kiffie: VW Bug on the back of a tow truck. (Towed)
[personal profile] kiffie

First off, hello! I'm new, here!

I'm also semi-new to cycling, since I've always depended pretty heavily on cars to get me around. Over the past few months, though, money has gotten tighter, so I've been relying more and more on my bike to get to and from work. It's been... an experience!

My town has a lot of bike lanes that are in mostly-working order, which is nice. Cars are usually attentive, if not terribly happy about sharing a lefthand turn lane. My only complaint is hills. Recumbents are not made for uphill, and there isn't a single bit of flat ground on my entire route. It's a fairly short distance-- about a mile or so --but for a more-or-less beginner, every day feels like a marathon.

So! Anyone have tips for a bike-commute newb? Best ways to ease into riding? Things to watch out for in traffic? General advice?

lizcommotion: Lily and Chance squished in a cat pile-up on top of a cat tree (buff tabby, black cat with red collar) (cat lily chance pile-up)
[personal profile] lizcommotion

my partner and I are in the process of moving (which, for Reasonz, will be super way better for both of our mental/physical health). to help fund this, she is selling her Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bike. If you are in the DC-Metro area or surrounding metropolises and such a bike would interest you or someone you know -- or you would be willing to help signal boost the Craigslist posting -- please feel free to stop by my more in-depth post about it.

thank you!

cross-posted to [community profile] signalboost 
pulchritude: (Default)
[personal profile] pulchritude

I'm seriously considering buying a foldable bicycle for getting to and from work (8 km or so each way), and I was wondering if you guys have any recommendations for the type I should get? I'm not sure what else I should put here, since I've never bought a bike before. I do think that I would like a bike that can change gears and basically one I could also ride recreationally.

Any help would be appreciated, and thanks in advance!
giglet: (not amused)
[personal profile] giglet
I'm having a little trouble believing this...

I recently upgraded to a step-through (aka "girl's") bike because my "standard" (aka "boy's") bike wasn't working well for me. I have some leg issues that made mounting by stepping through much more doable than by swinging a leg over.

I recently was given a used carrier so I could put my bike on the back of the family car.

The carrier instructions were remarkably useless. Strapping the carrier on and adjusting it took an engineer and a physicist and a lot of fiddling with straps to figure out.

And now I'm told that standard bike carriers depend on bikes having a top tube? In other words, standard bike carriers don't carry step-through bikes? WTF?

I've managed to get the bike on, ungracefully, a few times, tied down with extra straps, but I wouldn't trust it to remain on the rack if I went faster than about 30 mph.

Is there some magic that I am missing? I'm told that I can buy an adapter bar to attach to my bike, that pretends to be a top tube and will let me use the bike carrier. But all I can think is that if I wanted to strap something on to more closely resemble a standard man's piece of equipment, I would expect it to be a lot more fun.


To be seen

Nov. 11th, 2013 08:30 pm
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
[personal profile] darkemeralds
I asked my sis to take some in-context pictures of my newly-festooned bike this evening.

A little inadvertent bokeh ensued )

Fork help?

Oct. 19th, 2013 05:29 pm
aedifica: Drawing of a bicycle with the logo "Put the fun between your legs." (Bike fun)
[personal profile] aedifica
I was recently advised that it would be a good idea to replace my fork soon.* That means deciding what to replace it with, though--carbon? steel? aluminum? titanium? (probably not titanium). Curved? straight? I have no idea, I just know that what I have now works, but something else might be even better. Does anyone here enjoy bike-geeking about forks? What I have now is a straight carbon fork on a mostly-carbon road bike, and I ride on roads from smooth to potholey. Advice is welcome, I'm feeling overwhelmed by the technical details when I search on this online.

* Turns out it isn't a good idea to let things hang from your handlebars, if the things are long enough to get caught in the wheel. I bent a wheel to the point where I had to replace the wheel, not just have it trued. I am so grateful that this happened at a time in my life when I could afford the repair! And since there may have been damage to the fork at the same time, better to replace it soon than have it break sometime when I'm out riding.
sara: YAY written over a tandem bike (yay tandem)
[personal profile] sara
Had great fun yesterday at the Eugene Disaster Relief Trials, a cargo bike event which is half bike race, half obstacle course: competitors have to haul a five-gallon bucket of water, a five-gallon bucket of dirt, and an orange cone around an urban course, cross obstacles (often with bystanders pitching in!), deflate and inflate tires, and generally do silly things.

I was not competing (I'm only just getting back in the saddle after a lengthy recovery from concussion -- from driving a car, not a bike accident, and yes, I DO wish I'd been wearing my helmet while driving -- and will not be fit enough for something like this for at least a few more months) but we did go down on the tandem, hang out with friends, and watch all the different ways people configured their equipment to meet the challenge! It's also neat that about half the bikes competing were locally-built (everything marked "Bike Friday" is local, as are many of the cargo bikes that look like nothing you've seen before, which mostly come from the Center for Alternative Transportation).

Big photoset on Flickr:

p.s., because I know it may be of interest to some of you: organizers very actively tried to recruit more women competitors; sadly several were, like me, on the injured list, while others had other commitments on a Saturday afternoon. The associated "Fiets of Parenthood" competition was a shorter distance and more evenly gender-balanced (you had to cover an obstacle course with children on your wheeled-and-geared device, and obstacles included "picking up dropped toys" and "hauling groceries.")
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
[personal profile] darkemeralds
Okay, it's not Sharknado, but it is a bigger helicopter. It's a bike-icopter. It's a helicycle!

Quoting from the article at This Is Colossal: "The Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition was established in 1980... To win the prize a team of engineers would have to build a helicopter powered solely by a human that would achieve a flight duration of 60 seconds, reach an altitude of 3 meters (9.8 ft), while remaining in a 10 meter (32.8 ft) square."

It took 33 years, but a team from the University of Toronto finally did it. Go, Canada!

sara: YAY written over a tandem bike (yay tandem)
[personal profile] sara
NPR's Codeswitch blog, on minority bicyclists (their adjective) organizing.

There's a story that Veronica O. Davis likes to tell about why she started a cycling group for black women. She was pedaling past a public housing complex near her Washington, D.C., neighborhood one day when a young black girl shouted to her mother, "Mommy, mommy, it's a black lady on a bike."

"At first I was like, 'Why is she so excited?' And I realized I'm probably the first cyclist that she saw who looked like her," said Davis.

That one small experience led to a Twitter message, which then led to a Facebook group. Two years later and now 800 women strong, Black Women Bike: DC is a full-blown cycling movement. And it's not alone.

Minority cycling groups are sprouting all over the country. There's the National Brotherhood of Cyclists, We Bike NYC in New York and Cuidad de Luces/City of Lights in Los Angeles.

A recent report by the League of American Bicyclists cites people of color as the fastest-growing segment of the cycling population. Bicycle commuting rates in those communities are growing, too. The League's Hamzat Sani says that's not surprising.

"You'll see a lot of third-shift, late-shift folks or restaurant workers engaged in cycling because public transportation doesn't work when they get off of work. But those aren't the cyclists we'd see in a magazine, right?" said Sani.

ETA: Post this, go back to my reading page to double-check for typos, and immediately below it is [personal profile] delux_vivens link to NK Jemisin's recent experience being stopped for biking while black in NYC. Which is...yeah. *sigh*
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
[personal profile] darkemeralds
This picture of an attractive Dane on a bike was posted on BikePortland the other day.

I have since decided that I will signal no other way than the cool way that Mr Copenhagen there signals. (How else could you signal, you wonder? Well, I'm typically more emphatic and full-armed about it because Portland, though bike-aware, does not have Copenhagen-levels of bike-awareness. But screw that. I'm going to be cool Danish-signaling gal from here on.)

The extraordinary editor of BikePortland, Jonathan Maus, is currently posting dispatches from the two great world bike capitals, Copenhagen and Amsterdam. He has mentioned the amazing bike-riding skills of the citizens, and since we're not talking Tour de France racing, I'm assuming he means stuff like riding steadily in slow and crowded conditions, navigating safely around pedestrians, riding handlebar-to-handlebar with your friends while conducting a conversation, gauging traffic, or riding with two kids, a cigarette, a cellphone and no helmet.

No, I'm not being facetious about that last item. Americans think of cycling as a competitive sport requiring speed, power and endurance. (My daily commute is often made uncomfortable and even dangerous by cyclists of that sort.) We don't seem to place much emphasis on casual ease. And let's face it, casual ease requires skill.

I shall henceforth be all about the casual ease. (I'll probably keep the helmet, though.)

Crossposted from [personal profile] darkemeralds
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
[personal profile] darkemeralds
Some days, I look up from my high-productivity dual-monitor computer around 5:30 and think, "How the hell am I going to get the courage to get on my bike one more time and hit the streets of downtown Portland in rush hour?" So far I always have, so I think, "You know, I'm pretty brave!"

And then I go and read about the Afghan Women's Cycling Team, and withdraw my own courage credentials.

The kickass ladies of Kabul )

Tomorrow evening, when I'm pedaling in the polite (and incidentally mostly-flat, nearly-sea-level, and entirely paved) streets of Portland, where my most troubling hazard is the occasional out-of-state driver who doesn't understand about sharing the road, I'm gonna be counting my blessings instead of congratulating myself on my courage.

Note: There is, of course, a documentary being made. Good blog with some great photos I didn't want to borrow or hotlink here.

Crossposted from [personal profile] darkemeralds
temve: Detail of my green bastard randonneur (Randy)
[personal profile] temve
And the baby has a name.

See, I was quite certain she was a female bike, even though there's nothing in her geometry or equipment that says so - she's just a small-sized roadbike, and most roadbikes are built for, or at least ridden by, men.

Actually, my tendency to name my bikes at one point completely derailed our nice but very talkative Local Bike Shop Guy (who's an ex-racer himself and who was clearly happy to sell something that isn't a mountain bike or electric city bike for a change) because all the while I kept mentioning Randy he thought I was referring to my wife rather than to the slightly dirty green bike of awesomeness parked outside.

Anyway, so this one had to fit at the end of the phrase "Sithbike, Randy, and...". So, three to four syllables, right? Maybe androgynous since there's nothing girl-specific about her. A bit aggressive. Cute. Mediterranean. And something that goes with the fact that one of her components is labelled, very legibly, "Centaur".

Meet Andromache the Roadbike )
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
[personal profile] darkemeralds
(Crossposted to [personal profile] darkemeralds)

I thought the community might enjoy this photo, circa 1895 (maybe?), of my great-grandmother Gertrude Cone and her elegant ladies' bicycle at the side of the Willamette River in Portland.

It's nice to have roots. )
sara: S (Default)
[personal profile] sara
A series of portraits of South Africans with their bicycles, via an NPR article.

And now I'm thinking we could do an "around the world with bicycles" picture thing here....
giglet: (Default)
[personal profile] giglet
I have a cheap bike that is only half-functional at the moment. Should I kick it to the curb? Salvage reusable bits from it, and then kick the carcass to the curb? Or save it and try to fix it with found bits from other cheap bikes?

Time and money are both in limited supply, but knowledge is the big barrier for me.
I like fiddling with bikes, know almost nothing about how bikes are put together, have almost no spare cash to spend on a bike and only limited time. I also have too many half-finished projects to lightly engage in a new one.

Another darn learning experience )
Should I even think about replacing gears? I suspect that that is crazy talk, but I don't know.

[Edited to add: Thank you for the help and encouragement! In the end I didn't trash the bike. I now have another thin-tired bike, with rotten tires, but good gears. There will be swapping of bits and attempts to build a single bike that I like in my future.]
lizcommotion: silhouette of a female bicyclist riding with a helmet (biker woman)
[personal profile] lizcommotion
"It has always been an idea of mine that the right saddle is to be found. I said, 'You give up that idea. This is an imperfect world, a world of joy and sorrow mingled. There may be a Better Land where bicycle saddles are made out of rainbow, stuffed with cloud. In this world, the simplest thing is to get used to something hard.'"

- Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men on Wheels, 1900

quoted in The Complete Book of Long-Distance Cycling by Edmund R. Burke and Ed. Pavelka, 2000

 I've been having some pain in my, um, lady bits...the really important ones with all the nerve endings. My sit bones are fine with the saddle I have so far, but I think I either need to angle it down or get something different if I want to go on longer rides. (It's a stock Trek/Bontrager WSD saddle.)

FYI, I know for sure I don't want to get a wide, heavy saddle, for a variety of reasons.

So, this may be a fruitless question, but does anyone have any experience with Terry women's saddles? Thoughts?
lizcommotion: an open road stretches into the distance (open road)
[personal profile] lizcommotion
I wrote this in response to a challenge in the excellent [community profile] poetree  comm (which you should check out), and as it was about my bicycle ride on Friday I thought I would post it here as well in case any cyclists here were of a poetic bent. (In case you are wondering, the poem is an etheree).


pump up hill
keep beat with breath
don't stop, don't think just
feel body flow breathe in
still on the edge of the hill
mockingbird breathes its soulmate's song
warbling in time with legs' up down
crescendo and crest the hill, fly back down

cross-posted to my journal

lizcommotion: silhouette of a female bicyclist riding with a helmet (biker woman)
[personal profile] lizcommotion
I biked on gravel for the first time this week. Don't laugh, I only learned how to ride a bike at all last year and then spent the second half of the year unable to ride due to illness. I went on a very short ride to reacquaint myself with being on trails, and we detoured onto some unpaved trails for the first time in my biking experience.

They were gravel and went through trees, and there was a point where I may have yelled, "Crappity crap crap crap" as I went over a tree root (and stayed on my bike, thankfully). We went by a pond that I think had beavers in it, and there were a lot of really cool birds that I couldn't identify because I was focused on biking. was really, really fun and I think I am going to try more gravel trails soon because I have a hybrid (Trek 7.3 FX) and so I can do that. I think at some point I may also want to learn how to mountain bike, because it sounds like it could fill the bit of me that enjoys hiking only I would do it on a bicycle. There's a class at a nearby REI that I might try taking sometime soon if I can afford it.

Damn, this means I will probably end up buying a mountain bike at some point. Better start saving now....and to think I was already hoping to save for a proper road/touring bike with drop bars.


bicycles: Cyclist on a red clockwise spiral background, text reads "Bicycles!" (Default)
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