The city of San Jose will demonstrate two-way pop up protected bikeways along 4th Street across downtown from San Salvador Street to St James Street next Monday afternoon.
Volunteers under the direction of city staff will pop up temporary protected bike lanes of different types on both sides of 4th – all between St. James and San Salvador, allowing them to try different things on different sides of the street. They use spray chalk, planters, cones and other objects to create these temporary bikeways.
SVBC plans a group ride on these lanes either the evening of Friday August 11, or Saturday morning on August 12. Stay tuned for details after they’re ironed out.
Yesterday’s episode of Sci Show Psych with Hank Green discussed the Watching Eyes Effect, in which people act differently when there’s a picture of eyes in plain view.
Hank caught my attention when he mentioned that pictures of eyes result in things like fewer bike thefts. Hello!
I immediately thought that we can post photos of faces near bike lockers and other bike parking locations that are subject to theft. A Google search quickly led me numerous references to this study at Newcastle University in England. The researchers monitored bike theft reports on the campus for 12 months, then posted durable signs at three locations, with the “numerous other locations” left as controls.
The study found thefts decreased 62% at the “We’re Watching You” locations, but increased 65% at the controls, suggesting the signs displaced the bad behavior.
While I generally endeavor to give at least some advanced notice in the event of my leave-taking form this blog, the high shit-to-fan ratio* with which I'm currently dealing requires said notice to be a bit more abrupt.
*[If the surface area of the fan is considerably larger than the volume of shit this results in a wider splatter area. The exception is the Dyson, in which case the shit merely passes through the fan unless its volume exceeds the fan's diameter.]
The short version is that after today I won't be updating this blog until Monday, August 7th, at which point I will resume regular updates.
However, the above notwithstanding, assuming my next Outside column comes out before then I'll be sure to duck back in here and let you know.
Also, do keep in mind that during this week I will continue to update the Bike Forecast, so at the very least you'll have the company of my more smug alter-ego for the duration of the week.
This author is such an asshole. Stop telling people what to do. If people want to use flat pedals good for them, they are great for commuting. If I want to use clipless pedals who cares? I can stop worrying about if my foot is in the right place. Ugh, I hate people like this, they are no better than the people they decry in the article.
That was pretty much the entire point of the article.
And finally, speaking of smugness, my own credentials in that area aren't exactly unimpeachable. This is because I do continue to register a motor vehicle in my name, which of course THE BANK OWNS UNTIL I FINISH PAYING THEM BACK. I'll spare you my rationale for this, but suffice to say my relationship to my car is a lot like my relationship to clipless pedals: it comes in handy but it's also a pain in the ass, and I'm getting closer and closer to abandoning it completely.
In any case, it so happens that THE CAR THAT THE BANK OWNS UNTIL I FINISH PAYING THEM BACK is currently in the shop. (It's getting a sweet Transportation Alternatives-themed full body wrap.) Ordinarily I'd hardly miss the thing, since I live in New York City and have access to all manner of public transit, not to mention car services and Ubers and of course my hundreds of bikes. However, yesterday we had to travel to Connecticut for a big family get-together, and getting there by train would have required several transfers and several hours each way versus a relatively painless one-hour drive.
"Fuck it," I decided on Saturday. "I'm renting a Hyundai."
Alas, as it turned out I'd left it too late, because by the time I called the local car rental place they didn't have any Hyundais. In fact they only had one vehicle left:
That's a Ford F-150 XLT. (Without the Trump-sticker-and-truck-nuts trim package.) Those of you in the heartland or who do actual work are probably just thinking "Nice truck," but to a city-dweller who taps on computer keys for a living and grew up among Jews it might as well have been a Greyhound bus. I had my reservations. On the other hand, my wife was like, "Okay," and my older son observed that it was the size of a subway station and decided it was pretty much the greatest thing he'd ever seen. Most crucially, since it was all the rental place had left they gave us a rock-bottom rate, and they even waived the fueling fee.
And so it was that for 48 hours we were a pickup truck-driving family.
Here are some brief observations:
--It's fucking huge; --Even old people hustle when you roll up to the crosswalk; --While I could see all around me quite clearly, the blind spot around the front bumper was considerable, and it was horrifying to think about how easy it would be for an inattentive driver to run over a small child while turning.
Not only are they dangerous in densely-populated areas, but people drive these fucking things into Manhattan and then complain that bikes cause traffic.
At the same time, even I, an increasingly smug bike blogger, could not deny the truck's appeal. It handled quite well despite its size, it emitted a satisfyingly throaty purr on the highway when passing, and I probably could have carried every one of my bikes in it.
Certainly if I ever buy a ranch or a very large boat the F-150 will be near the top of my list.
Nevertheless, the fact that people buy trucks like this just to drive around the city while smoking blunts will continue to keep me awake at night.
And with that, I bid you adieu until Monday, August 7th. Enjoy the rest of the week, ride safe, and keep on trucking.
Hi all and … Monday. Apologies for the extended radio silence.
I’m trying to force a cycling metaphor into love but I’m not sure it works. Cycling to the top of a mountain range is painfully slow, grinding hard work and, frankly, not a lot of fun. Experiencing your personal King of the Mountain feels great, and the descent that follows is fast and exhilarating.
Love also builds slowly towards euphoria. The swift descent from the mountain top happens stunningly fast; unlike with cycling, however, this descent is far from rewarding.
News and Events
A buddy of mine saw this cyclist fatality in San Jose last Saturday. 26-year-old Paul Candeleria rode his bike across the intersection of Race and Parkmoor when he was struck by a VTA light rail train. This occurred a mile and a half from Stokes Street in San Jose, where 14-year-old Danika Garcia was struck by a train on the same Winchester line in 2014. I think this is our third cyclist fatality of 2017 in San Jose. The first occurred last March at Leigh & Coit when a driver struck a guy on a bicycle; while the second occurred on Quimby Road while the cyclist descended from Mount Hamilton after watching the Amgen Tour of California. My condolences to all involved.
The city of San Jose invites you to community roundtable and happy hour events next week to discuss bikeways.
“Community Roundtable: Street Design & Bike Network” takes place 5:30pm-7:00pm, Wednesday, August 9, 2017 in the San Jose City Hall Rotunda, 200 E. Santa Clara Street. Check here for more info and RSVP. More information on the Happy Hour event can be found here.
A little birdy tells me the city of San Jose plans to demo a two-way cycletrack on 4th Street in downtown San Jose for one week, either this week or next. I presume this will be in the parking-protected bikeway between San Carlos and San Fernando along the SJSU campus. I and many others believe this should have been two-way from the start.
I’m currently reading Holy Spokes on the spirituality of cycling. I’ll let you know what I think later.
San Jose Bike Train rolls Wednesday morning, August 2, 2017. Departing 8:15 from Bel Bacio Cafe in San Jose’s Little Italy, serving destinations in North San Jose along the Guadalupe River Trail. We might change the start time to 8:00; I’d love to know your opinion on this.
In his bespoke Italian suit and designer dress shoes, Cyril Therien gracefully weaves in and out of street traffic like a fish in water. As soon as he pulls up to Pergola, the Flatiron hot spot du jour, women are practically lining up to speak to the 39-year-old IT specialist as he parks his wheels. “This thing is a chick magnet,” he says.
There is no way in hell Cyril Therien is a real person.
Anyway, unlike other bike bloggers who also ride skateboards (I'm looking at you, Stevil Kinevil), I can't do any tricks and I totally suck. However, yesterday I used my skateboard in a practical application instead of simply flailing around on it on the street outside my house, and I must say that it was something of a revelation.
Basically, I had some errands to run in my neighborhood, and then I had to go all the way to Brooklyn. And while I certainly could have done all of this by bicycle, I also had a limited amount of time, and I live far enough from Brooklyn that the only way the bike saves me time over the train is if said train derails. (Which, I should point out, is becoming increasingly common these days.) Ordinarily in a case like this I'd reach for the Brompton, but this time I figured "what the hell" and instead I grabbed the board with wheels.
Here's how it played out:
--Rode skateboard to post office and some other places, tried not to beat self to death with skateboard while suffering through postal service transaction; --Boarded subway; --Saved myself a time-sucking inter-division transfer by skating to my destination once I arrived in Brooklyn; --On the way home, got off the train early, picked up some Chipotle, and skated the rest of the way home.
What can I say, something about riding a skateboard makes you hungry for Chipotle.
Anyway, the revelation wasn't that the skateboard worked out well as a handy way to augment the New York City transit system. No, the revelation was how I felt while riding it--and the way I felt was deeply self-conscious.
See, as an internationally renowned bicycle blogger and author who's been riding a bike since the 1970s:
And who upgraded from training wheels to Skyway Tuff Wheel IIs:
And eventually reached the lofty heights of Category 3 road racing and "sport" level mountain biking:
I am simply no longer capable of feeling self-conscious while on the bike. Sure, there was a time when I felt naked without a matching stretchy kit and wouldn't be caught dead on a bike without clipless pedals, but thankfully these days are long behind me. Indeed, my only fear at this point is that I've become so laid back and ecumenical with regard to bikes that I might one day do the unthinkable and experiment with recumbents.
Rest assured I showered in scalding hot water afterward and have not been on one since.
The skateboard however was another story, and I found myself constantly worrying that I looked like a middle-aged hipster doofus--probably because that's exactly what I looked like. More than that, I worried that I was doing it "right." Not right in the sense of staying on it (I'm pretty capable of that), but right in the sense of not offending anybody. After all, it's been like 30 years since I've used a skateboard for transportation, and back then I was too young to give a shit about stuff like whether or not I should be on the sidewalk or what's the least loud and stupid-looking way to stop this thing. When I'm on a bike I know exactly where I should and shouldn't be, which rules to follow and which rules to bend, and so forth. On the skateboard however I was some weird not-quite-pedestrian and not-quite-cyclist, and I didn't know shit.
And that was the revelation. This is how a lot of people feel on the bike. Just as I hadn't skated since I was a teenager, many New York City cyclists haven't been on a bike since adolescents and are wobbly and insecure. And while most of them are capable of staying upright, no doubt many of them are emotionally quite fragile, and how much they worry about whether or not they're doing it "right" could be enough to decide whether they stick with the bike or simply give it up.
And while I wouldn't call riding the skateboard a form of penance (I enjoyed it too much), I would say it was humbling and lent me some much-needed empathy. Certainly it's important to encourage cyclists during this important make-or-break period in their development.
As for whether or not I'll continue using the skateboard for commuting, we shall see. But if I can ride around on a folding bike and maintain some shred of dignity, I can probably ride anything:
With the stock market on a tear and a president who's committed to making America great again by increasing our reliance on cutting-edge energy sources such as coal there's never been a better time to purchase a quality bicycle made here on the good side of the Mexican border wall. Are you in the market for a new bike that says, "I'm an American, and I wipe my ass with $100 bills?" If so, look no further, because you'll want to buy two or three of these babies:
Yes, meet The Wheelman Bicycle, the $35,000 python-wrapped bicycle that screams, "I take meetings with Donald Trump, Jr.!"
As far as I can tell The Wheelman has been around for awhile, but I only became aware of it last week when a publicist representing the company asked if I would discuss it on a TV show. I told him that I would, but that in the interest of "full transparency" he should know I find the bike offensive. For some reason he decided to move on.
Anyway, here's the story behind The Wheelman:
PYTHON WRAPPED BICYCLE
Each Wheelmen bicycle is a custom-built masterpiece. The lavish finishings and details of this exceptional bicycle ensure that The Wheelmen is both work of art and mode of transportation like no other.
Williamson bicycles are hand brazed in Detroit using highest quality chromoly tubing. The frame, fork, lugs, and stem are all handmade by Williamson, with individual copper details and subtle logos brazed in place. Each component is wrapped with python or crocodile and hand sewn. Brake levers, gear system, pedals, and cranks are then assembled to your exact specifications. All of our animal skins are CITES certified, thus they are harvested in a sustainable and humane process. In addition, no chemical bi-products are used in the tanneries.
ONLY 10 OF EACH COLOR WILL BE MANUFACTURED.
EACH BICYCLE WILL BE ENGRAVED WITH ITS RESPECTIVE LIMITED EDITION NUMBER 1 THROUGH 10.
And here are the specs, which slot neatly in between "stock Surly" and "stock Budnitz" but are closer to the former:
Basically it's your typical shop bro's bar bike, only dipped in plating and wrapped in dead shit.
Nevertheless, if you're enamored of The Wheelman because you've always dreamed of a bike that looks like Ted Nugent is using it as a drying rack for his underpants, then for a similar effect I'd recommend purchasing a Linus and draping it in roadkill. That way you'll have about $34,500 left over, which you can use to buy five (5) footballs:
GOLD CROCODILE FOOTBALL:
The Woodward football is made to the official size and weight of professional American football standards. It can be enjoyed as a prized showpiece or for a game of backyard football.
Each ball is hand cut, sewn and assembled in Detroit, Michigan, and can be embossed with the name, initials, or personal message of your choice. All of our animal skins are CITES certified, thus they are harvested in a sustainable and humane process. In addition, no chemical bi-products are used in the tanneries.
ONLY 10 WOODWARD IN GOLD WILL BE MADE.
EACH BALL WILL BE ENGRAVED WITH ITS RESPECTIVE LIMITED EDITION NUMBER 1 THROUGH 10.
Jesus Christ, what the fuck do these people have against reptiles!?!
Yeah, I'm holding out for the golf balls covered in stem cells, but thanks anyway.
In other news, did you know that no-handed riding will enhance your mind-body connection?
Why is this? Well, one reason is apparently that "now you have nearly 100% of all your weight on your root."
Yes, as you always suspected, intense scranial pressure is the path to enlightenment.
PETERBOROUGH—A driver has been charged after a dramatic video showed a 74-year-old cyclist viciously attacked on the side of the road with a club. Peterborough police said that just after 11 a.m. Tuesday, the cyclist was riding in the area of Erskine Ave. when an argument broke out between him and a truck driver. The driver climbed out of his truck and attacked the cyclist with a small club, police said.
Unlike his stateside counterparts he's wearing sandals:
But the dissimilarities end there.
“The sound of the club hitting him was sickening,” the woman told the newspaper. “Blood was flying off it.” She said she didn’t witness what led to the encounter. “They were flailing their arms around and the guy walked back to his truck,” she said.
I'm going to go ahead and guess what led to this encounter is the same thing that leads to every instance of driver-on-cyclist road rage, which is that the driver nearly killed the cyclist with his giant motor vehicle by doing something stupid or selfish or both, and the cyclist had the audacity to exercise his self-preservation instinct by trying not to die.
He began hitting his horn to get the cyclist’s attention, seeing that his speed would not outrun the bear. “Finally he looked over at me and I said, ‘You’ve got a grizzly bear about 25 feet behind you.’ He looked back and went, ‘Oh!’ and started to pound on the pedals.”
Here's what a touring cyclist looks like when he's being pursued by an ursine wheelsucker:
And here's a bear who has locked on to the irresistible scent of pannier stuffed to capacity with dried meats and dirty chamois:
On a recent afternoon, Rowe pedaled a white Bianchi Brava bicycle up and down a busy street in the city's university district. His bike was loaded with gear: the antenna of a GPS unit extended above his head in a long plastic tube, a laser range finder called a LIDAR measured the precise position of everything around the bike, four inertial measurement units captured motion, a water bottle held a battery, a computer collected all that information, and every other spoke carried a speedometer. "I would not be happy if I had to ride this every day," says Rowe, hopping off the bike. "But hopefully when all of this stuff just gets embedded in a cellphone on the front, then it should be no problem."
Oh, sure, helping the machines help you seems innocent enough, but it's not too hard to imagine a future in which this sort of technology becomes mandatory. And while that might not seems like such a big deal either (after all, we're all riding around with phones anyway), in practice it could have many of the same implications of a helmet law, such as enforcement for not using it falling disproportionately on certain segments of the population. Plus, the auto industry has been deflecting responsibility onto more vulnerable road users since the days of the hand-cranked engine, so why should we expect this to be any different? I'm sure the traffic light and all the other controls we're familiar seemed like good ideas at the time, and of course we couldn't imagine life without them now, but really what they served to do was wrest control of the streets from anyone who wasn't driving a car. You're already fair game out there, and being forced to get "wired up" before riding a bike (even if it's just flipping a virtual toggle switch on your phone) feels like a final act of surrender.
Of course, we all know who's going to sell us out first: the Freds. They're used to riding while connected anyway so will no doubt embrace this technology, and from there we'll soon reach a point when "serious" cyclists sneer at anybody riding without LIDAR in the same way they currently do ay anyone who rides without first putting on a foam hat. And who do you think will be the first country on earth to bend over and willingly accept mandatory GPS cycling suppositories? Yeah, that's right:
Specifically, we were marveling over the fact that most people are fine with destroying the planet through excessive energy consumption, but under no circumstances will they look at feet shod in flip-flops:
Philip Brown Australia What Americans call "flip-flops" are dangerous footwear that should be banned on a number of safety grounds: they fall off, fall apart, catch on things causing falls, they catch under things causing other accidents, they provide no protection from rough, sharp or dropped objects. In most Australian jurisdictions it is an offence to drive in flip-flops for many of the preceding reasons. Aesthetically they display the ugliness of 'human' feet. As poverty footwear, made from scraps, there may be some justification for the existence of flip-flops but no other springs to mind.
Philip Brown's head would no doubt explode if he knew that in the hot summer months I often ride around the neighborhood helmetless and in flip-flops.
He does have a point though: dangerous footwear should be banned. In addition to the deadly flip-flop, which has somehow not spelled the demise of humankind despite being the oldest form of footwear on the planet, we should also ban any heel larger than one (1) centimeter tall, as well as require that any shoe with laces be double-knotted and secured with a Velcro closure. Remember that story about the person who dripped over his untied shoelace and fell into the path of an oncoming train? Of course you don't, because I just made it up, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't go Full Aussie and nanny down hard on everything.
Oh, and it goes without saying that walking in cycling shoes should be punishable by $6,000 or 6 months in jail.
Anyway, after all that, I posed the following "teaser" image yesterday:
That is not, contrary to what some of you speculated, my foot. It is, however, the foot of the person who invented the Bellcycle:
Which, as you can see, is a rolling paradox in that it's sort of an upright recumbent pennyfarthing:
I think we know which company he won't be using to deliver all those medium sized boxes.
Speaking of the associations I've made over the years, longtime readers may recall the heady days when this blog was relevant and really good bicycle rider Barry Wicks used to send me stuff in the mail:
Inspired by vintage mountain bike films, we sought to re-create an updated, durable, good looking glove that is good for just about everything. We start with 100% Deerskin leather gloves to give a soft supple feel, while providing excellent wear characteristics and comfort. Customers can choose size and venting options along with graphics colors. We offer an unvented, snosealed version for winter riding or spring ski touring etc. All gloves are built to order and ship in 1-2 business days from order date. When you order, include in notes to seller up to 2 additional color choices, and if you want standard venting, no venting and/or snoseal waterproofing. Slip on a pair of Hella Sweet Gloves, then go outside and do something awesome! Questions? Email us! hellasweetgloves [!at] gmail.com
Rest assured I plan to give my pair a thorough test, though don't expect it anytime soon because it's currently like 93 fucking degrees out.
Hopefully I don't have to return it before it's cool enough to wear them.
And yes, that's right, by next weekend I will be riding a wooden bike. At this point it's just a matter of finishing the paperwork, which has all kinds of stuff about avoiding woodpeckers, not using magnifying glasses near it when it's sunny out, and so forth:
With a regular bike it's "I was just riding along when..."
With a wooden bike it's "I was just admiring the exquisite handiwork when..."
Also, be absolutely sure not to leave your monocle hanging off the bars when you head into the coffee shop.
Obviously using this as your only lock in a place like New York would be like bringing a Renovo to a termite convention, but it certainly seems like a handy item to stick in your jersey pocket for that quick espresso stop in some dinky town, or for augmenting the flimsy lock on your car rack when you're on a road trip. I've also found that having a light, unobtrusive lock on you is great for when you're riding with the family, since for the most part you don't need a ton of security when you're locking up a child's bike.
Though I'm sure somewhere at some point some thief has scooted away on a balance bike, and I'm also sure it was fucking hilarious.
And with that, I'm vanishing into the weekend, and I beseech you to do the same--though at some point today my latest Outside column is probably going to materialize, in which case I'll duck back in and let you know. But pending that, ride safe, ride safely, and engage in bicycling with an appropriate level of care.
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