Sunday, May 31, 2015

Hey Sport Motorbiker. We Are Not Traffic Cones

Shit Happens. Even without your help.
Headed down NM-4 from the Jemez towards the tail end of a 40 mile bicycle ride, I was on the next to last sharp curve before one gets to the final set of hairpins. Two cyclists, a man and a woman, were climbing through the curve and I was halfway through my line, about in the middle of the downhill lane and in a medium but not overcooked lean, i.e., even my head was on my side of the double yellow line. So along comes someone riding fast uphill on a sport motorbike, passing in the gap between me leaning left in my line and the two uphill cyclists. The motorcyclist was leaning heavily, and at some serious speed.

I don't know who that was and frankly, don't know his or her abilities. Perhaps it was a technically very good rider, but I question the rider's judgement. Even good riders pushing the envelope occasionally find the envelope pushing back on them. Don't take innocent parties with you when you f**k up.

A few years back the Pajarito Riders crew was moving fast through the hairpin in that hollow near Forest Road 289 when some sport moto guys came riding through fast from the other direction. They all got their handlebars tangled up and several people ended up in the hospital. Apexing only works well when you exit the other side upright.

Be careful out there. I love motorcycling as much as anyone, which is why I consider my motorized brethren fair game for a ration of shit. I prefer to not damage anyone else in the process of having my little bit of fun. Don't put other people at risk, no matter what the devil you are riding or driving. I've been the guy standing at the side of the road several times watching other people get the spatula treatment, i.e., being scraped up off the road. I've also got two Spatula Awards of my own. Either way, its a terrible experience.

Thanks. Off the soapbox. Hope everyone up there, motorized or not, had a great day and got off the mountain before the thunderstorm.

A compilation of motorcycle crashes on Mulholland Drive, CA.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

County Launches ‘I Support Manhattan Project National Historical Park’ Campaign

 Otherwise known as "We've been on the Federal Teat For Over Seventy Years. Why get off now"? I keep wondering why Los Alamos cannot do anything for itself. But its just too easy to keep bellying up to the trough. We are all supposed to sign postcards and otherwise beg for more Federal money. Be my guest.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

26 May. Sigh. Back to Work

Enough of the fun bikes. Back to the salt mines. Put a set of fenders on the Long Haul Trucker as they mount to the bike in a normal, straightforward manner, unlike the ones on the disk brake bike that have to be turned, twisted, and jammed on with rubber gizmos and zip ties. Now it will stop raining as long as the fenders are on the bike, eh?

The LHT is starting to look like that picture of the F-4 Phantom with everything piled on except the kitchen sink. Or maybe they just forgot the sink. But I guess that's what a workhorse vehicle is supposed to look like, eh? Ready for anything, whether it be SAMs or storms.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

23-24 May in Lafayette-Boulder

Boulder's Bike-Walk Month Mag
Bike month doesn't officially start in Boulder till June, most likely due to their being both north and at high enough elevation to make May dicey, but it seems they are about to put on a pretty good show. In addition to a detailed web site, they put out a 47 page glossy magazine (shown on the left) publicizing all the events for bike-walk month.

The city is quite festooned with bicycle infrastructure such as the buffered bike lane shown below and on the right; this one runs along Baseline Road. Plus, unlike last November, when I knew absolutely nothing about the Boulder area and was riding on narrow, shoulderless and high speed Arapahoe, I since found Baseline, which has good shoulders and/or bike lanes all the way from our friend's house in Lafayette to downtown BikeTown, including good connectivity to a lot of other great riding.That discovery made for a fast little 20 mile loop Saturday morning on the CAAD-5, before the ever present thunderstorms of the last few weeks moved back in.
Buffered bike lane in Boulder, on Baseline Rd

 Sunday involved a 30 mile loop (again, racing Old Man Weather) starting in Lafayette and heading southwest, including parts of routes 93, 128, and 170 that Patrick O'Grady told me were part of the Morgul-Bismark Coors Classic course west of Superior. Of interest to BombTown readers, it also skirts the edge of Rocky Flats. It was a feisty, rolling bike ride, but at least this time I was able to keep up with my hosts. Or, they were being nice. We skipped the famous nasty uphill finish, though.

Nice weekend, but we have been dodging thunderstorms every afternooon! Including one right now.
My biking hosts, Joe and Dale, with Eldorado Canyon (I think...) as a backdrop

Joe and some old fat guy who was sucking wheel, with Boulder in the background

Just for fun....a movie

Sunday, May 17, 2015

17 May: Bicycling Isn't Just For Riding Slowly, In Street Clothes, On Bike Paths Any More

Naw, I'm not really gonna start that rant. But I did have a great ride today out in the country on the fast-looking, black Cannondale CAAD-5. I bought the frame in 2002 and it is still a great ride, albeit a bit teeth-chattering, especially with deep aero rims, on the chipsealed, segmented NM-4.

Didn't bother with the Santa Fe Century because there is so much good riding up here (so why drive 75 miles R/T to ride a bike?) and I can eat a leisurely breakfast at home. It still leaves me scratching my head that Los Alamos County does so little to promote organized rides or races, given the county's professed interest in diversifying the economy. I guess diversifying the economy is a good idea, as long as someone else does the work (LANL, the Manhattan Project National Historic Park, Bandelier, some other Federal Big Daddy, etc, etc).

As I have said before, and plenty have done it, one can cobble together quarter century, half century, metric century, and the 100 miler on roads around here that are as challenging as any. Sure, the longer routes will take cooperation with neighboring jurisdictions as used to be true with the Jemez Mountains race for the Tour de Los Alamos, but that is true for any long ride. If the road to Cuba is paved, I think that could create an out and back brevet (136 miles or 220 km) rivaling Red River in difficulty. A loop from Los Alamos through Cuba, around NM96 to Abiquiu, and back again is about 255 miles/410 km.

Zero interest. Snooze.

CAAD-5 in current dress, with ALX-320 wheelset, Michelin Race tires, FSA Energy crankset, and Shimano 9 speed Dura-Ace shifters and Ultegrra derailleurs, all cobbled together out of whatever was on sale at Bike Nashbar when I built this baby up. The stem extender was added after I herniated a disk in 2005, making the bike rideable again with less lower back flexibility.

Vintage Cannondale Catalogs

Friday, May 15, 2015

15 May, 2015

Especially sombre morning. Heard about B.B. King when the clock radio went on. Picked up my alumni newsletter from yesterday's mail and found an old friend while reading the "In Memoriam" section. It may be Bike to Work Day down here, but its Bike to the Hereafter for my old University of Rochester friend Bill "Standup" Seligman, who apparently passed on this winter.
Bill "Standup" Seligman, Tucson, AZ

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

TONIGHT! National Park Service Seeks Public Comment on Managing the Valles Caldera

This just in.

From Frank Reeves:

Just wanted to remind everybody that the Park Service is holding one of their three Listening Sessions to seek public comment on managing the Valles Caldera tonight at 6 pm.  It would be very good to get a turnout of mtn bikers to get our place at the table to endorse and encourage mtn biking on the preserve.  There have been two other sessions (in Abq and Jemez Sprgs) and I've heard that the equestrian community have been out in force advocating for their pastime and we better do the same, if nothing else than to advocate for multi-use (ie hiking/biking/equestrian) of the trails.  Hope some of you can come.
It is also interesting and alarming that the NPS org chart for the new staff has no slot for a recreation specialist -but 4 slots for law enforcement. 
Wednesday, May 13 in Los Alamos
6-8:30 p.m. MDT
Betty Ehart Senior Center
1101 Bathtub Row  

Day Thirteen of Bike Month. Modelling

 Charles Marohn over at Strong Towns has a really nice essay on modelling. Whether climate, economic, or traffic modelling, we need to remember the limitation of models. Go read it.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Get High on Day Ten of Bike Month, Happy Mother's Day, and Sharrows

Nice day for a ride up Camp May Road
There were a few raindrops that headed our way, but after putting some tomato plants from Dave Fox's place into pots, I decided to head up Camp May Road. Nice day for it, although it turned suddenly windy and cold at the top.

At the Transportation Board meeting Thursday night, the County staff discussed sharrows, with some context sensitive stuff that I am glad is being applied to Los Alamos. Central will get sharrows in the section East of where the bike lane ends. Another proposal is to use sharrows on the fast downhill of North Road where it heads East towards Diamond and a wider "climbing bike lane" for the uphill. I've long suggested such treatments in hilly areas like ours. A fast downhill cyclist on a road like North is not taking a good line by staying in the bike lane, can be overlooked by people turning into our out of Quemezon, or overtaken and cut off by same direction motorists turning into Quemezon. So looking at topography when deciding the proper "bike facility" is an excellent idea.

Hopefully, all the moms who wanted to get in a nice ride did so today, and a tip of the brain bucket to them all.

Take that, Giro!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Bike Month Day Seven, and Sharrows On As New Business at Tonight's T-Board Meeting

The main order of new business at tonight's T Board meeting is a discussion of sharrows, aka shared lane markings. My understanding is that the County plans to install them on Central Ave and the Laboratory may be planning on installing them on Diamond Drive along TA-3. Be at the meeting if you can. Meeting starts at 5:30 pm tonight at the Municipal Building, room 110.

In this pic of a sharrow in Toronto, the sharrow is correctly (or perhaps not far enough in from the curb--see my addenum below and thanks, Mike) placed outside the "door zone" of parked cars. If the cyclist was riding centered on the sharrow, he would not be in the door zone.  Attribution: "Sharrows Toronto 2011" by Dylan Passmore from Toronto, Canada - Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

The freshly painted sharrow on a shared RTO (auto) thru bike lane, Diamond Drive

Here is the MUTCD guidance (circa 2009, if there is more recent out there, please holler). Comment 1, from Mike, might be right if applied in the US, but not sure on Canadian policy.

Section 9C.07 Shared Lane Marking
01 The Shared Lane Marking shown in Figure 9C-9 may be used to:
A. Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking in order to reduce the chance of a bicyclist’s impacting the open door of a parked vehicle,
B. Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in lanes that are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a bicycle to travel side by side within the same traffic lane,
C. Alert road users of the lateral location bicyclists are likely to occupy within the traveled way,
D. Encourage safe passing of bicyclists by motorists, and
E. Reduce the incidence of wrong-way bicycling.
02 The Shared Lane Marking should not be placed on roadways that have a speed limit above 35 mph.
03 Shared Lane Markings shall not be used on shoulders or in designated bicycle lanes.
04 If used in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking, Shared Lane Markings should be placed so that the centers of the markings are at least 11 feet from the face of the curb, or from the edge of the pavement where there is no curb.
05 If used on a street without on-street parking that has an outside travel lane that is less than 14 feet wide, the centers of the Shared Lane Markings should be at least 4 feet from the face of the curb, or from the edge of the pavement where there is no curb.
06 If used, the Shared Lane Marking should be placed immediately after an intersection and spaced at intervals not greater than 250 feet thereafter.
07 Section 9B.06 describes a Bicycles May Use Full Lane sign that may be used in addition to or instead of the Shared Lane Marking to inform road users that bicyclists might occupy the travel lane.

Here is something else. Evaluation of Shared Lane Markings,  FHWA-HRT-10-041 Dec 2010

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Day Six of Bike Month

 Pretty way to start a commute. And, one never complains about rain in Los Alamos. Only change in plans was to go back in and rummage around for my wool bike socks and Protogs wool jersey. Wool keeps you warm when wet.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Fifth Day of Bike Month.....

Present Moment

“Be here now” is the main advice given to meditators and all Buddhist schools teach people like this.

In a particular Zen school a Zen teacher tried to train his students to be in the present moment.
One day a Zen teacher saw five of his students return from the market, riding their bicycles. When they had dismounted, the teacher asked the students, “Why are you riding your bicycles?”
The first student replied, “The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!”
The teacher praised the student, saying, “You are a smart boy. When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over, as I do.”
The second student replied, “I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path.”
The teacher commended the student, “Your eyes are open and you see the world.”
The third student replied, “When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant, nam myoho renge kyo.”
The teacher gave praise to the third student, “Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel.”
The fourth student answered, “Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all beings.”
The teacher was pleased and said, “You are riding on the golden path of non-harming.”
The fifth student replied, “I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle.”
The teacher went and sat at the feet of the fifth student, and said, “I am your disciple.”

Sunday, May 3, 2015

3rd Day of Bike Month

Bike Month is off to a nice start in these parts. The singletrack is excellent.

p.s. 5/4/15
Its also a great time to practice one's crash technique when rounding a curve too fast and finding fresh, deep, fully hardened 4x4 ruts. Hence my jammed pinky is still swollen and hitting the "a" is still a tad uncomfortable, but nothing like yesterday (Sunday) afternoon.

Have a great day, and go ride yer bike!

East end of Kwage Mesa, looking across the Rio Grande Rift to the Sangres

Friday, May 1, 2015

Is it May Day? First Day of National Bike Month? Both?

Hello comrades, wherever you are. I hope this finds you riding your bike today. Comrade Allen hopes so too!

"Stress, obesity, heart disease, traffic congestion, pollution, peak oil, global climate change. If only there were a simple solution." - author unknown, but posted on Ian Brett Cooper's Desegregated Cyclist site.

Marxist must look stern.

"What do you mean, you didn't ride to work today?"

"no one gets to the office ahead of me, damn it..."
"Second place explains to the boss why we're late for work"

Nyuk, nyuk,nyuk..."

"First thing I am going to do is ride my bike..."

"Who needs lycra?"

John thought of it before I did.

Bike Exponentially?

"Wanna bike to school with me?"

Leading by example.
  And of course, the obligatory...