Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bicycle evangelists and a contest

First of all, a VERY QUICK CONTEST for SF South Bay people only TODAY (October 31) ONLY. It's kind of a scavenger hunt: I'm volunteering at a game booth at the Blackford Neighborhood Community Fun Fest which takes place TONIGHT at First Church at 878 Boynton, San Jose, CA. The Fun Festival is tonight from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (I think). I'm giving the first three people who track me down at this Fun Festival a $10 REI gift card, which I will send via email. You must show up with your bike, you must give me your name and email address (which I won't share with anybody except REI), and you must allow me to take your photo on/with the bike that I can post to Flickr and to Cyclelicious. Show up at the Community Fun Fest at 878 Boynton Ave, find me after about 6:30 p.m. (ask the people with name tags for "Richard", and win. Please note that the event is for children and families.

This is interesting news from the UK: Hello, I’m your personal travel adviser. Can I persuade you to get on your bike?
The doorbell will be ringing unexpectedly in millions of homes from next year as an army of government-funded “travel advisers” tries to persuade people to switch from driving to walking, cycling and public transport.

If you are out, they will keep coming back and will call up to ten times, even in the evenings or at weekends.

They will ask you about your travel habits and will offer advice tailored to your journeys, including maps for walking and bus timetables.

If you appear unconvinced, they will offer incentives such as discounts at local bike shops and outdoor stores and free pedometers to measure how far you are walking.
Read more in the London TimesOnline.

Major League Baseball Steroid Testing Policy

This article from the New York Times is so hilarious as Major League Baseball touts their drug testing policy as one of the toughest in sports.

I wonder if they have considered looking into the policies and procedures of international cycling.

'Share the Road' TV ads

The San Luis Obisbo County Bicycle Coalition has created a series of "Share the Road" public service announcements for broadcast on local TV stations, reminding motorists and cyclists that the roads are for all users to share.

Props to Diane, who saw the ads on television, and Al in Arizona who found the videos on the SLO Bike Coalition website.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

San Jose earthquake

We just went through a magnitude 5.6 earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. The quake was centered in the Alum Rock area east of San Jose, California at 8:04 p.m. Pacific Time.

Folks in the area are reporting minor aftershocks. I felt the quake fairly strongly at my home in the hills in Santa Cruz County. People in San Francisco and around the East Bay report it's the strongest quake they've felt since the 1989 Loma Prieta quake. It's the strongest quake I've personally been in.

Cycling in wildfire smoke

I participated in the latest issue of The Spokesmen Cycling Podcast (posted last night), where we talked about fires, Interbike, RAGBRAI bike bans, and bike shop service. If you haven't listened to it yet, you can download the podcast here.

My tip at the end of the podcast was "Don't ride outside in the smoke." A few people in my blogroll (such as Masi Guy, Biking Bis, Cycling Dude, End Pavement) have been impacted by the fire, ash and smoke down in Southern California. I think most people are smart enough to avoid anything too aerobic when the air is full of carbonized manzanita.

Five years ago, I wasn't one of the smart ones. I was living in Boulder County while wildfires raged in Rocky Mountains and in the foothills, but where I lived in eastern Boulder County the air quality seemed fine. A small group of us went on our regular lunch ride in spite of the haziness. I coughed up black stuff for at least a week after that.

It turns out that microscopic particles cause inflammation within my lungs that can cause scarring of the surfaces where oxygen and CO2 are exchanged. Not only that, they can become permanently lodged within the tiny air sacs of my lungs. The result for me as a cyclist: Permanently reduced VO2Max. I haven't had my VO2Max measured in a couple of decades, but in the years since that fire ride I've noticed markedly reduced lung capacity. I can feel the strength in my legs, but I just can't deliver the oxygen to keep them going like I used to.

I mentioned Kiril the Cycling Dude's post on cycling in smoke, where he provides links to the American Lung Association and Centers for Disease Control. Kiril makes note that many SoCal residents have no choice -- if they need to get to work or school or shopping, biking is often their primary means of transportation.

Some of you might be shocked to know that back in the day, it wasn't at all unusual for cyclists to start sucking on a cigarette after a hard race. When I got into cycling in the 80s it was still done, and it always jarred me a little when I saw it. It's conceivable that cyclists perform so much better today not because of doping, but because they're not all taking a drag on cancer sticks.

Listen to the The Spokesman. I have no idea how Tim Jackson sounds so perky at 6 in the a.m. when we recorded this episode.

Untitled photo by Yaniv Golan.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stiffer bikes for stronger bones and weight loss

I really like the vibration absorbing properties of my old steel bikes as well as my Specialized Roubaix. The Roubaix features Specialized's "Zertz" inserts, which supposedly enhances the vibration damping qualities of my carbon fiber frame.

Zertz, apparently, is also making me fat. According to recent research, sitting on a vibrating platform can build bone mass and reduce fat. The vibrations apparently trigger stem cells into becoming bone instead of fat. The same principle is probably in action when you sit in a reclining chair, which tend to be very well padded to minimize vibrations.

To lose weight, then, you need more vibrations. Them hipster kids on the harsh-riding track bikes are so skinny, so maybe it's time for me to trade in my comfy Roubaix for something like the ultra stiff Scott CR1. Maybe Fatty needs to ride bumpy singletrack on a fully rigid mountain bike.

Read or listen: Vibrations Shown to Build Bone, Reduce Fat.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fast Company on the Trek Lime

The November 2007 issue of Fast Company magazine highlights how Trek and Shimano designed the Trek Lime and Shimano's Coasting system. A portion of the Trek Bicycle Lime Sketchpad is available online.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Blogging bicycle lawyer

A recent comment from CycleDog directed me to the blog of bicycle lawyer Erik Ryberg in Tuscon, Arizona. According to his Blogger profile, "Erik Ryberg is a lawyer whose caseload includes many bicycle accidents, injuries, and assaults on bicyclists in Tucson and elsewhere in Arizona. I also represent Arizona bicyclists in criminal cases and traffic infractions, usually at a very reduced rate or, if your case particularly interests me and involves bicycle advocacy, even free. If you are a cyclist and are the victim of assault or if you have been injured in an accident or arrested or cited for a violation involving a bicycle, please do not hesitate to call us. Consultations are always free!"

Check out the bicycle lawyer's blog at Tuscon Bike Lawyer. I've added him to my blogroll.

Cycle Hero winners

Carlton posted the Cycle Hero video contest winners the other day. I missed the original Cycle Hero promotional video, however. This is a one minute video shown in British movie theaters to promote cycling during CTC's CycleHero week last summer in the UK. The CTC is the national cycling organization in the United Kingdom. Here's the two minute extended version.

The CycleHero one-minute Cinema advert was directed by award winning short filmmaker Paul Fuller and features the voice of newsreader - and President of CTC - Jon Snow. The ad was funded under Defra's 'Tomorrow's Climate, Today's Challenge' initiative, produced by Sauce with music from brothers John & Simon Andrew.

The film aims to raise awareness of the impact of transport choice in helping combat climate change. This is done in a positive fashion by highlighting the simple fact that cycling is good for you, good fun and good for the environment.

Props to Warren at Commute By Bike.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bicycling the Next Big Thing

Update: The video story here is on the amazingly popular Velib bike rental program in Paris, France. One puzzling thing is reporter Keith Miller's statement that the only big American city with no interest in the project is San Francisco. In fact, San Francisco is considering a bike share program modeled after the Velib program in Paris.

Word is that NBC Nightly News will report tonight (Friday, October 26) that bicycling will be a major mode of transportation in the near future. Tape at, well, whatever time they show the Nightly News. The NBC is already reporting record high crude oil futures that were reached today. They note that OPEC is "set to boost production by 500,000 barrels a day beginning Nov. 1," but some oil industry experts are skeptical if OPEC can meet that production level.

Props to James for the heads up.

Alta Bikes

I don't know why, but "Alta Bikes" has been in my top ten searches for the past week. People looking for this Norwegian bike company -- which offers a single model of a fixed gear bike -- are finding this article on Alta Bikes. Alta Bikes is perhaps most famous for their underwear model ads.

Alta Bikes

Bicycle Design has mentioned Alta in the past, and he's been blogging about other Scandinavian bike designs lately. Among the Scandinavian bicycle companies he mentions are MBK Cycle in Denmark, which sells the "MBK Retro" immediately below, and the "MBK Easy Boarding" for people with hip joint problems who can't easily swing a leg over a top tube.

MBK Retro MBK Easy Boarding

Kronan in Sweden sells a nifty Swiss Army style bike that's available in the United States.


Recykel has a sorta fun bicycle "konfigurator" that allows you to design your own bike, selecting color, saddle, chainring, fender, and handlebar.

There's much more Scandinavian bike love at Bicycle Design.

No charges were filed

"No charges were filed." That's the postscript of every single one of the cycling deaths that Bob Mionske reports in his latest issue of Legally Speaking. James also makes note of the extremely low rate of prosecutions against dangerously careless drivers in his state of South Carolina, where only 5% of "accidental" traffic deaths results in any charges being filed. Of 101 cyclists killed between 2001 and 2004 on South Carolina roads, only 18 citations were written.

Cycling is safer than many our perceptions lead us to think, but it can be made safer with little effort. The United Kingdom until recently had a cyclist fatality rate similar to the U.S. With a recent emphasis on traffic law enforcement, however, the cyclist and pedestrian fatality rate dropped significantly.

From my own participation in the political process and bicycling advocacy, I know cities and police departments are often reluctant to increase enforcement of unpopular traffic laws. Even after a tragedy occurs, the response from officials is often "blame the victim" for being in the "wrong" place. Bob and James both promise more on traffic safety and enforcement in the United States; I'm looking forward to what they have to write.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Skirt and bicycle

Cyclist in Santa Cruz California Many women I know prefer the more "feminine" look of skirts and dresses even while cycling; my wife is one of them. In the San Francisco Bay Area, I see a handful of women who dress up for work and ride their bikes in their office wear. One in particular I see almost every day dresses fashionably and rides to and from the office on an old white Peugot 10 speed. Even in her straight skirt on a bike with a top tube she manages to ride demurely and confidently.

A common way to stay modest is to wear bike shorts or tights under the skirt. Byron the Bike Hugger posted some links to handy tips for the ladies who might want to ride a bicycle in a dress or skirt. Pauline seeks to excite onlookers with her advice in Happy Woman Magazine in which she advocates stretchy, short skirts. Lisa offers somewhat more practical advice for the more modest cyclist at at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. She suggests an elastic band on the thigh to which you can safety pin your skirt to prevent wind-blown exposure. The Guardian notes that long skirts become short skits and short skirts become shorter skirts on a bike. Darcy writes she can ride in anything with no fear.

I'm glad to see more and more people who see cycling as an activity that can be done in any kind of clothing.

Top photo: "Santa Cruz Cyclist" by me.
Bottom photo: "Kirsty" by Hen Waller. See also the excellent Velocouture pool for many more photos of stylishly dressed cyclists.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Autumn baiku

Frank in Illinois posted a "Cycloku" as a comment. That's a cyclocross bicycle haiku.

Warren combined two art forms in his Panda Haiku by combining a Panda Portait with a bicycling haiku. In case you don't know, a Panda Portrait is a self portrait of yourself on a bike while you're in motion.

It's autumn, but it feels like summer in the San Francisco Bay Area. We have highs in the 80s this week. Still, that's nothing like the hot temps down south. I spoke with my brother last night (he lives in Oceanside) and he tells me there's ash everywhere. Masiguy, who's also near San Diego, has some dramatic photos of the air and sky where he's lives and works.

Image credit: "Autumn." Print by Volauvent in Switzerland. Citizen Rider has a humorous rain related cycling cartoon also.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bikes for boomers

That's the title in this week's Newsweek article on comfort bikes. "Geared toward baby boomers, comfort bikes are ideal for cruising bike paths and pedaling to the corner grocery." Newsweek features the Trek Lime, Electra's Amsterdam, and Sun Bicycle's recumbent EZ Sport.

It's good to see this kind of stuff mentioned outside of bike enthusiast circles. Bikes Belong announced the "Remember Me" ad campaign targeted to non cyclists. According to Bikes Belong, the ads will appear in national magazines and on billboards around the United States.

Bike retailers tell me they've sold more cruiser and townie style bikes over the past year than they've sold over the past decade. They tell me most buyers are slightly older folks who mostly are looking for a way to combine trips to the coffee shop with a little bit of a fitness activity; they see cycling as the perfect way to combine short trips with exercise. According to these retailers, advertising has been limited to setting the bikes out on the sidewalk in front of the shop.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Chanel bicycle

Chanel has apparently announced a $12,000 city bike as part of the fashion house's 2008 spring/summer collection. So far, only fuzzy black-and-white images of this bike are available, which features black leather saddle and saddle bag, 8 speed hub gearing on a *cough* "lightweight" 36 pound bike.

Although the Chanel bike features fenders and a chainguard, Chanel last summer also introduced jeweled pant clips to keep your pants from getting caught in the chain.

Seen also at Vogue and Female First. Be sure to keep this baby locked up.

What is cyclocross

It's dry and hotter than blazes here (with a high of 86°F today!) so that means it must be cyclocross season!

Cyclocross normally is done in cold and wet conditions -- the colder and wetter, the better. Mere mortals bundle up and watch football or sit in deer stands and duck blinds, while cyclists strip down to our bike shorts and mix it up in the freezing mud.

Cyclocross is a style of bike racing and the bikes used in those races. Cyclocross involves racing several laps around a course with a variety of conditions -- including dirt or mud -- and steeplechase-type obstacles in which the racer must quickly dismount, hop the obstacle and remount the bike.

Cyclocross (aka CX or cross) bikes resemble road racing bikes with their drop handlebars and general frame design. Traditionally, CX bikes had a higher bottom bracket than road bikes. CX bicycles have cantilever brakes so mud doesn't gunk up the works and much greater wheel clearance for the bigger knobby tires used in cross racing.

CX bicycles are often favored by urban commuters. The big tire and brake clearances means you have room for fenders and fat, comfortable tires. Top-tube mounted cables and a (sometimes) single chainring means less maintenance. Relatively lightweight means nimble sprinting through traffic.

BSNYC gives his cyclecross primer. The "pit bike" he mentions is an extra bike that you're allowed to have. CX is so gnarly and grimy that racers keep an extra bike in the pit. When your race bike gets so muddy that you can no longer turn the wheels, you trade out for the pit bike. Your honey quickly cleans the bike while you dirty up the other bike. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Frank in Illinois writes about the pounding he took racing cyclocross this last weekend. And Masiguy took his cross bikes on the trails, crashed, and lived to blog about it.

StreetView Contest Winner

Congratulations to the Good Life Cyclist for his winning entry winning the Google StreetView contest. Finding a cyclist on an open road in Colorado is quite impressive!

A second place award went to IllinoisFrank for his entry of a cyclist in the suburbs (which is just as difficult to find).

Thanks to all who entered!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Tipping the wrench?

I can relate to Fat Cyclist's experience in "strange" bike shops, how they make you feel like an idiot after asking a perfectly reasonable question.

As a loyal LBS customer, I've also had the odd transaction Fatty describes, where I paid *more* than the asking price on stuff. Somebody has to make the owner's boat payment, after all. You know that famous Karl Marx quote, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need"? Mike (the LBS owner) assures me he really needs the boat. I guess that makes me a pinko commie.

Something Fatty did not mention: I've actually had bike mechanics who refuse to accept tips from me. That's just weird. Is the practice of paying a gratuity now so rare in bike shops that mechanics don't know what they are? If you're a customer, do you tip your mechanic? If you're a mechanic, does anybody still tip?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Top 100 lifestyle blogs

I'm so honored! Cyclelicious made the cut in the Top 100 Lifestyle blogs.

Top 100 Lifestyle Blog.

I have my own top 100 list (of a sort). There are so many good bicycling blogs out there to follow!

$90 oil

I think everybody has heard that oil pushed through $90 a barrel on trading today. Let's see what everybody has to say: I'm sure that's enough bad news for now, so I'll conclude with this reminder that it's spring in the antipodal regions of planet earth. Australia had it's annual Bike to Work Day earlier this week, with many happy bike commuters enjoying the bicycle ride to work as thousands dusted off their bikes for the event. Treadly also posts a few entries on Bike To Work Day Down Under.

Now's a good time to mention my buddy Jim in Fort Collins, Colorado. Jim is Oil Free and Happy and sells cute t-shirts and patches from his website for you to wear. I have one of his "Powered By Sweat" shirts. Oil Free and Happy -- give him a visit and buy a patch or shirt from Jim. (I don't make a dime from referring you to him.)

Photo: "NYC Bicycle Commuter 79th St @ 5th AVe" by Bicycles Only.

San Francisco cycling: Autumn is the best time

The weather is gorgeous when it's not raining. The San Francisco Chronicle posted this article on autumn cycling in the San Francisco Bay Area:
"October is as good as it gets around here," said Bill Martin, the KTVU meteorologist who is an avid road and mountain biker. "The temperatures haven't gotten cold yet, and during the day you don't get the big heat. There's no fog on the coast, so winds aren't an issue like they are in summer. The climatology of fall in the Bay Area is great. It's my time to be alive."
Martin and others give some suggestions for recreational road and mountain bike rides in the Bay Area. Read more in the Chronicle.

Bicycle blogs and news

There's a lot of worthwhile stuff in the bicycle blogosphere to read up on if you haven't already. Here's some of the news for your weekend entertainment and education.
Photo by Maynard Rabara.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Acoustic Motorbike

I've loved Luka Bloom's "Acoustic Motorbike" (the album and the title track) ever since I first heard it a few years ago. Somebody put the music to a slide show and posted it to YouTube. Bloom captures the vibe of cycling wonderfully with his acoustic music and lyrics.

You see whenever I'm alone
I tend to brood
But when I'm out on my bike
It's a different mood

I work my legs
I pump my thighs
The antidote to my emotional ills
A motion built upon human toil
Nuclear free needs no oil
But it makes me hot, makes me hard
I never thought I could have come this far
Through miles of mountains, valleys, streams
This is the right stuff filling my dreams
So come on, get up on your bike
Ah go on, get up on your bike.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

California Safe Routes becomes law

Late last week Governor Schwarzenegger signed CA AB57 Safe Routes to School!

Thank you to those who spread the word for reaching out to the Governor in support of this bill, which provides a framework for future funding and protects existing California SR2S funds.

$52 million is currently available for California State Legislated Safe Routes to School (SR2S) Funds. Application Deadline is November 16, 2007

Please spread the word that funds are available for State Legislated Safe Routes to School (SR2S) projects. These funds are not to be confused with Federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funds associated with SAFETEA-LU. Applications must be for capital projects such as sidewalks, pathways, bike lanes, traffic calming, etc. (with up to
10% available for non-infrastructure activities such as education, encouragement and enforcement). Only cities and counties are eligible to compete for these funds; please spread the word to Public Works Officials.

Approximately $52 million is available for two fiscal years worth of projects (06-07 and 07-08). The deadline for applications is Friday, November 16, 2007. Start preparing your grant applications now!

To view the updated SR2S Guidelines and Application, please visit the CALTRANS Safe Routes page.

Greetings to all!

I never imagined he's that geeky: Masiguy actually looks over his visitor logs to see where his visits are from! But then I got curious and it's interesting to see my visitors from Trek, QBP, Haro (I'm sure it's Masiguy), REI, Jenson USA, etc. Thanks so much for dropping by!

All of the top visit counts come from the big commercial internet providers from the U.S. and around the world. The top corporate domain is Boeing. Several visitors from technology and computer companies also come by: Lockheed Martin, Apple, Genentech, Google (corporate), United Technologies, HP, Intel, Adobe, EDS, Fujitsu and on and on.

The college set includes Stanford, UC-Davis, Rider University, New Mexico State, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Texas, U. of Idaho, U. of Toronto, Wake Forest U., Boston U., UCLA, Emory, Fordham, Oregon State, and Cal Poly.

Government entities include various agencies from the Canadian provinces and U.S. states, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, USDA, NASA, the cities of Seattle and Tempe.

I even have a regular visitor from Fisher Auto Parts, Caterpillar, and General Motors.

I've just scanned the top couple of hundred visitors, there are many more. Please feel free to leave a comment here if you're so inclined -- post links to your blog or brag about your employer or university; you'll have a worldwide audience. I'm thrilled to have so many people read Cyclelicious -- I hope you find it helpful.

And don't forget the StreetView contest! The contest expires this weekend.

$3.49 per gallon

That's the price I saw this morning for regular unleaded at the Shell gas station on Alma Street in Palo Alto, CA. Granted, that's always the most expensive station in town, but it's still a dramatic jump from the $3.20 or so they had last week. Near my home, the nearest gas stations were at $3.19/gallon last night.

Although the current U.S. administration is still in denial and refuses to do anything useful about it, the world is in fact running out of cheap oil. Investors have even woken up to this fact.

Locally, I see more bike commuters than ever although the weather has chilled, the days are shorter, and the California rainy season has started. Many are people I've never seen before on shiny new bikes, and the ones I talk with tell me they've only recently started bike commuting. They started because of high gas prices, but they continue because they discover they actually enjoy riding in to work.

Increased bicycle use for transportation is great to see, but high gas prices are still a concern for me. Higher gas prices mean I pay more for everything. Economic growth comes from growth in energy use. I'm not too hopeful that we'll effectively transfer our energy use from transportation to other, more constructive purposes. Our transition to a low energy economy will be very painful for everybody. We're already seeing pain in Africa and some Pacific Rim countries, where gasoline that once was used to run irrigation pumps, farm tractors, fishing boats and village generators is now shipped to the United States because we're able to pay the higher price for the fuel. Even North Dakota's wheat harvest was threatened because of diesel shortages there.

Many of my anti-car friends rejoice at the prospect of high gasoline prices, but I see pain in all of our futures. I know the readers of Cyclelicious are doing your parts to forestall and maybe even ease that pain. You're doing the right thing by riding your bikes and encouraging others by your example.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Palo Alto bicycle culture

Martin Krieg is the inspirational and energetic man behind the National Bicycle Greenway and numerous other bicycling activities. He's got so many things going on that I can't keep up, but he manages to keep up with the bicycle goings on in his hometown of Palo Alto, California. Martin wrote up this report on some of the unique pedal powered machines in Palo Alto and kindly allowed me to reproduce it here in Cyclelicious.

Unwheeldy, a nine foot tall dicycle built by Dave Hershberger and Matthew Blain, is the only pedal machine we have seen anywhere that upstages our 15-person Busycle. To give you an idea of why this is so, you have absolutely got to WATCH this short 30 sec video of it doing 360's!! For more fun, WATCH this 30 sec video of Unwheeldy being built during the summer of 2007.

And who can miss Palo Alto City engineer, Tom Kabat, one any one of the unusual bikes he creates from throw aways at his Boyland Wooden Bikes factory?
Tom Kabat

In this photo from the Ellen Fletcher Bike Blvd Gratitude Ride, we see Palo Alto dentist, Jan Krieg, on one of his Secret Mountain Labs bikes.

Dentist Jan Krieg

On a different note, how many of you know that legendary author, Jobst Brandt, the man who wrote the timeless book The Bicycle Wheel, (now in its 3rd Edition) lives and rides here? In his late 60's, he is still a non stop two wheel powerhouse. Car Free, he thinks nothing of riding to and from Mt Hamilton and all of its back roads as well as Santa Cruz, Watsonville and San Juan Bautista and back in day. This guy is awesome.

Jobst Brandt

So keep your eyes peeled Ellen, we're trying to keep up with you. Toward that end, how many people know that Ellen Fletcher manages the north county wide bike parking program? Not only does she administer it, including recruiting volunteers and making sure their shifts are covered and that they are fed as well as hydrated, etc, at age 72, she brings them all the supplies they need. On a bike! In her trailer can be found folding tables, chairs, signs, raffles prizes, and all the other things one needs to turn an empty piece of asphalt at a Stanford football game or area festival, etc, into a protected compound for bikes.

Bicycle news bicycle blogs

Don't forget: Streetview Contest!

Danilo Di Luca busted for doping. He didn't actually test positive for any drugs; Di Luca was suspended for three months for links to Italian doctor Carlo Santuccione, who is the center of an "Oil for Drugs" investigation. Di Luca recently won the Giro d'Italia.

READ THIS NOW: Cycling is safer than you think!.

Dave Moulton rants about Pedestrians On Bikes. I'm personally a big tent guy and love to see all of the newcomers out on the streets, though cyclist education is certainly needed. Dave makes a good point that many new cyclists see themselves as "fast pedestrians," and this view does result in a lot of the disagreement we see between those who advocate for a Dutch style network for fast pedestrians, and the traditional American and British view of cyclists as slow vehicles.

Apparently, yesterday was some sort of blog action day or something. Logan gives his advice.

Fixed Gear reviews The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles. Yumm. Gift idea if you're looking for the perfect gift for the cyclist in your life.

Danielo's latest project: Babes on Bikes.

Carboholics Anonymous: "Save me from myself: I can't stop emitting carbon. Unless the government changes the rules to induce me to stop, I will kill the planet."

Pedro's favorite cycling blogs.

Announcing the ROCBIKE REVIEW #2, and podcast from Rochester, New York. Jason Crane interviews Kevin J. Hayes, author of An American Cycling Odyssey. Fritz says give it a listen.

Announcing VeloPaint, ‘Painting that celebrates the spirit of cycle sport and those that ride.’ See the VeloPaint blog, too.

Truly One Less Car?

WIRED: "Switchback" converts from upright bike to recumbent with a twist grip. CycleDog, in the meantime, expresses his great appreciation for our laid back (though strange) friends.

MAKE: How to uglify your bike. In reality, the professional thieves already know how to see through the ugly and see the true bike beneath.

I've been meaning to mention this mirror glove here. It's a joke.

Time to ride!

Oregon's bike lane law

Many of us in California are scratching our heads over Portland cyclists who oppose a proposed law change that makes cycling safer for them. We're talking about it, and we're baffled that Portland cyclists want to continue with a law that increases danger for them.

Currently, Oregon law says that right-turning vehicles must yield to cyclists in a bike lane. From our perspective, Oregon law encourages the "right hook" collision such as the tragically fatal right hook that precipitated this most recent discussion in Portland. In California, motorists are permitted to merge into the bike lane to make their right turns.

The system works fairly well in California, though there is room for improvement -- many motorists don't know to merge into the bike lane, and pretty much nobody knows how to use a turn signal. Still, we like that law here. A straight-going bicyclist merges away from the curb area, while a right-turning vehicle merges to the right. Merges away from the intersection results in less complexity at the intersection and more visibility for everybody.

Sure, there are mistakes and accidents and close calls here in California, but you don't want to make things even worse with a dangerous facility approach. And all road users should always remember that you should NEVER pass large trucks on the right. It's odd to see a Portland cycling advocate describe positioning yourself for your destination as a "swerve left into traffic" that creates "more danger for cyclists."

In his Bike Portland blog entry, Jonathan seems most bothered by the "us vs them" angle that the local paper took on the Oregon bike lane law. His earlier reporting on the proposed change reveals reasonable discussion at the time.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cycling in the rain

I'm amazed the number of bike commuters I continue to see well into autumn in my area this year. Mild weather and a delayed return to standard time certainly contribute, though I imagine continued high gasoline prices are also a factor.

Bike traffic dropped substantially last Friday when a little rain arrived. The Eugene Register-Guard published some advice on riding a bicycle in the rain. Among the tips:
  • "Good breathable rain jackets, pants and shoe covers." I would emphasize "good" if you want to avoid getting soaked, which also means "expensive." I really like my Novara Express Bike Jacket from REI, for example, which has the features I look for in a rain jacket: taped seams, good venting, adjustable closures and storm flaps.

    In warmer weather even "breathable" raingear becomes a sauna; I often opt to just get wet.

  • "Full coverage fenders on both tires will help keep you and others near you from getting splattered by water on the roads." Amen. In my experience, short clip-on fenders are worthless; they're a waste of money and you might as well ride without fenders. Full fenders help keep grit from getting sprayed into the moving parts of your bike, into your shoes, up your legs and your backside. While riding without fenders is more than doable, fenders will prolong the life of your bike components and make your rain cycling much more pleasant.

  • A headlight and a tail light are essential.” A couple of people have commented on how noticeable my Reelight bike lights are even in daylight, which I did not expect. In the rain, I also run with the more standard LED headlight and tail lights blinking away.

  • Wider tires: If you're a road cyclist who also likes to commute you probably don't have the clearance for anything larger than 700x28, so take it easy on the turns and give yourself some braking distance. Cyclocross bikes are favored among roadies as the rain bike.

  • Disk brakes: Many of the commuter bikes available now at the bike shop come equipped with disk brakes. They're much less susceptible to fade from moisture than traditional rim brakes are.

  • Avoid puddles: Bike lanes are next to the gutter and sometimes the gutter water overflows into the bike lane. Don't ride your bike into pools of water or leaf piles -- you can't see any obstructions. It's very easy for you to take a fast tumble if you hit a hidden pothole or other hazard. (Yes, I've been there, done that).

To this list I also add "Keep it clean": I'm not a clean freak, but it's important to wipe the grime from your chain, gearing, brake surfaces and cables after a ride in the rain. Wet roads helps road grit get into everything on a bicycle. A quick hose down (if you can) and wipe down with a shop rag will prolong the life of moving parts on your bike.

Photo credit: "Paris-Wet-Paris" by Jim Bradbury.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

UK Cycle Show 2007 photos

Carlton Reid has attended Cycle Show 2007 in London, the "UK's greatest cycling show" featuring a high energy fashion show and (of course) more bike stuff than you can shake a frame pump at.

You can view Carlton's photos from the UK Cycle Show here at Picasa, or view a slideshow accompanied to some cool music here at YouTube.

UK-based BikeRadar also covers news from the UK Cycle Show here and here and here.

Singletrack World also reports on the world of British mountain biking at the London Cycle Show here. Singletrack World blog entries about the show are provided by Mark and Chipps, who writes about "many shiny distractions."

The Guardian provides the mainstream media spin on Cycle Show.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Bike rack on a Rolls Royce

Here's something you don't see every day: a cheap trunk bike rack on a Rolls Royce.

Cheap trunk-mounted bike rack on a Rolls Royce car.

Copied with permission from Ira's Bicycle Musings blog.

P.S. Don't forget the Streetview contest. Several good entries have already been posted.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bicycle news for mobile devices

I just ran across this Cyclelicious Mobile Widget from Plusmo. The Mobile Widget is a piece of software for your cell phone or other mobile device that sends Cyclelicious content to your phone, automatically.

I'm not a user of small mobile technology -- in fact, my cell phone died about 3 weeks ago and I have yet to replace it. I know of at least one regular reader who does much of his blog reading on a mobile device. What should I do to make Cyclelicious friendlier to cell phones and similar mobile gadgets?

Sheldon Brown's Interbike 2007 report

I looked for Sheldon Brown at Interbike. I did see him across the way once, but he was whizzing away on his electric scooter and he disappeared.

I missed this earlier, but Sheldon posted his own Interbike 2007 updates at his website. He notes the trend toward commuter bikes, especially high end expensive commuters bikes, and he likes what he sees.

Sheldon highlights a handy-dandy emergency derailleur hanger from Wheels Manufacturing that might have come in handy when I trashed my hanger. But then again maybe not, since I also destroyed the rear derailleur and my chainring bolts.

There's lots of good stuff at Sheldon's Interbike 2007 report. Give it a read when you have the chance.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

San Francisco zombie alert!

The Eerie Early Warning System has detected a sudden upsurge in potential zombie activity, according to San Francisco Zombie Mob:
With Professor Grenzfineski’s assistance, a zombie homing beacon has been hastily assembled and installed at the Main Library’s north-western corner on Larkin Street, by Fulton.

This device will be switched on TOMORROW night, Thursday the 11th, at PRECISELY 7:30pm. Once activated, the undead hordes will be unable to resist its pull, and will gather immediately at its base, where we will attempt to neutralize them before they can once again terrorize our fair city.

NOTE: Great care must be taken with this operation, as a San Francisco Mayoral debate will be taking place in the Main Library. If we are unable to contain the zombies, it is highly likely that they will turn their attention to the hundreds of citizens exiting the debate at 7:45, whom, though disenfranchised, are not disembrained, and may thus prove irresistible to the shambling cerebrophiles. (Thankfully, zombies DO NOT attack or otherwise harass innocent bystanders. Their moans and sheer numbers are more than horrifying enough.)
Go here for the gory details.

Contest: Thank you to those who have entered the StreetView contest! Don't forget to enter if you haven't yet.

Traffic lights and bicycles: The technical explanation

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed AB 1581 into law, which requires all new traffic actuated signals to detect bicycles and motorcycles after Caltrans adopts uniform standards, specifications and guidelines for these kinds of traffic signals.

Traffic engineer Bob Shanteau is an avid cyclist and active cycling advocate. He will present this paper on "Detecting Bicycles and Motor Vehicles Using the Same Loop Detector" next Tuesday at the state capital on the detection of bicycle traffic using inductive loops. Bob has asked for input on his paper; if you have any constructive feedback, please feel free to email him or comment here. He also plans to publish this as an article in WesternITE, the newsletter for the Western Region of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

The paper is somewhat technical, but describes in great detail how the various inductive loops work, the challenges of various designs with respect to cyclists and where we ride, and his experiments with new designs in the city of Monterey, California.

I'm looking forward to seeing Bob's recommendations translated into state guidelines for traffic signal actuators that work well with bicycles.

How loop traffic light detectors work

Loops of wires are embedded in the road surface. You can often see the saw cuts where the wires are installed at intersections. An electrical current passes through the loop, creating a magnetic field. When a conducting object -- such as a car, motorcycle, or bicycle -- intersects this magnetic field, electrical currents are actually created within the metal object. This electricity in turn creates its own magnetic field in the opposite direction from that created by the loop, resulting in decreased magnetism. When the magnetic level drops below a preset threshold, the actuator is tripped.

If the threshold is too low, traffic in adjacent lanes can trip the actuator and incorrectly trigger a signal light change. Unfortunately, this threshold is often too low to detect bicycles and even motorcycles. In his paper, Bob makes recommendations for inductive loop configurations, loop placement, markings, and engineering practices for setting threshold levels.
Photo Credit: "I'm Going To Be An Actuator" by Hen Waller. Creative Commons "Some Rights Reserved" license.

New StreetView Contest

With the great results from the previous StreetView contest, I have decided to launch StreetView Contest 2.0!

Find a cycling related shot from GoogleMaps and post the link here. Best picture related to cycling wins a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

For instructions on how to post links, visit Google Street View: How To Get Links.

Cities now featured on StreetView are:
  • Portland
  • San Francisco
  • Los Angeles
  • San Diego
  • Las Vegas
  • Phoenix
  • Tucson
  • Denver
  • Houston
  • Chicago
  • Orlando
  • Miami
  • Pittsburg
  • Philadelphia
  • New York
Contest ends at 11:59:59 PM PST on Saturday, October 20th!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

World War 2 bicycle safety pamphlet

There was a time when husbanding scarce resources was considered the patriotic American thing to do. See more of this WW2 bike safety pamphlet at FixedGear's Flickr stream.

World War 2 bike safety pamphlet - text transcribed below the image.
Before America entered the war, bicycles were largely used as a means of recreation and pleasure, and for riding to and from school by young people. Now they are helping to provide essential wartime transportation as well. More and more people are riding bicycles to and from work, for shopping, for errands, and for other purposes."

Monday, October 8, 2007


Carectomy is a new blog and web resource for people who want to experiment with extracting cars from people. Carectomy focuses on non-car transportation issues, including bicycling, public transportation and even gasp! walking.

Carectomy is part of the Ecogeek network. Check it out: Carectomy.

Google Transit integrated into Google Maps

Google announced that Google Transit has graduated from Google Labs to become a fully integrated feature of Google Maps. When you request directions in Google Maps, if transit information is available within the requested area, you can click on "Take Public Transit" to get information about public transportation for your trip.

Google Transit integrated into Google maps

The public transit trip info includes stop location, travel time and fare, along with a driving cost comparison. Google Transit can handle connecting routes from multiple connecting transit agencies.

Although Google Transit has information on a number of U.S. and overseas transit agencies, more can certainly be added. In my area, for example, Santa Cruz Metro, Caltrain, SamTrans, SF Muni and AC Transit are all missing, among others. It's up to the transit agency to contact Google and provide the necessary information, so contact your local public transit agency and encourage them to participate in this system. For the transit agency, the primary benefit is more visibility to casual Google Maps users of available transit options.


Sadie Hawkins' Day race and style ride

The Sadie Hawkins' Day bike race and style ride takes place Saturday, November 10, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. Other events include the Pre-Party IRO Sprints on Friday night and a Bike Polo tournament. Proceeds benefit the Chicago Women's Health Center. See the MySpace page for details. Click on the poster image for sponsor details. Via Zugster Bags.

Creepy stalkers with bikes

Maybe I'm out of touch, but I picture creepy desperate stalkers in this article about hooking up with random women on bikes using the wildly popular Velib bike rental service in Paris, France.
Two-wheeled sĂ©ducteurs prefer to hang around the Velib rental stations offering aid to neophyte women. “Always smile and be helpful when la demoiselle is lost in front of the electronic post,” one expert on the bike chat-up advised on the internet. “Ask her if she lives in the quartier. Suggest an outing and a drink at the cafĂ©.”
Bicycling is a great tool for social interaction, but this Desperate Man's Guide to Picking Up Chicks seems a bit high in the "ewwww" factor.

Ladies, what do you think? Via Bike Sharing Blog.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Proximic - context based links for your website

If you visit Cyclelicious you might have noticed I've added a small "Prox It" widget near the top of the web page. This widget from the small Germany start-up Proximic examines the content of your website, does some pattern matching and pops up what it thinks are related news items, Wikipedia articles, websites and products. If you have a moment, please try it out and let me know if you think the results are relevant or interesting. I'm especially interested in knowing if there's any benefit for you, the Cyclelicious reader. Javascript must be enabled on your browser for this to work. Thanks!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Moldable goo withstands shovel whacks

I can definitely see some useful cycling applications for this material.

The material is called D30, which is described as a "lightweight material is very flexible and malleable, until subjected to abrupt force, making it useful in protective clothing in situations where the wearer may be exposed to blunt trauma." D3O has been used for protective ski gear, soccer gloves and shinguards, and motorcycle gloves.

Via CycleDog, who found it via WIRED.

Sock Guy socks du jour: Ride Clean

I wore these eye-popping yellow Sock Guy "RIDE CLEAN" socks this morning on my commute.

Socks du jour: Ride Clean

RIDE CLEAN is a campaign promote clean cycling.

The RIDE CLEAN blog makes notes of the news that track star Marion Jones admits to doping. This confession comes on the heels of the recent news that Canadian cyclist Genevieve Jeanson admitted to regular use of EPO since she was 15 years old. This summary of Genevieve Jeanson's confession hints at the possibility of an abusive relationship with her coach.

Like the RIDE CLEAN people like to say, Ride Clean and the rest will follow. I really really like the positive example that Team Slipstream is setting in this regard and I hope that the rest will indeed follow.

The water bottle in this photo is from Bike N Hike in Longmont, Colorado. They carry Trek, Fisher, LeMond, Haro, Redline, Sun, and Diamonback.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Bay Area bike commuters

I've been commmuting by bike for a about 20 years, but nowhere have I seen more regular bike commuters in the U.S. than in the San Francisco Bay Area. Even though mornings have been chilly lately, I still see several dozen bike commuters every day. Here's a sampling of photos just from yesterday and today.

This stylish young woman is Emily, who regularly commutes in Menlo Park on this beautiful pink cruiser. I told her I love her pink bike. "I love my pink bike, too!" Emily exclaimed.
Emily and her pink cruiser

This is Aaron on a Masi Speciale Fixed. I ran into him at San Jose Diridon Station. Up to 32 bikes can be loaded into Caltrain's bike cars, which have been packed with bike commuters like Aaron all summer. Aaron reads Masiguy's blog.
Aaron's 2006 Masi Speciale Fixed

Here are some of those Caltrain bike commuters walking through the access tunnel to the station exit at San Jose Diridon station. I see five cyclists in this photo. You'll see a big variety of bikes, gear, and bags on Bay Area bike commuters.
Bike commuters in San Jose

This is one of the bike racks at the Palo Alto Caltrain station. Palo Alto also features secure, indoor parking at the Palo Alto Bikestation.
Palo Alto bike parking

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Reelight bicycle light review

I installed a set of the popular Danish Reelight SL100 electrodynamic battery-less bike lights on my bike and reviewed the lights at Commute By Bike.

Quick summary: I like them. Handy, no batteries to fuss with, they work as advertised.

Reelight bike light on front wheel

They say cycling is dangerous...

Silicon Valley Highway 101 Traffic Hell I don't know if this has made the national news yet, but three motorists on U.S. Highway 101 in the San Francisco Bay Area have been shot this week.
Highway 101 is one of the main north-south routes that runs the length of the San Francisco Peninsula along the west side of the Bay.

Elsewhere around the nation:

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Move Interbike to ... somewhere else?

This article in Bike Europe about Interbike 2007 has some interesting tidbits about the show and the future of Interbike:
  • Attendance: 22,515 unique badge-holders, of whom 11,054 were buyers. This is up from 21,682 and 10,378 respectively in 2006. 3,787 unique businesses (retailers) represented at the show, up from last year's 3,239.

    Vegas Sucks
  • Vegas sucks? On a possible change of location after 2008, the Interbike team will gather research and feedback in the coming months and put forward proposals to the industry at the Bicycle Leadership Conference in January.
  • Public days: Officially a trade-only event, Interbike is clearly infiltrated every year by many enthusiasts, begging the question of instituting public days. "We're moving towards a majority that wants this," said show director Lance Camisasca, "but retailers are still resistant to the idea."
Tim Grahl addresses the question of Vegas in his Crooked Cog blog, in which he notes that "just like the women, Las Vegas is cheap and easy. The major airport is five miles from the event and the hotels/flights are to expensive. The city is built around large events and large amounts of people." Interbike uses 600,000 square feet of floor space and draws over 20,000 attendees.

Fixie wheelies in Vegas While several people want to move Interbike to Colorado, the Colorado Convention Center in Denver has a 500,000 square foot exhibition area and can only provide about 10,000 hotel rooms in the immediate area around downtown Denver. Other contenders might be Interbike's previous home in Anaheim, or Chicago, which boasts the largest convention center in the world. The Morial Convention Center in New Orleans might be worth consideration with its million square feet of exhibit space.

Some more worthwhile Interbike wrap ups are available at Quickrelease.TV, Masiguy, Bicycling Boulder Report, Guitar Ted, BRaIN and WIRED magazine.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The bloggers of Interbike

Here are some of the Interbike 2007 bloggers. I had a great time meeting up with all of these wonderful people. Most of them have Interbike updates so be sure to visit their blogs.

Tim Grahl of the Crooked Cog Network.
Tim Grahl rides a Dahon

Raleigh brand manager Carey writes the Raleigh Commuters and Raleigh Bicycles blogs.
Carey photo

Dave "The Fred" Bernstein: The FredCast and The Spokesman.
Dave "The Fred" Bernstein

Mark aka Guitar Ted: Guitar Ted Productions.
Guitar Ted

Brad Q: Urban Velo Magazine with Tim Grahl.
Brad Q and Tim Grahl

Byron & friends are Bike Huggers.
Team Bike Hugger

Brian is the Industry Outsider.
Brian from

Carlton Reid: and BikeBiz.
Carlton Reid produces video

Chipps & Mark: Singletrack blog.

Tim "Masiguy" Jackson and Donna "Kryptogal" Tocci.
Tim "Masiguy" Jackson and Donna Tocci of Kryptonite

Rich Kelly
and Tim Jackson.
Rich Kelly and Tim Jackson

Carlton Reid and Rich Kelly
Carlton Reid and Rich Kelly

130 mph on a mountain bike

Yeow!. 130 mph down the side of a snow covered mountain. Video, too.

Clif Bar Two Mile Challenge. "40% of U.S. urban travel is 2 miles or less. Ride your bike to fight global warming."

Treadly calls it speed linking.

Urban Velo also posts some link love.

Another bike article in the Boston Globe: "Finding profit in the practical," by the Globe's bike riding reporter Ross Kerber. Via Unbreakable Bonds.

Surly Big Dummy reviews.

This is my Interbike show floor five minute walk through.

Tour of America: I like Friday's foaming rant.

30 Haro Bikes Stolen

Via Tim Jackson's Masi Guy Blog:

30 Haro Demo Bikes Stolen

Please keep an eye out!

Wi Fi on Highway 17 Express bus begins December 2007

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that Hwy 17 buses to go wireless. I ride the Highway 17 Express bus from Santa Cruz to San Jose on my commute. This will be nice. Santa Cruz Metro operates this service with funding from Santa Clara VTA, Amtrak, and probably the California Air Resources Board. The Wireless Internet grant is supposed to encourage more commuter use of the Highway 17 Express bus, although all of the commute-time buses are already full.

In other news, I saw the aftermath of this bad wreck on Sunday afternoon. Traffic was backed up from near the summit all the way past my home in Scotts Valley seven miles away for the entire afternoon, and in the late afternoon the backup stretched all the way around to Highway 1 almost to Soquel Drive in Santa Cruz.