Brooks England has been crafting leather bicycles saddles since 1866 for Olympians and long-distance cycle tourists alike. This year, cyclists participating in the inaugural WCR Grand Tour, a competitive circumnavigation of Earth by bicycle and possibly the ultimate highspeed tour, are on Brooks saddles.
It' doesn't matter if you're putting in a globe's worth of mileage this season. If you love to ride, delight in fine craftsmanship, and want a saddle that will become yours and yours alone over time, conforming to you like a favorite pair of boots, navigate over to Brooks website or to a Brooks Dealer of Excellence ASAP. You'll only get your butt on Brooks' newest ride, its B17 Select World Traveller 2012 Limited Edition Saddle, if you're quick. The company announced the saddle today, and its only making 2,012 of them.
Why is the B17 special? Its leather surface is decorated with restyled art by Frank Patterson, the guy who illustrated Brooks catalogues in the 1920s. The saddle is made with Brooks' select organic leather top fixed to a chromed copper steel frame and finished with hand-hammered copper rivets—classic, timeless and collectible Brooks quality, design and materials. Available now, $325, brooksengland.com
Tomorrow, May 9, is the first annual Bike to School Day. It's all part of National Bike Month, and an estimated 1,000 schools are expected to participate around the country—far more kids than those who ride on a regular basis. According to the National Center for Safe Routes to School, 48 percent of K-8th grade students walked or bicycled to school in 1969, but by 2009 that number had dropped to only 13 percent.
That’s a pretty startling drop any way you slice it, but when you consider the rise in both childhood obesity and carbon emissions, it’s downright depressing. Factor in the immeasurable boosts to kids’ confidence, independence, and creativity that getting to school under their own power can bring them, and it’s easy to lament the loss of one of childhood’s greatest perks.
Let's start with the bad news. Less than half of Americans surveyed by the Outdoor Foundation participated in some form of outdoor recreation in 2011. But here's the good news: Participation in outdoor recreation is at its highest level in the last five years. The annual Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report estimates that almost half of the United States population over the age of six, or 141.1 million individuals, went outside to run, hike, ski, etc. at least once last year. The total number of outings, 11.6 billion, increased by 1.5 billion from 2010.
Some sports did better than others. Predictably, the most popular outdoor activities for adults were fishing, running, camping, bicycling, and hiking. But you might not be able to guess which sports gained and lost the most in terms of participation. Here's quick look at the five hottest and coldest outdoor sports last year.
On Saturday, flash flooding on the Seti River destroyed a number of villages in Nepal's Kaski district (near Annapurna), claiming at least 26 lives, according to recent news reports. Around 40 others, however, are still missing and presumed dead.
In March, I reported on a campaign led by the famous porter-turned-professional-climber Apa Sherpa,in partnership with the Himalayan Climate Initiative, that is seeking to draw attention to what it considers the likelihood of increased climate-change-induced flooding across the Himalaya region. The group says at least 20 glacial lakes are close to bursting, and that melting glaciers are exacerbating the dangers.