Thursday, July 30, 2015

Gironimo! Book Review

Gironimo! Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of ItalyGironimo! Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy by Tim Moore

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I got half way through this and put it down and didn't pick it up again. That was enough.

This is a sort of travel/cycling/cycling history book. The author, who has written a book of this sort before, was inspired by the terrible-horrible-very bad Giro of 1914 to attempt to recreate that race today with his own individual grand tour attempt. The somewhat unusual touch was to do this using a period-correct (mostly) bicycle that he purchased and rebuilt for this purpose.

Much of the first third of the book focuses on acquisition of the right (which turns out to be wrong) bicycle for the trip and getting it into condition to be ridden. This part was amusing even if a little silly sometimes and I enjoyed it. The author does have this shtick of putting himself down that gets a little tiring.

Once the book transitioned to the actual trip, I gradually became less and less interested. For this genre an author will move back and forth from describing his present travels to some historical anecdotes that somehow relate. The way that this was executed in this book didn't hold my interest.

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Cycling in Moscow

I spent the last week in Moscow (for work). Moscow how has a bike share system now and I saw bikes from the system being used, but I did not attempt to take pictures of people riding around, mostly because of my reliance on my phone for photography for this trip.

Moscow bike share station on Tverskaia

Generally in the center of the city where we were we did not see that many cyclists given the density of population, but we did see some. They were usually riding on the sidewalk at a modest rate of speed, not in the street. A few arguably crazy people did ride in the streets, but it didn't seem for the most part like a good idea.

Bike to work day poster Moscow 2015
A "bike to work day" poster in a Moscow Metro station

For whatever reason, some events and products are advertised in English, so "На работу на велосипеде" is described on a site named

На работу на велосипеде! — 21 мая, Москва from Let's bike it! on Vimeo.

The 2015 Bike to Work Moscow video

There were occasional green bike lanes, both around the Sadovaia ring road and up near Moscow State University, and they got some use, although of course we saw one police car on several occasions that regarded the bike lane as its parking area. Out near Moscow State University we saw a fair number of riders who seemed to be out enjoying the weather. There is a path along much of the Moscow river that was also a popular cycling venue.

Moscow State University
Note the green painted bike lanes

Sunday morning on the way to the airport there was a lycra-clad fellow working away on a road bike, riding on the ten lane (or whatever it is) road. It seemed completely crazy to me but apparently legal enough - it isn't a highway in the usual sense but cars are mostly traveling at a pretty good clip.

Helmet use was fairly infrequent. Their Moscow bike share bikes had steady headlights rather than blinking ones, which for winter when it is pretty dark much of the time would seem important. (I guess they run the system through the winter?).

A typical Moscow cyclist in most respects - not riding on the road (this is a pedestrian-only street) but atypical in wearing a helmet

Away from the center of Moscow on a work day, we would see the occasional person riding, again generally on the sidewalks - but on the main thoroughfares these are pretty generously sized, so there is room. The typical rider was not wearing business type work attire - this isn't the Netherlands by any means.

At least people in Moscow are seeing some cycling going on. What they think of this activity and the cyclists in particular I don't know.