Posted: August 27th, 2010 | Author: ryan | Filed under: Projects, Unite Bike | No Comments »
The updated Unite Bike website is live.
This year, Unite Bike is recruiting volunteer photographers to organize and shoot group photos of cyclists in cities around the world. The official photos as well as user-contributed content will be aggregated in various social media channels as the event approaches. It’s going to be effing amazing. I can’t wait to see the results.
Posted: February 8th, 2010 | Author: ryan | Filed under: Photography | No Comments »
Posted: January 1st, 2010 | Author: ryan | Filed under: Cycling | No Comments »
Last weeks’ snowfall gave us about a foot of dense, wet snow. This was followed by a week of near 0F temps. The result is a maze of glare ice roads and intersections, at least on the residential side streets. Our Saturn has a newly cracked bumper that attests to the treachery of traveling on these roads. This has kept me off the bike for a bit over a week.
Riding in last week’s fresh snow looked a bit like this <– Lots of fun. Quite the contrast from today’s ride. While it was fun, I looked more like an iced-over neon-colored polyester snowman. And instead of getting out the saddle and bombing the snow drifts, I was carefully choosing lines through packed snow and glare ice.
I made it about 4 miles today, about 30 minutes. (Please don’t calculate my avg speed with that info.) I had the energy and the warmth to go further, but not much. I’m in awe of those who rode 20 miles or more today.
Anyways, I’m hoping this is a good start to the year. While I won’t promise to ride every day, I’m hoping today’s ride will help remind me that sub-zero temps or icy roads aren’t excuse enough to stay inside.
Posted: December 25th, 2008 | Author: ryan | Filed under: Cycling | No Comments »
Give this snippet of Car talk a listen–I think Tom and Ray present a compelling argument for a national gasoline tax.
The idea is simple–the gasoline tax keeps prices at the pump higher, thereby reducing demand on foreign oil. Money raised is used to fund more sustainable transportation. The catch? The idea hinges on implementing it _now_, while gas prices are surprisingly low. But who’s going to support or propose a new tax in this economy?
Yet, here I am, eager to drive as little as possible, with my primary motivation being that I much prefer spending time on my bike than in a car. Yeah, I’ve saved a lot on gas this year, but I’m sure I’ve spent it all back on maintaining my bikes. And I have several friends who are similarly inclined to use alternatives to personal motor vehicles. So, it is possible to sustain the desired behavior without radical monetary incentives. My question is, what motivates us? Why do we bike? In adverse weather, leaving early, getting home later, compromising personal hygene, risking drivers’ scorn and vehicle collisions?
I’ll wrap this up now before I get too far off topic.. Anyways, what are your thoughts on this tax idea? Or, how else do we promote behavior changes among commuters? Do we even need to?
Posted: December 23rd, 2008 | Author: ryan | Filed under: Cycling | No Comments »
The evolution of winter traction:
That’s right, baling twine. Why? Because is was available and plentiful. My brother and I used this on our coaster-brake equipped BMX bikes to gain traction in packed and powder snow. My knowledge of this technique was handed down by my dad, who also used baling twine traction as a kid. Using baling twine for traction is very simple-just wrap the twine around the tire, lacing it through the spokes every 3 inches or so. Effectiveness? Well, pretty darn good, considering the low effort needed to install. Instead of spinning down into a puddle of slush, the tire would churn through the snow and let me get up to speeds of 5, maybe 8mph. This winter ritual ended quickly after upgrading to a Murray mountain bike with caliper rim brakes.
With disc brakes now common on most mountain bikes, this method is once again feasible for many. Check out this DIY tire chain setup.
This method is an adaptation from dirt bike experience, and also handed down by my dad. I remember admiring his Husqavarna’s winter tire, which had at least 300 sheetmetal screws distributed heavily across all of the tire’s lugs. That tire could rip apart ice like is was soft sand.
A few years later, I was inspired to ride through the winter up in Houghton, MI. I spent an evening carefully driving small sheetmetal screws from the inside-out of my front tire (a Panaracer Dart, IIRC). A second tube, carefully duct-taped into place, protected the tube from the screw heads. The result was pretty impressive; a knobby tire with 1/2″ of threaded screw sticking out of every lug.
This tire worked great for the loosely packed snow on the campus roads. The screws quickly wore down, but still had a lot of bite even when flush with the rubber. My best memory of that setup? The loud helicopter-like FFZZZZVVVVZZZZ sound that tire made on bare concrete–that got more than a few pedestrians to get outta my way!
Carbide studded tires
A.k.a. the “right way” to do this. I first ran a Nokian studded front tire last winter on my fuji POS. It worked amazingly well for keeping my bike upright through the slippery stuff. This year, I’m rockin’ a pair of Schwalbe Snow Studded carbide tires on my Cannondale H400. Amazing stuff, I tell ya. I now have the traction I need to keep spinnin’ this winter. If ony I could maintain the momentum to get on the bike each day…