Monday, February 27, 2017

For Srinivas Kuchibhotla

This shit just keeps happening unless we stop it.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Biker Rally Packs the Roundhouse

One of the main points of the rally was driver accountability
Illustration from the NMMRO Facebook page
Once again, both motorized and human powered two-wheeler aficionados packed the Roundhouse yesterday. I would like to thank Annette Torrez and the Board and members of the New Mexico Motorcycle Rights Organization for making room for us in the tent, Jennifer Buntz for her work getting us invited, and to the various bicycling individuals and organizations who worked hard to make yesterday a success. These included Diane Albert and her law firm who bought the goodies, Tim Rogers who hosted a bicycling Community Cruise de Santa Fe, Tony Farrar and New Mexico Bike N Sport for hosting us, and the Bicycle Coalition and Bike ABQ for their efforts at getting people there. My apologies to anyone I forgot so far.

Following the color guard, national anthem, and invocation was the Reading of the Names of the Fallen.  Then NMMRO Chair Annette Torrez welcomed us and NMMRO Vice-Chair Raymond Gallegos discussed ongoing legislative efforts. Rick Miera, former Democratic House Floor leader, gave a guest speech followed by an excellent discussion of distracted driving by NMMRO's Tom Newell. I gave the speech for the bicycling community, discussing rider safety, SB 55 to increase penalties to distracted drivers who kill or injure, and the Complete Streets Memorials. I threw in a few caustic remarks about how the Legislature is consumed with gun bills but ignores the carnage on the streets, where NM is competing for top honors in per capita killing of bicyclists and pedestrians. Ann Overstreet followed me for BikeABQ adding key information. There were then awards to motorcyclists and clubs of the year followed by honors to fallen riders and survivors of crashes.

My wife and I were witnesses to this crash 
just east of the NM-4/NM502 junction. 
Two motorcyclists were killed in a head-on
crash with an elderly wrong-way driver on a 
55 mph divided highway 
 Bicyclists feel vulnerable and certainly we are, but on a sombre note, we must remember all those names of fallen riders that were called out by the NMMRO folks. Motorcyclists bear the brunt of two wheeled death on the streets, something I am acutely aware of when I am on the K1100RS. The combination of higher motorcycle speeds and the fact that a motorcycle is not a steel cage means when things go wrong, they can go wrong badly. If you want a bicycling example, recall the high speed crash that killed Fabio Casartelli in the Tour de France (warning: video is graphic). So Annette finally got my NMMRO membership letter yesterday. 

Thanks to all who organized and helped, and thanks to all who showed up. Yeah, its tough getting anything done at the Legislature, but unless you show up, nothing gets done at all.Here are some pics, courtesy of the NMMRO and BCNM Facebook pages.

I rode down on the big BMW, so my kit included leathers and a pretty thick wool sweater. Halfway to Santa Fe my leather jacket unzipped from the bottom because I had not fully seated the zipper around the bulky warm clothing. Not a good thing in sub-40 degree weather at 70 mph. Had to stop and deal with my own "wardrobe malfunction". That just reminds us to sweat the details when one is on two wheels rather than thinking one is safe in a two ton cage (and when you let down your guard in a two ton cage it is other people who are at risk). Stay safe out there.
The author in full rant.

Former Dem House Leader and longtime motorcycle advocate Rick Miera to the right of the mike
NMMRO Board Chair Annette Torrez on his left

Me in the sweater (lower right) figuring out what to say
Jennifer in the pinkish hat and Duke City kit (center right)
Tom Newell discussing distracted driving science

Diane Albert took this pic from the balcony, with me speaking.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Salsa La Cruz Finally Gets a Ride To Work

Some time ago, Jerry Merkey asked when I would finally get off my hind end and ride to work. That was today. The shoulder feels great. The bigger mental obstacle was just getting on the bike and off the Fat Italian Ass after several months (August 15th, to be exact) of recovery from various broken body parts and surgery. Things in January were still a tad sketchy with the shoulder and I didn't feel like hitting a patch of ice and giving Taos Orthopedic more work to do at my expense.

Proof that at least I put my bike there 
to take a picture.
Interestingly, the fact that I got off my bike to take that picture led me to see that the county put up a sign for Northbound sidepath-riding cyclists to get off and walk across the street at the north end of the bridge. There have been at least a couple crashes (one described here) and several near misses when fast bicyclists (and at least one crash at this spot involving a normal-speed cyclist) riding down-gradient on their way home from the south side of the bridge ran into traffic turning and crossing at West Road. This sign, in combination with the offramp that puts cyclists onto West Road so we can cross Diamond and get into the northbound bike lane, are good safety and convenience additions as these suggest that northbound cyclists should either merge with traffic or slow to a walking speed if staying on the sidewalk so that motorists see approaching bicyclists in time for both to react to each other without anyone kissing Mr. Pavement.

In honor of spring and the riding season fast approaching, "Let's be careful out there".
Dismounting, or at least slowing, makes sense 
when motorists are expecting pedestrian speeds

Monday, February 20, 2017

Bike Day at the Capitol

Click on the pic to get a full size version or print out.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

February 19, 1942-February 19, 2017

Memorial above the former Santa Fe internment camp, site of the Casa Solana neighborhood
Its been exactly 75 years since Executive Order 9066 put a hundred thousand innocent people, many U.S. citizens, behind barbed wire. So let's not be too uncritical of present attempts to write broad reaching executive orders aimed at some of our most vulnerable. And yeah, Casa Spencer-Sachdeva sits on the site of that old barbed wire. It is a sobering thought.

On another topic, next Saturday is the annual bike-motorcycle rally at the State Capitol. Make yourself seen and heard. When you don't, bad shit happens to you. Bicyclists will rally at New Mexico Bike N Sport and ride to the Roundhouse. More details to come.