Read it again, it isn’t a typo. If you were to start in Sydney and head south, and more or less hug the coast all the way around Australia, that gets you to 15,700km. Riding in support of the Smile Foundation six riders will head off on June 30th to complete a coarse 5 times the length of the Tour. They are doing this insane route to raise money for children suffering from rare diseases. If you want to show your support and donate you can do that here. The route is detailed here, with the towns they will be passing through and the dates. Check out if they come close to you and get out there and ride with them for a bit. I am sure they would appreciate the support and someone different to talk to. Can you imagine talking bikes and cycling for 80 days with the same six blokes….ok yes I can.
CATEGORIES: Riders,Routes,The Other Stuff
One of the more beautiful cities I have ever traveled to, but also maybe the most unfriendly cycling city. In four days in downtown Istanbul I saw a grand total of three cyclists. That is cyclists of all types. I also saw possibly the worst city traffic I have ever experienced, so I guess that makes sense. The Turks are a sporting nation, they have produced world class footballers and boxers, and I noticed a lot of parks with outdoor gyms. So why not cycling, the climate is perfect? The city is truly a clash of historical town planning and modern day transportation. Built on seven hills, the streets are no more than one car wide in the old town. This produced some interesting games of chicken, and a lot of white knuckles on various taxi rides. No room for bike lanes, and no room for tolerance. It made me think how many other ancient cities have failed to adopt cycling because of an inflexible city infrastructure?
CATEGORIES: The Other Stuff
If you are in the city on the 19th of June this is not to be missed. The racing format and quality field will make this a great one to watch.
CATEGORIES: The Other Stuff
CATEGORIES: The Other Stuff
I am really glad to hear that all of the support and campaigning from the cycling community has paid off to help save this UK (and global) cycling monument. It was announced yesterday on BBC Radio by Peter King of British Cycling that a new 15 year lease has been put in place that will allow resurfacing of the track to take place. There is still a lot of work to be done on the surrounding facilities, but the future of the track is looking good.
Thanks to Tim Day for the heads up.
CATEGORIES: Classic,The Other Stuff
Love this picture, don’t you just want to be there? Sun is out, a good cup of coffee, a sticky bun and your Ray Bans, before you head out to race your ass off around a desert. I am in love with Vino again. Photo by Stephen Farrand
CATEGORIES: Riders,The Other Stuff
There is a battle raging in New York. Cyclists have become the enemy of all law-abiding citizens, and their “out-of-control behavior” (as quoted in the New York Post) needs to be stamped out! We are the scorn of the neighborhoods. What is it with this city and their hate of cyclists? Is it like this anywhere else? If you cut through the ridiculous over-the-top headlines, there is a level of discrimination going on that really doesn’t make sense, or seem fair. This is best illustrated by the following.
During the week there are basically two places to train, Central Park and Prospect Park. Due to the insanity of the traffic (yes, in the Park, when they are surrounded by two lane roads) means most riders train in their respective park “after hours” when they are closed to traffic. Please focus on the CLOSED TO TRAFFIC part. That means riding at 6am or after 7pm when the park is mostly riders, runners and roller bladers all basically going in the same direction, clockwise (ok, some roller bladers get carried away and do counter clockwise twirls, but they look pretty). Pretty much everyone is just getting on with it and getting some exercise in. In these “closed” times no one is stopping at the lights. Now what is happening is, the NYPD are standing by those lights and giving tickets to cyclists that don’t stop when the light is red (If memory serves me right, maybe eight sets of lights in Central Park? Try getting 5 laps in and some intervals before breakfast with that amount of stops). The current count is up to over 1000 tickets issued and that is in the winter when most of us are on indoor trainers!
The letter of the law says tickets should be given when a red light is broken. When the park is open to traffic and I am riding in there, I would expect to have to stop at a red light, same as on the streets, just the same as any car. But when the park is closed to cars? Does that really make sense? In the 10 years I have been riding in those parks during closed hours I have never endangered a life by riding through those lights. In fact, the only time harm was caused was me going through the back window of a car and getting 202 stitches in my face for my trouble….let’s move on. Would it not be a better strategy to show some understanding and encourage riders to use the parks during these closed hours? and keep us off the streets and out of the way where you really don’t want us anyway? And for those riders that insist on flaunting the law everywhere else, you ticket them? In the 10 years that I have lived here riding in the Park like this has never been a problem, so why now? This type of riding is just not the same as the idiot that rides up a one way street the wrong way.
Again from the New York Post, a high-ranking police official said “Bicyclists should travel like vehicles and must obey the same laws. I think the moral of the story is it’s not just obey the rules of the road, but to utilize the bike lanes and safety first.” But come on. How many cars do we see parked in bike lanes? I could walk this neighborhood (Borem Hill, Cobble Hill) on any given morning or night and give out 20 tickets to cars parked in bike lanes. Is that happening? Of course not. Cars in bike lanes don’t matter. In fact, check out the picture below, how do you deal with that? When the people telling me to get in the bike lane and off the road (after telling me I should behave like a vehicle) is full of vehicles with flashing lights on top. It is absurd. And as for the idiots that drive vehicles in the park after hours with their hazard lights on (because that somehow makes it ok), when are we going to crack down on their “out-of-control behavior”? Yes I know I am a hazard, but my lights make it ok.
Not really sure where this one is going to go. Racing starts in those parks in a few months, and I wouldn’t want to be the cop that has to stand out in front of a charging Cat2/3 field on a Saturday morning, and try to get them to stop. I absolutely support stopping at red lights out on the open traffic-infested roads. I may even shout at cyclists who break them, and hope they get a ticket. It pisses me off when I see riders riding down the street the wrong way, when there is a right way street and a bike lane one block over. Get your lazy ass over there, you need the exercise. But these instances are not the same as riding on a closed park loop in a controlled manner. Enforce where it is needed and let the rest of us get on with it. It also means ALL laws should be enforced equally, and they aren’t (see bike lane above). If you close a park to traffic, then you don’t need traffic controlling-devices, traffic lights. If you say the closed park is for recreation, I love to recreation on my bike. Sometimes a little faster than others, but more often not.
CATEGORIES: Riders,The Other Stuff
In a drug induced sleep last night, brought on by a bad head cold (too much travel already this year spending time inside tin cans like planes and subways, which are really just very large Petri dishes) I had a great dream about Liege-Bastogne-Liege. I was on a team with Tom Boonen, probably brought on by seeing his Roubaix winning bike in the lobby of Specialized last week. We were in a break with Gilbert, Cancellara, and Thor (sorry Champ, I would rather have been on your team) and we had them all deep in our pockets. I kept yelling at “Tornado Tom” that if he didn’t keep pulling hard (as I sucked the life out of his rear wheel) he was going to loose the name Tornado and be renamed “Breezy Boonen“. He started crying because I was shouting so much, and we had to stop at the side of the road to calm him down (watching Fabian wave and ride off into the distance), and promise I wouldn’t call him “Breezy” in the press room after. I then had explain to my DS (Van Petegem, gulp) why I had made big Tom cry….
Man I LOVE Tylenol PM. If anyone is having similar drug induced cycling dreams, PLEASE SHARE. Tonight we dream of the Tour, me and “Big Mig” taking on Delgado and Pantani. I then woke this morning to find an email from Jenny at Freebirdvelo about this new t-shirt, spooky.
I will say one thing about surfers (apart from the fact I think half of them are bloody insane) they sure know how to put a film together. No it is not about bikes, but I challenge anyone to sit back and watch this and not be impressed with: 1) The skill and guts it took to do some of the rides in this film and 2) The beautiful way they are captured. I want these guys to make a film about riding.
At least that is what the French are claiming. So what do we do with all of the data from our rides (other than collect it in Excel sheets for end-of-season self gratification)? Well in Lyon they have used it to prove that biking is a more efficient commute than driving in the urban environment. Fast Company highlight the work done by the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon in France on the original bike share program.
They have taken 2 years’ worth of data pulled from the bikes in the cities Velo’V bike share program and analyzed a staggering 11.6 million bike trips, using the start and finish times and the overall trip time. Their conclusions are interesting:
- During rush hour, urban riders set an average speed of 9mph (the usual average speed is 6mph). This was faster than the average car speed during rush hour, and showed that between 7.45am and 8.45am the need to get to work made riders put a little extra effort in, and the bike beats congestion (although the average speed outside of rush hour could also be accounted for by riders making more stops as they weren’t just heading to work).
- Apparently in France there is a tradition that women stay at home on Wednesday mornings to look after their kids, resulting in the Wednesday morning riders pool being mostly made up of men. This logic “appeared” to push up the Wednesday morning average speed. Around here I would get an argument on that one – this is not my opinion, but the study’s assumption (it sounds like most of the women I ride with would kill most French male commuters any morning of the week). There is also the “Hump” theory that Wednesday is the hump of the week, and you are at your peak of activity.
- The fact that these riders were faster than cars over similar distances was all done with ZERO bike lanes. So we suspect that there was a little bit of stop signal breaking, and bus lane riding going on, but imagine what could be done with a bike lane network.
Although I am not really surprised by the last point, it is nice to see all the collected data being used to build the case for urban bike networks, and bike share programs. With the much talked about New York bike share program in the works, it would be nice to plan in advance to use the data collected to build a case for continued growth. Maybe we could get a sponsor to take on a smaller number than the talked about 10,000 bikes, and use that data to bring in more sponsorship opportunities for expansion.