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

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rain Prepared

Rain Prepared, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

Old news, and not bicycle-related

In September 2007, the European Space Agency (ESA) released an image of the polar ice cap. The ice covers the smallest area since it was first measured in 1978. The ice-covered area has dropped to about 3 million square kilometers (1.16 million square miles), a million less than a previous low in 2006 - a dramatic change. Take a look at the 2005, 2006, and 2007 images in sequence. Troubling, right? Well, here's what they had to say last month:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

LEED for Neighborhood Development 2009

USGBC has opened the first public comment period for its draft rating system for Neighborhood Development.

Comments will be accepted on this draft until January 5, 2009.

Hop to it.

Federal Highway Trust Fund Falling Behind

The FHWA Press Room coughed up this one yesterday:

Highway Trust Fund Revenue Falls $3 Billion in Single Year as Americans Drove Almost 11 Billion Fewer Miles This September

Eleven-Month Decline in U.S. Driving Shows Need for New Way to Finance America's Road, Bridge and Transit Projects

WASHINGTON -- The Highway Trust Fund, the federal government's primary source for financing highway, bridge and transit projects, took in $3 billion fewer in Fiscal Year 2008 as Americans drove 90 billion miles less over 11 months of the same fiscal year, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters announced today. The trend underscores the need to find a new way to finance transportation projects in America, she added.

"Our current approach has us encouraging Americans to change their driving habits and burn less fuel while secretly hoping they drive more so we can finance new bridges, repair interstates and expand transit systems," said Secretary Peters. "We need a new approach that compliments, instead of contradicts, our energy policies and infrastructure needs."


The Secretary noted that, if VMT continues to decline, the Highway Trust Fund may experience another shortfall sooner than expected. For this reason, she again urged Congress to fundamentally change the nation's approach to financing and managing transportation systems.


OK.  As long as that doesn't mean privatizing our roads.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Indoor Composting

This is really neat.  I had no idea these things existed...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Virtuous Cycle: Bicycling in DC

YouTube's "Project: Report" entries include this piece on bicycling in the nation's capital:

Aside from the emphasis on the perception of danger without a presentation of evidence to the contrary, this is a great little video. I guess you can't ask for everything in four minutes.

Monday, November 17, 2008


This one's for you, Nick:

Shamelessly ripped photo from the Copenhagenize Blog

Here are some very stylish long-john type bakfietsen: Larry v. Harry

Here is a socialist cycling site: Fahrradsozialismus.

It has a nice comparison of "typical cyclists" and Sentai (Japanese for super heros, aka Power Rangers). This reminds me of a crude but brilliant animated piece from a few years back with the three alien bicyclists riding through the city. Now I can't find it, a little help?

Some nice looking practical bikes: Paul Frank bikes.

Finally, dekochari. This is a word for which I have been looking.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The kg271, by Madsen

Bike - Black Bucket Bike - Black Rack
Here's a new longtail on the scene, and it's got a funny name. Madsen calls it "kg271." I assume that's a reference to its cargo cpacity--but that's a sizable load (almost 600 pounds)--so don't go trying it 'cause I said so, because I did not say so.
  1. Hi-tensile steel frame.
  2. 8-speed Sram X5 drive parts.
  3. One size, they say, fits 5'-0" to 6'-6". This troubles me a bit, but I'm only looking at a picture. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes.
The "bucket" version has a bench seat with two seatbelts, and bet it's more fun than a barrel of monkeys with two little ones in there. It holds 40 gallons. Of what? Up to you. The rack on the rack-clad version looks pretty stout, and the six equally-spaced horizontal elements suggest a great deal of flexibility. Not quite modular, but I love that word, so I wrote it down. I could see this thing carrying a couple of bike on roof-rack style trays; or a couple of passengers; but what excites me most is the potential for a Grill Bike. Imagine slow cooking some short ribs on a 400k brevet: "No, no more banana and peanut-butter for me. Thanks though."
Bucket Style: $1300. Rack Style: $1100. + $100 shipping.
You can order it direct, online. Madsen will ship it to a LBS/IBD of your choice, and pay for the assembly and tuning. Interesting idea.

A Short Holiday (or any day really) Wishlist

Since I really shouldn't buy anything for myself, I thought I'd write down a few things that I've been coveting lately.  I capped the list at 20, so you people don't think of me as materialistic.  Besides the fact that I'd like to have and enjoy these things, I'd like other folks to have and enjoy them too, because I think they're terrific things, as far as things go.  Here they are, in no particular order:
  1. Monkeylectric Bike Wheel Lights M133S (quantity two?)
  2. R.E.Load's Pro Tool Pouch, tan; or a 12-Pocket Leather Tool Roll
  3. Xtracycle's KickBack kick-stand (FreeRadical version)
  4. Velo-Orange Saddle Model 7, or 8
  5. Efficient Velo Tools' "Right Arm" workstand clamp
  6. Pretty much anything made by Efficient Velo Tools
  7. Hershberger Baker's Basket
  8. Avid BB7 Mechanical Disc Brakes (really just the front one for now)
  9. Velo-Orange Grand Cru Seatpost
  10. Surly Big Dummy Frameset, 16" or 18" size
  11. V-O Threadless Stem Adapter
  12. V-O Retro Bottle Cage
  13. Stainless Steel Flat Top, for my Kleen Kanteen
  14. Safety Vest with 16 integrated LEDs (available at lotsa other places too)
  15. Sturmey Archer 8-speed or Sram i-Motion 9-speed hub (w/ drum brake)
  16. Down-Low Glow, you pick the color!
  17. Soul Cycle "in-the-pocket" Head Unit
  18. Yuba Mundo Cargo Bike
  19. Ergon GP1 Grips
  20. Rainmates Bicycle Rain Chaps, size M if you please


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Commuter Bike Design Competition

There's a simple but potentially lucrative design competition
at the Bicycle Design Blog.
Hurry, the deadline for entries is December 5.

Frances Cycles

Bonny, originally uploaded by J.Muir from Santa Cruz.

I saw this bike, and several others from this builder, at NAHBS 2008. Nice designs, nice lines, also nice graphics work.

I love the fly-by-wire approach to steering linkage.


I really like this:

Over-simplified? Yes. On the right track? Yes. I think this is a pretty good primer on globalization, stringing together a lot of important concepts. I often get overwhelmed trying to keep it all in my head, trying to remember how it all fits together. Besides, I’m a proud member of the Society for the Restatement of the Obvious.

Just had a new thought (rare for me): it took us a little while to construct the tangle that we’re in, so its probably unrealistic to think we can untangle ourselves quickly and easily. Of course, it’s hard to sell that to the peeps. Going the right direction will involve slow and hard going, that’s not a good enough reason to continue going the wrong direction. Not really a new thought, I guess.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bicycle Safety Enhancement Act of 2008

In October, Councilmember Jim Graham, chair of the DC Council's Public Works and Environment Committee, introduced Bill 17-981, the Bicycle Safety Enhancement Act of 2008. The recommendations contained in the bill are the result of discussions that followed a crash that casused the death of a bicyclist in DC earlier this year. After the tragedy, WABA developed a list of recommendations to help better protect cyclists from heavy vehicles. Many of WABA's recommendations are contained in the bill.

The Bicycle Safety Enhancement Act includes the following:

  1. A requirement that blind spot mirrors be installed on all DC owned heavy duty vehicles
  2. New bicyclist and pedestrian awareness training for DC heavy vehicle operators
  3. A new law requiring that motorists give three feet of space when passing cyclists
  4. A fine for the use of restricted lanes (bus/bike lanes and bike lanes) by unauthorized vehicles

What You Can Do to Help:

  • WABA urges you to contact the DC Council to express your support for the Bicycle Safety Enhancement Act. We have provided a sample letter for you to send to the Council, but please remember that personal messages are much more effective.
  • A hearing on the legislation has been scheduled for Friday, November 14th at 2pm. If you'd like to testify in person at the Council hearing, please contact Maria Angelica Puig-Monsen at 202-724-8195 or mpuigmonsen@dccouncil.us TODAY.
  • Written statements of support for the bill can also be sent to Ms. Puig-Monsen via email.
  • Say thank you and congratulations to the WABA folks for all their hard work.

Thank you, and congratulations, WABA folks. --d

Talk about mud-flaps...

Bike Hugger Buddy Flap, originally uploaded by Hugger Industries.

...Bike Hugger's got 'em.


Synchronized Bike Friday Triple Climbing

Book: The Human-Powered Home

The Human-Powered Home

Choosing Muscles Over Motors

By Tamara Dean

I haven't read this book - I don't even own it - but I'd like to.

Here's the description from New Society Publishers, where you can buy it for me, or for yourself:

...The Human-Powered Home is a one-of-a-kind compendium of human-powered devices gathered from a unique collection of experts. Enthusiasts point to the advantages of human power:

  • Portable and available on-demand
  • Close connection to the process or product offers more control
  • Improved health and fitness
  • The satisfaction of being able to make do with what is available

This book discusses the science and history of human power and examines the common elements of human-powered devices. It offers plans for making specific devices, grouped by area of use, and features dozens of individuals who share technical details and photos of their inventions. For those who want to apply their own ingenuity, or for those who have never heard of human-powered machines, this book is a fine reference. For those who are beginning to understand the importance of a life of reduced dependency on fossil fuels, this book could be a catalyst for change.

Tally ho. --d

New Society's Blog is a good read too.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pedestrians: Assert Yourselves!

Little of the land around us (where I live, anyhow) is public property, so I get insensed when it gets infringed upon. Even more than bicycle accessability, pedestrian accessability is crucial for a functional civil society.

Therefore, I recommend that any and all pedestrians who encounter unsafe conditions make fevent conplaints to relevent State or municipal agencies. If you live in Montgomery County, MD, here's the information you need to do so:

Report an Unsafe Travel Condition.

Power to the People, Particularly the Peds.

Friday, November 7, 2008

PDX Manifest

Here's a link to some very nice pictures of the deluxe bikes and accessories that were on display in Portland, OR, last month:

Gas-Free Fridays

Track - O - bama

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

- O - B - A - M - A -

Take another sip and pass the Kool-aid over this way - I BELIEVE again.
Finally, I'm proud to a citizen of this nation.

The Lamest Duck:

Not to damp anyone's spirits, but let's all bid Mr. Bush goodbye. I said it before, but I'll say it again, only GWB could make race and gender non-issues in the United States. I guess we have one think for which we can thank him. Then again, it is a pleasure to say that race had nothing to do with this decision - this was a choice made on an intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and of course, practical basis, and the clear best candidate won. Free at last.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Polltax 2008

Watch out! Politics and Race featured below...
Polltax_collage, originally uploaded by davidmoskovitz.

You know what I think is interesting? Here's what:

None of the campaign material from the presidential elections I have witnessed as an adult (1988 - 2004) has prominently featured the image of the candidate. That is, until this year when Barack Obama's image became the focal point of numerous posters, buttons, etc. And not underground material--the official stuff. It's interesting and surely not coincidental that Barack Obama is also the first Black candidate nominated by either of the two principle political parties in the US. Issues of race in the US are so complicated I can barely begin to understand how and why this happened.

Unfortunate PS: as I hunted the web for the images here, I came across a literally ungodly number of horrible and disturbing altered photos of B.O. Let's all rise up... all one or none.

Monday, November 3, 2008

If you like mirrors...

...you'll like this mirror.

The Safe-Zone Helmet-Mounted Mirror

It's made in the USA by a small company call Efficient Velo Tools (EVT).  The company asks consumers to support independently owned local bike shops, so contact yours and ask for the Safe-Zone Mirror, from EVT.  The suggested retail price is $40.  If your local dealer is not friendly about ordering one, you can order direct from the company for $40 each, postage paid. They say "Satisfaction Guaranteed," and I'm pretty sure they mean it.

Bike there, with directions: