Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bicycle Transportation Revolution Underway

Nudnik of the week:

My father warned me that there are always more slow-witted people than smart people, and that you have to avoid the slow ones when you can.  I have tried to forgive those to whom less was given in the brains department, but Jackie Burke, a Los Angeles driver who wants to run cyclists off the road was a new nadir.  It would be impossible to avoid engaging with her since she has dehumanized cyclists to such an extent that it defies reason.  Unlike the lovable loser Nudnik, Jackie is just anti-social.  Below is a partial transcript of her statements to NPR on Morning Edition this week.  The story was about columns of cyclists who ride together for safety.

JACKIE BURKE: It's like they enjoy taking up the lanes.
SCHMIDT: Jackie Burke has lived in LA her whole life, and bicyclists slowing her down drive her crazy.
BURKE: It's very frustrating to the point where I want to just run them off the road. And I've actually kind of done one of those drive-really-close-to-them kind of things just to scare them to try to intimidate them to kind of get out of my way.

Ever wonder who lived in your old house a hundred years ago and what happened between the walls?  Ever wonder what path a Citibike took in a given day?  The Guardian UK decided to try to find out and plotted it on a map.


Want to see a progressive graphic of 32 years of bike lane growth in Washington?  Here is it thanks to GGW.

In Ireland, planners are asking themselves why the Dutch got bike lanes so right, and the Irish got it so wrong.  There's nothing wrong with learning from your mistakes or taking tips from experts.

The development of new Central Parkway bike lanes in Cincinnati was given the Fox News spin this week.  The headline emphasized the inevitable fact that the construction would cause a loss of parking, like it was a loss of fortune, or a loss of health, or a massive, inexplicable loss of hair.   Hmmmm.  by contrast, the city itself published terrific graphics of the rules to educate motorists.  Good planning.


As Metro's Silver Line opens it is sure to become a great choice for multi-model commuters who want to bike at least part of the way to work.  Best of all, they have a cool new bike storage room which will likely be filled to capacity by the end of the fall.  This great facility was previewed by Fairfax County this week.  Maybe the western suburbs can go sustainable too.  And you thought it was strip malls and big box stores out there!  (Well, it still kind of is, but as Dylan said, "The times, they are a'changin'."  Even in Reston.)

Meanwhile, for the die-hard sartorialist, urbanist, and small house lover, it turns out that we don't ride Metro much at all.  Instead we bike, notes GGW this week.  By contrast, bike share in Minneapolis has raised the use and appeal of mass transit there.  (Let's face it, in a polar vortex, even we sometimes need a transit system.

Policy and Advocacy:

In the U.K., the number of car trips and distances traveled by car have fallen to the lowest in 20 years?  Could this be a sign of what will follow in the U.S.?  Or is it just a reaction to Europe's fuel prices?  If it is a prediction of what will happen in the colonies, perhaps cycling will grow at an even fat rate than it currently is.

Time Magazine carries a piece this week on the death of the suburbs, and some former builders of 'burbs who are glad to see them go.  When you consider how many are closed off to transit and safe cycling options, you won't cry at the funeral.

A history of cycling as told through books is featured in a blog (and collection) by the Library of Congress this week.

The Danish Consul in Georgia - as in the state, not the country - is acting as the local Ambassador to promote cycling there.


I care not a whit about bicycle racing, presuming that most riders these days are juicing, or oxygenating or some other thing that seems like a bad science experiment.  But I was bemused by the story about the attention generated by German cyclists Mercel Kittel's hair.  Having looked at said hair, which evoked images of the athletes on the British Olympic teams fielded right before the Second World War (irony, he's German), I have to say it absolutely rocks.  I would not recommend it for anyone with a fleshy face, but for Marcel it is indeed, "a thing."

Delightful WashCycle reminds us of the charming film, "Girl on a Bicycle," and includes a link to the film's trailer.


Want a full-sized bike that can be easily assembled, but which fits in a backpack?  FastCompany reviews one for you.  (Yup, it's the second time I mentioned this wonder from Lucid Design of India.)

Would you like a lock fitted with a GPS?  Here's a nice review by London Cyclist of some of the latest fare - much of which has or is seeking crowd-funding.

Care for a cargo bike than can function like a van in the city?  Check out the many uses for Christiana bikes, including as a dining table and delivery truck when either moment strikes.

London nows has a 24-hour bike tube vending machine.  This is a very good idea that should be replicated in Washington.

Random notes:

Alec Baldwin was cleared of charges after he was arrested for riding his bike the wrong way in New York.  Baldwin flunked the attitude test when he got surly with a member of New York's finest.  The judge scolded him and told him to be nice.  Baldwin replied, "Are you kidding?  I'm an actor."  (Last sentence is not true, of course.)

Nice guys of the week have to be the folks at the Glasgow bike shop who gave riders from Malawi better bikes.”-response-its-helping-malawi-cyclists

So, if I see you in the bike lanes, and you are not named Jackie Burke, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bicycles Made in Washington and Traffic News Turns to Cycling News

Local explosive bombshell of the week:

Erik Kugler, co-founder of Bicycle Space, is now making bikes in Washington, D.C.  Really making them.  Not taking the frames made elsewhere and adding some jazzy features.  Wow.  Pause.  Picture the factory filled with local bike artisans and mechanics.  And some people say nothing gets done in Washington.  Well, now it does.   #custombicycles #buycourtlandmiloyakuglerbike


Cyclists, sometimes your need to give your spouses a good reason for your long rides. Otherwise, those half days away can cause resentment.  Here are some really good excuses for your ride and ways to include your bike widow or widower.

Chances are pretty good that you know someone with an autistic child.  Bike to the Beach is an autism benefit ride that will take place on August 1, 2014.  Ride from Washington, D.C. to Dewey Beach because you love to ride and it is a wonderful thing to do.  #bicycleridesinwashingtondc

Join the Tour de Frederick (Maryland, that is) on August 15, 2014.  Have the long-suffering wife meet you there for a nice dinner.

The Ride to Conquer Cancer is about to close registration for their September 13, 2014 event in Maryland.  "But Honey, it's a cancer benefit."

The Potomac Pedalers is holding a 115 mile ride that takes you through Amish country and to the Allenberry Report on August 15, 2014.  I like long rides that end with decent wine, a shower and access to a blow dryer.  Consider taking your partner.

Traffic and Weather to Bikes and Bikes:

Washington's local traffic radio station, WTOP, began broadcasting stories about cycling over recent weeks.  This is remarkable because WTOP is known for traffic and weather every 10 minutes, sports coverage, and an imaginary "glass-enclosed nerve center."  Correspondents in the FATA, not so much.  This sudden coverage of cycling suggests the tectonic plates are shifting pretty dramatically.  Here's a sample of WTOP's coverage in a single month:
Hagerstown bike shop closing after decades.  (Who the heck knew Hagerstown even had a bike shop?)
Kidical mass movement gains momentum.
Ten year old cyclist struck by a driver.
And shockingly hipster-ish: Capital Bikeshare is more expensive than the fine for pot possession.
T-shirt created for a bicycle ride to honor Nelson Mandela has offensive typographical error.
People in NYC have been placed in chokeholds for offenses as minor as riding a bike on the sidewalk.
And in response to that dreadful Post column, a little bicycle etiquette.
Not to mention a helpful guide to cycling in DC.
Well our little radio station might have traded in the Dodge Dart with the push button transmission for a Tesla fixed-gear e-bike with a nice seat.


Spoiler alert!  People are still parking in bike lanes in Washington, D.C.

Bike share:

Capital Bikeshare has expanded its docks in a lot of locations and is seeking crowd sourcing suggestions for other locations.  They cannot place a dock on the lawn of the White House or the floor of the Senate yet.

There's a new Capital Bikeshare dock in Georgetown at 34th and Water Streets, NW.  Great access to the movie theaters, and you don't have to ride up that steep hill to get to shopping and restaurants.

But Capital Bikeshare's wider expansion is less likely this year since Alta and Bixi are in a corporate state of flux.  Bixi is in the hands of a sofa magnate named Bruno.  Alta is in the hands of D.C.'s former transit guy, Scott Kubly.

Arlington Now reports that Arlington's board has voted to allow a boring office building in Crystal City to be converted into micro apartments.  A key feature of the building's conversion to less than 400 square ft. units will be large common spaces, loads of bike share docks, and walkability to Metro.

The University of Virginia is rolling out a bike share program.  Jefferson is smiling somewhere right now.

Austin's B-cycle saw its use double in the last six months.  This may rival Citibike's and is all good news for an oil producing state.

Bike share for Jacksonville, Florida is on its way at last.

Bike shares' problem of missing bikes will always be there as commuter follow the same directional travel.  Is there an algorithm that can solve the problem?


Want a Google glass version of Spotcycle?  Now you can have it.  Or I should say, "There's a glass for that."

Martha's Vineyard may ban e-bikes from the island.  Several people who vacation there could probably use an e-bike, but the local politicians think e-bikes pose a safety hazard.  Heck, cotton balls pose a safety hazard if you do not handle them properly.

If you live in the U.K., Cyclotricity sells an e-bike add-on for less than 700 pounds sterling.

Interbike, the bike manufacturers convention in Las Vegas in September, will feature new technologies in e-bikes.

A town in the U.K. is planning E-bikes for beat cops.  As long as it helps officers get into tight areas, and keep off the donut pounds, I am in favor of it.

Citibike's mobile app in NYC may undercount the number of bikes.  It's annoying to have an app tell you there are four bikes in a dock that was picked clean hours earlier.  This developer needs a patch and a fix pronto.

Here's a sweet profile of woman who rides her e-bike around a California seaside town.

Mountain Bike Magazine's editor quit over the magazine's increasing coverage of electric mountain bikes.  He was a purist, I suppose.  Now he is an unemployed purist.

Advocacy and policy:

Bicyclists believe that cycling improves life for everyone.  Apparently we are right, according this piece in the Huffington Post.

MPs in the UK seek 600 million pounds for cycling infrastructure.  Keep an eye on this trend.  It may be a sign of what will follow in the colonies.

Cities and businesses are collaborating to deal with climate change.  Hmmmm.  I am racking my brain trying to figure out what could help them along.  Oh, I know.  How about expanded cycling?

These businesses are smart because studies show investing in cycling pays off, globally, says the European Cycling Federation.

Policy makers need to address the fact that poor people spend more time commuting than wealthy people.  Lower income people also want to attain car ownership more than people in higher income brackets.  Worse, cycling is not popular among the urban poor despite the fact it makes greater financial sense than car ownership.

U.S. cities trying to attract young people are now seeking bike lanes, not more bars carrying cheap draft beer and H&M stores.

The new bike czar in Dallas looks a lot like a perfectly normal, very nice woman.  Should she watch her back in a state where oil is king and the pick-up truck is ubiquitous?  (A state where one of those drivers clipped a cyclist seemingly on purpose this week.  But I shall not generalize, for it is the province of a weak mind.)

What can other cities can learn about cycling infrastructure from Indianapolis?  A lot.  The mayor there ignored partisan politics and created a sustainable city by adding bike lanes, bike share, and more.

This wonderful video from Canada encourages drivers to see cyclists as people: loving fathers, devoted mothers, and strong brothers.  Those Canadians are so good at sending messages without antagonizing people.  How annoying.  I feel antagonized.

People living near bicycle paths get 45 more minutes of exercise a week.  What is the impact of an extra 45 minutes on prevention of heart disease and type-2 diabetes?


Want to take a fun ride around Montevideo, Uruguay?  Here's a short video of the cycling features of that city.  They include the cycle tracks, bike share, clear bike/car parking instructions and a view of signs showing where bikes have "prioridad."

An old railway station was converted to a bike hotel in Drammer, Norway.  It would be nice to see more bike-centric hotels stateside.  Perhaps Paris Hilton can take her considerable talents and build a new short-stay empire in this sustainable direction.  Right now she is probably seeking a way to remain relevant.

Random notes:

What role did Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein - as in the guy who broke Watergate - play in getting new bike laws in Washington?  Well, he helped the other Carl, whose job it was to write such laws.  The Post's Jack Kelly writes:

I can’t help but ponder the karmic coincidences. Richard Nixon appoints John Volpe to be secretary of transportation. Volpe lets it be known that he wants Washington to be a more bikeable city. Carl Bernstein gets a ticket for running a red light on his bike. Carl Bernstein sticks it to Richard Nixon.

Are you a woman looking for a book to tell you how to take care of your nether regions when you ride a bike?  You know you are.  I thought it only fair I told you about this book to protect your "down there-ness."  Of course I learned this from an Ellie Blue tweet.  Where else?  (Don't answer that.  It was rhetorical for crying out loud.)

Apparently the New York Daily News did not understand the humor behind @bicyclelobby, a comedic bike Tweeter that is never serious.  Wow.  Somebody at the Daily News should be embarrassed.

A driver ended up on the W&OD Trail after making a wrong turn.  This is a reminder that you must always keep your idiot radar functioning properly.

It is smart to travel with others on bike paths in the woods.  Seriously.  A woman was attacked last week while jogging on a path in Fairfax.  The assailant was a man on a bicycle.  If you are a woman, take off your ear buds, find a riding partner, and learn self-defense.  Momentum cannot always be your best defense.

Florida is cracking down on hit and run drivers.

While in the U.K. fewer than half of the drivers who kill cyclists are ever punished.

In California, a reserve police officer was disciplined for posting an "I hate cyclists" video.  The secondary basis for the disciplinary action was the discovery of her low I.Q.”

In a world of cycling dangers, one cyclist avoided death twice aboard Maylasian Airlines flights

Here's a nice video about a pizza delivery man who has been bringing you warm pies from his bike for 30 years.

New Yorkers are turning to cargo bikes, especially long tails.

So, if I see you in the bike lane and you are atop a Kugler Bike, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Normalize Cycling


The outrage over Courtland Miloy's column remains pitched after two weeks.  If you are just now wandering into this dust up, Miloy wrote a column complaining about cyclists and saying it might be worth the fine to hit a cyclist with a car.  The response was powerful and has focused the Washington newspapers and blogs on cycling like never before.  Did Miloy's nonsense cause a benefit to cyclists?  Here is some of the bike column response:

The Post writes that cyclists and motorists agree that enforcement of the traffic laws is weak as to both groups.  Earlier the Post simply commented that fewer citations were issued to cyclists last year than in many years prior.

Bicyclists responded in droves to Miloy's column - in person and through print/blog.  I did not see a terrorist in the bunch.  Unless they are sneaky and have Yepp child seats.


Columnist Petula Dvorzak called for peace between cyclists and motorists, but the piece was clearly a mere defense of her colleague of more than a decade.  Referencing the most racially charged case of the 1990s, she quoted Rodney King's seeming dismay at the Los Angeles riots (sparked by his beating at the hands of police officers).  "Can't we all just get along?"  Given the possible racial overtones of Miloy's column, this was an interesting choice of quotes.  Paranoids might see a message.

Citylab reported that the mere existence of cycling haters is a sign of cycling's success, describing such phenomena as a type of "cognitive error called fundamental attribution error."  Which means "just plain wrong."

Another cyclist pointed out that riding in DC taught him defensive cycling.  As if D.C. were a war zone and cars the weapons of an enemy.  Hmmm.  War zone.  Terrorists.  I am detecting a theme here.  A theme of violence, chaos, and survival, and mostly conflict between bikes and cars.

And another Post columnist wrote about why cyclists sometimes ride on the sidewalk in response to Miloy's complaint that cyclists were doing so.  #sodriversdon'tkillthemduh

Even Vox(yup that one, Latin for "voice") wrote a response to Miloy.  It is valuable for its photo of a cycling postman.  The kind of postman you see in Italian movies but never in real life.  However, it contains some data showing the group with the most cyclists are Latinos, not white, tattooed hipsters.

The award of civility and character should go to Greater Greater Washington publisher David Alpert, who was personally attacked in Miloy's column, and Veronica Davis, of Black Women Bike DC.  Alpert urged empathy toward the other side in the cycling vs. car debate.  Veronica invited Miloy out for a bike ride.


The Bike Rack is serving free Peregrine Espresso and coffee on July 16 between 730 and 9 am.  While this blog will post after that delicious combo, take note of this little shop.  They serve Peregrine often.
And they are offering a Women's Road Skills Clinic on July 19 at 830 a.m.  You may be able to learn how to deflect attention from that annoying cat-caller, or how to ride while wearing your favorite skirt.  Or maybe how to change a flat in your flats.

REI is leading an overnight bike tour of the C&O canal August 2-3.
They are also offering a clinic called "Fix a Flat" on August 13, 2014.

Bike Share:

Remember those who said that Capital Bike Share was doomed?  Hah!  Nonsense.  DC's Capital Bike Share just closed their operating deficit, and their advertising space is sold for the next five years.  Whooot! Whoot!

Few people in Montgomery County, Maryland took advantage of free bike share.  Perhaps there is lead in the water there and people have been stupefied.

You can now valet park your Citi bike in the Village.  Oh, who cares?  We have been able to do that at National's baseball stadium for years.  You New Yorkers are always one step behind.

Medical Mutual is kicking in over a million dollars for Columbus, Ohio's bike share program.  It's better than Kentucky Fried Chicken sponsoring it.

The helmet debate has started in Minneapolis now that it has bike share.  How Minnesota nice.

Unclear on the concept: Someone in NYC really likes their bikeshare bike.  They put a U-locked on a bike share as if to reserve it for their personal use.   We have all come upon the empty dock.  But isn't that like hiding a library book in the library, or locking up the specific grocery cart you want to use?  It's a violation of the share model.  This person must be stopped.

How are things doing in Chattanooga after two years of bike share?  Some say it was money wasted. Someone always does.  I call those folks bores at parties.

Schenectady is getting a bike share system.  This is not a gag.  I am being serious.

Houston's bike sharing program is growing.

Will Madrid's electric bike share system succeed?


The Bike Lane to Nowhere is now going somewhere.  The bike lane around Union Station now stops between First and Fourth Streets in Northeast D.C.  DC plans to extend it to Stanton Park.  Great, because I almost die there often.

DDOT has published the 2014 list of bike lanes in Washington.  Here's a link where you can download the pdf and stuff it in your panniers or keep it on your tablet.

Bike parking now overtakes car parking in some places.  Should we plan more toward a non-car model?

Bike lanes are coming into Ward 8, one of Washington's underserved neighborhoods.

Merchants lead the charge for protected bike lanes in Portland.  Cycling brings buyers, lingerers, window shoppers and romantics with wallets.  Merchants should be doing the same elsewhere.

People for Bikes needs help with their inventory of protected bike lanes.  If you have data, please give it to them.

Pittsburg is moving forward on lanes despite delays to 2015.

Oh Brittania!  After a mass die-in protest by Stop Killing Cyclists in London, Vauxhall is getting protected bike lanes.

Policy and Advocacy:

London Mayor Boris Johnson has challenged Downing Street to meet his commitment to cycling.  This will be interesting to watch.  If the Cameron Administration steps up to Johnson's challenge, how will the U.K. change?  Cameron's new transit secretary immediately emphasized that his PM is a cyclist and has spent more on cycling infrastructure than any PM in history.

A new study shows that for every $1 spent on cycling infrastructure, cities can save between $6 and $24 in other costs such as healthcare and reductions in damaging pollution and more.

Helsinki wants to eliminate cars entirely and is planning transportation accordingly.  Is this where all cities will one day go?

The U.S. will never be bike friendly because it won't build islands that will keep cars from hitting bikes claims this piece in outside online and fastcoexist.;utm_medium=xmlfeed

Want more bike parking in your building?  Policy, design and best practices are available here through San Francisco Bike.

Helping women respond to harassment when they bike, Grist has a few thoughts.

The Irish Times states that the benefits of cycling outweigh the risks.  HGVs (meaning SUVs and larger) have been required to have better mirrors.  Cyclists required to behave intelligently when riding.

There is a looooongggg Bike bridge planned for the spans between Malmo and Copenhagen.

Random Notes:

Seeking to attract a young, talented workforce?  Bloomberg suggests you locate your business near bike lanes.

Want to document your ride, your harassers and anything else?  Get a camera for your ride.

In the 19th Century women were deterred from bicycling by those who threatened that it could result in "bicycle face," also sometimes called a look of determination.


Interested in the best cycling holidays in Belgium?

Carolyn Vines, the author of Black and Abroad, spoke to Dutch News about her cycling and experiences as an African American woman and everyday cyclist living in the Netherlands.

Here's a video from BBC News on how to hire an e-bike while you are traveling in Copenhagen.

The new, super long bike bridge opened in Copenhagen.  Here's the Youtube video of this wonderful piece of infrastructure.

Here's your survival guide to cycling the Mojave Desert.

Are you among the crazies who have signed on for Strava's Sufferlandrian competition?  Are you trying to integrate your insanely competitive cycling impulses with your summer vacation plans?  Does your spouse realize the loneliness that will be your marriage.  If this is you, here's your program of pain.


E-bike are an $11 billion industry.  Hiccup in May when China's e-bike production slowed.

Cathy Rodgers has reached the halfway point on her ride across America on an electric bike.  Some major news outlet should be covering this.

An American Statesman (that one, in Texas, oil state, big hats, big hair, Tex-Mex) reporter tries out an e-bike.

Product reviews: E-bike kits and more.

Hype-angel posted this video of an e-bike going down a canyon behind a motorcycle.  It's a little bit of "Jackass" meets okay cycling guy.


Momentum Mag suggests 8 ways to store your bike that look cool.  I need a cool looking way to store 8 bikes.

How to choose your bike pump from Bike Radar.

Want a gorgeous kit bike that comes in a lovely bag?  Now you can have one.

And here's my favorite cycling book:

So if I see you in the bike lanes, and you are chic, let's be smug.  Heck, even if you are kind of a slovenly dresser, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cyclist are Not Bullies. They Are the Future.

Here is my summary of this week's cycling news, including two idiots, several smart, forward-looking planners, lots of good news on bike shares and bike lanes, and plenty of random notes.  Not a bully to be seen.


Join City Bikes for a ride in Rock Creek on Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m.  How about this metaphor stolen from reality?  City Bikes started in an old gas station decades ago.  I like that.  Let's have more defunct gas stations that are converted to bike shops.  #normalizecycling

Join the nice people at Bicycle Space for a city ride on Sundays at 11:30 a.m.  The traffic's lighter.  The people are more relaxed.  And they city is filled with out of state tagged cars parking illegally in the bike lanes.  Ah the splendor of it all.  But safety in numbers, so go.  Really.
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Or join The Bike Rack for a 40 mile ride Sunday mornings starting much earlier.  I mean if you can take time away from bullying people and trying to ruin their lives.  (Don't get the joke?  Read on!)


DDOT is getting rid of the zebras that protect the mid-road bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue just blocks from the White House.  If they will replace them with those things police throw down to puncture the tires of cars leading them on a high speed chase I am okay with that.  DDOT has figured out that D.C. cabs will not be deterred from making illegal u-turns over the top of zebras . . . or cyclists.  How about a u-turn camera as a revenue generating tool?  We have speed cameras.  Or how about a suspension of a taxi license for a month for each violation?  Compliance would be pretty swift.

Last year I blogged about the bike escalator in Norway that helps cyclists climb Trondheim's steep grades.  Now GGW editor David Alpert suggests the 15th Street lanes in D.C. could use the shark fin.  I suppose that would help people who are starting to ride or need a little boost.  However, if we could have another mile of cycle tracks without the shark assist, I would take that first.

Bike Share:

Capitol Bikeshare has run out of keys . . . again.  This time less than a month after their 7 millionth trip. #predictabledudes  Perhaps while you are waiting for your key, you can suggest new locations for bike share docks using their nomination system.

Chevy Chase, Maryland, that Washington inner suburb now peppered with high-end retail establishments and restaurants, wants bike share, according to Bethesda Now.  Chevy Chase should fund it with taxes on plastic surgery, fur sales, and Ferragamo shoes.  The plan to have Chevy Chase Land Company pay for the program is picking up steam, and maybe a wealthy matron or two.  Good news.

New York is in a deal to sell a portion of Alta, the makers of share bikes, to an investment company that owns Equinox fitness group.  NYC's program has been bleeding money, and some drastic measures may have to be taken to keep Citibikes on track.  This could result in the new company raising the prices of bike shares, not just in NYC, but elsewhere too.  A little perspective is good to consider.  Even if prices are raised, bike share is still a huge bargain when compared to a car.  If bike share jumps from $125 per year to $300 per year, and car costs between $8,000 and $18,000, including payments, gas, maintenance and insurance, bike share is still a better choice financially.  (Even if you add a car sharing service to your bike costs.)  But do not despair.  Bike share usage continues to grow, which suggests prices will not have to be raised significantly to keep the system afloat and make it profitable.  #Istillhatealtaforbanningthekidsseat

Tampa bike share is now taking members.  No word on the date the Groupon will be available (hint-hint)

Advocacy and Policy:

Washington, D.C. is among Momentum Magazine's list of the next great biking cities.  It should be, the local newspaper notwithstanding.  #besospleasedosomethingaboutmiloy

Congress still has not recognized bike sharing as mass transit for subsidies.  That means that people who get subsidies for taking the bus cannot apply those funds to bike share.  I am not sure why we pay the salary for these lay-abouts.   #silly

We should plan cities for a future without cars, with more bikes, and more pedestrians.  Gabe Klein, former D.C. and Chicago transit head, writes in Citylab that planning should be more active transit focused.  Planning and development leaders should plan consistent with the goal of getting more people to walk and bike.  If you plan for cars, and cars grow obsolete, what will you have on your hands?  As Klein points out, Europe may ban gas-powered cars from cities in the future.  Gas cars and cities are probably not a long term coupling.  Indeed their marriage is doomed.  To that same point, reports that there are five signs that the traditional auto industry and America's car culture are going to implode - unbundling of car features, energy sources, shared ownership and ridership programs, and the advent of driverless cars, to name a few.   If that prediction is correct, it would foolhardy to have development that is car focused.  We will just have to rebuild everything at great expense.  Instead, cities should concentrate on cycling infrastructure, walking, and mass transit.  Momentum Magazine is singing the same, obvious, clear-headed song.  Long term thinking instead of short term will be important to get this done.

How do other cities compare to cycling Mecca Amsterdam in terms of their activity?  Well, they drive twice as much, and cycle half as much.  #duh

So Washington State has been voted the best cycling state in the union by the League of American Cyclists.  What kind of cyclists were considered?  Are we talking about juicing, racing, spandex wearing type?  Or are we talking about the ride-to-the-meeting-with-your-pants-rolled-up-and-then-grab-the-Chinese-take-out-for-the-family kind"?  Because if it is the latter variety, I would vote for my own city, the other Washington, over the state thereof.

The Eurpopean Cycling Federation (ECF) is offering Track B, a marketing tool to help city planners sell cycling.  If you are a planner, check it out.

Out of Touch:

Washington Post columnist Courtland Miloy has managed to irritate (and unify) cyclists with his rant calling cyclists bullies and terrorists, and even sanctioning violence against us.  It is among the least intelligent pieces he has ever authored.  He suddenly seems pathetically out of touch to me and I will never read his ridiculous column again.  Rather than repeat his rant, rife with errors - - here is my response:

Facts are helpful in having opinions. Here are just a few bullies, as you call them: (1) WABA, which provides free cycling clinics to kids and adults, including those in Ward 8 who do not need the financial shackles of cars (note that fewer than 50% of children of color report knowing how to ride a bike so WABA is a force for opportunity); (2) Black Women Bike DC, which provides sororite in cycling for women of color; and (2) Bicycle Space, a great shop and social venue which organizes group rides through the hills of Anacostia.  
People leave college today with crushing student debt, and elect cycling for a few hundred dollars a year over cars for between $8,000 and $18,000 a year, including gas, insurance, payments and maintenance. Many of these people grew up without the resources to pay for their education. Healthcare costs have skyrocketed in the last decade fueled by the obesity epidemic and its secondary impact of Type-2 diabetes. The African American community in D.C. has been among the hardest hit with diabetes, as I hope you know. Fuel costs will only increase for obvious reasons. And now you generalize about cyclists in ways that would outrage you were such broad opinions held about other groups. These bullies are the future. This column was not your best. Get on a bike. I will be happy to show our inclusive group. Mr. Billings, whom you criticize, can help you learn the rules of the road. Did you know that he does that instead of bullying? We welcome you. We will change your mind and restore your optimism. You need it apparently. Oh, by the way, riding on the sidewalk is not illegal, except in the downtown business district. You might want to get that particular detail correct. And I would add that Ward 8 does need lanes. Perhaps that should have been your focus. The reaction to this column would have been quite different.

Terrorist we are not.
The future, we are.

Here's WABA's response.  Maybe now is the time to join WABA.

Most importantly, here is note from Aaron Weiner of Washington's City Paper about Ward 8's new bike lanes.  So, you are vanquished Courtland Miloy.


Does bike share help to make it safer for cyclists generally?  Apparently it does.  This makes sense.  The more bikes on the road, the more motorists will expect to see them.

Interested in signing Vision Zero's petition in Boston?  Vision Zero is the group that believes with adequate planning, education and transit changes, vehicle deaths in cities can drop to zero.  Cycling is part of the equation, of course.

According to a Tel Aviv news service, a rising number of pedestrians are getting hit by people riding Tel-O-Fun bike share bikes.  Someone on some end of this is drinking I suspect.

This week's village idiot (yes, in addition to the columnist who hit a new low) is the guy in Alabama who videotaped himself harassing cyclists and posted it on Youtube.  In addition to flunking the IQ test, he has now pleaded guilty after his videos caught the interest of the local sheriff.

Random notes:

Oh dear.  How can it be that much beloved Scott Simon, of NPR, has found himself in the crosshairs of cyclists?  He sounds like Burl Ives, when Ives played the avuncular snowman in Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.  I picture him leaning over the NPR microphone in a bland covered cardigan, considering his words before he utters them.  But boy did he say something stupid about cyclists on Twitter.  (I am assuming he was not allowing someone to tweet on his behalf, like a hapless, bike-hostile intern, who is now looking for another place to work.)  On the other hand, was he saying that cyclists who jump lights set a poor example for his daughters?  I am willing to spot him this one, as long as he says five Hail Marys and takes up cycling for the rest of his life.  He did seem to figure out what he had done was wrong, unlike some other people who remain confused.

Are you a bridge architect who cycles?  You can get the job as the designer of London's proposed cross-Thames bridge for pedestrians and bicycles.

Did you know Vancouver had a bike rave?  Presumably it was healthier that the normal MDMA fueled club raves.

Normally I find competitive cycling tedious, but I have to smile that racing Brit Chris Froome road through the Chunnel.  And yet, it conjures images of the Triplets of Belleville, the best bicycling movie in the history of the world, ever, forever, no seriously.


Sam Polcer has been photographing cyclists on the streets of NYC for years. I love this guy for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that he points out visually that cycling does not have to include spandex or be the province of hobbyists.

Ever wonder how to ride your bike in your skirt?  With a penny and a rubber band.  See the video.  Don't speculate about how this works please.  But in Copenhagen, they don't really give it much thought.  They just get on a bike and go.  I myself am a fan of the Danish practice of "knees in a bit."  Just like your grandmother told you to do.

Do we need "Bike Shop: the Musical?"  Sounds like one of those productions trying to capture the zeitgeist.

Here is why 11 artists love their bikes.

Have you ever listened to the Ireland by Bike series on RTI?  Languid, fun, and sweetly Irish.

Traveling to Europe and want to know how to ride the cobbles?  Don't cancel that ride across Tuscany for fear you don't have teeth or an athletic bra strong enough to withstand the bumps.  Here's a little Youtube video to help you deal with it.

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

Elisa P.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How Not to Stink: Your Summer Bike Commute Survival Guide.

Surviving Summer:

If you have a long commute, you have to find a shower at the office or a nearby gym.  If your commute is relatively short or downhill (yup, mine is), then ride to work with your dress shirt in a dry cleaner's box and a fresh T-shirt in your panniers.  (I don't recommend you ride in your dad's yellowing white V-neck tee on.  It's a bike commute.  Not a reenactment of On The Waterfront.)  When you get there, freshen up with a deodorant wipe, like Ban Total Refresh Cooling Body Cloths, Dude Wipes Personal Wipes, or No Rinse Cleansing and Deodorizing Bathing Wipes.  You can get them from  Use a fast drying towel if you do shower, like the ones they sell at REI or JC Penney.  And don't race to work.  If you must race, then do it after work.  On your way home, remove the shirt, put the nicer T-shirt on, and that's it.  Also, stating the super obvious, drink a lot of water before you cycle, and during your ride in.


Want to ride your bike to see great films and eat from an array of cuisine from food trucks?
WABA has just the event for you on July 9, and many other dates this summer.  Head to 2nd and L Streets, NE in NoMa.

Las Bicicletas, the exhibit by Mexican artists, Gulberto Aceves Navarro, is coming to the streets of New York this summer.  More than 100 sculptures of bicycles will be placed on sidewalks to encourage people to ride - Navarro's dream.

Bike Share

So here comes Reston to the bike share party.  A little late, but well-dressed and polite.  Welcome Reston to the sustainable world of tomorrow.  Bike share and the Silver Line?  Who would have thunk it?

Timbuk2, that made-in-America bag company well-known to bike messengers, is opening its own bike share in its shops.  Here's the deal.  They give you a hip bike, cool helmet, and rockin' bag.  You will look like a pro, like a bike connoisseur, and very possibly like a Dane.  This could present a chance for a fraudster to fool a bike-loving woman or man into believing the fraudster really likes bicycling in order to lure and net a bike lover.  As a tool in fraudulent dating, I am against this.  As a concept, I love it.  And, readers will discover that the shoulder bags fit well in an Alta bike share bike.

How can bike shares get bikes where they are needed when people are generally going the same direction?  A heat map shows the flow of bike share bikes

Rochester is expanding its bike share.  As the planet gets warmer, they can probably use it all year round.  See, I'm a glass half full kinda gal.  #rochesterbeachcycling

Dublin's bike share may be underwritten by Coke.  As in "I hate Diet Coke."  As in, "Pewah!  Why would anyone drink Coke Zero."  As in, "Avoid soda and exercise more.  The soda movement was a fraud."  #barfsoda

Friends help friends ride Capital Bike Share even with broken bones.

And the kids' bike share bike debuts in Paris.  #howcantheybeatusatthiswhenwebailedthemoutoftwoworldwars!

Cincinnati will have something to share by the end of summer.  Bikes I mean, not the poverty of ideas.  #donotsendmehatemail

Marin County has a bike lane plan.  What could be better than Marin County with bike lanes?

In Denmark, the bike share bikes come with tablets.  You can tweet, ride, email, post, glide, and check the weather you are experiencing online.  #notsurewhythisisagoodidea

Policy and Advocacy:

Did cycling help women advance in society?  It did.  It helped them gain independence from the shackles of domestic life.  #gogirlsonbikesgo

Yet in 1895, the New York World published a list of dos and don'ts for women cyclist.  The most important don'ts, I think, still apply today.  "Don't wear a garden party hat with bloomers."  (I am always telling people that, and I mean it.)  "Don't scratch a match on the seat of your bloomers."  (That remains great advice.  After all, how will you explain the burn to the fire department when they arrive?)

What does it say about America, or at least Americans who read Wired Magazine, that Wired's story about safe bike lanes was its most viewed online?  Is the revolution truly afoot?  Or . . . er . . . apeddle? Perhaps those seeking elected office should take note of this cultural shift, when they aren't chasing their interns or refusing to speak to one another.  #HouseofCardsisreal

Brazilians have seen bicycles as the transport of the destitute, but they are changing their minds quickly.  You can even bring your bike on the buses there.

Remember when the Scottish government banned advertisements featuring bike riders who were not wearing helmets?  That ban has been reversed, as seemed predictable.

Smokadiabesity.  It's the combo that is a problem in the United States.  And it drives up insurance rates and healthcare costs.  What could help encourage people to live differently?  Hmmmmm.  Perhaps more physical activity in society generally.  Like, maybe cycling?

Missing the cycling and sustainable transport conference in Bangalore this week due to the press of work?  Don't miss this solar powered e-bike made by a conference attendee, or the adorable bike riding kids of that teeming city.

And Critical Mass is back in Portland.  If Critical Mass is a protest movement to call for more bicycle infrastructure, why does Portland need it, any more than Copenhagen would?  Perhaps I am confused.  Or maybe from my view, the bike lane is always greener elsewhere.

Random Notes:

Dubious distinctions:

Boo  hiss to the Times-Picayune in Nola.  The word "cannibalize" was used to describe what would happen to a street to make room for bike lanes.  Just appalling and transparently biased.

Another nay-sayer in Chicago bemoaned the changes caused by bike lanes in a letter to the editor of the Trib.  The writer did not complain about the possible destruction of the planet, obesity epidemic or funding of our enemies through our voracious appetite for fuel.  Just the inconvenience of having to sit in traffic.   #getoveritgetonabike,0,3225988.story

Less Dubious:

In China, you can now tow your little, well-designed house behind your cargo bike, and your long-suffering wife can tow the garden.  #chinesetinkers

Photos show how Detroit hollowed out and destroyed its beautiful downtown,  making it bike hostile for decades.  Now they are putting in one-way streets and ways to accommodate cycling.  Phoenix from the ashes, the automotive ashes, I say. #ebikecity?

A new cycle bridge in Rotterdam is a thing of beauty and safety.

The fact that cyclists subsidize parking they don't use presents an interesting counterpoint to the argument made by some motorists that they do not want to subsidize bike lanes.


Greg Billing (love that guy), WABA's advocacy guru, says that Washington's transit plan includes more lanes and paths.  However, as he notes, without clean up facilities and storage, people are still going to hesitate to bike.

Bike lanes makes cars give bikes more room.  Obvious, but there you go.

In Columbus, Ohio, the cyclists are supposedly complaining about two-way bike lanes.  #Iamskeptical


An e-bike with a tablet built in combines two of my favorite things, tech and cycling.  Let's make that three if you add electric motors.  See bike share above.  If they add a coffee feature, then I will have to buy one.  But these are contemplated for use with bike share, which now is fitted with a GPS in Denmark.  Hooyah!  I would move to Copenhagen immediately were it not for my deep love of family and country.  Venture Capitalists: jump in there.  Find the American company/inventor who would do this one better.


There is nothing worse than having someone steal your bike, except perhaps famine or genocide. You can probably avoid it if you put your bike in your office or under your building during the day, provided there is underground parking.  But if you have to park anywhere else, use a U-lock.  Maybe two U-locks.  Put your serial number in your phone and in writing at home.  Put little identifying marks,   like small bits of nail polish in hidden places to help police identify your bike if it is found in pieces.  And photograph your bike and keep the photos handy.  If your bike gets stolen, report it quickly.

A ridiculous number of stolen bikes were recovered from Marin County this week.  Here are the photos.  Do you know how to locate the photos of stolen bikes in your area?  Call you local police and find out.


So it is really coming, the chance to bring your bike on Amtrak.  But not yet.  First they are going to try it out in the Pacific Northwest and on longer routes.  Having met some of the people at Amtrak, I have to say they are really nice folks who have to beg Congress for money every single year.  Happy to see them moving forward on this project which will be well-received by those of us who long to take our bikes to Manhattan and Philly for weekend jaunts.

Want to fly to Norway and then bike across that magnificent country and see the fjords?  There are now companies that do that.

Or check out this hotel in Japan that caters to cyclists with bike racks in the room, and cycling party favors instead of the usual fragrant little soaps.

For a little getaway in Washington, we ride the cargo bike loaded with picnic basket and kid to Yards Park.  Nothing like a fountain for the kids, good friends, and a cargo to get you there and back without needing to drive a car.


The Daily Telegraph ran a piece this week that discussed cycling snobbery.  The kind that causes some cyclists to criticize others who are going slower or are perhaps a bit plumper.  This is intolerable behavior.  A culture of mean will not attract more people to cycling.  In Washington, the urban cycling culture is extremely inclusive and friendly and could serve as a model for other places.  Yes, I am briefly being serious here.


Bike companies do use cheaper parts to bring down the cost of bikes.  If you want the best, you will have to pay up.  Like in life generally.

So, if I see you in the bike lanes, and you are fresh as a daisy, let's be smug.
Elisa P.