Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bike Girl Goes On Hiatus

Bike Girl has been missing from the internet for some time now, yet she still continues to receive emails from loyal readers. What do you think? Should Bike Girl begin to post again, albeit somewhat infrequently, or should our fair protagonist retire from this blog permanently?

Comment below

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bike Girl Can't Believe Her Eyes

Today while doing some investigative work on the streets of Santa Monica, Bike Girl saw what may be evidence of sharrows going down in the city.

As she waited at a stop light, she saw a city of Santa Monica construction truck with a sharrow stencil in the back. She exclaimed to the driver, "Are those sharrows!?"

The driver responded, "Yep. They're going in at the end of the block."

But then the truck was gone. The end of which block? Bike Girl made this sighting around 4th and Arizona. She has not seen any of the sharrows on the ground, but hopes to see some soon.

UPDATE: Bike Girl returned to the scene later in the evening to see if there were, indeed, sharrows on the ground. While there were no sharrows, Bike Girl did find that the Arizona bike lane had been extended all the way to Ocean.

Bike Girl presumes the sharrow stencil was being utilized only for its center icon, the biking person, to go in the bike lanes. She also presumes the construction worker who told her sharrows were being put in at the end of the block, thought that a sharrow was just the picture of the cyclist, not the chevrons above and below it.

However, Bike Girl has been assured that Santa Monica is planning to install sharrows FOR REAL in the near future.

Bike Girl Gracefully Dismounts Pt 2

Ladies who follow our fair protagonist may have likely had a chance by now to experience the joys of riding in a skirt. But once a lady is on her bicycle, lookin' good, pulling up to her destination, likely with all eyes on her, how does she dismount?

Bike Girl has developed a patented series of moves appropriate for all types of skirts, and all types of bikes. For ladies with step-through or "girls'" frames, the procedure is obvious. This type of bicycle is engineered to be ridden in a skirt. Riders must simply stop, put their feet on the ground, then demurely step over the frame, keeping the knees inward.

Those of you ladies, who, like Bike Girl, throw tradition and caution to the wind and ride in a skirt on a diamond "boys'" frame, the procedure is a little more involved.

Step 1 - Stop with one foot on the ground.
Step 2 - Move the ground foot outward away from the frame as far as practicable
Step 3 - Lean the bike frame over toward the ground foot
Step 4 - Bend the opposite leg (the leg attached to the foot that is not already on the ground) at the knee, keeping the knee down. This motion is similar to kicking one's self in the butt.
Step 5 - if the bike is leaned over far enough, the leg should be easily lifted over it without raising the knee. If the bike is not leaned over far enough, the knee can be moved forward so the shin is parallel with the ground to clear the bike frame.

Bike Girl endorses this method of graceful dismount. Should difficulty be encountered at any stage in the process, Bike Girl recommends dismounting normally with as much speed as possible. In this way, anyone who gets a look will second-guess their vision, and any actual glimpse will be too fast to allow onlookers to commit their view to memory.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bike Girl Wants You To Hang Up

While doing some reconnaissance on the 10 freeway, Bike Girl noticed some confusing new signage. The CalTrans signs typically used to announce Amber Alerts or how long it takes to get from the sign to, say, Downtown L.A., are now encouraging drivers to pick up their cell phones.

The signs say For Traffic Info, Call 5-1-1.

Bike Girl was confused. The state has outlawed the use of hand held cell phones while driving, and even permitted hands-free cell devices are shown to contribute to crash rates. A study shows 98 percent of drivers cannot multitask effectively enough to carry on a cell phone conversation while driving. Yet a state agency is encouraging drivers to pick up their phones.

Bike Girl has carried out her own studies on cell phone usage among drivers. Whenever she has come the closest to being hit on surface streets, it has been by drivers on the phone. Even Bike Girl's own mother, who is typically an excellent driver, is known to swerve when she picks up the phone, though she will deny that.

Bike Girl wants to know, whose decision was it to encourage distracted driving on signs on the freeway?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bike Girl Gracefully Dismounts

Bike Girl loves to ride her bicycle in a skirt or dress. Not only for the thrill when a strong wind blows, but also because she loves to wear skirts and dresses. Bike Girl is one super hero who rarely feels it necessary to don a special costume for everyday riding.

Astute readers will point out that Bike Girl occasionally wears her spandex bodysuit to ride fast in circles at Criterium races. But those who know Bike Girl, know that she wears that spandex bodysuit regularly. The fact that race days and bodysuit days coincide is purely by chance.

While Bike Girl is not opposed to occasionally delighting passing motorists while riding in a skirt in a headwind, she firmly believes these treats should be limited and accidental.

In order to ensure her ladylike reputation remains intact, Bike Girl has learned a few tricks to keep misbehaving skirts in line.

1. Learn to ride one-handed - In especially gusty wind situations, Bike Girl often rides with one hand resting on her lap. This gives her an extremely relaxed appearance as she cruises along, and also prevents her skirt from revealing more than she intends.

2. Occasionally stand - Even when biking on a calm day, a skirt can ruffle and shift while riding. Bike Girl occasionally stands while pedaling to allow her clothing to drape more naturally.

3. Choose fabrics and cuts carefullly - A tight woolen pencil skirt is much more difficult to ride in than a skirt that allows a bit more movement. When Bike Girl goes for the sexy secretary look, she takes the bus.

4. Get a big basket - The basket acts as a visual shield from the angle most likely to provide a peek.

5. Knees together - Any woman wearing a skirt who sits with her knees apart, really should have her lady card revoked. Sitting on a bike seat is no exception. The knees don't have to be touching, but go ahead and point them inward.

For visual representations of some of these practices, as well as other tips, encouragement, and photos of attractive ladies riding in skirts, click here

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bike Girl Is Invisible

There are many times when our fair protagonist, Bike Girl, must go under cover. In these instances, she attempts to travel unseen and undifferentiated from the masses. Bike Girl is actually the first female to be awarded the title Master Of Disguise by the ISA (International Spy Association.)

When exercising her prowess at the art of disappearance, it is a given that people do not notice her. However, in her daily life, Bike Girl is somewhat more noticeable. As readers well-know, she enjoys riding all over town in a dress. Any red-blooded male driver would notice a femme-fatale riding about town on a bicycle in a dress. But on one fateful day in June, one particular male driver proved otherwise.

To add to her visibility on this fateful day, Bike Girl was carrying a full pannier on each side of her rear rack. One pannier contained her extremely large, bright green purse. The other pannier contained a Spider Plant so large, it could not be contained by the pannier. This plant, larger than the most comical Halloween afro wig, spilled out of the top of the pannier and its tendrils blew behind Bike Girl in the wind. It was a sight to see, if you saw it.

As she towed her cargo down a road with a Class I bike lane, a vehicle overtook her on the left. As it did so it began to merge into the bike lane. Un-phased, Bike Girl expertly applied the brakes so as to avoid disaster. As the driver pulled into a parallel parking spot, Bike Girl pulled over, approximately 1 car length ahead of him.

(Bike Girl has learned that drivers are somewhat protective of their vehicles, so she made sure to pull over far enough away so as to get the driver's attention without appearing threatening. )

The driver, now suddenly seeing Bike Girl, jumped out of his car with a look of horror on his face. "What happened!?" he exclaimed. Bike Girl calmly told him, in a very sweet voice, that he had come within an inch of hitting her as he merged.

She explained, "We cyclists are very vulnerable on the road, so please watch out for us in the future and make sure to give us a little space."

The driver, like a schoolchild being gently scolded, replied that he was very, very sorry, and that in the future, he would watch more closely for cyclists. Bike Girl was satisfied with this response. She thanked him and rode on.

Later that evening, as our fair protagonist recounted the odd experience to her Significant Other, she wondered aloud what it would take to be more visible on the road. If a woman riding a bicycle in a bike lane wearing a bright pink dress and carting a giant plant cannot be seen, who can? Bike Girl often rides in spandex, but refuses to don one of the day-glo colored jackets or vests worn by some roadies. After the dress/plant getup, she's not sure even the day-glo would have helped.

What then is the solution? Bike Girl thinks vehicular cycling should be taught in PE class in middle schools. That way, a new generation of drivers will be aware of the proper ways to pass cyclists. Bike Girl would also like a series of posters on how to safely pass cyclists at the DMV. But if a driver cannot see a cyclist, even when the cyclist is making every effort to be visible, how can he execute a safe pass?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Bike Girl Goes To The Races

Our fair protagonist has spent some time away from blogging to do some research. Bike Girl has gone deep undercover to infiltrate the world of women's bike racing. In order to fool the bike racing world into thinking she belongs, Bike Girl has had to undertake a strict training regimen that has allowed no time for updating her supporters of her findings.

One thing Bike Girl has noticed in race after race, is how the females of the species are typically relegated to the most undesirable race times. In one criterium, Bike Girl's category was sent off on the course before it had been fully set up.

In yet another criterium, when Bike Girl was sadly defeated by the peloton and lapped, the race announcer repeatedly made sexist comments as she passed. The worst of which was, "Everyone loves a woman who will go all the way." While Bike Girl was glad the announcer realized she was not planning to quit the race, she was still offended. She flipped off the announcer, thereby becoming the new crowd favorite.

In another criterium, all 4 women's categories were put on the course at the same time, with two minutes of separation in the starts. So as Bike Girl's category had one lap to go and started sprinting into position for the final straightaway, her field was neutralized to allow a faster group to pass through, even though that field had several more minutes of racing to do. Of course the women in Bike Girl's category did not want to cross the finish line without a sprint, so it ignored the neutralization. When the whole cluster of confused ladies crossed the line, thankfully avoiding multiple near crashes, the race organizer could not tell which women were in which category, and many of the results were contested.

In women's races, multiple categories often race together. So in order to upgrade from Women's Cat 4, a lady must not only be faster than the other 4's, but the 3's as well. The 3's are then allowed to sandbag, beating up on the 4's as long as they like. The 3's are also welcome to enter races that included Women's Cat 1-2 and 3. So three categories are on the course at the same time. These women can either upgrade to 2 by beating a bunch of 3's and 4's, or they can struggle to upgrade by beating the 1's.

Race organizers have also been cutting women's races left and right. The reason cited is, "No women show up." Well, after how they are treated at the races, it is no wonder they don't show up.