Ahh, the smell of fresh grease.
Bicycling in and around Atlanta.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
For the last 10 years I’ve enjoyed the weekly broadcast from Radio
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
John over at Bike Year has an excellent post on bike shops that cater to utility cyclists, or the lack thereof. Speaking of bike shops that cater to utility cyclists there’s always Hiawatha Cyclery. Now rumor has it that a couple of the intown bike shops do cater the fringe that view the bicycle as an effective means of transportation, but out here on the edge of town it’s all carbon fiber frames and look pedals. Many bike shops don’t have bike racks and have been known to give me the look of death when I pushed my heavily laden commuter through the door. In fact the most utility cyclists friendly store in this area isn’t a bike shop at all, it’s REI.
Based on my experience 10 minutes ago, I’ve come to the conclusion that lunchtime is the most dangerous time of the day to ride. Why? First, drivers seem to speed more at lunchtime and without the rush hour gridlock to slow them down, they blast down neighborhood streets at twice the speed limit. Secondly, far too many of them seem to be taking multi-tasking to a whole new level by simultaneously eating, talking of the telephone, and/or emailing on their blackberries. Finally there are the readers, I have a special contempt for road readers but when they combine reading, driving, and eating well that’s just too much. Please, put down your newspapers and your novels, and just concentrate on driving.
Monday, December 18, 2006
First in the interest of full discloser: My wife isn’t very fond of bikes. She looks upon my bicycle-centric lifestyle as just another one of my numerous eccentricities.
So when I told her about my little rack disaster this morning I could hear her rolling her eyes over the phone. You see she’s under the impression that I spend way too much money on cycling related activities. Let’s look at the numbers.
My wife’s car payment: $400 per month
Insurance of my wife’s care: $100 per month
Taxes on car: $15 per month
Gas for car: $100 per month
That’s $615 per month, excluding everything I’ve forgotten.
Now I have three bikes none of which were purchased new. In fact I’ve never spent more than $70 on a bike. I have a few jersey’s, some shorts, leg warmers, ear warmers, panniers, a rack, a messenger bag, lights and a few other accessories that were all purchased on clearance. In fact if you put everything I’ve spent on cycling as an adult together they still don’t equal one month of car ownership. But owning a car is viewed as a necessity, which it isn’t, while owning a bike is viewed as a luxury. If you took the $615 one might spend on a car you could buy a bike a month and have money left over. The more you think about it the more America’s car-centric culture just doesn’t make sense.
This morning on my ride to work, I heard a snap. Then my bike became real sluggish. I looked back to see that my rack had broken and was now rubbing against my rear tire. I stopped, pulled by bike up on the sidewalk, and examined the damage. Sure enough my rack was broken. I reached into my panniers pulled out some tape and a couple of pencils to make a brace. 10 minutes later I was on my way home, my improvised rack support held and once home I hung up my bike and hopped in the car. I’m pretty sure I have a spare rack in the closet but this rack isn’t that old, cost a lot more than the rack it replaced, and darn it I expected it to last forever.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
The Electra Amsterdam has arrived. The Classic 3 version is made of lugged steel and features commute friendly accessories such as lights, a rack, fenders, and a fully enclosed chain guard. Now once upon a time I was pretty down on Dutch commuters, thinking them too heavy for hilly American cities, but then I had one of my trademark changes of heart. The problem isn’t hills, although they don’t help, the problem is that we Americans are simply in too much of a hurry. Even those of us who commute by bike, speed along rarely taking time to enjoy ride. Well I’ve decided I’m too old and too slow to keep up with society much less the local club riders I see on my commute. Make no mistake, I have no doubt that when the