Category: Basic Commuter Skills

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.
This keeps the water and wind out, thus keeping your hands nice and dry.

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  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
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.


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 — 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!

The other day I was having coffee with one of my friends who happens to be an Officer with a very large metropolitan police department. We’ll call him “Officer Ben.”I had some questions for him regarding laws that apply to bicyclists as well as safety tips. I figured he’d be a great source for this info since he’s on the streets. Some of the items listed below are things you might get a ticket for or suggestions on keeping you safe while riding.

1. Don’t ride the opposite direction of traffic.

2. Front head light.
This must be at least 300 feet visible. Rear red light that is visible at 500 feet.
-Reflectors are not sufficient
-Wear reflective clothing or high-visibility vests/shirts. Don’t wear dark clothing when riding at night.
-Pedals must have yellow, wheels/spokes with white, rear red and white front reflectors.
-Officer Ben recommends blinking lights to make you more visible to cars on the road.

3. Brakes
-All bicycles MUST have some sort of braking system. Fixie riders, if a cop pulls you over and your bike does not have some sort of brake setup, you will get a ticket. The argument that you can stop the bike with your legs or skip stopping will not fly.

4. Tall Bikes-As a bicyclist, you must be able to come to a stop and put one foot down.

5. Cell phone
-Remember, a bicycle is considered a “vehicle” and if you’re caught on your phone, it will yield the same fees as if you were driving a car while on the phone.

6. Traffic violations
-If you don’t stop at red lights, stop signs, erratic lane changes or any thing that shows you broke a law, a cop will pull you over.

7. Hand signals
-Remember to use your hand signals. A cop can pull you over if you aren’t using them. I may add that if you’re riding your bike, you make a lane change or turn and you don’t use the signals, which causes a car to swerve from hitting you, you could be cited.

8. Stereo
-If you’re one of those riders that like to blast their stereo while riding a bike and the noise volume can be heard 50 feet away, you can be cited.

9. Riding on the sidewalk without “due care.”
In California a law recently passed where it is permissible for a bicyclist to ride on the sidewalk with due care. This means if conditions on the street is unsafe to ride a bike, the person can use the sidewalk, but they have to be careful and be mindful of the people on it. You can’t be doing sprints on the sidewalk while there are hundreds of people walking on it.

10. Hands-You have to at least have ONE HAND on the handlebar at all times.

11. If a cop sees you’ve got a gun, you will be pulled over.

12. Look suspicious
-If you or your bike fits a description of a crime, you will be stopped.

13. Record your bike’s serial numbers.

14. Have pictures of you with your bike on your cell phone.
Have serial number(s) of your bikes on your phone.

15. Carry pepper spray on you or on your bike…you never know!

16. Have the number to PD’s Dispatch Department for each city you are commuting through on your cell phone.

17. Headphones
-If you have both ear buds in, you will get stopped. Best thing to do is either not ride with it or just have one ear bud on. It’s important that you hear emergency vehicles approaching.

18. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Be cautious.

19. Don’t start fights. It’s not worth it.

20. Don’t do anything stupid.

Well there you have it a list of 20 different things to help you avoid getting tickets and keeping you safe. I’d like to thank Officer Ben for taking the time to talk with us. Keep in mind, quite a bit of the things we mentioned has much to do with the individual Officer that pulls you over. Your attitude will also make a difference. I also have to mention, laws in each city and state are different. Some of the things I mentioned here could be totally legal in your city/state and vice versa. It pays to become familiar with the applicable laws in your locale — most are available online through your city’s/state’s government website. Be safe out there!