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

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Big Picture

It's more complicated than we thought; this is no surprise.
It's more complicated than we may be able to think; this is distressing.
We're all in it together; this is comforting.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ghost Bike Proliferation

Attention Department of Public Works... don't mess with this popular movement. A Ghost Bike, removed, grows back. We don't forget.

alice swanson new bikes alice swanson ghost bike

More here: Alice Swanson Rides Again.

Photos: Eric Gilliland, Ben West

Friday, August 28, 2009


You've probably seen it elsewhere, but holy-moly
this is funny beyond my ability to say.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fixed-gear Observed Trials Out-take

In case you're tempted to try your hand at fixed-gear freestyling, or fixed-gear OT, first remember the part they don't usually show you on the DVD. Ouch.

Um, this is NOT practical cycling.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bike of the Future... **Yawn**

Sure it looks cool but I'll stick with my Raleigh Roadster [or similar] until I can actually buy one of these things at my Local Bike Shop. Don't get me wrong--I'm sure we'll get there eventually, but I'm not holding my breath.

Aside: didn't I see the young J. T. Kirk ride one of these in the latest Star Trek film?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Bicycle Cellar, Tempe, AZ

Another good idea from Joe Perez and company...

Check it: The Bicycle Cellar, out.

Not to mention the sweet little graphic:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Screens - N - Spokes, 2009

Screens 'N' Spokes is a not-for-profit group that produces an annual series of bicycle-themed screen prints by more-and-less well-known poster artists and printmakers around the country, entirely for the benefit of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and its regional and local affiliates.

Genuine Art + Good Cause + Bicycling = Buy Some

Monday, July 27, 2009

I ride with the Community Cycling Center

Ashley, originally uploaded by communitycyclingcenter.

Check out rest of the set on flickr.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pause for Station Reorientation

I'm engaged in a relocation to Portland, OR. My body arrived three weeks ago, my bikes two weeks ago, and my mind and spirit are expected any day now. Being a bike person in Portland is pretty much yesterday's news, so I'm going to lie low for a bit, watch and listen. Feel free to get in touch if in you're in this area--I don't have a lot of friends here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I support internal gears on kids bikes

I'm starting a new cause: putting internal gears on kids' bikes - all of them, everywhere. Why not put a gear-hub on a kid's bike? I know: it's too expensive. I don't buy it (haha). There are so many good reasons to use internal hub-gears on kids' bikes that frankly, I'm shocked no one had done it before know. Maybe someone had, somewhere in bike-topia, but they weren't for sale around here. Now they are, I think. Perhaps. Anyway, I saw one yesterday at Clever Cycles, and it almost knocked me over, I was so excited. This is the Batavus 20" Personal Bike. In addition to the three-speed hub, it has a dynamo headlight engaged by a grip-twist remote mechanism. Um, RAD!

Another Globe

Globe greets us in MPLS, originally uploaded by Hugger Industries.

This one has a groovy wood-top rack with an integrated tail-light. The light could be bigger, and visible from the side, bu this is a good start.

Globe Bikes: Mixte

Globe Bikes: Mixte, originally uploaded by Hugger Industries.

Aye, there it is again. The front-end this time.

Globe Bikes Mixte

Globe Bikes Live Mixte, originally uploaded by Hugger Industries.

Holy step-through! Mixte from Specialized...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The truth hurts...

Pearls Before Swine

. . . and I'm not talking about being fat and lazy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Power Up at Rock the Bike

Summer is for outdoor music and fun, and Rock the Bike has gone way over the top by creating The Biker Bar, a cycle-powered power source.

With 300 Watts of average power and the headroom to reach 1000 Watt peaks, you can run a respectable Pedal Powered Stage that gets 500 people dancing at a music festival, including mains, monitors, mixer, and a decent amount of lighting, too. And you can easily haul it all there on the Biker Bar. We're still experimenting with other applications and will post more of our findings soon.
Oh, and you can take it with you, and your dog too. Can't do that at the club.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Compressed Air Car: No Hot Air Here

French auto engineer Guy Negre has developed a car powered by compressed air. Good idea, I think: efficiency similar to electric vehicles, but no batteries, faster refuelling, and (my favorite part) they run COLD, like ice build-up cold, so you get free A/C. Reported in The Gaurdian.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Biking Rules

It sure does. But we still have to follow the rules... thus a new program from Transportation Alternatives (TA) called, no surprise, Biking Rules. The guiding principle is deceptively simple:

Hither-to-now this position has been sorely overlooked by bicyclers. We, as bicyclists, should reject excuses for breaking the law. If we do break the law, we should accept the consequences. This is tantamount to non-violent resistance. The abuse of power will expose its own injustices, as it has in the past.

In the meanwhile, we can comfort ourselves with the serenity that comes from living a modestly unified ethos: treat others as you treat yourself; treat yourself as you treat others; both with respect, particularly in the face of adversity or animosity.

Ride with ruthless pragmatism and radical acceptance. Here's how it breaks down, as far as TA is concerned:

PEDESTRIANS RULE Pedestrians always have the right of way. PERIOD.

CROSSWALKS Leave crosswalks free and clear for safe walking. A bike in the crosswalk can take up as much space as a car. (Law: VTL §1231)

CLAIM A LANE Claim space on the street, not the sidewalk. We know we hate it when cars drive in bike lanes. (Law: AC § 1976)

RIDE RIGHT Ride in the direction of traffic. When we're on bicycles, we ARE traffic! And it is safer for everyone else on the street. (Law: VTL §1231)

UNTANGLE INTERSECTIONS No one can see how good-looking our bikes are if we speed through intersections. And new cyclists will be following our example. Take a break and relax at red lights. (Law: VTL §1231)

LIGHTEN UP Don't be invisible. Front and rear lights are our eyes to the world at night and make us bigger and brighter on the street. (Law: VTL §1236)

SOUND OUT Having a bell lets people know we are approaching and it's fun to make some noise! Give your bike bling some ring. (Law: VTL §1236)

HELMET HEAD RULES Bike brains are beautiful, and NYC needs them if we are ever going to convince more people to ride a bike! Learn to love that helmet hair.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thinking about an XTRACYCLE?

Get one! You won't regret it, not for a minute. Xtracycle, Inc., has a spankin' new website, good for the checking out. Also, they sent a plea, so to speak, to "not hold back" on Xtra-pruchases:

A Humble Request

We here at Xtracycle are proud of all the changes we've seen in the last year - for our company, our community, our country. But sometimes that pride gets in the way of being true to the fact that we are still a company that has employees, an office, and a warehouse full of stuff (even a forklift!) - and all of these wonderful things cost money.

The recent economic slowdown has affected our distributors, our retailers, and in the last few months we've felt it as well. We are proud, but we should be honest too. We need your support. We need your business, and we need it now. We are committed to make it through tough times stronger, more resilient, and focused on the goal of building bikes that change lives. And we also have to pay the bills. Purchasing Xtracycle products, right now, will keep all of us healthy and strong.

Help us sell 100 Xtracycles by the end of may - we all know someone who will benefit from becoming an Xtracycle owner. We'll keep you posted on our progress each day - check our blog for updates. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve you. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve you.

Xtracycle - The Original Longtail Company

If your family has more than one car, ditch one in favor of a cargo bike. It will pay off twice over by the end of the year, and you'll be happier and healthier to boot. Like Han Solo says,

Trust me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Saddle Stolen, I'm sad.

Some people steal bike seats for kicks, or to trade for a rock. Some do it because they're selfish. I'm trying to believe that the thief who took my saddle was just down on his luck - lost his job and stole my saddle so he could buy medicine for his sick children - but it's hard to believe. Whoever stole knew what they were looking at, and had a 4mm hex and a 10mm wrench with him. I have selfish moments too, but I try not to steal things that are clearly valued by their owners.

My saddle looked just like this one.
It was taken from my bicycle
at the Silver Spring Metro station,
on the north side of Colesville Road (map below).

If you see it around, please let me know. If you know the dude, or lady I guess, who took my saddle, kindly ask them to return it. It's never too late for redemption, I would forgive and harbor no resentment. I reserve resentments for family members. And honestly, I can't afford to replace this saddle right now.

View Saddle Theft in a larger map

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A.N.T. Step-through Roadster

Kirsten, originally uploaded by antbike.

Mike Flanigan is one of the most innovative bicycle designers in the US. His vision is unique, I think, because he appears to be constantly re-evaluating the principles, goals, and objectives that drive his designs. Obviously, he has a strong dedication to practical use, but his bikes demonstrate a continually deepening understanding of this principle, and a corresponding continual evolution of its implementation. Most striking in this and other recent work is the open-minded combination of old and new technology.

In addition, the focus on practicality appears to be extraordinarily broad. It includes many of issues commonly understood to be part of sustainabiliy, such as efficiency in construction and supply chain issues. For example, several parts on this bike are made by WALD, Inc., a domestic (US) manufacturer. They are not particularly light or refined, but they are extemely functional and inexpensive, and they support domestic industry. I'm don't think of myself as a protectionist, but most bicycles made these days are made entirely and exclusively overseas. This one is distinctly multi-cultural, with three continents well represented.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bike Maintenance Classes at REI

I'm not endorsing these classes, or teaching them, but here they are, at REI in Bailey's Crossroads (703-379-9400; link; map):

Basic Bike Maintenance 4/7/2009 7:00 PM ~ 9:00 Free! Essential skills for safe and enjoyable riding. Read more about this event.

Total Bicycle Maintenance Class 4/11/2009 9:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM $150 for REI members, $170 for non-members. Workstands, tools, and aprons provided. Registration required, call 703-379-9400. Read more about this event.

Essentials of Bicycle Commuting 4/15/2009 7:30 PM ~ 9:00 PM Free! Read more about this event.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lance's new colors

20.jpg, originally uploaded by 樂活的大方.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Taking The High Road

From The New York Times, March 8, 2009:

The Wild Bunch By Robert Sullivan

SOMETIMES, when I am biking, I remember the ’80s, and I shudder. I remember, in other words, when biking was an extreme sport, when, if you were a biker, you had a lot of locks and a lot more nerve...

The rest is HERE.

Good piece, I'm all for increasing the civil commponent of civilization, but "bikers"? How about bicyclists or cyclists.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ruthless Pragmatism, and Transportation Engineering

Uh-oh, I've passed through a wormhole into a vast transportation research space, and I'm quickly getting lost. Someone throw me a rope! We're going to wander a bit, stay close... First, read this:

Why is sponsored research into cycling safety so flawed?

Since our new President introduced me to Reinhold Niebuhr, I've become interested in reconciling idealistic or utopian liberalism with the pragmatic considerations of day-to-day living. In the past, the best I could do was to say that human beings are sufficiently complex that a certain degree of hypocrisy is the small but necessary price to pay for any sane and moral human being. This may still be true, or not, but I feel like I've crossed over a mountain pass, and have a new valley of territory to explore. Fun, but tiring. Let's see what we can find.

Ruthless Pragmatism and Radical Acceptance, applied to transportation in America, appear to yield some devastating facts. I had to go back and add appear to that last sentence because even I (and a lot of other cycle advocates) appear to have bought the bill of goods. For the better part of the 20th century, research and engineering performed virtually exclusively by virtually exclusive users of motor vehicles has lead to the virtual exclusion of bicycling and walking as forms of transportation. When it's put that way, it's hardly a surprise, is it?

In fact, given the landscape of transportation in the US, it seems remarkable that statutes in all fifty States continue to consider bicycles to be vehicles, or to give right-of-way to pedestrians. If Robert Moses had thought about bicycles at all, he probably would have arranged for their removal from vehicle codes far and wide. I guess sometimes it's nice to fly under the radar.

But what's the point? It is this: transportation engineers and Americans in general are plagued by misinformation and misconceptions about bicycling and bicyclists to such a degree that even their honest efforts to promote bicycle use make bicycling more difficult and more dangerous. It resembles the cycles of depression or anger, which reminds me that someone somewhere said, "America has a co-dependent relationship with cars,"-- a little touchy-feely, but also accurate. To pull ourselves out of this death-spiral, we must practice rigorous honesty and ruthless pragmatism:

a.k.a. SCIENCE

(Cue music: Dolby, Thomas, She Blinded Me With Science, 1982 by Capitol Records.)

One other element of pragmatism that we can't ignore: even the most knowledgeable cyclists among us may sometimes buckle to the vitriol of impatient motorists. This fact--that even ardent vehicular cyclists, bicycle drivers, etc. may not adhere at all times to proper practices--does not make these practices less proper. Instead it demonstrates the extraordinary cultural bias toward motorists that exists in America:

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses... so they can wash my car and pump my gas.

How wide should outside lanes (curb lanes) be?

This dude sez: "Wide. Real wide, at least 15 feet." http://tinyurl.com/b4wh8a
This fella likes 'em narra': 10 or 11 feet. http://tinyurl.com/bw7okk
Remember not to confuse a narrow shoulder with a BIKE LANE, which must be at least 4 feet wide (five if there is a curb, gutter, or gaurdrail). Note that if a bike lane is present, and it is the outside lane, it would make for a really narrow outside lane. What might not be clear is that 13 foot-wide lanes are no good. This is because 13 is, you know, bad luck. So: "Hey, traffic engineers, no more outside lanes 12 to 14 feet wide! Thanks." Actually, there is another reason, but you'll have to work that out for yourself.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Light - Good - Rail - Idea

Wayne Ave residents, take note!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Phoenix Bikes Bike Show - April 30


Sent to you by David M via Google Reader:



Things you can do from here:


Monday, March 9, 2009

A Repair Manifesto

Good idea. Read the rest here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Big Thing Coming

It may not be this year, or next year, but when the electric-assist bicycle and the electric scooter hit their strides, things will start to change. If I had a bike shop, I'd be getting ready.
On the left: Usprite UM44, by Urbanmover.
Below: E-Go Cycle 2

Saturday, February 28, 2009

NAHBS 2009

I'm not going to bother writing about it, but I strongly suggest you read what others do write about it. I'm going to, and I won't say a darn thing unless I just absolutely can't avoid it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

damosk wants you to join Green Infrastructure Wiki

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Bike there, with directions: