Catching a curve ball

It’s those curve balls that can get you down. And your weight up. Get you off track. Or in the vernacular of the day, cause you to fall off the wagon.

After wiping out on my bicycle, I’m going to hold back on exercise for a week or two, or until the pain in my neck subsides.

I was cycling along Jericho Beach, one of the city’s most spectacular spots, when a large woolly terrier bounded from the off-leash section of the park, into the pedestrian and cycle path. To avoid the dog, I crunched down hard on my brakes and swerved to the right, hearing myself think, I’m going down. In those split seconds I recalled a passage from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers about a co-pilot saying to the captain, “We’re going down,” seconds before the fateful airplane crash.

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Who let the pooch out

Even dogs enjoy the thrill of cycling. At the City of Vancouver’s Urban Bike Fair today, I spotted two pooches in cyclists’ pouches.

The Dunsmuir Street separated bike lane is officially open. Gregor Robertson, mayor of Vancouver and Amy Walker, publisher of Momentum Magazine gave little talks on the joys of cycling. Proper cycling infrastructure, such as this new separated bike lane, prevents cyclists from being smeared by cars.

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Murakami’s perfect reader

Writers’ body parts don’t usually get media attention. The profile of Haruki Murakami in the Globe & Mail described a man with toned biceps and quadriceps.  What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, a memoir of Murakami’s running and sitting life. Murakami, a former jazz club owner and successful novelist prone to reclusiveness, took up marathon running to combat the sedentary life of writing. This resonated with me. As a production artist working at a computer for hours, my extra pounds stay on an upward trajectory along with my age.

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Bagels and bikes

Waking up on Sunday, the morning of the Tour de Blintz, my eyes met an intense downpour of rain. As I slid open the patio door, the sound of the rain was as heavy as a Tom Waits song. It was still early—5:30 am—and knowing Vancouver weather, a lot could happen by 9:30. I was an hour’s ride to the start of the Tour and by the time I arrived, the rain had toned down to a drizzle. Within a few minutes, the rain had stopped.

About 20 people, including a 3-generation family of five (on two tandem bicycles, one with a trailer for the little kid), enjoyed the leisure 45km Tour around Vancouver. We stopped at several

Jewish eateries for a sampling of food such as latkes and bagels with cream cheese.

The Jewish Museum and the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition hosted the ride, and a longer, 75km ride the following Sunday. Thanks to Greg Robinson at the Jewish Museum for organizing the tour.

The 2008 Tour de Blintz

Cycling blogs

UBC Researchers to investigate cycling safety
Critical Mass Vancouver
Bike and beer

Never leave home without your panniers

You never know when you might win something—and I was glad I had my panniers on my bike at the wrap-up party of the Bike to Work Week. I won a gift basket from Vancouver’s Yale Rhythm and Blues Club including a bottle of wine, VIP passes, CD and t-shirt. Thank you Yale Club.

Vancouver cyclists were really lucky this year. We had great weather every day during the 2008 Bike to Work Week. Over 1,700 new riders participated. The BBQ at Science World—okay, Telus World of Science—included music by the Bicycle Shed Ensemble and entertainment by the B:C: Clettes dance group. Two people propelled the sound system by pedalling stationary bicycles and M&M Meats provided food.

While flipping through the new issue of Momentum magazine, I noticed a great item for rainy days in Vancouver—an attachment to hold the umbrella (see photo above). I need to find a local retailer.

For more cycling information, visit Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition.

Coming Cycle Events

June is Bike Month—50 events

Tour de Blintz, June 8 & 15, 2008

Slow Food Cycle Tour of Agassiz, BC, August 9, 2008

If you rather not cycle, how about building your own online Kaleidoscope?

Don’t bogart that road, my friend

When presenting at SFU Business School on May 15, 2008, the cycling advocate from Rutgers University was so excited that several times he knocked off his clip-on mic. While John Pucher’s 1½ hour presentation was way too long, it contained a lot of good information for cycling commuter advocates to bring to city planners.

Most noteworthy lesson from Pucher’s study of cycling in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany is that when cycling increases, accidents decrease. It’s so safe to cycle in these countries that commuters do not wear helmets.

Also, cycling demographics show as people age, the more they commute by bicycle.

In Berlin, free Internet cycling trip planning is offered. Cyclists can indicate preferences for speed, type of pavement, type of street, and so on. Cyclists can also plan their trips by cellphone, viewing the map in the cellphone’s display.

SFU Business School on Granville apologized for the lack of bicycle racks claiming their racks were stolen.