Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nevada Humane Society Shout Out

Kudos to the NHS for this fun video of an adoption taking place.  Funny and moving at the end.   Shelters are really the only places to get dogs.  So many need loving homes.  Remember, there are no "bad" pets, just bad owners.  Any of the animals at the shelter could be just the right fit for your home.  And don't forget that if you "need" a certain kind of pet (e.g. because of allergies) there are usually rescue foundations for particular breeds so you don't have to go through a puppy mill or some less than reputable source.

Walter came from the Nevada Humane Society and we couldn't be happier that he is part of our family.

Bicycle Portraits from South Africa

This is an interesting series of bicycle portraits for South African riders.   The full series is here and definitely worth checking out.  An amazing array of different types of bikes and people.  I don't have lots of memories of South Africa from when I lived there (I was only 9) but most of what I remember is pretty amazing.  I'd love to visit the country again.   Excerpt with more information about the project:

Stan Engelbrecht and Nic Grobler's Bicycle Portraits is an ongoing project to photograph everyday South Africans and their bikes. Earlier this year, they used a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise $15,000, with which they are traveling around South Africa to meet fellow cyclists and tell their stories. Those pictures and stories will fill the pages of a stunning photographic book. 
"There is an unspoken bond between two cyclist who pass each other on the road," says Engelbrecht. "If you choose to ride a bicycle instead of driving a car or using public transport in South Africa, you make a conscious decision to live outside the norm and put yourself in physical danger of getting robbed or mauled by a taxi every day. These fellow South African commuters are my people, and the Bicycle Portraits project is their voice. We get each other."
"I'm experiencing the project much like a ride on a bicycle, it is a journey," adds Grobler. "We see and learn things along the way. We make new friends and we have fun while doing it. To me the project is about people. It is not just about those we are photographing, but also about the audience of the project. The bicycle is facilitating conversation."
GOOD is proud to present a selection of images from the ongoing Bicycle Portraits project. If you're interested, you should check out some videos or donate to the campaign—a $50 contribution will reserve a copy of the book for you.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Creating "Complete Streets" in Reno

A nice piece in the Reno Gazette Journal about the RTCs ongoing work to create "complete streets" in the Truckee Meadows with a few quotes from yours truly.  There are two expectations I have when being interviewed by the media.  1. They spell my name correctly.  2.  They don't mess up my quotes and make me sound like a blathering idiot.   Verdict?   My name is spelled wrong.  I'll leave others to judge the second part.   Excerpt:

Seven RTC bike lane projects are under way or will be completed in a few years. They include bike lanes and a shared path for north Vista Boulevard in Sparks; bike lanes on Mayberry Drive; lanes on Arlington, Mill and California streets; and lanes done earlier on Wells Avenue.
Randy Collins, a regional bike/pedestrian advisory board member and owner of College Cyclery, credits Reno Councilmen Dave Aiazzi and Dan Gustin for moving the ball. 
Without the support of the cities, “projects would just sit dead at City Hall. There has been exponentially more movement in the last two years than in the 20 years before,” Collins said.

Addison Wihite, an English teacher and committee member, said he feels safe in commuting to Billinghurst Middle School and logged more than 1,000 miles in the past school year.
“I think Reno is a pretty good biking town. There are a lot of good connecting streets,” he said, but added that “you have to know the city” to find them.
He said streets with new bike lanes called “complete streets” represents a huge stride. 
“The ‘complete street’ mentality is all about quality of life in neighborhoods,” Wihite said. “Instead of promoting everybody to get in cars and whizz down the streets, it’s making people feel comfortable walking and cycling and feeling safe.”


Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Importance of the Bicycle

Mechanical Engineering Magazine has an interesting piece in their latest issue called "Credit to the bicycle" that is worth a read.  Strangely there are a few "mistakes" in regarding the actual engineering of the bicycle throughout history.  Strange, in that this is an academic science publication.  And for some reason the emphasis seems to be on how bicycle technology was important to the automobile and airplane industries.  Couldn't the focus be on how the technology of bicycling has advanced to the elegant and refined designs we see today?  Regardless, it is still worth a read.

The Wright Cycle shop, where skills for powered flight were developed, 
was moved to the Henry Ford Museum in the 1930s. Orville Wright 
(above, right) worked in the shop with an employee, Edwin H. Sines, in 1897.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday Night Pick Me Up - Liam Finn

Second Chance?  More like Second Coming!  Liam, son of Neil, is pretty extraordinary in this clip from Letterman.  Love the sampling and the big finish!

Bicycle Art!

Various designs from different artists.  And all reasonably priced.  Check out the rest here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chapeau, Lance!

It's always a sad day when you witness a great champion hit the wall and no longer be able to dominate their sport the way they once did in their glory days. Witness the likes of Michael Jordan or Joe Montana. They may exhibit flashes of their greatness but it is rare for a sports star to leave at the top of their game.

After the eighth stage of the 2010 Tour de France, there could be no doubt that we were no longer going to be able to maintain any hope that Lance Armstrong could ride people off his wheel the way he once did. No more “looks” and then drilling the pedals until his rivals were left gasping.

You may or may not be a fan of Mr. Armstrong who has been known for his brashness and control issues when it comes to his own teams. I have never been what you would call his number one fan. As someone who follows the sport, I prefer to watch the spritely pure climbers or even the one day classics specialists. But there is no doubt he put in some of the most memorable performances of the last 15 years in cycling.

My respect for Lance has more to do with the role he has played in making bicycling part of the cultural conversation of this country in a way that it hadn't been in decades. I can't recall how many times people who otherwise wouldn't have even registered that the Tour was going on struck up a conversation with me about Lance after learning that I like bicycling. They always just assumed that I was a fan because I rode my bike.

I'm sure that there are people far smarter than myself that can figure out exactly what Lance's impact has been on cycling as a mode of transport, recreational activity, and economically on the bicycle industry. I wouldn't be surprised if it is in the billions of dollars. If comparing my ride yesterday to Verdi to riding 12 years ago is any indication, the impact has been extraordinary. Where once I would have been lucky to see a dozen riders and occasional local club group you are now likely to see a hundred cyclists at least. Is this all due to Lance? Not completely. But I think he deserves a great deal of credit for the increased interest.

So as Lance endured a series of crashes and bad luck and age related setbacks over the last couple of years, and after the demoralizing Stage 8 the the Tour where he finished 11 minutes back of the leaders, A lesser champion would have dropped out, or caught the obligatory “stomach virus” that afflicts dozens of riders in the sport who can't get beyond their own egos to be demoted to a supporting role on the team. Yet Lance stayed and honored the race that made him a household name in a way that he hadn't really done before. In many ways I consider that a more honorable end to Lance's Tour history than one could have hoped for. He honored the race that is bigger than any one rider, even the rider who has won it 7 times.

Hats off, Lance.

P.S. Is it possible that Mr. Armstrong's final professional victory might come from winning our (almost) local Nevada City Classic?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cutest. Bicycle. Accessory. Ever!

At least for the summer time.  I'm not sure what you would do with it during the winter months.  Maybe fill it with vodka or schnapps?   Only 14.90 Euros!   You just need to be able to read (I think it's) Danish to order one.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday Night Pick Me Up - World Party

I was thinking about this song while riding yesterday and it put me in the mood for some Karl Wallinger.  Lo and behold the song is being used for an anti-BP rant somebody put together.   I've always loved the soaring chorus and the themes expressed in the lyrics.   I've included the "official" video for good measure.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Portland to (almost) Reno Bike Tour Photos

The Team – Dan, myself, Greg, and Ed – Departing from Portland (click on the images to get a better view or go to my flickr page to get more photos from the trip).

It's taken me awhile to sort through the photos from our bike tour and I haven't really been all that motivated to do a thorough write up.  Too busy relaxing I guess.  But finally here is a smattering of photos from our Portland to Burney Falls State Park Bicycle Tour.  We used the new Adventure Cycling Association Sierra Cascades tour map except for the first day when we connected from Portland over to the Mt. Hood area.  Our improvised route to the official route was outstanding.  The only problem we ran into was on highway 89 in northern California.  Even though the map warned us of logging trucks and no shoulder I'm not convinced that it is a safe route for an organization to be touting as a bicycle touring route.  Between the aforementioned logging trucks, RVers, and lack of a shoulder pretty every one of us had to bail off onto the dirt shoulder at some points during the ride.  We pushed our way through to Burney Falls State Park which was a gorgeous place to wrap up the tour even if we ended up being about 2 days shy of rolling up to our own doorsteps.  All told the trip was over 600 miles which was nothing to sneeze at especially when we were all carrying 40-60 pounds of gear.  It was a great trip and we're already talking about a possible Oregon coastal ride next year.  For me, I just need to stay fit enough to manage a credit card tour to San Francisco later this summer.

The views on the first day – Starting off with a bang!

Smooth Roads and lots of green.

I love that there was moss growing on the shoulder.

Dan's xtracycle handles the load.

First night camp – Ripplebrook

A little speed.

About to do a big descent with some snow in the background.

Smooth roads and no traffic.

We all took a bath in this river. It was so cold I think it took a couple of years off my life.

Greg with his Long Haul Trucker. This may be my favorite picture from the tour.

In Sisters, Oregon. Is that redundant given the bike rack?

Bend, Oregon, played host to the Cycling National Championships. Here they are setting up the stage as we rolled out of town.

I'm smiling because I thought we were at the top of the climb. I was so wrong.

Mt. Shasta in the background.

Burney Falls – Where we called it a day.

Travel Plans - Get Me To Copenhagen!

Between Copenhagen Cycle Chic and this article on 36 Hours in Copenhagen from the New York Times, I'm becoming increasingly convinced I need to plan a trip to Denmark for next summer when I'm out of school.  However as this gallery of images suggests, 36 hours will not be nearly enough time.  Time to go look for some bargain flights to Copenhagen....

Images from Copenhagen Cycle Chic

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Bicycle/Gatorade Commercial

I guess we're supposed to marvel at the "trials" riding but I prefer the road/track cyclist here.  Oh, that's Olympic and World Champion track cyclist Victoria Pendleton if you didn't know already.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Feel the Love...Reno Gets Bicycle Friendly!

Sheesh, I leave for a couple of weeks on a bicycle tour and one of the more significant bicycle developments in recent Reno history happens.  By now most people have noticed the "road diets" that have happened on Arlington Street and California Avenue.  It's not really a surprise for me.  Having sat on the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) since it was reformed with the encouragement of city councilmen, Dave Aiazzi we have all been a part of suggesting possible road diet and bike lane projects for the city.  KOLOTV has a nice video (see below) on the project emphasizing some of the more important elements of the restriping including the "sharrow" lanes that will be happening on California and the fact that the project is practically cost free since the streets were scheduled for a resurfacing already.  The RGJ also has an article on the project that you can read here.

What is a bit conspicuous is the fact that the California Ave. route is part of my morning bike commute and the Riverside Bicycle Boulevard is part of my evening bike commute.   But that's just a coincidence.  Really, it is!