IKEA Bikes: Sladda


Starting in February 2017, you’ll be able to pick up IKEA’s new Sladda bike in stores across the US. Or, if you just can’t wait, you can order it now on IKEA’s US website, starting at $399.

I know a lot of folks are already complaining that it won’t be a “real” bike.  Seriously, with a 10 year warranty on the belt drive, with disc brake and a rear coaster brake?  With a $25 Front Rack, a $129 Trailer, and a $30 Bike Bag (that converts to a backpack)?

This was designed with a carry handle on the frame and appears to include lights and a bell.  A BELL!  Standard. 

I think I have just found my new commuter bike.

How a blue light can keep cyclists from seeing red

From OregonLive

Q: At the intersection of Northeast Sandy Boulevard, 57th Avenue and Alameda Street, the eastbound traffic signal has a little bright blue light just to the right of the red light. Just what is the purpose, function of the blue light?

A: As if that six-way interchange weren’t chaotic enough, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has indeed installed a freaky, brilliant blue LED that appears to be the Eye of Sauron’s little brother.

Stay cool. It’s not watching you. It’s not the ghost of a Kmart special. It’s not revving up to hit you with a proton blast. It comes in peace with a mission to keep bicyclists from getting impatient and running red lights.

You see, when bicyclists approach a red light at a busy intersection, they often fail to position themselves where underground magnetic signal-detection loops can sense their bikes’ metal. When the signal ignores them and refuses to turn green, the bike riders understandably feel they have no choice but to blow the red.

Enter the little blue light mounted next to the red light. It’s attached to the wire coming from the induction loop. When the LED shines, bicyclists know they’re in the sweet spot for detection and a green is on the way.

In fact, over the past two years, the city has installed “detector confirmation lights” at five intersections in Northeast and Southeast Portland. A sixth is planned at Southwest Moody Avenue and Sheridan Street along the South Waterfront.

“These are experimental in nature, and we’re discussing these as a potential new device,” said Peter Koonce, PBOT’s signal, street lighting and intelligent traffic systems manager.

That discussion will happen this summer before the National Committee of the Uniform Traffic Control Devices, where Portland’s trials with intelligent transportation systems are often highlighted. The committee may eventually endorse the technology to be used around the country.

Before people start grumbling about the city spending more money on bicycles when there are potholes to be patched, I should mention that these devices are only $125 each. That’s a steal in the big-budget world of modern traffic-control devices. (It usually costs taxpayers more than $250,000 to purchase and install a new traffic signal.)

Also, if you’re going to complain about the city spending money on these gadgets, you have no right to rant about cyclists ignoring red lights. The LEDs also help motorcyclists, who also have difficulty triggering signals.

Portland is also experimenting with painting bicycle symbols over a neon green background on the pavement above signal loops.

But paint is apparently more expensive than LEDs in the long run. “Our cost estimate of striping markings for detectors is a bit higher,” Koonce said, “and the maintenance is higher because they wear out.”

Winter Riding Clothes: Novara Headwind Pants

aff6da54-86ad-42ef-8155-65f8dc88282cPant vs Pants?  Not important.  Last year I went through two pairs of Novara Tights due to zipper failure.  REI was excellent about taking each pair back, especially as the zipper failed for no particular reason and certainly not from overuse, unless the tights were designed to be on a shelf and not worn. 

This time the Novara brand has a real winner here.  They are not flattering for a shape they are far superior to the tights for stopping wind and rain.  I have only ridden down to 32 degrees but they have performed far above the tights and my old favorite Sugoi tights.  The extra length stays over the tops of my Shimano boots and keeps water out of leaking through the top and there is easily enough room for thermal tights when the weather gets into the teens.

I did purchase these with my 20% off member coupon earlier this fall, so I feel like I have a real deal.   And there is a pocket, big enough for a wallet, and in this temp, weather I am storing my apartment keys, bike lock key, or all purpose rag, the pocket is a long overdue feature in biking pants. 

Ride on!

My New Bike Light–CygoLite Metro 300

2013-01-06 09.52.39This Christmas I purchased myself a CygoLite Metro 300, and have just mounted it on my commuter bike for tomorrow morning.  It was a gift to keep myself alive. 

Over the last month or two, as the days get dark and rainy, cars have missed my older, and not too bad, headlight, and it has been dicey at times requiring ninja reflexes to remain intact.

2013-01-06 10.25.24At the same time, the battery collection I have to recycle has grown and clearly there was a more ecological way to go.

And so, I am hoping to find that the USB recharge, the blink but don’t go dark, and simply the 300 Lumens provided by this light result in an efficient and effective upgrade to my commute.  If one care misses me because of this, it was worth it. 

2013-01-06 09.54.10

Chicago Bicyclist chases down mugger: ‘Certain things aren’t acceptable’

From the Chicago Tribune watch the VIDEO

Eric Puetz says he likes riding his bike to work every day — from Arlington Heights to Logan Square — because "you see the city in a different light."

But Puetz, 51, said he was outraged by what he saw on the Northwest Side Thursday evening: A man wrestling with a 75-year-old woman on the ground, then grabbing her purse and running away.

Puetz said he took off after the mugger and stayed on his trail across a parking lot and into an alley, even when the suspect claimed to have a gun.  He finally tackled the man in the 3000 block of North Karlov Avenue, about two blocks away, and held him until police arrived.

“I don’t think I had a choice, she was under five feet tall,” explained Puetz, who owns a bicycle shop in Logan Square. “He has only one place he belongs and we’re going to put him there.”

During the chase, the mugger repeatedly told Puetz he had a gun so he stayed about 30 feet behind. “Do you tell someone you have a gun three times? The third time was time to take him down,” Puetz said.

Puetz said he then yelled for someone to call police and lunged at the robber, landing on top of him. The robber yelled, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” Puetz said. “He just had 220 pounds on top of him,” said Puetz, guessing the mugger weighed just 130.

Puetz said he briefly met the victim — the "young lady" — at the police station and she was very thankful. "I was happy to get involved. ”

Police said the victim suffered injuries to her right thumb and three fingers on her left hand, but refused medical treatment. The suspect, a 34-year-old man, lives less than two blocks from where he was arrested.

Puetz said there was another victim in the crime, the city of Chicago. “The police had to change their entire day for this clown,” he said.  “He was not given God’s blessings of brains. . . There are just certain things that aren’t acceptable.”

He added that he still plans on biking the 21 miles to work every day. "A  bike connects you to your surroundings,” he said. “ That’s why I choose to bike, it’s the most enjoyable way and it paid off last night.”

Layering: as easy as 1, 2, or 3

Fall is turning chilly with the temps in the low 40s this morning and going colder tomorrow.  I found this article by Elizabeth on Bike Commuters, written for Chicago to be useful.  Certainly Portland is not as cold as Chicago, but the east Gorge Wind provides subzero chill factors during Winter and so I always know  I can learn from others.

From her post:

I tend to over-think things a lot! This quality of mine can be both good and bad. What I like about fall/winter riding is that dressing for it really is easy – you just need to know the purpose of each layer and best fabric for that task. Aside from those days when I start pondering other gear, layering is really quite easy – and leaves me feeling always prepared.

Get Visible! DIY Reflective Upgrades

I was just talking to my wife Saturday as we passed bicyclists in the dark on the way home how idiotic it is to have “bike friendly” clothes that have zero reflective material.  We noticed how blinkies certainly helped, but for the money, NOTHING comes close to reflective strips.  I was complaining as @petebikes added reflective materials to the rigs for @DaveNPetePartII and I haven’t done anything.  And THIS despite the wonderful folks at the Bicycle Repair Collective mentioning it about a zillion times.

This morning, this article “Reflective Tape DIY – “Get Visible!” from bikecommuters.com crosses my desk and I decide it is a sign and hop over to Amazon and order two of these.  I will show you what I do with it, but I am leaning to my bags as well as my rig.