Category Archives: Article

Education – SECURE BIKE PARKING

As we draw nearer to the cycling season (for many, we never left it), it is time to renew your pledge to secure your bicycle every time you ride it. Here are some tips … including a little hype about Dero products … from the staff at Dero, the bicycle and “fixit stand” manufacturers. Note that this is from the bicycle capital of the USA, Minneapolis, MN.

Read on …

The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition posted this (slightly edited) Q&A. Founded in 2009, MBC advocates for a city where bicycling is encouraged and everyone feels comfortable riding and is a big proponent of Protected Bicycle Lanes.

Getting your bicycle stolen is devastating, especially if it’s your primary transportation. While you can minimize risk with a quality lock and increase your chance of getting a stolen bicycle back by registering your bike with the police, where you park your bicycle matters too.

Q: What are the most common reasons bicycles get stolen in Minneapolis?

A: Making the correct bicycle lock is key to deter thieves. Using the wrong type of lock is the most common mistake made by cyclists. We recommend that people only use U-locks or non-cable locks, such as Kryptonite chains or the Abus folding locks. Never use just a cable lock as they are cut quickly and easily. A cable lock should only be used in conjunction with a U-lock or chain. It’s also important to be aware of what you’re locking your bike to and how you’re securing your bicycle.???????????????????????????????

No matter what, always lock yourbicycle. It’s tempting to run into a store and leave the bicycle unlocked for a minute, but it’s just not a good idea. Always lock your bicycle, even if it’s for just 30 seconds. Many thefts occur because of this split-second bad decision.

Q: Recently The Oregonian ran an article about a new trend inbicycle thieves – cutting through bicycle racks to steal bikes. Has that been an issue with racks in Minneapolis? Are the racks Portland uses similar to the Dero racks the City of Minneapolis uses?

A: I think we’ve been lucky in the Twin Cities metro area. We haven’t been contacted much with these types of issues. Based on the photo in the article, a pipe cutter was used to steal the bicycle. (Contrary to the article’s assumption, the cut is too smooth to be a saw.) Portland uses a rack manufacturer in the Northwest that uses a lighter gauge material for their racks. Dero racks use a heavier duty schedule 40 steel pipe. Both racks are susceptible to a pipe cutter, but a heavier duty rack will take longer to cut and may deter bike thieves. Another issue is that the racks use round pipe, which can be cut by a pipe cutter. Any racks that are inverted-U racks or hoop racks made with round pipe are at risk to pipe cutting. The Dero Hitch Rack that the City of Minneapolis uses won’t work with pipe cutters, since the pipe-cutting tool can’t spin all the way around the locking arms

Q: One of the suggestions in that article is filling racks with concrete to make them more secure. Is that something Dero has considered, and what other technologies might work better to stop thieves?

A: We’ve experimented with filling our Hoop Racks internally with concrete and that was a nightmare. It’s not economical, takes a lot of labor and time, and has to be done onsite at the installation location. A better option is to weld a chain on the inside of an inverted-U bike rack from end to end. We have manufactured a large number of racks for the City of Los Angeles and have included a chain welded to the inside. Pipe cutters can cut the outer pipe but won’t be able to get through the interior chain. The chain acts as a separate safety feature.

Q: Beyond locking to a secure rack, what other advice would you give people looking to secure their bicycles in the best manner possible?

A: If a rack isn’t available, make sure the structure you choose is made of steel, is strong and durable, isn’t bolted together (bolts can be removed), and is firmly installed to the ground or a wall. Make sure your bicycle doesn’t impede pedestrian right of ways or access to buildings. For short-term parking, lock to a closed steel structure like a bicycle rack (not a tree or short signpost with no sign). Make sure that you can’t remove your lock from whatever you are locking to. Ensure that at least one wheel is secured (this might not work for mini U-locks). For long-term parking, we recommend using a U-lock to lock the frame and one wheel (this might not work for mini-U-locks) and a cable lock to secure both wheels in place. In addition, if the bicyclist has an expensive seat like a Brooks saddle, we recommend using a short chain to secure the saddle rails to the seat stays. [ED: We disagree with this approach. The first lock installed – even a mini-U – should secure the rear wheel passing between the seat and down tubes. Go here for more info on the many advantages of the “Sheldon Brown Method.”]

Q: Do you have any advice for installing new secure parking on how to place it to minimize theft?

A: The best place for exterior parking is right next to the front entrance of a business. These locations usually offer window sight lines, lighting, and customer foot traffic, all of which help to keep thieves away. For interior settings (parking garages, bicycle rooms, and bike shelters), secure bicycle parking areas are the way to go. These facilities should consist of a fully enclosed room or cage with user key access, good lighting, and cameras. For home garages, locking it at night isn’t enough. Be sure to anchor a bicycle rack to the wall or ground and then lock to it. Also, install motion sensor lighting if you can. Dero along with other local retailers sell these types of products for home users. I highly recommend investing in these measures.

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Filed under Bike Tech, Locking Bicycle

Phoenix Bike Shop … Opening Soon

Mythologically, a phoenix is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. Associated with the sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor.

DT Fire 5-30-15 COMP C

With that note, we can look forward with anticipation to the Downtube Bicycle Works “regeneration” as Albany’s longest running, single-owner bicycle shop. After a devastating fire in March 2015, the Downtube Bicycle Works promptly reopened as a pop-up bike shop in the garage as “Albany’s Hottest Bike Shop.” Now, work on the new shop is moving forward by a well-respected, local firm, Bennett Contracting.

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Many Permits …

So save up your pennies and stand by for the grand reopening.

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Hard at Work …

 

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Filed under Article

Whack the Walker …

Box Score = 7

  1. 1/14/16 – Colleen A. Burke, 69, of Saratoga Springs used her Mini Cooper to strike Damon E. Hinchcliff, 40 of Clifton Park who was crossing Rt. 9 near the Saratoga Springs city line at 8:41 pm.
  2. 1/8/16 – Motor vehicle hit and killed a 79-year-old man who was crossing State St. and Veeder Ave., Schenectady.
  3. 1/4/16 – Car traveling west on Columbia Tpk. left the roadway, ran over road signs, and killed Paul Greene, 50, of Rensselaer who was standing on the shoulder.
  4. 12/14/15 – Van hit and caused fatal injuries to Paul Williman, 75, of Troy, who was crossing Hoosick St., Troy.

    The Force Be With You

    May the Force Be With You

  5. 12/9/15 – Motor vehicle struck and killed Jodey Farrell, 81, as she made her way to a bus stop on Van Rensselaer Blvd., Menands.
  6. 12/6/15 – Motor vehicle fatally hit Marine Corps veteran Zachary Unser, 2009 graduate of Colonie Central High, who was walking across Central Ave., Colonie at Osborne Rd.
  7. 12/6/15 – Maria Lentini of Saratoga Springs struck and killed Patrick Duff with her SUV. Duff, 30, of Clifton Park, died on Rt. 9, Halfmoon. Lentini, 30, was charged with leaving the scene of the accident and first-degree reckless endangerment, both felonies.

SOURCES: Albany Times Union with special thanks to columnist Chris Churchill who seems to be the singular voice supporting roadway sanity.

Ed Note – Of the three “Es” of traffic safety – Engineering, Education, and Enforcement – only the first is of real consequence. The roads and streets we have where people get run down and killed or injured did not land here from Mars – they were proposed, approved, designed, and built by the New York State Department of Transportation and by county and city highway departments. The excessive lane widths, absence of pedestrian “bump outs” and refuges, poor signalization, and obliterated markings are all planned conscious acts and decisions. You can “educate” and “enforce” all day long but if the streets are planned to encourage speeding, lane changing, right (and even left and straight) after pause, and so on, these efforts will be of momentary effect. Passing out flyers and posting signs or telling pedestrians to wear reflective clothing are all nice but not a solution.

 If you are content with this, just change the channel.

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Filed under Activism, City Review, Death on the Road, Riding in Albany

Healthy is the New Sexy*

What does that have to do with chili?

In any case, after a morning of hard work on one of the Albany Bicycle Coalition’s many grants, a small group adjourned to Healthily on Lark for a delicious lunch. Hostess/owner/chef Sharon greeted us warmly and we followed her suggestion of the day’s special – vegetarian chili (accompanied by toast, tea, coffee, and Albany H2O). Since it was a chilly day and two of our company were on bicycles, Sharon even set up an electric heater near our table.

Bottom line – shop local for a great lunch at Healthy on Lark.

For more local favorites, go here. If you do, be sure to note that TapAsia is now open!

(*For the sexy part, go here.)

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Filed under City Review

Ears Cold? Try These

Here’s a handy way to keep your ears warm(er) and to reduce annoying helmet-head wind noise – Adventure Cycling’s “Cat Ear” Ear Covers.

Cat Ears Ear Covers 11-14-14

 

These are simple “polar fleece” triangles with a strip of hook-and-loop on each side to secure the “ear” to your helmet straps. Although the photo borrowed from Adventure Cycling’s “Cycle Source on-line shop shows red, they come only in black.

 Worth the $16.00 – part of which would seemingly go to Adventure Cycling’s programs.

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 Photos:

Model – Courtesy Adventure Cycling

Detail – With coins for reference

 

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Filed under Bike Tech, Winter Cycling