LAPD Chief Vows to Protect Bicyclists

From the L.A. Times:

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck told a group of bicycle advocates that department-wide training would be implemented to highlight the rights of bicyclists on the road and ensure that officers know how to deal with incidents involving bikes.

This is great news for bicyclists in the Los Angeles area!

Read the article in the Times

Drum roll, please!

And finally, the #1 reason to commute by bike (if a sunrise like that won’t get you out of your car, I don’t know what will). Captured this morning on the way to work…

R.I.P. Hummer

The symbol of the myriad things that are wrong with our approach to transportation in the U.S. is finally falling by the wayside. All I can say is, “Goodbye and good riddance.”

Read about it in the NYT

To Thread or Not to Thread

In this era of hi-zoot, threadless/integrated headsets and clamp-on stems, old-fashioned threaded headsets and quill stems seem almost quaint. I don’t normally think of myself as a Luddite, but I have to admit, in this case I far prefer the old to the new.

Sure, threadless systems have their advantages; the headsets are easy to adjust and the stems are stiff and strong. The downside though, is that making adjustments to bar height requires purchasing a new stem, an extender, or even a new fork. And, of course, once the steerer tube is cut, there’s no going back.

I have to wonder if the oft-touted advantages of threadless systems are actually of any use to the typical commuter or utility bicyclist. I’ve run threaded headsets for decades and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had to adjust a headset. Also, unless someone is racing or riding offroad in rugged conditions, how stiff does a stem need to be? Instead of worrying about stem stiffness, we transportational bicyclists might be better off heeding Sheldon Brown’s advice.

I suspect the real reason the industry has pushed to promote threadless headsets is that they reduce inventory for both shops and manufacturers.

I suspect the real reason the industry has pushed to promote threadless headsets is that they reduce inventory for both shops and manufacturers. With threaded steerers, suppliers need to stock a different fork for every frame size. With threadless steerers, suppliers only need to stock one fork size, which can be cut down to the customer’s preference at the time the bike is assembled. Certainly this is a legitimate approach when looked at from a business perspective, but it offers no real benefit to the end user.

I must admit, I simply prefer the look of quill stems. To me, they’re more elegant and look less industrial than clamp-on stems. But beyond their aesthetic qualities, they also offer the tremendous advantage of being fully adjustable over a vertical range of a few inches. Proper bar height is crucial to rider comfort, and for most people, the ease with which quill stems can be adjusted is likely to outweigh any benefits associated with threadless systems.

Which type of headset/stem do you prefer?

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“I don’t believe a bicycle is a transportation device”

Errand runner, cargo hauler, commuter

It’s the quote heard ’round the world (or at least throughout the transpo bicycling blogosphere). At a recent Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Transportation Committee meeting, Supervisor John Cook, while debating the need for improved bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, made the following statement:

“I don’t believe a bicycle is a transportation device. I think it’s a recreation device. The big problem is people don’t want to ride their bike in the rain or get sweaty before work.”

Hmmm, you could have fooled me (and many of our friends and readers).

Fortunately, it sounds as if Supervisor Cook is in the minority on the Board, which implemented a comprehensive bicycle initiative in 2006.

More @ The Washington Examiner
More @ Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling
More @ DC Streetsblog

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

My Favorite Bicycling Magazines

Here are a few of my favorite bicycling magazines…

A to B – A to B covers folders, e-bikes, and many other car-free alternatives. They produce in-depth reviews of unusual bicycles of all sorts. Print and electronic subscriptions are available.

Bicycle Quarterly – Bicycle Quarterly is targeted at avid bicyclists. They produce the most in-depth technical reviews I’ve read. They conduct well-controlled tests that are folded into their bike reviews. The articles may be too technical for many people, but if you like this sort of thing, no one does it like BQ. Print subscriptions only.

Momentum – Urban bicycling from a Canadian perspective. Momentum focuses primarily on lifestyle, culture, and bicycling fashion, with only a smattering of technical equipment reviews (that said, their latest issue is their “Gear Issue”). It’s a fun magazine and a favorite of Mrs. EcoVelo. Print subscriptions and free electronic issues are available.

Urban Velo – The names says it; Urban Velo covers everything related to bicycling in the city. They offer a nice mix of bike culture and technical articles. I really like their blog too. Print subscriptions and free electronic issues are available.

Velo Vision – I’ve been a big fan of Velo Vision for years. VV is the only magazine that truly covers every type of bike used for transportation including uprights, longbikes, recumbents, folders, e-bikes, velomobiles, and more. Peter Eland writes the most thorough and balanced reviews I’ve come across. Print or electronic subscriptions are available.

Do you have any favorite magazines that cover transportational bicycling that didn’t make the above list? If so, please share… :-)


 
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