Bike Michiana

resources, news, observations and ideas about bicycling in the Michiana area

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Utility bikes now at Walmart: $110+tax

Posted by Adam Bee on September 20, 2009

Have you ever wondered to yourself:  Why are useful bikes so expensive?  How is the human transport movement going to catch on if the only cheap bikes are crappy 60-pound dual-suspension 27-speeds?

I, for one, have had this persistent dream that Walmart would carry a cheap steel Chinese utility bike.

I’m thinking 26″ wheels, huge tires, enclosed singlespeed drive, coaster brakes, rear rack, front basket, fenders, spring saddle, kickstand.

Turns out they do now! Huffy 26″ Men’s Nel Lusso Cruiser.

Unfortunately they’re only available online, although they ship it free to stores. This one is, though, for $130 plus tax: Schwinn Men’s 26 Delmar Cruiser.

Of course the bearings will be maladjusted and the sizing sketchy, so everyone’s first shot should obviously be The Avenue Bicycle Station.  But for those Americans unlucky enough to not have a used bike specialist like The Avenue in town, it’s encouraging to see Walmart branching out to this new market.  I hope they make a ton of cash, and push prices even lower in years to come!

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Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

North Mishiwaka Parking Lots

Posted by Adam Bee on August 8, 2009

It’s less difficult than you might expect to get around the most auto-dependent sections of Michiana, as long as you’re willing to cut through a few parking lots.

I’d imagine that the practice is officially illegal, potentially dangerous, and probably not LAB-approved, but those are true of a lot of well-established, practical cycling techniques.  The hard fact is that currently if you want to ride to Wal-Mart and you’re not prepared to take arterial traffic sewers, parking lot skipping is the only way to go.

When you start looking at infrastructure that way, you really start to notice details about the landscape, like the lack of any bridge over Juday Creek under 4 lanes.  Or which parking lots link together, which require off-road curb hopping, and which are unfortunately impassible.  Or which parking lot entrances are directly opposite each other and which require the dreaded right-to-left.  (I myself cut through two lots every commute to round off an ugly right-to-left!)

This all ties into a greater facet of bike infrastructure that I think is perhaps obscured from recreational cyclists and other would-be advocates:  Often the greatest benefits to utility cyclists come from careful planning and tiny changes to stuff that will be built anyway.

What do you think?  Do you ride through parking lots?  Which ones are your favorites?  Which are the most heartbreaking non-connecting lots?

Posted in Advocacy, Commentary, Facilities, Infrastructure, Routes | 2 Comments »

Bicycle Times

Posted by Adam Bee on June 26, 2009

BicycleTimes 002_Covers 64.inddA while back we wrote about Momentum: The Magazine for Self-Propelled People.

Now they have competition.  Bicycle Times, published by the makers of Dirt Rag, are now covering the same urban/utility/transportation/everyday cycling we cover right here at Bike Michiana.  I noticed Issue 2 today on newstands at the Notre Dame Bookstore, so it must be everywhere.  Check it out!

Posted in News | 1 Comment »

Blegged: Best Practices for Family Cycling?

Posted by Adam Bee on June 23, 2009

A couple of moms have asked on the Bike Michiana Google Group about riding with kids.  It struck me really hard that I don’t know anything about that!

So I join them in asking you: what are some recommendations you’ve found useful for riding with kids?

Posted in Advocacy, education | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

ProForm Urban Leisure Rides, Thurs 7pm

Posted by Adam Bee on June 15, 2009

You may already know about the Outpost Tuesdays at 6, the SpinZone Wednesdays at 6:30, the ProForm Thursday paceline at 5:30, and the Avenue Bicycle Station community rides Thursdays at 6.

Now there is a new option: ProForm Bike Shop is hosting an Urban Leisure ride every Thursday night at 7pm.  Check it out!

Posted in Group Rides: Weekly, News | Leave a Comment »

Copenhagenize Michiana

Posted by Adam Bee on June 14, 2009

Over half of Copenhagen’s million-plus citizens take their bikes every day.  Copenhagenize.com is a blog covering how the city transformed from being as car-addicted as any other to becoming the cycling capital of the world.

I find Copenhagenize is mostly useful as a sort of “best practices” check.  Throughout the Netherlands and much of Europe, everyday utility cycling is a part of life.  People don’t wear lycra or helmets.  They carry their kids in the front of their cargo bikes.  They ride crappy old steel frames rather than the latest aluminum or carbon.  They don’t drive to places to ride, they just ride wherever they are.  Cycling isn’t just a sport, but also an easy, useful, and safe way to get around. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Advocacy, Commentary | 1 Comment »

Goshen Ride of Silence Report

Posted by Adam Bee on May 30, 2009

Don Poole writes a great report of how the May 20th Goshen Ride of Silence went down, after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Group Rides: Special, Ride Reports | 2 Comments »

Ride from ND to Goshen Ride of Silence

Posted by Adam Bee on May 20, 2009

Since there is a Ride of Silence in Goshen but not South Bend tonight, I plan to ride from ND to Lincoln Avenue Cycle.  The route is 30 miles, so I plan to leave at 4:45 sharp to make it there by 6:45.  If you’d like to ride along, show up at the Main Circle of Notre Dame before 4:45.  Make sure your bike has lights; I plan to return by 9:15 or 9:30, so we might be racing the sunset a bit on the way back.

Here is the route I plan to take (LINK).  I’ve never ridden most of those easterly roads, so I can’t guarantee their safety or comfort.  Let me know if you have suggestions on a better route!

Posted in Group Rides: Special, Routes | 3 Comments »

Burnham Plan Century: June 6th

Posted by Adam Bee on May 15, 2009

In addition to Le Tour de Shore, yet another Chicago-to-Indiana ride is coming up!  The Burnham Plan Century from Lake Forest to Michigan City is set to go off on National Trails Day, June 6th.

Posted in Events, Group Rides: Special, News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Black Box for Bikes

Posted by Adam Bee on April 24, 2009

One of the things that sometimes keeps me up at night is the possibility that on any given day I could be run down in cold blood by a homicidal maniac, and nobody would be left alive to testify on my behalf.  Folks would shrug and mumble, “Shoulda been on the sidewalk,” or, “Why wasn’t he driving his car?”

Then it occurred to me:  Airplane pilots have an eerily similar problem, and they’ve solved in by carrying a “black box” to record any possible crash.  Why not have the same thing for bikes?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Commentary, Gear | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »