Sunday, April 24, 2016

30% Of Car Trips In Los Angeles Are For Less Than Three Miles, and Alibaba CEO Bans Employees From Living More than 15 Minutes From Work - Cycling Rising

#PCworld calls the #Zeitgeist electric bike one that was made for storm troopers.  It is a lighter-weight e-bike than most, and boasts a traveling distance of 100 miles between charges.  And I guess if you put on your Lucas glasses you could say it looks like it is designed for an evil fighting force from the Imperial Army.  I think of it as a sleek bike, a sort of Jil Sander-come-Narciso Rodriquez type of bike.  It wouldn't work for the person who likes paisley and plaid, but for the person who loves a simple black cashmere sweater and a pair of Chuck Taylors, it looks great.  Has anyone tried it yet to report in?

Momentum Mag has some ideas for the person looking to start a bike to work program.  My personal belief is that, if you ride a bike to work, you look reasonably good doing it, you drop a few casual lines here and there about how great you feel when you ride, others will follow.  That said, if you can also rustle up a shower and Friday morning coffee club for cyclists, you have a movement, maybe even a revolution.

BTW, if you are a city rider and you have not subscribed to #Momentummag, please explain why not!  This is a great little publication and it needs the support of this community, at least the non-spandex, maybe-a-little-fred-but-more-high-heels-than-fred members.

Did you know that 30% of car trips in Los Angeles are less then three miles long?  It's like latter day Rome, isn't it?  The gorging, the waste, the lack of foresight.

If ever a city was crying out for greater cycling infrastructure, the City of Angels is it.  Safety has been cited my many Angelinos as a reason why they tend to stick to four wheels and fossil fuels.  I know that some may see LA as a place where priorities are, well, askew.  This sort of madness does not improve that image.  The ride from Santa Monica to Downtown is about 10 miles.  The drive along the freeway and surface streets can take an eternity.  Then, later, you will need to work out.  Blink, honk, your day is over, and the air is just a little bit yellower.  What will the historians and anthropologists of the future say about our culture?  That were nuts to act this way and should have tried harder to make cycling more appealing.

I cannot stop smiling when I think of this Swedish pod bike/car.  Will someone please sponsor this man on Indiegogo so he can move past his little prototype to real manufacturing?   #podride

Looking for a tracker for your bicycle?  Kind of like that Tile thing you put on your keys the exact moment when you stopped misplacing them?  Well, here it is.  Not sure how it will be missed by seasoned thieves, but assume most people who choose to work as bike thieves are not the sharpest tacks in the box.  I'd buy it.  Would you?  If might be worth it to recover your bike.

The CEO of Alibaba recently banned his employees from living more than 15 minutes from the office because they lost too much time commuting.  Wow.  In Washington, DC, many people sit in traffic for an hour or an hour and half.  What is left after that?

What if US CEOs did the same thing?  The truth is that they probably already do this through online applications that run algorithms designed to detect and eliminate from the stack occupants of the x-urbs who will be late when the I-95 backs up or the MARC train has a rail problem.

I got some insight into this recently when a small business owner told me that she was going through a stack of resumes and eliminating people who lived in remote suburbs because: "They will hate their commute, and their attitude at work will be bad and tired."  This raises important questions about what the American Dream will look like in the future.  Is a lawn important?  If so, can you really afford a lawn?  Or is living smaller, more sustainably the answer to health, success and employment? It all means that, in time, more people will cycle, and smaller spaces, closer in will increasingly be the norm.

So, if I see you in the bike lane, and you are atop a #Zeitgeist, and you recognize that we cannot afford to have cycling characterized as merely the symbol of the zeitgeist, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Smartphone E-Bikes, Smarter Bike Share, and Not So Smart in Seattle.

Why haven't e-bicycles completely caught on here in the U.S.?
Could it be that greater connectivity might make e-bikes more attractive?  Dutch manufacturer Vanmoof thinks a smartphone connected e-bike could bring more users.  I also think that Americans can be a bit dear about cleanliness.  Or prissy, as my mother would have said.  Don't get me wrong, when you need strong soldiers to save your island nation from an occupying foreign military, you don't immediately think of calling the Dutch.  You want to call the Americans.  But on e-bikes, we can be a little prissy, sweat perhaps a little less, and still be doing something positive.  That and use Twitch while we are waiting at the light.  Right?

It seems that bicycle shop owners may not always have the right insurance.  In the U.K. one company is trying to create products tailored to the business needs of individual shops.  It would be interesting to see if U.S. underwriters had given any thought to this sort of business-specific policy.  I mean when they aren't lobbying Congress with their incredible girth.

And now it seems bike sharing is getting smarter and more flexible.   I mentioned bike libraries last blog, and now there are longterm bike rentals, which may work better for some people, particularly those on vacation.

A lot of business owners have complained about bike lanes harming their bottom line.  Overwhelmingly, the data suggest that bike lanes do the opposite.  In Memphis . . . yup, Memphis . . . bike lanes gave birth to an arts center.  Businesses were spawned.  Wait, Memphis?  Okay fine, but where is Stax Music in all of this?  If they linked bicycling in some direct or indirect way to the likes of Mavis Staples or Sam and Dave that would basically be like heaven on earth.  No?
I find it interesting that Seattle has apparently just figured out that Scott Kubly, DC's former transit Czar, was previously working for bike share manufacturer Alta before he was hired by Seattle to be its transit Czar.  Did they look at his resume?  How would the transit Czar serve the city without participating in what were the then-already-ongoing negotiations for the system.  Their surprise is a bit odd.  Discuss amongst yourselves.
Do you have an immediate, irrational interest in transit planners?  I do.  Our transit planner is also a cyclist.  Which makes him a little closer to perfect than the rest of us, I think.  Nice piece.  Read it. Be wise and thoughtful.  Or as Yoda would say, "Thoughtful and wise you will be."

So if I see you in the bike lane, whether you are a professional planner, or a parent, which means you are a SUPER PLANNER, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bicycle Libraries and Super Highways

There was a bike boom in the late 1970s that crested in 1971 when Schwinn sold more bicycles than it ever had.  Then there was a second wave, in the 1980s, after the MBT hit a dirt pile near you.  Recognizing that public interest in things like the environment, saving money, and riding a bicycle like a dirt bike make people buy bicycles, it seems obvious that cycling infrastructure and advocacy can fuel sales.  Yet bicycle manufacturers tend to forget this.  A little spending on advocacy could change that.  It's like an investment in the future of sales and other good things.  In Washington, #BicycleSpace, a bicycle retail store (now stores) has always sponsored rides and events.  Where are the big companies that make the bikes?   Hmmmm.  A few show up, but more could step up.

The National Bike Forum and Women's Summit 2016 has a nice video now available on Youtube.  If you care about cycling advocacy this is a good watch.  If you are a carefree rider who cannot be bothered with bicycle politics because of life's other demands, you may want to pass.
RS1, that bicycle autobahn that was  planned for Germany, has hit a bump in its super highway - funding.  The EU kicked in some money early on, but that was a migrant crisis ago.  Now, it is not entirely clear the thing will be finished.  

The city of Golden, Colorado has adopted the language of the original sharing model for its bike share - Bicycle Library.  I am imagining the paper cards taped to the handle bars and the empty threat of overdue fees.  Would the person checking the bikes out speak in a studied whisper?

So, if I see you in the bike lanes or a bicycle highway, and you are on a borrowed bike with a few date stamps or a bar code, let's be smug.
Elisa P.