Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cateye Nano Shot Plus Mini Review


This cool little light packs a big punch. With 600 Lumens of light and high/low setting plus a pulse mode, the Nano Shot Plus is the perfect bike commuters companion riding on dark roads. The pulse was great for alerting car drivers that I was there.

At $120 this light provides a fast recharging light with a long burn time and plenty of power for dark roads with no lighting . Great value- I give it 4 out of 4 stars!

I blog with BE Write

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 2012

The Fargo Rides Again!
It's been over a year since my last post in the "Go By Bike" blog but while reviewing old posts I have been motivated to take another crack at it. 2011 was a demanding year at work but culminated with my purchase of Cycle Craft, the bike store where I have spent the better part of the past 19 years. The shear volume of work in getting to this point has meant more doing and less thinking and writing. As a result, 2011 was not a good year for bike commuting or writing about it. The demands of time and space have conspired to push the idea of non-motorized transportation onto the back burner  but the pot has been simmering and as the store begins to settle into it's new arrangement with Cathy and me as the owners I am bringing that pot slowly back to a boil and giving it a stir.
With the arrival of May each year so arrives National Bike Month- A time for people to celebrate all things cycling and to challenge themselves to use a bike as more than a recreational toy. Not that there's anything wrong with that but a bicycle can be so much more!
For myself, I have committed to getting back to commuting on a bicycle. Naturally it has rained every day of May so far. Still, I managed to "Go By Bike" twice this week.
As far as the "Go By Bike" blog? I will update only when I think I have something interesting to say. I've come to realize that a daily account of someone Else's bike ride is pretty boring unless something cool happens, like a UFO landing, or a whole ride goes by where I don't have to dodge a careless driver texting, or eating a hoagie.
In the meantime, I would love to hear from you as well. Share your stories, ask questions, challenge my sanity-whatever you like. My objective is to weave a narrative that captures the essence of the non-motorized transportation movement. Why? Why not? Go By Bike!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Winter Ride

Originally uploaded by brendan61

So this is not the greatest winter bike but through an unsual series of circumstances I got to ride it into town today for coffee and a bike committee meeting at town hall. I have not been commuting much since the summer time hence no posts but I figured I would throw this up. It was about 18 degrees when I headed out from home this morning. That's about as cold I can really see myself riding in. The bike committee meeting was good and we are off to a great start for making Denville a great place to ride a bike in 2011. I can't wait for some better weather!

This is the new logo for our little advocacy group. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

I saw these bikes at Interbike

I thought they were nice in a subtle,elegant sort of way

Monday, September 6, 2010

Going by Bike In Montreal

Bold Fashion Statement
It's been another long while since my last post as life gobbles up big chunks of time. July 13th marked the anniversary of "Life Without a Car" and while I still don't own a car, I have not been riding more than once or twice a week. The store has been very busy and there was that whole wedding thing going on. Cathy and I tied the knot in a nice little ceremony outside on what I believe has to have been the nicest day of the year. (Last Saturday). We just got back from our honeymoon in Montreal, Canada. We picked Montreal for it's European charm without the whole international flight hassle. Plus, we heard that it is a "bicycle friendly" city. I don't know if friendly is the word I would choose but there seems to be an acceptance from the motorized traffic that bicycles are a part of the system and it all worked pretty well. Separated bike lanes on major roads and marked lanes as well as sharrows on others keep the bike traffic moving nicely. The interesting part was that motor traffic moved smoothly as well.

Bixi Montreal from Brendan on Vimeo.
One of the cool things about Montreal is the "Bixi" bike sharing system. All around the city you can find Bixi stations with bikes available for you to hop on and go. It's cheap and easy to get around and it's fun! While we were in Montreal the weather was uncharacteristically hot and it got a little uncomfortable riding to and fro but all in all the "Bixi" is a great way to get around.
Masion Des Cyclists
On Friday we took a Bixi ride from our downtown hotel to the "Maison Des Cyclists" across the street from the "Parc De Le Fontaine". The Maison houses the administrative offices of Velo Quebec Association, the main cycling advocacy organization for the province. The Maison also has a terrific cafe that makes great coffee, a book and map store and a travel agency that specializes in bike trips. 
At the Maison we spent some time with Marc Jolicoeur, the Director of Research for Velo Quebec. Marc graciously took time out of his day to give a couple of un-announced advocates from New Jersey the low down on the cycling movement in Montreal which now boasts over 360 kilometers of separated and/or marked bike routes. It's amazing to me that the city has made the commitment to active transportation that includes bicycles even though the harsh Canadian winter makes riding very impractical from November through April. However, as Marc pointed out, it didn't happen overnight. They have been working on this since 1985! So why is it so hard hard to get people on board with the active transport concept here in New Jersey? The demand exists, the benefits are obvious, and the return on investment is large-- I just don't understand the resistance. 
On another day we went on a three hour tour (insert Gilligan's Island joke of choice) around the Montreal. We were led through the city on bikes by a very knowledgeable guide who brought us to many of the city's historical highlights and along some quieter back lanes to show us how regular Montrealers live. We rode on rented hybrid bikes and had to wear the oh so fashionable blaze orange vests but the ride was a lot of fun-Definitely a departure from our regular ride experience. 
Learning about the canal
Without a doubt, Montreal is a fun place to visit. Great food, generally nice people, lots of history, plenty of shopping (bring money!), the Olympic Park, Botanical Gardens, museums and a very happening nightlife scene, all make for a memorable trip.
Now it's back to work for a busy fall season getting the store ready for 2011 and enjoying the crispy autumn riding weather, a welcome relief from our record hot summer. Yes, life is good when you "Go By Bike".
Click here to see the whole album!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

One Year In!

IMG_1832It's been a year since I started "My Year Without Cars". It's a bit of a misnomer though because it's not like I just made all the cars disappear. No, cars are a fact of life--to be tolerated and dealt with like noisy children or hemorrhoids.
I started out to see if I could change my lifestyle to become independent of the automobile/oil slave culture that seems to dominate everything. So how did I do, you ask? Well to be quite honest I am somewhat disappointed with myself because I couldn't cut the strings entirely. That's the part of my personality that never accepts any results--good enough never is. My own assessment is that I could have done much more. But then again, as some people have pointed out to me, I did a lot.
Here are some stats:
167 recorded trips
2,630 miles
127,479 feet of vertical climbing
Average speed 15.7 MPH
167,072 calories

I actually had more mileage but for various reasons they were not recorded so I will go with the record.
Believe it or not at least 90% of the mileage was "car trip replacement". So what does that mean in terms of impact? Well, rounding the numbers a bit, I saved about 110 gallons of gas. Multiply that by the amount of carbon in a gallon of gas (6 pounds for those of you scoring at home) for a total of 660 pounds, multiplied by about 3.7 when you combine it with the oxygen in the air and I saved about 2090 pounds of carbon dioxide. Maybe that doesn't sound like a lot but imagine that we could reduce the number of car miles driven in the US by 10%. Let's do the math--200 million cars driving an average of 12,500 miles per year. That's 2.5 trillion miles times 660 pounds of carbon dioxide. I don't care who you are, that's a lot of CO2 right there! (Picture Larry the Cable Guy reading that last bit for effect.) Anyway, you get the picture, if we could reduce that by 10% we would make a significant difference. A little change individually can add up to big numbers together.

So what else happened this past year? Well,
I'm in better shape than I have been in a really long time.
I finally did sell my car and gave myself a $6000 "raise" in the process.
I joined the New Jersey Bicycle Coalition as a board member and mounted the first ever New Jersey Bike Summit bringing together advocates from around the state.
New Jersey received a Bronze rating as a bicycle friendly state from the League of American Bicyclists and moved up to eighth from 10th place on the ranking list.
I raised $1500 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and completed another ride in Austin, TX.
I inspired several people to shake the bonds of oil slavery and use their bikes for transportation.
I convinced ten other people to ride their bikes to the supermarket with me and buy a turkey and then deliver said turkey by bike to a Foodbank Thanksgiving food drive.
I experienced the changing of the seasons in a way that car bound people never will.
I rode a mountain bike with my best friend to the top of the Tourne at sunset and asked her to marry me. She said "yes"!
All in all it's been a pretty good year. So now what? In the spirit of continuous improvement (because good enough never is), I will continue my quest to cast off the oily chains of petroleum addiction, to wit:
I will double my transportation miles.
I will continue working to make New Jersey a better place for cyclists (watch out Portland, Jersey is in the house!).
This year we will get a "yes" vote on a 3 foot passing law protecting vulnerable users including cyclists, pedestrians, emergency workers, etc.
I will convince at least 30 people to join the Coalition.

So there it is. One year since I started. Maybe I should change my theme to "A Life Without Cars".
See the year in pictures here:
The year in pictures