Monthly Archives: August 2012

Fashion Friday: Skinny Jeans and a Swing Top

The only thing better than a Friday is a Friday before a holiday weekend. It’s the perfect day to dress down in skinny jeans and a deep purple swing top, with chunky jewelry and studded heels piling on the pizazz.

Why the big smile? After today, all play and no work until Tuesday.

About Fashion Friday: Inspired by a 2011 Bike to Work Day challenge sponsored by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, this series highlights the broad range of “dress for the destination” bicycling fashions.

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Posted by on August 31, 2012 in Cycle Fashions


Bike Lane FAIL: Door Prize in Mountain View

Remember those funky arcade games where you slid in tokens to win prizes by rolling a ball up a ramp or squirting a water pistol into a clown’s mouth? My favorite was Whac-A-Mole where you had to guess which hole the little rodent would pop out of and quickly hit it with a mallet. Guessing which door in a line of parked cars will pop open and quickly dodging it so you don’t get hit? That’s not nearly as much fun.

Location: Rengstoff Avenue near Montecito Avenue, Mountain View, California, USA.

Transportation planners, don’t build bike lanes like this! Narrow bike lanes next to cars are traps for new riders and savvy cyclists who ride outside the bike lane to stay out of the door zone make motorists really angry.


Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Bike Lane FAIL


The City Where Bike-topian Dreams Are Reality

Imagine a city of 60,000 where 90% of its residents ride bicycles to get around town. And it’s not in Denmark or Holland or Japan or China, but out in the wide-open desert of Nevada. The city’s web site is direct: “Black Rock City is designed for pedestrians and bicycles…Bikes are not merely a convenience, they are part of our culture.”

I’ve never visited Black Rock City, but my neighbor is headed there this weekend. Rachel’s bringing her “playa bikes”, immediately recognizable by those in the know as bikes embellished for Burning Man, an “annual art event and temporary community based on radical self expression and self-reliance in the Black Rock Desert.”

What makes a bike a playa bike? First, they’re chosen for cruising the loose soil of playa, not speed. With an official speed limit for motorized vehicles (aka mutant vehicles) set at 5 miles per hour, greyhound-speed bike is not appropriate. Even if it didn’t get bogged down in the alkaline soil of Black Rock Desert’s dry lakebed, your mechanic would never forgive you for the wear and tear on your delicate road or mountain bike.

And despite the virtuous mission of Burning Man, bike theft is an issue. It’s no surprise that while Rachel and her friend head out for dinner without lights, she carries a strong lock. Even in a city where no one sells anything and everyone gives and receives freely, hand painted bikes are too tempting to leave unsecured.

What does your vision of bike-topia look like? How close does where you live come to it?


Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Around Town


For the Love of Dirt

It’s Sunday night and I’m already sore. Except this time it’s not my legs, but my arms and back that remind me of time well spent on the bike. This weekend I finally made it back out on the dirt. The calendar may say it’s only been a few weeks since I’ve ridden my mountain bike, but my upper body begs to differ.

Riding dirt trails is different and it’s not just that you work different muscles (which you do). It’s different because it takes you away from the noise, stress and annoyance of sharing your ride with cars and trucks. Plus the scenery in the Santa Cruz Mountains is gorgeous, no matter how many times you’ve ridden the trails.

Cindy and I rode the trails along Long Ridge out to Saratoga Gap on the southern ridge of the San Francisco Peninsula. It’s a favorite route for both of us: rolling terrain that’s easy technically, but punctuated by rocky sections that challenge us when we’re in the mood and feeling confident.

Having neglected my mountain bike far too much this year, I’ll admit I wasn’t pushing my edges on the rocky sections. But after a taste of dirt this weekend, I can tell you I’m coming back for more soon, rocks and all.

The summer is almost over. What do you wish you’ve done more this season? Is it too late?

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Posted by on August 26, 2012 in Dirt Trails


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Fashion Friday: On the Go All Day Long

When your workday goes from leading boot camp drills to coaching as a personal trainer to planning company wellness programs, you need a wardrobe that can roll with the kick-boxing punches. In a girly-cut T-shirt, sporty skirt and athletic sandals, Deb doesn’t compromise style for performance, on or off her new city bike.

About Fashion Friday: Inspired by a 2011 Bike to Work Day challenge sponsored by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, this series highlights the broad range of “dress for the destination” bicycling fashions.


Posted by on August 24, 2012 in Cycle Fashions


Bike Commute Diaries: Early Conference Call

When early morning conference calls cut into your commute time, sometimes you have to take it from the road. Or the trail in my case. By taking it slow on a low-traffic, low-stress bike route I can stay connected as I roll along, and my European colleagues are none the wiser.


About the Bike Commute Diaries: Launched in May 2012 for National Bike Month, this series explores the unexpected and surprising things I’ve learned about bicycling for transportation.


Posted by on August 21, 2012 in Commute Diaries


Bike Spotting: Handmade in Bamboo—by You?

The beauty and creative spirit of handmade bicycles draw thousands of bike geeks like me to the shows like the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in cities like Austin and Sacramento. But for some bike geeks, admiring the handcrafted work of others isn’t enough. They need to make one for themselves.

If you are one of these Makers, you should know that in one weekend you can build your own bicycle frame–out of bamboo. Like Brad did at the Bamboo Bike Studio in San Francisco last year. I met Brad on my evening commute on Caltrain where he gave me the quick run-down. In two days he built his single speed for about $800, which included everything: bamboo and resin for the frame plus a fork, drivetrain, handlebars and wheels.

I was impressed by Brad’s work. Being built in two days work by a novice, it’s not the finely-crafted precision machine of a Calfee or Boo Bicycles bike, but it looks sharp and feels solid. And most importantly, Brad’s handmade bamboo bike has served him well for over a year as a daily commuter to his job at the Tech Shop in San Jose, a place where Makers like him can build almost anything their minds can imagine.

Have you ever dreamed of making, or actually built, a bicycle? If not a bicycle, what would you make?

Location: Bicycle car on the Caltrain commuter railway, San Jose-Sunnyvale, California, USA


Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Bike Gallery, Bike Spotting

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