Thursday, May 26, 2011

A video of riding East up Pike over Capital Hill

From a fellow bicyclist's blog

The video below shows what its like to bike commute through Capitol Hill on a typical evening in Seattle. Traveling east on Pike Street, there is no bike lane or sharrow, but it is a popular route nonetheless—I’ve ridden it more than a 20 times

My guess is that to a sizable chunk of the populace, riding through the city in a scenario such as the video shows is not an appealing prospect

I tend to ride behind the city down Western Ave but it's a similar pedestrian car dodge. I just have Waaaaay more lights.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bike to Work day fantastic weather!

It was an outrageously beautiful day! And it looks like there were about 20,000 riders riding to work. Official Cascade Bike to work day blog

I even rode with two people who had no idea that it was going to be "bike to work day" and they had ridden in because it as really the first warm day of the year. Goes to show what some nice weather will do for folks.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bicycle hit by car

A friend of mine took this video with his new helmet cam. I've been thinking about getting one, mostly to show folks what a beautiful commute I have. But it would also be good in the case of an accident proving who was where instead of "he said.. she said"

Bike & Car Accident, Mercer Street & East Lake Seattle WA

Anyway at first glance you may wonder who was in the right, but if watch carefully, you'll see that the walk sign switches to all clear for the cyclist. You may also notice that the cyclist is wearing earbuds. That's not legal either, and IMO, dumb. I'm hoping I would have been watching to the right and not cut in front of a moving car. And I would have been going slow through those cars in the cross walk as I would have expected them to try and move forward to get out of the crosswalk. Not that any of them should have been there in the first place.

Still miraculous that no one was hurt seriously.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Ride into work... photos

This is the road leaving my neighborhood.

This is Mark, I only know him because we pass each other nearly every day. So one day I turned around and chased him down to say "hi."

I ride a bit of busy road next to the freeway. It's a long slog back up this hill, but going to work, I can nearly keep up with traffic. Only downside is that at the bottom of the hill is a light, and you almost never ever make this light.

This little bit of bike trail runs between two freeways, I-405 & I-90. It's noisy with traffic but visually quiet.

This is the bike trail on the I-90 bridge. It's very pretty but in the rain traffic kicks up a lot of spray. Going home, into the spray can be nasty. Today however it's great.

At the Western end of the bridge looking North along the Seattle shoreline. Sure is pretty. Makes me want to not go to work, and instead just hook a right and ride along the shore.

Here is a road on the top of Capital Hill. They named it "Capital Hill" in a vain attempt to get the state Capital. The name stuck but the capital is in Olympia. As you can see it's a quiet neighborhood street.

This hill I have to climb to get up and over the top of Capital hill. Climbing these cobblestones makes me thing of the Paris-Roube race, but of course I have only one block of this. It does shake my bike up pretty good though.

Coming back down the hill through Capital Hill there are all these funky stores. Just a random one that I saw on the way in today.

On the way home, I take a different route and go through/behind downtown. This is first Ave. I ride about 3 blocks of this stuff. No bike lanes but cars are pretty considerate of the riders.

This is behind Pike Place Market. It's a beautiful view park full of nere-do-wells. So I rarely hangout here. But as you can see it's popular, just not with the working folk.
Looking SouthWest on Lake Washington. You can just see some bits of Mt. Rainer poking out behind the clouds. Maybe on Friday it will be out in it's full glory.

Going home, this is looking North East on Lake Washington from the bridge tunnel. You can see the boats out sailing. Today I wish that was me.

A photo of me in my bike gear. My wife says that it's not a very good photo but its the only one I have of me while out riding. So it will have to do. Notice, lots of lights and the dorky but highly visible vest.

Still a great day to commute via bicycle.

Best bicycle Multi Tool: Leatherman Crunch

Many times while out riding you will be faced with a busted bicycle. And then it's time to look through your tool bag and see if you happen to have something along that will fix your problem.

Pliers! That's often the ticket, Broken shift cable? Tie one end to the frame, and use the pliers to put some tension on the cable and put the dereailer in the position you want. And what kind of pliers will you be wanting? Why locking pliers... which is why the Leatherman Crunch is my tool of choice.

Bent chain? Use the pliers to give it that 1/2 twist to straighten it out long enough to ride home. Comes with a philips screwdriver, standard screwdriver, file/metal saw, tiny screw driver bottle cap opener and of course a serrated blade for trimming those cable ties off.

Can't tell you the number of repairs I've used this tool for, but as I've always said, "how far are you willing to walk?" "Oh, well what tools would you need to ride the rest of the way to the bus stop/home?" And if your answer includes a pair of pliers, well consider the Leatherman Crunch. Expensive, yep, but well worth it.

Or you can wait until I ride by and flag me down, and I'll lend you mine.

Monday, May 16, 2011

An alternative to a bungie cord for tying down stuff to your rack.

The other day I was wandering through my local hardware store and I spotted a small clip and rope package that looks like it will be just the ticket to tie odd shaped things to my rack.

Amazon has them here:
Small Figure Carabiner 2 pack

It's basically just two clips and about 8 ft of 1/8th diameter cord on each clip. That's enough to clip to the rack, tie an end to the rack, and then loop the cord around everything I need to hold in place, and back to the clip and cinch it tight. Lighter than a bungie and more secure. More work, so I'll probably still bring along a bungie or two, but sometimes you have something that just won't sit in the right place, like a replacement rim and this is just the tool to have with you.

Doubles as a tarp holder if you are out camping as well.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dinotte Customer Service Rocks!

Well last week my Dinotte 400R tail light control button failed. It essentially locked into "full on" and no amount of battery connecting, hitting the switch, holding down the switch would change that. So I called the customer service number for Dinotte Lights and Rob answered. He suggested that it might be that the wires were in the way, or some dirt was in the switch. So I got out my trusty #0 Phillips screwdriver and carefully unscrewed the face plate. Looked, hit the switch a zillion times all to no effect. Called Rob back, he said send it in. I did via USPS and on Wednesday night I got it back fully working no charge!

Now compare that to one of the worlds worst customer service organizations. I had a NiteRider headlamp that quit working. I called them, nothing, please send it in with a $30 check. Ok, I did that, the battery had failed, $80 more please. Sent it in, got the new battery. Six months later again failure, sent it in again with another $30 service fee, bad charger. Now I've owned a ton of cell phones, laptops, cameras all with rechargers and not one has had a charger failure. But ok, in for a penny in for a pound, sent another $80 for the charger. Six months later it's again dead, but this time I'm pretty sure it's the battery and I'm totally done with them. Not a single more dime will I send to NiteRider. Dinotte charges a reasonable fee for new batteries, $50 (4 cell) and their lights are brighter, last longer on a charge and don't conk out every 6 months.

Now I don't mind paying for shipping, but we are talking $11 for a USPS any weight medium sized box. I don't mind paying for replacement batteries, but $20 to plug the battery into a charge testing device to tell me it's bad? That's ridiculous and the turn around each time was a month, not a 1/2 a week.

Besides I commute and lights are life itself. It's worth it to have the best.