A Note from Fatty: Last week I was interviewed by The Outspoken Cyclist about The Great Fatsby and anything else that came into my head. It was a fun conversation. Listen to it here. And be sure to subscribe to The Outspoken Cyclist’s podcast, while you’re at it. It’s awesome.
I’ve been asked to contribute a story for Ride 3. It’s a huge honor, and I’m really excited to be included.
The only problem is, fiction is not something I normally write. I’ve tried, and tried, and tried. And then I generally give up. The problem isn’t so much that I cannot write fiction. No, the problem is that I seem to be unable to begin fiction.
But today, I shall begin my story. No, I shall begin three different stories, because I figure I have roughly a 33% chance of actually having an interesting story beginning.
Please let me know which, if any, of these you’d like to see more of.
Oh, and also, as I write this sentence, I have no idea what any of these three story beginnings will actually be. None. At all.
OK, for reals I’m going to start now. Right after I go get a snack and use the restroom.
And make a few calls.
Two hours later…
Evidently, this thing isn’t going to write itself. Let’s get started. Now.
Idea 1: “Kokopelli”
Daniel was one of those people who never stops talking. Which explains why, right this second, he is saying, out loud, “Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no.” Even though there’s nobody around him.
Daniel, you see, thinks he’s probably going to die. And for once, Daniel is probably right.
Let’s back up a little for a moment. Not very far—this isn’t going to be some Tarantinesque flash-forward-flash-back story—but just a few minutes.
Daniel had been riding his mountain bike on The Kokopelli Trail, from Moab, Utah to Mack, Colorado. All 142 miles of it, in one push. By himself. In June. On a clear, windless day.
Which is to say that, about three minutes ago, the temperature outside was 102 degrees. (Fahrenheit.)
This was foolhardy, but not out of character.
But it wasn’t the heat that was likely to kill Daniel. At least not directly. In fact, right at this moment, Daniel isn’t really even thinking about the heat. Although he is sweating profusely.
He’s not even thinking about his broken collarbone, although I guarantee you that in about twenty minutes he’ll be giving it a considerable amount of attention.
Right now, Daniel is thinking about what caused him to endo and break his collarbone three minutes ago. Which was his friend Eric—very recently deceased—lying on the trail, facedown in what at first looked like a pretty good-sized anthill, but which in fact was an astonishing large pile of heroin.
Daniel doesn’t know what Eric is doing there. But he’s going to find out. Soon. Real soon.
As soon, in fact, as he stops wailing so I can step out from behind this rock and introduce myself.
And then we’re going to have a conversation.
Idea 2: Podium
I am 43 years old. I am a professional. I am a parent, a husband. I am a philanthropist, a sports commentator, and an orthodontist, licensed to practice in every state west of the Mississippi.
I am also the most successful professional cyclist that has ever lived.
And I am not talking about the past, either. I mean I’m the fastest cyclist who has ever lived, and I’m the fastest cyclist there is, right now.
I just won the Tour de France, for the twelfth time. Consecutively. Also, I just broke the hour record, which I already held. But this time, I broke it during the evening after the hardest climbing stage of the Tour de France (which I won).
If you and I were to meet at a party and, by way of getting to know me, you were to ask me to list three interesting facts about me, here is the list I would give:
- I have won three of the most recent Tours de France solo. Which is to say, I did not have a team. Which is to say, I raced by myself to give the other racers a chance.
- I do not have many friends.
- My name is Larry Armstrong. No relation.
I would not mention that I am not precisely human. I think I’d wait ’til we knew each other better before I told you that.
Idea 3: The Hunger
Nolan was being punished. He had done wrong, been bad. He had, in short, ruined everything.
And now he was going to have to ride this bike. For the rest of his life.
Which would be OK, he supposed, except that he hated riding his bike. No, not just his bike. Any bike. But this bike in particular, for certain.
But he was going to ride this bike anyway. He was going to figure out how to ride without his butt hurting. How to keep his knees from hitting his stomach. How to make that damned chain stop making that noise.
He was going to figure all this out because it was important. Because he wanted to stay alive.
The crew at BCN Fixie Lab recently got their hands on two new machines from Spain’s Dosnoventa. The Edinburgh and Stuttgart have you covered from the track to the road respectively. Steel is very real on these with HSS Colubus Spirit tubing painted real purdy. Peep the video and click through for preview before catch up with them here. These dudes never disappoint so bet on these being proper!
Passengers aboard a Southern California whale-watching boat on Sunday enjoyed a magical daylong excursion that included rare sightings of gray whale megapods, traveling south toward Baja California’s lagoons.
The first group, spotted on grease-calm seas, contained more than 15 whales swimming closely together. The pod, spotted at 10 a.m. between Dana Point and Santa Catalina Island, included at least three juveniles.
The second megapod, consisting of at least 12 gray whales, was spotted at 2:30 p.m., also in mid-channel, and was being harassed by Risso’s dolphins, which acted like cattle dogs guiding a herd. (This type of behavior, although not unprecedented, also is rarely observed.)
The sightings, made aboard the Ocean Adventures out of Dana Point, were chronicled by a group called the West Coast Whale Geeks, which chartered the Dana Wharf Whale Watching vessel for an 8-hour excursion that also featured sightings of bottlenose and common dolphins, and several other gray whales.
Photos reveal multiple blows and fluking, and blows mixed with fluking, spy hopping, and other behavior. Aerial footage, captured via drone (posted above), shows the majesty and true size of the iconic cetaceans, which were once hunted to the brink of extinction.
“This is not a common thing,” said Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a researcher who also was on the trip. “In all my years on the water I’ve never been with two megapods in one day.”
About 20,000 gray whales annually complete the 6,000-mile trek from Arctic feeding grounds to Baja California, where they nurse and mate, before returning home for the summer feeding season.
Sightings in coastal waters usually involve one or two mammals, or perhaps two or three. It’s rare to see groups of 10 or more, because adult gray whales, when they do travel in groups, tend to swim on a more direct offshore route to Mexico.
But this has been a very unusual season, with an earlier migration and more whales than usual appearing to take more of a coastal route, said Schulman-Janiger, who runs the ACS-LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County.
Shore-based volunteers man a cliff-top promontory at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center from sunrise to sunset throughout the migration period, counting whales and logging their behavior.
Through Monday they had tallied 1,039 southbound gray whales, the fifth highest in the project’s 32-year-history.
“We’re seeing more large pods than we typically see, and up in Monterey they’re also reporting very large groups passing by,” Schulman-Janiger said. “We’re seeing many more this season. They’re definitely early, and maybe also picking a route closer to shore.”
The southbound migration period is winding down, but sightings should continue for two or three more weeks.
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The wife and I went on an overnight trip out to Sheridan Glacier the other day and this time I was going to do the cooking.
This meant that I had to do a little preparation. What should I make? My wife eats food like someone that actually cares what it tastes like. I couldn’t mess it up, or she may not want to go bike camping with me again. Thankfully, I had reached out to Mountain House a while back and they were kind enough to send over some samples. In my backpacking, touring and vagabonding over the last 20+ years it occurred to me that I had never eaten a prepared, freeze dried meal. I’ve eaten instant hummus, rice, oatmeal, MRE’s and various other snacks- but never a freeze-dried meal in a bag. I thought I may wait and use them for a trip I have planned for the spring but there’s not time like the present, especially when a critic with such a refined pallet was to be there to share.
First of all- since I had the meal plan on lock, it took an element of stress off the trip to be sure. There is something to be said for only having to add water to a meal. You don’t even need to bring salt. I left my cook pot behind in favor of my lightweight Optimus kettle. We brought the pizza that was made the night before for lunch, and though I brought more calories than needed, what the hell- we were going to eat well. And of course there was the possibility that the meals would be gross. Thankfully they weren’t.
I will say first of all, that you should have a way to accurately measure the water you add to the packet. I didn’t, and it may have affected our end product- even though our first try was a little watery, thankfully the flavor was still good. It’s also important that you do as the instructions state. That INCLUDES REMOVING THE OXYGEN ABSORBER THAT IS INSIDE THE PACKET! I (thankfully) pulled it out of the packets before rehydrating, and I don’t know what it would do if you didn’t remove them- but I suggest you double triple check that you have them out before adding water.
- Turkey Tetrazzini $7.79 This was the first I prepared and I think I added too much water. It came out more like a soup, and less like the picture on the Mountain House website. The flavor was good, you could tell there was asparagus in it and whether it was soupy like I prepared it or more like a pasta- it was good.
- Lasagna with meat sauce $7.79 Everything in these packages end up kinda like a goulash. You can’t really expect a slice of lasagna, I don’t think it would even fully hydrate if it wasn’t in bite size pieces.
- Cut green beans $3.69 They tasted mostly like fresh green beans. The bit of squeak that fresh beans make was there, not like the mush that comes in a can
- Raspberry Crumble $8.29 This was tasty, but I think the chocolate crumble stuff made it taste a little bit like Oreos. If that is your thing, get after it. Of the two deserts, we preferred the Apple Crisp.
- Apple Crisp $7.49 Two parts- the apple goodness and the granola goodness. A comfort food. Who wouldn’t like some warm apple crisp after a long day in the saddle?
- Breakfast Skillet $7.49 I know why some school cafeterias use instant eggs. We didn’t bring tortillas, but this would be awesome with a little hot sauce and a tortilla to wrap around.
- Biscuits and Gravy $5.99 I’ve paid more at a diner for a shittier plate. I like B&G- the biscuits are in bite size pieces, and the gravy tastes good.
Though the dinners pouches were designed as two servings- we shared two, with a side. It was more than enough, but to share one wouldn’t have been. The desserts were in a 4-serving pouch and we shared both of those as well. Excessive, but we wanted to try them. Of course I didn’t let any go to waste. The breakfasts felt like larger servings, though still 2-serving pouches. We shared the 2 but couldn’t finish all of it.
There is a fair amount of sodium in the food, but goddamn it tastes good. I’m not much of a stickler for that sort of thing, but I’m sure a heart doctor would frown on it. When it comes down to it- these aren’t necessarily designed to replace a healthy diet of pizza fresh fruits and vegetables. From now on, if I’m going on a getaway, either backpacking, bikepacking, climbing or some other adventure where weight and space is an issue, I’m sold on freeze-dried food. Not having tried other brands- I’d feel comfortable with Mountain House and the meals that I tried with them. They also have some low-sodium options I’d like to check out.
If you’re heading out for an overnight or a month, do yourself a favor and check out what Mountain House has cooking for you. Because if you can boil water, you can fill the void with a tasty meal. Whether you’re lazy, a shitty cook or just trying to lighten the load, throw a couple in your pack and enjoy!
“With this decision, the future of mountain bike racing in state of Oregon has a somewhat brighter outlook.”
— Park Chambers, owner of Fat Tire Farm
A lawsuit many feared would have an ominous ripple-effect on mountain bike race promotion in the state of Oregon has been withdrawn.
As we shared earlier this month, Lisa Belair-Sullivan filed a lawsuit against a race promoter and sponsor after she crashed and injured herself on a log that had fallen across a trail. Belair-Sullivan was warming up for the Dog River Super D mountain bike race in May. Her lawsuit contended that event promoter Petr Kakes of Hurricane Racing and Park Chambers of Fat Tire Farm (a shop who was the title sponsor of the event) created a safety hazard that she was unable to avoid.
On January 9th, we confirmed with Belair-Sullivan that she withdrew the case. While she has yet to make an official public statement, Park Chambers issued one on January 23rd. We’ve pasted the statement below in its entirety:
Petr (Hurricane Racing) and I (Park-Fat Tire Farm) would like to thank the cycling community as a whole for coming together on this issue.
Fat Tire Farm (FTF) and Hurricane Racing (HR) have learned that the lawsuit filed against them at the Multnomah County Court has been withdrawn by the plaintiff. With this decision, the future of mountain bike racing in state of Oregon has a somewhat brighter outlook. FTF and HR are looking forward to the upcoming season and will soon announce future plans to continue to support competitive riding.
No one likes to see accidents happening during events. Mountain bikers, race organizers and promoters work together diligently to avoid such situations. However, all of us who ride bikes competitively have fallen before and we know crashes are part of the activity that we love and chose as participants. Unfortunately, gravity supported riding involves falls as part of the sport.
Let’s recognize, for the future of competitive mountain biking events, that there are inherent risks involved. Our hope is that each participant makes the right personal choice and takes appropriate responsibility in exercising judgment during events or while mountain biking. Personal responsibility while riding is paramount to the sport, trail access and the continued well being of competitive mountain biking for the racing community as a whole.
Fat Tire Farm
21st Ave Bicycles
Hood River Bicycles
2714 NW Thurman St
Portland, Or 97210
CORRECTION: The original version of this story said the lawsuit was “dismissed.” It was actually withdrawn. Sorry for the mistake.
The post Lawsuit stemming from crash during mountain bike race is withdrawn appeared first on BikePortland.org.
Giant-Alpecin's Lawson Craddock crashed hard in stage 4 of the Tour Down Under. After spending several days in the hospital, he's headed home to the U.S. to recover. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Lawson Craddock (Giant-Alpecin) is heading home following three nights in an Australian hospital recovering from a harrowing crash in stage 4 at the Santos Tour Down Under.
The 22-year-old Texan crashed heavily Friday in the early kilometers of the stage, just as the peloton was picking up speed and coming over some rollers as the day’s main breakaway was forming.
In a freak accident, Craddock evidently punctured his front tire, then bounded into a drainage ditch, with his front wheel collapsing, sending him catapulting over his handlebars. One rider who saw the crash said, “It looked real nasty. I could see him flying over his bike.” Craddock suffered a broken wrist, rib, and sternum, injuries that kept him in the hospital for observation for three days.
In an email to VeloNews, Craddock said he was due to fly back to Texas overnight Tuesday.
“I’ve definitely been better. I spent three days in the hospital before finally getting released,” Craddock wrote. “I should arrive [home] tomorrow night, and then I’ll start the long road to recovery. Hopefully, it shouldn’t be too bad.”
Team doctors still are not sure how long it will take before Craddock can return to training and racing. Speaking to VeloNews earlier in the Tour Down Under, the second-year pro outlined ambitious goals for the 2015 season, including an increased focus on one-week races and a return to the Amgen Tour of California, where he was third overall last year.
“It’s hard losing a teammate during a race, when he’s sleeping alone at a hospital, not sure when he can go home,” said Giant-Alpecin teammate Koen de Kort. “With a broken sternum, everything hurts, including breathing.”
Despite the severity of his injuries, team officials were quietly breathing a sigh of relief, especially after hearing more details of the crash.
“Any crash can be dangerous, and from the sounds of it, this could have been even worse,” said Giant-Alpecin sport director Addy Engels. “He’s young, so he has a lot of time to recover. There is no pressure to return. The most important thing is that he becomes healthy again.”
New York City was spared the brunt of winter storm Juno, and with streets in better shape than expected, there are already enough photos out there for our inaugural #sneckdown round-up of the season.
A portmanteau of “snow” and “neckdown,” a sneckdown occurs when driving patterns delineated in snow reveal excess street space that might be reallocated for traffic-calming. For a primer on documenting sneckdowns where you are, check out the article in the latest ioby community projects newsletter from Streetfilms’ Clarence Eckerson Jr. We’ll add that, if you’d like to see your photos published on Streetsblog, it’s helpful to include a location in your tweet or Instagram.
We’ll be on the lookout for more post-Juno pics. In the meantime, here they are: from NYC and beyond, the first sneckdowns of winter 2015.
BRUSSELS (BRAIN) — In honor of “The Cannibal’s” 70th birthday, Eddy Merckx Cycles is introducing a limited run of 70 steel racing bikes — the EDDY70, priced at $17,500 — as the forerunner of the company’s upcoming Heritage collection of steel performance road models.
Launched at a Brussels event attended by Merckx himself Tuesday night, the EDDY70 can be ordered exclusively at www.eddy70.com. Each bike will be numbered, and buyers can choose where Merckx signs the frame.
The EDDY70 frame’s Columbus XCr seamless steel tubes are TIG welded, and the complete bike comes with a carbon fork, Campagnolo Super Record group and EDDY70-signature Campy Bora Ultra 35 wheels.
The new Heritage collection, meanwhile, will be available at dealers starting in September.
“These are neither retro bikes nor something for fixie lovers; they are ultramodern, state-of-the-art racing bikes, improved with the best Columbus steel alloys and designed for superior performance,” the company stated in a release.
Last summer, we learned that the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles was charging motorist-only surcharges of $88, and applying motorist-only driver’s license penalty points, to cyclists who pled or were found guilty of traffic violations. Our law firm brought a class action to address DMV’s unlawful penalization of cyclists as if they were drivers.
DMV’s response? Refund a “sample” of the surcharges, limit the same wrongful penalties going forward, and urge the court to dismiss the class action suit as “moot” in light of the agency’s hasty and incomplete effort to make up for its mistakes.
Last week, DMV filed its motion to dismiss the class action.
If you want to help make sure that every cyclist wrongfully penalized by DMV gets refunded the unlawful $88 surcharge and has the unlawful points lifted from his or her driver’s license, read on.
First, here’s a summary of the steps DMV claims to have taken to address the problem::
- Reviewed all traffic tickets issued in 2014 for red light, counterflow, and failure to yield to a pedestrian, to identify cycling violations that were miscoded as motorist violations;
- Reviewed “several additional samples of potentially erroneous[ly]” coded tickets — samples of undisclosed size — from the prior 25 year period;
- Instituted a new ticket form that no longer falsely asserts that cyclists must pay the “mandatory” surcharge, and instead clearly indicates that cyclists pay no surcharge (pictured below);
- Changed the DMV “Plead & Pay” website in similar fashion, to notify cyclists they should not pay a surcharge;
- Conducted training of data-entry staff and created a dedicated four-person team of ticket processors in Albany to review cycling violations.
To the extent these representations are accurate, as a cyclist and cycling advocate I applaud them. DMV appears to be moving reasonably expeditiously toward handling cycling violations in a lawful and appropriate manner. But more work is needed. Here’s why, and how you can help.
Have these changes been implemented?
DMV has created a new form of traffic ticket that makes clear cyclists pay no surcharge. But is it in use yet? We haven’t seen it. If you have received the new form of ticket (pictured below), please let us know.
Is a “sampling” approach enough?
Recall that in her September 15 letter to State Senator Brad Hoylman, former DMV Commissioner Barbara Fiala stated that the agency “reviewed TVB convictions on our records for the last 25 years in an attempt to identify bicycle tickets on our records that contained erroneous point assessments and/or mandatory surcharges.” The DMV now states that this supposed 25-year review included only “samples” of undisclosed size.
What confidence can we have that all cyclists unlawfully penalized as motorists have been identified by DMV’s “sampling” approach? Any cyclists who have received tickets over the last five years who paid more than $190 for a red light ticket or more than $50 for any other ticket (not including late payment penalties) should let us know.
What about the license points?
DMV admits that it found 792 cyclists misclassified as motorists for purposes of license penalty points, and took steps to ensure these unlawful penalty points were removed. But DMV provided no notice to the affected cyclists. To check for mistaken penalty points, a cyclist would have to pay DMV $7 for a license abstract. Is that fair? And what if the cyclist was overcharged for car insurance based on erroneous points communicated to an insurer before DMV fixed the problem? All cyclists who received tickets over the last five years should review insurance records to make sure they did not overpay due to mistaken license points.
Does DMV deserve to avoid outside scrutiny?
However laudable DMV’s remedial measures, they were taken in the face of a litigation, and the agency appears to be more concerned with litigation than with making sure it does right by cyclists. Should DMV be permitted to avoid scrutiny from outside the agency, and to dodge responsibility for paying for the legal costs and expenses of that outside scrutiny and of bringing the problem to light? Government agencies typically have to accept outside auditing and pay plaintiffs’ legal fees after systematically violating civil rights, as DMV has done here. You can help make that happen by looking over your own records and letting us know of any questions or concerns here.
Steve Vaccaro is an attorney with the Law Office of Vaccaro & White.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
The second week of February (9-13) will be Southwest Portland Week here on BikePortland.
That entire week, News Editor Michael Andersen and I will be stationed in a secret bunker (probably a pub or coffee shop in Multnomah Village) where we’ll focus our editorial output on the issues, projects, businesses, and people of southwest Portland.
If you recall our East Portland Week last summer, you’ll have some idea of what to expect. The basic idea with these focused coverage events is to open our eyes to places that we don’t cover — or physically inhabit — as often as we’d like to. Sure, we have sources all over the region and we can cover places we never visit; but it’s just the not the same as being there.
Being in a new part of the city opens us up to new perspectives and it makes our reporting better. We learned a lot about East Portland that not only influenced the 10 stories we published that week, but that still permeates our work today. We hope to do the same in southwest Portland.
And it’s a good time to be headed out that way.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
From an infrastructure perspective, the issue of whether or not the state will tame SW Barbur Blvd recently took an interesting turn. Meanwhile, a few streets over, the City of Portland recently installed a new protected bike lane.
Some of our coverage will surely focus on the many amazing volunteer advocates this part of the city has produced. Names like Don Baack, Roger Averbeck, Marianne Fitzgerald, Keith Liden, and many others all hail from southwest Portland and have their fingerprints all over its active transportation ecosystem. Another person we hope to talk with during Southwest Portland Week is City Commissioner Steve Novick. He not only lives in the area, he’s also in charge of the Bureau of Transportation. And of course we’ll be seeking out regular, everyday bike riders too. Any southwest readers out there feel like being the subject of a Ride Along?
And what about bike businesses in southwest? Did you know that Western Bikeworks is opening a huge new store in Tigard? We’ll get the full scoop next month.
If you have ideas on stories we should cover, places we should visit, or people we should talk to while we’re in southwest Portland, please drop us a line.
The Elkhart Truth (blog)
RAGBRAI: The ride every serious cyclist should experience
The Elkhart Truth (blog)
John D. Yoder, before retiring, was a cycling commuter between Goshen and Elkhart and continues his interest in cycling as a recreational rider, teacher of cycling classes and president of the Friends of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail Inc. Read more of ...
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. (BRAIN) — Some 250 advocates, land managers, U.S. forest service representatives and industry suppliers and retailers attended the fourth annual Global Fat Bike Summit here at the Snow King Resort this past weekend. Gary Sjoquist, QBP’s advocacy director, said that while Jackson Hole is a remote location, it was selected for various reasons.
Sjoquist along with retailer Scott Fitzgerald, owner of Fitzgerald’s Bicycles in Victor, Idaho, founded the event and remain among the organizers. Helping plan this year’s gathering were local advocacy nonprofit Wyoming Pathways and local retailer Hoback Sports.
“The first two Summits we had too much snow, so people couldn’t get to them. And the third one in Ogden [last year], we didn’t have enough snow. We want to get land managers on snow bikes and we knew there would be reliable snow in Jackson. Plus, fat bikes are an accepted practice here.”
The Snow King Resort grooms its singletrack and Sjoquist said the surrounding business community is supportive of fat bike use. Jackson Hole is also next to Grand Teton National Park, which like other national parks, doesn’t allow fat bikes. However, with a new park superintendent, Sjoquist said there’s hope that that could change.
Among the attendees this year were representatives from Grand Teton National Park, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, state parks, chambers of commerce and Nordic ski resorts.
“This was a great, positive event that showed how this fat bike thing is growing, expanding into kids’ bikes and how land managers are realizing this is the real deal. It’s not a fad. It’s going to be around a long time. We need to figure out how to accommodate these bikes,” Gary Sjoquist, QBP advocacy director, Fat Bike Summit founder.
“For the first time we were able to have state park managers talk about — based on what they had learned at previous summits — they’re now building singletrack for fat bikes at their parks. They’ve got grooming equipment and now have singletrack available. It was a really good way to show national parks – look, state parks are doing it and they’re making it work,” Sjoquist said.
“We didn’t quite get there this year, but Grand Teton and Yellowstone have at least said ‘we are ready to listen,’ ” he added. “That’s a big step forward.”
The Bridger-Teton National Forest Unit was presented with a land manager award for their efforts to create a mountain biking destination — building mountain bike trails for summer and for fat biking during the winter. They also were presented with a Surly Pugsley to patrol their trails.
In addition to a full day of panels and discussions Friday, a demo area had fat bikes from Salsa, Surly, Trek, Specialized, Durango Bike Company, Borealis, Felt and Rocky Mountain. The weekend festival drew three times the industry support it had in previous years. Specialized brought 20- and 24-inch fat bikes for kids to demo.
A short track race next to the expo drew beginners and experts alike for three-lap and six-lap competitions. Attendees could easily ride from the Snow King Resort into the adjacent forest’s singletrack trails.
While the location and date of next year’s Summit hasn’t been set, Sjoquist said the success of the event and the growth in fat biking means that it will likely return. But it may make more sense to have various regional summits that address land management issues that are specific to the local area.
“This was a great, positive event that showed how this fat bike thing is growing, expanding into kids’ bikes and how land managers are realizing this is the real deal. It’s not a fad. It’s going to be around a long time. We need to figure out how to accommodate these bikes,” Sjoquist said.
- Fat Bike Summit at Snow King Resort
- QBP's advocacy director and Summit founder Gary Sjoquist thanks sponsors
- Bridger-Teton National Forest’s Jackson District Recreational Manager Linda Merigliano
- The Summit included a pub crawl on Friday night.
Anti-cyclist Facebook group 'not a hate page'
Administrators of a Facebook page titled NZ Drivers against idiot cyclists deny their site is a "hate page" and say they are trying to control comments with death threats against cyclists. The page has alarmed Dunedin cycling mum Lara Hearn-Rollo who ...
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It’s contest time again, and competition is going to be stiff for this one. After handing out a Streetsie award for the best street transformation in America at the end of 2014, we’re going to do some good old public shaming this time: Help us find the most neglected, dangerous, and all around sorriest bus stop in the United States.
Most bus stops don’t amount to much more than a stick in the ground. No shelter, no schedule, and nowhere to sit. Better bus stops would mean people could walk to transit without taking their life in their hands, and that transit riders could wait for the bus with dignity. This contest will provide definitive evidence that transit agencies and DOTs have to do a lot better.
The above example comes from Atlanta’s notorious Buford Highway, where pedestrian infrastructure of all types has been completely neglected in favor of wide open asphalt.
It will be hard to top the example below, however. That’s an actual bus stop in Cleveland. The only indication is a very small RTA logo under the highway sign for 71 South (you might have to zoom in to actually spot it). What exactly people are supposed to do when they get off the bus here is unclear, but it’s a sorry statement about how seriously Ohio DOT takes bus riders’ needs.
If there’s an awful bus stop where you live, send us your pictures of it along with a written description of the context, and we’ll put the worst up to a popular vote. You can leave an entry in the comments or email it to angie [at] streetsblog [dot] org.
- View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Seat stays
The greatest male cyclist of all time is turning 70 years old this year. To celebrate, the bike brand that bears his name will be producing a limited run of a highly priced handmade steel bike. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles
- View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Bike
The Eddy Merckx Eddy70 is now available for pre-order on Eddy70.com. Priced at $17,500, it is not for everyone. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles
- View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Stem
As you may have already guessed, the only 70 Eddy70s will be made. The component selection is made up of special-edition Campagnolo Super Record and Eddy Merckx-branded carbon cockpit. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles
- View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Seatpost
A special-edition carbon seatpost was made specifically for the Eddy70. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles
- View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Rear dropout
Each frame will be handmade in Belgium. Buyers will be able to choose a size, but will not be able to tweak the geometry. That has already been fine-tuned by Eddy himself, to meet his demands. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles
- View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Columbus
The Eddy70 is built using Columbus' top of the line XCr tubing. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles
- View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Fork
The fork sports clean red details. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles
- View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Wheel
Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 wheels bear more Eddy70 livery. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles
- View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Placard
Buyers will choose their own frame number, between two and 70. Number one belongs to Eddy Merckx, naturally. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles
- View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Autograph
Merckx will autograph the number plates and any one part of the frame, per the buyer's request. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles
- View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Faema
Each bike will be painted like this one, in an homage to Merckx's 1968 Faema, which he rode to victory at Paris-Roubaix and the Giro d'Italia. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles
- View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Head tube badge
The head tube badge is simple but striking. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles
- View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Campagnolo
Can you spot the Eddy70 badge on the Super Record crankset? Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles
- View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Book
Each bike will be delivered to an Eddy Merckx dealer of the buyer's choosing and will include an autographed coffee table book, documenting Merckx's fabled career. Bikes will start delivering on June 17 — the day of Merckx's 70th birthday. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles
It's a unique and original angle for a conference, this Winter Cities Shakeup. Design and urbanism focused on life in winter cities. Loads of events during the three days of the conference. In a couple of weeks I'll be speaking at the Winter Cycling Conference in Leeuwarden, Netherlands. Another great, albeit more specific, angle for a conference.
I started thinking about the Winter Cities Shakeup last year, when they first invited me to speak. What I have been thinking is why conferences like these are even necessary. Where have we ended up in the development of our cities and societies that we find it necessary to discuss and inform about life in cities with extreme (ish) weather conditions. Battling a recent – in the history of cities - development regarding peoples' perception of weather conditions.
The chain of thoughts leading to Edmonton and Leeuwarden started in Bangkok last year, where my team and I were working on a project for a client. The project dictated that we were driven all over the city. Not only on work-related matters but also sightseeing thanks to the fantastic, endless hospitality of our hosts. We also spent a great deal of time outside and taking public transport. I soon noticed a pattern in our hosts' behaviour.
The minivan was airconditioned, as are the trains and every damn building we ventured into. Every time we entered an airconditioned space, our hosts would comment on how great it was to be out of the heat. Fanning themselves and exhaling through pursed lips in relief. Even a 20 metre dash from minivan to building entrance.
It was hot in Bangkok, sure. 30-35 C and muggy. This, however, is not unusual. It's basically been the same weather for the past few... millenia. At the very least. It is in these weather conditions that the ancestors of our friends in the country were born into and lived their lives in. Working, raising families. In the course of a few decades, as airconditioning units became widespread, the heat had become a reluctant antagonist, simply because it was there. People have been conditioned to fear the heat.
An inverted meteological condition affects cities northern cities like Edmonton and Calgary and many others. There, it is the cold – performing its standard seasonal routine – that has become the bogeyman. I grew up in Calgary, so I know well the icy rage of a Prairie winter. From fifth to ninth grade I commuted by myself to the other side of the city to go to a private school. 1.5 hours on a combination of buses and trains connected with walking. Many a winters day did I amuse myself by spitting on the glass of busstops when the temperature was -20 C or colder, watching my saliva freeze solid before it had a chance to ooze down the pane.
These are places where radio stations announce – almost with a sense of pride – how long it will take your exposed skin to freeze at certain temperatures. I never have to wear a ski hat anymore, so often did my ears get frostbitten. These are places where cars have an electrical cord dangling from the hood because people have to plug in their car at night so the motor block doesn't freeze.
At the risk of making myself feel old, I remember how it was growing up in the 70s and 80s in those winters. I remember playing hockey on outdoor rinks at -25 C. Simply because there was nothing else to do and I was an average young man with energy to burn. I walked to high school in highly unsuitable footwear – boat shoes were the thing at the time and socks in boat shoes were a no go. I hated hats and on mornings when I washed my hair and didn't have time to dry it, my hair froze to ice on the 20 minute walk to school. Which I always thought was kind of cool.
Was I a hard young man? No. I was just an average young man in a winter city. I do remember, at about the age of nine or so, discovering that the thermostat in the house went up to 30 C. It baffled me that my dad had it set at 22 C. Why 22 when 30 was possible?! I kept turning it up to 30 until he approached me and gruffly explained the concept of heating bills. I was promptly sent back to the “put a sweater on” culture into which my mother had introduced all of us kids. Maybe my doppelganger in some Thai city at that time was being told “fan yourself if you're too hot”. That 'suck it up, buttercup' school of parenting is something I am pleased I experienced and something that my kids have certainly been introduced to.
Something has changed. In Bangkok. In Calgary. In Edmonton. I laugh when fellow Copenhageners feel they have to buy a fan during heatwaves in the summer where temperatures skyrocket to … oh... about 30 C. But something has changed in Copenhagen, too. All over the world.
I decided to give it a name. Climaphobia. Fear of the weather. Not extreme weather like destructive hurricanes, but just the normal weather.
We have developed into climaphobes. We fear the weather as soon as it ventures out of our comfort zone at either end of the temperature scale. In Denmark, the comfort zone is narrow. After twenty years of living in Copenhagen I have noticed that the perfect temperature for the Danes is 25 C. At 24 they bitch about the lousy summer. At 26 they gasp theatrically for breath. When the temperature stays above 20 C at night, the Danish Meteological Institute declares it a “Tropical Night”. It is rarely accompanied by a happy tone, more of a dire warning.
My Dad is 88 this year. He grew up on a farm in Northern Jutland. He can tell you stories about the legendary winters that were the norm back then. 1940/41? THAT was a winter. He has lived in Calgary since 1953, so the winter temperatures are just a bit chillier than during his childhood. He smiles and almost chuckles when telling me of this or that coldsnap in Calgary. He is almost disappointed when winter days rise above zero – as I write this it is 15 C in Calgary on January 26th.
The shrug his generation reserved for adverse weather rubbed off on my generation but now Climaphobia has struck. Coupled with our sensationalist media culture, a cold winter becomes a Polar Vortex. El Nino and his bride La Nina have produced a cull of unruly children happily named in order to imprint them on an entertainment-hungry society. Nasty hurricanes deserve a name, but generally weather has been celebritized. Previously undramatic weather conditions are elevated to the status of reality show stars. These celebrities are always cast as the bad guy. (Just look at the hysterical reaction to Juno - the storm that "threatened" New York and the East Coast yesterday)
As a film, Climaphobia would be lame. If it was found on Sony's servers by hackers, they would have deleted it instead of distributing it as a torrent. The protagonist would be a regular person living a regular life, perhaps plagued by less than optimal blood circulation so their feet and fingers were often cold. The gallery of antagonists would hardly strike fear into our hearts. Who is the battle against? Henry Heatwave, Roger the Raindrop, Coldsnap Charlie. The hero would arm themselves with battery-operated fans, hair dryers, super umbrellas – depending on which sequel we're watching.
Climaphobia is a thing because we have spent obscene amounts of energy and money desperately trying to engineer the weather out of our lives. Attempting to create a world like this tube I'm sitting in at 10,000 metres above the Prairies.
Calgary is infamous for their Skywalk system. The Plus 15, as it was called when I was young and they started developing it. The skyscrapers in the downtown core are connected by vacuum-packed walkways above the street, allowing you to walk in shirt sleeves from A to B on a complicated and not very direct route. Below, cars roll unencumbered by bothersome pedestrians. Edmonton has a network like this, as well.
Let's face it. The Skywalk concept is a direct product of a car centric society. Keeping people out of the weather was an added bonus to keeping the streets clear for cars. It's a dystopian world. Sit in your warm house, with your car plugged in or standing in a heated garage. There are even remote control devices that start your car from your dining table. Letting it run and get warmed up before you make the 5 metre dash to it. Then you drive in a vaccum-packed bubble to the downtown core, entering a car park, dashing 5 metres to the elevator and into the building, where you spend the rest of your day until to retrace your (very few physical) steps. If Le Corbusier were alive, he wouldn't watch porn. He would google images of the Skywalk to get his kicks. To get YOUR kicks, you have see the satirical film about it, called WayDownTown. A great companion film to Radiant City - another must see mockumentary about sprawl. Both films are by Gary Burns.
The downtown cores in Edmonton and Calgary are, like so many other cities, doughnuts outside of working hours. Devoid of life after the workers head home. These cities effectively amputated their streetlife and replaced it with artificial limbs in the air. Calgary tried to funk it up by making a stretch of 8th Ave car-free back in 1970 and renaming it Stephen Ave. It has never really worked. Parts of it have been handed back to cars and the street is a poor cousin to so many other pedestrianized streets around the world.
The Skywalk system and other concepts like it are simply attempts to put streetlife – and people – on a shelf, out of the way. Like the ridiculous Skycycle idea by English architect Norman Foster. Let's agree from now on that anything with the word Sky in it is probably not conducive to city life.
A conference like Winter Cities Shake-up is the unsuspecting offspring of society's climaphobia. It's goal to get people to enjoy outdoor life – even in the winter. Something homo sapiens have been doing for 200 millenia. I'm looking forward to speaking there, no doubt about it. It's a great idea. I have just tried to identify the societal development leading to it.
Is it enough to merely try and communicate the fact that “Hey! Winter's okay!” and work to inspire citizens to “rediscover outdoor winter pleasures”? Especially when their perception has been warped by a generation of vacuum-packing?
No. It's not enough.
It's design and urbanism that must battle the bad guys. Lurking in the wings of our B-film is the kingpin. Eddie Engineering. Like most nemesises, it's not really his fault. He had a bad childhood, growing up in a neighbourhood built on last-century engineering traditions. The unloved bastard child of Le Corbusier and Robert Moses. In an age where it was thought that engineering alone would save the world. In a region that bought into it. (Just look at that landscape below me now. Prairie terrain carved up by roads as far as the eye can see.)
We are left with one of the greatest challenges facing the modernisation of our cities. Changing the perception of the citizens. Perception of life outside the bubble. Perception of how people can transport themselves around cities.
Telling is less effective than showing. In the information age where we are inundated with things to learn – more things than we can ever hope to understand – telling through communication is losing its effectiveness.
Showing creates a different conversation. Copenhagen's tradition for pilot projects allows for showing. Once something is on the ground and working, people will discuss it on a much more fruitful level. Look at bike share – and the bike share Whine-o-meter. Ask a population if a city should have bike share and the population will say no. Put it in and get it working and they will understand. If they are still opposed, at least their opposition is well thought out (generally).
67% of motorists in Copenhagen want more bicycle infrastructure. Why? Because we've shown them. If a motorist is sitting at a red light with five cars in front of them and 100 cyclists at the red light on the cycle track next to them, they can see it. “If those five schmucks were on bikes, I'd be the first car at the red light...” They get it.
Building bicycle infrastructure for year round use will show people. “Ah... I get it...” Narrowing car lanes to create space for cycle tracks or public transport... “Ah... I get it...” And so on.
Designing facilities that are proven to work and slapping them into place. It's really the only way forward. Be it pilot projects or permanent solutions.
If communication is to be used, it shouldn't be in the form of campaigns to “ride a bike!” or “save the planet!” Environmentalism is the greatest marketing flop in the history of homo sapiens and most bicycle advocacy – as well as a lot of advocacy for liveable cities - is based on the same haughty tone and communication techniques.
The same show starts every autumn on the social media. Strange conversations begin about “how to ride during the winter”. Overcomplicated articles appear, like this one, written by avid cyclists who mean well but who do little to inspire the 99%. Every autumn I link to photos of people cycling in the winter in Copenhagen. This year I just made a new blog, based on a hashtag I thought up last year. Copenhagen Viking Biking. Daily flashcard inspiration.
“People won't do THAT...”
Uh. Yes they will. They're doing it right now. Humans will always use the quickest way from A to B. Understanding this urban anthropology is important. Fundemental. Effective.
Design for a life-sized city first, communicate effectively second. Show and tell. Battle Climaphobia and vacuum-packed cities.Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.
In London, they say "Cycling is now mass transport and must be treated as such"
Imagine, respect for cyclists. Acknowledgement of a "cultural shift." Recognition that someone on a bike is not on crowded subways or driving. The end of all that whining about cyclists not belonging on the roads and calling them "faceless road-swipers".
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