Sunday, February 22, 2015

It's Award Season - For Cycling.

That's right, WABA's Bicycle Choice Awards noted a few local figures and businesses as being #bikefriendly.  Councilman #davidgrosso won, along with #districttaco and #REI.  I have to wonder about the award to the #MStreetcycletrack.  It is still a work in progress, or a loading zone, depending on your view.  I have encountered a number of motor vehicles in the M Street lanes, including a #supershuttle van whose driver was yelling at someone on a cell phone while he stood on the sidewalk ignoring scowls and fist shakes from a number of cyclists.  Surely he did not come to receive the award on behalf of the cycle track.
I want to see the equivalent of the Rotten Tomato Awards for bicycling.  Like something for the police who let their horses befoul the bike lane.  A golden shovel perhaps.  An award to the driver captured making an illegal u-turn on camera on Pennsylvania Avenue the most number of times in a year.  I'm thinking of something festive.  Like deportation or banishment if they still do that.

Cities, including Washington, are moving to #VisionZero, a plan to eliminate deaths as the result of traffic accidents.  The biggest factor in traffic deaths remains speed - whether the accident is car on car, car on pedestrian, or car on bike.  So in Ireland, there is a move to reduce speeds.  The bill is named for Jake, a boy who was killed by a speeding motorist while riding his bike.  This would obviously help limit deaths in the U.S. too.  #duh

#Cargobikes could be the next big thing, so say Chris and Melissa Bruntlett in Grist.  Why?  Most things that get delivered can be delivered by a cargo bike, and five other reasons make this post very compelling.

In the category of super optimistic inventions, here's an app that aims to prevent cars from hitting bikes.  It sounds like a great idea, if it were mandatory for motorists.  The cyclist and the motorist both must have the app for it to work.  Once downloaded, it warns drivers about the presence of a cyclist.  Nice, but the last thing I want is a driver looking at his cell phone to see what it chirped as he whizzes toward a cyclist.

And we could all learn how to cycle in style by looking at the images of Hollywood's Golden Era.  Lana Turner knew how cool it looked to roll your pant leg up and go ride.

So, if I see you in the bike lane, and you are carrying an award trophy in an obvious effort to attract attention, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Could Presidents and Afghan Women One Day Ride in Subway Tunnels?

If the presidency is all about politics, and politics is about the economy, I celebrate #PresidentsDay and the expansion of the #cyclingeconomy in the U.S. and Europe.  #RepublicBike, the company that designs bikes for businesses, like the custom fleet for Google, is still growing.  The cycling industry advocacy "Club" in Europe is benefitting from urban connectivity.  In a week of grim reports of violence, this is great news for decent people on at least two continents, which is better than just one.
Reminds of the wonderful book #EllyBlue wrote over a year ago.  #bikonomics  In the parlance of our time, it's all good.

Thinking about freezing as you ride?  Deterred by a few feet of snow?  What if abandoned subway tunnels could be used as #bikelanes?  Sounds great, with adequate lighting and security.  A little creepy without.  #subwaytunnelbikelane

In Belfast they have decided that training the public on how to use bike share might get more people cycling.  Brilliant.

If you cannot get out the elements by going subterranean, should you cycle when you have a runny nose, fever, and a case of the adult whinies?  As with all things, the answer is "in moderation."

Like the whole #cyclingculture thing and want to see which businesses and people support cycling so that you can pick where you offer your support and money?  The Washington Area Bicyclist's Choice Awards are February 20.  You can celebrate the people and places that make cycling special and fun in the city.

Elsewhere in the world, and in improbable circumstances, Afghan women cyclists keep riding and keep getting shout-outs from the media.  #afghanwomencyclists

If I see you in the bike lane, even if you are sick, and even if you are the President, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Cyclists Compared to ISIL, Though #Cycling Keeps You Younger.


When a radio station like WTOP, that survives because its listeners are stuck in traffic, reports the increase in bike culture, and the loss of interest in cars, I consider that a sign that the world is righting itself.

In Denmark they are starting the indoctrination early, establishing playgrounds for cycling kids to enjoy.  We have BMX parks, but people drive to get there, kind of like they drive to spin class.  Makes sense, right?

Does #cycling keep you younger?  Indeed, but then again you knew that.

The #Bikesvscars debate continues even after the launch of a film aptly named, Bikes vs. Cars, which looks at the unnecessary death of a cyclist at the hands of a motorist and issues about our transportation policies that hurt society in general and cyclists in particular.

In London, the plan for a #bicyclesuperhighway is going forward.  Amidst this progress, the taxi union leader appears to have become unglued.  Or perhaps he was a madman in the first place.  In opposing the bicycle superhighway -which will cause a headache for taxi drivers and a loss of income from fares - he has compared cyclists to ISIL.  ISIL is a group that uses torture and terror to recruit.  Cyclists considerably less so.
Credibility is apparently not his strong suit.  On the other hand, some people do have a way of wearing that balaclava that suggests something dark and menacing.

In D.C., the #Bicyclespace pop-up appeared in a location that was a Burger King, home to deep fryers and junk food marketed to the young and poor.  Is that a Bird of Hope?  Yup.

Meanwhile in Africa:
Did you know that a woman in Nigeria is turning trash into treasure in part by using bicycle carts to  move the stuff around?  She conceived of her company, #Wecyclers, while she was earning her MBA at MIT.  Feel inferior right now?  Me too.

And the World Bank reports that over 50% of the world's population knows how to ride a bike.  This is a good thing.

So, if you are in that 50% that knows how to ride a bike, and I see you in the bike lane, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Riding A Bike Can Save Your Life: Sitting Kills

Sitting kills.  Cycling extends your life.

The newest data show that sedentariness kills.  It's not our diets, it's our lifestyles that are killing us.  It's sitting on our butts.

Ride your bike to work = live longer and healthier.  You drive, you die.  Simple.  Watching the Super Bowl right now?  Stand up, even if there's nothing happening in the game to motivate you.

Sitting is as bad for you as smoking.  Ah, but you say 28 states are now selling gas for $2.00 per gallon.  I can drive for cheap and have a smoke afterwards.  Fine, if you want to get in a death coffin and are gullible enough to believe the claims of the fossil fuel industry and big tobacco, go ahead.  And think about the long term costs to our environment and society from fossil fuels.  It's much higher than most people know.  Besides, driving a car is so 1996 - that's when driving peaked.  Do you still wear scrunchies and pantyhose too?  1996. When Madonna thought she could credibly play Evita Peron.  When John Galiano was thought to be just a weird guy who liked bad hair and baroque dresses.

That SUV you buy today will be a source of illness, shame and expense tomorrow.  That really nice road bike will stand out as a good investment.  (Shameless plug here:  #BicycleSpace, #TheBikeRack, and #TheDailyRider serve people with higher IQs.)

And don't let alarmists tell you how dangerous #cycling is.  It's safer than you think.  Very few cyclists were hurt last year in traffic accidents compared to drivers and pedestrians who cross four lane roads in the wee hours.  And don't worry, even the Commonwealth of Virginia - home of Robert E. Lee if you get my point - is going to make it illegal to door a cyclist.  Holy former south of the Mason-Dixon Line madness!

And you ask how you can afford to use bike share, the easiest means of getting around any city?  It is going to made affordable to all, unless you have a bad drug habit or a serious cognitive issue that causes you to loose track of things.

But what self-promoting politician is going to help make your life better as a cyclist?  Well, the urban world has a plan, just like the Commonwealth of Virginia seems to.
London Mayor Boris Johnson may be remembered for two things:
1)  Making the bicycling superhighway across London that made people get on their bikes, reduced obesity, and lowered the U.K.'s soaring healthcare costs; and,
2)  That terrible hair.
He will also be remembered for taking on the taxi-driver's union, which opposes the bike plan for obvious reasons.  (Perhaps we can get them out and about on rickshaws?)

That Mayor of Tokyo is also a seer.  He is pushing forward his vision of a carbon-less city where pollution does not contribute to global warming and assorted maladies.

So, if I see that you are smart enough to be in the bike lane, let's be smug.
Elisa P.