Sunset Park in Brooklyn, near the scene of today’s incident.

Came as close to dying today as ever. Biking to a musician’s place for an interview. In the lane, waiting to turn left. Oncoming van waiting to turn right. From behind the van, sports car comes at me full speed, wrong lane, about to hit me head on. If I hadn’t been over to the left of the lane to turn, I’d be dead. He was a moron, but also a good car handler, because he steered around me, missing me by 6-12 inches.,

Biking in Brooklyn (Comments: 0)

Date: 1 June, 2011
Category: New York City

As you bike in Brooklyn from Park Slope to Sunset Park (where I now live), you go from fully separated bike lanes to painted bike lanes to sharrows to nothing (plus huge potholes/uneven paving). I’m sure this has nothing to do with the socioeconomic status of the communities along that route.

Speaking of biking in Brooklyn, here’s a video I made the other night:

As a bike commuter, I like options. That’s why I spend most of my time riding the Chicken Avenger — a longtail sports utility bike. Whether it’s spontaneous grocery shopping sprees, friends in need of a ride, or that lovely ottoman that’s just sitting out on the curb and needs a good home, my bike has me covered.

My main rig is perfect for getting from point A to point B, but it’s definitely not built for multi-modal transportation. It’ll fit on the front rack of a Rochester RTS bus if I remove the front wheel, but the sheer size of the bike puts bus drivers in a fragile emotional state. Strapping a longtail onto the back of a friend’s car is an even worse idea. And you can forget about fitting a longtail onto an Amtrak train in this region (I hear that’s a possibility on the west coast).

In times like these, I reach for my bizarrely designed, Craigslist-acquired, way-heavier-than-it-should-be Phoenix folding bike.

Sure, Webster looks a little post-apocalyptic in the early spring, but AT LEAST THERE'S NO SNOW!
My bike on the 104 bike trail

This little old-fashioned single-speed contraption is not high-performance, but I’ve ridden it as far as ten miles at a time, and it has a couple nice features to make those long trips manageable. The back rack is just big enough to hold a messenger or laptop bag, keeping that weight and sweat off my back. The cruiser-style breaks are reliable enough to tackle big downhill stretches at a safe speed. And the springy seat absorbs most of the impact of all those potholes on Culver Road.

If I wake up too late in the morning to bike to work and have to take the bus, I’ll often grab the folding bike for an enjoyable ride home. Or maybe my partner wants to pick up her bike somewhere and needs to take a car to get there — I’ll throw this bike in the trunk, ride in the car out there with her, and assemble it for our ride home.

With multi-modal transportation such an infrequent but essential need in my life, I’m glad to have this folding bike around. Maybe someday I’ll invest in something a little more modern. For now, I’ll be having the occasional fun ride on my Phoenix.

Aptalis CF Cycle For Life (Comments: 0)

Date: 31 May, 2011
Category: Group Rides

Here’s a bike ride happening this August to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation:

Join us for the FIRST annual Finger Lakes Aptalis CF Cycle For Life®! The route begins and ends in historic Geneseo, NY (just 45 minutes from South Rochester) and offers beautiful views of the Finger Lake’s rolling hills. The 65 mile route will be a memorable ride through some of the most scenic roads in the Finger Lakes region, taking us through Groveland, past the shore of Honeoye Lake, returning to Geneseo through Livonia and Lakeville. Ride at your own pace – this event is not a race, but a day to enjoy the beautiful countryside and celebrate your efforts to improve the lives of people living with Cystic Fibrosis.

(thanks, Jessica!)

I wrote a post for sewgreen which included lots of links to RocBike. So, I’m returning the favor by linking to them! Click here for a bicycle Christmas stocking, DIY snow tires, and more!

A TED talk on bicycle helmets (Comments: 9)

Date: 2 December, 2010
Category: safety

Are they really safer? Mikael Colville-Andersen gives a TED talk on the subject:

Bruce, a friend of RocBike and blogger over at Scenic Route, writes in with the following message:

The final public meeting for discussion of the draft of the Rochester Bicycle Master Plan is

  • Monday December 13, at 6pm in the Kate Gleason Auditorium in the Central Branch Library’s Bausch & Lomb building (the new one)
  • 116 South Ave, between East Broad and Court Streets.
  • Bike parking is out front on the South Ave side, or use the parking meters on the Broad St side.
  • Cars can park on-street for free after 5pm, or in the Court St or South Ave parking garages.

This is the last chance for public Cailis canadian farmacy input before recommendations are issued in the final report.

(cross posted at sewgreen)

On my drizzly bike ride to work this morning, this sage wisdom occurred to me: If you want to feel like you can conquer anything, take a bike ride in the rain. There’s something about that feeling of perseverance in unpleasant conditions, all with the end result of transportation from Point A to Point B, that just makes me feel virtuous. (I think you would feel even more special if you were in the bike taxi pictured above, though perhaps a bit less virtuous.)

But then I had a second thought. That’s easy for me to say, realizing that I was wearing waterproof pants and jacket, using waterproof panniers to carry my change of clothes and lunch, and riding a nice bike, which I purchased new from my favorite local bike shop.

Perhaps I am not so virtuous after all. I’ve written before about the notion of bike commuting as privilege. It seems strange to think of it that way, but really, bike commuting is relatively easy for me simply because I do have a level of privilege. I don’t have family members requiring child, elder, or illness-related care. I have a level of formal education that has helped me have more opportunities for work, including the ability to choose to work near my home. I don’t have to worry about getting to multiple appointments for services, medical care, or to search for a job. Any of those circumstances could, of course, change in an instant.

And if they did, and I did not have a car, my daily life would become much more complicated. My mid-size city does not have convenient and reliable public transportation. I do utilize the city bus at times, but more than once it has failed to show at the appointed time.

If we are to have communities which truly promote bike commuting for transportation, we have to address the needs of those who don’t have some of the privileges which I enjoy. That includes efficient multimodal transportation, for one thing.

But it also means making safe bikes and bike repairs accessible to everyone. One group in my city, R Community Bikes, has given away over 1,810 bikes this year alone, to help meet the basic transportation needs of those in need. All an individual needs is a signed letter from an employer, doctor, school, church, or social services agency stating why she needs a bike. They also go out to events at communities in need to repair bikes.

Programs like this are a great start, and I would love to hear about other such efforts to make bike commuting accessible to all. Perhaps donations of waterproof gear, or a bike taxi service like the one in Malaysia, floral plastic covering included?

p.s. Cycling in the rain requires some extra care. what the League of American Bicyclist recommends.

(You can read the text of the poem and see a video poem by another poet at pfizer erectile disfunction

Old ships and lovely trees (Comments: 0)

Date: 29 September, 2010
Category: Jason Crane

Photos from my ride around Albany yesterday:

There was a tornado watch yesterday, and the winds were crazy. I actually went backward on my bike at one point in a ridiculous gust of wind.

In other news, I rode up the State Street hill without shifting out of my middle chain ring, so that was cool.

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"Driving a car versus riding a bike is on par with watching television rather than living your own life." -- Bruce MacAlister