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[Pardon the terrible camera-phone picture.]
After last night’s rain and this morning’s wind, there’s stuff all over Baltimore’s streets and paths, waiting to get in your way on your ride to/from work/school. I was dodging sticks and wet clumps of gravel this morning, when I happened upon this big mess on the Jones Falls Trail, just South of the 28th and 29th Street[s] bridges. If I were not already late for work and had a saw/ax on me, I might have contributed to getting it out of the way.
I also saw an open box of Trek bike frames near the Streetcar Museum’s shed. Bizarre. They looked new?
Also, in a score for cyclists, a piece of my apartment building’s slate roof was on the walkway when I left this morning. It was large enough, sharp enough and came from high enough that it would probably have killed you if it landed on your head. In a Nutcase-esque helmet, though, I don’t know. Maybe not. Though, damn. It’s scary to think of what a piece of slate the size of a small pizza could do, from the top of 4 1/2 stories.
Anyway, I made it to the Maryland Avenue bridge, two blocks from my office this morning, before the rain started. I heard these bangs and thought, “What the @#$% is that?” It was huge rain drops hitting my hardshell helmet. In the two blocks in which I sped to work, I got completely drenched. But on my entire ride up to that point, the very very wet roads and paths didn’t affect my sandal-clad feet, as my excellent fenders kept me very dry. I’m wearing wet jeans and wet flannel now at work on my lunchbreak, though. Not very comfortable.
It was a good ride. With the wind that woke me up two hours before my alarm, I almost took the bus. But with how nice it’s going to be this afternoon, I’d have felt like a schmuck standing on Charles Street and watching everyone else have all the fun. To boot, the rain window during rush hour probably beckoned more folks than just me who were teetering on whether to ride or not in that wind. Until the end, the skies were dry, if very cloudy.
And the wind: a moderate headwind for my entire ride, with some scary gusts. I had to pedal downhill. But it was good. I need the exercise. My bike was drenched, so I carried up the 14 flights to my office. That hurt more than I want to admit. My big ass is very out of shape.
From one of the coolest dang bookstores anywhere, let alone in Baltimore, Atomic Books:
TaleSpin is a new zine about bike riding. Whether you ride Road, Fixed, Mountain, BMX, or Penny Farthing, and whether you ride daily or not since the banana seat went out of style, we want your stories, essays, poetry, photography and other artwork. The theme of our inaugural issue is ‘First Times’. Tell us about your first bike ride, your first crash, your first spin class, your first flat tire, your first bike race, your first…anything, as long as it happened on, under, near, or because of a bike.
All submissions will be considered. Articles (100 – 1,000 words) should be sent by e-mail (aberrebeATgmailDOTcom) as attached Word documents. Image files should be approximately 5×7 inches, 300+ dpi (.JPG or .TIF format). All contributors will receive a byline for their work and a complimentary copy of the issue in which their work appears. The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 19, 2010.
TaleSpin is being produced by Team Atomic, a Baltimore-based cycling team that rides to raise funds for Moveable Feast of Maryland. All proceeds from sales of TaleSpin will be donated to Moveable Feast’s Ride for the Feast. TaleSpin will be available locally for purchase at Atomic Books, through the Team Atomic website (www.teamatomic.org), and at area bike shops.
For more information, contact: Rebecca Abernathy, Editor, at aberrebeATgmailDOTcom.
If you’re a big fan like me (or a moderate fan) of Planet Bike’s great bike accessories and advocacy, you probably have one of their lights on your bike. Their popular LIGHT FINDER for this year is up. I have the new Blaze 2 Watt and the Blaze 1 Watt. They’re freakin awesome. But the Alias? Wow. When Baby comes to ElRo and I, we might have to score one of these for whatever cargo bike we adopt.
With all the excitement over the Ravens game today, don’t forget the show chocked full of bike jokes and kids freely riding all over town: “The Simpsons.” Both the 450th episode and the 20th anniversary special are on tonight at 8pm.
[Image from last week's episode.]
I did! I am almost ashamed of the bevy of bike goodies I scored this year for Christmas from my family members. Even more than last year. First, there’s the Christmas bulb pictured above.
Next, there’s the Planet Bike Blaze 2 Watt LED front headlight. I’ve had the 1 Watt Blaze for a while and have really liked it. I’ve sort of always mean to “review” it, but we don’t usually do that stuff — not on principle or anything. Anyway, on the way back from Moonlight Madness, a Honda stopped while Dan and I were pulling out from getting some soda. The driver said something like, “Your light is giving me a headache. That’s a crazy light.” We didn’t know what to say, and I think she got embarrassed because she just said, “Well, at least you’re safe,” and drove off. Another time, more recently, I was riding up Roland Avenue in Hampden. There’s a lady on a motorized chair who rides in the bike lanes. It would piss me off, but she always does it against traffic, always yields to bikes and always gives you a, “Hey, Hon.” I like her. One night she said, “Hey, buddy, I like your light!” I thanked her as I sped home in the dark. I can’t wait to see what the 2 Watt will evince from folks.
The mini pump I carry is a piece of junk. It was literally the cheapest one at the store that I picked up to have on me just in case. It’s gotten me home before when I got flats. But it’s a work-out to use that beast. My brother got me the Planet Bike Peace Pump (mini) I wanted. It doesn’t quite fit my saddle bag with my other stuff in it like I’d hoped, but I plan to work it out.
Half of the reason we all carry repair gear (I assume) is to help other people out of a jam. This pump only does presta valves; so I almost feel like a jerk carrying it. Also, my tire gauge needs the schrader adapter anyway. I might have just made more work for myself next time I run a flat. But: It’s so pretty!
I feel like a sucker carrying my repair gear on my back, but I don’t feel like loading up (or paying for) panniers — when it’s hard enough to get my bike out of my bedroom, then apartment, then building. So my brother also gave me the Big Buddy Saddlebag. It attaches just like the Timbuk2 version I bought and returned this fall. However, it wins over the T2 version because it has reflective piping (which you can see in the picture) and because, well, it has a light loop like almost every other saddlebag out there. Timbuk2 was so worried about their logo that they did not include a light loop. I have a rack-mounted light (I run two rears lights), but most folks would lose their lights with the Timbuk2 version, since it covers up the entire seatpost anyway. Bad design, bad. The light loop on the Planet Bike version, by the way, perfectly fits Planet Bike’s rear lights, pretty securely. And the big one holds (with room to spare): 3 tire levers; tire gauge; big patch kit; multi-tool; 32×700 tube.
(Seen here with Superflash Stealth)
Finally, my winter gloves are missing since I moved in June, and my lighter full-finger gloves got, literally, destroyed in April when I crashed. (I should take some pictures; there’s still some blood on there.) From my parents, who gave me the bulb and headlight, I received the Planet Bike Borealis Winter Gloves. These suckers have the pinky and ring-finger together for added warmth and are supposed to be waterproof. The Giant gloves I had last year were very warm. But in weather like we’ve been having lately, speeding-winds usually rendered my pinkies numb and useless — not to mention that when they got wet, I froze. I haven’t gotten these wet yet, but I’m hoping they’ll help with my cracked/bloody knuckles. This one, from this past weekend, cracked like an egg in a few places and really bled a lot.
So what kind of awesome bike gifts did ya’ll give/receive? I gave someone awesome a nice rear light for a birthday in December, but I can’t say I gave a single bike-related holiday gift this year.
The Baltimore Bike & Brew Club started in 2007 as an informal group of friends who enjoy leisurely, social biking, in good weather, on relatively flat routes, with beer & food incorporated somewhere in the ride. Since then…well, not much has changed. We’ve just made more friends. Join us!
An average ride consists of:
– Riding on established trails or low-traffic roads in the DC/MD/N.VA area.
– Scenic riding, ranging from the waters of Annapolis to the parks of Baltimore to the Eastern Shore’s countryside.
– A pace of 10-12 MPH, with plenty of rest stops.
– A round trip ride of about 15-20ish miles (varies per ride).
– A mid-ride or post-ride stop at a bar/restaurant for some well deserved food and beer.
– More socializing.
Check out their site here (and under “Bike Baltimore”).
We’re back from our holiday break now, with more posts in the works. Hope everyone had a very fine break (if you got to take one) and is having a fantastic new year so far. Good news department: plenty of cyclists out this morning, with the cold winds!
Monday. We’ve been taking a bit of a holiday break. Back to normal posting Monday, if not Sunday!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
It is not easy to reinvent the wheel, but researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are giving it their best shot.
The Senseable City Laboratory at M.I.T. has designed a wheel that captures the kinetic energy released when a rider brakes and saves it for when the rider needs a boost. While technically sound, the wheel’s true challenge may be in winning over cyclists. For centuries, bikes have been beloved for their simplicity, not their bells and whistles.
But, said Carlo Ratti, the laboratory’s director, “biking can become even more effective than what it was.” What the lab is working on, he said, is “Biking 2.0.”
The new wheel uses a kinetic energy recovery system, the same technology used by hybrid cars, like the Toyota Prius, to harvest otherwise wasted energy when a cyclist brakes or speeds down a hill. With that energy, it charges up a battery inside the wheel’s hub.
This is some wild stuff. While part of me cries, “Boo! Pure cycling!”, the other part of me wonders if this is any less “pure” than gears and triple chain rings.