Sunday, March 30, 2008

To the Max


Stage 5 Cycling's Eric Bascomb and Tom Scotto were at the Hub to put some local racers through their paces today. Eric and Tom are fitness trainers who specialize in creating training programs customized to the individual. Local cycling legend Kip Bradford is shown here having his VO2 max threshold tested. Stage 5 has a full time studio in Woonsocket where they provide the soup to nuts treatment for developing your fitness to is full potential.

After returning to his Clark Kent heart rate, Kip stepped out of the phone booth, straightened his tie and pedaled off into the streets of Gotlam.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

You talkin to me?

In case anyone needs to be reminded, Rhode Island is in New England - which means we might as well live in Canada - which means that this time of year, although we pay for our own health care, we should expect it to be a little cold. It is these crucial, cruel few weeks in the transition from winter to spring that makes us the bitter, mean, puritains that we are here in Providence. Don't fight it - embrace it. Roll the giant stone of winter from the mouth of the cave and emerge into spring proud that you made it through another one.

Friday, March 14, 2008

We'll always have the Mayflower Hotel

It doesn't happen often in my day to day dealings with customers' bicycles, but I must admit I am a sinner. Ever since Benno hired us to build his a Surly Crosscheck with Nexus 8-speed internal drivetrain, Schmidt Son 28 Dyno hub, and Honjo hammered fenders, I have strayed over the line more than once. After touching the supple Brooks Honey Brown saddle, stretching the matching leather tape around the bars and feeling the smoothness of the Phil Wood and Chris King bearings, it was all I could do to get back to the shop after a quick test ride around the block instead of pointing her west and heading straight for Albany. There will be plenty of that for this one I'm sure. Now that Benno has come to take it away, it will just have to be without me.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Josh Hadar is a sculptor from NYC who uses only hand tools in constructing his bikes. "No hydraulic pipe bending equipment, no computer driven metal cutting machines, just leverage, heat, hammering and time."

Friday, March 7, 2008

Photographer Needs Models

The Providence Bicycle Coalition is looking for photos of you and your bike. The PBC has a new listserv which needs a personal touch. Feel free to forward pictures depicting you or a bicycle commuter you admire in action to me:, or stop by the shop with your bike (181 Brook Street) and we'll take the picture for you (you know...tasteful of course).

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Blackstone Boulevard

For those of you who may be new to the East Side, Blackstone Boulevard is the stately, wide, thoroughfare that runs north-south along the easternmost edge of Providence. Wide travel lanes and the linear park down the center with a well attended jogging path make Blackstone Boulevard a destination for walkers, runners, families, and yes, cyclists. Traditionally the four mile lap, with its ample room and big-ring ripples, have made it a perfect training lap for individual as well as pace-lining cyclists. It is equally usefull as a natural corridor for bicycle commuters between Providence and points north through Pawtucket. There is little reason to wonder why it has been the first choice as the connecting link between the East Bay Bike Path and the Blackstone Valley Bike Path since it was first proposed back in the early 90's.

The opposition to striping a bike lane on this route has been strong over the years for various reasons. Neighbors cited "safety for the cyclists" as their main concern which, at the time, may have been mistaken by those Providence citizens represented by a different council person as "You don't belong over here". In recent years, as the traffic appears to have increased along with vehicle speeds in the form of drivers trying to avoid the current cluster-fu@% related to the new "I-Way" construction, the neighbors seem to have come around. Monday night there was a public meeting to discuss a plan to remove recently placed pavement markings and stripe the Boulevard for cyclists. The paint that went down last fall allowed for two lanes of vehicle traffic and a parking lane in each direction. The City now wants to remove one of the travel lanes and add a bicycle lane.

According to those who stood up to speak at the meeting, neighbors currently want to stripe the lane for bicycles because they feel that it will slow down traffic and reduce the volume of vehicles using this route as a cut-through. Many who spoke at the meeting used the word Bike "path" which conjures up images of roller bladers and mothers with baby strollers. As a avid cyclist who understands the local culture, I know that the pace lining cyclists will avoid the bike lane and continue to use the left hand side of the road, while in the wetter seasons, the strollers and joggers trying to avoid the muddy walking path will find sanctuary in the relative safety of the bike lane. This makes for bad juju for the rest of the legitimate users of the bike lane including the transportation cylists.

While I am all for officially completing the connection of the East Bay Path with the Blackstone Valley Bike Path, I wonder what the neighbors will think as the paint inevitably starts to fade and the cars keep on coming. Will they continue to support the bike lane? Will they see bike lanes in general as a failure because they do not provide the protection from traffic that novice cyclists often cite as a reason they don't ride more? My concern is not the bike lane on the Boulevard or even bike lanes in general. My hesitation is with installing isolated bike lanes (a la Allens Ave.) in a city that doesn't otherwise support cycling. I wish the City would actually look at the big picture of bikes as legitimate transportation option rather than using a bike "path" as a traffic calming device.