Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Nudity, Violence, Money, and Fashion in Bicycling News This Week.


BikeFest, WABA's fund raiser is June 13, at 8 pm at the Eastern Market's north hall.  There will be beer, Mexican food, cyclists and a band.  Your money will go for a good cause, and the market is sandwiched between two large bike share docks: one at the Eastern Market Metro stop, and one behind the actual Easter Market in front of the Aquatic Center on North Carolina Avenue.  If you cannot go, you should at least buy a ticket to help this important organization do its great work.  Or you can try to live with yourself.  Whatever.

It's the launch of the Rebecca Minkoff Bike Share bag on June 19, at 6 pm at Bloomingdale's in Chevy Chase.  A Minkoff bag and a bike.  If you need something more, you are truly a high maintenance woman.

And Portland had it's Naked Bike Ride Day.  Hopefully the denuded had fun, but I remain skeptical that the naked events will bring more cycling infrastructure, by drawing in older riders and women.  Yup, hmmm.  And that cigarette.  Yeesh.  #dealbreaker

Bike Share:

A bike mechanic once told me that Capital Bike Share was bringing him more customers because it was fueling people's interest in bikes.  Several articles report that my mechanic friend was right, bike share is directing more business to bike shops.  But at least one writer at Bloomberg says that bike share is taking business away from bike shops.  Somebody is wrong here.

Citibikes had zero deaths in its first year of operation, despite Dorothy Rabinowitz's claim that the NYC program was a sign that the Armageddon is upon us.  I await the public and grandiose apology from Ms. Rabinowitz, which I hope is followed by the kind of breakdown and blubbering normally associated with a Barbara Walters interview.

Writer Scott Stringer has proposed a multi-step process for keeping Citibike financially afloat.  Given Citibike's money troubles, any reasonable plan is worth considering.

Philadelphia's bike lanes are about to expand.  This will surely make the city more brotherly loverly.


+Jenny Oh Hatfield, now working for KQED, my second favorite public radio station, has authored a piece on how to prevent your bike from being stolen and how to react if it is.  Among the tips she gives: use the stolen bike registry in California.  The story includes a video to help you plan your bike theft defense.   And Jenny wrote another piece about how open-air bicycle chop-shops flourish in San Francisco, where too few people report the serial number of their stolen bikes.  Go Jenny.  Bring the whole bike discussion into the regular narrative, make it part of the lingua franca.  #normalizecycling


Improvements are coming to New Hampshire Avenue, NW, between M Street and Washington Circle, according to Channel 9 News.  The biggest of these planned improvements is bike lanes along this much jack-hammered, traffic-clogged area affectionately known as "The Herpes Triangle."

When residents in cities were polled, 43% said that bike lanes improved the desirability of their neighborhood.  Desirable areas mean less crime, and increase in property values, and in cities, more small businesses.  The study did not include data on residents' reactions to gridlocked traffic on their blocks, idling vehicles, and a lack of driver patronage of businesses.  But I think any sensible person can fill in the blanks. and cleantechnica report that people view bike lanes as safe, and that bike lanes drastically increase ridership.  And the younger you are, the more valuable bike lanes seem to you.  Rather than getting that costly facelift or flashy red sports car, try to look younger by using the bike lanes.
But PeopleforBikes reports that there are things even bike lanes cannot do: boost ridership if they lack a citywide network, completely separate cars and bikes, or be added without a little opposition.

Unless you have barriers, bike lanes will be used by motorists, as these photos show.  On Pennsylvania Avenue, just blocks from the White House, taxis and cars routinely make illegal u-turns across the bike lanes because they can.  We have speed cameras and we could have u-turn cameras, but barriers would help idiot/entitled-driver proof the lanes.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel's vision of a sustainable Chicago with bike lanes interconnecting the city is still progressing, but some in Chicago are raising questions about the choice of locations of the lanes.  Were these people concerned when the city government had a widespread culture of corruption over five decades?  When organized crime hijacked the city?  Or are they only worried about the template of the bike lanes?  Just checking.

Policy and Advocacy:

Some of the largest public companies are working on sustainability.  If you spend your money ethically, you might want to read this.

Bike trains in the UK will give people priority over bikes.  If the train is full and more people need to board, the bikes will have to offload.  Kind of like how the kitchen staff are sometimes removed from life rafts right before the ship goes down after the officers who were the cause of the shipwreck decide to pull rank.

There is a manifesto on how to get kids in UK to ride more bikes and why cycling matters.  The basics are there - better health, more sustainable form of transit, and kids need to learn when they are young.  I  prefer this manifesto to that of Karl Marx or Ted Kazynski.

London's major transit plan emphasizes the need to encourage more cycling to ease that city's major transit problems and air pollution reminiscent of the time of the collieries.

A bike city was built in Vienna, Austria.  The developer obtained a waiver of the legal requirement that each apartment built must also have a corresponding parking space.  The project worked so well that they are building more.   #parkingminimums are so 1990s.

Scott Beyers, a writer with a history - pause, consider - argues that cars not transit will save the economy.  Beteys appears to be trying to debunk Elly Blue's thesis that bikes can help the economy.  Blue's book, Bikonomics, was an awesome analysis of bicycling's role in changing America's economy.  Beyer argues we should subsidize cars.  Beyers relies on a single-city's model -Charlotte, North Carolina - for his conclusions.  Anyone with a single year of higher educate will not find much to worry about here.

Japan's automotive sector is still in need of a boost.  So the Japanese government is trying to encourage car buying by enacting sanctions against the tiny, fuel-efficient cars that Japanese people love.  This sounds a lot like American motor companies pushing trucks and SUVs because they generate more profits.  Tokyo has no room for the tiny cars is already has.  Does this make anyone think of those old Godzilla movies, where something too big and destructive crushes a city?

Random notes:

Did you know your Strava data is being used by cities to build better bike lanes?  Check your terms of service, paranoids.  Perhaps now you can ride to have an impact of bike lane locations.

Cyclists are happier than people using other forms of mass transit, including drivers and train riders, says an article on WebMD.  Shocker.  Have you seen people driving in heavy traffic?  They bear their teeth at one another like small rodents.  On the bus, there is an unwritten rule that anyone making eye-contact with another passenger with be sniffed at with disgust.

Want to hire smart young things to work for your company?  Move your headquarters into a city and make your work space bike and walking accessible.  If you build it (or lease it) they will come.  With their iPads, 1890s beards, and love of live-streaming things.

News that France is paying people to bike to work has surfaced again this week.  Why not?  They already subsidize cheese and fois grais.

Timeout London has published a cycling about London issue.  Wow.  The go-to guide for tourists and revelers is now sustainable.


There have only been 95 accidents on bike share out of 7 millions trips in DC.  Beat them odds.

Bike helmets are really only effective if the accident occurs in slow moving traffic.  They apparently do little to prevent the damage caused when the brain crashes into the skull.

Bike magazine is being sold by holding company Sonoma.  Hopefully it will not be sinkholed or converted to a version of Car and Driver.

You can now have your fluff and fold laundry delivered by bicycle in Philadelphia.

You know how cats have whiskers so they can sense whether they can get through a narrow space?  You can add these whiskers to your bike to create a sort of bike lane for yourself if you have a high threshold of embarrassment.

Bike Fashion and Style:

Elle Magazine blogs has a nice piece about a cycle-riding-blogging stylist whom I immediately loved for her excellent choice of a Yakay leopard-print helmet.  (Thanks +Richard Albores )

Stylish New Yorkers pose with their bikes in this book.  These bike posers include David Byrne, and fun bike blogger and style-guide George Hahn.

Speaking of chic, the European Cycling Federation is meeting for Green Week in Leipzig, where the center city is entirely car free.

Cyclechic, a blog and website from Copenhagen that boasts it is both "lycra and granola free" (hey, isn't granola just oatmeal with a lot of sugary stuff added?), reached seven years online this week.  Cyclechic posts photos of cycling culture in Copenhagen.  It is better than meditation for producing a smile and sense of well-being.


What in the blazes is happening in Great Britain?  An Audi driver punching a cyclist is caught on tape in England.  In this attack an elderly man joins in crashing a cycle down on the head of the toppled cyclist repeatedly.  Separately, a Suffolk Policeman has been charged with assaulting a cyclist and now must appear in court.  And it is possible he actually tried to run the cyclist over while he was off duty.  And more.  A car tried to run over a cyclist in Kingston, missed and crashed into a hair salon.  Then a van crashed into a cycle in Surrey and the whole thing is on video.  What is causing the English to behave so badly?  Stiff upper lip gone wiggly?  "Keep calm and carry on" giving way to hysteria?   The Queen needs to address this problem soon in one of her riveting speeches where she does not read from notes or wear heavy face powder.  #justkiddingdon'tsayoffwithmyhead

Longing for a gentler time?  You can read a guide from Pearson's 1901 on how to ride safely.  One tip shows women how to aim directly at a man in their path, then swerve at the last minute.  Wow, that won't antagonize someone who is trying to lunge at you on a bike.


Pedego is an e-bike company that is getting a lot of attention from Hollywood.  The founder calls himself a former eco-terrorist-turned-eco-entreprenuer.  He managed to sell William Shatner a bike, which I cannot be sure was a good marketing strategy for very obvious reasons.


She rode her bike around as a 14 year old teenager delivering notes between the French and Polish Resistance during World War II.  Her bike was shabby.  She was scouring the Northern France countryside for food for her family.  The Nazis ignored here.  Nice job!

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

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