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The Monday Roundup

Posted by Elly Blue (Columnist) on June 15th, 2009 at 10:42 am

Yes, there is non-Pedalpalooza related news in the world. Here's a quick list of stories that caught our eye this week:

- Among other bike-ish content in the Portland Mercury's annual Bike Issue, Sarah Mirk exposes various pernicious Bike Myths.

- 200 French prison inmates are participating in a character-building Tour de France of their own.

- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the controversially re-elected president of Iran is a former traffic engineer. Tom Vanderbilt at How We Drive reflects on the implications of this background.

- In the New York Times Magazine, Deborah Solomon needles Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on the Obama administration's efforts to promote non-car transportation.

- The Chicago Transit Authority is under scrutiny for making company cars available to 68 employees.

- Instead of waiting for stimulus funding to kick in for new bikeway infrastructure, an LA designer has initiated the more immediate, simple, low-cost solution of installing signage.

- Tom Vanderbilt has researched some more statistics that support the safety in numbers phenomenon.

- Bike Rumor has an interesting interview up: "What's it like being a Trek Bicycles product manager?"

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- "I'll try to remember my manners, if you will please try not to maim or kill me," writes a guest editorialist in the Oregonian, on the topic of road rules, road rage, and attitudes on the road.

- What's the ethical thing to do if you have a Hummer? Don't sell it, take it off the road entirely, advises NY Times ethicist Randy Cohen. (Remember the StreetFilms interview with Cohen about the ethics of going carfree?)

- The Bay Area has what may be the country's first (nearly) carfree suburb quietly in the works.

- DIY project of the week: Make your own fancy cycle computer out of an old Palm PDA.

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  • Matt Picio June 15, 2009 at 10:53 am

    and I'm so excited, I have to comment about this: 9 people showed up for the Ridiculously Early Donut Ride, and rode from VooDoo Donut over the western hills and out to Aloha to Every Day is a Donut Day (yes, that's the real name of the store).

    This might seem like an everyday Pedalpalooza experience, were it not for the fact that the ride left at 4:30am and arrived in Aloha at 6:30am. Wow!

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  • Dan Liu June 15, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Oh wow, those LA signs are amazing. Awesome use of wheels and icons to indicate sign type, without deviating from the purple bike-sign theme.

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  • peejay June 15, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Loved the signs. I ask my friend Greg R why we need to keep hiding the location of bike boulevards from everyone (including bikers) with those miniscule little dots on the pavement every two or three blocks. If the problem is drivers trying to capitalize on the turned stop signs of bike routes, then put in car-only barriers. I believe that when a bike boulevard is used enough (which it would be if riders could see them), drivers will not want to bother with those streets.

    Oh, and our beloved troll Vance is at it again on the Oregonian comments thread. Bless his heart.

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  • Jeff Ong June 15, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    The NYT article is about the ethics of selling Hummer, the company, to a Chinese manufacturing firm, not about selling one's Hummer on Craigslist. Different ethical concerns might apply when it comes to the best way to dispose of an existing vehicle (e.g., shouldn't the vehicle be used to create as much "good" as possible, in order to offset the massive harm of its manufacture?).

    Best quote in the article: "When the D.E.A. busts a meth house, it doesn’t sell captured drug-making equipment to the Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Methamphetamine Company."

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  • wsbob June 15, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    "The convicts are cycling in the inaugural "Tour de France Penitentiaire" - an event whose goal is not just to physically challenge the prisoners, organizers say, but also to instill self-respect and pride that will help prepare their return to normal life." AP/Scott Sayare

    Quite a story. I thought it was a joke until I read it. Prisoners in France, including rapists and killers with terms ranging from 2-25 years actually out riding the road for two weeks with judges and guards, also on bikes. Imagine the reaction to something like that happening here in the U.S. of A.

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  • wsbob June 15, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    I got a kick out of the Ray LaHood/NYtimes article. Seems like he's got a sense of humor. Here's something from that article he said:

    "What kind of mileage does that get? (interviewer)

    Terrible. Probably 15 or 16 miles per gallon. If I had a lot of money I wouldn’t be driving a 1998 Buick Regal. I’d be driving a more high-tech automobile.

    There are inexpensive cars that get better mileage. What about a Toyota?(interviewer)

    I bought this car in 2000 from a friend of mine in Peoria."

    Wikipedia article says Sec of Transportaion is on a level 1 pay scale, paying $196,700.

    Seems like a 'lot of money' to me. Maybe he doesn't put enough miles on the old tug to justify the purchase price of a new Prius that would give him that cars fuel cost savings. Could be he's getting around Washington on mass transit or the bicycle he was reportedly riding some time back.

    If he waits long enough, maybe he'll be able to get a good deal on a used Prius from the friend that sold him the used Buick Regal.

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