Monday, March 31, 2008

General Motors buys Specialized Bicycles!

"In light of global concerns about climate change, GM has been at the forefront in developing new transportation choices that limit our impact on the environment," said Flora Lopi, GM's vice president, Environment, Energy and Safety Policy. "GM's engineering, marketing and distribution expertise combined with Specialized's branding among cycling enthusiasts make this a winning combination for GM investors and consumers."
See the full story in The Silicon Valley Business Journal.

See also the story at, who promises to participate in the media conference call about this deal that takes place tomorrow.

This is pretty big news and people all over are discussing this: Because of the timing of this announcement, there's a lot of speculation that this might be an April Fool's joke. I talked with Chris Matthews (marketing director at Specialized) on the phone this evening and he assures me this is the real deal.

Corn rationed in 2008?

Alisha came to my door yesterday asking me to sign a petition to promote the use of alternative fuels in California. I declined because most alternative fuel schemes only prolong the damage inflicted by our fundamentally unsustainable transportation system.

Yes, I'm a participant of that system, and any change will be very painful for everybody, even those who are car-free.

And now I read the news that there may be real, honest to God food shortages in the United States this year. Analysts say that corn may be rationed in 2008 because of insufficient supply and increased demand. In part this is a backlash from overplanting in 2007, which caused corn prices to fall and bean prices to rise. U.S. farmers are expected to plan 8% less corn from 2007 while demand for ethanol production remains high.

I'm not against all forms of motorized transportation: they certainly make life easy and convenient, and I'm for ease and convenience. But we're now at the point of choosing between food and fuel, and I'd much rather eat than drive.

Here's another petition, except I support this one. Via.

My Alibi women's cycling underwear

Pro MTB racer Abbie Durkee and her sister Moriah have started My Alibi to inspire more women to get on bicycles. Their perspective is that if more women felt beautiful on a bike, they would be happier, and healthier. The vision is that as communities become more localized and gas prices rise the practicality of bicycles will be more evident in America just as they are in much of Europe.

Their first product are the My Alibi Bloomers. These cycling under crackers are made in Italy using top of the line Lycra with a Pro quality gel pad for maximum booty protection. With no binding elastic and a low cut waist they virtually disappear under your favorite skirt, Capri, or shorts according to My Alibi. Leaving you feeling light and pretty, they are your little secret while cruising around comfortably on your bike.

With spring arriving now is a perfect time for My Alibi's Bloomers to get some use! As a Pro level MTB racer, Abbie Durkee, has spent many hours in the saddle and has listened to the testimonies of all types female riders. The common tune is a desire to feel feminine while on a bike. This has inspired her to create the Bloomers an essential base layer to wearing fashionable feminine clothing on a bike.

Currently the Bloomers are the only innovative product My Alibi has on the market but these sisters are working hard to release an entire line of coordinating fashionable styles.

Stupid bike lanes

Everybody is talking about the stupidest bike lane video, but Karl in the UK posts a video of his 10 meter bike lane in the UK.

Do you know of any shorter? Via Carlton.

Dog powered trike

Here's video of the dog trike and a dog scooter in action. Buy from this guy. Via the newly renamed Cophagenize.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bicycle website

Michael is a 10 year bike commuting veteran in Ashland, Oregon, where he's current a grad student in an online program for Environmental Management and is interested in the concept of environmental behavior change. Michael and his friends believe more people should try biking to work, and he's researched the best ways to use the Internet to promote biking to work. Michael has surveyed bike commuters and used focus groups to discuss what motivates bike commuters and what barriers need to be overcome to encourage commuting by bike. He started the website velocommuter to provide knowledge and inspiration for the average person to try commuting by bike. "Some may hate it," says Michael, "but lots of people will probably love it and think that it is a simple way to reduce consumption of oil while getting a great workout."

Michael also really wants to push the Velocommute Pledge Page -- pledge to commit to biking to work once per week, and the site will tell you how much you save in CO2 emissions.

Tim is a cyclist in Buffalo, NY. He started Bike Wire, a free website for cyclists featuring social networking, stat tracking & graphing, honor code leaderboard, blogging, photo, and meatworld networking. The idea is that John Doe fro Orlando, FL should be able to sign up for BikeWire and have instant access to his area's ride maps, clubs, teams, group rides, and more that have been posted by Orlando's users.

This one isn't cycling related but it may be of interest to some of you: TransitRant is a forum to rant about your public transportation.

Personal note: I went to a birthday party this afternoon with some Filipino friends and was introduced to one of their delicacies -- balut. Google for images of this treat, if you dare. I literally lost a portion of my lunch.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Bicycles in the news

Bicycles in the news from Los Angeles, Bangalore, East Sussex, Rawalpindi, Edinburgh, Cardiff, London and Gary, Indiana. Click through for the stories.

  • British Conservative Party MP Boris Johnson, who is known for his outlandish persona and love of cycling for transportation, is running for Mayor of London and pushes cycling in his platform. He has been the victim of several bike thefts and has expressed his desire to plant "decoy bicycles throughout Islington and send Navy Seals in through the windows of thieves."

  • Paul McCartney is back on the bicycle with a new riding partner.

  • Los Angeles: Cyclists are your friends.
    It's crazy, but we cyclists think that we're a transportation solution, as local activist Stephen Box is fond of saying. We think more riders on major boulevards during rush hour will solve LA's congestion problems - and in a green way. Why? Because while cyclists might appear to impede traffic when you're stuck behind one huffing and puffing uphill, they actually free up traffic. For every instance where a cyclist slows you down, there are 100 times they pass through congested traffic unnoticed. That means one less car in that traffic jam. When you get to your destination and go to park, that cyclist translates into one more available parking space.

  • Edinburgh: Cyclist ban on local trails may be illegal.

  • Bangalore: A cyclist's confessions
    The resolution to use the cycle to go places within a 10-km radius of my home amid honk-happy motorists on Bangalore roads made me learn a lot of things - like patience and perseverance. If one has lost anything, it is weight - 10 kg in seven months. "Nothing can help me unwind as much as cycling after a hard day's work" was my belief.

  • And in Pakistan: The Rawalpindi city government will distribute bicycles to sewer workers.

  • In South Wales, police are searching for a flasher on a bike.

  • Kevin Crawford bikes everywhere in Gary, Indiana.
    He simply had a minor epiphany a couple years ago about our society's addiction to gasoline, and nine months ago his lifestyle began a rebirth. At that time he consciously began weaning himself from his daily dependence on gas.

    "I believe the end of our drive-everywhere car-obsessed culture is nearing its end," he told me.

    "I just don't see how anyone would think that carrying on the way we have been -- essentially a farce of limitless consumption in a finite world -- is wise," he said.

Photo: "Cook's cycle girl" by Steve Garfield.

Talking about bicycles

In 1946, author C.S. Lewis published his short essay "Talking about bicycles," in which he describes the simple happiness of riding a bicycle, even for utilitarian trips. C.S. Lewis never bought a car and never learned to drive "very well." Click through to read Lewis's essay.

"Talking about bicycles," said my friend, "I have been through the four ages. I can remember a time in early childhood when a bicycle meant nothing to me: it was just part of the huge meaningless background of grown-up gadgets against which life went on. Then came a time when to have a bicycle, and to have learned to ride it, and to be at last spinning along on one's own, early in the morning, under trees, in and out of the shadows, was like entering Paradise. That apparently effortless and frictionless gliding--more like swimming than any other motion, but really most like the discovery of a fifth element--that seemed to have solved the secret of life. Now one would begin to be happy. But, of course, I soon reached the third period. Pedalling to and fro from school (it was one of those journeys that feel up-hill both ways) in all weathers, soon revealed the prose of cycling. The bicycle, itself, became to me what his oar is to a galley slave."

"But what was the fourth age?" I asked.

"I am in it now, or rather I am frequently in it. I have had to go back to cycling lately now that there's no car. And the jobs I use it for are often dull enough. But again and again the mere fact of riding brings back a delicious whiff of memory. I recover the feelings of the second age. What's more, I see how true they were--how philosophical, even. For it really is a remarkably pleasant motion. To be sure, it is not a recipe for happiness as I then thought. In that sense the second age was a mirage. But a mirage of something."

"How do you mean?", said I.

"I mean this. Whether there is, or whether there is not, in this world or in any other, the kind of happiness which one's first experiences of cycling seemed to promise, still, on any view, it is something to have had the idea of it. The value of the thing promised remains even if that particular promise was false--even if all possible promises of it are false."

  --C.S. Lewis, Present Concerns. "Talking About Bicycles."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bicycle prices on the way up up up and away!

Masiguy does an excellent job explaining what's going on in the bike industry with price increases. The falling dollar, dramatically higher costs from labor, raw materials, energy and so forth is resulting in significantly higher costs for bike companies while the US and global economy is slowing.

Small player Masi is concerned about consolidation, as well they should be since that's what happens when the economy slows. There's some indication that bike sales may go up as people try to save gas money by biking to work and errands, though the more profitable high end of the market will probably suffer.

It might interest you to know that one of the cyclists who was killed by the Sheriff's deputy in Cupertino the other week, Matt Peterson, was a bike buyer for Wal-Mart. Most of the bikes I see on my commute are still things like Dave's $100 road bike shown here, available from Target.

Triax road BSO

Bicycle Neglect

I posted about this months ago, but it's worth another mention. Bicycle Neglect is a series of articles by Alan Durning about why most Seattle area cities don't treat bicycles as transportation, which communities are doing the best job, and what's at stake.


Bicycle Design on the NYC better bike racks contest.

Like father like son: Taylor Phinney goes fast. And here's the whole Phinney/Carpenter family in the New York Times.

Kansas City on a bike.

Brian informs me that Land Rover started out as a bicycle: the Starley & Sutton Co's Rover Safety Bicycle, which replaces the unstable penny farthing bicycles of its day.

The Cheeseburger Footprint.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Almost famous

James spotted a photo of me on Treehugger today! Well, a small part of me, anyway - you can see my left knee in the corner of the photo.

The photo below isn't me, but it's in the top 10 of popular photos in my Flickr account.

Crocs & Clips

My Flickr photos have been popular this last week. WIRED used a bike lane photo from me. SFist used my Market Street cyclist photo, as did Bike Hugger. An Italian eco blog liked one of my bikes on train photos. My shameless link bait almost worked at Bike Hugger. A Spanish solar power blog illustrated an article about solar power in Japan with this photo of workers installing photovoltaic panels on my parents' home in Japan. And finally, this Anglican website liked my "Children at church" photograph.

DIY bite valve hydration system for cyclists

Bay Area cyclist Alison Chaiken doesn't like backpack hydration systems. The plastic bladder is easy to puncture, difficult to clean and expensive to replace. The backpack is annoying to cyclists. Alison came up with this homebrew bite valve hydration system that uses PET soda bottles and other readily available parts.

Gents, Alison is single. She's a physicist who likes working with large powered tools and she reads Cyclelicious. My heart swoons.

For more DIY bike stuff, see Bike Hacks.

18.9 mph

That was my average speed on my 23 mile commute from Menlo Park and across Santa Clara County last evening, according to my cyclocomputer which only measures time when I'm actually moving. I spent 14 minutes waiting at red lights and stop signs. If I divide 23 miles (the distance) by 1 hour 27 minutes (the actual wall time spent in transit), my average speed drops down to 15.9 mph.

Raleigh Coasting: Rear view panda
I'm starting to ride the full distance more often now that we have some daylight. I'll make a more formal announcement later, but if you want to join my bike train riding from San Jose to Palo Alto/Menlo Park, please drop me a line. In the mornings, I leave San Jose near the Shark Tank at either 6:55 AM or 7:30 AM. In the evenings, I pass through downtown Palo Alto a little after 5 PM. I can't usually leave work that early so the evening ride is fairly rare.

I'll take any of several routes. Coming from San Jose, these are:

1. Any of various routes to Central Expressway, then Rengstorf, Middlefield, University (the fastest route).

2. Park St, Monroe, Evelyn, California St in Mountain View, Wilkie Way, Meadow, Bryant (the bike-friendly route).

3. Park St., Homestead Rd, Foothill Expressway, Page Mill Rd, California Station underpass, Bryant (the fun route).

4. The Alameda and El Camino Real straight up the Peninsula (the crazy man's route).

I'm flexible if you need to stop off at an intermediate point, e.g. if you work at Google or NASA I'm willing to go that way and hop on the Bay trails that lead into East Palo Alto.

I'm an assertive rider, but I do stop at red lights and yield proper right of way at stop signs. The 18+ mph average speed is on my road bike; when I'm on my pannier equipped commuter or my fixed gear bike, my average speed is closer to 15 mph, sometimes even less. If you're faster than me, I'm an incurable wheelsucker.

Tuesday testimony: Tammy Thomas took tonic

Illinois chemist and former bodybuilder Patrick Arnold testified that he shipped steroids to former Olympic cyclist Tammy Thomas in testimony during Thomas's perjury trial.

Tammy Thomas
Thomas was indicted in December 2006 for lying to the grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) in Burlingame, CA. Thomas was banned from competition for life in 2002 after she tested positive for the steroid norbolethone. Norbolethone, first developed in the 60s, was pulled from clinical trials in the 70s because of its toxicity.


San Francisco Chronicle coverage of Tammy Thomas trial.

ESPN: BALCO chemist becomes witness.

Steroid Nation: The interesting case of Tammy Thomas:
In her current photo, I see a slender, attractive woman. Look at the close-up from 2002, at which time Ms. Thomas expressed an anabolic androgen in her urine. The photo looks like an androgenized female. Rugged looks. Male pattern baldness.

San Francisco Examiner Prosecutors outline case against BALCO figure Tammy Thomas:
Federal prosecutors said Thursday they have "overwhelming" proof that former Olympic cyclist Tammy Thomas lied when she told a grand jury that she never used steroids, including a high-end bicycle they allege she traded for performance-enhancing drugs when she was low on cash.

The prosecutors quote a doctor's report in August 2000 suggesting that Thomas had to shave a full beard, a steroids side effect for women.

According to the government's filing, Dr. Margaret Wierman wrote Thomas that she feared the cyclist was exposing herself to long-term health problems if she continued to ingest steroids.

Also testifying will be Kelcey Dalton, the chemist's live-in girlfriend at the time who said she had several phone conversations with Thomas during a three-month period several years ago. Dalton and Thomas' conversations "consisted of talk about weightlifting and steroids, in particular about steroids side-effects," the government's court filing stated.

According to the filing, Thomas offered Dalton a LeMond racing bicycle in exchange for some of Arnold's designer steroids.

"The deal was made and Dalton still has the bicycle," the filing stated.

Trust But Verify mentions the Thomas trial in the Saturday roundup and the Wednesday roundup.

Her side of the story in this New York Times article:
"Every day is the same day," she said in her gravelly voice. "I used to be well respected. I made my parents proud. Now I've embarrassed my family. For the rest of my life, wherever I go and whatever I do, I'm going to be known as a cheater."
Tammy Thomas photo by Casey Gibson.

Make cycling safer

David R. Ragland, P.D., is the director of the UC Berkeley Traffic Safety Center and teaches traffic safety planning and injury courses in the UC Berkeley Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School of Public Health. The San Francisco Chronicle posted his essay on improving cyclist safety in their Opinion section.
If we are going to encourage cycling and walking (and taking transit) for the "greater good," we must be sure we know the effect of our policies. We need to make sure that our efforts to encourage people to do the right thing don't place them in harm's way.
Ragland also, surprisingly, advocates for centerline rumble strips. In the past, cycling advocacy groups typically lobby against such strips, because they discourage drivers from crossing the centerline when passing cyclists.

The Chron also published an opinion piece by S.F. Bike Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum:
In the wake of the tragic deaths of two cyclists in Cupertino, I am startled by a looming prejudice against those who choose to ride bikes, particularly in the media.

Though it is clear that these cyclists were not at fault when they were killed by a deputy sheriff veering across the road, what has surfaced is an inexcusable "blame the victim" sentiment.

We have seen articles about which streets are "most dangerous" for bicyclists, stories about how often cyclists are deemed at fault by police in collisions, and reports of bad cyclist behavior.

The Cupertino tragedy has been portrayed as a "bicycle safety" story, instead of what it really is, a story about the risks of dangerous driving. If that deputy had veered across the road into an oncoming VW Beetle or Mazda Miata instead of a line of cyclists, the occupants of that car would likely be seriously injured or dead, as would the driver himself.
Read more.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Airbag for cyclists

It's for motorcyclists, not bicyclists, but I can kind of see how something like this might work for bicyclists.

The video demonstrates the Dainese D Air racing air bag system, which is designed for use in Dainese motorcycle racing suits. Bicyclists don't tend to wear much protective gear -- we're usually much slower than motorcycle racers and heat can be a problem -- but this product brings some possibilities to mind.

Hat tip to Sue for this.

Saddle sore?

Byron uses drawing salve, AKA "black ointment." Drawing salve is a skin cream with Ammonium bituminosulfonate which is made from oil shale and, apparently, nobody really knows how it works.

I use whatever is around the house, which is sometimes hydrocortisone cream but is usually diaper rash cream, the kind made with cod liver oil and zinc oxide. Both work very well for me. What do you use?

Biking Bis has a good article on saddle sore prevention.

P.S. No, I will not post photos of my saddle sores.

Energy Wasting Day viral video

It's easy to waste energy, especially with the tips provided by You can even win Dan Power's undercrackers.

Via Carlton.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Bicycle news

Happy Monday, everybody! This photo is by GT Tim in Atlanta, who posts his comments to Cyclelicious on occasion.

Paul at Bike Commute Tips had a busy weekend posting a lot of encouraging news items about bicycling and commuting. He notes that the city of Urbana, Illinois has a new bike plan. Paul has a good memory, noting that I used to commute across Champaign County several years ago.

Paul also reports on the new "Shifting Gears" column on bicycling in the Boston Globe. Here in Silicon Valley, the "Mr. Roadshow" is the column on local transportation issues. Recently, the Roadshow columnist covered motorist and cyclist road etiquette, in which he writes:
• Do not honk at bicyclists as drivers approach a group riding on narrow roads. They will hear you; honking may startle them and other drivers.

• When making a right turn, drivers must merge into the bike lane within 200 feet of the turn. It's wise to begin your merge as soon as you see the dashed lines, as long as you yield to bicyclists already in the bike lane. Don't make a wide right turn at the last moment.

• If a group of bicyclists is going slower than traffic and five or more vehicles are behind them, bicyclists need to pull out at the next safe spot to let people pass. It may be some distance before there's a safe spot to pull out. If bicyclists are traveling at the speed of traffic, they do not need to pull over for motorists who want to go faster.

• Don't get mad at bicyclists riding several abreast. Sometimes the only way to bicycle safely is to take the lane - ride in the middle of the right lane and explicitly block cars from driving in that lane. If they are in that lane and it is legal to pass, try to stay three feet or more from a bicyclist's left shoulder.

• If a bicyclist is taking the entire lane, he's telling you this is not a safe place for you to pass. Don't come unglued. Wait until it's safe to pass.

• Cyclists should ride as far right as practicable to allow faster traffic to pass.

• Don't pull out or turn in front of an oncoming bike. They are often traveling faster than you think.
More in the Mercury News.

On the local cyclist mailing lists there's been a lot of discussion about this item in the San Francisco Chronicle which claims that cyclists are at fault in accidents at twice the rate that motorists are. A few people have pointed to the excellent Right Of Way site, and others have made the observation that "dead cyclists tended to be more often at fault" because of survivor's bias -- often, the driver is the only available witness.

The Sartorialist posted a bicycle photo at his fashion blog.

My inbox of cycling stuff runneth over, but this post is long enough and I've got things to do.

Traffic school for Santa Cruz cyclists

Errant bicyclists, those who get ticketed for riding on the wrong side of the street or cruising through a stop sign, can now go to traffic school to avoid a hefty fine -- and pick up some safety pointers.

The Community Traffic Safety Coalition of Santa Cruz County has launched a program similar to the traffic schools motorists attend to prevent points from going on their record that allows cyclists to attend traffic school for $35. Attending the two-hour class allows bikers to escape paying a ticket, which can run $100 to $200.
Read more in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

World's tallest man gets a bike

37 year old Leonid Stadnik is 8'5" tall.
Leonid Stadnik, who according to the Guinness World Records is the world's tallest human, says his condition has also taught him that the world is filled with kindhearted strangers.

Since his recognition by Ukrainian record keepers four years ago, and by Guinness last year, people from all over Ukraine and the world have shipped him outsized clothing, provided his home with running water and recently presented him with a giant bicycle.
Story and a photo of Leonid on a bicycle is at the Huffington Post.

Here's video of Leonid Stadnik learning to ride the specially built bicycle that was gifted to him.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter

The kids and I colored some eggs this evening.

Happy Easter

The family and I spent a splendid day biking up from Waddell Beach along the Waddell Creek portion of the Skyline to the Sea Trail in Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Waddell Beach is known around the world for wind surfing.

Kite surfers at Waddell Beach, California

Bikes are allowed for about five miles on the trail, at which point we locked up at the bike rack to continue up the trail on foot.

Bike rack on the trail

Along the trail we saw several giant banana slugs.

Big banana slug

Our destination today was the Berry Creek Waterfall.

Berry Creek Falls

My family really liked this trail today.

Daughter Panda

I hope you're having a wonderful Easter weekend!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Conservative politician scandal!

The Right Honourable David Cameron is a Member of Parliament and leader of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom. The Daily Mirror newspaper followed Cameron with a hidden video camera as he biked to work. Watch Cameron's scandalous behavior here for which Cameron was forced to publicly apologize!

Props to Pinch Flat on this Good Friday, who is also doing a count down of most awesome YouTube bicycle videos.

Thank God it's Friday

My 11 mile ride in to work this morning was chilly when it was about 38°F/3°C out at dawn. I was just warming up when I got into work. The sun is out now and we're expected to get to the high 60sF/20°C this afternoon.

WIRED points us to this small gallery of Tokyo bicycle mods at Tokyo Times.

Bike Hacker brings us news of the "Spiffy Spiffy Sprockets Contest" from the ActiveStyle editor of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Deadline for entries is March 31, winners will be published in April. Winners will selected by "bike-loving members of the Democrat-Gazette staff."

There's apparently a critical shortage of bike mechanics in Copenhagen. Denmark's bike shop group has created the Become a Professional Cycle Freak campaign in response to recruit people to learn the bike mechanic trade. It's a three year (!) program, with 40 weeks of classroom time and another 2+ years spent as an apprentice. Holy cow.

Right Rides for Women's Safety looks like an interesting program. In their Safe Walk bike patrol program, volunteer cyclists escort callers to their destinations safely. Via.

I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend! Be nice to one another and all that other stuff you learned in kindergarten. That goes for you, Pat and Dick and Hein and Patrice. I'm also talking to you too, George and Dick.

Tour de France: Slipstream/Chipotle is in!

Yesterday's news: I forgot to hit the "PUBLISH POST" button on this yesterday!

I've got to run, but here's the news. It's not entirely unexpected, but this is a really big deal.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

シャカリキ! Popular bicycle manga to be a movie

シャカリキ!Shakariki! is a popular comic manga in Japan featuring high school kids who compete against each other on hilly roads in the mountains of rural Japan. These kids suffer, they have bad hair, they sweat and snot runs from their noses as they push with all their might to be the fastest kid to climb the mountain. They have no friends -- only rivals who sabotage them, coaches who berate them for their failures, families who don't understand their passion for bicycling. They somehow manage to ride with second hand jerseys, bikes and headbands from the 80s.

シャカリキ! Shakarikii the comic

シャカリキ!Shakariki! the movie is in production now. The movie features the "D-Boys," a pretty boy acting troupe of young men with corporate sponsorship, great hair, great teeth, no sweat, and no snot who limply wave their wrists in the air as supportive and attractive friends all cry "Ganbate!" while dramatic music crescendos and they all win some sort of prize.

Shakariki the movie

シャカリキ! will be released in Tokyo in Fall 2008. From Sankei Sports. See also The official Shakriki movie site and the official Shakariki movie blog. Props to my Japanese cycling buddy in the Bay Area, Naoto-san, to whom I apologize for the artistic license I've taken in translating this important cycling news.

Tour de Georgia teams announced

The Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T announced the all 15 teams that will participate in the six day stage race this year beginning April 21. The UCI ProTour teams to participate will be Astana Cycling Team,
Saunier Duval-Scott, Team CSC, Team High Road, Team Gerolsteiner. Of the eight UCI Continental Teams invited to the race, two are from outside the United States -- Symmetrics Cycling is based in Canada, and the Continental Asia team GE/Marco Polo Cycling Team presented by Trek is from China. The remaining continental teams from the United States are Bissell Pro Cycling, Health Net presented by Maxxis, Jelly Belly Cycling Team, Jittery Joe’s Professional Cycling Team, Team Type 1, and Toyota-United Professional Cycling Team.

Michael Ball's Rock Racing was not invited to the race. Rock Racing has a full racing schedule for 2008, but fans, unfortunately, will not be able to see the famous Mario Cipollini who announced his retirement from professional cycling, this time apparently for real. Cipo expressed disappointment at his performance in the Tour of California.

While I'm writing about pro cycling, I guess I should pass on the old news that California-based Computer Sciences Corporation has decided not to continue their sponsorship of Team CSC after the 2007 season. This will be the third UCI ProTour team without a title sponsor, after Astana and High Road.

Visit Steephill.TV for more details on the Tour de Georgia.

Santa Clara County bicycle fatality locations

The San Jose Mercury News created this Google Maps map showing the location of bicycle fatalities over the past decade in Silicon Valley. Click on the markers to see details about the location and victim.

View Larger Map

The related article notes that many crashes (not necessarily fatalities) occur on six stretches of road: El Camino Real near Stanford Avenue, Palo Alto, nine crashes; Arastradero Road near Foothill Expressway, Palo Alto, 17 crashes; El Monte Road near Foothill Expressway, Mountain View 10 crashes; McLaughlin Avenue near Story Road, San Jose, 15 crashes; Snell Avenue near Blossom Hill Road, San Jose, 15 crashes; and Austin Way near Highway 9, Saratoga, 11 crashes.
The intersections nearby are high-traffic areas and popular with cyclists. Many of them are near schools and colleges. When drivers cruise through these spots, CHP officer Todd Thibodeau said they have to realize where they are, as well as what is going on in front of them.

"You've got to be aware that it is a bike route," he said, and be on the look out for cyclists.

In about 20 percent of crashes, drivers slide over the double-yellow or other dividing lines and strike cyclists.
Read the full article in the San Jose Mercury News.

Bicycle Max

Hi all, I hope you're having a good day. On my ride this morning I greeted some guy in Webcor/Team Alto Velo kit riding a Waterford; he ignored me completely but whatever. Enjoy the news and bikey links below the photo of my wheel.
Santa Clara Street traffic Panda

We Ride Bikes is a site to share videos of you riding your bikes. They have a blog, too.

Johnny Pragmatik objects to this CarMax ad.

The Miami Bike Blogger is excited that Miami, Florida now has a bike committee.

Yeti Beti is a new women's mountain bike team in Lakewood, Colorado holding never/ever beginner rides for women every Tuesday starting in April. The rides will cater to all abilities -- from beginning to an expert wanting to come out for a social ride with like minded women. See this page for details and contact info.

The Sea Otter Classic is coming up Real Soon Now. Register at the website. VeloNews has a special 15% discount if you enter their coupon code SOC182208, valid March 20-26. I'll be there.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cycling: A sport for body, mind and earth

USA Cycling coach Will Schneider talks about the merits of cycling as sport in this video. Scheider offers coaching through VO2 max Out in New York.

More cycling news

Bike Lawyer Bob Mionske weighs in with his opinions about the Cupertino crash. Coverage in the Bay Area continues with this story of the victims' families' mountain bills, and the county's acceptance of responsibility (!).

Colorado has its own "vulnerable users" bill with the Right Of Way Bill currently working its way through the Colorado State Senate. Currently, motorists who cause an accident by failing to yield right of way can get away with a fine of as little as $10. The “aggravated right-of-way” offense proposed in HB 1104 is a Class 1 Misdemeanor traffic offense, raising the minimum fine to $100 that can go up to $1000 or a year in jail.

Taipei Bike Show report links. And a direct report with photos here. Masiguy was there too. He says he'll talk about it on The Spokesmen podcast next week.

Specialized Bikes in Morgan Hill is hiring. Email to for details.
Do you LOVE bikes? Do you speak the language of carbon crank sets, derailers, and Roval wheels???

We are seeking a passionate and qualified Administrative professional to support our Engineering and Product Development Team. In this position you will assist in data management, organization of timelines and meetings including the scheduling, set-up, and facilitation of quarterly product reviews.

The ideal candidate must have excellent time management and communication skills. You must be able to work with all levels within an organization and have exceptional computer skills.

WIRED reviews the Strida 5 folding bike.

MAKE: uses for innertubes -- battery storage, rubber bands, and frame protection.

Rich "Interbike" Kelly on Trek founder Dick Burke, who passed away last week.

The U.S. Ambassador to Denmark is a cycling nut.

Colorado teacher continuing education

One of the goals of the State’s Safe Routes program is to reach children statewide with bicycle and pedestrian safety education. Bicycle Colorado educators are traveling around the state bringing Safe Routes to Durango, Buena Vista, Yuma, La Junta, and Steamboat Springs to train teachers and administrators to implement Safe Routes programs in their areas by teaching students, parents, and teachers safe bicycling and walking practices. Teachers leave the training with classroom toolkits, including complete lesson plans and worksheets.

Upcoming training sessions in these areas:
    Yuma - Friday, March 21st, 9am-5pm
    Buena Vista - Friday, April 4th, 9am-5pm
    La Junta - Thursday, April 24th, 9am-5pm
    Steamboat Springs - Friday, May 2nd, 9-5

These bicycle education courses are accredited through Adams State College, providing participating teachers with continuing education credits required by the state.

For online registration for these classes and more information about the Safe Routes to School program in Colorado, visit the Bicycle Colorado Safe Routes page.

Chicago compare and contrast

Or turnabout is fair play. First there's this by Cate Plys: Dear bicyclists: Next time, think of us motorists.
Yes, yes, we know. You're better than us. You care about the planet. In your vast wardrobe of colorful biking outfits, you imagine you look like you're racing up an alp in the Tour de France rather than the gentle slope of a paltry Lake Shore Drive overpass.

You assume the people you leave in your two-wheel wake are marveling at the reds, greens and oranges—envying you.

We're not. We're thinking that most of you are a bunch of smug, self-satisfied, frequently dangerous jerks. We're thinking you should lose about 10 pounds before subjecting the world to those bike pants again.

Then Dan Korn in Chicago wrote his own letter: Dear motorists: Next time, think of us cyclists.
Yes, yes, we know. You're better than us. You're really trying to get somewhere. In your vast array of colorful cars and trucks, you imagine you look like you're racing around a curve in the Daytona 500 rather than a residential street.

You assume the people you leave in your four-wheel wake are marveling at the engine, power and spoiler—envying you.

We're not. We're thinking that most of you are a bunch of smug, self- satisfied, frequently dangerous jerks. We're thinking you should get on a bike and lose about 10 pounds before subjecting the world to those pants again.
Update: See also Danielo's commentary.

Large fella on a bike

Inspirational story!
Scott Cutshall, 38 years old, was not sure if he'd live to see 40. He wore size XXXXXXXXXXL pants and could not tie his own shoes. He could walk only nine steps at a time. Breathing was sometimes difficult. A doctor said he would be dead in six months.

The rebirth of Scott Cutshall began Thanksgiving day 2005, a bowl of vegetable soup for breakfast kicking off a new life where nothing would be the same. Cutshall, living in Jersey City at the time, weighed 501 pounds. He was having breakfast. And then he was getting ready to go on a bike ride.

He rode 1.9 miles that day, rolling through neighborhoods, biking on the street, stopping to rest four or five times to sit on a curb. Head down. Panting. Hot even in November.

The ride of less than 2 miles took Cutshall three hours to complete. But the wheels were turning. His body was in motion. The journey had begun.
Read more in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Props to Sven the Viking.

See also:

The bike newbie

Ray Niekamp is The Bike Noob. This 50-something journalism professor at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX got into road biking after his wife completed a local charity ride. Ray bought a new bike, got some clipless pedals, and last November completed his first metric century after only a few shorts months on the bike.

Ray is a professional writer, and I like the way he breaks down biking jargon into something any newbie can understand. His article about saddles, for example, is probably among the best I've seen about saddle selection and comfort. I think the bike industry should hire Ray to rewrite some of their user manuals and other consumer material.

Besides his desire to help out other bike newbies, Professor Ray has an academic research interest in blogs and how news organizations use blogs to supplement their mainstream media efforts. He tells me, "It occurred to me that having my own blog will allow me to understand blogging better. I failed last year in my first attempt at blogging -- no focus -- so I thought finding a narrow topic to write on would improve my blog readership."

If you know somebody new to cycling, point them to Ray's Bike Noob blog. The Bike Noob is well worth reading for the old grizzled vets among us, too. Check it out: The Bike Noob in San Marcos, Texas.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Volunteers needed for Bike To Work Day

Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition seeks Bike To Work Day volunteers

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is stepping up its efforts in preparation for Bike to Work Day, and they need your help. On the BTWD Volunteering page you will find a list of positions, including pre-event opportunities that you can do right now! Get creative and help create art and prose that will get the word out about biking to work this May!

Applying for a volunteer position is easy, just fill out the online form and the SVBC will provide you with all the information you need to get started. They are looking for business outreach, writers and reporters, videographers, photosgraphers, graphic artists, poster distributors, Energizer Station leaders, clean up crews, a band for the after-work party, party organizers, and more. For more information on volunteering for Bike to Work Day please visit

Bloom Energy bike commuters

Yehuda Moon bag audit

It's another beautiful day in the Bay Area. Sunny skies and temps will be in the 60s F / high teens C. The heady scent of blooming flowers perfumes the air along the bike lanes. It's too bad I ONCE AGAIN forgot my helmet on the bus.

Do you know anyone else who carries a flare?

More below the photo from the Stevens Canyon memorial ride.

Ride Start - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Yet Another Motorist ("Oh, and I ride a bike too!") missing the point and whining about scofflaw bicyclists. (Thx to James.)

Bike giveaway at law firm as incentive for bike commuting.

Coelocanth is back!

Buy Cycling: Ibex knickers review.

Bike sales are up. No, wait! Bike sales are down. They'll certainly be more expensive.

CompleteStreets commentary.

Guess where?
The idea that hit me, 'gobsmacked' as the Brits would say, is that the area has arrived as a cycling city. There's a tsunami of cycling consciousness that joins government, businesses, and individuals, highlighting this city as a cycling mecca. You may think that's an overstatement, yet it's undoubtedly true. We are no longer struggling toward a goal. We've attained it. Sure, there's much more to do, but this was an enormous hurdle to overcome.
Portland? Minneapolis? San Francisco? Nope, this is from Tulsa, Oklahoma of all places.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Critical Mass in 1896

Here's an interesting article [PDF] on "The Great San Francisco bicycle protest of 1896."
Since the 1880’s, riders across the country had lobbied for access to the streets. Increasingly organized, their mission was political and social as cycling became a way of life. Bicyclists demonstrated in large American cities, including Chicago, where wheelmen and wheelwomen held riding exhibitions and mass meetings, forcing the city to withdraw a rail franchise for a west end boulevard.

Cyclists were encouraged to decorate their wheels, citizens along the route to decorate their properties, with prizes offered for the finest display. A few men rode in drag, one “in the togs of a Midway Plaisance maiden,” another as an old maid. Uncle Sam rode in bloomers next to a down-home hayseed.There were meaner stereotypes: Sitting Bull and Pocahontas; a man in bloomers mocking “the new women;” one in blackface; one “imitating a Chinese in silks and slippers.”

Approaching Powell and Market, “the cyclists encountered a surging mass of humanity.” Bells of a dozen trapped streetcars added to the chaos.When the number 21 car got too close to one division, some in the crowd began rocking it, attempting to overturn it.
Read more in this PDF from Processed World.

Bicycle talk Ohio

'Bikes, Trails, and Talk in Ohio' Forum Launched

Bicycle Talk Ohio is a new online discussion forum for cyclists in the Buckeye State.

Other Ohio bicycle resources include:

Did you wear green today?

Update: St. Patrick's day was actually last Saturday, not today. "They" move the day around when it falls during Holy Week. I still enjoyed my corned beef and cabbage (actually saurkraut) for lunch today.

Post a comment with a link to your photo wearing green on or around the bike! This is the green Bike Hugger jersey from Byron the bike hugger dude.

Green jersey

St. Patrick's day is, of course, in honor of the guy who brought Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century A.D. He was the British son of a deacon and grandson of a priest when, at age 16, he was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave. Several years later he escaped, returned home, became a priest and went back to Ireland as a missionary, where he imported thousands of plastic shamrock pins from China and perfected the creation of green beer.

Green bicycle news

Family sets green example in transportation choices.

Workman Bicycles of Ozone Park, NY installed a 15 KW photovoltaic system on the factory rooftop.

Green Streets?

Green bicycle in white snow.

Subscribe and win a Zigo Leader

Subscribe to Momentum Magazine for a chance to win the cool Zigo Leader carrier bike.

Momentum Magazine is a magazine just for transportational cyclists. It's freely available at select locations in Canada and the United States, but you can subscribe if you don't happen to live in a large city.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Angel, the Bicycle and the Chinaman's Finger

My buddy Jonathan grew up in South Africa as the son of a missionary. I was checking out some of the stuff he has online and for his favorite movie he lists "The Angel, the Bicycle and the Chinaman's Finger", which is about as cinematically obscure as you can be. I'll ask Jonathan about this the next time I see him, but does anyone know anything about this film? Is it at all available in the United States?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Stevens Canyon Critical Mass

1,000 cyclists remember Matt Peterson and Kristy Gough in memorial ride

At least a thousand cyclists rode this afternoon from Foothill College to Stevens Canyon Road to remember Matt Peterson and Kristy Gough, two cyclists who were killed last Sunday when Santa Clara Sheriff's deputy James Council crossed the center line and struck them. The pack rode somberly as a helicopter flew overhead and police and volunteers blocked intersections. It was a bit like a 10 mile long suburban Critical Mass, except the mood was somber and the bikes were different and almost everybody was decked out in road cycling kit.


Photo: "Kristy and Matt Memorial Ride" by John Gale.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Bicycle repair videos

Alex is the Bicycle Tutor. He's a bike mechanic in Vancouver, BC, and he posts bike repair and maintenance video tutorials to his blog. Very helpful stuff! Go see the Bicycle Tutor for bike care tips and instruction.

Which reminds me: I need to change the chain on my road bike. I have 1500 miles on my current chain (10 speed) and it's already stretched. At $50 a pop, those 10 speed chains are not cheap.

Memorial bike ride this Saturday

Everybody will be joining the memorial ride for Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson tomorrow.

Martin Krieg and his gang will leave the BusCycle garage in Palo Alto at 1 P.M. for the six mile ride to Foothill College, where they'll join the "official" memorial ride to Stevens Canyon.

At the request of ride organizers, the Santa Clara Sheriff's department will escort the ride down to Stevens Canyon, and Stevens Canyon Road will be closed during the duration of the ride. The county sheriff bike patrol will also join the ride. Alto Velo/Webcor will provide course marshalls to direct traffic at busy intersections.

Free parking will be available at Foothills College in Lot 1 (the lot nearest the football field) from 2 PM to 6 PM.

The media WILL BE PRESENT at the ride. Organizers are asking everybody to ride in an orderly fashion and keep the group as tight at possible.

The ride will take place rain or shine. The temperature will be in the low fifties and rain is likely Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Exclusive video: Cannondale ON urban folding bike

Last summer Cyclelicious reported on the Cannondale Jackknife folding bicycle. Cannondale announced that because of overwhelming interest from customers and the media, they decided to move forward from concept to reality with the production of the Cannondale ON bicycle.

Cyclelicious talked with Cannondale product manager Yngwie Malmsteen, who claimed the ON will fold to "fit a small carry on suitcase." We were skeptical until Yngwie showed us this amazing video.

Find out more about the Cannondale ON urban bicycle (yes, it's real) at Cannondale Community. Treehugger, via WIRED.

In other news, James reports that sales of "hybrid bikes" were up a healthy 6% in 2007 over the previous year. According to the research service he cites, "Consumers are taking to bikes like never before, and they've got good reason. The expense of maintaining, fueling and parking a car is making them think twice about all those short trips to the grocery store, and even the commute to work." In spite of recession (or perhaps because of it?), "one sector of the economy that did surprisingly well in 2007 was bicycle sales." Something that may take some wind out of that trend, though, is the news that prices are expected to increase this year on everything throughout the bike industry -- from semi-finished product suppliers; component makers up to bike manufacturers. The prices are expected to be raised by at least 10 to 15%!

"The Forum" on bicycle safety

I previously posted my quick notes on the important bicycle safety show on KQED in San Francisco this morning. I've now had a chance to edit my notes and provide greater detail about this important discussion with a multimedia component in this modern age so you can picture the players!

Michael Krasny is host of the "The Forum," a radio show about local issues on public radio KQED in San Francisco.

Guests on the show included: Now here's my carefully editted transcript of today's show.

AA sockpuppet: "Cyclists should be more CAREFUL. When a driver falls asleep and careens over to your side of the road at 60 mph, it's YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to get out of his way. Cyclists really should do a better job of being good ambassadors!"

Leah Shahum:

Sean Co: "FUH2. Cars kill. Bikes are best."

Rob Anderson:
"You maniacs are insane using an inherently dangerous toy to get around. Grow up. Kids ride bikes, adults drive big trucks. Get out of my way or I'll run you over!"

Shahum: "FUH2. And SUVs suck! Cars are deadly death machines that kill."

Nick Carr (of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission): "Critical Mass forever!"

Krasny then takes calls from listeners.

First, there's John from San Bruno.

"I ride a bike, and cyclists must obey the laws, come to a complete stop, wear helmets with propeller beanies on top, flashing lights, flash flags, safety vests, and full body armor for the inevitable accidents."

Shahum responds: "Let's talk about scofflaw motorists instead. FUH2!"

The second caller is Helen. Helen doesn't like the cyclists on Cesar Chavez.

"Bikes are a menace! They get in my way. I own the road!"

Shahum responds: "FUH2! Cyclists take the lane! One less car!"

Derek Liecty of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition then came on the air.

"Drive your bike. Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles. Read John Forester's Effective Cycling daily for good mental health, Right Thinking and strong bones."

Finally, Michael came on the air. He's a frequent caller to the show and he's been a cab driver in San Francisco since the Vietnam War.

"We should be more like China. FUH2! I love cyclists, even the ones who flip me the bird."

Final words from Shahum ("FUH2! More bikes, less cars!") and the AA Sock Puppet ("Wear a helmet to protect yourself from out of control dozing drivers") closed out the hour.

KQED Forum on bicycle safety - show notes

Update: See the transcript here. It has pictures! The stuff in this article below is boring and dull.

KQED is the local public broadcasting station in San Francisco. The topic for the 9 A.M. "Forum" show was on bicycle safety.

Guests were
  • Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
  • Sean Co, bicycle and pedestrian planner for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
  • Sean Comey, spokesman for the AAA of Northern California.
  • Rob Anderson, the blogger who filed suit holding up implementation of the San Francisco bicycle plan.

When I tuned in, AAA spokesman Comey (who says he rides a bike), instructed cyclists to be more careful and "cyclists need to act as ambassadors. You need to follow the rules of the road. Motorists are protected by a ton of steel and latest in engineering and technology, but cyclists are out in the open," he reminds us. "You are very vulnerable. When I ride, I expect motorists to not see me and I watch for the unexpected. I watch for doors and people pulling out." Comey gave some good advice, but it's rich that this spokesmen for motorists tells cyclists to be ambassadors, when he should be doing the same thing on behalf of motorists. There's at least as much bad behavior from motorists as there is from cyclists.

Shahum reminds Comey of this when she reminds Comey and KQED listeners that "drivers of large vehicles have a grave responsibility to take care" in their driving.

Host Michael Krasny asked if road conditions are a factor in safety. MTA planner Co responded that "90% of collisions are due to human factors. If you throw money into improving roads and other engineering, you can only get so much in return. The most important thing is changing behavior."

Rob Anderson joined the show for a short time. Anderson cites the figure from the 2000 Census showing that only 2% of commutes in SF are by cyclists and he said, "I don't see any increased number of bicycles in The City." Anderson doesn't believe that money and space should be given to a mode of transportation that's used by only a tiny minority of the population.

Shahum, though, retorts that "According to Anderson we shouldn't have sidewalks, we shouldn't have transit. That's a very archaic way of thinking." Because of issues with climate change, air pollution, and much higher energy prices, "We have to think about other ways to get around." Shahum also cites figures from a November 2007 study and traffic count showing that "16% of San Francisco adults -- that's 120,000 people -- bicycle in The City for transportation at least once a week." She also makes the comparison that "if you look at one person in a car versus one person on a bike versus 30 people on a bus, motorists take a disproportionate amount of space."

Host Krasny then spoke with Nick Carr of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, asking him about the progress of the city bicycle plan. Carr said, "we're completing the environmental analysis" and that "I've seen very noticeable growth in cycling in San Francisco." He then plugged MTA's work with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition in Bike Ed to "teach folks what they need to know so they're not operating a bike in ignorance. Bike Ed is like a driver training class for cyclists. Also Bike To Work Day is coming up so we're starting to promote that." When asked about Critical Mass, "Critical Mass is still out there. We don't hear too many complaints like used we used to. One thing San Francisco has going for them is the exposure of cyclists on the streets, which makes it safer for them."

Krasny started taking some calls at this point.
  • Call John from San Bruno is a cyclist who bikes into the city. "Cyclists really need to obey the traffic laws" and "they need to be more visible." He pushes Robert Hurst's (excellent) Art of Cycling book. Leah's response: "It's the scofflaws you notice, whether its cyclists or motorists or walkers. It's not a bicycle issue, it's a human nature issue and it's applicable to any mode of transportation." In city counts at 30 intersections, Shahum said they count violations as well as just absolute counts, and during these counts the violators are not the majority. 600 people in the Bay Area are killed by motorists every year, so its clear that the main problem is not scofflaw cyclists but scofflaw motorists.

  • Caller Helen complains about cyclists on Cesar Chavez in San Francisco, because the road is there for motorists to get on the freeway. Leah Shahum gets animated, responding that "those lanes are not designated motorists only -- they are for all traffic, including cyclists." Shahum explains the concept of "taking the lane" -- where cyclists ride in the middle of the lane to increase their visibility and protect themselves -- and exhorts Helen to "hang back and give them room."

  • Another caller complains about bike lanes on Guerrero St, how replacing traffic lanes with bike lanes backs traffic up and he ends up taking side streets instead of main boulevards. He advocates instead for bike boulevards (like in Berkeley and Palo Alto) where side streets have traffic calming features that limit motor traffic but allow for easy bicycle access. Shahum notes that in the case of Guerrero Street that it was the local residents who wanted traffic calming engineering, with a median added and a traffic lane removed to discourage traffic on that street.

  • Krasny brought up comments from emails received during the show, of cyclists who blow through stop signs and don't signals, of motorists who do the same, etc.

  • Caller Randall said cyclists should have a different set of laws. "Many laws are created for the convenience of motorists, not for the safety of bicycles," he said.

  • Derek Liecty of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition called in to encourage listeners in the East Bay to attend one of the many bicycle safety classes that teaches people to "ride a bicycle like a car to reduce accidents." He also said every cyclist should read John Forester's Effective Cycling book.

  • Michael is a cabbie in San Francisco and a frequent caller to Krasny's show. He talked about his recent trip to China, where people of all ages and types ride to get around. He compared it to California where, "there are so many pickup trucks and one person SUVs that it's just embarrassing." In 30 years of driving a taxi in The City, "I've never been in an accident with a bicycle. I always watch for cyclists and I always give the right of way. I try to be courteous but even then I still sometimes get the middle finger from some cyclists."
As the hour closed, Shahum mentioned a study from the Netherlands showing that twice as many motorists as cyclists are killed per mile of travel and that the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risk of accidental death 20 to 1.

Finally, Krasny asked about helmets, and Comey (the AAA guy) brought up the completely discredited and ridiculous "helmets reduce serious injury and death by 85%" figure, which isn't even used by the helmet lobby anymore.

Schwinn sponsors Team In Training

Schwinn today announced the signing of a partnership with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training to become the first-ever national bicycle sponsor. Team In Training (TNT) is endurance sports training and fundraising program. Now in its 20th year, TNT participants have raised more than $850 million for lifesaving cancer research and to help blood cancer patients live longer, better lives. The program provides coaching to help support participants crossing the finish line at century rides, triathlons and marathons.

"Over 20 years, we have seen Team In Training expand from a single sport program - the marathon - to a multi-endurance sport program with challenges such as triathlons and 100 mile rides," said Nancy L. Klein, LLS senior vice president marketing communications. "We are thrilled to have Schwinn's support because it's a brand that people already know and trust."

Team In Training.

Schwinn Bike.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Jacket turn signal

This is Leah Buechley. She's a PhD candidate in Computer Science at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where she "explores the intersection of computational and physical media, focusing on computational textiles or electronic textiles ... soft, flexible, fabric-based computers." In this photo, she demonstrates the use of a commercially available LilyPad Arduino system to create a turn signal built into a cycling jacket.

Leah also has instructions on building a LED tank top. Found via MAKE.

Chicago passes bicycle safety ordinance

(I almost wrote "ordnance," which could either be really good or really bad for cyclists).

The City of Chicago passed the Bicycle Safety Ordinance this afternoon. The new law now establishes fines for turning left or right in front of a bicyclist, passing a bicyclist with less than three feet of space, and opening a vehicle door into the path of a bicyclist. Fines range from $150 to $500 and go up to $500 if the violation results in a bicycle crash.

It also establishes a fine for double-parking in a marked shared lane, and increases the fine for driving, standing or parking in a bicycle lane.

"We are committed to making Chicago the most bicycle friendly city in the country, and safety is a very critical part of the plan," Daley said after the measure passed. "More than 6,000 crashes between bicycles and motor vehicles were reported in Chicago between 2001 and 2005. Unfortunately, 30 bicyclists were killed. These new laws will help prevent injuries and save lives."

Daley defended bike messengers when asked about their sometimes risky riding and rude behavior. "The bike messengers are a breed unto themselves," Daley said, smiling. "I got to meet a lot of them so I know a lot of them. They've got a job to do, and like anything else, they are respecting the laws on the road and all that, and the rules."

From Chicagoland Bicycle Federation via Jennifer in Chicago. Dave also points us to an illustrated PDF with photographic examples of the types of actions this law prohibits.

Memorial ride for fallen cyclists

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, Team Roaring Mouse Cycles and Third Pillar Racing Team are holding a joint memorial ride this Saturday March 15th, to honor the lives of Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson. Friends, family, fellow cyclists and all those whose lives have been touched by Matt and Kristy are invited to the ride, which will include a visit to the site of the crash site for those to share their memories.

I'm still working to rearrange my schedule, but I plan to be there.

Saturday, March 15th. Meet at 2:30 PM, ride start by 3:00 PM.

Leaving from Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022.

30-45 minutes to the crash site. Base pace (mellow), no drop.

Route: Start @ Foothill College (Parking Lot #1, near the football stadium)
  • Left on El Monte
  • Right on Foothill Expressway
  • Continue on Steven's Creek Canyon
  • Return

More info:

Kristianna Gough's family is planning a life celebration service for her at 2 p.m. Sunday at Five Rings Cycling Center, 297 N. Amphlett Blvd. in San Mateo.

Also Sunday, the annual >Old La Honda Time Trial, a famous 3.7-mile bike climb near Woodside, will be open to the public, with cyclists invited to enjoy a slow, thoughtful ride in honor of Gough and Matt Peterson. For more information, call (650) 367-7889.

Test your awareness and perception skills

Take this test of your awareness skills, then come back for discussion. Spoilers/hints are below so take the test first before you read any further!

A couple of people already mentioned this test in comments elsewhere, and I posted it to CommuteByBike yesterday. I passed the test and saw that "surprise ending", but I knew what to look for because I was familiar with the UIUC perception study from a few years ago that Sue mentioned.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Please pay attention

If you hit another car in traffic, it's probably just another fender bender. If you hit a cyclist, you might cause a death or serious injury. Austin Murphy pleads with motorists to "Open your eyes!" in his Sports Illustrated column.
I was at the far right edge of the road. The car didn't stop. I overtook it, and was attempting to open the passenger door at approximately 15 mph when a very distraught woman rolled down the window and tearfully explained that she was just coming from visiting her husband in the hospital, and that she "didn't even see me."

I thought to myself: I'm rocking electric blue Lycra shorts and an orange jersey, not because I'm color blind, but because I want cars to see me! How could she miss me?

Nearly every cyclist in America has similar stories. We beseech you: Start seeing bicycles.

I live in a part of the country where traffic is expected to increase 250 percent in the next 20 years. We live on a planet whose addiction to fossil fuels has created problems that might be alleviated if people rode their bikes more often.

Bicycles are part of the solution. Start seeing bicycles.
Read more. For Yehuda Moon, click on the comic to see large.

More cyclist deaths in the Bay Area

From the San Francisco Chronicle:
The number of bicyclists killed in collisions with motor vehicles has increased 28 percent over the past decade - from 18 to 23 deaths per year, according to a Chronicle analysis of data collected by the California Highway Patrol.

That increase is despite a 22 percent drop in the number of regional bicycle accidents between 1997 and 2006 in the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties. The number of bicyclists injured in accidents over that period declined by a similar amount.

"That means more of the bicyclists who are being hit are being killed," said Sean Co, bicycling coordinator for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Accidents in urban areas are most common but occur at lower speeds where injuries are more likely to be less serious. But accidents on rural roads or open highways are likely to involve higher speeds.

"Speed," Co said, "is probably the highest contributing factor in any bicycle collision that results in a fatality."

According to the CHP statistics, 179 Bay Area bicyclists have been killed and 25,715 injured in bicycle collisions with cars between 1997 and 2006. But the number of accidents and the number of injuries have each steadily decreased while the number of fatalities remained steady for years before jumping to 23 in 2006. And, based on an analysis of incomplete 2007 data, the increase in fatalities is likely to continue.
Read more in the Chronicle: Bicycle fatalities on the rise in Bay Area.

In Santa Clara County, where I do much of my cycling, there are about 100 automobile fatalities per year, of which about 4% are cyclist deaths.

Photo credit: "Car vs Bicyclist" by Allen in Nevada.

Haro Beasely 650B first ride

Jill Hamilton is the "Bike Biz Babe" and she's brand manager for Haro Bicycles in southern California. She rode one of the new 650B bicycles Haro is offering this year: the steel, fully rigid, 650B Beasely.
Don't get me wrong...I love my 29ers. But for a "little" person like me (at 5'7"), a 29er is a lot of bike. The Beasley didn't feel like such a big felt very nimble and quick, yet very stable. Just like a 29er, it climbed with what felt like infinite traction, cornered with stability, and rolled over trail obstacles with ease.

The fact that the Beasley is steel also lends to the fun factor...steel truly is real. It yields a ride unlike any other material. It's lively, yet stiff enough so you "feel" the trail. Steel frames also just look great...since you can make frames out of smaller diameter tubes, steel frames look sleek and svelte.
Read more and see photos at Bike Biz Babe.