Thursday, March 29, 2007

Caballo Bike & Ski Moving

Update 4/9: The move's been cancelled, the shop is still on Deacon street.

Joel asked me to let everybody know that over the weekend, Caballo Bike & Ski is moving from its location on Deacon street to a larger shop on DP Road. I'm not sure of the exact address yet, but it sounds like it's not going to be too far in on that road. He expects to be completely moved over the weekend, but I'm skeptical. Drop by on Monday to see how he did :)

Social Bike Ride + Newcomers and Neighbors

On Saturday I'm going to try again at the social ride. We'll leave Urban Park at 10am. I'll have a yellow coat or vest, black bike with speckledy bar tape, and a yellow trailer with a crazy kid inside. We'll ride somewhere, adjusted for the comfort level of whoever shows up, riding at a social pace (10-12mph) regrouping often.

The ride will end at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, where Newcomers and Neighbors is having their annual Easter party.

Friday, March 23, 2007

March Showers

It's not April yet but the showers are here. I love riding in the rain! It's nice and crisp out, nobody's trying to race me in to work, and I dunno, there's just something fun about getting a little wet. In honor of the weather, I present:

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

Social Bike Rides

Through Newcomers and Neighbors I'll be leading some social (9-12 MPH) bike rides this spring. We'll start out with roughly 10-mile rides, around town, and progress to longer rides. Frequent stops to regroup. Kids in trailers are encouraged, any type of bike is fine.

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.

Happy riding!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Same Roads, Same Rights ... Same Rules (??)

You've probably heard the slogan: "Same Roads, Same Rights, Same Rules"
This slogan is popularly used to advocate the desire for cyclists to be accepted as legitimate users of the public roadways. For example, see

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.

Bicycling Street Smarts

Check out John S Allen's "Bicycling Street Smarts" for a quick online reference to safe cycling practices.

Send the link to your red-light-running, wrong-way-riding, sidewalk-speeding, no-lights-having cyclist friends!

Sprawl: Does it make people fat?

This Science News article explores that issue.

"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?


Thanks to cyclsit James Rickman for the mention of the LABikes blog from his blog the Bomb Town News Observer. Our 15 minutes of fame came and went pretty quickly, LOL.