Beach.

The Colony Theater is a small but swank theater, which entertained a more-sweaty-than-usual crowd that weekend. Spandex'd cyclists mingled with well dressed cultured-types to enjoy some quality bicycle related films. To cater to the cyclists, BFF volunteers had a free bicycle-valet parking operation going on. I caught Where Are You Go, a documentary which described the four month cycling journey from Cairo to Cape Town called the "Tour de Afrique." As one might expect, it was full of emotion, Africa(ns), and bicycles, as well as some beautiful and startling imagery. A unique film, and worth checking out.

All in all, the Bicycle Film Festival was a much needed burst of excitement for many Miamians and myself, and for a few short days I forgot how much the city sucked. Keep your ears open for information about this year's festival, and check out this flickr stream for more photos from the 2009 event.