Monday, February 25, 2013

Bicycling isn't dangerous but. . .

I'm like an ad for Nutcase in this shot.
Just because it's been several weeks since my last post doesn't mean that I haven't been on my bike.  I'm on it most every day, pedaling back and forth to school, as well as my new hobby of getting my blood drawn twice a week due to being on a blood thinner.  The post surgical clot in my leg seems to be breaking up as the cramping, tingling and swelling is gone but I seem to have blood that "clots very efficiently" so I'm still on the regimen of twice daily shots and Warfarin at night.  Heavy sigh!
I could be on this stuff for several more months and have accepted that fact, along with agreeing to my husband's preference that I wear my bike helmet each and every time I ride. I don't agree that biking is putting me at any risk but I do understand a blow to the head (or really any part of my body) at this time could be hazardous to my life.  Luckily, my haircut is bike-friendly.

A newly mounted Zéfal bike mirror.
An additional safety precaution I took recently was attaching a new rear view mirror to the handlebars of my Brompton. Even before the clot thing, biking without a rear view mirror just didn't feel especially safe.  I certainly would drive our car without rear view mirrors so why would I bike without one? Sure, I can peek over my left shoulder but I don't care to be that adventuresome in busy downtown traffic. My preference is first a glance in the mirror, to be followed by looking over my shoulder.  I've always pedaled with bike mirror but hadn't found one that would fit the Brompton without interfering with the fold.  I'd looked at three or four mirrors and none would do.  But that can't be all there is, I told myself and after being surprised by a silent hybrid bus on Fillmore while on the way to school I promptly emailed Al at Portapedal for a solution.  Damned if he didn't email me right back to tell me he had just ordered a new mirror to test on the Bromptons and they should be in the shop within a week.  Four days later I had a Zéfal (it's from France!) bike mirror in hand.  Not one problem with the fold once I attached the it to the end of the handlebars as the mirror folds inward parallel to the handlebar.  Even left open, the mirror doesn't compromise the fold at all.

A small mirror in relation to my small hand.  Still, it does the job.
Yes, the mirror is a little small (a slightly larger one would be awesome) but once I found the proper adjustment I found it very effective. I now have a good view of what's coming up from behind so I can make those left merges with confidence. The only difficulty I had was mounting the mirror to the handlebar, and I regret not just bringing my Brommy with me to Portapedal so that Al could just take care of that part for me.  The glue that the Brompton factory uses to secure the grips to the handlebar seeped into the tube and I had to carve it out, which was no easy task as it was as hard as a rock.

The mirror folds easily in, parallel to the grips.
I don't especially like to focus much on safety issues on this blog because, as I've said many times before, and as most SRAB readers probably agree, bicycling is not an inherently dangerous activity.  I decided to bike through this blood clot business precisely because I felt safer biking in Phoenix traffic than driving through it.  Nonetheless, I have a temporary health concern and I'd be stupid to think I'm indestructible.  Just this afternoon, a cab driver, who most certainly saw me coming through the intersection in Garfield at 9th St. and  Portland decided that slowing down just long enough to say hello to the stop sign before accelerating and driving through it and around me was just a fine idea.  Neither my helmet nor my mirror would have saved me had speedy cab driver struck me but now is not the time for me to dismiss their utility.

Downtown Bicycle Action Group becomes Phoenix Spokes People(and our first meeting is Sunday, March 3!)

Anna Kristina leading our February meeting.
Yep, Downtown Bicycle Action Group (and the unfortunate acronym) has been renamed.  We're the same group but it was widely felt the acronym could possibly work against us in terms of PR.  By popular vote of our Facebook members the group chose Phoenix Spokes People (thanks to Bobby Jessie Chacun for a great suggestion!) as the new name. We are in the process of making some decisions on logos, figuring out how to transition our 400 members to the new Facebook page and making our presence know to City of Phoenix and other key community stakeholders and plan to cover those issues and others at the next meeting of Phoenix Spokes People (PSP) on Sunday, March 3 at 5 p.m. at Angel's Trumpet, located at 810 2nd St., across from the FilmBar. 

Bobby Jessie and Gene discussing outreach efforts and partnerships.
We usually have a table on the back patio behind the fence and Angel's Trumpet has kindly let us bring our bikes behind the fence due to the lack of adequate bike corrals - a situation we hope to rectify with the help of the City. This is an open meeting and we invite Phoenix bicyclists interested in bicycling (along with walking and public transit) as legitimate transportation options to please attend and lend their voice to this cause. 

Me and my friend and classmate Greg, who organized the February  17 group ride.
Professionally, economically, ethnically, educationally and chronologically, we are a true mixed bag but we are all invested in what kind of city we want to live in and the idea that providing great mobility options to the car-centric culture that has grown around us will have a significant positive impact on economic development.
 


7 comments:

David Bickford said...

Sorry to hear about the continuing issue with the blood clot. I remember my knee doctor making me take aspirin for a few weeks in an effort to prevent one from forming after surgery. A mirror is very helpful. My wife bought me a "myrricle" for Christmas, and it's been helpful when riding in traffic. Good to hear about the DBAG name change. I don't spend much time on Facebook, so I missed that news.

Jim Bangs said...

Safety subject for your blog is not boring!
I have been using a mirror so long now that it is weird when I ride a bike that does not have one!
I know that a helmet is totally up to the individual. My story is that I even started wearing one when skiing after I had a bike wreck this last fall. Skiing!!!! Who would have thought??? I think I learned to ski before I rode a bike, and I swore I would never be one of those Vail snob wanna-be's wearing a helmet. But after bike wreck, cracking a helmet in two and having a pretty good concussion.....helmet it is. Good Post!

John Walker said...

Yep - the helmet question (and it is one for me) is a bit of a dilemma. My general rule is if I'm bike-commuting to work during rush hour, I always wear a helmet. If I'm sticking around Coronado or biking downtown not during rush hour, I usually skip the helmet. My attitude is that the most dangerous thing any of us can do is NOT ride a bike (or do some sort of regular physical excercise). Then you can all but guarantee a future health emergency - diabetes, heart disease, cancer etc etc.

Side note - thanks for posting about Phoenix Spokes People. You seem very dedicated and we all appreciate that. Also, I enjoy reading your blog. Keep it up! :)

Marsha said...

Good name for the bike group!

Trent Jackson said...

Hi -

I'm recently came across your blog and I have enjoyed the articles and tips you provide.

I have crossed paths with a new start up called StemLite. They launched a Kick Starter 3 weeks ago at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1266057078/stemlite-integrated-bicycle-light

I would love to hear what you think about this cool new product for it's saftey and feature.

Thanks,

Trent Jackson

She Rides a Bike said...

Trent:

I looked at your link and love the idea, especially that it relies on batteries. Currently, I am having a lot of difficulties with the reliabilty of my LED generator hub lighting on my Breezer. Battery lighting, at least I have some control over. Love that it stays on the bike and that I wouldn't have to remove it every time I leave it outside a coffee shop.I like that the lighting stem wouldn't interfer with a basket or porteur rack, which my headlamp on the Breezer does. On the down size, the stem design featured in the video is rather inelegant. I don't think a lot of women will like it asthetically. Fine for a mountain bike but I'd never put one on my Breezer, an Electra, Globe Haul, other city or town bike. I'd want something that would blend well with a chrome handlebar. And no hard edges. For me, that would be a deal breaker as I feel about the style of my bike the same way my dad feels about the style of his car.

David Person said...

I just purchased a pair of pedals for my Brompton from Al at PortaPedal. When I emailed him to inquire about the size of the cage on the pedal, he promptly emailed my back with the dimensions and a couple of photos. I then called him and placed my order, as well as a little conversation with him. Very nice to do business with.