Wednesday, February 18

on electric bike sales in detroit

"Countrywide, sales of electric bicycles are projected to increase by 30 percent this year. In 2008, more than 170,000 were sold throughout the U.S., according to data from Electric Bikes Worldwide Reports."

From "Bikes with buzz: Retailer carves out green niche with battery power" by The Detroit News

Thursday, February 12

Bike Activists Win Over Caltrain Stretches Definition of 'Win'

From: San Francisco - The Snitch - Reports of Bike Activists' 'Win' Over Caltrain Stretches Definition of 'Win'

"What we came away with is a lot less than what people would like," concedes Andy Thornley, the program director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

Tired of being bumped off Caltrains with full bike cars -- and legions of empty seats -- Thornley and his fellow activists have been lobbying the trains system for more than a year leading up to yesterday's San Carlos meeting. The Bicycle Coalition's plan was bold: It called for two bicycle cars per train, each of which would be revamped to hold 40 bicycles. But that's not what Caltrain opted to do.

Instead, the rail system decided to augment its conventional gallery cars to allow them to carry 40 bikes instead of 32, and upgrade its newer Bombardier cars (that's the name of the company) to allow 24 bikes instead of 16.

This is an interesting counterpoint to the video I posted last week from British Transport Films in 1955 on bike touring and trains:

I wonder if the British transport ever figured out the issue with flexibility and capacity. Perhaps their system, which is clearly seen in the opening moments of the video above, held enough bikes in one that they didn't have a capacity problem?

Chinese ride to embrace austerity

From: Chinese dash to embrace austerity - Times Online

THE Chinese are getting back on their bikes. As austerity chic grips the nation’s 150m-strong middle class, many are signing up to an internet campaign to live on just 100 yuan, about £10, a week.

The first luxury to go is the private car, which is being left at home in favour of the sturdy bicycles that once swarmed down every avenue in China.

“The smallest traffic fine is 100 yuan, so I just take my bike,” said Chen Wenjin, a 41-year-old housewife.

Reports of such frugality – long deemed ro be a Confucian virtue – have flooded Chinese newspapers and websites since the economy hit hard times.

Chen has also joined the ranks of those terminating expensive gym memberships and returning to the public parks where, for generations, the Chinese have performed traditional exercises in the early mornings.

Many have given up recently fashionable western-style foods such as milk, bread and branded drinks like Coca-Cola.

To put the 100 yuan campaign in perspective, the incomes of those trying it out range from 3,000 yuan to 8,000 yuan a month. Many are also trying to pay mortgages taken on during China’s property boom, which has deflated.

Ironically, the communist government is horrified at the movement to curb consumer extravagance. “To consume is to love one’s country” declared Liaowang (Outlook), a magazine run by the official Xinhua news agency.

“Patriotism doesn’t just mean shedding one’s blood on the battlefield but in these times when our economy is afflicted by the global crisis, going out and consuming is real patriotism.”

Filed under good sentiments 1 & 2. Interesting, and because it's an "internet campaign"... maybe that makes it something more. Perhaps a trackable meme, if only it had a name.

David Byrne takes his bike on tour in New Zealand

From Bicycle added to David Byrne tour party

"If you think you see David Byrne cycling around Wellington or Auckland this weekend you'll probably be right.

The former Talking Heads frontman is in the middle of a world tour and is taking in what sights he can between shows from his trusty bike.

The tour follows the release of Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, an album created with producer-composer Brian Eno, who worked with Byrne on several albums including three by the Talking Heads."

How cool is that.


He says he remembers taking some time out to visit Rotorua and walk the Tongariro Crossing here in 2005, but the touring machine this time around is more restrictive -- and expensive.

"I'm paying the salaries of 17 people. So I can say `let's do some sight-seeing', but for every day I sight-see I'm paying salaries for all those people just so I can visit the beach."

He also remembers early Talking Heads tours here, but admits his touring attitude has changed since then.

"Maybe I was just younger, but there was more partying at night after the shows and then just sleeping it off the next day. So I tended not to see as much."

"It's more civilised now," he says. "I travel with a bicycle, so I can get around various towns on my own."

He was pleasantly surprised to be able to get out and about on the footpaths of Tokyo during a recent tour stop-off there.

"If you do that in New York they yell at you, but it is accepted in Tokyo. You just have to weave in amongst the grandmothers and businessmen."

His affinity with cycling appears to have also rubbed off in other areas of his artistic self.

Byrne says he came up with some designs for bicycle racks which have a different take on the standard range.

He sent sketches to the local transport authority in New York city and they said they would put them up if he was prepared to pay to have them made.

He did so and they now offer New Yorkers a funky bicycle parking alternative.

He's not going to pursue it as a commercial venture, as doing so would soon send him broke, but art design is an ongoing passion.

via Bike Portland

Thursday, February 5

Berkeley Bike Boulevards

In Berkeley, Calif. a citywide network of bicycle priority streets called Bicycle Boulevards allow cyclists to navigate safely. They are marked by smart traffic management, bountiful traffic calming, and the aura of livability and putting people first, cars second. Among their most unique trademarks are the purple signage and street stencils larger than a car!

In this trip to Berkeley, StreetFilms' Clarence Eckerson Jr. talks to advocates and users of the boulevards about their history and benefits.

From: Streetfilms, Berkeley Bike Boulevards

Wednesday, February 4

Tweed Ride

"Ladies. Gentlemen. Announcing the first LFGSS Winter Dress Club Run: a social ride with a bit of style.

We will be gathering for 2pm in Hanover Square. Please be prompt; at 2, we'll head down to H Huntsman & Sons, 11 Saville Row to begin the ride. The route will be a fairly leisurely ride through London. No need to pack Kendal Mint Cakes, the ride will include a stop at a tea shop at Tour de Ville for mid-ride fortitude, and will finish at the Bethnal Green Working Men's Club for refreshments and cheer.

Proper attire will of course be expected, so dapper gents and elegant ladies, polish off your lugged steel beasts and prepare your best outfits. Suggested attire: woolen plus fours, harris tweed jackets, flat caps, fair isle jumpers, alpaca coats, merino wool team jerseys, cycling skirts and perhaps a jaunty cape for the ladies, cravats or ties for gentlemen, and of course a hip flask of brandy."

Via: The Epicurean Cyclist

Tuesday, February 3

Cycling Home From Siberia

Some days in the life of a Siberian cyclist... a dazzling rush through some random encounters from Rob Lilwall on Vimeo.

My book about the journey “Cycling Home From Siberia” will be published by Hodder and Stoughton later in 2009.


In September 2004 I began this journey by flying with my bicycle as far away from home as I could think of: to the Far Eastern side of Siberia. My intention was to cycle back to England via the most interesting route I could find. As it turned out, I took a detour to Australia and was on the road for over three years, cycling 30,000 miles through 28 countries...

Great video. Can't wait for the book. (And perhaps a DVD?) What really strikes me about this journey though is not that the guy is s superb videographer (though he is), but when you look at his route (pic below), it's unlike any other route I've ever seen. I've seen routes from more then a dozen multi-continent bike adventures and I've never seen anything remotely resembling this. Rob's route really reflects that he truly divorced himself from all the modern expectations and geographical goal setting, a near impossible task, and just followed his nose. More so then any other adventurer I've seen in the past decade it is as if he just climbed on a bike one day and started riding.

(click for full size)

Update: I also found this to be a superb interview.

Small Talk Interview in Nanjing from Rob Lilwall on Vimeo.

Via: The Epicurean Cyclist

Monday, February 2

A day out cycling in 1955 (video)

Love this video. It was produced by the British Transport Film in 1955 to illustrate a day out cycling.

Cyclist Special - part one

For me the first minute or two illustrate all the things I dream might exist, and hopefully one day will exist, in our national and regional commuter rail systems.

It shows how many of the issues with cycles on a train were resolved over 50 years ago. Particularly how the use of bike cars allow pedestrians to enter bike specific cars, hang their bikes with the help of an attendant and move through the inside of the train to a seating car. Every detail is covered right down to staggering the bike hanging hooks so more bikes can be fit in without entanglement of the handlebars.

part two is available here

Also of related interest is this British Rail TV advert from the 1970's. It's the classic bike vs. car scenario.

British Rail UK TV Advert 1970s

Via: The Epicurean Cyclist