Thursday, March 11, 2010

Developments in Cycling

Lots of new things have been going on in the world of cycling, but one of the most important recent events was the unveiling of Bike directions via Google Maps. Even more exciting, East Lansing and Lansing were on the initial rollout of the feature, which should be great for local bikers.

Let's say, for example, you're in Old Town's famous Golden Harvest restaurant, eating yourself a Bubba Sandwich. So tasty you forget that, holy crap, you gotta be to work at Bessey Hall all the way over on Michigan State campus in 40 minutes! Not that this has ever happened to me, of course. You wonder whether you'd have time to ride the Rivertrail, or should you instead take surface streets to get there faster? Well Google Maps will now tell you what route is best to bike - it recommends the Rivertrail - and it'll also tell you how long it would take to ride, taking different routes. In this case Saginaw to Michigan is a good 10 minutes faster, but I'd really recommend the Rivertrail route, or at least Kalamazoo, which has a bike lane. Good job, Google!

Locally, it's just about time for the season's first race, the Barry-Roubaix. If you want to dip your big toe in the world of bike racing, the Barry is a pretty good opportunity. It has levels of racing ranging from the beginner-friendly 23 mile lap to the extreme challenge of 2 laps, at 65 miles. It's raced pretty much entirely on gravel and a little on singletrack, so a fat-tired road bike is just about perfect (think cyclocross, 28mm or wider), but a mountain bike will do in a pinch of course. It's all happening on March 27th, in Middleville. You can buy tickets in advance, or register on the day of the race for an additional $10. Afterwards, there will be a big bonfire by the beach, so BYOB! I will probably be riding the Bridgestone XO-1, unless the mud or snow gets silly, in which case I'll try out the Rawland Sogn. Hopefully I can get some training rides in before the actual race...

New Mountain Bike