Getting to the airport is a hassle for most business travelers. Not for Jeffrey Miller, who rides his bike when flying out of Washington DC’s Reagan National. He makes the four-mile trip to the airport on the Mount Vernon pathway and locks up at the airport’s multiple bike parking spaces.
As president and CEO of the Alliance for Biking and Walking, a leading advocacy group for better bike paths and sidewalks, Miller pedals just about everywhere. He commutes to his DC office by bike, a scenic tour that takes him down the National Mall and around the White House.
Miller’s bike: a Trek Soho Deluxe with Gates Carbon Drive (pictured below on the Alliance bike rack outside his office). Miller outfitted his Soho with a front rack for more carrying capacity. “It has been a fantastic low-maintenance bike,” Miller says. “The Gates belt drive was a key part of my decision to buy it. For commuting it’s an absolute no-brainer.”
Miller was so pleased with the Soho (voted Commuter Bike of the Year by Bicycling) that he rode 65 miles on his first outing. “I was just so psyched at how smooth and clean and quiet it was.”
Miller travels to cities across the country to promote local bicycling advocacy efforts, and works Capitol Hill trying to get Congress to support funding for bike paths and infrastructure that makes it safer and easier for more Americans to get out of cars and onto bikes. Miller has seen great progress in the DC cycling scene during his four years in Washington. There are new bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue, a new cycle track on L Street, lots of bike parking and more cyclists on the road every year. “It’s not unusual to be at a traffic light and have bikes taking up an entire lane.”
Gates is a proud sponsor of the Alliance for Biking and Walking, as well as local affiliate Bike Denver. Learn more about how you can promote bicycling in your community, or become a member, at PeoplePoweredMovement.org. The Alliance recently published its new Open Streets Guide. Open Streets are days when cities close certain roads to cars and allow only pedestrians and bicyclists. In 2005 a half-dozen communities held open streets days. Now they exist in 80 cities across North America.
And the next time you’re flying out of Reagan National, hop on your bike and cruise the Mount Vernon trail. Make sure to look for the guy in the suit on the Soho with a smile on his face–and no grease on his pant leg.
Coffee-loving bicyclists, meet the Velopresso: an ingenious pedal-powered mobile coffee stand designed to lower the carbon footprint of our collective caffeine habit. Created by two product design students from the Royal College of Art in London, the machine uses no electricity, making it perfect for street corners and off-the-grid locations. Velopresso not only gets around town by pedal power; the coffee grinder is also pedal-powered. Delicious coffee, no electricity, no motors, no noise.
“Velopresso was conceived against the backdrop of a global renaissance in cycling culture that is being driven by the desire for more sustainable cities and lifestyles,” says co-creator Amos Field Reid, pictured below kneeling behind the machine. “The urban coffee scene is also expanding and diversifying, including a convergence with cycling culture. Velopresso engages directly with these cutting-edge urban cultures.”
The only fuel use consists of a camp stove to heat the water and create steam. The stove now uses camping/mountaineer’s gas, but Reid and co-creator Lasse Oiva are researching methods to create ethanol alcohol from the spent coffee grounds, which would be used to fire the camp stove burner. “Research is underway to derive a zero-carbon fuel for the stove from waste grinds,” Reid says.
We love the Velopresso because it uses not one but two Gates Carbon Drives–one for locomotion and another to power the grinder, which produces a double-shot of espresso with five seconds of easy pedaling. With a click of a gear lever, the belt-drive transmission switches from powering the trike’s wheels to powering the custom-made grinder. The inventors say the clean and grease-free belt drive was the perfect solution: you don’t want toxic chain lube in your soy latte.
“The Gates Carbon Drive forms an integral part of the Velopresso,” Reid says. “The belt eliminated the problem of an oily chain getting mixed up with the coffee prep environment. It also rendered a chain guard unnecessary, allowing us to showcase this rational, progressive, pedal-powered technology and keeping it all naked as we intended. We wanted technology that looks good and performs perfectly. From the very earliest design sketches we located the Gates Carbon Drive that powers the grinder at the center of the machine–a statement of intent.”
Velopresso has already won several design awards including the Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Enterprises 2012, and second place in the Pininfarina Design Contest 2012. Reid and Oiva are now trying to commercialize Velopresso to sell them in Europe and North America. “The Velopresso project as a business is conceived around the production of multiple machines for sale or leasing to individual private vendors alongside coffee and bicycle related companies, as both an eye-catching new form of mobile retail operation and a highly visible promotional vehicle,” Reid says. The machine’s weatherproof side panels can be customized for company or corporate branding.
Ladies, do you have a high maintenance boyfriend? You know the type: likes to fix bikes and get his hands dirty but leaves a trail of grease and grime in his wake. Dude, have you ever heard of soap?
Check out Gates Carbon Drive’s new video: “High Maintenance Boyfriend,” which highlights the benefits of a clean and low-maintenance belt drive bike.
Unlike chains, Carbon Drive requires no greasy lube. That means clean hands–and fewer smudges on the refrigerator door. Join the clean and quiet bicycle revolution. Your belt drive won’t buy you flowers or remember your anniversary, but it may just rekindle your romance with cycling.
Team Gates Carbon Drive was out in force last weekend as the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross came to their home turf on a twisty hill-side course in Fort Collins, Colorado. Racing against the nation’s most elite singlespeeders, the team didn’t get the win but did place three riders in the top five on Saturday, and three in the top six on Sunday.
Taylor Nye on the fly-over. Photo: Stephen Fitzgerald, www.monovich.com/perpetualthree/
In uncharacteristic Colorado fall weather, the skies opened up Saturday morning, drenching the course with rain and creating ideal cyclocross conditions just in time for the Single Speed race. The twisty track quickly became muddy and wet with puddles, but that only gave an advantage to the belt drive riders. Much like Cross Vegas, it was quickly a battle between Team Gates Carbon Drive’s Jesse Swift and Craig Etheridge from Seattle. The team also had Taylor Nye and Carlos Casali right there, pushing the pace hard. In the end Jesse took second with a small gap to first place, officially starting a friendly rivalry between these two awesome riders! Taylor and Carlos didn’t let up for even a moment, and finished just seconds behind in 4th and 5th, giving the team 3 out of the top 5. Additionally, Craig Etheridge was riding his Raleigh with Gates Carbon Drive, meaning 4 out of the top 5 positions at this muddy race were on belted Raleigh Hodalas–the new race favorite for singlespeed cyclocross.
Our favorite female racer Cristina Begy was giddy all day at the thought of facing off against some of the top women in the world on a rainy and muddy course in the Women’s Elite race. And while Cristina was flying through the technical slippery conditions, she unfortunately suffered from a bit too large of a gear, which slowed her on the hilly sections of the course.
Brian Hutchison working hard. Photo: Stephen Fitzgerald
On Sunday, day two of the USGP, the rain stopped and the air warmed slightly, but the course had evolved into a greasy singletrack, forcing the riders to balance their outright power and speed with their ability to keep their bikes upright. Carlos and Taylor were flying right from the gun, fighting to get cleanly into the twisty course. I was just a few bikes back, and behind me Mitch Westall was stuck behind some traffic but marking Saturdays winner Craig Etheridge. After three hard crashes in as many weeks, I hadn’t picked the best course to build my confidence back, and I was struggling to commit in the slippery conditions. Carlos and Taylor were working well together, but it wasn’t long before Craig came flying past me, followed not long after by Mitch, both on a real tear towards the front of the pack.
Mitch Westall chasing hard. Photo by Stephen Fitzgerald
In the slugfest at the front, Taylor made a slight mistake, sliding in the mud and tangling with the course tape, but fighting back for third place. Mitch fought traffic for most of the race, and with late-race lap times significantly faster than those around him, he won a tight sprint for fourth place. After two days of pulling hard for the team, Carlos held strong for 6th, and I finished up mid-pack but feeling better for the coming races!
Taylor Nye forcing the pace! Photo: Stephen Fitzgerald
Cristina was anxious to make amends for Saturday’s race, and did just that, fighting some of the top women in the sport who were racing on geared bikes while she competed on her belt drive singlespeed. Even though she was sad the conditions were not as muddy, she had a much better race and continues to build for the biggest races yet to come.
Raleighs and Gates Carbon Drives were by far the most popular bikes of the weekend!
A bunch of our “brothers” from Seattle were out for the weekend, and I am sure I’ve never been in a race with so many sweet Raleigh cross bikes or as many Gates Carbon Drive bikes. The guys that are serious about single speed cyclocross know that there is only one drive train for the ultimate bike.
Team Gates Carbon Drive hanging with Raleigh and Belt Drive brothers from Seattle.
Next week will bring two local races in Boulder and Louisville, which both offer points for the Colorado Best Cyclocross Rider and Team competition. Come check out the team bikes, and cheer the guys on both days! Thanks to photographer Stephen Fitzgerald for the great photos.
Media coverage of belt drive bikes with Gates Carbon Drive has been coming in heavy this fall. First up is Cyclocross Magazine, which reviewed the carbon fiber Raleigh Hodala singlespeed race bike used by Team Gates Carbon Drive and the River City Bicycles cyclocross team. “Raleigh and Gates have teamed up to build a limited edition high-end, ultralight, dream-worthy singlespeed,” Cyclocross says in its issue No. 14.
The Fall 2011 issue of Paved, a sister publication of Bike Magazine, features the Spot Brand Ajax Belt. “This is one townie that’s hard to find fault with,” the editors write of the eight-speed commuter bike.
Momentum is a beautiful magazine that focuses on urban bikes and fashion, which means they love the clean and grease-free aspects of Carbon Drive. “Clean, quiet, light and strong, Gates Carbon Drive makes cycling easier–and it looks great with a skirt,” write the editors of Momentum, who featured a Spot Brand Acme eleven speed and a Co-Motion CityView in their 2011 special edition Goody Basket Gear Guide. “Handbuilt in Eugene, OR, with no finicky derailleur and no greasy chain, the CityView will keep your commute and your errands clean and hassle-free.”
Momentum goes on to say: “The CityView may just change your life.”
Look for copies of these three magazines on newsstands and go get belted, brothers and sisters!