Rants and Raves

First Ride of 2020

I went on a nice ride yesterday. I wasn’t sure of where I was going, but I left the city and headed north to Mill Valley. I wound up heading up the hill to 4 Corners and then back through to SF and home.

It was a bit chilly (for me) but it was really nice out. I’m just glad to be out and riding outside. My mileage has been dropping steadily since going to my current job. I’m not blaming the job, but work commitments definitely play into the riding schedule.

There’s something to be said for just moving… just getting outside and seeing the sights and moving.

omata

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Some snaps from today

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Some Thoughts on Jump Bike and Bike Share

I’ve been playing around with the new Jump bikes on my commutes recently and some folks had asked what I thought of them so far. Here are my impressions, but also some thoughts on comparing them to the Ford Go Bikes (and program).

Just for background’s sake- I’m a member of the Ford Go Bike Program. I have a yearly subscription and I signed up when they first launched. I signed up for Jump recently because I had been seeing them around in the neighborhood more and also know one of their Ops Managers and got interested after talking to him more about what they were doing with the program.

Jump is a bike-share service. You sign up, give them your credit card info for billing and download their app* (there’s a way to use the service w/o a smartphone too).

To get a bike, you look in the app to see if there’s one near you and if there is, you can reserve it through the app and go get it. When you get to the bike, there’s a keypad on the back and you type in your pin.

This is much different from the Ford Bikes because Ford’s bikes are all in docking stations. Although you can check online to see if the station is full or empty, you have to go to the docking station. Jump bikes are station-less. They do need to be locked up to a legitimate bike rack (ie not a parking meter) but there’s no station.

What about the bikes?

Jump bikes near me right now

Jump uses e-assist bikes. Ford uses their traditional bikes. Both kinds are great- fenders, lights, baskets (well, Ford’s aren’t full baskets). Both are heavy.  E-assist means they have a motor in them, but you need to pedal for it to kick on. If you want to get sweaty and ride hard you can, but you can also use the motor to help you get up hills (and I’ve been testing this a lot). They cap out at just under 20mph too. They’re pretty neat. You still need to be careful with when braking- the bikes are heavier than you realize.  note: Ford will have e-assist bikes available in March/April.

Bikes in the Inner Richmond

So for me- and this may differ for you depending on where you live and how you ride-

Jump advantages:

-bikes near where I live (usually) – (there’s no Ford Go Bike station near me)

-electric assist

-I can reserve the bike

-big basket on front that can hold a box of baked pork buns (pic)

-$2/30 mins (compared to $3 for Ford)

-just partnered with Uber in test areas so you can use the Uber app to reserve/retrieve bikes

Jump disadvantages:

-Not as many around (for now)- but I’ve been able to get one whenever I’ve wanted one

-Potential for not being able to rely on one being in my area consistently

Ford “normal” bike advantages:

-monthly/yearly program

-can use your clipper card to rent

-a lot of stations in the flatter parts of the city and they’re expanding

Ford disadvantages:

-need to be near a station to get and leave a bike

-no ebikes (for two more months)

-basket thing on front isn’t as good as Jump’s

 

So overall I’m impressed with the Jump bikes and I’ll continue to use them if I’m not on my own bike. I’m tempted to leave the Ford program unless they get some stations closer to where I live.

But, if I were a commuter who comes from another city to SF on the daily commute I’d probably stick with Ford. If you get to the city via Caltrain- there’s a Ford station right there. If you use casual carpool from the East Bay and get dropped off in the FiDi, there are stations nearby. The same goes for users of Transbay.

Have questions? Leave them for me in the comments

Ack! My favorite accessory died

A few weeks ago my Fly6 rear light died. I’ve recommended this light to everyone and still recommend it.

I’m not sure what exactly happened but Cycliq tech support and I worked back and forth on trying to get it working again without luck. [impressively quick support team too]

Cycliq has a newer version out, and because mine was past the warranty date and they offered a discount to me, I wound up ordering the newest model last week.

I’ve commuted without it a few times now and I feel naked. Yes I have other lights- like my favorite Planet Bike Superflash, but I worried a few times about not having footage should I need it. (I never need it- knock on wood)….

I did post a vid from the Fly12 front camera last week in case you’re REALLY bored.

Check it out:

 

I don’t like bundles

image from SteephillTV - linked to their Fubo Page

I saw some viral marketing for a new online TV service. I was intrigued because they said they’d be showing bike races that I try to follow. It’s hard to buy the rights for those races and get them organized (listen to a podcast of Speedmetal Cycling and they’ll go into it more), so I was impressed. I’m always looking for an excuse to cut the cord and get closer every year.

But then I noticed on Steephill.tv’s page that there’s a wrinkle with the new one I saw (Fubo.tv), in particular related to bundling:

Not all big U.S. media companies are ready to fully embrace the ala-carte nature of online streaming and therefore you’ll notice that all OTT services such as fubo.tv, sling.tv and youtube.tv will have a core bundle of channels which represents the minium service package. In particular, fubo.tv’s network agreements with FOX and NBC prevent them from offering a cycling only package. Any package fubo.tv adds in the U.S. will require the core bundle of channels to be purchased as well. This is the reason for the price increase to watch the Giro d’Italia.

(Emphasis is SteephillTV’s)

TV’s a rough business. But this bundling stuff is why Netflix, Amazon, and the various sports leagues will keep eroding ‘big tv”s viewers more and more (Apple too). Cable companies/media providers/channels need to get with it.

Today’s Butthead

On almost every commute home, there’s usually a driver that does something dumb at this light on the Embarcadero.

Drive from the far right lane to the left lane? Check
Run the light with an illegal left turn? Check
Run across two train tracks while you do your illegal turn? Check

Links for Jan 23-Jan 31

Hey man, where’d you buy those empanadas?!?  I bought them from Venga Empanadas – go check them out on Valencia.

Hey man, where’d you get those co-co-co-things? They’re called COXINHAS and I bought them at – Cafe de Casa

Anything to read this week?

Sure- try:

FIGURING OUT YOUR’E NOT A CLIMBER, UNDERSTANDING THE VALUE OF MAYONNAISE FROM BJARNE RIIS, AND THE VUELTA A COLOMBIA. COLOMBIAN INSIGHTS FROM CYLANCE’S KYLE MURPHY.

 

CQ and Lyft in Japantown – Dec 12

Pulled footage from my Cycliq Fly6 for CQ on Dec 12. CQ is the rider behind me and we both (but 99% him) were honked at and almost cut off by a Lyft driver. I told CQ that I had a camera and he asked if I could pull it for him to see what had happened.

You can see and hear what happened with the video below. CQ keeps a MUCH more level-headed approach than I would have. I’m trying to be more zen on the bike, but I still want to slap mirrors*.

*I’ll try to find that old post or write a new one about being zen and mirror slapping

Here ya go:

 

 

Bikey Gift Guide

So one of the more popular posts I did a while back was a quick gift guide for cyclists. Sadly, that’s one of the posts that vanished, so I’ll try to recreate it.

The original list was intended as cheap guide and for both roadies and just general riders. I’ll try to keep the spirit of that but I know I’ll list some things that have higher prices. In fact, let’s get one of my more expensive faves out of the way first:

1. The Fly6 from Cycliq

In a nutshell, it’s a rear-facing camera with a light. It’s not the best camera ever, but that’s not the point. You just leave it running and if something happens, you’ll have footage. I run this on almost all of my rides and I love it.

I could go on about the features, but if you have questions, just ask in the comments.

One new thing- Cycliq has a new front-facing camera and light. I like it, but I don’t love it. I can talk about that in a separate post. For now, just get a Fly6

2. A DIY flat kit.

Here’s what you do- go down to Daiso or an equivalent store and get a school supplies pouch like this one below. Then put in some levers, a small multitool, a spare tube and maybe some pieces from a patch kit. Or perhaps a CO2 canister. Whatever you want. The pouch will easily fit into a jersey pocket, your backpack, whatever.

Want to get a fancy version? Get a pouch from OrNot- they call theirs the MacGyver (pictured next to the cheap pouch from Daiso).

A quick note- there are a LOT of nice ‘makers’ out there, so if you want to get some fancier pouches, look around your area. I’m in SF so I see things from OrNot, Fog City Gear, and Anza Bags quite a bit. Great stuff. There should be someone making something near you. Seek them out.bike-pouches

3. Some Embrocation or Chamois Cream

A nice stocking stuffer. Just beware if you buy embro cream, there are varying levels of heat. So if this is a gift for someone else, try to figure out what they may like ahead of time. Or just get a surprise and try any of the ones from Mad Alchemy.

As far as chamois cream goes- I really like Doc’s brand- the one that has the tea tree oil

4. Socks.

Yes, socks. Try some fancy ones from Ridge Supply, or some new designs from DeFeet. Need more ideas? Just search on instagram for sockdoping.

5. a bell.

What? A Bell? Seriously. It’s pricey, but a Spur Cycle Bell rocks. In fact I’m about to get a 2nd one for one of my other bikes.

6. Pins, like a poop emoji pin from etsy or elsewhere. For the back-of-the-ear helmet strap, just make sure the pin part isn’t too long. Otherwise, just put it on your backpack. Search on etsy or see other examples like what I’m talking about here.

7. A tune-up gift certificate. Go to your favorite bike shop and ask the mechanics for a gift certificate good for a tune up or other maintenance.

I can’t remember what the other items were from the original post, but if I remember, I’ll add them and update the blog post.

oh yeah-

Uniqlo has great t-shirts that you can use for baselayers. Just look for their heattech line, and size down. They’re usually $8, which is a LOT cheaper than other places. That’s more of a roadie-type gift, but it’s a nice one.

Edits:

Other items that may have been in the original post that are good ideas:

A Road ID or a Crash Tag