Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Curbs Are Coming! A summary of this week's cycling news for the bike commuter of planet Earth.

Ouch.  That Jab Hurt:

What happens when you replace the word car with bike?  Irony, pure and sour.  What happens when you expand that initial challenge into a general discussion of the absurdity of car ownership?  It becomes a stupid-ometer.  You can separate the smart from the challenged.  Enter #ReplaceBikeWithCar and see the merriment that ensued on Twitter.

I love paying $8,000 per year for my car and $3000 per year for parking when I could be paying $200 per year for my bike.  The only thing better than looking for parking and paying for parking is owning a diminishing asset.  #ReplaceCarWithBike

I love driving because it makes so much sense in light of the fact that one in eight deaths globally caused by air pollution.  #ReplaceBikeWithCar

Bikes and Money:

New businesses in Sydney Australia are more interested in bike accessibility than parking.  Last week I reported that U.S. businesses are starting to do the same.   Could this signal the demise of out-of-control control corporate greed?  The death of built-in obsolescence?  A sudden valuing of the work force?  Ah, probably not.  But you'll have more bike-friendly work options.

Custom bikes.  Sure they cost a little more, but it's like coffee, beer, or food.  You start out with the stock stuff and move up over time.  It's like when you discovered Sam Adams, and you thought nothing could be better, until you discovered the micro-brewery around the corner.  Remember how you raced around on that low-end Trek feeling like a kid again?  Soon you started having informed conversations about the how the  hand-sanding of Vanilla bikes impact their performance.  You become a monster who will only take the Trek to locations where you think there is a 30-50% chance it will be stolen.
Vanilla bikes

Evidence of Expanding Bike Culture:

Recently six more cities joined the Kickstarter campaign to fund bike lanes.  So what will you get for investment?  No T-shirt or goodie bag.  Just a longer life, a better city, and the feeling of satisfaction that comes from knowing that your property values will also go up.

Detroit cycling culture.  Pause.  Did you know that in The Motor City bike culture is growing?  Don't tell big auto.  They may try to pull a fast one, like dropping interest rates on car loans and taking no money down on huge trucks and sedans.  Oh, I forgot.  They already did that and it didn't work.

In Southern California, where ads for Cal Worthington once cluttered the airwaves, Metrolink added bike cars so people headed to the CicLAvia festival could bring their bikes.  This continues to amaze me.

Bike Share:

If you are a bike sharer, and you have arrived to the bike sharing station only to be greeted by zero bikes, you need to consider getting the Spotcycle app.  It can help you avoid a pre-work tug-of-war with your neighbor in 10B.

Federal employees get benefits for taking mass transit and some money for bike purchases and repairs.  Now bike commuter benefits are expanding to include bike share.

New data show people like Citi bike when it's above freezing.  This is good since last week Citi bike was reported to be in financial distress.

Yes, doctors in Boston are really prescribing bike share to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity and stress.  Do you really need a prescription?  Will Medicare cover it?  Blue Cross?  They would if I were Empress of the Earth.


The long-awaited bike curbs are going in on M Street in Washington, D.C.  I will not add snark here.  Instead I will let you pause to consider the pure joy of this.

Follow up:  The bike-ometer installed in Arlington showed that cyclists matter.  Was this every actually a question?


Bike to Work Day is May 16, 2014.  Want to arrive looking fabulous?  Who doesn't?  Here are a few tips.

Some think we should have a Bike Anywhere But Work Day.  Like to the grocery store, the coffee shop, the hardware store.  Let's start a movement.  #biketothenailsalonday  #biketoconfessionday  #biketothecitydumpday

Just starting out?  City cycling class are available at WABA.  They will teach you the rules of the road and civility, both of which are important.  And bicycle maintenance classes begin at Bike Rack DC on April 19 at 8:30 a.m.

The Cycling Classic for wounded warriors is June 5-8, 2014.  We have been at war now for a decade and lots of people are coming home with permanent injuries and needs.  If you can make this, do.  If not, sponsor someone.  You'll feel decent.

More Good News:

Todd Roll (real name? #skeptical), author of "Pedal Portland," a cyclist's guide to that bike friendly city, is expanding his two-wheeled empire.  He has a book tour and new bike shop in Hawaii.  #jealous

Looking for bike friendly hotels in the U.K. this summer?  Here are some to consider.  #whatisbetterthanCornwallinJuly?

London's first segregated cycle junction is to be installed in Camden.  At last.  This is a mad intersection that has been the location of deaths and horrible accidents.  Bravo London, and even Mayor Boris, hair notwithstanding.

A Little Bit of Bad News:

Despite some progress, London is still hostile to pedestrians, according to a writer who lost over 28 pounds by walking and following his mother's advice not to snack.  "What Margaret Thatcher called The Great Car Economy is dying all over the world."  RIP The Great Car Economy.  I hope that you are not resurrected.
It is especially sad to think that U.K. coroners have seen so many dead cyclists that they are calling for improved cycling infrastructure.  Coroners have been upset.  These guys stand over dead bodies all day and render medical analysis.  If they are upset, there is a problem.

Toronto has fallen behind its projected cycling infrastructure needs.  In the 10 years since a major study was conducted on the subject, Toronto has installed just 25% of the lanes it needed.  Hey, isn't that the place with the crack-smoking mayor problem?  Coincidence?

There are hidden costs of aggressive driving: the amount of money you spend on gas, an increase in your insurance rates for being a dreadful ass, and possible eternal damnation for hurting people.  Even if you take your revenge for a bad life out on the road, you will still wake up the next morning with the same spouse, same terrible job, and same inability to manage your anger other than being a menace on the road.  #wisdom

In Rock Creek Park, there appears to be utter stagnation on the repairing of trails.  Wait a second there! Stagnation in Washington!  That cannot be true.  #shocker


Do lights that shine in the shape of little bicycles somehow improve cyclists' safety?  I am not yet persuaded, even if they look astonishingly cool.  #crapIdonotneedbutstillfeelcompelledtobuy

Bicycle magazine's guide to bikes and gear is out.  Wait, isn't every issue of this magazine a bike and gear guide?

There is a Kickstarter campaign for a documentary on the cargo bike movement.  I would love to be awash in cash and able to fund this project entirely.

I predict that electric bikes will only grow in popularity over the next ten years.  In Europe they are outselling cars.  Here's another electric bike review, this time in the U.K.  (Got two kids with musical instruments and backpacks, and 40 lbs of groceries?  Maybe an electric is for you.  Maybe, if you are filthy, stinking rich, you can throw half of your money at the cargo bike documentary and half at an electric bike company.)

Just a thought:

If cycling numbers have to go up, everyone must join the cycling movement.  As the LA County Bike Coalition tweeted, "If everyone in your group looks like you, it's not a coalition, it's a club."

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

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