crankedmag

{ ride a bike… everyday, everywhere }

Nice Porteur!

I’ve got two front-loader porteur racks. One is by C.E.T.M.A, the other is by 12-Pack Rack. The first is extremely functional, carries a heavy load, and can now be seen hauling pizzas around the Ballard area. Snoose Junction Pizzeria just started delivering pizzas by bicycle (and they’re hiring riders), they have had some custom backpacks made for carrying hot pizzas on your back (made by Cory here in Seattle with Dank bags), and they’ve outfitted several mountain bikes with 8-rail C.E.T.M.A. racks:

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The 12-Pack Rack is also a wonderfully functional porteur rack with a more elegant design and style. Working at a bike shop where copious bike-centric people pass by my bicycle I get a near constant stream of questions as to where this rack was made and of course, where can they get one. My reply, “Leah in Wisconsin makes them, she doesn’t have a website, but she can be emailed a request for one if you’re interested.” Stainless steel tubes, cleanly welded with nice circular flourishes, a headlight mount, and maybe even a bottle opener too.

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Let me know if you’d like her email to find out more info for her 12-Pack Racks.

Here are some other racks I’ve seen through Flickr lately too:



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Filed under: Cranked Magazine

Blathering on Communication

I am always curious about what is the most effective communication method while I’m riding around the city. I’m talking about communicating to the people around me, within my direct environment: people in their cars, tractor trailers, other bikers, pedestrians. I have responded and reacted to motorists in many different ways and have recently learned that responding to an idiotic, erratic, or malicious motorist in the most positive way possible is perhaps the best way. Positive meaning kindly informing them of my rights, possibly their wrongs, or actually not responding/reacting at all; situation depending. We all know that our moods and current emotions can filter in and cause us to react differently (i.e. negatively and sometimes edging into violently—the desire sometimes to Hulk out and tear their quarter panel off with my bare hands has crossed my mind more than once). But like I said, I’m always conscious of how I’m communicating myself to those we share the road with and find that being positive, upbeat, and friendly might just be the best course of action.

But.

A couple weeks ago my fiancé and I were riding to Ballard on Leary Way, waiting at the red light under 15th Ave. We were side by side in the right lane with space to pass on our left when this dude, in his car somewhat behind but still to the side of us, leans out the driver’s side window and asks us over his car’s hood if we wouldn’t mind riding single file so that he could pass us. This so threw me off that I only had time to snidely tell him that he’ll be fine to pass us with the lane he’s got to the left. (There are two westbound lanes on Leary.) Sure enough, we both continued from the now green light, remaining side-by-side, and about thirty seconds later, the guy passes us in his car straddling the white line dividing the two westbound lanes of traffic. As he drove off, regrettably, I gave him the bird. We round the turn that’s there and I see the dude pulling into a parking lot of a gym that’s on the other side of the street. So it was even more confusing as to why he asked us to ride single file, considering he needed to be in the left lane anyway to get to the gym that was a mere six blocks away. What’s the rush guy?

Why did I give the guy the finger? I guess because I was so thrown off, so confused, as to how to react to his question. Is it just me or was this a really odd thing for someone to do? Was he being polite, or was it simply a façade of politeness? Was he being a presumptuous prick? Or a considerate gentleman? I obviously felt the former considering my single finger gesture as he passed. But was I right? Does he think by asking we should obey?

I obviously am not settled on how I feel about this interaction. Am I, (are we), so used to the opposite communication from motorists? Not only was this so much the opposite, but it was also not really within the typical methods of road communication (i.e. turn signals, horns, lane positioning, etc.) How do we expect to be communicated to while we’re out riding the streets?

Not to get into an argument about the symantics of the RCW, but here is clause two stating the two abreast rule:

RCW 46.61.770
(2) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

Filed under: Cranked Magazine, Select

PCM

I didn’t make it to last week’s May Critical Mass, but I understand it took the Viaduct. Pretty cool. Next month why not take over the Battery Street tunnel, and then after that maybe the I-5 expressway?

This week, however, I did have a little run-in with a motorist and held my own personal Critical Mass. (Can I call it that?) Anyway, just some older, heart-attack awaiting, dude who felt the need to accelerate and not let me pass him and subsequently cut me off by the construction near Westlake Ave and Denny. Not being too daunted, I zoomed around his back, passed him on his other side and got in front of him, limiting his forward progress to my speed for a block’s length. Hopefully, but I doubt it, he got what my point was: that you’re not getting anywhere faster by driving aggressively and intimidatingly. I hope this point was emphasized by the next block or so of traffic. A cluster of busses queuing into the bus tunnel entrance. Another red light or two. Or the line of stopped cars idling to get onto the expressway only to wait still longer in the parking lot that that expressway has become. After that first block of hindering his speed, I rode off on my own speed, noticing this senselessness of traffic and how nice it is to be nimble and swift on two wheels.

This personal Critical Mass was just a reminder that there is no rush and that driving aggressively like he had was pointless as he didn’t gain any ground; it isn’t a race and no, you cannot drive like they do in the commercials. Hopefully it was a reminder that I belong on the streets too, and that riding a bike is an accepted and positive method of transport. Was I wrong to do what I did? Was there any point to it? Is there any point to Critical Mass anymore? Should it be riding on the Viaduct? Or impeding buses or traffic in on-coming lanes? I haven’t been on many Mass rides lately, other things have been coming up, but I’m beginning to hear it’s validity questioned for some time now.

Filed under: Cranked Magazine

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