It’s crazy weather off and on out there, and additionally, there is not much daylight. Bike commuters and cyclists in general find themselves in dark and inclement conditions through the next couple of months. I always tell people ‘don’t do anything to surprise another vehicle on the road…whether you are in a car, or on a bike!.’ The League of American Bicyclists have a tremendous amount of resources on their website, including these Top Ten Rules of Bicycle Saftey. Most of us know these, but it’s good to be reminded.
1. Wear a helmet for every ride and use lights at night.
I won’t update every day this month about the Bike Commute Challenge, but wanted to post about the happenings of the first day, and encourage as many folks to get out and ride this month, but also to help others ride where you can. My commute is not that long, just about 5 miles round trip, but I tend to talk myself out of riding because of other meetings, or gear that I need or like to take with me. I figuring out ways to make all that happen this month on my bike…perhaps even beyond the month. At any rate, the first day of the challenge left me with three things I thought would be worth noting in helping others to ride to work.
1. Let The Information Flow! – A friend of mine was considering riding a bike to work, but had no idea what he needed. “I guess I need a commuter bike, tell me about what I need.” Turns out, he had a perfectly good commuter bike already – my old Trek Navigator, (my full review here) which has a rear rack and everything. Only problem is that his wife has decided she loves riding it, and so it’s not available for his everyday use. After a lengthy email about good options for a commuter, and how I would ditch the shock for a rigid fork anyway, he ended up at the local shop, picking up another Navigator, in a different color.
Although he chose a bike that wasn’t on my top list for a commuter bike, I was happy to go round and round with the information on what could or would make a good commuter bike. I started out by telling him that he already had a great commuter bike in the Trek, BUT if he was going to look at a new bike (and who doesn’t love looking at new bikes!) I could give him some options. Turns out, that while I prefer the efficiency of a rigid fork for commuting, his back prefers the softer ride of the shock. Makes sense to me. At any rate, share as much info as you have with other people interested in riding!
2. Be Prepared to Help Out! – I typically take just enough to save my butt on the road because I hate carrying around a ton of stuff. A tube, a patch, some air of some sort, my cell phone. I’m good to go. I was just headed out the door to a 9 am meeting when my buddy Conrad called and said he had a flat tire on his bike, on his first day of the Challenge. Conrad lives further away from work than I do, and has hills and busy bridge to get across, so I’m stoked that he’s giving bike commuting a shot. I tried to remember what he was riding and thought he was on a mountain bike, so I grabbed a spare tube from my supply rack, some additional air, and tire tools, and threw them in my bag for the ride in. Turns out that he was on 26″ wheels, but using more of a road tire than the ginormous tube I had, but my office was just a block from the coffee shop where we met. I had a patch kit in my office, so we walked back there, found the hole in the tube, patched it up, and sent him on his way.
I also sent him out the door with some CO2 and an inflator just in case the patch didn’t hold. Although I can’t carry a tube for every occasion, it made me think I should try to carry some extras, especially during this month when there could be more folks needing a hand.
3. If You Can, Loan Out a Bike! – Nearly everyone I know that really gets into cycling, has more than one bike hanging in the garage. I’ve actually been thinking about clearing house a little, but am kind of glad that I haven’t quite yet because as it turns out, I think they’ll come in handy this month. In fact, one of my buddies at work said “I’d ride, but my brother took back the bike I was using. If you had one to loan me, I’d do the challenge.” DONE!
So today I’ll be dusting off the old Redline 925, and making sure it’s in tip top shape so he can ride to work this month! Do what you can to provide information, help out where you can, and even loan someone a bike if it will help them get out and ride! See you on the road!
I love getting my monthly update from the Man Who Know Everything About Bikes in Salem, Eric Lundgren. Not only does it inform and remind me of what’s going on, but it allows me to pass along his nuggets of knowledge to everyone out there visiting PacificPedaling.com From Eric’s latest email:
The big story in July is the Commercial Street Restriping Plan. The
plan offers the prospect of substantial progress on making downtown
more bike-friendly. It’s scheduled to go to City Council in August.
Make sure August 10th is on your calendar!
(It’s hot, too – so stay hydrated & cool!)
Breakfast on Bikes – Friday, July 31
Commercial Street Striping – Monday, August 10th
Short Track Racing at Fairgrounds – Mondays
Bike Commute Challenge Kick-off – Thursday, August 27th
Kick-off Bike Parade for State Fair – Friday, August 28th
Free Bike Parking at Salem Saturday Market
Salem Bicycle Club introductory Rides
Bike Commute Challenge Kick-off – Thursday, August 27th
Save the Date! Don’t have all the details confirmed yet, but we plan
on having beer and pizza for bicyclists. Get the BCC posters, other
workplace materials, and meet your fellow commuters! Look for
information on the Breakfast blog and for a special email later in
Kick-off Bike Parade for State Fair – Friday, August 28th
Free parade! Costumes and decoration encouraged. Meet at the State
Fairgrounds in front of the Pavilion off of Sunnyview Rd. at 5:30,
parade starts at 6. The bike drill team will be participating.
Additional practices to be announced. Here’s a brief bit about their
first outing, the Monmouth-Independence Fourth of July Parade – http://breakfastonbikes.blogspot.com/2009/07/fourth-of-july-parade.html
The summer bike counts are going strong, and some counts are already
in. If you are interested in volunteering, please let me know! There
are still some sites available, and in doing counts we’ve identified
some needs for additional counts. Here’s a story on one count at
Liberty S and Commercial SE, where we learned the intersection was
even more difficult than we thought. If you have a work-around you
particularly like, drop it in the comments! http://breakfastonbikes.blogspot.com/2009/07/liberty-s-and-commercial-se-dysfunction.html
Salem Bicycle Club introductory Rides – Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons
The Keizer Family Ride leaves Cummings Elementary School at 6:30 pm on
Thursday evenings, and the Sunday afternoon High Wheeler ride leaves
the red lot at 1:30pm on Sunday afternoons. For more information see
Many of you know I was out for three weeks on a cross country trip our family dubbed The Epic Journey. I still have some posts to get up about riding in different states across and back, but I’ve had a bunch of folks ask about traveling with a bike, and wondering how and where the bike was, because they never saw it in the photos we posted. So for everyone who was curious, here’s what I took, and how I took it with me.
In the photo above you can see our Suburban with a large StowAway2 box on the back that our kids lovingly dubbed “the fanny pack.” There were six of us on the trip – 2 adults, 4 kids, (two teenage girls and two younger boys) and each of us were allowed ONE duffel bag, one toiletry bag, and a “carry on bag” of sorts…something you basically kept with you in your seat. In addition, we had some general bags of medical/health stuff, snacks, and pillows and blankets for everyone…all of which filled out the cargo space behind the third row with just enough room to see safely out the back window. We picked up the Stowaway to be able to haul anything additional, which ended up being some auto gear, an additional car seat for our youngest, and then all my bike stuff.
I considered just throwing a rack on top, and putting one of the bikes up on top, but I didn’t want to be concerned with weather for 22 days, or theft or vandalism everytime we were in a new city, or even forget that I had it up on top and shave it off at some parking garage. The fanny pack seemed like an easier, fairly secure method of being able to take something with me, and it proved to be perfect for our trip.
The Stowaway model we selected had 16 cubic feet of storage, which fit everything you see easily, and could have taken more if I needed to get creative with packing. The swing-away arm allows the entire box to move out of the way of the rear-access to the Suburban with a quick release and lock down mechanism that keep it securely attached during normal operation. It was easy enough for anyone to use, and we got in and out of the back of the Suburban multiple times a day.
For anyone who hasn’t read a previous post about the bike, or seen it folded up, the Bike Friday packs up nicely into a bag that’s not much bigger than a suitcase. Having it ready to go in the fanny pack was much easier than if I’d had it tucked in with all our stuff in the Suburban. Plus, there wouldn’t have been enough room with all our other stuff.
I carried one bag that had 2 jerseys, 1 pair of shorts, 1 bibshorts, 1 pair of gloves, 3 layers (1 long sleeve, 2 short sleeve,) 3 pairs of socks, 1 pair of shoes, 1 lightweight jacket, 1 rain jacket, 1 front light, 1 blinky light. When I got on the road I realized I had forgotten a pump of any kind! I rode without a pump for the first couple times and finally picked up a full sized pump in Tucson, a spare tube for the BF, and some CO2 and a attachment. Fortunately for me, no problems with flats before then, and nothing afterwards either.
Overall, I really liked having the BF with me as a riding option. It allowed me to keep my legs spinning on a three week trip, rather than return cold after all that time. It was a decent replacement for my normal road bikes, and the bigger tires made it easy to get off of pavement and take a path or gravel road here and there. Halfway through the trip I started picking up some ghost shifting issue that I never really resolved. I tried a few tweaks, but I think I’m just going to let the fellas at Bike Friday give it a look over. Will the BF replace any of my day to day riders? Probably not. Will I take it with me on future camping or vacation trips? Without a doubt, it’s perfect for that.
As the weather gets nicer around these parts, more and more bikes start showing up on the road, even here in the Salem/Keizer area, where I don’t often see all that many bikes. But the sun makes people happy and gets us all out enjoying the weather in new ways, and I can’t think of a better way than by rolling out on two wheels. That being said, any cyclist that ventures out onto the public road system knows that it’s at least tricky out there, and sometimes can be downright dangerous. Or it can at least feel that way. I’ve read tons articles about safe cycling on the road, and rights and responsibilities of the cylcist, but today I read a really great article that I wanted to share. Please read on for more…
I live a very full life day to day. My wife and I stay very busy with 4 kids – 3 in secondary education, and one in preschool. On top of that, we are involved in community organizations and I co-own and help run multiple technology businesses. On many days I’m up at 5:30 or 6 to help get the kids up and off to school, then I’m out to the office by 9, meetings or projects throughout the day, off to some activity for kids or family, help with homework, tuck in kids, catch up on home stuff, and finally shut it down around midnight or later. Then back up the next day to do it again. At nearly 40, it takes it’s toll more than it did 10 years ago, and hardly provides the right schedule for massive amounts of riding or training. Yet some days, the sun, moon and stars all align, and I’m able to take advantage of some great cycling, right out my backdoor. If you haven’t ridden in the north Salem and Keizer area, here are some great options for you…
Well, this week finally did it. I finally gave into setting up the rollers and planning to put some hours in riding them. As was pointed out in a couple of Facebookersations yesterday, I’m nowhere near as tough as my cold weather friends who live and ride in Boston/Utah, or my local friends (sorry J-dub, I have no good link for you….aside from comments on my blog???) who ride year round regardless of the weather. It’s true, once it’s too cold, too dark, and/or too icy, I’m taking a pass and going inside. Read on for more, and for tips on how to have a less sucky indoor experience….