Wednesday, February 28, 2007

L'Equipe French cycling news in English

Howto below. Digg it if you like it. I've created a new RSS feed for you. It takes cycling news from L'Equipe and LeMonde (French newspapers), and translates the RSS into English. Wait, there's more! I also automatically convert the WWW links so when you click to read the article at L'Equipe or LeMonde, the article is automatically translated from French to English with no other intervention required by you!
L'Equipe cycling news in English
The RSS feed is here. To preview as a web page, here's the Yahoo Pipes page for this feed.

RegEx Module HOWTO: Geek notes follow

I've used the new Regular Expression Pipes Module to rewrite the link text and automatically rebuild the link so that it passes through Google's translate service. Here's how you do this.

  1. Your source is a foreign language RSS feed. I fetch feeds from L'Equipe and LeMonde using the FETCH module.

  2. I pipe my sources to the BABELFISH module and specify "French to English." This translates the Titles and Descriptions in the feed from French to English. This is great for reading inside the feed reader, but these feeds provide summaries only. For the entire article, you must click on the link to the French-language article.

  3. I create a REGEX module and run a pipe from BABELFISH to REGEX.

  4. Create a rule within module REGEX that looks like this:
    In LINK replace ^ with|en&hl=en&ie=UTF8&u=

    "LINK" tells the REGEX module to replace something in the link text. The carat symbol (^) is the regular expression symbolizinng "beginning of the line." This means that the regex module will point to the beginning of the link line -- which will be the start of the WWW URL pointing to the article at L'Equipe's website. The rest of it is the WWW URL for Google's translate service. The original URL -- the WWW link pointing to L'Equipe -- is moved over so that it comes after Google's translate URL, with the "u=" meaning this is the URL for Google to translate.
    Yahoo Pipes: RegEx module

  5. Run a pipe from the REGEX module to the PIPE OUTPUT, Save and Test.

  6. Some RSS feeds (including L'Equipe) create redirections, which the translator has a hard time dealing with sometimes. You may need some additional regex magic to fix the redirection problem.

If this pipe is useful, if these directions are helpful, or if you've created an RSS feed of your own using Pipes and the RegEx module, please leave a comment here.

Tinker Juarez blog

Tinker Juarez has a blog. His Blogger profile says it all: "Professional Cyclist for 34 Years - Endurance, Cross Country, Mountain Bike, Epic Riding; Loves pain; BMX Hall of Fame; MTB Hall of Fame; 2 time US Olympian; Top 10 3 times in World XC Championship; 4 time 24 Hour MTB National Champion; 3 time National XC Champion; 3rd place in RAAM 2006; Father of Joshua in 2006."

Tinker Juarez also has his official website, and his Garage Sale blog lists bikes, bars, shoes, and schwag that he has for sale.

Found via byronius.

Biofuel: First tortillas, now beer

The news media reported a while ago on the Mexican tortilla shortage because farmers are shifting production to yellow corn for ethanol production. Then Steve Dubner predicts on the Freakonomics blog that we'll all get skinnier as high fructose corn syrup (used to sweeten everything from ketchup to soda pop) becomes less available or more expensive.

Now comes this news that biofuel production is causing a "structural shift" in beer production. Global stockpiles of barley have shrunk by a third in the past two years and left the barley trade vulnerable to further supply problems this year.

“In the US, land that was cultivated for growing barley has been given over to corn because of the ethanol demand,” said Levin Flake, a grains trade analyst at the US department of agriculture. The US, which in the 1980s was a leading exporter of barley, is now a net importer as barley acreage has shrunk from more than 13m acres in 1985 to 4m this year, said Mr Flake.

Read more about this issue at The Oil Drum. I don't drink (been sober since 1989), but this is one of many examples illustrating the spread of resource scarcity and coming shortages. All our resources are at stake, and it's not going to be easy to reduce demand for one by finding substitutes - we're going to have to learn to do with less of everything.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Gaansari Gary posting again

I just noticed that Gaansari Gary is posting to his blog again. He writes about his visit with Greg LeMond at Palo Alto Cycles last week. Gary stopped blogging after he went to work for Tom Ritchey about this time last year.

"Passengers." Photo by King Dufus, a Hyde Park biker. Used with permission.
Wheelman writes about truly light rail: the rail velocipede.

Paul Dorn notes on London congestion charging and the dramatic increase in cycling there. "These people are not the mad, bearded loons of popular myth, their coat-tails flapping crazily as they pedal round the Elephant and Castle. The modern cyclist is making an elegant and intelligent response to pollution and traffic congestion." More on this at Treadly and Me and Velorution.

Way cool giant squid photo!!

Fixie 411, for those on the tail end of this fad.

Air bags for bikes?.

Sue in Urbana says "demotorize your soul."

Bicycle recall: The front wheel forks on Mirraco BMX bicycles could have been welded improperly. This poses a risk that the weld could fail, and the rider could lose control and fall.

Sponsorship woes for Tour de Georgia.

The 100 yard commute (by car).

Lightweight bicycles

Several visitors to Cyclelicious come here searching for info about the lightest bike and land on this page about a very lightweight eight pound Litespeed Ghisallo.

James has been showcasing very lightweight bikes at his blog lately. Last fall, he mentioned the 6.5 pound Crumpton fixed gear bike, and noting that this bike will be at the North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show coming up this weekend in San Jose, CA.

He then wrote about lightweight folders, with Bike Friday Walter chiming in that Bike Friday built a 15-pound folding road bike for a customer.

This discussion leaves James (and others) wondering, though: how light is too light? Read the comments at Bicycle Design for some good discussion.

2-way cyclepath leaves no room for walkers

The Town Council of Swindon -- a Wiltshire County town in the Southwest of England about midway between London and Briston -- decided to paint bicycle path markings on a sidewalk along Cricklade Road. A line was painted down the middle of the sidewalk to create two lanes and segregate the walking side from the bicycle side of the path. Unfortunately, contractors mistakenly painted the bike symbol in BOTH lanes.

"What makes this mistake so stupendous, is if you had done it you would have known immediately," observes nearby resident Daniel Woodwards. "Both sets of markings are painted quite close together, so you can see them both at the same time, so you would know. Anyone who had any brains would have noticed."

The UK Highway Code says cyclists must keep to their side of segregated cycle paths - but riders on Cricklade Road don't know which side that is. Read more in the Swindon Advertiser. Seen at The Low Road: The Art of Urban Cycling.

Danish cycling photos

"Glance." Photo © 2007. All rights reserved by Mikael Colville-Andersen. Used with permission.

45% of Copenhageners ride their bikes to work or school each day. Danes, along with the Dutch, ride more than any other nation - 1000 km a year on average. There are 5.3 million people in Denmark and 15 million bikes. Danish photographer Mikael Colville-Andersen created his Cyclelicious Bikeness photoset on Flickr to celebrate his country's love of cycling.

Monday, February 26, 2007

It's worth repeating...

Phil says it's worth saying at least once a month, so I'll say it now: "Roadies aren’t the only “real” cyclists."

I'm kind of a roadie in that most of my bikes have been road bikes. I really enjoy my hours long weekend rides through the countryside on my 30-speed carbon fiber bike, and I'll bike the occasional Century and charity ride.

But I also have my older beater bikes with racks and fenders, and I totally respect the guys and gals who get around on old clunkers. As far as I'm concerned, it's all good, and all of you are real cyclists. Even the folks gettting around on third-hand retail store bikes going the wrong way with plastic bags hanging from the handlebars are real cyclists, as far as I'm concerned.

In fact, these cyclists on $10 garage-sale bikes don't read the bike magazines or blogs or marketing literature and possibly don't speak English, but they very likely outnumber the "real" cyclists who are out there. Respect them, be kind to them, and remember them during Bike To Work Day and other cycling promotion events.

Lance love TV

From the Paceline: "Lance World: Just like it sounds, it’s Lance from Lance’s point of view. Stuff you don’t see anywhere else."

PacelineTV is just $10/year for 24 hours of Lance Armstrong action from Team Discovery.

Shimano Coasting Components

BikePortlant posted their exclusive on the Shimano Coasting Components last fall, but now the tech-geek blogs have picked up on Shimano's new 3-speed automatic transmission for bikes.

Shimano has opened up their website for public perusal, featuring Coasting-equipped bikes from Trek, Giant, and Raleigh. Shimano has recognized this trend toward easy-to-ride bikes for anybody.

The much-maligned Landrider is known for their "AutoShift" technology to address this need for a bike that you don't have to think about shifting. More recently, Fallbrook Technologies introduced a Continuously Variable Transmission for use on bicycles. They demonstrated their NuVinci Continuous Variable Planetary system on Ellsworth concept bike last fall at Interbike.

Found using Top Blogs: Bicycle mentions. Subscribe to see what the top gadget and political blogs say about bicycling topics.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

President Bush has his priorities straight

During an important emergency response drill on Saturday, top White House officials participated with other federal agencies to test the response of the U.S. federal government during a simulated terrorist attack against ten U.S. cities. During this morning drill, President George W. Bush went on a bike ride. Via .

If more people started their day with a bicycle ride, this world might be a better place. Then again, the bike ride didn't end so well for these folks: "Three suspected Pakistani militants were blown to pieces by their explosives on Saturday when they rode over a bump on a bicycle outside a town in the central province of Punjab." According to police, none of these cyclists wore a helmet, clearly proving that helmet use should be mandatory for bike-riding bombers.

I found the story about Bush after creating my latest handy bike-searching tool using Yahoo Pipes. This feed combines the data from many of the most popular blogs and searches for mentions of bicycling related topics. This way, I don't need to read all of these high-volume blogs just to find the occasional mention of a bicycling story.

Other finds via this tool: MAKE visits Cyclecide and How to knit bike helmet ear warmers.

Podcast Saturday

It's a rainy, cool Saturday so I'm in the house listening to cycling podcasts while I clean the house and cook up a batch of my locally famous chili.

Today, I listened to Dave's latest FredCast and the Rogue Mechanic.

Dave has been covering the Amgen Tour of California, even scoring a ride in a team car during yesterday's Time Trial in Solvang, California. He starts the FredCast with discussion about the power play between the UCI and the Grand Tour people. He then talks with author David Shields about his book The Race: A Novel of Grit, Tactics, and the Tour de France.

FredCast kind of scooped me in this podcast and the last -- I've been trying to arrange an interview with Saul Raisin for Cyclelicious. If you aren't aware of his story, Raisin crashed last April and fell into a coma. After he came out of the coma, he's been having to go through therapy. Raisin started riding (but not competing) again just this last month, riding the route of the Tour of California before each stage.

Dave Shields is writing Saul Raisin's story. The tidbits I know are already amazing; I plan to buy and read the book immediately after it comes out this September.

Rogue Mechanic

In VeloNews an issue or two back, Litespeed included some stickers with "Carbo-Camoflauge technology cleverly disguises your genuine titanium Litespeed as a run-of-the-mill carbon fiber bike, virtually guaranteeing that you can ride completely unnoticed by anyone." (Har har har). John -- the Rogue Mechanic -- confesses he doesn't "get" Litespeed's anonymity kit promo. He also talks about potential service issues with Campy's new Ultra Torque Crankset, and offers to help customers out with SRAM's recall of their Force brakes.

The secret to my chili? Use fresh Jalapeno peppers (for the flavor, not the heat) and real steak, not hamburger meat.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Bicycle safety video: wigs versus helmets

Dave Wild demonstrates the safety benefit of wearing a wig while bicycling.

ABC News 20/20 Intouch has a series on what Americans fear. In this video, John Stossel interviews Dr. Ian Walker, the psychologist who did the infamous study comparing motorist behavior around a cyclist wearing a helmet versus wearing a wig. You can see both Dr. Walker and Mr. Stossel riding their bikes with a wig.

Watch it on 20/20 InTouch: "Unintended Consequences".

Update: I just noticed that Graham posted his commentary about this video after he saw it posted (with complete text) at C.I.C.L.E.

Tags: bicycle, safety,

19 years for cyclist killer

DUI driver sentenced to 19 years in prison for death of Palo Alto cyclist.

Santa Clara County Judge Rise Jones Pichon gave 19 years in prison to a Fremont felon today who capped a meth binge by lethally smashing his Oldsmobile head-on into an engineer who was spinning his bike through the sunny Palo Alto Hills.

Court records allege that Chevelle Bailey was high on methamphetamine and alcohol when his car hit John Peckham, a Mountain View amateur bike racer, on Old Page Mill Road at an estimated 60 to 90 mph.

Witnesses told police that Bailey opened a beer after the crash and said: 'I thought I was going to die, but I got out of the car like a soldier, cracked a beer and downed it.'

Read more.

Meanwhile in Santa Barbara, prosecutors struck a bargain with Marcos Almaguer so he wouldn't lose his license after he took the life of triathlete Kendra Payne.

400,000 screaming, cowbell-clanging fans

George Hincapie in Seaside, CA at the start of Stage 4 in the 2007 Tour of California. Photo by Freakishly Tall.
That's how Sal Ruibal described the first three stages of the Amgen Tour of California. Hundreds of thousands of fans lined the course to cheer on the fans. This in spite of drug scandals and Lance Armstrong's retirement.

Graham is puzzled about this Bizzaro world where cycling popularity increases with bad news. Chimp notes that cycling sponsorship is a great deal for corporate sponsors. "Ten Million is not much when you compare it any of the major ball sports here in the US," he writes. "The Indianapolis Colts are trying to restructure Payton Manning’s contract just to freee up Eight Million dollars extra. Petty cash in the NFL is ProTour team cash in cycling. Plus, fans do not have to purchase tickets to go watch the sport."

Traffic to Cyclelicious has increased substantially, with hundreds of visitors coming here for Amgen Tour of California updates though I have none to offer. For Amgen Tour of California news, visit Cycling News, Pez Cycling News, or VeloNews. I also like Spare Cycles and Velochimp. Local TV news coverage has been pretty good, too, which I try to keep updated on my 2007 Amgen Tour of California TV video coverage page.

Slow Brave Athena haiku

Vicki Jean posts a haiku about biking in the rain.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Federal Register, bicycling and the cost of compliance

I've created a RSS feed for the bicycling information junkies out there: The Federal Register and Bicycling.

The Federal Register is a daily compilation of U.S. Federal regulations, notices, presidential proclamations, executive orders, and other federal agency documents of public interest. I've taken an RSS feed from several Federal agencies and filter for bicycling-related terms to create this new feed using the Yahoo Pipes service.

Get Free Video Downloads!

The first item I've caught is this request for comments from the Consumer Product Safety Commission on collecting information about the paperwork burden created by Public Law 103267, aka the "Children's Bicycle Helmet Safety Act of 1994."

This law creates the standards by which bicycle helmets can be sold in the United States, specifying impact standards, testing methods, and record-keeping requirements. According to the CPSC, helmet manufacturers and importers spend from 100 to 150 hours per model per year to comply with the law. With an estimated 200 models of bicycle helmets sold in the United States, that works out to about $1,000,000 of paperwork every year.

I'm sure all kinds of fascinating information can be obtained from this feed. Feel free to subscribe to this RSS feed or view the formatted output. Let me know if you think this is a useful tool.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hero worship

I'm visiting Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) in Sunnyvale today. You know those motivational posters you see in the hallways of corporate America? AMD has those also, except they're all custom for AMD, and every other poster features a larger than life image of Lance Armstrong with various motivational phrases and placards that say "Thank you Lance for inspiring us! AMD is a proud sponsor of the 2005 Discovery Team that won the 2005 Tour de France."

Speaking of heroes, today's Tour of California featured climbs and descents on 15% grades. Jens Voight took the stage today, while Levi Leipheimer still holds the overall lead.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Google maps now shows Bay Area transit

Google Maps now shows a limited subset of transit stations in the San Francisco Bay area and other U.S. cities.
Google Maps and transit stations

Caltrain stations, BART stops and some VTA light rail stations are shown on the map. Even ACE stations are included, as are Amtrak stations in California and nationwide.

In the Bay Area, San Francisco Municipal Railroad stops are missing unless they happen to be at the same location as BART stations. Most VTA light rail stations are listed, though the Winchester line running south from San Jose Diridon to Winchester is missing.

Elsewhere in the US, Chicago CTA stops and Metra stations are listed. New York City, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Boston, Los Angeles.

U.S. cities with light and commuter rail that have not been included are Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Las Vegas, Pittsburg, King County WA, and St. Louis.

2007 Amgen Tour of California video

Update: Click here for 2008 Amgen Tour of California news information. The below info is from the 2007 race.

Levi Leipheimer retains the overall lead after Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California. For many excellent photos and complete coverage, read Ken Conley's Spare Cycles. Photo by Ken Conley.
See Versus (formerly OLN) television schedule of remaining Tour of California stages here. With the exception of a couple of days, program your Tivo or stay up really late to watch the recaps. Versus also has video clips online.

View and upload video and photos of the 2007 Amgen Tour of California at Steephill TV's Grassy Knoll Project.

Velonews has video interviews of Tour of California racers.

Watch this space for daily updates of links to video local news coverage:

It's all about me

Kim @ London Cycling Diary interviewed me. Potential stalkers can read all about me here.

Sorry about the lack of posts. I was in Sacramento yesterday during Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California. I can lie and tell you I was there for the bicycle race, but I was actually passing through with my son's boy scout troop returning from a snow ski trip.

For a nice looking cycling site, visit Cycling Mob. Cycling Mob is an online community dedicated to cycling with info on training, bike gear, tips, photos, bike advocacy and more.

Danielo rants a little about the zombie hordes of fair weather cyclists. I know the feeling.

Friday, February 16, 2007

San Francisco to require bike rentals at bus shelters

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is taking bids to build 1,500 bus shelters. A unique requirement for the bids: Up to 20 of the shelters must have facilities for a new bicycle-sharing program the city is considering. From the Chronicle:

The bicycles would be part of San Francisco's effort to become the first major U.S. city with a government-backed bike-sharing program, something that has caught on in Europe.

For years, San Francisco has had a transit-first policy intended to discourage commuters from driving to work. That's resulted in fewer parking garages, higher parking fees and fines, and new bicycle lanes on scores of streets.

Now comes the next step -- making bikes plentiful and accessible, and available on the same up-front fee model as the city's car-sharing program.

San Francisco resident Jim Greer compares this idea with ZipCar and brings up some good points:

Most people use the bus to commute. So all the bikes would be needed at the same time and place. And if you live close enough to a bus stop for this to be convenient, you’re less likely to need a bike anyway.

Cars are expensive and take up a lot of space. Bikes are cheap and don’t take up a lot of space. So having an elaborate system to rent them and track who’s using one seems pointless.

But then he read about a similar bike rental system in Lyons, in which he learned that 22,000 bike rentals occur daily. "I think something like this could work in SF," Jim concludes.

Jim, by the way, is a member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and a member of ZipCar. He also owns Kongregate, an online gaming portal with Web 2.0 community features. Think of it as a Flickr or YouTube for video games.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pay attention to your Pay Per Click campaigns

Note: If you believe this article is worthwhile, please click the and/or digg icons in the footer of this post.

If you participate in pay per click advertising, pay attention to your links. This is what I saw when I clicked on an ad from Specialized Bicycles.

Specialized Adwords campaign: Oops

"Pay Per Click" or PPC is how the big search engines pay their bills. Google calls their program AdWords. Yahoo's is merely "Yahoo Search Marketing." MSN Search calls their PPC program adCenter.

The gist of all of these programs is you pay for placement when somebody searches using keywords you're interested in. If you search for "bicycle," bicycle-related ads appears as "Sponsored Links," "Sponsor Results," or "Sponsored Sites" for, respectively, Google, Yahoo and MSN. If you click on one of these sponsored links, the sponsor pays a few dimes and the search engine receives the money.

Companies with marketing often utilize the services of PPC campaign managers. These are, hopefully, professionals who understand the ins and outs of search marketing. In the example, here, though, the PPC manager really screwed it up.

Specialized apparently uses Reporting Center to manage their PPC advertising. Unfortunately, when I searched for a Specialized product and clicked on Specialized advertising, I got a bad link. Specialized still pays Google for the click -- after all, Google doesn't know the page is bad -- but Specialized isn't receiving any marketing value from my click. It's money badly spent on Specialized's part.

It's not just Specialized that has this problem. I was searching for information about the Sierra Club's Clair Tappaan Lodge. I clicked on the Sierra Club ad that appeared and it was a bad link.

If you use PPC marketing, be absolutely certain your links are good!

Note: I participate in AdSense, in which Google's ads are shown on Cyclelicious and my other websites.

KHS Bicycle Blog

KHS Bicycles now has a blog, the KHS Times. The main blogger there, Henry H, is the sales and marketing guy for KHS fitness and folding bikes. Henry commutes to his office in Los Angeles on a KHS folding bike.

The KHS Times is a real blog, complete with a real human name, comments and even trackbacks!

Bike shop manager Bill Houghton

In April 2003, Bruce McGrew opened Pro Cycling in Colorado Springs, Colorado. McGrew needed a manager, so he hired William Reeese Houghton to manage his store.

Houghton was an experienced bike store manager, starting at age 17 at online retailer Colorado Cyclist as a warehouse stocker. He worked his way up to become General Manager before leaving Colorado Cyclist in 2002.

In 2003, McGrew lost $400,000. He lost $280,000 in 2004 and $110,000 in 2005, so McGrew hired a consultant to figure out where the money was going.

It turns out Houghton was fired in 2002 from Colorado Cyclist for stealing from that store. At Pro Cycling, Houghton listed shop inventory on eBay, used the shop's FedEx account to ship the merchandise, and pocketed the revenue. Houghton stole $375,000 from McGrew, and made $147,605 in his venture.

"Bike theft suspect racking up charges." - January 28, 2006.

"Bike shop thief aggrees to deal." - February 14, 2007.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Columbus Ohio Bicycle Commute

Jamie in Columbus, Ohio hates to drive. Jamie is an environmentalist. Jamie, who believes fitness is important, also wants to be a good role model for his son.

"I got absolutely tired of walking into work stressed out, angry and frustrated," he says, regarding his car commute. Jamie also "figured that the best way to be an environmentalist is to practice what I preach."

So Jamie talked about riding a bike. When he got a Specialized Expedition Sport comfort bike as a gift last November, he started commuting by bike almost immediately. Soon after, he started his Bike Commuting in Columbus blog.

"My first commute was during a warm spell in November along the bike path. I was in my work clothes and the path was just a tad wet, and I didn't have any fenders on my bike. So I got to work and had a slight stripe running up my arse. Luckily I'm a computer programmer so I don't have to get up too often. I started using wet-weather gear more often after that."

I asked Jamie about the advice he might offer to beginner bike commutes. "Ask around first about things you might need to know or have. Don't go into it without doing some research, or a bad experience might get you back behind the wheel before you've experienced a real good commute. One thing that benefited me was buying a really good book on the topic of urban biking and making sure that I was prepared. The book was Urban Bikers' Tricks & Tips."

Jamie has continued his bicycle commute through the winter. "I've never thought about giving up. The hardest thing to get used to was the traffic situation, but when I first rode in traffic I realized that most drivers around here were more afraid of me than I was of them. I enjoyed it too much, and I still feel very strongly about practicing what I preach. I love being outside in the elements, and I won't lie when I say that I get a private kick out of seeing the looks on the faces of my co-workers when I come in with all my bike stuff on and they look at me like I'm crazy, especially on mornings like today when there was 6" of snow on the ground when I came rolling in."

Bike Commuting in Columbus: Check it out.

Cash, drugs, sex and bikes

"Bikes are one of the four commodities of the street — cash, drugs, sex, and bikes. You can virtually exchange one for another." -- Victor Veysey, San Francisco bike mechanic, messenger, and chief of The Bike Hut.
The quote comes from "Chasing my stolen bicycle," in which Justin Jouvenal chronicles his adventures through the San Francisco stolen-bike underworld.

According to Kryptonite Locks, San Francisco is the second worst city for bike thefts, after New York City. Jouvenal tells you where to buy stolen bikes and even have a bike stolen to order.

In San Francisco, the recommended security is a heavy "New York Chain" and good padlock. San Francisco thieves carry bolt cutters, so cable locks are no good. They also carry jacks and are even capable of cracking open mini U locks.

Bicycle built for two

The New York Times has this sweet story about how Michael Zane and Liz Fritz met. Zane founded the Kryptonite Lock company; Fritz works at Rodale Press.

Hope you're all having a nice St. Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Team Slipstream: Dope-free pro cycling

This New York Times article highlights Team Slipstream, an American pro cycling team that pledges to compete drug free, with weekly blood tests to prove their purity.

“It’s an absolute severe pain for us to do, but I’ll do anything to keep from being lumped with the guys accused of cheating,” said Danny Pate, 27, a former under-23 world champion and one of Slipstream’s top riders. “I’ll give DNA. I’ll post all of my information on the Internet. I’ll do anything to help save the sport.”

Some interesting tidbits from the article:
  • The team is having problems finding a title sponsor because sponsors are apparently skittish about being associated with doping in sports.

  • Regardging team director and formrer Postie Jonathan Vaughter: Throughout his career, he said, riders battled the ethical question of whether to use performance-enhancing drugs. In the 1990s, he said, the use of the blood-boosting drug EPO was rampant and teams felt pressured by sponsors to win at any cost. “I don’t have a halo over my head; I made some mistakes when I was a rider,” said Vaughters, who would not directly say whether he had used performance-enhancing drugs. Nudge nudge wink wink.

Team Slipstream was previously the TIAA-CREF development team. This year, they were established as a UCI Professional Continental Team. Slipstream is sponsored by Chipotle Mexican Grill.

VeloNews: Blood clots and doping innuendo darken otherwise impressive pro' debut.

Velochimp: Floyd talked with Slipstream about possibly joining.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Free bikes for bike commuters

Dahon Bicycles was founded and exists for the purpose of convincing "more people, organizations and governments to use more environmentally sustainable forms of transport." The company was started because of the oil crisis in 1975, after the company founder got tired of sitting in gas lines and started riding a bicycle to work. David Hon introduced his first folding bicycle in 1982, designing it specifically for mixed-mode commuting.

It seems appropriate, then, that the company offers a free bike to Dahon employees who bike to work at least three times a week. “We’ve been studying all of our business operations to see how we can operate in a more environmentally sustainable manner," says Hon. "Employee transport seemed like a great place to make an impact."

Via Biking Bis.

This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb

Sue left a comment about the "This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb photo I used to illustrate my Yahoo Pipes article. I remembered the Ohio Incident with this sticker, but I had forgotten the sticker is for a a punk rock band.

Here's the Wikipedia article that probably has the most detail on the band, the labels, and -- count them -- three separate incidents of "bomb scares" because somebody thought a bomb would really be labeled as such. So, perhaps, the Boston bomb scare isn't as unusual as I might like to think.

Speaking of Pipes, I've found a couple of other useful cycling-related Pipes: This pipe keeps an eye on bike postings in the New York metro area. This Pipe is similar, looking for fixies for sale in Philadelphia.

Jenna Merritt

Jenna Merritt updates below.

31-year-old Jennifer 'Jenna' Merritt of San Francisco passed yesterday. She was shot in the head two weeks ago while riding her bicycle in the Ingleside Heights neighborhood.

Merritt lived in a studio apartment in the Ingleside Heights neighborhood and was a caretaker for two elderly gentlemen who lived nearby. She did not have a driver's license and rode her bike everywhere. Family members said she may have been running an errand for one of those men when she was shot.

No witnesses to this attack have come forward, leaving investigators dumbfounded about this case.

I've been following this story and was pulling for Jennifer; this is sad news. Ingleside Heights is a middle class neighborhood in San Francisco; random, violent crime is not an everyday occurrence in that area.


Judge Judy Bicycle Case

While wandering the depths of YouTube, I stumbled across this video of a man's appearance on Judge Judy. The case involves a cyclist, a dog, and a crash. I will not go into any more detail to keep the verdict secret.

Video Courtesy of YouTube

What are your thoughts on the video? Did he ask for enough in his settlement? We're the dog owners at fault? Do you have any anger towards the dog owners? Have you experienced owners like this before?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Cyclelicious feeds in multiple languages

First of all, give a shout out to my buddy Aaron of There's a humorous article about Unibet's "Riddler" outfits.

Through the magic of computer translation and Yahoo Pipes, I now provide feeds for this blog in Japanese, German, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Korean, Spanish and French. U.S. English, of course, is still available.

This translation is done using Yahoo's Babelfish computer translation service, which means the text will be awkward but it can help with understanding. At the moment, the French translation doesn't seem to be working. Also, Babelfish limits the amount of text that's translated, so longer Cyclelicious posts will not be translated in the alternate language feeds. If you have a request for something like Greek or Italian, please feel free to comment.

I've been doing some other housekeeping, so that's why you might notice old posts and other oddities popping up in the feeds.

Finally, some cycling stories:

Yahoo Pipes and bicycle love

Yahoo Pipes is flexible and easy to use, but with advanced features that promises some cool tricks. I spent 10 minutes reading the intro, looked at a couple of examples and created my first Pipe: The Cyclelicious Bicycle Love photos. Total time was maybe 20 minutes.

The Cyclelicious Bicycle Love pipe takes the Cyclelicious feed, runs it through Yahoo's "Content Analyzer" module, and uses that output to find photos that are somewhat related to Cyclelicious posts. If you're a Flickr fiend, there's even an RSS feed for this set of photos you can subscribe to. If you like, you can open up my Pipe, edit it to include your blog's RSS feed instead, then save it yourself.

I intend to explore Yahoo Pipes some more. You can filter on keywords, combine feeds, translate, use localization (mapping) modules, sort input, take user input, and do string manipulation.

If you have ideas for interesting mashups involving bicycles or if you've created your own pipes, please feel free to comment and post your links here.

Update: Here are some more pipes I've created --

Friday, February 9, 2007

Global Warming X Prize

Billionaire Richard Branson is offering $25 million for anyone who can remove at least a billion tons of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere. Read more at the Washington Post. Goofy commentary at Slashdot.

Discovery Channel to drop cycling sponsorship

After a major management shakeup at Discovery that included the sacking of company CEO Billy Campbell, Team Discovery managers were informed that Discovery would not renew its sponsorship of the pro cycling team after the 2007 season. Read more at Velonews.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Submit your Safe Routes grant proposals

Thirteen states with active Safe Routes to School (SR2S) programs currently are accepting applications to fund local "Safe Routes" programs. If you're actively involved in bicycling advocacy in California, Utah, New Mexico, Nebraska, Missouri, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, West Viriginia or Delaware, contact your state Safe Routes to School coordinator and find out how your local cycling advocacy efforts can receive federal funds.

The purpose of the federally funded Safe Routes to School program is to improve walking and bicycling access for children to schools. For those lobbying local governments for improved facilities only to be rebuffed by claims that funding is not available, SR2S may be a source of funding.

Federal law mandates that between 10% and 30% of Safe Routes spending must be for 'non-infrastructure' projects. Possible uses for this funding includes cycling safety education for students and teachers, and "Bike To School" type promotion efforts. I've seen SR2S funds used to pay for teacher in-service training, to purchase incentives for children to ride their bikes to school, and to pay LCIs for their time in teaching school staff and children.

In some states, cycling advocacy groups and private organizations can apply and have received funding. If you have a relationship with a local government, it can be helpful to have them submit your proposal on your behalf.

Even if your state is not actively accepting grant applications, get your thinking caps on to think of innovative and effective programs to get children to walk and bike to school. Let me know if you've been involved in the Safe Routes grant process; I may want to highlight what you've done.

Safe Routes application status

More Safe Routes information:

Bicycling cured my migraines

Well, not exactly 'cured,' but it certainly seemed to decrease the frequency of migraine attacks. Bradley once suffered almost daily, debilitating migraine attacks. "Eventually it's just one big constant headache," he writes. "Migraine is more than just head pain though. Along with a sharp stabbing pain next to my eye, I get sensitivity to light and sound, dizziness, confusion, muscle spasms, fatigue, nausea. Sometimes I'll get minor aphasia, the inability to put together sentences."

There's a apparently a link between exercise and migraines, but Bradley tried joining a gym and "all I did was lose $50 a month." Some friends, though, suggested bicycling. "I love bicycling!" he writes. "In Jr. High I would cycle all over the place. Down to the beach, up and down the hills of downtown Long Beach, along The Strand with my mom. Yeah, I could do this!"

Bradley ended up getting a new bike and started riding it every day. Since then, he's been able to reduce his medications and go almost three weeks without an attack. Read more and follow his progress at his Faith From Pain blog.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Australia Senate Report: Bicycle to reduce oil dependence

An Australian Senate committee released its report Wednesday on the country's future oil supply. This report from the bipartisan Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport committee warns that the nation must act immediately to reduce its reliance on foreign oil.

Cycling is presented among the options in the report to reduce oil use. Cycling is seen as a “No Regrets” option by the Committee, meaning that even if the onset of Peak Oil occurs later than expected, the community benefits from numerous social, environmental and transport outcomes inherent to cycling.

Photo by Mugley.
Elliot Fishman of the Australia Cycling Promotion Fund highlights that “The Senate Inquiry made it clear that in addition to being an oil-free form of transport, cycling is an effective tool against our obesity and diabetes epidemics.”

While the report suggests various means to increase the supply of alternative fuels, many alternative fuels can have significant environmental issues in themselves. Fishman says “Unlike many of the supply side options provided to the Senate Committee, such as coal-to-liquids, cycling represents a zero emission form of transport. Our current policy environment requires us to propose responses to Peak Oil that are greenhouse sensitive. Bicycles have no exhaust pipe.”

Peak Oil may result in significant hardship for people around the world, but Cycling Promotion's Fishman believes that Australia's current drought shows that Australians can adapt. “We are on the verge of entering a petrol drought. As we approach the point at which less and less oil will be available year upon year, Australian’s will need to become fuel smart and adapt to a low oil lifestyle, just as we have done with water” says Fishman.

Read more at Cycling Promotion Fund.

Spinopsys has in depth details and commentary on this report.

Wheels of Justice hasn't mentioned this report yet, but I expect they'll have something up by the time my USA readers get around to this post.

Discussion at The Oil Drum on this important report.

Another view of Australia's oil-poor future.

St. Louis County: "Bikes not an option for commute"

While I bellyache about weeds in the road, cyclists in St. Louis, Missouri have real issues to contend with.

Interstate 64 / Highway 40 through St. Louis will be rebuilt over the next three years. In the meantime, the commuters who currently use the Interstate to travel 140,000 times a day will be diverted to surface streets in St. Louis -- right onto boulevards that are currently popular with transportational cyclists who also commute to work.

Instead of using any kind of Transportation Demand Management to try to mitigate the congestion that will result, the St. Louis County Department of Highways and Traffic plans to restripe the main bike boulevards, completely eliminating the wide outside lanes that currently exist. According to county highway director Garry Earls, "the 10-speed simply isn't an option for traveling to work or getting children to school."

According to Jack Painter of St. Louis, "A pedestrian bridge in my neighborhood will be torn down and not replaced. Will we have to drive 1.8 miles to go to stores and restaurants that are less than 150 meters away? The New I-64 is a sad but accurate indication of perverse and misguided design plans that will insure more traffic, pollution and accidents for decades. The federal government's financial subsidization of these plans, without proper oversight, guarantees a lower quality of life for everyone and not just cyclists."

Read more at the Missouri Bicycle Federation.

Discussion at the St. Louis Bicycle Federation
includes email exchanges from county planners.

More bike haiku

A couple more people posted their bicycle haiku creations. I'm obligated to link to them.

Warren T writes about the slush.

Logan likes his curious machine.

Bicycle News

Here's something I've discussed with local advocacy groups: specialty bike retailers have to decide whether to continue to focus on serving non-Hispanic white males or reach out to the growing population of Latinos and Asians, says Brad Edmonson of at the Bicycle Leadership Conference. “The new America is already here. Your choice is to either join it or fade away with the old America,” Edmonson said. Read more at BRaIN.

Atlanta burb proposes single-file bike restrictions.

100 mile bike race in the arctic coming soon. Jill's training for it.

DIY bike hoist.

Silicon Valley Leadership Group had a Cool Commutes conference, focusing on what companies in the Valley are doing to reduce single occupant vehicle commutes. One of the dramatic reports comes from Yahoo, where 36% of Yahoo headquarters employees get to work without driving solo. This is double the 18% mode-shift that the corporation committed to the City of Sunnyvale when building permits were first issued.

20,000 bicycles for self-service rent in Paris, France.

Santa Cruz, herbicides, and the county road budget

Santa Cruz County (where I live and ride) banned the use of herbicides by county workers in 2005. The result is that 600 miles of county-maintained roads (where I ride) are overgrown with poison oak, thorny blackberry and invasive scotch broom.

It costs about $3,000 per mile to mow down the weeds while herbicide spraying costs about $140 a mile. Only 45 miles of road was mowed last year, leaving roadways plagued with overgrown weeds. Guess where these weeds grow? Yep, into the edges of the roads and beyond, exactly where I want to ride my bicycle. Along some roads, the weeds are so high you can't see down the road.

Some farmers, in the meantime, have taken matters into their own hands by mowing and applying herbicides along the right of ways around their fields.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

They like bikes

Look at this interesting news:
Sales in many bicycle shops are racing 200% ahead of last year's level, and delivery dates for new merchandise are uncertain. Complains Gano Thomas of San Francisco's Nomad Cyclery: "The factories aren't making bicycles fast enough. If we order 100 bikes, we're lucky to get 25."

The shortage results from the bicycle's biggest wave of popularity in its 154-year history. Environmentalists are turning to the bike as a pollution solution; physical-fitness fans like the bike as a heart preserver. Groups of workers in some traffic-choked cities have been staging rush-hour races among car, bus and bicycle, with the bike usually triumphant.
What's especially fascinating to me: This article was published in Time Magazine in 1971. This was at the height of the 'bike boom' in the 70s. In 1971, about 7.5 million adult bicycles were sold, with a record high of just over 15 million bikes sold in 1973. Compare that to the 8.5 million adult bikes sold in 2005 in the United States.

Photo: Panda Portraits collage from Wally Grundle.

Children bike to Bike Man's funeral

74-year-old Reed Palmer was "the Bike Man" to the children in his neighborhood. He provided bicycles to all of them and he was loved by his neighbors. Reed and his wife, LoaFae, perished last week when their car got stuck in snow in a remote area of Central Utah. Hundreds of people came to the funeral, many of them children who rode their bicycles and tricycles to remember the couple.

KSL.COM: Children honor neighbor with bikes at his funeral.

ABC4.COM: Community remembers West Valley couple with bicycles.

Deseret News: A show of love — Hundreds remember couple.

CNN: Kids take tricycles, bikes to funeral. (Video)

I owe CycleDog another link

You post a bike haiku and give me a way to find it, and I'll link to you. That's the Cyclelicious guarantee, or your money back.

Dan's guide to cycling advocacy

Dan Grunig on the road Dan Grunig, Executive Director of Bicycle Colorado, bicycles through the streets of Denver, Colorado.
Dan Grunig has a passion for promoting bicycling for transportation, recreation and fitness. He is the Executive Director of Bicycle Colorado, he's a League Certified Instructor (LCI), and he's on the board of directors for the Thunderhead Alliance for which he also chairs the Complete Streets Committee.

Under Dan's direction, Bicycle Colorado has grown to have a four-person staff with a $300,000 budget. Dan has a graduate degee from the non-profit business program at the University of Wisconsin. To successfully allow a bicycle advocacy organization to thrive, Dan tells me that it's necessary to understand fundraising, finance, management, marketing, and boards.

Beyond that, however, Dan is motivated by the mission of Bicycle Colorado. To that end, Bicycle Colorado works with local groups in Colorado to get a group connected and rolling. Many groups have started this way in Douglas County, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Winter Park, Jefferson County and elsewhere.

I asked Dan what people can do in their cities to promote cycling. He answered,
One of the most often overlooked (and underrated) is being an ambassador for bicycling every time you ride. Knowing and following the rules of the road and trail project a positive image of bicycling to the public and our opponents.

People promoting rights for vehicles other than bicycles love to point to examples of discourteous or dangerous behavior by bicyclists. We have total control to nullify this argument by simply following the rules. By following the rules you are far less likely to be in a crash and in the rare chance that you are, you will have better protection in the legal system.

The other is way to make a difference is definitely cliché, but our governmental decision making process is dominated by people who show up. It is much easier for a transportation official to overlook the rights of bicyclists when there is no bicyclist in the room.

Transportation decisions are happening every day in every community in Colorado. Many of the decisions made today won’t be implemented for five to thirty years so the sooner we “show up,” the sooner things start getting better.

I know coming out of college, politics was a turn off for me and I felt like I couldn’t have any influence on the system. What I have learned since is exactly opposite! I want bicyclists to know we most definitely can have tremendous influence and the system can work in our favor. But it won’t happen on its own. We each need to add just a little time, energy, and money and the gains will be substantial.

So my advice is to get connected with your local advocacy group and send a check to each of your local, state, and national bicycle advocacy groups. For less than the cost of a tank of gas, you can add horsepower to the bicycle movement.

What if a city has an active and effective advocacy group? Should others try to be involved?
I would challenge an uninvolved bicyclist to ask themselves some important questions: Are you pleased with how bicyclists are treated in your community? Are there bike lanes and paths along your favorite routes? Are motorists respectful and courteous? Do you feel safe on your bike? Is your business or school accommodating to bicyclists? Do local businesses welcome customers who ride bikes? Is your community reducing pollution? Are residents healthy and active?

A community with a fairly active bicycle advocacy community is probably making some nice progress, but transportation change is slow by nature. The more people we have working for improvements, the sooner they will happen. Sitting on the sidelines and letting other people do the work and pay the bills won’t produce substantial change in the near future.

We need to be impatient. We need to understand the time to make time is now.

I believe the way to get involved is through your local bicycle advocacy group. By coordinating efforts and working on specific campaigns, we can accomplish tremendous things.

What about the area where there is no cycling advocacy? How can the cyclist begin to make changes?
I think this probably the most exciting scenario a bicyclist can be in. Since nothing is happening right now, this is a situation where they have potential to make tremendous gains.

The first thing to understand is that you are not alone. Hundreds of bicycle advocacy groups across the nation have started in the exact same situation. Thunderhead Alliance is the collection of those experiences. Getting plugged into their knowledge base and training system is a “fast forward” to success.

My message is that it takes a group to really affect change. Building an organization builds power and credibility. It also provides more people help share the load.

Bicycle Colorado’s mission keeps our efforts focused on statewide decisions and programs. Our intention is to improve the actions of the state’s transportation department so that communities who look to the state for leadership will also adopt bicycle friendly policies.

The real power at the local level comes from the community’s citizens. A group made up of outsiders doesn’t carry as much weight as one made up of people who live there. Bicyclists in individual communities have to take the first step. They have to stand up and begin asking why bicyclists’ rights are being pushed aside. When they begin to take action, everything changes.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Outlaw on a Schwinn

Ricky Martin of Fremont, CA ran a red light while riding his Schwinn bicycle.

Motorcycle Officer Daniel Harvey stopped Ricky, but then Ricky fled, trying to outrun the police Harley Davidson. The two "went in circles, went over center dividers and up on sidewalks," according to this Chronicle article. Unlike the mythical Outlaw in lycra, Ricky didn't get away from the law. He spent the night in the pokey for resisting arrest.

Bike stories blog

Alan Snel worked on the front lines of daily journalism, working on city newspapers around the USA. After over two decades of this grind, however, he gave it up last summer to do marketing for a chain of five bicycle stores in Tampa, Florida. "It was time for a change and a time to re-charge my batteries."

As Marketing Director for Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium and Oliver's Cycle Sports bike stores, his main job is to organize and promote an annual bicycle festival for the stores and also work on bicycle rights and advocacy issues.

Alan rides more than 10,000 miles a year on the road, though he does plenty of mountain biking, too.

Alan's Bike Stories blog is, he says, "about life I see from the seat of a bicycle. It's the best way to soak in life."

Bike Stories is one year old this month. If you're not yet familiar with this blog, drop by and take a look.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

SAFE bicycle advocacy in Florida... NOT

The SAFE bicycle car advocacy group in Florida is advocating for laws mandating bike lane riding and prohibiting cyclists from riding side-by-side in those lanes.

Does anybody know who this "Jim Smith" in Florida is? Read CycleDog's commentary on this issue.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Sherry Lynne White

Update: See Cyclelicious girly articles here.

There's been a surge of traffic to Cyclelicious of people apparently searching for nude photos of Navy officer Shery Lynne White on a bicycle. They were finding Paul Tay's comment about Sherry Lynne White's interview at Paul posted his own Sherry Lynne White thoughts at his site (with a patriotic themed photo).

Community and bicycling

One of the big benefits of bicycling is that it puts the cyclist in closer touch with his surroundings and with other people.

So, why are so many of us so rude? We're rude to pedestrians and slower cyclists on paths. Many of us are pretty rude to motorists we want to share the road with. Others are rude to pedestrians as we blow by them on the sidewalk.

Andrea @ Velorution makes a call for courtesy. "Do Unto Others" doesn't mean cowering in the gutter, of course, but pay attention, yield the right of way if it's not yours, and be nice. That's all I'm saying.

135 mile Minnesota icebike race

The Arrowhead Winter Ultra is a human powered ultramarathon on bike, foot or skis, covering 135 miles across the Arrowhead Region of Northern Minnesota from International Falls near the Canadian border to Tower, MN. This news video features a cyclist with his Surly Pugsley and other good icebiking gear. The Arrowhead Winter Ultra begins this Monday. Read the Arrowhead blog here.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Engineers' beer bust

There are apparently unconfirmed reports of a 'beer bust' last week at my work location. When you think 'beer bust,' what do you usually think?

Imagine, hypothetically, about 2,000 (primarily male) socially inept engineers all gathered in one place. Beer, peanuts and pretzels are available.

If you're picturing a junior high school dance, you're pretty close to this hypothetical reality.

Free bicycle for a judge

Elving Torres is an administrative law judge with a problem. He needs to park his silver Mercedes-Benz AMG coupe as near as possible to his office in downtown Tampa, Florida. To solve his problem, Torres illegally borrows a handicap placard so he can park his car in the handicap spots near the building.

Unfortunately, this creates a problem for legitimate users like Raquel Fruchte. Ms. Fruchte uses a wheelchair and works in the same building. She had to park at the far end of the lot and propel herself up an incline to get to her office because there were no empty handicapped spaces.

Alan Snel, marketing director for a chain of bike shops in Tampa, has the solution: a free bicycle for the judge "so that he can bike to work and park even closer to the building than a car."