Sunday, September 30, 2012

NY Times Report: Lose the Helmet - Increase City Cycling


But many European health experts have taken a very different view: Yes, there are studies that show that if you fall off a bicycle at a certain speed and hit your head, a helmet can reduce your risk of serious head injury. But such falls off bikes are rare — exceedingly so in mature urban cycling systems.
On the other hand, many researchers say, if you force or pressure people to wear helmets, you discourage them from riding bicycles. 

“Pushing helmets really kills cycling and bike-sharing in particular because it promotes a sense of danger that just isn’t justified — in fact, cycling has many health benefits,” says Piet de Jong, a professor in the department of applied finance and actuarial studies at Macquarie University in Sydney...


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Gov. Brown Continues His Indifference to Cyclists

Nothing has changed about this man since his unremarkable term as the Mayor of Oakland. Then, outside of a hard fought proclamation,  he had nothing to do with our annual Mayors' Rides. He ignored bike activists like myself and architect, Ron Bishop, now deceased, who was only honored as Mr. Bike Oakland, once Mr Brown had let go of the political stepping stone Oakland was for him.

Now as the state's governor, Brown is continuing his indifference to the needs of cyclists. If you can believe this, he vetoed the three foot safe passing law that is already  in place in almost half of the nation's states. He waited until the 11th hour to express the one, easily amendable concern he had with the bill, when he then vetoed it.....


btw: More politics, he did this on a Friday night when the news hounds are sadly less active ......

Friday, September 28, 2012

100 year old Cyclist Sets 100km Record!

Frenchman, Robert Marchand , age 100,  just rode 100 kilometers (62 miles) in 4 hours, 17 minutes and 27 seconds. An official centenarian, he covered the distance at an average pace of 14.5 mph!

Official Busycle Lighting Supplier Rolls Out B-R-I-G-H-T Bike Light

Official Busycle Lighting Supplier Rolls Out Incomparable Bike Light 

Barry Burr, the Rutgers educated engineering genius who used to provide lighting for our Busycle night rides, is offering the public a piece of his amazing new bike light. If it's anything like the prototype he let me run about three years ago, you will be mistaken for a 16-wheel truck and trailer rig. What was keeping him from going to market then was the amount of heat it generated. Looks fixed now. SEE:

Here is Barry in November of 07. And HERE was the ride we did....

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Critical Mass Turns 20, Returns Cycling to the Masses...

Here now twenty years after it began, people are finally starting to see what the importance of the Critical Mass movement. What never seems to get articualted however, is that CM stole bicycling back for the masses. At a point in time when the only voice for those on two wheels were the magazine such as  "Bicycling" and their  sponsors and you were not a cyclist unless you wore spandex, went to far away places with your high spec bike and rode only  the latest greatest, CM made it cool to  ride junk, right where you were. In the city..

It made it possible for you to be a cyclist if your bike could only do a few blocks and was not TdF race ready. It gave birth to tall bikes and bike churches and the plethora of cottage industries that celebrate the recycled bike part. It paved the way for an open mindedness to the Busycle possibility. Ditto for the San Jose Bike Party that also attracts thousands of cyclists who try to improve on CM by obeying the rules of the road. In giving birth to a whole new breed of bike rider, very few pedal at the SJBP ride in lycra or on high end two wheelers. .

On many levels, thank God for Critical Mass. Here is what one of San Francisco's newspaper's sees:

Critical Mass anniversary a time to acknowledge what the movement has accomplished

By: SF Examiner Editorial | 09/26/12 6:33 PM
SF Examiner Editorial

The bicycle phenomenon known as Critical Mass started in San Francisco 20 years ago and has since been exported to many other cities around the world. Thousands of cyclists from across the globe are in town this week to celebrate the anniversary of a movement that has raised the profile of urban cycling.

The first Critical Mass ride in San Francisco was called Commute Clot, a name that carries with it one of the biggest criticisms of the ride: That drivers and, to a certain extent, public transit riders can be stuck in congestion while the pack of cyclists rides through the streets without obeying traffic laws. But at its core, Critical Mass is a political statement about the roads we all pay for and how they should be used. And in spite of the occasional inconvenience that accompanies Critical Mass, it has been very effective as a political movement.

After all, many reforms do not come from centrist ideas that emerge from government bureaucracies. The fringes of the left and right are often where changes start, and as ideas gain acceptance they are often watered down as they are embraced by centrists. The civil-rights movement started with illegal marches on the streets, not with congressional legislation. Same-sex marriage is just now being embraced at the federal level, decades after advocates started pushing for the right to wed.

Two decades ago, when Critical Mass started, the idea that bicyclists also deserved space on San Francisco’s streets was not as well-accepted as it is today. Cars ruled the road, and the dangerous space on the edges was where cyclists rode — if they were brave enough. But Critical Mass brought to the forefront the idea that bikes, too, deserved a safe space on the streets.

Whether you love or hate the Critical Mass rides — and, at times, both attitudes have been appropriate — they have pushed urban cycling issues into the mainstream in San Francisco and around the world. The idea of a physically separated bike lane on Market Street, the grand avenue of The City, would have been inconceivable 20 years ago. Today, not only is there a stretch of Market with such a lane, but talks about re-doing the street include proposals to make many more miles of the stretch safe for cyclists.

Critical Mass is not the only entity that deserves credit for the increase in cycling advocacy in The City. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition tirelessly pushes for projects that will make cycling safer. And several lawmakers who are themselves cyclists support riding as a transportation option rather than just a recreational activity.

When the riders of Critical Mass hit the streets this Friday for the anniversary ride, they will stop cars in their tracks and halt Muni buses while the bikes go by. But instead of complaining about your own personal inconvenience, take the time to think about your mode of transportation and contemplate whether you have ever had to protest to make sure you were safe during your own commute.

Although by no means perfect, Critical Mass deserves recognition for what it has helped to accomplish in the past 20 years.


            THX 4 all of U!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hong Kong - World's Worst City for Cyclists

It was not long ago that when you thought of China, you thought bicycles. So much so in fact,  that it was  the Chinese example of walls and walls of of cyclists flowing so well together in Ted White's film "Return of the Scorcher", that helped give rise to the Critical Mass movement all over the world. While this was the China we thought we knew, as we saw here last month, cars are becoming its ruler king. And the country is at near gridlock from too many cars. 

What's worse, in Hong Kong, a city of seven million people, conditions for cyclists are so bad the governemnt does not want people riding bicycles on its streets. Though China was under British rule until 1997 and was never a biking city, in following China's lead,  it makes sense that its terrible relationship with cyclists has been allowed to deteriorate to the level it has. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rare Pneumatic HiWheel Found in Czech Republic

 Per our report about how John Dunlop and the Irish killed the Hiwheel, HERE
since it was air filled tires that made the modern day diamond frame with its smaller wheels faster and far more practical, few pneumatic tires made it on the HiWheel bike which went out of production in 1892.  This beautiful pneumatic Penny Farthing comes to us from Robert Sterba and his amazing museum in the Czech Republic...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

More on Detroit: Grown Men on Bikes Take Over

They join the Detroit East Side Riders' Mind-Blowing Bikes


Story and MORE PHOTOS at the Huffington Post HERE,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

1890 Bike Cops in Detroit when Bicycle-Making Capital of World

Caption: Distinctive uniforms were worn by the bicycle policemen of the 1890s. These terrors of the scorching fraternity were Joe Whitty, left, and Charlie Stewart. The photo was taken in front of Elmwood Station in 1895. Detroit had been the bicycle-making capital of the world before becoming the auto capital. (The Detroit News) Album ID: 1370996 Photo ID: 39102380

Source - Detroit Police Department

Friday, September 7, 2012

Importance of Self Empowerment Bike Shops!

In Redlands, CA (population 70K), about 60 miles inland from Los Angles, a bike co-op is empowering the local citizenry. With inspiration and knowledge drawn from the Sacramento Bike Kitchen well over 400 miles to the north, two men, Matt Baker and John Gravois are getting more people on bikes by making it possible for them to work on their own pedal machines.

It is the example they are setting that I discuss in "How America Can Bike and Grow Rich", when I talk about the NBG Hubs that I envision for our Mayors' Ride cities all across the Nation. Just as Mitch and John learned some of the ropes of their trade in Sacramento, what people will be learning at our Hubs will be brought to cities and towns, small and large, all across America. It is this I foresee as I fine tune my book over here in Europe, on the Emerald Isle.

Everyone wins when co-ops like this one make it easier for people to break into cycling. This is so especially for bike shops because as these new cyclists begin to demand more from their bikes, they look to the traditional bike shop to help them satisfy their needs....

Read the story about the Redlands Co-op HERE.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lemond's Classic 1989 TdF Time Trial Win

America's Real #1 Cyclist, Greg Lemond, Leads HiWheel Race

Just got word that Greg Lemond, at left above, kicked off the Frederick Clustered Spires High Wheel Race. Held in Frederick, Ohio, Greg started the 25 Penny Farthing racers from all over the world off by riding the first lap in fun fashion, per the below photo:

A three-time Tour de France winner, and the first American to do so, it was Greg Lemond, who after his amazing comeback from shotgun wounds and come from behind, Time Trial win on the last day of the Tour in 1989 (actual footage!), who kicked off a huge surge in cycling popularity in the United States. It is the joy he brought to cycling that I discuss  when my book, "How America Can Bike and Grow Rich" passes trough Reno, NV, the training turf that launched his racing career. A little over a decade after his name became synonymous with High Performance cycling, Lemond's easy going way lost its appeal when a brash Texan named Lance Armstrong went on the offensive to take the shine off Lemond's star.

In 2001 after Armstrong had won his third straight Tour, Lemond joked, "If Lance is clean, it is the greatest comeback in the history of sport. If he isn't, it would be the greatest fraud." Among many other attacks that followed, Armstrong convinced officials at Trek Bicycles, who sponsored his racing team,  to muzzle Lemond for saying he raced with drugs. 

Lemond only stopped having fun with  Lance after he was forced to sign a waiver asking him to do so by Trek less they stop producing/promoting the Lemond line of bicycles.  By 2004, the once prosperous relationship the two had enjoyed was in shambles. By 2010 it had officially ended thanks in large part to Mr. Armstrong (more of that story here).

Committed to winning at all costs, Armstrong seemed to have successfully made a mockery of the good time Lemond was showing could be had on a bicycle as he slashed and burned one cyclist after another. Now, however,  it appears that our Nation's real champion has finally re-emerged, as Toto, in the form  of the USADA, pulled the curtain on, Armstrong, the Great Oz of bicycle racing, who once said, 

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”

In my own experience of a two month coma and the resulting paralysis, spasticity and nerve chilling therapy, I know pain all the way to the other side.  Having had to go through unimaginable torture to get my own life back, I know the purpose of pain is to teach us we can transcend It when we realize we are not these bodies or what they accomplish. It will only be then that we can laugh at ourselves as we let our Higher Selves power through that which life has to offer. Lemond seemed to understand this. And if Lance ever knew it, he seemed to have forgotten. At great expense to himself and anyone who dared to challenge his ability to do what he did without drugs, lawyers, intimidation and vast sums of money. 

As the wheels continue to fall off Lance's cart, I am so happy to see Greg Lemond's star begin to shine once again!!

    Martin Krieg  Author "Awake Again" -
Above Autobiography as Ebook on iTunes!
  '79 TransCon upright '86 TransCon 'bent
  Coma, Paralysis, Clinical Death Survivor  
   NBG Founding Director, HiWheel Cyclist

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