Thursday, December 27, 2007
1) Roadies in DC are challenging you to ride a Century per Month
2) Transport cyclists in DC are challenging you to use your bike to replace 30 car trips per month
3) Clif Bar is proposing the less intimidating "2 Mile Challenge," where you make a commitment to replace some of your short-distance car trips with bicycle trips
Please share your successes or failures with challenges to increase your riding!
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
In those 3 years, I have commuted approximately 98% of the time by bicycle (yes, even during the winter), with a handful of times ride-sharing, walking, or taking public transit. For locals, I live near Mountain School and work at LANL TA-3. My cycling route is approximately 5.8 miles round-trip, and the walking route is about 4.5 miles round-trip (don't need to follow the roads when walking!)
I have been meaning to write down a list of observations and lessons learned during this experience, but of course I keep thinking of new ones so I will endeavor to provide a list of these observations over a series of blog posts:
Reflection #1) Moving around is energy-intensive; and I get about 720 MPG.
Commuting under your own power really gives you an appreciation for how much work it is to move yourself and all your stuff around. This apprecation makes you think practical thoughts like: Do I really need to make that trip to the store? Should I really buy this thing since I have to carry it home? Is there any way to combine the trip the bank, the trip to the bike shop, and the trip to Metzgers into my daily commute?
Traveling under your own power also gives you a new appreciation for the tremendous convenience and utility of fossil fuels. In the 25 minutes or so of my round-trip commute, I estimate that I burn about 250 Calories. A gallon of gasoline contains approximately 31,000 Calories. (For the technically attentive, I am using the shorthand Calorie here to mean 1 kilocalorie, as is common in food labeling.) Thus my 5.8-mile round-trip commute uses the energy equivalent of about 0.8% of 1 gallon of gasoline, for an equivalent of about 720 miles per gallon. That makes me an order of magnitude more efficient than a Prius. And that is during a commute with several stoplights and a couple of pretty generous hills. I estimate the efficiency is probably about 20-25% better when I am lucky enough to catch the green lights.
Being intensively aware of the amount of energy that it takes to move yourself from place to place can leads one's thoughts in new and interesting directions. Sometimes resulting in dangerously counter-cultural thoughts, such as: "What on earth am I thinking carrying 3000lbs of glass and steel around just to transport 185lbs of human over a distance of three miles in good weather, when I could do the same job in only a slightly longer period of time using only 25lbs of steel, aluminum, and rubber? Do I really need to use my car for this trip? Might I be better off leaving my car parked, or even getting rid of it?"
More reflections to come. Ride on.
Friday, December 21, 2007
PLEASE, do yourself a favor and wear a helmet while cycling. The cost/benefit analysis for bicycle helmet usage is beyond a "no-brainer."
For visual impact I will include this photo from a German bicycle safety campaign with the slogan "Be careful when transporting fragile goods"
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
a) The good ol' one-finger salute
b) Smile and wave like the driver is a long-lost friend
c) Invite the motorist to pull over so that you can calmly explain the concept of "Same Roads, Same Rights, Same Rules"
d) Memorize license plate number and vehicle description and file police report
e) Tirade of profanity
f) Ignore them like Lance ignores the crowds shouting along the Alpe d'Huez
Let's hear about it!
Friday, December 14, 2007
Sometimes folks seem to forget that winter means slippery roads. Take it easy out there.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Riders should be inboard of the gutter pan a couple feet. I think John Forester suggests riding approximately where traffic markings indicate the right hand tires of motor vehicles are located.
Here is a reference on roadway positioning from John Allen.
WHERE TO RIDE ON THE ROADhttp://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/usa/chapter2a.htm
On a completely different note, what the heck did the county do to Diamond??!! Have you driven on the new overlay they just put down in front of the high school?Besides the obvious uneveness and lack of cohesiveness, us cyclists are once again going to be forced into traffic as the wrap ends about 12 inches from the curb--just so that bikers will either be forced to dangerously navigate into a gap between the asphalt and the curb, or push closer into the lane where the asphalt is.Was the county in a rush to spend some last calendar year dollars? Was there any engineering done to support that asphalt project? Big sigh.
I've notice this is a problem all over the place. Resurfacing jobs on many roads in our area (and beyond) are being done half-assed and leaving a dangerous drop off right where bikes would be riding. The companies getting these contracts are not resurfacing the bike lanes and thus saving tons of money on the job. An example is the resurfacing that occured on the truck route making it much more dangerous to ride down. I notice they did the same thing on the road out to Ojo Caliente Hot Spring recently and now are they doing it on diamond?
There should be a law that if a resurfacing job is done then they must do the entire road and not just the car lanes.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
It seems to put out a lot of long (four or five car lengths worth of useful illumination) as well as short distance illumination and is far cheaper than most high end bike lights. I'll be running it in various modes (using the main 3 watt LED with and without the four satellite LED's, in both high and low output mode) along with my NiteRider 15 watt light.
I also added a Blackburn Mars 2 to the tailgunner's perch to try to get the attention of our Driving-While-Cellular crowd. So if I get run down, at least someone will have a hard time saying they didn't see me.
Stay tuned. If I turn out not to like this light for commuting, it will be great for walking the dogs in the winter!
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Just a head's up concerning the design of Diamond. Phases II and III are
incorporating bus pull-outs. That's the good news. It appears that the bike
lanes are being considered as part of the bus pull-out. I'm not sure this is
a good design idea. Any ideas or suggestions?
He is at: rodgers(at)cybermesa(dot)com
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Friday, October 5, 2007
The bike lanes look pretty good. I'm really excited with being able to use them soon.
Not so sure of the safety of the parallel sidepath. These generally work well except where they intersect streets (see AASHTO guidlines). People crossing on foot or bike will have to watch for cars turning from Diamond, and I hope appropriate signage points this out. Given the added width of the road, I'm curious as to whether drivers will have crossing peds/cyclists on their radar or whether they will be thinking primarily about oncoming traffic. This was discussed in general terms at T-board meetings in the past, but the design looks a little close to the main road for my liking.
From John Allen's pages:
"Separation Between Shared Use Paths and Roadways When two-way shared use paths are located immediately adjacent to a roadway, some operational problems are likely to occur. In some cases, paths along highways for short sections are permissible, given an appropriate level of separation between facilities, as in Figure 16....(snip)... At intersections, motorists entering or crossing the roadway often will not notice bicyclists approaching from their right, as they are not expecting contra-flow vehicles. Motorists turning to exit the roadway may likewise fail to notice the bicyclist. Even bicyclists coming from the left often go unnoticed, especially when sight distances are limited."
Also, I hope cyclists keep in mind that they need active lighting whether on a bike path or bike lane--especially on a bike path, since they are more remote from cars and when crossing Range and Club roads, will be invisible to motor traffic if they are not using good lighting (I personally consider anything less than about a 10 watt halogen type light to be inadequate; consider the cost of a light vs. the cost of an ER visit.) Anything less that high quality lighting is suicidal--see my earlier post on bike lighting.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
If you're interested in nominating yourself to be an officer, or would just like to get in on the action, please drop by!
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
VISION ZEROFOR TRAFFIC DEATHS:
WILD DREAM OR CRITICAL GOAL?
By Neal Peirce
Vision Zero-- no more deaths from highway accidents. The idea was born in Sweden, where its had spectacular success in reducing traffic fatalities. Now zeroing out all traffic fatalities must become an explicit U.S. and worldwide goal. Otherwise we have no prospect of taming the appalling roadway death toll -- 42,000 lives lost yearly in the United States, close to 1.2 million worldwide....
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
My pet peeve right now is that many bike catalogs do not clearly compare all their lighting products with useful units. Some lights are only listed with power consumed (watts) while others list lumens or candlepower. What we clearly need are good data. Illumination, such as in lumens. Power available, i.e. lighting duration in watt hours or whatever. And, beam pattern and useability.
I am looking for good reviews with this information and will post what I find. If you find a good source, please add to the discussion under the comments section. I also emailed Consumer Reports and suggested they test and rate high-zoot bicycle lights. Scott has a great HID light. Not sure the multi-LEDs have caught up in light quality.
here are a few sources of info, not sure all are up to date.
By all means, make sure you are visible out there. While many riders use taillights or reflectors and bright clothing, you need to make sure you have actual forward illumination, not just reflection. A car turning across your path will not illuminate your front reflector or clothing until it is too late, since their headlights have to be pointed at you to reflect light back to the driver.
Monday, September 24, 2007
As has been confirmed time and time again, nobody wants to run into anybody or anything. By making yourself visible and clearly demonstrating where you're headed, you help everybody achieve their goal of not hitting you. Teaching cyclists that they belong in the road with the rest of traffic,and why it's safer and more enjoyable, seems to kill Cyclist Inferiority Complex. As a result, students who pass LAB Road I (the class I call "The Art of Cycling") are safer, more confident, more relaxed, and more predictable on their bikes. And that's why I teach.
The more cyclists we have riding out in the road, acting predictably and responsibly, the better it's going to get for everyone.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Two issues overlap.
First is attitude. Negative attitudes and stereotypes reinforce each other. A cyclist harassed into getting off the road will ride with less respect for others than one who is offered respect in return. A motorist who is flipped off or who has to dodge imbecilic riding will not offer respect to cyclists. As you can see, this is a downward spiral.
Break the pattern.
Second is facilities. If lousy facilities put everyone on edge, people are more likely to want to find fault with each other since we are typically stressed out anyway. So if a narrow road lacks shoulders and someone in an F150 comes over a blind rise or around a curve and into a stressful situation, one will want to find fault. If a cyclist is told it is his/her fault for simply being there, one will want to find fault.
The answer is that we need to respect each other. This means not blaming each other for things beyond our control, trying to accomodate each other, and designing roads that do not drive us crazy. The last of these is called the Complete Streets movement: in this case, put a paved shoulder on NM 4.
It is up to all of us to get out of our own skins and treat each other with some additional respect. For example, West Jemez has a lot of blind rises. These may not be apparent to cyclists due to our slower speed. They are obvious to 55 mph motorists--I have carefully considered them when I drive. Try to ride in consideration of the bloke who has topped one of these rises and suddenly runs into a disorganized double paceline which is spread all over the road. For the motorist, drive the speed limit so when you run into this gaggle, you have some non-fatal options.
See the world (and the road) from someone else's shoes. Respect each other, fix what is broken, and improve our community.
We called that the Traffic Justice movement at last summer's Pro-Bike/Pro-Walk. I'd like to talk about that to who ever will listen.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Perhaps Tom Ragsdale's letter in the Los Alamos Monitor (appended below after the responses) was the best thing that ever happened to cycling and civil discourse in Los Alamos.
The responses to his hateful tirade were universally bike friendly, and spanned the breadth of discourse from a Ten Commandments of cycling and motoring rules, written by one of cycling instructor Neale Pickett's recent Road I grads, to a discussion of hate speech as it applies to cyclists, blacks, and gays, written by a local resident. Both are quite important.
I am especially happy that someone else picked up on the hate speech angle. I had a discussion with the Monitor owner/publisher on that topic, but he had already agreed to publish one of my letters and not two of them. In retrospect, my concern at the balance of wisdom of publishing hateful speech was vindicated in favor of free speech when the hate speech was blasted by the community. As former ACLU Ex. Director Ira Glasser used to say, the best medicine for bad ideas is letting the disinfecting sunlight shine in on the rot.
Let the sun shine in.
Negative letters serve no value
Publishing letters with currents of violence barely concealed in them does not help our nation or community. For some reason, "traditional values" voices are often allowed a level of anger beyond any civil discourse in this country, and such is the voice of Thomas Ragsdale in your Sept. 10 letters page. His expressed attitudes are identical to precursor dialogs of countless past hate crimes, and we expect better of the Monitor than to propagate same.
I trust other writers will address the thin substance of Mr. Ragsdale's remarks; here I will not give them the credence of further discussion. But in the future, please don't imitate the Limbaugh-Imus-Coulter axis by broadcasting the seething hatreds of our "Back to the Good Old Days" citizens. We'd appreciate you, instead, moderating a reasonable dialogue in our well-balanced community. Let's keep the James Byrd and Matthew Shephard horror stories in Texas and Wyoming; New Mexico and the United States deserve better.
Mark E. Dunham
All vehicles need to share the road
As both a cyclist and a motorist, I understand where John Pawlak and Tom Ragsdale come from. But it is important to remember the simple issue of respect.
Motorists should respect the right of the cyclist to be on the road, while the cyclist should respect and be aware of the dangers posed by being there. This includes, but is not limited to, being passed by angry and obnoxious drivers.
I think it is important to take a step back (maybe even take some deep breaths) and consider some safety precautions for traveling on the road, whatever your vehicle may be.
The same laws that apply to motorists apply to cyclists. Obey all traffic control devices.
Use hand signals to indicate stops and turns to other users.
Always ride in the same direction as traffic. Use the furthest right lane that heads to your destination. Slower moving cyclists and motorists stay to the right.
Ride in a straight line. Don't swerve in the road or between parked cars. Check for traffic before entering street or intersection.
Anticipate hazards and adjust your position accordingly
Wear brightly colored clothing that provides contrast. Use a white front light in low light conditions. Use a red rear light in low light conditions. Use a reflector or reflective tape or clothing anytime. Announce yourself by making eye contact with motorists.
Reduce speed when encountering cyclists. Don't tailgate, especially in bad weather.
Recognize hazards cyclists may face and give them space.
Bicycles are considered vehicles. Cyclists should be given the appropriate right of way. Allow extra time for cyclists to traverse intersections.
Scan for cyclists in traffic and at intersections. Do not blast your horn in close proximity to cyclists. Look for cyclists when opening doors.
When passing, leave four feet between you and a cyclist. Wait for safe road and traffic conditions before you pass. Check over your shoulder before moving back.
I recently attended a fabulous biking class (here in town!) taught by Neale Pickett, an experienced cyclist and member of the League of American Bicyclists, with an actual curriculum.
It opened my eyes to safe cycling, and safe driving, since I now know both sides of the situation. It would be useful for cyclists and motorists alike, and I encourage everyone to take it. Contact Neale at email@example.com. Also, visit www.bikeleague.org/action/thepublic.php.
Look and be considerate
In response to Tom Ragsdale's article: First off, automobile drivers must be responsible. Bikes have the same rights as any motor vehicle. Cars should give bikes the same courtesy as if they were cars. It is their right. If you wouldn't pass another car, don't pass the bike.
I've been run over by a car once. That's enough. The car turned into a side street as I was passing the side street. I heard the girls yelling "you hit a bike" as I was hanging beneath the car being dragged along the road.
Just think about that when you are passing a bike. It's usually the idiots in the cars that think the same way as you do.
Show respect to all others
Dear fellow bicyclists: Watch out for Mr. Ragsdale.
'Mobile hood ornaments'?
You chose to publish a letter by Mr. Tom Ragsdale that is inflammatory, hostile, offensive and threatening ("mobile hood ornaments"). It is laced with name-calling and is therefore poor journalism. Surely the Monitor is not encouraging hostility toward law-abiding cyclists?
I think an apology from the Monitor to the Los Alamos County cycling community is in order. The last thing we need in Los Alamos right now, given the challenges we may face in the next year from potential loss of jobs from our principle employer, is more misdirected anger, especially anger which can be turned into road rage.
As far as N.M. 4: Shoulderless roads are a hazard to everyone, whether it be a driver who has to pull off the road with a disabled vehicle, a pedestrian walking from a disabled vehicle, or a cyclist trying to get where he or she is going.
This road needs to be fixed, but until then, we must operate on it safely. Road rage, as it happens, contradicts safety. I am a little miffed that you allow your paper to be used for such inflammatory nonsense.
As far as ignoring the vehicle and traffic code? The Monitor's Police Beat is routinely dominated by moving violations committed by motorists. There is nothing constructive in having the pots call the kettles black.
Khalil J. Spencer
Former Transportation Board member
And, the original.
First off, bicyclists must be responsible
In his letter of Sept. 6, John Pawlak opines that the local drivers do not show proper reverence to the local bicycle aficionados. He even goes so far as to remind us once again that some twit made it into law that these mobile hood ornaments are given the same rights and responsibilities as a motor vehicle (though, strangely, I never see them keeping up the responsibilities end of that arrangement as they breeze through stop signs and traffic lights), citing 66-3-702 of the state code.
Unfortunately, Mr. Pawlak stopped reading the statute a bit too soon. If he had pressed on to 66-3-705-C, he would have found that "Notwithstanding any provision of this section, no bicycle shall be operated on any roadway in a manner that would create a public safety hazard."
On a two-lane highway with a very narrow shoulder, such as N.M. 4, any encounter with one of these gasping gits dressed as a reject from "Tron" is a safety hazard. Some probably experience a wonderful thrill when faced with a Buick approaching at 50 miles per hour in the wrong lane as it swerves around one of these rolling senses of entitlement, but I am not such a thrill-seeker.
Having repeatedly stress-tested my brakes coming around the curves of N.M. 4, and finding myself forced to choose between an oncoming truck or a panting, day-glo clad lawsuit, my sympathies lie entirely with the motorists Mr. Pawlak described expressing their anger at being forced to suffer these fools.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Of a more serious note than the occasional letter to the editor are some of the behaviors that lead motorists to think cyclists are a little, um, different. Today while leaving CMR, I saw a cyclist riding down the wrong side of Diamond Drive, directly into oncoming traffic (and to make matters worse, there is no shoulder).
There are two problems. One is giving the public the impression that cyclists are daft. Face it, a cyclist riding down the wrong side of the street straight into the teeth of an oncoming car is a little more obvious than a motorist driving 8 mph over the speed limit. The second is that such behavior is more likely to land you in the ER than proper vehicular cycling. John Forester (Effective Cycling) said it best: Cyclists fare best when they behave as the operators of vehicles. Most of the needed concepts can be had from your motor vehicle manual as well as on the web (such as on John Allen's web page http://www.bikexprt.com/) . Specific laws regarding cycling can be found here, at least for Los Alamos. http://www.labikes.org/laccode.asp
Let's be smart and careful out there.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Be it for work or errands, I'm on my bicycle almost every day of the year, in the road as has been repeatedly shown safer in studies (Moritz 1998, to name one). For the last three years I've been counting how many times I'm harassed by motorists. The startling number: 5 shouts or honks in 3 years. In the last year, it's only happened once (not counting the truck full of high school girls who shouted "you're hot").
Los Alamos is the friendliest town I've ever had the pleasure to cycle in. Motorists are courteous and friendly to me, sometimes even rolling down the window to chat while we're waiting for the light to change.
Mr. Ragsdale's letter, fittingly published on September 11, uses scary imagery and name-calling in an attempt to terrorize current and would-be cyclists into forsaking their bicycles. If more than a handful of county residents were the sorts of hotheads with whom Mr. Ragsdale sympathizes, maybe he would have a point. But if his letter does anything, it will evoke a sense of solidarity: the calm and polite county residents I've met own bikes in addition to cars (some are pedestrians, too!), and neither cyclists nor motorists are fond of swerving, angry drivers.
Perhaps Mr. Ragsdale has just been cooped up in his car for too long and would benefit from some fresh air and exercise. A nice bike ride would be just what the doctor ordered!
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
I'll have my 2½-year-old daughter in a trailer, so please, don't expect to go fast.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
For summer 2007 Aspen lift will be running two Saturdays each month from 9 am – 3 pm.
All-day tickets for mountain biking are $15, or free with a 2006/07 or 2007/08 season pass.
The scheduled dates are:
August: 25th - THAT IS TODAY!
September: 8th & 29th
September 29th - Bike & Hike will operate in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary Celebration activities.
More info here
Upcoming Guaje Canyon Trail project
The Following message forwarded from Craig Martin - Open Space Specialist for the County.
Hi everyone,Well, I spent the day out on the Guaje Canyon trail with Ken Feller lastweek. As you can imagine, it needs some attention.......numerous treesdown, plenty of brushing to do, and some short but important stretches oftreadwork. So, we're currently trying to cook up a scheme that gets us inthere with a chainsaw or two, and hopefully, some loppers, McCleods, andpulaskis.
We've decided upon an ambitious day-project: next Friday, August31..........7:30 a.m. at Camp May/Guaje Canyon Trail #282 Trailhead Please be punctual as this will be a llllooooonnnnngggg day, any wayyou look at it.
In order to mitigate time spent on accessing the trail from the top (GuajeCanyon overlook), we have tentative pack support arranged to help get thesaws, handtools, etc. in to the project. So, the horses will help with the load.
Here's a quick summary on the route: again, I plan to hike in from Camp May, through Canada Bonita, to the Guaje Cyn. overlook. There is a handfulof trees up there that need to be cut out. Then, I'll descend the switchbacks and continue to cut out trees, all the way down to the Guaje Reservoir, and continuing down that same trail. In the meantime, Miles Standish will be heading UP the FR 442, probably cutting out a few trees, aswell: the idea being that he will be able to pick me/us up after the projectand save us from a hike across the Guaje Ridge via the Mitchell Trail. He can probably take me, plus four, so any additional participants would need to arrange for their own transportation. Another option for mountain bikers would be to ride in to the overlook, stash bikes, and continue hiking downin to the project (Feller and I were successful with that approach, last week).
Please consider yourselves warmly invited to participate; in fact, we reallyneed the help. It's clear to me that, should we get 3-5 folks out there,that trail would really be a wonderful experience for any and all who chooseto hike, bike, or ride it. Sound good? Who's with me?!!
Mike, et. al.: I'm hoping that Miles can drive our Chevy Tahoe in on theRendija Cyn. FR 57 heading east, then left on the FR 442 heading northwest,all the way up to the "pick-up" spot, which is the gate on the 442, west ofthe top of the Upper Guaje Cyn. Rd, and at the bottom of the Guaje Cyn/Vallecito de los Caballos/Agua Piedra trails. Does that look allright? Will I be able to get through a gate where the FR 442 meets the FR 416? I was told that you and your Site Stewards had a good handle on the access, out there.
Comments? Suggestions? Please forward this invite/project notice on toyour respective trail buddies!! And, please let me know if you can beinvolved so I can reserve you a spot on the Tahoe.Thanks-A-Million!!
Craig D. Saum
Trail Crew Supervisor
Espanola Ranger District
Santa Fe National Forest
Monday, August 20, 2007
There are two tours available. An easier one for "Cruisers" and a more difficult one for "Climbers."
For more information check the Preserve's website at: VC Mountain Biking Event.
If you would like to volunteer to help with this event, the Preserves Recreation Coordinator would greatly appreciate the help. Contact Rob Dixon firstname.lastname@example.org
Cell:2 3 1-1 4 4 nine
Office: 6 6 1-3 3 3 three to volunteer.
Friday, July 6, 2007
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
Hot on the heels of another successful Bike To Work Day, I am going to get in motion the Los Alamos County Cyclists Coalition. This group will plan future Bike To Work Days, and represent cyclists to county government and businesses. Think bike to work day, bike racks at the hospital and other businesses, more bike lanes, good access to trailheads, safe routes to school, stuff like that.
Please read the announcement for more details.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Friday May 18th is National Bike to Work Day.
A number of Los Alamos businesses and organizations are supporting bike to work day and encourage employees to ride to work safely. We are working on arrangments for a bike-to-work reception hosted by Hot Rocks Java Cafe at the Los Alamos Research Park.
Experienced cyclists will be available at strategic locations to ride with less experienced cyclists to and from work (schedule and locations coming soon). We are looking for experienced cyclists to help with this.
If you would like to help with anything, please contact Carrie at cdittmer_at_vla.com
Further details will be available at http://tuffriders.losalamos.com/btwd.asp
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
A single-speed fixed gear (also known as a "fixie") is a bike with most of the useful parts taken off: no front or rear derailer, no freewheel or cassette on the back, only one chainring on the front, typically only a front brake (or no brakes at all if you're the sort who likes the inside of hospitals), no drop bars, etc. The key idea here is "minimal".
These are show bikes, in the "ooo look at the pretty bike" sense, but also the "check out how hard-core I am" sense. Not being able to coast or shift gears means you'll be really grinding up hills and pedalling like a maniac when you go back down. But without all the cables and
derailers it weighs a lot less, so it's not such a big deal.
I rode my fixie in to work today, and it was a lot more fun than I remembered. While it's possible to go fast on these, that's not really the point. The point is going in *style*. Unless you're a bike courier, and then the point is going fast in style. Other cyclists will almost certainly realize you're never coasting or changing cadence; the lack of a rear derailer and clean line of the chain is eye-catching too. Riding one requires enough new skills that it's almost like learning to ride all over again, and there are tricks you can do on a fixie that are impossible on any other bike, like downhill track stands, or the Sheldon Brown Fixed-Gear Dismount. If you're insane you can do all sorts of circus tricks on a fixie.
Interested? Check out Sheldon Brown's Fixed-Gear Page for more information!
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Cyclists! A chance to weigh in on Phases II and III of the Diamond Drive Rehab Project:
The County will be hosting an Open House on Wednesday, May 23, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. in the Pajarito Room at Fuller Lodge. County staff will be on hand to present the design drawings for Phase II and the design direction already provided by Council for Phase III of the project.
(As a reminder, Phase II is between 35th St and North Rd, and Phase III is between North Rd. and the Los Alamos Canyon Bridge.)
From the Diamond Project Website (linked in the sidebar on labikes.blogspot.com)
Please see the following link for a summary description of the project:
Monday, May 7, 2007
I encourage everyone to consider riding this century. There are 25, 50, 75, and 100 mile routes. Great food, water, and potty stops every 16-20 miles. Great sag support from the National Guard, and a fun time all around.
You can see more information here:
Sunday, May 6, 2007
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Currently it is easy to cross the appendix at 12MPH going in to LANL. This is fast enough that it's not possible to do a sufficient check behind for right-turning traffic. I've tried. In fact approaching the crossing at a proper angle for cycling requires swinging wide and doing basically a 90° left turn, then (possibly) a quick stop. It is a very badly designed crossing and I'm really concerned someone's going to be hit as soon as it opens.
Pedestrians fare better at the crossing since they're already travelling under 3MPH. However, many pedestrians cut across the now-gravelled area as a shortcut to the light that never changes. In order for those people to check for oncoming traffic, they are going to have to look 180° behind them for traffic going 25-35MPH through that wide turn. This is a scary proposition.
Fortunately the county is going to change the whole design into a tradition "double-T" intersection. But if LANL decides to open the appendix in the meantime, we need to spread the word to be really careful. Anyone have ideas for a short-term fix should LANL decide to open the road?
Thursday, March 29, 2007
The ride will end at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, where Newcomers and Neighbors is having their annual Easter party.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Neale's Little Rain Riding List
- A commuter bike without fenders is as silly as the headlight stickers on a racecar*. Fenders add a little weight, but in return prevent rocks and sand from beating you and your bike up. Of course in rain they help keep you nice and dry.
- Yellow Jacket or Vest
- If ever there were a time for yellow clothing, rain riding is it. It's too bright out for lights to really make a difference, but dark enough that your clothes can do wonders to help you stand out.
- Rain pants
- I've found that if it's a cold rain, my legs get the brunt of it. A pair of waterproof nylon rain pants at home and at work eliminates this problem
- Clear or Yellow glasses
- If you've never been out in the rain with yellow glasses you are in for a big surprise. I don't know if it actually helps bring back contrast, but it sure looks cool and adds to the fun
Also remember: don't go as fast because you'll take longer to stop, and apply your brakes gently as you ride, to clear water off the rims.
Gear up, get out, and get wet!
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Our first ride will be Saturday, March 24 at 10:00am (start time subject to change if anyone asks me to do so).
If you're interested, email me.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
This slogan is popularly used to advocate the desire for cyclists to be accepted as legitimate users of the public roadways. For example, see www.probicycle.com
Same Roads: Cyclists have the right to use public roadways in the same manner as any other vehicle, be it automobile, pickup truck, tractor, or horse-n-buggy.
Same Rights: Cyclists have the same protections under the law as any other vehicle, be it automobile, pickup truck, tractor, or horse-n-buggy.
Same Rules: Cyclists have the obligation to obey all applicable traffic laws, just the same as any other vehicle, be it automobile, pickup truck, tractor, or horse-n-buggy.
Most cyclists are happy to enjoy the privileges that "Same Roads, Same Rights" bring but many are not so keen on following the "Same Rules." If you don't believe me, just browse through the comments on this blog. Many of these comments are cyclists criticizing the law-breaking behavior of other cyclists. The biggest peeve seems to be running red lights, which I think we all can agree can be dangerous in most situations.
However, one could argue that there are some times when following the "same rules" is counterproductive. Example: A cyclists uses an unoccupied right-turn-only lane as a de facto "bike lane" in order to not hold up faster traffic in the adjacent straight-through lane, then continues through the intersection on the left edge of this right-turn-only lane. Against the rules? Technically yes. Dangerous? maybe. Courteous to faster traffic? quite possibly.
When a cyclist disobeys the rules of the road, it can cause problems not only for himself (i.e. injury or death), but it can cause problems for the cycling community at large. If the community sees us as a group of law-breakers, it becomes more difficult to convince the public to support improvements in public infrastructure that make cycling safer and more efficient.
So let me pose a couple of questions for the local cycling community:
1) What are the most serious violations of traffic law that you regularly see from cyclists in Los Alamos?
2) What situations have you encountered where obeying the "same rules" principle is not practical, or even downright dangerous?
3) How do we educate cyclists who insist on violating the rules of the road that they should change their ways?
I would ask that we keep this a discussion of behavior and not an indictment of individuals, Thanks.
"Frank proposes that sprawl discourages physical activity, but some researchers suggest that people who don't care to exercise choose suburban life."
And my cycling-centric follow-on question:
Could cycling be part of the solution to help mitigate the loss of everyday exercise inherent in the sprawl culture?
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
First, some background. In order for your bicycle to be "fully reflectorized", you need 10 reflectors: four white ones on each side of both wheels, four amber ones on each side of both pedals, a red one in the back, and a white one in the front. People "in the know" will also mount a red or amber SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) reflector at about headlight level on the back of the bike, since SAE reflectors do a better job than the ones bike stores are allowed to sell (bikes are legally considered toys, and toy stores aren't allowed to sell auto parts).
Both Scott and my bike have these 11 reflectors. Scott and I also have retroreflective yellow ankle cuffs, which keep our pant cuffs out of the chain. We have day-glo chartreuse jackets with a narrow retroreflective band in various places, and gloves with retroreflective patches on them. For lighting, we both have red LED tail lights, and a white bar-mounted front light. Scott's got an LED front light, I've got an incandescent one. Scott, in his effort to mimic a Christmas tree, has also placed reflective stickers on his helmet, and some retroreflective tape with a red LED on his backpack. I don't have a backpack, I use a pannier, which has a retroreflective band on it.
Clearly nobody can accuse us of not making an effort to be seen.
Scott's neighbor showed up early into the shootout, with no reflectors other than his crazy retroreflective jacket, and only a rear tail light. You'll see him on the left in the photos.
So now, without further ado, here are the pictures:
60 feet, from the back, no lights. All of Scott's (on the right) reflectors show up pretty well, but what really struck everyone involved was how vivid our ankle cuffs and my pedals were. They're so bright they overexposed the shot, but trust me when I say they were by far the brightest reflectors. I think my amber reflector is a little more visible than Scott's red one. My puny "meeting the letter of the law" red reflector is practically invisible. Our fancy-pants jackets hardly show up at all, and my pannier didn't reflect a thing. Scott's backpack tape does well.
60 feet, from the back, with lights. Look at that jacket! My (middle) light shows up really well, but I might have had an advantage because I was directly in front of the car. I think the height was also in my favor, though. Scott's (right) light could be better placed, I think. Moving onto the left (traffic) side would be a good start. Once you get past the jacket, Scott's neighbor (left) doesn't have much going for him.
60 feet, from the front, no lights. Scott's (right) helmet stickers are showing up really well but I can't tell where his front reflector is. Mine (middle) is just over the wheel and really shows up well as a result. But once again, they were all dwarfed by the ankle cuffs and my pedal reflectors. Scott's neighbor (left) shows up really well with his crazy jacket but you can't see his bike at all. Let's hope he never brings the wrong jacket to work or gets hot.
60 feet, from the front, with lights. Scott's (right) headlight looks brighter in the photo but the photographers said they were about the same to the eye. I (center) only had one of my two lights turned on, but that's how I ride. From my perspective on the bike, I thought Scott's LED lit up the road better than my incandescent. And again we have Scott's neighbor (left) with his jacket giving our headlights a run for their money. Notice that you can still see the ankle and pedal reflectors, though!
- Scott's neighbor's entire unlit, unreflectored bike
- My pannier
- Scott's rear light (maybe)
- Both headlights
- Ankle and pedal reflectors
- Scott's neighbor's jacket
- Scott's helmet and backpack tape
- My front reflector
I want to caution people not to be overly swayed by that white jacket. If a headlight is turned off or burned out, Scott's neighbor will be the same color as the road: pitch black. It would be a great addition to a full set of reflectors and lights, though.
In the end I'm going to have to claim victory for my assertion that reflectors closer to the headlights will be more visible, while at the same time conceding that Scott's helmet did manage to show up pretty well.
I think the big winners here are the ankle and pedal reflectors, along retroreflective tape, which clearly has very different reflective properties than standard reflectors, even SAE reflectors.
So go get you some reflective ankle cuffs!
More information on the properties of reflectors can be found in Why Bicycle Reflectors Don't Work at Sheldon Brown's amazing web site.
Friday, February 23, 2007
EDIT: I had the wrong dates. It's actually March 2 and 3.
Thursday, February 8, 2007
Will it have continuous bike lanes? YES.
Here is a quick description of the Diamond Drive reconstruction project.
The text in green is copied from the Los Alamos County Diamond Project website (see link at right sidebar). The text in black is my commentary. The graphics are copied from a public presentation from February 2006, which used to be available for download on the County website but is no longer there. (E-mail me if you want a copy of that presentation.)
Phase I of Diamond Project
Phase I is the section from 35th Street to the San Ildefonso roundabout. Work in this section includes utility work, pavement reconstruction / rehabilitation, a multi-use pathway, bike lanes, roundabout improvements, and a pedestrian / golf cart underpass near Club Road.
Here is the planned nominal cross-section for this phase (click for larger picture):
There is also a version of this cross-section that shows a 4' median instead of a 14' center turn lane. Not shown (but in the plan) is a 10-foot multi-use path along the North side of Diamond.
Note that the County has awarded this bid and construction on this phase should begin April 5, 2007 and be completed by October 2007.
Phase II of Diamond Project
Phase II is the section from approximately North Road to 35th Street. Work in this section includes utility work, pavement reconstruction / rehabilitation, bike lanes, wider sidewalks, and upgrades to the Arkansas/38th Street signalized intersection. Design on this section continues with an anticipated schedule to advertise for construction bids in February 2008 with construction starting mid-March 2008. Informational open houses will be scheduled at approximately 30% and 95% design stages.
Here is the planned nominal cross-section for this phase (click for larger picture):
(Note that some stretches in this segment will have a left turn lane and some will have a narrow median in place of the center turn lane.)
Phase III of Diamond Project
Phase III is the section from the Los Alamos Canyon Bridge to North Road. Work in this section includes the addition of bike lanes, pavement reconstruction / rehabilitation, upgrades to the signalized intersections, and rehabilitation of the two existing overpasses. Council has also directed staff to investigate an additional pedestrian under/overpass at the Diamond / Trinity intersection. Design on this section continues with an anticipated schedule to advertise for construction bids in February 2009 with construction starting in mid-March 2009. Informational open houses will be scheduled at approximately 30% and 95% design stages.
The nominal road cross-section for Phase III is the same as that for Phase II above. The pedestrian overpasses near the High School will be rehabilitated but they will not be moved. Thus, in the stretch between Sandia and University, the bike lanes will be about where the sidewalks are now and the sidewalks will move outward 8 feet or so.
Please share your comments!
Fortunately, I had my 95¢ Ace comb with me, and promptly went into the bathroom to restyle my coiffure. Over the last 5 years of bike commuting I think I have come up with the quickest and most convenient method to deal with helmet hair. This probably only works for short haircuts:
- Wash and roughly style your hair, using your favorite hair gel. You don't need to spend too much time here, just get things more or less where you want them.
- Put on your helmet and do your ride, and get helmet hair.
- Dump water on your hair when you arrive at work.
- Style your hair with the comb or brush you brought to work.
This works well because, at least with every hair gel I've used, wetting your hair un-stiffens the gel without washing it out. When you style your hair again, you will still have the gel to hold things in place afterwards. For me, this takes all of about 30 seconds. Your mileage may vary.
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
The third request for bids for the Diamond Project - Phase 1 (east of 35th Street to San Ildefonso Road) was advertised on December 4. Four bids were received on January 16. On January 30, Council awarded the construction project to AS Horner. Construction should start no later than April 5 with completion in October 2007.
Phase I includes the rehabilitation of existing pavement through mill and inlay; roadway widening to accommodate continuous bike lanes, turning bays, acceleration / deceleration lanes, tapers, side ditches, curb and gutter; reconstruction of the San Ildefonso roundabout; placement of an underpass near Club Road; construction of a multi-use pathway; storm drains and inlet structures; traffic signing and striping; and, new roadway lighting.
I am preparing a blog entry describing the full Diamond project including pictures of the planned road cross-sections, should have it ready by this weekend - please check back!
Thursday, January 25, 2007
From the LANL Newsbulletin, 1/11/07
Here are some sample questions:
- Tell us about yourself
- What kind of riding do you do?
- Tell us about your bikes
- What is an interesting accomplishment or occurrence related to your cycling?
- How do you like riding in Los Alamos? How does it compare to other places you have ridden?
- What could be done to make Los Alamos better for cycling?
- Any message for the local Cycling community?
Include a picture if you would like to!
To participate, simply copy and paste these questions in an email and send it to me at swwd_at_yahoo_dot_com
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Please read and comment on the posted articles. For now, I have set the blog to not require registration before posting comments.
If you would like to submit a short article related to cycling in Los Alamos, please e-mail it to Scott at swwd_at_yahoo_dot_com or to Neale at neale-lab_at_woozle_dot_org
Here are some of the purposes that could be served by this blog:
- Discussion of safe cycling practices and issues affecting the Los Alamos cycling community
- Announcements of local events
- Creation of a communication and/or social network for the LA cycling community, covering the range of cycling activities (transportation, exercise, on-road, off-road, etc)
- Links to site of interest to cyclists, e.g. cyclist education, gear & clothing, training, etc.
The advantage of using Blogger for this purpose is that it provides a public forum for discussion in a way that interested parties can easily access and participate in real-time.
Please post your feedback on this idea.