Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Inspired?


Commuting to work has been relatively easy in this December's unusual mild weather. Last weekend I took advantage of this temperate spell and did a slew of errands by bike: newspaper & milk-run, gift grabbing at the mall, and a post office stop with a large package (bound for the parents of our Pakistani exchange student) strapped to my bike rack. The travels even revealed a new short-cut that only pedestrians and pedalers can use -- a nice discovery!


***


In the two years I've been blogging here (how long will I continue this? my inspiration is waning), there seem to be a greater number of cyclists in the area.  Below is one of their machines outside a local department store, with a good-sized cargo box. Those handlebars are pretty impressive too, ready to handle quite a bit of tough handling with so much leverage. 


Boscov's Bike



And yet another commuting bike entered my sights this morning. Stopping at the Cornerstone Coffeehouse I met another commuter, bound for Union Deposit Rd (quite a hike). His all black Cannondale was equipped with very roomy saddlebags (also black), disc brakes and a Planet Bike front blinker. I did suggest he add something reflective to his garb, which was also all black. Do be visible everyone!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Velo Poster


Grabbed this poster at the Trexlertown bike fair last spring. Now it adorns my office!



Friday, December 9, 2011

Another Odd Object

Recently saw this lovely item on the street while waiting for the light to turn green.  Sometimes I find stuff worth grabbing, but this is not one of those finds!

Friday, December 2, 2011

I Want Your Solenoid Valve Array

Now that I've seen this, I'm definitely going to need to add an array of solenoid vales to the equipment currently in my workshop.


水书法器 Water Calligraphy Device - BJDW Clip from Nicholas Hanna on Vimeo.


Presumably, the biking Banksy set might replace the water in this bike with paint, and use the machine to create bike lanes, pro-bike graffiti and directions to car drivers that move them off of roads we cyclists prefer for ourselves!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Shall Bikes Be Named?

What are the best names for a bike?  A number, like Trek "800"?  An animal, like the Trek "Antelope"? After a member of the "Three's Company" cast, like Raleigh's new "Furley"? Or after a soothing drink, like the bike below?  Yes, "Coffee" ain't so bad for a bike name. After all, it might be the reason many of us hop in the saddle to go for a ride.

Certainly you, dear readers, have ideas for bike names. After your favorite aunt? Historical epoch? Submit your responses!


I Name You....COFFEE    [Washington DC]

Monday, November 28, 2011

Freewheel Hub + Freehub = Frustration

How many of you know the difference between a free hub wheel and a freewheel hub?  I didn't until yesterday when I finally had a chance to dismantle my warped wheel and install its cassette to my newly ordered wheel. Alas, here are the confounding details:
Freehub Wheel (what my cassette fits on)

Freewheel Hub (what I ordered anew, arrhh!)


More detailed schematics of these two types are available at Wikipedia. Unfortunately, my former lack of knowledge left me with the wrong wheel. Further investigation also taught me that I am likely to need spacers to properly fit my old 7-speed cassette to a new hub because the latter are generally designed for cassettes with 8-10 gears. Those of us who are satisfied with merely 7 gears will need to cope/adapt. Anyway, this additional wrinkle made it likely (to me, at least) that additional online shopping for spacers could lead to more error in parts selection. Therefore, this morning I opted for the bike shop, where my Trek sits being repaired in a well-stocked shop.



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Stand and Chain Whip Ready

In anticipation of, and preparation for, my forthcoming bike repair, I've made a bicycle stand and chain whip. The stand is atypical because it's not really a stand but a hook of sorts. Unlike pricier professional models that rest on the floor, my hooks are simply an assembly of two 2x3"s bolted to my garage shelf. Their notches hold the bike's crossbar.
Planning always helps!

My Trek held steadily in place!



As for the chain whip, I found pointers from QBike editor David Alyea. I am not certain about the importance, function or parameters for the small loop of chain that is found on all chain whips, but any adjustment is easy to make.




Now I'm just waiting for one more part before making the repair...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What's As Smooth as a Well Tuned Bike?

Or perhaps even smoother?  It's Milt Jackson, folks.  So, if you're not on your bike right now (or you are fixing it, like me), and want to put yourself in the groove you get when you're rolling along the road, take a listen to this beautiful sweetness from 1956:



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Incremental Bike Knowledge

I am decided to fix my rear bike wheel on my own.  The shop says, unsurprisingly, it is kaput. I was going to have them do the work but instead ordered a new rear wheel and "Park Tool FR-5G Cassette Lockring Tool with Guide Pin" from Amazon. As for the necessary "chain whip" tool I believe I can fashion my own without much trouble. After all, I have a workshop AND a garage (with a radio in each) and many tools and materials, AND an inkling to hack and create.  Why should I have someone else fix the bike? Well, OK, because a bike mechanic will fix it right the first time. But replacing an old wheel and re-installing the cassette doesn't seem to be too much trouble (unless I've been misled by YouTube), so I am forging onward. In doing the work myself, the cost savings is minimal, but I'm putting growth of my bike knowledge ahead of fiscal calculus.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Slam Warp!

On many Sunday mornings I look forward to my short jaunt to the Hess Station for a copy of the Sunday Times. The ride is shy of one mile. This morning, as I turned into the station and leaned into my final turn, my rear wheel suddenly slipped from underneath me. My right foot immediately went to the ground to prevent a fall. Somehow the rear wheel came off the ground (perhaps because I pivoted the bike off my foot) and then slammed back onto it. I recovered without falling, and rolled another 20 feet to park and buy the paper. When I returned to the bike and walked it a few feet from the wall I usually lean it on, I noticed the rear wheel scraping the brakes. Then I noticed loose spokes! And then the worst: my rear wheel is completely warped! Alas, I don't believe it can be trued and a new wheel is going to be necessary. With 20 years of spinning round, and carrying me so many places, I believe it doesn't owe me anything...

Friday, November 18, 2011

What's Missing



Readers, take a look at the photo below:


What is missing? Do you know? For most Earthlings, it's no surprise that what is missing isn't known, because they drive their cars, insulated from the elements. Today's elements include a touch of rain -- that's a clue. Know what's missing now? Or have you not commuted enough in the elements? In them, as in commuting not sheltered from them. When you are exposed,  the cool moisture on a rainy Fall morning is available to the senses. As is the slick sound of tires pushing and skimming through a film of water on the road, and the gray horizon threatening rain on the return ride. These are more clues about what's missing. For the cyclists, I might have provided enough information. Here's another clue: it's in the trunk of my wife's Civic! What's missing in this photo? Might it be useful for the impending wintry mix as well?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Starting Hill


It is not always the most pleasant way to start a morning commute, nonetheless, I've got about a one-quarter mile, 6-8% grade at the very start of my ride! Good for the legs!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Borough Bike

I had to grab a prescription at CVS this afternoon (via car, unfortunately), and because I cycle around town, I know off-map spots to park the minivan and thus avoid rush-hour intersections. This cyclist (yes, the cyclist is represented by the bike; they are one) seems to know them too, as I saw her bicycle locked behind the CVS. However, why not lock up better?  Why not fully employ the 6-foot lock? Instead it is neglected, carelessly looped around only one part of the frame. Why not lock the wheels with your fine cable, and ample railing? Was it the gloomy weather that had you rushing from your bike?



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More Shorts in November


Yesterday proved to be a counterfactual to my earlier post, in which I claimed my last day commuting in shorts. My failed weather-clothing prediction is no bother, however, as we cyclists never complain about riding in upper 60s temperatures.  

My commute takes me along this section of the Pike each time, where I've got at least four feet of berm to separate me from traffic:
3700 Block of Carlisle Pike
Ideally this  space would be converted into a bike lane. Simple pavement stickers and some signage would be (I hope) sufficient encouragement to get more cyclists on this route. Is it insufficient political push that hinders such progress? The route passes our state senator's office. Perhaps all cyclists ought to drop by her office and make their case, one by one, as they pass by.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Greenwich Cyclist at Night

I just learned that a friend was injured on his motorbike while commuting in the thick of London traffic. Ee gads! The news sent me perusing our London photos, shot during our January travels there. One evening we all walked up a long hill in Greenwich to its famous observatory. It was very dark, yet cyclists persisted to pedal up the winding, misty road that leads to the prime meridian. Here are their wheels in motion, visible in a long exposure...


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Unforecasted

I get all the news I need from the weather report...although not yesterday.  


Yesterday morning's weather report presented a rather gentle descriptor: "breezy." I'm not sure if this was intended as a meteorologist's euphemism or whether it was another miscalculation. "Windy" would have been a more accurate adjective, although even this latter term would belie the very strong gusts that made my ride in a tough one. The gusts even prevented me from accelerating on downhill stretches.  None of this wind caused any real problem for me, except when my preference to move quickly across major intersections was undermined by gusts. In this case, as soon as I pedaled into the crossing of 21st Street and the Bypass I had to fight the biggest crosswinds of the trip. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

More Expo Photos

The neat thing about bike shows is the variety and creativity you find in bike designs. This rather impractical model has a fantastic stick shift coming off of the rear hub (click to enlarge). Its maker was a very laid back gentlemen from New Jersey who felt comfortable vocalizing, rather loudly, his wares. I can't see riding this bike too far, especially because of its low, low profile. The bike parts boxes are always interesting visually, although to date I have never incorporated old parts into my bike.



Monday, October 31, 2011

Philly Bike Expo


I had a brief chance to drop by the Philly Bike Expo yesterday. It was pleasantly tucked into the old Armory on 22nd Street, between two alleys that provided space for used bike parts and a bicyclist valet. Most of the vendors inside this large stone building were handmade bicycle artisans, who brought both imaginative and crafty machines for perusal. Since the vendors ran small operations, it was easy to talk to them about their techniques, such as all the filing involved in making a tube connections look so refined. I was a bit surprised that the event was on a smaller scale for such a prominent biking city, nonetheless it presented a wide range of bicycle designs.
Bike wares alongside the armory....

Interior activity....

Wish my kids fit in this....

Shiny style from Cooper Bikes....





Friday, October 28, 2011

Cops and Magazines


I exited the office into much cooler and grayer weather than I expected today. I dodged the smokers who so consistently block the doorway and unlocked my bike. By the time I had arced around Grandview and got to the hospital parking lot, I came upon the Frenchman again. He wasn't pedaling but walking rather hurriedly. He was rushing to meet a friend, so we had only a quick chat, but during our brief updates he explained that the crazy screaming car driver had harassed him yet again. This time, however, the Frenchman called the cops!  Excellent! Having quickly memorized the offending car's license plate number (a skill we cyclists must master), he was able to dispatch the police to whomever has been regularly causing him grief during his commutes (see my earlier post). There is nothing so unnverving as hearing a speeding car approaching your rear and then have to endure screams coming from their errant drivers!

Following our converstion I headed along the bypass to the local, last remaining big bookstore for some sketching. Locking up again to the gas pipes, I then sat near a magazine rack and took this impression:



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Philly Data

It's always a plus when my analyst side gets to jive with the bicyclist in me. Recently released is OpenDataPhilly.org, which seems to be a trove of various Census and other data made available free to the public. Biking data are in the mix! 
Another assemblage of biking data, over at The Atlantic, is of various parking arrangements for bicycles, including ways to launch your bike up a utility pole to keep it from would be thieves (although not squirrels). Those data are not the quantitative kind, but illustrative of creativity and sharp design.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Night BIkes

These bikes -- older, more classic road models -- were locked up in front of the Midtown Scholar recently. A friend of mine and I had coffee there just before the store closed. As we walked out, I snapped this photo (and manipulated the tonal thresholds). There is no question how handy these bikes (one of them a Fuji) are for their owners. With simple efforts they will move toward home with great efficiency.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sufficient Energy & Gas Station

This morning I was running a touch late as I hit the street on my commute. The delay resulted from my being sluggish and congested. A plate of two eggs mixed with cheese, more decaf and a hot shower lent me enough additional energy to get underway. Although I doubted the wisdom of riding with insufficient umph, the commute into work didn't move me backwards in terms of my general constitution.


Also low on energy is this gas station I pass each day, seemingly worn out with its defunct fuel pumps and growing collection of abandoned cars:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bike Loan

Two days ago I loaned my bike to my son. For some reason I can't remember, he needed it. And so off he rode with our Pakistani exchange student (I think my son loaned him his bike, and that's part of the reason he needed my bike) to his friend's house. I haven't seen my bike since! It's only been 48 hours, but since my bike is my ONLY bike, I am missing it. I would have squeezed a ride in today too, but of course, this wasn't possible. The bike remains at my son's friend's house, and since they're out for the day I'm without my wheels.


I'm glad to see my son fit onto my bike and be able to ride it, but next time I need to make sure there is a fail safe return policy before I lend it again!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bike Deals!

These are the second and third bikes I've seen for sale at this Chinese restraunt in the past month. Obviously they are a commodity. Having eaten here, I will conclude the food is in better shape than these bikes, but they are a good deal nonetheless.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Proper Springfield Cyclists

We have read many stories of cyclists suffering the discontent and ire of automobile drivers. Perhaps if we wear a uniform like the one shown before the image of cyclists would improve! Surely our car-driving compatriots would give us more road space when they see us wearing  medals and neat hats! 

Or perhaps bicycling associations can don these duds while they make public service announcements, proclaiming their noble contribution to pollution and traffic abatement? Can you imagine legions of Proper Cyclists clearing the way for us commuters with well-spoken arguments for pro-bike policies?

...well, delusion can at least be self-humoring, sometimes!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Puddles

Puddles!

Gray & Gray


This morning was painted with dreary colors (definitely weather requiring blinking lights), and a threat of rain. The biggest intersection I cross (this video) offered no contrast to the gray palette, just the drone of cars spewing around....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Stiff Stuff

My front derailer is very stiff, especially when I try to select the top gear. Hopefully oil will loosen this component...or perhaps I should replace it given its nearly 20 year age! Anyway, time for some Lebanese food!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rain Anew

Frankly, I haven't biked in the rain -- a steady, measurable rain -- for many years. So this afternoon, as I watched from my office window bits of our planet's fresh water pour down upon a large swath of our macadamized soil, I saw an opportunity rising. Some coworkers advised against my returning in rain; another offered me a ride home. I checked the radar and the window a few times and waited for an opportunity. Fortunately, just at quittin' time the rain tapered off from a downpour into a steady, light patter. I grabbed helmet and panniers and headed out the door.


I hadn't checked the weather this morning, so I wasn't entirely ready for this rainy return trip. Mainly, I didn't have a waterproof shell. This didn't seem to matter, for as soon as I hit the pedals I was enjoying myself, despite a steady soaking of my clothes. And for some reason my bike seat was not soaked with water (perhaps a benefit of locking to a tree). Balancing my ill-equipped-ness were front and rear blinkers, and snap-on fenders. The kid in me loved watching them block so much water that the tires lifted toward me. 


The last bit of my ride home is a quarter mile hill that terminates at our driveway. Perhaps this was the riskiest portion of the trip, with my wet rims treating my brake pads as is they were skis. No consequences, though -- not even a slip.

Pneumatic Adjustment

Time for air....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Is the price right? When the possibilities are considered - transport, exercise, polution reduction, human potential directly manifested - I think: absolutely.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Despondent Cyclist Laments Failing Erector Spinae Muscles!

Well, I think it's my erector spinae muscles that are aching so much. Something down there hurts quite a bit, and I'm not sure what brought the pain on (sitting at the office?). Part of me thought I should ride on this lovely morning to exercise the offending area, but I opted to drive lest I strain something all the more. Tomorrow, my massage therapist pal will hopefully knead this malady out of existence!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Finally Sun!

Finally, the sun has emerged and permitted better cycling. My shadow was not the only one intersected by spokes and wheels today - I saw three other pedalers on a brief ride.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pedicabs!

Following a Broadway show, these pedal cabs were more prominent than taxis! A pleasant contrast to exhaust fumes and honking horns!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

NYC Bike Lock

This chain looks pretty sturdy. The sheen on the chain suggested a higher quality steel; harder to hack saw through than say, the chain I use to lock our canoe. The basket, incidentally, is excellent for delivering pizza.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Objects


There are so many objects that catch my eye as I pedal on the morning commute.  A shiny washer, a weighty rusty bolt, a blue plastic spool, a tattered tie-down, a cracked cell phone. They are a curious gallery of our material culture’s detritus.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Swiss Alps on an Electric Bicycle

The New York Times, while it already had my frequent attention, is all the more attractive in its frequent coverage of bicycling topics. This Sunday it told another tale of electric bikes, which I've presented on this blog a couple times earlier. This time, it's electric bikes in Switzerland that are gaining a 2-page spread. The Swiss Alps on an Electric Bicycle made the idea of taking a 60 pound electric-assist bike through mountain passes quite attractive. 


Will battery tech continue to cost less, and weigh less, to the extent that we will soon see many more folks on bikes? Folks who typically wouldn't give biking a try? Will my neighbors, who typically go from insulated garage to car to insulated retail establishment, grow a bit more intrepid and hop in the saddle?


Let's add to this picture. Bike lanes.  Believe it or not my local township has included bike lanes in their visioning and architectural sketches. Their engineering and architectural consultants have explained how bike lanes are part of a solution to reduce traffic and increase interest in the township as a destination. Behold, progressive thought! Standing in contrast to these ideas are conservative fiscal approaches, which rely on private investment exclusively  (and greater tax revenue from their increased investments)  to build said bike lanes. 


Anyway, is there a future that includes larger numbers of semi-bicyclists (those using power assist) using more bike lanes to make short jaunts to the shopping center? What would cycling be like if pedal bikes (no electric assist) became the minority in bike lanes, while electric assist bikes dominated them?

Downed Power

This downed pole and insulator array are likely the reason behind our continued power outage. Viewed via bike, of course.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My bike has enabled a tour of the extensive storm damage in my neighborhood. This tree remains as a blockade 12 hours after Irene felled it. Thankfully via bike I can navigate around it!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Downpours

The rain has not hit Central PA too hard as of yet, but for anyone east of here, your cycling might be more like this:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bikes (and tapas) in Frederick

It was a mass transit moment. My son and I drove to Frederick to rendezvous with his friend, who was using regional rail from Washington DC to reach us. Frederick is a midpoint between Washington and Harrisburg, so this kept said friend's mom off the crazy highways. Anyway, I had never been to old downtown Frederick before, but it was worth a couple hours of our time. Not only do I love pedestrian areas, but among the many restaurants was a fine tapas joint, albeit a pricey one, that was my son's first foray into Spanish food.


Needless to say, as we walked and dined, I snapped a few bike related photos.


Not sure if this pedal-cab would take you anywhere, but it did get you a  free ride to beer.

Not my style, but the color and flair are appreciated!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Zenith of Agency

I've started following NYT writer/cyclist Bruce Weber in print and online. The story is nicely documented with photos, the author's words and responses of so many readers, as he rides across our huge swath of a country. In his recent post, "The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Rideryou learn that after only 500 miles he's feeling pretty spent. 


The idea of riding across the country is very intriguing to me, and perhaps one day I will get the chance to do this. But what's it really like?  The Urban Adventure League seems to be making a good time of it as they move through Saskatchewan this week. What a huge territory to traverse! I've never even done a century, let alone 3-4 thousand miles. Day after day on the saddle could get quite lonely, painful and exhausting. But there's also visiting towns and meeting people along the way and seeing amazing things. And at the end of it all, you approach the ocean (the Pacific, from my perspective): first smelling it, then hearing and seeing it, and then riding your bike right up to it, realizing you did an incredible thing. The effort and result would represent the zenith of the agency that bikes give their riders.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Your Bike Stinks

As I headed home yesterday, up the longest hill in my commute, I heard a whining buzz stinging me (audibly) from behind in my head. I assumed it was a motorcycle. To my surprise it was a bicycle with supplemental gas engine attached.  I kept myself steady as the racket neared in its Dopler way.  Then I looked over my right shoulder and saw something like this:






This type of bike -- mangled with a gasoline engine -- really defeats at least one key purpose of biking, which is to be earth-friendly.  I'm all for the electric hybrid bicycles but gasoline powered types are noisy and stinky and just seem to rub against the je ne sais quoi of bicycles. Thus, this particular cyclist -- if we can call him that; the stinky cyclist -- is missing the point.  The point of not polluting and the point of exercise. Perhaps also an aesthetic point. I understand some folks can't handle big hills. Just fine. In this case the electric models are a fine choice. Of course, latter are quite pricey, but not so much more than what's shown above. In this gentlemen's case, he looked fit enough to climb this 3/4 mile stretch of the Camp Hill bypass. Perhaps I'll have an opportunity to discuss the matter with him, if he's willing to stop pedaling (er, turn off his engine) and chat.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

London Data

My day job as an analyst, combined with my appreciation for things visual and things velocipedic, make this website a wonderful synthesis of said interests. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Are We Nutty?

It was one of those rare days last Thursday, when I had some positive interaction with another cyclist. It was the Frenchman again, headed home on his blue Huffy frame. I was peadling south and he north and we stopped to chat, having recognized each other from our first meeting in October last year. Unfortunately I learned this Parisian is not always having positive experiences here, having been heckled frequently on Erford Road by a pickup-driving hooligan. 

Perhaps to cagers we cyclists seem nutty. Riding through heat and the unpredictable swerves of deadly autos. We cyclists are hardly conventional in car country, and that's an easy target for reactionaries. Prior to the advent of cars, however, bicycles must have been much more special (although I'm not sure more acceptable amid animal transport). This advertisement reflects a certain grandeur for anyone owning this rather complicated English tandem bicycle of the 19th century:


Alas, if I was seen pedaling this beauty down Erford Road I might find myself the target of jeers and shouts myself!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

No Bike Share for Me

I've been in Washington D.C. the past couple of days and was very jazzed to see so many red rental bikes traversing so much of the downtown area. All of these bikes, outfitted with a chain guard, dynamo for multiple blinky lights, front storage rack and heavy duty rubber handle grips, are provided by Capital Ride Share. I stood in front of one station yesterday and watched the activity -- within 5-10 minutes there were at least 5 drop-offs or pick-ups. But not for me.  You can see my ticket and code for a one-day rental, easily obtained with a dip of my credit card.  But the code failed to work, and even after calling the customer service line I was rejected by the bike system. Quite a downer.  I blog about biking, ride bikes frequently, advocate for bike lanes, etc. etc., and the bike borg computer refuses me. What gives? Has Tron run amok inside the network? Oh no! 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cyclists Passed a Sketcher

s
Waiting in the late afternoon sun for friends to arrive at the Tibbet's Point Lighthouse earlier this month, I caught this shadow of myself and the light falling on an old shed. Several cyclists past by as I painted, as this is a popular riding spot with no traffic, and an annual French Festival to boot.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Philly Cyclists Lobby!

When I saw this mass of cyclists in front of the Cannon House Office Building this morning I didn't quite believe they belonged to Congressional staffers. It was instead a PELETON OF CYCLIST LOBBYISTS! A good omen or bike policy pipe dream?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Germans Plan Their Bike Trips Better Than Me

OK, OK! I know I could plan my rides better, but this is too much!  Well, its not really too much. It's actually very cool and aesthetically and logically and technologically super. And if you happen to find yourself in the Schleswig-Holstein region of Germany you can take advantage of it. Check out this lovely route planner... 


***


Despite my planning shortcomings, I can proudly state that I am among a demographic of American men that is biking more frequently. Whether or not I am a Java scripting programmer (like some folks in the Scheswig-Holstein region), I am a member of a "biking more frequently" group, according to some analysis by folks over at Rutgers. Apparently, this "surge" happens most in cities that have upped the infrastructure for bikes. Given that I haven't seen any infrastructure surging around here, I must be an anomoly!

Flat Views

Recently I hit a dry wall screw and it gave me a nasty flat. My patch kit failed twice, thus I had to walk. But from my perspective as a pedestrian, taking a step by step approach to the bicycling shop a mile ahead, I acquired a new view of the road I so usually ride on.  I very much appreciated this perspective: of the mulch the Chinese restaraunt owner is placing to improve his garden plot, two dogs who bark at those who amble past the flower stand, a woman's conversation about the bus she was waiting for, and a home renovation project tucked between narrow spaces of old home in the Borough.  These things don't usually appear us cyclists; we're moving too fast usually, and we're focused on riding safely. Yet it is those in cars who miss even more, with their air conditioners running, windows up, the engine burning fuel and maybe the radio blaring.  Again I see the amount of technology utilized as correlated with the amount of observation/experience of the natural present world one can have.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cars, Humans and a Tragedy

So many Los Angelenos enjoyed last weekend's I-405 closure. It was, I suppose, like a massive snowfall here in the northeast, when people get to interact with other people because roads are blocked with snow, and neighbors come to the streets to shovel and socialize. That is, streets and cars don't rule the day, with their danger and their noise, dividing and interrupting our natural propensity to gather for human-to-human interaction. 




Perhaps this realization of "natural" human interaction is why so many people relished "Carmageddon."  It's like a freak, massive snow. This image of a completely empty freeway published by the Times last Sunday, being traversed by a lone cyclist, seems unreal to us. It's a shift in perspective, like blanket of snow on a modern landscape. Perhaps responding to this, other Californians raced a plane on their bikes that same weekend, and won! 


The car versus bike/pedestrian struggle in our post-industrial society is a pernicious dance. Or mosh pit. While I've read about several accidents and deaths on many blogs, the great worth of each day is now ever more apparent to me: Last weekend of friend of ours was left paralyzed from the waist down when he was struck by a vehicle on a morning bike ride. 

Locking Up

I need to upgrade my locking system, but at the moment here it is:



I'm not sure if it could get more basic. The benefit of the long narrow cable is that it, being about 7 feet long, feeds through both of my pannier bag handles AND my front and rear wheels AND whatever post or pipe I'm locking to. The cost? The cable ties need only a pliers to loosen up. Somehow I've gotten away with this easy to hack assemblage..

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My son alerted me to this additional case of pro-bike graffiti on south 2nd Street, and today I snapped this pic of it. May its creator respond here to tell us his\her methods!