For The Love of Cake

Have been banking lots of hours on the bike, on the boat, and eating cake. May is officially here with its barrage of birthdays and the beginning of lake season!

Dexter has been a super sweetie who spent a good chunk of time hanging out on a ladder to keep me company while I scrubbed a boat deck for many hours. I don't know about you guys, but if something isn't somewhat clean, I  just can't enjoy it. 

Alice turned 3 on May 14th! Here she is with her hippo and grocery basket when we went to pick up her birthday cake a few weeks ago.

She had a wonderful little cake moment with her cousins and brother. Look at her intense focus! Also, LEGO candles on a ninja turtle cake? 

Life is good. 

In other super exciting news, my bestie from NYC was here! Leanne was here for a little bit, working on a new book, and managed to have a few hours free so I brought her to my Blackstone set visit. Can't believe how much work goes into shooting a scene and getting everything ready even before the actors show up to do their thing. Major respect! Also, very impressed that this is shot and produced here in Edmonton. 

 The ice has just come off the lake recently so the water is COLD. But, boats still have to go in and trailers need to be opened up for the new season. I've decided to change my trailer game and have started cooking with the George Foreman in there. It even does eggs!

Alice has likewise been enjoying fresh air. Here she is after waking up from an epic nap. She takes after her mother and is not a morning person.

Water may be cold, but it's super fun to be out there.

  Back at home, Alice and I are on the train. She insists on taking "Clifford" with her wherever she goes. 

 That particular morning we were off to a Works Gala meeting. The day before I was on the train to host the little luncheon that got auctioned off for SACE.

Another day, Leanne and I biked down to little brick!

Leanne was there to talk business with Nate. I was just there for the bike ride and sandwiches. I got three mosquito bites on the way home (2 on my face, because they really hate me), but it was worth it to have a few moments with old friends. 

 After hanging out, Leanne kept riding downtown to investigate some other work-related things. I rode over to grab a few party supplies for Dexter, groceries for BBQ that weekend, and was also carrying my stash of coffee beans.

This is my favourite sort of stuff on a bike. Riding to get some work done. Picking up groceries and stuff in small batches... biking as transportation, integrated into the whole routine of daily life.

 Also rode just yesterday, to get caught up with this darling.

Dexter and Alice also get taken to soccer via bike. It's their favourite!

And finally, before my beloved Leanne departed for NY, she made us some gourmet mac n cheese last night.

Oh yah, and Dexter celebrated HIS birthday too! Now he's 6 years old and I actually have to send him off with bus tickets to ride the train. Everybody is growing up so fast - Love my little family!

Hope you're staying safe from the sun and bugs - If you're a fair weather cyclist, I'll be seeing you out there!
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Let’s get down to business.

Welcome back.

When last we met I was preparing myself mentally and physically for the 26th Inaugural BSNYC Gran Fondo, sponsored by [lucrative promotional opportunities available, just imagine your company name here], which took place way back on the 17th.  Well, I'm pleased to announce that the ride was a smashing success, by which I mean I had an enjoyable bike ride and drank beer afterwards.  As for the other participants, I don't know if they enjoyed it, but nobody said "That sucked!" and then kicked me in the "pants yabbies" so as far as I'm concerned that's as good as a rave review.

Alas, if you were expecting a detailed ride report prepare to be disappointed--though if you've been reading this blog for any length of time you should be accustomed to disappointment.  See, the point of the ride was not to generate Internet content for my crappy bike blog; rather, it was to enjoy the riding of bicycles in the company of other people who enjoy the riding of bicycles, and therefore I did not spend my precious cycling time pointing my smartphone at stuff.  Therefore, you'll just have to make do with this enigmatically blurry photo taken by commenter "VSK:"

I should also point out that the guy in the lime green helme(n)t was riding some old upright three-speed (?) something that weighed a gazillion pounds and he completed THE WHOLE RIDE.  That's 50-ish miles of hilly mixed terrain.

So think about that next time you're shopping for a crabon douchecycle.

In other words, some New York Times columnist who refers to himself in the third person wrote some stupid piece about how he wants taxi drivers to be more "hyperaggressive:"

This week, we depart from the usual letter-and-reply format for a column about taxis. The Haggler writes as a fan. He likes the hyperaggressive way yellow taxis deal with traffic. It’s as if they take it personally. Not long ago, a taxi driver picked up the Haggler at La Guardia and put on a show. Every time he encountered congestion, he rethought his route and gunned it, working like a jazz musician on amphetamines, improvising in a groove.

“But Haggler, that sounds dangerous!” you say. “If you’ve got a problem with cellphones, how can you countenance Vin Diesel driving?”

Fair point. You see, the Haggler wants drivers off phones precisely so they can drive like Vin Diesel. (Or at least the Vin Diesel we see in those “Fast and Furious” movies.) This is impossible, or insane, when talking on the phone.

Um, firstly, does "the Haggler" realize that Vin Diesel's co-star in those movies died in a fiery wreck?

("Awesome!"--The Haggler)

Secondly, on THE VERY DAY the Times published this forced bit of irreverence, John F. Nash Jr. (otherwise known as the "A Beautiful Mind" guy) died when the driver of his taxi lost control on the way to the airport:

Dr. Nash and his wife, Alicia, 82, were in a taxi on the New Jersey Turnpike in Monroe Township around 4:30 p.m. when the driver lost control while veering from the left lane to the right and hit a guardrail and another car, Sgt. Gregory Williams of the New Jersey State Police said.

The Bike Snob really hopes the Haggler feels like a fucking idiot, though the Bike Snob suspects the Haggler has his head too far up the Haggler's Ass to realize how stupid he sounds.  Nevertheless, he Bike Snob still thinks "The Haggler" should change his pen name to "The Wanker," and that if the Haggler wants to ratchet up the thrill factor on his next ride to LaGuardia he should feel free to divest himself of his seatbelt.


Speaking of danger, around the time I took leave of this blog the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ever-so-casually equated not wearing bicycle helme(n)ts with smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt:
Hey assholes: the "D" stands for "Disease," not discouragement.  Riding a bicycle is HEALTHY, regardless of whether or not you wear a foam hat.  This is why you're supposed to stop spouting bullshit helme(n)t efficacy statistics:

Two federal government agencies will withdraw their longstanding claims that bicycle helmets reduce the risk of a head injury by 85%. The decision comes in response to a petition the Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA) filed under the federal Data Quality Act.

Yes, leave it to an American government agency (or an Australian one) to come up with the idea that not wearing a foam hat while riding a bicycle is as unhealthy as smoking.  Smoking!  You know, the highly addictive thing where you suck carcinogens into your lungs all day long.

This is why we're one of the most obese countries on the planet, and why within 10 years parents will be forcing their children to wear helments while watching TV.

Just wait until we're all wearing airbag helments--never mind that they sometimes go off at inconvenient moments:
A video posted by abc3d (@abc3d_) on
There are still seven months left in the year, but I'm confident that even as we're ringing in the New Year this will still be the greatest thing I've seen in 2015.

Nevertheless, the simple fact is you can always make a buck by frightening people.  Consider this Kickstarter pitch I recently received, in which they simply fabricate the number of annual bike fatalities in the United States:

Hi There!

My name is Lizzy Schofding and I am reaching out to you on behalf of an amazing company called Thousand.  Thousand launched it's first product on Kickstarter on Tuesday, reached its goal in under 9 hours and has since more than doubled it.

Thousand is a design driven lifestyle brand with one mission:  to make a bike helmet that you'd actually want to wear.  With over 1,000 bike fatalities in the U.S. every year, the market is in desperate need of a new kind of helmet.  Thousand's take on the helmet features the following innovations, which make it completely unique:
Innovative Technology- Our secret PopLock (patent pending) is the most convenient and secure way to lock up your helmet to your bike
Commitment to Sustainability-  Helmets are an old industry with limited people and planet friendly options-and we want to change that. We're the only helmet brand focused on sustainable sourcing and materials.
Thoughtful Design- Focused on intuitive, clean design, Thousand is protective, above all and made for the urban explorer.
Take a look at Thousand's Kickstarter page here.  I would love to connect you with the brand's founder for a more in-depth conversation if you are up for it!

As it happens, the number that number is closer to 700, which I happen to know because I read it in Time magazine recently.  So I pointed this out to her and this was her reply:

Apologies - you are completely right, that should have read roughly 1,000 bike fatalities in the U.S. every year. My mistake.

Roughly!?!  So a pile of 300 dead bodies is a fucking rounding error?

It was around this time that she stopped replying to my emails.

Anyway, let's look at the project, which has raised ROUGHLY $120,000 so far:

The narrator begins by explaining her objection to helments:

"I've always hated the sci-fi and bulky design, and they're a pain to lug around."

Really, is she crazy?  I have a road bike helme(n)t.  It is not especially bulky, it's fairly comfortable, and it weighs about as much as a handful of pubes.

Therefore, I can only conclude from the quote above that she was riding around in one of these:

I admit, that is rather bulky and sci-fi.

Anyway, after riding around looking like one of George Lucas's brainfarts, she gave up:

"So even though I knew they could save my life, I never wore one."

See, to me this should be the end of the story.  If you hate wearing a helment so much then don't wear one and shut up about it.  Sadly, this isn't how things work anymore.  Instead, we have Kickstarter, where people describe themselves like this:

"A design-driven lifestyle brand with one mission: to reinvent the bicycle helmet."

I don't know about you, but when I hear "design-driven" the first thing I think of is safety.

Anyway, to this end, she hunts far and wide for someone to implement her vision:

(What, no driving helment?!?  ROUGHLY 30,000 Americans die in cars every year!)

And she eventually finds some wanker in Idaho who looks like he's rubbing a hamburger for luck:

"The styling is being stripped out of it and that in itself becomes a style."

Oh save it.

"And I'm enjoying the challenge of dialing back the styling and getting more into just what the shape is actually doing in front of you."

Come on.  I'll tell you what it's doing: It's being a fucking helment--and not a particularly original-looking one either.  Though you wouldn't know that by the way she's looking at it:

("I am in your thrall, oh mighty helment!")

Oh, but that's not all.  It also has a hole in it so you can lock it onto your bike:

Maybe it's just because I'm a New Yorker, but I don't leave anything I'm going to wear on my body outside unattended for any length of time--though if you're not afraid of a head full of dog piss or semen then go right ahead.  Still, why the hole?  Is it that hard to just lock it up through the straps?

And speaking of straps, it's worth noting that she drove all over America and designed a helment completely from scratch only to render it completely ineffective by wearing it wrong:

I mean come on, it's a helment, not a sunbonnet:

There's no way that's staying on her head.

But, you know, it looks "good" so that's all that matters.

Safety first!

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Strolling Singlehandedly

Sometimes circumstance, business or traffic make us dismount. And while singlehanded steering is...

For the full photographic glory and the rest of the text, you know where to go. The Original Cycle Chic awaits.
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We came, we saw, we glamped. Say what you will about glamping,…

We came, we saw, we glamped. Say what you will about glamping, but it sure beats having to set up a tent. This spot is near Chimney Rock. Check The Woods on Airbnb.

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Happy summer!

Happy summer!

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Online bike marketing in India

Last Friday, I watched and briefly participated in an online chat regarding the Bike Shops for Everyone report recently published by the League of American Bicyclists. Liz Cornish, who ran the League’s Women Bike program before becoming director of Baltimore’s bike advocacy organization this month, works to encourage the bike industry to reach out to women.

Hero Cycles ad screenshots

American bike revenue has remained flat for something like 30 years now, and the number of bike shops have dropped by 30 percent over the past 15 years, so I understand the continued move to high margin gear marketed to those with lots of disposable income. In her report, Ms Cornish points out that we should take a better look at how the bike industry stupidly shoots itself in the foot with very basic mistakes that exclude many women from shops.

There’s a lot of good stuff to dive deep in this report, but this week I’ll compare how cycling is represented in online marketing in the USA versus other cultures around the world.

In the online discussion, some women pointed out the overtly masculine imagery in online bike marketing from the major brands. Websites appeal to athleticism, competition, and fitness. On the right bike with the right gear I can go long, I can go fast, and I can go hard. Go Team!

The World’s Largest Bike Manufacturer

How does that compare to the online marketing from the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer? Hero Cycles in India manufactures over 5.6 million bikes each year. They own half of the market in their home country, and export a fourth of their production to the rest of South Asia and Africa.

With increasing prosperity in India, Hero has seen sales decline sharply. Domestically, Hero is considered a poor man’s bike, and Hero struggles to continue with their affordable standby models while designing specialty models with an aspirational appeal. When you visit their website, you see an image that almost looks lifted from an American bike website. The banner advertises adventure on what appear to be high end mountain bikes with fit men (and one woman) in form-fitting kit on their way to conquer a remote mountain trail.

Bicycle company websites around the world

Below that, however, Hero embeds this video ad portraying professionals and students using bikes for transportation and fun. The models are all young and attractive to be sure, and there’s a lot of male gaze in this video. The ad is kind of a confusing montage that I think is meant to portray and variety of uses for their bikes, but I’m still not sure who the intended target of this ad is. While this video shares many of the same patriarchal assumptions dominant in American advertising, note the complete absence of efficiency, gear ratios, weight, speed, or athlete endorsements.

The other large Indian bike company is Tube Investments of India, which sells bikes under the Hercules and BSA brand names. Hercules are your basic crappy mountain-style bikes, while BSA are eminently functional utility bikes. Their websites reflect their target audiences.

Bicycle company websites around the world

Bicycle company websites around the world

Unlike the Western bike market, BSA and Hercules don’t redesign new models every year. The BSA Photon hasn’t changed since its introduction in the 1970s. Their Ladybird women’s bike is at least a decade old, but they still produce newer ads targeted to young women.

Hercules ads are notable for their extreme campiness from an American perspective. It’s all bro culture here.

Categories: Asia, India, marketing | Leave a comment

Neuroplasticity and bikes. Worth the time to watch.

Neuroplasticity and bikes. Worth the time to watch.

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San Jose District 4 candidate questionaire 2015 special election

The I Walk I Bike I Vote Board of Directors sent the five questions below to candidates Tim Orozco and Mahn Nguyen for District 4 City Council Election on June 23. District 4 encompasses Berryessa, Alviso, and North San Jose.

San Jose CA District 4

The deadline for the candidates to submit answers is Friday, May 22 at MIDNIGHT. Answers received on Saturday, May 23 at 12:01 am and afterwards will not be accepted. I Walk I Bike I Vote will announce its endorsement the following week. As of this writing, neither candiate has responded to this questionaire.

Each unanswered question will receive a score of 0. Each answered question will receive a score from 1 to 5, for a total possible 25 points. 1 is a terrible answer, 5 is a perfect answer. The candidate with the higher total score will receive our endorsement.

1. If elected, what would you do to ensure that San Jose achieves the Vision Zero goal of ending all traffic fatalities in the city by 2025? Why?

2. Which transportation infrastructure investments do you believe are the highest priorities to be included in the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)’s anticipated November 2016 transportation sales tax measure? Why?

3. Do you support the modifications of Montague Expressway as proposed by Santa Clara County’s Roads and Airports Department? Why or why not?

4. If elected, what would you do to reduce motor vehicle traffic resulting from events at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara? Why?

5. Do you support raising San Jose’s minimum wage to $15/hour by 2020 and to $20/hour by 2025? Why or why not?

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Grandma Express

Wonderful cycle moment. Decorated for full fire blast. I'm sure Grandma is loving it. Happy...

For the full photographic glory and the rest of the text, you know where to go. The Original Cycle Chic awaits.
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If your looking to see lots of other bicycle riders while in Portland, Might I recommend, taking a ride over the Hawthorne Bridge, then go and take a rest in Ladds Circle right after noon rush hours. The Hawthorne bridge is likely the busiest bicycle street in the country, basing upto 9k riders a day, Ladds Circle is nice little spot to sit, and is very close to some of the best of the east side as well (Hawthorne, Division, Clinton Street, & central east side).

Very cool! Thanks.

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