Sunday, March 30, 2008

Critical mass turnout- but a success? I don't think so.

I was going to attend Friday's Critical Mass but wasn't able to because my bike is in the shop. Today, however, I came across a post on PDD with a recap and much back-and-forth commenting from the Duluth public.
Here's my two cents...
I know what a critical mass is supposed to do. Gain awareness for cyclist by shear force in numbers. I was going to go because I think it's a noble cause, bringing attention to Duluth about the fact that cyclists are here and we sometimes do not get the respect we should on the roads. I had envisioned a group of people (70+ showed up, I was thinking less then 10 would this early in the season) riding down superior st. taking up one whole lane, riding legally, just forming a massive line of people. However, reading the post online stated otherwise. From the sounds of it, the intent was to, according to "Zoyx", "piss people off, in order to garner attention, and perhaps change the overall social behavior."
Well, I bet you got your wish Zoyx. I'm sure a lot of people were pissed off and you got their attention, and next time they see a cyclist, I bet you that you are the first thing that will come to their mind. It's no wonder why motorists hate us, sorry, but it's an attitude like yours that pushes back any advance between car and bike co-existence.

On a more positive note, I read that some will be running a critical manners ride. I'm ALL for that and will help if need me, just let me know.

To the cars that had to deal with this- an "I'm sorry" from those of us that don't feel the same as those like Zoyx.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Velo Duluth 2008 Split Rock Tour- July 19th

From Velo Duluth's blog:

Date for 2008 Split Rock Tour has been set.

Saturday, July 19, 2008
Join us for a bicycle tour along the beautiful shore of Lake Superior, starting and ending in Duluth, MN. This will be a family oriented ride with rest stops and distances for riders of all abilities.Check back for further details or email us at: splitrocktour@yahoo.com

Thursday, March 13, 2008

An unlikely century bike?

Good evening everyone! I'm looking for some insight here as I've run up against a wall of sorts.

The predicament: I am going to do my first century (the Minnesota Ironman, April 27th) and I only have one bike, a 1996 Gary Fisher Marlin. A solid frame mountain bike, heavy and not really "suited" for riding 100 miles on. The other problem, I'm stingy and quite indecisive.

I've spent the better part of two days thinking about what I can do to my bike to make it more "distance friendly". To date, the most miles at one time was Duluth to Two Harbors and back, right around 50 miles. It was no problem but another 50 on top of that could be a different story.

So far I've looked into the following:

If I were to get all this, I may as well buy a new bike. I'm trying to figure what I need (if anything) what will and won't work with my bike (headset, handlebars, grip shifts, etc...) and what makes no sense.

So far I'm thinking of just getting the Areobars and for sure, the tires. Can anyone lend any advice on my situation?

If you're not aware, I've been biking all year so I'm pretty confident I can make it, but I want some more hand positions and a way to deal with a strong headwind.

Please lend me some advice!

Jeff

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Calendar of Minnesota Biking Events

Corrected- I rode 15.6 miles, not 12, wanted 20 but due to the weather I stopped short.
Good evening everyone! I thought I would try to develop a calendar of biking events that will show the dates and have links to the various biking events across Minnesota this year. I'm not quite sure where this will be on the page, or what it will look like, but that's what I'll be working on this evening while sitting here in the hotel room.
I decided to start this because in just a few days, like 40 some, I'll be doing my first century, the Minnesota Ironman in Lakeville Sunday, April 27th, 2008. today I rode about 16 miles, a nice ride but it was 36 and raining. When I got back it dropped a degree and turned into a heavy wet snow. Hopefully it will be nice tomorrow.
Look forward to a nice calendar. Check it out and if you don't see something listed that you know about, please let me know.

UPDATE- Looks like you can put the google calendar into blogger pretty easily. I've added a bunch of events, but let me know if you know of any missing events and I'll put them in!
P.S. You can put the event into your Google calendar by click on the event.
I hope you like the calendar!
Jeff

Friday, March 7, 2008

Cyclists bombs New York City Military Recruting Station

I'm sure you've all heard by now, but...
From http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5i0PhHx1tA8nmOF-W7REHh1VxyU-gD8V88QJO0

"NYC Struck Again by Mystery Bomber

NEW YORK (AP) — For the third time in as many years, someone riding a bike and armed with a small explosive has struck in Manhattan, this time in the highest-profile location by far: a landmark military recruitment station in the heart of Times Square."

And my favorite part of the piece...
"The commissioner cited other possible clues: A new bike discovered at about 7 a.m. in a Dumpster just a few blocks from the blast, and the sighting of a man spotted on a bike near the scene moments before the explosion.

The man caught the attention of a witness because he was riding slowly, wearing a backpack and a hooded jacket, Kelly said. The witness, who was buying a newspaper at the time, said because of the hood, the rider's face "was pretty much covered.""

Ohh man- I'm going to need to find a clear balaclava :) I don't ride slow though so I think I'm ok :o)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Classic motorist vs. cyclist conversation (Legalities of issues commuters face daily)

A recent post on Perfect Duluth Day managed to strike up quite the conversation. If you're a bike commuter I'm willing to bet you've had the conversation, you know, the one about you having equal rights and them saying, yea, but...

I thought about this conversation quite a bit tonight, and paid extra attention to notice the vehicles around me and also the drivers in the vehicles. One thing stood out at me on the ride home tonight. A LOT of people still don't use their headlights during the day, or even at dusk (I left work at 5:30).

Dear people driving cars in Duluth, PLEASE, take the half second to turn your lights on. Most cars will even do it for you automatically if you move the switch just one time. It will help other motorist see you and it will help you see me. Also, it's probably in violation of the law...

https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/bin/getpub.php?pubtype=STAT_CHAP_SEC&year=2006&section=169.48
169.48 VEHICLE LIGHTING.


Subdivision 1. Lights to be displayed. (a) Every vehicle upon a highway within this state:(1) at any time from sunset to sunrise;(2) at any time when it is raining, snowing, sleeting, or hailing; and(3) at any other time when visibility is impaired by weather, smoke, fog or other conditions or there is not sufficient light to render clearly discernible persons and vehicles on the highway at a distance of 500 feet ahead;shall display lighted headlamps, lighted taillamps, and illuminating devices, as hereinafter, respectively, required for different classes of vehicles, subject to exceptions with respect to parked vehicles and law enforcement vehicles, as hereinafter stated. In addition to the other requirements of this paragraph, every school bus transporting children upon a highway within this state, at any time from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset, shall display lighted headlamps, lighted taillamps, and illuminating devices as required by this paragraph, except that the operator shall use the lowermost distribution of light specified in section 169.60 unless conditions warrant otherwise. (b) When requirement is hereinafter declared as to the distance from which certain lamps and devices shall render objects visible or within which such lamps or devices shall be visible, these provisions shall apply during the time stated in this section upon a straight level unlighted highway under normal atmospheric conditions unless a different time or condition is expressly stated and unless otherwise specified the location of lamps and devices shall refer to the center of such lamps or devices. Parking lamps shall not be used in lieu of headlamps to satisfy the requirements of this section. Subd. 2. Certain violations; negligence. Notwithstanding section 169.96, a violation of subdivision 1, paragraph (a), clause (2), is not negligence per se or prima facie evidence of negligence.



While you're at it, clear off your windows too- goofballs...
https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/bin/getpub.php?pubtype=STAT_CHAP_SEC&year=2006&section=169.71

(3) any sign, poster, or other nontransparent material upon the front windshield, sidewings, or side or rear windows of the vehicle, other than a certificate or other paper required to be so displayed by law or authorized by the state director of the Division of Emergency Management or the commissioner of public safety.


More pet peeves being a commuter.
I see cars pass on the right on London Road DAILY. If I see a car taking a left ahead of me I look back and make sure no one is going to run me down.

From http://hometownsource.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3750&Itemid=77

Q: Dear Trooper,My husband and I have a cabin on the west side of Mille Lacs lake in Garrison. One day I had my neices up for some swimming and when we were done we waited on the side of the road, which is Hwy 169, for the cars to pass. The drivers of 4 cars were courteous enough to stop to let us cross. As we began to cross a 5th car decided to pass the 4 stopped cars on the shoulder side of the road. We would have been killed if I hadn't jumped back and knocked the girls back down the hill toward the lake. On a seperate occasion, in the same area, I saw a car in front of me do that same maneuver to a police car in front of him, that was slowing to make a left turn. I thought it was illegal to pass on the shoulder. I pulled up to the patrol car in the gas station to ask the officer about it and he ignored me and kept walking. Is this procedure of passing legal and if not is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening in front of my vacation home. Thank you for your time and input.
Angie,Mora, MN

Angie, I am sorry for your experiences. Yes, passing on the right is NOT legal in Minnesota, unless there is a lane provided for that purpose, or if you are on a multi-lane roadway. Passing by using the shoulder (whether paved or unpaved) or turn lanes is NOT legal. We do write tickets for it, it is a moving vioilation that goes on your record and your insurance may go up if cited for it. I don't know why the officer "ignored" you and walked away, except that it's possible he could not hear you, or was on a mission of sorts, but he should have acknowledged you. Most violations like that have to be observed by police for us to enforce the law on them (there are some exceptions). As far as what you can do about it? Nothing. We don't have control over other drivers or their vehicles. We can only control ourselves and how we respond to others. If you are a pedestrian and it happens and you get a license plate, call the police and ask them to investigate for possible charges if you want, but you will have to testify if they charge and it goes to court. Prosecutors have to agree to charge in those cases too, and they will need a written statement from you as well. Thanks for writing, and good luck.
Sgt. Curt S. MowersPublic Information OfficeMN State Patrol

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bicycle Lights

If you're a commuter or you like to ride trails (or both) and you find yourself out at night you know you need to have a good, reliable light system for your bike. Lights can be categorized in two lump categories, those that are for you to see, and those that are for you to be seen. There are plenty of lights out there that allow motorists to see you better; most now are led and have flashing modes to make it easier to catch the attention of the wary motorist.

I've got four lights on my bike, a really nice tail light from Planet Bike, the Super Flash, a Serfas 1 watt led headlight with a blinking mode, the HL-1, a Cateye non-blinking headlight, the HL-EL520, and a homemade diy 50 watt halogen headlight.

You may think that 3 headlights are overkill, but I usually only have one or two on at a time. The Serfas is my main light, the Cateye is backup and the 50 watt diy is for when the going gets tough. Well, yesterday my rear light batteries died so I used my Serfas's to replace them and then I found out my diy was not working for some reason. After all that I decided it's time for a real powerful solution for a primary headlight that would work on or off road. The trouble is I can't decide which one I want as they can get quite pricey quite quickly.

Introducing MTBR, the mountain bike product reviews. Every year they do a light review and I looked to the 2008 review for help choosing a new headlight. After looking through the reviews I think I'll get the NiteRider MiNewt.X2. The price fits my range and it's got a great review. Thanks MTBR for helping take the guesswork out of buying a light!

Ride Safe!
Biking Duluth

Monday, March 3, 2008

Site Update

Hello everyone. You may notice I've changed my blog a little bit tonight. I've added a section called Bicycling Links and changed the tag under the title to "Resources for bicycle commuters and other alternative methods of transportation in Duluth and beyond."
I did this for a few reasons: 1 because it's nearly spring and I think I've conquered the winter commute and would consider myself "seasoned" per se', and 2 because I have found myself becoming more and more involved with my community. I volunteer for a lot of stuff and given more time in a day, would probably volunteer even more. I decided I would like to try to use my blog more as a resource for others who may be where I was a little less then a year ago. If I can do it, I think anyone can and I want to make sure they are able to find the information they need.
I'm going to keep blogging in a general sense but am going to make a new, more personal, blog which will not focus solely on bicycle related topics. I think that I will enjoy that a bit more also as I said earlier, I'm starting to have a viewpoint on other subjects that I would like to develop more also. I haven't created a new blog yet, but when I do, I'll post it in case anyone cares to read it.
I'll be compiling more data, links, and information for the Duluth biking community so when someone searches for biking in Duluth, and find my site, they will have a wealth of information related to biking in Duluth (hence the name).
I hope you will continue to read this site, and my new site and I will continue to enjoy reading everyone else's blogs and sites also!
Thanks!
Jeff

Short update

Friday:
Had a doctors appointment for a physical, drove the van. Had to stop at the post office, noticed the yellow light was on showing we had a low tire on the back passenger side. I looked back and it was flat as a pancake. Luckily it was snowing and cold so I was able to have a lot of fun changing it in the slop. Drove to the dealer as I thought I had a warranty on the tires (which I did, but expired at 12,000 miles). They said it couldn't be repaired due to the 1 inch long slice of metal sticking in it. I was quoted 110 for a new tire (my thought was- my bike tire doesn't cost that much, and it came with metal in it- a new found love of bikes and hate of cars - repair costs). I called around and decided to go to sears where you can buy road hazzard warranty for 10% cost of tire which I like to buy. When I got there, they too thought it couldn't be repaired but said they would try if I would like- heck ya, try try try... So a few minutes later they said they could repair it. Turns out someone mistook my car tire for the door of their house and tried to open it with a key. Silly person...
18 dollars and one hour later I was rolling! (more ammo on why I should get to spend money on my bike once in a while too- car needs an oil change too $$$)

Saturday:
Thought I'd take the family out for a fun dinner somewhere. In Duluth, there's not many places where you can have a fun dinner so I came up with pizza and bowling. We went to the Incline Station here in Duluth and bowled two games. I let my 16 month old roll my first frame- she got an 8! I was pretty cute. Anyhow, second game, 10th frame, I've only had one open frame, got a 9. I roll an 8 and go for the spare, split second before I pick it up the lane shut off. I was mad. I was having the best game in quite some time and they shut off my lane with 1 ball left. I talked to them and they turned it back on and scored the spare since she actually seen me get it. Next and last ball, strike! Ended up with a 180. I was pretty happy.

Sunday:
Took my oldest girl (8) to the movie with my mom. Seen Spiderwick Chronicles- it was pretty good considering it was a kids film. A little scary for some I would guess but she did well. Upon exiting the theater noticed it was raining and the roads and sidewalks were glare ice. Was happy I had studded tires on the bike but that didn't help for the car or the feet.

Today:
Expecting the sidewalks to be quite slick for most of my commute- waiting for spring!!! Need to find a trail bike, looking for something full suspension, used or really crazy good deal on something new- upper limits probably 600$ Got anything to sell?