Let’s be careful out there
by Frank Steele on Jul 28, 2006 at 9:29 AM
I used to hate bike paths. I was a vehicular cyclist, and an adherent of John Forester’s Effective Cycling. I used to snicker at people driving to trailheads, $3,000 Serottas strapped to their bumper.
The nearest bike path to my house is poorly implemented, with dozens of industrial pull-outs crossing the path, and some weird traffic rules (including the only intersection of any kind I’ve ever seen where you have to yield to traffic approaching from behind you). The very existence of said path meant that riders who choose to ride on the wide, smooth, uninterrupted roadway that’s immediately adjacent are harrassed by drivers who think they should be on the crappy path.
Then I did a century in Tallahassee, and got to ride the St. Mark’s Trail, and a beautiful new trail opened near my parents. Dad invited me to check out the Silver Comet Trail, and it’s primo: wide, relatively flat (for Georgia), and 60 miles to the Georgia-Alabama border, where it will soon connect to the 33-mile Chief Ladiga Trail.
A few years ago, between gigs, I started riding the Silver Comet regularly. On Wednesdays, I would do a hard 50-miler, iPod blasting, with the trail to myself once I got 7-10 miles out from the trailhead. My daughter spent a lot of her Burley Piccolo phase on the trail. There’s a real sense of freedom and safety that accompanies being separated from the constant interaction with cars and drivers.
So it was a shock to read that a 54-year-old woman riding on the Silver Comet was abducted and murdered Tuesday, and her body found just off the trail on Wednesday. I didn’t know Jennifer Ewing, but she’ll be missed, as will that sense of safety on the trail.
Police have a suspect in custody, a 43-year-old who was on probation for a 1991 rape. He has yet to be charged but “investigators believe that an arrest is forthcoming.”
Police patrol the trail occasionally in golf carts, and say there have been only 3 crimes reported along the trail since the start of 2005. Nevertheless, they recommend riders couple up, carry cell phones, and exercise caution.
More bike lanes in Seattle
by Byron on Jul 28, 2006 at 8:31 AM
Writing for the Seattle Weekly, David Neiwert criticizes Seattle for not really being that bike friendly. It’s a good article and I think Seattle simply needs more bike lanes. That’s the difference with Portland, Eugene, and other cities, they’ve got lanes everywhere and even traffic lights for bikes! I’ve found that when I’m in a bike lane, motorist don’t care. Out of a lane and that’s when problems start. And it’s just the fact that Seattle’s inability to make tough decisions results in gridlock. Starting with allowing I5, to cut through the center of town and then ignoring a master plan in the 70s that warned of the traffic gridlock we have now.
For years, I’ve ridden Lake Washington Blvd mostly car free and and because of I5 traffic, the blvd is a freeway during the day with angry, rushed drivers. To recall what is used to be like, try the City’s Bicycle Saturdays and Sundays where they close the blvd to car traffic and it’s bikes only.
To it’s credit, the City is trying, we’ve just got way more to do; especially, as Neiwert notices, there are so many cyclists on the street.
Bike Hugger Shirts Update
by Byron on Jul 28, 2006 at 7:45 AM
By requests, we’ve got 2XLs ordered, have added a Paypal shopping cart to the purchase page, and updated the Amazon product page.
We’re on track to get them on 8/6 and immediately start wearing them!
What I believe about cycling
by Byron on Jul 27, 2006 at 6:31 PM
A good hard ride with Mike, my training buddy and psychical therapist, snapped me out of my funk over Landis and an impending descent into a Marlon-Brando-in-a-muumuu, beer-drinking fat phase. Like the SI.com reporter Landis spoke to today (also see ongoing coverage from CyclingNews), I want to believe, but I don’t believe anything about professional cycling anymore. From the lab results that get leaked, questionable tests, Jan, Basso, and all of Operation Puerto, there’s nothing that’d surprise me, even if Lance was “el dope.”
What I do believe in is the bike. I remembered that on (and later off!) Mike’s wheel, cresting a hard climb, and a fast descent. Heroes fall, some come back, and the tour will be on again next year. We started Bike Hugger for the passionate cyclist, the culture, and mostly just for the bike and that’s what we’ll continue to focus on. I’ll also have a few beers this fall, just not enough to get fat.
Landis Positive for unusual level of testosterone
by Byron on Jul 27, 2006 at 7:54 AM
Following the announcement of a positive test for “an unusual level of testosterone/epitestosterone,” the news has broken (AP, CNN, NPR) that it’s Landis. TDF blog is tracking the story and rounding up the coverage. At last word, Landis was no where to be found.
All I can say is, “say it isn’t so.” And note that a false-positive is the first step in the process. Next is confirming the positive is accurate and then endocrinological examinations to determine if it’s naturally occurring.
Car-Free Vacation Contest
by Byron on Jul 26, 2006 at 1:04 PM
Xtracycle, who make it easy and fun for cyclists to meet all of their transportation needs, are promoting car-free vacations with a contest, tips, and evangelism. The contest is for 2 Xtracycle Free Radicals Hitchless Trailer Kits that’ll turn your bike into a Sport Utility Bike.
One of our Fall projects is the Bike Hugger Super Commuter and we’re going to post all about how we built it with an Xtracycle and Stokemonkeyï¿¼. From there a vacation is sure to follow, but not before we build up the Custom Carbon Davidson race bike.
An 11 x 26 with Force
by Byron on Jul 25, 2006 at 1:36 PM
As if the promise of SRAM’s new Force group wasn’t enough, they’re shipping it with an 11 x 26! Like Matt Pacocha says in his review of the new group for Velonews, I never understood why gruppo manufactures didn’t ship a gear bigger than a 23 with a 11. SRAM is offering a group that works “as well as anything else out there,” is lighter, less expensive, and has an 11 x 26 for us older riders.
I predict Force is going to be hit and in the peloton there’s already buzz about it being a good working group for crit racing season.
RAGBRAI rolling across Iowa
by Frank Steele on Jul 23, 2006 at 10:11 PM
Possibly the world’s biggest rolling party is underway in Iowa, as the 34th annual edition of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa traveled from Sergeant Bluff to Ida Grove on Sunday, the ride’s toughest day.
Ridership is limited to 8,500 full-week riders and 1,500 daily riders. This year’s ride has gotten some extra attention because some guy who used to race bikes will be riding along on Thursday.
Like the Tour de France, “teams” play an important role in RAGBRAI, providing team buses or trucks to carry bikes for injured, hungover, or exhausted riders; teammates to ride along with on the road, and an infrastructure for the acquisition and transportation of large quantities of beer.
On the Des Moines Register’s weblogs, Erin Crawford relays the first legend of RAGBRAI XXXIV (they’re numbered like Super Bowls): The story of Kevin Dudak.
Kevin was driving an RV to Iowa from Denver when the bike rack fell off. The driver behind managed to stop, got the bikes off the road, and waited for the RV to turn around to get the bikes. No sign of them.
Noticing a “RAGBRAI” tag on the bikes, he had a friend Google the unknown acronym. The friend found a former rider, who called RAGBRAI’s office, who tracked down Dudak’s cell phone number. Next thing you know, he’s got his (and his father’s) lost bike back.
dmregister.com | Erin Crawford
Wall Street Journal | Ragbrai Journal
gathkinsons.net | Bicycling posts
Allen has promised to post every night from the route.
Flickr.com | Photos tagged “ragbrai”
RAGBRAI official site
Castelli back in the US
by Byron on Jul 23, 2006 at 6:21 AM
The Oregonian reports that a US distributor is bringing Castelli back to the US and this time doing it right. Much like Asso’s struggles in the past, Castelli had the demand but couldn’t fill the orders. The article includes the history of Castelli and how the Portland-based distributor is hoping to evoke memories of the brand. I think it’s great, my favorite winter cycling cap is a windtek Castelli and I cherish it.
by Frank Steele on Jul 21, 2006 at 1:07 PM
A little Friday afternoon fun:
I’ve seen a few freestyle/BMX shows, but never anything like this.
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