Wednesday, September 30, 2009

You taken that Mtn Bike on any Mtns?

In Pedaling Revolution, Jeff Mapes commented very briefly on utility vehicles—both motorized and human-powered—being used to their specification:
"Just as most SUVs never went off the paved road, most mountain bikes sold probably never touched the dirt."

Cars and bikes both can be used to their exact specification. You can get a Land Rover or a Gary Fisher and go crashing through the wilderness. You can get a sports car or a cyclocross bike and race it.

A lot of people don't do that though. They don't use their vehicles to their exact specifications. They don't take their mountain bikes outside the city, and the only racing they do is from traffic light to traffic light.

Which is okay.

As long as you're on a bike. Not so much if you're in a car.

If you're consuming all the extra resources needed to fuel an over-sized sports car engine, or to fuel an over-sized SUV, but you're not doing anything with those vehicles but commuting to work or going to the grocery store, well then than that's kind of wasteful isn't it?

It doesn't require any extra resources to move a mountain bike or a racing bike through the same urban environment. Because, after all, your engine remains the same no matter what bike you're on. (Your engine is you!)

What I ultimately mean to say is that I got some bias! I got some bias, and I got some double standards!

I think it's okay to have a mountain bike that never touches dirt. I don't think it's okay to have an SUV that never leaves the road.

And I'm quite content in my bias here, folks!

Bike the airport, bike the world

A week ago, I had the opportunity to try biking to Denver's airport. Leading up to this ride, I scoured blogs, emails, and mailing lists for accounts of riding to DIA, but to no avail.

I know I read something last year about somebody commuting to DIA on BTWD. But now, I was unable to turn anything up.

And so now, I write! Denverites, if you are contemplating a ride to the airport, read on!

There was a needlessly complicated series of events that resulting in me needing to drop off a car at the airport and then find some other way to get home.

I elected to bike it up!

I had been itching to try this ride. Access to an airport has come to stand in my mind as a great measure of a city's bike-ability.

And Denver must have one of the least accessible airports in the nation.

Or maybe I'm just prejudiced by the fact that I lived in San Diego for so long, where you can literally walk to the airport from downtown.

Denver International Airport is on my bike map now. It was a 2 hour ride, but I proclaim it Bike-able.

Two portions of the ride warrant elaboration.

The first is Pena/Airport Boulevard, and the second is Copper Flats/Meadows MHC.

Pena/Airport Boulevard

Holy crap, this leg of the ride a white-knuckle Fright Fest.

First of all, Pena Blvd is a designated bike route.

You'll see a lot of the "DIA Bike Route" sign.

I don't know why it's reassuring, but it is. At least you know, I guess, that you're not doing anything illegal.

Because it does feel like you shouldn't be allowed to bike on Pena. Cars are whizzing by at 70+ MPH. You're basically riding your bike on the interstate.

Or, on an interstate highway with an extra wide shoulder designated as a bike lane.

The shoulder is nice, smooth, maintained as a bike path, and always at least one full car lane in width.

It feels adequately safe.

Until you start riding through shreds of rubber, and you realize that a poorly timed blow-out would send a passing car hurtling into you at Instant Death speeds.

So you throttle and choke your handlebars, and you coach yourself through breathing a lot.

And navigating exit/entrance ramps is challenging. You basically have to stop and dismount, and walk across the ramps. Because you can't really assess the intent of approaching cars while you are moving: Exiting? Not exiting? Blinker on by accident? Exiting without using blinker? Just can't tell at these speeds!

Riding Pena might sound scary.

That's because it is scary.

But it's doable. I'd do it again if I had to.

Copper Flats/Meadows MHC

About 12 miles from DIA is the intersection of East 13th Avenue and Sable Boulevard. Riding away from the airport, your route carries you south on Sable, and then west on 13th, at which point you encounter something a little surreal.

When you turn onto 13th, you quickly find yourself in the middle of Meadows MHC (Mobile Home Community). It's a cute-as-hell little trailer park.

Seriously, there are some neat looking mobile homes, the owners of which are obviously quite proud.

But then after only a few blocks, 13th suddenly dead ends at a chain link fence.

Just as you're about to omfg and pull on the brakes, you see a little slit in the fence, and you see a narrow strip of asphalt continue across a meadow.

So you continue through the fence, into the meadow, and suddenly you're in a crazy No Man's Land.

There's broken glass on the strip of a trail. There's a discouraged looking vagrant pushing a shopping cart across the meadow. Prairie dogs are dodging, ducking, dipping, diving, and dodging. And barking at everything that moves. A couple of bedraggled leathernecks in wife-beaters are drinking beer at 10:00 AM, looking at you with their eyes. Hard.

Then you go under I-225 and suddenly you're at another chain-link fence at Tollgate Creek.

So you continue through another gap in another fence, across this funny little foot bridge, and you emerge on the other side ...

In Copper Flats. A swanky, gated community with a clubhouse and a pool and parking and a flashy website.

And you can't help but assume that at night, the Copper Flats kids and the Meadows Trailer Park kids meet in the barren Prairie Dog meadow and have monkey knife fights in the light of the moon.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Worksman Cycles copes with economy

Wayne Sosin, president of Worksman Cycles, my favorite utility/industrial bike company, is mentioned in a New York Times article about small companies coping with the economy.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bikes and kites

This morning, Ladyfriend put the dog in the tricycle basket and I stuffed a kite in my pannier, and we rode down to City Park for a little kite flying!

Two cycles. Five wheels.

Me flying the kite.

Ladyfriend flying the kite.

Close up of the $5 "Iron Man" kite I got at the hardware store.

Just because you're tethered to a person doesn't mean you fly in the air. Sometimes it means you roll in the grass.

'Twas a lovely morning!

Friday, September 25, 2009

DU's early Bike Share launch

Denver's got a pretty awesome bike sharing program in the works. It's all scheduled to go live on Earth Day, 2010.

Today, Denver University launched their "bike library" b-cycle station.

According to the link above, DU is already scheduled to get bike kiosks as part of the plan as it exists.

I'm wondering if these two kiosks they now have are going to be it for them, of if they're planning on having a few more kiosks by Earth Day.

And what kind of pull, sway, or influence does a "student campaign" have with the city of Denver and with Bike Share Denver that a "professional, grown-up campaign," like, say, doesn't?

Darn kids.

If all it takes to fast track your bike kiosks are some volunteer hours and a few cash donations, then sign me up, yall.

Don't get me wrong. I'm happy for all the DU students.

I'm just jealous they got to open their toys before Christmas

Fleet Buildin'

Pirating, and bicycling alike, are often solitary endeavors. It can get lonely out there on the high, paved seas.

The aim of this project is to Build Comradeship.

There are two ways to do this.
  1. Advocate for and participate in group rides.
  2. Provide propaganda: cards, notes, fliers, and signs to distribute when you're out flying solo.

1. Group rides


Get out there and meet your like-minded neighbors.

  • Denver Cruisers: Every Wednesday, Early May through late September, 6:00 PM, at Casselman's.

  • Sunday Slow Ride: Every Sunday afternoon starting at 2 PM. Ride starts at the Great Divide Tap Room.

  • Critical Mass: Last Friday, March through October, 6:00 PM, seal pool in Civic Center Park, Colfax & Broadway.

  • Annual Events (in Denver)

    2. Propaganda

    ... will be made available here.

    I once met a fella who had a big, gorgeous Fat Tire cruiser. On his handlebars was a little, finely crafted, cardboard tag, hung with thick twine. The label read, "I (heart) Your Bike."

    He said he just found it on his bike one day. Somebody had just tagged him.

    I want to see more stuff like that.


  • Excessive Awesomeness Tickets


  • Flickr/spokecards


    3x5 note cards for standardization's sake and for maximum compatibility with hPDA and DIYPlanner

    Thursday, September 24, 2009

    When a dog is not your best friend

    The Canine Pedefish Incident is still weighing on my mind, and I've been thinking a lot about dogs.

    Last night on my way home, I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye as something darted across a lawn on my right. I didn't see it clearly, and I thought to myself, "Dang! Big squirrel."

    But then I saw more movement, and the thing had circled around behind me as was running along side me on my left.


    I laughed at it and scolded it and told it to go home, which—once sufficiently embarrassed—it did.

    Sometimes, though, being chased by a dog is obviously not a trifling matter.

    You're not likely to ever encounter a pit bull in Denver, but if something equally large and especially mean is chasing you (Labrador, German Shepherd, Doberman, Large Mutt), it can be very scary. And quite dangerous.

    The thing that's often easy to forget at the moment is that it's not a good idea to indulge the dog's "fight" and "chase" instincts by sprinting away. It's better to stand your ground and fight back in some way.
    • Scream and yell at the dog. Call it names, call it a Bad Dog. Shame it and haze it.

    • Ring your bell and blow your horn at it.

    • Squirt it in the face with water from your bottle.

    • If you can do it safely (as in the instance of me vs. chihuahua) quickly dismount (on the side opposite the dog), position your bike between you and the dog, and start chastising at it.

    • Mace/pepper spray. (Maybe not a bad idea to carry some anyway if you're going to be riding around by yourself at night.)

    • If you're in danger, kick the dog. Don't worry about the stigma attached to dog kicking. Worry about getting mauled by an aggressive dog.

    • If you have an air pump on your frame, grab it and take a swing.

    • I don't think I could find it in my heart to U-Lock a dog unless it's a "his life or mine" situation, but if that is the case, take a U-Lock to the dog.

    And don't forget that you have the option of always keeping some bacon in your pocket to throw as a distraction!

    The list above obviously progresses from best case scenario to worst case scenario. From what I've read and from second hand accounts, most dogs will hesitate and falter if you make lots of big noises at them.

    And, just so you know, almost all pet-related fines and fees in Denver, including off-leash fines, are scheduled to go way up pretty soon.

    "Unlicensed animals would incur penalties of $75, $100 and $200, and failure to pick up animal waste is punishable by fines of $150, $250 & $500.
    The fine for an off-leash dog would be $80 for a first violation, $150 for a second, and $300 for subsequent breaches. The penalties for un-spayed or un-neutered pets are $250, $550 and $999, and those for animal cruelty are the most severe at $300, $700 and $999."

    So it it's always the same dog at the same house that's chasing you on your way home from work everyday, for the love of Bob, call the police. Maybe a hefty fine will get that pet owner to take a little responsibility for their dog.

    Tour De Soeur

    Just mapped out a ride that visits all 10 of Denver's Sister City parks. | View Tour De Parc De Soeur in Denver, Colorado

    I might have to do that ride again soon before the weather gets too chilly.

    Wednesday, September 23, 2009


    This is me stranded at work.

    I lost my work keys last weekend, and so have been forced to wait until my coworkers arrive in the morning to let me in. I remember one of my first bosses explaining to me that if I arrive at work at the same time I am scheduled to being my shift, then I am late. Since then, I've been in the habit of arriving to work 10-15 minutes early. Especially if I'm on bike and need to change my clothes.

    I find it irksome to have to wait till somebody ambles up 10 minutes late to be let in.

    In two months, I will have been car free for a full calendar year.

    My car was named Annie. As in "Little Orphan," in recognition of all the times I locked my keys inside her and had to abandon her on the side of the road, and in recognition of all the times I spent the night alone, sleeping in my car somewhere.

    It's not often that I'm stranded somewhere with my bike. This is one of the only times that I can recall.

    It made me wonder, though, if I shouldn't rechristen my bicycle and call her Annie.

    Why so clipless?

    Platform are better.

    It's about the freedom to pedal off in your Rainbows if ya wuntoo.

    Caveat: a coworker told me this morning that a friend of his had her pinkie toe ripped off during a cycling accident while wearing flip-flops.

    Just something to keep in mind.

    Tuesday, September 22, 2009

    Autumnal Equinox, and more

    Happy Equinox, yall! It's the last day of fall, yall!

    And although today is technically the first day of Autumn, it sure felt like summer abruptly ended yesterday.

    It was chilly-willy.

    After riding through that yesterday, and last night, I dug out my glove liners after I got home and promptly stashed them in my jacket pocket. They will now, until Spring, accompany me where ever I go.

    But today is the Equinox!

    It is also World Car-Free Day, and OneWebDay.

    I didn't know about either holiday before this morning. I guess I've really been celebration both all along, though.

    According to the Cosmic Protean Intelligence, a Car-Free Day in 1994 was organized and executed in a way intended to engage, confront, and "break down" automobile drivers using techniques more commonly applied to treating individuals for addiction.

    Which is interesting. You hear people talking and writing about our nation being addicted to oil. But I have always failed to narrow the metaphor to the individual and their automobile. Sure does make sense, though, doesn't it?

    The notion of our nation having an addiction to foreign oil is almost cliche at this point. And it's not a problem that can easily be solved.

    An individual's addiction to their car, though?


    I got over mine, after all.

    And as far as OneWebDay is concerned, I was quite ready to dismiss it. Do we really need a special holiday to remind us that the Worldwide Web belongs to everybody and that here, we are all equals?

    But then I noticed that OneWebDay appears to be pretty legit because it is sponsored by Ford, Google, Mozilla, and others. (Quick! Let's play "One of these things is not like the others!")

    I remembered reading an essay in Chris Carlsson's Critical Mass about some Berkeley kid, around the time of the birth of the Worldwide Web, racing around town looking for the CM after having heard about it on the message boards.

    He went on to gush about this new thing called the Internet, and he went on about how he used it whenever he traveled to find and participate in the local rides all around the country.

    Ultimately, if one intends, as suggested by the 1994 implementation of Car Free Day:

    • To spend one carefully prepared day without cars.

    • To study and observe closely what exactly goes on during that day.

    • Then, to reflect publicly and collectively on the lessons of this experience and on what might be prudently and creatively done next to build on these.

    —well then there is obviously no medium more appropriate for public and collective reflection than this.

    So happy Equinox, e'rybody.

    Happy World Car Free Day, and happy OneWebDay.

    Monday, September 21, 2009

    Belva Lockwood's tricycle

    From Jeff Mapes's Pedaling Revolution, on the bicycle's role in women's liberation in the late 1800s.
    Belva Ann Lockwood, the presidential candidate of the Equal Rights Party in 1884 and 1888, used an adult-sized tricycle to travel about the nation's capital and proclaimed after she was photographed riding: "There is a principle behind that picture. A tricycle means independence for women, and it also means health."

    I'd have voted for her.

    I've mentioned this before, but one half of our fleet here at the homestead is a 1950s adult-sized tricycle that we use to transport people, groceries, dogs, firewood, and anything else that needs moving.

    A tricycle does mean independence. For women and for men.

    I was initially reluctant to abandon my car because I didn't know how to carry stuff on a bike. I could only stuff a backpack with so much.

    Once I procured a rear rack and some panniers, this problem vanished. There's now nothing I need to have with my during my commute—or on longer pleasure cruises—that I can't carry on my bike.

    For bigger trips, I have an old Cannondale trailer to hitch to my bike.

    And I have a trike with an extra large basket in the back.

    I don't need a car to carry large loads around. I have two high capacity human-powered vehicles that suit my needs perfectly well.

    And that means liberation.

    And it also means health.

    Sunday, September 20, 2009

    Everyone loves a dog in a basket

    On the other hand, if you're a large dude riding a large tricycle with a small dog in the basket, you get a lot of hoots, hollers, and catcalls.

    For example, pedaling through one intersection near my house, a white sedan slows down, and the window rolls down and some Fred Durst looking dude starts calling to me, "Yo, dude! Yo, dude! That's really cute!"

    I smiled, waved, and we all continued on our own understanding ways.

    Saturday, September 19, 2009


    So I was riding my bike to work yesterday when I encountered a pedestrian. You know, like ya do. But this pedestrian was Doing It Wrong.

    Allow me to enumerate the ways in which this pedestrian was Doing It Wrong.

    1. She was jogging in the bike lane.

      Which is not the biggest deal there ever was. But it was more than a little annoying because there is a nice, cute little dirt path alongside the road. Low impact, easy on the knees: ideal for jogging!

      In fact, there's a place for everyone here. Cars go in the road, bikes go in the bike lane, and pedestrians/joggers go on the walking trail.

      Get where you go.

    2. She was jogging in the wrong direction, against traffic.

      Salmon! Pedestrian salmon! Pedefish.

      Pede. Fish.

    3. She was jogging her McBiglarge dog alongside her.

      Hey all you dog walkers everywhere! If you are walking your dog, or jogging with your dog, or doing anything with your dog anywhere, then please, for the love of Buddha-sprinkled Christflakes, position yourself between your dog and oncoming traffic. Be that traffic pedestrian, bicycle, or otherwise. Dogs to the outside. Always.

      Some people are nervous about dogs. As a cyclist, I have been chased before and I have been lunged at before.

    And so you have a good idea of what she was doing.

    But what was I doing? Let's take a look. Because this is important.

    See, every now and then, my own dog is a part of my commute. When necessary, I take him with me and drop him off at the pet-sitter before continuing on to work.

    If he's looking particularly spry and peppy, well then I loop the leash around my seat post and let him trot along beside me.

    But if he looks a little lazy, as he did on this particular morning, and if I lack the time to indulge his lackadaisical meandering, then I'll pull out the tricycle and put him in the rear basket.

    Which is what I did on this morning.

    So let's return now to the scene already in play: me in the tricycle with the dog in the rear basket, barreling head-on towards the god-damned jogging lady brandishing her over-sized dog at me like a doomstick.

    My unwieldy tricycle is already taking up most of the bike lane. I see this ignorant pedefish coming toward me, and behind me I see several cars approaching, so I can't take the lane to get around her.

    So my first plan is to engage her in a game of Chicken. I retain the middle of the lane, setting a course right for her. My intention is to convey the message that she needs to get up on the sidewalk and out of the way. (In retrospect, I really wish I had instead used more verbal and more non-verbal language to convey this message.)

    She doesn't get out of the lane, but instead just kind of sidesteps into the gutter by the curb and pulls her big dog close to her. The big dog, of course, still being between me and her.

    Being in the gutter leaves inadequate room in the bike lane for me to pass her, so I reluctantly take a few inches of the car lane as the cars pass by me, way too close for comfort.

    And at this point, the dogs see each other and big dog starts lunging while the jogger lady is yanking his leash and shushing him sharply.

    So on the left I'm trying to not get hit by a car while on the right I'm trying to pay enough attention to be able to kick the dog if it gets too close and snarly.

    And then it's over.

    It takes just under a second for us to pass each other, and I think I'm home free.

    But then my own dog's excitement gets the better of him, he loses his balance and falls out of the basket into the street.

    He hits the pavement and tumbles towards the curb. Not, thankfully, into traffic.

    I think I dragged him for about 6 inches before I was able to come to a halt.

    And I think it took about 5 seconds for me to get off, scoop him up, put him back into the basket, and finally pull off to the side of the road.

    I probably spent a further 10 - 20 seconds looking him over for scrapes and scratches, and squeezing and moving all his limbs to see if he yelped or cringed.

    Even though a little fear at this point had given way to a little anger, I was still mostly preoccupied with my dog's well-being, and so I began to pedal on -- getting right back on the horse, as it were -- not wanting to give him enough time to become scared of the trike.

    We covered the four or five blocks remaining, and arrived at the pet-sitter.

    Once there, I go to get him out of the basket and he's trembling. Once on the ground, I walk him up and down the block two or three times to watch for limping and to gauge his composition.

    He seems fine.

    So I check him in and continue on to work.

    It's about 36 hours after the fact now and I'm still pissed in a very real way.

    There are about 3 or 4 things I will do differently in the future if presented with a similar situation.

    For the time being, though, all I can do is be thankful nobody and nodog got hurt, and continue to be pissed.

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    Parking day

    When I think of a world in which the bicycle is universally recognized as a viable, respectable means of transportation, among the things I envision is a world in which parking lots and parking spaces have been reclaimed as public spaces.

    Which is why I consider the project a truly fascinating and inspiring experiment.

    Park(ing) Day will arrive in Denver at Larmier & 15th this Friday, 9/18.

    I will not be attending, for I must work.

    If anybody else can attend, though, please tell me all about it.

    Folk singer on bicycle tour

    Peter Mulvey is a Milwaukee based folk singer who conducts a significant portion of his tour (about 1,100 miles of it) on bicycle.

    That kind of stuff is always exciting to see in light of the assumption you sometimes come across bikes are playthings and kidstuff. But they sure aren't are they? Bikes are serious. You can commute to work everyday with one, and you can conduct an entire leg of a music tour on one.

    I dig the MP3s posted on Mulvey's website. That Greg Brown sounding stuff is right up my alley. And to be honest, I haven't heard a folk singer from Wisconsin that I haven't enjoyed the hell out of. So I'm going to buy a CD or two of his because who doesn't want to support good, human-powered music?

    He'll be playing Swallow Hill in Denver on December 11th. Not part of the "Long Haul Tour" bicycle tour, but I won't hold that against him.

    I feel inclined to buy some tickets.

    Monday, September 14, 2009


    My ladyfriend made the following comment to me the other day as I was gushing about how much fun it was to ride in the Tour de Fat:

    I bet it's like running. Usually you run by yourself, or with a buddy or two. But then when you run in a race with hundreds of people, it's all electric and charged, and you're full of adrenaline and having lots of fun.

    Which is pretty much exactly what riding in a large group is like.

    Good analogy, lady.

    And another reason I really liked it is the concept of tribes, which is something I started thinking about when I read this great article in some magazine.

    I can't remember the name of either the article or the magazine, but it was by Dave Anderson, and the main concept of it was "the bicycle of the totem of my tribe."

    Which is an awesome way to think of yourself and your social group, whatever it may be. What is the totem of your tribe?

    With cycling, there is not one unified tribe. There are tons of them.

    And they're not all discreet. You can belong to several, to many of them at the same time.

    There's the Tribe of Always Wear A Helmet, and the Tribe of Occasionally Wear A Helmet If You Feel Like It, If Ever.

    There's the Fixie Tribe. There is the Single Speed Tribe and there are the 3-, 10-, and 21-Speed Tribes.

    The Mountain Bike Tribe and the Roadie Tribe.

    There's the Commuter Tribe and the Utility Bike Tribe.

    And you can get really particular if you want to recognize the Platform Pedal, the Toe Clip, and the Clipless Pedal Tribes.

    There is the Lycra Tribe and the Tweed Tribe and the Whatever You Roll Outta Bed In Tribe.

    There are Pirate and Ninja tribes.

    There's the Tricycle Tribe, the Tall Bike Tribe, the Tandem Tribe, the Recumbent Tribe. The Penny-farthing Tribe.

    And you can belong to so many of these tribes. By recognizing your preferences and behaviors; and being aware of all these tribes, and by rejecting the very existence of some of them, and by inventing new ones; you can create for yourself a near endlessly customizable -- and thereby almost guaranteed to be unique -- identity as a cyclist.

    And so what I mean to say is that I enjoyed the Tour de Fat because I saw cyclists of every tribe imaginable gathered together for some fun and games.

    It was a gathering of all the tribes of the Nation.

    Sunday, September 13, 2009

    National velvet

    This is one of the strangest landmarks in the city of Denver. It's an installation of public art at the north end of the 16th Street Mall, right by the pedestrian bridge that crosses I-25 and connects downtown Denver to the Highlands.

    At night, it's lit up from within, and it glows in a menacing way.

    It is evocative. Everybody I've talked to about it has very strong feelings about it.

    Mostly because it's hideous.

    It's the Gelatinous Giant. It looks like it should be throbbing and pulsing.

    It's nasty.

    It probably has syphilis.

    It rivals Mustang, ole Bluecifer, as Denver's most unsettling piece of public art.

    I didn't know the title of the piece before today. National Velvet. I've always simply referred to it as the giant red blob.

    (National Velvet is an old Elizabeth Taylor movie.)

    I didn't even notice this as I was taking the picture, and it was only upon later review that I noticed that the new Salvagetti building is apparently right next to the monstrosity. That's it in the background above.

    The sign and the "I (heart) bikes" mural on the side of the building are almost exactly the same shade of red as National Velvet.

    We (Ladyfriend and myself) went to Salvagetti this afternoon. First time since they relocated.

    The Lady had complained to me about her trike having some problems shifting. It wouldn't go into 3rd at all, and in 1st the pedals had a tendency to spin freely, not engaging the wheels at all.

    That sounded like it was far beyond my meager mechanic abilities, so we shoved it in the trunk of the Subaru and ventured across town.

    Once there, we unloaded the big thing, and once inside, Hannah fiddled with the tension on the shifter cable and fixed the damn thing in about thirty seconds.

    Which just goes to show ya.

    I consider myself a very bike-savvy dude. And I didn't recognize that this was something that could be fixed by tugging on a cable and turning a nut.

    If you haven't seen Salvagetti's new digs yet, do yourself a favor and go take a gander.

    It's pretty grand.

    Neighborhood bike route

    So I was riding my bike down a new road. East 25th Avenue is very wide and pleasant to ride on, and it is home to KJ's Coffee Bar, which is itself the reason that I was on this new road.

    What caught my eye were two "Bike Route" signs on either side of Downing.

    The reason I made such careful note of these signs is that we (Ladyfriend and myself) got stuck at a prejudiced red light, and I lamented aloud, "This here is a red light that won't change for bicycles, and it's on a designated bike route!"

    And as the words were leaving my lips, it occurred to me that 25th is not a designated bike route on any of my maps.

    I boggled at that, ran the red light, and continued running my errands. But I kept that in the back of my mind all morning.

    Later, after I got back home, I opened up the city bike map (updated 11/21/2003 -- can't wait for the new one, but that's a different story), and sure enough, 25th is not a bike route.

    When I zoomed in, though, I saw what I assumed to be railroad tracks running along 25th.

    There sure aren't any tracks along that road. The legend, though, clarified the issue.

    Neighborhood bike route.

    I don't even know what that means.

    Obviously then, there is a difference between "grid bike routes", i.e., the ones I have plotted in my google map, and "neighborhood bike routes."

    Neighborhood bike routes obviously don't stretch from one end of the city to the other like the grid routes do. They are short routes that either connect grid routes or skirt around within a graticule.

    That's my definition. A more official one doesn't seem to exist. The phrase "neighborhood bike route" appears zero times in the Denver Bicycle Master Plan Update 2001 posted on

    I had never noticed these short routes on the map before. Or if I had, I didn't pay them any attention.

    But now I'm aware of them, and I'm going to have to incorporate their existence into my ranking system for the PABST project.

    Today, while riding on 25th, I was definitely on a designated bike route, and I was stopped by a light that definitely didn't acknowledge bicycles. And that's definitely a problem.

    But how big of one?

    Tour de Fat photo-dump

    I scoured twitter for photos of the Tour de Fat. And here those photos are!

    I didn't take any of these photos. They're all from random twitterers, and from this dude.

    This costume was pretty typical of the ones I saw. There were a couple neat hoop skirts made from bike tires. That was neat and resourceful!

    During the ride, there was a pretty blond on a street corner, holding a bottle of Bud Light, jumping on a pogo stick, and whooooo-ing at the passing cyclists. I laughed and waved made a comment akin to, "Well, there's some alternative transportation I haven't considered!"

    This picture's pretty blurry, but I don't think it's the same lady.

    This dude was part of the festival and I'm glad someone got a picture of him. His rig played music and blew bubbles. You can't see the detail very well, but on the front is a little mechanical monkey who also pedaled, motivated by the banana dangling in front of him.
    Giant Connect 4! Why wouldn't you build a giant Connect 4?

    Slow bike race. The winner got a pretty championship belt.
    This is from where the ride took us through downtown. I'm sad I wasn't able to find a picture of us riding past the protesters and the demonstrators. Near here, we rode between two towers, and it echoed a lot if you shouted or rang your bell, which everybody did.
    Street sweeper bike! Another one I'm glad somebody got a good shot of him.

    Tall tandem! That's quite a special bike. These riders unquestionably have style, but I think were I to ride a tall bike, I'd probably have on a helmet. Maybe pads, too. That's just a long way to fall.

    And a tall tandem! That's trust, folks. Cause if you don't work together, you're both going down. Way down.

    That's all I got.

    There are tons of other photos over on flickr, but unlike these twit pics, they're all in one place so I'm not going bother gathering any of them and posting them.