Hello Brompton fans,
Bay Area Bikes will be hosting North America’s first Brompton Urban Challenge right here in Oakland, CA. What a delightful treat!
Here’s an email I received from Bay Area Bikes and want to pass it along.
Pedalfest, our annual tsunami of bike fun is right around the corner. New to this year’s event offerings is Brompton’s first-ever North American Urban Challenge. For the uninitiated, Bromptons are simply the most fabulous compact folding bikes around and as the Bay Area’s most renowned Brompton dealer, we’re honored to be the first to host this event. The Challenge will take the form of a scavenger hunt with all types of bikes tooling around downtown Oakland in hot pursuit of famous landmarks, hidden gems, and highlighted bicycle-friendly businesses.
I’m inviting you, as a fellow business owner or community leader, to create a team of your cohorts to participate in the Challenge! Make it a team-building event; challenge a neighboring business; have fun with it!
Rules are simple: follow a series of clues across the city, snap photo evidence of the answers and post to social media. Interpretation of the clues earns extra favor in the eyes of the judges (oh yes, there will be prizes)! The route will include classic Oakland landmarks and a mix of special locations only revealed on Brompton Urban Challenge Day.
No Brompton? No problem! Register for the Challenge and we’ll hook you up with one of the limited Bromptons available on a first asked basis. Or you can bring your own bicycle, provided that your team has at least one participating Brompton rider.
Do you ever wonder why all of a sudden a bike lane ends for any practical purpose? It’s most likely because space for cars is more important than your safety on the road. As long as there are enough space for both cars and bikes, then you will have a bike lane. Where that’s not possible, bike lane will most likely convert into a bike sharrow or disappear altogether. And street parking is usually the culprit.
The watered-down Polk Street plan in San Francisco is a prime example between car parking vs bike safety. On Polk St., merchants or shop owners believe that their customers need street parking to frequent their shops. Surveys have shown that 85% of the people patronize their business come either by foot, bikes or buses. It is more than likely they are fighting the spaces for their own cars.
In any case, what about when shops are not present, is parking spaces still required? Nonetheless, I have found a few examples showing car parking is still given priority over bike safety when riding around the beautiful Lake Merritt in Oakland.
The photo above shows a typical dysfunctional bike lane. Bike lane ends because car parking takes precedence over bike safety. Obviously, there is not one shop there. So, why is car parking necessary? Don’t people come to the park to stroll, jog or picnic? Any urban park like this should be promoting active transportation but not at this park. Not to mention, car parking ruins the curb appeal of this beautiful lake and endangers pedestrians when they cross the streets.
And why is the “Bike Lane Ends” sign posted right where the bike lane ends. What do you want bicyclists to do when they see a sign like that? Go ride on the sidewalk? Pull over and walk our bikes? Also, the sign is not visible when it’s posted far away and behind a parked car? At the very least, urban planners should be placing those stupid bike sharrows beyond this point.
Next, I want to show you (traffic planners) why a bike lane should be continuous. Below is a series of photos showing a cyclist is being endangered where a bike lane ends at Lakeshore Ave. and MacArthur Blvd. You could see that the cyclist was swerving away and resume it’s position afterward. This is a problem every rider faces when a bike lane ends. This sure as hell is going to scare everybody who is on the fence of riding with the current bike infrastructure or there lack of. The reason for this is because up ahead there’s space allocated to a handful of parking spaces (photo 5 of the series). This section is adjacent to the 580 MacArthur freeway and bike lanes should be continuous to provide that safety to cyclists.
I used to live in Grand Lake neighborhood and the scariest part of my commute is riding on this stretch. When I found out from Bike East Bay Coalition that they will installing bike lanes, I was excited to go check it out. Now they do have a bike lane but not yet painted (see dashed and light markings in photo), and new bike sharrows as seen in the photo below. So yet again, the same old theme still applies. A brand new bike lane that is half-assed because of car parking. This is especially bad, because it disappears at mid-block. A no-no protocol in any street planning manual.
Shops are nowhere in the vicinity. Just car parking for the park for 8 freaking vehicles over the safety of cyclists? Yes, there is a farmer’s market every Saturday but there’s also plenty of parking nearby, a parking lot under the freeway (not shown). Drivers can argue that a Grand Lake movie theater is nearby, however, there’s also another parking lot around there.
So, it boggles my mind to think that even when shop keepers are nowhere to be seen to fight for parking spaces for their presumed customers’ base, then why do we still having this ridiculous traffic configuration? What’s crazy is that a park is for people to enjoy tranquility and recreational amenities that a park provides, why is bike infrastructure so incomplete? Lake Merritt is a perfect place to bike. It’s only 5.5 km (3.5 miles) in circumference, perfect distance for a nice ride. Moreover, you would think that any new bike lane installments, urban planners would know how to best implement them. But, of course bike safety is never in their mind to begin with, or are they just that incompetent?
It’s very sad news to hear that the Bay Area Bikes shop on Broadway was burglarized this past weekend. It’s a unique bike shop that provides service and products that no other bike shop in Oakland can match. It is this bike shop that Nellie and I got our Bromptons, and got to know its friendly staff.
Most of the Bromptons and Tern folding bikes were stolen, and a couple of Stromer electric-assist bikes (without battery chargers) and an Xtracycle cargo bike. Here are the lists of the stolen Tern and Brompton folding bikes.
In case you can’t identify these bikes, here are some typical examples of them.
See below is the police report.
|In the early morning hours of October 25, Bay Area Bikes in Uptown Oakland was broken into, resulting in the near-total loss of their folding bike inventory. 46 bikes in all were taken: 15 Brompton folding bikes, 20 Tern folding bikes, 3 Dahon folding bikes, 2 electric Stromer bikes (without battery chargers) and 1 Xtracycle cargo bike. OPD was able to make arrests and recover some of the Tern folding bikes quickly due to the actions taken by observant community members; in 4 separate circumstances, citizens saw something that wasn’t right and called OPD – officers were dispatched, arrests were made and bikes recovered.In addition, the business owners were able to quickly provide Dropcam footage to OPD that aided in identification and arrests within hours of the break-in.The community’s help is still needed to help locate stolen bikes and arrest those responsible for this crime. Attached are pictures representative of the bikes taken. These bikes are rarely sold second-hand so any offer to sell a bike of these brands or matching the descriptions should be considered suspect and you should call OPD’s non-emergency line at 510-777-3333.Bike theft continues to be a big problem in the Bay Area. Protect your property by registering your bike; this will aid in reuniting you with your bike in the event it is stolen. Bike East Bay has more information and a link to a free open-source database at https://bikeeastbay.org/register|
Bay Area Bikes needs your help. Please report to the police if you see any suspicious activity regarding these bikes. Bromptons are rarely sold used in the market. And you’re not going to see a lot of Stromers on the market either.
And please sign this petition to demand Craigslist and eBay to require serial numbers when bikes are sold on their sites.
It wasn’t Thanksgiving Day yet, but we felt we wanted to do something to show our appreciation to fellow bicyclists- those who choose a bicycle over a car to get to work. Therefore, we got an idea to pass out some treats to people who were passing by with their bikes.
First, Nellie made a prototype of the kind of treat we would be giving out.
Then she made a whole bunch more.
Last Friday evening, August 22nd, we handed them out to bike commuters coming off the Jack London Square ferries. Here are some photos of some of the folks we met.
Another happy commuter
Thank you to all of you who choose to go from point A to point B by bicycle!
What: H&M stretch dress in purple, Express cargo jacket in gray, Fjallraven Kanken backpack, Brooks Addiction sneakers (recommended by my podiatrist for foot problems =p), silver hoop earrings
Where: Oakland Chinatown
When: Friday evening, August 15th
Why: Riding to meet Chris at the Jack London Square ferry station, then dinner in Chinatown at Shooting Star Cafe
Featured Bicycle: Biria mini velo
Hello fellow bicyclists,
Last time, I wrote a post about bike lanes being blocked by all sorts of things from delivery trucks to piles of dirt. I had never seen a vehicle parked outside a bike lane, but there was this UPS delivery truck that to my surprise did something out of the ordinary-park on the outside of the bike lane. I wanted to thank the driver but he/she wasn’t there. But this time, I saw another UPS truck parked outside the bike lane and was able to catch the driver. I asked the driver, “Is it the company’s policy to not block bike lanes? It’s the second time I’ve seen this.” She shook her head, no. Then I asked, “Did you purposely park there to leave the bike lane open?” To my surprise, she said that she just didn’t want to block any cars that wanted to park or leave. Anyhow, I still wanted to let her know that it’s a good thing she didn’t block the bike lane because it can be dangerous for cyclists to have to weave out into traffic when bike lanes are blocked. She said, “No wonder! There was this female cyclist earlier waving to me to say thank you but I didn’t understand.” I hope that the UPS driver, knowing what she knows now, will do the same thing everywhere when she’s behind the wheel.
Yep, we bicyclists still get no respect!
Be safe and cycle well!
I passed by and discovered this bike shop called Bay Area Bikes at 2424 Webster St. when I was going to a car rental nearby. It is ironically situated in an area (Auto Row in Oakland) that is filled with car dealerships. Stick it to them, Bay Area Bikes! When I walked in and spoke with Clay who owns the place with his wife, Glenda, I knew this shop was for me. They are great people who believe in making the community livable through biking, and they carry quality bikes because they don’t believe in “race to the bottom prices”. They have bikes and accessories that I really like and they appear to carry bikes for everyday folks, in addition to performance bikes.
Here is a review from a friend, Kristen, that I think says it all about Clay and his bike shop. One day on the ferry to work, I told her about Bay Area Bikes, and she said, “That’s where I got my bike!” She said that at first, she went to at least 4 to 5 shops all over Oakland and everyone ignored her completely. I have always felt that bike shops intimidate women, particularly women that are buying a bike for the first time, and Kristen is in this category. Most shops carry mostly performance bikes, the employees are usually men, and the way the bike shop looks exudes masculinity. But this particular shop is different from the norm.
These words were taken from our conversation: “When I got to Bay Area Bikes, I was immediately greeted and treated with respect. I had no idea what I needed or wanted, other than a good-for-commuting bike that wouldn’t hurt my back. They suggested a Tern folding bike, demonstrated to me, and let me try out the bike, but I still wasn’t sure if it would hurt my back. They then recommended me to go rent one for a day at their Bay Area Bike Rentals in Jack London Square, but then a friend let me borrow one for a whole week. So I tried it and and went back to Bay Area Bikes.” She got everything from them, from a bike helmet and lock to a commute bag and her dear Tern Link D7i folding bike. She says that through the whole process “everyone was friendly and helpful, and to this day every time I go in for a service (or yet another accessory) they are just as nice and easy to work with, and they never talk down to me.” A great recommendation from a new devoted customer!
There are four locations of Bay Area Bikes now. One is in Pittsburg and the other three are in Oakland. One is a bike rental in JLS as I mentioned earlier; the second is in Uptown and carries commuter and performance bikes. The newest shop just opened about a month ago at 2509 Broadway and 25th Street, which sits in between an Ethiopian restaurant and Smythe’s Accordion Center (yes…that folksy instrument, accordion!). It’s a nice and niche bike shop.
Why do I like this shop particularly? They are the only Brompton authorized dealership in town and secondly, they fill a niche that most bike shops don’t. Furthermore, they sell great quality bikes: Tern and Brompton folding bikes, Swiss-made Stromer e-bikes, Oakland-based Xtracycle and Yuba cargo bikes, and nice accessories to go with the bikes. The target here is for everyday cycling with utility in mind. And any woman stepping into this shop is not going to shy away. They carry stylish bags and an equal number of bikes for females and males, which reflects the almost equal gender split of ridership in Oakland.
Finally, when you talk to Clay, you will certainly feel like you bought the right bike because he only carries bikes that he believes in. Moreover, he has immense knowledge of his bikes and is happy to share his knowledge with you. He knows every little detail about the bikes he carries and can make an informed opinion for you if you like. Oh, his wife Glenda is super patient and I am glad for once there’s a woman working in a bike shop.
If you have a love for Bromptons like I do, this is the place to go to!
This year is Bike To Work Day’s 20th Anniversary. Bike To Work Day (BTWD) strategy is to encourage bicycling as a non-polluting and healthy commute option. These are pretty much my two reasons why I bike. To make it easy and encourage newbies, there are dozens of Energizer Stations (some with free bike repairs) located everywhere. These stations are locally sponsored and have free stuffs from bagels to chocolate chip cookies to coffee (and bananas). What’s great about these stations is that each station is sponsored by a different venue and you can chat with the employees that volunteer for that day.
I am a bike ambassador for my workplace and so to celebrate this year’s BTWD, I wanted to lead a ride to work. It was just a lot of fun being part of it and seeing more people come out to ride. I would put this as the most important day for any bike advocate. Here is my recap…
So in the evening, my ferry/bike commuters all went to the Bike Happy Hour Party in Old Town. It was hosted by Bike East Bay coalition.
I really enjoyed this year’s BTWD. Next year, I am planning to take the whole day off from work and visit every Energizer Stations. Sounds like a good plan?
For all those who are new to bike commuting on May 8th, I hope it’s a beginning of many more bike commuting days for you.
I am so tired of vehicles blocking bike lanes when you already feel like you are a target for every driver.
What’s the point of bike lanes when cars and trucks are double parking? It’s so easy for a driver to pull over into the bike lane and stop there and act as if he or she is doing nothing wrong. There’s so much disrespect for us people on bikes. I used to bark at drivers but now I don’t even try.
Already, there are few bike lanes in the city of Oakland, and yet many times drivers take away those bike lanes by parking on them. Blocking bike lanes particularly on high speed streets forces bicyclists to swerve out into car lanes which is very dangerous, and I don’t even think drivers can even think of this hazard to people on bikes.
What’s worse is when you see a car that is a government vehicle! One time, I saw two police cars parking on bike lanes in San Francisco (no, their patrol lights weren’t even on). If city officials don’t set good examples, why would private citizens do the same?
But today for the first time I couldn’t believe my eyes. After passing a FedEx truck parked in the typical fashion blocking a bike lane, ahead of it was a UPS truck parked on the outside of the bike lane, not on it. At first I thought UPS was driving away, but that wasn’t the case. You can see its emergency yellow lights flashing. I was hoping to find out who he/she was and to say “Thank you!” but the driver wasn’t around. I would like to think he/she is a bicyclist himself/herself or is it the policy of UPS to not park on bike lanes? I will look for them next time.
Happy bicycling and hope to see you at Bike to Work Day, May 8th!