Wednesday, February 19, 2014


The National Bike Summit is just days away in Washington, DC.  If you are a cycling advocate or urban planner, the agenda is written for you.  Experienced writers will provide tips to bloggers and aspiring bike journalists for free.  I wonder if they will have a tutorial for not-too-serious riders and bloggers.  If so, I am in.

In London the handmade bike show is coming on April 11-13, 2014.  As opposed to the machine-made bike show, which arguably the London Bike Show was.  Several light-weight models were premiered there.  At what point is a bike too light for a dignified rider who is not competing in the Tour de France?  The problem with bike shows is that you leave wanting one of everything and are filled with a sudden, uncontrollable desire to convert your garage and/or basement into a bike storage facility, and to empty your bank account to pay for your new bikes and equipment.  I can smell a new reality show:  "Bike Hoarders." Perhaps London Mayor, Boris Johnson, whose bike was crushed by a pothole, can find a new bike at the Bespoke handmade bike show, and a new municipal approach to pothole repairs at the same time.’s-bike-destroyed-pothole

Looking for some coverage of the recent London Bike Show because you actually have to work for a living and missed it?  Reviews of all the new bikes are here, since you were holding the fabric of society together while others were having fun.

In Washington, "Extreme Realities," a documentary film about the national security implications of climate change premiers on March 23, 2014 at the Museum of Natural History.  The film is directed by Washington-based documentarians, Marilyn and Hal Weiner, and is narrated by Matt Damon.  If you want to feel especially smug and stupendous for riding a bike to work in lieu of motorized transit, watch this film at the DC Environmental Film Fest.

Updates on Cycling Infrastructure and Laws:

Delaware is ending the ill-conceived "Share the Road" campaign and doing away with the signs that often confuse drivers.  Instead they are going with "Bicycles May Use Full Lane."  As Bike Delaware, has figured out, drivers, especially the intellectually challenged ones, have tended to think that sharing the road signs meant that bikes were supposed to move as far to the right as possible in order to share the lane with cars.  Let's see if targeting the stupid will help improve cycling safety.

This is your last chance to reach out to your legislators in the Commonwealth of Virginia if you want new law passed that outlaw dooring and other atrocities.

Many universities in the United States are now helping to promote cycling on campus.  I don't mean to be cynical, but could this have something to do with parking issues?  My view is this:  If you can afford a car during college, how nice.  If you want to avoid college weight gain from eating starchy food and downing schooners of terrible beer, ride your bike instead.  Also, you will be less of a menace on the road after that all-night keg fest if you are on a bike than tooling along in your Dad's retired SUV.  Nothing can kill a future like a drunk driving or vehicular manslaughter charge, unless you are a wealthy heir or heiress, in which case no one can touch you.  Assuming you are a regular person, when you graduate, if you have student loans, chew on this.  Cars cost between $8,000 and $18,000 a year on average.  Add it up: insurance, car payments, maintenance, repairs and fuel.  If you have student loans, or want to intern at someplace cool, like the New York Times, that's a huge waste of money you need for other things.  Practice for life's realities now by riding your bike.  Bike share programs cost about $100 a year.  A cheap, ride-able bike, even less.  Easy math.  And you passed math once.

It continues to amaze me that in Los Angeles, where people will live in one bedroom apartments and blow ridiculous sums of money on luxury cars in furtherance of image, the city is adding 180 miles of dedicated bike lanes.  This is truly progress.

International Notes:

Colombia is arguably a developing nation.  Yet Colombia has developed beyond a number of mature and so-developed-they-are-bloated nations by having more than a car free day.  They had a car free week.  Impressive.

So apparently Scotland, like the United States, has an obesity problem.  Real surgeon,  Steve Bate, who blogs under the Cycling Surgeon nom de plume, has written regularly about cycling's role in ending the fat epidemic.  He is also nominated for Scottish Adventure Award based only in part on his ride across America with his daughter.  For goodness sake, vote for this wonderful man if you have any cycling decency whatsoever.  You can find him on Twitter @cyclingsurgeon.

Innovations, Bike Business, and Gear:

Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Records, Virgin-Atlantic Airlines, and dozens of other ventures, may have been a high school drop out, but apparently he instilled some great values in his children.  Sam and Holly Branson have funded some bike innovations you might want to check out, including a laser bike light that might help cyclists be seen in the daytime and night.

Would you ride an electric bike that looked like something out of Mad Max, or would you feel a bit odd?  If you are brave enough to be seen atop such a bike, you are in luck.  It's a concept now, but so was everything once.

The snow is finally melting and we are headed into damp months, so you may want to get some rain gear to get through April showers.  Here is a review of some new gear for the cyclist in the rain forest:

BFF Bikes is a new bike shop in Chicago's Bucktown area that made its start through crowd-funding.  One of the owners quit her job working at the Chicago Metropolitan Planning office to start the business.  What distinguishes BFF Bikes already is the owners' pledge to teach bicycle maintenance to women.
If you are headed there, you can prepare for you new bike purchase using this women's bike fitting guide.

Cops and Robbers:

The thieves who stole 46 Bromptons around London were caught trying to ship them to Russia.  They were fined, which sounds like only part of the punishment they should have received.  Clearly the Karma Cops will have to issue some sort of additional torment since a mere fine seems too permissive.£10000-each-following-theft-46-brompton-bicycles-bound-russia

London's Met Police Department now has a bike safety and enforcement group.  I would point out that none of them looked to me like they have been sitting around in patrol cars eating donuts until they cannot not successfully pursue any suspect on foot.  Nor are they stodgy Bobbies that look frailer than the most wan of Dickens's characters.

If I see you in the bike lanes, or at the Bike Summit, or at the premier of "Extreme Realities," let's be smug.
Elisa P.

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