Archive for the ‘April Fool’ Category

Frenchman Tony Gallopin riding for Lotto-Belisol donned the yellow jersey today after completing Stage 9 of the 2014 Tour de France, just in time for Bastille Day celebrations tomorrow.

tony gallopin yellow jersey

France leads with the number of yellow jerseys in this historic race with 709. The last French rider to wear the maillot jaune before today was Thomas Voeckler in 2011 for Stage 18

Pioneer Electronics is an equipment sponsor for the Belkin Pro Cycling Team and UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling. They provide what they call the Pedaling Monitoring System, a strain gauge crank arm force meter and its associated electronics and display technology.

pioneer electronics cycling camera

What I didn’t know before today is that Pioneer has apparently also adapted their line of automotive rear view cameras for cycling use. Here’s a shot of a Belkin rider at Epernay at the start of Stage 7 of the Tour de France.

I can’t find consumer information about this use of their camera yet. I assume we can probably find an announcement either at Eurobike or Interbike later this year.

I think this no trespassing sign at the SAP Arena is brand new.


No trespassing.  Has this sign always been here?

The back of the San Jose SAP Center is the popular and easy route for access to the Guadalupe River Trail from San Jose Diridon Station, the major transit hub located between downtown and midtown San Jose. This is the route often used by San Jose Bike Train, which runs the first and third Wednesday of every month.

I think (and I hope) this sign and any enforcement action is intended for the people I sometimes see parked on the sidewalk in front of the loading dock here. The Bus Rapid Transit Construction happening now directly in front of the SAP Center on West Santa Clara Street makes this bike-friendly detour especially important.

Many people have difficulty understanding why parking causes problems for city dwellers. Streetfilms partnered with the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP) to create this animation explaining the science behind development parking minimums.



French director of the Avignon Theatre Festival, Olivier Py, rides his bicycle after the rehearsal of the play ‘Vitrioli’ by Canadian-born Greek author Yannis Mavritsakis, which opened July 10 in Avignon.

I was on my way to the office sitting on the bus when the driver of a gravel truck lost control and demolished five or six other vehicles a couple of miles in front of me.

Highway 17 at Idyllwild

The crash took place near Bear Creek Road on Highway 17. Santa Clara County dispatched at least five ambulances, an air ambulance, and the coroner :-(.

My comments in the log below are in italics.

1183-Trfc Collision-Unkn Inj
— Jul 10 2014 7:51AM BIG RIG VS 5 VEHS
— Jul 10 2014 7:52AM BLKING BOTH LNS
— Jul 10 2014 7:53AM PER ANOTHER BIG RIG LOST BRAKES
— Jul 10 2014 7:53AM -Problem changed from 1183-Trfc Collision-Unkn Inj to 1179-Trfc Collision-1141 Enrt by CHP
— Jul 10 2014 7:53AM SC PARK RANGER 1097 (Santa Clara County Park Ranger on scene)
— Jul 10 2014 7:53AM 1 PRTY TRAPPED IN SIL VEH (Silver Vehicle)
— Jul 10 2014 7:54AM LNS BLOCKED (Lanes Blocked)
— Jul 10 2014 7:54AM PER WITNESS – BIG RIG BRAKES WERE SMOKING PRIOR TO THE TC
— Jul 10 2014 7:54AM BIG RIG VS SEVERAL
— Jul 10 2014 7:58AM CMS ACTIVATED, PLS UPDATE LANE STATUS WHEN UNITS 1097 THX (CMS are the overhead electronic signs, 1097 = on scene or arrived)
— Jul 10 2014 7:59AM 1185 FOR JACKNIFED BIGRIG – BOTH LANES BLOCKED
— Jul 10 2014 8:02AM 1039 FINISH LINE TOW 408-980-9777 *100
— Jul 10 2014 8:11AM 1039 SIGN TRUCK SUP
— Jul 10 2014 8:11AM -SC SO/HAS LIFE FLIGHT ENRT AND APPROX 5 1141′S ENRT (SCSO = Santa Clara County Sheriff Office, 1141 = ambulances)
— Jul 10 2014 8:13AM 1039 DOTCC LINE 39
— Jul 10 2014 8:15AM 1039 CORONER (Fatality)
— Jul 10 2014 8:16AM ^***ISSUE SIGALERT*** NB SR17 JSO BEAR CREEK RD ALL LANES CLOSED DUE TO TRAFFIC COLLISION UNK ETO (Unknown Estimated Time to Open)
— Jul 10 2014 8:21AM MON UNIT IS 1097 REQ MAIT AND DOT FOR HARD CLOSURE
— Jul 10 2014 8:22AM A24-083 ALL LANES BLKD // REQG SANTA CRUZ TO TURN TRAFFIC AROUND AT THE SUMMIT // CLOSED APPROX 6 HOURS
— Jul 10 2014 8:23AM A24-083 TRYING TO GET ALL TRAFFIC TURNED AROUND
— Jul 10 2014 8:23AM 1039 CS
— Jul 10 2014 8:24AM A24-281 TURNING TRAFFIC AROUND TO MAKE ROOM FOR LIFT FLIGHT (Clearing highway to make room for air ambulance landing)
— Jul 10 2014 8:24AM COPY, 1039 DOTCC
— Jul 10 2014 8:26AM 1039 MONTEREY COMM // STARTING UNITS FOR 1184 (Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County are in different CHP districts. Contacted Monterey Region district for traffic control help on Highway 17)
— Jul 10 2014 8:29AM A24-110 BOTH NB LANES AND #1 SB CLOSED
— Jul 10 2014 8:30AM A24-281 DIVERTING TRAFFIC AT HEBARD
— Jul 10 2014 8:30AM 1039 DOT-CC
— Jul 10 2014 8:31AM 1039 SJ OFC / SGT ENRT FROM OFC
— Jul 10 2014 8:32AM -FINISHLINE TOW IS LL REQ BEST ACCESS- STUCK IN STOPPED TRAFFIC (Tow truck stuck in traffic)
— Jul 10 2014 8:34AM DOT-CC ADVISED ETA 20 MIN
— Jul 10 2014 8:35AM ^***UPDATE SIGALERT***BOTH NB LANES AND THE #1 LANE SB ON SR17 ARE CLOSED ETO FOR ALL LANES IS 1430HRS NB TRAFFIC IS BEING DIVERTED TO HEBARD RD
— Jul 10 2014 8:38AM -MONT CHP WANT TO CONFIRM TC IS AT NB 17 JSO BEAR CREEK (Monterey region CHP confirming location of traffic collission)
— Jul 10 2014 8:42AM A24-171 PER 110 1023 ON BIG RIG 1185 // PER FINISHLINE DRIVER ALREADY 97 (Tow truck on scene, waiting to access crashed big rig)
— Jul 10 2014 8:44AM 1039 26-S5 FOR 1021 TO 24-L2
— Jul 10 2014 8:44AM A24-171 1039 MONTEREY FOR S UNIT TO 1021 L2 // L2 ALREADY CALLED IN TO MONTEREY (Telephone message for “L2″)
— Jul 10 2014 8:49AM 110 RQEG SO TO ASSIST W/ 1184 // TURNING TRAFFIC AROUND (Request to Sheriff Office to help with traffic control)
— Jul 10 2014 8:53AM 24-L2 SANTA CRUZ SGT IS WORKING W/ DOT TO GET TRAFFIC DIVERTED OFF TO OLD SANTA CRUZ ROAD
— Jul 10 2014 8:54AM A24-087M DIVERTING TRAFFIC OFF AT SR9 PLEASE UPDATE CMS SIGNS
— Jul 10 2014 8:59AM -RP IN GRY MERZ E420 IS RIGHT BEFORE TC / HAS NOT MOVED SINCE TC // IS LATE FOR DOCTOR APPOINTMENT THAT SHE NEEDS A VERY IMPORTANT TREATMENT FOR // IS VEHS RIGHT BEFORE ABLE TO BE DIVERTED – (Somebody stuck in traffic calling to say she’s late for her important doctor’s appointment)
— Jul 10 2014 9:00AM 1039 MONTEREY COMM RE LINE 93
— Jul 10 2014 9:07AM A24-281 NEED UNIT ON SB SIDE TO HOLD TRAFFIC AT BEAR CREEK // WILL BE SENDING 1141 WWAY IN MID LANES // 85 CPYS
— Jul 10 2014 9:07AM A24-281 1141 WILL BE HEADING NB IN SB #1 LANE
— Jul 10 2014 9:09AM -PER LINE 96 / ARE VEHS THAT ARE RIGHT BEFORE TC BEING DIVERTED SOON?
— Jul 10 2014 9:12AM -LL W/ SANTA CRUZ***INQ IF BOULDER CREEK TO SB 17 IS OPEN
— Jul 10 2014 9:23AM A24-085 ADVS NOTIFY 110M SB 17 CLOSED JNO BEAR CREEK AT THIS TIME FOR 1141S HEADING NB IN SB LANES // 110M, CPSY (Southbound 17 closed for ambulances going northbound in the southbound lanes)
— Jul 10 2014 9:25AM -SANTA CRUZ METRO BUS REQ UNIT FOR ASST – ADV’D IS 1125 IN THE SLOW LN / NB 17 AT REDWOOD ESTATES – UNABLE TO MOVE / TA – APPX 30 PEOPLE ON BOARD (This wasn’t my bus – I was stuck in a later bus a couple of miles behind this one)
— Jul 10 2014 9:26AM COPY LINE 112, 1039 DOTCC FOR INFO / CMS UPDATED FOR THE SB
— Jul 10 2014 9:35AM COPY, 1039 DOTCC
— Jul 10 2014 9:45AM A24-110 ALMOST ALL CIVILIAN VEHS CLEARED FROM RDWY THAT WERE STUCK IN BACK UP AT IDYLWILD // EMERGENCY VEHS WILL BE ABLE TO ACCESS IN LESS THAN 5
— Jul 10 2014 9:50AM SUPERVISOR WILL 1021 CAMPBELLS TOW
— Jul 10 2014 9:52AM CAMPBELLS TOW CAN HANDLE BIG RIG TOW EVIDENCE
— Jul 10 2014 9:52AM – CAMPBELLS TOW CAN HANDLE BIG RIG TOW EVIDENCE
— Jul 10 2014 9:52AM A24-681 PLS INQ IF CAMPBELLS TOW CAN HANDLE BIG RIG EVIDENCE TOW // IF SO PLS 1022 FINISH LINE // OTHERWISE WILL USE FINISH LINE
— Jul 10 2014 9:57AM A24-110 24-110– WE HAVE A FSP UNIT 1097 — ASKING PERM FOR US TO KEEP HIM HERE FOR SEVERAL HRS PLS ADV (FSP = Freeway Service Patrol, i.e. the courtesy tow service)
— Jul 10 2014 10:01AM -CHP SANTA CRUZ UNIT ADVZD VEHS GETTING ON FROM OTHER NB STRERETS AND RAMPS PASSED SUMMIT REQ CT DIST 4 TO CLOSE THE NB ENTRANCES TO 17/ PER DIST 4 THEY ARE SPREAD THIN AND REQ CHP UNITS TO DO CLOSURES
— Jul 10 2014 10:06AM GG-MAIT1 IS SB 680 AT SCOTTS CREEK — WHAT IS BEST ACC ,, UNITS ARE UNABLE DO NOT GO PASS THE BEAR CRK BRIDGE (Another tow company stuck in traffic)

Video from the crash scene at KION.

I live and ride in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, which means frequent transitions between bright sun and dark shade. I normally ride with contacts and sunglasses with an amber tint. It’s a compromise that is too dark for the redwood canopy and too light for bright sun on the coast.

Sportsrx.com sent me these Nike Mercurial 6.0 prescription sunglasses a few weeks ago. I got them with Transitions photochromatic lenses.


Delaveaga road on dirt

My brilliant plan: shoot photos of my face and stitch these photos into a time lapse video to show the Transition lenses transition from dark and light as I rode through the forest to the beach. Theoretically, we’d see dark lenses in bright sunlight and clear lenses in the shade.

Unfortunately, when we drop into darkness, the camera image is also dark, so we can’t really see my eyes through the lenses. Instead, we get this seizure inducing video.



I can report that photochromatic lenses work as expected while I ride through the hills. I can see in the light and in the dark, huzzah.

Good day, all. I conquered a small mountain. That, and Tour de France spoilers below.


At Swanton Berry Farm with Sara

On the morning of the Fourth of July, Lynne Watanabe and Chris Davies came to Scotts Valley to film the conquest of Grace Way, a short road in my town that culminates with a 38% grade. I was enjoying a latte at Coffee Cat when Lynne texted me asking to me to drop by. That’s why you’ll see me in the video wearing a trucker cap and a t-shirt.

Chris, unfortunately, suffered a mechanical that he eventually diagnosed as a skipping pawl inside of his Powertap hub. The understudy (aka Yours Truly) arrived before the camera crew packed up. I’m wheezing like an emphysemic smoker in the audio because my asthma kicked in towards the top of this hill, but I made it nonetheless. Yay, me!




Top Gear Presenter James May loves bicycles.

What I am about to say is not going to be popular with at least one of my Top Gear colleagues, but here goes anyway. I’d like to stick up for the bicycle.

Why bikes make otherwise smart people say dumb things.

TdF Duck Face.

San Jose Bike Party teams up with the San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation for planned bike hack events in the near future. Stay tuned.

Boy loses bike to theft. Boy spots his bike in the valet bike parking area during the Sunset Celebration in Menlo Park, CA. Because boy filed a police report, he was able to quickly prove ownership and recover his bike.

Would you put white tires on your road bike? It’s a bold move for middle aged men like me.

USA Cycle Chic 1970s.

Germany’s Marcel Kittel racing for Giant Shimano wins Stage 3 of the 2014 Tour de France in London earlier today. After three days in England, Le Tour moves to its namesake country for Stage 4 beginning tomorrow.

Electra Bicycles (owned by Trek) moves from the suburbs to a downtown location that’s served by public transportation, with 75 percent of employees able to commute by bike, train or by foot to work at the new location.

Transit and other transportation

$20 round trip tickes on the ACE Train between Stockton and Santa Clara Great America for Forty Niners games at Levi’s Stadium. The ACE Train stops directly in front of the new stadium in Santa Clara, California.

VTA planners tell me Santa Cruz County generates more traffic for Santa Clara than San Francisco does. I’m one of those 40,000 people (out of 126,000 residents who are employed) who commute “over the hill” into neighboring Silicon Valley from the coast. A new, VC funded technology startup opted for downtown Santa Cruz office space specifically to recruit some of the tech talent available over here.

Construction of new transit systems in Copenhagen means horrible traffic delays for drivers, which in turn results in tens of thousands who have abandoned their cars in favor of bicycles.

The city of Milpitas, CA denied a work permit for BART construction until VTA changed the plans to reduce the impact on traffic. This change, unfortunately, also means construction delays for BART into San Jose.

Transit Oriented Development and bicycles.

California Independent Oil Marketers Association wants to extend a gasoline tax.


A few people have dismissed the 38% grade in my town as not much of an achievement. Here’s what a group of Shimano Giant pros on a training ride last spring look like on a 30% grade in Sheffield. I realize they’re on bigger gears and riding on tired legs, but I think it gives you an idea of the difficulty of extreme slopes like this. Video again courtesy of Lynne.



I am a long time avid cyclist. I presume to know what’s best for you. We mock those who don’t obey the Rules. You must wear the right clothing and wear the right shoes, ride the right bike, and don the correct helmet. We’ll even mock your choice of handlebars.

Fred Planet TriDork Yellow t-shirt

The reasons we create these barriers to entry are complex, but these attitudes stifle innovation and creativity within the industry while also discouraging newcomers from testing the waters.

It’s not just the bike industry that does this. I worked for a Silicon Valley computer firm known for its failure to convert its technological brilliance into marketing success. For decades, European automakers ignored requests from their American dealers for decent cupholders because their engineers presumed to know better. Who wants to sip a carbonated beverage when one is engaged in the serious business of driving an automobile?

When a group of young problem solvers in California designed their Helios handlebars to “transform any bike into a smart bike,” the endemic bike media — both traditional and new — mostly ignored the slick integration of a headlight, turn signals and Bluetooth connectivity. We didn’t think we need those things because, after all, our normal handlebars work fine, and so what if the headlight mount is a little bit clunky and ugly?

Helios black drop handlebars

But a funny thing happened. The Helios concept went viral among gadget and technology blogs. This list of features available just from the Bluetooth connectivity allowed Helios to nearly double their Kickstarter project goal.

  • Proximity Lighting – Allow your bike to sense your presence & automatically turn on your headlight when you’re near, and off when you’re not.
  • Turn Signals – Left and right blinkers keep you safe & visible on the road.
  • GPS Tracking – Track your bike via SMS from anywhere in the US. Receive the coordinates of your bike & a Google Maps link to its location within 30 seconds of tracking.
  • Visual Speedometer – The rear facing LEDs change color according to how fast you ride, providing you with a visual speedometer so you never need to have your phone out.
  • Turn-by-Turn Navigation – Find the fastest route to any destination by harnessing the power of the Google Maps API.The rear lights will indicate when a turn is approaching.
  • Ambient Lighting – Set the color of the rear lights to any color you want.

Who buys Helios handlebars? People who don’t consider themselves “avid cyclists.”

Cool and useful gadgets like the Helios handlebars have encouraged people to try biking. Helios co-founder Tony Belmontes tells me, “In terms of Helios bringing otherwise non-biker commuters to biking, is without a doubt a trend we’re seeing. In fact, we’ve had people who can’t ride a bike purchase Helios bars in hopes of learning how to ride a bike, just for the technological benefits and the experience of something totally new to biking.”

“Helios appeals to not only folks who bike now, but those who have forgotten the magic of cycling or hadn’t really considered it as a viable mode of transportation.”

I welcome these newcomers to cycling into the fold, regardless of their choices in apparel, bikes, and handlebars!



Disclosure: This post was written as part of Progressive’s 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. Progressive Insurance Logo

Sarai Snyder’s Women Race Bikes launched last week; I learned about it on Friday, waited until Monday morning to continue spreading the word about this in case you missed it.


Everything You Need to Know About “Women Race Bikes” from D2photography on Vimeo.

It’s time for this and I put in a few dollars to help. To learn more and to contribute, click through to here.

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