Oct 31, 2009

Riding to School

andreas loves our new whip and is begging to go for a ride in the madsen everyday.

i find myself making up reasons to take him out in it.

what a great problem to have!

Oct 30, 2009

First Grocery Run a la Madsen

yesterday had me heading out for the first grocery shop on the new bike. after dropping off Andreas at school (he giggled the whole way!) i headed out to the westhills shopping district, with staples, the post office, and superstore on the to-do list.

as you can see in the top photo it was pretty chilly with a light dusting of snow on the ground and patches of black ice here and there (more on that in a moment). i live really close to a safeway, about 4 blocks, but decided that a longer trip out to westhills was needed to give the bike a better test ride. the ride over to my local safeway is about 5 minutes, the ride to westhills worked out to exactly 15 minutes.

one thing i have noticed (not sure if i am imagining this) is that cars are giving me more space than on a regular bike. i like this. i am guessing the reasons are that the bike is very visible, being bright baby blue and/or they are hanging back before passing me 'cuz they are checking out this machine they've never seen before. either way, i like this too.

so, nothing special to report about the stops at staples and the post office. upon arrival at the superstore, i locked up the bike and went looking for a shopping cart. i forgot that the carts here require a loonie to release them and i was without cash. so, off it was on foot over to the bank to get some cash.

well, as luck would have it, i wiped out on some black ice walking across the parking lot. walking, not riding. figures i crash walking, not cycling. probably should have been wearing my pedestrian helmet!

$150 later, we're loaded up and ready to go! success!

one thing i noticed when running errands with this bike is that there is nowhere on the bike to keep things stored securely, i mean, out of sight. this is a problem that needs to be solved, and i think i have a solution.

i am going to make a full deck that will sit right where the seats are now. it will fit snugly in where the seats are, except that when it is in place, you will not be able to see whats underneith it. once it is complete, i'll post some pics.

otherwise, the madsen is doing what it is suppose to do. nice.
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Oct 29, 2009

Bike to Work Guide

this 52-page online magazine is packed full of very useful information on what to do if you want to start commuting to work. i would also suggest that this guide is very useful for people who simply want to add local bicycle trips (shopping, errands, etc) into their daily lives.

click on the picture and read through. also, make sure you pass this link onto those in your own community who need a little push to try biking again.

found here.

Oct 28, 2009

Madsen kg271 Bucket BIke

madsen is based in salt lake city and has been selling bikes for a few short years. this is their first model and enters that market as an affordable box bike.

it arrived at my door in the biggest bike box ever, was fully assembled and mostly ready to go. i had to do a few adjustments and tire seating before the first ride - that was about it. braking duties are handled by a cable disc brake on the front and a v-brake on the back. shifting is provided by a sram 8-speed rear derailleur. a bell, full fenders, chainguard, 2 seats and 4 seatbelts and super-sturdy kickstand are also standard issue. i am especially happy to have the seat and seatbelts for transporting andreas around.

being that this bike is slotted into the "affordable" category (under $2000) of box bike it does come with low-spec parts, tires and hardware, although, this doesnt seem to be noticeable when you are riding the bike. i will be curious to see how some of these parts hold up over the long term.

how does it feel? fast! man-o, this thing feels pretty fast, of course you have to consider its length and weight. the only bike i have to compare was my old xtracycle "tankbike" and the madsen feels much tighter, faster, and sturdier. it proudly states it weight limit right in its name - kg271 (thats almost 600lbs folks!) but definitely doesnt ride like a bike that is basically a pickup truck. the gear range is more than enough for me but others may find themselves wishing for one more easy gear on some of the steeper slopes around here and the sram shifter and derailleur performed perfectly.

my only real complaint (and its not really a complaint as i knew i would have to change a few things) is that the handlebar that it came with is too narrow for me on a big bike like this and the tires and saddle are pretty cheesy.

cant wait to do my first grocery shop and farmers market run soon. i hope andreas likes it too as this will be the way he gets to school everyday.

Oct 27, 2009

The Bloody Ball Halloween Alley Cat!

see you there? what are you dressing up as?

Oct 16, 2009

Move Over Lance - There's a New Super(Urban)Cyclist in Town!

do you recognize this man?

yes? good we can move on.


if you answered no, you are either really young, super uncool, or in need of some music education. maybe even some education on recent bicycle advocacy news.

this is a photo of david byrne. bicycle advocacy's first superstar supporter posing with one of his bike rack designs.

in a very short period of time he has become bicycle advocacy's highest profile booster and the timing could not be better. cities all over the world are starting to take the first steps towards creating more safe places to cycle and he is exactly the kind of person we need to push the "bicycles for transportation" agenda forward.

here he is chatting with a journalist while riding in NY. here he is chatting with george strombo, and whats cool, is they talk about bikes before anything else. here is the youtube page with a bunch more videos of him and bikes. the point i am trying to make is that in what seems to be a very short period of time, he has placed himself squarely in the bikelane and is happy to be spreading the good word about transportation cycling and why more cycle infrastructure is good for cities.

i recently picked up a copy of his latest book and have been very slowly working my way through it. the book is not so much about bicycles, but more about exploring places by bike and how the bike can transform the way people see the world around them. he has been using bikes while touring the world for decades - here is a short passage -

"this point of view - faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person - became my panoramic window on much of the world over the last thirty years - and it still is. its a big window and it looks out on a mainly urban landscape. ...through this window i catch glimpses of the mind of my fellow man, as expressed in the cities he lives in. cities, it occurred to me, are physical manifestations of our deepest beliefs and our often unconscious thoughts, not so much as individuals, but as the social animals we are."

interesting perspective and the more i think about it, the more those statements make real sense. have a look around the city you live in and think about those statements he made.

anyway, i am hopeful that transportation cycling issues can be moved forward by the superstar power a guy like david byrne generates.

keep it up david!

Oct 13, 2009

The Wave

i was reading an article in an american paper about bicycling and bicycle advocacy and one thing in that article really struck me - the author talked about how we (cyclists) are in fact, all more or less the same - whether we are racers, commuters, or bottle pickers, or anything in between.

it doesnt matter whether you dodge traffic downtown all day delivering packages, ride once a week on the pathway with your kids, slip into your lycra and head out into the wind to crush yourself with some intervals, or shred trails in the mountains on your full-sus'd mtb.

we all sit on a saddle, push pedals, and move forward. we all have to deal with the weather in all its forms. we all fall off eventually.

we are all members of the same tribe - the tribe of bike.

and, as like in every tribe, there are families within the tribe with their own customs, likes/dislikes, and ways of doing things to get from sunrise to sunset. these families include...

- messengers
- commuters
- racers - all of 'em in all their forms
- recreational riders, aka weekend warriors
- freeriders/downhillers
- bmx/flatland riders
- xc mtb riders
- errand runners
- pathway users
- urban hipsters/fakengers/posengers
- and some i cant think of right now. you get the picture.

the point is this - we all have to share the same spaces, deal with the same issues, and feel the same exhileration by simply pushing the pedals.

simple - push for pleasure.

which brings me to "the wave". one of the ways that we (cyclists) can begin to acknowledge our tribe is to employ "the wave" - as demonstrated by the happy fellow above. here are the steps...

1 - using your eyes, spot an oncoming cyclist
2 - using your hand (either one will do, but the left is best), simply remove your hand from the bars and acknowledge the other cyclist.
3 - if removing your hands would be dangerous, a nod to the oncoming cyclist can achieve the same effect.
4 - bask in the feeling of connectedness with your fellow tribe member and ready yourself to wave again.

this simple gesture will undoubtedly catch some of guard and they may not wave back. do not fret. simply do it again at the next cyclist. this simple gesture lets others know that you see them, you are a cyclist too, and you are part of their ride too. this simple gesture can brighten someones day and embolden them to wave at someone else. pay it forward if you will.

be an active part of the tribe of bike. wave at me. i promise to wave back, or nod if i am afraid i might spill my drink.

Update - it appears i need to add brompton owners to the list above - especially after watching this...

Oct 9, 2009

Urban Legends Fashion Show

i had the opportunity to watch this while i was in las vegas attending the interbike show. good music, free beer, and plenty of rad bikes with stylish riders.


Oct 4, 2009

Movie Trailer for Calgary Hardcourt Bike Polo

have a look - pretty good effort by sean speer - aka seanbob. looking forward to the full edit, which i understand is being premier'd at the year end polo party.