The Monday Roundup

Here’s the news that caught my eye last week:

How do you get people on bikes in large numbers all at once? The people who run DC’s bike sharing system have it nailed: Give them a coupon, and they will ride.

– Instead of talking about cities versus suburbs, what if we focused on walkable versus not walkable?

– A proposed 10mph speed limit for people bicycling across the Golden Gate Bridge in SF has sparked a public debate.

– Towns in the UK have seen a major jump in applications for street closures so people can throw big block parties to celebrate the Royal Wedding.

– Here’s how (and why) Canadian companies are encouraging employees to ride to work year round — with showers, lockers, and even an in-house dry cleaning pickup spot.

The cycle track has come to Long Beach, California, and people seem to really like it so far.

– More or less gentle critiques of an old cycling campaign standby, Bike Month, and the new, sassier “Don’t be a jerk” campaign in NYC.

– In Seoul, South Korea, people who ride their bikes to subway stations with bike & ride parking facilities now receive discounted fares.

– Boston is getting set to launch a bike sharing program this summer (and Alta Bike Share, based in Portland, has won the contract to manage it).

– This year, the country’s most bike friendly universities have been ranked, just like cities, from Bronze to Platinum; the list contains some standards and some surprises.

– BBC Radio takes on the question of how to make roads safer for bicycling.

Why is bicycling good for cities? It helps us experience our surroundings more intensely and directly.

– In Denver, it’s the end of an era for the “Barnes Dance,” a traffic light sequence in which people could cross at an intersection both ways at once.

– As our cities shift from bike subculture to full on, mainstream bike culture, one Chicago-ite wonders, will we be losing as well as gaining?

New to cycling? Here’s some good — and intensely detailed — advice.

– A popular blog for illustrators challenged its readers to draw pictures of bicycles. Here are the results.

The Sperm Bike. ‘Nuff said.

Video of the week!! A downhill urban bike race in Chile, as seen through a participant’s helmet cam.

[Publisher’s Note: After taking a closer look at an item originally posted in the roundup about a car ad from Israel, I have decided to delete the item. The comments on it remain below. — Jonathan Maus.]

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Elly Blue (Columnist)

Elly Blue has been writing about bicycling and carfree issues for BikePortland.org since 2006. Find her at http://takingthelane.com

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Hart Noecker
12 years ago

That’s a great ad for a car, it truly shows how this machine turns its driver into a sociopath.

Chris I
Chris I
12 years ago
Reply to  Hart Noecker

I think it has more to do with the negative effects of religion than the negative effects of automobile transport.

Toby
Toby
12 years ago
Reply to  Hart Noecker

What was Angela Burke’s killer driving? How about at least a few of the hit n runs over the past few years? You might be on to something! (don’t worry Subaru drivers, I’m only (mostly) kidding, but the flame suite is on) Horrible ad, by the way.

Gregg Woodlawn
12 years ago
Reply to  Hart Noecker

“The ad also led Peace Now Movement in Israel to protest against it. Peace Now spokesperson, Hagit Ghufran, stated that this ad “is a clear evidence of the existence of fanaticism in Israel’s Subaru branch, especially in areas where there is conflict with the Palestinians.”

cold worker
cold worker
12 years ago
Reply to  Hart Noecker

shalom.

Barney
Barney
12 years ago

I don’t get the connection to bicycles in the car ad?

Mike
Mike
12 years ago
Reply to  Barney

Agreed. Why does this have space on BikePortland. It has nothing to do with bikes or Portland.

Is it here to spark anti-automobile remarks? Is there any sort of constructive dialogue that can be had by showing this?

For the record, I love my Subarus.

9watts
9watts
12 years ago

What a creepy typo:
“…increasing awareness of the need for donors to help childless children around the world”

Paul in the 'couve
Paul in the 'couve
12 years ago
Reply to  9watts

Why not just sell the cheap $5 helmets that are often given away by schools and helmet programs. That way people that want to use them could and then could either keep it or toss it as they choose.

I agree making helmets available to those who might want one is a good idea. However, I don’t think there is any gain for cycling by really pushing helmets for bike share because overall it’ll have a negative impact on the program.

Riding a bike is a safe activity. People borrowing bike share bikes are unlikely to go out and hammer at 15mph to 20 mph. They’ll be just fine without a helmet. Going too far in encouraging (as opposed to making available) helmet use will discourage many potential riders who either don’t like helmets, or will be biased to seeing cycling as dangerous.

Plus, getting lots of new riders out there on obviously borrowed bikes will be the best message for getting motorists to look out bikes. More riders = more safety for all.

9watts
9watts
12 years ago

“And while you can rent a bike through Capital Bikeshare, you can’t rent a helmet. (That would be gross.)”

Why would renting a helmet be gross? I would think scraping a helmet-less person’s brains off the street would be gross.

Paul in the 'couve
Paul in the 'couve
12 years ago
Reply to  9watts

First – head lice.

Second, riding a bicycle is no more likely to lead to “brains on the street” than walking.

wsbob
wsbob
12 years ago

Is there even a potential for head lice to be carried from one person to the next through commonly used bike helmets? How so? What would be the conditions required for head lice to accomplish this feat?

Just where might head lice take refuge in a styrofoam bike helmet? Do they burrow themselves into the foam? Or is it the foam spacers stuck to the inside of the bike helmet to allow for a better fit to the wearer’s head, that head lice are apparently thought by some people to be a place that head lice park themselves?

I’ve heard before, the idea that bike helmets could be capable of passing head lice, but nobody claiming it happens, ever bothers to explain how it would be possible for it to happen.

wsbob
wsbob
12 years ago

By the way, here’s information about the subject of potential transmission of head lice through bike helmets and helmets in general:

http://www.helmets.org/louse.htm

It’s not conclusive in terms of how bike helmets, almost entirely made of styrofoam, could allow head lice to move from one person’s head to another, but it offers a number of suggestions to deal with the potential for such a situation. It’s not an insurmountable problem.

April
April
12 years ago

Woohoo! I made the Monday Roundup! *blushing*

thefuture
thefuture
12 years ago

That Chile downhill race is INSANE. When the dog jumps in? Sheesh.

Russ Roca
12 years ago

Going to wait and suspend judgement on the LB separated bike path until I ride it. However when I lived there and worked with the local advocacy group, we expressed concerns about its placement on such a high speed street with many driveways with turning conflicts.

Thankfully, if it is problematic, there is no mandatory use of the side path in CA.

http://longbeachcyclists.com/2011/01/3rd-st-broadway/#more-6230

Carl
Carl
12 years ago

After reading that article about the ad, it doesn’t sound like it was run by Subaru. Sounds like it was posted on the Facebook page of an Israeli dealership and Subaru has been scrambling to distance themselves from it ever since. Major car companies probably aren’t interested in pissing off the arab world.

Perhaps that’s missing the point though: A Facebook user in Israel fully grasps the terrible power of cars-as-weapons and, disturbingly, they’re advocating its use.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
12 years ago
Reply to  Carl

If we publicly decry the use of autos as weapons the general public will ignore it.

If someone posts an inflammatory video claiming to be an advertisement from an international mega-corp the video will get exponentially more views and much more positive non-sociopathic feedback from the general public simply because the mega-corp will spend obscene amounts of money attempting to deny negative PR spin.

So in this underhanded and unethical manner one can make a steaming pile of despicable video and leverage someone else’s PR budget to focus public attention on the problem of bad driver behavior.

Mike
Mike
12 years ago
Reply to  q`Tzal

Regardless of Elly’s feelings about automobiles or sensationalism, I don’t believe it justifies libel.
“A major car company has run an ad…”
Subaru did not run the car ad.

This isn’t BikePortland as presented by Fox Broadcasting.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)

I took a look at the item in question and read the comments. I decided to just delete it altogether.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
12 years ago

I did not intend to implicate Elly or Subaru and apologize if it came off that way.

The scenario simply seemed an effective, yet slimy, unethical and potentially illegal, way to get Subaru to use their PR money to fight off what would turn in to a viral video thus drawing greater attention to a worth cause.

Mike
Mike
12 years ago
Reply to  Mike

I also noticed that the ad is a different picture than what is in the link.
Not that it makes the image any less horrific or disturbing, but why use a different image than the ad, and how does the reporting media have all the images?

Gregg Woodlawn
12 years ago

Nordisk Cryobank (European Sperm Bank)is one of Europe’s leading sperm banks and the company was looking at environmentally-friendly alternatives to how they could transport their sperm samples to the fertility clinics around Greater Copenhagen.

PDXbiker
PDXbiker
12 years ago

“ad hominem comment rage”? Nah, I believe its called “Journalism Ethics”.

Mike
Mike
12 years ago

Elly – I never claimed to be smart, but I do ask questions. If you want to make suggestions for removing highways, banning the use of oil or outlawing automobiles – go for it. Just don’t write things that are not true and pass them off as facts.

I realize you don’t want to work for Fox, but using the same journalistic tactics makes your work just as credible.

It seemed suspicious to me that a company with a reputation like Subaru would post an ad that was so offensive, so I investigated further. The very link you supplied stated that Subaru denied any part in this ad and condemned its use. A quick search showed that there is growing speculation that the ad is a fake.

Yet your title stated that Subaru created the ad. Can you understand why I might take more offense to your “reporting” than to you voicing an opinion?

“Ad hominem comment rage” or calling you out on a misrepresented story?

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
12 years ago

Why We Love Bad News (at Psychology Today) – http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200305/why-we-love-bad-news

“If it bleeds, it leads.” – Armstrong Williams

“The news media are, for the most part, the bringers of bad news… and it’s not entirely the media’s fault, bad news gets higher ratings and sells more papers than good news.” – Peter McWilliams

“Nothing travels faster than light, with the possible exception of bad news, which follows its own rules” – Douglas Adams

John Lascurettes
12 years ago

Once does not have to go to Canada to get the bike love from an employer. My employer downtown, Jive Software, pays me a bike stipend, private secure bike parking, has showers and a towel service and has dry-cleaning pickup and drop-off.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)

Please note: I have taken a closer look at the item about the Israeli car ad and have decided to delete it altogether. It’s a messy story and there’s really not a compelling reason for BikePortland to wade into that mess at this time.

Elly
Elly
12 years ago

Good call, Jonathan.

spare_wheel
spare_wheel
12 years ago

i’m sorry but recommending that newbies purchase a dutch leisure bike or a classic british roadster is just so portlandia.

there is a reason that hybrids have been outselling those types of bikes by the tens of millions for a long time.

Paul in the 'couve
Paul in the 'couve
12 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

maybe because that is 1 of the only 3 options available in 90% of the bike shops in the US? Or because that’s what the “expert” sales person says is a good “all purpose” bike?

Besides you are mischaracterizing what April actually said. She did say that Dutch or roadster are good options, not that they we the only options to be considered. He article was actually very balanced in what people might choose to purchase.

Unline you apparently who think we should all ride Hybrids because that is what the 3 major bike builders find easy and cheep to build and prefer to sell to us.

April
April
12 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

Hybrids outsell those bikes in the US, maybe.

My first commuter bike–the one that got me obsessed with biking–was an older British roadster. A 1961 lady’s Raleigh Sports. And even though I knew jack about bicycles, I could tell that the bicycle was well-made, designed to ridden for many many years and miles, and look pretty good in the process, despite the dings and scratches it’s received over the years. It was an inexpensive bicycle and it can take a lot of abuse, and I still ride it all the time, all over Portland.

I wouldn’t describe Dutch-style bikes as “leisure” bikes. They’re meant for city riding. Many of them have generator hub lights, make it easy to carry things (like groceries), have chain guards to protect your clothes…if it weren’t for their often-high price tag, I’d recommend them for almost anybody new to cycling.

If anything, I think hybrids are the leisure bikes. They mostly seem to be marketed towards people who will maybe ride the Springwater on a sunny day, not people who use their bikes for transportation.

That being said, I do have some friends that own hybrids and love them.

In any case, my post was meant to be my opinions and ideas, not gospel.

spare_wheel
spare_wheel
12 years ago
Reply to  April

I personally don’t own (or,heaven forbid, want) a hybrid but I do believe that they are among the best choices for newbies:

1) They are light which is always a plus for new riders.
2) They have a wide range of gearing allowing for easy ascents.
3) They are cheap. A decent hybrid can be purchased for $500-600 (or even less on sale).

A Chinese hybrid imported by a big corporation is not the only choice. Most of the commuters sold by ccc or city bikes are hybrids.

“I do have some friends that own hybrids and love them.”

I have friends who own steel bikes with brooks saddles, generator hubs, wire baskets, painted fenders, chain guards, kickstands, and internal gearing. I love them, but not their bikes.

April
April
12 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

Eh….for $500/$600 you could get a pretty rad bike used, hybrid or otherwise.

They’re just not my preference, for newbies or anyone. But that’s just my opinion. *shrug*

Paul in the 'couve
Paul in the 'couve
12 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

I don’t have anything against hybrids or people that love theirs. I’d even like to own a Trek 720 if I got a great buy on it (the later hybrid version – although I’d love to have the original touring 720). They are very reasonable bikes. They may even be the best bike for a a fair number newbies, particularly younger (college age and just graduated). But they aren’t the only good option or necessarily the best option. They are ubiquitous. That is the main argument you are presenting. The bike companies make a lot of them, the stores sell a lot of them, lots of people ride them.

CCC and City Bikes build a lot of commuters out of hybrids because the make use of what gets donated which includes lots of hybrids.

The best argument for hybrids is that they are theft proof. Because they are a) very abundant, b) only mediocre and never “high end” and c) not cool due to both a and b – no one bothers to steel them. You barely even need a lock, and that only to keep someone from just borrowing as informal bike share.

Paul in the 'couve
Paul in the 'couve
12 years ago

Which is why the bike I keep in NYC for visiting there is a low-end mountain bike / hybrid converted to a commuter. It works and it doesn’t get stolen.