Articles from January 2011



Amira Fakira gets 4+ years for hitting cyclist

Amira Fakira was sentenced to 4 years, 4 months in prison for a Jan 31, 2010 hit-and-run.  On that night, Fakira stuck cyclist Sanjay Patel while he was riding his bike home from work.  Fakira did not stop, reportedly dragging Patel for over a quarter of a mile.  He was not dislodged from under Fakira’s vehicle until she executed a three point turn after striking another vehicle.  Fakira never stopped of her own accord, but rather had her keys forcibly removed from her vehicle ignition at a later stop light by a concerned witness.  Fakira was reportedly under the influence of both alcohol and prescription medication at the time of the incident.

Judge Ransom responded to Fakira and her attorney’s request for leniency by stating “The court feels that even though you’re eligible for probation, there is no way in good conscious I could in any way shape or form, offer you probation.”

Mandatory Use Law

Bicycle lanes are something of a double-edged sword in certain circumstances.  Study after study has shown that the presence of bicycle lanes has a positive effect on overall cycling.  However, some will argue that traditional bike lane placement – especially on city streets – comes with its own problems.  Usually, bike lanes are placed in the exact spot where drivers would get out of their cars when parallel parking next to the curb – the “door zone.”  Bike lanes can also put cyclists in conflict with motorists that are making right hand turns at stop lights.

One of the less obvious conflicts, however, are laws that are often referred to as “Mandatory Use Laws.”  California has just such a law on the books in the form of CVC 21208:
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80 miles on a damp Sat morning

Yet another great ride with the Cycle Folsom Peloton group today.  80 miles didn’t discourage me, but cleaning the bike from all the damned road grime and debris is discouraging.  Nothing like getting home, still cold and wet, only to look at your frame and know you need to turn on the hose.  By the end of the ride what I thought was a well-oiled chain sounded more like a cheese grater on a chalkboard.  Still, I never walk away from a Peloton ride with anything but positive thoughts.

You can read the full details of the ride at the Cycle Folsom Ride Leaders blog.

How to spoil your children

Getting young kids into road bike racing is a worthwhile endeavor, in my opinion.  In my recent interview with Dean Alleger, he talked about a lack of support in the United States for youth racing – “there’s no pipeline” as he put it.  Most of the time kids get BMX bikes for boys, and banana seats and streamers for girls.  Because of this lack of demand, it can be difficult to find actual road bike equipment for kids.

For my own children I went with the Fuji Ace bikes.  Available with 20 inch, 24 inch or 650c wheels, they offer a reasonably usable frame and road-bike position that is great for kids.  And at about $350 it is a reasonable investment for kids serious about road bike racing (or parents serious about their kids road bike racing) without sinking the bank on a bike they will outgrow within a season or two.

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Will track racing finally find a home in Sacramento?

The goal is a velodrome – a smooth surfaced track with banked corners used for bicycle racing.  Unlike outdoor road or stage bicycle races – more commonly known in mainstream America – track races are much friendlier to spectators.  In road or stage races, the setting is outdoors and you can’t see the riders until they pass by your vantage point.  In some race formats – like the Tour de France – that happens exactly once.

In contrast, track racing takes place in a stadium-like environment, where spectators can watch all of the action as it unfolds.

I stopped by Rex Cycles in Sacramento to speak with Steve Rex and Dean “Dino” Alleger, two guys who just happen to know a thing or two about getting a velodrome facility in the Sacramento area.

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Cyclist’s personal ads

What if the personal ads were filled with cyclists?

EMC (Elite Male Cyclist) seeks EFC.  Interested in races and rides – both group and individual training.  Love hills.  Ride a Trek and I prefer that my ladies do too.  Sorry – but ‘bent riders need not respond, no wheel sucks and definitely no dopers!  Pack filler is OK if they know how to carry the water bottles.  Max wattage of at least 300 over 5 minutes, please.

Beautiful Tweed Girl wants Male companion. I love slow rides through downtown, parks and trails.  You must know how to wax your handlebars – both on your bike and on your upper lip!  No hidden lycra in the closet.  Its all wool -all the time – for this girl.  Coffee or tea, not beer or liquor.  If you show up to our first date on a penny-farthing you’ve got a leg up on the rest of the boys.  And if you get that pun, you’re the guy for me!

Give me a Tri! FTW (Fit triathlete woman) seeks male marathoner, du- or tri- athlete to share training and nutrition trials and tribulations.  Training partnerships to start, and if things go well mutual post-event leg massages.  Ultra-marathoners and bare foot running fanatics scare me, sorry.

Male bike wrench seeks girl with bike. Is your chain skipping?  Wheel out of true?  Than this guy’s for you.  Looking for someone to share advice with.  This guy will keep your ride running in top shape.  If you spend a lot of time talking about the last shop you went to and what they did for you – I’m not interested.

Hot Italian hosts another Savage Sprints event

Sunday night it was standing room only as Sacramento’s Hot Italian hosted another Savage Sprints event to benefit the Sacramento Valley Velodrome Project.

The venue worked well, providing food and drink for the adults, along with a comfortable location for the many children that also came out with their parents.  The races saw brother pitted against brother, and even a national track champion was in attendance.

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Falling back in love with Continental Gatorskins

It was a cold and rainy New Year’s Day ride when I first fell out of love with my Continental Gatorskin tires.  No – strike that.  That was when my ambivalent “Yea, they’re OK” turned into a “Why did I pay extra for Kevlar casing tires??”

In hindsight, however, neither my ambivalence nor my negative impressions of the tires were correct.  In fact, it was only because the tires performed so well that I was able to ride for so long without thinking about them in the first place.

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Versus network continues AToC coverage

Looks like the Versus network has entered into an agreement with AEG to continue televised coverage.

When I first heard this I had mixed results.  Versus coverage has been less than desirable at times – at least for those of us that are cycling fans.  However, the network has apparently notice the market potential of the cycling community as a whole.  Their press release (full content below) states:

Since VERSUS started airing coverage of the Tour of California in 2007, the network has seen average viewership growth of 46 percent.  Last year’s race saw the number of viewers tuning in to the network’s daily coverage double from 2007 (3 million vs. 1.5 million).

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Levi’s GranFondo causes crashes … of servers.

Levi’s GranFondo spawned a significant crash before the riders even made it to the start line.  This wasn’t bicycles piling up, however.  Instead, the popularity of the ride apparently resulted in a significant outage on the first day of registration as folks rushed to ensure a place in the hugely successful event.  Despite having reportedly “planned for several times the traffic from 2010′s registration opening day” folks were unable to register, and the registration system was taken offline and postponed.

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