I guess it wouldn’t be too much of a generalization to say that cyclists are more likely to lean left than right. After all, the Boston Globe’s Jordan Michael Smith points out, they are more likely to live in cities and away from the more conservative car-culture of the suburbs. But while cyclists have been fighting for decades for recognition, both on the street and in the legislatures, a new level of vitriol level against them might just be a sign that they have arrived.
Particularly in America, the bicycle is emerging as a new conservative front in the culture wars. In May, Wall Street Journal commentator Dorothy Rabinowitz called bicyclists “the most important danger in the city”; in Colorado’s last governor’s election, a Republican candidate said a local bike-sharing program “could threaten our personal freedoms.” A columnist for the conservative Washington Times declared D.C. bike-sharing programs to be “broken-down socialism”; radio pundit Rush Limbaugh said he “won’t care” if his car door knocks over a cyclist.
As health and government officials have begun peddling bicycles as healthy, environmentally responsible alternatives to cars, and cities and towns spend money on new bike infrastructure, conservatives have started to sense a new target. They have begun to deploy “the bike” as a bogeyman in political debates—cast in a role anywhere from physical annoyance to a genuine threat to the American way of life.
What do you think? How to bicycles fit in the right vs. left, conservative vs. liberal debate? Share your thoughts in the comments below.Tweet Print
Firefly designs and builds some of the most dazzling titanium and stainless steel bikes in the business, and for its latest project they’ve collaborated with artist Eric Bones for a new line of limited edition bikes dubbed The Bones Project.
The welders at Firefly have built thousands of steel bikes in their careers, so for this project they chose “the most high tech steel bicycle tubing the world has ever seen: custom-designed, niobium-doped, progressively-butted Columbus Spirit HSS Tubing.” They will be then hand-painted by Eric Bones and finished by Jay Nutini of Circle A Cycles.
There will be only 22 of these bikes built in 2014—each one custom designed for its rider. Want one? Better hurry, I don’t expect them to last long.
We’ve long been fans of Swift Industries and its custom and hand-made panniers and bags. See our review of the Polaris Porteur Bag in Issue #22. Now take a peek inside the small, Seattle-based company and meet the personalities that bring your bag to life.Tweet Print
For more than a decade Jeff Jones has been producing his 45-degree sweep bars. In that time, they have always been a multi-piece affair with the grip area welded to the crossbar. After many iterations, including some sold under the Titec brand, Jones has a new one-piece bar, the Bend H-bar.
You do lose out on the multiple hand postions of the Loop bar, and it is available only in the 660mm width for now, no 710mm yet. Personally I find that alt-bars like this ride wider than a standard bend bar, so I’m happy on the 660s. Normally I feel weird on anything narrower than 720mm with standard bars.Tweet Print
Episode 2 of the documentary film about two riders’ trek along the Transcontinental race shows how you need to stay flexible in your plans, and the adventure is often the reward. See Episdoe 1 here and the introduction to this amazing, 2,000-mile unsupported race from London to Istanbul here.Tweet Print
US Bicycling Hall of Fame and former Olympic cyclists Dale Stetina is expected to leave the hospital Monday, four months after nearly losing his life in a crash during a ride in August.
Stetina was riding in Colorado when an SUV pulled out in front of the group he was riding with. While no riders struck the vehicle, Stetina was critically injured when he crashed while avoiding it. Having spent the past months in Craig Hospital in Eaglewood, Colo., his daughter posted on a blog this week that he is expected to soon fly to Omaha, Neb., to begin rehabilitation at QLI, a post-hospital facility that specializes in brain and spinal cord injury rehab.
“Dad compares it to being at the Olympic Training Center down in Colorado Springs training for the big event – being independent at home,” his daughter Kate wrote.
If Stetina’s name sounds familiar, it should. His son Peter is a professional cyclist and his brother Wayne is also a former Olympic cyclist and the current vice president of Shimano USA.
Follow along with his progress on his Twitter feed.
Get well soon, Dale.Tweet Print
We’re always debating what these types of bikes should be called. They’re not touring bikes per say, but they can certainly tour. They’re less racy than a cyclocross bike. And I don’t even know what a “gravel” bike is supposed to be.
Kona has dubbed them the Freerange, and I think it’s a great name. The Rove and Sutra share a frame, but sport different build-ups, and if you’re looking for something a little more extravagant, there’s the Rove Ti, built in the USA by Lynskey.Tweet Print
Disc brakes have made a big push into the cyclocross and even road bike markets in the past year, but they certainly have had their share of bumps in the road along the way. SRAM, Shimano and TRP have all issued recalls for some of their disc brake products, but the latest news from SRAM trumps them all.
Despite an earlier recall that affected only a small production group of SRAM RED hydraulic disc road brakes, the new recall covers ALL hydraulic disc and rim brakes, and recommend riders stop using them immediately for their own safety.Tweet Print
Via Milano FixedTweet Print
Bike sharing systems are meant to make simple and practical transportation options available to more people, but rates of ridership among low-income users is incredibly low. According to Transportation Alternatives, only 0.5 percent of riders on New York’s CitiBike system are categorized as low-income.
[It] may have something do with where the docking stations are located. But the people who run these systems say they’re businesses. And they have to start where the demand for cycling is greatest. Paul DeMaio is a consultant who worked with Capital Bike Share in Washington, D.C.
Systems are forced to go for the low-hanging fruit — the neighborhoods that have the highest density of commercial, of residential. And that are gonna provide the most ridership to help pay for the service. And then hopefully catch up with the outlying neighborhoods as quickly as they can.
But it’s more than just location. Even when these stations are sited in low-income neighborhoods, they often go under-used. Partly, this may be about price. A typical bike-sharing membership costs somewhere between $60 and $100 a year. Many of these systems offer discounts for low-income riders, but they’re not always well-known or advertised.