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kottke.org posts about cycling

19th century bike tricks

In 1899, Thomas Edison filmed some very contemporary looking bike tricks.

This seemed fake when I first watched it but here it is at The Library of Congress.


More biking = safer biking

The “safety in numbers” effect is proving true in NYC: the number of bicycles on the streets has more than doubled since 2001 while casualties have fallen. The increased prevalence of bike lanes in the city has to be helping too. (thx, david)


Parkour On a Bicycle

Street rider Danny MacAskill starts off by riding his bike across a narrow fence about four feet in the air…and the video only gets better from there.

Stunning. I want to see MacAskill in the next Bond film. (via waxy)

Update: See also Ryan Leech. (thx, courtney)


The state of cycling in NYC

Long-time NYC cyclist Robert Sullivan writes that the city is a much better place for biking than it used to be and that the number of cyclists on the street are way up.

Today, the Transportation Department has gotten serious about biking, and in just three years, the agency has painted bike lanes (good), constructed bike lanes separated by parked cars (great) and bike lanes separated by medians or barriers (the best) and installed bike signals, bike signs and many bike symbols painted on the street.

Sullivan also notes that because of this increased use, pedestrians and car drivers (usually natural enemies) now share a dislike of bikers who run red lights, ride on sidewalks, weave through traffic, and blow through busy crosswalks. He offers four ways that bikers can improve their perception with the public.

NO. 1: How about we stop at major intersections? Especially where there are school crossing guards, or disabled people crossing, or a lot of people during the morning or evening rush. (I have the law with me on this one.) At minor intersections, on far-from-traffic intersections, let’s at least stop and go.

Suggestions for pedestrians (don’t cross against the light when a bike is coming, don’t stand in the bike lane while waiting to cross the street, etc.) and cars (don’t park in the bike lane, don’t wait to turn in the bike lane, etc.) would be helpful too.


Biking terminology

From a Copenhagen blog that highlights biking style, a plea to cool it with all the subculture cycling attitude and terminology already.

Let’s straighten things out, shall we? What you see in the photo above, taken in Copenhagen, is something we call a “cyclist”.

Not a “bicycle commuter”, nor a “utility cyclist”. Certainly not a “lightweight, open air, self-powered traffic vehicle user”. It’s a cyclist.

The Copenhagener above is not “commuting” - or at least she doesn’t call it that. She’s not going for a “bike ride” or “making a bold statement about her personal convictions regarding reduction of Co2 levels and sustainable transport methods in urban centers”.

She’s just going to work. On her bike.

(via gulfstream)

Update: The problem with biking in America: people don’t feel safe, mainly because people in cars just aren’t that aware of people on bicycles.


Lance Armstrong returns to cycling

Vanity Fair confirms: Lance Armstrong will return to cycling with the goal of competing in and winning the Tour de France in 2009.


Lance Armstrong returns?

Sources are saying that Lance Armstrong will come out of retirement to race the Tour de France in 2009. (via clusterflock)


From Google Earth to a gold medal

Kristin Armstrong, the Olympic gold medalist in the women’s individual time trial in road cycling, took a GPS unit along with her when she previewed the road course in Beijing in December 2007. When she got home to Idaho, she d/led the data, put it into Google Earth, and found a similar local loop on which to train.

This capability along with having the elevation profile proved invaluable in my preparation for my Gold Medal race.

(via matt’s a.whole)


Last place in the Tour de France

The last man to finish the Tour de France gets the unofficial title of winner of the Lanterne Rouge. Finishing last is not as easy as you might suppose.

The designation falls somewhere between insult and accolade. Mr. Vansevenant, who after Stage 18 sits in 150th place, some 3 hours and 45 minutes behind Mr. Sastre, is indeed the worst-placed rider in the Tour de France. But, in turn, he has outlasted those who abandoned the Tour through illness, injury or simple exhaustion; those who were eliminated for failing to finish within each day’s time limit and are forced to withdraw; and those who were banned or withdrew for doping-related causes. From year to year, about 20% of the riders drop out. In other words, you can’t simply coast to last place; you have to work for it.

Wim Vansevenant did hang on to become the first three-time winner of the Lanterne Rouge.


Amateur runners, cyclists, and triathletes are starting

Amateur runners, cyclists, and triathletes are starting to choose to compete in lesser-known smaller races in order to have a better chance of placing higher in the results. “Some are trying to gain an edge by finding where the fast racers aren’t. Instead of training harder, they’re spending hours online to scout out the field, and they’re driving hundreds of miles to race against thin competition in out-of-the-way places.”


Fascinating story of an amateur cyclist who

Fascinating story of an amateur cyclist who starts taking various performancing enhancing drugs to see how they affect his performance. “I had a life once, and now I’m standing in the Easton WaWa in the middle of the night, looking like a cyborg, with thousands of dollars of drugs coursing through my veins. I started looking forward to the moment when the whole thing would be over.”


Wu-oh. Floyd Landis had “an unusual level

Wu-oh. Floyd Landis had “an unusual level of testosterone/epitestosterone ratio” in his blood after stage 17 of the Tour de France. If his backup sample also tests positive, the title could be taken from him. You may remember stage 17 as the scene of Landis’ remarkable comeback. Cyclingnews.com says that “some athletes have naturally high levels, and can prove this through a series of tests”…is it possible that Landis was just super amped up from the effort that day?


Profile of Floyd Landis, who won the

Profile of Floyd Landis, who won the Tour de France yesterday. (via, a.whole)


Wow, both Jan Ulrich and Ivan Basso

Wow, both Jan Ulrich and Ivan Basso are out of the Tour de France this year because of doping allegations.


Some Tour de France fans have mapped

Some Tour de France fans have mapped the entire route of the 2006 Tour in Google Earth. (via airbag)


The science of Lance Armstrong

The science of Lance Armstrong. Between 1992 and 1999, he increased his muscle efficiency by 8 percent, a gain previously thought to be impossible.


Gallery of newspaper front pages from Lance

Gallery of newspaper front pages from Lance Armstong’s 7th tour victory.


Photo slideshow of Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France

Photo slideshow of Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France.


How do cycling teams work?

How do cycling teams work?.