Sunday, January 25, 2015

Is the South Warming up to Cycling?

Image from the Bangor Daily News.

As cyclists living on the east coast of the United States stare down the barrel of a possible blizzard, it is important to keep a little perspective.  #Wintercycling is growing increasingly popular to the north in Canada.  As the Scandinavians say, there is no bad weather, just inadequate clothing, poorly plowed lanes, and enough salt on the road to rot a chain made of diamonds.

We can all use a little refresher on how to cycle in winter.  Take the lane, have adequate lights, have the right tires, and have enough courage to admit when a multi-model route is better for your health and safety.  And don't double dog dare some cycling buddy to do anything too dangerous in bad conditions.  Or, if you cannot help yourself because that's just the sort of former frat boy you are, at least pair up with the person whose life you might place a risk so there are two of you.  Two cyclists being more obvious to motorists than one, unless the motorist is a drooling idiot, in which case you're in serious trouble no matter what.

Those of you in the nation's capital should think kindly on the owners of Pleasant Pops coffee shop.  Pleasant Pops will give #cyclists who brave the cold a free cup of Joe.  Not sure it will be the lush flat white you crave, but it might be a bold Sumatran that will warm your bones.

The winter won't last forever, and when it does end, we should consider this nice outline of what is needed to advance urban cycling: wear your normal clothes, have cities charge for parking, building infrastructure, account for the saved money in healthcare costs, and a few other common sense points.  #notrocketscience.

I am calling upon the Illustrious Potentate, the Superior Emperor, and citizenry of the Democratic Society of Decent Cyclists to expel the following individual from the superior culture of cyclists, following some sort of due process of course:  one Sidney Williams who cycled to a number of cash and carry businesses so that he could conduct an armed robbery spree.  Williams' targets included Dollar Stores and Wendy's . . .   Really dude?  Dollar Store?  Get help.  And stay away from bikes until you have fully reformed.  We will consider your application for re-entry into the superior culture of cycling upon the completion of your term.

R.I.P. former Chicago Bears player, Christopher Dyko, a 48 year-old father of two, who was killed while riding his bicycle.

On an up note, Southern Alabama now has a bicycling plan.  #notatypographical error.  No, I am absolutely not kidding.  Sweet home Alabama, where the . . . cyclists may someday be free, and Alabama may no longer be last.

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

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Happy MLK Day. Share #Cycling with Everyone.

On January 28, 2015, there will be a #CapitalBikeshare open house at the Martin Luther King, Jr. library in Washington, DC from 6-8 p.m.  You can find out about expansion plans, and proposed fees increases.  Drop in, but keep in mind that the cost with the price increase is still less than other major cities.  And don't heckle.  Nobody likes a heckler.

The bike share manufacturing and supply company formerly known as #Alta is now called #Motivate.  As in, "I hope you people feel motivated to continue making share bikes and do not waste capital on frivolities such as a corporate brand name changes that will require a re-do of the letterhead and awnings."  Sounding motivated himself, the CEO, Jay Walder, gave an interview to Citylab about his plans to use data to better fund and plan the corporate path ahead.  The company is also leaving its roots in humble, bike-friendly Portland, Oregon and moving to New York City.  Walder is pictured above looking, well, motivated.  Or caffeinated, or something.

Is it the beginning of the end of Danish cycling supremacy?  Bike friendly #Denmark made itself so hospitable to two-wheeled citizens by keeping the speed limit for cars below 30 km.  A recent plan to up the speed limit may change Denmark's stellar #cycling safety record.

Meanwhile in Australia, #bicyclists were the object of ridicule and scorn on a Family Feud show.  Hahahahahah!  You were a penal colony, already.  Ok?  This show was covered by the Washington Post, which employs Courtland Milloy.  I pause here for all serious #cyclists to sigh.  Lest you should become upset, keep a little perspective.  Who watches Family Feud?  People in assisted living and one of my cousins whose source of income is murky.  And who reads Courtland Milloy?  My guess is the same crowd.  Ride on, care not, and be wonderfully cheerful in front of motorists who are not burning calories or experiencing the world outside a metal tomb.

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

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bike Share Business Dos and Don'ts

Oh Canada!  Your Bixi bike share was the first, the best, the most wonderful of any bike share system in the hemisphere.  So what brought you to the brink of death, Bixi?  Undercapitalization, a bad decision to switch software systems, and an ill-timed bankruptcy.  What was smart and sustainably minded?  The solar-powered wi-fi on the docking stations and the "sturdy equipment."  (That's Latin for 45 lb. bikes).  Well, the software is now in the hands of a team of experts, and the system's big challenge is to regain the confidence of commuters.  So Bixi owner/investor/sofa magnate, Bruno Rodi, may turn this thing around.  Citibike, pay attention!  Maybe you need an eccentric investor with a vision.  Nominees?  No sharks with bad hair comb-overs.

Meanwhile, Citibike may now extend to New Jersey.  At least you can dock them there when you arrive back from the city.

And, though "nobody walks in LA," as the song says, they do bike and now they can use bike share.  That's right.  In downtown LA.

So what can cities do to make #cyclists feel safer?  Make protected #bikelanes.  Use poles to separate drivers and give cyclists their own signals.  Why bother?  Simple.  More people on bikes means less in cars, less obesity, cha-ching, more money saved.

What can you say about #CourtlandMilloy, The Washington Post's irrelevant columnist who uses provocation to get attention?  He is not unlike a toddler whose mother has just picked up the phone.  He continues his advice for cyclists even though he does not ride his bike.  This is a bit like the person who has one meal in front of an open kitchen at a restaurant and leaves thinking he could be the chef de cuisine without any further training.  Like the woman who watches the NASA rocket launch and thinks she operate the craft herself with just a few hours of training.  I cannot include the hyper-link to his piece because I will not inflict that on the one or two readers of this blog.  The Post needs to think seriously about why he is still employed indulged there.  His outdated views may no longer serve the readers.

In Washington, it seems both Republicans and Democrats can come together on the issue of Mountain Biking.  Congress passed four bills that essentially expanded the U.S. Park Service's mountain areas by adding land to the existing places where mountain biking is permitted.  Is this the wise de-politicization of the issue of climate change, previously known by its real name, global warming, that could set a course for America's leading role in the post crude oil world?  Nope, but it's a little something.

And if low gas prices are enticing you back into the car, remember this line from the film "Who Killed the Electric Car?"  "Like the junkie, they lower the price to get you hooked.  You start driving again, investing in gas-guzzling cars.  Then they raise the price.  A lot.  But it's too late.  You're hooked."
Just say no.  Or NFW.

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

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Hitman on Bikes, Priests Hitting Men on Bikes, and Optimism In Spite.

If cycling approaches a religion, I vote to excommunicate Christodoulos Xiros, a former hit man who was arrested last week while he was riding his #bicycle.  Xiros was riding while armed with gun when he was spotted by police.  Xiros had managed to escape from custody and had drastically altered his appearance.  Xiros, a natural brunette, had a dye job that lacked credibility and could not withstand close scrutiny.  My guess is he did not wear a helmet, which is not an offense. (Being a hit man is an offense, in point of clarification.)  The police could see right to his roots, criminal and otherwise.  You get the incognito you pay for.

Speaking of religion and #cycling, the Baltimore Sun reports the driver of the car that killed cyclist Thomas Palermo was in fact an Episcopal bishop who had a liquor bottle and some marijuana in her car.  Her decision to drive drunk was less than godly, as was her decision to initially flee the scene.  Palermo was a dad.  You can help his kids by sending money to Molly Investment Group which has their trust.  Police collared the driver wearing the collar.  She apparently expressed remorse.  Well, I guess so.  Pretty permanent.  Pretty damning.

Bono's bike injuries are worse than reported.  He may never play the guitar again.  Long thoughtful pause.  Head forward.  Awful. #Bono

Looking for that summary of the good news in #bikelanes from 2014?  Well, Grist has it right here for you.  And so does Next City.  And just look at the Streetsie awards.  Janette Sadik-Khan, and her team, and the current administration of Citibikes all were reported in Streetsblog NYC, and just about every other publication for those interested in #cycling and #sustainableliving.  Read, enjoy, smile.  Use in arguments with nay-sayers.

Remember those bicycle supply vending machines that sprouted up in Holland and Denmark?  Now there is one in Colorado Springs.  Too far away.  We need about 20 of them around Washington, DC.  Hey purveyors of vending machines!  Chop-chop!  We're waiting.  You've been foisting sugary drinks and sodium-laden snacks on us for years.  Here's your moment to make it all right. Please set machines up in close proximity to the Metropolitan Branch, Capital Crescent, and Mount Vernon trails to start.

So if I see you in the bike lane, and you are not a hit man, let's be smug.
Elisa P.