Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chrysler bankruptcy, the bike industry and the American way

I'm reading Robert Hurst's latest book The Cyclist's Manifesto. In Chapter 2 on the history of cycling, Hurst writes about the hundreds of bike factories, suppliers and dealers that went out of business in the late 1890s after automobiles started becoming popular. An entire industry -- the industry that laid the foundation for automobile mass production with the development of tooling, production techniques, machining expertise, and even little things like ball bearings, gears and pneumatic tires -- was annihilated with the coming of cars.

There was no Federal bailout back then, so many factories were "destroyed by suspicious fires" in apparent insurance fraud. Writes Hurst:
Attempting to unload one's toxic financial obligations unto other parties has become a convention of American culture. You've got to feel for the SUV dealers, in an era of high-tech fire protection systems and masterful inspectors. Will the dealers get a spot at the bailout trough alongside the manufacturers? Keep an eye out for 'eco-terrorists."
The Cyclist's Manifesto available now. Hurst's writing is always fun and informative.

UK lawmakers study cycling in the Netherlands

From Carlton Reid is this video of some highlights of a visit to the Netherlands by Members of Parliament and Lords of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group.

Bamboo bicycle building class

The Bamboo Bike Studio offers a two day bike building course in Brooklyn, where they claim you can "Walk in Saturday, Ride Out Sunday."

One weekend is all it takes to fabricate a frame from bamboo, assemble the components, and roll away with a custom-fitted ride, tuned to each student’s body and cycling style. The cost of the class directly supports the Bamboo Bike Studio’s efforts and partnership with the Columbia Earth Institute-based Bamboo Bike Project and Millennium Cities Initiative to seed the first bamboo bike factory in Ghana, where reliable and cheap bicycle transportation can dramatically improve access to jobs, commerce, education, basic food and water resources, and health care.

To kickoff the workshop and website launch, the Bamboo Bike Studio is partnering with Brooklyn-based design center 3rd Ward for the Green Bikes Birthday Block Party, Sunday May third. The festivities will converge on Stagg Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY for bike competitions, bands and music videos, badminton, drinks, BBQ, live screen-printing and more. The Bamboo Bike Studio team will be riding 10 deep to event, where they will host a live bike building demonstration, have bikes on hand for viewing, and offer a sign-up sheet for classes.

For fun, for learning, for building a better ride and a better world; the Bamboo Bike Studio offers customized rides made from a local-harvested, fast-growing natural resource, and a bottom line that supports responsible light industry growth and progressive, self-propelled transportation in developing countries.

The Bamboo Bike Studio goes live on Sunday, May 3 at the 3rd Ward Block Party in Brooklyn, New York.

Learn More.

Gary Fisher on Twitter: 'Hi Mom!'

Gary Fisher talks about his use of Twitter and Skype.

You can find Gary here on Twitter.

Mia, Gary, Laura and Eric

Ben Harper rides a bicycle

Musician Ben Harper totes his daughter from school in a Burley bicycle trailer.

***EXCLUSIVE*** PEDAL PUSHERS!! Musician Ben Harper uplifts his daughter Jaya from school

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Graduation BBQ this weekend

BBQ Saturday May 2
4 PM to 7 PM
MacDorsa Park
77 Civic Center Drive
Scotts Valley, California USA

My wife Sara will receive her Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology this Saturday from Bethany University and I'm having a barbecue in Scotts Valley, California in her honor. Even if you don't know Sara, this is an opportunity to meet up with me and meet my family and eat some free food.

A few of my Internet friends are talking about coming from as far away as San Francisco, so I thought I'd open it up to loyal readers of Cyclelicious as well!

PLEASE RSVP (I know, redundant "please") so I know how much food to get if you think you'll be there. Please also let me know if you prefer / require vegetarian food! I'll provide some (ovo/lacto) vegetarian, but I like to plan ahead.

The forecast currently calls for "likely showers." There's a shelter / gazebo thing I rented, but still, dress for cold, windy and wet. It's the Santa Cruz Mountains after all.


Driving Directions: From San Jose, take Highway 17 south toward Santa Cruz. Exit Mount Hermon Road (the second Scotts Valley exit) and go right on Mt Hermon. Turn right on Scotts Valley Drive (2nd light on Mt Hermon). Turn Left on Civic Center Drive. Ample parking for MacDorsa Park on the left.

Public Transportation from the Bay Area: Catch the Highway 17 Express bus from San Jose Diridon Station. Fare is $4 one way, $8 for a day pass that's good on most VTA bus and light rail and all Santa Cruz Metro buses. The buses can carry 3 bikes in the racks and the driver may allow up to 2 bikes inside if space is available, but space is never available. Saturday bike racks are often filled to capacity. It's about a 30 to 45 minute ride to Scotts Valley (depending on the driver). Get off at the first Scotts Valley stop ("Kings Village") and text me or call me at (408) 505-8159 for a ride to the park. Saturday Highway 17 Express schedules: Southbound (San Jose to Santa Cruz) and Northbound (Santa Cruz to San Jose). NOTE THAT NOT ALL TRIPS STOP IN SCOTTS VALLEY (aka "Cavallero Transit Center" on the schedule). Change is not given, so bring exact change for your fare.

Public Transportation from Santa Cruz: Route #35 departs every hour on the half hour from the Metro Center on Pacific Avenue. After a 15 minute trip get off the bus at the Civic Center Drive stop in Scotts Valley -- from there it's a short walk to the park. $1.50 one way, $4.50 for a Santa Cruz Metro day pass. No change is given so bring exact change for your fare.

Bicycle from Santa Clara County: Ammon is talking about biking from the Cat's Hill race in Los Gatos this Saturday to Scotts Valley, so maybe you can hook up with him. It's about 15 miles from Los Gatos to Scotts Valley by bike. Here's the bike route he's taking. Mountain Charlie Road is very low traffic but this one lane road is very steep, very narrow, very rough, and has very sharp turns so control your speed so you don't fly into a ravine. Remember: It's supposed to rain this weekend in the Santa Cruz Mountains, so dress appropriately!

Bicycle from Santa Cruz: My favorite bike route these days is Emeline -> Plymouth (alongside Hwy 17) which becomes El Rancho, pass Pasatiempo continuing north on El Rancho, curve right to stay on El Rancho (instead of following the street under Hwy 17 where it becomes La Madrone) -> Mount Hermon Road. Cross over Hwy 17 on Mt Hermon, turn right on Scotts Valley Drive, left turn onto Civic Center.

If you don't like steep hills from Santa Cruz, take the railroad tracks alongside Hwy 9 through Henry Cowell Redwood State Park to Felton, cut across the Roaring Camp Railroad parking lot, cross over Graham Hill Road to the (I think unnamed) road directly across the railroad, take that to Conference Road, turn right, follow it to where it deadends, walk your bike on the dirt trail until you get to paved road again, turn right on Mt Hermon Road, left turn on Scotts Valley Dr, left turn on Civic Center Dr.


Free hotel loaner bicycles

Jennifer Pfaff and her husband went on a trip to Calistoga a few months ago and were delighted to discover the hotel would lend them bicycles, helmets and bike locks for free and for as long as they wanted.
More in the SF Examiner. H/T to Dennis D.

Have you had a hotel provide free loaner bikes and gear?

When I attended the Bicycle Leadership Conference at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Seaside, CA earlier this month, the hotel concierge checked my bike and (extremely sweaty) helmet and showed me where I could clean up and change my clothing for the conference. He was very helpful.

IF Mode folding bike now for sale in USA

IF Mode folding bike
The IF-Mode folding bicycle designed by Mark Sanders is now available for purchase in the USA. Winner of the 2008 Eurobike Award, and the 2009 iF Gold Award (along with the Apple iPhone, the Macbook Air and the VW Golf Mk6), the IF-Mode is a rolling, folding work of art and a bike collector’s dream machine.

Production is limited. Orders received by Friday, May 1st will be delivered in June 2009. Orders placed after May 1st will not be available until summer’s end. Be the first to own the world’s most exciting and technically advanced folding bike.

"Most people prefer large wheeled bikes, in part due to ease of pedaling," says designer Mark Sanders. "When I designed the IF-Mode, I thought about combining the benefits of small folders with full size bicycles, keeping in mind the innovation and value people expect from their personal tools. The IF Mode combines large wheels, ease of near instant folding, compactness, and clean design. Like luggage, it rolls anywhere. Its monoblade wheel mountings, enclosed 2 speed transmission and uncluttered aesthetic offer a radical new image of what a bicycle can be."

Go to for more information or to place an order.

Photo of me riding the IF Mode.

Bicycle Celebrities: Naomi Watts

Naomi Watts gets to pull the child trailer as her husband Liev Schrieber rides along on their way to breakfast on a Sunday morning.

PEDAL PUSHERS!! Naomi Watts and husband Liev Schrieber cycle to the Brentwood Country Mart for breakfast on a Sunday morning

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

San Francisco Tweed rides again!

SF Tweed Ride II, 6:30 PM at Union Square with a East Bay Tweed meetup at Powell Street Station. Deets here.

How to avoid swine flu

Go outside and ride a bicycle!

Velo Bella

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, you should wash your hands. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Try not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Rear view of my commute

I've been having some fun with the GoPro Wide Angle Hero Cam. Steve Woo captured his spectacular Wente Criterium Crash over the weekend and was able to do a post-mortem of the crash with his front and rear mounted GoPro.

My rear view of part of my commute isn't nearly as exciting, but it occurs to me that constantly running video of my rides might be helpful in determining fault in bike vs car collisions, and may even assist in catching hit and run drivers.

That red tire, by the way, is Hutchinson's Fusion 2 Pro. Carbon bead makes this folding tire a snap to install, Kevlar belt seems to provide good puncture resistance (though it hasn't gone through my East Palo Alto test road yet), and sticky compound on the sidewalls provide good grip for cornering. This fast tire enabled me to take two minutes from my personal best for the 10 mile trip from Menlo Park to Mountain View.

Here's the second half of my commute, where I cross the Ringwood Avenue pedestrian bridge into Belle Haven then cut across a parking lot and a dirt trail to avoid a couple of lights.

Celebrities on bicycles: Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford looks like he needs a little more air in his tires as he rides a borrowed pink bicycle during a break in filming "Hollywood Homicide."

PEDAL PUSHERS!! Harrison Ford rides a ladies bicycle down Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles

Bicycle Leadership Conference and Social Media

Chip Smith of SOAR Communications asked me to attend the Social Media panel discussion during the Bicycle Leadership Conference in Seaside, California on April 17. SOAR, as a sponsor of this conference, kindly got me registered after I eagerly accepted his invitation.

At about 11 PM Thursday night, I noticed the Social Media discussion starts at 7 AM. It's a 50 mile bike ride from my home to Seaside. Bus connections across Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties aren't that great. I was excited about this panel discussion, but there's no freakin' way I'm getting up at 3 in the morning for this. So I had to bail and offer my lame excuses to Chip when I ran into him later on.

Fortunately, Chris Matthews (the guy in charge of marketing at Specialized Bicycles), posted the discussion notes online. Read the presentation slide show, it's good stuff. My takeaways and add ons:
  • Strategy and goals are important if you want some marketing value out of your social media participation. My goal: increased traffic and inbound links to Cyclelicious. Another goal is pure social networking: I honestly enjoy meeting with and interacting with the people who read Cyclelicious in a more "real time" manner. Sites like Twitter give that to me.
  • Be authentic, but provide something of value to me also. I do this by mixing up personal thoughts with links to bike news mixed with links to my own website. The people I follow closely do the same thing. "Value" to me often means humor.
  • If you post nothing but pure marketing, you'll fail.
  • Develop the relationships before the public relations disaster hits. If your customers are already your friends, they're a little more likely to forgive when that horrible unauthorized video goes viral.
  • The numbers of people participating online are stupendous. I won't claim to have nearly the breadth and depth of reporting or the influence of something like Velonews, but in sheer numbers I win. The number of people who visit my tiny little corner of the Internet in a month exceeds the monthly printed circulation of Velonews. For real.
Gotta go!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Celebrities on bicycles: Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow looks marvelous on a bicycle during filming of Ted and Sylvia.

PEDAL PUSHERS!! Gwyneth Paltrow rides a bicycle during filming of Ted and Sylvia

Laura & Russ: Simplify

In March 2009, Laura Crawford and Russ Roca made the decision to drop out of the status quo and find others around the world who have done the same. Paring down their lives to just what will fit on two bicycles, Laura and Russ are embarking on an extended bike tour throughout the US and beyond – with the goal of connecting with and collecting the stories of people who followed a calling to live their lives in unique ways. Through photos, interviews, sketches, hand-bound books, and an extensive web presence, Laura (an art jewelry maker) and Russ (a photographer) will compile example after example of lives less ordinary – independent artisans and makers, small business proprietors, community activists and more.

The Path Less Pedaled is an exploration of what it means to live outside the lines. Visit Path Less Pedaled.

Larkspur Ferry free rides for cyclists

The Golden Gate Larkspur Ferry is offering free ferry rides for bicyclists on weekends in May, including Memorial Day.

This free ride offer is apparently a mea culpa and apology offered to cyclists. In 1974, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission issued a permit for the Larkspur ferry terminal parking lot that stipulates bike access around the lot. The Golden Gate Bridge District, which owns the terminal the parking lot, began allowing cars to park on the bike path beginning in 2003. After motorists complained about damage to their tires from hopping the curb to park in the bike path, the GGB District even built a ramp to ease car access onto the bike path.

In 2007, the Bay Commission directed the Bridge District to spend money to restore the bike path. This work was recently completed and the Bridge District announced the free rides for cyclists in May to celebrate the completion of the bike project.

Read more.

Dirt Series: She's the pretty cyclist

I took some photos over the weekend of the Dirt Series women's mountain bike skills clinic in Santa Cruz at the invitation of local travel writer Karen Kefauver. Karen's a real sweetheart, a lot of fun to be around, and very enthusiastic about everything she does. She faceplanted into a sandpit while racing at the Sea Otter Classic the other weekend and laughed through the whole episode.

I'm just a hack with a blog and a camera, but Karen is a professional journalist who does research, checks facts and takes notes. She told me Olympic medalist Jill Kintner was at this clinic and asked me to take photos of her.

"Okay," I say. "Where's Jill at?"

Karen, with a completely straight face, tells me, "Jill is the real pretty one. Bye!" and then Karen goes back to her group for more mountain biking instruction.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am in a field surrounded by 60 athletic, stunningly beautiful women on bicycles, and Karen tells me to find "the real pretty one." Uh huh.

Dirt Series in Santa Cruz: Mountain Bike Skills Clinic for Women

Dirt Series Women's Mountain Bike Clinic

Dirt Series in Santa Cruz: Mountain Bike Skills Clinic for Women

Karen writes about her experience at the Dirt Series mountain bike skills clinic in Santa Cruz. Drop by and tell her hello!

More: Pink pink pink pink Gnat.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Criterium crash video

Front and rear view on-bike video by Steve Woo of his crash at the Wente Criterium shot using a pair of GoPro wide angle HERO cams.

Visit SWoo's Flickr page for the gory details of this crash and please re-tweet if you like.

Pink hair, pink shades, pink jersey, pink socks, pink shoes, pink bike

Say hello to Gnat, the pink-haired sensation who can tie her own shoelaces and tends to bounce when excited.


Gnat is participating in the Dirt Series mountain bike skills clinic this weekend in Santa Cruz, California. Read more about this skills clinic at Karen Kefauver's Spin City blog.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Watsonville Bike Shack

I was going to look for the Watsonville Brown Berets "Bike Shack" when I rode through town on my bicycle the other week but go distracted by the strawberries.

The Brown Berets have historically been known for their political activism, but about a year ago they decided to promote bicycle use as a means of self reliance and established the Bike Shack. They made the news here, here, and here. Good stuff.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Menlo Park bike commuters

These are some bicyclist photos from last Friday evening in Menlo Park, California.

Julia is a regular on the evening train I often catch in Menlo Park, California. There are about eight cyclists waiting on the platform for the train.

Julia Menlo Park

Daniel was at Menlo Park on his way to San Francisco Critical Mass, which occurs every last Friday of the month.

Daniel Menlo Park

Another northbound cyclist, this one with a Surly Long Haul Trucker. I didn't catch his name.

Surly Long Haul Trucker

$11,000 reward for Ashleigh Jackson's assailant

From Alto Velo:

Ashleigh Jackson

Ashleigh Jackson, 24, is a member of the Alto Velo cycling team. She was riding around 5:30 p.m. Sunday April 19, 2009 when a late-model silver BMW drove up from behind and struck her on Hwy 9 and Fruitvale Avenue in Saratoga. Jackson's boyfriend, David Nelson said the car's mirror clipped Jackson and knocked her to the ground. She has suffered head trauma including bleeding into her brain. If you have any information regarding this terrible accident please contact the Saratoga Police Department immediately.

More: Ashleigh Jackson improving [May 1, 2009]

Tased and beaten for riding a bicycle

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske's latest column on the rights of cyclists has been making the rounds. It's a long article but worth reading: Tony and Ryan were heading home from a long road ride when Lawrence County, Ohio Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife reportedly began harassing the cyclists and got all rambo on the cyclists. When local police arrived, they tased Tony repeatedly even after he was down on the ground. The 16 year old kid was just standing by calling his mother on his cell phone when a police officer knocked the phone out of the kid's hand and knocked him face first into the pavement before cuffing him.

The cyclists were arrested and jailed and charged with various trumped up charges that ended up dismissed by the court because, it turns out, the cyclists did nothing illegal. The court correctly recognized that the cyclists have a right to the road and, because the deputy's order for them to pull off the road was itself unlawful, there was no duty for the cyclists to obey that unlawful order.

Mionske concludes his article with this statement: "For most of us, I suspect it's easier to just quietly comply with a law enforcement officer's misguided attempts to enforce laws that don't exist. Sure, we know the officer is wrong, but do we really want to go to jail to make that point, instead of wherever it is we happen to be going at that moment? The problem is, if everybody acquiesces to a violation of our rights, do we still have the right? I would argue that unless the right is exercised, it doesn't exist. Therefore, when a law enforcement officer is enforcing laws that don't exist, it is incumbent upon us to stand up for our rights.

That's a pretty bold statement, and to be honest I'm not sure I'd be the one standing up in that kind of situation. How about you?

This reminds me of Stephan Orsak, who was tased and arrested as he rode his bicycle out of the Minneapolis airport. Unlike Tony and Ryan, Orsak was charged, tried and convicted of "Failure to comply with a lawful order," when, in fact, the police order for Orsak to ride his bike against traffic was unlawful and dangerous.

Courtesy Rob in Ohio and others.

Don't need no stinkin' bike lanes

Every facility is a bike facility for trials rider Danny MacAskill, which is a really unfortunate name for a guy who rides a bike with no saddle.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Blame the victim

William Angel set off on his Saturday morning bike ride wearing a tail light, yellow vest and reflective shoes on March 29 2008. Motorist Kerri Lee Jasper didn't see him and rear ended him at 6:45 AM, sending Mr. Angel to the hospital with a broken back.

The court, naturally, found Ms. Jasper innocent. The judge even said the cyclist is "an accident waiting to happen." It's not Ms Jasper's fault that she rear ended the cyclist because -- get this -- he didn't have a front light.

More here. From How We Drive, who credits Treadly and Me without providing a link.

Division Street


$40 million in new bike facilities Silicon Valley

Santa Clara County, California will spend about $40 million in bike facilities, which is possibly more than is spent in some entire states.

The opening of a new bicycle-pedestrian bridge in Sunnyvale and another a half-mile south over Highway 101 at Borregas Avenue off an unprecedented $40 million worth of improvements stretching from Cupertino to Santa Clara to San Jose.

Next week, a one-of-a-kind overpass will open across Interstate 280 in Cupertino, followed in June by the opening of another bridge over Moffett Boulevard near Highway 85 in Mountain View. Then in the summer, three underpasses in Santa Clara will be ready for riders on the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail.

And by Labor Day, work should be under way on extending the bike path along the Guadalupe River from Woz Way to Virginia Street, opening up the downtown San Jose river park to surrounding neighborhoods and improving a popular commute route from South San Jose to job sites in North San Jose.
Read more by Gary Richards in the Mercury News.

Meanwhile in Massachusetts, the state left $80 million in Federal transportation funds for bicycle projects unspent since 1991.

Sea Otter 2009 photos

I suppose I should post some of my photos from the 2009 Sea Otter Classic and Expo.

BMX is kind of fun to take pictures of.

Sea Otter: BMX

Ben Clough of CycleAware shows me the Torpedo vacuum insulated bottle that fits in a standard bicycle bottle cage. I think he told me it will be available for sale in May. Ben & Lee also tell me that business is going very well for them. They have excellent product for cycling and I'll have a couple of giveaways of their stuff soon.

CycleAware Torpedo bottle

The lovely Marian Hunting tries the Delta 7 Ascend bike that I was testing. She said it fits better than her own bike. The dude with his head chopped off is Carson Blume. Carson and Marian publish Women's Cycling Magazine.

Marian on Delta 7 isotruss road bike

Mia (below left) is my editor at Momentum Magazine. Laura (in the green shirt) is Momemtum's new ad sales rep for the SF Bay Area. Laura went mountain biking for the first time this last weekend, taking personal lessons from the dude with the bowler hat and white tie. The guy to the right is Erik aka Fenriq of Norcal Bikers.

Mia, Gary, Laura and Eric

Check out Billy Savage and his pristine 1935 Schwinn. Billy produced the movie Klunkerz, which is about the beginnings of mountain biking in Marin County. If you haven't bought Klunkerz yet, for goodness sake help this brother out and get the DVD. It's pretty good.

Billy Savage and his 1935 Schwinn

Lorri Lee Lowns of VeloGirls and fanboy Hans.

Lori & Hans

This is Brian. He sells ZYM tablets, which are electrolyte tablets that you drop into your bottle. They fizz up and dissolve in water. Kind of cool stuff.

Brian of ZYM

This Santa Cruz Bicycles full suspension tandem looked interesting.

Santa Cruz Franken Bikes

The piece of work below is a freaky two headed monster from Santa Cruz Bicycles. Front suspension forks on either end of this bike provide full suspension front and rear. The rear steerer tube is locked.

Santa Cruz Franken Bikes

Carlos is the chief monkey of Bike Monkey. He organizes bike events and publishes a quarterly.

Carlos @ Bike Monkey

I was camped out on the racetrack waiting for the road cyclists during a circuit race when this lizard popped out and tried to sell me some insurance.


That's all for now!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bicycle news

For Earth Day, Jones Soda HQ in Seattle unplugged from the grid and is powering their office by bicycle. Details at Biking Bis.

Heidi and Jeff

Karen tells me I look too young to have a teen son, so I owe her some link love. See also Karen's Sea Otter race report.

My friend the lovely Nan and her Bespoke Bike Clothes mentioned in Wired Gadget Blog.

Woodside, California lobbied Caltrans to lower the speed limit from 40 mph to 35 after the death of cyclist Michelle Mazzei in 2005. Caltrans erected new 35 mph signs earlier this month.

The Menlo Park city council indicated they don't plan to revisit their decision to support the Ringwood Avenue Pedestrian Bridge. Those who follow Cyclelicious know that some residents in west Menlo Park petitioned the city council to have that bridge removed. At the city council meeting last week, several people from groups against and for the bridge gave testimony lasting over an hour to make their case. Several councilmembers, the mayor and the vice mayor all expressed their support for the bridge at this meeting. read more.

This San Francisco bike map route finder is kind of cool, even if it doesn't quite work just yet.

Santa Rosa, CA BikeBoulevard.

Bikes At Work used for Ames, Iowa library book delivery.

Remember, for most of the USA, May is Bike To Work Month. Bike to Work Week begins May 11, with Bike To Work Day on Thursday or Friday of that week depending on where you live.

Pass to the left of the bus

When passing a bus or other large vehicle, don't try to squeeze by on the right. You'll get squished. It's a good idea to move far enough left so the driver can see you in his mirror and so there's a little bit of escape room if that bus starts to move.

I'm keeping up with traffic on El Camino Real in this video, but passing to the left also works for slow cycling when traffic conditions warrant. Signal, check back and merge over when it's safe.

If I'm following a bus and I know the bus is just pulling over for a passenger pickup, I've been known to hop up on the sidewalk and pass on the right. The problem with this is that if the bus is stopping for passenger pickup or dropoff, that means there are people on the sidewalk (*doh!*)

In the Netherlands Denmark, cyclists may not leave the bike lane and are required to stop behind the bus. You have that option here in the United States, of course, though in my opinion getting trapped behind a diesel bus is the pits, and we have tighter particulate emissions controls in the USA than Europe (it's the reason diesel cars are more popular in Europe).

Sunday Ciclovia Clearwater Florida

The city of Clearwater Florida has planned a "Sunday Ciclovia" event for Sunday, April 26.

Sunday Ciclovía, which takes its name from the Spanish word for “bike path,” is now one of the city’s annual Fun ‘n Sun Festival events. From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., two miles of Cleveland Street from Clearwater Harbor to Gulf-to-Bay-Boulevard in the East Gateway District will be closed to motorized traffic and open for people.

Participants of any age and skill level can bike, stroll, skate, or take part in open-air fitness, sports and dance classes that will be offered on the street. Representatives from bike shops, bike clubs and other organizations promoting recreation and healthy living will line the street. Restaurants and retailers, many offering ethnic specialties, will be open for business.

Major sponsors include the Downtown Development Board, PostcardMania, Tampa BayCycle, Achieva Credit Union, Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins, Tampa Bay Informer, Costco and Café Supreme.

Clearwater is following the lead of Bogotá, Colombia, where the first Ciclovía was initiated in 1976. Since then, cities around the globe such as London, Paris, Mexico City, Guadalajara, New York, Miami, Portland, El Paso and San Francisco have hosted their own car-free events—some holding them weekly.

More at Clearwater Sunday Ciclovia.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The death of the LBS. Film at 11.

The local brick and mortar bike shop?
When you are thinking about that next bike related purchase please consider that the internet company or national chain that may offer a perceived lower price is doing so without the service or contribution to local advocacy and our local biking community that we all benefit from and enjoy.

vs. Internet mail order?
I see obvious parallels between Hollywood's creative industries and what the bike shop world is going through right now. I read the open letter and see someone asking customers to join him in putting his head in the sand in the hopes that if we ignore it, the Internet will magically go away. It reminds me of ABC's Charlie Gibson telling journalism students that their industry would be fine if everyone would stop reading online news for free and just buy more dead-tree newspapers.

Discussion at Practical Pedal.

Frazz: Helmets for motorists

Frazz rules.


What's wrong with this picture?

What's wrong with this picture?

a) Label not lined up with tube valve.
b) $50 Hutchinson Fusion 2 race tire on a $30 entry level Mavic rim
c) Bike is inverted, scratching the cyclocomputer display.

More on this tire later.

Monday, April 20, 2009

South Bay Hit and Run: Watch for silver BMW

Cyclist Ashleigh Jackson, 24, of San Jose was cycling in a bike lane when she was hit and seriously injured Sunday afternoon in a hit and run. Cyclists have repeated posts to Twitter asking people to keep an eye out for late model silver 7 series BMW with a damaged passenger mirror.

Ashleigh's boyfriend and riding partner, Dave Nelson, said the car hit him also, though he was injured. He reports the car's passenger side mirror was dangling.

Note from Dave Nelson:
Ashleigh is Serious and Stable condition right now. Her head had rapid acceleration and deceleration of the brain. She has some slight bleeding on the brain. She is at Valley Med Trauma ICU. This happened because a late model silver 7 series hit here from behind right past Fruitvale ave in the bike lane at 5:30 pm. I was in front of her and the mirror that was dangling from the car hit me also in the bike lane. The car proceeded to pull to the right and then
take off. It was a heart sinking tenious situation for a while. I really thought I was going to lose her there. The Police, Fire and her Docs at Valley Med have done a wonderous job. She is alive and she is a fighter! Keep her in your prayers.

I am in desperate search of a late model silver 7 series with a broken right side mirror around Los Gatos and Saratoga. I have no license plate I was the only witness at this point. I was just trying to keep her alive.
This is what a 7 Series BMW looks like:

BMW 7 Series

* San Jose Mercury News.
* Craigslist posting.

I was hit by a red BMW in Santa Cruz while I was cycling last month -- that driver also ran.

Veronica Belmont's new bicycle

Technology nerd and podcaster Veronica Belmont has a new bicycle -- the Swobo Novak. Here she is riding the bike in San Francisco, California.


H/T to Noah. See also Shout Out to Bike Nerds.

Sea Otter Classic 2009 race photos

Ken Conley has some excellent photos from the Sea Otter Classic. You have your choice of Liz Hatch or Dan Holloway.

Aside: Liz and Team Vanderkitten took delivery of those ultra hot Storck Absolutist bikes this year and raced them for the first time at the Tour of Redlands just three weeks back. It was genius for Storck to sponsor Team Vanderkitten -- Vanderkitten is a pretty high profile team and they get way more exposure than they would supplying the bikes for a men's domestic squad.

You can view all of Ken's photos at his site:
More Sea Otter Classic race photos

Photo-John uploaded his Sea Otter race photos to MTBR.

I saw Brian Hodes (aka "Veloimages") at Sea Otter also -- you can view his photos at You click "Events" then select the Sea Otter Classic 2009.

Finally, Carson Blume uploaded his excellent photos to the Women's Cycling blog. I saw him at the Men's road race finish shooting photos of Levi Leipheimer but I don't know where those photos are at.

When did Liz Hatch get a Storck?

Liz Hatch is featured in this trailer for a new film series created by Markus of Cyclefilm.

This video is a preview trailer for the launch of Cyclefilm's new Rider Profile DVD Series. The first one features Vanderkitten Racing Pro cyclist Liz Hatch riding the roads of Marin County, California while talking about life and her passion for cycling.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Delta 7 Ascend road bike review

It's not about the bike, but...

The Delta 7 Ascend is the road version of Delta 7's "IsoTruss" carbon fiber mesh frame. I got to play with it during the Sea Otter Classic 2009.

Delta 7 Arantix Ascend Road Bike

Gary Fisher and the infamous "Bikes Gone Wild" both gave me grief for it, but I just had to try this paen to space age technology. Jeffrey of Delta 7 set me up with the Ascend while Erik hit the trails with the Arantix mountain bike.

The Ascend is a real head turner. I'm a moderately homely middle aged guy with birth control glasses; I rode for a short while with Liz Hatch in her Vanderkitten kit and her Storck Absolutist bicycle. Every male roadie we passed by snapped their necks looking at me, not Liz. If you've seen Liz on a bike, you know that's something.

Built up, the Delta 7 Ascend weighs a hair over 13 lbs without pedals. The light weight combined with a reasonably aggressive road geometry and super stiff rear triangle translates into rocket like acceleration and effortless hill ascents. I popped up to bunny hop over a pothole and nearly launched myself into orbit because the bike is so light. If you want to try for sub 20 minutes on Old La Honda Road, this wouldn't be a bad bike to use.

During my test ride, I caught up with a cyclist on a nice looking Trek wearing Astana kit. He looked strong but tired pushing up a steep hill, so I whipped out my phonecam and took a photo of this guy as I rode no handed on the magic bicycle. Sorry for the lousy phonecam photo -- we had to push through a crowd clanging cowbells and shouting "LEVI." I didn't realize the jeans company had such a big presence at Sea Otter.

Levi Leipheimer Sea Otter

I only put a few short miles on the Ascend so I can't do a full evaluation, but the ride on this bike isn't the least bit jarring in spite of the stiff frame.

Everybody asked me if this bike whistles in the wind. Here's video of my riding the bike on a steep downhill -- no whistling, but the shadow of this mesh bike looks pretty cool against the road surface. The video was shot using GoPro's new Wide Angle HERO Cam strapped to my chest.

According to Delta 7, they performed wind tunnel tests on this frame expecting more wind resistance from all of the surfaces and they wanted to quantify just how bad the turbulence would be. There's indeed more drag because of all the flow through the lattices, but the drag induced by vortices behind the tubes completely disappears, resulting in a net benefit: the IsoTruss design results in less drag than conventional tubes.

In summary, the Delta 7 Ascend road bike is fun, stiff, light, fast, comfortable and very expensive. My buddies at Road Bike Review took delivery of the Ascend so watch for a real, in depth review from them Real Soon Now. Also, "Bikes Gone Wild" promised to provide his own comments on this bike in the comments after I post this review :-)

Sea Otter Expo deals and discounts

If you're headed to Monterey for the final day of the Sea Otter Classic 2009, you might think about taking advantage of some smoking discounts on stuff you'll buy anyway. People are walking out of the expo area with wheelsets, bicycle shoes, component groups, socks, clothing, eyewear, mirrors and other goodies.

CycleAware, for example, are selling their mirrors, bags and other goodies for about 15% off. Ryder and Tifosi both have their sunglasses at 50% off retail. Shimano was selling shoes like crazy, and I saw a lot of Crank Brothers boxes heading out.

Not all of the exhibitors have product for sale: Genuine Innovations gave away dozens of CO2 cartridge inflators. Various energy bar and snack food vendors, including CLIF, Larabar, Simbee, FRS and ZYM came prepared to feed and hydrate an army with their freebies.

I won't have much in updates today, but you can follow blogs like Bike Commuters, Guitar Ted Productions, Mountain Bike Riders.

I have plenty of photos to publish from the show that I think you'll find interesting, and I have lots of bike product updates and news to last at least a couple of months.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Breezer Lightning

What's old is new again: Breezer Bicycles returns to the mountain bike market with a reincarnation of the Lightning. This steel mountain bike will be available at three build options and will be available for the 2010 model year beginning in about September.

Steel Breezer Lightning

And check out this "Joe Breeze Design" logo that Advanced Sports graphics design department created for Breezer Bikes.
Joe Breeze Design California Republic

See during the Sea Otter Classic 2009, which continues through Sunday April 19.

Shout out to Norcal Bikers

Throw some link love to Eric aka @fenriq who I hung out with on Friday at the Sea Otter Classic. Visit his blog, follow him on Twitter and look at his photos, like this one from the Dual Slalom mountain bike race.

Friday, April 17, 2009

GT Aerostream city bike

I saw Valerie at the GT Bicycles booth with the Aerostream cruiser bike and asked her to describe the benefits of this bicycle. GT Bicycles Aerostream bicycle has some nice features differentiating it from other bikes in the cruiser bike category.

GT Aerostream city bike

Valerie was kind enough to demonstrate some of the features of this bike:
  • Gates carbon belt drive
  • Shimano 3 speed hub
  • Efficient and smooth rolling 700 x 47 tires
  • Women's model (shown) has a front basket for Valerie to store her pom poms. This front basket has a collapsible frame which is cheaper to ship (lowers dealer cost)
  • Men's model has rear racks and panniers.
  • Unique rear triangle design eliminates the usual bolt off triangle used in other belt drive designs.
  • Lightweight aluminum frame is stiffer, less clunky and lighter than your standard beach cruiser. Valerie let me ride her bicycle and I can report that it indeed provides a very nice and smooth ride.
As you can see, just sitting on the GT Aerostream automatically makes anybody at least 14% hotter. This is what Valerie looks like off of the bike:

...And here's another photo of Valerie on the GT Aerostream:

GT Aerostream city bike

Your mileage may vary.

Valerie also tells me that REI is now selling this bike and absolutely loves it.

Shimano XTR

Seen at the Sea Otter Festival 2009 in Monterey, California.

Fuzzi Duds

Cigarette Cyclist

Seen this week in San Jose, California.

Cigarette cyclist

Remember, kids, smoking kills.

Bicycle Pie Plate?

The number one search term for my site this week has not been "Sea Otter Classic" or anything related to that. It's been "bike pie plate" for some reason. Weird -- why the sudden interest?

Sea Otter Classic 2009 Day 2 Updates

I'll be at the Bicycle Leadership Conference in the morning, then I'll spend the afternoon at the Sea Otter Classic at Laguna Seca. View my (almost) live updates via Twitter with phonecam photos posted to my Flickr photostream.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sea Otter Classic 2009 Day 1

Bissell Vacuums Up Podium Finishes in the Men's Crit
Colavita/Sutter Home's Kelly Benjamin Kicks Off Sea Otter with a Win
Bissell captures top 4 podium spots in men's crit.

Pro road racing got underway today at the Sea Otter Classic with the return of criterium racing. 62 pro men and 27 pro women rolled to the start in races lasting 60 minutes and 50 minutes respectively over a 1.2-mile course with punishing climbs, hairpin turns and bullying crosswinds. Six racers battled to the end for the win in the women's race while Bissell's Morgan Schmitt – in a lead group with teammates Kirk O'Bee and Ben Jacques-Maynes – was informed that he would win late in the last lap by team leader, Jacques-Maynes. Bissell fielded the largest team in today's crit and succeeded taking an early command of the race.

"We had a big number and our plan was for sure to win," Schmitt said, "and the plan was to get us up the road early."

A hard, fast start to the men's race broke up the pack almost instantly and racers were swiftly jettisoned from competition. Within 15 minutes, the race split into three parts, beginning with a calculated move from Bissell. Five riders maneuvered a flawless attack and sprinted up the road with a racer from Land Rover – Orbea in tow. Bissell wasted no time shucking Land Rover-Orbea but sacrificed two of their own to send Schmitt, O'Bee, and Jacques-Maynes to the front where they stayed for the duration of the race.

"We eased up a bit more to ride tempo but the start was brutal," Schmitt continued. "We just had to get the gap and make sure no one could cross."

Crit racing never looked so effortless as it did with each pass of the Bissell trio, which sustained a 42-second gap between them and the chase group from race midpoint all the way through to the end.

Lone Benjamin Scores Victory

Colavita/Sutter Home's Kelly Benjamin relaxes after clinching the crit win.

Palo Alto-based team TIBCO took up their place at the front to control the field at the start until a restless 17-year-old Coryn Rivera (Metro VW) punched up the pace with an attack 20 minutes into the race. TIBCO responded with a charge of its own from Joanne Kiesanowski who brought four other racers with her. The break of six containing Kelly Benjamin (Colavita/Sutter Home), Liza Rachetto (DFT/Treads), Jenn Halladay (Bob's), and Kathryn Donovan (Kahala Lagran) surged at each other in efforts to decide the race until a charge by Rivera in the final 500 meters was fiercely countered by Benjamin and Kiesanowski, who failed to block Benjamin's win.

"I was coming in support of the new crit and to open up my legs to race for the weekend," Benjamin said. "I was outnumbered and knew I wouldn't be very aggressive so I just saved it for the end. I waited 'til the last minute and it was kind of like a slingshot where I was able to cross from the outside and finish strong."

While Benjamin's Colavita/Sutter Home teammates cheered from the sidelines, Benjamin set a winning trend for her teammates to follow up with in tomorrow's road race.

Pro road racing continues tomorrow at noon with the men's and women's road race. Super D finals take place starting at noon.

Levi Leipheimer Set to Race at Sea Otter

Officials of the Sea Otter Classic received confirmation late today that three-time Tour of California winner, Levi Leipheimer, will race the remaining road events on Friday and Saturday at Laguna Seca. The men's pro road race starts at 12:05 pm on Friday; the men's pro circuit race starts at 1:10 pm on Saturday.

LUNA® to Celebrate its New Line of Women's Cycling Apparel

LUNA®, the makers of the Whole Nutrition Bar for Women® and title sponsor of the Team LUNA Chix Pro Team, will celebrate its new line of LUNA Sport Cycling Apparel at the LUNA pro team tent on Friday afternoon at 4:30.

LUNA Sport Cycling Apparel

LUNA Sport Clothing offers refreshingly simple designs that are color-blocked in bright, beautiful colors. LUNA shorts and knickers are made from sophisticated fabrics and feature a low-profile, flat waistband to distribute pressure over a wider area for the most comfortable fit. Authentic, Japanese wood-block prints (hand-carved in the early 1800's) adorn many of LUNA's aesthetically striking jerseys and accessories in this distinctive collection.

In addition to owning some savvy style, you can give back through your purchase. Sales of LUNA Sport clothing will contribute to LUNA's ongoing support of the Breast Cancer Fund. As part of that commitment, LUNA has donated more than $2 million to the Breast Cancer Fund during the past 10 years through direct donations and fundraising programs.

LUNA invites you to see its new clothing line and take advantage of a special Sea Otter discount at a celebratory gathering in the Sea Otter Village tomorrow at 4:30 – just look for the blue awnings of the LUNA pro team tent in team parking.

Specialized Introduces the Epic and Stumpjumper 29ers

April 15, 2009 - After a visit to Specialized's headquarters in Morgan Hill on Tuesday, members of the media were introduced to the new Epic and Stumpjumper 29ers onsite Wednesday at Laguna Seca Recreational Area. To debut the new bikes, a panel of Specialized racers were on hand to punctuate the benefits unique to Specialized 29ers.

Todd Wells and Conrad Stoltz

Todd Wells and Conrad Stoltz highlighted the 29ers' increased rollover and greater ground contact, which they claimed gives better traction during both climbing and riding over loose stuff. Wells proved those points during Round 1 of the USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Cross Country Tour in Fontana, Calif. on March 28 when he climbed to a tenth-place finish after a snapped chain in the first lap cost him five minutes.

Current world cross country champion, Christoph Sauser, underscored the presentation by emphasizing Specialized's signature technologies, including FSR, Brain, Fact Carbon, M5 alloy, and cold forgings - all of which feature on the new 29ers.

The presentation finished up with a test ride on the Fort Ord trails with Wells, Stoltz, and Specialized's roster of famous cyclerati, including Rebecca Rusch, Lene Byberg, and Ned Overend. Visit Specialized's booth #750 in the Sea Otter Village to see the new bikes for yourself.