Monday, December 9, 2013
Friday, December 6, 2013
Monday, November 18, 2013
Friday, November 15, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Friday, October 18, 2013
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Before New York and Chicago came on the bike-sharing scene, Washington, DC, held America’s top spot. Its program has grown to over 2,000 bikes, spreading into neighboring communities. Transport planners from cities around the country have made the pilgrimage to Washington to ride one of the cherry-red Capital Bikeshare bikes and see firsthand how the popular program works. Since 2007, biking in the nation’s capital doubled to 3.5 percent of all commuter trips, and bike sharing has made it more convenient to travel the expanding web of marked cycle lanes. Other large bike shares include Nice Ride in Minneapolis and St. Paul (1,550 bikes), Hubway in the Boston area (1,100 bikes), and DecoBike Miami Beach (1,000 bikes). Aspen, Columbus, Fort Worth, and Salt Lake City are among the more than a dozen programs that opened in 2013, joining a list of cities that have enjoyed bike sharing for longer, including Denver, San Antonio, Chattanooga, Madison, and Fort Lauderdale.
On the international scene, the United States is just catching Europe and Asia’s bike-sharing tailwind. Worldwide, more than half a million cycles can be picked up in well over 500 cities in 51 countries. Italy and Spain have the greatest number of programs, while China is home to two thirds of the global shared bike fleet.
New York is the only American city to make it onto the list of the world’s 20 largest bike-sharing programs. In fact, five cities have more shared bikes than the entire U.S. fleet. Four of them are in China, where Wuhan reportedly has some 90,000 shared bikes for its 9 million people. Hangzhou has 69,750 bikes that are well integrated with that city’s mass transit.
The world’s third largest bike share is Vélib’ in Paris, the first large-scale program to gain worldwide attention. Since its 2007 launch, riders have taken 173 million trips. According to the program, one of the nearly 24,000 Vélib’ bikes gets checked out every second of the day. Vélib’ claims to have the highest bike density among the world’s top programs, with one bike available for every 97 city residents.
Within the next year, the U.S. bike-sharing fleet will have caught up with Paris. New entries in Florida could push the country past that mark, with launches expected in Miami (500 bikes, an expansion from Miami Beach), St. Petersburg (300 bikes), and Tampa (300 bikes). Phoenix is also hoping to launch a 500-bike program that will double in size as neighboring cities join in. Rollouts hoped for in 2014 include large offerings in Los Angeles (some 4,000 bikes) and San Diego (1,800 bikes), as well as 500+ bike programs in Portland (Oregon), Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Seattle, along with a number of smaller markets.
The new San Francisco Bay Area scheme is starting out relatively diffuse, with 700 bicycles split between San Francisco and other cities along the 50-mile rail line south to San Jose. Planners note that it ultimately could grow to a network of 10,000 bikes, better allowing rail riders to travel the first and last mile or so of their commute on two wheels. As communities continue to improve their biking infrastructure and as enthusiasm for an efficient, environmentally friendly, healthy, and enjoyable form of transportation grows, bike sharing has a bright future in the United States.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Monday, July 29, 2013
The New Yorker and IBM used data from New York City's new bike share, Citi Bike, to create an interactive map that shows how much use the system is getting. They can't track bikes around directly with GPS, but they know when a bike is docked at a certain station, when it's out, and where it ends up being docked again, so that gives a pretty good idea of the ebb and flow of bikes around the city.
You can see the interactive map here.
If you run the recorded timeline from beginning to end, you'll notice some pretty big changes in the usage patterns over time, which is normal for a new service; people have to sign up first and figure out how to integrate the bikes into their transportation routine. It will be interesting to revisit this map in a year to see how much it has changed.
Via New Yorker
Friday, July 26, 2013
This video is pretty crazy. Experiments in Speed documents how a bike maker makes the fastest bike that he could. The goal is not to beat a world record, but simply to push personal limits. It's a very cool project, and I won't give spoilers on how fast he went. See for yourself:
You can see other bikes built by the same people at Donhou Bicycles.
Via Vimeo, Reddit
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
A few weeks ago, the New York Times published a piece about bikes in Amsterdam, basically framing things in such a way that the message was more or less "there's too many bikes in Amsterdam, let's not make the same mistake in New York". I covered it, concluding that "The real problem seems to be that infrastructure hasn't kept up with the growth in cycling. [...] The solution is now fewer bikes, but even more bike garages (build them underground if need be), bike racks, bike lanes, etc!"
But the best way to debunk the New York Times' claims is to go to Amsterdam and ask the people who live there what they think. Clarence at StreetFilms did just that for the second video in his Amsterdam series (the first can be found here: Things you might see in Amsterdam, the bike capital of the world...):
It's sad to see so much anti-bike propaganda in the media. Whatever problems there are with bikes, they are smaller than the problems we have with cars, and they are easier to fix. On the other side of the ledger, there are huge benefits (environmentally better, healthier, less expensive, etc). So why pick on bikes?
Monday, July 22, 2013
Western Europe’s market is growing increasingly crowded with competitors and now accounts for more than 20% of global e-bicycle revenue annually. Meanwhile, North American players are finding new, younger e-bicycle consumers among those who ride for transportation rather than entertainment. Even the massive 28 million unit Chinese market is in a state of change as the government considers changes to the rules governing the market and consumers begin to recognize the value of lithium ion over lead-acid batteries. Navigant Research forecasts that annual sales of e-bicycles will grow from 31 million in 2013 to nearly 38 million in 2020. (source)Via Navigant
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
The first step is lab testing, then real-world road tests on areas where there have been frequent bike accidents. The Swedish Traffic Administration is paying special attention to cyclists as one of the transport groups suffering more injuries than car, truck, or public transport riders. About 1,500 cyclists are hospitalized in Sweden with serious injuries each year - a number almost 10% higher than the number of car passengers injured. Another hope is to find a formula for asfalt that also reduces wear and tear on bicycle tires.
Via: Dagens Nyheter
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
I don't think so. You can never have too many bikes...Right?
The real problem seems to be that infrastructure hasn't kept up with the growth in cycling. Biking wasn't always this popular in Amsterdam. Just since the early 1990s, the cycling's popularity has grown by 40%. It's no surprise that it puts a huge strain on infrastructure, even if a lot of it has been built since then. The solution is now fewer bikes, but even more bike garages (build them underground if need be), bike racks, bike lanes, etc!
The city seems to understand that quite well:
Mr. Smit’s problem is largely what keeps Thomas Koorn, of Amsterdam’s Transport and Traffic Department, awake at night. “We have a real parking issue,” he said in a conference room overlooking the IJ. Over the next two decades, Mr. Koorn said, the city will invest $135 million to improve the biking infrastructure, including the creation of 38,000 bike parking racks “in the hot spots.” (source)Can you imagine what a proportionally scaled up investment into biking infrastructure would do to a city like New York? NYC is over 10x bigger than Amsterdam, so that would be an extra $1.35 billion invested into cycling!
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Casey Neistat, a creative film maker, decided to see just how good (or bad) Citi BIke are when compared to two of his other daily transport choices - taking taxis, or riding his own bike.
In Neistat's film, taxis come out as the fastest choice (by that we mean a couple of minutes faster) but in terms of their 'pain in the ass' factor, they were the worst. At first, his own bike seemed better than a bike-share bike to Neistat because of the very high level of frustration and time-wasting he experienced going through the steps of checking out a bike at a Citi Bike kiosk.
Once Neistat realized that Citi Bike members can get a key to bypass the on-screen registration process, he pronounced bike share the least 'pain in the ass' method of transport for his own daily commute.
Of course Neistat's assessment is subjective, and his Manhattan commute is relatively short. But the video goes some way in dispelling some of the notions people might have about bike share. While there is still quite a lot of media coverage of Citi Bike's effects on the city's residents (and the inevitable report of an accident involving one of the bikes), something must be working. Look at the stats on early usage:
Average trips per day: 14,200
Total revenue thus far: $3,334,000.00
Duration of average ride: 23 minutes, 36 seconds
Most popular bike stations: Broadway and W. 57th St.; West St. and Chambers St.; 17th St. and Broadway
Citigroup’s sponsorship deal for six years, $41 million
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
See for yourself how cool it is:
Above is a map of the Cultural Trail (you can see a large version here). What's amazing about it is that it was built with philanthropic dollars. This could be a model for other cities where tax dollars are scarce.
Via Indy Cultural Trail, Streetfilms
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
The group of kids walking or biking to school concentrated better than those driven to school or taking public transport, and the effect lasted throughout the morning hours. On average, active students scored 8.2 - 8.4 on a concentration test (of a possible 10) while non-active students scored an average of 7.6 - 7.8. This was more than the concentration difference shown between students who did eat breakfast (8 - 8.15) and those who didn't (8.1 - 8.25).
Unfortunately, in the Nordic nations and in the U.S., the trend for how children get to school is going in the opposite direction - more children are getting driven to school than ever before. Parents perceive walking and biking to be dangerous, while actually things have gotten safer for cyclists in many, many places, and overall fatalities are trending downward.
Of course, correlation is not causality, so it can't be said with certainty that riding a bike to school will make you smarter, anymore than it can be said that driving in cars will make you fat. With biking, there are so many other benefits, real and perceived, that it certainly seems worth a try to get parents off the driving-the-kids-to-school frenzy.
Via: Ecoprofil (Swedish)
Thursday, June 6, 2013
You can find more on the Fast Boy Cycles blog. Ezra also posts a lot of bike stuff on his Flickr page.
Via Vimeo, Fast Boy Cycles
Monday, June 3, 2013
It reminds me a bit of this free-to-use bike repair station, though this one only has tools and an air pump (these should be everywhere, in my opinion):
Helmethub is launching a solar-powered vending machine in Boston in July. The vending machines, each holding 36 helmets, will be located next to Hubway locations, the city's bike-sharing program. Cyclists will be able to rent helmets for about $2.00 at the same time they pick up their rented bike. The machines can even dispense three different sizes of helmet to make sure it fits the user correctly.
When helmets are dropped off by users after use, they're picked up by the team and sent to Helmethub headquarters to be inspected and cleaned before being placed back in the vending machines. The machines provide real-time info to the team so they know when each machine needs to be restocked, or used helmets need to be picked up.
I love seeing this initiative to keep cyclists safe, especially those who are renting bikes and so are less likely to own their own helmet. We'll see how Helmethub's new program works throughout the summer and if it is successful, perhaps other cities will adopt the system to go with their bike-share systems as well.