Friday, November 30, 2007

Breezer Villager

My wife brought home a brand spanking new Breezer U-frame Villager bicycle from the bike shop yesterday afternoon. It's a beauty.

Breezer Villager U Frame

Sara rode it to her classes last night and loves the new bike. It features dynamo powered lighting, a 7 speed Shimano Nexus hub, rack, fenders, bell, suspension seatpost and kickstand. The moderately raked CroMoly fork has a noticeable amount of "give" to cushion what might otherwise be a harsh ride from the aluminum frame. As equipped, Sara's 15" U frame Breezer Villager weighs about 30 pounds and retails for $1200.

Until recently, most comfort bikes for city riding have tended to be heavy and built up with cheap components. In 2003, Joe Breeze started creating bikes designed for "transportation for a healthy planet." Breeze was inspired by European city bike designs but added his "California fresh" perspective to make the bikes practical yet light and responsive.

I really like this trend toward Euro-styled city bikes that aren't absolute clunkers. QBP launched their Civia brand of high end commuter bikes this year. We're also started seeing this trend from the first tier bike builders like Specialized with their Globe series of bikes.

The shop experience (from a dealer who is just now joining the Breezer network) was a mixed bag. Upright city bikes don't require the level of custom fitting that racers insist on, but I at least expect a shop to adjust the saddle and handlebars to somewhere near the correct height. The front light was also incorrectly aimed, pointing a good 30 degrees up in the air. Otherwise, everything on the bike appears to be correctly assembled, adjusted and inflated. They also noticed and repaired a loose connection between the dynamo and tail light. Apparently, this is a fairly common problem on some Breezer bikes and mentioned to Sara that she should watch for that.

Sue has been very inspired this last week, creating a bike haiku today and yesterday. I didn't know this until I read it in Roger Kramer's blog, but apparently Sue is on the board of the League of Illinois Bicyclists!

Queens bicycle ghetto blasters

These kids in Queens roll with 5000 watt amplifiers booming about 150 decibels of music on the streets of New York City. They make custom cabinets to house the systems, with more cabinets holding the car batteries to power the system. Most of the bikes have decorative lighting and some have DVD screens for viewing while riding, according to the Times article.

Read more at the New York Times. Thank you to the Longmonster.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rodney King rides a bicycle

Another celebrity bike rider! From news reports:
Rialto Police Sgt Don Lewis said Rodney King told police the shooting took place while he was riding his bicycle in neighboring San Bernardino. King rode his bicycle home after the incident and it was not immediately clear who fired the shot, Lewis said.

The ethics of transportation choices

I've written a couple of times on the consequences our transportation choices have on people far away from us. In this Streetfilms interview, ethicist Randy Cohen brings it home to the local level.

Cohen tells us that ethics concerns itself with the effects of our actions on other people. Very few people think of the impact we make when we make a decision (or, more often, no intentional decision) on our mode of transportation. Cohen discusses the issues surrounding individual freedoms versus the public costs in the video interview. Watch it here.

Taking the lane: How it's done

Dual Chase Productions creates a number of PowerPoint presentations with video showing how cyclists interact with traffic. These instructional videos are intended for cyclists, motorists, law enforcement, advocates planners and engineers. Instructional videos for cyclists are intended for LCIs and other educators. Cycling advocates can use the PowerPoint slides and videos to show planners, engineers, law enforcement and motorists road use and safety from a cyclist's perspective.

Samples of slides and videos are available for online viewing at Cyclist View. This lane control video, for example, demonstrates a cyclist "taking the lane" in 45 mph traffic in the motoring mecca of Orange County, California.

Another example is this presentation on "Inclusive Design and Planning", which is designed to help planners understand and inclusively plan for the diverse spectrum of cyclists by showing on-bike video of cyclists in traffic and combining this with road diagrams.

Bicycle iPod speakers review

Ari Bader-Natal reviews the "iHome iH85B Bike to Beach Speaker System for iPod" over at his bits and bikes blog.

Your iPod docks in the speaker unit which sits in a water bottle cage, and the iPod is controlled from a wireless controller mounted on your handlebar. It's a handy looking gizmo and would make a nice gift for the bike commuter who has everything. Read the full review at bits and bikes.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Create your own Bike Snob franchise

Contest below!

Regulars readers of Cyclelicious know I have no skill for humor. I thoroughly enjoy Bike Snob NYC, however. A couple of copycats have popped up who try to copy his formula for humor, including my own computer scripted Autosnob experiment.

A couple of people have asked me how the Autosnob works. Like any computer program, it follows a formula, and I follow the formula perfected in the Bike Snob's "Worst of Craigslist" posts. If you want to create your own Bike Snob franchise blog, here's how you, too, can gain fame, fortune, and interviews with Bicycling magazine and big name bike blogs.

Write the preamble. This is an introductory paragraph or three setting up the overall theme of the post. Bike Snob makes effective use of metaphors and similes. For the Autosnob, I grabbed the text from various "worst similes" websites. Here are some freebies:
  • Visiting Craigslist is like the required community service you did cleaning the homeless shelter bathrooms.
  • Craigslist is like the trailer trash of bike want ads. Let's make another visit to the trash heap.
  • This Craigslist bike ad is like Def Leppard on a bad hair day, except just like Def Leppard, every day is bad hair day on Craigslist.
  • Reading Craigslist bike ads hurts just the way your tongue hurts after you staple it to the wall.
You get the idea.

Select your Craigslist ad. The best ads are ones with photos, so select your city or region and search for "fixie," limiting your search to the title text and posts with photos. You might also want to set a minimum price to weed out the small trash (like old broken pedals) that people peddle on Craigslist. Here's an example of this search.

I've selected this ad for you to experiment with in the comments. It's an ugly 25 year old bike with missing parts, junky cell phone photos, and a ridiculous price.

The owner is also obviously clueless: "just got a new bike. this one's too big for me(i'm almost 5'10"). it's almost 33" stand over hi. it's probably from the '90s. i'm not too sure. it's a fuji del rey. it's set up with a fix gear cog. i have a free wheel for it. i also have a smaller front chain ring for it. i even have the old deraillers and gear shifters if you want to turn it back to a bike with gears. i have drop bars or bullhorns that i chopped from drop bars. i have one or two brakes and levers for it."

Mock the ad. But do it with cleverness and style and pop culture references. The obvious things to mock on this bike are the missing saddle, "33 inch stand over hi," "one or two brakes" (He's not sure? At least he spelled it right), $225 for a bike that sold for $300 new in 1983, and what looks like a Polaroid as a spoke card. You can probably do something clever with the color -- BSNYC likes to find similarly colored objects for his Craigslist finds. This color reminds me of eggplant, but people pictures are funnier. It takes more work, but a photo of a has-been celebrity in a purple outfit would work well here. Here's the best of both worlds: A has-been celebrity who looks like an eggplant!

Obligatory mentions. If the bike is a Pista, be sure to mention the Pista-dex. For any recent fixie, be sure to compare the price against a new bike's MSRP. If the handlebar is partially wrapped, you must mention the "dog erection" look of the bar.

Colorful euphemisms. I'm a fan of BSNYC's euphemisms. For example: "I loudly admonished him for having Oedipal tendencies."

Try your best! Write a snobby review of the Fuji Del Rey linked to above. Put your "Worst Of" review as a comment here or in your own blog (be sure I can find it). A panel of celebrity judges (TBD) will determine the best ad among the entries. The winner gets a $20 Amazon gift card. The usual rules apply: I need your valid email address if you're the selected winner, and this contest must be legal in your area. Contest deadline is next Wednesday, December 5 at 6:30 p.m. U.S. Pacific Standard Time.

Dual chain fixed gear bike

Check it out -- bike hacker Bruce Ingle created a two chain fixed gear bike from leftovers, spare parts, and aftermarket modifications.

Bruce Ingle's dual chain fixed gear drivetrain

Of this bike, Sheldon Brown writes, "Disclaimer: This is a highly-advanced hack! Do not attempt it unless you have great confidence in your metalworking and mechanical ability. This article assumes that you are already very familiar with the inner workings of Sturmey-Archer AW 3-speed hubs. If you have any questions that you can't figure out the answer to from this article, you're not ready for this!"

Read the details and see more photos of this "bichain fixed/free bicycle drive system" at Sheldon Brown's website of wonderful things.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Raleigh UK tells it like it is

BikeBiz is calling it a case of putting his foot in his mouth, but if bike retail in the UK is anything like the USA, maybe Raleigh UK managing director Mark Gouldthorp's recent comments should serve as a wake up call and opportunity for improvement. Instead, the UK bike retail industry group shot back at Gouldthorp noting that nearly 80% of bikes sold in the UK are through the independent retail channel.

Gouldthorp recently was quoted in the Guardian newspaper saying, "“Independent retailing in the UK is a shambles. It is real Steptoe and Son (the UK inspiration for the US "Sanford and Son" show) stuff. If you want to imagine the typical independent bike dealer, he is 50-60, highly cynical, miserable, moaning, scruffy. That’s my customer."

In spite of Gouldthorp's apparent views on his retailers, Raleigh UK is profitable and growing in sales. Read more at Bike Biz.

Bicycle turn signals / indicators

LED turn indicators for bicycles. A UK design company has created a set of front and rear bicycle lights with integrated turn signals. The Bicygnals indicator bicycle lights feature a 5 LED white light for a front light with 8 orange LED turn signals and a 3 LED rear light with 6 orange LEDs for the rear turn signals. A switch on the handlebar-mounted front unit activates both front and rear turn indicators via wireless communication.

This light is available from UK distributors for about £40, which works out to about US$80. Some of the online shops will ship to the USA for another $20 or so, with shipping from these online retailers also available elsewhere worldwide.

For product and buying information, visit Bicygnals. I know Sue (who published a bike haiku today has been looking for something like this. These run over $100 including shipping, so I think I'll stick with hand signals for now.

Help! Help!

I'm trying to find the website for a new bicycle built around an infinitely variable drive system. I vaguely recall seeing something about it, something that I noticed only in passing. The reason I ask for help is because I simply cannot find it, and my increasingly porous memory doesn't help at all.

We were talking about electric cars at work today, and someone mentioned this drive system as a better alternative to an automotive automatic transmission.

Renewable energy cheaper than coal

Google to invest tens of millions in renewable energy. "RE < C" effort to make renewable energy cheaper than coal.

Google today announced a new strategic initiative to develop electricity from renewable energy sources that will be cheaper than electricity produced from coal. The newly created initiative, known as RE<C, will focus initially on advanced solar thermal power, wind power technologies, enhanced geothermal systems and other potential breakthrough technologies. RE<C is hiring engineers and energy experts to lead its research and development work, which will begin with a significant effort on solar thermal technology, and will also investigate enhanced geothermal systems and other areas. In 2008, Google expects to spend tens of millions on research and development and related investments in renewable energy. As part of its capital planning process, the company also anticipates investing hundreds of millions of dollars in breakthrough renewable energy projects which generate positive returns.

"We have gained expertise in designing and building large-scale, energy-intensive facilities by building efficient data centers," said Larry Page, Google Co-founder and President of Products. "We want to apply the same creativity and innovation to the challenge of generating renewable electricity at globally significant scale, and produce it cheaper than from coal."

Page added, "There has been tremendous work already on renewable energy. Technologies have been developed that can mature into industries capable of providing electricity cheaper than coal. Solar thermal technology, for example, provides a very plausible path to providing renewable energy cheaper than coal. We are also very interested in further developing other technologies that have potential to be cost-competitive and green. We are aware of several promising technologies, and believe there are many more out there."

Page continued, "With talented technologists, great partners and significant investments, we hope to rapidly push forward. Our goal is to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal. We are optimistic this can be done in years, not decades." (One gigawatt can power a city the size of San Francisco.)

"If we meet this goal," said Page, "and large-scale renewable deployments are cheaper than coal, the world will have the option to meet a substantial portion of electricity needs from renewable sources and significantly reduce carbon emissions. We expect this would be a good business for us as well."

Coal is the primary power source for many around the world, supplying 40% of the world's electricity. The greenhouse gases it produces are one of our greatest environmental challenges. Making electricity produced from renewable energy cheaper than coal would be a key part of reducing global greenhouse-gas emissions.

"Cheap renewable energy is not only critical for the environment but also vital for economic development in many places where there is limited affordable energy of any kind," added Sergey Brin, Google Co-founder and President of Technology.

Strategic Investments and Grants

"Lots of groups are doing great work trying to produce inexpensive renewable energy. We want to add something that moves these efforts toward even cheaper technologies a bit more quickly. Usual investment criteria may not deliver the super low-cost, clean, renewable energy soon enough to avoid the worst effects of climate change," said Dr. Larry Brilliant, Executive Director of, Google's philanthropic arm, "'s hope is that by funding research on promising technologies, investing in promising new companies, and doing a lot of R&D ourselves, we may help spark a green electricity revolution that will deliver breakthrough technologies priced lower than coal."

Working with RE<C, will make strategic investments and grants that demonstrate a path toward producing energy at an unsubsidized cost below that of coal-fired power plants. Google will work with a variety of organizations in the renewable energy field, including companies, R&D laboratories, and universities.

Team T Mobile no more

Deutsche Telekom announced they will end their sponsorship of the T Mobile cycling team effective immediately.

"We arrived at this decision to separate our brand from further exposure from doping in sport and cycling specifically. This was a difficult decision given our long history of support for professional cycling and the efforts of Bob Stapleton in managing the team in 2007", said Deutsche Telekom Board member and CEO of T-Mobile International Hamid Akhavan. “We have an obligation to our employees, customers and shareholders to focus our attention and resources on our core businesses”, added Akhavan.

"We have worked very hard with the current team management to promote a clean cycling sport but we reached the decision to continue our efforts to rid all sports of doping by applying our resources in other directions. Deutsche Telekom AG wants to make it clear that this action is not based on any disagreement with or misconduct by team management”, Akhavan emphasized.

Team manager Bob Stapleton added, "We hope to go forward independently with the team to achieve our goals of continued competitive success and being a leader in anti-doping efforts in professional cycling."

The cycling team will continue under the name Team High Road.

A number of high profile cyclists on the team have been involved in the doping scandals that have rocked pro cycling over the past couple of years.

Thank you to Bike Greenville for the heads up. Read more:

University of Washington bike share

The University of Washington in Seattle plans to offer automated rental of electric bicycles on campus. Anyone with a campus ID card can swipe the card at one of several bike rental kiosks to be located on campus. UW transportation officials hope to encourage more use of public transportation to the campus by offering this "last mile" service for intracampus travel once the student or employee gets to campus from a bus depot.

Other American universities such as Northern Arizona and the University of Buffalo have bike share programs, but Washington's proposed plan is believed to the first to offer the use of electric bike hybrids. I realize many people object to the use of electric motors on bicycles, but urban revitalization consultant Rich Layman makes the case for "conquest sales" -- that is, of moving people along a continuum to better transportation choices. A bicycle is certainly better in a lot of ways than almost any other vehicle, but an electric bike or even a Segway is better from a sustainability standpoint than any gasoline-powered automobile.

Read more about University of Washington bicycle share program.

Rich Layman: The Mobility Shed revisited.

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Transportation Resources.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bicycle haiku and other bicycle blog madness

Frank has an nice winter CX baiku in Illinois. He also pointed me to a old set of baikus from last summer.

Carlton talks about "get off the road for your own safety" individuals in the Netherlands(!), India and Nazi Germany. Perhaps there's a connection with this "bicycle neglect". Alan makes the point that the American Automobile Association -- which is a motorist lobbying group -- has more than 300 times the membership of bicycling advocacy groups. He writes:
In fact, cyclists are so utterly overpowered that the motoring interests hardly even have to show up. In Olympia and Salem, according to leading cycling advocates, the trucking, development, and manufacturing industries lobby fairly heavily on transportation issues. But car manufacturers, car dealers, and auto clubs rarely flex their muscle. Says [Bicycle Alliance of Washington executive director Gordon] Black, “They don’t have to show up very often, because they know the government is doing their bidding. They don’t feel threatened. They don’t see us as a threat.”
CycleDog points us to an online driving test. I scored 95%.

Now let's ge to the boring news: Diesel shortages in South Dakota, North Dakota (in spite of record production at the state's lone refinery) and Iowa, where the presidential hopefuls are stumping for the January caucus. There's even a shortage of hops for beer manufacture. The state of Connecticut plans for fuel shortages. Some French equestrians are pushing horses for transportation. And in Zimbabwe, a brand new biodiesel factory isn't quite living up to the hype. One of the problems? Not enough feedstock to go around: the farmers have to choose between starvation or running their cars, trucks, generators and irrigation pumps.

Bicycle Christmas cards

Bicycle themed Christmas greeting cards are available from a number of vendors. I like these bicycle chain images from Skeese Greets.

Bike chain christmas card

Other bicycle Christmas cards are available from these resources.
  • Earth Rider has a nice wheel and wreath card reproduced from a linoleum print among their greeting cards.
  • For those in the UK, Sustrans has this nice "Rudolph's night off" card with Santa delivering gifts to good bike riding children.
  • Bicycle Gifts has a number of designs available, many of which feature Santa and a reindeer riding road and mountain bikes.
I owe Warren a link because he posted a baiku. Seasons greetings, all!

Blake Gordon's South American bike tour

Fitz Cahall's Dirt Bag Diaries brings the untold stories from wild places, stories that aren't necessarily about sponsored atheletes. He tells the stories I like of people adventuring in the outdoors.

The latest episode features photographer, writer and cyclist Blake Gordon who pedaled 2,500 miles through the Patagonia region of South America. Click here to read, listen and watch the highlights of his adventures.

Vote early and often for cycling funds

The UK Lottery will make £50 Million in funding available to the project that receives the most Internet and mobile phone votes between now and December 12. The British walking and cycling campaign, Sustrans, and other UK cycling groups are campaigning heavily for people to vote for the allocation of these funds to the abitious Connect2 program.

While you can't vote often, Carlton notes that the voting registration site does not ask for UK residency and obliquely hints that American cyclists (*nudge wink*) might help their British cousins in this voting. The other three projects vying for funds are an urban park in the industrial rust belt north of Birmingham, an artistic and educational village in Cornwall, and a project to protect the oaks in ancient Sherwood Forest.

Read more at Quickrelease.TV.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


In the old days when I was a teenager -- you know, the simple days when dinosaurs roamed etc, and Tipper Gore warned us of the evil of Twisted Sister -- my next door neighbor and best friend "Kim" was an avid runner. We were having one of those deep talks that teens have and she told me, "Running is everything to me. It's my daily religion. It's my addiction. I cannot imagine life without running. If something happened to my legs life would be over. You know what I mean, right?"

I was a talented runner and Kim's running partner, but no, I had no idea what she talked about. But Kim's my best friend, and she's very pretty, so of course I nodded with enthusiasm. "Oh yeah, I know exactly what you mean."

It's now 20 years later and Kim still runs marathons and charity 10Ks in the Puget Sound area, while I've completely given up running. But I now understand what she meant back in 1983, because cycling is my daily meditation, my addiction, my drug. I've thought about what would happen if something were to happen to my legs that kept me off of my bike and it's difficult for me to picture.

I'm thankful that I have the health and physical and mental capability to ride a bike. I've thought about all of the accidental and random circumstances that combined to make me enthusiastic about cycling -- when I got a Schwinn LeTour for Christmas in 1981 and rode a criterium (in cutoff corduroys) the next summer. Kim (she's very pretty) started riding a bike -- her dad's white Fuji 10 speed -- after a knee injury, so of course I had ride too. I met enthusiastic cyclists when I got into college and discovered centuries. All of this and more combined to make me the cyclist I am today.

I'm thankful for more than that, of course -- for my wife and children. I'm thankful I'm gainfully employed, and I'm thankful for a four day weekend. I'm thankful also for my friends, many of whom I've met (both virtually and in the flesh) through this blog and yours. I'm thankful for the wider perspectives the medium of Web 2.0 brings to me.

Tough times are ahead, but I hope to maintain my perspective on the things that really matter. Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Caltrain: 2 more trains on weeknights

Holidays are over Caltrain announced a proposed schedule change effective in March 2008 that will add one southbound and one northbound train during week nights.

The northbound 191, which currently leaves San Jose Diridon at 8:10 p.m., will be moved to 7:30, with subsequent northbound trains leaving at 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30 p.m.

Southbound 190, which currently leaves San Francisco 4th & King at 7:20 p.m., will leave 10 minutes later at 7:30 p.m., with subsequent trains at 8:30, 9:30, 10:30. The final train to leave the city will still be scheduled for departed at 12:01 a.m.

The schedule changes are prompted by record ridership this year on Caltrain, with standing room only on the busier commute time trains.

Visit Caltrain's website to see the proposed schedule changes for March 2008. Caltrain is seeking public comment on the proposed changes at public meetings next Tuesday, November 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The meetings will be held at San Francisco 4th & King, Caltrain's administrative offices at 1250 San Carlos Avenue in San Carlos, and at San Jose Diridon Station. Caltrain is also accepting comments on the proposed changes via email at caltraincomments (at) caltrain dot com.

More Caltrain news:
    Caltrain schedules are now in Google Transit. Here are the transit directions from San Francisco 4th and King to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California.
  • The Caltrain Holiday Train makes an appearance on the weekend of December 7 - 9 at various stations in the Bay Area.
  • Caltrain reminds travelers to take Caltrain to avoid traffic and parking hassles when flying from SFO or SJC.
  • Caltrain will run on a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving Day, and a regular weekday schedule on the Friday after Thanskgiving. Take the train to the City for your Black Friday Christmas shopping.

Introducing Carl in Longmont

Carl is a member of Bicycle Longmont in Longmont, Colorado, where he's active in the local Safe Routes to School program at his school. The Longmont and St. Vrain Valley School District Safe Routes to School program is among the most successful in the United States, with up to 90% participation at one of the schools.

Carl now has a blog: Getinlost in..., which I'm obligated to link to because he posted a bicycle haiku.

Via Carl's blog I also found the Alex Draude's Straight Chain blog about fixie riding in Kyoto and other areas in Japan.

Where in the world is OIFS?

Many of you probably remember Jim's Oil Is For Sissies blog. Many of you lamented his decision to retire that blog.

Many of you apparently also know that he's returned with Oil Is For Sissies V3.5, AKA "pinhole photography and other diversions." I didn't know. But now I do.

Lynskey bicycle blog

Join me in welcoming Lynskey Performance Bikes to the world of bicycle blogs. The Art of Custom Bicycles is the new blog for Lynskey Performance Bicycles, which creates custom titanium bikes that are beautiful works of art. They plan to feature all kinds of custom bicycles. I've subscribed to their RSS feed and I'm looking forward to their contributions to the blogosphere.

This is just me because I'm kind of dorky, but at Lynskey's display at Interbike, my personal favorite was their titanium cruiser bike, which rides like a dream.

Lynskey titanium cruiser bicycle

Props to Herbert of Guerrilla Communication.

Bike share in Rome, Italy

The Italian capital announced plans to offer a self service bike share program similar to the famous Velib bike share in Paris and other successful bike share programs modeled in Barcelona , Vienna, and Lyon.

The initial six month pilot will include 250 bicycles distributed at 22 stations in the historic center of Rome. Eventually, promoters hope to make 20,000 rental bikes available throughout the city. “This experimental bike-sharing programme will make travelling in the centre of Rome easier, faster, economical and environmentally sound,” said Roman mayor Walter Veltroni.

The bike stations and bike rental program will be installed and managed by outdoor advertising firm Cemusa utilizing equipment and bikes from Bicincittá. (Bicincittá is "Bici in cittá," which means "Bike in town." Get it?)

Learn more --

Monday, November 19, 2007

Expect more expensive tires next year

Bicycle Retail and Industry News reports we can expect more expensive tires from Kenda, WTB and other tire vendors next year as sky high oil prices add to the manufacturing and shipping costs of these items. I suspect also that the crash in value of the U.S. dollar against the Chinese Yuan (and every other major currency) will lead to increased prices of everything made in China, Europe, Malaysia, Indonesia, Canada and other manufacturing nations.

Bicycling advocacy and public safety

CQ Press has released their annual city crime rankings for US cities. Using crime statistics data from the FBI and using proprietary weighting factors, CQ created their rankings of the safest and most dangerous cities in America.

The 10 most dangerous cities are:
    1. Detroit, Michigan
    2. St. Louis, Missouri
    3. Flint, Michigan
    4. Oakland, California
    5. Camden, New Jersey
    6. Birmingham, Alabama
    7. North Charleston, South Carolina
    8. Memphis, Tennessee
    9. Richmond, California
    10. Cleveland, Ohio
I think it's safe to say that you don't see these cities mentioned as bicycle friendly communities. While the rankings are controversial, I think an important component of encouraging cycling is ensuring a safe riding environment. Nobody wants to ride their bikes down city streets if they perceive a problem with public safety.

I've had a close friend who's a cop advise me to carry a handgun with me because of my commute route, but I've never had any problems during nearly 20 years of commuting by bike through sometimes marginally sketchy neighborhoods. Female friends in particular sometimes seem more aware of personal safety issues when it comes to bicycling, which I can understand.

If you need to decide on the safety of your cycling route, I've listed some online crime maps that outline the level of crime in various cities in the United States. Many many more crime maps are available; just search for "your city crime map. Note that many of these crime maps show *all* crimes in the area, including many that may not directly affect passing cyclists such as domestic disturbances, random vandalism, and even car burglaries. Before you're surprised by the amount of crime in your area, pay attention also to the time span shown.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Two pounds of bug parts

If Alex gave that as the answer to the question, what's the question?
  • How much of what foreign substance is allowed in every 144 pound batch of Fig Newton cookie filling?
  • What quantity of bug parts are plastered on the front of the average American pickup truck?
  • How much of what substance was pumped out of Britney Spears' stomach during a recent ER visit?
  • The average American eats how many pounds of bug parts every year?
The real question is, of course, the final one: According to UC-Berkeley Cooperative Extension Specialist Vernard Lewis, the average American eats about 2 pounds of bug parts each year.

This all came about because Jonathan @ SFist swallowed a bug during his bicycle commute. Because much of the San Francisco Bay Area is so bug free, this was unusual enough that Jonathan had to research the issue. Read his findings at SFist.

The SFist article also turned me onto this cool outtake of Marlon Brando's soliloquy on bloodlust when he suddenly makes a face and gasps, "I swallowed a bug."

Two pounds of bugs. Who woulda figured?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Free phone 411

Two months ago I saw a billboard in San Jose, California advertising Google's new GOOG 411 service. I called the number on the billboard -- 1-800-GOOG-411 -- and discovered it's a free phone information service for businesses. There have been several times when I'm cycling way beyond my familiar territory and I've had a mechanical problem of some kind that required bike shop help. With GOOG-411, I can say my city and category -- bike shops, for example -- and Google will look up nearby bike shops and connect my call.

That's 1-800-466-4411. It's a speed dial number on my cell phone now.

$4+ gasoline in San Mateo, California!

San Mateo is on the San Francisco Peninsula, just north of where I work. The AP published a photo of the price at the pump at a Shell station, along with a suggested solution to the problem. (Hint: It has two wheels and no gasoline motor). Via Jym.

Other random stuff:
I've been laid up in bed for the past two days with a horrible head cold. I hope the rest of you all have a great weekend!

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Autosnob

I think almost everybody is aware of The Bike Snob. It must drive the original snob nuts that this newcomer now beats him out in search rankings.

Predictably, a few Bike Snob pretenders have popped up, so I created the computerized Autosnob. Among my favorite features of BSNYC (and the part most emulated by the other Snobs) are the "Worst of Craigslist Bike Ads." It's a formula, but it's a formula that works.

Autosnob takes a random BSNYC article and some other random text, matches it up with a random Craigslist bike ad and mashes them together to create something like a new episode of "Worst of Craigslist Bike Ads."

The Autosnob is still a work in progress. The ad mocking algorithm, for example, is far from complete and is currently limited to looking at the colors in the ad, though an exception is made for the SE Bikes Draft (a high tensile steel singlespeed with ashtabula cranks and a BMX bottom bracket). I'm open to suggestions on how to more effectively mock NJS parts, along with brands like Jamis, Miyata, Fuji, Peugot, Bianchi and all the rest.

For those who know Javascript: Yes, I know it's a mess. The thing just kind of evolved slowly.

The Autosnob: check it out.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Neal Skorpen's Bikido: The way of human energy

Bikido bicycle-themed artwork by Neal Skorpen
Neal Skorpen is an illustrator who created the Cyclotoons comic as a monthly feature for bicycling publications. I recently ran across his Cyclotoons store where you can get his Cyclotoons cartoons printed on a shirt or jacket. Visit Neal Skorpen's Cyclotoons store for more selections.

The Bikido image reproduced here with Neal Skorpen's permission.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Brakeless singlespeed in San Francisco

DJ Ted Shred is INSANE.

This video by filmmaker Matt Goldman features great footage of San Francisco DJ Ted Shred bombing down the hills of San Francisco on his singlespeed (freewheeling -- not fixed!) brakeless bike. Shred stops by pushing his shoe into the rear wheel to "Fred Flintstone it." Set to Ted Shred's music, the excellent videography makes this suicidal practice look kinda cool, just like TV forensics dramas make dead bodies look hot and sexy.

Via the man who hates goats.

Tour of California 2008 route announced

The routes for the prologue and seven stages of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California were revealed today in a series of press conferences in the tour cities.

The Tour Prologue in Palo Alto, California features a short and very fast individual time trial race that begins at city hall, loops through the busy downtown and into the Stanford Oval.

Yoriko Kishimoto Palo Alto Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto talks about the benefits the 2008 Tour of California for the city. Photo by me.
At the press conference in Palo Alto, local organizers touted the economic benefits that the Tour of California will bring to the area. They also hope to leverage local interest in this international cycling event to promote cycling for transportation and bike safety for cyclists and motorists. Local cyclist MaryAnn Levenson, for example, will work with schools to tie in the Tour of California with bike promotion and bike safety events. Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Corinne Winter will organize a bike-themed art competition in conjunction with the Tour of California. Palo Alto Mayor Yoriki Kishimoto hopes that excitement around the race will encourage more people to consider cycling as transportation in Palo Alto.

The stage details of the eight day race are:
  • Prologue: Palo Alto-Stanford University (Sunday, February 17, 2008)

  • Stage 1: Sausalito to Santa Rosa (Monday, February 18, 2008)

  • Stage 2: Santa Rosa to Sacramento (Tuesday, February 19, 2008)

  • Stage 3: Modesto to San Jose (Wednesday, February 20, 2008)

  • Stage 4: Seaside to San Luis Obispo (Thursday, February 21, 2008)

  • Stage 5: Solvang Individual Time Trial (Friday, February 22, 2008)

  • Stage 6: Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita (Saturday, February 23, 2008)

  • Stage 7: Santa Clarita to Pasadena (Sunday, February 24, 2008)
For more details, visit the AMGEN Tour of California website. Cycling photographer Ken Conley was there, though he told me he probably couldn't post his photos until somewhat later. Ken does have his thoughts on the 2008 route.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ontario exempts bicycles from sales tax

Beginning December 1, bicycles and bike helmets will be exempted from the 8% provincial retail sales tax in Ontario, Canada. "We want to encourage more Ontarians - young and young-at-heart - to get outdoors, spend time riding bikes as a family and with friends, or to try riding to work if possible, leaving the car at home," said Ontario Premier McGuinty.

The full details are at the Ontario Ministry of Revenue website. Bicycles purchased for under $1000 are exempt, as well as bike safety equipment such as helmets, reflectors, lights, bells, horns, and mirrors. Bike rental, bike parts, non-safety bike accessories and labor for repairs and assembly remain taxable.

Mentioned at Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (aka the BR&IN), Canadian Cyclist, Pedal Magazine.

Fight global warming and obesity

First of all, let's extend a welcome to Bob Shantaeu of Monterey, California. He wrote article about sponsored research in bicycle traffic the other day. He's a professional traffic engineer who has also been heavily involved in bicyclist advocacy since the 70s in the San Francisco Bay Area. You'll see his name on the minutes of city council and county supervisor meetings all over the place as he gives his public comments on the importance of providing for bicyclists in road design.

This AP story notes that both obesity and global warming can be fought at the same time if everybody started walking or biking to work instead of driving.
One numbers-crunching scientist calculates that if all Americans between 10 and 74 walked just half an hour a day instead of driving, they would cut the annual U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, by 64 million tons.

About 6.5 billion gallons of gasoline would be saved. And Americans would also shed more than 3 billion pounds overall, according to these calculations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering public promotion of the "co-benefits" of fighting global warming and obesity-related illnesses through everyday exercise, like walking to school or work, said Dr. Howard Frumkin, director of the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health.

"A simple intervention like walking to school is a climate change intervention, an obesity intervention, a diabetes intervention, a safety intervention," Frumkin told The Associated Press. "That's the sweet spot."
Important note: If you're in a good mood, stop reading now and click over to Frazz. Or, if he's your style, Bike Snob NYC. I'm also working on The Autosnob, which is something like a random mashup of BSNYC, Craigslist bike ads, and your computer. Just click the Reload button of your web browser for brand new Autosnob text. Like I wrote, I just started working on the Autosnob and more is the way!

I've thought a lot lately (and commented a little) on the ethical "dilemna" of climate change, in which the public health costs of global climate change are likely to be the greatest in those parts of the world that have contributed least to the problem. In other words, millions of third world babies will die in widespread famine over the next decade, and it's not really their fault.

In happier news, a recent poll shows 7 in 10 Californians believe global warming is "extremely" or "very" important to them personally, and 43% believe immediate action is necessary. Unfortunately, their words have yet to be translated into action -- there are as many cars on the road as ever, as far as I can tell.

While I'm in a bad mood, I might as well mention this induhvidual in Denver who lambasts the members of the Denver Bicycle Advisory Committee for their alleged ineffectiveness. You can read my further thoughts in the comments section of that blog, but I'll try to post more later. If you want change in your community, quit your gripin' and show up at the meetings!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

To Protect and Serve?

I thought you all might be interested in this Letter to the Editor I just submitted to my local newspaper, The Cape Breton Post:
From: John A. Ardelli
Subject: Misguided Law Enforcement
Date: November 11, 2007 1:35:33 PM AST
To: Cape Breton Post Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

"Bicyclists may occupy as much of a traffic lane as their safety warrants." This is a direct quote from the Bicycle Safety brochure published by Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. It means, if there’s no room to share, cyclists have the right to take as much lane space as they need. Unfortunately, this fact does not appear to be a part of the training given to officers of the Cape Breton Regional Police.

Several weeks ago, a police constable in an unmarked cruiser squeezed by me within centimeters as I traveled east on Kings Road just past Kenwood Drive. When I honked my horn and yelled after him, he pulled me over and accused me of "impeding traffic" (all the while his cruiser, stopped on the road, was doing just that) and that I should be riding at the extreme right.

This past Friday, a police officer honked at me as I traveled west towards Kenwood Drive. I pointed to the lane next to me to signal him to go around me; he did. However, when I got to work, he caught up with me and told me the same fallacy about "impeding traffic" (and accused me of making a "left hand turn signal" when I pointed to the adjacent lane) and said I need to move over more. This officer, unlike the other, was at least polite about it and didn’t impede traffic himself.

In both cases, the officers claimed they were doing this for my "safety."

I've only ever had one collision on Kings Road, with a cyclist riding on the sidewalk at the Kimberly Drive intersection.

If these police officers truly want to increase the safety of cyclists, it's the cyclists on the sidewalks, not the law-abiding ones on the road, that they need to address.
That was as much as I could say within the Post's 300 word limit. Here, I'd like to add a few additional details to the above story.

That first officer had a serious "attitude." Not only did he tell me I was impeding traffic but he tried to intimidate me, looking at the back of my bike and asking me why I don't have a license for it. My answer to that was simple: there is no bicycle licensing program in Nova Scotia; my guess is he knew that but was hoping I didn't. I don't appreciate people trying to manipulate me like that, particularly a public service official like a police officer.

I have been trying to file a formal complaint against that officer for some time now. I know what form I have to get and where to get it but, unfortunately, the administrative section of the police station where I get it is not open when I'm off work and, due to computer problems, they have so far been unable to E-mail me the appropriate form. Fortunately, I have the American Thanksgiving off and the station is open; I should be able to get it then.

As for the other officer, I hold no malice against him. Although his advice was misguided, he was professional and polite in the way he gave it. Still, he seemed to have stereotypical "the roads are for cars" attitude and the mistaken belief that a cyclist, traveling slower than the prevailing traffic, puts him or herself into some kind of extraordinary danger by trying to mingle with motorists on "their" road.

My biggest concern is that this attitude about cyclists seems to pervade all levels of the Cape Breton Regional Police, good and bad officers alike. If this is the advice they're giving cyclists, some day someone's going to get hurt following it. I believe it's imperative that these officers receive some formal training in traffic cycling.

Police officers, because they are supposed to be the model we follow, cannot afford to be misinformed about safety issues like these.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

What a pretty bicycle, she said

Greetings and thank you to all those visiting from whatever mailing list posted a link to Cyclelicious. I really like the Luka Bloom song that you all are listening too. You might also consider watching this video, which uses the same music but with different photos.

Some time ago I created a compilation CD of my favorite bicycle songs that included "The Acoustic Motorbike." Another song from this CD is Bicycle Song by Orbit. Click on the link to Amazon for a preview, and instead of a CD these days you can download it to your MP3 player. The bicycle is a metaphor for something else but it's still cool to listen to.

Why is sponsored research into cycling safety so flawed?

Bicycle advocates,

Many times in my career as a traffic engineer and bicycling advocate, I've had other professional engineers tell me that they do not support doing something for cyclists that I have proposed either because they are convinced that it is not safe for the majority of cyclists or they do not know how to do it in a way that is safe for cyclists. For example, some years ago I was speaking with the chief traffic engineer for Caltrans District 4 about bicycle access to the Richmond-San Rafael bridge. She told me that she was responsible for the safety of all road users and that she absolutely refused to allow bicyclists to use the ramps necessary to access the bridge. In another case, engineers for the Fort Ord Reuse Agency told me that they did not provide for cyclists on the reconstructed 12th Street interchange to State Route 1 because they did not know how to do it safely. More recently, the chief of the Electrical Systems Branch at Caltrans told me that she did not believe that bicycles could be reliably detected using inductive loops even though I had just given her a detailed presentation showing how it could be done.

I have been asking myself why these professional engineers are so ignorant of bicycle traffic engineering and I now have a theory. In each case, the engineer has placed the burden on proving my assertion on me, but I (and others like me) do not have access to the resources necessary to perform the research to prove our assertions. And those who do have access to those resources are either not asking the right questions or not interested in the answers.

In reviewing research studies on bicycle traffic engineering, the recurring theme that I have found is that the research has not been done or what research has been done is either biased or flawed. Here are three such examples:

A 2005 study for Florida DOT, Sidepath Facility Selection and Design, looked into the characteristics of sidepaths that make them safer than the parallel street. It used a regression model that, when I showed it to my brother (who is a professor of statistical psychology at Kansas State University), turned out to be inadequately documented. My brother recommended that I obtain the raw data for the study. When I asked the contractors who performed the study for the raw data, they said that they had discarded it and to contact FDOT. Inquiries to FDOT revealed that they have a policy against releasing crash data to members of the public. So far, my attempts to obtain the data have been unsuccessful. My brother told me that the standard among researchers in psychology is to keep raw data for 5 years in case of a request from a peer for a review of the data. The policy at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) is for its contractors to keep raw data for 3 years. Without the raw data, there is no way to know whether the research was performed correctly.

A 1999 study performed for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), A Comparative Analysis of Bicycle Lanes Versus Wide Curb Lanes, compared conflicts on streets with wide outside lanes vs. similar width streets with bike lanes. But the comparison turned out to be faulty because the streets with wide outside lanes vs. those with bike lanes had unequal levels of traffic as well as different traffic control characteristics and cycling populations. Also, what they called conflicts included ordinary negotiation between cyclists and motorists approaching intersections. Furthermore, several of the researchers' conclusions were not supported by the data. At the end of the report, the authors baldly state that even though streets with wide outside lanes and streets with bike lanes had similar operating characteristics, bike lanes are preferable because they attract more bicyclists, despite the fact that bicyclist preferences were not in the study's scope.

A couple of years ago, the chief of the Caltrans Electrical Systems Branch helped write a problem statement, Bicycle Detection and Operational Concept at Signalized Intersections, for research now being done by California Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways (PATH) at UC Berkeley. Inductive loops, however, are not in the scope of the study. Furthermore, the researchers are being asked to develop a procedure to discriminate between bicycles and motor vehicles for the purpose of providing additional minimum green, ignoring the concerns expressed by bicycle advocates for the length of the all-red clearance interval. When asked about these inconsistencies, the principal investigator replied that he was performing the research that Caltrans had requested. It was this comment that led to my presentation to the Caltrans Electrical Systems Branch where the chief told me that she did not believe bicycles could be reliably detected using inductive loops. Of course, she has no research to support her belief, and she has not asked for any because she already knows the answer.

It appears that the social bias against cycling that Bob Mionske describes in his new book, Bicycling and the Law, extends into bicycle traffic engineering research. That is personally disappointing to me, because I was trained as a transportation researcher and I can see when the standards for such research are being violated.

So here is what I think is happening: (1) Professional engineers are trained to base their decisions on data; (2) Bicycle advocates make assertions about bicycle traffic engineering that they believe are true but cannot prove because they do not have the resources to perform the appropriate research; (3) Sponsored research on those assertions either is not done or is done improperly; which (4) Leads professional engineers to make uninformed decisions about bicycle traffic engineering.

I would be interested if anyone has any evidence that will support or refute my theory. In particular, I am interested in any direct evidence that sponsored research into bicycle traffic engineering is either biased or flawed, or is simply not done because the sponsors believe they already know the answers.

Robert M Shanteau, PhD, PE
Consulting Traffic Engineer
13 Primrose Cir
Seaside, CA 93955-4133
Voice: (831) 394-9420
FAX: (831) 394-6045

Friday, November 9, 2007

Bike POLITE shirts now available in USA, Canada & Mexico

Carlton set up a USA Spreadshirt account so his Quickrelease.TV "POLITE" bicycling shirts are now available for shipping in North America. Click here to order. They feature the text "One Less Car" on the front and "POLITE" on the back.

Note that the USA version doesn't quite match the Euro version shown above.

Chain snap video

I hate it when that happens. Watch the track cyclists go. And not go.


NYMEX light sweet crude price

Stanford students line up to get free bike lights. First of all, that photo is a picture of Stanford students lined up with their bicycles to collect free bike lights from the Bike Light Extravaganza this week. Stanford's student government handed out 600 lights during the three days of this bike safety event. Perhaps these bike cops should have dropped by to pick up lights of their own!

Stanford students pick up free bike lights during a Bike Light Extravaganza on campus. Secondly, two more people shamelessly posted bike haiku link bait, and they're both in the Kansas City area! Warren writes about Bike Commute Ninjas before his end-of-DST lament. And Noah posts a paen to pandas in his bike self portrait baiku.

Finally, NYMEX light sweet crude oil closed Friday afternoon at $96.32 per barrel today. While Danielo came closest with his guess of $96.50, you have to come in below the actual price to win soooo no winners today. Michael's suggestion to try "Price Is Right" strategy would have served somebody well, but nobody tried lowballing with a figure like $80. I might try this contest (or something similar) again next week. In the meantime, Masiguy has a guess the number of socks contest going on at Masi Guy right now.

The Stanford bike photos are courtesy Budi Waskita and used with his kind permission.

Bike POLITE jackets and shirts

According to Carlton Reid in the UK, bike patrol officers are given a wide berth by motorists when using police bikes, wearing police kit, but as soon as they change back into street clothes they go back to being targets again. Not that anybody advocates impersonating a police officer, but what if you could look something like a cop?

Carlton has created a series of POLITE shirts and jackets that can be purchased on Spreadshirt, which is a European version of Cafe Press. The black jacket shown above is a thin polyester training jacket with cotton liner. He's also made a long sleeve t-shirt available with "POLITE" on the back and "ONE LESS CAR" on the front.

I often ride a plain black bike equipped with a rear rack and rack trunk that looks just like a police bike. When I wear black pants, black shoes and a black jacket, I've heard pedestrians make remarks about "%*#! pigs on bikes" as a ride by.

Learn more at Quickrelease.TV. Spreadshirt, unfortunately, does not ship outside of Europe. Given that the US Dollar has lost 40% of its value against the UK pound and Euro this year, Americans can't afford anything from Europe anyway.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Free bike lights for Stanford students

Neil and his Schwinn Suburban The Stanford student government passed out 200 bicycle lights and Jamba Juice smoothies yesterday during the inaugural day of the three day ASSU bike light extravaganza. The giveaway continued today and will be repeated tomorrow at noon.

This is a safety initiative from the Associated Students of Stanford University, aka ASSU, which is the student government on campus. The Stanford Police Department really seems to be cracking down on people who ride their bikes at night without lights this year, so the student government arranged this light extravaganza with help from Stanford's Parking & Transportation Services.

Stanford P&TS also has a promotion now where you receive a $10 certificate to campus dining if somebody from P&TS spots you riding a bicycle while wearing a helmet.

Thank you to Jeremy W @ Stanford for this news and Jonathan Kass for the additional details. Jonathan is the Student Life, Housing, and Education Committee Chair of the undergraduate Senate at Stanford.

Other bicycle news

Scott @ Civia Cycles has a cool idea: Bike Friendly Stickers to mark residences and other places that are friendly to cyclists. The inspiration occurred when Scott flatted without tools and walked until he found a co-worker at his home. The Civia Bike Friendly sticker can put put on your house or business to show passing cyclists that your place is an oasis where cyclists can get help with tools, repairs, a lift or a place to rest. Read here for ordering details.

The U.S. National Safe Routes to School Task Force will meet in Washington, DC on November 15 & 16, 2007. Public comment is scheduled for November 15 at 2:45 p.m.

Sue posted a bicycle haiku. Remember, if you post a bicycle haiku and I run across it, I'll link to it. NOTE: My blog reading lately has been way off, so to ensure I see your poetry in a timely manner you should link to Cyclelicious in a way that Technorati can find it. If you don't know what that means, you can also just leave a comment linking to your poetry.

REMEMBER TO POST YOUR OIL PRICE GUESS! You can't win if you don't guess a price. You only have a few more hours before I close the contest.

Photo by me. Neil bought his rusty Schwinn Suburban at a garage sale in Santa Cruz for $5. It's a rust bucket but the wheels seemed true, it cruised reasonably quietly and the 3 speed shifter and brakes all work! What a bargain!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

One literally HOT bike!

As the person who built this fire-breathing bike wrote, this is major "Hold my beer and watch this" action here. Don't try this at home! Do it in an empty parking lot instead. By remote control.

Here's video of this bike in action. This might be useful for the bike commuters out there.

Thanks to CycleDog who pointed this out to me at Urban Velo. See more photos of this bike at Bike Forums.

Contest: Guess the price of crude

Update: Comments are now closed! I hope to announce the winner this evening.

Guess what the futures price of NYMEX Light Sweet Crude Oil will be when the markets close on Friday, November 9 and you could win a $10 gift card in this contest!

The New York Mercantile Exchange is where oil futures contracts are traded in the United States; it's these prices which have been making the news over the past couple of weeks as crude for December delivery approaches $100 per barrel. The person who guesses the closest per barrel NYMEX price (as reported on when the markets close on Friday wins a $10 gift card.

BONUS PRIZE: The individual with a website you directs the most traffic to this article (as tracked by Google Analytics) also wins a $10 gift certificate. I must be able to figure out who you are and your email address. Because I'm using Google Analytics to track the inbound links, you must post the "permalink" address of this article to a website, which means spamming your friends with email won't work. If there's a tie, winner is determined by random drawing. The permalink address is
First, read this to get a handle on where prices might be headed. Then read the rules, then make your guess. If the price busts through $100 per barrel any time this week, I will double the prize, even if the price later retreats.

1. Only U.S. and Canadian residents are eligible. Entries must be received through comments on this . You must provide a valid email address, either through your profile, your web page that you link to in your comment, or by contacting me directly before I announce the winner this weekend. If you have a contact form through which I can get an email address, that's good too.

2. The prize will be a $10 electronic gift card sent via email from If there are technical problems in commenting, receiving email or sending email, that's your problem.

3. The person who comes closest to guessing the Friday closing NYMEX Light Sweet Crude futures price without going above the price wins. If two people guess the identical price, the first guesser wins. ONLY ONE ENTRY PER INDIVIDUAL. MULTIPLE ENTRIES MAY INVALIDATE ALL OF YOU ENTRIES. That means if you guess $98.30 tonight, then you see the price dive below $80 on Thursday and change your mind, you're stuck with your original guess.

4. When I close comments on this post Thursday night or Friday morning, no more entries will be accepted.

I may make this a regular feature, though I'll probably change things around to stuff like "Guess the U.S. average gas price" and so forth, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pearl Izumi's got anticar religion

Has anybody else noticed Pearl Izumi's recent anti-car fervor? I present two items of evidence. Exhibit 1 is their "PETROLEUM: Satan's Energy Drink" at their Interbike booth last September, complete with "$6.66" for the price of gas. You can't see it in this photo, but "Satan's Energy Drink" is in huge letters at the bottom of the gas pump.

666 Satan's Energy Drink

Exhibit 2 is a Pearl Izumi poster in a recent issue of Road magazine. Most people possibly didn't notice it because the flip side is a pinup featuring a scantily clad woman that I definitely would not be permitted to hang in my harassment-free work place, but one side features a pile of crushed cars with "AMEN" in huge bold letters.

Pearl Izumi gets anti-car religion

I like the marketing, but it just seems odd to me. I don't perceive Pearl Izumi's target market to be the car-free crowd. They sell excellent technical cycling gear (of which I own and use several items), but the typical "cars r coffins" folks generally wear street clothes, while somebody wearing a pair of $200 Pearl Izumi bibs, $180 PI Octane jersey, $20 PI microsensor skullcap, $25 arm warmers and leg warmers and $50 PI gloves probably is also the demographic for all of them SUV ads in Bicycling magazine.

My perception: A company like Clif, which has a history of corporate responsibility and involvement, has a genuine message. I could be wrong, but Pearl Izumi's campaign strikes me as somebody who's jumping in on a fad and doing "green" marketing because it's the in thing.

Monday, November 5, 2007


Jason @ Rocbike interviews Bike Snob NYC and posts it in his 22 minute Rocbike Review podcast. I didn't use any of his wonderful similes and euphemisms in the interview, but it's still a good listen. "We ride bikes for fun and we read about bikes for fun."

Jason also interviewed The Fat Cyclist but I haven't had a chance to listen to that yet.

I also owe Danielo a link for his 2007 Halfbakery Baiku Olympics.

Citizen Rider writes about geeking out over transportation cycling. "When I left racing behind I took that intensity into transportation," he writes. "One commenter said that he got as excited over lighting systems and other practical componentry as he had over go-fast racing equipment. It's true."

Adam write how TerraPass turned him into a bike commuter.

Peter McKay gives his harrowing tale of getting shot on his bike commute in Seattle. Apparently, thugs are shooting BBs with .22 handguns and randomly shooting people. I'm researching on article right now on personal safety while cycling and have some feedback already from a local police officer. I hate random violence.

Folk cycling

"Folk cycling" is the antithesis of "vehicular cycling." While vehicular cycling is the practice of bicycling in a visible and predictable manner in accordance with the principles of driving any other vehicle on the road, most cyclists don't believe the rules of the road apply to them. They either don't care about the law, don't think of themselves operating a vehicle or (most likely) don't even think about of this stuff.

Wrong way cyclist on Folsom, Boulder Colorado With the increased popularity of cycling for transportation in France, somebody has published their Outlaw cycling manifesto in which they affirm the right to run red lights and ride the wrong way "for my own safety." Alex @ Streetsblog at least acknowledges that he does all this for convenience sake in his proposal to loosen up traffic regulations for New York cyclists. He notes that traffic engineering and rules and laws became a requirement after automobiles made streets substantially more dangerous for other road users. Several commentators in the discussion following note, of course, that outlaw cyclists often make conditions dangerous for the other large group of road users -- pedestrians.

Speaking of laws, CycleDog posted some good commentary on American Lawbreaking is it relates to traffic law enforcement and bicyclists. He notes that the concerns of cyclists on the road can vary widely from that of motorists. It's good stuff: go read it.

Photo: Wrong way cyclist in the bike lane on Folsom, Boulder, Colorado. Photo by me.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Car R Coffins

Here's the scene today on State Highway 99 near Fresno, California.

More than 100 vehicles, including 18 semitrucks, were involved in this chain reaction pileup that claimed two lives among the dozens who were injured. More in the San Francisco Chronicle. Autumn fog in the Central Valley often leads to spectacularly huge pileups like this one.

Daylight savings ends Sunday

To cyclists, that means another hour for riding in the mornings as well as an excuse to write another bike haiku like Frank did. :-)

Here's a picture from what I did yesterday. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is about a 10 minute bike ride from my front door. In the photo I'm fording across the San Lorenzo River. From there I rode uphill into Santa Cruz Pogonip Park, onto the U-Conn Trail, and then I did a couple of loops through UCSC forest trails before zooming downhill into the city of Santa Cruz where I caught a bus back home. The weather was beautiful -- sunny and with a high of nearly 80°F in November! Like Jason wrote, "Being a cyclist means hating global warming … but liking it warm. Oh, the humanity!"

Mountain bike fording the San Lorenzo River

The bike is an old low-end GT mountain bike that's now about ten years old but still going strong.

Mountain bike tip of the day: When you hop over a 12 inch log, watch your landing zone for large obstructions! If you don't, you might face plant like I did -- that's dirt from the trail on my face after I shoveled straight in just like Steve Austin's experimental spaceplane shoveled into the runway in the Six Million Dollar Man.

Friday, November 2, 2007

DIY Rainlegs

I think many cyclists are familiar with Rainlegs, which are lightweight water and wind resistant panels that cover the thighs to keep your pants dry in the rain. For cyclists, they're perfect adjuncts to fenders.

"khyungyokpo" in Seattle gives his step-by-step instructions for Ghetto-style rainlegs made from a $16 pair of rubberized rainpants in this Flickr photoset.

Props to Bike Hugger, who has some extra notes and tips from the ghetto rainlegs designer himself.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Natural disasters are good for search engine results

The cooling weather means fewer people are reading bicycle blogs in the Northern Hemisphere, so traffic has dropped off significantly here at Cyclelicious. I've discovered that a local disaster does wonders for website traffic, though. It even earned me a link from a high ranking website (and thanks for that, Jordan!).

I posted a note about the San Jose Earthquake within minutes of the quake. That evening, my unique visitor count tripled from my previous day's count. I suppose I could write something either profound or sophomoric on our need to connect with other human beings in a dramatic shared experience and how Web 2.0 enables this human interaction in powerful new ways, but I'm just a computer nerd who likes to ride a bicycle.

The technology of the web held up just fine in Silicon Valley. My cellphone didn't work, but Twitter, Flickr, Blogger and the World Wide Web in general all stayed up and running, along with my Internet phone service. The Internet is descended from "ARPANET", a U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency project. While the Internet would not survive a world-ending nuclear exchange, it hummed along with nary a hiccup during the quake in the heart of Silicon Valley. It helped, of course, that damage was limited to falling merchandise and hundreds of thousands of library books.

While I'm talking web stats, Alta Bikes is still in my top ten . Kirsten Gum remains a favorite at number four on the list; there's quite a bit of interest in the Chanel bicycle; and more than a few people are still looking at Interbike 2007 information.

Autumn bike haiku

Expressing the feelings and observations of the seasons is one of the hallmark characteristics of haiku. In his Halloween bike haiku, Jason perfectly captures the feeling of his blissfull night ride on a perfect autumn evening.

Remember, if you post a bicycle haiku and I find it, I'll link to it from Cyclelicious.

Lance Armstrong and Ashley Olsen

After four years of dating older women, 36 year old Lance Armstrong apparently likes 'em young now. Shortly after his breakup with fashion designer Tory Burch, Armstrong has been seen in the company of tiny 21 year old twin Ashley Olsen. The New York Post reports that "Armstrong was seen 'making out' with the tiny actress perched on his lap."

Until I saw this news, I still thought the Olsen twins were like 12 years old.

Props to Michael for the heads up. Hey, what happened to your blog?