Blogger's Forum - Biking it and Liking It
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07-20-11, 12:40 PM
Bike lanes are good, but sometimes I wonder if they are really needed, or if certain motorists just need to be reminded not to kill anyone. "Thou Shalt Not Kill", that about says it, it doesn't need any ammendments. Most drivers are in control of their cars, and are sane enough to give seven to ten feet of clearance when passing a bicycle.
Yes, a rear-view mirror is a good idea. There are mirrors on the market today that are convex, or "wide angle", so the cyclist can see traffic in more than one lane. Lights? I ride with three headlights and three tail lights; the tail lights are in blinking mode in the daytime. How about wearing a reflective vest, like highway construction workers do?
Parked cars are an issue. One could ride further left, or ride slower, being prepared to stop if a car door opens. Alternatively, one could stop his or her bicycle before passing parked cars, and look in the mirror , or over his or her shoulder, to see when there is a break in traffic. Another thing to consider, in relation to passing parked cars, is having a large handlebar basket, which would take the impact if someone opens a car door.
07-27-11, 11:36 AM
Some pics of the Type 10, with the new Shark Teeth. I have a radio inside the fairing, and I call it "Radio Shark".
Took the Type 10 for an 8 mile ride yesterday.
08-31-11, 11:50 AM
It's nice for the cyclists to have a little get-together, but there are really many different types of bikes, and different riding styles. Some people ride bikes because it's easier than walking, but they don't try to go too fast. Other cyclists are racers, and they ride for the maximum speed. Theoretically, a bike doing the speed limit should have no problem with cars coming up from behind, but inb reality, the cyclist needs a rear-view mirror on account of the motorists who speed (this goes for motorcycles as well as bicycles).
Myself, I've gotten older and I no longer race the bicycle. But I still go on leisurely rides. I watch my rear-view mirror, and I move over to let trucks and buses go by. Most car drivers give 7 to ten feet of clearance. Only one car in a thousand comes closer than five feet, and one in ten thousand comes closer than three feet. I don't know if they are doing it on purpose, or if they are texting. It's a small number of these bad-apples amongst the motorists who get the cyclists all riled up, but the Police won't take an annonymous tip, like the tag number of the car that did it. So it leads to mass-protests, and now ALL motorists are dangerous road-hogs.
I for one ride with a digital camera on my bike. I have repeatedly said that cyclists should get rear-view mirrors and watch their backs, but I forgot to say that first, they should watch where they are going! Secondly, look left and right at every intersection and driveway, - then check your rear-view mirror.
I figure if the cyclists is not racing in a timed event, he or she should pull over to let trucks and buses go by. It might cost fifteen or thirty seconds of time, but traffic delays make drivers angry. Do it as a matter of courtesy.
Furthermore, I believe racing cyclists should have a motorcycle escort, like the Police are providing at this event. Maybe there should be a private Motorcycle Escort Service, with MC'er in Security Guard uniforms, charging maybe $200.00 to $400.00, to escort a cycling club on it's ride? They can each put in twenty bucks.
Lastly , I want to suggest, to certain members of the bicycling community, that if you have thirty dollars in your pocket, spend it on a rear-view mirror, instead of that bag of pot you were going to buy.
Thank You for reading my post.
09-12-11, 01:59 PM
I agree totally with your statement; "....can't even get in a workout. Too much stopping and starting on hideously paved roads...". However, I do believe cyclists belong on the roads. There are people who can't afford cars, what's the Government supposed to do, give them free cars?. I have a car, but I will stand up for the rights of those people who commute to work by bike, whether by choice or no choice.
Are there some cyclists who make every ride a "Protest Ride"? Yes, and they need to change their tact; they seem to be making more motorists angry, than those whom they get their message across to.
I for one try to "Patrol" the bike route, I make frequent stops and starts, and yes, it ruins the workout I would otherwise be getting.
I don't believe in Bike Lanes. But then, I am an experienced cyclist, having logged more than 140,000 miles. As for novice cyclists, women and children, etc, yes, they might need Bike Lanes, but this could be accomplished by making wider sidewalks for them.
It seems to me that 99% of cars pass my bicycle with 7 to 10 feet of clearance. One in a thousand comes as close as five feet, and only one in ten thousand comes closer than 3 feet. We are wasting a lot of money, because we are painting these Lane Lines on the roads for this one motorist out-of ten thousand.
How about this; if the cyclists are so concerned, they can mount video cameras on their bikes, and record whatever it is that the driver is doing wrong? Motorists could mount camcorders on their dashboards too; I want to see what it is the cyclist did wrong.
There are cases where the cyclist may be bending the rules for his own safety, such as starting up from a red light before it goes green. He does this to avoid getting hit by the car next to him , which is making a right turn (which is what started this whole thread). I think he can see left and right, as to whether there are any cars coming.
09-13-11, 11:47 AM
Rode 21.6 miles last night. Had three head lights, three tail lights, a reflective vest, and a big yellow triangle. Not much problem with car traffic. Very few cars were on the road. Of course, at that late hour 10:00 PM to midnight, there's no truck traffic. I was very courteous and pulled over to let cars go by, which isn't really an inconvenience , as there were so few cars on the road. I reckon the price of gas (petrol) keeps a lot of cars off the road, and I might theorize that the teenagers today are joining the Marines, or Army, instead of driving and carousing all night. (?) just a theory.
Had to go for a ride, a long ride. I looked at my calendar, and noticed that my best milage was back in April, when I just started riding again after the winter thaw. But the mid-July heat wave is when I started slacking off. I have been keeping track of my milage on my calendar every day, and last night, I totaled up the week-by-week numbers. So I went right out on the bike at that hour.
Roslyn Viaduct is not open up yet, sidewalks and bike lanes are not finished.
09-18-11, 12:47 PM
I have a few things to say about Bike Lanes, and cyclists and motorists getting along together. In my observation, ninety-nine percent of motorists give seven to ten feet of clearance when passing my bicycle. About one-in-a-thousand come as close as five feet, still no cause for alarm. One driver out of ten-thousand comes closer than three feet, and startles the cyclist, then there is a great hullabaloo. The issue is Reckless Driving, and there are already existing laws against Reckless Driving. The issue is not "Taxes", and even if there was a tax-cheat riding a bicycle, a motorist should NOT take the law into his own hands - and try to kill him with his car. Let the IRS worry about tax-cheats.
I drive a car too, and I have no problem with other cyclists. Usually, the driver of a car only has to get close to the double yellow, without going over, to pass a bicycle safely.
Just for the record, people ride bicycles because it's easier than walking, faster too. A person on a Bicycle can cover five times as much distance as he or she could walking. That's why people ride Bicycles.
Rear-view mirrors are not required for Bicycles, but they are a good idea. Newer rear-view mirrors have convex surfaces, which give a wide-angle view. The new mirrors are Bar-End mounted, so the cyclist can see the traffic behind, rather than his or her own midriff. Bicycle mirrors have improved a lot in the past twenty years, so if you Cycle, you should reconsider, and get one.
09-25-11, 01:12 PM
I have been experimenting with Fiberglass, Kevlar, Carbon Fiber, etc, for over twenty years. I wanted to create a Fairing for an Electric Motorcycle, which would have a distinctive style, to help identify this new vehicle. I tested some Fairings on bicycles, and in some cases the bicycle went faster, due to aerodynamics. But a Fairing isn't just about speed, it's also about protection for the rider.
Here is a video of a Fairing , which was sacrificed by running it into a concrete wall:
Has anyone else, or any MC company, crashed a bike into a wall?
I heard Suzuki built a Bike with an Airbag in the Fairing, do you know anything about it?
What amazes me, is that Motorcycle Fairings don't have any storage space inside, like a small, automobile style, Glove Compartment. I have cargo bicycles that can carry over 100 pounds of cargo. Why can't Motorcycle Fairings carry anything?
In my opinion, a Bike Fairing should have :
1) Crash Protection
2) Aerodynamic Shape
3) Some Cargo Capacity
I will assume that most Fairings are designed to crumble on impact, to dissipate the force?
I won't argue with the Aerodynamicists who work for the MC companies.
But I would expect a MC Fairing to carry as much as a Bicycle Handlebar basket? say ten pounds at least?
The more weight on the front of the bike, the better, because the dead weight will take the brunt of the impact, in my opinion.
Don't tell me about shards of fractured material. We can use Kevlar, which does not fracture, or we can use Styrofoam (Cars have had styrofoam in their dashboards for 50 years now).
Should We as consumers expect better crash protection from Motorcycle Fairings?
or Should I try to market my idea or invention, and get a patent?
10-15-11, 01:35 PM
Tools of the Trade
The Hand Drill, a Human Powered Drill. Detail of Gears below:
Pliers. Slip Jaw on Left, Sidecutters on Right.
10-15-11, 01:41 PM
Roadside Vegetation Management-Keeping the Bike Lanes Clear
Lopping Shears (which I've often referred to). These have a Lot of Leverage, due to the long handles, relative to the short blades.
Wood Saw. This saw is shown with it's cardboard sheath. The blade is VERY Sharp , and care should be used not to cut anyone, or blood loss.
10-26-11, 11:23 AM
Letter to the Editor:
Ninety-nine percent of motorists pass Bicycles safely. By that I mean they give seven to ten feet of clearance , side-to-side. One in a thousand comes about five feet from the bike, while passing, and one driver in ten-thousand comes closer than three feet from the bike. I drive a car, but I ride a bicycle for some exercise (I weigh 280 pounds, I need a little exercise). When I ride my bike, I watch my rear-view mirror, and I move over as "Far Right As Possible" to let cars and trucks go by. When I drive my car, and I come to a slow moving bicycle, I move my car as far left as possible. Let me amend that; I move my car as far left as Necessary - if there is not enough room, I wait 15 seconds or so, until the bike is past the parked cars, pothole, sewer grate, pedestrian or whatever the obstacle is, and THEN I pass the bicycle. I would say drivers need a skill-test: How close to the double yellow can you drive your car, without going over? I can keep my car two inches from the double yellow without actually touching it with my tires. If I put my left front tire on the double yellow, I can sense by feel and sound that I am riding on those painted stripes. If the inner sidewall of my left front tire is just touching the other side of the double yellow, my car is "straddling" the centerline, and the Cyclist has about two extra feet of room. But I will only do this when Necessary , and when there are no cars coming the other way. Most roads are wide enough to pass a bicycle. Some roads are narrow, but they usually have low traffic volume. When cycling, I avoid state roads, and lately I've been doing laps on a path in a park.
11-13-11, 05:30 PM
Lot's of varied comments here. I drive. I bike. I do both. Cars and Bikes both need to go slower. The speed limits are too high. Twenty is Plenty. You don't like it? Take Mass Transit. No need to pass the bicycle when it's going to catch up with you at the next red light. Let the bike set the pace; the speed limit is the maximum speed permitted, not the minimum.
Bicycle Commuting is totally different from Bicycle Racing. In my opinion, Bicycle Racers should get a Motorcycle Escort; either Police Motorcycles, or arrange for some private MC Club to provide an MC Escort. No; a Cyclist Can Not get a good workout if he/she has to stop at every red light. Bicycle Club People I have talked to say they are not interested in a MC escort, they say they can handle the irate drivers themselves. The fittest get a good workout, and the straglers become "Human Road Cones". They want to be refered to as "Tools", because that's what they are; Tools of the Bicycle Industry. Often a Bicycle Tour turns into a Bicycle Race. Think twice before riding with a Bicycle Club; you'll become a Human Road Cone for them. Choose a good route, but note: Printed Road Maps never tell you how wide the road is, or what the speed limit is, if it's uphill or downhill, or if the road even has a shoulder. Use Google Maps, check the Street View, check the satelite view- There Are Potholes You Can SEE from SPACE!
11-25-11, 10:45 AM
I like this little sound bite. It's only three seconds, no two.
12-06-11, 02:13 PM
Most of the cyclists I see while driving are riding alone. Usually, gyclists in groups are riding single file.
When I ride my Bicycle , 99% of motorists pass with seven to ten feet of clearance , so , if I was chatting to another cyclist alongside me, there would still be enough space. I don't know why cyclists riding two-abreast is such a big concern, it is NOT very common; indeed, the photographer admits the attached photo was "staged" by having his Brother and Sister ride the Bikes.
More likely, the driver remembers "white knuckle experiences" more clearly than he/she does the common, monotious time spent driving. Two Bikes side-by-side can take as much room as a car, that's true, but it doesn't happen very often. And cyclists like to chat with each other, you can't pass a law against being sociable.
Drive your car the way I drive my car, keep an eye on the road ahead. You can see cyclists 250 feet ahead if you are paying attention. Plenty of time to slow down. You only have to go 20MPH to pass a Bicycle, unlike passing another car, which requires more speed. If the Bicycles are going more than 20MPH, I put my 4-way flashers on , and follow 150 feet behind them, and I make no attempt to pass.
12-11-11, 12:35 PM
Great, but I think there is a need for more promotion of Bicycling as a means of transportation. Most people don't even realize the advantages of Bicycles.
Just to mention a few points:
1) A Bicyclist can cover five times the distance that a Pedestrian can cover , in the same amount of time. This is due to the fact that the Gears, the transmission of the Bicycle, make the wheel revolve Five times , with each revolution of the pedals. It's called "Mechanical Advantage". Add to that the rolling of the wheels, the cyclist can take a five second break, and keep rolling. This has been true since the chain drive bicycle was invented in 1886.
2) In 1975, bicycle helmets appeared , they cost $500.00 back then, but for people with brains, it was worth it. Helmets have come down in price since then due to mass production.
3) Around 1990, someone invented a better rear-view mirror for Bicycles. The new mirrors are mounted on the end of the handlebars, and have a convex lens, so the Cyclist has a wide angle view. (Older mirrors were useless, the rider could only see his own clothes, not any cars behind him).
4) There are better lights available for night riding, with LED's in place of bulbs. The new lights last a long, long time on a set of batteries.
5) The ten speed bicycle was introduced to the USA (from Italy) in 1960. Todays bikes have a minimum of twenty-one speeds. A ten speed bike today is an antique.
6) The Video Camcorder. I got one back in 1992. Today , a cell phone can record video. It's amazing what a little video surveillance will do . Soon as the camera is pointed at them, the car drivers suddenly remember how to drive in a straight line!
7) For the Automobile, most cars today have rack-and-pinnion steering, so it's easier for drivers to pass bicycles safely. (better handling)
12-22-11, 05:48 PM
I made a two-minute video on how to make one of these Coroplast Boxes, for the Handlebars.
01-05-12, 12:13 PM
It will make the street safer for Bicyclers, I agree. But if Motorists were more careful, and used better judgement, the bike lanes wouldn't be needed. Well, we know that's not going to happen,but what I'm saying is; if drivers just let the Bicyclers be, and let them use the rightmost lane, things would be fine, And the drivers would still have the benefit of using the rightmost lane when there are no bikes present.
The part of the debate that most people missed is that Bicycles are NOT required to have Rear-View Mirrors. It's the drivers responsibility to watch where he/she is going. Ninety-nine percent of drivers pass bicycles with seven to ten feet of clearance. Why can't the other one percent be like everyone else?
It seems like a small number of motorists have some kind of pent-up anger against bicyclists, I don't know why, maybe they didn't have bicycles when they were children,? maybe they only have enough money for one or the other ( a car OR a bike) , and can't afford both? I guess I like to psychoanalyze the road-rage cases.
My advice to the bicyclers: Load you bike up with all the safety gear you can afford: headlights, tail lights, a rear-view mirror, a horn, a bell (the gong style is louder than the dingy-lingly kind) , a reflective vest and a helmet. Then put reflective tape on your bike, and then double up the lights , TWO headlights and two tail lights. Maybe some high visibility flags or pennants on your bike? Don't try to race your bike, leave that to professional bicycle racers. Keep your head up, look around you, be aware of your surroundings. Be prepared to pull over to the kerb and stop at the slightest sign of trouble. Drive your bicycle like a Vehicle, and be a defensive driver at that.
01-09-12, 11:51 AM
C.R.Green: You seem to like the word "Traffic". Traffic can be controlled by a variety of means: Traffic Lights, DWI checkpoints, red-light cameras, lower speed-limits, more crosswalks (and bike lanes) and more stop signs, for instance. But you haven't said anything about traffic.
Bicycles do in fact have safety features. There are more safety features on bicycles today than there were 30 years ago.
1) LED headlights and tail-lights are now available, and with the efficiency, and related increase in battery life, many cyclists now use lights, either steady or flashing, even in the daytime.
2) Rear View Mirrors have been improved, so the mirror can be mounted on the end of the handlebar. Wide angle mirrors are used to see all the lanes.
3) Index-shifting goes "click" into gear, so bicycle does not get stuck between gears. Bike gets in gear and gets moving more quickly than 30 years ago.
4) Helmets- Bicycle helmets weren't widely available until the 1980's.
5) Reflective Vest- Now there is a law that all road workers MUST WEAR a Reflective Vest (it's an insurance law)- so the reflective vest is now available at Sears, any Biker can buy one there.
6) Digital Cameras- a Cyclist can take pictures or video of erratic drivers. (for evidence), and get them off the streets.
7) Google Maps- Old fashioned road maps don't show if a road has a sidewalk, or shoulders, or if it's uphill or downhill, or the speed limit, or how many lanes. Google Maps with satellite view and street view makes planning a bike ride more predictable.
8) GPS device on the handlebars.
8.5) in a few years, a GPS/WiFi based device will be available to let Cyclists know when there is a car approaching .
Furthermore , Pedestrians do not have any safety devices, is walking ever going to be banned?
You are making a very fallacious argument Mr. Green, please let us not hear any more from you.
01-20-12, 12:19 PM
But if you think about it, drivers could let the bicyclers use the right lane , and use the left lane to pass them, as it stands now. That way, motorists could use the right lane when there are no bikes around, which is like ninety percent of the time. You can't have a fast-lane without a slow-lane.
Did you know that Bicycles are NOT required to have rear-view mirrors? Rear-view mirrors are a good idea, and in the 1990's , they started to manufacture ones that really work. But the law puts the onus on motorists to watch where they are going. Mirrors are still not required on Bicycles.
Do you know what a "Slow Moving Vehicle" (SMV) is? Did you even know that Bicycles are classified as Vehicles, but NOT SMV's? This is because bicycles can exceed 25 MPH.
Just be careful out there. Drivers have to look out for Bikes ahead. Cyclists should either pedal faster or check behind for car and trucks. Listen for large trucks and buses and pull over to let them pass.
Motorists have got to check their speedometers! Sometimes a Motorist insists on passing a Bike, when the Bike is indeed doing the posted speed limit!
People need to have more respect and courtesy for each other.
02-12-12, 10:43 AM
A NOTE About PROTOTYPES:
Prototype Alpha First version of product meant for showreels and testing purposes ONLY. Also here it might not work as a program or unit, but it is to give the visual presentation of a possibly real product.
Work In Progress Work In Progress Several different stages of development.
Functional prototype Beta Software that is almost complete, but still needs some fixing, but in general a testing product that is to be treated as not done. Feedback on the product is often gathered from a random selection of people (or people who specifically signed up as beta testers).
from Wikipedia "Prototype"
I've often said that my Bikes or "Human Powered Vehicles" are "Prototypes". I have NOT been able to find "people who specifically sign... up as beta testers" . At least not lately. I had people test my Vehicles, when I lived in Florida, but no one wants to do that in New York. I just wanted to make a note of this fact. Maybe people in Florida are more used to outdoor activities, or New Yorkers maybe just want to get hurt so they can sue me, but they don't want to sign a waiver, so I don't let them ride? Maybe a combination of both those reasons, and maybe others.
02-19-12, 09:31 AM
How do you like the latest piece I have written? Here it is:
Helmets are important, but are not the only safety device. Bicycles have brakes, roller skates and skateboards don't. Headlights and tail lights can, and should, be installed on your kids bike. Rear view mirror should be installed on the left end of the bike's handlebars, and there needs to be a discussion about looking in both directions before crossing any street, or pulling out into any street on a bicycle or skateboard. Parked cars , SUV's and pickups can block the view of other, moving vehicles. Make sure your kids look out from behind parked vehicles before pulling out on a bike, or cross the street. For even better visibility, trim your roadside hedges and low hanging tree branches, and do the same for your neighbors if they are elderly, infirm, or just plain too lazy.
02-20-12, 10:21 AM
My opinion revolves around technique of riding and style of Bike. When I started riding, in 1972, there were only two main kinds of Bicycle, Racing or Touring. For a while, it seemed like Racing was safer than Touring, because you could "theoretically" maintain a 30MPH speed limit, and "theoretically" not get hit from behind by a car.
There was at that time another kind of Bicycle called an "English Racer", which has virtually disappeared and is believed to be an "endangered species" . The English Racer had straighter, more upright Handlebars than the ten speed French and Italian Racing Bikes, which had the handlebars bent low, so the rider can only see the ground under the front wheel. Today, there are 21 and 24 speed "Hybrid" Bicycles, which have some Racing Bike qualities, but with straighter handlebars, like the handlebars on a Mountain Bike.
The Mountain Bike came onto the scene in the mid nineteen eighties, after being invented in Marin county, CA. With the more rugged tires, the Mountain Bike was able to ride in the dirt, debris and crud on the far edge of the road.
Many Cycling advocates would say that the most important thing is to sweep the roads regularly. Racing Tires are thin, and susceptible to punctures. The Racers must ride in the roadway, in the right tire track of the cars and trucks for the very reason that the car and truck tires sweep away small detritus that can puncture a Racing Tire.
Anyway, I gave up Racing a long time ago, and I now have a Hybrid Bike that has heavy baskets, or panniers. My bike is heavier than a Touring Bike, but not quite as heavy as a Dutch Cargo Bike. I watch my rear-view mirror and I always pull over to let Trucks and Buses go by, as well as any Passenger Automobile that appears to be being driven erratically.
I see no reason for Bike Lanes, except on State Roads that have a speed limit of 40MPH or higher. I watch my mirror, and pull over when necessary . The issue is that Bicyclists are not legally required to have rear-view mirrors, and it is Legally up to every individual to watch where he or she is gong.
It is cheaper for the cyclist to have the state pay for bike lanes, than to ante up the money for a rear-view mirror.
I rest my case.
03-04-12, 01:08 PM
Interesting article, but not complete. There are other parameters. Recumbent Bicycles are an example of bicycles which do not follow the given parameters. But let's assume that the cyclist does not wish to sacrifice comfort for better aerodynamics.
Seat Tube Angle: There is an industry standard of seventy degrees for seat tube angle. Recumbent Builders often reduce the seat tube angle to as low as zero, or even negative ten degrees. My own experiments put the most comfortable seat tube angle at fifty-eight degrees.
Top Tube Length: This must consider the length of the riders torso, between the hips and the shoulders.
Handlebar Height: State Laws prohibit handlebars from being higher than the riders shoulders, but the handlebars don't need to be that high. This is dependent on the riders height. The cyclist may wish to sit with his or her back straight, vertical, to allow best visibility of road ahead and surroundings.
Wheel Base: Laws require Motorcycles to have a Wheel Base between 45 and 62 inches. (114.3 to 157.48 centimeters) . Most Bicycles have too short a Wheel Base for safe handling. Longer Wheelbase would make the ride smoother.
Head Tube Angle: I will leave this at the Industry Standard of seventy degrees. It is dangerous to experiment with.
Step-Over Height: Generally this only pertains to "Ladies" Bicycles, but low height can aid persons with bad hips.
I could go on for many pages, but this information is the most pertinent .
03-06-12, 03:56 PM
I kind of agree with John Forester. I don't believe in Bike Lanes, except maybe on state roads where the speed limit is more than 45 per.
Each Cyclist , as an individual, should assess his or her own situation in regards to safety. Maybe Cyclists should Drive their Bikes, and Drive them like a "Defensive Driver"? There are lots of times when there may be question as to who has the Blessed "Right-of-Way". Why not Yield and let the other guy go first? Are you in a Race? I've come to realise that Driving my Bike slower makes it easier for me to pull to the right edge of the road, to let traffic go by.
Anyhow, I have a partial list of items which are made for Bicycle Safety, which are available now, but we didn't have them when we were kids:
2) Bar-End Rear view Mirror, with Convex, wide angle lens.
3) LED Lights
4) Disk Brakes
5) Shock Absorbers
6) Index Shifting
7) Increase in Number of Gears
8) Digital Video Cameras
9) Online Maps-with Street View and Satellite View
10) Cell Phone/ Smart Phone
11) Reflective Tape and Reflective Vests
12) Kevlar Belted Tires
There may be more things to keep Cyclists safe. But all thses are new, and they weren't available 35 years ago. Maybe a Rear-View Mirror should be Mandatory for any Bicycle, but it is NOT, and I don't see any sign of a campaign to create Legislation which would make Rear-View Mirros mandatory. Mirrors are more important than Helmets- You see a car, you get out of the way, you don't get hit.
I have my Bikes loaded with Safety Gadgets, buit I see that most other people on bicycles are pretty cheap, no safety gear at all usually.
I don't race anymore. I started a new Bicycle Club, and as the Senior Member, I patrol the local Bike Routes. Sometimes I patrol with a Digital Camera, to photograph the Hazards, and sometimes I carry Landscaping Equipment in my Panniers, like Lopping Shears, ansd a Saw, to clear the low hanging branches from the Roadside, which improves Visibility. I can see cars in my rear-view mirror better after I clear the Vegetation from the Roadside.
As for running red lights, you must realise that at a stop, a Bicycle is a Sitting-Duck. A moving Bicycle is hard for a motorist to hit, because it's a moving target. Also, when a Cyclist stops, he or she has to put at least one foot down on the road , which makes it hard to get going again. A Ladies Bicycle is safer in such instances.
03-07-12, 01:09 PM
Follow up from yesterday:
The 40% figure for Amsterdam is just the daily use of Bicycles. 91% of people in Amsterdam ride at least once a week, and 97% of the residents own a Bicycle.
But they have Bicycle Lanes, Protected from intrusion of Motor Vehicles.
My list of equipment: "1) Helmets 2) Bar-End Rear view Mirror, with Convex, wide angle lens. 3) LED Lights 4) Disk Brakes 5) Shock Absorbers 6) Index Shifting 7) Increase in Number of Gears 8) Digital Video Cameras 9) Online Maps-with Street View and Satellite View 10) Cell Phone/ Smart Phone 11) Reflective Tape and Reflective Vests 12) Kevlar Belted Tires"
is all new stuff, they didn't have these things in WWII. Add in 13) Sealed Bearings.
I suppose troops may have been riding with Army helmets on their heads, but the Bicycle Helmet was unknown in the US until 1975 or thereabouts.
The Bar End Mirror, with convex lens did not arrive until 1990, and even then, all the shipments went to midtown Manhattan, where they sold out, and I couldn't get one here in Nassau, Long Island.
LED Lights are simply more reliable than incandescent lights, and the battery life is many times longer, weeks , not hours, of continuous use.
Disk Brakes, I don't use on account the biggest hills on Long Island are only 300 feet high, but they are a safety improvement, which was not available back in the good old days.
6) Index Shifting- I'm beginning to wonder about Index Shifting. In the 1970's, if you didn't know how to shift, you either rode a one-speed, or kept the (rusted) deraileur in one gear. Today, anyone can shift, so maybe we have dumber people riding multi-speed bikes? Comments?
Digital Video cams can create mobile, random , Video Surviellance,[sp] which may get drunks off the road, or otherwise aid the Cyclist in a Court of Law.
Google Maps, with street view and satellite view are far superior to old fashioned paper road maps. Paper maps do NOT show speed limits, hills, number of lanes, existence of sidewalks, paved shoulders etc. And I hate to tell you this, but there are Potholes that are big enough to be seen from SPACE!
Ask me about Darwinism, and I'll tell you that Bicycles are evolving like Life on Galapagos Island.
03-17-12, 02:03 PM
Latest Pictures of the NFA Vehicles Type Eleven shows the "Coroplast" corrugated plastic handlebar basket and panniers wrapped in Gift Wrap. (Blue/Green Metallic checkerboard pattern). The red flag is on the floor in front of the front wheel. Also note the new Air-Dam on the bottom of the Handlebar Basket.
That is one fancy setup you got going on there sir.
04-16-12, 06:15 PM
Thank you, brany, Sofia Bulgaria?
Today, I have an 18 second video; "Bike Stopping at Red Light. I have given this video a Creative Commons License, so that others may use it.
What this video shows is a protected median, or a median with a curb-cut through it.
05-01-12, 01:52 PM
Let's begin with the morals of cycling, as compared to automobile centered culture;
Cycling teaches people not to be greedy. A person can transport himself/herself across town without using any gas/petrol. The bicycle only takes up one twelfth the parking space of an automobile. The bicycle is quiet and does not emit foul smog exhaust. The bicycle is nicer to the people around it than the automobile. And a person can not get trapped under, or be crushed to death by the weight of a bicycle.
As for education, cycling teaches the principal of the wheel. The young cyclist learns the rules of the road, and maybe a few things about shifting gears. The Bicycle has a system of gears, the teeth of which engage notches or slots between each link of a chain, which conveys power from the pedals to the rear wheel. One turn of the pedals equals up to five turns of the rear wheel ; which means that a person on a Bicycle can cover five times more ground than a person who walks.
Now this leads to other Social Learning phenomena: 1) the cyclist covers more ground and thereby meets and talks to more people, 2) the cyclist is not enclosed in a soundproof cabin of an automobile, so talking and linguistics can flow freely and 3) the cyclist sees both sides of town, and learns to recognize everyones place in Society. From the loading docks at the back of factories, to the mansions on the great estates, the cyclist sees them all.
The child who learns to cycle is almost certainly going to be able to drive a car when he or she reaches adulthood. Hopefully, they will remember the lessons of balance and rationality that they learnt from riding a bicycle. Many will continue to ride a bicycle.
Sociologically though, there are people from all levels of society who ride bicycles. You'll get in trouble if you accuse people of being poor, just because you see them riding bicycles. Most Americans have BOTH Bikes and Cars, very few are in such a bind that they have to choose one or the other.
05-26-12, 12:28 PM
NOTE to My Readers,
You may have noticed a drop-off in the number of postings I have made here in my blog "Biking it and Liking It". Many of my posts here are archive copies of replies and letters to the editor of various local publications throughout the USA and Canada. A few months ago, I joined Facebook, and since many, if not most, newspapers allow one to sign in through Facebook, I have been archiving my posts on Facebook, instead of here.
I will try to cross post some of these in the future, on account I believe in redundancy. But for now, here is a link to my own personalized Facebook page:
06-27-12, 02:49 PM
This was posted to the Idaho Statesman today, and automatically cross-posted to Facebook:
I have bikes and a car. When I drive, and especially when I see a Bicycle, I know what the Cyclist is dealing with. I know not to pass a Bicycle when there is a red light ahead, the Cyclist will only pass me while I'm at the red light. I know the Cyclist may go as soon as the left-turn traffic from the opposite direction is finished, and get a head start crossing. I know the Cyclist needs a head start on account he must re-mount the Bicycle, and get it going, hoping he had time to downshift before having to stop at the red light. I know the Cyclist must cross the street before the right-turning car next to him runs him over. I know that if the cyclist can get through the light just before it turns red (while it's yellow) , and if he's going 30MPH, and I have to wait two minutes for the light to turn green again, he will be a full mile ahead of me, so I don't have to worry about hitting him. I know that if I stay 200 feet behind the Cyclist, he will not be distracted by my presence, and thus he will go faster. I know that if the speed limit is 30, and I see a Cyclist 400 feet ahead of me, I should check my speed- (This happened recently and I was going 36! I slowed down to 30, and the aho in the SUV behind me blew his horn. Which created a great distraction. I checked my speedometer again and I was still going 30, but the Cyclist was getting further away from me- he was going faster than 30! It was a Recumbent Bike! But unfortunately , the horn honking had distracted him and he slowed down. The driver of the SUV had to be content with going the next quarter mile at 28MPH, where the Cyclist went straight and everyone else turns left. Moral of the story, you should be happy if the Bicycle is going faster than the speed limit. In this case the Bike was doing 31 in a 30 zone, and the horn honking distracted the Cyclist, causing him to slow down. Don't be a prig and demand the "5mph over" that you feel entitled to).It would be nice if every driver tried riding a Bike once in a while, because then these facts would be obvious to you. Otherwise, it would take a very long *Lecture* , or a very thick, cover-to-cover driver's ed. manual, to explain it to you.
Now, on the other hand, When I ride my Bike, I know what it's like for the Drivers to get stuck behind a Bicycle. I know that a Driver can not see a Cyclist who wears black until the bike is 70 feet in front of him, so I wear a reflective vest which can be seen at 500 feet. I have 3 LED tail lights and I keep two of them on even in the daytime, in blinking mode. I put the steady , non-blinking light on at night so the Drivers eyes can focus. I have a full size farm tractor reflective triangle on the back of my Bike, on account my Bike is a Slow Moving Vehicle (technically, I'm not supposed to go faster than 25MPH with this SMV Sign). I have a speedometer on my bike so I know how fast I am going. I have a rear-view mirror on my Bike so I can keep an eye on traffic approaching from behind. I ride a Ladies Bike (I borrowed it from my Daughter) so I can dismount quickly without getting killed. I carry a red flag to make my hand-signals more clear. IF I see a Truck, Bus, or Ambulance behind me, I pull over to the curb and dismount, leaning the Bike so not even the handlebar sticks out over the curb. I know this is all anathema to the Racing Cyclists, who time their rides down to the hundredth of a second, and I don't want you to give up your dream of being the next American to win the Tour de France, but at some point you have to admit that you are getting older and you are over-the-hill, and give up Racing and take up Touring.
Also, If I see a Truck backing out of a driveway, I will stop and block traffic so the Truck Driver doesn't kill anyone. I will always have the red flag on hand in my handlebar basket , (which is actually a 1/5th scale plastic model of a Truckers Roof Spoiler) and I will signal STOP when I mean STOP, and I will wave motorists on when it looks like the road ahead, around the curve, is clear.
Everyone needs to study Defensive Driving, including the Cyclists. And maybe some of you Drivers should try to catch the Tour de France on Television- it's coming up in July, and runs for 23 days, I think it's on channel 128, IIRC.
Over and Out.
10-05-12, 12:21 PM
Need to keep training, even if it is raining outside!
10-21-12, 01:21 PM
Here's an artist's rendering of the National Aerospace Plane, thought you'd enjoy it. An Hypersonic Aircraft, capable of reaching low-earth-orbit with air-breathing, jet engines. Saves using tons of liquid oxygen.
Subsonic = 0 to Mach 1
Supersonic = Mach 1 to Mach 5
Hypersonic = Mach 6 to Mach 40
Hypervelocity > Mach 40
11-21-12, 10:21 AM
No. A ban on bicycles will NOT be tolerated. Motorists need to be educated. But before I get on with my spiel , I want to say that 99% of motorists are fine, and don't do anything malicious to maim/injure/kill cyclists. Maybe 10 or 15% always let the Cyclist have the right-of-way, which is nice, but can get ridiculous sometimes ("After you.", "No, after you.", "No,no,no, after you!").
As I was saying, 99% of motorists are fine , they pass with adequate berth, usually seven to ten feet of clearance. Sometimes a driver will come within four feet of a Bicycle, and I have noticed in cases like this that the driver is usually texting. The number of drivers who really come too close to a Bicycle while passing from behind is really small, less than one-in-five-thousand.
By the way, I have Bicycled over 142,000 miles since 1972, and I've never been hit by a car. And I drive too. And I also possess a Pilot's License.
But here's my point: Other safety measures would have to be taken BEFORE anything as drastic as a ban could be considered. Technology has improved to the point where LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights are efficient enough (on batteries) to be used at all times, even during daylight hours. We have helmets, though some people refuse to wear them. Better rear-view mirrors were invented AFTER cyclists started to use video camcorders, in the mid 1990's. (which is odd, I *think* a mirror uses a somewhat lower level of technology than a camcorder, but I digress). Reflective Tape for Reflective Vests has come down in price, it used to be $60.00 a foot, now every highway, power, and telephone worker wears one.
As for cars, I would say that most cars today have far superior handling than your Grandfather's car, due to "rack-and-pinnion" steering. Newer cars are unlikely to drift into the Bike Lane, or cross the fog line, by mistake.
There are some Cyclist on the road who's nerves are shot, as a result of being startled too many times. Really, a cyclist should use a rear-view mirror to avoid being startled, it's easier on the nerves.
Myself, I have six tail-lights, a rear-view mirror, an eighteen inch reflective triangle on the rear of my custom built panniers (rear baskets, saddlebags) , I wear a reflective vest, I wave a red flag when I signal a turn or a stop, and I always pull over to let trucks, buses, ambulances, or anything unusual ,to go by.
And in addition to my five headlights and six tail-lights, I have amber marker lights on the sides of my Bike.
And I run a camcorder while I'm riding, as I have done for twenty years now. But in those twenty years , I have not encountered even one road rage case worth reporting.
Fare thee well, Aquarianus, and if you don't change your attitude, you will be asked to blow into a Breathalyzer.
04-11-13, 05:56 PM
04-11-13, 06:11 PM
Okay, I got some NEW photos, of my pride and joy, the NFA Vehicles Type Ten, a.k.a. the Fiberglass Shark Bicycle.
ABOVE are the edited photos, which were cropped so as to leave out the flags.
Un-cropped version of the image.
Close up of the Fairing, side view.
Close up of the starboard flank, NOTE that there is a 5 millimeter thick , white plastic plate, bolted to the seat support empennage. This is to support the rear panniers better, under heavy load.
Rear View, showing the LED Tail Lights and the eighteen inch reflective "Farm" triangle, or SMV Sign (Slow Moving Vehicle Sign).
Water Bottles, stainless steel, in.
Water Bottle Cages, without bottles, to show bolt location. The bolts pass through the boom, and are secured with nuts on the left/port side. The points of the bolts had to be filed down , so it was a "force fit".
The Grin of the Shark...
Please note, I had to clean this sidewalk/pavement by myself. It was still a mess after Hurricane Sandy, which struck 27 October of last year , 2012. I heard today that the name "Sandy" has been retired, which is purely coincidental.
Hope you have enjoyed the new photos of the Fiberglass Shark Bicycle.
06-16-13, 08:45 PM
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9050108109/" title="IMG_0428 by AviationMetalSmith, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2885/9050108109_582c2556ae.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_0428"></a>
06-16-13, 08:45 PM
IMG_0428 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9050108109/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
06-16-13, 08:47 PM
That was a TEST of the NEW Flickr, worked on the SECOND Try!
HINT: Use BB Code , NOT HTML .
Here is the Bike with the Shark Teeth:
2012_1217AE (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9052208664/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
06-16-13, 08:49 PM
IMG (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9046833996/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
06-16-13, 08:50 PM
IMG_3546 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9044598849/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
06-16-13, 08:52 PM
IMG_3527 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9046825748/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
IMG_3526 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9046825896/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
IMG_3525 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9046826044/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
07-29-13, 11:15 AM
If I haven't blogged much lately, it's on account that I've been posting to Facebook. Update: two weeks ago, I busted two spokes on the rear wheel of the white touring bike (above). At least one spoke must have been broken for some time, the wheel has been trued now.
Saturday , the 27th, I took a ride into Manhattan- On an LIRR Train- and used a Citibike for riding once I got there.
DSCF0821 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9386259030/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
This Notice; was on a screen at NY Penn Station. The weekday restrictions have always been in place, but the Saturday restrictions are new. This kind of seals the deal with Citibike, since I don't want to be stranded, or be forced to abandon my bike at Penn Station...
DSCF0806 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9383491639/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
IMG_0649 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9283565921/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
This vehicle is what I call a Chinese Knock Off. I "invented" something like this back in the 1980's:
NFA Vehicles Type 6 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/1153474557/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
Well, the idea of a roof, for a two wheeler, is catching on. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And it's just one of those counter-intuitive things, you wonder "how is it possible?" about...
DSCF0701 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9386376836/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
Here's a shot taken from a train, the Pile Drivers are in the news for making noise at all hours. This is on Amtrak's NorthEast Corridor, and a track connection is being made to allow LIRR Trains to access Grand Central Terminal, a.k.a. ESA, or East Side Access.
DSCF0792 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9386292162/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
A view of the High Line, another former New York Central Railroad monument. I walked this line in 1986, and I worked on getting it opened for the public. Bicycles are prohibited , but the fact that it's so crowded, and the only access is by stairs, makes that a moot point.
Try to look at my photostream , if you have time, thank you.
08-21-13, 04:50 PM
The threads of my Steerer tube/ Fork got stripped. Had to overhaul the headset. While I'm at it, I might as well "Modify" the bike, so it has a Utility Loading Platform on the Head Tube. Shown here are the striped threads, followed by the pannier mounts, which is permanently attached to the "Junked" fork...
It is at least 80 degrees F here in New York, so the Epoxy should set up in a couple of hours.
10-02-13, 10:25 AM
DSCF0962 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/10055057734/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
Spot the Bike Lane, what color is it?
10-06-13, 12:30 PM
DSCF0948 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9644131543/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
DSCF0949 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9647367114/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
DSCF0950 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9647366122/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
DSCF0951 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9644128827/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
DSCF0952 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9647364262/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
DSCF0953 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9644127027/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
DSCF0954 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9647362544/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
DSCF0955 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9644125429/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr
Yea, I was in the same situation. I finally gave up waiting for a Weldor with Inert Gas equipment , and did the job myself, using Fiberglass, Starting with a piece of Styro... Expanded Polystyrene Building Insulation, I made a half round gouge in one end (easy to carve, the Styro'...) Butt End spliced it to the Head Tube with Epoxy/Fiberglass. Then wrapped the outside with more Fiberglass / Epoxy "Lashings" . Let me look for the Youtube video on "HowTo"...
IMG_0914 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/9663557391/) by AviationMetalSmith (http://www.flickr.com/people/11629987@N02/), on Flickr[/QUOTE]
(This is a Follow-Up on the previous post)
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