Monday, February 28, 2011

I'm Shocked No One Came Up With This Before!

Just how effective would this anti bike theft device be?   Would you still need to carry a cable and u-lock?

More here:
All you have to do is attach it to your bike, the next time you park, activate it with the press of a button and just leave it there. If you want to disarm it, all you have to do is enter a 4 letter combination using the buttons on the alarm. The alarm uses motion sensors to determine if someone is trying to take your bike without disarming it first. When activated, it will emit a loud noise (80db) for 15 seconds, and keep repeating as long as the motion sensor is triggered and the disarm code hasn’t been entered. This loud annoying noise should be enough to deter thieves who usually don’t want to attract any attention when committing a crime.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sunday Morning Music - Liam Finn

A great rendition of Remember When.  The new album from Liam is supposed to come out in May and he's got an upcoming show in San Francisco.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday Night Pick Me Up - Radiohead

Pretty drastically different sounding than the technoish version released on Friday.  Quite awesome though.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Good Day To Be A Bike Geek!

Came home to find a set of Adventure Cycling maps waiting for me and a brand new Brooks Saddle that I ordered.  It makes me antsy for some summer bike tours that I have planned.  The saddle is lovely and lends a touch of class to most any frame.  It's going to look especially nice on my Rivendell.  

I used to own a Brooks saddle but found that it never did fit the "sweet spot" that other cyclists claimed.  Then after I became addicted to the new breed of open slit modern saddles I didn't feel like I could go back.  A Brooks feels like a chunk of wood albeit one that contours to your posterior.  With the new/old notched model I was feeling like I'd give them a try again because after days in the normal bike saddle during my last tour I felt like my butt was hamburger.  Here's to a summer season of bike tours.  I'm ready!

Protecting Our Rights! Los Angeles About to Get an Anti-Harassment Ordinance.

A great write-up can be located here for this new ordinance.  Kudos to the bicyclists and bicycle organizations that made this happen in what is often assumed to be a terrible bicycling city (but friends and acquaintances confirm that it is not a bad place to ride at all).


Criminal Cases are Tough to Prove

While it’s always been illegal to assault (or threaten to assault) a bicyclist, it has been extremely difficult in the past for authorities to prosecute drivers. That’s because if a police officer isn’t on hand to witness the altercation, there generally isn’t enough evidence to prosecute a driver in a criminal case. Cases of attempted assault are particularly hard to prove; a bicyclist using all their skill to avoid the assaults of an out-of-control driver is left with no physical evidence that an assault took place. There are also instances where the intentionally aggressive actions of a driver towards a bicyclist may cause a crash – just not with the driver that initiated it.
Civil Suits – Lowering the Burden of Proof
Civil suits, however, carry a much lower burden of proof than criminal cases. That’s because civil cases are monetary in nature and never carry any jail time. Under the new ordinance, a series of actions taken against a bicyclist are grounds for a civil suit. They are:
  1. Assaulting, or attempting to assault, a bicyclist;
  2. Threatening to physically injure a bicyclist;
  3. Injuring, or attempt to injure, a bicyclist (this can include verbal and non-verbal threats); and
  4. Intentionally distracting a bicyclist with the intent of causing injury

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Luxury Bicycle "Concept Store" in Paris

Not quite sure what to make of the "concept store" phrase from this article that landed in my mailbox.  All I know is they have what looks to be a lovely shop and some gorgeous and practical bikes on display.  If I ever get back to Paris I'll definitely have to stop by.

Sunday Morning Music - PJ Harvey

So simple and so beautiful.  PJ albums tend to be either great or masterpieces.  Let England Shake is sounding suspiciously like a masterpiece after living with it for a week.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Cultural Bias Against Cycling

I've been biking regularly for 20+ years and so I just understand that it is a given that in the U.S. culturally, cyclists and their rights are ignored, given short-shrift, or just plain demonized.  It's all a matter of perspective in a culture dominated by the automobile.  As I said in a recent post, what do you do when virtually our entire infrastructure is built around the notion of a single human weighing 200 pounds transporting themselves around in a two ton chunk of metal, plastic, and rubber.

So when you see incidents like these I'm not really surprised.  What's more surprising is when people deny this bias in our culture or more directly, when you see how other countries react to violence being perpetrated against cyclists.

Man killed while bicycling on TV Hwy in Beaverton.  Look at this link.  No doubt it was odd for a cyclist to have stopped in the road.  But if you are a motorist and their is bad visibility you're not supposed to just keep driving without being able to see. Isn't the obvious question to ask the motorist why is  "not seeing the bicyclist until it was too late" a reasonable defense?

Or how about this incident from a cyclist being hit on purpose by a white Ford?

Or how about these incidents documented by noted cycling lawyer Bob Mionske?

  • A 19 year-old cyclist stops next to a cement truck. Truck turns right and crushes her. Headline the next day reads: "Bike slams into cement truck." Police said the driver couldn't see her, didn't issue a ticket.
  • A rider going downhill in the bike lane gets crushed under the rear wheels of a right-turning garbage truck. Cops determined that the driver had violated the cyclist's right-of-way, but he couldn't perceive it. They didn't issue a ticket, even though the sideview mirror was held together with duct tape and bungee cord. Media portrayed it as a "cars vs. bikes" story and ran file footage of a bicyclist on a roundabout, nothing from the scene of the crime. "It's a feedback loop," said Mionske. "The message to society is: Someone died on a bike, but it was probably his fault."
  • A mother called, said her son was hit by an F150 truck. Son was issued two tickets for running a light and had $25,000 in medical bills. He had front lights, back lights, and a helmet at the time of the crash. On the scene, the officer asked the cyclist what happened, but the cyclist was in shock and couldn't remember. News said, "Wrong way cyclist hits truck, driver has heart attack," but it turned out that the driver was entering a diabetic coma at the time of the crash. Media wasn't interested when the case against the cyclist was dismissed.
"This just poisons the mind of the public, and the public is who is empaneled in juries," said Mionske. "What you see is anti-cycling bias starts with cops, is reinforced by the media, and is perpetuated in the courts."
"We need to keep the media accountable, and we need to talk to the police," he said. "But it starts with enforcement."
Perhaps most striking is how the reactions to violence against cyclists can be so strikingly different in other countries.  Look at this video from Streetsblog.  This seems to me to be a more reasonable reaction from the media, the justice system, and the general population.  The full story is here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday Night Pick Me Up - A 3fer

It seems like an embarrassment of riches when a week rolls around with a PJ Harvey album, a new Radiohead album, and a couple of dazzling performances on the usually lameass Grammy's.  But here ya go:

Lucky from Radiohead in anticipation of the download for the new album on Saturday:

A clip from PJ Harvey  (she was interviewed on Fresh Air yesterday if interested) in honor of the new album:

And Janelle Monae rocking the shit out of Cold War on the Grammys:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Weekend Bike Photos

Had to take advantage of the gorgeous weather this weekend before the big change that is on the horizon.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Morning Music - Black Keys

The funny thing is I probably wouldn't go see this movie.  But it's a kick ass music video.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'm a Wimp!

That's all I can think when seeing this.  Apparently taken during last week's blizzard in the Chicago area with single digit temps plus nasty winds.  This was shared from the ibob list.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Serious Bike Bling...The Anti-Carbon Fiber Bike!

And it won't rust.  Too bad it's a fixie though.  Not really my thing.   

From the article:

Limited to just 10-units worldwide and priced at $108,000USD, this gold bicycle by the Aurumania Company just might be the most expensive in the world. Featuring a 24-karat gold frame and 600 Swarovski crystals. Click here for more pictures. Continue reading for a video. 

Monday, February 07, 2011

Cycling in Oxford - The Problem of Infrastructure

I love that these photos show cycling in such a matter of fact way.  Much like the famous Copenhagen Cycle Chic site although the photography is better there.  It is a continued source of annoyance to me that over the last century our infrastructure in America as evolved around the idea that the way to transport oneself in a city is by car.   Let's face it, it is completely illogical that pretty much the last 100 years of city planning has made humans beholden to a couple of tons of metal, plastic, and rubber (and oil companies).  As a friend says, why does it make sense that we rely so heavily on something so inefficient to transport ourselves and our lunch to work every day?   Engineering a 4000 pound contraption and the infrastructure to serve it just doesn't make sense when the majority of the time it is used to transport a 200 pound human.