Portraits of cyclists – Leila: “If I have to take the train, I take my bike with me”

“I'm from the suburb of Copenhagen and I cycle about 10 kilometers every day with this comfortable...

For the full photographic glory and the rest of the text, you know where to go. The Original Cycle Chic awaits.
Categories: byliv in copenhague | Leave a comment

California Governor to handicapped: “Get a car, you moron”

Governor Jerry Brown issued his final legislative update for the 2014 season. Everything related to cyclist and pedestrian safety was vetoed.

School Traffic

After Brown vetoed Eric Linder’s AB 2337 to increase license suspensions for convicted hit-and-run drivers, pedestrian and cycling safety advocates around the state urged Brown to sign the remain three hit-and-run bills on his desk. Brown vetoed all of those bills today.

In his veto message for AB 47, Brown said he wanted to test an expansion of the “Yellow Alert” system for other categories before legislating it for suspected hit-and-run drivers. A.B. 47 would require the existing “Amber Alert” system to be available also for law enforcement to use locate suspected hit-and-run vehicles.

AB 1532 mandates a drivers license suspension with possible fine and prison time for hit-and-runs when a person (vs a vehicle) is hit by a car. In his veto message, Governor Brown tells pedestrians and cyclists to “get a job and car, hippie.”

AB 2673 would disallow civil compromise in hit-and-run cases, in which a compromise may be reached in the criminal case if the alleged hit-and-run driver agrees to a civil resolution with the victim or his estate. In his veto message, Brown cited the backlog in the criminal courts.

Finally, Brown vetoed AB 2398 — Mark Levine’s Vulnerable User Bill — because “current laws are sufficient.” Under California law, it costs you $70 if you injure somebody with your vehicle, or up to a whopping $90 for “great bodily injury.” Levine’s bill would have increased those fines to $220 and $330 respectively when the injured is a “vulnerable road user.” Vulernable road users were defined as pedestrians, highway workers, cyclist, those on horseback and wheelchair users.

Categories: california, politics | Leave a comment

Levi’s stadium community meeting


Levi’s Stadium, the Santa Clara Police Department and VTA will hold a community meeting next Tuesday. To promote a comment left here earlier today:

Stadium Community Meeting

A community meeting hosted by the Santa Clara Police Department, 49ers Management Company and the Valley Transportation Authority is scheduled for Tuesday, October 7 from 7:00-8:30pm at Don Callejon School, 4176 Lick Mill Boulevard in Santa Clara. The meeting will include an opportunity for residents and business owners to provide constructive feedback. No RSVP is necessary.

Commenter “4Crawler” asks in a private email that cyclists jam the meeting. Don Callejon School is on Lick Mill Blvd not far from the River Oaks bridge on the Guadalupe River Trail.

The trail closure will take time and negotiation to change, but it’s still appropriate register your dissatisfaction so they know they can’t just sweep it under the rug. Some additional issues that can be handled more immediately include:

  • Commuters who use the San Tomas Aquino Trail continue to find the trail remains closed on Monday mornings after Sunday games. Even experienced riders who know the area report difficulty in finding alternate routes around the closures.

  • Even if the trail closure proves necessary, the length closed trail is unnecessarily long. Some people have suggested an alternate, shorter closure. The map below shows the current closure plan in red, with the detour in green. If the trail remained open to the Great America Parking lot, trail users can continue to use most of the trail with a detour through the parking lot while still allowing the Stadium Authority to retain the security perimeter they say they require. This needs discussion, but because no public hearing occurred, there was no opportunity for the public to present alternate plans.

    San Tomas Aquino Trail closed by Levi's Stadium

  • Speaking of public hearings, somebody at this community meeting can bring up that there were none regarding the trail closure plan, as far as anybody can tell.

Does this trail closure impact you? If so, please consider attending this meeting.

Categories: Advocacy | Leave a comment

San Jose sidewalk riding on committee agenda next Monday

Remember: San Jose Bike Train rolls 8 AM from San Jose Diridon Station. We ride from Diridon to the Guadalupe River Trail for destinations in the north part of San Jose and Santa Clara.

San Jose DOT has updated their report and proposal for sidewalk cycling rules in downtown San Jose for presentation at the city Environment and Transportation Committee meeting next Monday, October 6, 2014.

Sidewalk cyclist

SJ DOT will report on the state of sidewalk cycling around downtown San Jose and ask the committee for their input on the interest in a potential ordinance banning sidewalk bicycling in Downtown San Jose.

District 3 council member Sam Liccardo, who represents the downtown area, first proposed a downtown cycling ban in the spring of 2013 after the Senior Citizens Commission expressed concerns about reckless behavior by some cyclists on the sidewalk. In response, the city defined a Pedestrian Priority Zone for the downtown core, and installed widely ignored signs instructing people to walk their bikes when on the sidewalk. The city also developed a public education campaign and recently installed bike safety banners throughout downtown.

San Jose DOT "Walk  Your Bike" safety campaign

City staff also surveyed bicycle riding behavior before and after the signs, sharrows and enhanced bike lanes were installed around downtown. Besides counting those who rode on the sidewalk, surveyors also classified sidewalk riders are “reckless” and “non-reckless.” The percentage of people riding on the sidewalk vs the street dropped somewhat on both Santa Clara Street and San Fernando Street, but the proportion of “reckless” cyclists increased on both streets.

reckless riding on sidewalk survey, San Jose

SJDOT staff propose these new regulations for sidewalk cycling to the Environment and Transportation Committee (with my commentary):

  • 5 MPH speed limit on all sidewalks city wide. I’m on board with this.
  • A three foot passing distance between cyclists and pedestrians. I have reservations depending on how this is written, but this seems mostly reasonable.
  • A prohibition on sidewalk cycling throughout downtown where bike lanes are available throughout “Greater Downtown,” which encompasses the area bounded by Julian Street, I-280, 11th Street, and the Caltrain Tracks. I suggested a version of this, but I don’t care for the expanded boundaries in the staff recommendation. This presumably includes the 40 foot sidewalk in front of the SAP Center on West Santa Clara Street between Cahill and Autumn, as well as the similarly wide sidewalk providing access to the Guadalupe River Trail. SJ DOT Planning Deputy Paul Smith et al have apparently never had to play Frogger across West Santa Clara Street at Delmas Avenue.
  • Prohibit sidewalk bicycle riding on Santa Clara Street from Stockton Avenue to 11th Street. The wide (and usually empty) sidewalks between Cahill and Almaden that provide a super convenient contraflow route between Caltrain, the Guadalupe River Trail and Almaden Boulevard are the primary reason I oppose a downtown sidewalk cycling ban.
  • Prohibitions do not apply to children under 12 years old and police officers. There’s no word on what parents who ride with small children are supposed to do on Santa Clara Street.

The committee meeting takes place next Monday, October 6, 2014 at 1:30 PM in Wing 118/119/120 at San Jose City Hall on East Santa Clara Street at 5th Street. City council members of this committee are Sam Liccardo, Rose Herrera, Xavier Campos, Don Rocha. Members of the public are invited to attend and provide your input on all topics under discussion. After routine items on the agenda, “Downtown Sidewalks Bicycle Riding” is the third item of six staff reports to the committee.

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Swobo Scofflaw


The $1249 Swobo Scofflaw is meant to take you off the beaten path where some mustachioed man can question your presence. The Reynolds 531 steel frame features a tapered carbon fork, Avid BB7s disc brakes, sliding dropouts and fender mounts for the commute. Clearance for up to 42 mm tires lets you put some meaty treads on, and while the complete bike ships as a single speed it comes equipped with a cassette hub, narrow-wide chainring and derailleur hanger — ready for a 1x setup. This looks like a great bike to get lost on all day, or for a quick city lap with friends come nightfall. Great platform to ride as is, or build up and upgrade as you go. With full length housing mounts, it wouldn’t be that hard to have an alternate geared setup that only takes half an hour of wrenching to swap. Pre-order today for $50 and get one when they become available in January 2015.


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They put their pants on one leg at a time just like you, only they pay $80 a leg for the privilege.

You probably think that running a bike blog is a dream job, like being a tenured English professor or the captain of the "Love Boat."  And yeah, sure, this gig has its perks: the lax dress code, the constant retina-ravaging computer use, the cold calls from the New York Post...  But believe me, when I get an important email, glamor takes a back seat while I knuckle down and work dammit--and emails don't get any important than this one, which you can tell because WHOEVER WROTE IT IS SHOUTING!!!

I hope you are  having a lovely day. I wanted to touch with you regarding the pitch below from DU/ER mens jeans who have just launched the MOST TECHNICALLY ADVANCED PEFORMANCE JEANS on the  market. These jeans were actually made specifically for cyclists that live an active lifestyle cycling from home/work and everywhere in between.

(Yes, they said they wanted to "touch with" me.  They also left out that first "r" in "Performance," unless they meant to write "Peeformance" and simply left out an "e.")

And if the shouting didn't make it obvious enough that this email is urgent, it also contained a photo of Karate Douche, who drives the point home with his sockless and suede-shod Foot of Justice:

(He looks like he's using an invisible pool cue to hit a ball off his toe.)

Then they go on to tell me why I need these jeans:

Why you need these jeans:  During any given day you are always moving.  You could be cycling to work, running to your next meeting, or going out for a refreshing walk or hike. Sometimes you sweat. Sometimes you are in hot or cold weather. Traditional jeans just aren't built to deal with your modern lifestyle.  We’ve created performance denim that adjusts your body temperature to its changes in movement or the environment. No matter what activity you're doing, your jeans will adapt, wick sweat away, and keep you comfortable, dry, and feeling good.

Wow.  Nobody has ever made something like this before, except for like 10 companies.  By the way, there's already a garment specifically designed for the lifestyle described above, and it ain't jeans.  This is a job for...VELOUR SWEATSUIT!

("It's a bird...it's a plane...it's someone wearing the curtain from an old Soviet jetliner!")

See, the velour sweatsuit checks pretty much all the aforementioned boxes, with only one relatively minor exception:
  • Allows full range of motion (especially for the "coglioni"): 
  • Appropriate for business meetings (provided it is paired with a gold chain):  
  • Works in hot or cold weather: (Nothing says "summer elegance" like a tank top and a velour jacket casually hanging over the shoulder by a single finger, and nothing says "winter class" like a tracksuit under a down jacket.)
  • Great for walks or hikes:  on the walks,  on the hikes (they tend to collect burrs)
  • Keeps you comfortable, dry, and feeling good: ✓✓ and!!!
Yet even in the face of incontrovertible evidence that the velour sweatsuit is very nearly the perfect garment for the active urban sophisticate and/or inhabitant of a dystopian near-future, coupled with the reality that everyone from Levi's to Rapha has already been making hip, bikey "performance casual" clothes for years, these Canadians have gone ahead and launched a Kickstarter for their fancy jean-pants anyway:

The video comes out swinging by showing someone riding a bicycle while the narrator attempts to thoroughly debunk what is probably your most frequently worn article of clothing:

"Traditional denim is restrictive, uncomfortable, and it doesn't allow you to move when you need it most."

Though I'm sure many would disagree with this claim:

("Did somebody say 'Comes out swinging?'"--Robert Plant's penis)

Nevertheless, these plucky Canadians have gone ahead and designed the "DU/ER" jean, which is 30% lighter and 30% stronger than other pants they never really identify:

DU/ER jeans also allow you to engage in preternaturally simian acts of balance as you hop from railing to railing like some kind of metrosexual Sasquatch:

While simultaneously incorporating a kevlar "Boner Guard" which saves you the embarrassment of inadvertently communicating to others your apelike state of constant hyper-arousal:

("She has no idea I'm humping her!")

The fabric is also specially designed to release your "hanglow stank" harmlessly into the atmosphere, instead of trapping it in the crotchal zone where it's liable to asphyxiate you the first time you step up to a urinal and unzip:

This, coupled with an incredibly strong "scranus joist," gives you all the confidence you need to practice squatting and defecating on the heads of other men in order to assert your dominance:

Most important of all (and this is for real), the pocket is equipped with a "radiation shield:"

Though if you want full protection from your iPhone's deadly rays you'll also need to grow sculpted  radiation-shielding stubble for those times when your phone is against your face:

All this for $160--though you do get a slogan with that:

"Because every day is a performance."

Right.  This is absolutely true when you're totally full of shit.

One thing's for sure though, which is that they'll look great on this pantsless mannequin Klaus of CyclingInquisition recently spotted on eBay:

And if you think it's strange that Klaus of CyclingInquisition was browsing pantsless mannequins on eBay then you don't know the first goddamn thing about bike blogging:

Or New Zealand for that matter.

I suspect Klaus and I are now about to compete in a very spirited eBay auction.

Moving on, it should be noted that Bicycling's "Number One Bike City" ranking is the kiss of death.  It's been, what, a month since that honor (or, more accurately, curse) fell on New York City, and in that time some guy on a bike managed to kill a pedestrian in Central Park and I'll be amazed if they haven't banned bikes from the park altogether by next spring.  Furthermore, you only have to look to erstwhile number one (and now number four) city Portland to see just what an albatross this title is:

Remember when Portland was the most exuberant cycling city in all of Canada's spittoon?  Well now look at 'em:

The event came on the heels of a one-two punch to the gut of PBOT: the #4 ranking from Bicycling Magazine and new U.S. Census numbers (revealed the morning of the panel) that showed a continued flatlining of Portland’s bike-to-work rate.

They used to ride around dressed like Michael Jackson, now they're just a bunch of sad sacks, like Terry Malloy from that movie about the waterfront:

Palookaville = Portland.

So what happened?

Given the lack of bold steps to improve bicycling in Portland in the past few years, it’s not hard to understand why we fell to #4. When Andersen asked the panel why Portland is no longer considered the cycling superpower it once was, the responses varied.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that constantly holding panels might also have had something to do with it.

So what do they think of us?

That being said, Geller pointed out that it’s much easier for New York City and Chicago to create protected bikeways because they have very wide streets. “We have harder decisions to make,” he said, referring to our narrow streets, “But we also have experienced the benefits of bicycling for a longer time, so we know better.”

Firstly, how has Portland experienced the benefits of cycling longer than New York?  People were riding bikes all over New York City when the entire city of Portland consisted of two guys and one of those old-timey logging saws.  Secondly, narrow streets are no excuse.  We have something much worse, and they're called "community boards."  In fact, the only reason we have so much bike infrastructure now is that our last mayor loved real estate developers, and it turns out bike lanes look really good in front of shiny glass condos.  After all, we have to make sure Brooklyn remains attractive to the bearded class:

Bearded man on a brooklyn bike ride? - w4m (Flushing Ave)

On Sunday afternoon around 1:30PM we rode bikes down Flushing Ave together for a few blocks. I was wearing an Anthrax t-shirt and a black back pack and you had a beard and a cute smile. We joked about the Hacky Sack competition. I can't get you out of my head.

Given that on a Sunday afternoon there are approximately a thousand bearded men and roughly a thousand women wearing vintage metal shirts riding on Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn at any given moment, I'd be shocked if whoever placed this ad does not connect with a mate--and while it may not be the same one she spotted, it will be fully intechangeable.

They'll be working that old-timey logging saw in no time.
Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

Feel My Legs 2014

FMLThe 9th annual Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hill climb event in Los Angeles has officially been scheduled for November 9th. Matt Ruscigno of True Love Health has been organizing this popular event since it’s inception, sending riders up the steepest of hills in the LA area, some for points and some just for the experience. Check this blog post for past write-ups and specifics for the event.

More details will be supplied on the Facebook event page.

Categories: News & Views | Leave a comment

San Jose: More people counted on city trails

The city of San Jose Trails Program released the numbers from last week’s eighth annual trail count.

Night Helmetography

Volunteers staffed count stations along the Guadalupe River Trail, Los Gatos Creek Trail, Los Alamitos Creek Trail, and the Three Creeks Trail. People using the planned Five Wounds Trail were also counted.

Guadalupe River Trail

1,082 people were counted at the Coleman Avenue station on the Guadalupe River Trail last week, of which 60% were on bicycle. This is a 50% increase over last year’s 719 people.

The most active station was at River Oaks, where 1,689 people were counted at this important junction to the VTA light rail system and passage to large employers in North San Jose and North Santa Clara.

1,256 people were counted where the tail crosses San Fernando Street between downtown San Jose and Diridon Station. This is a 40% increase over 2013.

Other trails

The city counted 1,397 trail users where the Los Gatos Creek regional trail passes under Hamilton Avenue, a 15% increase over last year. At Auzerais Avenue, 169 people passed by on the Los Gatos Creek Trail during the peak commute hours.

Los Gatos Creek Trail near Auzerais

With 789 uses, the city reports an 19% decline on the Los Alamitos Creek Trail, a five mile recreational trail in south San Jose. 54 people were counted on the Three Creeks / Willow Glen Spur Trail, an increase of 20% over 2013.

The city also counted people using corridor of the proposed Five Wounds Trail, which will link Berryessa BART, Lower Silver Creek Trail and Coyote Creek Trail. The corridor is not opened to the public, but volunteers counted 369 people at Williams Street. According to the city trails program, the key users were parents walking their children to school.

Categories: san jose | Leave a comment

Ready, Set, Fold!

It's Monday, September 29th, 2014, and if you're riding on crabon you're riding on borrowed time:

Amazingly, the Paul Milnes Cycles rider kept his bike under control and came to a halt by a dry-stone wall. Moses changed his bike and went on to place third overall behind winner Rob Jebb and take the under-23 victory.

Now this is the part where you argue that crabon is incredibly strong, and that the only reason his steer tube failed is that his stem bolts were not fastened with a torque wrench to the manufacturer-specified thousandth of a newton meter:

I'm not sure why I'm gloating about this since I myself often ride a bicycle with a crabon fork, but smugness knows no reason, flowing as it does from the heart and not the mind.

In other news of competitive cycling, the UCI World Road Biking Championship of the World took this place last weekend, and I duly scanned the results to see who was the highest-placed American in the men's race but I fell asleep before I got to him:

(Rainbow towels of the UCI Sub-Junior World Champion.)

We did better in the women's race, in which Shelley Olds placed sixth:

Here's an interview with her trade team's proud co-sponsor, Mario Cipollini, as he trains for the Giro di Melanoma:

I'm not surprised Cipollini skips the bib shorts as they would mar his unctuous torso with unsightly tan lines, but I am surprised he doesn't skip the shorts altogether and simply ride in a thong.

Meanwhile, the public image of cyclists in the New York City area was further degraded by this incident, which took place north of the city in Nyack:

What got the man's really tight shorts in a twist is not known, but he is said to have banged on the hood of a car, then reached inside a window and grabbed a passenger with both hands while the car and bike were still moving.

Uh, I'll put $100 on "Driver nearly killed him with his car first."  Also, cute line about the shorts and all, but I'll laugh when reporters do the same thing in articles about road raging drivers.  "What got the Plymouth Voyager's incontinence briefs all up his ass crack is not known, but he is said to have lashed out at a cyclist owing to latent rage stemming his inability to achieve and maintain an erection."

Fortunately, South Nyack's Finest is on it:

"It was a physical and verbal altercation," South Nyack-Grand View Police Chief Brent Newbury. "This is unacceptable behavior by a bicyclist."

Right.  It is, however, completely acceptable by a motorist.  

But of course the most important question is, "Was the cyclist wearing a helment?"

He was last seen heading south on South Broadway wearing bright green bicycle shorts with white stripes down the thighs, and no helmet.

Guilty as charged!

By the way, the village of Nyack does indeed have a mandatory helment law (or rule, I'm not sure if villages can actually make laws), presumably so they can harass the cyclists who buoy their economy.  If you're unfamiliar with Nyack, it is sustained almost entirely by cyclists from New York City who pedal up there by the thousands to purchase coffee and muffins.  Nevertheless, should you dare ride two abreast (yes, you're not allowed to ride two abreast in Nyack either) or commit any other mild infraction you will incur the fierce wrath of the local motorists and authorities.  (To say nothing of how angry their neighbors to the south in Piermont will get if you talk to each other!)

You'd think the locals would be more accommodating of the visitors who prop up their mediocre cafés since a mass Fred boycott would bring their economy to its knees, yet instead they prefer to maintain their status as the cycling equivalent of the town in "Footloose."  Perhaps this is because they are canny sub-suburban folk who realize that New York City Freds (like most Freds in genearal) are horrified by the prospect of deviating from their usual routes and would never attempt to find a new destination, especially now since all those Strava segments are so well established--just like geese, who follow the same migratory patterns they have for thousands of years, even though they keep getting sucked into jet engines.

There is some good news in the world of cycling, however, for it seems as though we may be entering into a Golden Age of Folding Bike Innovation.  Sure, arguably the only form of bicycle less compelling than the folder is the recumbent, but it is nevertheless noteworthy that there are two new folding bikes vying for your foldable currency on Kickstarter.  The first is the "Occam Cycle:"

Which is distinguished by its utter lack of a seat:

So what distinguishes the Occam from a scooter?

Well, not much, really, and it seems to me that if you're going to leave off the seat then you might as well skip the pedals and brakes too:

This is why the Occam Cycle's backstory is unsurprising to me:

"Our original vision was a bit different than it is today.  We really didn't even know what we were going for."

Wow, you don't say...

The "Vello Bike," on the other hand, takes a different approach:

And that approach is "performance:"

It comes in three styles: "Speedster," Urbano," and "Rocky:"

As it happens, those are also the names of the my three eldest children.

Here's the Speedster in action:

Watch as Fold-A-Fred leans into that turn like a mime into an imaginary wind:

And then "Cat 6-es" some doofus into oblivion:

You can also dismount and fold simultaneously, which is a neat flourish and the commuter dork equivalent of playing guitar behind your head:

I will admit that I was intrigued by folding bikes for a long time--until I actually got one and realized it came in handy about twice a year.  If I rode a commuter train or Amtrak every day I might get more use out of it.  However, as it is, even if you find yourself in the city without a bike, between public transportation and Citi Bike it's virtually impossible to walk.  If anything you have to go out of your way to walk, and when I'm walking I don't like to be schlepping a folding bike.

Still, I'm going to hang on to the folding bike, since I'm sure it will come in handy when I buy my yacht:

Lastly, the New York Times has used a space-aged device to measure the speed of bicyclists in Central Park:

I had no idea such a contraption existed.  If only the police could use such a thing to measure the speed of motor vehicles then we'd really be getting somewhere...
Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

G-Shock Short Doc on Beijing Fixed Gear

The official documentary of 2014 G-SHOCK Beijing FIXED GEAR REVOLUTION from Kirk on Vimeo.

A pretty rad doc on the 2014 Beijing Fixed Gear culture, sponsored by G-Shock watches.

Categories: Video | Leave a comment