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December 29, 2006

A Rabbi and His Wife Went Bicycling

I know, I know... it sounds like the opening line of an act at The Laugh Factory. ;-D

But I'm serious. ;-D

This morning I received an e-mail:

Dear Kiril,

Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog each day. Partly because of this and other blogs and because of my infatuation with riding I have started my own blog called Bicycle Musings and would love to ask you to take a look when you have a chance and let me know what you think.

Thanks,

Ira F. Stone

No not THAT I. F. Stone! He's Dead! ;-D

This one is, well, let HIM explain:

I am a 58 year old Conservative Rabbi, published theologian and professor of Jewish Philosophy. I have also published two books of poetry and have recently become an avid cyclist along with my wife of 37 years.

I love it!

Now I am the 1st to confess ignorance about Jewish Custom, much less Conservative Jewish Custom, but still the 1st image that popped into my head, and made me laugh was of the good Rabbi pedaling off to Synagogue in full church going regalia ( Whatever it may be! ), hee, hee. ;-D

One look at his photo, though, and a reading of his 1st 2 posts, gave me to realize that the BikeBlog Community has itself an intriguing new voice joining it this week.

His e-mail included this quote:

The bicycle, surely the bicycle, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.

Christopher Morely

So... how DOES a Rabbi become a Bicyclist, and a BikeBlogger, as well, anyway?

From his 1st Post:

Back in May of 2006 my wife an I went for a Sabbath walk from our Center City Philadelphia townhouse up to the Schuylkill River Park. This beautiful multi-use trail was recently extended down near to our home. It goes from there to Valley Forge National Park. We sat on a bench that Saturday afternoon and over the course of the hour or so we were there a wide variety of bicyclists rode past us from fully outfitted folks who looked like they belonged at the Tour de'France, to elderly couples on old coasters (a term we didn't know them.) I remarked to my wife that bicycling looked like fun and after a brief discussion in which she agreed, indicated she'd like to try it too and that we'd never really developed a hobby together despite my attempts to get her to play golf and her attempts to get me to enjoy dancing, we decided bike riding might be the thing. So I began to visit bike stores and search on the internet for information.

Read the rest of it to see where it leads. ;-D

His 2nd post discusses a bike he recently bought and, unlike some posts onthe subject of new bikes, and their trial runs, is quite interesting reading.

Being new to Blogging he has things to master, such as post titles, and setting up the comments so non-Blogspotters can comment, and thus show him a better idea of the nature of his growing audience, but this is a fine start.

Welcome to the BikeBlog Community, Ira, and Bicycle Musings!

December 29, 2006 in Blogging Cyclists | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 25, 2006

Urban Planning In Germany For a Car-free Community

USA Today ran an article last week on a new neighborhood district that is a green, bike-friendly co-operative, in Germany. To promote the privileges of car-free living, local authorities and urban planners have banned cars within Vauban.

It is an interesting experiment.

Bicycle Diaries has more, including pictures, and links.

December 25, 2006 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Innovative Danish Approach to Road Safety

Leave it to the Danes to find an approach to Road Safety that, um, might need a Parental Advisary in some circles, hee, hee. ;-D

Hey, if it gets Motorists to slow down, and watch out for cyclists, and pedestrians, I say go for it! ;-D

View Danish Speed Bandits, over at Bicycle Diaries.

December 25, 2006 in Share the Road, and Trail: Safety Matters! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rampaging Santas!

Who needs a Sleigh, and 8 tiny reindeer, when you have a Bicycle? ;-D

Santas on a Rampage by Bicycle Diaries

Update on Santa Cycle Rampage 06 by Bicycle Diaries.

Official Website: Santa Cycle Rampage 06 in Chicago, Il.

December 25, 2006 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Queen of England Likes Bikes!

Today, the Queen gave top billing to Bicycles in her annual Christmas Message.

The relevant passage:

The certainties of the past are vanishing: we have a nuclear North Korea, a soon to be nuclear Iran, Baghdad collapsing in an orgy of violence, radiation poisoning around the corner from my own home; arctic ice disappearing fast; the largest producer of gas holding customers to ransom; central banks moving out of the dollar.

This is my advice: don’t try to predict what will happen; we are in a period of flux and forecasts are fruitless. For example, will our blessed Kingdom be hotter or is it facing an Ice Age, as the North Atlantic oscillator switches direction? We don’t know and both scenarios are plausible.

What we can do is become more self-reliant. It’s up to us restructure our lives in a way that we can survive strongly any of the shocks that will hit our country.

The bicycle can transport you everywhere, free from dependance from petrol, rails, pilots, etc. This is probably why so many people have started riding bicycles in London.

Let me paraphrase our great writer H G Wells: "When I look out of my window and I see all the people riding their bicycles, I do not despair for the future of the human race."

God Save the Queen! ;-D

A Tip of the Hat to Da' Square Wheelman, of Bicycle Diaries!

December 25, 2006 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Raising A Cyclist In 21st Century America

Last month I received an e-mail from a man with a company that makes a very unusual bicycle.

He submitted an e-mail ( And several follow-ups. ) that served several purposes, and he hoped I would share it ( them ) with readers of this blog:

Promote a Conference he would be attending in 2007.

Promote presentations he would be making there.

Promote the unique product of his company.

Discuss the issues of how best to get pre-schoolers into the swing of bicycling.

Share some interesting thoughts, and statistics, related to cycling in America, and other countries around the world.

I read the e-mail, and checked out the company website, and we had some e-mail back, and forth.

Lets begin with the initial e-mail from Randy Eady,of MPS-Ready Solutions:

Hi, Dude!

I was trolling for data to prepare two presentations for a EuroBike Conference next year and came across this on a fella named Gary Green's bicycle and beach.com site and he linked me into your site...

U.S. Bikers Less Safe Than European Counterparts:

In the United States, cyclists are 12 times more likely than people in cars to die en route to their destinations. On a per-kilometer and per-trip basis, U.S. cyclists are twice as likely to die on the road as German cyclists, and more than three times as likely as Dutch cyclists. While cycling fatalities in all of these countries have fallen in the last 25 years, U.S. cycling deaths have declined largely because of a drop in cycling, while in the Netherlands and Germany investments in infrastructure that make cycling safer account for much of the decline...

Given your international interest in cycling you may want to know about the Velo-city 2007 Conference, in Munich Germany, and my particular presentations:

PAPER #1

The Challenge of Raising A Cyclist In 21st Century America:

In Europe the laufrad has "revolutionized" the way 2-5 year olds learn how to ride a bike ( "Running Bike"  ( lauf = run, rad = bike wheel )  For your benefit:  Fahrrad is "bicycle" and Rad is "bike" in German. ) without the dependency created by stutzrader ( "support wheels".  Outside stabilizers as they are called in most English speaking places.  In the US, a brilliant marketing campaign came up with the clever misnomer:  Training Wheels, some 50 years ago.. It has helped thousands of children get on the path to an active lifestyle and garnered numerous toy design and educational awards. ).

Yet in North America there is a reluctance to embrace the laufrad, an inexplicable resistance to comprehending the benefits of the "laufrad phenomena" in Europe and denial of the increasing emergence of "training wheel dependency" in American society.

Even with an overall flat-to-declining US bike riding population, surging levels of childhood obesity and more children abandoning bike riding because they become dependent on outside stabilizers (known as "training wheels" in North America), the self-proclaimed world's leading bike magazine, Bicycling ( July 06 issue:"How to Raise a Cyclist". It was an extensive several page spread, but is not on the website.  ) stated: "the best way to teach 2-4 year olds how to ride is to put them on a training wheel equipped bike."

Many American's blithely say "we just take training wheels off, while Europeans add pedals." Actual rider-ship belies that statement. More European children are learning to ride untethered at an earlier age. More American children are carrying extra body surface area and are learning to balance a bike at a later age, if at all.

This presentation features North American's largest and most experienced direct distributor of laufrauder. The Glider Rider Division of MPS-Ready Solutions has been selling the "running bike" in the United States for over two years. We have used various educational approaches/demonstrations to prove the merits of the concept and have begun to open windows of perception in product use by suggesting its application in America as a therapeutic tool for special needs and developmentally challenged children. We will also discuss how the culture of obesity and the "anti-integrative" exercise philosophy in the US influences comprehension of the laufrad.

Why at Velo-city 2007?

To underscore the urgency of creating engaging and playful vehicle choices that promote physical wellness habits early in life and counter the ever-increasing influence of a sedentary lifestyle and a culture of obesity.

PAPER # 2

Title: Human Powered Vehicles (HPV); the ANTI-Segway. (Exploring a Cultural Paradox; Back to the Future of Individual Traffic)

Introduction:

Human behavior is hard to change. And behavior, with respect to human powered vehicle conveyance in the middle of Europe is very different from practices in "middle" America. We will examine cultural/behavioral differences manifest in the European and American approach to mobility, systemic wellness problems related to automobile-reliant urban transportation and the challenge of incorporating eco-sustainable lifestyle choices like "Call-a-Bike" programs in America. Suggested solutions may lie not with technology or sophisticated urban planning but a basic mentoring process.

Discussion:

Responding to the "oil crisis" of his day--as the literal price of horse power (oats) soared in the early 1800s--German inventor Karl Drais not only designed the first foot-propelled, human-powered, wheeled vehicle, he also ushered in the concept of individual traffic. This milestone set a prerequisite to ensure European pedestrian travel moved beyond a transportation issue and into the realm of infrastructure planning. In a sense, Drais reminded the populace that future personal trips would not only involve a walking component, but integrate with public thoroughfares. From the simple velocipede, profound implications can be drawn comparing contemporary Euro--American transportation and mobility behavior.

One paradoxical example: the manner in which Segway Human Transporters are permitted where most HPVs are prohibited. Lobbying campaigns touted technology, ignored health concerns and cleared the path for permissive regulation so US cities could put Segways on sidewalks. Not as a mobility-assist device; merely for convenience. This same anti-walking logic now applies in places like malls/amusement parks. By focusing on the legislated sidewalk acceptance of the Segway (in every major city EXCEPT San Francisco) and the exemplar success of Toronto's BikeShare program, this presentation will suggest only progressive municipalities understand that a city's walk and "bikeability" are some of the most important measures of the quality of its social health and vitality. Conclusions will revolve around the use of a civic planning tool called the Green Transportation Hierarchy. (A graphically depiction of the priority of consideration in governmental planning for various mo des of transportation, walking first as the most green form, followed by cycling, transit, delivery vehicles, taxis, and finally SOV (single-occupant automobile).

Why Velo-city 2007

Because we want to expand the discussion about the underlying cultural, behavioral and ethical differences that manifest in the European and North American approach to mobility and some of the systemic wellness problems related to automobile-reliant urban transportation.

My correspondence with Randy produced more interesting information.

He had written a Letter to the Editor, of Bicycling, that he's not sure was ever published:

(I opened the letter like this because they subtitle their magazine "The World's Leading Bike Magazine"):

Dear WORLD's Leading Bike Magazine,

As you are the globe's preeminent authority on all things two wheeled, I was caught by surprise when your How to Raise a Cyclist article recommended starting 2-4 year olds on "a training wheel equipped bike." Perhaps a broader glance around the world may have better grounded your essay writer's instruction.

European cycle enthusiasts have recently recognized so-called, yet mis-labeled "training wheels" were the construct of clever marketing nearly a half century ago. (They offer little benefit in the way of balance training and generally instill fear/doubt in a rider's natural balance capability.)

By using a new form of pedal-free bike for the past three years on the continent, the application of outside stabilizers has become the exception and the average age of newly self-supported bike riders is now about four and a half.

Though this may seem a minor point, when the underlying issue for "raising a cyclist in the U.S." is actually countering the influence of a sedentary lifestyle and a culture of obesity. Shockingly, health organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), American Heart Association and American Medical Association report balance ability now peaks at about the age of 10, that 18% of adults (18-55 years of age) report being non-bike balance capable and that childhood obesity is expected to reach the 25% level in the U.S. population by 2010. It's no wonder the NIH predicts one out of three (one out of two hispanic) children born after 2000 will contract diabetes. It's also no wonder the bike industry will be facing lower and lower rider-ship levels if more and more children get stuck on training wheels and aren't weaned off before they're drawn to the virtual fascination of a screen-based substitute.

Randy Eady

Intergenerational Balance and Movement Instructor, Boca Raton, FL.

I asked him if his company was US, or German:

We're an American-German company ;-)

Here's why:  We see our product "cycling" between the US & Europe, i.e., children's version started in Germany and migrated to the USA.  The adult version will start in the USA and migrate to Europe in 2009-10.

He shared with me excerpts from the soon to be updated ( Early 2007 ) FAQ page from the Glider Rider Site that is very interesting, and informative, and worth checking back with the site next year.

He also shared with me an article he has just finished writing, and hopes to get published, about how innovative Bike Designs are good Start-up Business Ventures.

As he wrote to me:

Why?

The bicycle is the world's best selling form of transport with 100 million sold each year - twice the number of cars sold - so a lucrative niche market exists for the more creative among us.  Four illustrations from around the Globe that expose these opportunities are the Sideway bike (UK), the StreetSurfer (AUS), the StairCycle (US) and, the soon to be announced, Glider Rider-Adult Version (GE/US).

The article is an informative essay that discusses the balance principles, attributes, and benefits, of these four new bike concepts.

I'll add an update here when I get word of the publication of the article. (Follow-up: Nov. 2007)

Finally, here are some interesting statistics he dug up as he is preparing for the Conference:

Snapshot: Deutschland/USA Bike Riding Comparison...

Germany:

Overall Population: 82,431,390.

66 Million bike riders in Germany.

City and Urban Bikes: 27% Trekking Bikes: 28%.

MTB/All-terrain Bikes: 15% Cruiser: 8% Other: 12%.

40% of Bikes in Germany are sourced from Asia (74% in US come from Asia).

USA:

Overall Population:300,000,000.

82 million bike riders (25 Mil MTB, 27 Mil Road Bikes, 18 Mil Hybrids).

(As of 10/06) Less than 25% of the US population rides bikes.

3000 people per day in the US lose bike riding ability due to non-injury related demographic factors such as aging, obesity and sedentary lifestyle.

Largest growth sector: Hybrids (55% growth rate in last five years)
28,128 hybrids were sold in May 2005, rising by 70 per cent in May 2006 to 47,870, worth $10.4m, about 17 per cent of the US bike market.

Sources: National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA), US Bicycle Product Suppliers' Association (BPSA), and USDOT/FHWA.

Dutch ride twice as often.

The German Government is moving forward with a national bicycle traffic plan to promote cycling throughout the country. The goal is to increase bicycle use to 30 per cent by 2012. Holland serves as a role model: Dutch citizens use their bikes for 27 per cent of all daily travel needs. In Germany, the current figure is around 12 per cent.

According to the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA), almost $5.2 bil/yr is spent on bicycles, parts and accessories, with 10 mil bicycles sold each year. Of the 80 mil bicyclists in the US, 55% are adults and there are 25 mil mountain bikers. Some 1.7 mil bicyclists also participated in 4,900 cycling events in 1998, during which time 175 hours of sports TV coverage was dedicated to bicycling. Of all bicycle sales, discount stores, toy stores and department stores account for 62%. (Direct)

Unlike most countries, cycling in the US has long been regarded as primarily an activity of childhood, to be left behind once one became old enough to acquire a driver's license and access to an automobile. Back in 1975 over 2/3 of all bicycle traffic fatalities were juveniles while mature adults were just 1/8 of the total. Over the past several decades however, the number of children encouraged to take up cycling has fallen dramatically, while the number of mature adult cyclists has grown at a somewhat slower rate to partially offset what would otherwise be an enormous decline in bicycle fatalities. As of 1998, just 30% of all bicycle fatalities were still juveniles, while mature adults now make up 50% of the total. USDOT/FHWA.

Somewhat Dated Statistics:

60 million Americans bicycle at least once per year [ Bikes Belong ].

25% of the U.S. population bicycles [Omnibus Transportation Survey by Bureau of Transportation Statistics, July 2001].

While in Japan 15% of commuters bicycle to work, in the Netherlands 50% of commuters bicycle and in China 77% commute by bike; only 1.6% of U.S. commuters bicycle to work [Washington State Energy Office Extension Services].

Eye opening. ;-D

December 25, 2006 in Voices From The Open Road | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas From the The Cycling Dude!

Combattricyclead5

A VISIT TO BAGHDAD

With sincere apologies to Clement Moore:

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Baghdad
Neither citizen, nor soldier was stirring, not even the Baker, Hadad;
The soldiers socks were hung around the cramped room with care,
As everyone joked that St. Nicholas would get quite the scare;
The mens weapons were nestled all snug next to their make-shift beds,
While visions of capturing Osama danced in their heads;
And the Sergeant in his helmet, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down to look over a map;
When out on the street there arose such a noise,
We awoke the patrol, with caution, and poise.
Away to the windows we flew like a flash,
To see who in tarnation was being so brash.
The moon being full, and all a glow,
Made everthing clear down below,
When what to our wondering eyes should appear,
But an armored Sleigh, and 8 battle-ready rein-deer,
With a camoflaged driver, so alert, and quick,
We knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
To a stop his coursers they came,
And he whispered to them one by one, each name;
"Hush, Dasher! Hush, Dancer! Quiet, Prancer, and Vixen!
Silence, Comet, Cupid, Donder, and Blitzen!
To that nearby porch! Your asses haul!
Now dash that way! That way! That way all!"
As dry leaves that before the desert wind fly,
When they meet an obstacle, react in the blink of an eye;
So over to our building the whole crew flew,
With the sleigh full of packages, and letters, and the Old Soldier, too.
And then in a twinkling, I heard a voice say "oomph",
Someone with a big load was worried about carrying it to the roof--
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Through the door St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed as we were, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all dusty from his hat to his boot;
A bundle of gifts he had dragged in a sack,
And he looked like the mailman just opening his pack.
His eyes-- how they twinkled!  even his dimples were merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His mouth though was serious, through a beard white as snow,
Afterall he was standing in the middle of a War Zone, you know;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encirled his head like a wreath;
With that broad face, and big round belly,
That shook when he suddenly laughed like a bowl full of jelly,
He was chubby, and plump, a serious, yet still jolly, old elf,
And we all laughed when we saw him in spite of ourselves.
A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head,
Gave us to know that we had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Approaching the mens socks, he turned with a smirk,
And, after pressing his fingers to his nose,
He passed items out to all 12 of us as we stood in 4 rows;
Then he sprang outside to his sleigh, and to his team gave a "Yo"!,
And away they all flew, to another encampment they would go;
But we heard him exclaim, as he flew out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

***Copyright 2005-06 -- by Kiril Kundurazieff***

Poem created in 2005, and originally posted on my OTHER Blog with a handful of must visit links that support the Troops, and inform about the War.

Tips of the Hat, for the Photo Addition, this year:

Urban Combat Patrol Tricycle!

Tricycle of Death!

New Urban Combat Vehicle!

The Tri-Cycle of Death…

2 UPDATES.....

***UPDATE - 12/23 ***

I came across a fellow member of Stumble Upon, tonite, who also is a writer, and so much more, and a rather lengthy post of his deserves a mention in this post, and also deserves to be read by anyone interested in the history of Warfare:

"It is thought possible that the enemy may
be contemplating an attack during
Xmas or New Year.
Special vigilance will be maintained
during these periods."

From General Headquarters at St. Omer - to all units
24 December 1914.

John Fenzel shares 2 lengthy items, and some tidbits, and links of interest, including to an interview with the author of the 2nd piece below:

1. A letter from an unknown British soldier that records events and incidents with the Germans..."The Christmas Truce," describing "the most memorable Christmas I've ever spent."

2. The Christmas Truce by Henry Williamson.

Spend some time this coming week reading, and listening to, this fascinating material.

I have no doubt that the soldiers seen in the photo above are not the 1st to have ever rode a Bicycle on, or near, the front lines of war, and won't be the last.

Whether serious, or in jest, the notion of the Bicycle being pedaled off to war brings a smile to my face. [ Re-imagine, if you will, The Charge of the Light Brigade, with the poor, brave, sods riding Mountain Bikes!  On 2nd thought, maybe not.... ;-D ]

As you celebrate Christmas, this weekend, remember those who have served in our military in the past, and think good thoughts for those who are serving it today.

***END UPDATE***

***UPDATE 2 - 12/24***

The Christmas Truce - 1914.

Not many people have heard the story of the
Christmas Truce. Military leaders have not gone out
of their way to publicize it.


On Christmas Day, 1988, a story in the Boston Globe
mentioned that a local FM radio host played "Christmas
in the Trenches," a ballad about the
Christmas Truce, several times and was startled by the
effect. The song became the most requested recording
during the holidays in Boston on several FM stations.

"Even more startling than the number of requests I
get is the reaction to the ballad afterward by callers
who hadn't heard it before," said the radiohost. "They
telephone me deeply moved, sometimes in tears, asking,
`What the hell did I just hear?'"


I think I know why the callers were in tears. The
Christmas Truce story goes against most of what we
have been taught about people. It gives us a glimpse
of the world as we wish it could be and says, "This
really happened once." It reminds us of those thoughts
we keep hidden away, out of range of the TV and
newspaper stories that tell us how trivial and mean
human life is. It is like hearing that our deepest
wishes really are true: the world really could be
different.

Excerpted from David G. Stratman, We CAN Change the
World: The Real Meaning of Everyday Life (New
Democracy Books, 1991).

Christmas In The Trenches -- Words and Music By John McCutcheon

Download the Mp3. 

This song will truly move you, trust me. ( If you still have NOT seen the YouTube Video version, then get yer behind back to John's Blog, and scroll down, and find it, for cryin' out loud! The images, and the singers intro, will move you all over again. )

There is a movie about the event described here that was made last year.

Here is the trailer.

Thanks go to friend, and frequent commenter, Jaspar, for these. ;-D

***END UPDATE 2***

December 22, 2006 in Life, The Bike Trail, and Everything | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 19, 2006

Assembly Bill 60: Fighting to change state law

............ by 36 inches. ;-D

Santa Barbara assemblyman, Democrat Pedro Nava, in memory of a 21-year-old bicyclist struck and killed by a trailer truck on a narrow Santa Barbara road, is pushing for a 3-foot buffer zone for bicycles that are passed by cars or other motor vehicles.

"It's from your nose to the end of your fingertip," Nava said. "It's an easy distance to remember. And I think it's the least we can do for bicycle safety."

Violators would be subject to base fines of $250, rising to about $875 once local fees are tacked on. Motorists could be charged criminally if a bicyclist were killed or seriously injured.

Nava is pushing his measure, Assembly Bill 60, in honor of Kendra Chiota Payne, a triathlete for the University of California, Santa Barbara, who died in a morning training run last January.

He 1st brought this up last year ( AB 1941 ), but it was rejected by the AssemblyTransportation Committee.

The new version ( Press Release - 12/4/06. ) may have a better chance because he is now the Committee Chairman. ;-D

Current California law does not specify a minimum clearance but says motorists must pass to the left at a "safe distance without interfering with the safe operation" of a bicycle.

Opponents argue AB 60 would create unintended consequences in a state stretching hundreds of miles, with roads generally 11 or 12 feet wide, not counting shoulders or parking slots.

"I think the objective is admirable," said Assemblyman Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar. "But I just don't think our roads are wide enough to accommodate what they're trying to do."

Huff said the math doesn't add up: A 2-foot-wide bicycle, a 7-foot-wide car and a 3-foot-wide buffer zone can't squeeze into an 11-foot lane and would cram a 12-foot lane.

AB 60 could solve one safety problem by creating another, forcing cars routinely to cross center lines into oncoming traffic to honor the 3-foot buffer, critics say.

Nava's bill ( Official Page with all current Legislative Info. ) also would allow motorists to overtake or pass a bicycle by using separate lanes currently designated only for left or U-turns.

The result could be disastrous: Cars that slow or stop in the lanes, preparing to turn, would be confronted by cars accelerating to pass bicycles, critics claim.

"If you're actually encouraging people to use that as a passing lane, it could create additional problems," said Sean Comey, spokesman for the California State Automobile Association, which has concerns about AB 60 but has taken no formal position.

Huff said AB 60 could create enforcement problems as well. Neither motorists nor traffic officers, traveling at typical speeds, could tell with certainty that a car was exactly 3 feet -- not 2.5 -- from a bicycle, Huff said.

"It's not like you have a standard gauge hanging out your car that says 3 feet," he said.

Last Spring I expressed support for AB 1941, but a lot has happened since to change my mind.

I started a Category on Sharing the Road for a reason, and the responsibility for doing so is not just on the motorist, but the cyclist as well.

Cops have more important things to do, in my book, than running around, measuring tape at the ready, stopping every driver in sight who they think may have just NOT given sufficient room when passing me on the road.

Truck Driver advocates, and the Teamsters are none too pleased...

Theses folks are a powerful bunch.

The Amalgamated Transit Union and the California Teamsters Public Affairs Council, which argued that it could be particularly onerous to truck drivers, and that a 3-foot buffer could narrow instantly if a bicyclist swerved.

Other states have simlilar laws to the one being proposed.

Arizona, Minnesota, Utah, and Wisconsin, to be specific.

Cycling advocates are weighing in on this issue:

Justin Fanslau of the California Bicycle Coalition said bicyclists routinely are crowded by insensitive motorists.

On a typical 60-mile Saturday bike ride, he said, "I'd say six different cars will buzz by me, without slowing down or making any real effort to avoid or mitigate the circumstances on the road."

"It doesn't make you feel safe," added Walt Seifert of Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates. "And that's the kind of thing that will discourage people from cycling."

California law, by requiring only a "safe distance" for passage -- not a specific buffer -- can prompt motorists to conclude that close calls don't matter as long as a bicycle isn't struck, Nava said.

I want to know what will be accomplished by legislating common sense?

Any cyclist with half a brain, and any motorist with a full one, knows to be careful on the road, and making a law, with fines, will not cure the problem.

Too many motorists already think we don't belong next to them on the street, and Nava wants to punish them, instead of inform them, and that won't sit well with these folks.

By saying that cyclists need a new law, in addition to what the Code already advises, to make riding in the street safer, he is confirming fears of the far too many cyclists who are too afraid to ride there, and prefer to ride in the more dangerous environment of the sidewalk, even when local laws forbid it.

Educating the far too many cyclists, and motorists, who don't already have their heads screwed on straight about safely sharing the road, is a better way to change peoples attitudes, and behaviors.

The article:

Sacramento Bee -- 12/18/06 -- Wider berth for bicyclists sought to cut road deaths By Jim Sanders.

December 19, 2006 in Life on the Street: Local, and state Laws, and other topics, Share the Road, and Trail: Safety Matters! | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 17, 2006

Cycling Dude Chosen Time Person of the Year

I had to share the honor, though. ;-D

Look at 2006 through a different lens and you'll see another story, one that isn't about conflict or great men. It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.

The tool that makes this possible is the World Wide Web.

This honor means a lot to me, and I am thrilled to receive it.

At the tail end of the last century I took a huge, and long over due, step toward changing my life for the better by buying a computer, going online, and joining  the original Time Online Community of Message Boards ( Pathfinder, if I remember correctly. ) that once thrived on the website of the magazine.

I met people there, online, and in person, who brought me out of a lifelong shell of loneliness.

They gave me the courage to express myself, with opinions, and creative writing, and to travel by airplane halfway across the country for two 4 day weekends.

I still hang out online with a very select few of those folks, including 1 who changed my life, yet again, by persuading me to join the Blogosphere, in the Spring of 2002.

They gave me the courage to change careers, and offered support as I moved to Orange County.

I now have 2 Blogs ( The Dude was opened in January 2003. ), and the best paying job of my life, and an outlook on life that I did not have all those years ago.

The Internet has had a similar effect on the lives of millions of people all around the world, in free countries, and those not so free.

We share our interests, lives, and opinions, and discover all the world has to offer without always having to rely on the Mainstream Media to bring it to our attention, and explain it to us.

We communicate on a daily basis with more people, from more places, all around the world, than we could have once dreamed of, and our lives, and the world, are better for it.

For the 1st time in years I'll be buying, and reading, a copy of Time Magazine, in order to see what it has to say about something. ;-D

December 17, 2006 in Life, The Bike Trail, and Everything | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 15, 2006

The ING in BICYCLING

The other day I did a post about slogans for this Blog, and invited opinions about the list a program I found came up with. ;-D

Several folks picked favorites, and even made new suggestions, in the comments. ;-D

Those who have corresponded with me over the years already know what I am about to reveal:

I actually already HAVE a slogan. ;-D

I use it in tandem with my name in signing e-mails:

Kiril Kundurazieff

The Cycling Dude

http://www.cyclingdude.com

Putting the ING in BICYCLING Since January 2003!

I can see you scratching your head, and wondering just what the heck "ING" is, so don't deny it. ;-D

The answer lies in the 2nd sentence in the blurb near the top of my sidebar:

Do U Bicycle? Dedicated to the proposition that bike riding is good for you and fun. Commentary, links, news, opinion, reviews, stories, travelogue, and occasional heads up about events. An ordinary road cyclist spreads the word and the word is BICYCLE!

The most important job of this Blog, and the resources to your right, is to spread the word that Bicycling is GOOD FOR YOU, and FUN !

Is your health improved by your cycling?

Do you have fun on, and enjoy, your bike rides, whether it's a 10 mile commute, a 50 mile ride around the county, or a century ( or 2! )?

THAT is the ING in BICYCLING. ;-D

December 15, 2006 in Life, The Bike Trail, and Everything | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack