Friday, November 30, 2007
Sara rode it to her classes last night and loves the new bike. It features dynamo powered lighting, a 7 speed Shimano Nexus hub, rack, fenders, bell, suspension seatpost and kickstand. The moderately raked CroMoly fork has a noticeable amount of "give" to cushion what might otherwise be a harsh ride from the aluminum frame. As equipped, Sara's 15" U frame Breezer Villager weighs about 30 pounds and retails for $1200.
Until recently, most comfort bikes for city riding have tended to be heavy and built up with cheap components. In 2003, Joe Breeze started creating bikes designed for "transportation for a healthy planet." Breeze was inspired by European city bike designs but added his "California fresh" perspective to make the bikes practical yet light and responsive.
I really like this trend toward Euro-styled city bikes that aren't absolute clunkers. QBP launched their Civia brand of high end commuter bikes this year. We're also started seeing this trend from the first tier bike builders like Specialized with their Globe series of bikes.
The shop experience (from a dealer who is just now joining the Breezer network) was a mixed bag. Upright city bikes don't require the level of custom fitting that racers insist on, but I at least expect a shop to adjust the saddle and handlebars to somewhere near the correct height. The front light was also incorrectly aimed, pointing a good 30 degrees up in the air. Otherwise, everything on the bike appears to be correctly assembled, adjusted and inflated. They also noticed and repaired a loose connection between the dynamo and tail light. Apparently, this is a fairly common problem on some Breezer bikes and mentioned to Sara that she should watch for that.
Sue has been very inspired this last week, creating a bike haiku today and yesterday. I didn't know this until I read it in Roger Kramer's blog, but apparently Sue is on the board of the League of Illinois Bicyclists!
Read more at the New York Times. Thank you to the Longmonster.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Rialto Police Sgt Don Lewis said Rodney King told police the shooting took place while he was riding his bicycle in neighboring San Bernardino. King rode his bicycle home after the incident and it was not immediately clear who fired the shot, Lewis said.
Cohen tells us that ethics concerns itself with the effects of our actions on other people. Very few people think of the impact we make when we make a decision (or, more often, no intentional decision) on our mode of transportation. Cohen discusses the issues surrounding individual freedoms versus the public costs in the video interview. Watch it here.
Samples of slides and videos are available for online viewing at Cyclist View. This lane control video, for example, demonstrates a cyclist "taking the lane" in 45 mph traffic in the motoring mecca of Orange County, California.
Another example is this presentation on "Inclusive Design and Planning", which is designed to help planners understand and inclusively plan for the diverse spectrum of cyclists by showing on-bike video of cyclists in traffic and combining this with road diagrams.
Your iPod docks in the speaker unit which sits in a water bottle cage, and the iPod is controlled from a wireless controller mounted on your handlebar. It's a handy looking gizmo and would make a nice gift for the bike commuter who has everything. Read the full review at bits and bikes.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Regulars readers of Cyclelicious know I have no skill for humor. I thoroughly enjoy Bike Snob NYC, however. A couple of copycats have popped up who try to copy his formula for humor, including my own computer scripted Autosnob experiment.
A couple of people have asked me how the Autosnob works. Like any computer program, it follows a formula, and I follow the formula perfected in the Bike Snob's "Worst of Craigslist" posts. If you want to create your own Bike Snob franchise blog, here's how you, too, can gain fame, fortune, and interviews with Bicycling magazine and big name bike blogs.
Write the preamble. This is an introductory paragraph or three setting up the overall theme of the post. Bike Snob makes effective use of metaphors and similes. For the Autosnob, I grabbed the text from various "worst similes" websites. Here are some freebies:
- Visiting Craigslist is like the required community service you did cleaning the homeless shelter bathrooms.
- Craigslist is like the trailer trash of bike want ads. Let's make another visit to the trash heap.
- This Craigslist bike ad is like Def Leppard on a bad hair day, except just like Def Leppard, every day is bad hair day on Craigslist.
- Reading Craigslist bike ads hurts just the way your tongue hurts after you staple it to the wall.
Select your Craigslist ad. The best ads are ones with photos, so select your city or region and search for "fixie," limiting your search to the title text and posts with photos. You might also want to set a minimum price to weed out the small trash (like old broken pedals) that people peddle on Craigslist. Here's an example of this search.
I've selected this ad for you to experiment with in the comments. It's an ugly 25 year old bike with missing parts, junky cell phone photos, and a ridiculous price.
The owner is also obviously clueless: "just got a new bike. this one's too big for me(i'm almost 5'10"). it's almost 33" stand over hi. it's probably from the '90s. i'm not too sure. it's a fuji del rey. it's set up with a fix gear cog. i have a free wheel for it. i also have a smaller front chain ring for it. i even have the old deraillers and gear shifters if you want to turn it back to a bike with gears. i have drop bars or bullhorns that i chopped from drop bars. i have one or two brakes and levers for it."
Mock the ad. But do it with cleverness and style and pop culture references. The obvious things to mock on this bike are the missing saddle, "33 inch stand over hi," "one or two brakes" (He's not sure? At least he spelled it right), $225 for a bike that sold for $300 new in 1983, and what looks like a Polaroid as a spoke card. You can probably do something clever with the color -- BSNYC likes to find similarly colored objects for his Craigslist finds. This color reminds me of eggplant, but people pictures are funnier. It takes more work, but a photo of a has-been celebrity in a purple outfit would work well here. Here's the best of both worlds: A has-been celebrity who looks like an eggplant!
Obligatory mentions. If the bike is a Pista, be sure to mention the Pista-dex. For any recent fixie, be sure to compare the price against a new bike's MSRP. If the handlebar is partially wrapped, you must mention the "dog erection" look of the bar.
Colorful euphemisms. I'm a fan of BSNYC's euphemisms. For example: "I loudly admonished him for having Oedipal tendencies."
Try your best! Write a snobby review of the Fuji Del Rey linked to above. Put your "Worst Of" review as a comment here or in your own blog (be sure I can find it). A panel of celebrity judges (TBD) will determine the best ad among the entries. The winner gets a $20 Amazon gift card. The usual rules apply: I need your valid email address if you're the selected winner, and this contest must be legal in your area. Contest deadline is next Wednesday, December 5 at 6:30 p.m. U.S. Pacific Standard Time.
Of this bike, Sheldon Brown writes, "Disclaimer: This is a highly-advanced hack! Do not attempt it unless you have great confidence in your metalworking and mechanical ability. This article assumes that you are already very familiar with the inner workings of Sturmey-Archer AW 3-speed hubs. If you have any questions that you can't figure out the answer to from this article, you're not ready for this!"
Read the details and see more photos of this "bichain fixed/free bicycle drive system" at Sheldon Brown's website of wonderful things.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Gouldthorp recently was quoted in the Guardian newspaper saying, "“Independent retailing in the UK is a shambles. It is real Steptoe and Son (the UK inspiration for the US "Sanford and Son" show) stuff. If you want to imagine the typical independent bike dealer, he is 50-60, highly cynical, miserable, moaning, scruffy. That’s my customer."
In spite of Gouldthorp's apparent views on his retailers, Raleigh UK is profitable and growing in sales. Read more at Bike Biz.
This light is available from UK distributors for about £40, which works out to about US$80. Some of the online shops will ship to the USA for another $20 or so, with shipping from these online retailers also available elsewhere worldwide.
For product and buying information, visit Bicygnals. I know Sue (who published a bike haiku today has been looking for something like this. These run over $100 including shipping, so I think I'll stick with hand signals for now.
We were talking about electric cars at work today, and someone mentioned this drive system as a better alternative to an automotive automatic transmission.
Google today announced a new strategic initiative to develop electricity from renewable energy sources that will be cheaper than electricity produced from coal. The newly created initiative, known as RE<C, will focus initially on advanced solar thermal power, wind power technologies, enhanced geothermal systems and other potential breakthrough technologies. RE<C is hiring engineers and energy experts to lead its research and development work, which will begin with a significant effort on solar thermal technology, and will also investigate enhanced geothermal systems and other areas. In 2008, Google expects to spend tens of millions on research and development and related investments in renewable energy. As part of its capital planning process, the company also anticipates investing hundreds of millions of dollars in breakthrough renewable energy projects which generate positive returns.
"We have gained expertise in designing and building large-scale, energy-intensive facilities by building efficient data centers," said Larry Page, Google Co-founder and President of Products. "We want to apply the same creativity and innovation to the challenge of generating renewable electricity at globally significant scale, and produce it cheaper than from coal."
Page added, "There has been tremendous work already on renewable energy. Technologies have been developed that can mature into industries capable of providing electricity cheaper than coal. Solar thermal technology, for example, provides a very plausible path to providing renewable energy cheaper than coal. We are also very interested in further developing other technologies that have potential to be cost-competitive and green. We are aware of several promising technologies, and believe there are many more out there."
Page continued, "With talented technologists, great partners and significant investments, we hope to rapidly push forward. Our goal is to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal. We are optimistic this can be done in years, not decades." (One gigawatt can power a city the size of San Francisco.)
"If we meet this goal," said Page, "and large-scale renewable deployments are cheaper than coal, the world will have the option to meet a substantial portion of electricity needs from renewable sources and significantly reduce carbon emissions. We expect this would be a good business for us as well."
Coal is the primary power source for many around the world, supplying 40% of the world's electricity. The greenhouse gases it produces are one of our greatest environmental challenges. Making electricity produced from renewable energy cheaper than coal would be a key part of reducing global greenhouse-gas emissions.
"Cheap renewable energy is not only critical for the environment but also vital for economic development in many places where there is limited affordable energy of any kind," added Sergey Brin, Google Co-founder and President of Technology.
Strategic Investments and Grants
"Lots of groups are doing great work trying to produce inexpensive renewable energy. We want to add something that moves these efforts toward even cheaper technologies a bit more quickly. Usual investment criteria may not deliver the super low-cost, clean, renewable energy soon enough to avoid the worst effects of climate change," said Dr. Larry Brilliant, Executive Director of Google.org, Google's philanthropic arm, "Google.org's hope is that by funding research on promising technologies, investing in promising new companies, and doing a lot of R&D ourselves, we may help spark a green electricity revolution that will deliver breakthrough technologies priced lower than coal."
Working with RE<C, Google.org will make strategic investments and grants that demonstrate a path toward producing energy at an unsubsidized cost below that of coal-fired power plants. Google will work with a variety of organizations in the renewable energy field, including companies, R&D laboratories, and universities.
"We arrived at this decision to separate our brand from further exposure from doping in sport and cycling specifically. This was a difficult decision given our long history of support for professional cycling and the efforts of Bob Stapleton in managing the team in 2007", said Deutsche Telekom Board member and CEO of T-Mobile International Hamid Akhavan. “We have an obligation to our employees, customers and shareholders to focus our attention and resources on our core businesses”, added Akhavan.
"We have worked very hard with the current team management to promote a clean cycling sport but we reached the decision to continue our efforts to rid all sports of doping by applying our resources in other directions. Deutsche Telekom AG wants to make it clear that this action is not based on any disagreement with or misconduct by team management”, Akhavan emphasized.
Team manager Bob Stapleton added, "We hope to go forward independently with the team to achieve our goals of continued competitive success and being a leader in anti-doping efforts in professional cycling."
The cycling team will continue under the name Team High Road.
A number of high profile cyclists on the team have been involved in the doping scandals that have rocked pro cycling over the past couple of years.
Thank you to Bike Greenville for the heads up. Read more:
Other American universities such as Northern Arizona and the University of Buffalo have bike share programs, but Washington's proposed plan is believed to the first to offer the use of electric bike hybrids. I realize many people object to the use of electric motors on bicycles, but urban revitalization consultant Rich Layman makes the case for "conquest sales" -- that is, of moving people along a continuum to better transportation choices. A bicycle is certainly better in a lot of ways than almost any other vehicle, but an electric bike or even a Segway is better from a sustainability standpoint than any gasoline-powered automobile.
Read more about University of Washington bicycle share program.
Rich Layman: The Mobility Shed revisited.
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Transportation Resources.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Carlton talks about "get off the road for your own safety" individuals in the Netherlands(!), India and Nazi Germany. Perhaps there's a connection with this "bicycle neglect". Alan makes the point that the American Automobile Association -- which is a motorist lobbying group -- has more than 300 times the membership of bicycling advocacy groups. He writes:
In fact, cyclists are so utterly overpowered that the motoring interests hardly even have to show up. In Olympia and Salem, according to leading cycling advocates, the trucking, development, and manufacturing industries lobby fairly heavily on transportation issues. But car manufacturers, car dealers, and auto clubs rarely flex their muscle. Says [Bicycle Alliance of Washington executive director Gordon] Black, “They don’t have to show up very often, because they know the government is doing their bidding. They don’t feel threatened. They don’t see us as a threat.”CycleDog points us to an online driving test. I scored 95%.
Now let's ge to the boring news: Diesel shortages in South Dakota, North Dakota (in spite of record production at the state's lone refinery) and Iowa, where the presidential hopefuls are stumping for the January caucus. There's even a shortage of hops for beer manufacture. The state of Connecticut plans for fuel shortages. Some French equestrians are pushing horses for transportation. And in Zimbabwe, a brand new biodiesel factory isn't quite living up to the hype. One of the problems? Not enough feedstock to go around: the farmers have to choose between starvation or running their cars, trucks, generators and irrigation pumps.
Other bicycle Christmas cards are available from these resources.
- Earth Rider has a nice wheel and wreath card reproduced from a linoleum print among their greeting cards.
- For those in the UK, Sustrans has this nice "Rudolph's night off" card with Santa delivering gifts to good bike riding children.
- Bicycle Gifts has a number of designs available, many of which feature Santa and a reindeer riding road and mountain bikes.
The latest episode features photographer, writer and cyclist Blake Gordon who pedaled 2,500 miles through the Patagonia region of South America. Click here to read, listen and watch the highlights of his adventures.
While you can't vote often, Carlton notes that the voting registration site does not ask for UK residency and obliquely hints that American cyclists (*nudge wink*) might help their British cousins in this voting. The other three projects vying for funds are an urban park in the industrial rust belt north of Birmingham, an artistic and educational village in Cornwall, and a project to protect the oaks in ancient Sherwood Forest.
Read more at Quickrelease.TV.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I was a talented runner and Kim's running partner, but no, I had no idea what she talked about. But Kim's my best friend, and she's very pretty, so of course I nodded with enthusiasm. "Oh yeah, I know exactly what you mean."
It's now 20 years later and Kim still runs marathons and charity 10Ks in the Puget Sound area, while I've completely given up running. But I now understand what she meant back in 1983, because cycling is my daily meditation, my addiction, my drug. I've thought about what would happen if something were to happen to my legs that kept me off of my bike and it's difficult for me to picture.
I'm thankful that I have the health and physical and mental capability to ride a bike. I've thought about all of the accidental and random circumstances that combined to make me enthusiastic about cycling -- when I got a Schwinn LeTour for Christmas in 1981 and rode a criterium (in cutoff corduroys) the next summer. Kim (she's very pretty) started riding a bike -- her dad's white Fuji 10 speed -- after a knee injury, so of course I had ride too. I met enthusiastic cyclists when I got into college and discovered centuries. All of this and more combined to make me the cyclist I am today.
I'm thankful for more than that, of course -- for my wife and children. I'm thankful I'm gainfully employed, and I'm thankful for a four day weekend. I'm thankful also for my friends, many of whom I've met (both virtually and in the flesh) through this blog and yours. I'm thankful for the wider perspectives the medium of Web 2.0 brings to me.
Tough times are ahead, but I hope to maintain my perspective on the things that really matter. Happy Thanksgiving, all!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The northbound 191, which currently leaves San Jose Diridon at 8:10 p.m., will be moved to 7:30, with subsequent northbound trains leaving at 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30 p.m.
Southbound 190, which currently leaves San Francisco 4th & King at 7:20 p.m., will leave 10 minutes later at 7:30 p.m., with subsequent trains at 8:30, 9:30, 10:30. The final train to leave the city will still be scheduled for departed at 12:01 a.m.
The schedule changes are prompted by record ridership this year on Caltrain, with standing room only on the busier commute time trains.
Visit Caltrain's website to see the proposed schedule changes for March 2008. Caltrain is seeking public comment on the proposed changes at public meetings next Tuesday, November 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The meetings will be held at San Francisco 4th & King, Caltrain's administrative offices at 1250 San Carlos Avenue in San Carlos, and at San Jose Diridon Station. Caltrain is also accepting comments on the proposed changes via email at caltraincomments (at) caltrain dot com.
More Caltrain news:
- Caltrain schedules are now in Google Transit. Here are the transit directions from San Francisco 4th and King to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California.
- The Caltrain Holiday Train makes an appearance on the weekend of December 7 - 9 at various stations in the Bay Area.
- Caltrain reminds travelers to take Caltrain to avoid traffic and parking hassles when flying from SFO or SJC.
- Caltrain will run on a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving Day, and a regular weekday schedule on the Friday after Thanskgiving. Take the train to the City for your Black Friday Christmas shopping.
Carl now has a blog: Getinlost in..., which I'm obligated to link to because he posted a bicycle haiku.
Via Carl's blog I also found the Alex Draude's Straight Chain blog about fixie riding in Kyoto and other areas in Japan.
Many of you apparently also know that he's returned with Oil Is For Sissies V3.5, AKA "pinhole photography and other diversions." I didn't know. But now I do.
This is just me because I'm kind of dorky, but at Lynskey's display at Interbike, my personal favorite was their titanium cruiser bike, which rides like a dream.
Props to Herbert of Guerrilla Communication.
The initial six month pilot will include 250 bicycles distributed at 22 stations in the historic center of Rome. Eventually, promoters hope to make 20,000 rental bikes available throughout the city. “This experimental bike-sharing programme will make travelling in the centre of Rome easier, faster, economical and environmentally sound,” said Roman mayor Walter Veltroni.
The bike stations and bike rental program will be installed and managed by outdoor advertising firm Cemusa utilizing equipment and bikes from Bicincittá. (Bicincittá is "Bici in cittá," which means "Bike in town." Get it?)
Learn more --
- Bike Europe: Rome enters bike sharing program.
- AFP (via Yahoo news): Rome to be latest city launching bike-sharing program.
- Bike Sharing Blog: Roam around Rome, by bike.
Monday, November 19, 2007
The 10 most dangerous cities are:
- 1. Detroit, Michigan
2. St. Louis, Missouri
3. Flint, Michigan
4. Oakland, California
5. Camden, New Jersey
6. Birmingham, Alabama
7. North Charleston, South Carolina
8. Memphis, Tennessee
9. Richmond, California
10. Cleveland, Ohio
I've had a close friend who's a cop advise me to carry a handgun with me because of my commute route, but I've never had any problems during nearly 20 years of commuting by bike through sometimes marginally sketchy neighborhoods. Female friends in particular sometimes seem more aware of personal safety issues when it comes to bicycling, which I can understand.
If you need to decide on the safety of your cycling route, I've listed some online crime maps that outline the level of crime in various cities in the United States.
- Chicago, Illinois.
- Crime Baltimore.
- Boston Crime map.
- Gothamist maps shows what's happening in New York City right now.
- Tulsa, Oklahoma crime maps.
- San Diego crime maps.
- Crime map of upscale Potero Hill neighborhood in San Francisco, CA.
- Crime map of Washington, DC.
- Berkeley, California crime map.
- San Francisco PD Crime Maps. See also San Francisco heat map of crime.
- Oakland Crime Map.
- Santa Cruz crime maps (available as PDF files).
- Los Angeles crime maps.
- Portland, OR crime mapper.
- Greenville, SC Crime Mapping.
- Grand Rapids, Michigan crime map.
- Houston crime map (click on categories for maps).
- Sacramento crime tracker also tracks crime data from Roseville and Folsom, CA.
- Topeka, Kansas crime map.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
- How much of what foreign substance is allowed in every 144 pound batch of Fig Newton cookie filling?
- What quantity of bug parts are plastered on the front of the average American pickup truck?
- How much of what substance was pumped out of Britney Spears' stomach during a recent ER visit?
- The average American eats how many pounds of bug parts every year?
This all came about because Jonathan @ SFist swallowed a bug during his bicycle commute. Because much of the San Francisco Bay Area is so bug free, this was unusual enough that Jonathan had to research the issue. Read his findings at SFist.
The SFist article also turned me onto this cool outtake of Marlon Brando's soliloquy on bloodlust when he suddenly makes a face and gasps, "I swallowed a bug."
Two pounds of bugs. Who woulda figured?
Saturday, November 17, 2007
That's 1-800-466-4411. It's a speed dial number on my cell phone now.
Other random stuff:
- I saw a really cool children's book last night: Mike and the Bike by Mike Ward with a forward by Lance Armstrong and audio CD of the text of the bike by Mr. Phil Liggett himself. There's even a Mike and the Bike blog.
- The Hybrid Debate Among the debates: Would drive more if our cars had a lower environment impact? Sponsored by Lexus.
- Bicycle Design reports on the bikes in China. He also includes a link to the Crazy Bicycles Design site, where you can vote on what you think of as the weirdest bike design.
- Patrik Sinkewitz banned until July 2008 for his confessed doping.
- I think most of you have seen the news of the "real bike shop" at a Walmart concept store in Highland Village, Texas.
- Because it's that time of year: ICEBIKE, Bike Winter Chicago, Winter cycling forum, Winter Cycling page.
I've been laid up in bed for the past two days with a horrible head cold. I hope the rest of you all have a great weekend!
Friday, November 16, 2007
Predictably, a few Bike Snob pretenders have popped up, so I created the computerized Autosnob. Among my favorite features of BSNYC (and the part most emulated by the other Snobs) are the "Worst of Craigslist Bike Ads." It's a formula, but it's a formula that works.
Autosnob takes a random BSNYC article and some other random text, matches it up with a random Craigslist bike ad and mashes them together to create something like a new episode of "Worst of Craigslist Bike Ads."
The Autosnob is still a work in progress. The ad mocking algorithm, for example, is far from complete and is currently limited to looking at the colors in the ad, though an exception is made for the SE Bikes Draft (a high tensile steel singlespeed with ashtabula cranks and a BMX bottom bracket). I'm open to suggestions on how to more effectively mock NJS parts, along with brands like Jamis, Miyata, Fuji, Peugot, Bianchi and all the rest.
The Autosnob: check it out.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Neal Skorpen is an illustrator who created the Cyclotoons comic as a monthly feature for bicycling publications. I recently ran across his Cyclotoons store where you can get his Cyclotoons cartoons printed on a shirt or jacket. Visit Neal Skorpen's Cyclotoons store for more selections.
The Bikido image reproduced here with Neal Skorpen's permission.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
This video by filmmaker Matt Goldman features great footage of San Francisco DJ Ted Shred bombing down the hills of San Francisco on his singlespeed (freewheeling -- not fixed!) brakeless bike. Shred stops by pushing his shoe into the rear wheel to "Fred Flintstone it." Set to Ted Shred's music, the excellent videography makes this suicidal practice look kinda cool, just like TV forensics dramas make dead bodies look hot and sexy.
Via the man who hates goats.
The Tour Prologue in Palo Alto, California features a short and very fast individual time trial race that begins at city hall, loops through the busy downtown and into the Stanford Oval.
At the press conference in Palo Alto, local organizers touted the economic benefits that the Tour of California will bring to the area. They also hope to leverage local interest in this international cycling event to promote cycling for transportation and bike safety for cyclists and motorists. Local cyclist MaryAnn Levenson, for example, will work with schools to tie in the Tour of California with bike promotion and bike safety events. Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Corinne Winter will organize a bike-themed art competition in conjunction with the Tour of California. Palo Alto Mayor Yoriki Kishimoto hopes that excitement around the race will encourage more people to consider cycling as transportation in Palo Alto.
The stage details of the eight day race are:
- Prologue: Palo Alto-Stanford University (Sunday, February 17, 2008)
- Stage 1: Sausalito to Santa Rosa (Monday, February 18, 2008)
- Stage 2: Santa Rosa to Sacramento (Tuesday, February 19, 2008)
- Stage 3: Modesto to San Jose (Wednesday, February 20, 2008)
- Stage 4: Seaside to San Luis Obispo (Thursday, February 21, 2008)
- Stage 5: Solvang Individual Time Trial (Friday, February 22, 2008)
- Stage 6: Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita (Saturday, February 23, 2008)
- Stage 7: Santa Clarita to Pasadena (Sunday, February 24, 2008)
Monday, November 12, 2007
The full details are at the Ontario Ministry of Revenue website. Bicycles purchased for under $1000 are exempt, as well as bike safety equipment such as helmets, reflectors, lights, bells, horns, and mirrors. Bike rental, bike parts, non-safety bike accessories and labor for repairs and assembly remain taxable.
Mentioned at Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (aka the BR&IN), Canadian Cyclist, Pedal Magazine.
This AP story notes that both obesity and global warming can be fought at the same time if everybody started walking or biking to work instead of driving.
One numbers-crunching scientist calculates that if all Americans between 10 and 74 walked just half an hour a day instead of driving, they would cut the annual U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, by 64 million tons.Important note: If you're in a good mood, stop reading now and click over to Frazz. Or, if he's your style, Bike Snob NYC. I'm also working on The Autosnob, which is something like a random mashup of BSNYC, Craigslist bike ads, and your computer. Just click the Reload button of your web browser for brand new Autosnob text. Like I wrote, I just started working on the Autosnob and more is the way!
About 6.5 billion gallons of gasoline would be saved. And Americans would also shed more than 3 billion pounds overall, according to these calculations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering public promotion of the "co-benefits" of fighting global warming and obesity-related illnesses through everyday exercise, like walking to school or work, said Dr. Howard Frumkin, director of the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health.
"A simple intervention like walking to school is a climate change intervention, an obesity intervention, a diabetes intervention, a safety intervention," Frumkin told The Associated Press. "That's the sweet spot."
I've thought a lot lately (and commented a little) on the ethical "dilemna" of climate change, in which the public health costs of global climate change are likely to be the greatest in those parts of the world that have contributed least to the problem. In other words, millions of third world babies will die in widespread famine over the next decade, and it's not really their fault.
In happier news, a recent poll shows 7 in 10 Californians believe global warming is "extremely" or "very" important to them personally, and 43% believe immediate action is necessary. Unfortunately, their words have yet to be translated into action -- there are as many cars on the road as ever, as far as I can tell.
While I'm in a bad mood, I might as well mention this induhvidual in Denver who lambasts the members of the Denver Bicycle Advisory Committee for their alleged ineffectiveness. You can read my further thoughts in the comments section of that blog, but I'll try to post more later. If you want change in your community, quit your gripin' and show up at the meetings!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
From: John A. ArdelliThat was as much as I could say within the Post's 300 word limit. Here, I'd like to add a few additional details to the above story.
Subject: Misguided Law Enforcement
Date: November 11, 2007 1:35:33 PM AST
To: Cape Breton Post Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
"Bicyclists may occupy as much of a traffic lane as their safety warrants." This is a direct quote from the Bicycle Safety brochure published by Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. It means, if there’s no room to share, cyclists have the right to take as much lane space as they need. Unfortunately, this fact does not appear to be a part of the training given to officers of the Cape Breton Regional Police.
Several weeks ago, a police constable in an unmarked cruiser squeezed by me within centimeters as I traveled east on Kings Road just past Kenwood Drive. When I honked my horn and yelled after him, he pulled me over and accused me of "impeding traffic" (all the while his cruiser, stopped on the road, was doing just that) and that I should be riding at the extreme right.
This past Friday, a police officer honked at me as I traveled west towards Kenwood Drive. I pointed to the lane next to me to signal him to go around me; he did. However, when I got to work, he caught up with me and told me the same fallacy about "impeding traffic" (and accused me of making a "left hand turn signal" when I pointed to the adjacent lane) and said I need to move over more. This officer, unlike the other, was at least polite about it and didn’t impede traffic himself.
In both cases, the officers claimed they were doing this for my "safety."
I've only ever had one collision on Kings Road, with a cyclist riding on the sidewalk at the Kimberly Drive intersection.
If these police officers truly want to increase the safety of cyclists, it's the cyclists on the sidewalks, not the law-abiding ones on the road, that they need to address.
That first officer had a serious "attitude." Not only did he tell me I was impeding traffic but he tried to intimidate me, looking at the back of my bike and asking me why I don't have a license for it. My answer to that was simple: there is no bicycle licensing program in Nova Scotia; my guess is he knew that but was hoping I didn't. I don't appreciate people trying to manipulate me like that, particularly a public service official like a police officer.
I have been trying to file a formal complaint against that officer for some time now. I know what form I have to get and where to get it but, unfortunately, the administrative section of the police station where I get it is not open when I'm off work and, due to computer problems, they have so far been unable to E-mail me the appropriate form. Fortunately, I have the American Thanksgiving off and the station is open; I should be able to get it then.
As for the other officer, I hold no malice against him. Although his advice was misguided, he was professional and polite in the way he gave it. Still, he seemed to have stereotypical "the roads are for cars" attitude and the mistaken belief that a cyclist, traveling slower than the prevailing traffic, puts him or herself into some kind of extraordinary danger by trying to mingle with motorists on "their" road.
My biggest concern is that this attitude about cyclists seems to pervade all levels of the Cape Breton Regional Police, good and bad officers alike. If this is the advice they're giving cyclists, some day someone's going to get hurt following it. I believe it's imperative that these officers receive some formal training in traffic cycling.
Police officers, because they are supposed to be the model we follow, cannot afford to be misinformed about safety issues like these.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Some time ago I created a compilation CD of my favorite bicycle songs that included "The Acoustic Motorbike." Another song from this CD is Bicycle Song by Orbit. Click on the link to Amazon for a preview, and instead of a CD these days you can download it to your MP3 player. The bicycle is a metaphor for something else but it's still cool to listen to.
Many times in my career as a traffic engineer and bicycling advocate, I've had other professional engineers tell me that they do not support doing something for cyclists that I have proposed either because they are convinced that it is not safe for the majority of cyclists or they do not know how to do it in a way that is safe for cyclists. For example, some years ago I was speaking with the chief traffic engineer for Caltrans District 4 about bicycle access to the Richmond-San Rafael bridge. She told me that she was responsible for the safety of all road users and that she absolutely refused to allow bicyclists to use the ramps necessary to access the bridge. In another case, engineers for the Fort Ord Reuse Agency told me that they did not provide for cyclists on the reconstructed 12th Street interchange to State Route 1 because they did not know how to do it safely. More recently, the chief of the Electrical Systems Branch at Caltrans told me that she did not believe that bicycles could be reliably detected using inductive loops even though I had just given her a detailed presentation showing how it could be done.
I have been asking myself why these professional engineers are so ignorant of bicycle traffic engineering and I now have a theory. In each case, the engineer has placed the burden on proving my assertion on me, but I (and others like me) do not have access to the resources necessary to perform the research to prove our assertions. And those who do have access to those resources are either not asking the right questions or not interested in the answers.
In reviewing research studies on bicycle traffic engineering, the recurring theme that I have found is that the research has not been done or what research has been done is either biased or flawed. Here are three such examples:
A 2005 study for Florida DOT, Sidepath Facility Selection and Design, looked into the characteristics of sidepaths that make them safer than the parallel street. It used a regression model that, when I showed it to my brother (who is a professor of statistical psychology at Kansas State University), turned out to be inadequately documented. My brother recommended that I obtain the raw data for the study. When I asked the contractors who performed the study for the raw data, they said that they had discarded it and to contact FDOT. Inquiries to FDOT revealed that they have a policy against releasing crash data to members of the public. So far, my attempts to obtain the data have been unsuccessful. My brother told me that the standard among researchers in psychology is to keep raw data for 5 years in case of a request from a peer for a review of the data. The policy at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) is for its contractors to keep raw data for 3 years. Without the raw data, there is no way to know whether the research was performed correctly.
A 1999 study performed for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), A Comparative Analysis of Bicycle Lanes Versus Wide Curb Lanes, compared conflicts on streets with wide outside lanes vs. similar width streets with bike lanes. But the comparison turned out to be faulty because the streets with wide outside lanes vs. those with bike lanes had unequal levels of traffic as well as different traffic control characteristics and cycling populations. Also, what they called conflicts included ordinary negotiation between cyclists and motorists approaching intersections. Furthermore, several of the researchers' conclusions were not supported by the data. At the end of the report, the authors baldly state that even though streets with wide outside lanes and streets with bike lanes had similar operating characteristics, bike lanes are preferable because they attract more bicyclists, despite the fact that bicyclist preferences were not in the study's scope.
A couple of years ago, the chief of the Caltrans Electrical Systems Branch helped write a problem statement, Bicycle Detection and Operational Concept at Signalized Intersections, for research now being done by California Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways (PATH) at UC Berkeley. Inductive loops, however, are not in the scope of the study. Furthermore, the researchers are being asked to develop a procedure to discriminate between bicycles and motor vehicles for the purpose of providing additional minimum green, ignoring the concerns expressed by bicycle advocates for the length of the all-red clearance interval. When asked about these inconsistencies, the principal investigator replied that he was performing the research that Caltrans had requested. It was this comment that led to my presentation to the Caltrans Electrical Systems Branch where the chief told me that she did not believe bicycles could be reliably detected using inductive loops. Of course, she has no research to support her belief, and she has not asked for any because she already knows the answer.
It appears that the social bias against cycling that Bob Mionske describes in his new book, Bicycling and the Law, extends into bicycle traffic engineering research. That is personally disappointing to me, because I was trained as a transportation researcher and I can see when the standards for such research are being violated.
So here is what I think is happening: (1) Professional engineers are trained to base their decisions on data; (2) Bicycle advocates make assertions about bicycle traffic engineering that they believe are true but cannot prove because they do not have the resources to perform the appropriate research; (3) Sponsored research on those assertions either is not done or is done improperly; which (4) Leads professional engineers to make uninformed decisions about bicycle traffic engineering.
I would be interested if anyone has any evidence that will support or refute my theory. In particular, I am interested in any direct evidence that sponsored research into bicycle traffic engineering is either biased or flawed, or is simply not done because the sponsors believe they already know the answers.
Robert M Shanteau, PhD, PE
Consulting Traffic Engineer
13 Primrose Cir
Seaside, CA 93955-4133
Voice: (831) 394-9420
FAX: (831) 394-6045
Note that the USA version doesn't quite match the Euro version shown above.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Secondly, two more people shamelessly posted bike haiku link bait, and they're both in the Kansas City area! Warren writes about Bike Commute Ninjas before his end-of-DST lament. And Noah posts a paen to pandas in his bike self portrait baiku.
Finally, NYMEX light sweet crude oil closed Friday afternoon at $96.32 per barrel today. While Danielo came closest with his guess of $96.50, you have to come in below the actual price to win soooo no winners today. Michael's suggestion to try "Price Is Right" strategy would have served somebody well, but nobody tried lowballing with a figure like $80. I might try this contest (or something similar) again next week. In the meantime, Masiguy has a guess the number of socks contest going on at Masi Guy right now.
The Stanford bike photos are courtesy Budi Waskita and used with his kind permission.
Carlton has created a series of POLITE shirts and jackets that can be purchased on Spreadshirt, which is a European version of Cafe Press. The black jacket shown above is a thin polyester training jacket with cotton liner. He's also made a long sleeve t-shirt available with "POLITE" on the back and "ONE LESS CAR" on the front.
I often ride a plain black bike equipped with a rear rack and rack trunk that looks just like a police bike. When I wear black pants, black shoes and a black jacket, I've heard pedestrians make remarks about "%*#! pigs on bikes" as a ride by.
Learn more at Quickrelease.TV. Spreadshirt, unfortunately, does not ship outside of Europe. Given that the US Dollar has lost 40% of its value against the UK pound and Euro this year, Americans can't afford anything from Europe anyway.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
This is a safety initiative from the Associated Students of Stanford University, aka ASSU, which is the student government on campus. The Stanford Police Department really seems to be cracking down on people who ride their bikes at night without lights this year, so the student government arranged this light extravaganza with help from Stanford's Parking & Transportation Services.
Stanford P&TS also has a promotion now where you receive a $10 certificate to campus dining if somebody from P&TS spots you riding a bicycle while wearing a helmet.
Thank you to Jeremy W @ Stanford for this news and Jonathan Kass for the additional details. Jonathan is the Student Life, Housing, and Education Committee Chair of the undergraduate Senate at Stanford.
Other bicycle newsScott @ Civia Cycles has a cool idea: Bike Friendly Stickers to mark residences and other places that are friendly to cyclists. The inspiration occurred when Scott flatted without tools and walked until he found a co-worker at his home. The Civia Bike Friendly sticker can put put on your house or business to show passing cyclists that your place is an oasis where cyclists can get help with tools, repairs, a lift or a place to rest. Read here for ordering details.
The U.S. National Safe Routes to School Task Force will meet in Washington, DC on November 15 & 16, 2007. Public comment is scheduled for November 15 at 2:45 p.m.
Sue posted a bicycle haiku. Remember, if you post a bicycle haiku and I run across it, I'll link to it. NOTE: My blog reading lately has been way off, so to ensure I see your poetry in a timely manner you should link to Cyclelicious in a way that Technorati can find it. If you don't know what that means, you can also just leave a comment linking to your poetry.
REMEMBER TO POST YOUR OIL PRICE GUESS! You can't win if you don't guess a price. You only have a few more hours before I close the contest.
Photo by me. Neil bought his rusty Schwinn Suburban at a garage sale in Santa Cruz for $5. It's a rust bucket but the wheels seemed true, it cruised reasonably quietly and the 3 speed shifter and brakes all work! What a bargain!
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Here's video of this bike in action. This might be useful for the bike commuters out there.
Thanks to CycleDog who pointed this out to me at Urban Velo. See more photos of this bike at Bike Forums.
Guess what the futures price of NYMEX Light Sweet Crude Oil will be when the markets close on Friday, November 9 and you could win a $10 Amazon.com gift card in this contest!
The New York Mercantile Exchange is where oil futures contracts are traded in the United States; it's these prices which have been making the news over the past couple of weeks as crude for December delivery approaches $100 per barrel. The person who guesses the closest per barrel NYMEX price (as reported on CNN.com) when the markets close on Friday wins a $10 Amazon.com gift card.
BONUS PRIZE: The individual with a website you directs the most traffic to this article (as tracked by Google Analytics) also wins a $10 Amazon.com gift certificate. I must be able to figure out who you are and your email address. Because I'm using Google Analytics to track the inbound links, you must post the "permalink" address of this article to a website, which means spamming your friends with email won't work. If there's a tie, winner is determined by random drawing. The permalink address is
http://www.cyclelicio.us/2007/11/contest-guess-price-of-crude.htmlFirst, read this to get a handle on where prices might be headed. Then read the rules, then make your guess. If the price busts through $100 per barrel any time this week, I will double the prize, even if the price later retreats.
1. Only U.S. and Canadian residents are eligible. Entries must be received through comments on this . You must provide a valid email address, either through your Blogger.com profile, your web page that you link to in your comment, or by contacting me directly before I announce the winner this weekend. If you have a contact form through which I can get an email address, that's good too.
2. The prize will be a $10 Amazon.com electronic gift card sent via email from Amazon.com. If there are technical problems in commenting, receiving email or sending email, that's your problem.
3. The person who comes closest to guessing the Friday closing NYMEX Light Sweet Crude futures price without going above the price wins. If two people guess the identical price, the first guesser wins. ONLY ONE ENTRY PER INDIVIDUAL. MULTIPLE ENTRIES MAY INVALIDATE ALL OF YOU ENTRIES. That means if you guess $98.30 tonight, then you see the price dive below $80 on Thursday and change your mind, you're stuck with your original guess.
4. When I close comments on this post Thursday night or Friday morning, no more entries will be accepted.
I may make this a regular feature, though I'll probably change things around to stuff like "Guess the U.S. average gas price" and so forth, so stay tuned!
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Exhibit 2 is a Pearl Izumi poster in a recent issue of Road magazine. Most people possibly didn't notice it because the flip side is a pinup featuring a scantily clad woman that I definitely would not be permitted to hang in my harassment-free work place, but one side features a pile of crushed cars with "AMEN" in huge bold letters.
I like the marketing, but it just seems odd to me. I don't perceive Pearl Izumi's target market to be the car-free crowd. They sell excellent technical cycling gear (of which I own and use several items), but the typical "cars r coffins" folks generally wear street clothes, while somebody wearing a pair of $200 Pearl Izumi bibs, $180 PI Octane jersey, $20 PI microsensor skullcap, $25 arm warmers and leg warmers and $50 PI gloves probably is also the demographic for all of them SUV ads in Bicycling magazine.
My perception: A company like Clif, which has a history of corporate responsibility and involvement, has a genuine message. I could be wrong, but Pearl Izumi's campaign strikes me as somebody who's jumping in on a fad and doing "green" marketing because it's the in thing.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Jason also interviewed The Fat Cyclist but I haven't had a chance to listen to that yet.
I also owe Danielo a link for his 2007 Halfbakery Baiku Olympics.
Citizen Rider writes about geeking out over transportation cycling. "When I left racing behind I took that intensity into transportation," he writes. "One commenter said that he got as excited over lighting systems and other practical componentry as he had over go-fast racing equipment. It's true."
Adam write how TerraPass turned him into a bike commuter.
Peter McKay gives his harrowing tale of getting shot on his bike commute in Seattle. Apparently, thugs are shooting BBs with .22 handguns and randomly shooting people. I'm researching on article right now on personal safety while cycling and have some feedback already from a local police officer. I hate random violence.
With the increased popularity of cycling for transportation in France, somebody has published their Outlaw cycling manifesto in which they affirm the right to run red lights and ride the wrong way "for my own safety." Alex @ Streetsblog at least acknowledges that he does all this for convenience sake in his proposal to loosen up traffic regulations for New York cyclists. He notes that traffic engineering and rules and laws became a requirement after automobiles made streets substantially more dangerous for other road users. Several commentators in the discussion following note, of course, that outlaw cyclists often make conditions dangerous for the other large group of road users -- pedestrians.
Speaking of laws, CycleDog posted some good commentary on American Lawbreaking is it relates to traffic law enforcement and bicyclists. He notes that the concerns of cyclists on the road can vary widely from that of motorists. It's good stuff: go read it.
Photo: Wrong way cyclist in the bike lane on Folsom, Boulder, Colorado. Photo by me.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
More than 100 vehicles, including 18 semitrucks, were involved in this chain reaction pileup that claimed two lives among the dozens who were injured. More in the San Francisco Chronicle. Autumn fog in the Central Valley often leads to spectacularly huge pileups like this one.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Here's a picture from what I did yesterday. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is about a 10 minute bike ride from my front door. In the photo I'm fording across the San Lorenzo River. From there I rode uphill into Santa Cruz Pogonip Park, onto the U-Conn Trail, and then I did a couple of loops through UCSC forest trails before zooming downhill into the city of Santa Cruz where I caught a bus back home. The weather was beautiful -- sunny and with a high of nearly 80°F in November! Like Jason wrote, "Being a cyclist means hating global warming … but liking it warm. Oh, the humanity!"
The bike is an old low-end GT mountain bike that's now about ten years old but still going strong.
Mountain bike tip of the day: When you hop over a 12 inch log, watch your landing zone for large obstructions! If you don't, you might face plant like I did -- that's dirt from the trail on my face after I shoveled straight in just like Steve Austin's experimental spaceplane shoveled into the runway in the Six Million Dollar Man.
Friday, November 02, 2007
"khyungyokpo" in Seattle gives his step-by-step instructions for Ghetto-style rainlegs made from a $16 pair of rubberized rainpants in this Flickr photoset.
Props to Bike Hugger, who has some extra notes and tips from the ghetto rainlegs designer himself.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
I posted a note about the San Jose Earthquake within minutes of the quake. That evening, my unique visitor count tripled from my previous day's count. I suppose I could write something either profound or sophomoric on our need to connect with other human beings in a dramatic shared experience and how Web 2.0 enables this human interaction in powerful new ways, but I'm just a computer nerd who likes to ride a bicycle.
The technology of the web held up just fine in Silicon Valley. My cellphone didn't work, but Twitter, Flickr, Blogger and the World Wide Web in general all stayed up and running, along with my Internet phone service. The Internet is descended from "ARPANET", a U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency project. While the Internet would not survive a world-ending nuclear exchange, it hummed along with nary a hiccup during the quake in the heart of Silicon Valley. It helped, of course, that damage was limited to falling merchandise and hundreds of thousands of library books.
While I'm talking web stats, Alta Bikes is still in my top ten . Kirsten Gum remains a favorite at number four on the list; there's quite a bit of interest in the Chanel bicycle; and more than a few people are still looking at Interbike 2007 information.
Remember, if you post a bicycle haiku and I find it, I'll link to it from Cyclelicious.
Until I saw this news, I still thought the Olsen twins were like 12 years old.
Props to Michael for the heads up. Hey, what happened to your blog?