Archives for category: La Vie en Velo!

Saw this Dublic video and felt it was worth a share:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyio0T9mgz0&feature=youtu.be

I’m not a huge safety freak, but last night I came across 5 cyclists riding sans lights in traffic. 4 within 30 seconds. One could make the argument – barely – that the illumination provided by street lamps is “good enough” to see by, however, its not good enough against the background of other vehicles with headlights. You are INVISIBLE if you ride without lights at night. Case in point below.

Photo courtesy of: easycycling.com riding at night without lights – Google Search

Now the rider above has the advantage of a slightly illuminated sky, but when it is the dead of night. The drivers eyes are directed to the headlamps of oncoming vehicles and not the shadows, moreover they’re looking at the lights which means that a driver’s night vision is going to be negatively impacted. They cannot see adequately to make out the unilluminated. They’re blind spots. Should they be? No obviously not, but  the only way you can ensure you’ll be seen (or rather have a better chance at being seen) is a source of light yourself.

Someone over on the Bicycle Culture channel of Google+ highlighted this little study which quantifies the degree to which cars want to kill you.

I’m kidding (sort of).

What the study shows is that unless you wear a bright yellow vest with a sign saying you are recording the drivers in your vicinity, you will almost always be passed too damn close. Actually, the study showed that even then there are drivers who will pass within 50cm regardless of your clothing.

What this tells us is that there is a chronic failure on the part of drivers in the UK to acknowledge that they share the road with other human beings. It seems unlikely the situation is much better here in North America.

Regardless, if you share the road with cars, you need to pay attention to the recommendations at the end of the study:

… it is suggested that infrastructural, educational or legal measures are more promising for preventing drivers from passing extremely close to bicyclists.

 

The influence of a bicycle commuter’s appearance on drivers’ overtaking proximities : an on-road test of bicyclist stereotypes, high-visibility clothing and safety aids in the United Kingdom – Opus

Some local colour in the College Street bike lanes. I’ve seen this machine around the ‘hood a fair bit, but this is the first time I’ve seen it in use.

Cargo Box-bike

We’ve had two weeks of very large and rapid temperature swings: 7 Celsius one day, -12 Celsius the next. The toll on already iffy road surfaces which have withstood one of the coldest winters in a while has been terrible. See exhibit A:

Layers.

Layers.

This particular hole emerged over the past week on a quiet and less heavily traveled road. One of the interesting things about this particular street is that the road surface sits atop a brick road surface. Brick. Cement. Asphalt. I would actually love to see this street restored to its bricked glory. But in the meantime I’d love to see potholes filled.

Before starting there is an need to make a distinction. There are really two kinds of e-bike on the market: there is a bicycle with an electric engine, and then there is an electric scooter with pedals.

Type 1 is a bicycle equipped with an electric assist – or an electric stoker as a nod to the back-end charlie on a tandem bicycle. This is really the machine that has been causing me profound difficulties of late. Before continuing however I want to make clear my position of type 2: electric scooters.

The proper term for the eBike of type 2 is Scooter. These are Vespa like machines with little actual need for the pedals they sport. The pedals are vestigial features which in many jurisdictions allow them to be used as unlicensed machines. They are also – in my jurisdiction – allowed to use bicycle lanes.

Neither the licensing nor lane use actually bothers me except that I’ve been witness to more than a few instances of blatant abuse. Scooter drivers weaving between bike lane and car lanes or lane splitting. The drivers often ignore their increased weight and width when careening past bicycles. One such moron – and they are morons – did this in front of me yesterday. I was led to the conclusion that this fellow must have lost his driving license not because he wasn’t in a car, but because of his inability to steer straight and when I caught him a few blocks later it was because he was riding his machine onto the sidewalk before dismounting to go into a bar. Literally a DUI car surrogate. No these machines are a menace outright because they are serving as entitlement extensions for those who – in spite of legal sanction – remain intransigent vis-a-vis their own bad behaviour.

Having said all that let’s go back to type 1:

The idea is that a standard bicycle (if you’ll forgive the conceit of the use of the word “standard”) is inadequate for certain tasks for the average rider: long distance, hilly terrain, heavy loads, what have you.

Alright, I can see that, but here’s the thing that makes me grumble, I have yet to see an electric assist which would reward the user for carrying its extra weight  in exchange for its occasional merit.

What do I mean? Well, batteries are heavy. Engines are heavy. Even if you place the unit low in the frame to minimize its impact on center of gravity, it is, at its least offensive, still an extra bit of weight to carry. Why not simply offer lower gearing?

Cargo cycling is a different kettle of fish. Depending on the terrain in which you ride, there may be a large gain to be had from a little stoker. 10-20lbs is going to make nearly no difference when compared to the weight of a bike that’s carrying between 2 and 400 lbs of cargo. This I understand. What I don’t understand is something like this:

Whiskey Foxtrot Tango?

How is this a good idea for a mountain bike? I’m seeing mechanical failings, environmental failings and basic fitness failings that would make this machine excessive. If you have any insights into this phenomenon please share in the comments.

This innovative soul took the kitty-litter bucket pannier one step further:

Front Frame Bucket Panniers–D.I.Y. | 8legs2wheels

My friend and colleage – El Tigre del Norte – took on the Icycle 2014 this past weekend. The evidence of his insanity is posted below:

Icycle 2014 4340

El Tigre del Norte

Just interviewed at a local LBS. I’ll keep the where on the QT for now. Let’s see where this takes me.

Nick Falbo presents a North American adaptation of the Dutch Method. In Toronto, we need these badly. Every time a road surface is redone this infrastructure needs to go in. Painted lines are insufficient. Bike boxes have no efficacy when drivers willfully ignore them.