Helmets that actually go through testing

I’ve ranted and raved about helmets and the odd fact that no helmet manufacture seems to advertise their testing strategies. I always found it odd that auto manufactures will show somewhat gruesome footage of crash test studies to show how safe their cars are, while helmet advertising never seems to even mention the word “safety.” Instead, we get sold $100 upgrades for improved cooling, better looks and lighter weight.

Well, now those crazy Swedes have proven me wrong. Keep reading →

Everyone needs to do a solo century

bridge
Crossing the I-80 / Carquinez bridge.

The Century is often the benchmark for amateur and recreational cyclists. Often taking the form of fund-raising charity rides or hosted club-run rides, they often feature food, music and expo-like activities at the end. These full day events are, as they say, all about the bike. You are surrounded by fellow cyclists (or sympathetic family supporters of fellow cyclists) and the camaraderie is palpable.

However, there is a ton of benefit – both training and mental – in doing longer rides such as this on your own. For me personally riding with other cyclists definitely improves my performance. I find myself pushing myself just a tiny bit more when the guy in front of me starts to gap me, or when fellow riders are on my wheel. I have the opportunity to slip onto someone else’s wheel for a bit of respite while still maintaining pace.

When you’re out on the road on your own, however, those options don’t exist. It is you, your bike, and the thoughts in your head. Keep reading →

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, these babies aren’t going to see you leading the peloton, but they have more convenience features then you can shake a frame pump at. And with nitrogen filled, puncture resistant tires you shouldn’t need that frame pump anyhow. The bikes are intentionally unique – part of the theft deterrent program – and are very distinctive looking. There are few if any parts that could be easily used with other non-bike share bikes. Ergonomics and comfort are featured here, with a front basket for strapping your cargo in, and skirts off of the rear fender to keep flapping skirts and dresses out of the rear spokes. 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.