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Instead of a regular monthly column, Naomi will be frequently blogging about bicycling issues, ideas and trends.


Naomi Bloom Naomi's Biking Life Blog

by Naomi Bloom

Blogs 19 to 36 of 46

6/5/2010 5:05:21 PM
San Francisco a Bike Friendly City?

After Wednesday night's debacle that saw four different cyclists mowed down by the driver of a Nissan "Rogue" it may be pretty tough convincing LAB's Bicycle Friendly Communities program that SF qualifies. At least they caught the guy right away, thanks to his own stupidity. Read the story here.

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5/31/2010 11:38:27 AM
Sixty-Three Miles Per Hour!

That was my "max speed" yesterday on Foothill Blvd. in Cupertino. What? You don't believe it? Neither do I, but there it was on my wireless cyclometer.

I just happened to be standing -- stock still -- over a really sensitive traffic light sensor loop when my the numbers on the speedometer started spewing forth faster and faster speeds. The loop was at the left-turn lane from Foothill onto Cristo Rey Drive. It added half a mile to my total distance too.

The same thing happened at the brand new loop recently installed at Rodrigues Avenue eastbound at DeAnza Blvd., also in Cupertino, but it only kicked up to 20-something mph. Jim tells me this is common with wireless cyclecomputers poised over highly sensitive loops. Go on out and find one in your neighborhood and try it out!

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5/24/2010 9:10:28 AM
The Real Winners of the Tour of CA

It's us! Californians can now lay claim to one of the world's top professional bike races (not to mention several of the world's top teams). I gratefully attribute this win to the change to a May calendar. The better (if not all stellar) weather brought out a Euro-style roadside party atmosphere that gave us a fresh look at it all, from new venues to a new champion. To sample a smidgen of that party atmosphere, read my Party On! report. Five years and counting!

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5/17/2010 2:11:16 PM
Bike Shop in a Box

24 Hour Bike Shop has begun distributing their "Bike Boxes" throughout California. Bike Box Modeled on their vending machines in Nevada and Utah, these boxes of emergency repair items are appearing along popular cycling routes located "out in the middle of nowhere."

According to Jeff Orum, who's apparently seen these saviors along the road/trail, the boxes "are in stores and where you would take the items and pay for them at the store's cash register, or in the case of the Bike Hut [on Tunitas Creek Road south of Half Moon Bay], in their honor system cash box." You'll also find Bike Boxes on Skyline Blvd (Woodside), Portola Valley, Summit Rd (Los Gatos Hills), Half Moon Bay, Aptos, Capitola, Boulder Creek, Big Basin State Park (coming soon!), Ben Lomond, Felton, Sunol, Marin, Woodacre, San Rafael and Lagunitas. Not to mention the seven SoCal locations. I wouldn't call many of these places "the middle of nowhere," but they're still pretty good for ride routes. Just remember, even if you're not equipped with tubes, patch kits, etc., you'll need to carry the cash (or plastic) to pay for them.

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5/11/2010 10:49:28 AM
Win Prizes! Team TIBCO @ Tour de l'Aude & People for Bikes

South Bay-based women's Team TIBCO is -- even as I blog -- in Europe training their way to the start of Le Tour de l'Aude Cycliste Feminin. Formerly known as the Tour de France Feminin, this 10-day stage race is one of the world's toughest, they claim. You can follow these women via Facebook, Twitter or email updates as they train, sightsee and compete. And win prizes -- although they haven't revealed just what those prizes are.

Meanwhile, PeopleforBikes.org are giving away two commuter bikes -- 2 Breezers and 2 Treks. All ya gotta do is sign their pledge -- a no-brainer really. We're all for bikes, right? BTW, the Breezers will be given away on May 23 -- the same day the TIBCO gals (hopefully) make the podium in Carcassonne.

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5/7/2010 4:07:12 PM
It's All Uphill for the Tour of California

Well, at least from Keith Williams' point of view. The Stockton wheel maker's home page takes you directly to your choice of videos depicting the major climbs the pros will tackle between May 16 and May 23. Warning: The vids are in Vimeo, so you'll need to "join" Vimeo to download and hear commentary. Meanwhile, here's a preview of Sierra Road in Stage 4:

Stage4-Climb1 from Keith Williams on Vimeo.

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4/30/2010 3:45:10 PM
Hooray, Hooray, the First of May...

...National Bike Month starts today! (Bet you were expecting something else, huh? ;->) According to Road Bike Rider, May has been so designated for "half a century."

The highlight of National Bike Month is Bike to Work Week, May 17-21, 2010, with National Bike to Work Day on Friday, the 21st. But here in California Bike to Work Day is on Thursday, the 20th. Always has been on Thursday. Why? Search me! Maybe because so many Californians don't bother to go to work on Friday -- especially when the weather's so nice?

Anyway, you could always elect to ride to work all week long. Or (what a concept!) all year long! Or, if you're retired (like me) or unemployed (like so many others these days), you could find a local event to participate in during May. For instance, in San Jose they're putting on a "ViaVelo" "Open Streets" celebration on the 15th. And you can get there (or depart) on a self-guided "Over and Under Tour" that shows off many of the new non-motorized Across Barrier Connections (ABCs) in Santa Clara County -- overpasses, underpasses and connectors that let you pedal from place to place in spite of freeways, expressways and other high-traffic hazards. Check it out!

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4/26/2010 9:21:10 AM
Drive Less Challenge On Now

If you live or work in Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, or Burlingame and you ride your bike to work or wherever, log your miles! The Drive Less Challenge started on Earth Day (last Thursday) and runs through Wednesday, May 5. The idea is to "explore alternatives to solo car use- biking, walking, public transit and/or carpooling while going to and from work, school, shopping or other local destinations." You log your trip details on the website, so you can compare with other participants. Note that anyone, anywhere, can participate, but if you live or work in any of the four cities above, you'll be eligible for prizes. Thanks to Ricki McGlashin for the heads-up about the Drive Less Challenge.

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4/21/2010 3:36:51 PM
Women Cyclists Have Our Say

I just took an online survey that I figure was well worth the 15 minutes or so involved. The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals is now gathering input from women (and teen girls) on their own cycling issues. The APBP wants to find about our resources, barriers and successes in order to get more women riding bikes to more places more often. So let's tell 'em what we love about the biking life and what we want to improve it. You'll find the link to the survey on the left side of the bottom of APBP's home page. Click on "Take Our Survey" to access SurveyMonkey. And come back to the comments and let me know what you think of it (I thought it was pretty darned good).

I did it and tweeted it. I think it's an okay survey but not great. Some of the responses almost assume that you don't ride. I think it could've been worded better but I hope the results are published - Kendra - 5/7/2010 4:20:35 PM

4/18/2010 6:54:31 PM
Ten from Marin to Santa Barbara

Today my copine de velo biking buddy Pam Perkins and nine of her other female buddies rode from Mill Valley over the GG Bridge on the first day of their tour to Santa Barbara. Pam claims that it's "the first all-woman's bike ride" to do this particular ride. The riders hail from Idaho, Florida, North Carolina, Vermont and Hawaii, as well as California.

"For nine fun-filled days (with a rest day in San Simeon) we will be biking down beautiful Highway 1," Pam emailed the rest of her friends, "with views of the deep blue Pacific on our right, in some places steep mountains to our left and hopefully the wind at our backs. We will cross the rich farmlands of the Salinas Valley, wind our way to Carmel along 17-Mile Drive and listen to the barking seals as we pass famous Pebble Beach. We will enjoy the dramatic landscape of Big Sur with spectacular vistas and overlooks down to the crashing waves of the Pacific below. We will be challenged by the steep climbs leading us to the famous Bixby Creek bridge and beautiful Ragged Point. After a rest day at an oceanside resort in San Simeon, we will continue on to the seaside community of Pismo Beach, the charming kitsch of Solvang and finally to Santa Barbara completing our ride on April 26."

Bon voyage, Pam! Tailwinds, and hope the coming precip stays well out of your way!

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4/16/2010 4:14:38 PM
One-Stop Bike Tour Shopping

Wondering how you'll ever be able to check out all the possible bike tours you could take this summer? No longer an issue; just browse Biciklo.com. You can search for the country or region you want, type of ride you'd like to do, and length of time you want to spend. The Canadians who put Biciklo online have amassed over 400 tour outfitters worldwide. Playing around with their search engine, I was tickled to find some familiar names, like Dick and Marilyn Powell's Outfitter Tours, Michael Khaw's Agile Compass, and Terry Owen's Undiscovered Country Tours.

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4/10/2010 7:19:20 PM
WSD Rocks!

My New Bike OK, I finally broke down and admitted that my 15-yo Merlin no longer fits my shrunken body (I've shrunk 2 inches in the past decade). So I went out and got myself a brand new Orbea Onix Dama. It is not only gorgeous, it completely changes my position on the bike. I no longer rock in the saddle. I sit up enough to protect my weak lower back. And I can moooove uphill. Let's hear it for Women Specific Design done right!

I did test ride another carbon WSD bike (no brand names mentioned here). Now, keep in mind that I was used to the noodle of a rear triangle on the Merlin. The stiffness of this particular design did me in. Downhill I was outta control. On the flats I felt beat up (didn't help that the saddle on this particular bike was torture). Then I climbed on the Orbea and it was all over. This was my bike!

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4/2/2010 4:58:31 PM
People for Bikes: Take the Pledge

Growing virally through Facebook, People for Bikes is a pledge-driven publicity drive from BikesBelong. Sign the pledge and you'll be one of thousands of "consultants" BB director Tim Blumenthal will hit up for ideas to promote bicycling politically, socially and -- yep! -- recreationally. How do I know? I signed up, natch!

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4/2/2010 4:50:43 PM
April Fool!

A day late, but hopefully not a dollar short. If someone hasn't already turned you on to the Alberto Contador spoof on the Velo News site yesterday, here it is:

Reconstructive surgery places Contador’s season in doubt

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3/20/2010 4:13:08 PM
RIP: Phil Wood

Phil Wood, the first to design, manufacture and market sealed hubs and bottom brackets, passed away on March 14 at his daughter's home in Roseville. He was 83.

According to Matt Wiebe of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, Phil "was a problem-solver working at Food Machinery Corporation. Had he not been bothered chasing bearings for a hub he was rebuilding for his daughter, sealed-bearing hubs might have taken years to hit the bike market. When he complained to Spence Wolf, of the original Cupertino Bike Shop, that no one offered a sealed-bearing hub, Spence told him to make his own. Well, he made 50 and the Phil Wood Company, a landmark in downtown San Jose, was launched in 1971.

My fondest memories of Phil involve how he loved to sit with fellow travelers and spin tall tales. When he hired my mountain biking buddy Bern Smith as his foreman, I even got to hear the occasional tall tale about Phil, his wife and their little "homestead" in Monte Sereno.

In 1991 Phil sold his business to Peter Enright and a group of investors and moved to his farm in Iowa to help raise his granddaughter. We missed him then, and will miss him even more now. A memorial service for Phil and his wife, Vada, who passed away December 18, 2009, will be held on April 17, at the Calgary Baptist Church in Los Gatos at 11:00 am.

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3/19/2010 9:43:20 AM
More From Adventure Cycling: Sierra Cascades and Great Divide

So much interesting stuff coming out of Adventure Cycling Association in addition to my new Google Bike Maps comment yesterday.

Sierra Cascades Route: In mid-April ACA will finally unveil the new, 2,391-mile Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route, pioneered by Bil Paul, featured in my column last June. Although the Sierra Cascades route stretches from the U.S./Canada to the Mexican border at Tecate, ACA is planning "route release parties" at REI stores in Seattle, Portland and Eugene only, and Bil's name isn't even mentioned so assume he won't be in attendance. What about celebrating in California, particularly in Sacramento, home of the Bil's nearest REI?

Ride the Divide: More entertaining than parties far from home is a new documentary film, "Ride the Divide," about the annual Tour Divide race over ACA's Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. It premieres April 2 at the Vail Film Festival, but we can watch a two-minute trailer and follow a blog about the film from home.

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3/18/2010 5:39:06 PM
Google's Bike Maps Exclude the Best Long-Distance Data

According to Jim Sayer, director of Adventure Cycling Association (formerly known as BikeCentennial), his organization has had "a number of inquiries...about whether Adventure Cycling’s map data is in Google’s system. Currently, the answer is no. We have talked with Google reps about that possibility... ." That's too bad because there's no better long-distance touring directions and information that ACA's comprehensive route system. Sayer stressed that "GPS data for all of our routes is already available for free. In the meantime, I want to salute Google for giving cyclists another tool for finding their way on two wheels -- and I’m curious what you think about their service." You can read the rest of his comments and offer your opinions on his Sayers' ACA blog.

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3/12/2010 2:35:12 PM
Check Out Google's Bike Maps Video

I learned more about how to use Google's new bike maps on this YouTube video.

Read my last two updates to get some opinions from beta users who didn't look first :-).

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