A companion site (THE PRACTICAL CYCLIST) is home to
genuinely practical information about using bikes for transportation.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bikes and Beers

More about beer than bikes, really. (I try to buy localish. The left coast has some greats, but then it has to get hauled across the country.) The favs: http://www.brooklynbrewery.com/ http://www.yuengling.com/ Some that I'd like to try: http://www.oskarblues.com/ http://www.surlybrewing.com/ Had this once, would like to try again: http://www.bigskybrew.com/ The local: http://www.olddominion.com/ (by bike, head out the W&OD rail-trail) http://www.foggybottom.com/ (Olde Heurich)

Bikes May Use Full Lane


Friday, July 27, 2007

A Typical Stage in Le Tour de France

Hahahahahaha! This is funny.

(it's also from The Economist)

Cycling and Doping IV

Haha, "four" in Roman numerals is spelled IV, like, as in, drugs. So this year's Tour brought more doping scandals, and I'm just shocked. Yesterday, Jean-Francois Lamour, vice president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, suggested that the cycling could be withdrawn from the Olympics. I think that's a good idea, actually, but I doubt it will happen. WTF, its just crazy. I went over to LA's website, and looked at his response to Walsh's recent book, From Lance to Landis, which I've read, and which in my opinion confirms the allegations of LA's doping beyond a reasonable doubt. Lance has posted a caustic response directed at Walsh, a threatening letter to Steffen Prentice (not surprisingly followed by Prentice's public retraction of his statements), and transcripts of testimony that demonstrate how LA's legal team badgered them until they couldn't say anything for certain. I'll tell you what I want to hear. I want to hear from his ex-wife, and his kids. Where the hell are they? Anyhow, here's a reasonablely balanced look the story: http://boulderreport.bicycling.com/2007/06/looking-for-the.html I hope this German kid, Linus Gerdemann, isn't on the sauce. The reality is that now, whenever someone wins, that's the first thing I wonder. I can't even say that his stance as an anti-doping advocate makes it less likely that he's doing it, because the governing bodies aren't on the level, the testing is never as good as the doping, and most doper aren't getting caught. This is funny though: http://www.tmz.com/2007/03/18/lances-ladies-look-alike/ --------------------------------------------- To the NYT, Vaughters denied that the IM exchange with Andeu was reported accurately. I like JV, and in particular, I like this quote, from cyclingnews:

"This message has to stop in cycling. This is a sport, not a Roman-conquered land. Directors and sponsors and fans have to be OK when their team doesn't win techanically on the day they want. We need to be OK with the tax being paid a few days late. "And you, as the press and fans, need to allow for that too. If a rider under-performs, don't say, 'he looks a bit fat' or whatever, like Manolo Saiz commenting on how 'fat' all the French riders looked. Just say, 'better luck next time'. "Part of the testing regimes like ACE is doing with us, and like T-Mobile is doing internally, is that it changes the riders' behavior, not just tries to catch them. It makes doping a bad choice as opposed to 'getting the job done'. If the peer pressure is to 'get the job done' because that's the implicit message, it will get done - in a bad way. "'Get 'er done' is for digging a five meter ditch or changing a light bulb. Anyone can do that without drugs given enough time, unless they are lazy. Riding a bike at 50 kph for hours takes a unique talent. It only happens on a good day for even the most talented athlete, and none of them are lazy. Let's not take away from the beauty of that once-in-a-lifetime natural achievement by saying 'get 'er done.' to these guys. "But if the message is, 'do your best to try and win', that is totally different - and human. Managers, fans, press, everyone needs to look at what they ask of riders. Think about it. You loved Tyler Hamilton getting fourth in the Tour and winning a stage with a broken collarbone. Think about that. What message does that send? He got the job done. He didn't let anyone down. "And now? Maybe he did make a ton of money, but believe me, most of his motivation was to not let down his family, his fans, his sponsors, the press and on and on. He didn't want anyone to be disappointed in him. He wanted you guys to love him and he wanted to be the nice guy. He wanted to 'get his job done'. "He wanted to make you guys happy and cheer! I know - that's what I wanted. And now? Tyler is still the same guy.

"People and the press need to remember, athletes tend to be very self-conscious and they want to do what makes the crowd happy. Don't criticise and push hard and then act shocked when doping scandals erupt. "Athletes are humans - entertainers - and very fragile humans at that. Think of them as shivering greyhounds on a cold day. All they want is to go fast so they can see the smile on your face."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bicycle Safety/Crash Studies


A Little Linkery

From Chris, at V-O, comes another terrific link: the ARROW bicycle company. So nice. Fun, minimalist, and practical, for the most part. My ADD envies your style. "Simple is best," is ARROW's mind. Sinse 1972. There is a corporate site, if you want to call it that, and sites for shops in several cities. One of them contained this little drawing of "Charis Angels." Nice. Thanks Chris!
Bicycle Ecology Japan: I haven't dug deep, but it has a nice name and logo, and looks promising.
And for something a little different, below is a picture of Darren's bell. It's actuated by a carbon Record brake lever. Perhaps the only carbon Record bell, ever.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Chartreuse Bike Lanes

Is this Copenhagen? Stockholm? Ampsterdam?

No, it's NEW YORK CITY, yo!



Monday, July 16, 2007

Doping and Cycling III

Cyclingnews.com has a good interview here with Bob Stapleton, the GM for the T-mobile team. Seems like a step in the right direction The URL is: http://www.cyclingnews.com/road/2007/tour07/?id=/riders/2007/interviews/tour_bob_stapleton_tour807

Doping and Cycling II

I'm reading David Walsh's new book From Lance to Landis, and it's pretty damning. It turns out the professional cycling has been a no-holds-barred game since its inception. I'm going to have to let all of this sit for a while before I figure out what I think about it, and how I feel. I certainly recommend the book to anyone interested in cycling, and to cyclists in general. One thing I know is that Armstrong's doping doesn't invalidate his wins, or his drive and intelligence as a cyclist. It's also clear to me that lots of people have attached all sorts of symbolic, iconic, or heroic ideals to Armstrong and his story. Cyclists, cancer patients and survivors, several corporations, the governing bodies of international cycling (UCI) and the Tour de France all have a tremendous stake in Armstrong's denial of doping and drug use. More to come. The truth requires radical acceptance. Oh, I found this interesting site: http://www.cheatingculture.com.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Doping and Cycling

What a mess. With all the recent admissions from folks close to the
USPS and Discovery teams, et al., I just can't believe anyone in the
sport who denies ever using or having knowledge of the use of illegal
blood doping or drugs.

The guys who knew that it was going on are no longer innocent, they
are omplicit in the mess. Unfortunately, no one can be neutral
anymore, they're either trying to stop it by telling everything they
know about everyone they know, or they're letting it happen, and
they're part of the deception and the problem.

The truth is rarely easy, but that doesn't make it less true.



Thank goodness there's other stuff to distract us...




The Title of This Blog

The Practical Cyclist is a reference to Nathaniel Bowditch's The New American Practical Navigator. Bowditch's title seemed a little ostentatious, so I shortened it. The title of Bowditch's book actually refers to John Hamilton Moore's The Practical Navigator. Bowditch's original task was to correct the errors in Moore's work, although Bowditch's book would became a far more extensive project. My desire here is to emulate Bowditch work, which would provide essential information to seamen of limited education and resources. Bowditch was a more or less self-taught mathematician and scientist who held accuracy in high regard. The New American Practical Navigator book became known as "the seaman's bible," and continues to be updated and used as a standard nautical text and reference.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Yuba Mundo

Check this out, the Mundo from Yuba: a utilitarian longtail, sold as a complete-bike, in three different models, at what are anticipated to be very reasonable prices.

Advice for Bike Buyers

So, friends and friends of friends frequently ask me for advice about buying bikes. Usually, I end up writing out a full essay each time. No more. I'll just refer people here. If you have comments of suggestions, feel free to add a constructive comment. Now then, when shopping for a bike...

(1) You should like the people from whom you buy your bike. New bikes come with free service, so you want to find a shop/staff you can build a relationship with. Let's throw this in here too: you should be shopping at a bicycle shop, as opposed to a department store. Skilled staff and quality products are indispensable, and it's good to support local businesses. See if you can find a shop within walking distance (or at worst, riding distance) of your home. (2) You’ll want to test ride several bikes, so be prepared to spend some time doing it. If you can help it, avoid bike shops on sunny weekends in spring and summer. If you can’t get there during the week, go early on the weekend, and be patient if they get super-busy. It’s more pleasant for both parties when the staff can give you their full attention. (3) The first, and potentially most, important thing is that the bike fits you, and that the seat is adjusted so your legs have proper extension. If this isn’t right, nothing else will be either. This is where the knowledgeable and attentive salesperson is useful. (4) This is a GREAT TIME to get into bike riding. The industry has undergone a massive diversification. Companies now routinely make at least half a dozen different TYPES of bikes, not to mention the various gradations of quality. Here’s a nice article with a little diagram that illustrates generally the different postures that are used when riding various types of bikes. Nice diagram! There is no single Best Bike. Rather, each type is better at some things, and not as good at others. Try several, see what you like. Good luck and remember to have fun.

Ah, I need to add an addendum for used bikes and craigslist, etc. Hmm.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Today's notes and links

Peter White Cycles PJW has been the go to guy for dynamo lighting for a long time. Because we're experiencing an expansion, and these lights are getting much more popular, you can probably find someone local who knows the stuff, but this is essential reading for the DIY folks. He also builds good wheels, and that is an understatement. This link should be over on the left there. http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/

Breezer Bikes and Bags Practical bikes and nice bags. I'm particularly fond of their Grocery Pannier and YearRounder Pannier. http://www.breezerbikes.com/

Austin's Yellow Bike Project http://www.austinyellowbike.org/ Someday perhaps I'll put up info on community bike programs. There are lots, probably one in your neighborhood. Go find it.

Oh my. This is about as sexy as bikes get: http://www.moyercycles.com/xa.htm

PaulComp's Thumbies are a super-smart item. I love Paul Components stuff, but it's vury 'spensive. http://www.paulcomp.com/

Makezine has lots of cool and useful things, like this: http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2007/01/how_to_add_a_le.html

Cycling Tattoo Gallery: http://cyclingtattoogallery.blogspot.com/ But, we've got to give props here to Joel Metz: http://www.blackbirdsf.org/chainwheels/

Yanco Pads (and caps) are rad: http://www.yancopads.com/

NAHBS 2008 will be in Portland. I'll try to be there: http://www.handmadebicycleshow.com/

White Industries' VBC (Variable Bolt Circle) crankset is beautiful, practical, and just a damn good idea. If there weren't b'zillions of sweet old cranksets out there, I'd probably buy one: http://www.whiteind.com/VBC.html

The KHS Green Bike, interesting: http://www.khsbicycles.com/09_green_07.htm

Shimano's Coasting project is not quite as practical as I would like, but a good effort, and good intent: http://www.coasting.com/publish/content/coasting/sac/en/home.html I think we need to support the industry's efforts here, oafish though they are.

More later.

Ooh, aah...

Volcanic Wheels:


Bike there, with directions: