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Who’s Jim Langley?
First and foremost, I’m a bicycle fanatic who’s been into cycling and two-wheelers since the age of ten, and who’s worked in the bicycle industry since Nixon was in the White House.
My bicycling résumé:
I am the technical editor of RoadBikeRider.com where we provide the best in how-to road cycling info with a free weekly e-newsletter and a comprehensive online cycling bookstore. You’ll like my popular weekly column Jim’s Tech Talk. I also still freelance for my alma mater Bicycling Magazine “the world’s largest cycling publication,” and you will also enjoy my Bicycle Beat blog, Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Looking back, from ’89 to ’99 I was Bicycling Magazine’s chief Technical Editor. I wrote and produced repair articles, buyers’ guides, bike road and off-road tests, was the new products editor, mechanic, helped create bicycling.com on AOL and on the Internet, handled the Tech Q & A column, and acted as spokesman for cycling and bicycling at industry events and to the media appearing in print on the radio and TV (lots of makeup required). I’ve penned myriad cycling stories published in Men’s Health, Self, VeloNews, California Bicyclist, Inside Cycling and Recumbent Cyclist magazines, and more. I was also a Senior Editor for the sports-and-fitness website Asimba.com. And I edited cycling books for Rodale Press.
My most recent book is Your Home Bicycle Workshop, which is all about setting up your own dream bike shop at home. I also wrote and illustrated The New Bike Book (an owner’s manual for your new bike, which is now getting very hard to find). And, I wrote the best-seller Bicycling Magazine’s Complete Guide to Bicycle Maintenance and Repair (you can get it at your local bike shop or from Amazon; this link takes you to the latest version, which still contains most of my work). Another fun project was writing The American Bicycle Calendar 1999, a theme calendar featuring photos and descriptions of beautiful collectible bicycles (the best part was hanging out with Mark Mattei in Chicago and seeing all these stunning treasures in person; his Ignaz Schwinn family tandem recently fetched $127,000 at auction!).
Mechanic (if I can’t fix it, it ain’t busted)
For 17 years (’72 to ’89) I worked as a service manager and mechanic in a few good bicycle shops (International Ski & Sport/ Concord, NH; Andy’s Bike Shop;/Keene, NH; West Hill Shop/ Brattleboro, VT; West Hill Shop/Putney, VT; The Bicycle Center,/Santa Cruz, CA). I’m also a United States Cycling Federation certified technician (even wrenched at the world championships). Today I'm one of the engineers at Praxis Works where we design and build some of the finest drivetrain components and wheels.
I designed, built, and sold three inventions: Toolmaster (a toolboard template to make it easy to organize your home bicycle shop); my Langley Fifth Hand Tool (a tool for resetting the spring tension, and the springs, on sidepull brakes); and a conversion kit for making the cables aero on old-style Campagnolo brake levers. (And I’ve got a bunch of other ideas that I may get to someday; not all bicycle-related.)
I have some experience as an expert witness in cases concerning bicycle mechanics. And I’ve counseled individuals and cycling companies such as Growth Cycle. One of my more interesting assignments was riding about forty miles on a path next to the California Aqueduct (a man-made channel that carries water from northern California to Los Angeles) to gauge whether or not it was safe to bike there. And assessing the cause of a speed wobble that hospitalized a rider.
I’ve been competing in various contests since I joined the chess club in junior high school. I rode across America in 1979. I’ve been a runner, triathlete, road, mountain bike and cyclocross racer, and am an avid tournament table tennis player and coach.
Finally, I’m still as nuts about cycling as I was as a kid. I’m working on my 26th year of riding every day (of course, it’s darn hard to find a good excuse to take a day off when you live in Santa Cruz, California).