Categories
bikes visual

The rider completes the bike

Shinya KimuraShinya Kimu­ra is a cus­tom motor­cy­cle builder, and the sub­ject of a beau­ti­ful short pro­file on YouTube.

Categories
bikes california

Only worn when mobbin'

Scraperbike - Oakland

So I was catch­ing up with the haps in my new city today on Berke­ley­side, and I noticed a ref­er­ence to yet anoth­er cool thing that orig­i­nat­ed in Oak­land. No, it's not turf danc­ing, or whis­tle tips, or ghost rid­ing, or even hyphy. It's scrap­er­bikes, old beat­ers total­ly tricked out with col­or­ful, cheap, home­spun dec­o­ra­tions. Not only are they cool-look­ing, the scraper crew wrote some by-laws to keep it all legit:

In order to become a mem­ber of the Orig­i­nal Scraper Bike Team, you must: Be a res­i­dent of Oak­land, CA. Be at least 7y/o or old­er. Retain A 3.0 Grade Point Aver­age (GPA), Cre­ate your own Scraper Bike…(It Has To Be Amaz­ing, Or Else You Can't Ride.) A sin­gle-file line when rid­ing. After 10 rides The Scraper Bike King and his Cap­tains will decide if your bike is up to stan­dards and if you can fol­low sim­ple guide­lines. After your eval­u­a­tion we will con­sid­er you a mem­ber and hon­or you with an Orig­i­nal Scraper Bike Team Shirt. Only worn when Mob­bin'.

The above quote, and the still are from a beau­ti­ful short movie called Scrap­er­town by Zackary Canepari & Drea Coop­er, which you should def­i­nite­ly watch for the sheer awe­some cam­er­a­work alone. They have a series of love­ly videos about Cal­i­for­nia called Cal­i­for­nia is a place, also worth check­ing out.

Categories
bikes california new york san francisco

Why does cycling in SF suck more now than in 1994?

Cycling seems more dan­ger­ous, more has­sle-filled, and gen­er­al­ly more aggro than when I moved here. Why? Maybe it's me. I moved to Berke­ley recent­ly, and I'm pret­ty close to hav­ing a lawn that I can tell kids to get off of. Maybe it's that the city has changed a lot. There are more cyclists, more peo­ple in gen­er­al (60,000!) and more den­si­ty, espe­cial­ly down­town. On the oth­er hand, there are more bike lanes and sig­nage, and there's more bike aware­ness among the pedes­tri­an and motorist pop­u­la­tions. You'd think that more cyclists + more cycling aware­ness + more cycling accom­mo­da­tion would have result­ed in some kind of net improve­ment, but it hasn't. Pedes­tri­ans seem more antag­o­nis­tic to bikes; motorists of all types are much more antag­o­nis­tic; and some of my fel­low cyclists seem to be the most antag­o­nis­tic of all. Why?Felix Salmon has writ­ten a real­ly inter­est­ing, and wide­ly quot­ed, "uni­fied the­o­ry" of cycling that touch­es on what I think is the heart of it all: That most cyclists think they're pedes­tri­ans, when we're actu­al­ly more like motorists.

Bikes can and should behave much more like cars than pedes­tri­ans. They should ride on the road, not the side­walk. They should stop at lights, and pedes­tri­ans should be able to trust them to do so. They should use lights at night. And — of course, duh — they should ride in the right direc­tion on one-way streets. None of this is a ques­tion of being polite; it's the law. But in stark con­trast to motorists, near­ly all of whom fol­low near­ly all the rules, most cyclists seem to treat the rules of the road as strict­ly option­al. They're still in the human-pow­ered mind­set of pedes­tri­ans, who feel pret­ty much com­plete­ly uncon­strained by rules.

I real­ly agree with this. I don't know how to make it so, and I'm real­ly not a law-and-order type. But I think that agree­ing to fol­low the rules of the road would do a lot to make us all more pre­dictable. Also, I'd like to add: Pass on the freakin left.

Categories
bikes outdoors

Vintage bike camping

A small com­pa­ny called Stephenson's Warm­lite makes some of the world's best gear for camp­ing. I've long admired their bomb-proof tents and burly sleep­ing bags, and of course the unabashed, straight-from-the-70s nud­ism in their vin­tage paper cat­a­logs [a PDF is avail­able here, for now]. Which is why I couldn't help but be deeply charmed by the men­tion of Stephenson's in this old Pop­u­lar Sci­ence arti­cle about bike camp­ing.

Popular Science - Bike campingFrom the April 1972 edi­tion of Pop­u­lar Sci­ence — avail­able in Google Books!

I won­der how many earnest, sci­ence-mind­ed read­ers sent away for a Stephenson's cat­a­log?