- May 8, 2013
An estimated 150,000 people came out the first CicLAvia of the year, on April 21, to enjoy the extended route, which spanned 15 miles from..
- May 6, 2013
The Swobo Novak is a no-nonsense commuter bike. Swobo set out to create a high-quality bike with virtually everything you need and hardly..
- April 16, 2013
There was a time when Timbuk2 was the only brand of messenger bags you would see on a daily basis. But times have changed and there are..
- April 9, 2013
Turns out every lane really is a bike lane. Some of us knew this already, but now L.A. Metro is spreading the word, with a new bold..
- April 1, 2013
Contents Include: I Love Riding in the City, Product Spotlight Abus, Track of Ages, Roland Burns, NAHBS 2013 Gallery, Alexander Montsenigos..
Casual Encounters in the Pacific Northwest is a sellf-published photo zine from Brian Barnhart, showing off the friends and places that bikes take us more than the bikes themselves. You can view the zine online for free or order your own full color copy for $6 at casual-encounters.in
Even though I can’t understand what these men on cargo bikes are saying to drivers using the bike lane to circumvent traffic, I like it. Great use of a megaphone, highly recommended. Every city needs a band of people like Los Supercivicos.
Edit: See comments section for a translation posted by a reader.
Ah, the conjoined stupidity of social media and youthful naivety, where kids today think EVERYTHING should be shared even if it’s a crime they just committed. As this article details, a young driver clipped a cyclist with her mirror, sending him off the road, into the trees, suffering minor injuries…but…but…instead of stopping and making sure he wasn’t DEAD or anything, she instead decides to tweet it out to the world and even justifies the act by saying cyclists don’t pay the road tax, so it doesn’t matter.
Other cyclists disagreed with her and retweeted her to the Norwich UK police, who contacted her via Twitter and suggested she turn herself in. As it stands, the police are now in contact with both the cyclist and the driver and the matter is being pursued.
In another twist of the plot, the cyclist didn’t initially report the hit and run because he didn’t want his girlfriend thinking it was unsafe for him to be on the roads, which although isn’t as nefarious as the crime committed by the driver, certainly doesn’t do much for the rest of us in holding drivers accountable for their actions.
Regardless, the advent of social media sure has brought us into a new world, where both oversharing and undersharing have become quite problematic. In this case, at least, justice will hopefully be served by the new form of communication. Happy Friday.
In this ten minute documentary filmmaker Bradley Stern talks with Cambridge residents about conflicts between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians in their city. Every place is different with their own particular problems, but much of what is said can be applied to other locations.
Just outside of New York City over the George Washington Bridge lies the Henry Hudson Drive. Most people simply call it River Road because it runs beside the mighty Hudson River. It is seven miles in length and has smooth, well paved surfaces thanks to relatively low motor vehicle traffic. It has spectacular views of Manhattan and the river on one side, a rock face cliff wall and vegetation on the other.
I ventured out for an early morning ride with an old mountain bike buddy from Philly. Given that my fitness is pretty good from training and riding as a bicycle messenger, I rode at his pace. He was testing his brand new Independent Fabrications. It was super light, equipped with a titanium Campagnolo grouppo. I was riding my filthy sticker covered Specialized with 105. It was an easy paced ride where we talked about random stuff without trying to race the entire route. We’ve been friends for years so the competitive half-wheeling has long gone from our rides.
We rolled along the West Side bike path of Manhattan without the usual parade of weekend warriors due to both the early hour and the expectation of rain in the forecast. We quickly zipped by the few other users of the trail on the way to the bridge. Once over the bridge we passed dozens of joggers near the beginning of the path. Occasionally we stopped for minor adjustments of our bikes. For him it was saddle height position of a new bike, for me tweaking the bolts after unpacking out of a bike box from a recent trip to Toronto.
On the flat roads and mild rolling terrain we rode together and talked. On the first few steeper or longer hills I waited for my buddy at the top. At the end of River Road is Alpine hill. It is longer and steeper than most of the other hills along this isolated road. Because it is at the end of the road it usually feels more difficult. My buddy and I came to a truce about the hills and I rode at his pace up the final few hills.
Two men on road bikes passed us as we climbed the last hill. I am competitive by nature and was itching to unleash my hard earned fitness on someone. My buddy gave me the nod and I danced up the hill toward the duo.
I passed the first guy without a glance. As I caught the second guy I had a big smile on my face and stared at him as I passed. But then something unexpected happened when I got beside him: he had a serious face on, refusing to even turn his eyes sideways and began pedalling harder. My smile deepened almost to a laugh. This was going to be fun.
When one is really fit they need not stand to go faster, a simple increase in pedaling cadence is all that is necessary.
I smiled as I ascended the road to drop the guy. He was almost a memory in the rear view mirror when I heard a click. He didn’t want to get beat so he chose a harder gear. Didn’t matter to me. I have done 180+ rpms on my fixed gear mountain bike recently. I can churn chunky peanut butter into a frothy smoothie.
Then I heard it again. Click. I laughed in my head. Then again. And again. And then the grind-click that can only be the jump into the big chainring. Within that brief period he panicked his way through all of his gears to try to beat me pedaling rapidly in one. He caught up to me with the same stone face of intense concentration. I thought about shifting too, but that would have been too easy.
I learned racing on downtube shifters. I knew from experience that one shifts first then accelerates. Shifting while trying to accelerate up hills can put great strain on the derailleur hanger or throw the chain off of the cranks. Under load, chains can snap in two.
Rather than shift or stand on the pedals, I let Mr. Mask Of Anger ride onward ahead of me. About fifty meters later he gets to the police station near the top and turns around. As he began to head back down the hill we made eye contact. I still had the same menacing smile on my face, almost laughing. He gave me a head nod. I looked back down the hill and his riding companion was far off, my buddy even further down the hill.
I waited as planned for my friend at the top and we took the flat inland car route back to the bridge. I told him about me laughing in the guy’s face during this mini battle and him giving me the head nod afterward. My buddy told me that as he was still climbing, the guy descending gave him a look that said: drop dead. I laughed even harder.
Road racing is about inflicting physical and mental torture on your competition the same way that fire destroys a wax candle — it can melt through the burning wick or proximity to the flame. Either way, the wax resigns. I look forward to racing this summer in the heat.
Great products don’t need change to maintain greatness — updates aren’t needed for things that aren’t broken. Hold Fast foot retention straps remain much the same as ever, identical in construction to the versions I first reviewed back in 2009. In that first review, after but a month of riding, I wrote “…I must say I’m thoroughly impressed, and possibly completely converted to this style of pedal retention.” Since then I have in fact completely converted to Hold Fast straps for any of my not-clipless riding — I’ve not used a toe-clip and strap system since the fall of ’09 and have at least three sets of Hold Fast straps in service, including that first baby blue review pair.
I’ve been riding clipless pedals on my mountain bike since the mid-’90s and am sold on their superior control and efficiency when it matters, but even with the latest in casual clipless shoes in hand I still prefer flat pedals and Hold Fast straps for some rides. It’s hard to beat a traditional sneaker or soccer shoe for off the bike, or a good waterproof boot for the commute through the winter. On multi-day tours I prefer a setup as shown over clipless, minimizing my shoes and making it possible to pedal in sandals if I really feel like it. It’s nice to be able to ride no matter what shoes you have on. Unlike toe-clips, Hold Fast straps don’t hurt my toes and in my experience cause far less wear on your shoes at the contact points over the long term.
Over the years I’ve used these straps on a variety of pedals and feel they work best with slim profile pedals that the straps can pass through completely flat, like the Fyxation pedals shown. Installation is especially easy with these pedals, with plastic bodied pedals seeming to cause less wear to the straps themselves over time, though my original pair is still going on the same metal bodied VP pedals since day one. I’ve gotten used to the decreased cornering clearance of platform pedals as compared to traditional flat road or track pedals, but it is still worth mentioning to new converts.
Hold Fast straps are available for $57 per pair, and are completely made in the USA. Highly recommended, if you had told me five or six years ago that there was a better system than toe-clips and double straps I would bet against you. Today I’m a convert, it’s either clipless or Hold Fast. See currently available colors and order direct at www.holdfastordie.com
I really dig this video out of Austin, Texas of the East Side Compost Pedallers. I worked for a similar organization in Indy at my last job, except we delivered organic groceries instead of picking up the scraps…and we did it in gas-guzzling vans instead of carbon-nuetral bikes. Regardless, the program seems to be a success and it’s great to see bikes put to work in such a synergistic manner. And hey, if you’re in the Austin area, they seem to be hiring!
Being a child of the early ’80s I remember the slap-bracelet fad well, and can’t help but see the similarity between them and the Plume recoiling fender. It easily snaps into fender mode and coils up when not in use, though I question if it will recoil over potholes or curbs. This Kickstarter project qucikly reached its funding goal, but there is still time to sign up at the $35 level for one of the first run if you like the idea.
I know this isn’t in an urban setting, but this made me think of all my friends who take their dogs with them on rides through the city or to various bike events. Of course, in the city the dogs are usually stowed in a messenger bag until the destination, rather than being allowed to chase through the streets. Still, it’s always fun to watch dogs enjoy the trails/roads as much as riders.
Cycling Legalese is our online cycling law column from everyday cyclist and Chicago based injury lawyer, Brendan Kevenides.
Hit and run collisions involving cyclists happen all too often. In this column Brendan shares some words about how to legally protect yourself both before and after a hit and run.
Q: While riding I was sideswiped by a car and they ran. My injuries were quite severe and I spent some time in the hospital. Is this a no win situation for me?
Brendan Kevenides, P.C.:In my experience, hit and run crashes involving drivers and cyclists happen with disturbing frequency. Generally, a driver will take off after causing a collision for three reasons: (1) Fear of consequences; (2) He/she lacks a moral compass; (3) He/she lacks auto insurance coverage. Very often all three factors are in play to compel a driver to flee a crash. Leaving the scene of a collision in which bodily injury or property damage results is a crime.
Unfortunately, a city cyclist should anticipate the possibility of being in a hit and run crash. However, there are steps he or she can take to protect themselves both before and after such an incident:
Buy insurance: In 49 states, drivers are required to carry motor vehicle insurance coverage. (New Hampshire is the outlier.) Useful and integrated into our culture though they may be, cars and trucks have the potential to cause enormous harm. For that reason, motor vehicle owners are required by law to have insurance to compensate anyone they may injure. Nevertheless, nationally one in seven drivers, over 14%, fail to carry the necessary coverage, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Many auto policies provide uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. These provisions of a policy provide important protection if you are injured by another driver who either has no insurance, or coverage that is insufficient to compensate you for your injuries. Generally, the amount of un/underinsured coverage mirrors the amount of the policy’s bodily injury coverage. A bicyclist’s own motor vehicle insurance may provide coverage if he or she is seriously injured by a motorist who either lacks insurance or who has insufficient coverage. If you are hit by a driver that flees the scene, your insurance provider will usually treat that as if you were hit by an uninsured driver and cover you ever though you were biking at the time of the crash. However, some insurance policies require that you notify your insurer very soon after a hit and run incident, often within 30 days, or you may run the risk of coverage being denied. A carless person may buy a non-owners auto insurance policy. These policies are offered by many big name insurance companies and tend to cost considerably less than a standard policy, generally about half the premium of a traditional auto owner’s policy. Importantly, they may protect the non-car owning bicyclist who is injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Not all insurance policies are the same. Rates may vary greatly depending on location and the specific coverage purchased. Non-owners car insurance policies may differ materially from one to the other. Also, they may not automatically come with un/underinsured coverage. Make sure that you ask your insurance agent lots of questions, making sure you understand exactly when the policy you are buying will and will not cover you.
Press record: Technology has finally gotten to the point where is it relatively easy and inexpensive for a cyclist to ride with a small video camera secured to the front of their bike, or helmet. Riding with one of these cameras recording your ride can be a tremendous help if you are involved in a crash. A review of the video after the fact may uncover the identity of the vehicle and driver involved.
Just a few short years ago, it was impractical to ride with a video camera. Many models were too big and too heavy. Even if they were small and light they could not be attached and detached quickly and easily enough to be convenient for urban riding. In the city you you need to be able to lock it up or take it with you if you hope to keep it. Now though more bicyclists are riding with small quality cameras that are weather proof and which can be clipped on and off the bike as easily as a bike light. The increasingly ubiquitous GoPro cameras start at about $200. They are small, light, weather proof and have almost limitless mounting options. The Epic Carbine HD, for about $220, is another option. I personally own this camera and can attest to its small size, lightness and ability to attach and detach from the bike or helmet with ease. Should something happen, it is nice to have an electronic witness watching your back.
Even if you do not ride with a video camera on your bike, you should try to make use of your cell phone’s camera immediately after a crash. If you are able to do so, snap a photo of the offending vehicle and its license plate as soon as possible, in other words before the driver takes off. The act of taking a photo my even make the driver feel compelled to remain at the scene. They will be on notice that they will not likely get away with fleeing.
Look for the eye in the sky: I often gets calls from bicyclists who have been hit by motorist who have fled the scene and whom the cyclist could not identify. There are ways to find a hit and run suspect, however. It is important to go the the scene of the crash as soon as possible and look for local businesses who may have security video cameras in use. A little luck is usually involved, but sometimes a security camera will have captured a crash and the vehicle that caused it. If the video is of good enough quality to have read the vehicle’s license plate number then the rest is easy. The other step that I generally take is to send a Freedom of Information Act request to the local department of transportation and police department which may also have video cameras operating in the area. If the crash occurred at a busy intersection the possibility of one of these cameras having captured the crash is increased.
Nothing contained in this column should be construed as legal advice. The information contained herein may or may not match your individual situation. Also, laws differ from place to place and tend to change over time. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of an attorney in the relevant jurisdiction. This column is meant to promote awareness of a general legal issue. As such, it is meant as entertainment. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.
Cycling Legalese Question Submission Form:
Rubena may seem like a new name in tires to some North American consumers, but back in the Czech Republic they’ve been making tires since 1928. The V66 is their basic touring and commuter tire, available in 26″ and 700c versions, in 28 – 40 mm widths with flat proof and reflective options. The tested V66 has both the 3M reflective stripe on the sidewall and Rubena’s Stop Thorn flat protection system, a stiff 3.5 mm thick strip embedded in the tire. At 450 g each the tires aren’t light, and the Stop Thorn strip is anything but supple, but I’ve always found that heavy tires full of air roll faster and better than lightweight tires with a chunk of glass embedded in them. So far so good, after months of riding around carrying a pair of spare tubes and a pump I’ve yet to have had a flat tire. Stiff sidewalls didn’t make the V66 tires the easiest to put on the rim, but by the same token provide further pinch-flat protection and have bailed me out when not paying the closest attention to airing up before heading out. Perhaps not the best choice for performance riding, but for the everyday grind or a long tour the Rubena V66 with the Stop Thorn casing and reflective strip seems an appropriate choice. At $30 per tire, they’re an economical option in flat proof tires as well. See more about this and other Rubena tires at www.rubenatires.com
If you’re in the NYC area this weekend, don’t miss out on the Vaya Bags 3 Year Anniversary party and sale. Woman owned and operated, Vaya has been kicking out messenger bags, panniers and other accessories from the Ridgewood area for 3 years now, and it’s time for them to celebrate.
Aside from the hangout vibes, they’ll have a bike tube gear set to raffle and crazy in-store discounts. For those far away that can’t make it, everything will be 10% off online from May 24th – 26th.
The goods on the in-store party can be found on the facebook page here.
Although this video is about bike builder, Ezra Caldwell of Fast Boy Cycles, it goes far beyond the process of simply building bikes. Ezra is currently fighting rectal cancer, facing down and processing what it means to live a life that has now been given a timeline, and figuring out how to continue his cycling passion with physical restrictions. No longer allowed to actually sit on a bike seat, Ezra built the “assless” bike that he now rides, which isn’t too far removed from a simple trials bike. The video is beautifully shot, and bike interests aside there is a lot to be gained from this regarding perspective on living and dying. Ezra is a unique individual and we wish him the best.
Giro has been in the cycling shoe game for a few years now, and the Republic is perhaps their most innovative footwear release to date. Undeniably fashion forward, the Republic delivers high-performance and comfort at the same time.
The Republic takes style cues from the athletic shoes of yesteryear, which means old-school shoelaces. Not only do they look good, they do a good job of securing the shoes with no noticeable shifting or heel lift. The perforated microfiber uppers don’t let a whole lot of air in, but they do seem to allow for good breatheability (at least through the months of April and May).
The sole is made from DuPont™ Zytel nylon, and in short I’ll say that these shoes are stiff and light. I feel like I can put every bit of power I generate into the pedals, with zero waste. Whether that’s really true or not, I can’t say, but these shoes feel like serious cycling shoes. On the other hand, unlike my shiny silver road shoes, the Republic shoes are remarkably easy to walk in. Chalk it up to the replaceable rubber-coated treads. My apartment building has notoriously sketchy iron stairs, and I’ve negotiated them with ease in the Republic shoes.
The Republic shoes come with very subtle branding, which is a clear nod toward the urban influence. They also feature an Aegis antimicrobial treatment and an elastic band on the tongue to keep the laces out of your chainring. Overall the shoe’s construction seems second to none.
The Republic shoe is available in US men’s 6 ½ to 13 ½ (EU 39 to 48) in black, white and “lead” (pictured) colorways. They retail for $150. Check out www.giro.com
At the close of the 19th century — just before cars made their appearance — a wealthy American businessman began construction on a private, for-profit bicycle superhighway that would stretch from Pasadena to Los Angeles. It almost got built.
Traitor Cycles has been quietly working on a relaunch, with the $600 frame and fork Crusade Disc being particularly of interest. A fully butted chromoly tubset featuring rocker style dropouts to allow either single speed or geared drivetrains. The post mount brake on the fork is a sign of the changing times, and the internal top tube routing shows off the shouldering roots. It’s definitely more of a race bike than commuter, with but a single bottle mount and no provisions for racks or fenders. Available mid to late summer, see more at www.traitorcycles.com
The 2013 Feel My Legs, I’m A Racer ride is officially in the books and the dudes from Boyz on the Hoodz put together this video recap of all the brutality. This looks like such a fun and crushing ride. Don’t sleep on it next year.
Matt Ruscigno, the organizer of the event, has a recap on his site as well.
Informal fast laps around town with friends are generally a good time. Wolfpack Hustle STL does a few on the mostly empty night time streets.
Betabrand started with their line of commuter pants, and has now introduced an office friendly commuter jacket. Kind of a cross between peacoat and blazer, the $250 Bike To Work jacket is a weather resistant soft shell jacket with pull out reflective accents much like their pants. Pit-zips keep you from overheating and it also features a detachable hood for bad weather. See more at www.betabrand.com
People for Bikes are taking advantage of National Bike Month and Bike to Work Week/Day and asking you to write a pro-bike letter to a local newspaper editor. If you aren’t necessarily the writing type, they have even taken the trouble to craft a letter for you. All you have to do is fill in some basic information and send it on in. Short of being in the streets and riding as much as possible, this is a great way to have a positive impact on decisions made on behalf of cyclists and bicycling infrastructure. Even if you don’t do this year round, use Bike to Work week as an excuse to up your bike advocacy. It certainly can’t hurt!
Go here to use People for Bike’s suggested letter. It’s that easy.
See you at Bike to Work Day tomorrow!