Friday, January 16, 2009

Light Lane

How about this for a great idea?
Make your own bike lane, wherever you are. Do you think this would actually deter cars from travelling too close?

Maybe it's worth a shot.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Bike Lanes on the North Shore -- Poll

Are there enough bike lanes on the North Shore? The North Shore Outlook has an online poll to find out what residents think. Here is the link:
North Shore Outlook

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

2008 Ripper Series

Well it seems to be official. The North Shore Ripper series is here again. The NSMBA and James Wilson at Obsession Bikes always do a great job of this fun series of mountain bike events.

Here is this years schedule:

7th Ripper
April 12th 2008
Fromme Mountain

Super DH
May 3rd 2008
Mt Seymour

May 24th 2008
Fromme Mountain

Triple Crown
July 5th 2008
All 3 mountains (Cypress, Fromme, Seymour)

New this year is the Fromme-a-Thon. I think this will be a great addition/replacement for the CBC downhill. I have never found the CBC Ripper to be that satisfying. There is always too much standing around for an 8 minute event. The Fromme-a-Thon sounds like a full day trail riding event. I can hardly wait.

As usual the "Ripper Dads" will be out again this year with a clever twist on the final Triple Crown event.

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Yield to Life

In the past month, two Tour de France "stars" have come out publicly in favour of bike commuting. Lance Armstrong has decided that cycling with traffic is too dangerous for the average cyclist and the answer to making the bike more prevalent in North American society is to give it it's own place -- the bike lane.

Dave Zabriskie on the other hand is of the belief that bikes belong on the road but that we need some sort of societal shift that sees vehicle drivers yielding to other more vulnerable road users.

Which side is right?

I have bike commuted for well over 20 years now. For most of those years I can't remember thinking that I would rather be in a bike lane. Over the past few years I must admit I have had pangs of wishing I was a bit more separated from traffic. Are bike lanes the answer?

In North Vancouver City there seems to be a push for bike lanes. In North Vancouver District there is a campaign for "sharing the road". I am not going to step into the "which is better" battle that I won't be able to win, but I must admit there are times when it is nice to be a bit separated from traffic. Having said that though there are times when I have been in a bike lane and thought, "I'm going to get a flat at any moment" simply because they are never very clean or well maintained.

So what is the answer? Armstrong or Zabriskie? For the Armstrong camp to win we just need to throw money at them. Money pays for bike lanes and keeps cyclists out of the way of drivers. I'm sure most motorists would love this. They can maintain their "I'm more important than you" attitude that seems entrenched in our society.

For the Zabriskie camp to prevail it is going to take a major change in North American society. North Americans are not ones to sit back and yield. We are taught at a very young age that we must win or get ahead at any cost. This is all too evident on our roads and highways. There is little or no "good will" to others. This is what the Zabriskie camp is up against. The me first North American attitude. This will be difficult to change. I'm with you Dave. Let's Yield to Life

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Monday, February 11, 2008

NAHBS - 2008

This is my best memory of the North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show. Stacks and stacks of trendy bikes piled high for all to see.

My son and I made the pilgrimage to Portland this weekend to see both family and the Shrine that was the NAHBS. It was a spectacle to be sure. There were wonderful bikes from all over North America. Looking back on it I think of it more as an art show than an industry sales pitch. Most of the bikes on display were well out of the reach of the mere mortal. There were interesting concepts, but in the end I wonder how "sellable" any of these machines are, and that's why I call it an art show.

The show was wonderful, if you were there for the beauty of the machines that were being displayed. The "best in show" bike was one built not far from where I live here in British Columbia -- Naked Bicycles and Designs of Quadra Island. To be sure his entry was pure art.

There were many beautiful machines. I have posted some of my highlights here. Some of my favourites included the Retrotec curved and sloping top tubes into seat stays. I love this look and never tire of it. Other bikes that used this combination were the Rock Lobster, Signal Cycles and Black Sheep.

One of the most stunning parts of the show was the finishes of the bikes on display. All had absolutely beautiful colours with either matching fenders or contrasting wheels or complimentary racks. Some of my favourites were the combinations from True Fabrication (shown), A.N.T and Bilenky.

There were, of course, the perennial favorites. Ahearne, A.N.T and Vanilla. Vanilla was so popular it was difficult to get near the booth -- hence my poor photos. And of course there were those bikes on the edges of the envelope. The Calfee bamboo bikes this year included a tandem held together with hemp twine and epoxy. There were wooden wheels -- which looked great on an offering from Townsend bikes. There was the wacky Arantixst Kevlar "twine" bike. But my favourite of this group was the long (and wide) bike from Black Sheep. Thanks for the apples Guys -- we got to you just as my son was fading.

All in all we left inspired. There are beautiful machines out there. It would be hard to make a decision on which of these wonderful bikes I would want to take home. Thankfully I won't have to. It was a great way to spend a Saturday.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rocky Mountain CXD -- After Two Months

It has been a couple of months now since we purchased the Rocky Mountain Solo CXD -- Rocky's cyclocross bike with disk brakes. I blogged about the bike right after we got it. We have made some changes to the bike since then. Now when I say "we" I mean my wife and I. I am in the lucky position to have a wife that is the relatively same height as I am so we decided to buy this bike as a "shared" resource, hmm we'll see how that works out.

I will use my standard disclaimer here. I paid (almost) full pop for this bike so I can say what I want about it.

Anyway, back to the bike. Since the last post we have made some changes to the bike. First of all, my wife wants this bike as a trainer, I want this bike as a commuter. These two uses are not so far off so we have come up with a good set of compromises. Unfortunately the bike isn't set up for either use that well. As some of you know from reading my posts, we live half way up a mountain. so anywhere we go means a hellish ride home. The CXD out of the box is not really set up for this. The gearing was 12-25 on the back and 50, 34 chain rings on the front. The smallest gear was a 34X25. On my wife's first ride I was the recipient of an angry phone call "what the h*** gearing does this thing have on it?"

So I was off to the bike shop to see what I could do. The upshot was that we made some changes. Here is the list of changes:
1. Rear cog set from a 12 - 25 to a 12 - 34
2. Because our Shimano 105 derailleur could only support a maximum of a 27 cog we had to change the derailleur to a Shimano LX (mountain bike)
3. Because I am a mountain biker now, I needed wider bars. We switched the 42 cm bars to 44 cm
4. Because we are riding it mostly on the road we changed the tires to Schwabble Marathons (34mm wide)
5. we added fenders -- we live in a temperate rain forest we had to.
6. we added cheater levers.
7. Because something happened to the forks in shipping we got some carbon forks.


So now that we have had a couple of months on the bike I think I can give some impressions now. In general the bike rides well. I have taken it on some off road adventures. Although it was nice to be in the forest, I am not going to rush out and use this bike off road again -- I'm still recovering from the shock being driven into my shoulders. On the road, however, this bike is solid and stops well as a result of the Avid mechanical disk brakes. Now I do have to say these are mechanical and, well, they don't stop as well as hydraulic disk brakes.

The Tiagra shifting is passable. I do find I am adjusting the cable a lot and the shifts aren't really crisp, but it is Tiagra.

One of the most annoying things on this bike is the cable routing for the rear brake. The cable housing is continuous along the top tube. This would be OK if there was some way of affixing the cable to the top tube. Rocky has used some archaic system of shims that just doesn't work. The upshot is that the cable rattles on the top tube over every bump. This rattling really drives me crazy. There are much better systems out there. In fact they use a better system down the seat stay of the bike -- why not on the top tube?

We bought this bike as a sometimes commuter for me, but really I prefer my Kona Dr. Dew for commuting. I find the Dr. Dew has better brakes -- hydraulic disks, snappier gear changing, and a better, upright position for traffic.

Having said that my wife really enjoys the position of the CXD and is using it often. In fact it is her preferred bike right now.

It is nice for me to change up the position on a bike periodically, so by going from all my upright bikes to the CXD is a nice change. In general we are happy with the CXD, but it seems like a nice touring bike may have been a better choice for us, unfortunately there are none out there with disks in the price range of the CXD. The disk brakes were the deal sealer for us on this bike. We live up a mountain, in a rain forest, so, in my opinion, disks are a must. Maybe I'm wrong, and it would seem that most of the bike industry thinks so, but I think there is a market for disk brakes on touring bikes.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Google Transit Maps Hit Vancouver

This just in! Google Maps has announced that it has teamed up with Translink and added Vancouver to it's transit map. Vancouver is the first Canadian city to be added to this service.

I just checked it out. It looks great. Here is a route from Grouse Mountain to Simon Fraser University. A quick look shows it gives the time of the next bus, all the transfers and how far you have to walk. Not bad.

Now we just have to make transit cheaper