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Tag Archive: bike events

Friday Musings: “Naked bike rides” and bike safety

Did anyone out there in readerland participate in the World Naked Bike Ride?

If you did…or you participate in other group rides and bike events of the more clothed variety, you may actually be helping to make biking safer for EVERYONE:

Just when you thought everything had been said and (blush) done in connection with this year’s World Naked Bike, along comes an compelling theory about the annual event’s societal benefits: It makes traffic safer.

In fact, according to a story on the Treehugger blog, the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s safety experts are big fans of the group rides (not just the naked ones) that are rolling through the city daily as part of June’s Pedalpalooza bike-culture festival.

Read the full article by visiting the Oregon Live page.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on bike events like this — do you feel it helps make us all safer? If so, why? Please leave your comments below.

National Bike Month 2014

As you know, May is National Bike Month here in the U.S. As always, the League of American Bicyclists is a great source for information on events in your area.

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Swing on over to their website to access their database of events. Just enter your city/state or ZIP code in the fields on the left side of the screen and get involved.

Ride safe, and have fun!

Interbike 2013: Overall impressions and trends

As the saying goes: we went, we saw, we were overwhelmed (as usual)…our Interbike 2013 coverage is drawing to an end, so we wanted to share our overall impressions and thoughts with you. This may be a bit long-winded, but bear with us; as the venue for Interbike is giant and the products on display are legion, so too is describing everything adequately.

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(RL and Art getting ready to head into the belly of the beast)

First off, the venue: Interbike moved to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center for 2013. By most accounts, it was a mess — an oddly-shaped hall that was a bit smaller than its previous home at the Sands. Despite a mostly-working smartphone app AND paper maps, we got lost inside about a dozen times. Many others reported the same. Getting lost had its good and bad points; good in that we often stumbled across something we might not have seen otherwise, bad in that we had a very limited time on the show floor this year (one full day and two hours the second day before departing). Getting lost soaked up valuable time, and we wound up missing a lot of stuff we would have liked to see. It’s hard enough to cover the event in three full days…rushing around in less than half that time was a heroic effort for RL, Art, and myself.

Second was the outdoor “paddock” area, where a number of manufacturers were set up. We made it out there ONCE, and mostly by fluke. While the paddock area was clearly visible from outside the facility, once we were on the show floor, it was very difficult to find the access doors to that area. We missed a lot of the fun stuff going on out there…the test track for e-bikes, the race track for the U.S. Crits finals, etc. Our one positive experience was getting to lay our hands on the Motiv Shadow E-bike out there.

Let’s talk about some trends. First, camouflage clothing/accessories . It’s funny; while it popped into my mind that, “hey, there’s a lot of camo stuff this year”, it didn’t really register. Since my spouse is in the military and I live in a mostly-military neighborhood, I am surrounded by camo 24/7 and don’t even think about it. Luckily, our friends at Urban Velo spotted this trend, too: http://urbanvelo.org/camo-is-the-new-black/

Next, disc brakes for road bikes…holy cow, was there a ton of buzz for this emerging technology! Disc brakes started trickling onto the road scene last year, but this year the floodgates were wide open, especially with the development of hydraulic systems that fit into road levers.

How about fatbikes? Love them or hate them, they were EVERYWHERE and everyone was talking about them. We wrote about it here, and even got to try one out. Whether or not you are a fan, it looks like fatbikes are here to stay…at least until the next hot trend appears. And they are pretty versatile; they excel on snow, but they also do a fine job on other surfaces. Add some slick fatties on there and most would serve as a bombproof commuter rig!

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(I love this photo and will post it every chance I get!)

You like bright colors? The bicycle industry has your back…and neons are about as big as they were in the 80s. Neon yellow and orange accents were everywhere, from sunglass frames to bicycle frames, from clothing to helmets. Orange was the really hot color this year…the brighter, the better.

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If you’re into mountain bikes, the big news is that 27.5″/650b wheels are quickly replacing 26ers. Some brands have even dropped their 26″ bikes completely in favor of the new (old) size. And, since the wheel size isn’t as radical as 29ers, fewer compromises have to be made in terms of frame geometry…the 27.5″ wheel might truly be the ultimate wheel size for MTBs. Check out our sister site Mtnbikeriders.com for the benefits of that size and lots more Interbike coverage.

As can be expected, lights are getting brighter and brighter and the prices seem to be going down as cheaper battery and LED technology is made available. We saw a lot of light manufacturers with lights for every purpose, and at dozens of intensities. Our friends at Serfas had a model that pumps out 2500 lumens — far more intense than car headlights!

E-bikes are continually growing in market penetration; it’s great to see this segment growing. We saw models with front or rear e-drives, but prefer the ebikes with rear wheel drive. Based on our experiences testing them, rear-drive models are easier to handle/ride and they look better too.

We really like that some of the manufacturers are sticking to the $500-$650 price range for a commuter bike. This price range offers a LOT to most commuters, with many of the models coming stock with fenders and racks and other commuter-friendly accessories. We also noticed (and greatly approve!) that commuter bikes were not relegated to the dark corners of displays…many builders had their commuter lines front and center along with their more racy bikes. That, to us, is the sign of a healthy market segment.

If you like using your phone as a GPS/mapping/ride data device, we noticed that there were a TON of phone mounts for bicycles…lots of new companies producing versatile and innovative mounts for many phones.

One thing we NEVER like: parts and even bikes are getting more and more expensive. It’s too DAMN HIGH!

Finally, after processing everything WE saw and after reading Interbike coverage on a host of other sites, we realize there was SO MUCH we missed. We simply missed a number of great new commuter products, especially Giro’s “New Road” line of casual cycling wear. I think that’s going to be a hit and we regret not getting photos and details to share with you.

For a really comprehensive look at what Interbike meant to seasoned cycling journalists, go no farther than Red Kite Prayer’s analysis of the event. It’s a thoughtful look from folks who are far more expert at analyzing the trends than we are.

We hope you enjoyed our coverage of Interbike 2013…and we plan on bringing you more coverage next year. With luck, we’ll be able to spend more days on the show floor next year so that we can cover more territory.

And, of course, we’d like to thank our sponsors for this year’s Las Vegas Trip. Black Tiger Jerky was very generous in allowing us the funds we needed to travel. Like what you saw here on our coverage? Then PLEASE SUPPORT Black Tiger…they make delicious jerky, and with Christmas coming up, their flavors make great stocking stuffers!


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

Tampa’s Ride of Silence, May 16th at 6:30PM

For the second year in a row, Tampa will be holding a “Ride of Silence” on May 16th. It’s been a rough year already for Tampa-area cyclists…on track to be the worst, cycling-fatality wise, in recent years. Take a look at the press release below:

TAMPA / HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY RIDE OF SILENCE
WHERE: Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in downtown Tampa
WHEN: Wednesday, May 16th, 6:30 pm
DISTANCE: 11.1 miles
MAXIMUM PACE: 12 mph

TAMPA, FL (May 10, 2012) — On Wednesday, May 16th, cyclists will take to the streets of Tampa as part of
the worldwide 10th annual Ride of Silence. They’ll ride to remember cyclists who have been killed and injured in
traffic crashes and to raise public awareness about bicycle safety. The ride comes at a very deadly time. From
Dec. 24, 2011 through April 30, 2012 (just 129 days), nine cyclists were killed in crashes in Hillsborough County
— an average of one every 14 days! Seven cyclists were killed in just the first four months of this year, a rate
that could make 2012 the county’s deadliest year for cyclists on record.

The Tampa Ride of Silence will start from Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park (600 N. Ashley Dr., 33602) at 7 pm,
but riders should arrive by 6:30. There is no entry fee to participate. Cyclists are asked to ride silently without
talking. They are also asked to wear armbands — black for cyclists who were killed in traffic crashes or red for
injured cyclists. All riders must wear bike helmets. And since the ride may continue past sunset, bicycles
should be equipped with head lights and tail lights.

Route Map: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/33670864/
Before the ride, the names of these Hillsborough cyclists, killed since the 2011 Ride of Silence, will be read aloud:
1. Morris Taylor, 14
2. Rusty Keen, 40
3. Richard Boone, 50
4. Anthony Penta, 22
5. Jesus Dias, 20
6. Jessy Smith, 29
7. Jessica Wortman, 18
8. Michael Murrell, 41
9. Humberto Saez, 43
10. Kenneth Hamlin, 50
11. Ivan Miller, 78
12. David Jenner, 56

HELP SAVE A LIFE
Many of the Hillsborough cyclists killed in recent months were riding at night without lights. In response, on
March 14th, the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) of the Hillsborough County Metropolitan
Planning Organization (MPO) voted to create a special escrow account for donations to buy bike lights, batteries,
reflective vests, and educational materials for at-risk cyclists. In early April, the full MPO board and the
Hillsborough County Commission approved the creation of this Bicycle Safety Outreach Fund. The County
Commission also voted to allocate $3,000 for the fund. An MPO representative will be at Curtis Hixon Park
before the ride to accept donations for the fund. Even a few dollars could help save a life, but donations are not
required to participate in the ride.

DETAILED TAMPA RIDE DESCRIPTION
The ride will pass Tampa Police Department headquarters, the three county courthouses, the County Center
building, and Tampa City Hall to send a message to our elected officials, our law enforcement agencies, and our
court system that the local cycling community demands safer roads not only for cyclists but for everyone. The
ride will then go past the ghost bike for Admiral LeRoy Collins Jr. at the corner of Hyde Park Ave. and Brorein
St., the ghost bike for Diane Vega at the corner of Himes Ave. and Spruce St., and the site on Dr. Martin Luther
King Blvd. near Tampania Ave. where Peiter Vanvliet was killed on March 19, 2011, then return to the park.

THE RIDE OF SILENCE EVENT
The first Ride of Silence was organized in Dallas, Texas, by Chris Phelan in May 2003 after endurance cyclist
Larry Schwartz was killed by the mirror of a passing bus. Since then the idea has spread around the world with
hundreds of cities and towns holding local rides each year.
The Ride of Silence web site: http://www.rideofsilence.org/main.php
Florida Ride of Silence Locations: http://www.rideofsilence.org/locations-domestic.php?s=FL#FL
__________________________________________________________________________________________
All participants must sign a Ride of Silence release of liability and agree to absolve and hold harmless the Ride
of Silence organization and all organizers, ride leaders, and promoters of this event from and against any
blame or liability for any injury, misadventure, harm, loss, inconvenience, or damage suffered or sustained as a
result of participation in the Ride of Silence. (For participants younger than 18, a parent or guardian must sign
the release of liability.)
__________________________________________________________________________________________
Detailed list of 26 cyclists who were killed in Hillsborough County traffic crashes from Jan. 1, 2010 through
April 30, 2012:
http://www.ibiblio.org/ebooks/bike/Hills_Cycl_Fatal.pdf

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY BICYCLE SAFETY STATISTICS
Reported number of cyclists killed in traffic crashes, 1994-2011: 161 (Average: 9/year)
Reported number of cyclists injured in traffic crashes, 1994-2010: 6,656 (Average: 392/year)

FLORIDA BICYCLE SAFETY STATISTICS
Reported number of cyclists killed in traffic crashes, 1994-2010: 1,862 (Average: 110/year)
Reported number of cyclists injured in traffic crashes, 1994-2010: 85,989 (Average: 5,058/year)
Source for 1994-2010 statistics: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
(http://www.flhsmv.gov/index.html)

National Bike Month in May

Well, we’re a week into National Bike Month here in the U.S….at least for states that choose to celebrate in May (as opposed to, say, March. I’m talking about YOU, Florida). Great things are happening all over the country, from bike-safety clinics, to free commuter breakfasts, to neighborhood tours, “commuter trains”, and a thousand other events.

Want to find out what sort of events are going on in YOUR corner of the U.S.? The League of American Bicyclists has you covered…with their handy event finder. Simply visit the link, type in your city, state or ZIP code and voila…a smorgasbord of events to choose from!

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Ride strong and ride safe, and don’t forget to spread the word…two wheels is not only good for you, for your wallet, and for the environment, but it’s also a blast. If you have any special events you’d like to get out the word on, please leave details in the comment box below.