Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sweden Pays Cyclists, California Allows Skateboards in Bike Paths, Citibike Pleases Capitalists, and Australians Become Irrationally Exercised Over Passing Laws (Christian Kolber)
There is proof that cycling is working its way into the culture of transit.  California, where the car is king, now regulates paths.  Of course they allow skateboards and e-bikes access, but as they say in California, skateboarding isn't a crime.  If you plan on riding a beer bike, peddle powered by up to five revelers/inebriates, new regulations apply to you as well, none of which have to do with an IQ test.

Arlington, Virginia aims to be more bike friendly and it is developing a plan to accomplish that.  If you want to weigh in, the time is now, not after the lanes end randomly and your block gets the nickname "Corridor of Doom."

Do you ever think that drivers should pay you for not adding to their misery by putting yet another car on the road?  In Stockholm that is what they are doing.  Please let me know which elected official of either party would: (1) sponsor such a bill, and; (2) have the strength to get is passed.  And post the telephone number of that fine elected official.  Also, I will tell you where you can mail my first check.  I'll be waiting.
Laser lights are now illuminating the bike share paths of London.  Sounds glorious.  I can hear Benjamin Britten playing loudly in my head as I think of it.
In Australia, they have proposed a law requiring cars to stay one meter from bicycles.  Nice.  We have had that law here in Washington, D.C. for at least a year.  Just sayin'.  Yup we mistreated our indigenous people too, but we were settled by tax protestors and religious zealots, not convicted felons, and we have had the bike distance rule for several months before you.  Ha ha.  Feelin' superior for a moment.  Okay, that's over.  Have a good day.

Oft complained-about Citibike uses no government subsidies.  Disbursed systems like capital bike share only make 79% back and need subsidies.  Would some genius step forward to help correct this.  Nothing appeals to an American population more than a successful capitalist model.  A successful share business model could help in the global promotion of cycling.

The town of Hamilton's online newsletter, "Raise the Hammer," has an interesting piece about how cycling infrastructure is the most important investment a city can make.  No the piece does not reference a perfect predictive algorithm, but it could arguable start a conversation that we all need to have with government leaders.  "Raise the Hammer" styles itself as a non-partisan publication by citizens.  This might even be true.

I know this has been an El Nino-influenced winter, and I can almost hear the polar icecaps melting from here, but you may still need a winter cycling survival guide, so here is one.

So if I see you in the bike lane, whether we are sweating in the new normal winter heat, or you are a capitalist or even an Australian, and you are not befouling the lanes with skateboard antics, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Ride With Bono
The former star of #CoronationStreet, Britain's ITV series that his been running since the Pleistocene era, decided to "borrow" a $3000 #bicycle to chase after a comedian. Hahahhahahh.  Then he wrecked it and the production company has never paid for the loss.  Thud.  There are some things one can never do.  Destroying someone's bike is among them.  Lesson: Never offer your bike to celebrity, and when around one, lock your bike.£2000-bike-he-chased-after-johnny

If you are a clever inventor who can design a new helmet for e-bike riders, now is the time to submit your design idea to the NEN Dutch Standardization Institute.  They have set parameters: no full-face helmets, and it must be comfortable.  It should also be extremely attractive and not damage great blow-dries.  (Okay, some of these may not have been on the list.)
Do you have a device that tells you when to stand up at your desk and how much you have exercised?  I hate mine.  It's like a device with an agenda.  A bad example of what the world will be like when the machines are in charge.  It never knows that I work at a stand-up desk and frequently tells me to stand up.  I sometimes sit down when it does this just to be passive-aggressive.  It never realizes that I have ridden my bike to work.  Most days I ride to work after I have gone to the gym.  Yet, it seems to think I'm one of those people who sits in a car, then at a desk, then in a car, and then in front of the television before going to sleep.  My dopey device is like a bad government survey of the sort being abandoned in the U.K.  It does not count my constant activity.  At last cycling will be considered as part of the active life data.  Ah logic.  Sometimes it simply rears its head.  Next we need smart watches that are . . . actually smart.  Or ones that can at least tell when you are standing or prone.

Bono is back in the saddle, thank goodness.  We all remember that terrible bike crash he had.  Now he is inviting you to ride with him in Central Park to support his #red campaign.  Three reasons to do this: (1) Bono, come on, seriously; (2) Central Park on a bike, majestic, and; (3) help people in Africa where they really need it.

So, if I see you in the bike lane, and you are wearing a fetching, yet safe, helmet with your e-bike, or you happen to be tooling along with the likes of Bono, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Cyclists Comply With Climate Agreement Decades Before Nations

The Climate Summit ended this week in Paris with a deal.  A plan to voluntarily take steps to reduce emissions and otherwise fight climate change.  Sadly, for the children of India who subsist by collecting coal scraps and burning them to prepare food, the need to survive rules their actions.  They account for much of toxic smog in India's cities.  Add cars, you have a 120 degree planet in the works.  And as the world grows in population, fuel consumption and industrial waste will increase.  For the rest of us trying to do what is in our control, bicycle infrastructure and incentives to ditch cars are part of the solution, not all of the solution.  The timing for the United States release of Bikes vs. Cars, December 15, could not be better.  (See it at the Environmental Film Festival in March:  The documentary that focuses on the struggle to get bike lanes in Brazil's metropolis Sao Paolo. Will countries like China and India, with their growing middle class, come to learn from our mistakes?  Will they find ways as they grow to help the people in the slums who cook on open air coal pyres that dirty their lungs and shorten their statures and lives?  And will others be able to persuade their growing middle class that, when you make cars a symbol of success, you have a hard time undoing that myth?  Of course.  Immediately.  It's all obvious and solutions are easy.  Right?  #Bikesvscars #DCenvironmentalfilmfest

You sit at lights trying to be the bicycling equivalent of a Girl Scout just to impress drivers that you are not a miscreant and they should join you in the lanes.  Sometimes, when it's cold or rain is coming, this waiting game seems silly.  In Denmark they are trying out a transponder that cyclists wear to let traffic lights know they have approached so the lights can turn green.  I must have this.  Right now.  In my Christmas stocking.  First, traffic lights.  Next, world domination.

Here's a bit of guidance on how to select an indoor bike trainer, something I would not do since I cannot imagine training inside on a bicycle.  It conjures images of spin class and other follies.  But if you must, do.

Skateboards in the bike lanes are not an idea I could support.  Not hover boards, drones, fleets of Segways, people jogging with their shirts off in a sad effort to get attention, nor cars driven by myopics or the intoxicated.  These are all things that do not belong in the bike lanes.  I state my claim.

I am struggling with the idea that Schlitz Park has set the gold standard for bicycling.  The bikes that will make Milwaukee famous, again.  Schlitz conjures images of bad 1970s movies, or the underside of park benches in Washington, D.C. on a Sunday morning.  But a cycling haven?  Proving again that the only certainty is change.  #schlitzpark

Dany Macaskill has taken his bike fetes to the rooftops of Canaria, Spain.  This video will either elate you or make your stomach roil.  Watch it.  You must. #danyymacaskill
Electric bicycle brand Pedego is opening a series of retail stores.  At the same time a Korean company now claims that it can charge batteries wirelessly through spatial wireless charging.  Could we use electric bikes and eventually charge them as we go?  What about cars?  And what are the implications for the environment.  (Maybe we should consider that as part of or risk assessment from the get-go this time.) #pedego

So, if I see you in the bike lane, and you are not on a skateboard or behind the wheel of a car, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Bikes vs. Cars and Bikes on Bikes

A man from India has designed a bike that, if ridden for an hour, can generate enough electricity for a family.  Wow.  I wish that by riding my bike for an hour each day, I could give a day's worth of electricity to a family somewhere.  Not a family in Beverly Hills or Manhattan, but someplace where they might really need it.  Like rural West Virginia, or that block in Chevy Chase with the inexplicably terrible shingle houses.

As a slow cyclist I am always shocked to learn about chain reaction accidents involving cyclists not climbing mountains to claim the Tour de France.   Perhaps its my disdain for spandex and trying to draft guys who are really actuaries with gout.   Some things should not happen on quiet suburban streets.  Pile ups by non-professional cyclists are just one of them.

Cool pants and photo Betabrand
Kate Rabinowitz of DataLensDC is tracking cycling in the District of Columbia.  Her data assessment is that cycling is becoming more mainstream, but it remains more concentrated in certain areas.  She notes that men are still the majority of cyclists though women are riding more.  And more.  And more. I would say that we aren't ending up in chain reaction crashes, but this would not be entirely true.  I did get rear-ended on my Pashley Princess Sovereign by another woman in a dress and heels.  We spent a very long time apologizing to one another which seemed to a muse a nearby spandex guy.
The movie Bikes vs. Cars tells the story of cycling advocates and detractors, or heroes and villains, if you want to be exact.  Perhaps we could have a massive showing of the film on a big screen in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue - in the bike lanes.  What would it mean for our future if we all drove less, rode bikes and limited gas profits to countries and groups that hold a strangle-grip on our foreign policy?  Just waxin' metaphysical.  It's Sunday after all.

So, if I see you in the bike lane, and you are not drafting some other guy in spandex, or wearing an oil company t-shirt, let's be smug.
Elisa P.