Best Cycling Websites: Part One
This week’s Oregonian column is all about super fantastic cycling websites. Below is a list of some of my recommendations for superior consumption of what is good on the internets (this includes the sites that made the “short list” for the Oregonian as well as a few extras). In the next installment of Best Cycling Websites (ooooh, a sequel) later this month I’ll hit up Fantastic Cycling Ladies and a few other critical categories.
Enjoy! And thanks for stopping by.
Art and Entertainment
Embrocation – http://www.embrocationmagazine.com/
Embrocation is a linament used by cyclists to keep legs warm in cold weather (often in lieu of knickers or leg warmers). The hot leg goo has become a kind of icon for cyclocross racers and Embrocation Magazine, founded by Portlander Jeremy Dunn, is an homage to cycling’s many cultural subtleties. From the website: “Inspired in equal parts by cyclocross racing, road riding and die-hard commuters the journal is an outlet for writers, artists and photographers to express themselves and tell their stories.”
Freeman Transport Blog – http://www.freemantransport.com/blog/
Freeman Transport makes bikes, bags and other cycling-related accessories. But even if you’re not in for a $2500 track bike, their blog is worth a regular visit. It’s an immaculately curated look at beautiful bits of cycling culture, lore, history, found objects, artifacts, photography and stories. Contributors include Portland’s own Daniel Sharp, James Selman, Slate Olson and Chris DiStefano.
Copenhagen Cycle Chic – http://www.copenhagencyclechic.com/
“Bike Advocacy in High Heels” This website presents a collection of images, mostly European women on bikes, that are both beautiful and inspirational. From the blog: “We realized that making urban biking look effortless – which it is in Copenhagen – was an inspiration to people abroad who wished for the same thing where they live. They embody the freedom of a bike culture. Cycling in high heels to work or a party, skirts a’flowing, hair a’waving. It is the complete opposite of bike ‘culture’ in other countries.”
Bike Snob NYC – http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/
Offering scathing and hilarious analysis of everything from the pros to technology to misguided recreational cyclists, Bike Snob NYC offers a sardonic perspective on our quirky and sometimes ridiculous cyclist’s world. No one is safe from the snob’s critical eye, but he’s so highly revered that even getting skewered by him is considered an honor. The author has remained anonymous despite the site’s popularity (posts regularly garner well over 100 comments). He now writes a column for Bicycling Magazine.
Fat Cyclist – http://www.fatcyclist.com/
In the world of A-List cycling bloggers, Fat Cyclist reigns right up there with Bike Snob NYC (a super popular blog offering a sardonic look at bike culture). But rather than delivering the biting critique of BSNYC, “Fatty” (Elden Nelson) offers a light-hearted, welcoming perspective and supports an important mission: raising funds for cancer research. His interest in cancer research is a personal one. In 2009 Nelson lost his wife, Susan, after a 5-year battle with breast cancer. Fatty writes with an honesty and earnestness that has earned him the respect of thousands and he’s also downright hilarious.
All Hail the Black Market – http://www.allhailtheblackmarket.com/
Described as “a place where artists, musicians, skateboarders, cyclists, photographers, thinkers, dreamers, pranksters, schemers, and general purveyors of mayhem can all come together”, All Hail the Black Market takes irreverence to the hilt. Written by “Stevil Knevil”, it’s an alternative look at cycling culture that will either have you rolling on the floor with laughter or scratching your head and closing the browser in disgust. You’ve been warned.
Bike Portland – http://bikeportland.org/
Possibly the Queen Mother of all Bike Blogs, Bike Portland sets the bar. Focusing on transportation and advocacy, this high-traffic site attracts readers from Portland and beyond. Editor and founder Jonathan Maus is an exacting journalist. With a small staff of writers and interns, Maus has grown Bike Portland from just another bike blog to a respected news source for cyclists in the Pacific Northwest and across the globe.
MollyCameron.com – http://mollycameron.com/
A blog by everyone’s favorite Portland bike racer, Molly Cameron. Cameron’s passion is undeniable and it was this blog that first inspired me to take up cyclocross. From tales of exploits as a pro racer, to witty and thoughtful commentary on the cycling world at large, Molly Cameron never fails to deliver a quick fix of cycling passion.
PDXCross – http://www.pdxcross.com/
A collection of stunning cyclocross photography from a small group of talented Portland photographers. PDXcross captures more than just gritty racers covered in mud – they specialize in capturing the quiet, beautiful moments that surround the cyclocross culture and the tight knit community that surrounds this cold and muddy form of bike racing. Full disclosure: I wrote the opening essay for the PDXCross book, “Dirty Pictures” and am considered one of the gang. These guys are my friends and I love them. That doesn’t mean you should take my recommendation any less lightly, however. You didn’t hear it from me but one of the PDXCrossers was a photo editor for both the White House and National Geographic at various points in his career – these guys are true pros.
SoSoVelo – http://sosovelo.com/
A humorous site packed with satire and tongue-in-cheek takes on cycling mores. An article named “The Value of Spand-me-downs” explore the pros and cons of used spandex and while “The Secret Cyclocross Training Courses of PDX” provides a highly useful overview (complete with maps) of the best places to practice your cyclocross skills. Written by a small group of friends, this site isn’t updated as frequently as some of the others, but new posts are always worth the wait.
Ride Oregon Ride covers way more than Portland, but I’m placing it here because of it’s regional nature. First things first – this site is beautiful. It was designed by Substance, a local shop with a powerful mission and an incredibly talented line-up of designers. These are the good guys in white hats. And I like white hats. Now, back to Ride Oregon Ride. This little gem is chock-full of resources including tips, advice, and information for out-of-town travelers wishing to see Oregon by bicycle (look! even the French like it), a large collection of cycling routes and maps (including mountain bike trails), an extensive event directory, and a bevy of helpful links and connections. If you want to start riding bikes in Oregon or just want to expand your pedaling horizons, this is the site for you.
Commuting and Transportation Advocacy
Commute by Bike – http://commutebybike.com/
Billed as “Tips, news, reviews, and safety for bike commuters”, this website delivers on it’s promise. Navigate to the “Beginner Tips” section for tips on everything from how to get cleaned up at work to how to deal with angry or aggressive drivers. Their “Commuting 101” series covers just about every question you could think to ask – plus a few you probably wouldn’t have.
Momentum Magazine – http://www.momentumplanet.com/
Described as “the magazine for self-propelled people”, Momentum is a print magazine that is published six times per year (current circulation is about 50,000). From the website: “Momentum Magazine focuses on transportation cycling and bike culture in North America. Momentum’s positive and solutions-based editorial coverage includes arts & culture, city and people profiles, food, books, current events and gear.” The magazines website features a blog that covers everything from advocacy to culture.
TotCycle – http://totcycle.com/
A virtual godsend for cycling families with small children, TotCycle’s tagline tells you most of what you need to know: “Tots on bikes, kids as cargo, family cycling, and other high-occupancy velo goodness.” Written be Seattle pediatrician, Dr. Julian Davies, it provides an entertaining and practical resource for cycling with your little ones.
News, Reviews and PRO-ness
Velonews.com and CyclingNews.com are the two major outlet for pro cycling news and gear reviews, but if you find yourself weary of the mainstream, never fear – there are several sites out there dishing out top-notch alternative coverage.
Pez Cycling – http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/
For a slightly irreverent and sometimes hilarious (but always on-the-money) take on the world of pro cycling, no one beats Pez. Like all pro cycling news sites, this one is very “dude-focused” but despite the lame Daily Distractions section, which features photos of hot women, Pez does a good job at providing an interesting and thorough perspective on the pros.
Belgium Knee Warmers – http://www.belgiumkneewarmers.com/
Started in 2006, this site (often referred to by the acronym BKW) has become a favorite of hard core cyclists around the globe. “Radio Freddy” provides an insider perspective on the pros, focusing on the spring classics while a few other contributors provide alternative perspectives. Each post is carefully crafted with clean, beautiful prose. The term “Belgian Knee Warmers” refers to the sheen created on the knees created by true hardmen who choose to ride through winters elements with only embrocation (warming linament) on their bare legs instead of tights or knee-coverings.
Red Kite Prayer – http://redkiteprayer.com/
Red Kite Prayer is named for the red flag (or flamme rouge) that signals the final 1k of a spring classic cycling race or grand tour stage. A recent spin off from a cult blog called Belgian Knee Warmers, this site has higher profile and a little more firepower behind it (ad support, larger set of contributors). It focuses on the Pro Tour and the pros, the psychology of rider and sport, and the subtle nuances that make pro cycling so fascinating.
Competitive Cyclist “What’s New” section – http://www.competitivecyclist.com/
An insider’s look into the world of road cycling. Competitive Cyclist is a high-end online retailer, but their “What’s New” section (accessed via “The Service Course” section from the main navigation bar) provides a unique peek into the world of high pro glow. From commentary on major races or peloton politics to commentary on fashion and links to the latest and greatest cycling-related web content, this is truly a site for hard core roadies and all their snobby buddies.