Urban Velo

Sea Otter Cyclocross Gallery

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The Sea Otter Classic is the race season kick-off event, with three days of mountain and road racing centered around the midfield of the Laguna Seca Raceway. The expo area is always home to new product announcements, the race courses new faces and teams. Not a bad place to find oneself in mid-April, and I managed to turn my lens towards the Women’s and Men’s Cyclocross Pro/1/2 races between other engagements. ‘Cross in the sand and sun may seem out of place, but it makes for some great racing ripping through the expo. The packed men’s run at the very end of the day proved to be a rowdy time, as expected after a couple of days of sun where beers at 9 am was hardly a rare sight. Good times. Results available for download at www.seaotterclassic.com

Giro Terraduro

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Even with the wider availability of SPD compatible casual shoes, some commuters and all around riders prefer to use mountain shoes for the generally higher performance fit and sole, and to cross over into their weekend or after hours rides with the same shoe. Most mountain shoes are based on XC racing platforms, with large lugs better suited to deep mud than walking on pavement. The Giro Terraduro combines a race-rigid sole and top end uppers with a Vibram outsole for low profile, off-the-bike performance. The $180 shoes aren’t going to pass walking around the office, these are definitely high end cycling specific kicks, but you’ll be able to walk into the grocery store without tap dancing across the floor. The rubber toe cover extends around the entire upper, providing protection from abrasion and wear. The Vibram sole and armoring does have a slight weight penalty of about 70 g for the pair as compared to similar race shoes, but the shoes remains far lighter than most of the more casual offerings out there. I can see this one appealing to the super commuters and cross over mountain riders out there, especially the available all black version. The men’s Terraduro and women’s Terradura version available direct at www.giro.com

The Lund Bikes

The Lund Bikes from Kristin Elizabeth Løberg on Vimeo.

There are a lot of process videos of experienced frame builders welding together their latest creation, but this one shows industrial design students from Sweden working on frames from concept to realization, giving a deeper look into the procedures.

I Love Riding in the City – Nick Drombosky

Nick Drombosky

NAME: Nick Drombosky
LOCATION: Pittsburgh, PA
OCCUPATION: Founder, Fiks:Reflective

Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
Most people are probably tired of hearing about Pittsburgh, but as far a cycling goes, it’s a pretty great place to be if you can brave the weather and the hills. We have three bike magazines based here, a big indoor bike park, great mountain biking [in city limits], alley cats, a bike bar, tons of awesome shops, a strong bike advocacy organization, a pro-bike mayor, recreational trails [including one of then longest rail-trails in the country], world-class BMX trails, and outdoor cycling track, indoor velodrome, and a club for just about any type of rider.

We do lack some things, like some of the infrastructure and ethnic diversity of biggest cities, but with all of the things we do have, it’s a good place to live, ride, and run a company in the bike industry.

What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
Chicago. Their young city-sponsored bike-share program, Divvy, makes it super easy to get around and gets a ton of non-cyclists out on bikes.

During one ride around Wrigleyville, which is mostly composed of bars and littered with drunk pedestrians at night, we had a cab driver drive up next to us just to say hello and comment on how nice the weather was. Later, while passing a bar with an open front, a bunch of drunk guys started yelling something at us. In most places I’ve been it’s a safe bet that whatever they would be yelling is intended insulting and often homophobic or related to Lance Armstrong, but after a moment we realized they were only recommending that we should wear helmets.

Why do you love riding in the city?
I got into riding for the freedom. I can’t stand waiting for buses and I hate trying to find parking. Now I still don’t like those things, but if I don’t ride I put on weight like I never thought I could.

Or just say whatever you want about riding in the city… Poetry anyone?
Sun, bridges, hopping the tracks,
rubber, and steel with the wind at my back.

Check out ridewithfiks.com

Jason Clary Rips SF

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Riding the streets of San Francisco never gets old, and watching videos of gifted riders rip it just makes me long for another visit.

9-Year-Old Rides to School Every Day for World Bicycle Relief

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World Bicycle Relief provides locally produced, durable bikes to caregivers, entrepreneurs and students, with 80% of the bikes funded by individuals. This video highlights some of the stories of the people raising money for the World Bicycle Relief, namely that of 9-year old Griffin who rode his bike to school every day for a year, raising money along the way.

Cycling Legalese: Does the Bike Lane Compel You?

bkevinidesCycling Legalese is our online cycling law column from everyday cyclist and Chicago based injury lawyer, Brendan Kevenides.

Ever expanding bicycle infrastructure is awesome, hands down. But are you compelled to use a bike lane or separated path if it exists, even if it is in disrepair or otherwise not suitable? Read on.

Q:There are new bike lanes popping up all over. That’s cool, but do I have to ride in them?

Bike lanes are awesome, except when they’re not. As someone who has been riding in the big bad city for decades, I am thrilled at the proliferation of bike specific infrastructure in my town and others nationwide. Our cities are evolving. However, no big North American city can claim to be on par with bike meccas like Amsterdam and Copenhagen. In the evolutionary timeline we have crawled out of the primordial ooze, but we are still pretty wet behind the ears. Sometimes bike lanes, and other cycle specific infrastructure, suck. Thankfully, in most places bicyclists are not required to use bike lanes or separated paths.

There are several reasons why a cyclist might choose not to ride in a bike lane. It may be in disrepair, full of potholes, ruts or broken glass. Leaving the bike lane may be the safe thing to do. It is common in U.S. cities for the lanes to be occupied illegally by cars, delivery trucks or other vehicles. Here in Chicago, buses are permitted to share bicycle lanes with people on bikes. In the winter months, bike paths maybe rendered impassable due to the accumulation of snow and ice. There are even times when cycling on a path or in a bike lane clear of obstructions just does not make sense. For example, a roadie on a training ride may be advised to avoid a path crowded with cyclists traveling at a more leisurely pace.

There once was a time when the majority of U.S. states had what are commonly referred to as “mandatory use laws,” that is laws that require cyclists to use a bike specific path or other designated area located adjacent to a regular travel lane. These laws were more common at a time when there were actually fewer such paths in existence, and virtually no bike lanes in North American cities. According to the League of American Bicyclists, “In the 1970s, mandatory use laws of some sort existed in 38 states.” Now, however, there are far fewer such laws, many having been repealed. Illinois’ vehicle code has no mandatory use requirement. Until recently, the municipal code of Chicago had such a requirement which read, “Whenever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.” The ordinance did not define what a usable path was. Was it a bike lane with nothing more than a painted line separating cars and bikes? Or, was more substantial separation required, like a jersey barrier? This vagueness ultimately lead to repeal of the ordinance in June, 2013.

Cyclists throughout Illinois and in places like Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and many others cyclists may ignore bike lanes and paths for any reason. In other jurisdictions a cyclist’s right to do so is qualified. For example, in California a bicyclist must use a bicycle lane where one is provided, unless he or she is traveling at the same speed as traffic moving in the same direction. California bikers may also abandon the lane when overtaking another bicyclist or pedestrian, when preparing to turn left, to avoid debris or hazardous conditions or when approaching a place where a right turn is authorized. The law in New York seems to be the same. Where there are bike lanes, cyclists have to use them. It appears, however, that cyclists there may abandon them under the same circumstances set for the in California Code.

The state with perhaps the scariest mandatory use language is one generally considered the most bike friendly in North America, Oregon. Its vehicle code states that, “A person commits the offense of failure to use a bicycle lane or path if the person operates a bicycle on any portion of a roadway that is not a bicycle lane or bicycle path when a bicycle lane or bicycle path is adjacent to or near the roadway.”

An “offense.” Yikes. Still, even in Oregon a bike lane or path may be abandoned to pass other cyclists, to make a left turn, to avoid hazard and to execute a right turn. Also, Oregon provides that a person need not comply with the mandatory use law unless it has been determined after public hearing that the bike lane or path is “suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed.”

As is generally the case, knowing what the law requires depends on the particular circumstances and where you are. If you want to check the law on mandatory use in your state, The League of American Bicyclists has a very helpful chart online. Be advised, however, that laws can change at any time without notice.

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—Disclaimer—
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.
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Bike In Movie Night

AIGA Greenway Bike In Movie Night from Pixel Napalm on Vimeo.

Spring is here and the outdoor events are following in step. This video showcases a collaboration with AIGA Minnesota and the Midtown Greenway Coalition for their Bike In Movie Night, right off the greenway. Here in Indy we’ve had our Mayor’s ride, Bike to the Ballpark and other events already kicking off, and it seems everyone is ready for more of the same.

Indianapolis Bikeshare Set To Launch

PacersBikeShareLogo_Main_Web-250x250 The Indianapolis Bikeshare officially kicks off April 22nd as 250 bikes will be locked in to 25 stations around the downtown area. The hype has been building in the city, but let’s just quickly mention how cool it is that the Pacers are the sponsoring organization. You can get in on the perks of the program by signing up for various membership levels here. Maybe we’ll see some of the Pacers using the system, like Lebron in Miami?

A launch party will take place at The City Market on the 22nd. All information about the event, photos of the stations and updated information can be found on the Indy Bikeshare Facebook page.

Boston Doctors Can Now Prescribe You a Bike

Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 11.35.25 AMFrom Slate.com:

The City of Boston this week is rolling out a new program that’s whimsically known as “Prescribe-a-Bike.” Part medicine, part welfare, the initiative allows doctors at Boston Medical Center to write “prescriptions” for low-income patients to get yearlong memberships to Hubway, the city’s bike-share system, for only $5.

Read more.

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