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Being a Responsible Road User

August 17, 2014

As cyclists, we tend to look at drivers as “them” just as much as drivers look at us the same way. And that’s even if we cyclists are ourselves drivers. It’s an attitude that leads to more roadway tension for sure. And, like folks that just drive, when we’re on our bikes we too can get distracted, make poor choices, and generally make the same errors drivers that don’t ride make, and for which we tend to be hypercritical when in cyclist mode.

I made such a mistake Saturday. On my bike.

Heading home from Bastrop I was making what I thought was a protected left with the turn arrow in my favor. I was moving at a good clip, and as I crossed the apex of the turn I was fairly close to the car waiting to make its way down the road perpendicular to the one I was turning off of. As I did, I noticed the car waiting at the light was a sheriff patrol car. I didn’t think too much of it. But aparently the deputy behind the wheel saw something that I didn’t. A quick u-turn and a switch of the lights and siren and I was getting pulled over.

A traffic stop beats an accident or altercation anytime.

A traffic stop beats an accident or altercation anytime.

Of course, I immediately stopped and got off my bike. Deputy Jones asked if I knew why I was being pulled over and I said that I honestly didn’t. He then asked if I knew I was obligated to follow all the same rules of the road as if I was in a car. I told him undoubtedly. He then informed me that I made my left in front of his car against a red arrow.

Honestly, I thought the arrow was green.

Perhaps it was changing as I entered the intersection.

I was 60 or so miles into my ride. It was getting hot and I had a long headwind-filled ride home to look forward to. In all likelihood, thinking about it now, I was probably lost in thought and the light may well have turned red, or was changing to red as I entered the intersection as opposed to changing after I entered it. I had just spent just over two hours on roads where I saw nothing more than a cow. It was indeed possible that I was “zoned out.”

In any event, as the deputy correctly pointed out, I was lucky he was who he was, and not a similarly distracted, lost-in-thought road user like me. After talking with me a bit about riding in general, he gave me a warning, told me to be really careful, and sent me on my way.

The stop by the deputy brought home a good point. Enjoying the road and being vigilant about being predictable and focused on your surroundings aren’t mutually exclusive. That goes whether we’re in cars or on our bikes.

Be safe out there.

Trek World!

August 7, 2014

Some of the folks from the buyers’ office have been busy at Trek World, getting the scoop on the latest and greatest from the good folks in Waterloo, WI. There’s so much to see at a dealer event like this that’s it’s almost impossible to really look carefully at every product in every category. Scott has given us a few of his favorites bikes, many of which you’ll soon see at the shop!

Suffice it to say, the one offs and the bikes of the pros that appear at these events are always crowd pleasers. This particular one, Fabian Cancellara’s actual Paris-Roubaix bike is one you won’t se at the shop soon, but it’s still a “must share.” Cancellara was actually the keynote speaker at the opening evening of the show.

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Cancellara carries a cue sheet aboard his top tube. It’s not to prevent getting lost, but to know where exactly along the paracours the major pave sectors are. Fairly typical fare for those with a shot at victory in the Queen of the Classics.

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If you’ve seen the District line of city bikes, the new Chelsea is the women’s/step through design compliment to the District Steel model. Very attractive.

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There were so many new and interesting colors and color combinations on the MTB side of things at Trek World that it was hard to pick a favorite. This is a Remedy 9 in a nod to Gulf Racing.

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It’s no secret Scott likes green bikes. Or at least it seems that way. But however you feel about green, the paint detail on this Speed Concept is top notch.

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It’s a cliche, but it really does look fast sitting still.

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Trek’s made a big push into cyclocross in the last two years, signing Katie Compton and Sven Nys. Here is a close up of the Boone Sven will ride, complete in Belgian National Champ colors. Guess they haven’t quite finished up the BSSCX team colorway yet.

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The cyclocross shrine. As Scott put it, “there was a keg to the right of this shot. You could have stood here all night and basked in the glory.” Indeed.

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Again, crazy interesting colors for the whole MTB line-up this year, like this Stash 7.

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Single Speed MTB in a killer grape-tastic purple.

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The show stealer? The integrated toy storage on the kids bikes!

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Speaking of integration, lights that are built into the bike on the new Lync. There’s a removable and rechargeable battery as part of the set-up.

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Maybe you know, maybe you don’t, but Trek purchased Electra Bikes some time back. So there were bikes and gear from Electra to see too. This moto-inspired cruiser was an eye catcher.

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Another eye-catching electric blue bike was this Slash 7 with a piggy bak shock and a Pike up front for the enduro riders out there.

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Scott loves green bikes. And fat bikes. So you bet he stopped to check out this rig, complete with suspension fork.

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Adventure bikes, gravel bikes. light touring bikes. Call them what you will, but the overall concept is one that growing: a bike that can cover distance and terrain changes. The lightweight bags seen here would be perfect for a quick overnighter to the Hill Country.

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Trek’s venerable 920 heads up a complete line of adventure bikes.

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Accessory integration isn’t just for kids. All of Trek’s hybrid bikes no feature a mount to hold our smart phone. Simply download your favorite fitness app.

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Thanks for sharing your top picks with us Scott! Hope you brought me something nice!

National Youth Bike Ride with the Ghisallo Foundation!

August 5, 2014

One local  organization that we’ve always been big fans of is the Ghisallo Foundation. They work to educate and develop youth riders into cycling experts who integrate bicycling into their daily lives.

And speaking of kids, next week is National Youth Bike Ride Week and the Ghisallo Foundation is kicking it off in style on Sunday! Get the details below and go learn more about the Ghisallo Foundation!

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Join the Ghisallo Foundation in partnership with Cycle Academy, Youth Bike, East Side Pedal Pushers, and Mueller Farmers’ Market for Austin’s participation in the National Youth Bike Ride Week. The ride will run along the Mueller Hike and Bike Trail and feature shorter and longer routes for varying age levels; instructors and volunteers will assist along the ride. Parents and adults are more than welcome, and are encouraged, to ride along with the group.

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We will be performing bike safety checks and basic maintenance to insure kids’ bikes are safe and ready to roll.

There will be a cooler of water available for participants and lots of food and drink options available within the Farmers’ Market.

Please bring your own bike, a helmet, and maybe a water bottle.

Date: Sunday 8/10/2014
Time: Station opens at 9:45am, ride starts at 10:15am
Location: East Side of Browning Hangar at the Mueller Farmers’ Market

Interested in National-level Bike Advocacy?

July 25, 2014

We get asked quite a bit about how to get involved in bicycle advocacy. Obviously, the local level–where you live and ride–is important. Austin’s “new” advocacy group Bike Austin–born from two great organizations sharing common goals–is already making great strides right here at home. And at the state level, we’re fortunate to have BikeTexas advocating for cyclists across the Lone Star State. But there are national policy matters and dollars at stake too and folks like the League of American Bicyclists are leading the fight at the national level. If you’re interested in bicycle advocacy on a large scale, consider joining the League for American Bicyclists as well as your local bike advocacy group!

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It’s easy to spot the leader of the Tour de France.

It’s just as easy to see who’s leading the movement to build a bicycle friendly America.

The League of American Bicyclists works with hundreds of communities and businesses, thousands of cycling instructors, and tens of thousands of cyclists like you. Together, we are shifting how roads are built, and how people behave on them.

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The League’s Winged Wheel logo can be found on the most effective programs changing the face of cycling today. The League’s experts are the most frequently cited in the media when covering the rise of cycling. And the League is rated as one of America’s top charities by Charity Navigator.

You may never get a chance to break away with the leaders of the Tour, but it’s easy to be on the forefront of cycling advocacy in America. Join the League of American Bicyclists and ride with the leaders.

Join now!

JOIN THE LEAGUE

AND YOU GET:

» Your membership dollars help build a bicycle friendly America

» Our magazine

American Bicyclist

One or more of:

» Bicycling

» Bicycle Times

» Momentum (digital)

»  Discounts  on gear and services

Join now

City of Austin Urban Trails Program Open House!

July 21, 2014

The City of Austin Urban Trails Program is currently analyzing the feasibility of a portion of the Violet Crown Trail though Sunset Valley/Eastern Oak Hill Area.  We would like your feedback on the proposed alignment of the trail. Together with the Hill Country Conservancy and the Oak Hills Trails Association, the Urban Trails Program staff hope to receive input from area residents, property owners, cyclists, pedestrians, and other stakeholders to plan, design, and build a beautiful trail that will accommodate neighbors, families, and friends for many years to come.  

Please attend the open house (come-and-go) on Wednesday, July 30th at the Will Hampton Library (5125 Convict Hill Road) from 5:30-8:00 PM to discuss your preferred alignment for the trail.

Please also share this information and the attached flyer about the meeting with your networksassociations, organizations, groups, and connections.We appreciate your help in getting the word out about this exciting project.

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Thank you!

ACTION ALERT! Tell the Senate Finance Committee NOT to Eliminate the Transportation Alternatives Program!

June 25, 2014

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The biggest source of federal funds for bicycling and walking projects is under attack in the U.S. Senate.

Tomorrow morning, the Senate Finance Committee is voting on a plan to fund the Highway Trust Fund. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) has introduced an amendment to eliminate the Transportation Alternatives program in its entirety. TAP is a vital federal funding source for local leaders to build biking and walking projects in communities like yours.

Please ask your lawmaker to vote NO on Toomey #1.

Bikeable and walkable communities create healthy and vibrant downtowns and boost neighborhoods that attract millenials and baby boomers alike. Communities that offer real transportation choice, including biking and walking, ensure that EVERYONE has safe access to jobs, school, shops, and recreation alike. The future of transportation in American communities includes biking and walking.

Just this month, almost 400 Mayors from across the country signed a letter encouraging Congress to bolster — not weaken — the Transportation Alternatives program, hailing it as a vital tool to build local transportation options. Don’t allow Congress to take away local control — tell your Senator to vote NO and voice their support for transportation choice.

The committee votes tomorrow morning — take action now!

Always be Prepared

June 17, 2014

You might recognize the name Jerry Dusterhoff. He is the man behind the book “Bicycle Journeys with Jerry.” Jerry’s also a Bicycle Sport Shop club member and on a recent ride last month was reminded of the old adage to always be prepared. Here’s his account of a comedy of errors. Hopefully it reminds all of us to make sure we’ve got a plan for the typical roadside mechanical–the dreaded puncture–and to make sure we’re up for the challenge by taking a maintenance class like those offered at BSSU.  (You can check out Jerry’s full blog here.)

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IT WASN’T GRAVEL

When you ride in a group, in our case no more than two wide, the accepted protocol is to point or yell out obstacles to give the folks behind an heads-up was to what they are approaching. “Glass” “hole” and “gravel” are what most of these obstacles are, with an occasional “car up.” Glass and hole are self-explanatory, but gravel, while it mostly means loose rocks or pebbles, can mean any sort of loose stuff on the ground. I was prepared for gravel. What I got was something else. Can’t say for sure, but in a split-second, I had two flat tires.
At first I thought I had escaped with an easy front tire change out. But then my back tire was pointed out to me. Bad words flooded my head (but didn’t escape on my tongue). I only had one spare tube. Not to worry, we had sixteen riders who all had spares they could lend me. While I worked on the front tire, ride-leader Carolyn worked on the back. We used CO2 cartridges to speed things along, but tried to get by with just one. The front wheel was done, after I had run my fingers around the inside to check for foreign matter. The back tire needed more air, so I got out my trusty hand-pump and got it up to decent level. In removing it, I managed to break off the top of the valve stem. Fortunately, it stayed closed. I didn’t lose any additional air.
But experienced cyclists know that CO2 seeps through tubes much quicker than air, so the back tire, already soft, would do nothing but get more soft in the next few hours. Things got worse. Todd pointed out that my ready-to-mount front tire, while not having any glass or wire or stuff sticking in it, did have a large gash in the sidewall. Pook ding-fu!! The extended delay added to my frustration. I hate holding up the group. To ease my tension, Todd (after taking our picture) took the rest of the folks, leaving Carolyn and … I never got his name, my bad, to assist in getting me back on the road.
Jerry gets an assist from Carolyn.

Jerry gets an assist from Carolyn.

Not to worry!  I carry a “boot” in my saddle pack. In this case, the “boot” is a four inch section of old tire. We let the air out, inserted the boot, and replaced the tube (this is the Reader’s Digest version). Somehow, in getting the tire back on the rim, I pinched the tube. Now we need another tube and some more CO2. A rider not with our group stopped and offered his CO2. Thank you very much. This is getting old quick.
On the rare occasions when I have had a flat while out riding, I usually bring the tube home and do a post-mortem, and if it is just one hole that is fixable, will patch it up and continue on. The frustration of getting two flats, only having one tube, missing the gash in the tire, and putting another tube out of commission really put me off my game. When we got to the gas station turn-around spot in Creedmore, where the rest of the group waited, I just tossed the tubes. And, knowing my back tire was continuing to bleed air, advised Todd I ‘d move on out, and they could catch me on the way in.
It wasn’t such a bad ride back, about sixteen miles, but I took the corners cautiously, not wanting to roll the back tire off the rim. As I rode I continued to stew about missing the gash when checking the tire. The group caught up right before getting to the bike shop. I immediately purchased two new tires (there was nothing wrong with my back tire, but I changed from 700×23 to 700×25), and replacement tubes and cartridges for my friends who donated to my plight. Quite an expensive ride today.
Make sure you're prepared. Details on course offerings can be found here.

Make sure you’re prepared. Details on course offerings can be found here.

Once home I washed the bike and swapped out tires and tubes. But I had to sacrifice another tube to the gods. I have yet to put on new tires without damaging at least one tube, no matter how careful I am. So it is back to the bike shop for two more tubes to carry in my saddle pack, and more CO2 cartridges, plus a new mechanism for the cartridges. The one I have is Spartan and difficult to use. I waited an extra day before posting this in order to let my ire expire. It hasn’t. It will probably never happen again, but if it does, I’ll be prepared.
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