|On my first fixie, I went with a 52T ring. There was some loss of efficiency, but it provide great control over the bike. Happy BTWD 2013!!!|
Friday, May 17, 2013
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
This Friday is Bike to Work Day, and after 17 years of bike commuting, I thought I would share a few thoughts on the subject:
#1 I love it. That's most important thing. Every workday, no matter what else is going on, I always have two bike rides to look forward to. If you try it, you may love it, too. That's the whole point of Bike to Work Day.
#2 Once you start biking to work, you may find that you no longer need a car. Or you can go car lite, as my family has (1 car for a family of 4). The savings are phenomenal.
#3 Weather is not a problem. In fact, weather keeps things interesting. The adage is correct: There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.
#4 Invest in a good commuter bike. It should be functional and fun to ride - it should be a bike you should want to jump on every morning. A good place to check out transportation bikes is Bikes For The Rest Of Us.
#5 Your fellow cyclists are your friends. If you're having trouble with your bike (most commonly a flat tire), you will be amazed at how many bicyclists will stop and offer to help. When passing a fellow cyclist, say hello. At the very least, give them an audible warning so they know you're there.
#6 Safety is the number one issue preventing people from choosing their bikes over their cars or public transit. Over the course of the last 16 years, and especially in the last 5 years, I believe Washington, DC has become a much safer environment for cyclists. There seem to be a lot more of us, thanks to better facilities and bikeshare, and there is safety in numbers.
Happy Bike To Work Day!
(This post originally ran last year on Bikes For The Rest Of Us)
Friday, May 10, 2013
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
|Sunrise over the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve|
May is National Bike Month so let me get right to it. My bike commute is wonderful. I ride on the Mount Vernon Trail along the Potomac River, which has all kinds of natural beauty. The wildlife includes bald eagles, red-wing blackbirds, geese, ducks, turtles, beavers, groundhogs, and deer.
I regularly read A Few Spokes Shy Of A Wheel by Rootchopper who is an MVT commuter from out my way. Thanks to Rootchopper, I learned that there are not one but two active bald eagles' nests on the MVT.
|An eagle watches over the "Morningside nest" (so named by Rootchopper) off the MVT.|
|The Morningside nest. Every once in awhile, I glimpsed an eagle's wings. Chicks are comin'!|
|Along the MVT|
From the MVT, I cross the Potomac River (usually on Mason bridge) into Washington, D.C. This part of my commute has a different type of charm. I ride past the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the White House -- every single day. I see the cherry blossoms bloom on the National Mall ...
The annual lighting of the National Christmas tree...
And setting up for special events like the inauguration.
I see it all close up because I'm on my bike -- not inside a car or bus or on the Metro.
What's your commute like?
Friday, May 3, 2013
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Welsh bicycle adventurer and author Rob Penn had an amazing idea for a book: Pursuit of "The One" -- the perfect bike. It's an idea I've thought about myself. Penn arranges for a custom-built frame and then travels the globe seeking out the best components. His book, It's All About The Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness On Two Wheels, is an excellent read, especially if you have the bicycle love. Chapter by chapter, he manages to weave in the history of the bicycle.
The book could have been even better -- if only certain people would have just let their guard down a little and opened up to poor Mr. Penn. He travels half way around the world, from his home in Wales to the Seattle headquarters of Chris King. Does he get to talk to Chris? Yes... if by "Chris" you mean Chris DiStefano.
Chris DiStefano is the marketing director at Chris King. When I'd first emailed him with an outline of my project, and the idea that I might visit the factory to see the headset for my dream bike being made, the shutters were snapped shut: no comprehensive tours, no photography of the facility allowed, no 'walk-up orders' for components. An interview with Chris King himself was, Chris DiStefano wrote, 'not an option. Bummer, I know, I'm nothing but bad news.' Thankfully, by my arrival, Chris had warmed up, though meeting Chris King was definitely not going to happen: he was 'on holiday.'
Do they say "on holiday" in Seattle? Apparently they do when they want to blow off Welsh tourists.
Penn takes a trip to Italy to see how Campagnolo makes its components. Sorry, dude. Campy's P.R. flak explains: "We are a privately owned company, and Mr. Valentino Campagnolo doesn't let the media enter the secrets of the company." Due to what Penn gamely calls the "spirit of innovation," he "couldn't get past the boardroom."
Penn's framebuilder, Denny Rourke, is more indulgent about having him around. Denny's son Jason, however, isn't quite as thrilled to have him, explaining:
I have to concentrate so hard, like. That's why I won't have people in the workshop when I'm welding. You're a very rare exception, Rob, and that's only because Dad bent my ear.
Does anyone want Penn around?
To their credit, Brooks saddles and Continental Tires invite him inside, offer him tours, put him to work on the assembly line. Better yet, when Penn travels to California to meet with his wheelbuilder, he gets the awesome privilege of biking down Repack Mountain with Charlie Kelly and Joe Breezer. That little detour, alone, makes It's All About The Bike a worthwhile read.
In any event, for Penn, the book was probably just a means of paying for his dream bike. And who can blame him? It's all about the bike.