Sunday, August 17, 2014

Videos on Cycling in the Netherlands

Other than the first and last ones, I have included these in previous blog posts.

Utrecht summer cycling 2014

Slow paced review of the kinds of riders one typically sees in a Dutch city.

Cycling in Amsterdam 1950

"More than three million two-wheelers in Holland" - usual U.S. newsreel voice over of the time.

Dutch cyclists talk helmets and bicycles

The discussion of helmet use reflects considerable difference from the reaction of most people here, but then the Dutch are riding in a very different environment.

Are there really too many bikes in Amsterdam? from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

Video response to a silly NYTimes article claiming that there are "too many bicycles" in Amsterdam.

Cycling in the US from a Dutch perspective

A short documentary-like presentation.

Infamous (more than a million views) compressed rush hour in Ultrecht - 2 minutes

Rush hour in Ultrecht in real time (not sped up)

Timelapse Weesperzijde / Nieuwe Amstelbrug Amsterdam from Bernard Wittgen on Vimeo.

Parke Davis' employees leave work, many on bicycles

We have video of a significant percentage of employees leaving a U.S. workplace on bicycle, but unfortunately it dates to 1899. Between then and now, things changed.

YouTube channel "Bicycle Dutch - All about Cycling in the Netherlands" is a good place to find more video of cycling in the Netherlands.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Loop-the-Loop Images - Finding Them

The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Blog has a blog post that includes a digitized photograph of a cyclist performing a loop-the-loop on a bicycle in 1905. I had a blog post of my own describing the same thing, looking at images from Chronicling America (digitized newspapers) from 1902. I thought if these images were online I would have seen them, but apparently not.

Title: [Diavolo performing his bicycle daredevil act before a large audience]
Creator(s): Mathiessen, G. Fred, photographer
Date Created/Published: c1905.
Medium: 1 photographic print.
Summary: Photograph shows a large crowd watching a man riding a bicycle upside down doing a loop and topsy turvy somersault.

Title: The Loop
Date Created/Published: c1903.
Medium: 1 photographic print.
Summary: Man riding bicycle around loop, at circus.
Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-58887 (b&w film copy neg.)
Library of Congress

Title: Looping the Loop
Date Created/Published: c1903.
Medium: 1 photographic print.
Summary: Person going around large upright loop on bicycle.
Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-89003 (b&w film copy neg.)
Library of Congress

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Bicycling Essential Road Bike Maintenance Handbook

Bicycling Essential Road Bike Maintenance HandbookBicycling Essential Road Bike Maintenance Handbook by Brian Fiske

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

So this is mostly a rant and not a review, I suppose - and not really justified (much) since I didn't waste my own money on buying it but looked over a copy from the public library (that however used my tax dollars to buy it . . . )

As noted in the Goodreads summary, this is an abbreviated version of a much longer reference book on road bike maintenance - this is supposed to be a version you can take with you.

Really?? (As they say ~) Is there someone who does that, carrying a how-to-repair-my-bike-book with them? I am doubtful. I think this is more an attempt to repurpose content already created for one container that Rodale sells into another one that costs little to create.

If you are going to spend money on a how-to-repair-a-bike book, you might as well get a good one - for me that would be the Park Tool Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair. It provides enough detail to avoid getting into too much trouble and one might even get some useful things done correctly.

Perhaps part of the problem is that I take a bike with a title like this to include "the essentials" but it is somewhat amazing how much obscure stuff is in this tiny book. 15 pages (of 166) on Shimano Di2 and Campagnolo EPS V2! When your book includes this much information on these, your audience is clearly people who don't know when to stop spending money.

And there are just random oddities - the photographs and line drawings are downsized versions, but for a how-to book, they then lose their usefulness in many cases. Dang.

Perhaps the most useful part of the book are the "seven rules of bike repair" on a page at the beginning of the book. The first rule is, "think safety first" that includes the advice to wear rubber gloves (to protect against solvents, as far as safety is concerned) but in all the (little) photographs, the hands are bare. "Do as I say, not as I do." Fantastic.

View my cycling book reviews on Goodreads.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Bicycle History Program at Library of Congress August 8

Staff at the Library of Congress have organized a display of items from the collections related to bicycle history, which is described in a blog post and a press release.

From the blog post: The Library’s curators and specialists are gearing up and pounding the pedals for an exciting tour of the Library’s collections related to the history of cycling for visiting historians of the International Cycling History Conference. On Friday August 8, 2014 from 1:30-3:00 p.m. the Mumford Room, in the Library’s Madison Building, will be the hub for a special display of “Pedaling Through History: A Look at Cycling Collections Across the Library of Congress.” This special display is open to the public and will feature over 20 tables of show-and-tell items in all formats on the art, history, and science of wheelmanship (aka cycling).

From the press release: The display will draw from collections throughout the Library. There will be photographs, magazines, newspapers, comic books, maps and atlases, film footage, catalogs, sheet music, advertising posters and more. These materials will highlight an array of topics, including general bicycle history, European bicycles, bicycle races (including races from the early 1900s), bicycles in the military, trick riding, safety films and fashion.

The following divisions of the Library are contributing to the display: Science, Technology and Business; Prints and Photographs; Geography and Map; Manuscript; Rare Books and Special Collections; Serials and Government Publications; Motion Picture, Broadcast and Recorded Sound; European; Music; and Humanities and Social Sciences.

Déesse 16, rue Halévy, Paris - a poster of the sort to be on display

Sunday, July 27, 2014

1902 Bicycle Demonstration Centrifugal Force

How a Thrilling Circus Feat Teaches a Scientific Law

From the Anadarko [Oklahoma] Daily Democrat, May 29, 1902.

This article, reprinted from the Chicago American, describes the effect of centrifugal force, (which I thought was centrifical force but that's apparently not the better term) on a cyclist in a high speed loop. I should admit, I'm not sure if the 1902 physics is correct or not. The same article appeared in the North Platte [Nebraska] Tribune, May 16, 1902 and the [Louisiana] Jennings Daily Record, May 26, 1902 - it was fairly common for human or general interest articles to be reprinted in this way across the country.
The bicycle "loop" presents a most interesting demonstration of a great scientific principle, which plays its part in preventing the earth from dropping into the sun, and the moon from being precipitated upon the earth, no less than in keeping the rider and his wheel from falling to the ground when he hangs, head downward, In midair, at the top of the loop.

A different article about a particular example of such a loop-de-loop was published that same year around the same time in the Cook County Herald, May 17, 1902 (Grand Marais, Minnesota). The second article is more interesting for a cyclist since it describes the particulars of his bicycle.

A group of circus men, newspapermen and photographers last week saw a dare-devil bicycle rider loop the loop at Coney island. With no other aid than the velocity accumulated by a rush down a steep incline the man rode up the concave surface until he hung head downward and continued on down out of the loop to dismount, cool and collected, 100 feet away. The bicyclist was Robert B. Vandervoort, an electrician, who has gone over the loop-the-loop railroad known to almost every visitor to Coney Is­land until he has come to look upon centrifugal force as a real, tangible thing.

Vandervoort's wheel is one especi­ally constructed for the daring ride. It weighs about sixty-five pounds, has pneumatic tires on broad rims of steel, no pedals, no chain or gearing and no brake. There is no way for the rider to stop himself once mounted and in motion, except to fall off, and there is no mechanism to allow of the rider's attaining motion. It has two footholds for the rider's feet, where the crank shaft os a bicycle usually is.

The same idea, but running rather than riding a bike ~

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cycling and Drones

In a blog post a few days ago, I discussed a video of a mass cycling event in June in Moscow. I didn't think much about it at first, but the aerial shots were not done by a helicopter but by a drone (or drones).

At 1:31 there is a drone visible in the upper left of the frame

This was surprising to me since one wonders about the permissions required to fly a drone for an event in Moscow - I have yet to see any drones hovering around the National Mall here in Washington. Perhaps in Moscow such things are easier?

Of course people are still thinking up things to do with drones - thanks to Amazon, the notion of having drones as delivery vehicles is out there, even if it may turn out to be impractical. As a kind of hip joke (but to get the students to ask questions about library services) the University of Virginia claims to be developing a drone-driven Air Freight Delivery Service for library materials. (I am aware that there is no connection to bicycles directly in this, but I'm a librarian. So humor me.)

Apparently the idea of delivery by drone is more real than delivery by bicycle messenger

I suppose that in the future many bicycle races could be filmed by drones - it isn't quite as spectacular as the real time coverage by helicopters as in the Tour de France.

As I said, people are still trying to come up with ideas for drones - in January a design company suggested the "cyclodrone" that would "be configured to fly ahead of and behind a [solo] bicycle rider on roads to improve visibility and reduce the chances of being struck by a vehicle." Somehow this seems . . . very unlikely. Even more unlikely than delivering library books by drone.

However preventing accidents involving bicycles and cyclists is clearly good. I just read this news item with video about a Russian teenager who was "run over by a truck" and survived, apparently without serious injury.

Caught on camera: [Russian] Teenage cyclist gets run over by 20 tonne truck - and SURVIVES [from the land of the dashboard camera]

The article states: "In the UK, heavy vehicles are disproportionately represented in crashes resulting in deaths and serious injury of cyclists. In London they make up just 5 percent of traffic, but are involved in 50 percent of cyclist fatalities."

Perhaps we did need escort drones.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Moscow & Washington - Cyclists & Infrastructure

Whatever else may be clear, Washington supports bicyclists more than Moscow - of course, Moscow's climate isn't particularly bicycle-friendly much of the year. (I do have plenty of people who don't think Washington's summer weather and humidity are very bike friendly either, but the problem isn't to be compared with riding in Moscow's snowy roads treated with huge quantities salt and chemicals.)

Nevertheless there is some advocacy in Moscow for cycling - for "bicycle culture" (velocul'tura) and seeking more cycling infrastructure, present on the Internet via this site and this site and a few others. (No, I don't know why the one Russian organization has a name, "Let's bike it" that is in English, not Russian.) The online map of cycling infrastructure in Moscow mostly references bicycle parking and rental, not bicycle lanes or trails, which are apparently pretty limited.

Recently the Moscow city transportation department and a number of informal and commercial organizations organized the third annual "Bike Parade" on June 29th in downtown Moscow, attracting thousands of riders for a 16 kilometer (around ten miles) ride on a closed course, much like Bike DC that the Washington Area Bicyclist Association used to organize as a fundraiser (although I guess they had some permit problems this past year). There was a fairly good video produced and available on YouTube of the 2014 Moscow "Veloparad." (I am not sure that having a car company, Opel, as a sponsor of a bicycle event would happen in most places other than Moscow ~)

Московский Велопарад 2014 - the 2014 Moscow bicycle parade

As I said above, I think of Washington as being ahead of Moscow in "velo-culture" but this past week a Washington Post columnist set things back somewhat by writing a column in which he suggested that DC area cyclists are "terrorists" and that perhaps a 500 dollar fine for hitting one with one's car isn't too high a price to pay (entitled "Bicyclist bullies try to rule the road in D.C."). Charming. (I only learned about this second hand; I don't pay for the online or paper Washington Post because it is so much worse than the newspaper I grew up with and giving them any of my mind might signify approval of their present editorial views and approach to journalism - also, it turned out to be quite easy to live without it.) The Washington Area Bicyclist Association has a response to the cyclist=terrorist column and others organized a lunch-time ride to the Washington Post to protest.

The 1986 Washington Times published regular full pages of news and information for cyclists, wanting their readership-imagine that!

Unfortunately since I don't subscribe to the Washington Post, I can't cancel my subscription in a huff. Oh well.

To circle back to cycling in Moscow, the comments at the end of the video (embedded above in this post) are what you would expect about how much the ride was enjoyed, but two of the comments say that the riders were sorry the ride was not longer, which I think is surprising since ten miles for something like this in a city like Moscow seems pretty good. (Oddly I could not find a map showing the route and only found in one place mention that the length of the ride was 16 km.) They were certainly lucky with the weather and it looked like great fun.