Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Park Tool's Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair 2nd Edition.

Park Tool Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair

Click through for details and purchasing info.

Scofflaw motorist gets year in jail for running stop sign

Andrew Bamberg ran a stop sign in Redwood City, California. He was sentenced to a year in jail.

There's more to the story, of course. Bamberg got a ticket in March 2005 for running the sign. In traffic court, he tried to deceive the judge by showing photos of a different intersection that has no stop signs. When Traffic Commissioner Susan Greenberg told Bramberg she planned to visit the intersection, Bramberg actually swapped the street signs with those from another intersection.

His legal gymnastics earned him a year in jail, which the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco upheld this week.

Read more in the Chronicle. And if you want avoid him in traffic, here's Bramberg's photo.

Robert Pattinson rides a brakeless fixie

Actor Robert Pattinson tries to ride a green brakeless fixed gear bike during filming of "Remember Me" in Central Park, New York City. What authentic city bike details worked out by the prop master can you see on this bike?

Robert Pattinson seen filming in Central Park, New York City

Robert Pattinson seen filming in Central Park, New York City

You can also watch Rob ride a bike in this scene from the Spanish film "Little Ashes," where Robert Pattinson plays a young Salvador Dali.

US CPSC not to enforce lead standards on bicycles

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 lowers allowable lead levels for all children products. The bicycle industry freaked when they realized there's no way they can sell bike tires, brakes and other components with legally required lead levels.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) stay, which was announced in May, takes effect today. The CPSC will not apply this limit to certain parts of bicycles, jogger strollers, and bicycle trailers after the Bicycle Products Supplier Association (BPSA) submitted a petition with data suggesting that the components in children's bicycles and related products contain lead in amounts not greater than those permitted under the RoHS and ELV Directives.

According to the BPSA, attaining the required lead levels is technologically impossible or replacement materials are not available in the quantities required. I know several companies planned to just stop bike and accessory sales in the United States, so I'm sure they're all breathing a sigh of relief.

The bike industry is not completely off the hook -- the CPSC Stay expires in 2011. The industry is expected to have new manufacturing processes by then.

The BPSA incurred tens of thousands of dollars in legal and other expenses as they petitioned the Federal government to delay the lead requirement, forcing the BPSA to levy additional dues on their members.

Read complete details in The Federal Register publishing this rule. A public hearing was held March 11, 2009 at the CPSC to discuss this issue; watch the video here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

eCommerce + brick & mortar fulfilmment?

This is interesting: The Canadian mountain bike component manufacturer Syncros Applied Technology has added eCommerce functionality to its website with a twist -- fulfillment is via a local bike shop.

"Consumers consider the Internet one of their greatest shopping resources," said Steve Parke, general manager and vice president of marketing for Syncros. "Authorized Syncros retailers also offer consumers service and expertise that help them get the most out of their purchases. Now Syncros gives consumers the opportunity to buy their components online and have their local dealers fill their orders. This makes shopping for components more convenient and helps them maintain their relationships with the local shops."

The press release I got suggests the retailer is repsonsible for shipping the order to the customer, so I'm not sure what the benefit to the local bike shop is. The idea is that the customer deals with the local bike shop instead of directly with the manufacturer.

What do you think? Is this hybrid ecommerce/LBS model something that could work to benefit the customer and the local retailer?

Syncros is owned by Ritchey Design.

Chris Horner, Team Astana and the Tour de France

Many people are upset that Chris Horner was passed over when Team Astana selected the Tour de France team. I can't imagine the extreme disappointment that Horner felt. He asked to be released from Astana so he could try to join another team's squad, but Astana's team director Johan Bruyneel denied him.

Steve Hill has his commentary and links out to more articles. See also Velonews: Horner left off Astana Tour roster.

The Tour de France 2009 begins this weekend.

Fishing and your bicycle

Disney Princess Fishing Rod
When I was a kid my friends and I just carried our rods in one hand while controlling the bike with the other hand. I still see people -- children and adults -- doing the same thing today, but there are fancier options available: special mounts for carrying your fishing pole on your bike hands free, and collapsible "fishing pen" rods that you can carry in a backpack.

Daniel Canfield in Boise, Idaho gives a rundown of some available options. There's a Bike Fisherman fishing pole bicycle mount, the Mini Pen fishing rod, the Coleman Fish Pen, and other similar products.

A fishing rod not mentioned by Canfield are child fishing rods. When my daughter outgrew her short Disney Princess fishing rod it's a short enough rod that I used it for bike trips to the lake a few times. Child rods are cheap but they're also very portable.

Read more here at Examiner.com.

Edit: See also Noah's post with his practical experience shopping for fishing gear that works well with cycling.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Bicycle Book

The Bicycle Book: Wit, Wisdom & Wanderings edited by Thomas Hylton.

The Bicycle Book: Wit, Wisdom & Wanderings

The Bicycle Book: Wit, Wisdom and Wanderings is a celebration of the bicycle by people who ride. . .a tribute to one of the finest, most efficient, most useful machines ever invented. The 25 contributors are talented writers and cartoonists, each with a unique take on bicycling. Whether in critical observation, concern, memorial, fact, or in jest, each story and cartoon is definitely worth a look. You do not have to be a cycling expert to read this book; there is something here for everyone.

Contributions from around the globe include an essay from Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Hylton; predictions for the future of cycling from Dirt Rag publisher Maurice Tierney and Richard Fries, publisher of Bike Culture; an exclusive interview with Chris Carmichael (long time coach of Lance Armstrong); several essays from Pulitzer Prize nominee Gianna Bellofatto. Other contributors are Portland Magazine executive editor (and former New Yorker staffer) Ted Katauskas; Mason St. Clair; author Theresa Russell; and Andy (Ask the Mechanic) Wallen. Scattered throughout the book is a collection of cartoons from cartoonists whose work has appeared in a wide array of magazines including The New Yorker, Esquire, The Progressive, Dirt Rag, Oregon Cycling, The Funny Times, Discover, Guideposts, Reader's Digest, and Forbes. Contributing cartoonists include Bob Lafay, Neal Skorpen, Jonny Hawkins, Andy Singer, Bob LaDrew, and many others.

Click here to purchase.

Friday, June 26, 2009

What's your experience with filing police reports?

You get into a scrape with a motor vehicle. Maybe there's some damage, maybe not. Do you call the police?

Long story -> short: I usually don't even bother anymore. More below the photo...

Tuscon Bike Lawyer writes about the typical cyclist experience following a bike vs car collision:
A cyclist gets hit by a car, and is lying in the pavement dazed. Assuming the cyclist is not suffering a serious injury, the officer will then try to determine fault. As I have written many times before, “carhead” tends to point toward the cyclist being at fault.

If the officer determines the cyclist was at fault, he will then often give the cyclist a choice: you can leave here and forget about all this, or you can stay and get a ticket. Which do you pick?
I've never been threatened with a ticket, but the first time I called the police, the motorist was very clearly at fault: she completely blew through a stop sign without slowing; I escaped with my life because I did an emergency swerve but I still got a glancing blow and a damaged bike.

I was riding completely legally on a residential street with almost no traffic, but witnesses and the responding police officer all lectured me about my bike riding, and the cop made it very clear that my call was a huge imposition of his time.

This was in 1987. In the three times I've been hit by a car since then, I only called the police on my latest incident, but that was a hit and run and I hoped the driver would get caught. I know the advice to call the police -- I even give that advice here -- but like cycling attorney Erik Ryberg observes, "I don’t care how many times you have read this and other bike safety blogs, if it happens to you, you are not going to be thinking clearly."

Law enforcement's reticence prompted Colorado cyclist advocates to lobby for a law requiring law enforcement agencies to take bicycle accident reports.

What do you do when a car scrapes up against you? Do you file the police report? Or do you usually let it slide? And what does this underreporting do for bicycle crash statistics?

Photo: Delta Mike.

Team Astana Tour de France 2009 roster

Team Astana's "New French Revolution" announced their roster for the Tour de France 2009 that starts next weekend, but I sure can't figure out how to navigate their flash heavy website.

Tallahassee bikini bicycle bum

Richard Rrby is the Tallahassee string bikini bicycle guy. He rides his bicycle along Appalachee Parkway and Lafeyette Street wearing nothing but long white socks, loafers and a thong.

A lot of people thought he was an exhibitionist or a weirdo. On May 6, 1972, Richard was a 17 year old kid in Orlando when he was hit by a car. He spent 11 months in a coma, after which he had to learn how to walk and talk again. He remains disabled and, it turns out, completely unaware of his local celebrity status.

According to this wonderful story in the Tallahassee Democrat, Richard wears a thong because it's comfortable and he simply doesn't realize his appearance makes people uncomfortable.

Reporter Brian Ramos happened to meet up with Rrby because Rrby was walking -- his bicycle is broken down. The Classy Tallahassee Bikini Bicyclist Fan Club on Facebook has over 3,000 members, some of whom plan to meet with Richard and raise money to help him buy a new bike.

Ramos's article is a sweet story about how Rrby retains his mobility in spite of disability, and it's heartening to see that Rrby's Facebook fan page is about celebrating his mobility and individuality.

Deep thoughts

"Bike vandals are like baby pigeons, you know they exist, but you never see them." - Bicicleta Bandita.


Jim Langley says, "Every city bike needs a nice wicker basket."

Efficiency in Inefficiency.

Some thoughts on the little things.

Join the ITSA Congestion Challenge.

Charleston Cycle Chic.

New England Muscle Bike Museum.

A nice Santa Cruz bike ride.

Amsterdam: More bike trips than car trips for the first time.

Van shoes, cruiser bikes, skateboards and long hair at Bike Hugger.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farrah Fawcett rode a bicycle

In this Faberge "Farrah Fawcett" shampoo TV advertisement...

"Klunkerz" interviews on kqed.org on 6/24/09


Modern mountain biking was born on the trails of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County in the 1970s. We talk to some of the pioneers of the sport who are featured in a new documentary, "Klunkerz."
Host: Scott Shafer
• Charlie Kelly, creator of the Repack races and founder of the first magazine devoted to mountain biking
• Gary Fisher, founder of Gary Fisher Bicycles and mountain biking icon.
• Joe Breeze, founder of Breezer Bikes
• Wende Cragg, one of the first female mountain bikers and a photographer whose pictures are featured in "Klunkerz."

Jennifer Aniston rides a pedicab

Jennifer Aniston was on location in Atlantic City for filming "The Bounty," where she tries to escape a bounty hunter by jumping into a pedicab and then pedaling the pedicab in her bare feet!

Jennifer Aniston riding on a bike taxi in Atlantic city

Jennifer Aniston films a scene where she gets angry at Gerard Butler on the set of The Bounty in Atlantic City, NJ

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Seconds from Disaster!

I'm posting this from the Highway 17 Express bus going home. My Specialized Roubaix 30 speed carbon fiber road bike is sitting at the front of the bus in the bike rack. As we zoomed along I-280 in San Jose at abou 60 mph THE BIKE RACK BROKE, leaving my bike dangling inches from the pavement at the front of the bus!

The bus driver pulled over and moved my bike to another spot on the rack. Disaster averted.

Apparently, those Sportworks 3-space "Trilogy" bike racks can break while in use! King County removed all of their Trilogy racks because of problems with the 3-space racks they experienced in the Seattle area that Sportworks claimed was user error -- cyclists were not properly securing their bicycles.

Santa Cruz Metro uses the 3 bike racks on all of their buses, but I haven't heard of problems until my experience tonight.

Laser bike lane prototype

The laser lit traveling bike lane is reality!

If the video is any indication of reality, this actually looks pretty cool.

Light Lane Website. Via Bike Portland.

Fashion Week: Men On Bikes

During the Menswear Fashion Week in Milan this week, Emporio Armani showed us that the well dressed bike commuter in Spring/Summer 2010 will go bare chested and wear shiny shorts with colorful shoes.


Emporio Armani - Milan Fashion Week Menswear S/S 2010

Emporio Armani - Milan Fashion Week Menswear S/S 2010

Emporio Armani - Milan Fashion Week Menswear S/S 2010

Emporio Armani - Milan Fashion Week Menswear S/S 2010

Bike safety public service announcements

A couple of bike safety videos have been making the rounds.

This video illustrating the danger of wrong way cycling from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation won a "Best PSA" Emmy award in 2006.

Streetsblog objects to this "flippant, counterproductive" spot because it "plays up the supremacy of the motorist by likening cyclists to insects," in the same way, I suppose, that the Partnership for a Drug Free America likened drug users to eggheads.

The discussion started with a PSA by the New York Bike Safety Coalition illustrating the importance of paying attention while cycling.

I understand Streetsblog's objection that these ads highlight the dangers of cycling and will discourage people from riding a bike. I publish Cyclelicious in large part to remind people that bicycling is a fun and safe way to get around. A big part of this safety, however, is understanding the risks and paying attention to them. If you regularly ride the wrong way on the sidewalk, you will eventually get hit. As Cycle Dog wrote to me privately, "If a 15mph cyclist and a 35 mph vehicle hit head on, the combined velocity is 50 mph, and that's not very survivable."

What do you think? Are ads like this counterproductive to cycling advocacy? Do they work for their intended audience of people who already bike? Do they scare you from the road, or do they perform their intended function of exhorting you to ride a little more safely?

Speaking of dangerous cycling, I heard there was a bike commuter on I-25 by the I-225 Interchange around the Denver Tech Center area south of Denver. Today is Bike to Work Day in Colorado, and I've heard similar tales of first time bike commuters who take the only route they know to work (the freeway) to get to work.

H/T: Commuter Outrage, Cycle Dog and Paul Metz.

Related: Mindful vs Mindless Cycling.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I've been super busy at work, so I'm going to just point you to other good blog posts today. Cozy Beehive always has good stuff -- here's a collection of Ron's recent posts:

While Ron @ CB celebrates the technology of bicycles, Eco Velo wonders what a leap back in technology might be like.

MUP Traffic Calming: This picture's been all over the web -- some people think it's a cool idea, other's wonder at the application. My guess: those who deal with heavy bike traffic on multi use paths immediately see the purpose of this.

British Waterways Attempt To Shock Cyclists Into Slowing Down

Crazy insane death inviting: Pulse jets mounted on a bicycle.

Hayduke in Santa Cruz Peddles Safety.

This video of a bicycle bell test is kind of funny in a weird way.

Holy Man's thoughts on those poor, oppressed motorists on Lefthand Canyon Road. I used to drive my car up Lefthand Canyon all the time, passing through Ward, park by Brainard lake and take my morning hike to the Continental Divide in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. I never had problems passing cyclists, though all of those licensed motorists driving their registered vehicles were often a problem as they speed at least 10 mph over the speed limit.

Ciclismo Urbano compares bike lights.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Reardon Sullivan: Disconnected from reality?

In an article about the effectiveness of speed cameras in improving traffic safety in Virginia, Reardon Sullivan told the Montgomery County Council, "I am against the speed cameras. I don't think they pick up one of the major hazards on our roadways in Montgomery County right now -- bicyclists."

More at SF Streetsblog, but holy moley, Reardon, you really need to lay off on whatever it is you're smoking. Automobiles kill 1.3 million people worldwide, with over 40,000 of those deaths in the United States, and speed is often a major factor in those deaths.

I'm sure a rider on a bike making up (at most) 2% of traffic poses a "major hazard on our roadways" when compared to the multiple tens of thousands of cars and trucks, each weighing thousands of pounds, spewing toxic fumes and noise pollution, that kill literally hundreds of people very day. WashCycle does a good job quantifying a few of the differences between bicycles and automobiles.

Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic

The Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic is the oldest continuously held race in New York.

Created as a Father’s Day event in 1973 by David A. Walker, a community affairs police officer who also brought double Dutch to public schools, the race has molded several generations of New York cycling talent, including Nelson Vails, a former bicycle messenger and a silver medalist at the 1984 Olympics.

“It all began with the Harlem race,” Mr. Vails, 48, said in a phone interview. “Back then, they gave away watches from Disney World, and I remember thinking, ‘The winners got stuff!’ ”
More at The New York Times.

Bicycle jobs

San Francisco Bay Area:





Senator Charles Schumer rides a bicycle

The U.S. Senator from New York, Charles Schumer, writes about exploring New York City by bicycle:
I find that there is no better way to learn about what is going on in New York than by riding my bike through the neighborhoods and stopping and talking to people.

I've loved riding a bike as long as I can remember. I can still recall every inch of the green Elswick racer I was given for my 10th birthday. Hopping on my bike as a kid was the definition of freedom, whether I was pedaling six blocks to the local basketball court, or roaming around the neighborhood looking for spontaneous fun.
Read more : "Exploring New York By Bike."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Over 1500 people at San Jose Bike Party

Over 1,500 cyclists were counted last night at the San Jose Bike Party. Read the ride report and the comments over there.

There were apparently some problems -- in spite of the efforts of organizers to clean things up and encourage participants to follow the law, several cyclists were ticketed for running red lights. They've started a volunteer "Bike Information Resource Direction" (BIRD) posse, but they're looking for more ideas on how to further encourage more lawful riding and other problems.

There's another troubling development in the comments: apparently, there are now motorists throwing eggs and rocks at the Bike Party people. Several riders are responding with calls for video cameras on the rides.

Read more at San Jose Bike Party.

Wire World also has a ride report from last night's bike party complete with video and photos.

Minneapolis Bike Share

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN plan to start a bike share next May, 2010 called Nice Ride Minnesota, a brand created by Duffy & Partners, a local design firm.

“We immediately knew we wanted Joe Duffy and his team involved in creating the identity for Nice Ride Minnesota,” said Bill Dossett, principal consultant for the Twin Cities bike share initiative and a City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation organizer. “Duffy & Partners has a unique sense for city events and culture, as was proven in the identity they created for The City of Lakes Loppet, an annual cross-country ski festival around Minneapolis lakes. Duffy’s experience, coupled with their hometown passion, made for an inspiring, creative partnership.”

Along with branding Nice Ride Minnesota, Duffy & Partners is also committed to seeing the growth and success of the program into the future, with members of the company volunteering their time at Nice Ride Minnesota promotional events. Joseph Duffy, designer at Duffy & Partners, also volunteers his time as a board member of Nice Ride Minnesota.

Initially, the system will launch phase one with 1,000 bicycles in 75 kiosks around downtown Minneapolis, Uptown and the University of Minnesota. Service will eventually expand to St. Paul and other high-density neighborhoods around the Twin Cities. Phase one is expected to go live in spring 2010.

More --> Nice Ride Minnesota.

Mason and his blue Schwinn Varsity

Mason rides his blue Schwinn Varsity (converted to fixed gear) through heavy traffic on Santa Clara Street in downtown San Jose, California.

Mason and his bike

Enjoy the ride!

Friday, June 19, 2009

London Skyride

Victoria Pendleton and Elle Macpherson promote the Mayor of London's Skyride.

Elle Macpherson And Victoria Pendleton Launch Skyride

Victoria Pendleton is a world champion track champion and Olympic gold medalist. Elle Macpherson likes to ride a bicycle to get around and take her children to school.

Welsh TV presenter Gethin Jones also promotes the Mayor of London's SkyRide.

Elle Macpherson And Victoria Pendleton Launch Skyride

More details at British Cycling's SkyRide home page.

Tour de France: No race radio!

Wow. Two stages of the Tour de France will be run without race radio.

Parts of the 2009 Tour of California was plagued with technical difficulties reportedly due to the weather. Ineffective race radio made the race a lot more uncertain for the riders since team directors couldn't relay information to the riders, and those of us following the race had no clue what was going on.

It's a controversial decision by race organizers: The Tour de France wants to ban the race radios completely, but teams and riders say they depend on the radios for safety. Taking the radios away puts team leadership squarely back on the cyclists and benefits the those who can quarterback, think quickly and react to conditions on the ground.


What do you think?


San Jose Bike Party + League Certified Instructors

Several League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors (LCI) are in San Jose this weekend for the LAB Smart Cycling Conference. Anita below is dressed like the typical LCI, except many LCIs have more facial hair, more age, more Y chromosomes and more mirrors. In other words, they look something like me.

I've heard that some of them will join tonight's San Jose Bike Party ride. Here's how they roll.

It should be interesting to watch.

The ride starts tonight at Dick's Center (on Bascom north of Hamilton in the big triangle parking lot), meander to downtown, loop waaay out to Berryessa and Alum Rock before ending up at the San Jose State University campus. Theoretically they meet at 8:30 PM.

San Jose Music in the Park Parking

Downtown San Jose event parking tips

Downtown San Jose Music In the Park every Thursday night is very popular. You can count on traffic around downtown San Jose to be absolutely jammed as visitors circle around looking for parking near Plaza de Cesar Chavez, the oval park by the Museum of Art and the Tech Museum.

To save yourself the frustration of sitting in gridlocked traffic when the music starts every Thursday this summer, here are my tips to help you avoid downtown gridlock.

1. Ride light rail. The Santa Teresa / Alum Rock and Winchester / Mountain View lines run right past Cesar Chavez Plaza, and light rail is super easy to ride. Many VTA light rail stations outside of downtown are located at park and ride lots with ample free parking. Pay $1.75 at the vending machine for the light rail station. Every station has a schedule and map.

2. Ride your bicycle. This is Jenny. She and several dozens of other people rode their bikes to Music in the Park last night. You can too!

Jenny and her Univega

3. Park a few blocks away. There can be ample parking if you're willing to walk a few blocks. If you don't want to walk, people like Patrick will transport you in their pedal rickshaws -- please tip them well for their hard work!

Pedicab Patrick

4. All of the above. Part of the beauty of bikes is that you can combine several modes of travel -- light rail, Caltrain or the bus to travel longer distances, then use a bicycle or the pedal rickshaw to go the last mile.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Civil disobedience at Colorado bicycle tour

Fritz asked if I could write on this topic. I'm happy to oblige.

On July 25th, bicycle riders at Colorado's Sunrise Century may encounter some protesters. An unsigned flier urges area motorists to engage in "civil disobedience" by blocking area roadways with their vehicles as a means of protesting the state's new three feet passing law. Like similar laws in other states, the Colorado version requires that motorists pass bicyclists no closer than three feet. Some drivers object, saying that the new law puts them in jeopardy while they attempt to pass on narrow mountain roads with limited sight lines.

Yes, it's the motorists claiming they're at risk around bicyclists. They could collide with another motor vehicle when they blindly pass without being able to see if the roadway is clear. As we all know, a ton-and-a-half of steel and glass offers dubious safety around those pesky bicyclists, heavily armored in their Styrofoam hats and Lycra.

We have a word for motorists like this - whiners. Here's an excerpt from the news story:

Threats made to disrupt bicycle tour
posted by: Jeffrey Wolf written by: Dave Delozier

BOULDER - Alex Hearn has one word to describe the Sunrise Century: fun. It is not competitive and its primary purpose is to give people the chance to ride a bicycle through some of the prettiest canyons you will find anywhere.

So imagine his surprise when he learned this year's Sunrise Century was being targeted for civil disobedience. Hearn started to learn about it when fliers started showing up in mailboxes in the area of Left Hand Canyon north of Boulder. The flier carries a title of: "Civil Disobedience, July 25th Block Dangerous Cyclist Day, Boulder, CO."

...The flier goes on to say, "On July 25th in celebration of drivers' rights many cars will use the Left Hand Canyon Road, drive slowly and many may break down unexpectedly, blocking areas to the cyclists on the return leg of the 'Sunrise Century.' Please use judgment during this civil disobedience."

The Sunrise Century had already contacted the Colorado State Patrol and the Boulder County Sheriff's Office to provide traffic control and support for the ride. In light of the threat to disrupt the event, law enforcement officers may have an addition role to fill.


The news site had a photo of the note. Here's what I could read:

On August 5th new regulations limiting drivers rights regarding dangerous bicyclists will be STATE LAW.


Yadda, yadda, yadda. Where to begin? Give the author credit for getting the spelling right, at least.

Naturally, I have much more to write on this topic. The rest of the post is over on the Examiner site. As usual, I couldn't resist a snarky response. It's a character failing.

Missy Giove caught with 400 lbs of weed

Former professional mountain biker Missy "The Missile" Giove was charged Tuesday with marijuana distribution after investigators found 400 pounds of marijuana.

In a search of a cabin and Giove's borrowed truck and trailer, investigators found “marijuana, a money counter, a heat sealer, plastic bags identical in size and color and the type used to hold and conceal the marijuana seized in the trailer, nine cellphones and approximately $1 million in cash concealed in a duffle bag in a hallway closet and in assorted shoe boxes in the basement.”

Read more here. H/T to Chris Matthews, who writes, "Can you imagine it? A mountain biker? With pot?"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Family Triplet: A bicycle built for five

The Dutch Fietsenmakerij Onderwater created this Family Triplet tandem bicycle for large families on the move.


To be available in limited quantities through Work Cycles. According to Work Cycles, one parent and two kids pedal, and if needed a child seat can be fitted on the rear carrier and a third kid's saddle with stationary footrests behind the parent's handlebar, for a total capacity of four children. The whole rig is about the same length as a Bakfiets Cargobike Long.

Other features include Basta Pilot LED headlamp, hub dynamo, Schwalbe marathon tires, Shimano IM70 rollerbrake, wheel with 12 gauge stainless spokes, stainless fenders, triple rear stays, chain case, special wide double stand, and Shimano Nexus 8 speed hub.

Thank you to Henry @ Work Cycles. Click on the photo above for more details.

Carbon footprint of spam email

Some of you might remember my ruminations on the carbon footprint of blogging. I never even thought, however, of the carbon footprint of spam -- the unsolicited untargeted ads broadcast via email and social networks. It turns out that anti virus vendor McAfee commissioned a study to calculate the energy cost of sending and receiving spam. According to McAfee's report on the carbon footprint of spam email:
  • An estimated worldwide total of 62 trillion spam emails were sent in 2008.

  • Global annual spam energy use totals 33 billion kilowatt-hours (KWh), or 33 terawatt hours (TWh). That’s equivalent to the electricity used in 2.4 million homes in the United States, with the same GHG emissions as 3.1 million passenger cars using two billion United States gallons of gasoline.

  • The average GHG emission associated with a single spam message is 0.3 grams of CO2. That’s like driving three feet (one meter) in equivalent emissions, but when multiplied by the annual volume of spam, it’s like driving around the Earth 1.6 million times.

  • On November 11, 2008, McColo Inc., a United States-based web hosting provider notorious for its prolific contribution to email spam, was taken offline by its upstream Internet Service Provider (ISP). Overnight, global spam volume dropped by 70 percent. The energy saved in the ensuing lull — before spammers rebuilt their sending capacity — equated to taking 2.2 million cars off the road.
Fascinating stuff, with more discussion on the carbon footprint of spam at The Economist.

I'm a long time participant in Project Honeypot, which works to identify email address harvesters and spam senders by posting "honeypot" email addresses and mail servers, kind of like bait cars used in sting operations to find car thieves.

World's Best Bike Stickers

Leave a comment for a chance to win free stickers!

Walt and Dwight run a small, independent print shop in Tuscon, Arizona where they create what they say are The World's Best Bike Stickers. They like to promote bike riding through their stickers, shirts and other products. They even have reflective bike stickers, which seems like a pretty good idea.

For a chance to win a free sticker, leave a comment here today (Wednesday, June 16 until Midnight Pacific Time) and I'll select a winner at random. Look for more chances to win in the coming weeks.

Worlds Best Bike Stickers.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Missouri town passes bicycle harassment law

One Missouri college town that takes pride in its bike-friendly status is threatening jail time for motorists who aren’t so friendly.

The Columbia City Council heard from a steady succession of cyclists who’ve been victims of road rage — including a bike shop owner who was pistol-whipped — before unanimously approving a new ordinance Monday night. It makes harassing cyclists a misdemeanor, punishable by stiff fines or a year in jail.
Read more.

Penitentiary Tour de France

The 15 stage Penitentiary Tour de France finishes this Friday in Paris, France. Some 200 French prisoners (of whom only a few are attempting the complete Tour), closely accompanied by more than 100 cycling guards, prison sports instructors and magistrates have set off on their own Tour de France.

Prison cycle Tour de France 2009 first stage from Dole to Saint Quentin-Fallavier

Unlike the usual snarky coverage seen here and elsewhere, NPR does a pretty good job discussing the whys and wherefores of this cycling event for convicts. Listen at NPR Morning Edition.

Remember, the Tour de France 2009 begins in just two and half weeks with a 15 km individual time trial in Monaco.

More bicycle news...

URBAN VELO: Specialized Globe launches as a brand separate from Specialized. More yummy photos at Bike Hugger.

WIRED: Scary concept bicycle

MAKE: Portable tallbike.

BICYCLE DESIGN: Bicycles from the Embacher Collection.

COFFEE: Laceration hazard!

Travel tips: I just learned the U.S. Transportation Security Adminstration (they're the people who handle security at airports) has a blog. It's even enjoyable to read. Via Schneier on Security.

Humor: Mansoap. I use Ajax for my personal hygiene.

A TV show about me!

I've recently learned there's a new TV show on the FOX network that's all about me! Chris Vance plays Dr. Jack Gallagher in "Mental." Gallagher runs the psychiatric ward at a hospital in Los Angeles and he gets around almost exclusively by BICYCLE. When he's in a car it's because he took a cab.

The show creators took some creative license with my true story, so here's a guide to the differences between the real life Dr. Jack Gallagher (me) and the fictional me (Dr. Jack Gallagher).

Gallagher commutes to work on one of many bicycles.I commute to work on one of many bicycles.
Gallagher owns several bikes that he hangs inside of his loftI own several bikes that are parked outside on the porch.
One of Gallagher's bikes is a repainted GMC Yukon road bike.I wouldn't be caught dead on a GMC Yukon road bike
His twin sister Becky calls him but never says what she's doing My brothers IM me late at night when I'm asleep
Gallagher runs a psychiatric wardI was once admitted to a psych ward. The doctors there were very kind.
Gallagher works with young, attractive oversexed colleagues who wear tight sweaters.I work with middle aged guys named "Sanjay" who wear sweater vests and talk about their favorite cricket teams.

I hope you enjoy Fox's "Mental" -- I have a lot of myself invested into it!

DIY bicycle projects

Amber Lee at Givers Blog has a couple of DIY bike projects:

Monday, June 15, 2009


Starting today Inhabitat and Areaware are giving away an awesome folding bike by Strida, worth $950! They're asking readers to submit pictures of their old clunker or evidence that they need a new ride. One lucky winner who is in most need or just has the most creative reason for wanting a slick new folding bike will win.

Entering the contest is easy. Readers just need to sign up for the Inhabitat newsletter and submit photographic evidence of why they need a new bike. Photos should be less than 100k and 537 pixels wide.

The Deadline for submissions is Friday, June 19th at midnight EST.

Learn the details here.

Manic Monday

It's going to be a super busy week for me, so here's a shotgun blast of bike news.

Chicago's Bicycling Ambassadors seen in Urbana, Illinois.

Team Abu Dhabi? Ina Reinders poses for a photo during a press conference announcing the creation of this Triathlon team created by the emirate's tourism authority. More here.

Abu Dhabi Triathlon - Press Conference

Bicycle Design: Bikes for the non-enthusiast.

MAKE: Classy bike trailer.

Watch HOME.

WEND: Free bikes in New York City. H/T Unbreakable.

Missouri Bike Fed: Common bike collisions and how to avoid them.

Interbike Times: Cycling as the great American pastime.

Sets: The intersection of gnats and cycling.

Sarah Goodyear: Cycling in Fort Worth, Texas. I lived on the outskirts of Fort Worth for three years and bike commuted daily across the Mid Cities and DFW Airport to my job in Irving.

San Francisco Bicycle Music Festival SATURDAY JUNE 20, 2009.

New Hampshire Supreme Court rules town must clear snow from sidewalks.

Iceland Winter Bike Expedition 2010.

Blast from the past: Did I really write this in 1984?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Water bicycle

Chinese amphibious water bike.

amphibious bicycle floating on water

Chinese inventor Li Weiguo apparently took the Treehugger article on women and bikes to heart by asking his daughter to demonstrate his amphibious bicycle that can be used on land or water. Li used empty water bottles (the large 8 gallon size used in office water coolers) as flotation for this bike, with paddles in the rear spokes providing propulsion. The bottles are removed for use on land.

More cool photos at Inhabitat and China.org.cn. Props to WIRED Gadget Blog.

Friday, June 12, 2009

MUPs in the News

MUP: Multi Use Path.

Chicagoist on sharing the road and sharing the trails:
Riding to work Wednesday morning this Chicagoist staffer and avid cyclist was doored ever-so-slightly by a trucker. While tending to the minor scrapes incurred from the sudden braking and subsequent tumble, the trucker proceeded to yell at us about how we shouldn't be on the street. Until we grabbed the bike lock and took a couple of swings at him.

More bike path safety problems caused by all of those people driving to a newly completed path.

Here's a pretty cool story: Charles Semprebon of Vermont was touring on bike from Los Angeles to Boston when he passed away in New Mexico. Okay, that part isn't so cool, but in his will, he gave $1 million to the town of Barre, VT to build a bike path around the community. More here and here.

Jason Bourne rides a bicycle

My morning commute reading this week is The Bourne Sanction by Eric van Lustbader.

Guilty pleasure

I was kind of a fan of Robert Ludlum and the first couple of Jason Bourne books. Sanction is kind of meh -- there's a power struggle between the U.S. military and the CIA that only Bourne can defuse and an Islamo-Nazi (!) terrorist scheme that only Bourne can stop. Bourne can turn any object into a weapon, leap tall buildings, dodge speeding bullets and even ward off the effects of tranquilizing darts with chocolate bars, but he's unable to ride a bicycle through DC city traffic.

Jason Bourne is chasing The Bad Guys when he takes a bike from a gutter bunny and runs red lights to catch up to his quarry.
Bourne was able to make good headway, as the GMC had been slowed by the sludgy traffic. Just as he neared the light he saw the GMC take off and knew he had been spotted. The problem with a bicycle, especially one that had caused a minor uproar lunging through a red light, was that the cyclist became conspicuous.

Bourne threw caution to the wind, following the accelerating GMC into the fork as it took Pennsylvania Avenue. Swerving in and out between vehicles, he put on another burst of speed. Just as he was coming abreast of the far crosswalk, a gaggle of drunk teenagers tumbled off the curb on their way across the avenue. They closed off the lane behind the GMC.

Bourne swerves to avoid the teenagers, hits the curb and endos into a crowd on the sidewalk.

Bourne's mistake: He aimed for the sidewalk. He clearly should have taken the lane directly behind the GMC.

Van Lustbader's storytelling, dialog and plot are all pretty weak, but his word pictures are superb, engaging all of my senses through his prose.

Amazon: Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Sanction

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Women, schlepping and transportational cycling

April in Sweden posted on Six reasons the world needs more women on bikes, mentioning some of the reasons women don't bike to work as much as men. April mentions that only about 30% of bike commuters in Portland (Oregon, presumably) are female; in San Francisco, it's currently about 27%.

Why the gender split?

Natalie Ramsland of Sweetpea Bicycles told me last year that she thinks "the broader scope of women’s responsibilities (work, caregiving, schleppin’) plays some role in female ridership. It’s easier to be the heroic bike commuter if you’ve got somebody else picking up the dry cleaning and shuttling Johnny off to soccer practice. It seems that too often that somebody is female."

In out society, there are also greater expectations placed on women's appearance in the workplace. Men can more easily get away with sloppy clothing and hair. Blogs like Velocouture, Copenhagen Cycle Chic (which turned two years old today!), Velo Vogue, Chic Cyclist, Riding Pretty, and many others work to illustrate that's possible for men and women to look good on and off the bike.

H/T Eco Velo. Photo by Chad Rogers in Orlando, Florida.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Portland Pedalpalooza 2009

Pedalpalooza 2009 runs Thursday (tomorrow!) June 11 to Saturday June 27.

Portland Pedalpalooza 2009

Last night

I watched the cool cats waiting around in San Jose last night for the Tuesday night SJFixed ride to start. Their trackstands, backwards riding and bar spins reminded me of this old film of bike tricks shot by Thomas Edison back in 1899. They've got the whole repertoire of modern bike ballet over 100 years ago. There's even a guy doing bunny hops with a jump rope.

As I boarded the southbound train in Menlo Park last night a guy on a bike asked me if this train goes to Palo Alto. "Next train," I quickly told him, "in about 10 minutes." Then I looked at him strangely, pointed at his bike and said, "It's only a mile to Palo Alto. Ride your bike."

For some reason, views of this photo I took on Caltrain spiked last night. I don't know why; I don't really think it's that good.

Empty Caltrain bike car

Sierra Club book: Into Thick Air: Biking to the Bellybutton of Six Continents. Botanist Jim Malusa bicycled alone to the lowest point on each of six continents, a six-year series of 'anti-expeditions' to the 'anti-summits.' With a scientist's eye, he vividly observes local landscapes and creatures. As a lone man, he is overfed by grandmothers, courted by ladies of the night in Volgograd, invited into a mosque by Africa's most feared tribe, chased by sandstorms and hurricanes ' yet Malusa keeps riding.

Absolutely crazy cool work zone safety engineering.

Don Broderick

We report, you decide.

Don Broderick is a writer for FOX News in New York City. He was upset because cyclist Brian Dooda traveling at the 25 mph speed limit through Central Park was impeding his way.

So Broderick reportedly cut Dooda off, Dooda responded with some words, and Broderick responded by deliberately ramming into Dooda and taking him for a 200 foot ride on the hood of Broderick's SUV.

More at Gawker. H/T to CP.

Car Free Challenge

Okay, I thought I did okay with my auto use by taking public transportation and my bike everyday, but then I learned about Janet Abelson in El Cerrito.

For TransForm's June Car Free challenge, Janet pledges to log zero miles in a car and take only public transportation. Maybe that doesn't sound so incredible, but she normally gets car rides from friends because she sits in a wheelchair. I thought I did well with the 180 miles per month that I typically drive.

During the month of June the average Bay Area resident will drive 540 miles; the average American driver logs more than 1,000 miles each month. Do you think you can do better?

The Car Free Challenge is something like a charity ride. The purpose is to raise funds and awareness for TransForm, a coalition of San Francisco Bay Area groups that advocate for affordable, safe, and easy access to jobs, services, and nature on foot, bicycle, or public transportation and public involvement in land use and transportation policies. Join a huge community of people from California and around the country in setting and reaching a personal low mileage goal for a seven-day period (or more) in the month of June - plus win great prizes and share your stories of taking public transportation, walking, and bicycling.

Visit TransForm to learn how this challenge works.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Duffy and Diet Coke

Urban bikes in mainstream PR.

I don't have a clue who Duffy is so I'm late to the party -- she's a Welsh pop singer. Duffy rode a singlespeed bike in a European Diet Coke ad that aired last February. Note also the Terry Dolan product placement!

Interstitials and informal bike routes

Silicon Valley Bikeways Map
Last night I was exploring around downtown San Jose hunting for the kinds of bike routes and shortcuts that don't appear on maps like the Silicon Valley bike map.

I happened to be thinking of bicycle shortcuts when, serendipitously, Brian in El Paso sent me a note about his post on bicycle wayfinding. He thinks of his childhood, when he and his friends traveled along creekbeds and other avenues completely invisible to those who travel by car. Official bike maps are created by planners and transportation experts who primarily think in terms of the built environment and officially sanctioned travel corridors. The use of GPS devices can help cyclists in their wayfinding, but Brian notes that projects such as Open Street Map with its user provided content can augment the cyclist's experience beyond that provided by official maps.

This kind of local information would have been helpful during my Memorial Day visit to Sacramento. The City of Sacramento bike map gives no details on how to travel from the Amtrak station to the American River trail. There's a "TO BIKE PATH" sign at the Amtrak station that directs cyclists up onto the I Street Bridge and back down to Jiboom Street, from which you hop over barriers to get to the trail. It's a completely ridiculous way on a narrow, potholed road with heavy, fast traffic. A much easier but unsanctioned route exists. It turns out the entire area from the railroad tracks to Old Sacramento underneath I-5 is paved and wide open, but that information is not on any map.

Road Ends 500 Feet

Part of the beauty and fun of cycling is traveling the path less taken. My usual route from Santa Cruz to my home in Scotts Valley, for example, does not appear on any bike map. I ride along the the Santa Cruz Big Trees & Pacific railroad right of way up to Felton, then I ride through the Mount Hermon conference center and then take a shortcut on an abandoned road (after the "Road Ends" sign shown above).

My old commute route When I lived in Colorado, irrigation ditch roads were a marvelous shortcut -- the snow covered ditch road shown here in eastern Longmont took a mile off of my commute route. Technically, I was trespassing, but as long as you're not a jackass and don't destroy their trail and their ditch, the ditch riders are generally pretty mellow about people using their facilities.

Brian has more thoughts on these 'interstitial' spaces that make for informal bike routes. What kinds of shortcuts do you take on a bike?

All photos by Richard Masoner.

Streetsblog expands to Capitol Hill

The Streetsblog network has expanded to the US Capital in Washington DC to cover Federal transportation policy and issues. From the good people at Streetsblog:
With major transportation, climate and energy legislation coming before Congress in the next year or two we felt that it was critical to have a talented journalist down in Washington D.C. covering the issues on a daily basis. With the financial support of the Surdna Foundation and the Wallace Global Fund the Livable Streets Initiative has hired reporter Elana Schor to cover the federal beat for us. DC.Streetsblog.org (as it's known to your web browser) will be her new home. Sarah Goodyear, editor of our national blog nework, and talented writers like Ryan Avent will be contributing to Streetsblog Capitol Hill as well.

Broadly speaking, we hope to do two things with this new edition of Streetsblog. First, we aim to make it a high-quality daily source for news and analysis of federal transportation policy and related issues. We want to create a blog that is a daily must-read for the advocates, lawmakers, Congressional staffers, urban planning practitioners, policy wonks and lobbyists who are working to shape the future of America's transportation systems.

Our second goal for Streetsblog Capitol Hill is to help bring outsiders into the federal transportation policy-making process. For decades, transportation policy on Capitol Hill has mostly been an arcane, complex insiders game -- a game that's been played best by highway lobbyists. Streetsblog Capitol Hill will put locally-oriented livable streets advocates on the playing field and help them better understand the rules of the game. As the 293 bloggers who are now members of the Streetsblog Network make clear every day, a vibrant, grassroots movement for sustainable transport, smart growth and livable streets is active and growing increasingly powerful in cities and states nationwide. Streetsblog Capitol Hill will help connect these local activists to the important action taking place inside the Beltway.
Streetsblog Capitol Hill.

Safety in numbers

Welcome to Cyclelicious.

Streetsblog reported fewer cyclist fatalities in New York City in spite of many more cyclists on the road.

Tom Vanderbilt passes along a similar effect in the UK, the Netherlands, and Copenhagen.

More bicycle news

Photo by Mark Stosberg: Becky and Pastor Matt in Richmond, Indiana. Also featured also at VeloCouture.

SF Bay Guardian: Best Sunday Streets Ever.

Lifehacker discussion: What commuter bike should I buy?

MAKE: Tool drool: Park Tools.

Boing Boing: Portland Pedalpalooza.

MAKE: How to prep and powdercoat a bike.

MAKE: Monkeyelectric gets better.

Humor: The Dog hits a hole a one!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Riding on Electric Bikes

Treehugger founder Graham Hill shares his thoughts on riding around San Francisco on an electric assist bike.

His experience matches my own when Pacific let me try the Schwinn Tailwind for an extended period. It's heavy, but you usually don't really notice the weight even with the motor off. These are not 'go fast' bikes but purely utilitarian bikes. Most people don't notice the motor or battery at all -- in fact, most of the attention I got on the Tailwind was from the looks of the bike itself.

I think Graham is right in noting that not everybody likes to bike for the sheer enjoyment of it, so a little push might be helpful for them.

Conferences and bike promotion

Sun Microsystems (my employer) actively encourages non-car transportation to the annual JavaOne conference by offering shuttle service to hotels not within walking distance and to the 4th & King Caltrain station. Most conference websites give driving directions and parking information, while JavaOne only gave information on public transportation options to the Moscone, with an interactive map showing nearby Muni and BART station locations and transit schedule help.

Although JavaOne didn't push the bike valet option as aggressively as in years past (when they gave away goodies), the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition once again provided bike valet parking during the Java One conference last week at the Moscone Center.

I really like this post from 2006 in Asa Fenton wrote that JavaOne's bike promotion changed his life:
I realized the other night on a brisk bike ride across the city that Sun Microsystems’ Bike Valet initiative at JavaOne in May has had a lasting, positive impact on my life and health. I had a really nice hybrid mountain/street bicycle that I’d only ridden a handful of times. Like me, it was growing lazy and unaccustomed to exercise. I don’t think it had been outside my garage for more than four years until I rescued it from inertia to participate in Bike to Work Week.

Since Bike to Work Week coincided with JavaOne and Sun is a big proponent of finding ways to reduce carbon monoxide in the atmosphere, Sun partnered with the San Francisco Bike Coalition to offer free valet parking for JavaOne attendees. During the event, I rode my bike frequently to and from the Bite office to Moscone Center. On the actual Bike to Work Day, my colleague Ken Shuman and I rode our bikes to City Hall for Mayor Newsom’s press event in order to lure media to our Bike Valet. It was an exhilarating way to get around the city and I decided that day that I would leave my bike in the city at the office. Since then, I use it all the time for running errands, dentist’s appointments, shopping and meeting friends.
While the Apple Developers Conference this week at the Moscone gives public transportation option, they also give driving directions and parking info. I don't believe I've ever heard of Apple encouraging bicycling at WWDC (though I'd be interested in hearing differently).

Oracle OpenWorld 2009 is coming up this September at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. In Oracle's invitation last year for participants to "Think Green," Oracle provided exercise bike powered generators for people to charge their cellphones.

Photo: Nathan Frankel SFBC.

SRAM Torpedo?

What do you all think of SRAM's Torpedo SS/fixed hub? This is like a flip flop hub, except there's not flipping or flopping. To convert from singlespeed to fixed mode, you give seven full twists of a screw on the hub.

Brad @ Urban Velo has a unit on test, but I'm curious if anybody else has given this hub a try. Is it easier to turn a screw around seven times? Flopping a wheel around hasn't ever seemed like too big a deal to me.


Model Agyness Deyn out shopping for a new bicycle in central London.

Model Agyness Deyn out shopping for a new bicycle in central London

Sunday, June 7, 2009

California may take gas tax

While the U.S. Federal Government contemplates supplementing the Highway Trust Fund from the general fund, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposes raiding the state gas tax to pay into the general state budget. This move would take $750 million from local transportation budgets statewide each year.
For cities that rely heavily on state funds to repair their roads, the possibility is jarring.

"Devastating," said Carole Dawson, a civil engineer with the city of Seaside.

"This is crazy," said Mark Dettle, director of Santa Cruz's Department of Public Works.

"Catastrophic," said Chris Augenstein, a road planner with the Valley Transportation Authority.

California roads already rate as the most dilapidated in the nation, with more than two-thirds in poor to mediocre condition, according to a recent national report. The San Jose area has the second-worst roads in the nation, with 90 percent of its pavement rated poor to mediocre. Potholes in 11 California cities cost drivers more than $700 annually in car repairs, about $150 higher than the national average.

Transportation leaders almost all agree that it's time to raise the state's 18-cent-a-gallon gasoline tax, which hasn't increased since 1994.
Read more.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

First comes love, then comes marriage and the baby carriage

Long ago, I suggested a bicycle honeymoon to Husband, covering a route from central New York, where we then lived, to the Capital Region, where I had relatives.
More in "Bicyclists bring business".

Bike Commute Tips: Pregnancy and bicycling?


Citizen Rider: Cycling is a civil right.

Bob Mionske: Is cycling a right or a privilege ?

The Prisoner's Tour of France began this week. Their kit looks pretty sharp.

Prison cycle Tour de France 2009 first stage from Lille to Valenciennes

Money & business...

Federal stimulus funds for Boulder Colorado bike share?

New Belgium Brewery's pro-bike policies makeit to CNN.

Unemployed and out of money? Don't expect to get a date: "Being too cheap can be a turnoff for women like Virginia Wall, 40, who works in retail sales in Philadelphia. She doesn't believe in coffee or drinks as a first date and expects the man to pay." More...

Prolly: A new paint scheme for the 2010 Bianchi Pista.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Penitentiary Tour de France

What laws do I break to get that kit? I was expecting prisoner stripes, not corporate sponsorship.

Who gets drug tested more? Pros, or these convicts?

Prison cycle Tour de France 2009 first stage from Lille to Valenciennes

The 2009 Prisoner Tour de France departing from Lille in the north of France on June 4. 200 prisoners volunteered for this ride, along with about 100 prison staffers. They'll ride 2,200 km in 15 stages, arriving in Paris on June 19th.

Bicycle rental map

Robert in Vancouver, BC wanted to rent a bike on his last vacation but had a hard time finding information on local bike rentals.

"I thought that a bike rental site that listed bke rental shops around the world would be very useful," says Robert. He was familiar with other mashup sites using Google Maps. "I thought I would design a site similiar to this but for bike rentals shops."

He created Bike Rentals Online to help you find bike rentals. Shops that rent bikes can post their information in the map and can also post info about suggested bike tours to take.

Bike rentals online.

Talk about those fixie hipsters...

Why is TARCK so "in"?

David, Carlton, Rich Kelly, Byron, Donna and I are recording a new episode of the Spokesmen cycling podcast this weekend and one of the likely topics of discussion is this whole "new bike culture" outside of what has been mainstream bicycling in the United States. Byron and Carlton both plan more in depth posts on this topic (with great insight from Rich Kelly), but I'm interested in your observations and opinions.

Fixed gear fan

Where are these kids coming from? Who are their influences? Are there popular culture influences for teens and young adults that encourage them to take up fixed gear bikes?

A new thing in San Jose, California is the San Jose Bike Party. Every third Friday of the month, people show up with all kinds of bikes -- choppers, BMX, fixies, cruisers, hybrids, even road bikes and mountain bikes. In May, over 1,000 people showed up for this loosely organized ride and stretched out over a mile as they made their way from Campbell to the new Mary Avenue bike bridge connecting Cupertino and Sunnyvale.

Brakeless fixie

What strikes me is the anti-establishment sentiment among many riders. My guess is that a lot of people are taking up bikes partly as a statement against mainstream views on transportation and community. A lot of them come from the BMX and skater community.

This sentiment is still not widespread, however. The 1,000 people who showed up for the May San Jose Bike Party represents 1/10th of 1% of San Jose's population. Most teens in the South Bay still don't seem to know what a fixed gear bike is.

I'm an old guy with a vaguely independent streak who's been riding bikes for a while, but I'd like to know: for the teens and young adults who are into fixies -- what was your influence? How did you first hear about fixed gear bikes?

Why are tarck bikes so "in" now?

Daniel Menlo Park

All photos by Richard Masoner.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Colorado bicycle news

June is Bike To Work Month in Colorado.

Do you remember the story about the Real Estate agents who show properties by bike? One of them, Pedal To Properties in Boulder, Colorado, received venture capital to expand their concept nationwide by opening new "Pedal To Properties" offices in other markets around the United States.

BikeDenver will provide bike valet parking at the Capital Hill People's Fair this weekend.

There's an interesting bike shop Denver in Highland Square. The Urbanistic Tea and Bike Shop offers a full service bicycle repair shop and loose-leaf tea and spices. More at their blog. 3215 Lowell Boulevard.

& cetera...

Fred's tips on a road race road trip on a budget.

The Philadelphia International Cycling Championship takes place this weekend. I was hoping to talk to somebody from the Nigerian National Cycling Team (!) who were scheduled to participate, but they apparently ran into some visa problems and couldn't get into the country. They train at altitude but lack supplies, coaching and experience, so I'm sorry they're missing out on this opportunity.

I learned that Delta 7 Sports provides their Ascend road bikes to the Verducci women's cycling team. The Ascend is the funky see-through spider web bike. Photographer Michael Franken spotted the bikes at the Air Force Cycling Classic in Arlington, VA last weekend.

Delta 7 Ascend sponors Verducci women's cycling team

Bicycle safety San Francisco

A good article in the Chron about the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's Urban Cycling Workshops, which teaches cyclists how to ride more safely in San Francisco.

Linda Atkins, an everyday bike commuter who hasn't owned a car for 20 years, was amazed at the difference in perception a little training could make. "It was like night and day," she says of her experience with the Urban Cycling Workshops. "I felt much safer, much more relaxed, much more confident."
More in the Chronicle: "Safe streets: Workshops help cyclists trim risk."

For similar bike safety education programs in your area in the United States, look at the League of American Bicyclists Bike Education resources page. You can search by state for instructors and classes.

I have an LAB Road 1 certificate; someday maybe I'll become an LCI.

Cycling past Tiananmen

Summer Palace is a Chinese romance centered around the events of Tiananmen Square in 1989. The film has been banned in China. You can see some characters ride their bicycles past Tiananmen Square in the trailer.

Available from Amazon: Summer Palace Region 1 DVD with subtitles.