Wednesday, April 30, 2008

On "Get-there-itis"

An opinion piece published in the Orlando Sentinel asking that we all get along.
One thing I've heard from cyclists and non-cyclists, alike, is: "That road is too dangerous for bikes." Of course, the roads themselves are not dangerous. It's the behavior of impatient and distracted motorists that creates danger. And most of us are guilty of it at one time or another. Isn't it time we all act to change behavior that kills more than 40,000 Americans each year?

"Get-there-itis" is well known to pilots as a cause of preventable aviation crashes. Student pilots are instilled with the understanding that they must detach from a sense of urgency to get there and make sound decisions. Pilots know that irresponsible actions will cost them their hard-earned license. Perhaps if society placed a fraction of that emphasis on motorists, our entire traffic culture would look much different.
Keri Caffrey, a cycling instructor with the League of American Bicyclists, has ridden a bike on the roads in Orlando for 22 years. Read the full story here.

Please remember to take the Cyclelicious survey for a chance to win a CycleAware Stow Away bag.

Tim Jackson / Masiguy in the hospital

Everybody's favorite bike industry blogger crashed hard at the velodrome, hitting the deck at 30+ mph and breaking bones and getting a concussion. More at Racer Blue Squirrel. Via Donna.

Rockefellers: Change crucial for future of Exxon

Members of the Rockefeller family, descendants of the man who founded ExxonMobil forerunner Standard Oil, are calling for changes in governance and is urging the company to cut greenhouse gas emissions and look into renewable fuels in shareholder resolutions sponsored by the family. Exxon management opposes the resolutions.

The family "are concerned Exxon's senior management has tunnel vision and is too absorbed with the challenges of daily management of multibillion dollar oil and natural-gas projects to ask hard questions about the future of fossil fuels. Mr. Tillerson and other Exxon executives have said they believe oil and gas will represent the vast majority of energy consumption for decades," according to The Wall Street Journal.

Although the family does not own a controlling share of ExxonMobil, the Rockefellers symbolic introduction of these resolutions has gotten the attention of management and hope other shareholders will join them.

Read more at The London Times Online also discusses the challenges faced by ExxonMobil as they move into they future:
While the Rockefellers beat their breasts, most shareholders will continue to love the fat Exxon dividend.

Yet underlying the protest from the trust fund Rockers is a big problem for oil companies - their ever-increasing reliance on the support of governments and regulators.

Exxon's riposte to the climate change and peak oil lobbies is that technology rather than regulation will provide answers to our energy problems.

It is a disingenuous argument because the energy industry is at the governments' knees begging for help - big dollops of taxpayer cash to build experimental power stations.
Tip of the hat to Jack for this article.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Portland goes Platinum

The city of Portland, Oregon has joined Davis, California as a Platinum level Bicycle Friendly Community. The League of American Bicyclists recognizes various levels of bicycle friendliness, with platinum at the highest level.

"When Portland received the Gold award in 2003," said Andy Clarke, president of the league in Washington, D.C., "we challenged the community to increase ridership to get to Platinum. Bold leadership, community-wide involvement, and a lot of hard work have resulted in a 144 percent increase in bicycle use since the 2000 Census -- impressive results by any standard."

The league's reviewers noted that Portland has coupled modest but smart investments in infrastructure, with outstanding education, promotion, and encouragement activities to make cycling a practical and safe option for many more Portlanders than ever before.

Go Portland!

Read more at Bike Portland.

Bike newbies on Caltrain

As gas prices officially reached the $4 mark in San Francisco, Caltrain reported record weekday ridership of 36,993 for February 2008, a 9.3% increase over 2007.

Full bike car

I'm not as scientific as Caltrain, but I'm seeing substantially more cyclists on the Caltrain bike cars, many of them with shiny new bikes. If you're on the platform with your bike and don't have a clue what's going on, please feel free to ask the other people around what to do. The BayRail Alliance also updated their Caltrain Bike Tips page today. I provided some of the input for that tips page, including the mild suggestion to "the idiot" the train nearly hit yesterday morning.

Today is free ice cream cone day at Ben & Jerry's! Please also don't forgot to do the Cyclelicious survey.


Decorative decals for your deep dish aero rims

Those monocolor aero rims are so 2007. Get with the program with Wheeltags rim decals.

A variety of sizes are available to fit different rim sizes. Each "can" runs about $40 more or less (depending on the size) and comes with seven decals, enough to completely cover one side of a wheel.

Learn more at Wheeltags and the Wheeltags blog.

Monday, April 28, 2008

CycleAware Stow Away backpack

The new Stow Away backpack from CycleAware is a simple mesh bag perfect for carrying small, lightweight objects such as jackets, arm warmers, and small odds and ends like wallets. The mesh minimizes weight and sweat, while a reflective panel on the back improves visibility. In this video, Lee of Cycle Aware describes the benefits of the Stow Away cycling backpack.

You can buy the Stow Away from sports retailers such as REI, from bike shops, or online from for $15.95. U.S. residents have a chance to win this bag if you take this survey and enter your email address in the survey. I'm thinking about changing the direction of Cyclelicious and I'd like your feedback.

On road and cyclist rage: Wheels are evil

From the Chicago Tribune: Rage between cars, bikes is a vicious wheel --
When I am in my car, cyclists vex the mess out of me. On my bicycle, cyclists and motorists vex the mess out of me.

And at the root of it all is anger. Why? What's making us all so mad?

"We're trained that way," said Leon James, a psychologist who has studied drivers and their psychology for 25 years. "It's cultural practice to be tough and say, 'Don't let them make a fool of you.' "

That's right. You wake up angry, roll out of the house angry and are just waiting for the catalyst that turns anger into rage.

Momentum Planet: Why all the bike hate? Hear hear!

Beyond Chron: Bicyclists take to the streets for safety -- The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition organized a volunteer effort to mark road hazards with neon chalk sprayed over stencils.

Bike Hugger: Safety First.

City of Boulder, Colorado transportation allowance for the city manager, municipal judge and city attorneys is for a bicycle! But, they don't actually use the allowance.

Missouri DOT tosses cyclists over the handlebars.

Photo by Ian in Leicester.

Bike lock instruction video

StreetFilms posted a great followup to Hal Ruzal's video in which he gives letter grades on the locking skills of bikes he sees in the neighborhood. Hal Ruzal is a mechanic at Bicycle Habitat in New York City.

In the sequel, he's joined by Bike Church founder Kerri Martin. They evaluate the security of bikes locked to posts, poles and fences with quality Kryptonite locks and low cost "Craptoenite" locks and chains. Watch and learn how to lock your bike.

Kanstantin Sivtsov

Who in the world is Kanstantin Sivtsov? How many spellings of that name have you seen? And how do you pronounce Siutsou / Sivtsov / Sweet Sue? And is it Konstantin or Kanstantin?

For those who don't know, Kanstantin Sivtsov is the young cyclist on Team High Road who won the Tour de Georgia this last weekend. Sweet Sue hails from Belarus, for whom he dreams of riding for the Olympic cycling team.

Frankie Andreu caught up to Kanstantin in this video interview. Sivtsov is obviously very proud of his Team High Road jersey, and he doesn't look or sound anything like Belov from "American Flyers."

See also Kanstantin Sivtsov's page at Team High Road website.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

In praise of pie plates

I agree with the Bike Snob that pie plates are about as misplaced on many bikes as the red skinsuit man, but they do have their utility.

19th Century Technology

Pie plates are plastic rings placed against the spokes on the rear wheel of dérailleur equipped bicycles. They protect the wheel and derailleur against damage by preventing the chain or dérailleur from going into the spokes if the rear dérailleur is misadjusted. I once had to replace spokes, chain, derailleur and chainring for want of a spoke protector because my dérailleur hanger got bent in on the train.

If you ride a high end road bike, you're expected to fiddle with the limit screws like a tweaking meth user, so get rid of the pie plate. Ditto for fixed gears, singlespeeds and hub geared bikes, which have no need for spoke protectors. If you ride your bike for transportation, though, and your bike is flung against other bikes, crammed into closets, dropped on the sidewalk and you otherwise don't want to mess with the gear adjustments, keep that spoke protector in place.

Bicycling to the Beijing Olympics

14 people are traveling on their bicycles to the Beijing Olympics. They started in Olympia, Greece last February and will travel across Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China before their planned arrival on August 8 in time for the start of the 2008 Summer Olympics. This group are blogging about their adventures on

Friday, April 25, 2008

Bicycle education material in Spanish

To better serve families and communities throughout the state, Bicycle Colorado's education team is translating key Safe Routes to School materials into Spanish. More than 70,000 school-age students speak primarily Spanish in Colorado, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

"Providing our handouts and education materials in both English and Spanish allows us to effectively reach out to more students and families within our communities with bicycle and pedestrian safety messages," said Maggie Thompson, Bicycle Colorado education director.

Bicycle Colorado wants all bicyclists in the state to have access to safety information and the rules of the road. After all, when more people ride bikes more often, everyone benefits.

Tour de Georgia 2008 photos

Watch Dave Z zoom by in his Captain America outfit during the Team Time Trial at the Tour de Georgia in this fantastic photo by Ken Conley.

Slipstream TTT - (c) Ken Conley

Ken Conley got to ride the media motorcycle yesterday and captured several excellent photos before, during and after yesterday's stage at the Tour de Georgia. The TTT event took place, unusually, on the Road Atlanta road track, which features a number of sharp turns and steep hills. I've heard a couple of suggestions that the Tour of California should incorporate a similar event using the Laguna Seca raceway in Monterey, which I think is a splendid idea.

James T posted about his fun at the TTT to his Bicycle Design blog and I just noticed that he uploaded his Tour de Georgia photos to a Flickr TdG set.

If you don't know the story behind this "Just Go Harder" sticker, Just Go Harder is the name of an online journal by Slipstream cyclist Tim Duggan and Team Type 1 cyclist Ian MacGregor. Tim Duggan crashed badly during a 45 mph decent during Stage 3 and was hospitalized with head injuries. The Slipstream squad applied the Just Go Harder stickers on the seatposts for their team mate. Duggan is expected to recover, but it was pretty scary for a little while.

Frank Steele (of TdFBlog) is an east coast guy and he also has his Tour de Georgia photo set on Flickr.

Remember, you can always visit Steephill.TV for a good collection of links to more media, race results and coverage. Steven there is currently covering Tour de Georgia Stage 5 which is now in progress. You can also watch live video of the Tour de Georgia on (free registration required).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Princeton Tec Swerve bicycle tail light

The new Princeton Tec Swerve is my new favorite bicycle tail light. It features 2 half watt super bright LEDs, a multitude of mounting options, and a great big toggle switch for easy on/off operation.

Princeton Tec Swerve light

Princeton Tec introduced the Swerve light at the Sea Otter Classic last weekend. My biggest grip about most bike lights is lack of flexibility in mounting them. Princeton Tec has solved that problem with the Swerve, which has the best mountain system of any light I've seen, with a clip, brackets and multiple bands allowing you to mount the Swerve to just about any surface on your bike, your bag or your helmet. Princeton Tec even wants your photos of your unique mounting technique at the Swerve Your Bike website.

With a pair of half watt LEDs (either flashing or persistent), the Swerve is brighter than the Planet Bike Superflash, which has a single half watt LED along with smaller flashing LEDs. According to Princeton Tec, one of the keys to the Swerve's effectiveness and visibility is that the LED's have different collimators (lens) - one is diffused, while the other is focused. This creates two different beams patterns that the viewing eye has to juggle. Enough light diffuses through the transparent red case to provide effective side lighting, also. The LEDs are bright enough to catch the eye even in daylight and through fog.

A nice usability feature is the large toggle switch, which is very easily accessible and easy to operate while on the go. You can even flip the lens around to move the toggle from left to right if you want. I started my ride home from Monterey last Friday evening in daylight, but as dusk approached I reached around my seatpost and my fingers quickly found the toggle switch.

My only gripe -- and it's fairly minor -- is the relatively slow flash rate compared to most modern LED tail lights. I really like the super fast flash on the Planet Bike Superflash, for example.

The Princeton Tec Swerve will be available from outdoor and sports retail shops as well as bike dealers beginning in June for $29.95. Learn more at Swerve Your Bike and at Princeton Tec's blog. See also my review of the Princeton Tec Switchback headlight.

Patrick Dempsey rides a bike

"Grey's Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsey is seen riding the streets of Brentwood fully kitted out on what looks like a 2008 Specialized Tarmac SL. And boy, he sure does like the full Specialized kit, but then Specialized sponsors his car racing team.

Patrick Dempsey spoke with Bicycling magazine a short time back where he talks about how he got into bicycling. He says, "There are two types of riders: There are the ones who are very friendly, but then there are the ones who take themselves way too seriously and ignore you. I don't know where the attitude comes from. It's like we're all out there having a good time, but they're too cool for school."

See more photos at Bauer Griffin, Socialite's Life, Grey's Anatomy News. Dempsey even bought his daughter a little pink Specialized bicycle.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Team Type 1

One of the more interesting teams competing at the Tour de Georgia this week is Team Type 1. When the Tour de Georgia teams were announced I gave team founder Joe Eldridge a call for an interview.

Diabetic pro athletes

Team Type 1 was created in 2004 by Type 1 diabetes racers Phil Southerland and Joe Eldridge to inspire people living with diabetes to take a proactive approach to managing their health and overcoming the obstacles often associated with the condition. In 2006 and 2007, the team won the eight-rider corporate team division of the Race Across America. Of the 15 members on the Team Type 1professional squad, four have Type 1 Diabetes, including Tour de Georgia racer Fabio Calabria of Australia. As of the end of Stage 3 in the Tour de Georgia, Calabria is in fifth place in the "Best Young Rider" classification, less than a second behind Best Younger Rider Tyler Farrar.

Goals crucial for athletic competition and health

"Our goal is to inspire people with diabetes around the world to take control of their health through diet, exercise and proper health care," says team co-founder Phil Southerland. "As a professional team, racing against the world's best cyclists, we'll be able to deliver that message to a much wider audience."

"Setting goals are critical to athletic success," says Joe. "For a diabetic to be successful at achieving an athletic goal has to remember they have to set a diabetes goal as well. The key to is blood sugar management. The only way to perform at 100% is to be prepared physically this includes having your blood sugar where it needs to be not just for the event but during training, resting, and daily activities. The steps that you take to manage your diabetes will help you achieve your athletic goals."

Team Type 1 made their professional racing debut last February as the only U.S. team in the Tour of Langkawi stage race in Malaysia, where the team finished 2nd overall. They also recently completed the Tour of Taiwan, where Team Type 1 cyclist Shawn Milne won a stage victory for his team and placed 2nd overall.

Team Type 1 founder Southerland is especially unusual because he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 7 months. Both Southerland and Eldridge were encouraged to be athletic through high school and college. They met at a collegiate bike race as competitors -- besides a love for competitive cycling they discovered they had Type 1 Diabetes in common. They decided to participate in the Race Across America
together, and in their second year of RAAM in 2007 took first place by more than 3 hours.

Challenges of diabetic athletes

Type 1 Diabetes is a disorder where the body does not produce enough insulin. To manage blood sugar, diabetics must test their blood sugar a few times per day. Team Type 1 diabetics check their blood sugar up to 20 times per day on a race day, pricking their fingers for a blood sample 4 or 5 times just in the hour before the race. During the race itself there is no opportunity to check blood sugar, but from training rides the athletes have a sense of low blood sugar and know to consume a little more sugar. In a non-diabetic athlete, the athlete who consumes too much carbohydrate, the body is able to store the sugar in the liver. But in diabetic athletes, the hormones to do that conversion aren't there, so the kidneys work to remove the extra sugar from the blood. Diabetic athletes have the challenge of extra bathroom breaks because of the extra urine produced when they consume that Clif Bar.

Joe tells me that the main challenge for the diabetic athlete is to keep his blood sugar under control. As long as he carefully monitors his blood sugar and his diet, he can compete at the level of other world class athletes. His endocrinologist supports his endeavors.

Bound for the Tour de France

Eldridge and Southerland have shown their sponsors and fans that "we're here to race and we're here to win." Their goal is to race in the ProTour and win an invitation to the Tour de France in five years. "To the best of our knowledge, no type 1 diabetic has ever competed as a professional cyclist in Europe," says Eldridge. "We intend to be the first diabetic ProTour cyclists."


Vote for me and I'll set you free

Rap on, Brother, rap on.

I'm reading way too much bad news. Cheer me up with something, you all.

"I heart my bike" by Michelle Mauly.

James talks about a cool turn signal jacket along with some other interesting links over at his Bicycle Design blog.

This is interesting:
For 20 years now, workers in Palm Beach County, Fla., have been counting cars with sensors at strategic points along the county's 4,000 miles of roads. And as sure as the tide flows in the nearby Atlantic, nearly every year traffic volume has climbed at least 2%. But in 2007 there was a slight decline in the number of vehicles on the roads. And this year, traffic is down 7.5% through March. "We're seeing a very significant change," says county engineer George Webb. "We're having a good time speculating why."
Job opening: "Alternative Transportation Coordinator" for Boulder County in Colorado is opening up as the current Coordinator moves up to a different job in the county. see here for complete job description and requirements. Tim Swope (the current coordinator) has been doing a good job over the past three years or so he's been there.

You think you all know where to go for Tour de Georgia photos and news. The sprint finish in today's Stage 3 was apparently pretty exciting as Greg Henderson of Team High Road climbed the podium and overall lead today.

BoingBoing will be at the Menlo Park Tech Shop this Saturday afternoon filming interesting projects. If you have something interesting or just want to hang out and watch, drop by the Menlo Park Tech Shop.

Make Magazine is producing a new show for PBS called "Make:TV." They're auditioning for projects for the show at the San Mateo Maker Faire coming up on May 1 - 4 at the Maker Shed. Click here for more info.

Make talks about this fiber composite bike from 1948.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day

I'll be encouraging bicycles as transportation at lunch today during an Earth Day event at my job. Interest was fairly high last year; it should be interesting to see what happens this year.

Zero Per Gallon: I saw gas priced at $4.05 for regular in Palo Alto and Menlo Park this morning. While I was stopped at a light this morning a pair of wild women in the Jeep Cherokee next to me started shouting at me. "I LOVE your sticker! Zero dollar gas! WAY TO GO! Woooooo!" I think they might also have been attracted to my Chrome cycling knickers. They come with some wicking padding in the seat so I tried wearing them commando today. It doesn't work; I need more support than they provide.

Danes ride their bicycles at The Happiest Place on Earth.
The Magic Kingdom: Every other bike blog's gonna mention it, so I might as well jump on the bandwagon about this news that Denmark is The Happiest Place On Earth, as long as you don't dress funny, look funny, and talk funny (like the old B'nai B'rith radio spot used to say).

Sea Otter: Rich Kelly was at Sea Otter and he posted several good videos to Interbike Times. I have video of Rich doing unmentionable things with Arleigh's new handlebar which I'll try to post in the near future.

The Bike Nazi gets all holier than thou in this Earth Day editorial.

I have a bunch of giveaways (including a turn signal, Sue) coming up so stay tuned. Have a happy Earth Day, all!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bay Area: Bike commuter of the year 2008

San Francisco Bay Area: Nominate a cyclist for bike commuter of the year.

Do you know someone in your community who is committed to making every day a Bike to Work Day? Does this person epitomize and actualize the health, environmental, social and economic benefits of bicycling? Please share his or her story with the San Francisco Bay Area Bicycle Coalition.

The deadline for nominations is midnight Tuesday night, so get your nominations in now at Bay Area Bicycle Coalition website.

Tour de Georgia 2008

The 2008 Tour de Georgia started today, with Stage 1 already complete. In the blogosphere, Steephill.TV has probably the most comprehensive collection of links to Tour de Georgia coverage. Ken Conley is there to shoot photos. James T plans to be there shooting photos starting this Thursday.

I spoke with Joe Eldridge a while back. Joe and Phil Southerland started the Team Type 1 pro cycling team, which is racing in the Tour de Georgia. They and several other Team Type 1 athletes have Type 1 Diabetes. Their goal is to win an invitation to the Tour de France in five years and to become the first team in a ProTour event with a diabetic athlete. I'll post the full interview later.

Dave Z is known for his stupid interview questions, so Ken Conley turned the tables on him with this YouTube video.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fixed gear riding from Santa Cruz to Sea Otter

Bikesgonewild wanted to hear about my fixed gear ride from Santa Cruz to the Sea Otter Classic. I rode my bike down to the Santa Cruz Metro Station (about five miles from my home), where I caught the #91 bus to Watsonville (about 20 miles).

Pajaro California Monterey County

I crossed the Pajaro River into Monterey County on my bike to get to Salinas Road, which I followed around to get to Highway 1. I turned off of the highway in Castroville to catch the Monterey County bike path that runs mostly the all the way to Monterey with only a couple of short interruptions on lightly traveled back roads. The path is mostly pretty nice, though it gets annoying with multiple stop signs in Marina, Sand City and Seaside as it crosses intersections and meanders back and forth under Highway 1. This whole route so far is very doable on a fixed gear bike as it's mostly flat with rolling hills here and there. From Watsonsville to Seaside is 25 miles.

Bike Path panda portrait

I turned onto Highway 218 (Canyon Del Rey Blvd) and then I followed all the cars and SUVs over to South Boundary Road for the steep uphill to the Laguna Seca Raceway, which averages about a 4% grade but gets to 8% in a couple of spots, which is tough with a 69 inch gear, especially after 30 miles of riding.

I rode the 33 miles from Watsonville to the Sea Otter Classic in right at two hours clock time. The next time I'll do this with my geared road bike.

For the return trip I intended to take the #27 MST bus from Marina to Watsonville, where I could then catch a commuter express back to Santa Cruz, but I missed my bus by about 10 minutes. I cheated a little because I only got as far as Moss Landing, where my wife picked me up just north of the big power plant there.

Felt Curbside fixed gear bicycle

Bike Snob NYC hates the Felt Curbside fixed gear / single speed bike, calling it "the high water mark of dorkitude." The urban fixed gear kids all hate how ugly it is because of the compact geometry, recessed track ends, internal cable routing and Slipstream racing teams argyle patterned top tube pad and saddle. They even complain about the shorty flat bars on this bike.

Felt reports, however, that they can't keep this $700 lime green Curbside bike in stock. My daughter Ivy loves the Curbside because it's pretty and she can pick it up.

Felt Curbside argyle top tube pad and saddle

The Curbside even comes with a swanky 15mm wrench mounted to the bottle cage mounts.

Felt Curbside wheel tool Felt Curbside singlespeed fixed gear bicycle Felt Curbside argyle top tube pad

As far as I'm concerned, I really don't care what kind of bike you ride. If you like the Felt, feel free to go out and ride it. The aluminum Felt Curbside weighs about 18 lbs or so, with carbon fiber fork, long reach brakes with enough room for fat tires and fenders, and flip flop singlespeed / fixed hub with 16t on both sides and a 39t chainring. This simplifies to 16 skid patches.

This Felt Curbside was seen at the 2008 Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California, which will be completely over by the time you read this.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sea Otter Classic 2008 photos

So you can wish you were here. You still have Sunday to see bike stuff, bike races, bike people, bike fun, and try lots of samples of organic energizing health drinks and foods and teas and concoctions and ride high end mountain bikes for free (after you pay the entry fee, of course).

Tara Llanes is at Sea Otter. You might recall that she broke her back and became paralyzed below the waist. Here she is with my daughter.

Tara Llanes with Ivy

The crazy folks at Clif Bar were up to their usual antics and passing out tons of free samples of Clif Bars, Luna Bars, Shot Blocks, Clif KidZ bars, Builder Bars, and their other products. I'm still stuff from all of the wonderfully tasty free products, and I had fun watching them do some urban surfing from the top of an Xtra Free Radical.

Clif Bar bike surfers Clif Bar antics

It's gettting late; I'll try to post more tomorrow! I haven't uploaded them all yet, but I have 120 photos so far in my Sea Otter Classic 2008 photo set at

Spot single speed 29er bicycle

I'm trying a lot of bikes out at the Sea Otter Classic 2008 in Monterey, California. A lot of them feel like any other bike, but a real stand out is the single speed belt driven 29er from Spot Brand Bikes.

Spot bike test Spot steel 29er mountain bike with belt drive

I took the Spot 29er for a spin on the demo trail and flew down the singletrack with absolute confidence on this bike. I feathered the brakes a little approaching some of the sandy curves (and that was only because I don't know the bike), but other than it was full speed ahead. On the uphills the bike goes like it should -- I didn't miss the lack of gearing at all. I didn't have the legs for a couple of especially steep uphill sections, but that's because I rode my fixed gear to Sea Otter some 40 miles from Santa Cruz County yesterday morning.

I tried to make the Gates belt drive slip like Guitar Ted did last fall at Interbike, but I couldn't do it, but again, my legs weren't quite up to snuff. The belt drive is absolutely smooth and clean.

Spot Brand's steel framed bikes are hand built in Golden, Colorado. The bike I tested retails for about $3400. They're selling their demo bikes from the show, however, for as much as $1,000 off of list. These are brand new, hand built, nicely equipped bicycles.

Visit the Sea Otter Classic near Monterey, California this weekend to try these and other bicycles from a number of vendors.

More info about the Spot single speed 29er and their other bikes at Spot Brand Bicycles.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Drop the Federal gas tax and watch Big Oil profits GROW

The Federal gas tax is currently at 18.4 cents per gallon. John McCain proposes a national holiday of this gas tax between Memorial Day and Labor Day this summer. Let's say his proposal passes through both houses of Congress and President Bush signs it into law. What happens?

1. The 18.4 cent Federal gas tax is no longer charged.

2. The price at the pump drops, say, 15 cents per gallon.

3. People buy more gasoline because it's cheaper! Hurray!

4. Uh oh, the supply of gasoline hasn't actually gone up. The price at the pump creeps back up to $4 to regulate demand as gasoline follows the law of supply and demand.

5. Big Oil pockets the 18.4 cent difference and makes even more money because they don't have this federal tax expense! Hurray for them and their stockholders! Hurray also for the foreign oil companies from whom the U.S. imports over half it oil.

John McCain says "The effect of this 'gas tax holiday' will be an immediate economic stimulus" -- and he's right. It will be an immediate economic stimulus to the Big Oil Companies who are already making record profits. The proposed Federal gas tax holiday will provide zero benefit to the everyday driver, commuter and consumer. John McCain's proposed tax holiday benefits Saudi Aramco, the National Iranian Oil Company, Petróleos de Venezuela, Lukoil, Royal Dutch Shell, Petroleos Mexicano, Petrobras, ExxonMobil, Imperial Oil and all the rest while leaving America with no long term energy strategy.

Used bike shorts

On Craigslist. "Slightly used". "Barely worn". "Lightly used". "Used twice".

I mean, really.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Broken camera and Sea Otter

Sea Otter starts tomorrow, I have a press pass, and my camera stopped working today. I turned it on and ... nothing happened. I replaced the batteries, tried again and... nothing.

This camera is a newish Canon PowerShot 570 IS. I'm not a pro photographer, but I still own a Canon EOS film body and lenses. Still, I'd rather not pay for processing and printing, and I like to upload images to Flickr quickly.

Any suggestions? I'm kind of stuck and kind of broke right now. Help me Obi Wan, you're my only hope.

Oh, will anybody else be at Sea Otter? Should I do the Friday night alleycat?

Bicyclists: brainwashed or believers?

Between hysterical sobs, the men and women of the Yearning for Fixie Zen sect in rural San Francisco pleaded for the return of their bicycles from state custody.

When conversations with reporters shifted away from the 416 bicycles in state custody toward touchier subjects surrounding the mysterious sect, however, the overflowing emotions were quickly replaced with blank stares and terse replies.

Clad in tight "shants" and carrying huge "messenger" bags, the cyclists stuck to monotone, emotionless responses in declining to answer reporters' questions concerning allegations that they festoon their bikes with top tube pads and spoke cards.

Asked whether they actually eschew car ownership, a tight-lipped woman who would only give her first name, Marilyn, gave what appeared to be a rehearsed response. "We are talking about our bicycles now," she said, shaking her head, unwilling to stray from the subject of her five bikes.

To outsiders, everything about these people is strange — from the way they dress to the way they talk and especially the way they live. To the uninitiated, it may even appear that these cyclists must be brainwashed to live without cars.

"Do you know the definition of Car Free Living?" responded Marie, when asked by a reporter what getting around by bicycle is really like. "Heaven on Earth."

It's an extreme statement, and the members of the sect have begun to realize that their devotion to their lifestyle is unusual to those on the outside.

So, are these cyclists just fanatically, independently religious, or are they victims of something more sinister, like mind control? Mental health professionals told Cyclelicious that it may all depend on how you define brainwashing.

Brainwashed or True Believers

"Just because they are different doesn't mean they've been brainwashed," said H. Newton Malony, a senior professor of psychology at the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. "Brainwashing occurs when a person is physically incarcerated in order to believe something. As far as we know," said Malony," these cyclists have not been held against their will, but rather, have grown up in the sect and have become socialized to its customs."

"Are these cyclists just parroting strong pleasure or is this a strong religious conviction?" asked Malony. "I doubt it; they grew up in this environment. This is just an example of a different culture."

Nancy Ammerman, professor of the sociology of religion at Boston University and author of Bible Believers: Fundamentalists in the Modern World, also discourages the labeling of fixed gear enthusiasts as victims of brainwashing.

"What you see is people, who have spent their lives talking to only each other, now suddenly talking to reporters and people on the outside," said Ammerman. "They develop a group jargon and a particular posture. Their gestures, their language, is all going to look like each other because they are so tied to each other. That's not because someone has forced them to do that — it's simply coming out of living together in a relatively isolated kind of situation where they're not interacting with a lot of people," added Ammerman. "You'd find the same thing if you interviewed clustered nuns."

But in his own counseling experience, cult specialize Joe Szimhart said he's seen individuals start riding bicycles as a result of their naivete, not because they were incarcerated. "Someone convinces a group that what they're saying is the truth, and the group is too naive to question it properly," said Szimhart. "Riding a bike is like having an illness or a sickness."

California authorities took the 416 bicycles into state custody for what may become the largest transportation rights battle in the nation's history, stemming from a reported phone call from a teen girl claiming that her parents refused to get a drivers license for her, forcing her to ride a 40 year old Schwinn Varsity fixie conversion. The cyclists are now clamoring to get their bicycles back.

"Fixed gear riders have a chosen way of life that is different from mainstream automotive culture," said Ammerman. "Until they step over the line of the law, American culture and American constitutional law protects their right to do odd things in the name of human powered transportation."

Note: After I wrote this I realized it may appear that I make light of the situation faced by the women and children of the "Yearning for Zion Ranch" in Texas. In spite of the "fair and balanced" view given in the NBC news article I'm parodying here, the FLDS church is abusive, controlling and cultic in its treatment of members.

Richard Schwinn on steel bicycle frames

Women's bike designer Georgena Terry interviewed Richard Schwinn on her t-chatter podcast. Schwinn covers everything from the downfall of domestic bicycle manufacturers in the early 1990's to the effects wrapping a PowerBar® around the top tube of your bike. If you want to know more about the differences between aluminum, carbon fiber and steel, take a listen at t-chatter. Download the 26MB MP3 file here of Richard Schwinn on steel: Where it went, where it is and where it's going in bicycle frames.

Richard Schwinn helped to found Waterford Precision Bicycles in 1993. His brother Ed Schwinn runs a business selling gift baskets in Chiccago.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The bike blog quiz

In honor of the 400th post to his QuickRelease blog, Carlton created the bike blog quiz. See if you can beat my 90% score on the Bike Blog Quiz.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The heroic bike commuter

Something cycling advocates occasionally talk about is that the overwhelming majority of bike commuters seem to be men. Some areas measure the success of their bike promotion efforts by the proportion of women to men out riding their bikes.

I've always assumed it was a matter of risk assessment, that women who feel less safe are more inclined to drive rather than expose themselves in the open. Natalie Ramsland, the bike builder at Sweetpea Bicycles in Portland told me something this morning that really gave me food for thought.
I suspect that the broader scope of women's responsibilities (work, caregiving, schelppin') plays some role female ridership. It's easier to be the heroic bike commuter if you've got somebody else picking up the drycleaning and shuttling Johnny off to soccer practice. It seems that too often that somebody is female.
This is certainly true in my family; while I'm busy self-righteously saving the planet, my wife is busy running errands and taking care of the household.

It's time for me to be a little more appreciative of my wife and to evaluate how I can contribute more to the household, I think.

You can read more about Natalie in this interview at Commute By Bike.

Die Fahrrad ist das Opium des Volkes

I'm clinging to my my bicycle, and occasionally even expressing my antipathy to motorists.

That is all. BUSY week for me, so expect a dearth of postings.

Photo: Cycle chic girl by Joelle McNichol in London.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Seattle cyclist claims helmet saved his head from certain death

Mark Seawall was hit from behind by a drunk driver while riding his bicycle. He was knocked unconscious and didn't know what happened. "I knew something bad had happened. I knew I had been in a bicycle accident apparently," he said about the moment he came to in the ambulance. But now the news media claims the truck ran over Mark's head and he was saved by his helmet!

If you're naive enough to believe this ludicrous claim, consider these photos. This is your brain:

This is your helmet-protected brain under the wheel of a car.

Any questions?

See more photos and commentary about these types of claims that helmets can protect against rollovers by cars and trucks, see the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute page. There are more photos here along with a description of the testing.

Panda portrait how to video

Pure narcissism. Enjoy your weekend. The shirt is this master/slave shirt from one less car.

Free range kids

Happy Friday! I've been too cranky lately so I was planning to post something happy and non-controversial this morning, but then I saw this: a mother in New York City lets her 9 year old child ride the subway. Alone!
I met a guy at a party last week who makes his daughter phone home after walking one block to her friend's house. And he's in a suburb. The leafy kind! Two parents told me they won't let their kids walk to the mail box. There's too much "opportunity" for them to get snatched. Other parents told me that they'd love to let their kids start going out on their own - at maybe 13, or 14. Until then...

In they stay. Or they're driven around by their parents.

The fact that a child is literally forty times more likely to die in a car accident than at a stranger's hands makes no difference. Driving is seen as safe. Freedom - once a right of childhood -- is seen as suicidal.
When my son was nine he rode his bike to school alone, and many other parents thought I was borderline abusive for this. I recall a story from a few years ago of a teen who rode his bike in all weather to school - a "concerned" parent actually called child protective services in on the parents because the Boy Scout was forced to endure weather!

Admittedly, nine seems a little young to me, but if the kid is familiar with the route and knows his way, I'm not going to freak about a parent who allows this. In response to all the media attention and controversey, Lenore Skenazy started a new blog, Free Range Kids.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Over 500,000 children's head injuries are recorded each year!

So protect your child and buy this product TODAY before it's too late.

I can see a legitimate need for that product (children with special needs, bruising disorders and so forth), but the extra padding for everyday children seems a bit much.

Something I keep meaning to mention is Cozy Beehive. Ron, the author of Cozy Beehive, is a mechanical engineer, avid cyclist, and a Category 4 racer. He's been blogging about bikes for a couple of years now but I first noticed Cozy Beehive a few months ago. I've bookmarked a whole pile of pages from his blog intending to link to them in posts here from Cyclelicious, but pretty much all of his posts are good so just go visit his blog and subscribe to his feed already.

Fun bicycle commute video

Enjoy this fun 1 minute SnorriCam view of Dunstan bicycling to work.

Bike lawyers on media and police bias

In the aftermath of the Cupertino bicycle fatalities, in which law abiding cyclists were struck and killed by an apparently dozing driver, the San Francisco Chronicle published this article about law breaking scofflaw cyclists. Besides the whole disconnect from the media (law abiding cyclists die, so lets talk about those law breaking cyclists we always see), I commented briefly on one of the main "facts" of the article, which claimed the cyclists are at fault in most bike-car collisions. Can we trust the facts that are reported.

Cycling lawyer Bob Mionske addressed this article in his latest Legally Speaking column at VeloNews. He writes about the negative media bias and law enforcement bias when it comes to discussing cycling and safety.

Media bias

Erik Ryberg, the Tuscon Bike Lawyer, has also written about "carhead". Initial reporting from the Murky News about the Cupertino crash described Stevens Canyon Road and the practice of cyclist riding two-abreast on narrow, winding roads as "extremely dangerous," which had nothing at all to do with the crash. Erik notes another incident of cyclist Mark Schulz who was put in the hospital by a text messaging driver.
The first paragraph makes it sound perfectly natural to be text-messaging while driving, and, if anything, the cyclist snuck up on the driver. The second paragraph makes her sound like she was heroic in her attempts not to hit him, but had to take her licks anyway from the police officer, who had no choice but to cite her. The third paragraph minimizes her actions considerably, admonishing drivers to "be more alert" and "get better at sharing the road." I just think it's all kind of weird, given the circumstances.
I mentioned recently the death of cyclist Christopher Rock this week in Santa Cruz. The cyclist was passed by a quarry truck on a narrow street and clipped by the truck, causing him to fall and get crushed under the wheels of the trailer holding four tons of sand. So what does the initial news report say about this cyclist? "He was not wearing a helmet." Holy moly.

Police bias

Erik is also fired up about recent incident of assaults against cyclists in Tuscon. He saw some news articles from Pennsylvania, where a hit-and-run driver killed a kid pushing a bike alongside the road. The cops had their man within a day and got a confession out of them. Erik's experience in Tuscon, on the other hand, is a police force that complains that going after criminals is a waste of time.
Sgt. Tim Beam, representing the police department, insisted that if a victim cannot identify his or her assailant, there is nothing the police can do. So, if the victim is killed or if they did not get a positive look at their assailant, the police therefore do nothing.

Sgt. Beam made this statement to explain why his department does not follow up when bicyclists are assaulted, even if there are witnesses and a license plate is obtained. He repeatedly stated that such follow-up is pointless and a waste of time because no conviction could ever be obtained.
Bob Mionske
In his VeloNews column, Bob also brings up police bias against cyclists.
it appears the Chronicle's conclusions are largely drawn from its analysis of police accident reports. The problem with reaching that conclusion, however, is that the underlying data — the police accident reports — are notoriously unreliable, because of the biases inherent in them: Law enforcement failure to interview the cyclist involved, and law enforcement interpretation of safe and legal riding practices as unsafe and/or illegal.
Bob gives some examples of cyclists who are cited for "unsafe speed" in their collisions with cars.
We know that in the case of Lloyd Clarke, “unsafe speed” meant that as Lloyd was proceeding straight through an intersection in Incline Village, a 17 year old driver made a left turn, directly into his path, violating his right of way and killing him instantly. The police didn’t seem at all concerned about that illegal left turn, however. Instead, they reported that Lloyd had been riding “at a high rate of speed.”
Like Bob, I'm certainly aware of cyclists who ride illegally and unsafely, but is it an honest discussion when we're talking about motorists who break the law, and the media portrayal and police reports continue to paint victims as scofflaws in spite of their lawful riding?

With a shout out to Michael Graff, for whom I still need to provide a comments feed.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Now read this

Zakkalicious posts about Fear Mongering among some American cyclists. I think it was Bike Lane Hottie who wrote that cycling advocates continually gripe about how dangerous cycling is, and then wonder why nobody wants to ride a bike. Cycle Dog and I occasionally discuss this topic of ineffective advocacy over email.

Enjoy the ride and quick worrying so much about the traffic. They're not gonna hit you, and if they do it only hurts a little.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Another cyclist fatality at Mission and Bay in Santa Cruz

A cyclist was killed Tuesday morning after he was passed and struck by a cement truck in Santa Cruz. According to this news report, the truck driver overtook the cyclist where there isn't room to pass, and the truck driver never apparently didn't know he hit somebody until authorities found the truck several blocks away. According to witnesses, the truck driver clipped the cyclist, who fell under the wheels of the cement truck.

The intersection of Mission Street and Bay Street in Santa Cruz is one of the busier intersections in town. Bay Street provides access to the University of California in Santa Cruz, and Mission Street is California State Route 1 and a major arterial through town. Mission Street is too narrow to share and People Power, the cycling advocacy group in Santa Cruz County, has been pushing Caltrans to install "cyclists may use entire lane" signs on Mission, as this is the second fatality at Mission and Bay in nine months. If the truck driver passed the cyclist, he is fully culpable in this "accident."

People Power worked with the Santa Cruz City Council to put up signs on Mission that advise cyclists and drivers that cyclists are encouraged to use the full right lane. This is perfectly legal according to California Vehicle Code (which states that bicyclists can use the full right-hand lane when a lane is too narrow for "a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane") and was approved by the City Council.

Caltrans has refused to put up the signs, stating that they don't think it is safe for cyclists to ride in the lane, even after the Santa Cruz Police, the Traffic Safety Coalition, and others have pointed out that it is not safe to ride to the right of cars and trucks. The only safe way to do so is in the middle of the right lane. Caltrans refuses to put these signs up. In the meantime, cyclists, take the lane at this location for your own safety.

$4.01 per gallon

That's the price per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline at this Shell gas station in Palo Alto this evening.

$4.01 per gallon in Palo Alto!

It shot up a nickel from this morning when it was priced at $3.969. At other stations in Palo Alto a more typical price is around $3.88 per gallon. What's gasoline running for in your area?

Bicycle banality

It's time to clear out my backlog of old bicycle news and study up on my GRE vocabulary.

This photo depicts a Mad Cat rider at the 8 hour Boggs Mountain Bike event. Photo by Ken Conley, who's posted 300+ photos from the event to his website, including some fun Crimes Against Photography. What pulchritudinously prolific facial hair.

Some of you might remember the anomalous case of Michael de Broin in Toronto. As he and his friends drove his human-powered Buick down the street, he was pulled over and ticketed by the local constabulary. Rather than complaisantly paying the fine, the intractable de Broin had his day in Court a few days ago. As the prosecution vacuously described the danger of the vehicle's antedeluvian candlelight illumination, the courtroom "erupted in giggles". Local Justice of the Peace demonstrated his sagacity by dismissing the case. The placated defendants celebrated by taking their Buick for a spin. Via.

Bike to School Month is April 28 to May 23 in the Cleveland area.

The Sierra Club descries the bicycle as a two wheeled wonder.

The city of Fort Collins, Colorado enervates the inchoate American bike share movement with the laudable opening of a new bicycle lending library. Read more here and here. The new library has 50 bikes to lend to the public, free of charge, with bikes available from two locations. Lenders can borrow a bike for up to a week.

A new Major Taylor Memorial opens May 21, 2008 in Worcester, Mass. Details here.

Trek sues LeMond

At an employee meeting this morning, Trek president John Burke announced that Trek filed a lawsuit to sever the company's ongoing relationship with three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond. This suit comes on a heels of commentary from LeMond, in which LeMond recently disclosed that Trek pressured him to issue a public apology to Lance Armstrong at Armstrong's behest.

Trek began its business relationship with Greg LeMond in 1995. By 1999, the LeMond line was one of the fastest growing road bike brands and one of the top five largest road bike brands in the United States, with the LeMond brand growing to a $15 million business.

In 2001, LeMond criticized Lance Armstrong for his association with Italian trainer and physician Michele Ferrari, who advocates for the use of performance enhancing drugs. "When I heard he was working with Michele Ferrari I was devastated," said LeMond of Armstrong's Tour de France wins in 2001. "In the light of Lance's relationship with Ferrari, I just don't want to comment on this year's Tour. This is not sour grapes. I'm disappointed in Lance, that's all it is."

A month later, LeMond issued a tearful public apology to Armstrong.In July 2004, however, LeMond again questioned Armstrong's achievements, saying, "If Armstrong's clean, it's the greatest comeback. And if he's not, then it's the greatest fraud." LeMond also said that Armstrong threatened to defame LeMond and that he was told to keep quiet to protect his business interests. Last September, LeMond said in an interview that his 2001 apology came after Trek came under pressure from Armstrong and threatened to end their relationship.

Last March, LeMond filed suit against Trek. In his 41 page complaint against Trek, LeMond claims that Trek tried to silence LeMond several times regarding his allegations of drug use by Armstrong. LeMond claims that Trek is failing to "exert best efforts regarding LeMond's brand" in violation of their license agreement and that Trek may be "winding down" it's promotion of LeMond bicycles to retaliate against LeMond's commentary about doping in cycling. While Trek claims that that LeMond's actions are hurting the Trek and LeMond brands, LeMond claims that he has seen no evidence of this. According to LeMond, Trek intentionally snubs LeMond by making no mention of his brand at dealer events and in promotional material.

Trek told retailers in a letter this morning that they will offer LeMond retailers a sales rebate promotion to help drive the sales of 2008 LeMond inventory.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Skirt guard in San Jose

I was cycling down Santa Clara Street in downtown San Jose last week when I looked south down 1st Street and I spotted a distinctive white Dutch style bike with a skirt guard the next block down on San Fernando. Since I'm crazy about bikes -- especially slightly unusual bikes -- I raced down 2nd Street to meet this stylish cyclist. I caught up to Dolin on San Fernando in front of San Jose State University. She's obviously a stylin' gal, and then I learn that Dolin is a fashion designer in San Francisco.

The bike is the Electra Amsterdam, which is equipped with chainguard, skirt guard, fenders and rack. Dolin also rides a vintage Raleigh around San Jose with her fiancé.

About that last photo -- I realize she's in the door zone, but she was trying to be helpful to me by scooting right momentarily so I could take her cycling photo.

You can read more about Dolin and her Bay Area commute over at Commute By Bikes. She also blogs about her craft projects at Lulu Bliss.

San Jose bike commuter

Dutch style cyclist in San Jose

Dutch style bicycle in San Jose

Bicycle propaganda videos

The NRDC video demonstrates the correct way to navigate your bike through heavy pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk.

State Farm Insurance shows us what it's like to "swap four wheels for two" in this ad, suggesting an excellent way to save money on insurance and gas prices! (Via, with numerous mentions all over the place.

Farmers Insurance demonstrates a cyclist wearing his business suit assertively taking his place in traffic, taking the lane and signaling his turns on his bike commute. The office worker rides a practical, small tire bike (prefect for multimodal commutes) equipped with fenders.

This more serious video is a cyclist instruction video on The Rights and Duties of Cyclists, from Cyclist View. The video shows cyclists making normal vehicular maneuvers including lane control, lane sharing, left and right turns, through movements and a freeway ramp crossing. This video is intended to show cyclists and motorists how it looks when cyclists act and are treated as vehicle drivers in normal urban traffic in the City of Long Beach, California. I've seen this video posted in a few places over the past few weeks, but I'll give props to Velo Chimp for the reminder.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Feminist therapy

Sara's working on her degree in Clinical Psychology. After reading a few paragraphs in one of her texts about feminist therapy, I made some completely uninformed and moronic comments to my wife, mocking the idea that all of society's problems are caused by men. She gave me that special smile reserved for small children, drooling imbeciles, and idiot husbands from across the dinner table and reminded me that almost the entire history of psychology is men telling everyone that all of your problems were caused by your mother. So I'll now go back talking about something I know a little bit about, which is bicycles.

Back in the 80s I used to watch a game show in Japan called "Naruhodo! The World." They'd show videos of the bizarre from around the world, and the contestants had to decide if they're for real or not. This running-powered tricycle video would have been perfect for that show. Via.

A nice kid with straight As in school swerves into the bike lane in Santa Cruz and kills a Mexican on a bicycle. The kid expresses remorse. His mother offers a tearful apology to the deceased's family. Amazingly, the judge throws the book at the driver, sentencing him to four years in state prison after he was convicted of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

New York Times talks about death by blogging. Bloggers "can earn as little as $10 a post." Ha, don't I wish! :o) I haven't had problems with weight gain, sleep disorders, or any of the other maladies (including death) reported in the article, so I must be doing something right.

Photo of Ashlee above by Robert Kurtz. Go check his blog on life, biking and photography.

Friday, April 4, 2008


I barely missed the bus to work this morning. I could have waited 15 minutes for the next bus, but instead I decided to bike the entire distance from home to work, which I've never done before. Breakfast was a small package of peanut butter crackers and a glass of water, and I filled by 24 oz water bottle with water.

Mountain Charlie Road

The entire distance is 44 miles, which includes a climb from 500 feet to 1900 feet over the Santa Cruz Mountains with an accumulated elevation gain of about 4,000 feet. From Summit Road, I lost 1,100 feet of elevation in less than 10 minutes as I zoomed down Old Santa Cruz Highway at 35 mph (speed limit 25). I stopped at a gas station in Los Gatos (20 miles into the ride from Santa Cruz) for a Snickers bar and some Gatorade. A nasty headwind kept my speed below 20 mph once I got onto Foothill Expressway. My legs started to cramp a little as I approached downtown Palo Alto, so I geared down to spin. I saw a crosswalk light timer expiring and sprinted to catch the light, but I didn't have the legs for it; there was nothing there!

My trip to work took a little over 3 hours, which included two stops to check my map and one wrong turn. I barely beat my boss into the building.

God bless Denise at work, who had a big jar of M&Ms and jelly beans sitting outside of her office as I passed by. Yum!

Photo taken this morning while climbing Mountain Charlie Road in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Thanks for the comments regarding my grandfather, all, including those that were sent privately. This is hitting me a little harder than I expected, to be honest. We weren't super close, but I loved the old man as did everybody around him.

Freddie Rodriguez - (c) Ken Conley
Freddie Rodriguez (Rock Racing) @ Ronde van Brisbeen 2008. Photo ©2008 Ken Conley.

Instead of getting any work done, I've been talking with some of my family on the phone while also listlessly browsing the web. Here are a couple of items that caught my attention that might interest you:

A man was arrested for stealing used restaurant grease from a Burger King. This stuff has market value: 5,000 gallons (what a tanker truck carries) of used fry oil is worth $6,750. "Our guess is it's a biodiesel fuel thing. It's like someone stealing copper wire," said Morgan Hill police Cmdr. David Swing. "This might turn into something that starts to occur more frequently."

This is a little late but he's my buddy. Ken wants to know: should he shoot photos, make a poster, or make a book? He's gauging interest so shoot him a note. The photo of Freddie Rodriguez illustrating this post is by him.

Tour de Georgia VIP hospitality pass contest: Record a short video telling them "Why I Love the Tour de Georgia" in 60 seconds or less, upload it to your YouTube account by Thursday, April 10th at 11:59PM, submit the entry form and be entered to win two (2) VIP Hospitality passes to the final stage in Atlanta. They don’t need an epic production, just a sincere and exciting testament that shares your affinity for the Tour de Georgia. All entries deemed acceptable in content by Tour de Georgia staff will be displayed on the official Tour de Georgia website. Winners will be determined by fan votes (so let me know about the videos and I'll help get the word out for you if you're my friend). Details at Tour de Georgia website.

I'm not getting anything done, so I think I'll bail from work early and take a nice, long bike ride.

I've had better days

1. Overslept.

2. Got on the bus, from where I saw three major wrecks on the highway. One of them was a 10 car pileup.

3. I wore bike-geek clothes today and totally forgot to bring a clean shirt. Dug the cleanest shirt I could find out of the dirty clothes cache in my office.

4. Hair gel bottle in my gym bag broke open, spilling gooey mess on everything.

5. Stick deodorant in my gym bag also broke open, spilling chunks of aluminum zirconium whatever on everything, and leaving me with no deodorant for my dirty shirt today.

6. Just got an email from my dad saying that my grandfather passed early this morning.


Rest in Peace, John Beryl Masoner. He was 83 years old.

Ian & Ivy with Great Grandpa

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sun cycling jersey

Some readers of Cyclelicious have expressed interest in buying a Sun Microsystems bicycle jersey. They're available now from the Sun Wear store for $104.

There's also this interesting photovoltaic backpack for $300.

Theft proof bike


Inspired by bikesgonewild's comment at this Bicycle Design post.

Update: I guess I should have read the design forum first, which has a cool concept illustration of a similar theft-proof bike.

Shoe bicycle video

Everybody has seen the old photos of the bicycle with shoe tires. Max Knight built another shoe bike and had professional photos taken of it.

They even took video of the shoe bike in action. More at Yorgo Tloupas Arkitip Intelligence. Via -> Via.

Inaugural Tour of America rescheduled for 2009

Tour of America organizers decided this week to postpone the inaugural coast-to-coast race until September 2009.

Since the original announcement of the Tour of America in September 2007, Aqu executives and staff members have met with cities along the proposed route, potential sponsors and race teams, as well as staff members of USA Cycling and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the sport"s governing bodies.

"After we announced the Tour of America last fall, we hit the ground running to make the event happen in 2008," said Frank Arokiasamy, president of event organizer Aqu Inc. "We want to work with USA Cycling and UCI to establish this event as a compliment to the major international races, and at the same time not conflict with established races in the United States. Overall, we want to make sure the Tour of America strengthens the sport of cycling and the race calendar. In addition, potential sponsors and route cities have expressed strong support for a fall 2009 race."

Exact dates for the fall 2009 edition of the Tour of America has not been finalized. Tour of America staff are currently finalizing route details, sponsorship agreements and proposed dates to comply with USA Cycling"s race application process. Once the application is submitted, USA Cycling will review it and submit the 2009 Tour of America"s dates, along with all of the races on the national calendar, to the UCI for approval.

Aqu plans a 21-stage, 2,200 mile (more than 3,500 km) professional bicycle road race spanning the United States, making it the largest spectator event in the history of U.S. sports. The event will include close to 200 riders, from 21 of the world's elite cycling teams in the world to participate and will boast a prize purse currently pegged at $10 million, the largest purse of any international cycling event. The Tour of America will start in New York's Central Park and finish in San Francisco Bay Area.

For more information, visit the Tour of America website.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Classic replica bicycle jersey for trade

I hope you all are having a wonderful day wherever you are.

I'm throwing the CycleDog a bone here: Ed came across a replica of Eddie Merckx's Molteni jersey at a thrift shop. It turns out the European size XL is more like a size XS on buff, muscular Oklahoma Americans, so he's giving it up for trade. Read this post for the details.

More bicycle stuff below this photo of "Tinfoil Hair Ribbons" by Megan the Onespeed Chick.

Keister callouses. Via.

Sara says girls rock. I agree. to start selling high end cycling stuff. By mail order. Will this work?

High gas prices keep bike shops busy.

Toyota can't even cars away for free to young adults in Japan who just aren't interested in driving. "A car used to symbolize a dream. People used to work hard to buy a car. These days, nobody is saying that. No one thinks a car is cool anymore."

Sue's Dahon is a babe magnet.

April 1 is probably over by the time you read this, but this one's pretty good: Rap Star 50 cent gets all urban with the Wanksta track bike. The Wanksta’s gold-plated frame, fork, hubs and rims are complimented by black decals designed by Fiddy himself. The nine bullet holes across the top tube are both a reminder of the attempt on his life (in May of 2000) and a warning to would be bike thieves. The custom Beretta 9mm (included) clicks into a proprietary quick-release bottle cage mount, which is quite possibly the first of its kind. Go to Urban Velo for details and photo.

Fun at work

I should mention bicycles and bicycling. I did none yesterday because I stayed home with a nasty head cold. I ached. I coughed. I sniffled. I had a fever. I stayed home and slept (when I wasn't committing evil conspiracy against the bike industry).

This morning I dragged myself out of bed, grabbed the bike and came to work. I feel better. I relate to Mr. Elder's bike commuter race ethic, so I passed two cyclists this morning (never mind the half dozen who passed me).

Now to work. Jonathan Schwartz is CEO of Sun Microsystems. He is my boss's boss's boss's boss. He was captured on a hidden camera enjoying lunch with a friend at a local restaurant.

While I'm talking about my work: the Sun Constellation system won the Product of the Year award from Supercomputing Online; and UAE University has rolled out a student-designed 8 teraflop grid computer using Sun Microsystem blade systems. While I'm not directly involved in these specific efforts, I'm in the group in Menlo Park that designed the systems and we're all pretty proud of how well they're doing.

Finally, somebody unleashed literally hundreds of pink and blue dolphins on our South Bay campuses this morning. They represent Sun's ownership of MySQL (which uses the dolphin) but I think it's also a play on the French Poisson d'Avril or "April Fish" as they call this day.

Bicycle parts video

Do you want to know your dropout from your downtube and your seat collar from your seatpost? Watch this guide and you will be talking bike in five minutes. The music, created from sampled bike part noises by Greg Johnston, is also really cool.

Bicycle Anatomy for Beginners from on Vimeo.

News around the world

Commute time bicycle traffic prompts congestion charging for cyclists.

Product review: Jacobsen carbon wrap-it system.

Cycling News First Edition: new time trial format for Tour de France, UCI imposes limits on team names, Judge Judith Sheindlin selected to decide Landis CAS appeal...

Quickrelease.TV on some curious news...