Category: Basic Commuter Skills

Ok, so I didn't take this pic, but I'm not exaggerating, it was like this on Saturday.

Aloha from the downpour in Honolulu, my Bikey Commuters… Of course it is I, Mir.I.Am, with Diary of a Wimpy “Winter” Commuter hailing from my desk at work!  Today’s commute was an ill-prepared twist of fate for yours truly, as the sunny “winter” weekend kept everyone in bikinis and barbeques during the day, and under covers and blanket during the breezy eves.  All of those lunchtime ocean dips from yesterweek disappeared like the last Taco Bell Baja Chalupa at 2:56am on a Friday night.  Sneak-attack rainstorm hit me from all directions signaling the official end of the weekend on my morning commute today.  However, optimistic rainbow ponies had me convinced that a tank top, cardigan, and Vanya Chrome pants was all I needed for my commute AND my office attire for the day.  “Come along, pretty princess, rainbows and magic pony power will keep you dry on your way to work!”

The worst of Winter Woes in Honolulu – Pony Attack!

YOU’RE NOT MADE OF SUGAR – WHAT’S A LITTLE RAIN?  Since moving to Chinatown, my commute has been shortened from 25 miles RT down to 3 miles RT (don’t judge, peeps) keeping most rainy winter commutes to a short fifteen minute ride on my fenderless Bumblebee bike.  So, one can imagine my shrugging shoulders when I exited my apartment building stairwell in a tank top despite the light drizzle underway.  Nothing more than a Mr. Mister, so I grabbed my booq “Mamba” backpack (review in near future!) and clipped in… Two blocks later, I was caught in puddles and soggy socks!  What’s the rush? I thought, as I pulled over to clip on some front and rear lights and fully embraced the cyclist-in-a-wet-cardigan look and decided that the more drenched I arrived at work, the better!  And, to no one’s surprise, I arrived with everything drenched except for the spot on my back protected by my backpack… great way to start the week, boss.

BIKE COMMUTE OFFICE STASH:  Luckily for me, I keep a stock of clean (ish) and dry work clothes stashed at my desk at the offizle.  A quick dry towel usually reserved for aforementioned lunch time swims was helpful in toweling off my hair and wrapping my shoes and socks for a (fingers crossed) drier commute on the way home.  My Vanya pants  + no fender = Bikini change-O to solve our soggy bottom issues before throwing on a work dress.  A comb, a pair of heels, and some Witch Hazel for good measure made my wimpy winter commute nothing more than a pony’s daydream…  Tonight I’ll make sure to pack my reliable pink rain jacket for good measure!  Time to restock the office clothes pile to save me on some other day when I leave the apartment decaffeinated and less-than-prepared.  My wardrobe change and Cycle Lady bathroom arsenal debunks the myths that cycling to work is unprofessional.

Stay Dry, Bike Commuters, and enjoy your winter however warm, cold, wet, or windy it may be!  Take it slow, enjoy the ride, and ride on, my little ponies.  For some really BAMF articles on real, non-wimpy winter commutes, check out this snowy article by Elizabeth!

Last Chalupa Standing – Here's to you, all-weather Bike Commuters!

Find yourself needing to keep your hands dry in the rain? Here’s a quick tip that helps. What I do is place a pair of disposable gloves over my riding gloves.
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This keeps the water and wind out, thus keeping your hands nice and dry.
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Keeping a spare pair of disposable gloves in your bag is a good way to keep your hands clean if you’re facing an impromptu repair on the way to work, too…changing a flat inner tube or having to handle a greasy chain is no problem if you’ve got some gloves handy to ward off the grime!

Well Herro there, Bike Commuters!  Just a quick bloggy-blog announcement on an awesome free class this year put on by  Hawaii Bicycling League:  Commuter Cycling 101!   Know anyone who’s had their panties in a bunch, trying to get psyched up to ride your bike to work, school, or the grocery store, but low confidence on the streets is holding them back?  Hold on to your spandex, Oahu cyclists, because HBL is sponsoring free 2-hour courses that cover all the basics of cycling in traffic!  You could even win door prizes like a gift certificate to local bike shops – HOLLA!   What more could you ask for?  You could be getting PAID in bikey giftness while brushing up on commuter tips and rules of the road.  Also, all UH Manoa students will receive front and rear lights due to a generous sponsorship from the University (Thanks for the tip, Cycle Manoa).  Come on guys, (from previous comment I know there’s at least three Oahu readers out there) – the weather is nice all the time, so drag your roommates, kids, and better halves out for a weekend course!  For more information, dates, and sign ups, check out www.hbl.org/commutercycling101.  Or, read this:

Good 'Ol Frank teaching the Safe Cycling Course at IT&B

Do you like riding your bicycle? Want to bike commute to work or school, but scared to ride in traffic? Want someone to teach you how? Then join us for Commuter Cycling 101!

This free 2-hour bicycling course begins with coverage of safe cycling practices in a classroom setting, then moves onto a secured parking lot to practice riding drills, and finishes with a group ride through the UH area combining classroom knowledge and road skills traversing an urban environment. The course will cover topics including: your rights as a cyclist, rules of the road, equipment safety checks, lane positioning, and more. Classes are taught by League Certified Instructors of the League of American Bicyclists. Over 175 prizes totaling an excess of $2750 will be given away throughout the duration that the course*. All UH Manoa students will also receive free bicycle light sets. Giveaway sponsored by Island Triathlon and Bike, McCully Bicycle, Bikefactory, The Bike Shop, Boca Hawaii, and Eki Cyclery. Lights provided by UH Student Athletic Fee Committee. Funding provided by the Hawaii Bicycling League through a grant with the Hawaii Department of Transportation.

Cost: FREE!!!
Eligibility: Must be 18 years of age or older, class size limited to 12 students/class
Requirements: Must have a functional bicycle with front and rear brakes and a properly fitting helmet.
Time: 1PM – 3PM
Location: UH Manoa campus, Moore Hall room 119
Contactcommutercycling101@gmail.com
Download the Flyer

Ok, not really related, but I'm throwin' in the link to this article anyway.

Commuter Cycling 101 course Dates for 2012 the year of the dragon kick off this weekend and are hosted on weekends through April, check the website for details.

January

SAT Jan 21 SUN Jan 22
SAT Jan 28 SUN Jan 29


You may have seen an Outside Magazine article about Lance Armstrong and the nefarious dealings of his organization LiveStrong floating around the bike webs recently, but in the same issue is a far more interesting bike article…something that is near and dear to our hearts as transportational cyclists.

The article is called “Who Pinched My Ride?“:

The thief. There he is. Caught, if only on tape.

He walked into the frame on a beautiful sunny January afternoon, or what the camera mounted on the front of the Penn Club referred to as 13:29:36. He was dressed like a bike messenger, but he didn’t have a bike. (Yet.) He looked at mine and took out his phone.

After the call, he sat on a standpipe and waited. I was inside the Penn Club, eating a hamburger and talking to my sister. The key to my lock—a foolishly thin flexible Kryptonite cable—was in my pocket.

I suppose I didn’t really believe in the little cable. Maybe I never believed in the bike, either—a blue Novara Metro hybrid. Heavy and ugly, it was the second-cheapest model in my local shop. Maybe it was the sunshine in winter or the teeming crowds or the expensive real estate. Maybe it was the hope—naive, but apparently endemic—that it would never happen to me. Not that quickly. Not in broad daylight.

Read the full article by clicking here.

We’ve discussed bike security quite a bit here on Bikecommuters.com — perhaps our best article was by Noah, and his article includes links to other locking-strategy articles we’ve written. Also, there are quite a few excellent comments from our readers. Why don’t you swing on over and take a look?

APEC protesters and HPD Bike Officers side by side, by Matt Ursua

With all the animosity between Bike Commuters, Rollerbladers, Mopeds, Pedestrians, Car, Trucks, Buses, and Trolleys encountered on my daily commutes, I’m surprised that others haven’t realized how far a little Aloha can go!  In past weeks, presidents galore have been abounding in Honolulu, clogging up the streets, protesting, making front-page headlines, and creating extensive roadblocks in Waikiki and Ko’Olina thanks to APEC (Asian Pacific Economic Craziness).  Here are some tips for the world citizens to help keep their sanity in traffic: Ride Aloha, Live Aloha! 

Thanks for the photo, Kate B! I had the same one on my BMX, but it cracked and died.

1.  Bike V. Pedestrian –  Cyclists, a bell or a shout out is helpful here.  If you start getting bike path rage along Ala Moana beach park, consider RL’s advice and take it slow…  If auditory warnings are being blocked by impenetrable headphones and Lady Gaga earwaves, wait for a large enough opening and zip past without giving them the finger!  Pedestrians, “on your left” does not mean jump direcly in front of the bike.  Just one-two step to the right to allow the cyclist to pass you on the path!  Courtesy shaka as you pass for good measure! 

2.  Bike V. Car – I’m going to share my all-time favorite bike commuter Aloha move  that seems to put traffic-angsty drivers at ease.  It’s like a Bike Side-Step.  So you’re riding in the right lane (I like to ride aligned with the back right tire of cars, a tip I LGRAB’ed from Dottie) and you come to a stop at a red light.  You are first on the line with cars behind you.  I turn around, do some attmpeted sign language to determine if the driver wants to turn right (blinker, what’s a blinker in Honolulu?) and then move over to the left side of the lane to allow the car to pass.  Wave and smile to encourage the driver to pass through…  Even if they cannot make the right turn before the light turns green, this move is like when your grandma gives you candy in church – an unexpected surprise that makes church tolerable and makes you adore your grandma!  Strangely enough, my grandma was diabetic and I had ADHD, so I’m not sure if it was a good idea for everyone else, but I thought it was awesome.

Who drew these cheesey cartoons!!? Will they draw one for me of the Bike Side-Step?!

3.  Bike V. Bus:  Some people tell me horror stories of drivers of TheBus in Honolulu, how they intentionally persecute cyclists up hills, or honk and scare the living sh*t out of you when they zoom past.    Some people tell me stories about a-hole cyclists who almost ran them over on the sidewalk as they stepped off the bus.  Well, Some People, have I got news for you: some cyclists are a-holes, and some bus drivers are a-holes.    Major Digression/Minor Rant:  I don’t think I am an a-hole cyclist, so don’t tell me this story expecting apologies.  Similarly, I would not tell stories about terror-children on 8-hour international flights to my friends with kids expecting airline vouchers.  So, lovely Bike Commuters, consider several options to deal with the Bike V. Bus scenario.  I often avoid streets laden with bus thoroughfares and opt for the back roads.  Or, you can just slow down a bit to avoid bus-frogging all the way to your destination.  As for the honking, this can’t be avoided!  Apparently it is a local rule that buses honk twice to alert cyclists that they are passing.  Hold on to your spandex for that one, Honolulu commuters, HBL already asked the Dept. of Transit to delete that rule from the training book when we met with the cartoon mayor… TO NO AVAIL!

Or we could just make a bike bus….

I had a great ride in today, where I stopped (yes I stopped, and put down my goofy foot) at the last 4-way stop intersection before my office.  There was one car and one truck, and they both gave me extra Aloha and let me cruise through first, waving me on by.  Thanks lady in the big silver pick-up, I will remember you the next time I feel like flipping the bird at some a-hole driver.  A little goes a long way!  No reason for road rage when we only have first-world traffic jams!  I don’t think I could ever go back to the motherland:

Beijing 2010: longest traffic jam ever on the way to grand opening of City Wok!