Friday, December 16, 2011

Stolen Fuji Bedford

Let me begin with the end.  I still have my Fuji Bedford, even though it was stolen.

In May 2008 it was taken off of the spare tire rack of my car.  My family and I were on our way home from Charlottesville Community Bikes where I was volunteering that day.  We wanted to stop and hang out on the downtown mall.  We lived close by, but it was still daylight, and I found a parking spot next to the police station.  I did have the thought to put my lock around the bike and the rack, but I didn't do it.  I thought it would be safe enough that it was parked in public next to the police station.  

A couple of hours later as we were hanging with friends by the community chalk board, I noticed a kid I knew and his friend again.  I had seen them that afternoon at the bike shop, and saw them again just as we arrived on the downtown mall.  The friend did not have a bike when I first saw them, but now he did.  He was in an upright riding position which I thought was a bit strange for a kid his age.  Usually they ride a hybrid or mountain bike, not one with the kind of bars that my Fuji Bedford 3 speed has.  I looked a little closer... IT WAS MY BIKE!!  I could make out 'Fuji' on the back of the saddle.  

I got nervous and started having a bunch of mixed feelings.  While trying to think about what exactly to do, I started walking toward them.  They were just casually making their way down the pedestrian mall.  But then they turned onto a street, and I knew that they would start riding soon.  So I started running, and yelled the kids' name who I knew.  His friend realized the bike he was on must be mine so he bolted.  I ran chasing them, but of course they got away.  In desperation I immediately called 911.  I felt like a little girl, or a big weeny whining about my bike being stolen to the operator, all out of breath, but I wanted my damn bike back!  

I made a report to a police officer who patrols the pedestrian mall on a bicycle.  He really could have cared less though about my bike.  He dutifully took the report, but I could tell he didn't have much hope I would get it back.  After he told me I would get a call in about a week or so to follow up on the incident he asked if I had any questions.  I thought for a moment, realizing I definitely would not find my bike after a week had passed, and asked, "Can't you just go to the kids house?"  He said, "Yeah, I guess so."  

Thankfully I did know the kids name, not the one who was on my bike, but his friend.  It turns out that I had taught him a few piano lessons at his school (a special school for kids with behavior issues that makes it hard for them to be in mainstream school).  I did that almost a year before this incident.  I couldn't remember his last name, but the school director helped me with that.  Then I called the police to give it to them.  They did indeed go to his house, and then he told them where his friend lived.  About 3 1/2 hours later, around 11:45pm, I received a call from the police that my bike was found and I could go pick it up.  I did search for it on my own after they took it.  A friend of mine took me in his car, and we drove around for about an hour through town looking in ditches etc... for it.  Its funny that the weather was very nice until my bike was stolen.  Then it began pouring rain relentlessly the whole time we were driving around.  

It was clear weather again when I went to the kid's house to get my bike.  His Dad was there and said he knows these kids bring back stolen bikes all the time.  But he just would throw them behind a nearby dumpster so they wouldn't get caught.  I wish he would tell them how it is wrong to steal!  The officer did not want me to press charges or go further.  He thought I should just be happy that I got my bike back without it being damaged.  Almost a year later I would find out that he lied to the kids' parents by saying that I had agreed not to do anything as long as I got my bike back.  I had never said anything like that to him.

In fact, I definitely was going to do something, and I did.  At this point, not only had these kids stolen my bike and gotten away with it, but they had even been caught by the police and would still have gotten away with it!  In my own conscience I did not want that to happen.  I went forward with pressing charges.  

Since they were under 18 (17 and 15), they had the choice to go to juvenile, or go through a restorative justice program.  They chose the restorative justice program.  They had to meet weekly with someone to talk through what they did, why they did it, how it was wrong, etc...  I did not get updated very well during this time though regarding what was happening.  I thought that maybe nothing had happened.  Until, almost a year later, I received a call to set up a meeting with the two boys and their parents.  

During the meeting the restorative justice people did a great job mediating, and keeping the focus on the actions of the boys.  I was able to tell the kids how what they did effected me, my feelings about it.  They told me how it happened.  They had to apologize in person, and also handed me handwritten apologies.  I learned that they had indeed been meeting very often for the past months with restorative justice, and they had to do some kind of community service after our meeting as well.  

I don't know if this consequence made a difference for them or not.  I hope it did.  At least they were not allowed to get away with stealing somebody else's bicycle.  I don't think the community at large puts as much importance on bike theft as they should.  It is about more than a bike.  What would be next for these kids?  If they are allowed to get away with this, what kind of limits would they start pushing ultimately?  I am happy that I went forward and did not give up on seeing some kind of consequence through with them.  The meeting that I was able to have with them, even though it was a year later, did provide closure all the way around, for them and for me.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stained Glass Bicycle Wheel

The drawing I sent to my Nono.
The finished product

A while ago I rebuilt the wheels of my Fuji Royale II.  It had the gold anodized ukai rims.  The rear one was warped a bit, and luckily I found a NOS gold ukai to replace it on ebay.  But what to do with the old warped one?  Should I really just throw it away? 

No!  On my ride to New Jersey last September I was inspired by some bicycle art I saw in Lambertville to have my Nono (grandfather) do a stained glass piece inside of it.  I put twelve spokes in it, and shipped it to him when I got home.  He has been doing stained glass for a few years now.  I drew up the design and included it with the rim.  It looks exactly like my drawing.  He did an awesome job don't you think?  He had to build his own template of wood to support the glass as he built it up.  There was a hole in the center to accomodate the hub, and the template laid on top of a hollow box about 4" tall so it would lay flat. The spokes served as a support system for the soldering, allowing for the open space between the glass and rim.

I brought it home after our visit with them in Illinois last week.  It is now displayed proudly in my window, ready to be shown off to everyone who visits.  I have a few steel Ukai rims waiting for a similar fate.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Racing the Sun

5:15am-  Wake up, shower, stretch.  Dress, base layers.  Prepare water, food.  85 miles from Champaign, IL to Springfield, IL... I can do this.  It is dark.

6:30am-  Breakfast in the hotel lobby, coffee, toast, juice,banana.  The sun meets me and my Fuji Royale II at the start.

7:00am-  On the road, heading directly west.  Next stop Monticello, IL.  9mph winds from the N/NW.  It is cold.  Hazy, don reflective gear, turn on tail lights, put on headlight.  So far so good.

9:00am-  Arrive at the Brown Bag Deli in Monticello.  On schedule.  The place is immediately familiar and I remember that I was here in 2003 after the wedding rehearsal of a good friend.  I eat a fabulous toasted turkey salad bagel and coffee.  Missing my friend, wish we had time to see them on this trip, but it is too far to drive.  The sun keeps traveling.

10:00am-  Back on the road.  My route takes me through Allerton Park outside of Monticello, where my friend was married.  Memories.  I ride by the statue of the Sun Singer, which Robert Allerton had made and placed in the park.  He originally saw it in Stockholm and wanted a smaller version for his yard, but the maker made it for him in original size so he had to find a bigger space for it.  I pass a buffalo farm.  It seems they are all looking at me.  They look strong and healthy.  Still on schedule. Still in front of the sun.

11:15am-  On 1400N heading directly west again.  At a non-descript intersection, checking my compass because the road signs are turned around.  Check in with my wife, take off a layer.  I'm surprised I have a cell phone connection.  I feel like Tom Hanks in Cast Away.  These fields are vast.  I can see for miles and miles around.  I am alone.  Sing when you ride far and the wind is pushing you back, and you are alone and it is cold.  It helps.  I think of the state of our country, farming, respect of our land, how we return to this very ground, dirt.  I think of the Native Americans, war, disparity of thought.  I hit gravel, wet from yesterday's rain, slogging through for a couple of miles in this takes a toll on speed and comfort.  The sun and I are neck and neck.

1:30pm-  Latham, IL The Korn Krib Resaurant built in and around grain storage bins.  I use the bathroom, and refill water.  No time to sit and eat here.  Have to keep moving.  Beginning to tire more.  Dogs!  The young one is fearless, comes toward me non-stop.  I dismount so he thinks twice.  He tries to get behind me for the attack but I turn to keep him at bay.  He is ruthless.  I walk by the house till I get far enough to satisfy him that I'm not a threat.  I get on bigger roads to avoid more dogs, and think they'll be even smoother, but I was wrong.  Hard packed gravel, but bumpy.  Takes a toll on my energy, slowing to less than 10mph.  I plod along, hurting, falling morale.  Finally, Hwy 54!  I'm less than 5 miles from my childhood home.  But the sun has taken the lead.

3:45pm-  A second wind.  Ride through the old neighborhood, see the old house.  Haven't been here since 1995.  Family no longer owns this house since parents divorced back then.  I lived there from 1978-1995, half of my life.  It pains me that I can't come back.  It is for sale, $159,000.  The trees my father planted are large now, forest-like.  I had to ride my bike here this time instead of just drive by.  Going slower gives the memories time to be remembered.

4:50pm-  Arrive at my destination.  Time to go in to visit my grandparents with my wife and two daughters.  Time to stop looking to the past and keep moving forward.  Special times, creating new memories.  It is dark.  The sun wins, barely.





Wednesday, November 9, 2011

First Century Ride

Well I finally did it.  I rode 100 miles (at one time).  I've had this goal since about 2007.  That is the same year we had our first child, and it has been difficult to ride consistently enough to achieve it.  However, I realized that with the riding I started doing twice a week at the velodrome in August, then my 60 mile ride to Jersey in September, and 3 times weekly riding my daughter to pre-school, and my Tuesday and Thursday 20 mile rides, I might actually be able to do a 100 mile ride.  And I did. 

We happened to be visiting my wife's parent's house in Maryland in October, and it turned out that we would be there at the same time that Salisbury University holds their famous Seagull Century ride.  I immediately signed up.  There was only about a week and a half before the day of the ride.  I didn't know much about it yet, but I soon learned that this is a humongous event, with over 8,000 riders participating.  They have been doing this ride for over 20 years.  We had a tough time finding a hotel, but we ended up getting a room at a Comfort Inn that was anything but.  I'm not going to spend time complaining about that though. 

We woke up to a beautiful morning, a perfect day for a ride.  It really was, despite the 20+ mph winds that developed.  The forecast had been calling for that so it was no surprise.  One hazard I had not thought about until now though is to watch out for large falling tree limbs.  One fell about 25 feet in front of me.  There was nobody underneath it at that point, but there could have been with so many of us out there.  I was next in line, but I had plenty of time to stop, get off the bike, and drag it off the road.  It was quite large, and would have hurt.  Anyway... the route is relatively flat, and that made it a good choice for my first century.  I chose the Assateague route which took us to the Eastern Shore, which was beautiful.  Unfortunately I was riding alone.  It would have been nice to have had a friend along for the ride, but I don't have any cycling friends in Maryland (yet).  I wasn't shy though, and introduced myself to some people.  A group of 5 guys passed me at one point, and I sped up to stay with them.  I joined their paceline, and they welcomed me in.  Most of them were Navy guys, and I talked most to Andy.  I continued on my way when they stopped to use the bathroom.  Later I met a fellow named Peter.  I rode up to him because he was wearing a UVA jersey.  I thought I might know him, or at least know someone he knows since we lived in Charlottesville for so long, but it turned out he went to school there years ago, and hadn't been there in while.  It was still good conversation. 

The rest stops were excellent.  There was no shortage of food or drink, everyone was very encouraging, the bathroom lines went very quick and people were courteous.  The organization of this event was stellar.  I rode the fuji opus iii, which was a good choice because it is so light and fast.  It cut through the wind very well.  I considered taking the Royale II, but it has the fenders (which I wouldn't have needed) and my pack, and is a bit heavier.  It was nice to get a chance to ride the Opus which I haven't ridden in about a year I think.

It feels good to have finally reached that goal.  It was nice too that I wasn't completely dead after doing it.  I felt good all the way through, and had energy to spare afterward.  That means I really was prepared well for it.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.  I didn't take any photos because I didn't want to carry the camera.  I just wanted to ride.  I also had forgotten my garmin device, but I was glad I did.  It helped me enjoy the ride more without worrying about how fast I was going, or what my mileage was, etc... 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Philippine Fuji = Phuji?






I recently received the pictures above along with this email below....  Enjoy!



"Hi Matteo,
 Sorry for the late email.  We had such a busy month at the office. 
 I am Lester Dizon and I am the Publisher and the Editor-in-Chief of two Philippine publications - MotorCycle Magazine and Power Wheels Magazine.  We were putting both magazines to the printers after I found your blog "Fuji Crazy" and I got so busy with work that I nearly forgot about it.
 
Anyway, I recently acquired a well-preserved and well-documented 1961 Fuji Youth rod brake roadster from BZKLETA, a local antique bicycle shop here in the Philippines.  It is a single-speed men's bicycle with 26-inch wheels, stainless steel Araya woodward rims, stainless steel spokes and hubs, stainless steel chain case and stainless steel fenders that are stamped with a neat pattern near its sides.  The frame is steel and it's quite heavy but it feels really solid.  There's some scratches on the paint and some rusty spots but the bike still looks good.  The handlebar, rod brake levers and linkages, front stirrup brake and rear drum brake are all made of stainless steel and works very well.  The saddle and the hand grips are all original Fuji items and are still in good condition.  Overall, I can say that my 1961 Fuji Youth is quite a robust and youthful ride for a 50-year-old bicycle. 
 
What endeared it to me more are the intact Japanese stickers that authenticate its age.  There's the requisite yellow Japanese bicycle license sticker at the rear fender (096080) and a yellow middle school tag with number 026 that has the year "61" indicated.  But the best sticker is the silver-and-blue one at the seat tube where the date 61-3-31 was written in the date box and the number 53109102 was written above it.  I'm trying to get all the Japanese words on the stickers translated so I can know more about my Fuji bicycle.
 
After I got it from the antique bicycle shop, I found an NOS Saiko wheel lock with two keys while our Managing Editor Steven Edward Yu helped me find a vintage Fuji bell in good condition and a Diamond twin bulb headlamp in nearly new condition.  I recently had the wheels trued and I mounted a pair of Duro 26x1-3/8 white wall tires as well as a pair of vintage Cateye reflectors that mount on the wheel spokes.  I hope these pictures of the Fuji bike before I mounted the white wall tires and the reflectors will suffice for now.  I will send new photos and update you on any new work done on the bicycle.
 
Thanks and keep up the good work!"   

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Healthy Hubs



I recently went to rebuild the wheels on my Fuji Royale II, and I discovered a bent rear axle.  The rim was also a bit warped.  I ended up rebuilding them with a set of Superbe hubs I have had for over 2 years now, maybe 3, and a beautiful new Ukai gold rim I luckily found on ebay for a good price.  These hubs were top of the line of their day, and are super smooth.  With the bike in the repair stand, I would spin the wheels after lacing them up with these Superbe hubs, and it seems they would roll forever.  They just keep going and going.  They are fast too.  That difference translates to the road, and in turn to energy output.  Do not underestimate how important it is to have your hubs running in top order.  It makes your job of pedaling the bike easier, and in turn gives you a more enjoyable riding experience.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Journey to Becoming a Music Together Teacher




Click on 'view full route' below to see details of my ride from Collegeville, Pa to Hopewell, Nj.  I used ridewithgps for route planning, and it is an excellent resource.  I participated in a Music Together Teacher Training Workshop last weekend.  I had the opportunity to ride the 55 miles it took to get there, so I did.  Rain was a high possibility so I prepared well for it.  I finally bought the waterproof Ortlieb Panniers I've been wanting.  But not a drop fell from the sky on the day of the ride.  The next night I did have to ride 5 miles in the dark and rain though.  Those are not ideal conditions, but like I said, I was prepared for it with waterproof gear and very good lights and reflectivity.  It wasn't a problem.

A member of the Princeton Freewheelers, Ken, let me stay with him for two of my three nights that I was there.  I am very grateful for that.  It saved me alot of money, and I got to meet a fellow cyclist.  He was an excellent host, and I can't thank him enough for helping me out.  

I was concerned about being chased by dogs, but that didn't happen.  I really hate it when dogs chase me.  

My jersey from the Flwrider group in Hong Kong came just in time for me to wear it on this ride.  I was very excited about that.  Brian, the founder of Flwrider, remembered that I had asked him for some stickers of their logo while we were riding one day, and he put a few sheets in the package for me too.  I appreciate that.  The stickers look perfect on my fenders, and the one in front kept me motivated to keep going strong as the miles built up (especially the uphill miles).  It provided many good cycling memories for me of my time in Hong Kong.  

I could have rented a car, or simply had my wife or a friend drive me to Hopewell.  It is only an hour drive.  But then I would not have gained the personal satisfaction of having made such a beautiful ride.  There really is a sense of freedom from being on the bike that just isn't there when sitting in a car.  I didn't want to deprive myself of that when I didn't have to.  

I have not planned for a ride yet the way that I planned for this one.  I'm very unfamiliar with the roads around this area since I've only lived here for a year, and have not been able to get out and ride them yet.  One thing I did that helped was to simply google a bicycle route and then drive it.  Ultimately though I ended up only using part of that initial route.  I discovered that part of Adventure Cycling's Atlantic Coast section 2 route fit perfectly into where I was going more directly than what I initially had from google maps.  So I mapped out a good way to connect to it at Tennis Road in Ambler, Pa from where I live and used it the rest of the way.  That turned out to be a great strategy.  The whole way from my place until I connected with the Adventure Cycling route, I kept seeing 'BCP' painted white on the road with a small arrow under it.  That may mean the Bicycling Club of Philadelphia, but I don't know for sure.  It gave me a reassuring feeling though making me feel that I made good road choices when I put the route together.  I wasn't able to drive those roads before I left, so I wasn't exactly sure if they were the best choices or not.  

I passed the weekend training activities, and can now teach the music together curriculum.  I look forward to beginning that process with Melanie, the center director for Littlest Music Makers here in the Collegeville, Pa area.  Music Together is an amazing early childhood music program.  If you haven't heard of it and have little ones, please check it out.  If you're lucky enough to have one in your area, you should do it!

I rode my fuji touring series iv.  It fared me well, and I look forward to my next ride on it.  Ultimately I plan on taking this one across the country someday.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Bicycle Wheel Clock

This gives new meaning to bicycle education.  It is time (no pun intended) to start teaching my 4 year old how to tell time.  Something I do fairly often with all of this fujicraziness is rebuild the wheels on these old fujis I find.  If the rim is aluminum  and still straight, I will reuse it and just use new spokes.  However, if the rim is steel I won't reuse it.  Steel rims are not good in the rain, and they are quite heavy.  However, they make excellent clocks!  Thirty six spoke holes makes for a perfectly round (no pun intended) number and sufficient space to fit all 12 numbers.  My daughter's bathtub numbers worked perfectly as I was able to push the spokes through them for stability.  I had to use cardboard for multiple '1's and I couldn't find the spongy number 2.  An old recordable CD and some heavy colored cardboard pieces for the arms finished it off nicely.  Every hour we go to the clock to see what time it is.  She is beginning to get the concept.  

By the way, this is a Ukai rim.  It is this model that is most likely to be found on these old fujis, and they really are great rims.  They are usually just fine to rebuild with, and remain straight and strong.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bikes for Refugees

Bike recipients and volunteers before the ride home.
A bike mentor with a bike recipient during the ride home.

This video was made by Todd Gerarden and Amara Lewis.

In late summer of 2008, I read the book The Only Road North by Erik Mirandette.  I was inspired from that book to try and help the local refugees in my community, which at the time was Charlottesville, Virginia.  Through those thoughts I developed a vision of how to do that, and after a couple of months it came to fruition.  My vision encompassed volunteer mechanics from the Community Bike Shop working with middle school boys from Fork Union Military Academy to make bicycles rideable for local refugees who came to Charlottesville through the International Rescue Committee.  My friend Brian had loaned me the book.  He was teaching at Fork Union at the time, and it was his students who came and helped.

After quite a few weeks of communicating with everyone, we were ready to put the plans into action.  It began in two phases.  Phase 1 involved getting the bikes in working order.  We had 14 bicycle requests from the International Rescue Committee.  On a Saturday in October 2008, the volunteer mechanics and the middle school boys met at the community shop to do the work.  We were done by the end of the day.  

Happy Rickshaw, a local pedi-cab business, let me secure the bikes for the week in the Ix warehouse space that they were renting.  This space was integral to Phase 2, which occurred the next weekend.  Phase 2 involved giving the bikes to the refugees.  This proved more challenging than it first seemed.  Most of the recipients were from Burma, and their English was minimal. The other countries represented were Bhutan, Nepal, Burundi, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  Many of them were still unfamiliar with basic driving principles on the road here, so bicycle safety skills were also a concern.  Thankfully, the Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation was able to help.  They provided helmets for everyone, and the support of the Bike Mentor group which gathered to ride each person back home.  However, the language barrier was more problematic.  I realized that I needed to find translators if I really wanted to get the safety points across.  I spent alot of time searching for them, and at one point was on a 3 way call with a company in Arizona to be sure that one of the recipients understood exactly where to pick up the bike.  After alot of hard work, I was able to find two translators who could be there with us on the bike pick up day.  Communication went very smoothly during that time.  

After everyone had a bike, helmet, lights, and locks, we were ready to roll.  The Bike Mentors got everyone home safely.  It was a thrill, and it gave me great personal satisfaction to bring together so many different people to accomplish one goal.

Throughout the next year after these initial phases, I received about 10 more requests for bikes from the International Rescue Committee.  I worked on those bikes and delivered them myself to each recipient.  I would talk about safety issues, and go on rides with them as well when I took them the bike.  One person was walking to his job, which took about 30 minutes.  When I delivered his bike, we rode to his work together.  It took us about 7 minutes one way.  He was elated.  My future goal for this before I moved was to do more bicycle safety teaching with them through the International Rescue Committee before they received a bike.  Of course, one of the bikes received was a vintage fuji.  :)

Here is the break down of the people and groups involved for the first two phases:

Charlottesville Community Bikes:
Matteo 

Fork Union Military Academy:
Activities director- Brian
Middle Schoolers- Nathaniel, Colin, John, Nathan, Daniel, Jesse

Volunteer Mechanics:
Sam, Eric, Sam, Nick, Charles, Todd

International Rescue Committee:
Terri, Sarah, Courtney

Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation:
Caroline

Bike Mentors:
Shawn, Steve, James, Nick, Vince, Andy, Dave, Greg, Mandy, David

Translators: 
Donald, Gawng, Thet Thet, Fatin

Bike Recipients:
Som, Deo, Keshar, Lian Lam, Malud, Pa Ma, Gasper, Najiba, Jardin, Ngwe, Wah Wah, Atiq, Farah

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Flwrider Skyline Jersey (from Hong Kong)

So I went to Hong Kong last March.  I was there for a month.  I had all of these great cycling experiences, and met many great people there advancing the cause of cycling.  A couple of those people are Brian and Eric, who are part of the Hong Kong fixed gear scene.  Brian started it a few years ago after having spent some time in San Francisco.  He brought the fixie scene to Hong Kong, and has created a world-wide venue for anything and everything cycling (and more) through his website www.flwrider.com.  Their logo is beautiful, and ever since I saw him wearing a jersey with the logo printed on it, I've wanted one of my own.  There weren't any available before I left, but I've contacted Brian recently, and they have a new one available as of last June.  Check it out... flwrider skyline jersey

What do you think?!  I've already ordered one, and I can't wait to get it.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Extensive Hong Kong Bicycling Report

This week, my cycling friend, Martin, who I met when I was in Hong Kong, was featured in a 23 minute report on bicycling there.  There is some excellent footage of him riding his daily commute on one of the busiest roads on Hong Kong Island from North Point to Wan Chai.  He is an excellent example of how to do it right and be safe, and his comments about the issues of taking a bike on the trains and ferries are to the point and very convincing.  In Hong Kong, to really get where you need to go on a bike, you're going to have to be able to utilize the trains and ferries with it.  Please check out the report at the link below...

Friday, August 26, 2011

1976 Fuji Sports 10 Single-Speed


UPDATE: I have since built this one back into a 12 speed and gave it to a friend who's children told their parents that they need to get bikes!  I had come across a fuji mixtie frame from the 70's and gave that one along with this sports 10 to them to use.  I think the only single speed I'll use is my fuji track bike, at the velodrome.

Do you remember the 'extra' frame I received when I picked up my 80's Fuji Track Frame up in New York?  After seeing my blog, Zachary (the craigslist seller of the track frame) gave me this orange Sports 10 frame as well.  Thankfully my friend Jeff was there to help carry it home on the train.  

I took it not knowing what I was going to do with it.  I attended a swap meet in Trexlertown last spring (there is another one this October 1st), and bought an 1/8" 18 tooth suntour single-speed freewheel.  I was going to put it on the other side of the sunshine professional track wheel that is on the track bike, but realized there are not brake holes in the frame.  I don't want to mess that up by drilling any, and am keeping that bike for the sole purpose of riding the track (its intended purpose anyway).  After putting together the track bike, I ended up with a couple of extra 1/8" chainrings.  I had been avoiding the learning curve of realigning a rear axle on a multi-speed hub and re-dishing the rim that is necessary when converting from multiple gears to one gear on bikes like this.  So, I decided that it was time to do that with the orange Sports 10.   It actually wasn't that difficult, just a bit time consuming really.  I went ahead and rebuilt the wheels with new spokes to help it look nicer, and thanks again to Alan at Alan's Bicycles in Phoenixville, Pa.  He had the warm and comfy looking brown saddle that completes the bike and fits its style.  Maybe someday I'll rebuild the wheels again to swap out the gold rims from the Fuji Royale II.  

I've set up the gearing with a 47 tooth chainring in the front, and an 18 tooth cog in the rear.  This gives about a 70 inch gear, which is a good mid-range gearing for moderate hills like the ones around here.  I don't think I'll be taking this on really long road rides, but I will be taking it on the Perkiomen Trail for sure.  

I'm happy to add another type of ride to my Fuji stable.  There is the track racer, the road racer (opus III), the tourer (touring series iv), the everyday use workhorse (royale II), and the jovial 3-speed (bedford).  I'm going to have alot of fun on this single-speed.  Maybe I'll get out in the snow with it this winter.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Around and Around in T-Town

Standing on the apron.
Up at the boards.
Sprinting to the finish on the left.


I finally made it to the track here in Trexlertown.  It is called the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, and it is a wonderful place.  I can't wait to start bringing my daughters here.  Tonight was the last class of 8 sessions for the adult basic course that they offer to the community.  There were about 18 or so of us, and we learned about gears, some of the events, and some of the tactics of the sport.  We honed our pace-lining skills, but most importantly we enjoyed being out here going round and round as fast as we can.  The class was not what I expected.  It was basically a training session, which is good, but I thought it was going to be slower paced.  The competitiveness really came out of me during these classes when we were doing the mock races.  

I need better technology so my videos come out clearer, but the one above at least gives you some sense of the track itself.  Toward the end it pans around full circle.  

The Fuji track bike did splendidly.  We got laminated gear charts tonight, and on it says that Fuji is the official bike of the center.  I wonder how that came to be.   

One thing I haven't gotten to do yet is attend some of the major racing that happens here on Friday nights through the summer.  The last one is this Friday, but I won't be able to make it either.  I'll have to wait for next summer.  In the meantime, I will try to get up here as much as I can to ride.  I'm enjoying it as much as I thought I would.

A Hidden Fuji

Eugene A. Sloane passed away a few years ago.  His book, The Complete Book of Bicycling published in 1970, is one of  if not the most comprehensive on the subject.  He also wrote the Bicycle Maintenance Manual, published in 1981.  I have read through both of these books numerous times, but I don't always look closely at sections I feel I grasp fully.  However, I was looking closer at his mechanic book this morning, and noticed that a classic fuji is featured in a few of the pictures.  I recognized it because my eye happened to catch the headbadge, only half of which is in view.  It appears in pages 113-116, and it looks like it might be the Finest model.  It is used to demonstrate how to install bar end shifters.  

I suppose he didn't mention Fujis in his first book because they weren't imported into the US until 1971.  I wonder what he thought of the Fuji bicycles.  

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Interview with Bill Schroder, A Bikecentennial 76 Ride Leader

On the B76 Ride somewhere in the midwest
Bill Schroder in 2006.

If you are familiar with Adventure Cycling, then you might also be familiar with the Bikecentennial 76 (B76).  If not, then briefly, it is a large cross country bicycle ride that happened in the United States of  America in the summer of 1976.  Everyone was put into groups, and each group had a leader.  Well, a few weeks ago I was on a ride taking the Perkiomen Trail back to the house.  A man was sitting on a bench holding what I initially thought was a map.  I wasn't going to turn around, but I did, just to check in and see if there was anything I could help with.  It was just a newspaper, and I quickly realized from the look of his bike, that this was an experienced cyclist who knows what he is doing.  Like any experienced cyclist, he also knows how to take his time, and enjoy life.  I took a "brake", and we chatted a bit.  It turns out that he was a ride leader on the infamous Bikecentennial 76!  He gave me a card with contact info, and on the way home I got the idea to blog a brief interview about his experience with that.  He was happy to do it, so here it is!

AN INTERVIEW WITH BILL SCHRODER:

A Ride Leader of Bikecentennial

 

Question 1.  How did you become a ride leader for Bikecentennial?

 

I lived in Virginia Beach, VA in the 1970s and in 1975 I was president of the Tidewater Bicycle Association and gave input for the eastern VA portion of the B-76 route.  As a result I was invited to be part of the first leadership training group which took place at an American Youth Hostel in Bowmansville, PA.  From the training groups leaders were chosen based on their camping and biking expertise, as well as their ability to motivate and work with others.  In addition to this training enabling me to be a group leader, I met the woman who has become my lifelong partner and friend.

 

 

Question 2.  What were your responsibilities as a ride leader?

 

Each group consisted of between ten and twenty people of varying ages.  Some groups stayed in youth hostels, churches etc. and other groups were organized to be full camping including cooking.  Also the distances varied; some cycled a portion of the country and some did the whole country.  Each trip was described in a B-76 catalog.  The full country trips took 82 days but there were four “fast trips” cycling the country in 58 days; one each way of hostel and camping.  I was lucky enough to lead the west to east fast camping trip.  Both the hostel and camping groups were self-contained.  This meant carrying on your bike everything you needed; clothes, repair tools, camping equipment as well as food for that day.  We had “group” stoves and gas canisters.  Every day two riders were appointed to cook the evening meal and the next day breakfast.  It made for some very interesting meals.

 

Each group had a leader and assistant leader.  Their duties varied by their abilities.  All leaders were responsible for the group funds, allocating funds each day for groceries, camp ground fees etc.  In addition the leader was responsible for the member’s wellbeing.  This ranged from motivating riders to bicycle repair, to minor first aid and discipline as necessary.  Luckily in my group the latter was not necessary.  B-76 was the first time this type of trip had ever been done on such a large scale.  B-76 headquarters was unable to provide much support once you left the starting point and it was up to the leader to improvise.  While each member was supplied guidebooks and maps, none of us had ever been in most of the places we were going.  While the group looked to me to know the way, in truth most of the time I did not have any more knowledge then they did.  The leader was expected to use common sense and his abilities to get through.  In eastern KY our maps said to “take a right at the large tree”.  As most people know KY is not a desert and there are lots of trees.  Luckily at what I thought was the turn there was a farmhouse and a nice grandmotherly lady was rocking on the porch.  Her comment to my question about directions was “bicyclists keep going up that road and never come back”.  In summary, the leader did what had to be done on any given day.  Of the 17 people in my group who started from Reedsport, Oregon, 17 made it to see the ocean in VA Beach, VA.

 

 

Question 3.  What was the biggest challenge that your group faced together?

 

When you go on this kind of adventure every day holds challenges, whether it is mountains, heat or rain.  Probably the biggest challenge was to keep the desire to cycle every day.  When we first met in Reedsport in my first talk I told them that it is not possible to cycle across the United States, it is not possible to cycle across Oregon BUT is possible to cycle to the next soda break and the one after that and one day you will find yourself on the other side of the country.  Our biggest single challenge was when we were camped in Ste. Genivieve, MO .  About 2 AM a tornado came through and although luckily it did not directly hit us, the winds still took all the tents down and everything we had was completely soaked.  The police evacuated us to a local church.  The next day became an unplanned rest day as we dried clothes, repaired tents etc.  One vivid memory I have was the $4,000 in traveler’s checks lying in a puddle in my tent.  The local bank said they would replace them but could not until I could separate and dry them.  I still remember giving a hundred dollar check to each lady at a beauty parlor who put them on their heads and got under a dryer.

 

 

Question 4.  Were any members in your group changed in deep, personal ways                                    from  having participated in Bikecentennial?

 

I believe every person who did B-76 was changed and every person who I have ever talked to, be it from my group of other groups say they will never forget that trip.  One cannot do something like this without having a lifetime of memories.  Some of us have continued to do trips and keep cycling while others have moved on.  But I doubt a single one of us will ever forget it.  To this day what four of us still keep in touch and my best friend from that that trip, a “young” Dutch man; not so young now goes on regular cycling trips with me.  He, my partner and I have cycled throughout Europe and the United states together over the last 30 plus years.

 

 

Question 5.  What two memories from Bikecentennial replay themselves most often                            in your mind?

 

There are too many to ever tell about.  There was Gene Chu buying a ten pound bag of ice each day and putting it in his front handlebar bag in the desert of eastern Oregon.  There were two of our younger riders riding into wet tar and then braking with the expected consequences in Kansas.  But the best memories I have is meeting the people along the route.  B-76 was the largest event ever done for this length.  Seeing other cyclists in the most remote places, and having locals waving to us, buoyed our spirits beyond belief.  In western Oregon, just a few days into the trip, a young girl and her mother came to our camping area with a cake and said how much they admired us.  In Kansas there was “the ice cream lady” who gave homemade ice cream to us.  She literally would chase us down in her car and take us to her home.  Nobody who cycled B-76 will ever forget the “cookie lady” of VA.  She had a home just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in VA and started giving out cookies to the cyclists.  To this day she still does and over the years she added a bunkhouse to give shelter to the cyclists.  She literally has become a legend on the trail.

Bikecenntenial is now known as Adventure Cycling but for us “old times” it will always be B-76.

Monday, June 27, 2011

"I Was Just Looking at Your Bike"

So I was out on a ride near Colombia, Md the other day. I was waiting at a red light at the intersection of Little Patuxent Parkway and Cedar Lane. I had positioned myself to the left of the right lane, and checked back to see if the car behind might want to be turning right. In fact, it was, so I moved over a little bit more, and she thanked me as she turned. I looked back again to see what the next car was doing. No blinker, but the bmw moved closer to my rear wheel, and was behind me but kind of next to me. I wanted to be sure this person knew I was going straight, so I motioned straight ahead with my arm. The driver, a man (a woman was in the passenger seat) rolled down his window so he could tell me, "I'm sorry, I was just looking at your bike." The light turned green at that moment, and I went ahead. As they passed waving and smiling, he gave me plenty of room and a friendly honk. I'm pretty sure he was sincere with his comment, not joking or trying to be funny. This isn't the first time a stranger has complimented one of my vintage fujis (this one is the fuji royale ii, blue with gold ukai rims). Like I say, there is something special about them, and obviously I'm not the only one to think so.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How to Teach your Child to Ride

My daughter is 3 1/2 years old.  She is riding her bike now, and never used training wheels.  Here is what I did:

1.  By 2 years old, I bought her the skuut bike.  At first she walked along side it.  I resisted the urge to sit her on it immediately, realizing that she needed to get comfortable with it.  When she dropped it and worked to pick it back up, I realized she was learning some very basic principles of how it balances even then.

2.  I made myself a scoot bike.  I needed to be able to show her what she could do with it, since she wasn't able to talk yet.  Also, I was kinda jealous of her new ride, and it looked like a lot of fun.  We would ride together, and play chase, and have the wheels kiss, and whatever else we could think of to have fun.  I would also find lines for us to ride on to practice straight riding.

3.  Pedaling on a tricycle.  Pretty soon we were scooting to our local bike shop.  While we were there, she wanted to ride a cool little tricycle they have.  That is how she learned to pedal.

4.  Power Pedal Technique (No Wimpy Pedals!).  It wasn't long after that, that it was time to start on her 'real' bike, the 'blue bike.'  I had a handle attachment that comes off the back.  I could help keep her upright with it, but I did not use it to do her work for her.  I used it as a safety net.  She still had to keep her bike balanced properly (make sure the feet can still touch the ground while seated).  At this point, she was able to talk and understand basic instructions.  So I talked to her at the same time as showing her.  She learned to get a pedal up for a good take off push with her foot.  Once she was rolling, she was riding, because she already had her balance from the skuut bike.  Again, I did not use the handle to do her balancing for her.  I would keep my hand hovering around it, just to be there to help alleviate a fall.
  
5.  Braking.  The next step was teaching her how to back pedal for the brakes.  To help with 'on the spot' braking, I set up a small kid size stop sign, at which she had to stop directly next to, and look for cars.  Actually, I had been implementing that since she started with the skuut bike, so she was used to stopping, but not as much with the new way of braking.  It didn't take long before she was able to brake on her own, and keep upright while coming to a stop.

Now she is riding on her own, and doing very well.  There are plenty of new bike experiences to come, and she still has alot to learn about riding, but it is exciting to see her naturally lean into a turn, ring her bell as she rides all the while smiling and laughing and having fun.  

Here is a link to our first scoot bike ride together.  Even though she is not wearing her helmet in this brief video, she always has it on when we are outside.  She has been wearing a helmet since she was 1 year old and riding with me in the bike trailer.  She loves wearing it, and is quick to remind me if I forget mine!



Friday, June 10, 2011

A Note To Considerate Drivers

We all know there are inconsiderate, and down right mean, car drivers out there.  However, some are quite considerate as well.  Sometimes though, their consideration doesn't always put or keep us cyclists in the safest situation.  For instance, the other day as I was about to make the left turn into my subdivision, a car coming the opposite direction stopped  and waved me across.  I didn't blindly accept their invitation though, and good thing too.  The driver behind them was beginning to veer to the right so that they could pass!  If I had not been aware of that possibility and watching out for that person, a disaster could have potentially occurred that would have left my kids fatherless and my wife husbandless.  

I'm commenting on this because I wonder if the considerate driver may have ultimately been confused and even offended at my hesitance to just go when they were waving me on.  I want/wish that they realize why I behaved the way that I did.  As a cyclist, we are one of the most vulnerable users of the road, and we can not be vigilant enough with our thoughts and actions when it comes to our own safety.  Even those who think they may be helping us to be safer can inadvertently put us in a compromising position.  

Be aware out there, be safe, and good luck!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Trappe, Pa Ride of Silence


Thanks to Bikesport Bike Shop, Trappe, Pennsylvania has joined others across the world in the Ride of Silence.  I'm happy that I got to be part of their second year of doing this.  I used my fancy diy camera mount and took some video of our ride, and added some of my own piano music.  I've seen some other videos of the Ride of Silence that people have done in other places, and it is interesting to see how different each location is;  But the meaning behind the rides, and the silence of each rider really unites each one.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hong Kong Ride of Silence

(photo by Lim Soo)
(photo by Lim Soo)

First, check out this excellent video on youtube of this year's ride of silence in Hong Kong.  

I was just in Hong Kong last March for the month, 32 days.  If you've seen my posts about it, then you already know that I had many wonderful cycling experiences there with my folding bike.  Before I arrived there, I had contacted many people in the cycling scene, and then had the opportunities to meet them in person while I was there.  One of those people is Lim Soo, of the blog i-brompton.  Before I left, I gave him as a gift a Hong Kong bicycle license plate.  You can see it in the picture above.  He rode in the ride of silence with it.  Another person I met is Martin, of unicycling hockey fame.  He also has been one of the most important advocates of cycling in Hong Kong for many years now, and instrumental in garnering support.  We hung out for an hour or so my last night in Hong Kong.  I didn't want to take my helmet back with me on the plane, so asked if he would like it.  That is him in the other picture above in the ride of silence wearing the helmet I gave him before leaving.  Eric, of Flwrider, made the video you can see in the link above, and in one of the frames is Brian, creator of Flwrider, and the father of the fixie scene that is ever growing in Hong Kong.  I got to meet them while I was there, have dinner, and go on a ride.  

Watching the video of the ride, seeing pictures from their ride of silence, leaves me with a feeling of gratefulness that I got to meet those people, and be part of the Hong Kong cycling scene for a brief time.  

Bicycle Unusualness

I was happy to see a tall bike show up at my local Ride of Silence earlier this evening.  A couple of my friends at the Community Bike Shop in Charlottesville, Va had made tall bikes, and I miss being around that kind of scene.  In case you're wondering, Ginny (owner of Bikesport) is pinning the ride of silence logo onto the back of Pat's jacket.

Can you spot what is unusual about Antimo's fixed gear (besides the pink tire!)?

Moving by Bike

Steve posing with the Fuji Royale II before I left on the second run.

There are alot of moving parts on a bicycle.  We move our legs to make it go.  The pedals spin, the crank spins, the wheels spin.  It moves our bodies from one point to another.  But that's not exactly the kind of moving I'm talking about for this post.  A bicycle can also move our belongings.  

The other day I helped my friend Steve do that.  Using a trailer from BikesAtWork, we took some trips from one house to the other, loading it with nice and light square boxes that fit perfectly to oddly shaped items that we had to tweak a few times to secure.  On one of the trips (about 1 mile or so one way), we moved the grill.  It fit perfectly on the trailer with no tweaking or extra work.  Each loaded trip took about 12 minutes.  It took less time than that to get back of course.  

Steve is very plugged in to his community.  We saw many people who he knows along the route between houses, and received smiling faces and thumbs up for our efforts.  

We weren't stressed about trying to get too much done.  It was kind of like just going on a neighborhood bike ride like you would as a kid, except you're taking a few things along with you, and dropping them off somewhere else.  The joy of riding a bike is still there even though you are working, and that keeps it fun.  

There was a natural break in between trips, and during one of them Steve had received a package in the mail.  It was a proof of the greenways map of Chapel Hill, NC that he has been working on recently.  If you live in the Philadelphia area, you may have seen or used the Greater Philadelphia Bicycle Map that he designed.  

My family and I are moving too in a couple of months.  Steve has said he'll let me borrow the trailer, which I'm planning to do.  I had already been thinking about moving by bike before I knew he was doing this.  Our new place is also only about a mile away from where we are now.  I've been daydreaming about moving my Yamaha P-22 upright piano by bike, but that's probably not going to happen.  If you've heard of anyone who has moved a piano by bike, let me know!  

If you're in a rush, then moving by bike is probably not for you.  If you can take some time, and want to make your move fun and memorable, then I suggest doing some of it by bike.  

Monday, May 9, 2011

Please Welcome My Fuji Track Bike



This afternoon, with Alan's help (owner of Alan's Bicycles), I was able to finish setting up my early 80's fuji track bike.  I'm very excited about this.  Also this afternoon, I registered to take an adult basic class at the Trexlertown Velodrome this August for 4 weeks.  I'll be going there two nights each week to learn and practice riding the track.  I'm hoping of course I can find other times to go ride there as well.  This will be my first time riding a fixed gear, my next step in this fuji cycling life.

Alan's help was integral to making sure this bike was set up properly.  This morning I draped the new (and beautiful) HKK chain around the crank and cog to eye the chainline before installing the chain.  It is a good thing I didn't just put the chain together because it was obvious something wasn't quite right.  I took it to Alan to have him take a look.  He ended up measuring the alignment of the frame, and it was apparent that it was not straight.  I left it with him, and in about an hour he had straightened it out, and got it squared away.  The chainline looked perfect afterward.  He also helped me get a start on working out the proper fit.  He is an expert in all facets of bicycling, and I knew he would see what I wasn't able to see.  Alan doesn't have a website, but you can see a list of some of the spectacular bikes he offers in a previous post I made.  By the way, the fuji titanium on that list has been sold.  His shop's address is:

 285 Schuylkill Road (Rt. 23) Phoenixville, Pa 19460  ph. #: 610-933-4818 
email: alansbicycles@aol.com     I highly recommend him.  His shop is the kind of place you'll always learn something new no matter how many times you visit.  

Stats of the bike:
ishiwata double butted tubing/made in Japan
nitto njs bars
nitto njs stem 110mm
suntour cyclone track pedals/fujita leather straps/njs toe clips
suntour superbe pro track crank njs167.5mm 
tange bottom bracket ISO 109mm
sunshine professional hubs njs/100mm front/110mm rear flip flop
bontrager inform saddle
sr laprade fluted seat post 26.6mm
origin8 48 tooth chainring 1/8
HKK vertex chain silver 1/8
suntour 16 tooth cog 1/8
tange falcon headset 
suntour lockring njs
ukai 700c presta rims tubular njs



Saturday, May 7, 2011

Trexlertown Velodrome Swap Event


No, I did not buy this (unfortunately).

Today was my first visit to the infamous Trexlertown Velodrome.  I hope to be going there alot more now that I have a track bike (more to come on the progress of that later).  They held their twice annually swap meet there today, and I went looking specifically for track shoes and a chainring/cog bag.  I did not find either, but I did find a great set of wheels for my fuji touring bike.  I also found the jersey you see in the photo above, however, Phil was asking $90 for it.  I just couldn't justify the cost without being sure it is something I would actually wear.  I didn't want to take my shirt off in front of everyone to try it on.  So I asked if I could take a picture instead.  

They served a great lunch at the Breakaway Cafe, and a wonderful special sangria in honor of Cinco de Mayo.  After I got my food, I was looking for a shady spot because I got sunburned last weekend at Bike New York (even though my friend Chris offered me sunscreen which I stupidly declined to use).  I spotted a picnic table with an umbrella, but most of the shade went into the grass instead of directly over the table.  I sat there nonetheless.  There were already two people there, Tim and Morgan, from Baltimore.  Morgan graciously gave me the shady spot next to Tim, and she moved to the sunny side claiming she was kind of chilly anyway.  They provided good conversation.  There was a kind of familiarity as if I had met them before already, but I don't think so.  They had come up the night before and camped out in the grassy parking area outside of the track.  

Bilenky Cycle Works was there, and I noticed a flyer at their booth advertising the next Philly Bike Expo this October 29th-30th, 2011.  That was a pretty good event last fall, and can only be better this time.  I'll look forward to that.  

This swap happens again in the fall as well.  I think it is in October too.  Hopefully I'll find a chainring bag before then though.  I was bidding on one on ebay the other week.  It was  vintage suntour one, blue, and would have been perfect because I'm setting this bike up with some suntour parts (crank, hubs, cogs).  I was the only bidder for days, and it seemed I would win it.  I was there at the last moments just in case, with my finger ready for the 1-click bid, and I did have to use it!  Unfortunately, that punk had put in a higher 'highest' bid, so when I clicked I lost again.  I was flabbergasted and very angry, but I guess that's how ebay works.  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bike New York: Yes! Bike Hong Kong: Maybe? Escalate!

(David, Chris, Meg, Me, and Haley)
So, here we are at Bike New York!  (Thanks Chris for the photos!) ... all of us at the 3rd rest stop with a great view of Manhattan in the top photo, and me and Chris stuffed into the 'special train' for all of the cyclists heading to the ride in the bottom photo.  On the way over to Manhattan from Jersey City, I detached the trailer from the bike to maneuver the escalators, but coming back later I just left it on and escalated with it attached.  That was pretty easy to do actually.  I love escalating with large pieces of equipment that I have to hold on to.  I really just love escalating; to escalate; let's escalate!  (Alright, enough of that.)  For the stairs I had to do two trips, and thankfully Meg was there to help Haley get up and down the stairs and escalators.  She was a great helper.  

We were able to stay together the whole ride.  As Chris commented at one point, the large group of over 30,000 riders was kind of like an individual organism, ebbing and flowing, and moving in its own organic way.  It was nice to have a completely car free ride, though I couldn't help thinking while on the expressway that I probably wouldn't choose to use it as a cyclist if I did have the option.  I like being tucked in between buildings and down on the street where I can see and feel people moving around me.  At the same time, a wide open road practically all to yourself is a great feeling too.  

A week or so before the ride I found some New York bicycle license plates on ebay.  I bought them to hand out at the ride.  After giving one to Meg, I had 9 left to hand out.  By the end of the ride I still had three left.  So 6 people were willing to take one.  Others weren't so keen on it.  I think some who declined just thought it was stupid and were too cool for a little bike license plate, and others I think wondered what the catch was.  Maybe they thought I had installed little tiny cameras on them, and would be watching the rest of their lives through it from a little dark closet in a basement or something.  I still have 3 left.  If you want one, let me know.  

I think it is astounding how this ride comes off.  The organization it takes to make it happen is extreme.  The main thing that stands out to me is how they close such major roadways to allow it to be car free.  If New York can do this, I think any very large city can do this.  I was thinking of Hong Kong alot as we were riding over the Verazzano Bridge.  That is a large issue in Hong Kong because cyclists cannot access Lantau Island from Kowloon or Hong Kong Island without taking a train or ferry.  It is illegal to ride the bikes over the bridges.  In fact, before I left there, Martin (a director of the Hong Kong Bicycling Alliance) and I were talking about this very issue of bikes on the bridges there.  I was also thinking of Hong Kong alot because we were on the train and ferry as part of this ride.  Cyclists have just begun in the past few years being allowed on the trains and ferries in Hong Kong, and indeed you cannot get everywhere on a bike that you want to there without having to utilize one or the other.  I think a ride like Bike New York could very well happen in Hong Kong, where they coordinate a car free route by closing some expressway lanes and bridge lanes in an orderly fashion to accomodate a large group of cyclists for a day.   'Bike Hong Kong' has a good ring to it too.