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The Monday Roundup

Posted by Elly Blue (Columnist) on August 1st, 2011 at 8:40 am

Here's the bike news from around the world that caught my eye last week:

- Oregon is home to a thriving artisan bicycle building economy, but it's hard to make a living that way.

- A Sunday Opinion piece in the New York Times reflects on why America is so "manacled to the car" while Europe is moving beyond them. The author includes an interesting tidbit about Dutch drivers, who are taught to open car doors with their right hand, forcing them to swivel around and look for bike traffic.

- Women are still a stark minority across the bike industry.

- According to a new research paper, commuting by bike doesn't just save you money compared to driving -- the resulting sense of well-being means you need less money to be happy.

- An American living in Amsterdam has come to see bikes as a ticket to individual freedom and mobility and cars as limiting these things.

- In New York City, bike counts show a 14% increase in people riding over last year.

- In Pleasanton, Calif., new sensors use microwave technology to detect bicycles at intersections.

- Miami's bike sharing program is popular, but finding advertisers to fund it as planned has proved problematic.

- In London, a group of people on two wheels planned to ride slowly over the Blackfriars Bridge to protest the city's plans to raise the speed limit and change the road design to be less bike-friendly.

- Chicago is getting ready to install its second separated cycle track.

- In San Francisco, wrangling continues between staff and management over plans to allow bicycles on light rail trains.

- From the annals of anti-bike rage: One man is repeatedly busted harassing people on bikes over the course of a decade; a woman runs a group of riders off the road and brags about it in the local paper; and the NYPD respond ungracefully to a dooring incident.

- British television audiences were baffled and bemused by the bright green bicycle lapel pin sported by a US Representative during an appearance to discuss the debt ceiling.

- Do you ever daydream about buying one of those mobile, bike-powered bars and going into business? It turns out there are some bureaucratic hoops to be jumped through.

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  • Tacoma August 1, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Should the link be the same for the NY Times opinion piece and the American living in Amsterdam? Thanks for checking.

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  • Heidi August 1, 2011 at 10:06 am

    And of course that Representative with the bicycle lapel pin is Earl Blumenauer! Go Earl!

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  • wsbob August 1, 2011 at 11:05 am

    SF Bart bikes story: http://sf.streetsblog.org/2011/07/28/bart-staff-opposes-rush-hour-bike-access-on-rear-cars/

    One interesting aspect of the story, is that it cites Portland's light rail's accommodation of bikes on trains with hooks to hang bikes. Even shows an official Trimet pic of a hook in use. Story also says:

    "...But more crowded systems like the New York City subway, Radulovich pointed out, allow bikes aboard at all times and rely on “a common sense rule.”

    “You don’t take your bike on if it’s too crowded,” he said. “Someone will yell at you. I think people in the Bay Area are both a little more polite and tend to be more rights-conscious.” ..."

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    • Chris I August 3, 2011 at 2:50 pm

      I'd say that is the problem around here, Or ignorance. I even told a girl who was blocking the center of the train with her bike that the hook was available, and she just glanced over at it and shrugged. I suppose a crush capacity train is about all that will stop these people from taking their bikes on, because they won't be able to fit it on the train.

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  • Al from PA August 1, 2011 at 11:07 am

    [snip] "In Hosford-Abernethy, for example, a small business called Ecospeed is busily producing what its founder and president, Brent Bolton, calls the “best electric assist on earth.” This little device turns a bicycle from a recreational toy into a tool that gets professionals from place to place."

    Ugh.

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  • 9watts August 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    "Cyclists can’t carry six bags of groceries; bulk buying is almost nonexistent. Instead of shopping for a week, people stop at the market daily. So the need for processed loaves that will last for days is gone. A result: good bread."

    Not so fast.
    Fresh tasty bread exists the world over, whether or not people bike as much as in Amsterdam. The fact that it went out of fashion in the US for a couple of generations is noteworthy, and may well be related to cars and bulk shopping, but I would hesitate to run this argument backwards and 'blame' bikes.
    It is possible to carry that many bags of groceries on a well equipped bike if that was one's goal, but more importantly, I doubt that people who shop in their SUV necessarily go to the store less often because they just stuffed it full of groceries. Or do they? Anyone know a study that looks at this?

    One reason I'm allergic to this sort of off-the-cuff social science is that the same instrumentalist argument is made about the smaller sizes of fridges in Europe. But it is a whole lot more complicated and interesting than that. German fridges with which I'm familiar are mostly empty, even though they may be only one quarter as large as the typical US fridge to begin with. They don't have a culture of cramming everything that you'd like to have close at hand into the fridge and then leaving it there. They also (still) have other ways of storing food conveniently alongside the fridge which mostly holds cheese and meat.

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    • Robin August 2, 2011 at 8:38 am

      I buy my weekly groceries on bike. Two bucket panniers, a backpack, and a handlebar basket are equivalent to six bags of groceries at least. Bungie on a bag of kitty litter and it's considerably more.

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  • wsbob August 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Pleasonton, Calif microwave bike sensors http://www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune/localnews/ci_18590195

    The story was interesting, but lacked much info on how the hardware works. $4000-$5000 per unit is a lot of money though. Article doesn't explain why, but says the city still uses it's earlier bike detection technology...video and sensors, along with this microwave radar type sensor.

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  • are August 2, 2011 at 8:07 am

    the video of the guy getting doored by a cop in NYC shows a guy riding at speed through a narrow space between stopped traffic and a row of parked cars. okay, yes, the cop (or any motorist) should not open the door without looking, but frankly the cyclist was just behaving stupidly.

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    • Rain Panther August 2, 2011 at 11:21 am

      Frankly, the cyclist was just behaving like a cyclist. You'll never get anywhere in NYC without going through some narrow spaces.

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      • are August 2, 2011 at 4:12 pm

        you go through a narrow space at a speed that does not allow you to compensate for emergent situations, you take your lumps

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      • Chris I August 3, 2011 at 2:52 pm

        If this were a car "driving too fast for conditions" I think you would be singing a different tune. No double standards...

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