Archive for the ‘Lists’ Category

Accidents Will Happen

August 23, 2010

Cycling in the Netherlands - Hembrow Cycling Website

As promised, here’s the list of the “most dangerous” countries for cycling. It’s not an easy thing to draw conclusions from because the data is only comparing bike accidents versus other types of transportation accidents – car, motorcycle, pedestrian.

I don’t think you can draw any conclusions beyond this: the more people who rides bikes, the more accidents we’ll see. That’s why the Netherlands has such a high percentage compared to other accidents.

Does that mean it’s more dangerous to ride a bike in Holland than it is in the U.S.? I don’t think so.

What does seem dangerous though is riding in Japan, which has a large number of fatalities for its population. (Data from the 2008-2009 International Road Traffic and Accident Database)

Country Fatalities % of all road user fatalities
Netherlands 138 21.4
Japan 933 16.2
Denmark 54 13.3
Hungary 109 10.9
Germany 456 10.2
Czech Rep. 84 9.3
Belgium 86 9.1
Poland 371 8.1
UK 117 4.1
USA 716 1.9

On a side note, my mother almost nailed a cyclist while driving in Denver. She was turning right when a rider came flying by into the intersection off a sidewalk.

I had just gotten through telling my mother how dangerous it is to ride on a sidewalk. The cyclist took the sidewalk to avoid the train underpass.

You are much safer sharing the road than riding on the sidewalk!

Where Would You Spend $15 Million?

May 2, 2009
Light rail San Jose, Santa Clara station, BART

Light rail San Jose, Santa Clara station, BART

If I had $15 million (the cost to build the lavish Mary Avenue Bridge)  for bicycle facilities, some more useful projects come to mind:

1)  Buy more Caltrain railway cars arranged for bicycles. Cyclists are bumped from crowded trains during peak hours. [Done]

2)  Buy BART cars equipped for bicycles. Cyclists can’t use BART during peak hours.

3)  Fix E. Taylor Street over Hwy 101. I know there is some politics behind this overcrossing. The current arrangement is nonsense. I’m not taking the “bike path” westbound. Knock out the center divider and add bike lanes.

4)  Interstate 880 in the South Bay doesn’t have a single bike/pedestrian bridge. How about one near 237/880?

5)  Between E. San Antonio Street and Yerba Buena Road (4.5 miles) there is no safe route over or under Highway 101. VTA’s Santa Clara Valley Bicycle Map grades all crossings, including Yerba Buena, as “extreme caution.” Those who have ridden Capitol Expressway over 101 do not call Stelling Road “dangerous.”

6)  How about an underpass for the rail tracks at the Santa Clara Caltrain station? I understand that’s a plan. Public transportation goes hand in hand with cycling.

7)  Finish the Coyote Creek Trail to and under Hwy 237.

8)  Pave the Guadalupe River Trail. We have a mud hole to ride through at the airport rental area (north of Airport Parkway) when it rains. It’s an insult. [Done]

9)  How long will it be before we have a public path around Moffett Field? It’s all that stands in the way of linking Palo Alto, Mountain View, Santa Clara, San Jose, and Milpitas. [Done]

10) Can’t we have bike racks at ALL shopping centers?

I could go on. Hold your government officials accountable, and see to it that our government-funded bike/pedestrian project dollars go where the need is greatest.

10 Worst Roads in the San Francisco Bay Area

April 13, 2009
1986 Bike Rally in San Francisco on I-280

1986 Bike Rally in San Francisco on I-280

It’s far harder to pick the 10 worst roads than the 10 best roads because there’s so much to choose from! The worst roads are those with high-speed traffic and no shoulder. I don’t do much riding in the East Bay, but they have their share of bad roads. I picked roads that might otherwise be used by cyclists or are used and OK at certain times of the day.

Time of day and day of the week makes a huge difference. I agonized over the choices, but here goes:

1. Highway 17 – (Legal from Los Gatos to Scotts Valley. One short section, Bear Creek Rd. to Alma Bridge Rd. is OK)
2. Market Street, San Francisco
3. Highway 92 to Half Moon Bay
4. El Camino Real (not that bad but I once rode from Palo Alto to San Francisco on El Camino. Ugh)
5. Alma Street, Palo Alto
6. Highway 1, Devil’s Slide
7. Highway 84, Niles Canyon
8. Panoramic Highway with traffic
9. Sir Francis Drake Boulevard
10. Tomales-Petaluma Road with traffic

10 Most Memorable Rides

March 8, 2009

If I can remember a bike ride after 30 years of riding, it makes my life list. Painful rides come to mind too, but those are best forgotten.

1. Rolle Pass, Italy, 1985. It’s really hard to pick a winner, but the image of Rolle Pass with its sedimentary carbonate edifice soaring skyward, is burned into my mind. The Dolomites rock! (so the speak). It was a 94-mile ride through spectacular Italian countryside.

Rolle Pass, Italy

Rolle Pass, Italy

2. Gavia Pass, Italy, 1985. On the second day of riding in Italy (100 miles the previous day) I rode over Gavia Pass. I was riding a 42/21 gear, so it’s not hard to imagine what this was like in the sections with 14 percent. However, this dirt road (now paved) had become legendary among Bay Area cyclists who saw a poster of Jobst Brandt riding the pass. It was everything I had imagined, and more. A beautiful day capped off by a fantastic hotel/dinner in Bormio.

Gavia Pass, Italy

Gavia Pass, Italy

3. Corn Roast, 1981. A ride from Palo Alto to Big Basin State Park, Last Chance Road, Swanton Road. We stopped to enjoy the annual Swanton bluegrass festival, complete with live music, and lots of delicious food — burritos, corn, beer. On the way back, we dipped our burning feet in Waddell Creek off Last Chance Road. A great way to cool off on a hot summer day.

Waddell Creek and Corn Roast

Waddell Creek and Corn Roast

4. Gazos Creek Road, 1982. We headed out to Big Basin State Park to check out Gazos Creek Road. After a winter of torrential rain, the road was wiped off the map. We clambered over redwood trees for at least a half-mile. We had beautiful weather that day.

Gazos Creek Road after the flood

Gazos Creek Road after the flood

5. New Idria, 2005. I’ve ridden just about every road in the Bay Area, but New Idria opened new horizons. It’s south of Hollister, so not exactly Bay Area. This ride involved fording San Benito River, climbing to 4,500 feet on a dirt road, passing New Idria Mine and returning through Panoche Valley, one of the seven wonders of Central California. Open Space!

San Benito River ford

San Benito River ford

6. Mt. Evans , 1980. Scott Morson and I started in Bergen Park and rode up Highway 103, Squaw Pass Road. The real altitude burn begins at Echo Lake to the top, 14 miles. Summit altitude – 14,100 feet (road). From the summit you can see forever, if it’s clear. We went in September when it can be nice, but we ran into a fog bank and then it rained. Bring gloves.

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

7. Doi Suthep, Thailand, 1989. It’s one of the more enjoyable rides in Thailand: Chiang Mai to the King’s Summer Palace on Doi Suthep. I continued on a dirt road to the Doi Pui village nearby. An opium museum and fields of poppies await. They drive/ride on the left in Thailand.

Doi Suthep Overlook, Thailand

8. Mt. Hamilton, 1982. That spring the flower display in San Antonio Valley put on a show, the likes of which we may never see again. Fabulous!

San Antonio Valley, Mt. Hamilton

San Antonio Valley, Mt. Hamilton

9. Crested Butte, 1985. We took a train to Grand Junction, then got a ride to the mountain bike gathering taking place in September. Some of the best scenery and mountain bike riding anywhere in the world.

Crested Butte, Colorado

Crested Butte, Colorado

 10. Mt. Tamalpais, 1981. It was my first ride up the old railroad grade. We continued to Olema and then over to the dirt coast road through Pt. Reyes National Seashore along the Pacific Ocean (off limits to bikes now) to Bolinas and then back to San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Pt. Reyes Coast Trail

Pt. Reyes Coast Trail

Lists: 10 Best Roads to Ride in the San Francisco Bay Area

February 16, 2009

Jobst Brandt with son Olaf on Bolinas Ridge Road, 1985

Jobst Brandt with son Olaf on Bolinas Ridge Road, 1985

This is tough. So many great roads.

1. West Ridgecrest Boulevard (the place of car commercials)
2. Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1)
3. Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate National Recreation Area
4. Tunitas Creek Road
5. Mt. Hamilton Road
6. Pescadero Road
7. Skyline Boulevard/Summit Road
8. Highway 236/Big Basin State Park
9. Calaveras Road
10. South & North Gate Roads and Mt. Diablo Summit Road


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