Categories: "Riding" or "Carfree" or "From Elsewhere" or "Racing" or "Reviews" or "Touring" or "While Riding"

Hiroshima's Hotel Cycle

May 16th, 2014

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A room in Hiroshima's Cycle Hotel, part of Onomichi U2, "Cycle, Travel and Good Things."

From Spoon & Tamago [via GetHiroshima]: 

Calling itself the world’s first bicycle-friendly multi-purpose space, the Onomichi U2 is now open for business.  What makes the space special is not that it’s a hotel, café, bakery, restaurant and bike shop all in one, but that you can ride your bike through almost all the facilities. You can ride your bike up to the front desk to check-in, and then take your bike up to your hotel room, which is equipped with a bike rack. The café even has a “cycle-thru” lane so you can get your caffeine fix without ever getting off your bike.

Onomichi U2 is at the end of a 70km cycle path that sounds, logistics aside, marvelous.  Maybe I can Gerty to ride there this fall.

DU Bike Auction This Saturday

May 16th, 2014

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This Saturday, go buy a bike that University of Denver took without the owner's permission.

The University of Denver's annual sale of bikes that have been "impounded" from around campus is Saturday. At University of Denver, a bike can be impounded for not being locked or for being locked with a cable lock. DU insists that cyclists use a U-lock, despite having bike racks that make securely locking one's bike difficult. A U-lock only around one's front, quick release wheel is enough to satisfy Denver's moronic policy.

(DU has eschewed the city's standard inverted U for reasons that I have never been able to pry out of anyone. Depending on the day, the head of parking has blamed the University Architect, the former Chancellor, and/or Security.)

Another Negative Showers Pass Touring Jacket Review

November 15th, 2012


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Image by Wojtek Michniewicz from his review at crazyguyonabike. Captioned "Peeling laminate on SP touring jacket." More images there.

Another negative experience with the Showers Pass Touring Jacket.

I discussed my problems with the Touring Jacket, here and here. The thread also describes some positive experiences with Showers Pass and some design improvements to one model.

Sounds to me as if the Showers Pass Elite jacket may be made from different materials than the Touring and Transit jackets and that the Elite Jacket doesn't leak -- or at least doesn't leak as much.

The Showers Pass jackets, in my opinion, are pricey enough that they should perform well. The Touring jacket is $150. Even if the jacket performed as advertised, that's quite a bit of money.

If you have a Touring jacket, and are having problems, return it. If the vendor won't take it back, ask Showers Pass for a replacement. I think that may be the best way to reiterate to Showers Pass that (at least some of) these jackets have serious problems. And it will give Showers Pass a chance to "make it right." It seems like a good company that made a mistake with one product.

If you are shopping for raingear, consider whether the cost of a cycling-specific jacket is actually worth it. Gerty wears her regular, brightly-colored rain jacket and does just fine. (In fact, on our last rain-drenched tour she was much drier in her hiking jacket than I was in my Touring jacket.) I feel a bit dumb that I shelled out over $100 when I could just wear my hiking raingear -- particularly since I routinely rail about the evils of materialism.

If you really want cycling-specific gear, take a look at J&G Cyclewear's line. One commenter highly recommends them. I have no experience whatsoever with them. Their website, which is not nearly as slick as that of Showers Pass, says that they, too, are a small Oregon company.

Cyclist Safety: Bike Lanes Help; Parking Hurts; Multiuse Paths Will Be The Death of Me Yet

November 14th, 2012


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Data from Teschke et al., Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists, Table 4, descriptions modified, *P less than .05

The Atlantic's Cities blog has a decent summary of a recent paper aimed at determining the impact of various kinds of cycling infrastructure on injury rates. Among the study's conclusion is that bike lanes significantly reduce the rate at which cyclists are injured.

Terminology & Denver's Paths

At the outset, I should note that study's terminology doesn't match up well with how we in Denver refer to things. According to the study's definitions, the Cherry Creek and Platte Greenways are "multiuse" paths ("meant for nonmotorized use by pedestrians, cyclists, skaters and others, either alongside city streets or away from city streets") not "bike paths."

I'm not sure how the study would classify Denver's designated sidewalk/bike routes. Those monstrosities fit both the definitions of sidewalk ("paved path meant for pedestrian use, either alongside city streets or away from streets") and multiuse path. (As far as I know, we don't have any "bicycle-only paths" in Denver.)

Multi-Use Paths Are (Relatively) Unsafe

The study's results are interesting for several reasons. First, in terms of safety, multi-use paths are less safe than everything except sidewalks and major streets with parked cars and no bike infrastructure.

That probably surprises a lot of planners. Multi-use paths are assumed to be the safest place for cyclists to be.

If the results apply to Denver, Denver has built (and designated) a lot of infrastructure that is less safe to use than simply riding on a major street that doesn't have parking. In particular, where Denver has designated sidewalks as bikeways it has created conditions that are about as unsafe as they can be for cycling.

Parking Poses Problems

Another interesting thing is just how much difference street parking makes. Eliminating parking makes even major streets safer than adding a bike lane or sharrows would. (The risk for major streets with no parking and no infrastructure are not statistically significant.)

If cyclist safety is an issue, planners should consider removing parking before considering adding cycling infrastructure. (Anyone who has worked on these issues in Denver knows that's wishful thinking. A bike planner once told me -- sarcastically -- that City Council, given a choice between a few dead cyclists and the calls triggered by eliminating a few parking places, would choose dead cyclists every time. He might have been sarcastic, but I think he was right.)

What's Hurting Us

Finally, how cyclists were injured surprised me. Only about a third of cyclist injuries were caused by collisions with motor vehicles. About a quarter were caused by collisions with things like train tracks, potholes, or rocks. Collisions with animals, other cyclists, and pedestrians accounted for only about 7% of the injuries. Looks as if keeping streets maintained on bike routes would help a great deal. Drivers would appreciate it, too.

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One Reason I Love Fall In Colorado

November 9th, 2012

What we packed for the weekend trip:

  • Bikes (a ride near Glenwood and to get around)
  • Skis (passing my favorite ski area, so why not stop for an hour or so?)
  • Camping gear (should be warm enough, at least the first night)
  • Day packs (hike on Sunday)
  • Camera (because Colorado is stunning)

Dressing For The First Cold Day

November 9th, 2012


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Yehuda Moon by Rick Smith and Brian Griggs

Yehuda is great.

Around our house use the "Parking Lot Rule": If you are warm in the parking lot, you are going to be way too hot.

Obama Rides A Bike

November 7th, 2012

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Image via Reno Rambler.

Obviously, if this image had come out sooner Obama's radical revolutionary/communist/socialist/sharia plans would have been indisputably proven.

Beware America! He's coming for your cars!

Also speed limit enforcement!

From Elsewhere . . .

November 6th, 2012

  • Cyclelicious has collected links to bike computer manuals to help you adjust to the time change.

    (Richard's secret is that he just doesn't change the time on his computer.)

  • Velouria at Lovely Bicycle! overheard this conversation:

    "Salesperson: "Oh, well you need to ride the bike for several weeks for the gears to wear in. They should feel lower after that than they do now. If not, you can bring the bike back and we'll get you lower gears. But they usually wear in."

    Advice that is appallingly wrong but when you think about it, sometimes "works."

  • Maria Popova at Brain Pickings gives us The Beatles performing "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

    Yes, really.

    As Maria says, "unscripted, decidedly unshakespearean" and, as I would say, awful, awful, awful, and definitely worth watching. (The first sentence of her post has links to all sorts of whacked Beatles stuff.

  • Freewheeling Spirit extracts "one sentence of pure truth" about writing from an essay by Barbara Kingsolver.
  • Glowing, solar-powered highways coming to the Netherlands:

    [Special paint] charges up in sunlight, giving it up to 10 hours of glow-in-the-dark time come nightfall. “It’s like the glow in the dark paint you and I had when we were children,” designer Roosegaarde explained, “but we teamed up with a paint manufacturer and pushed the development. Now, it’s almost radioactive”.

    Special paint will also be used to paint markers like snowflakes across the road’s surface — when temperatures fall to a certain point, these images will become visible, indicating that the surface will likely be slippery. Roosegaarde says this technology has been around for years, on things like baby food — the studio has just upscaled it.

    The images are cool.

  • "The Ultimate Guide to Traveling When You’re Broke" is not particularly insightful but it is enthusiastic.

    One thing Gerty and I have discovered is that "going big" is often more affordable than "going small" -- if your travel budget replaces your regular budget, travel is much more affordable than if the travel budget is added to your regular budget. For example, if you have a house it becomes a source of income rather than a cost.

  • Dean Baker does a back of the envelope calculation and compares the economic impact of Sandy to a gas tax in the range of 25-40 cents a gallon. He notes that the cost will mostly be paid in the form of higher insurance premiums.

    If people realized that climate change is directly costing them money (or if climate change kills Julia Roberts), there would be more support for doing something about it.

    Until then, news about the loss of the small natural areas that are left, like this report on dwindling mountain meadows in the Pacific Northwest, torture me. Ever visited a mountain meadow? In the spring?

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