Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Katrina refugees checking in

hurricane-bike3
Several people I know have family in the Gulf Coast area. Some of them haven't heard a thing, one family I know has lost everything, others have managed contact but there's no information beyond "I'm alive."

Dude writes about messages from the Crescent City Cycling Club." Several people are posting about their escapes on BikeForums here and here while other cyclists encourage giving.

Locally, two local cycling clubs have challenged each other in fund-raising bike rides.

I’m about to start riding my bicycle again

So says a student at Erie Community College in Buffalo New York. “I need a loan just to get back and forth to school, because of the gas prices. I'm about to start riding my bicycle again.”

Bike helmet recall

CPSC & Target Announce Recall of Back Trails Jr. Bicycle Helmets. Details here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Katrina biking

A cyclist navigates floodwaters as the National Guard transports residents to the Superdome after their neighborhoods were flooded by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Although officials called for a mandatory evacuation of the city, many remained. A bike probably works at least as well as any other mode of wheeled transport in New Orleans right now.AP Photo/Eric Gay from the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Snack Cakes

Jason delivers the snack cake

Jason said he would send snack cakes in exchange for links. I promised multiple links to his website if he hand delivers the snack cake. This is photographic proof of the deed.

Because this is a Cycling blog, I should mention that Jason is a road cyclist. He likes to ride from Longmont up Highway 66 to Lyons. I will mention Jason in tomorrow's BlogDay post. John Elway was not here. They lived happily ever after. The End.

Cycling safely in Dallas


This cyclist rides on Main at Lamar Street in downtown Dallas, Texas.
Most news articles about cycling seem to emphasize the danger of cycling, so it was a tremendous breath of fresh air to see this article in the Dallas Morning News (registration required). Paula Lavigne writes about the 22 cycling fatalities in the Dallas metro area over the past four years, but then notes that the data shows that bike fatality and injuries are down from previous years nationwide and steady in Texas. The analysis of data by the Morning News, for example, shows that "in both 1985 and 2002, there was one cycling fatality for every 50,000 cyclists nationwide." Less than 4% of injuries require hospitalization.

Lavigne writes about the recent interest in cycling contributing to the myth that cycling accidents are up. I know that, locally, "newbies" and non-participants to the activity seem to express a little more concern about the danger of cycling than experienced and educated cyclists do.

Read the article for more numbers and facts. Good resources about cycling safety include Bicycling Life's Safety Skills page and Ken Kifer's Bicyle Traffic Safety information.

Dave Zabriskie's blog


American Team CSC road racer Dave Zabriskie has an online journal. Zabriskie is hilarious -- at races, he interviews other cyclists such as Rob McEwen, Thor Hushvod, Tom Danielson, Trent Wilson and others, asking them highly cycling relevant questions like "Do you like Star Wars?" For a good laugh, explore Dave Zabriskie's site and find his note about "MAIN-TAINT-ANCE."



Photo caption: Dave Zabriskie wears the Yellow Jersey during the team time trial in the 05 Tour de France. Zabriskie finished 1:28 behind his CSC teammates in the fourth stage after a devestating crash just 1.5 km short of the finish line. Photo uploaded by richonline @ Flickr.

Delivery drivers

New Belgium Brewing Company
Fort Collins, Colorado 80524 USA

I love your cycling ads, and New Belgium is very well known within the cycling community for your support of cycling for transportation and your other sustainability initiatives. I have an opportunity for improving your image among cyclists and that is basic driver eduction for your delivery truck drivers.

I was cycling to work lawfully and safely on Ken Pratt Boulevard in Longmont, Colorado this morning when a big red truck pulled out of the Old Chicago parking lot and started to completely blow through the octagonal red sign with the white letters STOP on it and nearly creamed me. The driver did slow at the last second just enough to avoid a collision when I was inches from the front grill of the truck. I was too shaken up to get a license plate or other identifying numbers, but FAT TIRE AMBER and the bicycle logo were on the side of the truck. I suspect the driver didn't initially see cross traffic because, initially, he barely slowed enough to make the turn onto Ken Pratt. PLEASE remind all of your drivers that the red sign means to come to a COMPLETE STOP even if they don't see cross traffic, and that bicycles are traffic as much as any other vehicle on the road.

All of us make mistakes in traffic on occasion, but operators of large vehicles must excercise a lot more caution because of the much greater damage they can inflict.

Thank you for your help and support of cycling in the USA.


Update: New Belgium responds.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The hurricane and the bike

On Sunday, traffic on I-10 out of New Orleans was reportedely moving at 7 to 12 mph, which is about the speed a fit adult cyclist can travel the 80 miles to an evacuation center in Baton Rouge. The 20 mph winds out of the east make the trip a lot easier. A Random Newscaster said it took 3 1/2 hours to drive 45 miles in the evacuation from New Orleans. Cyclists speculate about how to evacuate by bike. Cycling Dude jokes about hurricane bike riding as an extreme sport.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

No news is good news

While other media outlets rage on about L'Equipe's allegations of drug use by seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, popular bike race resource Pez Cycling News has remained strangely quiet. Some speculate that Pez is taking the high road; others believe they like Armstrong too much to join this circus.

The show must go on at Cyclelicio.us, so I will be remiss if I don't report that French fans have expressed their support for Lance in letters to the editor to L'Equipe. The general opinion, however, is not that Lance is clean, but that everybody in cycling does it so leave the American alone. I'm not quite sure if I consider that good news or not.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Ullrich's loss: backward wheel?

American Levi Leipheimer, riding for Team Gerolsteiner, won the Tour of Germany earlier this week just 31 seconds ahead of German Jan Ullrich. Xentis, which makes the carbon-fiber aero wheels used by Ullrich in the Stage 8 time trial, believes Ullrich could have won if his front wheel was installed properly.

Yes, you read that correctly. Ullrich's wheel was apparently installed backwards. While Ullrich won the time trial, Xentris believes a correctly installed wheel could have made up for his 31-second deficit to Leiphiemer.

Via HumanPowered Transport.

Vuelta a Espana 05 video

The Vuelta starts today, but you can't watch it on OLN. Gene fills us in on other options, including streaming video, satellite TV, streaming audio, and regular old-fashioned play-by-play text updates on the web.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Alternative fuel

This sign promotes the Charlotte, North Carolina Department of Transportation Bicycle Program. The signs are attached to bikes located throughout Charolotte in CDOT's Bikes do the talking campaign to promote cycling. According to CDOT Bicycle Program Manager Ken Tippette, "There are many opportunities where a bike can function just as well as a car but at a fraction of the cost. Imagine a city where citizens don't think twice about hopping on a bike for errands to the store, library, coffee shop or their commute to work. They'd be healthier, there'd be more citizen interaction because they're not enclosed in a car, and they'd see their world from a different perspective and speed."

Other similar signs on bikes have phrases like "FEAR NO BUFFET," and "BURN CALORIES, NOT FUEL."

The Virtual Library of Sport

This global directory of sports has links to resources of every kind of sport activity imaginable. The VLS has a strong cycling directory, made even better because Cycle-licious is now in the directory!

Frazz on stress

Another cool Frazz today (26 Aug 2005):
Caulfield: "So Mach-S -- the speed at which stress can't keep up -- is simply forward motion?"

Frazz: "Yep, but it has to be self-propelled. Note that people in cars are still stressed. Indeed, they often inflict stress."

Caulfield: "Then, if you're not Mach-S, you're...."

Click here for the answer.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Lance, Larry and L'Equipe Live!

Lance Armstrong was on Larry King Live earlier this evening. Sports newscaster Bob Costas asked the questions. They obviously discussed L'Equipe's lies story about Armstrong's alleged EPO doping. Frankly, Lance sounded ticked. He pointed out his TdF performance in subsequent years was better than in 1999, when effective EPO tests became available and a surprise test in 2000 showed the USPS to be clean.

They talked a little about the parallels with the drug scandals in baseball. Armstrong pointed out that after knowledge about doping became widespread because of scandal (and deaths!) in 1998, cycling immediately made changes for effective testing and enforcement. In contrast, Major League Baseball has dragged their feet on the drug issue, and even now their drug policies are a joke. Major League players get suspended for 10 days. Cyclist Tyler Hamilton received a career-ending TWO-YEAR suspension after he tested positive for blood transfusions.

The transcript of Lance Armstrong's interview on Larry King Live is available at CNN.com.

U.S. Pro Cycling

The L.A. Times weighs in on the Lance Armstrong EPO doping story. But I'm addressing something of much greater importance to U.S. cycling. Writer Diane Pucin writes that the Discovery Channel "sponsors the only U.S.-based pro cycling team."

Technially, Ms. Pucin is correct if we count the teams on the UCI ProTour. But there are only 20 teams in the ProTour altogether; categorizing Team Discovery as the "only U.S.-based pro cycling team" seems a little misleading.

I realize the UCI classifications are a little goofyconfusing, but in my mind any UCI licensed team can be considered a "professional" cycling team. If you count only the teams that compete as a UCI Continental Team, we have fifteen U.S. teams, more than any other country. France and Italy each have five teams. It's a shame that U.S. cycling doesn't get more recognition.

To help rectify this lack of recognition, I present the UCI-registered U.S. professional cycling teams. I hope I got them all.

Downhill speed shimmy

If you ride on the road competitively, you might have experienced the wobble or shimmy that occurs at high speed. My old steel bike I rode in the 80s would shimmy at about 42 mph. Brushing the top tube with my knees dampened the shimmy enough for me to get the bike under control. The Trek I ride now has never shimmied, although I've taken it up to 54 mph.

There are varying opinions about the cause of high speed shimmy. Some cyclists claim shimmy has something to do with frame alignment or bearings. I'm of the opinion that the bike has a resonating "sweet spot" when the wheel rotation amplifies the natural frequency of the bike. If you've experienced this shimmy, you'll know that the bike feels weirdly out of control as it forcefully jostles you from side to side.

Dana Albert writes of watching a near-crash when his friend's bike started to shimmy badly on a steep downhill at more than 58 mph.
"What John had, though, was far more severe. His bike developed a simple harmonic motion with an amplitude of at least a foot and a half. He was slaloming down the road with a violence that was bound to crash him. A person couldn’t direct this motion if he tried: it was sickeningly precise, as geometric as a sine wave, indicating that physics had taken over. John had become a helpless passenger, a captive of malfunction, like a pilot whose plane has lost its flaps and has become a missile."
The article is perhaps overly philosophical, but if you've experienced the speed shimmy you'll know what he's writing about.

Get in line now for knee replacement


The mermaid on the bike is svelte and thin. Coincidence? Originally uploaded by Myszka.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) reports that obese people are more than three times more likely to have knee or hip replacement than the general population. Nine of ten knee replacement patients in 2003-2004 were overweight or obese; seven out of ten hip replacement patients were overweight.

In the United States, obesity rates are rising in every state except Oregon. Mississippi is the fattest state with 29.5 percent of the adult population classified as obese in 2004. My home state of Colorado is the slimmest with 16%. Although Oregon has a third more fat people than Colorado, they're getting the most press because their fatness ratio is unchanged over previous years.

Canadians get their spare parts for almost free. In the U.S., new knees start at $10,000 and can go way up from there. Start saving up now or do something to shed the pounds. Cyclelicious recommends bike riding. Cycling is easy, fun, healthy, and easy on the knees.

Tags: , ,

Crime fighting cyclists

Toronto police chase a bad guy on foot. He's getting away! A pair of cyclists let the officers borrow their mountain bikes. Bad guy captured. Hurray for good citizen cyclists!

Update: Blue Collar has a link to a much better telling of the story.
From his perch on an 18-speed mountain bike, Christos watched as two officers in heavy vests and full gear lumbered after a man who allegedly had fled from a parked vehicle near Pape and Fulton Avenues, north of Danforth Avenue.

He thought the officers were falling behind, so he pulled up beside a sprinting Constable Rich Laing and said: "Take my bike. Go get him."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Hubfinder 3.0

For the people who pay attention to things like SEO, Aaron at SEOBook.com has released an update to his useful Hubfinder tool. This is used to find authority websites on the topic you choose and discover the "hub" websites that link to them. It's useful enough that I've mirrored Hubfinder on Cycle-licious.

While I'm talking tools: If you blog but your blog tool doesn't have a handy way to add tags, take a look at my easy-to-use Technorati tag creator.

Tags: ,

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Princess of Dirt

The Crooked Cog Network (Goal: "world domination") announces the launch of HannahSteffens.com. Hannah Steffens is one of the very few females in the world of freeride. Although she's only been riding for three years, she can peform an amazing variety of stunts including backflips and nohanders. Before doing freeride for Gary Fisher, this young Coloradan tried downhilling for two years. This tiny woman rides 12 inch MTB frames.

Speaking of freeride and downhill, I discovered that many cyclists don't know about these sports after GT announced their IT-1 DH bike, with smarmy comments that the IT-1 is too heavy and too overengineered for mountain biking. Freeride is sort of like BMX stunt riding, except on 26" wheel mountain bikes. Big drops, big jumps, and big stunts are freeride. Freeride bikes are heavier than regular MTB bikes to stand up to the abuse.

If you see guys in full face helmets and body armor on heavy bikes falling off of 20 foot cliffs, you're watching downhill or DH riding. Their bikes can weigh 50 pounds or more. Freeride and DH are the stuff you see on the x-treme sports videos they show at Wahoo's Fish Tacos.

American wins German tour

American cyclist Levi Leipheimer won the Deutschland Tour today, 31 seconds ahead of favorite Jan Ullrich, who placed second in this Pro Tour after losing time to Leipheimer in the mountainous fourth stage. Leipheimer placed sixth in the TdF. Ullrich, who has been recovering from illness, placed third last month in France.

"Get off the road!"

If you think you have it bad, check out what the Dalits have to go through in some towns in India.
newKerala.com. 23 August 2005.

Dalits do not ride bicycles

  Dalits are prohibited from riding bicycles within the boundary of these villages in Orissa.

  They have to walk till they cross the village limits. Only then can they ride the cycle or bike. Even the bride and the groom along with the marriage party are not allowed to come or leave the village in any vehicle. They park their vehicle outside the village and walk to the venue.

  Mamata Naik, the first woman of the community to go to a college for higher education, is also a victim of the social stigma. She is facing a huge problem in pursuing her studies as the upper class people would not allow her to ride the cycle to college which is seven kms away.

  The upper caste people in the village proudly say 'As per traditions, the street belonged to us and the dalits have been debarred from riding cycle or bike and moving on any vehicle as it would be considered an insult to us.'

YADA (Yet Another Doping Allegation)

Lance dopes. So say the French. Lance denies. Tdfblog asks "Who cares?" Film at eleven.



In other news, some residents of the South are still sore about losing the Civil War. In spite of General Lee's surrender at Appomattox 140 years ago last April, CSA flags still fly with proclamations that "the South will rise again."

Monday, August 22, 2005

Bali Biker


Biker. Originally uploaded by Antropo turista.
Dr. Tomke Lask is a social anthropologist at the Université de Liège in Belgium, where she is the Deputy Director of the Laboratory of Anthropology of Communication. She took this photo in Pangli, a village in the interior of Bali where the inhabitants live on producing decorative plants for hotels or private houses. Dr. Lask tells me:
The biker came up, when I came out of a house in the village. Bicycles are quite normal for individual transport in the rural area. For me it was interesting to see the man with the bike in order to get an element of how poverty might locally be defined. It is a precious possession, actually, because the whole village had only one old lorry to transport their plants to the city or the next market.

Dr. Lask was in Bali doing field work with a group of Balinese, English, Laotian and Vietnamese colleagues to research "pro-poor tourism." According to Dr. Lask, much of the investment to develop tourism in Third Word Countries does not go to the poor in these countries.

There is a general and international discourse about the benefits for the economy of Third World countries through tourist industry, but apart from global numbers you never get any information of where the money from tourism is actually going. I can tell you that it is not going to the poor or in such small amounts that it is ridiculous to talk of benefits from tourism for the poor.

You can find the results of this investigation on the website of the International Institute of Culture Tourism and Development of the London Metropolitan University.


Cycledog

Thank you very much to our Guest Blogger, Ed the CycleDog! If you liked his writing, you can read a lot more of his material at CycleDog.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

My car hates me....

(Gosh. I hope Fritz gets back soon. I'm starting to run short of material! Maybe something funny will happen today. I still haven't read the local paper this morning, and it usually provides some laughs.....grumble, grumble.....Ed)

Our Ford…

I can really understand why Steven King wrote Cujo as his revenge against the Ford Motor Company for selling him a Pinto. My Contour has a remarkable appetite for switches. Several burned out in the dash, including the one that controls all the lighting. When it went, the only working lights were the headlights. This led directly to an informal meeting with the local constabulary one evening.

Saturday night, the driver’s side powered window went down and refused to come up again. I tinkered with it on Sunday and actually managed to get it to go up once. It promptly went back down. Of course, in managing that feat, I’d disassembled most of the interior. There really isn’t much to a power window, only a switch assembly, a relay, and a motor.

Monday, I went to the Ford dealer to get the relay. They didn’t have one, nor could they find one in their computer. This should usually be regarded as a bad omen. But they’d have one the next day.

Tuesday, I went to work early so I could try to get the car finished in the afternoon. Just before I was to leave work, a co-worker came inside and said that it was about to rain. I drove home instead of going to the dealer. In the driveway, I closed the door, then thought about tinkering with the window switch, so I pulled it out and wiggled the wiring on the back. The window went up!

It’s been up ever since.

This kind of nickel-and-dime stuff makes me crazy. I like this car, but it’s these little things that really make me appreciate my bike all the more. At least I can fix them fairly easily.

If it weren’t for having a family, I probably wouldn’t own a car. That might be impractical for living in suburbia, but it has a certain appeal. Picture a tidy, well, mostly tidy, yard surrounding a house without a car in the driveway. There’s never a car in the driveway. How subversive is that?

But the kids have to be taken here and there. Groceries have to be carted home, and with a fourteen-year-old son, there are a lot of groceries to cart! Sure, I could do all this with a bike and a trailer. But there’s another, more compelling reason to have a car. Mary has an adult form of muscular dystrophy. She may have the strength to ride a bike, but any kind of fall requires a long recovery. She’s terrified of falling.

I’ve tried to coax her onto the back of the tandem without success. That may have something to do with her dim view of her husband’s ability to control a bike. And I don’t believe that she’s alone in believing her husband is a klutz. I tried again last night. “I’ll think about it”, she said. That means I have a better chance of hitting the Powerball jackpot while being eaten by sharks and struck by lightning simultaneously.

So my family needs a car. Still, I liked what Sandra wrote about being car-lite instead of car-free. I use the car when I need to, but most of my basic transportation is on a bicycle.

That brings up another interesting divide. A co-worker attended the local Wednesday night ride yesterday, and he noted that almost everyone there was on a shiny new bike. Nary a dusty old Schwinn to be seen, let alone a high-mileage commuting bike. These people are primarily recreational riders. They wouldn’t ride to work or ride in heavy traffic. Yet transportation cyclists do this everyday.

Don’t misunderstand me here. I’m not demeaning recreational riders and I’m certainly not trying to imply that they’re not ‘real’ cyclists. Almost all of us started riding for recreation. But there may be a perceptible difference in the way we approach road rights.

Recreational riders are happy to use low-traffic roads, trails, and sub-standard facilities. This is a gross over-generalization, of course. But in broad terms, they aren’t as interested in road rights because they simply aren’t effected much.

Those of us who ride for transportation have a different attitude, well, those of us who ride on the road rather than the sidewalks. When we need to get from home to work and back, we travel on many of the same roads used by motorized commuters. We have to reach a destination like a workplace, home, or the grocery store. That usually requires riding in traffic. For many cyclists making the transition from recreational riding to commuting, riding in traffic can be a frightening experience. Yet once they’ve learned the basics, it’s actually fairly easy. If I recall right, commuters have the lowest crash rates when compared to club cyclists and beginners.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

"Beware the pink Barbie horn"

(These are excerpts. The full story is available at http://www.sootoday.com/content/news/full_story.asp?StoryNumber=12964 )

Do not, under any circumstances, mess with this woman!

By Carol Martin
SooToday.com
Friday, August 19, 2005

"Beware the pink Barbie horn," says Kerry Foster. "If you cut me off I'll hunt you down."

...And Foster, a Valkyrie if there ever was one, was offering up free assertiveness training advice to her more timid cycling counterparts.

"If someone cuts you off, ride like hell until you catch them at the next light," she said. "Then park your bike crosswise in front of them until they roll down the window."

"Then, in your most demure tone, tell them you aren't moving until you get an apology," she said. "Even if it takes three or four lights and the traffic is lined up for blocks, don't move."

...Leading the charge of the storytellers was Foster, who regaled rapt riders with stories including one in which she was slapped on the backside by a passing motorist.

"I swear, if I could have caught that guy, I would have killed him!"

Foster said she chased the ass-slapper five blocks before he escaped.

Bean of Champions

One of the first steps in recognizing an addiction is admitting to yourself and others that you have a problem. Now, having said that, I’ll go on to say that I am not addicted to coffee. Let me re-state that – I am not addicted to coffee! I don’t have a problem with coffee. Just don’t get between me and my cuppa in the morning! I’ll hurt you.

It wasn’t always like this. I didn’t drink all that much coffee in college. It wasn’t until I did shift work in a hospital that I started over-indulging. Sometimes I worked 10-day stretches, often with 3 or 4 different shifts over those 10 days. Sometimes I didn’t know what day of the week it was. People showed up for the wrong shift or even on their days off! Sleep deprivation was the norm.

So I started drinking 6-8 cups of coffee each day. It kept me alert, but it was probably not an especially healthy practice. Of course, if you saw the urn we made coffee in, you’d probably be appalled. It made nasty, bitter stuff that ate at the lining of my stomach.

Skip forward about 30 years. My doctor warned about high blood pressure and recommended that I drink no more than 2 caffeinated beverages per day. De-caf doesn’t count, of course, so I substitute it for the normal after-dinner coffee. During the day, I’ll have 2 cups of strong French or Italian roast. The dark coffees have less caffeine than the lighter ones, something I discovered by getting all jazzed up on some milder stuff.

But for true comfort, nothing beats having a water bottle full of hot coffee on a cold morning. Granted, as I write this in August, it’s hardly necessary to have something hot. But fall is coming, and I’m anticipating that cold, dark ride to work. I have an insulated stainless steel water bottle for coffee, and believe me; it’s welcome on those cold mornings.

I won’t go into the various ways to carry hot beverages. Steven Scharf does it much better than I can on his website. http://www.bicyclecoffeesystems.com/ Check it out!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Are we having fun yet?

There are a number of magazines devoted to various aspects of cycling. They cover mountain biking, racing, and touring, with lots of articles highlighting the latest equipment. And they’re undoubtedly entertaining, but their main intent is to sell you more stuff.

Likewise, there are various blogs, email lists, and web sites that focus on racing, legalities, or practices. I’m thinking of Cycling News, bicyclingadvocacy, Chainguard, and others. Honestly, these guys can cover the details of the latest advance in tire technology far better than I can. They write with knowledge and authority about the legal challenges to bicycle access on our roads, and their knowledge is far in excess of anything I could hope to achieve.

So my focus isn’t on the technical details, racing gossip, or plush tours in heartbreakingly beautiful landscapes. Instead, I try to write about the simple fun of riding a bike, and I love to write about the humor that generates. When it happens, there may not be anything funny about having a flat tire in a pouring rain, but given a little time, it can make for a great story. Given that flats are a common occurrence for all of us, a story may make the task a little easier.

“Hey!” the stranded cyclist thinks, “Ed wrote a story about having a flat in similar conditions. I just hope that I’m not attacked by wolverines too!”

I never lie, of course.

I don’t care whether you ride a road bike, a comfort bike, a hybrid, or a mountain bike. It doesn’t matter if you’re a retrogrouch, commuter, tourist, or a New-Age trendie on a fixed gear. To be fair, I have to admit that I have limited (but painfully funny!) experience with mountain biking. Mostly, I’ve been a roadie for better than 30 years. Old dogs and new tricks, you know.

It’s the ride that matters, not the kind of bike, the frame material, or whether it has alloy or brass spoke nipples. This is about fun, the simple fun that comes from moving under your own power. It’s about feeling like a kid again, and that’s something precious that too many of us have lost.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I hate climbing…

(Richard invited me to post temporarily here, so I'm taking advantage of the opportunity! Normally, I post in CycleDog.....Ed)

The Tour de France always offers some great climbs, epic events that pit the greatest cyclists in the world against each other on long, relentless grinds over some of the most famous climbs in all of cycling. I hate ‘em.

I hate watching guys like Virenque or Armstrong spinning along, making it look so easy. I know it’s not easy, of course, but all great athletes make it look effortless, regardless of the sport. Ullrich, on the other hand, I can relate to because he looks like he’s suffering as much as I do.

Big guys are not climbers. Gravity finds us far too attractive, and in my case, the local bakery only adds to that attraction. I can’t walk by a donut shop without gaining a couple of pounds.

There was a time I had delusions of becoming a better climber. I rode with a guy named Oscar, who was much better at it, hoping that I’d improve. It never happened. Mostly, he just dropped me whenever the road tilted upward.

One hot summer day, we went out to Latrobe, Pennsylvania, to ride in the mountains. We parked in the Four Mile Run valley – a beautiful trout stream I’d fished many times – and rode up toward state highway 31 and Donegal. The road climbs the west side of the Laurel Ridge. I thought I was doing well because I managed to stay with Oscar all the way to the summit. Then the road tilted downward, gravity took over, and we screamed down the eastern slope.

We caught up to a car and passed it going down that mountain! It should have been a warning to me, but I was having too much fun. At the foot of the mountain, we lost speed and the car passed us. We turned north along the eastern front and eventually reached US30, where we turned back west.

I looked at the climb with a sinking feeling. It was straight up for only 40 or 50 thousand feet! The thing had the proportions of Mount Everest! There were hungry polar bears dancing in the ice on top! I expected it would be rope and piton work and we’d need oxygen.

Oscar dropped me almost immediately. The polar bears flashed toothy grins.

I am not exaggerating when I say that this was the worst climb I’d ever done. Between the heat and the grade, I was ground down without mercy. I think I fell 3 or 4 times trying to get up that mountain. To say I was cooked would be an understatement. I was utterly and completely destroyed going up that grade. Even now I look back on it with loathing.

I’d like to write something funny about it, like that bit about Greg LeMond’s head floating in front of another guy on an epic climb. But that didn’t happen. I could only focus on the bit of road directly in front of my wheel. My world shrank to one pedal stroke after another, labored breathing, and a desperate desire to keep my lunch down.

I hate climbing. Did I mention that?

Busy day

There's plenty of cycling news happening, but I've been busy with work, birthdays, and a cousin's wedding this weekend.

I'm away from the computer for a few days, but I've lined up a couple of guest bloggers for the weekend. I think you'll enjoy their writing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Another Phonak rider tests positive for dope

Velonews reports that Fabrizio Guidi of Team Phonak tested positive in a dope test. Guidi has been suspended from the team pending the outcome of B-sample testing. This is the fourth Phonak cyclist to test positive since the 2004 season began. Olympic medalist Tyler Hamilton was riding for Phonak when he tested positive for blood doping.

Personally, I've always wanted to believe that Hamilton is somehow innocent, but this pattern is a bit disturbing. Hamilton's appeal hearing is tenatively scheduled for September 6.

Break the glass

Car pooling up

In the U.S., most of us drive because it's so incredibly inexpensive. Steve Schoeffler, executive director of the eRideShare carpool service reports that the recent price increases "are starting to cause some behavior changes." According to Schoeffler, there are "55 new carpool listings so far today on eRideShare. Previous high for a single day was yesterday, with 42. Before that 36, last week."

Cycle mower

I love it! The photographer-supplied caption at Flickr says this.
How they mow the lawn at the Lavender Forest public gardens south of Wiarton on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario. Apparently it works quite well.

Skeeter beaters: Cyclists do pest control

Other areas use helicopters and trucks to kill mosquitoes. After West Nile started popping up in San Francisco, the city hired cyclists to drop larvicide pellets into spots of standing water. The team of 13 cyclists spend all day riding around the city to spot stagnant pools. Pellets of the larvicide Altosid are deposited, the cyclist punches a button a GPS unit, and he continues on his tour of the city. What a cool job.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Foot fetish

If you like foot photos, you'll want to check out this blog: "Come here! I want to show you something!" This car-free photographer has literally hundreds of photos of Chicagoland from the perspective of footwear. She writes:
I have not owned a car for 7 years. I live and work as a Design and Marketing manager in the city of Chicago. I ride one of my three bikes to work and most other places I go every day, year round. If I'm not on a bike I'm walking and every now and then publicly transport myself around town. I'm originally from the Detroit area which is very car friendly, bike unfriendly. I chose to live in Chicago because of Lake Michigan and spend a lot of time on the shoreline bike trail.
I asked her why she takes photos of her feet.
I've been blogging the shoe thing for almost a year. It started out as a little challenge to myself: One or two photos a day of my shoes/feet. I have always been intrigued by ground level perspective, and well, I like shoes and have a lot of them so the whole thing seemed like the easiest and most personally interesting concept for a daily photo challenge.


Funny bike videos

I was saving this for later but Blue Collar beat me to the punch! Big-boys.com is a site with an eclectic collection of funny, bizzare, and outrageous videos. I usually just search for the term "bike" and find a good collection of timesuck material. This one is a great demonstration of the safety benefit of clipless pedals.

Another similar site is StupidVideos.com. Click the search tab and hunt for "bike" in the descriptions for several crash videos. I've downloaded these for breaks during our local advocacy group meetings.

Bikes as tinkertoys

Bicycle thefts by drug users are up but apparently not for the reason you might think. Instead of stealing bikes to pawn off for a quick buck, meth users swipe bikes to fulfill another craving -- a weird obsession to tinker and fiddle with things with their hands." According to the news article, "Crystal meth is a stimulant, but because it destroys brain cells at such a rapid rate, its users are drawn to menial, repetitive activities." Sounds a little like blogging.

Meth users reportedly also steal computers, lawn mowers, stereos and copy machines for the same reasons.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Helmets and accident prevention

A boy on a bike in Sioux Falls, SD got a cut on the head, a broken leg and internal injuries after running a stop sign and getting hit by a truck. The police response: "The accident is a reminder that bicyclists need to wear helmets." No kidding. I guess the magic foam talisman would have prevented the accident, or something.

Cute bike lane markers

The bike lane markers are in Portland, Oregon. Click on the photo to see the whole photostream of images.

Update: Ooops, I should have noticed these photos belong to Jonathan at Bike Portland. Read his blog entry about these new bike lane markings at the Benson Hotel.

Will work for schwag

News from the LAB...
The Louisiana Regional Planning Commission has hired Audrey Warren as the new RPC Bike and Pedestrian Education Administrator guiding a new initiative to address education, public awareness and enforcement issues for bike and pedestrian safety in the New Orleans Region.

The Virginia Department of Transportation hired David L. Patton as VDOT's new statewide bicycling and pedestrian coordinator. Patton will work on making Virginia a national leader in accommodating and promoting non-motorized transportation and recreation.

The industry-group Bikes Belong has hired Deb Hubsmith to coordinate the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. This network of organizations and professional groups is working to set goals, share best practices, secure funding, and provide detailed policy input to implementing agencies for Safe Routes to School, a new $612 million federal program.

The League of Michigan Bicyclists is looking for a new executive director. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is seeking a director of finance and development.

Take a kid mountain biking day

The IMBA's Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day is October 1, 2005. A joint U.S. Congressional resolution has been introduced to officially recognize the day in memory of Jack Doub, a teenage mountain biker from North Carolina.

U.S. bicycle helmet laws

The National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration (NHTSA) has recently web-published a study on mandatory bicycle helmet laws in six jurisdictions in the United States. The study examines the introduction, passage, and implementation of helmet laws with a focus on enforcement issues; factors in the passage and implementation of helmet laws; whether or not the effectiveness of these helmets laws was being measured; and factors that influenced whether or not these helmet laws were evaluated.

Some of the points I found interesting:
  • When discussing arguments against mandatory helmet laws, the study authors listed "The law could lower bicycle ridership" and claimed "little data exist to support or rebut this argument."
  • The posture of the bicycling community on these laws was mixed: some groups supported legislation (usually minors-only laws); some were opposed; and some were divided on the issue.
  • In several jurisdictions, motorcyclists who opposed motorcycle helmet use laws also actively opposed bicycle helmet use laws.
  • Officers cited challenges in ticketing children. “Who do you give the ticket to? Do you put the bike in the trunk and drive the child home?”
  • The law conjures the distasteful image of “troopers ticketing kids.”
  • An issue often raised, chiefly by those in the bicycling community, was that bicycle safety efforts are (or are perceived to be) singularly focused on the adoption of bicycle helmet use laws. They observed that bicycle helmet use laws do not “solve” all bicycle safety problems yet they are concerned that the focus on bicycle helmet use laws distracts attention and resources from other bicycle safety issues.

Because cycling is no more likely to result in head injury than riding in an automobile, mandatory helmet use for cyclists is ridiculous. The experience in Australia with their mandatory bike helmet law has been disasterous for cycling, with mandatory bicycle helmet use resulting in increased hospital admissions in spite of the reduced popularity of cycling, and damage to overall public health.

If you are fighting mandatory bicycle helmet legislation in your area, I urge you to read Avery Burdett's Helmet FAQ.

I hate it when that happens

One of the better sources of international cycling business news is the UK-based BikeBiz.com. The BikeBiz editor reports that he is "bruised, battered and will not be providing a full news service this week." A motorist blew through a stop sign and hit the rider, damaging the rider's Dura Ace equipped CF road bike. The rider is not seriously injured.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Presidential Perk: Ride with Lance

Lance Armstrong will travel to Crawford, TX to mountain bike with President Bush next weekend. "It's a dream scenario for me," Armstrong said. "Now that President Bush doesn't run anymore, he rides his mountain bike fanatically. People wonder why he's stays at the ranch so long, it might be the mountain bike trails."

Armstrong said although the president certainly couldn't whip him, he's impressed with how seriously Bush takes the his new sport.

"I know people who have ridden with him," Armstrong said. "I can tell you he's one very competitive guy. Very competitive, there's no talking. A few minutes of warm up time, a little chitchat, then you go."

That matches up with what this journalist says about Bush's riding.
The truth about the Biker-in-Chief is that the man can really ride. Over the course of a two-hour Tour de Crawford, Bush humbled every rider in Peloton One with a strong and steady pace over scorching hot paved roads, muddy creek crossings, energy-sapping tall grass and steep climbs on loose and crumbling rock.

"This is not a race," he insisted at the start of the ride. "This is a chance for me to show you a little slice of heaven, as far as I'm concerned. You know, some guys go on their ranch and ride horses — I like to ride my ranch on a mountain bike."

Keeping up with Bush — whose fitness level was recently rated in his annual physical exam as being in the top 1% of men 55 to 59 — was as difficult as any race I've entered.

Canada: Gas busts through $1 barrier

The Regina Leader-Post in Saskatchewan tells readers to "Ride a bike!" after prices broke through the $1/litre mark. The Canadian paper reports that some service stations needed new signs to accomodate record-setting prices. ($1.05 Canadian per liter works out to about $2.65 per gallon U.S.)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Eredi Chiarini bicycles

Melissa the photographer writes about these yellow bikes in Florence, Italy.
Riding a bicycle is a great way to get around the narrow streets of Florence and explore beautiful Tuscan hillsides dotted with villas, olive groves and ancient churches.

Patrons of the exclusive menswear boutique, Eredi Chiarini, located in the historic center of Florence, are allowed borrow one of the store's bright yellow bicycles, but even if your pocketbook doesn't allow you to shop there, Florence offers many other options for visitors who wish to explore the city by bike.

The city of Florence rents out approximately 2000 bicycles on a daily basis. Costs are low: € 1.50 1 hr. - € 4.00 5 hrs - € 8.00 all day. Rental points are open generally from 8:00am to 7:00pm Mon-Sat. and can be found at the Santa Maria Novella Train Station (also open Sundays), Campo di Marte train station, Piazza del Cestello, Piazza della Calza, and Parterre. You will need to present a form of ID, to rent a bike.
Here are additional resources on bicycling in and around Florence.
  • Florence Bike Pages is an informative English-language site including itineraries, bike paths, cycling events, all information regarding bicycling in and around Florence and travelling by bike.
  • Florence By Bike is a large bike rental and tour company.
  • I Bike Italy offers single day tours throught the Tuscan countryside.
  • Alinari Rental rents bicycles and scooters.

Houston group: 'Bike paths bring crime'

I haven't heard this objection in quite a while. The city of Houston is planning to put a bike path through a section of southeast Houston. The South MacGregor Civic Club claims the trail will provide a path for criminals. As if roads don't already to that much more effectively.

Flirting and cycling

Single male cyclists frequently discuss the question: "So, you rode up to a female cyclist. Do you...?" Boulder cyclist Carol Kauder gives her take on this important issue in "Cycling and the singles scene".
"Ladies, are you looking for love? Have you tried riding up Lefthand Canyon?

"I think it's safe to say a sport is fully integrated into regional culture when it becomes fertile ground for flirting and finding a date."

Read Carol's column in the Daily Camera.

Gas prices and their impact on everybody

The BBC tells us why rising prices on petroleum products will affect all of us, even those who don't own or drive a motoro vehicle. Meanwhile, Shyrley in CarFree jokes about Pre-Walking Clinics for those who've forgotten how to walk.

3-D fly through of your bike route

Portland bike routes on Google Earth
Imagine entering a start and end address into your computer and seeing a street-level, bike-eye view of your cycling route. That's the vision of the Portland Oregon Metro Region Transportation Planning group.

They're not quite there yet, but they have melded Portland's popular Bike There! map with Google Earth so you can view and preview bike routes throughout the Portland region. BikePortland.org gives you details on downloads and how-to so you can play with this technology yourself. If you live outside of Portland, this is a cool way to take a virtual bike ride through the city.

Carbon fiber worldwide shortages

BikeBiz.com is reporting on a shortage of carbon fiber, citing the rapid spread of windfarms, the rapidly growing Chinese economy, and production on the Airbus 380. Suppliers have apparently been warning their customers for some time about the worldwide shortage in carbon fiber. Large volume users of carbon fiber began speculating about CF shortages as long as four years ago.

Over hydration kills cyclist

A District of Columbia bike patrol officer died Wednesday apparently of hyponatremia according to the Washington Post. Doctors believe that hyponatremia, a sodium imbalance caused by drinking excessive amounts of fluid, probably caused or contributed to the death of Officer James McBride. McBride consumed as much as three gallons of water during and after the 12-mile training ride Tuesday morning, police said.

Everybody knows the importance of drinking water during heavy excercise. This emphasis on hydration, however, has led to to increase in incidences of hyponatremia, which can kill the endurance athlete. Read guidance on hyponatremia and dehydration from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Melon bike

This photo was was taken at a melon art festival in Zagreb, Croatia in early summer 2005. Bikes and melons - yummy and cyclelicious!


Kid's stolen bike replaced

After a local paper reported the theft of an eight year old's bike in the south Boston burb of Brockton, MA, a local man bought the kid a new bike. It's glurge, but it's still a sweet story.

Bad cop assaults cyclist

Motorist cuts off cyclist, peeved cyclist contacts car, road-raged driver (who turns out to be a cop) chases cyclist down, jumps out and proceeds to beat the cyclist according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Here are excerpts from the article.

Cyclist Cephas Gardner ... said it was around 1 p.m. when he was pedaling southbound on Polk Street. As he crossed McAllister Street, he said, a silver Honda Civic turned the corner and cut him off. Gardner, irritated, said he had used the flat of his hand to tap the car's trunk. Then, according to Gardner and a witness, the driver began swerving toward Gardner in the bike lane.

Gardner tried to get away from the vehicle, he said, but was pursued for another block and over several lanes of traffic. As they passed Grove Street, the driver allegedly pulled to the right curb, jumped out and ran toward Gardner to pull him off his bike.

Witness Christina West, 36, was driving behind the two of them and started dialing 911 on her cell phone, she said. "I thought he was going to kill him (Gardner)," she said.

She said the driver had started punching Gardner, although Gardner said he wasn't sure what happened. That's when, she said, the driver said he was a police officer. He turned out to be Officer Randy Ly.

It wouldn't be the only complaint against Ly. A lawsuit was filed related to Ly's arrest of businessman Ray Pellegrini, a former Olympic Club and city golf champion, near Lake Merced, on Oct. 18, 2000. In a lawsuit he filed, Pellegrini alleged that Ly and Munoz "grabbed him, kicked him, beat him and pushed him into his car, causing a large dent. They threw him to the ground and further assaulted him.'' In February 2003, the city paid $13,000 to settle the lawsuit.

Performance Bikes dumps Giant and Specialized

According to BRaIN, Performance will no longer sell Giant and Specialized products. Performance also announced they will overhaul their Supergo stores into large-scale Performance stores. Performance is the nation's largest bicycle retailer, and Performance is the largest single customer for both Giant and Specialized.

Performance cited difficulties in working with the demands of Giant and Specialized as the reason for terminating their retail relationship. Their recent addition of Pacific Cycles brands, on the other hand, has "been like a breath of fresh air" according to Performance Bike CEO Garry Snook.

Important note to bike manufacturers: Don't alienate your largest customers.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Exploratorium Science of Cycling

How do gears work on bikes? How much impact does wind resistance have on your riding? How efficient is cycling compared to other forms of transporation?

The Exploratorium examines these and the history of many aspects of cycling in their series on sports science resources. They discuss the wheel, gearing, frames, materials, braking, steering, aerodynamics, and human power with text, audio and video, and interactive features in "The Science of Cycling." Fritz says, "Check it out."

Triathletes to the rescue

Yesterday, I reported on the Maurice Bernier, a disabled cyclist who had his bike, touring gear, and his wallet stolen in Saskatoon, SK. This morning, I learn that a group of triathletes raised over $2000.00 to get him back riding his bike. They've replaced his saddlebags, camping gear and some of Maurice's cash, and they're working with a bike shop to try to get a bike at cost. Read about their efforts on the Slowtwitchers triathlete forum.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Robbing crippled people

This is low. Maurice Bernier, who has a degenerative muscle disease, was touring across Canada when his custom modified bike and all of his touring gear were stolen in Saskatoon. After reporting the crime to the police, a woman mugged him and stole his wallet.

Cyclist leg shaving

The Fat Cyclist tells us why he thinks cyclists shave their legs. Then he gives before and after photos of his leg shaving experience, including one that's a bit grody showing a dust pan full of the leftovers.

Internal hub freeride: GT IT-1

A bike that first saw the light of day at Interbike 1997, GT's internal hub IT-1 will soon be available for sale at your local bike shop. This full suspension freeride bike features the 8-speed Shimano Nexus internally geared hub that's placed at the bottom of the front triangle, right above the crankset. According to GT, this creates a more stable center of gravity and a stronger rear wheel. It also reduces the unsprung weight, which is the efficiency loss you get because you're pedaling against your own suspension. As a bonus, there's no more rear derailer and chain tensioner sticking out to get smashed on rocks.

Cyclelicious will try to get photos and a ride on this bike. In the meantime, take a look a look at the details Popular Science has for us.

Monday, August 8, 2005

Lincolnshire Cycling Good Citations

Lincolnshire Good Citation Certificate
Cyclelicious asked Lincolnshire Bike Patrol officer Adam Hyde about the Good Citations Program. This program encourages safe cycling for children by handing out certificates for free ice cream and entering them into a drawing for a free bike.

Beyond helmet use, the Lincolnshire PD looks for safe riders who safely walk their bikes across crosswalks, ride on the right side of the street, and have proper equipment on their bikes. Over 200 Good Citations have been awarded over the summer. According to Officer Hyde, "The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Kids are actually stopping us and pointing at their helmets!"

Beyond the Good Citations program, Lincolnshire Police are active in encouraging youth cycling. The large bike safety program in the town includes two bike rodeos each year with safety inspections, and bike and riding safety instruction by IPMBA certified bike police to all children in the schools before the summer break.

Officer Hyde and his team of five bike officers are members of the International Police Mountain Bike Association, which trains and certifies bike police with a curriculum based on vehicular cycling principles.

Bike Patrol Officer Adam Hyde and Maggie Moo's came up with the "Good Citations" program of positive reinforcement to encourage safe cycling. Officer Hyde welcomes inquiries from other police departments who wish to implement a similar program.

Flying cyclist

How fast can you go on your bike?

From Aerial Extreme photography service.

MapQuest for bikes

The city of Boulder will pay MapQuest $140,000 to create BikeQuest, an interactive online mapping tool for Boulder Bikers. According to the Daily Camera, funding for this project will become available in October and the map will be available by summer 2006.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Stroke Assocation says 'Ride Your Bike'

Check out this newsflash: According to the American Stroke Assocation, an epidemiological study in Finland is"the first to find an inverse association between leisure-time physical activity and the risk of any stroke."

"Daily walking or cycling to and from work also reduces ischemic stroke risk and, therefore, should be recommended to all people," said lead investigator Dr. Gang Hu. Compared to people registering no activity while commuting to or from work, the risk of total stroke was 8 percent lower for those who were physically active for one to 29 minutes on their way to work each day. It was 11 percent lower for people who were active for more than 30 minutes on their way to work.

Lance and politics

This Houston TV station reports that Lance doesn't vote.

Saturday, August 6, 2005

Bicycle girl

According to photographer David Beneteau this photo of a girl riding down Government Street in Victoria, BC "was a 'shoot from the hip and hope' kind of shot."

Cyclelicious feature photo.

Train wrecks and Team Discovery video

A derailed train snarled traffic for 2 1/2 hours yesterday in Boulder. I was tempted to ride the bike down there just to see the mess but I had better things to do, like the laundry.

Which is kind of how I feel about the new "Team Discovery and Lance" cartoons at Discovery Channel. These Team Discovery videos are fascinating in a rubber-necking kind of way, though they're oddly humorous. Check it out if you're done with the laundry and have a couple of minutes to kill.

Jonathan at Just Riding Along writes about these videos from a marketing perspective. The Team Discovery videos have bizarre product tie-ins to American Chopper and Crocodile Hunter. I'm off to mow the lawn now.

Friday, August 5, 2005

Amputees Across America

Touring across the country is an amazing feat, especially if you're an amputee. The Asbury Park (NJ) Press describes three men who encourage other amputees as they cycle from San Diego to Boston. Read more about Amputees Across America at their website.

Thursday, August 4, 2005

South American bike touring

southamericatour

While browsing the web tonight I ran across South America Bicycle Touring Links. There's an amazing collection of people from all around the world who are now touring or have toured portions of this continent. Several of these online journals have photographic records of their trips. If you like reading about exotic locations and have a few hours to kill, check this site out. Watch that last column of the listings -- it tells you the language the tour journal is in.

Los Angeles cycling advocacy

Michaele Shapiro writes about the challenges facing cyclists in Los Angeles. "There's an unspoken, competitive edge in the smoggy city where commuting and traveling across town to several destinations every day have become standard expectations for the reliable employee." She also gives some good news about bike festivals and advocacy activities and resources. Check it out at In The Fray.

Mountain bike skills

My MTB skills are pretty pathetic. Because girls want guys with skills, I'm always on the lookout for good mountain biking technique websites. If you're in the same boat, check out what GoClipless has to say about these tutorials. Before you know it, you'll be taking three feet of air on sweet jumps just like Pedro does on his Sledgehammer.

Cycling in Ohio

Cyclist Melvin Surprise III was hit by a truck in Toledo, Ohio. Melvin got the ticket. Gene Bisbee tells us why. You might also like to read about the Ohio Bike Federation's Cyclist Friendly Community program.

Blue bikes in Provo

The city of Provo, UT hopes that Dasani's Blue Bike program will encourage more bicycle use throughout the city, not just along the popular Provo River Trail where the bikes and lockers are provided. "Provo is working very hard to be a bicycle-friendly community," said Jim Price of the Mountainland Association of Governments. "The trail system is part of that, but it's not the only part."

Dasani and Trek are providing freely available blue bikes and installing lockers along trails in eight communities throughout the United States. Besides Salt Lake City & Provo, these communities include Villa Park, IL; Rockmart, GA; Pittsburg, PA; Baltimore, MD; Pittsburgh, PA; Seattle, WA; Orange County, FL; and Dallas, TX.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Muscle bike


Muscle bike. Originally uploaded by Lil Erna.
This masked muscle man is on his way to a Critical Mass event on the north side of Chicago.

Cyclelicious feature photo.

Parents' nightmare

Joanne Lord was driving home with her husband Nigel when they came across an accident scene. They stopped to help the dying cyclist to discover he was her 13-year-old son, Antony.

Planet Bike of the Apes

OneGotFat

One Got Fat is a bizarre bike safety film featuring kids with creepy ape masks. This 1963 film predates the Planet of the Apes by five years and undoubtably provided the inspiration for the sci-fi classic.

The basic bike safety message is sound: "drive your bike," signal your intentions, ride right, obey traffic rules, ensure your equipment works, use lights and reflectors in the dark, avoid the sidewalk, and don't ride with more people than the bike is designed for. This isn't your basic and boring safety film, though. The happily smug narration provided by Edward Everett Horton (of Fractured Fairy Tails) along with the pleasant music results in an interesting Twilight-Zonish disconnect while the rule-breaking children are, one by one, eliminated by road hazards, cars, and a steamroller(!). One of the Internet Archive reviewers describes the tone best. "Johnny has been crushed by a steamroller. Oh dear, what a pity, he should have used hand signals."

Download this 15-minute film from the Internet Archive and play it at your next bike advocacy meeting. I howled with laughter while watching it; my two young children, meanwhile, sat transfixed as the little monkeys all disappeared one by one.

Thank you to Cleverchimp for pointing the way to this great little film.

Cyclelicious top ten

Dear Readers, you have requested a bicyling blogroll here at Cyclelicious. I'll get around to it -- this blog is only one week old as of today, after all. In the meantime, you can visit my complete blogroll is at Redmountain.

PR guy Steve Rubel makes the suggestion that bloggers list their top ten blogs and tag it "10blogs." Here are the ten Cyclelicious blogs.

  1. The Adventures of Crazy Biker Chick. Tonya in Toronto.
  2. BikeBiz.com. This UK-based resource reports mostly on industry news with some advocacy news also.
  3. Blue Collar MTB. Equipment reviews and advocacy news.
  4. Cycle Dog. The adventures of Ed in Oklahoma.
  5. The Fat Cyclist. "It's like reality TV, except it's real. And there's no TV."
  6. Go Clipless. Mountain biking in and around D.C. with reviews and commentary.
  7. Just Riding Along. Bike industry news and commentary. Jonathan also runs Bike Portland.
  8. Making It Easier. Yet Another mountain bike resource.
  9. Rogue Mechanic. A bike mechanic gives you his views on "repairs, upgrades, maintenance, technical info, opinions, views, photos and more."
  10. Velorution. Car-free crazies. Great site.

One thing I just noticed is that this bicycling blogroll is heavily skewed toward mountain bikes, and I'm (mostly) a roadie! I've run across very few roadie blogs. I was following TDFblog during the tour, but they stopped posting after July 24. I get most of my road race info from sources like VeloNews, and Pez Cycling News. If you know of some good roadie blogs, please leave a comment about them.

If you want to include tags in your blog posts but don't know how, feel free to use my Technorati Tag-o-Matic script. Just type in the tags you want in the little box, click "OK," then copy and paste the created tag text into your blog editor. It's very easy to use.

In other news, you might notice that I finally got trackbacks working. It turns out I was neglecting to load the necessary Javascript in the header of my posts. Oops!

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

girl.bike.dog


corduroy bike closeup. Originally uploaded by dynathree.
Lindsay is a freelance seamstress in Philadelphia who creates one-of-a-kind girl.bike.dog clothing, accessories, jewelry and dog products out of found material. Why girl.bike.dog? "I am a girl that loves to ride my bike and play with my dog," says Lindsay.

You might see Lindsay and her dog Indie at various streetfests and concerts in the Philadelphia area. She is trying to find stores to carry her unique designs. In the meantime, check out her website for her portfolio.

Cyclelicious feature photo.

Bikes selling better than cars

Americans purchased more bicycles than new cars and trucks combined in the past year, according to this Reuter's story by Rasha Elass. "Bike sales and bike equipment is a five to six billion dollar business per year," said Tim Blumenthal, industry specialist and executive director of Bikes Belong, a national industry association. "Bicycle sales are near an all-time high (with) 19 million sold last year -- close to the 20 million sold during the oil embargo in the early 1970s."

Elass cites the Lance Factor, high oil prices, and obesity for the growth in the bike retail business. About 16 million new cars were sold in the United States in 2004. That's some pretty cyclelicious news to me.

Tags:

Giant Bicycle recall

According to this press release from the U.S. CPSC and Giant, 2005 Giant Cypress and Sedona comfort bikes have been recalled because the "rear axle on the bicycle is harder than required by the manufacturer’s specification and could crack." The interesting thing is that only 76 defective bikes have been sold, according to Giant.

Icebikers talk about the heat

The IceBike mailing list is for discussion of winter cycling. With temperatures well into the 90s across portions of North America this last week, icebikers have been talking about the heat. Pete Hickey tells us how hot it was in his part of Canada.
I was cycling through an area filled with farms this weekend. On one side of the road, were dairy farmers, with their cows in the field. On the other side were rows and rows of corn.

As I rode, it was getting hotter and hotter. I was glad that I had plenty of water.

It got so hot, that the corn started popping.

Now, this confused the cows. They looked over at all that popcorn over there (cows are pretty dumb). They thought it was snow, and they started freezing to death.

Yep, a hot day.
Reposted with permission from Pete Hickey.