Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bling, Bling, Bling...NAHBS is Almost Here!

This Friday to Sunday the North American Handmade Bicycle Show is going on in downtown Sacramento at the convention center.   If you are a lover of bicycles, particularly the art of fine frame building, it is worth your while to check out these masters of the art of making bicycles.  You'll find everything from glorious traditional racing bikes to quirky concept bicycles and everything in between.  Reno's very own famous framebuilder, Roland Della Santa, won best road racing bike a few years back.

I'm looking forward to a fun couple of days checking out the best in North American Bike Making.  And I love the emphasis on small-scale craftpeople at the show.  A quick quote from the NAHBS website illustrates this philosophy:
NAHBS is part of the small business bounce-back. With big businesses increasingly shipping jobs and the manufacturing sector overseas, the real heroes of the American economy are the small manufacturers. The steadily growing handmade bicycle industry is maximizing the national multiplier effect, the component of economic activity with most potential to reduce the national debt. North American bicycle frame builders are regarded as the world leaders in this craft, and NAHBS has inspired similar shows in Great Britain and in Continental Europe.
Here are a few shots of a Della Santa highlighted at last year's show.  Expect some updates here from the show on Saturday and Sunday.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Making Bicycle Commuting the Norm

It seems that everywhere on TV and in the movies a quick visual shorthand that a story is presenting a modern tech workplace is to have the employees zooming around the office on bicycles, scooters, or segways.  There's usually also a ping pong table or video game console in this fictional workplace as well as a bunch of people wearing Vans or Allstars and sporting a t-shirts with something ironic emblazoned on them.

On one level I find this annoying because I'm sure that less than one percent of the work force gets to enjoy such a casual job environment that embraces a bit of energizing, and creativity inspiring, exercise.  On the other hand, deep down, I'm a bit jealous.  And it's not like I don't get to ride my bike into my classroom and park it behind my desk.   Maybe it's not as uncommon as I think.

This story from Marketplace Morning Report captures this growing trend in the work world of businesses who are thinking about how to make jobs less soul crushing and more a place to enjoy and play and be creative.  In a world where job satisfaction is more likely to be due to a feeling of accomplishment and relevance of what you do over pay and benefits, this is an obvious evolution.  More and more businesses do seem to be thinking about what makes for a better way/place to spend your 40+ hours a week and it's nice that bicycling increasingly does have a place in getting to, and around, work.

That's pretty much the way it is in the tech sector these days. Companies are in a race to outdo each other on bike friendliness. Google not only gives employees racks and lockers, the company will donate to charity if employees ride to work. Etsy's got an in-house bike mechanic. In New York, Foursquare just chose a new location for it's headquarters, based on where biking would be easy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Have Bicycle Camper, Will Travel

About the only thing not cool about these bicycle touring campers is the notion of dragging one of them up a ten mile climb while touring across Nevada.  I suppose fish-tailing down a mountain might be a close second.  It's a pretty nifty idea having someplace a little more comfortable to lay your head at the end of a long day in the saddle but I'm thinking the downsides far outweigh, literally, the upsides.  More designs here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Self Portrait with Gunnar

Managed one little cyclocross ride this past visit to southern Utah. Much needed dose of fresh air and beautiful vistas.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, February 17, 2012

Get On the Bus!

Here is a new spin on the "Safe Routes" to schools program.  Who needs a separate bike lane if you can dominate the full traffic lane.  I'm guessing if we had a fleet of these across the United States childhood obesity would all but disappear.  Well, that and an overhaul of the food we feed students in cafeterias across the country would help.

It should come as no surprise that this is built by a Dutch company.  More here from Utne.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Folding Bicycle Helmet?

This looks like the latest in "Transformer" Chic to me.  But is the amount of space you might save really worth it?  I suppose this is just the kind of accessory you might want if you already have a folding bicycle.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Think I'll Pick Up A Car....

Technically, he's not on a bicycle...but still.  I should probably stop being so lazy about grabbing groceries on my bike after seeing this.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fair or Unfair?

This was floating around Facebook the other day, and while I'm certainly aware that there are city planners that haven't got a clue what to do with bicyclists who want to exercise their legal rights to the road (I've had a few conversations with a couple) this seemed pretty unfair.  For one, I'm betting it was a work crew that placed this signage in the middle of the bike lane, not an urban planner.  But more than that, if you identified a need for temporary signage to make motorists more aware of cyclists on a certain stretch of road where would be the best place to put the sign for the safety of all users, pedestrians, motorists, and bicyclists?

I only bring this up to point out that all users need to be accounted for when looking at infrastructure.  For decades the autocentric view has been dominant but positive changes are happening all of the country and it will take years to turn around some of the attitudes that so many have grown up with in regards to transportation.  Sometimes it's not just the drivers that can be myopic about what streets are for.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Morning Music - XTC

I was reading this interview with Andy Partridge of XTC fame and marveling that it is 30 years now since they released what is arguably their greatest album, English Settlement.  Considering the strength of their body of work that is saying something.  Certainly you'd have to argue that ES represents the peak of that particular phase of the band.  I'm still in love with this most well-known track from the album but top to bottom it is a masterpiece that reveals itself more and more with each listen.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Evolution of the SUV

I'm not sure what to make of this but I'm pretty sure the downside is the challenge it'll pose when you want to parallel park.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Feeling Lazy...

It's estimated that as many as half a million people choose to ride their bikes every day in Copenhagen.  And it's not just during pleasant weather.  Oh, to have this kind of infrastructure...but more than that, to have a societal understanding from all users of the urban space that bicyclists belong!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Lance Armstrong Investigation Ends With A Whimper

Not much to say about this.  I suppose I was expecting a big controversy when the prosecution filed charges but this is a bit of a surprise.  I have all sorts of thoughts and suspicions about the Armstrong era and his subsequent use of his celebrity for his cancer awareness causes but I'm content to let sleeping dogs lie.  I am still thrilled by having seen him ride in the Tour de France in 2003 on various stages including the infamous musette bag incident.

Here is one report on the details of the closed investigation.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Sunday Morning Music - Leonard Cohen

The new Leonard Cohen album is chilling in all the right ways.  Old Ideas came out last week and I can't stop playing it.  Subtle, haunting, funny, and beautiful, like every great Cohen record.  Here is a live clip of one of the tracks.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

If Only I Spoke Japanese

I'm not sure quite what to make of this but it's certainly humorous, and was intended to be.  I love the shots of the riders gazing off into the distance.  And this type of bike ride seems like a great way to spend a day.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Practical Pedal

Now this strikes me as a pretty useful urban riding machine.  Especially if you can mount a little basket somewhere on it to carry a few groceries or whatnot.