Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hollywood Writers and General Motors Employees on Bikes? Whaaaaattt?

It has been a week of strange changes in the world of cycling.  Good things are happening.  Really good things.  Which is a little anxiety-provoking.  After all, I am used to playing the cycling underdog.   About what will I complain?  Yikes.

For example:

In Hollywood, people drive around in cars.  Expensive cars, weird cars, but cars.  Enter Tom Smuts, Mad Men Writer.  He biked to the Emmy Awards.  (How many reasons do you really need to love this guy?)  I hope that he does not fall victim to some Hollywood mob like the one in Nathaniel West's The Day of the Locusts.  The idea of someone biking down Wilshire or Sunset boulevards during evening traffic to accept an award from possibly the most shallow of industries is too much to conceive.  #tomsmutsrocks


Some people worry about how to keep cyclists off the sidewalk.  I do not.  But how do you keep them off if you care about that?  According to a note in the Sacramento Bee newspaper - the one started by a skeptic named Twain- the answer is to Improvise.

Then there is this story which must be a gag:

Houston is getting its first protected bike lanes.  Isn't that an oil, cattle, feedlot big enough to ruin the ozone kind of state?  Why are all my belief being attacked by facts?


If I told you that General Motors had started a bike share program on its campus in Warren, Michigan, would you think I had lost my gourd?  Me too.

Seattle's bike share system is up and running.  And guess who is moving back to town to take advantage of a talent pool?  Yup a big company that might have something to do with lumber and stuff.

Policy and Advocacy:

If the draft rules pass, construction companies is DC will have to make accommodations to cyclists when they block the bike lanes.  This is unsettling.  Now what will I have to complain about? #developersthatcomplywillnotsuck

If General Motors wants about 19,000 of its employees to ride around on bicycles, and this is not a happy dream, what does that mean for other large companies?  What will it mean to the automotive sector?

Yup, Weyerhaeuser is moving from its remote suburban campus to downtown Seattle to attract a more talented people who ride bikes.  Wait?  Is that exactly what they said at the press conference?  #weyerhaeuser  #bikesandsmartpeople  #whythehelldidthesepeopleevermoveanyway


LAPD is backing a hit and run alert system that may tag motorists that hit cyclists and then speed away.   #surveillancewecanalllove

Random Notes:

A Vimeo on the global BMX project that is worth a 31 minute view.  I know you might think BMX is for exploitive parents and tattooed 'tweens who are just a few short years from developing a life-destroying meth habit, but that is not necessarily true.  #BMX

Great News:

Momentum Magazine has voted Bicycle Space, a great little shop in DC where I have spent a ton of money with consistently good results, one of the five best.  #bicyclespace

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Electric BIkes Being Made In Washington, D.C. Even If Laws Are Not.


Protected bike lanes debuted this week in Pentagon City.  Yup.  The mall place.  The Pentagon place.  The place you never thought protected bike lanes would appear.  You imagined tank traps, yes.  But bike lanes, no.  And yet here they are.  Challenging your urbanite, smartphone toting, Twitter clever beliefs.  As a great philosopher once stated, go figure.
#bikelanes  #protectedbikelanes  #crapweshouldhavedonedecadesago

Ward 8 is now getting 7.5 miles of bike lanes.  This community has been underserved for years.  It even went without a decent grocery store for decades.  This is a terribly hopeful sign.
#bikelanes  #finally

Seattle's bike lanes along Broadway are really pretty amazing to see.  Green markings let people coming out of driveways know where the bike lanes begin.  Inflatable, decorative bollards help separate motorists and cyclists with good modern art.  Not that iffy modern art that makes you feel slightly belittled for regarding it.  More like a serious Mondrian than that stained, beige carpet sample someone hung in MOMO falsely claiming it captured the essence of man's inhumanity to man.  Check it out.

London gets its first bike lanes in a roundabout. Let's see if cars can comply.

The headline is quite silly: "Some Say that Bike Lane May Have Added to Confusion in Bicyclist's Death."  Hmm.  Well, some say the earth is flat.  Some say that Jimmy Hoffa is buried in their backyard.  Some say they can see the Virgin of Guadalupe in their toast.  This reporter said it was a "freak accident."  Very simply, he was doored.  Some who say otherwise are silly.!bGvwy3


There have been over 23 million rides on bike share.  And there have been zero deaths from bike share in the United States.  Zero.  4700 people died last year from choking.  But none of them were on bike share when they choked.

Strange data since The Washington Post wrote a story insinuating that head injuries were on the rise from bike shares being used by non-helmet-wearing riders.  (I was always skeptical about this.  Instead I blame distracted tourists who like to point at monuments and talk over their shoulder to their family members while crossing busy intersections.  But I have no data to support this.)

Want the City of Los Angeles to place a bike share dock near a particular Metro stop?  Then vote on where you want it to go.  Or don't and grouse later.  As they say in LA, whatever.

Bixi is facing a repair problem, and so is the program in Toronto.  Complaints are surfacing that the share bikes are in a state of deterioration.  Since it is a public service, the Canadians are trying to figure out how to save it.

CNNMoney reports on a new program to reduce the cost of bike share programs by eliminating the kiosk and adding interactive screens on individual share bikes.
Given that the kiosks in DC are solar powered, it seems unclear how this would cut costs to municipalities.

Bike share is good for the environment, that is, if people use it.  For every mile travelled on a bike and not in a car, about a pound of carbon dioxide is saved.  However, hard data on how much carbon bike sharing is really saving is not available yet.  Depending upon which share system you are talking about, between 20 and 53% of share users report using their car less.  The bottom line?  Bike share systems have saved over 2900 metric tons of carbon since 2009.  A little harder to heat your planet with those stats, eh?

The College of William and Mary is adding bike racks, bike share, and more.

Bike share started in downtown Cincinnati this month.!bGuOn8

Events and Charities:

BoBikesBama is Bo Johnson's organization that raises money to help disaster victims in the State of Alabama, voted the least bike-friendly state in the country.  It seems to me that every able-bodied cycling advocate should participate in this ride - held annually in April - for a good cause, for good exercise, and to show all Alabamans that cyclists are great people.
#bobikesbama  #don'tbeabamajustshowup

The Ride to Victory is coming up in less than a month.  You can support this cancer charity by riding.

Show up between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. at the intersection of 14th and Q Northwest on Wednesday to receive free Peregrine Coffee thanks to The Bike Rack.

Policy and Advocacy:

Effective in September, California motorists will have to give a three foot berth to cyclists.  I hereby name this the "duh" statute.

Home in Washington, bike riding in lanes jumped over 40% upon the installation of the L street lanes.  Cycling on the sidewalk (by non-celebrities) dropped by 27%.  As Diane Keaton stated in Woody Allen's Sleeper, "Makes you think."


Want to know how the Netherlands designed those terrific bike intersection junctions?  Here's a lovely video that breaks it down for you.

How you present a policy issue can often determine whether you can build consensus for change.  So if you itemize the number of parking spots lost to bike lanes, you lose.  If you emphasize how small the percentage of spaces will be lost, you just might win.  See how it worked in one jurisdiction.


If you insist on participating in World Naked Bike Ride Day, against my very sage advice, please follow these etiquette tips from Bicycling Magazine.  My favorite is" "[F]or the love of all humanity," if you ride a share bike, sanitize the seat.  Indeed.  And use some e-coli killing product.  I should also add that you might want to cover your face with something like a bag to prevent people who might hire you from knowing that you were there in the buff.

So if you are the Chief of Police at NYPD, you get a full waiver and may park in any bike lanes with your ear-piece-wearing security detail.  Wait a second!  I do not recall that law or that waiver.


Bicycling Magazine offer tips on how to travel with your bike.


Electric bikes made in the District of Columbia?  Yup.  Well at least something's getting done in this city!

Electric bike sales are surging across Europe.   Now mail carriers in some areas are using e-bikes to deliver the mail.  I guess this is in lieu of parking in the bike lane or folding and shoving photos in the mail slots of decent tax paying Americans.

But electric mountain bikes?  This, I do not understand.

That old stalwart, Popular Mechanics, the magazine your father, or grandfather had on his work bench next to his Heathkit junk, covers a new electric bike that might be ideal thing for urban commuters.
#electric bikes

Cargoes with electric engines are replacing sedans.  Maybe not overnight, but in time.  If this trend is nothing more than a trend, as the author suggests, it is just capturing the zeitgeist.  Beware.  The zeitgeist changes by definition, and cycling needs to become a lifestyle for Americans, not a trend that passes.


Although he was nabbed in Cheltenham, an ocean away, I feel fiendish delight in the arrest, conviction and sentencing of a bike thief who got three years in the clink.  Jolly, jolly good show crown court.

James May of Top Gear seems ready to embrace bike lanes.  Compare that with his irascible colleague.

Bike porn:

A great video of Copenhagen's bike culture where bikes are thought of as utilitarian transport items, like vacuum cleaners.  Yes, the woman who drives the sperm bank bike that holds the frozen sperm is featured.  Enjoy.

CNN Travel covered the world's best bicycling cities.  Berlin was at the top.  Perhaps Angela rides a bit herself.

Random notes:

Honestly.  I know the USA Pro Challenge started today, and I am really trying to care.  Really.  But I guess I have evolved sufficiently to think bikes are just fun transportation, and not objects for competition amongst the juiced.  In case you do care though, here is a link to Bicycling's blog.

In watching Bob the Builder with my four-year-old tonight, I learned Bob was on a bike lane project.  Who is the saint who writes this stuff???

So if I see you in the bike lane, creating no carbon, dressed (please!), and being mannerly, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Micro Bicycle Book Review from the Woman Who Brings You Weekly Bike News and Snark

Un terrible semaine.  Deux grosses pertes.  Nos couers sont lourdes.  Au revoir nos heros.

First, read anything by Eban Weiss, writing under the name Bikesnob NYC.
All of his books are funny, irreverant, and worth your time.  Will he teach you how to repair things easily or talk your way out of a sidewalk cycling ticket?  Probably not.  Will he delight and amuse?  Absolutely.  Great for the urban cyclisy who can walk her bike to the shop for repairs, have a latte while the mechanic works her magic, then head on to the shops without ever having to sit in the wet grass to fix a flat.  
iBooks store.
Chronicle Books.  
pp. 225

Random, lovely photo in memorium.

A fast review of cycling books you should consider.

The Bike Owner's Handbook
By Peter Drinkell
Cicada Books Limited
pp. 111
$9.00 to $20.00 depending on the seller

Why I recommend it:
It fits in a pannier or back pocket.  It has clear instructions on how to repair things.  The format considers the content.  In other words, it is clear and concise, can be referenced like a car manual in the event you blow a tire or have to fix things by the side of the bike lane.  Its prose is humble.  Carry this book, an extra tube, some tools, and a small but powerful flashlight.  The world will be your oyster, my cycling friend.

The Bike to Work Guide: Save Gas, Go Green, Get Fit
By Roni Sarig with Paul Dorn
Adams Media
pp. 200
$2.95 used and upward up for new
Available on Kindleunlimited

Why I recommend it:
When you want to start biking to work, the planning can seem daunting.  What to wear?  What to bring?  What if?  Every concern you may have is in here, and the solutions to those concerns are clearly addressed.  Don't read it if you are a procrastinator.  It will make you into a do-er.  This is a book to read sever weeks before you set out to begin your commute.  It is not a manual for roadside repairs like The Bike Owner's Handbook, but it does help you think about repairs.  It belongs on the nightstand where it can be pondered.

Bicycle Magazine's The New Cyclist Handbook
Edited by Ben Hewitt
Rodale Press
pp. 147
$8.95 and upward for new

Why I recommend it:
Just like Sarig's Bike to Work Guide, it helps you plan.  It is less for the urban sartorialist cyclist, more for guy in the suburbs with kids who knows the only way he will get a workout in that day is to ride.  It also helps current riders plan for that fitter more ambitious time in their lives.

Bicycling Magazine's Every Woman's Guide to Cycling
Selene Yaeger
New American Library 2008
pp. 302
$11.00 and upward for new

Why recommend it:
See above.  Same thing, but it is for women.  I like the frank conversation about what might happen to your behind.  It is a good read for any woman planning to get out there.  More time and more practical comments on safety should be added to the next edition of this book.  #Everywoman'sguidetocycling

Re-Cycling: Taking up Bicycling Again as an Adult
Bruce Wynkoop
pp. 75
$11.00 and up for new

Why I recommend it:
Languid.  Practical.  Basic.  If you have been sitting around on the couch for a year (or perhaps years) binge watching, then you woke up, and had a cycling epiphany, this just might be the book for you.  Basic tips including what you need and why, and why cyclists do things that may seem mysterious to drivers or pedestrians.  It feels self-published, but its tone is humble and sincere.   #Re-cycling

Bikenomics: How Bicycling Cans Save the Economy
Elly Blue
Microcosm Publishing
pp. 191

Why I recommend it:
Okay, I confess.  I think Elly is a leader in the revolution.  But I also used to be a book reviewer and her writing style is energetic, persuasive and visual.  I want her arguments to be true, and I believe she is right on most points.  Most importantly, this is a conversation we need to be having as a nation.  It's part of the lingua franca.  You cannot be left behind.  Buy it.  Read it.  Begin to think about how cars have contributed to isolation, obesity, and climate problems.  And think about how we can change the way we live in furtherance of our economy, health, national security, and economic sustainability.  #bikenomics

So if I see you in the bike lane, or the book store trying to find the right cycling book for you, let's be smug.   And let's be grateful that we had Robin Williams around making us laugh for over three decades.  Smugly.  Fondly.
Elisa P.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Normalize Cycling, Win Smart Work Force, and Be Safe Out There.

Photo courtesy of irony.                 #Nixonashipster


California is about to move its bike lane program out from under the supervision of Caltrans, the freeway people.  This sounds great, but will money be harder to get now since California is still a car state with a massive freeway system?  Stay tuned.

The National Journal has picked up on the issue of millennials wanting to live where there are bike lanes.  Better late than never.  Denver's Tech sector is taking note.  The Tech sector businesses there are attempting to locate in central areas accessible by bike.  How will older workers fit in?  By getting on a bike, I hope.  How will disabled workers fit in?  That remains to be seen.  If cities bring up the quality of their schools, that talent pool will stick around after they have children.  In the meantime, check out this Workcycle, made in the United States, ridden by a differently abled person around Capital Hill, D.C.  She loves the lanes.


At last Cap Bike Share is sending out replacement keys.  You might remember that they ran out.  How the heck that happened, someone will need to explain to me.  The first new fobs will go to existing members.   #bikesharefob  #forcryingoutloudplanbetter

After Bixi's terrible financial and software woes, it is trying to lure customers back.  Bixi is offering half price memberships right now.  And remember, it's not like the sale meat in the grocery store that you suspect is already turning gray on the side they don't show you.  Bikeshare fobs don't go bad.  #bixi

What does the change of ownership of Citibike mean, and who are the mystery purchasers?  The annual membership could rise from $95 to $150.  Still a fraction of car ownership.  There was a drop in renewals in 2014, perhaps because some people did not use Citi enough to feel justified in paying the annual fee.  (No decent bike can be purchased for a paltry $150, unless it is a stolen bike.  If it can be ridden and is priced that low, buyer beware.)  If you live in a place with small apartments that cannot accommodate a bike, bikeshare is still a great option.  And what about safety?  There were 9 cyclists killed in NYC last year, but none of those deaths were in areas served by Citibike.  Citi's new ownership by ROQX, the Equinox people, is an encouraging sign to financial predictors.  But they are the same folks who could not foresee the subprime crisis.  #skepticalcyclist  I hope it is a great sign for Citibike, crunchy numbers or not.  #bikeshare

Why is Chicago's Divvy lagging behind Citibike?  Is it that Citibike is motivated to prove the haters like Dorothy Rabinowitz wrong?  Or could it be something as obvious as the fact that NYC has three times the population of Chicago?  #needadivineanalysis  #divvy

Boris bikes in London will be offered free of charge to riders willing to take certain rides in August. #Borisbikes

What other locations are slated for bike share or have recently launched programs?  Well, Amherst, Northampton and Holyoke are on the map.  Molina Healthcare is sponsoring a new program in Long Beach.  Aspen's program is already functional and has been since they introduced We Share last summer.  Ann Arbor, a very cold place . . . (pause) . . . is ready too.  Their program will launch in the fall.  Well, I 'll be a polar vortex.  #bikeshare  #awesome


Bicycle Space DC holds tons of weekly riding events, including a city ride on Sunday's at 11:30 a.m. #bicyclespacedc  #justshowupandstopwhining

Join WABA's women's coffee club on August 6  (or any other week you choose) at The Coffee Bar in D.C.  There's a Facebook group if you would care to join.

Meet the Potomac Pedalers in the 3900 block of Yuma Street, NW, on Thursday at 6:30 p.m., ride around, and have pizza, salad and beer.  Just not too much of any of those.  That way you won't make us all look like sops and gluttons to those who generalize.  #potomacpedalers  #don'tbeacyclinglush

Or show up at Dupont Circle on August 13, at 7:30 p.m. for a ride with DC Bike Party, followed by New Belgium beer.  Because what's a party without beer?  (Rhetorical.)  #bicyclesandbeerequalsparty

Policy and Advocacy:

Bridges hold the key to safe cycling in many cities, especially in London.  Making sure cyclists can safely cross is key to getting more people on top of bikes.  If the bike lanes end at the bridge to your home, you may not be inclined to commute by bike.  Full stop.  The ninth cyclist to die this year in London was clipped on a bridge.

Theft and Safety:

The Detroit Bike Blacklist was founded by a guy who mistakenly purchased a stolen bike and was approached at a coffee shop by the original owner.  Find them on Facebook.  You can use it to make sure that bargain bike you want to get from the guy named John Smith on Craigslist isn't someone else's.  #detroitblacklist  #forChrist'ssakenooneisreallynamedjohnsmithanymore

Contrast our vehicular hostility with the patience displayed by Danish drivers in this video.  #youaremeanerinacarthanyouwouldbeinperson

No, you cannot make it up.  A mattress flew off the top of a zipcar striking a cyclist.  The cyclist has now sued the "deep pocket" Zipcar, but not the renter of said car who failed to tie the mattress down.

The Times of Oman has raised concerns about the harm inflicted by a reckless driver on a cyclist.  Hmm.  And it's a petro-state.  With very hot summers.  Very hot.  #omancycling  #whowouldhavethunkit?


Oregon Manifest holds a bike design contest each year to give an award for a well-designed bike that might entice people out of their cars.  Blackline by the design firm Minimal won the award.  #blacklinebicycles

Merge from NYC was also in the running, with lights integrated into the frame, a waterproof smartphone holder, and chic bags from Brooklyn design company MER.  #Mergebicycles

And an electric bike that will take your breath away won in its own category.  #electricbicycles

The Teague Denny e-bike has a built-in lock, smart storage and auto gearing. #teaguedenny

By 2019 the global bike industry is expected to reach $65 billion, with electric bikes remaining strong due to demand in China and increasing demand in the U.S. and E.U.  #ebikeindustry

Bike sales are down, but prices are up, and electric bikes have increased about $3 million since last year.  #electricbikeproduction

It might be a little studied, or perhaps too Mad Max for you, but here is a retro electric bike that can go 65 mph.

Ridescout is a new app that will help you find the fastest and closest transit route, whether it is bikeshare, rail or bus.  #ridescout

Taking care of your stuff is important too.  If you want to learn basic bicycle maintenance, you can show up at the REI August 6, 2014 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.  #bicyclemaintenance

Want to see the fun Indy film by Hassan Yee, Bicycle Bride?  It's now on Amazon.  #bicyclebride


There have been seven reports of people attacked on jogging or bike paths around the U.S. this week.  At least one of the attackers was a cyclist.  If you are taking a vacation and want to ride, consider finding a local riding group and meeting them in your destination city.  There is safety in numbers, and you will meet other cyclists.  Here are a few of those reports.  Obviously, if you know something about the guy in the composite below, who is suspected of an attack in Carmel, NY, you should call the police there.

Here is nice map of bike routes in DC.  If you want to sightsee or commute in D.C., it is a nice reference tool.  #bikewashington

REI in Fairfax is holding a clinic on long-distance riding in Fairfax on August 5 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.  This could help you get ready for that ride across the Alps you promised yourself you would do before your 40th birthday.

Random notes:

This video takes you on a journey of all the neat things for cyclists in Copenhagen, including bike bridges, bike LED wave lights and more.  Or you could call it cycling porn . . . of sorts.  Just don't tell your spouse.  It could create an atmosphere of mistrust.  #copenhagencycling

A sweet little video of enjoying the city by bicycle.

Once I espied a guy riding a unicycle in Old Town Alexandria.  He had amazing core strength even though he struck me ever so slightly as an athletic eccentric.  Seeing him, I could imagine the Beach Body series of DVDs, The Core Unicycle Workout, with Shaun-T.  But here is young Katrine Jensen, who won the international unicycle freestyle competition in Montreal.  I am not sure where unicycling will take her in life, but she has had a very good ride so far.  #unicycle

And cheers to Kathy Rogers who just rode across the United States on an electric bike with several good colleagues.  She arrived in Washington, D.C. on August 2, amid road closures and humidity.

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