I found THIS video at the Rubber Side Down blog, found through the Oil is for Sissies blog, found through the Pleasant Revolution (Xtracycle) Blog: WHEW! Not that we got the chain of links done with, check out the video. I'm so f*cking impressed. This woman is amazing.
I get a regular notification from NASA when there's a new feature article up. THIS one made me think of SkyNet (ala the Terminator movies). Of course, the same parallel could be drawn with the Matrix movies, but that's a little different. When the machines take over, it'll be from the sky. In the meantime, know that Terra and Aqua (amongst others) are watching you whenever you're outside. Fortunately, they're really looking for things that change, i.e floods, melting polar ice, volcanic eruptions, etc.
More ammo: Kent Peterson posted THIS, which details why most of the time it's safe to ride your bicycle, assuming you take the proper safety precautions. It was written by a friend of his named David Smith. I've had a lot of people tell me that it's dangerous to ride my bicycle at night... though the ones who say this never take into account what I wear and how I set myself up. At the bare minimum, My helmet is covered in retroreflective shapes with a headlamp pointing forward, a red blinky on the back of my helmet, I wear a retroreflective vest and also a retroreflective yield sign around my waist.
In addition to this (depending on the bicycle), I have 2-3 other rear blinkers, a handlebar mounted headlight, Down-Low-Glow (or my own version) on the frame, Elwire stranding on the frame, Hokey Spokes in the wheels, TireFlys on the wheel valve stems, and front and rear reflectors. Most people spot me well before they spot the cars around me. That's the way you have to behave if you want to be SURE that NO ONE is going to hit you because they couldn't/didn't see you. Riding predictably (LIKE A CAR) is the second most important thing you can do to keep yourself safe. Last is wearing a helmet. I put it last because a helmet only protects your head, and if you are struck by a car, there's a good chance that the fatal injuries encompass more than your skull. Don't get me wrong, I wear a helmet almost every time I ride, but I know my safety has more to do with how I behave on the road (following the rules of the road, riding predictably) than the helmet on my head.
Don't be afraid to ride at night: it's one of the most beautiful and fun times of the day to ride! I've been doing it nearly every night here in Hawaii, and it's glorius to be in the warm air and look up and see millions of stars away from the light pollution.
I was reading through Todd's blog, flipped over to Kent's blog and found this great article about Critical Mass, Seattle and their burgeoning bike culture, and Portland Envy. I was rather inspired by Seattle's attempts. Currently, my home county of Marin is trying to implement changes to our own transportation problems. The most hotly contested is of course Measure R which seeks to bring rail service back to Marin and Sonoma counties with the SMART train. It's detractors have several points that I agree with, but I think that the problems could be solved if we had the backbone to do what REALLY had to be done to make the train a better option to driving. The Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) has put their own weight behind measure R, as part of it's stipulation is to put an accompanying bicycle trail next to the train line. I am all for a low percentage grade trail that would go from Cloverdale to Sausalito, but the fine print says that the multi-use pathway wouldn't travel the full length of the rail. *sigh* I haven't talked to any of the folks at the MCBC about this yet, but I'm not sure why they've put so much energy behind the passing of the SMART train, since not all the problems with it seem to have been worked out, which has led many people I know (who are definitely bicycle friendly ) to cast their votes against the measure. The street crossing issue is a problem, as is the lack of a usefull train schedule. It needs to run at least twice an hour both directions in order for it to be a usefull alternative for most people. As the plans stands currently, that's not the case. I'm ALL for a train system, but it needs to be fully realized before it's brought to the voters.
On a more personal note, I'm currently spending a little over a week on Maui in celebration of my mother's 60th birthday. I rented a bicycle several days ago and have been taking Kai on rides every day. I brought along the BoBike Maxi which has again proved itself to be a superior child seat: rock solid, though the seat on the bicycle itself leaves a bit to be desired, though I'm hardly surprised b/c it's a RENTAL.I've also been rather dismayed on my past few trips to see the ever increasing number of automobiles on Maui. When I first started coming to Maui in the mid 1980's, traffic was a fraction of what it is now. Maui had an amazing opportunity to make mass transit a priority, but it has opted for the air-clogging option of more hotels, more cars, more traffic, more hassle. The thought of riding my bicycle along along Maui's 311 highway between Kahalui and Kihei is a little daunting when you have a 2.5 yr old strapped on the back. I ride regularly with Kai, and not much phases me, but 311 is a fairly narrow road, it's lined with closely spaced trees, and the shoulder isn't very wide. I'm informed that there is a new bus system in Maui, but as of this writing, I know no details. The roads have become a lot less friendly in general as well: frustrated people seem to abound, myself included. Maui remains a beautiful place to ride a bicycle, but the roads are becoming more and more congested . Perhaps Maui should take the hint from Seattle and Portland?
I found this several links away from Kent Peterson's bike blog, and I'm not sure how long I can stand to listen to it for... I'm currently at 363 residents and counting down as I write this and the other comments I've read could be right.. it may haunt my dreams tonight. If I were to ride a brevet (which I'm in no way in shape for right now), this might be a mantra to keep yourself going, though you could definitely be totally wacko by the time you reached the finish line.
I also found this open letter from crazy girl on a bike. Check out her blog: she's got a lot of thought provoking stuff posted, and there's a lot of people responding.
My own observations about bicyclists refusing to yield right-of-way and riding unsafely: Harrison St. between 13th and 19th (part of my usual route) in San Francisco has the highest concentration I've ever seen of bicyclists regularly disregarding the stop signs. I'm sure there are other places where this behavior is MORE prevalent, but I haven't seen them yet. There is only 1 stoplight (at 16th and Harrison) and I've seen bicyclists ignore this as well. My commute is approximately 28 miles each way (by motorcycle), so I don't ride my bicycle in SF that often, but the blatant disregard for traffic laws when it comes to stop signs never ceases to annoy and sometimes astonish me. I've seen non-helmeted riders blow stop signs when there were already cars in the intersection, without even turning their heads to look, narrowly miss being struck and not even react.. just keep riding. I was blown away. The more I ride, the more I'm inclined to be completed anal about obeying the law. That way, it'll always be the drivers fault if the sh*t goes down.
Keep the rubber side down
CURRENT MUSIC: Strawberry Pancakes (Population: 330)
I found out what this bike is from Sheldon Brown's blog entry about Interbike:
"The Calfee booth showed a cool bike, appears to have a bamboo frame, wooden rims and genuine cowhorn handlebars!". So the answer is that it's a Calfee... a company I hadn't heard of before. Here's a link to their bamboo bicycle.