Saturday, January 19, 2019

This is my Road - book by Yoshizo Shimano (2008) Book Review

This Is My Road: The Shimano StoryThis Is My Road: The Shimano Story by Yoshizo Shimano

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this because of my interest in cycling, and in particular, Japanese bicycles and bicycle components.

This book was apparently produced from some Japanese language articles that were published, re-purposed and translated into English to produce this memoir and personal history of the Shimano bicycle (and fishing tackle, but not much about that) company.

Apparently because the book was taken from some serially-published articles, the 30 chapters are all short and all about the same length. Some themes continue from chapter to chapter and get a little more in depth treatment eventually, but there isn't much depth here. On the other hand, there is a certain amount of refreshing honesty, I would say, as Mr. Shimano looks back.

Given that I was mostly interested in the cycling history aspects going in, I didn't get that much - but I found it interesting in other ways, as it turns out, as he talked about his family relationships and the company. The discussion of Shimano's development of different products and leadership is presented only very briefly.

It is somewhat curious that the translation is not that good. No credit is given to a translator; sole authorship credit is given to Yoshizo Shimano. He lived in the U.S. for decades; perhaps he did it himself? It would certainly be in character.

An interesting example of seeking out a book to read for one reason and coming away satisfied with the experience mostly for other reasons.

View my book reviews about cycling books.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

14th Street Bridge Approach Still Not Perfect

Of course, what is perfect. Not much.

I have not been commuting by bike since early October (2018) when I had some surgery. At the time, work had started at the DC end of the 14th St Bridge across the Potomac for the pedestrian/cyclist access. There was a relatively narrow strip of asphalt that followed the contour of the hill towards the Jefferson Memorial - this was widened.

14th street bridge addition 2018
Looking towards Virginia

Above you can see the main enhancements, such as they are - before there was just some poorly applied asphalt to the right of the two poles in the photograph. They added and redid the asphalt so there is more of it for cyclists and pedestrians inbound and outbound can maneuver better at the approach to the bridge. Not visible, reflect panels were added to the far pole so that cyclists on the bridge riding in the dark won't plow into the pole. I am disappointed that they didn't add a railing - if you made a mistake and went over the wood edge material you would be seriously injured going down the hill.

14th street bridge addition 2018
Looking in to DC

14th street bridge addition 2018
Not very friendly supports for road railing

If a cyclist makes a mistake where the asphalt curves in and falls, a cyclist could easily fall onto the ends of the girders that support the road railing. This was true before, of course, but this was project was supposed to be a comprehensive improvement.