Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And I Thought We Had Some Characters

Ha, this reminds me of the post-ride hap's tonight. Fixed gears, tall bikes, soapy parking lots, beer, and skids. By the way, i also flatted and had to walk home after everyone left. It was awesome; damn tubulars! Anyhow, see more of this crazy no-hands guy here.

On a side note, thanks to everyone for showing up tonight. I had fun and hope everyone else did too. Maybe next time we won't take the two-lanes all the way out to the sticks. Hills are good for you; keeps you honest. I suggest next tuesday, we do a night time sprint to the river or show some of these new guys the Marathon route...and for tyler and leela, maybe we can hit up the southside bandito for a change. less hills but more distance, same beer. sounds fair right?

Also, camping on Monte Sano for the mtn bike festival saturday night. we really wont get to mtn bike until sunday morning so whoever just wants to camp, let me know so i can save you a spot. Its going to be a blast. We may try to do a fixie night ride on the family trails;yes its a bad idea but you know you want to! Anyhow, let me know so i know how many sites to reserve or even if you just wanna come up and hang out, its kool and the gang.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Insert Second Wood Joke In As Many Days

In case Indy Fab wasn't already one of the coolest bike makers on the planet, now they've gone and made this beauty. Lugged frame with cherry "tubes." Does this make this bike more or less environmentally friendly? Screw it; it's bad as hell! Notice the wooden Cane Creek?

Reminder About Tuesday Ride; Bring it

Cuz its about to be broughted. Meet at the back of Bicycles Etc. a little before 7pm for a little night time fixie ride then beers at Bandito Burrito. Nothing too crazy but a lot of fun...whoever wants to set the pace can do so as long as I finish first. jk Bring lights. If you dont have any, let me know a little in advance and we can make it happen.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Two Wheel Tuesdays

This Tuesday, we will be having another fast and semi-furious fixie ride from the back of Bicycles Etc, 7pm, bring lights, and yes, there will be hills again; this aint flo-rida mutha...!

Also behind Bicycles Etc, October 25th, Rock The Vote! 12 Bands, beer, and stuff i have yet to be informed of. It'll be fun though, i promise. Ten bones in advance, more day-of.

Next Weekend, Fatty's only!

Next weekend, here in Huntsville on beautiful Monte Sano, the annual Fat Tire Festival put on by SORBA of Huntsville (google it, too tired to make a link). Fun for all; a few of us will be camping out/ enjoying adult beverages to ensure that we feel like total crap for the sunday ride. its worth it though. I don't know whats up with their retarded logo guy thingy and the snakes but here it is. It is what it is i guess. Either way, the event is better thought out than the cartoon.

New Stuff You Will Want

Images of the new ALL-CITY as seen on Bike Jerks. I've been hearing about All-City, but this is the first product i've actually seen. looks good.

Forget chainwhips! Pedro's releases its new cassette pliers and will soon have a version for fixed gears.

they also released Trixie, their new everything-you-will-ever-need fixie tool:

1. Lockring tool
2. Pin hole to make your own chain whip
3. Spoke wrench
4. 15mm wrench
5. 5mm allen wrench
6. 3 sizes of hex style wrenches
7. Bottle opener

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bicycle Gear Calculator For iPhone

Found here. Check it out to download.

Designed by a cyclist, Bicycle Gear Calculator is a complete Gear Calculator for your iPhone or iPod Touch.

Evaluate current or potential Gearing Ratios, calculate Gain Ratios, Gear Inches, and Development. Use the Skid Patch Analyzer to visualize and minimize your fixed-gear's tire wear. Explore equivalent gearing configurations that let you reuse parts you already have.

A must have for bike mechanics, bike builders and fixed-gear/single-speed riders!

- Gear Ratio calculator
- Gain Ratio calculator
- Gear-inch calculator
- Development (Rollout) calculator
- For fixed-gear addicts, patch analysis lets you visualize skid patches
- Gear equivalency tool lets you find equivalent or closest-match gear ratios
- Speed calculator taking into account cadence and bicycle parameters

Supports virtually any bicycle:
- 20T to 61T Chain Ring
- 11T to 35T Sprocket
- 150mm to 200mm crank arms lenghts in 2.5mm increments
- Over 40 popular tire sizes
- Simultaneous metric and imperial units*
- English
- Compatible with iPhone and iPod touch

Requires iPhone 2.0 Software Update
1MB of disk space

Haro Gets Rad Again

After two years of talk, Haro finally releases the OG Freestyler, a modern remake of the bike that started a revolution. It features an updated version of the original Crmo twin-toptube design and boasts an integrated headset, modern geometry, 990 mounts, but no rear foot-stand dropouts! WTF! jk I'm sure this bike will strike the nostalia chord in more than a few of us who grew up in the 80's but i don't know If I would ever pull the trigger on purchasing the bike. Its bad as hell, but about as useful as a football bat. I scoured the web to find a pic and the only one I could find was this one which i borrowed from Bmx Roots

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Oh No They Di'int!

Lucky enough to be at Interbike 2008, here are pics of a new Cinelli Vigorelli taken by Alex Mouton (first 2 pics) & William Meeker.

edit: after closer inspection, it is not a vigorelli, so i don't know the name of the model, sorry. i'm sure it will be all over the place once it's officially released.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Grow Your Community, Save Some Loot, Shrink Your Waist

We had a brief meeting tonight regarding the city council meeting slated for thursday and there were both good ideas and some bad ideas. Go figure. Though it seems like an insurmountable task, I would like everyone to remember that positive change is possible. It is often helpful to look at other similar cities for guidance and inspiration. And besides, we're still better than Mississippi. jk

Huntsville needs to start a solid foundation to build upon. Using Napoleon's three-pronged attack, what we are aiming for is organization, safe routes, and education. The police need to be educated first so they can all be on the same page - hopefully on the side of upholding the law. I think they need to treat cyclists like they would motorists. If you see somebody riding a bike on the wrong side of the road, riding at night without lights, running red lights, or endangering others - Give Them A Ticket! Cyclist need to act like responsible motorist before they can be treated like one. I welcome the police to weed out the bad apples. That being said, do the same towards motorists. You will pull someone over in a heart beat for not wearing a seatbelt but not for buzzing too close to a guy on a bike? You will raise hell for chaining a bike memorial to a light pole but not even a slap on the wrist for someone who hits and kills a cyclist because of a cell phone.

Huntsville, you need to get off your comfortable lazy ass and get a clue. The city wants to portray itself as a progressive, modern hi-tech city because it wants to attract more and more business. Our town of technology strives to attract more and more engineers and businessmen; you want to attract all these white-collar professionals and their families to make Huntsville their new home. These are modern worldly people; young professionals who realize the benefit of a healthy lifestyle. They go to gyms, they go to parks, they care about being healthy and green. Well, some of them do, but thats not the point! Huntsville is trying to attract the exact demographic that is currently going bike crazy! Maybe when they Google Huntsville and get "cyclist death trap" they will think twice before moving here. According to Bicycle Retailer magazine, "Core Customers of the US market are mostly male, older, wealthier, and more married than the rest of the US population." When they say older, they mean mid to late 30's and older. Wealthier means 83% of them make 50k and up. They are family focused, have kids, and 78% own homes - aka, places to store bikes and equipment. That sounds right out of the "Please oh please come move to Huntsville" brochure doesnt it? You may ask, "what about all the rural blue-collar folks in the adjacent towns?" I think it's a given that they will most likely inter-breed so much that their webbed feet and toes will soon fuse together making it imposible for them to drive, let alone make it all the way into "town".

Another trend is the rapid explosion of "urban" bike sales. By this i mean bikes for riding on greenways, for commuting (but wait, isnt Huntsville too dangerous to commute?), for fitness, and for saving a little $$$$ on gas. With over 50% of the working population commuting 5 miles or less to work, bicycles offer the strongest potential for reducing single-occupancy vehicle trips. Did I mention that cycling is a fun and healthy way to spend time with your family, to teach them healthy lifestyles, and to relax? Have you ever looked at towns like Portland or Louisville? They are known as very cycling friendly cities and that in itself makes the town seem more desirable to those looking to move. Why would I ever want to move to rainy old Portland? (ok, there are tons of reasons i really want to go there but for arguments sake...) Because it is the number one most cycling friendly town in North America. It is slowly becoming the center of the cycling industry and is a model for cities all over the world. Huntsville could be the next Portland if it wanted to be! We even have better weather, though my husky would disagree.

Enough about Huntsville and me rambling, here is a great article about problems with cycling elsewhere:

By Alex Johnson MSNBC
Over the last two months, Taylor Cabaniss’ morning commute has evolved into something entirely new. It has lengthened to an hour.

But that’s a good thing, said Cabaniss, a senior financial manager for Qualcomm Inc. in San Diego — it’s “just some good exercise opportunity, to get out a bit.”

Back in May, Cabaniss abandoned his car and began biking to work. With fuel prices topping $4 a gallon, it makes a big difference.

“I’m probably saving a gallon and a half a day — I imagine $6 a day,” he said.

Cabaniss’ story is a common one. Since the average price of gasoline hit about $3.25 a gallon early this year, bike sales have skyrocketed, the National Bicycle Dealers Association reported. Store owners across the country say two-wheelers are flying out the door faster than they can stock them.

“Gas prices have jacked our business quite a bit,” said Jamie McDonald, owner of Sunrise Cyclery in Minneapolis. “I’ve sold way more racks, way more bags, way more lights, way more fenders and more bikes in general than I ever have before.”

At Wheel Nuts in Alexandria, Va., a suburb of Washington, owner Ron Taylor sounds a common theme — he’s having trouble keeping up with both sales and repairs.

“With all of that business coming in, we’ve actually had to hire additional staff,” Taylor said. “We’re staying here late, trying to meet customers’ demands, trying to get their bikes back to them sooner.”

More bikes mean more accidents
Experts welcome the trend for all of the reasons you might expect: Transportation planners like that fewer cars clog the nation’s highways. Environmental activists like that fewer tons of greenhouse emissions are pumped into the atmosphere every rush hour. Doctors like to see more people pedaling off more pounds.

But in the months since motorists began pedaling in droves, it has become clear that all those cyclists on the streets pose a significant problem: all those cyclists on the streets.

“I believe it’s definitely going to cause some problems, because people don’t know how to share the road with cyclists,” said Kirk Hendricks, director of advocacy for the group Idaho Cycling Enthusiasts. “[Drivers] need to know that we have as much right as an automobile even though we’re not as big.”

Riders’ rules of the road
A bicycle is a small, inconspicuous vehicle. It isn’t easily seen on crowded streets and will seldom attract attention on its own. Follow these rules for a safe ride:

Bikes have the same rights and duties as any other vehicle:
• Ride on the right, in the same direction as other traffic.
• Stay in single file.
• Yield to all pedestrians.
• Stop at stop signs, red lights and signals before turning or changing lanes.

Use the same hand signals as motorists:
• Raise your left arm at the elbow to turn right.
• Hold your left arm out straight from your side to turn left.
• Hold your left arm down at the elbow to slow or stop.

When bicycles are allowed on sidewalks, they must yield to pedestrians and give an audible warning when passing pedestrians walking in the same direction.

Biking at night requires at least a white front headlight and a red rear reflector visible between 50 and 600 feet.

Always wear a helmet.
There are no nationwide statistics on bicycle-related injuries and deaths for the first half of 2008. But authorities across the country say they are seeing a sharp rise in the number of accidents involving bicyclists.

“Last year in New Jersey 12 bikers, bicyclists, were killed in motor vehicle crashes,” said Pam Fischer, director of the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “So far this year — and we’re at the middle of the summer, July 15 — we have already lost 11 bicyclists.”

Fischer said that “in almost every case, the bicycle was doing something that put them at significant risk.”

At least five bicyclists have been killed in Chicago alone this year, leading to lawsuits, organized protests demanding safer bike routes and a set of new ordinances requiring drivers to give cyclists at least a 3-foot-wide berth when passing.

“Most of the crashes that we’ve seen are a result of inattentive driving,” said Rob Sadowsky, executive director of the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation.

Beware of newbies in the saddle
The problem is that so many new riders create road hazards because they don’t know the rules, police say. Too often, inexperienced riders take traffic signs as suggestions, not commands.

After the Seminole County, Fla., sheriff’s office recently began fielding scores of complaints from drivers that bicyclists were clogging major streets, it sent out deputies with video cameras. The cameras revealed large groups of bike riders illegally disrupting traffic.

“You need to obey the rules of the road,” said Officer Jeryl Vonderheid of the Eau Claire, Wis., police. “Bicycles are not exempt from [the] rule of stop signs.”

New riders also aren’t fully prepared for the inconveniences they can face — the worst one, experienced riders say, being drivers who also don’t know the rules or are too frustrated to observe them.

Bikers said they often struggled to blend safely with traffic. In the same video survey that found dangerous biking, Seminole County deputies also recorded a shocking level of rude and aggressive behavior by drivers.

“It’s not their right to assault a cyclist or to run a cyclist off the road because they get impatient,” sheriff’s Lt. Pete Kelting said.

Regardless, said cyclist Keri Caffrey, “they see a cyclist and they target them, in many cases.”

Transit riders feel the squeeze
Cycling advocates point to a host of other longstanding problems that they say are becoming critical now that so many new riders are hitting the streets: too many potholes and poorly maintained streets, too few bicycle lanes, too few places to securely park a bike, too few places to wash up after a long ride to work.

Add a new one: Too little space on the bus.

Transit officials in numerous cities report that more people taking their bikes along when the catch the bus or the train — in Houston, the number rose 33 percent in May alone, officials said. Those bikes take up passenger space, and that puts the squeeze on all paying customers.

“Given the explosive growth in bikes, we’ll never have enough capacity on transit to accommodate every bike, especially during rush hour,” said Mary Fetch, a spokeswoman for the TriMet light rail system in the Portland, Ore., region, where 1 in 10 transit riders totes along a bicycle.

Deborah Ulinger of Beaverton often cycles to a TriMet station and hops the train with her bike. But late last month, security guards began kicking cyclists off bike-crowded trains at the perpetually packed 185th station and wouldn’t let any board unless there were empty bike racks.

“It’s frustrating, because we have places to go and things to do,” Ulinger said. “I know it’s a safety issue, but if they could provide more spaces for bikes it would be great.”

The Utah Transit Authority said it would probably have to rip out seats in its FrontRunner commuter trains between Ogden and Salt Lake City to make room for more bicycles. Each car now has straps to hold two bicycles, but James House of Layton, a regular commuter, said he had seen as many as 15 in each car, blocking the aisles.

Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell, meanwhile, recently ordered that a pending order for 380 cars for the Metro-North light rail linking her state and New York be modified to allow more bicycle storage before the state will take delivery.

‘A way of life for a lot of people’
Authorities and cycling advocates acknowledged that finding the money for the upgrades needed to accommodate all the new bike riders would be tough. But they said the move toward cycling was unlikely to reverse, and the sooner the fixes were made, the better.

“I believe in the future that cycling is going to not be just a trend, but a way of life for a lot of people,” said Gene Wells, owner of Fat Tire Cycle in Buckhannon, W.Va., an assessment that was echoed by Rebecca Anderson, advocacy director for Trek Bicycle Corp.

"Millions of people have bicycles hanging in the garage and they're getting them down and riding them,” Anderson said. “People are looking at the bicycle as more than just a toy.”

Start The Week Off Right

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Stone'd To See The Light

I would like to say thanks to David Stone for writing the following article for the Times. It is well written, reaches a huge target, uses numbers to back up his statements, and will hopefully make sense to the motorist and cyclist of our town. One thing that I always think about when numbers are thrown around is the experience of the cyclist involved. Motorist have to take a test to drive and therefore have a basic understanding of what to do, though it doesnt cover riding around cyclists. An example (maybe poorly communicated) of what I am concerned about: when leaving work the other day (on motorcycle, not bike), i was heading north on church st. then turning left to head west on university. Three teen males on bicycles heading south were riding at night with no lights and jumped the light where I almost hit them. I had a left-turn arrow and they were virtually impossible to see. If i would have hit them, that would be chalked up as another statistic that doesnt accurately represent the target I am concerned about. I want to know about cyclist who know how to properly ride, who have the proper running gear (lights at night!), who undertsand the rules of the road, and who realize that waiting 30 seconds would have given them a green light. Not saying i dont care about them, but I dont appreciate being lumped into a group with people so ignorant & irresponsible. Thirty minutes later while sitting outside Bandito Burrito, i saw two more guys riding up Gov. Drive on the wrong side of the road, again, with no lights! It's these people who anger motorists, almost cause countless accidents, and who get termed "cyclist" yet have no understanding how to behave properly on public roads. OK, on to David's article which I hope will educate a few more people:

Bicycle safety rules misunderstood by nearly all involved

For The H'ville Times

The tragic fatality last on Monday put bicycle safety back in the spotlight here.

Bicycling is a viable form of transportation with current gas prices. However, there are a lot of misperceptions about how to ride safely. It is not intuitive and cyclists and motorists must be educated to improve bicycle safety. There are many details on cycling safety that need to be covered; there are some fundamental principles.

Understanding crash statistics is essential to bicycle safety. The most common fear is that a car will hit a bicyclist from behind. The reality is that half of bicycle crashes are falling off the bicycle. Less than 20 percent involve motor vehicles.

In fact, collisions with pedestrians, animals and other bicycles are twice as likely as motor vehicle collisions. Only about 5 percent of bicycle crashes with motor vehicles involve the cyclist getting hit from behind. Over 85 percent involve crossing traffic. Either the bicycle pulls in front of the car or the car pulls in front of the bicycle.

Since any crash can result in serious injury or death, bicycle safety must focus on reducing these risks.

The concept that reduces crash risk the most is called vehicular cycling. John Forester, author of "Effective Cycling," says it best: "Bicyclists fare best when they ACT and are TREATED as drivers of vehicles."

Alabama law reflects this principle and grants cyclists the same rights and responsibilities as any motor vehicle drive on the roadway.

The reason why cycling in the road with traffic reduces the crash risk is that is where motorists expect high-speed traffic. Bicycles easily reach 25 mph on level ground and go even faster on steep descents. Segregating bicycles from motor vehicle traffic makes cyclists less visible to motorists and thus increases the crash risks.

Alabama law defines the cyclist's position as "as far right as practicable." This causes considerable confusion. This does not mean "as far right as possible."

"Practicable" means what is safe and reasonable and may be the left hand portion of the left most lane. The right one third of the right most lane is a good starting point but may change further left or right depending on the

Since most roads are not wide enough for a cyclist and motorist to share the lane, cyclists should use the full lane. Most cyclists want to get out of the way of traffic, but in this case moving further into traffic reduces the crash risk.

Most bicycle crashes with motorists traveling the same direction do not involve getting hit from behind, but hit from the side by the right rear quarter panel. Cyclists that are too far right invite motorists to try to "squeeze by" when there is insufficient room.

Cyclists using the full lane reduce this risk by making motorists pass them as they would pass any other vehicle - in the next lane. If traffic is backed up, a courteous cyclist will pull completely off the road and stop while motorists go by. Once the road is clear, the cyclist can continue. Motorists should not expect cyclists to move as far right as possible while still moving.

Many motorists feel that bicycles should be on sidewalks or bike paths. Sidewalks increase the risk of a collision with a motorist two to four times because motorists are not looking for high-speed traffic where they cross the road. Sidewalks are not considered usable for cycling except for young children.

Bike paths increase the risk 2.6 times, but this can reach 1,000 times depending on the design. Even greenways that do not intersect roads have higher crash risks due to collisions with pedestrians, animals and other bicycles.

Shoulders can be a viable facility for cyclists depending on the design. Shoulders with too many intersections, where the shoulder turns into a right-turn-only lane or on steep descents should not be used. Bike lanes are a shoulder with additional paint. They suffer the same risks as shoulders at intersections since cyclists are not where motorists are looking.

Motorists also do not know how to turn right across bike lanes and cyclists do not know how to turn left from a bike lane, both increasing crash risks. Debris is a significant issue with bike lanes and shoulders because it is not swept away. It can cause a fall, the most common crash type.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Where Do We Go Now?

The person who killed Sarah earlier this week has got away free and clear. Though it is public record that they were reaching for a cell phone while driving a 3200 lb. vehicle, there will be no consequences for them to pay except for "feeling really bad." Its obvious that a handful of laws were broken in order for her to be hit, but hey, it was an accident and God forbid HPD rock the boat by charging a registered voter during an election year.

Then we go on to read the local blogs with every highschool drop out chiming in with their two-cents on how she should have been on a sidewalk... then a city official stating that the police rarely enforce the no-riding-on-sidewalks law. I guess that's enforced about as much as the no-murdering-innocent-cyclists law.

I realize that the person that hit Sarah did not leave their house that morning intending to kill somebody but then again, Sarah didnt leave intending to get killed and her parents didnt raise her and love her with the plan to have her killed by someone too self involved to accept responsibility for their own neglegince.

The motorists name is public record now and it makes me wonder, if taken aside and asked what they will take away from this tragedy, what would they say? Ideally, i would love to interview this person and come away with a heart wrenching tale that is so powerful it speaks universally...a story that touches the hearts on both sides and then, as if in a movie, one day, while driving down the road, a father turns to his son and teaches him the importance of sharing the roads, the importance of respecting others space whether its their choice or not, and teaching him that driving is a responsibility and privilege.

So I would like to know, if face to face with this person, what would you ask them? What would you like to happen to this person? There is a story coming out in the paper tomorrow regarding the ghost bike which was put up as a memorial to Sarah. Now the city has taken it down and is making a bigger deal about a spray-painted bike than the actual incident itself. A letter writing campaign has started to remedy the situation.







Please let these folks know how you feel about the situation. My personal thoughts on the situation are:
1) The ghost bike thing, while not a big deal, just shows how f'd up the system here in Huntsville really is. A person dies and a bike locked to a pole is your priority. Um, ok.
2) The person who hit Sarah may have no idea how many people want her head on a platter. I am sure their life is turned upside down but it pales in comparison to the Chapman family. Sometimes sorry is not enough no matter how many years you say it. Accept responsibilty for your actions; you killed someone!
3) I hope that something positive can come out of this negative. Can the loss of a 20 year old college student commuting to work or school make Huntsville wake up and see how dangerous the roads are for cyclist, who, whether you like it or not, are here to stay? Can motorist realize how dangerous all these modern distractions can be? answer your phone, change a dvd, enter a new address in your Garmin...hit a cyclist, go to jail! Slow down and pull over!
4) Somehow, someone of authority can see how horrible HPD really is. They are undeniably anti-cyclist and this poses a conflict of interest to the public. The state needs to step in and enforce state-wide legislature to get with the times, make alabama a green state, and make the streets safe for all those who travel upon them, not just joe-gas-guzzler.

Anyhow, I have my opinions and I am genuinely open to hearing others. This is a serious topic and people are very heated. i tend to have extreme view points but want to hear others of any opinion. Open debate is healthy right? Does anyone know the motorist? name?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

'Sharrows' aim to help cars and bikes share roads

By Linda Baker | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor.

PORTLAND, ORE. – In the late 1990s, bicycle lanes were painted on streets in northwest Portland, a high-density neighborhood less than a mile from downtown. But congestion at traffic lights made reducing space for automobiles impractical in some areas. As a result, the project left a nine-block gap in the bike network.
Caught between the need for a continuous bike lane and the demands of drivers, Portland transportation engineers finally came up with a solution. Next month, the city will fill the gaps in the network with new shared-lane pavement markings, called "sharrows." Stencils of a bicycle with two chevron markings above it will be painted, two per block, in areas too narrow for a bike lane. The idea is to keep cyclists away from parked cars while promoting awareness of their right to use the road.

"The sharrow sends the message to cyclists, 'yes, you are welcome here,' " says Mia Birk, a principal with Alta Planning + Design in Portland and lead author of a recent study on shared-pavement markings in San Francisco.

Pioneered in Denver in the mid-1990s, sharrows are attracting the attention of transportation officials around the United States. But the markings are controversial. In June, Boulder, Colo., became one of the few cities outside of California to install the shared-lane markings; that same month, sharrows were rejected by the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Devices, an organization that sets national traffic standards.

"We have a litigious society," says Ms. Birk, explaining the challenges of implementing bike-friendly street designs. "It takes a progressive traffic engineer to say 'I'm comfortable enough to take a risk.' "

Some cycling advocates say sharrows will preempt the installation of bike lanes, which often entail hard-fought battles to remove a car travel lane or on-street parking.

"Once sharrows are accepted, they will become the preferred solution," says Kevin Jackson, who sits on the Bike and Pedestrian Committee in Sunnyvale, Calif. "Not because they are better, but because they are politically expedient."

The principle behind sharrows is simple: They reinforce existing rules of the road. In most states, cyclists are required to stay as far to the right as possible, except under unsafe conditions. One of these conditions is when the travel lane is too narrow for side-by-side passage of an automobile and a bicycle.

"The most dangerous place for a cyclist to be in a narrow travel lane is far to the right, because you are in a 'door zone' and motorists think they have enough room to stay in their travel lane and pass you," says Roger Geller, Portland's bike coordinator. "Every cyclist who has stayed right on a road has had the experience of a car passing 25 miles an hour within six inches of his left elbow. At the same time, should someone [in a parked vehicle] open the car door, you're right there."

Portland decided to experiment with sharrows, Mr. Geller says, after the Alta study found the marking provided a statistically significant benefit to cyclists by encouraging them to move left and center. The study was commissioned last year in an effort to improve cycling conditions on San Francisco's crowded streets. Since then, the California Traffic Control Device Committee, an advisory body, has recommended that the marking be adopted by the entire state. Over the past six months, San Francisco has stenciled 500 sharrow markings on city streets and by the end of the year will have 2,500.

"Cyclists are very positive about the marking," says Mike Sallaberry, San Francisco's bike facilities engineer. "They like the fact that something positions [them] in the road." The city has also embarked on a campaign to educate cyclists and drivers about the markings, he says.

Oregon's automotive advocates also support the sharrows concept. As gas prices rise, more people will ride bikes, notes Elliott Eki, public affairs director for AAA Oregon. "If sharrows are well placed," he says, "they will help cars and bikes share the road more safely."

Shared-lane markings have gained acceptance in some European and Australian cities. An Australian report published several years ago on "bicycle friendly zones" - the sharrow equivalent - suggested that shared-lane markings can be more effective than bike lanes in encouraging cyclists and motorists to pay attention to one another. The report also says the markings slow traffic and encourage all modes to share limited street space.

Sharrow opponents say the more important issue is removing on-street parking to create room for bike lanes. "What you need is bicycle space," says Mr. Jackson, noting that activists recently persuaded the city of Sunnyvale to switch from sharrows to a bike lane on one major road.

Geller himself questions the value of sharrows for beginning cyclists. "Cyclists who ride in the center are typically the strong and the brave," he says.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

End Of Summer Ride

Last night was a fun impromptu ride with a few of us who haven't hung out in a while. Ha, it was definitely an eclectic mix of fools, some with their normal bikes in the shop and on borrowed wheels, but a fun and crazy night nonetheless. It was a perfect, end-of-summer night, borderline cool til we got moving. Post-ride beers at Bandito Burrito and a little unplanned off-roading on the way back downtown kept it interesting. I think it may have even been a full moon. I meant to take more pics (God forbid I actually have some of everyone riding right?) but sometimes enjoying the moment is more important than capturing it.

And A random shot from the summer Music In The Park series

P.O.T.D. #1002

beach cruiser???
you decide!!!

Don't ask me take your pick I know a few people don't believe in freestyle fixed gear clamming these people are doing thing track bike where never designed to do. And I agree I doubt 10 years ago people would have expected to see a person riding backwards down a large set of stairs on a track bike. But I think this pic is fucking cool! check it out.

Like A Cannondale Lefty, Except Cool

The past week has been extremely stressful in several ways. There were moments when nothing seemed like it would ever be normal again and the world was suddenly too big to handle. Then there are nights when you get back to the basics and remember how simple things can make a big difference. Be it encouraging words from a stranger or a spirited night ride with new (and old) friends, sometimes one night can make a difference in your outlook on things. Not saying everything is easy sailing here on out, but tonight was a refreshing break. Thanks to everyone. So, what better way to end a good night than with pics of a cool bike right? Also, I will try and have pics from tonight up tomorrow.Thanks.

Also, there will be a memorial for Sarah Chapman this thursday at the chapel on UAH's campus. Davis, Sarah's boyfriend, asks that anyone who can make it, please do so and bike if possible. He said, "I feel that this is what Sarah would have wanted."

Monday, September 15, 2008

SUV Kills UAH Student On Her Bicycle

This story has been all the talk today. While I only met Sarah a handful of times, she was a very sweet, beautiful, vibrant girl, a real pleasure to hang out with. This incident is so tragic and our hearts go out to the Chapman family and Sarah's friends. I wish there was some way we could ease your suffering. Davis, hang in there man; I don't even have words to tell you how sorry I am. If you need anything, please let me know.

Via WAFF.com, Ch. 48

"Huntsville police officers say the bicyclist who was struck by a Jeep Cherokee Monday morning has died. The crash happened at around 10:30 a.m. on Technology Drive near Wynn Drive in Huntsville. 20-year-old Sarah Katherine Chapman died shortly after the traffic crash. Chapman was traveling westbound on a bicycle on Technology Drive at 10:30 a.m. today. As the SUV approached from behind her, she swerved into its path and the driver was unable to avoid the collision. Sgt. Mark Roberts of the Huntsville Police Department says no charges are expected to be filed against the driver of the vehicle. This is Huntsville's 16th traffic fatality for 200"

*picture of Sarah, third from left, along with Ruth Behling, George Preussel, and Sarah Fisher) at the Berlin Wall borrowed from UAH Blog
I don't claim to understand everything and there are a few things I am confused about. One, why don't they name the motorist who struck and killed Sarah? Two, if the law says motorist are to give a cyclist a minimum of three feet clearance to pass, then how did Sarah swing across more than half a lane to hit the car as the driver claims? In order to swing that far, she would have to be turning, not swerving unless going an incredibly slow speed. Third, how does HPD investigate this sort of thing? Also, the news states how many traffic fatalities we've had this year; wouldn't it be more interesting to know how many of these were cyclists killed by motorist and whether any of those led to criminal charges? Why was this motorist passing Sarah so closely to risk her life? Was getting to Subway two minutes sooner worth rolling the dice on something that wasn't yours? Why doesn't the law do more to punish motorist who endanger cyclist? Again, not a lawyer here, but couldn't this be considered criminal negligence? Maybe if the law was harder on these people, others would think twice before buzzing a cyclist.

Portland Band Does Left Coast Tour On Bike

Blind Pilot is making a lot of noise in the music scene these days. The band, headed by Israel Nebeker (guitar/vocals) and Ryan Dobrowski (drums), has been heralded by the press (”I’m smitten” wrote a reviewer at the Willamette Week) and they nabbed an iTunes “Song of the Week” nod last month.

But beyond their likable tunes, Blind Pilot is getting noticed for what NPR referred to as their “environmentally conscious touring style.” Currently, the band is on a West Coast tour and they’re completing the whole trip — and carrying all their gear by bike.

Nebeker and Dobrowski are joined by two other band members and all four of them began their adventure on August 16th in Bellingham, Washington and hope to reach their final destination of San Diego, California by October.

They played a show at The Doug Fir on E. Burnside at the end of August and right now they’re somewhere south of Coos Bay on the Oregon Coast.

“You see so much more of the country side, and meet so many more people, and experience everywhere more fully then when you’re just in a car.”

Blind Pilot isn’t the only band who is going by bike these days. The Ditty Bops did a bike tour a few years back (although I think they had some support) and a band headed by Xtracycle found Kipchoge Spencer, The Ginger Ninjas, took it one step further by not only touring 100% by bike but then using their bikes to generate electricity for their shows!

Check out their BLOG here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Red Roller, Red Roller, Move Flashpoint Right Over

"SRAM is introducing a wheel line for 2009...why? SRAM President Stan Day has always wanted SRAM to be a company that offers a full range of components and after the acquisition of Zipp, we realized we could offer a broader choice of products in the wheel category. Zipp is our high end, elite branded wheel product, while SRAM wheels will satisfy the demand for high-quality, well-engineered wheels for aftermarket and OEM." ..."SRAM will offer three different carbon wheel models with different rim depths; SRAM S40 / S60 / S80. Each SRAM wheelset will be built by Zipp and will offer a deep rim profile with unique hybrid torroidal shape, structural woven carbon rims with a aluminum braking surface and a special 6-pawl freehub for rapid engagement and cartridge bearings for low maintenence. The specs of SRAM's new wheel line are impressive and break down like this: Designed for fast, hilly rides, SRAM S40 has a 38mm X 20mm rim with 18 front & 20 rear spokes. Claimed weight is 725g. front & 890g rear in either Campagnolo or Shimano freehub and black or silver anodized spokes."

37 Cyclists Held Over One Shoplifted Beer

I've shared a few news clips where police have singled out, discriminated against, or just plain harassed various people for the simple fact that they were cyclists. I try to take everything with a grain of salt because i realize how stories can often times be presented in a very biased manner to validate the authors point. Having experienced police ignorance towards cyclist first hand on multiple occasions, i tend to automatically take the side of the cyclist. Soooo, take what you will from this stuff.

"The manager of the CVS believed that one of the cyclists shoplifted some beer and dialed 911. Because the manager could provide no description of the alleged beer thief, 14 LAPD squad cars were summoned and 37 cyclists were detained and searched until the cops found one person who had a beer without a receipt."

14 squad cars and 37 people searched for $5 of allegedly shoplifted beer from LAPD illegallysearches on Vimeo.

Cyclist Power Calculator

I love this useful little calculator great also for fixed gear riders who would like to calculate their Cadence at certain speeds based on their particular gear ratio.


Friday, September 12, 2008

This Guy Is Nuts; Bike With A Gat

GREELEY, Colo. --Greeley Tribune; "A cyclist who rode through Greeley with a loaded semiautomatic rifle hanging from his handlebars remained behind bars Thursday after a water crew accused him of threatening them, Greeley police said. Gilberto Arellano, 54, is in Weld County Jail on $5,000 bond. He was taken into custody after a member of the Greeley Water Division called police Wednesday afternoon to say that there was a man with a gun at Seventh Street and 12th Avenue.
The city worker told police that the man approached the crew, who were working on the water lines in the area. The suspect said one of the men on the water crew had insulted him the day before and pointed to a long gun case hanging from the handlebars of his bicycle, the caller said.
The suspect said he had a "machine gun" in the case and he would use it, police said. Officers arrived minutes later and detained Arellano. They opened the case and discovered a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle with five loaded magazines and 128 rounds of ammunition, police said. The AR-15 is the civilian verision of the fully automatic M16 used by the military. Arellano is being held for investigation of felony menacing. He later told police he was angry because one of the city workers called him a "queer," according to the Greeley Tribune."