Thursday, April 22, 2010

why not here?

Really, it's not about the bike.

Seems redundant to post a video like that and think of it in terms of Bend, OR.  After all, we regard ourselves as an uber-fit town.  But, all of these runners, bikers, hikers, skate-skiers are for the most part, driving to work, driving their kids to school, driving down the street to the store.

Some might say that's a poor example.  And, not everyone is an uber-athlete.  Those citizens are also driving everywhere. 

What can the city or county do to "drive" more transport to active, instead of passive?  I'm asking you.  What?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

everyone can share

Door hangers, or handle-bar hangers.  I figured I stood a better than average chance of a beat-down if I were to go attaching them to one's car/bike.  Posting them is safer.  Courtesy cuts both ways.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

not that kind of cyclist

As you navigate the streets of Bend, either in car, on bike or foot, or by bus, please note that while most bike/walk advocates want people to get out of the car and bike/walk, we want you to do it in a smart fashion.

Riding down the sidewalk, using cross-walks, no helmet wearing, i-pod listening to, against traffic, not keeping a proper look-out, is NOT the kind of biking at issue. That kind of biking is a hazard to all commuters, regardless of mode. Rogue riders make it hard to advocate to receptive listeners.

Please take a moment to distinguish in your mind between what I describe above and the responsible road-way user who rides with traffic, on the street, using a bike lane when possible, (could be wearing a helmet if they are an adult, and choose to), not wearing an i-pod, and are actually paying attention to traffic...all traffic.

typical response

Transportation Secretary LaHood's sea change that I mentioned before has drawn the typical republican (read=eight-year-old) response.

Actually, my eight-year-old daughter is smarter than most republicans.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

put that thing away

When riding in downtown Bend, I really enjoy nice weather days, because people have their windows down. That means, when I roll up alongside and spy they're using a cell phone, I get to say, and have heard, "Put that cell phone down." Pointing at them helps.

The younger the person, the more likely they are to do so without saying anything. Although I haven't had anyone not put their phone down. Older people, like my age, and male, are likely to say something smart-allecky, but they put it down anyway.

Love the nice weather...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

top down

Last year, I wrote cultural change, corporate or otherwise, must come from the top down.

Now, it looks like that change agent is here. Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood announced last month that bike and pedestrian modes are now equal with motor vehicle as to priorities.


Transportation for America released a study that points to a majority of citizens favoring more transportation options than wider highways to move traffic.

Groundswell is upon us. When the next instance of $4+/gallon happens, we will be thankful this top down cultural shift of priorities has paved the way, so to say, for more options; healthier options.

Now, visit and find your next bike on the cheap.

even in salem

Yes, even in Salem, progressive use of the bicycle as a way to strengthen youth does more than tone muscles. Although that doesn't hurt.

Monday, April 5, 2010

product endorsement

I have been 90% bike commuter since I left for law school in August of 2006. Before that I was sporadic, but in the 90s, all I had was a 1990 Nishiki Olympic 12 speed and a Diamond Back Ascent mtb. The mtb is gone (my brother took it with him to college one year and at one point sold it for food). My bike is similar to the one depicted here. I did not have the secondary brake levers or the rack.

I got rid of the gearing and went to a single speed coaster to minimize my upkeep. In spring of 2007, the tire Drew gave me was so thin, it picked up a piece of glass and kept it hidden from me while I changed the tube three times, wondering what kept popping my tube.

Once I brained up and found the hunk of glass, I realized I would have to buy a new tire. So, I researched the superest dopest most awesomest tire that a commuter could want. I wanted a tire that could take bullets to keep me from flatting on the way to class. My research turned up the Specialized Armadillo All-Condition tire.

I paid top dollar for the 700X23c tire that went on my Nishiki. Since then, I have not flatted, pinched, or punctured at all. I weigh roughly 200 pounds, and most of that is in my bum. So, the rear tire has to stand up to quite a bit. I have lost 2 tubes since installation, but in both instances, the cause was the valve breaking. That tells me the tube valve will fail before the tire allows the tube to puncture.

I also determined at one point that the tires on my 20 year old Cannondale touring bike needed replacing.
Same thought process here, but the research was already done. FYI, I have this bike setup to haul a Bob trailer. So in spring of 2008, back I went to the bike shop that liked to give discounts to members of Willamette's racing team. I needed the 10% off, because the tires were each $50. I bought this bike from a friend for $50. Since then, same result. No pinch flats or punctures. In fact, since I went to these tires, I have never flatted on either bike. Typically the valve stems fail in the garage as I am pumping up before I ride.
I consider the extra dollars spent on these tires to be worth the money saved in tubes, time, frustration, and confidence.

even in alaska?

"The idea is to make biking more convenient and less dangerous so that more people do it." -article

Excellent premise. And this is from Alaska, cold land of the very long dog race, where sometimes people die while competing, and the mid-night sun. They want more biking and they appear (at least from this article) to have the ground-swell behind it. My sister recently moved there to attend nursing school at UA - Anchorage and is riding her bike in the dead of winter, which doesn't end for a while yet. She must be nutty.

Spending money to put more people on bikes and fewer in cars makes a trickle-down sense, more so than George H.W. Bush's trickle-down did. Fewer cars means fewer emissions, means less wear on roadways, means smaller lines at lights, means healthier citizens (yes, that is possible, even in Bend), means more parking for tourists in downtown, means easier parking for employees in downtown, means always finding a place to park. Always. Want to save money by not driving? Walking or biking will do it for you. Personally, walking may not be a money saver, if time=money. That makes biking the money maker. It saves you money, makes you healthy (healthy=money saving could be another post), and is about equal in terms of time as a car.

But, you think to yourself, I don't want to arrive at work sweaty/wet/snowy/grimy. A valid response to this statement is, you don't have to. When one goes skiing, fishing, kayaking, or snow-shoeing, one wears the proper gear. Biking or walking is no different. Equipped with weather-proof pants and jacket, which one might already own for different sports/activities means you are already equipped!

One way to make it safer is to get more people to do it. Wait, what? Read on. If more people are riding or walking, we increase our collective visibility to those in cars. Drivers learn to be more watchful for cyclists and walkers because they know we are everywhere. This was the way in Portland. When I was bike commuting there in the early 90s, I never saw anyone else riding my route (turns out my route sucked for safety, had no shoulders and blind curves. I was lucky to outlive my foolishness), so drivers were not expecting a cyclist. But now, cyclists are everywhere in Portland and thus are expected everywhere.

1. Maybe your gear closet already has items that can cross over from one sport to bike/walk commuting. Don't spend more money for bike gear, no matter what The Source tells you. This makes it convenient to you.

2. Safety in numbers. This makes it safer for you.

Make it convenient and safe. Now get out there and do it.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Here is what a poor lock job looks like (outside the D&D, I think):

True, the owner was locking a Huffy and the lock looks more expensive than the bike, but that would suck to come out and find your wheels gone.

Lesson learned, run the lock through the wheels AND the frame.

distract this

Oregon recently enacted a Distracted Driver law, prohibiting cell phone use while driving a motor vehicle, a Class D infraction. There are a few exceptions, like using a blue-tooth, law enforcement, people who operate a vehicle as part of their job, and others. See ORS 811.507 for a full list. Question...are drivers who wear a badge or drive truck for a living immune from distraction? Just asking.

Now consider this thought which I have been mulling over for a month or so...When a person gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, after drinking say 3-4 pints and is legally over the limit, one might argue that they were unable to formulate the necessary intent to drive under the influence. (Good luck with that, by the way.)

However, assuming one is not drunk, use of the cell phone that does not fall under an exception is a conscious choice to defy the law, distract oneself, and put the lives of others in danger. I have no stats handy, but one would have to be living under a rock to not understand the concept of a distracted driver. It seems to me that the fine associated with a Class D infraction is laughable.