Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

05 December 2019

Delivered In A Cube, On A Bike?

Fresh greens delivered on a cargo bicycle.

It's not one of those "Only in Portland" or "Only in Williamsburg" fever-dreams.  Yesterday, it became a reality--well, sort of, and for a few people and businesses--in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan.

 UPS, Amazon and DHL entered a Commercial Cargo Bike Pilot Program, in which deliveries are made on bikes with large containers attached to their rears.  DHL is already using such "Cubicycles" in Europe. New York City's Department of Transportation is collecting data on the ones launched yesterday and the DOT's commissioner, Polly Trachtenberg said the project is intended to make deliveries "safer and greener" by using those bikes instead of trucks.

H/O: Cargo bikes 1
A UPS cargo bike in Seattle.

The "greener" part seems obvious.  As for safety, Trachtenberg noted that a disproportionate number of the city's  cycling fatalities--11 of 27 to date this year--involved trucks.

Traffic congestion and its effects have long been problems in New York City.  In recent years, however, they have grown worse.  The level of fine particle pollution in the Big Apple's air actually declined, slowly but steadily, for a decade until 2015.  Since then, the levels of those pollutants, and others, have increased.  Most of that deterioration in the city's air quality has been blamed on two factors:  for-hire car services like Uber and Lyft, and the increasing popularity of package deliveries from Amazon and other retailers. 

H/O: DHL Cargo bikes
DHL "Cube bike" in Berlin

It would be great if hundreds, or even thousands, of trucks could be replaced by cargo bikes.  Could some of those containers could be fitted to accommodate passengers?

28 November 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This lovely image was created by Dai Trinh Huu

I am thankful for all of the places, people, feelings and things cycling has brought me.  I am thankful I am riding at this time in my life.

This is my first holiday without my mother in my life.  I miss her, but I am grateful to have had in my life for as long as I did.  And for the people with whom I will spend today.

27 November 2019

They Need It Like A Hole In The....

A few years ago, it seemed that "drillium" might make a comeback.  A few companies, including Velo Orange, were offering drilled-out versions of  chainrings and other components. Some still are. VO's drilled-out chainrings are actually pretty:  They seemed  seemed to be covered with pindots.  I'd actually put them on one or two of my bikes.

Back in the heyday of drillium, it seemed that anything and everything that could take a drill--and a few things that couldn't--got the treatment.  In addition to chainrings, shift levers and brake lever handles commonly got drilled.  When I first began to work in a bike shop, one of the jokes about Lambert/Viscount bikes was that they came with drilled-out tires and water bottles.

Seriously, though, some cyclists were manic with drills.  I saw toe clips and other kinds of clips--for brake cables and water bottle cages--perforated, ostensibly in the name of saving weight.  Sometimes, components that really didn't need to be any lighter were riddled with pockmarks, like the Huret Jubilee, still the lightest (and to my eye, prettiest) rear derailleur ever made.  Or this derailleur I saw on eBay:

The first-generation SunTour Cyclone might be the second-lightest rear derailleur ever made.  It's certainly lighter than any made today.  Oh, and I think the silver version with the black inset is the second-prettiest derailleur ever made:  all the more reason it shouldn't be defaced with a drill!