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Reflecting

Reflectors!!  Lights!!  Visibility!!  In this city, it is not only the law, but a necessity to avoid being run down while out riding in the evening and night.  So here is a little food for thought…

Lights and Reflector Will Save You PainWould you believe how important at dusk to have a blinking taillight?  The Lakota peoples speak of this as a magic time, and no in the oh-so-fun rabbit popping out of the hat.  Think more like, everything is a shade of gray.  So its all the more important to have that flashing bit of red or orange blowing up drivers’ retinas.

The next little bit to consider is WHERE to place your reflectors and/or lights.  Studies have been done showing how simply by viewing  lights placed on moving joints, the human mind can discern a multitude of information, and in our case, that we are on a bicycle in front of their half ton+ of steel.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this little demo… http://www.biomotionlab.ca/Demos/BMLwalker.html

What it boils down to, is to seriously consider wearing reflectors on your ankles and knees, and have a blinking light on either your back or on the back of the bike.  Whichever is more visible.  Bike stores sell a variety of lights, which they will readily mount for you (sometimes for a price), and most will  also have reflective bands for your joints for a very low cost.  And if you’re crafty, you can always think up new ways to sew reflective material onto your clothes and gear!

Stay tuned, we may even have an upcoming reflective workshop in the not too distant future!


Whats Between the Lines

It sure has been raining a lot lately.  It is a good thing.  The water is being planted into the earth for later use.  All those shiny cold droplets glistening on the branches, blades, and leaves push the plants energy deeper in, planting that, too, for later use.  Just something to consider next time you’re out in it.  And being out in it is what this post is about.  And a bit more specifically, how to be out in it safely.

Ride safe, don't ride between the the tire lines

Ride safe, don't ride between the the tire lines

Last time I wrote about wet metal.  Remember that?  Only good wet metal is really good heavy metal, otherwise its bad luck, so try your best to avoid it or hold steady as you go over it.  The other tricky tricky during the rain is where in the road you ride.  Really.  You wouldn’t think it would make a difference but it does.  When its raining, ride in the car tracks.  The reason for this is that inbetween those tracks lies slickness – oil and other lubricants that leak or  get washed off the bottom of cars and sit in the street until the rains pull it to the surface.  And its most dangerous early in the rainfall before its had time to be pushed to the sides and middle by constant tire pressure from all the traffic.   Next time you’re caught in the rain on your bicycle, notice where all the pretty swirly rainbow colors are on the concrete.  Just don’t notice them too long or you might end up going splat!

So remember, in the rain, what lies between the lines can mess you up.


Safe Riding and Robots

Well hello there.

To start off, its kinda late on a Friday night, so pardon any blips in the post.  I just got back a bit ago from riding down to Main Street to see Tank Mansfield‘s Robot Series at MOTR.  Excellent fun stuff.  Lots of personality and great fills.

"Perservernce" by Tank Mansfield

"Perservernce" by Tank Mansfield

If any of you all want to get me his “Perserverence” as a print or a tattoo, my  birthday’s coming up.

As I was cruising south on Spring Grove Avenue (because quite frankly riding between Ludlow Ave and Hopple Street on Central Parkway is plain scary)   it occurred to me that when I was walking Chuckie the Dog earlier in the evening, the damp looking spots on the pavement were quite really slick.  ALERT!  Black ice.  Yup, that’s a good way to bash your skull.  Its like the Slow Ride the Lightning, you just don’t expect it to be what it is and it takes you completely by surprised.  The only difference is that incredibly slowed down Metallica just destroys, wiping out on black ice can just flat kill you.  Or make you incredibly miserable.  I’m willing to bet there are some of you that would say you’d rather take the wipe out.  Good luck with that.  If you don’t want to go down on ice, or wet metal, while riding your bicycle there are a couple of key elements that have been passed on to me by my seniors and my practical experience.

1.  Avoid riding on it if possible.  Wet metal is bad luck.  Really.  Manhole covers, steel plates, cheesegraters  (like on the Roebling Bridge in Cincinnati or Market Street in San Francisco).  Oh, and tracks.  Like train or trolley tracks.  Will.  Mess.  You.  Up.

2.  If you have to ride over that stuff and there’s no avoiding it, hold your line.  Stay straight and don’t waver.  I suppose you could kick the wheel out in a slide, but that’s an advanced maneuver.  Stay relaxed.  Hold your line.  Look in front of you.  See the whole picture.  Keep your ears open for vehicles behind you.  When you go down on Black ice it can be real fast and its only funny if all you end up with is a nice bruise.

3.  Wear a helmet.  Are you  trained to tuck your chin and avoid hitting your head?  Well, Mother Nature may think otherwise and She is a force to be reckoned with.  ESPECIALLY if its wet or slick out.  Tonight I got to sport my new stoopidcoolbossass Evel Kneivel helmet for the first time.  Thanks much to MoBo, Nutcase, and Park+Vine for trying to help me keep my brains intact.

Speaking of Park + Vine: owner Dan Korman has said that he will do a workshop at MoBo on the second Monday in March.  The focus will be Carless  in Cincinnati, or something like that.  If you didn’t know, Dan bikes everywhere.  In any weather.  He’s a beast.  And a big advocate for cycling, healthy living, and every great about Cincinnati.  Stay tuned for more info on this and other Monday workshops that are part of MoBo’s Winter Workshop Series.

by yours truly

That leads me on to the next thing that had popped into my mind while pedaling along on this very chilly night…. and before.  Before, as in, before I even left the house.  That was what am I gonna wear.  Yeah yeah yeah.  But really.  Dressing proper for these coldass January nights means forethought.  Key element?  Chest protection.  Something to keep the cold air off of it.  Last thing you want is a chest cold.  Or worse, pneumonia.  Now, you’re gonna be building up heat, and there’s a chance you’ll work up a bit of a sweat, even if you’re trying not to.   Moisture on the chest + cold air = Get a windbreaker, a raincoat, a leather coat, a naugahyde coat, a cycling jacket, wrap your self in plastic wrap, or poke holes in a garbage bag.  Just keep that wind off of your chest.  I also recommend a layer that wicks moisture off your body (removes – wick means removes).  Or better yet, two layers of wicking and a breathable windproof outerlayer.  You’ll be good to go then.  Those wicking shirts are getting pretty cheap.  There are a ton of brands, just look for something that says moisture removing.  Soccer shirts work.  So does wool.  That will keep the wet and the chill off your chest, as long as you’re moving.

So, to summarize… Tank draws cool robots.  Avoid riding on black ice and wet metal.  Its bad luck.  Except Slow Ride the Lightning – its crushes your skull.  Keep the chill off your chest because getting sick sucks.  And Dan Korman will be holding a workshop at MoBo on he second Monday in March.  The subject is being carless in the city.

Peace out,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Rob

This post is dedicated to Pauline Caluya 11/24/1970 – 8/25/1997  R.I.P.