Thursday, May 29, 2014

Feeling A Little Loopy

Almost hard to believe it's finally here.  After scorching temps and flames set fire to San Diego's first attempt at Bike-to- Work Day, nothing can stop us now.  We will take to the streets, demand free t-shirts and eat our body weight in complimentary Cliff Bars as it is our God- given right to do!

Even better, as reported on KPBS,, we can enjoy the day by utilizing Downtown San Diego's new. "Bike Loop."

The streets marked green on the map above are deemed (by somebody) to have less and slower moving traffic (guess there was no way to exclude Broadway, then), making them more suitable for bikes.  Some of the streets have bike lanes, but most just have "sharrows."

More interesting (and innovative), though, is that San Diego actually went and did something progressive with the streets marked blue (Fourth and Fifth Avenues where they parallel Balboa Park).   Those stretches of asphalt have been placed on a "diet."  Where there were previously three lanes, there are now two for cars and an entire lane dedicated to bikes on both stretches.  Sweet!  While it would be nice to see dedicated lanes throughout the route and city, this is, at least, a start. Crash diets never work anyway.  Better to change habits incrementally if you want long-term benefits.  Classy move, San Diego -- keep it that way . . .

I don't think I'll have time to do the whole 7 mile route before work tomorrow (with so many pit-stops to hit), but I should see a good chunk of it as I try to hit all these downtown pit-stops:

I'll start, of course, with the pit-stop right on board the ferry at 5:40 am, and will then take a counter-clockwise tour from stop to stop around downtown (roughly following the new "loop") sampling whatever they have to offer while talking bikes with the volunteers and other riders.  Can't wait!  May be hard for me to get to sleep tonight!

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Tube to Somewhere . . .

So, here's where we left off last week:

As reported in our local Daily, the Union Tribune:


SANDAG has allocated $75,000 to "study" the possibility/feasibility/desirability/ etc., of hanging a bike "tube" under the Coronado Bay Bridge in order to save me the trouble of having to bike home all the way around the bay every night.  How considerate of them!

The above rendering makes me a little nervous, though.  What's with the whole precipitous drop-off into the bay thing?  Is this a trap set by bike-haters to lure us bikeists off the roads and to our untimely demise(s)?  Or, does $75,000 only cover a partial study and rendering of the tube?  They really need to come up with a better picture when it comes time to pitch this concept for real.  Otherwise, we'll be stuck with another 30+ year piece-meal mess like the still unfinished Bayshore Bikeway.  That drop-off is not much different from the reality that was the Bikeway spitting us commuters out onto the surface streets of Chula Vista and National City for three miles before they finally built the Gordy Shields Bridge across the Sweetwater River.   Safer perhaps?   If they do, somehow, miraculously, get it built, I hope and pray that it gets better maintenance than the bikeway.  Here's one of my favorite stretches, northbound, between 32nd Street and Downtown:

More "maintenance" like this, and the tube is sure to just fall off the bottom of the bridge within a couple of years.

Near certain death aside (for those of us unlucky enough to be pedaling across the day the tube, inevitably, comes unbolted), SANDAG should save the time money they're wasting on the study and just build this thing.  Why, you ask?  Because it's freaking cool and none of us are getting any younger.  Do we really need a study to tell us that biking through a tube suspended hundreds of feet above the bay would be a huge hit with locals and tourists alike?  Right now, people pay good money to bike, walk, and run across the bridge for the limited charity events that open it up to them.  "Bike the Bay" sells out in like five minutes.  If you build it they will come!

Need further convincing?  I recommend that you hop on a plane to San Francisco or New York City, rent a bike, and head to the bike lanes on the Golden Gate and Brooklyn Bridges.  Not only will the enormous popularity of both experiences be immediately apparent, you will have one of those experiences-of-a-lifetime, that no study or amount of money could possibly capture or quantify.  Our concept could be even more thrilling than the other two since, rather than putting you up on the same level as the cars, you get to ride, suspended, underneath the bridge itself!  

How can we possibly not do this?

So, there you have it SANDAG -- no need for a study.  For a mere $30,000, I'll let you use this post to make your pitch -- a $45,000 savings that you can use to buy extra-strong bolts to keep me and my fellow bikeists from plunging into oblivion.

You're welcome!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thank You For Your Patience . . .

Yeah, still no wi-fi.  My wife says the tech who came to the house reached the brilliant conclusion that I need a new router (even though the two I have worked fine two weeks ago in our old house).  My thumbs have almost recovered enough to support a full-fledged post, but I'm off to see the Pads. I vow, though, to be fully back in business on Monday -- whatever it takes!

I promise!  


Until, then, though, here's a hint at the subject of my next, monumental post:

See any fatal flaws in the design?

Monday, May 19, 2014

This Blog Is Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Today was supposed to be the big day that we finally got wi-fi hooked up at the new Bikeist World Headquarters.  However, I can't get any of my routers to work with the modem the tech installed (except for one, tantalizing, fleeting, moment).  I've been thumbing these posts on my iPhone during the migration across Coronado, and just don't have it in me to thumb anything substantial today.

Congratulations, though, to Bradley Wiggins for taking the Tour of California:

The world's second homeliest super- athlete after this guy:

Now, that was actually kind of easy (and fun) to thumb.  But that's it -- I'm done.  Although, I do have to wonder if this guy shares my opinion:

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Christmas Canceled!

So here I was, on Bike-to-Work Eve, all tucked in and ready to upload my big Bike-to-Work post, when I suddenly decided to pick up a paper and was confronted with this:

D'oh!  Wait, wrong image -- this is actually what ruined my night:

Can you believe it?  What's a little Biblical weather shift and unprecedented numbers of wildfires when something as big as Bike-to-Work Day is hanging in the balance?  Why wasn't I consulted?  Does this mean I can't bike to work tomorrow?

Guess I'm just going to have to wait for my free Cliff Bars and t-shirts.  Life is so unfair!  Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that this guy has something to do with this?

I'll just make due celebrating one of the other dozens of random things we commemorate during May.  What is it about May?  We seem to cram every conceivable special day and cause possible into this month.  It all starts with "May Day" of course, then just spirals more and more out of control from there:

Besides it already being National Bike Month, May is also the Month of Mary in the Catholic Church, National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, "Get Caught Reading!" Month (Guilty!), National Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Better Hearing Month, Better Sleep Month, Better Posture Month, Foot Health Month, Huntington's Disease Awareness Month, National Allergy Awareness Month, Mental Health Month (these damned allergies are driving me crazy!), National Arthritis Month, National High Blood Pressure Month, National Skin Cancer Detection Month, Photo Month (selfies of my melanomas anyone?), Neurofibromatosis Awareness Month (I was truly unaware), and Trauma Awareness Month (possibly brought on by having to keep track of all the things we are commemorating this month)

As for special days:

May 1:  is also Law Day, Senior Citizen's Day, Mother Goose Day and Hawaiian Lei Day

May 2:  Holocaust Remembrance Day

May 3:  Space Day

May 4:  Star Wars Day (couldn't we have saved some trouble by just combining with Space Day?)

May 5:  Cinco de Mayo!  

May 5 - 11:  National Pet Week, National Postcard Week, and Teacher Appreciation Week

May 6:  National No Homework Day (thought my kids were making this one up)

May 7:  National Teacher's Day (guess a whole week wasn't enough -- although they do have to share it with hamsters, snakes and kitties)

May 8:  National School Nurses Day (jealous of those teachers who always seem to get the spotlight are we?  Seems like another good candidate for combining) -- Also "No Socks" Day -- not sure the nurses approve of this one, doesn't sound very hygienic

May 9:  Peter Pan Day -- Think only happy thoughts -- or else!

May 12:  Mother's Day (the one we're ALL familiar with and better not forget!)

May 12 - 18:  National Police Week; National Transportation Week (celebrate by getting pulled over by a police officer -- better yet, do it with your motherin the  passenger seat!); and Children's Book Week (wouldn't this be a better week to "Get Caught Reading" as well as speeding?)

May 14:  Commemoration of the Start of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (just imagine if they had bikes!)

May 15:  National Chocolate Chip Day (so glad all those poor, unappreciated, chips have a day all to themselves)

May 16:  National Bike-to-Work Day (everywhere except San Diego).  

The 16th is also "Wear Purple for Peace Day" (well, at least I'll have somethimg else fun to do tomorrow - woo-hoo!)

May 18:  Armed Forces Day (awfully close to Memorial Day isn't it?)

May 20:  Weights and Measures Day (weigh your bike!)

May 23:  Lucky Penny Day (otherwise known as "Reinforcement of Irrational Superstitions Day" -- remember only if they're heads up people!  Don't dare touch an upside down one!)

May 24:  Morse Code Day (my brothers and I used to actually send messages to each other on our walkie-talkies using Morse Code - probably even did it on May 24 at least once, but wouldn't have known the significance because we didn't have such stupid days when we were kids)

May 27:  Memorial Day (now, this makes sense.  Carve out some time from the beach and the barbecue to walk your little bikeists through Cabrillo National Cemetery -- well worth it!)

May 29:  Paper Clip Day (just when you thought May couldn't get more exciting -- brought to you by the Norwegians of course -my heritage- the same folks who have made a show about how to stack wood the highest rated in their country)

May 31:  No Tobacco Day (easy for me, never touch that nasty stuff).

May also contains the birthdays of my littlest bikeist, younger brother and youngest niece.  What a month!  Almost as unrelenting as Taylor Phinney was in breaking away to win the Fifth Stage of the Tour of California Today in 100 degree heat -- all 6'5" of him!

I am not making any of this up -and- sadly haven't listed some of the days and special things we need to be aware of this month out of sheer exhaustion -- feel free to look the others up yourselves and add to my list.

Finally please send your prayers and "happy thoughts" out to all those impacted by the hellacious fires we are suffering through here -- stay safe out there people -- get your butts out of harm's way and worry about your stuff later!

Monday, May 12, 2014

He Was Good at Stabbing Tires . . . A Little Too Good

I have a little bikeist in the hospital at the moment (slowly improving), so you'll just have to amuse yourselves with this video demonstrating an instant tube sealant that was forwarded (along with this post's title) by my fan base.  I personally find the dude whose forearm stars in this video to be a little more than scary:

Sorry for the lack of embed, but the Blogger Mobile doesn't allow it --

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Man Bites Dog

Well, not exactly, but this story in the San Francisco Chronicle definitely fits the genre:

Yes, a Bay Area cyclist has been charged with felony assault for pummeling (unconscious) a driver whom he claims clipped him with the side-view mirror of his pick-up truck.  This image is not from that incident, but, I think, is more typical of how cyclist vs. driver confrontations turn out:

Before discussing the incident itself, though, I would like to applaud the Chronicle for heeding a complaint I have been making for years against the media.  Ever notice how, whenever a member of the military is alleged to have committed a crime, the press feels compelled to point out their military status?  Rather than "El Cajon Man Stabs Cyclist," we get "Marine Fails to Heed Crosswalk Signal," or "Sailor Cited for Playing Car Stereo Too Loud."  Meanwhile, we never see the headline, "Local Cable TV Installer Terrorizes Boardwalk With Chainsaw," or "Qualcomm HR Receptionist Runs Over Beloved San Diego Bikeist While Texting His BFF."  For some reason, what Sailors, Soldiers and Marines do for a living always seems to be headline-worthy, even if the story is totally unrelated to anything they've done in uniform.  Thus, I have to give the Chronicle credit for, at least, not applying a double-standard, by identifying the profession of the accused cyclist ("Tech Executive Charged . . .") in the above story.  Wait, a member of my crack staff just tapped me on the shoulder.  She has informed me that, after San Franciscans ran the Navy out of town, members of the tech industry became the most reviled local citizens and the focus of random hatred and scorn.  Oh.  I guess the unfair headline makes sense now . . .

Anyway, back to our Bicyclist Pummels Driver story.  First off, The Bikeist (who has had my share of run-ins with drivers) would like to make it completely clear that I do not condone violence as a solution to conflicts or disputes, and am pretty sure that the cyclist in this story is likely to be a complete tool.  However, the negative tone of the story, and the presumptive attacks posted by Chronicle readers seem to ignore the possibility that there may be two sides to this story. Lumping the behavior into the category of garden variety "road rage," akin to some driver over-reacting to someone tailgating them, the writer glosses over the fact that the cyclist claims to have been struck by the truck driven by the alleged victim (whose profession wasn't deemed to be news-worthy, by the way).  Suppose you were walking along the side of the road, and were suddenly struck by the side-mirror of a pick-up truck followed by the driver speeding on as if nothing happened?  Do you think that might be a little bit upsetting?  What if a driver who witnessed the hit and run chased down the criminal driver and detained him?  Hero, right?  But, when it's a bike rider who gets hit, the reaction seems to be (1) "so what" and (2) he has no right to do anything to the person who just hit him with a multi-ton vehicle.

I get it, though - if this story is at all accurate, it sounds like this cyclist went too far.  But, is the driver being charged or investigated for the hit and run?  It sounds like we have two crimes here, but, as with the way the press chooses to write its headlines, a double-standard being applied to how they are reported.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Biking in Hades

Well, now I know why all those tourists with Arizona plates who descend upon us like locusts (if locusts drove over-sized SUV's) spaz out whenever they come upon a road biker -- it's because nobody in their right mind would ever want to bike in their inhospitable climate -- nobody except me, that is.

Like an opening salvo, warning us all of the impending "Zonie" invasion, they seem to have managed to blow us a dose of the weather they all flee from every summer.  In a week that saw temps in Coronado (usually the coolest spot in the county) soar as hIgh as 102, I was undeterred.  I biked everywhere -- as I always do.  Given that most of my riding is to and from work in the early morning and evening, though, I was spared the worst of the unseasonable, ungodly, Santa Ana heat -- until yesterday. 

Yesterday, I had to bike out to El Cajon, the hottest place in the county, to help build sets for my littlest bikeist's upcoming play.   What was I thinking?  The biking gods even tried to intervene to stop me as I discovered a five inch patch on my back tire where I had completely worn through the tread (must have been from stopping short and skidding a bit when I got cut off the night before).  Rather than embrace a good excuse to back out, I was the first customer in Holland's as they opened, purchasing two brand new Armadillo Roubaix tires.   It's a good thing that I had those brand new tires, though, because the old ones might have just melted to the pavement as I approached El Cajon.

Last time I biked out there I just followed El Cajon Blvd the whole way.  Not pleasant.  Knowing the heat would be more than enough to contend with, I tried a less traveled route out there.  I took Imperial Avenue right through the heart of National City, out through Lemon Grove and Santee and then used Bancroft to cut through Mt. Helix over to El Cajon.  Interesting ride, with fairly light traffic -- even felt somewhat rural the further I got out.  There was no escaping the heat, though -- one of the most challenging 20 miles I've ever biked.  I was so glad to get to the cooler confines of the warehouse to carry out the all-important duty of painting fake rocks.  

Unfortunately, we got everything we needed to get done quicker than anticipated -- putting me back in the saddle as the temperature peaked at 97. When one of the other volunteers got my answer to his question about where I was biking to, he just looked at me like there was something wrong with me - he may be right.

When I rolled out of the warehouse garage door back into the blistering sunlight, the last thing I wanted to do was exert myself in any way whatsoever.  But, one of the nice things about biking is the cooling effect of the wind generates by just moving through the air.  Motion, thus, provides its own reward when biking in this kind of heat.   

Anticipating that Imperial would be busier  on my way back, I took a more southerly route to the coast.  After climbing back through Mt. Helix, I followed Bancroft all the way to Sweetwater which was a pleasant surprise.  Nice bike lane for miles and miles and it took me through a bike path I had never been on that combines with Quarry Road to parallel the 125.  Eventually, I wound up in Bonita, where I caught the Sweetwater Bike Path to the Bayshore Bikeway which took me back downtown. 

Much easier typed than done!  I do at least 60 miles every Saturday, but I was more spent after this 52 miles of biking than I have been after centuries.  I drank plenty of water, but it's so hard to keep up with its depletion from every pore of your body when you bike in such heat.

The truest sign, I think, that this particular ride was not the best idea during historically bad Santa Ana conditions was that I didn't see a single other rider until I returned to the Bay.  Didn't even see this guy:

And he LOVES to bike in the heat!

All I saw were pedestrians and drivers giving me concerned looks.

By the time I caught the ferry and biked the last 2.6 miles home, I didn't even have the energy to knock out my daily burpee requirement.  I just went into the kitchen and drank everything we had - milk, grapefruit juice, water, whatever -- if it was wet I consumed it.  I then spent the rest of the evening moving as little as possible as my body slowly recovered from the afternoon's stupidity.

Never again.  I live in San Diego for the best of reasons -- it's everything Arizona is not.  Next time those Zonies decide to let their weather slip over here, I'm heading to the beach!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

It's National Bike(ist) Month!

The "high performance" vest being sported by our friendly Über-Fred here goes for $349.  Now that's just stupid.  For about $347 less, I recommend going to Walmart and buying a "wife-beater" t-shirt that's two sizes too small.  Guaranteed to provide the same "high-performance" benefits . . .

You want high performance?  Now, there's some high-performance for ya!  This form-fitting wonder of modern technology isn't going to catch any wind whatsoever -- ever --

And, with that, we officially kick off National Bike Month -- the most bestest month of the year for bikeists and wanna-be bikeists.  On cue, just like last year, the bike rack on the 6:55 am ferry this morning (normally, about 2/3 full) was almost completely full.  Likewise, the line of bikes waiting for us at Broadway was longer than usual, with many unfamiliar faces.  This is all good, but why wait until an arbitrarily designated month to get on your bike?  This is San Diego people!  There is no excuse for not biking year-round -- assuming you live close enough to work to bike (which all those new ferry riders must).  Waiting until the local news or someone on Twitter reminds you that it's Bike Month to get on your bike is like waiting for Hallmark to tell you it's time to call your mom and tell her you love her.  Oh, crap!  Mother's Day is this month, too, isn't it?  Better go get a card!

The only thing I love more about National Bike Month than seeing people give biking a whirl is that it contains National Bike to Work Day.  Of course, every day is "Bike to Work Day" when you are The Bikeist, but the other 364 days of the year, they don't set up "pit-stops" all over town giving out free stuff and food.  The entire county becomes a rolling smorgasbord of free snacks and bike stuff.  Some places, like the Youth Hostel downtown, even serve a full breakfast to Bikeists.  Plus, there's the must-have t-shirt.  

Hit enough pit stops and you can clothe your whole family.  My little bikeists wore them to school on an almost daily basis for a couple of years.

The #1 pit-stop, though, is aboard the Coronado ferry.  Tyler, the owner of the legendary Holland's Bike Shop, and his merry Bike-Elf, Greg Sheffer, serve coffee and donuts along with the other goodies provided by "iCommute SD" to all ferry commuters all morning.  The ferry ride turns into a floating bikeist party this day every year -- even better than Christmas IMHO!

Just 15 shopping days until May 16 people.  Time to take those bikes down off those hooks in the garage, lube the chains, and air up the tires.  You don't want to miss out on this rolling festival on wheels.  You also don't want to put those bikes back on those hooks -- ever.  To ride is to live!

For more details about San Diego's Bike to Work Day, check out this link (although, their pit-stop map doesn't seem to work on my iPhone):