Double Dealing Days

Broader and better bike lanes are slowly making it easier to ride side-by-side in Copenhagen for...

For the full photographic glory and the rest of the text, you know where to go. The Original Cycle Chic awaits.
Categories: bicycling and couples, Bike Lanes, fmsm | Leave a comment

New favorite music video by rad woman artist – Courtney Barnett

Happy Friday, everyone! Enjoy the new music! Love this artist and love her even more on a bike wearing a sparkly outfit!
Categories: australia, music, musicians | Leave a comment

BSNYC Friday No Quiz Just Tedious Editorializing!

My Fellow Cyclists:

There is a creak in our metaphorical bottom bracket, and if we don't address it now it's only a matter of time before we squash our genitals on the Top Tube of Catastrophic Failure.

So what is this creaking?  Well, a California senator has introduced a bill for a mandatory bicycle helment law, and our beloved cycling media--which should be standing united against such nonsense in the interest of cyclists everywhere--is instead entertaining it, and in at least one case actually supporting it.

Now I don't care what your feelings on helment use are.  Maybe you're one of those people who thinks not wearing a bicycle helment is tantamount to suicide.  Maybe you're one of those people who refuses to wear one under any circumstances because they mess up your hair.  Or maybe you're like me and don't care much about your hair because you're losing it anyway, so you wear a helment when you're riding a go-fast bike in a special outfit but you don't bother when you're noodling around town in street clothes.

And don't tell me which one you are, because honestly I don't give a shit.

The point is that I have no problem with helments, but if you support a mandatory bicycle helment law then you are anti-cycling.  There, I said it.  You're a traitor.  A heretic.  Give up your bike and go lease a Hyundai, because you are playing right into the hands of your oppressors.  See, the Automotive Industrial Complex and their various lackeys need helment laws, and the last thing any self-respecting cyclist should do is help them.  Here's why:

They need everything to be your problem.

Really, we're practically there already, which is why you'll routinely read newspaper articles that say things like, "The cyclist's legs were crushed when the unlicensed operator lost control of his steamroller.  The victim was not wearing a helment."  So what if it's an irrelevant detail?  In America today, no helment = menace to society.

America may not be number one anymore when it comes to education, or health care, or overall quality of life, but you're goddamn right we lead the world in victim-blaming.  There's not anyplace else on the planet where people are more gleeful when the strong get one over on the weak.  If you don't understand this now, you certainly will when a driver hits you and you discover the entire system is built around shielding him or her from accountability.  You can thank the auto companies and AAA for that, among others.  (Do yourself a favor and read about the history of "jaywalking," a concept the auto industry more or less invented.  As for AAA, they're fighting against red light cameras not far from me even as I type this, on the basis that stopping for red lights causes rear-end collisions.)

Mandatory bicycle helment laws are just one more way of shifting responsibility away from the driver and onto you.  When I was hit from behind by a motorist who then lied to police about what happened, all her insurance company wanted to know was whether or not I was wearing a helment, even though my balding pate was completely unscathed.

Then, once the Automotive Industrial Complex has shifted all the blame onto you they can take it a step further and make it public policy. "Cycle tracks and so forth make cyclists safer and encourage more people to ride?  So what?  Make 'em wear plastic bumpers on their heads and be done with it."

Congratulations.  You're now a car fender.

If all of this is too complicated, let me explain your future in four (4) simple steps:
Yep, that's how it's all gonna go down.  It may sound crazy now, but 100 years ago nobody would have believed you could get arrested for crossing the street either.

So it would be nice to think that the cycling world would dismiss mandatory helment laws out-of-hand and stand united against them.  Sadly, they're not.  First, I saw this on the "Bicycling" website yesterday:

I realize this is supposed to be an objective point-counterpoint type thing, but why should we even entertain this "debate" in the first place?  What is this compulsion in American society to entertain dumb ideas?  It's like when we pretend creationism is a legitimate worldview so we don't offend the religious kooks.  (I realize "religious kooks" is redundant.)  Hey, I know the helme(n)t deba(n)te makes good clickbait, but some of these ideas are downright toxic:

During the summer of 2014, while riding on a road closed to auto traffic, I survived a collision with another cyclist, only because I was wearing a helmet. Without a helmet, the front of my head would have hit the ground at 28mph, unprotected.

Just several months before my crash, a car that ran a stop sign struck one of my friends while she was riding her bike. She had massive facial trauma, and continues to suffer long-term effects from going through the automobile’s windshield. She “coded” while on the helicopter ride to the hospital. The only reason she is around today: A helmet saved her life.

Okay.  Firstly, I'm glad everybody's alive and all that. were both wearing helments!!!  So why does it follow that we need a law?  By all means, wear a helment when you're cycling for "sport."  Granted, I don't know about the friend who got hit at the stop sign, but I'm going to guess that someone who works for "Bicycling" and is riding on a closed road at 28mph was not on a townie bike picking up radishes from the greenmarket.  Yet because he crashed while engaged in high-speed cycling someone who's cruising around in a sundress should have to wear safety gear as well?  Come on.

Comparing cycling to other recreational pursuits, we see that football players—at all levels—wear helmets to lessen the risk of brain injury. 

Leave it to someone at "Bicycling" to reduce cycling entirely to a recreational pursuit.  The sporting component of cycling is a small one, and USA Cycling makes you wear a helment when you compete anyway.  And holy shit, football?!?  The sport of football is based on people slamming into each other on purpose!  How is riding your bike around town even remotely like football--or any of these other sports?

This is also the case for baseball, hockey, horseback riding, and virtually every other sport that may involve some risk of personal injury.

You gotta be kidding me.  I'm pretty sure baseball players only wear helments when people are throwing 100mph fastballs directly at them.  As for hockey, it's fucking hockey!!!  I do give him bonus points for working equestrianism into the argument though.  Sure, if my bike weighed a thousand pounds and had four steel-shod hooves and a mind of its own I'd make sure to wear a helment too.  But the amount of times my bicycle got scared by one of its own farts and threw me is exactly zero.

Anyway, everybody knows "cycling is the new golf," so why not just compare it to that?  Do golfers wear helments when they're out on the links or zipping between holes in their golf carts?  I don't think so.

And here's where the argument gets really dangerous:

The next logical step would be for insurance companies to deny claims for those involved in a bicycling accident while not wearing a helmet. This could be avoided by mandating helmet use, saving both legal fees and lives.

So wait.  You actually want insurance companies to deny claims for victims because they weren't wearing helments?

Holy fuck that's cold.

Anyway, reading this in "Bicycling" was bad enough, but then someone tweeted this post from the Red Kite Prayer blog at me:

Bike advocate groups might consider what others see when they see us. They see people who run stop signs, weave in and out of traffic, ride in packs, take up a lane, and so on. It’s not a pretty picture. Sure, most of us are wearing helmets as we bend rules and traffic laws, but that’s not what the pissed off drivers see. So when they hear cyclists are opposed to a helmet law, it only furthers their belief that we are selfish, unpredictable and dangerous.

Maybe we let this one go. Let the lawmakers and drivers have this one without resistance. We got our 3-foot law in California, we can put up with a helmet law on the books. Pick you battles as they say. This is one fight we can easily walk away from.

Wow.  "Let this one go?"  Leave it to the Freds to sell the rest of us out.  Sure, they've got nothing at stake, since the helments already go with their outfits.  Essentially what he's saying is that because people get irritated by the local crabon weenie group ride every person who rides a bike for any reason should cop to the Foam Hat of Shame as some sort of penance or polystyrene bargaining chip.  

I swear these goddamn Freds will ruin cycling forever if you let them.

Make of that what you will.

So go ahead, call me irresponsible.  Tell your "My helment saved my life" stories.  Bow to the people who say you're statistically insignificant and don't deserve bike infrastructure, yet somehow vast numbers of brain-injured cyclists are destroying the American economy.  Let them pass a bicycle helment law to appease the non-cyclists who find us annoying.  (Yeah, I mentioned appeasement.  DON'T MAKE ME GO GODWIN!!!)  

Just don't come crying to me in 20 years when you need a license and registration to operate a bicycle, and you're wearing a giant Dayglo bodysuit with illumination circuitry, one of those "smart hats," and a GPS beacon up your ass so you don't get hit by an Apple car.

In fact, you won't be able to come crying to me, because I'll have emigrated to the Netherlands, where they'll have granted me political asylum.

The rest of you can enjoy your dystopian Australian future:

Heroes and football players.

They never ask why.

Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

Spring Has Sprung, And I Think It Sprained Something

It's spring, which means the Human-Powered Daddy Shuttle (a.k.a. the "Smugness Flotilla"--or, according to the company that sells it, a "Surly Big Dummy") is running more frequently now:

I believe I took delivery of this bicycle sometime around March or April of 2010, which makes the bike five (5) years old this spring.  This is well beyond what most of the cycling media considers an appropriate period for a "long-term review."  In fact, I don't even think the cycling media considers it acceptable to own a bicycle for five years.  For the rest of us, however, five years means a bike is just getting broken in, so please allow me to update you.

This is a bike blog, we're gonna talk about bikes for a little bit, OK?

Here's what the bike looked like in the spring of 2010:

I added the pedals and the camping chair, but otherwise that's exactly how it came out of the box.

Since then, I have the following component changes or additions:

The bike would really benefit from a center stand but I've been to cheap and lazy to acquire and install one.

Oh, I also used one of these kiddie seats until my kid grew out of it:

And I have the Xtracycle WideLoaders for when shit gets real:

They are hugely helpful for carrying lots of stuff, but they have nailed me in the Achilles too many times:

The bike has been incredibly useful.  In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's been liberating, in the sense that you can pick up pretty much whatever you want when you're out and about without wearing a bag or giving any thought about how you're going to get it home.  (Within reason, of course.  I still take THE CAR THAT THE BANK OWNS UNTIL I FINISH PAYING THEM BACK to Ikea.  I have nothing to prove in that regard.)  Also, my kid can hop on the back and I can easily bring both him and his bike to the park--at least until he switches to the 20", which should be any day now.

As for maintenance, I do the absolute minimum, and considering the bike spends half the year outside and has exposed derailleurs and all the rest of it it's held up very well.  Since 2010, I have only replaced a shift cable, a bottom bracket, and the brake pads.  Ideally I should replace all the cables and housing, as the shifting is at about 80% right now, but it's not yet past my own personal laziness/action threshold for this particular bicycle.  (The chain and cassette should probably also be replaced, but I don't feel like doing that either.)  Also, incredibly, these are the original tires--though I should probably replace them this season as they're pretty worn, and I'm sure now that I've said something one of them is going to explode.

Otherwise, apart from the Mr. Whirly crank, which I personally find to be a bit fussy, the bike has given me nothing to think about.

Also, you need a place to keep it, which can be a challenge if you live in a city.  Mine lives outside until winter, at which point I keep it in the basement.  If I lived on a busy street in a 5th floor walk-up without a bike room then Big Dummy ownership might not be tenable.  (Or at least I'd need four or five locks and a motorcycle cover--which, as a former motorcycle owner, I can assure you is yet another thing people steal in this town.)

So now you're up to date.

In any case, in the spirit of doing only essential maintenance, yesterday I replaced the brake pads again, as the rear pads were shot and the front pads had maybe 10 wet downhill stops left on them:

Rest assured that, in the spirit of thriftiness, I replaced them with used pads I removed from my mountain bike after changing to a different pad compound.

It's good to once again be confident in the Smugness Flotilla's stopping capacity, because all around are signs of springs.  For one thing, the trash cans are blossoming:

In New York City, this is the universal sign for "pothole or sinkhole," and it's an exceedingly common sight this time of year.

Also, just this morning I was parking my bike:

When I spotted something in the distance:


What's more, that's not just any skunk.  That's clearly cartoon star Pepé Le Pew stalking his paramour:

("Permit me to introduce myself. I am Pepé Le Pew, your lover.")

As Dave Chapelle has famously pointed out, that really was a disturbing cartoon in retrospect.  They should have just called it "Pepe the Rape Skunk:

Anyway, like a spurned lover, Pepé ultimately retreated to his bachelor pad to watch skunk porn, and I retreated to my own abode to make the bike blog:

Admit it.  You clicked on the skunk porn.

Speaking of life in America's Most Bike-Friendly City according to "Bicycling" magazine, here's something that happened:

A black man riding his bike in the street swerved to avoid a car that actually hit him — he and his bike fell onto the sidewalk. An officer arrived on the scene and arrested him on the charges of bike on the sidewalk and resisting arrest because the man initially pushed back when the officer put his hand on him from behind and the man did not know it was a cop touching him. The officer cuffed and locked up the man — not bringing him to the hospital though the man complained about a severe pain in his leg. Held overnight in jail, the man refused to agree to a plea when he appeared in court because he had done nothing wrong. Upon his release by the judge — he has a later court date for his trial — the man went immediately to a hospital where doctors diagnosed and began treating his fractured leg. He’s now looking for a lawyer to represent him in the criminal case and another attorney to bring his lawsuit against the city for wrongful arrest among other claims.

Holy shit.

In reading this, I experienced a whole range of unpleasant emotions, none of which was surprise.  Sadly, the moral of the story is two-fold:

1) Be white whenever possible;
2) When a driver hits you while you're riding a bicycle as the law entitles them to do, be careful where you land.

Assuming you can do both these things, then sure, I suppose "Bicycling" was right.

Of course, none of this really matters, because in the future riding outside is going to be obsolete anyway and we're all going to ride virtually instead:

Yes, virtual reality face masks will soon be the new helment:

I wonder if they can make one that works while you're actually riding outside.  That way I could continue to live in New York, but my face mask would trick me into thinking I was in Portland.

Then, when a car sends me flying onto the sidewalk and the police arrest me, my virtual reality mask will make me think I'm being taken to a holistic day spa.

Lastly, here's something that's kind of clever:

Shock absorber handlebar BAM City from BARAMIND-BIKE on Vimeo.

See that?  It flexes!

Hey, if the thing is actually durable then I say they're onto something.  Maybe next they'll make a whole bike out of it.  They can call it the Gumby.
Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

Santa Cruz City Schools Complete Streets Master Plan

30% of school children in the city of Santa Cruz, CA bike or walk to school, according to Ecology Action, and the city of Santa Cruz would like to increase that number. To help accomplish this, Santa Cruz City Council unanimously approved Santa Cruz City Schools Complete Streets Master Plan.

Teen girls

The plan describes the transportation environment in the neighborhoods around each of the ten Santa Cruz public elementary, middle and high schools, including the two charter schools. It identifies barriers to students walking and biking and provides a list of potential capital improvement projects to make active transportation safer and more convenient, using Complete Streets and Safe Routes to Schools principles to evaluate current conditions and guide the design of proposed solutions. It supports future grant applications to fund the proposed projects which would not only benefit the schools, but also the adjoining neighborhoods and the broader community.

The proposals range from simple and low-cost projects such as new signs, to major intersection reconfigurations that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The most expensive, million dollar projects tend to be those to add sidewalks and paths in the neighborhoods around the schools.

The plan authors prioritized projects based on school proximity, cost, crash data, traffic volume, and feasibility. I listed the top priority project for each of the schools below. Because priority includes cost and feasibility along with benefit, you’ll see mostly low-hanging fruit that can be implemented quickly and cheaply, saving the more politically and financially expensive projects for later implementation.

  • Bayview Elementary: Install “Share the Road” signs at the back entrance to Bayview Elementary School. Personal note: I thought city of Santa Cruz policy is to use BMUFL signs now?
  • Delaveaga Elementary: Upgrade west sidewalk on Morrissey Boulevard overpass to a two-way multi-use path for
    pedestrians and cyclist; add a barrier between the path and adjacent travel lane; install entrance features to direct bicyclist to the multi-use path as oppose to using travel lane on to freeway.
  • Gault Elementary: Addd yellow crosswalks on the north and south legs of Cayuga Street at Broadway; move advance stop bar back from intersection.
  • Westlake Elementary: Consider a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) to increase visibility of pedestrians at uncontrolled crosswalk on Bay Drive at Meder Street.
  • Branciforte Middle: Consider Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon (RRFB) for pedestrian crossing on west leg of intersection on Water at Poplar.
  • Mission Hill Middle: Study signal timing to ensure sufficient crossing time for pedestrians on Mission and Walnut. Personal note: Also, this intersection does not detect bicycles to trigger lights, forcing cyclists to get on the sidewalk to press the beg button.
  • Harbor High: Review signal timing to evaluate reducing wait time for pedestrians on Soquel at 7th.
  • Santa Cruz High: Study warrants for all-way stop on Walnut Avenue at California Street and Grover Lane intersections.
  • Branciforte Small: Consider installing high-visibility crosswalk and access ramps on north leg of intersection of N Branciforte Avenue and Sunnyside Ave.
  • Pacific Collegiate: Install advance stop line on all three legs of Swift and Chance.

People Power Director Amelia Conlen asked council for immediate funding for some projects, and asked them to move forward on bike lanes for King Street near Mission Hill Middle School.

Read more about the council meeting at the Sentinel: Santa Cruz study identifies 160 ways to improve biking, walking to school.

Read the full plan here.

Categories: santa cruz | Leave a comment

Your Wednesday Public Service Announcement: Please Stop With The Bluetooth Locks Already!

For some reason, would-be entrepreneurs continue to fundraise for keyless Bluetooth socially-networked bicycle locks, even though they're totally stupid.  If nothing else, at least these locks were at least marginally robust--until now.  Meet Kadalock, the world's most easily-defeated Bluetooth bicycle lock:

Are you freaking kidding me?

Not only is the cable itself gossamer thin, but the lock itself is attached to the goddamn water bottle cage!  Really, the only thing that makes this even slightly more effective than waiting for a spider to spin a web between your bike and the rack, or else just using dental floss, is that it has a motion-sensing alarm:

However, please keep in mind that in a big city nobody gives a shit about alarms of any kind, and in a small town if some busybody gets in your business while you're busy removing some sucker's water bottle cage then all you need to do is give them the finger and be on your way.

On the other end of the effectiveness spectrum is the "Litelok," to which I was recently alerted by the inventor:

I gotta say, it doesn't look too bad:

So let's see:

1) It's light;
2) It's strong (or at least it purports to be);
3) It looks a little bit more versatile than a U-lock;
4) It's mechanical.

If it's as strong as they say it is, and if you can also use it as a belt or a pant cuff retainer, then they may very well have designed themselves a winner.

Of course, if you prefer detective work to prevention, the other approach when it comes to combatting bike theft is tracking your bike.  This is where Bike Angel comes in:

Peter's genteel voice soothes and comforts me, so much so that I am only mildly concerned when he produces a caucasian flesh-colored object with somewhat phallic proportions:

"...this particular object will make your life so much easier."

Yeah, right.  Where I have I heard that before?

("Don't you a-worry.  Thees a-parteecular object a-gonna make-a you life sooo maaatch easier!")

Nine months later and suddenly life is exponentially more complicated.

Then Peter throws it over to his friend Eric, who is in bed with Julie:

Soon Eric falls asleep, at which point Julie tip-toes over to the drawer:

From which she withdraws a "3D printed prototype" of the phallic object Peter was holding earlier:

Holy shit, Eric's gonna get pegged in his sleep!!!

What the hell kind of Kickstarter is this, anyway?!?

The next morning, Eric is understandably sore while mounting his bicycle:

Meanwhile, Julie stalks him:

Thanks to the GPS transmitter embedded in his anus:

Jule tracks Eric to Amsterdam's notorious red light district:

("I'm just interested in some socks like the ones you've got.")

Julia then texts Eric and asks his whereabouts, and Eric replies with a bullshit answer:

(I'd have said I was at the Anne Frank house.)

Understandably pissed, Julie steals Eric's bike while he's inside trying on socks:

But she brings it back that evening and they kiss and make up, because after all, this is Amsterdam:

By that evening all is forgotten, and the cycle of pegging begins anew.

Speaking of hiding the sausage, here's an ideal solution for all your cured meat-portaging needs:

You can even use it on your Fredcycle:

It's great for carrying blood bags--and while we're on the subject of blood transfusions, one person who looks like she could use one is the exceedingly tired and ossified Fran Leibowitz, who a reader informs me recently made some comments on the subject of bicycles:

You know when George Plimpton died, someone told me, 'He was so eccentric. He used to ride his bike in a suit and tie!' and it drove me crazy. I said, 'What's eccentric is the bicycle. Everyone here used to wear suits and it was lovely! But only children rode bicycles.' The trademark of New York City fashion used to be that we dressed more seriously here. More formally. Now people need special costumes to ride bicycles. I mean, a helmet, what, are you an astronaut??

I'm not sure what point she's trying to make here, though she's gone on record before about how she thinks riding bikes is "childish."  (I imagine Bill Cunningham would beg to differ.)  Also, everybody knows George Plimpton rode a Y-Foil:

My predecessor George Plimpton was known for cycling around New York on his Trek Y-foil before it was either cool or safe (before, some would say, it was sane).

Inadvertently tricking the Paris Review into thinking George Plimpton rode one of these contraptions is undoubtedly the high point of my bike blogging career:

I mean come one, everybody knows Plimpton really rode one of these:

Granted, it does look a bit like a Y-Foil, so I suppose it's an honest mistake.

Lastly, in their continuing effort to clean up cycling (one akin to cleaning an oil spill with a Q-tip), the UCI checked 36 bikes for motors at Milan-San Remo:

Cyclingnews understands that 11 Trek bikes from the Trek Factory Racing team, 11 Specialized bikes from Etixx-Quick Step and 11 Specialized bikes from Tinkoff-Saxo were checked by the UCI in a special tent erected in the bus parking area. The bikes of the three podium finishers: John Degenkolb (Giant), Alexander Kristoff (Canyon) and Michael Matthews (Scott) were also checked in the podium area. Gazzetta dello Sport reported that bikes from the Astana were also tested, but the team has told Cyclingnews that their bikes were not.

Laugh if you will, but I have no doubt somebody's doing it:

Come on, that bike is so motorized.

Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

San Jose budget: Public safety and traffic safety

Newly elected San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo released a message highlighting the budget priorities for 2015-2016. In his press release, Liccardo and his allies emphasized the concern most often expressed by San Jose residents, namely that of reducing crime through increased police spending. I’m happy to see, nonetheless, that Liccardo and other members of the city council include traffic safety in their goal of a “Safer, Smarter San Jose.”

San Jose Weekend Carnage

San Jose funding primer

The third largest city in California and the self-proclaimed “Capitol of Silicon Valley” routinely lags behind much of the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area in per-capita revenue even as it must support 175 square miles of sprawling infrastructure. While other Santa Clara County cities restricted housing in favor of industry and commercial development, which require fewer and less expensive city services, the city of San Jose became a bedroom community for the rest of the Bay Area. The result is high turnover for senior managers, poorly paid staff and capital improvement challenges in relation to its wealthier neighbors.

Resident concerns

As part of the budget process, the city routinely surveys residents in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, asking what the city’s highest funding priority should be. According to this survey of 1002 randomly selected residents, the highest priorities are:

  • Hiring more police officers
  • Maintaining neighborhood streets
  • Increasing community center hours and afterschool programs
  • Improving fire department response times
  • Increasing branch library hours

With increasing crime (including dramatically more gun homicides from previous years) and low morale in the police force, public safety dominated discussion during last year’s mayor’s race. Public safety is especially important for users of active transportation: you shouldn’t have to feel like you need to be a “fast and fearless” cyclist so you can escape from hoodlums and other assorted ne’er-do-wells. An unsafe city discourages transit ridership and reduces civic involvement as people cloister themselves in their cars, their homes, and their private clubs and communities.

More police in downtown San Jose

Traffic safety

“More police spending” is generally a good way for local politicians to win votes and approval points. Spending money on traffic safety for vulnerable road users, however, is a risky move that can result in unfavorable press coverage. I was pleased to see the Mayor’s office address this important livability issue, with an emphasis on Capital Improvements that prioritize pedestrian safety over vehicular throughput.

Safer Streets for San Jose: In light of the spike in pedestrian deaths and serious injuries throughout our City, we need to continually re-focus our commitment on making streets safer for pedestrians. Vice-Mayor Rose Herrera has called for a more proactive citywide approach to traffic calming program to address traffic safety concerns, with enough funding to allow each Council District to prioritize important projects.

To address the situation, the City Manager is directed to target future CIP investment to have the maximum impact on reducing injury crashes, with priority placed on pedestrian safety. The City Manager is further directed to allocate one-time funding from the Construction Excise Tax, or other appropriate funding sources, to allow for neighborhood traffic calming and pedestrian safety improvements in each Council District.

Lastly, the City Manager is further directed to use the Annual Transportation Safety Report to the Transportation and Environment Committee to report on current safety initiatives and how future investments in 2015-2016 and beyond will target gaps and identify potential improvements in the areas of education, engineering, and enforcement.

San Jose City Council unanimously approved the budget message in regular session Tuesday afternoon, March 24, 2015. This document will frame the budget discussion before the City Council approves a final budget in June.

Categories: san jose | Leave a comment

Boneshaker Big Wheel

Ron Schroer boneshaker bigwheel

This kinetic sculpture by artist Ron Shroer in Jacksonville, Florida combines a pedal-powered Jansen’s linkage walking mechanism with a wooden penny-farthing style wheel.

Boneshaker Big Wheel 2014 incarnation from Ron Schroer on Vimeo.

On his One Spark project page, Shroer writes “I’m just a boring old fart who, after going through chemo, realized if I didn’t let some of my crazy out before I passed I’d be disappointed with myself.”

Via Eric in Ohio.

Categories: Quick news | Leave a comment

Waiting For Your Ship To Come In

If you're only a casual following of pro cycling, you might be forgiven for thinking the sport is cleaning up its act, especially when you read that Bjarne "Mr. 60%" Riis has been suspended:

However, as it turns out, the suspension has nothing to do with his long history of doping.  Rather, it's most likely because his boss feels he's not doping his riders enough:

Cyclingnews understands that Bjarne Riis has been suspended from Tinkoff-Saxo for the poor performance of the team. The absence of Riis at Milan-San Remo, where the team previously announced he would act as directeur sportif, has sparked the rumours that the Danish manager has been suspended, possibly as a result of owner Oleg Tinkov's demand for better results.

In Cycling Speak, results=doping.

You know, it was driving me absolutely crazy trying to figure out who Riis looks like now.  At first I thought Jeffrey Tambor:

But that wasn't it, and it was only after minutes upon minutes of straining my tiny little brain that I realized he's the spitting image of Mr. Perkins from "Thomas and Friends:"

I mean come on, it's uncanny!  He's even got the exact same look of terror Mr. Perkins gets when Sir Topham Hatt calls to ream him out:

Oleg Tinkov has no patience for confusion and delay.

As for Tinkov, I have a feeling he might regret this suspension.  Sure, it's easy to blame Riis for the team's lack of results, but it might have something to do with the fact that he insists on joining the team on their training rides:

Since the sale, Tinkov has taken a great personal interest in the team, and is often seen in a Tinkoff-Saxo kit out training with the riders. He was reportedly unhappy with the lack of victories by the team. So far this season, they've won only two races: Alberto Contador won a stage of the Ruta del Sol, and Peter Sagan a stage of Tirreno-Adriatico.

Not sure how effectively you can train when you're afraid to drop the boss:

As for Tinkov and doping, it's worth watching this interview, where at :30 seconds the interviewer says to him regarding Alberto "Tainted Steak" Contador:

 "And you're convinced he'll do it cleanly, just like everybody else on the team."

Tinkov is usually a glib motherfucker, but in this case his eyes roll back in his head and he's all like "Ummm" for at least five seconds:

Then he finally stammers out an answer:

"I never ever had any doping cases in my team."

This is Cycling Speak for "We haven't gotten caught yet so I don't expect us to."

Meanwhile, in bicycle retail news,  the new bike of your dreams is currently languishing on a container ship at the Port of Los Angeles:

“We have two containers of bikes on the water right now and four or five due to leave soon,” said Marin’s National Sales Manager, Thad Fabish, in an interview before the resolution. “It’s not a huge amount but the problem is that these are key bikes; these are the bikes we’re trying to get to our Midwest and Northeast dealers for when they come out of snow season.”

So a company named Marin can't get its own bikes into California?

Now that's ironic.

(Of course my own books are printed overseas and were once delayed because of a storm, so I shouldn't laugh, but I am anyway because I'm a hypocrite.)

However, where legitimate retailers see a problem, I see an opportunity:

A single shipping container can hold about 300 boxed bikes, so Fabish is looking at roughly 2,000 bikes that ideally need to get to dealers sometime in the next month or so. But that won’t happen, because the backlog is going to take, by most estimates, at least eight weeks to unwind. At the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Monday, the two busiest ports on the West Coast, 27 container ships were anchored in the harbor; in normal conditions, there are only a couple waiting for unloading berths.

27 container ships full of bikes!?!  I need 40 or 50 brave souls (and no triathletes, please) who are willing to board water bikes and raid this ship for its crabon booty:

They will sing songs of our adventures, and one day there will even be a Hollywood feature film about us called "Pirate Freds of the High Seas."

Just think of the merchandising.  Can you say "crabon cutlass!?!"

("Yes.  Yes I can say 'crabon cutlass.'")

And speaking of Fred bikes, CyclingNews/BikeRadar technical editor and crabon apologist James Huang is fed up with all these bicycle component "standards:"

It's strangely edifying to see him hoisted by his own petard and calling for practicality over marketing BS:

What would be nice is some sort of industry consolidation where companies can put aside some of its pettiness and instead strive to make lives easier for the rest of us. Winning test numbers from a fancy frame stiffness jig are nice and all but there’s also a tipping point for when some sort of technical ‘innovation’ isn’t worth whatever other sacrifice has to be made to get it.

There’s no test for practicality but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t also have value.

There actually is a basic test for practicality, and here's how it works:

1) Take new bike;
2) Swap wheels with another bike;
3) Remove and replace cranks, seatpost, and stem and then replace them again.

Were you able to do all of the above, and if so were you able to do so without purchasing any special tools or equipment?

If you answered "yes," then the bike is practical.

If you answered "No, and the manual says that if I attempt to do any of that without taking the bike to the dealer for service I will void my warranty" then you own a Specialized.

Yes, thanks to endless "innovation," this is the life of the modern Fred:

I’ve got a box of headsets that won’t fit in anything. I have a drawer full of bottom bracket spacers, wave springs, and washers that I hate using. And pretty soon, I’ll have a bunch of beautiful wheels that will all be instantaneously obsolete.

I love technical innovation as much as anyone – and not surprisingly, I embrace it more than most. But that said, there have to at least be some considerations made when it comes to the people who are actually buying the stuff companies are developing.

Can’t we all just get along, maybe at least just a little bit?

Finally, the Fredly facade is cracking!  Come on, James, join us!  You know you want to.  This stuff is stupid, just admit it.

In five years he'll be riding a Rivendell.

Lastly, there's a bill to make bicycle helments mandatory (for cyclists, presumably) in California, and the LA Times is against it:

Unfortunately, they don't quite understand why they should be against it:

The intentions behind SB 192, authored by Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Canada Flintridge), are laudable, and many of the objections raised by bicycling enthusiasts are laughable — such as the idea that mandatory helmets would make bicycling appear more dangerous and thus discourage people from trying it.

Why is that laughable?  It's exactly true.  Bicycle helments are destroying America.  I know this as a parent.  The idea that riding a bike without wearing a helment is tantamount to suicide has resulted in a sort of mania.  Forget bicycles--many parents won't let their kid on anything with wheels without a helment.  Have you ever seen a parent in a playground flip out because their kid tried to ride a kiddie scooter or some other rolling piece of plastic crap without first putting on a foam hat?  I have, many times.  It's insane.

At this rate, American children will be more afraid of human-powered vehicles than cigarettes.

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Bike to Shop: Coming soon!

Bike To Shop Day Silicon Valley is coming up May 23, 2015 and needs your help to make it great!

Bike To Shop Day

The Second Annual Bike to Shop Day inspires people to ride bicycles for everyday transportation as part of National Bike Month celebrations by encouraging people to shop by bike at local businesses. Bike to Shop Day for Silicon Valley is May 23, 2015.

How can you participate?

I’m running the Bike To Shop Day Challenge, so check back soon for deatails.

Categories: btwd | Leave a comment