05Oct12

It’s fall

05Oct12

How to salmon

05Oct12

Old man, white hair, 60 degrees, shirt open. Grocery bags on the handlebars. Downhill, 12% grade, wrong way into traffic. Fire engine, sirens, lights, oncoming, didn’t flinch.

This man was not a weak fish.



Fantastic 1945 short from the British Council film collection on how the Raleigh was made. It was one of the greatest mass-produced bicycle operations in history.


Still here!

06May12

I wasn’t ever going back to the new LBS but on Thursday morning when I found my rear tire completely flat, I knew it was their fault. I pulled the tire back to find the tube had been folded over itself by four inches so it would fit.

I waited for them to open. I wasn’t going to spend any more money to get this tire fixed, but not if the guy who made this mess was there because he wouldn’t know how. He was of course the only one working that morning.

I showed him my receipt and told him when he fixed my bike, he put a 700c tube in my 26″ wheels and now I had a giant pinch flat. He told me a tube was a tube and asked was I sure my wheels were 26″? I said yes. He said, “really? They look bigger than that.” If you’re not even willing to read the answer printed on my tire, I don’t want you working on my bike.

I left. That was the last time I will go into Caster’s in Providence. If you live here you take your chances there. Fine people work in that shop but if you get this guy you’ll get sloppy work at best and you may even leave with your bike worse off.

Go to Legend. They’re fantastic. Jack has a great shop and does good work. He’s even carrying Bromptons and the Schmidt SON hubs, stuff you had to go to Harris or Peter White to find before. Also try Providence Bicycle on Branch. They have good service and a lot of stock.


Hybryd

21Jan12

Frankfurt-am-Main multi-use path

Here’s a good example of why multi-use paths don’t work. I took this photo in Frankfurt last spring. This asphalt path runs along the river Main, stretching out from the city center through some lovely wooded land. I’d guess most use is recreational but people do commute on it. It’s wide by American standards, plenty of room for two-way cycling traffic, but it fails because it’s multi-use. It doesn’t delineate between pedestrians and cyclists and so even with all that asphalt, people have carved out this dirt rut to one side. That’s where the runners go when the cyclists come in both directions or where the cyclists go to get around strolling pedestrians.

Why do we build paths like this? It’s clearly not a space issue and it’s clearly not working for its users—they’ve gone and trod out the separation they need. I don’t have any idea how well it works in Germany, but on paths like this here the mixing only encourages conflict. I see it all the time on our rails-to-trails paths, pedestrians and cyclists yelling at each other, playing chicken—our state paths mandate pedestrians walk against on-coming cycling traffic, so this chicken game happens at nearly every interaction. Paths are supposed to be the place cyclists go to get away from the dangers of road traffic, places of high subjective safety. But when pedestrians aren’t separate those same dangers are present, they just move a lot more slowly.


Worst bike rack

Anybody who writes about cycling outside of northern Europe could do a weekly column on the worst bike racks. They’re everywhere. Most of them look like this one, but even the newer designs regularly fail on enough clearance for fenders and lights. I always have to lock up at the end of a rack because of my light.

So here it is, the ubiquitous US bike rack. Slats so short and narrow they only accommodate thin tires and even then not enough for the wheel to come far enough through to lock the frame to the rack.

What makes this one the winner in worst rack is the stone wall. The rack is bolted into the asphalt a few inches back from the wall so that approximately zero people can lock their bikes to it. Bonus points for wedging it in a tiny triangle between the entrance—where people tear into the lot—and the first parking space, which starts on the other side of the line.