This week the news for cycling was mostly positive.
New York's love affair with Citibikes appears to be more than a Hollywood marriage. It's the Roosevelts - sturdy and permanent. The success of New York's bike share program is far exceeding the most optimistic expectations. This bodes well for other programs and may signal a cultural shift.
In areas where there is a lot of bike riding and reasonable bicycle infrastructure retailers have seen a 49% increase in sales. This despite cries that a crisis that would ensue if bikes diminished existing parking. We have seen this kind of hysteria before in our history. Fluoridated water was supposed to end the human race. We are still here. Y2K was supposed to crash every computer in the world. I'm pretty much using one right now. And no one is ever embarrassed after the folly of these invented crises is exposed. But in this case I would like to see previously anti-bike retailers falling to their knees like a rack of generals suddenly visited by a North Korean dictator. http://www.bicycleretailer.com/north-america/2013/10/21/wanted-six-new-cities-green-lane-project#.UnGsNxaE7dl
In Washington, Greg Billings posted on Twitter that zebras, those berms that are designed to thwart scoff-law u-turners, are coming to the 1200 block of 12th Street, NW. This is obviously excellent news since that block is a magnet for especially annoying taxis driven by people who act like they chew khat on the job. I think some of them just make u-turns all day and never take exhausted men dragging litigation bags to the airport. The zebras are also important because they will clearly frame the glamorous riders who are showing all drivers how much more wonderful it is to drive than to sit in stand-still traffic. (I regret I was not faster with my cell phone when a guy riding a Shinola and wearing a classic Harris Tweed blew by me at the light this week. There is not a man in America whose knuckles don't drag that would not have wanted to look like this guy. We should take up a pot and pay him just to ride back in forth in front of cranky SUV drivers.)
So it is always odd when a bike lane project gets delayed despite the positive impact bike lanes are having. In this case, one of Washington's oldest churches wants no bike lanes so its congregants (not DC residents for the most part) can park on the street where the bike lanes would be. On Sunday morning. And for the glutinous Wednesday night dinner. Hmmm. Now that I write it out, it does seem ludicrous. Yet the church is interfering with the M Street cycle track.
On the west coast, the City of Santa Monica is thinking about adding bike lanes to one of its major thoroughfares so that students at a local high school can safely ride their bikes. Santa Monica is a city of contradictions. Its mayor was once Tom Hayden, one of Jane Fonda's ex-husbands, from her anti-war period. Kind of like Picasso's blue or pink period. Santa Monica had rent control. It features a number of vegetarian restaurants, and politically-left-of-center-themed retail stores. Yet, surprisingly, Santa Monica is a car town. Shocking in LA County, the locus of the film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," about how the oil companies bought up and killed the streetcars, then built the freeways so to get people addicted to oil. (So Kavaugh, Santa Monica bike activist, enough about how much better your bike lanes will be than Washington's. Let's get them in first before we have that competition.)
Despite all of this good news, the week had a major loss. One of my favorite cyclists and musicians, Lou Reed, died. On my perfect playlist there will always be "Sweet Jane." I don't smoke, but if I had a lighter I would hold it up for Lou as a musician, a cyclist, and a person who held to his artistic principles.
If I see you in the bike lanes, let's be smug.