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I don’t know how I feel about this video. On one hand, I’d want to do the same thing but with my U-lock. Had I caught the person who stole my bike three years ago, I might have lost my temper, too.  On the other, it seems like assault since they don’t turn him in but just vent; it’s all after the crime (theft) has been stopped — maybe?

On both hands, is he just going to do it again?  Did they accomplish nothing but venting (for which they might have a right I guess), or did they scare this guy out of trying to steal bikes (and maybe getting that drill in his forehead) in the future?

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I usually try to keep my ride pretty clean. I’ve been a little lazy about it lately, and it really needs a good bath. This got me thinking.  My dad has always said, “Before winter sets in you should put a good coat of wax on you car.” One of his points being is that it helps keep the salt off the car’s finish in the winter months. This does make sense to me. So I’m thinking of cleaning up the old horse and putting a coat of wax on the seat/chain stays, down tube and fork. Can anyone think of a good reason not to do this?

Also with winter on the horizon does anyone have any cold weather riding tips you would like to share with the cycling community? One I use, I got from Sheldon Brown. Use clear tape to block off a few air vents on your helmet. It’s a easy and very inexpensive way to help keep your head a little warmer and  not compromise the fit of your brain bucket.

These are great photos of the ride two weeks ago, courtesy of Kali Durga (used with permission), with Kali’s captions.
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One of the coolest dudes on the ride.

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Tour du Port hits Federal Hill.

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View from the rest stop at North Point State Park.

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The line for free Chipotle tacos at the end of the ride.

Thanks, Kali!

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As what I suppose is the first mention of it here (unless you read my blog), one of our NBBB-type folks is pregnant! ElRo (my lovely wife) is pregnant, and we’re hitting the first official OB appointment today. As you can guess, her stomach is doing bizarre things, and some of the things she used to like aren’t jiving (Nutella, I hardly knew ya….). Likewise, hunger pangs rarely follow meal times. So I concocted what we’re calling Mommy Mix — trail mix you can eat whenever and wherever the hell you want to.

When I go hiking and camping, there is a limit to how much “modern” or “high-tech” gear and methods I have the patience for. “Leave No Trace” is awesome. Waterproof gear not made of thin nylon packcloth is awesome. Stormshield tents are awesome. LED flashlights are awesome. Teva sandals are awesome.  Dr. Bronner’s soap rocks my world (even at home.)

However, there are some things that I cannot abide, like dehydrated food, energy gels and energy bars, etc. (No offense meant of you like them. That’s cool. I’m saying what I like. Go ahead and start a blog about what you like if you think this stuff is the best thing ever. I’ll promise to read it.) I was an Army Brat, and I grew up eating all kinds of dehydrated food for fun.  I’m totally over it now.  If I’m burning enough calories to need an energy bar/gel, I’m probably hungry, too. So I’d rather, you know, eat some good food. I guess the problem comes in when you eat any old food like greasy/salty chips and sugary sodas. I’d rather get the nutrients I need to keep going from somewhat normal food than something bizarrely engineered (which is often unfriendly to vegetarians like myself anyway).
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So when I hike, camp and cycle, I try to think of what I eat rather than supplementing it with other stuff. And if I’m doing something that requires stamina, I like me some trail mix. Last time I went for a long hike, I made my own with:

Various salty nuts (!)
M&Ms (dark!)
Vanilla yogurt covered raisins
Something cheesy I can’t remember (mini somethings with cheddar)
Maybe a tiny bit of good pretzels (but not used for cheap filler like the crap you get at the store)

I also made a batch for my father because he was hiking with our group, and he would have made me some if I were still a little guy. It was coveted by all. I mean, here were folks with pretzel-laden junk mix that they probably spent more money on, and my trail mix had only the stuff I like in it, in the proportions that I like.  I was the envy of my peers.  Luckily for my peers, I like to share and did so.

Dan and I usually score coffee and chocolate when we cycle. Riding in Chucks/Tevas with fenders, racks and cargo shorts, we’d look pretty silly gulping down energy gels while our stomachs growled (see above parenthetical statement if you’re a fan — I ain’t looking for no fight, hon). Dan brought some very delicious chili pepper chocolate to Moonlight Madness, and here I am a month later still thinking about that yummy stuff. We enjoy goodies when we ride.  I think I might start concocting cycling mix as the weather winds down to something cooler. Something that goes equally well with coffee, water and beer.

What would be in your perfect mix of cycling/trail mix?

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I was going to post this while down the beach but given the recent events I decided to hold off until now. So here it is…

My original plan was to ride from 139th to the OC inlet at the end of the board walk but, after careful consideration, recommendation of a local and a reader of this blog, I decided to ride North instead. I, liking to beat myself up, decided to begin my ride around one p.m. on the hottest day we where down there. You know 90 some degrees with 100 heat index. Whatever, it’s flat on the shore, right? Anyway my first stop was of this watch tower.

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For anyone who doesn’t know, these towers are haunting reminders of how close German subs came to our coasts in WW II. I’ve always been fascinated with these concrete sentries. I think they’re creepy in a neat sorta way. Moving on, I next rolled into the town of Bethany. In my opinion this is what a beach town should look like.  Quiet, sandy and lived in. I pasted the Bethany bike shop. I don’t think I have to explain why I took a picture of this.

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I wasn’t ready to turn back towards home so I continued North on 50. Before I knew it I was looking 2 miles down the road at the inlet bridge. I road down alone side the bridge where there is a parking lot for folks wanting to fish, go to the beach or out on a boat. There I took a water break and a few more pictures.
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After hydrating a bit I jumped on my ride and headed home for the day. The ride took me about 2 hours to go up and back, with a few breaks of course. Over all total mileage was just under 25 miles. It was a very relaxing ride. I highly recommend it. The only draw backs are no shade and you are riding on 50 where vehicles pass you are doing, well, 50 or so. That was the most surprising part of my ride is that I did not feel unsafe on 50 at all. Delaware really has it together when it comes to bike lanes and markings for them. The lanes where very clearly marked and there was signage everywhere saying “Look out for bicycles” which, is much more to the point than “Share the road”.

Maybe next time I’m “danny oshin” I’ll ride South. I think that with be in the off season.

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So says Jack Conahan in The Baltimore Sun:

Our self-righteous pedallers will argue that they are reducing emissions by having one less car on the street. They neglect that the hundreds of motor vehicles they impede burn far more fuel following them in first or second gear than they would in fourth or fifth gear if the bikes were absent. Let them ride public transportation, which would certainly benefit from more fares.

Read the rest (and leave a comment pointing out the multitude of complete BS in this article).

Hmmm, cars don’t actually burn more gas in low gear when they are moving slowly.  In fact, if cyclists make cars drift, that saves gas.  But even that’s a smoke screen.  You know who’s responsible for the planet-killing effects of your car?  YOU ARE! If you’re so damned worried about pollution, why are you driving?!  And if you can get your car into fifth gear in city traffic, you’re driving too fast.

I am very, sincerely, utterly sorry if I am the cause of you not being able to drive up Charles Street at 45mph.  Really I am.  You’re right.  I concede.  You pay to register YOUR car and to put gas in YOUR car to pollute MY lungs.  You’re out more money than I am, and I have MUCH more fun on my bike than you have on your way to work in your car.  So.  Okay.  You can have Charles Street on your way home.  We’ll all get out of your way because you have to pay for your own car.  I know — who would have thought you should have to pay for your own license and registration and insurance?  What?

Oh, yeah.  You pay for your license and registration because you are paying for the right to drive your car around other people.  You’re not paying for the road.  That’s paid for by taxes we all pay.  That’s right.  I don’t drive a car, and I have to  pay for the road you ruin with your car through my taxes.  I don’t pay for highways, but I don’t use them either, not personally.  And anyone that delivers me something via highway pays it themselves.

And you pay for insurance because of all the other people (because I’m sure YOU are a safe driver) who run their huge metal boxes into other people and their boxes and ruin their metal boxes and hurt and kill people, even people walking or cycling without big metal boxes.  In short, you’re paying insurance because cars are dangerous, not because it’s some toll giving you sole access to the road.  All the money you pay is because you ruin the road, because you pollute the air, because you hurt people.  You pay these things because of the nature of cars, which is to trample the road, people, other cars and the environment.  These are not your ticket to claim everything paved.

The fact is that most cyclists own cars (not all; I don’t), which entitles them to the road under your criterion anyway, i.e., that they pay for it.  And guess what?  The rest of us pay for it, too.  They are called taxes.  Do your research into how they’re spent before venting your anti-cyclist issues a week after one of YOURS killed one of OURS.

If you think licensing and insuring bikes will lead to better bike life in Baltimore, that’s just naive.  Even with bike lanes and sharrows, drivers like  you act like they/you own the road.  What we’ll have is licensed bikes getting hit by cars, rather than unlicensed bikes.  Car drivers/owners pay for licenses, insurance, everything you want us to pay for already.  Do YOU have great infrastructure?  Hell no.  “Your” roads are crumbling, and it’s not from bikes.

The problem is one of attitude.  And your post illustrates this attitude (this problem), not some solution you think you’ve found in paperwork, fees and bike-sized license plates.

One can boil down 2/3 of the comments on The Sun to some weirdly Rush Limbaugh-esque assumption that being contrary is the same thing as being intelligent.  Well, hell, I’ll play along.  I’m being contrary about your contrariness, so I must be much, much, much smarter than you are.  Bow before my towering, contrary intellect!

Seriously, though.  How can the only “official” news agency to show up for the memorial ride go ahead and print this shameless, low-brow nonsense all the time?

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May he Ride In Peace.

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The cyclist killed by a truck yesterday in Charles North has been identified as Jack Yates. My wife/ElRo used to work for the nonprofit on whose board he was a member, and she knew him. We talked this evening with their Executive Director, and it looks like the Tour du Greater Homewood will happen again this year, in memory of Mr. Yates. Advertisements of it happening this year on the 2nd were a misprint. (More on TDGH here and here.)

Also, Boson of Velocipede and a lot of other folks are working on a Ghost Bike and a memorial to be held Sunday at 6pm.  Stay tuned for details.

More on this tragic story:

Baltimore Spokes

WJZ 13

Baltimore Sun 1

Baltimore Sun 2

Baltimore Sun 3

ABC 2 News also Video

ABC 2 News 2

1000 Mile Summer

Baltimore Sun Ghost Bike article

Pictures from Memorial

Baltimore Sun blogs

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More WJZ video

Video of Memorial at Baltimore Spokes (in which you can spot three NBBB type folks)

Baltimore Sun, where the police blame the cyclist

I probably speak for everyone who writes for this blog when I say that my I am sick over this tragedy and also over the cold-hearted commenters on sites like The Sun who are blaming the victim. I can’t get the image out of my head that I saw when I went by right after it happened.  If I could, I’d give it to everyone who thinks this is the inevitable outcome of bikes and cars sharing the same space.  When cars bother to share, that is.

I hope SOME good can come of this. Something. Maybe our law-makers can get us a 3-foot rule? Maybe more of us (myself included) will get off our butts to help the efforts of people like Barry Childress and Nate Evans who are all trying to make Baltimore a better place for cyclists? Maybe we’ll all (cars and bikes alike) look out for one another more now?

Not that anything could be good enough to justify what happened yesterday.

Ride in peace, Mr. Yates.  Ride in peace.

(Image: Something I dug up on The Sun. I asked someone who knew him, and she confirmed that it is Mr. Yates.  He looks happy in this photo at Druid Hill, and that’s something we could all use tonight.)

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Well the NBBB rolled on downtown on Thursday night in the Moonlight Madness ride.  For the exception of a few flats and a bad spill everyone seemed to have a good time. Thank you, thank you , thank you to the folks who put this ride together. I totally enjoyed myself.  It was so great to see people from all different walks of life with all different kinds of bikes come together to take a ride. It was also great to meet some of the folks who visit this blog and be able to say thanks for visiting, face to face.  To the guy who took the spill: I think I can speak for everyone on the ride and say, get well soon, fellow velo.

In other news, I’m gonna be representing the NBBB down at OC for a few days.  I’m planning on riding the length of the island. I’ll be sure to post about it with some pics. Has anyone out there ridden this before? If so, anything I should look out for or look forward too?

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From an email I received at my other website:

I thought you might be interested in Summer Spectacle, an interactive public concert for 111 bicyclists hosted by the Contemporary Museum ’s Mobtown Modern concert series. For this guerilla-style performance, bicyclists will perform Mauricio Kagel’s Eine Brise, riding through the streets of Baltimore using horns, whistles, and noises to create the sound of wind.

There are still spots available to participate in the inaugural Summer Spectacle – and I thought you and your readers might enjoy making avant garde music on your bikes. To register, e-mail info@mobtownmodern.com.

A press release is attached. Feel free to share this information with your readers.

Thanks,

Joel

From attachment:

Mobtown Modern Goes Guerilla for Summer Spectacle

Saturday, July 18, 2009
3:00 p.m.

The Metro Gallery
1700 North Charles Street
Station North Arts and Entertainment District, Baltimore

The Contemporary Museum’s Mobtown Modern concert series will take New Music to the streets with an interactive performance of composer Mauricio Kagel’s Eine Brise (‘A Breeze’) for 111 bicyclists, on Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 3 p.m.

Riders will begin and end their trek at The Metro Gallery in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. The posse of performers will use bells, horns, and utterances and whistling to replicate the sounds of a crisp breeze during their “round the block” performance. Eine Brise begins with jingling to announce the coming breeze, climaxing with a crescendo of a frenzied chorus of “wind sound” vocalizations from performers.
Anyone with a bicycle and a bell or horn is invited to participate in this guerilla-style music making experience. To participate, e-mail info@mobtownmodern.com. Space is limited.

[Photo of Mr. Headset Wrench courtesy of too much time on my hands last summer.]

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This Sunday, Dan, Johnny and Zack took a very short (like an hour and a half maybe) ride last-minute because Johnny had to return Zack’s rims to him — trued rims, replaced spoke and patched tire. I mean, folks who ride centuries might scoff at our trip to Druid Hill, down the full length of the Jones Falls Trail and then back up Charles Street to University Parkway. But a nice 12-20 mile ride is just our idea of fun.
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All the better if, at the end, there’s a bad flat when we’re near someone’s apartment. Baltimore City tap water (with lemon!) and air conditioning are nice, followed by beers and a little bike work.  Hell, how could you say “no” to that?
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Anyone up for a short little ride after dinner/evening Thursday night? Nothing big — just meeting at (what’s left of) the Watertower and a 10-20 mile fun ride to end there, perhaps with a coffee stop….

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I need one of these.  What fun this is. Two extinguishers, a fifty foot length of hose and a hydrant wrench all on two wheels. Not to mention, nice freakin’ fenders.

(From There I Fixed It.)

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This is my sporty(for me) 2009 Jamis Coda before I added more than half it’s cost over again in accessories. Pardon the terrible picture taken in my office the day I brought it back from the shop but didn’t dare ride it home without a helmet.
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This is the same bike six days later, with the addition of new tires, lights, rack, fenders, bell and computer. Not shown: the rear-mount kickstand I had lying around. I will totally bore you with gushing about a few of these items in the near future.

The fine folks at Baltimore Bicycle Works hooked me up with my bike and every accessory I ordered in three days flat.  I walked in, ordered everything like a nerd who’d be thinking about it for nearly three months (which was the case) on a Tuesday, and I walked out with it all Friday morning.  Fast!  Not only did I not have to wait a week or more and pay shipping to order all the stuff I wanted online, but I actually got fantastic deals.  You’re never going to find Cascadia fenders for less than $39 (and if you do,  you buy ‘em!), especially not without paying shipping.

This is strange.  I resisted the internet for a long time and never even sent an email until the very very end of my junior year in college in 2000.  I used a typewriter for most of my undergraduate years.  Seriously.  But now we assume the only way to get that hard-to-find lightset or fenders in a specific color (my pal ordered silver) is to order everything online, wait at least a week and pay like $10 over the $5 we saved by buying online in the first place.  When my seat/post got stolen in early Decemeber, I ordered replacements online (BBW wasn’t open yet then) and waited, bikeless, for a week, and the shipping was almost as expensive as one of the parts.

One of my brake pads put the first gall in my rear rim on my way to work this morning.  I pulled the metal chip out of the pad, went for coffee and was annoyed.  (DAMN YOU, TEKTRO!)  I was kicking myself for not getting Kool-Stops right away.  I am moderately ashamed to admit that my first instinct after I had some coffee was to look online and order two sets from Amazon or something like that.  WFT?  I corrected myself, called my LBS and tacked two sets of brake pads onto their mid-week order.  Sweet!  It’s much more fun to deal with a real person (and a nice person on top of that) than a computer.  Simple.

But why have we gotten to the point where one needs to point this out?

You gotta get to this ride. No excuses.


THE MOONLIGHT MADNESS RIDE

Take a night-time bike tour of Baltimore City on a safe, well lit, mostly flat route of about 20 miles. Get an intimate view of the city after dark. Skyline, neighborhoods and waterfront as well as sights ranging from illuminated classical buildings and monuments to the neon of “The Block”, from churches, museums, and City Hall to the enormous “Wizard of Boh”.

Ride Start: in front of the Youth Hostel at the corner of Mulberry and Cathedral. Thursday, July 30th. 8:00pm with an 8:30 push-off.

(catty-corner from the main branch of the Pratt Library)

Ride is casual speed: 10-12mph. length: 20miles. You should have a properly functioning bike, be wearing a helmet, and have safety lights on front and back.

Click HERE for the route!

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Two weeks ago in New York, we spotted two Ghost Bikes on our way from Midtown to The Village on foot.  These are not a common feature of Baltimore City.  In the City Paper‘s bike issue this spring, they interviewed Nate Evans, the City government’s top bike gent:

CP: How does the cycling fatality rate in Baltimore compare to other big cities?

NE: We are actually very low. From 2002 to 2008, we had maybe four fatalities. I think the last one we had was two years ago. The Police Department and DOT share their crash statistics, so we can kind of track where that’s happening. Even New York City, which has a very high number of cyclists, has a very high percentage of bike deaths compared to us.

I should not type this (KNOCK ON WOOD! KNOCK ON WOOD! KNOCK ON WOOD!!!!), but since we have not had a cycling death in Baltimore in like two years (read this article for the rest), I had never seen a Ghost Bike in person before.

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You see pictures on the internet or Yehuda Moon, and some of the photos are fantastic and all that. But you have to see people looking at it on their lunch break wondering what the hell it means to appreciate what a startling and…powerful image it is.  I could not stop looking at either one, and I really totally and actually felt a tinge of guilt for photographing them.
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Despite their message that can really only be conveyed in person, I can’t say I’m an ANY rush to see one around Baltimore — ever. But is it an inevitability? I don’t know.  On good days, I think the about the great work that the City government and local activists are doing and that riding in Baltimore gets one very skilled in urban cycling very quickly and so that a cycling death may be another two years off.  On other days, I see the way people in general and people in Baltimore drive, and I don’t feel so nicely about our odds as a cycling city and as cyclists who are living beings with families and connections and who the world will miss if we get smashed by a careless cab or sinister SUV or a damned door-prize.

And if/when our next cycling fatality happens, will cycling in Baltimore drop off? Because, I have to say, even with the Baltimore summer setting in, I’m seeing more people riding and more bikes on racks.

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