Dr. Unni Karunakara, the recently retired president of Doctors without Borders/Medecins sans Frontieres, is riding 3,100 miles (5,000 km) down the length of India from north to south. His mission is to spread public health information in the many villages and cities he will visit along the way, and act as a humanitarian ambassador for Doctors without Borders, which provides medical care to impoverished people around the world. He is about halfway through the trip that will take four months and bring the physician over mountain ranges and down rural roads to the tropical coast 100 days later. Read a news release about Dr. Karunakara’s humanitarian expedition here.
Karunakara is riding a Schindelhauer touring bike equipped with Gates Carbon Drive, a Brooks saddle and panniers, and Rohloff internal hub.
“I have been working in international health for eighteen years from treating patients, advocating for life-saving medicines, and fighting to improve access and the quality of healthcare,” says Dr. Karunakara. “I feel I have a unique opportunity to pause, reflect, and explore with people what health means to them and how they experience it. I love to cycle. As a medical intern in India in 1988, I biked from Delhi to Leh and Srinagar to Delhi. I dreamed, one day, to ride from one end of India to the other. Twenty five years later, I can fulfill this dream and combine it with my other passion, which is to connect with people, start meaningful dialogues, and learn from each other.”
Read more on the Brooks blog, support Doctors without Borders by donating here, and visit the trip Facebook page.
Jorg Schindelhauer explains the features of Dr. Karunakara’s bike.
Pictured above is the Project Right bike, an ingenious build from English Cycles. It features a reinforced one piece fork on the front and a single belt stay on the rear, making it appear as if those wheels are just floating in space. The bike is among the most beautiful and innovative creations from Rob English, the founder of English Cycles. Watch a video of Rob describing the bike here.
Rob moved to the United States from England in 2006 to work for custom folding bike company Bike Friday after graduating from Cambridge with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. He opened English Cycles in 2009 and has since distinguished himself as a top custom builder with multiple awards from the North American Handmade Bike Show. Rob is a record-holding competitive cyclist who has toured all over the world with his wife, Misha, a cyclist who runs the Velo Bed and Breakfast in Eugene, Oregon. Below are photos of some of Rob’s other beautiful belt drive bikes. See more on his website.
Mitch Westall kicked off the season for Team Gates Carbon Drive Cyclocross Team with a win in the Wheeler and Dealers race at CrossVegas! And just to make sure no one missed the team, Taylor Jung and Taylor Nye secured second and third places, to make it a clean sweep for the team.
Mitch Westall and other class-winners on the CrossVegas podium.
Though the entire team was raring to get the Colorado cyclocross season started, Team Gates Carbon Drive had a smaller presence at the CrossVegas race under the lights on Sept 18th. But only smaller in numbers, because no one was going to miss the vibrant new Spot Rallye team bikes, especially once the lights came on and the usual furious start of the Wheelers and Dealers race warmed up the crowd for the bigger races later on!
Starting from almost mid-pack, Mitch was off like a shot right from the start, quickly moving up through the field. Taylor Jung was even a bit further back, but he wasn’t going to let Mitch get out of sight. As the race settled in, Mitch found himself in a group of favorites chasing a small changing couple leaders off the front. CrossVegas is always a race of survival against the thick grass and dry hot desert air, where battling the geared bikes can be tough for single speed racers. But Mitch fought through to the end and secured 8th overall, and 1st in the singlespeed category. Taylor Jung finished just behind in another group of geared racers, who he wasn’t letting go either, to take 2nd in the singlespeed category. Taylor Nye is just getting started on what is sure to be another strong season, and nonetheless still put in an impressive ride to secure the last step of the podium, making it a clean sweep for the team.
The new Spot Rallye is hard to miss in signature “Agassi Yellow”
The CrossVegas momentum quickly carried over to the weekend races just a couple days later as Jesse Swift, Ryan McFarling, Taylor Jung and Derek Strong raced at the impressive Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, Colorado. The first Colorado race on the calendar didn’t disappoint as a quality field took the start. Jesse and Ryan rode together most the race, working together against a group consisting of 3 other top Colorado racers. Going into the final lap, Ryan threw down a vicious attack that the group was able to shut down, which setup Jesse for a sprint out of the last corner where he had to settle for third place. Ryan recovered from his attack to take 4th, while Derek and Taylor finished close behind in 12th and 13th spots.
After getting warmed-up with his 3rd place finish on Saturday, Jesse Swift was back again on Sunday for the Body Sync Cyclocross race in Golden, Colorado. He said the race was for “training”, especially since it was nice and close to home, but tell that to his fellow competitors! Even after a second row start, Jesse blitzed the rest of the field, pushing his way to the front of the field and finding himself in a group with one other rider, Drew Christopher. Jesse and the other rider were able to put a safe gap on the rest of the field, and though I know Jesse would have preferred to battle to the line, he found himself alone at the finish as Drew suffered a flat. That’s what happens when you’re not sporting the sweet new Stan’s NoTubes IronCross wheels and tubeless setup that Team Gates Carbon Drive is psyched to be sporting this year. I’m sure Drew will be back to challenge the team again.
This season, keep tabs on your favorite belted-cyclocross team directly at http://www.teamcarbondrive.com/ as well!
The happy guy above is Mark Stang of Minnesota, who pulled over to snap a photo when his odometer hit 5,000 miles. That’s 5K on one belt and still going. Mark was so happy he sent us a note:
Last year I learned of the Carbon Drive system and bought a Trek District. This year, a week before I’d had that bike for one year, I’d put 5,000 fabulous miles on it, and had already taken possession of a gorgeous custom built bike based on the CenterTrack system and a frame made right here in Minneapolis by Speedhound.
I am such a satisfied cyclist, thanks to your product! My three-a-half-month-old Speedhound has 1,354 miles on the odometer. I hope that Gates will always make belts for bicycles – there’s no going back for me!!
Thank you all so much,
Obviously, belt life varies greatly depending on the rider, riding conditions and other factors. But 5,000 miles is a lot of riding. Chains typically last half that long, and that’s if you are vigilant about lubricating and cleaning. Do belts wear out? Of course. That’s why we recommend keeping a spare if you ride way off the beaten path, like cyclist James Bowthorpe. He went around the world in 2009 on just two belts. That’s crazy.
Happy cycling Mark! And let us know how many miles you get out of that belt on your District. Meantime, check out the picture and blog post from Speedhound Bicycles founder Chris Cleveland about Mark’s new custom Speedhound
The 5,000-mile super-commuter Trek District
G-RÄF unchained from Whyex Productions on Vimeo.
Gates Nicolai Team rider David “G-RÄF” Graf unchains and belts his Nicolai BMXTB. The video features some nice pump track riding and a smooth music track from Audio Agency.