Thursday, March 20, 2014

It's Spring and the Return of the Fair Weather Cyclists.

The blog for people who ride to get around, think the Tour de France is just a chance for a picnic in Grasse, and who love the film "The Triplets of Belleville."  

According to Market Watch, the cost of owning a car is pretty high.  On average it costs over $9,000 a year for a smaller Toyota.  Subtract $150 a year for bike share from your bank account instead.  Pay $300 a year for Cars2Go or some other car share service.  The net savings is very high, even after you subtract the price of a few tubes and an annual tune up.  You will still have money left over to spend on clothes, vacations, or meals out.  Is this why millennials are making the shift away from cars?  The Atlantic seems to think it has something to do with money, and a lot to do with where you live.  If you can get access to mass transit, bike or walk, the savings are high.  To park a car in Manhattan can cost $12,000 a year.  #easymath4lowSATscorers

So can a movement in favor of protected bike lanes shift cycling into the mainstream?  Apparently the trade association that makes road signs and cones and traffic thingies seems to think so.  I'm not sure I have ever previously agreed with the position of this trade association, but on this, I do.

Bike Share Alert

There is only one Bike in Bloom, a pink Capital Bikeshare bike that you can rent.  But return it if you do.  Let's not find it on eBay.

Bike Lanes

Recycled plastic dividers are set along Pennsylvania Avenue for only a block.  This cheap alternative is fantastic and can cause damage to a car if it breaches the bike lane.  Nothing says deterrent like an upside-down taxi in heavy traffic.  We need more of these.  Lots more.  #stupiddriversensor

In Alexandria this week the news went like this:
60% of residents support Old Town Alexandria bike lanes.
There is a culture clash over bike lanes.
The City Council has now approved bike lanes, and they plan to build more along Royal Street.
If you build them, they will ride.  If you build more, more will ride.
Was that the controversy that wasn't?  #newsoutletsstruggletomonitize

And days later, Virginia passed a law requiring motor vehicles to pass bikes no closer than three feet.
Wow.  The Commonwealth is moving forward in spite of itself.

Cultural Shifts

Metropolitan Police London took to Twitter this week to catch a hit-and-run driver that hurt a cyclist.

Even the DC police are tweeting reminders to watch for pedestrians and cyclists.  This is progress.  They are usually tweeting lookouts for shooters.

And in California, people are growing less reliant on cars.  What?  Can this be true?  I question this data.  I cannot help myself.  Just think of the lyrics to Randy Newman's "I Love LA."  It's all about streets:  "Century Boulevard, Santa Monica Boulevard, Sixth Street, we love it, we love it."  #skeptic

Ah, the French.  The fashion, the history of repeated surrenders to Teutonic occupiers, the food, the xenophobia, the bad bathrooms, and the wine.  They never really made a good car.  I'm just saying.
Ironically, Paris has banned cars on alternate days to fight smog.  The City of Lights is now the City of Stinky Stuff that is Not Stinky Cheese, Unfortunately.  However, the beautiful women of the French President's Cabinet, the Ministers of Justice and Culture, are cycling through it all . . . in heels.  I find this to be tres wonderful.

Meanwhile, back in the states, consider this: Your fat is why you're not as bright as you should be.  The next time someone asks you, "Does this dress make me look fat?"  Reply "No, but if you dropped a few lbs, you would be smarter."  Then get them a bike.


A bill suspending the licenses of drivers who hit and run, even if they don't cause injury, has passed in . . . California.  Hey, what's going on there?

A Supreme Court decision may threaten rails to trails.  #depressingopinions

Arlington's new plan doesn't address Rosslyn's intersection of doom.  Call me whacky, but I think plans should accomplish some improvement. They should not just accomplish employment for the drafter of said plans.  #someonescousingotthisjob


The deep south is the most deadly region for cyclists.  Insert your own joke here.

I know we are at odds with Russia, or maybe even headed into another cold war, but how cool is it that police in Belarus set up a phony accident scene to see who would stop to render assistance to the cyclist?  I'm not saying I like this idea so much I would agree with Putin's actions in Crimea, but this is a very cool idea.  While in Brazil a poster showing bike handlebars as hunting trophies is supposed to be reminding motorists to watch out for cyclists.  There must be something cultural that is missing here for me.  Don't men like to get trophies: hunting trophies, trophy wives?  #gofigure

So a cyclist gets hit by a truck carrying a mattress.  The mattress falls off the offending truck and the cyclist lands on it.  I think this is too random to consider as a safety option.  Ordering bad drivers to carry mattresses that are positioned to fall off and save cyclists is probably not a solution.  But the video is here for your enjoyment.

Electric bikes

If I were a venture capitalist, I would probably invest in the best e-bike company I could find.  In the future I suspect we will see more and more of these bikes on the road.  I am not the Oracle of Omaha, but I might be the Sage of Lower Northeast DC.

Mando Footloose has made a cool digital lock for the electric bike.  I will still take my chances with my Knog U-lock and my common sense, but the idea is nice.  I'd never have to root around in my handbag for my keys again.  #saveamanicure

The Xtra Cycle with a sidecar is pretty appealing.  It's not a Gestapo-type of sidecar, but more of a groceries and hardware store kind of sidecar.  How it will fit in dedicated bike lanes, I cannot tell.

This week has seen the launch of yet another concept electric bike.  It reminds me of a Huffy I once used while the owner of a bike shop in East LA fixed my Mongoose.  #crappybikecontest

Non-electric Bikes, Gear, Stuff

Do you need a bike that glows in the dark?  Neither do I, but I covet it just the same.  It would certainly be easier than always charging that headlamp in a USB port. flow

Here are the top American handmade bike award winners from last week's show, that I missed, and that I have remained bitter about since.

"Need" some lockable bike luggage with a beer cooler for your bike?  Coincidence!  Me too.

Are you looking for women's apparel that appears shaped for women and not boxes?  I call that my regular clothes, but apparently some women want bike clothes.  So this is for them.

Is Walmart selling a Mongoose fat tire bike for kids?  That is: 1) awesome, and 2) affordable.

Things to Watch

A short film of cycling in central London, one of the most wonderful places on earth.

"I worked at Raleigh," a remembrance of a worker's time at the former British factory.

A cute Youtube greeting from Timothy Broas, the new US Ambassador to The Netherlands, and a cyclist.  He makes Rick Steves' accent sound excited.   But it's a wonderful slice of career-diplomat-nerdiness at its best.

So if I see you in the bike lane, and now that the weather meets your tough standards, I will, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Sage of Lower Northeast DC: Buffet's got nothin' on you. Love the photos of French ladies biking--women of all colors! Rarely see that; heartening. Appreciate all the positive news, keep it comin'!