Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What's wrong with this picture?

from Mike Jacoubowsky at Chain Reaction Bicycles comes this picture. The full page at ToysRUs is here.

Sharp-eyed readers at rec.bicycles.misc noted the following:

The ad species a 26 inch frame, which would be huge (for someone about 6'5"). What they mean is 26 inch wheels.

On the rear, the plastic thingy that protects the hub in shipping is still on.

The fork has been installed backwards.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Robert Novak, columnist, involved in "Hit and Run"

He trots out the old, tired, incredible excuse of “I didn’t know I hit him. ... I feel terrible,”

The bicyclist [who chased Novak down] was David Bono, a partner at Harkins Cunningham, who was on his usual bike commute to work at 1700 K St. N.W. when he witnessed the accident.

As he traveled east on K Street, crossing 18th, Bono said "a black Corvette convertible with top closed plows into the guy. The guy is sort of splayed into the windshield.”...“This car is speeding away. What’s going through my mind is, you just can’t hit a pedestrian and drive away,” Bono said.

Update 7/29/2008: Robert Novak has written he has a brain tumor and will, at least temporarily, retire

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

This is a famous person on a bike. Who is it?

The bike seems to be a Rivendell. What does it mean if you recognized the bike before the famous person?

Hint: born in 1924. The picture is from 2008.


Monday, July 21, 2008

What's your neighborhood's Walk Score?

Here a site that let's you look at the "walkability" of a

There's a lot of variability in the scores. I typed in addresses I was personally familiar with and got a "0" in one case and a "98" in another.

The 98 is downtown Evanston, IL, near the Northwestern University campus where pretty much everything is within walking distance.

Two of my sisters live at places rated "5" and "0" -- I think the 5 is a bit harsh, but the 0 is pretty much correct since there's not a school, or a park, or a store of any kind within 2 miles. This is a 1970's suburb, by the way, not a ranch in Montana.

Not surprisingly, it works with available data, which is Google maps locations of stores, schools, and parks. Nothing in there right now about sidewalks or crime.

It works in the UK as well. "10 Downing St" scores an 87 -- very walkable.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My new bike: Xootr Swift

Did I NEED a new bike?

For some values of need, yes. I'd gone from 8 bikes to four.

Two road bikes were stolen.
My younger daughter took the tandem to Philadelphia (and now that I just own a Prius I'll never get it back!)
I loaned my mountain bike to my daughter's boyfriend. He has to return it if they break up. So far, so good, although I'm not sure the bike is the major thing holding their relationship together.

In addition the old folder I bought -- a Raleigh Twenty -- just isn't big enough. I can get the seat height OK, but can't easily change the proprietary handlebars.

So, I replaced that with a Xootr Swift. I put it together last night (pictures here), but it's rained all day today so I haven't ridden it. I'm figuring this will be a lot easier to pop in the back of the car when my wife wants to go to Michigan. I can take the train out to the country without gambling on whether the conductors will let the bike on. And, in addition, I'd gotten a nice bonus and wanted to spoil myself a bit.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pro racers aren't like you and me.

Today's live coverage of the Tour de France on contains this gem:

The peloton is currently riding pedaling at a good 50 km/h [over 30 m.p.h.]. Is it strenuous? Well, Sebastian Lang's heart rate is not much above a hundred, sometimes below.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Metra clarifies folding bikes policy

From a poster on the Chicago Folding Bike Society list:

I just grabbed the new bikes on trains brochure since I didn't have one
(carrying on is encouraged because you can kind of make out that
folding bikes aren't subject to the normal bikes program). The new
brochure says 2008 across the top right corner and in it, it
says, "Folding bicycles in protective covers are permitted on all
trains at all times but should not block train aisles or doorways."'s clearly stated in something you can find at
the stations and carry with you. Hopefully this eliminates any

All bicycles weigh 50 pounds

"All bicycles weigh fifty pounds.
A thirty-pound bicycle needs a twenty-pound lock.
A forty-pound bicycle needs a ten-pound lock.
A fifty-pound bicycle doesn't need a lock."
-- Anonymous