Sunday, April 26, 2015

Advocate, Afghan, or Washing Atop Two Wheels.

Shannon Galpin taught women in Afghanistan to ride like the wind.  This was no small fete since women are forbidden to ride bicycles there.  #canyouimaginetheidiocy? Hear her speak about these amazing Afghan women and their incredible bravery on May 5, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. at National Geographic. You may think you take your life in your hands riding your bike everyday.  Try it in rural Afghanistan as a woman.  Then we can talk.  #afghanwomencyclists #shannongalpin

Thinking about #cycling while pregnant?  Many women have done it.  Find out how they managed.  And it wasn't by simply being Dutch or Danish. #pregnantcycling

Need to wash your clothes while getting some exercise?  Who doesn't?  Well now you can do both with bicycle-powered washing machine invented in China.  Think of how convenient this would be during blackouts or power failures.  #bicyclewashingmachine

Many families - I would argue smarter families - are using cargo bikes over vehicles, even for runs to big box stores.  This NY Times piece is a delight and references one of our own.  Safety in numbers.  Get out there with your whole brood.  #cargobikes

Columbia evokes images of Pablo Escobar, or militias.  But it also has big cities with plans for the future.  Bogota is working on its city planning, and much of its success will depend on thoughtful transit planning, including #cyclinginfrastructure.

Want a job in cycling PR, but Bogota is not to your liking?  The London Cycling Campaign is hiring.  Who doesn't want to live in London and work in cycling?  Sounds a bit like paradise to me.

kcrw image
Don Ward is a cycling advocate in Los Angeles who is using his marketing sense to help people think differently about cycling.  He thinks people can view cycling as sexy.  Okay, pause, it is Los Angeles after all.  As a victim of a hit-and-run, Ward is known for pushing for laws that would make it easier for cyclists to sue the drivers that injured them.  He set up a great network across social media, #ridazz, to help cyclists connect to identify fleeing drivers.  If you and your riding pals do not already have a network, you should try it.  It works.  #donward

So, if I see you in the bike lanes, advocating, pregnant, or Afghan, or atop your cargo bike laden with offspring, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Bike Cages, Bikes for Mom, and Allergies! It's Spring Again.

#MothersDay is fast approaching, leaving just two weeks for mom appreciators to buy a custom bike for their wives and/or mothers.  #serious #kindof Denmark's Kaspar Peek claims to have an affordable, adorable one for your maternal giver of warmth, love and common sense.  No, it is not tulips from the corner stand.  It is not an ashtray that will later be used for paperclips or rubber bands.  And it is not the French toast in bed, hopefully without the powdered sugar.  But it certainly says, "thanks for helping me not be a cave man," or alternatively, "thanks for not letting me marry the guy who lived in his van and played guitar for that band that used to open in that club that burned down." And it can cost less than $3,000.

The #CherryBlossoms in Washington attracted thousands of visitors, many of whom came to look from idling buses, or capacious SUVs.  But in record numbers these flower lovers used #CapitolBikeshare.  This is likely evidence of the fact that some homosapiens continue to evolve, while others do not.  I can envision the abstract for this anthropological research project right about now.

#Allergies making #cycling difficult this time of year?  Experts advise you get tested, avoid paths and trails that are covered with the very trees that make your histamines riot, and consider second generation antihistamines such as Claritin that won't make you drowsy.  But what if your problem is less in your nose and eyes, and more in your thighs and middle?  #Citibikes is now giving you a way to count your calories burned and miles while you ride on bikeshare.

The #bicyclehelmet debate has now moved to Viet Nam, where the law requiring kids to wear a helmet is being completely ignored by a culture that has biked everywhere for over 70 years.  Gee, I wonder why.  Hmmm.  Thoughts?  Sinclair Commuter

On the topic of #bicyclecommuter safety, enter #Babel, the company that has introduced a safety cage to encircle those riding electric bicycles and protect them from injury.  Whacky, and yet intriguing. #possiblybrilliant

So if I see you in the bike lane, sneezing perhaps, without a helmet but with a cage about you, let's be smug.
Elisa P/

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Cycling as Preventive Healthcare

It's that time of year again, when the masses come to look at the wondrous beauty of #CherryBlossoms in Washington, D.C.  And what better way to see such a natural wonder than from an idling car stuck in gridlocked traffic.  After all, it makes sense to sit in a car rather than get close to the trees on your #bicycle.  The parking is only $40 for a couple of hours, and there are at least 20 spots available for the 4,000 people a day who want to come.  So you should have no problem finding a spot.  Right?  Or you could just watch the whole thing live on the internet and clear the area normally used by cyclists.  #vehiclemadness  #rideyourbike

Paris wants to be the #cyclingcapital of the world.  That means more infrastructure.  The Paris City government says it is ready to invest in cycling.  Tres bon.  It would be great if you could ride a bike along the Seine to buy a pair of Christian Leboutains, then stop at a boulangerie where locals could gaze judgmentally at you for being a size 2 instead of a size 00, even though you pay your income taxes and are not toxically xenaphobic.  I'm in.  Let's do it #Paris.

Apparently it is time to study the effects of #electricmountainbikes on the environment and our psyches.  #really?

#Bicycling is a form of preventive healthcare, says a great new piece in Momentum Mag.  Medical establishment (at least those of you not over-invested in the medicines you prescribe) step up!

Drivers never want traffic calming because it slows them down.  But you cannot argue with the data that show it prevents death, especially to cyclists.  Bring on the bumps!

So if I see you in the bike lane, because you are on a bike, and not because you have veered into my path while you gape at the Cherry Blossoms from behind the wheel of a car, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Get Ready to be a Real Bike Commuter.

The reality is that living in an apartment with a #bicycle can present challenges.  There are the walls.  Almost always hospital white. While your tires tend to be soot black.  There are the walls, again.  You can lose your security deposit if you place a nail in the wall, or be fined a kidney if you mount a Cycloc.  And what if you have to clean your bike?  You cannot simply point a hose on it in the middle of your living room, unless you are insane, in which case you need no guidance.  So how do you do you live in small spaces with a bike?  Bicycling has these very sensible tips for you.

It can be difficult to get across U.S. cities on a bicycle using bike lanes.  There are loads of #bikelanes to nowhere.  Clusters of lanes that would seem to take you in circles but not to where you need to go.  Bike lanes on a map all look like viruses beneath a microscope: disjointed, disconnected, and poorly planned.  So how do you get anywhere on a bike?  With planning and a little flexibility.

When the bike lane ends, as they mostly do, illogically, inexplicably, wouldn't it be great if you you could simply project one onto the ground in front of you using #Strype on your cell phone?  Think of how much less irritated you would be.  Strype's selling points:
Since Strype honors no government or traffic engineer, you don't have to ask permission. And since no one can see your private bicycle lane, there's no chance of resident outrage or tedious council meetings to relocate lost parking spaces. Just Strype and ride.

Bike to work month is just around the corner.  Which raises a question for some people.  How can I  become a #bikecommuter?  Mmmmmm.  Gear Prudence says you have the basics: a bike and a job.  (This is why I like #GearPrudence.)  Bicycling magazine says you need to stop stereotyping cyclists, forget spandex, carry deodorant, and generally be a little less dear with yourself.

As we look at spring -a great season for cycling, maybe even the best after fall- it's time to roll out the hall of shame to remind us that not everyone is as wonderful as cyclists would like them to be.

First, there is "Dreadful in Seattle."  She crassly told a cyclist who videotaped her parked in the bike lane that she does not give a f*** if she is parked in a bike lane.  I am going to guess that she was not the valedictorian of her charm school.

Second, there is the fashion designer knocked a cyclist off his bike and injured him on purpose.  Like most designers/stylists, her career will be short, after which she will fall out of favor, struggle for relevance,  and end up on a reality show.  Her shameful personality, however, will be permanent.

Then there is #Uber, the web-based taxi service that features standard black sedans instead of the yellow or red taxis that are easy to spot and avoid.  If you thought the problem with Uber was its drive toward world domination, you would be wrong.  The real problem with Uber is that cyclists cannot spot their cars.  Especially not when they are white.  Last week an Uber passenger threw open a rear door hurting a cylist in Arlington, Virginia.

So, if I see you in the bike lane, riding, but not parked, wearing your business suit, and showing off your good attitude, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Speed Dating for Cyclists, and Wicked Bike Thieves.

Looking for someone who shares your values so you can have lifetime together?  Of course you are if you are single.  And you think that means similar views of family, money, religion, and intimacy.  But what about your view of cycling? If you prefer to ride and think those motoring around in cars suffer from a lack of imagination, maybe you need a way to meet someone who feels the same way you do about transit.  In London, speed dating for cyclists is a thing.  #speeddatingforcyclists

What's the best way to get more people to use bike share?  Drop the price?  Add softer seats?  Nope.  Instead, just decrease the distance between docks by 10% claims some MBAs.  For once numbers crunchers may have contributed to a plan I can support without skepticism.  Well, I remain a little skeptical.  #bikeshare

Can you imagine a person so rotten that he would throw a five year old off of a bike and then steal it?  Makes the Grinch Who Stole Christmas look charitable.  If you know who this man is in the video in the link below, notify the authorities.  If you don't say something, a pox will befall you.  Or the karma cops will exact their revenge.  Either way I think you are looking at disfigurement or open sores.  Do the right thing.

Here's a quiz for you.  Which of the following people worked as #bikemessengers?  Liev Schreiber, Jennifer Aniston, Henry Miller, yes, that Henry Miller, or Joey Ramone?  Did you guess all of them?  Henry Miller may have conceived of the Tropic of Cancer atop two wheels.  Just imagine how many of life's challenges can get a fresh approach after you have cleared your head on the ride home.  Today, a better casserole recipe, tomorrow, world domination or the cure for cancer.  The sky's the limit when you ride.  Sort of.

Do you remember how E.T. phoned home?  Then he rode in the bicycle basket up higher and higher to get there.  A moment in cinematic history.  Maybe not intended as the intricate metaphor I projected onto that scene.  It was not Strindberg, I admit, but Spielberg.  So what if your stolen bike could phone home to let you know where it was?  Apparently it can.

So, if I see you in the bike lane, whether you are a messenger or a non-carbon-based life form, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bike Friendly Office Parks, Helmets Deter Cycling, and Vision Zero Needs Some Help.

DC has rolled out Vision Zero.  I am in favor of this.  #VisionZero is the plan conceived in Sweden which attempts to eliminate traffic-related deaths.  I assume this is possible by slowing traffic and creating segregated bike lanes.  But how can it be achieved unless the city is fitted with a dumb-o-meter at its borders?  Something like a magnetometer that would detect half-wits and make them turn around before they enter the streets.  Or perhaps a technology that caused cellular phones to zap the people texting on them?

When I think of Tyson's Corner, Virginia, that slice of cement between Vienna and McLean, I think of shopping in predictable stores for overpriced goods made mostly in China.  I think of terrible traffic and aggressive drivers.   Sometimes I think of . . . no, I shudder at the thought of the occasional kitchen worker on a Huffy clinging to the shoulder of Route 123, just hoping his extended family in El Union will be fine if he gets creamed by the pinched-looking gal in the Mercedes.  My opinion changed a little when I saw the Silver Line flying above Route 7.  But bike lanes?  In Tyson's Corner?  That's like spotting a flying saucer landing on the lawn of the White House.  And yet, #bikelanes are planned for Tyson's.

When I think of H Street, I think of a lot of things.  Creative food.  Street robberies.  And, yes, #bikes.  Now developers are applying for a proposed condo building to be exempt from DC's parking requirements.  Developers will have to pitch some alternative transit modes.  The streetcars would be such an alternative, if the project can ever get going.  Walking three blocks to Union Station would be another.  #Cycling would clearly be a great mode that might set a precedent for other developers.  Could this signal a change in thinking?

The latest bikes and accessories were featured this week in Copenhagen.  And again the focus is increasingly on the less serious cyclist.  Need a bike equipped to carry wine?  One with a sidecar for you mother-in-law?  One for the wine you may want after your sidecar ride with your mother-in-law?  How about a $4 shopping bag in chartreuse to attached to your rear rack?  The show featured cycles for people who live in the city, don't race, and don't think the racers are being candid when they claim they don't juice.  In fact, the numbers of people who buy transit bikes and accessories are growing and business is reacting.

#BicycleHelmets.  Could they contribute to people cycling less?  Well a study in Sweden concludes they result in few children cycling.  Bad news since that is when most people learn to ride and love a bike.  And the mandating of helmets may not help Vision Zero, unless it does so by reducing the number of people using a bike.  Less people on the roads might result in less deaths.  But that wasn't how it was supposed to work.

So, if I see you in the bike lane, even if that bike lane is in Tyson's Corner, of all improbable places, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Drivers Rant, Children Warned, and Insanity Ensues.

Is #peer-to-peer bike sharing the wave of the future?  We all probably have list serves where we can borrow a cooler, or a lawn mower, or an electric mixer.  But what if the same thing happened with bikes?  Could a sharing system based on only trust ever replace bike share as we know it?  If #bikeshare fails, peer-to-peer may become the only way.

It is never a good idea to pop a wheely on your bike and crash it down on a bike being ridden by two other people.  On this point, I think we can all agree, whether Democrat or Republican or Whig or Tory or Zoroastrian.

That said, it still amazes me when when drivers get irate at cyclists and decide to go berserk, as occurred in San Francisco not long ago.  A #cyclist was cut off by a driver who saw a parking spot and turned into it without regard for the cyclist.  Predictably, the cyclist crashed into the car.  The driver had a small vocabulary and poor conflict and stress management skills, which were on full display during his rant and attack on the cyclist.  The video reminds one how important shame is to societal relations.  The image of the driver also hints that #phrenology, that long discredited view that criminal behavior can be predicted by the shape of one's head, might indeed have been an exact science.  There is something about the driver's head . . .

Are we on a clear path to devolution when police officers caution a four-year-old girl for riding her bike not the sidewalk?  Is humanity doomed to succumb to its own witlessness?  I fear cyclists must wrest society from the grip of insanity.

So if I see you in the bike lane, even if you are just four years of age, but not if you have a certain squash-shaped head, let's be smug.
Elisa P.