Monday, November 30, 2009

Clown Corner: Beyond the Basic Bike

The Los Angeles Times "Gear" column covers human powered wheeled machines that combine gym equipment with bikes to create hybrids like this Street Strider.

Believe it or not, I see one of these Street Striders many evenings used a commuter vehicle.

I think the benefit of something like this is supposed to be a more complete workout. The Times Gear columnist who reviews these products, Roy Wallack, is a fitness freak, runner and cyclist, so I'd think he would know that aerobic capacity is what limits his speed and endurance when he writes about how using his arms is like "you're on a regular bike with an extra motor." If you can't get more oxygen to your guns, it doesn't matter how many motors you have or how big they are.

Via bike business consultant Rick Vosper, who tweeted, "The LA Times showcases four bikes you definitely don't want to see under your Xmas tree. Or anyone else's."

More goofy quadripowered bike fun at Los Angeles Times.

Cycling Chicago to St. Louis

Roger Kramer in St Louis published a letter supporting the creation of a bike sidepath along U.S. Route 66 through Macoupin and Montgomery Counties in southern Illinois.

The historic and iconic Route 66 begins in Chicago, IL and, like the song says, passes through St. Louis. That prompted the question from me: How would one bike from Chicago to St. Louis?

It turns out the League of Illinois Bicyclists publishes a very handy Route 66 guide to promote cycling along this National Scenic Byway down the length of Illinois. The guide is published in a downloadable booklet, with each segment showing a 50 to 60 mile segment of the route, cue sheets, and a list of convenience stores, restaurants, lodging, camping, bike shops and Amtrak stations near this cycling route. It looks very handy for anybody planning a bike trip from Chicago to St. Louis.

More ->
* League of Illinois Bicyclists Route 66 Guide.
* Roger Kramer and a Route 66 side path in Southern Illinois

10 most expensive bicycles

Danny compiled a list of the 10 most expensive bicycles. His list includes a $114,000 gold plated fixed gear bicycle, the diamond studded Trek Madone 5.9 auctioned off at a charity fund raiser in 2005, a $28,000 limited edition of Chanel's city bike, and more.

Chanel City Bicycle

Read more at Danny's Sidi Ergo blog.

Post holiday post

Happy Monday, and I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving holiday in the USA. A couple of odds and ends you might have missed over the long weekend.

Caltrain to have GPS driven real time delay info. Caltrain says they will equip their trains with GPS transponders and provide real time arrival & delay information that will be available on the existing electronic station signs and through 511. The San Mateo Times mentions the crowd source Twitter/Caltrain service that Ravi P cobbled together in response to service delays last year. Caltrain expects this service to be available "by 2011" according to KCBS.

Judge Peter Busch loosens San Francisco bike injunction. Late Wednesday afternoon, San Francisco Superior Court judge Peter Busch modified the bike project injunction to allow "most easily reversible" projects to move forward. Before this, the City has been unable even to install bike racks. The bad news: Judge Busch scheduled a hearing for next June to determine if the now completed Bike Plan Environmental Impact Review complies with the California Environmental Quality Act. The 2,000 page Bike Plan EIR is four times longer than the bike plan itself (at 500 pages). Read more at Streetsblog SF.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bohemiam Rhapsody by the Muppets

This video of the Muppets performing Queen's "Bohemiam Rhapsody" is hilarious. In case you haven't seen it yet...

There's a Muppets Studio page on YouTube of all new videos of the Muppets. I love it.

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter rides a bicycle

We already knew that, actually, but what's kind of cool is that news crews caught him and some friends as they left for a morning bike ride the Friday after Thanksgiving day.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Follow Friday: Bike People

Last Saturday I spent most of my time at the San Francisco Bike Expo hanging out with these lovely ladies.

The Gang

Say hello to Mia of Momentum Magazine, Meli of Bikes and the City, Adrienne of Change Your Life Ride a Bike, my daughter Ivy, The Calitexican, and my wife Sara.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Black Friday and bicycle deals

I won't personally buy anything over this Thanksgiving weekend, but I'm not above pandering to your wants and needs.

If you know of other bike related deals for the weekend, please feel free to mention them in the comments.

Zero Per Gallon: Use coupon code "blk30" at checkout from 11/27 to 11/30 and receive 20% off your entire order.

Subscribe to Momentum Magazine by Nov 28 for a chance to win a "Nutty Family Prize Pack" of helmets from Nutcase helmets.

Chrome Bags: Use coupon code "chrome4day" for 20% off everything through 11/30.

Urban Velo: subscribe and get a free shirt.

Dirt Rag Holiday Sale. And Bicycle Times too.

Bike Hugger Holiday Sale December 2.

Free shipping on handspun yarn from Little Red Bicycle in San Francisco.

My pal UltraRob will once again partner with World Bicycle Relief by giving a portion of his earnings to them.

From Makai Bikes: Special prices on Super Classic Beach Cruiser, Cadillac L21, Thruster 29er and more through Monday.

Some more specials are listed at

Finally, don't miss the Black Friday deals at Amazon.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

San Francisco bike injunction loosened

Okay, I lied - I'm posting this quickie tonight: Judge modifies San Francisco bike project injunction. Read the details at Streetsblog SF.

You might also see a guest post or two over the weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm going to be happy, fat and lazy this holiday weekend. Any posts you see over the weekend are pre-scheduled -- I plan to be mostly away from Internet access until at least Sunday.

Have a good one, my friends!

Cycling Mary Avenue Bridge

Masuelli Bamboo Bikes

About five years ago, industrial engineer Nicolas Masuelli began working with the Argentina National Institute of Technology to develop a program of building bamboo bicycles to promote more sustainable transportation. Six months ago, Nicolas and his brother Danilo set up shop in California to hand build and sell their bamboo bikes to a more international audience.

Danilo Masuelli

Danilo likes to source from California suppliers, using bamboo from Jungle Supply Company and CrMo parts (for internal lugs, BB shell, headtube and rear fork ends) from Nova Cycle Supply. He keeps power use to a minimum by hand assembling, sanding, and finishing the frames on one of the three jigs he uses to make small, medium, large and extra large frames.

Danilo Masuelli

Danilo markets the bikes so far by hanging out mostly where cyclists show up and letting them try his rides. He rode at San Jose Bike Party in October, where people flocked to see his bamboo bikes and where he met Johnny of Coasties, with whom he shared booth space at the SF Bike Expo last Saturday.

Although Masuelli has had an online presence since only last August, he's already backordered two months, and no wonder: $800 buys you a handcrafted bamboo frame with about 40 hours of labor in it. Complete bikes from Masuelli start at $1100.

While Masuelli focuses on singlespeed bikes with track ends to appeal to the urban cyclist, the four pound frames can also be designed to accommodate more traditional road components. While the flexible bamboo gives a fairly plush ride, the joins are internally lugged and built up for reasonable stiffness to give a lively, responsive ride. Danilo and Nicolas are also creating a pedal forward design to appeal to the more casual rider.

Danilo Masuelli

More -->

* Masuelli Bicycle website.
* Triple Pundit: Masuelli Bikes: Framing Sustainable Bikes with Bamboo.
* Emily Goligoski: Masuelli Bikes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

San Francisco Bike Expo Fashion Show

Momentum Magazine and Gwendolyn Lee produced the Bike Style bike fashion show at the San Francisco Bike Expo last Saturday evening.

Momentum are working on their own video of the show that will include specific details of what you're looking at. I'll try to update the captions over the next few days with the fashions and bikes in the photos. In the meantime, enjoy the yummy bikes and fashions in my slideshow.

Sponsors include Nutcase Helmets, Breezer Bikes, Crumpler Bags, and Bumble & bumble. Cyclelicious friend Meligrosa modeled for the show and looks fabulous. My buddy Kit was super stoked to see his 53 Miles Per Burrito shirt in the fashion show as well.

Over 3 years in prison for shooting at cars

Oh this is marvelous: Shoot a cyclist with a gun and get 120 days in the county lockup.

Shoot at cars with a pellet gun and you get nearly four years in prison.
Shawn Philip Wagner and Rojelio Gomez, both 21 when they were arrested in May, will also pay restitution to the 42 victims whose cars were hit by pellets.

The shootings, which took place over several months, resulted in vehicle damage and a minor injury to one driver.
More --> San Francisco Chronicle. Even the comments are almost interesting on this story, with many people complaining about how easily these young men got off. They're "thugs" who "victimize" motorists, while firefighter Charles Diez is a man of good character even if he does shoot harmless passerby in the head.

Different state and prosecution, but others have already commented on the 14 years for the guy who sold drugs at a concert in North Carolina.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chicago bike parking locations

This is amazing: The Chicago Department of Transportation created what looks to me like a stunningly useful Chicago bike parking locator.

Chicago Bike Rack info

To find bike parking, you enter a ZIP code, Ward, community area, CTA station or Metra station and you see a map of nearby bike parking along with transit facilities and bike shops in the area. It's pretty cool.

Props to Steve Vance for the heads up on this.

"No greater hazard than bicycles"

Danny loves Sidi Ergo shoes. He blogged about 9 Driving Habits That Most Annoy Cyclists and lists a lot of the usual suspects: right hooks, inattentive driving, etc.

The thing that tops my list? Clueless idiots who insist that "there is no greater hazard on the road than bicyclists" and who believe that traffic violations are somehow limited to cyclists.

The Box

Imagine a magic box that, when used, kills random strangers. But you receive something back in exchange for that life -- Money! Prosperity! Status! Self fulfillment!

And everybody who doesn't die lives happily ever after. The End?

See also Fairy tales and fantastic stories at Quickrelease.TV.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cat calls

The crowd really expressed their appreciation, whistling as this guy rode down the catwalk during last night's fashion show at the San Francisco Bike Expo. At the time of this writing (late Saturday night), this photo has 15 views on my Flickr photo stream. This rider wears a Showers Pass jacket and cap with Bicycle Fixation knickers and Exit shoes. Freight made the bag.

SF Bike Expo Fashion Show

For some reason, though, this photo of the model with her Pushbike vintage Adidas jersey, Fabric Horse belt, Chuey Brand cap and denim leggings has by far the most views among my Saturday night photo uploads. Why would that be?


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Follow Friday: Link Love

TGIF, all!

Here's a simple list of blogs who have linked to Cyclelicious over the past 10 days or so. If you linked and I missed you please feel free to comment and I'll add the link.

FABB = Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling.

San Francisco cyclist

Biking in LA.

General Carlessness in Chicago.

Crit Ninja in Calgary.

Twin River Cyclists.

Bicycle Design.

My Bicycle Musings.

James Thomas: Get Outdoors Blog.

Paul Andrews: Bike Intelligencer.

Germany: Rad Spannerei.

Portugal: Cenas a pedal (English page).

Half Full.

Random Thoughts from Random Places.

The Neverending Story

Besides a two year hiatus when my son was born, I've been riding my bike to work almost every day since 1987. It doesn't change with rain, shine, hail, snow, thunderstorm, a plague of frogs, zombie apocalypse or the expiration of a Mesoamerican calendar system: I ride my bike.

Yet when I roll in on a day like today, when rain is forecast, people at the office still ask me, "What are you gonna do when it rains?"

How do you answer that question?

Sexual locomotion

You lay down on this Argentine-designed Cheetah trike and make humping motions to make it go.

More at Treehugger. Video of Pablo Lopez's "Pardo" device in action might be fun to watch.

Firefighter who shot cyclist pleads out, sentenced

Former firefighter Charles Alexander Diez pled guilty yesterday to assault with a deadly weapon with intent to killand was sentenced to 120 days in jail, according to news reports.

While Alan Ray Simons pulled his son in a child trailer behind a bike, Diez yelled at Simons telling him he put the boy's life in danger before shooting at Simons' head. The bullet passed through Simons' helmet but missed his head by a hair.

Diez testified that, “I was the one who felt truly, truly threatened” by the vicious cyclist out in the open as Diez sat inside of his car and pulled out his gun.

I haven't heard if Simons got a new bike helmet to replace his damaged one.

Read more.

SF Bike Expo

The San Francisco Bike Expo is tomorrow (Saturday, November 21) all day at the Cow Palace in Daly City. I'll be there taking photos and drinking coffee and meeting you. If you see me please feel free to say hello.

Also on Saturday: iMinusD Fixed Gear Boutique grand opening at noon. They're downtown San Jose on Paseo San Antonio.

Tonight: San Jose Bike Party "Where's Waldo" theme ride, rain or ... well, not "shine," since it starts at 8:30 PM. Let's call it "rain or dry." There's a pre-party at Hellyer Velodrome, a food donation drive (bring canned goods for Second Harvest), and other fun stuff. I'm staying later than usual in San Jose Friday night, but the ride goes way out to southeast San Jose so I'm not sure I can make it. I'll play it by ear.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rain Friday

Just in case you haven't checked the forecast, it's supposed to rain pretty much all day in the San Francisco Bay Area on Friday. You won't melt when you bike in the rain, but it helps to have fenders and wear rain gear. We're also supposed to have gusty winds out of the south, which means headwinds for my evening riding.

San Jose rain commute by bike

Mountain Bike San Francisco

Gregg @ MTBR posted his Top 10 Mountain Bike YouTube video list. He didn't choose any of my short Santa Cruz trail videos, and thankfully none of those lame-o Xtranormal movies made the cut.

The blow up doll is perverse, but I kind of liked the clip from Fat Tire Fury of Bobby Root mountain biking in San Francisco, maybe because I hadn't seen it before.

Paul of Bike Intelligencer posted his faves from that list. Which videos do you like? What do you think of Bobby pulling those manuals right along side the cable car tracks?

Stanford cyclists

Cute essay on cyclists on the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. The students, staff and faculty just ride bikes there.
Stanford headbadge And what aids the differencing is that few people wear helmets, and everyone is wearing ordinary clothes — none of the sleek and gaudy costumes you see on cyclists pumping through the peninsular hills and whistling down Sand Hill Road to the Caltrain station. They are themselves on wheels.

There is a deeply pleasing randomness about the campus cyclists, as though one morning university officials had assigned a bicycle to every member of the Stanford community, come as you are, without considering for a moment matters of fit — or fitness.
Read more in the New York Times.

Elsewhere: Biking at Stanford University.

Kid Bike!

Sarah Goodyear wants your Kids on Bikes photos for her next Streetsblog slide show. Kids on their own bikes, kids in cargo bikes, kids on trailer bikes -- show them what you've got. Tag your photos with "streetsblog" and "kidbikes" in Flickr. Get them to her by Tuesday, November 24.

The slideshow below is from the KidBike! photo pool at Flickr.

Letter to D.A. Mary Stone

Dr. Christopher Thompson's defense apparently will present a large pile of letters as character references to the judge during Thompson's sentencing. Cyclist Dave Zabriskie has organized a letter writing campaign to help Los Angeles prosecuting attorney Mary Stone give her own evidence at the level of interest and outrage among cyclists nationally about Thompson's assault in Mandeville Canyon.

Murph has already posted the letter he sent. I'll compose and send my own letter shortly after I post this note. Please feel free to leave a link in the comments to your own letter.

* Doctor in cuffs: What's the lesson?
* GUILTY all seven counts.
* Those cyclists had it coming.
* LAPD arrests Thompson.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

SF City College, bike theft, and vigilante bait bikes

Malcolm McMahon, a student at City College in San Francisco, had his bike stolen. He was upset enough about it to talk to police about a bait bike program run and financed by a volunteer posse.

More --> Bike vigilantes: Victims strike back.

It doesn't look like McMahon's "Concerned Cyclists Community Program" has gotten anywhere yet and his original Craigslist posting asking for volunteers has expired.

I don't go up into San Francisco often, but when I do I see literally dozens of bicycles locked very poorly. It's unfortunate that the newbies who don't read bike blogs are the ones who often get burned.

Veronica Moss returns!

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency reports that their Market Street experiment to restrict cars has, so far, resulted in faster Muni service along Market. Bicycles are now 75% of traffic on Market Street, up from 60%. More at San Francisco Examiner.

The infamously sassy Veronica Moss of the Automobile User Trade Organization (A.U.T.O.) would be horrified, I'm sure, by this evolution of a busy motoring corridor, just like she is by the pedestrian friendly transformation of Times Square in New York City.

Are bike people friendlier than the average transit rider?

I don't have an especially outgoing personality, yet I generally have little problem approaching complete strangers when we're on bikes, talking with them and often enough shooting photos of them. I have little in common with many of the bike riders I see on Caltrain and the bus, but I know about their families, where they work, where they live, and what's going on in their lives. I even know some of the train conductors and bus drivers by name, where they grew up, and their retirement plans. This guy -- who I met at a Caltrain meeting -- even rode his bike all the way over the Santa Cruz Mountains for my wife's college graduation party. This guy has shown incredible kindness to me and my family.

'Dangerous' Bob Widin I've assumed this was part of the magic of public transportation: instead of the forced anonymity of the single occupant vehicle, we have the social interaction of a lively public space. The old timers help the newbies, we share food and drink on the train, and sometimes might see the impromptou onboard bike repair clinic. A few of us are even joking about a rolling Caltrain onboard bike film festival some day, which might be a good way to weed the non-cyclists off of the bike car.

Murph describes the Caltrain love as he writes about the 49ers victory over the Chicago Bears last week.
I am of the Caltrain ilk, where everyone helps each other out, we share a bond formed through numerous Caltrain disasters that have forced us to finish our commutes like the Israelites heading out of Egypt, where we rely on each other. The cyclists form a paceline and head to Millbrae BART. Those without bikes gather 'round the twitter and call cabs to split to various destinations, or offer rides in their own cars when a loved one comes to the rescue. This all seems very natural.
In his latest blog post, Tom Vanderbilt (author of Traffic), though, mentions old sociology studies that observe the "civil inattention" on subways -- the movie version of public transportation where your fellow riders are all strangers who don't talk with one another. We have nothing in common, so we avoid all social interaction.

Or is public transportation an opportunity to meet people and even, as Vanderbilt concludes in his Slate article, a way to fall in love?
One recent study conducted by officials at the Paris Metro—which looked at "missed connection" ads placed by urbanites looking for love in the city—found that the Metro "is without doubt the foremost producer of urban tales about falling in love." The seats closest to the door, it seemed, offered the best opportunities for falling in love with the proper stranger. "The Metro is not the emotional desert, the social vacuum, that we sometimes believe it to be," observed the chief of the Paris Metro.
If you ride transit, what do you think? Do you avoid eye contact with the same group of strangers your ride with everyday? Or have you made friends among your fellow bus, train and subway passengers? Does it make a difference if you ride a bike or not?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sanyo Eneloop Bicycle

I'm reviewing the Sanyo Eneloop bicycle -- an electric assist bike -- for Momentum Magazine. Watch for the review in a month or two.


I can't say much about it here yet, but suffice to say that my wife absolutely loves it. She's always been of the opinion that electric assist is cheating, but here she is trying it on a grocery run and having a blast.

I quit cycling at 32 because I had the bones of an old woman

UK Cyclist Chris Boardman won the 1992 Gold Medal in the 4,000 meter track race at the Barcelona Olympics.
Yet within seven years, he was to receive a shocking diagnosis that was to end his cycling career. Chris was told he was suffering from osteoporosis. Although in its early stages, the disease, which causes bones to become fragile and prone to breakage, was enough to stop this elite sportsman in his tracks.

Read more: CHRIS BOARDMAN: I had to give up cycling at 32 because I had the bones of an old woman. Via Bruce.

See also: Weight Training for cyclists.

Yellow Bike

Award winning folk song writer / singer Tracy Jane Comer grew up poor but happy in a shack near the beach in North Carolina. She sings about the freedom of her bike in the lovely title track of her album Yellow Bike.

And I rode my yellow bike on that beach road
Never thought about where I might go...I just rode

Riding, flying, on that road
Laughing, smiling, all alone
Living poor, but living free
Happy on that yellow bike on that road beside the sea

Monday, November 16, 2009

Carnage in Menlo Park

Last Thursday evening I wondered why Menlo Park police were hanging out at the office campus where I work. I noticed the fresh glass and car parts at the parking lot entrance and figured yet another scofflaw motorist running the red light at that intersection. The city installed red light cameras there, and it wasn't because of hordes of light running cyclists.

What happened was this, less than 300 yards from my office:
As a Ford Mustang and a white compact car sped through the intersection southbound on Bayfront, the Mustang clipped a blue Toyota, spinning it around and leaving at least two occupants injured, according to witness accounts. The Mustang then hit the white car, and both spun out on opposite sides of the Bayfront median.

"They were racing," said Kim Arrowood, a Sun Microsystems employee who saw the crash. "They had to have been going 70 mph."

The Mustang was wrecked, but it didn't stop the driver from getting away, Arrowood said. He ran over to the white car, yelled "Let's go!" to the driver and hopped in. The two then turned around and drove off.

The news gets worse:
A 6-year-old Menlo Park girl died Friday afternoon from injuries she sustained in a car crash a day earlier.

[Lisa Xavier] was traveling in the back seat of a blue Toyota Camry with her parents at about 2 p.m. Thursday when a black Mustang headed northbound on the Bayfront Expressway ran a red light at Willow Road and plowed into the car.

Police located the crashed Mustang's owner, and that person apparently pegged one Shannon Fox as the driver, who police so far have been unable to locate.

More, similar stories from around the nation at Streetblog's weekly carnage.

Girls and skirts and boots and bikes

Happy Monday!

The "Buck Brothers" from London sing about girls, skirts, boots and bikes. I'm totally using this song for my next bike video.

If you want some bike porn, take a look at sexy bicycles.

Yowza! Pedal straps with metal spikes!!

Bay Area Coming up...

San Jose Bike PARTY FRIDAY! Theme: "Where's Waldo."

SF Bicycle Expo is THIS SATURDAY.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mountain bike Delaveaga Park Santa Cruz

Delaveaga is a large city park nestled between Branciforte Drive and Brookwood Drive north of Highway 1 on the east side of Santa Cruz. Cyclists may ride their bikes on the roads and trails within Delaveaga. The park can be very busy with different activities so watch for other users on the trail. Remember, downhill yields to uphill and cyclists are supposed to yield to walkers.

Paul @ Delaveaga

The trails are mostly redwood forest duff, with some short sections of slick limestone near "The Top of the World" (the disc golf last hole). Trail maintenance is inconsistent, so watch for fallen limbs and trees. It's super easy to go fast on a straightaway then wash out in a sandy turn, so take it easy until you know the trails. If you crash, landings are mostly soft, though rocks, large trees and poison oak are hazards like anyplace else in Santa Cruz County. Small children and off leash dogs are very common in this park so keep your eyes open for them.

Directions: Most mountain bikers park at the lower trailhead in a dirt parking lot just north of where Market Street becomes Branciforte Drive. I usually ride my bike down Glen Canyon Rd from Scotts Valley, make a left on Branciforte (towards the Mystery Spot) and enter the ballfield area of Delaveaga.

Trails: The Redwood Loop and La Corona Trail are the main out and back trails used by mountain bikers. If you like pain, the Branciforte Trail has some steep, challenging sections. A couple of trails will take you to the golf course, and La Corona ends a the final hole of the disc golf course, so watch for people playing through. Unfortunately, as of this writing the city of Santa Cruz reorganized their website and the park trail map is no longer available.

This video features Erik and his friend Paul shooting down the trails of Delaveaga on a pleasant November morning.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Nichelle Nichols rides a bicycle

"Lt Uhura" of Star Trek fame tries a Moulton folding bicycle.

Nichelle Nichols rides a folding bicycle

Via Jym.

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Negotiate with God"

This interview with Lance is a year old but is fascinating because it's as much about business, politics and social media as about cycling. Nonetheless there's plenty for race fans to obssess over.

Friday night ride

Friday night cyclist downtown San Jose, California.

Friday Night cycling

Follow Friday: The cost of driving

Happy Friday, all. I totally missed it's Friday the 13th until I saw this comment.

Steve in Chicago posted thoughts and photos of damage caused by car wrecks, especially when those cars run into bike facilities. He's asked for more photos of auto imposition, so I sent him this.

City crew replacing damaged street sign

That sign might have cost roughly $500 to replace, but this stuff adds up. There are about 6.4 million car crashes annually in the United States. Beyond the human cost of 2.9 million injuries and 40,000 deaths from these crashes, there's a direct financial impact of $230 billion.

Rich Risemburg in Los Angeles looks at the financial benefits to commuters and businesses when you encourage cycling in Bucking the Cycle.

Is car sharing good for cities?

It's the Department of TRANSPORTATION, not the Department of Cars.

One of many 2010 Bike Ladies Calendars.

Have a great weekend! I'll be at the south Branci40 Dr entry of Delaveaga Park in Santa Cruz 10 AM Saturday morning if you want to say hello.

More Federal dollars for bike projects

Federal Transit Agency seeks public comment on proposed policy change for pedestrian and bicycle access projects

Local governments can apply to several programs administered by the U.S. Federal Transit Agency (FTA) to improve pedestrian and cyclist access to transit centers. Under Federal law, any capital project to enhance pedestrian and bicycle access must have a "physical or functional relationship" to the transit center.

Bike lane placement

FTA guidelines for these types of programs are vague, but a standard of 1,500 feet is generally applied -- any project more than 1,500 feet away from a transit stop or station is currently not eligible. For many large stations, that barely gets you into the parking lot. The FTA now acknowledges, however, that this 1,500 distance is too short. According to the FTA, research shows people are willing to travel about 15 minutes to their bus stop or station. That equates to about 1/2 mile for walking and three miles bicycling.

The FTA proposes to expand the radius they'll consider for grant requests: pedestrian projects can be up to 1/2 mile away; bicycle projects can be up to three miles from the transit center to receive Federal Transit capital grants. That could potentially make almost every bike facilities project in the San Francisco Bay Area eligible for FTA grant funding.

The FTA proposed this change after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood challenged the Department of Transportation to improve the livability of our nation’s communities. A livable community, according to LaHood, is "a community where if people don’t want an automobile, they don’t have to have one; a community where you can walk to work, your doctor’s appointment, pharmacy or grocery store. Or you could take light rail, a bus, or ride a bike." According to Secretary LaHood, "livable communities are mixed-use neighborhoods with highly-connected streets promoting mobility for all users, whether they are children walking or biking to school or commuters riding transit or driving motor vehicles.
Benefits include improved traffic flow, shorter trip lengths, safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists, lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduced dependence on fossil fuels, increased trip-chaining, and independence for those who prefer not to or are unable to drive. In addition, investing in a 'complete street' concept stimulates private-sector economic activity by increasing the viability of street-level retail small businesses and professional services, creating housing opportunities and extending the usefulness of school and transit facilities."

To view the entire proposal and submit your comment electronically, visit If this link doesn't take you directly to the proposal, search for "FTA-2009-0052."

Props to Nate Baird.

Bike Video: 30 Seconds to Mars - The Ride

Remember when 30 Seconds to Mars asked for cyclists to show up for a video shoot in Los Angeles? Remember when we all wondered if Jared Leto rides a fixed gear bike?

Well, now we know -- it's a freewheeling singlespeed.

"The Ride" by 30 Seconds to Mars.

The blinky lights are really cool, especially in the tunnel. Now if only I knew what the lyrics, the music, the song, the random imagery of cyclists, horses, fires, and the wreck are all supposed to mean. Enjoy!

Update: And I just noticed BSNYC already posted about this video. I need to move to the east coast!

View from the photo moto

Photographer Jonathan (Jono) Devich shares his view from the motorcycle as he rides on back and shoots during the 2009 Tour of Missouri. Fun stuff!

Via SoCal Cycling.

Cindy Crawford rides a bicycle

Cindy Crawford and her husband Rande Gerber rode their very sensible, rack-equipped bikes to the beach in Malibu, California last Sunday. She even signals left turns when riding through traffic.

Cindy Crawford And Rande Gerber Enjoy Eachother's Love

Cindy Crawford And Rande Gerber Enjoy Eachother's Love

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Terri Hatcher rides a bicycle

Terri Hatcher suited up in a Team Disney jersey for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon last September.

Hollywood Comes Out to the Beach For Triathlon!
Terri Hatcher Completes the Nautica Malibu Triathlon!

Hollywood Comes Out to the Beach For Triathlon!

Bicycles, crime shows and murder

The other day on the train my friends and I talked about this week's episode of "Castle," in which a mystery writer and homicide detective team up to solve the murder of the week.

"Kill the Messenger," (clever title, eh?) begins with an erstwhile bike messenger in really nice duds and a brand new Timbuk2 Commute 2.0 bag crazily riding against traffic. A guy in a black car whacks the poor messenger. You know it's a murder because (a) the driver is wearing a mask; (b) the driver steals the Timbuk2 Commute 2.0 bag from the messenger's body; and (c) the homicide detectives shows up!

This is a completely unbelievable scenario, of course. Any competent criminal knows the easiest way to kill somebody without risk of investigation is to run him over with a car. The silly mask looks a little suspicious, but I doubt anybody would have noticed the bad guy pilfering the bag.

Compare to a recent episode of Psych, in which a daily bike commuter is apparently run over by a car.

In "High Top Fade Out" the police dismiss the crime as a vehicular hit and run and everybody assumes the driver will never be found. The diligence of the victim's close friends, however, uncovers evidence of foul play!

Which do you think is more believable and realistic? The Castle scenario in which the homicide cops immediately jump on the case and investigate a murder? Or the Psych story in which the cyclist is just a poor schmuck who got in the way of a car, and the police ignore the death because they consider investigating "accidents" as a superfluous waste of their time?

Mountain bike Bayfront Park Menlo Park, CA

Bayfront Park, a Menlo Park city park, isn't really a mountain biking destination, but bikes are permitted on the dirt and gravel trails and it's only two miles from my work.

Bayfront Park Menlo Park

Bedwell Bayfront Park, located where Marsh Road intersects with Bayfront Expressway, is a popular lunchtime walking and jogging area for the workers at the nearby office parks. Leashed dogs are permitted on the trails here. In spite of some speculation about public safety, Menlo Park police report almost no instances of violent or property crime at the park.

Dirt and gravel travels crisscross the small hills of this park which was built on a closed landfill. You can see the methane recovery plant at the back of the park, along with the remains of a retired sewage treatment plant. A wide gravel road runs along the perimeter of the park, from where you can watch the shorebirds and other critters in the adjacent sloughs and mud flats.

Love handles!!!

No trail signposts point the way, but it's impossible to get lost in tiny Bayfront Park, which encompasses 160 acres. The perimeter road is only two and half miles, so if you somehow lose your way, either head to the top of a hill and look around, or go downhill until you hit the perimeter, then ride until you've reached the park entrance.

I've ridden about every trail at Bayfront on a fixed gear bike, so this isn't exactly challenging mountain bike terrain. For a quick, relaxing lunch time fix, though, the location works and the views of the Bay are pretty nice. The unmarked trails invite exploration. Any kind of bike is suitable and riders of just about any level can handle most of the park trails -- there are a couple of moderately steep sections but you can easily avoid them if you want.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

SJSU Fixed Gear

College students on bikes at the San Jose State Univerity Campus.

SJSU Fixed Gear Homies

San Jose bike commuting up 206%

Congratulations to:
San Jose, California blows all of these out of the water with an astounding 206% increase in bike commuters from 2005 to 2008. From 2000 to 2008, the number of bike commuters doubled. From 2007 to 2008, the upward trend in San Jose continued with 80% more bike commuters.

Dutch style cyclist in San Jose

The total bike share is still a paltry 1.23% in San Jose and 77.8% still drive to work alone, but that's still over 11,000 cyclists riding to work in San Jose, and they are much more visible than in the past.

Reese rides a bicycle

The statistics come from analysis by the League of American Bicyclists on U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey numbers that were released last summer. The American Community Survey and Census numbers undercount cyclists. Each person is asked for the principal transportation used for most days the previous week. I bike everyday, but I'm not counted because my principal transportation is public transportation. In San Jose, where 4.1% of commuters ride public transit, the bus bike racks and transit center bike parking are often fully utilized. 10% of Caltrain riders bring their bikes on board the train.

Parked bikes

San Jose isn't the only large city with dramatically larger increases resulting in noticeably more bikes on the street. The bike modal share in Kansas City, Missouri rocketed an astonishing 680% from 2005 to 2008. Still, the absolute numbers are pretty pitiful -- fewer than 80 people in a population of nearly half a million people commute by bike. I see that many cyclists roll up to the Caltrain station in San Jose in a 5 minute period during the morning commute.

In spite of the national trend of more bike commuters, some cities slid back. Dallas, TX, and Newark, NJ each lost over 70% of their bike commuters in three years. Colorado Springs bike share dropped by 46% from 2005 to 2008. Some places like Virigina Beach lost and gained for a net zero change.

What do you think, South Bay cyclists? Almost all of the cyclists I talk to on my commute are brand new to it. They ride all kinds of bikes and wear all kinds of clothing.

What's your impression? Do you see this increase in your area?

Bike share coming to Silicon Valley?

A pilot project by Santa Clara VTA may have bike share stations at Caltrain stations in Mountain View, Palo Alto, and San Jose with satellite destination stations at locations such as Stanford, San Jose State University, San Jose City Hall and Moffett Park. From Streetsblog SF...
Despite the much ballyhooed talk by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom that his city will implement a public bike share pilot, the first bike share program in the Bay Area will likely be implemented by the middle of 2010 in Santa Clara County by the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). While small size may still be a liability to its success and long term funding sources must be determined, the VTA is miles ahead of other transit operators in completing the process necessary to deliver a pilot.

"Bikes in general are given short shrift in suburban sprawling areas," said Chris Augenstein, Deputy Director of Planning at VTA. "We can do a lot more to make bicycles a real mode and integrate them into everything we do."
Read more at Streetsblog SF. The article quotes SFBC's Andy Thornley, who doesn't want to seem like a stick in the mud about this, but I think he's right that the South Bay isn't really the right place for bike share, at least in the way VTA seems to propose for Caltrain users.

University Avenue cyclists

When I served on the SVBC Caltrain working group I saw a lot of feedback regarding bike share as a solution to bike bumping. Over 4,000 passengers detrain at Palo Alto University Avenue every weekday; 360 of these passengers (about 9%) have bicycles. Let's pretend VTA finds funding for 50 bikes at Palo Alto. Every one of those bikes would be used and gone for the entire work day and sitting, mostly unused, until the employee's evening commute.

Big props to VTA for being first in the Bay Area to actually move on a bike share proposal. When and if it happens, I'm certainly curious to see how it works out.

See also:

Cycling, veterans and PTSD

Today is a national holiday to honor military veterans in the UK Commonwealth Nations, the United States, and some European nations.

The United States spends about as much on the military as the entire rest of the world combined and has been on a nearly constant state of war since the Korean War, so we naturally have many veterans to honor and care for in the 21st century.

About four years ago, counselor Gil Ramirez at the VA Healthcare System Menlo Park began leading group bike rides to help veterans recover from PTSD. I run into these men and women regularly in Menlo Park and it's always great to seem them out there. This recent Mercury News story describes the program.
Running, swimming, skiing and other endurance sports aren't new in the treatment of physically, emotionally or mentally wounded soldiers. But as a sustained therapy for PTSD, cycling appears to work wonders.

"Of all the sports we've tried,'' says recreational counselor Melissa Puckett, "cycling is the one that's been the most effective."
It looks like these guys decided to suit up in Road to Recovery jerseys for the media photo shoot. I think there's are a couple of different groups now, but when I see them here's how they usually roll.

Veteran cyclists

This group of vets was on Willow Road just a little south of the VA Center, and I think they looked fabulous. Allez!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Alexis Cole: The Greatest Gift

Proceeds benefit World Bicycle Relief

Jazz vocalist Alexis Cole released her new CD, "The Greatest Gift" on October 13th. An interesting element to this release is that proceeds will benefit the World Bicycle Relief -- an organization dedicated to providing bicycles to people in developing countries around the world. World Bicycle Relief allows these individuals access to transportation and promotes independence, empowerment, and sustainability.

Over 50,000 bicycles have been donated in support of disaster assistance and disease prevention. The Greatest Gift, an enhanced CD, includes two powerfully moving videos that document this wonderful work.

A winner of the 2007 Jazzmobile competition and an award recipient at the Montreux Jazz Voice Competition, Alexis Cole has been described as "a rising star in the jazz world" by Hot House Magazine. Her vocal talents from her three previous albums have been featured on NBC’s NY Morning Show, and in reputable publications such as Jazz Times, Time Out NY, and Jazz Improv Magazine.

Buy: Alexis Cole The Greatest Gift CD or Download MP3.

2010 Breezer Thunder first impressions

In the early 90s, Joe Breeze introduced the aluminum Breezer Thunder. He stopped production of all mountain bikes after 1998 to focus on bicycle advocacy and, later, he relaunched Breezer Bikes as a commuter bike company.

Something old, something new.

For the 2010 model year, Breeze will re-introduce the retro but all modern Breezer Thunder mountain bike.

2010 Breezer Thunder

Like its forebear, this is an aluminum hardtail. The modern edition features triple butted 6066 aluminum with lots of hydroformed curvy goodness. The trademark Breezer blue and white paint is lustrous and beautiful. Hydraulic disc brakes stop the bike, and Ritchey seatpost, headset, handlebar and tires with Mavic wheels provide the control.

2010 Breezer Thunder Pro

The down and dirty on the available build options:

  • Thunder Elite ($3199): Shimano XT (including XT wheel set) with XTR rear derailleur, Fox F-Series Remote fork.
  • Thunder Pro ($2399): Shimano SLX with XT rear derailleur, Fox F-Series fork.
  • Thunder Comp ($1999): Shimano Deore with SLX rear derailleur, Fox F-Series fork.
When Breeze sold mountain bikes in the 90s, I was a committed road cyclist. These days I'm mostly a "utility" cyclist who still enjoys road riding, but I occasionally hit the trails in the Santa Cruz Mountains on an ancient alloy GT. A modern mountain bike with modern components is a real kick.

2010 Breezer Thunder Pro

My bathroom scale says the Thunder "Pro" sample I have weighs about 25 pounds, and oh boy is it fun to ride. The Thunder Pro leaps over fallen redwood limbs in a single bound! This bike thunders (sorry) down 30 degree stairstepped descents with aplomb. I'm still getting accustomed to the slightly twitchy handling (it's not a road bike), so I appreciate the relatively light weight as I drag myself and the bike back up to the trail after I misjudge a turn and hurtle over the edge into the poison oak below.

The Breezer Thunder is a lovely and competent hardtail trail bike. Erik of Norcal Bikers and I will take the Thunder through its paces in the coming days and we'll let you know how it works out. We're tentatively talking about meeting up at Delaveaga Park in Santa Cruz this Saturday morning if you'd like to take a look at this bike. Follow me on Twitter for updates.

DIY electronic shifting

Cozy Beehive has some photos of a nifty looking home brew electronic shifting setup using a couple of toggles, servo motors, and some electronics tucked under the saddle. An amazing effort!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cyclist wins Seattle mayoral election

In a close race watched closely by cycling advocates around the United States, cyclist Mike McGinn announced his victory tonight in the Seattle mayoral election after his opponent Joe Mallahan conceded.

McGinn, who campaigned on his bicycle and strongly supports cycling and public transportation, was the dark horse candidate who was outspent three to one. Seattle bike blogger Paul Andrews writes of McGinn and his campaign:
It was a startlingly unconventional way to build a base, campaigning in a bike helmet and blazer. But McGinn knew something that cyclists have long suspected: We’re a strong and growing political constituency, just waiting to be galvanized by a candidate who rides.

When we find out someone else is a cyclist, their stock goes way up. We have an instant bond. We are brothers and sisters in the daily combat of urban traffic. We know there’s a high chance our values will align, if not mirror, our compatriot’s.
The race was very close, and it's amazing to see a guy who was mostly known for his biking to win this. Seattle cyclists are pretty excited and I think we can expect to see some good things there in the coming years.


* Seattle Transit Blog: McGinn cements lead over Mallan.
* Bike Intelligencer: Riding to win.
* Bike Intelligencer: Vote for a ... cyclist?
* Bike Intelligencer: McGinn woudn't ride like Nickels drives.
* Bike Hugger is in Seattle, so I expect at least a mention of this from them.
* How an underdog named Mike McGinn took City Hall.

Transitfail photos

Sarah @ Streetsblog wants your transit fail photos for her next slide show. Send her your pictures of crummy transit service and infrastructure.

Here are my contributions:

Motorist illegally drives on light rail tracks, blocking the train, then drives across the boarding platform. San Jose, California.

Motorist drives on train tracks and across bus platform

Plowed snow completely blocks bus shelter access. Longmont, Colorado.

Snowbank blocks bus access

Jam packed trolley. San Francisco, California.

F Trolley

Chewbacca and Han Solo ride bicycles

Buy this and other cool images like this here.

Chewbacca and Han Solo ride bikes

From Freewheeling Spirit, who requests caption ideas for this. I'd like to know where he snagged this from. It comes from this guy.

Don't forget Chewie also rides a fixed gear bike.

Geronimo Stilton Race Across America

My daughter's a fan of the Geronimo Stilton series of children books. She brought this Race Across America home from the library. I had no idea!

Geronimo Stilton Race Across America

More about this title from

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Justin Chambers rides a bicycle

Justin Chambers cruises down the sidewalk on his bike in West Hollywood. Justin plays Dr. Alex Karev on Grey's Anatomy.

Justin Chambers Takes His Kids to the Fair!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Naiomi Watts walks her bike

Australian actress Naiomi Watts walks her bike to the gym in New York City.

Naiomi Watts Rides Her Bike In NYC!