Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Topshop Bicycle Club on Chictopia

Some of my favorite cycle looks from Topshop Bicycle Club on Chictopia. An endless source of street style.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Seattle Bikes

Some quick shots of Seattle on bike, most shots taken on Pike/Pine. I need to get out more & shoot - it seems to be getting away from me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Loading Your Bike on Seattle Metro

Sometimes those hills are too steep, the path too long, the streets too busy. On those days, I wait at the bus stop with my bike, hoping that there is an open spot on the front of the Seattle Metro.

What kind of bike can load onto the Metro? Most conventional bikes will fit on the front of the buses; gas powered, tandem, or three wheeled bikes are not allowed. As frustrating as it might seem, these bikes are not allowed to come with you inside the bus, but folding bikes are.

Can I load my bike anywhere? Used to be no, but it looks like they've started a one year demonstration project earlier this year. From Seattle Metro's site:

Effective February 7, 2009, bicycles may be loaded and unloaded anywhere in the Ride Free Area (RFA) during off-peak hours, including Saturdays, Sundays and major holidays. The only restriction for bicycle loading on surface streets in the RFA is Monday through Friday during peak hours (6 - 9 a.m. and 3 - 6 p.m.) at each route's first and last RFA stop.

Alright, how do I get my bike on there? Well, read it here or watch it here.

Here is Seattle Metro's bike page, check it out for further information.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gorgeous Bike Shoot - Style Inspiration

Such beautiful colors, I makes me want to dress, pack a lunch & visit the open meadows. Visit Marc Bordon's site for the full shoot.

Avoiding Crashes - Cars, Traffic & Infrastructure

I was pretty sure I'd get really hurt on the road when I started biking. A co-worker said to me, "If you ride most days, you need to be prepared to get hit or crash, it will most likely happen." Maybe that's a little harsh, but looking around my office - I see a few people that have been hit by opening cars doors, gotten caught in streetcar tracks or bridge grids, & been plane out clipped by a motorized vehicle. On that lovely thought, I want to give you my quick advice on staying safe while biking around Seattle.
  1. Avoid Streetcar tracks, as well as old rail tracks in South Lake Union & along Westlake Avenue. I ride the left hand side of Westlake because I have seen one too many bikers get a tire caught in the 2" track, biffing pretty hard. There are also some old tracks near Fairview & Valley that should be passed over with caution (I'd recommend getting on the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop here).

  2. Stay off bridges, use the sidewalks especially at Montlake. Those grids will catch you, drop you & hurt you with the slightest of movements.

  3. Use the sidewalk when traffic is heavy or you feel safer there. Seattle law allows us to ride on sidewalks & I often take advantage of this; people will sometimes disagree, but stand firm it is your right. Additional comments here would be to make sure you ride at an appropriate speed & respect the pedestrians you pass.

  4. Ride on bike heavy streets to avoid your surprise element to other cars. It seems to me that riding alongside other bikers on sharrow or bike lane streets gives you a little more visibility.

  5. Stay 3 feet out from parked cars to avoid getting clipped by a car door. Streets marked with bike lanes & sharrows indicate the proper distance, but you should also be mindful on unmarked & neighborhood streets. No one wants to end up like the girl from Wayne's World.

  6. Own the road, this forces cars to slow down & think before passing you. Remember that you have a right to be in the lane, don't apologize or hug the curb to accommodate a car passing unless it is 100% safe.

  7. Have the proper gear to increase visibility. Now, the whole point of me starting this blog was to prove that we don't need to gear up to ride, but sometimes things are necessary. Don't wear head to toe grey/black/navy during a rainy day or at night - try to have some sort of color on your person, bag or bike. I also recommend (& Seattle law requires) a white headlight & red tail light (blinking is best) at night.
Image from Car Free Days.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ballard Bridge

A quick post on The Slog about the new curb cut on Ballard Bridge. Savage makes a good point saying that this much discussed filter of southbound cycles back into traffic is just one tiny piece of what is scary about the bridge; he also makes the point that Ballard is a prime ride to/from downtown, with no hills. 15th Ave W & the bridge need dedicated bikes lanes if we are going to keep pushing all residents to bike; even experience & aggressive riders avoid it.

Image via Subsetsum.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Seattle Bike Trail Etiquette

Some of Seattle's most prominent bike trails include the Burke-Gilman and Interurban, both can be really convenient & an easy way to get around Seattle by bike. I've never ridden the Interurban, mostly because I rarely ride north. Biking on the Burke-Gilman can be tricky, depending on the day & time. Some days you'll be alone for long stretches, others you are avoiding a head-on collision while missing the couple & their baby stroller. I've also had some weird (horrid) interactions with aggressive riders on the trail, forcing me to pull off to let them pass as they speed by. I also was scolded by another biker for not giving him an "on your left." I was miffed by this; on a busy day on the trails do I really need to tell every person that I'm passing them if there is no oncoming traffic or danger? Turns out, you're supposed to. To me it seems like the "Good morning" rule. You might say hello to a person you pass walking to work on your street, but you wouldn't say something to everyone you pass on Broadway, would you?

See the City's website more information on Seattle Trail Etiquette.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Manhattan On Bikes

Just a taste of all the New Yorkers on bikes.

New York Biking Infrastructure

I spent Labor Day weekend in Manhattan. It was a great time filled with friends, celebration, and taking in the city; my only regret was that I didn't get myself on a bike (fail). Now, I'm not the type of person to get to critical when it comes to political moves or city infrastructure - to me, anything is better than nothing. I also realize that we should be making smart decisions upfront that work towards a better system, not just appease the immediate & waste money. My point here, is take this with a grain of salt.

New York was covered in bike paths, many buffered with street markings & parrallel parking. Many larger avenues (specifically 8th Ave & soon 1st & 4th) have new lanes with bike lights at most intersections & a wide pathway. Some areas use the green paths & bike boxes, other simply have marked bike lanes in both directions. While I didn't see as many glamour girls as I thought I might, I did see all walks riding their bikes - some carrying pizza, some on their cell, some in heels, etc etc. New York has made it easy. For more information about the NYC Bike Master Plan, click here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

SDOT Bicycle Improvements

Seattle Department of Transportation has been busy this summer, visit here to learn about Seattle Bike Infrastructure, wayfinding and paving markings. There are some quick explanations how to behave and what the intentions are.

You can also view or download a Fact Sheet or Bike Facilities by Neighborhood Sheet from the West Seattle Herald, each talking about city-wide improvements.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Seattle Bike Codes - An Intro to Your Rights & Responsibilities

Knowing your rights & responsibilities can be a big barrier when thinking about starting to bike. I sort of hopped in, not knowing. When people glared at me while riding the sidewalk on busy streets, I felt bad (little did I know that I have every right to be there). For those of you new to cycling or cycling in Seattle, here is a quick run down of the code.

For Cyclists:
  1. When biking on the road, you have all of the same rules & responsibilities as the driver of a car.
  2. You must avoid colliding with any pedestrian or other biker & should use a bell when necessary.
  3. Biking slower than the average speed of traffic requires you to ride closest to the right side of the right lane. This excludes safely passing another rider or executing a turn.
  4. In a one way, two (or more)-laned road, cyclists may ride closest to the left side of the left lane.
  5. You have the right to ride on a shoulder of the road or other bike lanes specified.
  6. You may ride two abreast, no more.
  7. You have to use hand signals (left, right, or stop)
  8. You may not hang on to a moving vehicle.
  9. You can not haul any package or bundle that prevents you from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars (no going no-handed).
  10. When dark you must have a white light on the front & a red reflector on your back. You may also use a red light on your rear in addition.
  11. Those brakes have got to work!
  12. You can't carry a passenger unless your 18+ & that small child is attached to their person.
  13. When along a crosswalk, you have all the rights & rules as a pedestrian. You shouldn't cut into a crosswalk if cars are present or passing through.
  14. You can ride on the sidewalk! You should ride in a manner & of a speed that is proper to the conditions (pedestrian traffic, grade, condition of surface).
  15. When on the sidewalk or public path you must yield the right-of-way to an pedestrian & signal (bell or "on your left" it) when overtaking (passing) any pedestrian.
  16. Wear a helmet (it's a $100+ ticket now)
Drivers Must:
  1. Not enter, leave or open the door of a motor vehicle adjacent to moving traffic unless safe to do so. Drivers are responsible to make sure that there are no bikers traveling past.
  2. Drive at a speed, avoiding collision with cyclists or pedestrians.
  3. Not drive in a bicycle lane, unless executing a turn. In which case they must yield to you, the biker.
Further resources through Bike Smart Seattle and review codes at SDOT.

My philosophy with biking in Seattle is this - stay safe, don't apologize for biking, pay attention, and run red lights if you've looked both ways, checked for pedestrians, etc. Two other things that have really helped me to stay safe are:
  1. Riding out from parallel cars & taking my place in the lane (this prevents doors from opening on you and forces cars passing you to slow down & move quite a bit out)
  2. Riding on sidewalks when traffic is heavy or fast
This just may be my favorite article on the subject, Bicycles Don't Matter. No Really. They Don't. by Dan Bertolet at Hugeasscity. Read other biking related articles here.

Image via sparkling allison.