Thursday, February 28, 2013

Stealing a Bicycle that movie!  One of my favorites.

Adventure Cycling Captured

The growing movement of adventure cycling has been captured by the new online publication, Bunyan Velo, with some really good writing and some National Geographic quality photography.  So well done I wish I had a paper copy to pore over.

Of course, this does beg the question, what exactly is Adventure Cycling?  All due respect to the Adventure Cycling Association and their great work in creating tours and maps and to the newish niche pushed by product managers for roady/touring bikes with big tire clearances and braze-ons galore, an adventure ride can be a jaunt down to the 7-11.

Adventure riding has been around since there were bikes but if I have the gist correct it might as well be a bike that coaxes you into a ride that can handle some sort of load and rarely makes you avoid a route because it is too rough or too smooth.  Rivendell might call these country bikes but I tend to find most of their designs perfectly capable of this type of riding while being too boutiquey to want to take them on this type of ride.

Regardless of how you define an adventure ride, Bunyan is a seriously nice publication well worth checking out.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My New Hero - Dr. Enrique Peñalosa

Who knew a politician, one from Bogota, could be so eloquent when it comes to understanding the need for making cities a safe public space for bicycles and pedestrians.  Here is a quick excerpt from his speech at the Youth Bike Summit in NYC:
Dr. Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, delivered a keynote address at the New York City event. Dr. Peñalosa earned worldwide notoriety for bringing a vast network of bicycle paths, cutting-edge pedestrian promenades, and a world-class bus rapid transit system to Bogotá. The following passages are excerpted from Dr. Peñalosa’s keynote remarks.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Greenway in Minneapolis - Why Not Reno?

I saw this article on a new Greenway being proposed in Minneapolis with no cars and a route that essentially transects the entire city with green multimodal paths and thought, this should happen in Reno.  If they can suggest something this "out there" in a place known for its subzero winters surely it should be on the table for Reno with its mostly mild winters.  At the very least what about the UNR area down to the Midtown District.  Wouldn't that be something?  I'd even suggest that some sort of trolley would be a welcome addition as part of the plan.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Talkin' 'bout my Education...and Bicycling.

I've been discussing the topic of education in my classroom and what our educational system needs to do to better serve students in the 21st century.  Their assignment is to take their experience and expertise and address the litany of issues that public school systems are expected to address and the blame that is often laid at our feet when students don't do well on a standardized test, drop out, or are illiterate.  Then they are expected to design and write a proposal for their dream school that addresses these issues.  One of the things that in invariably comes up is how overburdened the education system is when practically all of our societal ills are somehow supposed to be cured by education and how that may be too much for any institution to bear.

The other piece of the our education that gets discussed is the way that we may be so steeped in our cultural values we may not even be able to remove ourselves enough from them to think and reflect on whether they are truly values we should be holding to.  This came up in particular in response to a recent story about how in China the people may be sent off to "reeducation camps" if they protest or speak out against the policies of the government.  I countered in the discussion that we need to think about the ways as citizens of the United States make assumptions without questioning their validity or the ethics behind them.

The original inspiration for this blog many years ago was an exploration of the American Dream:  What it means, where did it come from, why do we all seem to have a good idea of what it is, and almost never question it?   The blog quickly evolved away from this to deal with the all consuming passion I have for bicycling but I find that often these two things aren't as far removed from each other as it seems.  If we can shake our heads at the authoritarianism of the Chinese government can we not ask ourselves some hard questions about education and its purpose in this country?

I challenged my students to think about what their personal definition of the American Dream is and bet that for many of them the same types of ideas and things would come up in their definitions.  Why is that the case?  Are we as free thinking about what is right and good in the world as we think when the majority of us will come up with a very similar idea of the American Dream?  More than that, when somebody does defy these sorts of cultural norms that resist the expectations of the majority of Americans, look at how they are labeled, ostracized, and ridiculed.

This is where my head was when I saw this trailer for the film, America Recycled, and it struck a chord with me.   It would be easy to dismiss some of the ideas presented in the film clip and I certainly wouldn't argue that this is the life for everyone.  But it does ask good questions about our culture, our nation, and presents a far different view than you are likely to see in yet another commercial pushing a certain ideal of consumerism and stuff that we should all have to exist in the 21st century.

Click here for the link and video.  The embed code seemed to be a bit messed up.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

North American Handmade Bicycle Show 2013

Like many cyclists the weekend of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show is one of exploring flickr galleries, checking various bicycle magazine websites, and wishing you were in whatever location for the bicycle bling.   I was in Sacramento last year and it was definitely worth the trip to wander around the show and chatting with people.  This year's show was in Denver and it looks like a great range of bikes were there on display.  Glad I didn't go though because it looks like many of the attendees were trapped in Denver because of snow.  It does make me wonder if next year's show in Charlotte, N.C. might be worth a trip.

As per usual, Bicycle Times Magazine has done a better job than most of the bike mags out there of capturing this great and unique cycling event.

Sunday Morning Music - Fanfarlo

Friday, February 22, 2013

Reno Ramblers Bicycle Club Resurrected

A couple of weeks ago the Reno Ramblers Bicycle Club was reborn in the shop of local frame builder, Ed Gresham, who recently passed away.  The original club was active in 1890 in Reno and took it's name from the Rambler Bicycles that were popular during that early bike boom.

Obviously this blog was in part named after the Reno Rambler Bicycle Club of that era but of course it was also a reference to "rambling around" the countryside by bike, and perhaps more pointedly, my tendency to "ramble on" about all things bicycle related.

To be clear, while I'm integrally involved with this new club, I am not the leader of the club and in fact the name suggestion came from other people in attendance at that first meeting.  I think it's fair to say the taking of the name of the old club was as much homage to the original club but also because of a desire to have some nice wool jerseys made with a Reno Ramblers design as opposed to any link to the Reno Rambler persona or blog.  That being said, it's an honor to be a part of this group and I am looking forward to many miles and stories to be shared with a great group of local cyclists.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bicycle Cafes?

I love this idea and would even be into owning a place like this if it wasn't for the fact that I swore off ever working in food service again after my first two jobs as a teen being a dishwasher in a buffet restaurant and as a food prep person in a fast food mexican restaurant.  A velo cafe sounds so nice and quaint but you still have to mop floors, cook food, and wash dishes.  No thanks.   However, I did visit a nice bicycle related coffee shop in Albuquerque (no longer in business) and we of course have The Hub here in Reno.  The best idea along these lines that I could see myself doing is a Velo Vino type of establishment.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Why Motorists Hate Cyclists?

This article provides some food for thought as to why cyclists can sometimes inspire rage in automobile drivers.  However, I think it sidesteps what is likely the most important thing that may be rolling around in the subconscious of those motorists who seem so prone to getting angry over bicyclists: guilt.  I suggest this because of how many times I've had casual conversations about commuting by bike with coworkers.  Almost invariably the conversations (and I've made a point over the years to do my best to be rather nonchalant and avoid any hint of self-righteousness in the conversations) quickly turns into a litany of reasons why biking to work couldn't possibly work for them.

As I said I try to avoid any direct confrontation or browbeating when it comes to these excuses.  Sometimes they are valid reasons that often have more to do with our infrastructure or where the coworker chose to live.  But deep down I can't help but wonder if there isn't a sense of guilt, however subtle, rolling around in their heads.  We all know that the country continues to suffer from weight related health issues, the world is getting warmer as we pump more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and we complain about stress, energy levels, and not having time to exercise.

I can't help but wonder if some drivers, seeing cyclists out there on the road and initially pitying and maybe getting upset when we treat stop signs as yield signs instead of coming to a full stop, don't on some level have a sense of being literally and figuratively trapped in, or by, their cars.  The costs of maintaining a vehicle, gas prices, the costs of coffee and unhealthy drive thru breakfasts...all these things must be subconsciously at play and cause people to lash out perhaps without realizing that sliver of guilt because they know that deep down they could occasionally make the trip by bike instead.

Of course what I want to say is something about the longest commutes I've had have been as much as 26 miles and gone over a small mountain pass.  My commute now is a measly 10 mile round trip that is basically flat.  Or when asked about the how cold I am when I roll up on a 20 degree day I typically try to be demure and just say it's fine when you have the right gear or that it helps  "wake me up" in the mornings.

But ultimately, I've learned that being "in your face" about how somebody CAN ride to work if they just make the commitment to do so really doesn't work.   So I'll continue to try to be an example and politely offer support if asked.  And enjoy my rides.

Here is the link and an excerpt from the BBC article.  Definitely worth a read:
I've got a theory, of course. It's not because cyclists are annoying. It isn't even because we have a selective memory for that one stand-out annoying cyclist over the hundreds of boring, non-annoying ones (although that probably is a factor). No, my theory is that motorists hate cyclists because they think they offend the moral order. 
Driving is a very moral activity – there are rules of the road, both legal and informal, and there are good and bad drivers. The whole intricate dance of the rush-hour junction only works because people know the rules and by-and-large follow them: keeping in lane; indicating properly; first her turn, now mine, now yours. Then along come cyclists, innocently following what they see are the rules of the road, but doing things that drivers aren't allowed to: overtaking queues of cars, moving at well below the speed limit or undertaking on the inside. 
You could argue that driving is like so much of social life, it’s a game of coordination where we have to rely on each other to do the right thing. And like all games, there's an incentive to cheat. If everyone else is taking their turn, you can jump the queue. If everyone else is paying their taxes you can dodge them, and you'll still get all the benefits of roads and police.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Suspended in Air

A pic from yesterday's bike ride to Verdi.  Too bad the cafe wasn't open.

President's Day Bicycle Ride

An oldie but a goodie.  I know Obama and Bush both ride but I don't remember seeing a U.S. President every looking as good as Jimmy Carter on his gorgeous Rivendell Bicycle.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Reno Street Revitalized? Kietzke Open House.

Here is the press release for the Kietzke Lane Open House happening this Thursday, February 21st, from 4 -7, at Wooster High School.  It's the place to be to make sure the voices of bicyclists (and pedestrians) are heard in improving this popular north south corridor that links so many neighborhoods and business districts!

Calling all bicyclists to attend the Kietzke Lane Safety Management Plan Open House on February 21, 4-7pm at Wooster High Gym. NDOT will be presenting their best options for improving Kietzke Lane and creating a safe, community street that connects neighborhoods in South Reno and improves travel between shopping, schools and work. This is a critical meeting to ensure that bicyclists and pedestrians demonstrate that all of the proposed improvements be kept in the plan.  
These safety improvements include: Green bike boxes and bicycle signal heads at key intersections, buffered bikes lanes or cycle tracks, and possibly roundabouts at Plumb and 2nd Street intersections. Lastly NDOT is proposing to remove on-street parking and purchase right-of-way to allow space for the Complete Street components of wider sidewalks and bike lanes. This is one of the first times that this has occurred in Reno/Sparks, and it will set a precedent for safety planning and accommodating bicyclists in the community into the future. This project is also important because NDOT will consider relinquishing (trading) Kietzke to the City of Reno down the road, so we need to install these improvements now. 
Please attend the Open House and submit comments supporting the improved safety proposals for Kietzke Lane. NDOT is depending on the cycling community to show support for these improvements and to show the governing agencies that we are committed to increasing the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians who will travel this corridor. The estimated cost for everything is $30 million, so they will have 3 levels of priority. We need to keep bicycling facilities at a Priority 1 or 2 to get them built within five years.Here is the information sheet provided by NDOT: Kietzke Lane Safety Management Plan

Friday, February 15, 2013

Bike Share for the biggest LITTLE city?

I love the idea of bike share programs and am pleased that Link Bike Share is actively working to bring a program to the Truckee Meadows.  Yet, while I applaud the success stories of larger cities like Paris, New York, and Washington D.C., I've often wondered how feasible a program can be in smaller urban centers.  Especially ones that have a fairly spread out geographical footprint such as Reno.  Here is a story of a smaller scale city having success with their bike share program.  I've never been to Chattanooga but kudos to them for making this work and their continued commitment to build on their early success.


After studying the possibility of implementing a bike-share system beginning in 2007, Chattanooga, Tennessee (pop. 170,000) was able to cobble together enough funding and support to launch a 30 station, 300 bike system last July, beating larger cities like New York and Chicago in the process, writes Angie Schmitt. Chattanooga Bike Coordinator Philip Pugliese discussed the city's experiences last week at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Kansas City.

“Our purpose with bike-sharing was to put a large amount of cyclists on the street in a short time, to change the dynamic, to improve our air quality, our health and active transportation overall,” he said.

"It can be difficult to launch bike-share in a small city with a transportation system that is heavily reliant on car travel, Pugliese said. But Chattanooga’s experience can offer inspiration to other small cities."

"In its first six months of operation, the system has provided 12,600 rides. Together, riders burned more than one million calories. All those bike trips have resulted in up to a 8,100-pound reduction in emissions. The system will add three more stations in residential neighborhoods in the spring," adds Schmitt.

"Securing enough capital to keep the system going through the lean start-up years is important, especially in smaller markets, where programs may find themselves on weaker financial footing than in larger cities, Pugliese said. He said the city considers the system an experimental pilot project."

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bicycle Commuting for All

Here is a nice piece from the Atlantic Cities about bicycle commuting being for the "common" people. In many ways this is what a site like Copenhagen Cycle Chic should be pushing instead of the endless parade of economically advantaged, beautiful, 20 somethings (nice as they are to look at).   People on bikes are people on bikes, using infrastructure often times lobbied for by the "bicycling advocates" CCC so often rails against.  Excerpt:
...everyone who bikes in New York or any other city has certain things in common. The Type-A strivers on their carbon-fiber steeds; the skinny-jeans-wearing fixie riders; the elevator repairman in work clothes on his anonymous hybrid; the fashionable businesswoman on her folder; the 82-year-old photographer on his cruiser. All of them benefit from an increased recognition that bicycles are a legitimate way to get from one place to another, and that you don’t have to be some kind of a freak to use them. 
That recognition is not merely symbolic. It becomes very tangible in the form of protected bicycle infrastructure, such as the trails cited in the Times article, and in pro-bicycle regulations -- such as the Bicycle Access to Office Buildings Law, instituted in 2009, which requires many office buildings to grant access to bikes. 
All of these factors have combined to double the number of bicycle commuters in New Yorkbetween 2007 and 2011, according to New York City Department of Transportation figures. The DOT aims for 2017 levels to be triple the 2007 numbers. It looks like there’s a good chance of meeting that goal. Most of those new riders won’t be in the Lycra-clad suburbanite demographic (although let’s give those people a round of applause). No, most new riders will be average people on average bikes, maybe not worthy of a feature in the Times, but perhaps more valuable in their very ordinariness.

Monday, February 11, 2013

MoMA Bicycles from Grant Petersen?

Maybe I just missed this but I thought it was interesting that Petersen has a hand in the design of bikes for the Museum of Modern Art.   As you would expect, a very typically practical design for a few mile jaunts around the city.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

...We Are the Cyclists...

The irony for me after watching this video is that I found it via the Copenhagen Cycle Chic founder, Mikael Colville-Andersen) whose vision of cycling as depicted on his website seems no less a caricature and just as regimented in many ways.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Shades of Monty Python?

I saw this via the Brooks saddle website.  Quite clever but maybe only if have knobby tires?

The New Batmobile?

Christian Bale Seems A Lot Happier On a Bike Than He Ever Did in The Batman Movies.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

If I Was Greg LeMond...

...and the sole American to have won the Tour de France...and had been "nudged" out of the bicycle market, I'd be thinking pretty serious about reentering that world with a line of bicycles touting his palmares.

Roland Della Santa with a Gorgeous Lineup of Frames
I'm going to indulge a bit of fantasy here but what I would suggest is a a 3-tiered bike line that includes a nod to his glory days early in his career riding a Roland Della Santa made lugged steel flagship racing bike and a nouveau version of the same in full carbon with the top spec component kit.  And just for shits and giggles, a new version of his 'cross bike, the Poprad which I always thought was the most interesting model from his former line of bikes.

One of the nicer cyclocross bikes on the market when LeMond was still in the bicycle manufacturing game.
If I was Greg LeMond that is what I'd be thinking about anyway.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

2013 UCI World Cyclocross Championships

2013 UCI World Cyclocross Championships from Gizmo Pictures on Vimeo.

A nicely put together video from the races in Louisville.  'Cross is a spectacularly awesome discipline in the world of cycling.  But honestly, it's also the silliest.  I mean that in the nicest possible way.

A Danny Macaskill for The Roadie Set?

The bike handling skills on display here are pretty amazing.  That said, I can't help but wonder how long for this world that wheelset, much less the carbon fiber frame, will be with that kind of abuse.  I'd turn down the volume because the music is pretty lame.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Costs of Traffic Congestion

I feel like this blog's prime reason for existence has largely been to suggest one possible solution to this ongoing (and growing apparently) problem in U.S. cities.  At least they mention that Portland, Oregon, has 6% of it's commuters on bikes.  It'd be nice if there was more time spent in the report on the things cities are and can do to improve the situation.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, February 04, 2013

These Don't Fall Into Your Lap Too Often

I got a message from Coot over at BuzzBomb Bicycles (Check out the Bob Jackson on their site!) about a 3fer of Bridgestone Mountain Bikes he had acquired.  I popped by to find a couple of pristine looking bikes from the early 90s hey day of mountain biking and Bridgestone Bicycles.  Granted one of them was an MB-6 and though nicely maintained, isn't exactly the jewel of the line.  But leaning against a tree was a 1991 bstone MB-1 and a 1989 MB-2.   Both had a few superficial scuffs on them but were largely pristine and almost completely stock except for the grips, pedals, and saddles.  Not a lot of these were made and to find them in this condition was a nice surprise.

Luckily years ago I had forwarded my digitized copies of various Bridgestone catalogs and reviews over to Sheldon Brown and Coot and I were able to do some research on the spot with my iPad to confirm the year/models and double check the components.  Finding a nice lugged steel mountain bike in this kind of shape is one of those lucky breaks that I'm not going to question.  Now we just need to find a good home for them.

Nice crank on the MB-1

A nice utilitarian, if low level, MB-6


Biking ON the City

Here is a fun "concept" tire.  I wonder if you could design them for whatever city you hail from?  Getting traction over the Silver Legacy and the National Bowling Stadium might be an issue.  Still think it's a cool looking tread though.  Nice that there are no cars.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Super Bowl Ride

There's something so great about riding the morning of the Super Bowl Game.  The traffic is light and and you can indulge in some extra calories during the game.  Some great weather this year as well.

Tristen is Back!

I've been waiting impatiently for word of the new Tristen album since seeing her perform some of her new material last summer in Davis, CA.  With her Kickstarter campaign in full swing to support the release of the album, Caves, on her own label, I know it won't be long now.  The first single, No One's Gonna Know, is what you'd expect from her.  An immediately catchy pop song that the crowd immediately responded to when she played it live last July.

Info and samples of music are embedded below.  It's funny, after contributing to the Kickstarter campaign it felt a little odd to know I have will have the opportunity to meet the band and see the soundcheck before the show.  I adore her music but think trying to somehow break that distance between fan and artist is just weird and awkward.  I could have easily chatted with her in Davis when she was hanging out at the bar or selling her tour gear but why?

I just read a new interview from E of [the] Eels who said he hated the whole "fans as shareholders" thing (read Kickstarter) because he doesn't want to feel like he owes anything to fans of his music or that he is somehow friends with people because they kicked in some money for his music.  I guess financially he is a position to have that attitude.  But the musical landscape for artists starting out is a bit different now although I understand his sentiment.  I'm content to enjoy the music and support artists I love when I can.  I'm looking forward to seeing Tristen perform when she makes it out to the west coast sometime (hopefully) soon.

Don't forget to pitch in to Tristen's Kickstarter campaign so she can release her record on her own label, Pupsnake Records.