Cycling to work when work is soccer

Now all of you footballers (aka soccer players) can have a role model to inspire you to join the 15mpd movement!  According to, Chelsea FC midfielder Michael Essian has decided to make his 10 mile round trip to the training grounds via bike – instead of sporting the Lamborghini.

Shocked Premier League buddies have even nicknamed the £120,000-a-week Ghana midfielder “Lance”, after Tour de France legend Lance Armstrong.

While the rest park up their Bentleys and Porsches, Michael, 27, cuts a cool figure in helmet and wraparound shades as he gets off his £1,300 two-wheeled racer.

— From “Michael Essian goes into cycling

But watch out Essian!  I just happen to know of another footballer that may just be nipping on your heels – both on the pitch and the bike!

Hey soccer mom – meet cycling family!

I’m sure many of you have seen the collection of stickers on the back of an SUV that depict the entire family – including the cat and the dog – in various poses indicating their respective interests.  So boy was I excited when I spotted the following stickers on a mini van traveling down Market St in San Francisco.

I gotta get one of those!

My only question is – did Dad just drop the family?  Not cool, dad.  Not cool.

Tell a cyclist to “Break an Elbow”

Pretty much everyone is familiar with the tradition in theater of wishing well to actors before a performance by stating “Break a leg.”  Well, now cyclists can have their own silly superstition.  Next time someone is heading out for a ride, yell at them “Break an elbow!”

We can thank Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles for setting us up for this.  He recently found himself involved in a right-hook incident with a taxi cab while he was riding his bike on Venice Blvd, which ultimately resulted in a broken elbow for the mayor.

As a result of this incident, the mayor has declared his desire to put together a bike summit.  According to an LA Weekly post:

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recently reached out to the bicycle community via YouTube and announced — more than a week after he broke an elbow in a bike accident on Venice Boulevard — that he would help organize a summit about the future of pedal power in L.A..’We’re going to work with the bicycle safety community to put together a bike summit,” he said.

It is unfortunate that someone in a position of power has to be injured to drive the point home about the need for more understanding and protection of cyclists.  However, it is totally understandable why, as a human, the mayor would be more sensitive to cycling issues after an incident such as this.  “Have a good ride mayor!  Break an elbow!”

The time seems ripe in LA for a change in culture.  The LAPD was already making strides to improve bicycle safety.  From the LA Times blog post:

Police Chief Charlie Beck has made overtures to bicyclists, promising to make their safety a bigger priority and sending some of his officers to ride in the monthly Critical Mass bicycle ride in June. The LAPD issued a directive instructing officers that a motorist can be held responsible for causing a bicycle accident even if he or she did not make direct contact with the rider — and can be arrested for fleeing the scene, Box said.

The LAPD involvement in the critical mass ride, while reported as wildly successful by both sides, unfortunately also only arose in response to an unfortunate circumstance.  A previous ride in LA staged to protest the BP oil spill was met with what was perceived by many as unwarranted aggressive behavior towards cyclists.

I fully applaud the actions of both the mayor and LAPD, acknowledge that all folks make mistakes, and give kudos to LAPD for recognizing a poorly handled situation and taking actions to correct the damage. However, I can’t help but find it frustrating that so many times it requires a tragedy in the cycling community to bring about any real, positive change.

Be safe, keep your helmet above your saddle above your pedals, and by all means “Break an Elbow!”

You’ve gotta be “nuts” recently posted and article about a collaboration between various fashion designers and Peugeot for a charity / fundraiser event.  This event gave 12 designers a Peugeot frame to customize, which would eventually be auctioned off.

Twelve Peugeot fixed-gear bikes and 12 top fashion designers recently came together for one goal: Raise funds for Act-Responsible, a non profit organization that promotes responsible communication on sustainability, equitable development and social responsibility.

I was browsing through the photos of the completed creations.  Most were what one might expect for art bikes – interesting and even beautiful designs, but often at the expense of ridability or practicality.  But then I stumbled across this gem created by “Husband and wife François and Marithé Girbaud” []: describe this bike by saying “Their bike has a custom frame with irregular geometric figures to die for.”  I suspect that may have been an error though, and what they perhaps meant to say was “irregular geometric figures that will make you wish for death should you try to ride it.”

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve got absolutely nothing against art bikes.   However, art bikes are like haiku – there is a specific framework for the form to follow.  It is the expression of creativity within that framework that truly allows the genius of the artist to shine through.

Maybe in the future an additional requirement for these contests would be to require the designer to actually sit on and pedal their creation when they are done.  That might help illustrate pesky details that slipped through the cracks, like not being able to reach the pedals, or the handlebars for that matter.

The #15mpd – 15 miles per day, every day, for a year!

August 1, 2010.  That is when I start(ed) my commitment to ride a minimum of 15 miles a day, every day, no exceptions, no excuses.  OK – so significant muscle injuries or broken bones might be valid excuses.  But everything else is out.  Even the flu will be frowned upon as an excuse.  Let’s do it America – 15 miles a day, every day, for a year!

Consider what the average American suburban dweller does: Keep reading →

Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen rocks Second Saturday

Tall bikes on display

Midtown Sacramento was packed on July 10th for the monthly Second Saturday Art Walk, and bikes were everywhere.  For some, the bikes themselves were the artwork.  Custom tall bikes adorned with streamers and flowers were displayed in at least one location.  Symbols of creativity and individual craftsmanship to some, mere curiosities to others.  Either way, they seemed right at home amidst the predominately urban and utilitarian bicycle presence throughout the entire event.

For others, the bikes were a convinient workhorse, a mobile art gallery or shop.  And for a great many more, the bike was the only reasonable way to navigate to, from or through the Midtown Sacramento streets that become completely full of art lovers, party-goers and those just out to mingle.

Few other places in Sacramento embody the practical and community aspects of the bicycle lifestyle like the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen.  This fusion of ideas was demonstrated even more as the Bike Kitchen hosted a music-and-beer event right in the shop.  Bands like the country-rock group The Alkali Flats kicked out the jams to a backdrop of shelves of donated and repaired bikes and benches adorned with wheel truing stands.

Doug - Sacramento Bike Kitchen

According to Doug (Hear the full interview here), one of the volunteers working at the event, the Bike Kitchen is “…non-profit, volunteer run…tool co-op.”  The tools and parts that are present all over the shop all come from donations.  Anyone can come in off the street and for a “five dollar suggested donation” get help getting their bike back on the road.  The entire shop is staffed with volunteers, and will not only help you fix whatever is broken on your ride, but probably also teach you how to do it for yourself in the process.

If you can afford it,  if you can afford the 5 bucks to come out and donate and learn how to work on your bike what you’re doing is helping someone that can’t afford that.  You’re going to help a college student that wants to travel, or your going to help a homeless person that’s wanting to try to find a job.  You’re going to donate into the community that’s Sacramento – the bike community – and get someone on a bike that wouldn’t otherwise get there.

Audio segment of interview with Doug at the Bicycle Kitchen

All proceeds from the sale of refreshments at the show go to support the Sacramento Bike Kitchen.  The scene of folks sporting polka-dot cycling caps talking to women in evening gowns was fantastic.  Add in the accompaniment of music by The Alkali Flats and it made for a great evening all around.

For more on the Sacramento Bike Kitchen, listen to the entire interview with Doug (QuickTime format)[local /wp-content/uploads/2010/07/]

Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen is located at 1915 I Street in downtown Sacramento, on the alley adjacent to the rail road tracks between H and I streets.

View Larger Map

Additional Photos

Peugeot securely locked to pole

Interior of Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen


You know an event is a big deal when it has its own custom-branded porta potties…

Funky Monkey Family survives LA traffic

Funky Monkey Family

In a previous post I introduced and interviewed Antonio and Jessica as they left San Francisco heading towards South America.  In a recent update to their blog, they comment on the experience of cycling the streets of Los Angeles.  It is interesting to get the perspective of someone who has both spent the last several month traveling vastly different roads and areas, yet now skewed by a lifetime of cycling/motorist interaction baggage.

Farther’s Day tips for the cyclist dad

There is a very long tradition of getting dad a tie for Father’s Day (that’s June 20 this year, by the way.)  But what if Dad’s favorite pastime involves a saddle, two wheel and two pedals?  As a general rule, folks don’t wear neck ties on the weekend group rides.

Luckily, there are a number of items – ranging from the relatively inexpensive to the completely extravagant – that can fill the bill.  Here’s a list of some ideas in no particular order:

  • Socks.  Socks are probably the closest analogy to the tie for the cyclist dad.  They provide that splash of color, that personalization, to whatever kit dad wears.  Get him socks for his favorite pro cycling team (Does dad have a favorite pro cycling team?  If so, do you know who they are?)  Or maybe some socks branded with the logo of the company that made his favorite bike.  Perhaps some uber-high tech socks, utilizing the latest research in nano-technology, genetic engineering, interstellar travel and manipulation of the public through advertising (you’ll recognize them by their inclusion of PhD, Tek or Sci in the name).  Or, maybe just socks with a cutesy saying embroidered on em.
  • Cycling Caps.  Another good substitute for the neck tie.  You’ll need to be a little careful with these, though, as some men don’t like to wear them casually. Know Thy Father! However, if dad is into the caps, you can find these ranging from the common manufacturer-labeled black styles, to the omni-present Capo caps, to the stuffy “let’s ride to Cambridge on our classic Bianchi” wool variety.  (Hint: this last item might be a good fit for dad if you’ve heard him use the phrases “Brooks,” “leather,” “saddle,” and “I own” in combination in the same sentence.)  And just like socks, know what components dad rides (ask if you don’t know – he’ll be more than happy to talk about them for a few hours) and get him a cap that matches his crankset.
  • Spare Tubes.  OK – a little caveat here.  Giving spare tubes to dad may evoke a similar reaction to giving a new vacuum cleaner to mom on Mother’s Day.  It depends entirely on the person.  Spare tubes are an extremely practical, and completely unsexy gift.  They will be greeted with either gratitude or fits of fury.  Again, Know Thy Father! If you do, however, happen to know one of those practical type dads, be damn sure you know the difference between presta and schrader valves (Know Thy Valves).  Check the bike while he is sleeping if you don’t know for sure.
  • Jersey Always a sure hit – but expect things a little more on the pricey side ($75-$150).  See Socks and Cycling Caps above for logo ideas.  When all else fails, go for a beer themed jersey.
  • New Bike.  OK.  If you are seriously looking at this item and considering it as an option, I’ll recommend the Pinarello Dogma.  If you are still seriously considering this item, please contact me ASAP, as I can assist you with disposal if dad doesn’t like the bike you selected for him for some reason.

Wow. Rush hour can be fun

Finally. Out of Europe. Video evidence that rush hour traffic can actually be enjoyable! And a little less noisy too.

All of GoldSprints equipment stolen

West Coast GoldSprints trailer was stolen. Read the story at Spread the word in any way you can. Help them find their equipment.

GoldSprints are indoor (i.e. on trainers) cycle racing.  Often taking place in a party type atmosphere, these events have ties back to the pubs of Europe where (it is my understanding) they got their start. West Coast Gold Sprints is one of the premier promoters of these type of events on the US west coast.  These events require a whole lot of equipment – including not just bikes and trainers but audio/visual equipment, computers, etc.

West Coast GoldSprints is also the orginization staging at least some (if not all) of the Mike’s Bikes hosted races.

If ever there was a time to be part of the “cycling community,” it is times like this.