crankedmag

{ ride a bike… everyday, everywhere }

Performance

Well, if you haven’t noticed the new ads to the right of your screen I’ll give some assistance. To your right is a new ad for the ever-wonderful Filmed by Bike film festival. Get your super-8’s, handicams, pinhole cameras ready and submit a film, you’ve got until the 1st of March which isn’t soon I know, but it’ll be here sooner than you think. More on this later I’m sure!

In the other worlds of performance and showmanship there’s something that will appease the DIY, human-powered crowd. Those that aspire to create electricity with their pedals, getting off the grid so to speak, Annex Theatre is putting together a show for their upcoming season that’s going to be bicycle powered. The set will be lit by human generated electricity. (Wright Bros donated an old BMX frame for the cause.) Below is an example of the machine in action:

As it is still in its early production phases, auditions are still open if you’re interested, check the show’s site out here: Keep the Light On. The world premiere of this show will be running from February 8th through March 8th and is sure to be innovative and exciting. Hang up the laptop and the Atari, unplug yourself and don’t forget about theater—it’s the original “entertainment”!

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Spooky Critical Mass

I didn’t go to Mass tonight. Got out of the shop and rode up the back-side of Queen Anne to have dinner with Brooke at the 5-Spot on Queen Anne instead.

Was it spooky? Were there a lot of costumes? Any altercations I’m bound to hear about this weekend? It was nice seeing the people getting things ready for the ride at the shop today.

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Educate

When I mention education this is the sort of thing I’m talking about: from bikeportland.org—Safer Streets.

Good article, and I agree, signs indeed do have their limitations. But more signage is a benefit because it will raise awareness of cyclists on the streets—I see dreadfully few signs stating Share the Road, All Drivers Have Equal Rights, Bicycles on the Road, or, Bicycles Allowed in All Travel Lanes or a plethora of others that might be helpful. Good passive education. More paint on the road could be an improvement—they’ll at least catch people’s eyes better: more sharrows, more crosswalks, at least fill in the bike lanes with some color maybe. And give cyclists some warning to some of the new trolley tracks now found on Westlake with some painted buffer areas at the tracks maybe.

But I’m talking about other forms of education too, more actionable forms of education. The Seattle Bicycle Master Plan talks about education, but I feel it’s lacking in a few areas. Is anybody talking about this anywhere? I think it’s a little too weighted in “educating” cyclists. Don’t get me wrong, there definitely exists a population of cyclists out there that need educating. The BMP seems to only be educating new cyclists for safety, encouraging new cyclists to remain cycling, and enforce traffic laws on cyclists. I can’t complain with this. Chapter 5: Education, Enforcement, and Encouragement however seems to take the easy route by teaching safety to cyclists, but vaguely touches on the more necessary—and likely more difficult route—of teaching awareness to motorists.

My logic (speaking generally of course): keeping your ass from getting creamed should be fairly easy to educate yourself on—most cyclists will make sure to remain aware enough not to blindly ride against traffic or into intersections. This is simple self-preservation—”education” that typically comes easy to us. On the other hand, teaching others (read: motorists) to be aware of another’s safety (and mere existence) isn’t as simple. I think motorists should be more of the focus in the Education, Enforcement, and Encouragement chapter. But it’s not, is the BMP taking the easy route on this subject?

I’ll admit, this is a major hurdle to be made: overcoming the precedent that motorists have effectively “owned” the roads for the past fifty years. This precedent and the mentality that goes along with it is what the BMP should focus more on in my opinion. All the bike lanes in the world won’t mean a thing if a motorist doesn’t heed them, doesn’t know the rules in dealing with them, and/or doesn’t know what they are. This is also where the Enforcement should be focused on also. Maybe I’m just reading too much, but I get the feeling in this chapter that someone is doing us a “favor” and we’d better not step out of line or we’ll lose it. An awaiting “I told you so!” per se.

But, is there some educational campaign that I’m not aware of that is focusing on teaching, to motorists, the existence of bikes on the road, the rules of the road when interacting with cyclists, the legalities of intimidating, hitting, or killing cyclists? These are the forms of education that I would like to see also implemented, at the ground level: when you get, or renew, your driver’s license at any and all ages, starting now.

Without educating and re-educating motorists, any and all bike lanes are half-assed. How frequently do you already see bike lane laws being shirked? Myself: all the time. Parking in them, driving in them, turning early in them, UPS/FedEx/DHL delivering in them, and lately pedestrians running and jogging in them (seriously, what’s up with that?).

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If lifting and/or altering this automotive precedent is our goal (as it should be), it only makes sense that motorists be the ones responsible for learning more about cyclist’s rights and safety. They should be our stewards to the road; it’s time all motorists take the responsible step and slow down, pay attention behind the wheel, and learn the laws. Never before have there been so many bikes on the road, that population is only going to grow. They should be our stewards to the road because they’re going to be giving it to us eventually, when that gas is all gone or it’s priced realistically, we’ll all be biking!

I’ll have to read more about this Mobility Education of course. Maybe I’m speaking a little too idealistically, but seriously WTF, things have to change, there’s been too many lives irresponsibly taken.

Filed under: Cranked Magazine, Select

Bici Bici

Bici Concepts. Los Angeles.

I just got another package (actually last week) and this one contained some stylin’ gear. I’m not that big on fashion, but I know a lot of people are. My bikes aren’t into fashion that much either, but my fixed does sport a top tube pad. I don’t even know where it came from, but I only really notice it’s there when I stop at long red lights and want to ease the knees by slouching down and taking a bit of a rest on the top tube of the bike—the pad there provides a nice bit of cush.

Now, if I wanted to, I could do so on a spanking new glow-in-the-dark top tube pad made by Bici Concepts. Yep, glow-in-the-dark. I remember when everything came with that option. I also remember those funny shirts that would change colors or something. This pad is not those. Houndstooth is in friends, and so is glow-in-the-dark! (Check out the test I just had to perform here and just a bunch of general shots here.)

They sent a number of other styles of pads, some short, some long, some made for over-sized tubes, and one made for a mini bike I’m guessing. They’ve got a wide variety of styles: country-western bandanna, organic S&M leather daddy, snakeskin, 80’s Vans checker. All seem mostly reversible, some self-contained pad, others separate foam sleeve style. Very professional packaging too, that was what I was first impressed with. There were also a couple rad shirts thrown in too. I dig the HUGE screenprint; very unique. They’ve got an even huger selection on their website with their own descriptions even.

So thanks a ton to Bici Concepts, you’ve got a rad thing going, keep it up!

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Namby-Pamby

Here’s a rant for you. Regarding the latest article in the P.I. about the protest bike ride up Stone Way. In all honesty, the article makes it sounds like a bunch of namby-pamby whiner cyclists not getting what they want.

I think it should be known that this article does not represent the entire population of bikers in the city of Seattle. I actually don’t like bike lanes on Stone Way; I don’t like bike lanes anywhere really.

What do I want? I want the whole lane of traffic. I want motorists to see me and to not be surprised by my presence when I am no longer in a bike lane. (Is there going to be a bike lane on every street in the city?) I want to be seen by motorists. And I want to be seen by motorists as a realistic and viable user of the public streets that we are all sharing.

The ironic thing is, I already have the whole lane. It is my understanding that I can already legally ride in the lane of traffic by my definition of what riding as near to the right (or left) of the through lane “as is safe.” Is my ability to define what is safe for me being questioned? Are we not able to determine this for ourselves?

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RCW 46.61.110

RCW 46.61.120

“Sharrows” in my opinion offer a decent amount of “education” to all users of the roadways without the explicit segregation and separation of a bike lane. This education is in Sharing the Road. We all pay for it, we all own it, we all have to share it. Simple as that. Whatever happened to signs indicating the same: Share the Road. Why not do a better job of educating everyone on cyclist’s rights and their presence on the road?

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All this whining for bike lanes may get the cyclists in Seattle a bunch of things we don’t really want or need. More contempt and aggression from motorists most likely; with any “success” with bike lanes, more road segregation likely giving way to legislation diminishing our rights to the entire road (i.e.: it being illegal to ride outside of designated bike lanes); and perhaps the eventual licensing and further taxing of cyclists (they’re free to ride for a reason!). All I’m saying is, be careful what you wish for, especially when it concerns others getting it too.

Let’s assert the rights we already have and take the lane! Ride like you mean it! Ride like we belong—because we do! Honestly, does the bike lane provide you with any protection from motorists who may or may not see you riding in it? The bike lane will not protect you when they absolutely don’t see you and turn through it?

Filed under: Cranked Magazine, Select

It’s All a Packa Lies

The other day I was sent a nice package containing three shirts, three patches, and a sweet hat. It’s all Lies though.

I didn’t make it to the NACCC this year, but I can now sport a t-shirt from it. Totally rad design, good shit indeed. I really like the tag stitching on the inside—a nice and unique look. Make sure to check out Lies online at http://www.everybodylies.net/.

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Make sure to check their ad to your right there and visit their site whenever you find yourself in need of some new cool shirts.

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