FLIPSTAND! Keep your cargo-laden bike safely upright without a kickstand! Stabilize the front wheel with a Flipstand, then just lean the bike on anything that's rigid, like a tree or post
Here's a digital photo of my unique "Flipstand" which consists of a metal "finger" that hinges from the lower screw on the handlebar stem. It steadies, but does not quite lock, the front wheel of the bike in a straight ahead position. The crucial feature is, this is a break-away design that anticipates the possibility of someone trying to steer the bike with the Flipstand down, i.e., in the park position. The front wheel will offer resistance to steering, but still be able to be steered by bending the Flipstand side to side, preventing the accident that would result if this were a true "lock." There is a "break in" period where you get used to disengaging the Flipstand for riding, and engaging it in its target block each time you are ready to park or store the bike. Metal fatigue from accidentally trying to steer when the Flipstand is in the parked position, bending the finger left or right a few too many times will cause it to break off and need replacing, an inherent and safety aspect of this design. The stem itself must have sufficient clearance between the screw holes and the fork's upper cylinder. I devised this originally on Cannondale’s with their famous head-shock forks, and clearance was not an issue. On my Specialized Epic, I had to replace the factory handlebar stem which had almost no clearance with an Avenir stem which provided plenty of room there for the metal Flipstand finger to pivot. "Promax" brand folding stems also have considerable clearance but it's best to see and evaluate such products before buying them. And I must make a liability disclaimer: rigging up your own personal bike in a way that suits your use of it, is done entirely at your own risk. Neither Weebly nor the author can warrant the suitability of any rig you might create on your bike for your purposes. We cannot accept any liability, expressed or implied, for my own design or any variation on it anyone else may rig. Obviously anything that restricts ability to steer a bike could create a hazard if you fail to make it flexible enough or loose enough to break away if it's left engaged before you or anyone else attempts to ride or even steer the bike in a parking maneuver. I want to add however one of my worst bike accidents ever occurred as I straddled a new bike, motionless with both feet on the ground. Without a Flipstand and without a kickstand, as supplied by a dealer, I discovered the bagger at a grocery had ignored what I said about being on a bike, needing the groceries balanced for weight, and had loaded all the heavy groceries in one sack and all the light ones in another. With the front wheel flipping around unrestricted, the bike keeled over while I straddled it, and I severely sprained my left ankle trying to prevent this; a class 2 sprain that put me on crutches for a month, all because I had not YET rigged a Flipstand on this new bike. The Flipstand creates stability for any bike as long as you find something steady to lean the entire bike on. With the front wheel held steady, the bike will not pitch over and dump, the classic joke of unstable bikes. The target block is made of plastic lumber, shaped to match the frame to accommodate any cables or brake lines and drilled to penetrate with a an outsize hose clamp to clamp the target block to the bike's rigid frame. A slot is cut (with a hacksaw) to park the thin metal finger in the midst of the plastic material. You may also find a style of seat post U-lock caddy which can be modified, with longer screws, to fit around a bike's top tube and will have a seam or a slot already for the metal finger. Bike shops often have a "free" box of such things to rummage and see what you can setup for yours. The concept of "breaking in" includes you, the rider, breaking one of two of these as you get used to your new "Park" position Flipstand. I've become nearly perfect on remembering to disengage it before riding always, but the more difficult ritual is remembering to explain it to guests who might use the bike and bike mechanics who grab or twist the bike to show you something or move it unexpectedly. Don't try and explain this innovation to some kid in a bike shop, just remove the entire Flipstand finger before asking for any ordinary help on the bike at a shop. Challenging the Car Culture: Movie reviews, folding pedals, and support your local bike specialty shop!!! I want to mention another bike part that makes walking the bike and loading it into the back seat of a car or storing it anywhere, much easier, is the folding pedal. Urban errand bicyclists are faced with the reality of often having to walk the bike when in pedestrian zones, and a pedal that folds away from one's shin while walking is a great additional feature of my bikes. In experiences with several brands of folding pedals, I say Dahon makes the best one, in terms of practical design, weight, durability, and availability. (Giant has a maybe better one but refuses to supply it as a part, you must buy one of their folding bikes to get it. The very heavy metal ones Bike Friday shipped me in 2001 ago were horrible AND failed promptly.) Dahon's is two sided and all black plastic but works very nicely and I've had only one or two develop bearing problems, out of about 16 (8 pair) I've put tons of mileage on to date. Dahon is not great at customer support but they are the biggest name in folding bikes and I love the ease with which their folding pedals can be ordered from a Dahon dealer (about $30/pr) and put to daily use. (Casual non-locked parking of any bike is risky, but any jerk that tries to grab and ride off on a bike with a "folded" pedal will likely bust their ass rather than steal a bike, huh!) The lightweight and affordable Dahon pedals WILL wear out eventually, so it's a good idea to inventory a spare pair. This bike blogger has been to see three amazing new movies lately, each by bicycle. "Farenheit 9/11"; "The End of Suburbia"; and "The Corporation." (Folding bikes can incidentally often be coaxed into safe indoor parking where a regular bike is prohibited.) The latter movie I found uplifting especially because local jurisdictions restricting and prohibiting multinational corporations from pillaging and raping towns with their big box surrounded by private cars and asphalt schemes. It's encouraging to see how local communities CAN protect themselves by voting in restrictions. The most important part of this blog is to get you, dear reader and or hacker, to recognize that the single thing that individuals can do, to most free oneself from the yoke and chain of global corporate rule, is to structure your life, and your bicycle, such that you can run most if not all of your errands, and get most if not all of your local transportation needs, met WITHOUT needing your own private multinational corporation manufactured CAR. The sense of freedom and yes, even radicalism, that comes as you regain both physical and mental fitness once lost to accelerator and gas pedals, by using bicycle pedals, gee, I can't even really express this on hacker's screen display. Every turn of the bicycle wheel, one recognizes how deep and true are the feelings that many drivers are, that they are TRAPPED, in and by their cars. The freedom to bolt out of gridlock on a bike, find an alternative route, and spend a little extra time on an errand wheeling into a local park to watch a sunset at the right moment, or soak up some greenery, nature fragrance, or just plain fresh air, away from the tailpipes, is an inspirational, relaxing and reassuring feeling. Gridlock, and the destruction and decline of streetcars that leads to gridlock, meanwhile, seems to have produced a new All-American malady called "Road Rage." People end up shooting each other over turn signals and parking spots. Meanwhile, the few remaining US streetcars get dusty in museums, although it's interesting to note, the cities like San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, that have managed to maintain their streetcar systems, report the LOWEST rate of "Road Rage" incidents in the country. On a bike, one comes to feeling sorry for drivers. In gridlock, drivers are sitting in their air-conditioned and DVD'd monster SUV whose corporation-driven payments, maintenance and upkeep are driving them to the poorhouse. Their "I don't care about anyone but myself, and screw the planet" philosophy is getting zero mpg and creating toxins at idle mixture that each driver behind them breathes in through open window and/or the air intake under the hood next to the adjacent tailpipe. A certain radical hilarity comes from recognizing they may be thinking, gee, look at that poor bicyclist, trying to cope with no bike lanes and the important rule that you should not ride in the "door zone" which of course is where many cities simply stripe a bike lane by default. Cities that devise car-restricted corridors next to gridlocked highways do well to provide amply for bicycling, including still striping a bike lane on the gridlocked streets. Bike lanes, signage and striping is crucial, even on busy traffic corridors, not just so someone on a bike can at least get somewhere, but also as a steady reminder to idiots at the wheel that there are such things as bicyclists around. I want to restate the basic message of this 4th of July Blog: The singular most radical act an individual American can take in daily life, is to use a bicycle and patronize local public transportation in conjunction with using that bicycle. This vastly limits the extent to which your pocket is picked by multinational corporations who provide, of course, the private car, the asphalt and cement paving, the fossil fuel, the insurance and financing needed to be on the list of folks who "use the car for everything." Ignoring the low-tech alternatives of walking and bicycling and using mass transit leads to a deadly dependence on multinationals and the cars they, and Madison Avenue ad agencies, are so good at convincing you "have to" have. Cars can go fast, fast, faster of course, but as the great Gandhi observed, "there is more to life than increasing its speed." Yes, bikers need help badly in winning bike lanes, bike lockers, bike racks, and sensible policies that encourage bicycling in word as well as in deed. There is often a gaping chasm between words and deeds in public policy and sadly even in mass transit options. But by keeping a definition of sharing space and supporting public transit in deed as well as word, the not so ugly truth is, this will provide an individual not only with a sense of freedom and independence, but also health and healing on a personal level. Bicycling everywhere is more strenuous and therefore much more healthy than, say, bicycling on a stationary bike that explodes under you because you bought it from a big profit, er, big box retailer that cuts every possible corner on quality and durability to keep it "cheap." Buy a good quality basic bike and it will pay for itself in the first few weeks, $350 is quite enough to get a good name brand bike, *from a local bike specialty shop*! Don't drive to a COSTCO type auto oriented retailer that's undercutting your neighborhood bike shop with shiny, flashy bike junk, which is all they generally offer. Bikes from SEARS are often in this category, looks nice, weighs a ton, costs "only" $275, and no bike shop will do anything but laugh and show you to the door if you want that weird brand name bike fixed 'cause it broke on the second ride. Support local retailers! Boycott the Big Bucks/Big Box retailers; AND the oil companies, auto companies, insurance companies, and pave the planet syndrome, and get your exercise by bicycling your errands! Support the struggling public transit sector in the US by paying fares once in a while! Sew up the hole of corporate-driven profits sucking out of your pocket, your community, and your life by using a bike every day! Enough bloggin' for now, I'm out chasing a sunset - on a bike!
I used to live the conventional American life, taking an average of 3,000 pounds of steel, glass, oil, gasoline and frustration around with me almost everywhere I went. Days of grinding teeth, gridlock, fender-benders, "close calls," and traffic and parking tickets, horns and obscene gestures. Those days are behind me. Today I am a bicyclist. On a bike, you can win the War on Oil and the Battle of Obesity at the same time. Forget cars, gridlock and TV and live locally, enjoy nature with a safe and health-building bike ride every day! With a bike, you spend your cash in your local community while enjoying a level of health and nature experience that's unknown to eco-tourists trapped in lines at the airports and rental-car counters. What the L, you will learn to put the L in Living Locally.
I named my favorite bike "Dave," after David Ross Brower, the distinguished world renowned founder of the environmental movement. It's a full-suspension “mountain” bike, meaning both front and rear wheel have independent suspension to absorb the shocks of noticing this country's infrastructure of asphalt, based on cheap petroleum, is quickly turning into a war zone of busted, broken, missing or speed-bumped "paving." My intentions are good, so my ride to hell may not be paved, but I'll still have a smooth ride. I also named the front wheel "Enlightenment" and the rear wheel "Nirvana." Since a properly maintained bike can last a lifetime (far better than a car), I expect to spend the rest of my (biking) life suspended between Enlightenment and Nirvana.
Getting around town hauling 2-6,000 pounds of steel, plastic, chrome, and a fuel tank is becoming an endangered pastime. Is it really necessary to pay $3 a gallon to drive a 4,000 lb station wagon to the post office for a four-ounce package stuffed with Styrofoam peanuts?
I used to own 3 different purposed cars, paying insurance, taxes, maintenance, repair, storage, tolls, gas, cleaning, FINES, towing and assorted other bills on each one. Finally, when I was down to just one ultra-safe 1994 Lincoln Continental, a van rammed my parked car. The repairs took a month and $3,000. Since my insurance didn’t cover a loaner, I took to a bicycling much more. And some strange and positive things began to happen. Most notably, my health took a great leap forward (a bit of a miracle when, at the age of 50, you are taught to expect only decline and decay). By taking a bike everywhere I used to go by car, I was suddenly smiling more, building muscle mass, and experiencing clearer thinking.
I can't tell you how much freedom and independence I feel from having this modern high-tech bicycle between my legs. It’s fully equipped with savvy safety devices to insure visibility, to digitally read-out time, distance, and speed, and to record for “evidence,” any whacked drivers or texting-while-walking pedestrians about to enter my path. (Folks who step into the street without looking just because they don't hear a car or truck coming are a serious hazard for bikers and joggers. So are kids on flying around on those dangerously quiet hoverboards, roller skates, electric scooters etc). For accident avoidance – and fun- I can also play closed-circuit music with a rain-resistant Bluetooth speaker tuned to my own iPhone’s selection of tracks, mounted on the handlebar. Pump the pedals to the “beat” of your choice and let folks hear you coming!!! My front wheel has a no-drag 6V alternator built into the hub and I have patch cables to fire not only the headlight but also to charge every item of tech I bike with. Note this system means I won’t be subjected to ads for the latest SUV while bicycling.
The decision to leave my car in the garage quickly put the brakes on impulse buying and conspicuous consumption since there’s a happy limit to how much cargo a bike can carry. And I don’t have to spend hardly any time finding a parking space. Still, I can load my bike with four full sacks of groceries in about the same time it takes to load a car.
True, I sometimes have to ask the guy or gal at the grocery store to help hold open the waterproof saddlebags as I load my grocery sacks. This means that I occasionally have to talk to strangers – another endangered pastime.
Have you ever noticed that car owners are warned to “drive defensively” and to expect the worst from every other driver? Well, the opposite occurs in public transit or on a bike where you have to trust those around you – smiles and conversation with strangers is what it’s all about. The spread of the private automobile has eroded trust and civility, a conclusion enforced by sociologists who have found that cities with working streetcars have sharply lower rates of road rage.
Biking is an acquired taste. It takes time to get used to how much fun it is; how much safer it can be to doing 10 mph in fresh air then zero mpg in gridlock fumes. It takes some time, though, to recognize how well biking works to rebuild the strength your body has lost to remote controls, computer mice and the brake and accelerator pedals.
A primary misconception that folks have about bicycling is that it’s “too dangerous” (So they prefer to continue killing each other – and the planet – with tailpipes and oil wars.) Cars, of course are not dangerous, what with the super air bags & anti-lock brakes- like the Mercedes Princess Diana was riding in!?!) I have had dozens of mishaps in my 50 years of bicycling, but not one came close to causing a life-threatening injury. I often regard such mishaps as a free chiropractic or Rolfing session. As a precaution, however, I always wear a helmet – with reflectors!
While it is wonderful to see hi-tech vehicles getting terrific mileage, these “new, improved” autos only exacerbate the problems of car manufacturing, which include mining pollution, rubber, toxins, and old-car disposal. Since two-thirds of a car’s pollution is produced during its manufacture, getting 40% better mileage is a case of “too little, too late.” Two-door cars are particularly impractical (except for giving Grandpa a hernia trying to get out of the back seat and “dooring” passing bicyclists with an extra wide single door).
It was bad enough when our streets were crowded with uninsured, drunk, sleepy, distracted, dizzy, tipsy, stoned, medicated, eating, drinking, smoking, road-raged or just plain crazy drivers. But now, thanks to the advent of fold-out dashboard screens, drivers can watch those priceless “Hee-Haw” reruns while eating pizza, drinking a beverage, taking on the cell phone, smoking a cigarette and making a lane change.
Cars have become a primary tool for killing all life on Earth yet, society continues to descend into an Autogeddon with the auto industry building three new cars for every person born. But you can beat this system: Just stay healthy, trim, and smiling atop a bicycle. Sure, you may move at a tortoise-pace in a hare-brained world, but remember who won the race.
THE GREEN TRAFFIC LIGHT DOES NOT MEAN “GO”
Green traffic lights are mostly bait for collisions these days. The ludicrous assumption most drivers make that they can just proceed through an intersection when the light turns green, needs some updating for California especially. GREEN MEANS WATCH OUT FOR RED LIGHT RUNNERS, WHEELCHAIR RIDERS, BICYCLISTS, SCOOTER FLYERS, PEDESTRIANS, SKATEBOARDERS, JAYWALKERS, ROLLERBLADERS, LEFT OR RIGHT TURNERS, JOGGERS, AND POGO STICK HOPPERS – THEN GO. California, with its delicious climate, is riddled with people propelled by almost anything. I myself was a red light runner one night as it turned out some extra tall fat truck turning right had brushed into a traffic signal, causing it to twist on its pole and display green in the opposite direction than it should have – that night my neighborhood intersection was displaying green lights to both directions due to signal lights on both corners. I did report this to the police shortly after my close call – but aren’t trucks and cars wonderful?????
I know a lot of you activists out there think green is the greatest – whether we are talking political correctness, cash, marijuana, or the forests – but do not throw caution to the wind unless you want to wind up flying through a windshield.
Bike blogger’s words of wisdom for June 23, 2005
“He knows not how to speak who cannot be silent.... Loudness is impotence.” -- Johann Kasper Lavater (1741-1801)
Even in the 19th century folks attempting to bicycle the Berkeley campus bitterly complained of UCB’s lack of facilitation of the world’s greenest transportation mode, the bicycle. It is pathetic that only in recent years has bicycling became flatly prohibited in huge /historic Sproul plaza during the most popular times, enforced with punitive fine of $220. This is inane and among the reasons the Berkeley campus is not even in the top 100 US College campuses for being “green,” as ranked in a Sierra Club study, published in its award-winning SIERRA magazine September/October 2011. That same report puts UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Davis as the 6th, 7th & 8th greenest campuses nationally. (Possibly UC BERKELEY’s passion for cutting down Oaks on the campus and trees in the hills, has a bearing, too. Not to mention the fossil fueled power plant and a fleet of gross polluting hot tailpipe “service” vehicles idling and choking pedestrians as they ply the campus. UC Berkeley should ban hot tailpipe smoking on campus !!!!!!!!!!!!!, and stop busting bicyclists who simply need and want proper bike lanes somewhere near Sproul. It’s pathetic that bicycling is scarcely part of a multibillion $ campus renovation underway.) A bike/ped bridge should be in the works for the outrageously dangerous intersections of Bancroft and College, as well as Bancroft and Telegraph. Somehow ideas like that get bulldozed by cement trucks called in to create ultra-expensive and often underground car parking lots. My source on the 19th century bicycling complaints is none other than microfilmed copies of Berkeley’s Daily Californian available in the basement of Doe Library. Too bad the production of cement releases vast quantities of CO2 from the chemical and hi-temperature process cement makers use. Bicyclists do fine on a thin ribbon of paving, no need for acres and acres of ugly, planet-killing expensive cement as cars require. Worst case scenario is change will come only over some planet''s dead body.
Bike Trailers and well hung panniers make bicycling cargo about ten times easier than most folks would imagine. Bicycling your errands is a gift of automatic personal and mental aerobic fitness. It's not necessary at all to wear a backpack, bikes of all types can be outfitted with large capacity rear panniers (saddlebags) or trailers gives a bike better stability and so your cargo capacity can easily match that of a mid-size car. Bicycles are also politically, environmentally, and peacefully correct. You've heard of hyper cars - try a hyper bike, super-light and outfitted well for these purposes. You can buy 10 or 20 of these hi-tech dream bikes for the cash cost of a Civic Hybrid. Yet your savings in insurance, health care, gasoline, tickets/towing/fender-benders and other non-advertised costs of car ownership, including car fanaticism, er financing, not to mention embarrassments of road rage, tragedies of road kill, breakdown repairs, crash repairs, advertising ad nauseum, make these simple truths also very affordable. A low stress lifestyle of quietly and slowly plying car free or car restricted streets, paying perhaps a bit more than the corporate big box retailers charge because you shop locally, it all adds up quickly to huge cash and stress savings. What if biking proves to be twice as easy and ten times as thrifty as you think it is, and driving ten times as difficult and costly as it seems in the "solitary auto" ads? There is much truth to my life experience, bicycling into a better, sweeter, quieter, and more fragrant and relaxed life than can ever be had by a drive-thru experience.
Peace, love, music and wisdom, and in the words of Lao-Tzu, "Give up haste and activity. Close your mouth. Only then will you comprehend the spirit of Tao. Jim z bike blogger - July 28, 2004, celebrating today the beginning of my 51st year of injury free bicycling.
A very major traffic accident factor is drivers who yield when no one expects them to, because they want to be "NICE," or get a closer look at someone or their vehicle going by... too bad the driver behind them has no clue what's going on and ends up rear-ending the nice driver, or slamming that driver into a vehicle he was "just being nice" enough to unexpectedly yield to. A critically important way to avoid accidents is to behave predictably and FOLLOW the rules of right of way, detailed on pgs. 19 and 20 of the 2003 California Drivers Handbook, available free in several languages at or through the DMV. Driving too slow, something I notice myself doing now a bit much 'cause I'm so used to going at bicycle speeds, is also a serious problem as it invites road rage incidents and angers drivers who generally are in a huge rush to get to the upcoming red light and slam on the brakes. It remains unfortunately true that most drivers couldn't care less how much gas they burn, what with it still today in the US costing less than what bottled water goes for by the gallon. Passing on the right, though legal in car-crazed California and illegal in more normal states, is not in my opinion a great idea, one never knows what reason a vehicle is going too slow, they may be thinking of pulling over or doing some other task while driving, like tuning in a Gong Show episode on the in-dash TV they just got installed by the not-so-Good Guys. The primary auto accessories. I'd want are sanity and predictability. Or at least that's what I need, never mind what I want! In this world there are only two tragedies.
One is not getting what one wants, the other is getting it. ----- Oscar Wilde
My decision to leave my car in the garage and start bicycling everywhere has made impulse buying and conspicuous consumption unnecessary -- or at least unlikely -- as there is a happy limit to how much cargo a bike can carry. (Never mind that I bought a bike trailer last year. Even without it, I often load up my bike with four full sacks of groceries in about the same time it takes to load a car or SUV with the same.) The bottom line is, even the fanciest bike will quickly pay for itself in saved healthcare costs and saved impulse-buying expenses. True, I sometimes have to ask the guy or gal at the grocery store to help hold open each of the oversize waterproof saddlebags, as it's tricky to drop something as large as two grocery sacks in. This means that I occasionally have to talk to strangers -- something that fewer and fewer people do. If you are strapped into a gas-burning auto, it is rather difficult to carry on a conversation (other than by symbolic gestures) when the stereo in the car next to you is designed to rattle windows for a 3-block radius. Have you ever noticed that people enclosed in cars are told never to trust those also in cars around them -- to "drive defensively" and expect the worst from every other driver? Whereas the opposite occurs in public transit or on a bike, one HAS to trust those around one. Smiles and conversation with strangers is what it's all about, and this is a reassuring fact, an opening and educating experience of sharing. Being enclosed in a car is a closing, competing, and fearing experience as sickening as the fumes from the tailpipe - and remember even the fanciest new car has an air intake near the tailpipe of the car in front of yours. Studies have shown SUV buyers are among the most fearful as well as selfish of drivers. Detroit's marketing psychology caters to the "at war with the world" mentality, just look at the HUMMER options. (Also look at the HUMMER's repair history. It has one of the highest warranty repair/recall records ever in the history of four wheeled vehicles, according to the Wall Street Journal.) The very concept of the private automobile has eroded trust and civility -- just one of the myriad hidden costs of cars. And sociologists have reported that cities that have maintained their streetcar systems have sharply lower rates of road rage. A famous car free city in Morocco boasts Arab and Jews living happily as neighbors together. Cars have never penetrated its streets, too narrow since medieval times to "welcome" the private gas powered vehicle.
Getting around town hauling 2-6,000 pounds of steel, plastic, chrome, glass and a fuel tank with you wherever you go is becoming an endangered pastime. It really is not necessary to take a 4,000-lb station wagon to the Post Office to pick up a four-ounce package of Styrofoam peanuts. A single down payment on a car will likely cover a year's public transit fares and rental car costs. So why not support the struggling public transit sector instead of subsidizing Oil Wars and Detroit? A single busted power car window these days can cost as much to fix as it costs to buy a great bike; expect to spend $350 to get a quality new bike really worth riding - BUT PLEASE PARENTS OUT THERE - DONT SPEND THAT $350 BOYCOTTING LOCAL BIKE DEALERS BY BUYING AT BIG CHAINS LIKE COSTCO OR SEARS. The fancy looking bikes from Asia featured in such stores are really junk bikes with no support and no future, no parts to be had and no shop willing to work on such bikes. The kid with a heavy steel bike stranded with his or her shiny junk will regret the day they begged you to buy it. Whereas, new bikes Berkeley California Police Officers are getting these days are $350 bikes, too, it's all you need to spend to get a great bike, with at least front shocks, just don't waste that money ignoring local bike specialty shops and buyin' at Wal-Mart or Costco. I used to own as many as four cars at one time, paying separate insurance, taxes, maintenance, body repair, engine repair, storage, tolls, gas, cleaning, tickets, towing and assorted other bills on each one. Finally by way of an auction, I was down to just one ultra-safe and quiet 1994 Lincoln Continental. But one day, some dumb van rammed my parked Lincoln hard enough to decommission the transmission and do about $3,000 in damage to the bumper and grille. The repairs took a month and my insurance didn't cover a loaner car, so I took to bicycling everywhere. And some strange and positive things began to happen. Most notably, my health took a great leap forward (a bit of a miracle when, at the age of 50, you are taught to expect only decline and decay). By doing everything I used to do by car on a bike, I was suddenly smiling more, building muscle mass, and getting clearer thinking going -- just with a little exercise on a terrific modern, ultra-light, full-suspension bike. As a lover of life and of the outdoors, I'm anxious to share a message of health, joy and healing available to anyone with the courage to find out just how beautiful, quiet, and fragrant the world can be from the saddle of a modern bicycle. I have 50 year's life experience riding a bike, and believe me, bike technology has changed dramatically in that time. The money I've saved from not keeping up multiple cars is being plowed into some of the most advanced, safe, and beautiful magic-carpet bicycles the world has ever seen. My bikes feature such things as fully automatic lighting (motion detectors turn on, and off, three separate lights on each of my bikes. See www.outdoorcreations.com
Here's some tasty bicycling treats from my feet - I hope y'all enjoy a slice of my life, and maybe you should also realize I'm managing to pay for top quality modern high performance bicycles with my savings on cars, tickets, and gasoline!!!). I remember a particularly productive and beautiful clear clean cool summer day I spent rounding up merchandise from an assortment of North Oakland Merchants as one of the more fun and remarkable days of the year. I first stopped to drop mail at the new TEMESCAL POST OFFICE, Then on to PIEDMONT LUMBER YARD, then to MORAN SUPPLY, both on 40th St. near Broadway. As I headed toward San Pablo Avenue, under MacArthur Bart, a handsome young man named Brian called out to me to admire my vehicle and we chatted a bit. I went on to RUBENSTIEN PLUMBING SUPPLY on San Pablo Avenue. Then to the bustling and impressive SUPERIOR MARBLE CENTER, also on San Pablo, where I bought several hundred dollars’ worth of exquisite inlaid marble. Then I headed a few blocks east and stopped at the wonderful and trendy MAMA BUZZ café on Telegraph. Then a visit to OAKBAY CHIROPRACTIC at 39th and Telegraph, for a session with Jan Corwin, the first chiropractor ever approved to work on US Olympic Athletes. And on to BANK OF THE WEST at 49th and Telegraph, a nice relaxed and professional branch with friendly face to face tellers and good service. A refreshing drink at the KINGFISH on Claremont avenue, then a quick ride through the CLAREMONT Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) - on the adjacent TEMESCAL CREEK BIKE TRAIL the City of Oakland has created, which weaves along the creek and by the Frog Creek park and playground. This trail also illustrates a little understood maxim that I live by, which is, "The Fastest Way through the DMV - is on a bicycle." The amazing part of this story is, I did all this in less than four hours, and off a bicycle outfitted with saddlebags (aka panniers) large enough I have no need of wearing a backpack. What a fine day shopping Oakland, and the admiration I have for my own feet’s ability to do this all, with no need for me to buy or burn gasoline, is not small. It seems to me it would not occur to most people such a level of productivity and achievement could be possible with a bike, but I am using a high-tech well accessorized bike to do this all, fearlessly. Please see blog; “Faith in People”, to understand this fearless comment. Those unfortunates hooked to their SUV keys may never understand the level of freedom, fresh air, exercise, and accomplishment I’m enjoying, patronizing the merchants of my own community instead of cursing the gridlock and check stand lines at COSTCO. It’s my prayer that when I say I have figured out the fastest way through the DMV – and any gas station – is on a bicycle, that folks will begin to understand how to live well in Oakland. It’s also my prayer that somehow, someway, someday the bike lane striping that was funded and voted in for Telegraph Avenue half a decade ago, will produce the bike lanes it was intended to. Bicyclists on Telegraph have quadrupled in this time. Peace and Love – Jim Doherty
One of the interesting advantages of bicycling is the ability to interface with, and talk to, strangers. Those who have descended the path of mistrust of all strangers at all times are of course much more comfortable in a car - and of course would NEVER pick up ANY sort of hitchhikers or casual carpoolers. But one of the curious ways bicycling keeps me smiling is the my joyful knowledge that even when I leave a high value bicycle loaded with pricey accessories and even the "small is beautiful" amount of cargo I can credibly impulse buy, UNLOCKED AND UNATTENDED in public, it is almost invariably and happily waiting for me unhampered with when I return. Many folks will pounce on the word almost, but I myself am quite surprised at the EXTENT of the truth in what I just wrote. I don't care to provide details much, (bragging about one's luck may compromise it) but bicycling has done a lot more for me than just build physical and mental health, it has contributed tremendously to my faith in people. And in an era of exponential paranoia, it is important to notice there is no shortage of people who are gems
By James D
Make-it-home-safe MANTRA: When dealing with traffic, it's better to be patient than to become a patient; AND - A Sailboat is to a Polluting Cruise Ship what a bicycle is to a smokin' Hummer. I know bikes are beautiful but I’M not backing off until bikes are bountiful and bikers have greater strength in numbers.