Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Prostrate drug Superbowl ad features cyclists

Drug maker Boehringer-Ingelheim features lycra-clad cyclists with enlarged prostate in a SuperBowl ad this weekend when they advertise the prostate drug Flomax. Cyclists who take Flomax apparently are “guys having more fun and spending less time in the men’s room.”

From the Wall Street Journal's Dealbreaker blog.

Monday, January 29, 2007

San Francisco bicycle collision video

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition captured a motorist hooking at a cyclist at the infamous Octavia and Market intersection. Right turns are illegal at this intersection, though in this case it really doesn't matter -- the driver clearly passed the cyclist then hooked right into him.

Several other videos of this intersection are available at SFBike's YouTube page.

More discussion on Octavia and Market:

Me: San Francisco bike lane and right turn collision.
Paul Dorn: Market / Octavia protest.
SFist: Dangerous illegal turn every three minutes.

ABC Quick Check

The ABC Quick Check is a mnemonic to remind cyclists of things to check for before every ride.

A is for Air in the tires. Ensure your tires are properly inflated. While you're messing with the tires, check for damage to the tires.

B is for Brakes. Check that the brakes work.

C is for Drivetrain. Or, for the non-orthogonal pedants among us, C is for Cranks, Chainring, Chain and Cogs. Make sure the chainring bolts are secure and that your chain is in good shape.

Quick is for Quick Release. Make sure all of your quick release mechanisms (hub skewers, brake releases and seatpost) are secure.

This checklist is relatively new in the League of American Bicyclists Bike Ed program. The ABC Quick Check was developed by IPMBA instructors Gene Miller, Kirby Beck, Allan Howard, and Stuart Bracken.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Who listens to podcasts?

I'm a blogging and forums maniac. That's because I read about 1000 words per minute and type 80 words per minute. That means I can read about four typical blog posts per minute and write a blog post in less than five minutes. Online research is also quick for me -- I use keyboard shortcuts so the mouse doesn't slow me down. That leaves me plenty of time to get some good bicycle riding in :-)

My fast reading and writing is completely useless in the world of podcasting, so I don't listen to podcasts. I don't watch television, either, for that matter. But then, Tim Grahl mentioned Cyclelicious in the latest edition of The Spokesman podcast, so of course I had to listen.

I discovered the discussion is really good. I listened to more Spokesman podcasts. I clicked over and listened to part of a Fredcast Cycling podcast. Crooked Cog does a podcast. Carlton Reid -- he's the king of excellence if you already didn't know that -- has experimented with podcasts for a while and now has his site for video and audio podcasts.

Who listens and views these podcasts? Do you have any tips for time-limited folks like me? I've avoided listening on the bike -- I depend on my hearing to know what's going on around me. I take public transit every day, but my commute time is also my blogging, news and email time. Any suggestions?

Million dollar purse

The race itself isn't all that distinctive -- three short stages in four days at the tale end of the racing season -- but wow! The winner takes home a million dollars.

In November 6-9 2007, the United Arab Emirates will host the Abu Dhabi "Cycling Race of Champions." The winners of the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a EspaƱa will be invited with their teams, along with the three teams that come out best in the teams classification of each Grand Tour. An additional three wildcard invites with their squads will round things out for a total field of 72 competitors.

It's good to see our oil money is going to something besides supporting terrorists. It's kind of old news, but I saw it first at Nashville Cyclist.

IMBA seeks fundraising guru

The International Mountain Bicycling Associaion is looking for a Development Director to work out of their Boulder Office. "Development Director" is what non-profits call their chief fundraising expert. They're looking for somebody with six years of fundraising experience, demonstrated ability to raise $2 million annually, great leadership and communication skills, and various other qualifications. Read here at the IMBA website for details.

Every time I went skiing at Eldora ski area in Boulder County, Colorado, I always saw IMBA staff there on the slopes. A 30 minute drive to a local ski area is a great perk!

Industry Outsider blog

Brian of Orem, Utah has been bicycling for about 30 years. He's ridden BMX, road, and mountain bikes during that time, and recently raced BMX in Australia. His involvement in the industry has included importing, online sales, retail sales, as well as advertising and marketing.

Today, when he's not at his day job or riding one of his bikes, Brian is an admin at the popular BikeForums site.

On New Years Day, Brian also started the Industry Outsider blog, where he'll discuss industry news and product trends. He has good contacts within the bike industry so look for good product reviews as well. Check his bicycle blog out and welcome Brian to the bicycle blogosphere!

Friday, January 26, 2007

My hairy legs in a miniskirt

The League of American Bicyclists Road 1 class teaches students the "ABC Quick check." This mnemonic reminds us of the vital bicycle components to check before each ride. A stands for "Air" (in the tires), B is for "Brakes," C is for "Drivetrain" and Q (in Quick) is for "Make sure your pants are rolled up good if you're riding fixed."

As any fixed-gear rider knows, chainrings like to eat pants. Most of us have trashed the hem after it gets caught in the chain.

I was riding home last week with my right pant rolled up a little, but it wasn't quite enough. The chain caught my pant and it ripped. I was traveling at about 20 mph so it took a couple of pedal revolutions for me to stop. My right pant leg somehow got wrapped around the pedal axle and ripped my right pant leg off of my leg. The rip stopped at the waistband, so essentially I have a rectangular piece of fabric dangling from my waist. After I freed it from the pedal and chain, this fabric was free to flap in the breeze.

I tried securing this strip of fabric inside my socks at the bottom, but there was nothing to hold it in place at the top. My tighty whiteys were completely exposed. This is on a major, 51,000 ADT (both directions) arterial during the evening rush hour.

Your good friend and mine Paul Tay would have kept going, but my personal modesty standards compelled me to cover up. I eventually wrapped the fabric around my hips and hairy thighs, miniskirt style, placing the end on the saddle and sitting on it for the remainder of my ride.

Remember, folks, the ABC Quick check for safe riding!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

San Francisco bike lane and right turn collision

Last Monday, a truck driver made an illegal right turn from Market Street at Octavia and seriously injured a bicyclist who was in the bike lane to the right of the truck. These illegal right turns occur frequently enough at that an ABC 7 news crew at the scene filming some background footage happened to catch a hit-and-run on video.

In response, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has organized a demonstration at Market @ Octavia to call attention to the City's lax enforcement at this intersection.

Some commenters wonder why the turn is illegal, since it seems an like an obvious place to get on the freeway. If a road is engineered for a certain activity, it does not matter how many signs and prohibitions are in place; drivers will drive to the engineering, not the signs.

I've been nearly hooked at this intersection and take the lane here. Perhaps the city, motorists and cyclists would all be better served if the bike lane was removed entirely at this location.

SF Bay Area free transit to continue for 2007

Spare the Air free transit program continues this year

The Bay Area will be treated to three free days of public transportation this year during the region's smoggiest summer months.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission voted unanimously and without discussion Wednesday to spend $7.5 million on the Spare the Air free transit program despite concerns about its effectiveness and cost.

Last year, the commission spent $13.2 million for six days of free transit. The goal is to reduce traffic congestion and smog on days the Bay Area is expected to exceed air quality standards.

The decision to continue the free rides on 26 of the region's transit systems was contingent on an evaluation of last year's program.

That analysis shows it cost nearly $411,000 a ton to reduce vehicle emissions and points out that the Bay Area avoided violating the ozone pollution standard on just two of the six free-transit days. Still, without the program "air quality conditions could have been much worse," according to the report.

During last year's six days of free transit, ridership increased 15 percent, or by about 1.35 million riders. That led to nearly 529,000 fewer car trips and 3.5 million fewer miles of automobile travel for every free transit day.

Bicycles are allowed on all buses and trains operated by San Francisco Bay Area public transit providers.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Soma Rush fixed gear bicycle

Timothy of San Mateo, California rides his fixed gear Soma Rush bicycle up and down the San Francisco Peninsula when he's not riding the train. Tim's flip-flop hub is fixed on one side, freewheel on the other. He's rigged for fixed in this photo.

Soma is a South San Francisco designer of steel bicycle frames and urban cycling accessories. The Rush is designed specifically for the urban cyclist, with brake mounts and bottle cage braze-ons. Soma Rush frame without fork retails for under $400.

Photo info: Tim and his Soma Rush fixed by richardmasoner.

Miso soup

Shawn asked for soup recipes from around the world. I'm happy to oblige.

Miso is basic, simple to make, and yummy to me. Here's how I do it.
  • Start water to boil.
  • Mix in a spoonful or four of miso paste. I like the strong-flavored aka or 'red' miso paste.
  • Add chopped scallions, mushrooms and/or kombu seaweed.
  • When the miso paste is completely dissolved, remove from heat and dissolve in about a teaspoon of instant dashi powder.
My grandmother would sometimes boil up a big pot of clams and then make miso soup using the clam stock. She also didn't use instant hondashi -- she kept dried, moldy fish hanging on the kitchen wall, and she'd scrape the moldy fish flesh straight into the soup pot. Good stuff before and after a bike ride.

Because of the dead-fish flavor, Japanese miso soup typically is not vegetarian.

If you post your soup recipe, please comment here or at Shawn's blog.

Rush hour bicycling fun

This happens to me, too. I'm in the bike lane adjacent to heavy traffic and parked cars. A dude steps between the parked cars in front of me, looks right at me, waits until I'm about two feet from me then steps directly in my path. This happened twice last night. The first time, I barked, "Watch it!" and the guy jumped back. The second time it happened, I brushed the dude with my shoulder. He apologized, I kept going. Just to be clear, my brush was not intentional, although if I really tried I possibly could have avoided it.

I almost always give the benefit to the walker -- if somebody jaywalks in front of me, I'm okay with that. But you gotta at least give me some space to react.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bush on U.S. energy dependence

Here's part of the text of President Bush's State of the Union in which he states that (1) the U.S. is too dependent on foreign sources for our energy and (2) the way out is through technology and alternative fuels. His only mention of saving through conservation is through an "increase the supply of alternative fuels."

In the Democratic Party response, Senator Jim Webb affirmed that the way to energy independence is through "a wave of entrepreneurial growth in the form of alternate energy programs."

Our insatiable diet for fuel is already starving our Mexican neighbors and it will only get worse, but oh well.

Extending hope and opportunity depends on a stable supply of energy that keeps America's economy running and America's environment clean. For too long our nation has been dependent on foreign oil. And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and to terrorists -- who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments, raise the price of oil and do great harm to our economy.

It is in our vital interest to diversify America's energy supply -- and the way forward is through technology. We must continue changing the way America generates electric power -- by even greater use of clean coal technology ... solar and wind energy ... and clean, safe nuclear power. We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles, and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol -- using everything from wood chips, to grasses, to agricultural wastes.

We have made a lot of progress, thanks to good policies in Washington and the strong response of the market. Now even more dramatic advances are within reach. Tonight, I ask Congress to join me in pursuing a great goal. Let us build on the work we have done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next ten years -- thereby cutting our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.

To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 -- this is nearly five times the current target. At the same time, we need to reform and modernize fuel economy standards for cars the way we did for light trucks -- and conserve up to eight and a half billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017.

Achieving these ambitious goals will dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but will not eliminate it. So as we continue to diversify our fuel supply, we must also step up domestic oil production in environmentally sensitive ways. And to further protect America against severe disruptions to our oil supply, I ask Congress to double the current capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. These technologies will help us become better stewards of the environment -- and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change.

D.C. fixes bicycle brake law

Washington D.C. changed the regulation about bicycle equipment requirement to specifically exclude a brake requirement for fixed-gear bikes:
1204.1 Each bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which enables the operator to cause the braked wheels to skid on dry, level, clean pavement; provided, that a fixed gear bicycle is not required to have a separate brake, but an operator of a fixed gear bicycle shall be able to stop the bicycle using the pedals.<

The Washington Area Bicyclists Association worked with the Washington D.C. Department of Transportation on the wording of this regulation.

I read this first at Gwadzilla, who read it at WashCycle, who saw it (with analysis and commentary about the situation in Portland) at Bike Portland, where I totally missed it when it first appeared last November.
Photo info: jason skid by pseudothoughts.

Bike Winter 2007

The snowbelt cities of Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Ann Arbor have well-attended Bike Winter events to promote winter bike riding. The Bike Winter folks host rides through snowy city streets, have parties and conduct workshops on how to winterize your bike and build homebrew lights and fenders.

I've just discovered that wintry Los Angeles, California has their own Bike Winter event occuring the week of February 2-14. Angelinos tell us to "Bring on the spandex, the cupcake rides, the hot cocoa tours, the crack of dawn sprints, all night detournements, trail rides, urban exploring, suburban terrorizing, hill racing, ruckus brewing, psychogeographical, costumed freakshows and more." The weather forecast for the rest of the week calls for dreadful sunny skies and bone-chilling highs in the low 70s F (low 20s C).

Via End Pavement, who saw it at C.I.C.L.E.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Bicycle safety

Paul Dorn notes a couple of importance pieces of bicycle safety news.

Sharrows approved

The National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices finally voted to endorse "sharrow" shared-lane markings and sent their endorsement to the Federal Highway Administration for inclusion (hopefully) in the next edition of the federal MUTCD.

I realize many cyclists don't like sharrows, but, like Paul, I really like them. They help to communicate that cyclists are as much a user of our roads as motorists are. They were pioneered in Denver, Colorado, and have now been adopted by several cities where cycling is popular. Adoption as a federal highway standard will only help.

Of course, sharrows must be in the right spot to be effective; an actual standard will improve positioning on the street.

Salt Lake City helmet law

Non-cyclists try yet again to improve our 'safety' by pushing mandatory helmet legislation, this time in Salt Lake City. SLC cyclists -- even those who are pro-helmet -- are against the legislation. The cyclists "say it would ... give the impression that cycling is unsafe and could deter bikers from commuting. They would rather the city spend time preventing collisions instead of blaming the victim.

'Wouldn't it make more sense to reduce the rate of accidents than to mitigate their damage through helmets?' wonders Rob MacLeod, a member of the Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Board (MBAC) who wears a helmet as a regular cycle commuter. "

As everyone knows, though, helmets are effective in accident prevention.

Photo info: Market Street cyclist getting the squeeze by richardmasoner.

Symbiot Sportback Review

Picture courtesy of SymbiotDesign

Philadelphia has the distinction of being the birthplace of many things, among them amazing cheesesteaks, the Manayunk Wall, and Rocky Balboa. However, there is another item that can now be added to the list, the Symbiot Sportback.

This backpack for the active lifestyle is one of the most comfortable backpacks I've ever worn. It fits snugly around my torso (eliminating the usual shifting you get from other packs worn over the shoulders) and fits perfectly against my back in the tuck position (less of an effect from the wind). Plus, the padding you get for your back is very thick and hardly keeps you from noticing it. You don't have to worry about not having enough pockets with the Sportback either, there are plenty provided for you.

Although space is limited in these (don't plan on carrying a large laptop in here), there is still more than enough room for the things you'd take for a spin. Plus, with bladder compartment as part of the Sportback, there is practically nothing you cannot do with this bag.

As compared to other bags out on the market right now, you should expect to see sales of this bag grow once the word spreads.

And as a bit of trivia, the latitude/longitude coordinates on the Sportback tag are as follows:


Plot those and you'll learn a little about the company.

Update: Professional posts his own review of the Symbiot Sportback.

More about me

I guess it's an off-topic, getting to know me kind of day. I'm this kind of person. A Christian who cares about human effects on the environment; imagine that!

I like this quote: "There are a lot of folks who say they care deeply about the environment, and yet their impact is as heavy as anyone on the planet. The future doesn't care what we say -- it only cares what we do."

Come work with Fritz

In about half an hour, Sun Microsystems and Intel will hold a joint news conference in San Francisco to highlight the details of a new "alliance" between Sun and Intel. Watch the announcement here.

The Register reports we'll "need to do some major tweaking to its servers." Given that our current servers are designed and optimized around the AMD Opteron chips, 'tweaking' is a bit of an understatement. There's much more involved than just rearranging pinouts and circuit board traces.

I work in Systems/x64 Engineering. There's the vibe, energy and excitement of a startup in our group in Menlo Park but with the backing and resources of a Fortune 500 without a lot of the bureaucratic headaches. And we're hiring -- hardware, software, technical writing and IT positions are all open here. In particular, I really would like an OS bringup person. If you have experience with Linux or Unix device drivers or kernel code and know something about PC BIOS and PC hardware architecture, please apply! This is for bringup of virtualization hypervisor software -- VMware's products in particular, but we touch on other things. The most important quality I'm looking for is the ability to catch on quickly.

Sun will help with relocation for the right candidate. We have showers, lockers and secure covered bicycle parking, though you can roll your bike into your office, too. Sun also participates in VTA EcoPass as well as the Bay Area Commuter Check program. VTA EcoPass allows you to ride all Santa Clara County VTA light rail and most VTA buses for free. CommuterCheck is a tax-free benefit to help you pay for non-VTA transit passes (e.g. Caltrain, SF Muni, BART, SanTrans, AC Transit, Dumbarton Express, etc). We work hard, but I try to take time out for lunch rides during the week, and there are dozens of regular bike commuters at my location.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

In praise of platform pedals

As I promised to do the other day, I'll mention the drawbacks of clipless pedals and the benefits of regular, old-fashioned, flat platform pedals. Basically, it boils down to a lack of flexibility in your footwear, and the inability to dab quickly where conditions might warrant.

My old MTB-style winter bike usually has platform pedals with PowerGrips. For deep snow and extreme muck commute conditions, it's easier for me to wear waterproof hiking boots with gaiters (when necessary). I have studded tires, but I still find it necessary to dab to stay upright on occasion.

It turns out I'll often take this platform-equipped bike for quick jaunts to the coffee shop or neighborhood park. I don't need to change into cycling shoes.

Sue, Kent and Jill cited these advantages of platform pedals, discussing the reasons for their personal preferences.

Photo info: blue shoes by enyahs.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Chrome messenger bag

Shawn gets the Chrome Citizen messenger bag and loves it.

Rogue Mechanic does a podcast.

Sue asks if anybody has tried this Bike Assistance program. My LAB membership includes this benefit, but I've never thought about using it personally.

Pereiro pouts.

Windy City wipes out on the ice by Lake Michigan.

Esquimalt talks up a bike plan.

Cycling pastor.

Cell phone ban for bicyclists

"I want to ride my bicycle." Photo by Thomas Hawk. Creative Commons Some Rights Reserved license.
New Jersey Assemblyman Jon Bramnick of Union City, NJ has introduced a bill to eliminate the latest menace endangering lives on our public roads: Cell phone wielding bicyclists! A legislative committee has approved a bill that would make it illegal for people to use a hand-held telephone while riding a bicycle on a public road. Hands-free devices would be allowed and lawbreakers would face fines ranging from $100 to $250.

In 2005, 17 people in New Jersey were killed in bicycle crashes. No word on if any of them were using a cell phone.

New Jersey already bans cell phone use while driving, although hands-free devices are excepted.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Primary benefit of clipless pedals

Here's another quick and dirty poll for you, faithful readers.

Not everybody is sold on the utility of clipless pedals, in spite of their clear superiority over platforms or clips and straps. What, to you, is the primary benefit of clipless pedals over platforms and quills?

Broken SPD bicycle pedal
A. You're not applying pressure to keep your feet on the pedal during the upstroke. i.e. you're not wasting energy by pushing back with one foot while pushing forward with the other.

B. You're able to maintain better control because your feet are connected to the pedals. When you hit a bump, you won't crash because your feet slid off the pedals.

C. More efficient action by applying power during more of the pedaling stroke. i.e. circular motion instead of pumping action.

D. Lighter weight and more aero than platforms or clips & straps.

E. Easier, faster and safer entry / exit than clips and straps.

F. Cycling shoes immediately mark me as a 'pro' cyclist.

G. Other (please comment).

H. There's no 'primary' benefit -- they're all more or less equally important.

I. Clipless are only for poseur wankers with too much money to spend. My platform
pedals work perfectly fine.

J. Clipless are only for poseur wankers with too much money to spend. Long live my quills with clips and straps.

K. What's a clipless pedal and why do we 'clip' into them?
Let us know what you believe the primary benefit is for you. You might also mention if you ride road or mountain or what-not. Yes, there is a drawback or two, but we'll talk about those in another post.

Art Buchwald on bicycling

"Americans are broad-minded people. They'll accept the fact that a person can be an alcoholic, a dope fiend, a wife beater, and even a newspaperman, but if a man doesn't drive, there is something wrong with him." ~Art Buchwald, "How Un-American Can You Get?," Have I Ever Lied to You?, 1966.

Art Buchwald passed away Wednesday at age 81.

Zip ties on tire

Here's a cheap substitute for tire chains or studded tires -- use zip ties on your tires for extra traction on snowy roads. These will interfere with the brakes, of course, so it's suitable only if you have a fixed gear bike or some sort of hub or disk brakes. You'll also need to check for clearance.

I own a mountain bike and studded tires. Somebody let me know if this actually helps or not. The original instructions recommend placing these only on the rear tire, but experienced icebikers know that it's better to have traction on the front for control. I don't know, though, if zipties provide any control, or if they're just better for traction.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Aggressive drivers and cyclists

Tim Grahl asks the question how should we deal with aggressive drivers?

Spike Bike fights aggression with aggression. :-) Start with Part One then read the rest if you have time.

Remember, don't try this at home, kids. Spike Bike is a trained professional.

Monday, January 15, 2007

How to stay on the trainer

Stormcrowe asks, "how do you make your indoor training time interesting?" Uncle Dan answers with some ideas of his own. This might be helpful to the guy who rode for 85 hours straight on a stationary bike.

Gene reports on some cool bike stuff at the CES show. It's not just that Motorola phone charger bike.

There's a cool essay about antisocial bikers over at Bicycle Diaries. Sportcrazy has his own notes on antisocial cyclists.

More B-list goodness from the Cycling Dude and Warren T.

Remember, in the U.S. today we observe the birth and life and Baptist preacher Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Afffordable and durable mountain bike

The folks are Blue Collar are creating The Bombproof Bike. Instead of concentrating on weight and cutting-edge technology, they're spec'ing a bike with durable and affordable parts that will make a bike that will last a long time. Contribute your thoughts at Blue Collar's Bombproof Bike Project.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Bicyclists allowed use of full lane

These signs (or similar) are seen throughout San Francisco, California. A white, rectangular regulatory sign with similar wording has been proposed for approval for use state wide in California.
Photo info: 20061231 allowed-full-lane-text by Jym Dyer.

Apartments marketed for car-free living

The Bicycle Apartments in Bloomington, Indiana are marketed specifically to those who don't drive!
A new kind of apartment concept, The Bicycle Apartments are specially designed to accommodate those people who do not own a motorized vehicle. Bicycles will be provided at the request of any adult resident. The Bicycle Apartments are located right in the heart of downtown Bloomington, only 3 blocks from the courthouse square. Located near all the downtown shopping areas, the IU Campus, and only one block from the city bus route, you'll have access to all that Bloomington has to offer.
I've seen apartments marketed to recreational cyclists with features conducive to their 'active lifestyle,' but these are altogether different. Via Sue's Urbana Champaign Bicycle Commute.

Cleveland bicycle blog

Russ asked me, "Do you happen to know of any bicycle blogs in Cleveland area?"
Ohio City Bike Co-Op members participate in a ride through Cleveland. Photo by Mint Tea Peter.

Amazingly, I can't find any! Ohio has some of my favorite old-style Internet resources such as Ohio Bicycle Federation, Crankmail. Longtime cyclist advocate Fred Oswald lives, works, and bikes in Cleveland. Some resources in Cleveland include Jim Sheehan's Ohio City Bike Co-Op, EcoCity Cleveland Transportation Choices, Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Assocation and the Lake Erie Wheelers.

Ohio has a very strong, effective and active group of cyclist advocates, along with a great tradition of cycling (remember the Wright Brothers?). There are plenty of forums, newsletters and mailing lists on those sites, but not a single blog to be found. Help Russ out, folks -- do you know of any Cleveland-area blogs that primarily discusses bicycling?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Kauai bike plan

The Koloa-Poipu Area Circulation Plan was presented to the Kauai county council, where it was received positively. The only reason I mention it here is because a friend of mine works for the transportation planning firm that created this draft intermodal transportation plan. Terri is one of those *crazy* people-- you know, she and her daughters bike everywhere around Longmont, Colorado. She lives in a "New Urbanist" village on the edge of Longmont where her only gripe is that, well, it's on the edge of town and it's difficult to get to shopping and recreation from there.

28 reasons to bike

This is pretty cool. It's an annotated list of reasons why bicycling or promoting cycling is good for you, your neighborhood and your community. Thanks to Warren T for the tip, who found it via Martino's Bike Lane Diary.

The photo is me cycling up the spiral ramp / walkway for the Ringwood Avenue pedestrian bridge over Highway 101 in Menlo Park, CA during my 'daily drive' this morning.
Photo info: Stripey spiral panda by richardmasoner.

Bike sellers and advocacy

Pacific Cycle, owner and distributor of the Schwinn, Mongoose and GT Bicycles brands, has provided funds to help the Madison’s Platinum Biking Committee create a bicycle plan that, once implemented, will take Madison to a new level in biking.

Read more in the BRaIN.

Specialized Bicycles is very heavily involved in local advocacy efforts in Morgan Hill, CA, where they're headquartered. Specialized also provides funding for the California Bicycle Coalition and provides classroom space for California LCI training. Planet Bike is also well known for providing a portion of their profits to advocacy groups such as Thunderhead Alliance. Me, I contribute a measly few hundred dollars a year to advocacy groups, primarily at the local and state level.

Who else in the bike industry contributes gobs of money, time, and effort in bike advocacy?

Veloroutes bike mashup

Veloroutes allows you to create, share and find bicycle routes with GPX and KML output (from GPS devices). Live webcams and weather are provides for selected areas, along with topographics maps for the United States.

Extra cool feature: Seattle/Puget Sound area map overlays. For example, you can overlay area bike maps onto the Google maps view. The site also features local weather and webcam views for selected cities.

The route search feature sort of works, but not that well. If you punch in your U.S. Zip Code, for example, you won't see routes that have been mapped into the area. The site developer, Matt, assures me he's working on it.

Creating routes is similar to those on other sites -- hit the record button, double click waypoints, give the route a name, description and tags and hit 'save.' You can also download GPX and KML files from GPS devices. Be sure to save the URL of the route you created.

Read the help file to get started. Oh, and Matt has a blog.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Vote for the next Sweetskinz designs

Vote for your favorite Sweetskinz bicycle tire and you may be selected as one of 25 participants who will get a free set of tires. Sweetskinz tires feature wild designs are reflective at night. Top designs will be selected for their next generation lineup.
"Ready to Go." Burnaby Velodrome president Gordon Ross holds a racer prior to a Courier race at the track. Photo Copyright 2007 by John Woakes and used with permission.

Cannondale Bike Recall

Update: All owners of affected bikes have apparently already been notified. Cannondale has recalled several models of its 2007 bikes because the front brake can fail, causing the rider to lose control and fall. About 700 Six 13 Team 1 and Synapse Carbon SL1 bikes were sold in the U.S. from July 2006 through November 2006 for between $3,200 and $4,500. Consumers with one of the recalled bikes who have not been contacted by Cannondale or an Authorized Cannondale Dealer can contact Cannondale at (800) BIKE-USA between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at

See and be seen

Portland Department of Transportation has launched a Get Lit campaign to encourage cyclists to use lights on their bikes.

2007 National Bike Summit

The 2007 National Bike Summit takes place in Washington, D.C. March 13-16, 2007.

Stay in your lane!

University of Florida police remind returning students that cyclists should avoid pedestrian facilities like sidewalks.

Chinese authorities ban coverage of electric bicycle suit

Guangdong authorities have issued a gag order forbidding local newspapers from reporting on a lawsuit challenging Guangzhou's ban on electric bicycles. The order followed a hearing on Monday in the Panyu District People's Court of a lawsuit brought by the owner of a confiscated vehicle -- the first legal challenge to the city government's ban on electric bicycles. Ye Cunhuan, 41, said she appealed to the court to have her electric bicycle returned after police took it on December 7, when they charged her with "adding an electric engine to a bicycle." A municipal ban on electric bicycles on Guangzhou roads including suburban areas such as Panyu, Conghua and Zengcheng came into effect on November 3, despite widespread community opposition. Read more.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Motorola-branded bicycle

Motorola chief Ed Zander unveils the phone-charging Motorola Zandercycle at CES in Vegas while Queen's "Bicycle Race" blared in the background. (Why is it always "BICYCLE RACE"? There are other bicycle songs, believe it or not.)

The Motorola bicycle -- with is being introduced into 'emerging markets' -- features a mobile phone cradle on the handlebar that doubles as a charger. Human power provides the juice to charge the phone. With the bicycle charging system, Zander hopes to tap into the more than 500 million Chinese people who ride a bicycle as their primary mode of transportation.

Seen at Engadget. Mentioned also at CICLE, Biking Bis, and elsewhere. Thank you to Sasha for the tip. Flickr photo by Gigaomces.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Propellor head

ThrustPac bills their gas-powered backpack propellor as Economical and Eco-Friendly. "Enjoy freedom from the auto or truck and its high cost of operation and confinement. Achieve over 150 miles per gallon on a standard mountain bike without pedaling. And no registration, license or insurance required! At less than one ounce of gas per mile, ThrustPac™ is definitely a GREEN machine. You will have the satisfaction of doing more than your part to reduce emissions while traveling!"

They apparently claim you can get up to 80 mph on a bicycle with the Thrustpac. The device is controlled by a special glove which allows the rider to accelerate or slow down simply by flexing their index finger.

Cycledog asks the questions: Do bicycle tires even have speed ratings? And why is it that I keep hearing George Jetson yelling, "Jane! Stop this crazy thing!" Indeed, what could possibly go wrong?

How to link to Cyclelicious

Uncle Dan of Chalfont, PA asks, "Hey Fritz, How do I link to your site?"

The code looks like this -- just cut and paste:
 <a href="">The Best Bicycle Blog on the Planet</a>. 

Here's the final installment of my B-list of Blogs (as started by Masi Guy).

Bike Biz is always a must read. I am in awe of what Carlton Reid has been able to do with this and the myriad other sites he has a hand in.

I read Bike Portland. Jonathan Maus helped me out a *lot* in the early days and I am in his debt.

LCI Paul Dorn in San Francisco has his Bike Commute Tips.

Shawn Kielty rides is about around the Peninsula south of San Francisco.

Sport Crazy provides an Irish perspective, and Alastair has posted his own B-list. We also happen to work at the same company.

Mike Dillon is another cycling co-worker who blogs (and reads Cyclelicious).

Naoto's Hole in the Wall sometimes covers cycling in Japan and California. He also works at Sun.

I wish Interbike Times would post a little more often.

There are probably some others I've forgotten -- don't be shy about leaving a comment if you're in the B-list and you haven't been mentioned yet. An oversight is entirely possible probable.

While I'm listing links, here is my Flickr photo stream. A couple of my favorite Flickr groups are Panda Portraits and Bike Nation. Flickr provides RSS feeds for all this stuff. Panda Portraits is not what you think it is if you don't know what it is already.

Here's my YouTube profile, from which you can see my videos and my favorites. At YouTube, I belong to Carlton Reid's Bike Stuff group.

Finally, if I feel like getting into pointless arguments I go read Bike Forums.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Bicycle blogs, part two

Here are some more bike blogs I follow, with more coming later. Please comment if I've missed you! Some other B lists are available here, here, here, here, and here.
Flesh wound is a friend in Colorado. He's a collector of anything Italian and Campy and a really nifty dude all around. He's also a very strong cyclist who kills me every time we ride together.

Has anyone mentioned C.I.C.L.E. yet?

Shawn Kielty commutes on the Peninsula.

I think the most prolific commenter on this and some other blogs is the inimitable Paul Tay. He cycles the roads of Tulsa Oklahoma in a Santa suit and preaches to the lepers.

We can't forget Fixed Gear and his daily useless ride stats.

Velocipete is in Minnesota. has good stuff.

21st Street Bike Rack Blog is a funky blog "about the bike rack on West 21st Street between 8th and 9th Avenues in New York City." This is about as hyper-local as it gets.

Jennifer Benepe's bike blog.

Bike Friday Walter rides a fixed-gear folding bike.

Two Wheels Blog.

Kent's bike blog.


Ken's Spare Cycles covers road cycling in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Here's my old Boulder bike blog.

Wheels of Justice covers bicycle advocacy in Australia.

Noah in Kansas City started commuting by bike in December. He writes about his experiences in his KC-Bike blog.

Roger Kramer is another Missouri (and southern Illinois) cyclist near St. Louis.

The Missouri Bicycle Federation has good blog fodder.

Honk de Bonk is in Japan.

Colorado bicycle racing news

Boulder Velo Race Team is a new cycling team based in Boulder, Colorado. More importantly, the site aims to keep up with the latest in Boulder and Colorado cycling news.

Broken bicycle helmet visor repair

The problem: the little plastic tabs holding the helmet visor in place broke! When I rode, the visor always flipped up and back. Tape is sloppy. Glue can affect the integrity of the helmet by dissolving the plastic and foam. Simply ripping the visor off is workable, but the helmet looks even dumber than before.

Problem: Broken visor tabs

The solution: Hook and loop fasteners! These happen to be Velcro brand, but any hook-and-loop fasteners with adhesive backing should work. I bought this package from Home Depot, but I'm sure any hardware/home improvement store will carry this stuff.

Solution: Hook and loop fasteners.

Cut to size and attach hook and loop fasteners -- stick one piece on the helmet, and attach the other piece to the visor, ensuring the two pieces line up.

Attach velcro to visor and helmet

All happy! Your visor will now stay in place. My job is a little sloppy; I'm sure you can do better.

Attach velcro to visor and helmet

Go give Gwadzilla some love

Go go Gwadzilla!

Go give him some love, people. He's a classy dude and always posts nifty photos of messengers in Washington, D.C.

Friday, January 5, 2007

My B List of bicycle blogs, part one

I have about a hundred feeds I subscribe to. I'll split this up for the convenience of me and you. :-) I vaguely tried to remove duplicates from Masiguy's original list -- if you don't see some of the "A" list B blogs, I read 'em, I just didn't list them here. See also the bonus section below. And isn't this about the coolest photo you've seen today?

Photo Copyright 2005 by Act One Design and used with permission. Click on photo for details.

Bonus section of non-cycling blogs.

Harassment? Or stupidity?

Here's a quick and dirty poll for you all. You're riding your bike a couple of feet from the curb on a standard 14-foot lane with moderate traffic. A motorist driving a tan Volvo with John Kerry bumper sticker breeezes by you with inches to spare. You have a thought about the driver of this vehicle. Which is it?
  • A. He tried to kill me! That cager tried to kill me! It's a good thing I have my mirror so I had time to ditch into the gutter at the last minute.
  • B. The cager intentionally harassed me by manuevering as close to me as possible. He did it on purpose to scare me. I'm calling the cops. I demand justice!
  • C. Obliviot needs to watch where he's going.
  • D. No harm, no foul. A car passed me. The rest of you all are a bunch of wimps. Except Bob (response A): You're just paranoid.
  • E. Other (specify in your comment).

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Morons and maniacs in 2007

Kent writes about morons and maniacs and how we has cyclists tend to have a narrow view of what's right and wrong in cycling.

I think the ultimate conceit of any cycling blogger is that anybody actually pays attention to what passes for advice. I think many of us who have been cycling for a while know how to ride a bike. It's not rocket science, after all. Most of us know that a quality bike results in a better ride. You've figured out how to dress for the weather. You know how to find a good route that avoids the nasty roads.

Many of us tend to be fairly opinionated, whether we blog or not. Bike lanes: good or bad? Take the lane or hug the gutter? Helmet or no? Run the stop signs or ride strictly legal?

So a little about me: I've been a year-round, all-season cyclist and bike commuter since the mid-80s. When I lived in Texas, I once had something like 100 straight days of 90° F+ heat on my 20+ mile commute from Irving, across the DFW Airport perimeter road, through the Mid Cities of Euless, Bedford, and Hurst and to my home in Haltom City. My shorts and jersey were literally white with salt from my sweat.

In central Illinois, I commuted 20+ miles from my small town home across thousands of acres of corn and beans to my high tech job in the city. I'd duck in fear from my exposure during sudden lightning storms, and I learned what worked -- and didn't work -- while biking through blizzards and extreme cold, down to minus 40 degrees.

When I moved to Colorado, I intentionally chose a house within reasonable biking distance to work. I learned to appreciate year-round mild weather. I bought a mountain bike and mounted a studded tire for the few days of the year we have snow and ice.

Now I'm in California, which is approaching a transportational cyclist's dream land. Bike commuters are everywhere, and motorists in the Bay Area expect to see us and are, for the most part, courteous to cyclists.

I've been doing this for a while, but I hope I don't ever think I have it all figured out. I tend to have the narrow, hard-headed personality of many bike commuters, but my aim is to come to this with an open mind and I hope you do too. For example, I used to think bikes are the only way to get around, but today I ride public transportation almost every day (with the bike to get me the last couple of miles). I never understood the utility of fenders until the past couple of years. The other day, I disclosed the joy of riding slow, which many of you already knew about.

In case you didn't follow the link to Kent's blog, he mentions George Carlin's famous quip about morons and maniacs -- anybody driving slower than you is a moron, anyone faster than you is a maniac. As cyclists, some of us also categorize everybody except ourselves as morons or maniacs. Let's see if we can all stretch ourselves a little. I hope to become a little more maniacal and a little more moronic in the year 2007.

Bikes outsell cars Down Under

Bicycle sales outpaced vehicle sales in 2006, as more Australians turned to pedal-power to cut petrol bills. The Cycling Promotion Fund (CPF), Australia's peak bicycle promotion group, said 1,273,781 new bikes were sold last year, well ahead of the 962,521 new cars and trucks retailed. CPF spokesman Ian Christie said Australians were using bikes not just for recreation but increasingly as their preferred form of day-to-day transport. Mr Christie said sales rose nine per cent last year as more people turned to bikes to cut petrol costs and also to boost their fitness.
Read more here. Thank you to Tommy for the tip. Spinopsys has a good article on this (as I expected he would).

Dave Moulton on the aero bike fiasco

Dave Moulton writes about his personal participating when he built aero frames for the U.S. time trial cycling team in 1979.
The big new thing in bicycles at that time was aerodynamic frames, and it was suggested I build such frames for the US Team Time Trial squad. I had built a few aero frames in England the previous year by modifying round tubing to make it aero shape. No one was manufacturing proper tubes at the time.
The bikes were never used and the episode ended in fiasco with stolen parts and damaged reputations. Read more at Dave Moulton's blog. Dave would like to find one of these frames if one still exists so spread the news.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

B list of bicycle blogs

Masiguy has posted his B List of Bicycle blogs and has encouraged us to post our list of daily bicycle blog reads. Below is Masiguy's list; I'll try to get mine up some time tomorrow. Please give me some leeway, however, as I just returned from vacation and I have two weeks worth of work to catch up on!

Los Angeles biker chick

Monica Howe grew up in suburban Texas. Her dad was "a very serious roadie," a Spandex-wearing road cyclist. She started riding with him. They would load their bicycles in the car, drive out into the country and ride. She paused. "It never occurred to me to think of the bicycle as transportation."

Today, "My whole life is about the bicycle," she said. "I have to work to make time for anything else. I dream about this stuff."
Read more about the outreach coordinator for the Los Angeles Bicycling Coalition in the Los Angeles Times. Seen first by me at Rebuilding Place, but mentioned also by some of the usual suspects.

The case for physically separated bike lanes

Watch the video and let me know what you think. Via Streetsblog.

The Case for Physically Separated Bike Lanes
A Streetfilm by Clarence Eckerson
Running Time: 8 minutes 30 seconds