Friday, November 30, 2012

Checking Out a Bike

In front of the BnF

Since I have a short term user account with Velibe for using bikes for a week, I just have a subscriber number and pin and have to interact with one of these stations each time I get a bike. Fortunately they have an English option. Also, this one has a different interface than the first ones I used which confused me a little.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Velibe Bikeshare Station at BnF

Velibe station, looking down stairs that form the side of the BnF

This is where I drop off my Velibe bike in the morning and pick one up when the workshops are over at the end of the day. So far there are always bikes there. In the morning sometimes the slots are all full! Then there is another station just a few hundred yards (meters) down the same road so I can go down there and it seems to be much less popular so there are more empty slots to drop off a bike.

The Velibe station is between the roadway and a dedicated bike lane that runs left to right (in this image). There is a no bike lane in the opposite direction although there is a lane for cars in that direction, which seems odd to me. Two car lanes and a bike lane in one direction and only one car lane in the other direction. I have seen some bikes going in that direction on the roadway, but some ride down below closer to the river on a path there. I have noticed this a lot - people choose different ways to go the same direction on their bikes. So far as I can tell, the drivers seem not to expect cyclists to stay off the road just because the cyclist has an alternative route away from the road.

When I check a bike out of the BnF station, I have to look back that no cyclist is coming up the bike lane since you back the bike out of its "docking station."

I now appreciate more a well maintained bicycle. The bike I rode back to the hotel today had a broken spoke or something - the rear wheel was quite out of round. Since these bikes have a coaster brake for the the back wheel, it didn't affect braking but it made the ride a little wonky. Others have had different "issues." None have been so much that I turn the bike in to get another one, though. I do check that a bike has air in the tires first but more than that while it is locked up isn't possible.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Velibe in Paris at BnF
Velibe station near the National Library of France

So I am in Paris for some workshops at the National Library of France and going from the hotel to the library and back by bike.

Friday, November 23, 2012

"Flying Dismount" Delivery - 1903 Video

Another short bicycle video from American Memory.

Special Delivery Messenger makes a "flying dismount"

Special delivery messenger, U.S.P.O. [United States Post Office]

CREATED/PUBLISHED - United States : American Mutoscope & Biograph Company, 1903.

SUMMARY - As the scene opens, the front of a house, the shrubbery, a staircase, and the sidewalk are visible. From camera left, using a flying dismount, comes a bicycle rider in the uniform of a special delivery messenger. After parking his bicycle, he goes up the stairs to the front door of the house. A woman emerges, he hands her a letter, returns to his bicycle, then rides off out of the scene.

NOTES - Copyright: American Mutoscope & Biograph Company; 22Aug03; H34970.
Cameraman, A. E. Weed.
Cameraman credit from Niver's, Early motion pictures, p. 307.
Filmed August 7, 1903 in Washington, D.C.
Source used: Niver, Kemp R., Early motion pictures, 1985.
Received: 2/2000 from LC lab; ref print and dupe neg; preservation; Paper Print Collection.

I wonder where in Washington DC it was done?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Early Cycling Videos

Posting some "found" materials from the Library of Congress site these days.

Bicycle Trick Riding, No. 2 from American Memory

Bicycle trick riding, no. 2 from (or by) Thomas A. Edison, Inc.

CREATED/PUBLISHED-United States : Edison Manufacturing Co., 1899.

SUMMARY-Opens with a man riding a bicycle in a backwards circle, on a stage with a painted backdrop of a city street. He dismounts, then remounts the cycle and rides in a forwards circle, pausing and balancing for a moment as he rears up and spins the front wheel. Continuing in the circle, the man moves in front of the handlebars and continues pedaling briefly. For his next trick, the cyclist makes one circle and then pauses center stage as he does a balancing act to the left side of the bike, with his left leg on the pedal and his right on the front wheel. Ends after he remounts but continues to hold the bicycle motionless.

From Edison films catalog: "Neidert," of national fame, does stunts on his wheel that are simply wonderful. Makes his bicycle rear up, and rides around the stage on his back wheel; besides a lot of other easy things, such as riding on one pedal and riding backward, seated on handlebar. 50 feet. $7.50.

One wonders where this last paragraph comes from - presumably some documentation from that period since his trick riding is not all that exciting today.

Monday, November 19, 2012

"A Brilliant Idea" - Bicycle Comedy of 1896

I found a script deposited for Copyright in 1896 for a "comedy sketch" about bicycling in American Memory - a married couple's adventures in owning bicycles.

Page 4 of "A Brilliant Idea" comedy sketch 1897
Page 4 of the 10 pages of script

Jack and Fan (short for Fannie) attempt amusing dialog - Jack dirties up the living room pillows while working on his bike while Fan is out learning to "mount" (get on) a bicycle. And while she was out, Jack bought her a new "wheel" for her birthday! Eventually it segues to a discussion of her desire to modify her cycling attire - "not too short," says Jack (not surprisingly).

One could easily read too much into this, but overall this short vignette suggests how bicycling introduced new aspects to social life.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Riding in the Cool Rain ~

I have been commuted 10 miles each way to and from work by bike year round for quite a while but only recently put fenders a bike to ride in the rain - boy, does that help a lot! A great improvement.

Presented like this, it seems a bit much

Here is what I wear when the weather is done around 40 and rainy, which it was one day recently.

* Helmet - my everyday helmet. I only have one helmet and it has my required parking sticker on it (rather than put it on a bike, which would be a problem since I have several bikes I ride to/from work).

* Baseball cap - keeps rain from running down my face, which can be very unpleasant in a heavy rain.

* Waterproof rain jacket - I have used something called an "O2 Rainwear Cycling Rain Jacket" from Nashbar for what seems like ten years. This is an extremely lightweight jacket made of some 3M fabric that is good at the waterproof part although it doesn't breathe as well as some more expensive material (I assume). At $30 it comes with a stuff bag and is easy to have along "just in case." The main drawback is that it is fairly fragile material, easy to tear. I have not purchased a more expensive GoreTex sort of jacket because this can be used in layers or by itself and it has worked pretty well so far (and doesn't cost a lot).

* Long sleeve cycling jersey with hood - cheap lycra jersey from PerformanceBike. I like to have a long sleeve jersey like this with a hood since I can take the hood off easily if it is more than needed (or put it on) and the hood keeps wind from going down my neck.

* Short sleeve jersey - Another cheap jersey from Performance, to add a layer if it is 40 or below.

* Long sleeve base layer shirt - For me, a fairly pricey long sleeve thin (not heavy) Merino wool shirt from Ibex. I got this last year - it replaces a layer of polypropylene. Works well.

* Performance bike shorts - The more expensive "Ultra" Performance brand bike shorts last longer and compare with name brand bike shorts. The less expensive Performance brand bike shorts seem shoddy.

* Bicycle tights - I have had these so long I don't remember where they came from. They are just lycra or some lycra cotton mix and aren't waterproof or windproof. When it gets down to freezing I have some more substantial (and expensive) windproof/waterproof tights, but at 40 degrees they are too warm.

* Lightweight wool socks + pair of cotton socks - the shoes I wear in cooler weather are a size large so I can wear more than one pair of socks.

* Shimano RW80 Winter Road Boots - these are something I bought several winters ago in order to stop using summer shoes with various over-shoes and trying to cram extra socks into the shoes. They work quite well, although they are only moderately waterproof. And once they get damp inside, they are very slow to dry out.

* Addidas rubber shoe "booties" - If it is raining more than a drizzle, I usually pull these on.

* Performance Nanuk Waterproof Thermal Gloves - Silly name, but whatever (as they say). Somewhere around 45 I want to have full finger gloves and these are what I wear down to around freezing; cooler than that I want something more serious than these gloves. They aren't really waterproof although it does take a long time for them to get damp all the way through. Unfortunately they take a good long time to dry out.

So there you have it!

Bridgestone Sirius with (cheap) fenders
Newly installed fenders on 30 year old bike for rainy weather

The fenders mean that rain doesn't soak my backside; in fact, after ten miles in moderate rain the other day I could sit on a chair and not get the chair damp - pretty good! And the fenders make it a lot easier for the waterproof aspects of my footwear to work successfully - again, the other day when I got to work my socks were dry inside my shoes.