Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

The Monday Roundup: So-called war on cars, BOD in NOLA, headbadge hunter, and more

Posted by on August 7th, 2017 at 10:36 am

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Portland Public Schools who wants you to apply for a job as a school bus driver where you can get full benefits, a flexible schedule and a wage of $16.25 an hour.

Welcome to the week!

Here are the best stories from around the web that came across our inbox in the past seven days…

Don’t forget about bikes: As urban policymakers in the U.S. fawn over auto technology, this article from the U.K. (The Guardian) warns about a missed opportunity if we don’t embrace bicycling too.

Why Sagan matters: If you keep hearing about Peter Sagan and you don’t know why he’s such a big deal, this major profile in Outside Magazine will explain.

And why “elites” don’t: It’s because despite their proximity to power and process, “they are always a minority” says Jarrett Walker of Human Transit in a fascinating post about the “dangers of elite projection”.

We need this on NW 13th in Portland: Advocates for one of Washington D.C.’s busiest streets have floated the idea of making it carfree in order to make it a safer and more humane place to be.

Grow a spine, L.A. leaders: Editorial in the L.A. Times calls for city leaders to push back against the “callousness” and “selfish” nature of that city’s motor vehicle users who are fighting street safety projects.

Bike-oriented (cultural and economic) development in NOLA: The Lafitte Greenway in New Orleands is having a major impact on how people get around — and a whole lot more.

The big projects in our future: Don’t miss this in-depth Willamette Week piece on seven major infrastructure projects they say, “could radically alter the face of both sides of the Willamette River.”

Advertise with BikePortland.

Power to control AVs: As Congress and automakers push autonomous vehicles, cities are pushing back. Streetsblog has the latest on where the regulatory fight is headed.

Let us speed!: A driving advocacy group is really mad about a federal report that calls for a stronger response to the dangerous epidemic of speeding.

So-called “War on cars” part II: See the world through the eyes of “The Car Coach” and learn what she thinks is the real reason policymakers want to increase regulations on cars…

SF shares downtown protected bikeway plans: As Portland continues to delay and dither on our plans for high-quality protected bikeways downtown, San Francisco has revealed the “Better Market Street” project that will restrict private motor vehicles and have physically protected bike lanes.

To protect and to serve bicycle riders: The Canadian city of Toronto now has police officers dedicated to ticketing people who park motor vehicles in bike lanes.

Dockless bike share problems: Private bike share companies that run dockless (a.k.a. stationless) systems are inundating city streets around the world. Amsterdam is fighting back and London has impounded more than 100 of the bikes that were illegally parked.

Wealth and suffering: Turns out that flexibility and finances aren’t the only reason that tough endurance sports like cycling appeal to people of means. Early research indicates that pain makes them feel whole and gives their life purpose.

And now something fun: I’m a sucker for a good headbadge and now there’s an entire book on the subject written by a man who has collected over 1,000 of them.

Note: You can now receive our Monday Roundup direct to your inbox. Sign up here.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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56 Comments
  • David Hampsten August 7, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Sorry, watching The Car Coach was beyond painful and I could only handle a minute and a half of her. It was like attending a university lecture taught by a not-very-good teacher. I don’t think it was the subject matter or her point of view, but rather her delivery style – very condescending, very man-speak, like the worst aspects of my comments on BP.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy August 7, 2017 at 11:17 am

      everyone thinks they are a victim and that everyone else is getting something over on them.

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    • emerson August 7, 2017 at 11:22 am

      If she yells and cuts the video in half I’m sure she’ll land a spot on Hannity. He also loves “Free-dumb.”

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    • John Lascurettes August 7, 2017 at 11:55 am

      I commented when Jonathan posted this on FB that she even pulls out the trope that bigger cars are safer [for the occupant only]. Sigh. So much fallacy in one video.

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  • bikeninja August 7, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Who sponsored the Car Coach Video, Satan?

    From Wikipedia’ “Prager created the website to share his conservative perspectives on a wide variety of issues. PragerU is not an academic institution and does not offer certifications or diplomas.

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    • 9watts August 7, 2017 at 11:19 am

      I think our own Big Knobbies attended that university. He talks just like she does.

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    • John Lascurettes August 7, 2017 at 11:56 am

      The best part is that some fans of that site are actually tearing them up for that particular video in the comments. Even they aren’t buying the cavalcade of fallacies presented.

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  • 9watts August 7, 2017 at 11:17 am

    America’s car culture will never die – video. What a crock!

    CAFE forced automakers to spend money…. Ha. CAFE rescued the US car industry from certain death in the seventies.

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    • KTaylor August 7, 2017 at 11:45 am

      The frustrating thing about it is that I know a lot of people who would watch that video, agree with every word and feel vindicated. And attacking each crapulent point in turn and explaining why it is a crock will do no good whatsoever. In America, people with flabby minds actually have more say than people who have done their homework, and corruption fans the flames. And after 40 years of raising people to project outsize confidence at all times and in all situations without reference to how much they actually know or what their real talents are, we have a lot of Americans whose ignorance has the durability and inflexibility of poured concrete. I would say you should have to take a basic competency test to be able to vote, but whoever is in power would figure out how to rig that to exclude whatever demographic doesn’t support them. I would say what we really need at this point in our history is a king or emperor – but with our luck, we’d wind up with Caligula instead of the Antonines. So that is why this sort of thing drives me up the wall lately. Cars bring people together, my aunt fanny.

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      • Pete August 12, 2017 at 12:20 am

        I saw the comment from a guy arguing gas is not cheap in California. I paid a little over $3/gal when I left a few weeks ago for 91 octane in a city with a 6-figure median income level, and that’s down from the $5/gal it was about a decade ago. If that’s not affordable, relatively speaking, I don’t know what is.

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  • Kyle Banerjee August 7, 2017 at 11:45 am

    I can’t believe I watched the whole video — it took me awhile to realize it wasn’t satirical. I’ve never heard the term “car culture” used before except in a derogatory sense.

    What I find interesting is it talks about people buying large vehicles and driving more in response to low gas prices with approval. The same people will be screaming bloody murder when the gas prices rise.

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    • wsbob August 7, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      “…What I find interesting is it talks about people buying large vehicles and driving more in response to low gas prices with approval. The same people will be screaming bloody murder when the gas prices rise.” banerjee

      Who is voicing the approval? Motor vehicle manufacturers can make any vehicle that people are willing to buy. If gas price makes it too expensive for too many people to drive big SUV’s very far, manufacturers will make more small SUV’s instead. May be wrong, but I figure the biggest type of driving that takes a dive when gas price goes up dramatically, is road trips…you know, those long, boring for me when I was a kid, two or three day, or week long drives in the car. When the number of those trips drop, the hospitality industry and recreation industry probably feels it.

      Meanwhile, back at home, everyone is still driving their comfortable cars, pickups and so forth, back and forth from home to work, school, lessons for the kids, groceries, church, and on and on. Gas prices rise and fall, and that’s a topic of conversation. Other than that, most people inclined to drive, continue to drive, whatever the price of gas. When price of gas is higher, they might drive less, but that’s probably the only difference.

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      • Kyle Banerjee August 7, 2017 at 1:09 pm

        As to where driving bigger vehicles is cited with approval, see 4:40 in the vid.

        Manufacturers sell what sells — if people didn’t demand big vehicles, they wouldn’t sell them. The last time gas prices were relatively high, the news was filled with sob stories about how much people were spending to fill up their vehicles. Tips were everywhere on how to improve gas mileage.

        The reality is that most people only look at what’s going on in the moment. So they’re buying huge vehicles with crazy horsepower now without a thought that gas could go up someday. Given how long most people keep their cars, it’s virtually a certainty…

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        • 9watts August 7, 2017 at 2:27 pm

          “if people didn’t demand big vehicles, they wouldn’t sell them”

          It is not even close to that simple. Let’s face it you can only buy a very narrow band of vehicles that are meaningfully different in an instrumental sense. All those other vehicles that are available in other countries but not here, and all the ones that never made it to production, or weren’t invented, much less produced are not vehicles you can choose. You can only choose from the (extremely) narrow range on offer.

          Want an 80mpg car? Germany, 1992 VW Lupo 3.0; not much else, and I’ve never seen one stateside.
          Want a 60mpg car? Honda Civic VX 1992-94; not much since then.

          Cars are pitched with reference to mostly non-instrumental dimensions (power, sex, freedom, dominance, testosterone, war, fear). The associations however do no originate with the putative buyer but with clever marketing departments and focus group questions.

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          • canuck August 7, 2017 at 2:44 pm

            A lot of those high mileage cars got killed off by safety standards that made vehicles safer but heavier. I’m not sure I would want to be driving a Geo Metro today even though it got fantastic mileage.

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            • 9watts August 7, 2017 at 4:17 pm

              “killed off by safety standards ”

              Not really.
              I am not aware of serious safety standard upgrades since the early nineties that would explain away the margin in fuel economy your average modestly sized car we’ve lost in the intervening decades. Can you point to any?
              Air bags have come along since, but they wouldn’t so easily be blamed for a 20mpg drop.

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              • Kyle Banerjee August 7, 2017 at 4:41 pm

                There are a combination of factors. The clean air requirements do affect mileage —
                that’s what the whole VW debacle was about. Cars are much heavier than they used to be. Not all of that is because of largeness. The safety cages are way better than they were in the early 90’s and there is other safety stuff that decreases mileage. That’s why the mileage of cars like the Honda Civic dropped while their weight increased significantly.

                The amount of horsepower vehicles have is insane nowadays. But the good news is that the engines have gotten much smarter about shutting down cylinders and doing other things to run efficiently, so you can get surprisingly good mileage with huge vehicles if you’re light on the pedals.

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              • 9watts August 7, 2017 at 4:46 pm

                “The safety cages are way better than they were in the early 90’s and there is other safety stuff that decreases mileage. That’s why the mileage of cars like the Honda Civic dropped while their weight increased significantly.”

                Show me the data.

                No, the Civic VX was to the standard Civic what all car manufacturers should offer: a stripped down, fuel-economy optimized facsimile of the garden variety model. Twice the mileage of the then-standard Civic, thanks to a few clever tweaks. Same for the VW Lupo. This has almost nothing to do with safety regs, though it is always fun to pretend there are some exonerating factors out there.

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              • 9watts August 7, 2017 at 4:49 pm

                Not to mention the backyard tweaks folks have come up with to double the Civic VX mileage yet again by adding fairings and adding a hand throttle.

                Although it is several decades too late, we could have cars with 3 or 4 or 5x the fuel economy but the manufacturers with a very few exceptions have never been interested in manufacturing such autos. So it was impossible for customers to register their vote for them.

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            • GlowBoy August 8, 2017 at 8:55 am

              False. The Civic VX weighed 2200 pounds. I used to own one*. While it’s true that a ’92 VX would do horribly in today’s crash tests, you can still buy cars that weigh under 2500 pounds today and test well. What killed the VX was two things:
              – Even in a sub-2500 pound car, buyers were no longer willing to settle for “only” 92 horsepower.
              – The VX (as well as the later Civic HX) achieved its stellar fuel economy with a special lean-burn mode, but increasingly tighter emissions regulations killed off lean-burn.
              Honda abandoned that approach in favor if hybridization, direct injection and turbocharging for its later fuel-efficient cars.

              The 60 mpg claim is also false, however, if we’re going to use consistent standards. In 2008 the EPA changed how they measure fuel economy (the second time they’ve done so) in order to more “realistically” reflect how people actually drive (i.e., with a lead foot). Under today’s system, the VX now gets a 39/50mpg rating. It is true that you can get well over 60mpg in a VX if you know what you’re doing, but you need to use consistent standards – and the post-2008 EPA ratings are the most widely available one – if you’re going to compare across car models.

              * Something was wrong with my VX, to my great frustration. Although I can easily beat the EPA ratings in most cars, I could not do so in my VX. It only did as well as a standard Civic. I suspect it was refusing to enter lean-burn mode, possibly due to parasitic drag from the aftermarket AC system, but the dealership didn’t know what to do with this special car and was profoundly unable to help, even when I hypothesized possible causes of the problem.

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              • 9watts August 8, 2017 at 9:20 am

                “While it’s true that a ’92 VX would do horribly in today’s crash tests”

                I’m intrigued. Can you point me to more info? I was/am unaware that crash tests have changed to that extent.

                – Even in a sub-2500 pound car, buyers were no longer willing to settle for “only” 92 horsepower.”

                Can you provide evidence of this? No company has since ’94 issued an equivalent car that potential buyers could choose to buy or reject, at least that I know of.

                “but increasingly tighter emissions regulations killed off lean-burn.”

                Thanks for that correction.

                “Honda abandoned that approach in favor if hybridization, direct injection and turbocharging for its later fuel-efficient cars.”

                O.K., but I think I stand by my earlier claims that car companies incl. Honda rank the pursuit of decent fuel economy lower than they (some of them) did back then. In other words, it wouldn’t be fair to lay the blame entirely—as some folks here seem to want to—on the regulations.

                “The 60 mpg claim is also false, however, if we’re going to use consistent standards….It is true that you can get well over 60mpg in a VX if you know what you’re doing”

                O.K. I’ve achieved >60mpg in a friend’s borrowed VX and have tried but failed to do so in any other car. Others, as I hinted have gotten >100mpg with them with modifications to both the car and their driving technique.

                “but you need to use consistent standards – and the post-2008 EPA ratings are the most widely available one – if you’re going to compare across car models.”

                I agree that consistent standards are important, but I also think that it is OK to have the kind of more expansive discussion we’re having, where we can invoke other dimensions that may not be fully reflected in these standards, which I think you will admit most of us—even those who are students of the subject—have a hard time fully understanding.

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          • John Lascurettes August 7, 2017 at 3:10 pm

            Let’s not forget that the industry in the USA is also highly motivated to sell you SUVs because of the ridiculous profit margins compared to regular passenger vehicles. The profits are higher because the CAFE and safety standards are lower and people, for whatever reason, are willing to pay higher prices for a less-safe vehicle (probably because the bigger-is-safer[-for-me] fallacy).

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            • 9watts August 7, 2017 at 4:15 pm

              yes

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          • GlowBoy August 8, 2017 at 9:08 am

            “Want a 60mpg car? Honda Civic VX 1992-94; not much since then.”

            It’s taken a while, but we are finally at the point where the “not much since then” claim is no longer true. Compare some “classic” efficient cars as they are rated by the EPA’s current system, versus some cars sold today. None of these are plug-ins:

            1992 Civic VX: 43 mpg combined.
            2000 Golf diesel: 38 mpg combined. (I’ve owned one of these too, but emissions are a big problem).

            2017 Toyota Prius: 56 mpg combined.
            2017 Hyundai Ioniq: 58 mpg combined.
            2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid: 52 mpg combined.

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            • 9watts August 8, 2017 at 9:24 am

              I will admit that I’ve slacked off on my study of fuel economy.

              I appreciate the corrections you are offering and wish I could celebrate. But I’ve come to realize that (any) fuel economy improvements at this late stage are a distraction, a last gasp of an obsolete system that has no bearing on what we need to do; or worse, that will distract us from the larger project of needing to jettison intenal combustion altogether; drive our greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

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            • Pete August 12, 2017 at 12:31 am

              I’m surprised nobody factored in the ozone layer and subsequent charcoal canisters we have to remove hydrocarbons now. I can’t quote stats off the top of my head, but I’m sure the mpg drop was considerable.

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        • wsbob August 7, 2017 at 4:32 pm

          “…The reality is that most people only look at what’s going on in the moment. So they’re buying huge vehicles with crazy horsepower now without a thought that gas could go up someday. Given how long most people keep their cars, it’s virtually a certainty…” banerjee

          Vehicles that are ‘big’, and those that have ‘crazy horsepower’, are not necessarily one and the same. Plenty of small cars that have crazy horsepower, the mustangs, camaros, chargers, SUV’s with high power V-8 options rather than standard V-8 or 6. Something relatively big vehicles have over small ones: comfort and carrying capacity. My dad still has his now old though, I think maybe just 2000 or around there F-150 pickup. Thing rides like a dream, smooth. Gets decent gas mileage too, 18 or something like that. Not a big deal not having higher mileage when the yearly mileage is under 5K. As I earlier said: when gas prices rise, most people don’t stop driving…they just drive fewer miles.

          What is ‘car culture’, and is it ‘dead’ as some of bikeportland’s incessantly and absolutely contemptuous of motor vehicle use people commenting would seem to want to hope to have people enthusiastic of biking, want to believe? Different things I suppose, but no majority of people emblematic of car culture would fit the characterization pushed by ‘b carfree’ in his comment. (b carfree…get some sleep! …and get up from the right side of the bed occasionally, why don’t you?).

          Car culture, I’d say, is represented by the many people that very visibly enjoy motor vehicle use for practical travel, recreation and hobbies. Go to a cruise-in, there’s a huge list of them extending spring through fall in our area. Or a football game…tailgate parties are a big thing. Motor vehicles are a great thing for exploring the vast reaches of Oregon’s less populated country east of the cascades.

          Most people driving on any given day in the busy Metro area cities, seem to get along amazingly well with each other in very busy traffic, and with generally a great deal of consideration and care for road users of other modes of travel using the road. Riding a bike, I don’t think there’s anything special or magic about how I do it that would account for the great, quite consistent level of consideration for myself on the road that I receive from people driving.

          It’s a simply visible fact that on more and more streets during key travel times, the streets have reached and exceeded their capacity for having motor vehicle travel be practical. Everyone knows this…not a lot of people really have a good idea yet, how to handle the situation. An of course, some people don’t handle that uncertainty well, revealing this to be so in expressions of hostility and paranoia, like it sounds maybe characteristic of the feature video, which I haven’t watched, and probably is just as well I don’t.

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          • 9watts August 7, 2017 at 7:38 pm

            “bikeportland’s incessantly and absolutely contemptuous of motor vehicle use people commenting ”
            Cars are a problem, man, and not just because I say so. If they weren’t then that foolish lady in the video wouldn’t have to create a fake university to make her pathetic pitch to her disgruntled public about regulations.

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            • wsbob August 12, 2017 at 10:50 pm

              Traffic congestion, too much of it, is the problem, as are lack of good answers as to how to deal well with traffic congestion in ways that will be able to meet mostly everyone’s daily travel needs.

              In and around urban areas, the days of the road, free and open for wide ranging personal motor vehicle use are long gone. That is, the days when the roads were relatively empty of traffic to the point that someone driving that wanted to, during many hours of the day, daytime included, could hot foot it with abandon, and reasonably safely too.

              Today, in urban areas, everyone is basically locked in a traffic grid, often slow moving. Doesn’t much matter whether people driving are driving a 100 hp powered vehicle, or a 400hp powered vehicle…they’re all having to drive basically within the same narrow range of slow speed. So much for ‘the freedom of the road’. Understandably, to me at least, some people are upset about this, and long for ‘the good ol’ days’.

              I can’t have much respect at all for either camp…the people that feel they must nearly incessantly display animosity towards people that drive, nor for the people that feel they must incessantly display animosity towards people biking. These people’s unchecked emotions and behavior are not helping to resolve traffic congestion issues. Worse, they’re pitting some of the people using the road, against each other. They seem to like getting back at each other, and they’re doing so, I think, just delays progress towards accomplishing better road use conditions for everyone, by the mode range of travel used today…motor vehicle, walking, biking, skateboarding, etc.

              Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of people today that continue to enjoy getting back at people whose mode of travel they don’t like. And others that seem to enjoy fanning those flames. Instead of getting serious where there’s a need to be, towards putting heads together and coming up with better ways to provide for people’s travel needs today.

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    • B. Carfree August 7, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      Those people will also cry like babies when others drive more, since only so many cars can fit on our roadways before none of them are moving.

      This is why I don’t see any real future in “car culture”. It’s membership doesn’t want any new members. Each one of them sees all others on the road as a hostile entity. In contrast, almost all people on bikes and walking are pretty happy to have others join them. Many of us organize events just to get other people out riding. Bike traffic jams are actually kind of fun and usually beget more than a few smiles, even from churlish old grouches like me.

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  • John Lascurettes August 7, 2017 at 11:57 am

    The big projects in our future: Don’t miss this in-depth Willamette Week piece on seven major infrastructure projects they say, “could radically alter the face of both sides of the Willamette River.”

    The link is busted on this one. It’s not even a link.

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  • Middle of the Road Guy August 7, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    It was comically bad. I relies on the same delivery method that a lot of conservative media uses. THEY are going to TAKE something from you…you hard working, red-blooded American!

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    • John Lascurettes August 7, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Someone told me when I was very young that sex sells product and fear sells politics. Seems to hold true a vast majority of the time (with sometimes fear or fear and sex selling products).

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  • Andy K August 7, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    I’m curious – is there anyone out there reading this blog who has never heard of Peter Sagan? (Not poking fun, just asking a serious question)

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    • John Lascurettes August 7, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Nope. Didn’t know.

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    • dwk August 7, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      Well if you follow bike racing at all, you would know of him.
      DQ’D and kicked out of the TDF for taking out Cavenish in the sprint in the first week.
      Fun bike racer, a true all rounder.
      His disqualification was bogus….

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      • jeff August 7, 2017 at 3:54 pm

        nobody cares about his DQ. most don’t follow bike racing.

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        • dwk August 7, 2017 at 4:36 pm

          So my reply to Jeff was deleted?
          Why?
          Sagan is huge in Europe and being the subject of the piece you linked is proof that people have “heard” of him. (except for BP readers apparently).
          Anyone one on the OBRA site would know of him.
          Apparently Jeff can snark at will as do others here.
          Your editing is so weird…..

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          • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 7, 2017 at 5:07 pm

            yes it was dwk… I really don’t like your tone because it often is rough and pointed directly at other commenters. That’s a no-no and I will continue to delete your comments until you can write them without any meanness to others. Thanks.

            Oh, and I love pro bike racing! That’s why I have always tried to cover it when I can here on BP. It is also a goal of mine to make sure our community cross-pollinates among the different sub-groups.

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            • Dave August 7, 2017 at 8:37 pm

              Do you, by any chance, ever read 9watts’ comments? Often rough, pointed at other commenters and almost always dripping with condescension.

              Moderation does seem to be somewhat arbitrary.

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              • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 8, 2017 at 8:33 am

                Hi Dave,

                Yes. I do read 9watts’ comments. I have nothing against comments directed at other commenters as long as they are done with respect and with an eye toward productive discussion. I know 9watts in real life and I know he is very passionate about his views and that he means well.

                And you are right, comment moderation here is somewhat arbitrary. That’s by design. I could have a robot do it, but that would go against what I believe in. The nature of a community-oriented, democratic system is that it’s messy and not everyone is happy with everyone else all of the time. If you have a specific comment from 9watts or anyone else that you feel is offensive or mean or insulting please send me the link and I will take a closer look. Thank you.

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              • 9watts August 8, 2017 at 9:14 am

                Thanks, Dave for your critique. Although a bit harsh, I do take what you wrote seriously, and readily concede that I could (and should) adopt a less combative tone with certain sparring partners here at times. Please accept my apologies.

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        • Pete August 12, 2017 at 1:12 am

          It’s kind of a popular sport in Europe. Sagan is huge.

          One of my favorite travel memories was walking back from work to my hotel in Florence, Italy, and stopping at an obscure sidewalk cafe for a beer. There were several elderly gentlemen watching a bike race on TV, so I joined them (though not speaking a lick of Italian). I asked my colleague the next day if bike racing was popular, he said a close second to football.

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    • SE Rider August 7, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      I would guess a majority of commenters here probably hadn’t heard of him.

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    • wsbob August 7, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      I probably would have heard of Sagan if I was following pro bike racing on television. Not wanting to shell out the bucks for cable is why I don’t, but I have seen televised coverage of the tours, and they’re great to watch.

      Sagan is an interesting guy to read about in the Outside story. For the fact the writer considers 6′ and 175 lbs to be big, which doesn’t seem to me to be particularly big. Also for Sagan’s apparent versatility in being able to ride both road and mountain biking well. And for his irreverence to some of pro sports’ convention. What pro athlete today, tosses a couple million bucks, half of their top offer, so they can play with a team they like better? Maybe some do, I don’t know, not being much of a sports fan. Too many of the high profile athletes seem to be mercenary to a fault, willing to give up or do about anything for more money. I hope he continues go do well, and doesn’t fall and go boom doing some crazy stunt like wheelies without his hands on the bars.

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      • Ryan August 8, 2017 at 9:45 am

        When compared to climbers in pro cycling, 6′ 175 lbs is huge. He never claims to be a climber, but when you look at what he can do on some fairly tough climbs compared to the “big” sprinters (who are around the same size) it’s awfully impressive.

        Sagan actually got me into watching pro cycling. I always thought it seemed pretty boring and the riders were just machines. When I finally got my first decent road bike a few years ago, I was looking up videos about it to find out any maintenance tips or quirks to look out for. It’s a Cannondale, and it happened to be at the end of the Sagan’s final year with the Cannondale team, so whenever I searched ‘Cannondale’ on YouTube I got a bunch of results with him in it. I was surprised at how charismatic and interesting he was on the bike, and how different he seemed from my previous, albeit uninformed, view of pro road cyclists. I watched the Tour de France for the first time the next year, and have been a fan ever since. My wife now gets exasperated at times when nearly every weekend she wakes up to me watching a race on my phone 🙂

        P.S. I don’t have cable either, but found that many of the one-day races and smaller tours are streamed live on YouTube. Also, steephill.tv has info about all the races and has a list of legit networks from around the world that sometimes stream live content, though you may not get English commentary. Or you can find live text/twitter updates from places like CyclingNews.com. And if you don’t absolutely need to watch live, you can nearly always find highlights on YouTube, and often you can get the final 30 minutes or so of the race (which is sometimes where all the important stuff happens anyways).

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        • wsbob August 9, 2017 at 1:43 am

          I believe you about modest stature being more typical for strong climbers in pro cycling. It makes sense to not have any more body mass than necessary to have to haul up those hills. Strong legs, modest stature, great ingredients for wins.

          I might decide to get a cell on a plan, which would allow me some better access to vids of bike racing. Bike racing is hard work. For a guy to be able to prioritize not being mired down so much into the intrigue and pitfalls of the business domination of a fundamentally simple sport, is quite an accomplishment in itself. I mean…it’s just cycling, or is supposed to be. Pedaling up hills and streaking down them as fast as racers can go to see if they can do it…without thinking about a big sack of cash hanging there in front of their faces just out of reach.

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  • B. Carfree August 7, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Toronto has 24-hour police service. Some fraction of that is dedicated to parking law enforcement, also likely going on 24 hours per day. However, their bike lane parking enforcement unit only works weekdays, eight hours per day.

    Sure, it’s a start, but since blocking bike infrastructure with parked vehicles is the only parking violation that has any real potential for causing injuries or deaths, I’m disappointed that it is so part-time while other aspects are full-time. The fact that this is celebrated as a huge step forward, and that no city in Oregon even comes close, says a lot (all negative) about where we are.

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  • Bikeninja August 7, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    In the article about new speed limits the critics describe this as a scheme to generate revenue. Can someone please clue the city of Portland in on how to use the enforcement of existing speed limits and traffic laws as a method of collecting revenue. Can we bring in an official from some small town with a speed trap that supports its revenue base as a consultant to teach the city council how it is done.

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    • KristenT August 8, 2017 at 10:52 am

      I never understood that point of view– that speeding tickets (or tickets generated from red light cameras) are a scheme to generate revenue.

      Everyone has a choice to speed (or run red lights). If a driver makes that decision, then they should expect to get ticketed if caught. It’s not hard math, people.

      Maybe it needs to be made more explicit to cities/critics/communities that this is a measure to increase safety by enforcing existing traffic laws that everyone knows about, not a way to make more dollars for the coffers.

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    • wsbob August 12, 2017 at 11:14 pm

      “In the article about new speed limits the critics describe this as a scheme to generate revenue. …” bikeninja

      Some cities and towns in the U.S. have raised revenue this way. If I didn’t think I’d have a hard time locating the article, I’d do a search and post a link to the lengthy Oregonian story from quite a few years back now, about a small Oregon town that was doing a bang up job of supplementing its budget, by conducting a speed trap operation, I think…where the highway entered the town off the highway.

      The thing was, the enforcement wasn’t an honest enforcement detail. The town police kind of set up the enforcement zone in a way to trick people into not sufficiently reducing their mph speed. Not that there wasn’t also a genuine speeding problem…there was…but not nearly to the extent that town’s small police force had exploited it to be, for their benefit, some of it close to personal benefit. The town started raking in a bunch of money, buying new police cars and other equipment, raising salaries, I think. Which worked for awhile until someone caught on, an investigation ensued, and the town was busted.

      From my point of view, driving, biking, walking…speed limit enforcement, photo radar vans, red light and speed cameras, the full range of speeding and unsafe driving management, is directly and exclusively a community livability, as well as a safe road use measure. This kind of enforcement is not a ‘for profit’ measure. I think a majority of people living in Beaverton, are tired of people driving crazy, hot-roddin’ on the streets that people have to use to meet their basic travel needs in their community. Increasingly higher congestion traffic, addition to the danger, creates unfavorable to livability conditions for stress, too.

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  • B. Carfree August 7, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    The headbadge photos were delightful. Thanks for the link.

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  • B. Carfree August 7, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Setting aside the psychobabble in the article about why white collar folks do endurance sports, perhaps the answer is evolutionary in nature. Humans evolved in an environment that required physical activity, especially of the endurance sort. Walk/jog/run/climb or go hungry. Those humans/prehumans who had a genetic predisposition to moving would likely have had better survival of their offspring, so perhaps we are hardwired for physical efforts.

    Laborers have these physical needs met while earning their pay. Desk jockeys need to get out and do it in their nonworking hours.

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  • GlowBoy August 8, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    9watts
    “While it’s true that a ’92 VX would do horribly in today’s crash tests”
    I’m intrigued. Can you point me to more info? I was/am unaware that crash tests have changed to that extent.
    – Even in a sub-2500 pound car, buyers were no longer willing to settle for “only” 92 horsepower.”
    Can you provide evidence of this? No company has since ’94 issued an equivalent car that potential buyers could choose to buy or reject, at least that I know of.
    “but increasingly tighter emissions regulations killed off lean-burn.”
    Thanks for that correction.
    “Honda abandoned that approach in favor if hybridization, direct injection and turbocharging for its later fuel-efficient cars.”
    O.K., but I think I stand by my earlier claims that car companies incl. Honda rank the pursuit of decent fuel economy lower than they (some of them) did back then. In other words, it wouldn’t be fair to lay the blame entirely—as some folks here seem to want to—on the regulations.
    “The 60 mpg claim is also false, however, if we’re going to use consistent standards….It is true that you can get well over 60mpg in a VX if you know what you’re doing”
    O.K. I’ve achieved >60mpg in a friend’s borrowed VX and have tried but failed to do so in any other car. Others, as I hinted have gotten >100mpg with them with modifications to both the car and their driving technique.
    “but you need to use consistent standards – and the post-2008 EPA ratings are the most widely available one – if you’re going to compare across car models.”
    I agree that consistent standards are important, but I also think that it is OK to have the kind of more expansive discussion we’re having, where we can invoke other dimensions that may not be fully reflected in these standards, which I think you will admit most of us—even those who are students of the subject—have a hard time fully understanding.
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    ” I was/am unaware that crash tests have changed to that extent.” Check safercar.gov and IIHS.org. Mandatory federal standards have been strengthened since 1992 on several occasions, and new, more stringent optional crash tests (e.g., most side impact tests, IIHS’ offset crash tests) have emerged with regularity since the ancient history that was 1992. Roof strength/rollover tests have been added (even though rarely needed for passenger cars), substantially increasing the size of blind spots. Air bags were in their infancy in 1992 – just starting to trickle down from luxury cars. IIRC, the VX only gained an airbag for the driver in 1994, and it was the old high-powered bag that was extremely dangerous for shorter drivers. In 2011 the Feds completely revamped their crash-test standards, making comparisons with pre-2011 cars and post-2011 cars impossible.

    Cars are astronomically better at protecting their occupants than they were 25 years ago. Today people routinely walk away with only minor injuries from high speed collisions that would have easily killed them in an older car. Unfortunately, risk compensation around this is one of the reasons people drive faster and more carelessly today. And as a result of this I would not feel safe regularly driving a 1992 car of any size. Unfortunately we’ve completely shifted the old paradigm of “safety is the driver’s responsibility” to “safety is the car’s responsibility”. Not that improved vehicle safety isn’t a good thing, but that’s the side effect.

    “Can you provide evidence of this?” Yes. Pretty much every person who isn’t an eco-geek that I’ve had a conversation with about cars in the last 15 years. Most car reviewers (even staid Consumer Reports) refer to any car that can’t hit 60 mph in under 8 seconds (the VX took about 10 seconds) as “underpowered” these days – and so, seemingly, do most ordinary drivers. A Prius can reach 60 in under 10 seconds, yet almost EVERYONE who’s driven one but doesn’t own one complains about how “slow” they are. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people tell me that having lots of horsepower to accelerate onto the freeway or race out from a stop sign is a “safety” issue.

    You are right that we haven’t had a similar car to buy or reject since then, but the VX did not sell well in its time (the DX and even the ultra-stripped CX did better), and even economy-car buyers today frequently opt for more-powerful, more-expensive, less-economical engines when given the choice. The horsepower wars are in large part due to consumer demand. This is pretty common knowledge.

    You’re right that it’s valid to reference both mathematically valid apples-to-apples comparisons between cars (i.e., post-2008 EPA ratings) but also what cars are actually capable of in the hands of a skilled – or even reasonably restrained – driver.

    On the former, my point stands that many of today’s cars do better than the VX. It is unfortunate that you have to buy a $23k+ hybrid to get there. The closest you can get in a conventional gas-only car is the Mitsubishi Mirage, which gets 39 mpg combined, at least within 10% of the VX, and it does have the additional virtue of being CHEAP.

    We have also made great progress on the fuel economy of typical economy cars. As of the late 2000s I shared your complaint that automakers weren’t putting much into making their cars efficient. But since 2008 or so, after $4+ gas and Cash for Clunkers, they really stepped up their game. Most cars like the Civic, Accent, Elantra, Fit, etc. now get low to mid 30s combined, largely due to them actually spending money on making their engines more efficient. That’s considerably better than the typical economy car of 25 years ago when you look at the post-2008 EPA ratings. I do agree it’s still disappointing you can’t spend just 1000-2000 extra for a significant economy boost: the only way to do this is to spend quite a few thousand extra for a (much higher-equipped) hybrid.

    On the latter fuel-economy numbers – what people can achieve in the real world, you’re right that it’s not that difficult to get 60+ in a VX, and that careful technique combined with extensive aero modifications (ala basjoos) can yield 100 mpg. The same is also true, however, of the current Civic, which has 180 horsepower, nearly twice that of the VX. Imagine what would be possible with a 1-liter, 3 cylinder engine. Achieving 80+ is not at all difficult in a Prius (I’ve done it) or other contemporary hybrid, and 100+ is quite doable with discipline and NO aero mods.

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  • Dave August 9, 2017 at 9:09 am

    I’m an old, white, male suburbanite who drives too much–and I am entirely in favor of a war on cars! Sure wish there really was one……………..

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