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Old 05-06-09, 06:26 AM   #1
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The Spokesman, Part Deux!

A new season, a new column.

To update; last year, after submitting yet another letter to the editor to straighten out a demeaning or derogatory article or letter appearing in the paper regarding cycling or cyclists, the editor called me at home to ask if I would write a column about cycling to appear on a regular basis throughout the summer months.

How could I say no? After a planned 6 columns turned into a dozen, I retired the column for the winter. A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted for a request to write a second season of columns.

My first piece informs everyone about the upcoming Bike to Work Week. The subsequent columns will cover points I never managed to address last season.

here's the link for the first column of the season.

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Old 05-06-09, 07:54 AM   #2
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as long as you don't fall into your spurious anti-helmet fixation ,good on ya! congrats on another season of columns.
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Old 05-06-09, 09:55 AM   #3
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well, you just know I'm going to write one of those, but to balance things out for you, I wrote a column on riding on a separated path this past winter and another column on riding in bike lanes.
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Old 05-06-09, 10:28 AM   #4
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Great stuff, CB !
What a fabulous soapbox for one to enjoy !

I read somewhere(?) that a study was dont that shows correlation
between drop in crime that coincides with rise in bike commuting.
Regardless of whatever that long-lost study said, I would subliminally
push that everybody in a community benefits from increased bike riding,
not just bike riders
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Old 05-06-09, 12:21 PM   #5
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Great stuff, CB !
What a fabulous soapbox for one to enjoy !
Yeah, I was surprised at the call, and appreciate the opportunity.

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... Regardless of whatever that long-lost study said, I would subliminally
push that everybody in a community benefits from increased bike riding,
not just bike riders
That's always a theme I try to convey, sometimes none too subtly.

Most of the public have no idea how good they have it when someone takes a trip on a bike that they would have otherwise taken in a car. I aim to show them.
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Old 05-06-09, 12:24 PM   #6
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well, you just know I'm going to write one of those, but to balance things out for you, I wrote a column on riding on a separated path this past winter and another column on riding in bike lanes.
Bek is just worried he may not sell as many helmets when well written articles come out.
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Old 05-06-09, 12:24 PM   #7
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Bek is just worried he may not sell as many helmets when well written articles come out.
Just wait until I get a ticket for riding my bike without my helmet and I end up making a federal case of it!

and hey Bek... just so you know, I was inspired at that Bob Mionske on Road Rage thread both you and I took part in, so I wrote a column on that too!

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Old 05-14-09, 07:49 AM   #8
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There was a letter printed in the paper this week responding to my column last week.

Apparently the heading "Bikes have rights to the road too" made the writer "bristle".

Put brake on bad cyclists

Published: Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Editor,

Re: "Bikes have rights to the road too," News, May 6.

I must take exception to some of the statements Brad Kilburn made in his column. The heading "Bikes have rights to the road too" made me bristle. As both a cyclist and a motorist, I believe I can see the issue from both sides.

If cyclists want to have equal rights with motorists, they must then abide by the same rules of the road. For those cyclists who are obviously uninformed, this includes STOPPING at stop signs and red traffic lights, and indicating when intending to turn. This is for their own safety as much as anyone else's, so why they persist in not doing it is beyond me.

Amazingly, it is the professional-looking cyclists from the bike clubs or groups who are the worst offenders. They descend en masse on Steveston and **** Road every weekend and make driving a nightmare for anyone brave enough to venture out.

To make their lack of observance of road etiquette even worse, they insist on riding two or three abreast, forcing cars to slow to a crawl and follow them until they deign to move over. If you should be bold enough to say anything to them, you get the one-fingered salute or verbal abuse -- as if YOU are the one at fault!

Please, all you cyclists out there, stop embarrassing us law-abiding bike-riders. Have some respect and consideration for other road users, and maybe you will be afforded the same.

Remember -- it IS a two-way street, in more ways than one!

Carlie Holland

Richmond
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Old 05-14-09, 08:16 AM   #9
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I can see his point, to a point.
First off, if he is not one of the "obviously uninformed" he
would know there is a whole school of thought that bicycles
should brake and roll or leave lights early, etc now that
bicycling is getting a little bigger in the US and ideologies are changing.
That being said, I live in a spot where there are lots of group rides,
and big ones. When you get to Jupiter Island or anywhere in the
vicinity, its not uncommon for 30 bikes to bust a stop sign if
they get a break and are able to. If a car pulls out the car has a
huge percentage of being hit, slapped and yelled at, like its a
given to these people you are 'sposed to stop and wait for them even
if its your turn to go at the sign. To me, a lowly solitary commuter,
this stuff is making it impossible for us to achieve any sort of respect
from our adversary's. I even got yelled at once cuz a roadie had to
unclip at HIS stop sign. WTF ?!?!?! I could go on and on on what I
see right outside my front door, but Ill mercifully end it here
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Old 05-14-09, 08:36 AM   #10
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THERE'S an attitude you could do to reform, Brad-

unbridled criticisms for bicyclings perceived or actual transgressions against modern traffic law.

motorists that don't respect bicycling present primary troublesome and insidious threats to bicyclists.

trying to educate that large portion of the public (and a likely demographic of the richmond reader!) about bicyclists being worthy of motorist respect and community support would trump any other topics for your columns.
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Old 05-14-09, 08:58 AM   #11
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I'm trying but sometimes you have to wonder how much of the attitude you can reform when I write,

"cyclists are entitled to use the road with the same rights and responsibilities as motorists."

and the response comes back with,

"If cyclists want to have equal rights with motorists, they must then abide by the same rules of the road."

I consistantly hit on the resposibilities cyclists must adhere to in my columns but I guess some people just don't see it, just as they refuse to see the trangressions they commit.

I wonder what it was that the writer was bold enough to say to the cyclists to elicit a one fingered salute? Something that s/he was at fault for?

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Old 05-14-09, 10:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
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...

Re: "Bikes have rights to the road too," News, May 6.

I must take exception to some of the statements Brad Kilburn made in his column. The heading "Bikes have rights to the road too" made me bristle. As both a cyclist and a motorist, I believe I can see the issue from both sides.

If cyclists want to have equal rights with motorists, they must then abide by the same rules of the road. For those cyclists who are obviously uninformed, this includes STOPPING at stop signs and red traffic lights, and indicating when intending to turn. This is for their own safety as much as anyone else's, so why they persist in not doing it is beyond me.

Amazingly, it is the professional-looking cyclists from the bike clubs or groups who are the worst offenders. They descend en masse on Steveston and **** Road every weekend and make driving a nightmare for anyone brave enough to venture out.

To make their lack of observance of road etiquette even worse, they insist on riding two or three abreast, forcing cars to slow to a crawl and follow them until they deign to move over. If you should be bold enough to say anything to them, you get the one-fingered salute or verbal abuse -- as if YOU are the one at fault!

Please, all you cyclists out there, stop embarrassing us law-abiding bike-riders. Have some respect and consideration for other road users, and maybe you will be afforded the same.

Remember -- it IS a two-way street, in more ways than one!

Carlie Holland

Richmond
To his credit, he signed his response. But that's all I can give him credit for. I'd bet he considers himself a cyclist--and therefore entitled to his self-proclaimed expertise--just 'cause he has a bike hanging in the garage that he rode once last summer when it was nice out and he had nothing better to do.

Of course, by his reasoning, motorists should have no right to the road because I consistently see motorists roll through stop-signs, and even red lights! And very few use their turn signals! And I am constantly slowed down by motorists driving slower than me! And run off the road by those idiots who whizz by at twice the speed of sound!

As for the group of riders, I bet he'd complain more forcefully if they all road single-file and their line was a 1/4-mile long, forcing him to wait forever to make that turn or pass them when it was safe!

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..."cyclists are entitled to use the road with the same rights and responsibilities as motorists."

and the response comes back with,

"If cyclists want to have equal rights with motorists, they must then abide by the same rules of the road."
...
Excellent way of phrasing it.
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Old 05-14-09, 01:23 PM   #13
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I find it amusing that the transgressions of motorists never seem to be mentioned by those pointing the boney finger at cyclists.

If we are all to be responsible road users, perhaps motorists should try driving at or below the actual speed LIMIT, and should themselves be aware of their own tendencies to fail to signal, and to commit rolling stops.
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Old 05-14-09, 01:31 PM   #14
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Of course, by his reasoning, motorists should have no right to the road because I consistently see motorists roll through stop-signs, and even red lights! And very few use their turn signals! And I am constantly slowed down by motorists driving slower than me! And run off the road by those idiots who whizz by at twice the speed of sound!
Which only goes to show that it is just a red herring. It's an opinion in seek of a legal justification to make it not seem like an opinion.

If every person who sat on a bicycle operated within the legal confines of their respective laws, the argument would simply be replaced with another argument that no doubt comes from a "rational and objective" place . Nope not an opinion. Critics of cyclists are rationally coming to their conclusions through reason. Not because they don't like cyclists riding on their road. Can't be that simple.
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Old 05-15-09, 08:33 AM   #15
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I'm trying but sometimes you have to wonder how much of the attitude you can reform when I write,

"cyclists are entitled to use the road with the same rights and responsibilities as motorists."

and the response comes back with,

"If cyclists want to have equal rights with motorists, they must then abide by the same rules of the road."
It seems to me that you and the letter writer agree perfectly. What's the problem?
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Old 05-15-09, 09:49 AM   #16
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not any real problem, just unnecessary reiteration, or maybe Carlie just missed the part s/he was concerned about. After all, why is it s/he writes my call for equal rights makes her/him "bristle" unless s/he missed that I called for the same responsibility s/he wan't cyclists to follow and I wrote they need to follow?

It does give me an opportunity to address the fact that cyclists do, on occasion break the law and that riding 2 abreast is illegal in BC but not in other areas.

I thought of an opening for this on my ride in today- OK, I'll admit it, people on bikes break the law - or something like that.

That'll catch their attention and then I can then explain that people in cars break the law too.

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Old 05-20-09, 08:57 AM   #17
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One of the most frequent things I get asked is,

"is my bike in good enough condition to ride after sitting dormant over the winter. Does it need a tune up?"

The next most frequent question is,

"I'm thinking of buying a new bike. What should I buy and where should I buy it?"

I've always kind of resisted "nuts and bolts" pieces and favored more advocacy based information that might somehow improve an attitude towards cycling in the community but there really as been demand for this advice at this time of year so I wrote one column on doing a pre-ride check and my next one will be on buying a bike (leaning heavily on buying it at a bike shop of course)

Here's the link for the latest.
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Old 05-20-09, 10:47 AM   #18
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The next most frequent question is,

"I'm thinking of buying a new bike. What should I buy and where should I buy it?"---✄✄✄
✄--my next one will be on buying a bike (leaning heavily on buying it at a bike shop of course)
I might take some issue on this even though I wholeheartedly approve of what you are doing

I think the next reason other than fear, getting people on the roads is the belief that commuting
has to be complicated and expensive. Based on my experience IRL, and looking at commuter
forums, people always ask what they need to start commuting and the responses are "A
Surly Crosscheck" etc, etc , etc, insert the name of any bike co's proprietary commuter bike.
These bikes run $500-1000+. My best commuter bikes have cost around 300.00 with great
lights and all. I might suggest Craigslist for the bike but suggest a LBS go over it. In short,
I think showing people you dont have to look like a PowerRanger and you dont have to spend
any money at all, relatively speaking, is what might attract more people. I think people
are unnecessarily complicating the issue by suggesting 700.00 bikes and lists of stuff people
need. To me, its too simple....80's-90's Japanese steel 125.00, lights, fresh tuffy tubes
and tires.....ride ! Very simple
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Old 05-20-09, 10:57 AM   #19
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The next column will say I follow a philosophy of simplicity, fit is the most important consideration and one need not buy lots of accessories.

Lights are needed for riding after sunset and a bag is needed for carrying things, but that's about all you need.
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Old 05-20-09, 02:41 PM   #20
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The next column will say I follow a philosophy of simplicity, fit is the most important consideration and one need not buy lots of accessories.

Lights are needed for riding after sunset and a bag is needed for carrying things, but that's about all you need.
Other essentials: Fenders. Bell/horn. Tire patch kit and a few simple tools. Helmet. Mirrors. Glasses or similar eye protection. Reflectors. Bright clothing. All should be considered standard equipment. I'm sure I'm forgetting some...
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Old 05-20-09, 03:06 PM   #21
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one of the biggest surprise I had when I was in rainy, London (England) was the lack of fenders on bikes. Sure they're great, and help keep you dry (and lengthen the life of components) but are they needed? Some would say yes, but others do just fine with out them.

I find my mouth is a perfectly fine sounding device, I've never used a mirror and while a helmet does have some use, it'd be of little surprise to many who frequent these pages to find that I don't consider a helmet a necessary item as I don't consider goggles a necessary item.

A repair kit is handy too, and cost effective, but one step at a time. If you're at the point where you know how to use the repair kit, you may be past the point of someone giving you advice on what you should buy
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Old 05-20-09, 03:13 PM   #22
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YMMV.

I was 36 before I got my first fenders. One not-so-obvious use for them was when I sprayed my bike and clothes with fresh tar that had been put on the road. Destroyed a brand-new shirt. :/
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Old 05-20-09, 03:14 PM   #23
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I find it amusing that the transgressions of motorists never seem to be mentioned by those pointing the boney finger at cyclists.

If we are all to be responsible road users, perhaps motorists should try driving at or below the actual speed LIMIT, and should themselves be aware of their own tendencies to fail to signal, and to commit rolling stops.
Honestly, I doubt they point boney fingers at cyclist, given the condition of many of those glued to their car seat, I imagine fat fingers are more likely.
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Old 05-20-09, 03:32 PM   #24
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I'm on my last day of my week-end and I used it to reply to the letter. It'll run after my next column.

I can't wait for the response.
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Old 06-14-09, 06:17 PM   #25
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The next column will say I follow a philosophy of simplicity, fit is the most important consideration and one need not buy lots of accessories.

Lights are needed for riding after sunset and a bag is needed for carrying things, but that's about all you need.
my buying a bike column was printed.

I push the idea of buying from a shop

http://www2.canada.com/richmondnews/...1-ec085d367ed8
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