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Archive for the ‘Edinburgh’ Category

Note: San Jose Bike Train rolls next Wednesday, February 3, 2014 at 8 AM from Diridon Station.

This last week I experienced my worst asthma attack in 30 years. It wasn’t particularly intense or scary, but it did lay me out for an extended period of time. After breathing treatments and some stronger medication with exciting new side effects, I’m finally feeling close to normal for the first time in about 10 days today.

Caltrain 329 San Jose Diridon Station

Ride Every Road

While I recovered earlier this week, I dug into my Ride Every Road efforts. I endeavor to Ride Every Road in the cities of Santa Clara, CA (240 miles of surface streets) and Santa Cruz, CA (120 miles) and log those miles to Strava. I’ve covered perhaps 80% of roads in both of those cities.

My own city of Scotts Valley (population 12,000) has perhaps 40 miles of surface streets. Theoretically, I should be able to knock out the whole town in perhaps half a day of riding. Wednesday afternoon, I felt good enough for a slow, 10 mile ride, so I thought I should be able to cover a good chunk of Scotts Valley roads. But check out the ludicrous elevation profile in my mountain town — that’s a 1000 feet of climbing just to get from one end of town to the other.

The city of Santa Clara covers four times the area for ten times the population with five times has many street miles, but I’ll likely complete Santa Clara first because it’s flat as a pancake.


Riding Every Road gives opportunity to explore nook and cranny of your town that you might not otherwise see. Wednesday, I discovered a fire road that takes up several hundred yards up Highway 17, and then found the huge “NO TRESPASSING SIGN” and “VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED” sign at the far end of this road just moments before encountering the private security patrolling this property.

I also enjoy finding other people participating in their own projects. Matthieu in Maisons-Alfort, France, for example, is covering every road in his commune by exploring different routes during his regular commute on a folding bike, and he photoblogs his discoveries. Mattieu posts mostly in French, but Google Translate does a fine job to get the point across.

A big pile of ICYMI

Probably the top bike story this week has been about LA attorney’s failure to charge that deputy who killed Milton Olin Jr. Deputy Andrew Wood drifted into the bike lane with as he typed into his computer, striking Olin.

New York State DMV incorrectly assesses higher fines and points against licenses for citations issued to cyclists.

Eurobike: DHL has replaced 10% of its fleet with these snazzy new electric assist cargo bikes built by Bullit.

DHL Bullit electric cargo bike

Long time Bay Area cyclist on earthquake country.

Feel good story about a small town cop who recovers a bicycle stolen from a teen.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff recovers a bicycle stolen from a San Mateo man with the help of the SF bike registry.

You’ve no doubt heard that one in four London guide dogs have been hit by bikes.

Palo Alto, CA to organize a dowtown Traffic Management Association in an effort to curb traffic congestion by coordinating “incentives for downtown employees to switch from cars to other modes of transportation.” Proposed incentives, weirdly enough, include more parking and technology solutions to make parking easier.

This faux history of Led Zeppelin is a real groaner.

Transit adjacent development is not the same as Transit Oriented Development. We have the same thing going on in San Jose.

“Save Polk” people want to derail Van Ness BRT, too. (BRT = “Bus Rapid Transit”). San Jose people should watch this, which has plans to similarly replace street parking and lanes with bus lanes and bike lanes.

SamTrans General Manager Michael Scanlon announces his retirement. He also runs Caltrain, the commuter rail operation that transports 55,000 people every day up and down the San Francisco Peninsula.

An insider’s view of the crooked politics in Chicago Metra.

A look at the impacts of urban sprawl in the American Southeast.

San Jose Coffee Crawl September 6 2014  #sanjose #cafe #cycling

Remember, all: San Jose Coffee Crawl takes place Saturday, September 6, 2014.

We have a three day weekend in the United States this weekend. Have a great one!

Tom Ritchey Peter Johnson Jobst Brandt 1982 gravel ride

Tom Ritchey grew up in the hills west of Palo Alto. As a teen he joined Jobst Brandt on his insane dirt road adventures all around the Bay Area on public and private roads. In this modern day video, we see Ritchey continues this Bay Area road-on-dirt tradition. Peninsula cyclists will recognize the roads in this video.

The Ride – with Tom Ritchey from Tom Ritchey on Vimeo.

Another local legend, Ray Holser, kept diaries of those rides with Jobst and Ritchey, excerpts of which he now posts to the web.

July 11, 1982
Riders: Jobst, Ray, Ted Mock, Peter Johnson, Jan Causey, Bob ?, Tom Ritchey, Gary Holmgren
Route: Up Page Mill, down Alpine Road, Pescadero Road to Pescadero, Stage Road to Tunitas Creek Road, up Star Hill Road, down Kings Mountain Road.
Tire/Mechanical Failure: Ray/flat; Jobst/flat; Bob/flat

You can read Holser’s full full ride report here. Holser, by the way, is now known for his Bay Area ride guides that you’ve seen at many local bike shops in this area.

H/T to Western Wheelers Bicycle Club in Palo Alto, CA.

San Francisco Bay Area Bike Share opened for business on August 29, 2014. I’m looking into the usage data over the past year and I’ll give my perspectives on what I find about usage in the South Bay.

Bike Share launch passing through SJSU campus

Bay Area Bike Share (BABS) is the regional bike share system for the cities of San Francisco, Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Jose. Something like 90% of trips have been logged in San Francisco. Pili Mayora used the open data provided by BABS to create a video showing the most popular routes in San Francisco for each hour of the day.

My membership in BABS comes up for renewal on 8/29. Over the past year, I’ve used BABS 50 times. With my annual membership, that works out to about a buck and a half per rental. Most trips took place in San Jose, with a single rental in San Francisco along the Embarcadero.

Are you a BABS member, or have you used Bay Area Bike Share? What’s your experience?

The Joint Powers Board that governs Caltrain has started the process of planning for electrification, which they anticipate will start in 2019. They’re taking public comment on bike car capacity, among many many other items under consideration.

Caltrain Electrification - Bikes on Board

Caltrain ridership has doubled over the past five years, and they anticipate another doubling over the next decade. Because commute time trains are now packed wall to wall to 125% capacity, the board wants to increase capacity with electrification, which allows more capacity and more frequent service over the current diesel sets they currently run. Currently, northbound commute time headways range from 5 minutes to 27 minutes between 5:45 AM and 8:03 AM from San Jose, with an average headway of 11 minutes. Electrification can apparently improve that, allowing Caltrain to push more trains (and people and bikes) up and down the San Francisco Peninsula.

Caltrain plans to purchase EMU (Electric Multiple Units) to augment and eventually replace the diesel trains. Unlike traditional trains, which have a locomotive pulling a set of passenger cars, the EMU combines a locomotive and passenger car into a single, self-propelled unit. The plan currently is to have these self-propelled EMUs on both ends of a six car set, with the four cars in between providing no motive power. The train operator controls the train from a cab at the head-end, similar to how BART and VTA light rail trains are operated. Conductors and passengers can travel from one of the train to the other.

Part of the planning process is designing for Caltrain’s Bikes on Board program. I believe Caltrain still has the highest capacity bikes on board program in the United States and possibly in the world, with room for 48 bikes on the Bombardier sets and 80 bikes on the Gallery sets. 6000 people bring their bikes on board Caltrain each day. Please leave a comment if you know of a train system with a higher capacity.

During staff presentation on electrification issues at the August 7 Caltrain board meeting, several minutes were spent discussing the tradeoffs between seat capacity, bike capacity and bathrooms. Obviously, adding bathrooms and bike capacity removes some seating capacity. Each bathroom, for example, removes eight seats.

The staff presentation on August 7 makes me believe Caltrain doesn’t plan to add to the current bike capacity. Because the Caltrain board has a policy of no new car parking at their stations, a lot of the new ridership will come via the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) now taking place near a few South Bay Caltrain stations and some of the transit lines that feed into them. Maybe more people will walk. This year’s ridership report, however, showed bikes contributed more to recent ridership growth than any other mode.

Bikes present a very convenient first mile and last mile means of transportation to and from the train station. As Caltrain staff notes, providing for bike storage does result in tradeoffs, but so does accommodating other transportation modes to and from the station. If Caltrain plans to double ridership with electrification, then bike capacity should also at least double. Retaining the current capacity for 6,000 bikes per day should not be acceptable.

Caltrain is taking comments via email, written communications, and various public meetings during the electrification planning process now taking place. You can find further details, contact information, and meeting schedule here. Electrification and bike capacity will be discussed at the Caltrain Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting on September 18, 2014 at 5:45. BAC meetings take place on the 2nd floor of the SamTrans Administrative Offices, 1250 San Carlos Ave, San Carlos, CA which is just a block away from the San Carlos Caltrain station. This location is also well served by local SamTrans transit service.

Santa Clara Benton & Monroe Crash

I was Just Riding Along at Lincoln Street from Benton Street in Santa Clara’s Central Business District Wednesday evening when I heard a horrific sounding crash just three blocks away on Benton at Monroe. A moment later, I heard several sirens converging on the area. KRON talks with a nearby resident with his proposals to improve traffic safety at this intersection.

The man in this story, David Dittman, lives on Monroe just a block off of Benton, where the collision happened when somebody (I don’t know who) violated the other driver’s right of way, resulting in an overturned SUV, a probably totaled sedan, and damage to road infrastructure and other private property.

This is a mostly charming residential neighborhood with well kept homes, but Benton and Monroe are both major arterial roads handling both regional and local traffic with aggressive drivers who ruin much of the charm and potential walkability.

I can believe Dittman’s claim of frequent collissions at this intersection, because from what I’ve seen several people drive waaay too fast and impatiently for conditions. Dittman’s solution to this safety problem? Faster traffic!

A left turn signal that he proposes may or may not be a reasonable solution, depending on the warrants. He also wants low radius turns so people can swoop around even faster, which is exactly the opposite of safety. KRON says an unnamed Santa Clara traffic engineer is also considering “adding more lanes,” which will also lead to faster traffic. Leaving aside the problem of coopting even more real estate for automotive traffic, I fail to see why changing an intersection to encourage even faster driving can even be considered a solution.

Benton is marked as a bike route in the Santa Clara bike map. Monroe Street is the only north-south through road with bike lanes between Los Padres Blvd (one mile to the west) and the Guadalupe River Trail (three miles very roundabout miles to the east, because there’s an airport, two Interstate freeways, and two or three more traffic sewers intervening). I hope any proposed changes to either Benton or Monroe are brought to the attention of the city of Santa Clara BAC.

KRON and Dittman have committed the classic blunder of applying Interstate highway design thinking (which are very safe because of controlled access) to local streets (which have cross traffic, turns, houses, parked cars, delivery trucks, people, trees, children, pets, bikes and Oxford commas). Adding freeway style design elements to residential streets is insanity. Don’t do it.

H/T to The All New and Improved Distict 5 Diary for the video.

Cowgirl Bike Courier in San Jose is hosting an alleycat to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Roller Girls.

LadyCat alleycat

An alleycat is an unsanctioned bike race / scavenger hunt that takes place on city streets. Prizes will be awarded based on points, and speed will not be the main focus of this event so perhaps you won’t be tempted to run red lights and ride stupidly dangerous. Cowgirl, after all, is all about changing the prevailing myth of bike couriers as daredevil risk takers.

Silicon Valley Roller Girls

Recently, SVRG’s home venue, San Jose Skate, has closed its doors – leaving the Derby Girls without a spot to practice regularly, let alone host bouts. While they’ve found a temporary solution, they are still in need of a permanent home. All proceeds from LadyCat go directly to SVRG.

CBC says all types are welcome, regardless of gender identity or bike style. I personally recommend shoes that you can walk or run in, and you should be comfortable riding in city traffic.

LadyCat takes place 2 PM tomorrow, Saturday, August 22, 2014 at the San Jose City Hall Rotunda. Bring $5 for registration, a bag, a lock and a friend. Show up early to take advantage of free bike repairs from the East San Jose Bike Cooperative. To learn more, visit the Facebook event page.

Barbara Hendricks rides a bicycle

German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety Barbara Hendricks rides a bicycle to tour a public park in Duisburg, Germany.

Join a bike tour of five different coffee shops on Saturday, September 6, 2014.

San Jose Coffee Crawl September 6 2014  #sanjose #cafe #cycling

Ride starts 9 AM at House of Bagels at 11th and San Carlos, San Jose CA. Ride at a casually caffeinated pace to Roy’s Station in Japantown, then loop back to Caffe Bel Bacio in Little Italy, I Java in Delmas Park, then B2 in San Pedro Market.

Like the graphic says, bring $$$ for drinks, treats and tips, a helmet, and a lock.

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.

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