Bike Your Drive!

Spoke Cards-What Are They?

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I’ve seen some fixie riders and SS cyclists sport their spoke cards on their bikes. Not quite sure what they meant, but I thought they were really cool. So I asked our best source in fixed gear riding and probably the best guy to go to about this subject, Nick James.

Here’s what he wrote me.

Sometimes they’re just decorative, but most of the time, each card
represents an event or alleycat race. You’ll get a card when you register,
so it’s sort of a cred thing for people who have a wheel full of spoke
cards, showing how many races they’ve participated in.

Sometimes, they represent membership to something, like there’s an NYC fixed
gear forum online, and there’s a spoke card for that, so people can
recognize each other offline.

I keep them, but I don’t put them in my wheel. They catch crosswinds.

So there you have it, now we know what spoke cards are for and what they mean, and knowing is half the battle…GI Joe!

Tom Higgins: Time to complete river bike trails

The Bee has correctly pointed out a simple way that we can “think globally and act locally” on global warming, advice prompted by the City Council’s public viewing of the Academy Award-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Sacramento’s namesake river provides a ready opportunity to put that idea into practice: Local officials could open public access to the short sections of levees that are currently closed along the river.

In the 10 years since the city adopted its parkway plan to provide a continuous trail on the Sacramento River levees, several short stretches have been completed to improve public access, most notably from the Embassy Suites promenade to Miller Park.

Improvements to the Tower Bridge pedestrian walkways have begun, and the long-abandoned rail bridge at R Street (over Interstate 5) will soon be ready for bicycles and pedestrians. Opening the stretch through the Pocket area would finally make it possible for families to ride bicycles from anywhere on the city’s west side to Old Sacramento and River Cats games, even all the way to Folsom by connecting to the American River Parkway. It is also a key gateway to the newly adopted California Delta Trail.

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Bicycles with Automatic Transmission

Courtesy of Mobile Magazine

I’ve tested one of these Trek Coaster bikes at the shop I work in. Cool concept, but it might be a good idea to get your tubes Slimed because its going to be a pain to replace a tube or patch one up.

Giant, Raleigh, and Trek—three of the biggest names in the business—are among those jumping on the Shimano “Coasting” bandwagon and installing chip-controlled gear shift systems on select bike models. Soon you won’t have to lift even a finger to switch gears.

Giant and Trek won’t be winning any fans among cycling’s racing elite, but they aren’t the target market anyway. Raleigh, with its emphasis on touring bikes seems more likely to adopt this technology, but Giant and Trek count any number of world and exclusive event championships among them, most noticeably Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour de France wins (on a Trek).

The population of casual riders far outnumbers those who win and even enter races, though, and it is these folks who will be apt to be buying these bikes anyway. So if you’re one of those folks or you know someone who is, then you should know that the Coasting system is a consistent performer but is not designed to withstand heavy demands, like racing and very hard training. There’s some doubt, too, how well it would hold up in the driving rain. Again, though, the target audience for this system would be indoor and dry paved trail riders, not slogging through pacing and time trial drills.

Some of these bikes are available now, for prices ranging from US$450 to US$700. Check out Giant, Raleigh, or Trek for more.

Not A Bike-Friendly State

Around the country, forward-looking public officials are working like mad to make their cities and states bike-friendly. In Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley is building hundreds of miles of bike trails. From Washington, D.C., to Washington state, officials are promoting biking.

But alas, not in Connecticut.

Yes, mostly volunteer efforts have resulted in a growing but still fragmented network of trails around the state. These trails could be more quickly sewn together if the state made biking and bike trails a priority. But the state Department of Transportation, reluctant as always to embrace any form of transportation besides the car, can’t be bothered.

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