Updating has not been regular. I choose to remedy this with a bulk posting of as much information that I can humanly depict without causing semi-serious brain hemorrhaging.
Bike shops around the country have been reporting an increase in sales this year. This article from the San Jose/Silicon Valley Business Journal
tells the tale of a well known shop in Pittsburgh that has expanded due to the increased interest in commuting. From the article:
To Scott Bricker, the executive director of Bike Pittsburgh, a nonprofit that promotes bicycle use and works closely with bike stores throughout the city, such dramatic expansion is encouraging. Bricker has seen a growing number of bikers in the region, particularly among commuters fed up with the high cost of gas. While five years ago he felt like he recognized most of the bikers in the city, now he can no longer say that.
"I've heard a lot of times that local area bike shops are usually hard pressed to turn a decent profit. Any move like that to open up a new, larger store like that is a positive," he said. "Definitely, it can be a tough business, especially in a city where, arguably, the riding conditions are really good six to eight months out of the year."
I'd say this is very positive. I'm sure something similar is happening right now in Boston, but I feel some people are going to chicken out with the impending winter at hand.
Cagers and Ragers
An interesting case in Colorado lead to heavy fines being inflicted upon a man who punched a female cyclist in the face. From the article:
Pam Zaske was coming down Vail Pass into East Vail as it was raining around 6 p.m. on July 9, and was riding on Big Horn Road going about 35 mph, when Matthews pulled up next to her in his Lexus SUV.
"I was staying very close to the white line, but I made a conscious decision that I didn't want to be crossing in and out of it because it was slick," Zaske said. "He came up behind me with his vehicle. He honked his horn. He slowed down and stayed right at my side. He made three distinct movements, closer to me and closer to me. I was doing what I could to slow down and stay away from that line and not crash."
Matthews continued after Zaske slowed down, and she saw his car pull a U-turn down the road and park in a dirt lot facing the oncoming cyclists. She rode up to his car, motioned for him to roll down his window. When he did, she began telling him how dangerous his actions were.
"I probably got four words out, when he blew up at me and started yelling," she said.
A short screaming match ensued, and when Zaske went to leave, Matthews grabbed her jacket with one hand and punched her in the jaw with the other. Matthews then drove away to a party he was attending in East Vail with his mother and two boys - aged 9 and 12 - who were also in the car. Zaske called the police, who found his vehicle shortly thereafter and arrested him.
To read the article, click here
Road rage is a very interesting thing. This guy claimed he was stressed because he had just taken his father off life support. Even given the situation, that doesn't excuse punching a stranger in the face for using the roadway legally!
Motorists, sometimes referred to as "cagers", seem to just see cyclists as an annoyance. I'm sure much of this stems from the fact that no-one is really properly educated on what rights cyclists have, and are confused by vehicular cyclists. Conversely, many cyclists don't know that they have a right to the roads as well (for example, people who ride on the sidewalk).
Road rage really freaks me out though. The fact that a person driving a 3,000+ pound weapon can all of the sudden go nuts and decide to hurt someone else says something about driving. If cars afford us freedom, why do they make us go crazy? Heavy debt, traffic, increasing gas prices, or maybe just being cooped up in a metal cage? I can't say anything for certain.
A lack of foresight?
Road designers in New Tampa, Florida who were engineering the expansion of a main road from four lanes to eight decided to only afford cyclist's a 3-foot
shoulder to ride on. Stating that there was a lack of money, they still decided to make each lane of traffic 12 feet wide, instead of the standard 11. From the article:
HUNTER'S GREEN - As designers draft plans for a $172-million expansion of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, there is one clear winner: the passenger car.
The losers? Bicycles and mass transit. By extension, some say, the environment and public health are losing out as well.
When New Tampa's main drag jumps from four lanes to eight in a job that begins in 2007, there will be, at most, a 3-foot-wide shoulder for those who dare to cycle.
The design also calls for only 20 feet of transit space, confining high-speed bus or rail to a one-way service that would render it virtually useless.
Road designers are violating county and state road design policy by omitting the bike lanes. They blame a lack of money. Yet they have chosen to make the car lanes 12 feet wide instead of the 11 feet that traffic-calming advocates recommend. The result, critics say, will be hostile to anyone not in a car.
To view the article, click here
I find this to be absolutely ridiculous. Wider lanes just make traffic go faster, which makes the roadway dangerous for everyone. A bike lane is just a painted line, it wouldn't kill them to put some effort into this project. I feel bad for anyone who takes the bus as well.
Project Bike Update
The Nishiki is slowly taking shape. I think last time I left off, I had finished priming the frame.
Afterwards, I laid down three coats of aluminum colored spray paint. It came out pretty well.
Then, I masked off all of the lugs
so I could spray them another color.
Once I started spraying, I immediately noticed a problem. The black paint was causing the silver to run, and wasn't sticking correctly. I waited for the paint to dry, and then took some sandpaper and roughed up the surface of the paint so it would take hold. After that, I removed all of the masking and clear coated the frame. The result:
Unfortunately, the paint came out terrible. When I pulled off the masking, it also took some of the silver paint with it. Some of the black paint managed to seem through the masking, as well. Here's an example:
I figure next time, I'll just stick to one color. It would have helped if I had let the paint dry, but I was slightly apprehensive leaving it hanging around in the staircase.
Later on, my wheelset from Iro Cycles
arrived. Needless to say, I was very excited. These are the most expensive part of the bicycle, but also the most important. They are 32-hole Iro/Formula hubs laced to Velocity Aerohead rims. Tony at Iro puts great wheels together and I would recommend his stuff to anyone.
After that, I purchased a set of cranks
, a bottom bracket
, a chainring
, and chainring bolts.
The top left is a 44t Rocket Ring chainring, below that is a Shimano bottom bracket, to the right are Dimension cranks and Sugino chainring bolts. The cranks and chainring are BMX parts, but they are used commonly on fixed gear bikes because of their low cost.
I had to buy a special bottom bracket tool
, but otherwise the installation went smoothly. I bought some grease, and made sure to lubricate anything that was threaded so I would be able to service the parts later on.
I decided to reinstall the headset as well, although I feel it does not have much life left in it. I mocked up the bike to get an idea of what it will look like.
The handlebars are temporary. I have a new stem, seat, tires and handlebars coming soon. I hope to get this bike done in the next couple of weeks, hopefully.As if I haven't said enough...
Last weekend me and my friend Ryan decided to hop on our bikes and venture north to Nahant, where Northeastern has a Marine Science Center
. Our Marine-Biology friend is there now monitoring kelp or some other craziness, so we decided to stay overnight. The trip was 19-miles one way.
Our trip began at my apartment, and we rode across the Mass Ave. bridge and followed the bike path to the Museum of Science on Monsignor O'brien Highway. We crossed the bridge over 93 into Charlestown, and took Main St. to Sullivan Square. From there we crossed over the Malden Bridge into Everett, and turned onto Beachem St. This was an efficient route, but the road was in pretty bad shape. It was mostly lined with warehouses and traveled by heavy trucks. That road went directly to Marginal St. in Chelsea, which we took until we hit another bridge (name unknown).
From there we got on Bennington St., passing Suffolk Downs on the way. Somewhere in between East Boston and Revere, we were stopped at a light and a man crossing the street said, "You stop for lights on bikes? How Come?" I responded, as the light turned green, "Because they're legal vehicles." We travel up the road some more, until we hit a traffic rotary that funnels us into Revere Beach Blvd. This was one of the best parts of the ride, biking right alongside the ocean.
After we crossed the bridge into Lynn, the landscape changed drastically. That is, the road turned into Route 1. Ryan and I tried to find a back way, trespassed into a car lot unintentionally, and Ryan got a flat tire. As I was changing it, a bunch of security people bugged us. One guy tried to tell me how to fix the flat, but I ignored him because he had no idea what he was talking about. After that episode, we continued on. As the road was a fairly congested 3-lane road with absolutely no shoulder, we rode on the sidewalk (much to my humiliation). Fortunately, this was short lived, and we made it to the causeway that takes you into Nahant. This had an absolutely lovely view, and I loathe to say I forgot my digital camera. From then on, it was easy. Nahant is a really interesting town, considering it's proximity to Boston.
For the return trip, we got lazy and decided to go to the Wonderland T stop and got out at State. From there it was an easy trip home.
To view a map of our route, click here
And that concludes this compilation. I'd be impressed if you read it all.