Enabling Commuters

11

by andrew_f_martin on Jan 16, 2008 at 3:30 PM

Cycle London

I love this idea. I have talked with a number of friends about commuting to work. “It’s easy” I tell them. Of course - I have it good. I have a shower on my floor, and I get to bring my bike up the service elevator to my desk. I can walk into the office draped in lycra without raising an eyebrow.

It’s not the distance - the hardest part of the commute is the logistics. Some employers do a great job of helping out by providing the facilities cyclists need. Problem is - not all employers are so kind. The London government looks like they are taking the right steps to bringing these facilities to the masses. Although wide-open public facilities may work, I think there are some better options.

  1. Subsidize a shower-only membership to a gym “ downtown centers are littered with gyms, but oftentimes the membership costs are too high to justify. Commuters only need a subset of the services, so let them pay a reduced amount for it (and have the govt help out).
    1. Provide secure, individual bike lockers in the gym buildings - bury them on the bottom floor of the parking garage for all we care, but cage them off so people can call them their own and keep stuff there. Put in lockers as well so folks can store fresh clothes as well. Laundry services can help resolve the but I have to wear a suit issue.
    2. Create an emergency bus pass program “ there are some days when taking the bus is necessary. Give out passes good for 5 trips a month that commuters can hold onto in a pinch.

The key is lots of locations around a downtown area. Putting all these facilities in one spot is only convenient for those few people that work close. Businesses do a great job of supporting Van-Pooling, Public Transit, and carpooling, but don’t give proper support to cyclists. I think the problem is most don’t know how without a large facilities investment. Maybe we need to talk to Lance and his friends at 24hr Fitness and get the ball rolling.

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Urban Cannondale

5

by andrew_f_martin on Jan 16, 2008 at 1:46 PM

As usual - Europe gets the good stuff first. Raw Cannondale is the name of the new bike released last week at a fashion show in Barcelona. I found it on roadcyclinguk which is a site where I usually find new race gear. Anyway - looks pretty hot with its Alfine trim and rough appearance. At GBP1500 - it ain’t going to be cheap if it ever does make it to the states.

RAW Cannondale

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Icy Streets, Falling down

9

by Dave R. on Jan 16, 2008 at 8:11 AM

The Tuesday morning commute was made extra-special-icy by the monday evening snow here in Seattle. We usually only see real ice here a couple times a year, making it hard to get any real practice in. What’s a committed commuter to do? Ride right through, maybe take a fall or two. Here are some guidelines for falling from Bike Snob NYC – finally a good excuse for fulfilling my breakdancing fantasies.

My short commute is pretty short, enough to just fit outside the 2-mile challenge radius. Seeing the streets all icy Tuesday morning I decided shorter was wiser and called my carpool mate to see if he was OK with unplanned passenger.

Having secured my car-ride, I went out to select my bike. Choices were limited as my main bad weather bike had a bum bearing, and I needed to pick up the wheel from a local bike shop that evening. I thought about taking the mountain bike, but in the end the folder was more convenient and I’d need it in the car anyway to pick up my other wheel and ride home. Folder + slicks it was.

I took it slow and easy on the flats, and slow and 1-leg down while headed down the big hill on 50th st. So far so good and I have to admit some hubris as I sat at the head of the line at the 50th St. Stoneway intersection. As always hubris pays off in spades and sure enough 20 feet later I was splayed out in the middle of the busiest intersection of my commute, thousands of smug car-muters chuckling wisely to themselves.

At the end of the day I’ve got a minor bump on one knee, and I still think I had much more fun than the car-muters. Next annual icy commute? Kneepads to go with my breakdancing.

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Sporting Wood

17

by andrew_f_martin on Jan 15, 2008 at 12:51 PM

I ran across this new “must have” (not really) component at bikesnobnyc. Fast Boy Cycles - a craftsman of amazing wooden fenders, is extending his product line to include wooden handlebars. They are probably great for a trophy bike, but in practice I’m not sure I want to ride them over a pothole.

Wooden Bars

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Stay Dry with Raingo

10

by Byron on Jan 15, 2008 at 7:00 AM

This photo shows an old, way-old flyer for the Raingo Stay dry rain shield system. I’ve googled and can’t find this system, but it could inspire some SUB riders to develop their own. As much as I love Bettie, she’s a cold ride, on a cold day. It’s sitting upright, high on the bike, with your face in the wind and rain.

I also like the Jetsons aesthetic of the stay dry rain shield. Also, noting how it’d really pick up a tailwind and conversely a head wind.

stay_dry.jpg

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Interactive TV for Sports, and especially Cycling

3

by Mark V on Jan 14, 2008 at 9:07 PM

bill%20gates.jpg At CES last week, I was on hand to see Bill Gates give his final keynote speech as Microsoft CEO. Before introducing guitar legend Slash to the audience, he mentioned interactive technology that would allow a TV audience to choose, per his example, a race car to follow in the Daytona 500. You could then see the that team’s pit crew and the car’s POV camera rather than just watching what the broadcasters select. I say, screw NASCAR, let’s get that technology for the Tour de France.

Wouldn’t it be so much better if you could choose to follow your favourite racer among the 180 athletes on the road? Half the technology is already there since many of the races kit the participants’ bikes out with transponders. The next step would be current speed and maybe HRM data that would be cool. You’re watching tv, use a remote to find Racer A among all the others, and then you see his place, how fast he’s going, and his position in the field. Maybe have an alternate screen with the course profile showing where Racer A is within the field of riders.

A more complex version could be a computer rendering of a 3D map with topography. If anything, something like that could finally make cross country MTB racing a viable television event.

I think baseball is popular partially because of the plethora of statistics involved. Interactive technology would certainly aid in television viewership of bike racing by letting the audience really get into that world.

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One of these things is not like the other

2

by Byron on Jan 14, 2008 at 9:46 AM

Bike Hugger at the Apple Store, in the display window actually – that kit stands out in the crowd.

hugga_crowd.jpg

The Crumpler bag matches the kit …

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Commuting in Alaska, perspective for your winter commutes

5

by Dave R. on Jan 13, 2008 at 8:19 PM

Here’s a great post from Bicycle and Icicles, a commuter from Alaska. Like many winter commuters he gets (more than?) his fair share of “are you crazy?” comments when the weather turns bad. He’s got a couple of thoughts actually written down that I find myself thinking weekly:

Riding in the snow might look cold and miserable when seen through a windshield, but I’m one of the few people having fun while commuting at rush hour.

Good to remember, and pretty inspirational for this rain rider here in the temperate North West/Lower 48.

snow_bikes.gif

Updated with snow on bikes image from a CNN story on the 20 inches of snow that hit parts of New England (AP PHOTO).

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Bike Hugger Racing Bike

0

by Byron on Jan 13, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Quick, camera phone photos of the Bike Hugger Racing Bike project in progress … tacked up and ready to weld.

The concept frame and bike will debut at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, February 8th in Portland. Details about its interesting and innovative design and fabrication to follow.

bh_racing.jpg

Updated

More photos added with full details on 2/08/08.

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