Bike Your Drive!

The Velorution has arrived!

Please welcome our new staff writer/product tester from Phoenix AZ, Jeff Rossini.

Some of you may followed his experiment aka ‘The Velorution’ on his blog. Although Jeff may not be a seasoned commuter, Jeff will be giving us an insight on how an avid cyclist can turn into a bike commuter. He’ll be sharing some of his stories hoping to inspire those that already ride a bike, but have not tried riding it to work.

Just Ask Jack — Arriving Sweat-free?

Rick sent me the following question:

“I am going to be carless in a few weeks. I am a good cyclist and riding to work 4 miles one way is easy. I do have to wear a shirt and tie and dress slacks. How do I get to work without a sweat??

Rick, we’ve discussed “Beating the Heat? in other articles, such as this one. While nothing you do can guarantee you arrive to work absolutely sweat-free, you can certainly minimize the effects.

As for the problem of clothing, you could either carry week’s-worth stack of pressed shirts and pants to work on Monday via pannier or get a friend, coworker or spouse to drive a supply over. I don’t recommend wearing your fancy clothes to ride…I used to try riding with a tie on; only the chilliest days let me arrive to work without being sweaty. Wear something comfortable to ride in (performance-based clothing or a t-shirt and shorts) and find a place to change into more professional duds at work.

Fitness is a good thing to have on your side if you want to arrive to work sweat-free. If a four-mile commute is easy for you, your body won’t produce as much waste heat as someone less in shape.

Finally, use time to your advantage. If you can spare some extra minutes, ride slowly to work or arrive early and use the extra time to cool down, change and get presentable before the workday starts.

Good luck out there!

Have a cycling-related question? Just Ask Jack! Click on the link in the right-hand column to send me your questions.

Turning Traffic Lights Green

I was talking to one of my friends named Ralph Boaz about the subject of bicyclists turning traffic lights green. You see, Ralph is a Transportation Engineering Consultant with Pillar Inc. So he knows all about what makes traffic flow better and where to put traffic lights and stuff like that.

So here’s what he told me:

In actuated traffic signals (not those just on fixed timing plans), there are various types of detection methods including: Inductive Loops (wires in the ground), Video Detection, microwave, and others. Inductive Loops are the most common. An Inductive Loop is somewhat obvious because a groove has been cut into the road, the wire has been dropped in it and it is then filled with sealant that can be seen from the surface.

While there are preferred loop designs for bicycle detection (see and, the average loop should be able to detect a bicycle with metal rims (any type). The key is for the cyclist to cross the loop over the most wire. On diamond and oval loops, cross left or right of center. On a square loop, ride down the right or left edge. On a quadrupole loop (often looks like a box with a line down the center), ride down the center line.

Photo courtesy of Human Transport.

Loops can get damaged or may need to be tuned. If you find that you cannot actuate the signal (be careful practicing), call your local traffic department.

Pay attention, people

I received an email from Tom Hewitt regarding a Bike Commuter being “right hooked? by a car. This article reminded me of my incident with a motorist last week. Bike Commuters are still a very small minority, we are still regarded as a pain in the ass, but when are drivers are going to understand that what we do also benefits them as well? Anyhow, here’s a little excerpt of the article on StarTribune:

“When are drivers going to learn?? a still-sore Guernsey wants to know. “People are in such a damn hurry. When are drivers going to start paying attention? I could have been paralyzed; I could have been killed. … Why do those who choose to drive treat bike riders as a nuisance rather than equal users of the road?

“Pay attention, people.?

Click Here to Read the entire article.

California STRS Bill

AB 57 Update: Contact the Governor with Letters of Support

Sixty organizations have signed on to support AB 57, California’s 2007 Safe Routes to School bill which would provide $24.25 million each year (in addition to the federal funding) for SRTS construction project. On September 12, 2007, AB57 (Soto) passed off the Senate and Assembly Floors and headed to the Governor’s desk. Unfortunately, in Senate Appropriations on August 30, the committee struck the language from the bill requiring that the Governor include $24.25 million for a state Safe Routes to School program (SR2S) in each year’s budget. Senate leaders contend that they like SRTS but that it’s better fiscal policy to not have ongoing appropriations. Despite this set-back, the bill is still extremely important as it will: 1) enable $52 million in existing state SR2S funding to be spent after January 1, 2008 (the date that the current SR2S bill expires), 2) allow for federal SR2S funds to be swapped for state funds (easing administration burdens on local agencies), and 3) create a framework for state SRTS funding to be included in the state budget. We urge Safe Routes to School supporters to contact Governor Schwarzenegger’s office as soon as possible with your support for AB57. Click here to see a sample support letter. Call (916-445-2841) and Fax (916-445-4633).