SF Cyclotouring

Ride reports and other ramblings from a San Francisco cyclist.


"Share the Road" Is a Two-Way Street!

A friend just sent me this link to a posting over on another blog, which features a video clip and a rant against SFPD cops ticketing bicyclists at the intersection of Haight and Scott streets in San Francisco:
Ok. We are officially revolted. Gavin Newsom has given cops SPECIFIC instructions to write tickets to bicyclists on major bike routes, even while IGNORING cars that break the same laws. We have been getting reports of this crack down for a month now but now there is VIDEO PROOF Ask yourself:

- If there aren’t enough cops to do stop SF’s spiraling homicide rate HOW ARE THE enough cops to hassle bicyclists.

- If there aren’t enough cops to investigate murders HOW ARE THE enough cops to hassle bicyclists.

- If there aren’t enough cops to ticket RED LIGHT RUNNING CAR DRIVERS, especially given the surge in SF traffic deaths, HOW ARE THE enough cops to hassle bicyclists.

Watch this video. Watch three cops REPEATEDLY ignore car drivers running stop signs as they WAIT for bicyclists to run them.

As a former resident (until just last week) and pedestrian in that neighborhood living just a stone's throw from that particular intersection, I APPLAUD the actions of the SFPD in cracking down on lawless cyclists! I am sick and tired of watching bikers inconsiderately ignoring road-use etiquette and stealing the right of way when they blow through that intersection. During the several years I lived there, there were at least two bike-related major injury accidents caused by cyclists failing to stop and give right-of-way, resulting in major injuries to themselves and even a cyclist's death in one case. I also grew weary of trying to walk through that intersection (as well as several others in the area, notably Scott and Page Streets) while dodging cyclists blowing the stop sign.

As a law-abiding cyclist myself, these reckless behaviors are a personal affront and only serve to denigrate the sport and bicycling as a viable form of urban transportation. Dr. Martin Luther King didn't lead the civil-rights movement by being an asshole, instead he promoted nonviolent civil disobedience which espouses respectful disagreement and compassion...neither of which is exemplified by blowing stop signs and generally being a self-centered jerk on the road. I'm also really tired of bikers whining about road rules being car-focused, and then hiding behind cycling as "being green" and using that as an excuse for somehow being above road-use laws. "Bicycling Against Oil" does NOT mean you can ignore that stop light, OK?!!

C'mon people, this isn't even a question of unfair laws, it's simply a matter of being considerate to other road users, irrespective of whether they're on 2 legs, 4 legs, skates, wheelchairs, 2/4/6 wheels or more. Stop at that intersection and let the other bike/vehicle/pedestrian/whatever go first if they got there before you. Get some kind of night-time lighting so you can see and to help other people see you. Love your brother...Be nice to your fellow San Franciscians, even just a little bit!

While I don't disagree that there also needs to be thorough enforcement of road rules for auto traffic, I'd wager that the percentage of poor drivers in San Francisco is much smaller than the percentage of bad cyclists. Furthermore, that other blog states
Stop scapegoating taggers and bicyclists and skateboarders and the homeless for your FAILURE to keep San Franciscans safe!!!

and while these problems might be seen as petty crime, it's proven that unchecked petty crime leads to bigger and larger problems, so I'm all for the SFPD cracking down on all forms of lawlessness. E.g., bike theft is considered a petty crime, yet we all want more police attention there, right?!? And don't even get me started on punk-ass taggers (who each deserve a spray-paint enema)!

It's about time, says I! If you want cycling to stop being seen as a second-class activity, remember "Same Roads, Same Rights, Same Rules!"


Whooda Thunkit?

As a bona-fide bike-junkie I love me the bike porn! One great place to find lotsa lotsa porn is, of course, the Ebay. I like to reinforce the coveting of my bicycles by looking for auctions of similar bikes...living vicariously through others' covetings, so-to-speak. Since I own a 1993 Bridgestone RB-1/7, this is one bike I keep tabs on on the 'bay. Recently there have been a slew of RB-1s for sale, which is somewhat unusual. Two of these auctions stand out:

First, someone sold a NOS 1994 RB-1 frameset, which went for a whopping $710.01! Yeah, the RB-1 is a nice-riding bike, but when you can buy an excellent new frame that is nicer looking and more versatile to boot for about that same price and with a warranty, why bother?

The second auction is a 1992 RB-1 bicycle in "near-mint condition" that sold for $800. Yeah, that's EIGHT HUNDRED US DOLLARS, not including the extra $75 for shipping. Now, my '93 RB-1/7 is in "near mint condition" as well, and I bought it during the BOB-only inventory blow-out sale B'stone held during their last summer before closing the US office in late 1994. I paid $675 for it during that sale. Could I sell my bike for $800 -- more than what I paid for it?

Whooda Thunkit?!?


Our New Home is Cursed!

Another Fire Truck
Originally uploaded by jimgskoop.
I haven't been riding for the past month. At all. "Why?" you might ask... Over the past few weekends, I've been busy painting, cleaning, packing, repainting, and prepping our new condo for our arrival. Methinks the place is cursed, and now I'm having buyer's remorse. Here's why:

1) The day before we got the keys, the garbage disposal "mysteriously" breaks down. Further investigation reveals that it does in fact still work, although it leaks like a sieve, literally -- there are multiple holes corroded through the metal housing (next time buy a stainless disposal!). In fact, SOME of these holes seem to be pre-existing, since they've been "patched" with clear cellophane tape! I wonder why the previous owners "forgot" to metion that...Hmmmm. Fortunately, we got a home-warranty on all the appliances as part of the closing, so the disposal repair was covered, and ended up only being a minor inconvenience.

2) The first weekend we took ownership of the place, our garage door got tagged in huge letters. Damn punk kids.

3) Last Thursday the building next door to ours was involved in a major fire, leading to one fatality. The side wall of our building got scorched and our place probably would've burned if the SFFD wasn't there to control the blaze. We lost a wooden-lattice privacy screen on our light-well deck, and suffered some water damage on the adjacent room's ceiling. HOA insurance will cover the exterior of the building, but our condo policy doesn't start until this Friday -- so if we'd lost the whole thing we'd've been up the proverbial creek...

4) Last Saturday night our garage door got tagged again. Damn punk kids!

I'm bracing for whatever's going to happen NEXT...


Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Cannondale at Miwok Stables
Originally uploaded by jimgskoop.
In an effort to reduce clutter and eliminate things I'm no longer using, I sold a bike last night. I should feel some sort of zen-harmony or lightness-of-being, but it just feels like I've lost a reliable old friend. The guy I sold the bike to seemed enthusiastic, said he drove 1.5 hours to check it out and got in touch with me the first day I posted the for-sale listing, so hopefully the new owner will be a good one. He also said he's had 3 bikes stolen in the past 6 months, so who knows? Sigh.


Thinking of Selling my RB-1

So maybe I'm just in another funk from not being able to ride this past weekend (spent painting the living/dining room instead), but...

Weekend before last, I was able to get out on a short, 20-mile ride on my RB-1. I hadn't ridden that bike since the SFR 200k brevet in January, and although I had a great ride then, while I was cleaning up the bike afterwards I found several spoke-hole cracks in the rear rim. It's taken me this long to get around to rebuilding the rear wheel using a Mavic MA-2 rim I had on hand, and getting the bike back in service. At any rate, that 20-mile test ride left me kinda flat. Normally when I ride the RB-1 after spending time on any of my other bikes, I feel extra fast -- but that feeling didn't return that day. I dunno if something's different/wrong with the rear wheel or not -- I suspect it's more mental than anything, my subconscious knowing that a major/critical original component of the bike is now different/gone. I did some cogitating and realized that the first bike I grab for any major century or brevet is my Austro Daimler -- that one is really my go-to bike -- while I vainly attempt to keep the RB-1 the "pretty bike". Due to my pending move at the end of this month, bike-storage-space is becoming critical and I'm not sure I have room for "pretty" bikes...only hard riders. Maybe the time has come?

Of course, if I do sell the RB-1, I will reinstall all the original components on it
(even the tires!) and include the original manual, unused front-fork lawer tabs, and even the original bike box.

Hmmm. Someone talk me out of this!