Friday, November 29, 2013

CoolTools meetup in Issaquah next week

Next week we're having a CoolTools meetup here in Issaquah. Details can be found at:

 It should be a fun time, so if you've got something cool to show and talk about, I hope you'll stop on by.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Forget your bike on the roof? There's a Kickstarter for that.

I've previously written of the perils of the roof-mounted bicycle rack. In my years of working in bike shops, I've seen the aftermath of inattention when a person forgets that they have a bicycle strapped to the roof of their car when they drive into a garage, bank drive-thru or similar low structure. Every person who does this feels like an idiot and while they often feel that they are uniquely stupid, the problem is unfortunately common. I can think of half a dozen instances of this I've seen come into bike shops where I've worked and I've heard many more tales of roof rack woe on various club rides. I have one friend, who shall remain nameless here, who has managed to smash several bikes into low structures on several occassions. He's not a stupid fellow in general, but roof racks are his (and his bike's) downfall.

While I avoid this situation by avoiding car ownership and roof racks entirely (an action which has worked quite well for me), the folks behind RoofBrain are working to apply technology to the problem. Like a lot of people these days, they have a Kickstarter campaign going and you can check it out here. Even if you are fortunate like me and have no use for their product, check out the Kickstarter because their video is, in Christine's words, "so stupid it's funny." BTW, if enough of you blog readers actually wind up pledging to the RoofBrain cause the RoofBrain folks say they'll send me one of their gadgets. I have no use for the device (no car), so if I do wind up getting one (that's a big if), I'll run a contest here to give it away. It'll probably be an essay contest with the winner being the best non-fiction tale ending with the words "...and that's how I forgot I had my bike on the roof."

Keep 'em rolling (unless you have a bike on the roof and a low ceiling ahead).

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How To Lock Your Bike

That's my lovely wife's lovely bike in the picture above. Because she's a smart woman, she knows the importance of proper locking technique. Christine uses the Sheldon Brown Lock Strategy to secure the rear wheel within the frame of her bicycle and to a sturdy immovable object. A supplemental cable loops through the front wheel, the straps of her helmet and the shackle of the U-lock. Of course, some well-equipped thief could snip the helmet straps or the cable and if given enough time and proper tools cut through the lock, but by locking her bike up as shown, Christine has made her bike more secure than 95% of the bikes I see locked up on the streets around here. As the saying goes, you don't have to out run the bear, you just have to outrun your slowest companion. When advising customers I tell them to get a good U-lock and a cable and "lock your bike near a nicer bike that's not locked as well."

The folks at Kryptonite Locks have a nice page discussing locking technique and here's a great video where Hal Ruzal explains how he locks his bike in New York City. The important thing is to have a good lock and to use it well. Every time.