You know who you are, and although I doubt you will be reading my blog, my hope is someone will tell you about it.
What were you thinking? You see a man on a bicycle, dressed in cold-weather gear, and your alcohol-soaked brain thinks "I could get some money off of him". You need to realize that there are many people who would not hesitate when threatened to attack out of self-preservation.
You are lucky. I could smell the alcohol on your breath from several feet away, and decided to let it go. Take a lesson from today, and don't try it again. One of these days, your prey will become the predator and you will be in a world of hurt.
And now an explanation for those of you reading this blog…
I was sitting at the stoplight at 3900 South and 400 West in Salt Lake City this morning at 04:30 while on my way to work. As the light turned green, I heard the pedestrian in the crosswalk say something, and wave to me. I wasn't sure what he said, so I circled back and around him. He then said "Hey, you got a couple bucks I could have? Some loose change?"
I told him I don't carry cash with me when I ride, to which he replied "you'd better re-think that, or I'm gonna have to knock you off of that bike and take it".
I could smell the alcohol on his breath from several feet away, and he was swaying back and forth as he stood there in the middle of the intersection. I simply said "You could try… but I have to warn you; I hold three black belts, and I teach martial arts. It would be a mistake".
As I was saying this he had started to reach for me, but came to a sudden halt. "You serious?" he asked. "Yes" was my answer. He rocked back on his heels to look at me, and I rode off.
As I did, I heard him say again "Really? You're serious?".
I thought for a minute I was going to have to jump off the Mule, and kick this dude's butt. I'm glad he didn't push it, but I hope for his sake he doesn't try it again. Someone else might not hold back, and he's going to get himself hurt.
Ahh, people. You gotta love 'em.
As anyone who rides a bike knows, sitting in the saddle for long periods makes your butt hurt. There's no getting around the fact. You can, however minimize your discomfort by adjusting the placement of your saddle, as well as making sure your saddle "fits" your personal body type.
I am currently in the process of trying to find a new saddle that I like for the longer rides I sometimes do.
I am working with Contender Bicycles
to find that elusive "perfect fit". Contender has a wonderful program (as I'm sure other bike shops do) where you can "try before you buy" many of the most popular saddles. I have been trying some out, and I think I have it narrowed down between the Selle SMP and the Selle Max (both are made by Selle Italia).
The Selle Max is a comfortable saddle with a wide platform (good for people with wide hip bones, such as myself) and a nice cutout to help relieve perineal numbness that happens all too often.
Next up is the Selle SMP. This saddle is very eye-catching with it's unique contours and turned-down nose. The anatomical shaping of the main body of this saddle is fantastic. I have had no perineal numbness after a couple hundred miles on the saddle. The only problem I have is the platform is a bit narrow for my wide hip bones, and I am not able to sit comfortably. For this reason alone, I am thinking I will end up with the MAX rather than the SMP. I am going to take the MAX for another good long ride before I make my final decision, but I'm pretty sure it will be the winner for me.
Here is the SMP with it's unique looks...
On top of saddle shape and padding, there is a lot of "tweaking" needed to truly dial-in on comfort. Don't get discouraged when trying to find the most comfortable saddle for you. Be sure to talk to your local bike shop, and see if they have saddles you can try out before you buy.
Also, perfectly level and perfectly in line with the top tube are not always right. Play with the adjustments until you find that sweet spot for yourself. Don't be afraid of making your bike fit you!
The following article is from EcoVelo Blog, and can be found in it's original post here:
Greasy chains can be a real annoyance for bike commuters who ride in business attire. Sure, it’s simple enough to use a cuff strap or tuck a pant leg into a sock, but if you’re a numbskull like me, you still eventually manage to get grease on the cuff of every pair of khakis in your closet. Full chain cases are the obvious solution, but not everyone wants a chain case. Another approach is a belt drive, but again, we’re talking a specialized bicycle. What many people may not realize is that a perfectly clean running chain lube has been available all along.
Wax makes an excellent chain lube. It runs extremely clean and it seems to be good for chains. Chain waxing is nothing new (here’s an old article by Grant Petersen on chain waxing from 1992). I’ve waxed my chains on-and-off going all the way back to the 1980′s. There are those who claim a waxed chain will not last as long as a chain lubricated with modern synthetic oils (probably the manufacturers of those products), but anecdotal evidence seems to support the contrary. Personally, I’ve put what I’m guessing to be 10,000 miles on a waxed chain, and I’ve seen claims of up to 15,000 miles. Whatever the numbers, it seems waxing is sufficiently effective to assuage any concerns about bicycle chain life. The obvious downside to chain waxing is that it’s a bit of a process, so if your chain maintenace method consists of dribbling a little oil on your chain every few weeks and calling it good, the waxing process may may be too much and you can stop right here. But, if you’ve had it with greasy chains and you’re interested in an alternative, read on!
First you’ll need a 1lb. block of paraffin, available at most grocery stores as “canning wax“, or at craft stores as “premium candle wax” (not to be confused with bee’s wax). You’ll also need either two pots to use as a double boiler, a real double-boiler, or an old crock pot. It’s also nice to have an old spoke or a wire coat hanger handy for fishing the chain out of the hot wax when the time comes.
Here’s the process:
- The first time you use the hot wax method you’ll want to sanitize your drivetrain before starting (you’ll only need to do this once). Remove the chain and strip it using your favorite biodegradable degreaser (my favorite method is to fill an old plastic soda bottle 1/4 of the way with Simple Green, feed the chain in the top, put on the cap, shake like crazy, let it soak for 10 minutes, shake like crazy again, then rinse the chain thoroughly with water). While the chain is drying, scrub your chainrings and rear cogs. Use whatever method you’d like, just make sure everything is squeaky clean and dry or the wax will pick up and absorb the oily gunk that was leftover, defeating the purpose.
- Heat the block of wax in your double-boiler or crock pot. [CAUTION: Paraffin is flammable. Attempting to melt paraffin on the stovetop without the use of a double boiler may cause a fire! —ed.] Once the wax is completely melted and is about the consistency of water, turn the heat down a bit and carefully place your chain in the wax. You’ll notice bubbles emanating from the chain; these bubbles are the air that’s being forced out of the inner pockets of the chain by the wax (this is good!). Let the chain stew for about 15 minutes; the wax will adhere better if the chain gets up to about the same temperature as the wax. Once you’re convinced the chain is sufficiently saturated, turn off the heat and wait another 15 minutes for the wax to partially cool and thicken to the consistency of syrup.
- Using your old spoke, fish the chain out of the wax and hang it up to drip dry (this is best done outside). If done carefully, you won’t lose a drop of wax and your significant other won’t kill you for dripping paraffin everywhere. Once the chain is hanging, use a clean, coarse rag to wipe the excess wax from the chain.
- You can either just leave the remaining wax in the pot to harden for use on another day, or if you’re the frugal type, you can reheat the wax and pour it through cheesecloth into another container to filter out any dirt and grease particles that were picked up during the process. If you choose to forgo the filtering process, you’ll get 4-5 uses out of a batch of wax before you need to replace it.
- Reinstall your chain and enjoy the clean, silent ride of wax!
The first time out you’ll notice some wax flecks on your bike and the chain may slip a bit; both will subside as the excess wax flakes off.
Expect to get anywhere from 400-600 miles per wax job, depending upon your local conditions (just like with any lube, the nastier the conditions, the sooner you’ll have to re-apply). Be sure to re-wax your chain as soon as it starts squeaking.
Straight paraffin works well in dry conditions, but you may need to add a little Teflon (PTFE) impregnated oil such as Slick 50 to increase its effectiveness in wet conditions. One or two tablespoons of oil per 1 lb. of wax is plenty. Grant Petersen advocates mixing paraffin with bee’s wax at an 80/20 ratio. Whatever your flavor, adding anything to pure paraffin will increase its stickiness while reducing cleanliness.
Very few people still use this antiquated method to lube their chains, and it’s certainly not for everyone, but if you like the idea of a super-clean, greaseless, yet well-lubed drivetrain, you might give it a try sometime.
What drivers can do to be more cyclist aware Chris Gidney and Alex Margolis
November 10, 2011
Before we begin, this isn’t an anti-driving post, we’re not lambasting drivers. As much as drivers need to be more cyclist aware, follow road rules and drive safely, vice versa also applies! Learn to share As a car driver you may think the road belongs to you, but nobody owns the road. Everyone has a right to pass and re-pass on public highways. By law, a bicycle is a vehicle, so treat it like one. Appreciate that cyclists are helping you Counter-intuitive to what you may believe, cyclists actually reduce congestion on the roads by not driving cars. They ‘re reducing the time you spend in traffic jams as they’re taking up so much less space. Cyclists have a phrase for this, often seen on t-shirts and posters: One Less Car. Avoid dooring cyclists It’s illegal! It can also be fatal, and happens more than you’d expect. Don’t open any doors without checking there aren’t any cyclists behind you. You could easily sweep them clean off their bikes and it won’t be pretty. Think about the breadth of your door, it’s easily 1-1.5m wide.
Realise cyclists are vulnerable You’re driving a vehicle hugely heavier and more powerful than theirs. In any impact, they will be the losers. Perhaps it’s best we take after most other European countries which operate ‘strict liabilty’. These regulations result in the motorist’s insurance usually being deemed to be responsible in any crash involving a cyclist. In the same way that a cyclist would be at fault in a smash with a pedestrian. With the driver always at fault in any accident, driver’s become evidently more cautious around cyclists. Helmets don’t equal guaranteed safety Of course they’re definitely worth wearing, it’s just that drivers often think a cyclist with a helmet is 100% safe. Well, they’re not. A helmet is designed to withstand head-on impacts of no more than 13mph! Some cyclists choose not wear to wear helmets and studies show they are given more caution by drivers. A cyclist with a helmet, however, is by no means invincible.
Exercise some caution and be patient 90% of cyclist casualties in recent years were caused by careless inattention, firstly by drivers, secondly by cyclists (nidirect.gov.uk) It’s your responsibility to avoid hitting the cyclist, not the responsibility of the cyclist to avoid getting hit by you. Pay attention and be on the lookout for cyclists at all times, especially when reversing. Use your mirrors as cyclists may overtake slow-moving traffic on either side. They may sometimes need to change direction suddenly, so just be aware of this and observe any indications they give such as looking over their shoulder. Don’t tempt them into taking risks or endanger them.
Allow plenty of space When overtaking a cyclist you’re required to give them as much room as you would a car. They may need to swerve to avoid hazards. Always anticipate that there may be a pothole, oily, wet or icy patch or some other obstruction. Cyclists endanger themselves by cycling in straight lines! Don’t drive too close behind a cyclist as you may not be able to stop in time if they come off their bike or do something abruptly. Unless you have an entire clear, empty lane in which to pass, slow down and wait until there is room to pass. Pass them slowly! Drive slowly on low-vis roads On rural roads or those with limited visibility remember that a cyclist could be around the next corner. It could also be an elderly person, a child or an animal. Reducing your speed reduces the risk of something happening. You can’t see ahead of hills and curves, slow down as you don’t know what’s on the other side. Make sure you can stop the car at all times. At night the need to do so is more exaggerated. You need time for the headlights to shine on the road ahead and recognise that there’s something there. Cyclists have a right to claim the lane That’s correct. They have as much right as you do to take up the entire lane. You may think they’re being utterly selfish by doing so, but in fact they’re preventing having an accident. They really aren’t trying to slow you down, it’s just the safest way for them to cycle particularly if there’s a blind bend, a narrowing of the road, a high risk junction, pinch point or traffic lights ahead. Additionally if there’s a narrowing of the road, they’re stopping you squeezing through far too cosily beside them. Cyclists should never cycle in the gutter as it gives no room for avoiding obstacles and leaves them no room to fall if an accident occurs, meaning they could go straight under your wheels. Not nice.
Beware a left turn Turning left is how most accidents occur. A cyclist may sneak up, perfectly legally, beside you while you’re waiting impatiently at a red light. It’s not at all illegal for cyclists to filter on the left or right of lanes but it is often difficult to spot them, especially when hidden by your blind spot. You’ll hit the cyclist as they carry straight on and you’ve made a left right into them. Also be vigilant when pulling out of a side street, or car park. Get on a bike! Not until you experience what it’s like to be a cyclist on a busy road will you truly be able to empathise with them and realise how careless drivers can be at times. Cyclists can too be careless, but it usually ends in them getting hurt, not you!
Chris Gidney is a keen cyclist and technician at SRAM. Alex Margolis is the co-founder of carbuzz
A big thanks to Carlton Reid for helping edit the post
This is an excellent example of one idiot on a bike making all cyclists look bad. Thank you for nothing, you stupid jerk!
It's Movember! It's that time of year when men get together (figuratively) and grown their mustaches (Mo's) for a good cause! Please click the link below, and donat