Monday, March 29, 2010

But would they pay the claim?

This ad for an insurance company was on the flip-side of a USPS Change of Address form I received. Given the lax lock-job depicted, it's no wonder the bike is gone.

My question is whether an insurance provider would pay a theft claim based on someone's negligence?

3,200 mile mission

A group of med students are planning a 3,200 mile cross-the-US bike tour to raise funds for Heal Africa and World Bicycle Relief.

World Bicycle Relief was founded in 2005 in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami and provides bicycles to villagers to make it easier for children to get to school, help adults carry more goods to market, and provide an easier method for health-care workers to travel to villages where they educate the people on disease prevention, such as HIV/AIDS.

Ride for World Health (R4WH) is a national, nonprofit organization which advocates for improvements in the quality and accessibility of global healthcare. Each year, by utilizing a cross-country bike ride as a vehicle of communication, R4WH addresses this issue through political advocacy, fundraising and its unique Coast-to-Coast Lecture Series.

King County Bike Map on the Web

Looks like all the cool kids can now check out the miles of bike trails, bike lanes, and steep hills of King County, Washington via their cellies.

KC Bike Map

A KC staffer announced:
"We are happy to announce that new King County Bicycling Guidemaps have been printed and are available free of charge at all King County Libraries. The new Bicycling Guidemap content has also been posted on the internet and is available publicly at . The new online map allows users to pan and zoom into their area of interest and print."

*content snipped*

"If you wish to receive hard copies of our map, please send me your mailing address, and I will mail them to you directly."

And the magic snail mail address is as follows:
King County Department of Transportation
Roads Services Division, CIP and Planning Section
201 South Jackson Street MS: KSC-TR-0317
Seattle, WA 98104-3856

Don't overlook the disclaimer, however, at the bottom of the map...
"Disclaimer: This map is intended to aid bicyclists in choosing routes between locations. This map is not in any way warranty or guarantee as to the stability of roadway conditions or the fitness of listed routes for bicycling. Many of the routes identified on this map cross or run along public roads which are exposed to wear and tear and degradation due to weather, traffic, and other environmental concerns. Riders should remain alert as routes may contain pavement rutting, cracks, bumps, expansion joints, natural or other debris on pavement surfaces, and vegetation which may encroach on routes or portions thereof. Riders should also remain alert for areas of visual impairment and other irregularities that may impact rider and motorist ability to see each other or potential road hazards. The chance that one may come into an area of visual impairment or a route irregularity warrants special care on the part of route users.

Government resources limit the capacity to address conditions and irregularities like those described above. Accordingly, route users should maintain a vigilant lookout for these conditions and irregularities. Route users should always ride with care for their own safety and that of other users. King County does not assume liability for bicyclists travelling upon routes shown in this map. Safe route selection includes consideration of motor vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic and roadway or route conditions".

I am sure this is a direct result of the Totten case which settled for $3.5 million rather than the $20 million sought.

since it's wet and windy out...

I didn't ride into work today, but I got my bicycling fix this morning peeping out two of my dailies...

Busted Carbon

Bike Hacks

And, a third, new one to add to the mix... TOTCYCLE

I love the peace in this pic... (photo snapped by and posted on TOTCYCLE)

Friendly Skies: I think not! using social media for customer complaints

Listen up, United Airlines!

$175 each way (yes, EACH WAY) for flying a bicycle is ree-dick-you-lus!

A dude on facebook is lashing out.

From back in the day when peanuts were free and you could carry any liquid you wanted to on-board...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I hate waiting

I remember when I was about 12 years old, I had a Schwinn (1984) Chro-mo Predator (chromed) BMX bike with 5-spoke composite BMX wheels on order, saved via lay-away. I hated waiting then, and I hate waiting now. Especially when I can close my eyes and imagine holding it in my hands, polishing the frame, and going places far removed from my cul-de-sac.

Nearly 25 years since does not lessen that feeling.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

bike crime

According to the Seattle PI online, police recently busted a ring of bike thieves who based their chop shop out of a storage facility in Seattle.

Hopefully, this will be the first of many efforts to curtail this activity.

Remember this guy?

What an odd story this was and at least he seemed to have a bit of a brashness and swagger which is Colton Moore-esque (a.k.a. "Barefoot Bandit"), far more aloof than the tweakers likely behind the recent Seattle story. Though no doubt, some victims of Bos' thefts likely would believe he deserved his odd and self-afflicted demise.

Use your locks, people! And shop owners, protect yourselves!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

LaHood: a pro-bicycle (and pedestrian) Transportation Secretary

I would have thought this would have garnered a lot more attention!

This week, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said: "People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized," he said. "We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities."

Photo by Jeffrey Martin courtesy of the League of American Bicyclists.

And how cool is it that LaHood has his own blog???

The full policy statement is located on the USDOT Federal Highway Administration web site.

bikewise: online bicycle accident and incident tracking

Have you discovered bikewise yet?

According to their web site (operated by Cascade Bicycle Club) "bikewise is a place to learn about and report bike crashes, hazards, and thefts. By sharing our experiences with each other, and with researchers and relevant agencies, we aim to make biking safer and more fun. You can help by adding your reports."

A screen shot of bikewise.

Appears to be a useful tool for seeing where accident or safety "hotspots" might occur as one plans their bicycle trips or wants to avoid areas prone to bike theft.

It appears to be for the Seattle area only at this point, but perhaps similar online resources exist for cities elsewhere? Anyone know?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Seattle Bike Expo weekend is here!

I think I'll be down there tomorrow.

Bike Expo info...

UPDATE 3-18-10: I was lame and totally missed the whole thing!!! A very long story, multiple things came up, and kept me from heading down to the Bike Expo.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Google Maps and bike routes

I am sure anyone who's familiar with Google Maps has now figured out or heard they have added bicycle routing to their functionality. For those who are not familiar with Google Maps, it offers a variety of geographic capabilities via the web including but not limited to finding addresses, trip routing, and Street View, which allows the user to see what they would find if they were viewing the address location and vicinity from the street - a virtual drive-by, if you will.

I checked it out this morning. I would concur with some of other reviewers' commentaries. Or this one, including readers' comments.

In specific, the trial route I plotted was shorter than what I would have instinctively chosen, however, it was on much heavier-traveled roads which have much higher speeds, roads you do not want to have any sort of mechanical failure on. Also, one stretch in specific does not have any bicycle facilities, such as a bike lane, it even lacks a wide shoulder.

Google appears accepting of the fact this feature has its kinks and encourages people to contact them to help amend their first attempt at providing bicycle routing functionality, and for taking this bold step, I give them kudos.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

initial product review: the JIMI wallet

This past weekend, I bought a JIMI wallet for $15 from Recycled Cycles in Seattle near the University of Washington.

The JIMI is see-though plastic wallet, or more accurately, as described by the manufacturer's web site: "Jimi™ wallet is a really handy and stylish way to carry your essentials and free yourself from the clutter and bulk of the traditional wallet/pocket book. It's compact, water resistant, and translucent - as much at home in a hipster's pocket, a busy Mom's diaper bag or around the neck of an exec. breezing through airport security!"

You can easily see the cash through the wallet and also the photo ID too. [I guess I should have blurred out the ID photo too, as I looked kinda porky back then].

When open, you can see where the money slides into a clip and the cards slide behind a card keeper - you can store up to 4 IDs or credit/debit cards in there.

The loop on the end is for either fitting to a neck lanyard or I suppose you could attach a key ring to it too.

The reason I wanted one of these was I was tired of either fishing for dollars or IDs in my rear jersey or jacket pocket [I may have lost a debit card this way] and also the alternative I had been using was a Ziploc baggie [to keep things gathered together and also keep them dry] which while it does serve a purpose, makes you look a little impoverished at the local Safeway when you stop in to buy a pick-me-up post-ride. So I'd say my reasons for buying this have been two-thirds practicality and one-third style.

The only issue I have is in today's society, there are too many cards! Grocery cards, credit cards, wholesale club warehouse cards, bike club cards, frequent flier cards, etc. I have a "home" wallet I keep most things in and generally travel only with the essentials because of this reason.

So, we'll see how this trial goes. I principally want to see: 1) how dry it keeps the contents, 2) how long the hinges will last, and 3) how much can be stuffed into it. More or less, conduct a real-world commute test for a few weeks or a month and then do a Myth Busters style assault on this wallet to see what it takes for it to fail.

Stay tuned...

[Note: I am not affiliated with JIMI and not receiving any compensation for this blog post. I paid for my wallet out-of-pocket.]

[Also note: I coincidentally live in the city where Jimi the world-famous rock-n-roll guitarist is buried. Though there is likely no affiliation between the wallet makers and the musician's legacy.]

Monday, March 8, 2010

facility review: Cedar River Trail

Saturday morning, I rode a portion of the Cedar River Trail (connects Renton, WA and Maple Valley, WA) with a friend for about 28 miles total ride. We were on the trail at 7:00 am and back to our starting point within about 2 hours.

The Cedar River Trail is largely an asphalt paved trail and fairly level grade, though it is a mild uphill climb heading east-bound towards the city of Maple Valley.

A typical view of the Cedar River Trail...

Hazards include: stop signs forcing trail users to stop for a number of driveways along the route, a few signalized intersections, occasional (seasonal) mossy slime or frost in shady spots, other cyclists (some group rides come through here), walkers with iPods, and dog walkers. Note: near where the trail goes under interstate 405, there is a fenced off-leash dog park, so it is an intense area for dog walkers through here. The trail has a posted 15mph speed limit.

I should note a number of those "hazards" are present at any number of regional trails or at shared facilities throughout the country and not necessarily unique to the Cedar River Trail.

Amenities: there are bathrooms near the end of the trail near the Renton Boeing Plant and the mouth of the Cedar River where it meets Lake Washington. There are also bathrooms at the Renton library or Renton Community Center (near the portion which travels under interstate 405). There are bathrooms (port-a-potties) near the dog park and a bit further down the trail in Riverbend(unsure if this is what it is called...?) park.

More info posted to

A map is available from King County.

More maps of trails in the Renton, WA area.

Cops to Paris Hilton: Bike Lane is Not for Cars

A friend warned me about riding along Santa Monica Blvd...

Cops to Paris Hilton: Bike Lane is Not for Cars

Friday, March 5, 2010

Doing the Dance

Courtesy of the CommuteOrlando blog comes this instructional video on bicycle riding in traffic.

Bicycling in traffic is a dance you lead from Keri Caffrey on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

bicycle art

I stopped in for the first time today for lunch at Renton's new Go Deli (features Vietnamese style 10-inch Bahn Mi sandwiches, most for about $3) and I discovered the bicycle kinetic art below.

Turn the crank and the chains move the wheels.

Pretty cool, huh?

Anyone else know of any bicycle or bike-inspired kinetic artwork in their city?

Note: Go Deli has a nice large sturdy bike rack nearby too.