Life By Bicycle @ Wordpress

Bicycling & Alternative Transportation Collection.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bicycle Thievery Revisitted....

I have had two bikes stolen recently, and it bothered me that it happened to my brother also but that has already been made clear.

When I look back I realize the mistakes I made, and though it took two experiences to get the point through my thick head I realized after the second some of the weaknesses when I looked at how they were locked up.

The first one was a Schwinn Ranger 2.6 fs, a 130 dollar target special. Though after the modifications, including adding a rack, new tires and better gearing the price was higher. Apparently so much so someone found interest in it and decided to take it home. To clarify, it was locked in a parking garage with a camera watching it, so I figured it was a bit more secure. I used the basic cable and key lock. In that was
my mistake. When I look back after watching the surveillance video I realized how useless those cameras can be. It just took a moment, the camera blocked, the thief walks in and walks out and no more bike.

The second experience, Brand New Giant Rincon retailing for about 350 usd stock 435 modified to my preference, I rode to work each day and locked it up to a railing right in front of the restaurant I was working at using the same cable and lock, and right after I get back from a break I lock up my bike and go into work Less than two hours later the security who by the way was supposed to be patrolling the area walks up and hands me a cut cable, all that is left of my bike. Just that moment he had gone into a laundromat next door and was talking with some people there instead of watching the grounds. Useless it would seem, so I filed a report and the bike is still gone, there was a clue I might be able to get it back through the supposed insurance the owners of the lot offer but I don't know and even if I could I wonder if it would be worth the time or the effort.

Finally, the most recent addition, after waiting near three months to have it arrive, a black and gray rincon 21 inch frame, locked with a OnGuard Lock U Lock with Cable and insured up to 2150 usd for failure of the lock or at least that is the story I been told but I have not tested it and verified. Thus far every time I come out of the store my bike is still there. And I am glad don't think it is worth another
three month wait to ship from china.

Thanks for your time and Ride On....securely so you come out to your trusty stead always.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Diverse Benefits of Cycling

There are many reasons why you should ride a bike, for someone relatively new to the concept I hope to help you realize the wonders of cycling, of travel by your own ability. Consider the fact that gas today is up to prices not seen in so long, you figure two to three dollars for the gallon and what an average tank is about twenty gallons. Do some basic arithmetic and you come to about sixty dollars for a full tank that depending on what kind of vehicle it is may or may not last. Lets take that same sixty dollars saved because you just decided to ride the bike a few more times then you drove the car. That same sixty dollars can go towards snacks, gear, or just into savings. Besides the health benefits gained through using your strength to move forward as opposed to the minimal effort of turning a steering wheel and the basic movement of foot from accelerator to brake and back. When bicycling you end up with a great cardiovascular work out and the enjoyment of riding.

Secondly, the additional benefit, of seeing things from a different perspective when you ride. Try a short tour and see what I mean. Things are different when you travel at a pace you choose, instead of traveling so fast that you miss so much. The slightest details as you ride are noticeable the wind in your face the feeling of movement all different on a bike. That vista on top of the hill that you often miss because you cannot enjoy the scenery when traveling at 60+ miles an hour, well on a bike you reach the top of that same hill, after enjoying the experience of climbing a hill can be realized and enjoyed once you just stop and step off your bike and enjoy the amazing view. Take your time, there is no hurry when you are on a tour you just enjoy each moment. Consider also that though there was a great climb, there will also be an even more exciting descent. Cruising time, whether you peddle or not is up to you so enjoy the speed.

Thirdly realize the simple fact that with better health comes longer life. The simple fact that you are out riding extends your life just a bit for each mile you cover. With the obesity that plagues us in these days, exercise has so many more benefits then can be clarified in an article. The simple fact that you are out riding, you are taking one step in the right direction and saving money besides. To cycle is in itself a many faceted activity, with a diverse set of benefits from the experience.

In closing, as diverse a set of benefits that can be derived, by riding a bike, you are gaining experience in alternative transport, you are benefiting yourself and your family. In setting a good example of using the bike more then the car you are also setting the stage for the next generation, your kids to have that same habit with the same results. Family cycling, a wonderful way to enjoy full this wonder that is cycling. So get out there and ride, the initial investment has long term results. Lets all live a long and fulfilled life by riding the bike.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A sad Loss

Today, was supposed to be a day of celebration, both my sister and brother were in a dance recital and I got out and rode, so it was good exercise, I had originally planned to attend a concert that was scheduled for 1400 hours, A Choral Celebration. Upon arriving though, early as it were as the time dwindled down it was understood that, apparently it had been canceled. Now I had traveled to the College where the performance was expected to take place and saw my brothers bike out front locked up. Not to securely which I am sorry to say was proven later that night when he was expecting to travel home.
His bike a Specialized Rock Hopper, red and black, a nice bike had been stolen while he was performing. A good bike but more built for Mountain Biking, and not so much for commuting though that is what he used it for regularly.

I would of liked to tell him that ineffectiveness of cable locks but apparently he saw by example. I wrote an article on bike security on my blog which could of helped in that situation but there can be no guarantees.

So what can we each do in this situation, what has been some of your experiences and some of the solutions you have found to be effective in securing a bike?

All comments are welcome.

Cycling Realized

To think today as I rode a route thoughts came to my head, in realizing with the weather cold how many still ride, when the option is cycle commuting, then it seems it would mean that is a year round activity. An ongoing experience however varied it may be. To cycle commute is the secret to long life so why then would there be some who only play it part time. Sure if they have situations they deal with regularly I can see how it could be frustrating. Better to do then not. Well though this post can go on for a bit I will step away and ponder.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bike Security - How Secure should we be?

Bicycling and security, the wonders of today ... the new thief ... and the wonders of deterrents.

There was a time not so long ago I did not think about it as such a high priority, bike security until I myself had to experience the loss. Looking back my bike was not truly secure as was assumed. A simple lock and chain less then the recommended thickness in a location expected to be secure and the bike not all that expensive though modified to my preference. It only took a moment ... the camera I expected to be watching the bike ... is blocked by a service vehicle and as I watched the tape moments only out walks the thief and my bike. I must say walking was not a preference of mine.

Learning from that experience and realizing now ... it was a simple as taking further precaution on bike security. On the recommendation of a local bike shop I purchased the On Guard pit bull dt which included a 13mm shaft and 10mm solid cable included with bike mount. This lock also offered a warranty of up to 2250 in reimbursement if the lock failed. It also provides a security card with spare keys and laser cut to insure originality.

What that all means to those who just want to be sure their bike is secure ... that with this lock and its flexibility you can go into the store and come out and your bike, your investment, your mode of transport is still there waiting for the next mission whether it be a great ride in the mountains ... or an awesome century, your bike is there and ready to go. Be proud of your wise investment in security. And Ride on!

Learn more about this author, Knatchwa.

Cyclist Views

Considered a vehicle we ride, indeed with the advent of the holidays, as merry as they may be, careful on the road is how we should be. Live another day and see the wonders of the bike reality.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Benefits Of Cycle Commuting

When I started this blog, I had decided to tell the story of my first tour as an opening, and still that story is under revision, because such a remarkable story can only be made better. Perhaps another tour when the seasons change, at least that is the plan.

This particular post though, is regarding the benefits of commuting by bike and will include information and stories made interesting. Well then lets get to it shall we.

The benefits of riding a bike instead of driving a car

When you ride a bike you are saving your money to the tune of thousands of dollars in a year and even more in a lifetime, extended as a result of the healthy habit of commuting by bike.

In commuting by bike you are also helping the environment and curving, global warming. When you think about it the best way to do all you can to help with global warming, as important as it is, simply putting away the car, or just sell the thing, and if you really need a car for a long distance trip consider you can rent it. Instead of having a car sit in the driveway open the garage and bring out the bike and ride.

Perhaps you will argue, not enough space on the bike for my shopping, consider then the investment in bike rack and panniers. It is amazing how much space panniers provide you. Also look at how much you are buying do you eat it all? If it is easier why not purchase your groceries online? Easier and more convenient, besides you can also become more aware of the needs of yourself and your family by planning menus in advance.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Stay Alive - Ride with the cell phone off

Should cell phone use be banned while driving?

Over and over a united concern that they are distracting, so much so in fact that there has been attempts by the local law enforcement to ban them to no avail. Certainly I have seen more then a few individuals who for there safety and for the safety of others pull over and talk on the cell. Sadly to say that is not as widely held as it should be, each day I see people driving and talking on phones and driving along. Still they just cruise along talking up a storm, arguing, battling and I hate to say even texting.

Based on experience I am inclined to agree they are very dangerous. Lets take an example, a regular day a regular hour, a nice day, said driver is usually very good about considering distractions, but hey he got this snazzy new cell phone this morning, so great, talk to the world be in touch all the time, exciting. So he puts common sense aside, drives the same route he drives every day at the same speed he always travels. This particular day at this particular moment a cyclist, figuring it was a great day for a ride, the weather is nice, a refreshing breeze so he to is following the same route. Simply because it is a great way into Monterey and well established as a route for an experienced cyclist such as himself. The main drawback of this particular route is that there is a stretch where you are just driving along the road with the cars, not a separate bike path until you near Marina. As the experienced cyclist he is, using the proper signals traveling the same direction as the cars and all in all traveling just as a car would without distractions. Remember the driver has always been careful but he got this awesome new cell phone so he is playing with it calling people seeing what he can do with it. To bad though when you are playing with a cell phone you are not paying attention to what you should be looking at, the road and any slow moving vehicles including bikes. The driver finds something really interesting on the cell phone and it is certainly fun, the problem is he is distracted and as such not noticing the slow movement of his car to the side where the cyclist was riding. This car was probably travelling at 50 mph or the way it usually goes over the speed limit by about 10 mph. A bike can travel at maybe 20-30 mph dependent on weather or the physical fitness of the rider. And the weight differential is considerable. Taking all those into consideration, the driver loses control, hits the rider and goes over the side of the road. Luckily for the driver blanco is not to steep so he ends up in a small ditch off the side of the road. Easily enough to get the car out but can you guess what happened to the cyclist as a result of a moment of distraction? Because that really cool cell phone has this awesome feature he did not know about and sure need to experiment. Considering common sense was aside though, maybe if he was thinking straight he would of figured he could mess with the phone later and kept his eyes focused on the road ahead not the cell phone.

I have found that it is better to be on the safe side when you see someone on the phone while driving considering the resulting lapse of concentration. I am fortunate to have seen some examples of people taking that into consideration and pulling over to the side of the road to use the phone, otherwise leave it off. It is good to see some take responsibility but sad to see most do not.

When you are cycling you must consider traffic as an ongoing concern, simply put ... if a conversation gets heated and your driving your car, you become to focused on the conversation, the yelling the arguing. Similar to road rage all things result from how you are feeling at that time so then would it not be better to leave that at home or turn it off?

Of course you can drive no problem while talking on the phone right, till you make a mistake. perhaps you end up turning into the bike lane, or you veer into another lane and you are hit by another car. Just pay attention,keep yourself alive and others who may of been innocent bystanders, turn off the cell when driving. Someone calls there is always voice mail, check it when you are stopped or be smart about it pull off to the side of the road and just focus on the call. It makes better sense and can result in a longer life wouldn't you say?

Thanks for Reading Additional Writings.
-=Cycling with the Cell Phone Off=-

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The First Ride

I will start this set off on the simplest point of view. My first bicycle tour was one of the best I have ever had the opportunity to experience first hand. It begin when I was inspired after reading the information on about preparing and executing a tour as remarkable as it was.

I was quite a sight for sure, with my schwinn ranger 2.6fs though mine was the red and silver version target special, though I modified it in adding a rack and a bag, that is all that consisted of my first tour or at least at the start of it.

So I decided to ride Salinas to Monterey - Monterey - Big Sur and then from there North towards San Francisco via Santa Cruz a beautiful route to be sure, just to much highway so I modified the route some and found some nice side trips. Along this journey the first night I stayed in Veterans Memorial Park in Monterey. It is a simple park, up along Jefferson a great climb and after you get away from the main areas and farther up in the hills you start to see the untapped wilderness, well at least that is what I would say though honestly, there are houses up the hill but it is a nice route nonetheless. So after the exhilarating climb that brings you up to this campground you are pleasantly surprised as first there is actually a running shower and when you bike this route you are welcomed with a fair price of only 5 dollars per night and relatively close access to Monterey, CA. Being that the great tourist destination that it is most know Monterey for Fishermans Wharf and who could forget the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary, in simpler terms Monterey Aquarium. There you can find so much great information and experience the sea life in so many ways. Of course who could forget the wonders of the delicate cuisine and the weather. To think that was only the first leg of this great tour. Let us continue, upon arriving at Veterans Memorial I setup camp glad to be traveling by my own power, the greatest way to travel and I would be taking care of myself besides. So out came the tent from the side of the bag right off the side of the rack. And then the amazing thing is most everything else I needed was either in my backpack or in the bag I was carrying, as you could guess that made for quite a load, a rookie load I will admit, since then I have been blessed with knowledge from this trip as well as from an amazing group I am glad to be a member of bicyclingadvocacy which has been an avid educator to insure my understanding of things. The interesting thing is bicyclingadvocacy group was also founded by Ken Kifer before his death as the result of a drunken driver. A sad story to be sure but it is a part of the history and still his website remains alive thanks to a good friend of the group Riin Gill though she is not quite as active in bicycling advocacy now she still keeps alive. It is a remarkable thing when someone holds something so dear so close.

On to day two, after all the background you can fathom, here goes the next part. Let us recall that this was my first tour and as such I did not have much equipment in comparison to the seasoned cyclist I am now, so I kept it simple a stove that burns sterno made out of aluminum easily folded and setup and it did the trick, was able to warm up some soup and basic staples and rest well, though different then sleeping in a bed and adds to the experience. When you consider that you are on the ground and if you find a relatively smooth spot with no roots sticking up or rocks for that matter you can do pretty well with a simple sleeping bag and keeping all your items inside the tent to insure they will still be there when you awake the next day. So I locked up the bike and put my stuff inside the tent and just enjoyed the sounds of nature, no sirens, no blaring stereos, just the birds and the sounds of the forest the most amazing relaxer. Come the next morning another beautiful day, I awoke and just enjoyed the moment, no rush no schedule no insanity of working to hard for to little or management yelling in your ear. It is truly a wonderful experience to have a great way to start the day. Well since I was enjoying the day so much I ended up leaving a bit later then I planned but there was no predefined schedule, it was for the experience and I am glad I had it. I finally get going around 11a or so after having a great breakfast and lounging just a bit and I continued my journey, first travelling back into Monterey and towards Del Monte Shopping Center as that seemed to be the most direct route as you start heading towards Carmel Highlands which was the route into Big Sur as far as I could tell. So I traveling from Veterans Memorial Park to Del Monte Shopping Center, was a simple route.
As I continued down Del Monte Blvd I noticed there was no bike route and the only other indicator was that ridiculous signs declaring no bikes are allowed when you consider a bicycle is considered a vehicle it makes little sense why there are any closed routes as such I did not let that discourage me, I will admit to keep it simple, I ended up catching MST's line 22 Big Sur to cover a short distance between points and got off at Point Lobos and travelled from there. Continuing through the highlands I was privileged to see some amazing vistas long before Big Sur came into view. When you are cruising, travelling by your own power it is truly a journey worth experiencing to the fullest. With so many amazing views and the wind in your face just cruising at a comfortable speed no rush no hurry, just take your time and breathe deeply in the freshness of it. As I pushed pedal I noticed some nice shops along the route and stopped in to take a look just a casual browsing so relaxing for sure picked up some snacks and continued my excursion into the known.

At once I found myself coming up on Point Sur, a historical phenomenon, rich in history and offered as a tour to the public. It was to bad I could only experience it from a distance, my goal that day was to get to Andrew Molera State park, or Pfeiffer State Park either one of which offers hike and bike sites for camping, though Andrew Molera is basically a primitive camp site it offers some remarkable trails and a great view of the mountains from any site as well has Horseback Tours along the beach or anywhere in the park. The prices are fair and it is an experience to have. In the end of day 2 I decided to camp at Pfeiffer state park based on some of the reviews when I was talking with other bicycle tourers, and I must say that made it even more interesting, as bicycle tourists truly come in all shapes and sizes and from all sorts of backgrounds. The one common view they find refreshment in the ride, in the experience, they become the ride.Truly an invaluable resource to a rookie such as myself, I can find inspiration, the voices of experience, the trials and errors of the majority and the solutions to each.

As I traveled nearing my destination I was refreshed, I felt energized and enthusiastic due to the fact I was doing not just watching from the sidelines if you will, it is in the experience I truly found the joy. Such awakenings to the reality, such awareness of the real, the fresh air the amazing vistas after the awesome climb mountain to mountain, and of course the fast descents to once more climb what a way to ride.

After a bit I saw in the distance a sign declaring Pfeiffer state park is less then a mile away and I was excited to see this popular park from the eyes of a cyclist, as opposed to the car camper. Pfeiffer is very popular when the seasons are right, and as such for car camping they suggest booking months, even years in advance for a campsite it is that popular. And as a cyclist you just cruise up and your are welcomed regardless of the season and they kindly direct you to the Hike N Bike sites and right nearby you have the campground hosts so you can get wood or supplies at reasonable prices and the site itself is just down a little hill in a grove of century old redwoods away from the hustle and bustle of the city, peaceful, relaxing and dare I say perfect? Well I will say it is very close but perfection just does not exist but it is amazing when you come so close to even venture say the sites here are wonderful.

I cruise on up looking for the perfect site and you could choose any one location you can be in an area surrounded by the historical redwoods with a fire nearby, because you know you need to have smores.

Thanks for reading!
To Be Continued...

And so the story continues, and only keeps getting better from here but who can say how many To Be Continued... you will see? A story often and comes in chapters and this is no different. In the final draft certainly each will be removed.

And after how long, it is finally continued, January 12, 2008. When I think about it diversity is remarkable to start on my journey to Monterey, the ride up the hill, and the setup of the camp, everything seemed fine at least at that moment in time. So I setup campe and ride back down the hill to keep it interesting for supplies and the necessity's so I rode on down the hill and loaded my bike up for the ride back up. Was a bit easier surely once you did it once you can do it again. The interesting spin, on this story, when I got back up to camp, I noticed I had lost about 4 or 5 spokes on the rear wheel. So basically, the wheel needed to be replaced, and this was only the first day how much fun could I look forward to after that I wonder. So though I had a plan to depart from Monterey the next day I found it necessary to ride back down the hill once more with 5 spokes gone. If you have ever rode a bike with even one or two spokes broken you know how much fun you can truly have. So I had to take it slow down the hill just to be on the safe side at a much slower pace then usually. So the story continues and I decided on Aquarian Bicycles in Monterey by Morgans right off of Alvarado. Conveniently located for sure when I am staying at Veterans Memorial Park in Monterey. Once I reached the bottom I found that the customer service was good, and the selection well fortified. Ended up paying for a new rear wheel had it installed and setup and back on the trail. Well at least up to camp to tear things down First and foremost of course I was setup for one more night. Once I got back up there setup dinner and enjoyed a few bites. Layed down and looked forward to the trip tomorrow that I expected to take me to Big Sur. Another beautiful ride for sure, comes with some nice climbs and awesome descents along with vista views that cannot be compared to any other location in this world. In my opinion at the very least, a worthwhile ride well known around the world.

So once I awoke the next morning expecting to be on my way bright and earlier caught up in the excitement of the moment. So I packed up got everything loaded on and I was on my way. The first step in this journey was to travel from Veterans to Big Sur via Carmel Highlands, ideally of course for anyone who has rode a bike for any part of these routes sometimes it is difficult to find a direct run point to point. The route did vary, though I ended up getting there though I will admit I had to cheat a bit and rode a bus for one small part of the route because the challenge is to not vary to much from the main routes.

Instead, I rode from Monterey to Point Sur, and got off from there, and continued by bicycle. Had the opportunity still cruise a part of the Carmel Highlands heading towards Highway One. Carmel Highlands also offers some nice vistas, and a pretty good space to ride in. When I thought about it I was glad I was able to experience it if only in part. Once I traveled through Carmel Highlands I found myself at the mouth of Big Sur, the true beginning of this amazing journey.

To Be Continued: