Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bicycling News for the Cyclist Who Cares About Appearances

The news in cycling this week was serious, not serious, extreme, extremely sad, and fashion forward.

On the Left Coast of the United States:

Jack Kerouac wrote of Los Angeles, "The smog was heavy, my eyes were weeping from it, the sun was hot, the air stank, a regular hell is L.A."  Nathaniel West called it the "place where people come to die."  That same Los Angeles, once known for starlets, pollution, car-clogged freeways, and the demise of the streetcar as told in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," is the locus of a robust pro-cycling movement.  Here, here.  And they are having a Climate ride.  The deadline is February 17, 2014.  Sign up to be part of changing history.

In one of his shorter sentences, John Steinbeck wrote of San Francisco: "A city of hills has it over flat-land places."  It sure does if you are not at the end of a long ride, or trying to look fabulous on your bike as you glide to a meeting.  In that city of punishing hills, the San Francisco Bike Coalition is hosting an urban cycling workshop.  I don't know if they will train you for rides up Lombard Street, and give you tips for avoiding face-plants if your tire gets stuck in the cable car tracks, but they might.  If you can make it, great.  Oh, and it is tomorrow.  Chop-chop!

On the East Coast:

The Washington Area Bicycling Association is hosting a happy hour at the Gordon Biersch near National's Baseball Park on Wednesday January 29, 2014.  Beer, bikes, the reminder that the boys of summer will be playing soon enough.  What's not to like?  Oh, and it's tonight.  So hurry up.  If you can't make it, watch for the next round.

WABA has also posted a blog introducing women to cycling infrastructure.  I think most women recognize a bike lane and a bike share dock.  What they would like to see is safer bike paths, more dedicated bike lanes that don't suddenly end next to large train stations clogged with taxis and buses, offices with showers, and an array of removable kiddie trailers.  Most women would also like to see a helmet that did not destroy their hair during their commute.  Women who cycle would like to see more women cycle.  This would make them feel safer.  Drones, contrary to manufacturer claims, would probably be less effective in making women feel safer on remote trails, but of course someone is working on that.

Cyclists of every gender would like to see the East Coast's bike lanes cleared of snow.  They presently resemble luge courses that have been hit by meteors.  Despite the snow and extremely cold weather, Citi Bike was averaging 9,600 rides a day.  It puts me in a New York State of Mind just thinking about it.
Way down south in Dixie:

In Alexandria, Virginia, where old times there are not forgotten, and the streets bear the names of Confederate generals, King street residents are upset they will lose parking when the bike lane goes in.  So they used a 50 year old law to appeal the city's decision to install the lanes.  They hope to kill the changes by causing death by never-ending public hearings.  Among the bike lane nay-sayers is an irked attorney with a lot of time to search dusty code books.  To his credit, he unearthed the Commonwealth's ancient rules of order for public hearings on rights of way.  Someone needs to give him a bike to make him nicer.  Apparently the attorney does not understand that bicycles can be liberating for low density suburbs.
Or more likely, he does not care.
Cyclists in Virginia can fight back against the people who want to remain in the darkest of car ages.  There is a petition circulating to support laws that outlaw dooring or following a bicycle too closely.  But the new laws cannot eliminate people who think bike lanes are hard evidence that the Armageddon is upon us.  Reason cannot be legislated.  No law can convey intelligence to those not possessing it.

Atlanta, Georgia is exploring adding a bike share program.  Atlanta has some of the worst commutes in the country, a history of support for slavery and being burned and pillaged by Union soldiers during the Civil War, and the dubious distinction of being the home of one of those "Real Wives of . . ." television shows that pander to the non-reading set.  As the home of the Centers for Disease Control, shouldn't Atlanta already have a bike share program?  To prevent . . . well heart disease, that disease known as diabetes, the obesity problem that leads to disease.  Okay, I'll move on.

In the U.K. London is making some progress:

A Bloomsbury Way bus lane has become a bus and bike lane.  If you take the Docklands Light Railway, you can soon take your bike, though rumors have been flying that you will be limited to fold-ups.
Bike traffic lights have been switched on at the Bow Roundabout in London so cyclists will know when it is their turn to go rather than having to guess, pray and risk it.
In Scotland, an advertising watchdog wants to stop Cycling Scotland ads that feature a cyclist without a helmet.  Well, perhaps if someone designed a helmet that did not muss one's hair this would be an easier sell.’s-helmet-ruling-threatens-promotion-of-normal-cycling

In France (where else?) a 102 year old cyclist broke a speed record, and a President, who resembles nothing more than a hamster with a turtle's face, has created love triangle with himself at the center.  Both seem like magic, or at least hoaxes, but they are not.  I'm not saying cycling and political power keep you young, but how can argue with the irrefutable evidence?

In Australia an 18-year-old BMX rider performed the first ever front flip on a bike.  This is interesting but since I tend to ride in dresses, I would probably not risk trying this.  It would not be civilized.

Want to go car free and just use your bike?

In China they have created a massive vending machine, electric cars for $3.00 an hour.  Could such a thing help urbanites go car free?
Perhaps Ford Motors should create a car vending machine for American cities.  After all, Ford's CEO (a.k.a. the last honest company head) admits more cars in urban areas is not going to work in the long term.  Perhaps he was injected with sodium pentathol, like something from a 1960s movie, and he just blubbered the truth uncontrollably before becoming maudlin and weeping.

Want to travel by bike everywhere you go and bring your offspring?  This article can help you think through your transit options.

Rhetorical question:

If you were driving, and you hit a cyclist, and his torso entered the passenger compartment of your car, and the cyclist you hit started talking to you, would you notice it?  If you were sober, one would hope that this kind of event would not escape your attention.  This did happen, and it is not an urban legend, like that terrible story about the woman who put her poodle in the microwave oven.

So you want to bike? has published a beginners guide to shopping for a bike.
Perhaps you could read NYCEwheels' write-up of the best folding and electric bikes.
After you buy your bike, you will need a bike rack that is a piece of art.  Peri has a terrific rack that could double as a sculpture.

After you buy a bike, you will of course need another bike.  View this video on how to be a road biker.  And remember that the number of bikes you can have is always resolved by the following formula: N+1, where N= the number of bikes you already have.
After you buy N+1 bikes, you will need some all-around cycling pants that are not spandex since spandex is not fashion forward.  It's fashion backward, and I'm being generous to spandex.

If I see you in the bike lanes, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bicycling in the Tundra

It snowed a little bit in Washington and it was kind of cold.  This sent everyone into a panic.  Schools closed.  The government closed.  Climate-change deniers claimed the weather was "evidence" that the planet was not warming and they issued statements through their experts - most of whom migrated from cigarette harm denying about a decade ago.  The city ground to a halt.  As I was riding to work in a car (dreary), I saw something flashing in the distance.   It was bathed in an iridescent glow, like a winking angel afar.  As I neared, I saw that it was a snow plow clearing the bike lane.  I half expected the driver to lean out of the window, wave his red knit hat, wink with mirth, and blow a kiss to the city.  He did appear to blow his nose out of the window, but I was filled with joy and forgiveness, and waved giddily, especially since none of it landed on our windshield.  I plan to return to my bike Friday, dreading the motorists who shout to me: "Are you nuts, Lady?  It's freezing out here."

The Commonwealth of Virginia, named for allegedly virtuous Queen Elizabeth I (oh sure), has a number of bicycle-related bills pending before the House of Delegates.  They include a prohibition on following any vehicle, including a bicycle, too closely, and a requirement that motor vehicles stop for bicycles and pedestrians in marked cross-walks.  The Washington Area Bicycling Association is circulating a petition to have Virginia cyclists encourage their representatives to vote "yes" on these bills.  Suggested punishment for offenders is not listed in WABA's summaries of the bills, but I suppose they could include . . . speculating here . . . time in the pillories, the rack, the iron maiden, or almost eternal damnation.  The petition can be found here:
Suggested punishment cannot.

An ocean and continent away, in Tokyo, Japan, bike advocates are asking citizens to sign a petition demanding more bicycling infrastructure: a bike sharing program in advance of the 2020 Olympics, and more bike lanes than the measly nine kilometers that presently exist.  In a dense, expensive city, turning people to cycling would seem logical.  Also, it would eliminate the need for people to be shoved into commuter trains like sardines.  The petition is here:

If they can build 140 miles of bike lanes in the city of Baltimore, they can certainly do it in Tokyo.  And if you are picturing "Divine" or any other transsexual character from a John Waters film atop a Gary Fisher while noshing on a crab cake, just stop.,0,3236443.story

In Las Vegas - known for its gambling, shows featuring washed-up performers, dizzying lights, and free buffets - bicycle couriers are attempting to gain some traction.  They would surely have to make deliveries when the strip was less crowded.  Perhaps during hang-over, hock-your-wedding-ring-to-feed-your-gambling-addiction hours.  At all other times, the strip is a stand-still traffic jam.  They do have cyclists in Vegas, on trapezes at Circus Circus Casino, which Hunter S. Thompson described as what the world would have been like if the Nazis had won.  But I have not seen a bike in Vegas on the street myself.

In Los Angeles, California, home to the car and the freeway, a new bill would take away the driving license from anyone who leaves the scene of an accident, even if the other party to the accident was bicycle and not a car.  Oh dear, so loosens the Occidental Petroleum grip on politicians in the city not known for having its own water, political integrity, real hair color, pedestrians or cyclists.  Yippeee.

The London borough of Southwark is apparently going to bring in a Dutch, and maybe even a Danish, expert to discuss cycling infrastructure and provide advice.  Building cycling infrastructure without some expertise strikes me as similar to performing open heart surgery after acquiring an MBA.  I'd rather have a cardiac surgeon cut on me than the CEO of a chemical company.  But surely an MBA would know that protected bike lanes strengthen economies, according to several recent studies.  This leads me to amend my earlier statement, but not about the heart surgery.  Perhaps Dutch or Danish experts would find some support for their recommendations from those with higher degrees in business.

On the subject of MBAs and how they can contribute to bicycling growth, Bixi, the Canadian company that declared bankruptcy late last year, is going to receive some relief from the Canadian government in the form of several million dollars.  But will that be enough?  The question on many urban cyclists' minds is whether Bixi's troubles will have a negative impact on the bike share companies around the world.  Alta, which operates the bike share systems in the United States and Australia, claims that users will feel no effects from Bixi's miscalculation.  Citi bikes in New York has issued a bold statement that they will be fine.  The Black Knight in Monty Python's Holy Grail commanded, "Come back here.  I'll bite your leg off."  Could an MBA at the helm of Bixi have prevented its troubles when no MBA could stop the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008?  Could a Danish or Dutch municipal employee save the future of cycling share programs?

To increase the numbers of cyclists, we have to include more women, more older people, and more of every ethnicity.  If we don't, then it will be harder to get more cycling infrastructure and pass good laws to protect cyclists.  Simple.  As I have noted before, Black Women Bike DC has done a lot to reach to out to African-American women to encourage them to ride their bikes.  Now Red, Black and Green wants to do even more.  They have launched a touching campaign to get more people of color to ride bikes.  No matter where you came from or what you look like, now, if you graduate from college, you are likely going to have debt and a job that will not make you rich immediately.  Not to predict an American dystopia, but the reality is that college grads owe a lot of money, and paying for a car is not a good way to save money.  Red, Black and Green was founded by a Howard University grad who needed inexpensive transportation.  If you are a red, black or green spandex speed demon, ride on.  The group prides itself on going slow, patronizing minority-owned businesses along the way, and including all ages.

So, if I see you in the bike lanes, let's be smug, even if our teeth are chattering.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Normalize Bicyling.

It's been a wild week for bicycling news.


In our quest to normalize bicycling, are we helped or hindered by celebrity endorsements?  This week Pippa Middleton, described perhaps accurately by blogger Adam Pearce as the second most important Middleton, decided to give her endorsement to the sport of cycling in an op-ed in a British newspaper.  There are currently legions of 'tweens who would love to be Pippa.  (Pippa with the clothes, wealth and attention.  Pippa, who is not obligated to breed for succession, as Tina Brown once noted.)  I doubt these Pippa wannabes read the op-ed.  More likely they saw the photos of her online and thought, "I want to be Pippa."  If the acne-medicine-using set decides to try biking as a fashion statement, they will probably abandon it just as rapidly as they do an older styles of shoes.  Let's see if Pippa's "Like" of cycling can help raise numbers.

Following the Golden Globes, there were tweets about Leonardo Di Caprio's membership in Citi bikes, NYC's bike share program.A nice note, and if it raises the cool factor for cycling, I welcome the press, tweets, and memberships that will follow.

World bike news:

In New Zealand, a public service announcement on the dangers of speeding in automobiles went viral.  The "story" involved two cars of roughly the same size.  The same type of PSA done with a car and a cyclist would probably be helpful.  The message was that drivers who speed are more likely to kill someone and take them from their family than drivers who don't.  Apparently there are millions - heck, maybe billions - of people who could not figure this out without a clever ad.

Samuel Johnson once said that when a man grows tired of London, he is tired of life.  I guess when you tire of Regent's Park, the taste of prawn cocktail, or a rainy day in Foyles, you'd best call it a life.  But I can only imagine that cyclists in London have grown tired of the Metropolitan Police.   MPD has responded to the spate of cycling deaths by issuing thousands of tickets to  . . . wait . . . cyclists.  Sure they ticketed drivers as well, but it seems ill-considered to give so many tickets to David when Goliath is really the bigger problem.  MPD tweeted proudly about this campaign.  Hmmm.  This news comes more of less simultaneously with the news that obesity rates in the U.K. have been underreported and underestimated.  A bit of daily cycling - a.k.a. exercise - would of course help this.  But expect a ticket in your future if your bicycle headlamp goes, you health-seeking scoff-law.
Stop thinking about Orwell!  I know you were.  and see @cyclingsurgeon on Twitter for more.

Love them or hate them, the World Bank's sustainable urban planning blog reports another obvious conclusion this week.  Developing nations will be crushed, physically and environmentally by too many cars.  I would love to head the Bank project that tries to establish bike infrastructure in developing countries.  Would this be called "God's work?"  It should be.

In the United States, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stated his plan to focus on cycling and pedestrians.  Holy-end-of-motor-vehicle-hegemony-Batman.  And the information was tweeted by real cycling, dooring-victim, car-victim, Washington Post reporter Ashley Halsey on Twitter.  Just makes you smile, doesn't it?
That thing you just felt was a seismic shift.
Societal plate tectonics.

Are you familiar with Texas?  Big oil?  Big hair?  Big hats?  Big, fat, gas-guzzling trucks?  That Texas, yes.  A town in Texas has established some protected bike lanes for kids.  Yes, they were built in the island that is known as Austin, but this is progress in a tumble-weed state.

A city called Forest Hill has enacted an anti-dooring law.  I am not sure they have voted on a penalty yet.  I am sure some cyclists would love to suggest penalties, including me, but this is a family-oriented blog.

The Washington Area Bicycling Association has published a guide to nice cycling.  This makes some sense.  After all, you will probably fly into a fit of rage after being doored and ticketed, and onlookers, unaware of your prior victimization, may see you as a barking, ranting lunatic, assume all cyclists are mentally infirm, and thus frown on cycling generally.  So an etiquette guide could help the reputation of cycling.  Read up.
Quiz to follow.
If a taxi driver makes a u-turn in the bike lane, knocks you off your bike, fails to notice, and races to pick up his fare curbside as you lay bleeding on the ground, do you:
a)  Address the driver as "good, Sir" and ask for a tissue? or
b)  Take your tire pump off your frame, wave it in good Sir's face, threaten litigation, spit emphatically on the pavement a millimeter from good Sir's loafers, call the police from your cell phone and order witnesses nearby to wait?
The correct answer may not be obvious.

On the subject of normalizing cycling, it would be helpful to have bicycling traffic reports.  You could learn about hazards that might kill you.  Montgomery County, Maryland has a group that posts warnings on the trail.  Wouldn't you want to know if a live electrical wire had come down on the very path you were taking that day?  If you hit it unawares, your ride will not end happily like electrocution always did for the cat in those Tom and Jerry cartoons.

Responses to the thrill of the suggested super highway in the sky have been important.  The non-fantastical reactions of urbanists were less sexy than the image of the bike ether-road that seems to have come from a more sustainable version of "The Jetsons."
Street level bike lanes spur the economy of the streets.  A super highway in the sky will not.  It doesn't for cars either.  If you are up in the air, you don't see the coffee or flower shop, and you can't get to them even if you did.

Experiencing road rash or other more discuss-able injuries?  The bike crash injury doctor for the Garmin team has given a delightful interview.  The big take-away from the piece: If you have concussion symptoms, don't just take an aspirin and go to sleep.

Stupid-villain of the week:
What can you say about a taxi driver who deliberately swerved into a cyclist who turned out to be a cop?  Bruwahahahahahahha!  The karma cops are always patrolling.

If I see you in the bike lanes, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

When Cold Things Happen to Good Warm Cyclists.

In London, more cyclists are being ticketed than motorists.  To remedy this, I suggest we crowd-fund a remedial physics class for the Metropolitan Police Department.  Then they will understand the scientific reasons why a person on a bike is no menace when compared to an articulated lorry careering down Baker Street.  Interested funders are welcome to comment.
Stop Killing Cyclists. Rory Jackson

While the Met PD was ascribing written blame to the victims, the new cyclist-created website launched a campaign to increase awareness of the dangers presented to cyclists by motorized vehicles.  The group uses posters that depict open-eyed, dead faces of "cyclists" who have been killed by vehicles.  The images are haunting and you can download the posters to support your own bicycling campaign.  Rule Britannia once again on this one.  The posters will give you nightmares, so pass them on to friends with big cars and don't look at them too long yourself.  
The group makes 15 reasonable demands, including:
  • £600 million spent per annum on cycle safety by TfL;
  • 10% of the Boroughs transport budgets to be spent on cycling infrastructure;
  • 2 TfL Board members representing cycling; and,
  • A fully integrated segregated cycle network within 5 years.                                                    

There has been much Internet sharing of images of the cycling super highway in London that will cost 225 pound sterling.  It is not pictured above, in case you were confused, Dorothy.  It's hard to imagine that the highway alone would solve the problem, but it would certainly raise the cool factor for cycling there.  And the discovery that the wizard is no more than that little man behind the curtain can probably guide those seeking solutions to life's cycling problems from old men living alone in castles with colored horses and hot air baloons.

Perhaps can download the design manual for bike infrastructure and pass it on to the relevant people who would help them achieve their goal of a cycling network in five years.

We take a slightly different, less oozing corpse-filled approach to messaging here in the former colonies.  Dear Motorist on Youtube nicely implores drivers to pay attention to cyclists.  Dear motorist contains personal testimony of loved ones of those cyclists who were killed by motorists, with good lighting and no dead eyes.  Whether it is as effective at stopkillingcyclists I am not so sure.

These U.K. issues beg a question.  Was last year's high rate of cycling deaths in London a statistical anomaly or something else?  Like the predictable result of angry drivers, inadequate road conditions and a city that is in the last throes of its misplaced passion for cars?  

Perhaps the Brits can take a tip from a bike haven in Netherlands where the government studies bike accidents and tries to improve conditions for safety.   

Or perhaps, Pippa Middleton's interest in biking will raise the numbers of young women who take to the road atop two wheels.  This sort of thing often forces predatory politicians to seek ways to protect and interact with young cycling gals. #perceivedspoilsofsuccess

Or perhaps the key to fixing the problem of cycling deaths lies in a close look at Portland, Oregon, which reported zero cycling deaths last year.  Yup zero.

In New York, despite freezing and snowy conditions, over 3,000 bike rides were reported on Citibike as snow falling.  Those hearty New Yorkers, getting on with life through blackouts, snow, bridge scandals the fault of suburbanites, and doddering, wealthy, matrons who would seek to destroy bike sharing in their neighborhoods.

Also in New York, emails now show that now-former-mayor Bloomberg's friends tried to get him to put Citi bike docks away from their coops.  The more amusing part of the story is how Bloomberg fobbed these quibblers off on his transportation director, Jeanette Sadik-Kahn, who has been described by many as a bike visionary.  Hahahahahhaha.  Gasp.  Snort.  Recover.  Fan face.  There does not appear to be any clear evidence that any docking station was moved for the sake of Thurston or Lovey Howell.
Business Insider

Perhaps these largely passive investors would like to consider the impact of cycling on our spending.
Elsewhere in the United States, a new study has shown that houses within 150 feet of a bike path sell for $8,800 more than homes further away.  How bike docking stations may enhance the value of a coop along The Park is not part of the study unless I missed something.

You certainly have a lot of things to deal with in New York, but at least you do not have to despair if you break down on your bike there.  A new vending machine for bike parts might just rescue you.

Rather than viewing bike sharing stations as the biggest threat since fluoridated water, consider the benefits.  Research reveals cyclists spend more money at local businesses than motorists.  Bike share docks seem to help that spending.

In Europe, car sales are down, bike sales are up.  Electric bikes are way up.  

Kind of the reverse here in the U.S., sadly.  But the tax break for electric bikes has expired in the United States.  I resent this since I never knew it existed in the first place.  

In a random note of outrageousness, police in India now admit that last year's Calcutta cycle ban was not based on any data suggesting it would help traffic.  Who needed to hear the confession to know that?

I must have looked at this too quickly, but I thought this post said something about stiletto heels for cycling.  I was crushed to see it referred to Spada stiletto wheels.

As a high-heeled rider I was dazzled to see that American Katie Compton won Cyclo-cross World Cup.  She would clearly have detected the Spada stiletto wheels note for what it was, not what I wanted it to be.

So, if I see you cycling along in the cold in the bike lane, let's be extremely, insufferably smug . . . but only when it warms up and we can have a conversation without fear that our noses are running.
Elisa P.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Should News Include Bike Lane Reports With Traffic Reports?

Happy New Year to everyone shivering atop two wheels.  We do not need to make any special resolutions since we are already getting more exercise and watching our weight. (Smug, indeed.)  We will not vow to start saving more money unless and until we have run out of storage space for our bikes and their "necessary" accessories.

And now for something serious to be followed by a summary of the bike news of the week.

Bike Lane News:

I call upon all traffic reporters in major cities in the U.S. and U.K. to make a New Year's resolution to report conditions for cyclists.  We know that that we need to increase the number of bike commuters and diversify the crowd that is already commuting.  You need a younger audience if you want to survive.  So it is in our mutual interest to have bike condition reports.
Here's how you would do it Martin DeCaro,  Ashley Halsey, Dr. Gridlock,  Monica Samtani, Lisa Baden and all of the rest of you.  U.K. Radio One lot, the same to you.

First, you can rely on cyclists.  I assure you that bike commuters will alert you via social networking cites that there was a washout along the C&O Canal, or a hazard along the Metropolitan Branch Trail, the Capital Crescent Trail, any of the dedicated bike lanes in Washington, Alexandria and Arlington, or the Mount Vernon Trail.  All you have to do is ask them.  Certainly if conditions on any of the bridges into Washington present a hazard, then that should be known too.  I am no psychologist, but it has been my observation that cyclists are extremely supportive of one-another and will gladly report what they see.  Set rules for reporting, of course.  For example, no tweeting every single work truck that blocks the lanes.  Yes, to reporting long term hazards and construction.  Yes to tweeting any police horse dung along Pennsylvania avenue that might spray on my high heels.  This is news, to me.  I want to be warned.
Second, have local government agencies with jurisdiction over bike infrastructure report to you.  This would include DDOT in Washington, the U.S. Park Police, Maryland Park Police, the Metropolitan Police, Alexandria and Arlington City Police.  Simple.
If I knew that my local radio station was going to broadcast bike lane conditions along with the traffic, I would listen.  If I listen now, it is only to feel superior for not having to sit in stand-still traffic.

Please comment on this post if you agree.

And now in bike news with links to follow at the end:

Riding a bike is not as dangerous as people think, so say some recent statistics and blogger aseasyasridingabike.  I am certainly less dangerous texting from my saddle than that guy in the oversized Chevrolet Suburban.  It's a matter of physics.  In the U.K. The Guardian is reporting cycling safety tips, which may include not texting, probably.  Hopefully these tips were written by someone who knows how to ride a bike and has done so in the last decade.

Mexico is getting its first quiet zone, which will help women who rely on bikes to transport children to school.  In a country with decapitation fatigue, and other drug cartel mayhem, this is outstanding news.

Our cycling friend traversing Africa, Derek, is still making his way along in the rainy season.  I will not mention that he is ginger and that, at least for a while, he is out of the sun, thank goodness.  When he returns, I think we should pool our resources and buy him one of the new men's dress suits for cycling. They look very smart and can conceal a sunburn below the neck.

Speaking of Africa, I know we have all imagined inflicting torture on a person who steals bikes, but in Ghana, an angry mob set upon a bike thief who had to be rescued from certain death by police.  It's one thing to fantasize revenge against a bike thief, but it is another thing to attempt to tear off his limbs.

While we are on the topic of imagination and how it helps us deal with our feelings, Sufferlandria, a city that exists only in the imagination, is holding a tour on January 25, 2014.  Drop the Dungeons and Dragons, the xBox controls, put down the remote, and get involved if you dare.

How intelligence is assessed is often an topic of controversy.  No more.  @bikelobby has noted that what keeps us from being idiots is our understanding of bikes as transportation.  There may be something to this.  Perhaps I can secure a grant to conduct a study of this.  Someone will.

If you are not completely financially tapped out after Christmas, it looks like is ready to tempt you to open your wallet with its list of the best bikes under $1600.  Shimano's Claris line leads their best.  That's great for the serious spandex 10-speed set, but for the slow cyclists like me, it must make a fashion statement.  So, yawn, a bit.  Show me a wicker pannier or a great rear seat cushion.  Then we will talk.

As we enter 2014, let's not forget the many people who have died this year after they were hit by cars on their bikes or as they walked.  The number will always be lower per capita than those in cars killed in accidents with other cars.  To quote the great Woody Allen film Sleeper, "makes you think."

Let us also not forget the silliness of athletes in their 60s who take steroids and stimulants to compete. Is this not the athlete's desperate equivalent of a bad face lift?  Just slow down.  Enjoy the view.

Now that is it January, you should be thinking about your cycling family vacation.  Momentum Magazine is already offering tips for you.

If I see you in the bike lane, or wearing a new bicycling suit, or reporting on the conditions on the bike trail, or preventing an angry mob from savaging a bicycle thief, or planning your next cycling vacation, let's be in-Sufferlandria-bly smug knowing that @bikelobby thinks we are not idiots.

Elisa P.£500-£900-road-bikes
cater to those who are too scared to cycle to planners flow
safety devices won't overcome road design;postID=5536222890189808275