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.

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