Saturday, September 29, 2007

Interbike 2007 overview of bikes

Mountain bikes

Everybody has 29er bikes. Even low-end vendor Dynacraft has full suspension and single 29er bikes for the mass mart market. Read Guitar Ted's Floor Highlights at Twenty Nine Inches.

The Ibis Tranny hardtail mountain bike was an interesting concept. The rear triangle can be completely removed for compact packing for travel. You can fairly easily convert this bike from geared to singlespeed operation through it's adjustable length chainstay.

Does anybody remember the Brigham Young student who created the "isotruss" carbon fiber frame with the open design? Well, a production frame with that technology is now reality in Delta 7 Sports. A complete frame (sans fork) comes in at just over two pounds and is rated for "any rider weight." I can't gush about how amazing this frame feels.

Road bikes

Team Kreitler I was there to cover "utility" bikes and didn't get a chance to look at these beautiful bikes a lot, but I did gawk just a little. MTBR covered some of the road stuff here.

I caught some of the action at the night-time Las Vegas Criterium -- night time race crashes are spectacular, with sparks flying high and bright as metal and plastic bits disintegrate while grinding across pavement. At least two of the crashes I saw occurred when a Specialized tire literally exploded on the track, which isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of that brand.

I watched the Industry Cup Criterium with Byron from his Bike Hugger tent. Read Byron's race report here.

City bikes

Lynskey titanium cruiser bicycle Urban bikes, utility bikes, performance cruisers -- whatever you want to call this large category, just about everybody has something to offer in this huge category. See much more about this at Commute By Bike. I have a couple of more updates on this category coming up, so stay tuned.

There were some very nice utility and cruiser bikes at Interbike -- you can read about the Civia and Breezer lines at Commute By Bike -- but there were also two titanium bikes I saw. The first is the blue bike pictured here -- a wonderful wonderful titanium cruiser that is an absolute dream to ride. The Lynskey rep didn't have a price for this bike, but he told me they're willing to build it up for any customer with the cash.

The other is this titanium commuter from Seven, complete with a titanium porteur rack on the front. The complete bike is a work of art.

Other Interbike tidbits

Sugino Messenger Series I've been harsh on Montague's CLIX quick release before, but I tried this out on a real bike and it actually works really well. I like it, and if it was available for the aftermarket I'd replace all of my QR front skewers today. Montague has licensed the CLIX to Trek, Cannondale, Kona, Excel and Pacific. Pacific's GT people in particular were excited about the CLIX quick release and will introduce some bikes next year using Montague's technology.

The Japan Bicycle Promotion Group was there sharing a booth with Sugino, Nitto, MKS and other well known Japanese bike parts vendors. The Japan Bicycle Promotion people run and regulate the Keirin races in Japan and approve the NJS designations. They all told me the current popularity of NJS parts and boutique parts for urban fixie riders has been very very good for the Japanese bicycle industry.

Planet Bike mini pumps The five people from Planet Bike will introduce at least a dozen new colors of bar tape, brighter lights -- including 1W and 2W ultra bright headlights, some moderately priced "performance" saddles, and these new lightweight gloves for mild temperature winter riding (that I absolutely LOVE). These tiny "micro" pumps pictured here looked very useful. They're designed to fit in a bottle cage bracket with the crazy frame geometries that are available now.

I tried the famous NuVinci CVT and I gotta say I kinda like it. Easy to use, easy to shift, and it feels nice and smooth.

Stay tuned for a post on what Brad @ Urban Velo calls the "Clown Corner."

Friday, September 28, 2007

Interbike 2007 videos

I've posted a couple of videos from Interbike 2007 up to YouTube.

You can watch me crash a crazy swingbike in this video.

Xtracycle featured human powered rock and roll.

I have another Interbike video upload later featuring a walk through of the show flow.

Carlton posted videos of the Cyclocross Race and the Lake Mead ride over at Quickrelease.TV.

Please feel free to post links to other good Interbike coverage in the comments.

That's team Bike Hugger in the photo, along with the voice of Interbike, Rich Kelly. So far I have about 200 photos uploaded to my Interbike 2007 photo set on Flickr, with more on the way.

Team Bike Hugger

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Team Slipstream jersey winner

Team Slipstream announced the winner of the Jersey Design Contest about an hour ago. Here's the winning design.

Team Slipstream Jersey Winner

Tour of America: This can't be real

Aqu Sports of Lumberton, NC is holding their press conference now on the Tour of America 2008 stage race across the United States of America. Organizers are planning a 27 stage race from Central Park in New York City on September 6 to San Francisco, California on October 5.

The inaugural Tour of America will pass through 22 states and at least 200 American cities.

The Tour winner will receive $1,000,000, with a total purse of $11,000,000 budgeted for all prizes. The press package lists several back to back stages with insane distances -- on the order of 200 miles or more for several days in a row. The company came out of nowhere, and the man is a total unknown in the world of sports management. I think some skepticism is warranted.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Interbike 2007 links

Commute By Bike previews the Civia Cycles $3000 commuter bikes, GT Transeo $400 commuter bike, Joe Breeze's $2000 commuter bike, Korean minibikes, and Raleigh USA's new Detour Deluxe which is a nice looking bike indeed.

Mobiky folding bicycle WIRED blog looks at a $200 helmet, a 50 pound e-bike, and the new Ibis Tranny convertible bike.

Tim Grahl in the midst of cycling legends.

Shimano cycling video contest winners announced.

Chicago Bike Blog: "Urban" is the new buzzword.

There are many many Recumbents at Interbike.

Lots of Interbike goodies at Speedgoat blog.

29 inches: floor highlights.

Blue Collar MTB: Interbike update.

I was on Cycling.TV live today in a roundtable with several other bike bloggers.

Bicycle rock and roll tour

Human powered 5,000 mile concert tour by Gabe Dominguez, with a stop in Las Vegas for Interbike 2007.

Road rash repair kit

It's a good idea to keep something like this on hand.

Road Rash Repair Kit

The company owner, Rich Singer, was riding Bayfront Park in Menlo Park when he spilled and tore up his arm. He put something like this kit together afterwards and now here he is at Interbike selling it.

The kit comes with antimicrobial cleanser, tape, surgical sponges, hydrocolloid dressing and elastic bandage to hold the dressing in place.

Seen at Interbike. Buy at

Breezer Finesse preview

This is Joe Breeze showing off his new Breezer Finesse commuter bicycle. Breeze calls this is "dream bike" and it is!

Joe Breeze and the ultimate commuter bike.

The Breeze-designed frame is equipped with the Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub, shifter and cranks. That's a Ritchey carbon fiber seatpost and carbon fiber forks on this ultimate commuter bicycle, 24-spoke wheels, townie bars with "Joe Bars" for more aero positioning. The Busch & Muller Lumotec FLY IEQ Senso Plus headlight and B&M Toplight Plus tail light are powered by the Shimano Alfine front hub dynamo. The Breezer Truss Sport Rack looks sharp. Full fenders and kickstand complete the utility of this bike. The Breezer Finesse will be available for about $1900 from Breezer dealers beginning in March 2008.

Transcontinental Tour of America

A North Carolina sports management firm has announced preliminary plans to organize a 27-stage transcontinental "Tour of America."

Interbike 2007 photos

I've uploaded my first batch of photos which you can view here.

Zigo -- bike + child carrier

Shown here is the Zigo Leader, a combined bike and stroller in which the child rides in front of the adult cyclist. It's actually a nicely designed product. The stroller can be separated from bike and a front wheel put on, and disassembled the the whole thing is fairly compact.

Cyclelicious Interbike 2007.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Interbike 2007 photos and more

The Bike Hugger started a Flickr pool for Interbike 2007 photos, which I've joined and will post my photos too. The Hugger also provided good coverage on the Outdoor Demo day, with quick views of a city bike from Felt and Raleigh's Soujourn touring bike.

Bike Magazine has lots of nice bike porn, including some good closeups of the new carbon belt drive that's been getting some attention lately.

Singletrack tried the new Spot bicycle with the carbon belt drive and compared it with the Orange belt drive prototype. also has their usual excellent gallery of photos from the Outdoor Demo days.

VeloNews also posted plenty of yummy gear photos from the Outdoor Demo. Cyclingnews provides a more newsy overview.

In case you missed this earlier:Specialized president Mike Sinyard and some of his employees rode their bikes the 600 miles from Specialized HQ in San Jose to Las Vegas. I thought about doing that, but it's either high mountains or hot desert for the entire journey, which kind of scared me. It's a tough ride.

Interbike 2007 news.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Two brothers: the thief and the fence

Brandon Tomlinson works for Genentech in South San Francisco, California. Genentech manufactures Human Growth Hormone (HGH), a performance enhancing drug. HGH increases muscle mass by stimulating protein synthesis, strengthen bones by stimulating bone growth and reduce body fat by stimulating the breakdown of fat cells. HGH is popular among some athletes because it's impossible to test for. Brandon apparently has done presentations at conferences on the problem of undetectable performance enhancing drugs in athletics.

Brandon's brother Lance Tomlinson owns the Max Muscle Sports Nutrition franchise store in San Jose, California. Brandon's Sports Nutrition Store sells supplements for body builders.

DEA agents knew that Lance's Sports Nutrition shop also sold HGH that was stolen from Genentech. It didn't take much effort for them discover that Lance had a brother who worked at Genentech. They connected the dots and made the arrests.

What a couple of geniuses. If you're gonna steal from your employer, don't use your brother as a fence.

Bicycling and wealth

When American troops landed on south Pacific islands and New Guinea during World War II, they brought many of the comforts of home with them: Hershey bars, radios, powdered milk, and SPAM. The island natives saw the this cargo arriving as if sent from heaven when Sea Bees bulldozed airstrips through the jungles and men with radios and signal lights directed cargo planes to land on these strips.

Commuters Panda When the American G.I.s left after the end of WWII, the manna from heaven stopped flowing. In attempts to get cargo fall from the sky again, islanders imitated the same practices they had seen the soldiers, sailors and airmen use. They carved headphones from wood and wore them while sitting in fabricated control towers. They waved the landing signals while standing on the runways. They lit signal fires and torches to light up runways and lighthouses.

Last week, the city of El Paso, Texas debated the merits of a bicycle parking requirement for new development. While councilors Steve Ortega and Beto O'Rourke supported the proposed ordinance, councilman José Alexandro Lozano apparently is a throwback to the cargo cults of old, equating automobile ownership with personal wealth when he noted that a Mexican town where many people rode bicycles was regarded as backward. Clearly the path to prosperity and progress is to appear wealthy, if Lozano is to be believed.

Meanwhile, truly progressive and wealthy regions such as Silicon Valley and Boston increase their push for bicycling as transportation. A study in London shows that rich people bicycle more than poor people.

Quit worrying about keeping up appearances and hop on a bike!

The ultimate bicycle model

'Bicycle manufacturers have never been able to say precisely how a bicycle works', explains Dr Arend Schwab of the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering (3mE). 'They have always had to refine their designs purely through experimentation. In our model, they can enter into the computer all of the various factors that influence the stability and handling of their bicycle. The model then calculates how the bicycle will react at specific speeds.' The model has recently been published in the science magazine Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series A.

Because the model has the ability to indicate whether a design will deliver a jittery bicycle, or indeed a stable one for seniors, the bicycle industry is highly interested in the findings.
Read more. Via the always fascinating Velorution.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Nice Morning Drive

When I was a teen growing up in the early 80s, I was a huge fan of the Canadian "math rock" band RUSH. Among my favorite songs was Red Barchetta [video], which takes place in a future world where the "motor law" prohibits driving performance sports cars on public roads. In the song, the protagonist visits his uncle to drive his old Ferrari Red Barchetta sports car. "Alloy air cars" then give chase to run the Ferrari off of the road. The music is wonderfully evocative.

"Red Barchetta" was inspired by a short story in the November 1973 issue of Road & Track entitled "A Nice Morning Drive." In this story, author Richard Foster anticipates a future in which safety requirements for new cars results in huge "Modern Safety Vehicles" (MSV). Foster predicts way back in 1973 that "Cars became larger, heavier, less efficient. They consumed gasoline so voraciously that the United States had had to become a major ally with the Arabian countries."

"People became accustomed to cars which went undamaged in lO-mph collisions," the story continues. "They gave even less thought than before to the possibility of being injured in a crash. As a result, they tended to worry less about clearances and rights-of-way, so that the accident rate went up a steady six percent every year. But the damages and injuries actually decreased, so the government was happy, the insurance industry was happy and most of the car owners were happy."

In the world of fiction, some MSV drivers would purposely run older, smaller cars off of the roads simply because they could do it.

In the real-life 21st Century, cars have indeed become much safer, and in fact they are somewhat less likely to be in an accident because of safety improvements beyond just adding bulk to a vehicle. There has been one deleterious side effect, however: people drive faster and more dangerously so that the more vulnerable road users -- pedestrians and bicyclists, for example -- are now dying at a higher rate while overall road deaths have dropped. I'm hearing more often that "the laws of physics" mandates that I keep my bike off of the road, and that if I'm hit and killed it's my own fault.

I'm amazed that Foster anticipated the psychology of "mass rules" 35 years ago, but these things ought not so to be. ABS, traction control, stability control, rollover protection, adaptive cruise control, airbags, crumple zones and all the other advanced safety features of modern automobiles are great to have, but often these things only enable motorists to behave even more like boneheads when they're behind the wheel. And of course, when I say "bonehead" I include myself in that category, because better control almost naturally leads to faster driving.

Cycling still has about the same relative risk of serious injury or death as driving, but the risk seems to be trending upward for some areas. A real solution is to increase the number of bicyclists so that all road users expect to see us on the road and adjust their driving accordingly. I'm not convinced that tougher or new laws (such as the fad for 3-foot passing laws) is entirely the answer, though enforcement of existing laws would be a tremendous help. I'm also a fan of road diets and traffic calming, though these measures are generally appropriate for slow traffic areas such as residential neighborhoods.

I'm not clever enough to come up with the solution to this safer vehicle paradox. What are your ideas? What have you seen in the media or blogosphere on how to mitigate risk compensation?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Cyclist shoots motorist

Milwaukee bicyclist shoots motorist after near collision

A bicyclist shot a motorist after the man's car nearly hit the bike on Friday night, police said.

The 28-year-old driver of the car stopped to check on the bicyclist, who had fallen to the pavement around 10:45 p.m., police said.

The bicyclist got up, fired three shots and hit the driver once in the shoulder, police said.

The motorist drove to the house of a friend, who then took him to a hospital. He was treated and released.

Police said they were looking for the bicyclist on Saturday. No other details were released.
This real-life Spike Bike was mentioned in the Milwaukee Star Tribune. Reported also at WKBT and FOX 6.

How Wars Are Won: Book review

Because a good portion of my commute is by bus, I read many books. I try picking books on topics in which I have little interest in the hope of learning something new and interesting.

A while ago I though I'd learn something about military history, so I randomly chose A History of Warfare by military historian John Keegan. History was written by Keegan to debunk Carl von Clausewitz's famous theory that "war is merely a continuation of politics." I'm sure that's fascinating, but the book assumes in-depth knowledge of Clausewitz's writings, which I don't have.

Later, I tried again with a different book: Bevin Alexander's How Wars Are Won: The 13 Rules of War from Ancient Greece to the War on Terror, which is much more accessible. It helps to know something about European and Asian history, but Alexander covers each of the "13 rules of war" in separate chapters by describing the rule and giving examples from history where the rule was used effectively and other examples where the rule failed and why. The author then completes each chapter with discussion on how the rule can be applied in modern warfare and in the current "war on terror."

I couldn't help notice that each chapter is formulaic. After the opening paragraphs describing the rule, there's a historical example that begins with "[ Alexander the Great | Napoleon | Hannibal | Rommel | Genghis Khan | Stonewall Jackson | Mao ] applied this rule in one of the most brilliant battles recorded in history." In the following section, Alexander then describes a battle that was lost because the rule was not used, or because it was not applied or executed correctly. "This rule would have guaranteed victory, and it's inconceivable why [ Grant | Hitler | Lee | Napoleon ] failed to apply this rule to the battle, which resulted in major strategic losses that affected the outcome of the entire war." Finally, the closing paragraph applies the rule to the U.S. war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, obviously to make this book "relevant" and make it more marketable (the book was published in 2002). Invariably, this final paragraph includes the sentence, "This rule of war was how the Taliban in Afghanistan were destroyed by American special forces in the fall of 2001."

In spite of the formula and obvious last-minute additions on 9/11 and Afghanistan, How Wars is a very readable and interesting book. Alexander's writing as an armchair general gets a little annoying at times -- he often states his incomprehension of why battlefield commanders fail to comprehend the battlefield environment, and hence losing the battle. Anybody who has had to make quick decisions in a stressful situation, however, understands the "fog of war" and the tunnel vision that occurs.

What are the 13 rules of war?
  1. Striking at enemy weakness.
  2. Defend, then attack.
  3. Holding one place, striking another.
  4. Feigned retreat.
  5. The central position.
  6. Employing a superior weapon.
  7. Driving a stake in the enemy's heart.
  8. Blocking the enemy's retreat.
  9. Landing an overwhelming blow.
  10. Stroke at a weak spot.
  11. Caldron battles.
  12. Uproar east, attack west.
  13. Maneuvers on the rear.

Interbike 2007 preview

Click here for Interbike 2007 Coverage

Interbike 2007 Expo begins next Wednesday and I'll be there to report on product news, trends, and photos on behalf of CommuteByBike. I'll drool over the high dollar race-worthy gear, clothing and training aids, of course, but I'll take a close look at:
  • Family cycling accessories like the iBert child seat.
  • Utilitarian cycling wear.
    Huffy Sonic: SPEEDOMETER and SHIFTER!
  • Performance cycling wear such as the new Argento shorts with reflective panels from Black Bottom Cyclewear.
  • Bags from the myriad bag companies there, like newcomer Rickshaw Bags of San Francisco.
  • The carbon belt drive used on Spot Bikes.
  • Coffee with the one and only Bobke at the Kryptonite Booth.
  • The latest lights from vendors like Light and Motion and others.
  • The Best Barista contest at the Louis Garneau booth on Thursday, not to mention the free coffee given away during the opening hour of the expo.
  • Superstars like Saul Raisin, Phil Ligget, Stuart O'Grady and Niki Gudex.
  • The outlook for independent bike dealers.
  • Custom frame builders.
  • New bikes -- especially "urban" or utility bikes -- from the more mainstream bike companies such as Specialized, Raleigh, Masi, and the QBP brands Surly and Civia.
Trek will not be at the Interbike Expo. Specialized employees, including company president Mike Sinyard, are riding their bikes the 600 miles from San Jose to Vegas.

Be sure to watch for a special VIDEO edition of The Spokesman Cycling Podcast in which I will appear with other cycling bloggers and the usual Spokesman gang of Tim, Dave, Carlton, and Tim. I was hoping to meet Elden the Fat Cyclist, but he can't make it. My sources do tell me that I might be able to unveil the identity of BSNYC, though, which would be a treat.

Interbike news.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Floyd Landis Guilty - Loses 2006 Tour de France Title

It's official. The Associated Press is reporting that Floyd Landis has lost his doping case and will relinquish his 2006 Tour de France title and will face a two-year ban from cycling (that would be given the effective date of January 30, 2007). However, he can still appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The AP article mentions Landis has already spent $2 million of his own money defending his innocence, and will need to spend more to take his appeal to the next level.

The arbitrators voted two to one in favor of upholding the positive tests.

Trailer bike recall

First of all -- the regular San Jose to Palo Alto group commute is off tomorrow(Friday) and next week, though you're free to do this on your own if you'd like, of course.

REI and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of 5,200 Novara Afterburner Trailer Bicycles. The children’s trailer bicycle can detach from the adult bicycle, posing a fall hazard to children.

I hate it when that happens.

More news from the bicycle blog-o-sphere

That's all I have time for now. Salud!

Bicycle security tips

Chat screen: I'm in college and need to keep my bike from theft. If I can think like a thief, I can figure out how to protect it. How would you try to steal my bike?

See Strong Bad's animated advice on bicycle security.

Via Jamie Fellrath in Columbus, Ohio.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

San Francisco considers congestion pricing

With average traffic speeds of 10 mph or less on 60% of downtown San Francisco streets, transportation officials are considering congestion pricing to discourage driving and encourage other modes of transportation.

Elsewhere on San Francisco congestion pricing:

Bike pirates

Aarg, ye hearties. I sometimes read from and post to the Bike Pirates community on LiveJournal. Sometimes.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

We're number 2!

Silicon Valley Highway 101 Traffic Hell
The Texas Transportation Institute reports that San Francisco Bay Area traffic is 2nd worst in the nation behind Los Angeles.

Guess what, motorists -- it's not cyclists that slow you down on the road, it's all of them other cars that hinder your progress! The Texas Transportation Institute provides several reasons to ride a bike in their press release:
Traffic congestion continues to worsen in American cities of all sizes, creating a $78 billion annual drain on the U.S. economy in the form of 4.2 billion lost hours and 2.9 billion gallons of wasted fuel—that's 105 million weeks of vacation and 58 fully-loaded supertankers.

These are among the key findings of the Texas Transportation Institute's 2007 Urban Mobility Report. Improvements to the methodology used to measure congestion nationwide have produced the most detailed picture yet of a problem that is growing worse in all 437 of the nation's urban areas. The current report is based on 2005 figures, the most recent year for which complete data was available.

"There is no 'magic' technology or solution on the horizon because there is no single cause of congestion," noted study co-author Tim Lomax, a research engineer at TTI. "The good news is that there are multiple strategies involving traffic operations and public transit available right now that if applied together, can lessen this problem."

The 2007 mobility report notes that congestion causes the average peak period traveler to spend an extra 38 hours of travel time and consume an additional 26 gallons of fuel, amounting to a cost of $710 per traveler. Along with expanding the estimates of the effect of congestion to all 437 U.S. urban areas, the study provides detailed information for 85 specific urban areas. The report also focuses on the problems presented by "irregular events"—crashes, stalled vehicles, work zones, weather problems and special events—that cause unreliable travel times and contribute significantly to the overall congestion problem. Worsening congestion, the study notes, is reflected in several ways:

  • Trips take longer
  • Congestion affects more of the day
  • Congestion affects weekend travel and rural areas
  • Congestion affects more personal trips and freight shipments
  • Trip travel times increasingly are unreliable

Researchers spent two years revising the methodology using additional sources of traffic information, providing more—and higher quality—data on which to base the current study.

The report identifies multiple solutions to the congestion problem that, researchers say, must be used together to be effective. These include:

  • Get as much service as possible from existing infrastructure
  • Add road and transit system capacity in critical corridors
  • Relieve chokepoints
  • Change usage patterns
  • Provide choices
  • Diversify the development patterns
  • Keep expectations realistic

"Congestion is a far more complex problem than is apparent at first glance," Lomax said. "The better the data we use to define the problem, the more successful we will be in addressing its root causes."

Zero Per Gallon

From the Shameless Commerce department...

I've gotten a lot of comments on this Zero Per Gallon "$0.00 9/10" patch on my bag.

Zero Per Gallon

Most people "get it" except for a few uptight engineer types that are a little too literal minded. Actually, I think they get it too, they just like being dweebish pinheads.

These iron-on patches are $5 each. You can also get stickers for $2 each (cheaper in quantity). The stickers are also available denominated in Euros and burritos.

Zero Per Gallon now also takes bicycle tires and recycles them into belts that you can buy via his site.

I don't get a penny for promoting Johnny's patches and stickers; it's just cool stuff that I want to mention. Buy it at Zero Per Gallon.

Monday, September 17, 2007

PVC pipe bicycle rider

He's an articulated companion for the tandem bicycle. Read the story of how to make a friend. Via Sue in Chambana.

650B wheels on a mountain bike

The Bike Biz Babe & Haro brand manager Jill Hamilton installed Velocity 650B wheels with Neo-Moto tires on a Haro Werx Neon all mountain bike for some 650B experimentation.

Soma also plans to show a 650b prototype at Interbike next week. The 650b tire size -- in between the traditional 26 inch mountain bike tire size and the 29 inches used on 29ers and typical road bikes -- is liked by MTB designers because the required design changes aren't as radical as those required for 29 inch designs.

Guitar Ted believes that the 650b trend will continue, although he says the larger bike builders will probably need to weed something out before introducing yet another tire size to the mountain bike market.

I will be at Interbike next week and promise to provide plenty of photos and news from the show.

Friday, September 14, 2007

How to buy a used bicycle has a good article on how to buy a used bicycle. Chris Baskind tells us how to find a used bicycle, how to evaluate it, and how to figure its value. I'd add some advice on bike fit, but perhaps he'll address that in a later article.

How to buy a used bicycle.

Mary Peters comments make mainstream media

Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters commented last month that bicyclists are at fault for the I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis. Salon provides some good perspective on this story.
Peters' comments set off an eruption of blogging, e-mailing and letter-writing among bike riders and activists, incensed that no matter how many times they burn calories instead of fossil fuels with the words "One Less Car" or "We're Not Holding Up the Traffic, We Are the Traffic" plastered on their helmets, their pedal pushing is not taken seriously as a form of transportation by the honchos in Washington, D.C.
A sampling of reactions online:

Kids tandem bicycle

I took this photo during my bike commute this morning:

Kids Tandem

That's a "KidzTandem" bicycle hand built by Brown Cycles of Grand Junction, Colorado.

The adult controls - steering, braking and gearing - are in the back, allowing the child to pedal and enjoy viewing everything that's coming up.

The front of bike can take a toddler seat for the very young. This toddler seat can be easily replaced with a saddle for older children.

Frank pointed out a similar child-in-front tandem, the Love Bike. While the KidzTandem has a linkage connecting the steering handlebar to the front fork, the Love Bike uses a big curvy cruiser handlebar that swoops back past the child to the adult sitting in the rear seat.

Photo taken in Palo Alto, California.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

San Jose to Palo Alto bicycle commute

Bay Area cyclists who'd like to join me on my morning commute Friday morning: I'll be taking off from San Jose Diridon Station at 7 a.m. Look for me as I hop off of the Highway 17 Express bus. I ride a silver Specialized Roubaix. The mornings have been chilly so I'll wear my yellow cycling jacket. But then again every Bay Area bike commuter wears a yellow jacket...

Scot will also be there on his black and red Specialized S Works Tarmac. We're headed to Palo Alto via Park, Monroe, Benton, Homestead, Foothill, Page Mill and Bryant. We ride at about a 17 mph pace until we hit Foothill Expressway, then it's 20 to 30 mph all the way to California Avenue in Palo Alto. We stop for all reds, and stop for traffic at stop signs. This is a fast ride but it's not a mano y mano painfest and we'll hold back if necessary for slightly slower riders.

There's no need to contact me -- just be at Diridon Station at 7 a.m. when we leave. This is a regular ride so I'll try to be a little more organized next week if there's some interest.

Good life cyclist

Mike the cyclist commutes 24 miles from Centennial, Colorado to Lakewood. He recently started spreading the good word about cycling on Good Life Cyclist, where he shares all things good about riding a bicycle in Colorado.

Mike enjoys mountain biking in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. "I call the foothills my backyard playground," he writes. "From my house I can ride 20 to 30 minutes and explore Green Mountain, Red Rocks Park, Mount Falcon and Lair Of The Bear. I loop these all together for a 40 mile training ride."

Regarding his commute, Mike writes, "I love it - this is my main way to get in the training hours while still doing something I have to anyway (get to work) and saves gas, wear and tear on the car. However the money I have been spending on bicycle gear might balance out the gas savings."

What is he training for?
My main cycling goal right now is to train, prepare and finish the Great Divide Race in 2008. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (aka GDMBR) was put together by Adventure Cycling and is the longest off-pavement bike route in the world. It crosses the continental divide a total of 27 times. Its total length is 2,490 miles starting in Montana at the Canadian border and finishing in New Mexico at the Mexican border.

The route is the longest and most challenging off road bicycle tour in the world. It is the Holy Grail of the mountain bike world. My goal is to complete it in under 20 days. The record is 15 days 4 hours and 18 minutes. Only 5 people have ever completed this in under 20 days.
Mike, as a television commercial producer, plans to record his experience of the Great Divide Race 2008 and produce a documentary. Check out Good Life Cyclist.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Gasoline makes you fat

Santa Cruz Highway 1
Here's an interesting study [PDF] from Washington University in St. Louis in which economist Charles Courtemanche demonstrates a causal relationship between the price of gasoline and obesity rates in the United States. According to this study, an additional $1 in real gasoline prices would reduce obesity in the U.S. by 15% after …five years, and that 13% of the rise in obesity between 1979 and 2004 can be attributed to falling real gas prices during this period. Courtemanche provides evidence that increased gas prices will result in more exercise for Americans as well as fewer restaurant visits. He writes:
If the price of gas rises, the cost of driving also rises, which may affect body weight in two ways. First, people may substitute from driving to walking, bicycling, or taking public transportation. Walking and bicycling are forms of exercise, which increase calories expended. If a person uses public transportation, such as subways, buses, trolleys, or rail services, the need to move to and from the public transit stops is likely to result in additional walking, again increasing calories expended. Second, since the opportunity cost of eating out at restaurants rises when the price of gas increases, people may substitute from eating out to preparing their own meals at home, which tend to be healthier. Income effects may also lead people to eat out less in an effort to save money to pay for the increased cost of gas.
Courtemanche notes that the reduced obesity rates can save 16,000 lives and $17 billion per year in health costs, partially offsetting the pain of paying higher gas prices.

Props to Tim Grahl for this news.

Other news:

Mass market fixed gear bike

Triax is a brand of Dynacraft bicycle sold at Target stores in the United States. Retail price is $150 but it's often on sale for half that, and you can find them at flea markets for even less.

It's a junky, ugly road bike, but if you're looking for something cheap and functional it's not a bad bike to commute on. The only problem is that the components are cheap junk. They're difficult to keep adjusted, but if the components fail or fall apart, the dérailleur hanger is long and nearly horizontal, making the Triax Crimson road frame a decent platform for a fixed conversion on the cheap.

Carlos and his fixed Triax

Carlos here converted his Triax bicycle to fixed gear. I love the Jesus picture in place of the headbadge on this bike.

Because the components on a Triax are so junky, converting to fixed is probably a good idea. Upgrading the wheels and tires and replacing the drop bars with those bullhorns makes the bike a little cooler, though it's probably overkill. Those bars are possibly worth more than the frame. The wheels certainly are. Carlos rides brakeless with flat platform pedals.

Carlos doesn't speak English; I was surprised to see a recent immigrant Latino riding a fixed gear bike. In the Bay Area, many "fakengers" (like me) are comfortable white people with steady income.

Carlos obviously has some pride in the bike and he told me he built it up himself. I imagine the frame was probably acquired used with non-working components.

Those in the San Francisco Bay Area will recognize this photo was taken on a Caltrain bike car during the evening commute. Almost every person in this photo is a bike commuter.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I had a post in mind about 9/11, terrorism and American liberty, but it's a busy day week at work so I'll point you to this old article on Freedom from Citizen Rider.
They hate us because we are free. They hate us because we question the beliefs they hold so fervently. They hate us because they think we don't belong in their country.

Assuming that their way of life is the one true path, they deem us infidels, lesser beings who deserve to be destroyed.

They can't stand freedom. Having given it up themselves, it irks them to see anyone else have it and use it. They create a whole value system based on the necessity to be like them and deprive ourselves as they do.
Read more.

Bicycle risks and safety

Raise The Hammer in Canada posts a good article about the safety of bicycling relative to the risks of other common activities such as driving and walking. The author, Ryan McGreal, uses real numbers and everything!
The fatality rate for every million hours spent cycling is 0.26, compared to 0.47 per million driving hours (on-road motorcycling comes in at a whopping 8.80 deaths per million motorcycling hours). For every million cyclists in the US, 16.5 die each year, whereas for every million motorists, 19.9 die each year.

Another way of evaluating risk is to examine the odds of dying if you do crash. The odds of dying from a bicycle crash are one in 71. This compares to one in 75 for a light truck (pickup truck, SUV, van), one in 108 for a car, one in 43 for a truck, one in 26 for a motorcycle, and one in 15 for a pedestrian.

In other words, the odds of dying in a bike crash are about the same as the odds of dying in an SUV crash. The false sense of security that comes from an SUV tends to produce far more dangerous driving behaviour.
The author discusses risk quite a bit more and talks about commute homeostasis and the factor of improved health of cyclists, but in the end he concludes that cycling is a relatively safe activity.

Part of my mission at Cyclelicious is to note that bicycling is a safe activity. There's a perception among too many that bicycling is a dangerous activity -- it seems counterintuitive that sitting exposed in traffic on a bike is about as safe as riding inside of a metal cocoon. McGreal makes an important point in his article that our riding behavior can have a significant impact on risk. Following the rules of the road and an educated awareness of traffic risks reduces the risk of injury collisions significantly.

If you want to be a safer cyclist, read Ken Kifer's archived information on bicycling safety. I recommend the book The Art of Urban Cycling by Robert Hurst, which is good for all kinds of city cycling, not just downtown urban cores. I also recommend the League of American Bicyclists bicycling education courses for instruction in safety and bike handling skills. Even if you're an experienced cyclist, you can learn quite a bit from taking the LAB classes.

A hat tip to Paul Dorn for pointing to the risks article. He also posted good commentary on motorist advocacy in Seattle.

Photo credit: "Hand Signal" from San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

Tour of Missouri news

I pointed to Tour of Missouri video options yesterday but totally blew it on blogs that will cover the Tour of Missouri.

First of all, Ken flew out to Missouri specifically to cover the Tour of Missouri and take photos. Don't miss his photos and tour coverage at Spare Cycles and his Flickr photo stream.

Roger Kramer of St. Louis also is covering the Tour of Missuri from his blog.

Neil @ ROAD Magazine has video, photos and updates from Missouri.

Maced with Grace snapped some good photos as the peloton flew near his (her?) office today.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Tour of Missouri 2007 video

The Tour of Missouri professional cycling race begins tomorrow with an 85 mile circuit of Kansas City, Missouri.

Cycling.TV will carry live streaming video coverage each day of the Tour of Missouri. Video updates can also be viewed at the Tour of Missouri official website.

I don't plan to cover the Tour of Missouri, but you can catch updates at Steephill.TV and Missouri Bicycle Federation Tour of Missouri page.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Louisiana town seeks to ban bicycles

Update 9/10/2007: Kudos to Frank for the additional details. According to this earlier news article, skateboards, roller blades, roller skates and bicycles will be prohibited in the entire city of New Llano except on private property. This is so stunningly anti-American I don't know what to say. The phone number at New Llano city hall is +1 (337) 239-3670. The councilman who introduced the proposed ordinance, Democrat Charles Balthrop, is at +1 (337) 238-1216.

The details are sketchy, but according to the Leesville (LA) Daily Leader, the city council of New Llano, Louisiana apparently wants to ban bicycling anywhere in the town.

The news article focuses on the plight on Curtis Scott, for whom bicycling is his only mode of transportation. Scott also notes, “Laws like these are what gives a town a bad name. Just think of all of the kids who aren't going to be able to go out and play now. There are a lot of older people who like to ride their bikes for leisure and many of these people probably choose to live in New Llano because it is a small town and there is low crime.”

It's too late to call the city office for comment on this. I'll give it a shot on Monday.

Kayak to work

Paddling a boat another form of human power transportation. I've thought about doing this, commuting to work by kayak, that is. I work right on San Francisco Bay, but kayaking is a slow way to go.

The BBC article calls it a canoe, but the watercraft pictured is actually a kayak though this might be a case of UK vs American terminology. You kneel in canoes and usually use a single-ended paddle, while in kayaks you sit with your legs extended and use the double paddles.

A lot of web resources tell you the difference is in the decking -- kayaks have a deck while canoes are open, but this is incorrect. There are closed deck canoes complete with skirts, and in fact my wife used to run Class III and IV rapids on closed deck white water canoes. Kayaks also come in open deck "sit on top" models.

Not surprisingly, there are some "kayak commute" websites out there:
  • How to kayak to work in Bellingham Bay.
  • Kayak commute in arctic conditions. Brrrr.
  • Can I kayak to work in the San Francisco Bay Area? Answer: "Kayaking the bay is not very difficult in the mornings or evenings, when the water is calmest, as long as you steer well clear of the Golden Gate Bridge. The currents are very strong there because all the tides come in and out only through there -- that's a lot of water. Probably a good idea to stay south of Treasure Island and the Bay Bridge, too. It will take you at least an hour in ideal conditions unless you're a really strong paddler. And then you'd have to stow your boat and gear, not to mention desweatification."
  • CICLE: Kayaking to work in Millvale, PA.
  • Kayak commuter photo gallery from Boulder, Colorado.

Team Slipstream jersey design contest

For those who dislike Team Slipstream's distinctive argyle jersey design, here's your chance to change the design: a jersey design contest for a professional cycling team!

Entries must be received September 15. A panel of judges will select the top five designs, and then these selections will be moved to the web where the public will decide!

There's a design kit (Mac OS only) to download, a form to fill out, and some Design rules: You must use Slipstreams orange and blue; the design must incorporate Slipstream's argyle pattern; and the design must feature Slipstream, Chipotle, and Felt logos.

So get cracking! Props to Bicycle Design for this. Reported also at TdF Blog and Tournez a gauche.

I also just found Will Frischkorn's blog. Will races for Team Slipstream out of Boulder, Colorado. He writes of himself, "Somehow I’m lucky enough to be married to the most incredible, beautiful, smart and beyond understanding woman in the world, Cheynna. We live in the Pleasantville-esque bubble of Boulder, Colorado with our 5 year old Golden, Charlotte. I spend most of my season in Girona, Spain. Cheynna’s a teacher; I’m a cyclist. I race with Team Slipstream, based in Boulder, Colorado and Girona, Spain. By most definitions it’s a blessed life I live."

Denver 16th Street Pedestrian Mall

I feel like ranting today.

Yield To Mall Shuttles

What's wrong with this picture?

The 16th Street Pedestrian Mall is a 16-block long pedestrian mall running through downtown Denver. 16th Street is closed to absolutely all vehicular traffic -- including bicycles -- EXCEPT for the free mall shuttle buses that circulate regularly up and down 16th Street.

I didn't think to take a photo of it while I was there, but this pedestrian mall is completely devoid of (wait for it...) pedestrian traffic! Actually, there are plenty of pedestrians, but they're all jammed onto the ridiculously narrow sidewalks, just like anywhere else in downtown Denver. The street portion is given completely to the mall shuttles, and in fact jaywalking is illegal. Did I mention you can't bike on 16th? Not only that, pedestrian traffic is so heavy that walking a bike through the sidewalks is impractical.

When I crossed mid-block before taking this photo, a shuttle bus driver actually accelerated and came within inches of running me down! Shortly after taking this photo, I was standing at the edge of the sidewalk -- a bus pulled along side me skimming the curb and the side mirror would have hit my head if I didn't move away at the last minute! One woman on the crosswalk near this sign screamed when the bus driver didn't slow for her until the very last second.

These shuttle drivers on the pedestrian mall are belligerent to the pedestrians who are in "their" street. I wrote a letter to my RTD representative about this, who ignored it just like the previous two letters I've written to him.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Caltrain nixes WiFi

After Caltrain demonstrated wireless Internet access in a proof of concept last year, Caltrain received two proposals for providing WiFi. Unfortunately, Caltrain's Joint Powers Board has had to reject those proposals as too expensive and too restrictive. Bummer.

Tax credit for exurban car commuters

Hey America, did you know that we're at near record low gasoline inventory levels in the United States? What do you do when you're running short of a declining resource? Do you carefully husband the resource so it will last as long as possible? "No!" proclaims Congresscritter Zack Space of Ohio. "Let's pass money around so we can use it up even faster!"
I announced my plan to introduce the Rural Commuters Tax Relief Act of 2007. This legislation could not be simpler: If your household makes less than the national median income, you drive more than 30 miles to work and you work at least four days per week, then you receive a $100 tax credit for each month that the average price of gas is more than $3 per gallon.
The U.S. household median income in 2006 was $48,200. If you're married filing jointly with two children, you can easily find enough deduction to bring your federal tax burden to less than $3000. With this tax credit you can chop your tax bill nearly in half!

It's nice that Mr. Space is pulling for the little guy, but I and others have been warning for years that the affordable house out in the exurban prairie won't be so affordable once oil prices start the inevitable climb right about now.

Read Zack Space's opinion piece here. You have to wonder what they thought on Easter Island when the last tree was chopped down.

Bike lane passing lane

These passing lanes in the bicycle lane in Portland are kind of cute:

The new markings include side-by-side bike lane symbols to denote the passing lane and skip-striping both where the lane widens (and then narrows) and to separate the slow and fast lanes. The new striping was done to facilitate easier and safer passing on an uphill portion of one of Portland's most congested bikeways. More info at BikePortland here and here.

Bicycle blog bicycle news

BRaIN gives a nice overview of "yellow bike" rental schemes (historical, proposed and real) in Paris, Chicago; San Francisco; New York; Washington, DC; Portland, OR; and even Lexington, Kentucky. The Bike Sharing Blog covers this trend in detail.

Bicycle Commuter

Thunderhead Alliance released their first benchmarking report detailing the level of bicycling and walking in the United States. According to the Thunderhead Alliance, the main findings of this report are:
  • A positive relationship exists between the built environment and levels of biking and walking.
  • Where levels of biking and walking are higher, bicycle and pedestrian safety is greater.
  • Cities with strong Thunderhead organizations generally have high levels of biking and walking.
  • Higher levels of biking and walking coincide with lower levels of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes and higher levels of adults meeting recommended levels of daily physical activity. This suggests that increased biking and walking would contribute to a healthier society.
  • Data revealed that while some cities and states lead others as models for bicycle and pedestrian policies and provisions, all states and cities have a need for improvement.

Volunteers needed for bicycle and pedestrian counts in Minneapolis. Details at Velocipete.

Sister Julie is a Catholic nun who blogs about bicycling. It's kind of fascinating. For one thing, I had never seen a nun in bike shorts before. Via Bicycle Champaign-Urbana.

Grist details the differences between the U.S. House and Senate versions of the 2007 Energy Bill. I've mentioned previously that the BIG difference of interest to cyclists is the House version contains a provision for a bike commuter tax benefit, while the Senate version does not. Contact your U.S. Senator and ask them to support inclusion of Bike Commuter benefits in Senate Bill 1419, the “Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007.”

MAKE: a bike powered by a portable electric drill.

Utility Cyclism: Appropriate bicycles for utility cycling.

Iowa announces Safe Routes to School program.

Beverly Hills cops blame the victim. The way the cops treat cyclists there is infuriating. Beverly Hills holds the dubious distinction of being #1 in the State of California for pedestrian deaths for a city of its size. Via Industry Outsider. Oh, and LAist used a photo by Yours Truly.

People oriented cities are cycling friendly cities.

Watch this space for Interbike 2007 news in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bicycle girls of New York

Here's a cute article in the New York Observer about bicycles as fashion accessories:
Vikki Eichmann was striding through the Union Square farmers’ market, one hand steering a sea-green, 1970’s Schwinn Breeze bicycle and the other tossing a curtain of silky brown hair over her bony shoulder. She was wearing a strapless plum-colored sundress and $400 Cole Haan knee-high boots. “They’re perfect because they’re sturdy and I don’t get scratches or bruises from the bike or anything,” Ms. Eichmann said, stopping to pick through a crate of peaches. “Plus they just plain look cute on a bike.”
BikeSnob NYC gripes about these "beautiful Godzillas" on 2 wheels -- it reminds me of the 90s when anybody with a dialup account could get Internet access and all of the old timers (like me) griped and complained about the mass market availability of the Internet -- but I like that urban trendsetters are using bicycles to get around.
Ms. Rose’s first adult trike was purchased on eBay; her second custom-built by one George Bliss, owner of the Hub Station on Morton Street, who specializes in pimping rides for the new set of beautiful bicycle girls. “Lela shows that you can carry a load on a bicycle and look glamorous,” Mr. Bliss said. “She’s really inspired me, and now I’m focusing on the tricycle child carrier as a product for upscale women in SoHo. … That’s the niche, professionals and models because, you know, if you go to a cocktail party, you’ve got to have something to talk about. ‘Green? What’s green? Oh, bicycling!’

“Women are our best customers,” Mr. Bliss continued. “They know what they want. That’s all that really matters.”

Read more in the New York Observer.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

New York City Traffic Commissioner bikes to work

Janette Sadik-Khan, the commissioner of the Department of Transportation, rides her bicycle to work. That the head of an agency long associated with car travel is an avid bicyclist symbolizes what might be a new way of thinking about how New York’s asphalt should be used.

Ms. Sadik-Khan said her time on two wheels has become an important part of her work.

“It’s invaluable to get on a bike and see firsthand the conditions that our projects are trying to address,” said Ms. Sadik-Khan, who became the city’s transportation commissioner in the spring. “We are really emphasizing connectivity in the bicycle lane network, because all cyclists, myself included, know that it’s maddening to be coming along a lane and have it simply end and leave you off on your own on a big avenue.”
Read more in the New York Times: To Ease a City’s Traffic, Shifting From 4 Wheels to 2.

Almost famous

"High Five!" photo by Timothy J.

WIRED Blog linked to Cyclelicious over the weekend, which is always good for a few extra hits on the old website. Thank you to whoever forwarded that link to them.

I also really appreciate those who link to Cyclelicious. Over the past 10 days or so, you are: Interbike is just three weeks away. I'll be there on behalf of Tim Grahl's Crooked Cog Network and Commute By Bike, but I'll post plenty of yummy bike porn and updates on a daily basis here also. Watch this space for Interbike updates.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Eurobike report

A demo bike equipped with the NuVinci CVT hub was apparently a hit at the Eurobike outdoor demo.

A record 34,280 trade vistors made their way to Eurobike 2007, an impressive 8% more than last year. Velonews reports it it took an hour just to park. Carlton Reid @ Bike Biz also reports on the record crowds, with surveys showing the bike industry as "stable to rapidly improving."

Velonews Eurobike report and photo gallery, with product intros from Schwinn, GT, Litespeed, Formula, Adidas bike shoes, Mavic, and Deda.

Cycling News can be counted on for plenty of good photos: Eco Consciousness, CNC machined stuff, tubeless CX, Rock Shox, and SRAM Red and Felt.

Pez Cycling News reports on Eurobike with plenty of yummy photos of carbon fiber mechs, wheels, cranks, and, of course, Pez's famous Daily Distractions.

Lightest folding bike

Dahon introduced the lightest production folding bicycle at Eurobike 2007, the Mu XXV. 250 of these limited edition bikes will be built to commemorate Dahon's 25th Anniversary in 2008.

Dahon Mu XXV

This 7.5 kg / 16.6 lb folding bike is built up with Shimano Dura Ace along with custom components designed just for Dahon from FSA, Shimano, Syntace, Schwalbe, Kinetix and Kore. See more photos -- including a nice one of the sweet white FSA crankset with ceramnic bearings -- and details at Bike Radar.

Bike Radar also reports on other Dahon bike products like the eye-catching Smooth Hound 6.0 mini-bike with stylish touches like a leather Brook's saddle and leather handlebar tape on moustache bars with bar-end shifters. This mini-bike is not a folder, but it is packable for travel and storage.

The Dahon Cadenza 2008 "urban mountain bike" is equipped with the Alfine internal gearing hub and Shimano disk brakes. This 28 lb bike folds in about 10 seconds, according to Dahon.

Read more about these Dahon bikes at Bike Radar.

San Francisco limousine

Limo stuck on Potrero Hill, San Francisco, CA at 18th & Connecticut. May 2006.