Category: WTF

When cities choose to sacrifice on-street car parking in retail districts to install bike lanes, a common counter-argument is that removal of such parking spaces will impact businesses in a negative way. This argument has been proven again and again to be false (one such study here).

But what about replacing parking areas in a RESIDENTIAL neighborhood? How does this impact the neighborhood and the people living there? One such fight is brewing in Alexandria, Virginia, where resident F.H. Buckley recently wrote an op-ed piece (WSJ subscription required) for the Wall Street Journal on how such a move was tantamount to “war”. Here is a thoughtful and thorough response to Buckley’s piece in the Washington Times.

How to counter that argument? It’s easy to point naysayers and skeptics toward studies showing how bike lanes don’t impact businesses (and, in fact, may IMPROVE business, as we’ve written about here). But in a residential neighborhood? That’s a good bit more difficult. People tend to be protective of where they live (sometimes irrationally; see the NIMBY phenomenon for examples).

So how do bike advocates counter this skepticism? Do bike lanes represent a “greater good” that trump personal parking concerns? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below.

So, every once in awhile, I decide to take a little trip down memory lane to my times as a bike commuter in Honolulu. Especially when it’s butt-ass cold for a sissy Californian like myself over here in Portland, Oregon. What the isht are we going to do in January, cycle peoples?

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Oh man, mad props to Elizabeth for all-year commuting in Chicago…

Lucky for me, some time-traveling crystals were on super sale on Amazon.com. I installed those suckers on my Schwinn le Tour II so I can time and space warp bike commute my way back to Oahu…
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… where I may have encountered a walking Shrimp Monster or something. I checked the GPS app that came with my crystals, and it pinpointed me smack dab in the middle of Honolulu. Turns out I wasn’t lost afterall, just in the middle of a Shrimp Monster protest night. Frickin’ keep calm, and cycle on – the wall told me.
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So what’s a confused and befuddled time-and-space-warping cycle lady supposed to do in a time like this? Three things, obviously:

1. Steal a lavender beach cruiser from your nearest friend or aquaintence.

2. Bike to Waikiki using the new and somewhat improved bike lanes.

3. Jump in the water to clear the fog and warm up!

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Maybe there were some other bikes at the beach too… Bikey friends of the coaster brake/fatty tire variety. Even a $1.25 craigslist score that the lifeguard bragged about!

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And what’s a trip back to Oahu without some takoyaki at Shirokiya? Totally worth all the money I spent on those bike crystals just for takoyaki.

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Until next time, Honolulu.
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Interbike is always full of creativity, technological wonder, and a good bit of wackiness. This next product falls squarely into the latter camp. Meet the Spruzza:

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Spruzza (meaning “spray” or “mist” in Italian, depending who you ask) is basically a stem-mounted squirt gun that’s pointed at the rider. In theory, periodically spritzing yourself with this device helps keep you cooler on hot rides. Who doesn’t like the sound of staying cool on a sweltering day?

Got to hand it to the Spruzza folks — yes, this thing is nuts…but it is a creative solution nonetheless, and that is often how real advances occur in the cycling world. Another thumbs-up to their “guerrilla marketing” strategy; as Interbike show space is tremendously expensive, the Spruzza marketer just brought a big display box with him and buttonhooked people in the aisles for demonstrations. No floor space or expensive booth trappings required!

The Spruzza appears to come in enough colors to match almost any bike, and it only weighs about 200g. As ridiculous as many of you (and we) think this device may be, credit must go to Spruzza for making it about as stylish as possible…carbon-look plastics and colorful inserts:

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What do you think? Is this the next “killer component” that the cycling world has been waiting for?


Interbike 2013 Coverage Proudly Sponsored by Black Tiger Jerky
Black Tiger Jerky

For those of us who did not attend Interbike 2013, meaning the majority of the bike population, I’ve got one thing to say: Rose City-me, bikey ladies and gentlefolks!” (Think “beer-me” a la Andy from The Office…) This past week, as the Bike Commuters gang was hanging out in the desert soaking up bikes and sun, the rest of us were hanging out in our daily lives, fending off jealousy and ogling posts from Jack and RL. Or maybe that was just me. Hanging out in Portland, the capital of bikey hang-a-langs (a.k.a. not Las Vegas, the capital of Interbike 2013) I like to pretend that everyday could be considered an Interbike-worthy moment!

In fact, Portland makes me want to snap pics of bikes with my crappy i-phon skills (only one step up from Retired Asian Dad photo skills). I may not have a cool camera like RL or Jack, a camera so sweet it’s capable of capturing high-resolution bike porn like this and this and that. And I may be taking total creeper photos of other commuters at stop lights or bikes locked up at racks, but it’s all I got, damnit… and I’ll take what I can get. Maybe I could call this post “Portlerbike 2013” or “InterPort 2013” or “Lotsabikes in Portland 2013” and cross my fingers for an air-drop of SWAG.

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The Schwinn le Tour II hath arrived! (Pics don’t get any crappier than this, thanks i-phon)

The mediocre photographer inside of me is inspired on a daily basis by all that this bike-friendly city has to offer. And that includes bike selfies. Yessir, this means if my bike had arms, it would take pictures of itself being shipped from Menlo Park, CA all they way to Portland, OR. Oh man, oh man, are Shwinney and I happy to be reunited! (Shout out to Chris, Aaron, Kelli, and Emily for crazy bike shipping coordination efforts.)

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Now to unpack it and get it to the LBS for some pedal action.

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Almost there…

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Made it! She’s a beauty.

So it seems like my bike commuting life is getting back to normal for the abnormal Mir.I.Am, with bike storage in the basement of our building, a multi-speed orange steed at my side, and plenty of bike lanes to cruise in a flat-like-an-A-cup city. I’m all about you, Portland. Screw Vegas. Enjoy the pics, Bike Commuters:

One thing we noticed at this year’s Interbike was the reappearance of the “booth babe” — you know, “our product’s not interesting enough on its own, so let’s hire some sex appeal!” Yeah, it’s a pretty tired-out technique, and it is unfortunate that companies still resort to sex-sells tactics. We’re sure you’ve noticed photos of pretty women shilling bike parts if you’ve been following Interbike coverage on other sites. There was quite a bit of that in Las Vegas this year…most of the worst offenders were in the Chinese (!) and Italian zones.

Well, we want to flip the script here and showcase some “Booth Dudes” — RL and I noticed that a lot of the men in bike businesses are rather handsome! The difference here is that not only are these a bunch of manly pretty faces, but they also know their product lines in depth. These are the hardest working guys in the bike biz — folks who are passionate about what they do and have the know-how to back it up. Try getting detailed specs from a booth babe!

So, our 2013 “Booth Dudes“:

Mike and Eric, costumed crusaders par excellence from Banjo Brothers
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The debonair Adam Z. from O2 Rainwear
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These dashing and futuristic cats from Ryders Eyewear
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Our buddy, the supercool JT from Serfas
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The incomparable Mark L. from Planet Bike
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Marcus, our friend and a handsome face at WTB/Freedom
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And, last but not least, the ever-so-dreamy Corey P (in the black shirt) of Dainese. Corey used to be one of our sponsored racers over at Mtnbikeriders.com, and this young man is a hoot to hang out with.
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There you have it — our roundup of handsome, friendly faces at this year’s Interbike. Give these guys a hand for all they do for the bicycle community…both in providing great products, but also in prettying up the place for the rest of us!


Interbike 2013 Coverage Proudly Sponsored by Black Tiger Jerky
Black Tiger Jerky