Thursday, April 30, 2009

Velonews Pushes Bicycle Commuter Chic?

Apparently Velonews magazine (the print edition, not the online version) has decided to follow the current bike market and has a feature in the latest issue on gear to set yourself up as a bicycle commuter. It's a welcome and surprising change from their normal competitive cycling all-the-time coverage. Even if the photo spreads for these kinds of stories inevitably end up looking more like they are selling image than practicality. At least one of the bike options has a rack and panniers.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday Night Pick Me Up - Lily Allen

The lyrics, the music, the backup dancers...what's not to love about Lily Allen. Did I mention the lyrics?! They make me laugh out loud.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bicycle Commute Challenge 2009 Update

This week marks the beginning of May and the final stretch of my bicycle commute challenge for the past academic year. The last week was not good with a post surgery dog that required extra attention. No riding for a week makes me crazy. I'm sitting at around 1800 miles with about 28 days of riding left in the year (not including any weekend days that I might ride in which seems to be an all too common occurrence as a teacher). It puts me close to my commitment of riding every day in May from two years ago for my own personal "Bike to Work Month." Last year my personal challenge was 1000 miles in the final two months of the school year.

Speaking of "Bike to Work Month ," why don't we have a full month for bikes in Nevada? In Nevada it's one day, Friday, May 15th, this year. Shouldn't we be pushing for a more consistent bike friendly event than that (a la "every day is earth day")? Here is a little guide from the RnR on bicycle commuting on our one day. No comment on the lame helmetless rider photo.

So here is to the final push for the year and finishing up with over the goal of 2,400 miles this school year. Let's hope that I actually have a job at my school next year (but that's a subject for another post).

Monday, April 27, 2009

California Avenue To Get Road Diet?

The RTC Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (a committee on which I sit) is throwing its support behind a proposal to re-stripe California Ave. from Virginia Street to where it splits with Mayberry. Some time before the end of the year the road is scheduled for a regular slurry seal and it looks like the obvious time to shift the priorities on this stretch of a key road that runs through the downtown area. What is a road diet? Put simply, the stretch of road will go from being 4 traffic lanes with parking along the curb to a 3 lanes (including a center turn lane), two bike lanes, and keep the parking along the curb.

Obviously my primary interest with the BPAC is bicycling but my first reaction to the proposal was what a no-brainer it is for pedestrians. This is especially true as we head towards the busy summer months downtown that inspire lots of foot traffic for concerts, river fun, restaurants, casinos, Artown, and now baseball games. For anyone who has tried to walk from the neighborhoods that exist south and southwest of the downtown area you know that there are times where you are taking your life in your own hands trying to cross California Ave. Road diets have been shown to improve safety for pedestrians.

It also seems to me that it is a no-brainer for the small businesses in the area. Anything that encourages and increases the foot traffic is only going to help the small boutiques, bars and restaurant culture that is so dependent on people popping into stores on a whim. Call it another way of encouraging the impulse purchasing that occurs when people are walking by storefronts.

What needs to happen now to make this a reality? Talk to the city council. Talk to businesses in the area. Talk to your neighbors about how important it is to the quality of life in our city that we support measures that make Reno more walkable and more bicycle friendly.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Morning Music - Three Dog Night

My nominee for the most uncool band that I still can't help but like. Can they sing or what?! They're playing in Wendover this summer...just sayin'.

And some lipsynced silliness...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bike Art Show Tonight

Don't forget the We heART BIkes SHow, organized by the Reno Bike Project, at the Studio on 4th tonight. Starts at 6 p.m. Gets over...whenever?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mad Bike Skills

I takes a lot for me to be impressed by "trick" bike riding anymore. But this video is jaw-dropping. Talk about body-bike control!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dutch Bikes as Fashion Accessory

It looks like Dutch bikes are where fixed gear bikes were about 3 years ago*. The $1000 to $2000 price tag for a Dutch bike just goes to show you that these are more about fashion than reinventing NY Culture. Still, more people on bikes is more people on bikes. And who says I don't look cool in my retro wool bike commuter clothes?

But can New York revert to New Amsterdam? Can the bicycle, the urban answer to the wild mustang, slow down and put fenders on? Can the urban cyclist, he of the ragtag renegade clothes or shiny spandex, grow up and put on a tie?

Serious obstacles stand in the way. Even as bicycle sales and ridership are up, even as the city becomes more bike friendly than ever, the extreme poles of bike culture are still in many ways hostile to biking as it is done in the Netherlands. There, where riding a bicycle to work in a suit and tie is as notable an act as drinking a cup of coffee, there is no bike culture — all culture includes the bike.
*Can I just take a moment and note that as I had predicted, many of the folks who I saw a few years ago who were so enamored of the fixed gear bike, are now riding the far more practical multi-geared, touring and cross bikes?

Spring = [More] Bicycling

Spring Break came a month later this year for the Washoe County School District. It was not a moment too soon as many at my school find themselves in employment limbo with district allocations and other factors forcing them out of a job at Damonte Ranch High School. Next year we say goodbye to the middle schoolers and that's forcing a lot of people to look elsewhere in the district for employment. I love working at the school and the 24 mile bike commute certainly helps keep me in shape.

But it's spring and I need little reminder of the joys of getting out and riding except this week I can actually do it in the middle of the day instead of when it's dark in the morning or during rush hour on the way home. At least I have a safe route home.

All this is to say that the NY Times had yet another good article about getting the bike out of the basement or garage and getting out there (and enjoying the Reno weather). Let's face it. Our climate in the Truckee Meadows is awesome for riding most of the year. Just enough change in seasons to never get bored. The longest stretch I was off the bike was a few years ago when we that the 4 foot dump around the New Year.


For those of us in the cooler climes, it is time to resume our love affair with our bicycles — one of the great unsung sports relationships. For us, cycling is much like tennis was when people dreamed about hitting just one ball a day like Borg or Evert or more recently hitting just one golf shot like Woods or Sorenstam.

Even for aging minimalists like me, cycling is more than a spectator sport and more than a green way to get to the train station. Sometimes when I ride around my town — glacial hills, quiet back roads, increasingly courteous drivers — I wonder how many people got on a bicycle in the last decade after watching Lance Armstrong climb the Alpe d’Huez but also becoming fascinated by the peloton sweeping across France for three weeks.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Hand of God?!

I can't wait to hear some right-wing christian WACKO suggest this is actually the hand of God. I'd better tune in to Fox News now. If God is that actively involved in a far away nebula maybe he/she/it really does care that America is not a Christian nation.

Clearly this is the Jesus potato chip of Turin.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why Cyclists Hate Stop Signs?

[click on the above image to read the captions]

I always knew their was a scientific reason. Actually it is one of the things that I notice that drivers often don't "get" about why cyclists do "roll thrus." Interesting since drivers often roll through stops and don't necessarily realize it. They seem to consider 5 mph a stop. It just looks faster when you see a bike do it and that's when you get the grumbling.


Despite the beliefs of many motorists, who tend to think every bicyclist who violates a traffic law is a reckless anarchist, most bike commuters -- be they doctors, lawyers, plumbers, accountants, journalists, messengers or anarchists - use rolling stops because it's what their bodies and nature demands.

In their essay "Why Bicyclists Hate Stop Signs," University of California physics professor Joel Fajans and Access transportation journal editor Melanie Curry write that requiring cyclists to follow the same complete-stop rules as motorists defies science.

"While car drivers simply sigh at the delay" of a stop sign, they write, "bicyclists have a whole lot more at stake when they reach a stop sign."

Most cyclists feel a compulsion to regain their former speed quickly, pedaling hard to get the bike moving forward fast enough to avoid falling down while up-shifting to get, the researchers found.

On a street with a stop sign every 300 feet, the average speed of a 150-pound rider putting out 100 watts will diminish by about forty percent, they found. By comparison, a 150-horsepower car engine generates 100,000 watts of power. Those are two entirley different worlds.

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Why I Ride a Bike"

I never seem to come up with a fully satisfactory answer when people ask me why I ride my bike so much. This article does as good a job as any at getting close to the truth of the situation. But then you have to throw in my belief that more bicycling could save the planet. Nothing too overblown about that.


My fitness revelation came at age 34, on a sunny afternoon in July, 1992.

After nearly a decade without regular exercise, I decided to go for a bicycle ride. My bike had hung untouched in the garage for years, so I filled the empty tires and lubricated the chain before rolling down the driveway. Soon I was sweating as I pedaled out Marion-Edison Road to State Route 98 and back.

Exhausted from the six mile journey, I collapsed on the couch at home and wondered how I got so out of shape. I perceived myself as reasonably fit, but a short bicycle ride proved otherwise. Embarrassed, I vowed to get in shape by cycling several times a week.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Segway Mark II - P.U.M.A.

Unlike the Segway, which is almost worthless, the P.U.M.A. looks like it has some real world applicability. Now if we could just get people in these instead of their cars for urban trips.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Most Beautiful Music I've Ever Heard - #14

It's easy to forget that Sinead O'Connor was one of the most amazing musical artists to emerge in the 80s with all of her "controversial" statements. Her first two albums are without peer and essential listening for anyone who says they are into rock music. Here she is in her network debut with Letterman. 21 years old, vulnerable, but also a musical dynamo. And below, in her quintessential cover outdoing Prince of all people.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Retro Steel Racing?

Perhaps we can have a retro steel race added to the Tour de Nez sometime in the future? It's easy to make fun of some of the fashion sense from these images but is it really any worse than the wannabe Nascar look of current race kits?

Thanks to the ibob list for this link.