Who remembers Follow Friday on Twitter? I haven’t blogged much over the past several years in part because Twitter makes quick interactions with you so easy and fast. I’m undecided on my Twitter future, but in the meantime, I’ll share my other social media links here, along with those of other Twitter users as I run across them. Please feel free to share your social media connections in the comments.
I’m migrating my Mastodon from what I think is a sketchy site to the much cooler sfba.social, where you can find me at @firstname.lastname@example.org.
Darryl Collins has created a Google Docs #biketwitter finder for Mastodon, so I don’t need to update the list below. Read his post here for the details.
Mastodon does hashtags well. If you want to be findable, I search Mastodon for #bicycle, #bicycles, #cyclingtwitter, and #cycling. Feel free to let me know what you use and recommend.
#biketwitter and friends
I’ll begin with this quick placeholder of people I know about who have created other social media accounts. Today is a busy work day so I won’t get to everybody just yet, and perhaps paradoxically the people I’m least close to will probably be recorded here first, not least of all because converting @user@mastodonserver username to a URL which is not standardized across the servers is time-consuming. You’ll see not everybody here is strictly about bikes, but they’re adjacent to my personal interests. Some of you all have multiple Mastodons, but I’ll only list the first one I see.
I hope this seed is an okay enough start because now I have work to do. I’ll add more as I have time to update this page.
Who is that metal elephant?
The photo above is a statue of Lupe, a juvenile mammoth who lived about 14,000 years ago in what is now Santa Clara County, California. Her bones were discovered in 2005 by Roger Castillo as he walked his dog along the Guadalupe River. You can learn more about Lupe at the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose.
I just kicked in some cash to support the Jobst Brandt Ride Bike! book.
Jobst Brandt, who passed away at age 80 in 2015, was a gruff, know-it-all Bay Area mechanical engineer who developed bicycle computers, a touring bicycle shoe, and high performance bicycle tires. He’s perhaps best known for freely giving advice on the various bicycling forums on Usenet back before Jack Dorsey invented Social Media. Brandt authored The BIcycle Wheel, which remains the authoritative work on building bicycle wheels.
I ran into him exactly once. He and a friend were bicycling over Highway 9 from his Palo Alto home as is his custom when they stopped at the Foster Freeze in Boulder Creek, California, where he held court and opined on farm tractor design and computer company logos.
He’s also known for touring all over the Alps on unimproved roads, and leading crazy rides on dirt roads througout the San Francisco Bay Area, all on skinny high pressure sew-up tubular tires. You can read about some of Brandt’s adventures at the blog of Ray Hosler, another legendary local road cyclist.
Isola Press in the UK have launched a Kickstarter to publish a book on the life of Jobst Brandt. They promise to share some of the thousands of photos from his life. I’m still a fanboy of Brandt and I admit to an unreasonable level of excitement. You can learn more about this project at the Kickstarter Project Page.
Besides the bikes of Sea Otter, I’m especially interested in the people of Sea Otter. In this photo, Bluejay CEO Jennifer Cohen Bogan stands behind the bike she designed from her office in Marin County, California, and her backstory fascinated me.M
Many bike industry people are bike nerds. People like me, and people like many of you who read Cyclelicious. Maybe they were athletes, or they love outdoor activities, or they have a proclivity for mechanical gizmos and googags.
Ms Bogan took a different path. She was a marketing executive in beauty , fashion, and cosmetic businesses. She took time off to spend time with her children when she saw families riding electric bicycles around town. She tried these bikes and loved their ease of use, but disliked their looks.
She started Bluejay to create functional yet on-trend electric bicycles. Their display at Sea Otter evokes picnic rides and family getaways.
If you’re at Sea Otter, I invite you to find their booth not far from Dippin Dots cart. Bluejay began in 2018 and, like many outdoor businesses, sold bikes like crazy during the first eighteen months of the pandemic. They’re building out their dealer network, or you can buy online and have a bike shipped to a shop for assembly.
For more from Sea Otter 2022, I invite you to follow me on Twitter.
Sea Otter began as and remains primarily a mecca of mountain biking activities and gear, but for 2022 I see what might be a decent presence of companies showing bikes suited for utility use. I plan to look at bikes from Bluejay Bikes (they have one with a sidecar this year and it’s so gorgeous), UBCO (a New Zealand company that makes electric bikes for use on the farm), Benno “Etility” Bikes, Magnum Urban Electric Bikes (with step through models!), Bombtrack Urban Bikes, and more.
I was unable to attend the Sea Otter bike advocacy summit that took place during the first half of this week, but I heard some interesting things about it. Spoke Safety presented their vision for connectivity so that vulnerable road users can participate in V2V collision avoidance networks now under development. They’ll demo their tech in which bike riders will mix it up with an Audi e-tron on a test track. I’ll interview the CEO of Spoke Safety this Friday, and I have my own thoughts regarding the application of Internet-of-Things technology to improve cycling safety, but I’ll save that for its own post.
Besides purely utilitarian riding, I still quite enjoy recreational road riding so watch for my quick thoughts gravel and road bicycles in this space and on my Twitter. While I’ll likely mention the overwhelming presence of e-bikes at Sea Otter, I won’t dig too in-depth beyond a “whee, this is really fun.” For the nuts and bolts and practicalities of e-bike riding and ownership, I invited you to visit the brand new eBike Chick Blog.
If you want to attend, you can buy a one-day pass for $25 either online or at the venue, but note that lines for pass sales can be very long. If you plan to demo bikes, you need to sign the waiver electronically. Parking is $50 per day. There’s no transit to Laguna Seca. You can expect a challenging bike ride up the hill from either Highway 68 on A Road, or up Boundary Road from General Jim Moore Boulevard, but once you arrive you’ll find a large valet bike parking area.
No transit agency in the technology-heavy San Francisco Bay Area supports tap-and-pay contactless fare payment using bank cards; you have to use the proprietary stored value Clipper Card or their Clipper App. The Los Angeles area has their TAP card — again, a proprietary stored valued card. But which California transit agency allows you to use the chipped bank card you already have in your wallet, or the open payment app on your phone?
The first California transit agency to offer contactless bank card fare payment as you board the bus is Monterey Salinas Transit (MST), a small, scrappy lifeline service with a $42 million operating budget covering 300 square miles of mostly rural Monterey County.
I was in Monterey County for the Sea Otter Classic this past few days so I made use of the local transit. MST has a complicated, distance-based fare system that historically involved the driver having to remember who paid for what distance. While looking for their current fare information so I could arrange to have exact change, I was thrilled to learn they now have contactless payment. I tapped my chipped bank card when I boarded, and tapped again when I disembarked for the proper fare payment that accounted for my distance traveled. It’s so easy peasy.
Since then, Sacramento Regional Transit began offering the same service for light rail rides, also in partnership with CalITP. Hurray when transit agencies make payment easier for visitors, occasional users, and first time users.
(Assuming you’re vaxxed and / or masked, but it’s all outdoors in the American state with the lowest Covid transmission rate.)
I like to visit Sea Otter on Thursday because that’s the slow day, but it’s anything but slow here with full campgrounds, more athletes than they had at their 2019 record year, and a busy expo area.
Sea Otter is under new ownership, but most of the staff who ran the show in previous years are still here, with the same attention to the guest experience except now they have more resources to make things happen.
One area where numbers are down are vendors and demos. Several bike industry people told me they just don’t have the bikes available to demo, either because they sell them faster than they can build them, or because they couldn’t ship them to California. Still, there’s plenty to see. As always, the focus is very much on mountain bikes, but I’ve seen a few vendors selling lifestyle and utility bike things that interest me.
I made a whirlwhind visit to a few vendors and I’ll write my thoughts up on what they have in the coming weeks after the show. In the meantime, visit my twitter for updates and photos from the show. Or, if you can, come out yourself for a visit. You can wait in line for a pass, or buy online and save yourself some of the hassle.
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