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Tag Archive: commuting

A little Bike 101….Return of the Scorcher

I saw this posted on CleverCycles today. It’s a link to Return of the Scorcher, the classic bicycling documentary that was made in 1992 about utilitarian cycling in China, the US, and Amsterdam. It’s fascinating to watch in light of all the bike advocacy that is going on now. It doesn’t seem like a whole lot has changed! The arguments back then are the same arguments we’re using now. When are people going to catch on?

I’d Move to Norway For This

Check out this great story from TreeHugger.com that I came across during my morning blog-feed reading:

Norway’s Public Roads Administration (southern region) is giving its own employees a vacation subsidy if they travel to work on their bicycles. For each week or five-day period that an employee rides a bike – or walks – to and from the office, Statens Vegvesen will compensate with four hours of vacation time. When the cyclist rides an entire year to work, that’s equivalent to an extra week of (paid) vacation. The Administration points to increased health benefits to cyclists, but also is using the incentive to decrease road congestion.

In Denmark meanwhile, the Socialist Folkparty, one of the country’s
larger political groups, is proposing to offer cyclists almost two Danish crowns per commuting kilometer ($.36). Who knows how far the proposal may get: cycle-happy Copenhagen is considering banning heavy trucks from the inner city and is installing sensor-driven lights to alert vehicles to cyclists, but deputy mayor for environmental issues was criticized (though the Lady Mayor seems supportive) for his proposal to remove cars from one of the city’s major arteries, Nørrebrogade, to make more room for cyclists and pedestrians…

What would it take to get American companies who are serious about their impact on the environment (not to mention those that care less) to subscribe to a similar methodology?

I work for a sizeable financial brokerage firm and they have a “Trip-Reduction Program” which is merely a drawing each month for a $15 Target gift card. To qualify, you must use alternative transportation (carpool, vanpool, bus, bike) once a week for the entire month. They mainly “push” the carpooling thing, and by that I mean they have a poster in the break room. To my knowledge, there is one other person in my office (out of 200+) who does a multi-modal bike-bus commute…and yet I have never won the TRP drawing.

I am glad that my company at least makes some effort to encourage alternative transportation, but they certainly have a long ways to go. I also know that not all companies in Norway are offering a program like the one described in the TreeHugger article, but still, I cannot help but feel that America is years behind something like that.

First Impression: Sette Elite Carbon Road Shoe

I must have been a good boy this year because, after breaking a strap off of my cycling shoe, Santa Claus surprised me and brought a new pair of road shoes from Pricepoint.com: the Sette Elite Carbon shoe (MSRP: $210, PP.com: $89.98).

Here is what Pricepoint has to say about the shoe:

The new Sette Elite Carbon Road Shoes with their ultrastrong and ultralight carbon fiber sole providing excellent stiffness and torque transfer. Not to mention the four air vents in the toe and midsole combined with a breathable mesh upper to ensure your feet remain cool and comfortable all day. The Elite Carbon Road Shoes feature a premium fit and support that is provided by a molded heel cup and two hook and loop straps combined with a quality metal ratchet closed tab with quick release for easy adjustments.

I am young, and not rich, so this is a pretty fancy pair of shoes for me. My only other pair was bare-bones compared to the Sette Elite Carbon, so it might take me a while to get used to a better shoe.

The Sette Elite Carbon comes with a 2 strap and 1 ratcheting strap design, allowing for a nice, snug fit – as long as you are not in a hurry to get the shoe on as quickly as possible (it’s the triathlete in me…). The buckle is easy to manage with one hand, both for tightening and loosening, making it easy to get on and off. It also seems to be really sturdy and I am confident it would hold up to the stress of use as an everyday commuting shoe.

The shoe is incredibly comfortable – with no pokes or scratches on the inside – and good looking. There is a neoprene (or something like it) tongue that provides a really snug yet comfortable fit to the top of your foot. I bet this material makes the shoe extremely comfortable in the summer when your feet tend to get hot and sweaty. I could not get a feel for how functional the air vents are during my ride today because it was a “room temperature” kind of day: not hot or not cold. I am confident I will get to evaluate their cold-weather comfort in the weeks ahead and will report back with more detail!

The carbon sole provides a nice stiff “backbone” for a cycling shoe, which is good for optimum power transfer. I honestly don’t notice a HUGE difference in pedal-efficiency between my old, non-carbon shoes and the Sette Elite Carbon, but then again I have only used the shoes once on my flat commute. The winds were too strong today for me to have a desire to do a little sprinting or climbing…

A New Year Is New Excitement

2008 is here (I say that as if it were news) and I must say that I am excited about the year ahead. I have never really been one for setting resolutions but that is most likely attributed to my age. There is a certain instability of life that comes with being 24 years old – odds are I will be doing something completely different (career, personal hobbies, etc.) in 6 months from what I do now. However, I see a lot of exciting things ahead of me this year, and bike commuting is at the top of that list.

I have only been bike commuting since August 2007, but have biked an average 4 work days out of 5 for those past 5 months. I have been able to continue riding into winter since I live in Arizona – we’ve had a couple mornings in the upper 30s so far, but it could certainly be much worse.

After reading Jack’s post I set up an account at bikejournal.com; hopefully I can keep up with my mileage numbers. I don’t know the exact breakdown, but the cyclometer on my road bike has 3276 registered miles and it just turned 2 years old – meaning I am averaging ~1600 miles per year. In addition, my mountain bike shows 704 miles on the cyclometer (I have only had it since June), giving me a total of ~4000 miles biked in the past two years. I would say that I rode more miles this past year than the former, and assume the breakdown is more like 1800/2200. Based on how much I have been riding and what I predict to ride this year, I want to shoot for 2500 miles ridden in 2008 (this is a GOAL, not a resolution).

I head back to work tomorrow after being on vacation since Dec. 21. Our forecast for tomorrow shows sun with 46 degrees in the morning and 69 degrees by the afternoon. This has me so excited about getting on the saddle tomorrow morning as I head to the office. And what better way to spend New Years Day than getting my bike ready to go?! It is a bit chilly outside today but the winds are howling around 20 mph sustained, so it just feels right to stay inside, wearing my new fluffy slippers, and wrenching and scrubbing around on my aluminum steed.

After brewing a fresh pot of coffee, I got to work and scrubbed off all the dirt and grime from my wheels, frame, drive-train, etc. I made sure my shift- and brake-cables were properly tightened and adjusted; made sure the chain and derailleurs were grit-free and properly lubed; sipped on my java and rocked out to some Nickel Creek.

The Velorution is coming at you 2008 – I have a feeling it will be a good year! May all of you have a safe and Velo-rific year. Happy Riding!

My ears were so cold, they were hurting…


This morning’s ride hurt…it was about 40 degrees and my ears were aching from the cold brisk air….I don’t like putting on beanies under my helmet because I get schwetty and its too bulky. I was thinking of asking Randy to sew me up some custom made beanie that is thin enough to fit under my helmet, yet thick enough to keep my ears warm.

What do you use for your ears?