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A young man has developed a very inexpensive cardboard bicycle, billed as eco-friendly to boot. Geez, and I thought my aluminum frame was pretty light weight.*

Phil Bridge, 21, of Stockport, Greater Manchester, believes his “ultimate green machine” will be cheap enough to attract occasional users while also deterring thieves.
The frame, made out of cardboard normally used in industrial packaging, could be produced for as little as £3.
Once the wheels and chain had been added the total price might rise to only £15.

Read more here.

[*Joking.  With all the crap on it, my bike is pretty heavy.  And that bee-otch is sturdy!]


But not at White Marsh, of course.  Still, it’s pretty awesome that Ikea thinks like they do.  Banning plastic bags, marking everything for recycling, the re-purposed banana leaf chairs in my living room.


Still, I wish that the company had thought to put “Ikea Baltimore” somewhere near the city, rather than in the sprawl wastelands of big parking lots, faded to grey and crumbling.  I don’t know where they could have put it.  Just in actual Baltimore.

Via Treehugger.

I am the other member of nbbb that is mentioned in the post below about being out of commission. Well after waiting for what seemed like an eternity my new bottom bracket finally arrived.  The installation took about 20 minutes from start to finish. That’s pretty much it. I’m sooo happy to be back out on two wheels again I just need to post about it. Ride safe. :)


Two members of the North Baltimore Bike Brigade were out of commission last week, including Eleanor R.  One Tuesday afternoon, I was rushing to make a meeting (for which I was already late) and hopped on ElRo without noticing that I had a flat front tire.  I still didn’t notice after falling off of ElRo and riding her a few feet, at which point I finally heard the crunching sound of rim-on-gravel.

Luckily, another NBBB member was close by and rode down to my office to replace the tube.  I got home safely and was practicing replacing a tube on my own when . . .

POP!


As it turned out, I had a tear in the tire as well as the tube.  Two replacement tires arrived this past week, and they are securely attached to ElRo.  I was back in the saddle riding to work on Thursday — and now I know how to change a tire!


This year’s Hon Fest was very similar to last year’s.  Some booths were in the same places, etc.  I suppose that’s what helps create a tradition.  Or whatever.  But one thing I noticed this year that was different from last year was the vast number of bikes!  Bikes were locked to anything stationary that a U-lock would fit around.  I got a few shots of some cooler ones.  Larger images can be seen here.

We have bike paramedics for special events.

Creative bag hack.

Sweet frikkin milkcratage!


Again, larger and more biking images can be seen here.


Damn! So this is a picture of my bike looking not well. I went to service my bottom bracket the other day after I noticed that it was a little loose.  It’s a three piece BB that I’ve rebuilt before so I really didn’t think anything of it. Everything was going well. I pulled the cranks, unscrewed the adjustment cup, pulled the bearings and spindle. I got everything cleaned up, repacked the bearings and started to put humpty dumpty back together again.

I noticed upon reassembly that the lock ring wouldn’t tighten down on the adjustment cup. I pulled the cup out and realized that it was cracked between two of the treads in the middle.  Shit!

It’s so damn frustrating when ya think everything is going fine and WAM, a cracked adjustment cup. So I’m gonna do what I should have done the first time I had trouble with this thing and get a cartridge BB. You live and learn.


Let me begin by saying that I ride a $400 hybrid with a rack, fenders, a few stickers, multiple lights, a kickstand, a computer and a frikkin bell. I have a friend who constantly makes fun of me for having a dorky bike. I don’t care. At least I ride. (So what if I’m considering putting a milk crate on my rack?)

Given my own cycling gear and cycling habits, it’s pretty ridiculous when someone calls me a “bike snob” just because I urge a person to go buy a bike at the bikeshop, rather than a department store, if this person insists in getting a new bike and has the money to do so. (Otherwise, I might suggest a sweet vintage ride!) I’m not trying to trash anyone who might already have a department store bike. If you know how to tune and maintain, you’re probably riding something sweeter than a bike-trail-only bike from a roadie shop. I mean people who aren’t going to know how to fix what’s wrong, largely. And people who haven’t ridden ever or in years, too. It’s more the shoddy assembly job that worries me than the actual bike. I imagine that if you bought a bike in the box and knew what you were doing, you’d be more than fine, and you’d know your machine, too. But I don’t want to talk about where to buy a bike or any other divisive bullshit like that.

One person didn’t listen and bought a bike off the rack at a place where they don’t have real mechanics, and the bike came without air in the tires, loose handlebars and needing a brake adjustment immediately. Another kid I’m teaching bought a bike from the same kind of place. I had to re-do a lot for him, including fixing a stupid mistake the person putting it together made — putting his front brake cable through the damned fork! It was missing some adjustment screws in the brakes, had frayed cables, and the poor guy snapped his brake cable, too, within a week. This is ignoring the fact that his seatclamp was stripped because they sold him the bike with it too loose and the fact that the bike is like three inches too small, which most bike shops would have noticed. Bike shops make mistakes, too. I could name a few places in the area that have made stupid and/or lazy mistakes I’ve seen, like not adjusting derailers and having brake pads touching the sidewall of tires.

I’m not saying that bike shops are perfect, just that, in these instances, I was right. Why this made one person feel like repeatedly calling me a bike snob I don’t know. Why coupling this with the insistence that I don’t know what I’m talking about was supposed to make me look like the snob, I don’t know. How the projection going on wasn’t obvious, I don’t know.

The same person called me a “bike nazi” on a ride because I politely suggested that his/her seat was too low. “I thought you’d say that, you bike nazi.” “Okay, I was only thinking about your knees, man, you don’t have to call me names,” I said. Of course, some people who say things like this go on to play these comments off as a joke. So one could also play off the “Go @#$% yourself” given in reply as mere jest, to play the same game where you try to take back an ignorant comment when you see it was rude.

What I mean to say is for you dudes getting on bikes for the first time ever, for the first time in decades, for the first time since freehubs and cartridge bottom brackets came onto the scene — Don’t take out your frustration on people who are only trying to help you. There are some wankers on bikes, yes. But there are some genuinely helpful people, too. It’s entirely reasonable to assume that a person who rides everywhere knows a thing or two more than someone who never rides. If you’re having trouble keeping up or are shocked at how out of shape you might be (sorry to sound elitist; I’m in horrible shape, too) or that things like tire pressure really do matter, don’t project your anger onto other cyclists. Don’t wear your jealousy on your sleeve.

You’re only hurting yourself. And your knees.

From Commute By Bike, a post about what happens when $5 worth of gas leaves you stranded.  This is nuts.  We ditched our car when gas was like $2, and people joked about saving money.  I can’t believe traffic is still so bad.  I have seen a lot of stranded cars around.  I thought it was the heat.  But come to think of it, I don’t remember this happening last year.

Lots of folks are coming here from search engines, seeking Baltimore bike routes and such.  This is frikkin awesome to see.  A hundred degress, and people still want to bike.  Frikkin awesome, I tell ya.


While there are NBBB riders who prefer McCain to Obama, it seems that bike news is usually about the latter.  After securing his nomination, Senator Obama took a restful weekend off at home, complete with a family bike ride.  What’s that pole coming off of Mr. Obama’s seatpost?  A trailer with his kids in it!  Awesome!

A BIKE BETWEEN EVERY SET OF LEGS AND A TRAILER ON EVERY BIKE!

And Mr. Obama rides a hybrid.  Like I do.  Guess people who called me a bike snob/bike nazi were right, if the future President is riding a hybrid.  They must not be as dorky as I thought!  (hee hee hee)

See more photos here.


Eleanor R. and I rode to work today, what with the triple digit heat index and all.  We were waiting at the light at the intersection of Charles Street and University Parkway this morning when a gentleman in a minivan shouted to us, “How many miles per gallon do you get?”

“About a hundred,” I said.  And then Eleanor R. and I continued on our way to work.  She and I think that more and more of our car-driving friends are going to start biking, too.  Ninety-plus degree days and four-dollar-a-gallon gas make biking look cool on many levels.


A long time ago, I bought a fake German bread bag.  It’s a cool little canvas bag, the kind that makes people make fun of you for carrying a man purse from the comfort of their frikkin carseats.  I liked it but never really used it because I have a cool vintage map case from my Dad’s time in the Army.  I looked at the loops this winter, and I thought it might work as a mini pannier, to carry stuff like a multi-tool, tube, patch kit, Moleskine, etc.  Turned out to work great, so I bought Mule and ElRo each one for Christmas, though theirs were the real deal, complete with awesome canvas smell.  You can find them anywhere, and the knock-off I own was like $10.  It won’t break the bank, and you don’t need hardware.  A vintage one is probably better, but this is what I had. Above is the bag.

This is what it will hold, with room to spare.

This is my rack (huh huh).  Just a normal, $30 rack.

First, this is how we will attach it.  The belt loops go on the top rail of the rack.

Pull the webbing straps as tightly as you can. If you have long enough straps and want your bag to bounce less, you can wrap the straps around the supports of your rack a few times.

If you have some electrical tape around, you can dampen possible metal-on-metal action from your buckle slamming your rack. I did, and it worked very well.

If your straps are long, make sure to tuck them back into the buckle so that they don’t find their way into your spokes.

The view from the other side will look like this.

When you are finished looping both straps, you’re done!

You now have a little trunk on your bike that has way more class and kicks way more ass than a $200 pannier or a butt wedge pack.

If you have a light with a clip, there are usually tabs for clipping on the sides you can use. I have two blinkies now, and the one on my seatstay got blocked by this bag, though the side of the bag is a better spot for seeing me and not running me over.

I can provide larger images if you can’t see what’s going on. Sorry for the flash photography. My blood sugar was low, and my hands were shaking. I had to get the photos before I packed up and rode. It’s very dusty now, which is, you know, awesome. It’s nice to keep the sweat off my back and my supplies onboard.


Anybody that has lived through a Baltimore summer knows what pretty red and orange colors in the sunset means after a hot day. If you don’t know, it means it’s gonna be just as hot if not hotter the next day. Riding in this weather is sometimes not so fun. I just ran out for a quick errand. Maybe 3 miles tops. Half way into my trip I had sweat dripping into my eyes.  Now I do think I sweat a little more then others but when it’s in the 90’s with humidity the playing field seems a little more level.

On my way back from my destination I spotted another biker on the other side of the road.  He , like me, looked as if he was on an errand. He looked in my direction and gave me a sweaty nod as if to say you’re not the only rider dumb enough to come out in this crap.

Now as much as I hate the heat and humidity I find I like it at the same time. It, like the cold of winter, presents a challenge. You can either back down and say “Screw it I’m not riding today it’s to hot.” Or you can embrace it and say “I’m gonna kick the shit out of this heat, nothing is gonna stop me from riding when and where I want.”  Dealing with the elements is all part of it. It’s all part of riding day in and day out and if you take the proper precautions it can be very rewarding.


Yesterday evening I went out with a group of fellow riders to ride on Druid hill. We started out in Hampden on 36th street and rode to the lake.  We circled the lake a couple of time and then a few of us decided to go down the Jones Falls trail. This has quickly become one of my favorite rides in North Baltimore.  When on the wooded part of the trail you could almost forget you’re in the middle of the city. We rode the whole thing all the way down to Penn Station and then back up the switch back behind Stieff.  Despite the fact that I sucked down a few gnats on Fallsway it was a great ride.

Anyone who hasn’t taken this ride really should. There is so much to look at and enjoy. You start with the lake it’s self and the views of the city from the hill. Then you move on to a nice ride through the park which takes you though the woods down into Woodberry. Riding along Fallsway you have all the old mill buildings and light industry. It pretty much for me sums up Baltimore. This ride is a NBBB must.


Hello!

This is my first post to the NBBB blog, and I’m proud to be a member.

My bike is awesome.  She’s almost three years old and cut her teeth on long rides around southern Illinois, but when she moved to Baltimore, she took the constant up-and-down in stride.

Like Homer’s bowling ball, my bike has a name.  She’s Eleanor Roosevelt, named for one of my fave first ladies who was married to my favorite president (so far).  Eleanor R. is a distinguished lady, as you might imagine.  But don’t you double-park in the bike lane, or she’ll give you an earful.  Eleanor R. and I love riding around north Baltimore in the fabulous new bike lanes that the City has provided.  We just wish the drivers with whom we share the road would stop colonizing our space.  Cars in the bike lane make us slow down, weave dangerously into lanes of traffic, and otherwise put me and Eleanor R. in a cranky mood.  But we’re confident that our car-driving friends will be fine once they get used to seeing more of the two-wheeled kind on the road.

When Eleanor R. and I aren’t on the road, our favorite place to bike is around the reservoir at Druid Hill Park.


Dan/Mule and I took a leisurely ride after dinner last night.  I had a terrible weekend and needed to sit prettily on my seat and let the city air blow through my new messenger bag in the early summer coolness of North Baltimore.  On San Martin, we met a nice retiree with whom we rode through Druid Hill, Clipper Mill, etc. well after sundown.  Not only was this gentleman knowledgeable about bikes in general and about riding around Baltimore city.  He also complimented us for being an “example” to young people who think bikes are for parks and sidewalks when we ride around the city ourselves.

That’s a compliment I heartily accept, if I may ding my own bell for a second (that sounds incredibly dirty).  I am a merit badge counselor for the cycling badge, and you should see kids’ faces when you tell them that you can ride your bike places, instead of waiting for a ride from your parents or waiting to get a license.  “Wait, so I can ride to the movies or my friend’s house?  Huh.  Wow!”  It’s even contagious to adults.

But I’m not taking credit for getting anyone on bikes, other than to show some tricks to a group of youngsters and getting my mom on a big red trike.  If it looks like I’m having fun when I dash past traffic or meander through a park, that’s bike magic, mon.  I’m just the agent of said awesomeness and the part of it that you can see.

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