Sunday, May 31, 2015

Journalists Turn Against Cyclists and Other Cyclists News for the Daily Urban Rider

Sad to hear that John Kerry, Secretary of State, broke his femur in a cycling accident in France this morning.  Also sad that I am not cycling in France.  I wish him well and cycling again soon.  #kerrycyclingaccident

I used to think that journalism was based on facts.  But I also used to believe in Santa Claus.  Then as journalism became increasingly political, plagiarized and clearly motivated by the shrinking traditional news business, I imaged it had once had a golden age.  A time when it really functioned as the Fourth Estate.  Then I actually read about Hearst.  Now . . .  Ahem, Rupert Murdock.  Sorry, something stuck in my throat there.  Ackggghh, Fox/MSNBC spin.  Oops.  Perhaps a sneeze.  But when the NYT suggested, without any facts to support or even suggest, that the now-dead cyclist, killed by someone in a Mercedes who was fleeing from the police, might have been riding without a helmet, I was outraged.  Let me add, the dead cyclist was a gifted neuroscientist.  A helmet would not have made a difference as a matter of physics.  Most importantly, the death occurred during high-speed police chase and the cyclist, who was blameless, was hit from behind.  #cycling  #sergeimusatov

The Chinese news agencies are different.  One expects a degree of nonsense there since they are owned and controlled by the state.  This week Chinese news reported that a row house fire in Finland was caused by an e-bike battery.  This might have been true, but I am at least as skeptical as I would be if this were reported in the NYT.

Anti-cycling media coverage also hit a fever pitch in the UK last week after a toddler was struck on the sidewalk by a cyclist.  It is also interesting that anyone, including a journalist of even minimal bona fides could generalize about cyclists from a single incident.  But then again, this is country that managed to sustain (for decades) a newspaper that featured a topless woman on page 2 everyday.  Which totally freaked me out on the tube in the morning when I was a kid there.  I call upon those holding press credentials (which are given without any standardized test, aptitude, or moral assessment) to stop writing such nonsense and reclaim your profession.  There is no one type of cyclist any more than there is one type of Black person, or Jew, or Muslim.  Evolve.

While NYPD engaged in a high speed chase that contributed to the death of a cyclist and then insinuated the lack of a helmet might have cause said cyclist's death, Arlington County Police near Washington, D.C. introduced an electric bicycle to their fleet.  Oh, and their union does not allow them to have three drinks at lunch while wearing their guns and then return to the streets.  #arlingtonpolice  #electricbicycle
As a reader of Fast Company, Wired, and Ars Technica, I loved to hear about all the good and bad things that venture capitalists sink their money into.  Some are shockingly hair-brained, others could cure cancer.  But I hold a special admiration for these VCs who have started a line of fixies that will be sold - where else? - online.  #venturecapitalism   #fixedgearbikes  #fixies

Trouble for bike share in France, the country that really started the urban bike share movement outside of blond places (Holland and Denmark).  People there have begun questioning the costs.  Were that not bad enough, so have the blond countries.  Dear God, this is potentially worse than the Armageddon. 

Meanwhile here in humble DC, Capital Bikeshare is constantly updating its software and fleet placement to get bikes where they are needed.  I have taught my five-year-old to address the Bike Share workers as Mr. or Ms. Hero.  Over the top?  I think not.  #Capitalbikeshare

These venal cyclists and their fast moving machines.  So as it turns out cycling may help people with depression and other ailments more than simply prescribing them pills.  I am not shocked.  I am surprised that mainstream media has picked up on this.  #cylingforhealth

Helpfully Bicycle Magazine has published an article explaining how one can avoid getting numb feet on a ride.  I recommend the wearing of very high quality pumps.  Black patent survives the occasional payment scrape well.  If you can afford Manolos or Ferragamos, great.  Avoid spandex if your commute is short.  Always wear a lovely dress.  This should avoid the problem of foot numbness. #cyclinginhighheels.   #yesIamserious

So, if I see you in the bike lane, in pumps, or God-forbid spandex, and you are not some "creative" reporter or a fleeing felon, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Good Cops, Naked Bicyclists and Elderly Bike Messengers

It has not been a week of good cop stories, but there are loads of good cops, especially this one.  A Tennessee police officer invented a radar detector designed to catch cars that pass cyclists too closely.  Wonderful.  #goodcop  #bicycling

Naked Bike Week globally attracts, well, a category of person whom, I confess, I doubt is really motivated by a concern about global warming and fossil fuels.  Some appear to love displaying ill-considered piercings of their pudenda.  Yes it is a word which I have correctly italicized since it is Latin.  In the ancient dead language sense.  So in Portsmouth, England a city council member has called some participants more exhibitionists than activists.  #nakedbikeweek

Tomorrow in the U.S. we remember the people who fought and died while many of us cowered at home or were apathetic.  Last week the ride in silence was a different kind of honor for those who died cycling on the roads.  It's not exactly a theater of war, but it is a great idea to raise awareness, perhaps better than displaying your nether regions.  I'm just saying. #rideofsilence

Mashable, that little site that could, has published a list of the best bike routes.  It did not include mine, which passes at least two dumpsters and a recalcitrant office supply delivery truck.  I wonder why.  #bestbikeroutes

Tax haven, yes.  But bike friendly European country/city?  Hmmmm.  Luxembourg is climbing in the ranks of cycle friendly venues, and continues to advance on the "hiding-my-income-and-assets" friendly list at the same time.  #cycleluxembourg  #payyourdamntaxesforreal

Elderly people are being given a chance to work as bike messengers in Germany.   In the United States, they are still forced to watch back-to-back medication ads on network television news and suffer the indignities of assisted living in non-walkable, non-bikable communities.  Will some start-up please bring this here right away?

I have blogged before about the astonishing bravery of the Afghan women cyclists, but I must say that I am holding my breath and saying a little prayer for the women of Yemen who are trying the same.  May the wind lift you up and carry you high my sisters.  #yemeniwomencycling

So if I see you in the bike lane, dressed, though not necessary wearing a full hijab and/or abaya, though that would be okay too, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Quax Much in a Skirt?

#Quaxing has become an Internet thing.  Quaxing, or the practice of hauling groceries on a bicycle, has become a bragging right for Western #cyclists.  Sure you can haul that 48-roll pack of toilet paper home from Costco on your #Shinola, but what about your entire crop production?  I think we might be a little late to the party, or so a few thousand Cambodians could explain.  That said, I think quaxing makes you superior to the SUV crowd.  So quax on a prosper.

Salt Lake City, Utah is about to do the right thing and add features to intersections to protect the lives of cyclists riding in dedicated bike lanes.  Now if they would do the right thing by wine producers and coffee roasters, I would seriously consider a move there.  #SaltLakeCity

While some cyclists crave safety, others crave adrenaline.  These mountain bicyclists take on a hill so dangerous that hikers use cables when climbing it. #mountainbicycling #nuts
Another week, another anti bike theft software start-up.  Check it out and tell me if you think it will work. #biketheft

On the subject of bike theft, or perhaps more exactly, receipt of stolen property, to wit, a Capital Bike Share bike with obvious paint and markings:
The nitwit of the week award goes to the horrible person who attempted to sell a stolen bike share bike on  You can develop software to help prevent bike theft, yes indeed, but can you develop software to raise a moral deficient's sense of human decency?  If so, I'd crowd fund that. #biketheft

Is the car age over?  Guardian U.K. suggests possibly.  Not a dystopic vision, Ridley.  Not at all.

Looking for a job in the world of cycling?  The Washington Area Bicyclists' Association is hiring.

Some recommendations for the city bike commuter who needs to arrive for the meeting without a costume change: I am bullish on Betabrand's bike-to-work skirt.  It looks good, it's made in San Francisco, you can wash it in a machine, and its in a reasonable price point for big city dwellers.  Also great are fit and flare dresses by Reiss and Calvin Klein.  The CK ones are sometimes washable too.  Key point for those riding in humidity and heat this summer.  Why wear spandex and look like a sausage, or your quirky cousin Fred, when you can channel Audrey Hepburn?  #betabrand #Reiss #dressesforcyclists #skirtsforcyclists #bikelikeawoman

So, if I see you in the bike lane, in a bike-to-work skirt, or hauling a cord of wood just to one-up the other quaxing cyclists on Twitter, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Propel, Pervs, and Virtue Bike to Work this Month.

It is Bike to Work month, although for most of us that is every month except sometimes February.
May 15, 2015 is Bike to Work Day.  If you know a slacker, and we all do, tell them to at least bike that one stinking little day.  Some events to consider are linked here:
#biketoworkmonth #biketoworkday

Bike share just got $10.00 more expensive for a year's membership.  That's three lattes at a cheap place, or just 6 coffees (that you could easily make at home six times next year).  Just join.  #capitalbikeshare

So who rides bike share anyway?  Wealthy white men, for the most part.  However, more of them are using it all the time.  Where's everybody else?  Come on people.  It's Bike Share, not the Cosmos Club. Let's go!

Fenway Park in Boston just got a bike valet.  Now I could write something trollish or bating here, but instead let me just say "welcome." Welcome Boston, finally.  We have had bike parking and a free bike valet for years here in Washington.  (That wasn't provocative, was it?  You never want to inflame those Boston fans.  Ahem.) #bikevalet #fenwaybikevalet

Feel emotional when people get into the bike helmet debate?  Yes, it makes sense.  No, people are too alarmist.  Stop catastrophizing, if that is a word.  If you're for it, you are probably from here.  If not, you are probably from some place where they have had a bike culture longer. #bikehelmetdebate

Whether you were in favor of the Iraq war or not, you have to feel good when a guy who went to battle and came out injured wins an award for his e-bike design.  #propelbikes

The problem with #cycling in the rain is you get wet.  If you are anti-spandex and want to be dressed for work when you arrive there on your bike, rain is a challenge.  The virtue bike is covered to protect you from rain.  And it looks like a Minion.  Sort of.  #virtuebike  I want one yesterday please.  If many of us get one, no one will look silly to the haters.

Are Americans driving more?  If our IQs are dropping, or we have resorted to short term thinking.  Oh dear, it turns out we are getting dumber.  Turn back the slip toward idiocy.  Ride your bike.

A perv on a bicycle has been groping women.  This story that was cross-posted by +Ben Folsom.  Folsom gets the nice guy of the week award, while the perv gets the pathetic and dangerous loser of the week award. #yuck
Looking for quick fix solutions to bike problems? Bicycle Magazine has a nice little set of them for you.  These tips won't eliminate the beast in the BMW who is texting as he drives wildly toward you, but they will help you fix a chain issue, a flat, and assorted other problems.
Speaking of things that threaten your bike commute, a U.K. Man decided to motivate his local government to fix gaping potholes in a rather unusual way.  He painted penises on them in the hope that they would: (1) notice the road damage; (2) fix it.  Or so he later explained.  Potholes are a serious danger, but seriously.  Do you just hate municipal meetings so much that you must resort to this?  #probablyneedsmedication  #needsashrink #potholescanmakenormalcyclistsinsane

Fancy a periscope for your bike because you can't bear to look up?  Help crowd fund one.  #silly

So if I see you in the bike lane, on a Propel Bike or a Virtue covered bike, headed to work to set an example for others, and you are not a perv, or you do not reveal yourself to be one at least, let's be smug.
Elisa P.