Back to the United States

I'm back in Maine and wanted to let you all know I made it safe and my bike did as well.  I will post more on that later with some photos.  It was quite a feat getting it all in and under the size restrictions, but I managed and 0$ in extra fees and over 24 hours later I was back home.  I did get a few suspicious looks (the box was very odd shaped) but I wasn't questioned further after telling them in was aluminum tubing.  Even customs got me through quickly and easily.
I did have to dissemble one wheel and just take the rim with me.  The extra width of the hub would have put me over size.
Merry Christmas all and Happy Newyear.
Ride safe



Chiba Bike Polo ありがとう!

 You guys have been great!
Take care, and I'll see you at the Worlds in Seattle if you're up for it!
My final days in Japan have been great!
Ride safe.



Green Night Ride 楽しかった!

Green Night Ride Illumi-Meguri Ride 楽しかった!

Green Night Ride's Illumi-Meguri Ride was excellent!
Thanks to all the great guys I rode with and Wada for organizing!
Send me your photos friends!



Taiwan Hardcourt Bike Polo

Some of the guys from Tokyo went to play in Taiwan a few weeks back and here's a great video of all the fun they had!
Way to represent Tokyo!

I hope december is treating you well,


Rainy City and a New Blog

Greenbikelove has evolved slowly into a blog mostly about my experiences and how they relate to bicycles.  On occasion, a post of several sketches shows up as well, which is fine, but not wanting to bore anyone looking for bike posts, and wanting to post more art myself, I dug up an old hardly used blog from a long while back and I'm attempting to restart it as a place for sketches and cool art links I stumble across.
Here it is! and tell your friends



The Helmet Debate and How

A few weeks ago I watched a short TEDxCopenhagen presentation by Mikael Colville-Anderson, in which he talks about how bicycle helmet safety laws and pressure are tools in a fear campaign to keep cars dominant.  I was ready to agree with him, but found his presentation to be less than interesting and poorly argued. (I do think I agree with his thesis but not really any of the data or arguments he presented)

In any case, I began reflecting on the 'helmet debate' and here are my thoughts from the past few weeks

1: mandatory helmet laws are not the best way to increase bike safety.
2: wearing or not wearing a helmet is a personal choice. (and should be respected)
3: helmets are not the most important part of bicycle safety.
4: People in cars and on bikes must cooperate to improve safety for everyone.
5: both personal safety techniques and policy improve safety for road users.

I have become a bit frustrated with how helmet issues are debated as well.  I think the debate needs to continue but more civilly and more carefully.
Here are a few tips when dealing with heated helmet debates:

1:don't take it personally
   All cyclists want to ride safely and have fun, and just because someone disagrees with you about helmets doesn't mean you're not pushing in the same direction.
2: read the argument carefully and identify the point.
   This one can be tough because most helmet discussions I've seen are ambiguous about this.  Realize that statistics, scientific studies and even personal experiences are all flawed in representing 'the one truth' about bike helmets.  There are almost innumerable angles from which to observe helmet safety, and just as many ways to misconstrue data.  For example: A study may conclude that just as many accident fatalities wore helmets as didn't, so helmets don't increase your chances of surviving a crash.  A good question to ask would be 'of the fatalities how many died of head injuries?'  Realize that a study that shows that helmets don't improve survival rates, says nothing whatsoever about minor collisions or solo accidents involving train tracks or bike malfunction.  Wearing a helmet in a head on collision with a car traveling 100mph won't save your life, but it may save you from a concussion if you get a stick caught in your wheels or if you eat it on a corner in the rain.
3:attempting to refute statistics by citing your personal 'thank god I had a helmet' story is not productive (and neither is disregarding personal experience when looking at statistics)
   A study that says wearing a helmet increases your risk of injury while cycling is not refuted by the fact that you once were in a terrible accident and 'thanks to the helmet' made it out alive.  Your experience is important, and often is worth mentioning in a discussion, but be aware that you don't necessarily know the parameters of the study or what the researchers were looking for.  Were they studying only head injuries?  All injuries?  Deaths?  Vehicular collisions only? etc.
4: remember that a bicycle helmet is no substitute for safe riding techniques.
    It doesn't matter how safe your equipment is, if you ride dangerously, your chances of being injured or killed increase.  Step back and look at the bigger picture here.

Taking points 2 and 3 into consideration, I think cyclists should each identify why they personally ride with or without a helmet.  Do you wear a helmet so people will think you're a 'safe cyclist'? To save your life in that 'big crash' that may come any day? maybe you've had a bad experience, or know someone you trust who advocates helmet use.  Regardless of your reasons, recognize the limitations of the bicycle helmet and that we are all striving for safer more livable streets.

Here are a few links to check out:
And a graph that I like: http://cyclehelmets.org/1079.html
Ride safe my friends,



Hit by a Pedestrian

So today I experienced the closest thing I've had to a 'bike accident', but it was a bit different than I would have ever expected.
I've been fortunate and blessed to have never been hit by a car, gone over the handlebars, or been doored. The last time I can remember falling from by bike to the ground was when I was 10 years old and got the handlebars flipped around landing me quickly on the pavement.
To day I was riding through Tokyo, and I was at one of it's busiest intersections, a massive one in Shibuya where pedestrians cross en mass diagonally when the signal goes on. I was slowly navigating my way through the huge crowd, riding slow, when the green walk lights began to flash, the traffic cops began blowing their whistles and everyone out on the street begins running to clear the road, I pulled out of the crowd and was halfway through the intersection when a businessman carrying a briefcase collided with me broadside at a good run. I fell, hit the pavement and rolled free of my bicycle. The man helped me up, apologizing profusely and then ran off to avoid the flow of cars that was now inching around me and my bike. I hopped back on in a daze and headed for the closest sidewalk.
I banged up my elbow and my ankle was a bit sore from trying to catch myself as I fell, but no real injuries.
It made me really appreciate my good track record.
I have had several close calls with cars in which quick thinking on my part as pulled me through shaken but unharmed, and I always assumed (despite knowing logically that this was not the case) that as long as I was smart, riding safe and had my eyes open and my wits about me, I was pretty much safe.
I didn't see this guy coming at all, and he was moving at only a fraction of the speed of the automobiles I share the road with on a daily basis. Granted he was smaller than a car and wearing all black, but I know that in a different situation it could have been a car pulling out of an unseen alley, leaving me with more than a bruised elbow to show for it.
Have you been in a collision while riding? I hope not, but if you have feel free to share your experience and how/if it changed the way you ride.

Be safe, ride with lights and keep your eyes open!


Bikes AND Comics!

Here's a great comic I found today ABOUT BIKES!!
Here's my favorite so far, but all of them are great!

Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery
by Rick Smith

Check it out and keep riding!


Legs, Ginger Chai and Becoming a Beautiful Woman

I've been 'train sketching' like mad recently in my new smaller paperback sketchbook, and recently I've been tackling legs. (not really, I actually just draw them) This may sound slightly perverted, but Japan is a GREAT place to draw legs.
I've also been trying to peg boots recently and I've done quite a few combination 'boot-leg' drawings.
It's hard to draw while standing up in the train...
So highschool girls, if they're really popular of course, wear their skirts really high, which I don't endorse... and some dudes
Sweet sneakers, socks and jacket all in one!
A girl surrounded by legs
This guy had some SWEET legs and thin pants.
If she had woken up it would have been awkward
A cool girl
A Guy and his PSP and a Guy and some boots. Not his boots tho.
So, I endulged in a piping hot vending machine beverage this morning (It was cold on the 5:32am train :-( which I gathered to be a ginger tea chai. It was delicious, and feeling envigorated afterword, I decided to read as much of the label as possible with help from my trusty dictionary. I learned the words for 'ginger' 生姜 , 'to shake' 振る, 'burn' 火傷 and 'let's become cozy beautiful women!' ポカポカ美人になろう!

Apparently I chose a gender specific beverage.

Have a happy week!



A few weeks ago I had the great opportunity to watch the final night of this years Keirin racing with my friend Wada. We met at the station in Kawasaki and hopped on a bus that brought us to the Keirin Velodrome.
Keirin is a sport that I knew nothing about until coming to Japan, and I've spent the past few months piecing together information about it from conversations and a few articles I've read.
For a rundown of the basics check out our friend wikipedia.

An interesting thing about Keirin is that all of the velodromes are owned by the Japanese government, and the races are managed by them as well. Because of this the sport hasn't changed or evolved the way it might otherwise. Keirin is unique in that steel framed bikes are the only bikes allowed in the races, which has the unique affect of preserving the handmade track bike industry in Japan. Where many frame handmade steel frame builders may have gone out of business, Keirin's constant demand for traditional track bikes has kept the Japanese industry alive. Names such as Revel and Nagasawa are very famous and have an incredible reputation for quality.

Entering the velodrome and watching the races was a bit saddening actually. The facilities were massive, but in disrepair, and it was obvious that Keirin's popularity had waned so that even on the night of the years final races, the stands were essentially empty.The other saddening aspect was the betting. It was obvious that except for Wada and me nobody was there to appreciate cycling or the amazing speed of the keirin athletes. The spectators were all men with "sad eyes", as Wada put it, and many of them didn't even leave the betting booths but just watched the numbers and statistics flash across the television screens, tickets clutched in their hands. The comparisons to a horse race are many and kind of disgusting.
The betting sheet was filled with information to help us decide who to place our meager 100yen bets on. Things like past record, gear ratio, age, etc were all posted. The age difference in some of the racers was massive! Some were in their late 40s!
For details on the different bets you can place, check out the afore mentioned wiki article.
We didn't win anything, and I think I was bad luck because Wada said as we left that he usually wins at least once in a night of races. The returns are pretty low on a 100yen bet anyhow. :-)
Here's a poor video of the racers,

Keirin Clip from Spencer Hawkes on Vimeo.

I really enjoyed the evening, but not because the betting or racing was even particularly interesting, but more because I was able to get a peek into an aspect of bicycle culture I never new existed.
If you've been to Keirin let me know if you agree or disagree with my comments.

Ride smart this week,
I've been learning about helmet laws and safety statistics this week, so more posts (and controversial at that) to come!


Polo sketch 2

Another sketch of bike polo
There will be more polo drawings I'm sure.

千葉 Bike Polo Sketch

A quick sketch this evening.
I'd like to do a series of polo drawings.

Chiba Hardcourt Bike Polo



Recent Fooling Around

A few drawings from life and my mind.
excuse the poor quality of the drawings and blame the photographer....

Thanks to Anthony and Jake, who unknowingly through their blogs have inspired more comics and memory sketches.

More bike posts on the way as soon as I get my thoughts organized,
in the meantime, enjoy fall (not winter)



Streets and Cars and Life

If you haven't heard of livable streets, then you should check it out, and you can start with this great video!
This is not new stuff, it just needs more attention.

Revisiting Donald Appleyard's Livable Streets from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

It's wonderful to see data collected that reflects what people all can feel, but is hard to structure into something that a town council or government would consider basing infrastructure plans around.
Show this to people you love!


Greenways in Portland

One of the reasons I love Portland.

Portland's Bike Boulevards Become Neighborhood Greenways from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

I hope your city is working to make the streets safe for everyone.



round and round

Seen at the Bicycle Film Festival Block Party, Halloween 2010, Tokyo,

Halloween BMX Spin from Spencer Hawkes on Vimeo.




Quick Polo Video

Lots of Tokyo guys came out to play in Makuhari with us today,
here's some of the action.

Bike Polo 4 Makuhari from Spencer Hawkes on Vimeo.



Sports, Sports, Sports Bikes

That's mostly what I saw at Cycle Mode International today. This was my first 'trade show' (I don't ACTUALLY know what that means) and I spent most of my time looking for things that weren't covered in decals, ugly, and over 2,000$. I was barely successful.I was lucky to find a small booth where a wonderful sage of a Japanese man was displaying his handmade bicycles! Fortunately for me he speaks English quite well and we chatted about bike culture in Japan and America. Kazusuke is his name and he has been writing about bikes for over 30 years, recently publishing a book on the history of the bicycle (which he showed me, confessing he hadn't bothered to translate it into English yet) Wearing a tweed coat, black and white beard and glasses, standing behind 2 beautiful antique replicas, I felt like I had hopped into another century. Startlingly he invited me to send him an e-mail to meet up sometime and he'd show me around by bike and go out 'for tea'. He even said he'd lone me a bike for the ride, which I will surely take him up on.(This great frame is a double top tube and diamond frame with a slight upward curve going into the stem with advantages that Kazusuke explained in detail)

Other than Kazusuke's bikes (he has yet to have an official brand name yet, but said he was going to call them ’bizen’, the name of a type of Japanese sword, and made up of the characters 'beauty' and 'truth' 美全) there wasn't much in the enormous hall that sparked my attention. I did hop on a carbon frame for the first time and race around the track they had set up. Very smooth.Osso bikes had an interesting set up with a live DJ mixing music and an artist doing bike related designs on an overhead that someone else was distorting in kind of a kaleidescopic way. Although the display was mostly geared toward those who like their gears fixed and single, the creative media is worth mentioning. There were also a bunch of interesting folding bikes and one really crazy recumbent with a rather complicated chain get up. (the bike was a prototype, and that foot is not the rider's.)

Mont Bell and Columbia also had camping gear and some bike clothing, but there was an absence of hybrid work/bike clothing and what some would call 'lifestyle' bikes that was kind of disappointing. I think if I'm to get excited by anything in the commercial bike world it's going to be new marketable products that get more people on bicycles and try to bridge the gap between riding and living. I can appreciate individual racers, fixed gearers, bmx-persons, etc but huge companies promoting their products repulses me a bit, and I find myself talking with people in tweed instead of snapping photos of the latest release from Eddy Merckx. (there was a bicycle fashion show going on as well with a runway and everything! ah spandex...)
So in conclusion, it wasn't really my scene, but meeting Kazusuke was wonderful, and it didn't hurt that I got my ticket free from a friend.

have fun riding this week
(and just because I don't ride a carbon frame or wear spandex doesn't mean you shouldn't with gusto!)



Tokyo BFF and the Halloween Ride!

The Bicycle Film Festival has come to Tokyo, and has gone. I really enjoyed the films shown and also the events on Halloween that ended the festival.
Highlights included Riding the Long White Cloud, a documentary of a group of pro skaters who decided to bicycle across New Zealand, stopping and skating as they went. Beautiful and engaging, it was definitely one of my favorite films. The Birth of Big Air, a Spike Jonze premier about the life of Matt Hoffman, revolutionary BMX-er was very well made and having had no interest in BMX all of my life, very interesting and informative. (I've been thinking recently of branching out as a cyclist, and about the personal benefits, as well as massive widespread understanding that could be bred amongst cyclists if we all tried someone else' style at least once. More on this later) There were lots of great shorts, including a clever clip about the first (and likely last) unicycle tandem called A New Challenge. (from the Neistat Brothers, regular contributors to the BFF) a great 1987 short about a messengers ironic battle to deliver a package (On Time, Ari Taub)
and an inspiring and wonderful farm boy inventor film called Ski Boys that made me want to ride my mattress down the stairs again.
The Kintaro theater where the films were played is located in Daikanyama, a beautiful little section of Tokyo graced by a tree lined canal and many cobblestone streets. Interesting cafe's and boutiques line the avenues and lent to the hip feel of the event. The first few film programs were poorly attended, and I was a bit disapointed by how small it was turning out to be, but saturday saw sold out shows and Halloween some 70 people gathered, mostly costumed, to ride through some of the busiest streets of Tokyo and spread Halloween cheer. In true Japanese fashion, bystanders were snapping photos with their phones, and I manged to catch some of the ride on video as well, which I will post here as soon as I'm finished editing out the long boring parts. :-)We worked our way from the Farmers Market at the United Nations University up to Meiji Park where several events were held and people chatted and enjoyed the clear day.
But for me perhaps the best part of the whole weekend was meeting Wada. On Saturday the film Tokyo to Osaka was shown and it featured a Japanese who helped guide the riders part of the way down to Osaka. In what was for me the most compelling 10 minutes of the entire festival, Wada told the story of how his father, an Olypic bicyle racer, had died over a decade ago, and now he rode his beautiful Olympic bike. He felt like he was chasing his father still when he rode, and not quite able to catch him. Wada, the guide, was present at the screening and was cheered by all.

Tokyo to Osaka Teaser from John Murillo on Vimeo.

(Wada shows up at sec 56 in the trailer :-)

The next day I saw Wada waiting for the Halloween ride to begin. I approached him and told him my thoughts on his very touching story in the film. He informed me he had no idea that he was even in the final cut, and was humble as I complimented him. As we rode we made conversation in a mixture of Japanese and English (his English was excellent) At one point I mentioned that I spoke Spanish, and he instantly began speaking to me in Spanish! I was surprised and excited. People cheered and took photos as we rode down the street in a crowd of costumed bikes.

Wada and I both agree that the barriers that exist within 'cycling culture' need to be breached. Riding BMX is no less valid than riding a sports bike or fixed gear bike. (or mamachari as is more often the case in Japan) but Wada had an interesting idea I had not thought much about. He said that people need to ride for fun. FUN! Almost everyone in Japan rides a bicycle, but very few ride for fun. That is the difference between a 'bike person' and everyone else. In the United States I feel like almost everyone who rides a bike does so because they enjoy it. If you ride a bike you stand out and have to be passionate about it. In Japan the majority of the population ride bikes in a similar way americans drive cars (not fast and reckless) but without thinking. It's just how you get around. It doesn't matter if you like it or not. Wada has ridden Critical Mass in the United States and while on the subject I asked if Critical Mass happens in tokyo. He said no, but that he has tried to start one a few times. The general public just aren't that interested he said. In America he rode with all kinds of people in CM, many who had no connection to the ride, but just showed up for fun. Passing out fliers and inviting people doesn't really work in Japan he said. It was apparent that for Wada the purpose of Critical Mass is to get people not already heavily involved in bicycle culture to ride, to branch out and break barriers. I realized that I agree with him. The negative side to Critical Mass are the things that alienate and build barriers (like deliberately annoying drivers, riding dangerously, etc) and the wonderful thing about it is anyone and everyone can do it together. I've made many friends riding Critical Mass and it was a Critical Mass that first made me feel like I wasn't a lone ranger on my bike in Utah.
By now we were through the busiest section of Shinjuku and approaching Meiji Park, our final destination and block party location. We pulled up, tall bikes rolling by, kids on tiny mountain bikes and families in cargo bikes rounding up in a big parking lot.
Wada was fascinating because not only did he have great ideas about bikes and know how to express them, he also had a fantastic personal story. He added to what he had shared in the film on saturday: As he raced more and more he stopped using his fathers old steel bike and switched to carbon, but he always carried some piece of his fathers bike with him. The handlebars, a water bottle, or pedals. One day, he raced without anything of his fathers bike. Solo. I expected Wada to inform me he crashed or that something terrible happened, but instead he turned to me and said "I won the race." I was tingling. All of these years he felt he was chasing his father, always just behind him and his legecy, and then he leaves his father behind and wins the race.
Needless to say, The Halloween Funride turned out to be one of the most enjoyable rides I've ever been on.

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween (even better if bikes were involved :-)
ride safe, and make friends!



BFF Mid-Festival Update, Tokyo

opening party and photo show

A few photos from the Bicycle Film Festival Tokyo 2010.
I have lots to say, but there's still one more day to go so I'll hold off on comments for now. (also halloween bike polo tournament!)

crowd at the venue

the Kintero Theater

Brendt Barbur, founder of the BFF

More soon!



Vintage Bike Polo Post Script

A Post Script:
Some great pictures of Old Bike Polo being played!
Check them out here:


Hitting a Ball with a Mallet on a Bike

Last Saturday I donned my special pants, threw my lights on my bike and rode towards downtown Makuhari to try and find a group of people playing Bike Polo. I had heard about the Bike Polo group from Seiya at The Depot, and I was excited to give this intriguing sport a try.
I spent about an hour in what turned out to be a massive waterfront park looking for people on 2 wheels. I figured they couldn't be too hard to spot, but the park was a labyrinth of dark deserted lots and beach. I had all but given up and was on my way home (very disappointed I must confess), when I took a chance on a small side road and cleared the trees into a small paved court with perhaps a dozen people with bikes, beer and polo mallets lounging around.
I was immediately introduced to the group and Seiya had even e-mailed ahead warning them I might be coming by.
After a quick explanation of the rules (aided by another American) we were off!
Here's how it works:
-2 teams of 3
-If your foot touches the ground, you must leave play and touch a side post before reentering
-You can use any part of the mallet to move the ball, but can only shoot by striking with the end.
-If you decide to drag the ball by trapping it between the mallet and the ground, you must pass before it can be shot on goal.
-First team to 5 points wins!

Unfortunately is was dark and I was only able to snap a few poor photos and a few videos which you can see here on vimeo. (more on the way)

Bike Polo 3 Makuhari 10.2010 from Spencer Hawkes on Vimeo.

I had a blast, and we played till after midnight.
The game varies in tempo from slow delicate maneuvers to fast skidding dashes, as well as awkward entanglements and crashes. It was difficult at first to connect the mallet and the ball (I made many drive by's where the ball didn't move at all) but soon I started understanding how to pull the ball, push it, not block my own shots with my wheels, get the ball from my left side to my right, etc Interestingly enough, there is some semblance to polo played on horses, as you cannot easily turn on the spot, and you really end up dominant on one side.
The game left me excited to make my own mallet, play as much as I can and find people to play with when I get back to the US of A. (I know both Portland and Salt Lake City have people who play)
By the way, Mallets are often made from old ski poles and PVC heads attached to them.
The ball is a hard plastic, like a street hockey ball.

It was wonderful to connect with such great guys here in the Chiba area who cycle together. Many of their events are posted here.

If you're in a big city, chances are there are people who participate in the craziness that is Bike Polo, and if they're anything like the guys here, they'd love to teach you how to play. (check out more photos here)

Have fun riding this week!
(don't wimp out just because it's getting cold! Wear a hat!)



The Most Amazing BMX You've Ever Seen

I'm not a bmx rider, nor am I usually interested in it, but every once in awhile something like this blows me away.

Tim Knoll BMX from tim knoll on Vimeo.

Amazing stuff.

have a great week riding,


Saturday's Ride

My route and some photos from my ride on Saturday.

I biked from the Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka into Tokyo to Tokyo Wheels Shop, then down to Hibuya Station for dinner with a friend, and back to Tokyo Station to hop on the train home.

Google tells me the total distance is about 26 km. Add a few for me getting lost a couple times. All in all it was a great trip. I also stopped by Yasukuni Shrine.
Bike Parking at the Studio Ghibli MuseumI hope you can enjoy riding, even if you're in traffic like I was!



Cycle and Recycle at the Depot

Another great bike shop find, this time a bit closer to home. I hopped on my bike Monday morning (not Columbus day, but sports day here) and worked my way along Chiba Highway towards Ichikawa City. Biking on the roads here can be crazy. Rarely is there a shoulder, but at least the people driving are usually very considerate and used to navigating with cyclists around them. I covered the 12.5 Kilometers in good time with only an occasional stop to consult the map. I also saw an old man and his amazing bike get up, and found a small bouldering gym, which caused the latent climber in me to awaken and get excited.The Depot is a bike shop that I first heard of at Nuts!Fes and again in Blue Lug earlier that weekend, and I wanted to check it out. I found the small shop easily and was thrilled to strike up a conversation with Seya, the shops owner, which lasted on and off for more than an hour as I browsed, asked bike questions, got some good advice for my own bike, and learned some new things about cotterless cranks! (my almost exclusive experience with vintage Schwinns gives me rather out of date mechanical experience) Perhaps best of all, I found out when and where a local bike polo group plays! Seya sent an e-mail to one of the guys who now knows to look out for a lost white guy next Saturday. (and bring an extra mallet)
I also picked up a copy of COG magazine, and some fixed gear tensioners that are often used on BMX bikes. I haven't seen them on fixed bikes in America, but I probably just haven't seen enough fixies. (these little beauties will save me from constant straddling of the tire and using a wrench as a lever to tighten the chain)The shop was small, but very personal, helpful and well stocked with local gear (including Depot Bikes) and some high end racing parts as well.
I will definitely be back, and when time comes to pack up my Osso and head back to the U.S. of A. I will be back to get the right tools.
I hope you all have a great bike shop nearby where you can get a good conversation and advice is free and generously given.
If you aren't sure, find a bikeshop near you here!
Also an interesting article about how we refer to people by how they get around: www.humanstransit.org
happy riding,



A man and his Bicycle

A wonderful bike side-car get-up I had the pleasure of riding by today.
I hope you enjoy,



2010 Bicycle Film Festival Tokyo

As I started scheduling out the next few weeks of my life I realized I'd completely missed a bike show I really wanted to go to last weekend! I was feeling pretty down, but then remembered that the end of this month the 10th Anniversary of the Bicycle Film Festival will be in Tokyo! (facebook page here)
I looked up some info and watched the trailers, most of which look really interesting. Riding the Lone White Cloud (about skaters on a bike tour across New Zealand) and Bicycle Dreams (documentary of the insane bike race across America) both look really interesting, and the others I think will be entertaining as well. (click to watch trailers, or see them all HERE!)
Bicycle Films are a pretty small chunk of the film world, so I'm really interested to see what is there, and how filmmakers decide that cycling is the subject matter they want to work with. I'm also interested in film as a way to make cycling more accessible to everyone.

I will of course post again after the event, but I was too excited to wait until October 29-31st.

Blue Lug Bike Pants

I indulged in my first pair of bike pants this weekend. I spotted this pair on Blue Lug's website and decided to drop by on Saturday. The shop was great! There was such a huge selection of bike clothing/accessories from so many brands, local or otherwise, that it was almost overwhelming. I deliberated for a long time, examining everything that caught my eye and viciously comparing prices (as I am wont to do) I asked an employee if they shipped internationally. Negative. This kind of sealed the deal for me and I went for the pants. The Capri length was also tempting, but I figure this way I can roll up the legs and still have the option of going 'undercover'. I also threw in a headlight (I've been riding only rear-lit) some rad socks (rasta toe socks!) and a very cool blue lug bandanna with a gear ratio chart printed on it. :-) At the counter I was told that the bandanna was a gift! Very friendly of them.Tonight I donned my nifty new pants (very very comfortable) slipped on my socks, strapped on my new light and hopped on my bike. The night was perfect, cool and still damp from yesterday's rain. I rode down to the water by the Stadium in Chiba, riding mostly on the road and then on paths to the water. I left my phone, bag, and camera at home and rode light. My lock fit snugly and comfortably (a first!) in my back pocket, and the re-enforced seat/stretchy material was comfortable and smooth feeling.

I'm really happy with these pants and recommend them for anyone who has ever experienced jeans.

Hopefully Blue Lug will ship to America so in the future I can still buy their rad gear.
This whole experience of actually buying bike clothing is very unlike me, but I've never felt more like a new person than when I'm wearing a new pair of pants!
Have fun riding, and now I can tell you to ride with both lights at night!

Enjoy riding! Buy local!


ps: for more great photos of the shop check out their blog here! blogged.bluelug.com


Japan by Train

Here's a collection of sketches all done in the many many hours I've spent on trains in Japan. Each was done in about 15 minutes or less. The Japanese keep pretty much to themselves while commuting. They read, text, play games, etc, which makes it really easy to draw them, as nobody looks at anyone else!
More will be forthcoming as well,

Hope you enjoy!