Sunday, November 30, 2014

Burn it Off and Warm It Up.

Winter riding can be a challenge, but there are mistakes you can avoid, according to Gearjunkie.  To use the parlance of Glamour Magazine without the inanity: Do wear a balaclava so that you look like a combination between a terrorist and a snake.  This will cause drivers to fear you, and it will keep your neck warm.  Double bonus.  Do consider a fixie since it has fewer moving parts to hold salt and gravel.  Don't ride your best bike that has no fenders, and don't forget to use more lights than your crazy Aunt Betty puts on the front of her split-level every Christmas. #wintercycling  #fixedgear

How far and how long do you have to ride to burn off Thanksgiving dinner?  Very far and for hours, which can provide you with the excuse you need to mollify the spouse.  It does not burn calories if you stop for beers along the way, but there is probably a study - a dubious one, but a study - that shows stopping for beers helps burn calories and/or counteracts the effects of tryptophan.  #bicyclingthin

Some people admire great novelists, brain surgeons, doping running backs, or powerful CEOs.  A lot of us admire the people who help us bike around cities.  If you are of that ilk, read this interview with Kimberly Lucas, Washington, D.C.'s Department of Transportation's bike planner.—bikes-course

Care to ride on the sidewalk in San Jose, California?  Then be under 12 years of age or a cop.  Otherwise, risk a ticket.  Or worse, find yourself cast as a bully who knocks down senior citizens.  #whaaaaa?????

Electric bikes are still picking up speed in the U.S., and this blog gives some basics on what you need and what it will cost.  The post was made by a couple in Eureka, California who decided to make the change.  What sort of pack should you buy?  How far can it go?  What extras do you have to get to make it actually work?  Will you fly like a rocket? #electricbike

Or would you prefer to be a rocket cyclist?  Yup, they existed at one point, before the plaintiff's attorneys' bar had grown quite as powerful as it is today.  Now a rocket bike definitely should not be ridden on a sidewalk crowded with seniors.  Nor with a long coat that looks suspiciously combustable.  Nor with a leather helmet that seems unlikely to protect any part of the brain, let alone the parts you especially like and need.

So if I see you in the bike lanes, and it has started to snow, and you have a rocket pack on your rear rack, and so many lights that drivers think you are the actual White House Christmas Tree, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sunday Bloody Sunday for Bono and Other Cycling News.

How can it be that one of my favorite musicians, Dubliners, and half-Catholic-half-Protestants crashed his bike on - as I understand it - a Sunday?  Was he riding on The Edge?  Clearing his head of the frustration of still not finding what he was looking for?  I did not need another reason to like this guy, really.  But I am so jazzed to learn he is a cyclist.  Oh, and I hope he gets well soon.

A brave cyclist in Beijing blocked a Mercedes that was driving in the dedicated bike lane in China's smoggy capital.  It did not exactly evoke the image of a lone protester in Tiananmen Square in 1989, but it was incredibly bold.  The western man atop a bike against a high end luxury car being driven in a "communist" country was also worth a chuckle.  Shouldn't this have been an image of a humble Chinese pedestrian wearing a blah cotton Mao shirt as he stared at some westerner atop a high-end carbon road bike?  Is the world upside down?  Enjoy.

Van Gogh's Starry Night is one of those paintings even knuckle draggers can remember.  Now a Dutch artist has recreated it in the form of an illuminated bike path in Van Gogh's own Holland.  What could  be more beautiful than a nighttime ride along the image of a swirling, powerful constellation of stars?

It's that time again!  Winter.  Snot-cicles.  Your face frozen like bad plastic surgery.  Your hands so stiff that they remind your office colleagues of rigor mortis.  Well a guy in Minnesota (of course, where else?) has some winter cycling advice for you.

Policy and Advocacy:

Just when I think we have it bad here in the U.S. when it comes to the fictionalized war between cars vs. bicycles, along come a few Australians to lower the level of debate.  This opinion piece in a Brisbane newspaper would seem to liken a pelaton of cyclists on a suburban street to a criminal street gang.  Made me feel a little the superior of the former colonies for at least a nanosecond.  Sigh.


Chilean students have designed a bike they believe is theft proof.  The reason is that the bike is not rideable if you saw through or cut it.  Caveat: Maybe in a world where bike thieves do not operate mobile chop shops, but not in any major U.S. city.  The idea is great if bike thieves were just looking for a ride instead of parts to fence for meth money.  Buenos suerte colejos.  La idea es briliante.

So, if I see you bundled up in the bike lane, and you are riding a bike, not dragging pieces of a bike, and the ground alights beneath us to reveal a miasma of stars like you never see in an era of light pollution, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Stop Complaining and Ride

What the . . . ?
Is a self-described cyclist who is against bike share committing treason?  Meet Linda of Santa Monica, assuming that's her real name, who thinks the program is too expensive and hard to use.  She claims to have used bike share in London.  Perhaps she is one of those prolific letter-to-the-editor writers who is actually a passive shut-in.  A free cup of coffee goes to the person who can confirm that Linda is not her real name, or who change her mind if it is.  #skeptical #bikeshare  Worry not, Linda, if that is your real name.  There are delays in rolling out the program.

Crash, blackness, what happened?
The Washington Area Bicycling Association is in favor of law that would allow for shared liability in bike and car accidents.  The insurance industry and the Washington Post's editorial board are not.  You be the judge.  #bikelaw #bikesversuscars #3000poundsagainst112onafatday

Chutes and Ladders has been around for centuries.  Now cycling advocate Mikael Colleville-Andersen has created a version, Snakes and  Ladders that uses bikes instead of cars to promote cycling.  Is there a Nobel prize for awesome?  Buy the game.  Indoctrinate your kids.  Change the world.  #normalizecycling  #chutesandladders #snakesandladders

The BBC's morning show devoted a week to the cycling culture and infrastructure.  This is a good thing.  Right?  But there were still complaints about the coverage's integrity.  Sigh.  Let us pause a moment to consider morning programs in the developed world.  When coiffed and heavily made-up deliverers of feel good stories give cycling a week's worth of attention, that is a good thing.  I've not seen any lengthy treatment of the subject by American network news-entertainment shows.  Concerts in the square, celebrity chefs using hot-pots to demonstrate blintzes, cute pets, and oddly conceived marriage proposals, yes.  But a nice story about the everyday cyclists, never.   #bikenews

The guys who move your bike share bikes around want to join a union.  And it looked good for them until Capitol Bike Share recently hired a union busting firm, according to Politico.  I spoke to a bike share worker today who remained optimistic.  "People don't see bikes like the rest of transit."  He added that he thought the issue of unionization was "a work in progress."  While I do not see a sweating Norma Ray moment in the offing, bikes are transit and should be treated that way.   Whether a union will help this or not is yet to be determined.  #bikeshareunion

I like the idea of a solar powered bike path but remain baffled by the concept.  Would DDOT sell back to the grid?  Would the path simply be heated to prevent icy conditions during the next polar vortex?  Those Dutch.  They don't wear the wooden shoes anymore, its been over 60 years since one of them tried to save Ann Frank, and Dutch tulips now come from Equador, but they will always be in the heart of any true city cyclist.   #bikepath

So, if I see you in the bike lane, whether it is solar powered or not, and assuming you are not a morning show "personality" who is blocking the lane, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Holidays Looming - Get Cranking


Cyclists are superior to everyone else, I think we can all agree without any winking or irony.  Soon it will be the season of giving, and cyclists have an important role to play.  Prove your superiority by participating in the Cranksgiving ride in Washington, DC, or 49 other locations, where you can ride to pick up and deliver food for a designated charity.  The rules and D.C. point of contact information are hyperlinked below, so you now have two fewer excuses for not participating.  You weren't going to just show up at one of those Thanksgiving Day spin classes were you?  Gobble, gobble.  #cranksgiving


Outrage and support for Chris Boardman, who explained his appearance on a British morning show sans helmet and in normal street clothes thusly:  If cycling looks and feels normal, more people will cycle.  Love this guy.  #normalizecycling
What prevents injuries to cyclists more, helmet wearing, or cycling infrastructure?  The answer is not easy to prove.  Helmet use may reduce cycling.  Helmet use may impact cyclists' behavior, making them more prone to take risks.  In Holland, where there is a high percentage of cycle use, helmets are rarely worn, and injuries are few, there are loads of bike lanes.  In general, when infrastructure goes in, injuries go down.
If more people cycle, the more likely it is that cycling infrastructure will increase.


Here's a nice little film about protected bike lanes that offers anecdotal proof that they reduce injuries.  And it's a delicious view for cycling nerds, which will one day rule the universe.  I'm just sayin'.

So if I see you in the bike lane, especially if you are hauling food for a charity, let's be smug.
Elisa P.