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CAOE - Committee Against Oil Exploration - stop offshore oil drilling to protect sensitive habitats and cut petroleum dependence.

Culture Change through music! The Depavers eco-rock!

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Bicycling news/issues/culture

Bike Warrior's BLOG

Inherent Hazards of Carpooling+Youth at the wheel  
Hilarious and clever riding

Guest bikes/ghost bikes

 A day in Jim's vision - and his bicycle life

Hybrid cars in HOV lanes = "SOV" party crashers

7 Lucky Sentences On Bicycling

How to jump start a car - with a bicycle

If you like kickstands...
Manage your bike with a flipstand 
Bike Blogger's Health Care:  How to annoy and baffle your doctor

Challenging the car culture with flipstands and eventually movies
No explosions: an advantage of bike
Hand cranked bikes 
What  American weekends and weekdays are for
Bungee cords, tire tubes and plastics
and earlier blogs from the pacifist "Bike Warrior" Jim
For MORE bike blogs by Jim:
from the pacifist "Bike

Cyclonaut Jim Doherty proudly helped tow a dead SUV through
the streets of San Francisco as part of the Bluewater Network's celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade An estimated 750,000 spectators looked on and cheered.

The Cycle of Life: Pedaling the Soft Path 

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, fenderbenders, "close calls," and traffic and parking tickets, horns and obscene gestures.  My, 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 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.

I named my favorite bike "Dave," after David Brower.  It's a full-suspension 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, but my ride to hell may not be paved and 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.

I can't tell you how much freedom and independence I feel from having a modern high-tech bicycle between my legs -- fully equipped with savvy safety devices to insure visibility, to digitally read-out time, distance, and speed -- not to mention playing stereo cassettes or CD's through a handlebar-mounted set of waterproof mini-speakers, driven by a mere pair of solar powered AA batteries.

(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, not to mention kids on flying electric scooters or skateboards with the new quiet nylon wheels.)

From Car-Free to Carefree 

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 $375 to get a bike 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, the new bikes the Berkeley California Police Officers are getting these days are $375 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.

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

Bicycles The Simple Solution 

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. Studies are showing 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.

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 Morroco 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.

The Joy of Biking 

St, Francis of Assisi once stated "It is no use walking everywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching." Perhaps in today's rush-hour world, St. Francis would advise "It is no use bicycling everywhere to preach unless our bicycling is our preaching."

Bicyclists actually enjoy much cleaner air surrounded by cars than the cars' drivers who endure a long menu of insidious, colorless fumes the California Air Resources Board (CARB) reports are trapped inside every car. The CARB study was called "indoor car air" and observes what no one wants to notice, that the tailpipe of the car in front of you is outputting right to your car's air intake. Car ads invariably show solitary autos on open roads, free of traffic. Get real!

Biking is an acquired taste. It takes time to get used to how much fun it is; how much safer it can be to be doing 10 mph in fresh air rather than zero mpg in gridlock fumes. It takes some time to recognize how well biking can actually work -- and to rebuild the stamina and strength your body has lost to remote controls, computer mice and the brake and accelerator pedals.

Most bike trips I make take about as much time as most folks have to allow for finding parking after driving to their destination.

Too Dangerous? Compared to What? 

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 wars for oil. Basic laws of physics apply Accidents occurring at the 25mph or less speed bikes usually travel are unlikely to be seriously injurious; Accidents at the 40mph or more speeds cars travel at, are likely fatal or devastating, this is proved on US streets thousands of times every day.

I have been seriously injured, but only from having a set of car keys, instead of a bike. My inoperable spinal injury was a direct result of my first car-jacking incident, where I was run over by my own car. And I was car-jacked a second time in the summer of 2002, by some kids who knocked me unconscious in my home office for the primary purpose of getting my car keys from me.

I have had certainly dozens of mishaps in my 50 years of bicycling, but not one of them came even close to causing the life-threatening injuries my possession of a set of car keys produced on those fateful evenings. It's important to recognize that bike accidents are usually trivial. I often regard such mishaps as a free chiropractic or Rolfing session. But when parking, for the sake of smarts, convenience, and luck, I always hang my bike helmet on the handlebar. Then it HAS to be put somewhere to get rolling.

Hidden Costs and Hazards Hi-Tech or Die-Tech? 

While it is wonderful to see novel, hi-tech vehicles capable of getting terrific mileage, these "new, improved" autos only exacerbate the problems of gridlock, population growth, car manufacturing and mining pollution, rubber, toxins, and old car disposal. Not to mention the death and dismemberment caused by streets littered and crowded with uninsured, drunk, sleepy, distracted, dizzy, tipsy, stoned, medicated, eating, drinking, smoking, cell-phoning angry, deaf, road-raged or just plain crazy drivers that continue to plague society.

Studies show about one in 50 drivers today are driving drunk, but perhaps 2 out of 3 are driving with some medicine and/or another that may impair driving ability. But beware the DISTRACTED driver. Auto supply stores are now specialize in fireworks type car stereos called "kickers" or "thumpers" loud enough to "light up" a whole neighborhood. And for just $299, you can have installed a CD/DVD television screen that folds neatly out of the dashboard. With a 7"-square monitor, you're ready to watch those priceless Hee-Haw reruns while you're eating pizza, drinking a beverage, talking on the cell phone, smoking a cigarette and making a lane change.

The enthusiasm for "bio-fueled" autos and the illogic of feeding food crops to cars in a world bristling with starving people evolving heinous diseases because they ARE starving, well, it boggles my mind. It's crucial to note that two-thirds of a car's pollution is produced during its manufacture. Getting 40% better tailpipe mileage is only reduces a fraction of the last third. If the CO2 from the new tailpipes was not colorless and environmentalists could see their own carbon output, they would faint. And hypercar buyer, what is your former car still doing today? Polluting by any chance?


Another hidden cost of cars is that (especially here in California) city planners and architects take it for granted that people want to live and work directly above their gas tanks and cars. Buildings are routinely constructed with a very weak first story, so cars can drive in, out, and around the toothpick-type legs buildings are then perched on. This design almost guarantees disastrous outcomes when the ground shakes. The Northridge, California quake cost $25 billion, most due to buildings that collapsed into garage space. How many similar complexes can you find in your community?

Flowers and Tailpipes 

The in-your-dash plastic flower vase in the new VW Beetle is helping that impractical, dangerous and unreliable two-door car sell like hotcakes. Strange how many folks will buy a car based on cuteness rather than practicality.

Cars have become a primary method of killing all life on Earth, endangering flowers and the insects that pollinate them, due to global warming and the changes to photosynthesis global warming includes.

Two-door cars are particularly impractical, except for giving Grandpa a hernia trying to get in and out of the back seat. They are, however, particularly effective at "dooring" bicyclists since the two doors are usually much bigger than those on a four-door car.

The placement of a flower vase in a car is not a new idea. A few luxury vehicles of the past would have them for the benefit of the well-to-do.  They were mounted on a doorjamb in the rear of the car for the enjoyment of the owner who is being chauffeured.  They were not placed on the dash to add to the menu of distractions drivers now have to cope with.

Putting a flower vase under the driver's nose is asking for trouble How many pedestrians will die because of drivers arranging flowers at the wheel?  How many dollars will flow as a result of personal injury settlements when reflections from a bright silk flower on a windshield cause a driver to reduce a bicyclist or pedestrian to roadkill?

Putting a fake plastic flower vase in a car dash is a particularly tasteless idea.  It's sort of like putting a sequin on a rat's ass.

Society is rapidly descending into an Autogeddon with the auto industry building three new cars for every person born. You can beat this Car-tastrophic system.  Stay healthy, trim, shrewd and smiling with a sophisticated bicycle. You may move at a tortoise-pace in a hare-spring world, but remember who won the race.

Jim Doherty is a raconteur and bike radical who sometimes rides with a giant peace symbol in his bike's front wheel.  He lives in the "Baja Rockridge" neighborhood of Oakland.  This article originally appeared in The-Edge, Gar Smith's (of Earth Island) online publication.

Inherent Hazards of Carpooling+Youth at the wheel        
Young drivers prove every day that they have the ability to be much 
better and sharper at the wheel, than old drivers.  Definitions of  
“young” and “old” aside here, it’s important to notice older drivers 
suffer greatly from such things as hearing loss, vision loss 
(especially peripheral vision), memory loss (which pedal is the brake, 
and which is the accelerator?) reduced response time and impaired 
muscle control.  And a recent insurance industry study revealed, not 
surprisingly, that young drivers make driving safely a terrific habit, 
and an easy chore - UNLESS they have even ONE friend or guest in the 
car with them, in which case they collapse from the best driver 
category, to the worst driver category because of what I will call 
FATAL DISTRACTION!  The insurance industry study clearly documented a 
VIRTUAL DOUBLING of accident rates when a young driver has “friends” in 
the car.
Older drivers are clearly better at staying focused on the major job of 
driving, and are better at shunting out inappropriate distractions, 
which passengers create at their own risk.  Professional drivers of 
transit vehicles are appropriately isolated from and/or prohibited from 
engaging in major or even minor conversations with passengers, because 
of these inherent risk increasing factors which can of course be 
exacerbated by LARGE vehicles in HEAVY traffic, as transit operators 
have to cope with.

A discipline of not distracting the driver is an excellent one for 
passengers in any vehicle at any time to develop.  Younger folks are 
much less good at this, and the result has historically been wholesale 
discrimination against, and punitive insurance rates for, young 
drivers.  A joker in the deck is young drivers are typically handed the 
keys to a vehicle which is a hand-me-down riddled with safety feature 
deficiencies and substandard mechanical performance, although the 
insurance industry has not likely studied this very significant 
handicap that a young driver starts with.  Generally the auto industry 
has fought tooth and nail against every conceivable mandate in auto 
safety, from mere dual master cylinder braking systems to basic air bag 
technology.  And the insurance industry has as a rule organized itself 
on the principle of insuring risk for profit, rather than reducing risk 
for fewer casualties and claims.

Discrimination against the young is one of the insurance industry’s 
favorite pastimes, and the only genuine solution here is to restore 
urban transportation systems and make them charming and attractive and 
affordable alternatives to distracted drivers at the wheel of 
dysfunctional private cars.

Hilarious and clever riding
April 10, 2005

I'm having the usual hilariously good time bicycling.  What strikes me as hilarious is the people who "feel sorry" for someone they assume is poor or otherwise unable to drive, and has to resort to the "lowly" bicycle.  Meanwhile I'm tearing around getting twice as much done errand wise, with half the aggravation and in half the time, as anyone with a car, all with a huge grin to the beat of my favorite SKA & Reggae tunes by handlebar mini-speakered bike stereo.  

I swear by the versatile and ultra durable Sony Walkman WM-GX221.*  The delightful tunes it pumps into the air from its tiny but powerful speakers, all driven by a "play" button and two solar-charged AA batteries, adds a huge margin of safety as folks around me hear me present or approaching.  I get my chores done safely and quickly, and I get tons of fun exercise and sun and fresh air, all at the same time.

This particular walkman can also easily be turned into recording from playing, to "accidentally" but legally tape conversations with police officers who "encourage bicycling" by prohibiting it or viciously restricting it.

Guest bikes/ghost bikes

It's a nice idea to have a medium sized loaner bike around any pro-bicycling household, for guest use.  Especially if that bike is modern enough to be full suspension (adding any sort of a suspension seat post to a hardtail will do).  This way your guest not only gets transportation but also a lesson in bicycle evolution and freedom.  

Most folks think of bikes as that 50 pound steel clunker they had as a child.  Educate 'em.  For example (not endorsement) Specialized Hard Rock bikes (the basic bike issued to Berkeley, California Police Officers) are cheap, well designed and built well for today’s tough streets and neighborhoods!  Adding $30 worth of suspension seat post to this bike makes a great lesson to any guest as to the ease and comfort of modern bikes.  Retail “sale” price on this model was as low as $319.00 in 2004.  

Saving a rusting heavy junk bike with bad brakes to injure or turn a friend into a ghost with, is not a good idea.  Allow time to inflate tires as stored bikes tend to lose air.  Better yet, use bike #2 once in a while so it's not needing air every time it goes out.  Medium to small bikes can be bumped up to a better size with extra long seat posts, but it's also true bicycling is about geometry and should ideally match the biker’s size.  Escorting incredulous friends around town is quite the hobby for me, I love it when they realize how beautiful, comfortable, easy, and quick biking can be.  

Scooting around jammed traffic and steamed motorists is dangerous, but quieter and probably safer than trying to keep up with fast-moving traffic. Yet with the auto industry managing to build three cars for every person being born, there’s no such thing as smooth moving traffic any more, at least not around our population of car-keyed and car crazed cities!  Realization by individuals that a whole new level of Human Powered Vehicles can bring freedom, cash savings, time savings, fresh air and health to a community, - while saving tons of time and parking tickets- is a profound chunk of good news, and people smile as they realize this. 

Pumping a set of pedals yourself, and offering a friend the opportunity to pedal up with you, brings this good news into a person’s mind, body and soul by the DOING.  Now I’ll stop peddling bicycles and start pedaling one myself. 
– Pax Jim Doherty

Bicyclist's "thought of the day:"  When dealing with traffic, it's better to be patient than to become a patient.

A day in Jim's vision - and his bicycle life

Berkeley has to establish a LRTRP - Long Range Traffic Reduction plan.  In a nutshell, I'm pushing for (1) bike lanes on commercial corridors, where the destinations (including bike shops) are, as well as (2) a "scoping" type study to create alternative transportation for the hills.  

At some point, probably after I'm dead and gone, or every last gas station is, there will have to be ski-lift type gondolas taking people, and possibly their bikes, to hillside neighborhoods, with three or four stops on each of three or four lines, to serve hill neighborhood stations that are ready for our walk and roll future. 

I realize this is visionary if not hallucination, but the reality is for such long range changes.  Scoping and planning need to start being talked about by city officials. Same with light rail. Even if AC Transit’s rights of way are locked out of Berkeley’s reach, litigation could be pursued to get out of this (no sunset clause?) hegemony of Death by Diesel.  In the short range AC Transit has to learn to put the bio in diesel instead of the die in diesel.  Athsma can be fatal. 

The City of Berkeley lambastes the University’s LRDDP (Long Range Death By Development plan) but pursues and approves its own parking and car intensive “development.” A City of Berkeley Long Range Traffic Reduction Plan has to be a vital part of City opposition to the University’s LRDDP.

And long range always seems to apply to transportation planning – the prefunded bike lanes on Telegraph Ave in Oakland have languished in a snare of litigation and Environmental Impact Reports after approval by Oakland’s City Council 6 years ago, just involving easy to modify striping/signage work!  Signage or striping for bikes and bike shoppers on Shattuck Avenue should have been provided already, but of course Berkeley will have to consense, plan, bicker and litigate any such mere signage and striping for a decade during which the transportation circumstances will devolve and change so much, by the time anything’s approved and permitted, whatever got approved and permitted will be obsolete.  Berkeley’s process like a dog chasing its tail.  And Shattuck Avenue needs a redesign, it’s no longer the 1960’s – no one’s noticed this YET in a town dedicated to “encouraging” bicycling?!?! Berkeley, like the rest of the US, has degenerated from the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness, to the competition for death, parking, and validation!!! This can only change for the better; Berkeley has become a bottom feeder for the last gasps and gulps of the gasoline/automobile age, and has nowhere to go but – by that old religion of walk and roll!!!!!

Here’s to the bikers, skateboarders, rollerbladers, wheelchair riders, scooter champs and walkers!!!  May they no longer have to cope with two Hummers passing each other on those crumbling narrow strips of hill neighborhood asphalt petroleum ribbons, never designed to carry all of the above.  Surrey bikes are the greatest and the ONLY four wheeled vehicles I’d try and share a sidewalk deprived narrow, winding, sliding down the hillside crumbling asphalt “street” with!

PS Jim’s afternoon in Berkeley, starting at Noon, February 16, 2005, all by errand bike outfitted with nothing more  than a pair of large waterproof saddlebags (Ortlieb brand world tour panniers from the Missing Link  -  I never wear a backpack, due to a spinal injury)

Hargrove library on UCB campus
Wurster Hall
Upper Sproul Plaza
Meridith Morgan eye clinic
Lower Sproul Plaza
Zee Zee Copy, Durant Walk
Starbucks Oxford
Cartridge World
Gaia Building
Rex Lock and Key
Kragen Auto
Berkeley’s Office of Planning and Building     
Berkeley City Hall
Provo Park
Mac Store
Alko Supply
Mac Store Again
Missing Link
Mike’s Bikes shop

Then home  - six hours of  Shopping Berkeley by Bike, a water driven fuel cell vehicle.  Office of Planning and Building’s water fountain kindly allowed me to “Tank Up” at midday.  Water plus courtesy, Caution, Civility, Care and Community is all I need to run my errands and SHOP BERKELEY!!

Hybrid cars in HOV lanes = "SOV" travesty

Regarding SOB, er, SOV cars (that's single occupancy vehicle) in the HOV lanes, "legalized" by Assemblymember Fran Pavleys' AB2628 which "took effect" in California Jan 1,2005.  (The presumed intent of this bill was to spur the purchase of gazzillions of hybrid cars, by allowing single occupant hybrid cars into the HOV lane).  It turns out it's still not really legal and the CHP is still presumably enforcing against it, because freeways are under federal jurisdiction, and the feds have "not yet agreed" to this idea.    I hope they never do and realize that allowing the very cars that do not pollute much in gridlock to become the only single occupancy ones allowed to escape gridlock, is absurd and pathetic.  We are all in this together, caring and sharing a car is on the same level as caring about and sharing this planet with its many creatures. If there is anything I understand about the Environment, it's that we are all in this together! Allowing the I, me, mine single occupant cars into the HOV lane is wrong, wrong, wrong.

It is UNFAIR TO THE POLICE too to have them pulling over cars that have only one occupant only to have that occupant announce that THIS car qualifies due to its "won't pollute in gridlock" drive train!  It is too great a burden on the CHP.  They have it hard enough sorting out the teddy bears and German Sheperds wearing shawls.  The net result will be making the HOV lane unenforceable, or at best, unenforced.

Fran Pavely represents a district called HONDA or TOYOTA it seems. Curious what sort of campaign contributions might be tracked around this.  Could be Fran, whose assembly district includes much of Santa Monica, was just "well intentioned" with this.  This bill may have originated prior to the disclosure that the EPA fuel economy estimates on these vehicles are about 40% too optimistic.  Maybe Honda and Toyota contributed to EPA folks too!!  It all smells, and it's important to note that Hybrid car tailpipes STILL need a warning label that reads:

Caution: This vehicle emits carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, hydrocarbons, benzene, methane, aldehydes and volatile organic compounds (VOC's).  Causes noise, increased traffic congestion, respiratory disease, cancer, death and ecocide. Especially Harmful to Other Species and Children.

After writing the above, on January 24 an item on TV from Oakland, California's KTVU's broadcast confirms my fears and disgusts with the obscene proposal to allow SOV's in the HOV lane.  The state of Virginia somehow managed to allow HYBRID SOV's in the HOV lane much earlier last year, and  the feds agreed to try the idea out there.  The net result is that Virginia's HOV lanes are now as jammed and gridlocked as the rest of the freeway lanes.  The feds are not impressed and it looks very much like California's AB2628 I was blogging against is dead in the water as far as the feds are concerned.

  - January 2005

7 Lucky Sentences On Bicycling

After bicycling (mostly Berkeley, California streets) for over 50 years, I realize I cannot overstate the extent to which using a bicycle for running one's daily errands (not for RACING nor for daytime only RECREATION as most US bike shops presume is the purpose of bikes)  is a form of continuing adult education in concepts of


Each ride is a daily lesson in simplicity, modesty, flexibility, trust, patience, exercise, physical and mental health, respect for nature and the natural world, respect for one's natural limits and particularly respect for the other living creatures inhabiting this planet and one's own bloodstream. 


Cars, SUV's, freeways and especially single occupancy vehicles (S.O.V.'s) are essentially the opposite of all these things.


SOV's are all about I, me, mine; bikes are all about us, we, them. Getting along with and anticipating pedestrians, wheelchair riders, trucks, children, cats, dogs, even bugs and frogs, are what makes a safe biker who makes it home with a smile.  Whereas in a car or truck, it's mostly a matter of cleaning the blood and other dead creatures off the bumper and windshield once in a while.

P.S. "What one does not trouble to find within will not be discovered by transporting the body hither and yon." --Paramhansa Yogananada

How to jump start a car - with a bicycle, a true story:

I had some unusual fun with my bicycle a few months back when a friend, who knows I have a car, called begging me to get his girl friend a jump start of her Toyota. 

They live not too far from me, and after I agreed I realized it would be simplest to use the compact jumpstarter battery with built-in mini jumper cables that I have on hand because my car, gathering dust while I bike everywhere, tends to need this jumpstarter therapy itself.  The owner's manual for this 1994 Ford vehicle breezily suggests "you must run your new Ford at least every three days or the battery may run down..." and I often let the Ford rust in peace for more likely three WEEKS at a time. 

Anyhow as I'm wondering if I'll need to jump my car in order to drive over and jump theirs, the logic of simply biking the half-size sealed lead acid jump starter battery over to their dead Toyota, was irresistible.  It dropped handily into one of my two unusually large saddlebags/aka panniers (I believe ORTLEIB is making the best one available in the US today) and maybe the best part was the wisecracks and looks of incredulity on my friend's faces as I arrive by bicycle and ask them to open the hood. The Toyota fired up nicely from the portable power pack but my friends had only been able to close the hood of their car, not their mouths, as I bicycled into the sunset.

Bike Blogger's Health Care:  How to annoy and baffle your doctor
Generally the best strategy is to always arrive to appointments, clinics, hospitals and medical offices by bicycle.  Discovering how well prepared this country's health care system is for bicyclists is in itself an important lesson in health care in America.  Two of my last three emergency room visits were by bicycle (which had nothing to do with my injuries.  The third visit I walked in.) 

Bringing a high value bicycle to a hospital can in itself be an emergency since it often turns out that no one in the US has realized that bicycles have anything to do with healthy exercise.  It's as though the health care system buys the premise, lock, stock, and barrel, that bicyclists should be subject to the hegemony of  the MTC. (MTC in the San Francisco Bay Area stands for Metropolitan Transportation Commission, but for the purposes of this blog, and for all practical purposes in the Bay Area, it stands for Marginalize, Trivialize, and Criminalize bicycling. ) 

Be very careful not to startle nor bump into the patients who've won a free scooter from the government, thanks to the team of disability generating attorneys that the scooter companies keep on payroll.  Supersized and morbidly obese scooter patients are now married to a combination of lead-acid batteries, government checks, and monthly payments.  But the scooters are increasingly deluxe, there is even a model that comes with a built-in cigarette lighter and ash tray.  But be careful, these vehicles tend to be supersized.  It will annoy your doctor greatly when you bring your bike into the exam room and introduce it as your domestic partner, since it never occurred to your doctor that anyone would seriously use a bicycle for much of anything so daily and intimately,  and there's nothing resembling secure parking for it anywhere near the medical office building. (This applies to almost every conceivable medical, dental, and lab office in the US today.)  It will also tend to generate feelings of jealously in your doctor, since the doctor will likely recognize that your passion for bicycling is somehow replacing your doctor's role of primary healthcare giver.

These feelings will be reinforced as your doctor's eyes bug out at your blood test results which reveal that somehow you are testing as though you are twenty years younger than you really are, and outclassing perhaps every other patient your age in their practice.  This can be particularly true if you can manage to do most of your bicycling in car-restricted zones, and avoid filling your bloodstream with the tailpipe output Americans refuse to realize is stuffing them as they sit in cars.  Even on busy streets, bicyclists are able to expose themselves to less than half the emissions those trapped in cars are subject to.
I'm not clear how long it will take for health care providers to figure this equation out:  The healthy, bicycling non-patient in their office has something to do with the bicycle waiting patiently in the lobby.  It's perhaps never occurred to anyone in the health care office that a patient would or could arrive by bike, but with these scenes repeated over and over for years in my life, in many different offices, I can help readers understand my suggestion that in the US, "Catastrophic health care" refers to the state our country's transportation system is in, as well as accurately describing the state our health care system is in -- sort of like our country's foreign policy.  Without beating around the Bush, I can assert succinctly that the meaning of the word Catastrophic is as broad as the butt of those seated in scooters in line at the local fast food joint.  According to ABC news, the obesity epidemic has in part been fed by the federal policy that getting supersized will qualify you for disability payments.
It is important to recognize too that being overweight is not necessarily a choice; the unfortunate genetic makeup of a tiny percentage of people is such that eating 50% of what a thin person eats will still result in those unfortunates becoming obese.  I do not want to engage in the popular pastime of blaming a victim.  But it is just very, very difficult to distinguish between bad habits and obese genetics.  And obesity is certainly now the rule, not the exception in America, where the average American walks fewer than 300 yards on an average day.  Yet the images of people deliberately overeating and under-exercising to qualify for benefits, which ABC nightly news aired earlier this year, were, shall I say, unappetizing.  Whereas the incredulity of medical caregivers wondering how I've managed to pull off terrific test results and 50 years of safe bicycling, well, the sparkle in my eyes, and those looks of bewilderment in theirs, are vitamins for my life.

If you like kickstands...
Manage your bike with a flipstand 

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 Cannondales with thier famous headshock forks, and clearance was not an issue. On my Specialized Epic, I had to replace the factory stem which had almost no clearance with an Avenir stem which provided plenty of room there for the metal flipstand finger to pivot.
The target block is made of plastic lumber, shaped to match the frame to accomodate 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.
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 with flipstands and eventually movies

I'm hoping to follow up on my reference to creating a bicycle front wheel stabilizer to help those who recognize the utility of a safe way of rigging a bike's front wheel to remain steady without locking oneself out of steering the bike.  It's called a flipstand, similar to a product called flickstand that may not be available any longer.

However, the support I need to e-photo and link information on my design, which will be put out free this month on Culture Change, is taking more time so for now those curious can surf the web under to see  now-discontinued Rhode gear device that performed similarly but needed the old English racing style type frame and became a popular but now unavailable bike accessory. My design is better than that, adaptable to almost any frame but requires a certain level of handyman skill, a bench grinder, vice, and a few basic tools and supplies to create, install, and maintain. I will just mention, today, however, that 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 2 years 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 $45) 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 "missing" pedal will likely get trouble rather than a free bike, huh!) 

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, well, 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 accellerator 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. 

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 Ghandi 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!

June 30, 2004
No explosions: an advantage of bikes

Bikes for less-abled riders: hand crankers

Bicycling is not for everyone!  However, it's important to note, an organization in Berkeley, California, ( is building hand-operated bicycles for paraplegics.  The freedom these vehicles represent to an individual who's lost the use of their legs cannot be overstated.  The ability to transport oneself without reliance on electrical power generation and delivery (AKA, the "grid") coupled with reliance on filthy, terribly hazardous, polluting and ultra-heavy copper motors and lead/acid batteries that wear out quickly and can strand, immobilize, and endanger a "physically challenged," disabled", or "differently abled" individual, is an ability to cherish and express the concept of personal freedom and independence.  These recumbent style bicycles, like wheelchairs, should always be outfitted with tall bright triangle safety flags when there's any risk of collisions with other traffic.

Auto- and wheelchair-battery pitfalls

It is important to recognize the horrible impacts of lead mining and battery manufacturing.  The batteries can cause horrible burns when acid is spilled or leaks.  The hydrogen gas that bubbles out of this dangerous and polluting technology is wildly hazardous and can and does explode routinely.  It's a leading cause of blindness and burn injuries in the US today.  Usually on a wheelchair, the charging is done indoors, and, with energy conservation driving home insulation projects to where indoor air pollution is extreme, hydrogen gas can accumulate to a dangerous degree in an enclosed space.  Typically, it's the auto owner who's put a battery on a charge in a near-air tight auto garage, who ends up causing an acid explosion when the spark of disconnecting the charger ignites an accumulation of hydrogen gas.

There can be a certain joy to noticing how bicycles can work to escape myriad problems of deadly technologies.  See; and
Bicycles can represent the ultimate expression of personal freedom as well as a near-perfect rendition of the concept of appropriate technology.

What  American weekends and weekdays are for

Kickstand alternative 
June 28, 2004

Weekdays are for burning modest to not so modest amounts of petroleum in order to get "to work."  Please realize it does not matter if you have a job or a family; if you don't, you'll be required to act like you do to conform to the schedules of those that do.  How much fuel you will need depends a lot on how well you match your housing to your job, and whether you think burning gasoline is "fun" or not.  Also, if you have no idea what crimes against the natural world you are committing by burning gasoline, it will help your definition of "fun."  What weekends are for is to burn huge quantities of gas AND kerosene as you fly from home and rent a car to access other endangered natural places reeling from the impacts of fossil fuel burning.  At least this is how it goes in the USofA today.

Anyone who stays at home and modestly reads or enjoys the nature photography of talented, skilled, well-equipped, distinguished photographers, are deemed "spoil sports" or idiots, or even worse, meditators.  Spiritual development can occur primarily in quiet, serene contexts, and this has little to do with fossil-fool tour packages and travel plans.
I was part of an eighty person bicycle tour of Berkeley, California's residential architectural oddities a month or two ago.  It was an utterly remarkable feeling to be part of a "tour" where that many individuals can roll up to a neighborhood, even an individual house, remark on its features, and enjoy its amazing landscaping, and then leave without having made scarcely a sound nor a scrap of tailpipe pollution, nor disturbing the neighborhood one whit.  This would hardly be true had we been piling in and out of that basic workhorse beast of tourism, the rotten, worst available technology, that snorting, screeching, idling diesel bus.  

The funniest part was the 40 of us that had to curse and drop the bikes directly to the ground since U.S. bike shops think kickstands are a luxury or idiocy.  Personally, I think it's idiotic to have to dump a bike directly on the ground and then have to bend completely over to pick it up from the dirt, simply because kickstands are at best difficult to rig in a country that is sure that bikes are only for recreation or racing, not transportation.  

Watch for the next Bike Blog on how to keep a bike stable and upright without a kickstand!  An improvised, featherweight and fabulous rig of my own, that is applicable to most any bike.  You can mount the bike without having to lift your leg over the top tube, when this set-up is engaged.  I've devised a custom "flickstand" for three different bike frames to date.  

But for tonight I want to confess I've become quite romantic about my bikes; it's embarrassing.  A bike shop sold me a Specialized bike-lock called the "Wedlock," billed by its maker as "Better than a prenuptual agreement."  And I will admit to being in love with my bikes, especially the Cannondale Jekyll 3000SL, which is my favorite of the entire polyamourous fleet.  I cannot hide my affection for that Jekyll.  That downhill mountain racer is not quite faithful, and will run away with the slightest imperceptible grade.  Like a mischievous child, this bike has been caught running away too too many times.  But I'm so in love with it I have to check and see if I'm developing a belly full of little bikes once in a while. 

Bungee cords, tire tubes and plastics!

Here's another pointer to help keep urban bikers safe and sighted.  Bungee cords, widely and wildly used by both bicyclists and motorcylists to secure cargo on whatever rig you can, are THE leading source of eye injuries in the US today.  Lost control of one of these elastic hazards can mean a jagged
chuck of metal flying right into one's face, with tragic results if an eye is struck.  Cheap bungees from overseas are now the primary culprit, saftey tips were added by the industry and many cords are so equipped now, but often the tip is lost in the course of using the cord, and you can bet a factory somewhere is still pumping out cords  with steel hooks lacking them to this day.  "Vacuum caps"  sold at auto supply parts counters, secured with epoxy adhesive can saftey the tips.
Still, the best bet is the new cords made in America with oversize rigid but far less dangerous *plastic* hooks which if well made will also have a v style length adjusting channel or track for the bungee to adjust its tension by trimming its length.  Any good hardware should have the new style which
almost certainly evolved from personal injury suits against the rusty steel hook design.  Plastic coatings on the steel ones often crumble off at the tip creating a heinous hazard.  New cords are inexpensive items and when you think of it a fantastic deal in that by carrying nothing more than a good
bungee or two, a bicyclists can and do increase their "carring capacity" radically.
Best wishes for badass urban bikers kicking butt, from the bike blogger.

[Editor's note: When the author was asked about used bike inner tubes as an alternative to bungee cords, here is what the Bike Warrior Pacifist had to say: ]

Old bike tires can be the resort of the desperate; between powder and rubber toxins, the time needed to tie and untie knots, you come to understand the popularity of bungees pretty quick.  Remember rubber now is manufactured
from petroleum. 

On the subject of plastics, which the Bike Blogger knows is a hot topic at Culture Change because of the new Campaign Against the Plastics Plague, here is food for thought: 

The nice thing about stopping cars and gas burning it seems one would stop or slow the production of all the plastic by-products produced by refining gasoline.  Plastic crapola is so cheap, because we use so much gas and refiners need to dream up things to sell as plastic leftovers from refining.  To quote Lily Tomlin, "Let's Make a Deal, in one game show alone, uses more plastic than the entire country of India has ever seen." The bottom line being, use less gas and you will generate less plastic.
See Plastic Oceans

June 5, 2004
from the pacifist "Bike Warrior" Jim   

A crucial thing for bicyclists to understand is that with the radical independence and freedom bicycling CAN supply, bicyclists need to look after each other's needs carefully, and treat each other and their foibles gently and firmly.
One of the smartest things bicyclists can do is to carry with them at all times a fluorescent tape supply so that gross bicycle hazards can be flagged by bicyclists encountering them at the time they are noticed and/or there is as near accident or injury.  I have been doing this myself lately and it is so much more satisfying to just stick some high visibility night reflective hazard tape on existing physical hazards, than it is to try reporting to city or campus officials and hoping someday, somehow, to stem the blood being spilled by bicyclists because some planner forgot there is such a thing as bicycles.  The KARMA around doing this is so much better, simpler and faster than the tedious and unproductive procedures involved in hazard reporting.  My Karma as a safe bicyclist amazes even me; my luck comes back to me when I proactively help flag public bike hazards, "ON THE SPOT" so to speak, and I will be celebrating 50 years of urban bicycling without a serious injury accident, this summer.
It's important to understand that often local governments' pro-bicycling programs often prove to be cosmetic in nature only.  When a city has a bicycle coordinator, that this is not to be confused with a city having a bicycle advocate.  It's important to understand that when a citizen reports gross hazards to a city, the net result years later will not necessarily be ANY improvement or redress, just possibly little more than excuses as to how expenditures on paving, cement, and indoor car parking garage schemes, along with personal injury lawsuits, have nearly bankrupted a city, so bike hazards remain to injure cyclist after cyclist.  It's a good idea for injured cyclists to coalesce on the web so that a group of cyclists pooling funds can hire pricey attorneys who are needed to successfully sue a local city into not only SAYING it cares about encouraging bicyclists, but actually ACTS like it cares and understands HOW to encourage bicyclists.  That includes prompt redress of hazards as well as prompt reform of bicycles-as-criminal city codes that are selectively enforced against bicyclists.  Maybe a Cadillac-owning city police chief decided years ago that bicyclists are a nuisance to be abated instead of a vital transportation mode to be encouraged.  It could well be that the loftier the rhetoric about encouraging bicycling, the harsher the crackdown in any given city against the basic things bicyclists need such as:
  • Bike lanes on COMMERCIAL CORRIDORS, where the bike shops are located.  
  • SECURE INDOOR PUBLIC PARKING FOR BICYCLES, especially in towns wealthy enough to arrange for secure indoor public parking for  CARS.  
  • Absurd and obscenely expensive and hazardous car parking garages, also known as burial methods for cars in earthquake country, is TAKEN FOR GRANTED AS AN ENTITLEMENT FOR CAR OWNERS.  But Earthquake-safety, light and small-footprint indoor parking for bicycles is UNHEARD OF AND UNLOBBIED FOR AS AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO BICYCLES, at least in the US (see
Incidentally, in this biker's opinion,  a definition of "encouraging bicycling" does not include expending funds in that category for signs prohibiting all bicycling at all times with three figure fines, although that is the way it seems to work in good 'ol Berkeley, California.

May 22, 2004
Auto-eroticism or auto-entertainment?

The Current Rage in auto entertainment systems is flooding our catastrophic health care system with a new avalanche of casualties — as those watching the Gong Show Reruns on their in-dash or on-dash or on-laptop DVDs — while attempting to DRIVE. 

A generation of sound-and noise induced HOH (Hard of Hearing) and Deaf individuals has also stressed the health care system and produced the pathetic statistic that more US Firefighters die on the way to a fire than in battling the flames themselves. 

Actually any normal hearing driver (thumping eardrums of the whole neighborhood with the overkill boomboxes that have become the overkill ordinary) is at total risk of not hearing an approaching fire truck. Also "sideshow" type kicker and thumper cars also set off car alarms, the vibration is so deliberately intense by design. 

And of course there was the push for tailpipe whistles as human rights in Oakland lately — made for some noise at city council meetings, all right. 

I suspect the operator of a car engaged in this ritual of vibration is unlikely to hear the tick-tick-tick of an approaching bicyclist's sprocket, but then I'm the guy who's devised the Bike Stereo based on Sony's superb palm sized cassette player/recorder with integrated mini stereo speakers playing the kick-butt 20-somethings tunes that keep me pumpin' the pedals and warning cats and dogs and folks I'm around. 

Maybe as a near deaf individual, this is largely my defense, that others can hear me approaching on my usual hi-performing bicycle, from my mere two AA battery walkman, better than I can hear them. 

SKATERS AND SKATEBOARDERS BEWARE; The quiet nylon wheels on new boards and axles put any boarder at far greater risk with collisions to peds, bikers, and cars more likely — few can hear the whiz of ya comin' over the din of traffic. 

THIS GOES TOO FOR THE NEW ELECTRIC SCOOTERS. WILMA CHAN'S CRACKDOWN ON GAS SCOOTERS, also known as a -FINES FOR KIDS PROGRAM, THAT IS. SO NOW THE INDUSTRY IS SUPPLYING QUIET AND THEREFORE WILDLY HAZARDOUS RENDITIONS OF THESE "No Exercise Allowed" toys from hell, kids flying around with NO warning sounds is worse than kids flying around sounding like a leaf blower. 




May 20, 2004
Perks on Bike to Work 

Yeah yeah free coffee is great but bike workers need to hear something better than "GET THAT THING OUT OF HERE" upon arrival to any workstation.

Bike Security is the single biggest obstacle to daily grind use of a bicycle.  Bikes outfitted with luggage racks and saddlebags and lighting and fenders and kickstands, all the practical simple accessories needed for a bike/work lifestyle, really cannot happily be left unattended surrounded by the financially challenged. 

Yet invariably and almost without exception, office buildings will have a policy of no bikes inside AS WELL AS a policy of no secure parking outside.

GET THAT THING OUT OF HERE is the reality, the discourage bicycling chorus heard 'round the towns that are claiming they want to encourage bicycling by spending 99.9% of their transportation moneys coping with the global disaster known as auto eroticism.  A town spending $50,000 per parking spot for a single car space grudgingly allocates a few bucks for exposed bike racks or pavement striping that is designed to marginalize and trivialize bicycling, most likely pretending that bikes are just for fun, and that no one can shop or work with one.

This has got to change, pronto, if biking CAN be popularized enough to save us from our arrogance and gas. A culture holding a gas pump hose to its own committing suicide, really genocide by killing all life on earth with global warming triggering both a collapse of photosynthesis (see Earth Island Journal) as well as a new ice age.

Yes, and what to do to forestall, unravel, or put a condom on this prickly state of affairs?

BIKE ACTIVISTS UNITE TO DEMAND CITIES ALLOCATE 10% OF THEIR BUDGETS FOR ASPHALT/PAVING/PARKING/CARS & TRUCKS to build bike infrastructure, period.  Even ONE percent would work well to double biking practical biking in the US.  

Yes, and bike parking is solved, or at least solvable.  With the cost of ONE underground parking spot in a town, ONE HUNDRED BIKES CAN BE securely parked in an automated elevator driven bike storage facility as has been built in Japan.


LIBRARY BIKES, BIKE SAFETY WORKSHOPS AND PROGRAMS, BIKE MAINTENANCE PROGRAMS, BIKE BOULEVARDS ALL HELP.  EACH COSTS MONEY, but attack the pathetic ratio of car versus bike spending in any town and watch biking double.

Also demand bike racks, if that's all you can get, to be put where building security can keep an eye on them.  A simple design standard such as this answers quickly the question architects answer all wrong:


Here's why simple truths such as these escape city planners:  Such planners almost all use a car to their job.  This can stop by security, convenience or spec, but bikers remember the basic truth of activism: You won't get what you don't ask for.

--Badass Biker Jim's comments on BTW day, 2004

See for its 2 Ring Park bike elevator.

Also See in this website Bicycling Culture and News ,  Library Bikes and Pedal Power Produce


Articles of interest:
War on plastic  -  Rejecting the toxic plague by Jan Lundberg

Measuring and controlling the actions of governments 

Anti-globalization protest grows, with tangible results. 
WTO protests page

Tax fossil-fuel energy easily
by Peter Salonius 

UK leader calls War on Terror "bogus"

Argentina bleeds toward healing by Raul Riutor

The oil industry has plans for you: blow-back by Jan Lundberg

It's not a war for oil? by Adam Khan

How to create a pedestrian mall by Michelle Wallar

The Cuban bike revolution

How GM destroyed the U.S. rail system excerpts from the film "Taken for a Ride".

"Iraqi oil not enough for US: Last days of America?"

Depaving the world by Richard Register

Roadkill: Driving animals to their graves by Mark Matthew Braunstein

The Hydrogen fuel cell technofix: Spencer Abraham's hydrogen dream.


Ancient Forest Protection in Northern California. Forest defenders climb trees to save them.

Daniel Quinn's thoughts on this website.

A case study in unsustainable development is the ongoing crisis in Palestine and Israel.

Renewable and alternative energy information.

Conserving energy at home (Calif. Title 24)

Culture Change mailing address: P.O. Box 3387 , Santa Cruz , California 95063 USA
  Telephone 1-215-243-3144 (and fax)

Culture Change was founded by Sustainable Energy Institute (formerly Fossil Fuels Policy Action), a nonprofit organization.