Snipped from a recent Journal article on bicycle commuting:
“The biggest downside of cycling is wrecks, particularly with cars. Per kilometer traveled, a cyclist in America is 12 times likelier than a car occupant to be killed, according to a 2003 American Journal of Public Health article.
“Yet the number of cyclists killed in America fell nearly 10% to 724 during the decade that ended in 2004, according to federal statistics. And studies show that as the number of cyclists increase, collisions with automobiles decline because motorists become more alert to bikers’ presence. As cycling in London increased 100% from 2000 to 2005, the accident rate for cyclists fell 40%, according to Transport for London.
“The danger of cycling is far outweighed by the benefits, says Rutgers University’s John Pucher, a professor of urban planning specializing in cycling issues. Cycling builds muscle, deepens lung capacity, lowers heart rate and burns calories. ”
Now to persuade my skeptical wife. Having my friends nickname me “Glance” in the aftermath of Saturday’s bike-car mashup does not help.
This is a map of the bike ride I took this morning. Nice warm spring morning with some sunshine looking like it wanted to give way to rain, so I donned my spandex, strapped on my cleats, clicked in, and started rolling with no destination known.
Like a rolling stone.
A little out of shape — the Lenovo gig and North Carolina have not been conducive to solid cycling these past three months — but I got around the roads just fine.
This cool tool on the link is the Gmaps pedometer — a neat tool for saving favorite hikes, bike rides, walks, and runs. I like it — this, in my mind, is what a “mash-up” is — take a strong tool like Google Maps with an open API — and make it better.
I came home, fell on the couch, and watched the Criterium Internationale on OLN. It’s been a bike day all around.
Cycling keeps me sane. I like to take my exercise sitting down, or as my Olympic silver medal winning friend (rowing, eights, 1984) Charlie Clapp says, "weight-bearing exercise" is the way to go if you’re big and want to spare your knees the hell of running on pavement.
Someone on roadbikereview.com (my favorite cycling forum, where I post as Cape Cod Dave), said of one sub-genre of cycling that it was a "cult within a fetish, within an obsession." I think the entire sport is an obsession in its own way. Some cultures, the Dutch, the Chinese, the Swiss, are so cycling-centric that it is an essential of their society. In the U.S. the pastime runs the gamut from kids riding Wal-Mart tricycles, to single-track mountain bikers, to wanna-be Lance Armstrongs on $6000 carbon fiber rocket bikes.
Anyway, there are a couple special sites I’d like to list in no particular order:
Ken Kifer’s Bike Pages: Ken Kifer was a spiritual cyclist, who as a young man rode a Schwinn Varsity from Alabama to Canada. A disciple of Henry David Thoreau, he poured his creativity into his website, chronicling epic rides around North America, subsisting on the kindness of strangers and loaves of bread. In 2003 he was killed by a drunk driver, but the site lives on in his memory. Tragic is an understatement.
Sheldon Brown: In Newton, Massachusetts, at Harris Cyclery, lives Sheldon Brown, aka Captain Bike. I have never met the man, but his website is an astonishing insight into the mind of a master. If you need to know about the history of the Sturmey-Archer hub, Sheldon has it. Want to know the in’s and out’s of aligning a fixed-gear chainline? Sheldon has it. He also digresses wonderfully into his world of music, books, movies, and France. Sheldon is an icon. I am proud to have built my fixed-gear with his stuff.
3. Peter White Cycles : Somewhere in southern New Hampshire is Peter White, the man who can equip a randonneuring bike better than anybody. What is Randonneuring? Riding a bike extremely long distances against the clock, through the night, with lights, just because you can. This is the cult within the fetish I was talking about. White is the master of lighting, bicycle packs, and outfitting man’s most noble invention to do things most people think is impossible.
4. Drunk Cyclist: What can I say? This blog is insane. Pornography, tales of drunkeness, politically incorrect humor: the title tag on the homepage on 2.1.06 asks the post-State of the Union Question, "What the f$%k is Switch Grass?"
5. Lucas Brunelle: take a bicycle messenger, put a video camera in his helmet, and then watch him ride a race down 7th avenue in Manhattan at rush hour against equally crazed messengers, all to the soundtrack of Guns n’ Roses Welcome to the Jungle. Lucas is a genius. He turned a couch into a bicycle. He rides his bike on the Charles River (when the river is frozen).
6. Fixed Gear Gallery: how to explain a fixed-gear bike? It’s a track bike. It’s what messengers ride. It’s a classic steel racing bike but with no gears, and usually no brakes. You can’t coast. Ever. If the rear wheel turns, the cranks turn. This is zen cycling and I love it. This site is pictures of fixed gear bikes. Thousands of them. There’s a forum too, but its bike porn, plain and simple.
7. I could go on, and on, and on. And I will. I’ll move this page to bike link page to make it more permanent.