Thursday, February 6, 2014

Snowy Owl Cycling, Tube Strikes - Oh Dear! Your Slow Cycling News Summary

The cycling news was a bit cold this week.  I do not refer to the hands of the tenacious, spandex-clad, long-distance riders who braved the frigid air. (While I have approached the United Nations about a possible resolution banning spandex, I do not judge those who ride more than four miles and feel compelled to wear it.)  For those of us who ride for transportation, and not to work out, the cycling news is chilling.

The Cold in Canada:

In Toronto they held the coldest day of the year ride on Monday.  What will they call the ride if the temperatures next week are even lower?  The Specter of Another Ice Age Ride?

And the body was not even cold yet:

8D Technologies, Bixi's old supplier, signed a deal with the company that operates Capital Bikeshare in Washington, DC.  Bixi is now bankrupt and shedding employees and CEOs.  8D is jumping into the vacuum.  Nice to know Capital Bikeshare will do what it has to do to keep things moving, but it does smell of sleeping with your best friend's lover while your best friend has a really bad flu.  Unseemly.

Legislative Cold:

Bills intended to protect cyclists in Maryland were met with a chilly reception by legislators despite how non-controversial they were.  If enacted these laws would increase the distance cars must keep from cyclists to four feet, and would not require bikes to get out of the way of bigger, faster cars.  The current law gives cyclists all the same rights and responsibilities as a motorist.  As Shane Farthing of the the Washington Area Bicycling Association noted, the current rule requires bikes to follow the law of barges and ski slopes: smaller things (a.k.a. bikes) have to get out of the way of the bigger things (SUV's large enough to haul a seasonal grain harvest).  If you're a tiny tugboat tooling along near an aircraft carrier this makes sense.  In the world of bike/car relations, it makes no sense.

In Virginia there has been little progress on the proposed laws I have blogged about over the last two weeks.  Want to know how your rep voted on bike protection legislation?  Are you a single issue voter like most of America?  Not guns, abortion or taxes, but bike lanes?  The voting records are here:

Meanwhile the U.S. Park Service is not in any hurry to pave the bike trail in Rock Creek Park, that 1100 acre natural wonder in the middle of Washington, D.C.  The bike path is currently falling into the creek, which was frozen last week.  Sign a petition to restore the trail, or become a human popsicle, pop-cycle, whatever.

In the middle of this literal and figurative freeze, a Snowy Owl, not indigenous to Washington, appeared on the ledge of the Washington Post building in downtown, hovering lost above the bike lanes.  Acting like a raptor, she espied a rat, or something, and flew toward her prey, only to be hit by a bus.  And Washington gasped.  It seemed like a literary symbol.  She was taken to the National Zoo for treatment, and she was in shock.  She must have wondered what the heck hit her while she was cruising along right where she thought she was supposed to be.

In warmer climes:

In California, bike advocates are taking to Twitter to gain support for a great idea.  The tweets ask Caltrain to use the Metrolink cars Caltrain just acquired for bikes.  The cars have no seats and plenty of room for bikes.  If you live in the area, you should probably join this movement.  Turn back the tide, stop plate tectonics, and help these guys spread the word.

Did you know that Delhi has 100 km of cycle tracks?  Not what you expected, I'll wager.

In London:

In London, Underground workers are apparently on a strike.  Unless you have lived in this city, you cannot imagine the implications for the everyday bloke who uses the Tube to get around.  Cyclists are mounting a counter-strike, a "bike strike" to get as many people as possible to ride their bikes during the Tube strike.  The psychological impact of this could be massive.  I wish I were there today to witness this.  When people realize the ease of cycling compared with the crush of the Tube, they may permanently choose cycling.  This show of force could help cyclists who want more infrastructure in London, which has been plagued with a rash of cycling deaths in recent years.  Reading this now?  Too late?  Get your bike out right away.  If not, join the next one.  The Tube will strike again.  Check out posts by +Karl Roche on this subject.  Could this help #normalizecycling?

Film notes:

Salt Lake City's bike share program is memorialized in a short, delicious little film that will make you smile.

Inventions and Launches:

A chiropractor has invented something called the "infinity saddle" that does not put pressure on the lower spine.  It can allow you to comfortably ride for infinity, or at least until your interpersonal relationships have ended, your dehydration has become acute, and your employer has sent a posse to locate you.

Remember David Byrne, the lead singer of the Talking Heads, who made it cool to be a tall nerdy Scot in a boxy suit?  Just keep loving him.  He is now also a designer of things, and a brilliant one at that.  See his bike rack with a flexible rubber attachment that won't damage your bike's frame.  It is not "same as it ever was."  It's better.  He owns no car and is a cycling advocate.  Let's face it.  He now smokes Dylan, who just appeared in a car commercial during the Superbowl.

The top Dutch e-bike with a bottom bracket motor is out.  Great for city cycling, and, well, it's Dutch (without all the gratuitous drugs, prostitution, and canal-caused mildew)!

Bike giant Shimano has introduced a waterproof camera you can use to photograph yourself suffering as you bike in the snow.  Fortunately it is waterproof.  You will need that feature.  Oh, and it has CM 1000 HD, Wi-fi and ANT+.

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

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