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The Monday Roundup: Blind-spot spotlights, demonizing fat and more

Posted by on June 8th, 2015 at 9:45 am

Danger zones, spotted.
(Image: Jimmy Beam Downlights)

This week’s Monday Roundup is brought to you Mountain Shop (NE 37th and Sandy), Portland’s oldest camping and outdoor gear store. If you’re curious about bikepacking, check out their full studio of new bikes, gear and rentals.

Here are the bike-related links from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Truck safety: A new trucking product could circle rigs with downward-pointing lights that tell people biking where they’ll be invisible to the driver.

Marketing biking: A Vancouver bike lover who describes herself as “fat” has some “free tips” for active transportation advocates: “Stop using the ‘obesity’ scare word. It makes you look like smug a-holes.”

Autonomous cars: “Google cars drive like your grandma — they’re never the first off the line at a stop light, they don’t accelerate quickly, they don’t speed, and they never take any chances with lane changes,” writes one Mountain View resident who sees them in action regularly.

Vision Zero: The top two priorities in European traffic safety programs are speed reduction (including, crucially, reducing speed differentials), followed by street design. Plus other on-the-ground insights.

Cargo trikes: They’re faster than trucks for many urban trips.

Unintended messages: via Yehuda Moon.

Parking cost: If your residential building has a multi-level parking garage and charges people less than $225 a month to use it, then your rent is probably helping subsidize everyone’s parking.

Top cop accusations: One of many odd incidents that seem to have led the city of Cornelius to relinquish its police department last year: the former chief’s shouting match with a father and daughter riding bikes.

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Bike share repairs: Bike-share operator Motivate took the unusual step of flying 12 mechanics from sister shops in Chicago and D.C. to New York City for a graveyard shift to work through Citi Bikes’ 900-bike repair backlog. “Former Citi Bike manager Alta Bicycle Share allegedly prioritized ‘quick fixes’ over long-term repairs,” writes Gothamist.

Bike share boost: Motivate has scored a deal to expand Bay Area Bike Share from 700 bikes to 7,000 by 2017.

Against sharing: “At least the brand’s marketing team knows to embrace the sociopathic demographic,” writes AdWeek about a new Taco Bell commercial that complains about, among other things, too many people riding bikes. (Which is, of course, a pretty awesome complaint for bikes to provoke.)

Air pollution: It takes much less to kill you than we thought.

Road rage: A London coffee chain owner recieved ridicule and boycotts after being filmed stepping out of his SUV to scream at people biking near him.

Engineer’s lament: Something in American society or psychology leads us to fixate on statistically meaningless automotive malfunctions while failing to save lives with proven tools like speed cameras, writes Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker. “But the chief factor is not what we drive; it is how we drive.”

Obama’s bikeway: In DC, Pennsylvania Avenue’s bike lanes have been upgraded from buffered to protected.

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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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

105 Comments
  • Chris I June 8, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Obesity is pretty scary. It’s too bad that our culture encourages it.

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    • Brett June 8, 2015 at 11:35 am

      Yes. As far as I know, bike advocates are saying that our society as a whole would be healthier if we as a whole cycled more often and drove less. This is true and shouldn’t be controversial. No individual or group is being told they would be less fat if only they would bike, at least by any cycling advocacy I’m familiar with. It’s possible that people hear this and it’s good to keep in mind but it is probably not the advocates that are mixing the message.

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      • Cecily June 8, 2015 at 7:20 pm

        Except we are told this by bike advocacy groups, bicycle advocates, and hell, even random people on the street every day. But what do I know? I’m just a fat woman on a bike who rides it for fun. *kanye shrug*

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        • eli bishop June 8, 2015 at 9:16 pm

          AMEN.

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        • Christianne June 9, 2015 at 7:25 am

          YES. THIS.

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        • KYouell June 9, 2015 at 10:13 am

          Me too!

          My stock reply, “Imagine what I’d look like if I hadn’t been doing this for X years!” In my head I add, “Fat-shaming a$$hole.” It’s almost as bad as the gray-haired men that seem to have had some kind of meeting and decided that the 2-fingered helmet tap and saying, “Stay pretty!” is what they need to do at women biking without helmets. Almost.

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    • Anne Hawley June 8, 2015 at 2:36 pm

      Our food system certainly makes it hard to avoid. But saying our “culture encourages it” is so far away from my person reality that I can’t even conceive how you got there. Never once in my entire 50 years of battling my body have I received a cultural message encouraging me to get fat, stay fat, or stop despising my body for my own good.

      I don’t know what your experience with fatness is, but it clearly differs radically from mine.

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      • Scott H June 8, 2015 at 2:46 pm

        I’d gather Chris was referring to the part where we’re encouraged to sit in traffic for many hours every week, instead of commuting to our destinations with active forms of transportation.

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        • LC June 8, 2015 at 2:56 pm

          Or possibly the author of the linked article calling people who point out that exercise is good for you “smug a holes” because anything that takes health into consideration somehow threatens people who make unhealthy decisions.

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          • Cecily June 8, 2015 at 7:25 pm

            Not that it’s really any of your business, and not that health should be any indicator of a person’s worth in this society, but until I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I *was* healthy. My physician — which you are not, so you don’t get to pass value judgments on my body — recently told me “Yes, you’re fat, but until you got sick, you were also very fit. Let’s see what we can do to get you back to that.”

            Encounter people where they are *now*, not some mythical status that they may or may not reach.

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            • 9watts June 9, 2015 at 9:14 am

              Great video clip. I loved it.

              “Encounter people where they are *now*, not some mythical status that they may or may not reach.”

              I agree with that, Cecily. But I also don’t think there’s any reason to pretend we don’t know how we as a society got into this mess in the first place. Bad food and a dramatic decline in exercise (both precipitated in no small part by a century of cheap fossil fuels) are a toxic combination; I didn’t think there was any confusion about this.

              I find myself reacting to your piece a little bit like I found myself reacting to Taz Looman’s bike shaming article: some folks (people who still drive more than they’d like in Taz’s case, and people who are fat but healthy in your case(?)) don’t want to be remonstrated for their circumstances, or be mischaracterized, or made to feel bad. Sure, I get that, and don’t see any point in perpetuating that kind of talk. But to me there is a risk of shutting down all conversation, of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

              The challenge we face, I think, is to figure out ways to not drive (to bikey events), and/or to make choices that allow us to be healthier. Both I think are reasonable goals, and achieving them is aided by talking about them, learning from each other, not by avoiding the subject altogether. I don’t, personally, think of biking as being about health, but I prefer it because it is fun, convenient, cheap, doesn’t perpetuate automobility with all its attendant risks and dangers, and most of all it is good for everyone, those who themselves bike and those who do not. It has positive externalities, quite the opposite of driving.

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            • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
              Michael Andersen (News Editor) June 9, 2015 at 12:08 pm

              For what it’s worth, Jonathan nominated Cecily’s piece here, and I put it at the top, because we personally found it smart, pithy, persuasive, interesting and useful. Ideal Monday Roundup material.

              Thanks for sharing your observations, Cecily. Your language is blunt, but personally I think that’s why it’s so effective (and has obviously drawn attention).

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      • Chris I June 8, 2015 at 8:58 pm

        I’m mostly referring to the “buy a big house in the suburbs and drive to work” culture, but you can’t ignore food advertising. It all adds up.

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    • Esther June 9, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      Biking is not a one-size-fits-all fountain of youth, wellness, health and skinniness. It has been well established that both BMI and weight are poor indicators of health and wellbeing for many people, that the medical industry frequently only studies and normalizes the bodies of white adult males as the metric to measure others, and health has a lot (A LOT) more to do than with your choice (or not so much a choice) of how you get around. It’s just wrong, and this huge gloss does more to harm bike advocacy than it does to help.

      I see commenters here rushing to argue that Cecily has not experienced the things that she says she has. Why is it so important to you to prove that she has not and that she is wrong??

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      • 9watts June 9, 2015 at 1:32 pm

        “both BMI and weight are poor indicators of health and wellbeing for many people”

        Yes.

        But obesity is a huge public health problem especially in overdeveloped countries today (as opposed to everywhere and at other times), notwithstanding the fact that some people who have a high BMI are healthy.

        Baby – bathwater.

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      • soren June 9, 2015 at 3:23 pm

        I agree with your message and Cecily’s but I disagree with this:

        It has been well established that both BMI…

        The literature on this question is not “well established” with evidence of variability among patient cohorts and even some debate about how to measure obesity. In fact, my read of the literature is that it’s complicated.

        Perhaps you are referring to a few recent studies that have called into question the link between mild obesity and risk of disease and an early death. Nevertheless, none of these studies dispute the overall association between <b<severe obesity (e.g. grade 2 or 3) and risk of disease and/or an early death.

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  • paikiala June 8, 2015 at 11:00 am

    RE: DC bike lanes, the definition of ‘protected’ bike lanes needs to be clarified.
    I’m not sure a permeable barrier = protected.

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  • middle of the road guy June 8, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Here is a free tip: stop trying to change the behavior of hundreds of others and try to change why such a comment elicits such an internal response.

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  • John Lascurettes June 8, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    On that Google Car article, it’s interesting to note that there’s those already clamoring for an override so that they can (implicitly) elect to be more aggressive with their driving by disallowing people to merge into a lane, or forcing their way through a busy crosswalk. This is so wrong-headed. Presumably, as more automated cars get on the road, the more equitable all traffic will move. Essentially, it will only ever move as fast as capacity will allow and no faster. This is the way it should be.

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    • Scott H June 8, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      Not to mention, autonomous cars will inevitably increase the capacity of roads since they will have the ability to communicate and coordinate with each other. Once vehicles have the ability to work with each other instead of against each other, things will flow more smoothly ( think seamless merging ).

      If Mike Tinskey wants to live an an every-man-for-himself society, then I would invite him to move to China. This isn’t China. Nearly everyone here has a firm grasp on how to be polite and wait your turn. There are a few selfish idiots, but they’re the minority and they should be shamed, not encouraged.

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      • 9watts June 9, 2015 at 9:18 am

        “autonomous cars will inevitably increase the capacity of roads ”

        Oh, great. Just what we need!

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        • Scott H June 9, 2015 at 2:25 pm

          Actually, yes! Think about it for a minute. If we can increase the capacity of a lane, then we’ll need fewer lanes. That means more lanes will be unnecessary and we can tear them up to make room for sidewalks and bike lanes, and we wont ever need to build ridiculous, 10-lane-wide bridges.

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          • 9watts June 9, 2015 at 3:16 pm

            Induced demand.

            Besides more travel (even efficient) travel by car is always a lose-lose proposition.

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    • Todd Boulanger June 8, 2015 at 3:51 pm

      The “hive” mentality is safer in traffic streams…peds and bikes and someday cars (with Ai vehicles…like Google Cars). But we cannot do it alone…

      Our transport politic needs to join with true autoists (the Ducks Unlimited of drivers)…to make urban areas lower speed and more multimodal (safety thru transportation vehicles like appliances – outcome is known and expected and boring) while making rural scenic driving more soulful. Think about the 1930s/1940s scenic highways with vistas and greenways (Blue Ridge Mountain Highway, the modern take on the Columbia River Highway)…vs. i205 soul-less commute style highway (and the dozens in CA etc.).

      http://www.blueridgeparkway.org

      http://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/scenic-byways/the-historic-columbia-river-highway/

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    • Eric June 8, 2015 at 10:40 pm

      In the observation that drivers will take advantage of self-driving cars, he fails to observe that self-driving cars will issue citations to those drivers.

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  • Christianne June 8, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    You do all realise the author lives in Vancouver, CANADA, correct? As in, an entirely different country, that may or may not take a different tact in their advocacy?

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    • Cecily June 8, 2015 at 7:21 pm

      Thanks for pointing that out, Christianne. I’m a dual American/Canadian citizen, for what it’s worth. I pay attention to bike advocacy efforts on both sides of the border.

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      • Christianne June 9, 2015 at 7:35 am

        That’s awesome! As am I! It kind of sucks that American’s don’t get nearly the same news coverage as Canadians do. My family is often talking to me about American politics, but I have no clue what’s going on up there without making a concerted effort to find out.

        But you are totally right. This kind of shaming is across the board, regardless of country. It was honestly the only thing I could write without going into full snark mode.

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  • Spiffy June 8, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Truck safety: the truck isn’t worried about its safety, so quit putting the onus on your victims and stop driving where you can’t see…

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    • Mike June 8, 2015 at 7:44 pm

      If you are riding too close to the truck YOU have to take some responsibility if you get squished. If you spill hot coffee on yourself and get burned who’s fault is it? Mcdonalds? If you are drunk driving and run into a tree is it the booze’s fault? Take some responsibility!

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      • are June 8, 2015 at 8:55 pm

        the story behind the mcdonald’s coffee is not exactly what you seem to think it is
        http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm

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        • Middle of the Road guy June 9, 2015 at 12:19 pm

          It’s a metaphor.

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          • are June 9, 2015 at 1:00 pm

            the word is “cliche,” in this case based on a falsehood promoting a particular agenda.

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          • Chris I June 9, 2015 at 1:02 pm

            Not a good metaphor, given the facts in the case.

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      • Chris I June 8, 2015 at 9:01 pm

        I recommend you watch the documentary “Hot Coffee”.

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      • Dan June 9, 2015 at 7:01 am

        Who CHOOSES to ride too close to a truck?

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    • Electric Mayhem June 8, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      How about just eliminating the blind spots? Three cameras would do it.

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  • B. Carfree June 8, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    I wish all cars were driven like my grandma was driving them. Of course, my four grandmas are all dead. (Lots of divorce/remarriages in my family tree.) Far too often it seems like some drivers are in a hurry to join grandma in the ground.

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    • q`Tzal June 8, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      Celf driving hearses?

      Too much exposure to British humor in my impressionable youth… yup that’s where that came from, not my fault in any way.

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      • Middle of the Road guy June 9, 2015 at 12:21 pm

        Imagine if a self-driving hearse caused a fatality. Could you imagine the headline? Hearse accident kills one, leaves two dead.

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  • Spiffy June 8, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Autonomous cars: All this caution actually leads human drivers to occasionally get annoyed at Google cars, as they can excessively slow down traffic.

    no, it’s not excessively, it’s how much traffic SHOULD be slowed down… just because it’s slower than the dangerous illegal behavior that’s become the norm doesn’t mean that it’s excessive…

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    • Todd Boulanger June 8, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      Is it murder if another driver shoots a Google Car?

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    • El Biciclero June 9, 2015 at 9:52 am

      Heh. I just commented on another story about how Google/autonomous cars will be targets for aggressive human drivers. Knowing that robot cars will do anything to avoid crashing, and that they are so hesitant—especially at 4-way stops—impatient human drivers will be able to “steal” right-of-way, squeeze into too-tight merges/lane changes, etc., knowing that robo-cars will get out of the way to avoid a crash. Right or wrong, I could easily imagine that robo-cars will actually invite a certain amount of aggressive driving. Sort of like the Stanford Prison Experiment with cars.

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      • 9watts June 9, 2015 at 1:43 pm

        Hm. That experiment had to be shut down.
        Those South Bay eggheads!

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        • Pete June 10, 2015 at 12:09 am

          I’m still waiting for them to throw those things in the mix with Boston or New York drivers…

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    • Tait June 10, 2015 at 1:37 am

      Spiffy: “no, it’s not excessively, it’s how much traffic SHOULD be slowed down…”

      I don’t think we have the data to know whether it’s excessive or not at this point. If I had to guess, it probably is excessive because the algorithms are deliberately overly conservative at this early stage of testing.

      There’s increased risk from being too careful, as well. (Speed differentials in traffic are a greater risk than speed alone, for example; see Solomon Curve.) Ideally we want human drivers to be less aggressive, and we want the autonomous cars to behave “averagely” so they hit the minimum of the curve (lowest accident rate).

      But at this point, I’m just happy to see progress and a (thusfar) good record from autonomous vehicles.

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  • Justin June 8, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    RE: Air Pollution Worse than Thought

    I commute from Vancouver, WA to PDX several times a week (via I-5 bridge), and invariably my cardio-worked lungs spit out pollution for the first 5 minutes after arriving.

    Is this common for anyone else?
    Have looked into wearing respirator, but essentially the options are a mask that does not filter out the fine particles (that are more dangerous, as they get absorbed by the lungs) or a respirator and is difficult to breathe in while commuting and is made of plastic that has off-gassing.

    My commutes have made me much more away of how much pollution gets poured into the environment – oftentimes, it is one filthy dumptruck further up the road that is just pouring out dirty diesel.

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  • soren June 8, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    I drive like a google car!

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    • Brett June 8, 2015 at 7:52 pm

      Thank you!

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  • Pete June 8, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    I chuckled at the Google article, having seen plenty of them speeding around areas outside of Mt View under human control. Speaking of Google, though, check out their plan to increase employee bicycle commuting from 9% to 20%:
    http://www.cyclelicio.us/2015/googles-bike-vision-for-silicon-valley/

    http://bikesiliconvalley.org/files/Google-Bike-Vision-Plan_high_res.pdf

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    • Todd Boulanger June 8, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      Thanks for sharing the Google Plan…I am reading it right now!

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    • Chris I June 8, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      It would have been a lot easier if they hadn’t built a sprawling suburban mega-campus far away from the places where people actually want to live.

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      • Pete June 8, 2015 at 9:55 pm

        Google moved into existing buildings and expanded – then kept expanding (hey, you’re the one using the Internet! ;). Besides, not everyone actually wants to live in cities.

        Now, if you want to talk about building a sprawling suburban mega-campus, there’s this other little consumer electronics company down the street from me that we can talk about… (and I can give you some detailed stories about our community trying to work with their planners).

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      • Pete June 8, 2015 at 10:23 pm

        In the interest of fairness, here’s the latest bike plan for the Jobstrosity:
        https://s3.amazonaws.com/apple-campus2-project/Bicycle_Plan_Submittal6.pdf

        BTW, the paint wear and pothole fixes I mentioned are on the stretch of Homestead where employee buses pull out of Swallow Drive to head north on Lawrence Expressway.

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  • Anne Hawley June 8, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Here’s a free tip. If you really do want more people on bikes, then listening to the mainstream message through the ears of people not like you will help you understand the barriers between them and bicycling. It doesn’t matter whether you think those barriers are imagined, or internal, or “misinterpreted” by somebody who doesn’t think the same way you do. Dare to take their statements in anyway. Reflect on them. Consider them. Listen.

    If you really don’t want more people (perhaps more people not-like-you) riding bikes, well…carry on, I guess.

    I doubt there’s a fat girl alive who has any doubts about the desirability of being thin. I certainly don’t. Anyone who thinks obesity is encouraged or tolerated or celebrated has never been a fat girl.

    But as someone who gets around exclusively by bike, I can tell you that the couple hundred calories burned in a short commute or a long errand-run will make approximately zero difference to my body size — and that’s the kind of bike riding I think cities are looking to encourage. Am I fitter than I was before I got on a bike at 55? Certainly. Am I thinner? Only by virtue of other efforts.

    So sell me on sustainability, sell me on fun, sell me on freedom, sell me on the gleeful self-satisfaction of it all, but if you try to browbeat me with an obesity scare message that I’ve been browbeaten with all my life, all you do is subtract joy. And yes, sound (TO ME) like a smug a-hole.

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    • dan June 8, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      I understand it’s pretty common for people to drift up a pound or two a year, and it seems to me that type of weight gain is exactly what cycling might help prevent, even if it’s just short errands.

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    • LC June 8, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      Nope. Pointing out that exercise is healthy is not browbeating, not scaring anyone, not doing anything but causing you to project your own insecurity based on your own poor choices with such zeal that you think it justifies belittling people and calling them names. Sorry, I can’t get on board with this. I can’t even feel sorry for it.

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      • are June 8, 2015 at 8:59 pm

        someone asks you to actually listen to what some of this messaging sounds like to her and you say “nope.” well played.

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      • eli bishop June 8, 2015 at 9:18 pm

        healthy != skinny.

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      • Christianne June 9, 2015 at 9:11 am

        LOL

        We didn’t ask you to. We don’t need you to.

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        • Chris I June 9, 2015 at 1:04 pm

          Fortunately, everyone has the right to make whatever recommendations they want to make, and you can choose to ignore them.

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    • Cecily June 8, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      *applauds loudly*

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    • eli bishop June 8, 2015 at 9:19 pm

      THIS. Biking is not the WEIGHT LOSS SOLUTION for everyone, even daily riders. And I hate that it’s sold that way.

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      • 9watts June 9, 2015 at 1:48 pm

        “I hate that it’s sold that way.”

        Since I’m apparently oblivious to this message, I’ll ask: who is selling us this message?

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        • Opus the Poet June 13, 2015 at 8:15 pm

          There are a number of advocates who are equating cycling with regular exercise and without missing a beat seque into lack of exercise contributing to the obesity epidemic. I do that myself, but I never considered that as saying cycling will eliminate obesity. Obviously others are not taking the message the same way.

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    • Alex Reed June 8, 2015 at 9:34 pm

      Hey Anne and Cecily,

      I’d like to make a distinction between active transportation *encouragement* and active transportation *activism/advocacy* in order to get your feelings about activism messaging. In the encouragement arena, I agree with what you’re saying wholeheartedly. If my message is to average citizens and my objective is to encourage them to bike or walk, leading with a health message is going to feel like “Eat your broccoli!” and go nowhere. Leading with an obesity message is going to be an active turn-off to many people.

      However, in the activism arena, I currently think there’s a definite place for talking about the link between active transportation and health. If I’m talking to policymakers about how it’s wise public policy to invest more in biking/walking/transit, I think talking about health is often a good idea. I say this because of two facts about our society:
      1) Money talks
      2) Healthcare costs lots of money
      I think not talking about the strong link between active transport and health when advocating for better government policy on infrastructure/enforcement/education/encouragement is giving up one of our most powerful tools. Health is one of the biggest and most easily quantified building blocks of the strong financial case for active transport. (Yes, there’s a strong non-financial case too – but I think the financial case also needs to be made in order for us to win politically given today’s politics).

      Should we talk about biking and walking in smart, compassionate ways that don’t reinforce the body obsession in our culture? Definitely! We should talk about fitness, not obesity, and minutes of activity, not calories. (If I’m not mistaken, I think those are the measures that the health literature says have the strongest links to outcomes, too). But I guess I’m just saying that even after reading what you’ve said so far, I still want to use health as an argument when the relevant audience is politicians and other policymakers.

      I guess my questions are:
      A) Do you agree that this is an effective message to use in many policy arenas? If not, why not?
      B) If you say yes to (A) but still think I and other advocates/activists shouldn’t use this message in policy arenas, why not? Is it because the messages in policy arenas echo too loudly in the encouragement arena and negatively impact folks like you?

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      • 9watts June 9, 2015 at 9:24 am

        Well said, Alex. Thank you.

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      • KYouell June 9, 2015 at 10:27 am

        As a not-skinny, but healthier person who is new to advocacy, I’d like to know what they think too.

        I know that people walking and biking and driving have all tried to shame me as I pedal along. I know that I weigh more than I did 4 years ago (how much of it is muscle I don’t know), my clothing size hasn’t changed, and I’m much stronger, but my aerobic capacity hasn’t improved as much as I thought it would. I support active transportation for kids too as a way to help keep them healthy, not that PPS is on board, but am I also barking up the wrong tree?

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        • Emily G June 9, 2015 at 11:17 am

          I noticed this too, Kath- I still get pretty winded going up hills. I’ve often wondered if the amount of pollution in our air has something to do with it.

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        • Tait June 10, 2015 at 1:48 am

          I’ve found personally that cycling — even when I was up to 10 miles a day — doesn’t help my aerobic capacity. Not sure why, but even after months it just didn’t. I wanted to tackle the aerobic capacity issue, so I started running, and it had a huge impact in short time. The other thing I’ve heard is swimming, if you want something a little lower-impact.

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      • Emily G June 9, 2015 at 11:12 am

        Alex, I think what you have to be careful about with messaging is that you don’t fall into the healthy=weight loss/thinness trap. So emphasizing actual indicators of health like the ones you mentioned to policy makers is a good idea, you just have to make sure they’re hearing that message and not “let’s all lose 20 pounds by biking!”

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      • tee June 13, 2015 at 3:05 pm

        a) I agree that this is a good message to use in that situation. If a link can proved between active transportation and better health (and in turn lower healthcare costs) it will have a much stronger chance of getting implemented.

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  • Dan June 8, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    You can lose a lot of weight riding, particularly if you ride longer distances. I ride a lot more in the summer than in the winter, and typically go from 160 (winter) to 145 (August).

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    • are June 8, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      you might not have the health issues someone else has.

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      • Eric June 8, 2015 at 10:52 pm

        I would encourage anyone who has trouble with too much exertion to try an electric bike (or even tadpole trike.) Moving your feet, even with very low effort gets your blood flowing and builds stamina. Somewhere between getting exhausted and sitting in a car, I think a lot of people could ride every day with even a small 250W motor.

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      • Dan June 9, 2015 at 7:06 am

        All I’m saying is that cycling can be a great way to lose weight, if that is one of your goals. If someone is interested in losing weight, it’s worth pointing out that they can definitely do that on a bike. I played competitive ultimate frisbee for a decade, and was never able to shed weight the way I did once I started riding regularly.

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        • KYouell June 9, 2015 at 10:30 am

          I’ve been pedaling 2 kids around for 4+ years (we take transit sometimes and don’t have a car) and haven’t lost weight. I thought that my 90 – 220 pound load of bike + kids would’ve done something. I think it’s a good way to get healthier, but that weight loss isn’t something that just happens because you give up your car for a bike.

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          • Middle of the Road guy June 9, 2015 at 12:27 pm

            Have you changed your diet? Exercise is only one component of weight loss, and not even the most significant.

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            • Esther June 9, 2015 at 1:16 pm

              You really just asked about whether Kath has considered going on a diet?

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              • Pete June 9, 2015 at 11:30 pm

                Huh. I didn’t read that question the same way that you re-framed it. Diet is absolutely the biggest factor in changing weight (muscle, bone density, fat), whereas exercise has to be targeted at specific energy systems and often prolonged to be effective at losing undesired weight. Rest and sleep quality are also important, as is the reduction of cortisol production (i.e. stress). Is it not OK to ask that question the way MOTRG worded it?

                K threw out some pretty detailed parameters without mentioning a thing about diet change – nor was riding with the intention of weight loss mentioned. If I wanted to gain weight quickly, I know I could increase muscle mass by adding 90-220 pounds to my cycling load and changing my diet towards more protein. I must have missed the hidden implication that you and 4 others read into that… seemed like a courteous engagement to me(?).

                K, how much can you dead-lift these days? 😉

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              • Opus the Poet June 13, 2015 at 8:28 pm

                Also there is the fact that one definition for a cyclist is “Eating machine on 2 wheels”. When I’m riding regularly my intake is roughly 4K Calories/day, but since I had a medical issue for th last year that has kept me off the bike since June of last year I try to keep my Calorie count under 2200/day to keep my weight down. When I’m riding my biggest problem is to not lose weight too fast and when I was riding 120 miles a day every week with about 400 miles a week total, it was impossible to keep me fed. That was the first time my body fat went below 10%, but my BMI stubbornly stayed above 31. Because muscles and really Big Bones. Large, heavy, very dense bones caused by supporting all the muscle mass I was developing.

                Now that I don’t have an ex-girlfriend in a nursing home 60 miles away offering lunch if I came to see her I just don’t have the incentive to make that 120 mile trip in one day any more.

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          • 9watts June 9, 2015 at 2:01 pm

            Kath,
            I think what you’ve written is more useful, insightful, and constructive than telling people to strike words from their vocabularies. I have a lot to learn about this, and most subjects, and I appreciate your perspective.

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        • eli bishop June 9, 2015 at 7:27 pm

          “they can definitely do that on a bike.” nope.

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  • HJ June 8, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Somehow the truck spotlights don’t seem terribly useful to me. Now what would be useful is requiring proximity warning systems in trucks that make it harder for them to run over someone located in their blind spots.
    We have the technology, why not use it?

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    • Dan June 9, 2015 at 7:08 am

      Exactly. If you’re riding on the edge of the road and a truck pulls up next to you, putting you in their ‘danger zone’, what are you supposed to do? Dive off the side of the road?

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  • Dwaine Dibbly June 8, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Anybody see the story online (somewhere, sorry, no link) about the updated bikes that Citibike in NYC is going to start rolling out? They’re supposed to be much nicer than the originals and are designed by Serotta.

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  • GlowBoy June 8, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    Funny, the roundup missed one pretty big bike story from last week: for the first time, an American city has made the Copenhagenize index of bike-friendly global cities.

    Sorry, it wasn’t Portland.

    http://copenhagenize.eu/index/18_minneapolis.html

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    • soren June 9, 2015 at 11:58 am

      With all due respect, Portland appearing on that list would have been just as absurdly comical as the addition of Minneapolis.

      A better measure:

      http://www.cityclock.org/urban-cycling-mode-share/#.VXc2Krxtxpg

      Portland is #157 and Minneapolis is #186.

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      • GlowBoy June 15, 2015 at 2:35 pm

        … also with all due respect, mode share is emphatically not the best measure of a city’s bike-friendliness. All American cities are pretty sucky for cycling (in some ways Portland is better than Minneapolis, while in other ways Minneapolis is better), agreed. Copehagenize was recognizing the efforts Minneapolis is taking right now to improve things, whereas Portland isn’t doing that much, and that is certainly newsworthy in Portland.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) June 12, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      I agree with both of you guys – this probably should have made the Roundup, and like most rankings it’s pretty silly. (We usually make an exception for the Bicycling list, but mostly for tradition’s sake.) I just forgot about it while I was compiling.

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  • Esther June 9, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Brett
    YNo individual or group is being told they would be less fat if only they would bike, at least by any cycling advocacy I’m familiar with.Recommended 13

    Apparently you have never heard of Momentum Mag, Streetsblog, the City of Portland, bicycling.com, and numerous purveyors of cycling advocacy stickers/tshirts/stencils etc..

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    • 9watts June 9, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      Weird!
      Thanks for those links, Esther. I never paid any attention, or noticed.
      Privilege?

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  • 9watts June 9, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    are
    you might not have the health issues someone else has.Recommended 3

    That’s a really good point, are.
    But sometimes the health issues are not independent of—or may be exacerbated by—extra weight. Rheumatoid arthritis, for instance, I learned just this morning, is one example:
    http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2012/06/25/155575630/obesity-stokes-rheumatoid-arthritis-with-more-than-just-extra-weight

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  • Dan June 9, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    So I shouldn’t tell people they can lose weight riding a bike? It’s actually not possible?

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    • Pete June 10, 2015 at 12:04 am

      Dan my friend, I’m waiting for Eli Bishop to educate us by offering evidence that your comment has exceptions (and what they are)… but I’m guessing definitely was too strong a key word here. These days I wonder what isn’t the wrong thing to say on BP though…

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      • Dan June 10, 2015 at 7:41 am

        Fair enough, shouldn’t have said “definitely possible”. Should have said “possible for some folks, depending on how they ride and other factors”. Weight loss is certainly a motivating factor for me to ride the way I do. Seems to be taking me longer this year to get to reach my goals, so I’ll be heading out on a long ride this Saturday to try & ‘put a dent in it’.

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  • Dwaine Dibbly June 9, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Don’t ever gain weight! It’s practically impossible to lose it and keep it off.

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    • Pete June 9, 2015 at 10:48 pm

      Best way to keep it off is to just stay young! 😉

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