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Ben Folsom
Works at Bike Commuter Cabal
Attended University of Virginia
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+Jeff Lesperance This is what the ElevenGear gloves look like after nearly a year and a half of constant use. No less comfy than when they came out of the bag and perfectly fit to my hand. A really nice piece of kit.
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Bet they smell niiiiice.
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Alexandria +Raccoon Riders Youth Cycling Club Tuesday ride is a GO.

Hitting the pool.
 
Ok gang, let's go for a ride, the weather is hot and the pool is cool, Alexandria Raccoon Riders Youth Cycling Club Tuesday ride is ON.

Time: 6-7:30 pm

Meetup: Corner of Quander Rd. and Dartmouth Dr. Map: http://goo.gl/maps/0tL5O

What to bring: Your bike, a helmet, water bottle, swimsuit, towel and a few bucks for a snack.

Agenda: A little cross-training. We are going to circle the 'hood and then hit the pool. If you are not an LHP member, bring an extra five bucks for admission, and have a couple bucks for a Popsicle or some frites at the Gator Grill.

As ever, this is an all-ages, all skill levels ride. All are welcome. See you there.
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With three regular members out of town for the week (all three Folsom boys) and several other regulars at camp or out of town, Thursday's Alexandria +Raccoon Riders Youth Cycling Club ride was just regular Owen, second-timer Tommy and me.

We started with some skills work, specifically curb-hopping. Curb-hopping is an important skill to learn, as it frees the rider from the tyranny of the concrete verge, opening the landscape to near limitless riding.

After that we headed down the hill to ride a few laps around the gravel track at the local elementary school, this is where Tommy earned his new club nickname, Man Down:

After two laps of barreling around the track, we cut off to the blacktop to take the back way out of the school. Tommy's angle of attack on the wooden border between the track and the grass was not sharp enough, when his front wheel engaged the border, the bike went one way and Tommy went the other. crash

For just a moment, it was the most awful thing ever to happen, until that is, I employed the secret parenting trick of requesting a reenactment of the incident. Soon enough as Tommy Man Down was attempting to recreate the scene, with no bike but holding his hands out as if they were on the handlebar, all three of us saw the absurdity of it all, we shared a laugh and moved on.

From there we had a portage across the creek and over to ride the condo towers, which involves cruising through the covered lobby entrances of three big buildings on the south side of New Alexandria. North from there and circling back to the hill, we talked and had good ideas for club fundraisers and community service activities.

Up the hill, we encountered a grown-ups club ride, with everyone on fast bikes, I took the opportunity to show the kids that Just Riding Around is a lifelong pursuit. One of the club riders is a very good friend and a big supporter of the club and we exchanged ideas on interfacing the kids and the adults.

There we dropped Owen at home, Man Down and I rode back to our hood, with Man Down, a six year old rising first grader, logging his longest ride ever, 6.5 miles.

Great ride, gang. See you this afternoon.
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Great report, good distance. Curb hopping's important. Gotta learn falling, and rolling, on.
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Great video from Charlie Pickering, an Aussie Stephen Colbert-type pretty much nailing the absurdity of cyclist-driver relations. 
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Ya wanker!
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Alexandria +Raccoon Riders Youth Cycling Club are back in action tonight. Let's ride for snacks.
 
Ok team, we have missed four straight sessions, so let's get out and ride, today's Alexandria Raccoon Riders Youth Cycling Club ride is ON. Details:

Time: 6-7:30pm

Meetup: Dartmouth Drive and Quander Rd. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/1iXGD

What to bring: Your bike, helmet, a water bottle and a snack or a few smackers for some commerce

Agenda: A refresher ride around the 'hood, with maybe a trip up to the 7-11 or down to the CVS for a snack. As usual, the focus will be on safety, etiquette, conversation and commerce.

See you there!
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Low man. Technically everyone is a prospect at this point.
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Cycling vaca is over but got stuff to do today, Alexandria +Raccoon Riders Youth Cycling Club Tuesday club ride is CANCELED. See you Thursday.
 
Ok gang, team sponsor +Ben Folsom is back from his epic bike ride across (almost) all of Pennsylvania, but schedule is too tight today, today's Alexandria Raccoon Riders Youth Cycling Club Tuesday ride is CANCELED.

We will be back on track Thursday. Until then, get out and recruit new prospects.
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Trans-PA is in the rear view mirror and it is back to the grind. The 1984 is still covered in trail dust and configured for touring, so I rode the 1985 today. Without two loaded panniers on the front, it felt twitchy and jumpy, like Martin Short's Nathan Thurm character, like it was worried I was about to catch it in a lie.

I was joined today by Carl, seen trailing me in the picture. He was the recipient of the 1984 Gitane Esprit I had to unload last year when I acquired the 1984 Trek 620. He sat on the bike for a year before finally sorting his commute, he put wider bars, a rack and his pedals on it and today was his first full-blown, into-work-shower-desk commute. It was nice to see a former commuting bike of mine back on the road, and nice to have a riding partner. Of course I had to test his legs.

I love riding my bike to work.
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My manly blond locks don't need no sissified-dandy-man goop. Not like +Ben Folsom with his carefully coifed "do," and his sissified lufted cycling cap. Nope. A real man wears his cycling cap Belgian style.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IjFa_aszjQ
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Ben Folsom

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84 620: Handlebar Bag

No touring bike is complete without a handlebar bag, and I had some choices in how I set this one up. Two years ago I took some gear off +Matt Campbell's hands, that bundle included an Ortlieb M5-style handlebar bag mount and a Racktime bar bag. Racktime is Ortlieb's second-line kit and the Barit handlebar bag uses the same mount as the Ortlieb M5 and M6 bags.

The mount went on without a problem, and that is a headline. With this mounting bracket system, a steel wire called a fixing cable weaves through the bracket itself, making a figure-8 around the stem in such a way as to use the horizontal length of the stem as a support for the bag, as opposed to a cheaper bag mount or a basket, that would simply cinch around the handlebar itself, gradually rotating down until the bag came to rest against the reflector or headtube.

The gouge on the typically German, over-engineered mounting system is that, once you install the bracket on one bike and pinch the fixing cable down, it squashes the cable, making it all but impossible to thread back through the bracket for installation on another bike.

That was not the case for me. It went onto this bike easily. I even left the fixing cable at the original, delivered length (about 2 cm hangs out under the bottom right of the handlebar, this IP is just visible above the reflector in the first photo in this post) and did not cut it off so when +Matt Campbell is finally shamed into doing a bike tour with us and pretends the reason he cannot is because, well, I have his bar bag and mount, dammit, I can simply take it out and send it back.

So once the mount is on loosely, you attach the bag and check horizontal positioning, then remove the bag and tighten everything down. The fully waterproof, magnetic locking, quad-compartment Ortlieb M6 Classic bar bag not having a current full-time bike assignment, got the call for Trans-PA. The Racktime bag, with its bright yellow rain cover and closure snaps, will have to wait for another ride.
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mine was a big ass black one that had copartments and could allso hold a 40oz bottle bevrage.
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Old school is back in session, time to bring back the sweatbands. Ordered sets for me and all three boys.
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+Jeff Hendricks Buy one.  I thought they were goofy when I saw it in a running store.  I was trail running at the time.  They work really well for running and working in the yard.

The key is to position the Gutr so that the angle is lower towards the back of your head.  This will allow the sweat to drip along your ears and not in your eyes.  getting this position on a bike is difficult especially if you are in your drops.  My new bike has compact drops, so I am not as low as my old bike, so the Gutr works OK. When I am really sweating I will sit in a upright position on my hoods and keep my head up.  I like riding like this anyway so I can see stuff.

bottom line is I can ride and see the sweat dripping from the edge f the Gutr onto my thighs and top tube and not have it dripping into my eyes.
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The days are long but the years are short. Happy 8th birthday to Anderson Folsom, aka A-Man, aka Anderman aka Young Master (it was technically yesterday but his party is today). You're a good kid and a good bud and you keep me on my toes.
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The toothless laugh is my favorite look. We have a 7 year old in the house with the same look. 
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Ben Folsom
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Recognized

This is Cathy (Kathy?). I did not know Cathy before Wednesday. Thanks to the Zombie Raccoon, I have a new bike commuter friend.

See, I was humming along my way home Wednesday afternoon, coming down the National Mall on the way out of DC. As I passed one of the many bike commuters that take Madison Drive, one of the two inner routes along the National Mall (Jefferson Drive, my morning route in the opposite one-way direction is the other, with Constitution and Independence Avenues the larger, outer routes), I heard "I like that jersey!"

BCC aside: If you are one of those DC motor vehicle commuters that tries to game the system by taking Madison Dr. to go left on 15th St. out of town to avoid the busier Independence Ave., which has a complicated left onto 15th and Constitution Ave., which has an even hairier left, so you take Madison Dr. along the Smithsonian museums with parallel parking on both sides, tons of tourists and pedestrians, pedicabs, bike commuters, and tour buses, you deserve to find yourself stuck and getting passed by bikes and held up by pedestrians that just cross wherever they feel like it. There is no secret way out of town. Suck it up with the rest. End aside.

I waved and said as I pulled away, "The Zombie Raccoon abides." To that I heard, "I follow him on Twitter!"

At that point we have been recognized, so I drop back to talk. Seems Cathy is 'Arlington Rider' on Twitter (even though I could not find her subsequently). She was very much appreciative of the tone, attitude and information passed along by the +Bike Commuter Cabal on Twitter. From the Natural History Museum to our split at the Washington Monument, we discussed transport cycling, cyclist-pedestrian-driver relations and how riding a bike to work has changed our lives.

A big thanks to the BCC social media crew for being intentional about passing the good word. The Zombie Raccoon is out there and like the apocalyptic plague the name implies, the message is spreading.

I love riding my bike to work.
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Hello and welcome Cathy!
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Ticket the bikers

Of the many tropes and tired conventions of the Committee Driver and anti-cyclist communities, the 'bikers don't obey the law and should be ticketed' seems to have the easiest policy prescription: Ticket all the cyclists. Let us examine this concept.

First, the base assumptions:

1. Cyclists break the law at no higher rate than motor vehicle drivers.

While this is an anecdotal statement, the honest and intellectually open can verify it on their own by observing driver behavior at stop signs, red lights, when parking, changing lanes, making turns, etc. Normalization of law-breaking by drivers has camouflaged this activity among fellow-drivers and given rise to a social environment where drivers view law-breaking by other drivers (when they notice it at all) as a personal failing of the individual, while law-breaking by a cyclist is viewed as a collective failure by the cycling community at large. That this is a classic hallmark of discriminatory treatment is beside the point of this piece.

And so while this is an assumption that is largely anecdotal and relies on the reader to accept a truth that may be difficult or incongruous to the reader's belief system, there is lots and lots and lots of evidence to read for yourself. See References in comments.


2. Fair enforcement is proportional enforcement.

While we all want more cops patrolling the scofflaws on our home streets, the reality of scarce enforcement resources is they need to be prioritized to prevent the greatest loss of life and, secondarily, in a fair and proportional manner. Read through the opinions on red-light and speed cameras and, before you can get down to the real philosophical nugget, which is that such enforcement schemes directly violate the social contract that casual law-breaking is acceptable, and you will see the main arguments are about class and race. Can't put 'em in a poor neighborhood (preying on the economically disadvantaged), can't put 'em in a rich neighborhood (effectively adding a neighborhood tax and padding police coffers), etc.

So for enforcement of the type at issue here to be proportional, and therefore fair, the percentage of traffic tickets issued to cyclists compared to drivers should be the same as the percentage of cyclists on the roads compared to drivers. If we posit that cyclists make up 2-5% of traffic in your typical urban environment (and that is a very generous estimation for most of the country), then cyclists should be receiving 2-5% of the traffic violations.


Ok, so those are your base assumptions.

Moving on to the linked piece, I have no problem with the Seattle police officer in question, given the data presented in the piece. My guess is, even with this guy's hardon for cyclists, the total percentage of tickets assigned to cyclists is still far below that assigned to motor vehicle drivers.

It is a bit disingenuous though, for the Seattle Police Department to pretend this guy is not the 'cyclist ticketer dude.' My guess is that admitting as much opens SPD to a well-deserved discrimination lawsuit. Even so, I will bet someone with legal expertise is already digging into this guy's ticket history to see if there is any 'there' there.

So yes, what I am saying here is that the doctrine of proportionality almost certainly calls for a lot more tickets to be issued to cyclists. It would seem to that Committed Driver-type that cyclists are getting one over and if they were just ticketed more often, would culturally learn to obey the law, just like every driver (doesn't).

Why is there not a wave of cyclist-enforcement across the country? Why haven't law enforcement agencies realized they can make easy money ticketing slow-moving cyclists who pose no threat to officers, and in doing so assuage the hurt feelings of drivers oppressed by the extreme minority of road users operating with presumed impunity?

Go back to base assumption #2. Fairness comes after protection of life. A motor vehicle weighing 2000 pounds and moving in excess of 25 mph in an urban environment represents orders of magnitude greater threats of property damage and personal injury than a 200 pound individual on a 30 pound bike moving at human-powered speed.

Compliance with the law among drivers could be at five nines (99.999%) and the carnage wrought by motor vehicles would still far exceed any actual damage or injury caused by cyclists.
Cory Bennion has received 29 cycling tickets, most for riding without a helmet. And 17 of those were written by Seattle police Officer Glen Mulkey, who issues 124 per year and has amassed an incredible career total.
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Just trying to frame the entire situation properly after almost getting run over by a motorized 'bicycle' going the wrong way on the 'sidewalk' yesterday.

:)
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  • Bike Commuter Cabal
    Bike Commuter, 2009 - present
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Male
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Rules 5 and 9
Introduction
Bike commuter with a wide range of interests, including riding, fixing and restoring bicycles.
Education
  • University of Virginia
    Anthropology, Italian, 1987 - 1992
  • American University
    MBA, 1998 - 2000
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Ben Folsom's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
The Flash (TV Den)
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The Flash (Coming This Fall to The CW)

RydeSafe
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Born in Brooklyn, Made in America

COSMOSonTV
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The official Google+ for COSMOS.

Weather Underground
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The World's First Weather Website

Bike Garage
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Bicycle cleaning & bike maintenance tips to keep you cycling longer

BikemanforU
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Never Fear BikemanforU Is Here

Bike touring for the first time -- 2009 Finger Lakes Tour
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On this cold winter day, I can very well use some warm memories of the past, in this case from my first "real" bike tour. "Real" because whe

www.3LC.tv - Cycling Training Workout Videos, DVDs & Downloads
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www.3LC.tv -Cycling Training Workout DVDs & Video Downloads with Mark Cavendish & Pete Kennaugh

VeloInk
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VeloInk decals make your bike happy :)

Cycling Nirvana/BRIEFS
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There are many styles of bikes, types of cycling and reasons to ride... and they're all good!

I Wear Spandex
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Trying to fit into my cycling spandex. Losing weight with cycling, low carb, paleo, and anything else that works. Does beer work? Sharing it all on the blog.

Capital Weather Gang
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The inside scope on weather in the D.C. area and beyond

Grateful Dead Listening Guide
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Help navigating choices in the sea of Grateful Dead shows.