Show #643 – January 27, 2024

Guests: Jeff Speck & Chris Dempsey

As many of you know, I have an abiding interest in urban planning, walkable and bikeable cities, and sustainability. In furthering that interest, I love speaking with folks who are involved in any or all of these areas and today is no exception. 

My guests today are Jeff Speck and Chris Dempsey.  In the past, Jeff and I have

Photo Credit Chip Marler

had several powerful conversations about the work he does in assisting cities, towns, and municipalities become “walkable” and “bikeable.”  His books, Walkable City and Walkable City Rules, are nothing short of step-by-step instructions on how to achieve these goals.

Joined now by Chris Dempsey in a just announced new partnership, “SpeckDempsey,” the impact of their ideas coupled with their backgrounds will serve to transform communities nationwide. 

My thanks to Jeff Speck and Chis Dempsey for joining me today.  As always, Jeff just tells it like it is and I was really pleased to meet his new partner, Chris Dempsey.  I know this partnership is going to produce some exciting results and I’m going to be following them.  You can also keep tabs on them and their work at speckdempsey.com and on social media. 

Transcript_January 27

 

Show #642 – January 20, 2024

Guests: John Surico; Roff Smith

Happy New Year everyone!  I’m back for a new season of the show and today we begin with conversations with two guests we’ve spoken with in the past.

First up is John Surico.  John’s work is all about sustainability, safety, cities, and transportation.  He melds it all up on his Streetbeat blog on Substack and today we’re going to look back at some things from 2023 as well as look forward to his work in 2024.

In his latest Streetbeat newsletter on Substack, John Surico tells us about Hoboken, NJ, where there have been zero – none, nothing nada – traffic fatalities for 7 consecutive years.  What? Really?  Contrast that with 43 cycling deaths in NYC, just across the river.

We also look at what the Mayor is thinking, with a bit of “NYC can do that too,” and about the expansion of the East Coast Greenway in all 5 NYC boroughs.

Then, we review a new book from National Geographic by photographer/journalist Roff Smith.  Last time we spoke with Roff it was during the pandemic and he created some of the most beautiful and thought-provoking visions for us to gaze upon in a dark and difficult time.

Now, in his new book, 100 Bike Rides of a Lifetime, he offers up great options for every level of cyclist- from the novice to the pro.  It’s one of those books where you can flip to just about any page and say – “yeah, I want to do that!”

While he’s ridden many of the routes he details in the book, he depended upon seasoned riders to fill in the blanks on rides that he believes fit the description, but which he hasn’t done himself. 

The book is definitely a great addition to your cycling library and might just be the ticket for your next adventure.

I’ve also added a photo of his “narrow boat” that will be his home for the next project, as you heard in our conversation.      

 

 

 

January 20_Podcast_Transcript

Show #641 – November 28, 2023

Guests: John Robinson; Peter & Tracy Flucke

This year, with so much turmoil in the world, I wanted to feature a story that is both heartwarming and inspirational. Homelessness is a real thing – and a very disconcerting one. 

So, when a hard-working homeless man, who saved his money to buy an eBike to commute to his job and was swindled out of the money he paid to share an apartment so he wouldn’t be homeless, wakes up to find his eBike stolen, you just have to ask yourself –  what is wrong with people?

But John Robinson, owner of Johnny Velo Bikes in Columbus, Ohio and the shop that sold the eBike in the first place, didn’t ask that question, but instead stepped right up to help.  And there is a happy ending to this story.

Joshua is a man who works hard and is very proud of the work he does.  Joshua cleans a government building for a living and, saving his money, pays cash for the things he needs.  

He also depends on his bicycle to get him to work – about 25 miles a day. 

What happened when his eBike was stolen and he called the shop to get the serial number as well as ask for help to file a police report is nothing less than a heartwarming storybook holiday tale.

I’ll let John Robinson, owner of Johnny Velo Bikes in Columbus, tell the story… and have your tissues ready!  

What a great story and what an outpouring of love and support for Joshua.  My thanks to John for sharing it with me.  There is a link to the video on our website, outspokencyclist.com and you can find out more about the shop at johnnyvelobikes.com

Then, I welcome Peter and Tracy Flucke back to the show to talk about their new book, Bicycling Route 66.

Last time we spoke, they had had to abandoned a cross-country ride, but this time, they traveled the 2600+ miles on their new Co-Motion tandem and documented the journey in a fun and informative he said-she said style. 

From Wisconsin to California, Tracy and Peter Flucke are once again pedaling their tandem, this time traveling iconic Route 66.

Leaving Green Bay, Wisconsin on June 1, 2016, they traveled Route 66 for 49 days to Santa Monica, California– 2600 miles in total – with a running dialog full of humor, insights, and history.

You can buy a signed copy of the book on their website or… of course you can get it at your independent book store or online.  There is also a kindle version.

Podcast_November 28_Transcript

Show #640 – November 22, 2023

Guests: Veronica Davis; Eric McBride

My guests this show couldn’t be more different in terms of their focus – one is a civil engineer, ardent urban planner, and transportation specialist, the other is an accomplished Master’s bike racer, winning several medals in this year’s PanAm Games.

But, variety is the spice of life as they say… so hopefully you’ll get something from each of them – whether it be inspiration to do more about your local bicycling/walking infrastructure or decide to enter an event you had been thinking about but have yet to sign on the dotted line.

Veronica Davis is a professional civil engineer an transportation specialist.  She is currently the Director of Transportation & Drainage Operations, a service line within Houston Public Works. Transportation & Drainage operations is responsible for maintaining and improving the infrastructure that spans Houston’s 671 square miles.

As you’ll learn, Veronica comes to the transportation/planning sector from a family immersed in the business where both her mother and father were involved.

Her new book, Inclusive Transportation: A Manifesto for Repairing Divided Communities, was recently published by Island Press and it’s what drew me to her for our conversation.

In her new book, Veronica offers some astute observations on the inequalities and destructive practices present in transportation planning:  how our cities became divided, and why we need to move on from what we’ve always known and redefine urban transportation.

We dive into a variety of topics including how immigration, always a hot topic for politicians, might actually solve some of the issues we see in the job market and how, when we finally have funding for much needed infrastructure projects, there are not enough workers to complete them.

Bruce Springsteen sings about being born to run… well, apparently U.S. Master’s Champion Eric McBride was born to ride!

Eric is the CEO of Palm Beach Health Network Physician Group during the day and an avid elite road and track racer when he dons his kit and cleats.

Eric has been racing bikes since college and now, as a master’s rider in the 45-49 year age group, captured two golds and a silver at the Master’s PanAm Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic this past spring.

Racking up 2 golds and a silver at the 2023 PanAm games on the track, Eric takes every opportunity to race his bicycles – plural – in track, road, and crit disciplines.

His accomplishments this year being what they are, he’s already looking forward to 2024 to see what he and his new squad Kingdom Racing will do.

November 22 Transcript

 

Show #639 – November 2, 2023

Guest: Georgena Terry

As promised, my conversation today is with one of the pioneers of women’s frame design Georgena Terry.

I’ve known Georgena for many years and it is always great to speak with her.

She started out as an engineering student in Pittsburgh and took that engineering mind into the bicycle business in 1985, launching Terry Precision Bicycles.  Over these many decades, she not only produced her very special women’s specific designs, but added saddles, shorts, jerseys, and more. In fact, I would suggest that almost everyone who has been riding for the past several decades has at least tried a Terry saddle – women AND men.

Today, Georgena is still offering her special bikes to discriminating riders and as she says on her website: “I hope I’m part of a movement that encourages women to think for themselves. To be stubborn. To break the rules. And not be afraid to be a pain in the butt sometimes. Susan B. Anthony did. And it turned out pretty well for her.”

For more information about Terry Custom Bicycles and Georgena herself, log on to georgenaterry.com.

Next time on TOC, you’ll meet Veronica Davis, another woman pioneer – this time in the field of urban planning. Her book,  Inclusive Transportation is subtitled a Manifesto for Repairing Divided Communities
I hope you’ll tune in.

Transcript_11022023

Show #638 – October 15, 2023

Guests: Jamie Swan; Steve Magas

With the demise of events such as NAHBS, The New England Builder’s Ball, Classic Rendezvous Weekend, and even the postponement of The Philly Bike Show until Spring of 2024, any opportunity to see classic bicycles and talk with other enthusiasts is welcome.

I know most of you probably don’t live on or near Long Island, NY, but I still think this event is worthy of a conversation – especially when it’s with Jamie Swan.

Jamie is passionate about vintage bikes, passionate about helping people to learn about them, and passionate about sharing his knowledge and expertise. So, come next Sunday, October 22nd, you can head on out to Long Island, NY at the Smithtown Historical Society for a few hours of vintage and handmade bikes along with a swap meet.

Jamie Swan, frame builder and machinist extraordinaire, is the producer of this little event and he’s my guest today.  Jamie will fill us in on everything you need to know about the show as well as his incredibly cool “side gig” at the prestigious Webb Institute.

link to the google group for the LI Rendezvous

After my conversation with Jamie, I check in with Ohio Bike Lawyer, Steve Magas. 

When a group of riders literally ran into a downed wire, causing three of the riders to go down, two with injuries, they needed Ohio Bike Lawyer Steve Magas’ expertise to help with arbitrating the case against one of the big Internet providers.

So, what was the Internet guy thinking when he left the cones and other warning signs that usually placed on the roadway in his truck?  And, what’s the difference between riding on the road and on a trail or path when it comes to liability?  Steve will tell us the story of the riders and fill us in on what we need to know about our responsibilities on and off the road.

Steve Magas is a licensed attorney and has helped many cyclists who have been involved in crashes of all sorts.  He also has a large database of statistics – sobering statistics – about bicycle fatalities, and interestingly enough, Ohio has fewer than most states. Still, it isn’t zero!

In our conversation, it becomes really clear how important it is to take stock when you find yourself in a crash and get all the data you can gather. 

 

 

Show_Transcript

Show #637 – September 26, 2023

Guest: Johnny Coast

This episode was supposed to air a week earlier to coincide with an event my guest was having at his Brooklyn, NY workshop.  Due to COVID and nasty weather, it was postponed to this coming Sunday, October 1st

Also, I want to preface this episode with an important announcement from Shimano.  Last Thursday, September 21st, Shimano issued a massive recall of over 760,000 cranks. 

Instead of reading you all the information about how to tell if your Ultegra or Dura Ace crank has been recalled, here are pdfs of  Consumer Notice_Shimano Crankset Recall, Final_FAQ_Consumer_and the USA_CAN_Poster_Shimano_Recall that shops are being asked to display.  Everything you need to know is there.  Please take heed as Shimano is really doing a great job with this recall including reimbursing dealers and even helping out if you have a power crank.  Shimano has asked that dealers post the information until February 1, 2024.

NOW – let’s talk about my guest because I really enjoyed this conversation and I think you will too. 

You know how I love speaking with custom frame builders about their work and their lives.

Today though, I’m speaking with custom builder Johnny Coast from Coast Cycles in Brooklyn, NY about his experience supporting “Team Coast” at this year’s PBP – Paris Brest Paris.

The event only comes around every four years and two of Johnny’s clients trained for two years to make the journey to France and compete in the grueling 90-hour event.

At one point, the riders approached Johnny, who built their randonneuring bikes, about forming “Team Coast” and asked if Johnny wanted to come along as support. His answer was yes and his experience was almost as exciting and ratifying as his riders’.

I think he’ll go back and do it again in four more years. That’s not all we talk about though, so let’s get to it. 

And, oh, by the way, we mention “Shermer’s Neck” in our conversation and if you don’t know what it is, it’s a condition where the neck muscles fail from fatigue and can no longer support the head. It is not gradual either; after feeling the first symptoms, the neck will usually stop functioning within two hours.  It happens a lot to RAAM riders and others who do super long-distance events that keep you on the bike for extended hours.

You can find Johnny at coastcycles.nyc and on Instagram @coastcyclesnyc.

Next time on TOC my guests are ground-breaking engineer Georgena Terry, whose women-specific bikes paved the way for more women on bikes and more companies to follow in her footsteps; and Veronica Davis, whose work in transportation started when she was just a little girl.  In her own words she said “At the age of 22, I wrote a life strategic plan. The career objective was, “To be a World Renown Expert in Transportation.” And so she is… and her new book, Inclusive Transportation her manifesto for repairing divided communities.

Transcript_September 26_TOC

 

Show #636 – September 17, 2023

Guest: Lynne Salvo

Dipping front wheel

There is only one word for my guest today and that word is hero!  And, Lynn Salvo is definitely one of mine.

Back in 2019, pre-covid of course, I spoke with Lynn as she was riding across Canada as the oldest woman to complete the trek coast-to-coast for a Guiness World Record.

Then, two days ago and ahead of the hurricane that was about to pummel Maine, Lynn completed her 2023 west-to-east ride to break a record set by another woman (under a completely different set of rules!) and break it she did, once again becoming the oldest woman to ride across the U.S. on a bike.

With her 74th birthday coming up September 21st, I was fortunate enough to sit down with Lynn as she rode into NE Ohio on August 27th.

It was like sitting down with an old friend and picking up where we might have left off decades ago – chatting and laughing and enjoying the company.

If you’d like to see her blog entries and daily videos, log on to lifeislikeabike.wordpress.com.

Transcript_Lynn Salvo_September 17

Show #635 – August 24, 2023

Guests: Richard Schwinn; Sergio Bravo

EOS – End of summer… and what a strange summer it has been, especially when we look at what Mother Nature threw at us. 

But we still want to feel a sense of normalcy and so, today I welcome two guests to the show.

First up is a name that is synonymous with bicycles – I would venture to say that no one who listens to this podcast doesn’t know the name OR hasn’t had a bicycle with that name on the downtube at some point in his or her life.

And after a lifetime of living and breathing bicycles, Richard Schwinn has decided it’s time to retire and at the end of June, his Waterford Precision Cycles stopped taking new orders and prepared to close the business – which he did the following month.

Richard and I have been friends and business colleagues for decades.  I am always interested in what he has to say and how he thinks about things and today, he shares his thoughts about his decision to retire and close Waterford,  who – if anyone – might fill the gap in what was a unique place in the custom bicycle business, and what the future might look like, including his ideas on eBike and what he calls “electronification.”

I made him promise to speak with me as soon as he and his wife returned from a well-deserved vacation and today, he fulfills that promise.

Then, I speak with Sergio Bravo, the producer of the Master Bike Builder’s Show that will take place September 16-17th in Bentonville, Arkansas.

With the absence of shows such as NAHBS and the NE Bike Builder’s Show, some regional options are beginning to fill the void and today, we speak with Sergio Bravo who decided that it might just time for a new Bike Builder’s Show.

The MBBS will take place September 16 and 17th Bentonville, Arkansas and Sergio is going to tell us all about it.

Here is a written transcript of the show.  August 24_Transcript 

Show #634 – August 6, 2023

Guests: Jennifer Boyd: Dave Wages

Sometimes I wonder how I ever became so lucky as to be able to have conversations with the people I do, and this episode of the show highlights two of those people.

First up is Jennifer Boyd.

Jennifer is the founder of Boyd Productions,LLC, a documentary production company that prides itself on creating films that spark curiosity, connectivity, and societal change. Her multilingual, female-led team has more than 20 years of experience in filmmaking, music, television, and journalism.

Jennifer has produced and directed more than 25 documentaries on topics ranging from climate change to gun control. Good Morning America has called her work “groundbreaking.”

The doc – as she calls it –is called The Street Project.  The production is fascinating, the content relevant, and several of the people who are included in this film have been on the TOC podcast in the past.

The Street Project is a story about a massive movement across the world to reclaim our largest public spaces – namely, our streets. The film starts in NYC and looks at the issues of safety and the usage of space across the globe. With more than 40,000 cyclists or pedestrians killed across the world last year, Jennifer Boyd gives us a thorough examination of how the way we’ve used our public spaces and what has changed through the last ten decades.

Then, I speak with custom frame builder Dave Wages from Ellis Cycles.

The bicycle business has its biggies – the Treks and Specialized and Canyons – and then it has the custom builders such as Richard Sachs, Peter Wiegel, and my guest today, Dave Wages.

Between those two bookends, there were companies such as Waterford Precision Bicycles and Serotta Custom Cycles.  These were shops that could produce a frame-to-order within a few weeks and might have a small staff that could turn out upwards of several hundred to perhaps a thousand frames per year.

Now, those mid-sized custom shops are mostly gone. You may remember that Dave cut his frame building teeth with Serotta and Waterford and now, both of those companies are gone.

So I wanted to know what Dave, has since gone out on his own to produce his exquisite one-of-a-kind framesets, thinks about the situation as well as what he sees going forward.

Dave’s insights are spot-on and I think you’ll appreciate what he has to say.