Sunday, August 31, 2008

Royal Carriage

Crown Prince Willem Alexander of the Netherlands carries his daughters, Princess Alexia and Princess Catharina, in his box bike while his wife Princess Maxima totes Princess Ariane on the back of her bicycle.

Dutch Royal Family Photocall

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Vigilante mob beats bicycle thief

A youth who tried to steal a bicycle was severely beaten up by a mob on Friday. The policemen who had rescued the youth left him and fled after being targeted by the mob.

The incident occurred around 3 pm at Bally in Howrah. Aparesh Mukherjee, who owns a medicine shop at Bally market, had kept his bicycle near the gate of the shop. The 24-year-old youth, who was loitering around, tried to steal it. Seeing him do so, locals started thrashing him mercilessly.

The policemen rushed to the spot and rescued the youth, who had became unconscious by then. The policemen also arrested two persons from the mob.

However, soon the other locals blocked the policemen’s way and demanded that the two be released. With the situation almost out of control, the policemen fled the spot, leaving the youth at the mercy of the mob.

The youth lay unconscious on the road for nearly an hour after which some other locals took him to Jaiswal Hospital. He was not in a condition to speak and is yet to be identified.
Story from the Times of India. Via Doc Logan.

Miley Cyrus rides a bicycle

The gossip blogs have all published photos of teen Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus riding her bike around. Like any normal 15 year old kid, she's been seen riding her bike with her friends, with her family and sticking her tongue out at the camera.

Miley Cyrus and family riding a bike

Riding Pretty writes: "The way I see it, when pop culture icons ride bicycles they are helping the planet, proving there is some thing you can do (besides saving money on gas) and Yes, looking oh so pretty riding on a bicycle… The influence can be so positive on kids who will be asking their parents if they can get a cruiser like Miley has." Right on, Miley.

Miley Cyrus and family riding a bike

Miley Cyrus and family riding a bike

Friday, August 29, 2008

Labor Day

By the time this is posted I'll be away from the computer, probably for the entire weekend. In the United States we have a three day weekend with our Labor Day holiday, but I have a couple of celebrity bike goodies planned for automatic posting over the weekend. If you haven't noticed the little teaser at the top of the site, I have a nice giveaway planned for September -- a Monkey Electric bike light. Watch for it!

Politics (sort of). Bicycling is listed as one of Governor Sarah Palin's hobbies; I've hunted around the web for a photo of her on a bike but came up empty. Perhaps Jill up in Alaska can help us out in the department.

Heather on her Rans bicycle. I've tried this bike -- it's pretty nice. Photo by Vik Banerjee.

Here's some weekend bicycling goodies to read about, mixed in with other nonsense. We'll begin with the doping front, in which we learn that video game players take performance enhancing substances!

Lindsay and Hannah paddle bike down the Mississippi River.

A college professor asks might Rob Anderson be right? What is the cost and benefit of adding bike lanes in San Francisco?

Boing Boing: Scofflaw cyclists to be "shamed" by posting photos of them in the act. Oh, brother.

MAKE: Convert your roof bike rack into a trailer hitch rack.

Yehuda Moon: Most of my rides are like this.

Bike & Chain a novel that's not a novel that's the "ultimate guide to bicycle culture."

Pedicabs do brisk business in Denver.

Inspirational: The Power of One.

Rivendell: Bike prices are going up.

I should start a new "Bike Rants" blog. Here's a candidate from Ukiah, California: Bicyclists are arrogant, narcissistic and useless.

A nice, steel frame road bike from Fuji!

Trek: Interview with bike designer Michael Leighton on the "District 96" fixed gear bike from Trek.

Masi in Bicycling Magazine.

Ride Charlotte used one of my bike photos.

Velo Vogue: Bangladesh rickshaw photos. Truck bikes / cargo bikes and other work bikes too.

Have a great weekend, all!

LeMond bicycles used to train Iranian troops!

From BR&IN, regarding the lawsuit between LeMond and Trek:
In an odd twist, an inmate at a federal prison in Williamsburg, South Carolina filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit in July, alleging that he and other inmates produce bikes for LeMond under the Federal Prison Industry Unicor Program for 12 cents an hour, a violation of minimum wage laws. The inmate also claimed LeMond bicycle are shipped to Iranian troops for training purposes, violating the “Training with Enemy” Act.

Via Interbike Times.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yehuda Fritz?

I think VeliPete might have me confused with somebody else :-)

Just a note that I periodically like to give a shout out to everybody who links to me when they do it, but I've noticed that, lately, Technorati seems to miss a lot of these backlinks. doesn't really handle trackbacks that well, either, and I have way too much invested in using to change blogging platforms now. If you link to a post in Cyclelicious, please don't be shy about leaving a comment here so I know about the link love and I'll send it back your way.

Recent links that I know about have come from

There are others, but I've already mentioned them in other posts. :-) And let's hope I didn't mess up all of those links too badly :-)

Now lets hope this bicycle blog doesn't get marked as a link farm!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pedal powered locomotive

This is German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier touring his home region of Brandenburg cycling on a pedal powered rail cart. Is this cool, or what? I've seen different kinds of rail bikes, but this is the first human powered rail device that can carry several passengers that I've seen.

Minister Steinmeier Visits Brandenburg

Free bicycles in Denver video

One interesting factoid I didn't know about -- several sharrows were apparently placed specifically in anticipation and for bike riders visiting Denver for the DNC!

Bikes and rumors of bikes

Tyler of rides his mountain bike
Tyler of races in the Fool's Gold mountain bike race the weekend of August 15.
Bike Rumor started in June of this year as a source of news, product information, and product rumors in the bike industry.

Tyler of Greensboro, North Carolina is the publisher of Bike Rumor. He has been an avid cyclist since 1995, when he picked it up as a junior in college. "I raced a lot for about eight years," says Tyler. "Then I had kids and realized that cycling was more fun when it was just for fun and fitness, not racing."

"While I enjoy the competitive spirit, my riding is focused around fun rather than keeping in top physical form for a 90 minute race."

Welcome Tyler to the biking blogosphere. Drop by and say hello.

Free bikes overrun Denver

Bike Denver's Tracy Halasinski went around Denver the other day looking for the Freewheelin bikes to take photos of and didn't have to go far. ". I was really excited when I saw my first Freewheelin bikes around, then realized they were all over and I couldn't take a picture of each one," she writes.

1000 bikes are available to borrow during the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week. As of last night, over 2,700 riders have put nearly 7,000 miles on the bikes. Mileage is recorded for each bike an total mileages are tallied on large electronic boards at the bike rental stations. You can view live streaming video of several Denver Freewheelin stations to see how busy these folks actually are. A couple of stations just have a couple of guys sitting around with their feet on the table, but most of them seem pretty busy. It's good to see.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

SSWC08: Singlespeed World Championship photos

Photographer Carson Blume spent the weekend in Napa and shot some nice photos from SSWC08.

Elsewhere on his photo blog he's posted some nice Tour of Utah photos. His cycling blog is in a way Yet Another Ride Statistics journal, but the elevation profiles and GPS tracks are punctuated with wonderful photography of the scenery and cyclists in and around Santa Barbara, California. His photos encourage me to get out and ride!

Experimenting with feeds

I'm changing my feed settings a little. If you read Cyclelicious via feed reader (such as Bloglines, Flock, or Google Reader), please let me know if you experience problems after tonight. There might be a slight hiccup, but I think the change should be mostly transparent.

NPR Talk of the Nation: Rob Anderson and Noah Budnick

Update - Show Notes: Host Lynn Neary displayed a very clear and obvious anti-cyclist bias in this show, labeling cyclists as "arrogant" and "self righteous," accusing cyclists of riding recklessly, causing collisions, getting in the way of motorists and causing road rage. Neary make Rob Anderson's speaking points for him -- she listed the potential problems of San Francisco's bike plan and let Anderson elaborate on them -- while all of her questions toward Noah Budnick were challenges about rude, law breaking cyclists. Neary allowed Anderson to respond to Budnick's points.

For example, Noah Budnick noted that current research that shows accommodating different transportation modes is not a zero sum game, like Anderson claims, but that traffic demand is elastic. Case after case shows that when commuters are given alternatives, they'll make use of those different modes. Anderson was then allowed to respond; he sneered a little about transportation "experts" -- you could almost hear the quote marks in his voice -- and expressed his distaste toward experts and planners who shove their design paradigms down the throats of the public.

Host Neary constantly brought up law breaking cyclists -- I think she was trying to get a rise out of Budnick. Budnick said that studies show that most accidents are caused by inattentive motorists, not cyclists. Noah also pointed listeners to "Why bicyclists hate stop signs" (PDF), but reiterated that Transportation Alternatives constantly reminds cyclists to obey the rules of the road.

Neary then introduced a guest from Seattle (I didn't catch his name), but he was woefully unprepared for the subject and didn't know what was going on with cycling advocacy. Seattle man was clueless about the pioneering work of traffic engineer Hans Monderman. When asked about bicycle education efforts, he lamely responded that cities hand out pamphlets to cyclists -- he was completely unaware that the Cascade Bicycle Club in his own city will teach bicycle safety education to 12,000 students this year.

San Francisco anti-bike crusader Rob Anderson and Transportation Alternatives Noah Budnick were guests today on NPR's Talk of the Nation radio program. The show will be available for online listening later tonight.

You might enjoy this exchange between Anderson and Robert Hurst over at Anderson's District 5 Diary blog.

Bike polo steering wheel

Modern Mechanix takes us back to August 1931 for this steering wheel for bicycles.

Bike polo steering wheel

It's not really a steering wheel in the sense that you rotate the wheel to turn the bike, because the wheel is attached to the stem along the ring, while a car steering wheel rotates around the center of the ring. The biggest advantages seem to be that you can quickly grasp this ring anywhere for quick movements, and you don't have to worry about getting impaled in a wreck.

I'm surprised I haven't seen one of these mounted on a fixed gear bike up in San Francisco.

I wonder if this bike is a fixed gear -- the hub looks too small to have a freewheeling mechanism in it.

Thank you to Mike for this!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bike through flooded streets

What happens when raging floods close local streets to motor vehicle traffic? Hop on the bike and go, like this man does on Zhongshan West Road as heavy rains flood over 100 homes and 60 streets in downtown Shanghai on August 25. Look how happy the cyclist is moving through the water, while the motorist looks on dourly anticipating the expense of repairing his Honda.

Heaviest Rainstorm In A Century Struck Shanghai

Just be prepared for those hidden hazards -- I flipped completely over once when I hit a pothole covered by water. A lurking photographer watching you with his camera at the ready is a sure sign of hidden dangers.

San Jose works to increase bicycle commuting

San Jose, California Leaders Call for Bold Bicycle Program in the Downtown. Pilot program to link downtown employers, San Jose State University, Guadalupe River Corridor and transit hubs.

Cyclist on Santa Clara Street, downtown San Jose California
Without a pesky court order to slow the implementation of a bike plan, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed with Councilmembers Sam Liccardo and Forrest Williams call for a downtown bicycle demonstration project to increase bicycle trips and radically alter the downtown streetscape.

The proposal aims to increase bicycle usage among commuters by changin street elements in three significant ways: Physically separated bike lanes along key downtown commute corridors; better bike parking including public bike racks and “bike valets” at major festivals, concerts, or sporting events; and the introduction of a “bike share” or similar bicycle rental program.

Summer the FAST cyclist
“Every day our residents have opportunities to help implement San Jose’s Green Vision and save carbon emissions. I hope that this project will make it easier for residents to choose to commute to work or school by bike,” says Mayor Reed. “Every commuter who bikes rather than drives saves five pounds of carbon emissions over a five-mile trip.”

San Jose, California has 140 miles of bike lanes, 40 miles of bike trails, and 16 miles of bike routes, yet residents commute to work by bike less than 1% of the time, a rate well behind nearby towns such as Palo Alto and Mountain View, and far behind national leader Portland (3.5%). Surveys show that many people are reluctant about riding to work because they don’t feel safe.

“We have much work to do to enable more people to feel safe taking their bike to work,” Councilmember Liccardo noted, “and this initiative focuses on creating that safe environment.”

“Safety should be a top priority for any program. This proposal puts safety first with the implementation of physically segregated lanes,” added Councilmember Williams.

Improving cyclists’ sense of safety will be achieved through creation of physically segregated lanes along two or more key corridors, according to spokeswoman Michelle McGurk. A physical barrier — such as trees, shrubbery, or a simple curb — separates the bicycle lane from traffic.

In San Jose, the pilot program would focus on linking San Jose State University and other major employers and downtown destinations with transit hubs at Diridon station and the Transit Mall, and along the Guadalupe River Park corridor.

Another disincentive to cycling arises from the quandary many commuters face about where to leave their bike when they get to a transit stop or their final destination. Some feel reluctant to leave their own bikes at public racks for lengthy periods, due to concerns about theft and damage. More often, cyclists cannot find space to board their bikes on Caltrain, Light Rail, and buses. In a 2007 survey, 42% of cyclists reported having experienced an inability to board Caltrain five times or more in the past year because the “bicycle car” was full.

Kyle on his Specialized bicycle near downtown San Jose California
Accordingly, the initiative focuses on expanding its inventory of over 500 public bike racks, particularly at key destinations. The proposal also urges city staff to explore the concept of contracting with private parties to provide “bike valet” services at Diridon Station and at downtown events.

Finally, the initiative introduces a “bike share” program of short-term rental of bicycles from “docking stations” with the use of a credit card or pre-programmed membership card. These privately-funded programs have taken hold in many cities throughout Europe, and have significantly increased bike commuting. By locating “bike share” stations at key Caltrain and Light Rail transit stops, the program enables people to rely on biking to transit without concerns about whether there will be sufficient room on board for their bike.

The initiative focuses on the downtown area because of its high density of transit, its close proximity of major employers, and because of its visibility to visitors, where a vibrant program can “sell” San Jose’s high quality of life and extraordinary climate.

Chris Hoy tries a new bicycle

Scottish track cyclist Chris Hoy rides a folding bike during the Olympic closing ceremony in Beijing.

Olympics - Closing Ceremony

With his three gold medals in Beijing 2008, Chris Hoy is Scotland's most successful Olympian, the first Briton to win three medals in a single Olympic games since Henry Taylor in 1908, and the most successful Olympic male cyclist of all time.

Rich Kelly mentions more about the bike commuter theme of London's part of the show. Victoria Pendleton rode dressed like a messenger and rode a fixie, while Jamie Staff rode a city bike.

Wife in the North: Bulldogs on bikes?

Wife in the North is a popular blog by UK journalist Judith O'Reilly, who blogs about her "lonely journey into the Northern heartlands" and asks, "Just how grim can it get up north?"

She also thinks "sight of an Englishman on a bike [is] faintly absurd" in this Times guest editorial.
I don't mind the enthusiast in baggy tweed trousers and bicycle clips so much - it is a way for him to get sweaty without bothering the wife. Infinitely worse are the helmeted, Lycra-clad, Masai-buttocked colleagues who bounce self-righteously into the office, daring you to snicker. The Englishman and his bicycle in all their glory - sorry, it's just not sexy.
It's the usual nonsensical ranting about "smug" bike commuters, fitness hobby cyclists, and "sadists" who "make you drive for mile after mile of bendy road watching their muddy bottoms." She also has her implied threat of violence (disguised as concern for safety), including this little sickening prose:
I can only drive by in awe when I see an entire family out cycling together - particularly those parents who cycle with the five-year-old on the back seat of daddy's tandem, the eight and nine-year-olds three miles ahead on their own bikes with tinsel wands, and a panting mummy at the rear pulling baby Alice in a trailer. An entire gene pool there for the taking.
So anyway, whatever.

2009 Bianchi Vigorelli - Steel is real

After a one year absence, Bianchi has reintroduced steel road bikes for 2009, including the nice Vigorelli.

09 Bianchi Vigorelli Ultegra 10 sp compact

The Bianchi people I've spoken with really like the 2009 Vigorelli steel road bike -- the exact word used is "love," and this bike built up with Reynolds 631 CrMo tubing and carbon fiber fork is indeed easy to love. Equipped with a mix of Shimano 105 and Ultegra 10 speed components with a compact crankset, the price I've heard is "under $1800."

It's good to see a decent steel road bike from a top tier bike vendor. 2009 will also see the return of the Imola (Tiagra 9 speed triple) and the entry level Brava (Sora 9 speed triple).

While Bianchi has a nice lineup of carbon fiber dream machines for 2009, higher prices on everything as well as renewed interest in steel among consumers will make the Vigorelli and their other steel bikes a good seller, I think.

Bicycle helmet for dogs

I don't know how much protection this high impact ABS plastic dog helmet provides, but it sure is cute on the dog.

Dog helmet

Available from Zoomer Gear.

I'd tip my helmet to Alison Chaiken, but left my helmet on the bus and it's gone! I hate it when that happens.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bicycle Speed Vest

I linked to this yesterday, but this bicycle vest that displays your speed is cool enough for its own post.

This high visibility vest with reflective panels also displays the cyclist's speed with large, lighted numerals. A sensor on the wheels sends the speed data to a small computer, which is programmed to display the speed on electro-luminescent wires sewn into SPEED-VEST.

The whole story at the designer's blog of how they created this project and won a design contest is pretty fun to read.

And Sioux Geonz, I'm sure a bicycle turn signal can somehow be integrated into this.

Friday, August 22, 2008

"Hold my beer and watch this"

It's the punchline of a joke. Matt Whitton got fired. Oops.

For your reading and viewing pleasure: Bicycle Zombie Slayer. Via.

Related: Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse: A Novel.

Save a Limb charity bicycle ride.

Journalist bikes to his interview.

Futureshock: the Bay Area with $10 gasoline.

Party conventions and free bikes video.

Speed wobble from loose spokes?

Pete says Ride Civil.

Quake City Rumble Video.

Promoting cycling without fear mongering. (And what's a monger, anyway?)

New York Pedicab wars.

Bike Vest displays your speed.

James jumps on the bandwagon and does a link dump too!

Have a good weekend, all.

Denver police: REI is a terrorist den

According to Denver Police, the REI flagship store near downtown Denver, Colorado is a haven for violent terrorist protesters who plan to camp out and disrupt the Democratic National Convention next week.

In a recently disclosed "Special Bulletin," the Denver Police Department are asking all area police, sheriff, fire and ambulance personnel to be on the lookout for items that can be used by terrorists. The items listed on their special bulletin include: Bicycles (they can block streets and sidewalks and stop emergency response vehicles), Bike helmets (because this is what terrorists wear, according to Denver police), Maps, and Camping information, especially when they're stored inside old buildings.

I've done my part to protect the American Way by informing the Denver Police of a very large stockpile of these items at old Denver Tramway building at 1416 Platte Street near downtown.

Seriously, what's especially offensive is the idea that bikes and bike helmets might seem "out of place" to police officers in downtown Denver. This bulletin is just the permission cops like Michael Cordova need to harass cyclists who just want to get around. I don't see any kind of motor vehicle on the list of suspicious items distributed by Denver police, yet cars and trucks are more capable at blocking sidewalks and streets and blockading emergency response than any group of cyclists. Cyclists can be physically lifted and removed.

In 2002, it was found that Denver Police kept records that labeled local citizens as "criminal extremists" in spite of a lack of any criminal record. This intelligence gathering started in 1953; the Denver Spy Files had information on over 3000 individuals and 200 organizations. The ACLU filed suit in 2002 and settled with Denver in 2003. Though Denver was supposed to have changed its spy gathering policies with the 2003 settlement, this document seems to indicate the same old stuff from them.

Bicycle helmets are used by violent protesters

Real estate agents show houses by bicycle

Last June, I pointed you to Eric, the real estate agent in Chicago who does showings by bike. The Wall Street Journal reports on what they call a nascent development: Agents Show Houses by Bike, Pointing Out Paths, Racks, 'Tuck-Under' Garage. The article talks about how bike-friendliness is becoming an important criteria for many home buyers, and riding a bike around the neighborhood is naturally a good way to determine that.

In Boulder, Colorado, Pedal to Properties is a full service real estate company that keeps a fleet of bicycles for clients to use on showings. They go out every Wednesday night with their clients on bikes.

Cool stuff.

Update: Eric the Chicago real estate agent was interviewed for a similar story.

2009 Bianchi Pista - flat bars and brakes

Bianchi will introduce a flat bar and brakes version of their popular Pista fixed gear bicycle.

09 Pista: Brakes and flat bars

Besides the handlebar, cabling and brake hardware, this is exactly the same bike as their regular Pista track bike. The '09 Pista -- both the brakeless and flat bar versions -- will be available in blue, as shown here, and chrome.

Bike Hugger has some photos of the 2009 Bianchi Pista. I highlight some other 2009 Bianchi bicycles over at Commute By Bike.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Eco Velo

The Bike Hugger gave me a big hug earlier this week -- in a list of his Top 10 Bike Blog List, guess who he put at the very top of the list? That makes Yokota Fritz feel so wonderful that it's worth a big photo of the Bike Hugger Team here; the tall guy in the middle -- Rich Kelly of Interbike -- is I guess an honorary Bike Hugger. Byron's the dude in the blue cap.

Team Bike Hugger

The other blogs Byron mentioned are high on my list also, but I wasn't familiar with #2 on his Top 10 -- Eco Velo from Sacramento.

Alan and Michael utilize bicycles as transportation to reduce their impact on the environment. Eco Velo is the public expression of their commitment to reduce their impact on the environment by employing bicycles as their primary mode of transport. They use Eco Velo to share what they learn from this endeavor while celebrating the beauty of the bicycle and the joys of everyday bike riding. Alan an Michael hope to inspire others to make a similar commitment through Eco Velo. So do I!

Remember, this weekend August 23-24 2008 is the Single Speed World Championship in Napa, California. Most of the bikes in this race are singlespeed mountain bikes, but singlespeed and and fixed gear cyclocross, road and "other" bikes also take part. It should be fun stuff.

Epicurean Cyclist

Cycling photographer Russ Roca started a new bicycling blog that he calls The Epicurean Cyclist. If you prefer wool to polyester, twine to electrical tape and friction to index shifting, then there's a good chance you might like his site. Russ will write about bike camping and touring and some of the things he likes. Epicurean Cyclist

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Masi Speciale Randonneur

Available in November, MSRP $1145. This bike from Masi is to drool for.

Read more about this and other new models from Masi over at Commute By Bike.

Tim "Masiguy" Jackson of Masi also recently posted some photos of a prototype Masi Mini Velo bicycle for the Japanese market. I'm a big fan of these and I'd love it if somebody could successfully distribute these for the USA bike market.

Masi Mini Velo Bicycle

I'll post plenty more bike porn photos next month from Interbike 2008, which I'm attending on behalf of Commute By Bike.

Cervelo fork recall

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Cervelo have announced a recall of the Wolf SL Carbon Fiber Bicycle Fork. The forks steerer can break during normal use, causing the rider to lose control, fall and suffer serious injuries. Ron of Cozy Beehive has posted some photos of broken forks

Cervelo has received 12 reports of forks cracking or breaking, resulting in one consumer suffering a broken wrist and another suffering minor abrasions.

The recalled forks have a clear coating over black painted carbon fiber, with the words "Wolf Superlite" and related logo just below the crown on each fork leg, and the letters "SL" on each leg above the fork blade dropouts. There is a True Temper CRT� logo on the inside of both fork legs. The recalled forks could have been included on the following bicycle models: R3, R3 SL, Soloist Carbon, Soloist Carbon SL, and certain P3 Carbon framesets and complete bicycles.

See more information at the Cervelo fork recall web page.

Electra expands Amsterdam recall

Electra Bicycle Company expanded their existing recall of several Amsterdam models to include more models: Classic 3, Original 3, Royal 8, and Sport 3 styles. The alignment tabs on the chainguard can push against the chain, causing it to derail. More info from Electra Bicylces on this PDF.

Bike shops selling more bikes and service

Is there an upside to high gas prices? If you're a bicycle retailer, there can be—particularly in the service department. Bikes Belong has just completed a survey of more than 150 bicycle retailers from nearly 40 states to see if their summer 2008 sales reflect an increase in the use of bicycles for transportation.

“I am located directly across the street from a large and busy Quick Trip with more than 12 gas pumps. At least one or two new customers per day tell me they first saw us [while] pumping gas and decided to stop in and see about buying or fixing up a bike to use instead of the car.” -- Comment from Bikes Belong Survey.
The majority of retailers who responded said their sales of transportation-related bicycles, accessories, and service have increased in 2008 compared to 2007:
  • 73% said they are selling more bikes.
  • 84% said they are selling more accessories.
  • 88% said they are selling more service.

Is this increase in sales because of high gas prices? Most retailers who we surveyed think so:
  • 95% of shops said customers cited high gas prices as a reason for their transportation-related purchases.
  • 80% of retailers said gas prices were helping them sell more bikes for transportation.
  • 86% thought accessory sales were getting a boost.
  • 89% said they were selling more service because of high gas prices.

Many new customers are dusting off old bikes and bringing them in for repair. There appears to be a surge of interest in riding bicycles for short trips, errands, and commuting.

These survey results paint a clear picture of bicycling as a simple, affordable transportation solution and reinforces the need to create safe, appealing places to ride. Now is a prime time to encourage people to use bikes for transportation. It's good for the wallet, health, the environment—and it's fun.

View the survey results, which includes interesting comments from bike shops, at Bikes Belong.

Rob Anderson says I ride because of political motivations

Rob Anderson made the Wall Street Journal!

Rob Anderson is the guy who successfully challenged San Francisco's implementation of a bike plan, by claiming in court that the bike plan must undergo an environmental review just like any other transportation plan. According to the Wall Street Journal, Anderson believes I ride my bike for political reasons!
"Regardless of the obvious dangers, some people will ride bikes in San Francisco for the same reason Islamic fanatics will engage in suicide bombings -- because they are politically motivated to do so," he wrote in a May 21 post.
Anderson claims he fights cycling because of our thought crimes of a "holier-than-thou" attitude and because many cyclists ride dangerously on city streets, zipping by dangerously closely to him and other pedestrians. Anderson is car-free, so I'm a little bemused that he doesn't also criticize motorists for the same attitudes and behaviors. When it comes to entitlement attitudes, dangerous behavior and actual risk, motorists have cyclists beat by a long ways.

Most cyclists in the United States (including myself) are also motorists -- the problem of dangerous behavior is not specifically a motorist vs cyclist problem, but a people problem. Some people are jerks, whether they're on a bike or in a car. Whether you're driving, cycling or walking, please be nice to those around you.

Bikes as transportation

Mark Stosberg of Richmond, Indiana uses his bicycles for transportation.

He's pretty active in the blogosphere commenting on other people's blogs. He's gathered up his bicycling material and put them together into a new blog, Bikes For Transportation.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dana Point bike lane

As posted to Fail Blog...

Dana Point, California. At least there's room for cyclists to get around the sign. Props to my buddy Jonah.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ezra's seatless bicycle

This is Ezra Caldwell's bicycle. You might think it's a trials bike, but it's not.

I've mentioned Ezra before as the guy who makes Fast Boy wooden fenders, wooden handlebars, and steel bicycles. Ezra, 34, was recently diagnosed with cancer of the nether regions. His doctor told him no more bicycle riding, because sitting on the bike seat can damage those nether regions.

So Ezra built this bike without a saddle, so he can ride his bike to and from his radiation treatments. All I can say is "Wow."

The bike features big fat Schwalbe Super Moto tires to smooth the ride and swept back handlebars for comfort. Clipless pedals are for safety. "Without a seat to fall back on," Ezra writes, "I am NOT excited about having one of my feet get kicked off a pedal on a bump."

Ezra has a blog to chronicle his efforts to teach cancer to cry [adult language]. Yokota Fritz wishes Ezra all the best!

This cancer treatment is expensive for a New York bike builder. Megan set up a PayPal donation page if you want to help Ezra with the expenses of his treatment.

Trek introduces belt drive bicycles

Trek World 2008: City bikes, belt drives, singlespeeds, and LeMond replacements

Mark Stevenson is spending the weekend in Madison Wisconsin for Trek World 2008 show, where Trek shows their dealers what they have coming up for the next year. He kindly sent me a lot of photos and information about the show.

Trek District

According to Mark, "commuter oriented really were front and center this year with the star of the show being the Trek District." The District, a flat bar singlespeed bike featuring the Gates belt drive system, will be available in October for around $900. According to Trek, this aggressive road bike inspired design" produces an edgy ride with color matched Bontrager Inform saddle, orange rims, accents on the stem face plate, and even constrasting colored water bottle cage bolts. The Gates carbon belt drive shaves 280 grams from this urban bike while producing a "ninja quiet ride" with no lubrication.

Trek Soho
Soho is another belt drive bike, which will retail for under $1000 in December. The existing 2008 Soho (chain drive) has an 8 speed Alfine hub. The 2009 model shows at Trek World included matching fenders and a minimal chainguard.

Trek Allant is a new offering that eschews the suspension bits of a common hybrid for a standard rigid steel fork and seatpost. Standard gear includes fenders and rack. The WSD version with a step through frame puts the rack on the front. Allant will be available beginning in November for $540.

Trek Allant men's
Fisher road bikes revealed at the show includes the Presidio CX bicycle and the Triton, a fixed gear city bike. They twins to the LeMond Poprad an Filmore fill holes in Trek's product line that appeared with LeMond's vacancy.

According to Trek, the Fisher Simple City bicycles have been hugely successful, and dealers are looking forward to possible refinements and additions to this series in the future.

Thank you to Mark Stevenson and Arleigh Jenkins for the photos and details! See more of Mark's photos from Trek World 2008 at this photoset. You'll find more from Trek World 2008 at CommuteByBike and Twenty Nine Inches. I also just noticed that James beat me to posting information from the show at Bicycle Design, where he wrote about the District, Fisher El Ranchero, and the Soho. The El Ranchero is the anticipated longtail bike that will be offered by Trek dealers.

Bicycle excise tax pays for trail network

The city of Colorado Springs, CO, charges a $4 excise tax on new bicycles. In 2007, retailers in Colorado Springs sold 32,853 new bicycles, compared against 23,512 cars and trucks sold at car dealerships in all of El Paso County.

This bicycle tax was created 20 years ago to fund construction of bike facilities and has generated about $2 million in income since it started in 1988. According to Colorado Springs transportation planners, the current network of bike paths would not exist today without this tax.

Read more about this excise tax in the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bigfoot eats cyclists

Current events and all. Click on the image for props and stuff.

Dear Abby says "GET OFF THE ROAD"

From today's column...
DEAR ABBY: I want to thank all the wonderful people who make biking to work possible. I am a mid-40s professional and never thought I could do this, but I am. My goal was to bike at least once a week to work -- 15 miles each way -- and I have been doing it since May and loving it!

Thank you to the drivers who respect bikers, the municipalities who planned for safe cycling, and the companies that provide showers and lockers. It has been so much fun.

I never thought I could do this because of work schedules, kids' activities and weather, but with a little thought it works. It's good, fun exercise. Help the environment, save energy and get fit, America! -- GEORGE IN MIAMI VALLEY, OHIO

DEAR GEORGE: I'm pleased that you are enjoying your healthy new lifestyle, and I'm all for physical fitness. However, I hesitate to encourage large numbers of people to embrace your challenge until both cyclists and motorists are better educated about the rules of the road.

Communities need to act now to provide safe bicycle lanes and paths for people trying to conserve gasoline. Awareness needs to be raised among drivers about the rights of bikers. The television and print media could be a significant help in this effort, and I hope they'll take the opportunity to inform their audiences.

Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Bikengruvin recycled bicycle art

David is Bikengruvin. He's an avid cyclist in Regina, SK who decided to apply his creative endeavors to creating bicycle art. "As many of us notice, there's a lot of bikes that are thrown away," says David. "This fact made me think about recycling and finding new ways to use them."

Bikengruving -- the transformation of old bikes into groovy art -- began in 1997. He's traveled through the Mountain West showing his work.

Check out David's Bikengruvin bike gallery featuring tables, lamps, and even gigantic slices of pizza, all incorporating recycled bicycles, bike parts and found objects.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cycling in Wichita, Kansas

I've only been to Wichita, Kansas once in my life. My dad's family is in the area south of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Wichita is due north of Oklahoma City not far from the Oklahoma / Kansas border. I recall freeways, industrial sections of town, a riverfront, and aircraft industries on the edge of the city.

We drove through Wichita on our way to the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, KS. The largest collection of Russian space junk in America is there in the middle of Amish country.

John B in Wichita, Kansas, is a relative newbie to bicycle commuting. His blog Cycling in Wichita, has a growing local readership of people who are interested in raising their visibility and the consciousness of Wichitans in their decidedly not bike-friendly town.

"We are interested in exploring some of the implications of cycling as a lifestyle choice," says John. "How does choosing to cycle change how one thinks about one's community?"

Cycling in Wichita is less a blog about reviews of equipment and practical advice on cycling than it is about John's reflections on how cycling can change a person's state of mind, with a little advocacy thrown in.

Drop by and give those cyclists in the heartland a hello. Cycling in Wichita, Kansas.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Georgia on my mind

Let's talk about Russia's invasion of Georgia.

I generally pay attention to what's going on internationally, but this one caught me by surprise. It also apparently caught the U.S. administration by surprise. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was a professor at Stanford University and a recognized expert in the Soviet Union, but she was on vacation when Russia moved into Georgia.

Perhaps we shouldn't have been surprised. Russia has been seething at U.S. support of Georgia for years. Michael Hirsh writes for Newsweek, "The seeds of Russia's aggression lie in the sense of humiliation that Moscow's proud power elites have felt at the hands of the West going back to the Clinton administration's unceasing efforts to bring what used to be the Soviet bloc—and post-Soviet Russia itself—into the West's sphere of influence."

In the meantime, Georgia president Mikheil Saakashvili apparently thought U.S. approval of his politics meant he had a free hand to reign in the breakaway South Ossetia. This attack by Georgia, which has a large ethnically Russian population and many residents that Russia claims as citizens, gave Russia exactly the justification it wanted to move in on Georgian soil. It's a way for Russia to strike at the United States and Western Europe.

Some, though, believe Russia's invasion is yet another oil war. Until 2006, Russia had exclusive control over oil flowing from the Caspian region to the West. President Clinton sponsored the construction of a new pipeline across Georgia specifically to reduce Russia's influence on regional oil supplies. Georgian President Saakashvili and his predecessor, Eduard Shevardnadze, both saw this BTC Pipeline as crucial to the survival of Georgia as an independent state. The South Caucasus, previously seen as Russia's backyard, is now a region of great strategic significance to other great powers because of the flow of oil through this region. The U.S. and other Western nations have consequently become much more closely involved in the affairs of the three nations through which oil will flow.

The BTC pipeline, which opened in 2006, passes near politically volatile regions such as South Ossetia. Presidents Clinton and Bush provided hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to help Georgia protect this pipeline. Western Europe is also working to develop more pipelines across Georgia, though this war is calling those plans into question.

Russia, for their part, has gone past securing South Ossetia and invaded into uncontested Georgian territory, seizing the port city of Poti, an oil terminal and headquarters of the Georgia Navy.

What are your thoughts on Russia's invasion of Georgia? Is this yet another oil war?

Oh, and to get on topic for a cycling blog, apparently the BTC pipeline easement is apparently an excellent mountain biking trail. The photo below are members of the Baku Bicycle Club in Azerbaijan riding along the BTC pipeline, which is buried along most of its length. See Robert Thomson's Azerbaijan photos for more. Published here with his permission.

Denver cop breaks cyclist's teeth for running a red light

Obey all traffic laws in Denver, Colorado, kids, or this might happen to you! Assault caught on video tape.

John Heaney, 57, was riding his through downtown Denver, Colorado when he was stopped by Michael Cordova for riding his bicycle "recklessly" through an intersection. According to police statements, officers testified under oath that Heaney was wildly combative and started a brawl with the officers. He was charged with assault on a police officer. The charges were dropped when the video surfaced showing a different version of the events.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Brakeless freewheel video


BSNYC saw a brakeless freewheel bicycle on the Manhattan Bridge. The only way to stop these kind of bikes is by pressing your shoe into the tire, or by crashing into something. Here's a video of DJ Ted Shred in San Francisco showing how it's done.

Here's another brakeless freewheel video, this one from Stockholm, Sweden. This guy's actually pretty smoking with his technique.

iPhone gear and skid patch calculator

All of that skidding just to stop the bike does a number on the bike's rear tire. Freewheeling bikes like those in the video have essentially an infinite number of "skid patches" (or rather, it's a continuous skid patch), but fixed gear bikes have a limited number of skid patches that's determined by your gearing. If you don't want to use one of the many online skid patch calculators, you can now install a skid patch and gear calculator for your iPhone. The sample display here shows the number of patches for ambidextrous skidders - that means you can skid with either your right or left foot forward which doubles the number of skid patches. I can only skid with my right foot forward.

That iPhone app isn't necessarily just for fixed gear riders -- you input your cog, crank and chainring size to get the gear ratios for your bike gears.

While I'm posting bike videos here, I might as well point you to this cute Dutch woman in tights and a cape getting all vigilante on bike thieves.

Finally, speaking of cute, I kind of like the series of French bicycle cartoons at Bikes In the City. Found via Gwadzilla.

Bon soir! Stay Cyclelicious.

Octagenarian tandem tourers

This is such a sweet story!
Fred and Edith White have just celebrated their diamond wedding and say enjoying day trips on a tandem is one of the things that has kept them together.

Their passion for cycling began in 1949 about a year after they got married.

They were living in Morden, Surrey and Fred, 81, said: "We bought the tandem from a neighbour for £25."

Later family outings included the couple's children, Brenda and Peter, in a sidecar.

Since buying their second tandem they have clocked up another 2,000 miles but nowadays tandem trips are usually restricted to the local shops.

Occasionally, though, they like to venture further afield with a spin down to Lee-on-the-Solent. They take their frying pan and have breakfast on the beach before returning home with a "bicycle made for two" ringing in their ears.
Read more in the Southern Daily Echo, UK.

Korea to offer bicycle insurance (I think)

The English translation of an editorial in a South Korean news site is a little awkward, but it seems to say that bicycle insurance will be introduced nationwide in South Korea later this year.

I'm a little bit surprised to learn that only three percent of South Koreans ride a bicycle for transportation, though apparently that number is growing as it is in many other nations.

High oil prices are motivating people around the globe to resort to bikes. Jumping on the bandwagon, luxury brand makers such as Chanel and Gucci are churning out high-tech bikes. It is not difficult to find people riding mini velo bicycles in downtown Seoul. Earning the honor of fashion leader is tough unless a person shows up riding a bike in stylish bike wear.

Fewer people in Korea ride bikes than those in advanced countries. Only 16.6 percent of Koreans ride them, compared with 100 percent in the Netherlands and 56.9 percent in Japan. Worse, only three percent of Koreans use a bicycle for transportation, as opposed to 25 percent of Germans and Japanese. In other words, Koreans ride bikes for recreational purposes on the weekends rather than for commuting.

Last year alone, 69 people in Korea died in 1,374 bicycle accidents. The Chinese character for bike indicates a vehicle, while most Koreans read it as a self-propelled riding device. Law books deem it as a vehicle too, subjecting it to many regulations governing vehicles. If a bike gets into an accident with a car on the road, it is most likely to be covered by insurance. When a bicycle hits a pedestrian on the sidewalk, however, the rider is personally held liable. Thus, the rider has to settle the case with his or her money to avoid criminal prosecution. That is why the provincial city of Changwon and bike advocacy groups have urged the introduction of bike insurance.

A big welcome to visitors from TreeHugger. TreeHugger reports that Washington DC's bike sharing program finally opened today after delays, adding to the bike sharing kiosks already in place in places like Louisville, KY and Tulsa, OK.

Beijing Olympics: Individual Time Trial

Kristen Armstrong wins women's ITT; Fabian Cancellara brings gold home for Switzerland.

Emma Johannsson Sweden Emma Johansson of Sweden launches from the starting gate at the women's individual time trial race in Beijing. Johannson, who won the silver medal during the women's road race Sunday, took 21st place during the time trial, pulling in 3 minutes 27 seconds behind gold medalist Kristin Armstrong of the United States.
Team USA Kristin Armstrong bounced back from a disappointing road race for the USA women's cycling team and took the gold during the women's individual time trial this morning, beating Emma Pooley (UK) by 24 seconds. Karen Thurig of Switzerland came in a minute behind Armstrong to take the bronze medal.

Christine Thorburn (USA) of Palo Alto pulled in three seconds behind Thurig to get fifth place.

Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland took his second medal from Beijing with his time trial gold win. Cancellara brought it home 1 hour 2 minute time in his race against the clock. Gustav Erik Larsson (Ssweden) took the silver medal while American Levi Leipheimer rounded out the podium with his bronze medal. The other member of the USA time trial team, David Zabriskie, placed 12th.

Next up: Men's and Women's BMX seeding; men's BMX quarterfinals on Wednesday, August 20.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rednecks on bicycles

I've always enjoyed Jeff Foxworthy's comedy. I just ran across this book while browsing around for bike stuff on Click for details if you want...

I can't help but notice that the guns are pointed to the left, toward passing traffic.

In this YouTube video, Jeff Foxworthy gives his "Redneck fashion tips."

This would be a good book for Blue Collar Mountain Bike and the Mountain Bike Militia.

Assistant Fire Chief Larry Conklin

This one's a winner...
A Bridgeport man lost control of his bike when he hit a pothole and suffered facial lacerations and a road rash shoulder requiring medical treatment. Assistant Fire Chief Larry Conklin said the accident underlines the importance of always wearing a bicycle helmet.
Can Dr. Conklin explain how a helmet would have helped with the cyclist's face and shoulder injuries?

More goodies like this at CycleDog's Swirling floaters in the toilet bowl of wisdom.

Paris Hilton buys a bicycle

Paris Hilton, known for her expertise in U.S. energy politics, was seen yesterday buying a bicycle -- an Electra cruiser bike -- from Sports Chalet.

Paris Hilton with her bicycle

See more photos of Paris Hilton and her new bicycle at Celebrity Gossip.

VMware ESX 3.5 update 2 August 12 bug

Work. This is the bug. It bit me hard. The workaround is lame. The bug is lame. Me spending half the night trying to figure the problem out is really really lame.

Meanwhile, Sun computers handle the streaming content for We're in no way responsible, however, for the Microsoft Silverlight plugin requirement. That was NBC's decision.

That is all.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Charlotte mountain bike race

Mountain biking southern sweetheart Arleigh Jenkins asks, "Could you spread the word about this? It's local to Charlotte and we want great turn out!"

After the cancellation of the last race of the National Endurance Series in Clearlake, California, Tinker Juarez and Cowbell Challenge Inc put together the National Mountain Bike Oktoberfest near Charlotte, North Carolina. This mountain bike endurance race and festival will take place at Fisher Farm Park in Davidson, NC, October 24-26, 2008.

“I’ve been a professional cyclist for 35 years,” says Tinker. “I love this sport, especially endurance racing, and this chance to step off the trail and give back to sport is tremendous. We can’t wait to come to North Carolina for this world-class endurance cycling event and festival.”

The three-day, family-oriented mountain bike festival features the last race of USA Cycling’s 2008 National Ultra Endurance Calendar, as well as short track, time trials, and children’s races. The race venue is uniquely designed to take advantage of the early sunset, giving racers the opportunity to ride the trails at night.

National Mountain Bike Oktoberfest kicks off on Friday night with short track races. Kids can get in on the action with special Kids Kompetition races on Saturday morning, including a chance to try out the Strider balance bikes, designed specifically for one to five year old children. The featured event of the weekend, the Oktoberfest 8-Hour Endurance Race, starts at noon on Saturday. Time trials and a special combination event known as “the Beast” round out the weekend on Sunday. Races conducted after sunset will require adequate front and rear lighting.

Caltrain Bicycle Access and Parking Plan now online

As I reported last month, Caltrain renamed their much maligned Bicycle Master Plan the "Bicycle Access and Parking Plan." The draft version of Caltrain's Bicycle Access and Parking Plan is now available online. Previously, you had to be on the Silicon Valley Board of Directors to see this plan.

Caltrain Mountain View

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition response to this proposed "Access and Parking Plan" highlights the lack of any thought at all to increase capacity on board. At a recent Caltrain Joint Powers Board meeting, several train riding bicyclists spoke up to the Directors on the need to increase bike capacity.

Thank you to Murph for this news. Related:

Bicycle sidecars

Bicycle with sidecar in Munich
"Bicycle sidecar" is, interestingly enough, one of my top search hits. People land on this page about the Smike "Two-for-one" bicycle and sidecar.

There's a whole page of custom made bicycle sidecars that I found via Treadly and Me.

Bicycle sidecars are also featured at this German "Cruiser King" cycling blog.

Conspiracy theory: Beijing security disguised as old women misdirect potential threats

An old woman sitting by the side of a fork gave the driver wrong directions [ to the men's Olympic road racing course ]. Once he realized it, he yelled, “Liar, liar. She purposedly told us to go the wrong way.”


“She’s the security for this area.”

The claim: Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee seemingly hired the woman to make sure spectators couldn’t find their way to the route.

Read more: Inside the Rings blog.

In other news, Spanish cyclist Maria Isobel Moreno test positive for EPO

"I'm disgusted and annoyed that it's a Spanish girl who is the first positive doping test from the Games," UCI President Pat McQaid said. "The Spanish have been lax in their attitude to doping and this positive test is the result of that. They need to deal with that issue."

Moreno, who left the Olympic Village after her blood test but before the results were revealed, did not participate in the women's road race. She has been expelled from the games. Previous news reported Moreno left Beijing because of anxiety attacks.

Beijing 2008 Olympic Cycling.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Gold medal cyclist rode her bike to school

Nicole Cook of the UK won the Gold Medal this morning in the women's road race during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Photo copied from Pez Cycling News, which has lots of photos of the women cycling through the rain during their road race.

Nicole used to ride her bike to school. This stuff pays off, ladies and gentlemen:
Britain's Olympic cycling champion Nicole Cooke began honing her fitness from the age of 11 when she would race her father twice daily on the seven-mile trip to and from school.

The young Miss Cooke and her father shunned the bus to dash from their home to school, where Tony Cooke taught physics.

The unusual training quickly paid off and Miss Cooke, now 25, publicly announced her life's ambition, and her talent, after winning the Welsh cyclo-cross championship in 1994.

She beat everyone in her age group - including the boys - then promptly announced in a live television interview: "I want to win a gold medal at the Olympics."
Read more in the Telegraph: Beijing Olympics: Champion Nicole Cooke's childhood training secrets.

Three Americans raced this morning in Beijing: Kristin Armstrong, who placed 25th 43 seconds behind Cooke after crashing early in the race; 33rd place Amber Neben (who lost her chain of all things!); and Christine Thorburn. Thorburn was asked to reel in Russian Natalia Boyarskaya, but the effort spent her. "Christine did what we asked her to do," U.S. coach Jim Miller said of Thorburn's effort to reel in Boyarskaya. "She did a great job."

Next up: Women's road cycling -- individual time trial. Tuesday night, August 12 at 8:30 PM.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Bicycling tourists in San Francisco

Headless  Panda on the Golden Gate Bridge
Tourists on bikes delay ferry commutes. Tourists to San Francisco, many of them from overseas, rent bicycles from several locations in The City. They ride their bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, then catch the ferry back to the city.

Because of unprecented bike use, though, the offloading tourists with bikes are delaying ferry service for commuters. From the Marin Independent Journal:
For the past month, weekdays have also become prime time for bikers. While there are fewer problems mid-day, that changes during the evening commute run when Southern Marin residents who work in San Francisco are looking to hop on the ferry to go home.

As dozens and dozens of bikes are loaded in Sausalito, then unloaded in San Francisco, commuters wait and wait.

We have never seen it this busy," said co-owner Elena Sears, a Marin resident, who has run the San Francisco business with her husband for 20 years. They rent the bikes for about $7 an hour. "We are seeing a lot of Europeans. The dollar is weak, the euro is strong. This is a beautiful area to bike."
Read more.

No nude Olympians here, but...

Fixed Gear Pete has a photo of a hot Olympic cyclist at his site!

Since you landed here, you might be interested in the Cyclelicious Girls page, Cyclelicious Celebrities, or Paris Hilton's energy policy video.

Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Beijing Olympic cycling: Spanish Armada

The Spanish Armada: That's how Ken Conley described the Spanish cycling team's performance this morning with Spaniard Samuel Sanchez's gold medal in the men's road racing team. I watched the race live but finally had to throw the towel in at about 1 A.M., just like the field of 53 DNFs in the race that included Americans David Zabriskie and Jason McCartney.

For pure gutsiness, I have to give Chile's Patricio Almonacid the nod. He and Bolivian Horacio Gallardo led a breakaway five minutes after the race start. An hour and a half later, Gallardo dropped back and Almonacid raced solo for over an hour before the escape group, led by Jason McCartney (USA), Vladimir Efimkin (Russia) and Christian Pfannberger (Austria) muscled their way across the 20 minute gap to catch Almonacid. 20 minutes later, Almonacid dropped off the back of the escape group, his 2½ hours of glory over. Almonacid would eventually DNF. He's one of the very few Olympic racers who does not race professionally.

You know where to find the usual cycling Olympic coverage and results, but I found some interesting commentary via Olympics 2008:
  • Jonathan Crowe's DFL Blog covers the last place finishes at the Olympics. For the men's cycling road race, that would be Brazil's Luciano Pagliarini, who finished 44 minutes behind Sanchez. Crowe notes there was only a 2 mph average speed difference between Sanchez and Pagliarini. The 30 year old races professionally for Saunier Duval. In 2007 he won Stage 4 in Tour of Missouri and won Stage 6 of the Tour of California this year.

  • Lanterne Rouge celebrates Ahmed Belgasem's last place finish. Belgasem, who represents Libya, was happy just to participate and showed obvious enthusiasm. Ahmed trained for a month at the UCI's World Cycling Center early this summer to prepare himself for his Olympic run.

  • The most exciting coverage has to be from Pez Cycling News with their Great Wall of Sammy summary of the race. Check out this writing:
    The oldest man in the field, 37 year-old Davide Rebellin of Italy made it close to a fairytale ending to the race, grabbing silver from the force of nature that is Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, with fast finishing Alexandr Kolobnev of Russia taking fourth after going too early; Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck banged his bars as he crossed the line in fifth, whilst there were no such histrionics from ‘back from the dead’ Australian Michael Rogers who took sixth.
The Women's cycling road race begins tonight, with online sreaming video of the bike race starting tonight at 11 PM Pacific Time. If I'm still awake you can catch my notes on Twitter this evening.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Bay Area bicycle and transportation news

Urban Costume Karaoke Bicycle Brigade: Tomorrow in Dolores Park.

Santa Cruz rail line to be purchased. The Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission agreed yesterday to pay Union Pacific $14.2 million for the 32 mile stretch of railroad from Davenport to Watsonville. County residents already use the railroad right of way for bicycling and walking, and Union Pacific has apparently been worried about liability, while enforcing their property rights results in criticism from the community. The county plans to establish and rail trail along the railroad while operating a recreational rail service along the corridor. The rail trail will become part of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network. Union Pacific currently runs three freight round trips each week on this branch line.


Chinese Acrobats at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Watch acrobats perform at the Beach Bandstand area of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk Sundays through Thursdays until August 21. Shows are at Noon and 3pm Monday through Thursday, Noon and 6pm on Sundays. Their gig includes tricks with bicycles. Shows are free.

Caltrain updates, etc.

The Caltrain Joint Powers Board met yesterday. Some quick notes.
  • Some 20+ cyclists showed up to give their input on the Bicycle Master Plan. Caltrain staff proposes adoption of the plan (which doesn't address capacity), but JPB directors seem to "get" the idea now that capacity should not only be maintained, but even expanded.

    San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has taken the lead among Bay Area bicyclist advocacy groups in pushing Caltrain to adopt a plan that better services bicyclists. SFBC published their own Caltrain bike plan online (PDF), as well as a rebuttal to Caltrain's bike program FAQ.

  • SF Examiner looks at the issue of charging extra to bring bikes on board Caltrain. “I’m not crazy about that idea,” Caltrain boardmember Jerry Hill said. “We want to encourage people to use their bicycle, and during peak commute is when people need transit. Many people who ride bicycles don’t have the luxury of having other forms of transportation and I don’t think we should penalize them for doing the right thing.”

  • In other business, the JPB voted to increase Caltrain fares after public hearings. While Caltrain reported record ridership of nearly 12 million riders from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008, increasing fuel prices impact Caltrains operating budget. "Even though the ridership is up," says JPB vice chair Don Gage, "it's still not enough to keep up with the rising gas costs."

  • Peninsula cities don't want High Speed Rail and are joining a lawsuit against the California High Speed Rail Authority. Boo to them.

  • VTA Watch examines the proposed 1/8 cent tax to bring BART to Santa Clara. Hurray to Palo Alto councilor Yoriko Kishimoto, who speaks out against bringing BART to San Jose.

  • A 'suspicious device' was reported at the parking garage next to the Sunnyvale Caltrain station late Wednesday night. Officials closed the garage to public access and the Santa Clara County Sheriff closed the Sunnyvale Caltrain station at 10 PM. Caltrain established a bus bridge between Mountain View and Lawrence Avenue. At midnight the bomb squad determined the 'device' was not dangerous and allowed people access to their vehicles in the garage. Caltrain operated normally the next morning.

Beijing: Olympic road race to be postponed?

Olympic broadcasters around the world have been sent into panic as Games organisers warned them there was a chance the men's cycling road race may be postponed because of smog.
Read more. I guess we'll know for sure tomorrow morning.

Related news:
  • WIRED compares the air in Beijing with previous Olympic host cities.

  • USA Today: The smog endangers residents much more than temporary residents. BBC tested the PM10 (particulate matter) levels at 191 µg/l³. To compare, the San Francisco Bay Area exceeded California PM10 levels of 50 µg/l³ three days during the winter of 2007/2008. Beyond 50 µg/l³, the air is so thick with smoke it's difficult for me to exert myself without choking on phlegm.

  • "there's definitely something in the air," says Dave Z. "It's like that Lynyrd Skynyrd song. 'Oooh that smell. Can't you smell that smell? Oooh that smell.'"

  • IOL in South Africa: The Slog Amid the Smog.
    The skies were grey and the air thick around the Olympic precinct as the South African team of Robbie Hunter, John-Lee Augustyn and David George rolled around the city's packed roads, loosening their legs.

    They will take part in the first medal event of the Beijing Olympic Games, the men's road race on Saturday, which takes in some of the more prominent landmarks of the city before, thankfully some of the cyclists have said, heading out of the city for the serious racing near the Great Wall of China.

  • On IOC president Jacques Rogge's claim that what they're seeing in Beijing is not smog, but fog: "I live in San Francisco, and this is not fog. Fog is weather -- it rolls in. This just stagnates and is ripping years from my life."