Wednesday, September 24, 2014

More Bikes Equal Less Cars Studies Show. Or "duh."


Capital Bikeshare is happy to take old share docks from Canada and re-purpose them in DC.  We preach "reduce, reuse and recycle."  So why not?  If it gets more docks out there and saves costs, it is hard to see a downside.  It's not like those great shoes you got on eBay only to discover they had been worn by a chain smoker with foul foot odor and an incontinent cat.  Bike share docks serve a basic purpose and are unlikely to retain smells.

Devolution is not replacing evolution.  Here's the evidence.  Richmond, Virginia, where David O. Selznick filmed parts of Gone With the Wind, where Sherman marched, where a governor recently got convicted of something other than throwing his wife under the bus, that place, is getting bike share in 2015.  So man continues to evolve, not return to a primitive state as low as a mollusk.

Policy and Advocacy:

People with disabilities often find cycling is easier than other forms of exercise and transportation.  Making cycling more accessible to them is a rocking thing to do.

Apparently men still bike more than women.  But why is this the case?  Are women dropping kids off at school more?  (Hmmm.  Maybe that duty could be shared?)  Are women afraid of messing up their hair.  (Solution:  Put it in a ball on top of your head and then put your helmet on.  You will arrive looking gorgeous.  Short hair?  The issue is hydrogen bonds.  Short hair gals should probably wash it when they arrive, or go without a helmet.)  Afraid of riding in a skirt?  (Try the tried and true Dutch method known as "Knees together a bit."  Or the penny and a rubber band method Canadian women use to turn any skirt into a pair of shorts, except the tightest of pencil skirts.)  Is it that women feel unsafe on the routes they might bike to work?  (Bike with someone.)  Probably all of this and more.

Since the launch of bike share, cycling has doubled in Washington, DC, and New York City.  And who said building infrastructure was not in the budget?  But wait, it gets better.  Solo driving has dropped by 9%.  If you think your riding a bike is not having an impact, think again.  As Gandhi said, "Be the change that you wish to see in the world."

The city of New York is auditing the troubled bike share system.  Fear not.  Perhaps they can figure out a better way to run bike share and make it more profitable.

When I think of Nigeria, the last thing that comes to mind is cycling.  Fraudulent faxes, teeming cities, petro dollars, and terrorism borne of corruption, yes.  But electric bikes?  Not so much.  And yet, the government there is promoting the use of electric transport.  Lagos has had a series of bike-a-thons, and has a nice network of cyclists.  So call me "stuck-in-an-image-of-Nigeria-as- a-cesspool."  Go Nigerian cyclists!


A small group of people in Chicago are trying to build a bike that can perform in winters as bad as last year's.  The bike does not appear to have a removable snow plow, but I would recommend hand heaters or heated bar mitts, studded snow tires and a revolving red light like the ones they put on top of fire department ladder trucks.

In Canada, Devinci cycles is committed to making bikes in Canada despite the cheap cost of labor elsewhere.  How do such companies hold on when their competition is moving to countries where workers have no choice but to work for peanuts, or maybe just peanut dust?


D.C. police are about to start citing cyclists who use the sidewalk in the central business district of the nation's capital.  This is important news, and not for the reasons you think.  This means the murder rate is so low that D.C. police have the time for enforcement of cycling offenses.  So if you are riding in the central business district, all fourteen blocks of it, use the many bike lanes available to you.  If an officer writes you a ticket, congratulate him/her on having enough time to bother with decent, tax-paying citizens like you.  Surely this is proof that the crack wars are over.

Stating the obvious, here, but do not kill pedestrians.  In fact do not buzz them.  Most cyclists would never do this.  And some pedestrians are a lot like those guys in the grocery store who back up to view the entire shelf in an aisle without bothering to see who is behind them.  However, cyclists tend to be humanists as a group, notwithstanding the occasional juicing tour competitor.  After all, crushed eggs in a grocery cart, or a claim of achilles injuries by shoppers who back-up recklessly are bad, but death is permanent.  Also, let me add this is a very unusual event.  Unlike the killing of over 700 cyclists by motorist last year.

Random notes:

Here is Bicycling magazine's list of the 10 best car free places to ride.  My friends recently tried the Allegheny Passage Trail and C&O from Pittsburg to D.C.  They had only two flats along the way.  That fact alone is an endorsement of these findings.

Members of Bikemore can now get a Zipcar discount.  Take advantage of any chance to live car free except for the Target run each quarter.

Hippie dare-devils invented mountain cycling.  At least that's the claim.

Could you use your cargo bike during a disaster to help? Absolutely.

Pryor Dodge has created a museum of cycling.  It features terrific photos of Penny Farthings, golden French tricycles, and more.  Thank God for eccentric collectors with amazing refinement.  Without them, the world would be much more boring.

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

Monday, September 15, 2014

This Week's News, and Time-Saving Pre Long Ride Recipes


Bike lanes have become an issue politicians in DC have to address in their campaigns.  This is a welcome development, though if you believe what politicians say, you may qualify for public assistance afforded to people with low intelligence.


Capitol Bike Share had a banner year, and now they are expanding.  In a city that is filled with people who have never learned to share, this is great news.

Citibike has racked up late fees.  (A lot of puns.  Arguably too many.)  Hey, we have all been there.  So, to the tardy, lingering cyclist, who is keeping the system afloat, thanks.  I'm sure you were warned that your procrastination or indolence would not pay.  But that was wrong.  Your contribution has helped society.  Please keep up the slow, leisurely work.

Policy and Advocacy:

You knew it was coming, but here it is.  Of the new DC households, 88% are car free.  Which is great, like being lice free, or drug free, or pox free.  Only better.

The helmet debate continues.  In Canada, one post argues that scrapping helmet laws is the key to adding cyclists.  The likelihood we will do this in the litigious United States - 0%.

Have bike lanes actually sped up traffic and reduced congestion in New York.  Indeed Grasshopper (or detractors, or Dorothy Rabino'-you-know-who-you-are).

The Techonomy Conference is happening in Detroit and Jeff Olson, founder of Alta Bikes, the one that provides the bikes and docks to many bike shares, has written a post about how bike sharing is essential to a sustainable world.

The North American Bike Share Association hopes to help bike share programs to avoid problems, like when the San Francisco system discovered its software company had declared bankrupcy.


If you love Baltimore, if you love John Waters or Barry Levinson movies, F. Scott Fitzgerald's writings (sober and post success-caused-depression), or those crab cakes they serve at the place nearest third base at the stadium, then you can ride the Charm City Cyclocross on September 20.  It starts at Druid Hill Park, which provides you with an opportunity to use the word "Druid" in a sentence without some wild construct that no one else can follow.


Basic French salad dressing
1 cup olive oil
2 table spoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup to 1 cup white wine vinegar  (must be a balance that you like)
Put it in a small glass container, like the one that holds Dijon mustard
Shake until it emulsifies
Store in the fridge
Toss it on mescalin/spring mix/rocket
Add Herbs du Province to taste or not
Shave hard cheese on the salad with a vegetable grater
Put in fridge
Make it Thursday for a Saturday ride
It will last a week

Fast Quiche

Buy an unsweetened pie crust at the store
mix 6 eggs with about a half a cup of half and half or whole milk
take frozen spinach out of freezer
microwave 1 cup frozen spinach until warm, press the spinach with a spoon and drain the water off of the heated spinach
crumble about 1/2 cup of feta cheese into the pie crust
whip the egg and milk mixture with a fork until it looks uniform in color
add salt and pepper (very little)
put the spinach in the pie crust
pour the egg mixture on top, put it in the oven on 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until a knife comes out without goopy egg mixture on it when you put it into the quiche
store in fridge and eat after long ride by heating in the microwave for about two minutes
Make Friday night and forget about it until after your long ride when you become ravenous and crazed

So if I see you in the bike lanes, easing traffic, or dilly dallying with a share bike, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Shoddy Data on the Best Bicycling Cities? Bike Thieves Targeting Actresses?


What are the behaviors that have become part of Copenhagen's great bike lanes and cycling civility?  Most cyclists, even there, were described as "anarchistic" for their running of lights and other infractions.  (Sounds a little like "terroristic" to me.)  But somehow the lanes and design help control behavior.  This article discusses exactly how.  #cyclingnerd


Tampa's bike share program will be up and running soon.  So as we head into fall, and then winter, and you decide to take a short trip to Florida to re-charge your seasonally affective disorderliness, you can possibly (or probably) rent a bike there.

Want to suggest locations for Orlando's bikes share docks using an app?  Now you can.,0,

Greenville, South Carolina's bike share program is adding locations near the zoo and libraries.  That's great.  Wait a second!  Greenville has bike share?  That's progress.

And China's bike share system has hit a terrible road block, Chinese perceptions of status.  Been there, done that China.  Talk to you four decades from now when everyone changes their minds about cars after they get tubby and diabetic.

Policy and Advocacy:

The second best bicycling city is Chicago.  Mayor Rahm Emanuel explains how protected bike lanes bring economic development, world peace, an end to hunger, a cure for cancer, and a Super Bowl win for the Bears.  Okay, maybe he just said bike lanes bring economic development.  I think he could have said that bike encourage people to cycle, which gives them better health.  That would have been well within the bounds of credible predictions.

In San Francisco, at least one writer has poked holes in the data that was used to rank cities as bike friendly.  It is pretty persuasive, unless you are the sort of person who really expects to win power ball or see a unicorn on your way to work.  After reading this, you probably won't care which city wins.

And following on the theme of questionable data in the ranking, Cincinnati was named among the top 50 cities.  Go figure, or question the figures.  Which ever.!bSTVmy

If Mayor Bill Di Blasio is more focused on police stop and frisk policies than on bike lanes, that may be okay, according to a Streetsblog post by the former NYDOT head.  That is because the City Council in NYC "gets it." Bikelash is over, and the momentum is in favor of increased cycling.

As the numbers of bikes on the roads increases, should the number of parking spots in a city remain the same or decrease?
Well, despite growing numbers of bikes, the parking spots are still there, taking up, well, space.


If you like your stuff, you need to make sure you can help the police correctly identify your stuff if they find it.  Bicycling magazine reviews "The Hub."  It was born of the merger between the National Bike Registry and Bike Index.  You can access it on Twitter @IsItStolen.  #bikeindex


An electric bike lithium battery caused a serious house fire in Oregon after it exploded.  This was the fifth time this month that a lithium battery caused a fire in Portland.  Read the charging instructions and consider charging these away from flammables, at least until industries experts figure out why this has been happening.  And no, this is not evidence of God's revenge on e-bicyclists, if you are a purist.

Actress Edie Falco's electric bike was stolen this week for the fourth time after she forgot to lock it.  It is not yet legal to ride e-bikes in NYC, but no one can stop you from owning one, or, apparently, from stealing one.

Random Notes:

Cyclists in Denver are becoming sartorialists on two wheels.  They are getting rid of spandex in favor of more fashionable cycle wear.  Now this is important.  Who doesn't want a chic orange shift dress to wear while riding to work?  Okay perhaps someone who does not look good in orange.  But certainly no one else.

You can now use this website to map your cycling route across the entire continent of Europe.

In Memoriam:

Virginia Gaddis was bicycling advocate who lived on Capitol Hill in DC.  She was a bike person decades before it became hipster cool.  Although she had lived a long life, her health failed in recent years, but she was delighted to see the introduction of bike lanes and bike share before she passed away.  So light a candle for Ginny.  May she rest in peace.

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

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bueller Rides High, Portland Sinks, and the Viking of E-Bikes Debuts.

". . . The Holly/Smoot Tariff Act which lowered or raised . . . Anyone? Anyone?"  Bueller is still cool.


Many bike share users in DC ride from the city to Virginia, crossing over the Potomac River.  So bike share is really linking the 'burbs.  Or more people from the suburbs want to go out drinking after work and not ride home drunk.  Somewhere there is an explanation for this, but it's good no matter what the cause.

San Francisco is funded to have 1,000 bikes and 17 new docks in the next year.  New areas include Mission and Castro.  Enjoy, but no butt chaps on the bike without a seat cover.  Not even during pride week.

Yet another writer wading in to the debate about whether helmet-less bike share riders have created an epidemic of head injuries.  This writer's conclusions?  Absolutely not.

Math can solve the bike share movement problem.  So says Gizmodo India.  Math can solve most things except the inexplicable vicissitudes of courtship.  (I offer other tart observations in exchange for re-tweets and Google +1s.)

Kansas City is getting a dozen bike share stations.  They will feature docks that sit on top of the Wicked Witch of the East.  The city has employed a number of Munchkins to move the bikes around during peak commuting times.  Bike share riders will be serenaded by a freakishly large-breasted teenager with braids, who will one day become a pill addict, take to wearing heavy make-up, and go completely maudlin whenever she is interviewed for the rest of her life.

Orlando, Florida is getting bike share.  They already have Disney World, Epcot and unattractive suburban sprawl.  Bike share will help a lot.  I look forward to seeing Mickey and the oft-ignored Pluto quarreling over the last bike in the dock.

Words you never thought you would see in the same sentence:  "founder of Quicken Loans," "bike share," and "Ford Motor Company investing in bike share start-up." Ponder, as you wonder how the movement of the tectonic plates from Iceland to Asia may be influencing corporate America.  Then wonder how a start up and a few CEOs might figure a way to make bike share profitable.

In the battle of the bike share stations, DC wins with 335.  But if you count numbers of bikes at the stations, NYC wins with 76 at the largest dock.  And even if NYC loses, the mayor will call a press conference, then declare victory and municipal superiority.

Those Chinese.  That wacky human rights record.  That whole weird Mao-smelting-pig iron-in every back yard-forced marches thing.  That gorgeous Yellow Mountain topography.  Well, before you can say "choke me with Beijing's vomit-colored fog," consider this.  They have a bike share system that kind of smokes ours.  Yup.  In the middle of that chartreuse Beijing smog.  Makes the DC/NYC contest seem like child's play.

Policy and Advocacy:

Portland, Oregon has lost its place as the number one city for cycling.  Brooowaaaahahahaha.  According to Bicycling Magazine, New York and Minneapolis are ahead now.  Credible claim?  You be the judge.

Suburban businesses are turning to bike share, according to Nasdaq.  Office park owners are sweating. That nervous, smelly kind of sweat, wholly different from the long bike ride good kind of sweat.  That is because they hear a giant sucking sound as businesses relocate to cities where young talented people want to work.  Google and Amex are doing the same thing.  Hey, they don't have walkable locations, but at least it is something.  Perhaps they will ultimately decide walkable and bikable trump manicured lawn and tired fountain off of the interstate.  #bikeshare  #nervousofficeparkowners

Jersey City is adding a car free zone.  Shocking.  And yet pleasing to the brain.

So the aloof elites are not just inflicting themselves on the Burrough of Manhattan.  They are creating cycle-blocking ironworks in London.  Really now.  You mustn't block cyclists and wheelchairs as if they were Sherman tanks spewing sewage.  #outoftouch

Former DC Transit Director, Scott Kubly, says that the war on cars does not reflect reality.  Arguably neither does the show "House of Cards," but I choose to believe it.

In Holland where almost no one wears a helmet, almost no one gets seriously injured.

We are all trying not to be fat.  Even the fat are trying to not be fat.  So riding a bike and taking mass transit apparently helps us all not to be fat.


Do you commute in Northern Finland or Alaska?  Do you leave the house when most people are just entering REM sleep, or get home after most social inebriates?  Then perhaps you need more than a bike light.  Perhaps you need a bike that glows in the dark. #e-bike

Do you own a bike shop or sell bike-related stuff?  Then perhaps you could use a crash course on how to grow your business.  The European Cycling Federation has such resources for you.  #bike shop  #bike shop owners go to heaven


Sanibel, Florida.  Playground of the elderly.  White beaches.  Trailers.  Strip malls.  Dinner at 4:30 p.m.     Pants worn high on the rib cage.  But would you think an electric-bike shop that features a Felt e-bike with a Bosch motor?

M.A.S.S. e-bikes are like the lice-covered Viking of e-bikes.  Sturdy, strong, and ready for a ride on the Kon Tiki, a slide across a frozen lake, or the celebratory pillaging of a village.  Suitable for mud, asphalt, sand, and snow.  Hence the name.  You can even drape the frame with a gamey smelling pelt.  (Seriously.  You cannot make this stuff up.)  #electricbikes  #bikesforvikings

In Europe e-bikes now account for over 50% of the market.  Wow.

Pizza is good, always.  But pizza delivered by electric cargo bike has got to be even better, always.

Lots of 4000 Euro cargo bikes have been sold in Dublin since May.  Is Dublin becoming the new London?

Would you buy a electric bicycle from a guy wearing a kilt?  Would that be a selling point?  I know we enjoy the kilt wearers hurling and hoisting heavy things at the Scottish games, preparing single malt scotch, or curing smoked salmon.  But does a heavy wool tartan in the middle of a trade fair really help peddle, well, pedals?  Apparently.


A few "don'ts" for cyclists.  Do not hit guide dogs.  Just don't.  Do not buzz walkers on the National Mall or sidewalks around the Capitol.  Do not call a nearly blind, octogenarian driver a toad or Mister Magoo when he cannot see you to make a turn.  (Complain, of course, but do not name call.)  And do not, do not, pass another cyclist at the speed of a supersonic jet without saying "on your left however fleetingly."  Shoaling is for the "under-socialized."  Never turn on another cyclist and create a conflict.  If you do it will be like Ancient Rome and the marauders.  The motorists will win and we will lose because of infighting.  #donottakemetotallyseriously  #never  #shoaling  #shoalingisrude


Fancy a man in a well-tailored suit on a bicycle?  Here is a suit designed for the bike commuter.

Random Notes:

You have to love a guy who took up mountain biking at 63 and ended up racing.  If this story does not make you smile then you need to see a doctor and be evaluated for bitterness.  Or ride a bike to treat said condition.

If you are from Minneapolis, chances are pretty good that you are nice.  But are you nice enough to help the city count cyclists?  If you are really, truly that nice, then volunteer.

Looking for a job?  Stages Cycling in Portland, Oregon is looking for a tech support/customer service rep.

Cyprus, the country, is planning an annual cycling day.  If you needed an excuse to go to the Mediterranean, you now have one.

The data support forcing drivers of cars and pedestrians wear helmets.  #no hate mail please  #mandatory helmet law

And in Australia, there is a place where most cyclists ignore a mandatory helmet law.–-non-formist’-australian-town-where-4-5-cyclists-ignore-compulsory

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

Elisa P.