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The Monday Roundup

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 29th, 2013 at 10:03 am

Oh good, I was beginning to worry.

Here are all the best bike news stories and other tidbits we came across last week...

— How committed is the NYC DOT to safe streets? They recently placed "Street Safety Managers" at intersections of high-volume bikeways.

— Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was hospitalized after taking a fall while riding his bicycle. The 74-year old also managed to break ribs and puncture his lung while biking back in 1993 says the Washington Post.

— Venerable London-based news magazine The Economist had a Special Report last week on the future of the car. Their cover story, Clean, safe and it drives itself hints at the very rosy picture they paint. It's almost as if the entire report was written by automakers.

— Yes, those sinister automakers are very sly... Everyone's heard the startling stats about how expensive car ownership has become (over $9,000 a year says the AAA). Well, Toyota has wasted no time in trying to reverse that narrative with their new marketing campaign that focuses on the exact opposite idea — that you'll actually save money by buying one.

— Meanwhile, in another version of reality, have you seen Autno.com? It's a new apartment search engine that filters results specifically for folks without a car (it creators tell us bike route integration is coming soon).

— Another bike thief apology letter has turned up and gone viral. This time it's from a lady who got "straight up white girl wasted" prior to stealing a bike, only to return it the next morning with a coupon for a free desert from Domino's Pizza.

— Mr. Copenhagenize Mikael Colville-Andersen has been busy: He's got a new book of his cargo bike photography and he's just released his list of top bike cities in the world. (No U.S. cities made the cut.)

— Does USA Cycling "hate black people"? That's the argument being made by the author of the Cycling in the South Bay blog.

— UK author Cathy Bussey has started a big conversation in The Guardian after her article, Forget road safety: discover the real reasons normal women don't cycle.

— Experts say it's a banner year for bees. And it appears bike baskets make perfect hives.

— Things have gotten even worse for Lance Armstrong. Now the U.S. Department of Justice is going after him for being, "'unjustly enriched' while cheating to win the Tour de France."

— Not sure if this is good or bad to share... But there's a guy with a Tumblr for collecting road rage Tweets that are hard to read if you ride a bike.

— This map of Portland's old "trolley" lines from 1943 (dug up by Hart Noecker and published by Vintage Portland) is an awesome piece of our transportation legacy.

— The "sky-is-falling" cries from some New Yorkers protesting bike share stations is hilarious.

— This rolling, video interview with the former Mayor of Amsterdam Job Cohen is really cool.

— Have you seen the latest video from the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association? It's got some fun and inspirational footage (including drone flyovers!) of what racing is all about in our great state.

— Police in the capital of Uzbekistan are looking to outlaw bicycling completely. Seriously.

— Specialized has released their "Turbo" e-bike to the U.S. market.

— Even while the technology, capabilities, and market for e-bikes continues to grow, President Obama has just ordered the purchase of 10,000 hybrid cars to the federal fleet.

— Now it's Chicago's turn to roll out a major bike share system. "Divvy" is operated by Alta Bicycle Share.

— Don't miss this great write-up from the Community Cycling Center about a previous participant in their Create-a-Commuter program who is still riding (and loving!) his bike 2.5 years later.

— Shock! Horror! During the 1970s oil crisis "SCHOOL CHILDREN, WERE FORCED TO USE THEIR BICYCLES ON FIELD TRIPS" and there was, "NOT ENOUGH GASOLINE FOR SCHOOL BUSES TO BE USED FOR EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES, EVEN DURING DARK AND RAINY WEATHER"!!!

— A transportation engineer I know said this upon hearing that his profession was named one of the 10 least stressful jobs by CNN: "Perhaps this is the reason I'm in such a splendid mood all the time."

— Wired Magazine took a closer look at the "Weird, Wild World of Google Bikes."

If you come across a notable bike story, share it with us and we'll post it here on the Monday Roundup.

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  • 9watts April 29, 2013 at 10:33 am

    About those trolley and street car lines in 1943, John Labbe wrote a book Fares Please about the history of the streets cars and trollesy in Portland starting in the 1880s. It's a wonderful book with lots and lots of maps and photographs.

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    • AndyC of Linnton April 30, 2013 at 7:51 am

      Man, I totally mis-read the map the first time, and my heart went a-flutter as I thought there was a trolley all the way up highway 30. After consulting the key, it was apparent that this is "motor-coach" service. Oh well, at least now my dreams will get even wider and better. 9watts, thanks, I'm going to check out that book.

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  • KJ April 29, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I have seen that 1943 map years ago and though it was on Vintage Portland awhile ago. Looks like they posted in in 2010?

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  • Anne Hawley April 29, 2013 at 10:49 am

    The key thing about self-driving cars (in my view and that of several urbanists and futurists I've read) is that we'll need fewer of them--they're likely to be shared, rarely parked, and on-call: Car2Go/Zipcar + taxi - minus rude taxi driver = safer streets for everyone.

    I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

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    • Oregon Mamacita April 30, 2013 at 7:35 am

      Anne, there is a limit to how well humans can predict the future. The futurists from 20 years ago were wrong about population growth and food supply. I believe that we must cut car emissions and reduce oil use worldwide. But it does not mean that everyone wants to depend on the gov't or Avis for transportation. There is a liberty interest in owning a car and that is part of the turmoil in Portland and part of the failure of planning. You don't have the power to change your neighbor's lifestyle. And that mentality gets scary.

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      • 9watts April 30, 2013 at 7:53 am

        "Anne, there is a limit to how well humans can predict the future. The futurists from 20 years ago were wrong about population growth and food supply."

        Can you explain? Point to a source? I think they were pretty dead on. Population continues to grow worldwide at a rate faster than our food supply. I'll give you a reference:
        http://www.theautomaticearth.com/Earth/quote-of-the-year-and-the-next.html

        "I believe that we must cut car emissions and reduce oil use worldwide."

        We agree!

        "But it does not mean that everyone wants to depend on the gov't or Avis for transportation. There is a liberty interest in owning a car and that is part of the turmoil in Portland and part of the failure of planning. You don't have the power to change your neighbor's lifestyle. And that mentality gets scary."

        If you don't want to 'depend on gov't or Avis for transportation' then wouldn't the most sensible thing be to make haste & leave the car behind for good?

        What do you think about the liberty of owning and using a bicycle? Seems more liberational than a car to me. I'm not trying to 'change my neighbor's lifestyle.' I don't know anyone who is trying to do that. Speaking only for myself, I'd like to make it easier for us all to get around once we realize we need to leave the remaining oil, natural gas, and coal in the ground. The transition will be much easier if we start thinking about that now in earnest. If you or your neighbor doesn't want to ride a bicycle, fine. The Cubans interviewed in the excellent movie 'The Power of Community' said exactly the same thing. "Us- ride bikes?! That is not what we do." And guess what, they were riding bikes. Not because they thought it was cool but because they had no oil. It can happen quickly.

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        • Oregon Mamacita April 30, 2013 at 8:40 am

          The Population Bomb

          9 Watts, I refer to the once influential book Population Bomb.

          Paul Ehrlich made similar arguments in his 1968 bestselling book, The Population Bomb. Ehrlich thought “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” He suggested bringing the population growth rate to zero to prevent the coming food crisis. Ehrlich suggested taxing large families more, eliminating the child tax deduction and adding luxury taxes to many childcare products, such as diapers and cribs.

          In 1975, Ehrlich, with William and Paul Paddock, wrote Famine 1975! America's Decision: Who Will Survive? in which they claimed that widespread famine was just around the corner. Like Malthus, Ehrlich was wrong. Since Ehrlich wrote his books, standards of living have increased while the world’s population has almost doubled. Again, science and technology came to the rescue.

          As for your "bike freedom" idea- your Utopia is my Dystopia. I refuse to be cut off from the mountains and the desert and the sea. The stated goal of BPS is "to get people out of their cars." If you miss the undercurrent of coercion, you are not being intellectually honest.

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          • 9watts April 30, 2013 at 9:05 am

            Well you had said 20 years ag. 45 years ago Ehrlich was engaging in some pretty apocalyptic language, it is true. However, even though his timing was a bit off, the underlying Malthusian message will almost certainly come true.

            "Since Ehrlich wrote his books, standards of living have increased while the world’s population has almost doubled. Again, science and technology came to the rescue."

            Standards of living have increased? - For whom and at what cost to long term viability of our rapacious economic model? Science and technology didn't come to the rescue. What made ALL the difference is that we mined ancient sunshine and that binge is winding down. Yes it took science and technology to figure out how to drill for all that oil and gas, and dig up the coal, but when it's gone, or more likely when we've run out of places to stuff the byproducts, we'll find ourselves out of a lot of options we thought were our entitlement.

            "I refuse to be cut off from the mountains and the desert and the sea."

            With all due respect, OM, what you refuse to accept has very little to do with how things are likely to turn out. That is the nature of limits. We who are or will soon be limited don't get to disagree we get to suck it up.

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            • Oregon Mamacita April 30, 2013 at 9:21 am

              Of course, in terms of climate change, my personal desires do not matter.
              The seas will rise. But politically, my need for my own motor vehicle matters alot. We need debate on deliberate congestion and
              discouraging the private ownership of motorized vehicles. Once the
              lingo is discarded (multi-modal transport re-purposing former brownfields into active transportation hubs through visioing by stakeholders) and the ideas are expressed CLEARLY you may find many people who agree with Mamacita.

              Clean cars are a real threat to the untested theories of PSU's urban
              planners. Rather than change the theory to accept the fact, new urbanists will continue to pretend we all drive Hummers to an asphalt sea. That is my prediction: group think and denial if clean cars arrive.

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              • Chainwhipped April 30, 2013 at 10:52 am

                I'm pretty sure we'll still have to find parking for "clean cars". I can't convince myself to take my car into downtown. Nevermind emissions, it's far easier - and often faster - to lock a bicycle right in front of my destination than to search for parking several blocks from where I need to be.

                "Clean Cars" will not solve the space issue. They won't solve the gridlock problems that have increased every time we've dedicated even MORE space to roads and highways. And a car is still a car, and no matter how clean, it is still a deadly force when mismanaged - whether by a driver or a malfunctioning computer.

                It's been said numerous times recently: Cycling is "not just about the environment anymore".

                Cycling is:
                Affordable
                Life-Saving
                Space-efficient
                Low-impact
                Quality Exercise
                Non-destructive
                Fun
                Easy
                Accessible to everyone

                Driving - regardless of how "clean" we try to make it - can never offer half the benefits on this list.

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                • Oregon Mamacita May 1, 2013 at 7:49 am

                  Chainwghipped, thanks for some earlier comments attacking my reproductive capacity on another thread. And thanks for imposing your very special values on everyone else. Clean cars undercut your theories, but you cannot admit that. I know that you are opposed to the private ownership of motor vehicles- we'll just fight that out at the ballot box.

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              • Chainwhipped May 1, 2013 at 9:19 am

                In what comment on what thread did I "attack" your reproductive system? I've looked, bet there seems to be nothing anywhere. I DO recall stating very clearly that nobody who reads anything you type would mistake you for a cyclist.

                My car and I don't vote.

                And finite space is not a "theory". You can't put a watermelon in a mason jar. You can't fit a single Chevy Volt into the space that 6 bikes take up. There's no way around the fact that a car spends most of its life parked, and there are far better uses of space.

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                • Oregon Mamacita May 1, 2013 at 10:26 am

                  Comment thread: woman driving on bike path. It was censored. Just sayin' that you were quite amazing and I can hold a grudge. As for your current comments, of course space is finite. But it doesn't follow that parking is such a horrible thing. Many Portland voters do not agree with your hostility to cars.

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            • Help April 30, 2013 at 12:00 pm

              "However, even though his timing was a bit off, the underlying Malthusian message will almost certainly come true."

              That's a damn bold statement considering Malthus and his followers have been wrong for the last 200+ YEARS that have seen the planet increase it's population over seven fold. There MIGHT be a limit, but I promise you 9watts that you have absolutely no idea what it is. For someone with kids, it's also incredibly hypocritical. I've done more to help the environment in my car than you have on your bike. Why? I don't have kids.

              "Standards of living have increased? - For whom and at what cost to long term viability of our rapacious economic model?"

              By any measure, human beings are better off now than they were 200 years ago. I get that you think the Civil War era was some type of Golden Age of the world. It wasn't.

              "Science and technology didn't come to the rescue."

              Quite simply the single stupidest thing said on this website.

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              • 9watts April 30, 2013 at 12:03 pm

                Help concedes: "There MIGHT be a limit"

                I rest my case.

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              • 9watts April 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm

                For someone who enjoys taking whacks at Malthus (funny how he still needs whacking after 200 years) it is curious that you want credit for not having children, wouldn't you say?

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                • Oregon Mamacita May 1, 2013 at 8:32 am

                  Agreed, 9 Watts. Japan & Europe may have PROBLEMS because of a low birth rate. What we need is to make the birth control choice available in all areas of human habitation. Young poor women in the third world are not getting a choice.

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              • longgone April 30, 2013 at 1:36 pm

                Help,... You could vastly improve my childs environment by eliminating yourself, if you love the environment SO much. Just a thought.

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              • Oregon Mamacita May 1, 2013 at 8:42 am

                Help, to the extent anyone on this blog wants to lecture me on
                having a family I can support and raise (no sympathy for Octomom)
                I laugh in their faces. Bring it on- I will just sharpen my claws for
                the next election. But we do need to be mindful of our overall carbon footprint. And it is unfair to babies when people let beer plan the family and kids don't get enough emotional and financial resources

                Here's one issue that would be explosive: the impact of big dogs on the environment. Big dogs eat hors emeat, poop near waterways
                and chase wildlife. Dogs create waste. But they are a taboo subject. People feel free to call me a breeder, but if I point out that their lifestyle has the same footprint thanks to the big dogs, they howl with indignation.

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                • longgone May 1, 2013 at 12:19 pm

                  In addition, domestic cats contribute to GW in a fairly shocking way, from some reports I have heard. And all that hair they shed...yuk.

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          • dr2chase April 30, 2013 at 10:31 am

            Driving to the mountains, deserts and sea is one thing, demanding that enough scarce and valuable urban land be set aside for you (and everyone like you) to drive and park freely in the city is another.

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            • wsbob April 30, 2013 at 11:24 am

              Parking cars in the city isn't free. People riding bikes are also using scarce and valuable urban land set aside for roads and parking space, for both travel and parking. Maybe you have some idea that elimination of motor vehicles would vastly reduce the present amount of street space needed to meet human travel needs within the city.

              A big reduction in urban land space devoted to vehicle travel and parking might be possible, I suppose, if big numbers of people decided to never travel anymore, beyond about 4-5 blocks from their houses. Urban land devoted to streets, or lacking that, greater capacity sidewalks, would still be required. Reduction in space at the sides of the road, commonly used for car parking may allow for some increase in capacity of certain roads/sidewalks, but that land would still likely be required for the purpose of meeting human travel needs.

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              • 9watts April 30, 2013 at 11:44 am

                "Maybe you have some idea that elimination of motor vehicles would vastly reduce the present amount of street space needed to meet human travel needs within the city. "

                Ha ha. Good one, wsbob.

                Did you mean that as a trick question?

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            • Oregon Mamacita May 1, 2013 at 7:56 am

              First of all, stop drinking the developer's koolaid re: population pressures. They cook the numbers so that they can make more money. Duh. Secondly, we need streets. Who is being selfish- the bike only crowd who favor street deterioration and deliberate congestion for their utopian views, or the businesses who need transport and customers? You and I will never agree. See you at the ballot box. We'll see if the whole community supports you or me.

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      • wsbob April 30, 2013 at 11:40 am

        "...There is a liberty interest in owning a car and that is part of the turmoil in Portland and part of the failure of planning. ..." Oregon Mamacita

        Of course, the turmoil caused by the desire for, or need felt to have car ownership is by no means limited just to Portland. Locally, that turmoil runs through the corridors, cities and suburbs within the Willamette Valley, and progressively deteriorates the quality of life available for people within those areas.

        The character and quality of land and community planning that's been done, is somewhat responsible for a failure to stem the interest in owning and using motor vehicles.

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    • wsbob April 30, 2013 at 11:45 am

      Lots of positive things may come by way of self driving cars. I thought the following excerpt from the The Economist article was particularly relevant to some discussion of late:

      "...Huge numbers of elderly and disabled people could regain their personal mobility. The young will not have to pay crippling motor insurance, because their reckless hands and feet will no longer touch the wheel or the accelerator. The colossal toll of deaths and injuries from road accidents—1.2m killed a year worldwide, and 2m hospital visits a year in America alone—should tumble down, along with the costs to health systems and insurers.

      Driverless cars should also ease congestion and save fuel. Computers brake faster than humans. And they can sense when cars ahead of them are braking. So driverless cars will be able to drive much closer to each other than humans safely can. On motorways they could form fuel-efficient “road trains”, gliding along in the slipstream of the vehicle in front. People who commute by car will gain hours each day to work, rest or read a newspaper. " The Economist http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21576384-cars-have-already-changed-way-we-live-they-are-likely-do-so-again-clean-safe-and-it?fsrc=scn/tw_ec/clean_safe_and_it_drives_itself

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      • 9watts April 30, 2013 at 11:51 am

        This is such unmitigated BS

        you quote the Economist as writing:
        "...Huge numbers of elderly and disabled people could regain their personal mobility."

        and a bit further one:

        "Driverless cars should also ease congestion and save fuel."

        So vast segments of our population who now don't or can't drive will, and
        the net effect will be to ease congestion and save fuel. Ha ha ha. George Orwell?
        Time to dust off the critical thinking spectacles, eh?
        Or maybe the Economist writers don't believe this themselves and that is why they used the subjunctive.

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        • wsbob April 30, 2013 at 12:48 pm

          "...you quote the Economist as writing:

          "...Huge numbers of elderly and disabled people could regain their personal mobility."

          and a bit further one:

          "Driverless cars should also ease congestion and save fuel."

          So vast segments of our population who now don't or can't drive will, and
          the net effect will be to ease congestion and save fuel. ..." 9watts

          What The Economist article suggests, is not that huge numbers of elderly and disabled people that may have been driving, but that aren't driving now, could either start driving, or regain their ability to drive, but that they "...could regain their personal mobility...". With electronic motor vehicle operation technology...self driving cars, robot cars, etc, the car's self operational systems would be doing the driving.

          Depending on individual situations, this possibly means that somebody else, as likely often occurs currently, may not be required to drive additional miles to pick them up, drop them off, pick them up again, take them home...to appointments, shopping, recreation, etc. Fewer motor vehicle miles traveled, seems generally thought to ease congestion and save fuel.

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          • My Magic Hat May 1, 2013 at 9:55 am

            How sad that we're entertaining the idea of the automobile as a glorified wheelchair.

            Wouldn't it make more sense to simply allow mobility without a car?

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        • 9watts April 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm

          "Depending on individual situations, this possibly means that somebody else, as likely often occurs currently, may not be required to drive additional miles to pick them up, drop them off, pick them up again, take them home...to appointments, shopping, recreation, etc. Fewer motor vehicle miles traveled, seems generally thought to ease congestion and save fuel."

          But that is not how automobility works, wsbob. Thanks to the widely observed phenomenon of induced demand this is most emphatically not a one-for-one swap. We know that when you take away yet another annoyance, hurdle, risk, the total demand increases. There is no way you can make getting somewhere by car more convenient and safe and for all I know less expensive and not expect there to be an increase in the total VMT. That was my point. No matter how many slipstream fantasies we layer into this, the aggregate demand for gasoline won't go down it will go up (all else being equal with the planet--which of course won't be equal, but that was their premise in the article).

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          • wsbob April 30, 2013 at 2:25 pm

            "...the aggregate demand for gasoline won't go down it will go up (all else being equal with the planet--which of course won't be equal, but that was their premise in the article)." 9watts

            I don't think aggregate demand for gasoline going down through the use of electronic motor vehicle operation technology, was the premise of the article. The premise of the article, was that electronic motor vehicle operation technology can help resolve some of the present challenges to modern society's travel needs. A secondary point was that this technology may have the potential to help reduce fuel consumption and congestion on individual and local levels.

            That global ownership of motor vehicles with consequential increases in congestion, the price of fuel, pollution and global warming, and...though it doesn't specifically say so...also fuel consumption, will likely occur, is acknowledged in the article:

            "...As emerging markets grow richer, legions of new consumers are clamouring for their first set of wheels. For the whole world to catch up with American levels of car ownership, the global fleet would have to quadruple. Even a fraction of that growth would present fearsome challenges, from congestion and the price of fuel to pollution and global warming. ..." The Economist

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  • Michael Moore April 29, 2013 at 11:08 am

    The article about USA Cycling's systemic racism makes a nice companion piece to the OBRA video that features all white people. "Inspirational?" To whom?

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    • Erinne April 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      The "recommended" thumb is broken on your comment, but thanks for highlighting the common theme between those two pieces.

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    • Kenji Sugahara April 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      I hate to call you on this but? I'm in there a couple of times. Last time I looked in the mirror I didn't look Caucasian. And I'm impressed you were able to tell the race of individuals in the blur of speed! And I see you missed the b.i.k.e. kids too. And how about all the ladies?! I'm stoked to see that!

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      • Michael M. April 30, 2013 at 9:30 am

        Kenji, I didn't say or mean that there are no people of color anywhere in the video. That, as you point out, would be impossible to determine. That's not the point -- the point is that no people of color are featured. Anyone in a longer shot, anyone identifiable by people who don't know the participants or weren't present at the events, appears to be white.

        Did you read the article about USA Cycling? Do you see any connection between the image that OBRA's video creates and the image that USA Cycling promotes? (And who they both exclude?) If you have thoughts about why there's no connection, please share if you like. It struck me as pretty apparent.

        And yes, it is certainly a step forward that the OBRA video highlights that cycling in Oregon isn't all guys all the time. I think it is a wasted opportunity to highlight that maybe cycling in Oregon isn't all white all the time.

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  • are April 29, 2013 at 11:42 am

    "straight white girl," not "straight up." not sure what it is supposed to mean in either case. and thanks for the coupon that can only be used in connection with a purchase i will never make.

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    • q`Tzal April 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      This was probably meant to mean she made Lindsey Lohan look like a sober upstanding member of society.

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      • are April 29, 2013 at 4:16 pm

        actually, i am pretty sure "straight white girl" means not a black lesbian. but i am not sure how white girls get wasted differently from others. unless maybe a straight white girl who gets wasted feels she is entitled to take whatever offers itself as possibly useful to her, and to h*ll with anyone else. i don't know much about lindsey lohan, but i would guess she is a straight white girl.

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  • A April 29, 2013 at 11:48 am

    That coupon is expired.

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  • q`Tzal April 29, 2013 at 11:49 am

    "straight up white girl wasted" prior to stealing a bike
    Makes me think of inverting the bike share paradigm:
    We'll need a strong bike lock with a low power wifi protocol in the lock, an ID code and maybe a QR code weblink to the e-commerce server.
    Instead of stealing a bike someone could scan the code and see how much the own wants to charge to let you borrow it and for how long.
    Then money changes hands and the secure server sends a heavily encrypted packet that contains a 4 or 6 digit pin that will open the bike lock for X hours.

    Wifi should be ok because it will only reasonably be used in a city. Ultra low power use should be easily achieved because it only needs to communicate for authentication. With such a low power usage it might be possible to charge it off vehicular movement.

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  • q`Tzal April 29, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    "SCHOOL CHILDREN, WERE FORCED TO USE THEIR BICYCLES ON FIELD TRIPS"
    How about an ACTUAL bike bus?
    Like the Rhoades Car but with upwards of 20 seats and an adult driver up front.
    Go whole hog too: full canopy and side fabric faring for inclement weather, carbon fiber frame to keep it as light as possible, LED lighting that matches specifications for school buses and an electric motor assist for hills or empty running.

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  • dan April 29, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    From the Chicago bike share article: "Hundreds of three-speed bikes painted "Chicago blue" will hit the streets in June when the city debuts a bicycle-sharing rental program that originally was set to launch last summer...

    Brought to you by Alta.

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  • longgone April 29, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Cars will drive themselves through the futurescape that includes autonomous robotic cops,cruising for your pre-crime. Hopefully I will be dead by then.... meanwhile...

    If you read the SouthBay blog on race and "racing", the author either leaves out details to bolster his point with Major Taylor, or he only read the cliff notes and has lousy comprehension. He also assertains that " no white perosn in cycling would listen to a black coach". Sad.

    I lost interest with him at that point.

    Major Taylor was richer than Michael Jordan in his day by as much a 5 times. he was the first African American to live in a gated community. He was a truly scholarly, and in my eyes one of the unsung heros of racial politics, and equality.
    Sadly, even children at Rosa Parks grade school will more than likely NOT be told about him in class, let alone a school in a "white district".

    Not all of the Europeans tried to sabbatoge him, although his career was formidible due to his skin color. He died poor mostly because he was not a good buisness man, and at the time Orient cycles kept trying to market shaft driven bikes, when the world clearly didnt buy them.
    Certainly there is a horrible void in the history of cycling, in regards to black people participating. I will not argue that their voices are not heard much and we should listen.
    I will say however, (as I have for over 25 years) if you want to change the face of cycling in this regard, quit looking back and get kids of all social backgrounds on bikes.
    Yes cycling is expensive,( much more than a B-ball) but kids spend more on other things than just balls. There are ways to race bikes cheap, and if people love it, they will continue to do it. Keeping kids fired up about bikes in the teenage years is key.

    Cycling as a lifestyle must be de-stygmatized as a "white person" activity, for enthsiasm to drive interest on the competitive side. IMO.

    I see ALL KINDS of kids, in a rainbow of colors at Pier Park doin' their thing. If black kids dig skateboards and BMX, whats to say they wouldnt dig crits' or kilos? Only time will tell..

    " Life is to short for any man to hold bitterness in his heart."
    Major Taylor

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    • Chainwhipped April 30, 2013 at 10:34 am

      Agreed. And, sheesh, what sport in world history hasn't had a serious bout of racism? There's a Hollywood Movie every year about that very fact. It's wrong, but it's a fact. See: #42

      Cultural roadblocks notwithstanding, I've long contended that Bike Racing's prejudices are aimed primarily against the working class, whether by design or not. Just try to buy a race-worthy bike on minimum wage, and you find out very quickly that the sport is beyond your means. The sport-wide consensus seems to be that you shouldn't bother to line up at the start with any less than $5k in equipment.

      Even if you can afford one decent bike, no matter how well you've trained, don't expect to be competitive with just one bike. You'll need the road bike, a time-trial bike, a 'Cross bike, and don't forget the second 'cross bike for the pits. Why would anybody show up for a game when we've convinced them they're destined to lose?

      Even the most successful Gran Fondos in the U.S. will only attract half the number of participants that we see in a moderately attended Marathon. This should be telling us something.

      When we push excess equipment, we get fewer racers. It's amazing to me that we haven't yet realized and accepted this.

      It's not like lower-income folks aren't riding. Stand on any corner at rush hour, and you'll see bikes that run the gamut from the high end, all the way down to the Craigslist junk heap. Many of these bike riders have a naturally competitive nature - you can see them racing each other in "Cat 6" fashion. You just won't get them to P.I.R. if they're convinced they'll be laughed off the racecourse by Lawyers and Accountants on $7,000 wonderbikes.

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      • longgone April 30, 2013 at 1:43 pm

        Sports cost money I agree, and cycling is expensive. BUT. Somewhere in Portland is a young man or woman who could out sprint me on one of the GT rentals in the Alpenrose locker, no matter what level of track iron I could bring.

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      • longgone April 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm

        Chainwhipped,... I also just remembered, that two years ago on Mississippi at the Crit in the Cat 1-2 race, there was a dude motoring clamly in the top 5 on a Longhaul Trucker the entire time!!! He was surrounded by 7000 dollar and up carbon goodies, and I was cheering for him like an insane person! We all at some point wish/or DO own equiptment we certainly are unable to ride to its full extent. Bike-bling is my vice. Guilty. :)

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        • Chainwhipped May 1, 2013 at 9:40 am

          Exactly. It's so very rare to see such a thing that it sticks out in our memories when it actually happens - and we're impressed by this as a perceived disadvantage.

          Nobody ever sees the finish at a 10k run and says, "Wow! did you see that guy in the Sketchers? He finished 32nd!" No, if those are the shoes that runner is used to, he'll finish as well as he would in any other pair.

          I've raced at the elite level on bad equipment, too. You can do it, but the motivation to show up to a road race on a late-80's Bridgestone just isn't there for most potential racers who are just starting out. Beginners need encouragement, not psychological road blocks.

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  • Nick April 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    The bright side of The Economist article is the improvement in auto crash-avoidance technology. Cars are with us for the forseeable future. Technology that prevents them from hitting bikes, peds, and other cars is an enormous benefit to us all.

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  • Chris Sanderson April 29, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    I fail to understand Carollanomics on buyatoyota.com.

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  • Al from PA April 30, 2013 at 2:04 am

    As a boy (50 years ago) I kind of felt sorry for my friends who were "forced to" depend on their parents to be driven around, in the suburb I had recently moved to (before that, in town, everybody rode bikes). Of course I didn't dare say that, because after all riding a bike was officially "weird"--especially after age 16, driver's license age, when it became positively shameful. Ah, the glorious '60s...

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    • longgone April 30, 2013 at 9:46 am

      Al,.... Im all in with you, as I also am also old and weird. Bikes are STILL weird, and weird is GOOD.

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  • Lois April 30, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Regarding the list of bike-friendly cities: I've been to three on the top 20 list in the past year and another four in the past couple years. Portland should definitely be on the list. Don't know what kind of bias was applied or if someone purposely excluded North American cities, but I'm pretty sceptical of this list.

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  • Jeff M May 1, 2013 at 1:08 am

    "Experts say it's a banner year for bees" - what experts? That is the absolute opposite of everything I've read.

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