Welcome to the City Bikes clearance bin for all the overstock thoughts, rants, news items, and other idea fragments that we need to turn over. Check back often, as stock is refreshed frequently

Friday, November 9, 2007

Bike Sharing bikes in DC

Sorry for the bad photos, but from the warehouse, here's a few pics of the new SmartBike rental bicycles that are getting stationed around the city. We nabbed a contract a few months back to build up the bikes.

Here's the WashCycle rundown on bike sharing. Our own sometime-manager Jeff Peel was just named as their first program manager, he'll do a great job in leading the Clear Channel charge to win (back) the hearts of bicyclists.

The bikes themselves are remarkably nice to ride. To be blunt, they don't really look like much, but everybody who's ridden one was impressed. Three speed internal hub, all mechanical bits shrouded in mystery and plastic, big racks, big slick tires, and more stable handling than the Breezer folding bike I normally pinch from the warehouse to run errands.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Bicycles in Ireland, pt 1

With things around the shop settling into an offseason swoon, the timing was right for a long-planned and often-delayed trip to Ireland with my dad to tour the sheep farms and village pubs of his misspent youth in County Cork. Regrettably, we did most of our tour either by foot or by Nissan, but I did take a few pics of bike relatedness, and wished I had hauled the Moots along with me.

We began in Dublin, where nearly everybody bikes. No wonder, they really make it painless (at least in comparison to DC). Every road, everything from one-way lanes to the highway into town, has a bike lane. And nice ones, too. Every road in Ireland is paved with this terribly coarse chip-seal asphalt, it's basically just stones mixing in with some tar. It percussed my lumbars in the car, and I'm guessing it would turn any bicycle into a circa 1987 Cannondale crit racer. However, they've put a nice colored surface seal on the road that not only provides a smooth (but not rainslick) ride, but provides a nice visual distinction.

The gent to the right is fairly representative of the commuters I saw. No fancy gear, riding an older MTB or hybrid, wearing his work clothes. Atypically, he's wearing a helmet, one of the few I saw in Ireland.

When he got to work, he likely locked his beater to one of the many bike parking islands throughout the city. The first pic is the quite barren racks outside of (you guessed it) the department of motor vehicles. The next one was far more typical, filled nearly to capacity during the workday.

Miscellany -- The Guv'ment is trying to keep Gaelic alive, no doubt having observed the Babelicious harmony that prevails in such other such polylingual nations as Belgium, Spain, and my home and native land. So they have entire towns whose citizens are subsidized to be all-or-nothing Gaelic, Gaelic state radio and TV stations ("South Park" and "Pimp my Ride" dubbed into Gaelic), and of course, bilingual street signs that taught me that the Gaelic word for bike is either "Raon" or "Rothar".

More later, perhaps.