Photo Of The Day: Santa Monica Bicycle

There’s some wonderful technique at work behind Flickr user Ambre’s photo of a cyclist in Santa Monica, California. Ambre is using a special camera called a Lomo, which among other effects, allows the photographer to take four sequential shots on the same frame of film. She’s used this feature to great effect in today’s shot: I love the sense of motion as the bike glides in (and out) of the viewer’s field of view, along with the washed out colors that capture the brightness of a sunny California day. You almost feel as if you were out there on a beach cruiser, gliding along the Pacific coastline.

Taken any great travel photos? Why not add a few to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

[Photo Credit: Flickr user Ambre]

Gadling Gear Review: Cannondale Quick Backpack

The Quick Backpack from CannondaleFinding the perfect carry-on bag can be a never-ending quest for some travelers. It has to be capable of carrying all of your gear, while still keeping its contents safe from harm. It should also be comfortable enough to lug around all day, but also durable enough to survive the rigors of the road. It also doesn’t hurt if it happens to be attractive and affordable.

That description fits the new Quick Backpack from Cannondale to a tee. Yep, you read that right. The company that is best known for making some of the best bikes in the world also happens to make a pretty great backpack for travel. Originally designed for commuter cyclists looking to haul their gear around, the Quick Backpack is so well designed and versatile that it can be used for far more than just pedaling around town.

The Quick’s main compartment is massive and seems to swallow up all the gear you can throw at it. I tossed in my digital SLR camera, along with a few lenses, and they barely took up any room at all. When I added an extra jacket, a couple of books and a spare pair of shoes, I started to wonder if the bag was actually bottomless. A separate laptop sleeve kept my computer nicely protected while an additional interior organizational pocket was great for small items like pens, USB drives or a pair of earbuds. A large exterior zippered-pocket makes for a fantastic storage space for travel documents or other items you want to keep close at hand, such as a cellphone, iPod or passport.Harkening back to its cycling roots, the pack also features two large pockets on either side that are designed to accommodate water bottles. They of course come in handy for holding your favorite beverage while on the go, but they’re also deep enough to be used for other things as well. For example, I found that they made excellent pockets for holding an umbrella, which is one of those items that can’t be easily accessible enough when you really need it.

Made from high-quality 600D nylon fabrics, the Quick Backpack is designed to take abuse on daily cycling commutes. That means it is more than up to the task for most travel needs as well. I was very impressed with how well built this pack is and after several weeks of testing, there is nary a scuff, scratch or rip to be found. Better yet, those same fabrics also happen to be quite water resistant, helping to keep all of the precious cargo inside safely dry. The designers of this pack took that protection one step further, however, by lining the bottom of the pack with a rubberized fabric. This prevents the bag from soaking up liquids, and potentially damaging its cargo, when inadvertently set on a wet surface.

Perhaps the biggest surprise that this pack has in store for us is just how comfortable it is to wear. Its shoulder straps are easy to adjust and are nicely padded, while its back panel allows for plenty of ventilation and incorporates some of the best cushioning I’ve ever seen on a pack of this kind. All of that padding allows the Quick Backpack to carry a heavy load with ease, ensuring you won’t strain a back muscle while hurrying to catch your next flight.

If you’re already a cyclist then adding the Cannondale Quick Backpack to your gear closet seems like a no-brainer. But this is the kind of pack that many travelers might dismiss outright because it was primarily designed for riding. That would be a mistake, however, as this is quite simply a great pack that is both highly functional and versatile, whether you ever get on a bike or not. Its ability to comfortably carry large loads and its high level of durability makes it an excellent choice for active travelers looking for something a little different in their carry-on bag. With a price tag of $120, it also happens to be a real bargain too. I know I’ve certainly paid more than that for a bag that wasn’t nearly as good as this one.

10 Tips On Riding A Bike In New York City

new york city bike tips

Though officials are tight-lipped, rumor has it that New York City‘s much-anticipated Citi Bike share program will launch this month. As we previously reported, Citi Bike will provide residents and tourists with the opportunity to borrow from 10,000 bikes parked in 600 stations scattered across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Pricing for the privately run system will range from $9.95 for a 24-hour pass to $95 for an annual membership.

While Citi Bike is a welcome addition to New York’s transportation scene, tourists might be wary of tackling the streets of Manhattan, and for good reason. Between bumpy roads, unclear signage, reckless taxicabs and texting pedestrians, the city’s streets are not for the faint of heart.

But once you get over the initial fear, New York can be a magical place to explore on two wheels. We spoke with a handful of avid city cyclists, who shared their tips for staying safe while making the most of your bike share experience.

1. Research your route. “Study a map of NYC before you go out to get a sense of what areas are easy to bike,” suggests Eva Mohr, an avid cyclist whose biking e-commerce shop, All That I Want, launches this fall. Google Maps offers a way to search bike routes online and through its Android app. iPhone users should invest $1.99 in the Ride the City app, which generates a number of routes from “Safest” to “Direct.” The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) also publishes a free City Cycling Map, available for download and in select locations throughout the city.2. Obey the traffic rules. “Bicyclists have the same traffic rules as motorists,” says Alison Lucien, founder of Eleanor’s NYC, a bicycle accessories shop for women. “The ticket for running a red light on a bike is the same as for a driver, with the exception that bicyclists do not have to pay the surcharge.” Laws on riding recklessly and against the flow of traffic also apply.

3. Wear a helmet, advises Mohr. If you plan to do a lot of city biking, it’s worth the luggage space to pack your own safety gear. NYC’s DOT reports that in 97 percent of biking fatalities, the rider was not wearing a helmet. Though bike share programs in cities like London, Boston and Washington, DC, report low levels of accidents and fatalities, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

4. Dress brightly. Wearing bright clothing can attract the attention of motorists, especially at night. Plus, “neons and bold prints are all the rage in fashion, so it shouldn’t be hard,” says Lucien.

5. Follow bike lanes, but remain alert. “Unlike in established bicycle countries like Holland, the bike lane is not well respected in many areas – by vendors and crowds who treat it as a private sidewalk or by delivery vans and cabs that pull into it without warning,” says Nona Varnado, who designs urban cycling and multi-sport apparel for women and blogs about biking culture at The Bird Wheel. “It’s getting better all the time, but a bike lane still requires staying alert.”

6. Don’t be afraid to make some noise, advises Lucien. “Ring your bell and shout out, ‘heads up!’ when pedestrians walk out in front of you.”

7. Beware of taxis. “Watch out for cabs that stop on the side of the street and be prepared for doors to open unexpectedly,” says Mohr. “If you are riding a cab yourself, always make sure to check for cyclists first before opening the door.”

8. Watch out for pedestrians. It’s common for unaware pedestrians to step into the road without looking both ways, especially when they’re preoccupied in conversation or tapping away on their smartphones. Large vehicles like trucks and busses can also hide these sneakers. “While you pass a bus, keep your hands on the brakes at all times,” suggests Lucien.

9. Wear clothes you feel comfortable in. While flowing dresses and flimsy sandals may be popular summer attire for women, they’re often impractical for the rigors of city biking. “If you wear a dress, use a skirt garter not only to protect your clothes from getting dirty, but also to prevent the dress from getting tangled in the spokes,” advises Mohr.

10. Once you get comfortable, feel free to venture off the beaten path. “Smaller neighborhoods and side streets are best seen on a bike and tend to be less busy,” says Varnado. “This is where the real NYC is. By riding a bike you can see amazing things you’d never experience any other way.”

[Flickr image via Missy S., Citi Bike image via Citi Bike]

Video Of The Day: ‘Line Of Sight’ Trailer From The 2012 Bicycle Film Festival

While most eyes are on the Tour de France, there’s a much more intriguing form of cycling that’s quickly becoming a phenomenon: underground bicycle messenger racing.

Yes, it’s a real thing, and it appears to be spreading. Filmmaker Lucas Brunelle spent more than a decade profiling and documenting messenger cultures around the world, and he recently released “Line of Sight,” a 60-minute documentary film that premiered Saturday at the 2012 Bicycle Film Festival in New York City. According to the description:

This is bike riding like you’ve never seen before, in gripping first-person perspective through the most hectic city streets, on expressways in Mexico City, over the frozen Charles River, under the Mediterranean Sea, across the Great Wall of China and deep into the jungles of Guatemala.

Sounds much more gripping than the winding, tree-lined roads of France.

Photo Of The Day: Wheelie In Pennsylvania

The photos I pick for “Photo Of The Day” are normally photos taken by others. Friends and strangers qualify equally for my photo picks so long as a photo of theirs gets my attention and I feel compelled to share it. Rarely do I use my own photo, but this photo I snapped over the weekend seemed worthy of breaking the rule to me. While visiting my brother’s family in Greensboro, Pennsylvania, which is on the border of West Virginia, my 13-year-old nephew and 5-year-old niece went outside with their bikes. My nephew, Riley, popped a wheelie and I caught it. With everything else blurred out around him and his bike at the center focus, this photo embodies a little piece of traditional summer in the country to me. I hope you don’t mind my sharing it.

Want your photo or video considered for “Photo Of The Day” or “Video Of The Day?” Just upload your photos to the Gadling Flickr Pool or comment here with links to your videos.

How to Wheelie by Tracy Moseley