BikeCommuters.com

Author Archive: Russ Roca

The Path Less Pedaled

Dear BikeCommuters.com readers,
Some of you may already know but I’m hitting the road! Laura and I are doing what we’ve always dreamed about – a long open-ended bicycle tour. Our apartment is clean our bags are packed and we’re having a farewell party tonight to say goodbye to our friends and family.

Our goal is to travel the world by bicycle, searching for those that are living a life less ordinary. I hope to do portraits and interviews and put them on our site PathLessPedaled.com. We’re going to document our own travels and transformations as well. I’ve got a nifty new iPhone so expect lots of photo and video updates.

I will still post occasionally for BC along the way, whenever I see anything bike commuter related but it may be pretty infrequent.

So thank you again for reading my posts and all your comments!

All the best,
Russ
www.pathlesspedaled.com

I’ve enjoyed blogging for BC immensely, especially all the interactions in the comments.

Sharrow-vision

Apologies for all the Long Beach Sharrow posts, but this really is cutting edge stuff and I’m sure more than a few people are curious to see how it will all play out. Firstly, there was a lot of speculation on how cars/bikes would react to the green stripe. Would cars somehow mistake them for a bike lane and not drive in them? Would traffic come to a grinding halt because the street would be flooded by hundreds of beach cruisers?

It’s still a bit too early to tell, but so far, it is not the Armageddon that many (myself included) would think would result. It’s plenty obvious that cars are still driving in the right lane. For me, it seems that motorists have gotten over any trepidation about riding in what could be mistaken as a bike lane.

Have the hundreds of closet bicyclists taken over the streets of Belmont Shore? Not quite. Casually observing, ridership seems to be about the same. Good riding practices (not riding in the door zone) seem to be just perceptibly better, though there are many people that STILL ride too far to the right. I was riding someone today and told him gently that it might be safer to be in the actual green stripe. When we were at a light, he said, “You ride in the green stripe Poindexter and get yourself killed.” As I rode away I could see him in my mirror hugging the parked cars and ducking in and out of open parking spaces.

A lot of criticism about the markings have been from the conjecture that traffic is just too great to have bikes and cars in the same road. I shot some video of Laura and I riding to the supermarket and we rode through Belmont Shore where the sharrows are. It is a .6 mile stretch. It took us 7 minutes to ride through it. That means we were averaging 5mph! As you can see from the video, there may be a lot of traffic, but it’s certainly moving at a speed that a cyclist can keep up with! If we’re going to die of anything in the video, it’s BOREDOM from having to stop every 20 feet.

Furthermore, because it is a shopping district, it behooves cyclists to be in the middle of the lane to avoid parking cars and swinging doors.

Lastly, I’d like to show this video that a fellow Long Beach bike advocate made. Some of the footage is on 2nd Street pre-sharrow. I ride the same way and believe in vehicular cycling principles. That is to say, that I believe cyclist fares best when he/she rides like other vehicles. I feel that for those that haven’t been exposed to vehicular cycling classes, the sharrow/green stripe treatment is a good visualization for good lane positioning. I am hoping that people that use the sharrow/stripe treatment will at some point have an “Aha!” moment and realize that they can ride like that on every street and be safe.

It’s too soon to tell what will happen. The paint is barely dry. People can be slow to adapt to change. I think the sharrow/stripe treatment has some flaws. Visual confusion is among them. The city could have done more extensive PR on the project with mailers, more community education, etc., However, despite all that, I am still very excited and very hopeful about the design.

The Big Green Stripe (BGS)

Today as Laura and I rode through Belmont Shore in Long Beach, we were greeted with what almost every cyclist dreams of – the proverbial yellow brick road for cyclists – a painted lane with Sharrows, that says in no uncertain terms – Bikes Are Welcome Here.

Behold. The Big Green Stripe in all its glory.

It was a long time coming and many of us had reservations about how it was going to be executed, but I think it came out beautifully.

However, not everything is perfect. There is still the public backlash to such a bold and progressive move to contend with. Already, many residents of the area are up in arms -questioning the safety of the sharrows. Like the fellow in this video that interrupted when I was interviewing our city’s new mobility coordinator, Charley Gandy.

To be clear, sharrows are mere reminders that cyclists have the right to be on the road. They are not bike lanes. They do not take real estate from motorists and confer them to cyclists. As a cyclist , you’re not getting any special privilege. Simply, your RIGHT to be in the road and to be in the center where it’s safe is just writ large.

It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds in the coming weeks. I’m expecting lots of heated debate from motorists, residents, business owners and so-called “cyclists”. Ah, we live in interesting times.

Review: KNOG Nerd 12 Function Computer

I reviewed the new KNOG Nerd 12 Function Computer for EpicureanCyclist.com and thougtht it would be of interest to bike commuters too!

The KNOG Nerd 12 function computer is a newish arrival to the bike computer scene. It uses the same silicon tension fit system that their popular bike lights use making it easy to install and remove. There is no need for tools or half a dozen of those rubber cut out things to have the computer fit on your bike! (I hate those things)

Simply wrap it around your handlebar/stem and the same with the wireless transmitter and you’re done with the “installation.? If you’ve ever used a rubber band successfully, then you’ll be an ace mechanic with this computer : )

Read the rest here!