Thursday, May 16, 2013

cyclist killed, by drunk anti cyclist driver

So I came across this article today. A nice kindly elderly gentleman who over the past few years has been repeatedly complaining about cyclists at city hall meetings. His rants covered the usual complaints about how those damned cyclists ignore traffic laws. How they ignore traffic signs, slow traffic, and disobey traffic lights.

Ah yes those scofflaws, those hooligans in spandex.  Not getting satisfaction at public meetings in forcing cyclists off the road what happens. Well lets see, this kindly man, who in 1975 himself ignored the law and drove drunk. And then again this year he drove drunk the wrong way down a road and struck and killed a cyclist. Ah but of course, it was an accident, not like he is recklessly ignoring the law, not like his actions put everyone else’s lives at risk. Not like he has not already been convicted of doing this before. No the problem are those people sitting on 20lbs of metal slowly travelling the right way down the road, blocking traffic, and ignoring the road signs.

Did he, in a drunken rage decide to solve the problem of cyclists on the road himself? Maybe he figured "I'll give him a good scare". Hard to believe he was innocently travelling the wrong way on the road, in control of the car, and the cyclist who is travelling the right way in mid afternoon, somehow did not notice the SUV headed for him.

But it is also far too easy to read motive into his actions. David Hembrow on his blog, talks a lot about subjective safety, the feeling of safety created by having cycling both considered a normal part of traffic/life and by creating separate space for cyclists. This separate space also creates a real increase in safety making incidents like what the kindly old man did harder.

We all know drivers who share this driver’s attitude. Somehow the tiny guy on a little vehicle is the problem. That little guy only going 30kph, who enters the intersection on yellow and can't clear it before the lights change, that is the problem, its not me doing the same thing with a 2 ton vehicle.  It is beyond counting how many people have shared the same arguments with me, even told me how stupid I am to put myself at risk sharing the road with them. How they feel unsafe passing me on a 4 lane road. Somehow the thought to slow down while passing, or to change lanes is so alien they cannot imagine taking an extra few seconds to safely pass.

Hopefully he will be convicted of the vehicular manslaughter charge he faces. This was not an accident, he got drunk and drove then killed someone, Regardless of his views on cycling, regardless of the fact he killed a cyclist. He was given a second chance before, and this time his actions took a life.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Why bother with bike lanes

So we took the kids out to Dairy Queen on Woolwich Street in Guelph last night. And were treated to one of the most frustrating sights on two wheels. We watched a man, mid 20's riding ( at least in the correct direction) on the sidewalk on Woolwich street. Now this is proably the best road in all of Guelph to ride ON THE ROAD. It has a bike lane the full length of the city even as the  street changes name from Woolwich to Norfolk, to Gordon. And big props to the city, this is one of the really good (for our city anyhow) bike lanes. Not that there isn't a few problems with it, but it is there, and wide enough, and well maintained and travels the length of the city.

And here is some idiot riding on the sidewalk. It is so frustrating when I have argued and faught for cycling infrastructure to see it ignored when it is in place and well developed.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Close but missed it

Well after a great rush of sales on Kijiji, we had raised 88% of the money we needed for the triplet. Sadly the money was gathered 24 hours too slowly, and the bike was scooped up by someone else. It is likely for the best as the bike was a bit heavier then we would have wanted.  However it has really helped clear out space for bikes and helped us better evaluate our needs. For now the raised money will let us make some needed changes to the Opus, front racks, and some parts from Bike Friday. Items we’d want no matter how our trip develops.

Still looking for that better second bike, and the perfect tent.  At least we now have a some money set aside for it.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Part way there

Well we have managed to raise small chunk of money for the new gear. Still a long way to go, but here is what will hopefully be our new tandem (or triplet) bike.
We still have a fair way to go, but with luck by this afternoon we'll be more than half way there! Unfortuantely there is a bit of a time limit as this is a bike someone else is selling, so we have to get the money rather quickly. Because of that a whole lot of items are going on Kijiji to help pay for this bike.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Next up to go

Well the next few items up on Kijiji are my rollerblades and old ice skates. All in really good condition, but I never get to rollerblade anymore, and the skates never fit right.

And last, something very hard to part with. My old pool cue. A nice custom walnut and maple cue, with both a pool and snooker tip. I loved this cue, but as I've only been in a pool hall once in the past 15 years, its time to let it go.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Training begins

Well today was a 7km training ride.  Not much of a distance for me, but for our six year old, it was a huge distance on the road, a chance to really gain control of her brakes, and learn proper road position.

She has been riding for a few days now without training wheels. And has gone from very wobbly to maintaing a strait line, ridingt hough tight corners and working really hard to go faster and faster. Uphills still mean walking however.

The girls decided they wanted to ride to the park, and as it was a pretty quiet day on the roads, so they got to ride their own bikes. Other than one very busy street where we stuck to the sidewalk, they rode on the road and maintained proper road position with only a few minor deviations.

Being able to ride for a while, dealing with hills and long stretches had an amazing effect on their both of their skills. Balance improved by leaps and bounds in one ride. By the time we made it to the park, both of then could control speed using either calliper or coaster brakes. They have stopped locking up the rear wheel and skidding when breaking and controlling their stops. Although out little one still can’t quite stop before putting feet down. And the most rewarding part, was the requests to keep riding in the street once we got home.

I didn’t have a chance to get pics while riding with them. Too busy making sure they kept road position and watching for interactions with cars. But caught a few images of them riding in the court after.

 As you can see, all smiles. The best reward there is, happy kids riding bikes.

First to go, my yellow trike

Great recumbent trike. Great ride, lots of fun. 27 gear range. Components are Shimano LX and 105, Trike folds for easy travel. Selling to make room for another tandem in preparation for summer trips.

Time to take the plunge, and begin raising money for gear and travel expenses. I'm selling my beloved trike. I've had a blast riding it, but I just haven't found the roads around Guelph conducive to riding it. My route to work was too busy. It was a blast to ride downtown, and I always got lots of shout-outs, and big smiles. And riding back from the Wooly I never had to worry about looking wobbly on the ride home. Hills were slow but easy.

Still it is time to let it go.

 I really don’t have many opportunities for solo rides and when I do they tend to be training, commuting or shopping. All of which I do on a Bike Friday.  For those interested here is the link to the Ad, but basically it’s a tadpole trike, Deore LX and 105 components, and bright yellow. Asking $1500, which goes a long way towards the new trandem. Folds pretty easily, and comes with a set of fenders for those damp days.