Author Archives: Ethan

Bike Taxis

Over on Skip Town, there are some pictures of bicycle taxis from Kenya that I can only describe as zany.

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Beating The Heat

Riding in the late summer can be tough. It’s hot. It’s humid. No arguments there. My strategy has been very simple.

  • Wear light clothing. Light weight, light colors. If it dries quick, even better.
  • A water bottle. I stop, a lot, in the shade, and drink some water.

The City of Albany posted some information about cooling stations and public pools. Nothing wrong to stopping in to catch your breath, wipe the sweat out of your eyes, and enjoy something cold to drink.

Got any tips? Post them in the comments!

{ Written by Ethan Georgi }

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What Does Bike Commuting Mean To Me?

I thought I’d piggyback on Chris’ post about what bike commuting means.

Some history. I bought my first grown up bike for exercise. I was driving from East Greenbush to downtown Albany. The 20 minutes in the car didn’t bother me at the time. I didn’t know any better. Things shifted until, for about a year, I was driving from Albany to Saratoga Springs, and back, every day. I was logging ~75 miles every day. The commute would suck up almost two hours of my life. I started thinking about how much time I was losing doing that. How much of my life I was wasting sitting in a car driving to a job I didn’t even like that much.

I started my current job the day before Bike To Work day. So on my second day, I rode ~3 miles to work on my bike. And I never stopped.

That has to be the biggest thing for me. That freedom- that liberation from that cage, that traffic.

Three years later I’ve got a nicer bike for the summer. I’m more familiar with my neighborhood and with the city in general. People ask me for directions and I don’t have to look at a smartphone- I know where it is because I’ve biked there. (And what I can lock my bike to when I get there.)

On spring days, when things are turning green and the sky isn’t gray anymore and it’s warm enough to wear shorts again, I feel really sorry for people stuck in cars. They don’t know what they’re missing. I can zip through the park on my way to work. I get to smell people’s barbecue on hot summer afternoons.

And there are challenges, too. Like winter. You have to be prepared. You have to fail, and then learn. That whole cycle is empowering. It builds confidence. Most people are scared to drive home in three inches of snow, but I know I can ride home- because I have.

{ written by Ethan Georgi }


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Volunteering as a Bike Mechanic for the Tour de Cure

My alarm went off at 6:30 on Sunday morning. I had all my tools ready, so I threw them in a backpack, grabbed something to eat, and headed out the door. A few blocks away I picked up Dan, who had also volunteered to be a roaming bike mechanic for the 20th Tour de Cure.

We arrived at Saratoga Springs High School and met up with Brent, our contact there. We got bright yellow t-shirts that said we were volunteers. He split us up; each of us teamed up with a radio operator and a vehicle, and around 9 we were off.

There were a lot of cyclists there. I heard rumors that there were 2000. When you have rides of different mileages, you get a lot of different people. Obviously the vast majority were racers in full kit, but I saw some people on trikes, some nice cruisers, young guys on mountain bikes, and a lot of kids. They took off in waves, and it was impressive to see so many cyclists.

Dave, my radio guy, was a real pleasure to work with. He was very familiar with the area and had a lot of great stories. We were “Roamer 2”, and we patrolled Area 2 in a donated Nissan Xterra.

I don’t know why they gave us a mammoth SUV to drive around with cyclists, and I told them as much. Of course, event coordinators understand that, but Lia donated the vehicles and they probably just wanted to show off something shiny.

Most of what I did was pump up tires. People who had problems would notify anyone with a volunteer shirt, who would notify control, who would notify us to go help them. By the time we got there to help out, most people had already swapped tubes. We usually showed up just in time to pull out the big air pump and wrap things up.

I did have to tinker with a lot of kid’s bikes. This is my only real judgmental complaint. I don’t understand why people ride a department store kid’s bike 25 miles, without tuning it up first. That’s got to be brutal. The nice thing, after helping them out, was looping around through the route and seeing these kids still on the road, pedaling away.

It was interesting to see all the cyclists riding on roads with cars. Despite being told to follow the rules of the road, most blew through stop signs and red lights, and often look the entire lane making it impossible for cars to get by. At one point we had to tell some people to get out of the lane for oncoming traffic. There’s a lot of room for education at events like this.

After a few hours of that we got lunch. And ice cream.

I had a good time. I don’t consider myself much of a bike mechanic, but it was really nice to help out, even with my meager skills. Maybe next year, the ABC can send more than two people.

Written by Ethan

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