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The Monday Roundup: The Affordable Bike Act, BRT, bike share baby, and more

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 30th, 2013 at 9:55 am

Two women and big bike adventure... in 1944!

Welcome to Monday! News Editor Michael Andersen is back after his week-long bike tour and we've got some great stories planned for this week. For now, check out the best stories we came across last week...

- The Lure of the Open Road is a fantastic bike tour travelogue based on the "wartime wanderings" of Doris Roy and Thelma Popp. The two women packed up their bikes in 1944 and pedaled into a magnificent adventure.

- Rapha recently set up a retail shop in Manhattan and, in a related move, their blog featured an interview with the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, Paul Steely White. It's well worth a read. Here's my favorite quote: "As bike advocates, we are a one note band, and they know our song. With myriad and diverse allies you can create the symphony that makes politicians get off their duff and dance."

- If you've been wondering how to help victims of the devastating Colorado floods, you might be interested in the "Colorado Drop" jersey being offered by Castelli. Sales of the jersey benefit the United Way's Foothills Relief Fund.

- A lot of people in the transportation wonkosphere are buzzing about a new report from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) that sings the economic development praises of buses — not rail — as an effective transit oriented development tool.

- It seems that even New York City isn't moving as fast as they need to when it comes to updating their street designs. A new, unauthorized bike lane was laid down in midtown Manhattan last weekend, installed in the same spot where woman had her leg ripped off by a taxicab operator as she rode in the lane near the location where woman's leg was ripped off by a man whose taxicab jumped the curb.

- In the Dutch city of Groningen, business owners are upset about a bike-related issue. But their area of concern might surprise you: They're up in arms over a plan that would to divert bicycle traffic away their street.

- Bike valet is a big deal in San Francisco. The city's bicycle advocacy org boasts major brands like Odwalla and Craigslist as sponsors.

- Another demonstration of the power of the Dutch example: A Boston Globe reporter returns home after a trip to Houten, the Netherlands and writes up an inspiring feature article about lessons she learned.

- After Paris's Velib, Montreal's Bixi is perhaps the most celebrated success in the bike share world. But financial problems have plagued the municipally owned system, largely some say, precisely because of its success. Now Montreal's own auditor general is casting doubts about its financial footing.

- A conservative pundit writing for The Federalist uses an interesting analogy to poke holes in Obamacare: The Affordable Bike Act. "What if," he writes, "Congress passed a law requiring every American to buy a bicycle."

- Veteran bike blogger Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious is clearly upset by a recent fatal collision in his area. In response, he pens an acerbic post about the absurdity of our "safe" auto-centric culture.

- I have to admit it was uncomfortable for me to read that Lincoln, Nebraska is set to install a physically protected, two-way cycletrack. Lincoln, Nebraska! From the concept drawings it looks like it could be a higher quality facility than anything that currently exists in downtown Portland. Sigh.

- We had a great discussion about how air pollution and auto exhaust impacts the lungs of people who bike on busy streets last week. Turns out there are similar concerns and new research about how much bad air folks on the other side of the windshield are breathing.

- How's this for an argument in favor of bike share: A pregnant woman in Minnesota used it to help induce labor. Then when it starting working, she kept pedaling all the way to the delivery room.

- New York's idea for how to deal with the epidemic of texting-while-driving is to create special pull-outs on the road for people who simply must use their phones while driving.

- We've heard a lot about the importance of projects and policies what will boost the number of women who ride bikes in cities, but what about the bigger question of urban design? The Atlantic Cities took a closer look at how to design a city for women.

- Mountain bike advocates are heralding new stats that show a big growth in bike sales and they point to a parallel rise in the number of trails to ride them on.

- Mikael at Copenhagenize shares his thoughts about the potential for other countries to mimic the cycling successes of Denmark and the Netherlands, places he refers to as, "the Galapagos Islands of Bicycle Culture."

And finally, a few videos worth a watch:

This is yet another reason you shouldn't steal bikes...

Bicycle Robbery Doesn't Go As Planned by videobash

Which Portland shop will be the first to offer one of these bike cleaning stations?

And remember those TiGr locks that were all the rage on Kickstarter? Well it turns out they don't work...

This month’s Monday Roundups have been is sponsored by KPFF, the engineers and surveyors behind many Portland metro area bikeways, including the Eastbank Esplanade, the Vancouver Land Bridge, the Springwater Spur Trail, the South Waterfront and Fanno Creek Greenways and Graham Oaks Nature Park. You can follow them on Facebook here.

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  • Chris Sanderson September 30, 2013 at 10:22 am

    I used to valet park bikes for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition as a volunteer. That program has always been strong, and so well run. My most memorable experience was when they had worked out a deal with Outside Lands Festival to get free tickets for bike valet volunteers. I got to see Radiohead on Friday night for FREE, and the day I volunteered, got to listen to (not see) Primus in in venue next door. It was awesome! I am not sure what sponsorship means for the programs, but I can tell you that their volunteers are probably sucking down some shwag from Odwalla.

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  • Josh G September 30, 2013 at 10:29 am

    There are 2 widths of TiGR lock. The video is the much thinner 1. See
    http://www.bikehugger.com/post/view/tigr-lock-break-and-update

    I don't know what to make of a video of a street fight involving a bike with no context. Maybe no "good" guys at all.

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    • q`Tzal September 30, 2013 at 11:24 am

      The big problem with the TiGr lock is that they have only been tested by one testing organization in the Netherlands (as I noted here), only the wider width was tested (which is the same thickness) and that lock rated poorly versus other top rated locks at half the price.
      This video is the first one I've seen that wasn't filmed by TiGr locks themselves and it's not off to a good start.

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      • Pete September 30, 2013 at 3:59 pm

        Thanks for that BTW - we're of the same mind. I figured out that for less than the price of a TIGR I could retrofit my ancient hardtail MTB with mechanical disc brakes, stainless steel Torx bolts, and a U-lock... thus keeping my somewhat nicer commuter bike at home when I know I'll need to lock it. Presumably the hassle of stealing my heavy old beater will outweigh the resale value, and as a bonus I get stronger legs pedaling the beast around.

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    • John Lascurettes September 30, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      Why do they even sell the narrower version then. Price and lightness are not good reasons if it's as easily defeat-able as a cable lock.

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      • Nathan September 30, 2013 at 3:33 pm

        Just as an aside, standard U-locks respond about the same to bolt cutters that large. Luckily, bolt cutters that large are hard to walk around with without attracting attention.

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        • spare_wheel September 30, 2013 at 5:05 pm

          The $200-300 bolt cutter shown in the video would also cut through the highest end u-locks in seconds (with the correct leverage and an anchor point).

          A video showing u-locks being defeated by a $13 harbor freight bolt cutter:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYUf4h0Lv_8

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    • Chris I September 30, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      Titanium is a fantastic material, for weight and strength. Unfortunately, hardness is more critical when it comes to bike locks, and your thinnest section is your weakest point. People often confuse the terms "strength" and "hardness" when they talk about materials. Hardness is key, and titanium is relatively soft. The Tigr lock is a bad investment.

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  • dan September 30, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Slight correction to the unauthorized bike lane article - the woman who lost her leg to an angry cab driver was not a cyclist. She was walking on the sidewalk when the cabbie tried to hit the cyclist, missed, and hit her instead.

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  • Nicholas Skaggs September 30, 2013 at 10:34 am

    I hope no Portland shops offer a QBIKE cleaning station.

    None of the bicycle shops I've worked for have ever recommended pressure washing a bicycle- it just gets water into bearings and headsets where water shouldn't be. Bicycles are best cleaned with warm, soapy water and a soft towel, or one of many "bike wash" products that are variants of wonderful Simple Green.

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    • q`Tzal September 30, 2013 at 2:18 pm

      Conversely a wheel version of a motorized boot brush could very likely use garden hose pressure (30-60psi) water jets and brushes to remove most of the offending road slop from a bike; most other grime is tenuously adhering to a smooth paint job and falls off quickly.

      Something like this shoe cleaner (http://www.cavlon.com/zcstore/images/5000/5416_04.jpg) open front to back to roll one wheel in at a time. It has two side brushes. I'd add two wheel rollers from left to right in front and behind the side brushes to rotate the wheel in a stationary position while adding a brush underneath. Let the wheel make a full revolution while spraying the brushes and tire with water.
      Repeat with other wheel. Congratulations! You've removed >95% of the grime from your bike.

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  • John Liu September 30, 2013 at 10:36 am

    This is factually wrong: "in the same spot where woman had her leg ripped off by a taxicab operator as she rode in the lane".

    The taxi jumped the curb and rammed a raised plaza ledge. The woman was sitting on the ledge and her leg was severed. She was not on a bicycle. The bicycle connection, if any, is that a cyclist, who had no relationship to the woman, had just slapped the taxi that had stopped before making a turn. The cyclist rode around the taxi, the taxi drove forward, knocked the cyclist down, continued on to jump the curb, and struck the ledge.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/22/nyregion/after-a-taxi-hits-a-woman-a-crowd-scrambles-to-help.html?pagewanted=all

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  • Anne Hawley September 30, 2013 at 11:18 am

    The Lure of the Open Road is fantastic. They sleep in a graveyard! They work on a tugboat! They meet lots of sailors and soldiers and drink ridiculous amounts of milk (from bottles), but then cut loose in New Orleans (there is absinthe!). As both an adventure story and a record of the language, mores, and realities of the period, it's wonderful.

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    • gutterbunnybikes September 30, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      You forgot to mention they did the ride portion on one bike equipped with 2 speeds and the other a single speed.

      And they wen't from Buffalo to Pittsburgh, The Allegheny mountains aren't anything to sneeze at either (though it is beautiful territory), and Titusville PA was the site of the first oil well.

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  • q`Tzal September 30, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Main post
    A pregnant woman in Minnesota used it to help induce labor. Then when it starting working, she kept pedaling all the way to the delivery room.

    Ok guys, no more whining about uncomfortable bike saddles.

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    • BIKELEPTIC.COM October 2, 2013 at 12:52 am

      in one of the Taking the Lane zines (local cyclist, writer from Stealing Time Magazine and car-free mom) wrote about her experience riding to the midwife to give birth. . . a couple years ago. Just saying. (Not to belittle anyone's personal life accomplishment as they are all amazing hurdles to overcome!)

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    • Pete October 4, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      So if she was riding her bike pregnant in Oregon, would she technically be violating ORS 814.460 (http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.460)?? ;-)

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  • q`Tzal September 30, 2013 at 11:39 am

    The article "an acerbic post about the absurdity of our "safe" auto-centric culture" seems to be linking to http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_24156216/child-hit-and-killed-by-suv-front-byron by a different author.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 30, 2013 at 11:52 am

      thanks. Fixed! here's the link

      http://www.cyclelicio.us/2013/large-suv-safety/

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      • q`Tzal September 30, 2013 at 12:00 pm

        I googled his name & the blog; the 1st video about free driver's licenses in California is a hoot and from my daily observation too true. From the lack of a change in background scenery or sun angle in the reporter's stakeout of a HAWK style ped crossing it obviously didn't take long for him to collect several clips of drivers (and a "cyclist") behaving badly.

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  • Todd Boulanger September 30, 2013 at 11:40 am

    The hospital article brings up a new opportunity and use for bike tracks...build them around hospitals for inducing labor...plus their commuting benefit

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  • Beth September 30, 2013 at 11:53 am

    The article comparing the Affordable Healthcare Act to mandating bicycle ownership completely misses the point. Unless the point was to grind an axe regarding makers of high-zoom racing components or something.
    ..::scratches head::..

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    • q`Tzal September 30, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      The libertarian backwoods of East Clackamas look positively liberal compared to large geographic portions of the rest of the USA. I've yet to stumble on a long haul truck driver in the last 2 years that didn't sound like a literal parrot for Fox "News" talking points.
      While the vast majority of people live in cities in the US not all want to; added to the "no way in hell" rural crowd it helps tip the majority back in their favor.

      It's funny: when they are polled about the individual pieces of the ACA all of the consumer/patient protections are highly favorable; upwards of 75% positive responses. The biggest stumbling block is the lynch pin: mandatory coverage. People only hear that they are required by law to purchase health insurance; this strikes some people as fascism.

      When I read the line "What if," he writes, "Congress passed a law requiring every American to buy a bicycle?" I tried to come up with a response.
      Everyone has to have a car (effectively) but their is no law stating so; maybe we could use the same model.
      Instead of making it so that you have to buy health insurance PERIOD make it so that if you are working for a business you have to buy health insurance. It is a ridiculous nuance but even the poorest of the poor will scrape up enough to afford a beater car because no company will hire you if you don't have a car. We need to utilize the same mechanism.

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    • Joseph E September 30, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      It would be like if all states required car owners to buy auto insurance. That would be crazy! Can you imagine? ;-)

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      • BikeEverywhere September 30, 2013 at 4:42 pm

        This is a poor analogy. The correct analogy would be "what if all states required residents to buy a car?' Purchasing auto insurance is a legal responsibility of those choosing to drive a car. No one in this country is forced to drive. However, we will now all be required, by law, to purchase a product or be fined for not doing so.

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        • wsbob September 30, 2013 at 7:56 pm

          The Federalist articles' effort to compare obliging people to make preparations for the likelihood of their need of medical care...to obliging people to buy a bike, hoping that such purchases inherently have the ability to improve people's health and reduce greenhouse gasses, is silly.

          At some point, sooner or later, most people need some kind of medical attention. Hypothetically at least, having personal medical insurance can cover costs associated with that eventuality.

          Many of the bikes people buy, do nothing at all except gather dust in the garage. When they break down, rather than expensive professional repair, it's more likely DIY repair or replacement with another cheap POC big box bike for the infrequent weekend ride.

          ACA, hypothetically has some potential...at this point, I think nobody really knows how much...to do a better job of providing for the health care needs of the full range of people in this country, than the current system does. The same couldn't be said of a plan to oblige people to buy bikes.

          The Federalist article writer John Daniel Davidson, introduces some interesting scenarios possibly raised by ACA, using hypothetical Trader Joe's employees. As a whole, the article's tactic of using an idea having to do with mandatory bicycle ownership as a way to undermine the potential benefits of a national health care system, is a cheap shot...at bike use, and at efforts to build a good national health care system. For it to work well, ACA probably will need lots of work down the road, if it goes through. Hopefully, most of the people like Davidson that apparently don't want to help towards that end, will just stay out of the way.

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        • Pete October 7, 2013 at 12:37 am

          No, the correct analogy would be "what if all persons incurring medical expenses were required to insure themselves against the risk of sickness and injury?". Just as auto insurance is needlessly expensive due to the prevalence of uninsured drivers, so too is health insurance.

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    • Pete September 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      You nailed it! I think the point was to polarize readers who'd agree with anything criticizing "Obamacare" with something else (relevant or not) that may also get their blood to boil. I don't know that it just misses the point... it lacks one entirely.

      There's now a comment that makes a more sensible analogy to auto insurance... I saved typing by just giving that a vote up.

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  • Jim Lee September 30, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    With respect to dancing and symphonies, no one ever beat my good friend Jack Mozart, who never met a dance meter he disliked.

    See, for example, the third movement of his Symphony 39, in E flat major, which involves contradasnse, landler, waltz, minuet, all within four minutes!

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  • Joseph E September 30, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    " A pregnant woman in Minnesota used it to help induce labor. Then when it starting working, she kept pedaling all the way to the delivery room."

    I was about to write an angry rant about how exercise does NOT induce labor. But after ready a few more articles, I found some evidence that recreational exercise may help women to start labor a few days earlier at term, while not increasing the risk of pre-term labor:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/000293789090753T
    "The incidence of preterm labor was similar in the two groups (9%). Labor began significantly earlier in the exercise group (277 ± 6 vs 282 ± 6 days). The women who continued to exercise had a lower incidence of abdominal (6% vs 30%) and vaginal (6% vs 20%) operative delivery, and active labor was shorter" This is an observational study, so the correlation is not proof, but it is encouraging.

    http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.88.10.1528?view=long&pmid=9772857&
    "No association was found between low-moderate exercise and gestational length. Heavier exercise appeared to reduce, rather than raise, the risk of preterm birth." Again, a good result from an observational study.

    There is only one good, randomized controlled clinical trial, which found no difference between moderate exercise (35 minutes 3 times a week) and no exercise: http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/42/8/674.full
    "Does exercise training during pregnancy affect gestational age? A randomised controlled trial.
    The mean gestational age did not differ (p =0.745) between the training (39 weeks,3 days (SD 1 day)) and the control group (39 weeks,4 days (SD 1 day))."

    On the other hand, there are also observational studies that show higher risk of pre-term delivery for women with demanding jobs that require prolonged standing or activity. These studies likely find a higher risk of pregnancy complications due to high psychosocial stress.

    Overall, it looks like women who continue more intense exercise (e.g. road cycling 1 hour every other day) may start labor a few days sooner, and have slightly lower risks, than women who do not exercise during pregnancy. Moderate exercise (e.g. slow bike riding or walking for 30 minutes 3 times a week) has no or a small effect.

    I would also note that bed rest, despite being recommended by all doctors out of tradition, does NOT prevent preterm (or term) labor, according to one pretty good clinical trial:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14974024
    "Although bed rest in hospital or at home is widely used as the first step of treatment, there is no evidence that this practice could be beneficial. Due to the potential adverse effects that bed rest could have on women and their families, and the increased costs for the healthcare system, clinicians should not routinely advise women to rest in bed to prevent preterm birth"

    The one thing that may cause problems is abdominal trauma

    My advice: try not to crash your bike while pregnant, but keep riding as much was you want. The exercise itself will cause no harm, and will likely improve your physical and mental health. And it may even help you get done with your pregnancy a few days early.

    Joseph E. - M.D. Family Medicine

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    • q`Tzal September 30, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      My entirely non-medical slant on this is that a pregnant woman who is sick of waiting for the baby to come out past the due date will do what ever comes to mind no matter how illogical and unscientific it might be.

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      • Joseph E September 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm

        That's absolutely true, and has been for centuries. Cochrane (an organization that compiles and reviews medical research) has reviewed over 2 dozens of medical, pseudo-medical and folk remedies to induce labor: http://www.thecochranelibrary.com/details/browseReviews/579319/Induction-of-labour.html

        Some examples:
        - Insufficient evidence for acupuncture
        - Breast stimulation appears beneficial
        - Insufficient evidence for homoeopathy
        - Mechanical methods were as effective as prostaglandins
        - sweeping of membranes ... does not produce important benefits.

        And everyone's favorite:
        "The role of sexual intercourse as a method of induction of labour is uncertain... There is a need for well-designed randomized controlled trials to assess the impact of sexual intercourse on the onset of labour."

        There is no review article on exercise of labor induction; there is a need for more high-quality clinical trials.

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    • Champs September 30, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      It's fine to have an eye toward the science, but another has to be on the patient.

      Efficacy notwithstanding, many mothers enjoy riding a bike, and it does them no harm. After you've (ahem) exhausted the best folk remedy for inducement (ahem), riding a bike may be the most fun. At the end of a nine month slog, that's got to count for something.

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      • Champs September 30, 2013 at 3:08 pm

        I should have prefaced that with "TLDR".

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  • q`Tzal September 30, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Joseph E
    … there is a need for more high-quality clinical trials.

    Word
    Or as we say these days THIS +5

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