BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: commuting

May 2012 – Hawaii Bike Month Happenings

Aloha readers on Oahu (okay, and you other readers too)… There are several awesome updates to announce as part of the glorious Bike Month known as “May” in this year, 2012.  Here’s a wrap up for anyone interested:

Oh yes, more ukuleles for Safer Streets in Hawaii!

  • Farmer’s Insurance sponsors May as Bike Safety Month – Take the PLEDGE! Click this link and sign the pledge for safer roads in Hawaii.  For each signature, Farmer’s Hawaii will donate $1 to Hawaii Bicycling League.
  • Ride of Silence May 19, 2012 at 4pm –  Informally hosted by Nick Blank, former HBL Volunteer of the year, this will be Honolulu’s first Ride of Silence.  Here is a note from Nick on the ride:

Yes we can. On Saturday the 19th, at 4 PM, meet at the Hawaii State Capitol Building.

It will be a short one, about 6 miles, and on a different day than the rest of the planet, but hey, this is Hawaii.

ROS Honolulu Map May 2012 - click to enlarge

We plan to ride Beretania to Bishop, turn left, down to King, turn left and take it to University. There we will have a moment to honor the location of a fatal cycling crash on University, just below King Street. (If more locations of fatalities come forth, we will honor those as well.) We will then return to the Capitol on Beretania.

WE WILL follow the rules of the ride, wear helmets, obey traffic laws, and have a discussion of bicycling safety before departing.

If this is beyond your personal boundaries, please respectfully decline to ride with us and reconsider your choices.

There will be release forms to sign to participate.

This is to be a slow, silent, funeral ride. Please wear a black armband to carry the thoughts of one who was killed and a red one for one who was injured.

( An old sock is good for this, if you make one for your self, please make extras for sockless others. ) Feel free to attach a photo or name to yourself, or your bike, of the person(s) you are honoring.

Be Safe.   It is a funeral ride, but please wear bright clothing to be seen. Blinky lights are always encouraged.

Be Respectful.  Of yourselves, the fallen, the public, and the rules of the road.

Be Silent.   This is a ride for reflection of those who have fallen, and thoughts of how we can make Hawaii safer to ride in.

Much Aloha to those who can make it, and those who cannot yet would like to.

More about the ride here, please take a few moments to review it.

http://www.rideofsilence.org/main.php

  • Bike To Work Week May 14th-18th, 2012 – contact Chad Taniguchi at chad(at)hbl.org  or 808-255-8271 if you want to help make this year the best ever for bike commuting on Oahu.  Get your workplace involved by encouraging more commuter mentors and by publicizing this week.
  • Bike to School Challenge Tuesday May 15th!  – The Green Machines are hosting an event in honor of Bike To School Day.  Here’s the scoop:

Please come join Green Machines in a celebration of healthy alternatives to petroleum-dependent vehicles for getting around. We attract lots of bicycles of all types, but also want to showcase walking, Electric Vehicles, and more. If you can come, please email Jonathan Lott at lottj001@hawaii.rr.com or call at 561-9020:

This poster is hilarious.... anyway, grab the teens and hit up Farrington High if you're into it!

Green Machines is holding this on the same day as the “Bike to School Challenge.” Friday of the same week is National Bike to Work Day (BTW). On Thursday evening, the Eve of BTW, there will be a big gathering for the Thursday Nite Cruise Ride to Waikiki, so please join us for that too (details still being worked out). We will have a sound system, live music and prizes, and informational booths at the show in the center of Farrington’s campus. Visitors will need to check in at the front office for an ID badge.

  • Need A Bike, On a Budget, Check out KVIBE!

If you’re all spirit and smiles but still lacking a working set of two wheels to help you enjoy the lovely Bike to Work Month festivities in Honolulu, check out KVIBE –  “Kalihi Valley Instructional Bicycle Exchange is a nonprofit bicycle education program/shop that promotes bicycle-related activities for the youth of Kalihi Valley. KVIBE provides the community’s children with positive pursuits, mentoring, and role models. Ride a Bicycle.”  Their shop is open the following days and times: Wednesday, 12 – 5pm; Friday, 12pm – 5pm; Saturday, 10am – 3pm.  KVIBE is located at 1638 Kamehameha IV Road Honolulu Hawaii 96819.  You can make a suggested donation for a used bike or, if you have a lot of time on your hands, work to complete your own bicycling with the help of the KVIBE instructors and volunteers.  Check out their website to learn more.

Get out there on your steeds and enjoy Hawaii’s Bike to Work Week/Month/Year activities!! Questions? More events? Post ’em in the comments, Cycle Peoples.

Friday Musings: Leaving Things at Home

I swear I've got better style

Everyone leaves stuff at home sometimes – their lunch, their wallet, their jacket, etc. Us bike commuters are special though, because – especially if we change at work – we have the option of leaving even more things at home!

For example… yesterday I forgot to pack a pair of work socks, and spent all day wearing bright white/red socks with my dress pants and shoes. I usually keep a spare pair of socks at the office for situations like these… but had already used them on another forgetful day.

I’ve frequently forgotten to bring my bike lock or the keys to my bike lock. A few months ago, I did this in reverse… arrived at work only to discover I had taken both sets of house keys AND the car keys… and my wife needed the car keys! I had a nicely doubled commute that morning… and a workday that started closer to 10:00 than the usual 8:00.

And for the worst thing I’ve left at home… last year, I took out my change of clothes only to discover I’d forgotten to bring underwear! And let me tell you… padded bike shorts under dress pants are not particularly comfortable. Fortunately my wife was coming close by on some errands and (once she stopped laughing at me, which took a lot longer than I’d have liked) she agreed to drop by with the necessary item.

So, fellow bike commuters… am I the only forgetful one here, or have some of you done similar things? What were the consequences?

The Torch T1 Helmet: Putting the Head in Headlight

Are you concerned your lights make you visible from the front and back – but not the side? Have you ever wished for lights on your helmet… but not wanted an expensive lighting system with an annoying cord and battery pack? Does it occasionally occur to you it might be nice if passing drivers could see your head, not just your rear? Do you think “too many lights” is still just a few lights away?

If your answer to any of these was yes, Nathan Wills of Los Angeles just may have you covered. He’s got a helmet up on Kickstarter with integrated front and rear lights that are also visible from the side – a critical area many light manufacturers virtually ignore.

Right now it looks like Nathan has a good working model, but needs a cash infusion to make it a reality. Like most Kickstarter projects, you can contribute as little or as much as you want… but $80 will get you a helmet (in red, black, or white) that’s CPSC certified, offers adjustable dial fit, has some cool lights, and makes you look like a commuter instead of a racer. Assuming the funding happens (which I’m hoping it will), the cost will rise to $100 later on – which is maybe a bit pricey, but not really any more than a decent helmet and a decent set of “be seen” lights will set you back, so I think it works out.

The Torch T1 from the side

I personally wouldn’t ride with only this helmet for light – and in many states it’s the law to have lights mounted to your bike after dark – but I think it’d be a pretty nice addition. Here’s hoping the final versions (expected in October 2012) are as awesome as they look!

H/T to James at Bicycle Design.

Review: ElectroStar Wireless Signal Pod Turn Signal

A while back, ElectroStar sent us their Wireless Signal Pod Turn Signal for review.  ElectroStar is an LED company by background – their parent company, Buztronics, manufactures LEDs for a very wide variety of uses (RL, you should get some scooter lights!) – so we were happy to test out the Signal Pod.  The Signal Pod retails for $49.95, a price ElectroStar justifies given its wireless capability (a wired version sells for $10 less), and comes with the Pod unit, a control unit, a seatpost-mount bracket, and pre-installed batteries. With the controls, you can signal a right turn, left turn, or turn your “hazard” lights on by having everything blink (though I’m not sure I want people to start thinking of me as a hazard as I go down the road!).

All lights blazing

Out of the box, things looked good – the LEDs were very bright, and the wireless signal works from well over the required distance (I tested it at up to 30 feet).  It mounted to my bike fairly easily as well, and the signal buttons were pretty intuitive.  I also liked that the turn signal was sequential – each chevron lights up in sequence, making it very clear which direction you’re turning! Unfortunately, that was where the good things ended (had I known this, I would have taken more pictures earlier on… sorry folks!).

Pod controls

One of the advertised features is that the Pod beeps when the turn signal is on.  While some sort of noise is definitely a good feature since you can’t see it, the beep is incredibly annoying.  It’s not bad if you’re taking a turn on the go, but sitting at a traffic light for a couple minutes is somewhat brutal.

The noise wasn’t the worst part though – the worst part was that it only has a seatpost mount, and when I got on my bike the backs of my legs hit the pod!  I’d like to say it’s because I’m just so muscular, but I’d be lying…  I’m sure it works for some bikes, but it didn’t work for my commuter… and I’d never thought it was an unusual design.

All set up... and in the way

Determined to get this thing through a more extended test, I jury-rigged a setup (using an old piece of PVC and an extra stem I had laying around) to attach the mount to the back of my Burley trailer.  I had trouble getting the signal mount off my handlebars though, and ended having to cut one of the bolts off.  Before I could get a replacement bolt in, my kids (ages 9 months and 3) bumped into the signal pod (still mounted on the back of the trailer) a couple times and broke that bracket.  SO… that was the end of the test for me – and somewhat of a deal-breaker, since if my 3-year-old can break something by walking by it, I know it’s not going to stand the test of staying on the trailer for a long time.

Signal Pod on the Burley

While I can’t give this a huge thumbs-up as is, I think there are 4 things that could make these some killer lights:

1. Different brackets.  Almost everything else I buy to put on my bike (lights, fenders, computer, etc) comes with multiple mounting options or at least a flexible fit system – I think this should too.  I’d especially like to see a rack-mount option – most commuters use rear racks, and what’s on the rack often blocks the view of a seatpost.

2. Durable construction.  I won’t say I never break stuff… but I don’t usually break stuff unless it’s on my mountain bike and I crash.  These lights are meant for commuting – they should be able to take a hit from another bike in a bike rack, for example.  Currently, the brackets just aren’t durable enough.

3. Incorporate some bar-end signals for forward and side visibility.  When sitting at a stop sign, I still had to use hand signals, since those coming from other directions couldn’t see the light.  I’d be excited to buy something with that capability – and ElectroStar already makes bar end lights.

4. Change the beeping noise!  Yes, it’s a minor complaint, but I was frankly relieved when I didn’t have to listen to it anymore.

Cycle Ladies and Gents… time to get PROFILED!

Hear Ye: Cycle Ladies and Gents!

Good day, my bicycle commuting ladies and gentlepeoples…  As a follow up to Elizabeth’s post today, Bike Commuters is still on the look out for more Commuter Profiles!  We want to hear from YOU.  Want to tell the world about your awesome two-wheeled steed, your beautiful commuting scenery, and how you are an all-around badass Cycle Lady or Cycle Gent?  Well, my friends, it’s time to sharpen up your quills and refill your ink wells – send us an email if you want to show some photos of your mug, your bike, and tell us about who YOU are.  We even have a lovely questionnaire template for each of you looking for your 15 seconds of bike soapbox fame!  Email info[at]bikecommuters[dot]com  if that’s what you’re into!

black bike ~ mug shot

Commuter Profile Series - Show us your mug!