Wednesday, March 26, 2014

On a Bike, You Can Smell Flowers

It was a strange week indeed.  I was doored, a car advocate delivered an anti-bike message, and it snowed, again.
Then, like a tulip emerging through the frost, the lists of spring rides for charity started to appear on the web.  The bike to work reminders flowed, and suddenly, lots of people began to appear in the bike lane.  Apparently, the armageddon will wait.  Especially since Chicago is now building a bike and pedestrian flyover.  They may even build a bike lane on the Tappan Zee Bridge.  #Whahhhh?

With that, here is a summary of this week's bike news for the cyclist who rides for transportation and not for competition.

Before we move into flower season, let's take a moment to remember the heroes of the punishing winter.  The bicycle delivery team at Flavor Cycling in Milwaukee delivered hot food through the worst winter in decades.  I feel like flying there and ordering some restaurant food to be delivered just to show my support.  #americanhero

Aware that the great polar vortex is gone for good now, you must want to give your bike a seasonal tune-up.  Here is how you can do that:

Rather not tune up your bike?  Prefer to use it's lack of chain oil as an excuse to get a new bike instead?  (We should have coffee and chat.  I feel I can relate to you.)  Check out Bike Radar's final words on the North American Handmade Bike Show.  See bikes like the "retro modern" from a small producer in Boulder.  Remember this handy formula: If you have enough storage there is no reason to stop buying bikes.  Or as one post read, the number of bikes you can own is always n+1, where n is the number of bikes you have right now.

Workman Industrial Cycles are still made in Queens, New York.  They make trikes for workers at Boeing to use to zip around the warehouse floors, and cruiser bikes for commuters like me.  I pose a Hamlet-like question that is obviously rhetorical.  How many bikes can you own before you can be diagnosed with a hoarding disorder?  I ask because I really want to see companies like this thrive and I can imagine buying one of their bikes.

Want to figure out what the best app is for the way you cycle?  There's a blog for that.

Would you like to read a lengthy academic study on the influence of a cyclist's appearance on drivers?  The researchers did not find that drivers won't door beautiful people or overtake them too close for safety.  This study concludes that what cyclists wear cannot influence most drivers to pass at a safe distance.  The study's methodology seems a little shaky to me.  However, like most American voters, I will interpret this study to support my own views and refuse to change my mind in spite of any facts.  My take away from the study: relax, wear heels, and worry less.  Nothing you wear can increase the IQ of the guy in the black SUV to your left.  #avoidunflatteringcolors

Interested in seeing old photos of Norwegians atop cycles?  Who isn't?  Well, perhaps embittered Swedes.  (BTW, get over it, Swedes, you may not have Norway's North Sea oil, but it is a finite resource that pollutes, whereas Ikea and H&M will live forever.)  See ibikelondon's great collection of photos of everyday Norwegians going about life on bikes.

Or, if you are feeling a love of things Norse, take a look at this bicycle ski list in Trondheim, Norway, a hilly university town packed with people who love bikes.  Can you imagine such a thing in the litigious U.S.?  It's like a shark fin protruding from the pavement.  I can hear the late night TV ads calling for class action litigants now.  "Have you been injured by the bike ski lift?  Had your shoe lacerated?  Experienced kidney failure, birth defects or rashes after using the bike ski lift?  Call this number right now to preserve your legal rights."

Prefer to look at 100 year old photos of bikes in Reno, Nevada, the Biggest Little City in the World?  The images are romantic and sad if you think about how quickly motorized transit changed Reno and other cities.

The Nay-Sayers:

Here he is again, Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear fame, showing an image of a smashed bike with the caption "Work harder, get a car."  I do not understand the appeal of this man.  He reminds me of Andre the Giant without the hearing impediment and charm.  And once, Jeremy was a legitimate and amusing writer.  That was before he contracted big-ego-arrogancia.  Perhaps in Natural Selection, some women are attracted to oversized, over-sure chaps, but I am not one of them.   Here are some possible replies to this toxic anti-bike nonsense: "Work harder to understand that no everyone thinks cars are great."  Or, alternatively, "You are a dreadful bore if you think the future is in the hands of motorized transit."  Or perhaps, "At some point the flat earth society howled with amusement at those who figured out the world was round.  Do you see any parallels between yourself and those non-seers of old?"  Really Jeremy, even Dickens saw the injustices suffered by cyclists.  Need to cleanse your karmic palate of the Jeremy Clarksons of the world?  Then look at this terrific blog on retro British-style bikes.  Or amuse yourself with a story of U.K. drivers who were outraged when their bad driving was captured on a cyclist's helmet cam and uploaded onto Youtube.


Looking for feminine clothes that work on a bike?  Who isn't?  Allthatiwant has now opened their online shop.

Here's another electric bike review from a messenger who learned to stop complaining and love the assist.  Hauling two kids?  Groceries?  Live at the top of a steep hill?  Consider an electric bike.

Want a bike-car hybrid that can get 1800 miles to the gallon, is made in North Carolina, and looks like those little plastic bubble cars toddlers drive around?  This car can't door a cyclist.   I support that.  Especially after the events of last Tuesday, where, for the first time, I was doored not by a parker, but by a car in traffic to my left.  #sandwichedbynudniks


With a bailout and some other tweaks, Montreal's Bixi bikeshare program has been given a second life. Whew.

Liverpool, home of the Beetles, a lot of coughing, spewing industry and some dubious grammar, is getting a bike share.  Gor crikey.  What next?  Manchester?  Sheffield?  Or do they already have bike shares?
Guardian U.K.
Social Rides:

Join Black Women Bike and you will suddenly find a whole gaggle of girlfriends who will hit the roads with you.  It beats pleading with your friends who may drag you down with complaints of chaffing or allergies.  And I know for fact that many of the organizers are wonderful people.  Join.

Joincycle has launched an app to help people connect for rides.  This is great until it gets in the hands of a serial killer who connects to his victims.  Kidding . . . somewhat.

Bike to Work Day is Friday May 16, 2014 in Washington, D.C.  Try to encourage a friend to ride that day and let's see if we can make a show of force. The more cyclists, the more lanes.  If you are like me and have four or five extra bikes around the house, offer to loan one to a friend to make them ride.  Just don't loan your best one.

And now, the tulips:

Some of you know that one of our heroic members has supported his wife through cancer treatments that have lasted months.  She wore chemo bags under bike clothes, and cared for three children. He held it together and kept riding his bike to work and posting regular positive messages.  It would be only right if you could ride to raise money for colon cancer research, or at least support his ride.  Yes, I will mention this again and with more particulars.

Bike MS's many rides are beginning again.  The events will occur across the country starting in April. Sponsor someone or ride.  You'll feel better afterwards.  If you live in Alexandria, Virginia, contact me in a hangout and I will give you some local party/fund raising details.;jsessionid=3B128B395EC65E147679626BCB67FC66.app306a?pagename=BIKE_ms_all_events

Bikefest DC will be in the Eastern Market North Hall on June 13.  It is a Washington Area Bicycling Association find raising event.  Everyone who can possibly come should.

If I see you in the bike lane, let's be smug and well-dressed,
Elisa P.

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