A Few More Definitions for Cyclists



Chain: Archaic method for connecting the cranks and rear wheel of a bike to provide forward motion. Dirty and greasy and the subject of continual efforts for at least 100 years to find a better alternative. Yet chains continue to combine the benefits of low cost, efficiency and relatively good reliability and have kept most ‘improvements’ at bay – at least until the ‘string drive’ came along

2015-04-18 11.07.13

salsa vest

Vest (gilet in the UK): Probably the most useful piece of clothing to own. Keeps your core warm without getting your arms too sweaty as when wearing a jacket. Can regulate your temperature with the simple movement of the zipper in temps from 45-65F.

High-vis: The popular bright lime green color worn by middle-aged cycling club members and others who want to survive on the road even if it means derision by the roadies wearing all black.

carbon

Carbon fiber: Woven high-strength material infused with resin that lightens your bike and wallet at the same time.

Kickstand: Controversial piece of hardware attached to the bike that keeps the bike from falling over when parked. Most won’t work on high-end bikes because the attachment method can crush carbon or thin-wall metal tubing. Enthusiast cyclists wouldn’t use one anyway since it is a feature similar to high-vis clothing and a dividing line between ‘racers’ and everyone else.

Fenders (mudguards in the UK): Useful piece of kit that covers the wheel reducing the amount of water spray that hits the rider. Another item that serious riders disdain unless it’s the minimalist version (such as SKS Raceblades) that can be used during training but never in a race where there is a shared joy in suffering.

Use full lane

Share the Lane sign: Cyclists think: ‘I can use the lane’. Motorists think: ‘Those bikes better get out of my way’. The more modern sign ‘Bike may use full lane’ is becoming more prevalent.

Velominati: Keepers of ‘The Rules’. 95 somewhat tongue-in-cheek rules on how to be a ‘legit’ cyclist. It gets superfluous after Rule #5 which is ‘Harden the F*** Up’. How can you talk about acceptable clothing colors, tire colors, tan lines and the like if you believe in HTFU?

Driver’s Ed: Class where motorists can learn such useful phrases as:
– ‘I didn’t see him’
– ‘She came out of nowhere’
– ‘Those bikes go too fast’
– ‘Those bikes go too slow’


Singletrack trail: Narrow trails that mountain bikers long for. Typically 4 feet wide in California and 1 foot in Idaho


Right turn hand signal: The old-school way of signaling a right turn is by using the left arm and pointing it up like you’re asking a question. Made sense in cars about 60 years ago before turn signals but makes no sense for bikes since cyclists can just indicate with their right arm. No idea why we still give cyclists this option since the only car drivers who understand this archaic signal are probably too old to be driving anyway.

Ibis 928 Wheelset Follow-up Review 

Ibis 928 logo and stem

Just a quick update on my Ibis 928 wheelset since the review I posted back in January.

Basically the wheels are as good as I described them back then. Stiff and light and they definitely liven up my hardtail.

I’ve had about 250 miles of trail and road use on them (about 75% on trails) and they are as true and smooth rolling as the day I first put them on. My buddy I bought them from figures he had about 250 miles on them before me so they only have 500 miles so far and I wouldn’t expect to see any issues at this point anyway. My tubeless setup has worked fine – I have to air them up about every week but I’m an electronic-tire-pressure-gauge, get-it-within-1-psi-reading kind of tire geek. I typically run 23 psi front and 24 psi rear (I’m 170 lbs) and I find I’ll lose a couple of psi per week which is similar to my previous setup on Stan’s rims. The hubs are still smooth and aren’t showing any play.

The only issue is a relatively minor one. The presta stems leak very slightly with the valve open. It seals fine after I screw in the valve. I don’t notice this on the stems that are on my Shimano and Stan’s wheels so it’s a bit annoying but just a niggle really. I’ll replace the valve cores at some point to see if that fixes it. And props to Ibis for supplying valve stems with removable cores – it costs them a bit more but it allows you to add sealant through the stem rather than popping a few inches of the bead of the tire from the rim to pour sealant in.

So in summary, it’s been a good upgrade. I have recently seen that some sites are selling the 928 wheelsets for $999 which is really a bargain in the world of carbon wheels. The timing of this discount suggests Ibis is getting ready to release a new rim and the shops are clearing out inventory but that’s just a guess on my part.

If you have $1000 burning a whole in your pocket this is probably the best upgrade you can make for that kind of money.

But You Look Like Such a Nice Person

Zombies
Image credit: Saber-Scorpion.com

On my commute here in Silicon Valley I see drivers run red lights every single day. And I’m only talking about the most blatant violations. You know, the light for the other street has turned green and the driver is just entering the intersection.

When I look in the car, I often expect to see some kind of monster behind the wheel or an evil WW II fascist caricature. I mean – how uncaring and self-centered must one be to drive a 2 ton hunk of metal through a spot where pedestrians expect to safely cross just to save a minute or two on their commute? But no, almost everyone looks like a decent person. Men and women, aged progressives in their Priuses, the Mom with kids in car seats – they all do it.

It isn’t getting any better so I wonder what the cities plan to do to alleviate this danger. In some areas they have increased the time before the other light turns green but this only seems to have encouraged the red light runners since they know they have a few extra seconds to enter the intersection. It makes me wonder why we don’t have red light cameras on a large scale. Have the car lobbyists won on this issue? Have they convinced the cities that the right of car drivers to run red lights is greater than the right of pedestrians to cross the road safely?

How much is my life worth?

As a cyclist, one of the most frustrating aspects of riding on the road is car drivers who literally save a few seconds and almost right hook me or pull out in front of me from a driveway rather than giving me a bit more time and space. The desire to get past the bike is so strong that they don’t think far enough ahead to realize that I will probably catch them at the next light anyway. In city traffic that frequently happens and I coast up next to the offending driver shaking my head and knowing that he/she will likely do it again given the chance.

So it got me thinking – given the danger to me and the possibility I could get killed by a driver looking to save a few seconds – how much is a bonehead maneuver worth? Being an engineer, I can only think with a spreadsheet or similar tool so I came up with this one. I assumed the median salary for Santa Clara County at $93,500 and that the driver saved 5 seconds.

chart3

 

 

 

Now, I know some of you will say that in many cases the driver saved 3 seconds or maybe no time at all but in the interest of science I’ll stick with my conservative number of 6 cents. Yes – that’s right that driver’s time is worth just 6 cents. Oh, I know, a number of you are high earners making $500,000 a  year. In that case the 5 seconds you saved is worth

chart2

 

 

 

I think you get the idea – the math is pretty easy. So when the high earner hits me that bumps my value up to 33 cents. I don’t know – I still think I’m worth more, but you can’t fight Economics.

Maybe that explains why the penalties for hitting a person with a car are, in fact, so small.