Thursday, February 28, 2013

Some of the Cool Bikes at the 2013 Handmade Bike Show

beautiful-wooden-city-bike-from-handmade-bike-show-2013Wood was everywhere at the 2013 North American Handmade Bicycle Show that took place last weekend in Denver. This Woody 29er Scorcher! is in ash with Kevlar reinforcements and walnut insets, from Connor Cycles. Too pretty for the mean streets?
luscious-folding-bike-from-bike-friday-at-the-2103-north-american-handmade-bicycle-show BIke Friday's New World Tourist is made for touring but suitable for city riding with its folding frame and back rack. Totally customizable in colors like this Sky Blue Sparkle model.
beautiful-cruiser-bike-from-sycip-at-north-american-handmade-bicycle-show-2013 Frame master Joe Sycip made this bike as one of what he calls the Java Boys bike series (there are, thankfully, Java Girls bikes, too). Sycip says this is a 'cruiser'; if so, seems like a perfect city cruiser.
littleford-daily-ride-bike-with-beautiful-wooden-trunk-at-north-american-handmade-bicycle-show-2013 Jon Littleford's bikes are hand-drawn on paper before they are handmade in his shop. Littleford's Daily Ride bike has signature Littleford features - like the integrated rear rack and the gorgeous rear wooden trunk.
silvery-tandem-bike-at-the-north-american-handmade-bicycle-show-2013 Tandems may not be your first thought when you think city cycling - but think again. Breaking in newbie riders is great on a tandem, as well as carting older kids to school. The rigid titanium frame in this Jack's Tandem built by Black Sheep Fabrication is designed to be lightweight but rigid; larger tires are for stability for gravel riding but could work great on crumbling city streets.
lovely-curved-frame-on-the-prizewinning-city-bike-at-the-north-american-handmade-bicycle-show-2013 It doesn't look like your everyday commuter bike, but Japanese designer Shin-ichi Kono of Cherubim (founded in 1965) made these lovely curving frame parts with beauty and what the company calls "minimum but enough functions." This Rambler took first prize for best City bike at the show.
rugged-longtail-bike-from-north-american-handmade-bicycle-show-2013 The longer you city bike, the more you crave a longtail - a bike that can take anything, including extra passengers, you might want to throw on it. Here Rick Hunter's lovely longtail has extra fat tires (sensing that fat tire theme?) to go anywhere, including through city snow or slush.
rugged-mountain-bikes-bells-and-whistles-great-for-city-cycling-from-Moots-at-the-NAHBS-in-2013 OK, no, there is no reason to have a chainsaw on the back of your city bike. But Moots, which makes all kinds of mountain bikes, made this IMBA Trail Maintenance Bike not only to win "Best Theme Bike" at the show, but also to demonstrate the versatility and practicality of this titanium-framed bike. Sans chainsaw, all the IMBA features would work well for rugged city style riding.
classic-and-capable-breadwinner-bike-at-the-north-american-handmade-bicycle-show-2013 Breadwinner is the new company that is a collaboration of frame makers Ira Ryan and Tony Pereira. WIth a motto like this one: "Breadwinner Cycles makes beautiful high-quality bicycles for people who love to ride every day" you know they have city cyclists in mind. The Arbor Lodge is classic and capable-looking for a perfect blend of form and function.
steel-colored-tandem-perfect-for-togetherness-riding-from-paketa-at-nahbs-2013 This pleasing steel-gray magnesium-frame Paketa tandem touring bike is not the most obvious choice for city riding. It's for touring. But think about the fact that much of the fun in city cycling these days is doing it with someone you love (or at least like). Themed city rides – the beloved Tweed rides, Kidical Mass rides, or yes, even World Naked Bike Rides - are all perfect examples where a gorgeous tandem comes in handy.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

London Congestion Pricing Creates Positive Results On All Accounts

Bike commuters in London
Streetsblog, used the occasion of the 10th anniversary of London’s congestion pricing system to review its effectiveness. As you probably know, congestion pricing is a tool by which cities limit automobile and other traffic to certain areas by charging a fee for access. In London, that fee is £10, or about $15.

Has it worked? Streetsblog says yes — or, it did for a bit.
In its first few years, the London charging scheme was heralded as a solid traffic-buster, with 15-20 percent boosts in auto and bus speeds and 30 percent reductions in congestion delays. Most of those gains appear to have disappeared in recent years, however. Transport for London (TfL), which combines the functions of our NYCDOT and MTA and which created and operates the charging system, attributes the fallback in speeds to other changes in the streetscape and traffic management …
The congestion charge also raised millions in revenue, some $435 million in 2008 alone.
But the benefit over the past decade can be seen most clearly in the three maps Streetsblog provides.

Car traffic declines.

Bicycle usage rises.

Public transit use increases. 

Less traffic, less congestion, more public transit use, more money for government investment. All the sorts of things that drive right-wing Americans insane. So I wouldn’t hold my breath for implementation in a U.S. city any time soon. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Green Lane Project Spreads

The Green Lane Project is a partnership between bike advocacy groups and six U.S. cities (Austin, Chicago, Memphis, Portland, San Francisco and Washington, DC.) that aims to "catalyze the creation of world-class protected bicycling networks on American streets". Each of the six cities has done great things, but the beauty of the partnership is that they can all learn from each others and share best practice. During the fall, representatives from the project met in New York City to do exactly that, and Streetfilms were in attendance with their trusty video camera.
Below is a video made by the Green Lane Project to explain its efforts:

These bike activists and city officials are doing extremely important work and they deserve our support. Bicycling infrastructure is always a bit of a chicken & egg problem, so it's really important to have hard-working people who can break the log-jam and get things moving; once there's a critical mass of safe bike lanes and convenient infrastructure (bike parking garages, workplace showers, bike-sharing stations, etc), the masses usually join in (it's the Field of Dreams principle: "Build it and they will come.").

Via Streetfilms, Green Lane Project

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Four Generations of Bike Sharing

Lyon, France, introduced the most recent "3+" bike-sharing generation. Photo by juicebox013.
Today I came across Amit Bhatt’s presentation on Financially Sustainable Public Bike-Sharing at Transforming Transportation 2013, I thought I would share with you the key moments and generations in the history of bike-sharing.

Although it appears like a new trend, bike-sharing dates back to 1965 and has already gone through three generations over the course of the past forty-eight years. The number of cities with bike-sharing has quadrupled in the past five years, with 204 cities today. China’s 27th most populous city, Wuxi, now has 70,000 bikes in its bike-sharing system. Bike-sharing is a great way to get people back on bikes: 84% of the bike-sharing users in Gangzhou, China had never biked in the city before.

First-gen bike-sharing: the “free” bike
The first generation of bike-sharing started in the summer of 1965 in Amsterdam. Amsterdam’s distinct “White Bicycles,” were in free circulation; bikers were supposed to use them for one trip and then leave them unlocked for someone else to use. The White Bicycle Plan was the world’s first demonstration of a bike-sharing program and provided increased mobility to Amsterdam dwellers.

Second-gen bikesharing: coin access at dedicated locking locations
Copenhagen, Denmark introduced the second generation of bike-sharing and brought it to scale with several thousand bikes under the name “Bycykler København.” The introduction of the locking system at specific stations – bikers would use a coin-deposit – answered the need to deter theft and incentivized bicycle return. The system was free since a coin was refunded when you returned the bike.

Third-gen bike-sharing: paid bike-sharing and smart card access
In 1998, Rennes, France, launched “Vélos à la carte,” introducing the third-generation of bike-sharing replacing coin-access with smart card access. The third-generation also started the now popular scheme of 30 minutes of bike use for free. The use of a smart card answered the need for real-time information for the operator, and started the use of technology to assist in re-balancing the bikes between different stations.

Third-gen + bike-sharing: real-time availability and GPS tracking
In 2005, the city of Lyon, France, introduced “Lyon Vélo’v,” with bikes equipped with electronic components allowing for the bike to be identified by the stations, the distance traveled and conditions of the bikes (lights, dynamo, brakes, etc.) to be tracked, and detailed statistics about bike usage collected. Other cities such as Knoxville, Tennessee and San Francisco have also begun introducing electric bikes. This third generation “plus,” signaled the appearance of flexible, clean docking stations, touchscreen kiosks, additional bike re-balancing technologies, as well as the integration of one unique card allowing a user to ride both bikes and public transportation.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bikes For Guns

Uruguay, under the current administration, has garnered a reputation for its "thinking outside the box" approach to leadership, and it's gotten results. Now, in a quirky effort to reduce the number of firearms in circulation, the government is again trying something new, offering citizens to turn in their unregistered guns in exchange for -- a shiny new bike.

Or, as Uruguay's Interior Ministry puts it, the tradeoff is "Weapons for Life".

This creative initiative, which launched this week, is in response to the prevalence of illegal firearms and rising rates of homicides. The small South American nation, known for its quaintness, ranks 9th in number of guns per capita in the world. More than a million firearms are in the hands of the country's 3.3 million residents, and half of those are unregistered.

"These are the same weapons that, sometimes and for various reasons (sale, theft, etc.), can be prevented from entering the market for use by criminals," says the Interior Ministry.

But instead of following the 'gun buyback' model that's been implemented in the United States and Australia as a way of getting guns off the street, Uruguay's "Weapons for Life" program is taking a different approach that might improve society even more. Instead of getting cash, residents turning in their unregistered weapons will each receive either a new bicycle or a low-end computer. So far, the program has received praise for being an win-win, potentially reducing gun crime while improving the lives of those in illegal possession of weapons, as well as the nation as a whole.

Via TeleSur