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.

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