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Wyman Park Drive, after it crosses Sisson Street by Stieff Silver and goes toward the Jones Falls Trail and Druid Hill Park is being resurfaced right now.  While it will be awesome when it’s finished, you might want to find another way home tonight.  Sorry for the lack of pictures.


In the fall, University Parkway was resurfaced (check out the video of it getting eaten).  The blacktop has been nice since then, but it’s lacked markings.  As soon as the weather warmed a few weeks ago, the traffic lanes and bike lane lines went back up.  Today, a crew was out on North-bound West University Parkway, putting in markings within the lanes.  They look fantastic! Many thanks to the work of folks like Nate!

More information about yesterday’s crash that killed one cyclist and left another seriously injured:

Baltimore County police have identified an Owings Mills man who was fatally struck by a car while riding his bicycle Tuesday afternoon near Butler and Falls roads.

Lawrence Bensky, 42, of the first block of Quarterhouse Court was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the initial police investigation, Faith Frenzel, 64, of the 1900 block of Gravel Road in Hampstead was driving her 2001 Toyota Echo westbound on Butler Road about 4:30 p.m. when she struck Bensky’s pedacycle on the shoulder of the road. The pedacycle became lodged in the front of the car before colliding with Joel Alan Wyman, who was also riding a pedaycle, sending both victims off the road, police said.

Wyman, 45, of the 2200 block of Harmony Woods Road in Owings Mills was taken to Sinai Hospital, where he was in serious condition.

Police were preparing charges against Frenzel, pending the completion of their investigation.

More.

Yes, you read correctly. She hit them on the shoulder of the road. And the police are preparing charges.  I wonder if any will stick?

From The Baltimore Sun:

A car struck two cyclists, killing one, Tuesday afternoon in Baltimore County.

Police said a sedan vehicle struck an adult male on a bike near Butler and Falls roads around 4:30 p.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other cyclist was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and their condition is unknown, police said. Police did not have additional information on the victims.

The driver of the car was not injured, police said. Police are still investigating.

(More.)

The comment section, of course, is full of, “I share the road, but not THIS road,” and, “THESE CYCLISTS have a death wish,” crap.  But there are also cyclists, drivers, and people without their heads in….the sand sticking up for all of us.

More, at Baltimore Spokes, also.


When we think we have a rough time with snow here in Baltimore this winter, think of our Northern comrades in Alaska.  Check out Bicycles and Icicles.  It made me feel kinda wimpy for my bike being inside for a week.  These folks are serious adventurers!

I realize that comparing climates is futile.  Plenty of cities with much harsher winters than Baltimore have great bike ridership and strong “bike cultures.”  But we do also have pretty long and terrible summers. But there are hotter cities with plenty of ridership, too.  Maybe it’s just a matter of cycling being incredibly fun and of lots of people wanting to do it, wherever they live?

Still, this is some wild stuff I’d love to try one day.  If we keep having winters like this (and climate change scientists often say we might), I think I might have to invest in a hardcore snow bike like these intrepid cyclists pedal around the snowy North.


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.


For those Baltimore cyclists who are also fans of beer (I know I am!), there’s the Baltimore Bike & Brew Club! From their site:

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:
- Socializing.
- 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!


My cousin and good pal sent me this article about a bike wheel that saves energy from braking and stores it for when cyclists need it.

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.

(Read the article here.)

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.


Okay.  We’re trying to pick a date.  We’re down to December 21, 22, or 23 (Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday).  Which do folks prefer?  Please vote in the comments section!


With this cold, wet, snowy mess hitting Baltimore today, I thought perhaps we could use photos of that beautiful, sunny November day when we all paid tribute to Jack Yates and to cycling in [North] Baltimore.

Josh, from Baltimore Bicycle Works.


Liam, from Cyclosity.


GHCC board member John.


Finally, Mr. Dan finishing the ride!

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With the Jack Yates Memorial Ride and Tour de Greater Homewood only six days away, it’s time to call upon experienced cyclists to serve as ride leaders! What do we need ride leaders to do? Study the route and help folks along the way. That is, RIDE, and then help folks find their way. We probably all do this regularly, but now it might be dozens of people asking for your help.

This is a link to the route on Google Maps (CLICK!) if you’d curious about the venue. It amounts to about 14.5 miles all told. There will be a shorter (@4-5 miles) ride that we also need a volunteer or two to lead.

We could also use help with registration (getting waivers signed; handing out spokecards; collecting donations). You’d still get to ride; you just might be behind everyone else.

We have two ride leaders and two volunteers for registration.  We need more!  If you’d like to help out, please leave a comment — or email us (northbaltimorebikebrigadeATyahooDOTcom).

Stay tuned to more ride details.

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I was standing at the bus stop yesterday, on my way home from work, and I saw a gent on a bike that I’ve seen a million times.  And yesterday, I realized that we’d met at least twice and chatted.  But, in the midst of traffic and far-away-ness (I’m near-sighted), I have missed the connection between these “two” people and their being the same person until exactly yesterday.  And then I felt like a jerk for never saying, “Hi!”

I think helmets have a lot to do with recognizing someone on/off his or her bike.  I certainly do not want to start a fight wherein everyone calls everyone else a Nazi for how they feel about helmets.  I always wear one, but I’ve also had more than my share of non-cycling head injuries, and my helmet saved my brain in April when I crashed on my head/face.  Anyway, helmets seem (to me at least) to throw off the recognition we have of folks.  People’s heads are shaped differently, and there’s no hair to see.  The straps even change the shape of a person’s face.  And sometimes one’s usual motion/posture are shifted a bit by wearing a helmet and leaning over a bike.

Certainly, I’ve recognized folks by their bikes, and some people I see so often, I can’t miss them.  But if I meet a cyclist (like the gent I see most days) who’s not holding his or her bike and not wearing her or his helmet, I totally wonder she or he gives me a funny look when I see them riding.  Maybe I’m just dense.  I do rely on recognizing walking styles (etc.) to recognize people from afar.  Maybe I should use helmet types?  I mean, I’ve been recognized  by my orange helmet a few times in my short ownership of it.

Am I the only one who has trouble identifying folks in helmets and in traffic?

pcwrkrride09

BIKE THE GWYNNS FALLS TRAIL WITH RPCV AND LOCAL HISTORIAN ED ORSER!

Join Peaceworkers, Peaceworker Alums, and local Returned Peace Corps Volunteers for this opportunity to bike the Gwynns Fall Trail with local community historian (and RPCV) Ed Orser. Ed will lead the group on an approximately 10 mile loop, and plan stops along the way to share his insights and knowledge of the trail. He is the author of The Gwynns Falls Trail.  Our ride will start at the I-70 Park and Ride. We’ll return to our starting point at approximately 2:00.
Sunday, October 11th
11:00 – 2:00
Meet at the I-70 Park and Ride.  Please bring a sack lunch and water.  Friends and Family welcome to join the ride…

NEED MORE INFO? WANT TO SIGN UP?
Call or email Jennifer at 410-455-6313 or jarndt@umbc.edu
or Joby at 410-455-6398 or joby.taylor@umbc.edu

NEED A BIKE?
LIGHT STREET CYCLES HAS HYBRID BIKES AVAILABLE FOR RENTAL FOR $25 WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF A STUDENT DISCOUNT. RENTAL BIKES ARE LIMITED, SO CALL EARLY TO MAKE YOUR RESERVATION. THEIR NUMBER IS (410)685-2234.

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(My former set-up. I used to run the smaller light at the left seat-stay, and even jerry-rigged to the back of my rack.)

It’s been said in several places on the byke innernetz that if your LEDs are a few years old, you might want to replace them. Why? LEDs last nearly forever, no? Because the technology is getting cheaper, brighter, more efficient, more durable and easier to mount!

These are Giant lights that I had on my (crashed) Giant bike. The larger one ran me nearly $30, and the small one was about $10 I think in 2006. The big one was bright enough to do the job fairly well, but it ate batteries like I drink coffee — as they said in Lost in Translation, “with much intensity!”  The smaller one died pretty quickly, too.  Both fell off the bike several times.  In fact, that larger one was actually stolen from ElRo (click here to see image of baby in her tummy) since mine fell off in traffic and got destroyed.  When I crashed that bike in April, someone who got to the scene handed me my pump and this smaller damned light.  I can vouch for its durability — it fell off a few times and took quite a big roll a couple of those.

When I got my new bike this summer, I wanted to get new lights, too.  My five LED headlight was Okay for being seen, but it went dim in a few hours and had a very narrow beam.  I wanted some improvement in that area, too.  The light I had was about $25 in 2006 also.  There were some very awesome lights out since then, and I was excited to try some out.

Planet Bike all the way.  Not only are they brighter and easier to mount.  They also were cheaper, and they haven’t fallen off yet.  I should really get around to posting something about my cheap/simple light set-up.  Maybe next week.  Stay tuned!

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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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