Just be nice…

Photo by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious  https://www.flickr.com/photos/bike/
Photo by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious https://www.flickr.com/photos/bike/

There is a scene in the movie Roadhouse where the main character is telling the bar staff at a rather rough bar to just “be nice.” If you haven’t seen it – it is a classic. Go watch it. If you have, stop rolling your eyes at me…

Anyhow, it struck me today how great the advice from this scene is for all of us bicycle commuters out there. There is far to much confrontational thinking where none is needed. Sometimes it is motorists thinking we are complete asses, and sometimes it is us assuming motorists are complete asses just out to kill us. But I had three separate incidents in the past two days that have turned me back on to the idea of “just being nice.” Keep reading →

A day in the life…

This video just popped up, making its rounds on some of the local San Francisco social media scenes. Passed along for your enjoyment.

Do you name your bikes?

I’ve always like to name my bikes. In fact, I like to name and personify lots of things. I used to do it with my cars too. Thought I’d take a moment to share some of my current stable of regularly ridden bikes:

  • bridgeMaul. My main road bike, a Cannondale CAAD10 with SRAM Force. It is black, white and red and when I initially got it switching to aluminum felt like turning to the dark side. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on where the name came from.
  • Sherman. This is my cargo bike. If it were a car it would probably be a 1973 Ford F250 with a 1978 Ford bed somehow bolted on. This bike is all work. A Pugeot Pipeline 5 with an Xtracycle FreeRadical conversion done to it. Again, I’ll leave it to you to be creative about the origin of the name.
  • Waldo. This is my mountain bike – a modified Breezer Lightning. This name is a little more obscure. For some reason the name ‘Waldo’ has always reminded me of a hippy type, camping in a tent wearing cut off jeans. And if any MTBers out there take offense to that image… well.

And following suit, my son has taken on this naming tradition as well. His custom painted and built Fuji Ace 26 frame – thanks to Dean Alleger of Orange Cat Racing – has been given the moniker ‘Steve.’ I’m afraid I can’t say where that name comes from though….

Is cycling a sign of gentrification?

Living in the city of San Francisco in 2015, you are constantly confronted with issues of class struggle and gentrification.  In most parts of the city the rent you’d pay for 1 month in a 1 bedroom apartment could buy you a functional used car elsewhere in the country (or one hell of a nice bike). I also happen to live in a neighborhood that was, until recently, one of the most affordable (relatively) in the city. As a predominately African American community, this puts the area directly in the crosshairs of everything potentially bad about gentrification and displacement. Lots of new people moving in, demanding change. Lots of established families that have been in the neighborhood for generations feeling pushed out both socially and economically.

It is against this backdrop that I came face to face with an issue that at first seemed completely unfathomable for me: for many, cycling is a sign of gentrification. Keep reading →

Don’t be an asshole cyclist

MFB-FrameWe can all be jerks sometimes. During my 10 mile commute to and from the office every day I get a lot of time to observe assholery on the streets of San Francisco. No… this is NOT going to be a rant about drivers behaving badly. In fact, I feel pretty good about riding a bike on these city streets. No… this is about assholery by fellow cyclists. Keep reading →

Helmet hair to hair helmet

For as many times as I’ve rambled, made fun of, attacked, or complained about helmets, you’d think I’d have come across this before. Ironically, it was a coworker that pointed this cultural phenomenon to me.

When inflatable neck wear doesn’t do it for you, it is time to don the hair-helmet. Brought to you by that fantastic folk duo Flight of the Conchords and presented without comment:

Bret-Hair_Helmet

So we take the worry about helmet hair and replace it with a hair helmet. That’s what you call turning a frown upside down.

I think Scion is afraid of hipsters

I ran across this commercial the other day while watching some drivel on TV:

I was immediately struck by the very prominently displayed bicycle line drawing art (which I now want by the way.) I did find myself wondering “Why in the heck would the advertisers do that?” As an urban cyclist, I more often view the bicycle as something to be used instead of a car. It reminded me of a MotorTrend article I had read recently examining the decline in car ownership in the younger generations: Keep reading →

New bridge includes new bike path

In the culmination of a 20+ year project, the new eastern span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge opened up. And included on that new bridge was a separate bike and pedestrian lane. Those familiar with the area will quickly point out that this bridge only gets you half way across the bay, and that there is a second bridge that still lacks bicycle access that prevents a bike ride completely across. So for the short term at least this is a recreation trail only with no commute benefits. Keep reading →

Goodbye Sacramento. And Hello.

I seem to have become my own “Tale of two cities.” I’ve got one foot forever in Sacramento, and the other in San Francisco. Being a man of two cities, I have an interesting perspective on the cycling in both of them. I’m continually comparing and contrasting them both. I keep coming back to on inescapable conclusion: Sacramento is an awesome cycling town.

Keep reading →

If May was bike month, what is June?

May is bike month. We all know it, and many of us go on about it. We get bike to school day, bike to work day, and in addition a whole bike to work week! Local coffee shops, bike shops and assorted business get the excuse opportunity to set up tables along popular bike routes and paths giving away free swag and looking very bike-friendly. This should be a month for me to rejoice – to share enthusiasm and passions with the greater cycling community. A time for us to pat ourselves on our collective back and take stock in how far advocacy efforts have come. And May is action packed with a lot more than just advocacy and riding to work. On the racing front, we had not only the grand american race Tour of California, but also the Giro d’Italia.  The Tour of Cali was especially engaging for me this year, as I watched one of my personal favorites – and fellow old guy – Chris Horner appear to struggle through the Time Trial with an anchor on his bike. The setback would have crushed the spirits of other folks. But the drama unfolded in the final significant climbs of the race as Horner, Jens Voigt (another personal favorite and fellow old guy) and others took a flyer off the front. Slowly riders from the break away dropped one by one, until Chris Horner had actually made back all the time lost in the TT and then some.  He climbed his way into first place on paper – as Phil Liggett likes to say – and had me on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately the herculean effort was not enough and he was eventually caught. But what a way to highlight what bike month is supposed to be about – enjoying all aspects of bicycles. Rolling the cruiser, commuting to work, or ripping the peloton apart.

Unfortunately, this time around all Bike Month managed to do for me was remind me that the other 11 months are not bike month.  June came this year to punch me in the gut and drive the point home. June has brought us the apparent implosion (again) of what should have been the best team in the peloton – RadioShack Nissan Trek. Andy Schleck has been plagued by … something … all season. There are already rumors of the Schleck boys leaving the squad. When the team announced their Tour de France lineup, Chris Horner was not on the list. This lead to all kinds of speculation and drama as to why that happened. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that the presumed Tour de France GC contender Andy Schleck was not going to make it due to injury. Ahh, but poor Bruyneel wasn’t done with bad news yet. Just when we thought it was over, Bruyneel and Mr Armstrong find themselves in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Yup – doping allegations again. What is a cycling enthusiast to do.

But hold on a second…

I once again started my commute on a bicycle this morning in beautiful San Francisco. I passed numerous folks doing the same thing. I continue to ride my bike and enjoy it. And despite the fact that folks are predicting a guilty finding for Armstrong would “destroy cycling” my bike will still pedal and roll regardless of a USADA decision regarding Armstrong.

So that’s what I’ll do. I’ll let June suck for Bruyneel and Armstrong. Come July, I’ll be keeping track of the Tour de France and enjoying it. Bike Month is irrelevant to me, honestly. I don’t have a bike month, or even a bike year. I have a bike life, and plan to until I can’t turn my pedals any more.