Sunday, December 30, 2007

Scuderi Air Hybrid

These video illustrate what and how a Scuderi Air Hybrid engine works. And how it may be applied as a power source for a moving vehicle or an electricity generator. It also clarifies it's ability to be powered by biodiesel, ethynol, and other biofuels(bio-fuel).

Scudari engine promo video

Scuderi engine overview

Interview with Scudari

Recommended Links:
- Air Powered Vehicles community forum


"Eco-Air"... a pneumatic and/or water compressor design.

Part 2

Video description:
The Inventor Wolfhart Willimczik shows his inventions, how they are created and how they are destroyed by the SSD/STASI and KGB.

Recommended Links:
- Air Powered Vehicles community forum

Thursday, December 27, 2007

No Gas!

This video shows ideas on how to transport groceries or other things you want to keep dry... while riding in the rain.

The cyclist also has some innovative ideas on using lights for bicycles... such as wide turn signal lights.

Also, in honor of the recent report of the escaped tiger in the San Francisco Zoo, it is a reminder to us all... remember to feed your kitty.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Military Bikes

This is an interesting video demonstrating the process a soldier goes through when they jump from a plane with a military spec folding bicycle.

Talk about adreneline rush! first you dive out of a plane, free fall, then fly on your steerable parachute, then hit the ground, unpack your mil spec folding bike for some hard core mountain bike riding.

Wait! That description seems like an X-treme sport adventure!

Street Surfer

This bicycle is kind of a hybrid bike and skate. It is called the "Street Surfer". It is made in Western Australia (WA), Australia.

The report states that it will be available in the USA by April 2008.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Electric Eel

This video news story prompts the thought of imagining if humans could generate electricity, kind of like they apparently did in the movie "The Matrix". Perhaps in the future, humans genes will be blended with electric eel genes (the parts that generate electricity) to give humans the ability to generate electricity. Perhaps these will be real "X-Men" of the future.

Or perhaps this bio mechanical technology will be used for robots that to give them a power source, generated from eating food. It may also be used for creating a power source for bionic prosthetic limbs. It may even give humans the ability to generate visiable light. hmmm..

Dec 13 - A new Christmas installation is taking centre stage at a Japanese aquarium involving an electric eel and Christmas tree lights.

The electric eel discharges up to 800 watts of power and every time the creature moves it lights up the Christmas tree.

The eel and the tree has been a crowd puller, with hundreds coming to watch the eel move and the lights twinkle.

Basmah Fahim reports.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Santa Monica Bike Valet

Back in April 2007, CBS news did a video news piece that included coverage of the Santa Monica Farmer's Market bicycle valet (LINK)
(link to Video only)

They also included a bit from the AP and what they had to say on the topic:

Valet Parking Now Offered For Santa Monica Bikes
Apr 25, 2007

Valet parking in Southern California is routine.

But a new kind of service is catering to people who need to park their bikes.

Santa Monica officials are hiring parkers to handle up to 350 bikes at the Sunday market.

Long Beach is offering full service parking for cyclists, including attendants who fill up the tires and repair bikes.

Santa Barbara plans to open a bike center May First, with hot showers and locker rooms where bike-riding commuters can freshen up before work.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bike Lanes

Last week, the City of Santa Monica painted some new bicycle lanes along Ocean Park Blvd.(Santa Monica, California)(MAP). See Google maps "Street View", what Ocean Park Blvd looked like before the bike lanes were installed.(LINK). Or take a look at the AltCar Expo Rally video to see much of that section of Ocean Park blvd, and what it looked like before the bike lanes were added(video link)

There has not been any reports from the city that I am aware of on this project. It is unclear how far they will be painting these lanes. It appears they are painted as far west on Ocean Park blvd as about 25th street. And they maybe painted as far east as Lincoln, to connect up with the bike lanes west of Lincoln. The bike lanes are so fresh there still is not any bike lane labeling or graphics in the segments seen thus far.

If anyone has more info on this bike lane project or links regarding it on the city's website let me know. Thanks!

Related Posts:
- Santa Monica Bicycle Workshop (audio file - Feb. 2005)
- Sharing Roads

Recommended Links:
- Cycle Santa Monica! community forum
- Santa-Monica/West-L.A./Venice critical mass community forum

Friday, December 07, 2007

SaMoHi Bikes 2

(click on image to enlarge)

Two Santa Monica High School Students Ride in AidsRide 2002
Santa Monica, California (June 17, 2002)

Mark Hunter - a junior at Santa Monica High School (SaMoHi)(Samohi Online Newspaper), resident of Santa Monica, and newly elected vice president of his high school student body - learned to ride a bike a year and half ago. Just last week he completed the 575-mile-week-long AidsRide California. He and another junior at Samohi were the only high school students from Samohi and among only 5 high school students to ride in the event. Mark believes that the reason more kids aren't riding bikes is because of society's notion that cars are best. As the vice president(Samohi), he would like to work on changing that. One idea he has is to give special credit to those students that bicycle to school. For the full story about him and Max Dean Goldstein(Santa Monica Resident, junior Samohi) riding for AIDS, see: Full Article

Links to other youth bicycling programs and resources:
(if you know of any other great links to add please send them to

Jefferson High School, Portland Oregon
b.i.k.e. (Bicycles and Ideas for Kids' Enpowerment)
Community Cycling Center, Portland, OR
Hartland High School Bicycle Club
Bloomington South High School Solar Bicycle Team
Bloomington High School Girls Win the Wold Solar Bike Race Again!
Bellaire High School (Texas) has a student parking problem similar to Samohi
Monte Vista High School (Cupertino, Calif) parking blues
Go For the Green (Safe Routes to Schoo Program)
Groundwork (London, UK) (good info)
Safe Routes to School (New Zealand) (good info)
Safe Routes to School (UK)
Safe Routes To School
Safe Routes Network
Citizens for Safe Cycling (Ottawa, Canada)
Green Teacher (February-March 1993 promoting bicycling in your school)

Samohi Bikes

(click on images to enlarge)

Was a big news day for bikes today, Thursday, December 6, 2007. There was a front page story report about the "Bike To School Day" (at SAMOHI) in the Santa Monica Daily Press, titled "Bike to School day pedals off"(article-PDF). Side note, I noticed that neither the Bike Coalition, nor the Solar Alliance were listed on the SaMoHi Website Club listings(link).

And In the LA Times "Guide" section there was an article about the Midnight Ridazz titled "Midnight Ridazz are bound to keep on riding In the heart of car culture, massive bike rides are hitting the streets. Should you admire them? Scorn them? Or join the pack?"(article).

For those interested, you might want to read about two other SAMOHI students who got covered in the local media for their exploits on two Wheels(article)

If anyone has web links or other contact info for the Solar Alliance or the Bike Coalition(mentioned in the "Bike To School Day Pedals Off"), send to me or post the info in the comments so people who are interested in those groups can connect with them.

It might be alot of fun to have a solar powered electric assist bicycle at one of the future "Bike To School Days". It would show the possibilities of a bicycle that can use human power and power from the sun.

Bike to School day pedals off
BY Melody Hanatani
Santa Monica Daily Press
December 6, 2007

CITY STREETS Throughout his more than three full years of high school, Austin Draper’s mode of transportation to school has slowly evolved from walking to skateboarding to bicycling.

While it seems as though the natural transition in his senior year would be to get behind the wheel of a car, the bicycling enthusiast has no plans of relinquishing the old faithful handlebars.

“It’s funny, because when I do get a ride to school, I’m always late ... because of traffic,” the Samohi student said en route to school Wednesday morning.

Draper was among the approximately 85 students that ditched car rides in favor of a healthy bicycle commute to school on Wednesday as part of Samohi’s first “Bike Day” event, hosted by two student organizations
— the Samohi Solar Alliance and the Bike Coalition.

The purpose of the event was to showcase the feasibility of commuting to school via bicycle, a transportation method that event organizers believe most students don’t see as an option because of the extra
time it could take to beat the bell.

“It’s something (many students) think would take too long to do in the morning,”
said senior Owen Gorman, the president and founder of the Bike Coalition. “They would have to wake up too early and sleep is really important for kids our age.” But the showing of support on Wednesday

BRAKE TIME: The first Bike to School Day attracted more than 80 students to ride their bikes.

could be an indicator that some students might be thinking two wheels are better than four.
The high school’s bike rack area, which normally contains about 30 bicycles on any given day, was packed with more than 90 two-wheelers by the time school started on Wednesday morning.

A handful of those bicycles belonged to faculty, estimated Rachel Horn, one of the co-presidents of the Samohi Solar Alliance.

“It’s daunting until you do it,” said Lulu Mickelson, a co-president of the Samohi Solar Alliance along with Mara McKevitt.

Many of the students involved with the two organizations are avid bike riders, commuting on two wheels almost every day of the week.

Draper, who is a member of both organizations, has been riding his bike to school every day since his junior year, favoring bike ridding because of the environmental and health benefits.

The commute from his house in the Wil-Mont area of town to Samohi — about two miles — takes about 15 to 20 minutes,
depending on the traffic along California Avenue near Lincoln Middle School.

Draper’s daily route to school presents different challenges, from the lack of bike lanes on Lincoln Boulevard, forcing the Samohi student onto the sidewalk, to the absence of traffic signals at the intersections
of Ninth Street and Santa Monica Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard, keeping the student waiting until the coast is clear to dash down the southbound street.


Still, Draper’s biggest challenge is the occasional honk and scream by impatient motorists that believe the student shouldn’t be acting as a motorist on the road, yelling at him to get off his bike.

“Some people will honk for no reason,” Draper said as he steered onto California Avenue. His determination to ride the bike to school every day seemed to unnerve his parents, who were concerned about their son getting
to and from school safely. After Draper was hit by a motorist at Lincoln Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard about two months ago, he succumbed to his mother’s wishes and finally donned a helmet. Draper
didn’t sustain any injuries in the accident.

But on Wednesday morning, he didn’t have his helmet handy, having left it in his girlfriend’s car the day before. The student opted for a head scarf and seemed to take more precaution in his ride, coming to complete stops at four-way stop signs, even if there weren’t any cars at the intersection. Draper said he now always tries to wear a helmet.

“I’ll be the cool one when my head is protected (in an accident),” he said as he slowed down near Lincoln Middle School.

To Draper, bicycle riding fosters community more than driving, which can be a solitary activity, especially in car-centric Southern California. Draper himself occasionally rides with several of his friends to school.
One of his riding buddies is Gorman, who lives just a few blocks away. Gorman, who founded the Bike Coalition this year, has been riding his bike to school since he was a student at Lincoln Middle School. The ride
from Gorman’s house north of Montana Avenue to Samohi takes about 15 minutes.

Gorman was also involved in two minor car-versus-bicycle accidents, neither of which resulted in injuries. He doesn’t believe the students at Samohi are reluctant to ride their bikes to school because of the
potential dangers. The students just don’t even think of hopping on a bike, he said. “We need events like Bike to School Day to get kids to try it and, hopefully, it will lead to a lifelong positive attitude
toward biking,” Gorman said.

The two organizations hope to make the Bike Day a biannual event, planning to
sponsor another one next semester.

“It’s a promotional day advertising bicycles as an alternative form of transportation that’s not combustion engine,”Horn said.

Midnight Ridazz are bound to keep on riding - In the heart of car culture, massive bike rides are hitting the streets. Should you admire them? Scorn them? Or join the pack?
By Liam Gowing
Los Angeles Times
December 6, 2007

10 p.m. on a dreary, drizzly Friday, and it looks as if it's turning into one of those gridlock-filled evenings for which our city has become sadly infamous.

Traffic along Echo Park Avenue is backed up from the Echo Lake boathouse all the way to the 101. And along this serpentine stretch of road sits an improbable number of idling vehicles -- first dozens, then perhaps 200 or 300 -- all waiting for the light at Sunset Boulevard to offer release. Finally, with a flash of green, they come to life in a synchronized swell, inertia overcome not by petrochemical combustion but by mitochondria and muscle.

It's no ordinary traffic jam, of course. It's Midnight Ridazz, the loose network of bicycle enthusiasts, rogues and hipsters who have helped foment a cultural revolution in L.A. since 2004. Along with Critical Mass -- a multi-city bicycle "event" founded in San Francisco in 1992 to promote cyclists' rights by taking the streets once a month at rush hour -- Midnight Ridazz and its growing diaspora of bicycle clubs have been pushing the envelope of what it means to be traffic, to the delight and fury of residents and officials.

Calling Midnight Ridazz "a reflection of the growing frustration people have with L.A.'s car-only culture," Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti welcomes the challenge of incorporating its constituents onto city streets as a way to reduce car traffic and pollution. He also sees deep sociological significance in the group.

"There's this myth in Los Angeles that we lead solitary lives, but I think that Midnight Ridazz and the other bike groups run counter to that. Los Angeles is a place where you certainly need to be in the know to find out where things are, but once you do, you see as strong and deep a community as anywhere in the United States."

Considering the origins of Midnight Ridazz, the assessment couldn't be more apt.

Conceived by 30-year-old graphic designer Kim Jensen -- known by her outlaw-affecting Ridazz handle, Skull -- during a late-night ride in Cambodia, Midnight Ridazz was inaugurated in L.A. on Feb. 27, 2004, when the Echo Park resident led five like-minded friends on bikes and two on skateboards on a rolling tour of downtown's fountains. A sense of community and an almost liturgical fellowship was immediate, says Jensen, as was a consensus on where to take the nascent bicycle club: "We were all anti-establishment, creative and feeling a need for speed in a nonconformist format. We were really set on keeping it free and totally noncommercial."

In addition to wanting to keep Ridazz events free-spirited, Jensen and company wanted them to be fun. So, in diametrical distinction to the politically charged but leaderless Critical Mass, Jensen set the precedent of promoting festively themed outings late Friday nights, when auto traffic is svelte and mellow, along routes mapped out ahead of time to avoid narrow streets, freeway exits and left turns.

From the get-go, the group's well-planned approach and laid-back execution were a success. Perhaps too much so: "The first ride was planned very well," says one of the original eight Ridazz, a strapping 6-foot-7 30-year-old who goes by the alias Roadblock (he refused to reveal his real name). "It was like, 'Wow, I didn't even know these places existed.' By the third ride, it became a phenomenon."

That's no exaggeration. Although a few dozen cyclists had joined the core group for that third event, the Belmont Tunnel "Mural Ride," hundreds began appearing thereafter. Within a year, the group was regularly pushing 1,000. To accommodate the swelling horde, which could no longer pedal through a single light cycle en masse, Midnight Ridazz felt compelled to adopt an extralegal practice popularized by Critical Mass -- "corking" -- whereby a few lead riders block an intersection so that cyclists who miss the green can stay with the pack.

"When we obey the lights," says Roadblock of the namesake move, "it's even more chaotic because the traffic is just insane for blocks and blocks. I've talked to police officers about it, and they say, 'Yeah, keep it together and just get through.' So that's what we go on."

If the practice was tacitly accepted and even occasionally assisted by the LAPD, it became increasingly unpopular with motorists caught trying to cross the ever-growing throng of cyclists -- or, worse, having to follow it. By summer 2006, things reached a truly critical mass.

"The last ride that I led had 1,400 people," says 32-year-old group leader Monica Howe (a.k.a. Muff). "And it was just an unmanageable mob. There were police incidents. There were fights between bicyclists and motorists. There were guns drawn by civilians.

"It was getting a little scary because people started to suggest that some [stuff] was going to go down eventually and that if anybody needed to be held responsible it was going to be the people organizing. Kim, MaBell [another of the original octet] and I, by that time, were the ones in charge, and we decided to step down and let other people take it where they wanted it to go."

This might well have been nowhere if it weren't for the towering figure of Roadblock, who devised a new approach for Ridazz: No more e-mails or fliers promoting the original second-Friday-of-the-month ride; a wiki-style website on which any member could post his or her own ride theme and itinerary; and an open call for remote Ridazz to start new, smaller franchises in their own neighborhoods.

With a more democratic support base, Midnight Ridazz grew down and out. Dozens of new clubs and rides popped up on the site, including Roadblock's own Wolfpack Hustle, a fast Monday night ride that recently celebrated its first anniversary with a 100-mile "Century Ride" around L.A. And though most of the remaining vanguards left to focus on new ventures, several stayed active in the cycling community, including Jensen and Howe, who became outreach coordinator of the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition.

It's a role that's kept her busy of late, as the proliferation of clubs and group rides in the Southland has led to new conflicts with motorists, municipal officials and law enforcement. Just last month, these issues came to a head in Santa Monica, where police detained and ticketed or arrested dozens of Critical Mass riders for corking intersections as well as a host of minor infractions such as having reflector lights affixed to backpacks rather than fenders.

But none of these issues is on the minds of participants in Midnight Ridazz's aforementioned slog out of bike-friendly Echo Park -- the "Heavy Metal II" ride. Even in the pouring rain, riders are exultant. Pedestrians raise their voices in sympathetic celebration while drivers forced to wait at blocked intersections honk their horns in the funky rhythms of solidarity. Clearly overwhelmed by this onslaught of positive energy, one driver jumps out of her Corvette to express herself in a more personal manner: removing her topto reveal two tokens of support.

As one instructive night with Midnight Ridazz shows, there are plenty of ways to achieve critical mass.

Recommended Links:
- Cycle Santa Monica! community forum
- Santa-Monica/West-L.A./Venice critical mass community forum