Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bike Trains, Cops, and Fatties.

News bits:

MARC trains, those somewhat reliable commuter tubes that bring throngs of Marylanders to D.C. each day, may add bike cars on the weekends.  Perhaps next there will be bike cars on the weekdays.  Then  bikes only cars.  Then bike only trains.  Then bike only airplanes and ships.  Then world domination.  Or just a few bike cars on the weekend would be cool.

What are the safest cities for cyclists?  Is it Trenton?  Scranton?  Tampa?  Find out here.  Could it be that Seattle ranks?  Cycling, coffee and overcast skies go well together.  And what are the best cities for getting to work on your bike?  Well they are not in the deep south.  Pause.  Consider.  Move on without comment.

In the U.K. a group of unemployed people will be receiving bikes, helmets and more to help them find jobs.  If it works, it just may spawn more programs worldwide.

Ah, Medellin, Colombia.  When I think of it, I don't think of bikes so much as cocaine trafficking cartels.  But Medellin banned bikes and the results were sobering.  Ba-dum-dum.

Want to vote for better cycling with your wallet?  Here is a list of bike friendly businesses from the Bike League.  Where is Ford Motors?  Or for that matter, any other really huge company except Mutual of Omaha?  But I do see NPR with a gold rating, which makes me like them all over again, even though they passed on Radio Lab and This American Life.  Which was not smart.

How did we become so auto-centric in America, and what can planners do about it?  Streetfilms has a . . . well film called "Rethinking the Automobile," which thoughtfully sets out the history of motor-vehicle hegemony and how the revolution can be sparked.

Some people still think that bike lanes cause congestion.  Or maybe they say that knowing it is not true.  Bike lanes do not cause congestion, however, and getting that message out to the public may be necessary to getting more lanes

Want to become an instant celebrity?  Well, not instant, but decades in the making through riding even before everyone figured out it was cool?  Meet Ricky, one of our own, who is going to have far more than 15 minutes of fame. He is going to have 18 minutes at least.


Kidical mass is teaching kids how to ride bikes at Capital Hill Montessori School at Logan on May 3, 2014, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Are you a modern parent, running from one thing to another with barely a second to spare?  Do you often remember that moment when your mom or dad let go of the bike and you soared?  Then go and take Junior.   Nice people from the Washington Area Bicycling Association will be there to teach about family rides.  Which, I would note, beat the heck out of family car fights.


National Bike to School day is May 7, 2014.  Need I say more?  Unless there is a biblical-sized hurricane, I think you know what you have to do here.

On May 27, 2014, Velo City will hold a program in Adelaide, Australia on how to move from car centric to bike centric cities.

"Rising from the Ashes," a film about Rwanda's bicycling team is out on Netflix at last.  If you hate annoying drivers, cell phone talkers, or lint, get a little perspective by watching this film on cyclists who came from a country that experienced genocide.

Holy home of Robert E. Lee and Jerry Falwell.  The Virginia Department of Transportation is thinking about urbanism.  Could this mean more bike lanes in the Commonwealth?  More than likely.

VDOT's shift is probably well timed since people are abandoning the suburbs for cities in droves.  Last I checked, Virginia was kind of a big suburb.

In Los Angeles?  Check out BikinginLA's list of cycling activities.  Yes, normal people live there, not just reality show stars and gang members.  Though sometimes the latter two seem to overlap in the moral ether-sphere.

Bike share:

Boris Bikes, London's bike share program, is driving rents up.  It seems that the presence of the gleaming docks is just that desirable.  It is difficult for me to understand how London rents can be any higher in the first place, but this seems proof positive that bike share and cycling generally can save the economy.  I request that Economist Paul Krugman get on this at once and issue a report.  And don't foist this off on Greenspan or Bernanke.  They both remind me of Chauncey the Gardener.

Another little jewel of a news bit:  Indianapolis now has bike share.

Indianapolis will find out what NYC already knows, that most people using bike shares are guys in their 30s.  But fastcompany reports that the gap is narrowing.  Which begs the question about why mostly guys in their 30s ride here, but in the Netherlands, everyone does.  Which prompts the painfully obvious response: "It's about the bike lanes, Stupid."  In a time when a chef can cook an egg on pavement to demonstrate the effects of global warming, it seems like governments should be pushing cycling.  Aggressively.  Like our survival depends on it.


Looking for a fold-up for your small space?  Read this review of the Dahon Formula.

First there were e-bikes, and then fat bikes, and now e-fat bikes.  Look, at some point you are almost in a car.  Okay?  Except that on an e-fat bike, you will always be better than the guy in the SUV.


Generally I am against bus drivers calling people names.  But bus drivers calling cyclists names, even British bus drivers spewing goofy names, should be a firing offense.  Write your legislators now to request legislation banning insults to cyclists from bus drivers.  Congress will get to it right after they get to everything else they have not done in the past five years.”-following-close

If drivers are too dumb to figure out a safe passing distance from a cyclist, should that cyclist attach a stick to his body that would whack any too-close car?  I think the answer is clearly, "YES!"  So does a guy in Houston who posted his misadventures on Youtube.

Random tidbits:

I have noticed a lot of cops on bikes recently.  Considering recent revelations that over 50% of police officers retire on disability, it seems like cops on bikes is a very good idea.  Bikes save money for police departments, keep officers fit, who might otherwise be too sedentary, and you can park at least a dozen of them in front of the donut shop.  Chicago is sending bike cops into bad neighborhoods and the results have been positive.  Crime is down, people in the community like them, and when they try to nap on the job, they get caught.

Just the other day I wondered what kind of bike I should ride to accommodate my kimono.  Or was it my trench coat and heels? I forget.

So if I see you in the bike lane, even if you are a cop, or someone on a fat bike, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

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