Friday, December 5, 2008

Ok, DON'T get a light!

Going back to something I said earlier....

'Bike rage' suspect arrested

The Capital Times 12/04/2008 11:23 am

The bicyclist who felt "extremely insulted" when a fellow biker told him to get a light on his bike and ended up beating the commenter was arrested and tentatively charged with battery and disorderly conduct Wednesday, police said...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

NY Times: Hawaii endorses electric car fleet

'Bout time someone started thinking outside the box--or should I say bonnet.

In yesterday's New York Times:

"SAN FRANCISCO — The State of Hawaii and the Hawaiian Electric Company on Tuesday endorsed an effort to build an alternative transportation system based on electric vehicles with swappable batteries and an “intelligent” battery recharging network...."

Now, if they would only get their Honolulu Bike Plan enacted, they could have a hat trick: excellent bus system, progressive individual transportation, and bikeability all in one place.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Diamond Drive: Before and After

Well, I said I would wait for the barrels to be gone but got impatient to get this post up. So here it is: Diamond Drive recreated. These photos were taken at approximately the same place--about a hundred feet or so West of the golf course crosswalk near 35th Street. The first photo was taken in January of 2004 before work began to improve Diamond Drive, and the second on 28 Nov. 2008, when almost all of the work on Phase II has been completed. Note the bike and ped friendly improvements: bike lanes rather than the ditch, the bus refuge for our new bus system, and the new sidewalks as well as the pedestrian refuge in the middle of the road. And, better signage and oncoming traffic separation. Click on the pics for higher resolution.

Still not sure I admire the huge footprint of the road--most of the time the asphalt is relatively empty; even during rush hour its not so heavy compared to a "real" rush hour, i.e., New York, San Franciso, Albuquerque, Honolulu, etc. I think a three-lane "road diet" would have more than sufficed to move the number of people we have here with minimal inconvenience.

But at least for cyclists and pedestrians, its a considerable improvement to Los Alamos, considering that Diamond Drive connects virtually all of our housing and businesses to each other (see below). This critical "complete streets" improvement should, when all four phases are complete, encourage more cycling without the lane-changing chores for motorists overtaking cyclists, cyclists having concerns of riding in busy vehicle traffic lanes, or cyclists being forced into nasty situations such as that old gutter! Having said that, bike lanes and crosswalks are not magic bullets: cyclists need to exhibit skill to ride safely, peds need to be alert, and motorists must abide by the law and respect other users sharing the roads.

Thanks go out to all of those involved for these improvements going from the drawing board, through the planning process, and out to the asphalt and concrete world.

Red line is Diamond drive, which connects North and Barranca Mesas (upper right) to Western Areas (left) to main downtown and residential areas (lower right) and Hospital/National Laboratory (lower left)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My response to the LAB anti-hate speech solicitation

Dear Andy, Elizabeth, and Jeff
League of American Bicyclists Executive Staff

Just read the solicitation letter on responding to and addressing the hate on the Internet and elsewhere. Fine as far as it goes.

We are running into a problem larger than cyclists alone. A letter to the editor in the Los Alamos Monitor was written by a local resident who, walking into County offices to vote early, heard two men say, one to the other, "you aren't going to vote for the n*gg*r, are you? ". The letter-writer was perhaps as naive as cyclists regarding undercurrents of hate?

The rise of anonymous forums on the Internet and to inflammatory radio has lead to people feeling free to say crap they would never dare to if they had to sign their names or have their faces seen in the newspaper. Perhaps from our perspective that is good--we get to see the worst of the hate speech which otherwise is underground.

On the other hand, I don't buy that perspective. I think the rise of anonymous hate speech reinforces it, due to the "me too" effect. You cannot reason with or confront a fictitious name for an Internet troll in Topix, etc. I've really gotten disgusted with organizations such as Topix which get their income by fanning anonymous hate. Our local paper, the New Mexican, has tossed its lot in with Topix. Too bad, since our previous forum kept it reasonably civil because we were all real people. The level of discourse has recently gone into and beyond the toilet bowl.

One antidote I advise is making our own faces public. When I walk into the County offices to chair our County Transportation Board meetings, its often with my bicycle, and I toss bike and helmet in the corner, walk to the nearest rest room, and come out in street clothes as Clark Kent. At work, a cyclist is chair of our LANL-wide traffic safety committee and is active in other safety issues on the technical side.

So it is obvious that I am a cyclist. You want to hate me? Take a good look. I look just like you do. Its a little tougher when we put a human face on it. Get more people active in their community as public ambassadors for the greater good--not just the cycling good.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On reducing friction between motorists and cyclists

This post was offered by Fred Meredith on the League Cycling Instructor e-list as a suggestion for increasing cyclist-noncyclist (i.e., motorist) cooperation from the cycling perspective. The context was addressing and reducing anti-cycling attitudes. Fred has been a writer, a nuclear reactor operator, college student, and trainer of League Cycling Instructors. He rides bikes a lot, too; check out his web site.

Read on.

From Fred:

All of us out there on the road, regardless of the vehicle we are "driving," have the same needs that apply in the rest of our lives. We need to be acknowledged and we need to be validated.

When you ride in the traffic lane whether alone or in a pack, if you never turn and look at the roaduser behind you until you need to make a course change, you are not doing much to acknowledge their presence.

Unless the roaduser behind you understands about helmet and eyeglass-mounted mirrors and spots yours, they have no assurance that you know they are there. Acknowledging their presence is important.


If, upon their approach behind you, you do not acknowledge their presence by a look back in their direction or a change in your behavior (a move toward the shoulder, a singling up of the group or a cooperative hand signal, whichever is appropriate), you not only fail to acknowledge their presence, but you fail to validate their right to be there and the right of faster traffic to receive cooperation from slower traffic, when possible, to help facilitate their progress.

Acknowledgment and validation are COOPERATIVE behaviors. Appearing to totally ignore the needs of any overtaking roadusers is none of the above. It is often interpreted as defiant, hostile and self centered (like motorists who race up a vanishing lane to get in front of everyone else on their daily commute -- it's about them, and nobody else.)

Even though I am a cyclist, when I am driving and come up behind a group of cyclists, or even a single rider who makes no indication that they know I am there or care whether I am being impeded "unnecessarily," I feel some negative thoughts creeping in. I can only describe those feelings as righteous indignation that builds as the duration of the "ignoring" grows longer.

In cyclist vs. cyclist terms, the feeling is similar to what I feel when I give a nod, a wave or a verbal greeting to another rider (traveling either direction) and they respond by totally ignoring me. No return acknowledgment. I usually think of them as snobby SOBs even though I know their brothers and sisters will come to their defense with excuses like, "They are so focused on their training that they probably didn't see you." Yeah, right, focused. More likely it is that I have a rack trunk or a pannier on my bike and I'm wearing a bright yellow t-shirt instead of a jersey.

I have a theory that THESE individuals are some of the prime candidates for pissing off motorists.

As they tick off the number of negative incidents they have with motorists, they will insist that they have done nothing wrong to provoke such reactions. Well, maybe so, but they haven't done enough right, either.

Part of being professional out there on the road, is being cooperative and working with others to keep the situation safe and flowing.

This is long enough for this post. Some time in the future I will expand on my theory like explaining how one cooperative act is an acknowledgment and two successive cooperative acts (with the same motorist) becomes a validation. The former may get a friendly wave, but the latter almost always will.

Fred (ruthlessly longwinded) Meredith

When in doubt … ride your bike, or at least write about it.

Fred Meredith
P.O. Box 100*
Manchaca, TX 78652

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Phase II Bike Lanes liveth, sort of

Well, its nice to have the Diamond Drive "phase two" section of bike lanes finished...sort of. I say "sort of" because until the actual construction is completely finished, barrels removed, and the lanes swept of all the gravel and grunge, they are still a tad lousy to ride in. Also, some of the pavement appears to have been hammered by heavy equipment.

Patience is a virtue, I guess.

But there is a down side. During the worst of the construction, I found that it was much more fun and peaceful to ride around through the back roads on my way to and from work. Added a little over a mile and considerably more climbing each way. After a few months of this, I found I was climbing Arizona in a bigger gear.

Well, with Conoco Hill no longer a chore, I'm back to the main road. Its just too easy (read lazy) to spend an extra ten or fifteen minutes checking email and drinking coffee in the morning. I guess there goes all that extra training...back to big cogs...darn.

As far as the current striping at the Conoco Hill Intersection. Some questions have arisen as to whether the striping was done "correctly", i.e. should the bike lane end, become dashed, or be solid striped right to the intersection. According to Jill Carothers, this is not the final striping and when the final top coat of pavement is added next year (when it gets warm out), the lane will be re-marked and stenciled along with the Phase III work. See below for details.

Meanwhile, on riding in this morning, I noticed that the car lanes have a stop line about six feet shy of the ped line, while the bike lane is not striped with a stop line before the ped line. That actually works in our favor, because it allows a cyclist to get an advanced position ahead of a motorist stopped prior to making a right on red. I would advise cyclists approaching the light on a red light to take an aggressive position to the leftmost part of the bike lane and stop right at the ped line. That makes you visible and gives you a ROW jump.

As far as potential right hooks? Yeah, I am worried. I think we will need to be vigilant and watch to see how the situation develops.

I'll make a further comment here as a cyclist, as well as an LCI. Its hard for me to see exactly where the bike lane ends as I ride south off of Conoco Hill and into the left curve by the First Baptist Church. Having the last segment dashed and maybe add an arrow pointing left would help me (and presumably others) figure out that The End (of the bike lane) Is Near, and I can start signalling my lane change before I run out of lane and risk freaking out motorists. I try to key in on that driveway into the other church, just past the Conoco station, and use that as a visual cue to merge left.

I do plan on posting a before and after picture of one location that always gave me the creeps. Will do that as soon as the barrels are gone.

Now, here is Jill's email, with a minor editorial addition via yours truly. A final, "official" copy will go out from Jill to the LA Monitor. I'll re-edit this post when that comes out and put the final copy in here, too.

Khal & Neale,

I just talked to Rey, Kyle, and Alipio Mondragon, Traffic Division Manager, and they confirmed that the bike lanes throughout the entire project are/will be official bike lanes.

Phase II bike lanes do not have the dashes leading up to intersections or bike symbols yet because there is still another layer of road surface (Open Graded Friction Course, OGFC) to be applied to the entire phase; however, the current lane marking and posted signs do meet all traffic regulations.

OGFC is the top mat that will help even out the driving surface, make the drive smooth and quiet, etc... The two layers that have been placed are completely functional and structurally sound; the OGFC layer will just make the drive nicer. The decision was made to wait until next spring/early summer to place this final layer due to temperature requirements. If the OGFC were placed in undesirable temperature conditions...i.e. too cold... the material would peel off; loose material and "holes" would be on the roadway, similar to the situation at the San Ildefonso Roundabout this previous year. We have chosen to prevent that scenario.

The permanent bike lane markings and striping will be placed once the OGFC mat has been laid. This work will be included in the Phase III contract for next year.

Hope this answers your questions. Please let me know if you think of anything else.


Jill Carothers
Senior Office Specialist
Public Works Department
Los Alamos County

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bicyclist dies in Las Cruces

"...Trujillo said the best thing cyclists can do to avoid injury is do their best to avoid a crash all together...."

Can someone please ask Officer Trujillo how a bicyclist can avoid a crash if he/she is lawfully riding in broad daylight and is hit from behind? How can you "not see" a cyclist at four in the afternoon? The wording of this article concerns me.

A substantial number of cyclists in Los Alamos simply do not trust that the police can adequately enforce lawful vehicle operation nor do they trust motorists to pay attention to their driving. This is a bright, shining example of why.

Bicyclist dies after Telshor accident

By Jose L. Medina Sun-News reporter
Article Launched: 11/13/2008 12:11:42 AM MST

LAS CRUCES — A bicyclist on his way to work was struck by a vehicle Tuesday afternoon and later died at an El Paso hospital.

Anthony Lemieux, 45, was riding his bike about 4 p.m., traveling southbound near the 500 block of Telshor Boulevard, when he was hit from behind by a 2006 Chevy Aveo, police spokesman Dan Trujillo said.

The driver of the Aveo, 23-year-old Stephanie Parra-Perez, was on her way to work as well.

Trujillo was unsure where Lemieux worked or if he was wearing a helmet. The cyclist was transported to Thomason Hospital where he died, police said.

Parra-Perez said she did not see Lemieux prior to the crash, police said.

The crash remained under investigation Wednesday and there was no immediate word on whether charges would be filed or citations issued.

"It's pretty sad, it's scary," said Jesse Johnson, an avid cyclist and employee at Outdoor Adventures. "Everybody here commutes to work (on a bicycle) every day. It could have been anyone of us. It could happen."

Avid cyclists like Johnson said that news of the fatality was not surprising in a town that Johnson considers unfriendly to cyclists.

"They're kind of ignorant to cyclists on the road and kind of oblivious," cyclist Ryan Blickem said of Las Cruces drivers. "Not that they're malicious or anything, it's just they don't really notice you or take the time to see you."

Both Johnson and Blickem said Las Cruces is also unsafe for cyclists because there are very few shoulders or

bicycle lanes on city streets. The portion of road where Lemieux was struck lacks such features.
Trujillo said the best thing cyclists can do to avoid injury is do their best to avoid a crash all together.
"That means they should follow all applicable laws, and more importantly, the common sense rules of the road: ride defensively, do all they can to make themselves visible to other riders and motorists, and avoid heavily congested areas if at all possible," Trujillo said.
Trujillo also urged motorists to be considerate and share the road with bicyclists.
Trujillo said Lemieux's was the second traffic-related fatality of the year within the city's limits.

Jose Medina can be reached at; (575) 541-5447

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Law Officer's Guide to Bicycle Safety

Some nice bicycling safety videos here.

Welcome and Overview
Welcome to the Law Officer's Guide to Bicycle Safety. In 2002, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded a grant to MassBike to develop a national program to educate police departments about laws relating to bicyclists. Initial seed money for the project was provided by the Charles River Wheelmen. The program is intended to be taught by law enforcement officers to law enforcement officers as a stand-alone resource. The major objective of the program is to give law enforcement officers of all backgrounds the tools they need to properly enforce the laws that affect bicyclists. The program focuses on all police officers, including those who may not be interested in bicycling or who are not able to attend in-depth trainings. The program will also be useful to police departments who wish to do outreach to the bicycle community or other organizations.

NHTSA is currently restructuring the program so that police can receive continuing education credit for completing it. The materials MassBike developed are available here for free downloading by interested citizens, officers, and advocacy groups.

If you would like a complete CD with all of MassBike's police training materials, please send a check for $15 to MassBike at the address listed at the bottom of this page, along with a note indicating that you would like to purchase the CD.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I had a harrowing ride through the construction zone the other day, as even my 15 watt NiteRider halogen light was inadequate to pierce the visual clutter in the face of oncoming headlights. I was worried that if there was something lurking in the road, I'd find it the hard way.

So when I noted one of the national catalog stores had a twenty percent off sale on headlights, I bit. A new HID Light and Motion headlight is on its way here. While the newest versions of LED and HID have higher output, this one is supposed to put out 550/675 lumens, way more than my old beast.

I'm sure there are other great lights out there and this is not an endorsement for any one model, but it was on sale already and had an additional discount applied. I'm cheap. These lights cost an arm and a leg, but so does a bad crash. Lights are better than the alternative, which is not being seen or knowing what is waiting for you out there.

So the NiteRider will be returned to its original configuration: a ten watt spot beam, and mounted as a backup light on my helmet.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Central Ave. Challenge

Due to some concerns about cycling amongst the combination of bulbouts and cars, Neale and I will be riding Central after work to see if we have problems with traffic. I will report any negatives here. Neale has a blog just for commuting issues.

Last two nights were completely uneventful.

My closest call in the last week was actually on the section of Central between the Catholic church and the Aquatic Center, where a bike lane exists. An ancient motorist in an SUV was weaving in and out of the bikelane and I had to dodge her.

Feel free to add any relevant comments here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Omega Bridge crash, Central Avenue bulbouts, and safety

Interesting week it was.

On Monday, there was the long awaited bike vs. car crash at the north end of the bridge. Apparently, a cyclist riding northbound on the bridge sidewalk collided with a MV making a right on red onto Diamond from West Road as both reached the West/Diamond intersection at the same time. The good news is the cyclist suffered only minor injuries. The bicycle, on the other hand, didn't fare too well.

Neale, Scott, and I have long predicted this crash. Rideout crashes are one of the most common bike/MV accidents, as this page by Wayne Pein notes. It is more prudent for cyclists crossing roads in crosswalks to slow to ped speed and make eye contact with motorists in order to avoid this. Obviously, it is also incumbant on motorists to look both ways for peds and cyclists who have the right of way in a marked crosswalk with the WALK light on.

Better yet, ride on the road as a vehicle.

Now, what can we do to keep it from happening again?

I also received a somewhat strident email about the traffic calming on Central. A cyclist said his wife was nearly sideswiped by a motorist who passed into oncoming traffic and then cut back abruptly rather than encroach on an oncoming vehicle. The fault was with the bulbouts. Right? If we had the old wide profile, this would not have happened. Probably it would not have. Then again, the road was narrowed to slow traffic and aid crossing the street. Kinda meant to be the great equalizer.

I'd be tempted to give credibility to this blaming of the new road design except I've had similar experiences with kamakaze motorists doing incredibly stupid things elsewhere such as on NM 4, which is not traffic calmed, and in the Mountain School zone where a driver passed me at speed, less than a foot away, over a double line in a marked, flashing 15 mph zone. He then had to rapidly slow down as he careened towards a crosswalk with kids and crossing guards in it.

I am tempted to say the problem is with impatient, obnoxious drivers more than road design. Its always the fault of the cyclist or the road design, correct? Even when the motorist doesn't wait a seemingly arduous ten seconds till the way is clear and then pass. Yeah, sure. In my opinion, its not just about doing any damn thing you want any more. Its about restoring civility to our community. Unfortunately, it seems to take a blunt instrument such as traffic calming to do that.

If you want to pick this bone, show up on Thursday the 6th of November at 5:30 at the Transportation Board meeting and air your views under the public comment period at 5:30.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Central Ave: Ride on the sidewalk?

Neale Pickett noticed this interesting Central Ave. (by the Reel Deal) paint work yesterday and posted it onto his blog. This seems to indicate that cyclists are being diverted onto the sidewalk.

Not a particularly good idea, esp. given the heavy pedestrian use here. Not to mention completely contrary to vehicular cycling and the county bike plan. I'm certain its a goof.

Neale and I have emailed a question in to Kyle Zimmerman and Nancy Talley asking when they will fix this.

Caballo caput?

According to Neale Pickett, Caballo rolled up the tent and left.

This town has always been tough on small business, but a bike shop competing with the big dogs in Santa Fe has been a tough order, at least in the seven years I've lived here. A bike shop needs a lot of (expensive) floor space and good location to show their wares. And this is a small market quite willing to flee the hill on weekends just for a change in scenery.

Wonder how the Trinity Site will fare on startup businesses with bank loans being harder to find than hen's teeth.

Aloha, Joel, and good luck.

Speaking of small businesses, gotta pick up some coffee today over at our own microroaster, The Coffee Booth.

Early voting

In case you couldn't find it on the county web site, early voting info is here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Riding Single File?

One of the most common questions I get is whether cyclists have to ride single file. Here is the law:

State Law: 66-3-705. Riding on roadways and bicycle paths.

A. Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.
B. Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

county code 38:545

(c) Persons riding bicycles upon a street shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of streets set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. Persons riding two abreast shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.

Normal and reasonable movement of traffic is one of those things that gets hard to define. I'd challenge a judge to tell me I was impeding traffic if I was riding two-up at or above the legal, posted speed limit or at the same speed as a line of cars in the Conoco Hill construction zone. But other than that, I'd not play the wise guy.

The punch line is that a lot of NM-4 is posted single file, due to narrow pavement, lack of shoulders, and curves. So the guy beeping at you might have a legal point.

Be careful on NM4. Not everyone else is so you have to be.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bike To Work Week/Day

LA Bikes will be coordinating Bike to Work Day on Thursday May 14, 2009. Events we're looking at for that day and the week leading up to it include a Commuter Challenge (where businesses compete for the highest percentage of bike commuters), the commuter convoys (like we've had in the past), breakfast burrito handouts to people who show up on their bikes (probably near Hot Rocks), an ABC Quick Check station (manned by one of the LCI's in town), and an education campaign (classes hopefully sponsored by the lab and the county). We'll also be looking at banners to put up around town and the lab and PSA's. If you're interested in volunteering for it in any capacity please contact me ( We could use ride leaders for the commuter convoys, people to approach businesses about the commuter challenge, hotshot bike mechanics to assist an LCI in quick tuneups at the ABC Quick Check station - that sort of thing.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A more bicycling-friendly New Mexico?

Had a short conversation with State Bike-Ped coordinator Tom Trowbridge this morning. With a sixty day session of the legislature coming up, we have a chance to try to improve cycling in New Mexico. During the next few weeks, we should come up with an agenda we can pass on to our state reps in hopes of improving our status from one of the most bicycling-unfriendly states in the union, according to LAB:

State Rank: 45 out of 50.

Reasons for Ranking: While New Mexico has a bicycle advisory council that has meetings scheduled every quarter, the state still has discriminatory mandatory sidepath and mandatory bike lane laws, no bike master plan or accommodation policy, and no League Bike Ed classes have been taught in New Mexico within the last year.

Well, they got part of that wrong. There have been several Bike Ed classes taught in Los Alamos alone. But otherwise, we have some issues.

So let's think of some ideas. The session starts in January. What do we want to change? Better shoulders and more bikelanes on complete streets? A better "buzzing" law? Using the right arm to make right turn signals? Some better review before more bicycling-unfriendly streets such as South St. Francis are constructed?

I'll open the blog to comments and suggestions as long as it remains civil.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

The good news? Bicycle Commuter Act becomes law

The good news? Hard to believe there is any these days.

Well, the Bicycle Commuter Act has finally been passed into law, riding on the coattails of the Wall St. Bailout Bill ! Scroll down to Sec. 211. A detailed FAQ on the nuts and bolts of implementation is available at the League's web site.

I've sent an email to LANL Benefits asking how they will implement the law. They are working on it. Stay tuned.

Kudos to the League of American Bicylists as well as Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). Quoting League of American Bicyclists Exec. Dir. Andy Clarke in a LAB email: “Bicycle commuters will now be extended similar benefits to people who take transit and drive to work – it’s an equitable and sensible incentive to encourage greater energy independence, improve air quality and health, and even help tackle climate change. Thanks to everyone who has helped reach this milestone, especially Walter Finch and Mele Williams, our government relations staff over the years who have worked tirelessly with Congressman Blumenauer, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and many others in Congress.”

The bad news is that the Bicycle Commuter Act was one of the many sideshows, albeit some like this one laudable, attached to the hastily passed and so far ineffectual 700 billion dollar Wall Street bailout. With the stock market having dropped like a gravity bomb and long term trouble ahead, I hope we have enough money left in this country when the smoke clears to keep the bike shops in business. Not to mention to spend on a few other essentials such as schools, roads, beer, and libraries.

Bicycling to work has several economic advantages to the U.S. These include not sending 80 or more bucks we don't even have overseas for every barrel of dino juice we import. (We might all be on bikes if we can't afford gasoline due to high unemployment or if the Chinese lose confidence in lending us the money we use to buy oil from Saudi Arabia.) Aside from saving money on gasoline, riding a bike improves one's health, thus potentially saving on the nation's staggering health care costs arising from obesity, poor cardiovascular health, and Type II diabetes. It also cuts down on carbon emissions. Finally, we would not need such huge, expensive roads such as the Diamond Superhighway if we left a few of those single-occupant cars and trucks out of the game.

There is no silver bullet for our national malaise. Just a lot of normal bullets we are currently not using. Americans need to step up to the plate and become self-confident as individuals and as a nation. Get on your bike.

Thanks and a tip of the bike cap to Patrick O'Grady for the photo, which summarizes many of the public's views of the bailout: a seemingly necessary but bad tasting and undoubtedly insufficient attempt to cure what ails us.

Friday, October 3, 2008

What exactly is a bus system?

During the last few weeks, I've seen two people hurt seriously while trying to use the Atomic City Bus system. One person was decked by an inattentive motorist while crossing the street in a marked crosswalk, and one person was stung by yellowjackets while walking to the bus stop along foliage-festooned sidewalks showing serious neglect by their homeowners. Both people required medical treatment.

As I said to our Traffic and Transit managers Nancy Talley and Mike Davis , our County Engineer Kyle Zimmerman, Pavement Manager Tom Roach, to several Councilors, and to you, my Blog Reader, a bus system doesn't work optimally without a viable way for people to get to and from the bus from their destinations. If our community is not bus and pedestrian friendly and thus support all the parts of the system, we will not see as many riders as we should. Well marked crosswalks, alert and cooperative drivers, and neighbors who care about keeping their sidewalks clear of obstructions are as crucial to the system as the riders, buses and drivers. Seems to me that in an auto-centric world, we have forgotten that sidewalks are as crucial as streets.

Thanks go out to Pavement Manager Tom Roach for inspecting our neighborhood and sending out notices to folks who need to take out the weed whacker and pruning hooks. Thanks to those homeowners who are acting on the notices--and even more to those who don't need notices in the first place.

Bike Commute blarg

I just created my own go-by-bike challenge blog:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New LCI Coach in town

Congrats also to Neale Pickett for being promoted to LCI Coach, which enables him to teach the course which qualifies others as LCIs.

New LCI in town

Congratulations to Amy, LCI-3 #2103.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More on your back!

Following the last post, I was wondering if I could find any data on the importance of lighting. Here is one source that stresses the need for not only lighting, but complete lighting, including being visible from the rear.

This snippet discusses the dreaded "Type 13" of car-bike collisions: cyclist hit from behind. Although relatively rare in total numbers, this crash type is often deadly when it does happen. Hence the question: would lighting prevent Type 13?


Listening to Bike Lanes: Moving Beyond the Feud

by Jeffrey A. Hiles, 1996

Chapter 2:
"...Cross reported that this motorist-overtaking category was the only crash type in his study where nighttime crashes out-numbered daytime ones. Nighttime crashes made up 71 percent of Type 13 fatalities, but only 30 percent of all fatal collisions. Also, 65 percent of non-fatal Type 13 problems were in darkness. In contrast, only 10 percent of non-fatal collisions of all types fell between dusk and dawn (p. 36). In more than 90 percent of the nighttime Type 13 crashes, the cyclists had no lights (Williams, 1993a)..."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

LED Headlight shootout

One of the best pages I have seen comparing the new high-zoot LED headlights on the market.
As you mouse over the various light names, the picture shows the high and low light outputs in vivid pictures.

Thanks, BikeMag!

BikeMag gives credit to Planet Bike for this type of layout, the original of which can be found here. An excellent HID light is shown on the Planet Bike page. My concern with HID lights is not their eye-searing capacity, which appears to be unmatched, but the expense of replacement bulbs. The Alias, for example, while lighting up the universe, has a $110 price tag if you bulb needs replacement. Niteriders HID bulbs are about $120. On the other hand, not sure you can even replace LEDs in the high end lights. I've emailed Niterider asking that question.

Having said that, LEDs are apparently quite reliable. But if illumination is not to be compromised, HIDs rule. For example, the new NiteRider Slickrock HID puts out almost twice the light as the LED based Trinewt.

If you are going to be riding through the winter (with Mountain Standard Time approaching in November), these are good web sites to give a quick peruse. And these products are found widely. In addition to the local bike shop and usual bike online sources, REI and Amazon are now in the biz big time.

Although the prices seem high, the price of a crash is even higher.

Bottom line is to ride safe. Night means lights.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A great find

We drove to Santa Fe today to drop off a bike at the Chainbreaker Collective at Second Street. A neighbor was taking an old, inexpensive mountain bike to the curb a couple weeks ago and I decided to rescue it from the dumpster and get it to the old "recycle a bike" place, adding some inexpensive brakes, freeing a frozen seat post, and tuning it up.

So upon dropping if off, we see this little Middle Eastern restaurant right in front of it: Alfanoose, and decide we are hungry.

Service took a little while since nothing is out of a can. Best baba ghanouj I have ever eaten, including my own! Plus, we got to watch an amazing collection of folks wandering in and out of the Chainbreaker Collective.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

REI and Bike ABQ to sponsor Road 1 courses

If you are in the Albuquerque area.

BikeABQ is pleased to announce that they are the recipient of a 2008 grant from REI for League of American Bicyclists BikeED classes. The grant will enable people to participate in any one of 5 safe cycling classes with 10 attendees each. Thus a total of 50 cyclists will be able to be safer on the streets and trails of Albuquerque.
Participants will not only receive the 9 hour League of American Bicyclists Road One course but also reflective vests, head lights, tail lights, water bottles, and lunch.
The first class will be Sunday September 28th 2008 at REI in Albuquerque. Other classes will likely occur at different locations around the city. Groups that have individuals that use or will use bicycle as a primary means of transportation are highly encourage to contact the Lead Instructor to arrange for a class at their location.
League Certified Instructor Craig Degenhardt LCI #1165 applied for and will administer the grant. He will be the Lead Instructor for all the classes. All classes must be completed before August 2009

REI has posted the following on their website and September Events Calendar Newsletter.

Sunday September 28
League of American Bicyclists: Safe Cycling on Roads and Trails. 9am-6pm
Learn to confidently ride your bicycle on streets and trails to work, school and play. BikeABQ presents the League of American Bicyclists Road One Course. A League Certified Instructor will teach novice and experienced bicycle owners the parts of a bike, how to fix a flat, how to pedal on downtown streets safely, and how to be a safe and confident cyclist. Bring your own bicycle and helmet. There will be hands on training on your own bike, video instruction, classroom discussion and pedaling to practice your new skills. Learn to do things that could save your life like ABQ Quick Check, The Instant Turn, Quick Stop, Rock Dodge, and other crash and hazard avoidance maneuvers. Complete the Class and earn the League’s Road One Certificate. Lunch is included.

Cost is $10 for REI members, $12 for non-members. Class size is limited so you must pre-register by calling REI customer service at 505-247-1191.

This clinic is brought to you by an REI grant and BikeABQ.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oil Yer Chain

I've heard a lot of squeaky chains lately. Keeping your chain well-oiled is the easiest and most effective way you can prolong the life of your parts.

You can use any sort of oil to lubricate your chain (except for WD-40!), but a specialized chain oil is best. There are many opinions on how to properly get the oil where it needs to go. I like to put the bottle on the inside of the bottom part of the chain, squeeze the bottle, and back-pedal. After a few revolutions, I'll take a paper towel and hold it over the chain as I back pedal some more, to get the excess oil off.

Tada! You're done, and can now ride your bike around town quietly, like the urban ninja you are.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

He's baaaack.....

Good news for the Old Guys Who Get Fat in Winter Racing Team:

Today's NY Times:

"...After more than three years out of professional cycling, Lance Armstrong — the cancer survivor and seven-time Tour de France winner — announced Tuesday that he would emerge from retirement and climb back onto his bike...(snip)...He did not mention any possible team affiliations, but an article published Monday on the Web site of VeloNews, a prominent cycling publication, said Armstrong would join the Astana team next year. Johan Bruyneel, Armstrong’s former team manager, is the team manager of Astana."

Another article on this is in VeloNews, including the Bruyneel connection


To the Editor, Los Alamos Monitor

In a letter entitled "Los Alamos bicycle unfriendly", letter writer Mario Schillaci claims that Los Alamos is bicycle-unfriendly. His argument concerns the traffic calming measures, or "bulb-outs", being implemented on Central Avenue, a road running though much of our town's businesses, library, retirement community, and government center. The idea that these are cycling-unfriendly is one shared by at least a few residents, but betrays a fundamental misunderstanding about cycling safety. Los Alamos County is actually making great strides in becoming more bicycle-friendly.

Mr. Schillaci states that "when [a cyclist] comes to [a bulbout], he/she is forced to the left into the traffic coming from behind..." This is precisely where cyclists should have been riding. By riding in a straight, predictable line, part way into the lane, visible to other traffic, and
not weaving in and out of parked cars (or bulbouts), cyclists increase their visibility, predictability, and reduce the likelihood of the two most frequent bike-car collision scenarios--motorist turning left across a cyclist's path, and motorist turning right after overtaking a curb-bound cyclist--both of which happen in front of the cyclist. Overtaking (i.e., "hit from behind") collisions make up only about 1% of car-bike crashes.

Bulb-outs also serve as effective traffic-calming devices, reducing the speed difference between motorized traffic and cycling traffic. A recent county study found 85% of traffic on Central Avenue through the existing bulb-outs travels below the posted 25 miles per hour limit. This lower-speed "main street" atmosphere is ideal for cyclists at any speed. The narrow lane and lower speeds ensure that any passing maneuvers are deliberate and well-considered, again increasing the margin of safety.

Just as importantly, pedestrian safety is vastly increased by traffic-calming bulb-outs. Visibility is increased at the crossing points by ensuring pedestrians are visible on the bulb-outs, clear of parked cars and in the sight lines of road traffic. Lower vehicle speeds mean drivers are more likely to stop, and should there be a car-pedestrian collision, the pedestrian's survival rate soars. According a UK Times Online article (, pedestrians struck by a car have a 97.5% survival rate at 20MPH , compared with 80% at 30MPH, and 10% at 40MPH. Such walkability improvements also improve the small business environment and decrease road congestion, by encouraging people to park their cars and walk to multiple shopping destinations in our town center.

With bulb-outs making Central so pleasant for cycling, walking, and driving, bike racks on all busses, bike lanes being added all throughout Diamond Drive, a cycling-friendly populace, and the recently enacted Bicycle Transportation Plan of Los Alamos County, Los Alamos is, in fact, becoming a very bicycle friendly community!

Neale Pickett and Khalil Spencer

League Cycling Instructors,
League of American Bicyclists

Monday, September 1, 2008

Once again, here's to the Lowest Common Denominator

In his closing comments upon shutting down active dialog on the Bomb Town News Observer, Jimbo thanks the lowest common denominator folks for making anonymous comments on his blog that led him to shut it down:

"Here's to the Lowest Common Denominator, the ones who drag us down, the millstones that hang painfully around the neck of society! May they get what they deserve!..."

So too overnight, when the LCD'd hit once more, dousing the new mountain lion at the San Ildefonso roundabout with white latex paint. Its too bad we have to share a community with such lowlifes. Indeed, may they get what they deserve. Like, about two weeks of community service detail cleaning up the community, and scraping the last paint off that lion with their raw fingernails.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Talk of the Nation (NPR): Cars vs. Bikes

In case you missed the 30 minute NPR discussion of increased cycling and the issues this has caused to surface, including the Rob Anderson lawsuit in San Francisco that he brought against its bike plan, here is the link.

Interesting discussion.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fatal crash in the Jemez

Someone asked me about this. This is a snippet of the Albuquerque Journal article sent me by Ben Savoca and Diane Albert. Sounds like he lost control of the bike.

I'm not sure where exactly Spence Hot Springs are, but plenty of fast descents on NM-4 where things can go badly wrong. No definitive information in the entire article on why he lost control. Speculation includes a blown front tire. On a fast descent, a lot can happen to make things go wrong.

Condolences to the family.

Bicyclist Killed in Charity Ride

By Rozanna M. Martinez
Journal Staff Writer

...Michael S. Berry, 40, was participating in the Rio Grande Bike MS Atomic Ride, a fundraiser for multiple sclerosis.
The event began Saturday in Bernalillo and went through the Jemez Mountains to Los Alamos. The cyclists then returned to Bernalillo by the same route on Sunday.
Berry was riding on N.M. 4, near the 24.5 mile marker, about 9:20 a.m. when he lost control at a turn, went into a ravine and hit his head on a rock, according to Sandoval County Undersheriff Tim Lucero. Berry was pronounced dead at the scene, just south of the Spence Hot Springs parking lot.
The cyclist was thrown 8 to 14 feet before crashing into the rock. He was wearing a helmet, Lucero said....

Monday, August 25, 2008

Darwin Award?

Was riding in to work this morning a little later than usual (yeah, its Monday). Passed by Mountain School and saw some students on bicycles waiting at the crosswalk to cross as pedestrians. They crossed safely (looked both ways, checked to see that traffic stopped) into the schoolyard and had helmets fitted properly.

Crossing Urban, two youngsters crossed Urban safely on their little scooters, headed towards Mountain School. Both were wearing helmets mounted correctly.

Got to our High School and was waiting at the light at the Mobil station. A H.S. student rode down the sidewalk and crossed in the crosswalk as he chatted with someone on the cell phone. No helmet. He then proceeded to ride down the wrong side of the street, in a little gap between cars and the curb, and then cut diagonally through traffic to get to the school parking lot.

Wonder what happens between grade school and high school to gain all those bad habits.....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Are Peds Moving Targets too?

A couple weekends ago, the New York Times ran a feature called "Moving Targets" regarding friction between cyclists and motorists. To wit, all those cyclists on The City's streets might consider jerseys with bullseyes on back.

I have not seen much of that attitude here, but wonder sometimes whether some of our cycling brethren consider pedestrians to be "moving targets". Twice in the last few days I saw cyclists blow through crosswalks full of people, defying law and common sense and getting incredulous looks in return. In one case the crosswalk was full of parents walking small children to school; they were crossing Urban by Urban Park to get to Mountain School.

A triathlete tried that "split the peds" stunt near my home in Hawaii some years ago while hurtling down a similar, fast descent that went past a grade school with a crosswalk. She hit a kid, seriously injuring the child. She might have needed to buy a wind trainer for her bike, since she was charged with a traffic felony and could have been facing some training time in the Greybar Hotel.

Ferchrissakes, be careful out there and show some class! If you don't like bad traffic stuff to happen to you, then don't impose it on others. That's what the Golden Rule says, right?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

How You Can Ride Better

That's the title of a League of American Bicyclists web page with loads of information on riding, tips for better bike fit, a lot about safety, maintenance, etc. Lots of this is in the League Road I course that Neale has been busily teaching this summer.

Highly recommend you visit the web page, and if this stuff looks interesting, sign up for the Road I course.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Done in by a bike path....

Fellow longtime cyclist Maynard Hershon (who has been writing about cycling for decades, see link on the right) was seriously injured by a bike path crash last week. As I have often said, paths are not panaceas when it comes to cycling safety. This exerpt, from the blog "a year of bike commuting" is a partial post from Maynard's close friend Tamar, explaining what happened.

"This is Tamar. Maynard crashed in deep sand under an overpass on the Cherry Creek bike path, near Quebec, Monday late morning. He was in the sand before he could see it, and also had just fixed a flat tire so the tire wasn't pumped up as well as it could have been with a floor pump. The sand washed up from the storm last Friday night. He crashed on some rocks which we think is what fractured his femur. It's his left leg. "

Indeed, the League of American Bicyclists claims "...a recent Federal Highway Administration study found that 70 percent of bicycle injury events in emergency rooms did not involve a motor vehicle and 31 percent of bicyclists were injured in non-roadway locations..." I suppose one of those injuries was mine, when I was riding through a parking garage (that was clearly posted with a "no bicycle riding" sign) in 1996 and I crashed on a poorly marked parking barrier, giving myself an A/C separation.

So be careful out there. Especially with all the construction, constantly moving mud, and heavy rain.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Double Bypass?

County Engineer Kyle Zimmerman recently asked me my opinion on getting through the Conoco Hill construction zone (aka the "Conoco Hill Mess") on a bike. I told him it was often a mess, but quite a manageable mess. The old expression "in order to make an omlette, you gotta break some eggs" applies. I'm looking forward to it being finished.

I'm not (and was never) happy that we went to an Interstate Highway version of the Diamond Drive reconstruction project instead of the "road diet" version, but that's the subject of another rant; maybe one I'll co-author with Jimbo over at the Bomb Town Blog. With four buck a gallon gas and skyrocketing use of the Atomic City Bus, not sure we need all that capacity.

Back to the Mess. I've been somewhat mystified that rarely on my bike rides through the Conoco Mess have I been hassled by anyone. I think it is so slow during what passes as our "rush hour" that having a cyclist in the mix hardly matters. Since I don't try to pass people on the right and scoot to the head of the line, I don't tend to get people annoyed with that antic.

But in general, I've been bypassing the Mess and riding around it: Arizona to 45th to Yucca to North and pop out on Diamond just past the Pajarito Complex. It adds about a mile to my commute, but a very peaceful and quiet mile and adds some badly needed exercise to this old coot's day.

What are others doing?

Friday, August 1, 2008

When cheap video and official truth collide

I'm no fan of critical mass rides. Too much acrimony, and we have found better ways to make progress to improve cycling. This story is an example of the acrimony, and of what appears to be official police misconduct in an escalation of the usual testiness between New York's Finest and the Critical Massers.

Thank heavens we have it much better here. Lets keep it that way.
About New York - When Official Truth Collides With Cheap Digital ...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The future of the bypass road?

I like the idea of bypassing the LANL (i.e., W. Jemez) road. Indeed the present Large Intestine is a lousy, confusing, at times dangerous design. Community passage is dependent on future, impossible to predict decisions made by the NNSA. West Road as an option is not a great one as it is substandard and besides, who wants heavy traffic bombing past the ice rink while it is in use?

But I have to ask the obvious big picture question: How many roads do we really need in Los Alamos, and how big do they need to be? Diamond is going to be a four-lane superhighway through our town. We will have three parallel roads along W. Jemez if we build the "90% design" bypass (W. Jemez, West Road, and the Bypass). How much is enough? What else do we need to do with our money?

In ten or twenty years, will we even be driving all these behemoths? Or will our roads be overkill to a fleet of small, efficient vehicles used judiciously as we condense around our communities? Will many, perhaps most of our roads eventually look like the one here: Old Pali Road on Oahu, approximately half a century after its retirement to a new road going through the mountain. Old Pali is a nice place to walk, though, as I can attest, having walked and biked it many a time. Its neglect leads to a quiet, overgrown, and lush habitat as nature retakes the initiative over man.

I wonder what our roads will look like fifty years from now. Can we sustain all this? Are we the next chapter in Jared Diamond's book "Collapse"?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Jeannie Longo raced the Tour de Los Alamos

Multiple Tour de France feminin and cycling world champion Jeannie Longo was in the race yesterday. I didn't realize that!

Some pics here from Clay Mosley's wife Dina:

Tour de Los Alamos, 2008

Well, the local Tour seemed to go off without many hitches yesterday and I don't think anyone was perp-walked to the Bastille for doping. There was the usual confusion among the out of town motorists at the Large Intestine, including one guy who railed at me to the effect that we had a lot of nerve collecting tolls (!?). However, with LANL providing a separate thru lane for cyclists, the route though the Lower GI was pretty uneventful.

One of these days I'll ride it again instead of doing my bad imitation of a traffic cop at the Vehicle Access Portals.

Thanks to all who helped bring this off. I'd personally like to thank John Turner for his role as Director Sportif and LANS for its higher level of support at the VAPs. John will be leaving us for greener pastures shortly.

Hopefully the 2008 results will be posted on line soon at the usual T d LA site:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mother of all Bike Slang pages?

Neale and I recently taught a Road I course. The LAB booklet had a page or two of bike slang. This web page has it all....

Sunday, July 6, 2008

At $100 for Tank of Gas, Some Choke on ‘Fill It’

So says the NY Times. But the article isn't about Joe average but about people who bought GMC Denali XL's, Hummer H1's, Suburbans, Escalades, Avalanches, and other tidy gas sippers. That's a little like developing an appetite for filet mignon and then complaining about the cost of meat.

I almost bought a 4-Runner last year but changed my mind since I saw nowhere but upward for the price of gasoline. Feel bad for these folks, but if one chooses a high consumption lifestyle, someone has gotta pay the bills.

Of course, the article quotes Rick Hines of Omaha, who has exchanged his penchant for off-road Hummering with recumbant cycling. One can have it all, I suppose, as long as all of it is in moderation.

Maybe we need some of these signs.

We spent a week on the Maine coast visiting some old friends. The sign on the top and traffic jam on the bottom (seems there were more toy cars than real ones) were on Long Island, which is offshore of Portland in Casco Bay. It is accessable by ferry. The island is about two miles long and a half a mile across, so bikes, shoe leather, golf carts, motorscooters, cars, and other sorts of transportation all work very well. First time in a while a car pulled off so I could walk by on the road. Maybe we need some of that attitude elsewhere.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Road I, July 12-26

I'll be teaching another Road I class, spread across three days:

  • July 12, 1-4pm
  • July 19, 1-4pm
  • July 26, 1-4pm

The classes will be held in Urban Park, since I can't find anywhere else
to do them, and since it's nice outside anyway.

This class will not be sponsored by LANL, so it will cost $10 per
student for materials. If you already have a student manual or can
borrow one, there is no charge.

If you or anyone you know would like to sign up for the class please
respond to this message and let me know if you'd like me to order
materials. The class size will be limited.

Email to sign up.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Life in Exurbia becomes expensive (NY Times)

Well, duh....tell us something we don't already know.

"Suddenly, the economics of American suburban life are under assault as skyrocketing energy prices inflate the costs of reaching, heating and cooling homes on the distant edges of metropolitan areas."

Congrats to our Road I Class!

Congratulations to the graduates of Neale and my Road I class, which we taught last Friday. I'd also like to thank them (and Neale) for putting up with me, since I had not taught this class before!

Los Alamos County Codes

I've added a link to the list on the right to Municodes. The link takes you to the Los Alamos County page. It doesn't want to let me link directly to the specific bike-related code, but most is in Ch. 38, Traffic. Bicycle specific stuff is in Article X. This is a direct source to the stuff that was on the old LA Bikes page.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Are More Cyclists Commuting on the Roads of Los Alamos?

Are More Cyclists Commuting on the Roads of Los Alamos?

It sure looks that way to me. This morning, coming past the high school on Diamond Drive about 8:10, there were 4 other cyclists in a line immediately in front of me, none of them apparently traveling together but just fellow commuters who happened to be in the same place at the same time.

Left lane full of motor vehicles, right lane full of bicycles.

Here's hoping for lots more of the same!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Maynard Hershon on bike paths vs. the road

Muchas gracias to Patrick O'Grady for posting a link to Maynard Hershon's blog. I had lost track of Maynard, who I once read regularly.

Maynard, like O'Grady and some others, have hit the bike paths rather than continue to share the roads with distracted motorists, in spite of the limitations of bike paths. So sez Maynard:

"The bike paths are crowded, particularly on weekends, with clueless, self-obsessed citizens, oblivious, unwilling to admit that others may also be enjoying the path today. When they have to share the path they get testy, certain they’ve been slighted.

Why, they’re just like drivers, oblivious and unwilling to share the roadway. No, they aren’t just like drivers. They ARE drivers. They’re drivers - disguised as skaters, dog walkers and cyclists.

They’re drivers; they’re just not in their cars. So they probably can’t kill you."

I've only known of one cyclist killed on a bike path by another "unarmed", i.e., car-free person. That was in Calgary, Alberta, where a cyclist and jogger collided and the cyclist got the worst of it--possibly with a little help from a concrete abutment. Problem is, I see little hope in finding servicable "bike paths" leading around the Bandelier Loop or up into the Jemez, as I once happily found running along the North Sea cost of Holland as I rode from Amsterdam to The Hague. I'll therefore stick to the roads. Frankly, I paid for them.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

LANL to sponsor Road I course.

Under the auspicies of the Division of Industrial Hygene and Safety, Los Alamos National Laboratory will be sponsoring a League of American Bicyclists "Road I" bicycling course on Friday, 20 June, 2008, starting at 8 a.m.. The course will be a full day long (including breaks) and will be held at the Canyon Complex Room 172.

In addition to classroom material, the course includes a significant "on road" section. Students should bring a bicycle in good operating condition and a helmet and be prepared to ride on Los Alamos' quieter side streets, including parts of downtown.

The course is designed to give cyclists the confidence they need to ride safely and legally in traffic or on the trail. It covers bicycle safety checks, fixing a flat, on-bike skills and crash avoidance techniques and includes a student manual.This fast-paced, adult cycling course is approximately six to nine hours long and prepares cyclists for a full understanding of vehicular cycling.

The course will be taught by Laboratory staff members Khalil Spencer and Neale Pickett, who are licenced League Cycling Instructors. Classroom material will be provided. Class size is limited to less than 20 students, and is further limited to all LANL badgeholders. Please contact either Khal ( or or Neale ( or by COB Thursday, 19 June to confirm a space and ensure availability.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Bike to work!

It may seem unattractive what with all the construction but let me tell you biking in to work has never been easier. People are being very polite, probably because they've allotted extra time for getting in to work. And coming home is a breeze too, traffic gets so backed up on Conoco hill that I hardly ever exceed a liesurely 9 miles per hour.

In the past I claimed that $4/gal gas wasn't going to convince anybody to change any habits, but it seems I'm being proven wrong. Hop on your bike, it's great!

As promised months ago, here's a cool photo taken in a German town (the name escapes me). It shows the space taken to transport 60 people by car, bus, and bike.

20 cars, 20 bus riders, 20 bicyclists

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Caballo Bike n Ski lives!

Well, I thought Joel had gone belly-up. But instead he has moved. Caballo Bike N Ski is now located just down the little row of stores from the New Mexico Dept. of Motor Vehicles office, right near where Virtual Los Alamos used to live at 935 Central.

And with gas fast closing in on four bucks a gallon, might be worth visiting one of your local bike shops and getting that commuter rig tuned up for the summer riding and gas guzzling season.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Bike to Work Day?

Is anyone interested in working on Bike to Work Day (middle of May)? If so, the work must get started soon.

I spoke to Pete Maggiore about Northwind once again being a co-sponsor and he was very positive. But it takes more than a few folks to get this off the ground.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A movie

I was going to post an interesting photo but a friend just sent this to me and the photo is going to have to wait. Khal has referred to this phenomenon in the past when discussing cycling. It will only take 2-3 minutes of your time.

Do The Test.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Team ZEV?

Anyone want to look into some Team ZEV jerseys (i.e., Zero Emission Vehicles). We would need to come up with a keen logo along with the name, but ZEV would be kinda catchy. Recall Greg LeMond's Team Z?

Champion can make custom cycling jerseys. Not sure who else does. They seem reasonable in price, around fifty bucks.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Roy Serkreta Memorial Ride March 23rd 1PM

From Albuquerque, by request. Contact Craig for details if you wish. I'll post more here as available.

---------- Forwarded Message -----------
From: Black Tie Bicyclist
To: Board BikeABQ ,, MaryAnn Sweeney

Sent: Thu, 6 Mar 2008 18:01:47 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Roy Serkreta Memorial Ride March 23rd 1PM

David Reynolds was Roy's Best Man and is giving his euolgy. He has a request
from the family to have a Memorial Ride on Sunday March 23rd,1PM Montgomery
Park ( San Mateo & Palo Dura) to ride down the Paseo de Nordeste Trail/
south on the North Diversion Channel Trail across Comanche where he was
killed down to UNM and then back. The family wants to be in the ride and
needs the time to go back to the east coast and bring their bicycles out

More on coordinaton later.

Thank you.

Craig D.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Let's talk positively: How can we best improve cycling in Los Alamos?

OK, let's talk positives:

I love cycling. I love riding quickly, I love riding slowly, I love riding to get somewhere, I love riding in the dark, in the light, in the cold, and in the heat. Would I could I on a bike? I would, could on a bike.

I think the inclusion of regulation bike lanes on the Diamond project is a huge victory for cyclists in Los Alamos.

Now let's get down to it: What else could LABikes be promoting to help improve cycling in Los Alamos?

- How do we get paved shoulders on NM4 between White Rock and the truck route?
- Where in Los Alamos County would off-street paved bike paths be appropriate?
- Can we connect North Mesa more directly to downtown via some paved paths in combination with bridges?
- Should we build a new bike/ped bridge on the site of the old Peggy Sue bridge?
- Is there any way to provide a safe off-street paved route from White Rock to Los Alamos that the Lab would find acceptable?
- Can we provide a better route across Los Alamos Canyon?
- Is there any way to fight the problem of horn-honkers?
- How can we get the County, local businesses, and the Lab to provide bike lockers or covered bike racks for widespread use?

So speak out, cyclists, what should the prorities be for LABikes?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Another dead in Albuquerque

I recently posted a story about James Quinn being cut down. Here's another that just happened.
Bicyclist dies in hit and run accident

Monday, March 3, 2008

Chicago to crack down on drivers who endanger cyclists

At the risk of poor blogging form, here is a link to another blog's report about Chicago's plan to crack down on reckless drivers who create dangerous situations for cyclists.

Paging Dr. Spencer....

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Oil Hits a High; Some See $4 Gas by Spring

I guess its a good thing that the bike lanes on Diamond Drive will be that much farther along by the end of this year. Perhaps the price of gas is finally going to go high enough to induce an increased mode split between driving SOV's and alternatives, and we in Los Alamos will be better prepared for such an event.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

James Quinn fatality near Albuquerque: followup

Link sent to me by Gail Ryba, ED of Bicycle Coalition of New Mexico.

I'll comment later. Wonder what others think.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The two-hour snow delay cluster-*%$#

Is anyone else wondering why LANS, the LA School District, and County can't come up with a better way to get people to work/school on snowy days? For two days in a row, there has been a massive traffic snarl as everyone tries to get into Los Alamos at exactly the same time. One would think that the finest scientific minds in America could do better....why not try a staggered-start, for Pete's sake...

After seeing traffic backed up to Conoco Hill, I decided to go re-warm the last bit of coffee and post the Sheldon piece. An hour working late makes more sense than developing high blood pressure.

Sheldon Brown, 1944-2008

Sheldon took his last ride on this earth a couple days ago, succoming to a massive heart attack. The cycling world lost a great person. Matt Wiebe wrote an obit on Bicycling Industry and Retailing News.

For some insight into Sheldon, check out his home page. I knew him from many an email going back over a decade, many on the tandem@hobbles list, and some good advice he was always generous with regarding bike technology. The Sugino triple bought for my Redline Conquest Pro, which Sheldon suggested rather than a "racing triple" takes on a little bit of added history now.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Open Season on Pedestrians?

I sent this to the police chief and traffic manager this morning while in an ill temper.

Good morning.

I was walking the dogs down Camino Uva this morning at about 0710 prior to going to work, and crossed S. San Ildefonso at the end of my street. There is a bench on the other side where people wait for the bus. So this (expletive deleted) in a huge Dodge pickup truck (silver, couldn't get a plate number) came barrelling down the street really fast. He was by the rental complex when I checked but came at me faster than I calculated. Never slowed down (based on engine noise, vehicle balance) and passed me while I was still in the street with about six feet clearance at high speed. My first objective at that point was to make sure the dogs were safe.

I know and I think he knows that pedestrians have the ROW crossing a street at an intersection and that drivers are supposed to obey the speed limit. I wonder if we ought to make that a marked crosswalk since we now have a bus route over there and since we can't have a patrol car everywhere at once.

At any rate, if this guy is going to threaten pedestrians with deadly force, I wonder how long it will be before a pedestrian decides to return the favor. I'm not laughing. We live in a community where we don't have to worry very much about drug dealers, hard-core criminals, or drive by shootings. We will more likely kill or injure each other by misusing motor vehicles. Our society's lax behavior towards bad driving doesn't help, either.

Monday, January 28, 2008

National Transportation Study trashes cycling

From the latest emailing from LAB.
New U.S. Study Leaves Out Cyclists: Last week, the report of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission was released. This is a significant document that outlines how $225 billion should be spent each year for the next 50 years on transportation and infrastructure in this country. The Commission took 20 months to listen to input (the League submitted comments) and weigh options for creating a bold new transportation future – and in the 54-most-important pages, the words bicycle, bicyclist, bike, pedal cycle, and pedal cyclist combined are mentioned just one time, on page 24, in the same sentence as the only mention of pedestrians, walking and other foot-based derivatives. Furthermore, reactions to the report include two comments by legislators that single out bike paths as bad spending. See the comments from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) for yourself here. The National Association of City Transportation Officials noted the lack of bicyclist and pedestrian representation in their statement, saying, “Pedestrian and bicycle safety are also critical issues for cities, but the report addressed them only briefly. In 2006, 5,740 people were killed while walking or bicycling, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Pedestrian safety is a key quality of life issue for cities, and the new federal traffic safety program should help us address it.”

Friday, January 18, 2008


Hey, here is an interesting mapping website to check out:

You enter an address and walkscore computes a measure of how walkable that address is from the proximity of nearby parks, schools, restaurants, etc. (based on the Google maps database).

The maximum result is 100, and they categorize the location according to the following intervals:

90 - 100 = Walkers' Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car.

70 - 90 = Very Walkable: It's possible to get by without owning a car.

50 - 70 = Some Walkable Locations: Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a bike, public transportation, or car.

25 - 50 = Not Walkable: Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must.

0 - 25 = Driving Only: Virtually no neighborhood destinations within walking range. You can walk from your house to your car!

To a limited extent, I would think that the walkscore would be a decent measure of the bikability of the address as well, although it does not take into account important factors such as the quality of the roads for biking. But it gives you a good sense for how many destinations are within a very short bike ride.

Interestingly my home here in Los Alamos ranks 42 out of 100, at the high end of the "not walkable" range.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Neale nails his Vanagon

Wow. Harrowing story here. But the Picketts are all OK, apparently. I guess the Vanagon didn't do so well.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

100 bucks a barrel at last

From Today's NY Times.

Oil prices reached the symbolic level of $100 a barrel for the first time on Wednesday, a long-awaited milestone in an era of rapidly escalating energy demand.