Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another book on biking

Maybe publishers were fishing around for bike ideas one year ago when gas prices were high. I came across another cycling as transport book today.

Read here:

From Treehugger:

The Cyclist's Manifesto: The Case for Riding on Two Wheels Instead of Four has a title that may evoke images of some earnest treatise, a dry rant. Oh, but it is nothing of the sort. It’s the inverse opposite. A wonderfully whimsical exploration of America’s transport choices. A rollicking account of how those decisions were made (and why people elsewhere travelled in other directions) and what all that means for the future of getting from A to B. Central to Robert Hurst’s story is the hugely significant influence the humble bicycle has had on personal transport. For as he points out, with all seriousness, “We almost had camels.”

Sausalito makes plans to deal with bike renters

If you've travelled anywhere betwen San Francisco and Marin during the summer (or any other time of year) you'll notice a lot of people riding across the Golden Gate Bridge and along Marin bike paths on rental bikes. Apparrently, Sausalito feels like they are overwhelming the town. The following article reports that the Sausalito City Council has approved a plan to provide designated bike parking areas.

Read article here

It seems like a common sense solution. I think the efforts described in the article to get the bike rental companies to contribute is laudable. It seems like Sausalito and Marin in general could be doing a lot more to provide facilities for this mode of tourism - there seems to be an element that sees this as creating a nuisance rather than embracing the situation as an opportunity.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bicycle fashion in NYC

Nots not everyday that you see an article on bike commuting in the Fashion and Style section so I figured its noteworthy.

The New York Times has a feature the trendyness of Dutch bicycles and relates it to work fashion.

Read here

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pedaling Revolution

I came across a new book titled "Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities." I haven't read it yet, but after reading an article by its author it seems like it could be a good read.

There is only one review on Amazon, but its being given 5 stars...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bike theft

There is an interesting meeting in the NY Times today about bike theft in NYC

Read here

Bike theft in New York sounds bad but I'm not sure it rivals Berkeley. The article includes links to a couple of interesting sites.

One site, Someone stole my bike, ttp://, has some short vidoes of people who had their bike stolen.

Another blog, Kryptonite, has a list of the top ten worst cities for bike theft. San Francisco is #4, but after many years biking in SF I haven't had a problem yet (knock knock).

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bike sharing on campus

I came across an interesting article on Treehugger:

Read here

The post describes some bike sharing programs at Universities. Some schools are even giving away bicycles to students for free to encourage them avoiding the use of their car and biking to campus.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Stupid article, Interesting news

This Sunday, the San Francisco Chroncile's Matier & Ross column covered some of the issues Sausalito is having with the droves of tourists visiting the town on rental bicycles.

Read here.

If you ignore the inflated contraversy the article tries to depict, its interesting to read about how the volume of rental cyclists continues to increase despite a down economy, and how the City of Sausalito is being forced into providing bike facilities to keep up with demand.

If you're local to San Francisco, you've see the throngs of bike tourists who leave from Fisherman's Wharf, cross the Golden Gate Bridge, and head down into Sausalito. You can catch a ferry back to the City from Sausalito, or if you head a little further north, Tiburon. Its a great ride that is largely on some nice bike paths.

That said, the bike renters, often not being from the area and maybe not even speaking english, are forced onto some pretty dangerous streets due some disconnects in the bike network in Marin. I'd say the worst spot is along East Blithedale in Mill Valley, when those heading to Tiburon and forced off of a great Class I path onto a busy 2 lane road with no shoulder, across a freeway onramp to Highway 101, across 101, then through an offramp intersection. Not a very pleasant tourist experience.

I have always wondered why Marin hasn't tried to encourage this form of eco-touristm further and make the bike facilities better to try and attract business in the communities along the route.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Federal Bike Love

The big news this week was the Ray LaHood our new Secretary of Transportation gave an address at the National Bike Summit and make some comments that were very friendly to the bicycling community. From LaHood's blog:

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of addressing the National Bike Summit. I was invited to speak as a member of the Obama administration, but I have been a supporter of bicycling for many years and was a member of the Congressional Bike Caucus when I was in Congress.

Lets hope this translates into action. This is juxtaposed with an article on Streetsblog detailing some ridiculous road building that is getting funding by the Stimulus.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bike fitting

I went in for a bike fitting this Saturday at City Cycle in San Francisco. I had my road bike fit to some extent when I bought it 3 or 4 years ago, but it always gave me problems in my right knee. I've started to try and ride longer distances, and after have major knee pain on a 75 mile ride I decided to go in for a more thorough fitting.

Serotta Advanced Fitter Jamaica Lambie helped out me (on a side note, I liked City Cycle and Jamaica was very knowledgable and helpful) and I learned the following, which may be of interest:
  • Newer frames are going for more of a relaxed gemetry where the front end is about the same height as the saddle. A more aggressive fit would have the saddle higher than the handlebars.
  • The latest trend is to put the saddle height where your knee remains bent at as much as 30 degrees when your pedals are at 6 o' clock position. This keeps you foot angle flat (rather than pointing your toes down) and moves the work from your calves to your thighs. I guess that makes sense since your thighs are bigger, but I do have a toe-down motion.
  • According to Jamiaca, claims of being able to increase power through a fitting should be viewed with suspicion. You can increase efficiency, but increasing power is hard to measure without doing a VO2 study like Lance.

The fitting included a RAD fit where they replace your pedals with special diagnostic pedals that allow the fitter to see the angle of your foot with respect to the bike. Kind of cool equipment.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Good article on Alto Tunnel

SF Streets blog comes through again with a good article on the Alto Tunnel meeting.

Read here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Alto Tunnel Update

I just got back from a community outreach meeting for the the Mill Valley/Corte Madera Bike and Pedestrian Corridor Study. Basically, what is being evaluated is whether or not to re-open the Alto Tunnel - a railroad tunnel that connects two large communities - each with excellent bike paths that deadend at either side of the tunnel. You can learn more about the project here.

It drew a crowd or about 100 people. I'd say most of those in attendance were interested in opening the tunnel; however, the opposing arguement was represented and those with that viewpoint did raise some valid issues. The basic problem is that everyone knows opening the tunnel will be very successful in bringing more bike traffic and if you live near the tunnel you aren't inclined to want that.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

2 Mile Challenge

Cliff Bar put up a new site to encourage people to bike rather than drive for local errands. Its a slick Flash site that lets you map local amenities within a 2-mile radius - the idea being that you should biking rather than driving.

2 Mile Challenge

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Big 56 Cont'd

Streetsblog has coverage of the San Francisco Bike Coalitions volunteer outreach for their The Big 56 campaign here. One commenter has an interesting point regarding the SFBC goals. Since this project has taken soooo long to get going - is it really the most pressing need at this time? Or is it the last war?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tour of California - Stage 8 - Levi Wins it All

The Tour of California wrapped up Sunday. Levi Leipheimer won the General Classification and Frank Schleck won the final stage. Web coverage is available at Versus.

It was great to have some local racing to watch, but I have to complain a bit about the Versus coverage. The last couple of days they pre-empted the Tour with Pabst Blue Ribbon Bull Riding which wrecked havoc with my Tivo. Then, the schedule the final stage to air right during the second half of the Academy Awards. The TV coverage said that 2 million people turned out along the road to spectate and that it was the most attended race in the United States - ever!

You'd think that they'd get better treatment on TV. But, I am still grateful that somebody airs it all.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Alto Tunnel

In Marin County, north of San Francisco, there is a great bike path that runs along the bay connecting several cities. It uses a right-of-way originally created for a commuter rail line that ran up to sometime in 50's-70's (I really have no idea - before my time at least).

Currently, the bike path just dead ends into a hill. If you want to continue to ride, you are forced onto surface streets and have to deal with a lot of traffic and a fairly narrow shoulder.

However, there is a tunnel through the hill. On the other side there is a residential neighborhood, and then a fairly straightforward connection to link back up with a Class II bike path.

Why not open the tunnel?

Well, it will cost money, and there is the inevitable disapproval from the residents on either side of the tunnel. Why? Well, of course the increased crime that would come along with bike commuters! Huh?

You can read more here.

And here is a video on the issue from who knows when.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Kinky Llama

Ok, you probably have already heard about this, but I figure it warrants a post.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Inspiration can strike at odd times. Anthony Mikrut got the idea for his business about 3 o'clock one morning, when he and a girlfriend were in search of some ... uh ... products to enhance their ... er ... special evening.

"We figured you can get pizza any time of night," he said. "Why can't you get [sex] toys?"

Thus was born The Kinky Llama, a purveyor of adult goods that promises one-hour delivery—by bicycle, no less — to most places in Chicago. Mikrut, 33, said the company has been around for 21/2 years and that, despite the recession, he's busier than ever.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Big 56

Here in San Francisco, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition just kicked off a new campaign: The Big 56 For Bikes. Its kind of a long story, which can read about here but San Francisco put together a plan for a pretty big improvement in biking infrastructure, which has been held up for several years. Now the roadblocks (pardon my pun) are slowly being cleared, but the SF Bike Coalition wants to make sure that the City actually follows through and approves and funds the plan.

I think the Coalition does a pretty good job at community involvement and has added a feature to their web site where we can sign up for notifications on projects in your neighborhood and tap into volunteer opportunities.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tour of California: Day 3

I made it out to the Great Highway today to watch the race. It was cold, rainy, and kind of windy. I got there about 7:30 and stood in the rain. The picture above is from about 8:30. By the time the race came by at about 9, a pretty decent crowd had shown up. Guys came with cowbells and all!
I got a video, but its 165 MB. I'll try and figure out how to downsize and then post.

They all came and went pretty quick.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tour of California: Day 2

Its been rainy all day. Pretty cold too. My Tivo didn't really catch the whole race unfortunately, but it looked pretty miserable. At this point getting up early on my day off to go stand in the rain is not sounding too exciting..

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tour of California: Day 1

The Tour of California kicked off today with a prologue in Sacramento. I tivo'ed it so I am trying to avoid reading who won.

I scoped out my viewing location for Monday when the race comes through San Francisco. I'm thinking of climbing to the top of a dune along Great Highway, either at Judah or further out around Taraval. It was pretty windy today with scattered showers so hopefully Monday morning is better.

For some reason, I think there is a lot more excitement this year. We'll see what the turn out is.

Read here

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Great Bicycle Protest of 1896

I had read about this befoe, but came across it again:

(The Great Bicycle Protest of 1896)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

1 World 2 Wheels

I came across a great site today: 1World2Wheels. Its a program sponsored by Trek to encourage people to use their bikes as transportation. They describe it as follows:

One World, Two Wheels, a Trek Commitment is just that; a pledge by Trek and its dealers to make the world a more bike friendly place.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Give $1 million to the Bicycle Friendly Community program of the League of American Bicyclists to increase the number of Bicycle Friendly Communities in the U.S.

  • Give $600,000 to the international Mountain Bike Association for their Trail Solutions Program.

Increase the number of trips taken in the U.S. by bike from the current 1% to 5% by 2017.
There is a lot of compelling evidence to support why more trips can and should be taken by bike. You’ll read about some of them on this website. From traffic congestion to pollution to global warming, there are many reasons for us to ride, especially for trips under two miles.

They also have a widget that you can embed in a site (see left ->) that tracks the number miles, gas saved, and C02 not created by riding your bike. You go to the site, post a pledge, and then the counter tracks the net of all rider pledges. Great idea.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Rep. Earl Blumenauer on bike stimulus

From The Earl on the benifits of bike stimulus on The Huffington Post:

Think about it: More than 50% of working Americans live less than 5 miles from home, an easy bicycle commute. Already more than 490,000 Americans bike to work; in Portland, 8% of downtown workers are bicycle commuters. Individually, they are saving $1,825 in auto-related costs, reducing their carbon emissions by 128 pounds per year, saving 145 gallons of gasoline, avoiding 50 hours of being stuck in traffic, burning 9,000 calories, reducing their risk of heart attack and stroke by 50%, and enjoying 14% fewer claims on their health insurance.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

6 days!!!

Less than one week to go 'til the Tour of California. Lance, Levi, Christian, Mark, Carlos and more right here in Cali.

Stage 2 rolls through Sausalito, across the Golden Gate Bridge, and down along Highway 1 to Santa Cruz.

For many in Southern Marin, the ride from Sausalito across the Bridge is actually the daily commute. I wonder how fast Lance could ride into work?

See map

See Stage 2 schedule

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bike storage on CalTrain to improve

This article on reports on the recent approval of a plan to increase the amount of space allotted on CalTrain for bike parking:

Caltrain reports space problems on about 1 out of 10 runs, according to Chuck Harvey, Caltrain's chief operating officer. The trains now can handle 16, 32 or 64 bicycles. Cyclists aren't sure until the trains pull into the stations how many bikes will be allowed on board.

Under the new policy, the Bombardier cars, which now have rack space for 16 bikes, will be re-outfitted to carry 24. The older gallery cars, which now hold 32 bikes, will be reconfigured for 40.

With the change, the total available bike slots in the peak commute period will increase from the current average of 2,300 to 2,900, said Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn.

For people who work on the Pennisula south of San Francisco and want to bike to the train to catch a ride into the City, and then bike from the train station to their office, this will be a help. As is, a lot of riders end up biking to the train only to find out that there bikes are not allowed on the train due to space constraints.

The same article explains that a plan to give bikes access to the Richmond-San Rafeal bridge was not approved.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bike parking feature

I came across this on grist.

Video on bike parking on farmer's markets.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bikes on BBC

I ran across an interesting audio segment from the BBC on bicycling in the modern world.

From their description:

"This three - part series illustrates how the bicycle is used today and what impact it has on people's lives.

With more than a billion models worldwide, the bicycle has found a place in every society.
Since its invention in 1817 people have redesigned and used the bike for hundreds of different purposes.

From sporting events and policing the streets to sharpening knives and selling ice cream.
Using a lot of leg power, the Bicycle Diaries journeys into three different places around the world to discover the communities and people for whom two wheels are better than four. "

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bike parking at the Super Bowl?

Can you ride your bike to the Super Bowl? I was curious. As far as I can tell, there was no official bike parking at the Super Bowl. I found a blog that discusses the topic here.

One interesting bike related item is this. I guess Trek and Amp Energy drink created a promotional deal where they had cyclists generate power by riding at stationary bikes, stored the power, and then used the power they created to run part of the Fox pre-game show. Kind of an interesting idea.

Saturday, January 31, 2009 - Rewarding kids for riding to school

I saw a pretty cool idea in a short movie and the bike infrastructure in Boulder, CO. They call it Frieker. (Click here). Its a program to get more kids to ride their bikes to school. The program puts a computer chip in school kid's helmet. When the kids ride to school, they pass under a chip scanner that registers their ride. One participating kid at a school is randomly chosen to given $10 per week. There are year end prizes like iPods too.

Looking at their web site, Frieker is available to roll out to any school. Sounds cool.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Great video of my bike route home

I came across this in Street Films.

For anyone outside of San Francisco, this is a great view of the volume of bike commutes we get on the main thoroughfare through downtown. Depending on when you're on the road, its not always this busy, , but I think its pretty representative.

View here

Thursday, January 29, 2009

2 Wheel 2 Obama

I just got a link to some great shots of the bike parking for the Obama inaguration in Washington D.C.

Check them out

What is LOS?

LOS - or Level of Service - is a metric used by planners and transportation engineers to measure how efficient a road is at support CAR traffic. Unfortunately, many projects that improve non-motorized transit end up being determine to have negative impacts under environmental review because they degrade LOS. WHICH MAKES NO SENSE of course.

This issue gets tied into bike facilities, because from a certain perspective, adding a bike lane have the "negative" impact of creating restricting car traffic.

For a very good analysis of how this all works, how it affects bike facility projects, and the movement afoot to fix it, see the always greate SF Streets blog:

Part I: How Long Will the City Keep Us Stuck in Our Cars?
Part II: Paradise lost: turning autombility on its head
Part III: California's Revolutionary Plan to Overhaul Transportation Analysis

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Food Bank Bike Race

I was just at Freewheel Cyclery (the local bike store) and saw a poster for the Super Market Street Sweep. As I understand it, it looks likes it a charity event where bikers see how much food they can haul on their bikes and bring to the local Food Bank. I didn't hear about it when they did it in Dec, but seeing it now, it looks pretty cool. Great win-win. Publicizing bikes as a legitimate non-motorized alternate and helping feed some hungry people.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ode to a bike light

By far the best commuter bike light I've seen is Planet Bike's SuperFlash. For riding through an urban area where you just want a light to make sure you can be seen by motorists (rather than to illuminate your path) it seems like the best thing out there. I've had mine for over a year on the same batteries with daily use during the winter and its still going strong.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Commuter Checks for Cyclists

A great benefit for bike-to-workers was added to the last federal bail out package. Starting this year, employers can provide their workers with fringe benefits that give them up to $20 a month for biking to work. The idea is that this money defrays some of the cost of biking to work.

Accor, a company that administers commuter checks, already has a mechanism in place to piggy back bike commuter benefits with existing commuter checks. See their site.

As I learn more I'll post it here.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inagural post

This is first post. 2 days before the presidential inaguration I'm laying down the inagural 2Wheel2Work post.

I sent an email to John Boehner today. Apparently he has been dissing the bicycle infrastructure projects proposed as part of Obama's stimulus plan. The American League of Cyclists has a great part of their site where they list any quotes from politicians or other notables who bad mouth cycling. No suprises when you look at the list.