Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Another busy weekend is in the books and Halloween night is still to come!  We managed to get away from projects this weekend and ride to the Zombie Crawl downtown with friends.   Actually, in hind sight it must be quite a spectacle to see 6 people riding bikes in full zombie least I haven't seen it on the Walking Dead yet!  It was awesome to see so many Renoites out in full costume.  The local pub crawls are always well attended but this one must have been one of the bigger ones this year!  Every bar in downtown Reno was a block deep with lines of people to get in the door!

One of our group had an awesome Pinhead costume, but somehow I don't have a picture.  Which is weird because everyone wanted their picture taken with him in the pubs!

I almost didn't even have time to get made up....I was changing flat tires (three times in one night)!  That I'll leave for another post.

The next morning we biked out to Stone House Cafe (using the relatively new bike lanes on Arlington Ave.) for a much needed morning after breakfast!  It was warm enough by 10:30 to sit outside and enjoy some great food (if you had a few layers)!

   I was a little slow with the camera, so this is all I have to show for it!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pedal Choices.

I was over at yesterday and Jeff has a really good write up on the new Ergon PC2 pedals. Here's a piece of Jeff's article, if you want to read the real review head over to

Ergon PC2 Pedal Review

Posted on by
As part of the Ergon Commuter Team, I’ve had the opportunity to ride the Ergon PC2 pedals. The PC2s are Ergon’s ergonomic pedals, combining the convenience of a flat pedal with the efficiency and power of a clipless pedal.  While I often commute to work using clipless pedals, I only do so because I’ll be using my bike at lunch for mountain biking on the local trails.  For commuting and riding around town though, I much prefer wearing my regular shoes, and flat pedals allow me to use whatever shoes I happen to be wearing that particular day.
Ergon PC2 Pedals

I'm not in the market for new pedals right now, but it did get me thinking about the pedal choices that are out there and why we pick what we do. 

So what's out there?  Let's go with the pictorial review, shall we.

Traditional flats (shin biters)

MKS personal choice for commuting.  Less bloody shins more surface area.

Optional toe clips for your flats.

Clip ins - Shimano SPD (the most popular)

Clip in with a platform (versatile, but HEAVY)

Clip ins - Crank brothers egg beaters (Easy in and out and light weight)

Clip in with platform (Egg beater style)

So why choose a particular type?  Mostly it revolves around what you want to do.  Flats are like the Ergon PC2, the MKS Lambda, or traditional flats are the most common and give you the ability to ride in any type of footwear.  The PC2 and MKS in particular are nice because they are larger format pedals that allow you to ride in anything from sandals to Sorrels.  They also align to the ball of your foot giving a more positive contact and foot position rivaling the efficiency of clip in pedals.  If you have to use one bike for everything (and/or you don't like to "locked" onto your bike) this is probably where your at!

If you want ultimate performance from your bikes drive train and your pedal strokes, then the minimal clip ins are the way to go.  The down side is they require special shoes with very firm soles and cleats that aren't always made for walking once you get to your destination.  However, for the weight weenies out there who are looking forward to their next training ride, this is your best choice.

If you want clip in performance and the ability to walk when you get downtown (e.g. somewhere in between Sorrels and weight weeny performance), you're probably going to look at a clip in with an integrated platform.  These can be ridden with almost any shoe although you may feel the clip in if your riding with a softer sole (like a sandal).  It's not uncomfortable for short to moderate trips....just noticeable. You can also grab your stiff soled racing shoes and still clip in to this system for the days when your late for the office and the commute is akin to a stage of the Tour de France!  And lately, if either sandals or race shoes aren't your style, the market is offering more traditional shoes (even leather office type shoes) with recessed cleats that will work with this style of pedal.

The real answer is choose the option that works best for you or the particular bike your using.

Secret Bicycle Infrastructure.

Well, maybe not secret, but certainly underutilized.  Reno actually has a lot of these little gems.  The one above is the abandoned portion of the Wells St. bridge.  Two lanes for split traffic that is no longer used for vehicles.  It connects directly with the river path and gives you a nice private additional river crossing.  I use it when I don't want to spend time on 4th St. but need access to Sutro (via E. Commerial Row) for Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee meetings.

There are also a series of links via streets and trails that offer short cuts for those of you who don't enjoy sharing roads with cars (even when the new bike lanes are available) and would rather spend time on the river trail.  A few examples include the relatively hidden trail off Mayberry that connects with the river path.

Or if you need access to destinations in Sparks (farmers markets, Great Basin Brewery, movie theater, etc.) there's this route, which exits the river trail at Fisherman's park.

This route gives you access via Kietzke Ave. which has a 10 foot wide shoulder to ride on for most of the way (it narrows under the I-80 interchange) and dumps out on Victorian Ave. right where the bike lanes begin!  It also connects with the new "cycle track" separated bike infrastructure that will eventually continue all the way out to Sparks Marina.

I'll try to start cataloging the little shortcuts and convenient routes I use to navigate around Reno and Sparks.  If you have a favorite route let me know.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Save the Transportation Enhancements Program.

A few of our senators are trying to get their hands into other peoples cookie jars this morning.  Rand Paul (R.-KY) is leading the charge this time.  If you only have time for a quick read then hit the parts I've highlighted in bold text.  Then click here on this link if you want to send a letter to your U.S. Senators to tell them you support bicycle funding (Please takes about 30 seconds)!

From Bikeportland this morning (written by Johnathan Maus):

Here we go again. My email and Twitter feed is being bombarded this morning by action alerts imploring me to contact my Senators in Washington to have them protect federal funding for bike projects.

The target by several Republicans is once again the Transportation Enhancements program. The TE program is seen as a crucial source of dedicated funds by national bike advocates. It has a proud track record of funding some of the most popular shared-use paths and trails around the country (including the Banks-Vernonia Trail that I posted about earlier this morning).

The latest threat to these funds is coming from Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). He wants to place an amendment in the upcoming transportation appropriations bill that would shift all funding in the TE program over to bridge repair. Sen. Paul's idea is woefully misguided for many reasons and it's clear that this is much more about politics and making headlines than it is about good transportation policy.

Sen. Paul is using his general dislike of investment in bicycling to make the case that our nation's bridges are in such disrepair that they desperately need the tiny amount of money in the TE fund (which is only 2% of the total federal transportation budget, not the 10% which is constantly being quoted by anti-bike Senators).
Indeed, there has been a lot of much-needed attention on America's deficient bridges lately. T4America is a transportation advocacy group that's simultaneously fighting attacks on TE while encouraging Washington to spend more on bridges.

But what's missing from this debate, in my opinion, is that the more trips we switch to biking, the longer our bridges will last and the more people we'll be able to get across them safely.

And, it just so happens, Portland has a real example of this concept.

With all this talk of bridges and funding, I think it's a good time to recall a story we did in April 2010 about the impact bicycling has had on the Hawthorne Bridge. The story was based off an analysis by Portland Bureau of Transportation's bike coordinator Roger Geller. Geller's theory, which he backs up with statistics and analysis you can see below, is that the Hawthorne Bridge has been able to carry more people with less traffic and at lower costs in infrastructure investment because of one major factor — bike traffic.

OK, pay attention...

Below are two slides from one of Geller's presentations that tell this story. Each one is followed by his slide notes (emphasis mine):

The total number of vehicles on the Hawthorne Bridge has increased 20% since 1991…This increased demand for mobility is consistent with what most traffic models would predict, given increases in population and increased economic activity. This type of increased demand for mobility can spell problems for road users: more congestion, more delay and less travel reliability.


In the case of the Hawthorne Bridge, the negative effects of congestion have been kept at bay. Because, while the number of vehicles increased 20% between 1991 and 1998 2008, that increase has been almost wholly in bicycle traffic. Had the increase been—as it might be in most places—automobiles, then the intersections at either ends of the bridge would likely have failed in their ability to effectively and efficiently move traffic.

The engineering solution to this type of congestion would have been to widen the intersections, add more travel lanes to the bridge, add more green time to the movements onto the bridge. In reality, because there are scant funds for such improvements, nothing would have been done and the costs would have been those of increased congestion.

However, because the increased demand for mobility has been borne almost exclusively by the bicycle, automotive traffic flows in this area the same today as it did in 1991. It is for this reason, in part, that Portland’s award winning traffic engineer, Rob Burchfield, states that: “Bicycling infrastructure is relatively easy to implement and low cost compared to other modes. It is by far the most cost-effective way to provide for personal mobility in an urban transportation system.”

While we obviously need to spend more money on bridge repair and maintenance in America, it's important to keep an open mind for solutions that don't require simply pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into them. As the Hawthorne Bridge example shows, in some cases, bridges can be "saved" simply by making them more accessible by people on bike and on foot.

Soon, my pretty!

First things first, I'm not suggesting anyone do this type of thing.  It's dangerous (well mildly), illegal, and inflammatory to say the least.  And in all reality I'm pretty much a blow hard about stuff like this.  It sounds good in my head and I talk about it, but in reality it usually never happens.

So all warnings aside here's what is on my mind.  Every morning I ride over I-80 usually on the Washington St. bridge.  Below are two photos (looking East and West respectively).  First notice that traffic is actually moving along pretty well (so kudos to Granite construction and their design team)....but I'm not looking at the lanes with cars in them.  I'm looking at that virgin ribbon of brand new interstate.  I know it's not for me....  I know it's not for bicycles....  I know somehow, in some fashion, for some limited length....

It must be ridden by a bicycle!!

Updates to follow, if I get motivated, and brave, and am awake at some ungodly hour.

In the mean time, here's something even more illegal, dangerous, and foolish!  I give you a really old video from Crimanimalz.  If your short on time forward along to about 1:30.

Crimanimalz - The Freeway Ride II from RichToTheIE on Vimeo.

*** Seriously, do not do this.  It's illegal and you could die!!!***

Just to be totally clear.  These guys did this as a protest / demonstration about highway congestion in LA.  They studied the area for places where traffic was at total standstills during rush hour and then targeted short sections to ride (like 1/2 mile segments).  It was not just people deciding to ride on the highway.  Again, do not do this!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Free beer at Great Basin Brewery!

BPAC meeting tonight!

Just a reminder for anyone interested in bike advocacy.  The Reno Bicycle / Pedestrian Advisory Committee meeting is tonight at 6:30 pm at 600 Sutro Street in the conference room.  Hear the latest updates and plans for bicycling in our community. 

If you dare!

Smiling all the way.

Normally a cold snap like set in last night means a few things.  Pick every last tomato out of the garden, get the Halloween decorations out, and watch the number of cyclist on the road drop.  So this morning when wifey requested I join her on the ride into school I wasn't quite ready.  Not that she requires me for the ride...but the hooks when we store bicycles are designed with a 6 ft person in mind. So while she can get her bike down, a chivalrous husband does lend a hand!  The surprise was that wifey was not going to be phased by the cold.  While she's plenty adventurous, cold weather is not her strong suit and I figured this dip in temperatures might result in the bicycle staying on the hooks for a few days.

As you can see, not only was I wrong, but very wrong.  Note that she isn't even wearing tights under that skirt (temperature when we departed our house was 31 degrees).  She assures me that boots go a long ways towards a warmer ride when sporting a skirt....I think I'd have gone with tights!  For reference, I was wearing thick mountain khakis (think carharts), three layers on top (including wind stopper vest) and a wool hat.  So while I may ride in the colder temperatures regularly, I appear quite the sissy when riding with wifey!

So Reno (and Carson) cyclists, the bar has been raised.  Did you ride and will you continue to ride as the temperatures slide!?  If you aren't and you're using the weather as your excuse, just remember the ladies out there are putting you to shame (both for temperature tolerance and fashion sense)!

Oh, and if any ladies who ride are reading, check out this blog for practical cool weather riding fashion (and just girls on bikes).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

3 foot passing law -- By the numbers!

Just a quick note before you dive into this RGJ Article. Math and angry back and forth comments aside. The point of this law is to make interaction between cyclists and vehicles safer. If either party is in doubt about how to work in a lane together or next to each other, they should both slow down and be considerate. This may mean the cyclists sometimes waits for a car to pass and sometimes means the driver of a vehicle should should slow down and wait a few moments until it's safe to pass the cyclist. Can't we just use some common sense and get along people!

p.s.  When he states the truth meter as 10....I think he means the numbers prove the roads aren't too narrow.  Slightly misleading give the title.

Fact Checker: Are some roads too narrow for new bike law?

A bicyclist rides with traffic along Virginia Street on Sept. 28, 2011.


The claim

Two vehicles and two bicycles can't fit on some roads because the law now requires that vehicles must stay 3 feet away from bicycles.

The background

When new laws kicked in Oct. 1, one of them was Senate Bill 328, which was known as the Vulnerable Highway Users Bill.  The new law aims to make the roadways safer for cyclists. Under the bill, motorists who are found to be at fault in a crash with a cyclist or pedestrian can be charged with reckless driving, which allows for harsher penalties than without such an option.  But in the matters of spatial relations, it creates a new rule.  Now, motorists have to keep at least 3 feet away from bicyclists. A yardstick away.

Here's the wording of the law:

"NRS 484B.270: It requires motorists traveling in the same direction as a bicyclist to move into the left lane if possible or leave at least 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle when passing."
Previously, the law said that motorists just had to pass bicyclists at a safe distance, but that proved to be too vague.

Law enforcement officers have said that they're eyeballing their distances and really are looking for motorists who violate the law by "brushing too close."

Roads are definitely made for more traffic than that just from vehicles.  But several roads seem too narrow to me for this to work, despite regularly seeing bicycles and cars on them.  Immediately, ones that come to mind are Mayberry Drive and Geiger Grade. Even my own neighborhood streets come to mind in Old Southwest.

"It's going to be imperative for motorists to use sound judgment," said Trooper Chuck Allen, Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman.

Law enforcement knows the big question is: What about narrow roads?

In theory, it should work, Allen said. Most travel lanes are 12 feet wide in Nevada, he said.  Let's do the math: Say a two-lane road has two 12-foot wide travel lanes. That means, it's 24 feet across, without any extra for a shoulder on the road or anything.

Say the average car is 6 feet wide (which several people seemed to think was about right on various websites that popped up when I Googled that question. Oddly, many others have wondered exactly what the average width of a vehicle is.). Then, in theory, it should work.

Here it is in math: Say a cyclist takes up 2 feet just for the biking, then there's the 3 feet for the new keep-away distance, then two cars take up 12 feet, then another 3 feet on the other side of the street for the new keep-away distance and then another two feet for the biking. That all adds up to 22 feet. That should work.

Now, if you put the example on a neighborhood street -- such as mine in Old Southwest, well, then you need to factor in parked cars. Cars park along the street, eating an additional 6 feet of space. But, to be honest, it would be tough for two cars traveling the opposite directions on such a street to pass each other in their respective lanes if there was a car was parked along the side of the street anyway. A bicyclist wouldn't make that any easier, but the 3 feet of keep-away distance probably wouldn't be the only thing that would make that passage difficult.

So what happens if you're in that spot and you're a motorist? 

Allen said motorists shouldn't pass if there's a double yellow line on the roadway, but they should safely navigate around the bicycle as soon as they can.  "Reduce your speed and navigate around the bicyclist," he said. "The key is to reduce your speed and give the bicycle the 3 feet. Be aware. If a car is coming at you, don't pass there."

On a roadway with multiple lanes, such as the McCarran Boulevard loop, motorists should move into the "fast" lane when they encounter a bicycle in their lane."  At the same time, bicyclists should try to stay as close to the side of the road as they can to give the motorists the room to pass.  Bicyclists need to follow all the same rules of the road that motorists do, he said.

The verdict

Yes, in theory, the restriction should still allow all the traffic to pass as intended as long as we all slow down and are cautious. The math does appear to add up.
Truth Meter: 10

Please don't do this....

Yesterday, I took a bike ride on lunch.  Just to get out before the temperatures drop.  One last chance to  ride in shorts and a t-shirt?  It was the perfect temperature for a leisurely ride and I had a surprisingly good time for just tooling around in some corporate "neighborhood".  I figured I'd get to snap a few pictures that I could put up here and ramble on about something.  I had no idea that I'd get something so good to blog about! 

The worst part is there are parking lots on both sides of this street less than 25 ft. from the two vehicles.  They would even be closer to the doors if they parked in the parking lot!  So really, I'm at a bit of a loss here.  It's pretty clear it's defined as a bike lane (at least I think that's what the symbol they drove over indicates) and not a parking lane.  My only guess is that they are hoping for a really quick get away at the end of some boring meeting!?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Forget bike bells....I need this!

Colors #81 - Bicycle Taxis - teaser from COLORS Magazine on Vimeo.

Understanding Roadway Design.

 If you've followed the blog for a while you know that I'm interested in the regions roads.  It's a selfish endeavor really, as it might be for anyone....  Basically, I want the roads to function better for "me"!  Now in my case "me" isn't so much myself, as it is a person on a bicycle.  I've gone so far as to apply and be appointed to the citizens advisory board on the RTC's Regional Transportation Plan.  So as I try to become more involved in what happens in our regions road design, use, and planning, I thought I better start to get a little education and background on the topic.  Now I fully admit that I'm still in kindergarten with respect to road design but I did come across a pretty interesting read with respect to the US interstate system (arguably one of the best in the world).  

I won't go into all the details here.....and details abound in this book.  However, one quote late in the book made me chuckle this morning.

Just a little background...  A highway engineer is arguing that the Highway Trust Fund which is funded only partially by the gas tax should only be used for building highways, not any form of public transportation or "non-highway" project.

Jonathan Bingham's (a New York State representative) response:
"Did it make sense to use taxes on what has become a societal vice (the right to drive on good roads) to supply infrastructure encouraging that vice?  If the same principles applied to the federal tax on alcohol, the income would be spent building bars."
Seeing as I am an avid home brewer, (and patron of our local breweries) I found this quote pretty comical.  It does however, illustrate how most items that are taxed don't get every penny (and significantly more) of that tax put back into the product we're using.  So next time I'm at the brewery and hear a driver complaining about bicyclist not "paying" to use the road I'm going to have a new argument regarding the "tax" he pays and how it's used!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tahoe bikeway back in the news.

Shamelessly copied from the RGJ blog:

Written by
Susan Voyles

The first leg of the "Stateline to Stateline" bikeway on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe is expected to be constructed next summer, connecting Stateline casinos on the south shore to Round Hill and Nevada beaches.
"Cool," was all that Washoe County Commissioner Robert Larkin had to say last week after hearing of plans to start building what someday could be a 30-mile bikeway from Crystal Bay to Stateline.
Karen Mullen, planning consultant for the Tahoe Transportation District, said she expects the 3.2-mile trail to be as popular as the bike trail at Camp Richardson and the bikeway from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley.
A federal environmental analysis of the proposed route was completed in June, paving the way for work to begin. A feasibility study for the entire bikeway was finished in August.
Using about $2.5 million in voter-approved state bond funds for the Stateline trail, the project is expected to be bid on in the spring. The second project will be another 3 miles between Sand Harbor State Park and Incline Village.
While it would be built in segments, the total bikeway would cost $91 million to build, including bridges, tunnels, trailhead parking and paving the trail.
The feasibility study found no major flaws that would stop the bikeway from being built, said Carl Hasty, Tahoe district manager. The trail must be kept a distance from osprey and goshawk nest sites.
"This is a high-level look," he said. "Then we start to address all the details."
The preferred route for the 30-mile pathway would run parallel to the highway most of the way and link with trails leading to Chimney Beach, Secret Harbor and other spots. The route would be built on a grade of less than 5 percent so the average healthy person can make the climb, Mullen said.
But depending on the environmental studies, Hasty said, the route could change.
For the Stateline bikeway, for instance, Hasty said the environmental analysis found it could cross a large meadow without significant harm, creating a more enjoyable bike ride than one right along U.S. 50.
County Commissioner John Breternitz, a Tahoe Transportation District board member, said he'd like to see plans for a bikeway to connect Crystal Bay with Incline Village, saying it could be used by people commuting to their jobs in Incline Village.
Hasty said the district will take up that issue soon, saying he believes there are some options.

I want to be traffic....well at least at the traffic light.

I decided this morning while waiting through a second round of traffic at a light....I was being ignored.  Not by drivers (they generally treat you well here in Reno), but by the traffic light (and maybe city engineers).  No cars arrived to save me from a third round of sitting in the bike lane, so I shuffled over to the pedestrian crossing to hit the button.  Needless to say I was on my way shortly thereafter.

Now this situation doesn't happen everywhere.  There are lights that are set on timers and regularly address traffic in all directions (and of all types).  The problem intersections have signals that are denoted by traffic engineers as "on demand" signals.  They can be triggered by several methods but the two most common are induction loops and cameras.  Most of the lights here in Reno use the induction loops.  You've probably seen them even if you didn't realized what they are.  At the intersection in each traffic lane you'll find very fine cuts in the pavement usually in the shape of a square or semi-circle.

Sometimes there not quite so obvious or they've been covered completely by recent slurry sealing, but this is the way many of the lights in town are configured.  They work by passing a continuous current through the loop creating an electromagnetic field of constant value.  When anything metal disrupts the field a sensor measuring the strength of the field is triggered and sends the light a message that says someone is waiting.  

So they don't work for bicycles!?  Not true, not true!  In many cases they do work for bicycles.  Traffic signal manufacturers will tell us that the metal content in our rims and crank arms are enough to trigger the sensors.  That is if the sensor has been calibrated properly and set to an appropriate detection limit.

The primary problem in the Reno area is that there are no sensors in the bike lanes (well, there is at least one in Sparks on Victorian ave.).  So, to trigger the light at this type of intersection your left with two options.  Move out of the bike lane and center a wheel over the induction loop (if you can see it) or do the "shuffle of shame" and hit the button for the pedestrian crossing.

There is hope however, crazy cities like Portland, Or and other top rated bike friendly cities are installing signal triggers in bike lanes.  Even Sparks has one...and it's marked  with it's own special marking!  So if you venture down Victorian Ave. keep and eye out for it and you too can be "traffic" in the eyes of a stop light!

 Official bicycle detector pavement markings symbol and a real life example (not the one on Victorian Ave.).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Trail builders needed!!!

From Bike Carson this morning:

CVTA needs your help to finish trail

From Carson Valley Trails Association (
This is an urgent call for help building trail up Sierra and Genoa Canyons (up to the Tahoe Rim Trail) to all mountain bikers.
Background: The CVTA is dedicated to providing access and developing trail in the Carson Valley for all users (hikers, bikers, and equestrians). Under a matching state grant program, the CVTA was able to build a significant new trail network from Eagle Ridge (N of Genoa) to Genoa Canyon and up Sierra Canyon to the TRT (near Genoa Peak) this summer. The mountain bike possibilities on this trail are tremendous including loops and downhill runs starting from the TRT between Daggett and Spooner Summits.

Construction on the Genoa Foothill Trail System
What is needed: CVTA is in desperate need of volunteers to help build trail (at this point mostly trail cleanup). Hours are needed to comply with the matching portion of the state grant. The deadline to provide matching volunteer hours is the end of calendar year 2011. If bikers are going to be users of this trail it is only fair that they pitch in to help build and maintain the trail.
What you can do: Trail building dates are posted on the CVTA web site:
All tools are provided and NO experience is necessary. We need all cycling groups to post this message to their members. Help is needed urgently as future trail development is contingent of the success of this major initiative.
Please pick a date and show up. If you enjoy the trails you should realize that they are only exist because of the hard work of many volunteers. Won’t you be one of them?
CVTA invites you to “Build for Bill”
Saturday, October 22, 2011
8am to 3pm
Genoa Canyon (located at the end of Carson St in Genoa)
Come to Genoa Canyon and “Build for Bill” on Saturday, October 22. Every hour of trail building that you donate will be an hour of support for Bill Hay, CVTA president, who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer, which prevents him from doing the trailbuilding he loves. For more information on how you can help, see the  “Build for Bill” flyer (.pdf).

Fall morning commute.

Light on the city skyline, river with whitewater features, bright red maple tree in fall colors, all viewed from the seat of a bicycle.  It's going to be a crazy day at work....but I don't think it will bother me as much as it would have if I got to start the day out playing bumper cards on I-80 this morning!  Hope your morning started like this.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Freshen up those bicycle lanes!

Ha....the striping truck just chugged past my window.  The line work for the bicycle lanes on Mill St. should be extra bright and clear on the ride home!

If it seems like the lanes are fading in your area or pot holes are prevalent....there's a number you can call to report the problem.  Reno Street Maintenance can be reached at 334-info.  Specifically the number is for reporting potholes, but I've had my requests for striping received pretty well.  At the very least they forward you to the most appropriate person for the job (just be sure to ask nicely).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Brewing by bicycle.

Well, this may boarder on overkill.....but it can be done and it was done and there are pictures to prove it.  We were due for a brewing day.  There have been excuses for a few weeks now, busy social calendar, biking for farmers markets, biking for poker, a trip to wine country, a half finished brewery, and I could go on and on.  The real threat is we're down to three beers (and one wine) on tap and that means there is a tap with nothing flowing.  Seeing as this is considered unacceptable at our house, it was time to brew.  So Saturday morning after coffee and couch time we headed down the the Reno Homebrewer to visit with Rob and pick up the necessary supplies (and shockingly drink a beer or two).  I won't list the whole recipe but we ended up with 55 lbs of Munich pale malt, about 12 lbs of specialty grains, 18 eggs, a beer gun, a magazine or two, and a wine kit.  I don't know the exact total on weight here but lets say it is definitely the most I've carried.  While contemplating the load, a homebrew club member arrived (thank you Jason) and shared a few bottles of barley wine (aged 1.5, 2.5, and 22 years respectively!).  After this the load seemed less daunting and we piled everything on (between two bikes) and headed home.  Did I mention we live up a 400 ft hill from the valley floor....  Turns out it wasn't even that bad.  With a properly balanced load (and a wife who carried at least 12-15 lbs of it) the hill was conquered with relative ease.  We didn't set any land speed records on the trip home, but we were still smiling when we got there!  And upon arrival we promptly unloaded the whole mess (without taking a single picture)!  So because I'm sure you want to see this, we reloaded (maybe not quite as well balanced...but close) and posed for a few shots!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Reno Bike Project offers free valet bike parking at UNR homecoming!

Reno Bike Project photograph.

The Reno Bike Project will offer free bicycle valet service for Saturday's University of Nevada, Reno homecoming came.  Bikes can be checked in front of the Joe Crowley Student Union beginning at noon.  

For more information:

Ride tirelessly — on a bike with steel wheels!

Courtesy of Co.Design

Twenty-five years after his Well-Tempered Chair, Ron Arad has used a similar process — in which the naturally sprung properties of tempered steel, bolted in tension, gives a natural yield or “softness” — to build a bike with wheels made of sprung steel.
To account for the added flexibility in the materials, Arad’s sprung wheels of steel are in fact a little bit larger than the average bike wheel, says Marcus Hearst, director of the design department at Arad’s studio. But it’s this yield that gives the wheels a slight cushion and makes the wheels work in a practical way. Hearst said it’s a surprisingly comfortable ride, and, ironically, the faster you go, the smoother it is.
The wheel uses 18 individual strips of steel that are pinned at various tension points to act together as one single unit. “We’ve actually done very little with the material,” Hearst tells Co.Design. “When you bend that steel, the way you pin it, you create natural curves. It’s almost like a flower.” The adjacent “spokes” create an additional shape that your eye naturally wants to fill in.

Courtesy of Co.Design
The wheel uses 18 strips of steel that are pinned at various tension points to act together as a single unit.
The bike was put together in two weeks, from start to finish, which left no time for testing. “The ultimate surprise was that it worked the first time,” Hearst says. Sprung steel, in particular, has a bewildering array of choices, based on the tempering or mixes, because the process to give the steel more or less “spring” is notoriously difficult to gauge without testing. And, of course, there was some initial skepticism from the manufacturer. “They laughed at us when we told them what it was for,” Hearst chuckles.
Until Oct. 29, the bike is available for guests of the W Hotel in Leicester Square to ride around the city. And as part of a fundraiser for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the bike is up for auction, along with other bikes custom-designed by the likes of singer Paloma Faith, illustrator Natasha Law, fashion designers Patrick Cox and Alice Temperley, and artist Benedict Radcliffe.

Want to make your city better for bicycling....there's a guide for that!

Bicycle underground!

Bike Path at the Kietzke Lane / 395 Underpass.

Cyclists talk a lot about the things that you only see and hear (and smell) while riding.  They usually mean the sights and sounds that are really around us every day that are blocked out while riding in a loud, hermetically sealed form of transportation (e.g. a car).  Well, it is true...drivers don't smell the diesel exhaust, hear the ubiquitous noise their tires put out, or the rev of their engines as they hammer it away from the stop light.  Perhaps if they did, they'd understand the real point is they miss the smell of fresh cut grass, the ozone smell after a recent rain, and the gurgle of the river as you ride along it.  And even more specifically, they miss entire areas that are open only to bicycles and pedestrians like the river path.  Mile after mile of parks and riverside views.  Even in the places where car culture impedes, like the recently expanded section of the 395 bridge, the cyclist wins out over the driver.  They may now have 6 lanes of concrete, but we gained a really nicely planted and landscaped areas that once was just dirt!  So if you don't use it....get out and take a ride on the river path this weekend.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

One for the ladies....and ladies only!


From the Reno Bike Project:

Ladies’ Night Group Ride

Hey Gals,

The one and only Lyndsey Langsdale is out of town this week, so we’re mourning her absence with a fun LADIES ONLY group ride. If you’ve never been to a Ladies’ Night this is a great opportunity for you to meet some of the foxy ladies who regularly attend our fun Tuesday night workshops. It’ll be a nice and social get together, we’ll probably ride for about an hour or less.
Kids are totally welcome! We will be riding on the safer, more quiet roads in downtown Reno.