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kottke.org posts about biking

Danny MacAskill Goes Mountain Biking With Friends in Scotland

Danny MacAskill is known ‘round these parts for his jaw-dropping trials riding (I first posted about him 15 years ago) but this ride is a little bit different. MacAskill and four friends take to the local mountain bike trails around Inverness, Scotland on ebikes and have a grand old time. For me, listening to the banter was just as entertaining as watching the riding — it’s obvious they’re just out there having a blast.

P.S. I was also trying to calculate how fast I would die if I tried riding some of that stuff and the answer is “almost immediately”. Yiiiikes.

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Mountain Bike Advice?

a green mountain bike laying next to a trail

Ok mountain bike nerds, I need your advice. Here’s my situation: I’ve been riding for 3.5 years now on a Kona Honzo hardtail (which I really love) and am pondering a full-suspension bike purchase. They are $$$, but I want to do more riding this summer & fall — including some downhilling on some local lift-serviced trails here in VT (Bolton, Killington, Sugarbush, Burke) — and it feels like it’s the right time to invest in an upgrade.

I would say I’m an intermediate rider (but more towards the beginner end of the spectrum than the expert end). I love flowy trails and can do small jumps and such, but I’m not super fast and am still learning how to turn properly in the berms. I’m never going to be a super aggressive rider but I’d like to progress. A lot of the stuff I ride is up and down, so I need something that climbs well (not looking for a downhill bike). I’m 6’ and 155# if that matters. My Honzo is a large and has 29” wheels, which I like. I’ve ridden a Kona Process 153 29 and that felt good, although maybe a little squishy (but maybe everything feels squishy after a hardtail).

There are good bike shops around here and I’m definitely going to talk to them about what I’m looking for, but I’m wondering if anyone out there has thoughts about brands (particularly those that are known for quality (and ones that aren’t)), what to look for, what to stay away from, etc. Should I buy used? If so, good places to buy used? (I know about Pinkbike.) Any help or advice is appreciated, either in the comments below or via email. Thanks!

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Ryan Williams Mindbreaking BMX Free Willy

Ryan Williams is an Australian scooter and BMX rider who does wild tricks that make me nervous. In 2013 he perfected a back flip with a nothing front scooter flip, which means he does a backflip while his scooter does a front flip, and then he spent about 10 years trying to get it done on a bike. Travis Pastrana dubbed it the Free Willy. Below is an example of a slightly different trick where he does a front flip instead of a backflip, except this one is easy because he can kind of see where the bike is. Easy. This one’s the easy one.

Here’s a behind the scenes of what it took him to figure out the Free Willy. At 1:40 you can see the first time he does it successfully on a scooter, and about 6:35 is when he gets it on the bike. Incredible stuff.

Williams won a gold with this trick at the 2023 X Games, obviously.

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Bicycle Ballet

Watch as artistic cyclist Viola Brand does all sorts of seemingly impossible bike tricks that look like ballet, all while dodging a massive chandelier inside an ornate European castle.

See also bicycle acrobat Lilly Yokoi performing some similar tricks back in 1965.


Craziest possible mountain biking video

Three guys ride on tiny paths next to steep rock faces and over narrow wooden bridges. I could only manage watching a minute of this…I almost threw up in fear.

(via ★interesting)


All in together now

It’s been great posting for you all the last week+! Thanks for the good times. I couldn’t pick just one video for you tonight, so here are 3. Watch them all, but not at the same time.

This one makes me tense.

This one was filmed in 8 hours in Brooklyn. Pretty, pretty, pretty.

This one was filmed AND edited in 4 hours in Boston. (I love everything Paper Fortress does.)


The bike is back

Here’s a great story of Jami getting her bike stolen last night in Brooklyn. Wait, why is that great? Because, thanks to some internet sleuthing, a lot of luck (!!!), and solid police work from Brooklyn’s finest, she had it back by 11:30 this morning!

While we’re on the subject of bikes, according to a recently filed patent, Apple is looking at making a smart bike. I look to the future and I see 1) Consternation that Apple has signed an exclusive agreement to release the bike on Trek frames only for a period of 3, 4, or 5 years depending on which rumor you believe. 2) Several media stories crediting Apple for popularizing the riding of bikes. 3) Several media stories criticizing Apple for claiming they popularized the riding of bikes, even if they didn’t.make that claim, 4) Much rejoicing 3 weeks after release of the bike when someone has figure d out how to jail break the phone into a fixed gear. 5) 250 posts from John Gruber refudiating predictions of iBike failure. I look forward to all of it.

Lastly, on the topic of bikes. My friend Chris Piascik is drawing all the bikes he’s ever owned. This wouldn’t be a big deal for most people, Chris, however, has owned a gazillion bikes. The drawings are accompanied by vignettes on the bikes and I think the project will end up being more of a memoir than Chris originally anticipated. (Disclosure: If I had to name a favorite artist, it’d probably be Chris, and I post his art often on UW.)