Tuesday, July 26

Bike Lesson – Another Reason(s) to Carry a Good Lock

Bike Lock Kept the Rear Wheel From Bouncing Out of a Short Bus Bike Carrier
Actually, based on my post count, this is bike lesson number 968. Some of those I have attempted to pass along from long experience and learning from others. Others have been learned by me by experience I gained without any explicit attempt to do so. Put this one in the second category.

To make a long story less so, this morning I was asked by the motoring part of the family to take the family SUV in to Aberdeen for some fixing. It seems that at least the rear differential was hemorrhaging oil from one or more seals. I brought my wife’s bike along, figuring to visit the local Aberdeen Library, do some grocery shopping, and then catching the bus back to Ocean Shores.

However, it seems that the “best laid plans…” don’t always work out. Unlike every other time I’ve taken a bike on a Gray’s Harbor Transit bus, this time, the bike was a bit longer than the bus bike rack. The driver informed me that the rear wheel would pop out during the highway trip to Ocean Shores. My first inclination was to inquire as to whether I could bring the bus on board, but I imagine I’d have been met with a curt “no.” Quickly thinking, I suggested I had a lock that could lock that back wheel to the bike carrier and make things safe for one and all. The driver said to go ahead and, in a jiffy, I locked the rear wheel tightly enough to guarantee that if the bike DID bounce off on the highway trip to Ocean Shores, that at least the rear wheel would still be aboard.

As you may see from the photo (taken upon arrival in OS) at the top of this post, the bike arrived safe and sound. John Romeo Alpha may put sad little monkey cards on bikes improperly locked, but I think he would not have dared to run out in front of the bus to tag my bike.

For the record, the photo I didn’t take would have showed the same bike PROPERLY locked for theft resistance at the Aberdeen Safeway bike rack. The U lock attached the frame and rear wheel to the rack, while the cable secured the front wheel to the lock. That MIGHT represent still another bike locking lesson – it might be MORE important to make sure your bike is securely locked at any location with needle disposal stations than in locations without same. That’s just a guess on my part since I have no personal first-hand evidence either way.

Friday, July 22

Lazy Days of Summer

My Kids Read this Blog!
There's been stuff going on. I've thought many times about making a new post. Among other topics, I've got one I've been mulling around about cycling and global warming. That one won't go away and will probably become a new post fairly soon, at least if I check a certain book back out of the library soon so I can get my quote absolutely correct.

Catching up, I was reminded on Father's Day that my kids really do pay attention, on occasion, to the blatherings of their father. In fact they gave me a coffee mug to prove it. It's shown at the top of this post.

Past posts on the topic may be seen here, here, and LOTS here

Friday, May 20

Battle of Cars

Readers that have ever perused the comments on pretty much any news article about bicycles has seen sentiments similar to “in the battle between cars and bikes, the cars always win.” Presumably, that gives some superior right to the road to those cars. Actually, more accurately, it gives superior rights to the operators of those cars. These commenters clearly have not thought things through very thoroughly, since in any battle between a car and an 18 wheeler, the car is always going to lose, just as it would if going into battle against an M1A1 Abrams Tank. Mostly, they forget that the roads are for all users. Not merely the fast (like Jaguars) or big (like giant trucks).

Moss Shadow of the Dear Departed Post Office Bike Rack
Earlier this week, I saw the outcome of a battle between a Toyota Camry and the Ocean Shores Post Office. The Camry, after jumping the curb and colliding with the slow-moving building, clearly was the loser, though the Post Office suffered significant damage as well. The BIG losers, as is sometimes the case when motorists lose control, are cyclists. You see, before hitting the post office, the Toyota completely obliterated the bike rack in front of the post office. It was not a very good bike rack – the wheel bender type. Had it been a solid “wave” rack, it might have saved the PO from thousands in damage. I have never used the rack, instead either parking my bike in the lobby, wheeling it inside, or simply parking it next to the entrance. I’ve never seen anybody else use the rack either. As an aside, while I didn’t meet the Camry owner, the car had a handicap placard. I was told that the driver had no license or insurance, though I have no way to confirm that. Tell THAT to commenters that want to require cyclists to get licenses and insurance even though they represent only a tiny danger to other road users.

View of How Far the Toyota Made it Into the Post Office
Still, as I left the PO, I was unable to resist commenting – “I’m sure glad I didn’t have my bike parked at THAT rack!” The next morning, when I came back to take photos for this post, I also noticed a bit of motorist humor had been added to the carnage in the form of a note, complete with a smiley.

Proof that Even Motorists Have a Sense of Humor!

PS: The thought just occurred to me that when the Toyota as starting up, the safest place to be riding a bike was in the parking lot, right BEHIND the Toyota. Rantwick's mom would not be pleased...

Sunday, May 15

Same Rules, Same Roads, Different Outcomes

I’ve recently seen a couple of articles, such as HERE, where motoring writers tell cyclists that they are not allowed to pass a stopped school bus. You see, they figure that “bicycles shall follow the same rules” precludes such an action. However, while the roads and rules may be the same, such writing forgets that becoming a pedestrian (no longer driving a vehicle) is an option for a cyclist that isn’t readily available to someone driving a 4000 lb car. The motoring writers and their motoring police advisers forget that you are not required to RIDE a bike in such a situation. Sometimes these are the same people that advise cyclists to get off their bikes and push a crosswalk “beg button” when they can’t (don’t know how, mostly) to get an induction or camera-controlled traffic light to change.

Even John Forester, a great advocate of operating bicycles as vehicles, recognizes differences in his “Effective Cycling” book when he notes that even the most militant motorists don’t claim that cars should be able to universally drive cross country through local parks. Not even the ones that claim bicycles ought to be required to obtain unavailable insurance or unavailable cycling licenses.

While I generally agree about the principle of “same rules,” the dramatically increased danger that motor vehicles present to other road users compared to bicycles, suggests that some rules intended for motor vehicle control might be inappropriate when applied to bikes. I do not opine on what these might be in this post. THIS post ought to provide food for thought about how bicycles DIFFER from cars in the ways they operate and comply with identical laws.

Just this morning, I stopped at an unmarked crosswalk to yield a pedestrian his right of way to the unmarked crosswalk. He seemed momentarily confused before crossing. Perhaps he hadn’t got the concept that a bike might stop to let him cross before. Definitely, this was a different response than it would have been if I’d been operating a large SUV. I guess had I been on a motorcycle, we’d have been somewhere in the middle in terms of “same rules relevance.”

PS: In case you wonder why I might go to the trouble to WALK past a stopped school bus rather than just waiting, there’s a story behind it. On my on my v2 commute, there were a couple of locations where large crowd of students and motoring parents (picking the students up or dropping them off) clogged things up at the bus stop. On my v3 commute, it turned out that my route passed by a location at a time where the local school bus often stopped to pick up a wheelchair-bound student. While watching the lift in operation was fascinating a couple of times, I elected NOT to violate the law by riding by when the school bus driver took to attempting to wave me by. Instead, it simply seemed logical to stop, pick up my bike, toss it on my shoulder, and legally jog past. Even stopped motorists seemed to enjoy the show – and my passing the bus on foot obviated their need to pass me at all.

Friday, April 22

Not QUITE Forgotten Even Now

A while back, I published THIS post about the greatest forgotten moment in sports history - the Olympic victory of the 1936 University of Washington crew over Nazi Germany and Italy. As it turns out, as in many stories, one could say "but wait, there's more!"

Now, there's an excellent book about the 1936 Husky Crew entitled "The Boys in the Boat." One thing I never knew before was that the coxswain, Bobby Moch was born and raised about 30 miles from Ocean Shores. Adopted, he was told he was Jewish right before he was leaving to row in the Nazi Olympics. What a time to get told something like this! Perhaps fittingly, he represented the United States when he stood upon the winner's podium to accept the gold medal on behalf of the crew. I do not know if they ever told Hitler about Bobby's background.

Afterwards, coach Jim Ten Eyck of Syracuse said "It's the greatest eight I ever saw, and I never expect to see another like it." And Eyck saw a LOT of crews.

Perhaps the greatest tribute to the Washington program came when Oxford ordered a shell to be used against Cambridge from George Pocock, the builder of the Husky boats.

And wait, there's still at least one more thing. Their boat, the "Husky Clipper" still hangs in a place of honor at the Rowing Center at the University of Washington. Each year, new recruits gather underneath it. At the end of the speech about the rowing heritage at the UW, the coach pauses, raises his hand, and points up at the Clipper before telling THAT story.

I'm told that "The Boys in the Boat" is going to be made into a movie. I guess it's more or less a "Chariots of Fire" - with oars. Certainly, it'll be one of the best competitive rowing movies ever made...