Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
I live in Vilnius, Lithuania. Riding in my city is pretty much the same as in any other small capital of a small country. Cycling isn’t really popular and riders are frowned upon, but to be honest that just makes me smile and ride more. It was freezing last few weeks (below °20C) and people did give me strange looks. I don’t mind that. Makes me feel special.
What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
Apart from Vilnius and my hometown I didn’t ride in any other city, but I plan to visit Amsterdam or Copenhagen this spring – it should be amazing. They are _the_ best cities to ride in.
Why do you love riding in the city?
Not only it takes me places and keeps me healthy and strong, it gives me energy and a great feeling of accomplishment, especially when I bike to work in freezing cold, snow or rain. Even if I have to dry my clothes and backpack afterwards, it’s still worth it. I wouldn’t give it up for a car or go back to public transportation. You feel connected to the street and even more aware of the surroundings. I’ve noticed so many things I didn’t see before in just a couple months, and I’ve been going the same route for more than 3 years by bus!
Or just say whatever you want about riding in the city… Poetry anyone?
I am currently trying to persuade my girlfriend to cycling, bought an old bike and I’m now restoring it to it’s original state without her knowing it, and when it’s done I will give it to her as a gift. Wish me luck!
Monster Track. Love it or hate it, it happens. I’ve always wanted to go but missed it again this year, this video will have to suffice for another round. Full edit coming soon, as seen at www.urbancyclistworldwide.com
Last year we reviewed the Fyxation Quiver frameset, and now a complete 1×10 build is available. The bike has a SRAM Apex build with a 46 tooth chainring and an 11 – 32 cassette. It doesn’t quite have the gear range of a double road or ‘cross bike, but it’s wide enough for most riding. The bike fits up to 47 mm tires, or 35s with fenders, for whatever sort of roadway you’re looking to throw at it. Track ends allow you to convert to singlespeed later, be it for bad weather or just a change of pace. Retail price for the complete bike is $1100, you’ll have to budget another $40 for the made in the USA leather wine bottle caddy from the Fyxation leather line.
Rechargeable bike lights are big business, with theft resistance being the next nut to crack. Most lights are easily removable to make taking them with you a reality, and the Double O takes it an extra step with a magnetic fastening system. The Double O light bodies snap together when off the bike into a single unit, and the hole is large enough to pass a u-lock through if you’re looking to fairly inconspicuously and securely leave them behind. Pretty cool idea. The lights are USB rechargeable, with a 2 hour steady and 4 hour flashing runtime, with 80 lumens of front and 45 lumens of rear output. You’re definitely paying for the unique industrial design — the pair is available for Kickstarter preorder for $130.
Gravel and mixed surface road racing is great fun, and the quick rise in popularity of this sort of riding has brought forth a number of versatile, performance bikes. No longer are road designs completely dominated by the needs of racers, there is a proliferation of bikes for the way the rest of us ride. The Niner RLT 9 is the mountain bike brand’s first foray into not-mountain-twentyniners, and an impressive looking bike for the serious all-around rider. The hydroformed aluminum frame and full carbon fork features “fire road” geometry — slightly longer chainstays, a slacker headtube angle, and a lower bottom bracket than road road bikes. The bike has clearance for up to 1.9″ wide 29″ tires without fenders, or meaty 700c tires with fenders. While the frame and fork do have fender mounts, they also feature the latest in tech with a tapered headtube, PF30 bottom bracket shell and internal routing compatible with traditional cables and Di2 electronic systems. A great real world bike that can get you to work one day, get dirty on some light singletrack the next and tackle a dirt road century on the weekend. The frameset retails for $1049, with complete bikes starting at $1999. Check the full geometry and spec at www.ninerbikes.com
Murdered out bikes don’t always work, but the new 2015 Marin Lombard is an example of it working and working well. This $1500 complete bike features an aluminum frame and carbon fork with geometry brought over from their cyclocross race bike and massaged just a bit for better all day performance. Avid BB7r disc brakes do the stopping with SRAM Apex 10 speed shifters mated to an X7 mountain clutch rear derailleur changing gears and preventing thrown chains. The 50/34 front rings and 11-36 cassette have plenty of range for the commute or all-day mixed surface ride. The tubeless ready rims are a great touch at the price point, and the front fender mounts and double eyelets in the back make it a capable commuter or light tourer. The color scheme will look good no matter the current day’s style, with reflective highlights adding a touch of shine to the black on black frame. I had the chance to ride the new Lombard around San Francisco for along day of exploring, and it proved to be a fun and capable ride. It had the gear range to handle the steep climbs, and felt stable bombing and weaving the other side. Predictable and aggressive, the Lombard proved the versatile kind of bike I tend to prefer. Road, light trails, anything in between. I can see fast weekend rides, in-town commutes, and the occasional two or three night tour on this platform. Look for full specs on this and the lower tiered $1000 model soon at www.marinbikes.com
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
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 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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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.