JustAnotherCyclist - VeloReviews

JustAnotherCyclist

May 042015
 
Pilgrim Wheels - front cover

Cyclist and author Neil Hanson has just released a book titled Pilgrim Wheels: Reflections of a Cyclist Crossing America. The book describes the first half of a somewhat-impromptu journey across the United States by bicycle. Having something of an interest in folks taking off on long distance bike rides, I decided to share a few responses to questions posed to the author.

What was the original inspiration for your bicycle trip across America?

I wanted to take a bike ride. A long bike ride. Hundreds of miles, just me and my bike. Why? No particular reason, it just sounded like a neat thing to add to the checklist of “fun and exciting things I’ve tried.” The idea became an adventure. An adventure to plan for and to move toward. A box to check off. Eventually, I was clipping into my pedals in Monterey, California, pointing south along the coast on a beautiful summer day, discovering America and me.

The trip didn’t take shape to be a journey of discovery. I wasn’t trying to heal from a lost job, or a failed relationship, or trying to discover myself. I just wanted to ride my bike a long ways, with a really open mind, …read more

Source:: JAC

Jan 152015
 
ucd_rgb_h1

The University of Colorado Denver is engaged in a study of cycling behavior on the roads, and has created an online survey to help gather data. Lead by principal investigator Dr Wes Marshall, the survey asks questions about your driving habits, cycling habits, and opinions on both.

The survey was mentioned in a well written discussion in a Washington Post article about why cyclists may be motivated to ignore, bend or even break traffic laws – a good counterpoint to another article from the same publication basically arguing that bikes should be banned from the roads.

My one concern about the survey, however, is that the title itself seems to imply an inherent bias. While it did not influence me (that I know of) using the title “Scofflaw Biking Survey” seems a bit too biased for an accurate cycling behavioral study. And for those prone to more subtle input, the URL is worse: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1885930/bikingbad.

Jan 062015
 

By Ross Del Duca

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 5.43.38 PM

Brilliant Bicycles web page is full of some video and imagery of folks doing the kinds of things I love – riding some beautiful looking bikes. While there is no text yet indicating the details of their products, they seem to be crafting beautifully adorned steel “city style” bikes – similar to San Francisco’s Public bicycles. Their twitter page lists them as from New York and Los Angeles (but don’t confuse them with the Brilliant Bikes out of the UK). They have all the standard social media offerings one would expect of what appears to be a brand new bike brand just launching. So I went searching for more information.

Their Facebook page is filled with eclectic and decidedly artsy cycling related posts, including interesting references to authors and bicycles and vintage bicycle photos. I checked it out and was interested enough to make a mental note to keep my eyes open for more information about them.

But then something changed…

After visiting their Facebook page, a sponsored ad for them not-so-surprisingly showed up …read more

Source:: JAC

Dec 302014
 

By JustAnotherCyclist

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There are so many clichés about it. Buddhism and Hinduism both teach the concepts of the circles we travel through the course of our life. Bands have devoted entire albums to the concept. And for most of my life I thought this was all total crap.

I always looked at life as more of a meandering journey. To me, life was like a stage race. Each day is different. Sure – there are general categories. Some stages are for sprinters, like first love: long hours waiting and preparing in the peloton until a final, quick culmination in sheer joy for a few, bitter defeat for others. Some stages in life are long grueling climbs punctuated with decisive, strategic attacks (*ahem* my professional life). Of course the climb is then followed by blistering fast descents where your tires are barely holding on to the edge of the tarmac – sounds like high school to me.

Recent events in my life have forced me to rethink this outlook however. I’m sure that turning 41 had no small amount of influence on my introspection. As I’ve gotten a wee bit older I’ve …read more

Source:: JAC

Dec 082014
 

By Ross Del Duca

car-n-chick

Hey – you better not scratch the paint!

When I was a kid I actually looked forward to having a midlife crisis. I’d have a societally accepted excuse to buy a dangerously fast car and hook up with a young blond (of course at that time in my life ‘hook up’ loosely meant getting to second base.) Those of you that have followed this blog over the years may be surprised to know that I actually was quite a motorhead when I was younger. Classic American muscle cars were my thing. And I poured ridiculous amounts of money into making sure they would suck up as much gasoline as possible. All speed limit signs read “As fast as you can go and still keep it mostly in your lane.”

But I digress…

Somewhere between then and age 40 – which is when I’d always planned to have my midlife crisis – that passion for cars switched to a passion for bicycles. Well – first I bought a Prius in a lame attempt to somehow atone for all the carbon I’d dumped into the atmosphere drag racing on the streets of my …read more

Source:: JAC

Sep 022014
 

By JustAnotherCyclist

California, like many other states, has laws on the books to control the use of electronic devices while riding. As in most (all?) jurisdictions with such laws, there is an explicit exception for operators of emergency vehicles – which on the surface makes sense to most. While the intent of this exemption makes sense to me, a recent case has caused me to seriously reconsider the implications of an unrestricted exemption.

It started when former Napster COO Milton Everett Olin Jr. was struck and killed by a LA County Sheriff’s patrol car. It later came to light that the officer driving the patrol car was responding to an email using the laptop in his car at the time he struck Olin. The driver was later identified as Deputy Andrew Wood. Lawsuits were filed, questions were raised and details came out. Based on the wording of the law, LA county district attorneys declined to file charges against the officer.

23123.5. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text–based communication, unless the electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voiceoperated …read more

Source:: JAC

Aug 132014
 

By JustAnotherCyclist

bait_bike_sticker

Bike thieves suck. Plain and simple.

A recent article on Gawker tells the story of one unique approach to the problem – public shame and fear. But does this approach actually work?

San Francisco Police Department has been using this approach for some time now in full force. Part of their active approach involves the deployment of bait bikes – bikes locked up around the city with GPS tracking devices in them. This program has been coupled with a PR campaign run in conjunction with the nonprofit Safe Bikes in an attempt to erode the brazen attitude of serial bike thieves. Local cyclists have snapped up the free stickers, placing them on their personal bikes. This proliferation serves as a constant reminder to bike thieves of the presence of the bait bike program.

Only time (and statistics) will tell if these programs have an impact on the alarming number of bike thefts occurring here in San Francisco. Until then, of course, the best action to take is to learn how to protect yourself and your bicycle.


Related Posts:

Nov 122013
 

Frequent visitors may have noticed some new content showing up on the main VeloReviews home page. We’re really excited to have teamed up with Ted Rogers of Biking In LA fame to share some of his great (and frequent) articles. Ted has been a long-time friend of JustAnotherCyclist, and I’ve even written an article for his blog. Now you can find links to his latest posts right here on VeloReviews. Ted brings loads of experience and knowledge of the LA cycling scene. He is a board member of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, and participates in the LAPD bike task force.

You can find Ted Rogers on Twitter @bikinginla. He regularly blogs at BikingInLA.

Mar 042013
 

Ed OrcuttWashington State Representitive Ed Orcutt (R -Kalama) has claimed that cycling is harmful to the environment by claiming that because of “an increased heart rate and respiration.” In an email exchange shared by Cascade Bicycle Club between Orcutt and a constituent, Orcutt made the statement that “You would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car…” [source].

Seattle Bike Blog reportedly reached out to Orcutt for followup, where he appears to focus on tax issues instead of his environmental statements.

Here’s the complete email as posted on the Cascade Cycling Club website:
Continue reading »

Oct 242012
 

Photo credit Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious. http://www.cyclelicio.us/

For many of us in the bent state on the left coast known as California, this month has brought some of the first significant rain of the season. And for the cycling crowd, that means its time to bring out the fenders. For those of us that like to ride skinny-tired, pretend-to-be-a-racer road bikes, fenders can be a bit of a challenge. The narrow clearances between the tires and frame/forks of most sport-centric road bikes make common commuter fenders impossible to install. That generally reduces your options to one of two categories – ultra-thin (and expensive) full size fenders that fit the tight frame tolerances, or reduced coverage fenders that avoid the clearance problem by not going between the wheel and the frame.

Another challenge for road bike fenders is that – generally speaking – road bikes have no eyelets on either the fork or rear dropouts. This means you will be restricted to fenders using straps to attach the fenders rather than screws. While they may not look aesthetically as clean as bolt-on fenders, they have the advantage of requiring no tools to install or remove.

For almost all applications, I believe that partial, snap-on fenders that cover the front wheel from the fork back and down, and the back wheel from the brake/seat stays back and down provide a reasonable amount of protection. RaceBlade have been around for a long time, and are a quality product. The more mass-market focused Planet Bike line of fenders perform nearly as well. The different between the two sets is a general increase in stability – or lack of wiggling around while riding – for the RaceBlades.

If you demand full coverage, take a look for the RaceBlade XL – which avoid the clearance problems bu including an adjustable “gap” in the fender that you would place in the tight area around the brake calipers.

Any of these solutions can be had for well under $100 (us), and many of them for under $30. If you are unable to keep dry clothes at the office, or your travels in the rain done allow for you to be soggy by your destination, a good set of fenders can be the difference between riding and driving for some. In addition, once you have the fenders on, I’d recommend leaving them on for the weekend group rides on wet pavement too. The guy drafting you will thank you.