Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Googler rides 40 miles to work

Keith told me he rides from his home in San Francisco to his job at Google in Mountain View, CA -- a distance of almost 40 miles one way.

Keith was on the side of the road messing with his PDA when I passed by him. He was trying a new route that takes him across East Palo Alto toward the gravel trail through Baylands Nature Preserve.

If you can wear a size XS or S, you can buy a Google bicycle jersey of your very own.


Photo info: Googler in distress by richardmasoner.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Test ride a Litespeed, get free socks

Rats. I wish I saw this item earlier. I walked right by a Litespeed dealer in Estes Park, Colorado today. We dropped in at Deleo's Deli for excellent sandwiches, walked up Elkhorn Avenue, sampled some ice cream, bought tacky tourist t-shirts. My wife asked if I wanted to go into the bike shop and I responded "I've been in there a thousand times before; I already know what they have."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Gas saving tips for the holiday weekend

I suppose it's a bit late to plan a short bicycle tour, but if you're traveling somewhere for the weekend, consider using a bicycle to get around, especially if you're visiting an urban area. A bicycle is the perfect way to get around the tourist areas of San Francisco, for example.

Frommer's published some gas saving ideas for your vacation: suggesting Vacations by Rail, a couple of bicycle touring outfits, bike rental offers and bus passes through Aspen Snowmass, and pointers to other ideas.

I'm sticking close to home this Memorial Day -- although "home" right now means flying 1000 miles to Colorado so I'm far from being conservationist. After that, though, will be house cleanup, chores, a church picnic this Sunday, and time with my family.

It's worth pointing out that Memorial Day is more than just a three-day weekend marking the start of summer. This day is set aside to remember those who died in the service of their nation. Remember them and their sacrifice.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bicycle smörgåsbord




Unlike East St. Louis, if you steal a bike in Japan you'll just rot in jail.

Looking for cycling events and rides? Visit BikeRide.com.

Some implications of the Liberty Seguros bust at TDFblog. "Jan Ullrich was among [team doctor] Fuentes' clients, along with about 200 others, after claiming Tuesday that Basso was. Both riders have previously worked with Luigi Cecchini, mentioned in some stories as a friend and collaborator with Fuentes."

If you haven't visited in a while, don't forget the Oil is for Sissies blog. It's one of the originals.

Western Washington University cycling team in Bellingham, WA. How many other university cycling teams have their own website? How many other universities have a cycling team? My alma mater has one (organized while I attended in the mid-80s -- I ran cross country and didn't join cycling) -- Midwestern State in Wichita Falls is 6th in the nation out of 47 NCAA Division 1 cycling teams. What about your school?

Turn on, tune in, and get dropped

Dropped is what Liberty Seguros did with their sponsorship of the eponymous pro cycling team when team director Manolo Saiz was detained by police during a Spanish dope investigation. "The implications and consequences of the detention of Manolo Saiz are highly worrying; they damage our name and the name of cycling. We have cancelled our agreement with the owners of the team and will respect outstanding financial obligations."

This is the kind of action that will help end doping in professional cycling.

Full story here.. Hat tip to BikeBiz.

Mount Evans & Oh My God Road

Please comment if you have ever biked up any of these or would be interested in doing it. I will be heading out to Boulder next month (June 29th through July 5th), so I have a few days to accomplish these. Being from New Jersey, it's very rare for me to accomplish roads like these, so I am looking forward to giving them a shot.

So let me know if you want to go! It's a great goal for everyone to accomplish!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Cop beats bicycle thief senseless

I don't know, it seems kind of reasonable to me I guess.

Half of all gas stations on E85 by 2015


  Hillary Clinton wants half of all US gas stations to sell E85 by 2015. Robert @ The Oil Drum crunched some numbers and came to this conclusion:
Our annual gasoline consumption is up to almost 140 billion gallons. That means on a BTU equivalent basis, converting the entire US corn crop into ethanol would amount to 13.4% of our annual gasoline demand. It takes 77,228 BTUs of fossil fuel inputs to make 83,961 BTUs of "green, renewable" ethanol. That means that in reality, using our entire corn crop would only displace 1% of our annual gasoline consumption. We can't possibly produce enough E85 to justify putting in all those pumps.
   Cyclelicious readers are a smart bunch, so you already know that Hillary talked about cellulosic ethanol, which can be made from switchgrass (among other things). I crunched the numbers before on cellulosic ethanol and switchgrass, figuring we need over 500 million acres of switchgrass to create enough ethanol to replace what we burn today. This commentor came up with a similar number. This comment is also good to read regarding some of the reality that we encounter when trying to figure out a way to fuel our automobiles.

  Since we're talking a little about Hillary Clinton, what do you think of her chances of getting the DNC presidential nomination for 2008?

  Since this is a bicycle blog, here's some bike-y content for you today.

VMware ESX on Sun hardware

I've already opened the kimono a bit and hinted that I work for Sun Microsystems. Specifically, I work in a group doing bringup and certification work for the AMD Opteron based enterprise and blade servers. My specific task is ensuring VMware's ESX Server virtualization software works perfectly on Sun's x86 hardware. That means I spend much of my day looking at block diagrams, talking to hardware designers inside of Sun, reading datasheets from chip vendors, and looking at thousands of lines of operating system source code.

ESX Server is a product that enables machine virtualization so that typical operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and Solaris all run simultaneoulsy on the same host, with ESX managing the physical hardware resources. What this means is you can do cool stuff like this.

Hercules CA, eminent domain, and Wal-Mart

Hercules, California is the typical faceless suburb on the outskirts of the Bay Area with low-density development, strip malls lining busy streets, long commutes, and few civic amenities. In other words, the place is the perfect target for a Wal-Mart.

Interestingly, the Hercules city council voted last night to use eminent domain to seize the land owned by Wal-Mart to prevent the retail giant from building a store in their town.

The people of Hercules, CA hopes to transform the town and give it character by developing a waterfront village with boutique retail on the property that Wal-Mart currently owns.

Update: Check out Mark Morford's shock and awe over Wal-Mart going green.

New site: Wheels of Justice

The Wheels of Justice blog has a new website at www.woj.com.au. Wheels of Justice are a group of Australian cyclists who have had enough of negative attitudes and want to see positive changes for all road users. They want to see drivers educated to understand that cyclists have a right to be on the road; they want existing traffic laws properly enforced to protect the safety of all road users and full penalties applied; and they want all road users to be held accountable for their own actions.

Contest info: This evening (Wednesday) I'm on my trashy red fixie wearing black wind pants (rolled up), gray t-shirt, white Giro helmet and with my black Timbuk2 messenger bag. Find me, snap a photo and win a prize. Rules changes: If you're a Sun employee, the photo was be snapped at least one mile from the Sun campus in Menlo Park. For Jerry and his household the photo must be at least two miles from your home.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bike porn for utility cyclists

Probicycle has started a gallery of utility cyclists. "Getting a little chafed by the galleries of our shaved-leg cousins? Relief is on the way. ProBicycle is creating a new section which will feature the real two-wheel heroes: commuters and utility cyclists." If you're female or if you're "colorful" enough, you get one of their groovy cool "Same Roads Same Rights Same Rules" stickers in exchange for your photo and your story. Via Cafiend @ Citizen Rider.

Speaking of Citizen Rider, you really should check out his blog. He only has a handful of subscribers but he has some very nice content.

CONTEST: $50 Prize!

This one is hard so it's worth some money, but watch this blog over the next week and you might get lucky! The first person who snaps a photo of me on a bike, posts it on the web somewhere and and successfully notifies me and points to the photo wins a $50 Amazon gift certificate. Finding and identifying me: In California, I generally ride a trashy looking red and white Centurion fixed gear steel bike during commute hours. There are two white LEDs on the handlebars, a small LED headlight on my helmet, and a big 10 LED red light on a seatstay. I also have a yellow xenon strobe on my small Timbuk2 messenger bag. I don't usually wear lycra.

I usually commute between Cupertino and Menlo Park, usually down Stevens Creek, Stelling, Hollenbeck, Evelyn, Central, Rengstorff, Middlefield, Willow. Sometimes I go down Stevens Creek, Foothills, Page Mill, El Camino Real, California, Bryant through Palo Alto to Willow in Menlo Park. There can be significant variation. If I ride Caltrain I ride from Palo Alto to either Mountain View or Sunnyvale. Buses I sometimes ride are Dumbarton Express, 522, 22, or 54.

I will be in Longmont, Colorado over Memorial Day. I don't know how much bike riding I'll get in, but if I ride I will post my schedule on this blog so stay tuned.

Here's how you might find me Tonight (Tuesday): I will ride begining at about 7:45 p.m. and ride a meandering path across Palo Alto on Bryant, up Meadow Road under Hwy 101, along the Bay trails to Stevens Creek Trail to Grant Road to Foothills to Steven Creek Blvd into Cupertino. I expect to be in Cupertino at about 9 p.m. Good luck!

Bike to work for white people day

I hope nobody takes this wrong, but I've long noticed that while most transportational cyclists in the US tend to be in the underclass, Bike To Work Day event participation is overwhelmingly Caucasian. Others made note of this also.

Here in California and in Colorado, most utility cyclists are Hispanic and they are probably recent immigrants. At the breakfast stations I noticed all of the Latino bikers riding by without stopping, though a few glaced curiously at the goings on.

The Spanish-language Bike To Work Day pamphlet shown here is a direct result of input I gave to the Denver Region Council of Governments two years ago during my participation in the Bike To Work Day committee. Some of the Denver-area breakfast stations will have signs in Spanish for the first time this year encouraging Latinos to drop in for free food and schwag. Here in California, I've already recommended Spanish-language outreach for Bike To Work Day activities in the future.

What about your area? Do minorities participate in cyclist advocacy? Do you do outreach in your community to this segment of the cycling population? If not, what is needed to get you started?


Photo info: Denver BTWD Spanish Side 2 by richardmasoner.

Andre Anderson Memorial Ride

From the photographer:
Sunday was the Times Up memorial ride to Far Rockaway for Andre Anderson. In case you aren't familiar with Andre's story, he was hit and killed by a reckless driver this past Septemeber while riding home. Andre was 14 and an avid BMX rider. The driver that hit him did so while speeding and attempting to swerve around him. He was hit so hard that his BMX was cut in two. None of this makes Andre's case all that unique (unfortunately). What does make it different was the driver's reaction. Immediately after killing Andre, the driver exited his vehicle and ran back to another SUV that his friend was driving, so they could get their stories/excuses straight. He did not check on Andre's condition, or attempt to help him. And it only gets worse. Jose Vicens, the driver, was not charged with anything, not given a breathalizer, and there has not, nor appears to be any chance of an investigation into Andre's death. Despite witnesses who have come forward claiming that the accident was Vicens' fault, the NYPD has refused to take any other statements and have chosen not to look into the matter. Vicens' statement also makes the lack of an investigation worse. He admits to speeding as well as seeing Andre and swerving not once, but twice. He does not claim to have applied the brakes at any point or honked his horn. And perhaps the most disturbing is that when Vicens finally did hit Andre, he was trying to pass him in the right side. The Queens District Attorney Richard Brown was informed of this incident, and has also elected not to investigate. Remember when I said it gets worse? Jose Vicens has gone so far as to show a blatant lack of remorse for killing Andre, which he demonstrated in the great coloseum of our time, Myspace:
User name: Spiked Cuervo
Hobby: sending bikers flying in the air

"Thanks for the shots and beer, you RULE!! Sucks about the paper and ***, but ya know none of that **** wont matter in 5 years
Ahh that was fun, smoking hooka in the parking lot of Dunkin Donuts, people clapping for us, peeing on cop cars... priceless.... Oh, and I win"


"The paper" in question was the only article that ran about Andre's death.The other creepy thing learned through Vicens' Myspace account is that a lot of his friends are police officers. A more in-depth examination of this incident can be found over at Cars Suck.

So this past Sunday, Times Up organized a ride to Far Rockaway to pay respects at Andre's memorial and visit with his mother on Mother's Day. It was cold and cloudy, almost silent along the shore, the only noise seemed to be the rolling thunder of bikes on the wooden boardwalk. Andre's mother and family came out to talk about him at a small memorial on the grassy median of Shore Front Parkway. She then invited everyone back to her house and served up a huge meal of soul food for everyone. Before leaving, she also invited all the riders and their families back to her house for a BBQ in August.

Photo info: Andre Anderson Memorial Ride by everyday_i_live.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Return of the Schwinn Madison!

Be still my heart!

I've wanted a Schwinn Madison since I first saw one. Just my luck - Schwinn is reintroducing the model next year. It even has a straight bladed fork! I'd have a very hard time deciding between a Madison or an all-chrome Bianchi Pista. She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed may make that decison much easier, though. When I started getting a bit giddy over the idea, she started growling.

Anyway, besides the nuvo-retro appeal of a fixed gear bike made with butted steel tubing, there's the anti-tech aspect of having a simple bike that's easy to maintain. Sure, a 10 speed cluster, narrow chain, and compact gearing has it's own appeal, but when the time comes to repair any of the high-zoot stuff, it gets to be a real pain in the wallet.


From Cycling News:



Schwinn offers something old, something new

By James Huang

Ok, fine, well maybe they're both technically new, but one of them at least looks old. Schwinn takes a short ride on the retro bandwagon for its new '07 Madison fixed-gear/singlespeed rig. The intentionally simplistic and classically-styled bike features 'old school' butted chromoly frame tubing as well as a brazed chromoly fork with straight blades. High-flange flip-flop Formula hubs are equipped with both an ACS freewheel and a fixed cog for versatility, and a mix of parts from Schwalbe, Selle San Marco, Alex, and Tektro round out the parts mix. MSRP is said to be a very easy-to-swallow US$529.

More info: www.schwinn.com

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Weekend updates

The Amazing Shrinking Man posted his own interview of Joan from Super Sized Cycles.

Tyler Hamilton will participate in the Washington Mountain Bicycle Hillclimb this year, according to event promoters. "We are very delighted he is coming," said Mount Washington Auto Road event coordinator Mary Power. "He is a huge presence on Mount Washington plus he is a local favorite since he grew up in Marblehead (Mass.) and went to school in Holderness."

BikeSmart is a program to teach safe riding in the road for children in Eureka, CA. It looks like a good, meaningful program that goes beyond just "wear a helmet."

Ugh, this is awful.

St. Petersburg Mayor rides his bike to work.

Taxi vs Bike. Bike wins. For my commute, it's about 50 minutes by car, 65 minutes by bike, and anywhere from 90 to 120 minutes by public transit.

If you ride with the flow of traffic in California, you're legally entitled to take whatever lane you want to. Rock on.
Photo info: Super Stunt by Mareen Fischinger.

Santa Cruz bicycle rentals

I spent Saturday riding a rented bike around Santa Cruz, CA. I rode all around Santa Cruz and along the coast to Natural Bridges State Park. With all of the traffic and one-way streets, a bike is an excellent way to get around.

If you get to Santa Cruz without a bike, there are a few places that rent them. Electric Bike Rentals is located where 3rd Street curves into Front Street. I rented a hardtail KHS mountain bike for $35 for an entire day and I got to keep it overnight. They also have electric bikes, which I saw plenty of zipping around town.

There's another place right on Beach Street at the eastern end of the Boardwalk. I don't recall the name of the store, but they rent heavy, singlespeed beach cruisers for $6/hour or $28/day. Just look for the sign that says "BIKE RENTAL."

You can also rent demos of high-end full suspension mountain bikes from the Local Bike Shops in Santa Cruz for about $50. FS for city riding is a bit overkill IMO, but there are plenty of trails nearby to check out.

Speaking of electric bikes in Santa Cruz, check out this program: Santa Cruz County gives county residents a $375 instant rebate on a new electric bike. Wow! Given that eBikes start at about $800, this is some kind of deal.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Lance Armstrong nails mugger

Lance was riding in Santa Monica when he saw a purse snatching. Lance chased the thief down, knocked him down, retrieved the purse and returned it to its owner.

Bicycle news and blogs

Carlton says Bike For All needs traffic. Bike For All is designed to promote cycling in the United Kingdom, so go check it out.

City of Portland Transportation Planner Stuart Gwin offers perspective on Idaho's excellent rolling stop law for cyclists. For those who don't know, cyclists are legally permitted to roll through stop signs if it's clear and safe to do so.

Biking Bis comments on proposed legislation to give tax breaks to bicycle commuters.

Shimano QR recall. The front axle could possible break. Ouch.

Hear the voice of Guitar Ted. Via Blue Collar.

Bike ban in Texas. Sheesh.

6.6.06: It's a movie ad, you dorks.

Your XBox can blog. "Fatty Chubs would tell you I am a patient Xbox 360... little does he know... I have a bit of a temper if I am neglected…Where is Fatty Chubs at? I want to disown him. I am putting myself up on eBay ASAP."

Gas prices and the cost of vacations. "The expected cost of our trip has gone up about 7%. Big deal, we're still going. And we might add a side trip!"

Lucas Brunelle

You've seen the crazy urban cycling videos. Here's the man behind those videos -- Lucas Brunelle -- at the Bicycle Film Festival in New York City. That's a pretty freaky looking rig on his head. If you look closely you'll see that the cameras point in opposite directions. Lucas explains in detail how he attached the cameras to his helmet here.
Photo info: P1010090 by ngolebiewski.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Kick the Oil Habit, Move to Greenland


Greenland from 30,000 feet.
Treehugger tells me about this new campaign to "Kick the Oil Habit" by fueling our cars with food instead of petroluem.

Cyclelicious is all for reducing our dependence on oil (even as I eat my lunch out of a polystyrene container), but I remain sceptical of the idea that ethanol can come close to running the transportation infracture we have today.

A good friend came up with this brainstorm: The glaciers in Greeland are receeding so before too long a ton of prime, arable real estate will open up. If about 30,000 of us move to Greenland we can completely take over the government there. About 5,000 read Cyclelicious on a somewhat regular basis -- who's with me?

As your benevolent dictator, I'll mandate bike lanes for transportation, coastal wind farms will supply much of our power (with a nuke perhaps?), and bands of maurading pirates befitting the Viking heritage of costal Greenland will make periodic raids on Europe and North America for supplies. We'll sign a peaceful coexistance pact with Iceland and perhaps Newfoundland and work to keep our population at something like a sustainable level (hence the piracy -- it keeps the population under control).

What d'ya think? What else can we do on post-global-warming-post-oil Greenland to make it the perfect society?


Bicycles for heavy people

By Richard Masoner

BikeBiz reported on SuperSizedCycles, a new business catering to Clydesdales cyclists. Bike forums always have questions from heavier cyclists about the right kind of bike to get. According to business owner Joan Denizot, bikes built to hold up to larger riders are difficult to find. "The people who really understand bikes told me that, in fact, it was very risky to ride a bike that was not built strong enough for my weight. Even bikes that were built for big riders only went up to 300 pounds, maximum."

Most of the cycles carried by Super Sized Cycles are built to hold 500 pounds. They are made from steel, the frames are all solidly welded together, the wheels, spokes, and rims are extra large and extra tough.

I asked Joan a few questions about Super Sized Cycles.

1. How long has Super Sized Cycles been in business? The store is brand new. I published it less than a month ago. At present, I've heard lots of positive feedback, but haven't made any sales. Since I'm still spending quite a bit of time refining the marketing side of the site, I know that www.SuperSizedCycles.com is not easy to find (yet!). I do know that the numbers of potential riders are huge (no pun intended), right now I've got to let them know about my store.

2. Where do you get your bikes? Currently the bikes I'm selling are built in NY state. There is a bike builder in AZ who is building me a prototype of another bike, which I hope to have within a couple of weeks. I am actively looking for more bikes, tricycles, and recumbents.

3. Any tips for new riders? Try it, you'll love it! Like Tom (The Amazing Shrinking Man), I had bariatric surgery a few months ago, and like him, I am so excited to get riding again!

I think that folks who haven't ridden in a while should do a few things to make themselves comfortable. This includes getting a bike they're not afraid of (i.e.--the tires won't pop or the frame won't crack). Invest in a good, soft seat.

It's always a good idea to have the okay from your doctor before undertaking any activity, especially if you are severely obese.

Start slow, and start flat. Find a nice paved bike path or road without any hills. Just get used to being on a bike again--practice using the brakes, getting your balance, making turns.

Gradually increase your distance each time you go out. Try a gentle hill when you're feeling strong.

Drink water while you're biking--it's important to keep hydrated!

If you're very worried about balance, think about a tricycle. You can get them both in the "traditional" style and also as recumbents.

Dress comfortably, but avoid baggy pants that could get caught in the chains.

Wear a helmet!

Relax--it really IS a lot of fun!

Best of luck to Joan and Super Size Cycles.

Bike mentor programs

Cycling Dude mentions Baltimore's bike mentor program, which seeks to help newbie bike commuters find a good bike route to and from work. I wrote up an overview of bike mentor programs in 2005 in preparation of a new program in Longmont.

Bicycle news, bicycle blogs

Bay Area Bike To Work Day 2006

Today is Bike to Work Day in the San Francisco Bay Area and much of the U.S. A record 100,000 Bay Area commuters are expected to commute by bike today, with up to 20,000 riders in Santa Clara County.



Photo info: Cyclists disembark Caltrain at Palo Alto Station on Bike To Work Day by richardmasoner.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Military researches human cannonballs

I'm ROTFL, but apparently it's no joke.

Texas shuts down Bioperformance

Some of you might remember my post on the BioPerformance gas pill in January. Follow the comments that follow that post if you have a half hour to kill.

The state of Texas obtained a restraining order and asset freeze today to shut BioPerformance down. According the Attorney General Greg Abbott, the claims that the BioPerformance gas pill can increase gas mileage and save money "are bogus; the pill does absolutely nothing to improve gas mileage. The company is merely a smokescreen to trigger the recruitment of more and more paying members into what appears to be an illegal pyramid scheme.” Scientists who tested the product at the University of Texas at Austin and at a Florida university concluded that the pills are mainly naphthalene, the chemical found in mothballs. The Attorney General’s laboratory expert actually concluded BioPerformance’s product could decrease engine performance.

The owner of BioPerformance is Lowell Mims. Mims was involved in the criminally disasterous Destiny Telecom Get-Poor-Quick scheme.

Several media journalism outlets have done stories on BioPerformance. The best one I've seen is from WESH I-Team.

This is the Better Business file on BioPerformance.

I fully expect the True Believers to stand on their testimonials and whine about conspiracy and persecution. I've already seen postings inviting Bio Performance sellers to sign on to other gas pill MLM networks.

Thank you to all of the Anonymous commentors who have provided additional information about BioPerformance. Tags: bioperformance, scam, fraud, mlm, criminal, texas

Salzburg UCI Road World Championships video preview

This is a five-minute video podcast of a press trip held last week in Salzburg, Austria, and hosted by the Austrian tourist board. It features Mozart, Samantha from cycling.tv as Julie Andrews, the Red Bull aviation museum, footage of hundreds of Salzburg cyclists, forty European cycle journalists and a preview of the road and time trial courses at September’s UCI World Road Championships. There’s also news of a mass participation ride tied in with the World Championships.

Ride of Silence today

Look here for locations.

Bicycle helmet camera

Check out Twenty20 Camera. They make cameras that mount to your helmet. They sell primarily to motorcycle enthusiasts, but the cameras will mount to a bicycle helmet and they market to downhillers and freeriders and other extreme sport nutcases; speaking of which: I'd like a helmet cam to video my bicycle rides through San Francisco. Here are a couple videos made with the Twenty20 camera here and here (Windows Media files, sorry Mac and Unix users).

Bicycle news, bicycle blogs

The Wall Street Journal tells us bicycle commuting is chic. CNN reports that "Gas prices fuel more bike commuters." Remember, tomorrow (Thursday) is Bike To Work Day in much of the USA. Ironically, I rented a car yesterday and today because I'm apartment hunting.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Enthusiast Group launches YourMTB.com

Boulder, CO -- If you're passionate about mountain biking, the Internet affords an opportunity to share that passion with like-minded others. If you have tales to tell about your rides and races; if you shoot lots of great photos on the trail and would enjoy sharing them with fellow enthusiasts; if you wear a helmet camera when you ride ... then there's a new online home for you.

YourMTB.com, the debut adventure-sports website from the Enthusiast Group, is a new online community where mountain bikers share their stories, advice, news, photos (and at a future date, trail reviews and videos). The website, which just opened to public use during its beta period, is based on the concept of "citizen media" -- which simply means that mountain bikers themselves are the authors of much of the content on YourMTB.com.

"Sports enthusiasts have compelling stories and images to share, but they typically are under-covered by traditional media," says Steve Outing, founder and publisher of YourMTB.com and the Enthusiast Group. "Only the stars of any sport get media attention. But everyday athletes and sports participants deserve coverage, too. They should have a media outlet of their own. That's what YourMTB.com and future Enthusiast Group sites are about."

YourMTB.com isn't all user-submitted content, however. Serving as head cheerleader -- encouraging and helping mountain bikers share their stories and images -- is Enthusiast-in-Chief Walker Thompson, 29, a Durango, Colorado-based semi-pro, sponsored mountain bike racer. Thompson leads by example, writing a blog on his mountain biking life (As the Chainring Turns), producing a weekly MTB podcast, shooting photos and video of his biking adventures (including recently being bitten by a dog on one of his rides!), and answering website visitors' questions in an Ask Walker forum.

YourMTB.com is about audience participation and interaction. Every piece of content posted to the site allows visitors and users to comment and discuss, and they can share anything they wish, as long as it's on the topic of mountain biking. They can ask questions and get expert answers from Thompson as well as get advice from other YourMTB.com users. "This is not like your traditional mountain biking magazine or website," says Outing, who is a well known interactive media expert and columnist (and an avid mountain biker). "This is about bikers sharing their passions with each other. It's two-way dialog, not traditional one-way, we-tell-you-how publishing."

The site routinely runs contests and promotions, rewarding the best adventure tales and photos, for example, with biking-related prizes provided by sponsors. Outing says the site is looking at other ways for users who submit material to the site to be rewarded, and those will be rolled out as the site proceeds toward a commercial launch. Use of the site is completely free to its users.

About the Enthusiast Group

The Boulder, Colorado-based company was founded in early 2006 by Outing and Derek Scruggs, an experienced Internet entrepreneur, with the goal of creating a network of citizen-media-based websites serving adventure and participant sports. YourMTB.com is the first site published by the company to open to the public.

In early summer, additional websites on climbing and running, based on the same citizen-media model, will be launched in beta mode. YourClimbing.com will be the company's second site; professional climber and writer Katie Brown will be its enthusiast-in-chief. Brown, 25, was ranked as the world's best competitive female climber several years ago before retiring from competition. She currently is a climbing ambassador for Patagonia and regularly writes for climbing magazines. An enthusiast-in-chief for YourRunning.com has not yet been named. Sites covering additional adventure and participant sports are planned for roll-out later this year, and the company is seeking editors.

The Enthusiast Group is funded by a group of 11 investors, including Omidyar Network (a mission-based investment group founded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar), DB Medialab (the new-media arm of Norwegian national newspaper Dagbladet), and Brad Feld.

Sun encourages biking to Java One

Java One began today. Java One is a large conference for Java developers at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Because Java One 2006 takes place during Bike To Work Week, Sun is encouraging employees to take public transit and bike to the conference. On an internal mailing list, one individual grumbled how the area around Moscone isn't "bicycle friendly." I don't think I would encourage my children to ride down Howard Street, but as long as you're aware, awake and assertive it's not bad.

For those traveling from the Peninsula or South Bay, here's my suggested transit + bicycle itinerary.

1. From your home or work, ride your bike to the nearest Caltrain station. Buy a round trip ticket to Zone 1. You need to get to the northbound platform, which will generally be the platform on the east side of the tracks. The bike car will always be the car at the north end of the train, so wait on the platform a litle north of the handicap waiting area. Hold on to this ticket because it's your ticket home.

2. Get on the train and ride it all the way to the end of the line in San Francisco. Train courtesy is to have a tag on the bike with your destination station; a little post it note stuck to the saddle or top tube works fine.

3. Exit the S.F. Caltrain Station. You should be looking at a cluster of cars on Townsend Street. Go right (east) on Townsend toward SBC/AT&T Park.

4. Go two blocks down Townsend and merge left to make a left turn on 2nd Street. 2nd Street is a designated "Bike Boulevard" in San Francisco. It's still narrow so you may need to take the lane to be safe. Don't worry -- city drivers expect this behavior from bicyclists.

5. Go five blocks on 2nd to Howard Street.

6. Turn left on Howard. Traffic is crazy and there are no bike lanes, but you'll do fine.

7. Moscone is a couple of blocks down on Howard. There's a plaza with bike racks and handrails and parking meters to lock your bike to. I'm told bikes are allowed to park for free in the parking garage, but I'm not certain of this. Be sure your bike is securely locked. Bikes are not permitted inside the Moscone.

Google Trends

So Google has this new program called "Google Trends". It's pretty neat. Just enter a search term and you can see what areas have been searching for that term the most. You can also see a graph of how often it was searched for, and news articles during some of the peak times (such as a big event that created more interest). Enter two search terms, seperated by a comma, and you see how they compare. Here are a few I consider to be pretty obvious...
  • "Cycling" - Searched most from Denver, CO
  • "Lance Armstrong" - Searched most from Austin, TX
  • "George Hincapie" - Searched most from Greenville, SC
  • "Tour de France" - Searched most from Paris, France
  • "Tour of California" - Searched most from San Luis Obispo, CO
  • "Tour de Georgia" - Searched most from Macon, GA
Here are a few of my favorite comparisons:
  • CyclingNews and VeloNews are pretty close all the time, with VeloNews peaking much above CyclingNews in June/July
  • Philadelphia always generates more searches than Greenville
  • Lance Armstrong generates more searches than Barry Bonds, but Barry Bonds appears in the news much more than Lance recently (Lance's news volume and number of searches always appear to peak around July, wonder why...)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Where's George?

This post will get to cycling content in a roundabout way in the same way that one dollar bills circulate round-a-bout-ish. I dug through my wallet to look for a one dollar bill and found one with www.wheresgeorge.com stamped all over it. If I enter the serial number and other details about this bill into the website, I can track where where this currency has been.

The guy who originally stamped the bill emailed me shortly after I entered the info and told me about this 18 year old kid who is right now cycling across the USA. For you parents who want to instill a love of cycling in your children, you should read this background about how Charlie got interested in bicycles.

Charlie is currently just west of Yellowstone in Idaho. He'll cycle across Idaho, cut across the southeastern corner of Oregon and northwest Nevada into northern California, and eventually end up in the general vicinity of San Francisco. He's asking for places to stay along the remainder of his cycling route. Contact Charlie if you think you can help him out.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

SPEZI 2006 reports and photos

Spezi is the big German Special Bikes Show. Spezi is for for recumbents, recumbent tricycles, quadracycles, folding cycles, tandems, family cycles, velomobiles, transporters, electrical bikes, special needs bikes, adult kick scooters, child and load trailers, customized designs, and accessories for these human powered vehicles. VeloVision Magazine gives an initial report with photos of a monocycle, a human-powered water fountain, and lots of trikes. More Spezi 2006 photos here (with German captions) and here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Science Fair: first place!

I have to brag on my children now.

First my daughter. She's in first grade and has been promoted in her karate class to an "orange belt." This is the third color belt in her dojo. Great job Ivy!

Now my son. Judging for my son's school science fair took place last night. He cultured some E. coli bacteria and inserted jellyfish DNA into the E. coli to make them glow in the dark using plasmid transformation. The purpose of this project was to show that children can do genetic engineering in their home kitchen. I am absolutely serious about this. This was all done with about $40 worth of material. My son tied for first place in the science fair.

The judges at first thought that the parents must have done the project until they interviewed my son as part of the judging. My fifth-grade son demonstrated a good knowledge of DNA, genetics, the use of plasmids for gene transfer in bacteria.

Ian wanted to build a nuclear reactor at first but I didn't allow that; there's a clause in our HOA covenants about basement nuclear power generation. I tried to come up with something bicycle-related, but my son insisted on doing genetic engineering instead.

Or perhaps this is bicycle-related. I'm sure there's a future for creative genetic engineers who are willing to push the envelope for athletes who can pay for performance-enhancing gene therapy.

Colorado aggressive driver hotline

Bicycle Colorado recently confirmed with the Colorado State Patrol that dialing *CSP on a cell phone is valid for bicyclists who wish to report aggressive driving. Motorists who are identified three times through the hotline receive a warning letter and any additional complaints result in a personal visit from a uniformed officer. Read more here.

Davis Phinney in Colorado Sports Hall of Fame

Davis Phinney is the second Colorado cyclist to be inducted; the first was his wife, Connie Carpenter Phinney. Phinney dominated many Coors Classic races with a record 22 stage wins and an overall title in 1988. He was the first American to win a road stage in the Tour de France. Racing for the powerful 7-Eleven team, Phinney won an amazing 328 races over his career. News here. Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson's Disease (which Phinney suffers from) research and wellness. Carpenter/Phinney Bike Camp.

$10 gasoline?

"Bike sales would skyrocket," writes SF Gate columnist Mark Morford writes about $10 gas. But that ain't all.

Meanwhile in the South Bay, the San Jose Mercury News tries to invent some controversy. A few times a year, somebody tries to beat the train across the tracks or deliberately steps in front of a train. So naturally, it's somehow the fault of Caltrain. Says the mother of a car passenger, the driver of whom drove around the gates and killed the passenger: "I would like for Caltrain to take some accountability, for not only my daughter but the others as well." She also wants the trains -- which can legally cruise at up to 79 mph -- to travel more slowly inside cities, closer to the limits put on cars.

More people die in Bay Area traffic accidents every week than are killed by Caltrain in an entire year, but we don't hear proposals for motorists "to take some accountability," or to travel more slowly inside cities. The Mercury News is well known in its opposition to public transit of any kind and they just have an axe to grind in their yellow journalism.

Bicycle biz podcasts



Carlton lists links for a number of bicycle industry podcasts over at BikeBiz.

BikeBiz also reports on Apple's promotion of The Collective's latest MTB film, "Roam."

Marla had her baby. Woo hoo!

RevoPower wheel. Via.

Also via Treehugger, the 75 pound solar powered bike. I'd avoid ordering one (for delivery in September) though -- I can't imagine how the product as described can be built for less than the listed price of $1300.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What's wrong with this picture?

Citizen Rider noted the silliness of this poster. What happens when this commuter runs into the parking lot gate?

Citizen uses the poster as a launching point to discuss some shortcomings of the League of American Bicyclists. I've experienced the same unresponsiveness that he blogged about. Even when I receive a plea for volunteers and a contact email, I've heard absolutely nothing in response to my offers to help. It's like they don't need me unless I'm sending them money.

I've met Andy Clarke and he's a nice enough guy, but he's only one person. Volunteer development at the LAB needs some help. I imagine that's why the Thunderhead Alliance was formed.

Giro

The Giro d'Italia is in full swing. It's an exciting race, but of course here in America we can't watch it. You can watch it streamed over the Internet thorugh OLNTV and Cycling.tv for $20 -- click here for info.

Kristin Armstrong gives marriage advice

In Glamour magazine Sex and Love column. Frank apparently reads Glamour magazine.

Get Out The Vote!

This is from Fred Oswald. I've posted it because I agree with his choices regarding candidates for the LAB board.....Ed

If you live in LAB Region 1, 4 or 6 and you haven't sent in your director's ballot yet, please get it in the mail right away. We must have responsive directors to allow LAB to recover from the mismanagement of recent years.

In Region 1, John Allen is unopposed but a healthy vote will make his voice stronger.

In region 6, we have John Forester, creater of our education program. Need one say more?

In Region 4, please vote for Jim Sheehan.

Jim is an active LCI who runs BikeEd classes nearly every weekend from his Ohio City Bike Coop. Jim teaches kids both mechanics and good riding methods. Jim will improve the education program and strengthen the League as a defender of our rights.

Jim's opponent 's focus has been almost entirely on facilities, which often have serious safety compromises. They are also expensive and they reinforce the public impression that cyclists are inferior users of the road. Interestingly, although both candidates are from Ohio, Jim has the endorsement of the Ohio cycling advocates. His opponent's support is from out of state.

Please send in that vote today. Please also encourage other members you know to vote also.

Checkout www.labreform.org for more information about the LAB leadership crisis and what must be done to save our League. Also, see the LAB Reform education pages on this site. We have material you can use in your classes.

Thanks,
Fred

Fred Oswald, LCI #947,
See cycling information at http://www.crankmail.com/bike-res.html and
http://www.geocities.com/fredoswald/
Help democratize LAB: http://www.labreform.org

Recall: Schwinn Deluxe Bicycle Child Carriers

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Schwinn Deluxe Bicycle Child Carriers

Units: About 14,000

Manufacturer: PTI Sports Inc., of Coral Gables, Fla.

Hazard: If the seat is not fully seated on the rack, the plastic guide tabs on the carrier can break. If these tabs break, it could cause the seat to fall off. This poses a risk of serious injury to a child seated in the carrier.

Incidents/Injuries: PTI Sports has received five reports of the bicycle child carriers falling, including three reports of minor injuries, such as bumps and scratches.

Description: The carrier is a seat for a child that is attached to the back of an adult bicycle. The carrier is gray plastic with a blue rubber back and seat pad, a gray head rest, and black straps. Model number SW571T is printed on the carrier's packaging and in the owner's manual. "PTI" is printed on a yellow warning sticker on the back of the carrier seat.

Sold at: Department stores, discount department stores, and military exchanges nationwide from September 2004 through November 2005 for about $50.

Manufactured In: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the bicycle child carriers. Do not return the carrier to store. Contact PTI Sports for a free safety bracket and revised installation instructions.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact PTI Sports at (800) 515-0074 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, e-mail the firm at customerservice@ptisports.com, or visit Schwinn's website at www.schwinnbike.com.

Bikes Belong May 2006 grants

Bikes Belong will award $42,000 in grants to six bicycle advocacy and facilities projects around the United States. Read about the projects here.

Bikes Belong is a bike industry promotion group based in Boulder, Colorado. Membership consists of bicycle retailers and suppliers.

twentynineinches update

Twenty Nine Inches

The folks at TwentyNineInches.com have updated the look of their website. Take a look.

Bike Squidoo

James has created a few bicycle-related Squidoo lenses: bicycle design, bicycle commuting, and bicycle racing. Squidoo is a site where you can build your own web page about a topic that's important to you. James, obviously, likes bikes.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Bicycle "king of the road as gas costs rise"

The International Herald Tribune has a pretty good article about changing policies around the world toward the use of bicycles as a serious mode of transportation.
Although an engineer designing from scratch could hardly concoct a better device to unclog modern roads - cheap, nonpolluting, small and silent - the bicycle after nearly a century of mass ownership is still more apt to raise quizzical eyebrows than budget allotments.

And, most ominously for a warming globe, China and India seem to be using their new wealth to pave the way for the automobile rather than to preserve long traditions of mass cycling. So it may seem odd that many cycling advocates are getting optimistic of late.

They acknowledge that progress may be slow at the national level, but many see a wave of action swelling up from below - at the city level, where exasperated mayors are connecting the dots.
Read more.

Resource nationalization

On the train this morning I read analyis in the San Jose Mercury News about the trend toward resource nationalization. Bolivia and Russia have recently taken outright control of their gas fields. Other nations, including the United Kingdom, are raising taxes. I can't find the article online, but it notes that production has leveled or declined since nationalization. The author implies that production has declined not because of geological restraints, but because corporate production is so much more efficient than what government-run are capable of.

Duke Nukem

The opinion page of the Mercury-News had a pro-nuke piece from Eric McErlain who blogs at NEI Nuclear Notes. I'm in agreement with James Kunstler and James Lovelock that we must go to nuclear power now to have any hope of maintaining any semblance of civilization over the next 20 years. The consensus among most environmentalists seems to be that it's better to certainly destroy the entire planet through global warming with coal and gas-fired plants than it is to potentially damage a small area with a nuclear power plant.

I have a question about folding bicycles, but I'll hold that for later this week. I expect my opinion about nuclear power will generate a couple of comments.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Low gas summer vacation

Adventure Cycling press release

Take A Reduced Gas Vacation This Summer, Says Nation's Largest Cycling Group


AAA Says: Watch Pump Prices Rise; ACA Says: Watch Travel Costs Fall

Wouldn't it be satisfying to travel this summer without the stress of watching your auto fuel gauge or filling your tank with increasingly pricey gasoline? Adventure Cycling Association, North America's largest membership bicycling organization, says that a low- or no-gas vacation is easy to accomplish, by making a bike your vacation vehicle.

Gasoline prices are moving close to their highest all-time level (after Hurricane Katrina hit Gulf Coast wells and refineries last fall). According to the American Automobile Association, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. is $2.92. Gasoline prices have risen by 18% over the last year. AAA projects that prices will continue to rise at least through Memorial Day.

Adventure Cycling Association, a nonprofit based in Missoula, Montana, says that there are many ways to make the bike your vacation vehicle -- and save gas and dollars. Here are four options:

Take advantage of the Cyclist's Yellow Pages (CYP): The CYP is the top international guide to bicycle trips, gear, and tour companies. It's prepared annually by Adventure Cycling and is available for free online at www.adventurecycling.org/cyp. You can also get the 100 page printed version for free when you join Adventure Cycling by calling 1-800-755-2453 or visiting our Web site at www.adventurecycling.org. The CYP covers everything from low cost to deluxe trips, from Argentina to Zimbabwe.

Check the Web for bike travel resources: There are a host of great Web sites for information about bike travel, including: the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association, which lists tours of three days or longer at www.nbtda.com; Crazy Guy on a Bike, which features journals and photos from bike travelers around the globe at www.crazyguyonabike.com; or Bike Forums, an online interactive Web site, with a special section on bike touring at www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php?f=47.

Learn how to travel by bike: Different organizations offer special courses to help you learn how to travel by bike, whether you want to ride inn-to-inn or carry your own camp gear. Adventure Cycling offers introductory courses, for bike travel on paved and dirt roads. These courses are taught by trained instructors, who are passionate about bicycling and bike travel. In addition, if you'd like to try bike travel in the company of more experienced riders, you can take a supported tour, where the food is catered and your gear is carried. All you have to do is ride your bike along beautiful roads and paths -- and past those gas stations. See www.adventurecycling.org/tours.

Do it yourself! You can organize your own trip by using Adventure Cycling\'s specially designed travel maps. Like AAA, Adventure Cycling produces up-to-date maps, which feature the safest routes for riding, along with services a rider might need along the way. Altogether, Adventure Cycling has mapped more than 34,000 miles of routes from the Pacific Coast to the Continental Divide to Midwestern rivers to the Atlantic Coast. Riders can use the maps to design epic or short trips. For more information, click on www.adventurecycling.org. The CYP covers everything from low cost to deluxe trips, from Argentina to Zimbabwe.

You can also learn about local bicycle travel resources through many state and local bicycle groups. A great place to find the group nearest you is www.thunderheadalliance.org/links. And you can get tips on no-gas bike riding from the League of American Bicyclists at www.bikeleague.org. Another source of information is your local independent bicycle dealer, who has all the inside information
on nearby riding opportunities. To track down dealers near you, go to the National Bicycle Dealers Association Web site at www.nbda.com/page.cfm?PageID=32.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Cycling photos

Eric Reagan is a photographer in Knoxville, Tennessee who likes to ride. He's a cyclist who likes to shoot. Eric recently started a blog featuring some of his cycling photos.

For those of you who want to take good cycling photos, take a good look at Eric's cycling photos and look for these features.
  • f-stop: Eric opens up the f-stop of his lenses so that only his subject is in focus. Putting the extraneous clutter out-of-focus is called shallow depth-of-field. If you have a fully automatic dumbed-down camera, putting the camera in "portrait" mode is the way you can get closest to a halfway decent DOF. Doing it right takes expensive lenses. Eric mostly uses a Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 lens. His fastest lens is a Canon EF 50 f/1.8. DOF is the difference between a "Wow" and a hohum photo.
  • Faces: One of my gripes about cycling photos on Flickr are butt shots. Eric does have a butt shot, but the others are all face shots. You can't tell if a butt is grimacing with effort or happy with exhilaration.
  • Framing: Unless you're copying Graham Watson's shot of the peloton riding through a field of sunflowers, try to fill your frame with one interesting subject. Tight groups can be interesting because they have the appearance of a single subject; a spread out group in a large field is almost never interesting unless theres's something that visually unifies them. Think consciously about where your eye is leading you when you observe a field, zoom in, shoot and take that amazing shot.
If you're a photographer please feel free to contribute more helpful tips for newbies like me.

National Bike Month

Bisbee reminds us that May is National Bike To Work Month. Here in the Bay Area of California, people have taken up bicycling motivated more, perhaps, by rising gasoline prices than recognition of a special month. Last night, in fact, I could not get on the train because the bike car was completely full! (Caltrain has a car designated and configured specifically for cyclists and their bikes).


Photo info: Caltrans Bike car by Earthworm.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Oil companies deserve their profits

Oil companies are making quite a bit of cash these days. This is one reason why they shouldn't be punished for making money.

Immigration protest halts transit

I had an appointment to look at an apartment in Campbell, CA last night. I took Caltrain to the San Jose station and went over to the VTA Light Rail platform. It was supposed to be a five minute wait for the next train, so I sat and waited. And waited. And waited. I noticed three helicopters hovering overhead. Hmmmm, something newsworthy is occurring nearby.

It turns out a large immigration protest in downtown San Jose stopped all lightrail service (and other street traffic) in that area. I would have just rode my bike to the apartment complex, but I decided against bringing my bike on the train yesterday. A train finally arrived but the apartment office was closed by the time I got there.

Ender's Game

Ender's Game is a scifi novel by Orson Scott Card. I read the short story back in the late 70s and became a Card fan.

I recently discovered that Ender's Game is being made into a movie. It should be interesting to see what happens with the movie. The script doctors will need to change the story significally, I think, to expand the appeal to a wider audience. The children going to Battle School, for example, will probably be teens or even young adults. The book is violent enough, but I imagine the movie will add sex. The action against the "buggers" may be a little closer, and of course the time will need to be compressed significantly since the final battle scenes take place over the span of several months.

Since discovering the movie production, I've picked up several of the Ender ... sequels? companion stories? Anyway, there are several follow-on novels that take place in Ender's universe and use many of the same characters. I've always known that Orson Scott Card is a practicing Mormon member of the Church of Latter Day Saints and I remember searching for (and not finding) bits of Mormon doctrine in Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. Card introduces his theology in Xenocide but I totally missed it. It finally struck like a thunderbolt while I read Children of the Mind. If you're wondering, Card's whole concept of auia, "philotic connections," and creating living beings out of thin air are rooted in LDS theology. I've always thought these aspects of Mormon theology would make for good science fiction; I admit that knowing it takes some of the fun out of reading Card's novels. Oh well.

Ender and its sequels are kind of a sci-fi primer for LDS theology in the same way that Lewis's Narnia series or his awful Space trilogy are introductions to Christian thought.

San Francisco: Bike-riding Job

The company I work for, Pestec, is hiring for mosquito abatement couriers. It is a great job for people who love to ride.

Here is the information.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Dog rides bicycle video

I'm not sure if this is believable. Do dogs have the capability to push pedals like this?

Thunderhead Alliance advocacy training in July

BikeDenver is hosting the Thunderhead Alliance Training for bicycle advocacy leaders on July 14-16. The focus of the training will be on organizing and carrying out campaigns to improve pedestrian and bicycling conditions in your community. To find out more, visit Thunderhead's website and follow the links to the Denver training flyer and registration form.

The training will take place at the Temple Events Center on Friday evening and move to REI Flagship Store for Sat and Sun. Registration is $250 and includes the Friday reception, Saturday breakfast, lunch, ride and party, plus Sunday's breakfast and lunch. Discounts are available for additional representatives from the same organization. Leaders of state and local bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations are urged to sign up now as space is limited and the price goes up after June 14th.