Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The 6/10 Morning report

Rode the Westview to Antione to Memorial to Shepherd to W. Alabama route this morning and hit an all time record on the number of Cyclecommuters. Including myself there were 12 and none going in the same direction as me.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Peter Wang joins BCH as a Contributor

Those of you who've not guessed by now Peter Wang has joined us as a contributor to BCH. Peter brings a lot of experience in both cycling and cycle commuting to these pages.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The biggest, most dangerous newbie mistakes

There are lots of newbie bike commuters out there; maybe you're one of them. If so, please read this list and please amend your ways if you are violating any of these laws or guidelines.


Riding against traffic

Running stoplights and signs in the presence of other vehicles (you're relying on them stopping for you to continue living)

Riding at dawn / dusk / dark with no front light and no rear reflector

Sudden left turn from right side of road

Continuing straight through the intersection from the right side of a right-turn-only lane

Riding in the median of a roadway, between the two opposing directions of traffic

Curb-hugging. No, ride in the right tire track, or in the center if there is no shoulder or bike lane

Sidewalk riding where the sidewalk is frequently cross-cut by driveways, side-streets, or it has many pedestrians

No hand-signals

No looking back before you make a move

No helmet

No eyeglasses / sunglasses, sunscreen, water

No personal ID on you


Use a rear-view mirror

Wear a reflective vest and areflective ankle bands in low-light conditions. Wear bright clothing at all times.

Use a red rear light and a red rear reflective in low-light conditions

Carry a cell phone

We need bike commuter access to METRO light rail

Please visit the Houston BikeTrain blog, and take appropriate action!

About bicycle education classes

ROAD ONE is the essential nine-hour classroom + road course which will teach you the essentials of riding on the road. It is offered several times a year at various locations throughout Houston.

BICYCLE COMMUTING is a follow-up course for Road One graduates. It will be offered on 6/28/08 and is not likely to be offered again for a long time. The truth of the matter is that not many people in the area have graduated from Road One, so the target audience is tiny.

Bicycle riding on the road is just about as complex as motorcycle riding on the road. Training is absolutely needed for a safe, enjoyable experience for both types of two-wheelers. You would not consider getting on a motorcycle without training and the right license, would you?

How to find Houston area bicycle education courses: CLICK HERE

Public Service Announcement: Peter Wang Offering Course on Commuting by Bike

Date: Saturday, June 28, 2008, 10 am - 2 pm
Instructor: Peter Wang
Location: 851 Dairy Ashford, Houston, TX 77079
Fee: $10

Description: For adult cyclists who wish to explore the possibility of commuting to work or school by bike. This three hour follow-up to Road I covers topics including route selection, bicycle choice, dealing with cargo and clothing, bike parking, lighting, reflection, and foul weather riding. Successful completion of Road I is a pre-requisite for this course. If you have not done Road I you will not be turned away, but you may not get the full benefit out of the course. Bring a lunch, or money to buy your own lunch at area restaurants.

To register for this course, contact:

Phone: (281) 556-0923

The Sirrus Hybrid Steps Up.

Well, I finally wore out my monitor Monitor pass. I took it into the shop on Monday to have its chain and chain wheels replaced as they were so worn the chain was resting on the wear indicator pins. In the meantime transferred all my commuting gear to the Sirrus hybrid.

Up until now I had not had an opportunity to really ride this bike for any length of time as it took a lot of "dialing in" on the equipment side of it; however, after a full commute I can make a few conclusions.

Compared to the Monitor Pass it's considerably lighter and I rather like the frame fit a bit better. However, I still haven't quite dialed in the ergonomics of the bike yet. This model of Sirrus has a suspension seat post, but I don't think they had 179 pounder in mind when they put it on this bike. Although I have the seatpost set at the right height compared to my road bike when it is actually loaded up with my weight it collapses about a half-inch. So before I can ride the bike again I'm going to need to adjust the seat post.

Speaking of seats, it has one of specialized's synthetic ergonomic seats. it wasn't quite as comfy as my Brooks Conquest, but surprisingly it worked quite well and it does have the advantage of tolerating the occasional thunder shower much better than natural leather. so for the time being it will remain; however, somewhere down the road I may ditch both seatpost and seat for a rigid seatpost and a Brooks Flyer.

I also had opportunity to test my planet bike Cascadia fenders. As I was getting close to home this afternoon I got caught in a small thunder shower and also hit a number of deep puddles; however, both myself and the bike stayed quite dry from splashes and splatters. Compared to the fenders I have on the monitor pass the longer mudflaps of the Cascadia's are well worth the money. I definitely have plans to get a set of Cascadia mudflaps and put one on the front fender of the monitor pass and the other on the front fender of the trike.

I'm still not too comfortable running 700c wheels on Houston's streets. Many of the expansion joints abutting the storm drains on Memorial Drive are exactly the same width as a 700C rim. I did not have the same apprehension while riding on 26 inch rims. The Monitor Pass feels a lot more tolerant of Houston's road imperfections; however, I will say this much the Sirrus hybrid did account for itself well on the rougher sections of Alabama.

It was also quite refreshing to be on a bike that was geared for the road as the Monitor Pass was always geared a little lower than I liked.

One thing I am going to change is the E3 Cycling Cyclocomputer. The speed display on it is beautiful; however, I discovered that the distance measuring capability is only accurate up to a 10th of a mile compared to a 100th of mile common on a Cateye. I also have to flail around on the buttons to get the information I'm looking for. I found it to be not very intuitive compared to a Cateye. Also, some of the finer markings washout under LED light (like distance, MPH, and ATM) which I never had that problem with Cateyes.