Dangerous Intersections in Portland and Seattle

Take a look at these maps of where Cars and Bicycles collide from the Portland Oregonian and the Seattle PI (warning: 500k+ download). Interesting data in both cases, but check out the big brains on the Oregonian! Explorable Google maps, an ODOT analysis of fault (50% motorists, 42% cyclists, 8% shared), and reasonable advice to motorists and cyclists about how to NOT appear on the next version of the map.

Best though is the video of Jeff Mapes talking about Amsterdam, Portland and road travel safety.



Blinded by the light

lights This is a topic that comes up a lot in online cycling forums and always seems to garner a rather polarized response - and I don’t get why. With the advent of new compact, high-wattage lighting systems cycling commuters have become either the haves or the have-nots. I’m a have-not by choice. I have a Light and Motion Vega light that only puts out 85 lumens. I can see fine with it on low power on the trail(1), reserve the high setting for rainy nights(2), and the flashing mode only when on city streets(3). The whole point of the light is for safety, and I outline my usage to maximize for each of these conditions below.

  1. Trail use - this is where I hate the “me-first” Haves. They use their 700 lumen High Intensity Discharge (HID) light in conditions that do not warrant it. As the commuter density reduces, this is less of any issue, especially if the Haves use common courtesy and occlude their light with a hand over the bulb. My preferred usage here is to shield the left side of the light (right in UK/Aus) so that it doesn’t shine in the eyes of the oncoming rider. You still get to see with the rest of the light generated by your light, without blinding your commuting brethren. The worst offenders are the guys with helmet mounted lights that say hi to you as they pass and stare you in the face. Good luck people might as well ask me to ride while staring directly at the sun. Cover your light. Use a dim setting. Be considerate of others PLEASE.

  2. Rain is tough. Seeing through fogged glasses, rainy conditions, and wet pavement can be a challenge. On those nights I skip the trail and go for a less-traveled road. You need the higher setting to pick your way through all the optical noise, but running a high setting can be brutal to the others who then have to add your bright beam to the mix of challenges.

  3. City riding is the only use for a strobe flasher. It is intended to get the attention of drivers and is not to see by. You don’t need to get the attention of other cyclists on the trail, so turn off your damn flasher when on a trail. The only thing more blinding than a HID light is a flashing HID.

So please Haves - a little courtesy. It takes no effort to shield your light. There are plenty of Have-nots out there riding with 10 lumen lights with every right you have to the road/trail.

Oh - and for gods sake. Do NOT put a red blinker on your front. Red is for the rear, white for the front.



Cyclocross Vermont Style: The Putney

Here’s a pre-race write up of the West Hill Shop Cyclocross Race in Putney Vermont. It’s a great taste of Cyclocross on the other coast. It sounds like the fall in VT has been a bit more autumnal than what we’ve been having here in Seattle this year, wood stoves and cider are par for the course. What I like most about the HUP write-up is the focus on the locals. It seems like great spectators is a universal feature of cx races no matter how unique the locals are.

The race was actually last weekend, but here are the results, some photos, and video of this years race just went up a few days ago.



Ride Civil on Black Friday: Bringing on the Thanksgiving civility

You’re cordially invited to our next Ride Civil ride (formerly Critical Man-nerds) this coming Friday the 23rd. Meet at Westlake Center, 5:30 pm.

All Ride Civil rides will focus on getting cyclists out on the streets, driving awareness of cyclists and cycling rights, having fun, and encouraging civil behavior between cyclists, motorists and pedistrians. This is your chance to come out and show Seattle traffic cyclists are here to stay and that we can share the roads with them without conflicts.

It’ll also be a great chance to get out and be social with other cyclists, maybe burn off a bit of that thanksgiving weight or haul back your Black Friday loot. So please bring your selves, your bike (cargo or otherwise), and your sense of humor and fun down to Westlake Center at 5:30 PM. We’ll go bike bus style – 2 abreast, social speed, no one left behind.

There’s another cargo bike focused ride earlier in the day for those who can’t make the later time.

p.s. We’re not stopping for any shopping, so get yours out of the way early, eh? See you there!



An Upgrader’s Guide to City Bikes

We worked with men.style.com, the online home of Details & GQ, on the City Bike section of their Upgrader. The Upgrader is the “latest and greatest in cars, clothes, watches, whiskies, and all the other important issues confronting today’s man,” including bikes.

Editor’s picks from the Upgrader include

Note that two of the picks – Otis and Milano – were designed by Sky Yaeger.

swobo-otis_h.jpg

About the Milano I wrote

… a bike that was 7 years ahead of its time and led to the urban bikes we ride today. Refined over those seven years, the Milano, is “a cafe racer.” Still a top seller and finally getting the respect it deserves. It’s good for mostly everything you’d want an urban bike to do. Being the pure heart and soul of urban cycling, the bike offers no frills, excess, or fashion, and Nexus.

Also good to see the Novara Transfer getting due props. That’s a bike you can start commuting on today and not stop. Check how it’s spec’d and you’ll realize it was built for and by commuters.

novara-transfer_h.jpg



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