Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Surge in Bicyclists Appears to Be Waiting

N.Y. Times:
Big increases in business this year led some shop owners to think that they were largely insulated from a slowing economy. But the economy has continued to spiral downward, taking bicycle sales and much else with it. The question now is whether all the bicyclists who appeared last summer will be back next summer.

I think that the editor who wrote the headline meant that sales are waning, not waiting. The A-Team at the Times editorial desk must already be out celebrating the New Year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New laws for 2009


While talking on cellphones is already illegal in California, a new law makes any text-based communication while driving illegal.

A new zero tolerance standard for DUI allows the DMV to administratively suspend drivers licenses for one year. The new law also allows law enforcement agents to immediately impound vehicles of those caught with a BAC of 0.01% if they're driving on post-DUI probation.

The state's definition of a motorcycle will be modified so that fully enclosed 3 wheeled motor vehicles can use HOV lanes.

It will also be illegal after the New Year to "forge, counterfeit, or falsify a Clean Air Sticker," which are the yellow stickers allowing low emission vehicles to use the HOV lanes.

If you forget to get your car smogged and ask for a temporary permit, it'll now cost you $50.


New medical coverage requirements for auto insurance. Your insurance agent must receive an 'opt out' notice from you if you don't want the increased coverage.


The "judicial driving permit" -- a special permit for DUI offenders with suspended license to get to work -- will be replaced with a "Monitoring Device Driving Permit," which allows drunks to drive if they agree to have a breath alcohol ignition interlock installed on their car.

New Hampshire.

A Three Foot Passing Law becomes effective.


If you know of other laws, please feel free to post details or a link in the comments below. If you leave a helpful link I'll try to promote that link into this article.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

League of American Bicyclists finances look a bit shaky

Charity Navigator is a well-known evaluator of non-profit and charitable organizations. Charity Navigator's evaluation of the League of American Bicyclists indicates that the organization's finances are a bit shaky. While the League gets 3 out of 4 stars for "Organizational Efficiency," its "Capacity Rating" is only 1 out of 4 because revenue is shrinking while expenses are essentially flat. The data on the Charity Navigator website are from 2006, so LAB's financial state may have improved since then. Unfortunately the latest Annual Report published on LAB's website is also from 2006, which in itself is a bit worrisome!

The League is currently holding elections for Board Members. Our California representative in Region 6 is Amanda Eichstaedt, whose candidate statement in the paper American Bicyclist speaks of efforts to "tighten up the procedures and day to day operating guidelines for the organization." Board Member Eichstaedt sounds like she's aware of management problems and is working to sort them out. Certainly the passage of the Bicycle Commuter Act made 2008 overall a successful year for the League.

Sour economy hits utility bicycle manufacturer

From N.Y. Times on Sunday 12/28:

Wayne Sosin is the president of Worksman Cycles in Ozone Park, Queens, a 110-year-old shop that produces heavy-duty bicycles and tricycles used in warehouses and factories. In October, a manager at the company was worried about rising costs, but confident that sales would remain strong. But orders from automakers and their suppliers have “basically dried up to nothing.”

Friday, December 26, 2008

Gone riding....

I'll see you before the New Year sometime. See you then!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the night before Christmas...

We have a couple of Christmas Eve family traditions in our household. They're nothing special, it's just part of the routine of what we do and who we are.

The first tradition is we always eat Mexican food on Christmas Eve. Tonight, I'm making tacos.

The other tradition is a reading of the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke, which is the traditional "Christmas story" chapter in the Christian Bible.

I'll do my best to stay off of the computer for the rest of the week. We'll visit some friends and family down in Southern California, but otherwise we plan to keep things quiet and simple. Thank you all so much for following Cyclelicious, and I look forward to meeting more of you in 2009.

In case you don't know about it yet, NORAD Tracks Santa is on Twitter.

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus
1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

A Cyclist's Christmas Story

Flahute republishes Kent Peterson's Christmas (almost) classic. My son asked for a fixed gear bike last year when he was 12 -- I told him they're too dangerous. He got a mountain bike instead.

From Bike Hacks, a Holiday Bicycle Spirit.

Everybody is linking to this article about the upcoming economic stimulus slush fund.

Have a Merry Christmas, all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bike World News for your 2009 racing coverage

Bookmark and subscribe to Bike World News for the 2009 bicycle racing season. From January's Tour Down Under through October's Tour of Lombardy and beyond, Bike World News, home of "All The News That Sprints", delivers timely and accurate reporting of race results, products being used by the pros, team rosters and transfers, scandals and more. Bike World News distills cycling news from all over the world into a single, comprehensive and convenient resource for bicycle racing enthusiasts.

Along the way, Bike World News serves up fitness and nutrition news, "News of the Wheeled" (bicycle culture), techniques to keep bikes in tip-top shape, alerts of the latest bikes and components, and much more. The site is looking for additional contributors, so watch for expanded track, cyclocross and mountain biking coverage in the upcoming year as well.

See Bike World News.

Jeremiah and Don drag 500 pounds of groceries by bike

These guys pulled 500 pounds of donated groceries by bike to the San Francisco Food Bank in the San Francisco Supermarket Street Sweep.

Video by Jonathan Koshi.

Monday, December 22, 2008

UPS delivery bike video

UPS Delivery By Bike Salem Oregon from nwduffer on Vimeo.

Via Bike Portland.

Bicycle jobs

Atlanta, GA: School outreach coordinator. This one looks interesting!

Austin, TX: Charity ride executive directory. Also, Fallbrook Technlogies (the NuVinci drive company) is hiring.

Boston: Bike messenger and Bike cop.

Chicago: Video production for a "green" business.

Dallas: One of the "key duties" for this Insurance Sales Producer is "Bicycle Safety."

Boulder: VeloNews is hiring a technical editor, building on the work of Lennard Zinn and Matt Pacocha.

Santa Cruz: Senior Design Engineer.

San Francisco: Sales Director for Timbuk2; Production Coordinator for a charity ride; Field Traffic Data Technician for Alameda County; "Fit Professor" for Specialized in Morgan Hill.

Philly to DC Obama Inauguration Bicycle Ride

The Philly Velo Club is planning a 140 mile bicycle ride to Washington DC for the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, with plans to arrive in time for the inauguration. Watch the Facebook event page for details.

Boulder Velodrome Grand Opening is NOW on January 2. Watch video of the track in use. More info.

Joe Dombrowski Euro Cross Camp Diary. Joe is a junior attending the Euro Cross camp.

Gas prices go down, SUV sales go up. If you're trying to unload your gas guzzling truck, now's the time to sell. Via.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Help wanted: NAHBS coverage

The 2009 North American Handmade Bicycle Show happens next February 27 to March 1 next year in Indianapolis. This is a fantastic opportunity for those of you in the Midwest to see some truly outstanding bike stuff.

Admission is $35 for all three days. I'm looking for one or two people who are willing to report on the show and post lots of good photos to Cyclelicious in a timely fashion for me. In exchange, all I can offer to you is a Media Pass and the chance to attend a really great show and meet some cool people. Depending on my finances at the time, I may be able to throw a few dollars your way for expenses, but no promises, and if you have your own blog you can link to it. Ideally, I'm looking for somebody local to the area and who plans to attend this show anyway.

I'm looking for people with a passion for all things cycling and who knows bikes -- you should be able to identify on sight unique, historical, brand new, and otherwise interesting bikes, bike parts, and bike design. You should know at least the larger names in handmade bikes, and in depth knowledge in at least one area of cycling (e.g. road cycling, utilitarian transportation, mountain biking, track cycling, urban cycling). You need to know how to ask the right questions of the builders. You'll be expected to cover social rides and after hours events. Bonus points if you know some of the people in the bike trade who will be there (...and if you don't know anybody, you'll certainly meet them at NAHBS).

Ideally, I'd like to send two people: one writer who can also take quick snapshots and maybe a short video, and one photographer for the money shots. Both must be able to work well with the other, and both must have a computer and the ability to connect easily to the Internet while on the run. You should understand that carrying 20 pounds of computing and camera gear across a show floor all day gets to be tiring after three days, which is where it helps to know somebody in the business (they'll let you stash your gear in their booth if you ask nicely).

I'll want daily (or more) updates to Cyclelicious and wherever you post photos. The photographer needs to have a decent lens on your camera and should be a better photographer than I generally am (which isn't too high a hurdle, I think).

What's in it for you? In return for your three days of bike heaven on my behalf, I'll give you insider's access to the show, access to some of the people, and a daily audience for your work of around 3,000 people. NAHBS is the place to see what's coming. You retain ownership of your writing and photography.

If you're interested in writing or photographing NAHBS 2009 in Indianapolis for Cyclelicious, please shoot me an email with your qualifications and your phone number so I can talk with you. Nothing fancy like a resume is needed, just links to your writing or photography. If you're somebody I know, you're probably already in ;-) I hope to have somebody selected by the end of January.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bike thefts increasing in Palo Alto

With Stanford University and high school and middle school students, bicycles are lost or stolen nearly every day in Palo Alto, said agent Dan Ryan. However, there has been a spike in the thefts of the expensive bikes.

A total of 31 bicycles, each worth $1,000 or more, have been stolen from June through last week, Ryan said. Nine of the 31 bikes were worth between $4,000 and $10,000
Read more.

Hey Sioux Geonz, look what I found

I got a Safe Turn review unit and promptly lost it. We moved after Thanksgiving, we're empty boxes and look what showed up! I finally found the Safe Turn bicycle turn signal.

Safe Turn bicycle turn signal

The yellow flashing LED is mounted to a wrist band that you slip onto your wrist. A position sensor detects when you lift your arm to signal a turn to activate the flashing amber LED.

It's a clever idea and it works well. The position sensor is adjustable. You turn the light on and off by pressing the top of the lens down, and a activation delay ensures random hand motions won't set the blinker on. It's almost magical how well it works. The designers obviously put a lot of thought and testing into the design of the Safe Turn turn signal light.

Drawbacks: the light isn't bright for daylight use. The LED is powered by a pair of LR44 button cells that are not available as rechargeable batteries, though given the size constraints I'm not sure there's a good solution to that problem. Since I'm a multimodal commuter, I throw everything into my bag when I'm not riding, resulting in the lamp getting turned on and off all the time, which means I drained the batteries in about a week of riding. A friend of mine with a similar commute just leaves the Safe Turn light on his wrist for his entire trip to avoid that problem.

There's a USA distributor, but the easiest way to get this light is directly from the manufacturer which accepts PayPal and ships internationally. About $19 plus shipping, order fulfillment is very quick. for more information and to buy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Velo Girls Named USA Cycling Club of the Year!

Read about it here.

Velo Girls founder Lorri Lee Lown was also recently elected to the board of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. Congratulations to Lorri Lee for both of those achievements.

More at Bay Area Velo Girls.

Flagged for best of Craigslist

I flagged this post for best of Craigslist:
TRADE Live Crab for Bike

I fish crab like the one in the picture. 2-3+ pound each. They are Alive. NOT DEAD so they are very fresh. I want to trade some of them for that old broken flat tired bike that sits in your garage. Or that bike you never ride. I can only do this tomorrow since the crab is LIVE and I deliver it to you so we can trade. I will deliver anyplace between downtown San Jose and Half Moon Bay off freeway 280. Email me a phone number and I will call you. Or at least email me what kind of bike you have. I promise this will be a good trade. No money trading at all. Thanks.
Tip of the Santa hat to Carrie.

Other fun stuff seen on the Interwebs:

"Manhattan Bicycles" by Pabo.

Riding Pretty: Classic and vintage in fashion.

Norcal: Sweet Electric Folding Bikes.

Norcal: Amazing cardboard bicycles.

Wend Magazine: Warm Showers list for touring cyclists.

Holier than you and The Reptilian Brain. "What is more scary - sharing a BART car with an inflamed acne scratcher, or sharing the Bay Bridge at 65 MPH with hundreds of drunks."

WebCPA: Documenting bicycle expenses? Via.

Jim Langley: Pedal Museum video.

Jim Langley: Bicycle Gift Ideas.

Jim Langley: Fixie chain length calculator.

Bikes & The City: Calendar Eye Candy.

Bikescape: Sunday Street San Francisco.

Fredcast: Bikes for Goodness Sake.

Carlton involved in Road Rage incident.

Narcissistic: Make the memories last, because the gifts will not.

Sioux in Champaign thinks this recipe should go viral.

LaHood announced as Obama's pick for Transportation Secretary

Obama on LaHood: "He’s created opportunities for bikers and runners to enjoy our great outdoors."

President Elect Barack Obama announced his picks for Trade, Labor, Transportation and Small Business posts for his administration at a press conference this afternoon.

Of primary interest to readers of this site is the selection of Congressman Ray LaHood from Peoria, Illinois as his Secretary of Transportation. Obama highlighted LaHood's six years on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and his efforts to modernize and upgrade the commercial aviation system. He also noted LaHood's efforts to improve mass transit and "beautify" the public landscape so "bikers and runners to enjoy our great outdoors."

At the press conference, LaHood focused on his work improving the highway infrastructure in Illinois and his plans for the rest of the nation. "We cannot stand by our infrastructure ages and crumbles," said LaHood. "We must pursue solid policies that allow our states and communities to address their transportation needs. We have a tremendous opportunity before us to rebuild our infrastructure and reinvigorate our economy, and I look forward to the challenge."

As he listed the areas of public infrastructure that need attention, LaHood noted public transportation before mentioning the highways. "As a nation, we need to continue to be the world leader in infrastructure development, Amtrak, mass transit, light rail, air travel, and our roads and bridges all play a vital role in our economy and our well-being as a nation."

Obama made it very clear that LaHood and the Department of Transportation would be play a key role in any kind of economic recovery plan for the nation. An economic stimulus package "is going to cost a significant amount of money on the front end," said Obama. "What we want to do is make sure that in spending that money to help jump-start the economy and put 2.5 million people back to work, that we are also looking at the long term. And that’s where Ray LaHood , myself, and others on the economic team are going to be changing how business is done in Washington."

Obama also praised today's $17.4 Billion bailout of the auto industry by the Bush Administration.

Here comes Santa Claus...

Santa was seen in San Luis Obispo warming up for next week's world tour:

Photo used with permission. Read more about Santa's adventures at the SLO Santa blog.

If you still need gift ideas for the cyclist in your family, read or listen to the latest edition of The Spokesmen. If you're a clueless male like me who needs ideas for the ladies, read Girls Meets Bike gift ideas.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rock Racing rumors

Rock Racing still has "Here to Stay" on their website, but rumors are floating around that Rock Racing is no more.

Earlier rumors from "reliable sources" indicated Rock Racing planned to disband and layoff all staff and team members this week. Others indicated that there were "some" layoffs at Rock Racing and from Rock and Republic, but the team would remain, but more recent rumors that I'm more than happy to pass along say the team is gone. Film at 11.

Family portraits

A brief personal note: The Fritz Family had family portraits taken a few weeks ago. And of course, Mrs Fritz and I brought bikes with us!

You can view the whole set of photos here at SmugMug. The photographer is my friend Sam Hassas with whom I go to church.

Amgen Tour of California announces first eight teams

Lance Armstrong and Team Astana participation confirmed.

The 2009 Amgen Tour of California roster includes the following eight ProTour professional cycling teams: Ag2r-La Mondiale (FRA), Astana (LUX), Garmin-Slipstream (USA), Liquigas (ITA), Quick Step (BEL), Rabobank (Netherlands), Team Columbia (USA), Team Saxo Bank (DEN).

Split between teams who compete on the UCI ProTour and those who race predominately in the United States, the field of athletes competing in the 2009 Amgen tour of California will be one of the most diverse, accomplished groups of cyclists ever assembled for a stage race in the U.S. The full list of teams will be announced in January, with final rosters due in February.

“We have a great roster of top athletes, and the Amgen Tour of California delivers a great stage on which to perform,” said Bob Stapleton, owner, Team Columbia. “The Amgen Tour of California is great for the sport of cycling in the U.S. and great for the sport overall.”

Several of the ProTour professional cycling teams will hold their pre-season training camps in California, which will give residents throughout the state an opportunity to watch these elite athletes prepare for the top professional cycling race in the United States.

Personal note: Cyclelicious has been approved for media credentials for the Amgen Tour of California, and a couple of us were talking about an AToC Norcal blogger meetup somewhere.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ray LaHood as Secretary of Transportation?

Retiring representative Ray LaHood from Illinois has apparently been chosen as Barack Obama's Secretary of Transportation. So far, transit advocates are less than thrilled with this pick. What are your thoughts on Obama's apparent selection of Ray LaHood as Transportation Secretary?

WD-40 and bicycle chains

Simon Rakower owns All Weather Sports in Fairbanks, Alaska, where he's an expert in winter cycling and winter bike maintenance.

WD-40 is his shop's secret weapon: "We greedy, ruthless bike shop folk love WD-40 because it lets us sell more chains and cassettes and MAKE MORE MONEY!"

Support your Local Bike Shop and their mechanics: Use WD-40 on your bike chain.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bicycle blog

Vote for Bostonian of the year. Each year, Boston Globe Magazine selects "Bostonian of the Year." One of the nominees is Boston's Bike Planner (and former Olympic cyclist) Nicole Freedman. I don't know if your vote counts or not, but cast your ballot for Nicole here.

Vote for Change. Several people have submitted their ideas for Change with the new administration. Support Bicycling For Transportation. While you're at it, contact your state department of transportation -- several states are submitting their proposals for projects for the anticipated economic stimulus package, and the projects are very heavy on new highway projects in spite of a decline in driving in America. Bicycle Colorado, for example, will submit a list of bike projects that they want funding for.

The Bike Burrito. Russ Roca has started a new project: The Bike Burrito. It's a nifty little rollup saddle bag that would make a nice gift for the cyclists in your family.

Tort reform video. Some of you might remember the story of Dr. Alexander Dlugi. He's the guy who was riding his bicycle when he crashed into an 11 year old girl and sued the girl (he lost the suit). His suit and the family he sued are featured in this video promoting tort reform.

NAHBS and Advocacy. The Thunderhead Alliance and Indiana Bicycle Coalition have arranged a session at the 2009 North American Handmade Bicycle Show where city planners can meet with cycling advocates. The 2009 NAHBS takes place February 27 through March 1 in Indianapolis.

schadenfreude. The Rock Racing Club Team. And maybe not here to stay?

Death and ... The case for higher gas tax and lower income tax.

Tour de France. What will German broadcasters do?

Road Bike Review. Twain Mein rides outside in the winter!

Happy nine days before Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Official Cyclelicious Christmas Buying Guide

It's pretty simple: Buy your kid a bike, fer crying out loud.

If your kid has a bike, then you're already done.

If you don't have a kid, buy a bike for somebody else's kid.

For your significant other who's into bikes if you don't do bikes...

If you don't know bikes but you're hunting for gifts for the bicyclist in your family, consider these gifts:
  • A gift membership in your local or regional or national cycling advocacy organization. In the United States, that would be the League of American Bicyclists. Google for "[your city] bicycle advocacy" for the advocacy group in your area for local options.
  • I like Momentum Magazine. Your friends will too.
  • ZPG stickers and patches from Zero Per Gallon make for fun stocking stuffers.
  • Books are always good. For the cycling advocate, I recommend Tom Vanderbilt's Traffic. For all cyclists, Bob Mionske's Bicycling and the Law is a must read.
  • Action Wipes are another good stocking stuffer.
  • We already know this, I think, but now research shows that "experiential" gifts are more satisfying than material gifts. We loose interest in material things, which is why keeping up with the Jones (buying a bigger house, getting nicer car or even *gasp* a better bike) is such a loosing proposition. So a good gift would be an experience: time and activities with your loved ones. Go on an extended bike tour, or even just a short, casual bike ride. Go on a simple vacation that concentrates on time with the family.
  • Finally, and most important IMHO: Peace and goodwill to all.
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season, all.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bicycle commuting and international business travel

Rented Kona Ute at Bristol terminus of Bristol & Bath Railway Path

On a recent business trip to Bristol, U.K., I decided to stay in the city center and bicycle-commute to the company site on the city outskirts. Local co-workers direly predicted that I would be instantly killed by hostile drivers, demonstrating if nothing else that beliefs of car commuters about cycling transcend international boundaries.

Rob Bushill delivers the Kona Ute to my hotel

Scanning the pages of the wonderful British publication Velo Vision, I saw the advertisment from Really Useful Bikes. I contacted proprietor Rob Bushill, who also runs a dairy and hot tub business, and he agreed to drop off a Kona Ute at my hotel. I flatted out almost right away on the first ride, but Rob graciously returned to the hotel and fixed the tire for me (he hadn't left me any tools previously).

As with so many old cities, Bristol's center city has a truly labyrinthine network of streets. Fortunately the Bristol & Bath Railway Path runs from downtown Bristol all the way to Bath, 13 miles away. I was able to take the Path out into the countryside, where I navigated a much simpler set of rural roads to take me to the workplace. The ride was a lot of fun, and since the weather was cold, I didn't have to worry about getting sweated up. I was pleased to see hundreds of other cyclists commuting on the path even on rainy days.

The Kona Ute is quite heavy and has appropriately low gearing. As a roadie who is used to clipping into pedals and hauling on drop bars, I was taken aback at how difficult riding rollers with an upright posture and flat pedals proved to be. Overall, bicycle commuting in Bristol was surprisingly easy, with drivers showing exceptional courtesy despite the many episodes of clueless behavior I exhibited. Best of all, Megacorp approved my request for reimbursement for the bicycle rental without a quibble, as they should have given how much money I saved over renting a car an buying gas. Thanks again to Rob Bushill for his great customer service!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Occasional bicycle comics

Enjoy "The System" by Rosscott, Inc:
Important news: San Francisco girls apparently really dig guys who ride bicycles.

Say Hi to my buddy Mark here. He lives in Santa Cruz but sometimes hangs out in the Bay Area.

Mark and his bike

Dr. Christopher Thompson: "Those cyclists had it coming!"

Update Nov. 2 2009: Dr. Christopher Thompson tried and convicted of all seven counts against him.

Thompson to be arraigned in Mandeville Canyon Road Rage case

Last summer, Dr. Christopher Thompson was arrested for assaulting cyclists with his car on Mandeville Canyon Road in Los Angeles.

In a preliminary hearing yesterday, a police officer testified that Dr. Thompson told him immediately after the accident that Thompson lived on the road and that we was tired of cyclists using "his" road, so he slammed on the brakes "to teach them a lesson." Two cyclists, Ron Peterson and Christian Stoehr, were injured when they couldn't avoid hitting Thompson's car.

LAist has an excellent overview of the hearing, including video of Thompson leaving the courthouse.

VTA says BART only, and forget about the rest of the South Bay

Caltrain #329 San Jose Diridon Station
Remember about six weeks ago whenI wrote this?
VTA will divert funding from Caltrain and their existing transit services to pay for service to Fremont from San Jose.
Well guess what? I told you so.
"It's clear we can't see the BART project getting money if we're spending our local money on other projects," said VTA General Manager Michael Burns. "That just doesn't add up."

I also wrote: "The sales tax revenue projections will be off by as much as 50%." And gee, look what the VTA board learned last night:
There's not enough cash to build the $6.1 billion BART extension along with the more than a dozen projects approved by voters eight years ago. That half-cent sales tax may produce $2 billion less than originally forecast.
What is VTA specifically talking about cutting right now?
  • Caltrain electrification.
  • Light rail expansion.
  • Express buses.
  • An airport people mover.
And I think we can expect more cuts as VTA looks realistically at their finances, just like SamTrans was forced to do after their regrettable involvement with BART: I foresee less frequent bus service, a cut in weekend service, even entire lines getting cut.

What especially angers me is Michael Burns's ridiculous statement that Santa Clara County voters overwhelmingly and consistently say they want BART in the South Bay: "Given that voters have endorsed BART not once, but twice," says Burns, "from the staff's perspective the priority is clear and that priority is BART." The people certainly voted for BART, but they likely did not understand that a vote for BART was a vote against every other South Bay transit system. And the first vote in 1996 was not specifically for BART, but for VTA funding in general.

Read the entire article here. Sorry about the negativity on a Friday, but I'm truly angered after reading about VTA's BART planning meeting. I'll try to post something a little more positive later today.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas party conflicts...

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition Winter Bash happens tonight (6 PM to 9 PM, Old Adobe Building, Mountain View, California; free for members, $25 entry for non-members includes 1 year membership). For the third year in a row as an SVBC member, I have to skip this party -- this year, there's a Christmas party at my wife's university, and Mrs Fritz's happiness trumps measly bike fun.

The Old Adobe Building is located conveniently near the Castro Street Caltrain station, and a good time will be had by all.

Los Altos Hills "No Bikes" update

Town to remove bike prohibition from El Monte Road

Two weeks ago, the Los Altos Hills city council directed Public Works Director Richard Chiu to paint "No Bikes" stenciling on El Monte Road, a popular road cycling route.

In California, local authorities are prohibited from banning cyclists from local roads such as El Monte Road. Cyclists responded by writing letters to the Los Altos Hills city council, the public works director and local newspapers. Long time cyclist advocate Bob Shanteau provided a lot of the legal ammunition and schooled the town's lawyer on the finer points of the California Vehicle Code, while the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition informed the city of the potential for road rage from motorists misinformed by the signage.

After this tremendous response, Los Altos Hills called 'Uncle!' and removed the "No Bikes" signs. From Los Altos Hills Public Works Director Richard Chiu:
The pavement marking was originally installed to encourage bicyclists to use the new pathway through the college. It was brought to our attention that some drivers may act more aggressively towards bicyclist with the markings in place. The Town wants to encourage various modes of transportation and does not want to do anything that would result in more drivers behaving badly. As a result, the Town has temporarily covered the markings and made arrangement to have it permanently removed by early next week.

Photo: Amanda Aaronson.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bicycle apartments

Jonathan Maus pointed out the bicycle amenities added to a condo conversion in Portland, OR that advertises "Central Bicycle Storage Room with Direct Outside Access."

That reminded me of The Bicycle Apartments in Bloomington, Indiana that I mentioned a couple of years ago. They still seem to market themselves as "a new kind of apartment concept" with units that are "specially designed to accommodate those people who do not own a motorized vehicle. Bicycles will be provided at the request of any adult resident."

I pay extra for a garage that I use as a storage unit and parking for the (currently) 11 bikes in my family (that number includes two review units, my son's old bike that I need to sell or give away, and my broken Centurion).

If you live in an apartment or other smaller development, what kind of bike storage and access features do you have?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Albany Bulb rebar bike

Beating Craig Calfee and Alex Moulton to the punch, the hermit who lives at the end of the Albany Bulb has chosen a widely available weldable stiff structural material for his bicycle frame.

Miss January 2009

The 2009 Female Mechanics Calendar features New York wrench Susan Lindell (pictured above) in January. The calendar is attractively laid out and nicely produced. Anyone looking for a holiday gift for an independent female could do worse than choosing this calendar.

And, if that weren't enough, there's a Calendar Release Party at the Luscious Garage in San Francisco on Saturday evening, December 13.

San Francisco to South Bay bicycle route

I've been aware of the SF2G (San Francisco to Google) group of cyclists who regularly meet up in San Francisco for the 40 mile (give or take) ride to their jobs at Google in Mountain View. I see them regularly pass directly in front of my office in Menlo Park, and I've given directions to wayward cyclists when they get lost in East Palo Alto.

What I didn't know until this morning: The SF2G website, with directions, printable cue sheets, riding tips, paceline etiquette basics, and other goodies.

I found out about SF2G reading the Mercury News this morning. Columnist Scott Herhold started early in the morning in San Jose (!), rode the train north up to San Francisco, then rode his bike the 40 miles back south to Mountain View, where he watched the James Bond flick at the Shoreline Blvd movie theater.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Does the credit crunch hurt the local bike shop?

Mike in Washington, DC writes:
The current economic crisis is hurting many businesses including local bike shops. These local businesses will not receive government bailouts like the Wall Street Banks and auto companies. If these small business go under, they may not come back. You will miss them in the Spring when they are not there, so support them this winter as you do your holiday shopping.
Read more at his blog. Chris-the-big-bike-company-guy has his thoughts on the credit crunch and the bike biz as well:
Does anyone else think [the bicycle industry] sounds like an industry that could get hit with problems like the car dealerships are facing now? Dealers full of inventory that isn’t moving (because the orders were placed 6 months prior at no cost), and the oversupply hits at a time when that inventory should move, but might not because of an economic belt-tightening (springtime). There is an assumption that bike stores in the spring will sell bikes at similar quantities/prices as to what they sold last spring. I think that is a particularly dangerous assumption.
What do you think? What have you seen at your bike shop?

See also the good discussion on this at Cozy Beehive.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bikes for Goodness Sake

Bikes for Goodness Sake Foundation

67,000 children of U.S. service men and women have their parents overseas this Christmas. The non-profit Bikes For Goodness Sake Foundation in Austin, TX works with local bike shops and raises funds to buy a bike for a kid for Christmas.

Bikes for Goodness Sake began last July and raised enough to give bikes to 52 children last week. They aim to make this Christmas event a success with several bikes shops they've signed in Texas, then open up the program to other parts of the Country for July 4, 2009.

Right now they're focusing on raising funds nationally through the Helmet in Hand campaign. They're asking cyclists to go to work with bicycle helmet in hand to raise awareness and funds for Bikes for Goodness Sake. Click here for more information.

Listen Monday to the Fredcast for an interview with Bikes for Goodness Sake founder Mark Smith.

I wish it was Sunday; that's my fun day

Oh wait, it is Sunday! A few random thoughts to catch up on:

What happens if you insert a politician name into a Christmas Carol?

(Little Drummer Boy)
    Come they told me
    Barack Obama
    A new born king to see,
    Barack Obama
    Our finest gifts we bring
    Barack Obama
    To lay before the king
    Barack Obama
    Barack Obama
    Barack Obama
    So to honor Him
    Barack Obama
    When we come.

    Little Baby
    Barack Obama
    I am a poor boy too,
    Barack Obama
    I have no gift to bring
    Barack Obama
    That's fit to give our king
    Barack Obama
    Barack Obama
    Barack Obama
    Shall I play for you!
    Barack Obama
    On my drum.

Day Labor. Out of work Americans stand at street corners holding cardboard signs with "Hungry, Need food, God Bless You." Latinos works their tails off with eagerness and no complaints. I hired some guys off of the street to help me move and their work ethic is amazing. Most of us Americans are soft and spoiled. Latinos are ambitious and hungry for success.

Lance Armstrong reads Bike Snob NYC. Bike Snob feigns indifference.

I read The Shack. It's pretty good.

Finally, Cycle Dog is in prison.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I'm moving this weekend, which explains why I'm being slow responding to some email requests I've received over the past couple of days. I'll try to get back to you by next Wednesday or so!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Santa Cruz cycling and the Tour of California

The Santa Cruz Local Organizing Committee for the Amgen Tour of California attracted a fair number of enthusiasts in the full lycra kit, but most of the people who showed up on bike were people interested in cycling for transportation.

Tim Bustos
Tim Bustos of Ecology Action at the Amgen Tour of California Santa Cruz organizing committee press conference.
The title bike shop sponsor, for example, is The Bicycle Trip in Santa Cruz. While they sell to the high end enthusiast market, The Bicycle Trip is also very actively involved in promoting cycling for transportation Santa Cruz. They sponsor Bike Smart, a youth bicycle safety program that encourages and empowers youth to use bicycles for transportation. The Bicycle Trip also runs the Bike Shop @ School program, which teaches Santa Cruz public school youth how to repair and build bicycles at the high schools.

Bicycle Trip manager Aaron Jacobs told me that he believes sporting events such as the Amgen Tour of California and personalities like Lance Armstrong encourage people to get on their beach cruisers and ride. "It's a great cycling event for the community," said Jacobs. "Santa Cruz has great cycling culture and is really suited to host the Amgen Tour of of California because it's such a great place for cycling."

Utility cyclist advocate Tim Bustos also attended the press conference in Santa Cruz. Tim was the bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the bicycle friendly city of DAvis, California. Today, he is a program specialist for Ecology Action, an environmental consultancy in Santa Cruz. Although Tim gets around on a very practical Raleigh Sojourn as he wears ankle straps, he believes the Tour of California is good for utilitarian cycling. "Bicycle racing elevates cycling in the public eye," says Tim. He looks at Italy as an example of a nation where all cyclists benefit because of the passion Italians have for the sport of cycling. "The Italians drive like maniacs, but they take cycling seriously so they watch for cyclists on the road. They don't want to run down a national hero."

Santa Cruz Mayor Ryan Coonerty
Santa Cruz Mayor Ryan Coonerty announces route details of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California.
The Santa Cruz committee are still organizing transportation options, and because Stage 2 will take place on a holiday weekend the expect as many as 20,000 visitors to Santa Cruz on Presidents' Day. When asked how fans should get into Santa Cruz to watch the race, Santa Cruz committee chairman Matt Twisselman had a three word answer: "Ride your bike."

A shout out to:
I'm moving tonight and this weekend, but I'll try to get the detailed street map of the route in Santa Cruz posted sometime. Here's a cellphone snapshot of the paper map if you want to try to figure it out yourself.

2009 Amgen Tour of California route details

AEG revealed the route details for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California this morning. As was revealed in the Santa Rosa Democrat earlier this week, the race will start in Sacramento with a Prologue instead of a full blown stage as earlier planned. The stage from Davis to Santa Rosa becomes Stage 1.

Stage 2 from Sausalito to Santa Cruz begins 8:30 Monday morning, February 16, at the Spinnaker Restaurant parking lot in Sausalito. The cyclists will cross the Golden Gate Bridge and ride through San Francisco and south along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. Local organizers and cycling enthusiasts are excited that the route includes the locally popular Tunitas Creek Road and Bonny Doon Road hill climbs. The Stage will conclude as cyclists scream through the Redwood forest along Empire Grade Road, skirting the University of California Santa Cruz Campus and finishing at Front & Cooper in Santa Cruz near the Trader Joe's store. I'll post details of this and other stages later today.

Download: Stage 2 Map, Stage 2 Elevation Profile.

Note from Fritz: Please tweet this post. Thank you!

2009 Tour of California Stage 2 San Francisco

2009 Tour of California Stage 2  San Mateo County

2009 Tour of California Stage 2 Santa Cruz County

Prologue: Sacramento (Saturday, February 14, 2009)

Start time: 1:30 p.m.
Start Location: Intersection of Capitol Mall and 9th St.
Finish Location: Intersection of L St. and 11th St.

The first day of racing in the 2009 Amgen Tour of California will be a short, but intense, individual time trial of just less than three miles, known as a Prologue. The flat and fast route will likely take each individual cyclist less than five minutes to finish. Although it is short, the Prologue will be packed with excitement and high speed. With the start and finish lines separated by only two blocks, spectators will have the opportunity to easily see the racers at both the start and finish lines. Showcasing the State Capitol, the Capitol Mall area and the well-known Tower Bridge, the Prologue will provide a crowd-pleasing day of racing excitement.

Stage 1: Davis to Santa Rosa (Sunday, February 15, 2009)

Start Time: Noon
Start Location: Intersection of C St. and 3rd St. in Davis
Finish Location: Intersection of 3rd St. and Santa Rosa Ave. in Santa Rosa

A new stage for the Amgen Tour of California, the route from Davis to Santa Rosa will provide plenty of scenic settings for both the cyclists and the spectators. Beginning in the city of Davis, which recently was named the best cycling town in the United States by Bicycling Magazine, the route includes evenly spaced climbs throughout the stage and spectacular views. After 20 miles of flat roads, the riders will meet their first climb up a short, but steep section leading up to the Monticello Dam. Another long, flat section along Lake Berryessa will take the riders to their second climb up Howell Mountain Rd., followed by a fast descent into Napa Valley. After one final climb and a steep descent from Calistoga Road, the cyclists will finish the race with circuit laps in downtown Santa Rosa. In previous years, Santa Rosa fans have set the mark for one of the largest and most enthusiastic crowds of the entire race.

Additionally, fans in Santa Rosa will have the opportunity to watch the second-annual Amgen Tour of California Women’s Criterium. Held in conjunction with Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California, the Women's Criterium will begin at 1 p.m. and will showcase some of the world's top professional women cyclists competing for $15,000 in prizes. Set as a category Pro 1/2 race, the Amgen Tour of California Women's Criterium will have a limit of eight riders per team. Once again using portions of the Stage 1 men’s finishing circuit in Santa Rosa, the Women’s Criterium will bring the thrill of professional women’s cycling to fans in the hours just before the men’s finish in downtown Santa Rosa.

Stage 2: Sausalito to Santa Cruz (Monday, February 16, 2009)

Start Time: 8:30 a.m.
Start Location: Spinnaker Restaurant at 100 Spinnaker Dr. in Sausalito
Finish Location: Intersection of Front St. and Cooper St. in Santa Cruz

Starting on the northern side of the San Francisco Bay, Stage 2 will cover more than 100 miles from Sausalito to Santa Cruz. The stage will begin with a scenic start in Sausalito on the water and will head south over one of the most iconic structures in the country, the Golden Gate Bridge, and then through the streets of San Francisco. The route will then take the riders west down the California coastline on Highway 1, flanked by the picturesque backdrops of the Pacific Ocean on one side and Redwood forests on the other. This coastal stage will include two long, but moderate climbs on Tunitas Creek Road and Bonny Doon Road, which will be followed by lengthy and fast descents. The sprint to the finish in Santa Cruz will provide an exciting conclusion to Stage 2 of the race.

Stage 3: San Jose to Modesto (Tuesday, February 17, 2009)

Start Time: Noon
Start Location: Intersection of San Fernando St. and Almaden Blvd. in San Jose
Finish Location: Intersection of I St. and 12th St. in Modesto

Fans of the Amgen Tour of California may recognize part of Stage 3 from the 2008 race when the cyclists traveled from Modesto to San Jose; however, in 2009, the racers will be traveling the route in reverse with several changes. Beginning with a climb that is synonymous with cycling and the Amgen Tour of California, the cyclists will head up Sierra Road (1,930 ft.) within the first five miles of the stage. This epic climb will be a defining moment in the race and will create an action-packed day of racing for the cyclists and the fans alike. After completing the Sierra Road climb, the riders will face fast and flat roads full of twists and turns (Calaveras Road alone has more than 40 switchbacks) before climbing Patterson Pass. The stage will finish with two circuits in downtown Modesto.

Stage 4: Merced to Clovis (Wednesday, February 18, 2009)

Start Time: 11 a.m.
Start Location: City Hall at the intersection of N St. and 18th St. in Merced
Finish Location: Intersection of Bullard Ave. and Pollasky Ave. in Clovis

Stage 4 will introduce two new host cities and the Sierra Mountains to the Amgen Tour of California. With four KOMs ("King of the Mountain" competitions) and several sprints, Stage 4 will be a test for the riders with consistently hilly and technical terrain. From the start in Merced to the finish in Clovis, this stage will be characterized by consistent climbing surrounded by the beautiful mountain scenery. Fans can watch the climbs, always a spectator favorite, at any of the four locations - Hwy 140, twice on Hwy 49 and Crane Valley Road. Coming to a finish in Old Town Clovis, this stage will introduce the beauty of Central California to the Amgen Tour of California.

Stage 5: Visalia to Paso Robles (Thursday, February 19, 2009)

Start Time: 10 a.m.
Start Location: Intersection of Aceqia Ave. and Church St. in Visalia
Finish Location: Intersection of Spring St. and 11th St. in Paso Robles

At more than 130 miles, Stage 5, sponsored by Rabobank, is the longest stage of the race. A new course for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California, Stage 5 will begin with a neutral start of parade laps through Visalia’s downtown area. Once the race wends its way through the start in Visalia, the riders will experience an amazing contrast between the previous day of racing in the Sierra Mountains, as they head through the vast stretch of flat roads on the San Joaquin Valley floor. For the first 100 miles of the stage, the riders will have virtually no protection from the wind, creating a challenging ride. Winding its way back to the coast, the route, which will include two sprints, will pass by vast cattle ranches and farms. Packed full of rolling hills and large horse farms, the final 30-mile run into Paso Robles will be a fast sprint to the finish.

Stage 6: Solvang Individual Time Trial (Friday, February 20, 2009)

Start Time: Noon
Start Location: Intersection of Mission Drive and 1st St.
Finish Location: Copenhagen Dr.

The quaint Danish village of Solvang hosts some of the ProTour teams annually for training camps, as well as some of the largest cycling events in the United States. With the start and finish lines located only one block apart, Stage 6 is an ideal location for spectators to view the race. The route will highlight the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, winding through quaint towns, vineyards, farms, and one short, but steep climb up Ballard Canyon. This year's short, flat and fast time trial will create a challenging test for the riders and is expected to be a decisive day of the race.

Stage 7: Santa Clarita to Pasadena (Saturday, February 21, 2009)

Start Time: Noon Start Location: Town Center Drive in Santa Clarita Finish Location: West Drive, alongside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena

The race from Santa Clarita to Pasadena proved to be a difficult one during the final stage of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California, and this year will be no different. The first 25 miles of Stage 7, sponsored by Herbalife, include a gradual climb from Santa Clarita, through Acton, to the intersection of Angeles Forest Road. The route continues uphill, showcasing the beauty of the San Gabriel Mountains, to the second highest elevation ever reached by the Amgen Tour of California on the towering Millcreek Summit (4,906 ft.). Descending with a 15-mile run to Angeles Crest Highway, the route begins a fast plunge to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. After more than 65 miles from Santa Clarita to Pasadena, with the mountains and the Rose Bowl serving as the backdrop, the peloton will complete the stage with five, five-mile laps on a very demanding circuit through the area surrounding the Rose Bowl. This course will provide a challenging, action-packed day leading up to the finale on Sunday.

Stage 8: Rancho Bernardo to Escondido (Sunday, February 22, 2009)

Start Time: Noon
Start Location: Bernardo Center Dr. in Rancho Bernardo
Finish Location: Intersection of Grand Ave. and Broadway in Escondido

With the final stage of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California as a difficult point-to-point road race, there is a chance to see an overall lead change, as well as a change in the KOM jersey leader on the last day. With four climbs, including the highest point ever reached in the Amgen Tour of California, and two sprints, Stage 8, sponsored by Amgen, can easily be characterized as the most difficult final stage that the Amgen Tour of California has ever seen. The cyclists will have to fight through the very end of the race, due to the addition of Palomar Mountain (5,123 ft.). At 11.7 miles, a seven percent average grade, 4,200 feet of climbing and 21 switchbacks, Palomar Mountain will provide a challenging conclusion to the 2009 Amgen Tour of California. Organizers expect a hard sprint to the finish; as with all the Grand Tours of Europe, winning the final stage of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California is a prize coveted by the riders.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Good stuff from Holier Than You

My buddy Murph has some good stuff on his blog:

* On the recently completely San Francisco bike plan Environmental Impact Review, Murph looks at the gridlock around a new Costco gas station and wonders if an EIR was required for their gas station.

* Murph owns a vacation home in the Sonoma Wine Country. He donated time in the home for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to auction off the SFBC Winterfest, their big annual fundraiser. What a guy!

In other cycling news...

* Watch this space first thing in the morning for Amgen Tour of California route announcements. Several people are bummed that AEG has cut the women's race.

* I participated tonight in the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition Caltrain Working Group. I'm hopeful that we'll be able to contribute something to the effort to increase capacity onboard Caltrain.

Wow, my bus driver is in a hurry tonight, and a little grouchy, too, honking at the other traffic and telling people on the bus to quiet down on their cellphone conversations. I'm almost home -- gotta sign off and spend some time with the family now.

Why are folding bikes so heavy?

This is a common question whenever I publish the weight of a folding bike. This started out as an 'authoritative' post on why folding bikes are so heavy, but to be honest I'm not exactly an expert in the field. I think they're heavy because they have thicker tubes because they lack the triangular geometry of traditional bicycles. Is this the case? Or is this true only for the less expensive, under $1000 folding bikes that I've actually tried? Can you get a lightweight, good quality folding bike for under $1000?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

RealLite giant bicycle lights review

On some blog or other, I heard about the RealLite giant bicycle lights and knew I had to try them.

Pluses: very bright; reasonably priced (for bicycle lights); easy mounting; standard AA batteries; conversation starter!

Minuses: battery change requires a screwdriver; somewhat fragile in racks due to large size.

These are wonderful "to be seen" lights but need to be paired with a focused pothole-spotting light for optimal safety.

Greetings, Cyclelicious readers!

Fritz has graciously offered me the opportunity to post occasional items to his blog. I hope to bring a few items to your attention that you otherwise might not see.

About me: bicycle commuter since spring 2006; sport rider and occasional racer since summer 2007; scientist/engineer since birth. Female, straight, single and 46! Residence in Mountain View, California.

Favorite ride: up Montebello Road in Cupertino CA

Favorite band: Devil Makes Three

Favorite radio station: KFJC 89.7 FM

Favorite cycling magazine: Momentum

Favorite components: Ultegra

Favorite sports drink: unflavored Hammer Heed

Favorite pocket snack: curried salty fingerling potatoes

Favorite scotch: hell no, Mendocino Brewing Great White or New Belgium Trippel

Favorite brewpub: Pacific Coast in Oakland

Favorite hops: Centennial

Favorite cycling invention: my own

Favorite cycling volunteer effort: Silicon Valley Bicycle Exchange

My other website: Exercise for the Reader

RIP Dr. Dan Kliman

A body found in an elevator shaft in San Francisco over the weekend has been identified as Dan Kliman, MD, a passionate and outspoken cycling advocate.

Although the Chronicle describes Kliman as a man who kept to himself, friends and cycling advocates in San Francisco and the East Bay are shocked and saddened at his death.

Dan, who practiced internal medicine in Alameda, California, was a part of Chicago Critical Mass when he moved to St. Louis to start Critical Mass there. He moved in November 2002 to the East Bay where he started a Critical Mass in Alameda.

This morning, Jym Dyer went to the building where Dan was found and found Dan's Bike Friday still parked outside.

There are photos of Dr. Dan shouting at an anti-Israel rally here.
Dan Kliman Facebook page.

Streetsblog Network

Streetsblog announced the the Streetsblog Network, which brings together more than than 100 blogs to create a place where people who blog on smart growth, livable streets and sustainable transportation issues can come together and learn from each other.

California blogs in the Streetsblog Network so far include Green Wheels in Humboldt County, The Overhead Wire in San Francisco, San Francisco Cityscape, the new and excellent San Francisco Bike Blog, Transbay Blog (SF), Fresno Bike Coalition, Bicycle Fixation (LA), Bottleneck Blog (LA), Gary Rides Bikes (LA), LA County Bicycle Coalition, Streetsblog LA, The Bus Bench in Los Angeles, LA Visions, Metro Rider LA, and Long Beach Cyclists.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Lance Armstrong surf photos

Lance Armstrong sent this Tweet this morning:
About to go....ahhh.... errr.... umm... surfing?!? 22 pro cyclists going surfing in the canary islands. Scary. Twitpics to come. --@lancearmstrong.

Lance Armstrong and his Astana teammates are at the Canary Islands for their training camp as they prepare for January's Tour Down Under. Click on the photos to go large. The second one is LA with Levi Leipheimer. Photos by Elizabeth Kreutz.

Kelly Slater's titles are safe. on TwitPic Levi Leipheimer and I. on TwitPic

Speaking of Twitter, you might have noticed a "Send To Twitter" link in Cyclelicious articles. If you have a Twitter account, click the link and see what happens.

More Cycling News...

Specialized Bicycles reports counterfeit Specialized Tarmac bicycles are showing up on eBay and Craigslist in the United States. Specialized's brand has long been faked on low end bikes for sale in the Far East, but this is "the first time we have had a high-end product so blatantly ripped off," according to Specialized Director of Engineering Mark Schroeder. While the fake Tarmac's appear almost identical to the real thing, the composite construction is different as are some component selections. Read the BRaIN for details.

Bjarne Riis' pro cycling team formerly known as Team CSC signed Saxobank and IT Factory as cosponsors this year. IT Factory, unfortunately declared bankruptcy this morning after the Danish company's chief executive apparently stole $85 million from the company and disappeared over the weekend. Riis pledges to find a new sponsor for his team.

San Diego north county: Oceanside to Escondido Sprinter commuter train is popular with cyclists: Read more.

What if Lance Armstrong rides as domestique?

Lance Armstrong confirmed today that he will ride for Astanta in both the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia for 2009, possibly in a support role. "I'm committed to riding for the best guy," said Armstrong.

Some friends and I were talking about this (literally talking in the real world, not online believe it or not) a couple of weeks ago: What if Armstrong rides as a domestique? Road cycling is not a one man show: Armstrong's seven Tour de France wins happened because of excellent teamwork, and I think it would look fantastic if Armstrong gave back and helped somebody else capture the podium.

What do you think of the prospect of a leadout train or breakaway led by Armstrong?

Read more and Tweet this!

Bicycle jobs

Scotts Valley, CA: Mechanical engineer with bicycle design experience. Details. That's where I live!

Chicago, IL: Operations Manager for J&B Importers. Details.

"The Ride for Crohn’s & Colitis" needs a part time "Logistics Coordinator" for an event they call "Get Your Guts in Gear." The application deadline was Sunday but the event name got my attention, and their meaning for "IBD" certainly doesn't match mine. Details.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Support international bicycle businesses through microfinance

Kiva is a Web 2.0 microfinance community allows the affluent to support and interact with small businesses in remote places. Lenders give loans as small as $25 to enterpreneurs all over the world. One kind of business that participants can support through Kiva is bicycle shops. Consider for example the Reaksmey Sar Group of Ta Reab Doun Sar Village, Cambodia:

This village bank loan which consists of twelve people is located in Ta Reab Doun Sar village in Kandal Province. Mrs. Reaksmey Sar is the village bank president who has been selected by the members. She is a 43 year old housewife and the mother of four children, all of whom are attending the local school. Her husband, Mr. Koem Muny, repairs bicycles. In this business, he now faces a small problem because he does not have enough money to buy bike equipment for his customers. Thus, his wife, Mrs. Reaksmey Sar, decided to ask for a loan to buy more bike equipment for her husband's business.

The Reaksmey Sar Group needs $175 in increments as small as $25 each to complete their loan. Why not support cycling in Cambodia this holiday season? And if you do join Kiva, be sure to sign on to the "Move Your World" team of cycling supporters.

Abio shaft drive folding bike

A box from Abio Bikes in New York landed on my front porch Saturday morning. The Albio Penza I received is a shaft drive folding bike, but when I pulled it from the box Mrs. Fritz squealed with delight at the wonderful purple color of this bike.

While the looks of the Albio Penza appeals to the right brain, here are the left brain details of this bike:
  • Folds to 32" x 23" x 14"
  • 3 speed Shimano Nexus hub
  • Kenda Kontact 1.95" x 20" tires with reflective sidewalls
  • V brakes
  • 30 lbs
  • Fenders (front and rear)
  • Rear rack
  • Tail light built into rear of saddle
  • Kickstand
  • Shaft drive
  • MSRP $790
The beefy 1.95" tires and stiff locking hinges give this bike a very solid and smooth ride. The bike folds in half with a swing hinge in the top tube, similar to the way the Dahon Curve folds back on itself. Like some Dahon models, the handlebar also folds down, the seat post can be pushed all the way through the open bottom seat tube and the pedals fold in.

The differentiating feature of this folding bike is, of course, the shaft drive: the Abio Penza is one of the very few non-chain folding bikes available.

Shaft drives are heavy and noticeably inefficient -- I can feel the bevel gears as they grind against each other, there's resistance when I pedal backwards, hard pedaling bends the shaft enough so it rubs against its housing, and the shaft bike weighs two pounds more over the similar belt driven Abio bicycle. According to shaft drive afficiandos, the efficiency loss is about 8% compared against chain driven bicycles.

There are notable advantages of a shaft drive over chain drive bicycles: the completely enclosed drive shaft reduces maintenance, protects moving parts, and keeps your pants clean. You don't need to bag this folding bike to keep chain grease from soiling bus seats and other passengers. Some people also like the compact design of shafts over chains, especially if you want to completely enclose the chain in a chaincase. There's no danger of pinched or severed fingers, and with good maintenance the shaft drive can last for tens of thousands of miles.

When I ride the Abio Penza, I don't notice the shaft's presence unless I really pay attention. I believe the everyday bike commuter will not notice the 8% power loss, and the disadvantages may very well outweigh the benefits. I'll put the Abio Penza through its paces in everyday riding over the next couple of weeks and report the results at Commute By Bike.

In the meantime, I know Bike Hugger has received the belt drive Abio Verdion. Momentum Magazine will also feature several folding bikes in the January/February issue including, I'm told, the Abio bicycles.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

General James Jones and his bicycle commute

Carlton mentioned General James Jones on his blog and on The Spokesmen podcast this week because General Jones -- Barack Obama's choice as National Security Advisor -- was a bike commuter when he Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and Commander of the U.S. European Command in Belgium. He retired from the U.S. Marine Corps last year

According to the New York Times, Jones still bikes to his job as chairman of the board of directors of an influential Washington think tank.
At 64, General Jones bicycles from home to work twice each week, riding the nine miles from McLean, Va., to the offices of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, two blocks from the White House, where he runs a task force on energy.
Read more.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hear me on The Spokesmen cycling podcast

I got up bright dark and early Thursday morning to join David Bernstein and Carlton Reid for a new episode of The Spokesmen Cycling Podcast. Listen to us here where we discuss leg waxing, indoor trainer tips, a little bit of politics, Twitter, and Thanksgiving. We had probably two hours of material and covered maybe half of what we intended.

This is the Continental Hometrainer tire David mentioned. Here's the broken bike I mentioned. And I think of Chico as flat because the stretch from Sacramento to Chico is flat, but Carson Blume pointed out to me that mountains with excellent riding are very nearby.

David also posted the missing Issue 34 from Interbike.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Black Friday Bicycle Deals

I won't be shopping this weekend, but I know plenty of people will so here are some Black Friday deals for you over the holiday weekend.

Xtracycle offers $10 off the ShowerCap and DryLoader and any non-Xtracycle items with the coupon code "radishical". This is on top of the 20% off they'll offer on Friday.

Twin Six started a three day sale on Wednesday. TRUNK t-shirts will be $16, new t-shirts will be $20, the brand new BACK SACK and T6 SACK are both marked down to $100.

This isn't really a bicycling specific thing, but I am an Amazon affiliate. Besides the normal Black Friday Specials, they're running the popular Amazon Customers Vote promotion where you compete to get deals on product (think random selection, though, not cage fights).

My buddy UltraRob in Colorado is 10% of his sales proceeds to World Bicycle Relief through Christmas.

Rivendell Bicycle Works is giving 30% off from Dec 10 to Dec 17, but only for Rivendell members who have lost their jobs or their retirement income. See their Holiday Flyer [PDF] for details.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

If you're an American and read this blog on Thanskgiving you need to get away from the computer

I'm posting this now before I run out of time: Have a great Thanksgiving, all.

Times are comparatively tough for many people. If you're not one of the million who are newly jobless this year in the United States, you're faced with the insecurity of not knowing if you'll be employed in the next few months.

For perspective, I think back to what's seen as the first Thanksgiving feast at Plymouth Colony in 1621. Of the 102 original colonists, only 53 were alive for that first harvest meal; only four adult women survived the first year. They enjoyed their feast with the Wampanoag, gave thanks to Massasoit and to God, and they didn't even have bicycles for the after feast fun!

I'll be up early Thursday morning to record a new episode of The Spokesmen Cycling Podcast with David in Utah (except when he's in California), Carlton in the UK, and Phil Gomes in Australia. We'll talk about belt drive bikes, politics, Tour Down Under, Cyclocross (hence my inquiry yesterday), and Viagra among other things. After that, the family is headed to a friend's house where we'll make gluttons of ourselves and have a good time.

What are your plans for the long weekend? Does anybody plan to get any riding in?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


It's cyclocross season, but I know nothing about that sport. I know lots of mud and cold and rain can be involved, just like a good football game back in the days when football was still played outdoors. The bikes are a little different, and there's some lifting and running. Aficionados write and say "CX" or "cross" when referring to the sport.

So somebody school me: What attracts you to Cyclocross? Why is it fun to participate or fun to watch?

Cyclelicious Way Back

Today in history: Here's what Cyclelicious looked like way back on this day in 2005.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Why HAL sang Daisy Bell as he died

In one of the more poignant moments of the film "2001: A Space Odyssey," the HAL 9000 computer sings the song "Daisy Bell" (A Bicycle Built for Two) in the final moments of its consciousness. Why was this song chosen? The use of this song was among the many inside jokes for computer nerds in the movie audience.

In 1961, "2001" author Arthur C. Clarke attended a computer music demonstration at Bell Labs using Max Mathews' pioneering MUSIC program. Mathews, who just turned 82 years old this month, is still professor of Music Research at Stanford University. At his 80th birthday bash, Mathews gave an encore performance of a computer generated "Daisy Bell."

Hat tip: Ed Borasky. And Elias says that it was also used by Alexander Graham Bell to demonstrate the telephone (although Daisy Bell was written nearly 20 years after Bell patented his "Improvement in Telegraphy.") Does anybody have evidence of other early technology demonstrated with this song?

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do
I'm half crazy all for the love of you
It won't be a stylish marriage
I can't afford a carriage
But you'll look sweet upon the seat
Of a bicycle built for two

We will go tandem as man and wife
Daisy, Daisy
Wheeling away down the road of life
I and my Daisy Bell

When the nights dark, we can both despise
Policemen and lamps as well
There are bright lights in the dazzling eyes
Of beautiful Daisy Bell

Friday, November 21, 2008

Formula 1 Racer Mark Webber rides bike, hit by car

Australian Formula 1 racer Mark Webber was injured after he was hit by a Nissan as he participated in a bicycle charity ride sponsored by him.

Webber was riding down a road in Tasmania when he was hit by oncoming traffic and broke his leg. He was attended by event paramedics before being airlifted to a hospital.

He was participating in the Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge, an extreme sports charity event organized to raise funds for Australian charities.

More at Formula 1 Blog.