Type 2 Diabetic. Cyclist Flâneur.   Coffeeneur.    Errandoneur
A bike / map geek with a gadget obsession and a high-viz fetish.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Steelers Flamingos

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If there was a three-strikes-you're-out program for bike lane parking, this driver for Giovanni's just hit the trifecta. I don't ever want to call the Police on a delivery guy, but Giovanni's is a habitual user of the bike lane to park. In another forum, StefB said we need bollards and that would certainly solve the problem.

IANAFF (I am not a football fan) but I've got to give a shout-out to the Steelers Flamingos.

Awesome ice and water and teeming life in the Koi Pond on the Chateau Trail.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Bike Trip Duration Estimate DC Pittsburgh

DC-Pittsburgh Bike Trip Duration Thingy

Please answer two or more of these questions to see
an estimate of the duration of your bike ride from Pittsburgh to DC.

How old are you? Age-Based Estimate:
How many bicycle miles/year?
Bike-Based Estimate: days.
How many running miles/year? Running-Based Estimate:
How many pounds overweight? Weight-Based Estimate: days.
Your Mileage May Vary. There are factors not considered: all you're traveling ultralight? Camping and carrying four bags on your bike? etc. How many packs of cigarettes per day? This is a simplified first wag.

Please click here for info on our Pittsburgh-DC ChartPack:

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Talking About Shaft

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Went out for a short ride with Y today. Rode from Oakland to Baldwin, saw ice on the trail in Baldwin's The Valley of the Shadow of Eagles. Went over the Ft Pitt Bridge and called it a day because: no gloves! I hate when I do that.

Saw a lot of cyclists out. It's really great to roll up to an intersection and see a handful of cyclists waiting for the light.

Today the design winner for Portland Bike Share bicycles was announced. The program will be called BikeTown and will be sponsored by Nike. If you were to design a bikeshare for the rainy Pacific NorthWest, what would you do different from Pittsburgh? Shaft Drive instead of chain drive.

This will be really interesting. A major fleet of drive-shaft bikes in a city with wet weather, detailed maintenance records and diverse riders. Evidence instead of anecdotes. So much goodness.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Biking Pittsburgh DC: Preparation for the GAP and C&O

Jan 6, 2016
So you've decided to ride your bike from Pittsburgh to DC with some friends. There's a timeframe between setting the plan and the first day of the ride that you'll want to use well.

Participants really need to ride their bikes, both to condition themselves and to ensure the dependability of their bike. You can't take your bike out of the basement, shake off the cobwebs and go to MilePost Zero. It's not fair to the group. Your itinerary isn't based on you having a bad tube, discovering a bubble in your tire, and diagnosing a rusty chain the first morning. Don't be that guy.

bike trip preparation, Pittsburgh to DC
Similarly, you can't haul yourself out of inactivity and expect to ride six 55-mile days. It's not reasonable. You need to be riding in the months before your trip. You've got to get your bike-butt going, you need to find out if your hands go numb, etc. If you do have hand-numbness, or butt-pain, try a bike-fitting. It's like taking an off-the-rack suit to a tailors, sometimes they can work wonders.

There are ways to stack the deck in your favor. The three points of contact between yourself and the bike are your seat, your hands, and your feet.

This is a funny-awkward topic, but: use chamois cream and padded bike shorts, with nothing between you and them. You don't need to use chamois cream if you're riding single-day short distances, but when you exceed 30 miles or go multi-day the cream is a tremendous advantage.

No undies between your chamois and your parts. Turn the shorts inside out to apply the creme. Apply it liberally, and work it into the stitching around the edges. Cover the entire chamois surface with a thin layer of the creme. Don't be stingy with it.

People use different brands of chamois creme. Some folks use A&D Ointment or Queen Helene's Cocoa Butter; whatever floats your boat. I use Paceline Products' HER creme.

A word of caution: if it's marked as a EURO cream, it has menthol and similar substances which cause a mild sensation when you pull the shorts on. Personally, I tend to avoid the Euro-style chamois creme.

As to your feet: bike-specific shoes have much more rigid soles, which are of major benefit. You don't want to ride all day in flip-flops or tennis sneakers, because you'll develop hot-spots on your feet. You don't have to use clip-in shoes (which we call clipless, somehow) but you will benefit from biking-specific shoes.

Hands: Gloves are very important, to protect your skin during falls and to protect your hands/nerves during long days. If you've experimented with gloves and still need relief, often a bike fitting can change the distribution of your weight between your handlebars and seat.

I can't overemphasize the importance to the group dynamic of every individual preparing themselves and their bikes. Of course, having a support vehicle makes the expedition more flexible.

You should have all your bike-futzing complete two weeks before the ride, and then you should freeze the bike - which means, no more changes to it. Have the seat, handlebars, tires all dialed in with two weeks to go.

Please click here for info on our Pittsburgh-DC ChartPack:

Friday, January 1, 2016

Icycle Bicycle 2016; Cyclops Bike Headlight

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If it's New Year's Day it's also Icycle Bicycle time. This year the ride started at 1100, which I think is a bit later than previous years. It was a good weather day: 30F, dry, light blowing snow. It was a bit windy.

Although this is an "obey the law, stop at red lights until they turn green" event, this is also an uber-casual ride as far as route and distances go. I love the way Jim Logan described it on Facebook:
The basic concept is we are riding down to the west end bridge and loop back. We are all adults, so pick your own ride. As soon as you turn around it will feel warmer. So turn around if you get too cold. The course is to the 16th st bridge up the Allegheny. If you want to get back faster, use the Fort Duquesne walkway through Point State Park. If you are faster want to go farther, go to the 35th st bridge. Or the 40th. Or so on.

Photo by Lance Letterio

The nice folks at REI put out some cookies and hot chocolate. My wife Karen and I met RC at Big Dog Coffee before the ride. After the start, we rode northwest along Carson Street and crossed the West End bridge. Karen and I deviated from the route to cross the Roberto Clemente bridge. Market Square, Blvd of the Allies, Jail Trail, back to base. A great ride as it always is, a chance to see a lot of compagnon de route (which is to say, fellow travelers) and exchange good will at a time some folks are still recovering from the previous night.

Got into surfing some FaceBook, got into a discussion of front-fork mounts for lights. Ended up looking at this 1900 US patent, for a rig that turns the front headlight left-or-right when the bike turns, so that the beam slightly inside the curve and illuminates where you're going rather than where you're pointed now.

I think I could implement this on my bike, it would be pretty cool.

This is, I think, the same function as the center Cyclops headlight specified in the Tucker car design, which had the adjusting/dynamic headlamp at the center of a three-bulb array:

Kind of interesting that a revolutionary and ahead-of-its-time 1950 innovation comes from the bicycle realm in 1900.