|04.16.2002||my new seat|
|02.15.2002||Breaking Away on DVD|
|02.05.2002||more glue please|
|01.27.2002||wear a helmet|
|01.10.2002||the trouble with trucks|
|September 15, 2003 I’m a member of our town’s traffic-safety coalition and bike committee. So, the other day I was a bit
ruffled to see a woman flaunting every safe cycling practice. She was riding
barefoot and bareheaded and steering with one hand. In her other hand she
carried a large paper bag dangling precariously near her front wheel. She
was riding on the sidewalk approaching one of the busiest intersections
in town. As the traffic stopped at the red light, she veered into the street,
weaved through the cars; balanced for a second waiting for the right gap
in the oncoming cars, and proceeded to cross the road against the light.
She made the left turn but took the sidewalk and pedaled out of view.
She should have been killed. Yet she avoided all danger like a skilled surfer on a treacherous wave.
I’ve been thinking about her a lot and wondering if it was her way of making a statement. Her way of railing against society and its attachment to highways and automobiles. Probably not, but there was something poetic, even magical about how oblivious she was to the traffic and the rules and devices designed to control it.
|June 15, 2003
The picture on the right shows the great nameplate I just purchased on eBay. It was getting nearly impossible to find nameplates until this fine resource came along. This badge is a Ben Hur. I have two others in my collection (one identical but without paint and one thats much simpler), but this is the first time I’ve seen one of these hundred-year-old beauties in excellent original condition. My best guess is that it was never installed on a bike, which would explain how it lasted all these years. There are thousands of nameplates out there, but the ones I like best depict historic or fanciful themes. And, you can’t get much better than Ben Hur’s chariot race!
|March 30, 2003
There’s hope! Recent reports indicate that sanity may soon be restored on Europe’s roads with legislation pending that will put the onus on drivers to prove their innocence after lethal accidents with cyclists or pedestrians. Today, all drivers have to do to escape penalty is tell the authorities that they never saw the person and the event is swept under the rug as an unfortunate accident with little effort made to defend the victim. That’s crazy. Let’s push for legislation like this here in the US and elsewhere so that drivers are forced to pay attention behind the wheel. The life you save may be your own..
| January 10, 2003
As always I attended the Interbike show in Las Vegas this past fall and found it uninspiring. I miss the fervor of the eighties when exciting new products appeared almost monthly. This year I spotted only a handful of noteworthy things. So, Ive been thinking of the products Id like to see. Feel free to steal these ideas... maybe youll make some money and boost our sport.
|December 15, 2002
Things have been exciting around here the past few weeks. It all started when a friend brought over an old track bike acquired at an auction. It turned out to be an early Schwinn Paramount, one of the most collectible track bikes due to the Schwinn name and the companys impressive racing heritage. My friend asked me to sell the bike for him on eBay. As soon as it was listed, I started receiving emails from track-bike collectors and famous racers from around the country. I heard from an emailer whose address began with Nothstein. I heard from Jack Simes. A collector named Roman in New York sent photos of his gorgeous 1939 Oscar Wastyn built Paramount. And I got some good information from Richard Schwinn at Waterford Precision Cycles. In the end, the bike remains a bit of a mystery. Were not sure exactly when it was built, what the exact finish was and who last rode it. But, its sure been fun owning it for a few weeks.
|September 29, 2002
This is the time of year I start riding off road on weekdays to avoid Santa Cruzs crazy commuters and SUV-lovin soccer parents. Its nice to get back on the singletrack and away from the internal combusters. In fact, all the serenity has inspired me to come up with a few tips and suggestions for riding off road:
|July 28, 2002
Over the almost 200 years two-wheelers have been around, no part has been more experimented with than the bicycle seat. Still, even today, with all the amazing designs available, some people cant get comfortable on the seat that came with their bike. Sometimes, changing the seat to one of the popular replacements doesnt help, either. And there are plenty of riders who suffer due to medical problems. To help, Ive added two links in my seats story for innovative new saddles that were recommended by readers. Ive tried the BiSaddle and was quite comfortable on it. It has an amazing range of adjustment and is well made. Dont give up if the first seat doesnt do the trick. You may have to try several to find one that offers you complete comfort.
|June 20, 2002
Ive had my share of run-ins with dogs, but I almost got knocked off my bike by a cat today, which is a first for me. He ran across my path when his master called him in for breakfast. I heard the call but didnt see Tabby until I was on top of him. I turned to the left and braked hard or I would have run him over. What strikes me as weird is that the cat never noticed me. He was so focused on his routine that I believe he would have crossed the road even if a car had been passing. The lucky part is that I sensed something was there before I saw it so I had time to veer to the left and watch him brush past my front tire on his way home. Im glad I missed him. And, I think its cool that to the cat I didnt even exist.
|May 5, 2002
May is Bike Month in the United States and a great time to do your best to promote bicycling. Here are three ways you can make a difference:
|April 28, 2002
Talk about instant karma... my friend was pedaling home last week when a car full of kids crossed the white line and intentionally missed him by an inch. Fortunately, he wasnt hurt. About an hour later, my friend spotted the same car parked in a turnout. No one was around, so he deflated the car tires, hopped back on his bike and headed home, content in knowing that they wouldnt be able to buzz him again. A few miles further, however, he met a policeman who he told about the reckless drivers up the road. The cop took the complaint and drove off to find the kids. That night, my friend heard from the cop. He had found the car and ticketed the driver for reckless driving. Flat tires, a trial, penalty fees, increased insurance, a record.. suppose those slackers will buzz the next cyclist they pass?
|April 16, 2002
Check out my new seat, a Selle Italia Evolution SLR. This study in minimalism consists of 2 titanium rails and a razor-thin carbon top. Thats it. Theres no padding and no flex. It weighs only 125 grams and costs about $160. I first saw this beautiful seat at the Interbike bike show in September and knew I had to have it because its so wild looking like a wing. Its the perfect complement to my superlight Litespeed Vortex, too. How does it ride? In a word: hard. But Im getting used to it. Selle Italia seems to have nailed the shape so that it perfectly matches your anatomy or at least is so close, that your anatomy can adapt to the seats. Luckily, Im not one to suffer saddle sores often. In fact, Ive told friends who complain about seat pain that I could probably ride on a piece of two-by-four lumber and be comfortable. I always thought I was exaggerating. But, riding this SLR, makes me think I really could ride on any seat.
|March 31, 2002
I take a lot of flak from other riders for biking with a Walkman. But, I can explain. I usually ride in the morning and alone. Ive never been able to find a training partner willing to ride at dawn. And, I got bored spinning down the same roads looking at the same scenery. So, about ten years ago, I got a small Sony Walkman AM/FM radio that easily tucks in my jersey pocket. I tried one with a cassette player, but messing with the tapes was a hassle, so I settled on a radio. It has ten station presets. Simply by reaching back and pressing the button, I can go from NPRs Car Talk (my favorite Sunday morning show) to sportstalk radio (yes, they do sometimes mention Lance) to music. The reception where I ride is reasonable so most of the stations come in during even long rides. People think that its dangerous to ride listening to headphones. But, Ive found that if you use earbud models (which tuck inside your ear) and dont crank the volume, you still hear cars way before they pass you. Besides, if like me, you love cycling and music, it only makes sense to experience them simultaneously.
|March 6, 2002
Ever dream that youre flying? Its a great feeling that makes you wish you could. But, until the other day, I hadnt experienced this feeling while cycling. Lots of people describe bicycling as the closest humans can get to flying. And bikes have played a significant role in the development of airplanes from the Wright Brothers (they started as bicycle manufacturers and used bike parts on their planes) to Paul MacCreadys amazing pedal-powered airplanes. But, while you can certainly speed downhill and swoop around corners on a bike, youre always touching the ground, connected, not totally free, as you would be flying. But, I realized recently, that your mind can trick you and provide the perfect out-of-body, real-time flying feeling. All it takes is ultra-smooth pavement, a long downhill, no distractions and complete relaxation. On the right road, on the right day, in the right frame of mind, the bicycle disappears and its just you, flying along the road.
|February 15, 2002
A little over a year ago I purchased a DVD player so that we could really enjoy movies at home. The improvement in picture and sound quality over videotapes is impressive. And DVDs often inclue special features, such as documentaries about the making of films, outtakes, or the history behind the story. Another great thing about DVDs is that theyre affordable, small and durable -- perfect for collecting. Also, its possible to request unavailable titles on Amazon dot com and they send the requestes to the DVD manufacturer and then let you know when the movie becomes available. I plugged in my wish list: The Treasure of Sierre Madre, If, From Here to Eternity, The Bicycle Thief and Breaking Away. Im still waiting for most of these, but Im delighted to report that one, Breaking Away is now available, and at the ridiculous price of $15, or so. If youre into DVDs and havent seen this film, buy it today. Its a wonderful movie.
|February 5, 2002
I know the answer to this question, but Im going to ask it anyway: Why do you think glue tubes in patch kits are so tiny and porous? If the tube was air tight and held more glue, thered be a much better chance that thered be some sticky stuff in there when you desperately need it. You know, that rainy day when you pop a tube, install your spare and discover to your disgust, that the spares popped, too. This is usually when you find that the glue tube, though it appears full, is completely empty -- the cement having evaporated probably hours after your last repair. Argh! This means hoofing it, or hitching home, and forces you to buy a new patch kit way before you need one (there are always plenty of patches remaining because you probably only got one repair out of the tiny tube of glue). Well, wouldnt it be a lot better if patch kits had glue tubes that held some glue and didn't let it evaporate?! And why not make the tube refillable, so you can buy glue in bulk to keep the patch-kit glue container full?!
|January 27, 2002
At the risk of sounding like your mother, Id like to take a moment to talk about helmets. Wear one, wouldya? And dont take it off and drape it on your handlebars when youre climbing a hill. Thats ridiculous. Todays helmets weigh next to nothing, are riddled with vents and are so comfortable, you forget you have them on only minutes into the ride. If thats not the case with yours, I recommend heading to the shop and purchasing a Giro Pneumo. (Or, if its too expensive, try on more affordable models with similar features.) If you havent tried the new lids, I think youll be amazed. The Pneumo is the same helmet worn by many of the pros in the Tour this year. It didn't hold them back and it wont hold you back, either. More importantly, itll save your life if you fall. And, always remember, it's not the speed that kills you; its the fact that on a bicycle, your head is seven or eight feet higher than the pavement. Get flipped over the bars and its even higher. Thats a serious impact when your head strikes the ground, even if youre crawling uphill. Get a good helmet and wear it when you ride.
January 10, 2002
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