ROAD magazine — June 2013
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Reigning Cycle Messenger World Champion and singlespeed cyclocross crusader Craig Etheridge (Raleigh-Clement), host of the Youtube series Hot Laps, has been enlisted to tackle your questions about cycling’s colorful subculture. Etheridge is one of Seattle’s finest bike messengers, giving him an astute knowledge of commuting, cyclocross and singlespeeds. His jovial personality and legendary prowess yield unparalleled insight, both serious and irreverent, but always entertaining.

If you have a burning question, see a doctor. Then email or find him on Twitter @hotlapscraig. And scan this QR Photo: Donn Kellog Code to watch the latest Hot Laps...

Q. Singlespeeders always seem to be having the most fun, and many take pride in their drinking abilities, yet they're always deceptively fit. What's the secret to having that much fun and still being crazy fast? ~Bon Dondlow

Here’s the deal: Fast is a direct result of fun. Most of the time. The laid back attitude you find in a lot of Singlespeeders is a great example of how you can save energy in one aspect of your race (the stressing out part) and transform that into usable forward momentum. That, and the fact that many of us truly believe beer is the carb of the god(s/es/esses).

It’s difficult to compute, but I’m sure there’s an algorithm (for the nerdier types out there) as to how a generally quiet(er) drivetrain corresponds to speed along any given path. Said path could be described as anything from a commuteristic paved trail to a CX/MTB course. The outcome is still the same. Fun is fast my friend!

Thanks for the question. Bikes are the best!

~Hot Laps Craig

Q. Most big cites around the U.S. have great underground bike scenes. What's the best way to seek out their pub-crawls or urban rides? I find these to be the best way to see a new city, find the best places to eat/drink and get in a good ride without getting lost. ~K. Olmostina

Here’s the deal: Ask the bike messengers! Wait, you said Big cities right? Well, provided the city in particular has at least a few messengers, they are bound to know at least something about the underground scene. As patron-saints of the city (really), the average bike messenger might not always be tied into the most organized events, but urban rides are what we do! And if specific ride information can’t be gathered from the working dirtbags we all know and love, then I’m sure they’ll know someone who’ll know what’s going down.

Thanks for the question. Bikes are the best!

~Hot Laps Craig

Q. HLC!!! There's a cyclocross race in the city and I can commute via bicycle to it. What should I bring and will I flat my tubulars? ~Chris Jensen

Here’s the deal: The rare bird you are that still rides a bike to an event within riding distance. I commend you! More and more these days it’s common to see the average Joe/Jane racer show up with a rolling command center of gear. Provided the conditions and weather agree with your decision, and you don’t have to care for too many kids at the time, riding to a race (of any kind) is a joy that most will not get the opportunity to experience.

Keep it simple (because you have to mostly). A nice backpack (I prefer Dank, should do the trick. I’ve seen a number of more complicated setups involving trailers or spare wheels on racks, but when it comes down to it, you’re not going to be doing this every weekend, so you might as well go light. You’ll certainly appreciate the simplicity if nothing else. That, and the feeling you get every time you mention that the race was so close you could ride there. You’ll get much more respect from your racer friends as you ride your tired butt home after the race. “Legend” will become a synonym for your name. As for the tubulars, just lay low on the sick skids and carry some of that goopy sealant stuff .

Oh, and have your buddies bring the beer! You can’t be expected to carry that AND your own embro.

Thanks for the question. Bikes are the best!

~Hot Laps