Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Naked, Eccentric, Drunk, or Well-Dressed: This Week's Cycling News

This week's news for the cyclist who likes to smell the honeysuckle on the way to work and doesn't mind carrying the dry-cleaning on the way home.


Yes, it is almost June, that time when World Naked Bike Ride Day takes place all over the . . . well, world.  The purpose is to raise awareness about the problems created by motorized transit and other polluting things generally.  In Chicago, the ride is Saturday, June 14, 2014.
Just think through a few things before you participate.  First, do you have a Brook's leather saddle?  Would it be forever befouled if you rode it several miles in hot weather in the nude?  Do you own a bidet?  (I guess the first question should really be the second.)  Is there a time when bike share should shut down to avoid possible spread of disease?  Do you care what a future employer might think of you if they were to come across the image of you riding a Trek in the altogether?  Do naked bike rides help #normalizecycling, or do they simply reinforce the view of the car-driving set that cycling is the province of hobbyists?  What does being naked on a bike in midtown do to advance the goals of getting more cycling infrastructure?  Is it better than a die in? (No.)  And lastly, what would your mother think, assuming she is normal, not incarcerated or otherwise institutionalized, and not some eccentric from a Wes Anderson film?  If you still feel strongly that you must ride, do go ahead.  But remember, images on the Internet last forever.  Your enthusiasm for World Naked Bike Ride Day may not.

The Tour de Fat is coming to Washington, D.C.'s Yards Park on May 31, 2014.  To be clear, this is not some fringe alternative to Naked Ride Ride Day that will feature obese people in the buff.  It's a real beer and bike festival.  The event will kick off late morning.  There will be a fashion segment (but, of course!), a slow ride race, a puppet show, and Belgian beer.  There will not be naked bike riding unless it happens randomly after too much brew.

Bike lanes:

Washington is adding rubber curbs to separate bike lanes from traffic on some streets, including K Street, NE.  The idea is that drivers won't park in the bike lanes if they would have to drive over a rubber parking bubble.  This may deter some people with low-seated cars, but I doubt some of the box car driving offenders will change their ways.  It seems a pretty cheap alternative to cement curbs, but if it works, jolly good.

At the same time, DDOT's map of cycle tracks in Washington is starting to take on the look of a real network, as opposed to some sort of lightening bolt.

In Chicago, voters have come out against Rahm Emmanuel.  The issue that has them in a wad?  Bike lanes.  Or maybe not.  Apparently voters - especially the driving sort - don't like change.  Even if it might make things better long term.  (I know you are chanting "soma, soma" from Brave New World, and imaging columns of SUV drivers in an addicted-to-cars trance, unable to adapt to independent thoughts or modes of transit.)  It would really be pathetic if Kazakhstan moved ahead of Chicago on sustainable planning because a bunch of people in the Windy City are bent out of shape over bike lanes.  Sunny Kazakhstan consulted Dutch experts on sustainable transit.  Now the Kazakhs are installing bike lanes. By contrast, the Chicago mayor is having to defend against his smart choice to put them in.  I fear for the republic when I read such things.  And I don't mean the Republic of Kazakhstan.  Chicago cyclists, fear not.  Move to Kazakhstan.  You won't miss the Chicago machine's corruption.  They have plenty of it in the 'stan too.

Bike Sharing:

After the near collapse of Bixi, a quiet debate arose about who should pay for bike share systems and whether they benefit all taxpayers, not just those who use bike shares.  Transit Miami's blog suggests there are global benefits to citizen taxpayers of subsidizing bike share programs.  The system in Miami operates free to taxpayers and the docks have brought an additional $258,000 in parking revenue.  Some local politicians have been putting the negative spin on bike share in Florida.  The math seems pretty straightforward, but politicians are rarely in that line of work because they were good at math.

My favorite bicycle writer/blogger/raconteur, Eben Weiss, BikeSnobNYC, published an editorial explaining why governments' underwriting of bike share systems makes perfect sense.  His reasons are pretty basic.  Bike systems cause traffic calming which itself has all sorts of public safety and quality of life benefits.  Other modes of transit are subsidized and bikes share subsidies are minuscule when they are compared to those of other transit systems.  And most obvious, bike share is a transit system and should be thought of that way.  Remarkably, his piece was in the New York Times, which seems to cater to Manhattan's Thurston Howell III, bike hater types.  The super wealthies who love to be photographed by cyclist/photographer Bill Cunningham, while they bemoan Citibike docks on the Park without even the faintest sense of irony.

Baltimore's bike share program has been delayed again.  I was already envisioning characters from John Waters movies, heading down to Fells Point atop Charm City bike share bikes.  What can I say but, "giant crab cake bummer."

And after a winter of our collective cycling discontent we should smile to hear that Fairbanks, Alaska is getting a bike share program.  It will not be called Tundra Share, or Moose Bike Coop, but no one asked me to suggest name.

And in London, home to a number of competitive people, they are having a race of the Boris Bikes.  This I would like to see.

Advocacy and Policy:

Many people who live somewhat close to commuter rail lines are reluctant to ride their bikes because bike theft at transit stations worldwide is extremely high.  Boston has decided to meet this threat by putting out a cardboard police officer at MBTA stations, and it appears to be working.  This says something about the IQ (and probably the sobriety) of many bike thieves.  In Washington, D.C., the Metro Transit Police appear to be doing an insufficient job of responding to bike theft around the stations.  The argument has been that some of the areas where bikes park fall outside their jurisdiction, and they don't have the staff to cover all three jurisdictions, hundreds of bus stops, and dozens of rail stations.  I am skeptical.  You can have cardboard officers.  Thousands of them.  They don't eat donuts, demand overtime, or retire under a dubious disability claim only to resurface winning a rodeo on TV.  And they won't hit on your 16 year old daughter.

In Great Britain, Tour de France cyclist Chris Boardman is on the road again, this time to promote the transfer of public monies currently dedicated for other purposes to bike infrastructure.  Boardman wants to see cycling expanded in areas outside major cities, like London, Sheffield, and Manchester.  Unlike some of America's former Tour de France competitors, Boardman's legitimacy as an athlete remains intact.  This has helped his reputation as an honest broker on matters of sustainability and has made it easier for him to do good.  And he's not the only one.  Liam Phillips has made a good show of it too.  It would be great to see some of America's former Tour stars wading into the debate.  (Not ones with perjury convictions.)

In Sweden, if you promise to stop driving a car, the government will give you a bicycle.  We could try that here, but only if there were serious economic penalties for broken promises.  For example, we could tell people that if they gave up their Hummers forever, they could get a top of the line Trek.  If they slip back into the Hummer as a daily routine, we could fine them, say, a million dollars.  Reasonable?  I think so.  #normalizecycling

Gas stations are disappearing but it is not because of the increase in cycling.  At least not yet.  Right now, it is because real estate in cities is expensive and big gas companies are consolidating their pumps into large mega-stations.  Will this help deter driving?  That remains to be seen.

Journalists were treated to electric bike test rides at a resort in Hamburg, New Jersey.  Over 150,000 e-bikes have been purchased in the U.S. in 2013, and projections are that over 250,000 will be purchased in 2014.  Let's hope these journalists were impressed enough to write about the ease and practicality of e-bikes and not just glad to have a junket on a meager writer's salary.


The Bike League has published its report on cycling deaths.  Some 40% occur when a vehicle rear-ends a cyclist.  The greatest number of accidents take place on major arterial roads in urban or semi-urban areas, where car traffic is fast, and the road was designed to allow rapid flow of cars.  Most of the cyclists killed were wearing helmets.  Also this week, @helmetfreedom tweeted an image of different cycling scenarios and the same competitive cyclist, suggesting that helmets are needed in some situations but not in others.

In the U.K., a national conversation is beginning about whether cycling should be taught as part of the school curriculum.  Since football hooliganism is currently taught, perhaps cycling would make a nice counter-balance.

In New York City, the police department is cutting down on so-called scofflaws that ride on the sidewalks.  Yet one of the observed scofflaws explained he was only on the sidewalk because the road was too dangerous.  Ah, and so even the rags are unwittingly advocating for more dedicated bike lanes.

The best advice for urban cyclists may come from Bicycle Magazine, which has published an article on how to deal with angry, unsafe drivers.  Everyone needs a playbook when it comes to responding to the monsters some people become when they are behind the wheel.


A small but practical hook for bike storage in small spaces.  The Clug Bike Mount makes the Cycloc look clunky, it's so spare and lovely.

My all-time favorite fashion site has won me over again.  Polyvore has a date night outfit suggestion that includes a little leopard dress, a quilted purse, Jimmy Choo booties, and an electric bike.  And a Memorial Day weekend look that includes a Pashley Britania bike, weathered jeans, and oxford-style sunglasses.  Who needs a stylist when you have Polyvore?  #bikedatenight

Which gets to my complaint about the article in Bicyling magazine about women and bike fitting.  John Brown of Philadelphia's High Road cycles advises women to "leave the stilettos at home," when they come in for a fitting.  Instead, he says women should arrive at the bike shop for a fitting wearing what they would normally wear cycling.  Here's my gripe.  What if stilettos are what you normally wear?  What if Jimmy Choo booties and your Workcycle normally hang out together?  #normalizecycling  #wearwhatyouwanttoride
It you live in Washington, D.C., check out The Bike Rack for a proper fitting, and don't leave the stilettos at home.

Want an e-bike but don't want to drop thousands?  CNET reports that you can actually build your own at substantially less cost.  In Holland, 28% of the bikes sold are now e-bikes.

Or you can do what you did in college: Go to Ikea.  Yup the Ikea e-bike is ready for purchase, and possibly assembly, in Austria.  Don't forget to make sure you have all the little hex wrenches and dowels you need before you leave the store.  And remember, it will look very smart with your little leopard dress and booties.

Do you simply want to take care of the stuff you already have?  Try a bike maintenance clinic, like the one offers by The Bike Rack, Saturday June 7, 2014, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and Bicycle Space DC June 3, 2014 at 7:15.  Or a fix a flat class at Bicycle Space DC on June 5, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.

Random Notes:

While gas stations in Manhattan are going away, emission-free bike deliveries of fresh food, DVDs, and OTC pharmaceuticals are increasing thanks to MaxDelivery.

In Philadelphia, you can now get your laundry picked up and delivered by a service that uses bicycles.  And if you need a summer job, the company is hiring.

So, if I see you in the bike lane, and you are not drunk and naked, but you are smartly turned out, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Save the Parking Spots!

Advocacy and Policy

Just a little over 16,000 people registered for Bike to Work Day, which is not exactly an army.  Torrential rains in the morning made it Float to Work Day.  An hour after the morning commute, the sun burst through.  We were left with Bike Home If You Can Find a Bike Share Bike Without Getting Into a Fist Fight Day.  I was one of the few, the proud, the registered.  I also ended up with the last bike in the Capital Bikeshare dock that night.  It was missing a pedal and had a broken seat.  The fork was iffy at best, but I managed to get to the preschool before a full meltdown erupted.  In my mind, Friday, May 23, 2014 is Bike to Work Day.  Please join me in a do-over.

Last week Bicycling Magazine offered advice to new riders on how to deal with bad drivers.  This was a public service.  I have a few tips of my own.  First recognize nobody teaches drivers how to react to bikes.  Second, always presume drivers are angry and don't engage them if they antagonize you.  Third, wear a helmetcam and document any nonsense.  It can help you later as one cyclist found out after he was attacked by an irrationally raging driver in Washington, DC.

Ambush: A Washington Post blog this week noted that biking is increasing, but not fast enough to really change our national carbon footprint.  From the headline I thought this would be a story about the love of cycling we feel in childhood, and how we lose that through the depersonalizing experience of driving.  Instead I got a double whammy - a helmet lecture in print, and a statement about how so few people commute by bike that they are a statistical insignificance.  Ouch.  I immediately imagined a dystopia, an anti-bike society where no one does anything anymore except sit miserably in traffic.  Filmmaker?  Writer?  Make the movie.  Scare people into changing the way they live and drive.  If political ads are any indication, Americans respond to fear.  At least in this situation you have the facts in your favor.

 GGW posted that the Environmental Protection Agency is closing the bike storage/shower room in one of its buildings.  How could an agency devoted to the environment reconcile its mission with such actions?  As it turns out, the building has to be renovated, or something along those lines, so the EPA is not able to keep the room.  And it is not the main EPA building, but an off-site.  You can therefore relax.  This was not a dark omen of terrible anti-bike actions to come.

Here is a short Tweet about Belfasts's yet-to-be-fully-used bicycle parking garage.  Perhaps they could ship it to the EPA for use.

The European Cycling Federation Manifesto published last week lists 10 areas for action by European institutions.  Martin Luther did not nail them up to the wall like the Ninety-Five Theses, but they are worthy of signaling the Motorized Transit Reformation.  They include devoting EU funds for cycle projects, supporting a network of long-distance bike routes, creating safer motorized transit, and treating cycling equally with other modes of transit.  I see a parallel.  We have strayed from our mission as Americans.  We have been corrupted into driving and depending on cars against our national interests, our personal finances and health, and the environment.  Now, cars and the corruption they represent are like the selling of Indulgences by the Church.  Hence the ECF manifesto.  Over the top analysis?  I think not.\

More cyclists are calling AAA.  Yes, that AAA, the one I sometimes lambaste for the bike-hostile statements of its director.  Some regional AAA clubs are now providing bike help as a service, including fixing bikes and giving rides to cyclists.  If I can confirm that are doing it in Washington, it might be worth it.  Is this a positive omen?  Is AAA just responding to trends to keep itself alive?

Fast company published a number of photos showing it is possible to carry almost anything on a bike - and I mean almost anything.  As a city-dweller, I am reminded that I can get that 12-pack of toilet paper on the bike.  What woman could resist a man barely visible beneath his cargo of roses?


Arlington is building its first cycle track along Eads Street.  Isn't that near the sewage treatment plant?  The one you can smell from Potomac Yards?  An interesting choice of locations for a bike lane.  Conspiracy theorists, get to work.

Actual sewage, and not just its smell, closed the Capital Crescent Trail again last Sunday.  Oh sh_t!

In Phoenix, the oft repeated concern about the loss of parking spaces is holding up the installation of more bike lanes.  Next the reason will be interference with tumble weeds or Tex-Mex.  Eventually the lanes will go into this arid city.  I am reminded that we have to suffer the same debate in every municipality across the country before local governments accept the reality.  Perhaps I should invent a wind-up doll with a grimace that repeatedly cries "What about the parking?" People could buy it and place it on plastic folding chairs at city council meetings all over the country.  Then the parking preservationists could go have pizza somewhere instead of attending in person to complain about the loss of that national treasure, the parking space.  Yawn.

Bike Share

This piece highlights how some bike sharing programs provide helmets and others don't.  The writer falls squarely on the helmet-wearing side of the debate.  A blog on Vox counters that forcing people to wear bike helmets does not make sense.  I doubt any serious thinker would think helmets should be worn everywhere or nowhere.  Cycling along a busy street without bike lanes might suggest helmet wearing.  Cycling in dedicated cycle tracks may not.



A new electric bike also folds down so you can carry it on the subway.  This could help a lot of people who have to use multiple transit modes.

Another e-bike on the market is being billed as "low effort" to appeal to those who might use their bikes for work, like delivery men or elves.

This one is making the rounds again.  A green light that projects an image of a bike onto the pavement in front of a cyclist.  The image is like that of the little man on the pedestrian walk light.  Just larger, green, and featuring a bike.  I remain skeptical that anyone will benefit from this.  And its just weird enough that it could cause drivers to become distracted.


Norwegians have made a road safety video that likens an aggressive driver to a nut who cuts the line in the grocery store and then blows a bullhorn.  Let's face it, North Sea oil and whaling drive Norway's economy, but I am happy to take their pro cycling propaganda.  At least they can bike along the fjords while they enjoy a fossil-fuel derived high standard of living.

Over Twitter, the CHP boasts about its bike officers who are trained, ready to go, and role models.  I am trying to picture a Surly along the I-5 right now.  That just screams role model.

How to fix a bike puncture, quick and dirty?  My favorite Scot, @cyclingsurgeon, posted this Guardian story about the basics.

Random weird things

ABC News reports that a Spanish cyclist thought he had won a cycling race in Pasadena.  Overjoyed, he began his victory lap unaware he had not actually finished.  Oops.  He did eventually finish, in 57th place.  And he looked so happy, even weepy before someone translated, "Dude, you really screwed that up," for him.

In memoriam

A final good-bye for Billie Flemming, who passed away shortly after her 100th birthday was celebrated in Great Britain.  Flemming rode across England to raise awareness about cycling between the First and Second World Wars - without a helmet or injury.

So if I see you in the bike lanes, and you are not sewage, let's be smug.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bike To Work, Errands, and Everywhere Else Week


Bike to Work


Plan B

Friday is Bike to Work Day, and, coincidentally, a day on which the Washington, D.C. region is expecting to receive an incredibly large amount of rain.  A biblical deluge amount.  So much rain that you may want to invest in an arc and assemble your post-flood species.  If you cannot ride that day, I have worked out a deal with the karma cops.  You will be given a flood waiver if you agree to bike every single other day of the year that you can.

Sticking with Plan A

Want some tips on how to plan your commute?  Plan ahead, ride slow, and bring a u-lock.  There.  You are ready.

Are you hesitating to ride because of vanity?  Cycling burns 540 calories an hour.  That should feed your vanity quite nicely.

If you are going to use the bike lanes, you might want to learn the rules and etiquette.  It's less "the salad fork is on the outside," and more, "don't bump other cyclists or throw a rock at the box truck in the lane."

And you should not worry about where to dock your bike share bike on the big day.  Friday, Capital Bikeshare will have a temporary docking coral at the Reagan Building at Pennsylvania and D Streets NW.  It will hold so many bikes that it will look like a train station outside Amsterdam at 9:15 a.m. on a Tuesday.

You can stop at all the WABA pit stops on game day and meet some really cool volunteers and fellow cyclists.  You can even graze the pit stop snacks or coffee, like those chiselers that eat the Costco food samples in lieu of actually paying for lunch.  Or you can stop at every one of the 79 pit stops around the region.   Like those people in the gym who stand around talking instead of lifting weights, you'll probably have fun but you won't get quite as much exercise.  DCist reports a map of pitstops.

Other fun events

A tour billed as "Bicycle inspiration, vegan food, and pop up bookstore traveling the Eastern Seaboard in June 2014," is planned by cycle blogging goddess Elly Blue, with Joshua Ploeg and Joe Biel.  The three have published their tentative calendar of stops along the way.  I will lobby the group to make a stop near the Capitol dome since it would be a fitting metaphor.  (Though I confess to not being vegan since the ancient Frenchwomen in me would not allow it.)

Policy and Advocacy

This is not a debate about guns, but about public health.  Over 12,000 people died in gun violence in America in 2013.  In 2012, 34,080 people died in traffic accidents, and 33,561 in 2013.  In 2012, just over 700 cyclists died, mostly in accidents with cars, and in 2013, it was 677.  Sadly, 150 people died from injuries sustained when a coconut dropped on their heads.  If they had worn helmets, the numbers would have been lower.  Public health would favor the guy on two wheels who is not pausing under a coconut tree without a helmet.

Bike commuting in DC has more than doubled in the last decade, or it has increased 60%, depending upon how you like your statistics cooked.  Or you could say cycling is the fasted growing form of commuting around.  Cycling numbers in DC could be larger than these census numbers report.  Let's keep the momentum.

While more Americans are biking to work, their numbers are still small compared to drivers according the census. And it is hard to bike on the east coast because of a lack of infrastructure.  This is indeed the fly in the sustainable soup.  But planners can make it better by creating changes in space usage that encourage non motorized transit.  Right now, for each car there are three parking spaces planned in western cities.  Removal of parking minimums could spark changes.

Meanwhile, the European Union appears to be moving toward some kind of European Master plan for bike safety.  If they can agree to a shared currency, a court, a single official ID, and a human rights commission, surely they can set some standards for cycling safety in the interest of kicking the oil habit.  On the other hand, they do like their coffee breaks and reasonably short work days.  Hopefully they can use their time sipping cafe au lait to set biking standards as a model for later U.S. policy.


While the style police of your city (and certainly of mine) may not like the idea, parking stoppers can be used to make cheap potted bike lanes.  I get it.  It's like using a string to hold up your pants.  But it is an option.

Did you know that Charleston, South Carolina is adding bike lanes, fighting about bike lanes, and otherwise creeping forward from the whole Confederate stronghold thing?  Nice.

In Washington, more and more people like to bike, but distracted drivers remain a problem.  What would help?  This article does not answer that question, perhaps because it is overly existential.  One option would be sever punishment for drivers who drive distracted.  I'm not suggesting a lethal injection, but a hefty fine might make the point.


Arlington's Intersection of Doom continues to be the situs of car on bike accidents.  Bikes have to use a crosswalk to get across the street and cars are unaccustomed to seeing faster moving bikes in that crosswalk.  Last week I linked to an article on how intersections could be designed to increase cycling safety.  This intersection at Lee Highway and Lynn Street in Rosslyn seems a good candidate for experimenting with this plan.  It also seems like a huge sign instructing cars to look for cyclists in the crosswalk might help.  In the meantime, if you are a cyclist, know the rules, know your rights, and document everything.

As you may have suspected, self-driving cars are safer for cyclists than those manned by texting, eating, or sleeping drivers.

WTOP reports that a man was found stabbed to death on the Metropolitan Branch Trail this week.  This is the same trail where a father of three was savaged by a gang of 'tweens roaming Lord of the Flies-like two years ago.  It's never a mistake to ride in pairs on a trail that is not well-patrolled by MPD, but remember that even patrols are intermittent.

Should cyclists be allowed to roll through stop signs? Maybe, but the newbies who ride the lanes in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington should not.  Often the new riders don't realize that cars are given a green light to turn left.  I am against blowing lights there not just for safety's sake, but because cyclists on Penn are on display.  They are showing drivers what cyclists are like.  At 14th Street and Penn, cars will turn left from behind a light-running cyclist.  The results could be terrible and have been.  Otherwise, this Vox piece argues, cyclists should be given some latitude to blow lights and signs.  In many places that makes sense.

In Edinburgh, Scotland, truck drivers took a class on how to deal safely with cyclists.  As part of the exercise, the drivers had to get on bikes.  I would love to see the Teamsters' Union get behind this (ironic subtext) but doubt it will happen in 2014.


There have been more incidences of cyclists assaulting drivers in the U.K., this time for loud horns.  I am against this.  If you were to hit every idiot you met, you would do nothing but hit people many days.  If I may refer to an Elmo video I saw on Youtube, belly breath.  Don't hit.

And the ever-irascible Alec Baldwin is at it again.  He was cuffed after berating an NYPD cop who ticketed him for going the wrong way on the street on a bicycle.  It's hard to understand the emotional complexities of a man who blows his cool so easily, yet has one of the most refined and nuanced appreciations of classical music in modern times plus a talent for character acting that is delicious.  To be clear, don't do this.  It will not advance the cause.

Random Notes

Bike fix-it stands are appearing in Arlington, GGW's Dan Malouff reports.  This is a terrific development.  When they take the place of gas stations, as occurred in the Netherlands, I will throw the party.  In the meantime, it would be nice to be able to get a tube patched at the Metro.

Think it's all hipsters and hobbyists riding bikes?  Low income Americans bike and walk the most.

If you are a woman at risk of osteoporosis, you may want to add a weekly weight lifting work-out to your routine.  While cycling will help your heart and lungs, weight-bearing exercise will help stave off bone density loss according to a recent study.

How to prevent your bike seat from being stolen?  There's nothing worse than coming back to your bike to find your seat missing.  Okay maybe pestilence and famine are worse, but I thing you get the point.  This article talks about how to lock your seat.

Greatergreaterwashington reports that a pickup truck driver hit a cyclist, then threw the bicycle in the back of his truck.  Later the police ticketed the cyclists (what?) but the cyclist was wearing a helmet cam.  Bam!

Thanks to Chuck Harney, the owner of Washington bike shop The Bike Rack who helped +Ben Folsom and some other nice people with a bike maintenance clinic at their office.  His mechanics also assembled my Pashley Princess when it arrived from the U.K.  And he offers clinics every nearly every week to cyclists for free.  A great member of our community.  May he live long and prosper.

If I see you in the bike lanes, and I will see you in the bike lanes, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Amazon by Bike, App Alerts About Dwindling Bikes in the Docks, and a Birthday to Celebrate

Amazon Fresh is trying out a concept program for same day deliveries in three cities. The deliveries will be by van mostly, but also by bike.

Afghan female cyclists breaking traditions and making the rest of feel like lazy cowards.  They are riding around the crag, suffering physical assaults and askance looks.  I am just trying not to get doored.  Big contrast.  #yougogirls

Bike Share

Do you hate arriving at the bike share dock to find no bikes left?  Well now there's an app that can send you alerts when your local dock is about to be picked clean but those annoying early bird riders.  Consider getting Spotcycle to help you locate the nearest available bike so you don't get into one of those key-fob-removal races that can end in an ugly, hipster hair flip, and an angry "whatever."

Alaska Airlines will be sponsoring the new bike share system in Seattle. And Blue Cross will be throwing cash at Chicago's Divvy.  Good call since healthy riders probably cost healthcare insurance providers a lot less money.  #actuariesarebehindthis


The contraflow bike lanes have opened on Polk Street in San Francisco and they are beautiful, and a nice metaphor for a city that has always gone a different way.


The Arizona desert town of Tuscon is installing more protected bike lanes and is considering expanding the program.  Wow, holy boiling asphalt that's cool.


The Fifth Annual Bike to D.C. Public Libraries is Saturday May 17, 2014.  Books and bikes are two of my favorite things in the world.  If I bring my son along on the cargo and my husband on his commuter, and we go from library to espresso, I will be irritatingly happy.  And you should be too.  Before there was bike share, there were libraries, the original sharing model.  Or was that the village well?  But you take my point.  Show up.

Do you wonder how the ABCs of family biking went last week?  Very well indeed.

Bike to Work Day is Friday May 16, 2014.  Use it as an excuse to invite a friend or frenemy to ride in with you.  Unless we are having a biblical deluge that day, I believe that every able-bodied person should ride to work.  I would love to be stuck in bike traffic in the bike lane.

Twin Cities Bike/Walk Week, May 4-11, 2014.  Celebrate the final end of a punishing winter that challenged the resolve of even the hardiest midwestern cyclists.

Pasadena's Bike, Ride and Roll is an open streets bike ride on Saturday, May 17, 2014.  The ride will be centered around the Pasadena Convention Center.  Don't worry, the Star Trek Conventioneers will not be around so you won't have to dodge klingons.

In Seattle, the author of The Culinary Cyclist,  will sign and chat on Saturday May 10, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. at Tim Umbrella Coffee at 5600 Ranier Avenue South.  Author Anna Brones will be selling her book on the subject of food and bicycles.  Brones uses only a backpack to transport her groceries on her bike.  She then whips those groceries into vegetarian delights.  #overachiever

Santa Monica bike festival is June 14, 2014, in Clover Park.  Isn't every day a bike festival in Santa Monica?


Check out the newly painted green bike lanes on First Street, NE.  I love it when paint is added to assist intellectually impaired drivers.  I well up.  Really.  #idiotproofbikelane  But in case the slow-witted remain confused about bike lanes, DDOT is upping enforcement.  We can all assemble near the place where cars will be ticketed and watch with delight.  Clapping will be encouraged.  #easyidentificationofpeoplewhoshouldnotbeinthegenepool

Want to see more money spent on cycling infrastructure, especially lanes?  What does it it really cost to create new bike lanes, and what is that worth in terms of savings to road repairs, healthcare costs, and over-burdened transit systems?  Only one tenth of one percent of transportation spending goes to cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.  We think.  And determining how much is actually spent on cycling infrastructure is almost impossible to decipher.  The spending is often bundled into other programs so that the amount dedicated to cycling alone cannot be calculated.  This is great reading for transit nerds, and a great sleeping pill for others.


By now we probably all recognize the safety that comes with dedicated bike lanes, but what about protected intersections?  Check out this nice little video that explains the concept with clear graphics.

So the Automobile Association of America is talking about bike safety, and noting that 8 cyclists were killed in the Washington, D.C. area in 2013, two of them in the city of D.C. when they were struck.  By contrast, over 33,000 people died in car accidents across the nation last year.  Even crunching the numbers to apply just to local deaths, it seems clear that cycling is not as dangerous as driving on the Beltway.  AAA does not mention this fact.  It will be nice when they join the movement in earnest, instead of subtextual counter-messaging.

In Australia, the Roads Minister (yes, they have one of these, which might cause you to consider Monty Python's Ministry of Funny Walks), wants to consider licensing cyclists and banning them from busy roads.  I am confident he is a bore a parties.

Fort Lauderdale Police posted a video from the League of American Bicyclists on Twitter (@FLPD411) in anticipation of Bike to Work Week.  Nice.  I recently spoke to a police officer to ask about enforcement in the bike lanes.  He replied that it was hard to ticket cyclists because they are not obligated to carry ID.  He was unclear on the concept.  Fort Lauderdale Police seem to be a little more aware.

A U.K. law just increased the maximum prison term for drivers who kill cyclists to ten years (and infinity in the Third Circle of Hell, and re-incarnation as an oozing mollusk, maybe).

To wear a helmet, or to not wear a helmet?  That is the question.  At least one student at Yale has looked at the statistics.  It seems that the people who should really wear helmets are motorists.  They are at serious risk of injury.


Want a decent bike for under $500?  Momentum Magazine has some suggestions.  No turquoise Huffys in the bunch.  Not that there's anything wrong with turquoise Huffys.  I myself rode one around Los Angeles for years without bike-status-shame.

These thingies can turn sign posts into bike racks.  Until we get more bicycle parking, I often have to use sign posts, which are usually leaning over like they are about to fall.  Would hitching even more weight to a lurching sign post be wise?

Would you purchase a bike that could fold down to about the size of an umbrella?  I would not since I need to carry stuff, but if I did not, and I lived in a super tiny apartment, I would have this bike.

Need a tall bike to get through the biblical deluge on Bike to Work Day?  Or just to video bomb a weather gal doing a live shot from the disaster?  #weirdcyclists #willdoanythingforattention


Wired Magazine has a short interactive piece in its digital version on the Icon E-Flyer, and electric bike that is either a funny looking, or cool looking, if you favor a sort of Mad Max post-apocalyptic image thing.


Like a lot of people, I had to break down and buy a cargo to make my grocery and kinetic toddler haul. Wonder which one might be for you?

Random Bike News

Billie Flemming (nee Dovey) rode across the U.K. in 1938 to promote cycling.  Between two World Wars, in a time when women in England did not enjoy the full rights of citizenship, in the relative calm before The Blitz, this forward-thinking icon made the case for cycling.  Happy 100th birthday.  You are amazing.

Bike friendly state rankings show Washington and Minnesota ranked first and second.  #alittleskeptical

An 11 year old in Vermont biked all year round to raise money so he could send bikes to kids in rural Africa.  Griffin Donavan Schneider may only be in the fifth grade, but I hope some admissions officer at an Ivy League School finds a great scholarship for him.  #scholarshipforgriffinschneider

Only 40 years ago, NYC held its first major open ride around the city.  Participants were told they could  bring a kazoo or guitar.  It was a different era, clearly.  I saw a guy on a 10-speed tonight with a corncob pipe.  He was hauling about 10 bags.  He appeared to be about the vintage of a participant in the 1972 ride.  It made me smile.  And give him a wide berth.  He might also have been in very loose command of his mental health.  You can never be sure with bike eccentrics.

So, if I see you in the bike lane, even if you are causing a bike traffic jam, as long as you are not a motorized vehicle parked there, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

R.I.P. Jim Oberstar.  Thanks for thinking of cyclists when no one else had the vision.