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There is all kinds of bike talk going on lately in the Philadelphia area. If you’re remotely interested in cycling, I’m sure you’ve heard some of it. Talk of bike registration, increased fines, angry motorist rants, etc. I’ve only read some of it. I’ve purposefully avoided the more hateful bits (I’m sure you know what I’m talking about). I’ve also avoided getting into discussions about it. It’s a polarizing issue, and there are strong feelings all around.
With that said, please allow me to offer two points that I haven’t seen come up yet.
First, it should be understood that there is some overlap in bike and car use. Most cyclists have a license, and many motorists have a bike. The average cyclist is also a motorist, and likely is a decent driver with a keen understanding of the rules of the road, and how to share the road, drive defensively and safely, etc, etc. The average motorist, on the other hand, is very likely NOT a “cyclist”, familiar with how to ride in heavy traffic and in a dense urban setting. Articles which attempt to attack cycling in the city serve only to incite motorists, who have little to no concept of what a cyclist has to do to ride safely. So all you belligerent writers and angry motorists, please invite conversations, don’t incite anger!
Secondly, I hear people ranting about how cyclists don’t obey the law. I would like to compare the common cycling act of treating stop signs as yield, and red lights as stop signs (which should be the law, but that is another discussion) to speeding. Any motorist who claims they don’t speed is either lying, or infuriating other drivers on the road. We all do it, and to an extent, its condoned. On a highway, it’s arguably safer to go 5 mph above the speed limit and flow with traffic, than to be the car everyone is trying to swerve to pass. I would argue that cyclists running stop signs and red lights is the same thing. Sure, its illegal, and it’s not always a good idea. But in real life riding, its sometimes safe and ok to do. If you disagree, I challenge you to never crest 55mph on Route 95.
And if you care about this stuff, I implore you to join and support the Bike Coalition of Philadelphia
I’m late to the game on this, but the Bicycle Commuter Benefits Act has passed. Not that I really know what that means. But maybe it will prompt me to start riding into work more often, instead of taking the train. $20 a month would cover the extra food I’d be eating to fuel my 30+ mile round trip commute. But no, really, I’d like the extra incentive to ride more. Even if it’s a result of the weird and busted up policital system.
I don’t often get a chance to ride into work anymore these days. But every once in awhile, Botto and I will tackle the 20ish mile ride. Granted, he’s mildly insane; working in West Philly doesn’t lend itself to a Northeast Philly route into his office. But after commuting in years past all alone, I enjoy the company, and the motivation. This morning, we tried a different route. We ended up getting to my office 30 minutes quicker riding about the same mileage. The main difference? Bike Lanes! We’re were able to cruise many of the miles at 18-20 mph, ending up with an average of 15+ mph. Its probably slow for some, but for as infrequently as I’m able to do long rides, those number are encouraging.
The only problem is that this new route doesn’t take us past the Grey Lodge. Oh well, detour!
We leave tomorrow for Virginia Beach. I haven’t been on vacation in almost 2 years, so this has got me pretty pumped up. I got some empty growlers for Dogfish, we have the bikes waiting for the roof of the car, and I’m already wearing my Speedo. Just kidding. Almost.
We’re actually taking a brand new bike for Lois. With much thanks to our friend Tray, of Master St and Abington Wheel Wright fame, Lois has a borrowed Fuji Newest 3.0. This thing is so new(est) that I haven’t even seen it yet. But I know that she is pretty excited to have a new, STI shifting road bike. Its worlds away from her fixed gear IRO that she’s had forever. We’ll be taking it with us to VA, and Lois will be training for her tri on it.
If all goes as planned, I hope to be able to work on my contribution to the latest edition of the The Session. The theme, as decided on by Pfiff is “drinking anti-seasonally.” It suits me well, as I generally love me a barleywine, or whatever high gravity brew I can get my hands on. I also generally like the colder months, when such beers make more sense. But with authority granted by this month’s Session, I will trade in those cans of Wittekerke and Pikeland Pils for warm snifters of Blithering Idiot. Or maybe even brown bagged bombers of Baltic Thunder while sitting on the beach. More to come on this front, I’m sure.
I love getting packages in the mail. Particularly when they are unexpected, and especially when they are beer. On Saturday I got home to a nice heavy box. Inside were some treats from my friend Brent, of Redlight Redlight fame. It was 2 bottles of Saint Somewhere, Lectio Divina and Saison Athene. He’s all pumped up to have a decent brewery in Florida. Looking into it, it turns out I’ve tasted the Lectio Divina at the Philly Beer Fest, not that that helps any. He also threw in a mysterious unmarked growler. And he’s been avoiding my emails (for hours now!). Either he’s trying to poison me, or its filled with Holy Mackerel Mack In Black. Which I can find very little info on. So mysterious!
Its hundreds of degrees here in Philadelphia. The pros raced for 6 hours on Sunday. So after several weeks of very minimal riding, Lois and I got out tonight with Marni. Lo and Marni are planning on doing a triathlon in August. Go girls!
We’re heading to Virginia Beach on Saturday for a much needed week’s vacation. I managed to map a route that takes us right through Rehoboth Beach. Dogfish Head lunch! Growlers for the upcoming week!
In sad, beer related news, Jay Mission, head brewer of Triumph passed away. Lew Bryson has more info, in case you don’t know who he is. Seeing his picture reminded me of when I met him (the only time actually), at a Yards/Triumph beer dinner in Princeton. It was, wow, 4 or 5 years ago at this point. My first beer dinner as well. I had the pleasure of sitting with Jay and Joe Beddia, brewer at Yards at the time, and listening in on the brewers talk. It was actually a pivotal moment for me, renewing my love for beer, and I’m only now really recalling it. So, thanks Jay, you’ll be missed.
The much anticipated Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby was on Sat, along with the Trenton Ave Arts fest. I had to miss last years event, so I was eagerly looking forward to this. We got there almost an hour early, and spent some time in Circle Thrift and the Rocket Cat.
A number of our friends were riding in the derby, and had built some wild sculptures. Fred, Matt and Tyson, had built what amounted to a pedal powered dune buggy (which broke down in smoke and won the best breakdown prize). A whole crew of friends built a chariot and rode it dressed as animals and roman soldiers, shooting marshmallows out of blow guns (they won the best costume prize). It was a wild spectacle and the girls loved it. Particularly the giant octopus and its entourage, who gave out little bottles of bubbles. I won’t try to list and describe all the entries here, but you can see Carina’s photos here.
There were plenty of vendors at the Trenton Ave Arts Fest, including many local restaurants. Unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to eat of the goods. We were, however, able to grab some PBC beer. They were serving Kenzinger and Rowhouse Red, both great choices for a sunny Saturday.
This event ran right through naptime, so we came early, went home for naps (the kids, not us), then actually came back to catch the tail end. It was still going strong at 4pm, along with Lois’ brother Zach’s punk rock bar-b-q.
Pretty much the perfect day.
After cracking my last helmet in the process of obtaining a concussion, I spent all winter agonizing over what to replace it with. I finally picked one up yesterday at the Trophy Bike Garage. I’m kinda particular about the aesthetics of helmets, in an irrationally personal way. So after months of browsing the internet, and after months of changing my mind, I ended up getting a 2008 Giro Xen in matte sepia. (In case you’re wondering, close runners up were the Specialized Air-8, and the Catlike Whisper, if it were possible to find one in the US).
One of the reasons that I thought to do this, is that I had a hard time finding pictures of this helmet online. Call me vain, but I was hesitant to drop over $100 on a helmet that I wasn’t sure if I’d like. So, hopefully this will help someone else out. Its hard to describe the color, and its definitely not coming across well via digital pictures. Its somewhere between maroon and brown, with almost a silvery shimmer. Maybe mauve-like? I also took the visor off immediately. I couldn’t find any pictures without the visor before I purchased it. Does anyone actually use those things??
I was fortunate enough to be able to get out for a 20 mile ride the day after picking the helmet up. Without getting too technical, the helmet feels and fits great. It was chilly this morning, so I don’t know about the venting/cooling yet. And I really like the look of it, a nice midpoint between lasery road helmets, hard-angled mountain bike helmets, and globe-like skate helmets.
The thing I don’t like (yet, at least) is the retention system. Compared to my previous helmet, it seems a little difficult to adjust on the fly. And the front view is kinda mushroomy, but that seems to be hard to avoid, particularly with a big head like mine. Neither is a deal killer. So overall, I’m excited to have new helmet.