Monday, July 29, 2013

First Month of Citi Bike In a Cool Interactive Map

New York City bike share mapThe 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

Experiments in Speed with Bicycles

Fast bike!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

Amsterdam Reacts to NY Times Article

Amsterdam bikesA 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?

Via Streetfilms

Monday, July 22, 2013

E-Bikes Are On the Rise

Electric bike
Electric bikes are an extremely environmentally-friendly way to get around, so I'm all for more of them! Regular bikes are even cleaner, but the advantages of e-bikes shouldn't be underestimated; a lot of e-bike riders might not bike nearly as much if they didn't have an electric motor to assist them, because they have a long commute, or they live in a hilly area, or because of some medical condition, or even sheer laziness. The reasons don't matter as much as getting more people biking!
It's good to see that the electric bike industry is growing. It's not going gangbusters or anything, but it is forecast to grow from $8.4 billion in 2013 to $10.8 billion in 2020. China is the main player in that market, with 9 of every 10 e-bicycles being sold going there.
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

Rubberized Asphalt In Bikeways

I saw this and I couldn't resist researching it a bit deeper. I also immediately wondered why no one ever thought of this before now. Leave it to the Swedes (who have taken a pledge to reduce traffic deaths to zero, and actually work toward that goal) to create a better material with which to make bike paths safer. At the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), researchers are working on a new form of asphalt that has enough friction to reduce bicyclists' slide-outs, while at the same time it cushions vibrations if a cyclist does fall.

Regular asphalt uses crushed stones and bitumen, a petroleum byproduct, as a binding agent. KTH's researchers are working to blend in just the right amount of recycled tire rubber from old car tires to soften up the mix.

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.