San Jose’s first cyclist fatality for 2017: Leigh and Coit

On Tuesday afternoon, San Jose Police reported the city’s first fatality of a person riding a bicycle.

According to the Mercury News, the crash occurred at 2:52 PM, police are investigating, the driver is cooperating.

This portion of Leigh Avenue is an important North-South connector between the central part of San Jose and Los Gatos across South San Jose. I travel here somewhat frequently, and the Strava global heatmap also signals the popularity of this bike-laned road.

In spite of the 35 MPH speed limit and the presence of children from nearby schools (class dismissed from Fanmatre Elementary School 500 feet from the collision site a mere 10 minutes before the collision happened, so children undoubtedly witnessed this crash), people speed like maniacs down Leigh Avenue. The street looks like a freeway, after all.


From 2006 through 2013, nine people on bikes and another nine people on foot have been injured after they were hit by a car within half a mile of this intersection.

Bicycle and pedestrian injury collisions 2006 - 2013 Leigh & Coit

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition San Jose Team meets tonight at the bike coalition office. I’ve requested a moment for the unidentified victim of yesterday’s traffic violence.

Other items on tonight’s agenda:

  • Automated Speed Enforcement legislation
  • Protected bike lanes in San Jose – candidate corridors/network
  • Complete streets and bike/ped projects in Santa Clara County Measure B
  • Announcements: Silicon Valley Bikes! Fest, Bike to Work Day, volunteer opportunities, SPUR panel(s)

SF Bay Area bike events Spring 2017

Riding through plum blossoms with San Jose Bike Train.  San Jose trails users: city crews are now clearing mud from under Hwy 101 on the Guadalupe River Trail so please slow down and follow their instructions.   #commutebybike #bikecommute #commute #cycli

Many bikey opportunities are coming up for you over the next couple of months in and around the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Baby You’re Much Too Fast: NAHBS 2017 Recap

A toddler riding a custom Triton Push Bike

A toddler riding a custom Triton balance bike.

Now in its thirteenth iteration, the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) is an annual convention showcasing the bicycle industry, prioritizing those who choose to construct bicycles specifically designed to the owner’s personal specifications.

Unlike its larger counterpart, Interbike, NAHBS is open to the public, with a specific focus on handmade bicycles; an art first pioneered by Ignaz Schwinn of Schwinn Cycles. While the majority of modern-day bicycles are mass-produced and imported from overseas, there is still a strong following of artisans that continue to push the envelope of bicycle construction locally on the North American continent. These frame builders utilize not only a variety of assembly techniques, but unorthodox material choices and graphic designs as well. While there was no shortage of innovation to behold, three artisans in particular took precedent over all others.

Emily Kachorek, Squid Bikes:

“It started because bikes were boring in general.” Emily Kachorek on the inception of Squid Bikes.

“It started because bikes were boring in general.” Emily Kachorek on the inception of Squid Bikes.

Handmade and spray painted in Sacramento, CA, Squid Bikes is creating bicycles as unique as the people who ride them. Spearheaded by Emily Kachorek, Squid Bikes is leading the rattle-can spray-painted bicycle movement.


Squid Bike’s custom build for the TRP booth. This particular finish was accomplished via layering with painters tape and spray paint.

Instead of providing stock finishing options for their clients, Squid Bikes instead sells their frames raw, and encourages new owners to take up a DIY approach through the use of masking tape and spray paint. From memories of pizzas past, to dreams of clouds and orange creamsicles, the creativity of Squid Bikes and their clients speak for themselves.

David Folch, DirtySixer:

The only bike designed for tall people, by tall people.

The only bicycle designed for tall people, by tall people.

At 6’6″, the standard 27″(700c) wheel size does not make for an ideal bike fit for David Folch. Led by a passion of cycling and inspired by a crash on a custom bicycle sporting 27″ wheels, Folch took it upon himself to design the ideal frame for men of greater stature; the DirtySixer. Rohloff hubs, custom dropouts, disc brakes, 36″(!) rims, oversized tubing, and extended crank lengths all come standard; every part specifically tailored to the task of serving a larger-than-average rider.

Lauren(5'7'') leg presented for comparison.

Lauren(5’7”) leg presented for comparison.

Folch has two Kickstarters to propel his business; a 32’’ wheel based design for those measuring over 6ft, as well as a corresponding 36’ variation for those who live larger than life. Check out both campaigns by clicking here and here.

As an added bonus, be sure to check out his DirtySixer in action in this American Express commercial featuring a very familiar basketball player…

Erik Noren, Peacock Groove

Eric Noren, posing with his award-winning build, Purple Reign.

Erik Noren, posing with his award-winning build, Purple Reign.

Erik Noren is a man who needs no introduction. Well known throughout frame building culture for his unapologetic mannerisms, when it comes to designing and creating bicycles, Noren has no peer. This could not be made any more clear than in his Magnum Opus, Purple Reign.

Commissioned by famed bicycle designer Anna Schwinn, Purple Reign is an homage to the late fellow Milwaukee native, Prince. An avid fan himself, Noren integrated homages to some of the artist’s most famous lyrics within Purple Reign. These references include, but are not limited to, Little Red Corvette, Purple Rain, When Doves Cry, Sexy MF, Seven, as well as a gratuitous use of Prince’s beloved Love Symbol. Purple Reign took home not only Best Theme Bike, but also Best In Show for NAHBS 2017.

“This is a sort of mania.”, Don Walker, Frame Builder and NAHBS President/Founder discussing Norton’s Purple Reign.

“This is a sort of mania.”, Don Walker, Frame Builder and NAHBS President/Founder discussing Norton’s Purple Reign.

For a closer look into the builders and bikes present, check out the slideshow by clicking here.

Cain Ramirez is the Co-Founder and CEO of Cowgirl Bike Courier. He has been designated by Richard Masoner as part of the less-than-one percent of transportation cyclists that identify as “Strong & Fearless”.

Thank you to trail volunteers, road reports, & rain next week?

20 people showed up last Saturday to clear the Guadalupe River Trail under Montague Expressway. Thank you so much for your efforts. Thanks to your help, the Mid-March San Jose Bike Train can roll Wednesday morning from Bel Bacio Cafe at 8:15 A.M.

Guadalupe River Trail cleanup March 11 2017

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San Jose Trails report, and a South Bay creek trail cleanup this weekend

Many of our creekside trails have been underwater for several weeks after this season’s epic winter storms. The rivers are finally subsiding, exposing a mess of mud and debris. Maybe you can’t donate $5 million in flood relief like self-made billionaire Kieu Hoang did last week, but you can spare ten bucks for a shovel, or $80 for a chainsaw, or even an hour or two of your time this weekend.

Guadalupe River Trail Trimble Road mud

TL;DR summary: Guadalupe River Trail cleanup under Montague Expressway, 11 A.M. to 1 P.M. Saturday, March 11, 2017. Bring water, good shoes or boots, shovel, handsaw, or chainsaw. Park at Qorvo, 3099 Orchard Drive, San Jose, CA and walk up to the trail. Other instructions in the final section below.

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Guadalupe River Trail mud clearing day

Update: The Guadalupe River Trial under Highway 101 is (more or less) passable. The real problem spot now is the trail under Montague Expressway. We’ll work there this Saturday, March 11, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This chart from the United States Geological Survey shows the level of the Guadalupe River underneath Highway 101 just north of San Jose International Airport. The trail floods here at any level over seven feet deep.

Guadalupe River Stream Guage

Over the past few days the river level has dropped by about an inch per day. At this pace, the trail should be above the water in about ten days, but the trail will still remain covered in mud and debris.

City of San Jose and Valley Water District crews are still incredibly busy cleaning up and repairing significant flood damage elsewhere in the area, so we’re on our own for the time being cleaning up the trail. Because Hwy 101 is the most significant barrier to bike travel, I’d like to start with that underpass. If the water level drops enough, I tentatively plan to bring a shovel here the morning of Saturday, March 11. Many hands make light work, so I invite you to come along to help.

Bobcat loader rental runs about $200 / day. If somebody wants to rent one and trailer it to this location I’ll pitch in for the cost. Let me know immediately if you can do that so I can contact the city, the airport, and the water district about whatever permits we might need to get this done.

I’ll bike here, but if you drive remember that airport parking costs money ($15/day at the Economy Lot, located right next to the trail). Nearest free parking is street parking on Airport Parkway about a one mile walk away, but those spots are usually filled up with sleeping uber and Lyft drivers.

Let me know if you think you can participate. I’ll bring water and snacks, maybe figure out a way to get pizza delivery here. Bring your own shovel and rubber boots. And if it turns out city and water district crews get a chance to clean this up for us, I’ll cancel this volunteer effort.