Bicycles are fun for everyone,

Whoever you are !

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Not only is it a wonderful way to get around, it provides you with your daily dosage of exertion and activity as well.  So while Bicycles have principally been a means of transport for a long time now, that is no longer the case.

Bikes keep you fit. Bicycles can add adventure to your day. Bicycles also keep the surroundings cleaner. And for the more self righteous ones – bikes make you feel like you are doing the world a favour!

What to consider:

So you’ve decided to buy a bicycle, now the first thing you’ve got ask yourself is:

* Who’s going to be using it?

* What it will be used for?

* How much are you willing to spend on it?

and Most Important…

* Your Reason for buying a Bicycle

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Among many bicycle lovers, while most choose to bicycle casually, either to school, university or even work; some more adventurous ones have also been a part of stunt biking groups, professional cycling clubs or mountain biking associations.

Cycling is a great hobby and with so many options to choose from, you can decide how best you associate with this great invention!  However, before you jump to any of that, you do need a bicycle. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when purchasing a bike either for your kids or for yourself.

Purchasing a bicycle for your toddler

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So you’ve decided to initiate your toddler to the wonderful world of cycling; now the right time to get your toddler a two wheel bike is when they have reached age 3. By this age, kids have properly developed motor skills as well as a sense of balance and self sufficiency.

Buying a bike for your child requires some research. Just knowing the brand and the colour preference is not enough. The bike needs to be comfortable enough for the child to ride, especially if the child is starting out learning to ride a bike.

The details

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Bicycle sizes are classified via the size of the wheel. There are recommended wheel sizes for all age groups.

When purchasing a bike for your child, pick the bike with the correct wheel size of 12 or 14 inches.  Take your child with you for bike shopping. Make sure her legs reach the floor. When riding a bike, this will give the child more self confidence.

Also make sure you purchase a pair of detachable side wheels for training her so she can learn to balance.  Another important thing to keep in mind is to purchase a bike that is light in weight. Since you toddler is learning to ride, chances are she might fall a few times. And a heavy bike will worsen the experience.

So while it is a bit more expensive, it is worth the investment. And while you are at it, don’t forget to purchase a cycling helmet!

Bicylce for kids in their pre-teens and teens

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By the time your kids are in pre-teens or in their teens, they will have mastered the art of riding a bike and would have long outgrown the toddler bike.

Now is the time for something different!

Since they are a bit grown up, they will want more say in the purchase decision.

It is best to get to know what it is they are looking for. Now, remember, kids might want the world, but you are working with a budget.

So make sure your child is aware of it before hand so he can do his bit of research as well within that budget.


(a big word, but here’s what it means)

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In this age group, most kids will use the bicyle to go to school and for after school activities like meeting friends, taking part in local racing competitions etc.

Consider the ergonomics of the bicycle. Make sure the handle bars are not too close to the seat as it will exhaust your child quite easily. And ensure that the seats are comfortable.

The ideal wheel size for a pre-teenager’s bike is 18-22 inches. Make sure bikes for your young teen have coaster breaks for additional safety. Teenagers can use the same bike size used by adults, which is a standard 24 inches.

Take your children with you so they can test ride the bikes before finally choosing one which fits their requirements and your budget.

Read more about Bicycle Ergonomics Here

Also, don’t forget to accessorize.

Items like extra headlights, water-bottle, reflectors, mirrors, radio etc. will personalize the bike for your child.

Considerations when purchasing a bicycle for adults

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The ideal bike size for adults is 24 inches.  When purchasing such a bicycle, ask yourself a couple of basic questions.

Is the bike for casual riding or exercising or for a special hobby like mountain biking or for sports?

You can opt for a single gear or multi-gear bike giving you the convenience of varying speed limits, based on where you are riding it. These days road bikes offer speed ranges of 12 to 21, to choose from. Another important thing to look for is adjustable seats and handle-bars.

Before you make a final purchase, test ride a couple of bikes since unlike kids, you are not likely to outgrow the bike you purchase.This also means you should go for something that is not just sturdy but also light.

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Today, there are different brands with various models of bikes catering to all these specific requirements.

Based on your requirement, choose the right Street Bicycle for your needs.

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Thanks for your helpful Insight Mr Marco Terrell

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Cantitoe Road is a small importer and distributor of specialty products for bicycles. They sent me a sample of the “Espresso” bicycle tube inflator and sealant that they import from Effetto Mariposa (“the Butterfly Effect”) in Italy.

Effetto Mariposa sealant and inflator

You can buy the cartridge alone or in a kit with the bottle cage mount, which firmly and unobtrusively holds the cartridge in place. It looks bulky compared to frame pumps, but in two weeks of riding I’ve never bumped a foot or leg into this, and the cartridge hasn’t budged in spite of curb hops and bumpy roads.

I finally had opportunity to test the sealant this morning when I went off road to explore a homeless trail behind the Costco on Coleman Avenue in Santa Clara. I searched for a way to cross the Caltrain tracks under De La Cruz Avenue. I found numerous goathead thorns in both of my tires. Bah.

Bah.  Goatheads.

I kept the thorns in place to keep the holes plugged and managed another five miles before the front tire became too soft to ride. I quickly slid the inflator onto the bicycle tube valve (Presta only; this doesn’t work on Schraeder valves), and pressed the button to watch foamy latex fly all over the place.

I then looked at the pictorial instructions a little more carefully and noted the part where I’m supposed to hold the plastic tube in place on the valve. I couldn’t hold phone, the tube, and press the inflator button simultaneously so there’s no video, but I successfully sealed and inflated the tire on this second go around.

I inflated the front tire to about 60 lbs with this canister, and had enough left over to inject sealant into my rear tire. I topped both tires with the frame pump and went on my merry way.

The latex used inside is the same stuff used to seal tubeless setups. It’s moderately messy — you don’t want to use this indoors — but cleans up quickly and easily. I got some on my hands but it rubs right off after it dries. Still, it beats the mess of removing tire and tube from a bike to patch or replace the holey tube.

I suspect the liquid latex doesn’t do well in below freezing temperatures, so the icebikers who read Cyclelicious may consider storing this in an inside pocket while riding.

The stuff is pricey at $15 a can, but I can see it coming in handy if you’re in a hurry or riding in darkness or inclement weather and just want to get going. I recommend it and I plan to buy another can to replace what I used this morning.

Many of the usual bike shops in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Santa Cruz carry Cantitoe Road products, although I don’t know which stock the Espresso sealant canister. See the full dealer listing here. Cantitoe Road also sells direct through the Internet. They have a number of other cool products that I plan to look at in the near future.

There’s a pre-season football game between the Santa Clara 49ers and …. somebody else coming up on Sunday. This is the first football game in the new Levi’s Stadium at the north end of Santa Clara, CA. I’ve updated the Levi’s Stadium bike directions page to reflect the experiences of those who attended the inaugural stadium event in which the San Jose Earthquakes defeated the Sounders the other week.

49ers stadium bike parking detail

I also received replies in response to the concerns I outlined about bicycle access from the Santa Clara Bicycle Advisory Committee and from Levi’s Stadium officials.

I finally found bike racks at Levi's Stadium.   #santaclara #cycling

To wit, a summary of my concerns and the responses I received from Levi’s Stadium operations:

  • Trail closure surprises: “We are currently planning on placing permanent signage at the trail which will identify which days the trail will be closed.”
  • Trail detour: “We apologize for the inconvenience. Moving forward the staff will have a map which will detail the detour, so they can distribute.”
  • No bike parking at Red Lots 1 and 6: (This turned out to be partially incorrect, though that was due to information provided by stadium ushers): ” There was available bicycle parking in Red Lot 1; you are correct Red Lot 6 was not set up for bike parking.There will be bike parking in Red Lot 6 moving forward (golf course by David’s). Also this parking will be available for NFL and Non NFL events.”
  • Staff did not know location of bike parking, bike detours, etc: “We are sorry to hear and will make sure that all staff are aware moving forward. We appreciate your input.”
  • Insufficient bike parking: (My bad, again due to information provided by stadium ushers on the game day) “I am not quite sure about the above, as the Red Lot 1 accommodates 750 bikes plus it was not filled to capacity. We will keep an eye on this.”

I’m told these stadium issues will be on the Santa Clara Bicycle Advisory Committee agenda for next Wednesday, August 20, 2014, though as of this writing the agenda is not available online. The BAC members I’ve spoken with are concerned about the issues as well.

For the updated bike access information for Levi’s stadium, please click here.

The second of two San Jose future bikeways meetings takes place tonight, Wednesday, August 13, 2014. This meeting at the Gardner Community Center at 520 West Virginia Street will cover proposed bikeways in Willow Glen and streets west of downtown, including the important Park Avenue east-west connector between San Jose and the city of Santa Clara.

san jose future bikeways meeting August 13

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I laid out the bikeway tentative details in this post, but to sum up, the city DOT proposes bike lanes on Park Avenue from downtown all the way to Newhall Street, the entire length of Stockton Street from the Alameda (under the Caltrain tracks) to Bellarmine, Julian Street from The Alameda to the Guadalupe River, and Lincoln Avenue from San Carlos Street to Virginia Avenue.

San Jose bikeway projects 2014 with labels this time

Street parking will be removed from one side of both Park and Lincoln to make space for the bike lanes. Unsurprisingly, some business owners lament the loss of street parking, believing that increasing the flow of people through their neighborhoods will somehow result in a loss of business and income for them.

The meeting begins at 6 PM. Bring a lock for your bike. Consider ways to effectively communicate the benefits of these bike facilities to business owners who fear that change will always result in negative consequences.

Also: SJDOT to present St John Street Improvement Project August 21, 2014 — The City of San José Department of Transportation (DOT) will host a public meeting to discuss the proposed street improvements along the St. John Street corridor in downtown San Jose. According to SJDOT, the St. John Street Improvement Project includes a variety of pedestrian and bicycle improvements as well as enhancements to intersections to improve vehicle circulation and enhance safety for all modes of transportation. This meeting takes place Thursday, August 21, 2014 beginning at 6 PM, San Jose City Hall, 200 E Santa Clara St., Wing Room 120, where presenters will discuss proposed improvements for St John Street between the SAP Center and 1st Street. San Jose Bike Train rides the portion of St John between the Shark Tank loading dock to the Guadalupe River Trail.

The meeting notice highlights parking validation for the City Hall garage, but makes no mention of the Bay Area Bike Share kiosk located at City Hall, or that VTA buses 22, 522, 23, 55, 63, 64, ,65, 72, 73, 81 and the DASH shuttle all stop within a block of City Hall.

In other news, SJDOT deputy Paul Smith will visit Copenhagen. Smith was hired away from the city of Portland, OR last year.

The sale of vehicles classed as “light trucks” — pickup trucks, SUVs, minivans and crossover vehicles — began climbing dramatically in the United States during the 1980s. Light truck market share passed 50% in 2000, with sales of truck-like vehicles remaining the majority of auto sales in spite of a dip during the 2008 recession.

These vehicles take up 25% more space than an average car. Doubling the numbers of these larger vehicles over the past 30 years is equivalent to removing a full lane from an eight lane freeway.

Willow Road morning traffic

Larger vehicles take up all kinds of space. They need more room in the lane, more parking space, more garage space, and more maneuvering room. But these vehicles sell because we like them.

Like some of you, like me, and like many other young Americans, a younger Danny Kim loved big things with engines. He loved them so much he became an ASE certified Land Rover mechanic. As a side project, he took a pair of Land Rover Defender utility vehicles and stripped them to the frame to rebuild them into his perfect SUV.

While welding beneath the quarter-ton chassis of his perfect truck, Danny was nearly crushed to death when a stand failed and the truck frame fell to the ground. This accident led Danny to reflect on why he needed to build such a large vehicle when most people drive alone.

His solution: cut the car in half and balance it to create the perfect city vehicle, the Lit Motors C-1!

Lit Motors C1

This electrically powered, street-legal two wheeled vehicle comes in at under 10 feet long and 40 inches wide. It can carry two people and a small amount of cargo. You get a full charge within about six hours from a standard wall outlet.

But will it sell?

This might look like an enclosed electric motorcycle. This helps mitigate the problem of space, but to many people, “two wheels” sounds a lot like “danger.” Consumers are often motivated to buy larger vehicles because of their perceived safety benefits.

Kim wanted to solve the space problem, but his solution doesn’t help if nobody buys the smaller vehicle. Kim specifically designed the C-1 to address safety concerns in the larger automotive market. The C-1 is designed with a steel unibody chassis with reinforced doors, seat belts, and multiple airbags.

The really amazing feature of the C-1, however, is its gyroscopic stability system. This is the feature that allows a driver who knows nothing about countersteer and lean to control the C-1. Not only that, this gyroscope keeps the C-1 upright even when it’s slammed by a space-hogging truck. How cool is that?

The C-1 is not available for sale just yet, but late last year Lit Motors announced another cool project — the Kubo Electric Cargo Scooter. 45 MPH top speed, 50 mile range, onboard charger, to be available Real Soon Now for about $6,000 plus shipping.

Lit Motors Kubo Cargo Scooter

This post was written as part of the Progressive Apron Project, helping tell the story of people and their initiatives making progress towards a greater good. I have been compensated as a contributor to this project, but the thoughts and opinions in this post are my own.

Chicago bike nerd Dan Ciskey tweeted several photos of Robin Williams with his bikes last night. Click through for larger images.

Robin Williams on an Indy Fab. on Twitpic

Robin Williams on a Trek at a Fred ride. on Twitpic

Robin Williams and a Cannondale. on Twitpic

Robin Williams and Lance Armstrong (not my photo, clearly). on Twitpic

Robin Williams and a Colnago. on Twitpic

Robin Williams on a BMC. on Twitpic

Locals knew Robin Williams as an avid cyclist and was seen on the road near his Marin County home and at cycling events around the San Francisco Bay Area. He appreciated privacy but welcomed company with grace when others joined him on rides.

In this video clip, he discusses cycling in New York and Los Angeles with Jon Stewart.

The Daily Show
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Rest in peace to this comic genius.

Stephen Baxter wrote a decent piece for the Sentinel about the three foot law coming into effect on September 16. There might be a quote in it from Yours Truly, and of course the usual reader comments following about the law breaking scofflaws that cyclists all are. They don’t provide any solutions, of course, so I’ll suggest my own: give all of those law-breaking cyclists a car, because more idiots in cars will make our roads safer, less congested, and better in every way!

Santa Cruz Bike Party Friday June 21 2013

Read it: Cyclists, police prepare for new ‘Three Feet for Safety’ law in Santa Cruz County: New rule requires drivers to keep cyclists at arm’s length.

Happy August, all. San Jose Bike Train rolls Wednesday morning, August 6, 2014.

San Jose Bike Train Route

We meet near the Amtrak bus shelter at San Jose Diridon Station and depart at 8 AM for destinations north (toward the Bay) along the Guadalupe River Trail as shown on the map above. It’s also become traditional to drop by Bel Bacio Caffe to pick up riders who stop there for a brew.

Bike Train is for those who work along the Guadalupe Parkway / North First Street corridor. This includes the County Buildings on Hedding Street, San Jose International Airport, and the North First office parks on and near Technology Drive, Trimble Road, Montague Expressway, River Oaks, and Tasman Drive, where Bike Train intersects with VTA light rail.

We strive to welcome riders of all abilities, from absolute newcomers to the avid cyclist who likes the social pace of the ride. Fitness apparel, fancy helmets and fast bikes are completely optional for San Jose Bike Train, and we travel at a comfortable 10 to 12 MPH pace. As your ride leader, I typically wear casual office apparel for my commute. For this week’s ride, I’ll wear a black t-shirt with prominent “San Jose Bike Train” text on the back.

If plan to show up but are running late or can’t find us, please ping me via Twitter or the San Jose Bike Train Facebook page. You can also find ride status updates at both of those locations, and I generally create Bike Train Glympse to help you find us if you want to meetup along the way.

Let me know how silly this ad seems to you.

This ad by a group calling themselves the California Drivers’ Alliance is getting plenty of airplay. Although the group vaguely brags that they’re “a nonpartisan movement of motorists, small businesses, fuel providers and consumers,” they receive most of their funding from California’s oil industry, which has created a number of fake astroturf advocacy groups like this to fight the cap and trade program tooth and nail.

The non-partisan part may be correct: The Western States Petroleum Association in Sacramento are the biggest spenders in the state capitol and that spending has bought them plenty of influence. 30% of the Democratic Caucus in the California Assembly have signed a letter asking the California Air Resources Board to delay or redesign the cap and trade program because of its impact on their largest donors on the poor who can’t afford to drive when gas jumps to nearly $5 a gallon when big oil profits decline by 16 cents to 76 cents per gallon and the dollars go to improving air quality and transportation choices for all Californians. Sorry about the fractured text here; I realize all of this self serving doublespeak disguised as concern for the working man can be confusing.

Democratic Assemblymember Henry Perea of Fresno has been the biggest cheerleader on behalf of his oil industry sponsors in fighting against cap-and-trade taxes. Late last year, Perea accepted thousands of dollars in gifts from Chevron, the Western States Petroleum Association, and Aera Energy LLC, an oil exploration and production company in Bakersfield jointly owned by Shell and ExxonMobil. Perea — who last month introduced AB 69 to delay cap-and-trade and represents a district with the worst air pollution in the nation — has received nearly $74,000 from the oil industry over his legislative career. The air pollution in Fresno is so bad the local roller derby team call themselves the “Smog City Roller Rebels,” and Fresno has the highest rate of asthma in the state of California.

Hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer hasn’t paid me a dime to link to his blog post arguing in favor of cleaner air for people. The oil companies fighting these cap-and-trade efforts couldn’t care less about the poor who are more likely than most to suffer from the environmental degradation caused by their products.

AB 69 is a classic gut and amend bill that began life as a bill to address water quality. The current version is currently in the Assembly Rules Committee, where it awaits assignment to its appropriate committee. Besides Perea, co-sponsors Brown, Daly, Hall, Roger Hernández, Rodriguez, and Salas in the Assembly; and Correa and Torres in the Senate have affixed their name to this dubious bill to let their constituents know how much they hate their children.

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