San Jose CA: Bicycle theme for Rose, White and Blue parade

Bicycles are frequently a part of American Independence Day parades, but the 2016 Rose White and Blue Parade will go all the way with a bicycle theme. Their parade takes place next Monday, July 4, 2016 just west of downtown San Jose, California.

2016 Rose White and Blue Parade San Jose CA

Olympic speedskating medalist and USA Cycling Hall Of Famer Beth Heiden will be the Grand Marshall for the parade, which begins 10 A.M. at the Lincoln High School Parking lot on Dana Avenue. The parade route runs through the Shasta / Hanchett Park and Rose Garden Neighborhoods before finishing on the Alameda.

The parade information page mentions the generous free parking in the area; I’d add the suggestion to ride bikes and transit. Caltrain and VTA will run on a Sunday / holiday schedule. For Caltrain Diridon Station, which is located a mile from the parade picnic area, this mostly means arrivals every hour from 9:53 A.M. to 10:53 P.M. VTA routes 522 and 22 both run every 15 to 20 minutes on Sundays and holidays. VTA 61 and 62 stop at the Rose Garden on Naglee near the parade start, they run hourly on holidays. VTA 23 on San Carlos Street stops two blocks from the parade start with 20 minute headways; 323 also runs every 20 minutes but it’s about a mile to walk to the parade route from the nearest stop on San Carlos at Topeka Ave.

The Alameda was constructed to convey people between downtown San Jose and the Santa Clara Mission. Commercial activity grew along the Alameda after a trolley line was built, with residential neighborhoods immediately behind the businesses. After the Alameda was designated as a state highway (initially US 101, then California State Route 82), the increasingly car-oriented nature of this road accompanied declining commercial activity and empty storefronts as this once “Beautiful Way” became increasingly hostile to pedestrians.

Efforts by local businesses to calm traffic along the Alameda were stalled by state transportation policies that prioritize motor vehicle movement over all other considerations. Caltrans relinquished the portion of SR 82 through San Jose to local control in 2013. Since then, the city of San Jose has spent millions on traffic calming projects, which has reduced average speeds on the Alameda down by 5 MPH. Retail activity has been brought back to life on the Alameda while the walking environment has improved significantly. As far as I can tell, the only business to complain about these efforts has been a gas station, which says revenue dropped 20% for them after center turn lanes were removed in 2014.

You can find more about the history and future of the Alameda at the Rose, White and Blue website. I encourage you also to look at the program guide, which includes information about the history of bicycling in Santa Clara Valley.

Categories: san jose | Leave a comment

Common Sense Sure Is Taking A Beating Recently.

This past weekend we set out on the smugness fleet for a totally leisurely and utterly unambitious ride around the neighborhood: a little shopping, some lunch, a stop at the playground...  You know, pretty much the opposite of this:


I mean good for them and all, but as far as I'm concerned no fucking way.

Anyway, at one point we were strapping our 1.5 year-old human child into his little kiddie seat when an elderly woman approached us, and in an accent I couldn't readily identify said:

"Please, you be very careful with my baby."

I gave her a tight-lipped smile and then proceeded to ignore her, but what I really wanted to say to her was the following:

1) It's not your fucking baby.  It's our baby.  We paid for him.  So unless you want to start contributing to his college fund you can drop that "my baby" shit right now;

2) Do we look like we're not being careful?  This is the very finest in Dutch bike technology, and he's even wearing a helmet--which, to be honest, I only bother putting on him so concern trolls like you don't bother me.  But it doesn't even seem to be working for that, so I might as well chuck the damn thing in the trash can on the corner.  On second thought, why don't you do it for me?  [Hands woman helmet, pedals off indignantly];

3) We're traveling about one (1) mile, at maybe 9mph tops, in a quiet residential neighborhood.  The risk factor here is maybe slightly higher than pushing him around on the sidewalk in a stroller.  Meanwhile, car crashes kill thousands of child passengers every year, yet I don't see you walking around the neighborhood exhorting parents to be safe with "your baby" as they strap their kids into their SUVs.

[By the way, some people complained my posts last week were too upbeat.  Please.  When you consider this is the dialogue that runs through my head when I encounter well-meaning old ladies, you'd be out of your fucking mind to question my misanthrope bona-fides.]

Anyway, I forgot about all of this because as a cyclist in a car-centric society I'm used to people having a completely skewed perception of risk, but then I remembered it again when I read this:


Getting children to mow the lawn is a common way to teach them responsibility. But a new study found that more than 9,000 youngsters are injured in the U.S. every year while mowing the lawn.

The researchers compared pediatric-mowing injuries during a recent 10-year period with the previous 15 years. The number of children who get hurt annually hasn’t changed in more than two decades, they found.

Yes, apparently while we're busy fretting about kids and bike helmets it's a fucking landscaping bloodbath out there:

Cuts, burns, fractures, amputations and projectile injuries caused by flying objects thrown up by the mower were the most common injuries. Most injuries affected hands and fingers, followed by toes, feet, face and eyes. Many injuries were disfiguring and would become even more so as children continued to grow, the study said.

Yeesh.

So why is it that we see bicycle helmet PSAs like this:


But the only child lawnmowing PSA I can think of is Lawnmower Deth's seminal 1990 album "Ooh Crikey It's... Lawnmower Deth?"


Which, I might add, is worth it for the song "Satan's Trampoline" alone:

Big and fat and bouncy,
Rectangle on the floor,
You bounce and bouncer,
'Till you can't take anymore,
You'll bounce for ever, you try and look so mean,
You'll wish you'd never been on Satan's Trampoline.

And yes, the American Academy of Pediatrics does recommend that kids wear safety goggles while mowing, but they devote a hell of a lot more ink to tricking your child into wearing a plastic bicycle hat at all times:


If you own a dog then most of these tips should be familiar to you, because teaching kids to be safe is less about making them think and more about eliciting a Pavlovian response:

Reward your kids for wearing helmets
Praise them; give them special treats or privileges when they wear their helmets without having to be told to.

Also, it's important that they know helmet use is an all-or-nothing proposition, and if they don't wear one they're going to be stranded or abandoned:

Don't let children ride their bikes unless they wear their helmets
Be consistent. If you allow your children to ride occasionally without their helmets, they won't believe that helmet use really is important. Tell your children they have to find another way to get where they are going if they don't want to use their helmets.

Holy shit.

And don't limit the scaremongering to your own child.  Make sure you frighten and confuse the shit out of all the neighborhood kids as well:

Encourage your children's friends to wear helmets
Peer pressure can be used in a positive way if several familis in the neighborhood start making helmet use a regular habit at the same time.

Let me tell you how all of this works in practice, because I see it every time I go to the playground: A bunch of kids are tearing around on foot, climbing and jumping and generally having a blast, and then they all decide to jump on their shitty plastic scooters--but as they do their parents leap from the benches and shout "PUT ON YOUR HELMETS!"  This totally kills the vibe, and the kids put on their ill-fitting helmets with the straps hanging down to their knees, then they push themselves around on their scooters in a desultory fashion for a few minutes before abandoning them again.

The end result of all this is that they perceive any human-powered conveyance with wheels as a pain in the ass and associate it with their parents' shrill, panicked cries instead of with fun.  In fact, many of them don't even graduate from scooters to bikes...because why would they?  Then when they grow up they decide, "Fuck it, I'm leasing a Hyundai."

But sure, helmet use is important, because head injuries can occur AT ANY TIME:

Remember: Head injuries can occur on sidewalks, on driveways, on bike paths, and in parks as well as on streets. You cannot predict when a fall from a bike will occur. It's important to wear a helmet on every ride.

All of this goes for running too, which is why I can't wait until they start making kids wear helmets in gym class.

You know what I'd like to see instead of "How To Get Your Child To Wear A Bicycle Helmet" from the American Academy of Pediatrics?  How about "How To Get Your Child To Ride A Bike?"  Yeah, no chance--but they're happy to tell you all about death by tricycle:


Tricycle accidents were the most common cause of toy-related deaths in children in 2012, yet there is little research available to the public regarding tricycle-related injuries in the pediatric population.

Granted, tricycles are fucking stupid, but come on.

And while motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death for American children, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything discouraging you from putting your kid in one, though you will find advice for how to get your obese child in a car seat:

Obesity epidemic...  Car dependence...  Hmmm, wonder if there's a connection there?

Indeed, the number of child vehicular heatstroke deaths alone is roughly equal to the number of child bicycle deaths:


So basically we're a nation of helmet hysterics who are too stupid not to bake our children like potatoes.

Of course, none of this is to diminish the threat cycling children face from drivers, but let's not forget that here in New York City it's perfectly fine for the drivers to run them over while they're walking as well.  In fact, a Queens judge has now ruled that the Right Of Way law is "unconstitutional:"


A Queens judge has ruled that a key portion of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero plan is unconstitutional, a ruling that threatens to upend the mayor's pedestrian safety program. NY1's Grace Rauh reports.

To refresh your memory, all this law does is make it a criminal misdemeanor for a driver to injure or kill a pedestrian in the crosswalk with the right of way--and police barely enforce it anyway.

At this point I think it's fair to say New York City's institutional sanctioning of killing people with cars qualifies as a human rights violation, and I'm now looking into how to bring the issue before the Human Rights Council:

On 18 June 2007, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 5/1 entitled “Institution-Building of the United Nations Human Rights Council” by which a new complaint procedure was established to address consistent patterns of gross and reliably attested violations of all human rights and all fundamental freedoms occurring in any part of the world and under any circumstances.

The complaint procedure addresses communications submitted by individuals, groups, or non-governmental organizations that claim to be victims of human rights violations or that have direct, reliable knowledge of such violations.

Like the former 1503 procedure, it is confidential, with a view to enhance cooperation with the State concerned. The new complaint procedure has been improved, where necessary, to ensure that the procedure be impartial, objective, efficient, victims-oriented and conducted in a timely manner.

Hey, I know we've got it incredibly good here by global standards, but that doesn't mean our lives should be worth less than your right to drive your Hyundai with your head up your ass.

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Justice for a bicycling farm laborer

Back in July 23, 2013, 65-year-old farm laborer Jose Martinez-Sanchez was biking to work on rural Highway 129 / Riverside Drive outside of Watsonville, California when he was hit from behind at 50 MPH by the driver of a Ford Mustang. Martinez-Sanchez was thrown into the opposite lane, where he was struck and killed by the driver of a Ford F-150 pickup truck.

riverside at Coward, Watsonville CA

Martinez-Sanchez survived the initial impact; the driver of the Mustang and other motorists stopped at the scene to help the victim and direct other traffic around the scene of the crash.

In spite of the presence of other stopped cars, dairy farmer James Ahlem continued driving his F-150 pickup truck at 50 to 55 MPH. During trial testimony, Ahlem claims he didn’t see the numerous stopped cars, the numerous people in the road flagging him down, nor the stricken cyclist and his bike laying on the roadway. At the scene of the crash, however, Ahlens told the responding CHP officer that he saw a “black object” in the middle of the road and attempted to straddle this “object,” but instead ran his Ford truck directly over Mr Martinez-Sanchez’s chest and skull.

After deliberating a day and a half at the Santa Cruz County Superior Court, the jury decided for the plaintiff and awarded $3.6M to the family of the deceased.

I initially reported this as a possible “suicide swerve” — — the driver of the Mustang claims Martinez-Sanchez swerved directly in front of him “for an unknown reason,” and of course the cyclist was unable to give his statement to the California Highway Patrol. The jury in the civil suit, nonetheless, agreed with this initial assessment and assigned 70% fault to Martinez-Sanchez, which will decrease the award amount. Other factors contributing to the cyclist’s fault include his lack of lights while riding in the fog 15 minutes before sunrise, and apparently his lack of a helmet, which I’m sure could have totally prevented the crush injuries he received from a direct encounter with a 5,000 pound truck traveling 55 MPH.

This jury decision and reward sound pretty incredible and unexpected to me given the numerous strikes against the cyclist: He’s riding on a dark, foggy road with no lights or other safety gear, apparently swerved in front of other traffic, and he’s a low-status farm laborer. The defendant, Ahlens, however, apparently changed his story about what he saw and didn’t see multiple times in cross-examination.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel‘s statement from CHP PIO Bradley Sadek in the brief news report of this fatal crash is pretty disappointing: Sadek says “Even if the cyclist is obeying the law, they still need to be defensive.” No duh, right? but there’s no absolutely no advise for the operator of the more dangerous vehicle to be alert when driving down a country lane in pre-dawn darkness. The two other items in that same police blotter are of a woman who drove her minivan off the side of a hill, and a man who crashed his SUV into a tree, yet we see no nagging statements from the police telling drivers to be more careful lest they do something stupid.

Details were gleaned from the various legal blogs that mention this case:

Categories: law, santa cruz | Leave a comment

Street fashion photographer Bill Cunnhingham rode a bicycle

Fashion photographer Bill Cunningham rode a bicycle

New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham passed last Saturday after he was hospitalized for a stroke.

Cunningham famously rode his bicycle all around New York for street photography and to his shooting gigs. He even has his own tag here at Cyclelicious.

The Washington Post‘s nice obit mentions Cunningham’s dislike of his celebrity status. The New York Times obituary for Cunningham covers his 30 bicycles, his working man’s apparel, and his iconic status as a living landmark.

The documentary about Cunningham and his work, “Bill Cunningham New York,” is available to watch on Amazon Video and is included for those with Amazon Prime membership.

Cunninghas was 87. H/T to Elisa.

Categories: Bill Cunningham, News, passings | Leave a comment

San Tomas Aquino Trail mowing

San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail Santa Clara CA

The Santa Clara Valley Water District began mowing along the lower reaches of the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail in Santa Clara, California last Thursday. Portions of the trail may be subject to closing during mowing.

If you see a tractor on the trail with a big side-mounted mower and the trail is still open, proceed with caution — the operator is watching for trail users, but he also wants to avoid driving his tractor into the creek. If the operator feels like he can’t work safely because some jackass in a hurry just has to get past right away, the contractor will close the trail, so please don’t ruin it for the rest of us, okay?

Contractors are working roughly from north to south, although they haven’t touched the area in the immediate vicinity of Highway 237 as of this writing. This trail work will take place Monday – Saturday and will continue into July as they work through to south of Highway 101.

The City of Santa Clara notice says “trail users to be re-routed to the opposite bank and facilitate passage,” but I don’t know if that means the water district plans to open the unpaved east-bank service road, which is normally closed to the public.

Categories: News, Santa Clara | Leave a comment

Titles Schmitles, Let’s Just Do This!

Well, it's almost that time of year again:

Which means it's time for The Official Bike Snob NYC Tour de France Preview!


Just kidding!


I mean seriously, I can't even.

You've seen three or four of these things and you've seen them all, and any journalist who manages to cover this French slog year in and year out deserves either an award or a few rounds of electroshock therapy.

Speaking of beating your head against the wall, I've been blogging about bikes for nine (9) years now, which means I get to do glamorous stuff like conduct Facebook Live interviews on Manhattan rooftops:


That was merely a preface to a more "formal" interview we did in front of a green screen, which presumably you'll be able to watch (or, more likely, avoid) in the not-too-distant future:

I generally tend to spare you my own likeness on this blog, but I fell this particular still warrants further attention because it's particularly unflattering:


I have no idea what I was talking about at that moment, but it looks like I was doing any one of the following:

--Mending a hole in a pair of underwear with a needle and thread
--Eating a giant invisible corn on the cob
--Pulling the cover off the Afikoman
--Playing matador with a rat and a dinner napkin

Anyway, it should be interesting to see what they project onto that green screen behind me, and when it's ready I'll let you know:


Meanwhile, I've been coming to terms with being back home by engaging in recreational bicycle riding, and with my legs positively bursting with West Coast fitness it was good to get back onto my artisanal singlespeed all-terrain bicycle the other day:


Interestingly, at no point during my highly enjoyable ride did I think to myself, "Boy, this would be even better if my saddle went up and down."  I'm sure the Mountain Freds will say it's because I don't shred radly enough or something, but this recent "Bicycling" story entitled "12 Ways to Use a Dropper Post" does nothing to allay my skepticism regarding this increasingly popular technology:


(Warning: I clicked on this and I got an auto-play ad featuring a narrator with an Australian accent.)

I was disappointed that "Cracking Walnuts" and "Prostate Stimulation" were not included in the list, but other purported uses include improved climbing:

Climbing: It might seem counterintuitive to lower your seat to climb, but try it in rough terrain. Often you're standing anyway, and you'll find you can absorb bumps better with the seat lowered, which can help improve traction. 

Riding over fallen logs:

Fallen Logs: A lowered seat won't jolt you forward when your back wheel comes up and over the log, minimizing your chance of an endo. 

And, oddly, flat-footing your bicycle:

Stopping: Simply lower your seat and you can sit with both feet comfortably on the ground! 

Therefore, after reading the complete list, I can only conclude that these Mountain Freds have been setting their saddles too high in the first place for whatever the hell it is they're doing out there.

I mean sure, get a dropper post if you want, I'm sure they're fun and all, but if you want to save some money you could also just lower your saddle a tad (which will have a negligible effect on your "performance" or "power transfer") and then work on sucking less at riding.

Speaking of being too high, you've no doubt heard by now that Floyd Landis is launching a weed store:


Founded by former professional cyclist Floyd Landis, his new company enters the recreational cannabis industry specializing in pesticide free cannabis oil sourced from high altitude growers using an industry leading, pharmacy grade CO 2 extraction process. Uniquely formulated vape and edible products are crafted for an enhanced consumer experience and are carefully prepared by licensed pharmacists to maximize the many health benefits of recreational cannabis.

An affinity for THC certainly explains the whole "Grey Manrod" thing, but apparently he also found that cannabis was good for his hip pain:

“The therapeutic uses for cannabis can’t be ignored. For years I relied on opioid pain relievers to treat my hip pain. With cannabis, I find that I can manage my pain and have a better quality of life. We need to give people a safer alternative.”

And you've got to wonder if he was sampling his own goods when he composed this, which could go down as the best cycling-related tweet of the year:
I don't see anybody outdoing that one anytime soon.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone in the "businesses for burnouts" department, Landis's legal adversary Lance Armstrong has started a podcast:
I didn't have an hour to listen to the full bro-down, but I did skip around a bit, and they talked about bees.

When he invites me on you'll know he's really desperate--though they don't make them more desperate than Boston Globe columnist and chinless shitbag Jeff Jacoby:


Who you may recall penned the deeply idiotic "Urban roads aren't meant for bicycles" last year, and who responded to a recent cyclist death by firing up his Twitter and voiding his bowels yet again:


Yes, so profoundly fuck-witted is this guy that he thinks the key to safer streets is allowing only cars and then removing all external stimuli for the people who are clearly too stupid to operate them, himself included:


Though I suppose in a way it's progress that people in the media are finally admitting most of us are not capable of operating a motor vehicle--unlike the NYPD, for example:

The driver of an SUV struck and killed a former White House-appointed watchdog while he was crossing the street yesterday, police said. Gerald Walpin, 84, was crossing 79th Street at Lexington Avenue at about 11:00 a.m. when a 52-year-old driver made a left turn at the intersection and struck him, according to the investigation. Emergency responders found Walpin lying in the intersection with head trauma, and he was transported to New York Presbyterian hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Lexington Avenue is a one-way street, so if the driver was making a left onto 79th and hit someone in the crosswalk then that's an obvious violation of the new Right Of Way Law, which allows officers to arrest motorists at the scene.  And certainly given the importance of the victim that's exactly what happened, right?

Yeah, right:

The driver who struck Walpin remained at the scene, and there haven't been any arrests, police said. The investigation is ongoing.

"Vision Zero" my ass.

And via Streetsblog, here's how the NYPD treats hit-and-run when the victim manages to get the license plate:


I was thrown down, rolled five to 10 feet across the street into the gutter, and had the wind knocked out of me.

When I looked up, the driver had momentarily stopped. By some miracle, even though it was dark out, I was able to see and remember the license plate “NYLUXURY” because the SUV had illuminated vanity plates.


Although the driver stopped long enough for me to memorize his plates, he decided to take off and leave the scene of the accident despite knowing he had struck a pedestrian.

So what happened?

The NYPD was able to trace the license plate to a Chevy Suburban operated by “New York’s Finest Luxury Car & Limousine Service,” based out of Yonkers, NY, and were even able to obtain a VIN number for the car.

My hope was that the NYPD detective who was assigned to my case would obtain the records from the car service showing who was driving at the time so that somebody could be held responsible. Depending on the circumstance, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident can be a felony.

The detective made a single phone call, during which the owner of the car service claimed his “system was down,” and he couldn’t provide the name of the driver at the time of the accident.


I was told by the detective that there was nothing more he could do. He encouraged me to file a civil suit.

Hmmm, a car service called "New York Finest," with these displayed on its website?  Wonder what happened there:


Alas, we may never know.


Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

Public workshops for Bay Area Bike Share expansion

Plan New Bike Share Locations

Join Bay Area Bike Share for a series of workshops to have your say in where new bike sharing locations will end up in your neighborhood.

Bay Area Bike S hare Raul Peralez

Each date offers two evening workshops times. You’ll work directly with a Bay Area Bike Share rep to select locations that work for you and the neighborhood. Kindly RSVP via Eventbrite.
San Francisco

San Jose

East Bay

Don’t see your neighborhood? Not to worry. This is just Phase 2 of a 5-phase expansion to bring bike share to more neighborhoods across the Bay Area. Click here to learn more.

Photo of San Jose’s bike-riding hipster council member Raul Peralez courtesy Bay Area Bike Share. Thank you to Ian for the heads up.

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BSNYC Road Jernel Part III: Last Stop Rivendell


As the week draws to a close, so too does my epic recounting of my recent mini-tour of the West Coast.  When last we gathered I was still in Seattle, and from there I flew to San Francisco and made my way to a hotel in Contra Costa county, where Grant Petersen picked me up in his Ferrari:


Grant is of course the person behind Rivendell Bicycle Works, as well as the author of "Just Ride:"


"Eat Bacon, Don't Jog:"


And he also ghostwrote Mötley Crüe lead vocalist Vince Neil's autobiography, "Tattoos and Tequila: To Hell and Back with One of Rock's Most Notorious Frontmen:"


I find it amusing that Vince only claims to be one of rock's most notorious frontmen, not the most notorious.  Seems to me if it's your autobiography you might as well go all the way.  I followed the same logic when I called my book "The Ultimate Bicycle Owner's Manual," not "One of the Many Useful Bicycle Owner's Manuals Currently Available on the Market ."  But what do I know?

Anyway, Grant is a luminary and a sage in the cycling world, and as a longtime admirer of his I'm both honored and humbled that he not only carries all of my books in his shop (check out the kind things he said about my latest one!) but that he also agreed to host me for a signing.  I mean sure, you may know me as the globetrotting bon vivant and world's greatest living bike blogger, but I'm really just a recovering Fred who's been making Internet wisecracks for nine years.  So for a personage of Grant's status to acknowledge me like this is quite a thrill.

From my hotel we made our way over to Rivendell, and if you've never visited before (which I hadn't) I highly recommend it.  These are prototype tandems they're working on:


And this is the ironically signed Custom Fi-
t Centre:


Speaking of fit, everybody was shocked and appalled to learn I didn't know my Pubic Bone Height, which at Rivendell is the only measurement that matters:

And once we ascertained it (don't ask) Grant presented me with Rivendell after Rivendell for my test-riding delectation:


He also insisted I try this, one of the first Campagnolo derailleurs from the 1930s:


The way it works is this: first, you open the upper quick release lever, which frees the axle in the dropouts (or I guess track ends if you want to get technical).  Next, you use the lower lever to manually lift the chain onto another cog--while pedaling backwards of course.  Then, once you've got the chain where you want it, you have to weight the saddle in order to tension the chain, then finally you close that upper quick release lever again.

Not only is it even harder than it sounds, but it's also a brilliant sales technique on Rivendell's part, because after trying to shift this freaking thing a bar-end friction shifter seems positively telepathic.

By the way, in addition to using an antique shifter for the first time, I also took my first tandem ride with a member of the Rivendell crew:


And of course visited Rivendell's downtown shop, "Bike Book and Hatchet:"


Fortunately we got there before it closed:


But unfortunately now this guy would know exactly where to find me:


Anyway, the captain and I parked the tandem against some firewood:


And stepped inside:


True to its name, the shop contained bikes:


And books:


And hatchets:


As well as pine tarring supplies (this had to be explained to me because I am a total city slicker and not even remotely a Hatchet Fred):


Cloth tape:


Clothing:


Luggage:


And this bike frame, which seems like something out of a Paul Bunyan story, if only ol' Paul had been a retrogrouch instead of a lumberjack:


Not for nothing, but it seems to me that if Rivendell were to open one of these in Brooklyn the whole damn staff would be able to buy Ferraris.

But there was precious time to dawdle, for the signing was afoot, and so we hopped back on the tandem (I was "captain" this time) and returned to the shop:


And from there we zig-zagged to the Marriott:


And down to the conference room:


Where Grant was screening the 1956 French short film "The Red Balloon:"


It wasn't until later that I realized just as an antique derailleur makes a friction shifter seem modern, an old movie about a French kid with a balloon makes a tired blogger seem entertaining.

I'll be damned if that Petersen isn't a marketing genius.

Meanwhile, as the crowd continued to trickle in and wonder why the winner of the 1956 Academy Award for best original screenplay was playing, I got myself a beer:


And checked out a rival conference upstairs, which appeared to be even more of a bald-faced money grab than mine was:


Once the film was over, I then proceeded to elicit polite laughter from a crowd who by that point probably would have preferred to watch the ill-advised sequel, "The Red Balloon II: Rouge Vengeance:"


("The boy is now a man, and he's about to pop.")

After the signing, a group assembled for the totally optional NO HOST ride that was in no way organized by Rivendell:


So I suppose they didn't technically lend me this bike:


And off we scampered into the foothills of Mount Diablo:


You'd be hard-pressed to find a more idyllic setting for a ride:


I mean come on:


It's just not fair.

I was also greatly enjoying my loaner bike, CSPC-mandated accoutrements and all:


If it were mine obviously I'd lose the reflectors and maybe lower the stem a half a foot or so (I'd totally keep the kickstand though), but even as it was the bike was sublime.  By the time we got to this hilltop, I was ready to give myself over completely to the Cult of Riv:


Indeed, looking back, maybe this steep drop was some sort of trust exercise:


It was a nasty one too, and one of our party even took a bit of a tumble:


But I'm pleased to report he totally Pee-Wee'd it and leapt back onto his feet with aplomb.

From there we snaked our way down some switchbacks:


And here's that quill stem-wrangling I promised you:


Sorry if it's not all you hoped.

The ride, however--as well as the entire day--was all I'd hoped for and more, and I was happier than I had a right to be as we rode back to town amid the setting sun:


If by this time next year I've gotten rid of all my bikes for a Sam Hillborne and a pair of sandals then you'll know why.
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Orange, CA uses GoPro video, seizes cars in bike crash investigation

This is kind of incredible.

GoPro "Be a Hero" logo

It all began last December when 22-year-old David Collin Berry of Huntington Beach, CA was just driving along in his Mustang GT 5.0 when he collided with cyclist Alan Lee Darnell. According to Berry, he was driving at only 25 MPH when the cyclist swerved directly in front of him. Berry stayed at the scene, cooperated with the crash investigation, and police said the guy on the bike was at fault.

But then something unusual happened. City of Orange police investigated this collision in more detail. It turns out Berry was on a “cruise” with other fast car enthusiasts. Police confiscated 16 cars, and found a GoPro in one of the cars with footage of the crash between the Mustang and the bike rider. At the time of the crash, Berry claimed he was going only 25 MPH. Police, naturally, believed him at the time. The GoPro footage, however, shows Berry was moving at around 50 MPH when the Darnell, the cyclist, signaled a left turn and changed lanes to move over to the left turn lane.

Berry slowed and swerved to avoid Darnell but still hit him, resulting in a broken right clavicle, a broken finger on his left hand, and lacerations and contusions for Darnell.

We’ve been told for years that police can’t use GoPro video evidence for what they consider “minor” traffic violations, including injury collisions where the cyclist is apparently at fault. I’m glad to see the city of Orange challenging this assumption, and the Orange County DA agreeing with it so far. No charges have been filed yet, so perhaps Orange County residents should encourage the attorney’s office to pursue it in the name of public safety.

The story in the Orange County Register seems at least a little sympathetic to the street racers creating the danger for SoCal residents, which points out that one of the street “cruisers” could potentially lose his real estate license of he’s convicted of street racing (a misdemeanor). If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

Via Biking In LA in his daily stories about bikes.

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Two cyclist deaths in SF yesterday, another in Pleasanton this morning

Two women were killed while riding bikes in separate hit-and-run collisions in San Francisco yesterday, June 22, 2016. Details and discussion are in this Hoodline summary that collects statements from police, various news sources and a reddit conversation, but the gist of it:

  • Victim #1 in SoMa at 7th and Howard: woman in her 20s was hit by a driver traveling at high speed who ran a red light. Driver fled the scene but was caught by police. Witness says the driver was “definitely not sober.”
  • Victim #2 in Golden Gate Park: woman in her 40s hit by a driver traveling between 50 and 60 MPH on John F Kennedy Drive. The driver fled; vehicle has been located but not the driver. Here’s a view of westbound JFK approaching the location where the collision occurred.

Also, this morning, a woman in the East Bay town of Pleasanton, CA in Alameda County was killed while riding her bicycle across the intersection of Bernal and Stanley. This is a huge, multiple lane intersection. There’s no word on who ran the red light that controls this intersection, but the “the driver is cooperating with the investigation” while the cyclist is, of course, unable to give her statement.

Valley, Bernal and Stanley, Pleasanton, CA

Via Murph and others for this sad news.

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