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The Monday Roundup: Putty bike hacks, ‘The new Jane Jacobs’ & more

Posted by on September 2nd, 2013 at 12:53 am

“Silence a noisy mudguard,” one of Sugru’s
interesting ideas for using its moldable product.
(Image: Sugru.)

Posting will be light as usual this Labor Day, but the world’s bike news doesn’t rest:

Putty my ride: The folks who make self-setting rubber Sugru have a list of 12 ways their product can improve your bike, starting with a bell on your brake lever and including a “removable smartphone bike mount.” (They sell eight packs of the stuff for $18.)

The new Jane Jacobs: Copenhagenize‘s Mikael Colville-Andersen (for the record: no relation) gets a glowing and pretty persuasive profile comparing him to the iconoclastic mother of New Urbanism. “It became obvious to me that Mikael could envision cities of the future because he already lived in one.”

Bike seat scent: A man arrested for stealing more than 200 bicycle seats, most of them leather, supposedly told police it was to capture “the lingering scent of a woman.”

For the last time, the recession didn’t drive the drop in driving: A new state-by-state report from USPIRG also finds that Oregon leads the nation in reducing miles driven per capita. We’re down 16.3% since the all-time national peak in 2005.

Guerrilla victory: Two years after attracting a guerrilla crosswalk painting, an intersection in New Haven, Conn., is getting a beautiful infrastructure upgrade.

Bike tourism: It isn’t just for the countryside. The newly hired “bike butler” at Vancouver BC’s Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel offers “tune-ups, helmets, locks, water, cycling maps, directions and tips.” I’m holding out for a fake British accent.

Bike recovery: Kayla Smith of Vancouver, BC, got her stolen bike back by contacting the thief on Craigslist, asking for a test ride … and then pedaling very fast.

Stupid PSA: Let’s hope the makers of this clueless “public service announcement” implying that bikes are inherently ridiculous intended to refer to the subject’s ineffectively fitted helmet.

Bike shops as community spaces: The Wall Street Journal finds a national trend: of 4,000 U.S. bike shops, “12% have coffee bars, 11% offer spinning classes and almost 5% serve beer. About 1% offer massages, yoga or full-service restaurants.”

Forcible removal: Via Jezebel, here’s one way to handle things while someone’s texting and driving: after they almost hit you, walk over to their car, grab the phone from their hand and smash it against the road.

No accidents: We can greatly reduce the 1.24 million annual global death toll from motor vehicles, but only if we stop thinking of crashes as routine and inevitable; they’re not.

Fast bike: Australia’s The Age filmed a bike passing 589 cars in one fast-motion commute.

Inefficiency, visualized: Treehugger looks into an infographic that shows how “pushing a ton of metal to move 200 pounds of flesh … is an inherently stupid way to design a transportation system.”

Which type of biker are you? Just kidding! BikePortland doesn’t believe in dividing bike users into firm categories. Still, new research identifying people as “dedicated cyclists, path-using cyclists, fairweather utilitarians, [or] leisure cyclists” is interesting.

Green stripe safety: Green-painted shared lanes in Long Beach seem to be associated with a dramatic decrease in crashes involving people on bikes, cars and foot alike.

Bike Commute Challenge perk: But boss, Northwest Natural bike commuters all get T-shirts!

Drunk bike dad? An Arkansas man biked to a bar towing his son in a trailer, spent 4 to 5 hours allegedly getting drunk, then got both of them in a crash on the way home.

Fancy bikeshare: I’d heard that Copenhagen is getting a bikeshare upgrade, but not that all its new bikes are going to have GPS-enabled Android tablets.

Helmet hair: This potentially useful list of five ways to fight helmet hair leaves off the one identified by Doug Gordon: “a complete network of protected bike lanes.”

‘Carfree paradise’: Montreal’s Rue St. Catherine, carfree every summer since 2008, is hopping.

Bike-powered treehouse elevator: It’s 30 feet high. Your video of the week, via Makezine:

If you come across a noteworthy bicycle story, send it in via email, Tweet @bikeportland, or whatever else and we’ll consider adding it to next Monday’s roundup.

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  • dwainedibbly September 2, 2013 at 5:48 am

    That 4 types of cyclists thing is total BS, an bunch of oversimplification.

    Locally, Hand-Eye Supply on NW 4th, just north of Burnside, has Sugru. It’s great stuff.

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  • Lee September 2, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Sugru is fun but absurdly expensive. Sure, it’s easy to use and comes in a variety of colors – but an ounce of Sugru costs almost as much as a pound of Easy Mold silicone putty.

    Between Easy Mold (for flexible things) and Shape Lock (for rigid parts), I pretty much make all my own “bike hack” brackets and mounting doodads.

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    • Ventura September 2, 2013 at 7:33 am

      It is very expensive. There’s a post on Instructables, “How To Make Your Own Sugru Substitute” – http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Your-Own-Sugru-Substitute/

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    • Kris September 2, 2013 at 11:19 pm

      It’s not that expensive. The small packs are about $2 a piece, and are generally worth it for the things you’d use them for. For larger projects, you can get a 100g lump or 3 20g lumps for the same price as a multi-pack. For the suggestions in the linked article, though, it’s probably not worth the price.

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  • 9watts September 2, 2013 at 8:00 am

    According to the USPIRG study, Oregon actually has done even slightly better than the number you cited: 18.3% down since 2005.

    …that would be equivalent to two whole lanes on a 12-lane highway. Hm.

    Personally I think this is Jonathan’s fault. Bikeportland’s founding and the decline in driving pretty much coincide, and the fact that Oregon would be at the forefront also seems to line up since bikeportland has more readers in Oregon than do other states.

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    • 9watts September 2, 2013 at 8:21 am

      small correction: it looks like Oregon’s peak was actually in 1999.

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  • Sho September 2, 2013 at 9:37 am

    We need to start implementing more dash cameras here in the us for added safety and well capturing experiences like that above. Would be nice if all taxis here were required to have dash cameras to monitor their crappy driving.

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  • Alexis September 2, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Re Colville-Andersen: Barf. I really hope the new Jane Jacobs isn’t a sexist white guy.

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    • Mickey September 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      Double barf. Comparing the ethnocentric Pollyanna of Copenhagenize to Jane Jacobs is very wrong.

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      • wsbob September 3, 2013 at 1:25 am

        “…the ethnocentric Pollyanna of Copenhagenize…” Mickey

        Whatever the heck it is you intend that silly phrase to mean. Impression you’ve left is that you’re simply mouthing words, the meaning of which you apparently have no understanding.

        Colville-Andersen makes an effort to say and encourage things positive in the way of change to a basic need of society: transportation. The world needs more people doing that kind of thing.

        Andersen, on Colville-Andersen…here in the Monday Roundup, is who came up with what’s most likely a tongue in cheek inference that the latter is not just perhaps inspired by, but actually could be the reincarnation of someone of the opposite gender. I imagine Colville-Andersen might have a little laugh about that.

        “…The new Jane Jacobs: Copenhagenize’s Mikael Colville-Andersen…” michael andersen/news editor/bikeportland

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    • wsbob September 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      Ha-ha!! Definitely appears to be a ‘white guy’, although the white-ness is dimmed some by his being a very ‘tanned white guy’; see pics accompanying the article. Sexist? Curious why you’d be suspicious he may be sexist. If anything, guy seems to be supportive of women riding bikes, wearing types of clothing they may want to wear, but that in some areas of the world, has come to be assumed to be not practical while riding a bike.

      Guess I could search the web for it, but accompanying the article, the original photo Andersen took that supposedly ‘sparked this new urban biking movement’, of the girl wearing a dress and riding a bike, would have been nice.

      Always a little disappointing that these utopian articles visioning biking as the supposed transportation mode of cities of the future, almost exclusively are accompanied only with pics of people biking under beautiful, sunny, cloud free skies, rather than something like Oregon’s nearly 6-7 months of the year onslaught of gloomy dark, wet weather skies.

      Comments in moderation…because it contains the word ‘sexist’, I suppose. Lots of ops for editing! Editor, just post this version, please.

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      • matt picio September 3, 2013 at 11:04 am


        There are a lot of people (and many who self-identify as feminist) who take issue with Colville-Andersen or have critiques of his work. Elly Blue wrote a good piece on it some time ago:

        Most of the criticism I’ve seen has been of Cycle Chic, not Copenhagenize, but both sites are maintained by Colville-Anderson.

        There’s a fair amount of criticism based on ethnocentrism, body image, sexism, and other criticisms – it’s perfectly valid to criticize someone’s work. I wouldn’t personally use the term “ethnocentric pollyanna”, but it’s a valid term for some who view C-A’s work in that light, and you do yourself a disservice by not acquainting yourself with the person’s point-of-view before insulting them.

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        • wsbob September 4, 2013 at 1:05 am

          Picio…Mickey, and Alexis, instead of and beyond the simple name calling by which they’ve referred to Colville-Andersen in their comments posted to this Monday roundup…should have explained their remarks, at least briefly. If they had, they may not have left the impression that they don’t understand the meaning of words they’re writing.

          Thanks for the link, I read Blue’s essay. Certainly a lot of theorizing expounded on in it. Validity of those theories is certainly debatable. Here’s a sample of one:

          “…I hypothesize that Cycle Chicโ€™s true message and appeal is at its base, at least in North America, that it seeks to normalize a gendered code of conduct that, sadly, still holds considerable appeal among both sexes. Its message is that bicycling can be a means of, rather than a barrier to, conforming to a certain set of standards of gender and class stereotypes. Access to these standards is far from universal. …” elly blue

          Say what? She feels Cycle Chic’s message is that the ability to dress chic while biking is a means of conforming to a certain set of standards of gender and class stereotypes?

          Here’s a line of hers I found amusing:

          “…Dressing up to the nines and riding fast across town on a sporty road bike are two of lifeโ€™s pleasures that I find are best enjoyed jointly. …”

          If ‘nines’ means nice dress clothes…it certainly does for many people…rather than cycling specific clothes…and riding fast across town means more than three miles at 15-20 mph, together that more or less means some fairly sweaty dress clothes upon destination.

          I know it can be difficult sometimes, but it seems to me to that keeping biking simple offers the best potential for enabling its growth as a viable means of transportation here in the towns and cities of the Tualitan and Willamette valleys, and in the U.S. Picking the good out of the bad from ideas and remarks ventured by high profile so called ‘cycling figures’, suggested by various individuals as visionary, revolutionary or otherwise, can help this along.

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          • JRB September 4, 2013 at 8:54 am

            I think the best way to grow cycling is for folks who think there is a right and a wrong way to do it to get over themselves and leave their judgmental BS at home. I would find the idea that some riders who wear certain clothes and ride certain bikes are hindering the growth of cycling laughable if I didn’t see it repeated so often. There are a multitude of bike styles out there and even greater variety of clothes people can wear while riding them. I can’t understand why anyone would care about the choices other people make in regard to either.

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            • El Biciclero September 4, 2013 at 10:30 am

              Right on. I’m a bona fide spandex-wearin’ scorcher on my way to work in the morning (always yielding to pedestrians and treating slower cyclists with courtesy, however), and a T-shirt-and-cargo-shorts-wearin’ slowpoke when I’m cartin’ the kid to the store on the cargo bike. I get passed by old ladies on e-bikes when I’m going up the hill on my way home, and have to slow down and wait for kids to settle down and ride straight before I can pass them on the MUP on my way to work. There is no one “way to do it” that is “correct”, except for the way you mention–sans judgmental BS.

              The problem is that just as with clothes, jobs, gadgets, houses, cars–any of the “stuff” that we vain people use to stratify ourselves “above” someone else–bikes, and the attendant style we choose to adopt in using them, will be used in the same way for stratification. Everybody wants to be cooler than the next guy, and everybody has a different idea of what makes one “cool”. If you believe that what makes you “cool” is not caring what other people think, then you’re way ahead of the game. There are too many out there, though, that worry excessively about what other people are going to think, and are afraid of “doing it wrong”, even in the absence of judgmental BS.

              This is not to assume that those who are fashion-conscious and ride classic ladies’ or gentlemens’ bicycles with polished chrome lugs, Sturmey-Archer three-speed internal-geared hubs, and teakwood fenders and wear natty attire that is both functional and fashionable do so to heap judgment upon those who wear old Levi’s and work boots to ride their squeaky Magna mountain bike with frayed cables and no hand grips to work and back.

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              • JRB September 4, 2013 at 10:58 am

                I get you EB on the stratifying thing and I know that is part of it, maybe even a big part. What I find puzzling is that you don’t find people suggesting that people are discouraged from driving because some people drive hugely expensive, fancy automobiles. From the early days of the automobile, there have always been fancy cars driven by enthusiast which were beyond the reach of most folks. That certainly didn’t stop most people from seeing the utility of cars and buying a Model T. Bringing people to the understanding of the utility of bikes and making the streets a place where most people feel they can safely and conveniently bike seem to me to be the real challenges we face.

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              • El Biciclero September 4, 2013 at 12:46 pm

                Ah. Excellent point RE: driving a clunker doesn’t stop anyone from driving. This tells me two things: a) driving is so ingrained as “necessary”, that people will forgo status out of said “necessity”, and b) maybe, as you say, fashion isn’t what is keeping people from biking.

                Things that keep me from biking are things such as having far-flung errands to do in a short time, having to carry multiple kids up big hills, laziness in bad weather, inability to get the ice cream home before it melts, faraway destinations that I haven’t had time to study a good route for, etc. These excuses are brought about by jobs that move, family constraints, lack of careful planning (or planning ahead), and so forth, but I do notice that a perceived dearth of safety and/or convenience (mostly convenience) are what most often deter me those times I choose to drive my 14-year-old car instead of ride.

                So, while fear of looking dumb might play a role, it may be that for a lot of people, fear of mis-navigating a seemingly labyrinthine system of “safe” routes that require study aforethought, fear of getting too sweaty or taking too long, fear of being unable to park a bike at a destination or being unable to carry home what you went there for, fear of mechanical breakdown/flat tires, are far bigger reasons for many folks’ unwillingness to bike for more trips.

                Until hopping on the bike and being able to take any route anywhere is as convenient as hopping in the car, it seems like what we need to encourage are baby steps. Like diet change, if too big of a change is attempted all at once, it is unlikely to stick. The message to potential bike users shouldn’t be to sell the car and prepare to be miserable, but rather try a few short trips–to the coffee shop, Dairy Queen, a movie, etc.–and see how it goes. Eventually, most folks will realize that extending distances to include farther-away destinations isn’t really a big deal, and they will learn what kind of bike and attire work best for the kind of trips they end up making most often.

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            • wsbob September 5, 2013 at 2:04 am

              Depending upon what each individuals interests are, with respect to biking, it’s not unusual at all for people to consider there may be a right way and a wrong way for what type of biking they want to do. Some people want advice about what type clothing works well for the type of biking they do, or are going to do. A reason some people may be averse to trying biking as a means of transportation, is because they believe the activity would require them to sideline the wearing of gear/clothing of the style they wish to attire themselves.

              Writers such as Elly Blue and Copenhagenize’s Mikael Colville-Andersen, apparently have all sorts of ideas and opinions about what people should or shouldn’t wear for biking. Doesn’t mean people have to follow their direction if they choose not to.

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    • Chris Anderson September 2, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      If you are looking for a new Jane Jacobs http://www.strongtowns.org/ is a good start.

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    • q`Tzal September 3, 2013 at 3:00 am

      This is one of the few upsides to not being able to remember people’s names easily: it makes apathy over filthy gossip easy because I have no clue who we are talking about.

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    • Paul September 3, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      What does skin color have to do with it?

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  • q`Tzal September 2, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    main article
    …. here’s one way to handle things while someone’s texting and driving: after they almost hit you, walk over to their car, grab the phone from their hand and smash it against the road.

    While I enjoyed the video and the cathartic idea behind permanently hanging up the phone that helped cause the traffic collision – in the context of a Bikeportland.org article it just smells like something that will be taken out of context as a call for us cyclists to assault auto drivers.
    It’s silly that I even mention it and I want to sincerely believe that no one that frequents this site is impressionable and prone to violence that they would act on what is written here. Odds are it’ll happen eventually.
    I agree with all the counter-arguments without even reading them. I just feel like your written though to the Jezebel article should sound a little less like “this is a GREAT idea that everyone should try out!” and a little more like “vigilante justice never tasted so sweet!”

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    • Pete September 3, 2013 at 8:40 am

      …and here I thought it was a call to assault distracted drivers while I am either cycling or driving! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      • q`Tzal September 3, 2013 at 2:33 pm

        See that’s it right there.
        Whether you were joking or not it will be taken as a serious declaration of The War on Cars.
        Like they said in our annual military “don’t be a hateful bigot” training: it doesn’t matter if you think it was a joke, it matters how it was perceived by the other party.

        So if you want to say inflammatory things about car drivers and what you’d do to them fine but don’t for one second think that this is a private forum. This is a well known public website with tons of national readers that will interpret our dark humor as war propaganda from the Peoples Republic of Portland.

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        • Pete September 3, 2013 at 10:43 pm

          It’ll only be taken as a serious declaration by people looking for serious declarations, and nothing you or I say or do will change their opinion of the hidden green liberal biking agenda that our so-called ‘community’ seems to have promulgated by our existence on the road.

          And for all you know I could be a part-time car driver who has infiltrated the ranks! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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          • q`Tzal September 3, 2013 at 11:23 pm

            But do we need to pour gasoline on a fire lest we get burned in the backflash?

            Oops I’m sorry I meant “you’re not one of us? Kill the infidel!” ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  • BIKELEPTIC September 3, 2013 at 10:55 am

    don’t forget fundraiser Century ride for Out to Pasture Sanctuary! We hit our initial goal last week! Still looking for more riders and donations!

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