Cyclist that killed pedestrian is a pain in my arse…

Taking a cue from the NBC Bay Area article, I've inserted a completely arbitrary photo of cyclists at an intersection that has absolutely nothing to do with the story being written.

I’ve been watching this story for a bit, biting my tongue (and my fingers) trying to stay out of it. But I’m fed up.  San Francisco cyclist Chris Bucchere, according to numerous reports both local and national,  caused fatal injuries to a pedestrian in a crosswalk in the Castro area of San Francisco.  Accidents are a terrible thing, but unfortunately somewhat inevitable in a crowded urban landscape such as San Francisco.  Clearly that does not diminish the loss to the victim and his family, nor does it absolve the cyclist of any wrong doing should he be found to have been negligent.

No – what’s pissing me off is the ridiculous amount of media coverage being given to this event – admittedly a tragedy.  Actually, to be more clear it isn’t exactly the media coverage I’m frustrated with, but rather the perceptional bias that is indicated by the media coverage.

My frustration is that a pedestrian being killed by a cyclist garners national coverage.  Meanwhile, pedestrians are struck by autos every day in San Francisco and barely warrant a mention in local media.

In a statement you may rarely find me typing, The San Francisco Bay Guardian got it right:

Yet activists also sought to place this case in context, noting that an average of almost three pedestrians are hit by cars everyday in San Francisco, even though that rarely makes headlines. There were 220 pedestrians killed in San Francisco from 2000-2009, the vast majority hit by cars whose drivers rarely faced criminal charges. In fact, the same week that Sustchi Hui was killed there was another pedestrian killed by a motorist and another one by a Muni bus.

Yup – that’s my gripe.  Cyclist kills a pedestrian and we can’t write enough words about it.  Automobile kills a pedestrian and we (the collective we – the “sheep” we) chalk it up to an unfortunate necessity of living in an auto-centric society and remind pedestrians to look both ways before crossing the street.

Tell me I’m not the only one that feels there is a bit inequity in this coverage.

 

Season starts with more doping nonsense

Headline:  “Cycling has another week riddled with news of doping and not much else”

Well, at least that is what you’d think if all you read is the mainstream press, or even the mainstream cycling press.  We’ve already had racing action this season.  First in Australia with the Tour Down Under, and the Tour of Qatar just started.  Now honestly though – how many folks do you suspect actually know the standings of the early season races?  I’m betting a fair sight less than the number that know that 1) Lance Armstrong is off the hook, and 2) Contador has been stripped of his 2010 wins – including the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia.

And this season is promising to be a great showdown.  The combination of some of the riders from both Leopard Trek and Radio Shack into one team.  Renshaw free to clash sabers in the sprints without having to focus on delivering Cavendish to the front.  This is real racing drama – happening now.  Armstrong doesn’t race anymore – remember?  And now Contador won’t be racing this year until the Giro either.  So let’s focus our attention on the people out there trying to beat each other on the roads and single tracks – not in the court rooms, press rooms and headlines.

If only we could get as much coverage of our race winners as we do the doping circus…  Just one man’s opinion.

Thanks LeBron

Nothing draws attention to cycling like a celebrity spotting.  I mean, if celebrities are gonna jump on the saddle, then maybe— just maybe— us mere commoners can.

OK.  Enough with the snarky comments on my part.  When I ran across the link whose title started with “LeBron Rides His Bike To Work…” I thought I’d have to at least give it a glance.  However, I found that the actual title had a little more to say than that: “LeBron Rides His Bike To Work, Thinks Safety First” [emphasis mine].  I could feel my eyes rolling.  Sure enough, the predictable helmet stanza was highlighted in the otherwise short article:
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Amtrak Capitol Corridor to change bike policy

I’ve heard rumors through the grapevine (or on the mailing lists, if you want to get technical) that the Amtrak Capitol Corridor trains were considering changing their policies regarding bicycles aboard the trains.  Currently, they allow you to take a complete, assembled un-boxed bike on board the train and store it in one of the spaces provided.  These spaces include a standing floor rack, or hooks you can hang the bike from.  These accommodations vary by train car and equipment set configuration, but cars generally have space for either 3, 8 or 13 bicycles at a time.

Currently, if and when all spaces become full and more bikes want to get on, passengers are allowed to continue to board the train and place their bikes … wherever.  There is a walkway with a handrail that has been a particular favorite of many, as well as a large empty spot allocated for wheelchairs.

The rumors flying around are that conductors were going to start denying passengers access if all “official” bike spots were already taken.  The facts behind this rumor were revealed in a blog post on the CapitolCorridor website:

You may have heard or read public comments about the Capitol Corridor’s Joint Powers Authority’s (CCJPA) new on board bike storage policy. I want to clarify that on February 1, 2012 we will start our “get acquainted period” to help educate riders who bring bikes on board the importance of proper bike storage. We will begin implementing the new policy several months afterwards in order to give riders time to prepare and acclimate to proper bike storage practices that allow for adequate access and safety.

David Kurtrosky

Kurtrosky further explained the need for this policy change by citing “…our [Capitol Corridor trains] growing ridership and the corresponding increase in bike usage over the past few years.”  However, the official policy statement stops short of saying that people will be denied the right to board, using much gentler language:

Several months from now, when the Capitol Corridor’s new bike policy is in place, passengers who board trains with bikes will be required to:

  • Secure bicycles to prevent the sudden or uncontrolled movement of bikes in the event of a sudden train stop; and
  • Store bicycles so that all passengers (including those in wheelchairs) can safely navigate the train aisle-ways.

Kurtrosky’s blog post gives further details, and a response to the anticipated “why don’t you make more space for bikes” questions.  I’ll personally be keeping a close eye on this, as I’m on the cusp of changing from once weekly commutes to 4 times a week.  Of course my bike is an integral part of that commute.

Thanks to VeloReviews member, and fellow Amtrak rider Paul Crescione ( @paulcrescione ) for bringing the Amtrak blog post to my attention

Ready…. Joust!

I’m sure I’m not the only one that has imagined it – bicycle jousting.  The subject came up in an email chain at work (draw your own conclusions there) so I went poking around.  Sure enough, there were links and videos a-plenty:

Much to my surprise, it apparently appeared in a movie as well:

And as with anything remotely quirky in the cycling world, those crazy tall bike folks have taken over the whole scene.  Which just makes the entire jousting experience just silly, doesn’t it?

Happy cyclist excuse day!

Cyclist excuse day?  But isn’t it Thanksgiving?

Yes.  Yes it is.  Thanksgiving is the day when, all across the country, countless individuals, groups and clubs are going out on casual or social rides with friends and competitors.  It is a time to get on the bike in full kit to ride 12 miles an hour for less than 20 miles and never break a sweat.  So why the odd ritual?

Well, Thanksgiving day social rides are first and foremost an excuse.   Continue Reading »

But what about the children?

Dean Alleger helps get a young rider fitted on the stationary bike. Photo: Jeff Namba

Here in the United States, children in the millions take part in organized sports every day. Little league, youth soccer, swimmers, and pee-wee football all have organizations ranging from casual, neighborhood games up to state and national competitive clubs. At the higher levels of these organizations, talent is identified, developed and groomed from a very young age. These programs often feed right into college level athletics, and then on to the pros.

However, one sport that is not so common as an organized youth activity is cycling. Pop culture acceptance of competitions such as the X Games have helped bring exposure and acceptance to Freestyle and BMX type cycling events.  However, for kids who like road or track racing, it can be nearly impossible to find others that enjoy the same thing that aren’t 20 years older then they are.

However, there are some that are actively trying to address this apparent lack of support..

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Pelotons, Breakaways, Grupettos, Life

Stage races in cycling are simultaneously odd and beautiful.  The ebb and flow, the dynamics of the group, are something to behold.  People peel off the front, hoping to either capture their 5 minutes of fame, or establish themselves as an alpha member of the stage, expected to ride on to great things.  In the peloton, whole groups of riders can work together for the greater good.  Or, a momentary lapse of attention can take out half of the group.  On climbs, the tired, weary and injured with gather together, spontaneously helping each other regardless of team or affiliation, just hoping to survive.

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Burning Man Bikes

The below photo – courtesy of Up Town Almanac – is apparently a collection of bikes left behind at the Burning Man Festival.  My question is this – how the heck did they get them all up there in the first place?  And what’s it gonna take to get them down?

More cycling parodies – srsly

We all know “Its all about performance”  Well – if you don’t know, then go find out now!  Next up in line is an all new serious cyclist.  It is good to make fun of yourself!

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