Monday, December 31, 2018

American Pro: The True Story of Bike Racing in America (Book Review)

American Pro: The True Story of Bike Racing in AmericaAmerican Pro: The True Story of Bike Racing in America by Jamie Smith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the third book by Jamie Smith about American bicycle racing, the American bicycle racing scene (as perhaps one can still say). I read his first book, published ten years about (also by VeloPress) -
. He has a more recent book, Reading the Race, written with Chris Horner is (apparently) intended as an instructional book for road bike racer-beginners - I have some interest in reading it but haven't got around to it yet.

VeloPress has some further background information on Mr. Smith.

The first book, Roadie, was intended to be somewhat humorous but this third book is more of a narrative where the humor that appears is part of what the narrative describes. The author's goal is to clarify what much of professional cycling racing at the levels below the World Tour (ie, Tour de France type events) is like in the U.S. today. He describes five seasons (2012-2016) of racing by a particular team that competed both in road events and criteriums.

You don't have to know that much about bicycle racing to enjoy the book. He doesn't focus a lot of attention on the bicycles themselves and their technology. Most of the narrative is more about the people involved and the challenges of this kind of semi-professional sport. The approach is mostly chronological covering the five separate seasons but there are some separate chapters, such as one on how families often host bicycle racers. Any book on bicycle racing has to have some blow-by-blow descriptions of interesting races and Smith is good at those.

Very nice.

View my other book reviews.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Cyclist Safety - Is it Really that Hard to Understand??

I found this on the Internet, from the govt of the state of Georgia.


Abstract: An accurate understanding of the expected effectiveness of bicycle and pedestrian safety countermeasures is needed to support decisions about how to best allocate limited public resources to increase safety for non-motorized users. However, the kind of data necessary for developing Highway Safety Manual (HSM)–style safety performance functions for bicycle and pedestrian treatments are not currently available. Limited research has been done to date about the impact of bicycle and pedestrian treatments, and most studies are not robust enough to draw broad conclusions. Most agencies surveyed valued safety as a key component of their decision to implement infrastructure, but most did not collect enough exposure and crash data to adequately assess the safety impacts. The two major challenges in using crash records for bicycle safety research are that crashes in general and cyclist crashes specifically are underreported, and pedestrian and bicycle crashes are rare events. Therefore, GDOT should pursue case-control approaches in the immediate and build toward more robust data collection, including new sources for bicycle and pedestrian crash data, counts for exposure data, and site-specific before-and-after treatment data collection.

As I read this, bicycle and pedestrian accidents are sufficiently rare and/or not reported that their approach will be to wait until there are more reported accidents and then study the subject. But in the meanwhile . . . after all, those resources that you might allocate are limited. Etc.

Also, the pseudo-military phrasing, "expected effectiveness of bicycle and pedestrian safety countermeasures," sounds like it concerned with measures to oppose rather than support safety, but who knows. And why do they refer to "bicycle and pedestrian safety" and not "cyclist and pedestrian safety?"