Sunday, July 26, 2015

Cyclist Pooping Starts Fire and Heels and Pencil Skirts Deter Bike Share According to People Unfamiliar With Bike Share

Big movements in history:
The Enclosure Movement
The Iconoclasm
The Industrial Revolution
The End of Motor Vehicle Hegemony.
Evidence of the latter movement - bicycle autobahns in Munich, the town where they build BMWs.
You are witnessing history.  So document it in less than 100 characters for all posterity.  Or just smile and ride.

Everyday heros can be hard to spot.  But Bicycling Magazine found one.  A teacher in Kansas who got his whole class riding a bike.

The Weekly Standard reported this week that women make up half the population of NYC, but only a third of bike share riders.  The writer blames pencil skirts and heels for the failure of women to ride bike share.  I quarrel with this sort of unscientific assessment.  Heels and bicycles go together just fine, unless you have to climb a super steep hill.  You can still do it in Ferragamos, but Christian Laboutains for whatever reason, can be slippery.  Pencil skirts have to pass the dropped change test before they are bicycle safe.  The question is, if you dropped some change, could you bend your knees and pick it up without the skirt tearing.  If you can, please go ahead and wear the skirt.  Ride with your knees in a bit, however.  Not that anyone can see anything, but you want to counter some people's overly fertile imaginations.
I hope my counsel removes any deterrence to women riding.  As to the vapid content of the Weekly Standard written by someone I suspect has no bike share experience, that I cannot help.
PS, fit and flare dresses are great for bikes, and skinny pants are ideal and chic.  Both look fabulous on bike share.
Could it be none of this has anything to do with why women don't ride?  Could it be that they are raised to be overly dear and to worry constantly about how they appear?  Hmm.  In an intelligent counterpoint, you might want to read this piece in Bicycling on 10 ways to get women into bike shops, whether they are in heels or flats.

So we cyclists are on the karmic high ground.  Legally, however, we break the law in equal percentages to motorists, according to a survey.  I'd like to see how the survey was constructed and administered.  Could it be that some motorists tried to be "helpful" by giving answers they thought cyclists would give for themselves?

A design museum is celebrating the bike boom with a new exhibit.  Hopefully it will show cycling as revolution designed to permanently change how people live, and not as some mere reflection of the zeitgeist that is as fleeting as fashion.

Bike helmets.  If you ride on the open road in the suburbs or the countryside, your risk of a head injury is pretty high compared to your risk in dedicated bike lanes on city street.  But did you ever think of mandatory helmet laws as a failure of policy?  That's how some people see it.

It gives a bad name to cyclists when one defecates and starts a destructive and massive brush fire.  I want this story to be false for any number of reasons, including because I do not want to picture events leading up to the conflagration.  But alas, it is true.  In attempting to burn his toilet paper, he failed to snuff out a small ember.  You get the picture, whether you want to or not.

So, if I see you in the bike lane, in heels and a pencil skirt, and you are on a bike share bike, I will consider you a good American, and we should both be very smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Bike Share Use Conclusively Linked to Weight Loss, But Bike Share Use on Expressway Conclusively Linked to Foolishness

If you are looking to lose weight, you might want to try the bike share diet.  Keeping your current eating patterns, and adding bike share use, you can drop a few lbs, and have a good time.  Of course, just riding your own bike regularly would have the same effect. 

So it is fitting that this week the City of St. Louis began to add bike lanes.  A smart move that would appear hipster-ish, but may have been calculated to reduce healthcare costs in a city with a 32% rate of obesity.  Brilliant considering obesity is as bad or worse than smoking for your health.  #bikelanes #StLouis

For every good project, there is some fool, or some fools, who decide to sully the image of the project.  The nitwits of week award goes to two people who decided to ride Philly bike share bikes onto the Interstate 676 in the City of Brotherly Love.  It is difficult to understand how this could have happened without a lot of alcohol.  #bikesharephilly

Not everyone grew up on a cul-d-sac with houses bordered by well-manicured lawns.  Many grew up in places where bikes were not the norm.  More programs are reaching out to the potential cyclists and welcoming them into the fold . . . or the lanes . . . or the share.  Whatever.  #learntorideabike

Have you read all the press about how African American people never use bike share? Instead, the tale goes, bike share supporters/users are just a bunch of young, white guys . . .  and, well, and me, she of the pigment challenged set.  Could it be that riders of color prefer their own bikes?  Maybe, maybe not.  This week in Minneapolis, black cyclists gathered on their own bikes to show a different version of reality.  Regular rides and companionship for African-American women can be found right here in Washington with Black Women Bike DC.  #blackwomenbikedc

This piece in the Wall Street Journal made me smile.  I remember training for centuries on a heavy, inexpensive bike alongside guys with expensive featherlight bikes.   Then at the moment of truth, when I borrowed a light weight bike to do the 100 miles, I flew.  Oftentimes I passed well-tanned and muscled people on bikes costing at least $4000 more than mine.  Enjoy this piece about how to use common sense to train for the same inclines braved by juicing Tour riders.  Hint: You don't have to spend $10k on a bike.  #cyclingtraining

What if you happened to spot your stolen bike while you were riding?  This Colorado man did, and he managed to follow the bike at a safe distance and, ultimately, get it back.  How?  He called the police, kept back a ways, and he had his serial number ready for the officer.  Is your serial number(s) in your smart phone right now?  If not, chop-chop, get going!  Do it now.  Thank me later.  #thebicyclefairygodmother

An Afghan refugee who helped fight against the Taliban was hit while riding his bike, maybe by a texter.  He died, just months after finding safety in America.  Would someone please tell me what is so important in a text message that one must look at it while driving?  And the deceased man was an engineer, a can-do members of our species.  Is there some higher penalty for mowing a Muslim guy down during Ramadan?  For killing someone with engineering skills?  #stoptexting

Bike share in Grand Rapids?  Seriously?  Wow.

So, if I see you in the bike lane, and you are on an inexpensive bike, or a bike share, no matter your age or color, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Princesses Carting Nannies in Cargo Bikes

Remember when royals seemed prissy and dear?  They rode in white and pink carriages and wore tiaras?  Would a member of a royal family ride her cargo bike around Copenhagen with her nanny in the front passenger box?  She did.  #royalcycling #momsonbicycles

If you believe the statistics, women don't ride bikes.  I have to admit that we are pretty consistently outnumbered in the bike lanes.  But if you have children, you are more likely to ride as a woman.  Also, if you have access to bike lanes, you are a lot more likely to ride, according to  I saw this first hand after DDOT placed parking stoppers along the bike lanes in Washington, DC.  Suddenly, one day later, the lanes were filled with women.  Coincidence?  No chance.  We don't want to perish while commuting.  If we did, our kids would suffer terribly.  Thanks #DDOT.

The National Cycling Network has saved the UK almost $2 million a day.  As I have said before, the savings are drawn from reduced healthcare costs mostly.  I heard sitting is the new smoking.  And driving is the new drinking arsenic.  Okay, I might not have heard it put quite that way.  I am hoping to attain something akin to immortality by working at a standing desk and riding my bike everywhere I possibly can.  Care to join me?  Together we can save millions.£1million-day-saved-cycling-and-walking-routes

Boris bike use doubled during the Tube strike this past week.  Let's hope many of those emergency users hang around for a while and help continue to drive those UK healthcare costs down through fitness and well-being.

UPS is testing electrically assisted cargo bike for deliveries.  Whoot-whoot.  Better than those behemoth brown trucks that clog city streets.  And for smaller packages, most of what UPS delivers, it seems to make perfect sense.  #UPS #cargobike

Caltrain is looking at ways to get more bikes on trains.  Unfortunately, one way is to remove restrooms.  Given the appalling state of some of the restrooms I have seen on trains, removing them sounds like a step toward improved hygiene.  But I can see where this may concern passengers who fear bikes will come to displace them. The momentum toward bike trains is so strong at this point, it seems inevitable people will soon be sharing fewer potties.  #caltrain #biketrains

Virginia has added some laws that are supposed to help improve cycling safety, like letting drivers cross a double yellow line in order to pass a cyclists.  And the City of Alexandria is resurfacing trails.  At last.  Virginia appears to be waking from its Dixie slumber.  #Virginiabicycling

So, if I see you in the bike lane, safely cruising along behind those delicious new barriers, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Politicians Who Want to Ticket Cyclists and Other Perplexing Nonsense

#Zagster is raising several million dollars to expand bike share across the United States.  If you are picturing a constellation of inter connected share networks spanning the entire country, think again.  This is just a nationwide push to expand bike sharing, which is always a good thing.  The investors in Zagster's venture are an impressive lot in terms of their green/sustainable bona fides.  If you are awash in cash and want to jump into the crowd that is funding this, have at it.  #bikeshare #zagster

#Ford Motors is now thinking ahead, as its board and R&D department should be after years of tired lines of too-big cars and trucks.  Ford Motors is building an electric bike with Apple Watch connectivity.  Yowsah!  #Fordmotors #applewatch #electricbicycle

Ever try a game of "I'm more of a bike geek than you?"  For bragging rights, check out this history of bike paths, and write the #Jeopardy #cyclingchallenge game.  One piece of trivia: The idea of rails to trails took over 130 to execute after it was first conceived.  That is at least 129 years too long.  #bikegeek #railstotrails

#Artcrank, that wonderful art festival featuring images of cycling and cyclists, is not in DC or NYC this year.  This is really unfortunate.  #Cycling + art, and/or #cyclingart combines two of my favorite things.  (Did Henry Moore every sculpt a cyclist?  I mean on a bicycle, not after weight gain and in a state of repose?)  I hope that Artcrank makes it back next year and displays in the #easternmarket.

So I walked into a bike shop on Capital Hill, badumdum.  No, seriously, I went to #Citybikes with my least favorite bike in pretty bad shape.  For a ridiculously reasonable sum, the female bike mechanic ("Kate" I believe) fixed all that ailed my bike in a short time and remembered to call me when the work was done.  So I found it interesting this week to see that Bike Radar shares a list of ten things you should never say to a woman in a bike shop.  To the extent that anyone would say anything inappropriate to the mechanic who helped me (such as, "Can I please speak to the mechanic?"), that would probably irritate me and her.  Here is what not to say to a woman in a bike shop if you are a totally decent person (which bike people almost always are), or a really nice cave man (even troglodytes can grow), or just one of those gals with too much hair spray and a belief that women should sit on satin pillows and be fed peeled grapes.  Hint: None of the ten is, "Yes, that helmet makes you look fat."  #femalebikemechanics #womenbikemechanics

There are politicians who believe that cyclists should be given tickets for select offenses.  Paschal Donohoe, Ireland's Minister for Tourism and Sport, is one of them.  Donohoe thinks cyclists should be given tickets for some offenses so unclear that they are reminiscent of the abolished offense of  "being a common scold," which the Supreme Court of the United States thought was too vague to be a valid law.  Donohoe claims to be a cyclist himself, and maybe his is true, but I will simply say that he looks rather more like a tourist than someone deeply into sport.  I know.  You are dealt the jawline God gave you.  Whatever.  Perhaps I am simply filled with resentment because I would like to be the Minister for Tourism and Sport.  I suspect the job has something to do with tourism and sport, pays well, and requires no heavy lifting, literal or intellectual.  #paschaldonohoe  #ticketingcyclists

So, if I see you in the bike lane, riding a Zagster share, or a Ford e-bike while dictating a text message with Siri on your watch, and you are not the Minister or Tourism or Sport, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

No More Helmets?

What happens when public health professionals decide that they are done with helmets?  It is not a sign that we are Armageddon adjacent.  It may simply reflect the fact that the benefits of helmets are not clearly proven by the data (and car drivers pass cyclists wearing helmets more closely than they do cyclists without, and helmets tend to deter people from cycling).  Thus, one blogger, a public health professional, believes that the cost of helmets, in terms of public health, is too high.  Whoa!  What's next?  Letting kids play unattended with each other for brief periods of time on playgrounds?  Madness! #helmetdebate #bicyclehelmet #urbancycling
And check out

London is going to give bicycle traffic lights a try.  I suggest they educate drivers and cyclists alike before setting up the lights.  The only time I have come close to being killed was when I drove forward and right on the green bicycle light next to the White House.  The taxi driver to my right decided to turn left in front of me as I was negotiating a soft right into the 15th Street cycle tracks.  I still want to thank the cyclist behind me who went berserk yelling at the cabbie for almost hitting me.  A little Charlemagne-era chivalry, in the spirit of cyclists are part of the same culture of course. has some advice for cyclists in just this situation.  #Londoncyclists take note!  #bicycletrafficlight

Since the great highway system was built, Americans have put on 25 pounds on average.  Our collective love affair with the automobile fizzled out without a bang.  Instead it dissolved with a whimper after a decade of wars fought in remote, hostile countries rich in fossil fuels, and amidst a growing body of satellite imagery that showed shrinking polar ice caps.  Many people want to ride their bikes but they feel unsafe.  Instead of a Great Works project, like planting Kudzu along highways without considering how it would gobble up indigenous flora, Washington Post blogger, Matt MacFarland, explains how a big cycle tracks project could change our approach to cycling.  Not my approach, mind you.  Which is to just ride slow, live in the city, and worry less.  My motto - wear your dress and don't fret - cannot be shared by people living in the suburbs.  Most people's apprehension is based on the concern that they will be hit by some texting, yawning motorist while riding along that stretch of road with no shoulder.  If we built a Great Works project of cycle tracks, theirs would be a different narrative.  #cyclingnews  #MattMcFarland  #cycletracks

As it turns out, businesses are still moving to central city locations to attract young, talented workers, who prefer mass transit and cycling.  Perhaps now is the time for the next Great Works Project.


This Pope may be bringing many wayward Catholics back into the fold.  Recently he has raised the issue of humanity's poor stewardship of God's planet, and the resulting climate change (or as it once was called, global warming).  The guy takes mass transit, or did until his protective detail had to . . . well . . . protect him.  I hear he rides a bike too.

Recently there have been a number of stories in the media about micro homes and campers.  In an era where people want the simpler life, this holds a lot of appeal.  One of these campers, by Wide Path Camper, hooks up to your bike.  In an era where people also want stronger slimmer thighs, this holds a lot of appeal.  In an era where people are afraid to buy that vacation home in West Virginia that might have been built on the site of a toxic waste dump, this little trailer can help you move on down the road to the site of a former vegetable patch.  The Wide Path Camper would be fun for a single night out on the range, but for more than that I cannot help but think of Fellini's La Strada.   #widepathcamper  

So, if I see you in the bike lane, or building a bike lane as part of a Great Work, whether you are towing a micro camper or curling your eyelashes, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

P.S.  Did Sir Bradley Wiggins miss five drug tests?  Culture problem?  Yup.  Your Majesty, I suggest you better vet your candidates.  

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Tripwires, Random Bike Pumps, and Bromptons

Should we in the United States consider adding air pumps to highly biked areas?  They are doing that in Canada, and I feel like we should be ahead of Canada in all things, except perhaps maple syrup production.  While I can walk to any number of bikes shops on my way home from work if I get a flat, many people have longer commutes and could use random pumps along their route.  Can some clever urban planner, or vendor of said pumps get on this?  Can developers and managers of large office buildings consider them too?  #bicyclepumps

What kind of a person sets a trip wire to catch a cyclist across the neck?  Someone who needs to spend a period of time in a small windowless room by order of a judge.  (I am picturing a guy with a bad haircut, and a certain downturned mouth behind this insane act.)  In the U.K. someone did string a tripwire across a path and seriously injure a cyclist.  Police there say the person who set the wire was trying to kill cyclists.  Seems like a reasonable interpretation of the evidence to me.  #tripwirebrighton #cyclingUK

So the cost of commuting is high in big cities.  Time - about an hour and half a day, or more.  Money - between $10 and $16.  Your soul - suffering with a routine that causes you to remember that "most men lead lives of quiet desperation . . . "  Then you work out, squeeze in some "quality time" with the family.  Hmmm.  So, you could ride your bike in many cases, which would shorten or equal your commute and keep you fit and healthy.  You would save money, rise above the din, and reclaim the girl that is you. Or the guy.  Whatever.  I think you get my point.  Why settle for the quiet desperation?  Or loud desperation?  Just try the bicycle.  You will feel better.   Less desperate anyway.  #citycycling

Speaking of commuter survival in the city, check out this Brompton ad on YouTube.  Who would think that collapsable bike favored by your eccentric Uncle Ned would become a status item?
#cyclingissexy #bromptonbicycles
So, if I see you in the bike lane, and you are not stringing up a trip wire in some homicidal fit of rage, and you are centered, happy, and not at all desperate, and perhaps on a Brompton, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Recalls this week.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fluffy Dog Bikes, Ridiculous Police Excuses for Blocking the Bike Lane, and Thriving Cycling Cities.

If you needed a fluffy dog bike about 4000 times the size of your real fluffy dog, you should have been in Baltimore this weekend for Kinetic Baltimore.  Fifi was propelled by at least four sets of strong legs and a powerful sense of humor.  There were bicycle rocket ships, bicycle giraffes and bicycle turtles.  And of course tons of cyclists braving a heat index of around 100.  #kineticbaltimore

Cycling in London is up 5% since last year, according to Cycling Weekly.  Does this reflect the end of Britain's love of mechanized transit, or simply a new sense of balance?  Have the Limies learned to love that greasy bag of chips while realizing they should bike to burn it off?  Well this increase could signal a rising IQ in the Isles.  Here, here.  In any event, increased cycling means an increase in productivity, a reduction in healthcare costs and tons of economic benefits, per the Guardian U.K.  Or it could mean that the Tube has become so overcrowded that no one can stand it any longer.  However, a small increase in expenditures on cycling infrastructure has shown enormous paybacks, per the Center for Effective Government.  If that is true, then has Mayor Boris Johnson's amazing investment in cycling had the desired effect?  #cycleLondon #Borisjohnsonrockseventhoughhehassuperweirdhair

I suppose that since we use crash test dummies for cars, we ought to test the airbag for cyclists.  Right?  Really?  I do not admit to laughing at the crash-test human when his helmet airbag deployed. #airbaghelemet 

It is rare that we celebrate the merger of two big utility companies for any number of reasons, not the least of which is reduced service and increased rates.  But you have to love the fact that the Pepco-Exelon merger resulted in a settlement that is sure to create an awesome trail where power lines once stood. #trailadvocates

I have no love of Twitter's sponsored posts, but this looks like a reasonably clever idea for the bike commuter who has to sometimes fly to NYC for a meeting or a quick overnight.

Adventure Cycling has a new "how-to" post to help you plan your bike trip.  And let's face it.  Some of us need a little help planning in the midst of that delicious chaos that is life.  #adventurecycling

It has been a while since I acknowledged the nincompoop of the week.  But I reserve a big loud blehhhh for the Deleware cop from the Delaware Governor's security detail who decided to: 1) block the bike lane on busy L Street, NW, with an SUV the size of the Starship Enterprise; 2) flash his badge and gun at the silent cyclist who tried to call local police - who would have had actual law enforcement authority in the jurisdiction - to come move said governor's vehicle, and; 3) managed to get that security job in the first place, even though he could not spot a helmet camera on the head of a cyclist mere feet from him.  Enjoy the video.  Especially the part where he says, "Don't play with me now." Seriously?  I guess they have some pretty tough crime up there in the state with no national parks or corporate taxes and plenty of rest stops.   Must be worst than the 101st precinct in NYC to have generated that kind of tough talk.  Tip: Stay out of the bike lane.  There are other places to park and even put your hazards on while someone gets a bagel.  #delawarecop

So, if I see you in the bike lane, on a bike, to be clear, and you have a helmet cam and a sense of humor, let's be extremely, modernly, millions-of-downloadsy smug.
Elisa P.