Sunday, July 26, 2015

Cyclist Pooping Starts Fire and Heels and Pencil Skirts Deter Bike Share According to People Unfamiliar With Bike Share

Big movements in history:
The Enclosure Movement
The Iconoclasm
The Industrial Revolution
The End of Motor Vehicle Hegemony.
Evidence of the latter movement - bicycle autobahns in Munich, the town where they build BMWs.
You are witnessing history.  So document it in less than 100 characters for all posterity.  Or just smile and ride.

Everyday heros can be hard to spot.  But Bicycling Magazine found one.  A teacher in Kansas who got his whole class riding a bike.

The Weekly Standard reported this week that women make up half the population of NYC, but only a third of bike share riders.  The writer blames pencil skirts and heels for the failure of women to ride bike share.  I quarrel with this sort of unscientific assessment.  Heels and bicycles go together just fine, unless you have to climb a super steep hill.  You can still do it in Ferragamos, but Christian Laboutains for whatever reason, can be slippery.  Pencil skirts have to pass the dropped change test before they are bicycle safe.  The question is, if you dropped some change, could you bend your knees and pick it up without the skirt tearing.  If you can, please go ahead and wear the skirt.  Ride with your knees in a bit, however.  Not that anyone can see anything, but you want to counter some people's overly fertile imaginations.
I hope my counsel removes any deterrence to women riding.  As to the vapid content of the Weekly Standard written by someone I suspect has no bike share experience, that I cannot help.
PS, fit and flare dresses are great for bikes, and skinny pants are ideal and chic.  Both look fabulous on bike share.
Could it be none of this has anything to do with why women don't ride?  Could it be that they are raised to be overly dear and to worry constantly about how they appear?  Hmm.  In an intelligent counterpoint, you might want to read this piece in Bicycling on 10 ways to get women into bike shops, whether they are in heels or flats.

So we cyclists are on the karmic high ground.  Legally, however, we break the law in equal percentages to motorists, according to a survey.  I'd like to see how the survey was constructed and administered.  Could it be that some motorists tried to be "helpful" by giving answers they thought cyclists would give for themselves?

A design museum is celebrating the bike boom with a new exhibit.  Hopefully it will show cycling as revolution designed to permanently change how people live, and not as some mere reflection of the zeitgeist that is as fleeting as fashion.

Bike helmets.  If you ride on the open road in the suburbs or the countryside, your risk of a head injury is pretty high compared to your risk in dedicated bike lanes on city street.  But did you ever think of mandatory helmet laws as a failure of policy?  That's how some people see it.

It gives a bad name to cyclists when one defecates and starts a destructive and massive brush fire.  I want this story to be false for any number of reasons, including because I do not want to picture events leading up to the conflagration.  But alas, it is true.  In attempting to burn his toilet paper, he failed to snuff out a small ember.  You get the picture, whether you want to or not.

So, if I see you in the bike lane, in heels and a pencil skirt, and you are on a bike share bike, I will consider you a good American, and we should both be very smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Bike Share Use Conclusively Linked to Weight Loss, But Bike Share Use on Expressway Conclusively Linked to Foolishness

If you are looking to lose weight, you might want to try the bike share diet.  Keeping your current eating patterns, and adding bike share use, you can drop a few lbs, and have a good time.  Of course, just riding your own bike regularly would have the same effect. 

So it is fitting that this week the City of St. Louis began to add bike lanes.  A smart move that would appear hipster-ish, but may have been calculated to reduce healthcare costs in a city with a 32% rate of obesity.  Brilliant considering obesity is as bad or worse than smoking for your health.  #bikelanes #StLouis

For every good project, there is some fool, or some fools, who decide to sully the image of the project.  The nitwits of week award goes to two people who decided to ride Philly bike share bikes onto the Interstate 676 in the City of Brotherly Love.  It is difficult to understand how this could have happened without a lot of alcohol.  #bikesharephilly

Not everyone grew up on a cul-d-sac with houses bordered by well-manicured lawns.  Many grew up in places where bikes were not the norm.  More programs are reaching out to the potential cyclists and welcoming them into the fold . . . or the lanes . . . or the share.  Whatever.  #learntorideabike

Have you read all the press about how African American people never use bike share? Instead, the tale goes, bike share supporters/users are just a bunch of young, white guys . . .  and, well, and me, she of the pigment challenged set.  Could it be that riders of color prefer their own bikes?  Maybe, maybe not.  This week in Minneapolis, black cyclists gathered on their own bikes to show a different version of reality.  Regular rides and companionship for African-American women can be found right here in Washington with Black Women Bike DC.  #blackwomenbikedc

This piece in the Wall Street Journal made me smile.  I remember training for centuries on a heavy, inexpensive bike alongside guys with expensive featherlight bikes.   Then at the moment of truth, when I borrowed a light weight bike to do the 100 miles, I flew.  Oftentimes I passed well-tanned and muscled people on bikes costing at least $4000 more than mine.  Enjoy this piece about how to use common sense to train for the same inclines braved by juicing Tour riders.  Hint: You don't have to spend $10k on a bike.  #cyclingtraining

What if you happened to spot your stolen bike while you were riding?  This Colorado man did, and he managed to follow the bike at a safe distance and, ultimately, get it back.  How?  He called the police, kept back a ways, and he had his serial number ready for the officer.  Is your serial number(s) in your smart phone right now?  If not, chop-chop, get going!  Do it now.  Thank me later.  #thebicyclefairygodmother

An Afghan refugee who helped fight against the Taliban was hit while riding his bike, maybe by a texter.  He died, just months after finding safety in America.  Would someone please tell me what is so important in a text message that one must look at it while driving?  And the deceased man was an engineer, a can-do members of our species.  Is there some higher penalty for mowing a Muslim guy down during Ramadan?  For killing someone with engineering skills?  #stoptexting

Bike share in Grand Rapids?  Seriously?  Wow.

So, if I see you in the bike lane, and you are on an inexpensive bike, or a bike share, no matter your age or color, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Princesses Carting Nannies in Cargo Bikes

Remember when royals seemed prissy and dear?  They rode in white and pink carriages and wore tiaras?  Would a member of a royal family ride her cargo bike around Copenhagen with her nanny in the front passenger box?  She did.  #royalcycling #momsonbicycles

If you believe the statistics, women don't ride bikes.  I have to admit that we are pretty consistently outnumbered in the bike lanes.  But if you have children, you are more likely to ride as a woman.  Also, if you have access to bike lanes, you are a lot more likely to ride, according to  I saw this first hand after DDOT placed parking stoppers along the bike lanes in Washington, DC.  Suddenly, one day later, the lanes were filled with women.  Coincidence?  No chance.  We don't want to perish while commuting.  If we did, our kids would suffer terribly.  Thanks #DDOT.

The National Cycling Network has saved the UK almost $2 million a day.  As I have said before, the savings are drawn from reduced healthcare costs mostly.  I heard sitting is the new smoking.  And driving is the new drinking arsenic.  Okay, I might not have heard it put quite that way.  I am hoping to attain something akin to immortality by working at a standing desk and riding my bike everywhere I possibly can.  Care to join me?  Together we can save millions.£1million-day-saved-cycling-and-walking-routes

Boris bike use doubled during the Tube strike this past week.  Let's hope many of those emergency users hang around for a while and help continue to drive those UK healthcare costs down through fitness and well-being.

UPS is testing electrically assisted cargo bike for deliveries.  Whoot-whoot.  Better than those behemoth brown trucks that clog city streets.  And for smaller packages, most of what UPS delivers, it seems to make perfect sense.  #UPS #cargobike

Caltrain is looking at ways to get more bikes on trains.  Unfortunately, one way is to remove restrooms.  Given the appalling state of some of the restrooms I have seen on trains, removing them sounds like a step toward improved hygiene.  But I can see where this may concern passengers who fear bikes will come to displace them. The momentum toward bike trains is so strong at this point, it seems inevitable people will soon be sharing fewer potties.  #caltrain #biketrains

Virginia has added some laws that are supposed to help improve cycling safety, like letting drivers cross a double yellow line in order to pass a cyclists.  And the City of Alexandria is resurfacing trails.  At last.  Virginia appears to be waking from its Dixie slumber.  #Virginiabicycling

So, if I see you in the bike lane, safely cruising along behind those delicious new barriers, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Politicians Who Want to Ticket Cyclists and Other Perplexing Nonsense

#Zagster is raising several million dollars to expand bike share across the United States.  If you are picturing a constellation of inter connected share networks spanning the entire country, think again.  This is just a nationwide push to expand bike sharing, which is always a good thing.  The investors in Zagster's venture are an impressive lot in terms of their green/sustainable bona fides.  If you are awash in cash and want to jump into the crowd that is funding this, have at it.  #bikeshare #zagster

#Ford Motors is now thinking ahead, as its board and R&D department should be after years of tired lines of too-big cars and trucks.  Ford Motors is building an electric bike with Apple Watch connectivity.  Yowsah!  #Fordmotors #applewatch #electricbicycle

Ever try a game of "I'm more of a bike geek than you?"  For bragging rights, check out this history of bike paths, and write the #Jeopardy #cyclingchallenge game.  One piece of trivia: The idea of rails to trails took over 130 to execute after it was first conceived.  That is at least 129 years too long.  #bikegeek #railstotrails

#Artcrank, that wonderful art festival featuring images of cycling and cyclists, is not in DC or NYC this year.  This is really unfortunate.  #Cycling + art, and/or #cyclingart combines two of my favorite things.  (Did Henry Moore every sculpt a cyclist?  I mean on a bicycle, not after weight gain and in a state of repose?)  I hope that Artcrank makes it back next year and displays in the #easternmarket.

So I walked into a bike shop on Capital Hill, badumdum.  No, seriously, I went to #Citybikes with my least favorite bike in pretty bad shape.  For a ridiculously reasonable sum, the female bike mechanic ("Kate" I believe) fixed all that ailed my bike in a short time and remembered to call me when the work was done.  So I found it interesting this week to see that Bike Radar shares a list of ten things you should never say to a woman in a bike shop.  To the extent that anyone would say anything inappropriate to the mechanic who helped me (such as, "Can I please speak to the mechanic?"), that would probably irritate me and her.  Here is what not to say to a woman in a bike shop if you are a totally decent person (which bike people almost always are), or a really nice cave man (even troglodytes can grow), or just one of those gals with too much hair spray and a belief that women should sit on satin pillows and be fed peeled grapes.  Hint: None of the ten is, "Yes, that helmet makes you look fat."  #femalebikemechanics #womenbikemechanics

There are politicians who believe that cyclists should be given tickets for select offenses.  Paschal Donohoe, Ireland's Minister for Tourism and Sport, is one of them.  Donohoe thinks cyclists should be given tickets for some offenses so unclear that they are reminiscent of the abolished offense of  "being a common scold," which the Supreme Court of the United States thought was too vague to be a valid law.  Donohoe claims to be a cyclist himself, and maybe his is true, but I will simply say that he looks rather more like a tourist than someone deeply into sport.  I know.  You are dealt the jawline God gave you.  Whatever.  Perhaps I am simply filled with resentment because I would like to be the Minister for Tourism and Sport.  I suspect the job has something to do with tourism and sport, pays well, and requires no heavy lifting, literal or intellectual.  #paschaldonohoe  #ticketingcyclists

So, if I see you in the bike lane, riding a Zagster share, or a Ford e-bike while dictating a text message with Siri on your watch, and you are not the Minister or Tourism or Sport, let's be smug.
Elisa P.