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Pope Francis Tours Philippines, Urges Take Action on Climate Change. EcoBikers Along For The Ride.

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How about that Pope Fancis? He’s got open minded views on homosexuality and civil unions. He’s traveling around the world preaching for peace. Now he’s in the disaster laden Philippines telling 1.2 billion Catholics to take action on climate change. You go Pope.

Tacking along on the Pope’s tour is Naderev “Yeb” Sano who’s become a climate change superstar. He’s a diplomate from the Philippines and the lead negotiator for his country, to the United Nation’s climate summits. He made the news for his impassioned speeches and hunger strikes, directly linking the disastrous effects on the planet which have devastated his homeland.

Now he is leading a brigade of #ecobikers who are following the Pope’s visit to inspire local residents to keep it green and ride bikes.

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(photos by: Nitya Saulo)

This should’t be too hard of a message for the Pope to get behind. He’s been telling his people to ride bike for years now:

Avoid fast cars and ride a bike instead, Pope tells trainee priests and nuns
By: Carol Glatz
November 9th, 2013

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Read the article: here. (Catholicherald.co.uk)

Need Music To Ride? Fixtapes From Solé Bicycles

Music and biking go together well, at least with one ear bud in which is legal in NYC.

I’ll admit it, I like listening to music when I ride and I prefer continuous mixes, not to have to futz with anything.

Soundcloud is a great site for this, because it showcases a ton of DJ mixes and a ton of social media music. It is a bit hard to search unless you know what your looking for.

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Solé Bicycle has been providing mixtapes or FIXTAPES from a variety of musicians and DJ’s and just released their first one of 2015.

They are up to mix number 31, so lots to go through in the archives, perfect for a long ride.

#31 from
Figgy.

Get more of their FIXTAPES here.

It’s also worth mentioning…from one of my favorite NYC culture blogs: Animal NY.

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They’ve been putting out a series called: Listen in where musicians put together a playlist of songs their into.

How it is described on the site:
“Listen In” is a weekly feature in which we ask musicians to curate a mixtape-length YouTube playlist of songs they’re currently digging. Click the big play button above to hear the whole playlist or scroll down to see and hear individual tracks.

These are mostly broken down into YouTube videos…(which are hard to play while riding. But you can make a playlist in Spotify, soundcloud and YouTube.) This can give you some eclectic musical direction.

The latest is from: Italo and the Passions.

Find all of them with this tag search: here.

So what do you listen to when you ride? Where do you find music to listen from? What sites? Leave comments below.

Citibike Owner Changes Name to Motivate-CEO Jay Walder Interviewed With Streetsblog.

No fan of alternative transportation or the bike sharing program in NYC, the NY Post felt obliged to publish an article on the a recent decrease in yearly memberships for 2014.

Big Drop in Citibike Use in 2014.
By: Rebecca Harshbarger and Amber Sutherland
January 12th, 2015

IMG_0136.JPG(photo by: Christopher Sadowski)

membership is hitting the skids.
A plunge in CitiBike rides has wiped out the more than 50 percent boost to its coffers from a fare hike in November, data show.
NYC Bike Share, which runs CitiBike, took in about $360,000 from members that month — a 20 percent drop from the same month a year earlier, data show.

Read more: here.

Back in November of 2014, Citibike announced a fare increase from $95.00 to $145.00 dollars for the yearly membership which still is a much better deal then using it for 24 hour increments at $9.00. Although the Post article is not inaccurate it doesn’t do much to investigate the whole picture. After all, Winter is not the best time to gauge the popularity of bike riding. I believe in the bike share program even though I did not renew my yearly membership. I felt like helping out the first year but in reality, I have my own bikes that I rely on for getting around and if I need an occasional Citibike, I’ll use it al la cart. Still I’m glad it’s there and although is comical to watch the arrogant nature of the riders, I think its a viable transportation option, gets more people riding bikes in the city and is basically a non polluter.

Meanwhile the company that runs the bike share, Alta has announced it’s changed it’s name to MOTIVATE and under new leadership, Jay Walder, former head of the MTA. Streetsblog.org has been all over this story and took the time to interview Mr. Walder to find out about improvements and address some of the concerns of possible disenfranchised members. With this new announcement from Motivate, it’s funny that I didn’t see any follow up story in the NY Post…but I guess that would be too investigative and too positive of a story.

Here is Ben Fried from Streetsblog.

Jay Walder on What’s Next for America’s Biggest Bike-Share Company

IMG_0137.PNG(Photo by: Flickr/fortunelivemedia)
Last fall, former MTA chief Jay Walder took over as CEO of Alta Bicycle Share, part of a restructuring that injected new resources and expertise into a company that had struggled to keep up with the demands of running bike-share systems in half a dozen major American cities.

This morning, the company came out with a new name, Motivate, This morning, the company came out with a new name, Motivate, one of the first public announcements in what’s expected to be a year of rapid improvement and growth. (Another piece of news dropped last week: Jersey City has picked the company to run its new bike-share system, which will be accessible to Citi Bike members.)

I got a few minutes this afternoon to chat with Walder about the new name, the status of the Citi Bike overhaul, and his vision for the company. Here’s our Q&A, edited for length and clarity.

What led to renaming the company and why did you go with “Motivate”?

Read more by riding over: here.

So quick poll. What do people think of the latest moves by the bike share? Did you have a membership in the first year and chose not to renew? What are your biggest complaints about the bike share in NYC? What do you hope will improve?
Leave comments below.

The Bicycle Story Features NYC Stars Austin Horse And Paul Steely White

Josh Cohen is an independent journalist based in my old home town of Seattle Washington. He likes to write about transportation, bike travel and especially the unique individuals who make up the wide world of bike culture.

He has been channeling his passion for bike people and documenting their stories in an interview Q&A style blog called: The Bicycle Story.

In the past couple of Months he’s featured two New York City celebrities:

Messenger superstar, daredevil athlete, stunt ride and all around nice-guy:

Austin Horse.

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In November 2014, Austin headed to Beirut, Lebanon to help start a fledgling courier company.

and the hardest working man in the bicycle advocacy business,

Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives: Paul Steely White

Here is a little sample:

Paul Steely White: On the Radical Idea that Cars Shouldn’t Kill

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(Paul Steely White delivers thousands of letters to NYPD in 2011 demanding driver accountability-Photo by: NAG Brooklyn.org)

New York is one of America’s most progressive bike cities. On one hand that makes perfect sense. As the biggest, fastest-paced city in the country it has always drawn forward-thinking, ambitious people; why not forward thinking, ambitious bike advocates? On the other, it’s kind of insane. New York has a sociopathic driving culture, a police force and political establishment historically apathetic to the idea that fatal crashes are anything but accidents, and millions of drivers, bicyclists, and walkers all vying for the same small space. Yet over the last decade, Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn have been remade into great places for biking and walking with protected bike lanes, pedestrian plazas, and more and the advocates at Transportation Alternatives (T.A.) have been there every step of the way.

Recently they’ve turned their attention to Vision Zero, a radical notion that traffic deaths in New York are completely preventable. Given that the city is still averaging between 200-300 fatal bike, pedestrian, and car crashes annually, they have a long way to go. But T.A. Executive Director Paul Steely White says the Vision Zero framework they’ve laid out can get them there if they can garner the political support and capital funding necessary. I spoke to White about his history in New York City advocacy, his role in one of America’s most influential advocacy organizations, the “golden years” of New York City bike advocacy, transforming transportation with Vision Zero, and much more.

For more, ride over: here.

I’m really psyched to have found this site, even though Josh has been doing it for four years. I intend to spend some time digging through the archives.

BTW Josh, if you want to talk with a world famous bike blogging nerd who’s entering his 10th year of ranting about bike culture…I know a guy.

Kidical Mass Forum-January 31st

Kidical Mass is not just a clever play on the title of the worldwide group ride, it is a gathering of biking families in NYC. In the spirit of critical mass there are monthly events where the entire family can ride together in a safe and fun environment.

It’s too cold to ride these days, especially if your trying to inspire the youngsters, but don’t tell that to this three year old:

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Saturday, January 31st, 2015 there will be a public forum for the group to work on their main goal of getting more kids on bikes and make plans for 2015.

Here is more from their Facebook page;

January is a hard month to bike with your kids, but the perfect time to talk about it! This January Forum is to make it (biking with your kids/kids biking) happen for you, or because you want to make it happen for others.

Kidical Mass NYC representative(s) – who we are, how we formed, our rides, and how anybody can take their kids riding with them (or kids can take their parents!)

Meet Local Parents that ride with their kids in the city, and specifically in your area. Learn and share local resources, routes, shops, programs.

Meet Kids who ride, talking about who they ride with, how long they have been riding. Why they ride, and what resources and groups are out there to make it happen for your kids or your neighborhood.

Activity – Biking in the city is about being out and about, in the streets, in the parks, in the world We will have some interactive activities to keep us moving forward.

More info: Facebook Event Page.

Kickstarter: Tiny N’ Mighty, All-in-One Bike Light System

Crowd funding has been an excellent way for innovative bicycle related companies to get exposure and launch their products.

Here is a super bright and portable lighting system by Bright Idea.

Tiny N’ Mighty All-in-One Rechargeable Bike Light System!!
by Bright Ideas

It’s finally here! We’ve designed the Smallest (1″), Lightest (1 oz), & Brightest (for its size), FULLY RECHARGEABLE bike light system! Read more

Lakewood, NJ Product Design

$200.00 for the system. Various levels of rewards to back this project.
$10,000 needed for funding.
Due Date: 2/4/15

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Notable Features:
These lights are tiny, at 1 inch, 1 oz. each. However, they have a high
luminous flux of 650 lumen for the front light, and 150 lumen for the rear
light.
• The CREE LED white headlight offers 650 Lumen in high mode and 250 Lumen
in low mode.
• The CREE LED red rear light is 150 Lumen in high mode and 50 Lumen in
low mode.
• The lights are controlled by controlled by the 2-button control console
that mounts to the handlebar.
• The lights have side view windows to ensure critical conspicuity from
the sides.
• Depending on user preference, the front and rear lights can easily be
mounted to their helmet.
• Each light operates in high, low, and flash modes.
• Low battery indicator.
• Automatic shutoff to prevent needless battery drainage.

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Find out more: here.

Bike Sharing Rolls On-Through Rain, Sleet And Financial Woe.-Thanks To Bruno?

Before NYC got it’s bike share program there was a lot of speculation about whether it was going to succeed. Most of the doubt centered around the winter months when I heard a lot of: “There is no way it’s going to be year round. They’ll have to take all the bikes in and those stations are just going to get wiped out by the snow plows.” Now that Citibike is entering it’s second winter it looks like the answer for the bike share program to big bad winter is to…just keep on riding. Yes, year round.

Now we all know the bike share program had some financial difficulties and needed a big bail out, which is ironic because it was kicked off by a banking institution (Citigroup) that needed a “too big to fail” massive tax payer bail out. The banking giant only committed to starting funds in exchange for some key advertising, but it would be up to the private companies to keep the program running.

A millionaire, world adventure, environmentalist, furniture mogul from Canada has come to the rescue. Bruno Rodi was inspired by seeing first hand the planet in crisis and decided to buy a failing company who has provided bike sharing to a number of major cities around the globe. He hired a new tech staff to fix the software and has taken a very hands on approach, working directly with the host cities as well as seeking new markets.

Here is more of the story from a recent article in the New York Times:

An Uphill Push to Save a Bike-Share Pioneer
by: Ian Austen
January 9th, 2015

IMG_0132.JPG (Montreal’s bike-sharing system, considered one of the most innovative, ended up costing the city $25 million. Photo By: Graham Hughes/New York Times)

The typical origin story for a tech company includes a paper napkin and a garage. But the company that powers the bike-sharing programs in New York, London, Chicago and a dozen other cities started much differently: It began with a municipal parking authority, wound through bankruptcy court and got another shot at corporate viability off the Madagascar coast during the annual hatching of the green sea turtles.

Observing that ritual last year with a group of scientists, Bruno Rodi, a Canadian real estate developer, saw firsthand how those endangered reptiles are threatened by climate change, pollution and hunters. “When you go in extreme areas on the planet, you can vividly see that we’re really destroying the planet,” Mr. Rodi recalled. A globe-trotting adventurer, he has climbed the highest mountain on every continent, visited the North and South Poles and rowed more than 5,000 miles across the Indian Ocean. “I started to get conscious about this,” he said.

For more, ride over here.

Cyclists-Breaking The Law, Breaking The Law-Why?

I know why I scoff traffic laws on a bicycle. Mainly to get an advantage on aggressive NYC drivers and avoid an ever evolving obstacle course of jaywalkers, double parked cars, reckless trucks and motorists jockeying for that ever sacred parking spot. However, I do not take this kind of riding for granted, to do so would mean serious harm or worse. This is a style of biking I have crafted with over 22 years of experience. Its also hard to come clean about and admit. especially while also trying to encourage biking in NYC and to scrutinize over street safety and the politics surrounding it. Cyclists who ride in NYC craft their own narratives. They do,”What they have to do.” Of course this is all blurred perspectives, with cyclists being just as reckless as the motorists they claim to be avoiding or the pedestrians lost in void of their instagram feed, eyes buried in a smart phone screen.. Perhaps these riders don’t know why they ignore the laws…perhaps I’m not aware of the phycology behind my motives, it’s just the way it is…like why it’s ok to jaywalk in NYC.

An article just came out in the Washington Post that looks into to behaviors behind cyclists breaking the law and the psychology affiliated with it. The article begins to ask the question, that I’ve been wondering for years, should the same street laws which are designed for car infrastructure, apply to cyclists.

There is also a survey within the article, from the main person interviewed (Wesley Marshall, assistant professor of civil engineering, University of Colorado) attempting to collect data on the subject of cyclists breaking the law.

Let’s talk seriously about why cyclists break traffic laws.
By: Emily Badger
January 9th, 2015

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A bicyclist uses a bike lane along L St. NW in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt McClain for The Washington Post)

In full disclosure, I have scoffed the law while cycling. In my neighborhood at night, when there’s no one around, I have rolled through a stop sign. I have paused at an intersection, “no turn on red,” and then done exactly that on a bike. I do these things … occasionally.

“I do, too,” says Wesley Marshall, now that we’re confessing. “If I’m sitting at a red light next to a bunch of cars, and there are no cars crossing, I’ll go through the red light to establish myself in the street in the next block, because I feel like I’m safer doing that.”

For more, ride over: here.

Gadgets Round Up

With road conditions like this:

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(Photo by: @eveostay )
The only gadgets you might be thinking about is something that will make glasses not fog up while wearing a face mask.

Road.cc just put out a list of innovative cycling gadgets that caught their eye way back in 2014. Here is a roundup to get you thinking for this year’s riding.

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10 of the Most Interesting Cycling Gadgets
A roundup of the most interesting gadgets for cycling from lights to crash sensors.
By: David Arthur
January 9th, 2015

There’s a plethora of cycling-specific gadgets available these days, so we’ve rounded up 10 of the most interesting gadgets, from lights to crash sensors and navigational aids. Whatever your need, there’s probably a gadget for it.

The Hammerhead:

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The Hammerhead is a unique navigation device that uses a series of LED lights to provide turn-by-turn directions when cycling. The aim, say the inventors, is to provide safer cycling routes, and the device syncs with their smartphone app so you find or plot a route. Send it to the Hammerhead, and it’ll guide you through all the turns. An extra feature is a 15 Lumen light built into the front of the unit. It’s also compatible with any of the large number of Garmin computer mounts.

http://hammerhead.io/index.php

For more, ride over here.

Louisville, Kentucky Hosts The NAHBS-March 6th-8th

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Every year, since 2005, the world’s brightest frame builders and bike makers gather in a different city in North America. This Mecca of bicycle innovation is known as the North American Handmade Bicycle Show or NAHBS, if you’re into that whole brevity thing.

2015 the host town destination is Louisville, Kentucky-March 6th-8th.

Here is more detail from a press release I just received:

“We are very excited for this year’s show and we’re expecting it to be as vibrant and well attended as ever,” said Don Walker, Founder and President of NAHBS. “Louisville is a first-rate cycling city with a ton of bike shops, bike clubs, and an active cycling community. We’re sure the show will be a hit with the locals. And with great restaurants, night life, and riding, our out-of-town attendees will love it too.”
Continue reading Louisville, Kentucky Hosts The NAHBS-March 6th-8th