Monday, May 15, 2017

Hertz Rent-A-Bike? (1971)

Bike story [Bicycle rental store, District Hardware]
A "Hertz rent-a-bike" in Washington DC in 1971

The Library of Congress has a collection that was given to the Library for which rights were also given, the U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection. This includes photographs from the 1960s and 1970s.

This odd example apparently was a possibility to go with a magazine story about cycling. I was surprised to see the "Hertz Rent-a-Bike" sign on the door. I had never heard of such a thing. It does not appear as convenient as Capital Bikeshare!

Title-Bike story [Bicycle rental store, District Hardware]
Contributor Names Leffler, Warren K., photographer
Created / Published-1971.
Format Headings-Film negatives--1970-1980.
Genre-Film negatives--1970-1980
Notes
- Title and date from log book.
- Contact sheet available for reference purposes: USN&WR COLL
- Job no. 25159-A, frame 17/17A.
- Forms part of: U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection. Medium 1 photograph : negative; film width 35mm (roll format)
Call Number/Physical Location LC-U9-25159-A- 17/17A [P&P]
Source Collection U.S. News & World Report magazine photograph collection (Library of Congress)
Repository Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Rights Advisory No known restrictions on LCCN Permalink lccn.loc.gov/2017646391

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Infographic Guide to Cycling (Book Review)

Infographic Guide to CyclingInfographic Guide to Cycling by Roadcycling Uk

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This was something I found at my local public library.

This is a publication of Roadcycling UK which tells you several things immediately - the focus is almost entirely on road cycling (and not any other kind of cycling) and it is written with UK cycling history featured heavily.

There are some infographics at the beginning about "bike tech" that are useful in the way I would think of being a "guide to cycling" but after that it is largely about different kinds of professional racing and the history of some of the most famous races, particularly (but not only) where there was exceptional performance of a British cyclist. If you aren't interested in professional racing there isn't much here of interest. At all.

I find it somewhat sad to see in print that with the disqualification of Armstrong, once again Greg LeMond is the only American to have won the Tour de France.

As a book for a public library in the US, I don't think this is a very good selection. Oh well.

View all my cycling book reviews.

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Roosevelt (or Two) on a Bike

Archie Roosevelt on Bicycle at White House
Archie Roosevelt, son of the then-president, Theodore Roosevelt, on a bicycle at the White House. The bike is too large for him.

Title-Archie Roosevelt on a bicycle
Contributor Names-Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952, photographer
Created / Published-c1902 June 17.
Format Headings
Photographic prints--1900-1910.
Portrait photographs--1900-1910.
Notes
- H19130 U.S. Copyright Office.
- Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item.
- Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection (Library of Congress).
- Formerly in LOT 4273.
- Multiple copies of print found.
Medium-1 photographic print.
Source Collection-Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952. Portraits
Repository-Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Digital Id-cph 3a19334 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3a19334
Reproduction Number-LC-USZ62-17136 (b&w film copy neg.)
Rights Advisory-No known restrictions on publication.
LCCN Permalink-https://lccn.loc.gov/2001703918



Something completely different

The Nationals' Ball Park has a "Presidents' Race" of the racing presidents that includes Teddy Roosevelt - who never won a race until 2012. Here the presidents raced using local Capital Bikeshare bikes.

Johnston With Bike
The portrait of Archie Roosevelt was taken by this photographer, who posed dressed in a man in this self-portrait with a high-wheel bicycle

Title-[Frances Benjamin Johnston, full-length self-portrait dressed as a man with false moustache, posed with bicycle, facing left]
Contributor Name-Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952, photographer
Created / Published-[between 1890 and 1900]
Subject Headings
- Johnston, Frances Benjamin,--1864-1952
- Cross dressing--1890-1900
- Bicycles--1890-1900
Format Headings
Albumen prints--1890-1900.
Portrait photographs--1890-1900.
Self-portraits--1890-1900.
Notes
- Title devised by Library staff.
- Forms part of: Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection (Library of Congress).
- Exhibited: "Who's Afraid of Women Photographers?" at the Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France, Oct. 2015-Jan. 2016.
Medium-1 photographic print mounted on layered paper board : albumen ; photo 20.9 x 14.9 cm, on mount 25.3 x 20.3 cm.
Call Number/Physical Location-LOT 11734-3 [item] [P&P]
Repository-Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id-ppmsc 04884 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsc.04884
cph 3b29741 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b29741
Library of Congress Control Number
2001697163
Reproduction Number
LC-DIG-ppmsc-04884 (digital file from original) LC-USZ62-83111 (b&w film copy neg.)
Rights Advisory
No known restrictions on publication.
LCCN Permalink
https://lccn.loc.gov/2001697163

Saturday, April 29, 2017

New Sort of Bike Share ? Maybe

OFO and UNDP US-Launch Event
ofo bikes in New York City, not for use but for a press event (it seems)

Here is the press release about "UNDP [United Nations Development Programme], Chinese bike-sharing start-up ofo join forces to support innovative solutions to climate change challenges."

An article in the Economist ("The Return of Pedal Power...") last week described a new (to me at least, but not entirely new it seems) bike share system that frees users from having to get or leave the bikes from fixed locking stations, rather a rider gets to a destination and locks the bike wherever, then other users can find it there and access it for their use with a smartphone app.

The ofo system is in use in China and Singapore and also San Francisco - in SF it is known as BlueGoGo. Not surprisingly there is a web site.

The Bluegogo Medium channel has a step-by-step description of the process for San Francisco usage. However the SF model, apparently reflecting a lack of enthusiasm for the "leave your bike any old place" model in a US city, does have docking stations - "When you finish the ride, easily return your bluegogo bike to any of the stations (list of bluegogo stations can be found within the app or here) and lock it." Except the link to a map for the stations is 404. Not very encouraging.


U.S. video of how to use BlueGoGo bikeshare bikes, which does not mention use of locking stations


Generic ofo instructions for accessing a bike in China without a docking station

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After I published this blog post, then I found this blog post that explains more about BlueGoGo and its dockless competitor that is a company called Spin which is looking at setting up in Seattle, where the most recent publicly operated bike share failed.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earring Flattens Bike Tire

Earring Flattens Bike Tire
Flat tire as result of picking up the sharp end of an earring

Another bike commuter showed up while I was parking my bike at work with this earring in her front tire - not her earring, of course. Anyway, it managed to stay in the tire while she rode briefly, letting all the air out just as she came up to the rack.

I hadn't seen that one before - flat tire by jewelry.

Not a great photo - I didn't realize the phone camera was not focusing on the right spot.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The President Gets the Credit (1897)

Puck Magazine - McKinley provides cheap bikes

Title-He did it all / F. Opper. From Puck Magazine

Summary-Print shows a vignette cartoon with President McKinley standing at center holding a hat labeled "Inexhaustible Prosperity Hat" and a magic wand, behind him are "Joshua" and "Moses" who has beams of light emanating from his forehead; surrounding McKinley are vignettes showing the wonderful tricks he has managed to conjur since taking office, these include friendly relations between the "Prince of Wales" and "rich Americans", the "Klondike boom" gold rush in the Klondike River Valley, Yukon, an "alliance between France and Russia", the decrease in the cost of bicycles bringing them into the price range of mostly everyone, and a good year for farm produce and high wheat prices which are a boom to the farmer.

Contributor Names-Opper, Frederick Burr, 1857-1937, artist

Created / Published-N.Y. : Published by Keppler & Schwarzmann, 1897 October 6.

https://www.loc.gov/resource/ppmsca.28742/

Puck Magazine - McKinley provides cheap bikes

Full two page illustration in magazine

Apparently President McKinley earned credit for some things that Puck Magazine considered unreasonable, including the decline in the prices charged for bicycles. "The price of bicycles has been reduced, and President McKinley did it, of course."

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Flat Tires? Bike Suspension Instead (1902 Patent)

Flat Tires?  Bike Suspension Instead.
Patent for "...a bicycle-frame so constructed that it is adapted to yield automatically...thereby doing away with the necessity of using pneumatic and puncturable tires..."
Smith, George Washington. Bicycle., patent, March 25, 1902; [Washington D.C.]. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth512247/: accessed April 8, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.
The main drawback of bicycles in the U.S. at this time, aside from the continuing rise of popularity of automobiles, was that the tires most commonly supplied on bikes and their associated rims were not easily repaired by owners compared to modern tires with inner tubes. (The rims were relevant since switching to better, more easily repaired tires, required different rims.) As the patent application notes, flat tires were "the cause of great inconvenience to riders." This inventor (George Washington Smith - great name) decided that the main benefits of pneumatic tires was the shock absorbing aspect that could then be replaced by the insertion of what are somewhat like leaf springs in the middle of the bicycle frame. Clever, but perhaps too clever?

One wonders if he really equipped a prototype with solid rubber or otherwise solid replacement tires and tested this out. The pneumatic bicycle tire I suspect is one of those things that is hard to appreciate until you try some alternative. In particular, the amount of shock-absorbing done by a pneumatic tire is easily adjusted by how much pressure the tire is inflated to. A pneumatic tire can easily take most road buzz out of the ride that I think this system would transmit.

Of course the simplest judgment of this idea is rendered by history - while there are certainly some (in fact, many) bikes that have suspensions today, they all have pneumatic tires.

1969 Schwinn Sting-ray Orange Krate 5-speed
Lars Olsen on Flickr - Orange Crate from back in the 1960s with a suspension but also inflatable tires


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Family Portrait with Bicycles

Homer (LOC)
The Homer Family, between 1915 and 1920, with bicycles

The smaller children have tricycles that are sized for their age, but the older daughters have what are I think adult bicycles. Fairly clearly they are not the same model of bike, or even from the some company, since the head badges are different.

The Homers were a fairly well-to-off family financially, it seems. Louise Homer was a opera singer and recording star and her husband was a composer. These photos and others were from the Bain News Service collection at the Library of Congress and perhaps were for some article about Homer's home life and family, thus bringing the bicycle and tricycles into a photo.

Homer (LOC)
Here by contrast they are smiling

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A True Daredevil Use of a Bicycle

Daredevil cyclist

Crowd watch daredevil preparing to dive into water from cycle down elevated incline, state fair, Donaldsonville, Louisiana
Contributor Names-Lee, Russell, 1903-1986, photographer
Created / Published-1938 Nov.
Format Headings-Nitrate negatives.
Medium-1 negative : nitrate ; 35 mm.
Call Number/Physical Location
LC-USF33- 011770-M4 [P&P]
Source Collection-Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)
Repository-Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, DC 20540 USA
https://www.loc.gov/resource/fsa.8a24248/

There is no photo in the collection of the pool or other container of water that was his target, or what the "dive" and resulting "landing" looked like. This looks like a crazy stunt, as far as an assured good outcome for the rider. Or the bike, for that matter.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Capitol Police Out Practicing Cycling

CapPoliceBikes
In front of Capitol reflecting pool

Yes, yes, they are some distance away, but about two dozen police officer with yellow reflective vests are practicing bicycle riding this morning. Who would have guessed they need practice.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold (Book Review)

The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold: Adventures Riding the Iron CurtainThe Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold: Adventures Riding the Iron Curtain by Tim Moore

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


https://youtu.be/A5YVpF6PPm8 - is a video on YouTube by the author to the Russian (formerly the Soviet) national anthem with different footage of his trip, mostly taken by himself with his phone (which is remarkable in itself).


Author's video in support of the book on YouTube

Early in 2015 (I think that's right; books like this are often a bit vague on when they took place) travel writer/adventure cyclist Tim Moore set of to trace the route of the (former) Iron Curtain, the defacto border between socialist Eastern Europe (the "Soviet bloc") and Western Europe, much of which can be followed by riding the EuroVelo route 13 (EV13).

The full route, from the north to south, is 10,000+ km (or 6,200+ miles, give or take) and takes him in to (and out of, and back in to) twenty countries.

For reasons never quite properly explained, the author chose to start his trip in Finland in March, more or less guaranteeing that the part of the book describing his travails in Finland is about surviving when cycling in what most people would consider winter, with temperatures down to 20 below (Celsius - oddly this book was not edited for the US market, so temperatures are in Celsius and distances in kilometers - oh well). And to make things more challenging, Moore didn't select any sort of normal touring bike but an East German "shopping bicycle" with 20 inch (that is, small, like a folding bicycle) wheels - a pretty crappy, poorly made, heavy one at that. (This follows on his previous cycling bike where he attempted to follow the route of the 1914 Giro race in Italy in 2012 riding a bicycle that dated to that period, including wooden wheels.) With only two gears! And a coaster brake! OK and a crummy front brake. Which sets the stage for is self-deprecating tales of travel.


The author follows a tried and true approach to such travel narratives, mixing description of his adventures (or here, more often, misadventures) with digression on relevant history.

Probably the strangest aspect of this book is that the part set in Finland is dis-proportionally long compared to the rest of the trip, but then perhaps it is because it really took that much longer so it is proportional in terms of days of travel. He also provides more digressions into Finnish history and society than he does as he gets further south. (I'm not so fond of the history so this was fine with me.)

It's a long trip (three months, thousands of miles or kilometers) and over 330 pages, its a long book. I got through it, I enjoyed reading it.

Some of Mr. Moore's description of different nationalities (Finns, Russians, on to Austrians and Bulgarians eventually) would no doubt offend many people of these nationalities. Russians in particular. Hmm.

After Austria, it was a little more difficult to keep track of things - the EV13 goes in and out of countries and so border crossings become the main feature, along with some hill climbing escapades (followed by hair-raising descents) that are somehow less thrilling to read about than the descriptions of near-death-from-freezing-experiences towards the beginning.

Somehow Moore managed to travel this distance, including the slow snowy/icy parts near the beginning, in only three months. Amazing. And then with his book to relay it to us in the British version of ah-shucks humorous misadventures, including insights into a third of the nationalities of the former Eastern Europe and some thoughts about cycling thrown in.




View all my book reviews.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Now THAT'S a Tough Ride

Transportation with horses, mules, dogs and bicycle (detail)
Transportation with horses, mules, dogs and bicycle (detail)

Bicycle as part of Alaska Gold Rush. One wonders what it was for.

Transportation with horses, mules, dogs and bicycle
Mail and freight on Valdez Summit

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
www.loc.gov/item/99614295/

As I contemplate the March snow fall here, and getting to and from work . . . . .

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Smartphone Add-Ons - How Smart is That?

"Hexagon is a bike camera that turns your smartphone into a rearview mirror" - article about a new Indiegogo funding effort for the solution to end all solutions for bike safety and anti-safety, all wrapped up in one.



Perhaps it goes without saying, but I am not the demographic this sort of thing is supposed to appeal to - but it's still a free country so I am still allowed to express some opinions, right?

It isn't impossible that someone will come up with a good rationale for attaching a smartphone to your handlebars, but so far I have yet to see one, particularly for recreational riders. For one thing, most of the brackets that hold smartphones in place aren't going to keep the smartphone attached if you have a simple falling accident, so in many cases, the phone ends up on the pavement, smashed. But that is secondary to the contradictions of this particular device.

There are a slew of safety features described - you have a turn signal system, a tail light, a brake light, you have a rear view mirror when the camera's view is displayed on the smartphone, it can provide video evidence if something bad happens, and it even provides parents real time information about a child's ride (with its "new generation parental control system" - by which they mean parents who are out of control, I think). It can automatically notify your emergency contacts if you get in an accident! But then there is important anti-safety feature, that this device encourages live streaming of insane stupid bike tricks. ("Amaze your friends with new tricks through live stream functions.")

"Your rides with Hexagon will be more safe, connected, and fun" - apparently I am a curmudgeon.




Saturday, March 11, 2017

Epic Bike Rides of the World (Book Review)

Epic Bike Rides of the WorldEpic Bike Rides of the World by Lonely Planet

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Lonely Planet seems to have decided to publish more specialized guides - although this isn't a take-it-with-you sort of guide but more of a this-may-inspire-you introduction to possibilities for longer distant cycling (generally at some non-trivial expense, by the way).

The format is puzzling. It isn't a coffee table book, but is large-ish format. Physically it reminds me of a high school text book.

The book covers in some detail fifty different possible cycling routes (as they call them) in thirty different countries, organized by region (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, Oceania). The number of routes per region varies widely, with all of two for Africa but nineteen for Europe and fourteen for the Americas. The rides are categorized "easy, harder, epic." For each route, there is a "tools" section that gives some information for someone who might actually be considering one of these rides, but since these are mostly not in one's neighborhood and would require considerable preparation, they are just a bare bones start at the research that would be required.

The photography is nice - again, with the idea to perhaps inspire you.

In a nod at how such information would be presented on a web side, each of the fifty routes ends with brief "more like this" section with another three routes covered in a paragraph. Some of these rides were more interesting to me than the ones covered in details - oh well.

The front cover has the blurb, "Explore the planet's most thrilling cycling routes" at the bottom of it. Perhaps I don't think of "thrilling" the right way. Clearly a few of them are in what I would consider attractive for a thrill seeker, but I would say a more accurate blurb would be "the planet's most satisfying cycling routes." But I guess inspiration needs to be for thrills, not satisfaction.



View all my book reviews.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

America's Bicycle Route (Book Review)

America's Bicycle RouteAmerica's Bicycle Route by Michael McCoy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The sub-title of this book is, "The Story of the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail." This is a coffeetable format book published by the Adventure Cycling Association, which I learned from reading this book, came into being as the organization headquartered in Missoula, Montana, that led to the 1976 "Bikecentennial," an organized effort to celebrate the bicentennial with an established route and some support for participants to ride across the country - about 4,100 cyclists did so. Wikipedia has a good short entry about Bikecentennial.

The book mixes history of the Bikecentennial and descriptions and photographs of that event in 1976 with description of the TransAmerica Bike Trail that resulted with coverage from the 1970s through to today, as well as profiles of different riders. It's quite well done. Although it is the kind of thing you don't usually sit down and read cover to cover, I have ended up reading a lot of it. The photography is good with the authors having successfully dug up quite a few photos from the 1970s.

Oddly the Adventure Cycling Association doesn't do anything to make this book available to vendors that provide books to public libraries, so I don't think you will find this in any public library. In fact, it doesn't seem to be available from Amazon, even. To get a copy you have to go to the Adventure Cycling Association web site. (I sent the ACA people an email pointing out it would be a good idea to provide a book like this to vendors that sell to libraries - they could probably sell several more copies of the book and get the word out about their association too.)

View all my book reviews.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road (Book Review)

Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American RoadBike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road by James Longhurst

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book describes the evolution of cyclist use of roads in America, which got its start before the appearance of automobiles. If today there is some recognition of the need for "complete streets," then this is something we have arrived at after considerable evolution, with highs and lows along the way.

If someone is interested in the history of recreational (rather than racing) cycling in America, this book provides an interesting perspective. If you are a regular bicycle commuter as I am, reading this certainly explains the history of how we got to where we are with some, but not (in my view) enough support for cyclists.

The title overemphasizes conflict in this history, as the author admits - "Bike Battles" sounds more interesting than "Selected Cycling Policy Debates." After working his way from the 1800s through to today, the author's advice to cyclist-policy advocates is to take a moderate approach, recognizing that roads are a shared resource, to be used by motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Some of the information and detail was new to me. I had not known much about the "sidepath" movement, which sought to create dedicated bike paths suitable for cycling at a time when roads used by horse-drawn vehicles were often not suitable for bicycling. This movement never got very far and had various misadventures with how it sought public funding. It somewhat presaged the conflicts closer to the present day between those who favor "vehicular cycling," that is, riding in the road as a vehicle with no special infrastructure for cyclists and those who favor such special infrastructure.

The book includes interesting photographs, many from the National Archives, that I had not seen before to make various points. There are also different instructional videos mentioned, many of which can be found on YouTube with a little searching.

While presented as an academic work, with footnotes and a bibliography, the approach is engaging and readable. I was able to find this at my local public library.


A Victory Bicycle during World War II
World War II "Victory" bicycle, discussed in the book - a photograph much like this one is include

View all my book reviews.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Double-Decker Bike Parking for Commuters in USA

Bicycle shelter, National Cash Register [Company], Dayton, O[hio]
Employee parking in Dayton Ohio in 1902 - back to the future?

Bicycle shelter, National Cash Register [Company], Dayton, O[hio] - detail
Two parking levels of bikes visible in parking shed (or "shelter")

In the detail photograph, you can see clearly that the rider-commuter to the right has a clip (or something) to keep his trousers from getting caught in the front ring of the drive train as well as away from the chain. The fellow in the middle would occasionally work late, it seems, since his bike is outfitted with a headlight.
Bicycle shelter, National Cash Register [Company], Dayton, O[hio]
Contributor Names-Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer
Detroit Publishing Co., Created / Published[1902?]
Source Collection-Detroit Publishing Company Photograph Collection
Repository-Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
www.loc.gov/resource/det.4a20572/

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Another Odd Parked Bike in Neighborhood

Trek 750 in neighborhood
Bicycle parked like this near my house for more than a week

This bike appeared in my neighborhood more than a week ago, locked up to a cable that runs from a phone pole. It isn't doing it much good, sitting out in the weather. It's a Trek 750 "MultiTrack" from around 1995 I would guess.

Bike in neighborhood
Dog checking it out - yes, it seems to be a bike

This bike is probably about 20 years old - I have a Trek mountain bike of similar vintage, which I like quite a bit. With a little effort a bike like this could be a really good commuter bike. Yet here it is, with its mirror that is falling off, rusting.

1995 Trek with Michelin Run'r tires installed
My 1995 Trek 930, which is sort of similar

Saturday, February 11, 2017

What One Sees While Commuting

Crew training on Four Mile Run
Unusually warm February day brings crew team to Four Mile Run for training

Not much room for crew on this stream, really
I guess they came up from the Potomac

Untitled
There were in fact two racing shell and a motorboat

Normally my commute is on the other side of Four Mile Run, where the Arlington water treatment plant is, but at the moment cyclists are supposed to use a detour while some work is done along the north bank.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Quick Fix from National Park Service

Mount Vernon Trail at rail bridge, near 14th St Bridge

Mount Vernon Trail at rail bridge, near 14th St Bridge -- large tree fell some time after my passing through early in morning rush hour, someone tweeted it was down and NPS must have sent crew to fix it before evening cycling "rush hour" - rush hour in quotes, because the weather was not conducive to much bicycle traffic today. Nice they made the effort to get this taken care of quickly!

Mount Vernon Trail under rail bridge, near 14th St Bridge




Saturday, January 21, 2017

To the Women's March on Washington by Bike

Bike Valet at Women's March on Washington
Bike valet parking at L'Enfant Plaza SW & Independence Avenue

It is about nine miles from my house to where the bike valet parking was set up for the Women's March on Washington - I decided to take my ancient 1973 three-speed Raleigh Sports bike that is indestructible and also not a bike that would be a loss if something bad did happen to it (like it disappeared).

According to the Women's March on Washington web site, there were 1,500 parking spots at this bike valet service for bicycles, which they seemed to suggest would not be enough, but alas the bike valet service was not much used. The above photo was taken at around 9:30, about 30 minutes before the rally started, and there were maybe a few dozen bikes parked total. Hmm. When I left the area around 2:15, heavy crowds extended down Independence Avenue further than this - far too crowded to try to walk a bicycle in that direction - I was able to leave the area by going south, away from Independence, crossing over the railroad tracks and SW freeway on L'Enfant Plaza, then down to Maine Ave and the usual bike route from the Jefferson Memorial area onward across the 14th St Bridge and into Arlington. So for me at least the bike valet parking was well situated.

Given the huge number of people who attended and the stories of how Metro was overwhelmed, it appears bicycle was a good solution, but apparently not an obvious one, although I understand many people came in groups and a group bike ride to something like this probably isn't the first idea one has. Still, the bike valet must have been one of the more over-provided (or under-utilized) resources connected with this event.

Both on the way to the March and on the ride home, I saw more attendees riding Capital Bikeshare bikes than their own bikes.

Women's March on Washington
Listening to speakers at the March

It was an uplifting experience in many ways, even if the historical fact that drove the organizers to create it isn't a positive one in my view. I was glad to be there. Who knows how many people were really there, but Lord that was a lot of people.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Bikeways : State of the Art, 1974 (Government Report)

Bikeways : state of the art, 1974 / Dan Smith, Jr., author ; prepared for Federal Highway Administration.
Main Author: Smith, Dan.
Language(s): English
Published: Springfield, Va. : distributed by National Technical Information Service, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1974.
Subjects: Cycling.
Cycling > United States.
Bicycle trails.
Note: DeLeuw, Cather and Company, performing organization.
Physical Description: v, 97 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.

Available as a public domain government funded document from HathiTrust - https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/007473274

It sounds to much like today . . .
With this growth in cycling popularity and utilization have come both a demand for good recreational and utility oriented facilities on which to ride and a concern for the increase in bike involved accidents. The concern for accidents appears well founded despite the fact that only the gross numbers of accidents occurring are known with a reasonable level of accuracy. Very little is known about accident rates associated with the gross numbers. Despite this lack of accident rate information, the following national statistics are significant. In l962, some 570 cyclists were killed and 30,000 injured in bicycle - motor vehicle accidents. By l968, the corresponding figures had grown to 800 killed and 38,000 injured. The National Safety Council's statistics for l972 show l00,000 bicycle - motor vehicle accidents and l,l00 fatalities.

As a result of the growing concern on the part of both the public and public officials at all levels, the past several years have been marked by a veritable blizzard of bicycle safety studies, studies for development of bikeway design and locational criteria, cyclist safety education programs, and provision of physical facilities for bicycles. But the sudden rise in activity and the demand for programs and facilities found planners and designers unprepared and uncertain as to means of responding to these demands. As a result, programs have been planned on the basis of intuitive judgment, what knowledge could be gleaned from European literature on the subject, and trial and error. The result of the past four or five years independent activities undertaken in state jurisdictions across the country has been a broad range of studies, plans, programs, design manuals and in-use facilities with substantial variance and even conflict in recommended practices. The results of initial use and experiences in various localities are now becoming available and it appears that differences in design practices have significant implication for utility and safety.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Women's March by Bike?

The Women's March on Washington information about bicycle parking still a work in progress.
Local Transportation - By Bike

Q: Can I bike to the march?
A: You are welcome to ride your bike as transportation to the march. However, bikes are not allowed in the rally area or the march route. We are currently identifying a place for bike parking. We will update people over the next week with more details.

According to the what to bring page (which really should be titled, "please don't bring anything!") it seems you are only to have a relatively small, absolutely clear bag if you have any sort of bag at all. I guess I can put a sandwich in my pocket, and an apple. And my phone, which (thanks T-Mobile!) probably won't work but no worries, life proceeded before there were mobile phones.

While it is clear where the March starts, it isn't clear where they are planning to march to, but since it is stated it will be a March of only one and a half miles, it seems like down Independence Avenue to the Washington monument or something like that. Probably best to try to park towards the destination end and walk back to the march start.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Seattle Bike Share Failure

Seattle Bike Blog description of the closure, giving considerable detail.

Short Seattle PI online news article briefly on the closure of Seattle's bike share system, Pronto.

Around Seattle - Jan. 2015
Seattle Dept of Transportation image of a Pronto bike

I lived in Seattle for about fifteen years, but that was in the last century, before cycling was a Seattle "thing" so to speak. I have relatives in the Pac NW so I go back to visit occasionally, and have observed the generally more robust development of cycling and cycling infrastructure there over here, in the Arlington VA and DC area. One of the things that seemed amazing to me was the absence of a bike share program - then once one was introduced in the last few years, called Pronto, that it seemed so lame. (Yes, that is not a very deep analytical comment, I admit.)

Anyway, the Seattle PI item above is an amusing contrast in its brevity to the endless information in the blog post and several items it links to. It appears that just about everything that could be done wrong was. But there are apparently so many villains/possible causes that who knows if any real lessons can be learned.

Because the management of Pronto was so screwed up (according to the accounts) and it was started too small (another theory) combined with the reality of Seattle's hilly terrain combined with bike share bike weight, the issue of Seattle's helmet law is not regarded as a significant factor in the failure. Hmm.

Downtown Seattle - McGraw Square Pronto Station
Seattle Dept of Transportation

These are probably the only bike share bikes of this sort of heavy industrial step-through design that have seven speed, not three speed, gearing. Apparently they were still pretty hard to get up some of Seattle's hills.

Arlington Traffic 9
Capital Bikeshare users happy that CaBi continues to flourish, without helmets (by the way)

The Pronto bike share web site (https://www.prontocycleshare.com/faq) which doesn't mention that they are going out of business at this point, speaking admiringly or aspiration-ly about CaBi. "What other cities have bike share and how do they compare? - People are using bike share systems in over 200 cities, including New York, Boston, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, London, Paris, and Barcelona with more programs launching each year. In New York, Citi Bike riders recorded over 10 million trips in 2015. Washington DC's 1,100 bike program was [as in, is] so successful it has already expanded to 2,500 bikes to keep up with demand." - This is a rare case where Seattlites have something nice to say about Washington DC. Oh, and as of now, it is more than 3,500 bikes for CaBi, yeah.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ultralight Bike Touring and Bikepacking (Book Review)

Ultralight Bike Touring and Bikepacking: The Ultimate Guide to Lightweight Cycling AdventuresUltralight Bike Touring and Bikepacking: The Ultimate Guide to Lightweight Cycling Adventures by Justin Lichter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was something I picked up at the public library. I suppose since this isn't the kind of guide you take with you, it is an OK book for a library to have, but I should probably buy myself a copy for reference if I am serious about some overnight rides of any sort. Not sure I am.

The concept here is that most bicycle touring is done in with a "heavy" approach, often with special racks for the front and back that have so-called pannier bags attached. The "ulralight" bikepacker instead uses a combination (usually) of handlebar bag, a slightly elongated bag that attaches behind the saddle, and a "frame bag" that fits into the triangle of space under the top bar - between the rider's legs, basically.

I am sympathetic to this approach mostly because of how my approach to commuting evolved - I used to have these ginormous pannier bags for a back rack on the bikes I used to commute. They were silly large, and from time to time I would more or less find enough crap to haul to/from work to fill them. A lot of weight, and eventually I began to feel they were ruining (or at least not helping) my enjoyment of my rides. I started using a messenger bag and found that if I forced myself to live within the smaller amount of space and made better decisions on what to take with me, it was enough.

This book is advocating much the same approach for longer bike trips of various kinds. The two co-authors (Justin Lichter and Justin Kline) have a light style and there is some amusing stuff about travels in Central Asia - well, amusing for me because I am somewhat interested in that region. Note all of their chapters are relevant for me - for example, "bikepacking for speed and endurance" - eh, not so much my interest.

Anyway, they mention somewhere that packing light and staying away from the heavy bags on the front and back on racks can mean better maneuverability, which seems attractive to me, but also that it can be a better approach for older riders. Amen!

Even though I wasn't equally interested in all parts of this book, it's only about 150 pages so I just read it from start to finish. A nice read.



View all my cycling reviews on Goodreads.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

In Connection with Nothing in Particular

Rabbit on bicycle (illustration, 1903)

From a digitized children's book

Jest-nuts by Bridgman, L. J. (Lewis Jesse), 1857-1931
Published 1903
Topics Nursery rhymes
Illustrated lining-papers
Publisher New York, Boston, H.M. Caldwell Company
archive.org/stream/jestnuts00brid#page/n48/mode/1up

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Moscow Extreme Weekend Cycling Event

It was a bit chilly for Washington today, but I wanted to test out some different cold weather gear and went for about a 7-8 mile ride in the middle of the day. It was around 18 F or about -8 C - my winter stuff worked OK to keep me warm, but riding back I was a little slowed by a steady cold wind. Ugh.

But this weekend in Moscow there was a winter "Velo-Parade" that was held despite unusually cold conditions there (even for Moscow) with a ride-time temperature of -27 C, or about -17 F. Yikes! I guess I have nothing to complain about.

SecondMoscowVeloParade
Poster available to print and post from one of the event organizers, http://i-bike-msk.ru/

There is this story in Russian, from the Russian News Agency TASS. There is a shorter version in English. It says in English, in an example of less than great translation, that the participants were "recommended to be accurate" which in Russian was really something like they were told be careful. Perhaps a machine translation. There were about 500 participants. The "Ministry of Extreme Situations" (which is a Russia national agency for emergency response; basically some EMTs) was at the start and finish, but apparently no one needed assistance. This was the second such "winter bicycle parade;" the first one in 2016 had about 3,000 riders but the weather was more seasonal (again, for Moscow) although of course still below freezing. More seasonally appropriate "bicycle parades" have been organized in May in Moscow for several years, as well as in a few other cities. These events are in support of (Russian) public awareness of cycling and advocacy for more cycling infrastructure. The events are not races but more of a fun ride, although in this case, in rather extreme (for most) conditions. This winter ride seems to have been about 6 kilometers each way, along the embankment of the Moscow river, or (coincidentally) about 7.5 miles, just about what I rode today in (by comparison) almost tropical conditions.


News video from MetroNews.ru (in Russian) of this winter event


Московский Велопарад 2016 from Let's bike it! on Vimeo.

Organizer produced video of the 2016 spring Velo-Parade in Moscow, in late May

The spring ride in 2016 claimed more than 30,000 participants.


Winter Riding

Lucky Run Trail Arlington VA
Lucky Run Trail in Arlington VA that was given advance treatment to slow development of ice

This is the bike trail near my house, which is treated to slow development of ice, largely for cyclists I suppose but also helpful for people on foot. (Alas, as a dog owner I am less enthusiastic about this.)

I took this while riding a bike with studded tires, however, so while it is nice, I prefer that extra insurance against falling down. Today is Sunday and I'm not riding, but I am thinking about whether to ride the bike with studded tires or my regular commuter bike tomorrow. The Mt Vernon Trail will almost certainly have some icy spots.

I don't much like falling down. I guess I said that.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Cycling Winter Shoes

After Christmas I decided I needed some new cycling shoes. I saw these online "Giro Alpineduro MTB Shoe" that were $199.99 (or in other words, $200) for a closeout price of $95.99 (or half price, more or less).

New Winter Cycling Shoes
No, these don't look like 200 dollars worth of shoes, I guess

Which doesn't include the cleats (the brass thing that attaches to the bike on the sole of the shoe) but I have a bunch of extras, so I didn't have to buy those (for an additional 20 bucks . . . ). And yes, one pair of shoelaces are orange and the other black. They give you two pairs of shoelaces in two colors and the shoes arrive with two different colors of shoe laces on them, so you can swap out one color if you like. Or not.

It will be nice to be able to have a pair of cycling shoes for winter that are OK for walking - the cleats are recessed so it just like walking in a pair of low boots - OK, a pair of low boots that have very stiff soles, which is good for cycling but a little unpleasant for much walking. Still, better than regular road shoes for walking.

Also, it is possible to wear these when riding my winter bike with studded tires that has regular metal platform pedals without taking the cleats off the bottom of these shoes.

The sizing of bike stuff that is sold with European sizes for which the online sales outlets give US shoe size equivalents are amusing - as in, wildly inaccurate. Fortunately people make comments about the items and give good analysis of the sizing problems so I was able to figure out the right size to order - and was lucky that they had any in that size at all since these were a closeout item.

In the 1890s during the so-called bike craze, 100 dollars was a typical price for a good name-brand (say Columbia) bicycle, but then the craze collapsed after 1897 or so and the prices fell considerably. Today if I go to a box store, I can still buy a bike for less than 100 dollars, which is incredible, but it uhm won't last very long - not surprisingly. (And weighs 50 lbs, give or take.) But if I want some good winter road shoes, I consider myself lucky if I get them for the same price that I can get an entire bike for!

Well, sort of. Crazy world.