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The Monday Roundup

Posted by on May 20th, 2013 at 11:06 am

Welcome to a new week of bike news. Before we get started, let’s look back at the noteworthy stories you might have missed last week…

— There was a big debate last week about people who break traffic laws while bicycling. It started with a post on The Atlantic Cities titled, “Cyclists Aren’t ‘Special,’ and They Shouldn’t Play by Their Own Rules” and spurred a response from Greater Greater Washington titled, “Cyclists are special and do have their own rules.”

— The NY Times weighed in on the “YIMBY versus NIMBY” debates about the launch of bike share in New York City.

— Is it time to lower the legal limit of alcohol intoxication for people operating vehicles? The National Transportation Safety Board thinks so.

— Did you see the great video profile of Portland’s Apex Bar? It explains beautifully why a business owner would go out of their way to appeal to people who ride bikes.

— I’ve been accused of over-reacting in the past when I make a big deal about people who make verbal threats to other road users. Now I’ll always point to this story in Colorado, where man who previously complained that people on bikes don’t belong on the road was arrested for killing one of them.

— A coffee shop along the route of the Amgen Tour of California posted a mean-spirited flyer on their door that said (in part): “No coffee for you, silly out of town rich people in spandex. Don’t come back!”

— Thanks to a new law in Houston, a person can no longer throw objects from their car with the intent of hitting someone riding a bicycle. The reader that shared this link said, “My sister lives in Houston and gets around by bike. She had no idea it was okay to throw things at cyclists or pedestrians from car windows until now.”

— I’m not sure I follow the Wall St. Journal’s logic on this one. They say the fall of Lance Armstrong is behind the trend away from bright-colored spandex and toward more subdued and stylish on-the-bike fashion?

— Neighborhood Notes published a great roundup of where to learn to work on your bike and where to ride it in Portland.

— Noted urban planning commentator Richard Florida took a look at the recently released Bike Score numbers and wrote a story about America’s most bikeable neighborhoods.

— Bicycling Magazine released a visually compelling piece of online reporting that calls for improvements to helmet technology in order to prevent concussions.

— National Public Radio chimed in on biking during Bike to Work Week. Unfortunately they focused on the dangers of riding to work and even asked the ridiculous question, “Does it make you healthier?”

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  • Allan May 20, 2013 at 11:31 am

    video on APEX sounds all well and good- but wave racks make me angry every time I see them. boo

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  • Nick May 20, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Important to note the Colorado driver accused of killing the cyclist was intoxicated at the time. Given his history of prior DUI’s, this speaks to the need for a major overhaul in our driver-impairment laws in the U.S. (eg- In Germany, a BAC of 0.11 while driving revokes your drivers license for life and gets you up to 5 yrs in jail.)
    That road between Boulder-Lyons-Estes Park is often a narrow, steep, and winding 2-lane road, with all kinds of traffic from cycling teams filling a full lane to RV’s heading to Rocky Mtn Nat’l Park, to daily commuters. Tensions have been high in this corridor for a long time.

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  • wsbob May 20, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Good Monday Roundup.

    Also, today in the Oregonian:

    ‘Linfield College professor Jeff McNamee decides it’s time give back to cycling’ http://www.oregonlive.com/cycling/index.ssf/2013/05/linfield_college_professor_jef.html

    McNamee wants to help build a 70 mile trail connecting “…Salem with existing Willamette River greenways and dozens of wineries in the area. …”. Especially interesting part of the story to me was reference to the Kingdom Trails in Vermont, and how they came to be built, which McNamee sees as a model for the Willamette Valley trail:

    “…A key to that project lay in gaining not only the trust, but the permission, of private landowners who would agree to let trails be built across their properties. In fact, every single mile of the Kingdom Trails network is blazed across private lands. …”.

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  • davemess May 20, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Jonathan, the Houston/throwing stuff story has the wrong link (links to the CA coffee shop story).

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  • Ted Buehler May 20, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Congrats to Fort Collins! & congrats to the US for growing another top-level example of bicycle friendliness. May the ranks swell…

    Ted Buehler

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  • daisy May 20, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Ha, yeah, I was also pretty confused by that Wall Street Journal piece. My guess is that they just don’t know enough about bike culture to see an on-going trend. Grant Petersen’s “Just Ride” came out last spring (here’s a review of it by Dave Eggers in the NY Times, where he talks about the whole issue of spandex: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/29/books/review/just-ride-by-grant-petersen.html).

    And (Portland’s own!) Ellie Blue has written extensively about real clothes for cycling on her blog (http://takingthelane.com/2012/07/24/a-critique-of-cycle-chic-tm/) and in her book: http://takingthelane.com/product/everyday-bicycling/

    And, really, I think the issue is more than people are becoming aware that there are different kinds of bikes that people ride, and what you wear when you’re racing your light road bike is usually not what you wear when you are riding your city bike around the corner to breakfast. But I think those of us who spend a lot of time on bikes already figured that out.

    Also, cycling is not the only sport where your clothes and equipment are used to differentiate and judge people. When I worked in outdoor recreation in whitewater kayak instruction, paddlers were incredibly judgy about others’ paddling duds. And really you could tell a “weekend warrior” by their clothes.

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    • q`Tzal May 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      Also:
      Why do yellow jerseys sell so well when there are so few Tour de France winners? (total population of planet/total number of Tour de France winners) versus (total number of yellow jerseys sold ever/total awarded to Tour de France winners)

      My arm chair psychology opinion:
      People want to identify as “winners” and not “losers”.
      With all the information coming out about Lance’s cheating and the implied cheating of ALL participants it is just possible that some people no long want to identify with a sporting culture of “do whatever it takes to win”.

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