I ran across this commercial the other day while watching some drivel on TV:
I was immediately struck by the very prominently displayed bicycle line drawing art (which I now want by the way.) I did find myself wondering “Why in the heck would the advertisers do that?” As an urban cyclist, I more often view the bicycle as something to be used instead of a car. It reminded me of a MotorTrend article I had read recently examining the decline in car ownership in the younger generations: (more…)
In the culmination of a 20+ year project, the new eastern span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge opened up. And included on that new bridge was a separate bike and pedestrian lane. Those familiar with the area will quickly point out that this bridge only gets you half way across the bay, and that there is a second bridge that still lacks bicycle access that prevents a bike ride completely across. So for the short term at least this is a recreation trail only with no commute benefits. (more…)
I seem to have become my own “Tale of two cities.” I’ve got one foot forever in Sacramento, and the other in San Francisco. Being a man of two cities, I have an interesting perspective on the cycling in both of them. I’m continually comparing and contrasting them both. I keep coming back to on inescapable conclusion: Sacramento is an awesome cycling town.
May is bike month. We all know it, and many of us go on about it. We get bike to school day, bike to work day, and in addition a whole bike to work week! Local coffee shops, bike shops and assorted business get the excuse opportunity to set up tables along popular bike routes and paths giving away free swag and looking very bike-friendly. This should be a month for me to rejoice – to share enthusiasm and passions with the greater cycling community. A time for us to pat ourselves on our collective back and take stock in how far advocacy efforts have come. And May is action packed with a lot more than just advocacy and riding to work. On the racing front, we had not only the grand american race Tour of California, but also the Giro d’Italia. The Tour of Cali was especially engaging for me this year, as I watched one of my personal favorites – and fellow old guy – Chris Horner appear to struggle through the Time Trial with an anchor on his bike. The setback would have crushed the spirits of other folks. But the drama unfolded in the final significant climbs of the race as Horner, Jens Voigt (another personal favorite and fellow old guy) and others took a flyer off the front. Slowly riders from the break away dropped one by one, until Chris Horner had actually made back all the time lost in the TT and then some. He climbed his way into first place on paper - as Phil Liggett likes to say – and had me on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately the herculean effort was not enough and he was eventually caught. But what a way to highlight what bike month is supposed to be about – enjoying all aspects of bicycles. Rolling the cruiser, commuting to work, or ripping the peloton apart.
Unfortunately, this time around all Bike Month managed to do for me was remind me that the other 11 months are not bike month. June came this year to punch me in the gut and drive the point home. June has brought us the apparent implosion (again) of what should have been the best team in the peloton – RadioShack Nissan Trek. Andy Schleck has been plagued by … something … all season. There are already rumors of the Schleck boys leaving the squad. When the team announced their Tour de France lineup, Chris Horner was not on the list. This lead to all kinds of speculation and drama as to why that happened. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that the presumed Tour de France GC contender Andy Schleck was not going to make it due to injury. Ahh, but poor Bruyneel wasn’t done with bad news yet. Just when we thought it was over, Bruyneel and Mr Armstrong find themselves in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Yup – doping allegations again. What is a cycling enthusiast to do.
But hold on a second…
I once again started my commute on a bicycle this morning in beautiful San Francisco. I passed numerous folks doing the same thing. I continue to ride my bike and enjoy it. And despite the fact that folks are predicting a guilty finding for Armstrong would “destroy cycling” my bike will still pedal and roll regardless of a USADA decision regarding Armstrong.
So that’s what I’ll do. I’ll let June suck for Bruyneel and Armstrong. Come July, I’ll be keeping track of the Tour de France and enjoying it. Bike Month is irrelevant to me, honestly. I don’t have a bike month, or even a bike year. I have a bike life, and plan to until I can’t turn my pedals any more.
There is a rather large and growing collection of humours, self-deprecating, but often true songs and music videos that folks have made regarding cycling. Usually these poke fun at some of the more eccentric aspects and stereotypes of the cycling culture. I thought it was about time someone put together a list of the best of them. Of course, this is just my opinion, and is therefore fact…
Number 7: Bike-Friendly City (funny song about bike safety in Toronto)
Obstensibly a bicycle saftey piece, but we all know that no one listens if we talk about bike safety seriously. So lets try it with a little humor:
Number 6: SRSLY
Just try and make it past the Cliff Shot slurping scene in the beginning…
Number 5: Le Velo
The first entry from Robin Moore – the only guy to make my list not once, but three times. This video probably would have ranked higher if he had chosen a better wine.
Number 4: Get Dirty
After poking fun at the euro crowd, Robin Moore goes after the MTB set. Truth be told though, you may want to hold off on watching this one until you’ve watched the rest of the list. There are references in this video to the number one video on our list.
Number 3: All You Haters ( Suck …censored… )
Something about making fun of anger is hysterically funny to me – and a heck of a lot better than actually being angry. Warning – if you would be offended on a Juniur High School camups by the language, you should skip this video…
Number 2: Motherf<censored>ing Bike
Yes. They swear. A lot. But again, making fun of anger is just too enjoyable. Yes – this is the genesis of that famous “Tour de F*** You.” Nearly every stereotype of urban cycling culture is in here. In truth it was a very hard decision to decide the actual order of the top two. Ultimately it came down to seniority alone.
Ooooh – and it is in HD!
Numero Uno: Performance
For me this is the first and still best bicycle music video. The third entry from Robin Moore. If you do nothing else in your cycling life, get this stuck in your head on your next ride. Eminently quotable – ‘Cause its all about performance…
Yes. Yes it is. Thanksgiving is the day when, all across the country, countless individuals, groups and clubs are going out on casual or social rides with friends and competitors. It is a time to get on the bike in full kit to ride 12 miles an hour for less than 20 miles and never break a sweat. So why the odd ritual?
Well, Thanksgiving day social rides are first and foremost an excuse. (more…)
Stage races in cycling are simultaneously odd and beautiful. The ebb and flow, the dynamics of the group, are something to behold. People peel off the front, hoping to either capture their 5 minutes of fame, or establish themselves as an alpha member of the stage, expected to ride on to great things. In the peloton, whole groups of riders can work together for the greater good. Or, a momentary lapse of attention can take out half of the group. On climbs, the tired, weary and injured with gather together, spontaneously helping each other regardless of team or affiliation, just hoping to survive.
I was sitting in my new favorite greasy spoon – Heidis Pies on El Camino Real in San Mateo – when Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” came on the radio. As I was half-listen while reading the latest issue of Road Bike Action magazine, I could hear the cowbell in my head. Only, the cowbell isn’t really there – at not least as much as I heard it. The cowbell had been engrained in my subconscious so much that I actually thought I was hearing it.
I’m referring, of course, to the Christopher Walken skit done on Saturday Night Live featuring that song. That particular skit has become so iconic that most folks from my generation will know exactly what you are talking about if you mention “I gotta have more cowbell!”
(Yes – this will eventually have something to do with cycling)
I’ve always felt there was a strong affinity between technology folks and cycling. Admittedly I spend a fair amount of time in Silicon Valley, so my opinion may be somewhat biased. The cycling industry itself has its own fair share of cool gizmos for all of us Freds to drop or hard earned cash on. From cycling computers to helmet cams to bikes that post to twitter for you, electronics have found their way into the cycling world.
This was taken to a completely different level, however, by Steve Roberts. Not only did he spend years of his life pedaling around the country, he did it on one of three “unique” bikes he put together himself. It is not the frame or configuration of the bike that makes them particularly interesting. No, it is the array of electronics that he incorporated into his rides that really sets him apart.
There are many of us so-called avid cyclists that are big on participating in, but also promoting cycling. I’m one of those folks. For me, this is partially self-serving. The more folks that we have out on the road riding their bikes, the more accustomed to bikes on the road motorists will be. Makes it safer for all of us overall. Socially I think it is a win. The oft-cited benefits to health and the environment seem like obviously beneficial gains to me as well. That, and the natural human compulsion to want other folks to enjoy what I enjoy.
For some, it is about fostering a “bike culture.” A culture where going to the grocery store, or tootling down to the local cafe, or getting the kids to soccer practice, are all things that are perfectly reasonable to do on a bike. A culture where riding a bike in the rain to get to work doesn’t make you extreme, eccentric or even on the fringe. A culture where riding a bike is normal. As normal as driving a car.