Biking Route 66 and other recent points of interest from the interweb of knowledge.

Biking Route 66 and other recent points of interest from the interweb of knowledge.


Bike-Friendly Cities: It Can Happen Here
Holland is known for its bike-friendly cities, but there’s no reason why its bicycle boulevards, safe routes, and careful government planning can’t be exported.



By Utne Reader Staff July/August 2012


Back in 2010, former Utne Reader editor Jay Walljasper traveled to Europe to discover the secret behind Holland’s famously bike-friendly cities. The reputation is well earned: when commuting or running errands, Dutch residents use their bicycles more than a quarter of the time, and in cities like Groningen, the share is more than half. Writing for Solutions (April 2012), Walljasper outlined the Netherlands’ recipe for success:

First, start young. In Dutch schools, students are instructed on bicycle and auto safety from a very young age. In Utrecht, kids earn a certificate from the city for passing a bicycle safety test at age 11. Programs like this ensure that most students are comfortable on a bike and well-versed on safety. And results are immediate: fully 95 percent of Dutch students age 10-12 regularly bike to school. 
Safe options are big. It’s not just safe skills that are important. Most people in the U.S. say they’d bike more if roads and bike lanes were safer. In the Netherlands, they’ve got this down to an art. The key is to separate bikes and cars as much as possible, and clearly mark which is which. Off-road pathways and two-wheels-only “bicycle boulevards” may be nifty novelties in Portland and Berkeley, but in Holland they’re the rule, not the exception.
Biking is about convenient alternatives. In Holland, this often boils down to parking. Not content with traditional bike racks, many cities have indoor bike parking below-ground, complete with parking attendants. Secure bike parking makes biking more accessible for professionals and even people over 30. In places like The Hague, officials are retrofitting older parking garages to meet demand—one car space can fit up 10 bicycles.  
It’s planning, not DNA. Holland may seem unique, but there’s nothing all that special about Dutch bikers. Rather, almost all of the bike-friendly innovations Holland now boasts stem from careful government planning. The spark was the 1970s oil crisis. Desperate to find alternatives to a car-dependent culture, Holland embarked on a generation-long experiment that’s now bearing fruit. The takeaway, says Walljasper, is that this success can be repeated anywhere—even here.

Bike-Friendly Cities: It Can Happen Here

Holland is known for its bike-friendly cities, but there’s no reason why its bicycle boulevards, safe routes, and careful government planning can’t be exported.

Back in 2010, former Utne Reader editor Jay Walljasper traveled to Europe to discover the secret behind Holland’s famously bike-friendly cities. The reputation is well earned: when commuting or running errands, Dutch residents use their bicycles more than a quarter of the time, and in cities like Groningen, the share is more than half. Writing for Solutions (April 2012), Walljasper outlined the Netherlands’ recipe for success:

First, start young. In Dutch schools, students are instructed on bicycle and auto safety from a very young age. In Utrecht, kids earn a certificate from the city for passing a bicycle safety test at age 11. Programs like this ensure that most students are comfortable on a bike and well-versed on safety. And results are immediate: fully 95 percent of Dutch students age 10-12 regularly bike to school. 

Safe options are big. It’s not just safe skills that are important. Most people in the U.S. say they’d bike more if roads and bike lanes were safer. In the Netherlands, they’ve got this down to an art. The key is to separate bikes and cars as much as possible, and clearly mark which is which. Off-road pathways and two-wheels-only “bicycle boulevards” may be nifty novelties in Portland and Berkeley, but in Holland they’re the rule, not the exception.

Biking is about convenient alternatives. In Holland, this often boils down to parking. Not content with traditional bike racks, many cities have indoor bike parking below-ground, complete with parking attendants. Secure bike parking makes biking more accessible for professionals and even people over 30. In places like The Hague, officials are retrofitting older parking garages to meet demand—one car space can fit up 10 bicycles.  

It’s planning, not DNA. Holland may seem unique, but there’s nothing all that special about Dutch bikers. Rather, almost all of the bike-friendly innovations Holland now boasts stem from careful government planning. The spark was the 1970s oil crisis. Desperate to find alternatives to a car-dependent culture, Holland embarked on a generation-long experiment that’s now bearing fruit. The takeaway, says Walljasper, is that this success can be repeated anywhere—even here.

Tags: biking

"In the field behind Lee’s auto shop, I tied two corners of my tarp to a trailer, and stuck the other two in the ground, and bedded down beside it to watch the stars. Lee told me that if the weather got bad, I could hop in his “parts car,” an old Honda, with no tires, sitting in a puddle, beside a huge oak tree. I didn’t think twice about the offer.
Within an hour, it started raining. I collected my stuff and crawled beneath my tarp, stargazing be damned. Then the wind picked up, and my tarp began blowing around. Bolts of lightning flashed around me, followed closely by thunder. My tarp began flapping uncontrollably in the wind, and I began getting pelted by huge raindrops. And just like that, I made the decision to get into Lee Hamlet’s parts car.
With my sleeping bag and pad and tarp in arms, I hopped into the front passenger seat. I woke up at 3 a.m., because the storm was intensifying. I thought about finding real refuge—like in someone’s house—but it was too intense to get out of the car and run for safety. I couldn’t see more than a foot in front of my face, and even then, I couldn’t tell which way to run.
Lightning bolts started to appear more frequently, so frequently that I could no longer count the time delay between flashes and thunderclaps. I could see bolts striking the ground not far to the south.
The wind picked up and went from strong to violent. It began to shake the car. I started wondering if Lee’s parts car, my only refuge, was safe at all. After all, it was essentially a Heavy Rusty Metal Thing, and it had no tires, and it was sitting in a puddle, beneath a tall tree, in a large field.”
Excerpted from “The Cyclist in the Cyclone,” by Jonny Waldman, from Boneshaker: A Bicycling Almanac. Reprinted in Utne Reader, July/August 2012 

"In the field behind Lee’s auto shop, I tied two corners of my tarp to a trailer, and stuck the other two in the ground, and bedded down beside it to watch the stars. Lee told me that if the weather got bad, I could hop in his “parts car,” an old Honda, with no tires, sitting in a puddle, beside a huge oak tree. I didn’t think twice about the offer.

Within an hour, it started raining. I collected my stuff and crawled beneath my tarp, stargazing be damned. Then the wind picked up, and my tarp began blowing around. Bolts of lightning flashed around me, followed closely by thunder. My tarp began flapping uncontrollably in the wind, and I began getting pelted by huge raindrops. And just like that, I made the decision to get into Lee Hamlet’s parts car.

With my sleeping bag and pad and tarp in arms, I hopped into the front passenger seat. I woke up at 3 a.m., because the storm was intensifying. I thought about finding real refuge—like in someone’s house—but it was too intense to get out of the car and run for safety. I couldn’t see more than a foot in front of my face, and even then, I couldn’t tell which way to run.

Lightning bolts started to appear more frequently, so frequently that I could no longer count the time delay between flashes and thunderclaps. I could see bolts striking the ground not far to the south.

The wind picked up and went from strong to violent. It began to shake the car. I started wondering if Lee’s parts car, my only refuge, was safe at all. After all, it was essentially a Heavy Rusty Metal Thing, and it had no tires, and it was sitting in a puddle, beneath a tall tree, in a large field.”

Excerpted from “The Cyclist in the Cyclone,” by Jonny Waldman, from Boneshaker: A Bicycling Almanac. Reprinted in Utne Reader, July/August 2012 

Tags: biking tornado

thegreenurbanist:

Bicycle-Safety Tips

Totally worth the squinting screen-kiss you have to do to read this.

thegreenurbanist:

Bicycle-Safety Tips

Totally worth the squinting screen-kiss you have to do to read this.

Like other bike-friendly cities, Minneapolis owes a lot to federal investment in cycling infrastructure. And that investment looks perilously insecure.  
Last month, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted to eliminate federal funding for bicycling projects and infrastructure. As PRI reports, last year, federal support amounted to $1.2 billion—less than 2 percent of all transportation spending—that went toward projects like the Safe Routes to School program as well as Complete Streets initiatives aimed at maintaining safe spaces for bikes and pedestrians on roadways. In the House Committee version, all of this would have been taken out. To the relief of many, a Senate version introduced early in March restored this funding, and it is likely to pass this week. The close call served as a reminder of how important federal dollars are in maintaining and expanding cycling options for city dwellers—and how much Washington’s spending priorities have recently shifted.
Keep reading …

Like other bike-friendly cities, Minneapolis owes a lot to federal investment in cycling infrastructure. And that investment looks perilously insecure.  

Last month, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted to eliminate federal funding for bicycling projects and infrastructure. As PRI reports, last year, federal support amounted to $1.2 billion—less than 2 percent of all transportation spending—that went toward projects like the Safe Routes to School program as well as Complete Streets initiatives aimed at maintaining safe spaces for bikes and pedestrians on roadways. In the House Committee version, all of this would have been taken out. To the relief of many, a Senate version introduced early in March restored this funding, and it is likely to pass this week. The close call served as a reminder of how important federal dollars are in maintaining and expanding cycling options for city dwellers—and how much Washington’s spending priorities have recently shifted.

Keep reading …

Have you ever wondered how the exuberant energy of elementary school–aged children might be harnessed and put to good use? It seems the Dutch company De Café Racer has found a way, with a kid-powered bicycle intended to replace the traditional school bus.
The bike is pedaled by 1 adult (who is essential for steering and safety’s sake) and up to 10 children, reports Kate Malongowski in YES! Magazine. Designed for kids ranging in age from 4 to 12, the bike can reach a speed of 10 miles per hour, is available in a variety of colors—including blue, purple, red, and school-bus yellow—and has adjustable seats to accommodate its growing riders’ extra inches. In addition, the ride comes with a music system, a canvas cover to ward off rain, and an auxiliary electric motor for when the hills get too steep or the pedal pushers run out of steam.
Keep reading …

Have you ever wondered how the exuberant energy of elementary school–aged children might be harnessed and put to good use? It seems the Dutch company De Café Racer has found a way, with a kid-powered bicycle intended to replace the traditional school bus.

The bike is pedaled by 1 adult (who is essential for steering and safety’s sake) and up to 10 children, reports Kate Malongowski in YES! Magazine. Designed for kids ranging in age from 4 to 12, the bike can reach a speed of 10 miles per hour, is available in a variety of colors—including blue, purple, red, and school-bus yellow—and has adjustable seats to accommodate its growing riders’ extra inches. In addition, the ride comes with a music system, a canvas cover to ward off rain, and an auxiliary electric motor for when the hills get too steep or the pedal pushers run out of steam.

Keep reading …

Urban bicycling is generally becoming more popular in American cities,  but there are a few smaller trends that complicate the larger narrative.  A new infographic designed by Bike League for the website Visual.ly breaks down the demographics of bicycle use across the country—and there are a few surprises.
Keep reading …

Urban bicycling is generally becoming more popular in American cities, but there are a few smaller trends that complicate the larger narrative. A new infographic designed by Bike League for the website Visual.ly breaks down the demographics of bicycle use across the country—and there are a few surprises.

Keep reading …

Beijing-based artist Nicholas Hanna has taken the art of temporary calligraphy to a whole new, digitized level. Hanna strapped big water jugs to the back of a sān lún chē, or tricycle rickshaw, and connected them to about 15 computer-controlled nozzles that are affixed to the back of the vehicle. As he pedals down the street, the contraption dribbles water, leaving temporary characters that look like a hybrid of hanzi and the classic video game Space Invaders. Keep reading …

“If you bike to work, you’ve probably got pretty nice thighs,” imagines The Atlantic Cities’ Nate Berg. “Your lungs, though, may not be in such great shape.”
Berg is referring to the results of a small-scale study  released over the weekend that suggest urban cyclists are at increased  risk from air pollution, specifically the black carbon present in  automobile emissions. As Environmental News Network warns, “A  wide range of health effects are associated with black carbon and  include heart attacks and reduced lung function because it lines and  constricts the airways.” As usual, just when you thought you had a  healthy thing going, the medical research community has to go and suck  the air out of it.
Keep reading …

“If you bike to work, you’ve probably got pretty nice thighs,” imagines The Atlantic Cities’ Nate Berg. “Your lungs, though, may not be in such great shape.”

Berg is referring to the results of a small-scale study released over the weekend that suggest urban cyclists are at increased risk from air pollution, specifically the black carbon present in automobile emissions. As Environmental News Network warns, “A wide range of health effects are associated with black carbon and include heart attacks and reduced lung function because it lines and constricts the airways.” As usual, just when you thought you had a healthy thing going, the medical research community has to go and suck the air out of it.

Keep reading …

Bicycling through city streets at night entails swerving around pot holes, dodging careless drivers, and crossing your fingers. Bike lights are crucial for any serious urban cyclist, but most products on the market do a poor job of illuminating the asphalt and alerting motorists to the presence of bicycles. Revolights, an innovative Bay Area-based start-up, hopes to, well, revolutionize the world of bike lighting.

Revolights are basically blinking LED bulbs mounted to the front and rear wheel-rims. Like a car, the lights are white in the front and red in the back. What makes them special is a small magnet also installed into the bicycle’s fork, which communicates with the LED system—mostly indicating the bicycle’s speed. As the cyclist accelerates, the lights are programmed to blink in clusters as they reach either the front or back (white and red, respectively). At cruising speed, Revolights’ timing makes an approximately 2-foot-long, solid band of light. (Watch the video above.)

Learn more about the safest bike lights in existence (thus far) …