Monday, September 23, 2013

Bike Hacks

Recently I came across, a website full of interesting solutions to common problems that some cyclists may experience. After searching through the website I found two solutions that I was really intrigued by.

We've all experienced the problem with U-locks where the shackle (the U section of the lock) dings and chips the paint on your bike frame. So someone came up with a simple solution, by sliding a piece of garden hose over the shackle. An easy and cost effective solution since many hardware stores sell five and ten foot long sections of garden hose. Or just pick one up at a yard sale.

Another hack answered the question of what if you live in a city that does sell cargo bikes and you want one to transport your children by bicycle. For one man living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil it was build a sidecar for his bicycle, more importantly he built a detachable sidecar. A great solution for home owners who do not have a garage and the bike owner and it does not require you to do an extensive modification to an existing bike. Since this hack was first created the creator has created a website to see how his sidecar designs have evolved along with his children.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bike Thief Alert #2 - Arrested

 Meet DJ Domie or Papi D as he likes to call himself. Business man, DJ, and alleged bicycle thief. We have to use the word alleged because he has not been convicted in court....yet.

I am an alleged bike thief

I am an alleged bike thief

I am an alleged DJ
About two months ago this Bianci bicycle was stolen in the vicinity of South 22nd St and St. Albans in North East Philadelphia.

 and in late August this ad appeared on Craigslist;

I Have A Bianchi bike that i want to sell lookin for best offer and no not no 7,8, 900 dollars for it look it up before you offer lookin for a far price is not a cheap bike.

A member of the Philadelphia Stolen Bikes Facebook page spotted it and alerted the owner who posted the stolen bike. A meet was set up to look at the bike which included under cover and uniformed officers from the Philadelphia Police Department. Once the owner identified the bike an arrest was made. After that it was all down hill for alleged bike thief DJ Domie/Papi D. and alleged comedian. When he claimed "his cousin who is the number one rider in philly gave it to him".

So now what? Before everyone runs out to the hardware store to buy pitchforks and torches to form an angry mob. DJ Domie/Papi D. brought a concealed and loaded hand gun with him, he most likely will be charged with a felony, and spend some time in prison. Its also safe to assume his friends have a similar affinity towards concealed weapons, so visiting his neighborhood would not be a good idea.

What you can do is share this post with everyone you know. You never know who is going to see it and what they may be able to do.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What Statistics?

As the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia prepares for its fall bicycle count a question needs to be asked. What are they trying to hide or are they just lazy? If you go to the BCGP website you will find that the most recent statistics they have from their bike counts is from 2008, FIVE years old. IS there something within the last five years statistics the BCGP does not want people to see. But that's assuming the BCGP is smarter than they appear and that is not the case. The BCGP is lazy.

How difficult is it for the BCGP to compile the one years statistics, format and publish them on their website in a timely manner? Obviously very difficult. Its time for the BCGP to return to the basics, being advocates for Philadelphia cyclists. Something they lost sight of when they gave control of bicycle lane approval to Philadelphia's city council. Turning future bicycle lane development into a political tool to be used by a group of people who may not always be looking out for Philadelphia's best interests and lack the knowledge of a civil engineer.

With the BCGP's newest strategy of “Completing the Circuit”, a plan to create a larger trail system that connects Philadelphia with the suburbs. You have to ask yourself how do you hold an organization like the BCGP accountable when they make a questionable agreement that affects every cyclist and not just their membership?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Bike Thief Alert #1

If this guy has stolen a bike from you or tries to sell this bike call the police. Otherwise keep your eyes open and lets get him arrested.

There is a man by the name of Anthony that is acting, as he is interested in buying a bike from you. He comes to your house, asks for a test ride, and then steals the bikes never to return. His phone number is 267-603-0409 and 267-254-8823. He is a white male 5"11 or 6"0 black hair about 180 pounds. He pretends to be alone as soon as he rides around the corner he has a buddy that helps him get away. He just did it to me. If you see this man or hear from this man, or this has happened to you. Please call the Philadelphia Police Department. I have filed a report on him with all his information. The Police know where he lives. Send me an email to let me know if this happen or you hear from him thanks
this is the bike he stole.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition

In a recent article on the Philadelphia Police Department is taking action against bicycle thieves. Bike theft is a problem within Philadelphia with 11,000 bicycles stolen between 2007 and 2012 and since bike theft is an under-reported crime I have no doubt the number is much higher.

What the PPD does is leave an unlocked bait bike in an area with lots of pedestrian traffic, wait for someone to take it, and then arrest them. This is nothing more than a morality test designed to catch an opportunistic thief. It is very close to entrapment and will likely result in most cases being dismissed. The example in the article with the undercover officers arresting one man reminded me more of the Monty Python Spanish Inquisition sketch. A lot of smoke and noise that has no real effect.

Instead Philadelphia Police Officer Joe Ferrero and his team should be of targeting bike thieves who deliberately steal bikes by cutting locks. The ones who are the real problem. By using expensive bait bikes equipped with a GPS tracker and a basic lock. When someone cuts the lock and steals the bike undercover officers track that person back to their home. Which may result in the recovery of other stolen items and the people who help them store and sell stolen goods.

Officer Joe Ferrero's tactics are superficial at best. While the arrests of bike thieves he generates may look good statistically. In reality they don't deal with the problem of the professional bike thief who works with tools to steal bikes

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Driving = Fun?

Tanner Foust, professional stunt and race car driver and host of many automative racing shows including “Top Gear”, wants to reverse the decline in people getting their drivers licenses by making it his mission to keep driving fun.

Mr. Foust, read someplace he can't remember, that 16 year-olds don't consider getting a drivers license a priority. He also doesn't remember what was a priority was but he thinks its technology. He feels the reason kids don't hang out in person is because they can communicate online instead of driving to someones house. Mr Foust fervently believes that we live a country “that is driven in large part by the automotive industry, and the idea of that going away just because we don’t need to drive in order to hang out with our friends in the next generation scares the crap out of me.”

As the host of the TV show “Top Gear he is paid to drive cars though malls and skip them across a lake like you skip a stone.

In the real world no one needs the razor sharp reflexes and years of training to drive in traffic like this:

Mr. Foust is paid a lot of money to race custom designed race cars that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and require millions of dollars per year for a team of mechanics, travel to races and the expensive fees needed to enter them. In the real world cars, even used ones, are expensive to purchase, repair, and insure. On the other hand if you live in a city like Philadelphia there is plenty public transportation, bicycle infrastructure, and car share companies to meet your needs without having to own a car.

The days when when people chose to live in the suburbs are changing, for a growing number of people they want the access a city provides. The ability to live and work in the same community, to have access to a wide range of restaurants and entertainment, and the diverse people who make this possible. All without having to drive or assume the cost of car ownership.

Mr. Foust has watched movies about the future and he his frightened that in these movies people travel in some sort of self driving pod with no contact with the world around them. Yet when he encourages people, as a resident of Washington state, to drive into the mountains or up Pikes Peak all they are doing is traveling in pods of metal and glass. Its one thing to drive to a mountain top and look at the view, its a different experience when one hikes the mountain and sees nature up close.

By all means if you need a car to travel to these wonderful places like Pikes Peak, do so. But for day to day life do we really need the stress of traffic jams, aggressive drivers, and the ever changing cost of gasoline? People like Mr Foust who cling to the past instead of helping to shape the future scare the crap out of me.