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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Katrina Recovery Czar Leading Another Bike Tour

New Orleans Recovery Czar To Lead Bicycle Tour June 3rd

Bike tour route overview mapDr. Edward Blakely, the Executive Director of Recovery Management for the City of New Orleans, will continue his series of neighborhood bike rides at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 3. This ride will focus on the Carrollton area, and will begin at the corner of Saint Charles Avenue and South Carrollton Avenue (Image: expandable Google Map of bike tour route; click map to zoom in).

The bike ride tours are part of an effort to engage all New Orleans citizens in the Hurricane Katrina recovery process. The rides also provide participants an opportunity to see places outside their own neighborhoods. The public is invited to participate.

The Bike Tour Route:
Start Tour: 2:00 PM
- Gather on top of the Levee at St. Charles and Carrollton before we proceed to the starting point.
- Gather again at the Carrollton Monument located behind the fountain across from Cooter Browns.

2:05 PM: Bike downriver on St. Charles, one block to Short St.,
- At Short, turn Right into the "Black Pearl" neighborhood.
- From Short, turn Left on Pearl for two blocks.
- From Pearl, left onto Burdette,
- On Burdette, cross St. Charles and go two blocks to Maple.
- Left on Maple for 3 blocks,
- On Maple, cross Carrollton Ave. Go one block to Dublin,
- On Maple go west one block to Dante, turn right on Dante for one block.
- From Dante and Burthe turn left, go one block,
- Right onto Cambronne, view St Joan of Arc School.
- Continue north on Cambronne to Oak St., turn left on Oak.
- From Oak, right onto Eagle, view portions of Pigeon Town.
- From Eagle, right on Willow, view the Street Car Barn at Willow and Dublin.
- Continue on Willow, cross Carrollton, turn left on Carrollton.
- From Carrollton, turn right onto Birch.
- Left onto Adams from Birch
- Left onto Hickory from Adams, continue on Hickory and cross Carrollton Ave
- Continue on Hickory to Leonidas.
- Right on Leonidas to Claiborne (cross Claiborne)
- Right turn onto Apple from Leonidas
- Right turn onto Carrollton from Apple

Finish: Carrollton to Claiborne (Palmer Park)

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Monday, May 28, 2007

2007 Five Boro Tour Videos

Several years ago, I had the pleasure to participate in the annual Five Boro Bike Tour of New York (a huge group ride that traverses each of NYC's districts or boros). Although I was unable to make the Five Boro Tour this year, at least 12 videos have popped up on YouTube from the 2007 ride.

The 5 Boro Tour is a wonderful experience. For one day a year, thousands upon thousands of cyclists take the challenge to ride 50+ miles over streets and bridges that are the domain of speeding motor vehicles the rest of the year.

Following is a video that gives a feel for what it is like to participate in this ride. I've also included links to two other videos just in case you'd like to see more.

Links to other videos of the 2007 Five Boro Tour:
- ChineseRocket's Video
- Canadian Club Video



Sunday, May 27, 2007

Superlite Folding Bike

Since coming to market last year, there has been a growing demand for the sturdy, light & economical Kent Ultralite folding bike. Soon, this fun riding folder will be available in in a variety of colors and transmission choices.

On Thursday, I received the photos shown above of the new Superlite models (the new name for the Ultralite line of folding bikes). In addition to the current 6 speed version, there will be a single speed model with a rear coaster brake and a 3 speed (Shimano Nexus internal hub) model with a rear coaster brake. The bikes will be available in bright colors and will come with carry racks, upgraded folding pedals, upgraded handlebar grips, upgraded saddle, rustfree fenders and a kickstand. Pricing has yet to be determined but all bikes will be available for under $200 USD.

To my knowledge, these are the first images of the Superlite; however, you can expect to see more soon because both bikes are now in route to me for review. In addition to writing the review, I'll be shooting photos & video of the bikes in action.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Aerlite Folding Bike Shipment Update

For all of you that have been patiently waiting these past few weeks for the new Aerlite folding bikes, I received word this week that the Aerlites will definitely be available sometime before the end of June. Betst is not releasing final word on the pricing but it appears that the bikes will start at $359.

If you absolutely cannot wait until then, Betst notified me that they received an Aerlite yesterday as a customer return. I am told that the bike has some minor scratches but is otherwise in brand new condition. Unless I sell my personal Aerlite B (which I use regularly), this is the only Aerlite that I know of which is presently available.

Betst just sent me these photos of the returned Aerlite. Like the Aerlite B's that I had for sale, this Aerlite is equipped with the Shimano Nexus 3 spd hub, rear carry rack, alloy fenders & kickstand. Naturally, this Aerlite also comes with Betst's great lifetime warranty. Priced at just $275 including shipping, whoever gets this folding bike will be snapping up a bargain.

Due to the strong demand for Aerlite folding bikes, the only fair way to offer this bike is on a first come, first serve basis. If you're interested, contact me via the "Email Us" link at the bottom of this page.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

In Search Of Urban Nirvana

by Larry Lagarde

Another gridlocked highwayFor most Americans, driving a motor vehicle is simply an unavoidable fact of life. Due to the lifestyle choices we've made regarding where we live, work, learn, shop & play, the miles we must cover to get to all those places make puttering around in the trusty, personal SUV, truck, minivan or car the only way to do it all. Yet, factors like crazy long commutes, rising fuel costs & flat suburban property values are calling this lifestyle into question. The key is recognizing that these habits ARE choices.

Even when they become bad habits, old habits are hard to break; nevertheless, there are other ways to live - and live well. There are communities where the office, home, school, stores, restaurants & more are just minutes away by bicycling or even walking. Typically, these places are known as inner cities.

Urban blight exampleFor about 50 years, an exodus away from inner cities turned these once vibrant places into areas of blight; however, winds of change are now reversing that trend. Vacant, neglected inner city structures like warehouses & factories are being reborn as living space with all the conveniences of city living just steps away. Hip empty nesters, retirees & young professionals have been snapping up space in these often pricey developments. Young parents in search of more family time, lower living costs and appreciating property values are bravely reclaiming delapidated homes in rough inner neighborhoods. Programs across the country are even making it safer to bike or walk to school.

Renewal in Camden, NJUltimately, we as individuals are responsible for our own happiness. When something turns sour, either we can settle for a lower standard of living or attempt to improve it. Personally, I'd rather try to improve and know that I did my best; I rest better at night. (Photo: renewal in Camden, NJ)

I'd like to mirror a call I recently made to readers of Centerlines (the e-newsletter of BikeWalk.org). If you know of a neighborhood or shopping district that is especially friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists, tell me about it, where it's located and what makes it so great for pedestrians & cyclists. I will post the info here and personally share your example with city planners looking to rebuild a better New Orleans.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Q & A - Next Generation BikeTour

by Larry Lagarde

This past Sunday, I reported about the Next Generation Bike Tour (2 guys traveling across Canada raising awareness of alternative energy sources such as solar and hydrogen fuel cells). I had posed several questions to the Next Generation cyclists (Benjamin Sanders & Eric Vieth) and received an answer this afternoon. Following are my questions & their responses.

(RideTHISbike.com) Are you guys riding with a sag wagon or is the trip self contained?
(Next-Generation.ca) Totally self-sufficient; no support vehicle.

(RideTHISbike.com) Is the solar panel being used to create hydrogen for the fuel cell?
(Next-Generation.ca) Our solar panel is not being used to create the hydrogen, but we are using it directly to charge our electronics. In the class demo's (being performed throughout the tour), we do separate hydrogen from water (electrolosis).

(RideTHISbike.com) Can you guys send a photo showing you and the bikes fully loaded on the road as well as a photo of your camp at dusk with lighting from the hydrogen cell?
(Next-Generation.ca) Sure, we'll work on this for you.

(RideTHISbike.com) What brand of commercial bike trailer are you using?
(Next-Generation.ca) BOB Trailer, Yak model.

(RideTHISbike.com) What brand & model GPS unit are you using?
(Next-Generation.ca) Globalsat BT338. It's available commercially in the $100 range.

(RideTHISbike.com) How does the GPS transmitter automatically interface with your website?
(Next-Generation.ca) We have gotten specialized software for the BlackBerry which receives the GPS information from the GPS over Bluetooth and then relays that to a server on the internet. A lot of the software that is used for that was custom built.

(RideTHISbike.com) What would it cost for other long distance cyclists to similarly outfit their own bike with a solar panel, gps unit, etc?
(Next-Generation.ca) Our solar panel is on loan. It is a leafing-edge prototype technology, however, there are camping solar panels available at stores such as Canadian Tire and MEC which could be used in the same manner. Cost unknown. GPS: anybody can buy one. The non-trivial task is connecting it to some internet site so that it can be used to do live updates. One would have to design a way of getting the GPS coordinates to the internet. This could get costly for data traffic on many cell-phone plans. The point of our trip is more to showcase cool things that can be done with engineering. Not necessarily ones that are at the present time practical to do.

(RideTHISbike.com) Is it feasible now for long distance cyclists to use hydrogen cells or solar panels to assist with propulsion? If not, do you foresee breakthroughs that will make it feasible within the next 5 years?
(Next-Generation.ca) The bicycle is already a pretty efficient device. The problem with motors to power the bicycle is that they are heavy. Plus: then you're talking about motorcycles. There is not a doubt in my mind that i'll see a hydrogen powered motorcycle in my day.
Solar panels are tough for vehicles, because you need to have a battery for when the sun isn't shining. That adds a lot of weight to the gear required. Hence the thousands of engineers and scientists who work on designing new battery technology every day.

Short answer to the feasibility question: I see it as currently neither feasible or desirable. In the next 5 years I think we will start to see many more hydrogen powered vehicles. Some of them might be motorcycles.

My thanks to Ben & Eric for taking a moment from their exhausting day to write back. When I receive their camp photo, I'll be sure to post it here.


Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour

Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tourby Larry Lagarde

This August, participants in the inaugural Colorado Rocky Mountain Bicycle Tour will cross 9 mountain passes ranging in altitude from 7,950 feet to over 12,090. Open to anyone, this challenging, 478 mile bike tour offers beautiful scenery and loads of fun.

The Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour is fully supported, so you'll have a hassle free experience and be able to really kick back and relax once the day is done. Cost is $325 and participation is limited to the first 2000 cyclists that sign on.

Tour Itinerary:
Day 1 - Gunnison to Montrose, 65 miles, including Blue Mesa summit and Cerro Pass
Day 2 - Montrose to Carbondale, 110 miles, including McClure Pass
Day 3 - Carbondale to Leadville, 87 miles, including Independence Pass
Day 4 - Leadville to Frisco, 63 miles, including Tennessee Pass, Battle Mountain summit and Vail Pass
Day 5 - Break day in Frisco
Day 6 - Frisco to Salida, 88 miles, including Fremont Pass
Day 7 - Salida to Gunnison, 65 miles, including Monarch Pass

I've been through this section of Colorado. The scenery is truly spectuacular but don't forget that the altitude is also quite high (at 10,152 feet above sea level, Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the continental United States). If you decide to participate, be sure to train!

More Info:


Video - Continuously Variable Bicycle Transmission

Here's a super video demonstrating how the new, ground breaking NuVinci CVP functions. Never has there been a means to transmit power from the pedals in such a simple yet efficient manner.

So far, the NuVinci is only available on the very expensive ($2995+) Ellsworth Ride. Now if only we can get it on an incredible, light, sturdy & affordable bike frame such as the diecast magnesium alloy frame used on the Kent Ultralite folding bike...


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Trans Canada Eco Friendly Bike Tour

Next Generation Trans Canada Bike Tourby Larry Lagarde

Most bike trips are eco-friendly simply because a bicycle is being used for transportation but 2 recent Canadian engineering grads bicycling across Canada are taking their bike tour to the next level, generating power via solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells while cycling. In the process, they're looking to inspire the next generation to embrace clean energy solutions and healthier, more active lifestyles.

Though the tour began in Victoria, BC on April 23rd, Ben & Eric started planning & preparing for their bike tour 6 months earlier, working out the details of their tour, gear and bicycle training so that everything would be ready.

The GizmoWhat really sets apart their trans Canada bike tour from others is their "Gizmo" and the presentations they are making at high schools along the route. The Gizmo is a combination of hardware and software that allow them to generate power for their GPS transmitter, Blackberry mobile phone and camping equipment. The Gizmo also interfaces in real time with their website, tracking their progress on a map and allowing them to blog from the road.

I've written to the guys with several questions about their tour and will provide a follow up with their answers when they reply.

More Info:


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Aerlite Folding Bike Update - Sale Ending

Aerlite Folding Bikeby Larry Lagarde

Fair warning: the $299 Aerlite B special is drawing to a close.

If you've been mulling over whether or not to buy one of the great Aerlite B folding bikes I reviewed earlier this year, there are only 2 left. Once these last 2 Aerlite B's are sold, the new 2007 models will go on pre-sale (they are still in transit and not due to arrive for several more weeks).

Aerlite B Recap
* Includes Shimano Nexus 3 speed, rear carry rack, adjustable height handlebar post, alloy fenders, rear mounted kickstand, shipping (USA lower 48 states) & insurance!
* Color: Polished White Gold
* Condition: NEW.
* Price: $299.00
* Order Quantity:

2007 Aerlite Details
The base model 2007 Aerlite folding bike will come with the efficient & smooth Shimano Nexus 3 speed internal hub, center mounted kickstand, height adjustable handlebar post, alloy fenders and a notched seat post that is 2 inches longer than that on the Aerlite B. Pricing on the base model will start from $359-379.

Betst has not yet announced if the carry rack will be an extra cost or included as standard equipment. Betst will offer a limited number of 2007 Aerlite folding bikes with the new computer controlled, self actuating Shimano Auto D 3 speed transmission as well as a small quantity of 7 Spd Shimano Nexus internal hub models.

For more about the Aerlite B including photos & specs, see the links listed below.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Grand Tetons Bike Path Coming

Grand Tetons National Parkby Larry Lagarde

Early next summer, construction on 7 miles of a planned 41 mile long bike path system is set to begin in Grand Teton National Park (GTNP).

Estimated to cost a total of about $45 million, the multi-use path system will run north 3 miles from the GTNP entrance station at Granite Canyon to Moose Junction, north 8 miles from the GTNP primary south entrance on Hwy 89 to Moose Junction, 10 miles on the Teton Park Rd from Moose Junction to North Jenny Lake Junction, 15 miles on the Teton Park Rd from North Jenny Lake Junction to Colter Bay Village. Grand Teton NP bike path mapAdditionally, there will be shorter path segments in the park such as a 1 mile path from Moose Junction north to Antelope Flats Rd. Teton County and the Town of Jackson have also applied for funds to build a bike path north along Hwy 89 from the Jackson Hole Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center in Jackson to the GTNP primary south entrance.

As a cyclist that has toured through Grand Teton NP, the news of this path system is very exciting; however, I'd like to see the bike path run north into Yellowstone NP. In the summer, traffic on the highway from Jackson Hole north through GTNP and into Yellowstone is heavy and can be dangerous. Several of the pulls over the Continental Divide in Yellowstone NP are real grinds (my Shimano Deore XT rear derailleur sheared in half from the strain on one of them) and the shoulder is narrow or non-existent most of the way.

For more about beautiful Grand Tetons National Park, visit the official website...

NOTE: Jackie Skaggs, the Public Affairs Specialist for Grand Canyon National Park, just confirmed that the first multi-use path section being constructed in the summer of 2008 will run north 7 miles from Moose Visitor Center to South Jenny Lake. More info on the project will not be available until next year.

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Gekko Folding Bike Review @ PPOL

by Larry Lagarde

Gekko folding bike reviewSeveral weeks ago, the editorial director at Pedal Pushers Online (Gary Miller) obtained one of our Gekko folding bikes to test. I just learned that the results are in and are quite good.

When Gary originally contacted me, he explained that he had been thinking about reviewing how a folding bike would perform in New York City. His plan was to take the Gekko aboard the Long Island Railroad, ride the bike in Manhattan on the final leg of his commute and write a review based on the experience. As is evident from the story, the bike performed well and was even a conversation starter.

Regardless whether the Gekko can help you get a date, the review is worth reading and can be found at pedalpushersonline.com.

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