Tag: Bike Blogging

Weekend Bike Blogging: Bike Boxes I Can Believe In

In the store, or at the airport, a “bike box” is a box that is supposed to have a bike inside of it.

However, at an intersection, a “bike box” is when you make a space at an intersection ahead of the “traffic stop here” line. They are often combined, as in the picture, with a “protected by paint and optimism” bike lane. In some cases for traffic lights that are tripped by stopped vehicle detectors, as in the YouTube clip below, they include a more sensitive stopped bike detectors in the bike box, so that the sensitivity of the regular vehicle detector does not have to be adjusted.

Looking at the overall concept, as John Allen does in A LOOK INTO THE “BIKE BOX”, this is yet another case of, probably subconscious “if only we could kill off these cyclists we wouldn’t have to worry about them” thinking by traffic planners.

One thing the bike box does is amplify the encouragement of the regular “protected by paint”, aka “kill the cyclist”, bike lane to pass stopped motor vehicles on their right side. This is a practice that you can get away with day after day, but sooner or later you are going to end up trying to go straight when a car is trying to turn. And given the fact that the car is risking its paint job and you are risking an extended stay in the hospital, that is a monumentally stupid habit to pick up. Its bad enough that “protected by paint” bike lanes encourage this habit – the “protected by paint with a prize at the end” is even worse.

Occasional Bike Blogging: Fixing Broken Cables with the Internet

Disclaimer: I don’t know what the hell I am doing, so this is not a How To. Actually, getting this done despite not knowing what the hell I am doing is kind of the point.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally got serious about trying to get my rear derailleur back into action. It had seized up during the winter, and while I got some rear gears back at that time, I was down to three speeds on the front derailleur again.

So I was trying the dry lube, working it in on all joints, working the derailleur mechanism, and cleaning off the crud it was bringing up. Except no matter how progress I seemed to make, when I went to shift it, it seized up again. And then another round.

Until the cable snapped.

Fudge, now I had to change the cable. So I hit the internet to try to see what is involved with changing the cable. One of the first hits I got told me that when a derailleur is sticking, its normally the cable rather than the derailleur mechanism.

Aha, that sounded right. Lesson One: check the intertubes for advice first, before getting started on a new job.

{keep on with the cable repair after the break}

Midnight Oil Spill for Christmas … Happy Holidays!

Burning the Midnight Oil is the evolution of the Midnight Oil series that evolved on Daily Kos earlier in the year.

Burning the Midnight Oil is a place for me to compose diaries that normally end up crossposted hither and yon, normally including Docudharma. It also has an eclectic RSS sidebar of some interesting blogs, but there are more interesting examples elsewhere on the Intertubes.

It also has a regular series of “New Oil” posts of links encountered on my way around the blogosphere, which then becomes “Burning Fires” as the next lantern is opened up to get its New Oil.

Since there’s only been one visitor to the Midnight Oil that I am aware of, I thought as a Christmas pressie, I’d share the New Oil for the last two months.

Action: Green Transport for Christmas (2009, 2010, etc.)

I have had a number of “I’d Like For Christmas” essays over the past three weeks … now its your turn.

To say you’d like Pedestrian/Cyclists transport infrastructure in the Infrastructure Stimulus Package, sign the Rails to Trails Infrastructure Petition and share it with your friends (as I’m doing here).

To say you’d like Rail and other Public Transport infrastructure investment, sign the Transportation for America Petition and pass it along.

To say you’d like a Green Stimulus Package, sign the Sierra Club Green Stimulus Package Petition and pass it along.

My Christmas List, below the fold.

Dear Barack, I want an Exurban Cycleway for Christmas

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence and My Left Wing

Twin Cities Streets for People present The Future (result) of Freeway Expansion:

A little bit optimistic and a little bit pessimistic at one and the same time, I’d say … but, they really do have a very solid point.

Follow me over the fold for talks of an Exurban Cycle Commuter, and reflections on the risk of a Road Widening Stimulus Package.

Occasional Bike Blogging: Cargo Hauling

I saw the silliest thing on the Intertubes today. In the commentary thread to a Matthew Yglesias being silly and putting up this bit of silliness (I assume the makers are dead serious … after all, if true, it only makes it all the sillier) … I read (emphases added):

{name deleted to protect the likely non-innocent} Says:

November 28th, 2008 at 11:22 am

… has been substantive, so let’s add:

It offers a way to increase the caloric demands of exercise without a concomitant increase of the stress on your joints and skeleton. A 130-lb woman running at 5 mph for 30 minutes burns only 263 calories. If she wants to burn more, her options are limited: increase time, increase slope, increase weight (with a weight belt). All those will increase her muscle output, but also increase the burden on her body. With this thing, she could attach weights and do more work without changing the burden on her joints. Could you add fifty-pound sandbags to a bicycle? Not without changing the balance a lot.

Entirely to one side of the vehicle in question … and in the context, what’s silly about the comment is that if you want a harder cardio work-out on a bike, you just seek out those hills that commuters are normally seeking to avoid … in what world is there any question of whether or not you could add fifty pound sandbags to a bicycle? Of course you could.

Mind you, how many fifty pound soundbags will determine exactly what provision you have to make.

Occasional Bike Blogging: Getting Ready for Winter

Cross-posted from the new, improved, Burning the Midnight Oil blog and grill.

It is now well known around the place where I work that I not only, oddly enough, bike to work, but that I do not have a car at all. And so, one of the things that brings a smile to my face when I’m at work is the worried queries how I’ll get to work when winter sets in.

I smile because last December I was biking 14 miles up to the warehouse in snow, sometimes feeling like counting my toes when I arrived to make sure they were still there. Given that, a bit under three miles to work this winter is far from daunting. But it is far from the imagination of the small town / exurban Buckeye, who view bikes primarily as fair weather recreational kinds of things.

Now, having gone through it before does not mean that I laugh, LAUGH!, in the face of the Ohio Winter, but rather that I know enough to cope with it.

Saturday Night Bike Blogging: Anyone Get a Bike for Christmas?

Anyone get a Bike for Christmas?

Could it do this?

This is a Transport Cycling Open Thread: if you didn’t get a bike for Christmas, and don’t cycle in the winter, share what your first cycle trip of the new year is likely to be.

Saturday Night Bike Blogging: Freedom versus Bikeways

Yesterday, I did something different …

… I decided that I would Take the Long Way Home

… as that Tom Waite{NB} lyric says at the beginning:

Well I stumbled in the darkness

I’m lost and alone

Though I said I’d go before us

And show the way back home

There a light up ahead

I can’t hold onto her arm

Forgive me pretty baby but I always take the long way home

{NB. No, that is not Tom Waite singing the song. Good eye!}

Now, I wasn’t literally lost. What I did was decide that, with four days off coming up, I could take the long way home, which ought to be very pretty this time of year. Instead of going down the county highway to turn left onto the township highway to turn right onto the main county highway that goes straight to my (current) home town …

… I decided to turn right to go past the Quarry, then cross the state route to go along the Lake road then the bike trail that runs to my home town.

And I was glad I did, because it was a terrible route, and I set me thinking about bikeways versus freedom to ride.

Saturday Night Bike Blogging: The Joy of Winter Biking

OK, so I just back from a trip to the store.

Well, let me set the scene, courtesy of the online weather report for this part of NorthEast Ohio …


… indeed, my mum was trying to talk me out of my little trip, first downtown to the bank (like, eight blocks) and then down main street to the bargain supermarket, then back. Not far at all, and in the fall simply a pleasant little excursion.

But … oh my, oh no, there was sleety snow falling down! Oh my!

Oh … did I say joy? The joy, after the fold.

NB. Picture gleaned from the Intertubes … not taken by your humble scribe. Indeed, since it comes from Peninsular Far West Asia … Amsterdam, to be precise … and I’ve only been on the southeastern edge of that massive continent, it could not possibly be taken by your humble scribe.

Saturday Night Bike Blogging: Counting fingers and toes

I guess this is the follow-up to Saturday Night Bike Blogging: Winter Bike Commuting.

Well, as I look out my window, there is snow on the ground, so I guess this qualifies as winter bike riding weather. Traction is pretty good on snow … not as much on the slush on the side of the state route that connects to my route over the Interstate, but that’s not so much of my trip that I worry about it … if it becomes necessary, I can dismount and walk it.

So far, layers, plus the advice to avoid cotton as the bottom layer, is working well for the most part. But not entirely … I’m still tempted to count my fingers and toes when I get in to check that they still have the same number when I get to the plant in the morning.

Details, after the fold.

NB. Pictures are not me!


Belated Saturday Night Bike Blogging: Breaking Bikes

I was riding my bike hard on Wednesday, before Thanksgiving, and despite leaving after 5:15, managed to get to work around 6:55, in plenty of time to get off my bike commuting gear, and get onto the clock before the horn sounded.

But maybe I was riding my bike too hard, because this last Monday, my chain went off the gear … off the large gear on the wheel side … and that must have been when I was pushing with enough force to loosen or damage something, because the chain derailed four or five more times on the way to work, I got to work late, on the way home it started freewheeling in certain gears, and by the time I was two miles from home it was shot.

When I took the wheel off, the gear set basically just dropped off the cassette, leaving less than half the bearings (I don’t know whether more than half the bearings are presently on the garage floor, or whether only a couple spilled out and the rest were lost earlier).

So after catching a lift on Tuesday and Wednesday, and swapping the 5-speed wheel from my old (failing) department store $55 special, to get to work Thursday and Friday, I am taking that wheel in to see if the bike store can fix it.

I guess that makes this a bike breaking open thread.

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