Tuesday, March 13

Moderation EVEN in Portland

I Count TWELVE Bike Racks at this Portland, Oregon Ikea Store. Thank Goodness for iPhone "Panorama" Photo Mode!
Seen at the Ikea Store, adjacent to Portland International Airport. Count the number of BIKE RACKS in the photo at the top of this post. This is a store that isn't easy to access by bicycle, and few of its items lend themselves to being carried home by bike. I suspect this is in excess of even Portland's municipal code requirements.

We recently bought a bed at the Grand Prairie, Texas Ikea and it took all our Subaru could carry to get it home. The Grand Prairie didn't have any bike racks out front that I was able to notice. OTOH, if you want to buy a set of new living room furniture and bring it home by bike, might need a lot of cycling friends, though I suspect that if you brought along a dozen or more friends, at least one would be willing to watch the bikes. Perhaps the Portland Ikea would be willing to donate one of their racks to their Texas counterparts?

Wednesday, February 7

Falcon H, Bubba

Liftoff is 5:26 into the Video - They're Going to Make Space Exciting Again!

When I was just a boy, we went to the Moon. Shortly after I graduated from high school, we went to the Moon for the (until sometime in the future) last time. I vividly recall the moment that Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon. That was nearly 45 years ago. Almost a Half Century. On occasion, I wonder if we have peaked and are on a long, slow decline like that which resulted in the demise of the Roman Empire. Even to this day, the Saturn V Rocket remains the most powerful launch vehicle that mankind has ever produced. At launch, it put out just under 8 million pounds of thrust and put as much as 310,000 pounds into low Earth orbit. In the times since before any of my children were born, newsworthy space travel consisted of Space Shuttle explosions.

However, events such as yesterday's SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch give me hope that our greatest times may still lie ahead. While the Falcon Heavy has less than half the payload of the Saturn V, it is a major step back into the Future. SpaceX is a company that I've never worked for, though I worked in what is now their Hawthorne facility when Northrop produced 747 structure there and I also worked for Rocketdyne when they were designing the Space Shuttle engines. John Glenn was a part of our extended family and my father worked on the Saturn V for Boeing. I pay a lot of attention to what goes on with humanity's reach into space. You might say it's in my blood.

The movie, "The Right Stuff" had a phrase spoken when someone did well. I recall it as "Fuckin A, Bubba!" Well, now we can say "Falcon H, Bubba." It may be more polite, but it is entirely accurate and we can all look forward to seeing what comes next. I know that SpaceX is planning a larger rocket, known as the "BFR." I won't speculate on what BFR might be an acronym for, but I'll guess it is in the same spirit as the bubba comments in "The Right Stuff." When the BFR launches, we will finally go beyond what we accomplished with the Saturn V back in 1967.

Yup, perhaps our best days DO lie ahead, though probably none of our astronauts that went to the Moon will see mankind first set foot on Mars.

Sunday, January 28

Pay Attention to Motorcyclists

From Youtube

This morning, I saw a motorcycle video that has direct application for how we bicyclists can better operate more defensively (safely) on the road. The video is embedded at the top of this post. While I think the whole video is well worth a watch, it gets down to brass tacks about 2:07 in.

The video, at top, concerned how motorcyclists might operate in order to reduce the liklihood of a motorist up ahead pulling out or making a crossing turn (left turn for us in the US or right turn for our compatriots that operate on the wrong side of the road). I don't know if it might help with following traffic. I suspect not.

This accident is often called the "SMIDSY,' (Sorry Mate, I Didn't See You). The counter to this was termed the "SIAM" (SMIDSY Identification and Avoidance Maneuver." While cyclists ususally ride slower than motorcyclists, most of the other items in the video apply. I've experienced SMIDSY situations myself, such as one related here. The video does not address the greater probability of experiencing a SMIDSY in the dark. It DOES touch on high vis vests, noting that they might add to biker camaflage by breaking up the biker's outline. I'm not sure breaking up the outline really hurts visibility, but it's a point I'd never considered before.

At bottom is another video, focused purely on the SIAM - which the videographer calls the "SMIDSY Weave." The relevant maneuver starts just twenty seconds after the start of the video. It was made in the US so the sightlines are more what I'm used to seeing. It DOES help if we pay attention to motorcyclists!

Saturday, December 30

Register Them All?

Justine Valinotti, in Mid-Life Cycling, here, talks about bicycle registration. That got me thinking . As when it came to licensing, I pondered things from the viewpoint of someone that likes to take a "small government" approach, as well as someone that might want to recover his own bicycle if it were to be stolen sometime in the future. Accordingly, I started to look into things. This is PART 1 of the ugly story about bicycle registration.

For bicycle registration to be effective, two things need to happen. First, you need to register your bike. Second, the police in the jurisdiction where your stolen bike is recovered need to use the service you registered with. So far, this is entirely consistent with "small government" since you'll note that I've not suggested that anybody set up some sort of government regulations or whatever. In fact, there ARE national registries for bicycles in the US. While the Bike League is silent on the topic, Seattle's Cascade Bicycle Club has a page, here, where they attempt to shut the door after the horse has left the barn. I use that analogy since most people won't have their registration number in the databases and an already stolen bike is not available to copy that vital identification number down.

When it comes to the police, the "National Bike Registry" has a list of law enforcement agencies that use (maybe) their database. It can be seen here. Bike Index also has a list of "Partners," but Index law enforcement partners are rare, with Los Angeles PD, Berkely, and Saint Louis being the only major participants. It isn't hard to see why - the Index web site doesn't seem oriented towards getting the police on board and they have no provisions for police to actually sign up. Their organization sign up page is here. Looking at places me and my loyal reader frequent gives the following NBR results. Places I frequently ride are in bold italic.

Participating Law Enforcement Agencies
  • United Kingdom - all police agencies and register via the registration site; here
  • Phoenix and Tucson - So at least the agency Justine refers to participates
  • Fort Collins, Denver and Summit County in Colorado
  • Winter Park and Florida Highway Patrol in Florida
  • Atlanta and Roswell in Georgia
  • Honolulu in Hawaii - I don't know if they transferred their old bicycle licenses to NBR or not
  • Boston, Cambridge and Somerville in Massachusetts
  • Santa Fe and Santa Rosa, NM
  • At least a half dozen New York City PD Precincts and the New York State Police
  • Ontario Provincial Police
  • Portland, Salem, and Oregon State Police
  • Austin, Denton, Euless, Plano,  Tarrant County Sheriff, and Wichita Falls in Texas
  • Hoquiam, Olympia, Seattle,

Not Listed as Participants
  • Breckenridge, Colorado so my little sister is probably out of luck unless the sheriff recovers her bike
  • Springfield, Missouri and MSU, so Andy ought to be careful
  • Los Alamos and Tucumcari, NM
  • Dayton, Ohio (home of the Wright Brothers; bicycle manufacturers)
  • Tulsa, OK
  • No local jurisdictions listed in Ontario
  • Bedford, Colleyville, Dallas, Ennis, Fort Worth, Hurst, Irving, and Southlake, Texas
  • Aberdeen, Everett, Ocean Shores, Tacoma, and Washington State Police in WA

Hmm, looks like places I ride the most are mostly non participants by a 7 to 2 ratio. I may need to make some quiet inquiries to see what happens when these 7 recover stolen bikes. I imagine that if they recover a bike reported stolen they'll send it own home, but what if the bike was reported stolen in another jurisdiction? As an example, while my Texas house is in Colleyville, Bedford and Euless are both only blocks away. There are hundreds of cities and towns around DFW. Stay tuned for future developments.

Friday, December 29

Annual Ritual

Last year, on Boxing Day, my post, here, outlined some sadly abandoned blogs. I checked, just to make sure none of them have been resurrected. The only action was that "Let's Go Ride a Bike" is now a domain for sale and Hugh did make a single post back in May about a kid's department store bike.

This year, I'm going to be a little more rigorous. Gone this year are
The Invisible Visible Man - signed out with grace last July. He'll be missed
One Speed Go - John Romeo Alpha seems to have moved on. His sad little monkeys were always amusing and usually useful
Suburban Assault - I think Dick David might be off raising funds somewhere, but we may or may not find out how he did

There's also a problem of a different sort. Anniebikes is still active with her excellent blog, but there's some sort of a problem with "latest post" links. I sent her a comment to that effect, but we're not all blog html experts, so I'm moving the link to her blog to my Other Sites to Visit page. On that page, I deleted Ian Walker's Blog and Two Feet off the Asphalt since neither posted at all in 2017.