Archive for the Bikes Category

Bridges & Bikes: a continent-wide problem

09/27/2009 12:22

We’re not the only ones with problems accommodating bikes on our bridges. Here’s an article from the New York Times illustrating the bridge, bikes and pedestrians problem is pinching the Brooklyn bridge.

Phil’s Arterial Route Ride 2009!

06/19/2009 10:41

Just finished a (mostly) complete arterial route ride. Didn’t really plan it this way but my usual crossing-light at Fraser St. was all clogged up with construction and I ended up at Prince Albert & Kingsway. What to do?

Well, the only thing that seemed sensible to do was: ride the arterials! So, down Kingsway I went. Then down Main street. Did I turn at 5th ave? No way! Straight on until Union St. and then over the viaduct and up Dunsmuir ’til hamilton. Next thing you know it’s an “all arterial” route. And, you know what else? It’s not so bad. I know lots of ink is spilled about safe riding routes (I’ve spilled some of that ink myself) but just taking a lane and going for it is the thing to do, sometimes.

Why do new bikes look like old bikes?

03/26/2009 13:36

I’ve been wondering why it is that the current rage for “useful” bicycles, which in itself is a marvelously Good Thing, is centred around bikes which, while being made of new materials, are shaped like very old bicycles. Hundred-year-old bicycles, in fact. When it’s been well-known (at least among cycle engineers) that the most efficient shapes for two-wheels-in-line transport are somewhat different. 

The unpopularity of recumbents is somewhat understandable, if unfair. They don’t “look right” and they can be harder to ride at first. And when people buy bikes after riding them around the bike-store’s block for ten minutes, that makes recumbents a really hard sell, I suspect. 

But small-wheeled upright bikes don’t suffer from this problem. They ride like a “normal” bike and you can tell that as soon as you start to turn the pedals. It’s also reasonbaly well-known by bike engineers that a little bit of suspension at both of those small wheels makes for the most efficient bike of them all. (I know I’m biased. I’ve got an old Moulton.) Still, I don’t really know the answer to my question: why don’t the regular (and nicely outfitted, I might add) Dahons, have suspension? I’m puzzled buy this.

And I’m also puzzled that there aren’t more companies marketing a wider range of bike shapes (small wheels, spar frames, etc.) to capture the audience of new utility cyclists?

Riding in the snow. In March!?

03/8/2009 22:11

So I became one of those guys who rode in the snow today. Not on purpose. In fact, I headed west on a training ride and it was all blue skies in front of me. Unfortunately, it was all grey skies when I turned back east and the snow started some where around Kent & Cambie. Then it got cold & blowy, let me show ya.

Rock Salt on the bike way.

02/16/2009 0:26

So I guess I shouldn’t be so quick to complain about the attention paid to our bike routes. Ridgeway greenway (37th ave. bike route) was certainly salted when I rode this morning. And today was a Sunday so I don’t know when this was done.

Rock salt on the bike way.

Rock salt on the bike way.

What keeps the legs warm in the winter?

02/14/2009 15:06

Here’s one of these vexing, ongoing daily-cyclist’s conundrums. Regular pants that are fine for sitting in front of the computer all day in an office are, essentially, a big-time fail for riding on the bike in Vancouver in the Winter.

It’s not just the rain so rainpants aren’t just the answer. And, anyway, part of the problem is trying not to have to change or carry too much paraphernalia. I’ve got gore-tex rainpants and, when it’s really raining, I give in and pull them on.

There’s already been plenty of talk on Vancouver blogs about looking and/or not looking like a cyclist. That’s not really the problem. I’m not pretending that I don’t care what I look like, that would be a bit disengenuous. It’s more that I want to be comfortable while, at the same time, not having to worry about what I look like or have to screw around with changing clothes.

One of the unspoken problems is that, around here in winter, three default weather conditions: Raining (about which see above); if it isn’t raining it’s either 4-degrees and clammy and about to rain; or it’s beautiful, clear, and 1-degree (and icy, but that’s a whole ‘nother post, trust me).

I admit, in the comfort/function department: I’m spoiled. But they fail the practical hang-around-all-day-in-them test.

Regular casual sit-around pants, on the other hand, aren’t warm enough. I just find that the wind cuts right through them and my knees are cold for half the ride (the downhill half). I’m starting to think I’ll have to try a pair of knickers. They’re making a bit of a comeback. Maybe they won’t look as goofy as they sound. Hmmmm. What else is out there, I wonder?

Nomads need electricity

02/10/2009 21:05

Saw something interesting the other day: A handful of folks gathered under the portico of Vancouver’s central library around an electrical outlet charging their electric bikes. That got me to thinking: nomads need electricity.

Now, of course, in this day and age we already know this. But I suspect most of us who are thinking of on-the-go electrical needs are thinking of electricity for devices (you know: laptops, phones, and so on). That’s certainly an important question. But E-bikes are becoming an important part of the transportation spectrum and they can’t bring them into coffee shops and libraries to get them charged. And, in addition, coffee shops aren’t exactly free electricity anyway. You have to buy something to sit there.

So, that brings me to the puzzle of finding free or near-free, outside public electricity access for E-bikes. Is there some kind of wiki/blog/list where somebody is keeping track of outdoor plugs? Is it in this Yahoo Group? It would seem to be a good idea to maintain a list somewhere. I’m not tapped into the e-bike community at all so I don’t know.

As an example: people are tracking power in airports and there’s plenty of public wifi lists (here’s one) so I suspect the e-bike community trades this info somehow.

Of Course, if the idea catches a public-buzz, then somebody will definitely try to commercialize it so I suppose one should be careful what one wishes for.

At least somebody rode today

01/20/2009 21:43

I have to admit, haven’t been riding this week. Too much frost & slippy rodes in the morning. I no longer accept falling down. But, still, I’m glad to see that at least somebody is riding.


I finally rode the bike today.

01/12/2009 21:44

So, I finally rode to work today. Bikeways were passable as Roland Tanglao suggested they would be but there was snow down the middle of them for their whole length and some intersections were still pretty sloppy.

Busy car-streets have been completely clear for days now. Why the city can’t run a plow down the bikeways to help us out is beyond me. So much for the supposed “priority” status of bikeways in this town.

Those Fenders and Raincoats

12/10/2008 21:38


Just mining a theme. But really, it’s all that you need.