Cargo Hauler in NYC

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Spotted on John Prolly’s Flickr photostream. According to Google, Coco-Mat is a mattress company whose products are now available in NYC.

Update: More googling has turned up these videos of the delivery bicycle in action:

Arcade Fire’s Suburbs

All is not well in the suburbs.
Artist: Arcade Fire
Song: Suburbs
Director: Spike Jonze

Covet: ku. Bicycle-themed Jewelry

Brooklyn-based artist Takahiro Kudo crafts this wonderful miniature bicycle parts as jewelry.

More designs at ku. jewelry

Get Your Burrito Fix, By Bicycle!

West end resident (and burrito enthusiast) Sari Lightman will be launching her burrito by bicycle delivery service on Friday, November 19, 2010.

The delivery area will be east of Roncesvalles, south of Bloor, north of King and west of Spadina on Fridays only between 6pm and 1am. Orders can be placed by phone 416-948-6676 or e-mail burritobike@torontomail.com

For more information read an interview on Torontoist here: Burrito Bike Pedaling for Progress, and Pinto Beans
Or visit the Burrito Bike Facebook page here: Burrito Bike Toronto

Photo via the Burrito Bike Toronto Facebook page.

City of Toronto Sharrows PSA

Daniel Egan, Manager Cycling Infrastructure and Programs Transportation Services shares information on what sharrows are and how they can be used by cyclists in Toronto.

This same information can also be found on the City of Toronto’s web site here: Sharrows FAQ
Video via City of Toronto Cycling on Facebook.

Danny MacAskill is at Home

Danny MacAskill: Way Back Home via RedBull

Ready, Set, Cycle Ball!

Banana seats and bum bars… let’s do this Toronto!

2000 Vertical Feet vs 5000 Horizontal Feet

Bi-directional epicness.

Why I Signal Right Turns With My Left Arm

It can be easy to forget or simply not use hand signals when cycling. Streetcar tracks, potholes, bike lanes in door zones and other obstacles can have you focusing on keeping both hands on your handlebars. Yet, when it comes to communicating with other road users there is no better way than with hand signals.

Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of debate about how to signal a right turn. In North America, both extending your left arm then angling your forearm up and simply extending your right arm to point in the direction you’re about to go are acceptable. I’ve used both styles, but my default is to use my left arm. Here’s why:

Predictability: Every other hand signal uses your left arm. So, if drivers are looking for these signals (and I certainly hope they are) it makes sense that they will be watching for the movements of your left arm.

Balance: With both hands on the handlebars I use my front brake more than my rear brake to slow my speed and control my balance when slowing, however, with just one hand on the bars I prefer to use my rear brake for speed control. Now, this is less efficient than using the front brake but as I’m already slowing down to turn I don’t feel the need for super efficient braking. Also, should I hit an unexpected bump (and Toronto streets are littered with them) steadying myself and gripping my front brake could send me ass over teakettle.

Bell Ringing: My bell is mounted on the right side of my bars. Should a car door or pedestrian suddenly appear in my path while signaling my thumb is always at the ready. I could yell, but it seems these days that before a scream leaves my lips my thumb has already set my bell singing.

Girl Executing Right Turn

Many will point out that drivers simply do not know what this hand signal means. I can’t declare whether this is true or not but this does work to the final advantage of using your left arm to signal right turns. I’ve found that many drivers are reluctant to pass and slow down behind me when I use my left arm to signal a right turn. It could be that they are confused, it could be that they are startled to see my arm move in such a curious way but no matter what the reason I find that I’m rarely buzzed by cars in the right lane when I signal with my left arm.

And finally, many cyclists seem to think that pointing in the air to signal a turn looks silly and can be confused for a polite wave. Now, I’ve had cyclists riding towards me wave back at me while I was only signaling a turn. But I don’t feel that this is a disadvantage and I actually like to think this just means I’m a friendly, King of Kensington-type who people want to acknowledge.

What do you do?

MTO site with hand signal information: Cycling Skills
Photo 1 via Seattle DOT
Photo 2 by Mikael Colville-Andersen

Covet: Four Panniers With Style

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Sometimes you just don’t want to carry a bag. Active transportation can mean a little sweat, and carrying a bag is a quick way to dampen a shirt. But, with so many active Torontonians using bicycles to get to work and school, you still need to carry books, computers and lunches with you.

Enter the pannier, literally “bread basket,” for carrying your stuff by attaching securely to the rack on your bicycle. Much like backpacks, messenger bags and quite frankly bicycles, there are plenty of choices to be made when choosing a set of panniers. Here are four panniers that can carry what you need and are pleasing to the eye as well:

The combination of leather and canvas on the Basil Kavan II panniers will give a touch to of class to your cargo. Rounded sides provide for heel clearance when pedaling so you can load these up and pedal away effortlessly. For a full review see EcoVelo, available at Curbside Cycle.

The Linus Office Bag is a simple, structured cotton tote that will fit your 13″ laptop or a few books. Leather straps keep your cargo securely fastened and the included shoulder strap makes the transition from bike to office simple. Available at Bikes on Wheels.

The Brooks Brick Lane Roll-Up Panniers are a modern tribute to a more than century old bag design. Updated with magnetic fasteners, the weather resistant cotton with leather finishing easily rolls up when not in use.

New from Mountain Equipment Co-op is the Urban Shopping Tote. This collapsible tote features plastic hooks that won’t ruin your clothing when off the bike and d-rings will accommodate a shoulder strap (not included). Added reflective fabric also improves visibility at night, available at MEC.

Lead photo by Martinho via Flickr