19 August 2014

A Positive Response from the City

Salt Lake City has been making serious strides to become a more bicycle-friendly city over the past few years. One of those steps has been to install protected cycle lanes on some of the lower-traffic streets.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to deal with the protected cycle tracks and it is not uncommon to find a car parked up against the curb where they are normally supposed to park.

I was, however surprised the other day to find a city utility vehicle and trailer saddled up between the curb and the row of parked cars, right in the middle of the bike lane.

The truck was vacant, and I couldn't see any city workers anywhere in the immediate vicinity. Not finding anyone to complain to, I snapped a few pictures, and proceeded to post them to the various social media outlets for a little public shaming.

A city utility vehicle parked smack dab in the middle of the protected bike lane.

Unfortunately, the internet is anything but subtle. Along with the suggestions to smash windows and slash tires, was the more subtle and reasonable suggestion to send the picture to their supervisor, which I did.

Not expecting any sort of response - remembering my last bicycle-involved interaction with the SLC Police dept. - I was pleasantly surprised to find the following email in my inbox this morning:

Subject: RE: Utility truck parked in the bike lane

Good morning, Ms. Hill, (I didn't specify Mr, or Mrs. and I know several women named Kendall. An honest mistake)

Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention, we apologize for the inconvenience. We have followed up with the Parks and Public Lands Department regarding this and the reason why the truck was left unattended was the employee mows Taufer Park, Liberty Senior Center, and Beldon Park which are all in close proximity. The employee leaves his truck and trailer at Taufer Park, and drives his mower to the other sites. The employee has been instructed in the future to not park in the bike lane or at Taufer Park.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Cxxxxxx Oxxxxxxx
Customer Service Liaison and Special Projects Coordinator


TEL   xxx-xxx-xxxx


Small victories are still victories.

04 August 2014

Product Review: Bern Allston and Morrison Helmets

Okay, let's get this out of the way right now. I wear a helmet almost all the time when I'm on the bike. What you do, is none of my concern.

There. Helmet debate over.

Bern has long been known as the maker of utilitarian, do-anything, urban style helmets. And, that is exactly what they were, do-anything. You would see people wearing Bern helmets skateboarding, snowboarding, pretty much any sport that a helmet could be used with. With the release of the Allston and Morrison, Bern has finally made a cycling specific helmet.

What makes the Allston and Morrison different? Vents! They have 16 vents in them to help keep the cranium cool whle protecting it.

The main difference between the two helmets is the visor type. The Allston has the fabric visor, similar to their Berkely and Brentwood helmets, where the Morrison has a plastic mountain bike helmet style visor.


Bern was kind enough to give me an Allston helmet to use and abuse. Fortunately, I haven't tested how it stands up to a crash, but I has seen regular use since the spring as my commuter helmet. I like it since it doesn't have the styling of a racing helmet. It feels more at home on my head when I'm wearing cargo shorts and a t-shirt.

The only problem that I have encountered is that the sizes seem to run on the small size. I had them send me an XL helmet to fit my skull - as I have with other helmets, even my Bern Watts helmet. This one is SNUG! No chance of fitting a skullcap under there for colder days!

The Allston retails for $89, and the Morrison is $99.

31 July 2014

Rant of the Day

After a morning commute filled with altogether too many close passes, horns honking because I was “in somebody’s way”, and near cutoffs (seriously, what is it with this morning? Is it a “Thursday” thing?) I have come up with a brilliant and simple solution.

It should be mandatory that every year, to keep your driver’s license, you need to ride a bicycle for at least a mile (maybe more like five miles, just to make it interesting) on moderately busy roads (shared lanes, bike lanes, left and right hand turns to be included in the route), just so you know what it feels like to be the one out there exposed while 5000 lb cars pass within inches of your shoulder.
When I’m elected Emperor for Life over all the Known Universe, that will be the first law I pass down.

Mini-rant over. You may go back to your regularly scheduled day.

05 July 2014

T-Shirt of the Day - 4th of July Edition

What screams 'Merica more than an eagle riding a BMX bike? Not much.

Click on the eagle if you love America

You can find this fine shirt at darkcycleclothing.com along with other cool animal on bike shirts.


04 July 2014

Happy 4th of July

For those of you in 'Murica, have yourself a happy 4th of July!
I guess those of you who outside of the US of A will still have a 4th of July, but it just won't mean the same thing. I still hope it is a happy day for you.  Go ride a bike or something.

02 July 2014

T-Shirt of the Day

These shirts speak to my inner nerd. No, they scream odes of happiness to my inner nerd.

I immediately love anything that combines Star Wars and cycling.

You can find these shirts at Eleven Vélo

26 June 2014

Product Review: Timbuk2 Aviator Travel Backpack

Timbuk2 has been making messenger bags in San Francisco since 1989. Their bags are durable, spacious, and loved by their owners (I have several myself).

Recently, over the past few years, they have branched out from the standard messenger style bags into more lifestyle bags, such as travel bags.

Back in March, my wife and I went on our belated honeymoon to Europe. We visited five different countries (Ireland, England, France, Belgium, Italy), and in an effort to keep the trip from getting prohibitively expesnive, we decided to stay in hostels and travel primarially by train between our destinations. Traveling in a quasi-nomadic style meant that we were also traveling light, one bag per person that wouldn't have to be checked on the airlines.

I always make a point of visitng the Timbuk2 booth at Interbike and Outdoor Retailer, and in January, I was introduced to their travel line, and more specifically the Aviator Travel Backpack.  The Aviator Travel Backpack was exactly what I was looking for, a spacious travel bag that could be comfortably carried and would fit in the overhead bins on the airlines.

Need to check the bag? The straps can be stowed away so they won't snag or get caught while the ground crew are "carefully" handling your luggage.

 Above pictures from the Timbuk2 website.

Aside from being the perfect size to count as a carry-on bag, It also has several other well thought out features that set it apart. For one, the backpack straps and waist belt can be unclipped, and stored inside their own special pocket on the back of the bag to get them out of the way for those times that you do need to check the bag. It has grab handles on all sides for ease of carrying. There is also an attached rain cover just in case. Carrying it around as a backpack was comfortable - even when fully loaded, thanks to the padded straps and waist belt.

Another nice feature is the accessability. The top and main compartments open up wide for easy access, and there is a zipper inside the bag between the compartments so you can access items in the main compartment from the top. The compartment on the front of the bag is also accessable from the inside as well.

If you are familiar with Timbuk2 bags, you'll be glad to know that their travel line shares the same durability as the rest of their bags. We had our bags stuffed to the gills (1700 cu in of storage space), and the bag handled it like a pro.

The Aviator Travel backpack retails for $179.

Our luggage prior to leaving. My wife is using my Especial Medio backpack, and I have the Aviator Travel backpack. 

Aerfort Bhaile Átha Cliath (Dublin Airport)
I honestly want to go on another trip so I can use it again!