Note: I originally wrote this as a guest piece for the awesome BikingInLA blog. Seeing a video posted over on Cyclelicious reminded me a lot of the sentiment of this post, so I decided to share it again.
There are many of us so-called avid cyclists that are big on participating in, but also promoting cycling. I’m one of those folks. For me, this is partially self-serving. The more folks that we have out on the road riding their bikes, the more accustomed to bikes on the road motorists will be. Makes it safer for all of us overall. Socially I think it is a win. The oft-cited benefits to health and the environment seem like obviously beneficial gains to me as well. That, and the natural human compulsion to want other folks to enjoy what I enjoy.
For some, it is about fostering a “bike culture.” A culture where going to the grocery store, or tootling down to the local cafe, or getting the kids to soccer practice, are all things that are perfectly reasonable to do on a bike. A culture where riding a bike in the rain to get to work doesn’t make you extreme, eccentric or even on the fringe. A culture where riding a bike is normal. As normal as driving a car.
And now we have a conundrum.
Bike lanes are both a blessing and a curse, and anybody that has done much commuting in urban environments has likely experienced both sides of that. On the blessing side, studies have demonstrated that bike lanes do, in fact, encourage more folks to ride. However, it may also create a false sense of security, and can even create greater danger in some situations. Here in US cities, most bike lanes are right in the “door zone” along parallel parked cars, causing cyclists to need to dart into traffic unexpectedly should a car door get opened in front of them. Couple that risk with the pretense of “Mandatory Use Laws” and the dark side of bike lanes shows itself.
The American River Bike Trail in Sacramento will be closed on the morning of March 13th for the 7th running of the Shamrock’n Half Marathon.
According to the published map, the event does a loop through Sacramento, and enters the bike trail at Northgate Blvd. It follows the trail all the way into Discovery Park.
Bicycle lanes are something of a double-edged sword in certain circumstances. Study after study has shown that the presence of bicycle lanes has a positive effect on overall cycling. However, some will argue that traditional bike lane placement – especially on city streets – comes with its own problems. Usually, bike lanes are placed in the exact spot where drivers would get out of their cars when parallel parking next to the curb – the “door zone.” Bike lanes can also put cyclists in conflict with motorists that are making right hand turns at stop lights.
Getting young kids into road bike racing is a worthwhile endeavor, in my opinion. In my recent interview with Dean Alleger, he talked about a lack of support in the United States for youth racing – “there’s no pipeline” as he put it. Most of the time kids get BMX bikes for boys, and banana seats and streamers for girls. Because of this lack of demand, it can be difficult to find actual road bike equipment for kids.
For my own children I went with the Fuji Ace bikes. Available with 20 inch, 24 inch or 650c wheels, they offer a reasonably usable frame and road-bike position that is great for kids. And at about $350 it is a reasonable investment for kids serious about road bike racing (or parents serious about their kids road bike racing) without sinking the bank on a bike they will outgrow within a season or two.
This creation truly brings new meaning to the term “lunch ride.” What the heck is going on out in Boulder, anyhow?
Of course the purists among us will point out that this is not, by definition, a bike.
Parked out front of the coffee shop this afternoon I noticed not one but three Sacramento Police Department bicycles. All were different makes and models, but all were mountain bikes. The three officers had stopped for a cup of coffee. Apparently (but not surprisingly) officers on bicycles are much healthier than their car-bound brethren. There was not a doughnut in a single one of their hands – even a stereotypical one.
All of them were similiarly equipped – with lights and a siren on the handlebars.
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Pro Cycling is, unfortunately, not very well covered on television in the US. For most of us, that pushes us to either insane satellite TV receiver hacking, or the internet. And for the internet, nothing is as valuable a resource as www.cyclingfans.com. You can follow them on twitter, or facebook.
And thanks to them, use yankees (and non-yankees, as the case may be) can catch a glimpse of the 2011 pro team presentations. Even though we already know who will be on most of these teams, these presentations are still fun to watch.
Thieves can’t steal what they can’t reach – correct? That appears to be what a couple of German inventors are banking on.
They’ve created a bicycle lock that attaches to a light post and, using a remote control, will then lift the bike 15 feet up in the air. The device uses what are essentially skate board wheels, electric motors and batteries to literally “drive” up the pole – all while the bike is attached.