How many cyclists does it take to make toast?

There were a number of different thoughts that went through my head when I first saw this video. First – damn that dude’s thighs are huge. Second, the amazing fact that there are folks in the world that can sustain over 700w on a bike.

But then I thought about the message of the video. Clearly the video is trying to help people understand how much energy we consume as a society. I understand this problem. But I actually took away something a little more beautiful from this. Keep reading →

Route change for Seattle To Portland

This year’s Seattle to Portland bicycle ride – put on by Cascade Bicycle Club – is just around the corner. I’ve mentioned a couple of times how much I love this ride, and I’m really excited to be going back again. This year, however, will have a slightly different route this year.

They’ve just announced via email to registered riders that this years route will not take you through US Military property at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Keep reading →

Bay Area Bike Share Expanding

logo_white_green_cogThe wonderfully successful Bay Area Bike Share program, launched in September of 2013, has shown steady use since day one. Now, with just over a year and a half of operation, they have reported over 500,000 trips taken, with over 300,000 of those in San Francisco alone. Over 7,000 have opted for the $88 year membership, while almost 50,000 short term passes have been sold.

The fleet of 700 bikes are clearly tailored to the casual / commuter cyclist. Weighing in at 42.5 pounds, Keep reading →

Washington State Still #1 According to Report

600px-WTO_protests_in_Seattle_November_30_1999Ahhhh Washington. The state where white cops spray pepper spray at white protesters. Birthplace of Starbucks, popularizer of flannel shirts, and home to some wicked volcanos (And this post is going out just days before May 18th coincidentally.) And despite the persistent yet very inaccurate impression that it rains there non-stop, it has spent 7 consecutive years on top of the list of bike friendliest states published by the League of American Bicyclists. Keep reading →

Why I can no longer support my local bicycle coalition

This is the post I’ve struggled to write for the last year. It is the culmination of thoughts and impressions that have been coalescing  for many months. As a shop owner, it lead me to question my morals and values as I publicly lent my support to my local bike coalition. As I got more and more involved in local politics it became apparent to me that pretty much nothing “bike related” would get any traction without the local bike coalition’s approval. And that has lead me to where I am now.

I can not support this organization. I believe we have reached a point where they are now doing more harm than good. Keep reading →

Do you know exactly who the highways were built for?

15pr34-1“Hey – do you know who the highways were built for?!?!”

It has always been a source of contention in the debates over how to allocate road space. “Roads are made for cars,” “Motorists pay the taxes that build our roads,” and “Why should I have to pay for infrastructure for cyclists” are among the many complaints that are made about the allocation of transportation funds in our municipalities. I’m going to avoid the tax issue for the moment (planning on a much longer post about that in the future.) Besides, many others have taken this issue on already.

I would like to address the idea of who roads were actually built for. And interestingly enough it would seem that the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) has some thoughts on the matter themselves. Keep reading →

Another bike month is here

Ah the month of May….

The flowers return from a long winter’s absence (if there is any water left), the sun is appearing (if it actually every went away), fans flock to baseball games (if allowed) and numerous employees are encouraged, berated, bribed and pressured into throwing a leg over a bike to get to work. That’s right folks – May is bike month. And while I’ve made fun of it before, you gotta love it.

I will say this though. My current hometown of San Francisco definitely seems to embrace the event whole heartedly. Sure, many of the local bicycle advocacy groups continue to use fear of death and dismemberment as their primary means to gain political power and thus “improve cycling.” But despite what some might like to say, this city is pretty damn supportive of cyclists.

Which has lead me to be a whole lot less cynical about this particular May as compared to every bike month prior. What have I really noticed? Well, aside from folks weaving all over the bike lane at 10 miles per hour, unstable on the bike they haven’t ridden since last May*, I’ve noticed something a lot more wonderful. Clusters of folks with bikes , pulled off on the sidewalks and out of the way, smiling, chatting. Phrases like “Oh – you rode today too?” and “Oh hey – what a great bike” flowing forth from smiling lips.

Ah the month of May.

 

For the record, I have no problem getting stuck behind these folks. I would never want to deny anyone the joy of rediscovering the simple pleasure of riding a bike. I just may chose NOT to upload that particular commute to Strava….

The good and bad of hands free laws

Just a short, simple observation for you today. I’ve noticed a good thing, and a bad thing, about the “hands free” or “no texting while driving” laws enacted across the country.

Good Thing:

Fewer distracted drivers on the road, looking at where they are going instead of LOLing the latest selfie from their bestie.

Bad Thing:

An increase in the number of people parked in the bike lane, having pulled over to LOL the latest selfie from their bestie.

 

 

… You win some, you lose some.

Neil Hanson, Author of Pilgrim Wheels

Pilgrim Wheels - front cover

Cyclist and author Neil Hanson has just released a book titled Pilgrim Wheels: Reflections of a Cyclist Crossing America. The book describes the first half of a somewhat-impromptu journey across the United States by bicycle. Having something of an interest in folks taking off on long distance bike rides, I decided to share a few responses to questions posed to the author.

Note: You can also read a review of Pilgrim Wheels on VeloReviews.com: Pilgrim Wheels book review

What was the original inspiration for your bicycle trip across America?

I wanted to take a bike ride. A long bike ride. Hundreds of miles, just me and my bike. Why? No particular reason, it just sounded like a neat thing to add to the checklist of “fun and exciting things I’ve tried.” The idea became an adventure. An adventure to plan for and to move toward. A box to check off. Eventually, I was clipping into my pedals in Monterey, California, pointing south along the coast on a beautiful summer day, discovering America and me. Keep reading →

UC Denver doing cycling behavioral study

ucd_rgb_h1The University of Colorado Denver is engaged in a study of cycling behavior on the roads, and has created an online survey to help gather data. Lead by principal investigator Dr Wes Marshall, the survey asks questions about your driving habits, cycling habits, and opinions on both.

The survey was mentioned in a well written discussion in a Washington Post article about why cyclists may be motivated to ignore, bend or even break traffic laws – a good counterpoint to another article from the same publication basically arguing that bikes should be banned from the roads.

My one concern about the survey, however, is that the title itself seems to imply an inherent bias. While it did not influence me (that I know of) using the title “Scofflaw Biking Survey” seems a bit too biased for an accurate cycling behavioral study. And for those prone to more subtle input, the URL is worse: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1885930/bikingbad.