Barbumps are small add-ons to drop bars that give a customizeable platform on either the front or back of the bar to relieve hand pressure. People have been double wrapping bars or adding gel layers under the bar tape for ages, but Barbumps change the shape of the bar to better suit your hands, reminding me of the ergonomic flat bar grips that people either love or hate. By using either two or four Barbumps you can add a significant amount of surface area with an insignificant weight penalty, perfect for folks that suffer numb hands on long rides. Put them on top of the tape at first until you find the position you like, and lock it in under the tape once you’ve figured the positioning out. A $20 pledge on their Kickstarter gets you a single pair, a $30 pledge gets two pairs. Designed and made in the USA, even the packaging is local to Grand Rapids MI.
To celebrate both National Bike Month and Military Appreciation Month, Raleigh bicycles is donating $50 from the sale of each new Raleigh bicycle to the Ride 2 Recovery program that uses the benefits of cycling to help reintegrate war veterans back into society. Much news has been made in the past year regarding the suicide rate of returning veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and it has been shown that there is a great lack of diversity in supportive services for these war veterans.
“We think it is fantastic that cycling can be part of the physical and psychological recovery process for the men and women who have served this country and paid a high cost” said Matt Millen, Marketing and Communications Manager at Raleigh Bicycles. “Ride 2 Recovery is doing an amazing job of facilitating cycling experiences for veterans and our goal through the Give Back program is to provide R2R with additional financial support so that they can show more vets the therapeutic benefits of cycling.”
Find out more about the Ride2Recovery mission here.
Bike theft is a problem more or less anywhere there are bicycles, and the UK is no exception. Bikes are everywhere in the UK, and on my couple of trips to London it was clear that theft was a problem given the quality of locks being used to secure beater bikes around town. In 2010 alone 115,000 bikes were reported stolen to the police, and bike theft is a terribly underreported crime. The site stolen-bikes.co.uk is a forum for wronged owners to post their stolen bike and an optional reward in the hopes of a potential buyer finding it and facilitating the return. Sister sites RegisterThatBike.co.uk and RecoveredThatBike.co.uk help owners document the bikes they do own, and link up police recovered bikes to their rightful owner.
Cycling Legalese is our online cycling law column from everyday cyclist and Chicago based injury lawyer, Brendan Kevenides.
We all ride bikes, but is there a community of cyclists? How can we help to look out for each other while out on the road?
Q: So many people I know have either been hit by cars or harassed by drivers while out riding. What can I do to help my fellow bikers?
Brendan Kevenides, P.C.: Many of us who are deeply involved in cycling and cycling advocacy find ourselves referring to a bicycling “community.” But is there really such a community of cyclists, and, if so, what does that even mean?
People who ride bikes are not really part of a discreet group. I would venture to guess that most people who ride do not define themselves by the fact that on occasion they hop onto a two wheeled contraption and go for a spin. Even among those that consider themselves “cyclists,” there are tribes that have little to do with one another. A spandex clad roadie in his 50s may run (and ride) with a very different crowd than a 20 something year old polo player. In my experience, however, despite the purported existence of such tribes, there most certainly is a “bicycle community.” It is made up of people that, while often very different, are bound together by their love of self-propulsion on two wheels. Not everyone that rides a bike could fairly be referred to as a member of this community. But for those that love it, that bond exists, creating an important oneness, a community.
This community is important in a couple of ways. First, it provides a means of meeting people having a common interest and with whom the love of biking can be shared. It can even help expand one’s enjoyment of cycling by promoting introduction to different forms of it. Maybe the middle aged roadie would love playing polo and vice versa. Secondly, the bicycling community provides a support network, and an important one at that. Time and again in my law practice I have seen bicyclists rally to help other cyclists in need. This sometimes happens in the most literal sense. For example, last summer I represented a cyclist who was doored while riding home from work along a busy cycling corridor in Chicago. The bottom edge of the door that was flung open into him caught his shin, slicing it open. He was bleeding profusely and the driver that injured him was freaking out, offering no help. Thankfully, however, a cyclist who happened to be riding right behind my client with her teenage daughter saw what happened, stayed calm and came to the rescue. She tightly wrapped the wound to quell the bleeding while her daughter called for help. The cyclist’s leg was saved and he ended up with little more than an ugly scar. On several other occasions, bicyclists have acted as witnesses for clients involved in crashes with motorists. Several months ago a woman who I ended up representing was riding her old mountain bike home from work. She did not commute by bike everyday, but since the weather was pleasant she decided to ride to the office. On her ride home a motorist doored her and she was injured. When I brought a claim against the driver he alleged that his door had been open for some time and that the bicyclist inexplicably ran into it. Unfortunately, the bicyclist could not remember accurately what had happened. However, a bike messenger was riding behind her at the time of the crash and saw it unfold. He explained that the door was thrown open suddenly just as she rode by and that there was nothing she could have done to avoid it. Thanks to his statement we successfully resolved the case. Though the messenger and my client were arguably of two different cycling tribes, the messenger stayed at the scene and provided his contact information to the police, an act of decency that helped us tremendously.
Sometimes the help that cyclists provide to others is less direct, but no less important. Online forums do more than just offer bicycle maintenance tips. Great examples of this appear regularly on websites like The Chainlink, an online forum based here in Chicago. Daily, cyclists take to The Chainlink to update each other on upcoming cycling events, and on what is happening, often in near real time, on the mean streets. Cyclists post photos of existing street hazards and even put out APB’s on drivers that fled the scene of a collision with a bicyclist.
What can you do to help your follow cyclists? Watch their backs. Be a witness. Offer aid to those in need. If you see a cyclist stopped on the side of the road ask if they are okay. Offer them use of your tools, or pump. Join an online forum and participate constructively in discussion and debate. Bicycling is not inherently dangerous, but in the city streets a network of aid can be tremendously helpful. Be a part of that network. Join the community, and lend your voice to other bicyclists in proclaiming the popular rallying cry of today, We Are Legion!
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:
This tragic story recently came out of Oakland, CA after a cyclist and community activist, Eli Reyes, was pulled off her bike by an aggressive driver, drug through an intersection and then dropped beneath the vehicles moving wheels, causing a full break to her femur and extensive cuts and bruises to her legs. Word on the street is this specific driver has a “thing” for cyclists and has attacked them in the past, as well as harboring other unpleasant accusations.
Reyes and her partner are well-known community activists who run the MOCO non-profit gallery that hosts art shows, presentations and performances of all sorts. This vicious attack has left Reyes unable to generate income and has jeopardized the future of the MOCO gallery.
A fund has been set up to care for Reyes while she recovers and keep the gallery afloat. Supporters have set a fundraising goal of $15,000, which can be contributed to through Paypal, GoFundMe or at the personal address listed on their site. Please consider donating.