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Monday
Oct312016

Let’s opt out of the culture of speed

All over the United States and indeed the world, people are riding bicycles. Forget about saving the planet, that is not the reason, it is a satisfying and civilized way to travel. Faster and more efficient than walking, and for not much more energy input. Compared to driving a person is burning calories rather than gasoline.

Many more people would ride bicycles but they are afraid of being hit by cars. There are still those who will try to intimidate and bully anyone in their way. The whole “Share the Road” concept is flawed in that it implies that the roads are for cars and cyclists are asking drivers to share space with them.

This is not the case, public roads are just that, “Public.” They are there for people to travel from their home to where ever they need to be. A person has the right to travel, it is not according to that persons’ mode of transport.

There is no pleasure in driving anymore, it is the myth and a lie being sold to the public by the auto-makers.

Look at any car ad on TV and what do you see? The obligatory slow motion shot of a car sliding sideways in a controlled skid, cars driving at break neck speed on deserted city streets.

Ads for alcohol show people having a good time, they don’t show people getting shit-faced. Car ads should show people driving responsibly too. It is false advertising, and it perpetuates the myth that it is okay to drive like the public streets and highways are your own personal race track.

This is not reality on today’s congested roadways, not only is driving fast impractical, it is downright dangerous. And what useful purpose does it serve? There is a legitimate argument for being allowed to maintain high speeds for long journeys on freeways that traverse miles of open countryside.

However, when freeways approach cities and become congested, there is a definite need to slow to the same speed as everyone else. It is the driver trying to maintain his high rate of speed under these conditions that not only cause accidents, but cause people to brake and in turn leads to the stop and go traffic conditions that are all too familiar.

The best thing a person can do is to realize that getting from A to B is a necessity, so if you can’t make it a pleasure then at least make it stress free. Opt out of the culture of speed, slow down and relax.

Speed limits need to be lowered to 20mph in crowded city centers where there are many pedestrians and cyclists. Would such a speed limit have a great impact on peoples’ over all drive time?

In most cases drivers simply accelerate to race from one red traffic light to the next. On long stretches of highway, traffic lights can be timed so someone driving the speed limit can have green lights all the way through a town.

The faster cars go the more space is needed between each car. Therefore, people moving slower but continuously in a procession can travel closer to each other.

This means when traffic is moving slower on any given stretch of highway, it is carrying a larger volume of vehicles. Is the overall flow of vehicles per hour that much less? Bottom line is, people still get to where they need to be. Stop and go, or a steady, continuous slower stream of traffic. which is better? I know which is safer and less stressful.

Driving fast only gives the illusion of getting there faster. How often do we see someone race past us, then a couple of miles down the road they are only one car ahead. Driving fast is nothing more than a habit, and like all habits can be broken with a little effort. And is a habit ever missed once it is broken?

The world is becoming more and more crowded, populations are exploding everywhere including the US. Every person who rides a bicycle is taking one more car off the road, making more room for those who choose to drive. We think traffic is bad now, what will it be like in ten years? Something has to change.

Wouldn’t life be a little more pleasant if everyone slowed down a notch? So what if it took you five or ten minutes longer to get to work, at the end of each day would that make a huge difference? Of course wishing for this is wishing for Utopia, but who would argue that it would be better if less people had to die on our roads.

Building more highways is not the answer, it only encourages people to drive faster, and there will always be a point where there is congestion, and people get angry and impatient when they have to slow down.

Only when the majority of people view driving fast as anti-social behavior, will this culture of speed end. It was only when public opinion turned against drunk driving, did the police start enforcing laws that were already in place.

It will be the same with speed limits. As it stands now, no one drives the limit, but pushes it to a point where they can expect to get away with it.

Speed kills, pure and simple. Less time to react, more road space needed to stop, greater impact when you hit something. And the crazy thing is, it doesn’t always get you from A to B any faster.

 

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Monday
Oct242016

It’ll be a Sad, Sad Day

The Interbike Show held in Las Vegas is the biggest annual bicycle trade show in America. It has always been the “Must Go To” show for anyone in the bicycle business. Whether you were a manufacturer or importer selling a product, or a retail bike store owner looking to buy product. Not any more, apparently.

According to this report I read recently, it appears this year people stayed away in droves. Both exhibitors and people attending. The article even goes so far as to ask whether the Interbike Show will be able to continue.

I attended this show for many years. It was how I got my product out there and presented my frames to bicycle dealers. There were many times I could barely afford the expense, there was the cost of the booth, the expense of traveling there, and hotels of course.

But attending this show year after year, put me on the map. It raised me above the status of a framebuilder building one off custom frames for local individuals, to that of a reliable business person with a high quality product that retailers could sell at a profit.

I was competing on level terms with the many import frames. (Mostly Italian.) Even though these companies had a far larger output than me, and therefore a much larger budget to attend these shows. Over the years I built a network of dealers all across America, and they provided me with a steady stream of orders for a number of years.

Apparently, this year’s Interbike Show, some simply could not afford to attend. I am sure many who did exhibit sold less and were left wondering, “Was it all worth it.” Bike dealers, with revenues down this year, could either not afford to attend, or could not justify the expense. Let’s face it, if someone has a new product, one can reach bike dealers on the Internet. Going to a super expensive Trade Show is a luxury not everyone can afford.

The article went on the say that there has been a steady decline in cycling participation for the last fifteen years. I find that hard to believe. In hard economic times there is usually an upswing in bicycle use.

“I don’t believe there are fewer cyclists, just fewer cyclists buying new stuff. They make do with what they have.”

That trend applies to everything, not just bicycles. We are currently living in an atmosphere of extreme political uncertainty. People are not spending money. Or rather they spend it on what they need, not necessarily on what they want. People don’t have discretionary income any more. When people have cash to spare, they buy stuff on impulse.

There is hardly a week goes by when a bike that I built in the 1980s or early 1990s comes up for sale on eBay. Many of these bikes are in excellent, even mint condition. The paint often looks like it just came out of my shop. These bikes have never been ridden.

I have come to realize that I was kept in business for many years, not just by people who rode bikes, but rather by people who bought my bikes on impulse. They saw one in the bicycle store, all sparkling and shiny, and they just had to have it. But then they rode it and their arse hurt, their back hurt, and they never had the discipline to reach a level of fitness where cycling becomes a real pleasure.

Many bikes I built were ridden. Many are owned by the original owners who still ride them, but over the years many were also bought and never used or used very little. These bikes bought on impulse helped not only to keep me in business, but bicycle dealers too. We could not have survived without them.

But that was a different time, prosperous times when people had money to spare. Do you remember the term “Trickle Down Economics,” from that era? What we are experiencing now, is the same principle but in reverse. People have just enough money to get by. (Some have barely enough.) They don’t go out and buy stuff on impulse any more. 

All retail stores, including bike stores are hurting, owners cannot afford to go to bike shows like the Interbike. Manufacturers, because they are selling less can’t afford to go either. It is an old cliché that things have to get worse before they get better. But I wonder, how much worse, have we hit rock bottom yet?

I believe the Interbike Show will survive. They may have to scale down, or go to regional shows. Long standing established events like the Interbike Show just cannot be allowed to disappear, it will be a sad, sad day if it does.

I’m so glad I am no longer in the bike business.

 

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Monday
Oct172016

West Coast Tour 2015

It was exactly a year ago today, October 17th. 2015, I finished my West Coast Tour. How time flies, so hard to believe it’s a year ago already. My wife Kathy and I had flown into Portland, Oregon almost three weeks earlier, the drove down the West Coast.

We made stops in Eugene, OR, Benicia, and San Jose in the San Francisco Bay Area. Then on to San Luis Obispo, and Chino Hills and Laguna Beach in the LA, Orange County area. We stayed at homes of DM Bike enthusiasts, and I spoke to groups of people at various venues on the way.

It was a wonderful series of events, and we met some incredible people, it was one of those special experiences that stay with me forever.

I have a number of West Coast Tour tee shirts left over and to mark the occasion I will give one of these away FREE when you buy one other shirt or sweatshirt. I have only a limited number in XL and XXL sizes, but plenty of the other sizes S, M, and L.

If you already have one, you can always use another, especially if it’s free. You might like one to frame and keep as a souvenir. In fact if you want it for this purpose, ask for a Small size as they fit in a frame easier. The shirts are all top quality and screen printed, not digitally printed or heat transfer printed as many shirts are today. The print will outlast the shirt.

Above is the West Coast Tour shirt. Bright white 100% cotton. Screen Printed in five colors that really pop. Features the Fuso logo and those of the other dave moulton brands. Normally $15.00, Free when you buy at least one other shirt from below. Don’t order the WCT shirt or you will be charged for it, but rather put “FREE WCT Shirt” along with the size you would like, in the space for a note on the Check-out page.

DM Braze Tee Shirt. Reduced to $15.00 and it will qualify you for a FREE West Coast Tour Shirt. It comes in the colors shown below, although I don't have every size in every color. The order page on my onlne store will indecate what is available.

(Below.) My New "Classic" design. $20.00 Qualifies for a fee WCT shirt. Comes in Black, Navy and Red. A great gift for any Vintage Bike Enthusiast. 

Below is my "Retirement" design, $20.00 add a FREE WCT shirt. Comes in black.

A really superb quality Black Fleecy Lined Hoodie with a tie neck. $40.00 Qualifies for a FREE WCT shirt and FREE Shipping.

Has a large design on the back featuring the FUSO, John Howard, Recherche, all the dave moulton brands.

A smaller shield design is featured on the front left side. 

 

Hoodie back design is shown above. The front design is shown left.

Orders over $40.00 qualify for FREE Shipping.

Start your Christmas shopping early, Remember I have Books too. 

Go here to view all the products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday
Oct102016

After the Storm

Most of you will know that Hurricane Matthew traveled up the east coast effecting Florida, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. I live 25 miles inland from Charleston, SC. so the storm had less impact here.

We did have some flooding locally but not where I live. That was to be expected, the storm dumped 15 inches of rain in a few short hours. All that water can’t drain away quick enough. There were power outages as trees and tree limbs fell and brought down powerlines.

But it was not as bad as the media made it out to be. I wish they wouldn’t do that. If one believed what the TV News and the Weather Channel told us, we would all be engulfed in a huge tidal wave that would wash us from our beds, and send us to a watery grave.

Instead I looked out on my window around noon on Saturday, at the height of the storm, and thought, “I’ve ridden bike races in England in worse weather than this.” It was raining heavily and winds were at 50 mph.

Don’t get me wrong, this storm was a Category 3 Hurricane when it hit Florida, so damage there was much worse, and I am not trying to make light of that. But I know, as do all people who live on the east coast, that once these storms hit land they slow down.

As Matthew traveled up the coast line it was gradually downgraded to a Cat. 2 then Category 1. However, the media kept up its barrage of doom and destruction. As Matthew passed by Charleston, it was almost a Tropical Storm which is not even a Hurricane.

I am a positive, “Glass half full” type of person. I hate negativity. When these natural disasters happen, the media, especially TV whips up everyone into a frenzy of fear and negativity. People are already afraid, they need calming words and reassurance that they will be okay.

Of course it is the almighty dollar at work again. Fear ensures viewers will stay glued to the TV, and the advertising revenue will stream in. But I get annoyed because I can’t get accurate information. I look at the actual weather forecast which says 50 to 60 mph winds, but the TV is telling me I am about to get blown off the face of the earth.

So what was this bike race I mentioned earlier? It was in 1970. I rode a 25 mile Time-Trial on the East Coast of England. I had driven over 200 miles and stayed overnight to compete in this event. I didn’t sleep much the night before as there was a storm raging outside. On the morning of the event, it was raining heavily, with 60 mph winds, gusting to 80 mph.

There was no way I was not going to ride after all the preparation, and expense of getting there. British bike races rarely get rained out. The course was a straight out 12 and a half miles, and back. Out into the headwind it took me 45 minutes to get to the turn. Wind gusts almost brought me to a standstill. I turned at the halfway point, and came back in 20 minutes with the wind behind me, for a finishing time of 1 hr. 5 mins.

My biggest gear was 53 x 13. Had I had 53 x 11 like today I may have gone faster. I finished extremely cold and wet. I have ridden other races and many training rides in similar conditions, but remember this particular event well. It is the reason I still use it to measure storm intensity.

 

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Friday
Sep302016

Here we go again

A brand new study shows that bicycle helmets reduce the risk of serious head injury by 70%. How about a worthwhile study into the actual cause of death of every cycling casualty. Were they wearing a helmet, and if not, would a helmet have prevented that death anyway?

Because if a cyclist is hit by a motorized vehicle doing 60 mph, he will most likely die from blunt force trauma to both the body and head whatever he is wearing. The same goes if he is crushed under the wheels of a vehicle. Does a study like this conclude that someone so crushed and dead, but avoided head injury because they wore a helmet. Does that count as a win for the helmet?

Wear a dozen woolen hats, each stretched over the next, and that too would probably reduce the risk of head injury, but that is not the issue. Studies like this just make it easier for legislators to make helmet use mandatory, and harder for those opposed to argue against.

I am not against helmet use, I wear one myself, but I am definitely against being compelled to wear one. Why not helmets for pedestrians, as more of them are hit by cars and die than cyclists. How about the elderly, they are always tripping and falling?

How about mandatory bullet proof vests for everyone, as about 10 times more people are shot to death in the US than are killed on a bicycle. We could start with bullet proof vests for school kids, and people shopping in malls. That would cut down the number of fatalities in the event of a mass shooting.

I am being facetious of course, but is it just me or can anyone else see how ludicrous it is to single out the cyclist to wear protective gear. To make him wear it under the threat of a fine, or by peer pressure from other cyclists.

It is a distraction that diverts attention from the real problem of people driving carelessly. 

 

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