Monday, April 30, 2007

Socks du Jour: Fred Casts socks from Sock Guy

"My name is Dave, and I'm a Fred."

It's been a while since I posted a Sock Guy socks du jour. These socks are from Dave Bernstein's Fredcast cycling podcast.

UK car enthusiast prefers bikes to get around town

A host of the British motoring show "Top Gear" Richard Hammond confessed recently that he uses a bicycle to get around town.

"Driving a Range Rover in London is pretty unnecessary," says Hammond, who also enthuses about fast, sporty cars on the BBC show. "When I am in town I get around either on a scooter, a motorbike or on a bicycle. he truth is I've always loved cycling, ever since I was a kid. I do think that if you have a meeting in London and it's 45 minutes away, you can get in an hour-and-a-half's decent aerobic exercise."

His Top Gear co-host Jeremy Clarkson ridicules him "remoselessly," Hammond says. "I've lost count of the times I've pulled up to the lights on my shiny Specialized bicycle and heard someone yell, 'Hey, mate, where's your Ferrari?'"

Top Gear website with news, features, blog, and buyer's guides. I saw this news on a local email list. Mentions elsewhere include:

Monday morning commute

Bay Bridge Collapse. Originally uploaded by JACK&BECKY.
A portion of a Bay Bridge interchange that handles 280,000 commuters daily collapsed over the weekend after a gasoline tanker truck crashed and burned, melting the steel girders. Governor Schwarzenegger authorized state money to provide free public transportation in the San Francisco Bay Area. Capacity was added for today's commute on BART, Muni, and transbay ferries. Parking lots at public transit stations filled early today.

Caltrain in the South Bay was somewhat busier than usual, but not crushingly so. I suspect many South Bay commuters who might take the train had not heard of the free transit offer. If free public transportation is extended beyond today, it might be time for me to skip the train and ride my bicycle the entire distance to work.

Update: SFist also writes about the Monday morning commute and posts one of the cooler photos I've seen. Photographer Jennifer Loring trespassed to get some closeups of the mess. The Oakland Tribune speculates on reconstruction and wonders if can terrorists do this on purpose, claiming the energy released by the accident was equivalent to a low-yield nuclear bomb. All is quiet at BART Rage beyond the usual gripes about service. Caltrans officials have difficulty finding steel for reconstruction. posts info about suggested detours and alternate modes to get across the Bay.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Paroxyms of fear: No Impact Man gets a bike

You've probably heard about Colin Beavan aka "No Impact Man", the New Yorker on a one year sojourn to reduce his environmental footprint by going organic and generally turning into a tree-hugging lunatic to save the planet from environmental catastrophe while dragging his daughter and Prada-wearing wife along for the ride.

Colin bought second-hand bikes for him and his wife and a bike seat for his daughter recently.
Well, a couple of weeks ago, with spring coming, we were jaunting around the Sunday flea markets (because of the don’t-buy-anything-new rule) and we found a 5-speed, circa ‘76, screaming red Schwinn that Michelle adored. Sold. Then, on Craig’s list, I found a great second-hand kid’s bike seat, and Sunday morning I rode my bike over to Roosevelt Island and picked it up. Isabella is excited beyond belief: “Bella ride in dat!”
Some of the comments in response are a little disheartening. While several people express the joy of bike riding, a few others imply that death and dismemberment are in store for any who dare to bike with traffic. If you're so moved, please leave a comment on his article and assure Colin, his family and his fans that bicycling isn't that much more dangerous than driving.

Ride like a girl

Friday Evening
Originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].
Last week I and several others posted the story about the study showing a disproportionate number of female cyclists are killed by trucks in the UK.

Velorution posted this good followup article which notes that the 86% statistics don't necessarily mean that women are more dangerous riders. It very well could be that women are less likely to be killed by the things that kill men, but however they ride still doesn't prevent deaths by a hooking truck.

Looking at the stats in more detail, it turns out the more aggressive cycling by men does result in more men dying in traffic than women, even if you adjust for the numbers of men vs women who cycle. Women are slightly more likely to be killed by a truck, but somewhat less likely to be killed overall than men.

If you value safety, gentlemen, don that wig and ride your bike a little more conservatively.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


My wife is a graduate student in Clinical Psychology. She's scheduling her courses for the summer and one of the offerings is "Psycho Pharmocology." That's drugs for crazy people.

I realize there are plenty of people who need medication to function for a variety of reasons. We have all kinds of fascinating volume laying around the home right now such as the ever-popular Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders, Interview Guide for Evaluating DSM-IV Psychiatric disorders, and a multi-volume "Best Practices" guide on counseling and therapy. My bathroom reading right now is "Children and Adolescent Counseling" by a group of people with lots of letters behind their names. My wife will soon be on of those people.

I'm glad I can ride my bicycle to be well.

Gone in 71 Seconds

Thankfully, when I lived in London for six months back in 2004, my bicycle was always by my side and never had to be locked to a post or a fence. In yesterday's Guardian, the number of bicycles stolen annually throughout England were outlined. A staggering 439,000 per year, or as the article states, one every seventy-one seconds. The values of these bicycles (when converted to dollars) combined is just over $291,000,000. This amount works out to be just over $660 per bicycle.

A great quote to consider from the article is from an insurance agent, who stated, "it may be worth considering spending a little more money for a high security lock that might stand a better chance of deterring a thief."

My personal choice when locking a bicycle up is one of Kryptonite's New York locks.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Real news on Critical Mass

Look what happens when the media shows up: They report on what actually happens instead of depending on hearsay like professional gossip columnists do. What they found is the usual peaceful ride, although it was much larger than usual.

Still, the reporting was hardly balanced -- they as much as admitted the press showed up hoping for a violent confrontation, and you can almost feel the disappointment in the writing that somebody didn't bleed tonight.

Political savvy and bicycling

The political influence of San Francisco's pro-bike movement has risen steadily over the past decade to the point where the chief advocate for cyclists sits on a powerful city commission and elected officials rarely tell them no.

It's a long way from the early days, when bike enthusiasts could barely get city officials to return their calls.
This Chronicle article highlights how cyclists were able to move from an ignored fringe to a powerful lobby in the city of San Francisco in a little over a decade. It's worth reading for anybody interested in cycling advocacy in their own city.

Commuter checks for sale

Here's a quick followup to yesterday's article: Commuter checks for sale and wanted on Craigslist.

While we're talking scams and transportation, here's another common one: You can cut the magnetic strip on a BART ticket, cut it into smaller strips and create multiple new BART tickets. For those not familiar with BART in the San Francisco Bay Area, entry into and exit from the BART platform is my sliding tickets with magnetic stripes through an automatic ticket reader that opens a gate.

Other transit providers in the Bay Area use visual inspection, though I'm sure there are folks creating ticket forgeries.

Since I'm writing about Bay Area transit...
  • While Caltrain and BART raises fares to cover increased operating costs, VTA considers reducing fares to boost ridership. Caltrain and BART are often filled to capacity and are able to charge more, while VTA buses and light rail often run empty.
  • The Bay Area Air Quality Management District hasn't decided yet how they will manage free transit on "Spare the Air" days. Over the past few years, free transit has been offered on several days when unhealthy levels of ozone is forecast. The Air Quality District is considering reducing the benefit to a half day of free transit on the more expensive trains and ferries while continuing to offer a full day of free rides on Bay Area buses.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Government commuter benefits and fraud

Jonathan Maus passed along this important heads up: Because of fraud in the current commuter benefits program, there's concern that discussion and awareness of the program through the Bicycle Commuter Act may dissuade members of Congress from supporting the act. Jonathan asks for some discussion on how the program is administered in your area and how fraud is minimized.

I participate in my employer's Commuter Check program, which is a tax-free benefit in which I receive vouchers that are good for purchasing transit passes. As far as I can tell, there's not much oversight of this program. It would be trivially easy for me to take these vouchers -- remember, I get them for free from my employer -- and sell them for cash if I didn't use public transportation.

From what I understand, similar programs in other areas work about the same way. There are also EcoPass type systems, which is a sticker that is affixed to an employee badge. This tax-free benefit works a little better because an ID is associated with the sticker. Still, I don't think bus drivers actually look at the ID -- conceivably, I could get the EcoPass sticker and sell it before I affix it to my badge. In the Bay Area, the VTA EcoPass is worth $650 in monthly passes.

In Denver, on the other hand, the RTD EcoPass is a photo ID instead of a sticker affixed to a work badge. This is much more immune to fraud than stickers or vouchers.

What about the Bicycle Commuter Act, though? The bill provides for a tax-free cash incentive for bicycle commuters. For my commuter check participation, all I had to do was click a button on a web page affirming that I would use the voucher to buy a transit pass. Where there's government money, though, there's fraud. What can employer benefits coordinators do to minimize fraud in the bike commuter benefits program?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Magazine for transportational cycling

The Practical Pedal is a quarterly journal of practical bicycling. What's practical bicycling? It's bicycling for transportation, be it on the daily commute, the run to Costco, or a trip around the world.

From the editor of The Practical Pedal:
The first issue of the Practical Pedal will be out this summer and subscriptions are free right now. We're ad supported so subscriptions really mean a lot to us in terms of sustaining the magazine.

The Practical Pedal exists to normalize bicycling as transportation and drive advocacy from the consumer end. When the demand for bicycle-friendly infrastructure is made both by advocacy groups and unaffiliated transportation consumers, then cities will begin to implement it.

We're a quarterly publication and we cover all things related to using bicycles as transportation -- commuting, load hauling, maintenance tips, riding skills, and coverage of what our cities are doing to promote bicycling as a viable transportation alternative. But we're not just an activist publication. The Practical Pedal is written for the dedicated rider and the newbie alike. We believe strongly in expanding the pool of potential bike advocates by reaching out to those who think saddles are only for horses.

We also provide an affordable advertising venue for the smaller manufacturers that are driving the resurgance in practical bicycling.
The Practical Pedal guy also has a blog to talk bicycle stuff and note the progress of his efforts to put out a bicycling magazine.

New research: adverse effects of bicycle riding

"Earlier this week, noted researcher Dr. Walter Crankset of the University of Southern Oklahoma extension campus in Broken Elbow announced the preliminary results of his study of the long-term effects of bicycle saddles on both men and women. He studied a diverse group of male and female subjects who had ridden bicycles extensively."

Read more about this vitally important research at CycleDog. It's science, after all.

Denver Boulder Bike To Work Day 2007

Bike To Work Day in the Boulder / Denver area will take place on June 27, 2007. Visit DRCOG's BTWD site to register for the event, order t-shirts, view breakfast station maps, and see the sponsors who support Bike To Work Day in Denver and Boulder.

Of the 50 breakfast stations in Boulder County (population 290,000), 35 are in the city of Boulder (population 100,000). In some parts of Boulder there are two or three breakfast stations per block, and it's a tremendous opportunity to pick up lots of schwag and fill your larder with fruit, bagels, energy bars, and sports drinks. It's all great fun.

Downtown Denver will also be thick with bike-to-work breakfast stations, with more breakfast stations scattered around Broomfield, Thornton, Westminster, Thornton, Golden, Wheat Ridge, Lakewood, Glendale, Aurora, Englewood, Littleton, Highlands Ranch, and all the way in Parker.

If you register, you're entered in a drawing for some fantastic prizes: Two round trip tickets from Frontier Airlines, high value gift certificates to Dick's Sporting Goods, two Westword concert tickets, and more.

More Denver Boulder area Bike To Work Day resources

Fixed gear brake failure haiku

A True Account Concerning Events that Transpired the Morning of April 25 in the Year of Our Lord 2007.

Fast downhill on fixed.
Red light. Brake breaks! Traffic. "Aaaah!"
SkipSkipSkipSkipSkipSkip skid skid STOP. Whew!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

86% of female bicycle deaths from trucks

Transport for London compiled a report showing that 86% of women cyclist deaths were from lorries (large trucks). Among men cyclists killed in traffic, 47% of them were killed by trucks.

The study notes that “Women may be overrepresented in [collisions with goods vehicles] because they are less likely than men to disobey red lights.”

In more than half the fatal crashes, the truck was turning left. Cyclists may be deceived by a truck swinging out to the right to give itself room to make a left turn. The study reports that the problem may be exacerbated by bike lanes near intersections that allow cyclists to pass trucks and other traffic on the left in the UK.

Read more in the Times Online. And remember: In the U.S., don't pass a truck on the right.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bicycle Missoula

missoula bike lane sign
Originally uploaded by Luton.
Missoula, Montana is college town know for its bicycling infrastructure. I've gotten myself into a pointless debate with somebody who believes that because the gas tax pays for Missoula streets, only people who pay that tax have a right to the roads.

In Missoula and every other place in Montana, the gas tax provides about 10% of the road construction and maintenance budget. Property taxes provide the bulk of road funding in Montana as well as the other U.S. states and Canadian provinces. Besides that, as a matter of public policy access to public facilities should not be based on ability to pay.

For more information, see Whose Roads -- PDF from Victoria Transport Policy Institute.

Bicycling on Shimano's Coasting

Bicycling Magazine posted their article about Shimano's Coasting group:
This spring, as customers flock into bicycle stores in such places as Orlando, Florida, and Portland, Oregon, they'll find a new kind of bike amid the carbonized rows of road whippets, the hulking forms of downhillers and the hipster parade of cruisers and fixies. This new type of bike most resembles a singlespeed cruiser: The upright, sweeping handlebar holds no gear shifters or brake levers. The seat is wide, and positioned low and far back so riders can plant their feet firmly on the ground while seated.

The most interesting technology of the bicycle is hidden. A dyno-hub powered by the front wheel provides juice to a small computer chip that automatically shifts between the bike's three gears. But this innovation is not what makes these bikes potentially revolutionary--various forms of mechanical automatic shifting have been around for years. These bikes might change the way you, your neighbors, maybe even the whole country, think of cycling. And the reason is simple yet powerful: marketing.
Read more at The Revolution Will Be Simplified. See also the Associated Press story on Coasting: "Bill Lange thought his bike riding days were over. Gears were complicated. Stores were intimidating. Plus he wasn't exactly itching to put those tight spandex shorts on his 58-year-old body. Then Lange, of suburban Milwaukee, saw an ad for a new type of bike out this spring. The Lime, by the world's top bicycle maker, Trek, automatically shifts gears, has a wide seat and fluid style that looks like the bikes Lange rode as a child." (Via the Hugger.)

RevoPower gasoline bicycle wheel

RevoPower is a $600 bicycle wheel with a gasoline engine in the hub. You simply replace your 26" front wheel with the RevoPower wheel, put the gasoline in a water bottle cage, clip the throttle to your handlebar and you're good to go.

A friend of mine tried out a pre-production version of this wheel and told me it was amazing fun.

I know cyclists in general get a little cranky about "cheating" like this by adding motors to our bikes, but I expect we'll see more of these things as more people look for alternatives to their transportation needs but don't want to work up a sweat.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hey gook, go back to China

That's the taunt I received every single day when I walked home from school when I was a child living in Omaha, Nebraska. I hated it.

But I didn't grow up in a vengeful psycho mass murder nutcase, and I'm sure many of my readers endured similar bigotry and worse. Maybe it's because I ride a bicycle that I turned out to be so well balanced and happy as an individual.

Cannondale Urban dot com

A sign of things to come?

Found via the comments in Bicycle Design discussion about Cannondale urban bicycle design.

Bicycling advocacy how to

Bicycle advocacy how to

In the April 2 Spokesman Podcast, Tim Grahl asks the question "How do I start with bicycle advocacy in my city?"

Jonathan Maus answers: "Be there." He makes the point that every city has public meetings. Being aware of these meetings and showing up is key to getting the changes you want. Many public works engineers are unaware or unconcerned with the needs and desires of the cycling public. If you show up and express your concerns, at least you'll hear there voice.

Jonathan tells us that in Portland, cycling advocacy started in the 70s with an anti-freeway movement that transitioned to support for public transportation and improved cycling facilities.

My own experience with cycling advocacy in Colorado bears this out. When you show up to the meetings, you have influence with the planners.
Public meeting notices at the federal, state, and local level are now available online.

Many changes don't have to take 30 years these days. In the U.S., we're approaching a tipping point of acceptance in the public and among planning professionals that cycling is a positive solution to problems with traffic, public health, and air quality.

Tim Jackson joked about Jonathan running for Mayor of Portland. Because of my involvement and participation on a city committee, a few people tried to get me to run for City Council. Ellen Fletcher is a former mayor of Palo Alto, CA who ran on the platform of increasing bicycle use in that city. She was voted into office and was responsbile for creating an extensive network of cycling facilities throughout Palo Alto. Ms. Fletcher was also instrumental in Caltrain being the first commuter rail line in the U.S. to allow bikes on the train.

It takes time, effort, and passion, if you want to see changes in your community, get involved. Find out where and when public meetings are at. Start small with transportation or zoning committee meetings. Get the agenda and find out what they're talking about. A great opportunity for involvement is through the Safe Routes to School program, in which effective bicycle advocacy can actually bring CASH to a local transportation budget, which every administrator loves. I'll write more about this in a later post

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Contests: Free Shimano schwag and free trip to Le Tour

There are a couple of exciting contests open now for cycling enthusiasts.

The first contest is sponsored by Shimano Europe, run by Quickrelease.TV and open to all (where legal). Create a video demonstrating the fun of cycling to a mainstream audience: no lycra, no red skinsuits, no CM, no art bikes -- just cycling as stupid fun to Joe and Jane Average. Submit your video to the Bicycle Contest Page on YouTube by August 30 2007, wait for judging on September 24 2007, and win lots of nice Shimano stuff.

The other contest is sponsored by Hampton Inn and VERSUS. Free trips to the final stage of the Tour de France will be awarded to two lucky winners (and one friend each) from Canada or the United States. While making a reservation through Hampton Inn, use the promo code "TOUR" to be entered automatically, or enter by mail. Via FredCast.

Carjacking a train

The Amtrak Capital Corridor train traveling during the evening commute from the Bay Area to Sacramento slowed for a signal then stopped as a group of people stood on the tracks. When the engineer went downstairs and opened the door, he was dragged off the train and assaulted with rocks and bottles. The engineer remains hospitalized.


Read more. Via SFist. Updates in the Sac Bee.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Long seatpost for BSO?

One of my co-workers was inspired by my daily bike commute and bought himself a bicycle to ride to work on. Unfortunately, he got a "great deal" on a cheap, "Honda Racing" full suspension mountain-bike-style Bike Shaped Object. Worse, he bought a child's model with 24" wheels. The bike is way too small for him.

I'm trying to make this bike ridable, but I think it's a lost cause. I'd like to get a long seatpost and handlebar stem so at least he won't ruin his knees. The long seatposts that are available, however, won't fit his seat tube -- he needs something narrower.

Any suggestions on how to get a long seat tube for a retail store bike? This is a great illustration of why you shouldn't buy a bike from somebody who doesn't know bikes, but my co-worker wants to make this work.

What's the longest bike train?

A triplet plus one
Originally uploaded by GeorgieR.
Somebody commented on this photo, asking the question: What's the longest bike train?

I used to tow a single bike trailer + kid trailer. This photo here shows the longest I've ever seen. I've also seen purpose built tandems that can carry a family of four. Has anybody seen longer trains of child bicycle trailers?

2007 Sea Otter Class videos

There's some great video coverage from the 2007 circuit and road races at the 2007 Sea Otter in Monterey, California this past weekend, much of it up close from the Pacific State Bank/Anderson Homes team car. Watch the Women endure nasty weather at Sea Otter, Daniel Ramsey win the mens circuit and Kodak/Sierra Neveada dominate in Santa Cruz.

Watch the videos at

Monday, April 16, 2007

Maniac road raging motorist assaults female cyclist

You won't see this mentioned on Michelle Malkin's blog, but the news in Arlington, Virginia reported on this road rage attack in which a cyclist stopped at a red light was assaulted by a motorist who stopped behind the female cyclist, exited his vehicle, and pushed the woman over onto the ground while screaming at her. Arlington police witnessed the attack and arrested the motorist.

Motorist advocacy groups expressed their shame over the violent behavior of one of their own, while pedestrians, cyclists, and bloggers all over the United States expressed their outrage over the arrogance of motorists who would attack a defenseless woman on a bike and called on motorists to better police themselves.

Well, no, not really, but for some reason when some idiot on a bike smashes in a car window it's somehow my fault.

Why are clipless pedals clipless?

On a bike gear buying spree, Jill in Alaska succumbs to peer pressure and goes clipless. In response, Fonk the Cyclist asks the question: "I've always wondered why they call clipless pedals "clipless" pedals. After all, aren't you clipping in to those things when you engage the cleat?"

There's some history involved, and since I was alive when it happened it's not too ancient. Old style racing pedals have a curvy piece of metal or plastic at the front to hold your feet in place. These are toe clips. In the past, racers used cleated shoes with toe clips and straps to keep their feet in place on the pedal. These pedals with clips are not clipless pedals.

In 1984, LOOK -- a company known for its ski bindings -- introduced its new binding system for bicycle shoes. Because no clips are involved, it's a "clipless" pedal. Although several people and companies developed their own clipless pedals before LOOK did, Bernard Hinault rode to a Tour de France victory in 1985 using LOOK's new binding system and thousands of OCPs (including myself) followed suit by buying his pedals over the next couple of years, making LOOK's clipless pedals the first commercially successful clipless pedals. I have a box somewhere with my old Nike cycling shoes with LOOK cleats on them. I always used the red cleats.

That's the reason that although we "clip" in and out of these bindings, the pedals are clipless.

Fonk the Cyclist, by the way, rides around Colorado Springs, Colorado. Drop by his blog and say hello.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Raleigh Coasting bicycle

Raleigh Coasting: Chain
Originally uploaded by richardmasoner.
I took a test ride on the new Raleigh Coasting bicycle. The Raleigh Coasting is a hybrid bike featuring Shimano's new "Coasting" component group, which has an electronic automatic shifter and coaster brakes. Click here to see photos of the Raleigh Coasting bicycle in action. Preview of this bicycle coming Real Soon Now.

I did my 1000 meter Tax Man Scramble time trial on this bike today. I think I did it in between five and seven minutes, sweat free! Woo hoo!

Burlington Bicycle Benefits in Vermont

Burlington Bicycle Benefits, the brainchild of brothers Ian and Dillon Klepetar, is a program in which local businesses reward cyclists in the form of discounts for riding bicycles instead of driving cars. Discounts are no less than 10 percent and can go up to 25 percent.

Dillon Klepetar is almost messianic in his desire to see fewer cars on the road and more people biking or walking. The program's mission -- to get people out of cars and onto bikes -- sums up his personal philosophy. The towheaded student, who wears plastic bags inside his shoes to keep his feet dry while biking in the winter, says people need to start living a sustainable lifestyle.

"I think we need to re-evaluate the convenience and impact of driving a car. Biking is healthy on many different levels," he said.

Klepetar says Burlington, Vermont is the perfect city to support the Bicycle Benefits program because many people commute year-round on bikes, and if they can be rewarded for using a bicycle, that should be all the more reason to abandon the car and strap on the helmet.

"It's about making the inconvenient choice because it's right," Klepetar said about biking instead of driving. "You have to listen to your environmental conscience."

Read more in the Burlington Free Press: Discounts for bicyclists.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Dooring kills

This recent news from Sydney, Australia serves as a reminder to ride your bicycle away from the "door zone." Riin Gill has a bit about cycling and door zone safety at her site.

Photo courtesy Jym Dyer.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tax Man Scramble

The Tax Man Scramble is a 1000 meter sprint against the clock. Time your sprint and post it for the world to see. If I do it on a downhill with the wind is it cheating?

Tom wants to make this an annual event. Spread the word!

Nazi bicycle confiscation

Sunday, April 15 is Holocaust Memorial Day.

Eva Heyman started writing her diary in February 1944. Germany invaded Hungary in March 1944.

April 7, 1944

Today they came for my bicycle. I almost caused a big drama. You know, dear diary, I was awfully afraid just by the fact that the policemen came into the house. I know that policemen bring only trouble with them, wherever they go. My bicycle had a proper license plate, and Grandpa had paid the tax for it. That’s how the policemen found it, because it was registered at City Hall that I have a bicycle.

Now that it’s all over, I’m so ashamed about how I behaved in front of the policemen. So, dear diary, I threw myself on the ground, held on to the back wheel of my bicycle, and shouted all sorts of things at the policemen: "Shame on you for taking away a bicycle from a girl! That’s robbery!"

We had sold my old bicycle, my layette and Grandpa’s old winter coat and added the money we had saved. My grandparents, Juszti, the Ágis, Grandma Lujza and Papa all had chipped in to buy my bicycle. We still didn’t have the whole sum, but Hoffmann didn’t sell the bicycle to anyone else, and he even said that I could take the bicycle home. My father would pay, or Grandpa. But I didn’t want to take the bicycle home until we had all the money. But in the meantime I hurried over to the store whenever I could and looked to see if that red bicycle was still there. How Ági laughed when I told her that when the whole sum was finally there. I went to the store and took the bicycle home, only I didn’t ride it but led it along with my hands, the way you handle a big, beautiful dog.

From the outside I admired the bicycle, and even gave it a name: Friday. I took the name from Robinson Crusoe, but it suits the bicycle. First of all, because I brought it home on a Friday, and also because Friday is the symbol of loyalty, because he was so loyal to Robinson. The "Bicycle Friday" would be loyal to "Éva Robinson", and I was right, because for three years it never gave me any trouble, that is, it never broke down, and there were no expenses for repair. Marica and Anni also gave their bicycles names. Marica’s was called Horsie, and Anni’s was called Berci just because that’s such a funny name.

One of the policemen was very annoyed and said: All we need is for a Jewgirl to put on such a comedy when her bicycle is being taken away. No Jewkid is entitled to keep a bicycle anymore. The Jews aren’t entitled to bread, either; they shouldn’t guzzle everything, but leave the food for the soldiers. You can imagine, dear diary, how I felt when they were saying this to my face. I had only heard that sort of thing on the radio, or read it in a German newspaper. Still, it’s different when you read something and when it’s thrown into your face. Especially if it’s when they’re taking my bicycle away. Actually, what does that nasty policeman think? That we stole the bicycle? We bought it from Hoffmann for cash, and Grandpa and all the others worked for this money.

But you know, dear diary, I think the other policeman felt sorry for me. You should be ashamed of yourself, colleague, he said, is your heart made of stone? How can you speak that way to such a beautiful girl? Then he stroked my hair and promised to take good care of my bicycle. He gave me a receipt and told me not to cry, because when the war was over I would get my bicycle back. At worst it would need some repairs at Hoffmann’s.

Ági said that we had been lucky this time, but that next time we should let them take whatever they wanted. In any case nothing could be done about it, and we shouldn’t let those stinking scoundrels see how much we suffered. Still, I don’t understand Ági. What do I care whether they know or don’t know that we suffer. It isn’t hard to see that if everything you own is being taken away from you, and soon you won’t even have money to buy food, you suffer. But what does is matter? Ági doesn’t have to hug the bicycle wheel and sob. Anybody looking at her can tell that not only does she suffer, but day and night she trembles over what is in store for Uncle Béla.
Eva died in Auschwitz on October 17th, 1944. She was thirteen years old. Read more about Eva and her diary.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sun X2200 M2 Server Review

Bragging about the stuff I work on: "After our well-publicized problems with Rackable and our search for a new server vendor, we ended up with Sun and their AMD line. I reviewed the ones we've been using over the last two months, and I gotta say, they're about as close to perfect as I've found. Read on to see the pros & cons."

read more | digg story

Kryptonite blog

Donna Tocci, the wonderfully positive marketing manager for Kryptonite Locks, has started an official Kryptonite Locks blog: Unbreakable Bonds.

Donna promises we'll also hear from Kryptonite's general manager Dwight as well as from her boss, Karen. I'm looking forward to seeing good things there.

I own a mix of bike locks, but I'm a big fan of Kryptonite and Kryptonite's Evolution Mini is my favorite.

Monday, April 9, 2007

I'm on vacation

I'm on vacation, so in the meantime go read something funny, like The Fat Cyclist. Relax. Have a good time. Go enjoy yourself. You can even ride a bicycle.

The stalkers can view my vacation photos on Flickr at

Friday, April 6, 2007

Patriotic flag waving cyclists

Cycling Dude talks about some flag waving cyclists. "Remember the Picture of the formation of Patriotic Cyclists at the Acura Bike Tour? They write, 'The Pedaling Patriots group of riders carry large American flags as a statement of patriotic pride and love of country. We are not affiliated with any political or religious group. We are patriots and friends - that's all.'"

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San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Statement

Statement from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

By now you have probably seen the media frenzy around incidents at last
Friday's Critical Mass ride.

First, we want to make sure that all members understand that the SFBC does
not organize nor manage Critical Mass rides. We never have, we never will.
This is a leaderless ride that the SFBC has no control over.
We condemn any sort of violence on the ride — whether by bicyclists or
motorists. Of course, we condemn violence on our streets anytime, anywhere.
It seems that there are two sides to what happened Friday night, which is
now coming to light in the media. It sounds like there's blame to be shared by both sides.

Our goal now is to make sure that people understand that the SFBC is working
day in and day out to promote safe, joyful bicycling in our city. Our
message is and always has been that we all need to Coexist, to behave civilly and respectfully, and to share the road.

We urge our city leaders not to let one night's ugly actions slow down the
work we're all doing to make San Francisco a great bicycling city.
Help us out by spreading the word that the SFBC does not organize Critical
Mass and that we condemn any violence on our streets, whether biking or
driving. Let folks know about the good work the SFBC is responsible for — more bike lanes, better bike parking, more bike access on transit, more people choosing to bike for a cleaner, healthier San Francisco.
You can let folks know that just yesterday, our volunteers handed out
hundreds of _safety flyers_ to
bicyclists — Give Respect, Get Respect — at the corner of Market & Van Ness
Ave. We're gearing up now for lots more outreach on _Bike to Work Day_ — May 17th!

And we're organizing community members to speak in support of the _Healthy
Saturdays_ ( trial of car-free space in Golden Gate Park on Saturdays just like Sundays.

Thank you for helping us educate people that the SFBC is not Critical Mass,
but is responsible for a lot of the transportation, safety, and open space
improvements they're seeing around town. Let's ride responsibly and proudly.

Thank you for your support,
Leah Shahum
SFBC Executive Director

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Empathy Test on bicycles in activism


Sometimes I can't stand how some simple activities get tied up into 'activism.' I love to ride my bike. But for me, It's pretty much about just riding my bike.

"Not anti car, just pro bike." How refreshingly adult.

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Bicycle industry economic impact

The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) recently released statistics about the economic impact of bicycling recreation. These numbers, drawn from OIA research summarized in The Active Outdoor Recreation Economy, estimate bicycling’s full contribution to the U.S. economy, including travel-related expenditures and the ripple effect of indirect economic contributions.

The national bicycling recreation economy:

  • Contributes $133 billion annually to the U.S. economy
  • Supports nearly 1.1 million jobs across the U.S.
  • Generates $17.7 billion in annual federal and state tax revenue
  • Produces $53.1 billion annually in retail sales and services
    $6.2 billion in bicycling gear sales and services
    $46.9 billion in bicycling trip-related expenditures

For more information and to see the bicycling data by region, click here.

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Thursday, April 5, 2007

Silicon Valley CEO Bike To Work Day Challenge

Several Silicon Valley executives and officials helped to kick off planning for  the Bay Area Bike To Work Day on May 17th. Carl Guardino, the President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group says plans for the CEO/Celebrity Cycle to Work Day Challenge are being announced in advance to give employers an opportunity to alert their employees to take part in the event. Guardino says 30 CEOs and 12 public officials have already signed on to take part in Bike To Work Day.

Bike Biz Babe in a man's world

This is a must read article from Haro brand manager Jill Hamilton.

Catching up on the news

It's been busy for me. Some collected stuff for you to have fun with:

Bicycle Diaries Baiku.
Oregon Senate passes bill to amend the brake requirement to permit brakeless fixed gear bicycles on Oregon streets.

boy vs door sold his car.

VeloNews had an April Fools Joke

Unmemorable bike commutes at Raleigh commutes. The vast majority of bike commutes are like this -- no close encounters with cars, no weather anomalies -- just a fun bike ride.

More later!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Easter invitation

Easter invitation

It's Easter, which means it's time for the nominally religious to show up for church. I'm one of those insufferable self-righteous Christians who attends every week. There's a chance a Cyclelicious reader in the Bay Area might like to check out an Easter Service, so naturally I'm inviting you to my church in San Jose, California. It's the medium size church with a big parking lot on Boynton between Moorepark and Williams. Boynton is parallel to San Tomas Expressway and Saratoga.

I have my bike parking spot, but to be honest I can't tell you if there are bike racks there. If you plan to ride you bike to my church drop me a line and I'll arrange something for you. Sunday School starts at 9:45 a.m.; we generally let out by about 11:30 a.m.

The church is large enough where you can be fairly anonymous if you want to be. The music is excellent. The worship is kind of a modern sedate Pentecostal -- it's a bit more active than your traditional Baptist-type service, but nothing at all like some of the wilder, more exuberant worship services I've attended in Latino and Black churches. In other words, we won't push you backwards as we holler yell incomprehensible phrases in your ear.

Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I'd be thrilled if you could join us! I also extend this invitation to those anti-cycling bloggers I've left comments with regarding Ms. Ferrando's assault in San Francisco, especially to those compassionate conservatives who have published death threats against cyclists like me in response to Michelle Malkin's fair and balanced reporting of events on the Left Coast.

San Francisco: The minivan vs critical mass

"Critical Mass San Francisco" by Aaron P.

Jerry has already commented on this, but the San Francisco Critical Mass made the news this morning. According to the Chronicle a family from the Peninsula spent the day in The City. They encountered the tail end of Critical Mass. They apparently tried to drive through it. The hooligans on bikes proceeded do $5,300 worth of damage to the minivan. By Wednesday morning, the San Francisco Critical Mass gets some bad press, blog mentions, and rants on Craigslit.

According to several witnesses at the scene, however, the minivan driver "revved and swerved into the bicyclists, and tried to flee after hitting one. Bicyclists surrounded the vehicle while calling 911 to prevent a hit-and-run. One [hooligan] bicyclist smashed the rear window." And unlike the description given in the Chronicle editorial, by 9 p.m. the "Critical Mass" dwindles down to only a couple dozen riders -- hardly enough to create huge traffic jams, and certainly much less of an obstruction than that created by the regular automotive traffic.

It's horrible that this cyclist smashed the van's window with children inside. It's also horrible that this Mother committed assault and attempted hit-and-run with her own children in the van. From tonight's update of the story, the driver "recklessly accelerated into a crowd and hit the bicyclist so hard the bike was lodged under her vehicle." When somebody tries to kill you, then tries flees the scene, it's understandable why the cyclists got a little hot.

In the meantime, Bay Area motorists killed and maimed a half dozen or so people in the Bay Area and inflicted close to a million dollars in property damage. Motorists exchanged words with each other, people flipped the finger and called one another names, sometimes even in the presence of children. There were incidents of road rage, two of which resulted in deaths. Some of these incidents even made the news.

Regarding the actions of the one cyclist who broke the window: I know motorists can sometimes get you mad, but take it easy. You're on the bike to have fun; there's no need to get militant, negative, violent and angry. It's probably a good thing that some of us with rage issues aren't driving a car, because that only gives us the tool to inflict even more damage. Remember that the only behavior you can control is your own. Attempting to change somebody else's actions will only result in frustration.

Real life job interview today

I interviewed "Mike" today. I noted his lean, chiseled, athletic look, saw that he currently lives in San Francisco (50 miles away from here), and asked how he plans to get to work.

"I'll take the train and ride the bike the rest of the way in."

Mike gets around completely by bike and public transit. We spent almost the entire 45 minute talking bike stuff. As far as I'm concerned, he's qualified.

(It helps that the dude is a mathematical genius AND he knows how to code).

Study: Helmet use and risk compensation in children

The results indicate that risk compensation may modify the effectiveness of helmets for children engaged in sports and leisure activities. Conversely, the findings also suggest that those wearing helmets may be a cautious subgroup.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Mountain bike blog

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) has a blog. "On the Trail with IMBA" is the official blog of the IMBA staff, with photos of IMBA staffers spending your IMBA dues on hammocks and green fees.

Props to Go Clipless, who's good for all kinds of good mountain biking goodness.

You have been warned


Your jaw hang open and you may be unable to work for some time after viewing this photo: Look and wonder.

Tags: dog, obscene, funny

Nike sells cycling gear?

Jonathan Maus of BikePortland dropped a bombshell in the the latest episode of the Spokesman podcast: In partnership with Trek, Nike produces and sells cycling gear!

Apparently, Nike, which supported Lance Armstrong with sponsorship and cycling gear, also sold cycling gear to consumers wiht the 10/2 brand through its online shopping portal and dealers.

Possibly because of lack of consumer response, Nike has decided to end its relationship with Trek and reevaluate its cycling line of products. Nike Cycling products will be available through 2008.

(Yes, I know Nike has sold cycling gear for some time. I even own some. I'm being snarky.)

Monday, April 2, 2007

DIY Xtracycle

Instructables has an article about a DIY project to build your own "Xtracycle" type bike with an extended wheelbase for more cargo-carrying capacity. Though you need to sacrifice one full-suspension mountain bike frame and drill a couple of holes, no welding is required and the project seems fairly simple if you have the right parts. It involves connecting parts of a "donor" frame into the rear triangle of your bike to create your extended wheelbase bike. The main part of the bike can easily revert to its original identity, too. An actual platform to make use of the extra room is To Be Done in a future episode.

Found via MAKEzine.

Mexico City officials ordered to ride bikes to work

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard ordered city workers to commute by bike on the first Monday of each month. He reiterated his order last week, meeting with administration secretaries, sub-secretaries, and general directors and told them not to take his cycling program lightly.

The city will collapse if measures are not taken soon to make the roads more bike-friendly, Ebrard said. Ebrard said a primary goal is to demonstrate the viability of bicycles as a means of transportation in the city. He also said the city will soon build a bike station on the Eje Central specifically for city employees.

Regarding statements made by the city attorney general and public security secretary that they are reluctant to participate, Ebrard said everyone had to comply with the order.

"If they are opposed for reasons of security, then I´d suggest they don´t publicize the route they plan to take," Ebrard said. "Anyway, a big SUV is more visible than a bicycle."

Read more.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Trek Lime bicycle blog

Trek Lime has a blog. Comments and trackbacks allowed. Found via Bicycle Design.

The Trek Lime is a pretty sweet looking bicycle.

Photo by Jonathan Maus.

NYC to drill for oil in Central Park

NYC Parks employees discovered oil seeping to surface through the grass at Sheep Meadow in Central Park. Upon the discovery, Mayor Bloomberg and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe quickly approved some exploratory drilling and geological analysis. The results appear to be very encouraging for anyone worried about gas prices.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn quickly embraced the continued drilling and exploitation of this new megafield, citing the many programs around the city that this could help fund, like eliminating tolls on all bridges & tunnels, abolishing parking meters and reducing other fees that city drivers face. "It's time to give something back to the city's oppressed automobile drivers and this new oil field will help us reduce the burden on these hard working New Yorkers who fight traffic everyday". Quinn added "it's time to rethink the City as a place that welcomes automobiles, instead of discourages them. People want more cars on our streets and we should support them by making it as easy as possible instead of pandering to pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit rider who only complain about poor safety conditions and are never satisfied."

While for many this was seen as a great new source of revenue for the city, many in the area complained that it would ruin a historic park. "Drilling for oil in Central Park will ruin the neighborhood and destroy the vision of an urban oasis set forth by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux," a resident of Fifth Avenue protested as she drove through the park in her Ford Expedition.

Read more at the Oil Drum.

More good news on global warming comes to us from RealClimate, which reports on new research from the New Zealand Institute of Veterinary Climatology that shows a statistical inverse relationship between the sheep population in New Zealand and global temperatures. The statistical analysis shows that as the numbers of sheep have dropped in New Zealand, world temperatures have increased. Researchers hypothesize that the increased albedo of land that is no longer covered in sheep results in less solar energy radiating back out to space.

There is in fact an important destabilizing feedback in the system: as climate gets warmer, there is less demand for wool sweaters and wooly underwear. Hence the sheep population tends to drop, leading to even more warming. In an extreme form, this can lead to a "runaway sheep-albedo feedback," which is believed to have led to the present torrid climate of Venus. Read more at

New chain cleaning system

ShelBroCo has a new Chain Cleaning System that is the most complete chain cleaning system on the market today. Seen first at CycleDog.

In other new product news, Shimano has announced their new BioWheel rear wheel set for fixed gear use. This wheelset includes an computer designed patented point-symmetric egg curve form factor rim to offer the cyclist more efficient pedaling. Read the Shimano press release.