Fat bikes – don’t call it a fad


Guest column by Adrian Montgomery

There was a common theme during this year’s Global Fat Bike Summit in Ogden, Utah: fat biking is not a fad. Many statements in Summit presentations were preceded with, “I used to think differently about fat bikes, until I tried one.” The Summit provided the opportunity to throw a leg over the industry’s finest products for the uninitiated to the disciple.

There was a diverse group of attendees at the Summit, an event largely overlooked by the big brands in the Bike Industry. Land managers, enthusiasts and niche product suppliers all huddled up to address access issues, talk best practices for grooming and how to deal with potential user conflicts. Sounds pretty organized for a fad. IMBA was on hand too, and when Mike Van Abel compared the fat bike movement to the early years of mountain biking it was clear that this movement has the wheels to roll-over growth obstacles.

Keep reading here.

Dear Motorist campaign invites cyclists to share their stories

In the past years nearly 7,000 people have lost their lives in cycling-motorist crashes. The Dear Motorist campaign invites cyclists and motorists alike to visit dearmotorist.com to their experiences by either: taking a pledge or writing a letter to be more aware of their surroundings on the road. The campaign also offers those who may have lost a loved one to a road accident the opportunity to share their story.


Interview: Veronica O. Davis of Black Women Bike D.C.


At the Women’s Cycling Forum that was part of the National Bike Summit last March, many of us were introduced to a founder of a movement that is helping to fill a crucial gap in cycling: Veronica O. Davis of Black Women Bike. Davis and two friends started the group as a local organization in Washington, D.C., and are building the foundation to take it to the national level. Davis’ efforts are a natural outgrowth of her professional life in civil engineering, which she believes involves “using transportation as a tool to positively affect people’s lives.”

Read our interview here.

A great advocacy campaign: ‘Drive With Care’

Our own local advocacy organization, Bike Pittsburgh, has created an innovative ad campaign that we’d like to see implemented all across the nation. Called the Drive With Care Campaign, the aim is to remind automobile drivers that bicyclists are human, too.

From Bike Pittsburgh: “Bicyclists are not obstacles or targets; they could be your friend, nurse, carpenter, or even your favorite football player, Antonio Brown.” (That’s the Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver shown in the ad below.)

The ads feature photos of everyday people next to their bikes, with descriptive words to drive the point home. They’ve been seen on billboards and bus shelters around the city, but the organization would like to expand the campaign’s reach, and even produce television ads.

See more “Drive With Care” campaign posters and donate to the campaign here: bikepgh.org/care. And you can contact Bike Pittsburgh through their website if you’d like information on how to develop a similar public awareness effort in your own town.


We Bike NYC raising funds to sponsor 10 ladies’ ride to National Bike Summit


Ten intrepid women will embark on a “purposeful adventure” this March, riding 262 miles from New York City to the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. The group is made up of advocates representing five advocacy organizations: WE Bike NYC, Black Women Bike, Gearing-Up, WABA: Women and Bicycles, and Women Bike PHL.

This is an adventure near and dear to us, as we’ve featured some of these organizations in our pages, and we’ve also ridden to the Summit from our home base of Pittsburgh. It’s also a big undertaking, so the ladies are asking for your support via an Indiegogo campaign.

Advocacy Awards now accepting nominees

allianceAs you contemplate your New Year’s resolutions, take some time to build up your 2014 karma! Nominate advocates who have improved biking & walking in your community for a 2014 Advocacy Award.

The Alliance for Biking and Walking holds the Advocacy Awards every year to celebrate the individuals and groups who have demonstrated excellence in the bicycle and pedestrian movement. If you know an advocate (or two or three) who has made a big difference for biking and walking over the past year, please nominate them! Anybody can submit nominations until January 16.

Your nominations will be considered by a panel of leaders in the biking and walking movement. Winners will be recognized on March 3 at the 2014 Advocacy Awards ceremony in Washington, DC.

Click here to see the categories and learn how to nominate…

Boston Globe: Bicycles take center stage in the culture wars

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.

Read the full piece here.

Washington City Paper tracks down bike lane graffiti artists


If you ride in our nation’s capital, you may have noticed some friendly messages popping up in the city’s extensive bike lane network:





But who was creating these tags? Were they street art or vandalism?

The bright, encouraging—twee, if you’d like—tone of BA’s stencil art has a purpose. “We want more people to bike,” she says. “We want bicyclists to smile and know they’re appreciated. We want bicyclists to smile at other bicyclists and road users. Most importantly, we want D.C. to be a safe place to ride a bike.”

The City Paper chats with the artists, and looks at how the rapid rise in popularity of cycling in the city has had its growing pains.

Exchanging Places – a driver and cyclist see from the others’ perspective

I’m not sure what a lorry is, but it sure looks a lot like a truck. All kidding aside, in this video from the Greater London Metropolitan Police, a local cyclist and a driver explain how each can take better steps to avoid crashes. They then take turns in each others’ place to see just how dangerous riding near one of these vehicles can be if you’re not visible. After the rash of incidents in London recently, hopefully it can help save some lives.

Via Cadenced

Adventure Cycling honors Bicycle Travel Award winners


The Adventure Cycling Association‘s nationally recognized awards program acknowledges exemplary contributions to the success of bicycle travel. There are four awards:

  • The Pacesetter Bicycle Travel Award recognizes individuals, groups, businesses, and organizations that have consistently demonstrated extraordinary commitment, dedication, and service to the advancement of Adventure Cycling’s mission of inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
  • The June Curry Trail Angel Award honors an individual or group encountered during a bicycle tour who made the cyclotourist’s journey easier or possible by helping the cyclist through an act of goodwill.
  • The Braxton Bicycle Shop Award honors bicycle shops throughout the nation that go out of their way to provide unique or exemplary services to bicycle travelers.
  • The Adventure Cycling Volunteer of the Year Award is our way to say ‘Thank you’ to Adventure Cycling volunteers who are helping us inspire others to travel by bike.

Click here to see the 2013 award winners

Bike Trains in LA on NPR


NPR did a profile this past week about LA Bike Trains, a service that helps new cyclists feel more comfortable on the road by arranging commutes in groups. An experienced conductor leads the group along safe roads and the pack of cyclists inherently leads to more comfortable riders and better visibility.

Since launching L.A. Bike Trains in May with just a few routes and no budget, the system has grown to a dozen volunteer leaders, covering Los Angeles by bike by as much as 20 miles per trip each way, like the route from Silver Lake to Santa Monica.

Still, bike trains are far from seeing mass adoption.

Herbie Huff, a policy researcher at UCLA, says there are lots of obstacles to taking part in bike trains. Instead, Huff thinks infrastructure like bike lanes would be a bigger winner, or a concept like bike sharing could be an easier entry point.

“In order to go on the bike train, you need to already have made a commitment,” Huff says. “You need to already have a bike.”

Read more about Bike Trains here

1,000 cyclists in London stage ‘die-in’ to highlight dangerous streets


More than 1,000 cyclists clogged the streets in front of the city’s transportation offices last week to highlight the dangerous conditions on the city’s streets. Six cyclists have died in the past two-weeks and tensions are riding high. Organizers are demanding that 10 percent of the city’s transportation budget be spent on cycling infrastructure.

Via streetsblog.org

Video: Bicycle Anecdotes From Amsterdam

Streetfilms has released it’s latest, and final, dispatch from Amsterdam, and provides a nice cross-section of commentary and how-to from the City of Bikes.

Some of the major themes the film touches on are how the city rejected car culture in the 1970s as traffic deaths were mounting, how the bike system is not a jumbled pile of chaos as it appears to tourists, and how despite all the bikes, the city doesn’t really have much of a “bike culture”.

Streetfilms produces short films showing how smart transportation design and policy can result in better places to live, work and play.

Bicycle Times named a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly Business

Today, the League of American Bicyclists announced 91 new Bicycle Friendly Businesses (BFB) from across the country, extending the program to 43 states and Washington, D.C. Rotating Mass Media, our parent company we share with our mountain bike magazine, Dirt Rag, joins 90 other businesses as 2013 awardees. These new awardees join a trendsetting group of more than 600 local businesses, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies across the United States that are transforming the American workplace.  Read the full story

Green Lane Project looking for six more cities to build safer streets

Want more green bicycle lanes in your city? PeopleForBikes is now accepting applications for Green Lane Project Phase 2, a campaign to bring protected bike lanes to city streets. The two-year campaign will choose six cities to collaborate on ways to create better streets.

In early 2012, the first phase of the Green Lane Project selected six U.S. cities — Austin, Chicago, Memphis, Portland, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. — to form a select partnership of leaders supporting the creation of next-generation protected bike lanes in America. Since the Project launched, green lanes have flourished. In year one of the Project, the number of protected lanes on city streets expanded from 62 to 102. By the end of 2013, the number is expected to double again, to nearly 200.

Only government agencies may apply. Cities are the primary intended applicants. However, PeopleForBikes is considering applications from counties, townships or other local jurisdictions that manage a significant roadway network within urban areas. Applicant agencies must serve a population of at least 80,000 to apply. Want to get involved? Contact your local government or advocacy group and express your support.

To apply, submit a letter of intent by November 15 and a full application by January 14, 2014.

Too much traffic in Calcutta, so city bans bicycles

nobikesAs one of the largest cities in the world, traffic congestion is nothing new in Calcutta, India. But local authorities put the blame not on the growing numbers of cars on the narrow, centuries-old streets, but rather on bicycles, rickshaws and other non-motorized transportation.

According to the BBC, commuters make 2.5 million trips on bicycles in Calcutta every day, but the new law prohibits them from 174 major roads and thoroughfares.

Signs are popping up across the city announcing the prohibition, as have groups of cycling advocates that are protesting the ban. Many riders are simply ignoring it, and taking the chance of being fined or having their bicycle confiscated.

Baisikeli – The story of an African cycling team

From the small town of Iten, 2 300m above the Rift Valley in Kenya, to the raw energy of Kigali, Rwanda, this is a story about the potential of African cycling and it’s ability to restore faith to this most beautiful, difficult and enigmatic of sports.

Can Africa be the next cycling powerhouse? What challenges stand in the way? Who are the characters?

Baisikeli follows the Kenyan National Cycling team as they hope to emulate the success of their running brothers and make a career in the sport.

You can rent or purchase the film through Vimeo now.

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