By spokesman | October 19, 2011
In these days of extreme partisanship, it is rare to see a bill that unanimously passes both the House Of Representatives and the Senate. It is even more amazing when it has something to do with bicycling. Bicyclists seem to be hated. In just the past 2 days I have seen several stories on hit and run accidents where bicyclists were hit by cars including this one in Washington D.C. , this one in Tampa, this one in New York, and this one in Oregon.
However Congress has just done something good for cyclists. The Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act was passed unanimously by the Senate on Tuesday night and the House Of Representatives approved the bill by a vote of 394 to 0 two weeks ago. Although the bill’s title sounds like it doesn’t have anything to do with cycling, it can be a boom to bicyclists, especially mountain bikers. The bill will make it easier for ski resorts on federal land in 13 states to receive permits for activities other than skiing. Non-winter activities including concerts, biking, zip lines and Frisbee golf would be allowed under the law. Activities such as swimming pools, golf courses and amusement parks would be prohibited. Many ski resorts on private land have supported non-winter activities to improve their business and generate more revenue in the summer. Mountain biking and road biking at these resorts have become very important. In fact for many of the ski resorts in the east where snow has been inconsistent, biking has kept some of these resorts in business. For example, Massanutten in West Virginia has a tag line that they are a “Four Season Resort”. Similarly, Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort describes the resort as “the perfect year round destination for adventure filled vacations” and hosts the annual 24 Hours Of Snowshoe mountain bike race. Wisp, a ski and golf resort in western Maryland, hosts mountain biking events, road biking events and triathlons. Now, as a result of this new law, ski resorts on Federal land can operate like their commercial competitors and bicyclists will be the beneficiaries.
By spokesman | October 4, 2011
I have a friend in Chicago who regularly commutes to work on his bicycle. Needless to say, he has ridden through some pretty harsh weather. He sent me the following video that was shot last week. Waves from Lake Michigan are seen breaking on the lakefront path and washing out runners and cyclists. He isn’t one of the cyclists in the video but he had ridden that portion of the path shortly before the video was shot. Here is the link to the video. After my hearing my friend’s commuting stories and watch the video, my excuses for not bike commuting to work seem pretty wimpy.
By spokesman | September 12, 2011
Chain maintenance is often neglected by most bicyclists. A dirty and under- lubricated chain will wear out faster and will wear out your cogs more quickly. Never-the-less, most cyclists don’t regularly do routine maintenance. Chain maintenance can be quick and simple with the right tools and approach. The chain should be cleaned prior to adding lubricant. A rag and some degreaser are adequate for cleaning the chain on most road bikes. A toothbrush or some pipe cleaners are great for getting to some of the hard to clean portions of the drive train near the deraillers and between the cogs/chain rings. After a thorough cleaning, it is time to lubricate the chain. The key is to place a light layer of oil on the chain and remove any excess. Excess lubricant will just collect dirt. I recently discovered a new product that helps to put a light layer of lubricant on the chain. It is called the GreaseNinja and works with aerosol lubricants. The GreaseNinja is connected to the can of lubricant and a part of it straddles the chain. When the lubricant is sprayed though the GreaseNinja as the bicycle pedals are rotated, a light uniform coating of lubricant is deposited on the chain. If you use aerosol lubricant without a GreaseNinja, you will likely get less uniform coverage and get lubricant on other parts of the bike. After applying lubricant, use a rag to wipe any excess off of the outside of the chain with a rag. Since the GreaseNinja directs the lubricant to the chain from above, most of the lubricant gets to the inner parts of the chain where it belongs.
- The bicycle chain has more moving parts then the rest of your bicycle combined
- In the Tour De France, the typical rider wears out 2 chains
- Never use WD-40 on your chain
- You don’t need to remove you bicycle chain from the bike to clean it.
- Changing the chain prior to it wearing out will increase the life of your cogs
- Sheldon Brown’s website has some of the best information on bicycle chain maintenance
By spokesman | August 23, 2011
Levi Leipheimer won multi-stage races immediately before and after the Tour De France this year. He won the Tour Of Switzerland several weeks before the Tour De France. After the Tour De France, he won the Tour Of Utah. These victories show that Levi was in great shape before the Tour De France and despite his crashes in the tour, he is back in top race shape.Unfortunately, Levi’s Tour De France was dominated by crashes that resulted in time loses on early stages. Radio Shack team members Chris Horner, Andreas Kolden, Yaroslav Popovych, and Janez Brajkovic had to withdraw from the Tour as a result of injuries from crashes.Levi is scheduled to ride in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado which starts on August 22. The three leaders of the Tour De France from this year - Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck and Frank Schleck will also be in the Tour Of Colorado. This is the first time that the top three winners of the Tour De France have come to the United States to race following the Tour. The last time that several Tour De France podium finishers raced in the United States after the Tour was over ten years ago. Lance Armstrong and Jan Ulrich raced in the United States in the NYC Criterium after they had finished first and second in the Tour De France.The Tour Of Colorado will be televised by Versus and NBC from August 22-28. There will be daily coverage of the race on Versus with a preview show at 3:30 each day and coverage of the daily stage at 4PM.
By spokesman | August 16, 2011
Three months ago, I wrote a blog post entitled “Why Does Whole Foods Hate Bicycles” that discussed a new Whole Foods that opened along a bike path but didn’t have a bike rack for shoppers. Coincidently on the first weekend that the Whole Foods was open, they sponsored a collection of used bicycles by Bikes For The World for distribution in developing countries. A recent Washington Post article on Bikes For The World documented the delivery of donated bicycles in Costa Rica. For the recipients, the bicycles can make a significant difference in their lives. Some use their new bike to ride to school and others ride to work. An impoverished worker in Costa Rica may ride one of the bikes to a plantation to pick coffee beans that are sold by Whole Foods to the former owner of the bike.
Costa Rican Coffee At North Bethesda Whole Foods
Whole Foods never responded to my original post despite the fact that I emailed them and printed out the post and gave it to the store manager. However, Bikes For The World did respond. They wrote:
Thanks for your message. Sorry for the delay in reply—it’s been a hectic few weeks. In the meantime, I trust you have brought the matter to Whole Foods’ attention. Given the company’s attempts at a green image and the fact that they have bike racks at other stores I’ve been to, it is a surprise to me that they didn’t initially have one at the new N Bethesda store. Although, like you, I find it disappointing they didn’t have a bike rack on opening day, I would imagine that it’s coming, only it’s disappointingly lower in their construction priorities. SO yes, ironic the juxtaposition of the lack of bike racks and the collection of bikes. Where I object to your text is your stated assumption that for Whole Foods Markets or Bikes for the World to collect unwanted and unused bikes DISCOURAGES cycling here. On the contrary, Bikes for the World is very much about supporting biking here, and everywhere. Bikes are not just for poor people in poor countries, they are for all of us. To that end, we help U.S. residents put their old unused bikes to good use, making space for purchasing a new bike – one that fits them better, is of better quality, is in ride-able condition, etc. Except for retirees who donate to us, most people have upgraded before or will upgrade after donating their bike, and continue riding—hopefully more. So please take that message to the cycling and general public. We make use of bikes that people here are not riding, but that through taking advantage of lower wage scales and greater need for affordable transportation, can be used productively overseas, empowering the recipients and building a cycling culture worldwide. Thanks for hearing me out. And thanks again for doing what you do to nudge corporate and citizen America toward a more sustainable, bike-friendly culture.
If you have an old bike in your basement or garage, consider donating it to Bikes For The World. And if you are in Whole Foods, ask about a bike rack.