Monthly Archives: June 2014

Bike Lane FAIL: Painful Squeeze in Mountain View

Another busy intersection, another re-design, another vanishing bike lane. Caltrain wanted to keep cars from getting caught on the tracks when the signal turns red. The county engineers wanted to push more cars through the intersection. Too bad no one considered what happens to people riding in the bike lane.

Rengstorff at Caltrain

The county’s plan shoehorned in a second left turn lane, which meant shoving the right lane further to the right, squeezing out the bike lane and forcing bikes and cars into an unexpected merge. Caltrain may be happy and the drivers turning left may be happy, but the right lane is now a painful squeeze for everyone. Is it too much to ask the traffic engineers to consider bike safety along with rail safety and vehicle throughput?

When the plans for this crossing and the crossing at Moffett were presented to the city council transportation committee, I spoke at the meeting and complained. The city engineer basically said it was the county’s design and there was little the city could do. I knew the changes would be bad, but they’re worse than I expected.

Location: Rengstorff Avenue at the Caltrain tracks/Central Expressway, Mountain View, California, USA.


Posted by on June 23, 2014 in Bike Lane FAIL


Fashion Weekend Edition: Polka Dotty

They’re named after hop-skip rhythmed polka dance, but more commonly worn in fiery foot-tapping flamenco. A polka dot dress in red chiffon, a helmet to match and ballet flats inspire girlish fun, whether you’re skipping through the field, tap dancing on the sidewalk or rolling down the street with the breeze kicking up your skirt.

Polka Dot Dress Portrait

Too short for work, this dress from ModCloth is perfect for meeting friends or weekend errands on a warm day.

About Fashion Friday: Inspired by a 2011 Bike to Work Day challenge sponsored by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, this series highlights the broad range of “dress for the destination” bicycling fashions.


Posted by on June 21, 2014 in Cycle Fashions


Bike Commute Diaries: Riding the Bike Train

“Is that your kit?” the new guy asked. “No, it’s at home,” I replied. Fitting in on the bike isn’t how you look, it’s how you ride. And on the San Jose Bike Train, I’m quite comfortable taking the front and letting my cardigan fly.

Photo by Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious, used with his permission.

About the Bike Commute Diaries: Launched in May 2012 for National Bike Month, this series explores the unexpected and surprising things I’ve seen and learned while bicycling for transportation.


Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Commute Diaries


A Closer Look: Pretty, Pretty, Bike Pretty Satchel

Nothing completes (or destroys) an outfit quite like a handbag, and it’s a surprise any of them hold up to the challenge. They’re tasked with carrying so much: wallet, sunglasses, mobile phones, keys, lipstick, hairbrush, and to do it in style. Throw in the added challenge of attaching to a bike and the pickings are slim indeed.

So when a new bike-friendly bag comes along, it’s worth a closer look. And I was lucky enough to catch Melissa with her new Bike Pretty Satchel at the Pedal Power exhibit at the Los Altos History Museum.

Bike Pretty Bag  Portrait

Drawing from her experience working in the handbag industry in Italy as well as her experience as a fashion-forward cyclist, Melissa designed the Bike Pretty Satchel herself. In the case of this particular one, sewed it herself. The result is a fine leather bag with finishing touches like high quality clasps and reflective materials.

If you’re not up for the challenge of designing your own bag, the good news is that the Bike Pretty Satchel is now available for purchase on the Bike Pretty store on Etsy. If you’re interested, don’t wait. The model in deep burgundy red has already sold out. And you know better than to pass up a chance for a perfect bag.


Posted by on June 13, 2014 in Cycle Fashions


Bike Spotting: Madeleine’s Raleigh Twenty Folder

Before there were Brompton or Dahon or Bike Friday folding bikes, there was the Raleigh Twenty, manufactured from the late 1960s to the early 1980s in the UK. Like its modern counterparts, the Twenty was a hit with bike tourists and commuters combining a bike trip with a train, bus or airplane ride. Like vintage cars, there are active fan sites for the Raleigh Twenty. Sheldon Brown even owned one. That’s how bike geek cool they are.

But that’s not why Madeleine bought her Raleigh Twenty. It was simply a good deal on a basic bike to ride around San Francisco, and it came with the luxury of traveling under the radar of bike thieves. When her other bike was snatched cruelly from a bike rack, the thief left her Raleigh Twenty beside it resting in peace.


Heavier than its modern counterparts with larger 20″ wheels, and sporting just three gears in its Sturmey Archer hub, you’d think it wouldn’t be the best choice for hilly San Francisco. But Madeleine loves climbing and her little coffee-brown Raleigh Twenty powers her up the steep grades just fine.

Location: Ferry Building Plaza, San Francisco, California, USA.

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Posted by on June 11, 2014 in Bike Spotting, Cycle Fashions


Bike Commute Diaries: Losing My Nerve

It’s only one mile from the Caltrain station to my home but the first tenth of a mile has never been easy. At first I “took the lane” on Moffett Blvd, then I found some lower-stress alternatives that have their own issues. Tonight I headed down Moffett, but as soon as I heard the cars roaring up behind me, I pulled over. I can’t do it anymore.

Moffet Madness

About the Bike Commute Diaries: Launched in May 2012 for National Bike Month, this series explores the unexpected and surprising things I’ve seen and learned while bicycling for transportation.


Posted by on June 9, 2014 in Commute Diaries

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