Right on, ride on

Ceci n'est pas une vélo

Archive for the 'personal view' Category

Green, Yellow, Red

Posted by @teeheehee on 25th September 2009

ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX: Er, man, like what’s your name?
MAN: I don’t know. Why, do you think I ought to have one? It seems odd to give a bundle of vague sensory perceptions a name.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Well, this particular bundle of sensory perceptions made some observations this morning:

  1. There are now wind turbines on top of a building on Western Ave next to Soldiers Field Road (parking garage, hotel?) – here. Anyone know more about these?
  2. There is a section of path along Soldiers Field Road that I call the “canopy of trees.” This stretch of the path is my favorite and it’s starting to display autumnal colors. I am preparing myself for a beautiful couple of weeks of crisper morning rides.


Half green and red apple.

Half green and red apple.


As the cold sets in the months-long progression of deciduous life transforms from the green to yellow to red, culminating into the particularly pretty “fall foliage” that is a New England spectacle. I find it amusing that the cycle is repeated in urban transportation: the green to yellow to red of traffic lights, reduced from the months required in nature to the seconds or minutes that our high-speed lifestyles demand. When Autumn hits and the foliage turns red it is as if they implore observers to halt and admire the scenery, and why should it be any different on the streets at a red light? Especially on a bicycle.

This particular bundle of sensory perceptions would like to make some other observations today.
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Boston Bike Sharing

Posted by @teeheehee on 29th July 2009

There’s an article today on Boston.com introducing a bike sharing proposal. (There’s also a sweet video with Nicole Freedman performing a small track stand in rainy conditions while waiting in traffic.)

From the article:

Over the next few weeks, officials expect to name the company with which they would negotiate a contract on how to run the system. They hope the program will lead to tens of thousands of people saddling up in Boston daily.

Bike sharing is the next step. The city envisions making available between 1,000 and 3,000 bikes at stations 300 or 400 yards apart, located at subway and bus stops, main squares, tourist sites, and across city neighborhoods.

This makes me wonder, would I ride my bike around as much if there were publicly accessible ones available? I guess we’ll have to wait and see, either way I’ll be very happy that a program like this will be made available.

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Boston: less horse- and bike-police units

Posted by @teeheehee on 4th March 2009

Right on the heels of yesterday’s news that Boston is looking to bring a bike sharing program to the city: Boston police could cut horse (and bike) unit(s), lay off recruits to help fill budget gap. Emphasis mine, things missing from the title.

Now, I realize this is the Commissioner’s idea where the bike share program is the city’s, but come on – this doesn’t look like a consistent message!

You’re going to need more bike units, not less, to help keep our community safe from the raging vehicularists. The best way to know the issues is to submerse yourself in them, keep the bike cops! How are you going to know what we cyclists deal with in our city travels if all of your officers are riding around in (costly) steel-reinforced cars or SUVs? And how is that saving money, again?

Posted in news media, personal view, rant, sad | No Comments »

NYC Critical Mass cyclist tackled by police

Posted by @teeheehee on 28th July 2008

Whatever your sentiments on Critical Mass are, this is just despicable.

Update: here is a little bit more information via BoingBoing. The cyclist was arrested and charged with attempted assault and resisting arrest. Wtf?!

Update 20080729

The police officer has been stripped of his badge and gun. He was just out of the Police Academy, third generation officer, and did not seem to file an accurate report of the event based on the video that was anonymously posted.

Posted in personal view, rant, safety, wrong, wtf | 1 Comment »

Weekend Roundup 20080309

Posted by @teeheehee on 9th March 2008

I missed posting last weekend, so I’ve got more for this weekend!

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Brano Meres’ Engineering Makes Me Drool

Posted by @teeheehee on 8th March 2008

One of my earlier posts included a tutorial on building a carbon composite frame. The picture and one of the links was to Brano Meres Engineering.

Go to his site. He has some amazing work over there. Here is the full list, and here are some examples

Carbon frameCarbon composite truss bike frame

I’ve also posted on a bamboo bike frame. Brano has one as well.

Bamboo bike frame

Tip o’ the hat to you, Brano. Right on, ride on!

For those of you who have loads of money and love the carbon truss idea, there’s another one at Delta7Sports, discovered on Discover.

Another carbon composite truss bike frame

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The Art of (Urban) Cycling

Posted by @teeheehee on 2nd March 2008

The Art of Cycling (A Guide to Bicycling in 21st-Century America) is a new title (and ever-so-slight revision) of The Art of Urban Cycling (Lessons from the Street), by Robert Hurst.

The Art of CyclingArt of Urban Cycling

 

I originally purchased and read Urban about a year ago as I started getting more involved and interested in bicycling and bike safety. Urban is no longer printed, but all of the content (with one or two more pages worth of revisited material) is available as The Art of Cycling, sans Urban in the title.
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Posted in bike friendly, book, personal view, safety | 2 Comments »

B.I.K.E.

Posted by @teeheehee on 1st March 2008

I’m continuing the bike-centric movie kick I’m on with another documentary called B.I.K.E. (Be Inclusive, Kill Exclusivity.)

B.I.K.E.

The documentary frames itself as being the personal journey of the filmmaker, Anthony Howard, as he attempts to join a radical bike club in 2004 called Black Label (New York City chapter.)

Time for a little bit of background: Black Label features tall-bike riding, tall-bike jousting, and a lot of partying as somewhat unifying tenets to the organization. They have an image of being anti-corporate, anti-consumerism, and filled with members who often see the current stage of decline leading to an apocalyptic future where bikes will rule after the downfall of cars.

I’ve seen some of the creative spirit that can embody a bike culture and I had hoped this to be an exclusive peek into an example of that community and the human condition, despite the Mad Max sound of things from the bike club’s description. While it was about the human condition it was mostly about the condition of tragedy. It was only vaguely about bikes or bike culture.
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Red Light Go

Posted by @teeheehee on 20th February 2008

Last night I watched the documentary “Red Light Go,” which highlights a few NYC bike messengers and Alleycat races.

Red Light Go

Netflix link

My riding habits haven’t guided me full-on into many of the different bike subcultures like SCUL or messengering, so I don’t know much about what goes on within them. Much of what I have learned I have picked up from discrete observation or small conversation. Every club has their own rules, their own lingo, styles and presence. To learn more you generally need to be ‘in’. So I enjoyed the peek into part of one of these cultures that I know little about.

What I found great was some filling-in of informational gaps I’ve had. Some may scoff, but I only heard about Allycat races about two weeks ago. Before watching this documentary I thought the cards tacked in to the wheel spokes I see from time to time were just stylistic flair, not racing badges. I’ll have a closer look next time I see one, as my curiosity has been piqued.

This wouldn’t be a film I’d sit down with a budding young mind, it has adult themes beyond the occasional scenes of street riding in auto and pedestrian traffic. It’s a documentary, so it’s a catalog of a small piece of life with a lot of the child-filters removed. Partying, drinking, plenty of drug references, even some glorification of fighting. Nothing the average R-rated film wouldn’t have. I’d recommend it to most people I know.

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On wearing a helmet

Posted by @teeheehee on 25th January 2008

Wounded Pride

It took my sister’s scorn to get me into the habit, but once I started wearing a helmet I feel naked riding without it. Some might say riding naked is liberating (I’m sure it is,) but the helmet is one of the most important safety devices a rider has. After all, everything about riding starts by firings in the brain, all senses get processed there, all decisions get made there. Common sense trumps style.

My sister’s device for persuading me was familiar to anyone with a sibling. She made me feel bad, wounded my pride, even managed to use my own words against me. She was earnest in trying to make me do something that I already knew was a good idea. I was trying to be rebellious, to be free of the imposition that I am mortal. I was, of course, being stupid. And I knew it.

I really hate to be ‘that guy’ that knows to do things a certain way and does them contrary to that for no decent reason. So I changed my ways. So long as I live I hope I continue to do the same. It can hurt to have your pride wounded, but pain is inevitable. Suffering is an option. Suck it up, learn, adapt, and move on.

Knocking Sense into People

Last night a few friends of mine got together at my apartment for poker. I learned today that one of them got clipped by a car while riding back to his place.

Holyfuckingshit!

My friend was going straight and riding to the left of a car that ended up taking a left hand turn in the intersection. He didn’t see any indication that the car was intending to do this, and he was riding aggressively. His rear wheel got clipped while both he and the car that hit him were going at normal traffic speeds. In the end he was extremely lucky, no major body damage (or none discovered so far.) Pretty much he walked away with a wrecked bike and a badly shaken ego.

I have not been in that situation. I have been in other kinds of accidents, but every one can be unique to the situation. Walking away from an accident, any accident, is a blessing. Then comes the troubling period of dealing with what happened so that future occurances can be avoided.

My friend was riding with a warm hat on to stave off the chill. This event has scared him into making two safety purchases: a helmet and a very bright front light. It’s a start. I’ll be loaning him my copy of The Art of Urban Cycling once I get it back from another friend. I don’t know if he was in the wrong being where he was, but being to the left of a car isn’t usually a good position to be in.

I am the Nag

I don’t like being the Nag, which my roommate no doubt recognizes I am at times, but I’d rather not lose friends to disaster. It’s not my character to sound scornful, so I’ve never become adept at reflecting someone else’s risk-taking at them in a way that shows the bravado for the silliness it usually is. And who am I to preach when I have faults of my own?

But that doesn’t stop my gob from flapping. Wear a helmet. It’s a good idea. Get some lights going on you at night, put on something reflective, and ride safely. You a tough guy? You a crazy girl? Fine. Okay for you. Kindly remember: if something bad happens and it could have been avoided, well, that looks pretty bad, too.

To each their own in the end. Ride however you like, take whatever precautions you feel you must. I do my own thing and I find it works for me, and hope it continues to. To my friends I caution: do not die on me, especially for something stupid, or I will use you as an example when I share your tale of woe and despair. But I’d rather not have to share that story.

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