Freewheel Collective's Blog

"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man." -Iris Murdoch

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Danger Zone!

Danger Zone: Evening riding

#1: Evening riding by itself is bad enough, what with the decreasing light levels, the different darkness thresholds people have for turning on headlights and increasing traffic associated with afternoon rush-hour.

#2: A new problem, specific to the late summer has appeared! Swarms of tiny midge-like insects that emerge from whatever torpor with which they pass the day, and fly up to eyeball level in the evening.

Story: Last evening, circa 8pm, I was riding to Lee’s house and coming down the weak hill on Route 25A in Stony Brook. Just as I approached the little nursery west of the train station I went through such a swarm. Fragile flying insects filled my eyes, blinding me with tears and bug-guts. At the same moment I hit a patch of sandy gravel that had spilled from the nursery’s parking lot into the bike lane. I wanted to stop because I couldn’t see anything, but I know if I hit the brakes in the gravel-puddle I would crash for sure. I held on until I felt clean road again, and then stopped to rub my eyes. Rather than removing the bug matter from my eyes, this only pulverized it more and I had to creep the rest of the way to Lee’s house with severely blurred vision.


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Near Miss Story

Near miss: Cedar Street and 25A

I was riding from my home at the time (near Stony Brook Village) to the university campus by way of Cedar St. It was in the fall and approximately 6pm (dark that time of year).

I had front and rear blinky lights on my bike and a massive headlamp strapped to my helmet. I waited to the light to change at the intersection with 25A, and when it changed I started to cross the road.

About halfway across, some knucklehead driving a Big Ol’ Truck ran his red light. I dove towards the far side of the street and he narrowly missed me. I looked back at him and his windows were down. I shouted, “Red lights ***cking mean stop, **shole!” or something to that effect. My adrenaline was pumping and I he started to get out of the truck, presumably to fight me. Then he looked over my shoulder and saw the police car at the train station, thought better of his actions and sped way after telling me to ***k myself.


Two new features to Freewheel Blog!

We will be adding two new features to the blog and would like to invite our readers to participate.

#1: Near miss stories

We will post brief accounts of near accidents, crashes or collisions that occurred on bicycle. The purpose is to share stories and to highlight the sometimes danger of biking. The more we think about these issues, the easier they will be to avoid.

If you have a near miss story, email it to:

#2: Danger Zones

These will be brief posts identifying areas in Stony Brook and Long Island that have some hazard or other feature that reduces bicycle safety. We will tag these with “Danger Zone” to build a comprehensive list of areas to avoid or to take extra care while riding.

If you know of a Danger Zone, please email it to

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Biking Beijing

Jason McCartney, an American Olympic cyclist, went riding a rental through the streets of Beijing with a reporter and photographer from the NY Times.  After you follow the link, watch the slide show. My favorite slides are the ones of people hauling piles of cardboard and other materials on the back of their bikes.  That’s putting the bike and the human body to use!