Thursday, December 31, 2009

33% discount offer is over.

Happy New Year folks. The UAR crew hopes your 2010 is filled with great bike rides, good beer, and plenty of downhill big wheeling!!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Behind the Scenes at the UAR

Producing the New Belgium Urban Assault Ride across the country is a unique job to say the least. We meet 1000's of people (literally) and usually these folks are trend setterss who like fun, creative things. Accordingly, we have some pretty darn interesting experiences. Here are a few of the stories:

Two fries short of a happy meal: Austin's UAR is the oldest and biggest in the series. In order to produce this one, we need LOTS of everything. We had an idea for a 'human bumper car' obstacle and needed enough big inner tubes for at least 10 teams to do the obstacle at a time. We tried to source these tubes in Colorado, but since most tires are are tubeless these days, huge 18-wheeler size inner tubes are not as easy to find as you'd think. So the plan was to get them close to Austin - in New Braunfels - home of Schlitterbahn and tubing on the Guadalupe river. When we got there, we wanted to make sure that all the tubes were leak-free, so all 24 tubes were inflated. Realizing that 24 huge tubes would not fit in back of a cargo van, the tubes were then deflated. If you've ever deflated a bike tube by pushing in the pin of a schrader valve, you know this takes a bit of time. Now imagine the time for a 18-wheeler tube. Now multiply this by 24. So the solution was to go buy a valve core remover which made things a little bit faster.
This operation took the good part of a day and this was only 1 of 10 obstacles to set up. Yet - we had the tubes in hand as well as all the moving pieces for the obstacle to work (thanks to the good folks at Rogue Running found plenty of 'runners' willing to run around in 100+ degrees bumping 1000+ participants for 4 hours). Then Saturday night we started to inflate the tubes. We had two air compressors to use, but one decided to go kaput. It was taking about 10 minutes for a small compressor to inflate each tire. That would be 4 hours of inflating - which we didn't have the night before the big day AND we'd love to get a little sleep too.

Plan B - get help from a partnering bike shop (nope - everybody's closed).

Plan C - go to a gas station and use their compressor.

I went down to a gas station on the east side of Austin around 1am in the morning. Not the best place to be as I had a 1/2 dozen folks approach me for money. I gave the gas station attendent $5 and told him to keep it running - yet the machine would turn off after a couple minutes, so I had to keep running back inside so the attendant would turn it back on. Although we now had me at the gas station (running back and forth between the compressor and the attendant) and another crew on hand with the original compressor - it was still taking WAY too long.

After awhile I figured I'd get a bit resourceful. I asked a scraggly white bearded fellow to help me inflate the tubes and I'd be happy to pay him for his labor. He was more than willing. I provided clear instructions to how to inflate the tube, how big it should be, what to say the attendant, and where to put the tubes when inflated. Then I drove back to Rogue to pick up more tubes to be inflated. When I got back to the gas station - I was blown away to find a whole assembly line in place. Seems that my new vagrant friend rallied the troops for assistance. One guy waited by the attendent, one was on the inflator, one was stacking the tubes. It was an impressive operation to say the least. In no time, all the tubes were inflated and I had a crew of guys very satisfied with their work. I gave the ring leader a $20 and then they all started to argue over who should get what amount. Then I proposed they buy a 12 pack to share. Their eyes lit up with the possibilities of this fortunate bounty. They put the $20 to good use, bought a 30 pack of bud light and a couple of king-size snicker bars. I came by a bit later and took their picture....

More stories coming soon....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Looks like a cool UAR obstacle!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


We hear the following things a WHOLE lot:

"Wow - that quiz was HARD! Who comes up with this stuff?" and "Will you post the answers?"

Josh, the UAR carnival barker is the main man on the quiz creation (although gets some pointers from UAR partners). And of course it's hard! How do you expect it to be a good staging tool, if everybody aced the test? So yeah, it serves its purpose and of course if you'd rather be out riding than answering the online quiz ...then feel free. The quiz is just an optional tour of the UAR internet.

Now that the 2010 season is fast approaching (and a new quiz will soon rear it ugly head), we're passing out a cheat sheet to 2009's quiz. This is not all of the questions, just the ones that we used in most cities. So if there's one that's still chapping your hide, comment on the bottom of the post and we'll shine some light.


Q: On 'Who's the Boss?", which letters on Samantha's FIRST car's license plate appear
> in the list below? (choose all that apply)
+ S
- W
- O
- B
- O
Mr. Stevil Kinevil came up with this one. You had to know what Sam's license plate said - "Sams Car". So the only letter in the SWOBO name included on the plate was of course: "S". This was an easy one.
Q: What is in this bubble?
- water
- beer
+ methane
- hydrogen
- carbonation
New Belgium does a helluva lot to be one the most sustainable companies on the planet (We're so proud of our title sponsor). One of the things they do is capture methane from their own waste water. The methane is then used for gas heating at the brewery - cool huh?

Q: What do the following companies have in common?
Sigg Switzerland, Teton Gravity Research, Patagonia Footwear, New Belgium Brewing
> check all that apply
- they all sponsor the Urban Assault Ride
- they all allow dogs in the office
+ they are all members of 1% for the planet + the UAR crew thinks they are all cool
- they are all proponents of congressional act 38n.4
This one is primarily about New Belgium's 1% for the planet's membership. And because these companies are part of 1% For the Planet, we think they're cool. Even though they are not all sponsors of the UAR and we don't know if they allow dogs in the office (but we bet they do). The congressional act we made up - just to throw you off a bit ;)

Q: Which make of car was traded for a bike at New Belgium's Tour de Fat?
> check all that apply
+ Volkswagen
+ Oldsmobile
+ Ford
+ Chevrolet
The "Trade a Car program" has been a part of Tour de Fat for a few years now and the way to figure this one out was to watch a bunch of videos on the Tour de Fat website. This is certainly not a waste of time since you get to see how fun this cyclingcarnival really is - and most of the UAR cities have a TDF near-by, so we were giving you a sneak peak in case you've never been. Lots of cars have been traded over the years and although we're not 100% sure, we went ahead and gave you credit for all of these car makes.

Q: Which beer is a collaboration between New Belgium Brewing and Elysian Brewing?
- Trippel
- Biere de Mars
+ Trippel IPA
- Frambozen
This one was simple. You just had to go here and find this. We put this in here for all you Fat Tire devotees who have not yet expanded your palate to include other New Belgium brews. There are a bunch of tasties out there - you should try them all.

Q: Who is quoted on SockGuy's socks?
> Check all that apply
+ Martin Mull
+ Ben Franklin

- Juan Pelota
+ the Gonzo Journalist
This was one of the harder ones. You had to look at all the socks to see the quotes. The only person on the list not to be quoted was Juan Pelota (AKA 'one ball' Lance Armstrong). Lance may be speedy on the pedals, but he's not known for his eloquence.

Q: Who is Clif Bar working with to reduce/reuse/recycling their wrappers?
A: terracycle
Another straight forward one. If you do a couple clickity clicks on Clif Bar's website, you get to the sustainability page, where they explain the partnership with TerraCycle. It's pretty cool since they are able to make things like this....

Q: How many miles of driving have been offset to date through the purchase of Cool Tags?
+ 7,000,000+
+ 6,000,000+
- 70,000,000+
- 60,000,000+
Cool Tags are micro purchases that you can make to offset CO2. A $2 cool tag offsets 300lbs of CO2 in the air. 23,000 cool tags have been sold and this statistic is HERE on Clif's website. They've offset over 7,000,000 miles of driving (and if they've offset 7MM , they've also offset 6MM) Tricky - I know.

Q: What does the sole of our shoe sponsor's new cycling shoe look like?
- an orange octopus
- a blue horse
- a red fish
+ a yellow bird
For this one you had to find Keen's new cycling shoe - the Springwater. If you look at the sole view, it looks kinda like a yellow bird.

Q: What beach was the 1st Keen shoe named after?
> fill in the blank
A: newport beach or newport
For this you had to go to Keen's history and find the Newport sandle. The 1st sandle to protect the toes.

Q: What type of support did our non-alcoholic drink sponsor provide through
> its 2005 - 2007 fund raising program?
+ helped cats and dogs find homes
- provided free drinks to hurricane victims
- provided funds to reduce pollution and create bluer skies
- provided aluminum to recycling center with the proceeds going to the homeless
Blue Sky had a great program called "Save Pets, Send Tabs". When you sent in the blue tabs from their soda, Blue Sky donated $.10/tab. Pretty darn generous!

Q: What type of sweetener is used in our non-alcoholic drink sponsors organic soda?
A: organic cane sugar or cane sugar or organic sugar
Blue Sky is QUALITY! No high fructose corn syrup for you our Urban Assaulters!

Q: What 7 items compose the Free Gear Project from Rudy Project?
+ sunglasses, spare lenses, helmet, bag, t-shirt, hat, sunglass cord
- sunglasses, spare lenses, helmet, bag, t-shirt, hat, poster
- sunglasses, helmet, bag, watch, t-shirt, hat, poster
- sunglasses, helmet, jersey, shorts, gloves, spare lenses, “Rudy” DVD
It was hard to miss this one. This ad has been EVERY where including on Rudy Project's homepage.
Q: Our helmet sponsor uses a material on another of their product lines
that is derived from material used on the windshield of a vehicle.
What single word does this vehicle and this man have in common?
A: apache
This was the hardest one. 1st you had to find that this photo is a portrait of Geronimo - a chief of the Apaches. Then you had to learn that Rudy Project's ImpactX lens used the same technology as on Apache Helicopters. That'll keep the mud out of your eyes!

Q: On our clothing sponsor's blog, there's a video of a now famous movie star racing a bike in a commercial for a soft drink.
> What other movie was this actor in?
- Dirty Dancing
- Howard the Duck
+ Young Blood
- Clockwork Orange
Another VERY challenging one. You had to watch a ton of videos on Swobo's blog and finally get to this page where you find the following video. In it, you'll find a young Keanu Reeve's racing his bike. He was in the movie Young Blood.

Just be happy we didn't make you quote lyrics from this video...

Q: On our bag sponsor's website, they compare themselves to what?
- salt and pepper
- cog and chain
+ rice and beans
- cats and dogs
- sweet peas and macaroni and cheese
You had to look at all of Timbuk 2's pages in the About Us section of their site. Then you'll find this quote here.

Q: What is a name of Specialized's Globe new bikes (check all that apply)
- Rock
+ Roll
+ Haul
- Huck
- Green
+ Live
Pretty easy when you go to the Globe Bikes website. They've got some pretty sweet bikes for 2010 as you can see above.
Q: What is not a lyric from a song sung by a member of Team Wonderbike?
- Je me lance, vers la gloire ... OK
- Take me to the river, dip me in the water
+ In those patent leather shoes, Mr. Jones, you look so fine
+ Run run run run run run away

For this one, you first have to find that David Byrne of the Talking Heads is a member of Team Wonderbike. Then you had to do some lyric searching for Talking Heads songs. The only correct quotes are the two on top, so since the question asked which lyric was NOT from a song....then the bottom two are the correct answers.

So there you have it folks. Hopefully along the path to your Urban Assault Ride enlightenment, you learned many valuable life lessons. Don't fret - we'll have more perplexing questions coming your way in 2010. In the meantime, do you research on beer, bikes, big wheels, cool companies, good music, funky videos, sweet sunglasses, and everything else that the UAR crew thinks is cool.

Monday, December 7, 2009

things that may be of interest to you, my friend

Vintage Rally - I love how the spectators move out of the way just in time - just like in the climbing stages of road races....but unlike in bike racing, you probably won't survive if your bag get caught on a passing racer.

Our friend Abbey gets a new dress and there's a new Ranger in town.

Some bikes that we like as of late...
Yeah - the 2010 S-Works Stumpjumper is not cheap - but it looks to be quite versatile. It's 30 speed!!! and 22 - 24 lbs depending on size. 5.5" in front and in rear.
This Independent Fabrications SSR is made of Reynolds 953 steel tubing - which is stronger, lighter, and stiffer than titanium...and get this - it's stainless. Yep - the chrome is shining just like an icicle as you ride around town on your IF bicycle. A bike this sweet might make me want to race on the road again.
In a word - VERSATILE. The Swobo Crosby is a built up as a single speed cross bike (read - great commuter), but also has mounts for disc brakes, cable stops if you want to run gears....and a cool SRAM hub that can be switched from freewheel to fix with the flip of a switch (or turn or a screw or something like that). And it has orange rims and blue is my favorite color. And the seat has a bottle opener on it for when you want to stop for a mid-ride Yoo-Hoo.

So there you have it. the only thing missing in this blog about beer, bikes, and big wheesl are the big wheels. That's because they are currently hibernating...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Amazing photo

This photo was in National Geographic. It won a contest that Energizer batteries hosted.

It's mesmerizing to me. Click it for full viewing.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Do you think that playing this will make me faster?