Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bullitt on a Bike?

It's impossible not to make the comparison with this chase scene set in San Francisco on McMillan & Wife as compared to the best car chase scene in the history of cinema.  For a cheesy 70s TV show this bike chase around SF is quite thrilling even if it doesn't make any logical sense.  Thanks to a fellow ibob for forwarding this my way.  The bike chase starts about a minute into the clip.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bicycle Lights for the Tron Fans

Lots of new bike light ideas floating around out there and as far as lighting goes this one is not bad.  Especially if you are a fan of Tron.  A bit pricey at over $200 but there is a lot of bang for your buck here as far as being seen by motorists.

Revolights™. Now landed. from revolights on Vimeo.

Bicycle Taxidermy

It occurred to me after a friend sent me this site that while I've sold off plenty of bikes I've never had to put a bike out to pasture so to speak.  No frames have busted from overuse, no debilitating crashes, etc. I'll call myself lucky in that regard.  This is something of a humorous way to pay homage to a bike if that ever happened.  Seems like it could be plenty functional as well as a coat rack.  More here.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cyclist Dies in Truckee

Not Truckee.... butdoes illustrate one of the issues common for cyclists in roundabouts.  Are cyclists supposed to teleport to get through?  You can see the squeeze points that would make motorists anxious.
Just passing this along.  A cyclist has died up a Truckee apparently in a roundabout intersection.  RGJ has the story here.  Roundabouts can be tricky for cyclists because you never know if motorists are going to recognize their right to have space in the driving lanes.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

I have too many reasons to be thankful overall in my life between my family, work, and friends.  But I am also thankful that over six years in to playing around with blogging I'm still happily rolling along and for whatever reason, hundreds of people choose to stop by daily to see what might be posted here.   Not bad for a blog that started out as a graduate seminar project and then morphed into a "placeblog" with a somewhat esoteric subject matter (although it seems increasingly less culturally esoteric every year).  Cheers and thanks and get a good ride in over the long weekend!

Flatless Tires?

An interesting idea...I'm curious how much mud those tires will hold in those gaps.

You can't reinvent the wheel, but you can reinvent the tire. Colorado tire maker BriTek has unveiled an airless tire for bicycles that does away with the need to repair flats. The Energy Return Wheel is made from two layers of rubber stretched over a 29-inch carbon fiber wheel.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Real" Clothes for Bicyclists

I was sitting on a plane last weekend having finished my book and desperately grabbed the magazine from the seat pocket to avoid a long conversation about nothing.  I was lucky that someone had left a copy of Details magazine so I wasn't further reduced to reading the airline magazine provided to everybody.

Being happy that it was Details magazine is saying something I suppose because it is essentially a crappy men's magazine telling people what to buy if they make six figures and what celebrities to emulate.   But flipping through the pages I found an article on the rise of street clothing specifically designed to look "normal" yet with features conducive for life on a bike.  Noting that urban riding is on the rise in a popular mass market magazine like this is a good thing.  I was happily surprised to see that Levi's is offering a reasonable pair of jeans for riding.

Every day it seems like I'm finding more and more info dropped in my lap regarding bicycle style and culture and riding and it does start to feel like this is a critical mass and not just a fad in the U.S.  Here is one example and you can be the judge of whether it is practical and stylish but the fact that someone took the time to design and market this women's riding outfit is interesting in and of itself.

Here is the link for the Iva Jean  Kickstarter campaign and more photos/info.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gunnar Sport Ride Report

I finally got a chance to ride my Gunnar Sport for longer than my 10 mile commute.  I knew some real miles would reveal the truth behind my choice to go with the Gunnar as detailed here, and I wasn't disappointed.

It was a perfect fall morning.  Cool, crisp, with no winds.  I decided to head west and take some detours along the way such as along a great wooden bridge going over the Truckee River.  The word of the day was definitely comfort.  The cushy Jack Brown tires soaked up the bumps and rolled nice and smooth over any chop I encountered.

Yet remarkably the bike doesn't feel pokey.  Yes, I can tell a difference when trying to wind it up to speed as opposed to my Della Santa.  But the record hubbed/DT swiss wheels felt solid and quick and my cruising speed felt fast, or at least as fast as felt necessary at my current fitness level.

Likewise, the handling was not as sharp as the DS.  But it was still precise enough and responded to my body language as I maneuvered the bike.  I haven't taken the bike on any sustained climbs over 5 miles but can tell it won't feel as spritely as my pure racing bike.  But then, I knew that going in and that was the plan.  This bike is built for the long haul and carrying a bit of practical weigh along the way.

The cockpit has been set up with a bit more of an upright position for all day riding and touring and better ability to survey the street and traffic as I ride to and from work.  It's a shame every day when I roll up to my job that I can't just keep riding.

One of the interesting things about the fit is how quickly my body has adapted to the slightly higher position while riding.   Both my road bike and my cross bike are set up in a comfortable but lower position.  By comparison the Gunnar Sport feels somewhat like I'm pushing a shopping cart.  This balance threw me off a bit when I would normally jump out of the saddle up a short incline rather than staying seated to power up the hill.  That's not a bad thing but I'm looking forward to trying out the bike on a long ride or a credit card tour.  I suspect that is when I will feel the full benefit of the bike's stability and comfort.

All in all the bike felt somewhat similar to my old Bridgestone RB-1 except more comfortable, lighter, and a bit more nimble.  That's a pretty good mark to hit.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Greg LeMond Back in the Saddle

I'm not suggesting he was ever really out of the saddle but this is a great piece from Rapha's website.  Both the video, and the article here, are worth checking out!  Some great shots up around the Markleeville area.

With a Name Like's got to be good!

I can't help but be intrigued by the Ocean Air Cycles' Rambler - Sport Touring Bicycle campaign launched on Kickstarter.  The pictures and description look pretty promising for the bike.  Check out the video and text below.  I'm a little jealous of a revitalized "Rambler" bicycle given the history of the Reno Rambler bike club and this little bicycle themed place blog of mine.  Good luck to Ocean Air Cycles and making it work!  Click on the kickstarter link to contribute.

More bike info:

Have you been looking to get a bike that bridges transportation and sport? Transportation does not have to be a mini van, you can still have a sporty ride with clean styling, great handling and a carry modest load. You like bikes that have a traditional look and styling, possibly a preference for traditional french styling from the 40′s and 50′s, with your daily load up front on a rack where you can keep an eye on it and easily get to it without climbing off the bike. Then the Rambler is the right bike for you.

With years of personal research and design study I have addressed these issues with the Rambler, a bike steeped in the lineage of the traditional French touring bikes. Using modern production techniques and partnering with a U.S. fabrication team to deliver the look and function you want, with a few bells and whistles thrown in.

The ride will be light and sporty, yet stable with loads for your commute, day rides or the occasional quick load of groceries up front. It goes without saying there will be provisions for full coverage fenders to keep you and the bike clean for year round riding. This is the bike you will want for rambles through the countryside, distance rides and randonees, and still be your daily steed.

The basic Rambler package consists of the hand made 4130 steel frame and fork with Paul Racer Brakes mounted on brazed on bosses. You have choice of color: Sunflower, U.S. Blue, Rexford Red, and a limited run of Founder's Orange for this Kickstarter Program.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bicycle Friendly Businesses

The new list of bicycle friendly businesses is out and includes some of the usual suspects (Facebook and Apple) and some others worth noting (Amway?).  If I ever decide to get out of the education profession (likely) this will be a good reference point to start with.  I've been incredibly lucky that in my years commuting I have never really had too much resistance to storing my bike inside, had access to a private place to clean up, and storage space for gear, whether it was grad school, museum curator, folklorist, library tech, or teacher.

One of the interesting things about the list is that they are largely private companies.  Is it just assumed that college campuses are going to be bicyclist receptive?

Here's the article with the full lists.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Reno Cycle Chic

At the Chapel a couple of blocks from my house a week or so ago.  A good place to drink a good beer, chat with friends, and check out some Reno Cycle Chic.

This was not what Liam Finn had in mind with this song but it's so pretty and I was reminded of it so here ya go.

Friday, November 09, 2012

The Best Bicycling Advocacy Video Ever?

This concise 6 minute video documenting the evolution of the Netherlands from car culture to bicycle haven may very well be the best argument for changing transportation policies away from car centric infrastructure and a great example of how out of whack our urban design policy has gotten in the U.S. in the post war decades.  Only now are we seeing movement in a more positive human direction but we have a 60 decade hole to dig ourselves out of so it's going to take a while.  Before I kick I'd love to see our cities in the U.S. looking like they were built for humans, not cars.  More here.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Old vs. New: Bike Comparison

Not particularly conclusive in any way shape or form but the comments after riding the old steel bicycle seem more telling than the actual time difference between the two rides on the same course.  Nevermind that the older steel bike is more comfortable and who wouldn't want the traditional wool gear over the lycra stuff?

Monday, November 05, 2012

I Vote for Greg LeMond... be reinstated as America's greatest cyclist!

Greg his own words

Randy over at College Cyclery forwarded me a couple of great images of pro cycling from the 1980s recently and it reminded of this interview with former Reno resident and Tour de France champion Greg LeMond.

In light of everything that has transpired in the world of professional cycling in the last few weeks it is interesting to go back to the words of LeMond.  In recent years he has been vilified in many ways for the way he has gone after doping in professional cycling, and in particular, Lance Armstrong.  And while I haven't always agreed with his approach to confronting these issues, I certainly appreciate his candor and willingness to say and do the unpopular thing even in the face of ridicule.

The interview is from about six years ago and the topics include everything from Roland Della Santa, bicycle technology, early racing experiences, training methods, and of course, doping.   Clearly LeMond has been vindicated for being so outspoken when nearly everybody from the decades after he hung his bike up has been implicated, caught, or admitted to doping.  Even local favorite Bobby Julich has recently come clean on his years of doping.

The interview is about an hour long and every minute is worth it.  You can also download it as a podcast.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Bicycling Hurricane Sandy

In the aftermath of hurricane Sandy it has been great to read about so many New Yorkers opting to hop on their bicycles in light of the ongoing transportation infrastructure turmoil going on in the city.  Likewise, it's been wonderful to hear of bicycle companies pitching in to get people mobile again until the city gets back on its feet.  Will this help accentuate the benefits of cycling in the city and motivate people to ride more often in the future?  Who knows.  But it certainly underscores the amazing practicality and versatility of pedal power in extreme conditions.

Excerpts from several reports:
In post-storm New York, the bike is having a moment of sorts.
Crowded shuttle buses helped supplement subway service on Thursday. 
With subways still not running under the East River or between Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, traffic snarled in many places and lines for buses stretching for blocks, many people in Brooklyn took to bicycles on Thursday to get where they had to go.
“I’m extremely glad I have a bike right now — it’s one of the best assets you can have,” said James Emery, 22, who was riding on Thursday afternoon from Williamsburg to Red Hook to help a friend whose screen-printing business had been flooded. 
Thomas Jarrels, 46, who biked home to Crown Heights from his job as a sous-chef at a Midtown law firm, said he was glad to have had an impetus to bike to work. He said he was a bike messenger in the 1980s and loved biking, but had never commuted by bike until the storm disabled the subway. Though it took slightly longer than the train, he said, he thought he would keep biking even after the subway started running again. 
“It saves money, and it’s less of a headache,” he said. “It gives you time to think, meditate and get your exercise on.” 
Susan Creighton, 26, a teacher who lives in Park Slope and is running in the New York City Marathon on Sunday, said she had decided to bike into Manhattan to pick up her number at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center after seeing the long lines for buses on the news. 
She said she usually biked only recreationally and had been intimidated by riding on more congested routes. “This kind of showed me it’s not that bad,” she said, adding that on Friday she might bike to the school in Williamsburg where she teaches.
Many frequent bike commuters said that, with sparse traffic in downtown Manhattan, conditions for biking were ideal. 
“I just bombed all the way down Broadway right now — I think I saw five cars,” said Jason Jaramillo, 34, who had just biked to Brooklyn from the Upper West Side. “I wish it was always like this.” 
But David Pimentelli, 42, said that biking in some areas of Brooklyn had been frightening on Thursday, with drivers waiting anxiously in long lines for gas and little police presence.
“I’m scared to be going back to Brooklyn right now,” he said, as he exited the Brooklyn Bridge after a trip to Manhattan. “People are running red lights, very agitated, they don’t care.” 
New York, once known as New Amsterdam, could soon look a lot more like...well, Amsterdam. 
In the midst of congested transit left in Super Storm Sandy’s wake, more New Yorkers are opting to ride bicycles.
Other articles:

“Yesterday we outsold our busiest summer Saturday,” said Emily Samstag, manager of Bicycle Habitat in Brooklyn, speaking to a surge in bike-related sales just one day after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast. “Our first customer walked in and said: 'The subways are down so I have to buy a bike'. That was standard all morning.”  Continue
The mayor had lifted the three-occupant limit for taxis and livery cars coming into Manhattan around 8:15 a.m. But even before that, some commuters attempted cab sharing, the delicate art of piling into a yellow taxi with strangers, which some cabdrivers declined to accommodate. A popular mode of transportation in Lower Manhattan — still dark from the loss of power — appeared to be bicycles.  Continue

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority restarted some subway service today and some commuter rail lines yesterday. With the unprecedented scope of the damage becoming clearer, authorities and New Yorkers filled in the gaps in rail service with new bus routes and schedules, cabs picking up multiple passengers, ferries plying the Hudson River and bicycles streaming across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Continue

"No decent woman or girl is ever seen on a bicycle."

I happened upon this article outlining women's etiquette from the 1940s in Spain and had to laugh. Not just at how uptight it is but at how now the amount of women riding bicycles in a community is increasingly becoming a bellwether of how strong, safe, and healthy a city is in bracing bicycling as a form of transportation.   Is there some implicit modern sexism built into this idea?  In effect, if women ride it is because they feel safe in doing so and everyone knows that women are more safety conscious than men? the conclusions or not, it is pretty clear that the number of women cyclists has increased in Reno pretty drastically in the last decade.  Anecdotally I'd say that I typically see just as many women in urban riding situation and the same is also true of weekend recreational rides.  I would call that a "good thing."


It’s one thing to look at a Victorian list of don’ts for women on bicycles with amusement-softened outrage, perhaps because we have the luxury of looking back on those times with the detached smugness of an evolved society. But it’s quite something else to encounter a similar list from an era too uncomfortably close to our own. Such is the case of a poster James Michener makes note of in Iberia, which he encounters pinned to a church door while traveling across rural Spain in the late 1960s. Dated July 11, 1943, and laid out by a bishop as a code of conduct for local life, the twelve-point directive bespeaks religion’s persistent, matter-of-factly subjugation of women: