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Video: capturing great bicycle moments

If you do an awesome mono on your fixie and no-one sees it, did it really happen? (Or, like Tom, if you film it but upside-down sideways, can you please make it happen again?)

Thanks to revolutions in portable video cameras such as GoPros, not to mention YouTube and Vimeo, it’s now easier than ever to share your latest bike trick, ride, or fail with the rest of us.

Thus the reason that when Scottish trials bike pro rider Danny MacAskill strapped a camera to his head last week to hit (not literally figuratively) the streets of Glasgow, 23,000 were able to tune in to his Facebook page to re-watch it in awe.

Danny MacAskill
Danny MacAskill

Or how about this recent example of a death-defying ride down a narrow canal somewhere in the US – presumably (I mean, Sydney is hilly to ride and all, but…), which includes not one but TWO massive backflips over canyons. The result is a video to absolutely watch on a full screen – though probably not on a full stomach. 

And from extreme sports to extreme nakedness, people aren’t only just capturing their moments of bicycle-borne exhilaration, but ehhhr, titillation, too… or how else to describe this 8-minute video of cyclists riding nude through London (complete with inappropriate late night lounge soundtrack).

Inevitably, for every Danny MacAskill with a video out there, there’s a million of us who aren’t. And, as this hapless BMXer shows, that’s nothing to get hung up about.

Have you done something cool/fool on your bike you’d like to share? Be a sport and tell us where.

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What does the fixie say? Listen to our Spotify mixie tape

Thanks to Ylvis, 390 million people now know what a fox sounds like. But while everyone else was thinking about foxes, we’ve been thinking about fixies – and more specifically, what sounds would you like to ride fixies to in 2014?

We’d be lying if we told you we’ve painstakingly scoured all the Indie record bins of JB HiFi to compile this mix; we’ve only scoured most of them (and still didn’t find much of use – thank dog for Spotify!).

Listen to our official Chappelli Cycles playlist here on Spotify

There’s something for everyone. For example, animal lovers will find Gold Panda and Thundercat, purring along next to Eliphino, Gorillaz and Bonobo.

Numerologists meanwhile will surely l0ve (or at least not h8) Rocketnumbernine and the Virgo Four.

And the heartbroken among you can take comfort with David Bowie’s Love is Lost.

Of course, flagrant self promoters that we are at time – and hell, this IS our blog! – we’ve also thrown in Hayden James’ Permission to Love, the soundtrack to our Chappelli Look Book video from late last year.

Just as we asked our friends, and their friends to share their favourite songs to ride along to, please share your favs with us too.

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The dooring time bomb

This year the issue of dooring as hit the mainstream, with the force of ehhhhr, a fixie hitting an open car door.

Public interest has grown since the remarkable story of Andrew Tivendal who ran a marathon in March after spending two months in a coma caused by a dooring. (For a succinct look at the issue, check out SMH columnist Michael O’Reilly’s recent article on dooring.)

Even Channel 9 has gotten wind…

In Victoria alone in 2010, there were 160 reported incidents of dooring, one of which resulted in a 22-year-old’s death.

In late May, a Victorian parliamentary committee on dooring heard arguments on whether to increase the penalties for drivers who injure or endanger cyclists to include a $1220 fine and the loss of three demerit points.

“It is worth noting that currently 1 penalty unit fine ($140) applies to dooring compared with 5 penalty units ($700) for bike riders not having a bell on their bike,” the Amy Gillett Foundation said after the hearing.

Light up your bicycles
Another initiative also to have been flagged this year is for VicRoads and the RACV to relaunch their ‘Look out for cyclists’ wing mirror sticker campaign that last saw light 10 years ago.

Otherwise, cyclists could also take care to light their bikes. Our new Chappelli NuVinci® infinitely variable multi-speed bicycle for example features a 360° handlebar lighting system that offers superior visibility.

Then again, as Melbourne cyclist Sarah Grimshaw found out, you could be floodlit and still be hit. The experience of Sarah, who recounts her dooring story (not a boring dooring story either) below, is unfortunately typical of many.

Attack of the killer door
By Sarah Grimshaw

Riding to work in what could be almost described as daylight (cars didn’t have their lights on for instance) I was unexpectedly presented with the door in my path while riding in a city bike lane and thrown off my bike into the midst of oncoming traffic.

After the driver checked that his door was not damaged the first words out of his mouth were “You really should have a brighter light”. 

The fact is that I could have had a flood light on the front of my bike but if you’re not looking my direction you’re not going to see shit! 

Drivers need to start acknowledging that they are responsible for cyclist’s safely and stop merely seeing us as an inconvenience that sometimes get in the way.

What do you think?
Sarah would for the government to step up and start educating the public about minimising cyclist risk and start to enforce harsher penalties for people who just can’t be bothered with bike safety.

With state governments now at least acknowledging the issue, the next door that opens might be the one of opportunity…

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An Italian view on riding, cycle safety and Cadel Evans

Milanese pro-cycling journalist Alberto Celani answers why his countrymen and women love cycling and Cadel Evans, and offers a word of caution about cycle safety

Why do the Milanese love cycling?
Because in Milan fuel costs 2 euros/litre and 1 litre of good wine can cost the same.

Alberto Celani
Italian cycling journalist Alberto Celani

Because cycling helped Milan get rid of Nazism; during WWII, many people rode their bikes to share information and food.

Because it’s part of our tradition: my grandpas only had their bikes to move around on and now we have one car-per-person.

Because Milan it’s flat and doesn’t rain as often in London.

Because Milan has been raised on bikes, by bike-users going to work in the big industries of the city from the small towns on the outskirts.

Because Milan is the city of Expo 2015 where “Feed the planet” is the main theme. How can we feed the planet if we keep on “eating” the air with our polluting cars?

Because you Aussies have huge roads and cities that are really far from each other while we have packed cities with smaller roads, which in many cases date to the era BC. The roads were used to defend against invaders, but now people invade the cities with their cars.

What is there not to like about cycling?
Because if you have a sexy bike, it can be stolen and resold in one of the huge second-hand markets on Sunday morning; and even if you don’t have a sexy bike, it can be stolen and resold in one of the huge second-hand markets on Sunday morning.

What is the Italian approach to cycle safety?
Safety is the biggest issue for cyclists, and it as always sad to read about crashes in our newspapers, especially when riders die.

Carly Hibberd was a 25-years old pro rider from Australia who died in a crash when training not far from Milan where she was living (for info on safe cycling initiatives, check out Amy Gillett Foundation online or on Twitter).

In Italy bike helmets are not compulsory, and neither is insurance. Even if you ride your bike without lights or a high-visibility jacket, the chance of getting fined is really low. This makes cyclists a danger to themselves and to drivers.

And lastly, any words on Cadel Evans?
You Aussie guys are fast on your bikes: Cadel Evans is a legend here in Europe, I hope you honour him every day you go out for training or even when just commuting. In the last two years two mighty Aussies have also won the Spring Classic Milan-San Remo race from the city to the sea: Matt Goss and Simon Gerrans from GreenEDGE.

Thanks Alberto!

Follow Alberto Celani’s tweets

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A backflip on a vintage women’s bike?

The spirit of re-invention seems alive and well in 2012 if some recent videos circling the interwebs are anything to go by.

It started two weeks ago, when Fair Wheel Bikes posted a video of a carbon fibre racer – being used as a trials bike.

It proved more than capable of the stunts demanded as this video attests.

The only damage, reports Bike Radar, was “one pinch flat, a chipped fork (caused by the crash at the end of the video) and a couple of slightly bent chain-ring teeth.”

Well, if a carbon fibre racer can do tricks, why not a vintage women’s bicycle? Frenchman Mickael Dupont took up the challenge, modifying the bike only slightly after an initial mishap.

And while we don’t accept responsibility for any Chappelli riders who try a backflip on one of our three-speed internal hub women’s bikes, we completely condone this video of Mickael pulling one off.

Meanwhile the boffins at Converse have been finding new applications for fixie bicycles, taking ‘ride to work’ to a new level in the process.

Their new ad shows what happens when a pack of fixed-gear bike riders stay late at the office. And they even remember to turn the lights out when they leave.

converse office fixie from Creambun on Vimeo.

Seen any great bike stunt videos recently? Share them on our Facebook page.


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The great Victoria bike rego debate

When Shane Warne threw it out on Twitter the other week that bicycles should be registered, the question quickly gathered the unstoppable momentum of a Chappelli fixie down Bondi road.

While Warnie wasn’t necessarily able to flesh out the reasons why his demand made good sense – at least, not in 140 characters – Fairfax’s Bruce Guthrie soon shed some light on it.

“That’s the root of the problem, isn’t it? That motorists, motorcyclists, truck drivers and just about any other road user you care to name has to fork out hundreds of dollars each year for the right to use our roads, but cyclists are not required to spend a penny, or be identified.”

“Well, no, Bruce,” was the resounding response of the Twitter-sphere, of concerned bicyclists, fixie groups and cycling bodies.

Paul Martin, a doctor, bike activist and member of Brisbane’s Bicycle User Group was just one who was quick to tell us the main arguments against registration that have recently been circulating on sites such as Alan Davies’ TheUrbanist on Crikey.

And more credit to Paul for doing it all in 140-character nuggets (in a response as classy, modern and simple as a one of our classic single speeds).

1) Won’t prevent law-breaking – doesn’t prevent motorists running reds, speeding, etc.

2) Registration is a tax on ‘road damage’ not a ticket to ‘own’ the roads. Bicycle rego would be about $1 per year.

3) Admin costs wouldn’t be covered by the registration costs (net loss)

4) How big would number plate have to be to be visible at a distance?

5) Personally, registration for motorists should be abolished. Costs should be added to fuel. more you drive, the more you pay

In Bruce’s defence he did make a pertinent point when he said: “Bicycle registration might at least begin to heal the rift between riders and motorists.” But then again, if fewer riders got hit by cars then that rift might also be smaller.

…And if you even wanted to know what Hitler might think of bike registration, the Weekly Cycle has the answer.

So what do you think – should bicycles be registered? Or is there a better way to ‘heal the rift’ between cyclists and riders?

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Puns galore as Warne hits the news bicycle

Remember the good ol’ days of Australian cricket – before we lost to New Zealand – when Australia could rely on Shane Warne to take wickets as well as headache tablets?

What made those days memorable was the banners he inspired at games, which inevitably punned on his name or others in the team, ie:

You’ve been WARNEd – Australia has declared WAUGH, we have a REIFFEL we’re PONTING at you…etc, etc

Or those that simply asked: Who ate all the pies?

Well good news for fans who miss those days because Shane Warne is back in the news, and sub-editors are having an oval-shaped field day.

The issue at hand is an ‘altercation’ – or an ‘acceleration into’ depending on who you believe – with Melbourne bicycle rider Mathew Hollingsworth on January 17.

@Warne888 immediately took to Twitter to vent about bicycles taking up road space and the manners of their riders. The incident giving him something else to talk about than Liz Hurley, budgie smugglers and his golf game.

Quicker than a Chappelli fixie, the rant triggered a bike chain of events that had headline-writers worldwide racing to combine cricket + cycling + description of what was actually happening.

The best/worst Warne vs cyclist puns

– After the event, The Age had: Warne, cyclist left in a spin

– Meanwhile, Fairfax stablemate the Sydney Morning Herald ran an opinion by ex-pro cyclist Bridie O’Donnell: Warne’s cycling spin falls short of his social responsibility‎ (O’Donnell expands on how this incident affected the wider cycling community in her blog.)

– The Northern Territory News also ran an opinion piece: Warnie puts bad spin on cycling

– Warne then demanded that cyclists have registration plates, prompting the SMH to run with: Warne’s bicycle rego demand belted for six

– And once the cyclist revealed his intention to sue, the SMH backed up with: Warne’s Twitter outburst drove cyclist to sue, laywer reveals (We’ll accept ‘drove’ here as being intentional.)

– For its part the 3AW blog went with Cyclist sues Shane Warne over run-in.

–  did seemed overly subdued with this headline: “Cyclist wants Shane Warne to pay to avoid court after road-rage incident”. So we looked in the URL and were satisfied.

– Local news was also getting in on the act, the Peninsula Weekly trying:Campaigner gets on his bike for safer cycling

– And in case like the rest of us you’re wondering what’s going on in Lad Magazine Land, Zoo was also following a Warne story; albeit one of its own making entirely unrelated to the incident.

What are your suggestions for Warnie versus cyclist puns? Or do you find the whole incident just tiresome

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Fixie bike index – what would be Australia’s hipster capital?

A recent post in the Priceonomics blog has caused a stir for what it reveals about where hipsters are hanging in the USA.

Taking fixie bike ownership as a being a “strong indicator of hipsterness”, Rohin Dhar scrolled through 1.3 million bike ownership listings to calculate which counties and cities in the USA had the most hipsters.

The results have raised eyebrows – and not only in the hipster ironic way – because topping the list was Orange County.

If like us all you know about Orange County is based on the TV series OC in the early 2000s, then you’d understand why this is has been a surprising result. Unless all those beaus and belles had all parked their bikes behind those black SUVs and Mercedes.

Los Angeles came in a distant second, followed by San Jose, San Fran (I’ve been told by natives not to call it that, but I can’t resist), Portland in 14th spot and NY not even making the top 25.

Speaking of New York, eyebrows were painted even higher up foreheads when Manhattan pipped Brooklyn as the most hipster borough.

Most hipster city in Australia?
Which brings us to Australia. No similar study has been done here, and if it was, the city of Orange probably wouldn’t be topping the list – although it does have a croquet club.

Also, basing hipsterdom solely on owning a fixed-gear bicycle surely downplays the effort of wearing a moustache and pretending to enjoy sitting on milk crates?

So, in the lack of any hard data, what city do you think is the most hipster in Australia? What other factors should be considered?

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Guest blog: The ups and downs of riding in Melbourne

This week, we asked Melbourne writer/rider Doug Hendrie about the ups and downs of riding in flat Melbourne.

I’ve been zipping about Melbourne on a cheap hybrid for eight years now, and I’ve virtually given up on public transport or short car trips as a result. Melbourne is a flat city – perfect for riding, with a gentle slope leading me from my suburb, Carlton North, down to the Yarra for work. Riding in Melbourne had a huge boost with the drought. More than a decade of below average rainfall in Bleak City = a big increase in riders venturing out.

Here’s a short list of pros/cons of riding in Melbourne:

Sweet bits:

  • Traffic is pretty bad in inner Melbourne and worsening, and the public transport system is groaning under the weight of new users. The plus side: a bike trip is generally faster than any rival form of transport. Plus parking is free.
  • Plenty of safe-ish routes to ride. From the inner northern suburbs, there’s Canning St which takes you most of the way in to the city, or the scenic route beside Merri Creek linking in to the main Federation Trail which tails the Yarra into town. The main bike thoroughfare in the centre of the city, Swanston Street, is being redesigned to exclude cars, cutting out the dangerous encounters as bikes squeeze between parked trucks and trams.
  • Bike culture is thriving. From its hardcore lycra enclave, cycling has diversified. Now you see fixie hipsters fooling around, workers on hybrids, young women on their bikes (the hardest market to crack, according to Crikey), tourists on the solid and reliable Melbourne BikeShare bikes, alleycat racing down bluestone lanes in Collingwood and open concrete drains in Flemington, and of course the infamous Hell Ride down Beach Road on Saturday mornings. New Australian bike magazines like Treadlie target these emerging riders, while the Brunswick Velodrome is where track cyclists hang out.


  • Dickheads or distracted drivers in cars. A universal issue for cyclists, of course, but one to be aware of. I had a near miss last week as an impatient tradie fanged it towards a red. The great thing is, of course, that the sheer number of intersections in Melbourne generally give you the chance to catch up to the offending driver and offer some tips as to how they might improve their control of their pet ton of metal.
  • Trams. Not only are tram tracks the perfect width to catch the unwary or drunk cyclist, but the new breed of tram can rocket along.

Doug Hendrie rides – and writes – in Melbourne. His website is

What would you add to Doug’s list?

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A very Chappelli Christmas

Unless we’re mistaken, Christmas is essentially a time to wrap up heartfelt boxes and write yourself off…

As an online bicycle retailer, we’ve effectively been wrapping up Chappelli-hearted packages all year; so we’ll settle instead with just writing down some highlights of 2011.

Chappelli's wicker bicycle basket
Chappelli’s wicker bicycle basket

Chief among these was the expansion of our classic range of fixies and internal hub bicycles to introduce  our stylish 8-speed men’s and women’s bicycles, which proved certain hot-sellers; not to forget these wicked – sorry, wicker – baskets to go with.

Thanks go to Stoli Vodka – and all those who voted on Facebook – to our entry in the Original Design Awards, which we narrowly won. The ensuing party was memorable too; best summed up by a dubious image of Tom and Pablo duelling it out in a treadmill bike contest.

Swedophiles too rejoiced in 2011, with the launch of Chappelli in Scandinavia, providing potentially millions of Northern Europeans something more substantial to ride on than just their hopeless good looks.

Speaking of good looks, we also welcomed to our team our mechanic-in-chief Drew Reid, who has slaved in Pablo’s workshop harder than an elf at Christmas.

We were also stoked by this video made by Lewis Farrar and friends who took some of our fixies and women’s 3-speeds for some country riding. Watch it and share the joy in their Blue Mountains escapades.

And, on the subject of escapades, if you’re worried that you’ve exhausted your annual supply for the year, fear not… As we speak, Pablo is desperately working to finish a Chappelli tandem bike in time to ride home from the office Christmas party. With Tom having politely declined, he is seeking applicants to be his designated rider on the night…

Tom and Pablo get in the Chappelli Cycles Christmas spirit