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Bicycle Face

3 Comments Topics: Cycling, Musings, Stories Written by Melanie Colavito
Bicycle Face

I learned about a fascinating new topic this week thanks to Vox.  Apparently, when women started riding bicycles en masse in the 19th century, doctors coined a fictitious disease called bicycle face in an effort to scare then off from cycling.  From the Vox article: "Over-exertion, the upright position on the wheel, and the unconscious effort to maintain one's balance tend to produce a wearied and exhausted 'bicycle face,'" noted the Literary Digest in 1895. It went on to describe the condition: "usually flushed, but sometimes pale, often with lips more or less drawn, and the beginning of dark shadows under the eyes, and always with an expression of weariness." Elsewhere, others said the condition was "characterized by a hard, clenched jaw and bulging eyes." It ...

 

Is Rollin’ Coal the Mirror Image of Critical Mass?

12 Comments Topics: Advocacy, Commuting Written by Ted Johnson
Is Rollin’ Coal the Mirror Image of Critical Mass?

It's been said that for every activist there's an equal and opposite reactionary. So I'm just asking: Are these "Rollin' Coal" trolls just the natural polar-opposites to Critical Massholes? Rollin' Coal, if you haven't heard of it, is a phenomenon where people modify their diesel trucks to make them less fuel efficient. The modifications, which can cost up to $5000, allow the driver to belch out thick black smoke on demand as a way of expressing "anti-envrionmentalism." Often this smoke is directed at pedestrians, cyclists, and fuel-efficient automobiles. Critical Mass, if you haven't heard of it, means you are a sweet and innocent person visiting a bike blog for the very first time, bless your heart. It also refers to events where bicyclists ...

 

The Cadillac Backup Plan

8 Comments Topics: Commuting, Commuting Gear Written by BluesCat
The Cadillac Backup Plan

When I returned to bicycle commuting in 2008, my backup plan for handling problems out on the road was pretty simple: I carried a spare tube, a set of tire tools, a multi-tool and a cheap frame pump. If I encountered anything I couldn't handle with that basic kit, I carried my cell phone to call for rescue. Ted Johnson, in his article The Low-Skill Backup Plan, rightfully suggests that if you have no mechanical talent whatsoever, a cell phone is all the backup plan you need. After all, a lot of people don't know how to change a tire on their car, and most people don't know how to fix a car if it dies, so if a

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I Don’t Want to Share My Road With You

8 Comments Topics: Commuting Written by Josh Lipton
I Don’t Want to Share My Road With You

The other day, I stumbled across a tweet and reply that made me question the ubiquitous bicycle friendly term "Share the Road". I decided to jump in on the fun by trying to come up with a new and improved version of this pithy but now under-mined slogan.  Nothing of any real merit sprang to mind.  As I gave it some thought, I began to realize how difficult it is to come up with a short slogan that really sticks. But I did come up with a few different ways to interpret the saying. Literal: Bicyclists may use full lane Buddhist: Bicycles are traffic Taoist: The road is just there Zen Buddhist: Time and space are an illusion New Yorker: Get out of my way Late 90s: Bicyclists ...

 

unTerrifying Facts About Bicycling

11 Comments Topics: Commuting, safety, Video Written by Melanie Colavito
unTerrifying Facts About Bicycling

This absolute gem of a video found its way to my inbox yesterday.  It's titled "Terrifying Facts About Bicycling" and was created by BuzzFeed, the most prolific makers of lists on the Internet today. Please take the next 2 minutes to watch this video. Wow.  May I be the first to say WTF just happened there? Here, maybe this will help.  This is how the video was explained in the email, "We just released an interesting video that features some alarming facts about bicycling, and also explains what bicyclists can do to prevent these dangers from happening to them." I guess I missed the part where the video explains what cyclists can do to avoid being, well, killed by riding their bikes.  Oh, use ...

 

Grey Matter and Rethinking Used Bikes

6 Comments Topics: Commuting, Stories Written by BluesCat
Grey Matter and Rethinking Used Bikes

No doubt, I inherited my aversion to buying used vehicles from my parents. As Great Depression era kids, they were used to having possessions which were always secondhand, but I think the final straw came when my father returned from Europe and started looking around for a car in post-WWII Chicago. The automakers in Detroit had not yet switched over to producing civilian vehicles, so the only thing Dad could find was an ancient Ford Model A which always needed repair. Family legend has it that when he started dating Mom, and would come to pick her up on cold winter nights, she would snitch the rubber mat from my grandparent's bathtub and put it over the floorboard of the ...