Tuesday, November 30, 2010

They Stole WHAT?!

Sadly, it's not WHAT but WHO was stolen by three dognappers who hit the Washington Humane Society's New York Avenue Shelter.
Check out the story on on WTOP.COM they've even got some video of the thieves. Paws crossed for the safe return of Ivan, the 4 month-old pit bull puppy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Low Mileage Monday...

...the name sort of says it all.

Let's call it a rock-solid quarter-mile.

My friends who've done marathons say the commitment means you don't pencil in time for your workouts. You carve out the time. With a sharp object.

Got it.

So today's walk? Quarter-mile.

Grand total on the Walkmeter app? 16.5 miles.

Looks like I'll have to make it a Turbo-Charged Tuesday.

Hey Thieves! Don't Touch My Junk!

Ok, after more than a week of hauling the bikes up the stairs each day, I've opted to place them back on the bike rack provided by management where I live.

But I'm not counting on the thieves deciding to change their behavior. Instead I've invested in hardware. Lots of it.

I've always had good, heavy duty locks, but now I use multiple locks on each bike so the thieves don't steal the wheels off of them, like they did last time.

It's just that now--between the chains and the U-locks-- it looks like my bikes have gotten a thing for bondage.

Daily Download: Early Mileage

Some days are walking days, some days are biking days. Today, with a need to get some grocery shopping done, and some work on the Trek needed at one of my favorite local shops, it was bike day.

Today's mileage: 11 miles on the bike.

Grand total so far, 16.4.

Only 483.6 more to go on the first leg of my 1,000 mile journey. Remember: it's 500 by April 16th and another 500 more by June 11.

16.4...It's a start, just like my modest fundraising goal of $500. I'm betting on all of you doing just a little bit and helping me make an impact. Here's the place to do it:

My MS Walk fundraising page

No contribution is too small, and every contribution gets the MS Society closer to its goal of beating this disease.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Will Walk 500 Miles...

...and I will bike 500 more.

And if you are hearing the old "Proclaimers" song in your head, you have it right. But this is bigger than a pop song's promise. It's about fighting Multiple Sclerosis.

So here's the deal: my promise is to log 500 miles by April 16th, the date I'll be joining thousands of volunteers in the National Capital Chapter's Walk MS event on June 16th.

And I'll  log 500 more by the time the National Capital MS Society holds its June Beyond the Beltway biking event.

I'll use a combination of activities, biking and walking to reach that goal. One, because I like to mix it up, and two, because the April fundraiser is a walk, the June fundraiser is a bike ride.

This is where you come in. You can help me raise money for the National Capital Chapter of the MS Society. You can donate by the mile, you can donate by the month, you can just kick in whatever you can, whenever you can. I've started a fundraising page that makes it easy.

Can you help me reach my goal of giving MS a serious kick in the pants? We do it with dollars. Research dollars. MS is a disease that can be treated, but I'd love to see the day come when it's a disease that's relegated to medical history books. And research is helping that day come.

My promise to you is that I walk the walk...and ride that bike. I'll report my progress to you regularly. And there will be no fudging of the numbers: I'll be using an iPhone app that logs everything from my mileage to my pace.

I've already started. I logged 5.4 miles today. I'm on my way. Are you with me?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Police Search for Cyclist in a Hit and Run...

No one likes hearing that there's been a hit-and-run; this time police say it's a cyclist who committed the offense. And it's serious.

Here's the official release from the Metropolitan Police Department:

Bicyclist Hit and Run with Pedestrian Injuries

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Major Crash Investigations Unit are investigating a hit and run crash in which a bicyclist struck two pedestrians in the 600 block of Massachusetts Avenue, NW.
At approximately 10 am on Friday, November 26, 2010, a male and a female pedestrian were walking in the south alley of the 600 block Massachusetts Avenue NW, when they were struck by a bicyclist. The impact caused the pedestrians, who are both in their 70s to fall. The bicyclist failed to stop. The bicyclist appeared to be a Hispanic male, with black hair, wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, dark pants and possibly riding a BMX style bicycle. The bicyclist was last seen traveling south through the alley towards I Street, NW. Personnel from DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services transported both pedestrians to a local hospital. The male pedestrian was admitted in critical condition.
Anyone with information about the bicyclist or this crash is asked to contact police at (202) 727-9099 or 1-888-919-CRIME (1-888-919-2746).

Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to DC CRIME SOLVERS at 1-866-411-TIPS and to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411. If the information provided by the caller to the Crime Solvers Unit leads to an arrest and indictment, that caller will be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lighting Up The Night...

Ever hear the phrase "It's better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness"? The folks at FABB, Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, sure have. And they went one better.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Did You See Something? One Cyclist Hopes You'll Say Something...

Were you around New Hampshire Avenue and 17th Street NW around 8:30pm on October 21st?

If so, Doug Kandt wants to talk to you.

He's looking for the witnesses who called the ambulance for him after he was hit by a cab...why? I'll let him tell you...

If you witnessed the collision, you can contact Doug at dkandt@gmail.com

Friday, November 19, 2010

Helmets Part 2: One Rider Makes the Case in Favor...

Doug Kandt tells WTOP how being hit by a cab made him awfully glad he's been in the habit of wearing a helmet...

...and he's making an addition to his gear: a bright front light.

But that's not all...check in at WTOP for Doug's search for witnesses to his crash. Seems despite getting hit by a car, he's the one who got the ticket. Did cops make the right call? I'll post more here later....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Helmets: The Debate Over Your Brain Case

Ok, so here's the deal. I grew up way back when it was common for bikes to have chrome fenders and no more than 3 speeds. Banana seats were new and featured 'flower power' designs. And no one, I mean no one wore helmets.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Post Tweed Ride...

It was a postcard-picture-perfect autumn day. Warm enough to enjoy sitting in a park, cool enough to want to wear that tweed jacket so critical to finishing the look for the annual Tweed Ride.

But some serious thoughts. The organizers of the Tweed Ride made it clear: this was not some bike-rights statement, this was literally, a ride in the park...the park being the lovely city of Washington, DC. Riders were to stay in small, manageable groups, and obey the traffic laws. That meant stopping at stop lights and signaling intentions to drivers. This gentle reminder appeared on waivers riders were to sign before the event, and announced at the start of the ride as groups were 'launched' in clusters of no more than 30 at a time.

Tweed Ride: a Look

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Everything Old is New Again...

For the second time, Dandies and Quaintrelles gather in DC to go on a very civilized, dress-in-your-best Tweed Ride.

The mood is well, very like this.

The waiver for the ride and the invitation calls for riders to ride in groups no larger than 30, and to obey all traffic laws. Last year, the ride went out without a hitch, and today, the weather is perfect...

Now, where's my tweed?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Upon Closer Inspection...

...it looks to me like we do indeed have a match.

I believe the tire taken off my Gazelle Medeo is the very one that is now sported by a bike confiscated from a group of youths by the Metropolitan Police at 2-D. I'm working with the police on confirming it and making that claim.

I have become more sure since getting my Gazelle back from the bike shop where I took it for repairs (the thieves also tried yanking my rear wheel off the bike, never a good thing to have someone force the works on your ride.)

The good news is, after recovering my bike, I took it for a ride, and the mechanics did a fabulous job. It rides beautifully and they came up with a really good match for the front tire (though they said they weren't able to find the same kind of reflective sidewalls on the tires.)

It was also nice to know the guys working on it loved it too. The words "awesome" and "sweet" were used more than once.

I know it's an object, but I really do love that bike. It's a beautiful piece of machinery, and it's a pleasure to ride.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


...which are little bits and pieces, and that's what I have here, little bits and pieces of news.

First, more bike light giveaways, this one from the fine folks at FABB: they'll be doing a bicycle light giveaway at St Anthony's in Falls Church/Baileys Crossroads on Nov. 22 at 5:30pm and they need volunteers.

Second; still working on the 'aftermath' of bike theft and vandalism. One of my neighbors who was also hit by the thieves (they got bike parts, his frame was still in place thanks to a serious U-lock) kindly called me to tell me he would be meeting with police to check the four bikes they recovered and invited me to come along. Police thought some of the missing parts would show up on the bikes, and they were right. He will recover his seat, seatpost, seat cover and bike lights. (This stuff adds up.)

I went along and for a second, thought that maybe that was my missing wheel on one of the bikes, but upon closer inspection, I'm not so sure. My Gazelle is still in the shop (I'm waiting for the estimate on it) so I'll have to see if I have any photos that can help me out on that score. So far no sign of the Dahon.

So, nearly a week after finding my bike stolen, and a second vandalized, I'm still working on recovering any parts, completing the process of reporting to the insurance company. They want the receipt from the Dahon, and darn it, I have all the info on my other bikes, but can't find that particular file and paperwork. Kills me because I can picture both the brochure and the receipt. I'll be contacting the bike shop to see if they kept records from 2008.

Note to all you bike owners: after purchase, KEEP the receipts, PHOTOGRAPH your bike, especially the serial number (flip your bike upside down, there on the sprocket, you'll find it) and register it with the National Bike Registry.

After this, I can only imagine the grief that victims of more serious crimes go through; for me this is limited to the paperwork, the time lost to following up, the frustration of the loss, and the dent it can put in your sense of security. In the big scheme of things: small potatoes. Still, grinds my gears.

...and not bikey, but pedestrian-y: I'm walking 500 miles for MS. Ok, not all at once. I've set a goal for myself: I will walk 500 miles by the April 16th and shoot for another 500 by June.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Can You See Me Now?

Check in at WTOP. 103.5fm and our website. We've got a piece on the value of bike lights and the strategies that groups like BikeArlington and WABA are using to make sure that cyclists are seen.

More on what I find works for me later. Right now, news could be breaking, and WTOP needs to be there with the patch kit when it does.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Did You Catch This Cyclist on WTOP Monday Morning?

Meet John Farrell of Chevy Chase.

I did. Ran into him at his polling place election night. He was on his bike. I asked him about that, and he explained he's one of the thousands of folks who opt to make every day Bike To Work Day. He makes it sound like non-stop fun.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dear Bike Thief,

First things first.

Stolen bikes November 2010 from kate ryan on Vimeo.

I know, I live in the city. Crime is part of the landscape. A stolen bike doesn't compare to a violent crime. I'm in a position to replace the object that was stolen. I get that. I get all that. But that's not the point. Let me help you understand.

Dahon gone...

...but not forgotten. Here's a video featuring my now-missing Dahon bike. If you spot it for sale on E-bay or Craigslist, just give me a holler.

Dahon Gone...

...Gazelle vandalized.

I hustled out of work today to meet up with friends when I was stunned to see one of my bikes had been vandalized and the other stolen from inside a secured garage. My Dahon fold-up was taken, my Gazelle Medeo, which served me so well last Saturday as I covered the Rally for Sanity/Fear for WTOP, was vandalized. Someone stole the front wheel, and did some damage to the front end when they did.

But I wasn't alone. And that didn't make me feel better. It seemed there wasn't a bike on that rack that hadn't been vandalized; seats yanked out of tubes, wheels ripped off frames and dumped, some twisted like potato chips, others just cast up against a wall.

That indicated two things to me: the people who did this had time, and I'm guessing weren't working alone. There had to be a group. A bike rack that had been packed with bikes of all kinds was suddenly looking pretty spare.

Building staffers were notified, police contacted, reports filed.

One small positive: I met more of my neighbors. Nothing brings people together like a shared problem.

More on this later.  But now I need sleep: I'm headed to the HeartWalk fundraiser to walk, and to support my colleague Jamie Forzato, who got me on her team "Left Side, Strong Side!" And yes, that's a Remember the Titans reference. We hope to beat Heart Disease...one step at a time.

Before I sleep: register your bike, get a rock solid lock (my Bianchi wasn't touched, I had some serious chains on that one--same with the Gazelle) and keep your eyes peeled for a blue Dahon fold-up bike. If you see it on Craig's list...let me know. Oddly, they took the frame without the seat. (I often take my bike seat with me...foolishly assuming that makes it a less likely theft-magnet.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Answering Your Need for Tweed...

It's that magical time of year, when the fall colors dazzle and the desire to wrap yourself in anything but lycra as you glide through the streets of Washington on your bicycle signal that the Tweed Ride has come 'round again...

The always gracious Eric Channing Brewer is inviting us all to become Dandies and Quaintrelles--even for just a day--and to enjoy the second annual Tweed Ride here in DC. The theme this year: "Betweed You and Me" .

As always, you'll be asked to turn out in your tweedy best, and put your best bike manners--along with your fashion sense--on display.

And if you're wondering; yes, some folks really do know how to rock a bike helmet. Really.

No, This Is Not More Post-Election Analysis...

...unless by analysis you mean a thought. And it's this: my earliest memories of election days have nothing to do with politics, but everything to do with community.

It's not the talk of party politics I remember most. What I do remember are the hellos from neighbors, the gossiping in line, the comments from the grown-ups about how big someone's child had grown since the last time they'd voted.

It wasn't as though there weren't conflicts, of course there were.  But on election day, the community came together for one thing: to vote. And even as a little kid, I got the very clear sense that no matter our differences, we were then, as we are now, all in this together.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Is it Election Day Yet?

It is! Some thoughts on that in a later post. But first, a look back at an 'experimental' approach to radio news coverage.

In the latest 'bike-centric' news: I covered the Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear by bike.

WTOP and its staffers are pros at covering live events like the rally in DC this past weekend. But times and technology are changing, and we change with it.

I've always hated the hassle of trying to drive and park downtown in heavy traffic (uh, like any day of the week) but facing major events with restricted access can be a real pain in the...driver's seat. Now that I live where I work, and have gone carless, I proposed covering the event by bike. My boss, Jim Farley, who's embraced the changes in our industry and put us way ahead of the curve in so many ways, gave me the thumbs up. And hey, he knows an opportunity to cut fleet costs when he sees it.

So I kitted out my Gazelle Medeo and took off for the Mall. Along the way, I noted lots of folks taking advantage of Capital Bikeshare Bikes, others trying without much success to hail cabs, and many others who decided to go old-old-school and walk.

The bike valets were not available on the Mall, though WABA did make the pitch to Comedy Central, so finding bike parking was actually, a bit of a challenge. Good news in a way--a signal that many folks are indeed finding bikes a viable form of transportation.

My first stop was getting my credentials--a very hot commodity. The line was a bit long and I had a noon deadline, but I was able to put together a quick report via iPhone.

I had some scrambling to do throughout the day. Getting cell service was a challenge, so we figured the bike would allow me to hightail it off the Mall and better my chances of being able to file electronically.

At one point, after my 2pm filing deadline,,a man seated next to me on a bench said he'd just come from the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station where, as he described it, there had been an escalator "collapse". I snagged some sound from him, hopped on my bike, shot on over to the Metro stop, and found ambulances and Metro Transit police vehicles at the 9th and D entrance. Click here to listen to DC Fire/EMS spokesman Pete Piringer and the man who initially reported the trouble to me...

For reporters, the day was a challenge in one way: getting cell service. We are all so dependent on being able to file electronically. We knew we'd face this challenge going into the event. That's one reason I opted to experiment by bike coverage (I've covered events by bike before, but not when expected to go live, thoughout the day).

Even using the tactic of speeding off the Mall to find a more 'open' signal in cyberspace, I ran into trouble electronically. It was frustrating to have sound that I could not get to air as quickly as I'd like.

But the upside was how easy it was to get around. Traffic was of course light, as people wisely opted to leave the cars at home. Foot traffic was heavy, but I was able to cut through fairly easily. My Gazelle Medeo had an effect similar to that which you see when mounted police move through a crowd--the sheer bulk of the thing helped cut a swath through the crowds--in the streets. The Medeo is a lot like a good police horse: It's solid, not speedy. Of course, I'm not a speed demon either, so I suppose we are a perfect match.

I don't know that covering news events in blazing heat or pouring rain would be as much fun, but I have to say this experiment in sound (iPhones, Twitter) and mobility (pedal power) was a blast.

And biking to meet deadlines? A definite fitness booster.

And yes, if you are curious, I wore a helmet, outfitted the bike and myself with lights (I'll get a pic of that at some point for you) and abided by traffic laws. I always try to operate under the premise that any time I'm on the bike I am a bike ambassador, and that's especially true when I've got the WTOP logo on display. And no, the WTOP lawyers don't make me say that. It's just good, common sense.

For pix of the event, head to my Flickr page @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/kryan1035/sets/72157625276242000/