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Monday, December 16, 2013

Why You Should Never Bike to Work

I have biked everywhere within 4 miles of my apartment in the past 5 years, including every job I've had -- I've never had to drive to work in Denver. I find riding a bicycle exhilarating, but that's no reason for you to think you should. In fact, here are 9 reasons you shouldn't bike to work. I'm sure you can think of others.

9. It's too dangerous.

Can you imagine being out there on a bicycle with all these crazy drivers flying past you, nothing to protect you except a plastic and styrofoam shell on your head? You could get killed. The absolute best thing is to stay in the protective cage of your car, because no one's ever been killed when they're inside an automobile. Driving is safe.

8. You have to wear a tie to work. Or a suit. Or a skirt.

Not only that, it's important to wear your tie/suit/business casual attire from the moment you leave your house in the morning until the moment you get home. There is no conceivable way you could leave some clothes at your office, and change into them after you ride your bike to work, two or three days a week. Plus, your suit/tie combination is so dialed, you can't just spread your tie collection out over two locations. Where the hell is my cornflower blue tie? I need to see if it looks good with these shoes. And like there's some way to ride a bike in skirt or a dress?

7. You have to go to the gym after/before work.

What, are you supposed to carry all your work materials and your gym clothes in a tiny little backpack on a bike? Please. I mean, what, bike to work, then bike to the gym, then get on the stationary bike for 45 minutes, and bike home? Ridiculous. What are you, Lance Armstrong? I guess you could just ride your real bike, and stop going to the gym, but we're Americans. We work out indoors.

6. You can't show up all sweaty and smelly for your job.

It is a proven fact that once you have sweated from exercise, you can never recover until you get into a shower or bath and rinse it off. Also a fact: Human sweat is comprised of more than 90% fecal particles, which is why you smell like a hog confinement instantly after you start exercising, and afterward, when the people next to you on the Stairmaster are passing out like they've just been chloroformed. It's not like you could take a shower at the office, after all, or use Action Wipes to wipe off when you get to work to mitigate that smell. Your co-workers will be all, "Bob, what the hell did you do, bike to work today? It smells like somebody's gutting a week-old deer carcass in your cubicle."

5. You don't have the right bike for it.

The only bike you own are your Trek Madone, and your single-speed 29er, neither of which will work. You'd have to go out and buy a dedicated commuting bike, which start at, what, $1,200? Ask those day laborer guys who bike to work every day on secondhand Huffys and Magnas -- they're not cheap.

4. You can't be wearing a bike helmet and messing up your hair before work.

Fact: Hair products are not portable, and are not designed for use outside of your home bathroom or a hair salon. And let's face it: Your hairstyle is a work of carefully crafted art, not something that can be rushed in 5, 10 or even 30 minutes in some modern office restroom. You spend a long time on your hair, just like Tony Manero. You can't just throw it all away on a bike ride.

3. The route from your home to your office would be suicide on a bike.

There are no bike lanes, no shoulders, no wide sidewalks, no nothing on the roads from your home to your office. What, are you supposed to find other roads to ride on, like lesser-traveled, lower-speed-limit roads through residential areas? Or detour way out of your way to get on a bike path? No thank you. You don't have time for that.

2. What if it rains?
Yeah, Mr. Hardcore Bike Commuter, what if it rains? You're supposed to just ride a bicycle home from the office through a downpour? What are you supposed to do when you get home, looking like a sewer rat? This is a civilized society. Thanks to umbrellas, sprinting from your car to your office, and sometimes holding a newspaper above your head, you haven't gotten wet outside of your shower since 2007. Next thing, someone's going to tell you that you have to carry a rain jacket in your bike commuting bag -- maybe pants too. What the hell is this, a backpacking trip? You're just trying to get to work on time.

1. You would have to change your routine.
Please. Give up your 45-minute drive into work, the drive that energizes you for the day ahead? Give up interacting with all those other fun, friendly, courteous drivers on the freeway? Sitting in traffic? Road construction? Merging? Not a chance.

Brendan Leonard is an editor, outdoorsman and author of The New American Road Trip Mixtape. He runs the site semi-rad.com.

For the original article click here

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dear Motorist,

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Making The Economic Case For Cycling-Friendly Cities With Bikeonomics

A new book puts hard numbers to the intuitive case for more bike-friendly neighborhoods for all.

We all know that cycling is good for us and that it benefits the environment. But if you want to make the case for something, it helps to have numbers to back you up, especially in policy circles.
We've covered a few cycling-economics studies here at Co.Exist. But in Bikenomics: How Cycling Can Save The Economy, the Portland-based activist Elly Blue goes further. Her book is comprehensive account of all the ways cycling can save money, boost revenues, and help the economy broadly and locally.
Here are five key arguments she makes:

Health costs

Health is the biggie. "Bicycle infrastructure makes so much economic sense that it can accurately be described as a health investment," Blue says. Portland says health savings could allow it to recoup spending on cycling by 2015; by 2030, it could save $600 million a year. Blue argues that short trips by bike are a more convenient way for people to get daily exercise (more realistic than going to the gym all the time). Inevitably, she cites Copenhagen, that pre-eminent cycling city. It expects to save $60 million a year in health costs once its network of 26 cycling "superhighways" is completed.

Bike infrastructure is cheap, and creates jobs

On average, urban freeways cost $60 million a mile to build. The best type of protected bike lanes cost between $170,000 and $250,000 per mile and need much less maintenance. "Off-street paths cost less than a freeway project would spend on photocopying in a year," Blue says. Bikeways also create more jobs per dollar than roads, according to one study.


Blue devotes a lot of her book to ways we subsidize car ownership--for example, in providing free parking downtown. "An astonishing amount of space in most urban cores is dedicated to the publicly subsidized storage of private property," she says. When you throw in roads, many cities give up over half their area to cars: 65% of Houston is paved with asphalt, for example. Cites are losing a lot of potential income, Blue says. "Highways and parking lots represent a massive amount of taxable property that could yield thousands of dollars per lot, per year--representing millions of dollars of lost revenue for cities."

"An astonishing amount of space in most urban cores is dedicated to the publicly subsidized storage of private property."

Local economies

Studies show that bike parking brings in more revenue than car parking--at least on certain streets. Blue cites a project in Fort Worth, Texas, where 160 bike spaces cost $12,000--about the same as a single car space. Bikers are more likely than drivers to stop and spend, and, of course, you can accommodate more people in the same space. There's also a potential "green dividend" when people bike about town, rather than driving to suburban malls. Their cash goes to local businesses, not to oil companies and Middle Eastern sheiks. By driving 20% less than other cities, Portlanders contribute $800 million to the local economy, one study says.

Cars are expensive--particularly for people of low income

The American Automobile Association says driving a sedan costs $9,122 a year on average, not including expenses like parking. Households earning less than $70,000 spend nearly 20% of their income on transport, Blue says. Bikes are much cheaper--just a few hundred dollars a year for maintenance, gear upgrades, and the annualized cost of a bike. She admits people living outside cities face "tremendous" opportunity costs from not driving. But she refutes the stereotypes that cycling need only be for white professionals, Latino laborers, and DUI offenders. Many other people could cycle and benefit from doing so.
In an email, Blue says she wrote the book to give bike advocates stronger arguments than "but bicycling is really healthy and doesn't pollute." "I was watching bicycling enter the national conversation as this sort of goofy stereotypical thing that liberals do, like drink lattes and shop at Whole Foods," she says. "I kept hearing people make economic arguments against bicycling ... but bike advocates didn't have the tools to respond."
While it has a strong point of view, Blue's book is rational, fully footnoted--and, in the main, persuasive. There is a clearly a lot of economic benefit to cycling, particularly in and around cities. That doesn't mean outlawing cars. But it does mean evening up the playing-field in debates. This book should help.

Click here for the original article

Monday, November 18, 2013

Courtesy of NY Times
This week there's been much buzz about a recent story in the NY Times wondering Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists? --which of course also gets people wondering about the same issue for pedestrians. When Pedestrians injured by cars: whose fault is it? The NYPD seems to think a share of the blame lies with those pesky pedestrians who refuse to take appropriate precautions.Not only should pedestrians wear reflective clothing, NYPD tells them to carry flashlights at night. Never mind that NYC Motorists Killed Three Pedestrians on City Sidewalks Today. Obviously flashlights would have solved that problem. Elsewhere in the country authorities aren't quite so forgiving of vehicles who harm pedestrians, like in Pennsylvania where a Bus driver who ran red light, hit pedestrian can't get jobless benefits, Pa. court says.

Meanwhile other regions are working hard on improving pedestrian safety SANBAG Wins Award for Transit Access Plan for Bicyclists and Pedestrians and Spring Hill hopes to land state grant for pedestrian paths. Unfortunately, as is often the case, it's only After teen's death, Berliners want safer pedestrian crossing

The week has also been full of stories that should be obvious by now. Bike, pedestrian plans should be integrated, official says, and Planning, design plays role in community walkability. And did you know that As people move closer, less need for roads and transit?

Finally this week, here in San Diego Mayoral Candidates Talk About Livable Streets, while elsewhere we contemplate Sesame Street and Children’s Perception of City Life and Suburbia and the American Dream. Hopefully the dream has sidewalks.

Click here for the original article

Friday, October 25, 2013

Many More Miles of Bike Lanes


Across the U.S., better bike lanes are hitting the ground. The new designs create dedicated, protected space on streets for people on bikes. The lanes use posts, parked cars, planters or curbs to make bicycling more comfortable for more people.

Momentum for these lanes has been growing: New York City started building them in 2008, Chicago has built 17 miles of protected lanes in the last two years, Atlanta installed its first this year, Memphis has pledged to build 15 miles in the next two years, and Omaha and Lincoln are in a race to be the first city in Nebraska to get one.

Early in 2012, PeopleForBikes launched the Green Lane Project to champion these innovative facilities. Why? Because they turn a busy street into a place where more people are comfortable riding. Protected bike lanes help remove barriers that dissuade people from hopping on a bike to visit friends, get to school or work, or cruise to the neighborhood frozen yogurt place. That's good news for everyone—whether you are seasoned rider or new to bicycling.

Our strategy to promote protected bike lanes has two main components: Raising awareness about them and getting them on the ground. In early 2012, we selected six cities that were poised to make a lot of progress: Austin, Chicago, Memphis, Portland OR, San Francisco and Washington DC. We provided them with grants, technical and strategic support, and a good dose of inspiration. And they’ve made huge progress. About half of the new lanes built in the last two years are in these six cities. The effort worked so well, we’re doing it again. We just opened the application process for Green Lane Project 2. We’ll select six new cities in early 2014, and help them make progress.

Are you hearing about protected bike lanes in your community? Join the conversation on our website or Facebook page. 
-The PeopleForBikes team
Click header or footer to go to the People for Bikes Web Site.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bike Boxes: The Next Cyclist Revolution?

Bike Boxes

A bike box is a colored area at a signalized intersection that allows bicyclists to pull out in front of waiting traffic. Designed to be used only at red lights, the box is intended to reduce car-bike conflicts, increase cyclist visibility and provide bicyclists with a head start when the light turns green.

Of particular concern is the "right hook" collision that can happen when drivers turn right as a bicycle starts straight through an intersection. In the U.S., right hook collisions are implicated in 4.7% of bike crashes, 11% of which are fatal, and 3.6% are Right Turn On Red collisions, of which 6% are fatal. BIke boxes have been shown to be most effective when paired with a brightly colored bike lane that extends through the intersection, to remind motorists that cyclists may be traveling straight. Bike boxes are called "advanced stop lines" in Europe and Asia, where this safety device was first employed. The concept is now gaining popularity in cities in the U.S.A.

History of Bike Box Use

Bike boxes have been in use since the late 1980's in Europe and Asia, and less widely in the U.S. and Canada since 2000. They were officially allowed in Belgium as of 1992 and in the U.K. beginning in 2002. Danish road engineers published one of the first significant studies regarding the use of bike boxes in 1994. 

As of early 2008 at least 60 bike boxes had been installed in New York City. Portland, Oregon was planning 15 bike boxes in 2008, at a total cost of $150,000. A few scattered bike boxes can also be found in San Francisco and Berkeley, California; Eugene, Oregon; Madison, Wisconsin; and Cambridge, Mass. Portland launched its program in 2008 following the deaths of two bicyclists in 2007. Both fatalities resulted from right hook collisions involving large trucks.

Are Bike Boxes a Good Thing?
With nearly 40% of daily commuter trips taken by bike Copenhagen, Denmark is generally considered the world's most bicycle-friendly city. Having been working with bike boxes for nearly 20 years, studies by Danish road engineers and transportation planners have found that bike boxes significantly reduce the number of crashes between right-turning motorists and bicyclists going straight through......

For the original article, click here.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pedal Power

An infographic by the team at Online Masters In Public Health
For the orginal graphic click here

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Cool Bike Racks

Bike racks don't need to be the typical metal loop bolted into the ground. They can instead be more like a sculpture; a work of art that we chain our bikes to. In Coeur d'Alene we've already seen some cool designs, like the fork on 4th Street. So, as we expand and/or revamp our city, keeping these art project bike racks in mind could be a good idea. There is a downside, though. They probably cost more to design and make overall, but I'm sure the benefits outweigh the consequences. Custom bike racks are an easy excuse to make a city or even just the front of a building more interesting. Below are two of my favorite designs, but you can see some more by clicking on the link at the bottom!


For the original article, click here.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Not Your Average Bike...


All of us know how bikes, look, as well as how they work. There is a seat where we sit, a handlebar to steer with, and pedals of course. A quick look at the following bike would confirm our suspicions, right? Or would it...

green transportation, electrolyte bikes, e-bike, electric bike, electric motor, lithium-ion battery, electric, bicycle, bike design, green bike design

You can't tell by looking at it, but this bicycle has built in batteries and a motor. It's an e-bike produced by the German manufacturer Electrolyte. Now you can see why this isn't exactly your average bike! This model has a range from around thirty miles all the way up to sixty-two! I wouldn't say that these bikes are economically priced (the starting price is $5135), but who knows? Maybe if they get popular enough, more companies could start making them and compete for lower prices.

For the full article, click here.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Builders Starting to Keep Bikers in Mind

In Amsterdam, the number of people who bike is so large that the city has built multistory, bike-only parking garages. Faced with a similar situation, Shinagawa, a ward in Tokyo, built an elaborate underground parking system for bikes. While bike use is not yet so extensive in most U.S. cities as to make such steps necessary, panelists at a recent ULI Washington event discussed both the benefits of increased biking and the opportunities developers have to make buildings more bike friendly.

Shane Farthing, executive director of the Washington, D.C., advocacy group Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), said advocates like himself need to work more closely with the private sector. In Washington, D.C., which is expecting to see its population increase by 250,000 by 2032, Farthing said, there is little or no capacity to accommodate some 100,000 additional car commuters. But bikes require less road space and parking than cars.

WABA research shows that people are more likely to bike if they have protected cycling lanes and trails, convenient long- and short-term parking for their bikes, and access to showers. While commercial and residential developers are not expected to provide protected lanes, Farthing said the other inducements for cycling are “essentially home improvement projects” that companies can generally provide without significant costs.

Anthony Wolf Greenberg, senior vice president of Washington-area developer the JBG Companies, said his firm is beginning to build with bike-friendly design in mind. While his company prioritizes developing properties near transit, other companies have begun to build near bike trails, he said. “We’re not by any means claiming to be some leader on this; we’re very early on. We’re trying to learn a lot about bike-friendliness,” said Greenberg.

JBG has begun to encourage biking to its properties. The company worked with the chamber of commerce in McLean, Virginia, to sponsor a bike-to-work day. It also hosted a bike-to-work day at its Rockville office attended by about 100 people. The firm also provides artsy bike racks in some of their new developments, plus access to bike pumps and vending machines that sell sports drinks and energy bars.

Getting developers to agree to build with bike-friendly design is not always difficult. When Jennifer Toole, president of Toole Design Group, relocated a company office from Bethesda to a new building in Silver Spring, Maryland, she asked the developer to include bike racks near the parking lot exit that would be free for her employees to use. She also asked for showers. The builder agreed to all the requests and also built a larger locker room to house the showers. “I was shocked by how easy it was to get these amenities,” Toole said.

The panelists also noted that companies with bike commuters benefit from their employees being healthier. Toole pays her employees $1.50 per day if they bike or walk to work; she also provides helmets, bike repair kits, and other equipment. Whereas Toole Design Group subsidizes transit, it does not subsidize car parking fees. As a result, 85 percent of Toole’s staff either bikes, walks, or takes transit to the workplace. This improves employee health and saves the company money on health insurance.
People across most age demographics are beginning to bike. Toole noted that in a study conducted from 2001 to 2009, bike trips increased 24 percent, walking increased 16 percent, and use of public transit increased 40 percent for members of generation Y, also known as millennials. She thinks growing numbers of this age group no longer see a car as a symbol of freedom. Whereas a car gave generation X the opportunity to connect with others, generation Y instead turns to smartphones. She quoted Sheryl Connelly, head of global consumer trends for Ford, who said, “I don’t think car buying for millennials will ever be what it was for boomers.” It’s not just millennials who are hopping on bikes; the same study showed an 11 percent increase in biking among the 40- to 64-year-old age cohort.

The panel also was in agreement that facilities that cater to biking have often been treated as an amenity for building construction in the United States Instead, they would like biking to be treated as a source of legitimate transportation that developers should accommodate when building.

July 30, 2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Our View: Bicycle Safety about Changing, Not Law

The state has tried. The cities in the Magic Valley have tried. But in the end, Idaho does not have the political will needed to pass laws that will protect cyclists on the road.

Current Idaho bicycle law requires a cyclist moving slower than traffic to ride as closely as “practicable” to the right curb or edge. That puts the responsibility and the blame on cyclists without adjusting for driver behavior. It’s also ambiguous.

In 2009 and 2010, legislators tried unsuccessfully to pass a buffer-zone law requiring passing motorists to stay 3 feet from a cyclist or anyone on a roadway.

After the bill failed, Minidoka County officials tried to pass a county ordinance. It never passed due to disagreements on wording.

Twin Falls City Council has been proactive, passing a 3-foot passing ordinance and requiring that cyclists have rear lights on their bikes. They stopped short of passing an ordinance that made bicycle helmets mandatory.

We could spend this space asking that every city and county in the Magic Valley follow Twin Falls’ lead and pass a 3-foot passing ordinance. We could ask that the state legislature take another swing as a state bicycle safety law in the next session. And we do want to see those things.

But it’s also time to accept that updating and clarifying the law is only part of the solution.

Bicycle safety starts with changing attitudes. It requires that cyclists ride responsibly and with full awareness of their surroundings. And it requires that drivers accept that cyclists are taxpayers who have a right to use the road.

After we published a story titled “Space on the Road: Do Idaho Drives and Cyclists Share?”, a lively debate started online at Magicvalley.com in response. The tone of the debate seemed to mirror the attitude out on the road — drivers saying cyclists think they own the road or don’t belong there at all and cyclists arguing that drivers are aggressive and put lives in danger by driving too close.

It’s time for both sides to give a little. Cyclists aren’t going to give up the sport and its popularity is only going to grow as our population grows. The way bicycle lanes are slowly being incorporated into the city planning processes around the Magic Valley shows that there’s a slow but steady shift in cultural attitudes about cycling.

Laws need to be updated and clarified, but for now it’s a personal decision.
We’ve made room in our minds and on our roads for slow-moving farm equipment, for cattle and sheep.

It’s time that rural Idaho also made room for cyclists on the road.

For the original article click here

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Dutch Prize Their Pedal Power, but a Sea of Bikes Swamps Their Capital

Amsterdam has more bicycles than people, and although it has thousands of bike racks, demand for them still outstrips supply.

AMSTERDAM — About 6:30 weekday mornings, throngs of bicycles, with a smattering of motor scooters and pedestrians, pour off the ferries that carry bikers and other passengers free of charge across the IJ (pronounced “eye”) harbor, clogging the streets and causing traffic jams down behind Amsterdam’s main train station.

“In the afternoon it’s even more,” moaned Erwin Schoof, a metalworker in his 20s who lives in the canal-laced center of town and battles the chaos daily to cross to his job.
Willem van Heijningen, a railway official responsible for bikes around the station, said, “It’s not a war zone, but it’s the next thing to it.”

This clogged stream of cyclists is just one of many in a city as renowned for bikes as Los Angeles is for automobiles or Venice for gondolas. Cyclists young and old pedal through narrow lanes and along canals. Mothers and fathers balance toddlers in spacious wooden boxes affixed to their bikes, ferrying them to school or day care. Carpenters carry tools and supplies in similar contraptions and electricians their cables. Few wear helmets. Increasingly, some are saying what was simply unthinkable just a few years ago: There are too many bikes.

While cities like New York struggle to get people onto bikes, Amsterdam is trying to keep its hordes of bikes under control. In a city of 800,000, there are 880,000 bicycles, the government estimates, four times the number of cars. In the past two decades, travel by bike has grown by 40 percent so that now about 32 percent of all trips within the city are by bike, compared with 22 percent by car.

Click here for the entire article

Friday, June 14, 2013

Helmets....Not as effective as previously thought....hmmmm

Feds will stop hyping effectiveness of bike helmets

Two federal government agencies will withdraw their longstanding claims that bicycle helmets reduce the risk of a head injury by 85%. The decision comes in response to a petition the Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA) filed under the federal Data Quality Act.

In 1989, a study in Seattle estimated that helmets prevent 85% of head injuries. Later efforts to replicate those results found a weaker connection between helmets and head injuries, but public health advocates, government web sites, and the news media often present it as fact.

Bad information can cause problems, even when it is promoted with the best intentions. If people think that helmets stop almost all head injuries, consumers will not demand better helmets, and legislators may feel it makes sense to require everyone to wear one. WABA asked two federal agencies to correct the misinformation, and after a lengthy process, they've agreed to do so.

How effective are bicycle helmets?In theory, helmets should absorb the shock from a crash. If your head strikes the ground or a vehicle, your brain could be seriously shaken by the sudden deceleration. With a helmet, the foam around your head forms a cushion.  They can also prevent head fractures by spreading the force of the impact. It's like the difference between being hit on the head by a rock or a beach ball with the same weight.

It's hard to tell how often helmets actually prevent head injuries, however. Experiments on people are unethical, so instead researchers collect hospital data on people involved in bicycle crashes. In 1989, a team of researchers led by Dr. Robert S. Thompson, a preventative care specialist at the Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, collected data about cyclists in Seattle who went to area hospitals after a crash. Only 7% of the cyclists with head injuries wore helmets, but 24% of those without head injuries did wear helmets. Their statistical analysis, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, estimated that helmets had reduced the risk of a head injury by 85%.

Dr. Thompson's study was a "case-control study" like those that first found a link between smoking and cancer. There is no true "control" group, but epidemiologists say these studies are good for showing whether something has a good or bad effect on health, though not for quantifying it. Dozens of researchers sought to replicate the Thompson findings in their own communities. They also found that helmets reduce the risk of head injuries, but less frequently than Thompson's team found. Some studies even found that helmets increase the risk of neck injuries.

If you consider the entire body of research rather than just one study, and look at both head and neck injuries, helmets only reduce the risk of injury by about 15% to 45% . Nonetheless, public health advocates seized on the 85% estimate as a good way to communicate risk: failing to wear a helmet makes you more than 6 times as likely to experience a head injury. Government websites and newspapers have repeated it to the point where it has become ubiquitous in discussions about bicycle helmets.

Click here for the entire article

Monday, June 3, 2013

Iron Kids Fun Run - June 20th, 2013

Bicycling surges across the country, outpacing critics’ complaints

9th Avenue in NYC
How the “Bikelash” Quieted Down in New York and Other Cities

Former New York mayor Ed Koch envisioned bicycles as vehicles for the future, and in 1980 created experimental bike lanes on 6th and 7th Avenues in Manhattan where riders were protected from speeding traffic by asphalt barriers. It was unlike anything most Americans had ever seen--and some people roared their disapproval. Within weeks, the bike lanes were gone.
Twenty-seven years later New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and his transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan saw the growing ranks of bicyclists on the streets as a key component of 21st Century transportation, and began building protected bike lanes in Manhattan and Brooklyn. They had studied the success of similar projects in Copenhagen and the Netherlands, noting how to make projects more efficient and aesthetically pleasing.
These “green lanes” and pedestrian plazas were an immediate hit but ignited a noisy reaction from a small group of well-connected people unhappy about projects in their neighborhoods, including Bloomberg’s former transportation commissioner. Lawsuits were filed while New York Post and Daily News columnists thundered about the inconvenience to motorists and supposed dangers to pedestrians. New York magazine declared the situation a “Bikelash” on its cover.
Pressure mounted on Bloomberg to sack Sadik-Khan and rip out the green lanes. Anthony Weiner, then a Queens Congressman and mayoral hopeful, told Bloomberg he would spend his first year as mayor attending “a bunch of ribbon cuttings tearing out your [expletive] bike lanes.” Bicyclists everywhere braced themselves for a setback, which would once again slow progress toward safer streets in New York and around the continent.
Now two years later, Sadik-Khan is still commissioner, and bike lanes continue appearing across the city, including 11.3 new miles of green lanes last year alone.
Two-thirds of New Yorkers call bike lanes a good idea in the most recent New York Times poll, compared to only 27 percent who oppose them. All of the major candidates to replace Bloomberg as mayor expressed support for bicycling at a recent forum, notes Paul Steely White, executive director of the local group Transportation Alternatives.
“Bike lanes are the new normal in New York,” White adds. “People in East Harlem are saying we want bike lanes like those in other parts of town.”
(photo credit NYTimes.com)
Another of Bloomberg’s and Sadik-Khan’s big ideas to improve New York has now hit the streets: the Citi Bike bike sharing system, the largest in North America with 6000 bikes available at 330 stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

What rallied the public around bicycling? “It was a combination of things,” reports Ben Fried, who chronicled the debate as editor of Streetsblog, a web magazine covering transportation in New York. First, independent polls debunked the myth that New Yorkers disliked bike lanes. “Actually a strong majority from throughout the city supported them.”
Fried also credits neighborhood leaders and bicyclists with mobilizing grassroots support for bike lanes, both on the web and at public meetings. “In the end, politicians need to see that bike lanes are a win for them.”
Pressure for new biking facilities came also from business leaders who see better biking conditions as an asset for their companies. High-tech executives at 33 firms—including Foursquare, Meetup and Tumblr—urged Bloomberg to implement the bikeshare system “as a way to attract and retain the investment and talent for New York City to remain competitive.” The Hearst Corporation recently announced it will pay employees’ cost to join the Citi Bikes program. “It’s a cool New York thing to do and good for fitness,” says Hearst spokesperson Lisa Bagley. “Our decision is driven by what are employees are interested in.”
Tim Blumenthal, president of PeopleForBikes and the sister Green Lane Project, stresses, “Bike issues need to framed in the context of what they mean to the city, not just what they mean to people who bike. In New York City, for example, more green lanes, better bikeway networks, and the new CitiBike system will benefit all residents and visitors by reducing traffic, noise and air pollution--making city life a little less frenetic for everyone.”
This all represents good news for cities coast-to-coast. “If you can do it here, you can do it anywhere,” says White paraphrasing the old song “New York, New York.”
Other communities will no doubt face their own version of bikelash, but the high-profile debate in New York over bike lanes highlights two key assets of protected green lanes:
  1. Bike lanes create safer streets for everyone. “It’s the safety stats that carried the day,” notes Ben Fried, editor of Streetsblog, “They’re pretty indisputable.” Crashes for all road users (drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists) on streets with green lanes drop on average by 40 percent, and sometimes as much as 50 percent, according to a memorandum from Deputy New York Mayor Howard Wolfson. Green lanes also lead to significantly fewer bicyclists riding on sidewalks, Fried notes.
  1. Bike Lanes are good for business. Shop owners are sometimes zealous opponents of bike lanes, which they claim will suffocate business by reducing traffic and eliminating parking. Yet businesses on 9th Avenue, the first major green lane in the city, saw a 49 percent rise in retail sales, compared to 3 percent across Manhattan as a whole, according to research by the New York City Department of Transportation. Another study of consumer patterns by Portland State University researchers, found that shoppers who arrive by bicycle spend 24 percent more at stores per month than those who drive.
New, unfamiliar ideas like green lanes always spark opposition-- at first. “Push back is inevitable,” Fried explains. “It doesn’t mean the project is flawed. Once it’s built, the constituency for it will grow.”
Complaints about a “war on cars” have echoed around Seattle from a small but persistent chorus opposed to bike lanes. In response the Cascade Bicycle Club commissioned a poll of Seattle voters (conducted by the independent research firm FM3 using a scientifically rigorous sample of 400 respondents), which found that 79 percent view bicyclists favorably, 73 percent want to see more protected green lanes, 59 percent support “replacing roads and some on-street parking” to build green lanes,” while only 31 percent believe Seattle is “waging a war on cars.”
(Green lanes in Washington, D.C. have also been denounced as a “war on cars”, even though only one percent of DC’s roads are dedicated to bicyclists, according to computations by Washington City Paper reporter Aaron Wiener.)

The new two-way protected bike lane on Dearborn Street in Chicago
In Chicago, there’s no organized opposition to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s vision of boosting the city’s economy by providing 100 miles of green lanes and 550 more of on-street bike lanes. More than 16 miles of green lanes were built in 2012. One project on the South Side, however, did raise aesthetic concerns about historic Martin Luther King Drive, which was solved by shifting the protected green lane to a parallel street and adding buffered bike lanes (wide swaths of paint) to King Drive. The community engagement process around this issue resulted in neighbors forming the Bronzeville Bicycling Initiative to encourage more people to bike in this historically African-American community.

However Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass rouses emotions with his warnings that the mayor’s plans “foreshadow the day that cars will be illegal.” He also targets “little bike people” as “free riders” who don’t pay to keep up the roads and as scofflaws who defy traffic laws.
Ron Burke of the Active Transportation Alliance sees “little bike people” as a compliment, noting “how little space we take up on the roadway, how little wear and tear we cause, and how little our facilities cost within the grand scheme of transportation spending.”
Burke agrees with Kass that bicyclists endangering other people should be ticketed, but deconstructs his claim that motorists pay their own way on the streets. Between 24 and 38 percent of total road costs in Illinois are not covered by user fees such as gas taxes and vehicle stickers, even when you count federal funding as user fees, Burke explains, citing a study from the Environmental Law & Policy Center.
Kass is one of a number of commentators across the country who regularly target bikes and bicyclists. After New York Daily News columnist Denis Hamill wrote, “I hate bike lanes…they are steering some people like me to road rage” one reader responded “All I hear is an old man yelling, ‘Get Off My Lawn.’”

By Jay Walljasper
May 29, 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Spokesman from dean saffron on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Small Steps

It's spring, and there are many more bikes on the road. Others want to start biking. But changing to any new mode of transportation is a big lifestyle change and takes time. Just like learning to drive:

When I finally started biking, it was intimidating because I didn't know "how" to do it.... just like all the other things I found intimidating.
But biking was one of those things I had to learn by doing.

Over time I learned how to adapt my lifestyle.
So if you are considering biking, you can't change overnight. Break it down into small steps.
Perhaps one day you'll wonder how you ever got around without a bicycle.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

So many helmets, so many choices.

Bike Helmets: How to Choose

Few people would choose to ride in a car with no seat belts. So why hop on a bike without a bike helmet?
Helmets simply make sense in all riding conditions. At least 21 states and Washington, D.C., even have laws requiring them.
Here are some tips for choosing a bike helmet model that is well-suited to your needs.

Which Type? Sport, Road or Mountain?

Cycling helmets come in 3 basic styles: sport (also called multi-use), road and mountain. All types are designed to protect a rider's head from impact while being lightweight and comfortable. The differences:
  • Sport (multi-use) helmets ($35-$60): An economical choice for recreational, commuter, road and mountain bikers; also popular with skateboarders and inline skaters.
  • Road bike helmets ($60-$250): Preferred by roadie enthusiasts for their low weight, generous ventilation and aerodynamic design.
  • Mountain bike helmets ($35-$200): Designed to ventilate well at low speeds; distinguished by their visors, enhanced rear-head coverage and a firm, secure fit for tackling rough terrain. Often used by cyclocross riders, too.
Shop REI's selection of bike helmets.

Find the Right Size

A good fit is vital. Multi-use helmets usually offer a single, adjustable size. Most others come in small, medium, large or extended sizes.
To find your size, wrap a flexible tape measure around the largest portion of your head—about 1" above your eyebrows. Or, wrap a string or ribbon around your head, then measure the length of string with a straight-edge ruler or yardstick.
Look for a helmet size that matches your measurement. On REI.com, the size range is listed under the "Specs" tab on each product page.
General sizing parameters for adults:
  • Small: 20"-21.75" (51cm-55cm)
  • Medium: 21.75"-23.25" (55cm-59cm)
  • Large: 23.25"-24.75" (59cm-63cm)
  • Extra-small, extra-large: Below 20" (51cm), above 24.75 (63cm)
  • One size fits all (men): 21.25"-24" (54cm-61cm)
  • One size fits all (women): 19.75"-22.5" (50cm-57cm)
Most kids' helmets are one-size-fits-all with a range of 18"-22.5" (46cm-57cm). Some adults with smaller heads can wear these comfortably.
Between sizes? Opt for the smaller size.
For the complete article, click here.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A U.S. Template for a Third-Millennium City

Photos by Enrique Peñalosa
The city of Bogotá, Colombia, built the Porvenir Promenade, a 15-mile (24 km) “highway” restricted to pedestrians and bicycles.

In 40 years, 2.7 billion more people will live in world cities than do now, according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Urban growth in China, India, and most of the developing world will be massive. But what is less known is that population growth will also be enormous in the United States.
The U.S. population will grow 36 percent to 438 million in 2050 from 322 million today. At today’s average of 2.58 persons per household, such growth would require 44.9 million new homes. However American households are getting smaller. If one were to estimate 2.2 persons per household—the household size in Germany today and the likely U.S. size by 2050—the United States would need 74.3 million new homes, not including secondary vacation homes. This means that over the next 40 years, the United States will build more homes than all those existing today in the United Kingdom, France, and Canada combined. Urban planner and theorist Peter Calthorpe predicts that California alone will add 20 million people and 7 million households by 2050.
To meet this demand, completely new urban environments will have to be created in the United States. Where and how will the new American homes be built? What urban structures are to be created?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Coeur d'Alene Bicycle T-Shirts

Coeur d'Alene Bicycling Tees are available. We have cotton in red and poly blend in blue. Please call 208 292-5766 to get a shirt.

Friday, April 26, 2013

We probably won't buy one of these bikes too soon, mainly because they cost as much as cars, but they're fun to read about.This bike is sold for $30,000. The maker is Kevin Saunders and he named the bike Tier 3 because of the price tag of it. The bike is made of finest material and detailed construct. It is aerodynamics and suitable for hard terrain.

But this isn't the only really expensive bicycle in the world. Click here to read about and see pictures of nine others.
"We are always on about how efficient bicycles are as a means of mobility... Comparing energy used per passenger-mile (calories), they found that a bicycle needed only 35 calories, whereas a car expended a whopping 1,860. Bus and trains fell about midway between, and walking still took 3 times as many calories as riding a bike the same distance. They also..."

For the original article, click here.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Who would have guessed! Boise is one of our country's most friendly bicycle cities. One of the trails there is 22 miles long. There's also another 100-plus miles of trails near downtown Biose. This city is also bicycle friendly because of the Boise Bicycle Project, which restores old bicycles for children. Maybe Coeur d'Alene could start a similar program?

For the original article, click here.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A 'Drive-In' Cafe for Bikes Pops Up in Zurich

Zurich is already a bike-friendly city, with plenty of bike lanes, a third of all Zürchers biking at least twice a week, and some innovative tech like traffic lights that automatically recognize bicycles and let them go ahead of other vehicles. But the city wants to get even more bikers on the road, realizing that mobility will become more of a challenge in the future. As part of a larger Urban Transport 2025 plan that also encourages public transportation and walking, the city is experimenting with new incentives for cyclists, including this bike-up coffee bar.
Like the bike version of a classic drive-in restaurant that lets diners eat without leaving their car, this stand lets bikers enjoy coffee without getting off their two-wheeled rides. (The German sign in the photo says "Drive up. Ring. Enjoy your coffee.") The Velokafi stand was designed to include a tabletop, a place to dock your bike, and side rails to rest your feet as you perch.
The stands are only up temporarily for now, through next week. Think your local coffeeshop could use one of these? The design brings up a related issue that's common in the United States: if you live near drive-through restaurants or banks, are bikes allowed? In many places, they're not, though bike activists are fighting to change that. For some cities, working on equal access might be more useful than bike-only drive-ins, as nice as they look.

Click here for the original article

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

All bikes need chains, right? Wrong.

When we think of parts of bikes, usually the list would be tires, the handle bar,
the pedals, and the chain or course. It's what allows us to make bikes move, which is the entire point of using them! But, not all of these parts are necessarily necessary. Some designers in Hungary have successfully made a bike without a chain. In place of this a system of ropes and pulleys are used. These designers have claimed that their bicycle is more efficient and even gives a smoother ride than a normally designed bike. I'd give it a try. Would you?

For the original article, click here.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Intersection Tips for Bicyclists

Dealing with intersections while riding a bike could be intimidating for some new riders when on streets. This short video gives us some tips on how to do it the right way.

Why Bike? Top 5 Reasons to Ride

Lots of people ride bikes for lots of different reasons. Here are the top five reasons why you should be out there too.

1. For Your Body

Riding a bike offers many health benefits. Here are just a few:
  • increased cardiovascular fitness
  • increased strength
  •  increased balance and flexibility
  • increased endurance and stamina
  • increased calories burned
It can be done by people of all ages, from childhood up even through the adult years when achy joints don't allow for more stressful exercise like jogging.

2. For Your State of Mind

Riding a bike is a proven stress releaser. Regardless of if you are riding purely for pleasure or for a specific purpose, you will arrive at your destination feeling relaxed, energized and happier about the world and yourself.
Plus, being out on your bike is just flat-out fun. The more time you spend on two wheels, the harder it is to take yourself too seriously.

3. For Your Community

Being out on your bike is good for the people around you as well. You are able to go the places you want to go and yet put one less car on the road.
You don’t bring with you the noise that a car generates and are actually able to interaction with people as you move. From my bike I can wave to a neighbor, say hi to a kid, smell someone’s dinner cooking and be a warm and friendly human presence on the streets.
Also, not insignificant: operating a bicycling does not harm the environment. There is no polluting exhaust released, no oil or gas consumed. And the energy and materials used to manufacture one automobile could be used to created a hundred bikes.

4. For Convenience

There is an undeniable convenience factor you’ll discover when riding a bike. Front row parking spaces are guaranteed no matter where you go. Traffic jams are also irrelevant.
Though cars will certainly make better time on long trips, you’ll find for many short trips or through heavy traffic, you can travel just as fast or faster on your bike.
Have you ever been to a massive festival or concert in a park somewhere, the type of event that draws so many people that just getting there is a problem? Going in on a bike is a perfect solution. Zip in, zip out. You don’t have to get there hours early to get a parking spot or else face parking miles away from the event. And you won’t have to wait hours in traffic to get out once it’s over.

5. For Your Pocketbook

It costs between 20 and 30 cents per mile to operate a car, depending on the vehicle. This is based on expenses like gas, oil, maintenance, etc., that go up when you drive more. This figure doesn’t include the hidden costs of vehicle ownership like depreciation, taxes, and insurance. These factors make the actual per mile cost to operate a car much higher.
When you start multiplying cost per mile to operate a car by the distance you ride, you can easily calculate how much money you save by riding a bike.
For example: my daily roundtrip commute is 16 miles. If I do that just twice a week, I will save over $400 in operating costs alone in the course of a year. (16 miles x 2 trips per week x 52 weeks x .25 cents per mile.)
And if you would otherwise have to pay for parking, tolls, and the like, don’t forget to factor that in too. It can add up quickly.

Ride For You

When you ride your bike, you are doing a lot of good things, many of which are for the benefit of others. But ultimately, the one who benefits the most is you, through better health, peace of mind, increased confidence and self-reliance, heck, even through a fatter bank account.
So for all these reasons, get out there on your bike today. Even if you don’t save the world in the process, you’ll still have fun trying!

For the original article click here