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Wednesday, August 31, 2005
New folding Bike Friday recumbent After having given up on Bike Friday ever finishing the design of the new folding recumbent, the replacement for the SatRDay, a customer at our shop told me about the fuzzy photo of the new design on the Bike Friday site. Sure enough, it was there, along with a short blurb about the new product. I'm anxious to see the touring version, which could be my next bike.
Cellphone saga Recently I discovered a great bicycle accessory, the Bento box. It's a small compartment that attaches to the bike using several velcro strips. I've put it behind the seat of my Rans V-Rex. I use it for holding my cellphone while I'm riding. When the phone is buried in my panniers, I can't hear it ring, regardless of ring volume.
It's been a great solution to the problem. However, today I learned that if the velcro top is not securely fastened, the phone has a tendency to bounce out of the box. When I returned home with the panniers and BOB trailer loaded with groceries, I discovered that the phone was missing. As is often the case, I had left it in the box by mistake while shopping. I doubted that someone had taken it, so the only viable alternative was that it had bounced out.
Since I was running late for a bicycle advocacy meeting at the county, I didn't have time to search for it. I called the number a few times in case it was hidden in the bike or at home, but no luck. After the meeting I retraced my steps from the morning: it wasn't at the dentist's office nor at Whole Foods. I recalled going over a bumpy stretch where I ride along the edge of the golf course, so I went there and looked around on the ground. No phone. My last resort was to check at the golf clubhouse, hoping that someone had turned the phone in, perhaps after hearing it ring when I had called it earlier. Much to my relief, when I asked about the phone, the golf guy reached into the cash register drawer and pulled out my phone.
So far I've lost and found the phone twice this summer. The chances of finding it three times are slim, so I hope to keep better track of it in the future.
Monday, August 29, 2005
2005 BentRide Back from a short trip north to check out the 2005 BentRide sponsored by 'BentRider Online. It was a pleasant change to be surrounded by recumbent and trike riders. The day before the BentRide, several manufacturers and recumbent shop reps were present with lots of bikes to try out. The bike I enjoyed riding the most was Lightning P-38, a short wheelbase underseat steering recumbent. I've heard that the company is slow to deliver products and their web site hasn't been updated in about a year.
Randy Schlitter of Rans was present with his new crank forward bikes and a Force 5 short wheelbase bike with dual 650c wheels. I wanted to ride the Force 5 but it seemed to be out on test rides most of the day.
There were several Bacchetta and Volae big wheel bikes present, basically the road bike crowd who have discovered the speed advantages of the big wheel recumbents.
There were three options for Sunday's ride: the short out and back along the shore of Keuka Lake, the ride around the lake, and the longer ride around the lake that included two climbs. We did the longer ride with a very few of our bent cohorts, mostly the big wheel bunch. As a result, we brought up the rear most of the day. Lunch was rather basic, cold cut sandwiches, chips, and excellent zucchini bread. The sodas were all gone by the time we arrived at Keuka Spring Winery. I sampled a few wines with lunch, preferring the basic Crooked Lake White.
It was a fun event but a long drive, seven hours from Reston, which made for a short weekend. I'd attend again, although to make it worth the trip we may need to arrange to tour the area for a few days before or afterward.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Novel bike rental scheme The city of Lyon, France, is encouraging more of their citizens to take short urban trips by bicycle. Users sign up for a bike rental program by submitting their credit card number and placing a €150 deposit and pay only €1/hour. If the rental period is less than 30 minutes, which is usually the case, it's free:
In just three months, the program has signed up 15,000 subscribers who take 4,000 trips a day and travel over 24,800 miles a week on 2,000 public bikes at 150 bike stations.The program is called Velo Grande (in French). There's an article in Wired about the program that's in English.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Big spenders Two articles in today's Post summarize much of what is wrong in this country: A Nation of Big Spenders By Robert J. Samuelson that points out that "Americans' personal savings rate has dropped to zero" and The Tao of Denim By Libby Copeland which describes how those lucky ones who don't get turned away from Mauro's Denim Bar ("You're just not ready to try on designer jeans.") can spend from $100-$650 on jeans that are so frayed that they will probably last 1/10th as long as the original denim product.
This is absurd, especially when you can buy double-kneed denim painter pants from McCormick Paints for $19.99. I stopped by McCormick's to pick up some paint for the new fence. I discovered that two gallons of paint weigh about 28 lbs, a gallon in each pannier.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Dog days These are the days when one longs for a cool day by a clear lake somewhere in the mountains. Yesterday as you emerged from the cocoon of your air-conditioned home you would be hit in the face by the moist hot air, the haze parting as you moved. This was a code red weekend, luckily one of the few this year. We rode on Saturday, the worst day of the two, and could barely make it home after about 30 miles. We likely did more harm to our lungs than good.
Friday, August 12, 2005
Book list Two books to add to my must read list: What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry by John Markoff and Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software by Stephen Johnson.
Sacremento River carpet Check out this article on a carpet in the Sacremento Airport that depicts an aerial view of the Sacramento River. The possibilities are endless.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Transit preferred over roads According to a recent article in the Post, Survey Shows Support for Improved Transit,
Half of Northern Virginia residents surveyed recently said that better public transportation, not improved roads, would be their top choice for easing their commutes.
Close calls Yesterday I rode downtown to visit the exhibition East Meets West: Hiroshige at The Phillips Collection. It was an excellent show. Hiroshige used such innovative compositions; simple landscapes viewed from unique perspectives that were very influential among European and American artists. The show placed the Hiroshige prints, The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido, next to Western artworks thought to be derived from Hiroshige. The Tokaido was the route between Tokyo and Kyoto, mostly along the south coast of Japan.
It was an eventful ride, as I was nearly hit by three motorists, two in a crosswalk and one who turned directly in front of me. In the last incident I was forced to turn to my right, which meant that I was now following the truck that almost hit me. The driver then turned into his garage. I noted his license number and went on my way, later reporting him using the Fairfax County Aggressive Driver form. Why is it so difficult for some people to give cyclists a little respect?
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Bobby Julich wins Benelux Tour Julich is having a great year. First he won Paris-Nice in March. Today he rode an excellent time trial to come from behind and win the Benelux Tour, which is a combination of the former tours of the Netherlands and Belgium. It's rare for a top cyclist to win in the early spring and in August. Eddy Merckx was one of the few who could contend over such a long season.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
School bus accidents I recently asked a school "transportation" person from the local school district what was being done to encourage children to walk or bike to school. Well, apparently "transportation" means school buses and almost nothing else. The first words from the person's mouth were "it's 8 times more safe to ride a school bus than to walk". She was quoting from an industry sponsored Web site, School Bus Information Council. She went on to say that "we bus as many kids as possible", since she feels it's the safest way for them to travel.
I guess she hasn't heard about the high levels of deisel fumes inhaled by school kids. Based on a study done for the Natural Resources Defense Council, "The study found that excess exhaust levels on school buses were 23 to 46 times higher than levels considered to be a significant cancer risk according to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency and federal guidelines."
One UCLA study measured pollutants inside school buses in California: "Average concentrations of key pollutants were significantly higher aboard the school buses than at bus stops or the school loading/unloading zone, and children spent much more time aboard the buses than at the other two microenvironments."
According to the EPA Web site Clean School Bus USA, "Children are vulnerable to the effects of diesel emissions which can cause respiratory disease and exacerbate long-term conditions such as asthma" and "EPA has determined that diesel exhaust is a likely human carcinogen. Diesel exhaust can also contribute to other acute and chronic health effects".
Cycling in Amsterdam Thanks to Crazy Biker Chick I found this page of photos of people cycling in Amsterdam. All kinds of people, young and old. I should show these pictures to all those people who think we're crazy for riding our bikes for transportation here in Northern Virginia. One day I'll visit Amsterdam and join the cycling crowds.
The essentials There are certain items that are essential on a daily basis. These are carried in a fanny pack. The most frequently used item is probably the Swiss Army penknife, used to cut open boxes, cut zip ties, to fasten small screws, to cut paper using the scissors, and as a toothpick. The small Pedros in/cm tape measure is a close second. The small white box contains the emergency doses of Ibuprofin. You can never have too many good pens, I have two Parker Papermate Jotter pens. There's nothing more frustrating than a pen that won't write. I also carry a zip tie, of which there are almost as many uses as tuct tape.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Homegrown There's something very satisfying about providing one's own dinner from scratch. There isn't much food in the house as I haven't been to Whole Foods in a while, so I rode out to my community garden plot today to scare up some dinner. There were a few small zucchini, a yellow squash, two potatoes, four small ears of corn, and some small tomatoes. It was just enough for an excellent dinner, accompanied by a glass of red wine from Fincastle Vineyard & Winery. I diced the potatoes and fried them in oil and butter, steamed the squash, boiled the corn, and cut up the tomatoes. Simple and delicious.
Crazy Biker Chick and Velorution Discovered a couple of interesting bicycle-related blogs recently. The Adventures of Crazy Biker Chick contains musings on riding a bicycle in Toronto. Velorution is a bike store in London that hosts the Velorution blog, similar to our bikes@vienna blog.