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Cycling Should Be: Fun & Easy

I first heard about Globe Bicycles, Specialized’s new arm a few months ago via Bike Hugger. They were invited out to Minneapolis for the launch. Around the same time, a Specialized rep came to my work’s Commute to Work event, donning some Globe clothing and had some literature with him.

New bike companies come and go all the time so at first I did not really pay much attention. Then, I took a closer look at it soon became clear that what the team at Globe are doing to advance cycling and commuting should be commended. Specialized is operating Globe as an independent arm with separate designers, engineers, and marketing team. They don’t want you to think of the company as Specialized: Globe, but rather just Globe Bicycles. This is not a road/mountain bike company that decided to make some city cruisers. This is literally a ground up operation, creating bikes that overcome some real-world obstacles that discourage people from riding.

I have been training for the Lighthouse Century for the last couple of months and riding has never been so pleasurable for me. I actually refrain from consuming any alcohol after work on Friday and sleeping early so I can get up at 6AM on Saturday’s to ride. Despite my renewed passion for cycling, I still find it a drag to take my bike to work and I never ever take it to the store or a friend’s house. The main problem I think is cycling has become too complicated. I’ll get to that in a bit.

Recently, the company announced the Globe Experience Project which pairs bloggers with bicycles in return for stories about their experiences. I think I would be an ideal candidate for this project because of my experience.

1. I follow cycling and have am particularly interested in where the science and technology intersect with the culture. I am constantly on message boards, twitter, and blogs following bike news and culture. This year, I took a day off work and drove up to Solvang, CA, then rode my bike through town to the last straight-away of the course and watched the Tour of California time trial.

2. I am an experienced writer and blogger. I maintain my own blog, the one for the non-profit I am involved in, and I am a contributor for in which I write about music, technology, fashion, and yes, cycling. Here are some of my pieces:

708 Cycling

2009 Bicycle Film Festival

Look KeO Spring Laneo Pedals

3. I work in as an Engineer in Quality Assurance. I have an eye for detail. I also review products for companies, particularly active sports ones, and give them feedback. I am wrapping up a review for the Seca 700 bike light and am going to start on the pedals that helped propel Alberto Contador to this year’s Tour de France victory.

4. I am comfortable with blogging and technology. I take plenty of pictures (over 25,000 online) and videos. I have even participated in a similar project before with Toyota, helping them understand what young consumers want in not only cars but a car company. I log most of my rides with heart rate, speed, distance, cadence, data so you can see how I’ve been doing. I care about data sets but I care more about having fun.

5. Last but not least – I love biking. It has allowed me to see parts of my city I never knew existed, even after living ten years here. It keeps me in great shape and is a real social experience.

And this is exactly where Globe comes in. As I said earlier, biking has become too complicated. Here’s a typical scenario of me riding my bike to work: I have to make sure I am not wearing shoes with too many laces lest they get caught in my chain. Often I have clipless pedals mouned which is another headache.  I need to wear shorts or knickers or roll up my jeans so they don’t get grease on them. My eyes are sensitive so sunglasses are a must and, of course, gloves and a helmet are a given. If I think I am going to be riding far after work or to lunch, I need to pick the right bag. Something that can hold my gear, extra shoes if needed, change of clothes if I get sweaty, and it shouldn’t shift when I ride or get too hot and sweaty against my back. What if I need to run errands after work on my bike? Will my messenger bag be able to hold everything I need?

I know that plenty of people (especially in Europe) just hop on their bikes and go. I simply don’t see many American’s doing this. I am extremely concerned about riding my (relatively) expensive road bike and locking it up anywhere in public. It’s too much of a risk.

I want to get away from this kind of thinking. I want to make cycling my first choice whenever I leave my apartment, not an alternative. I want a bike that is fun to ride, can hold my groceries, and can make it up a small hill if I need. I am moderately strong rider and my town is mostly flat-ish, but I still desire that flexibility that gears offer. Fenders would be nice because I’d never take my road bike out in the rain.  I want to not have to worry about clipping in or adjusting cables or brakes. I want to look at a bike and know I can be on the road without having to wake up 30 minutes earlier to get ready.

I don’t think I am alone in this. I think many of us are so detail oriented, so objective in our thinking, that we’ve overcomplicated something that, in our youth, was such a simple concept – just get out and ride.

Help me do that, Globe.

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