November 30, 2007
Roger Kramer Tours the Community of BikeBlogs
Roger Kramer is the design editor at the Belleville News-Democrat, a medium-sized daily in Belleville, Ill. and an active, knowledgeable, cyclist.
The more cyclists who do like Roger and check out some of the other blogs in our niche, the more aware BikeBloggers and readers will become of just how numerous and varied we are.
Over the past year several BikeBloggers kept up their own efforts in this regard, and we have seen Podcasting enter the mix as a way to spread the word.
We have come a long way since I began this blog almost 5 years ago. ;-D
In 2008 I plan to revive my own Tour de Bicycling Blogs, which last saw action in October 2006. ;-D
November 29, 2007
From City Bike to Lowrider in Nothing Flat
It's called the SwitchBike.
The bicycle can be used in two different settings: 1) as the "Old Faithful" city bike, 2) as a lowrider. Switching from one setting to the other is done by turning the left handle on the steering wheel.
Created by Ron de Jong, this baby is a fascinating two-fer that would appear to make a good commuter bike, as well as a class 1 trail ride, here in Orange County, on our river and mountain to sea trails.
According to Fresh Creation Blog, the creator is still looking for a company to put this baby into production.
Hat tip to Randy Eady for the heads up! ;-D
November 27, 2007
We got Bike Maps: Introducing My Stash
A map, a map, my Kingdom for a MAP!
A good map, or detailed route slip, is a neccessity for any recreational road bicyclist intent on having an enjoyable bicycling experience, whether it is in the local area of the cyclist, or in another city, county, state, or country.
Hybrid Road Bike with years of experience and a zillion miles under her saddle:
I wonder if he plans on having me ride all those?
Inexpensive Beach Cruiser still barely tested on the trail:
Hey Lady, better you than me!
In January 2005 I gathered a treasure trove of maps at the LA Travel Show, and wrote about the adventure.
While some of the maps were specially made Bike route, and trail, maps, most were standard issue city, and state, and even country maps.
Some of those do have route details for cycling, but it is important to understand that they are useful regardless.
Many such maps can be requested for free, or for the cost of postage.
I had big plans to write about those maps long before now, but life kept getting in the way of giving me the time.
I wish, now, that I'd tried to do a little at a time because this stuff IS a resource that should be known, and utilized.
The purpose of this new series is to make my way through my stash of stuff, and any new stuff I might receive, or get my hands on in the future.
I want to write about not just the maps, but any other useful cycling info I may discover in the material.
I also plan to try to request maps by mail from various resources, and write about them, and to check out various websites that sell, or post, maps, and/or route descriptions, that I have in my sidebar.
I will be including info so you can get the latest versions of the maps yourself.
Preparing oneself for the journey makes for a safe, and enjoyable, experience.
A year ago I organized the collection into folders, and labeled each one by city, state, Province, or Country.
Hybrid: Oh, my aching wheels!
One more thing:
If you have used the maps I write about, and/or traveled the locales they cover, please send me the story of your experience(s) in 1500 words, or less, for consideration to be published, with credit, here.
Now let's get this show on the road and give you an intro to my stash, by category! ;-D
What follows is a List of my stash by Category. ;-D
1st let's look at California Folders:
1. Barstow Area.
2. Big Bear/Idywild.
3. El Dorado County.
4. Fresno Area.
5. Hemet Area.
6. Inyo County.
7. Kern River Valley.
8. Los Angeles County.
9. Modesto Area.
10. Morro Bay Are.
11. Orange County.
12. Palm Springs Area.
13. Redding Area.
14. Riverside County.
15. Sacramento Area.
16. San Bernardino County.
17. San Diego County.
18. San Luis Obisbo Area.
19. Santa Barbara County.
20. Santa Clarita Area.
21. San Ynez Valley.
22. Tulare County.
23. Tuolumne County.
24. Ventura County.
25. Yolo County.
Add to this a folder with a few State Maps, and other statewide items. ;-D
12. New Mexico.
15. Washington DC.
1. Alberta Region.
2. Vancouver BC Region.
3. Surrey BC Region.
3. Costa Rica.
7. Puerto Rico.
2. Hong Kong.
5. South Korea.
Other Assorted Locales:
1. Bahamas - Jeez, this region has a lot of freakin' Islands!!
4. New Zealand.
Yes, I know, that's 69 folders. ;-D
I definitely need a new File Cabinet! ;-D
Was He Wearing a Helmet?
Okay...Remember, people, Share the Road!
ROCHESTER, Minn. - A man clad in swim trunks was arrested after riding a bicycle through a motel's hallways and hitting two men.
Swim Trunks, or were they spandex cycling shorts?
Would he have been arrested if he hadn't hit the 2 pedestrians?
Who had the right of way?
If he did, then why was he arrested?
A woman showering after using the swimming pool at Best Western Soldiers Field Tower and Suites told police she heard a door open and saw a naked man at about 3:10 p.m. Sunday.
Nosey old Biddy!
What room are we talking about here? The apartment of the cyclist? The men's locker room in the pool area?
The man ran out of the room, pulled on swim trunks, hopped on a bike and road through the hallways, police said.
Oh, I see! He was freaked out by the peeping lady, and was just trying flee from her prying eyes!
Give the guy a break for crying out loud!
He'd obviously just finished showering after a bike ride, and didn't expect there to be anyone around when he opened the door.
Police Lt. John Edwards said the man, 38, hit another man, 76, and his son, both of whom suffered minor injuries.
The son chased the bicyclist, tackled him and waited for police to arrive, Edwards said.
Charges against the man were pending Monday, police said.
What caused him to hit the 2 people and how was it that they couldn't manage to get out of the way in time?
Aparently it was a very slow news day in Rochester, Minn. ;-D
November 26, 2007
Went on my 2nd Longest Bike Ride today
Just over 55 miles.
It would have been longer, but my window of opportunity for catching a certain bus was way too close for comfort, and I had to abort.
I will return to the spot where I bailed and finish the ride not on Tuesday, as originally planned, but next week when I have 4 straight days to really do some exploring all the way to an historic spot at the base of the mountains east of San Bernardino.
A full ride report will come later in the week and will be worth it, trust me. ;-D
November 23, 2007
Cycling Dude Review: XYZ 26in. Man Deluxe Beach Cruiser
In early October I was approached by a representative for a company called XYZ BIkes, out of Hermosa Beach CA. by way of a Las Vegas Headquarters, an Internet based company selling "great looking beach cruisers for very low prices."
They are a relatively new outfit.
I am contacting you on behalf of my client John Vanhara with XYZBikes.com.
XYZ Bikes is an internet-based manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, designer and retailer specializing in beach cruiser bicycles. The company offers over forty beach cruiser and beach bike designs in its online catalog.
In an effort to put the word out about their bikes and website, they would like to generate interest through select bicycling-oriented websites to review their beach cruisers and write a review on their website, along with a link to the XYZ Bike website.
Would you be open to reviewing one of the beach cruisers (DUDE: A link was provided to a page on the website.)? If so, we would send one to you at no charge. XYZ Bikes will pay all costs to ship as well.
In exchange, they are just asking that you try out the bike, write a review on your website/blog, and additionally post a link back to the website.
Feel free to email or call me if you have any questions.
Thank you for your consideration.
Diana Heeb Bivona
When I first began this blog almost 5 years ago I never thought of having advertising, much less reviewing products.
As blogging has evolved and as interest in my blog has grown I became an Amazon Associate, accepted Google Ads and BlogAds as well.
This review marks the first time I've accepted the offer of putting a product through its paces and expressing my opinion on the item in question.
They apparently think the effort on their part to be worth it (Any company that does this sort of promotion obviously is taking a big risk that the reviewer might not like the product.).
We don’t intend to spend big money on advertising or other promotion. Our goal is to keep very low prices and if we have big advertising budge we couldn’t do that. We want to keep operation expenses very low and pass the savings to our customers. We don’t want to use classic retail resellers like most of our competition. Retail resellers usually add 50% mark up and customer must pay too much for their bikes. Our goal is to sell cheap directly to customers.
After checking out the website and taking a few days to consider it, I accepted.
Maybe I will get some reciprical publicity out of this if they like what I have to say, who knows?
So let's get this show on the road! ;-D
I will do 2 things, here: A product review and thoughts on the company website.
PRODUCT: XYZ 26in. Man Deluxe Beach Cruiser. (New for 2007.)
REGULAR PRICE: $145.00
CURRENT SALE PRICE: $95.00
The bike came well packed in a sturdy cardboard box.
Even though the bike takes the cracks and bumps of the most unkept city street, like a mountain bike, it truly shines on what it was designed for: The paved Cycling Trail.
You want to take a leisurely 10 to 30 mile ride on the trail of some nearby public beach, some river trail from the mountains to the sea, around a lake, in a regional park, or around a city?
A path designed to be shared only by cyclists, walkers, joggers, and maybe the occasional horseback rider?
This bike is a comfortable and cheap way to introduce yourself to the pleasures of this activity.
It is not designed to be used as a night time ride, though a headlight can be added.
I'd like to thank the guy who helped me take the above 2 pictures.
See, see! I DID ride the bike!.;-D
About 25 miles overall. ;-D
One more thing: This is not a mountain bike, but there are no doubt some out there who ride such steeds and even those bikes with no brakes at all, on unpaved trails. ;-D
You want to know how this baby performs on such trails, you are on your own.
If you live to tell about it stop by and leave a comment. ;-D
Now, for the person who, like me, relies on Mass Transit the question of the suitability of the bike for transport on a bike rack is of the utmost importance.
Most Bike Racks found on the front of most busses are of 2 types.
Some have sloping ends on the back end.
The oversized tires make the bike a little long, but the wide wheels fit snugly into place on these type racks.
Some racks do not have the above slope, thus making the rack seem a little short.
Even though the back tire "sits up" a little the front wheel is snugly secure, as is the bike.
At least it appears that way.
I prefer the other rack because it's remotely possible that if the bus hit a bump, or dip in the road, your trusty steed might come loose. ;-D
When it comes to using bike racks in front of businesses and government facilities...you take your chances. ;-D
Not all such racks are made to accomodate all types of bikes.
The company website sells fenders and baskets appropriate for this model bike if the buyer is interested.
In short: This bike is an ideal starter ride for someone interested in sticking to paved Bicycle Trails of many different locations and varying lengths.
With proper adjustments of its parts, to fit the rider, a comfortable, leisurely, ride can be a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
What about the website?
I like it. It is easy to navigate and has enough info to help you make a purchase, not to mention ways for you to ask questions, comment, and leave your own reviews of products.
The Home Page has a nice little introduction to the History of Beach Cruisers, and their place in Cycling Culture, past, and present.
The Home Page has a clickable directory to the other parts of the site, divided into 10 sections:
THE BIKE CATALOG (Store): You can log in, and create an acount, for starters.
Here you can learn which items are most popular, such as the above model bike, and click on any bike, or other product that you you want to learn more about before purchasing.
You can find sales and read product reviews by people who have purchased items.
There are seperate links that take you to store pages for Classic Beach Cruisers, Women's Cruisers, Men's Cruisers and something called a Chopper Cruiser.
Their most expensive bike, this baby must be seen to be believed. ;-D
This Low Rider is like a Recumbent, except that a few things are, um, missing. ;-D
Of course this just means it will be tempting for the, um, more adventurous, cyclist to take it for a spin where it ain't meant to go. ;-D
THE CONTACT PAGE: This page has info on where to by a bike in Lomita, Ca. (See Local Pick-up page for more info, and directions.), and has an easy to fill out form for submitting inquiries to the company.
THE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING PAGE is quite helpful in that regard.
THE FAQ PAGE is an informative, though evolving, section with new info being added all the time.
THE BLOG: Part promotional tool, part personal observations related to products, testing, How to's, FAQS and more, it makes for fun reading, including the comments to many of the posts, and is a relatively recent addition to the site.
There is an interesting section that explains the Affilliate/Reseller Program the company hopes to encourage.
There is a growing Product Asembly Section, and all the info you need for Shipping and Returns.
The company has a good, uncomplicated Motto: XYZ Bikes = Good cheap bikes
As for what plans I have for my new bike?
I paid a visit, this afternoon, to Santa Ana Fire Sation 1:
November 22, 2007
Civil Discourse on the Road: Educate, Do Not Aggravate
In a follow-up to our postings of the other day (Idiots, Assholes and Other Upstanding Sharers of the Road.), Gwadzilla makes a very important point:
we all must remember in the battle between the car and the bicycle
the car is a superior weapon.
He suggests blowing kisses or, at least, using ALL 5 FINGERS, when you sweetly wave. ;-D
In retrospect, I think he's right.
Consider this: Road Rage among motorists is considered one of our National Pasttimes, and sometimes the folks indulging do so armed.
In 2008 I may try something inspired by this picture:
I'm thinking of puttting those words on the back of a T-Shirt, with my Blog URL under them, and see what sorts of responses I get. ;-D
And I'm going to be more watchful and careful in my own cycling, too.
November 20, 2007
Idiots, Assholes and Other Upstanding Sharers of the Road
Every time I pay a visit to Gwadzilla I am reminded, yet again, why his is such an enjoyable blog to visit, and has been for 4 years now (Happy Anniversary G-Man!!).
I have him in my Blogroll for a reason and his latest post shows why. This post wonderfully, accurately and angrily describes situations universal to cyclists all over the world, expressing feelings and emotions we all have had, but can't always put into words.
here it is Monday morning...
I just finished my miniature morning commute into work
the ride in is short and effortless
no need to get my heart rate up
just a few pedal strokes down the hill towards my office
yet things are not always so easy
the roads are filled with all sorts of idiots and assholes
most of them are idiots
the rest of them are assholes
the more assertive ones tend to be selfish c_unts
Just Sunday, when I took the test bike out for its first spin, I encountered a local representative of the citizenry Gwadzilla describes.
Near my home is an intersection with right turn only lanes.
I go in this direction to head south into the city, reach a particular bus south, and west of the corner, or to reach accesses for the Southbound and Northbound Santa Ana River Bike Trail, both on the west side of the river.
The Right Turn Only Lane begins signalling its purpose a block ahead, indicating where southbound traffic should go.
As you can see there is a lane across the street that eastbound traffic uses in coming from its own Right Turn Lane.
To avoid this corner would require me to go anywhere from a mile to 3 miles out of my way depending on whether I need to reach the trail (By way of an access to the alternate NB Trail on the east side of the river.), catch a bus, or head south into town.
Of course the proper thing to do is either of 2 things:
1. Take the lane on the left so I can cross the street, and then move right.
2. Stay in the Right Only Lane, on its left side, thus allowing room for the right turning cars, then proceed across and move right.
Life is seldom so simple when dealing with people driving cars.
As you no doubt have figured out by now there is a problem with this picture:
From time to time, mostly when southbound traffic is waiting for lights to change, some idiot in the Right Only Lane will change his/her mind at the green and head south across the intersection.
This happened many times, in the few years I've lived here, when I've been positioned to the left of the offender, and sometimes the offender was not there for me to see because they were still approaching the corner from further back.
This made it hard on me because cars behind me, in my lane, sometimes are also already making their moves to the right, while I'm still recovering from the actions of the offender.
One day I decided enough was enough.
Now, when I approach the intersection (And others like it.), I ride across, or wait for the light to change, positioned squarely in the center of the Right Only Lane.
No-one gets past me until I am safely on the other side of the intersection.
This pisses people off no end. ;-D
Most just honk a couple of times, then stop when I don't look back and don't react to their impatience.
Then there are the ones like the person on Saturday.
This person honked 8 times, leaning on the horn for half of them, before stopping.
When the light changed the person tooted 3 more times.
Not looking back I gave the 1-Fingered Salute and went on my merry way. ;-D
November 17, 2007
Test Drive Bike Ready to Roll
A month ago I was approached to test drive a bicycle.
Yesterday I was finally able to haul it to the shop to have it put together.
I rode it the 2 miles home, and plan to really put it through its paces beginning this afternoon.
Yes, I plan to ride it the 11 miles to work. ;-D
What type of bike is it?
Stay tuned, hee, hee. ;-D
November 15, 2007
Raising A Cyclist In 21st Century America: Part 2
Has it been a year since I first heard of the Glider Rider?
Last December I shared with you a series of correspondences between myself and Randy Eady, of MPS-Ready Solutions.
It was all about a childs bicycle called the Glider Rider, and 2 presentations planned for Velo-city 2007 Conference, in Munich Germany, on "The Challenge of Raising A Cyclist In 21st Century America", and "Human Powered Vehicles (HPV); the ANTI-Segway. (Exploring a Cultural Paradox; Back to the Future of Individual Traffic)."
He even shared a Letter to the Editor, of Bicycling, that he's not sure was ever published!
What was really interesting to me was something he was planning for the future.
You see he also shared with me an article he had just finished writing, and hoped to get published, about how innovative Bike Designs are good Start-up Business Ventures.
Well, I recently received that long promised update e-mail. ;-D
Sorry for overlooking getting a copy of the presentation to you that we corresponded about last year.
1) Attached is the article that I presented in a paper at the Velo-City 2007 (The Challenge of Raising a Cyclist in 21st Century America)
We want to have our Glider Rider Adult Version (GRAV) on display in Brussels for 2009.
The beginning of this 5 minute video [promoting the Conference] really sets the stage for our new design.
I did a Google Search and found the article on Start-up Businesses! ;-D
So you, dear reader, are getting a two-fer. ;-D
As I wrote then "The article is an informative essay that discusses the balance principles, attributes, and benefits, of four new bike concepts: the Sideway bike (UK), the StreetSurfer (AUS), the StairCycle (US) and, the soon to be announced, Glider Rider-Adult Version (GE/US)."
On January 16, 2007 this article was published on Gather.com, and republished on the Glider Website on March 13th.
More recently the article was given a thorough overhaul, with pictures, and a whole new section on something fascinating called the COOL'cle.
This version of the article will serve as support of a Technology Demonstration at The International Conference on Aging, Disability and Independence (ICADI), St. Petersburg, FL Feb 2008
Here is the PDF version of the 4 page published article:
The article sent me in the update is part of a presentation he made at the 2007 Conference in June.
This presentation served to visually and verbally introduce the Adult Version of the Glider Rider (G.R.A.V.) to the world:
It’s a touchy subject bike manufactures have recently struggled to get their arms around: find a solution to diminishing rider capability and interest without sacrificing style and good looks for function.
The latest industry design emphasis seems to tilt toward pedal assistance or electric bikes (pedalecs as they’re known in the biking world)...these work if your balance, fitness and fiscal health are up to it.
Another alternative is to create a trike that enables people to stay mobile longer and to participate in everyday activities. Yet no matter how good you make it look, a trike is, after all, still a trike.
The auto manufacturer Volkswagen picked up on this theme with their 2006 Golf Gti car commericial which just shows a handlebar tassled tricycle and says, “for some, the man was always in the child.”
The advertising goes on to suggest that adults should not give up their adult status and leap back to the security of a trike before they have to.
That’s actually very sound health advice. And, a thought that has been undercored most recently in studies focused on specific physical activites that the Glider Rider in both the adult and children’s format accentuate: muscle balance development and bilateral coordination. Importantly, this product hits the scene on the heels of the social acceptance of healthy aging.
0 2 B 4 Again: What's to Know before you hop back on that Trike... (Yes, Page 4 is the 1st thing you see, but just scroll down to get to the start and you should be fine from there. ;-D)
In March Randy wrote an essay that discusses the notion that Glider Riders are smarter.
It's all about Concentrating better and learning faster.
In Elementary schools across this European nation, researchers have found children in the two to five year old age range who learned how to balance, coordinate and operate a new kind of pedal-free, balance learning bike called the Glider Rider, show greater intellectual ability, can concentrate on tasks better and for longer periods of time.
Read: Glider Riders Are Smarter.
The Father writes: "My kid loves this bike and the other kids always ask him to
borrow it. It has been a great purchase!"
For a few other, older, articles, as well as alternative access to articles mentioned here, if the Gather Links go bad, check out the News Section of the Glider Rider Website.
Even if you are not convinced to plop your toddler on one of these babies, or try the eventual adult version yourself, there is a lot of food for thought here that is worth considering.