Bikes

Especially bikes where I live, which means Sydney at the moment



How to bike

The 90stastic bike resource, useful, lucid and guilelessly messy, is the marvellous Sheldon Brown’s how-to guide (e.g. How do I work with cantilever brakes?) The collected jwz bicycle wisdom is one guide to no-bullshit biking. Top tips inclide

“City bikes” and “road bikes” are designed for some Jetsons-slick hypothetical future city that I’ve never seen. Or maybe for the bike paths in Los Altos or something. Here in real cities, roads are shit, and if you want your wheels and tires to survive curbs and potholes, you need a hybrid. They’re a little heavier and a little slower. Are you racing? No? Then you don’t care.

Safety: I follow the Zodiac approach: always assume the cars can see you perfectly, and are trying to kill you. If an intersection seems iffy, use the sidewalk and crosswalks. If big streets like Market and Van Ness freak you out, there are always less traficky ways to go, or just stay on the sidewalks.

Do whatever you need to do to feel safe. You have nobody to impress.

Gear

Bike light

Ding lights are Australian-designed lights that include an integrated downlight to illuminate the road and the cyclist, assisting the cyclist and approaching drivers. AUD170. Review: lighting is excellent, I wish they needed less frequent recharging.

Knog does bike lights with well-designed removable clips.

Local vendors

Omafiets has pretty much everything I could want in the realm of bike bits. They tend towards the boutique hipster accessories which can get quite pricey. Their rates for parts are good by Sydney standards though.

Linusbikes and their attempt at non-ugly bike luggage. No longer a thing in Australia, and the American site claims to ship to Australia but actually won’t let you choose it as a destination on the shipping page.

Wiggle is a classic cycling crap vendor which is not cheap but at least cheaper than Australia.

Riding goggles

Essential in these desertified, windy times. See goggles.

Bike gloves

FIST Handwear

Winnebiko

Stephen Robert’s charming documentation

A.k.a. Those original 80s/90s solar powered computer bikes that I always forget the names of.

The names I’m looking for are… Winnebiko and BEHEMOTH, created by Technomad, Steven K. Roberts a.k.a. microship. He went on to make boats that are even more ridiculously geeked out than were his bikes.

References

Borrell, Brendan. 2016. “The Bicycle Problem That Nearly Broke Mathematics.” Nature News 535 (7612): 338. https://doi.org/10.1038/535338a.
Wilson, David Gordon, Theodor Schmidt, and Jim Papadopoulos. 2020. Bicycling Science. Fourth edition. Cambridge, Massachusetts ; London, England: The MIT Press.

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