Safer Cycling in L.A.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles City Council voted on Wednesday to study ways to make L.A. streets safer for bicyclists. Ideas under consideration include creating sharrows, increasing training for police officers, and creating a bicyclists’ “Bill of Rights”.

Read the article in the Times

Mobile Blogging Tools

Like many people, I watched the debut of Apple’s iPad yesterday with great interest. I was particularly curious because I just recently purchased a 13″ MacBook Pro to increase my mobility as a blogger and photographer, and I was concerned that the iPad would render my recent investment obsolete. After looking over its features very carefully, I’ve come away both disappointed and relieved. On the one hand, I was hoping (naively, I suppose), that the iPad would be able to run what I consider must-have applications like Photoshop and Lightroom, and it clearly is nowhere near capable of running any professional desktop applications (nor was it intended to). So in that sense I was disappointed. On the other hand, the fact that the iPad isn’t going to cannabalize the MacBook line-up is a relief because I depend on them for my livelihood (I’m also relieved I didn’t end up regretting the purchase of an expensive new computer… LOL).

I’ve seen posts by a number of bloggers who seem very excited about the iPad as a mobile blogging tool. For text-based bloggers I can certainly understand the appeal. But I have to wonder how effective it would be for someone like myself whose photos are such an important part of what I do. I’d love to hear from bloggers who are considering the iPad about how they plan to set-up their workflow, and how they plan to manage photo processing in the mix.

As an aside, my son, who is also a graphic artist, brought up an interesting point that I hadn’t considered at all. He said that even if the iPad could run the applications he needs, he wouldn’t want a touch screen for design work because the fingerprints and smudges would be too visually distracting for the type of detailed work he does.

Tire Sizes

One of the simplest and most effective ways to improve the comfort of almost any bicycle is to increase its tire width. Wider tires can be run at lower pressures without exposing rims to damage, providing greater suspension and absorbing road imperfections.

On a commuter bike that will be ridden on varied terrain while carrying a light load, I like at least a 32mm tire. On a utility bike used for hauling groceries, etc., tires up over 40mm wide can be a real advantage. Anything under 30mm on either of these types of bikes is a compromise in my opinion. The heavier the total load (rider plus baggage), the greater the benefit of riding wider tires. For reference, I’m currently running 37mm tires at 60 psi on my commuter.

It’s a common misconception that wider tires are slower, but this is not necessarily the case, particularly at non-racing speeds on rough roads. Bicycle Quarterly has done extensive testing on suspension losses and their conclusions show that on rough roads, up to 50% of a bicyclist’s power output can be attributed to suspension losses, and these losses are best mitigated by wide tires run at lower pressures.¹

One of the main issues with running wide tires is frame clearance. There are simply not that many road bikes on the market that provide adequate clearance for the wide tires and fenders needed for commuting and utility riding. This is one area where the industry as a whole could really improve their current offerings.

Which tire size do you prefer for commuting and utility use?

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At what pressure do you run your tires?

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1. Heine, J., M. Vande Kamp, 2009: Minimizing Suspension Losses. Bicycle Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 1, p.12

Organic Bikes

Please welcome our latest sponsor, Organic Bikes. Here’s some background information from the Organic Bikes website:

Riding a bicycle instead of driving your car is an extremely eco-friendly and green way to go. Until now, most of us in the bicycle industry have looked only this far at the eco aspect of bikes. Here at Organic Bikes we are taking things a step further. We are re-thinking the materials that our bicycles are made out of, at the sustainability of our product line, and at the ability to recycle, re-use, or bio-degrade the products that we manufacture.

Bamboo Bicycles, Biodegradable Water Bottles, Organic Clothing, and Recycled Messenger Bags are part of our initial offerings in our product line, but expect more on the horizon and expect great things from Organic Bikes!

Organic Bikes is owned and operated by Wheel and Sprocket- a family owned bicycle shop since 1973. We began Organicbikes.com to re-think the way that bicycles and cycling products are manufactured, used, and recycled. While we do not claim to be fully “green”, or sustainable across the board- we think we have some great ideas and we are very excited to present them here! We hope that people will not only choose a bicycle over their car for transportation, but that they will consider Organic Bikes as a more sustainable choice in Bicycles!

We’ll be trying out an Organic Bikes Dylan this spring.

Organic Bikes

Making Progress In Long Beach

The Los Angeles Times ran an article today on the City of Long Beach’s efforts to become more bike-friendly. From the article:

At a time when cities are cutting expenses across the board, Long Beach has raised $17 million in state and federal grants to improve its bike system through traffic improvements, education and bike share programs. In the next six months, the city will be resurfacing 20 miles of streets to include new bike lanes, part of a plan that includes painting and paving more than 100 miles of bike infrastructure.

Read the article in the Times

NAHBS 2010

Photo © Black Sheep Bikes

It’s one month until the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. This year’s event takes place in Richmond, Virginia on February 26-28. Admission is $15 per day or $40 for all three days. If you’re a bike fanatic, a ticket to NAHBS is the best deal in town. Just be sure to hang on to your wallet because your bike lust is liable to be off the charts; there’s no other place where you’ll see so many incredible bicycles assembled in one location.

NAHBS

New Yorker Cover

Perhaps the coolest bike drawing to date. Hat tip to Perry for pointing it out.

The New Yorker



 
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