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.

I’m going to be referring back to this later. I’m being compelled to wear a helmet in order to encourage my children to obey a draconian law which has serious financial ramifications for me. My wearing a helmet is going to draw fire given my previous statements on them. I do not support their use. I object to the fact that I’ve been compelled to wear them. I will still continue to argue against them.

Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet — Howie Chong : Howie Chong

One tends to keep one’s life compartmentalized, however, recently my life changed dramatically. I’ve been gifted the care of two very bright happy children. So I’ve just gone from worrying about solo commuting to creating a life on two wheels for myself and les enfants.

I’m going to start posting about these experiences here, but suffice to say that for the moment we’re at an interesting crossroads.

For the first time in his working life Sheldon has had to get used to carrying more than just groceries.

The article notes that outside certain special pockets cycling remains stuck at 2.8 percent modal share in the UK.

The reasons readers gave for not riding were compiled into a list. Follow the link after the jump for the complete scoop.

10 things that put people off cycling | Politics | theguardian.com

I have said on a number of occasions that the political power triangle was incorrectly inverted with cities and towns on the bottom.

Why Mayors Should Rule the World
http://www.theeuropean-magazine.com/benjamin-r-barber/8270-why-mayors-should-rule-the-world

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

It’s been a while since I last updated the Stowaway section of the Blog. Rest assured, the project isn’t dead. There were some snags along the way.

The most interesting problem was the mystery of the seat post diameter. For some reason the seat tube is the standard 28.6mm EXCEPT at a point 3 cm below the top of the post.

This was most vexing. The Raleigh Twenty is remarkably well documented thanks to the work of many dedicated fans at the Raleigh Twenty Fan Site and of course the rosetta stone which is sheldonbrown.com. So when the 28.6mm post would not fit the seat tube I was flummoxed.

A number of solutions presented themselves – including getting a smaller post and fashioning a shim. I opted instead to grind the post down to size. I hoped taking a milimeter or two off the post would resolve the problem. It did. I set to work with Mister Dremmel and presto! I forgot to take photos until after I had greased the post. So … yeah. No photos.

 

Saw this on one of my feeds. The high cost of free parking indeed.

http://www.planning.org/store/product/?ProductCode=BOOK_A64965

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.