Friday, October 31, 2008
On the other side of the United States, 8% of Portlanders say they commute by bike, with preliminary reports showing a 28% increase in bike commuters over the previous year.
San Francisco, which is banned from providing any new bike facilities by a court injunction, showed a 24% year-on-year increase in bicyclists during that city's last bicycle count.
I wear my messenger bag high and tight and empty just like the cool kids I see in the videos, but the other cyclists in my city just laugh at my sense of style. What am I doing wrong?
Confused in Cleveland
Just like politics and good organic produce, cyclist style is local. Chrome is king in San Francisco, but Lycra still leads in much of the Midwest.
Ditch the steel SE Lager fixed gear bike, those ridiculously tight Swrve pants, hemp belt and your home sewn bag and replace it all with roadie gear. A good starter ensemble might include the Look 595, ridiculously tight Assos "kit", and Rudy Project eyeglasses. You can still wear your Sidi shoes, though you need to learn how to use clipless pedals. The roadies will still mock your piercings, PBR and smoking, but they'll let you ride with them -- probably in the "C" group -- if you can hang with the peloton.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Southbound trains were delayed, with limited southbound service from San Francisco resuming about 8 AM and northbound service beginning about 9 AM. As of 9:15, trains are operating past San Mateo in both directions. Caltrain expects to be back on schedule at noon today.
Mercury News story includes photos of the truck, which is peeled open like a sardine can. :-(
I got news of the crash early this morning on my phone via Twitter/Caltrain, so I rode my bicycle from San Jose to work this morning.
A portion of downtown Miami, Florida will be closed to Cars on Sunday, November 9 from 10 AM to 3 PM during Bike Miami. East Flagler Street, Southeast 1st Avenue to 4th Street and South Miami Avenue, over the bridge to 10th Street and Mary Brickell Village will be closed to motor vehicle traffic, with some "soft closures" across 1st, 2nd, and 6th through 9th Streets.
Bike Miami is organized by the office of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz. Kathyrn Moore from the Mayor's office met with the former mayor of Bogota, Columbia, Enrique Penalosa, to get his perspective on the popular Bogota Ciclovia. To ensure a great turnout and the success of Bike Miami, organizers have arranged for cyclists to ride free on Miami Metrorail and Metrobus. Area vendors have been encouraged to participate and public exhibitions will help draw people to the area.
For more information, visit Bike Miami.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Empire from Empire on Vimeo.
I think the tilt shift "fake miniature" photography at the beginning looks pretty cool. For pure ballsiness I like Lucas Brunelle's work a lot better.
Humboldt Street was first identified as a potential bicycle route by the city Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board in 2001. Since then, residents along the street have asked for traffic calming measures and the city has lowered the speed limit and added stop signs to discourage cut through traffic on this collector street.
A pilot project is planned for Spring 2009, with permanent changes planned for later if the pilot works out and funding can be obtained. The city plans to install "Bikes May Use Full Lane" signs, traffic circles and advanced stop lines for bicyclists (aka "Bike Boxes").
Other traffic calming features include several traffic circles, colored crosswalks and bulb outs.
I did manage to get in front of him once. Wave hello!
You can find Ahpook here. He's even more of a bike nerd than me.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Alison wrote this of her visit:
Yesterday I did the Pescadero-Tunitas coast ride with some buddies and we happened upon the Bike Hut, which is quite visible as you cycle along the bottom of Tunitas. Attached is a photo of proprietors Bill and Christine, who came out to greet us when we paused to check out the facility.Photo and text published here with Alison's kind permission. The Bike Hut is located at 1045 Tunitas Creek Road about a mile up from Highway 1 south of Half Moon Bay, California.
The Bike Hut is basically not open yet, but it's going to be a wonderful place. I'd be happy to have a water and porta-potty at the bottom of Tunitas, but the fact that there will be healthy energy snacks and drinks plus picnic tables is almost too much. Freedom from Gu and ClifShots, yes!
Bill and Christine have been on their organic farm for just two months, but they already have a plan to offer organic produce to low-income families in Half Moon Bay. They are big supporters of the Marin Agricultural Trust and are committed to promoting sustainable agricultural practices. You can learn more about their efforts at potreronuevofarm.org. I'm sure the whole Bay Area cycling community wishes them tremendous success!
Students for an Environmentally Active Campus sponsored a concert powered by stationary bicycles Thursday night. Audience members pedaled the stationary bicycles throughout the show to power the band's instruments and lights. The concert was designed to raise awareness about alternative energy sources.Read more. Found via Bike Tweet.
Monday, October 27, 2008
It's Just a Ride has a fun collection of links for your Monday.
Check out this cool, flat proof tire in South Africa. Photo by Johann in South Africa.
This looks like an interesting conversation: "I actually think a "bicycle studies" interdisciplinary degree could be structured in such a way as to be a FANTASTIC program."
Jim Langley has a collection of over 600 bicycle headbadges.
"By my count, there are currently 22 shift / brake lever options currently on the market for your drop bar bike."
Carlton on goofy anti-cyclist bias in the media.
Warren shoots video of 11 motorists completely blowing through a red light. If motorists want the right to use our public roads, they should be expected to follow the rules of the road! They're all Hypocrites! Scofflaws! I think they should pay to use the roads, too!
Kevin Blake in Wisconsin created the pedal powered snowplow during the winter of 2003-2004. "Mr. Plow" became his entry in Specialized's "Innovate or Die" competition.
Kevin got second place in the competition and won a Specialized bicycle. Kevin works for as an engineer for Trek.
See also David Peterson's bicycle snow plow in Illinois, which is used to clear bike trails outside of Chicago.
Don't forget the Bike Design Competition -- James wants non-cyclists to enter this contest so please help get the word out!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The purpose of the spoke protector is to keep the chain from getting shifted off of the largest cog into the spokes. A properly adjusted dérailleur won't derail the chain into the spokes -- hence the name "dork disk," because presumably dorks don't have properly adjusted dérailleurs.
I'm pretty sure 13 year old boys don't worry too much about the adjustment of their dérailleurs either, in spite of the best efforts of their fathers. I know first hand the damage that can occur when a chain gets shifted into the rear wheel. The damage can easily run into hundreds of dollars.
What do you think? Should I hope and pray my son will always keep his bike well maintained? Or should I prepare for the worst and assume Little Fritz will be about as consistent on his bike maintenance as any other 13 year old?
Should the dork disk stay or should it go?
Saturday, October 25, 2008
The 3rd Annual Supermarket Street Sweep, Saturday, December 6, 2008 at noon. Prizes for most food and time, with prizes from Xtracycle, Specialized, ZPG, Timbuk2, Vanderkitten, Crank Brothers, Crumpler and much more!
Friday, October 24, 2008
- Attention SF Bay Area Road Riders: Organo crunchy vegans Bill & Christine have opened up The Bike Hut for your free use at their home on Tunitas Creek Road just a mile up from Highway 1 south of Half Moon Bay at their Potrero Nuevo Farm, 1045 Tunitas Creek Road. For now, The Bike Hut is just a shack with a picnic table and free water for cyclists to use, but they hope to have organic/vegan energy snacks and drinks avaiable for sale in the future. Props to Holier Than You. Mentioned also at Spare Cycles and SVBC.
- At one time, smoking was seen as the "cool" thing to do, but over time the public perception changed. Jonathan Maus of Bike Portland wonders if this shift in thinking might now by occurring towards automobiles. And the Wall Street Journal reports the largest year on year decline on record in the United States. See also some insightful discussion about roads and privilege by Carlton Reid.
- "Cyclists promote climate change." Umm, is that a weird headline, or what? Something like "Firefighters promote arson" or "Dentists promote tooth decay."
- Gristmill: Carborexia: the pathological inability to produce sufficient carbon.
- A Bike Assembly Area at PDX Airport?
- QuickRelease: Balloon tire bicycle.
- Bike light giveaway in this Monday evening in Urbana, Illinois beginning at 4:30 PM.
- Shimano recall: flat tires can cause crashes. Really.
- SF Bay Guardian 42nd Anniversary issue focuses on a sustainable San Francisco. Via Velo Vogue.
Nah, just kidding. The sign is a souvenir from Japan. It's at Mojo Bicycle Cafe -- a combo coffee shop and bike shop -- in the Alamo Square neighborhood in San Francisco. Meligrosa took the photo and reviews this hangout at Bikes and the City.
Dr. Farrar, the father of Garmin Chipotle racer Tyler Farrar, helped found the Wenatchee Velo Club and blogs about cycling, fitness and health while also dispensing free advice to cyclists with medical problems.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
James is writing about cycling with kids where XtraCycle's products and related stuff get several nods from the community. I gave my thumbs up to the Big Dummy and to the Yuba Mundo, which I test drove at Interbike with two gorgeous umbrella girls seated on the back during the Vegas Criterium. The Yuba Mundo handles marvelously even with the well dressed women swaying and clutching at me for balance and security during the ride.
Many people are posting about the Taga "multifunctional urban vehicle," which won a design prize at Eurobike 2008. In the meantime, the similar USA designed Zigo "carrier bicycle" reports sales are taking off for their human powered child carrier three wheeler.
My daughter (now age 9) is a veteran of several human powered child transportation devices. Her absolute hands down favorite? Chris Brown's KidzTandem. "I'm not looking at your butt all day, Dad," she tells me of the KidzTandem, which features seating up front for the child.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The police ignored what I was saying and said yah sure we hear it all the time. I was thrown into 850 Bryant the local jail here in San Francisco.Read the whole tale of woe at Craigslist.
Jail is awful, it's a terrible place. The food is a smear of peanut butter on wax paper, with a couple of slices of bread, 2 packets of jelly, and a few small cookies. And a kindergardener size milk. I was starving the whole 4 days. I lost 10 pounds, and was severely depressed and was suicidal.
My cell mates was a person with 7 counts of terrorism, and 1 count of stalking, a dude who was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, a crack cocaine dealer, and a dude who took assaulted 7 black guys with a baseball bat, because he didn't like the color of their skin. These are not quality people, this experience was hell. My bail was $15, 000 dollars and my friend were not allowed to visit me.
Kinda sorta related: Make Money Fast with Craigslist and stolen bicycles.
Several bloggers tout the safety benefit of seeing taxicabs and other vehicles behind you without doing a full head check, but the first thing I thought of is the usefulness of these specs in a group ride or even a race where several cyclists are riding tightly packed together. And they're way less dorky than helmet and eyeglass mirrors as I demonstrate below.
More at Crunch Gear.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
You can read the invention details here and vote on it after registering online.
Sorry for the late notice: You have only until 8 AM Eastern Time on Wednesday morning (gulp!) to post your vote. Ohio Cyclist is also interested in any feedback or ideas about his device so please leave your comments here.
Here's a cute DIY frame bag that goes inside the front triangle of a bicycle. Step by step instructions at Evil Mad Scientist.
83% surveyed pick their noses while driving. I just made that up. But ABC News claims a "recent survey" reveals that 41% text while horseback riding, skiing or riding a bicycle. An astounding 11% text during a "romantic moment." Read more.
A self balancing unicycle?
Accessorize your bicycle with feather boas. Via.
A weird hybrid pedal powered shopping cart.
Bikes and the City: 72 year old man moving by bike.
Bicycle Marketing Watch: Fear and loathing in the global economy.
Eco Velo on E Assist.
From the job description:
We are looking for a talented journalist and transportation policy activist to launch Streetsblog San Francisco. You will establish Streetsblog SF as a respected, insightful information hub for those interested in transportation policy in San Francisco and the surrounding areas.I'm looking forward to this.
While Streetsblog San Francisco will have a distinct advocacy bent, the site will aim to cover Livable Streets issues with newspaper-quality journalism. Towards that end, we are seeking an editor with previous professional experience to do original research, reporting, interviews, investigation and coverage of events.
• Professional journalism experience
• Passion for biking, progressive urban planning, improving public spaces, as evidenced by experience with related groups and/or press beats. This stuff keeps you up at night.
Via Xtracycle Tweets and Bicycle C-U.
There are some other interesting Bay Area bicycle jobs listed at Craigslist right now. Alta Planning (an LAB bicycle friendly business) is looking for a planning assistant; Specialized is hiring "bike developers"; Cannondale needs an Account Manager in San Francisco; there are even a couple of bike courier / delivery positions open.
Monday, October 20, 2008
I'm @cyclelicious if you want to follow.
I'm also getting over a nasty flu bug that kept me laid up in bed all weekend. I think I'm mostly recovered. I didn't take any photos or video in Santa Cruz, I didn't attend the Tour de Cupcake in San Francisco, and I didn't ride in the Peterson / Gough Memorial ride and Ghost Bike dedication in Cupertino over the weekend.
As I cruised near my home on my fixed gear bike and in my jeans, several strangers asked if I was part of the San Francisco to San Diego bike tour that passed through town over the weekend. Ummm, I don't think so. Do I really look like I'm on a tour?
I did chat for a while with Johan who rode his Easy Racer "Tour Easy" recumbent bike from Los Altos to Scotts Valley with a monstrously huge LED tail light. I think it's the first time I've seen the RealLite bicycle light in the wild.
For those of you who’ve been at this bikes for transport thing long will probably find me stating what seems obvious, but hopefully there will be some useful bits here and there.
For those of you are more interested in racing, than transport by bike, I hate to break it to you, but most of my recommendations aren’t going to make you any faster unless you’re riding on roads strewn with glass, thorns, and all kinds of nasty grime jonsin to take out your tires and drivetrain.
On with the show…
-Full coverage fenders (Stainless steel berthouds are my fav, although among plastics the PB Cascadias do pretty well)
Its hard not to look on my first winter commuting 25 miles each day with no fenders whatsoever and laugh. Its hard to believe there was a time when I would actually willingly ride that far through all the nasty stuff that winter produces, turning myself and my bike into a sandy mudpuddle on wheels. There’s nothing quite like getting to your destination looking like you saw a pile of slush on your way and couldn’t help but take a little wallow in it, or the fun of doing a thorough drivetrain cleaning every week. Now I never give the road conditions a second thought, as it all runs out the end of the fenders onto ground doing little to no harm to me or the bike
Why do I use Berthoud’s stainless fenders specifically? There are a couple reasons. For one thing, they don’t break near as often as the plastic or plastic/metal counterparts. I’ve had top of the line plastic fenders like SKS’ break in less than a year from fatigue. The second main benefit I find from them, is that once mounted up, they might as well not be there in the good sense. They don’t rattle, they don’t move, they don’t go out of alignment all the time. Surprisingly if you’ve never held a set in your hand, I also don’t think they’re any heavier. Lastly it doesn’t hurt that they look da bomb. If you want to give a bike some class real quick, these will do wonders.
-Mudflaps (real ones, not those vestigial types you see on many off the shelf fenders)
Real mudflaps were a bit of a revelation for me on a couple levels. My wife and I ride everywhere for transportation, and that rear flap makes group riding on wet roads an entirely different experience than otherwise. While full coverage fenders may keep her clean, they do little to keep me clean riding behind her without mudflaps. Now what I find to be the real strength of mudflaps, particularly the front, is that they keep 95% of spray off your feet AND your crank/bb area. These days between, full coverage fenders, mudflaps, and dumonde tech, my winter drive train maintenance is scarcely different than in summer. That is a beautiful thing. You don’t need a beater for winter riding, you just need good fenders and flaps and lube.
-Brooks saddles (we use the champion flyer, and B67) fair warning, big diatribe to follow…
Like most who’ve ridden extensively I’ve logged many miles on plastic shelled ti-railed race saddles (which if you’re still die hard set on that route, give koobi a look). Those saddles were light, I won’t deny that, but for regular high mileage, padded bike shorts were a non-negotiable. To me from a purely pragmatic standpoint, that combo is a little like putting lipstick on a pig. It doesn’t address the primary problem, the saddle is by design uncomfortable.
I, like many folks over the last few years decided to give a brooks a go on the recommendation of another. Man am I glad I did. These saddles truly are remarkable. My experience and that of folks I know first-hand who’ve tried them is that they are more comfortable right out of the box than any saddle previously. And after a couple thousand miles, it doesn’t even occur to you that it’s there because your interface with your bike is so seamless. I haven’t used padded shorts since I bought my brooks, even on tour where 5-6 hours of saddle time a day was common. There’s simply no need.
Now there are two things about brooks that I’ve found as faults, one they are admittedly heavy so if you’re a weight weenie, its gonna be hard to swallow unless you are willing to spring for one of the ti-railed variants. The bigger con in my book is the tendency to leach die if you don’t take certain measures. What this means is if you ride in khaki’s and use a brown saddle it can look like you have some bowel troubles. What I’ve done to combat this took me some research and testing to figure out, but now consistently does the trick.
I got some of this stuff , Obenauf's Saddle Goop, and use an application method I learned from someone in the military. I use a heat gun to get the leather toasty warm, then rub in a bunch of the goop. I repeat this procedure a few times until the outer layer is well saturated. I then let it dry and cool, then give it a good rub down with a cotton cloth. Ride it a couple times with something black that wont stain. At this point the saddle is good to go for at least a couple thousand miles before needing to repeat the procedure. I’d imagine you can probably accomplish this with a blow dryer on high heat. If any part of the saddle starts to lose its polished look after a couple thousand miles repeat the procedure especially in this area and you’ll be stain free even in the lightest of pants.
-Anthony Stout Long Walk to Green
Friday, October 17, 2008
Last month we covered how to make two essential tools for any eco-conscious cyclist, the obsidian knife and the stone ax. This month we'll discuss how to use them.
First, however, there's the issue of appropriate clothing for the season. With fall weather causing a drop in temperatures and an increase in precipitation, it's important that the well-prepared cyclist start thinking about winter attire.
Please don't make the common mistake of mud daubing. It lends itself well to the neolithic surrealism style that's a current Euro-fad, but it isn't a practical form of clothing during the winter months. Sure, there are some fashionistas who will not change with the weather, but even they realize that mud provides little insulation from cold and cannot stand up to rain. In summer, of course, it's excellent protection against sunburn and insects, but cold, wet weather reveals mud's limitations. Still, it's not unusual to see a woman stylishly covered in designer mud - with the requisite high-fashion footwear, of course - in some of those cycling photos from Copenhagen. Most of us prefer to be more comfortable and not suffer for the sake of fashion, so we make other choices.
Now, I'm assuming that anyone reading this is committed to using natural materials whenever possible, and will eschew all those synthetics flooding the market. Even those two natural favorites - cotton and wool - are tainted by their association with global agri-business, so eco-conscious bicyclists should pass them by as well.
First on almost everyone's list are dry leaves. Although they're not warm when wet, they contain the small dietary bonus of insects and ticks. Ticks are arachnids rather than insects, though they all taste pretty much the same, almost like crunchy, still wriggling chicken. While autumn leaves are certainly colorful, the colors don't last long. Autumn leaves dry out rapidly and have to be reapplied frequently. Dry leaves, on the other hand, are both plentiful and cheap, making them a popular choice with many fair-weather cyclists.
Moss is less popular than dry leaves mainly because it's more time-consuming to gather. But its properties out-weigh the additional time, making it a favorite among thoughtful cyclists interested in long-term use. In fact, some older cyclists may discover they already have a plentiful supply on their north sides. Moss dries rapidly. It's dense mat is like a thatched roof, shedding water much better than dried leaves. And unlike leaves, it's more durable.
Bark is an excellent choice for wind and rain protection, but it doesn't provide insulation. Also, bark is not very pliable so it can be uncomfortable. However, when bark is used as an outer layer with an insulating layer of dried moss underneath, the combination offers the best of both worlds, providing protection from wind, rain, and cold down to surprisingly low temperatures.
Controversy swirls around application methods. How are these materials best applied to the human body? Common methods include: staple guns, hot glue, or even sheet metal screws. One recommended accessory is a stick to clench between the teeth. It helps to muffle screams so the neighbors don't call the police complaining about out-of-season human sacrifices again. It's best to have someone help with the application as they'll have a more steady hand and can apply your leaves, bark, or moss symmetrically or in intricate patterns. An exciting new trend is developing that emphasizes a more random and natural-looking 'just rolled in the leaves' approach.
Regardless of the application method, the resulting scars will give you a stunning new look for the spring fertility rites!
A serviceable winter helmet can be carved from the bole of a tree. Turtle shells are another popular choice. This is where your obsidian knife and stone ax come in handy. You can make straps from vines and creepers. Moss provides padding and insulation. Ventilation is unnecessary as this is a cold weather item.
Animal fur is another exciting outerwear possibility. The hollow hair shafts found on deer, caribou, and polar bears offer superb protection, though killing a polar bear while armed with only an obsidian knife and a stone ax is somewhat problematic. Hunting polar bears is fairly easy, however, as their position atop the food chain insures that they'll come straight toward you when they're hungry. For some, this makes deer and caribou a more attractive resource as they're far less likely to kill and eat a hunter. Please don't make the neophyte's mistake of utilizing rabbit fur. Though they're plentiful and easy to trap, rabbit fur doesn't retain warmth when it's wet. Seeing multiple rabbit pelts on someone's back at the start of a club ride is a sure-fire indication of a eco-conscious newbie or that there's a Mad Max film festival showing in a local theater.
Motorists recognize fashion sense. When you're rolling down the road on an all-Campy carbon fiber and titanium road bike, and you have the elan to wear a caribou skin with a contrasting turtle shell helmet, they'll give you plenty of space. And a stone ax tucked into your belt is always the perfect accessory!
Fire: Not just for sacrifices any more!
The Colorado Springs Gazette published this humorous story about the bikes, the racers, the races and the spills.
The rules and disclaimers are a hoot:
Photo Credit: Colorado Springs Pub Crawl.
This is a race at your own risk event! We will NOT take responsibility for your actions. Pixies are extremely dangerous! Riding in this manner is not only dangerous but also stupid!!!!! This race is retarded at best and stupid to say the least! We don't encourage doing any of these races. If you aren't prepared to suffer the potential consequences(including even death) then you shouldn't race, plain and simple. If racing please know and ride with in your personal limits.
- Bikes must have 16" wheels or smaller. The rear wheel must have a coaster brake hub(single speed)- with a fully functional coaster brake... you can't disable the brake (it will be checked)(that's what makes it a repack race!).
- Crank length can not be longer than 140mm (center to center).
- The drive train should be kept as close as possible to stock. It's the charm of the Pixie experience. Chainrings should be 36 tooth or smaller. If the stock chainring should exceed 36t (and that is rare) then a 2 to 1 ratio will be enforced. For example 38t front and 19t rear cog. This shouldn't really be an issue unless you are really trying to go nuts modifying the drive train.
- Any tires are fine; slicks, knobbies, no tires. It's your call.
- Any seat, stem, seatpost, pedal and handlebar combination is legit! Also feel free to run additional brakes. Caliper, V/linear, disc, drum are all fine in addition to a coaster brake.
- Helmets will be required for the race, any helmet. Pads are encouraged, lots of pads!
Carlton calls this advert for Hutchinson Tires "scrumptious yet naughty" and recommends averting your eyes before playing it.
The video was produced by Daniel Leeb of Cinecycle in Brooklyn.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Via Velo Vogue. See more photos of Pamela Anderson on this pink bicycle at Celebritized.
See more celebrities on bicycles at Cyclelicious Celebrities.
I was originally thinking about one list, but then realized that the list and reasonings to back them up quickly grew too long for one post, so this is the first in a series.
Below is the first list of goodies that make my travels either a little more pleasant, or a little more hassle free, or in some cases both.
-Any tire that starts with "Schwalbe Marathon..." is a win in my book.
I've found them to last significantly longer than anything else I've used, get flats far less often than any other tire I've used except perhaps Conti gatorskins (which have spotty issues with dryrot), and roll surprisingly well considering their other attributes.
-Dinotte LED taillights (I use the 140L on a couple of our bikes)
These lights must be seen in person to comprehend just how bright a bike taillight can be. My wife and I get comments from motorists all the time about how impressive our taillights are and how much easier it makes it for them in spotting us a long ways off. The kind of room cars give us with these lights even in broad daylight, is a beautiful thing.
-Dumonde Tech chain lube (We use the Original formula)
About 7 years back I switched exclusively to single speed out of frustration with drivetrain maintenance especially during the winters.
Wet lubes didn't need re-application very often, but turned drivetrains into a disaster area resembling the wake of Katrina (which correspondingly either wore everything out faster or meant VERY regular cleaning).
Dry lubes, kept a clean drive train, but at the first sign of any water, even looking at a puddle wrong seem to cause it to dissipate instantaneously. Dry lubes also generally needed very frequent lubing ~150 miles.
Then I came upon Dumonde tech. I've been using it now for about 1.5 years on each bike we own, which btw, I presently ride a fully geared bike. Its application process is very particular in that you need a PERFECTLY clean drivetrain to start (paint thinner and a mason jar work best IMO).
Once applied to clean drivetrain, and the excess wiped after the first couple rides, it lasts for a good 400 miles between reapplying. In that time, you have the cleanest quietest drive train you've probably ever had. At any given time you could grab one of my chains and come away with a mostly clean hand, and yet it is indifferent to getting wet, and doesn't attract all kinds of grime. When the chain starts to make some noise, just put a tiny drop on each roller, go for a couple rides, wiping the chain a few times with a terry rag, and you're good to go for another 400 miles.
Bill Schneider at New West looks in more detail at the rankings of states in the Western United States in "Making States Bicycle Friendly."
I've heard people talk about the danger of train tracks while cycling and I witnessed this first hand last weekend in San Francisco. I was standing near some SF Muni trolley tracks and saw three cyclists drop their front tire into the track and eat the pavement.
Three out of multiple dozens is a relatively small percentage I guess, but that's still more than I would have expected. I ride along streetcar tracks almost every day without incident. Sure, care needs to be taken, but it doesn't seem like a great deal of bike skill is needed. Unless I cross at a nearly right angle, I unweight my front wheel as I cross the tracks to prevent a fall. If my rear wheel drops in, I accelerate and bounce it back out.
Am I mistaken? Am I just lucky? My guess is these people weren't paying attention, but is avoiding falls around train tracks a secret skill for which instruction is required? Would an instructional video be helpful? And what are the chances of me taking a major spill just as the video camera is rolling?
Let me know what you think. I might shoot video this weekend at the Union Pacific tracks along the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
It's very bright, attaches easily to any roundish protrusion, and has a very fast flash pattern that I like. I use rechargeable batteries and changing them is a bit of a pain -- you need to slide the whole silicone cover off to get at the batteries -- and I don't know how waterproof this is yet, but so far I'm impressed.
This is a "be seen" light -- it's good for being seen on lit city streets. If you need to light the way to see the road, the Knog Bullfrog isn't the right light for you. Otherwise, though, this thing looks cool and it stands out from the other lighting.
With the tools listed on that page, I can follow my email via Twitter notifications, track UPS packages, have Google Calendar automatically updated via Twitter, ego surf, and more. Very cool stuff.
"Indianapolis has long been known as the Crossroads of America. Now those roads are going to include bike lanes, and we are going to embrace alternative modes of transportation," said Mayor Greg Ballard.Read more.
20 minute PBS "Now" video: How gas prices and the mortage crisis are connected.
Bicycles handlebars as a wind instrument.
Old photo: Sacramento Police Department Bike Patrol, circa 1911.
Kansas City: Cold weather cycling clothing. Brrrrr!
Funny: Another reason to commute.
Did I post this already? DIY rain cape that actually looks pretty good.
Bike To Work book cover design poll.
ARE YOU CYCLELICIOUS?
Some places in Beijing have outdoor bicycle parking for 0.2RMB for a normal single speed (and also fixed gear) bike and 0.3RMB for mountain bikes, race bikes or anything with gears per day.Read more at Ines Brunn's Trick Bike blog. 0.2RMB is about 3 pennies, 0.3RMB is almost a nickel. Ines lives in China and does bicycle acrobatics. She recently visited the San Francisco Bay Area and performed in Palo Alto and San Francisco.
Ad: Beijing Bicycle DVD.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
If you are ever tempted to race the train across the tracks, think about the family of the young woman who had to identify her body at the Santa Clara coroner's office this evening. Think about your family and friends and how they'll react to your needless death. It's better to arrive home late but alive than to never arrive home at all.
At about 5:50 PM Monday evening, southbound train #270 was pulling into the Mountain View Caltrain station at Castro Street when a woman tried to beat the train across the tracks. She lost and was struck and killed instantly. Workers removed her remains at about 7:45 PM, after which the southbound tracks re-opened for service. Northbound trains began running again after about an hour. Southbound trains were delayed up to two hours.
Photo by Richard Masoner: A witness describes the woman who ran across the tracks to the Caltrain Transit Police. Dozens of commuters witnessed the collision during the evening commute in Mountain View, California.
- The Noble Rider, who looks suspiciously like Pee Wee Herman;
- The Fixed Gear Rider, who looks suspiciously like he sings the Lumberjack song;
- The Vintage Bike Fashion Gal, who paid more for her clothes than she did for her bike; and
- The Weekend Warrior, whose bike (a $13,000 Pinarello) costs more than my entire wardrobe.
Next time, I'll bring a bicycle.
A Fat Cyclist jersey was seen on Oklahoma television!
My apologies to Ed -- he posted about Thelma and Doris over the weekend.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I haven't read the whole story yet but it looks like a good read.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Robb Sutton at MTB by 198 studied economics, and he brings things a little closer to home in his suggestions on weathering this storm. He explains how rising costs are putting the squeeze on industry (without quite explaining why costs are rising, but covered that plenty already), and what bike retailers and consumers can and should do.
I hate to start the weekend on a down note, so visit my Santa Cruz photos post, or take Rob's advice and get out and ride!
I had a weird 12 hour stomach bug and called in sick yesterday morning, but by noon I was feeling fine. It's a beautiful autumn day so I spent several hours just riding my fixed gear bike around Santa Cruz. There were hundreds of surfers in the water; I saw Ethan headed to the hook along East Cliff Drive with his surfboard on his cruiser bicycle. He was going to "The Hook" where 41st Street deadends at the Pacific Ocean in Capitola.
At the Santa Cruz Harbor I caught up to Laurie Schmidtke commuting home from Cabrillo College on his Trek 5.9, Rocket 7 shoes, and Chrome bag. Much respect to this gentleman who used to race in the early 70s.
The California Pacific Coast is a popular bike touring route. Whenever I go into Santa Cruz I always see a few touring cyclists. I saw at least four different groups of touring bikes yesterday.
I was cycling down Pacific Avenue and saw these two cyclists examining a map, looking at street signs and looking very lost. Say hello to Jason and Mishka of Oregon. They're touring from Oregon and on their way to San Luis Obispo. I led them to Soquel Drive so they could continue on their journey after snapping this photo.
Have a good weekend, all! I know some of you in the mountain states got snowed on this week, and others are stuck with rain and cold. For some sunshine and bikes, you can view all of yesterday's photos in my Santa Cruz Flickr set.
Bikes are fun at Cyclelicious!
Thursday, October 09, 2008
From the YouTube description: Kara Hui Ying Hung and her minions fight off some men with bikes in this classic Shaw Brothers movie, directed by Lau Kar Leung.
Movie also starring Gordon Liu, Johnny Wang Lung Wei, Hsiao Ho, Robert Mak, Wong Yu and Ku Feng.
Speaking of non-enthusiasts, fashion and bikes, there were dozens of tweets last night about Tim Gunn of Project Runway who was seen on the back of a tandem bicycle last night in Portland, OR. I don't have a clue about fashion or television, so I'll forward you to Bikes and the City who apparently follows this stuff. Thank you to Calitexican for keeping me informed.
I think I just saw a funeral procession on bicycle.
- Get a bike, preferably one that's just a little too small for you if you can.
- Remove the pedals with a wrench. Most bike pedals take a 15 mm wrench, and the left side pedal is reverse threaded. That means "lefty loosey" is the opposite of what you need to do on the left side pedal.
- Drop the saddle down as low as it will go on the frame. The idea is that when you sit on the saddle, your feet can touch the ground.
- Find a reasonably smooth open space. The best is a slight hill with short grass, but you don't want anything steep. You want to start at the top of the hill.
- Sit on the saddle with your feet on the ground, then push off with your feet so you're scooting along on the bike like on an old fashioned hobby horse.
- Don't try to steer yet, but get a feel for the brakes.
- As you scoot and pick up speed, let your feet off of the ground. You should get a feel for how to balance the bike after a couple of tries.
- Once you have the balance down, take very gentle turns to get a feel for steering. This won't be intuitive for you, but steering comes by leaning the bike. Don't make sharp movements with the handlebar or you'll flop over.
- Once you're confident, replace the pedals, adjust your saddle to a correct height, and before you know it you'll be trackstanding and riding no handed with the best of us!
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
You'll see my name on the photography credits along with info about the bikes and fashions at Momentum Magazine. The show featured accessories and bikes from Dahon, Strida, Knog, Planet Bike, Rock the Bike, and Wald, and Louis Garneau among others.
P.S. Please give a big welcome to the newest member of the Cyclelicious team -- Anthony Stouts of Longmont, Colorado. You can see his photo in the 2009 Xtracycle catalog on his Nuvinci equipped Big Dummy at 11,000 feet above sea level in Rocky Mountain National Park. See his inaugural post and say howdy.
If the number of folks that I'm consulting on building their first real transportation bikes is any gauge of trends in culture then good times lie ahead for cycling!!!
In the last 3 months, I've mostly designed new bike builds for 5 people here in Colorado, (the CTO of the company where I work, a co-worker on my team, two co-workers from other teams, and my father-in-law).
Each has somewhat different reasons for going this route, which has been rather interesting. I suppose their builds are almost as diverse as their reasons for starting this up.
The environmentally minded co-worker went the route of a Surly KM with disc brakes, Brooks B-17, SRAM I-motion 9, and skinny 700c Schwalbe marathon plus tires.
The guy who wants to lose weight, save gas over driving his Dodge Hemi, is building up a Kogswell P/R with a SRAM P5 with drum brake and sturmey drum brake dynamo front hub, Brooks B-72, with Schwalbe Marathon XR's.
The CTO who's doing it for mostly for health, fun, and a little bit of environmentalism has gone the route of a Surly LHT, with 26" wheels, barcon shifters, v-brakes, Brooks Champion Flyer, Schwalbe Marathon Supremes.
The last co-worker is an environmentally conscious fellow who wanted a bike for toting his kids, picking up groceries, and taking trips to park/zoo etc. An xtracycle was in order along with going to disc brakes and new wheels. His whole family is now quickly getting hooked on bike lifestyle.
My father-in-law wanted something comfortable that rolls pretty quickly, but reminds him of the joy of cycling as a kid (which is about the last time he rode). I took his old hardtail mtb and built a new rear wheel with a Nexus 8 coaster brake version, put a riser stem, and Soma Oxford bars on it with Ergon's, plus some 2" Schwalbe slicks we donated to the cause. We've been suggesting and I think it wont be long before a Brooks saddle makes its home on his bike. He loves it and it totally accomplished the goal.
At least two of these 5 people were folks that I thought would start riding bikes when hell froze over, and both are now totally on-board with cycling and just want to go further with it. So if these examples from just the last couple months are any indicator then I think we might really be starting to see some changes in perspective regarding bikes as transportation :)
Arleigh had to transport a big box 2½ miles to the UPS office. She demonstrates the creative thinking required to move stuff around if you don't have a 200 horsepower climate controlled weather sheltered contraption. She does have a SeaLine waterproof backpack, a bicycle and a rear rack.
Read more at Ride Charlotte.
Riding Pretty points to a nice DIY rain cape design that's suitable for bicycle use.
Bait bikes are placed, unlocked, in a public place with a hidden camera pointing at the bike. La Prueba de la Bicicleta (The Bike Test) then times how long the bike lasts before somebody swipes the bike. It's interesting to see the thieves see the bike and wander back and forth a few times before they finally grab the bike and go.
I just wached a man run over a pigeon on his bicycle. It flapped to death.
oh no... be afraid... a zombie on a bicycle!!
Funny Video - Girl Hits Head on Pole While Riding Bicycle http://tinyurl.com/3f4528
my discovery that cable ties on a bicycle helmet deters magpies. Genius!
Nothing quite like imagining one riding a bicycle listening to La Grange ...
Schöne Omage an Bicycle Messengers http://is.gd/23ee
Austin wheel factory destroyed in fire http://www.nimble.net
That's right Obama. We can't drive our way out of this environmental, economic, problem. Get on a bicycle.
Tip for today: If your bicycle feels like it's going uphill even when you're on the flat, try pumping up your tires.
Almost got hit by a motorcycle. It's a bicycle lane not a motorcycle lane. Whatta jerk.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
[Warren] Buffett delivered newspapers as a boy. He filed his first tax return at age 13, claiming a $35 deduction for his bicycle.Via.
- Banks are not lending to each other, let alone to individuals or businesses.
- Bike shops purchase their inventory on credit provided by the bike companies. The bike shops pay the bill in the spring.
- Many bike shops have to borrow cash so they can operate through the slow winter season. If banks aren't lending, bike shops can't pay the rent and might close up shop. Maybe the inventory is sent back to the bike company, or maybe it's all sold in a fire sale. Either way, the bike company loses revenue.
Gigantic names in the financial industry have disappeared over the past few weeks because foreclosures went up from half a percent to one percent since 2007. What minuscule percentage of local bike shops need to go belly up before the big bike brands themselves become insolvent?
More at Chris Writes. And in case anybody hasn't noticed, European banks are failing too.
That seems like incentive for ASO not to aggressively test for doping. If organizers swept everything under the rug, the problem goes away, the sport appears clean and everybody is happy, right?
Masiguy's Virtual Tradeshow.
1. Steal a bicycle.
2. Post to Craigslist that you saw an obviously hot bike and bought it so it can be reunited with its rightful owner, like this:
3. Receive cash from naive and grateful victims!
Note: It turns out this guy is probably honest. I guess I'm too old and cynical.
- Confidence trick.
- Street smart.
- Receiving stolen property: "Paying for the goods or intending to collect the reward for returning them are not defenses."
Monday, October 06, 2008
Orange brakeless fixie photo by me in Las Vegas...
LA Times talks about Sport Utility Bikes.
Ken Conley's Interbike photography experience.
Santa Clara County Trail Count news coverage.
Suzue caps and shirts from Soma Fabrications.
Pedal Powered Tank.
Miley Cyrus still rides a bicycle. She turns 16 next month -- let's see if she continues with the bicycles.
You can buy Trek bicycles @ Amazon.com??
Chris writes about Interbike 2008:
The world does not need this many high-end carbon-rimmed wheels, road or MTB. Who is going to buy all these $2000-$6000 wheels?
(Ad) Thomas Friedman's Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America.
Friedman proposes that an ambitious national strategy' which he calls 'Geo-Greenism''is not only what we need to save the planet from overheating; it is what we need to make America healthier, richer, more innovative, more productive, and more secure.
The 7% decline today doesn't compare with the double digit declines that marked the beginning of the Great Depression in 1929. Over a quarter of the American labor force was unemployed in 1933, with none of the safety nets we have today: no unemployment checks, no public housing, no government welfare of any kind. Back then, though, we had food, we had oil in the ground domestically, we had plenty of home grown resources and we had very little national debt, many of us outside of the High Plains had family farms we could return to and wait things out.
Today, we have monetary inflation of basic foodstuffs in spite of lower real wages for the majority of Americans. We have crippling debt at the national and personal level. It should be an interesting week, and by "interesting" I use it in terms of the Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times." Massive layoffs from all sectors of American business will be announced around Thanksgiving this year.
Some of you might be interested in this article that likens the Borg of Star Trek with our modern financial system.
What we are seeing reflects a general insolvency of the global financial system. Part of the problem is that investors, business people and governments didn’t foresee that crude oil production would flatten in 2005 and prices would go from $10 per barrel in 1998 to $100 per barrel in 2008. Or that China and India would consume so much so fast that nearly all forms of commodities would rise in parallel with oil prices.Read the whole post here.
When credit is extended over a long time horizon, as in a home mortgage, the underlying assumption is that the future will be akin to the past. Inflation will be relatively modest and incomes will keep up so that a steady flow of cash can go back to banks and keep up their reserve balances. Obviously this hasn’t occurred: prices rose faster than incomes and the ability to repay debts faltered.
The United States (and other nations with negative trade balances and large foreign held debts) is in a Catch 22 situation. Flows of credit are so crucial for the daily functioning of our economy that it looks as though these will be preserved at all cost.
It is difficult in a panicky time to step back and ask questions about the greater purpose of what we are doing. One of the problems I have is balancing my current anxiety over the unraveling of systems that I depend on, with the knowledge that these systems are highly misguided and need radical change. As a people, we have become very poor at distinguishing between productive and unproductive debts.
The tail of the big rig was reportedly hanging over the tracks when the express train screamed through the intersection. Witnesses say the gate crossing and signals were all working when the idiot truck driver, who suffered minor injuries, tried to beat the train through the crossing.
Photo by "AlienVenom".
I didn't have a chance to visit their Interbike booth, but caught them on the way out as we left Friday evening. They were out of business cards so Robert and Marteja suggested I take a photo of her back as a human business card.
What caught my eye were the unique folding bicycles they were carrying. I'll write more about them over at Commute By Bike sometime this week (promise!), but they also have a really cute blog called The Big Fish Bike blog. Robert speaks with a thick Slavic accent, but his blog writing is perfect and witty. His English is, in any case, much better than my command of Slovene.
The bikes are not available in North America, but Interbike 2008 was Big Fish's first foray into the American market. Robert tells me dealer interest was strong and they're in talks with a distributor.
The Big Fish Bike blog from Slovenia.