Friday, September 11, 2009

Props to Regions Bank for making biking seem mainstream. Although I question that last left turn in to traffic....

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

mission accomplished

9/9/09 some say it's a lucky day. kinda appropriate that I reached my goal of 2009 miles on 9/9/09. Somewhere around Falls Church, I passed the 2009 mile marker for this year. I'm already at 2028 and I have 3 more months to go. I'll shoot for 2700, but maybe I can get to 3000. Maybe. Charts and Graphs tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

...and I had heard good things about Asheville, NC

No way I'm ever going there, now. This behavior reinforces my stereotypes about the south and makes me worry about being as far south as DC.

Firefighter charged with shooting at bicyclist

The cyclist was riding on a 'Level III' road 'best for experienced bicyclists used to riding in traffic.' maybe we should include 'and being shot at' in the Level III classification.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Transit Mash-Up

I guess I missed the boat on this one, but transit mashups are pretty dope. I was trying to put something like this together for my bike times. I figured it would have all these spindly arms sticking out where I could get the most speed up on major roads or bike lanes, while it would shrink back in some neighborhoods that were hard to navigate or had lots of stop signs....
In other news.... The neighborhood got a great walkscore. I guess I could see that coming.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dear Dr. Gridlock: Cyclist Pushed Quest For Respect Back a Few Miles

Sparked by a post on Washcycle that referenced a posting from Dr. Gridlock about the ethics, legality and safety of cycling in the area.

Sent: Tue 6/23/09 10:55 AM
re:Cyclist Pushed Quest For Respect Back a Few Miles‏

Mr. Thomson-
In an area where cycling is on the rise, and therefore the conflicts between motorists are also on the rise, I would appreciate a little more research and education in your column when motorists write you with questions about etiquette, ethics, and safety, such as the following:

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Adjacent to your column [Commuter page, June 14] was an article on sharing street space safely. I was disappointed to see missing the situation that I find most annoying and dangerous.

Scenario: I am driving along a lovely two-lane road. (There are many; let's use Hunter Mill Road as our example.) I approach a cyclist and patiently follow until I can swing out wide and pass. Not too far after, I come to a stoplight.

While we wait for the green, the cyclist passes all the waiting cars, sometimes running through the red light. Now the cyclist is first again, and all of us have to putt along behind until we can pass again. This seems wrong and dangerous.

Melanie Snyder, Vienna

Ms. Snyder is concerned that the actions she is observing are wrong and/or dangerous. My first reaction was to look up the bicycle laws of Virginia ( They specifically have a section that addresses her questions.

Q. Can the cyclist ride through the red light?
A. No. This is illegal and might be dangerous.

"Bicyclists must obey all traffic signs, signals, lights, and markings.Reference: §46.2-830"

Q. Can the cyclist pass all the stopped cars legally?
A. Yes.

"Bicyclists may overtake and pass another vehicle only when safe to do so. Bicyclists may pass another vehicle on the right or left, and they may stay in the same lane, change lanes, or ride off the road if necessary for safe passing. Please note that passing motor vehicles on the right side may be extremely dangerous if the motorist does not see the bicyclist and attempts a right turn.

A person riding a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, motorized skateboard or scooter, or moped shall not travel between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction, except where one lane is a separate turn lane or a mandatory turn lane.

Motorists must approach and pass a bicyclist at a reasonable speed at least two feet to the left of the bicyclist.
Reference: §§46.2-839,46.2-907"

I think it would be helpful for motorists to know that bicycles are allowed to pass, since I get the impression that many motorists automatically assume that cyclists are in the wrong. There is a handy guide to basic bicycling laws in the DMV area with links to further detail on WABA's website at

Thanks for your consideration,

Shawn Gallagher
DC Cyclist

Mid Summer Update

Three weeks in to june and I'm over the 1200 mile mark. Back on May 27th I passed the halfway mark and thought about posting, but never got around to writing anything to commemorate it.
June has been a difficult month for cycling. The rain has been torrential and unrelenting for the first two weeks of the month, flooding my basement and forcing me out of my home for over a week. I even ended up with a flat over on the Mt. Vernon Trail, three miles away from anything in a downpour. After walking for a mile, a fellow biker was nice enough to stop and give me a tube so I could continue on.
The Raleigh is getting older and even more squirly. I need to get an outer plate put on my crank to keep my chain from jumping off. The Shogun is even heavier now, with the addition of some nice wheel brows for a birthday present. They have served me well in the inclement weather, keeping most of the road grit and moisture off my legs.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Free helmets in Denmark

in association with the North Jutland Police and The Danish Cyclists Federation (via Washcycle

Robotic Bike Parking

Robot Valet Parking (courtesy of Hard Drive, The Oregonian, and the Washington Post)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bike To Work Day 2009

I'm leading a Bike convoy for WABA on Bike To Work Day (BTWD) from Falls Church, VA to the meet up spot at Freedom Plaza in DC. We're leaving at 6:30am and I'm hoping we can make it there in less than an hour. I have no idea how big the group will be, and whether or not that will slow us down at all, but it's for a good cause! Here's a link to the route we're taking.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Yet again, American car companies have given us something else we don't need. And it's not even a crappy car this time. The GM PUMA is about as useful as a segway, but bigger, and the jury is still out on whether it looks more stupid.


I can see this ending up where segways did. Tourist vehicles in DC, at amusement parks, for mall cops, and maybe in SF replacing the three wheeled scooters. They do serve a market, albeit a very niche one. Too big for bike lanes, too slow for traffic, too small for regular roads, these are the bastard children of GM. Our cities are not designed to accept this type of vehicle. We still think too big, and most of the country can't fit their groceries and wal-mart purchases in the back of this.
with a 35 mile range, that means you can get about 17 miles from your house and back, which would fit within the average commute distance but I'm willing to bet not all of those roads would look too kindly on a vehicle that maxes out at 35 mph. I know I wouldn't want to be puttering along the beltway on the shoulder of the road with no doors and a plastic windshield.
Did I mention price? They're saying "one-fourth and one-third of that of the average traditional vehicle" which giving a conservative estimate of the price of a Chevy Cobalt ($15,000). So we've got a range of $3,700-$5,000.

You could get any of these fine (and respectable) looking motorcycles

Kawasaki Ninja - $4,000

Yamaha TW200 - $3,990

Honda Ruckus/Metropolitan - $2,500

Or a hell of a nice bicycle.

DeRosa Corum Road Bike (17 lbs) - $4,400

Or shoot, even by a carbon motobecane bike for $1,200 spend the rest on spandex, and you'll still look like less of an idiot than someone in this two-wheeled golf cart.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Bike Snob

ok, i may be late to the game, but I've been reading

lately, and his writing is pretty funny, a bit reminiscent of dave carnie and big brother. it's good fun for everyone

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

March - 582

That's right, 582 mile mark at the last day in March.  I'm comfortably above the average now, and at this point, I've got nearly a hundred mile buffer.  Here's the numbers:

338 Miles Biked
110% more than last month
29% of yearly goal

Monday, March 23, 2009

Break Even Day

The new year got off to a rocky start with some chilly weather dipping down in to the teens which resulted in an uninspiring start to my attempt at biking 2009 miles in 2009. Yesterday, however, that changed! For the first time (since day two) I have caught up with the average I need to get to the 2009 mile mark by December 31st. 

Friday, March 6, 2009


Just a little idea of my normal ride in to work

and then the ride i did today

note that today's ride was nearly double the miles and only took me an extra 5-7 minutes. that's what's to be said about riding strictly on trail instead of through the city streets.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why I Hate Twitter

This pretty much sums it up. I'm old, twitter is chaffing my ass.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Feb Monthly Biking Report

It's the first of a new month, and instead of an unemployment check, it means time to reckon my biking for the past month and see how I'm doing on my goal of biking 2000 miles in 2009  maybe i should shoot for 2009 miles?

Feb Miles logged: 161 miles
Percent Change from Last Month: +93%
Running Total: 244 miles
Percentage Goal Complete: 12%

And the visual aide:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Kojo Nnamdi Show: Social Networking: Hazards and Opportunities

listening to the Kojo Show today

There is so much hype now about facebook and other social networking security issues.  I personally am mortified that employers are using social networking sites to spy on prospective employees and threaten current employees with termination.  I'd like to see what types of companies are actually monitoring these activities.  Also, the E-policy Institute talking about IP blocking?  That is ridiculous to me.  All those companies are working on an old model where the employer holds complete power over the employee and hampers creativity and focuses on weaknesses.  This mentality leads to less productivity and happiness in the long run, but it's not apparent since there are so few employers following a well thought out business model of encouraging strengths within their employees.

Also, Journalists using facebook?  WTF!? That's worse than citing wikipedia!  Maybe I'm old guard, but the idea that personal and public facades are different things rings true with me.  Possibly because I am a Gemini, but there are always different facets to a person, and the ones that come out on the weekend or after hours be that a kayaker, or a goth club dancer, does not, and should not be any indication of your performance at your job, unless of course it leaks over and affects your performance on a regular basis.

I know that the workforce is moving towards a lifestyle that has occupation and the rest of life tightly integrated, but there needs to be room for individuals to choose to draw a line between the two.

OK also, you're friends with your students?  Bad Call.

There is also a disconnect between those that have grown up with FB as a strictly social tool for college students to connect to each other, and those that see FB as an opportunity to connect in a professional space and attempt to monetize their network of contacts.  It's the second group, those that are using a social network for business purposes, that are making social networking sites a dangerous place.

The most lucid point I've heard so far has been from Jamie from Chevy Chase ~41 min.  His point reinforces my ideas that companies need to change their policy in the face of new technology.  Nancy Flynn and her hands off "well, there's not much we can do!" attitude is starting to really irritate me.  She vaults the importance of the company's rights over the individual.

A decent show and well worth listening to, but I'd like to see some numbers and hard facts from the ePolicy Institute.  A quick look at the website reveals no testimonials, and a shoddy attempt and selling Nancy's books and seminars.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Buddhist Economics

Great read, particularly in these economic and environmental times.  Some of the talk about consumption gets a bit convoluted, but the message is still there.  It's a way of thought that I haven't always subscribed to, but I know it's never been very far away.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

January Bike progress

So it's the end of January and time to weigh in on my progress towards a 2000 mile year. With the freezing temperatures and the Inauguration, I don't feel quite so bad about only racking up 83 miles this month. I imagine it's about 1/3 of what it would be if the weather here matched that of SF. So here's the graph, and I can only dream of warmer weather and some long spring weekend rides.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I was woken up at 7:30am by a friend in Japan watching live streaming video of millions of people gathering less than a mile from my house. After a hearty breakfast and eight layers of clothing, I grabbed a thermos of tea and a bottle of water and headed out in to the madness of DC.

The town seemed relatively calm for being so crowded and I made my way up Massachusetts Ave to the bike valet at 16th & K where I would be parking bikes for the next four and a half hours.

The valet went really smooth thanks to WABA and all the volunteers, we had to ad-lib an overflow bike valet when we filled up around bike 996. I counted as high as 1148 before I left at 3.30pm

Afterwards, I spent some time biking around photographing and taking video of the aftermath of the parade. The atmosphere was surreal, somewhere between mardi gras and wasteland. I couldn't help but think of 28 days as I floated through the city, buses blocking streets, trash blowing in the wind, and people milling about in the streets, ignoring crosswalks and the constant alarm of police sirens. Take a look for yourself.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Two Challenges for the New Year

Make a resolution, stick with it for a few weeks, and then the new habits fade into a pile of well intentioned scraps. Instead of following through with those this year, I'm issuing myself two challenges for 2009 and encouraging everyone else to do the same. The second one just came to me, so here they are before I get any more bright ideas.

Challenge #1

Bike 2,000 miles this year. Given the adverse weather conditions, it's a challenge that is slightly more daunting than if I were still in California, but I'm hoping that the good weather and number of bike related events in DC will keep me on two wheels and average of 39 miles per week. I'm going to keep track and try to post results month by month here on the blog.

Challenge #2

Volunteer at least 100 hours of my time this year. I've been involved in volunteer nights for WABA, and I've been talking about Phonenix bikes. It's time to shoot for the moon! It's just under 2 hours per week, and if I can sacrifice a few weekends here and there, I think it isn't such an impossibility! I guess I should keep track of that too!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Internet Evil

Here's something for those of you that are not suffering financially in these times and may want to waste a TON of cash. Please keep the following site away from anyone with Social Security checks, or your loved ones!

Swoopo is EVIL!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


It's no longer 65 degrees. DC is settling in to the cold, and I've been biking a bit less. I haven't completely abandoned it, but it's a little harder to get motivated when it's 32 degrees outside. That being said, I went for a 15 mile ride yesterday up to Tenleytown and came back from Woodley Park via the Rock Creek Trail. My lights aren't as bright as some, but when you're blinded by car headlights, its pretty hard to follow the narrow path you're on. It was fun, but a little nerve racking.

I picked up a Shogun 300 today from freecycle with the intention of fixing it up for friends to use when they come to visit. I'm debating doing a fixed gear or single-speed conversion. We'll see how well that goes...