Friday, June 26, 2009
More "Best Bike..." from Travel & Leisure magazine. This could either be an opportunity to have a rousing argument about which cities are really the best "bike cities" in the world. We could argue over what measurements to use in detirmining, once and for all, which cities are indeed the most bike friendly. Is it miles of bike lanes? Or we could use surveys to determine which cities have the most commuters. Or maybe just who has the most Chic cyclists. That would be fun. I welcome it. Me, I just think it's cool that another magazine has hopped on the Cyclelution and is putting the idea of riding a bike in the minds of all those auto dependent people out there. Planting the seeds. The more people who come into contact with bikes, the more people who will eventually break through the car-haze and hop on one. And the fact that Minneapolis gets prominent mention is just a very small part of my motivation for posting this "best of..."... really! ;D
Photo courtesy Phototake/Alamy
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
A coworker of mine used to fix up a lot of old bikes. A lot being, he had a whole barn full of them. He gave many of them away, some to Africa. A few years ago, he decided to move onto something else(tractors) and has been weening down all his bike stock. He was known as the guy to bring old bikes to, in his town. People are still leaving bikes at the end of his driveway. I'm guessing that's how this tandem ended up at his place. If anybody has any interest, please let me know. He's not greedy so I'm sure the price will be right.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
What makes a bike a bike? Is two, and only two wheels a requirement?
Stormy and pal.
Friday night, I ran into Stormy. He just started up a bike cab(Pedicab?) business this year. It's called Shotties and is available from 3pm-3am daily(612-328-3878). He'll push you all around town, if you show him a little generosity. I'm saying it here. I will be giving him a call. Perfect for dates. I think that we need many more bike cabs. I wish him luck!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
The Slow Bicycle Movement must be having powerful effect on me. On Friday night I went to see to see the Minnesota Bicycle Festival Criterium race in Uptown. But I don't know if I saw a bike race. All I saw were these blurs as they wizzed by, followed by a big gust of wind. Wow, that was fast. And then they were gone around the corner. A few minutes later they would return, briefly. Whoosh!
Maybe my efforts to slow down on my bike and enjoy the ride, has side effects. Perhaps I've slowed down too much or maybe too quickly. I wonder if it's reversible? Maybe I don't want to.
Is that a face?
Friday, June 12, 2009
The fashion in bicycles is changing. The old styles are now, new ones.
The Globe Brand Bikes has premered an interesting line of bikes, in Minneapolis this week. I haven't got a close look at them, but the retro features(baskets, hubs, etc.) offered, are what caught my interest. Globe is a part of Specialized.
It's nice to see another brand going after those mellower riders out there, that would like to have a nice and practical bike. Smart move by Specialized. They know they'd better hop on the cycle chic wave. It's nice to see manufacturers moving back to fully outfitted bikes, with fender, racks, and baskets. I hope they are making a good quality product. I'm going to keep an eye out for them, this weekend.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The New York Times has a nice article on how having less, might be having more... Joy! While I'm no where near Pico Iyer in simplifying my life, I do have experience with forgoing with something that I prized, only to find out that life was just fine without it. And perhaps better.
I remember when I was a child, not having TV for month while it was at the repair shop. I found other things to do that were probably more useful, anyways, like doing my homework, or doing things with my family. Or riding my bike. When the TV came back, I was excited, and things eventually settled back into the normal pattern, mostly forgetting my life without TV. It was many years before I broke free of the TV, again. My current TV is a just a DVD player that isn't often used.
Pico is someone who has really gone all the way on this simplicity. No media, no car, no bike... What! No bike? Well that sounds a little bit too extreme, for me. I mean, maybe I don't need 10 bikes, but not having a bike doesn't seem the same as throwing the TV out. I don't see my bike as a vice to be tossed out, in order to clear the ground of distractions. It's something that brings me into the world. I get to see and smell and touch the world around me.
I do admire Mr. Iyer's example of living more on less. We could all use a some getting by on less and a greater focus on what's really important to us. The whole world would be a better place if more of us chucked the unnecessary things in our lives. And hey, if you find your bike is getting in the way of your happiness, maybe you should go without...but why don't you start with the car first! ;)
Saturday, June 6, 2009
In Minnesota you're supposed to read more books in the Winter, because when Summer comes you had better take advantage of it, while is lasts. But I'm more of an inspirational guy and I had better read when the urge comes.
This weekend I started reading Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclist are Changing American Cities. It makes the case that bikes offer us an opportunity to change the cities we live in, for the better. It's been a good read, so far, giving me an overview of cycling history in the public square. In the "I didn't know that" catigory, Minnesota Congressman Jim Oberstar is an avid cyclist and has had a big hand in channeling Transportation dollars into bike projects, nationwide. The story of how he became a cyclist was very moving. His wife had cancer and they rode together, because they were told it would be good exercise for her. When she eventually died, riding became his solice. One tidbit that related to my home town, was that in 1906, 20 percent of the traffic in downtown Minneapolis were bicycles. Wow! If we did it once, we can do it again!
Another book that caught my atttention is Traffic: Why we drive the way we do(and what that says about us) by Tom Vanderbilt. It's about the psychology of people behind the steering wheel. Lot's of interesting facts, such as, people get into accidents because they think they are better drivers than they are. Most people rate themselves as better than average drivers. They would be, if all the idiots would get out of their way! For me this is a bike book, because it gives me insight into what we are up against, if we want to change the way we get around.
Pedal Power: The quiet rise of the bicycle in American life, is another one I plan on reading.
I'm just getting started on my book buying binge. If you have some suggestions, don't be shy.
On a Friday evening ride, my chain skipped, dropping my sandaled feet down and scrapping the topside of my toes. It hurt, but I just shook it off and kept riding. When I awoke next morning, I was reminded of the stumble, when I hopped in the shower and felt a sharp sting of pain, as the water flowed over my toes. As injuries go, this was a very minor one, but it got me thinking about all the scuffs, scraps, cuts, and bruises that I've gotten, over all those years of biking. I also thought of other people I know out there who have had some nice abrasions, lately. I started thinking about that scene in Jaws when they showed their scars and the stories that go with them. They were some good stories, and maybe they were even true. Perhaps we could all compare our scars and the stories that went with them? It seemed to be a real bonding moment for them, before the shark tore their boat apart.
I got my first bike scar when I was only 8. We were visiting some family in the suburbs and I went riding around the woods with their son. I didn't know the trail at all and hit this tree when I rounded the corner at the bottom of a hill. I flipped over and seemed to land okay. But I had a gash just below the knee of my right leg. It didn't bleed much, but I ended up with 27 stitches. It's smaller now, but still visible.
I have multiple scars on my ankles, due to the fact that I like to wear sandals. Plus the ankles are close to all that machinery. The only other one that is still visible, is from when I hit the front corner of a car that had pulled out from between some buses. The cyclist in front of me went over the hood, but I had enough time to avoid that fate. Still I ended up with a seriously bent wheel and a big bump on my shin. That was 2 years ago, but there is still a dark spot from the swelling.
I'm happy to have all my scars, because I'm grateful that nothing worse has happened. They remind me that I am not impervious to everything on my bike. Much worse things have happened to people I know. My aching toes are a nice reminder that I need to be careful out there. You too!
Friday, June 5, 2009
It's always cool to be there when someone hops on bike for the first time(in a long while anyways). Even better when see them realize how cool riding a bike really is. Well, I had that opportunity recently when my friend Sara , after many months of thinking about it , bought a Novarra eXpress.
In case you didn't know, I'm a bit of a bike prostilitizer. I think everybody should be riding bikes...all the time...everywhere. Poor Sara has had to put up with my prodding over the last 6+ months. "You should get a bike". When she finally saw the light it became "Did you get that bike yet?". Apperently, her roommate was working on her too. That's great. Double teaming can be very effective.
In the end, the decision to give cycling a shot, was hers. From what I know of Sara, she is likely to become an avid cyclist, because she doesn't seem to do anything halfway. Last summer, she walked the whole Appalachian Trail by herself! I think she has caught the bicycling bug and said she is "loving it!". I hope she does what a lot us do, and shares that bike joy with others.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
As I was biking through Loring Park, I had the good fortune to run into a woman who was riding Dutch style bike. They aren't a common sight in my town, yet, so I struck up a conversation with her. Since we were headed in the same direction for a ways, we had a good chance to talk about our bikes.
This is Janet
This a Glorie from Pointer. I didn't ask it's name.
I was surprised to learn that she has had this bike for a few years. Surprised because I'd had assumed that Dutch style bikes in America were a very new thing. Of course my bike awareness is a pretty new thing. I didn't really spend much time looking at other peoples bikes. Maybe other people had the right idea, long before I opened my eyes. Perhaps the world was here before I was born?!
Janet(Check this out!) and her husband had both bought bikes when they were visiting Copenhagen. They stowed them on the plane, saving a boat load of money by doing that. Shipping bikes across the pond is very expensive. Her bike is a Glorie and is made by Pointer. It's a classy bike with a classy owner. It really made my day to see evidence of change in the bike culture, here in Mpls and around the world.