Friday, October 30, 2009
First of all is the famous Pope Mikael himself. I even kissed his... ring!
He's the guy who runs the famous Copenhagenize "Bike culture in high heels" guy. He spoke to a standing room crowd of bike nerds like myself. Most of what he had to say in his one hour talk is posted to his blog, but it's always good to hear it from the horse's mouth. I'll post more about some of his points later.
Mikael wanted somebody to give Portland cyclists a hard time, so I'll volunteer. He was in Portland last night to give a similar talk, but nobody biked to the meeting because it was raining there! Mikael went on to explain that the 55% of Copenhageners who regular bike don't let a little rain or snow stop them -- 80% of them continue biking through the entire winter. In the USA we'd call that "hard core," but in Copenhagen it's just how they get around.
It was fun meeting my online friend Adrienne, who's as fun and flirty in real life as she is on her blog.
After literally years and years of online correspondence that began in the days of USENET (wreck.bikes, anyone?), it was great to finally meet the dashing Jym Dyer in person, who looks surprisingly respectable in spite of his rabble rousing reputation.
It was wonderful also to meet the lovely Lilia Pilia. She used to contribute to Velo Vogue but now she has her own cycling blog.
A shout out also to Dietrich and Carol of the Pensinsula Bike / Ped Committee, & Andy Thornley of SFBC.
I mitigate the risk somewhat by slowing behind vehicles when crossing intersections, but I still invite "right hook" collisions as I cross several driveways. Another risk: there are plenty of people coming the other direction waiting to make a left turn. They might try to shoot across a gap without seeing the cyclist (me) coming into the gap at the same time.
Beside the two biggies of the left cross and right hook, what are some other possible risks in passing on the right like this?
Consider the lowly beater bike.
Over at Commute By Bike, Arleigh has started the Build Your Perfect Commuter Bike project. Various people have weighed in about frame style, frame material, brakes, gearing, chaincases, fenders, integrated lightning and so on.
Ghost Rider comments that if you ask 100 people for their opinion on the perfect bike, you'll get 100 different answers. I caught a lot of heat when I proclaimed Joe Breeze's Finesse the ultimate commuter bike a little over two years ago. Freewheel likes city bike with internal gear hubs and chaincases, while Jim @ Planetary Gears is less enthusiastic about IGH, chainguards, and even porteur racks.
Alan @ Eco Velo also started a great discussion on the virtues of Euro city bike design vs more American "sporty" bikes used for commuting.
We’re covering longer distances on a regular basis, and for us, lighter, faster bikes make the trip more enjoyable. We’re not talking racing bikes with skinny tires, but practical bikes that share some characteristics with traditional Roadsters while being manufactured with modern materials to reduce weight and increase performance. These bikes may also be missing some accessories that are unessential for our climes and limited cargo carrying needs.My perfect commuting bike right now is a 1990s GT Aggressor 2.0 mountain bike.
I bought this bike six or seven years ago at a garage sale in Longmont, Colorado. It is heavy, ugly, and has almost none of the usual list of features that some of us consider essential for a commuter bike. It has no chainguard, no fenders, no kickstand, and no rack. I have power sucking 1.95" knobby tires and a suspension fork with 125 mm of travel that's probably worth more than the bike. The surprisingly robust eight speed Shimano Acera derailleur is almost as low end as you get. The only things I'm missing are a Megarange freewheel hub and bar ends pointing straight up.
It's the perfect commuter because this is the bike I've taken to work the past few days. The low end introductory model or even the Bike Shaped Objects from the mass retail stores are probably the most common commuter I see on the streets. The bikes mostly work and they get you there.
The perfect commuter bike is the bike you already own. Hop on, pedal, and be happy!
What's your perfect commuter bike?
Thursday, October 29, 2009
If I make it, I'll see you there!
The bike path in Castroville (Artichoke Center of the World) currently ends in a confused jumble so I can see improving that. Crossing Elkhorn Slough at Moss Landing, though? Not as important, and it's kind of in the middle of nowhere so only experienced cyclists are out there anyway. *shrug* See Cycling around Monterey Bay gets bridge boost.
Which reminds me to send a letter to the Monterey Salinas Transit District and Santa Cruz Metro suggesting they modify their service to Watsonville a little. Morning Santa Cruz 91X "commuter express" buses arrive in Watsonville at 12 minutes after the hour, which is two minutes after MST #27 departs from Watsonville to Marina. Anybody traveling from Santa Cruz to Monterey can wait up to nearly 2 hours in Watsonville for the connecting bus. The evening connections are better - it's about a 20 minute wait for the connection from MST to SCMTD going from Watsonville to Santa Cruz.
The reality? Big stretches of I-25 along the Colorado Front Range were closed on Wednesday due to accidents in the wake of a winter storm. Audi drivers are just as subject to the road conditions as any other motorist in Colorado this week.
The reality? The 280,000 commuters -- including those with Audis -- who normally drive across the Oakland Bay Bridge between San Francisco and the East Bay are out of luck after the dramatic failure of a supporting cable closed the bridge. BART and the ferry boats were crowded on Wednesday, but those people got to work and home in a timely manner. Everybody driving along the Bay Bridge Tuesday night were stuck.
The reality? People in Audis are hospitalized and even killed in "freak accidents". Even small children aren't spared.
The reality? There's a guy somewhere near my office with a yellow Lotus sports car. It's a hot looking car with a 200+ hp engine that does 0-60 in 4 seconds, gets about 10 mpg, and has a top speed of 150 mph. And he sits stopped in rush hour traffic with all the other losers as I pass by him on my bicycle every single day I see him.
The reality from a bike often looks a lot like this video that I shot while cycling in Santa Cruz County.
The reality? Riding a bike is often exhilarating fun, even in the rain, often in the snow, even in traffic, even at night, and especially with other people around.
I don't necessarily hate cars (I drive too), but I do hate anti bike car ads.
All photos by Richard Masoner.
OK, enough is enough. Every day on my way home I encounter the same three cyclists on Kings Road, all riding on the sidewalk against traffic.I recently stumbled across this letter as published in the online edition of The Post. I don't usually read my papers online; I prefer the old-fashioned physical paper that I can sit on the couch or lay in bed reading. I was therefore unaware until I found this that online letters in The Post can be commented on; apparently my letter drew a plethora of comments.
Putting aside that riding this way carries seven to nine times the crash risk of riding properly with the flow of traffic, the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act states, in Section 171, Subsection 2: “No person shall ride a bicycle, tricycle, or similar machine on a sidewalk....”
About a month ago, I had an RCMP cruiser pull up beside me. The officer said, “You’re in the middle of the lane,” and asked me to pull to the edge.
Kings Road’s lanes are too narrow to share with a motor vehicle and the Nova Scotia Driver’s Safety Handbook says: “Bicyclists may occupy as much of a traffic lane as their safety warrants.”
Well, on Kings Road, that’s the whole lane; if I don’t control the lane, I get buzzed by passing cars.
We have cycle-mounted officers in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality now and they’re CAN-BIKE certified; they know I’m allowed to do this and why I do it. The RCMP apparently still needs to get with the program on that.
The worst thing is that this officer pesters me, the law-abiding cyclist in traffic, and doesn’t bother with the cyclists on the sidewalk who are breaking the law.
In fact, I’ve never heard of a cyclist being stopped for riding on the sidewalk. Some people continue in this dangerous practice for that very reason: “It’s not policed, anyway,” they’ll say. No wonder there are so many!
I appreciate the RCMP’s concern for my safety but they need to focus on the cyclists who really are in danger: those who aren’t riding in accordance with traffic law.
My original thought was to reply to the comments via another Letter to the Editor. However, given The Post's 300 word letter length limit, I knew I'd never even come close to being able to address everything I wanted to.
So I decided instead to write this posting to Cyclelicious. This way, I can have all the space I need to give each person's comments a fair hearing and proper response. Once this is posted, I'm also going to write a Letter to the Editor to The Post with a link to this posting. Not only will this help those who made the original comments find this but will also promote Cyclelicious a little among people in my local area; win-win. :)
Anyway, here are the comments I had thoughts on:
George from Sydney writes: I agree with you. But it's also time the police look into all these bikes with motors on them or the electric ones. I drive a motorcycle, I neen a licence, insurance, bike inspected and the bike licenced. now all these motor driven cycles are riding around with no licence, inspection etc. These bike can goup to 35kms. it won't be long before there is an accident. It's time this was looked into.You're absolutely right, George, and I agree, except for the part about electric bicycles. Actually, electric bicycles cannot legally provide assistance above 30 km/h; if you want to go faster than that, you have to pedal. Therefore, electric bicycles aren't any faster than ordinary bicycles since an experienced cyclist over level ground with no wind on an unpowered bike can easily maintain between 25 and 35 km/h. I myself have been known to hit 40+ km/h under ideal conditions.
Those bikes driven by two stroke motors that I'm starting to see around, though, absolutely should be treated like any motor vehicle since they can easily develop speeds significantly in excess of 30 km/h.
Louise McNeil from Glace Bay, NS writes: Also, what about those people who refuse to wear a helmet while bicycling? I thought there was a law against that???You're right, Louise; there is a law requiring helmet use, specifically NSMVA 170A (2): "No person shall ride on or operate a bicycle unless the person is wearing a bicycle helmet that complies with the regulations and the chin strap of the helmet is securely fastened under the chin. " Not a problem for me, though; I make a point of wearing a helmet at all times, particularly after a fall where one probably saved my life.
MAKE PEOPLE WEAR A HELMET WHEN RIDING THEIR BIKE!!!!
Do you know what their melon would look like if a car hit them and their head bounced off the road if they weren't wearing a helmet? Not a pretty sight, believe me!!
If the police aren't going to enforce the law, then why bother having a law????
Cyclist in Sydney from Nova Scotia writes: They're not enforcing it because they know that the city hasn't provided any infrastructure to make it enforceable. Sydney is the least bicycle, walking, running, etc. city I've ever been in my entire life. And that's outside of the fact that on top of the inaccessibility of the roads to cyclists, the motorists act like maniacs and some force you right off the road. I don't blame those cyclists for being up on the sidewalk, it's a hell of a lot safer than riding on the street. With one of the larger cycling communities of Nova Scotia in Sydney and surrounding areas, it's time for the city to recognize that and work to accommodate them in a much better and safer way than they have.Sydney is only "unfriendly to bicyclists" if you subscribe to the theory that the roads are meant specifically for cars. The thing is, they're not; pedestrians, horse and buggy and, yes the bicycle itself, were all on the roads long before the Ford Model T was even a gleam in Henry Ford's eye. Kings Road, for example, has been there for well over two centuries; if you find any cars on Kings Road in 1809 then one of your fellow time travelers hasn't been respecting the timeline...
The fact is, travel has always been a public right; anyone has the right to use the roads to go from place to place at will. However, this is only a right if your chosen mode of travel is human or animal powered. In other words, you have a right to drive a horse or bicycle on the road and, for roads without sidewalks, you also have the right to walk on the road as well.
The reason one must have a license and insurance to drive a powered vehicle on the road is, in effect, a simple question of physics. If I make a mistake and ride my bicycle into a telephone pole, chances are the pole will come out of it without a scratch or, at most, a small divot or two. On the other hand, if a car hits that same pole, there's every possibility the force may knock it down entirely or at least damage the lines and interrupt power.
In other words, motor vehicles are dangerous if operated irresponsibly. A driver's license is, in effect, a certificate that ostensibly certifies that you have the training, skills and abilities to operate this dangerous vehicle on a public right of way without harming anyone or anything. In that sense, the cyclist has more right to the road than the car driver insofar as their presence in the road is a right; the motorist, by contrast, is there as a privilege granted for special training.
As for motorists acting like maniacs forcing me off the road, that did used to happen to me when I cowered in the gutter way over at the right when I was too inexperienced to know better. But you know what? When I started claiming my right to control the lane on Kings Road, I found driver cooperativeness increased dramatically. I used to have at least one close call every ride; now it's rare for me to have one close call in an entire month.
As for riding on the sidewalk being safer, I've only ever been involved in two collisions. One was before I learned to ride on the road. I was riding on the sidewalk (yes, I did used to do that so I know what it's like) and a motorist didn't see me coming; I ended up going over his hood. The second was a collision with a fellow cyclist who was, again, on the sidewalk and I didn't see him for the same reason the motorist didn't see me when I was riding there.
Put simply, cyclists are at their safest when they're visible and predictable. Riding in the road in the travel lane keeps you visible; riding in accordance with traffic law keeps you predictable. As counter-intuitive as it might be to non-cyclists, it is actually safer to ride on the road with traffic than it is to ride on the sidewalks. Drivers aren't expecting traffic to come off the sidewalks at intersections, therefore the risk of collision is much higher on the sidewalk than in traffic.
My track record speaks for itself: I have not had a single collision with a motor vehicle on the road. Ever. Again, my only collision was when I rode on the sidewalk.
Mitch from North Sydney, Nova Scotia writes: John,As I said in my letter, I understand the RCMP are only trying to protect me; the problem is, their advice could get me, and any cyclist who takes it, killed. As the old saying goes, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."
you quoted a saftey handbook as your reasoning for riding in the middle of a lane on King St.
You are correct about the people riding the bikes on the sidewalk. Motor Vehicle Act, Section 171, sub-section 2 . . .
However, the same section, sub-section 3 deals with your infraction, and I quote: as near as practicable to the extreme right of the main travelled portion of the highway.
Section 183 sub-seciton 5 says that you should have a bell or horn. Bet you don't have that.
I have a friend that lives in Ontario, you will thank God that he doesn't live here... he puts the fear of God into by trying to get as close to you as he can without actually hitting you. He states that he owns the road. He pays to licence his vehicle and his driver's licence, those licincing fees goes towards upgrading the road. He pays taxes thru purchasing gas, which is supposed to go to upgrading and maintening our roads.
Do byclists pay taxes to upgrade the infracture? No licence, no operators licence, no gas tax.
If you are concerned that you are getting buzzed on King's Road, why not take an alternate route. When I lived in Winnipeg MB, I soon learnt not to take Portage Ave, which averages 8 lanes wide. Scary.
You taking 1/2 the lane and the other cyclists riding on the sidewalk are equally wrong.
You might think your right, but don't try to be dead right making your point. The RCMP are only trying to protect you from people like my friend who lives in Ontario.
I'll let "Stevie Mac" below address your concerns about NSMVA 171 (3); for the most part, he said exactly what I would have said.
As for 183 (5), you're right. I don't have a bell or horn; I have both. :P Why both? The bell is useful when encountering pedestrians in parking lots or other situations where I might pass them closely so I won't startle them; the horn is more useful in traffic where the bell is virtually useless among all the rolled up windows, engines and tire noise.
Do I help pay for the road infrastructure? Absolutely. Money is money; tax dollars are tax dollars. When I pay my GST buying supplies for my bike (e.g. new inner tubes, tires, chain lube, chain cleaner etc.), that money goes to the same place gas tax does. It's a good thing gas taxes aren't the only thing supporting the roads; if they were, we'd be in serious trouble once we run out of oil. :P
The only "alternate route" to my workplace is Alexandra Street and the conditions there are even worse; not only does it bear a similar amount of traffic but it's riddled with potholes to boot. Plus, aside from a few turn lanes, it's only two lanes and people tend to park on it illegally. Kings Road is much easier with four lanes and without the parked cars, not to mention no huge hill to climb, either. Besides, I don't get buzzed on Kings Road when I control the lane; that's my point.
As for your friend, I sincerely wish there were laws that required psychological testing for motor vehicle operators, too; with all due respect, he sounds like a psychopath-in-training to me...
chris from sydney, ns writes: I just got hit on my bike in front of soundeffects because the lady did look left while she was turning left....stupid, and as for Kings road forget it. I was biking there today with my son and the traffic is crazy , and you(John A. Ardelli) expect us to bike on the road. It would be an honor to take you biking on Kings road and then you (John A. Ardelli) tell me where you prefer to ride......Don't be shy let the folks of Sydney know your choice.In fact, Chris, if you want me to take you riding on Kings Road, just drop me a line; I'll be happy to give you some pointers. I'm willing to bet that most of your trouble was due to some minor mistakes, easily fixed; a vast majority of cyclists who report trouble on Kings Road tend to make one mistake in particular: riding too far right. When you do that, motorists tend to buzz you; for the most part, they don't do that if you claim the lane.
You'd be surprised, particularly once you get used to it, how safe you can feel in of heavy traffic if you just remember this simple rule:
"Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles." - John Forester
Jo from Sydney, NS writes: During the nice weather, I take my young son biking around Sydney nearly every day. He's 6, and loves riding his bike. We ride on the sidewalks. I've taught him to always give the right-of-way to pedestrians. If the sidewalks are really busy, like on Charlotte Street, we dismount and push our bikes. We dismount to cross the crosswalks. I have 2 reasons for using the sidewalks this way. The first is...when I'm driving my car, there's nothing more annoying than a bike hogging the lane, tying up traffic....a big line-up of po'd drivers behind the bike. The second reason is....what if my son happens to turn a little into the lane? Will he be run over by a drunk driver, who then gets away with murder, after blaming the accident on my son? The heck with that. When I take my child out for a bike ride, it's his safety that comes first. As long as we're respectful and courteous to the pedestrians, I don't see how we could be bothering anyone. As a matter of fact, most people have nothing but smiles when they see my son peddling along, greeting passers-by with his pleasant hellos .Actually, Jo, I agree with your choice regarding your six-year-old. The full text of NSMVA 171 (2) reads: "No person shall ride a bicycle, tricycle, or similar machine on a sidewalk, provided, nothing in this Section shall be deemed or construed to prevent the use of velocipedes or similar machines by children on a sidewalk in a public square, park, city or town." The law provides specific exception for children to ride their bicycles on sidewalks.
One other thing about bikes on the road.....I thought that vehicles were supposed to be able to keep up with the flow of traffic.....bikes on the road tie up the traffic. Accidents waiting to happen, in my opinion. Loosen up, Mr. Ardelli....I suspect your bike shorts may be too tight.
The reason the "by children" exception is there is because children cannot be expected to be able to understand and evaluate the dynamics of traffic flow; under supervision, walking across intersections (bravo for doing the latter, by the way; I've seen other parents simply ride straight through which is dangerous) is safer for children. Besides, children can't reach even close the speed adult cyclists can so they don't present any significant danger to pedestrians.
As for you being on the sidewalk, if you're supervising your son, I see no problem with this (despite the fact the law doesn't make specific exception for that; I believe it should). However, if you're riding alone, it's safer to ride with traffic (see above discussion as to why).
As for you other point, a lot of people think vehicles are supposed to "keep up with the flow of traffic" but this isn't true. Slow moving vehicles like backhoes and farm tractors are allowed to use roads despite their inability to keep up with faster traffic (I've seen backhoes on Kings Road on many occasions). Bicycles are legally considered to be the same as these vehicles (actually, ironically, I usually pass backhoes as my normal cruising speed is significantly faster ;)).
The driver of a faster vehicle, on encountering a slower vehicle, is required to wait behind that vehicle until it is safe to pass; that's equally true whether the slower vehicle is a bicycle or a backhoe. Remember, though the lanes on Kings Road are narrow, there are four of them; it's extremely rare that anyone gets stuck behind me longer than 10 seconds which is a perfectly reasonable wait time for a slow moving vehicle.
As for roads where there are only two lanes that are too narrow, I take the lane and do my best to keep up with traffic (which I can generally do on such roads since drivers tend to drive much slower on extremely narrow two-lanes; Argyle Street's an excellent example); if I can't, I move over to allow faster traffic to pass at every reasonable opportunity.
Fortunately, I've never had that happen; I've always been able to keep up with traffic on such roads. Cyclists can travel faster than you think. ;)
Oh, and I don't own a pair of bicycle shorts. I'm not a "recreational" cyclist for the most part; 95% of my riding is for transportation just as your driving is. I do, however, have a set of "cycling liners" (think of them as cycling underwear ;)) that perform a similar function to bike shorts if I'm going on longer trips (10+ km) to avoid unnecessary chafing.
amy from NS writes: I agree with Mitch, cyclists should use the far right side of the road. I myself have witnessed Mr. Ardelli Taking up entire lanes while travelling much slower than the posted speed limit and also weaving in and out of lanes potentially causing injury to himself and others. It seems as though Mr. Ardelli would like all vehicles to yield to him as he cycles along Kings Rd as this is not his first letter to the editor stating how he would like things to beI do not "weave" in and out of lanes; that implies I don't even do a proper shoulder check. If I have to make a lateral move, I shoulder check, signal my intention (if there's traffic coming) and only once it's safe do I make my move. Try watching me more closely next time you see me; you'll see what I mean.
There are a couple of places, however, where you may see me make some odd moves in the lane (again, checking behind me first). Traveling northeast near Weidner Drive; I tend to ride at the left edge of the right lane; I do the same approaching Byng Avenue. In both cases, it's for the same reason: avoiding potholes. That problem would be solved if work crews would fill in a few holes so I could maintain my ideal lane position without blowing a tire or breaking a spoke...
As for yielding to me, I only expect you to yield to me if I have the right of way just as you would to a car under the same circumstances. If you have the stop sign and I don't, you yield. If you have the red and I have the green, you yield. However, if I have the stop sign or I have the red light, I yield to you. If you're turning left and I'm oncoming, wait for me to pass first; if I'm turning left, I'll wait for you to pass first. Same road, same rights, same rules.
Sonny Lamatina from Out the country that way, nova scotia writes: Amy from NS: You are absolutely right, Mr. Ardelli expets every vehicle on the road to yield to him. He's on a bike. Motor vehicles yield to slower vehicles. There is no option here. Bikes rule. Motor vehicles do not have a right to be on the road. It's a privlege. Earn it. Share the road.Sonny, I can't tell if you're trying to be sarcastic here or not. If so, ironically, you actually make a good point. ;)
Steve Mac from Nova Scotia writes: As Mitch said as near as practicable to the extreme right of the main traveled portion of the highway However, since it states practicable taking an entire lane is allowed if needed, especially in sydney where cars disregard cyclists and the shoulders of many roads are either in terrible shape or non existant. I think biking on the side walks is fine for younger children or people learning. An easy answer to this is to just put in bike lanes like other cities. My brother and friend were forced off the road when an oncoming car pulled into there lane to pass another car on a turn. The police and ambulance came were called out and the driver of the car walked away without even a ticket. If it were a car or motorcycle he had forced off the road there would have been tickets and fines but because it happened to a cyclist there was nothing done.I agree with you up to where you recommend bike lanes; there I don't agree. Actually, bike lanes cause more accidents than they prevent. For more of my thoughts on that subject, I invite you to read my earlier posting, "Dangers of Bike Lanes," on this blog.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The band advertised a nighttime bike ride in downtown Los Angeles on their website and invited fans to come and participate in the video shoot.
The footage will be used for the group's next single, Kings and Queens.
A tiny 84-year-old woman wears a neat, green turtleneck dress and an embroidered jacket. On her feet is a pair of high-heeled pumps. Her salt-and-pepper hair peeks out from the helmet that indicates she is, in fact, a participant in the bike ride. Her old-fashioned one-speed bicycle is purple, with a large wire basket on the front that carries her belongings and her number for the ride.
Lan Yin Tsai doesn't give the impression that she could go five miles on that bike, let alone 150. But that's what she's done -- for the past 26 years.
Read more --> Biking 150 miles for a cause. H/T to Alicia.
What do you think? Annoying diversion? Or useful tool?
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The blue arrow in the map below shows part of my evening bike commute route along Middlefield Road from Palo Alto to Mountain View.
The arrows at the bottom of this illustration show forecast wind direction and speed today.
It should be a fast ride to the train station tonight.
P.S. to Colorado: Enjoy the snow tomorrow!
I can't find anything about these bike boats on the web -- has anybody seen something like this before? I'm curious how these are propelled -- what's the connection between the pedals and the paddle or propeller?
What's amusing are the customer reviews for this pressure gauge at Amazon.com, where a ten pack runs for $37.
1. "At 50 cents a piece, [the pressure gauges are] hard to resist. At this price, I don't mind giving them away to friends and family." Definitely not a math major.
2. "Are they 100% accurate? I don't know, I don't have a calibration kit. Do my tires feel really firm when the gauge says 65psi? Yes. That was my way of 'calibrating' them." If gauging tire pressure by feel works well enough for you, why bother with the pressure gauge?
Do you use a small tire gauge for your bike tires? I use the pressure gauge built into the floor pump.
Fortuitously, I got a call from Lindsey in San Francisco that day. She told me about the Stuffitts Shoe Savers. They were created by a triathlete who wanted a way to dry his shoes and found that cedar shavings work really well. I hate putting soggy shoes on at the end of the day and the next morning, so I'm eager to try them out.
The Shoe Savers arrived in the mail today. Unfortunately, I won't be able to put them to the test anytime real soon. Here's the 5 day forecast for Palo Alto, California.
As soon as we get some rain I'll let you know how they work out. They're pretty cute, though -- blue feet shaped inserts stuffed with cedar shavings that make my shoes smell really nice like Christmas trees!
Monday, October 26, 2009
I typed in "Tour of California" for example, and Google Social returned Steephill's 2007 AToC dashboard, my Sacramento photoset from earlier this year, and a call for volunteers by the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition for 2008.
Google Social completely missed, however, Hayduke's back to back rants about the 2010 Amgen Tour of California and hypothesizes a correlation between large racing events and scofflaws running stop signs in Santa Cruz. I'd say Google Social is, for now, a work in progress, which is partly why they call it "experimental" I suppose.
Speaking of experimmental and innovation, I'm impressed with the work that apparently went into the E-HUB. A couple of cycling enthusiasts in Slovenia developed this spring loaded rear hub to help "round out" eccentric leg motions when pedaling. Many Cyclelicious readers know of past attempts to improve the pedaling stroke with elliptical chainrings, and I'm personally dubious of this attempt. Some of the endorsements for E-HUB, however, got my attention, especially that from RAAM winner Jure Robic (from, incidentally, Slovenia).
James @ Bicycle Design discusses the design of the E-HUB at his blog, and Ron at Cozy Beehive does an impressive job analyzing the numbers and breaking down the claims of performance improvements behind this hub.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Update 2: The fact that this is dangerous, possibly deadly, and probably illegal is blindingly obvious, but several of my friends felt obliged to tell me so anyway. Don't try this at home, kids.
I was joking around with somebody about using one of these on a bicycle or skateboard to pull myself uphill using the San Francisco cable car cables.
The cable is 28 inches below the street surface and moves constantly at 9 mph. What's to keep somebody from hitching a ride by reaching down with something like this and grabbing the cable?
San Francisco being what it is, I'm sure somebody has already tried something like this.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Custom butted Reynolds 525 cromoly and integrated head tube, 23.3 lbs equipped with
- Fox 32 F100-RL Remote Lockout 100mm Travel
- Shimano XT FC-M770 44/32/22T Chainrings
- Shimano XT, 28.6mm top swing dual pull front derailleur
- Shimano XTR rear derailleur
- Shimano XT Trigger 27-speed shifters
- Shimano XT 11-32T 9-speed cassette
- Shimano XT Hydraulic Disc brakes
- Ritchey WCS Logic Zero Integrated headset
- Mavic XC 717 wheels with Shimano XT CenterLock Disc 32H hubs
- Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires
MSRP will be $3199. Available in 15”, 17", 18.5", 19.5", 21".
Curtis responded to a Speedvest discussion on BikeForums.net with his own photoshopped Speedvest. He tells me he met the Speed Vest people at Maker Faire and they loved his version.
Steephill has all the latest on the 2010 Tour of California.
Speaking of which, a lot of people (including myself) liked how AEG used Twitter to announce the 2010 host cities. During the press conference yesterday morning, Michael Ross of AEG sports said, "Twitter is the social network most preferred by cyclists." I don't know how true that is, a lot of us like Facebook as well. The Santa Cruz Local Organizing Committee also recognizes the importance of social media in getting attention for an event and has appointed my friend Karen Kefauver as Social Media Director. Teh Santa Cruz stage has a Facebook page and lives on Twitter @TOCSantaCruz.
Minneapolis Cycling Examiner talks studded bike tires for winter (and uses one of my photos woo hoo!).
Masi Guy is recruiting.
Brooklyn By Bike: Video Guide to NYC Bike Lanes.
I haven't mentioned Jill in Alaska in a long time.
Somebody stole his fixie har har har Gwadzilla.
Umm, the Go Girl. Via Industry Outsider who uses words like "relieve" and "whiz" in punny ways.
Have a great weekend.
Images via Virgin Blog and papphotocall twitter.
This is a guest post by Andreas who runs the blog London Cyclist.
I think we talked about Interbike (more filling, tastes great!), Taiwan (food and fun in the tropical sun), the future of Team Astana and Alberto Contador, the Tour of California vs the Giro d'Italia, helmets on kids (as illustrated below), and important tips for cycling.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I think motorists see a bike and mostly think "slow." And yes, we generally are slower than most traffic. But there have been occasions when I'm traveling at or near the speed limit and it seems like drivers behind me still feel compelled to pass me just before attempting a right turn.
Would something like this Speed Vest showing I'm traveling at 27 mph in a 35 mph zone help prevent right hooks? I don't know, but I certainly understand the rational behind it.
This was followed by responses from Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie and David Zabriskie that they also plan to race in California next May, followed by a Twitter conversation in which they list the reasons they like to race in the Amgen Tour of California.
As far a Twitter PR stunts go, this one was pretty cute and very well executed.
Stage 1, Sunday May 16: Amgen Tour of California will begin with a 78 mile race from Nevada City to Sacramento.
Stage 2, Monday May 17: Davis to Santa Rosa.
Stage 3, Tuesday May 18: San Francisco to Santa Cruz, including the Bonny Doon hill climb but without the Golden Gate Bridge.
Stage 4, Wednesday May 19: San Jose to Modesto.
Stage 5, Thursday May 20: Visalia to Bakersfield. (Bakersfield?)
Stage 6, Friday May 21: Pasadena to Big Bear.
Stage 7, Saturday May 22: Los Angeles Time Trial.
Stage 8, Sunday May 23: Thousands Oaks / Santa Monica Mountains circuit. Title sponsor Amgen is headquartered in Thousdand Oaks, CA.
The host cities were revealed during a cute, pre-arranged Twitter conversation between California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie and David Zabriskie. The cyclists listed "8 reasons to race the Tour of California" which turned out to be a list of the stages and host cities. According to Tour of California organizer AEG sports, this is the first time an event of this stature has been announced on Twitter.
Tonight it's "Quicksilver" with Kevin Bacon as a down on his luck stockbroker who discovers purpose as a bike messenger. The story is a little hokey but there's great footage of NYC fixed gear bike messengers doing their thing back in the 80s.
The Silicon Valley Bike Coalition will also have some bike schwag to raffle off. Watching the movie is (wait for it...) FREE. The SVBC encourages you to ride your bike to this movie night. Light rail and bus are also good options -- the Winchester/Mtn View and Santa Teresa/Alum Rock lines both run nearby. If you're coming from up the peninsula somewhere, the free downtown DASH bus can get you there from Diridon Station (but it stops running at 7 PM), and VTA bus routes 22/522, 23, 64, 81 and several others will get you to within walking distance of the movie.
Race Across the Sky about the Leadville 100 endurance race also shows TONIGHT in theaters across the Bay Area.
Me, I'm joining The Spokesmen to record a bicycling podcast tonight to talk about the Tour of California host cities (to be announced today) and other bike tidbits.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I lived in Boulder County and frequently cycled in the city of Boulder, and I can attest to the bike friendliness and amazing cycling opportunities there. Boulder residents began building for non car transportation in the 60s. Last year, 46% of the city's transportation budget was spent on cycling, pedestrian and public transit projects! The 2008 Census community survey released last month shows that 10% of commuters ride their bikes to work.
Via 303 Cycling.
Poetry: "Critical Mass" by Edmonton Poet Laureate Roland Pemberton aka Cadence Weapon.
Outstanding post from Clutch Couriers about pacing yourself at the speed of life.
Ask Umbra on eco sustainability and bike helmet replacement. (...and last I checked, there's no program to recycle old bike helmets. Does anybody know differently?)
Photo set: Interbike Folder Frolic.
Trek District Interview.
REMINDER: 2010 Amgen Tour of California official host city announcment comes TOMORROW (Thursday October 22).
Norcal Biker's Dozen Deadly Motorcycle Safety Myths.
She's selling cookie dough door to door in our neighborhood to raise funds for a school trip. For those not in the neighborhood, she would love your help. You can click here to buy stuff for the fundraiser. The deadline for orders is October 26.
Ivy says, "Thank you!"
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
My buddy Saam -- who says it's 'rad' -- sent it to me but he in turned got it from a friend. Its filename is "toronto_bike_show" so I'm guessing it came from the Toronto Bike Show last Saturday.
痛 (itai) is Japanese for "painful" while チャリ (chari -- short for "chariot") is Japanese slang for a bicycle. The name is inherited from similarly designed itasha -- originally "Italian Cars" but then the derisive meaning "painful cars" arose because they're so painfully embarrassing and painfully expensive. The otaku fanboys who decorate their cars and bikes this way then adopted the new painful meaning as a sign of ironic pride.
Click through the photos for attribution.
Here's another gallery of Itachari bicycles. Thank you to my pal Naoto for the Japanese language help.
The program is open to continuing students who have reached sophomore academic status, faculty, and staff. Participants who sign an agreement will not be eligible to receive a parking sticker from Campus Security for the entire academic year, though they do get a winter exemption from December to March.
Bikes available in the program are the Hybrid style Specialized Crosstail and Specialized Ariel; and the city commuter style Schwinn World S in "men" and "women" frame styles.
Ripon College in Wisconsin pioneered a similar bike giveaway in 2008. Ripon is now in its second year of the Velorution project. To minimize vehicular traffic on campus, Ripon has systematically moved campus parking from the interior of the campus to the exterior in an effort to make car travel less convenient. In the last year, portions of the two main streets that bisected campus were removed to create a safer, greener, more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly mall. The program's annual costs total approximately $50,000, or roughly the cost of three parking spaces in a multilevel garage.
Via Dottie & Trish in Chicago.
Admission is free, and all posters are $30. Best of all, Chrome and ARTCRANK will donate $4.00 for every poster purchased to Bikes To Rwanda. Via Meli who will be there participating in Artcrank.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Video from Jill Morris for the Upright Citizen's Brigade.
Warren and his Rock Star Parking.
Has anybody tried these cedar shoe inserts?
Mountain biking San Francisco: Save Mt Sutro Trails.
Huh, I just learned this: since January 2009, employers in San Francisco have been required to offer the IRS Section 132 commuter fringe benefit. I've also learned that the city is not enforcing compliance with this law right now.
I think maybe Richard Heene should have watched these videos on talking with the police.
Gear Factor: Pedal powered pedal mounted lights.
Something I have some personal experience with: Endo analysis.
AIDS challenge and "Why I Ride".
Note the cute little Toyota logo imprinted next to the Breezer logo on the saddle.
The 6061 alloy bike weighs 34 lbs, features 6 speed Shimano Revoshift shifters and Kenda Kwest 16 x 1.5" tires. The marketing in Taiwan apparently makes a pretty big deal about Joe Breeze's design reputation in the United States, although Breezer in the USA sources their folding bikes from Dahon. My guess is this bike is maybe an offering from Breezer's sister company, Fuji Bikes, though as far as I know Fuji has never marketed this style of folding bike before.
The bike has a claimed market value of NT$15,000 (about US$450) -- I see them on Taiwan "for sale" sites for NT$7000 (~US$200) and less, which sounds like a pretty screaming deal. I might have picked one up for that price if I knew about these during my visit.
German commuter trains have rush hour restrictions for bikes on board that many Americans who travel by train and bike are familiar with. "Die Zacke" cog railroad between Marienplatz in South Stuttgart to Degerloch, however, features this fantastic platform just for bikes.
This "Vorstellwagen" was first available in 1983 to ferry biking commuters between Stuttgart and the mountain town. It travels just 2 kilometers, but with over 200 meters of elevation change between the two stations and a maximum 20% slope.
More --> City of Stuttgard Fahrrad und Bahn ("Bikes and Train") info page.
Another view here, and many views here. Props to Steve Vance and other helpful voices on The Streetsblog Network.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
The '89 quake changed Bay Area transportation in significant ways. Most importantly, the natural disaster highlighted the vulnerability of so much public investment in a single form of transportation (namely roads and highways).
Earthquake retrospectives have dominated the news in the Bay Area over this past week. One story that stuck out for me was that of a Los Gatos family who took over half an hour to drive three miles on wrecked roads. I fully expect even bicycling to be disrupted, but it's possible to carry a bike over obstacles -- something I cannot do with a car.
My dad was an executive for Motorola in Japan when the 1995 Kobe earthquake hit. He led one of the very first rescue teams to arrive in the devastated zone because he and his team used bicycles to haul relief supplies and portable ceullular base stations into Kobe. I reported previously that many emergency response plans call for the use of bicycle messengers if electronic communication is not available.
If you're inside a bike shop when a quake hits, however, it might be a good idea to run away if this security video inside InCycle bike shop in Chino, California is any indication. This occurred during the 5.4 quake in July 2008.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I've never seen the Google Trike but some people I know have seen it in action in the South Bay collecting local bike path info for inclusion in Google Maps. Interestingly, the Bay Trail in Shoreline Park immediately adjacent to the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA doesn't have Streetview available (yet).
Electra Bicycles has expanded an existing recall to include the 2009 Delivery 3i, Delivery 8D, Holiday 3i, Holiday 8i and Surf 3i bicycles with front-mounted trays or baskets. The front baskets on these bikes look very nice, but they can come loose and wedge against the front tire, which can be bad. Contact a local Electra dealer for free repair.
This one's not a bicycle but it's of interest to me since they're in my town: Zero Motorcycles has recalled the 2009 Zero X and Zero MX Off-Road Motorcycles because the throttle can become stuck in the full "on" position. This can unexpectedly lead to full power when turning on the power, which can be thrilling but also dangerous. Contact Zero Motorcycles for free repair.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Gee, wasn't that fun following the adventures of "Balloon Boy" Falcon Heene today, and it turns out he's safe and sound at home the whole time. My buddy Brian wonders if this was a publicity stunt.
What else happened today?
US headed for massive decline in carbon emissions.
A San Francisco cyclist hit and run journal entry. With photos! His Boing Boing friends seem to think the driver might actually face some consequences, but the reality is that many hit and run cases are never prosecuted or even investigated.
Thomas Dekker -- the guy who played a young "John Connor" in The Sarah Connor Chronicles -- was arrested for felony DUI after he hit a bicyclist. The victim is a 17 year old kid who was transported to a hospital for minor injuries.
Bicycle Design looks at the Spooklight.
Riding Pretty: Fall bicycle chic dressing trends.
Curtis rides an old man's bike with old man gear.
Have a good one!
Other items from Arc'teryx Veilance include urban styled technical jackets, pants, sweaters and shirts. The pants have zippered pockets! And with the rugged fabric and high quality, the pants might even last through more than a single season of bike commuting. Some of the shirts also have discrete shoulder pockets.
At several hundred dollars and up for these stylish and well made digs, Veilance will be offered at the premium men's stores that I never shop at.
Via Bike Commuting in Columbus.
But it's a perfect lead in to Bike Hugger's experiences with travel and bikes. They use S&S Couplers so full sized bikes can be broken down to a size that will fit into a 26" x 26" x 10" case that travels as regular airline luggage.
Recently, though, airlines are charging their bike fees even when the bike case does not exceed 62 linear inches! Unbelievably, Air Canada charges their $50 "bike handling fee" even for a Strida folding bike because they claim "the carriage of bicycles requires additional and special handling procedures." As if.
Bike Hugger's suggestion? Don't tell the airlines your transporting a bike. It's trade samples, or camping gear.
When I travel, I just rent a bike at my destination or use public transportation.
A closer look reveals these bags are actually transluscent plastic that are available in several bright colors; you put a light inside the bag so they glow.
Flash heavy website Wohobike.com has some more illustrations of the bags in action, but I think their Flickr photostream works better for me.
I see now also that my friends at Urban Velo got the jump on me and posted about the Woho Firefly last week.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
"The goal is to reduce vehicle traffic by 30 per cent, which is about 26,000 vehicles," says Terry Wright, 2010's head of Olympic services. "We will have new cycling networks and bike parking in and around the venues."Pedestrian corridors will be established where people can walk, bike and ride pedicab to events. Temporary bike parking will be provided at Games venues and LiveCity celebration sites. Bike lockers will be available at all SkyTrain stations, with the exception of Stadium station. Olympic organizers encourage Vancouver residents to participate in Bike to Work Week November 2-9 to practice cycling in winter conditions, which I think is pretty rad.
For details, visit the City of Vancouver online map page which includes maps of the Olympic and Paralympic Venues, Vancouver bike map, and an Olympic road network map.
From the game screenshot, it appears you use this bike drive a pedal powered chopper over the planet to clean up the planet.
More at Kotaku. Due for release January 2010 from French game publisher BigBen Interactive. Since they're French, is it too much to hope for a bike racing game to use with this accessory?
Via Gizmodo. I thought I mentioned it earlier but I guess not. Also at WIRED Gear Factor, where Charlie suggests just playing Mario Cart with a normal WiiMote while sitting on the exercise bike that's gathering dust in the basement.
Five teenagers were charged with aggravated battery yesterday for dousing a 15-year-old with rubbing alcohol and setting him on fire because he stopped someone from stealing his father's bicycle, authorities said.Details --> AHN.
Update courtesy my loyal readers - the article I link to has info that doesn't quite fit the circumstances of the article I originally read (which is where the title comes from). Ah well.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
This is Daniel. When this huge tree came down at Haight and Broderick in San Francisco, he almost ate it. More about Daniel and his adventure at SFist. Photo by expuestosiempre. H/T to Murph.
I just took a walk around my apartment complex and saw at least a half dozen broken trees, and I've heard chainsaws buzzing all around for most of the day.
Rather than chance getting stuck at the office today, I'm working at home. I live in the Santa Cruz Mountains, though not in the evacuation areas mentioned in the news clip below.
How was your commute today? Did you bike? And did you have to dodge any huge trees?