Sunday, January 31, 2010


By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. -- John 13:35

Hundreds Of Thousands Still Displaced As Recovery Efforts Continue In Haiti
A child on a bike rides past the remains of a building destroyed in the deadly January 12 earthquake on January 25, 2010 in Leogan, Haiti. Haitian officials have put the death toll from the magnitude 7.0 earthquake at roughly 200,000, according to published reports. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

My church is hosting a an event with proceeds going to relief efforts in Haiti. This is primarily "youth" (teen and young adult) oriented event.

Date: Friday, February 12, 2010
Time: 7:30pm - 11:30pm
Location: 878 Boynton Avenue San Jose, CA

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Colorado HB 1147: Helmet legislation for children

“I will pursue any legislation in order to protect children as best I can,” says Colorado state senator Bob Bacon of Fort Collins. To that end, Senator Bacon and Represenative John Kefalas (also of Ft Collins) are sponsoring legislation to mandate helmet use for children under age 18. The proposed law doesn't have teeth -- enforcement will consist of police lecturing bike riders to ride their helmets, instead of any actual citation or fine.

Kefalas says he's responding to "numerous tragedies on Fort Collins roads involving car collisions with children riding bicycles," according to the Coloradoan. There were 38 bike / car collisions involving children in Ft Collins in 2008 reported to the Ft Collins police.

Long time cycling advocate Rick Price of Ft Collins believes cycling education for children would be a much more valuable use of state resources to improve cycling safety for children.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pedro's Bike

You ever take it off any sweet jumps?

You got like three feet of air that time.

Endurance Conspiracy

Ironman champion Tony "Muffin" DeBoom is accustomed to spendy, technical apparel. What he wants is comfortable, conscientious, art-driven casual clothing that represented his lifestyle. So he created the Endurance Conspiracy, an athlete owned, art driven, casual clothing line that captures the essence of endurance sports through artistic designs and environmentally friendly materials.

Learn more at Endurance Conspiracy, which I think is a pretty cool name for a clothing company. HINT: Valentine's Day is just two weeks away!

Santa Cruz: Titus bicycles demo this weekend

Titus Cycles will be in Santa Cruz, California this weekend with a trailer full of 2010 mountain bikes to demo. Bring a driver license, credit card, pedals, shoes and helmet to try the bikes, no charge. I'll try to be at Delaveaga Saturday morning with my camera, so look sharp!

Saturday, January 30 9 AM to 3 PM at Delaveaga Park.
Sunday, January 31 9 AM to 3 PM at Nisene Marks.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Vigilant Velo

Raymond is an avid cyclist who had a hand in creating MTBR back in the day. These days, when he's not riding his bike, he designs websites for bike companies.

He's been concerned about the seemingly higher numbers of cyclists getting hit by cars on the road, many times by motorists who were completely unaware of the cyclist's presence (this happened to me a couple of weeks ago). To improve motorist awareness, Raymond created these little stickers, perfect for your car rearview mirror to remind you to watch for cyclists.

These stickers are available as adhesive stickers appropriate for exterior surfaces, or static cling stickers for interior smooth surface use. Go visit Vigilant Velo to learn more.

High speed rail stimulus

The big transportation news for today was the announcement of who receives $8 billion in Federal stimulus funding for intercity high speed rail. Steve in Chicago has a good summary of which projects will receive grants to kickstart high speed rail development in the United States.

California received the biggest chunk by far, with $2.35B coming to the state of which $2.25B will go toward the High Speed Rail project to link San Francisco and Sacramento to Los Angeles. Other California projects receiving funding include improvements to San Jose Diridon Station, track work on the Capital Corridor and Pacific Surfliner Corridor, and equipment upgrades for the San Joaquin trains (including more bicycle storage space). LAist has more background and details on the California rail projects receiving stimulus funding.

During President Obama's speech last night, the Palo Alto city council voted to budget $130,000 to fight high speed rail on the Peninsula, responding to NIMBY fears that frequent high speed rail service will bisect their communities and add noise (as if highways 101, 280, 92, 82, 84 and the various expressways already don't do that on the Peninsula and Santa Clara Valley).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I now work for Oracle Corporation

When I was a teenage computer nerd in the 80s, I really admired SUN and their workstations. I dreamed of working for Sun, and that dream came true in 2001 when I was hired to a small group that created custom Solaris kernel modifications in the days before Open Solaris.

These days I do operating system bringup on new server hardware, working on new technology that truly pushes the state of the art. I've had a hand in platforms that break I/O world records, surpass everybody in virtualization performance and are on the Top 500 list of worldwide supercomputing sites. The project I'm technology I'm working on today for release later this year is mind blowing in its capabilities. I'm proud to work for a group that remains profitable and growing within Sun.

Today is a difficult day for me as well as thousands of other former Sun employees. We're watching the death of a Silicon Valley icon. The brands will remain, but the assimilation into the Oracle Collective should be interesting, to say the least.

I'm hopeful, though, with this new combined company. My skillset is pretty unique and my skills are in demand in spite of the economic downturn. Several recruiters who know of the turmoil and uncertainty at Sun have called, hoping to reel me in. With Oracle's acquisition (official as of today), I believe Oracle's huge marketing and sales organization will help my organization sell lots of the hardware I help design.

Nobody knows what tomorrow holds, whether it's something good or bad. I to beleive that everything works out for the good in the end.

And like Sun's ex-CEO Jonathan Schwartz encoded in his farewell message last week: Beat IBM! :-)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bus bike racks benefit the park and rider

One of the passengers on my bus occasionally gripes about the free provision made for bicycles on Santa Cruz County buses, especially the Highway 17 Express that we ride every day.

Santa Cruz installs bike racks with a capacity for three bicycles on their buses. The district spends about $1000 to purchase and install each rack on a bus. Of the 27,204 passengers who rode the Highway 17 Express last November, 1745 (6%) brought their bikes on the bus.

3-bike rack on Highway 17 Express

The Highway 17 Express makes 28 trips daily from Santa Cruz into San Jose. That's potentially 84 passengers who bring their bikes on the bus. If you like visual comparisons, I've grayed out 84 parking spots (of 225 available, or 37% of the parking spots) in the image below of the Park & Ride lot in Scotts Valley.

Scotts Valley Transit Center parking

When a commuter parks in a Park & Ride lot, that parking space is unavailable for the entire day. Parking is free in Santa Cruz County park and ride lots, and that publicly owned real estate does not generate property tax revenue for the local governments.

I'm simplifying greatly -- not every Highway 17 bus passes through Scotts Valley, and the bike racks aren't generally used to capacity for every trip -- but I think I make my point that spending resources for bike transportation can be cost effective for the transit operator and beneficial for all bus riders. It lets the transit district design a smaller parking lot and makes more parking available for the riders who drive to the bus station.

Town considers banning bikes from bike path

From Go Blue Ridge in North Caorlina:

Officials on the Town of Boone’s Greenway, Parks, and Gardens Committee will discuss the possibility of prohibiting bicycles and joggers on portions of the Greenway Trail at their regular meeting Tuesday evening.

No word on if they plan to ban cars from the U.S. and State highways that pass through this college town.


Pink rides a bicycle

American pop star P!nk rides a bicycle -- a pink (natch) Giant TCR Alliance W -- in Los Angeles, California.

Pink and husband Carey Hart stay in shape and go for a bike ride together around LA

Pink and husband Carey Hart stay in shape and go for a bike ride together around LA

Pink and husband Carey Hart stay in shape and go for a bike ride together around LA

Update: I'm NOT interested in a helmet flame war here, so I'm closing comments.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Beijing Ice Bicycle

Residents ride sled bicycles on the frozen lake on January 5, 2010 in Beijing, China.

Snow Fall In Beijing

Snow Fall In Beijing

Drunk driver sentenced for running down cyclists

There are some common factors in the sentencings mentioned below. Many of the drivers claim their wreckless driving was just "an accident," and judgement and sentencing seems to be helped by factors beyond just inattentive driving: the drivers were drunk or texting.

I'm not sure what to think of adding rules prohibiting every possible scenario for distracted driving. Too many people who are sober get off completely free in crashes, though you'd think they have less of an excuse to hit somebody. Should aggravating circumstances (intoxication, mobile device use) be necessary for conviction when somebody dies?

A Massachusetts man who drove drunk and ran down two bicyclists in Concord, N.H., will spend between two and seven years in prison.
More at Man Sentenced For Running Down NH Bicyclists. H/T Chris M.

Driver in fatal hit and run who was texting sentenced to five years; first conviction under new distracted driving ordinance in Washington state. See also Biking Bis.

Then there's the one about the off duty cop who struck and killed a pedestrian and refused a blood alcohol test. The dead pedestrian, who was unable to consent to the test, reportedly had a BAC of .22. She was hailing a cab (you know, because she was too drunk to drive), while the driver, who witnesses say was "visibly drunk," ran her over. Should he get out of jail free because his victim was also drunk?

Two shaft drive bike repair jobs in a week

The one fiddly bit was removing the shaft drive “cog” (or is it an “acorn”) from the hub, and then re-installing it. It is kept in place on the hub with a really burly C-clip, which is hard to both put on and to take off.

A once a year opporunity to dust up my skills and re-read all that documentation I’d downloaded months ago, cool!

But then this happened three days later...
Read more at Flying Pigeon LA: Flying Pigeon Repair Bay Getting the Shafts. Via Biking in LA, which always has interesting links.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mikan oranges in the USA! Who knew?



I grew up in Japan, and my hands down favorite citrus fruit was the 蜜柑, the Japanese mikan (pronounced "mee kahn") tangerine. The rind peels right off like those Levi 501 button fly jeans, and the sweet, seedless flesh tastes oh so yummy. The peel had another bonus feature for teen boys -- it squirts orange oil when you squeeze it, so naturally we all thought it hilarious to blind our friends by spraying their eyes with the oil.

I left Japan in 1984 and lamented the nonavailability of the mikan along with some of my other Japanese favorites. What I only discovered in the last couple of years, however, is that mikan has been cultivated in North America since the 1700s! There's commercial mikan production in the California Central Valley and has been for decades.

What I didn't know is that these oranges are called satsuma mandarins here in the United States. There are even towns in the U.S. south called "Satsuma" after the Japanese orange groves planted there.

So now I know. We're at the tail end of mikan production in California now, so the oranges are pretty pricey at $2 and up per pound, and my family can go through 5 lbs of these in about three days. Clementines are similar to satsuma, though the satsuma is larger, is easier to peel and usually (though not always) tastes better.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bicycle Flamethrower

Johannes Vogl created what he calls a "Mosquito Catcher" from a bicycle handlebar, a brake lever and a can of hairspray. Pull the brake lever to ignite the hairspray.

Sue has another, on road use for this flamethrower, and it's not to keep you warm on those cold, winter bike rides.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Subway Fare Card bike

Check it out: a bike decked out in subway fare cards.

Photo by NYC Scout. See much more at Huff Post: The Legend of the Metrocard Bike.

The wheels on the bike go Click Click Click

Tim wonders why the rear wheel of his bike clicks and asks Jim Langley how to make the clicking noise go away. Jim writes that he probably doesn't want the clicking to go away, because that's what enables the wheels to keep spinning when you stop pedaling. Jim then suggests putting a heavier oil in the freehwheel to quiet the pawls.

He neglects to mention two other possibilities:
  • Bust open the freewheel and break the pawls off. No more noise! No more pedaling, either!

  • Get rid of that freewheeling hub and replace it with a fixed gear hub! No more noise! No more freewheeling, either!

Sun set soon


Image by James Gosling.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Honking at the cyclist

Keri Caffrey was shooting video with bike patrol officer Bill Edgar of the Orlando Police Department as they took the lane for a law enforcement bike education project. A motorist lays on the horn to harass the cyclists before Officer Edgar moved over and stopped where the motorist could see his "POLICE" shirt. Edgar then asks, "Can I help you sir?"

From Commute Orlando.

See also Carlton's POLITE shirts.

The Legacy of Livable Streets

Josh Hart

Josh Hart in San Jose wearing Rivendell MUSA rain pants.
Four decades ago, professor Donald Appleyard's research showed the social and recreational functions of streets can be severely impaired by high-speed car traffic. His research and book Livable Streets is considered a springboard for the modern livable streets movement. In 1982, Appleyard's life and work was tragically cut short at the apex of his career in an auto accident. A motorist travelling over 100 MPH careened out of control, crossing the median into the car Appleyard was riding in.

Josh Hart replicated Appleyard's research while studying for his MSc in Briston, UK and found dramatic differences in neighborhood social interactions with different street traffic levels. He looked at three streets in north Bristol with light, medium and heavy traffic, and discovered that those who lived on busy streets have only a quarter of the local friends that those on light traffic streets have.

Interviews with residents show that growing motor traffic has forced people to make major adjustments in their lives, to shield against the nearly constant noise, pollution, dust and danger outside their front doors. Many residents revealed that they experience sleep disturbances, no longer spend time in the front of their homes, and curtail the independence of their children in response to motor traffic. “Our 4-year-old girl has a constant cough and we limit the amount of time she spends outside…we’re constantly breathing in pollution,” said one father interviewed for the study.

Car Free fans will also know Josh Hart for his flight free transatlantic crossing. He took Amtrak from California to Montreal, then a cargo ship to Europe, and finally rail into the UK. In Bristol, he met Louise Rouse, who would eventually travel to Japan via the Trans-Siberian Railroad!

After Josh completed his MSc in Transport Planning at the University of West England, he returned to the United States by hopping on a "repositioning" cruise ship. The cruise ship lines ferry their ships between Europe and America depending on seasonal demand, and it's possible to book passage on those trips.

I ran into Josh on Highway 17 (of all places) and he's a very friendly and open guy. You can meet him yourself in San Francisco this Friday, January 22 at SPUR for a lunchtime talk on his transatlantic adventures and Appleyard's Livable Streets legacy. Donald Appleyard's son, Bruce, will also participate in the talk. Bruce is a planner in Portland, OR and is working on a second edition of his father's book.

SPUR is the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, and they're located on Mission about midway between 2nd & 3rd Streets. Admission is $5 for non-members. There are no bike racks at SPUR (as of the last time I was there; it might be fixed now), but there are parking meters and bike racks located on the block.


I need one of these "Nubrella" space bubbles.

Just $50 from

Bike Hugger, on the other hand, suggests you can stay dry with the Raingo.

My thoughts on the tatoo polypropylene helmet

James of Bicycle Design first brought the Tatoo folding helmet to my attention about a week ago.



Since then, the various popular geek blogs have picked up Fast Company's critique of the Tatoo helmet.

Firstly, one of the Tatoo innovations: It's made completely of polypropylene and is recyclable. Bicycle helmets are mostly made from expanded polystyrene with other plastics and glues that make recycling difficult.

And that leads to the problem with Tatoo: It's not made with crushable polystyrene foam. The Tatoo design website touts the high "absorption power" of expanded polystyrene as well as its lightweight. There's a reason helmet manufacturers overwhelmingly use polystyrene, though: you get a lot of protection for the weight. They're designed to crush on impact to protect your head. The bouncy property of polypro might make your head bounce as well, resulting in increased trauma on your brain.

I'm told that expanded polypro is used in some helmets, especially those that are designed for multiple hits like multisport helmets. You'll note that multisport helmets tend to be heavier and less well ventilated than the Tatoo bike helmet seems to be. I imagine there's a reason for that.

James (of Bicycle Design, again), points, however, to some criticisms of current helmet design: namely, there's generally little evidence of crushing in real accidents.
What in fact happens in a real crash impact is that the human head deforms elastically on impact. The standard impact attenuation test making use of a solid headform does not consider the effect of human head deformation with the result that all acceleration attenuation occurs in compression of the liner. Since the solid headform is more capable of crushing helmet padding, manufacturers have had to provide relatively stiff foam in the helmet so that it would pass the impact attenuation test.

Cozy Beehive has a pretty good "How Helmets Work" article if you want to look into this a little more deeply. I live just a few blocks from the world headquarters of Bell Sports / Giro / Easton, so I might take a stroll down there and ask for their input on this. Unfortunately, the person I know best at Bell is retiring from her job at the end of this week, so I guess I need to cultivate a new contact there.

B+ on creativity and effort, C- on researching actual requirements for bike helmets.

For a recyclable helmet designed with US CPSC helmet safety standards in mind, see Logan Vickery's Eco Lock bike helmet.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Why not use mudguards / fenders?

I admit it, I've been riding fenderless this week during our California rainstorms. The reason: my fendered rainbike is out of action with a broken brake cable. Yes, I should fix it, but it's just so much easier to grab another bike, and it really hasn't rained that hard (until today). My raingear has kept me dry, but I'm sure the spray is annoying to following cyclists, and spray from the front tire hits my face.

Here in the Bay Area, even the recreational road cyclists have fenders on their bikes. The Guardian has a humorous piece shooting down the usual excuses people don't use fenders.

See also Velo Flaneur's Southern California Fender Primer.

Safety tip: Don't cross that stream crossing

All over California, normally dry stream channels are overflowing their banks as rain from a series of storms dump several inches of water over the state. Many bike paths meander along these channels and I've seen several bike paths in the Bay Area completely inundated, especially when the paths pass under highway river crossings.

Don't try to cross these areas of rushing water. You don't know how deep the water is, and you don't see the hidden obstacles lurking under the water. Maybe the water is shallow enough to cross, but you ride and then -- whoops! -- your front wheel hits a deep pothole and down you go into the water.

Santa Cruz Wildcat 2008

Outdoor writer David Whiting has his tips on safe stream crossings that focuses on hiking, but for urban cycling, I suggest taking an alternate route. The paths are all covered in fallen branches anyway.

If you do fall in the river and find yourself tumbling headlong in the current, you absolutely want to float on your back and position yourself with the feet pointing downstream. Head first, and you hit your noggin on a rock or tree and die. Go sideways, and the hydraulic force of the water will pin you against a rock or tree, and you drown. Feet first, and when you hit an obstruction you have a chance of flipping your head up and out of the water.

Tour Down Under

I've neglected to mention the Tour Down Under in Australia that started last Sunday. I've been busy and I'm sure race fans are following the action and results elsewhere. As usual, Steephill.TV has a great collection of links as well as his own commentary on each stage.

This Australian race is the first pro race of the calendar year. Travel to Australia takes forever, but the entire race takes place around the city of Adelaide, South Austrlia. Racers and fans can stay in the same hotel for the week instead of shuttling from one start point to the next every day. The sun is shining during the warm antipodean summer, and the fans turn out over 100,000 strong to see the big names of European and American cycling.

Entry fees for the better known Pro teams are often waived at less prestigious cycling races, and some of the bigger draws are paid for their participation. The South Australia Premier Mike Rann has drawn some fire for failing to disclose how much his state government paid Lance Armstrong to appear at the race. (State premiers in Australia are the chief executive of the state government, functionally similar to U.S. state governors, but Australian states also have governors who are symbolic representatives of the British crown.)

The TDU is the inaugeral race for Lance Armstrong's new Team Radio Shack, as well as for the reconstituted Astana Cycling Team (old website). Other teams racing this week in Adelaide are Saxo-Bank, Milram, Caisse d'Epargne, Liquigas, Katusha, Garmin, Quick Step, Ag2R La Mondiale, Rabobank, HTC Columbia, BMC, Francaise Des Jeux, Footon-Servetto-Fuji, and Euskaltel - Euskadi. Finally, there's UniSA-Australia, which is the University of South Australia cycling team combined with other top Aussie talent to make a kind of Aussie all star team.

And the lights are flickering in my building so I'm pushing this post out now. Visit Steephill.TV's Tour Down Under dashboard for a collection of the latest. For some silly fun, see the Sydney Morning Herald's Wardrobe Malfunctions of the TDU.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Diesel Be Stupid

I don't have any idea what Diesel is or why they want me to "Be Stupid," but whatever. Isn't that old mixte frame bike cool?

Diesel jeans Be Stupid bicycle

More: Cheap Jap: Diesel Gets Deep With ‘Be Stupid’.

Winter bike to work day

Winter Bike To Work Day is tomorrow, January 20 in Boulder, Colorado, where the weather will be a pleasant 30 degrees or so with partly cloudy skies in the morning.

Chicago also will hold BTWD on Wednesday.

Toronto does a Coldest Day of the Year Ride on January 30. That is statistically the coldest day of the year in Toronto.

For winter bicycling inspiration, see Streetblog's gallery of winter cycling photos posted last Friday.

Bombay Bicycle Club

India's first bicycle share in Mumbai suburb

V. Ramesh was an executive at a financial services firm in India when he quit to start "FreMo", what he claims is India's first bicycle share in Thane, a northeastern suburb of Mumbai (aka Bombay).

Some areas of Thane have the horribly choked traffic characteristic of many highly urbanized areas and where local planners try to solve transportation problems by building more roads. Public transportation is apparently unreliable, and commuters using the local trains and buses have the same "last mile" problem that American transit users have. Ramesh's dream is to establish bike share depots at commuter modal bottlenecks such train stations and employment centers.

FreMo members might travel into downtown Thane by train, then show their FreMo membership card at the staffed bike depot to borrow a bike while their peers try to flag down an autorickshaw and hop on an overcrowded bus. According to FreMo, a bus trip can take upwards of a half hour or more to travel just three or four kilometers (!), while an autorickshaw can take 25 minutes to travel that distance after you've flagged down a driver. A slow bicyclist in heavy traffic can travel 4 km in 20 minutes.

Ramesh, motivated by concerns about pollution and global warming, began looking for funding for this venture in 2008. He received funding recently and hopes to open for business this month.

In the articles in Indian media on Ramesh's bike share ventures, several people have left comments on the the danger of cycling in India. In Mumbai and environs, however, it's still common practice for commuters to hang from open doors and sit on top of the trains, even when they're powered by 25kV overhead catenaries!


Monday, January 18, 2010

Dream on

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I see people as traffic obstructions

It's hard to have compassion on people if you don't see them clearly.
They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?"

He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around."

Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. -- Mark 8:22-25 NIV
This scripture is often used in sermons reminding us to see people more clearly, not as "trees" (a metaphor for inanimate objects), but as human beings. It came to mind for me as I read Bicicleta Bandito's post on her encounter with an old man in Santa Cruz.

The old man was standing in the middle of a driveway to keep motorists from entering "his" parking lot. The motorists saw an obstruction which they honked at and threatened. The cyclist saw a confused, befuddled old man who needed help.

What and who do you see as you ride your bike?

My Sunday School lesson is on "Doing Good" this morning. As part of my object lesson, I will flip out my cell phone and send the text message "HAITI" to 90999 for an instant $10 donation to the Red Cross. As of this writing (Friday evening), nearly $10 million has been donated through texting to the Red Cross, but the need is still great. Do good and give to relief efforts.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Western Spirit Cycling Tours has organized a consumer outdoor bike demo that they've dubbed "Outerbike." According to Bike Radar, several bicycle brands have already signed up for the Moab demo days over the weekend of September 30 to October 4. Because this comes right on the heels of Interbike, the vendors just send their trailers of demo bikes straight to Utah from Las Vegas.

There's no connection between Interbike and Outerbike. I wonder if Nielsen Media has sent a Cease & Desist to the Outerbike organizers yet.
Western Spirit is charging $150 for four days of hitting the dirt on as many bikes as you can get your hands on from Specialized, Trek, Breezer, Maverick, Ibis, Kona, Santa Cruz, Cannondale and other names.

You can also spend $30 for a weekend pass to the Sea Otter Festival coming up April 15-18 in Monterey, California and do pretty much the same thing, although the trails out at Laguna Seca raceway aren't nearly what's available in Moab.

More at More at Bike Rumor.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Japan: Handmade Bicycle Fair

There's something called the "Handmade Bicycle Fair" going on this weekend at the the Tokyo Science Museum.

Interesting (to me) is that they actually pronounce something like "Handmade Bicycle Fair," approximating the English pronunciation with the katakana characters [ ハンドメイドバイシクルフェア ]. This comes out in the Japanese something like "hando medo baisikuru fe," or, if you prefer more American phonetic spelling: "handoh maidoh buy seek koo roo feh." Get it?

It appears they have a couple of dozen exhibitors. One of the speakers was the SANO MAGIC mahogany bike guy I mentioned the other day.

I've seen a handful of Tokyo Bike Fair photos on Flickr; if I have time over the weekend I'll look for the goodies and post.

Women Of Dirt

Mountain bike film features women athletes
California premier in Santa Cruz

The official trailer for Awesome Land: Women of Dirt recently came out.

Women of Dirt showcases women in mountain biking, featuring Tammy Donahugh, Stephanie Nychka, Cierra Smith, Emily Johnston, Lisa Myklak, Jill Kintner, Leana Gerrard, Dawn Cashen, Katrina Strand, Kathy Pruitt, and Darcy Turenne.

The sport of mountain biking has long been a male dominated sport and until recently all forms of media covering this sport have focused on the men with an occasional mention to women. There has been a large influx of women participating in all forms of mountain biking and the level of talent has been exponentially increasing. Women of Dirt is a groundbreaking film by the filmmakers at Bones Over Metal that spotlights some of the most talented women on two wheels and the lifestyles they lead to allow them to ride. Awesome Land: Women Of Dirt celebrates the mountain bike while celebrating the women who love them.

The California premier of this film will be presented by the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz on Sunday, February 28 2010 at the Rio Theater on Soquel. The filmmaker and at least two of the women in the film will be on hand at the Santa Cruz showing. More details forthcoming next week.

Construction Obstruction

Santa Cruz is reasonably bike friendly. Take, for example, this bike path alongside East Cliff Drive.

Construction Obstruction

It's a bidirectional bike path adjacent to the one way (east bound) East Cliff Drive between 41st Avenue and 32nd Avenue. There's currently construction underway to rebuild portions of the roadway and bikeway that have been lost to bluff erosion. The road and bike path remain open during construction, but construction equipment is often parked in the middle of the path like this while crews take their lunch breaks.

At first I was a little bit annoyed -- a front loader would never be parked in the middle of a street adjacent to a road project, after all -- but the reason construction equipment would never be parked over a traffic lane is because cars can't easily maneuver around obstructions, where cyclists can handle it with little problem. I had to leave the bike path and go into oncoming traffic, but really it's not that big of a deal.

What do you think? Would you get annoyed at an intrusion like this?

Kinda related: It's legal to park in bike lanes in California, just in case you didn't know. My little town has a local ordinance that prohibits street parking in most bike lanes, and several other California cities do the same thing, so it might be moot.

Update: Here's a photo Murph took of an obstructed bike path in Urbana, Illinois West Lafayette, Indiana. It's a little more difficult to get around this one.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Roadies and Wafels?

Pedaling.TV, the New York culinary cycling series, continues this week with "Roadies and Wafels." Cyclocross racer Meredith Miller gets a high tech bike fit then takes the lane in New York City with Joan Hanscom on their quest for the perfect Belgian Waffle served from a truck.

Bike theft on Caltain

Over the past few weeks I've heard a few mentions of bike thefts off of the bike car on Caltrain. A typical scenario seems to be this: a commuter brings his bike on board several minutes before the train departs. A no good, dirty, rotten scoundrel hops on the bike car, grabs the nearest bike and takes off.

At SF 4th & King, the bike is located conveniently adjacent to the train station exit, making an easy escape for the miscreant.

Ross D in SF was a victim in San Francisco, where idled trains are common. I suppose this can happen as well at stops where trains stop for a period of time. Some local and limited trains, for example, wait at Lawrence Station with the doors open until a following express train passes.

In light of the recent bike thefts, I've noticed some people are now locking their bikes into the bike car. This is against Caltrain's bike rules and it's inconsiderate to the other cycling passengers, but I can understand the concern.

It's easy to not be vigilant since every day is a party on the bike car, but Rob has posted his tips for Caltrain bicycle security here. The best takeaway, in my opinion? Watch your bike when the train doors are open.

Biking on ice

Lucas Brunelle and his buddies shows us how it's done on the Charles River in Boston back in 2004.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Highwire Bicycle

Concept: Kolelinia high wire bicycle transport

Architect Martin Angelov presents this bike facility concept to transport cyclists over busy intersections and other areas where more traditional infrastructure may be cost prohibitive.

Kolelinia bicycle track

You propel your bike by pedaling in a metal track. To keep from falling off and hurtling to your death, something like a chairlift grip mechanism attaches the bike handlebar to a safety cable on either side of the bike. The "grip" isn't really a grip since it doesn't grip the cable, but rolls freely as shown in the animation below.

The idea is to enable bike transportation in areas where space or money is in short supply. Do you need a new bike / pedestrian bridge over Highway 101 in San Mateo but don't have $8 million in the budget? Buy a truckload of gutter, half inch steel cable, a pile of cable grips and supporting structures and you're good to go!

Can you imagine the vertigo and thrill of flying on your bike underneath the Oakland Bay Bridge while 30 mph gusts toss you to and fro with the churning waves of the Bay 200 feet below?

More info at Via Steve in Chicago.

Bicycle jobs 1/13/2010

I haven't done a job posting in a long time, but somebody asked me about this topic this morning so here's my first job posting for 2010. These are job postings from Craigslist for bike industry jobs but not bike shop jobs (sales, mechanics or store managers), some transportation or advocacy related postings if I run across them; and other items that might be of interest.

If you know of other interesting job postings, please feel free to mention and add a link in the comments.

San Francisco Bay Area, California and environs.

Compliance & Documentation Engineering Specialist at Specialized Bicycles in Morgan Hill. Specialized also needs an Accounts Payable Specialist, i.e. somebody to collect past due accounts from the local bikes shops.

Helmet Design Engineer for a product liability group in Santa Cruz, California.

Office & Event Manager for MonkeyLectric in Berkeley.

Public Bikes in San Francisco seeks Sales Director, Marketing Manager, Volunteers, "Public Agents", and Models for their "Public Transit for One" venture.

Timbuk2 seeks Customer Service Representative and Production Manager in San Francisco.

Kali Protectives sells downhill riding helmets and gear. They're looking for inside sales for South San Jose.

Mocana Corporation in downtown San Francisco is looking for a senior accountant and they have an interesting "Nice to Have": Current or prior motorcycle or bicycle rider.

The San Jose Safety Ambassador programs will pay you $14/hour + benefits to ride a bicycle to keep the downtown area clean, safe and friendly for all those who visit, live and work in downtown.

Education/Bicycle Rodeo Coordinator/Instructor for the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition in Santa Rosa.

Southern California

Charity Ride Organizer for Bike MS in Santa Monica.

LAPD has an immediate need for bike patrol officers.


Bike Taxi in Houston.

Soigneur in Houston.

Pedicab in Austin.


Sock designer in Westminster, CO ('burb of Denver).

Bicycle component company CEO seeks Personal Assistant in Athens, GA.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bike mural in Atascadero

Central Coast artist Kathleen King poses with her recently completed Bike Scribble mural at K-Man Cycle & Run in Atascadero, California.

"K-Man" is Keith Schmidt, who commissioned Kathleen to paint the mural at his new shop. Keith does a lot to support the local community.

Kathleen is looking for the next bike shop wall to paint; who will it be? You can find her on Twitter @BikeChik, or at her occasionally updated blog. Keith is @teamKman.

Japanese shipbuilder creates wooden bicycles

Here's some handmade wooden bike loveliness that will be shown at the Japanese Handmade Bicycle Fair [2010 ハンドメイドバイシクルフェア] which begins this Friday.

Shipbuilder Sueshiro Sano is the owner of a 200 year old business that handcrafts oceangoing wooden sailing ships for an international clientèle in Japan. In the fall of 2007, Sano began to experiment with a mahogany laminate bike. This initial build was a mostly solid bike with an aluminum seat tube wrapped in thin laminate, a big honkin' wooden head tube with a metal sleeve for the steerer, a solid wooden fork with metal fork ends, and wooden seatpost.

Bike number 2, built in 2008, was their first hollow frame with a goal toward bringing the total bike weight under 8 kg (17.6 lbs) built up with wooden saddle, wooden drop handlebar, and Shimano Dura Ace components.

Sueshiro SANO has only built a small handful of these wooden bicycles for sale. If you can't afford the complete bike, you can get mahogany laminate handlebars, seatpost and wheels for your minivelo bike.

There's a tremendous amount of information on how these bikes are designed and built, including details on the craftsmanship and thinking going into these bikes at the SANOMAGIC website. Several movies are also available for download as WMV files.

If you understand Japanese, there's this interesting talk with the bike designer and ride along on the SANO MAGIC mahogany bike on Youtube.

Yohei Morita visited SANO MAGIC last weekend. See his Flickr photos here.

Recall: 2010 Redline Conquest Pro

The CPSC and Seattle Bike Supply (SBS) have announced a recall of the 2010 Redline Conquest Pro bicycles and framesets. This popular cyclocross bike was sold in pearl white/blue and have aluminum frames with carbon fiber forks and aluminum steerer tubes.

2010 Redline Conquest Pro Cyclocross Bike

The bicycle’s fork legs can separate from the fork crown and cause the rider to lose control, posing a risk of serious injury if the rider falls. If you have this bike, you should stop riding it and take it to the dealer for a free inspection and fork replacement.

For information, contact Redline Bicycles at (800) 283-2453.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fame! My photo published at Bike Snob NYC

In his "I'm too sick to blog today" post, Bike Snob NYC mocks this photo I took at the SF Bike Expo last November. Woo hoo!

Bike Expo Fashion Show

The outfits from B. Spoke Tailor are described here by the designer, Nan Eastep. The dude is on a Renovo wooden bicycle.

Guys without bikes m4w

Craigslist missed connections and guys with bikes...

I mentioned it way back when but this classic best of CL is making the rounds again and it's worth another mention: this guy is confused by women's fascination with bicycles in CL missed connections.
It seems you hardly even saw the dude, so transfixed as you were by his yellow fixie. Honestly, is this the new chick magnet? Has the red sports car of the 80's been replaced with the fixed wheel bike?

That might explain some of the anti-cycling hate in Facebook and elsewhere: They're jealous. Back in the caveman days we competed for mates by hooting like chimps and bludgeoning each other with sticks. Through the modern age, economic status (or the appearance of it) seemed to work well. Joe Winebox believed the advertising that his shiny car from Smythe European (that's the name of a real Bay Area car dealership, no kidding!) would attract the perfect trophy wife, but when his tactic doesn't work, Joe might be tempted to revert to ape-like yammering squawks, threats and bludgeoning.

I probably read too much into it, so just have some fun with this.

Monday Morning Report

After several minor quakes rattled the South Bay last week, a magnitude 6.5 earthquake about 20 miles off of the California coast shook coastal towns in Humboldt County Saturday afternoon. Damage mostly consisted of downed power lines, broken pipes, shattered glass and toppled shelves. Mark Ritz of Kinetic Koffee in Arcata momentarily lost power and his Internet access, but otherwise reports no real damage. Humboldt County is about 300 miles north of Santa Cruz, California as the crow flies.

The city is repaving a 2000 foot section of road in my town using Federal ARRA ('stimulus') funds. Because the regional transportation commission has a "Complete Streets" style requirement in place for any project that accepts ARRA funds, a new sidewalk and bike lane will also be installed on Bean Creek Road as part of this paving project. This is one example where a Complete Streets policy can be very helpful.

Pedal powered trash collection in Northhampton, Massachusetts.

Peak Car Ownership? Some people hope so.

For those sitting under a log this past week: People are upset about Facebook's lack of action regarding a group inciting violence against cyclists. There's an anti anti (i.e. "pro cyclist") group now to counter. Carson Blume has organized a protest ride around Facebook HQ in Palo Alto Saturday, January 23 at noon.

James's notes on Sanyo's Eneloop bike.

Cool: A new Banshee Spitfire?

Totsumo Yamaguchi worked for Mitsubishi in Nagasaki. He was in Hiroshima for a business trip when the Enola Gay dropped the Little Boy atomic bomb on that city. Yamaguchi lost his hearing, was blinded and burned over half of his body from the blast. He returned home to Nagasaki three days later just in time for, you guessed it, Fat Man's atomic explosion. Yamaguchi passed last week at the age of 93. More here.

Salud! I now direct you to The Bike Intelligencer weekend roundup of bike news.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

CES 2010: Cannondale Simon electronic suspension

Stanley Song from Cannondale's advanced products describes "Simon," an electronically controlled bicycle suspension proof of concept at the Consumer Electronics Show 2010.

More at Engadget: Cannondale's mind-blowing Simon electronic suspension system hands-on.

The Key to Winter Cycling

The key to riding a bicycle in winter, Yvonne Bambrick confides, is tissues.

"Some people do the, what do they call it, snot rockets. Yuck." She digs into her purse in the front basket of her bicycle to reveal a pale blue silk pouch, brimming with Kleenex. "Do you want one?"

More in the Toronto Star: Hard-core cyclists do not fear winter.

While most of you in the USA and Canada are freezing your keisters off, it's a balmy 70 degrees in Santa Cruz this weekend. ~~ Love, Fritz.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Compare and Contrast

H/T: Spokesmen Bicycles in Santa Cruz, who says, "We'll stick to nice people and good coffee."

Friday, January 8, 2010

These couriers and their appointed rounds

Freezing Temperatures Hit Germany

A worker of German postal carrier Deutsche Post pushes his delivery bicycle up a snow-covered path on January 8, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. Up to 40cm of new snow is predicted for Germany and forecasters are warning of possible traffic and rail complications. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images).

Sanyo Eneloop Bicycle Review

Momentum Magazine published their 2010 Gear Issue this week, which includes my very short review of Sanyo's "Eneloop" electric bicycle.

Sanyo Eneloop Bicycle

I wanted a simile to describe this bike's fun yet practical style and I thought immediately of the mullet -- "business in the front, party in the back!" My wife immediately made a face (I can't imagine why), and suggested I liken the bike to the Little Black Dress. I think it's perfect.

Like I describe in the review, the Eneloop bike is very practical with its 3 speed hub, sturdy rack, chainguard, lighting and kickstand. I personally think the Japanese styling is appealing and friendly.

Many eBikes are fairly ugly, in my opinion. Attempts to integrate the battery case and wiring harness with the look of the bike often fall short. Sanyo's been selling electric bikes in Japan for 15 years now and their experience shows. I like how they tuck their Lithium Ion battery between the seatpost and rear wheel, and check out this channel where wiring and cables are routed through the downtube's underside:

LSanyo Eneloop Bicycle - downtube detail

Other cool features:

    Integrated lightning. The lights are powered by the same battery that powers the motor, and they're turned on with a single button on the handlebar. This is a big plus for me -- I don't need to flip a different switch for each light, and I don't need to remove lights and batteries when I park the bike.

    Light control

    Brake light. Grab the rear brake lever and the tail light flashes quickly, like some motorcycle brake lights you might have seen.

    Regenerative braking. The usual argument against regenerative braking on eBikes is it adds significant expense, weight and complexity to a bike for little gain, but Sanyo seems to have managed this technology and it seems to work. When coasting downhill, you can feel the drag from the front motor as it charges the battery. (This coasting recharge can be disabled with a touch of the control panel). Charging also occurs during braking. More than a gee whiz feature, Sanyo claims they can use a smaller, lighter battery with a range of up to 40 miles. I haven't tested this claim -- the farthest I've gone on a single charge was 12 miles and I nearly drained the battery, but that ride wasn't a good test because it was on a park bike path with extremely steep hills (Pipeline Road in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, for those who know Santa Cruz, California).

Unlike some electric bikes which have a throttle to control motor speed, the Sanyo eBike is an electric assist bike. This means you must pedal the bike to get the power assist from the front hub motor. The Eneloop bike top speed of 15 mph may be a touch slow for enthusiasts, but it's a good speed for many city cyclists who prefer a slower pace.

Unlike some other eBikes I've tried, pushing the Eneloop beyond 15 mph under my own pedal power is very difficult. I pushed to sprint across an intersection and not much happened - Eneloop just puttered along at its happy 15 mph pace. This may be due simply to the 'mamachari' style of the bike -- the frame is not based on a performance design, but on the standard Japanese city bike that's ridden to the train station and local market every day at very slow speed.

Petite individuals will love the sizing of the Sanyo eBike. It comes in a one size fits most with adjustable seatpost and handlebar stem, and everything about the bike is sized perfectly -- smaller handlebar grips, smaller controls, and short reach brake levers. For me (5'9" male with average size hands and proportions), I had to extend the seatpost beyond the minimum insertion line for me to pedal comfortably, and the grips felt just a hair small for me.

The Sanyo Eneloop eBike is a cute, fun and very practical bike. It seems very sturdy and well built with no mystery rattles. My wife has generally been an eBike sceptic ("it feels like cheating!"), but she loves the look and feel of the Eneloop.

Sanyo sells this bike only through independent bike dealers and specialty electric bike shops. In the United States, the Eneloop bike is available at Electric Cyclery in Los Angeles, Philly Electric Wheels Philadelphia, and NYCeWheels New York City.

See also:
* Sanyo Eneloop Bicycle.
* James @ Bicycle Design promises an Eneloop review Real Soon Now. In the meantime, take a look at this National Park Concept Bike.

Who is the new Sheldon Brown?

One of the things that made the late great Sheldon Brown so absolutely fantastic was his friendly eagerness to share his encyclopedic knowledge of all things bicycle. "Captain Bike" participated very actively in the wreck.bikes Usenet discussion forums as well as on Bike Forums and other online forums through his AOL account. He responded to personal emails as well as to numerous public discussion threads.

Sheldon passed two years ago next month. Nobody will ever replace him, but I wonder: Who is the go to expert for technical bicycle questions today? Is there a single well regarded expert? Do you just blast your inquiry to Twitter and hope for the best? With the widespread availability of bicycle information on the web these days, is a single expert even necessary? Is your Local Bike Shop a dependable resource for the oddball and hard to find?

What prompted this thought was this City Room article in the New York Times, in which a bike mechanic answers reader questions about flat resistant tires, spokes for touring and bike lube, but a newspaper blog doesn't quite have the personal touch that Sheldon had.

Jim Langley (bike egghead and former technical editor for Bicycling magazine) also does occasional question and answer posts of a more technical nature to his blog. Jim knows bikes inside and out, and he knows oddball experiments and brands from the past thirty years. Jim is a genuinely nice guy. I think his personality comes through on his blog, but Jim lives just a few miles from me so it's hard for me to separate the real world from our virtual interactions.

What do you think? Who is your nominee for the friendly, bike knowledgeable person you can turn to for technical bike trivia?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

UC Santa Cruz Bike Library

The University of California Santa Cruz has a Bicycle Lending Library for students. The student run program makes bicycles available for free use to UCSC students.

Students who want to borrow a bike must apply by writing a letter explaining how they'll use the bike. Lendees are responsible for care of the bike and must take classes on bike maintenance and traffic safety.

Out of the original 20 Kona bicycles in the program (15 Kona Dew mountain bikes and Kona Afrika commuter bikes), two have been stolen since the Bike Library program began in the spring of 2008. Bikes are lended out on a quarterly basis.

Learn more:

Dr Venki rides a bicycle

Dr Venkatraman Ramakrishnan won the 2009 Nobel prize for chemistry. He doesn't own a car and rides a bike to get around in Cambridge. During a visit to the Indian Institute of Science yesterday, he talked about cycling with members of Ride A Cycle Foundation and the Bangalore Bikers' Club.

Some excerpts:

In India, cycling is perceived as a mode of transport only for the poor. So, what is it that makes you prefer a cycle?

I cycle for a variety of reasons, the first being that I enjoy cycling!

How does one manage cycling in the heat of the tropics?

No problem at all! Where I grew up, we had summers where the temperature used to go regularly to 45° Celsius! [for us Americans, that's a heart stopping 113°F!] And we cycled around in the afternoon. [Translation: We rode uphill in the snow both ways and we liked it!]

Read the full interview: Citizen Matters Bangalore: City cyclists meet Nobel winning cyclist. Via Quickrelease.TV.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pedicab vs taxicab NYC

Pedicab races a taxicab down midtown Manhattan. Guess who wins?

H/T Main Street Pedicabs of Broomfield, Colorado and "Pedicab King."

Winter race Leadville Colorado

Leadville, Colorado is the highest incorporated city in the United States at elevation 10,152 feet above sea level. That means it will probably be pretty chilly there on January 23, 2010, for the first of a series of winter snow mountain bike races.

The temperatures generally range from the single digits to low 30s Fahrenheit in January, which isn't too bad when you're exerting yourself.

For details -->
Props to UltraRob and 303 Cycling.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dirt Bowl: Marin County Benefit Ride

Mountain bike charity ride with Leadville 100 six time winner David Wiens

The Marin County Bicycle Coalition and the NorCal High School Mountain Bike League have organized the 1st Annual Dirt Bowl, a benefit ride to ensure that kids have safe roads and great trails. Proceeds from the Dirt Bowl will go towards the ongoing advocacy work being conducted by both organizations.

The Dirt Bowl offers both recreational and competitive cyclists the opportunity to participate in a fun and well organized event. The Dirt Bowl will start at the San Geronimo Golf Course in Fairfax, California on the morning of the Super Bowl. You can join the supported mountain bike ride through Camp Tamarancho or plan your own route (trail or road). After the ride, head back to the San Geronimo Golf Course for a BBQ, with local beverages, new friends and the big game.

Colorado native and Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Dave Wiens will lead the 10:30

Participants will be required to raise a minimum of $125 to join the fundraising event. Your contribution will include food and drink, a Dirt Bowl t-shirt, a chance to win prizes and a few other surprises.

    What: DirtBowl mountain bike ride.
    Who: Marin County Bicycle Coalition and NorCal High School Mountain Bike League.
    When: Super Bowl Sunday, February 7th, 2010.
    Where: San Geronimo Golf Course, San Geronimo, CA 94963. This is up the road from Fairfax, CA in Marin County.
    Why: Benefits MCBC and NorCal High School Mountain Bike League.
    How: Visit for more info and to register for this ride.

Contest: Pedaling Revolution Book

Update: Contest and comments closed.
Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists are Changing American Cities

In a world of growing traffic congestion, expensive oil, and threats of cataclysmic climate change, a grassroots movement is carving out a niche for bicycles on the streets of urban cityscapes. In Pedaling Revolution, Jeff Mapes explores the growing urban bike culture that is changing the look and feel of cities across the U.S. He rides with bike advocates who are taming the streets of New York City, joins the street circus that is Critical Mass in San Francisco, and gets inspired by the everyday folk pedaling in Amsterdam, the nirvana of American bike activists. Mapes, a seasoned political journalist and long-time bike commuter, explores the growth of bicycle advocacy while covering such issues as the environmental, safety, and health aspects of bicycling for short urban trips. His rich cast of characters includes Noah Budnick, a young bicycle advocate in New York who almost died in a crash near the Brooklyn Bridge, and Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN), who took to bicycling in his fifties and helped unleash a new flood of federal money for bikeways. Chapters set in Chicago and Portland show how bicycling has became a political act, with seemingly dozens of subcultures, and how cyclists, with the encouragement of local officials, are seizing streets back from motorists. Pedaling Revolution is essential reading for the approximately one million people who regularly ride their bike to work or on errands, for anyone engaged in transportation, urban planning, sustainability, and public health'and for drivers trying to understand why they're seeing so many cyclists. All will be interested in how urban bike activists are creating the future of how we travel and live in twenty-first-century cities.

First to correctly answer all trivia questions wins this book.

Post a comment with the correct answer to the questions below, and I'll send you my well thumbed-through copy of Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists are Changing American Cities by Jeff Mapes. Mapes gives the political history of modern cycling advocacy and is a valuable read for anybody involved in cycling advocacy and transportation issue.

1. In the context of transportation planning: Who is Roger Geller?

2. Jeff Mapes is senior political reporter for which newspaper in which city?

3. The first Critical Mass (as such) was held in what U.S. city in what year?

4. As of today, what three cities have "platinum" status in the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Communities program?

5. "Transportation Alternatives" is the chief pedestrian and bicycle lobby in what city?

Bonus. What was your first bicycle?