Archive for October, 2010
An image that really has nothing much to do with bicycles (like many of my other “Random Images“), but it feels very autumnal and fitting for the holiday.
This was made on the way up the Cataract trail toward Mt. Tam.
In months past, I’ve written extensively about the area around Cataract.
I narrowed it down to two folding bikes. What follows is a mini-review.
What I like about the Dahon Mu Uno (left):
- styling/build: not flashy; matte black finish; 20-inch tires; double kick-stand; ruggedly constructed.
- simplicity: no derailer or brake cables to worry about and a near perfect 62″ single gear.
- ride: stable handling; more like a full-size bike when compared to the Brompton.
- racks: none supplied, but accepts klickfix accessories.
And the drawbacks:
- more conspicuous than the Brompton when folded and not as compact;
- not designed to fold with attached fenders and racks;
- while ruggedly built, it’s doesn’t wreak of craftsmanship like the Brompton (i.e. it feels more mass produced).
What I like about the Brompton (right):
- quality engineering: extreme attention to quality and workmanship.
- folding design: ingeniously compact; easier to take on airlines/buses/metros; and a design that incorporates fenders and a rear rack!
- versatility: 3-speed internal gear hub with a perfectly spaced 48″, 64″, and 85″ set of gears; fenders and racks included on most models.
- price (more than double that of the Mu Uno);
- a few extra parts and a more complicated drivetrain make it feel more fragile than the Mu Uno with the potential for more maintenance and repairs;
- rides less like a full-size bike compared to the Mu Uno (probably due to the smaller 16″ wheels); however, in normal use, you adjust quickly to the differences.
Conclusion: These are both appealing bikes. If I just needed a simple and robust city bike for basic transportation in a relatively flat urban environment — the Mu Uno would be perfect.
I would think nothing of tossing around the Mu Uno or leaving it chained to a parking meter, but I would think twice about doing this with the Brompton (in this regard the Brompton’s elegant craftsmanship is a bit of a mixed blessing, as it is with all fine bicycles).
In the end, the Brompton’s versatile (yet still relatively simple) 3-speed gear range and ease of toting around (especially while fendered and on airlines) were the deciding factors for me.
Part II in an on-going series of posts demonstrating The New Yorker’s fondness for bicycle cover art (see also Part I).
Note: all covers going back to 1925 are archived on the magazine’s website.
Bicycles + Beer + Birthplace of the mountain bike = Biketoberfest this past Saturday, 10/16/10.
Sycip, a local Sonoma County builder.
Bamboo-framed bikes including the Bamboosero.
LUCE goods = hand-made cycling clothes.
Not pictured is the delicious Spanish paella I had for lunch courtesy of Venga Paella (Thanks Eduardo!) or the Lagunitas Brewing Co.’s PILS that I washed it down with. The PILS wasn’t bad, but it could not compare to my favorite pilsner brewed fresh in nearby Berkeley.
These are vistas from near The Warming Hut — a touristy, but perfectly located place to stop for a snack (at either the picnic tables or at the cafe).
I didn’t try their coffee, so I cannot comment…Perhaps next time.
Beyond the bicycles, a little of the San Francisco skyline is visible (note the gold dome of the Palace of Fine Arts).
Some photos made last month (looking northeast from a picnic table about half-way between the Bridge and Crissy Field).
The specimen below is probably the largest Eucalyptus I’ve seen. These trees are native to Australia and were originally planted in California — I’m guessing — as wind breaks for ranches and farms. They are quite draught resistant, making them extremely productive trees in this climatic zone. Plus, they smell really good!
I pedaled up the entry driveway past what they call the Vivekananda Bridge. There really was a palpable sense of peace and calm, maybe because for the last 37 years this has been a place “…where spiritual seekers of all faiths may meditate and study away from the disturbances of urban life.”
Here’s a synopsis of Vedanta philosophy from the Vedanta Society of Northern California‘s website:
The basic teaching of Vedanta is that the essence of all beings and all things–from the blade of grass to the Personal God–is Spirit, infinite and eternal, unchanging and indivisible. Vedanta emphasizes that man in his true nature is this divine Spirit, identical with the inmost being and reality of the universe. There is, in short, but one reality, one being, and, in the words of the Upanishads, “Thou art That.”
Vedanta declares that one can realize God in whatever aspect one wishes, and, further, that one can realize him directly and vividly in this life, in this world. Such realization constitutes spiritual freedom and contains in infinite measure the fulfillment of all man’s ideals and aspirations; it is indeed the true purpose of human life.
Vedanta holds that all religions lead to the same goal. Further, Vedanta reveres all great teachers and prophets, such as Sri Krishna, Lord Buddha, and Jesus Christ, and respects their teachings as the same eternal truth adapted to the needs of different times and peoples.
A typical Marin County bulletin board: “Holistic Lawyer”, “Way of the Goddess”, “Mystic Roots Band”, “Gurdjieff” and a plumbing contractor.
Sir Francis Drake Blvd. is eponymously named after the English explorer, pirate, slaver, and planet circumnavigator (Sir Francis Drake, b.1540-1596) and was once slated to become a four-lane highway known as CA Route 251:
…However, the development and freeway planning were stopped due to concerns about fragile ecosystems that urbanization would have damaged or destroyed….There was another problem though: the plan put the entire area on the San Andreas Fault. The decision to not redevelop West Marin made the freeway unnecessary, and it was therefore scrapped (from the Wikipedia entry)
One really appreciates elevation gains/losses when on a bicycle. To wit, I’ve traveled this stretch by automobile dozens of times and on all those occasions I perceived the route as being perfectly flat.
Anyhow, this stretch of Highway 1 connects the small west Marin towns of Olema and Bolinas. You travel over rolling hills and past park land and old ranches while following the San Andreas earthquake fault along the valley floor. (I wrote a little about this natural history and geology in an earlier post).
I discovered a new swimming hole this year. Just in time, as Northern California’s Indian Summer (usually Sept-Oct) finally ushered in some genuinely hot weather.
Last year’s End of Summer post described another popular swim hole: the Inkwells.
The new spot is about a 15-mile roundtrip from the town of Olema, with mostly rolling hills and the occasional volley of cars skimming by pretty close as there is no shoulder for protection along Hwy 1.