Friday, June 29, 2007

iPhone, Web 2.0 and the wetwear interface
When I describe the line of people waiting for the iPhone outside of the Palo Alto Apple Store, the usual reaction is along the lines of "Why?" Many of the enthusiasts were in line to be the first to have the coolest new technology toy. Some probably thought they could make some money on eBay or Craigslist.

But I think most of the people got in line for the social interaction. I asked technology pundit Robert Scoble why he was number one in line with his son. Surely he could easily get one with the connections he has within the technology industry. He told me he came to meet and greet the creative geniuses of Silicon Valley, and he purposely came to the Palo Alto Apple store because he figured most of us would be there rather than San Francisco or San Jose.

I also joined the line specifically to meet people I knew I would like. The guy in the red shirt is Ken Conley. He lives on the San Francisco Peninsula somewhere, he blogs about bikes and he takes gorgeous cycling photos. We've left comments on each blogs at times and communicated by email, but I enjoyed a serendipitous personal encounter with Ken -- not online, but in the Apple line in Palo Alto.

There's Bruce, who owns a small Palo Alto software company. He had fun handing out free snowcones and Segway rides to anybody who wanted one. Bruce is a guy with a lot of fun energy; the guy is a real kick.

Another high-energy fun guy is Kris Tate, founder of Zooomr, a photo sharing service. Kris and his team provided a live video stream for 30 hours from the queue.

And check out "Shooby". He's a 15-year-old guy who walks around every day with a web cam strapped to his head. His daily life is streamed constantly his website. The kid has an amazing number of friends, both online and in the meatworld. Amazingly enough, somebody even found this blog because I mentioned Cyclelicious to Shooby while I was on camera! And then this Canadian even added me to his blogroll as a result of my appearance on Shooby's video feed.

Another technology VIP in line was technology VIP Kentaro Ejima. If you're not Japanese you probably don't know him, but he's very well known in Japan. Think of him as the nihonjin Robert Scoble, with an influential blog. He's also the creator of the cleverly named Lingr chat service.

Other big names were there, too: Steve Jobs showed up right at 6 p.m. Brian Solis drops some of the other huge names who were in Palo Alto. The point is, Geekfests like the iPhone introduction are a great way to meet people, exchange email addresses and URLs and have a great time with a lot of different people.

See my iPhone photoset @ Flickr.

Free iPhone!

I have some friends who work for Apple in Cupertino, California. Steve Jobs announced to employees yesterday that every Apple employee -- from presidents and engineers all the way down to sales clerks at the Apple stores -- will receive a free, 8 GB iPhone at the end of July. Of course, this news is available everywhere in much more detail, but what do you expect from a bicycle blog?

Robert Scoble posted spy photos of an iPhone shipment this morning.

Bicycle content: Apparently, an Australian tech commentator complained that the iPhone with its touchscreen makes it too difficult to text while driving. And this reviewer notes that "dialing while driving becomes impossible or extremely dangerous."

On Zoomr TV, Patrick Scoble says he hasn't had sushi in months. He looks tired.

Bicycle blog weekend

My Simpsons Avatar
A couple of people have asked about the Streetview contest. I'm very sorry about the delay, but we're working on it. I'm very embarrassed but I'll get it straightened out soon!

I met Robert "Scoblelizer" Scoble's 13-year-old son Patrick this morning. He's first in line at the Palo Alto Apple store waiting to buy the new iPhone. Nice kid. The lines in San Francisco and San Jose are much longer and are getting all the media attention, but Palo Alto is geek central. His dad and several other famous geeks are in line there, too, including folks from every tech startup in the valley handing out food and schwag. If I was driving, I would not have been able to meet and chat with these people.

Alan Snel makes a neat compare and contrast between Lance Armstrong and Ray with his duct-tape bike.

Arleigh says "Driving is the pits."

Americans on the 2007 TdF team rosters announced.

Tight tires? Here's a tire removal tip.

Another neat tip from Dave Moulton: The string alignment test.

Cafiend posts his Fixed Gear Primer. I'm a wussie, but I don't care.

New bike map for Arlington County, Virginia. I like bike maps.

Odd doping results.

Chrome does urban cycling shoes now.

Waterloo, Iowa Rules for Riding: "No rider of a bicycle shall practice any fancy or acrobatic riding or stunts or participate in any race, speed or endurance contest."

The "Adaptive Mountain Biking Festival" in Keystone, Colorado features human powered bikes and handcycles for disabled riders.

Quiet revolution...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Colorado Bike to Work Day news

My old friends in Colorado report tremendous participation in the 2007 Bike To Work Day in the Centennial State. In the Denver region, a record 23,000 cyclists rode their bikes to work today, an increase of 12% over last year. "It was exhilarating to see so many riders out today," said Denver County Judge Ray Satter, a hardcore bike commuter who rides to work year-round, even in the rain, snow or ice. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter is a enthusiastic recreational cyclist; he also participated in the event.

CBS4 Video: Thousands pedal to work in Front Range featuring Denver Mayor Hickenlooper and Governor Ritter.

Longmont Times-Call: Bikes, pancakes abound. "As of 8 a.m., about 100 people had stopped by for a bite to eat, said city associate civil engineer Len Marques. “I can tell by the number of sausages, actually,” said Marques, who helped organize city efforts to mark the alternative transportation day. (Len is a personal friend of mine and fantastic guy).

Boulder Daily Camera: Fitness, free food fuel ride to work features profiles of a wide range of bike commuters in Boulder.

Fort Collins Coloradoan: Biking, breakfast highlight Bike To Work Day.

9 News Video: Thousands participate with video of morning anchor Susie Wargin's 28 mile commute. I seem to recall another 9News reporter who's a hard core cyclist who was fired after she appeared nude in a magazine or website somewhere... What was her name?

Shame on the news sources in Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Grand Junction who make no mention of Bike To Work festivities in those cities! Even the Greeley Tribune in Weld County at least publicized Bike To Work Day in a positive way.

Chicago and the end of Critical Mass

When I first saw this news from the Chicago Critical Mass Grand Finale Committee that organizers planned to end the Critical Mass rides on September 28, I thought it was some kind of joke. I've received assurances from Da Square Wheelman and others that they are indeed planning a final ride on September 28, 2007 -- the 10th Anniversary of Chicago Critical Mass.

The Chicago Critical Mass Daley Plaza rides will celebrate its 10th anniversary in September. In recent years, the Chicago Critical Mass has steadily grown, with summer and fall rides typically attracting thousands of cyclists.

As the rides have grown, some feel that Critical Mass has strayed from its original altruistic roots and has become 'just another big bike-a-thon'. Others have been offended by public drunkenness, nudity, noisy sound systems and ill manners that now are all too common on many mass rides.

Accordingly, many feel that the 10th anniversary ride on September 28, 2007, should be the last Chicago Critical Mass ride-- a grand finale to commemorate the original values on which the ride were based: civility, self reliance, fresh air and fellowship.

There's a hint, however, that CCM may rise from the ashes of death in October with a new crew of organizers. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pie biter

"Don't be a pie biter." -- From Major Taylor's Dozen Don'ts.

Major Taylor was a legendary track cyclist at the turn of the 20th Century. He was probably the fastest rider at the time, but because of the color of his skin he was not allowed membership into the League of American Wheelman and could not compete in many race venues. From Ken Kifer's article about Major Taylor:
Time after time, he was refused entry into races, and he wasn't permitted to race in the South, which hurt his overall standings every year. He was not allowed to join the League of American Wheelman, the dominant cycling organization of his day, simply because of his color. He was turned away at hotels and restaurants, even on the evenings before major races. He was fined on numerous occasions for not racing when he had been the victim and not the cause of the problem. He faced a number of attempts to get him disqualified both because of his race and because of problems arising out of prejudices against him. He was sometimes fearful of other cyclists, and not without reason, as they sometimes threatened his life. He was personally attacked by the other racers, both before, after, and during the races, being choked insensible on one occasion and deliberately rammed at high speeds on another. During the race itself, it was more common than not for the other racers to all conspire against him, often trying to seriously hurt him, and otherwise trying to block him from winning. Even when he had won a race, the judge would often find the white man to be the victor when the race had been very close and, in the event of a tie, Taylor would lose.
The famous "pie biter" statement comes from Major Taylor's "Dozen Don'ts" in which he exhorts black athletes to good habits and clean living. His Dozen Don'ts:
Don't try to gyp.
Don't be a pie biter.
Don't keep late hours.
Don't use intoxicants.
Don't be a big bluffer.
Don't eat cheap candies.
Don't get a swelled head.
Don't use tobacco in any form.
Don't fail to live a clean life.
Don't forget to play the game fair.
Don't take in unfair advantage of an opponent.
Don't forget the practice of good sportsmanship.
Read more about Major Taylor in his fascinating autobiography: Major Taylor: The Extraordinary Career of a Champion Bicycle Racer.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Lindsay Lohan's tricycle

Never mind what she's wearing; can somebody tell me about that trike she's riding?

Apparently, bicycle and tricycle riding are part of her drug rehabilitation. We agree that exercise and sunshine are good for your mental health and well-being!

Great Divide Race on a fixed gear

I'll just quote the photographer's comments:
David Nice is attempting to become the first rider to complete the Great Divide Race on a fixed-gear bicycle. Not one to believe the naysayers who told him it’s impossible, Nice prepared by putting in 6,800 miles of fixed-gear training in the five-and-a-half months leading up to the race. The 26-year-old whiskey distiller and French-trained chef from Denver, Colorado, marches to his own beat when he divulges that because he rides on a leather Brooks saddle he doesn’t feel the need to wear a chamois. For 2,500 miles. On a fixed gear. Ouch!
Via One Chick. The Great Divide Race started June 15 at the Canadian border in Montana and will finish at the Mexican border. Racers must ride completely unsupported, hauling all of their own gear.

Guerrilla bicycle facilities

Not that I'm admitting to or condoning any illegal activity, but there's a possibility that I might have done something like this in the past.
The first time the group struck was on May 30. The gang spray-painted an illegal bike lane in the Annex, between Spadina Ave. and Bathurst St., along Bloor. To make the paths appear legitimate, painters stencilled the city's bike lane logo – a bicycle and large diamond – along the road as well.

The lines may have been sloppy, but that didn't stop cyclists from using the lane for two weeks until the city cleaned it up last Monday.

"The shop owners on Bloor said they thought it was the city staff painting," said Rick Helary, manager of road operations in Toronto.
Via BikeDenver. Discussion also at Streetsblog.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Walking up to the ATM

I've enjoyed my week off. Thanks to the CycleDog for filling in with his though provoking article on dominant car-centric thinking, even among many cycling advocates. Thanks also to all of you left comments and pointers to blogs over this last week.

This article about influence of cheap energy on our city designs mentions that walking up to a drive-through ATM might result in you getting menaced by a large truck.

Which reminded me of the ATM behind my office when I worked in Longmont, Colorado. My co-workers and I frequently went out the back door of the building and walked over the railroad tracks to the restaurants along Ken Pratt Boulevard near Hover Street. I sometimes stopped at the drive-through ATM on the way, and I could absolutely count on a driver pulling up after me getting cranky at me and saying some words about my presence on two feet.

Excuse me, but that's just insane. The delay in his access to the ATM is no different if I'm in a car or on foot, or, for that matter, on bike. Can somebody explain why anybody should be offended at my ambulatory presence at a drive-through cash machine?

Thank you.

P.S. I have a new bike: The Raleigh One Way. See my impressions here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cultural Dominance...

I've been working on a long piece about cultural dominance, highlighting the role of motor vehicles and their drivers as the dominant force on our public roadways. Cyclists have a part in this, since we're undeniably effected by the dominant culture. Extreme examples of the effects would include Bruno Bettelhiem's observations of prisoner behavior in WW2 concentration camps and the Stockholm syndrome, though in the case of road cyclists, this is more a question of degree rather than type.

Kathleen Trigiani wrote:

Virtually anyone can get Stockholm Syndrome it the following conditions are met:

* Perceived threat to survival and the belief that one's captor is willing to act on that threat
* The captive's perception of small kindnesses from the captor within a context of terror
* Isolation from perspectives other than those of the captor
* Perceived inability to escape.

Stockholm Syndrome is a survival mechanism. The men and women who get it are not lunatics.
They are fighting for their lives. They deserve compassion, not ridicule.

Cyclists are familiar with those tiresome arguments that they shouldn't be on the public roads because they can't travel as fast as cars; they're too vulnerable; they don't pay road taxes; they don't obey the law, etc. We can refute them one by one, but by next week they'll pop up again like mushrooms after a spring rain. The motorists who make these arguments almost always preface them with: “I ride a bicycle but...” What follows will invariably be some insistence that we shouldn't be permitted to ride XYZ road for myriad reasons.

But it's not my intent to focus on motorists here. Instead, I want to touch on the effects of the dominant motoring culture on cyclists themselves, and how that culture influences their behavior and causes such divisiveness in a group that should have common goals and common efforts. John Forester summed it up by saying:

The bicycle advocates direct particular fury at those who defend lawful, competent cycling. Only these vehicular cyclists have sufficient knowledge of cycling to present accurate and ethical opposition to the bicycle plans of the anti-motoring bicycle advocates, and the bicycle advocates regard them as traitors.

In essence then, the gulf that separates 'bicycle advocates' from vehicular cyclists is the former's acquiescence to the dominance of car culture and the tacit acceptance of that culture's values. I've met some experienced, educated cyclists who espoused the idea that motorists and cyclists alike have an equal right to use the public way, yet their behavior showed that they didn't really believe that. When a cyclist says, “You can't ride there because there aren't any bike lanes” or “It's too dangerous to ride XYZ road” he's exhibiting the impact of the dominant culture. their fruits ye shall know them...Matthew 7:20

As a piece of general fatherly advice, I've told my son, “Don't pay too much attention to what people say. Watch what they do.” In the case of bicycling advocates, it's just as instructive to watch how they ride and where.

Dominant car culture says that cyclists are in the way, too slow, or a danger to themselves and others. And in fact, some cyclists view themselves in the same light. They feel intimidated, threatened with bodily harm, and they believe they're unable to escape – all the precepts of the Stockholm syndrome. It's bad when some motorist launches a bigoted diatribe, but it's worse when a cyclist buys into it too. My friend Gary says we have a responsibility to oppose hate speech when we encounter it. I think we have an equal responsibility to speak up when confronted with ideas based on conjecture, ignorance, or misinformation. But as Trigiani says, these people need to be met with compassion, not ridicule.

But if it's ridicule you want, you'll have to go read CycleDog.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Open Thread: Break from bicycle blogging

Just a quick note that I'm taking a break from Cyclelicious and other blog activity this week. For interesting reading, see everybody who links to Cyclelicious. Over the past three or four weeks that includes Roger in St. Louis, Paul in Davis, Donna in Boston, Frank in Illinois, somebody in Sioux City, TJ in Memphis, Rich in DC, Carlton in the UK, Phil in Portland, Dave somewhere in SoCal and Sue in Chambana.

If that's not enough for you, here's my entire blogroll of bicycle blogs.

Feel free to put links to your own bicycling blog in the comments.

New Jersey Quick Release Bill and Clix

BRaIN seems to have been correct about the New Jersey quick release ban: I read an earlier version of the bill, but the amendments passed by the New Jersey Assembly includes plenty of contradictory text. Weird stuff. Also, some of the amendments seem custom-written for Montague Bicycle's "Clix" quick release system. Check this out: 'Advances in quick release technology make it right and proper that the new mechanisms—which are less prone to assembler and user error—be used in place of the old2' and '“secondary retention device” means a device that retains the bicycle wheel in the bicycle fork when the primary retention device is disengaged.' This legislation is an infomercial for Montague!

Thanks to the several people who commented to set me straight.

September 29, 2007 Update: I asked Montague directly about this and they denied any involvement or lobbying in the proposed New Jersey legislation.

Love your enemies

I had a snarky article written up about how Americans send about $50 million of our hard-earned cash overseas every single day, much of it to governments that don't exactly support American-style freedoms and a few of which consider the governement of the United States of America to be an incarnation of evil. When I looked up Matthew 5:43-48 in the Bible, however, I decided those scriptures stand on their own. I'll save the snarkiness for another day. Feel free to provide your own interpretations and life applications in the comments.
You have heard people say, "Love your neighbors and hate your enemies." But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends. If you greet only your friends, what's so great about that? Don't even unbelievers do that? But you must always act like your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:43-48. CEV.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bicycle blog, transit news and a trip down the long tail

For you Macintosh OS X users out there: BART user Bret Victor created the BART Widget for use on the OS X dashboard. The widget is a completely self-contained application that tells you exactly when the next BART train is coming just by clicking on the widget. No network connection is necessary.

Thursday, June 21 is Dump the Pump Day. The American Public Transportation Association is promoting Dump the Pump Day to increase awareness of the benefits of public transportation, but I don't mind promoting it to increase awareness of the benefits of bicycling. Read more at Commuter Pages.

Javier and his folding bicycle
NYC Street Fashion blog The Sartoliast sometimes features NYC cyclists who look great. Includes nifty photos. Apologies to the blogger I found this too, because I don't remember where the link came from. Please comment if it was you.

John asked: "Why are tires black when rubber is naturally white?" The answer: Carbon Black added to rubber imrpoves its tensile strength and abrasion resistance. In other words, the carbon black makes the rubber stronger and more resistant to wear. Read the gory details.

The Great Divide Bicycle Race started yesterday. 20 riders started at the Canadian border in Montana and will ride Adventure Cycling's 2,490 mile Great Divide Mountain Bike Route without outside assistance(!). They carry food, water, and shelter on their bikes or backs. No support crews, SAG wagons, or massage teams are allowed. Follow updates at the Great Divide Race Updates blog.

Citizen Rider: What is it about fixed gears?

Bicycle safety and low hanging fruit.

A certain uncool bike shop in Illinois is creating folding bike spam blogs and then posting links to those spam blogs in Digg and elsewhere in a poor effort at SEO. Posting spammy links to your bike shop in spammy blogs is the WRONG way to go about it, folks. If you're going to blog, please do it right.

The next time somebody whines about arrogant scofflaw cyclists who all break traffic laws, show them this video that demonstrates motorists do it too.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Pedal and smile

Originally uploaded by indigotimbre

"Driving a car versus riding a bike is on par with watching television rather than living your own life." - From the Bike Commute Tips blog.

Text of the New Jersey QR Bill

I decided to do a little fact checking after reading this surprising report that "the bill was recently amended to include bikes with 20-inch or larger wheels." Here's the actual text of the bill as passed by the New Jersey Assembly.
"It shall be an unlawful practice for any person to sell a bicycle [intended for use by children] with a front wheel diameter of 20 inches or less, which is equipped with a quick release wheel 2, exclusive of specialty adult bicycles."
Folks who repeated the faulty BRaIN information include Joe Lindsey in his Boulder Report and our good friend Masiguy among others.

I'm glad Trek and others are on the ball with this and I'm hopeful this won't make it out of the state Senate commerce committee, where this bill currently sits. Jersey residents should still contact your state Senators and let them know what you think of this bill. Just please be factual.

UPDATE: Read John's comment.

New Jersey passes quick-release ban

The New Jersey state legislature passed a bill that will ban the sale of many bicycles equipped with quick-release skewers. The ban, introduced by Gloucester Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, passed the state Assembly 77-3.

The bill prohibits the sale of QR equipped bicycles with a wheel diameter of 20 inches or less. While intended to for children's bicycles, the law as written also affects many adults bicycles such as folding bicycles and recumbents.

The legislation has not received consideration from the state Senate yet so this is not state law. If you're in New Jersey, though, you want to keep on eye on what kind of legislation is proposed for your Senate.

See discussion at

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Top bike theft cities

Kryptonite has posted their annual Top 10 cities for bike theft list for 2006. According to Kyrptonite, the top 10 bike theft cities are:
  • New York, NY
  • Chicago, IL
  • Boston, MA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Los Angeles and San Francisco (tie)
  • Seattle, WA
  • San Diego, CA; Portland, OR and Washington, DC (tie)
Donna T at Kryptonite wants to remind everybody to lock up your bikes!

Bicycles in Lynchburg

I've been neglecting Cyclelicious because I'm spending more time on the bicycle than on the blog, so I'll post this thought provoking article about bicycle advocacy and the dominance of automobiles in our transportation infrastructure.
Although automobiles dominate transportation more than ever, there is increasing recognition that society cannot rely upon a single transportation mode. While automobiles have undisputed advantages -- route/time flexibility and wide-ranging mobility foremost among them -- they also impose once-unappreciated costs on society: They pollute, they create congestion, and they require roads and parking spaces that consume vast amounts of land that could be applied to other uses.

Currently, only a trivial percentage of the American population uses bicycles to ride to work. But other countries, mostly notably the Netherlands and Denmark, have shown that the potential cycling population is much larger. As automobile congestion worsens in Virginia and the rest of the United States, there is increasing interest in redesigning communities to make them more bicycle friendly. Above all else, bicycling must be made safe.

Found via the excellent Commuter Page Blog.

Palo Alto bike advocacy

It's 11 a.m. on a Monday morning, and 78-year-old Ellen Fletcher hops off her bicycle on Bryant Street near Embarcadero Road and observes the fruits of her labor: helmeted and spandex-covered cyclists zipping down the bicycle boulevard that bears her name.

"Hey Ellen!" one cyclist shouts, waving to the former Palo Alto vice mayor as he pedals past Castilleja School in a pack of riders. He recognizes her from across the street, even though she is wearing her helmet.

"My goodness, look at them all!" Fletcher says.

Those who ride past her -- proving her theory, "You build it, and they will come" -- are among the many cyclists in Palo Alto who have benefited from Fletcher's 30 years of bicycle advocacy.

With approximately 1,700 Palo Altans -- 5.6 percent of the working population -- choosing two wheels instead of four for their daily work commutes, Palo Alto has almost five times the percentage of bike commuters as that of Santa Clara County as a whole. The city's ratio is 14 times the proportion of bike commuters in the United States, according to U.S. Census Bureau data from 2000.

In addition to the Ellen Fletcher Bicycle Boulevard on Bryant (which gained her name in 2002), the bicycle advocate pushed for incentives for city employees to commute by bike as well as for bike bridges, bike parking and accommodations for bicycles on Caltrain. They're all based on Fletcher's fundamental but not commonly shared belief that, "It is possible to do without a car most of the time."

Read more at Palo Alto Online. See also photos accompanying the article.

Ellen Fletcher is still very active in local advocacy as a board member of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Road rash treatment

Criterium road rash
Originally uploaded by richardmasoner
Somebody asked recently: A friend of mine crashed on Pescadero Road during the Tour de Cure ride and has a significant amount of road rash. Someone mentioned a product for road rash (unfortunately it was after my crash last year). What is the name of it?

The product would be one of Tegaderm, Duoderm, Second Skin, and others. These dressings allow the wound to stay moist while allowing the wound to breathe through semipermeable plastic layers. It's expensive stuff, but these bandages are resistant to showers and can stay on the wound for up to a week.

To treat road rash:

  • Clean the wound thoroughly by flushing it with clean water and mild soap or saline solution. Scrubbing the wound can increase the trauma.
  • Do not apply antiseptics such as hydrogen peroxide or iodine washes -- these can harm the exposed tissue. Even topical antibiotic creams can interfere with wound healing, so medical professionals now advise against this for road rash.
  • Apply a "moist" dressing like the hydrogel and hydrocolloidal dressings I mention above.

In over 20 years of serious cycling, I've had more than a few episodes of road rash. The new magic dressings are an absolute Godsend -- no scabbing, no nasty pus-filled infected sores, and it even seems to keep the scarring down. These specialty bandages can be hard to find even in drugstores -- I order it online and keep it in my First Aid Kit at home.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A downside to naked cycling

One of the downsides of World Naked Bike Rides, especially if your health care isn't what it should be.

Can somebody clue me in on Bike Pong?

Helmet safety & the CPSC: Apparently nobody considers the paperwork requirements to be onerous. "No comments were received in response to the notice."

California sues cities for bad urban planning. Wow. "California is pioneering what could be the next battleground against global warming: filing suit to hold cities and counties accountable for greenhouse gas emissions caused by poorly planned suburban sprawl."

Bicycle basket deters theft. I like that idea.

Man-eating wolves in Michigan!

Why in the world does the UCI offer to sponsor skateboarding as an Olympic sport? Because sk8rs dope less than cyclists? I can't figure this one out.

Thanks for the many comments on the amoral bicycle commute!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Amoral bicycle commuter

A few weeks ago, Paul Dorn reported the results of an informal survey asking his readers why they commute by bike. Not surprisingly, most respondents selected selfish reasons: they commute by bike for their personal fitness and because it's fun. Only about one in five reported they bike to save the environment.

This matches my experience -- I ride a bike partly because I'm a natural cheapskate, but mostly I'm hooked to bicycling like a coke fiend is addicted to his drug. I don't bike for hippy dippy reasons like global warming or resource inequity.

Media attention and higher prices are raising awareness among Americans of these "hippy dippy" issues, however. While some of my cycling compatriots express glee at the economic pain of their gas-burning neighbors, the decline in oil production will soon result in pain and suffering for large portions of the world population, including people right here in the United States as CycleDog points out: "Fuel prices ripple through the economy, and cyclists are not immune. It costs more money to deliver groceries to the local store. It costs more for bus service or any other service that relies on a fleet of vehicles," he reminds us. "If oil prices increase drastically, expect other forms of fuel to increase as well. Pressure from upwardly spiraling oil costs will cause similar increases in natural gas."

In spite of my non-ethical reasons for bicycling, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that the driving I do is immoral. When auto fuel reaches $10 a gallon, you can bet that a significant portion of worldwide food production will be diverted to fuel American and European cars, and too bad for the starving brown and black babies who will die.

I have full confidence in the ability of my fellow Americans to shrug off the moral quandary of convenience over sacrifice, but perhaps more of us will switch to a lower-footprint lifestyle for the selfish reasons. Phil @ Spinopsys reports on a quiet revolution of bicycling. "Having someone see money flying out of their pockets on a daily basis is a far more successful agent for change than appeals to think of the poor residents of Dhaka who may soon be under water and burning cow dung to heat the daily meal," Phil writes. "So yes, a quiet revolution is taking place, though sometimes it may be more sullen resignation than joy."

I've encountered many many new bicycle commuters over the past few years both in person and over the Internet through blogs, forums, and email discussion lists. While many of the newbies have been motivated by finances or white guilt, I hope you've come to find cycling as a wonderful, beneficial, fun and positive way to get around.

Internet explorer

I always use Firefox to browse the web. I just tried Internet Explorer on and was aghast at how horrible my design is. Have the images always been whacked like that? Or is that new?

Please let me know. Either way, expect a completely new (and simpler) site design Real Soon Now.

Ugly hairy men

Like my good friend Jim said, "Ahh, cycling. To feel the wind in your hair..." That about sums up the World Naked Bike Ride. That, and something about an environmental protest.

Don't forget to post those cyclist links to the Google Street View contest.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Cannondale crankset recall

Cannondale announced a recall of the cranksets for several of their bicycle models (listed below). According to Cannondale, FSA incorrectly heat treated the aluminum bottom bracket spindles on some of these bikes. This manufacturing error caused cracks that can lead to a complete crankset failure, with risk of serious injury or death. Cannondale asks affected customers to bring their bikes in to the dealer for inspection, where the dealer will remove the crankset, clean and inspect the bottom bracket spindle for cracks. If cracks are present the customer will receive a new crankset at no cost.

Affected 2007 bicycle models include the Synapse Carbon SL1, Ironman 1, System 6 Team 1, System 6 Team 3, Cyclocross SL 1, Taurine 1 SL, and Rush Carbon 2. The 2008 System 6 Liquigas 3 is also affected. Visit Cannondale's recall information page for more details.

Really old school messenger

From Shorpy: "Raymond Bykes, Western Union No. 23, Norfolk Va. Said he was fourteen years old. Works until after one a.m. every night. He is precocious and not a little 'tough.' Has been here at this office for only three months, but he already knows the Red Light District thoroughly and goes there constantly. He told me he often sleeps down at the Bay Line boat docks all night. Several times I saw his mother hanging around the office, but she seemed more concerned about getting his pay envelope than anything else. Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine, 1911." Via End Pavement.

Google Street View: How to get links

Jerry asked: "How do I make links to Google StreetView images?"

When you go into Google Maps and find the StreetView image you like, click the "Link to this page" text above the top right corner of the map. Google Maps will reload, and the link URL will now be in the address bar of your browser. That's the text at the top of your browser that begins with Highlight the URL -- the link text -- and copy with Ctrl-C. Then paste that link of your winning location in your comment to the StreetView contest.

The image above was suggested by Jerry and shows a cyclist on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, California. The Bay Bridge to Oakland crosses the San Francisco Bay in the background. You can see it on Google Maps StreetView here.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Swiss bicycle sidecar

The Smike Two-for-one bicycle and sidecar are made by Pacific Cycles in Taiwan for Smike AG in Lucerne, Switzerland.

The side-car can easily be attached with just a few turns to take a second person along or carry loads. An optional electric motor makes the trip even easier for the cyclist, and an optional child seat for the sidecar allows the cyclist to carry an infant on the bike. The 165 pound weight limit for the sidecar limits passengers to children and smaller adults.

The 1 meter wide Smike is road legal in Switzerland and Germany, although local regulations in Switzerland may limit its use. In the United States, there are no width restrictions on pedalcycles.

Although Smike claims to be the first builder of bicycle sidecars, they actually have a long history in the UK. There's an interesting discussion on bicycle sidecars and handling over at the helmet nazi site.

Seen at German language Rad Spannerei blog. And who can forget Jezz's bicycle sidecar at

Mini velo Japan

Bike Hugger mentions the popularity of small mini velo bicycles in Japan. These are small wheeled bicycles that may or may not be folders. They include some of the folding bicycles we're familiar with in the U.S. and Europe, but there are many bicycles such as the Bianchi Novita shown here that are made exlusively for the Japanese market. You can see the whole catalog of mini velo Bianchi bicycles at Bianchi's Japan distributor.

Gios also has a mini velo collection in their Japanese lineup. Check out the Louis Garneau branded mini velo bicycles. There are also Renault Cycles Citadin 16 and Citadin 18 lines.

There are probably hundreds more models of Nihon-no mini velo jitensha bicycles like these. I've seen a few of these bikes make it here to the United States, where I see them occasionally on Caltrain during my commute in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

1899 trick cycling video

Carlton Reid brings us this amazing video of fixed gear trick riding from 1899. The cyclist rides backward, spins his bars, trackstands and does other tricks for filming by Edison's "Kinetograph," an early motion picture camera. The cyclist would fit right in at a modern alleycat.

Washington DC by bicycle

See my photos of Washington DC landmarks by bike.

I was in DC for a business trip and had two hours free to play tourist. I rented a bike from Bike The Sites behind the IRS Building on 12th and Constitution and biked around the White House, toward the Washington Monument, up the Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Memorial, and up the National Mall by all of the various memorials, museums and other landmarks around the Mall toward the Capitol Building.

Thank you to Gwadzilla in DC for pointing out Bike the Sites, Rich Layman and others at Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space for DC Metro light rail information and help, and the WashCycle for help making cycling great in the Nation's capital.

Don't forget the Google Street View contest. Thank you to those who have posted links to neat cycling images! Check them out if you haven't yet.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Bikes make the world a better place

Yes, it would
Originally uploaded by fixedgear
I'm in a conference in the nation's capital, I haven't been on a bike in two days and I'm jonesin' bad.

I love the DC Metro light rail system. It's like BART in San Francisco in so many ways, except it's cleaner, newer, shinier, doesn't stink, and I don't push through a phalanx of panhandlers to get into the stations. After lunch I have about an hour free; I don't know whether to see the tourist sights or just ride the DC Metro.

Don't forget the Google Street View contest!.

Photo by Fixed Gear Cycling Guy. Used with permission.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

DIY frame building jig

Don't miss the CONTEST: Win $10 with the Google Maps Street View contest.

Using about $300 in 80/20 framing metal and parts, Marc shows us how to construct a simple but useful frame-building jig.

Via the cheapskates at Blue Collar. They also give us this handy visual guide to tell lefthand from righthand threads.

GoogleMaps StreetView Contest

Update: The winner is Jerry of Cupertino, California with his submission of the cyclist on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, California.

Ever since I found the new StreetView version of maps on GoogleMaps, I have been intrigued in starting a contest regarding it.

Find the best cycling related picture and post a link in the comments field of this post. The picture can be of a bike shop, someone riding down the street, or even a cycling sculpture. You can find a few cities on StreetView right now (including New York City, San Francisco, and Miami), but keep your eyes peeled. The contest will end at 11:59 PM EST on Tuesday, June 12th.

Good luck, the winner gets a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Bike to work testimonial

By Gillian Zaharias of Mountain View, California.
Roundtrip miles biked each weekday: 14.

Commute time, including 13 traffic lights: 30 minutes each way.

Days I've driven a car to work in the past five years: fewer than 10.

Accidents involving cars or pedestrians: Zero.

Patience level being in a car during commute hours: Very low.

Satisfaction level zipping past a long line of backed-up cars: High.

CO2 saved from entering the atmosphere each year: 2.6 tons (yes, tons).

Gas money saved each year, at current prices: $900.

Frequency of decadent dessert consumption: Daily.

Body Mass Index: Low.

Guilt over eating said sweets: None.

Cost of high-quality bicycle: $800.

Amount I would have spent to purchase a car and insurance if not biking: A lot more than $800.

Cycling gear and maintenance costs during the past five years: under $230.

Flat tires since installing Mr. Tuffy liners a year and a half ago: Zero.

Bike theft insurance per month, covering complete replacement: $2.

Living a low-carbon lifestyle and practicing what I'd preach if I were the preaching type: Priceless.

Remember, June is Colorado Bike Month. Colorado Bike To Work Day is Wednesday, June 27, 2007.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Ron Paul likes to bike

GOP Presidential candidate Ron Paul likes to bike, saying he would rather be riding his bicycle than speaking to another reporter on a Thursday afternoon. "My vice is that I'm obsessed with exercise," says the Republican congressman from Texas.

Ron Paul is getting some significant interest from the media and blogosphere. While he campaigns on a platform of withdrawing the United States from Middle East involvement, he also consistently votes against measures to promote energy independence.

Video: Ron Paul on Bill Maher.