Cycling
April 25, 2012

Annals of Cycling – 53

An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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A MOST INCREDIBLE RIDE

From the Billings Gazette:

For a short time in the spring, Yellowstone National Park opens the roughly 50-mile section of road between park headquarters in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyo., and West Yellowstone only to bicyclists, walkers or rollerbladers. Given the variety of wildlife, the scarcity of vehicles and the sweeping vistas of snowy mountains, waterfalls and boiling thermal features, it has to be one of the most incredible and unusual bicycle rides in the United States, if not the world.

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BICYCLES RUN ON GASOLINE

From Treehugger:

The sad thing is, is that just as agencies such as the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) start to achieve success in turning people from their cars to their bikes, they also start to suffer a funding crunch.

Because, as Jonathan Maus points out in an article on BikePortland, much of the funding for transportation agencies comes from, yes, you guessed it, the gas tax. Unfortunately or fortunately, In Portland, and in other parts of the Northwest, driving has continually fallen in recent years. That means less money for bike lanes, and less money for routine things like fixing pot holes, and less money for big-ticket projects, too.

It’s a classic Catch-22 – the more transport agencies are successful in encouraging drivers to bike, the less money from gas taxes there is in local coffers to build out the necessary bike infrastructure to make biking as efficient and universally popular as driving.

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LOOK FAMILIAR?

The story is here.

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CHANGE OF NAME

The Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition is now the much more sexier HUB: Your Cycling Connection.  Story here.

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An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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CICLAVIA

The car-free event, closing 10 miles of streets in downtown Los Angeles and beyond, brought 100,000 people outdoors to explore different neighborhoods and enjoy the spirit of a citywide block party.  Coverage here.

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DOUBLE DUTCH

Two Dutch students are visiting Vancouver as a part of their academic work and are looking for people to assist their data gathering. Their request is shown below.  Your participation is completely voluntary.

For our graduate research we would like to get a picture of your commuting behaviour. The main point of interest will be your personal opinion regarding commuting by bicycle. Your opinion is very important to us; we would like to know what you think the main reasons or barriers to commute by bicycle are.

To get a better understanding of your thoughts about commuting by bicycle, we developed a survey. This survey should only take 10 minutes of your time. Your answers will be processed completely anonymous and your answers will only be used for statistical purposes.

If you have any questions about the survey or if you are interested in the results of the survey, you can always contact us at:
bheinen@urban-systems.com.

Start the survey by clicking at this link:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CommutinginGreaterVancouver

We can process the results until the 30th of April 2012. Please complete the survey before this date.

Thank you very much for your time!

Bram Heinen & Maarten van Sluijs

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CYCLING IN MEXICO CITY

Muevete en Bici comes to the biggest city in the Americas.

This explains a lot about what you see in the cycling lanes on the Burrard Bridge:

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CARGO BIKES IN PORTLAND

They were everywhere in Portland a century ago, as this profile from an 1896 issue of The Oregonian illustrates:

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And now they’re back.

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An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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BICYCLING: HEALTH RISK OR BENEFIT?

Can you guess?   The latest paper from Kay Teschke at UBC .

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CAN CYCLING AFFECT WOMEN’S SEXUAL HEALTH?

Apparently.  And here’s what to do (works for men too):

… one of the best ways to eliminate or reduce pressure on the perineum is to use a bicycle saddle without a nose. The findings led the institute to recommend that police officers and other workers on bicycles use “no-nose” saddles, which put pressure on the sit bones, rather than the soft tissue of the perineum.

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CHARETTE: THE BICYCLE AND THE CITY

Cyclists, designers, drivers and city-dwellers are invited to rethink Vancouver’s cycling infrastructure and cycling in the city at this hands-on, intensive charette.  Topics for discussion include interventions in cycling infrastructure, Vancouver’s underuililized spaces and bike culture in Vancouver.  This event is free but requires advanced registration.  (CEID 272 SUO1)

Saturday, June 16, 2012  /   2-4 pm   /   1 session, 2hours

Online registration:  www.ecuad.ca/cs

In person:  Continuing Education Studies office at Emily Carr University, 1399 Johnston St, Granville Island, Vancouver

By phone:  604 844 3810

Office hours: Monday-Thursday 8:30am – 4pm,  Friday 8:30am – 12:30pm

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WHAT A CLEVER IDEA

From the Puget Sound Regional Council:

PSRC is introducing a smart phone application for bicyclists to record their rides and to help inform bicycle planning in the central Puget Sound region. CycleTracks uses phone GPS to record people’s bicycle trip routes and times, and display maps of their rides. At the end of each trip, data including the trip purpose, route, date, and time are collected for analysis. All personal data are kept confidential. CycleTracks was built by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority who successfully used this app to help understand the needs of bicyclists in order to more effectively prioritize bicycle infrastructure investments.

More here.

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WHY DD THE DUTCH CYCLIST CROSS THE ROAD?

Because it was so pleasant to do so.

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SLOW BICYCLE MOVEMENT

Their Facebook page is here.

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An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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UPDATE:  Early registration deadline for Velo-city Global 2012 extended until April 30, 2012

 Velo-city Global 2012 is extending its early registration deadline until April 30, 2012. Due to the time required in a selection process involving a great number of quality speakers, as well as relevant and inspiring abstracts, the event organizers have decided to extend the deadline.

This will be good news for the numerous delegates who have contacted Velo-city Global 2012 to say they are awaiting approval on travel requests and funding approval. Stay tuned for our conference program, which will be posted shortly.

If you have any questions or require further information please contact CongressWorld.

Tel: 604.685.0450 Toll free (In Canada & USA): 1.877.685.0452

Email: info@velo-city2012.com; info@congressworld.ca

Website: www.velo-city2012.com

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HEALTHY NUMBERS

“One mile on a bike is a $.42 economic gain to society, one mile driving is a $.20 loss,” quotes Grist.

At least if that society is Copenhagen.  Here’s how they figure it in their biannual Bicycle Account:

When all these factors are added together the net social gain is DKK 1.22 per cycled kilometer. For purposes of comparison there is a net social loss of DKK 0.69 per kilometer driven by car. …

Which means that Copenhagen, a city of 1.2 million people, saves $357 million a year on health costs because something like 80 percent of its population commutes by bicycle. That’s $300 per person per year.

Clearly, the reason the new Danish minister of the interior said she’d “rather invest in cycle tracks than freeways,” is that only one of those has a positive return.

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WORDS EXCHANGED.

The a$#&^% biker problem: Why it’s hard to share the road.  That sums it up pretty much – but Scott Carlson has a few more words at Grist.

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TOO MUCH SUCCESS

Are Bikes Becoming Too Popular in DC?  Katie Rogers reports on Washington D.C.’s struggles with a burgeoning bicycle culture, as incidents of accidents, harassment, and intimidation rise.

From Planetizen:

The runaway success of the Capital Bikeshare program, Washington D.C. has seen a rapid rise in the size of its bicycle user population, which surged by more than 20% from 2010 to 2011, according to rush-hour counts conducted by the District Department of Transportation. As Rogers reports, that surge has brought with it some growing pains for the city at large, as officials, police, motorists, and bike riders alike adjust to the need for an already congested city to share the road with bicycles

Sheldon Brown has an appropriately American reponse.

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An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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SHOCKING

“Humans really shouldn’t be able to do this”:

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RUSH HOUR

When 33 percent of trips are made by bicycle:

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POOR CYCLING DOWNGRADES A CITY’S RANKING

Richmond is feeling a little defensive over the coverage of MoneySense’s rating, in the Richmond News:

Poor cycling options lowers Richmond’s ranking The City of Richmond took a dive on MoneySense magazine’s annual “Canada’s Best Places to Live” list — from 62nd place last year, to 100th in 2012.

Of the 190 cities being ranked, Richmond placed especially poorly for the percentage of people who walk or bike to work (154th place with only five per cent), for average housing prices (188th place with $686,700) and for the amount of time required to pay for a house (189th place with almost nine years).

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An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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WHY ARE THREE OUT OF FOUR CYCLISTS MEN?

It’s been more than 100 years since Susan B. Anthony said the bicycle “has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” So why aren’t there more of them riding?

Tanya Snyder explains in Streetsblog.

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WEIRD AND COOL

… a five-minute mini documentary that explores the thriving bicycle culture resident to one of North America’s most progressive metropolises…. we spent the better part of a week talking to commuters, following kids to school and capturing the friendly vibe and funky nature of a city that embraces self-propelled commuting at the heart of its identity.

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THE BIKE BUTTERFLY

Probably not what you’re thinking.  Go to 0.45 to see this invention in action – and then back for the explanation.

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An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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TOO MANY BICYCLES?

A problem we’d like to have – like Copenhagen.  In the last of her series in the The Sun, Kelly Sinoski looks at the future of cycling in Vancouver.

The popularity of cycling in Europe is no surprise. In countries like  Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and parts of Germany, 30 to 40 per cent of  urban trips are made by bicycle.

Compare that with Canada and Metro Vancouver, where only two per cent of all  trips are made by bike. …

Gordon Price, director of Simon Fraser’s City Program, said Vancouver is  never likely reach the same scale of cycling numbers as Europe* but problems of  gridlock — and associated issues like rising tensions and road rage — can happen  anywhere a lot of people sharing the same space, whether they’re in a car, on  foot or pedalling a bicycle.

* A clarification: we’re not likely to reach European numbers in the car-dependent-designed post-war suburbs, at least until they’re rebuilt.  But within the central area, depending on factors like the price of driving and scale of infrastructure … well, why not?

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A PLACE WHERE NO ONE STEALS BIKES?

Copenhagen, apparently – and Brian Merchant explains why in Treehugger:

Nobody really wanted the bikes, it turns out, because everyone that wanted one already had one. Or had access to one, through the city’s bike-share system. No bike thief could make any serious money selling bikes. Besides, income equality was much greater in Denmark, and the have-nots were not nearly as destitute or desperate as those in a city like New York. The incentive for organized bike-stealing was simply not there.

Sure, bikes got stolen, sometimes, said the Dane. But that was mostly the work of drunk kids or jerks.

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AIRBAGS FOR CYCLISTS

Swedish auto maker Volvo has just announced what it says is a first: an external airbag on the front of the car designed to help protect pedestrians in the event of a collision.

Richard Campbell sees the possibility:

Similar measures should be taken to protect cyclists and pedestrians from impact. It is more efficient material and energy wise to put impact absorbing measures on stationary objects rather than mobile vehicles. It also makes sense, as in the case of exterior air bags on cars, it place impact absorption measures on motor vehicles instead of pedestrians and cyclists.

I suspect these ones are safer for cyclists although they seemed to be designed to protect vehicles from impact.  Even better, bollards, poles, benches, trees and other hazards should not be placed in the middle of sidewalks and paths.
Copenhagenize weighs in.  ___________________________________________________________________ . NO-FETISH CYCLING . From the New York Times style magazine, T:
Bicycles are so entrenched in day-to-day life in the Netherlands and Denmark, the countries have official cycling embassies. It should therefore come as no surprise that Amsterdam and Copenhagen have each produced obsessives who, Tommy Ton-like, painstakingly catalog their city’s parade of two-wheel street style. Marc van Woudenberg, of Amsterdamize, and Mikael Colville-Andersen, of Copenhagen Cycle Chic, agree that their respective cycling cultures are far more alike than different. “It’s as normal as running water,” Van Woudenberg says. “We don’t fetishize it,” Colville-Andersen adds.
A wonderful slide show accompanies: . Plus a whole section on Urban Biking.  ___________________________________________________________________ Read more »

Items from the Velo-cities and the progress they’re making – or could.

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GOING DUTCH

Showing Americans how to do the best cycling infrastructure in the world:

From Streetsfilm:

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HELP BORIS BIKE

The Guardian is formulating a “Manifesto for a Model Mayor” – with lots of suggestions for Mayor Boris.

Cycling and walking have had to wait their turn in this fortnight-long crowdsourcing project. Why? Two reasons. One, because cycling issues in particular attract comment thread contributions of a very high standard, so I’ve saved that treat for near the end. Two, because if London were a truly cyclist and pedestrian-friendly city it would look, sound and feel radically different. Just imagine. After all, imagining is a part of what our model mayoral manifesto is about.

London specific, obviously – but it’s true about the comments (327 at last count) – with some interesting perspectives now that the city has bike-sharing.

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HOW PORTLAND WANTS TO BE BETTER THAN US

As part of GOOD Ideas for Cities Portland, a team from THINK.urban presented its idea for creating a system of bike highways that run throughout the city. Instead of relegating cyclists to side streets and bike paths, the new bikeways would take over major Portland thoroughfares, making bikes more visible and creating more direct routes that would shorten ride times.

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A SIGN OF THE TIMES 

The cover of a glossy insert in the Globe and Mail says a lot about what style-makers think is stylish:

Doubt she has a helmet, though.

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An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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HELMETS FOR FASHIONISTAS

Hövding is a  bicycle helmet unlike any other currently on the market. It’s ergonomic, it’s practical, it complies with all the safety requirements,  and it’s also subtle and blends in with what else you are wearing.

Hövding is a  collar for bicyclists, worn around the neck. The collar contains a  folded up airbag that you’ll only see if you happen to have an accident.  The airbag is shaped like a hood, surrounding and protecting the  bicyclist’s head. The trigger mechanism is controlled by sensors which  pick up the abnormal movements of a bicyclist in an accident.

The actual  collar is the visible part of the invention. It’s covered by a removable  shell that you can change to match your outfit, and we’ll be launching  new designs all the time. Hövding is a practical accessory that’s easy  to carry around, it’s got a great-looking yet subtle design, and it will  save your life.

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SINGALONG: “I’M BIKIN’ IN THE RAIN …’

A practical guide from a Portland weekly on commuting year-round in a town with weather much like ours:

Don’t wait until the weather’s so nice that your morning ride feels like a gift. Instead, earn your badges and chuckle at the fair-weather commuter crowd that retreats back to cars and buses at the slightest sign of cold. Start now—the worst of winter is over, but there’s still plenty of sodden weather ahead. If you can make it through the next three months, the subsequent nine will pose no challenge.

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DOES CYCLING FOLLOW THE FUNDAMENTAL LAW OF ROAD CONGESTION?

Specifically: Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?

The “fundamental law of road congestion” tells us that building roads creates traffic. There’s such a latent demand for space on the highway that no sooner does it appear than it’s filled. But whether or not a similar law applies to bike paths and bike lanes remains a mystery….

… with each study of this kind that’s completed, it seems more clear that in many cities, for many different purposes, there does appear to be some fundamental demand for sustainable transportation just waiting for a share of the urban landscape. In some places, tapping that potential just means adding a bike path. In others, it may take a bit more.

Full story here..

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BEST PRACTICES FROM THOSE WHO KNOW

A recommendation from Ron Richings:

A summary of approaches and techniques that can be used to boost cycling. Nothing radically new, but not a bad compilation.  Incorporates ‘Pedelecs’ (electric boost bikes that must be pedaled to function). Always interesting to look at the experience of cycling promotion in a different setting from the north American norms.

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An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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FIXIE HIPSTER INDICATOR

According to Priceonomics (no relation), the Fixie (a fixed-gear bike) is a strong indicator of hipsterness.  So they mined their data base to find hipster central.  Hint: it’s not Brooklyn, or Portland.

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Orange County – ground-zero of American populist conservatism?  Really?  Maybe time to change the meaning of ‘hipster’ – or Orange County.

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MAJOR CUTE FACTOR

Kid reporter Tia, 9, reports on the Good Green News in the city of Vancouver. In this episode she investigates bike lanes.

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NOT SO CUTE FACTOR

A bus driver swerves to hit cyclist.  Video here.

“Without my helmet, it could have been a lot worse.  I could have been killed,” he told the Daily Mail.  “It goes to show how one bit of rage can affect so many people’s lives.”

Despite everything, Mead also expressed sympathy toward Hill.

“I do not feel any anger towards him now,” he told the Daily Mail.  “In fact, I feel really sorry for his family.”

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