The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Dec 2010

Cycling Phenom Danny MacAskill Jumps Buildings For Fun

I recently got a chance to talk with superstar MTB rider Danny MacAskill about learning tricks on his lunch break and his recent film project Way Back Home. It's his latest viral video, filmed from Edinburgh to the Isle of Skye on his home island of Scotland. He is also a stunt double--you can see his work in the movie Preimium Rush. 

Most people look at lines to ride. Why do you look at surfaces?
When I cycle around a city I'm always on the look out for features or obstacles which could be linked together in a line. The great thing is that it can be anything i.e a broken slab in the pavement which I could maybe bump off on to a wall then on to a rail then down a set of stairs. Anything can be linked with anything! Most things are rideable in some way on my trials bike--the only thing which is a wee bit dodgy to ride are polished silver railings. They don't give you any warming when your tires are going to slip of them!

Riding the fence was pretty ground-breaking for you. Did you look at it one day and think, "I can ride that?"

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U.S. Marine Corps Buys Electric Trucks

Truck
An old, non-electric classic. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

The U.S. Marine Corps recently purchased two electric Newton trucks from Smith Electric, TreeHugger.com reports. The trucks will be used at Camp Pendleton, CA, the largest training facility on the West Coast.

The electric Newton trucks, powered by lithium-ion batteries, can haul up to 16,000 pounds and have a top speed of 55 miles per hour, ranging from 50 to 120 miles on one charge.

According to a report from the Center for a New American Security, the Marine Corps aims to reduce energy use 30 percent by 2015 and increase renewable energy use to 25 percent by 2025. America's armed forces hopes to operate entirely on non-petroleum fuel sources by 2040.

--Nick Davidson

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Bicycle Weight and Commuting Time

Deep down, most of us know it's the riders legs not the bike. When British Doc Jeremy Groves upgraded his $50, 30-pound steel commuter clunker to a $1560, 21-pound carbon beauty, he didn't feel like he was riding that much faster. So, he set off on a test. Just published in British Medical Journal this week, he completed a randomized trial. He alternated the two steeds on 26 commutes covering 711 miles. The result: he was equally fast on both bikes. Considering gravity, friction aka rolling resistance, and drag, the 30% reduction in bike weight--which translated to 4% bike+rider weight--made nary a difference in commute time. Incidently, the author preferred the character and comfort of the steel commuter, in addition to its value. Dr. Grove's conclusion: bike commuters may look at weight reduction of the cyclist, rather than the bike, to improve preformance at a much reduced cost.

--Christopher Van Tilburg, MD

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The Top 5 Adventure Hoaxes of All Time

Denali
Mt. McKinley photo courtesy of Unhindered by Talent on Flickr.

Ever dream of standing atop one of the Seven Summits, winning a marathon, or swimming across the Atlantic Ocean? So did these guys. But instead of following through, they lied about accomplishing their goals.

Presenting the top five adventure hoaxes of all time, because believing isn’t always achieving.

Inspired by Christian Stangl’s fake summit of K2 this past August.

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