Bike sharing programs in America may be even more successful if they (gasp) lose the helmets.
New York Times reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal explains why in this op-Ed.
To Encourage Biking, Cities Lose the Helmets
By: Elisabeth Rosenthal
Published: September 29, 2012 Image by: Eric Hanson
ONE spectacular Sunday in Paris last month, I decided to skip museums and shopping to partake of something even more captivating for an environment reporter: Velib arguably the most successful bike-sharing program in the world. In their short lives, Europe’s bike-sharing systems have delivered myriad benefits, notably reducing traffic and its carbon emissions. A number of American cities — including New York, where a bike-sharing program is to open next year — want to replicate that success.
So I bought a day pass online for about $2, entered my login information at one of the hundreds of docking stations that are scattered every few blocks around the city and selected one of Vélib’s nearly 20,000 stodgy gray bikes, with their basic gears, upright handlebars and practical baskets.
Then I did something extraordinary, something I’ve not done in a quarter-century of regular bike riding in the United States: I rode off without a helmet.
MEET GARY FISHER
The Past, Present and Future of Cycling
On Friday, October 5th, meet the legend, Gary Fisher, father of mountain biking and pioneer advocate for the advancement of urban cycling as transportation.
Join us at Bicycle Habitat for a discussion about the future of cycling and the chance to chat with a true cycling legend.
Friday, October 5th @ 6:30pm
250 Lafayette Street
(Free. Sponsored by Trek Bikes.)
Then, join us and Gary Fisher on October 6th for a day of mountain biking in NYC.
Ever wanted to take your bike off the pavement and onto some trails? Join us October 6th for a day of mountain biking in New York City! Free rides, free clinics and free cycling, it’s a day open to all experience levels and all types of riders.
Trek Bikes will be offering free test rides (available on a first-come, first-served basis), and Trips for Kids NY will be hosting free kid’s rides all day. Plus, a special visit from mountain biking pioneer Gary Fisher! Together with us (Bicycle Habitat), we look forward to you joining us for a fun adventure in the great outdoors!
RSVP and more info, including schedule and directions: getoutdoors.eventbrite.com
Last week I discovered my blog was the target of an evil hacker group in Turkey.
Apparently they also hacked Domino’s Pizza of India so I guess I’m flattered to be in such prestigious corporate company.
In talking with my hacker on twitter, @Ren4s1 they stated:
I was just a victim of some random cyber attacking. Good to know people are putting their time to good use on the Internet.
Regardless, this cost me major time and energy and alerted me to how clueless I am to things like wordpress, MySQL databases and how this blog is actually hosted. Just some basic things a blogger should know. I should probably brush up on my Turkish too.
Thankfully my web master, Taylor Kruse was able to get me back up and running.
This couldn’t come at a worse time due to the fact that I’m moving apartments and our life is in major disruption.
I apologize for the inconvenience and the lack of content. There are still some bugs in the site that I’ll be trying to fix so bear with me.
The big event I missed both virtually and in person was the 20th anniversary of critical mass.
A whole week of festivities kicked off in San Francisco where critical mass got it’s start back in 1992, hosted by Chris Carlson and other founders of this world wide cycling phenomenon.
Here is an article from the San Francisco Bay Guardian:
Critical Mass at 20The movement changed the rules in cities all over the world — and almost, almost, took the Bay Bridge.
By: Steve T. Jones
Published: September 25th, 2012
Chris Carlsson helped spread Critical Mass around the world. Guardian Photo by: Mike Koozmin
I was in Zeitgeist on a Friday summer evening, at a planning meeting for the 20th anniversary of Critical Mass, when I first heard about the idea of kicking off the celebration week with a renegade bicycle ride over the Bay Bridge.
The people who first shook up the city’s commute two decades ago were going to take the idea of seizing space from cars a step further — and fulfill a longtime cyclist fantasy. They were going to take the bridge.
Chris Carlsson, the author/activist who helped found Critical Mass and has evangelized the concept around the world, reminded me of this super-secret ride last Wednesday when I finally got around to starting my reporting for this story. I was surprised that I’d forgotten about it — but yes, I told him, I still wanted to be there.
“This will galvanize our sense of the week,” Carlsson told me, explaining that Critical Mass has always been about “opening up a space for a conversation,” whether it’s about how urban space is used or who gets to make that decision.
“There is a real necessity to have a place for people to start thinking creatively. That’s Critical Mass’s enduring contribution, 20 years ago and today.”
A few NYC bicycle culturists made the trip West including, Brooklynbybike.com’s Anita Singh and Chris Ryan of Team Spider.
Chris brought the whole family (wife Allie and daughter Virginia-start em young)
They went to give some presentations about Time’s Up’s involvement in critical mass and to launch their new website dedicated to a documentary about NYC mass ride: lastfridayofthemonth.com
Transportation Alternatives has teamed up with 150 local businesses to create a “Bicycle District” in the East Village. Consumers will receive discounts and freebies for arriving by bicycle to stores with participating stickers in their windows. There will be a kick-off launch party and bike tour tomorrow (9/22/12) at Veselka’s Ukrainian Dinner, corner of 2nd Ave and 9th Street (Manhattan)–11am.
Here is an article from DNAinfo:
‘Bike District’ In East Village, Lower East Side Offers Deals To Cyclists Updated 4 Hrs Ago
Published: September 21st, 2012
EAST VILLAGE — Not having to pay for gas isn’t the only thing saving cyclists cash.
Bike-loving businesses of the East Village and Lower East Side are banding together to create a “bicycle district” that will give discounts to those who prefer to travel on two wheels.
Transportation Alternatives, the nonprofit group that advocates for cyclists, is launching the initiative Saturday with a map outlining businesses that offer deals to bikers, while also working with local stores to improve biking infrastructure.
Here is the latest in the Villager’s series on bike activism in NYC. Time’s Up volunteer Keegan writes about how cyclist got radicalized due to a bicycle ban in Time’s Square in the 80’s, the 20 year anniversary of Critical Mass and an upcoming celebration bike ride, film screening and panel discussion.
The battle of the bike ban
By: Keegan Stephan
Published: September 20th, 2012
This month marks the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. Activists across the world are celebrating effective direct actions and strategizing ways to move forward. In New York, we have a special victory to celebrate and an important opportunity to facilitate next steps: a victory 25 years ago in a struggle that’s at the forefront of New York City politics again today, and a celebratory event to recall the lessons of the past and regroup for the future.
In 1987, Mayor Koch issued an edict banning bicycling on Fifth, Madison and Park Aves. from 31st St. to 59th St., between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The ban was a clear attack on bike messengers, who were being scapegoated in the press and public for unsafe streets. In response, six messengers rode up Sixth Ave., taking up the road width, slowing down traffic, and stopping at red lights to let pedestrians cross safely.
For these reasons, the cycling community will once again gather in the spirit of direct action. At 6:30 p.m. on Fri., Sept. 28, the 20th anniversary of Critical Mass, we will meet at Sixth Ave. and Houston St. and bike the ride that defeated the 1987 ban. At 9 p.m., we will convene at Cooper Union’s Great Hall, at 7 E. Seventh St., for a free movie screening about the ban, followed by a panel discussion on how to cultivate community and create positive change with cyclists and other road users. For more details, visit: www.battleofthebikeban.com
Panelists for this event include messenger and race organizer: Tony “Stoned Tone” Monroe, Laura Solis (@Lalitadynomite) of @WeBikeNYC and Charlie McCorkell founder of Bicycle Habitat and one of the driving forces of the bicycle uprising.
Using twitter? Follow along on this event: @BicycleUprising and use the hashtag: #S28 and #CM20
NPR just had a great article on how Japanese sake makers are now trying their hands at making local craft beer. Kiuchi Brewery vice president Youichi Kiuchi holds a bottle of his company’s Hitachino Nest beer. To make beer, the brewery is using equipment that once was used for sake.-Photo by Lucy Craft
Chrome industries has just improved their Truk shoe, which is perfect for urban cycling.
It’s available today (September 19th) in all your local Chrome stores.
Here is a little press:
(San Francisco, CA) Chrome is the original maker of Urban Bike Footwear that provides performance on and off the bike. Designed and developed to be worn all day, the Truk is the latest in Chrome’s Pedal Series shoes created for commuters and messengers who want more riding performance without sacrificing walking comfort.
The Truk’s upper is built with the same bombproof 1000 denier Cordura that Chrome uses in the bag-line and makes the Truk model 25 times stronger than typical canvas shoes. The Truk’s sole construction includes a 100% vulcanized outsole, an integrated nylon shank for increased pedal power, a cushioning heel pad, resilient PU insole and Chrome’s signature reflective heel detail for visibility at night. The Truk is BUILT to ride and is simply stiffer, stronger and bomber.
For a quick promo, here is hill bombardier and track bike technician, Massan in a video showing off the Truk shoe: