Thursday, November 30, 2017

Los Alamos Named A Bicycle-Friendly Community

Date: November 30, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE(I got this from Louise Romero in the Public Works Dept. --KJS)
Los Alamos County named a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists

Los Alamos, New Mexico— Today, the League of American Bicyclists recognized Los Alamos County with a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly CommunitySM (BFC) award, joining over 400 visionary communities from across the country.

With the announcement of 65 new and renewing BFCs today, Los Alamos County joins a leading group of communities, in all 50 states, that are transforming our neighborhoods.
“We applaud these communities for making bicycling a safe and convenient option for transportation and recreation,” said Bill Nesper, Executive Director at the League of American Bicyclists. “We are encouraged by the growing number of leaders who see bicycling as a way to build more vibrant, healthy, sustainable and connected communities and be a part of the solution to many complex challenges faced at both the community and national levels. We look forward to continuing to work with these communities as we move closer to our mission of creating a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone.”

The BFC program is revolutionizing the way communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation networks, while allowing them to benchmark their progress toward improving their bicycle-friendliness. With this impressive round, there are now over 400 BFCs in all 50 states. The Bronze Level BFC award recognizes Los Alamos County’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.

Philo Shelton commented “Last year we earned an honorable mention from the League. Within a year, we worked hard to meet the League’s objectives in becoming a Bicycle Friendly Community and made significant accomplishments to earn a Bronze level award. We are only the fourth community in New Mexico to earn such an award joining Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe as Bicycle Friendly Communities.”

These accomplishments include investment in bicycle infrastructure improvements such as completion of Phase 2 of the Canyon Rim Trail system and obtaining a sizeable federal grant to design and construct and a shared-use underpass for the Canyon Rim Trail beneath NM 502 near the Coop at Entrada Drive.  As part of bicycle promotion, education and outreach, County Council proclaimed May as Bike to Work Month which was followed with events celebrating Bike to Work Day.  Lastly, in June County Council adopted the Bicycle Transportation Plan which emphasizes the County’s commitment to bicycle planning as part of the transportation network.

The BFC program provides a roadmap to building a Bicycle Friendly Community and the application itself has become a rigorous and an educational tool.  Since its inception, more than 800 distinct communities have applied and the five levels of the award – diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze – provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve.

To learn more about building a Bicycle Friendly America, visit
The League of American Bicyclists is leading the movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone.

Motorcycle Shop

Motorcycle Shop

(a tip of the brain bucket to Marc, Frances, and the OCD family. Also, a quick thank you to my cousin, Lori Bonati-Phillips, for inspiration)

Someone forgot the heat shield
So there I sat, waiting for the gas to cool down
Looking across a wide field
The mountain road a lost cause, a frown

Men in smocks with bikes on lifts
Pistons and parts, those inventive industrial gifts
That get us down the road at speeds that blur
Pirsig has passed on, but his ghost is somewhere in this room
Is there Quality here, Phaedrus, or is my bike doomed?

An ancient R60 sits nearby, its pinstripe lines on black and chrome still alluring
Sometimes, old girls are sexier and more real than the young ones
This history book is still sitting where I left it
Everything about this oil-tinged place recommends it

Thursday, November 23, 2017


"Captives' Knoll". The three rock outcrops remind me of Madonna and Child due to the curling over of the top of the rock towards something in its center (l), Ganesh, as there looks like the head of an elephant embedded in the rock (c), and a Zen deity due to the tree growing out of the rock (r).

 Lots to be thankful for this year. For one thing, it is not 2016 any more, which was the year I spent half the months in stiches or casts. Plus, there was the minor issue of That Election. So on the annual Thanksgiving ride, this year done on the double boinger, I stopped at my usual contemplative place in Bayo Canyon, the little knoll I refer to as the Captives' Knoll (because the rocks remind me of Michelangelo's Captives) to spend a few minutes in reflective solitude, thanking Providence, the stars, recent supernovae, the family dogs, and whoever/whatever else out there one must thank, for a good year.

First, I'm thankful for celebrating 30 years with My Better Half, which proves that a Blue Dog Democrat (me) and a Progressive can live under the same roof. As long as we don't discuss gun control...

Secondly, I want to thank surgeons Rodney Barker and Sean Marvel for reattaching various moving parts and then sewing me up when I was broken, which was how I spent much of 2016.

Third, I want to thank whoever one thanks for bringing me in contact with that long lost brother Rich, who my parents had adopted out in 1959 when I was a mere sprout. I knew he existed but had no idea of the details of his existence other than that my parents shipped me off to Uncle Joe's for a summer and when I got back, mom was not pregnant and my parents gave me a puppy. I knew something was rotten in Denmark or in that case, Buffalo. Thanks to both Rich and my nephew Nick who, for unrelated reasons, each got one of those mail-order DNA tests and didn't check the "privacy box". So we four (five, if you count David, me, Rich, Steve, and John) were all eventually reunited. Interestingly, although Rich and I never met, we both turn out to be avid bicyclists, motorcyclists, gun nuts, politically left of center, and  have advanced degrees. Go figure...must be genetics.

Forth, I want to thank Randy and the rest of the Classification Group for offering me a welcome place to land when I decided to change jobs. Its been a riot.

There are too many other folks to think of right now, including work buddies, family, friends, the folks at the Maddogmedia Pickle Barrel, and those elsewhere, including Daniel Webster and Cassandra Crifasi at Johns Hopkins and Adam Winkler at UCLA who always make time to answer my emails when I bug them about things they research as scholars and which I look into as a rank amateur doing a one-man Statler and Waldorf Act. And others. Given that its almost time to take the fake turkey out of the oven, it is therefore time to hit "post" and get back to work on Turkey Day Enterprises.

Be well, all, and go ride your bikes.

I can see why Oppenheimer loved this place

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"...Let Your Light Shine Before Teens, That They Be Not Splattered On Your Bicycle"

 So in followup to my Nov. 6th post, tonight I was riding home from work at a little before six (dark) o'clock on the Salsa La Cruz commuter. Upon cresting Conoco Hill (aka Shell Hill) I flipped my Nightrider Lumina 650 to high beam in anticipation of picking up speed on the downhill, as unlike the Nightrider 1200 on my heavy duty commuter, the 650 is a tad less powerful. The 650 throws a nice beam but stuff can still surprise you and at 30 mph, finding an obstruction in the bike lane the hard way ain't fun. Sure enough, after passing the golf course entrance on Diamond Drive and heading for the roundabout on the downhill right sweeper, I suddenly saw two teens looming out of the dark, walking down the middle of the bike lane towards me as I barreled onward at about 30 mph.

It startled me first and I let out a bit of a shriek as I veered hard to port to avoid splattering all three of us on the road. I think I scared the crap out of them. They did likewise to me.

The bottom line is that lights matter. So does situational awareness. I was thinking deer tonight but teens are just as much of a hazard. Don't leave your lights or awareness at home. I may upgrade the 650, which I previously thought was plenty of light. Tonight it was enough but barely.

Everyone should be thinking safety, but the bottom line is that Looking Out for No. 1 is best done by No. 1. Don't count on others to be thinking about your safety. Or their own. I did stop and call LAPD and told them someone should counsel those teens. I hope someone did so. Next bicyclist might be running a 100 Lumen Saturday Night Special.  That's the problem with bike lights--no standardization. Don't outrun your illumination.

Monday, November 6, 2017

"...Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your bicycle..."

With apologies to St. Matthew and the Good Book (for those not familiar, I borrowed that title from Matthew 5:15-16).

Its back to Mountain Standard Time and short days. If you have not put lights on your commuter or evening-ride bike, its getting a little late. Safety is not someone else's problem. Its yours.

Note that active lighting, not just reflectors, is critical for safety. Reflectors only reflect light shined directly on them, so they do not tell a motorist at a cross street that you are approaching at right angles or a motorist making a left turn that you are in the far bike lane (until it is too late). Also, reflectors do not warn YOU of road hazards, unlit pedestrians, nor do they keep you safe in those vexing hours around dawn and dusk.

Here is the Long Haul Trucker in winter dress.

Reflective stuff on sides.
Fenders keep grunge off of rider and as importantly, off of lights and reflectors.

Helmet with front/back lighting which can also be used as strobes

Retroreflective tape and reflector, two rear flashing strobe reflectors in case one fails

Headlamp with 1200 lumen max, retroreflective tape
Oh, and "ding" bell to get attention of pedestrians who are not wearing headsets