The good is I am working on my 300th ANT bicycle. This is Mike G’s Rohloff 26″ wheel uber bike. Sorry I do not have any pictures of it for the post as I am still working on it. I am also working on #299 [Charley S] that is also a Rohloff 26″ wheel super bike! Pictures coming soon:) I am happy to have made it to 300 and look forward to making more bikes. When I was at Fat City we made about 1600 to 1850 frames a year and at Indy Fab we made about 700 to 1000 a year; however it is much more satisfying to build complete bicycles all the way through…not to mention making bikes for commuting.
The weather has been so unseasonably cold. It was 45F the last two mornings and I have been wearing pants, fleece and a vest. I still see road cyclist in the morning in shorts and a SS jersey…so I guess I still have some Texan in me, even though I have lived here for 19 years. The last two Sundays Betsy and I have gone on 50 mile road rides searching out as many back roads we can find. We are on the hunt for rides from our house that are fun and traffic free…well I mean less traffic. We found some great roads and bumped into one of my customers Steve M. [he was on a nice looking old Eddy Merckx] I may change up the ride for the next Open House on Oct 18th.
The Bad. I have been thinking of writing to the reporters that did the NPR story on bicycle commuting. Even though the press was great, as far as numbers go [most hits ever] however I feel that I always have to grit my teeth and smile, just to get tossed a bone of national exposure. Any press is good…even bad press, but everytime I get some non-cycling media person the story is always portrayed as negative….expensive, painful, just not feasable etc…Take a look at this article in the Globe I find it interesting that both this writer and the one for NPR finished by saying that they will not commute by bicycle, because they work at home! Now there are some good stories out there too like this one also in the Globe
The Ugly. Speed kills. I am really getting worked up about the speed of the drivers I deal with, the lack of consideration, the ugliness of it all. It just gets faster and faster. I see cars and trucks getting out of control many times a day. The roads I ride on are skinny, winding and no shoulders…while it would be nice to have at least one foot of a shoulder or having the brush cut out of the way…I could settle for just drivers driving the speed limit. The speeds are posted at 20, 25, 30…35, but most go about 40 to 55mph. Even with the tight roads there really is enough room for two cars to pass at the same time as overtaking a cyclist [I would prefer that they wait it out for 3 seconds]. It is just the speed that they drive that is the problem, swerving way out of the way at full speed and then swerving back into their lane…if they have a head on collision…it of course is the cyclist fault for being there.
Now I am not giving up by any means, however I find that I do not want my kids riding on the road. We have and do ride on the road, but we often seek out the safest route, ride on sidewalks [which we are not supposed to do]…and drive to rail trails. For myself I have become very cautious. I ride with my ears, I let traffic go by in the tight spots, I use my lights during the day, I use a helmet mirror [really useful] and sometimes I wear one of those safety vest. The funny thing is it was safer in the city [I am in a semi rural/car commuter area now].
Lastly I would like to ask everyone to support your local and national bicycle advocacy groups.
MASSBIKE [or what ever state or city you are in], LAB , Rails to trails, I am sure there are many others, but I do not have the time today to look for them. I may in the near future to begin a drive for this type of support for our own cause….Cycling for Transportation! So often I am asked to give money to non-cycling efforts that use the bicycle as a reason to lend support [disease rides etc…]. This one kills me….using the generosity of the cycling community to raise money for kids in Boston proper that do not have computers? All of these disease rides and such are all good causes and need all the help they can get, but what about using the bicycle to raise money for…the bicycle!