Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dangerous water bottles?

After listening to some zealot explain the dangers of plastic water bottles to me, I looked up some information here.

The net of this is that this is a problem with the expensive, Nalgene-type water bottles. These have a "7" in the recycling triangle.

I checked the water bottles cluttering up my bicycle area. I got them all free because they advertise Amlings Cycle, the North Shore Century, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, REI, Village Cyclery and other similarly fine institutions. They are evidently free of harmful BPA as well. They have either "4" or "2" in the recycling triangle.

The BPA problem does not apply to all Nalgene bottles currently sold. I threw out the older Nalgene I used for foreign travel.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Be a bike race official?

Here's an interesting way to get involved in bicycle racing (or re-involved):

If you would like to get involved in the exciting world of bike racing from the sidelines our officials program is for you. You take a class, pay $35 for your license, and then can help
officiate at the races. Everything from criteriums to time trials, to road races, to cyclocross and track too.

What is nice is you get paid for your time and travel expenses. You can also move up through the ranks and become a National Commissar and officiate bigger regional races.

Please spread the word to your club members and if they are interested, have them sign up. The details and registration procedure is here: If you have any more questions before you sign up, please send an email.

Steve Hansen steveh AT illinoiscycling DOT org
Illinois Cycling Association

A way to clear out traffic jams

Above picture from

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bank Bailout: How many bikes would it buy?

BEFORE this weekend's bailout plan, I figured the potential liability of what the U.S. Treasury Department had already done amounted to $8200 per household.

[assumptions laid out here: ]

Now, with an additional $700 billion proposed this weekend, that's another $6300 per household, for a total potential financial loss of $1.6 trillion, or $14,500 per household.

I see REI currently has a Cannondale road bike on sale for $800. So, for what this bailout might end up costing US taxpayers, we could get 18 Cannondale bicycles for every household in the US. provides new bicycles in poor third world countries at $134 each. (I've seen these -- these are very sturdy bikes with strong racks). That works out to 11.9 billion bicycles. Yes, friends, with what this might cost US taxpayers we could buy nearly everyone in the entire world two sturdy bicycles.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

North Shore Century Sunday Sept 21

Our club charity ride is coming up Sunday, September 21! There's a nice article on it in the Evanston Review:,ev-centuryride-091808-s1.article

For more info, go to our website:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Scraper bikes

From Clare on rec.bicycles.misc:

Intersection of hip-hop and cycling:

You can see some slides here:

A video:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lance is back

Just a small notice on the front page of the paper today:

Lance Armstrong said he would return to professional cycling and compete in the Tour de France next year.

It's a bold move. Lance's domination of cycling at a time a rampant doping has looked increasingly suspicious. If he comes back he will be tested relentlessly -- particularly at the TdF.

So, if he could get a top-10 finish, TT or mountain stage win, a King of the Mountains jersey, or do similarly well this would put a lot of the doubts to rest. It's too much to expect a guy who's years older to win the thing, however cool that would be.

But it's risky as well. If he's actually doping and gets caught he will be trashed forever. If he limps along in the back of the pack, wheezing as he goes, he will only give fuel to his enemies. If it's all a publicity stunt and he drops out before actually entering the TdF (or another big stage races), he will be regarded with further suspicion.

We'd all like to believe in Lance. Go, Lance, go!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Generators for Bikes

From a thread on r.b.m. comes this information about finding bike dynamo generators in the U.S. [thanks to Frank Krygowski, and Steve at

Bike dynamos or generators are a bit hard to find in the US, but not
impossible. Here are some American sources:

I've ordered stuff from this British firm and been well satisfied.
Shipping seemed as fast as from most American companies, and with a
valid credit card, location doesn't matter much.


Hub Dynamos
Joule, $65: ""
Shimano, $90 "" or
Schmidt SON, $275: ""

Dymotec, $60, ""
or ""

Also see "" for a 12V/6W dynamo
(all of the above are 6V/3W).

Also search on Amazon U.S. for "bicycle dynamo".

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sign up for free Bike Bits

Bike Bits, the free newsletter from Adventure Cycling (the US bike tour people) is an interesting read. They recently published their 200th issue, and asked me to pass this along:


We may have stretched the truth a bit in the opening quote, but
we're not fibbing when we tell you this is the 200th edition of Bike
Bits. Since we started sending out this e-newsletter in 1999, we've
grown the reader list to an astonishing 33,792 current subscribers.
What's more, they are distributed among more than 100 different
countries, representing every letter of the alphabet except Q and X.

Now, will you take the official Bike Bits 200th Edition Challenge?
We would like to ask every current reader to invite a friend or an
acquaintance to receive the newsletter. (We're hoping this will net
at least one subscriber from Qatar, but unfortunately there are no
countries beginning with the letter X.) If just half of all readers
rise to the challenge, our subscription list will instantly zip past
the 50,000 mark. Wouldn't that be marvelous? Forward this entire
Bike Bits (or this section) to all your cycling friends and ask
them to join with you in receiving this quick, fun cycling
e-newsletter. You do the convincing and we'll come up with the
creative cyclo-news.

Sign up for Bike Bits here:

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Cosmic bicycle wheel

Astronomy Picture of the Day, which is a marvelous site that I very highly recommend, today features a cosmic bicycle wheel.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Making myself useful

Yesterday I did my first century of the year. This is a far cry from earlier years when I did a century a month, but maybe this is a start of another century streak.

We went up to the Jelly Belly plant in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. The pace was substantially higher than the 15-16 mph advertised, and I was often challenged on the way back, when we had a headwind. I'm a big drag in a headwind. But the ride was great fun.

I got to be useful, too. One rider had a flat, and 3 of us stayed back with him to help fix it and to follow the route. Unfortunately he couldn't get his back wheel off because it was not a quick-release wheel. But I had a wrench, which saved the day (a passing local cyclist would also have saved the day, but he lived a mile or so back).

Later, the same rider's derailleur broke/ I led him to the Lake Forest train station so he could take a train back. It was not a good day for him. As a result of this, I ended up with 120 miles for the day and was pretty tired.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Riding to interesting places

Jobst Brandt wrote on the rec.bicycles.misc newsgroup about the importance of interesting places. If you haven't browsed through at least a couple of Jobst's tours, this would be a good time to do so.
> I think riding to interesting places supercedes any interest in
> setting records and I have been riding in that manner for more than 50
> years. A collection of some of these summer tours is at:
> That longer rides are also practical for someone in good physical
> condition is reported here:
> When an unusual happening occurs, such as the big freeze of 1963, you
> should take advatage of it and savor the event for a long time: