November 30, 2009
Ending BlogAds and Google AdSense to Focus More on Amazon
As regular readers know I've long had advertising on my blogs.
After years of offering people the opportunity for BlogAds, and allowing Google AdSense to advertise as well...I've made the decision to end both.
The decision wasn't all that hard to make.
In 4 years I think I've only had 6 BlogAds on my blogs, all on this blog, and 4 of them created by me to promote a site I liked.
GoogleAds took 3 years to earn me my first $100 check, and it would be 2011 before I'd get another. ;-D
Being an Amazon Associate has been nicer to me, at least in the number of people who make purchases by going to Amazon thru my links.
Over the years I've been approached by people wanting to put banner ads on my blogs, and go into partnerships of all sorts that make me wonder how much they explored my blogs, and the links to my traffic stats. ;-D
I plan on sticking with what I know, and understand, and expand from there.
That means utilizing what Amazon has to offer in ways I've not done before, and see what happens.
I will be adding more books to the Cycling Dude Recommends Amazon Box in the sidebar.
I also plan to explore making an Amazon Associate Store in the next couple of weeks to promote all my various interests as explored in my blogs.
I'm a cyclist, an urban hiker, a poet/writer, a genealogist, a music lover, a film buff, a classic TV series lover, history buff, book lover, and more, and I think I can create a shopping environment that would appeal to people with similar interests.
It is my hope that, if people like the content of my blogs, that they are encouraged to show that appreciation by going to shop at Amazon thru the links on my blog, and maybe even take a chance on something I recommend.
Will I be able to retire early due to all this Greedy Capitalistic Activity on my part?
But I do hope to do better than I've done up to now, and maybe, eventually, make enough money to help pay for my use of Typepad, and my Domain Names, each year, and maybe have something extra left over, to boot!
November 25, 2009
Philly Cops Sally Forth to Edumicate City Cyclists
Last weekend Philadelphia Cops pedaled around town on a mission:
Make bicyclists pay attention to their surroundings, those they share the road with, and the laws they're supposed to follow.
Why all the fuss, and attention?
The targeted enforcement was aimed at ticketing cyclists while educating them on what constitutes good behavior (stopping at red lights, signaling to turn) and what's punishable by a fine (biking on the sidewalk, riding against traffic).
"We think this is a good way to get the message out," said Philadelphia Capt. Dennis Wilson of the Ninth Police District, who helped coordinate the officers fanning out from Rittenhouse Square across Center City. "We're not trying to make things harder for bikers, we're trying to make things safer."
Bicycle safety has gained attention in the past week, after The Inquirer reported that two pedestrians died last month after being struck by bicycles, and that untold numbers of people suffer serious injuries from rogue cyclists who break traffic laws.
Read the full, interesting, story, here:
November 25, 2009 in Life on the Street: Local, and state Laws, and other topics | Permalink | Comments (0)
November 18, 2009
Florida Newspaper Alerts Cyclists to Laws They May Not Be Aware Exist.
...Until they get a ticket for breaking them, that is. ;-D
In a piece devoted mostly to laws related to driving a car there are 2 mentions of laws related to cycling ("Deep in the list of Florida motor vehicle laws are some you might not know can get you a citation worth $101 or more."):
1. Wearing a headset covering both ears prohibited while driving or bicycling
Enacted during the Sony Walkman craze in the 1980s, this law remains relevant thanks to .mp3 players and speakers shoved deep into ears, shutting off outside noise.
Today's smart phones also double as music players, and earbuds with in-line mics enable easy switching between rocking out and talking to Mom.
In Volusia County, 49 drivers were cited for this over the past year.
The law exempts hearing aids and cell-phone headsets that cover only one ear, leaving the other ear free.
The cell-phone exemption doesn't prohibit music from that single headphone, so drivers can legally enjoy their favorite tunes on their cell-phones -- in monaural.
2. Headlight and taillight required on a bicycle (Oh, and few other things you should be aware of, too!)
Yep, Florida considers your bicycle a vehicle, like a car or a motorcycle.
You need lights to ride at night.
You need operable brakes.
You need to stop at traffic lights and stop signs.
You can get a DUI for bicycling while impaired.
...and even if you start riding because you lost your automobile license, watch out.
But you don't get all the rights that big-boy vehicles get.
Bicycles and mopeds that travel below the speed of normal vehicular traffic must "ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway" unless turning left or overtaking a slower bicycle or moped, the law states.
A lot of bicyclists ignore the various requirements, and officers might not be looking to write citations, Whittet said. But in crime-prone neighborhoods, "lesser-used statutes give you a lawful way to stop someone and check them out."
The response from people who are, or claim to be, cyclists, in the comments to this piece are a mixed bag to say the least. ;-D
November 18, 2009 in Life on the Street: Local, and state Laws, and other topics | Permalink | Comments (2)
November 12, 2009
There Be Monsters!...Somewhere in Highland Park, Ca.
This heads-up was sent to me by The Bicycle Tree:
The Bike Oven and Flying Pigeon LA, two great bike shops that neighbor each other in Highland Park, will be hosting a group art exhibition entitled "Monsters on Bikes!".
The show opens Saturday, November 14th from 6 PM - midnight and runs until December 10th.
The show's opening coincides with the monthly Spoke(n) Art ride, a bicycle tour of the area's art galleries that leaves from York & Figueroa streets at 6:30. The ride returns to The Bike Oven around 9:30 to join the party.
A portion of the proceeds from the show will benefit The Bike Oven and The Bicycle Tree. The Bike Oven has been an inspiration for The Bicycle Tree. They have been helping the good people of Highland Park learn how to fix their bikes for years!
If you live in LA County, and Orange County, especially, but in neighboring counties, as well, you might find this an interesting even to check out.
Monsters on Bikes now has a Website, with 4 blog posts so far.
The 1st entry talks about the dispaying, and selling of art at the event (Submissions were no long accepted as of Halloween.
The 3rd entry talks about the show, and Opening Night, and provides a link to a Flickr page with a preview of artwork that is thought-provoking, very cool, and very funny.
It also provides links to the websites of all the participating artists.
The most recent entry is an image of the event poster, which incorporates the cool image on the header of the blog itself.
"Monsters On Bikes! For all fans of monsters and their two-wheeled riding habits" appeals to my peculiar sense of humor. ;-D
The Spoke(n) Art bicycle ride is a free, once-a-month, bicycle tour of art galleries in North East Los Angeles. The ride takes place on the second Saturday of each month - a special night in North East Los Angeles. Area art galleries open their doors late into the night as part of NELAart's "Gallery Night".
Learn more about the event, here. (Saturday? Hmm, If my day off comes on the designated day, then I just might check the event out myself someday!)
The Bike Oven Shop has had a Blog since Aug. 2007? Cool! I'll be adding them to the Blogroll, and checking them out!
The Bike Oven is a volunteer-run bicycle repair collective that started in a single car garage on Avenue 42 in Highland Park.
The Bike Oven endeavors to serve the community and improve the quality of urban life by promoting and facilitating, through culture change, the use of bicycling as an alternative to the non-sustainable and climate damaging fossil-fuel powered motor vehicle transportation system.
Flying Pigeon has a Website and a Blog...oh, and promotes an every 3rd Sunday Dim Sum Ride to Chinatown, or venues in the San Gabriel Valley, and other parts of LA! (Sunday? Hmm, If my day off comes on the designated day, then I just might check the event out myself someday!)
Flying Pigeon LA is a company, started by two brothers, located in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Flying Pigeon LA sells, maintains and evangelizes the Flying Pigeon brand bicycle (A famous bike brand in China) in Los Angeles.
The About Page has a lot of links about this very inexpensive bike, and a cool video.
The Blog has been up since July 2008 and, like Bike Oven, I'll be adding it to the Blogroll, and checking it out!
November 07, 2009
Fullerton Hiking and Biking Trails: This One's For Mountain Bikers
The City of Fullerton Ca., in the north of Orange County, has approximately 28 miles of recreational trails, which are spread throughout the city.
Hikers, equestrians, mountain bike riders, walkers, and joggers take advantage of these scenic trails.
On Wednesday afternoon, Hiking Stick and camera in hand, I spent 4 hours walking 4 of the trails in the network, from Downtown Fullerton to the border with Buena Park, a total of 8 miles or so.
My Bike does not have the tires for these trails, so the poor dear sadly had to miss out on the fun.
And there were a lot of cyclists out there having fun. ;-D
There are 11 Featured Trails with Info Links on the city website, and 8 other trails that are listed on the site, and related interactive maps.
You cross an old bridge over a railroad, and Laguna Lake is a wonderful spot for fishing, and bird watching, walking, and cycling along the south shore trail as it become the Bud Turner Trail on the other side of the lake, and heads past the Equestrian Center.
The Nora Kuttner Trail has several steep, and rugged, uphills and downhills, and hikers are always on the lookout for deliriously happy cyclists barrelling toward them on the downhills (I encountered several!).
It was here that I encountered 3 brave, and hearty, young teenage girls, taking on a climb. ;-D
They hopped in the saddle and valiantly headed onward, and upward, for a short distance before realizing it was the better part of valor to walk their bikes to the top afterall. ;-D
At Coyote Trees Hill Park is one more fun stretch for the cyclists, as the trail heads down into a canyon.
I have 6 more photos, and a detailed route description, in the full report of my adventure, and you can read it all here:
November 02, 2009
Cycling Dude's Conquest of Legendary Fargo St. Posted on YouTube!
Every March, for decades now, Bicyclists young, and old, sane, and mad, have gathered on a sacred stretch of road, a 1 block stretch of Fargo Street, in the hills of the Silverlake/Echo Park area of Los Angles for a most unusual, and challenging event, sponsored by the Los Angeles Wheelmen Bicycle Club.
It is a challenge so difficult that many bicycles refuse to attempt it with their owner, forcing the intrepid cyclist to valiantly forge ahead alone...
Okay, okay, maybe not... ;-D
It is simply known as The Fargo Street Climb, and attracts dozens of riders, and spectators, as well as the local print, and TV Media.
At a 32% grade this is possibly the steepest street in Los Angeles, and people as old as their 60's, and as young as 8 years old, have mastered it.
One woman has pedaled it 16 times in 1 day, and the male record holder took 9 hours to pedal up it 101 times.
8 years ago I came here for the 1st time, and marveled at the road, and the spectacle, admiring those who dared to pedal up their way to the top, from which the view is spectacular.
The only event that compares takes place in Pittsburg, Pa., and includes a stretch of road with a 37% grade.
I wrote about both events, in more detail, in 2006: Fargo X 13 in Pittsburg.
Last month I decided to have a little fun, and record my own encounter with Fargo, with my new Camcorder mounted on the handlebar of my bike. ;-D
I present to you The Cycling Dude "Conquers" Fargo St. in Los Angeles!
I am still learning to use my Camcorder, but this is still a fun little video (I figured out how to add a title, and credits!). ;-D
Yes, I made the mistake of not adjusting the camera angle along the way, and if nothing else had happened I would have considered another attempt, but the amusing encounter with the man who earlier drove his car to his house as I filmed the intro, led me to decide to share this anyway.
Wearing my 3 Feet Please Jersey I rode ny bike, this day, in Burbank, Echo Park, and Downtown Los Angeles.
By the way...Fargo is NOT the only extremely steep street in the hills of Echo Park, north of Dodger Stadium, I was amazed to discover (Who says Mother Nature doesn't have a sense of humor!). ;-D
After filming I headed downtown to the legendary Philippe's French Dip Restaurant, a couple of blocks north of the Union Station Transit Hub, for a dinner of a Lamb Sandwich, Coleslaw, Potato Salad, and Macaroni Salad.
See that wall behind me, in the picture below?
The 2nd floor of the building once housed a Bordello, before the restaurant moved in, decades ago, and over the years restaurant customers have taken permanent markers, and other writing instruments, and left their names, and various messages, for future patrons to enjoy. ;-D
While waiting for a bus, later that evening, on 6th Street, just 2 blocks from the notorius Skid Row, an old homeless black man, with a sense of humor, approached the bus stop in the darkness, but kept his distance, at first, saying..."Is THIS close enough?"
I laughed, and he laughed, and we both laughed even harder when I wondered what the reaction would be if I pedaled right throught the heart of Skid Row wearing the shirt. ;-D
For the next 15 minutes we had a nice chat about 3 Feet, and motorists and cyclists sharing the road, until his bus came along.
All in all it was a fun, and interesting day. ;-D
October 28, 2009
New York Times Reports on Balance Bikes 3 Yrs. After Cycling Dude's 1st Story
The Fish Wrap of Record was so embarrassed by the shame of being scooped by the likes of The Cycling Dude that it took almost 3 years for them to get over it, and do their own story...
Ok, ok, maybe not, but who can resist teasing The Gray Lady? ;-D
My friend Randy Eady, of Glider Rider, has alerted me to a story in the New York Times, by Yishane Lee, that gives very brief opinions on several bikes, including Glider Rider, providing pictures of each model, prices, and website links.
The test rider was the 2 yr. old son of a bike shop sales rep in Maryland and DC, and Dear Old Dad provided the opinions on each bike.
For instance, this was his opinion on Glider Rider, a bike that was not his 1st, or 2nd, choice of the 5 bikes discussed:
This 10-pound, steel-and-aluminum bike holds up to 90 pounds, and its lowest fully adjustable seat setting is 12.5 inches. Although Mr. Bartolome praised the footrest and kickstand, he had mixed feelings about the handle behind the seat. “I used it to steady the bike while Velo steered on his own,” he said, but holding onto Velo instead of the bike felt safer. “The hand brake was difficult even for me to pull back,” he added.
Obviously these thoughts are not a detailed review of each product, but they DO give parents some preliminary thoughts to work with, from a parent, with an age appropriate child, who happens to be an Cycling Industry person as well.
With the links provided, and a little Google Searching, any parent interested in any of these bikes can learn all they need to know to make the right decision for their child.
Read the story here.
***UPDATE - 12:20PM***
Randy Eady responds to Opinion of Tester on Glider Rider:
"Too bad the tester didn't understand the grip behind the seat was for carrying the bike...when your toddler bailed out after riding for awhile...
He apparently used it to guide his young son--which defeats the point of having them balance for themselves...ah well!
It IS a pretty picture. ;-D
BTW: Donating the two testers to a local charity called TLC Mobility for their annual Differently Abled Toy Drive."
October 26, 2009
Arizona Cycling Advocates Honored by Prescott Alternative Transportation
There is a great story out of Prescott, Arizona, sent me by a friend who lives there, about how efforts to encourage bicycling are being honored.
Prescott Alternative Transportation (PAT) has honored these efforts with a CYCLE award (Central Yavapai Community Leadership Excellence Award).
PAT, a nonprofit organization, offered the awards for the first time.
1. Joe Howard, principal of Prescott Mile High Middle School, walks to work whenever possible, and is trying to encourage more children to walk or ride bikes to school....
Howard, a former student who graduated from Prescott High School in 1989, is using money from Safe Route to Schools grants to bolster his efforts to encourage walking and bicycling.
2. Charlene Craig, was rewarded for her work on the Greenways Trails, Acker Park, the Bicycling Opportunities Map (described in PDF of 2009 City Bike & Ped Master Plan), open space, "and generally supporting the quality of life in Prescott."
3. Epic Rides of Tucson for turning Prescott into a huge mountain bike destination by creating and expanding the Whiskey Off-Road Endurance Race.
4. Prescott traffic engineer Ian Mattingly, for helping to strengthen relationships among the city's Transportation Coordinating and Bicycle Advisory committees, and PAT (Prescott Alternative Transportation.
See Joe Howard, with his award, and learn a bit more in this article by Ken Hedler, of The Daily Courier, of Prescott -- Achievers: Group honors people, business for promoting bikes.
October 22, 2009
Drunk Cyclist Faces German Justice
According to the story:
A drunk bicyclist got more than he bargained for when he went into a police station in the middle of the night and asked them to test his alcohol level.
The debate in the comments is over the choice of photo for the story, and the amount of the fine given the cyclist. ;-D
October 14, 2009
Kids With Disabilities Get Help Learning to Ride a Bicycle
As Summer fades into Fall there is a cool story, from July, that I want to share, reported by Denise Lockwood of the Wisconsin blog Know More:
Riding a bicycle is a tough thing to master.
There’s the peddling, the handlebars, the balance, the keeping focused on what is ahead of you and the turning. And for most children, riding a bicycle is a right of passage… except for children who have disabilities.
Those who cannot master the skills are children often left inside their homes with their parents. And they are often the odd kids out.
But that is not the case for 28 children and young adults who attended a weeklong camp held this week at Union Grove Elementary called Lose the Training Wheels. This week they became less disabled and more able.
As one who spent 29 of his first 38 years around a dozen mentally disabled women, several of whom where Down Syndrome, I found this story to be an inspiring one.