Sunday, September 28, 2008

More on your back!

Following the last post, I was wondering if I could find any data on the importance of lighting. Here is one source that stresses the need for not only lighting, but complete lighting, including being visible from the rear.

This snippet discusses the dreaded "Type 13" of car-bike collisions: cyclist hit from behind. Although relatively rare in total numbers, this crash type is often deadly when it does happen. Hence the question: would lighting prevent Type 13?


Listening to Bike Lanes: Moving Beyond the Feud

by Jeffrey A. Hiles, 1996

Chapter 2:
"...Cross reported that this motorist-overtaking category was the only crash type in his study where nighttime crashes out-numbered daytime ones. Nighttime crashes made up 71 percent of Type 13 fatalities, but only 30 percent of all fatal collisions. Also, 65 percent of non-fatal Type 13 problems were in darkness. In contrast, only 10 percent of non-fatal collisions of all types fell between dusk and dawn (p. 36). In more than 90 percent of the nighttime Type 13 crashes, the cyclists had no lights (Williams, 1993a)..."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

LED Headlight shootout

One of the best pages I have seen comparing the new high-zoot LED headlights on the market.
As you mouse over the various light names, the picture shows the high and low light outputs in vivid pictures.

Thanks, BikeMag!

BikeMag gives credit to Planet Bike for this type of layout, the original of which can be found here. An excellent HID light is shown on the Planet Bike page. My concern with HID lights is not their eye-searing capacity, which appears to be unmatched, but the expense of replacement bulbs. The Alias, for example, while lighting up the universe, has a $110 price tag if you bulb needs replacement. Niteriders HID bulbs are about $120. On the other hand, not sure you can even replace LEDs in the high end lights. I've emailed Niterider asking that question.

Having said that, LEDs are apparently quite reliable. But if illumination is not to be compromised, HIDs rule. For example, the new NiteRider Slickrock HID puts out almost twice the light as the LED based Trinewt.

If you are going to be riding through the winter (with Mountain Standard Time approaching in November), these are good web sites to give a quick peruse. And these products are found widely. In addition to the local bike shop and usual bike online sources, REI and Amazon are now in the biz big time.

Although the prices seem high, the price of a crash is even higher.

Bottom line is to ride safe. Night means lights.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A great find

We drove to Santa Fe today to drop off a bike at the Chainbreaker Collective at Second Street. A neighbor was taking an old, inexpensive mountain bike to the curb a couple weeks ago and I decided to rescue it from the dumpster and get it to the old "recycle a bike" place, adding some inexpensive brakes, freeing a frozen seat post, and tuning it up.

So upon dropping if off, we see this little Middle Eastern restaurant right in front of it: Alfanoose, and decide we are hungry.

Service took a little while since nothing is out of a can. Best baba ghanouj I have ever eaten, including my own! Plus, we got to watch an amazing collection of folks wandering in and out of the Chainbreaker Collective.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

REI and Bike ABQ to sponsor Road 1 courses

If you are in the Albuquerque area.

BikeABQ is pleased to announce that they are the recipient of a 2008 grant from REI for League of American Bicyclists BikeED classes. The grant will enable people to participate in any one of 5 safe cycling classes with 10 attendees each. Thus a total of 50 cyclists will be able to be safer on the streets and trails of Albuquerque.
Participants will not only receive the 9 hour League of American Bicyclists Road One course but also reflective vests, head lights, tail lights, water bottles, and lunch.
The first class will be Sunday September 28th 2008 at REI in Albuquerque. Other classes will likely occur at different locations around the city. Groups that have individuals that use or will use bicycle as a primary means of transportation are highly encourage to contact the Lead Instructor to arrange for a class at their location.
League Certified Instructor Craig Degenhardt LCI #1165 applied for and will administer the grant. He will be the Lead Instructor for all the classes. All classes must be completed before August 2009

REI has posted the following on their website and September Events Calendar Newsletter.

Sunday September 28
League of American Bicyclists: Safe Cycling on Roads and Trails. 9am-6pm
Learn to confidently ride your bicycle on streets and trails to work, school and play. BikeABQ presents the League of American Bicyclists Road One Course. A League Certified Instructor will teach novice and experienced bicycle owners the parts of a bike, how to fix a flat, how to pedal on downtown streets safely, and how to be a safe and confident cyclist. Bring your own bicycle and helmet. There will be hands on training on your own bike, video instruction, classroom discussion and pedaling to practice your new skills. Learn to do things that could save your life like ABQ Quick Check, The Instant Turn, Quick Stop, Rock Dodge, and other crash and hazard avoidance maneuvers. Complete the Class and earn the League’s Road One Certificate. Lunch is included.

Cost is $10 for REI members, $12 for non-members. Class size is limited so you must pre-register by calling REI customer service at 505-247-1191.

This clinic is brought to you by an REI grant and BikeABQ.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oil Yer Chain

I've heard a lot of squeaky chains lately. Keeping your chain well-oiled is the easiest and most effective way you can prolong the life of your parts.

You can use any sort of oil to lubricate your chain (except for WD-40!), but a specialized chain oil is best. There are many opinions on how to properly get the oil where it needs to go. I like to put the bottle on the inside of the bottom part of the chain, squeeze the bottle, and back-pedal. After a few revolutions, I'll take a paper towel and hold it over the chain as I back pedal some more, to get the excess oil off.

Tada! You're done, and can now ride your bike around town quietly, like the urban ninja you are.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

He's baaaack.....

Good news for the Old Guys Who Get Fat in Winter Racing Team:

Today's NY Times:

"...After more than three years out of professional cycling, Lance Armstrong — the cancer survivor and seven-time Tour de France winner — announced Tuesday that he would emerge from retirement and climb back onto his bike...(snip)...He did not mention any possible team affiliations, but an article published Monday on the Web site of VeloNews, a prominent cycling publication, said Armstrong would join the Astana team next year. Johan Bruyneel, Armstrong’s former team manager, is the team manager of Astana."

Another article on this is in VeloNews, including the Bruyneel connection


To the Editor, Los Alamos Monitor

In a letter entitled "Los Alamos bicycle unfriendly", letter writer Mario Schillaci claims that Los Alamos is bicycle-unfriendly. His argument concerns the traffic calming measures, or "bulb-outs", being implemented on Central Avenue, a road running though much of our town's businesses, library, retirement community, and government center. The idea that these are cycling-unfriendly is one shared by at least a few residents, but betrays a fundamental misunderstanding about cycling safety. Los Alamos County is actually making great strides in becoming more bicycle-friendly.

Mr. Schillaci states that "when [a cyclist] comes to [a bulbout], he/she is forced to the left into the traffic coming from behind..." This is precisely where cyclists should have been riding. By riding in a straight, predictable line, part way into the lane, visible to other traffic, and
not weaving in and out of parked cars (or bulbouts), cyclists increase their visibility, predictability, and reduce the likelihood of the two most frequent bike-car collision scenarios--motorist turning left across a cyclist's path, and motorist turning right after overtaking a curb-bound cyclist--both of which happen in front of the cyclist. Overtaking (i.e., "hit from behind") collisions make up only about 1% of car-bike crashes.

Bulb-outs also serve as effective traffic-calming devices, reducing the speed difference between motorized traffic and cycling traffic. A recent county study found 85% of traffic on Central Avenue through the existing bulb-outs travels below the posted 25 miles per hour limit. This lower-speed "main street" atmosphere is ideal for cyclists at any speed. The narrow lane and lower speeds ensure that any passing maneuvers are deliberate and well-considered, again increasing the margin of safety.

Just as importantly, pedestrian safety is vastly increased by traffic-calming bulb-outs. Visibility is increased at the crossing points by ensuring pedestrians are visible on the bulb-outs, clear of parked cars and in the sight lines of road traffic. Lower vehicle speeds mean drivers are more likely to stop, and should there be a car-pedestrian collision, the pedestrian's survival rate soars. According a UK Times Online article (, pedestrians struck by a car have a 97.5% survival rate at 20MPH , compared with 80% at 30MPH, and 10% at 40MPH. Such walkability improvements also improve the small business environment and decrease road congestion, by encouraging people to park their cars and walk to multiple shopping destinations in our town center.

With bulb-outs making Central so pleasant for cycling, walking, and driving, bike racks on all busses, bike lanes being added all throughout Diamond Drive, a cycling-friendly populace, and the recently enacted Bicycle Transportation Plan of Los Alamos County, Los Alamos is, in fact, becoming a very bicycle friendly community!

Neale Pickett and Khalil Spencer

League Cycling Instructors,
League of American Bicyclists

Monday, September 1, 2008

Once again, here's to the Lowest Common Denominator

In his closing comments upon shutting down active dialog on the Bomb Town News Observer, Jimbo thanks the lowest common denominator folks for making anonymous comments on his blog that led him to shut it down:

"Here's to the Lowest Common Denominator, the ones who drag us down, the millstones that hang painfully around the neck of society! May they get what they deserve!..."

So too overnight, when the LCD'd hit once more, dousing the new mountain lion at the San Ildefonso roundabout with white latex paint. Its too bad we have to share a community with such lowlifes. Indeed, may they get what they deserve. Like, about two weeks of community service detail cleaning up the community, and scraping the last paint off that lion with their raw fingernails.