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The Monday Roundup

Posted by on March 25th, 2013 at 9:53 am

“The traffic was crazy… I really don’t do bicycles, but I will today.”
— Serena Williams

Let’s get right to it shall we? Here’s all the news and other interesting things we came across this past week…

— Add another major city to the bikeshare list: San Francisco has inked an agreement with Porltand-based Alta Bicycle Share for their system which is due to launch in August with 70 stations and 700 bikes (similar in size to Portland’s system).

— Bicycling is riding a wave of national attention right now. NBA superstar Kevin Durant features his love of bicycling in a major prime-time commercial for Degree deodorant and tennis champion Serena Williams biked to the Sony Open this weekend for a more practical reason — she simply wanted to avoid traffic. And don’t forget famous weatherman Al Roker!

— Just as I suspected, the big push by The League of American Bicyclists to broadening the bicycle tent has nudged those of the vehicular cycling persuasion out of the organization. Now many of the folks who used to try and sway The League from the inside have essentially given up and have started their own organization: I Am Traffic.

The BMX Twins is a documentary of two young brothers (one of whom has an amputated leg) who found solace and success on the BMX track.

— In the feminism files; check the takedown of a horrendous Assos ad by Fat Cyclist.

— Noted bicycle journalist Carlton Reid launched a Kickstarter for his “Roads were not built for cars” book project. It was funded in less than 24 hours.

— LA-based bike anthropologist Adonia Lugo shared an interesting comparison of two approaches to creating better streets: the “policy model” and the “culture model.”

— LA’s Metro has launched a new bike awareness campaign dubbed “Every Lane is a Bike Lane.”

— Ever wondered the steepest possible hill you could pedal up? So did the geeks over at Wired.

A venture capital fund for the bike industry has been launched. I only hope there’s some way the funds could be pumped into creating more riders — not just created more gadgets.

— Further proof that the “era of motordom” is waning.

— On a recent C-SPAN show, Portland Congressman Earl Blumenauer said he’s not interested in the being US DOT Secretary. Do you believe him?

— Women being harassed while biking is a major subject that doesn’t get talked about enough. Via Streetsblog Chicago, we learned about a woman who wrote an online guide aimed at helping prevent female bike harassment.

— The racial inclusivity movement continues to gain momentum with Red, Bike & Green, a non-profit in the California Bay Area that, “wants to shift the color balance in bicycling.”

— I was blown away to learn about a “woonerf” or “shared street” project in Santa Monica last week. Now I’ve heard of another one in Seattle. Hopefully Portland is next.

— Always nice to see a local author get national attention. It’s even better when the book is about beer and bikes.

— USA Cycling, the sport’s national governing body, has been making headlines for its policy of limiting pro riders from riding in local, unsanctioned races. Bike Magazine says their, “Strong-arm tactics are hurting grassroots cycling in America.”

Drop us a line via email or tweet @bikeportland if you come across something cool this week and we’ll consider for next Monday’s roundup.

NOTE: At BikePortland, we love your comments. We love them so much that we devote many hours every week to read them and make sure they are productive, inclusive, and supportive. That doesn't mean you can't disagree with someone. It means you must do it with tact and respect. If you see an inconsiderate or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan and Michael

  • dan March 25, 2013 at 10:29 am

    LOL at the suggestion that Alta is capable of launching a bikeshare system in 3 months. Didn’t it take them over 2 years in NYC?

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    • Kimberly Kinchen March 25, 2013 at 10:41 am

      NYC is launching with 10,000 bikes. The SF program is around 700, so while I’ll leave it to Alta and SF to figure out how much time they need to do what, seems pretty reasonable. (Remember that the latest delay in NYC was because Sandy flooded the Brooklyn Navy Yard where much of their equipment was stored.)

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      • dan March 25, 2013 at 4:51 pm

        Yeah, warehouse flooding shouldn’t really count against Alta, but what about not having working software due to their split with 8D? They could be installing a system of 200 bikes, and it still would have hung up without software to operate the kiosks.

        Or, how about Portland? They inked the contract here in September 2012, and they’re now saying our system will be operational in spring / summer 2014, so about 18 months from contract signing to launch.

        I would be happy to be proven wrong, but I will be amazed if they can really get SF up and running that fast.

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        • bikeshare March 26, 2013 at 4:52 pm

          Dont forget Alta also signed up, promised, and then delayed Chicago.

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        • Kimberly Kinchen March 27, 2013 at 6:27 am

          Yes, I would have liked to have seen NYC bikeshare delivered on time. Its delay disappointed a lot of cyclists here. But bikeshare will be a transformative transportation option. Criticize Alta — they do need to deliver and they need to hear our impatience and disappointment — but it’s worth the wait to get it right.

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  • Top Scientist March 25, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Funny how the article about fewer teens getting licenses (the “further proof” link) makes no mention of bicycles. The only reason we didn’t ride our bikes around town in the nineties is because mountain bikes just weren’t that cool. Now, bikes and biking have lots of style and subcultural appeal — it’s punk to ride a bike. And cars are threatening the future of the youth and they know it. But don’t hold your breath to see that acknowledged in most articles.

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    • Chainwhipped March 26, 2013 at 10:42 am

      Actually, it’s fantastic that bikes are not mentioned. That likely took a lot of self control on the part of the writer.

      For some, reading the word “bicycle” switches off the brain to new information – sort of like using the word “environment”. We might as well open with “I’d like to tell you about my Lord and Savior”. While I do believe that bicycles can save the world from so many problems, It’s far more important to simply note the decline of motor vehicle dominance. Whether people are using bikes, public transit, or simply walking most places will become obvious.

      The trend of fewer and fewer drivers shows a need to make streets for people, and that means making every mode of transportation useable.

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  • Kiel Johnson
    Kiel Johnson March 25, 2013 at 10:50 am

    are there any updates about the portland bikeshare? i would love to read a story about that

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  • spare_wheel March 25, 2013 at 10:57 am

    LA MTA: “Every lane is a bike lane”.

    PDX PBOT: “If there a bike blvd nearby you should ride there.”

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    • Chris I March 26, 2013 at 1:25 pm

      LA MTA: Our infrastructure was 100% built for cars. We have the highest number of hit and runs in the country and a car-obsessed culture. We don’t have money for safe bike infrastructure, so we are going to make “every lane a bike lane”.

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  • 9watts March 25, 2013 at 11:06 am

    The article about riding up a steep slope struck me as weird. Why limit this conversation to ‘road bikes’? which leads to this…
    “you can’t just build up a large speed and zoom up the slope”

    I’ve ridden up much steeper slopes at very slow speeds but with a mountain bike that has gears for that sort of thing. A third chain ring does wonders for steep hills.

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    • Chainwhipped March 26, 2013 at 9:54 am

      Road Triples (7/8/9spd) were limited to a 30t small ring in most cases. Most of the compatible rear derailleurs could only handle a 27t rear (though, in most cases, everybody rode 25’s). A 27t got you down to ~7mph at 80rpm. Pretty dang low. Low enough for touring bikes for a couple of decades.

      However, extra chainrings can make a mess of front shifting and more frequently dropped chains. This is why triple cranks are beginning to disappear.

      Newer compact doubles (34x50t rings) can offer even lower gears than the triple setups we were used to in the 90’s. Sram’s long-cage road derailleurs can shift into a 32-tooth cog at the rear. If that’s not quite low enough, Sram 10spd mountain derailleurs are compatible with their road shifters. That combination allows you a 34×36 low gear – just under 6mph at 80rpm. This is why Sram does not offer a road triple: We don’t need it.

      As for mountain bikes – yeah, we needed 3 chainrings back when our lowest gear was a 22×32. Actually, I remember struggling to stay upright when I actually climbed in that gear – it was only marginally faster than walking. Now we have mountain doubles with gearing as low as 24×36. That’s 17 gear inches. I can ride slower than I walk and I never seem to drop or jam the chain the way we all used to with triples.

      Funny thing, though – no matter what I do to my bike, the top of the climb is always higher than the bottom.

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  • Phil March 25, 2013 at 11:38 am

    How do we get Durant on a correctly sized bike?

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    • SilkySlim March 25, 2013 at 11:47 am

      Dude is 6’9″!! Maybe give him a “tall bike”?

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      • longgone March 25, 2013 at 1:53 pm

        Bill Walton 6ft.11in. 74cm frame…. googly it.

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  • Mark Allyn March 25, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Where is there more information about the league nudging out vehicular cycling? I tried Google, but I see nothing significent.

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  • are March 25, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    it is certainly the case that “i am traffic” features the usual suspects from the group that has been challenging the f*cked up internal politics of LAB for any number of years, but it is not clear to me from their website that they are “an organization.”

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    • are March 25, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      but thanks, jonathan, for that link and for the link to urban adonia. it is good to allow these alternative voices to be heard.

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      • Pete March 26, 2013 at 9:57 pm

        True dat, and in addition to voices with alternative opinions, there’s an informative article there: http://iamtraffic.org/2012/12/behaviors-and-risk. I think this article does a great job of defining terminology for common cycling behavior and assessing the risk of each in common traffic scenarios. While I’m not a fan of the guy in Florida taking the lane next to a perfectly safe bicycle lane (and riding without a mirror, something I’ve recently found handy when changing ‘modes’), I’ve definitely found safety by riding in the manner described in this article.

        I wish so many of the folks riding with ‘ped’ behavior were given some of the insight in this article, as I think most ‘ped’ behavior (or even gutter-trawling, which often encourages motorists to pass unsafely) is driven by fear of being hit from behind.

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        • Pete March 26, 2013 at 10:04 pm

          Allow me to rephrase “riding in the manner described in this article” to ” avoiding the risks described in this article.” I like that they acknowledge that people may ride in all three ‘modes’ on a trip; I’ve found that ‘edge’ behavior is fine where I ride because of so many wide shoulders and bike lanes, with the exception of using ‘driver’ behavior where I know people will pass me and then quickly cut right and brake if I don’t (they tend to focus on not wanting to wait for the bicyclist and miss the stopped traffic in front of him/her often). I almost never use ped behavior because I ride fast, and I definitely don’t ride fast in the extremely rare cases I choose to use the sidewalk in reverse flow because I know drivers focus mostly on oncoming traffic to the left.

          Sorry, I know I’m preaching to the choir here…

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  • Atbman March 25, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    ON the subject of harrassment of women riders, you might be interested in the UK’s Dawn Foster’s website http://101wankers.com for other ways of getting some of your own back plus http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/green-living-blog/2010/aug/18/cycling-sexist-abuse-female

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    • longgone March 25, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      Male or female, it happens to us many cyclist’ to be sure. I will refrain from mentioning the countless personal times for me, and I am a 6ft. male. Suffice it to say, always be looking for an exit, and keep your eye’s in tune with your gut. The Zefal hp frame pump works fantastic as a pump, and can take a fair amount of abuse, if you follow what I am sayin’.

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      • longgone March 25, 2013 at 4:32 pm

        ooh crud…, that comment above was suppose to be in the Gresham Trail assault post. oops.

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  • Jim Lee March 25, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Al Roker rides a Brompton!

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  • Al from PA March 26, 2013 at 11:14 am

    [snip] But Williams had never resorted to a bicycle before.

    “Resorted to” a bike? Revealing choice of words…

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    • Pete March 26, 2013 at 10:07 pm

      I found it disconcerting that the “Every Lane is a Bicycle Lane Article” included the paragraph “Of course, the rule goes both ways — cyclists must obey the same traffic rules as cars. That means no rolling through red lights or against one-way traffic.”

      Revealing indeed… they just had to go there.

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  • Librarian March 27, 2013 at 6:44 am

    Hey Jonathan, here’s a link for next Monday’s roundup: http://bigthink.com/design-for-good/yes-for-real-its-an-invisible-bicycle-helmet-and-it-is-awesome

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  • Craig Harlow March 27, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    I’m sure I read something in the last week about dropping the phrase “avid cyclist” from advocacy discussions, but now I can’t locate it. Anybody have this?

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