Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Recovering a Stolen Bicycle - Be Careful Out There Edition #bikedc

From this weeks Arlington Crime Report:
ROBBERY, 01/17/13, 2700 block of N. Wilson Boulevard. At 10:26 am on January 17, a victim identified his stolen bicycle on the front rack of a bus. The victim placed his current bike in front of his stolen one on the rack and boarded the bus. The victim rode the bus one stop, got off, and then removed both bicycles from the bus rack. While doing this, the victim was confronted by a subject. The subject punched the victim in the face and then proceeded to steal the victim’s new bicycle. The victim was able to take pictures of the suspect. The suspect is described as a 35 year old black male, 6’0” tall and 180 lbs. At the time of the incident, the subject was wearing black pants, a dark jacket, a dark skullcap, and light Nike shoes.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Doored :: Good Legislation Before VA Gen Assembly @BarbaraFavola @vabike

Dooring is a problem.  The first time I was doored I was in graduate school.  I was biking to class and - pursuant to what I was told - biking as far right as possible.  I never saw the door.  Never had a chance.  A woman in a car did not look, opened her door right in front of me, and sent me flying.  

Image: Bike Safe Boston
I had no idea what had happened.  I had never been doored before and the concept had never crossed my mind.  My foot was crushed and my bike was garbage.  Worse yet, the driver was now screaming at me.  I was dazed.  I crawled threw a school security door and locked her out.  Eventually I made it to the school health center.

Getting doored is dangerous and horrible.  Its dangerous to cyclists.  And its dangerous to everyone else on the road as well including other vehicles.  A proposed Virginia law that educates drivers to look before they open the car door is simply good.  In some driver education classes, drivers are taught to open the car door with their right hand -- this of course turns the body and the head so that the driver is looking out the door as they are opening it.

Sen. John Watkins doesnt want drivers to be held responsible for the negligence of cyclists.  Really.  Really???  Look, cycling is a transportation activity where the cyclist must pay attention to what they are doing every moment of the ride -- unlike car drivers who are on cell phones, texting, and eating McBurgers.  Cyclists must pay attention to where they are going at every moment.  

Cyclists are not going to intentionally run into an open door on purpose.  It just will not happen.  Anyone who suggests this is a possibility is full of bullshit.

The proposal before the Virginia General Assembly is good law.  The message is simple.  When you are part of the transportation system, pay attention to what you are doing - this includes opening a traffic side door.  Make sure there are no bikes there or cars or people or anything that might hit your door. Sen. Barbara Favola posted to her facebook page that she supports the legislation.

By the way, I have never been doored again.  My solution: I dont ride in the door-zone of death.  It's too dangerous - too many drivers just swing those doors open without looking.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Butterfly Handlebars

When you are 6'5" and you stumble upon a bike that fits you, you buy it.  Months ago I was at Phoenix bikes and they had a 25" Trek 7.3 FX.  As a 100% commuter, I was looking for a back up bike so that when my primary is down, I dont have to ride the damn subway.  I was also looking for something that could pull a Houndabout dog trailer.  So I was completely thrilled to find this bike at Phoenix.

There are a lot of things that could be said about the Trek 7.3 FX.  But for now all I will say is: "wow! Geometry matters."  All things added up, this bike is probably a little taller than my primary Canondale BadBoy (and that is good).  But on this old 7.3 FX, the top tube is shorter, bringing the handlebars closer to me - and the top tube is higher.  Where the Cannondale rides aggressively, the Trek is almost awkward and clumsy.  On the trails, with the Cannondale, I can stretch forward and fly; with the Trek I am upright, with the feel of a beach rental.

But I'm here to talk handlebars.  The old Trek came with riser handlebars, with a slight tilt back towards the rider.  With the brakes and the grip shifter, there is room on the handlebar for only one hand position.  And that hand position isnt terribly comfortable.  As the rider goes forward with his palms on the handlebar, the slightly tilting back handlebar digs into the palm.  This concentration of pressure on one point on your palm is uncomfortable.

The bike forum recommended trekking handlebars (aka butterflies).  This is a European style touring handlebar that has the advantage of offering the rider multiple hand positions.  If you are trekking across Europe, with miles in the saddle, trekking handlebars offer multiple hand and back positions, permitting greater comfort for the rider.

I bought a Nashbar Trekking handlebar and installed it this weekend.  The new handlebar fit easily on the stem. The shifters and brakes migrated easy. 

I test rode the bike last night and today.  OMG what a difference!  The butterfly handlebars are fabulous.  I am tempted to put these on my primary.  It maintains the equivalent of a flat handlebar with brakes and shifters immediately in my hands (good for urban riding).  As I get to open trail, adjusting hand positions is a flick of a wrist.  Going uphill, I have a good grasp of the handlebar and can torque and power those pedals.  With the riser handlebar, I never had a good hand position, and thus I really never had power. 

I am thrilled with the butterfly handlebars.  Lots of hand positions.  Comfortable.  More power.  Great for cyclists putting hours in the saddle.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Freezing Saddles Late Sign Up

If you originally signed up to join Freezing Saddles, and have not gotten on your team - you are late and you are about to be bounced.

If you would like to join the Freezing Saddles Winter Bike Challenge, now is the time - we are bouncing the no shows!  Sign up for the Freezing Saddles Winter Challenge.