Sunday, May 24, 2015

Good Cops, Naked Bicyclists and Elderly Bike Messengers



It has not been a week of good cop stories, but there are loads of good cops, especially this one.  A Tennessee police officer invented a radar detector designed to catch cars that pass cyclists too closely.  Wonderful.  #goodcop  #bicycling


Naked Bike Week globally attracts, well, a category of person whom, I confess, I doubt is really motivated by a concern about global warming and fossil fuels.  Some appear to love displaying ill-considered piercings of their pudenda.  Yes it is a word which I have correctly italicized since it is Latin.  In the ancient dead language sense.  So in Portsmouth, England a city council member has called some participants more exhibitionists than activists.  #nakedbikeweek

Tomorrow in the U.S. we remember the people who fought and died while many of us cowered at home or were apathetic.  Last week the ride in silence was a different kind of honor for those who died cycling on the roads.  It's not exactly a theater of war, but it is a great idea to raise awareness, perhaps better than displaying your nether regions.  I'm just saying. #rideofsilence

Mashable, that little site that could, has published a list of the best bike routes.  It did not include mine, which passes at least two dumpsters and a recalcitrant office supply delivery truck.  I wonder why.  #bestbikeroutes
http://mashable.com/2015/05/19/best-bike-routes/?utm_cid=mash-com-Tw-life-link

Tax haven, yes.  But bike friendly European country/city?  Hmmmm.  Luxembourg is climbing in the ranks of cycle friendly venues, and continues to advance on the "hiding-my-income-and-assets" friendly list at the same time.  #cycleluxembourg  #payyourdamntaxesforreal
http://www.wort.lu/en/lifestyle/hold-onto-your-handlebars-luxembourg-climbs-cycle-friendly-ranking-555b26f50c88b46a8ce598d8


Elderly people are being given a chance to work as bike messengers in Germany.   In the United States, they are still forced to watch back-to-back medication ads on network television news and suffer the indignities of assisted living in non-walkable, non-bikable communities.  Will some start-up please bring this here right away?
http://grist.org/living/in-germany-elderly-bike-messengers-will-deliver-your-local-veggies/?utm_campaign=socialflow&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=update


I have blogged before about the astonishing bravery of the Afghan women cyclists, but I must say that I am holding my breath and saying a little prayer for the women of Yemen who are trying the same.  May the wind lift you up and carry you high my sisters.  #yemeniwomencycling
http://totalwomenscycling.com/news/shock-and-controversy-as-women-in-yemen-ride-bikes-49951/#mqKAMseJg1fhJLJC.97

So if I see you in the bike lane, dressed, though not necessary wearing a full hijab and/or abaya, though that would be okay too, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Quax Much in a Skirt?




#Quaxing has become an Internet thing.  Quaxing, or the practice of hauling groceries on a bicycle, has become a bragging right for Western #cyclists.  Sure you can haul that 48-roll pack of toilet paper home from Costco on your #Shinola, but what about your entire crop production?  I think we might be a little late to the party, or so a few thousand Cambodians could explain.  That said, I think quaxing makes you superior to the SUV crowd.  So quax on a prosper.
http://www.executivestyle.com.au/why-quaxing-is-trending-globally-with-cyclists-ggzobh?stb=twt


Salt Lake City, Utah is about to do the right thing and add features to intersections to protect the lives of cyclists riding in dedicated bike lanes.  Now if they would do the right thing by wine producers and coffee roasters, I would seriously consider a move there.  #SaltLakeCity
http://www.fastcodesign.com/3046157/slicker-city/how-to-design-a-safe-intersection-for-cyclists

While some cyclists crave safety, others crave adrenaline.  These mountain bicyclists take on a hill so dangerous that hikers use cables when climbing it. #mountainbicycling #nuts
Another week, another anti bike theft software start-up.  Check it out and tell me if you think it will work. #biketheft
http://www.geekwire.com/2014/meet-project-529-bike-security-software-startup-led-xbox-co-founder-j-allard/


On the subject of bike theft, or perhaps more exactly, receipt of stolen property, to wit, a Capital Bike Share bike with obvious paint and markings:
The nitwit of the week award goes to the horrible person who attempted to sell a stolen bike share bike on Craigslist.org.  You can develop software to help prevent bike theft, yes indeed, but can you develop software to raise a moral deficient's sense of human decency?  If so, I'd crowd fund that. #biketheft
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dr-gridlock/wp/2015/05/15/psa-if-you-find-a-capital-bikeshare-bike-dont-try-to-sell-it-on-craigslist/

Is the car age over?  Guardian U.K. suggests possibly.  Not a dystopic vision, Ridley.  Not at all.
http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/may/08/cycling-revolution-readers-discuss-end-car-age?CMP=share_btn_fb

Looking for a job in the world of cycling?  The Washington Area Bicyclists' Association is hiring.

Some recommendations for the city bike commuter who needs to arrive for the meeting without a costume change: I am bullish on Betabrand's bike-to-work skirt.  It looks good, it's made in San Francisco, you can wash it in a machine, and its in a reasonable price point for big city dwellers.  Also great are fit and flare dresses by Reiss and Calvin Klein.  The CK ones are sometimes washable too.  Key point for those riding in humidity and heat this summer.  Why wear spandex and look like a sausage, or your quirky cousin Fred, when you can channel Audrey Hepburn?  #betabrand #Reiss #dressesforcyclists #skirtsforcyclists #bikelikeawoman


So, if I see you in the bike lane, in a bike-to-work skirt, or hauling a cord of wood just to one-up the other quaxing cyclists on Twitter, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Propel, Pervs, and Virtue Bike to Work this Month.



It is Bike to Work month, although for most of us that is every month except sometimes February.
May 15, 2015 is Bike to Work Day.  If you know a slacker, and we all do, tell them to at least bike that one stinking little day.  Some events to consider are linked here:
http://www.biketoworkmetrodc.org
http://bikeleague.org/content/free-tools-get-bike-month-rolling
#biketoworkmonth #biketoworkday


Bike share just got $10.00 more expensive for a year's membership.  That's three lattes at a cheap place, or just 6 coffees (that you could easily make at home six times next year).  Just join.  #capitalbikeshare
http://wtop.com/local/2015/05/capital-bikeshare-hikes-its-rates/

So who rides bike share anyway?  Wealthy white men, for the most part.  However, more of them are using it all the time.  Where's everybody else?  Come on people.  It's Bike Share, not the Cosmos Club. Let's go!
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dr-gridlock/wp/2015/04/28/who-uses-capital-bikeshare/

Fenway Park in Boston just got a bike valet.  Now I could write something trollish or bating here, but instead let me just say "welcome." Welcome Boston, finally.  We have had bike parking and a free bike valet for years here in Washington.  (That wasn't provocative, was it?  You never want to inflame those Boston fans.  Ahem.) #bikevalet #fenwaybikevalet

Feel emotional when people get into the bike helmet debate?  Yes, it makes sense.  No, people are too alarmist.  Stop catastrophizing, if that is a word.  If you're for it, you are probably from here.  If not, you are probably from some place where they have had a bike culture longer. #bikehelmetdebate
http://blogs.wsj.com/expat/2015/04/29/helmet-or-no-helmet-it-depends-which-side-of-the-atlantic-youre-on/


Whether you were in favor of the Iraq war or not, you have to feel good when a guy who went to battle and came out injured wins an award for his e-bike design.  #propelbikes


The problem with #cycling in the rain is you get wet.  If you are anti-spandex and want to be dressed for work when you arrive there on your bike, rain is a challenge.  The virtue bike is covered to protect you from rain.  And it looks like a Minion.  Sort of.  #virtuebike  I want one yesterday please.  If many of us get one, no one will look silly to the haters.

Are Americans driving more?  If our IQs are dropping, or we have resorted to short term thinking.  Oh dear, it turns out we are getting dumber.  Turn back the slip toward idiocy.  Ride your bike.

A perv on a bicycle has been groping women.  This story that was cross-posted by +Ben Folsom.  Folsom gets the nice guy of the week award, while the perv gets the pathetic and dangerous loser of the week award. #yuck
Looking for quick fix solutions to bike problems? Bicycle Magazine has a nice little set of them for you.  These tips won't eliminate the beast in the BMW who is texting as he drives wildly toward you, but they will help you fix a chain issue, a flat, and assorted other problems.
Speaking of things that threaten your bike commute, a U.K. Man decided to motivate his local government to fix gaping potholes in a rather unusual way.  He painted penises on them in the hope that they would: (1) notice the road damage; (2) fix it.  Or so he later explained.  Potholes are a serious danger, but seriously.  Do you just hate municipal meetings so much that you must resort to this?  #probablyneedsmedication  #needsashrink #potholescanmakenormalcyclistsinsane

Fancy a periscope for your bike because you can't bear to look up?  Help crowd fund one.  #silly
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1457425032/pedi-scope-the-periscope-for-your-bicycle

So if I see you in the bike lane, on a Propel Bike or a Virtue covered bike, headed to work to set an example for others, and you are not a perv, or you do not reveal yourself to be one at least, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

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
http://events.nationalgeographic.com/speakers/2015/05/05/biking-afghanistan/


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
http://momentummag.com/what-i-learned-while-cycling-pregnant/


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
http://road.cc/content/news/149259-chinese-designers-come-exercise-bike-washes-your-clothes-you-pedal


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
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/23/style/families-ditch-cars-for-cargo-bikes.html?smid=tw-share&_r=3


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.
http://thisbigcity.net/three-mobility-challenges-facing-bogota/

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.
http://lcc.org.uk/pages/current-vacancies

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
http://www.bicycling.com/culture/meet-controversial-cyclist-fighting-safer-streets?adbid=592101910586359809&adbpl=tw&adbpr=17900130&cid=social_20150425_44636136&short_code=2visk
http://blogs.kcrw.com/whichwayla/2012/04/the-epidemic-of-cyclist-hit-and-runs

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.

www.prfashion.com

#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.
http://www.fastcodesign.com/3044657/wanted/get-a-custom-made-bike-without-breaking-the-bank


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.
http://dcist.com/2015/04/capitol_bikeshare_breaks_another_re.php


#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.
http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2015/04/17/count-calories-map-miles-traveled-citi-bike-ceo-promises-smoother-ride-for-new/
http://www.bicycling.com/training-nutrition/training-fitness/dont-let-allergies-ruin-your-ride?cid=social_20150413_43626736&adbid=587405170243305472&adbpl=tw&adbpr=17900130


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?
http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/27411/regulation-on-children-wearing-helmets-not-complied-on-effective-day

babel.com  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
http://www.autoevolution.com/news/babel-bike-uses-a-roll-cage-to-keep-you-safe-could-change-urban-commuting-video-1-94583.html

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
http://wtop.com/news/2014/04/a-guide-to-beating-cherry-blossom-traffic/
http://liveblog.wtop.com/Event/Cherry_Blossoms_2015/




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.
http://www.citylab.com/commute/2015/04/now-paris-wants-to-become-the-world-capital-of-cycling/389724/?utm_source=SFTwitter


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!
http://www.placemakers.com/2015/04/06/better-streets/

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.

affordablehousing.org

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.
http://www.bicycling.com/maintenance/featured-stories/apartment-living-bicycles?cid=socNews_20150402_43100656&adbid=583449058179555328&adbpl=tw&adbpr=17900130


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.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/04/01/bleak-maps-of-how-cities-look-using-only-their-bike-lanes/



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.
https://www.missionbicycle.com/strype



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.
http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2015/04/01/gear-prudence-how-can-i-become-a-consistent-bike-commuter/



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.
http://www.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/2015/03/26/21962202/seattle-driver-blocking-bicycle-lane-to-cyclist-i-literally-dont-give-a-fuck-about-anything-you-say

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.
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/stars-fashion-designer-knocked-cyclist-off-bike-after-he-kicked-her-audi-tt-10145932.html


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. http://www.arlnow.com/2015/03/24/bicyclist-doored-by-uber-passenger-in-rosslyn/


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.