Hope you all enjoyed the World Cup this time around. Win or lose, it's always good times to watch some world class footie. My team was eliminated in the Quarter Finals, by Germany no less, so I don't feel too bad. We watched the match surrounded by all the Frenchies at Belden Place, the tiny Financial District alley which is home to SF's French Quarter. Germany has an incredible team and, I'll admit - it was cool to witness Thomas Müller's sick moves on the dance floor as he celebrated their ridiculous win over Brazil. Nice shorts, dude. Hope y'all had a great time watching all those hotties on the pitch, like I did! Bring on 2018! Et ALLEZ LES BLEUS!
How much do I LOVE Portland? It's the only city that can proudly claim bragging rights to both the Unipiper AND the world's only Pedal Powered Talk Show! Not to mention Phil and his rad Metrofiets! So put them all into one cute and short video that also includes goats! Yes, GOATS! Can't go wrong with a man in a kilt on a uni. Especially one that blows flames. You win, Portland!
Name: Caz Nicklin Occupation: Founder of Cyclechic.co.uk and author of The Girls' Bicycle Handbook Raison d'etre: Promoting cycling as a desirable, accessible lifestyle choice. Hometown: Yorkshire, England Current city: London, England Favorite city to ride a bike in in the world: Has to be London but San Francisco comes a close second. Type of bike: I currently ride a Bisou from Tokyobike Describe what you like best about your bike: It's light and streamlined and feels great to ride and it’s also easy to carry and store inside. It has a steel frame so is strong enough to take my 5 year-old daughter on the back and all our stuff in a basket on the front. It also has swept back handlebars which gives it both a traditional feel and more relaxed riding position. It’s the ideal bike for me at the moment – nippy but strong. Describe your personal style: Come summer I’m all about floaty floral dresses - they look and feel so good to cycle in. Spring and Autumn my Harris tweed riding jacket comes out teamed with skinny jeans and brogues for a more vintage look. Helmet or no helmet: Helmet. I don’t believe a helmet is a magic weapon against all injury but, personally, wearing one make me feel more confident when cycling amongst traffic. I always wear my trusty Bern Lenox in Cranberry - Bern helmets were the first product I ever sold when I started my business and we now have the Lenox helmet in Cranberry colour made exclusively for Cyclechic and it is our best-selling product! Favorite accessory when riding: Second to my helmet I would have to say my pannier. I am currently sporting a summery Basil Bloom Shopper. It either goes on my rack or in my basket and is great for both work and shopping. I also love my Michaux Lightening rucksack, made here in London by a local designer, Rachel Bonney – it’s so elegant. Favorite time and/or place to ride: First thing in the morning (after a cup of tea, of course) getting up and out on the bike is a great way to start the day and puts me in an optimistic frame of mind. My fave place has to be the backstreets of West London. Tell me about your new book The Girl's Bicycle Handbook: The Girls Bicycle Handbook is a practical guide for women who want to incorporate cycling into their lives but have questions about how to do it? Advice ranges from; buying a bike, bike maintenance, road safety, accessories, cycling to work and of course cycling in style. The book also celebrates the cycling community with profiles on inspirational bloggers, businesswomen and wonderful female figures from cycling’s past. What inspired you to write the book? When I first came to cycling as an adult I had tonnes of enthusiasm but no experience so was hungry for advice and info. However most of the advice seemed either sport related or totally outdated and was more of a turn off than encouragement. I wanted to changes that and write a book that would was both pretty to look at but also packed full of useful, relevant advice to really help modern women start cycling and stay cycling. What will women learn from reading your book? Everything from how to fix an puncture to how to combat helmet hair to what to wear and what to eat for breakfast... Where can women buy your book? From our website but cheapest and fastest option for US customers is Amazon How does the book further your vision for Cyclechic.co.uk? My vision for Cyclechic - both the shop and the blog - is to promote cycling as a desirable lifestyle choice to encourage more women to take to two wheels so the book is perfect extension of this mantra. I hope the book will invite women into cycling and give them advice that will make their life by bike easier and more fulfilling. Vélo Vogue tip of the day: Go for loose fitting dresses that come to around the knee when the hot weather kicks in. They are the comfiest and coolest cycling attire as they let the air circulate and you will look fabulously feminine as you cycle by. Photos provided by Caz Nicklin
I ran into Jenise of the new SF bike blog, SF Cycle Style, in the Panhandle on my commute home from work last week. I took her picture... And she took mine! Photo by Jenise Breaker She also wrote this very nice post about Vélo Vogue. Welcome to the bike blogosphere, Jenise, and I'll see ya in the bike lane! ;-)
Please don't yell at me from your car window and tell me to wear a helmet, get off the road, be careful, get a headlight, etc. You're not offering "advice." In fact, you're being rude, annoying and you're not paying attention to the road. Actually, you're being a dangerous driver. Keep your eyes on the road and keep your opinions to yourself. We know what we're doing, ok?
I've been working exclusively from home since last August, when suddenly last week I was called to edit on site during regular business hours! So what did I do? I bike commuted! HOORAY! I was excited to join the ranks once again! [Note to self: Need new leggings.] And witness the all the gorgeous SF landmarks on my way to work... while checking out the San Francisco style. It's been a while since I've weathered the shit storm of the morning commute, so it took a little getting used to again. Even with all the positive changes to our bike infrastructure in the last few years - I'll admit it: I found the experience to be nervewracking and potentially dangerous. You still have to have thick skin to be confident enough to bike to work in San Francisco in 2014. Still, I made it to my place of work, practicing safety in the form of Style Over Speed.
Over Memorial Day weekend, I went bike camping for the first time. Voici my trusty steed Seabiscuit all loaded up and ready to go! Inside the panniers were: a lightweight one-person tent, a sleeping bag, a thermarest mat, a change of clothes (which doubled as a pillow), a couple snacks, a headlamp, travel sized toiletries and a few more camping doo dads. I also used this list on Bicycle Touring Pro to help me pack. You can also glimpse a corner of my po campo purse that I hooked onto my rear rack which carried my wallet, sunblock, lip balm, camera, phone and keys. Luckily I was not alone on this adventure. I joined a group of 20+ bikey friends and so we had plenty of seasoned campers along on the ride who also brought essential camping gear to share. As you can imagine, we made quite an entrance wherever we rolled through! To slice a few miles off, we took the ferry from San Francisco to Vallejo. The rest of the ride was fairly flat and, as always on a bicycle, I got to see corners of the Bay Area I've never witnessed before in an up close and personal way. The most beautiful part of the trip was when we arrived on the Silverado Trail which meandered through vineyards. I decided to wear a helmet for this ride because I was carrying a heavy load and our route has a tendency to be windy with occasional gravel, so I wanted additional safety measures in case I lost my balance. I knew it was going to be hot, but spending hours pedaling with a heavy load in 90+ degree temperatures is grueling. I would recommend a shorter ride in cooler temps for other bike camping newbies. Also, fit some extra water in your panniers. I'll do that next time. So it was joyous and momentous when we finally reached Velo Vino, the wine tasting café owned by Clif Family. It's an excellent pitstop for bikey people. The staff was welcoming and accommodating to our large and rowdy group. And their wines are tasty! Very refreshing on a hot, sunny afternoon. One of the reasons I picked Seabiscuit was to have a suitable bike for touring and camping. I found I was not alone! Surly bikes were the majority in our large group. A group shot of all the Surly riders: When we finally arrived at Bothe State Park, I set up camp ASAP before it got dark. One of my campmates noticed that my bike, tent and beer can were color-coordinated. But of course, I'm Vélo Vogue! One of the best parts about camping is the chance to meet and spend quality time with kindred spirits. I made lots of new connections with inspiring people who are open to challenging themselves with new bike adventures, who also know that getting there is all the fun. Thanks for the bikey memories, Napa! I'll be back soon! For more bike camping tips, watch my friend's how-to video for beginners here.
KQED did a great job covering the ride. We had 14 police escorts from SFPD blocking intersections so we could safely pass through.
August 2010, German student, Yannick Linke, 22, was killed by a DUI, hit and run driver, Josh Calder, in San Francisco at Masonic and Turk Streets. Two years later, July 2012, Calder plead guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter and received a reduced sentence of one year in jail and five years probation to include alcohol rehabilitation and a suspended license during the term.
Last night was the 11th annual Ride of Silence in San Francisco and cities all over the world. For the San Francisco event Yannick's mother, Petra, wrote this open letter to the riders. Her words resonate with poignant truth.
Dear Silent Bikers,
Thank you for your invitation to join you. Sorry I can’t be with you. Yet I would like to share a few thoughts with you.
I am the mom of the young German student Nils Yannick Linke who got run over riding a bike by a drunk and doped driver on Friday, August 13, 2010.
A young man was killed by a driver in an old car. Kurt Vonnegut’s laconic comment would have been “so it goes”.Yes, this world is full of coincidences. But the moment a driver drinks, smokes pot, is on the phone, or speeds, the coincidence turns into purpose. The driver actively decides to run the risk to injure or kill someone.
Also, I remember the driver talking to me in court, that he would do everything to make things good. Are you here, Mr. C.? Are you trying to make good by supporting the biking community? Are you here to help make this city safer? Are you touring the bars talking to people about the effect of alcohol on driving?
Is anybody here that has hurt a person? You all should help to make the streets safer. Get engaged!
Here is my message to the SFPD and all DA’s involved: look at Germany. According to the law, the driver is always at fault, simply because he is the stronger one. Don’t put the blame on the victims.
I am thankful that the death of my beloved son also lead to bring the dangerous stretch of Masonic into redesign and with construction to begin in 2015.
I hope the city of San Francisco will get safer and safer for everyone in the street.
Thank you to everybody that was by my side in difficult times and the court case: Michael, Dale, Helen, Molly, Aaron. My heart goes out to all the friends and relatives that have lost a loved one in a bike accident. I know how you feel. I feel the loss ever so often, all of the family does. The agony will stay. Would he have finished college? Would he have married? Would I have become a grandmother?
Greetings from Berlin, Germany. I am thinking of you today.
I am thinking of this film by Streetfilms that gives us a real-world example of what life in the city could be like.
In the past couple weeks, I've attended a couple fabulous bike film festivals. As you know, my film, The Spinster, world premiered at one of them, Filmed By Bike in Portland, helmed by the talented Ayleen Crotty (give it up for women festival directors!!!). When I told people about the festival, I often got the odd reaction, "I didn't even realize that bike films were even a genre." YES. They are. [DUH!] Film directors throughout history and across cultures have used the bicycle as a storytelling convention. Why? Because the bicycle inspires! The bicycle inspires emotion, memories, love, independence, exhilaration and so much more. That's why a number of inspired people like Ms. Crotty have organized bike-themed film festivals that bring together a bike-friendly community around the type of films that inspire us! The Spinster was the first runner-up for the Audience Award at Filmed By Bike. The winner was Dust in the Chain - a bike circus film by Norbi Whitney. But my personal favorite was the unicycle animated film from Greece - Eight Minute Deadline! Bicycle and a Way of Life. Not such a great title, but I enjoyed the storyline, the message and also the acting by Fernanda Rohd, who played the lead. And then, on the heels of one bike film festival, I come back to SF and Brendt Barbur's popular Bicycle Film Festival is in full swing. I got to attend the Cinematic Shorts Program, and by far, my favorite was a very sweet and touching film without dialogue called Boy. Click here to watch online. And if you need a good laugh, then take seven and a half minutes out of your day to watch the crowd-pleaser, El Diablo (a short from the feature film The Last Kilometer): Kyrgyzstan, the "Switzerland of Central Asia" (or is Switzerland the Kyrgyzstan of Europe?). Kyle Dempster, his sense of humor, unshakable positive attitude and his pure enjoyment of life. The same can be said of Brendt Barbur himself, who also has quite a story, of turning adversity into positive social movement. Thanks again to Ayleen and Brendt for supporting bicycle film and sharing all these inspiring cinematic gems with us! Ride on!
While the rest of San Francisco is out riding around in this beautiful sunny weather, I'm sick at home with the flu. So what do I do? I'm spending time watching other people bike around on the interwebz! I'm particularly inspired by this video from People for Bikes Green Lane Project about the rise of protected bike lanes in North America, and I think you will be too. new protected bike lane goes up on Polk Street in my own city of San Francisco, I am grateful for the fact that this trend is happening in other cities across the U.S. like Memphis and Chicago. There's light at the end of the sharrow!
Over a month ago a cyclist was killed after being struck by a car at Folsom and 13th/Erie. It wasn’t reported in the media and went virtually unnoticed until recently. After some digging around, we now know the name and age of the victim, 55 year old Harold Swaggard. Little else is known about the fatal collision, except that he may have been riding on the wrong side of the road.
On Sunday April 20, SFGate published an article titled “Keep an Eye Out When on Foot in SF”, urging pedestrians and cyclists, (and motorists), to be aware when using the roads in our city, in light of 7 pedestrian and 1 bicycling fatalities on record so far in 2014. The author cited 21 pedestrian and 4 cycling deaths last year.
I keep track of bicycling deaths in San Francisco. It’s part of my job as co-organizer for the San Francisco Ride of Silence, an annual bike ride to honor those that have lost their lives while riding on our streets. Until reading Sunday’s article, however, I hadn’t heard someone had died biking in San Francisco this year.
How could this be? I wondered, as I followed up with Heather Knight, the author of the article. She confirmed that according to SFPD Commander Mikail Ali, indeed a male bicyclist was hit by a car and killed at Folsom and 13th Streets on March 19th.
I wasn’t the only one who found the previously unreported death intriguing and confusing. Patrick Traughber started a Twitter dialogue with Ms. Knight, and three days later a name was released. Traughber further reported on his blog, Improving our cities, that March 19th, 2014 A 55-year-old a man on a bicycle "was struck by a vehicle near Folsom and Erie Street around 11:30am. Harold died 5 days later on March 24th. The circumstances of the collision are unclear, but Mr. Swaggard was found to be at fault for his death.”
According to the SF Bike Coalition, there is no real time public record of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities on our streets and although the SFPD in the last year has begun to take a data driven approach to traffic enforcement, historically that hasn’t been the case. SFBC, as a key player in the making of safer streets, does track cycling deaths and has records dating back to 1996. They also had just heard about the March 19th collision and subsequent death, and had no further information at the time.
Not all deaths get media attention, but those that occur on our public roadways should. Streets are spaces that affect all of us and that are essential to the functioning of our urban environment and our lives. The fact that someone died while using our streets, at the hands of another person, in public, and no one even heard about it, is both tragic and wrong.
It is unsettling to know that SFPD may not have a protocol for releasing information surrounding pedestrian and bike fatalities. It is disturbing that a man on a bike was hit by a car and killed, during daylight hours, in a busy part of the city, and no details were released. It is even more troubling to think about what kind of investigation may have occurred, if any, to conclude that Swaggard was at fault for his own death. I can only assume this was a traumatic event for the driver of the car as well, but what happened to that driver? Were there any consequences? Did he/she drive home after the collision?
If you want to honor Harold Swaggard, who was killed over a month ago, join us on May 21st at 6pm for the San Francisco Ride of Silence, and make a statement for safer, more accountable streets for all users. Meet at 5pm at Sports Basement Bryant Street for a mixer, leave at 6pm for 7 mile awareness and memorial ride, to honor the lives of the many cyclists we have lost, including the one that died March 24th, off the proverbial radar.