Friday, March 26, 2010

So, the League of American Wheelmen brought forth their own destruction?

This was brought to my attention (h/t mississippifarian) by Luke Frankl about a the book Pedaling Revolution by Jeff Mapes (whew!) According to Mapes' book:
The bike became established through much of the world in the years around the turn of the twentieth century. In Europe, the bike became an accepted means of transportation and achieved an enduring place in adult society. But in the U.S., the bicycle seemed to literally pave the road for the motorcar.... Hiram Maxim, who worked with [bicycle pioneer Albert] Pope on his first automobiles, described the bicycle not as an end in itself, but as the consciousness raiser that led to the car:
The reason why we did not build mechanical road vehicles before this, in my opinion, was because the bicycle had not yet come in numbers, and had not directed men's minds to the possibilities of independent, long-distance travel over ordinary highway. We thought the railroad was good enough. The bicycle created a new demand which it was beyond the ability of the railroad to supply. Then it came about that the bicycle could not satisfy the demand which it created. A mechanically propelled vehicle was wanted instead of a foot propelled one and we now know that the automobile was the answer.

And, so to continue my utter lack of effort in researching anything in this post, we have Luke's conclusion:
So the invention of the bicycle held the seed to its own destruction.

I will mention, in a pathetic attempt to add something of my own to this post, that the Hiram Maxim mentioned in the top quote invented both the mousetrap and the ultimate mousetrap, the Maxim machine gun.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What daylight savings?

It's now dark when I get up and ride to work...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sweet -- Google comes through again!

It appears that Google has completed its beta alpha testing of the new "Get Directions" software and the "go by bike" option is now live.  I haven't played with it yet, but I'm excited to see how it compares to Cyclopath for route generation.

Sadly, it is not available on my Android phone yet.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


So my fellow commuters are shedding their studs (e.g., Snak Shak and VelociPete), but I remain firm I will not remove the Nokians until at least April.

Hmmph. So there.

But there is nothing wrong with perhaps riding a bike that doesn't have studs? I need to get some fenders for the new LHT and I'm set. I've been jonesing to ride it since I purchased it and now the time is right. But the threat of rain this week has me in search of fenders. So I'm studded until my fenders have been installed.

Wetbutt sucks.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Shaken, not deterred

Luckily, I'm not posting this from a hospital bed or the morgue.

This morning I've the closest of close calls while riding to work. Typically my ride is essentially through suburban streets, but there is one choke point. Interstate 35 splits south of the Twin Cities and runs like two great scars on either side of the Mississippi river. One of these gashes slice through my commute at a rather dangerous intersection:

I enter this morass from the east on southbound Emerson Ave.  The two other yellow "streets" astride 35W are the entrance/exit ramps and these intersect 66th with street lights.  Today the lights and traffic were with me and I crossed 66th at Emerson and got on the sidewalk along the south side of 66th.  I waited for the light to change for the off ramp and crossed on the green.  The highway passes over the intersection and the westbound side has three lanes; two for westbound traffic and one turn lane for the entrance to 35W south.  I have come to expect that people turning across traffic to enter the freeway will not see me if I'm on the sidewalk or crossing the intersection as they're looking downstream for a gap in traffic so that they cross and accelerate. 

This morning, I saw a person in an SUV and on their cell phone poised to turn and I wanted to make sure that I stayed well clear of someone who was not looking.  Eastbound traffic was heavy and I thought I was clear to cross the intersection when someone entering the ramp from eastbound 66th almost turned onto me.  I looked ahead just in time to give little strangled yelp as I stared into the oncoming SUV.  Luckily, we both managed to brake before someone (aka me) got hurt.  We stared at one another for a moment and then he backed up to let me pass -- right into another person turning onto the entrance ramp.

This fellow wasn't having a good morning and as I watched the woman of the stricken car get out to asses the damage, the SUV driver growled a "just go on" as he went to face the next horror of his morning.  I'm sure I will be the "some asshole on a bike" in his story at work, but I did have the right of way.  Not that it means much, but my wife and other survivors could have taken solace in that fact...

As I mentioned in my previous post -- stay frosty.  This is not spring and don't be like the tourist cagers, there is still March to contend with and I expect a lot of snow before I get to plant my radishes in six weeks.