Short film: ‘Havana Bikes’

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Cuba underwent a bicycle revolution in the 1990s during its five year ‘Special Period’. Oil was scarce as a result of tough economic constraints, and throughout those years of austerity, bicycles where introduced as an alternative mode of transport. Thousands of Cubans used bicycles on a regular basis, as pedaling became the norm on the island.

Years later, the transportation crisis subsided and motorized vehicles returned, and the country’s bicycle culture took a hit. Now, new bikes are difficult to come by and parts are not readily available, yet many Cubans still use bicycles daily and, despite the limited resources, a handful of mechanics provide a service to those who rely on their bikes in their everyday lives.

Plenty of cyclists roam the streets of Havana and the rest of Cuba. Ángel, a typical bike riding Habanero, provides a brief insight into Cuban bicycle culture and the importance of bike mechanics in the capital as we come across both riders and repairmen.

Watch it here.


Video: Green Lane Project promotes protected bike lanes in US

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“Deep down inside, most folks just want the freedom of choice,” says Mayor A. C. Wharton, Jr., of Memphis, one of the most pro-bike mayors in the country. Adding to the choices is the rise of protected bike lanes in Memphis and beyond, which make riding in the city safer and more comfortable.

Promoting that choice is the Green Lane Project, created to help cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets. It focuses on on protected bike lanes, which are on-street lanes separated from traffic by curbs, planters, parked cars, or posts. Protected bike lanes are part of a connected system for biking around town, which is an essential ingredient of a great place to live and work. They are a simple tool to transform city streets into places where more people feel comfortable riding a bike, making it easier to get around, save money, and live an active life.

Click here to watch the video and learn more.


National Bike to Work Week starts Monday

Pump up those tires and lube the chain, National Bike to Work Week starts Monday.

Just one of several events happening during National Bike Month, the League of American Bicyclists encourages everyone who can to bike to work May 12-16, or at least on Bike to Work Day, May 16.

More than half of the U.S. population lives within five miles of their workplace, making bicycling a feasible and fun way to get to work. With increased interest in healthy, sustainable and economic transportation options, it’s not surprising that, from 2000 to 2011, the number of bicycle commuters in the U.S. grew by more than 47 percent.

And if you’re in NYC, you’re invited to join the Bike Home From Work Party on Friday!

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Click here to see the full-size graphic.


Join Cyclofemme in the celebration of women in cycling on May 11

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Riding with the kids at our 2013 CycloFemme ride.

No matter what type of bike you ride, or how often or far you ride, CycloFemme is a day for all women cyclists. It is also a day for anyone who supports women on bikes to join the rides as well. The goal is to create a unified voice for women’s cycling by building a tribe of riders who recognize the need to empower one another and build a supportive community.

Learn more about Cyclofemme here.


Marin Museum of Bicycling to construct Mt. Tamalpais Legacy Wall

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The Marin Museum of Bicycling recently announced it would begin construction on the Mt. Tamalpais Legacy Wall in Fairfax, California, that will be fitted with brick titles funded by museum donors. The public can purchase bricks and help fund the museum, the future home of the Igler Collection and the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.

Read the full story


Gran Fondo organizers chip in to repair roads

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Carlos Perez and Greg Fisher are the hands behind Levi’s King Ridge Gran Fondo, held on the roads of Sonoma County, California. Each fall since 2009, more than 7,500 cyclists transcend on Santa Rosa, California, and its roads take the toll. That hasn’t stopped their events company, Bike Monkey, and a merry band of volunteers from taking care of the roads that take care of the riders, many of whom travel from all four corners of the earth. The event’s organizers got permission from the county to hire their own contractors and repair the roads using funds raised from event entry fees, donations and corporate sponsorships. In all, $40,000 has been spent on patching 48 miles of road.

I spoke with Fisher about what prompted them to take action, and what they’ve done to mitigate road damage, because no one wants to see roads go neglected.

Read the interview here.


Google’s self-driving car recognizes cyclists

Google has taken its self-driving car to the streets of Mountain View, California, to help it learn to navigate complex urban environments. As this video demonstrates, one of the special considerations it makes is yielding to cyclists. The computer can recognize simple hand gestures and react accordingly. Could this kind of technology ultimately make the streets safer for all users? Sure seems that way.


League announces new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Businesses

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Today, the League of American Bicyclists announced 80 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Businesses (BFB) in 29 states and Washington, D.C. These new awardees join a trendsetting group of almost 700 local businesses, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies in 46 states and D.C. that are transforming the American workplace. Bicycle Friendly Businesses encourage a more bicycle-friendly atmosphere for employees and customers alike. BFBs attract and retain energized, alert and productive employees, while decreasing healthcare costs.

See the list here.


Donate to create new singletrack and you would win a Moots

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Even if you don’t live in Colorado or might never have the chance to sample its sweet singletrack, it’s hard to pass up an opportunity like this. The Routt Country Riders – a local IMBA chapter – is raising funds to purchase some new trail building equipment, and Moots is pitching in to help.

For every $50 ticket you purchase, you’ll get another entry in a raffle to win a Moots Rouge YBB, a 27.5 titanium hardtail with Moots’ famous YBB softtail design. That’s an $8,000 value we’re talking here.

If you’re not familiar, the partnership between Moots and the RCR goes way back. Formed in the early 1990s, the club advocates for both mountain bikes and road riders, and has earned a Bronze level certification from IMBA and built the only IMBA Ride Center in Colorado and one of just 17 in the world. They also worked with Moots to create the amazing “chainsaw” trail building bike we saw at NAHBS last year.

Only 250 tickets for this raffle are available now through June 10, and you can grab yours at the Moots online store. Good luck!

 


Only a few days to go to support Bike Pittsburgh’s Drive With Care campaign

Our hometown, Pittsburgh, has been making big strides in the past few years in promoting cycling and making the streets safer. At the forefront of that movement is Bike Pittsburgh, an award-winning advocacy group.

In August 2013, Bike Pittsburgh installed four billboards and 15 bus shelters with its Drive With Care campaign. Featuring real cyclists and real people, it reminded drivers that people on bikes aren’t a nascence in the road, they are nurses, students, daughters, sons and star NFL players. Yes, one billboard features Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is a football town after all.

Now Bike Pittsburgh is raising funds to expand the program to other neighborhoods, create a web campaign where riders can share their stories, and spread the word to drivers that all road users are people, not impediments.

The Indiegogo campaign is raising $50,000 to fund the following:

  • $10,000 – 15 bus shelters for two month
  • $14,000 – 45 bus cards (aka “Queens”) on the sides of buses divided between four routes, for two months
  • $16,000 – Strategically placed billboards around Pittsburgh for two months
  • $10,000 – Web development and app creation for people to take their own pictures and make Drive With Care profiles

More than just making streets safer, your donation will earn you a little something too.

Various donation levels will earn you prizes, including T-shirts, cycling caps, water bottles, a spot on one of the billboards or my favorite: Rick Sebak will record the message on your voicemail or answering machine. Pittsburghers are going to especially excited about this one.

The campaign runs through April 20, so don’t delay—donate now.

 


Take the pledge for #30daysofbiking

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While May is National Bike Month, there’s no reason not to get started early with April’s 30 Days of Biking. The idea is simple: Pledge to ride your bike every day in April and share your experience with the hashtag #30daysofbiking. There are also events scheduled all over the country to keep you motivated and having fun. Then visit 30daysofbiking.com to see what others are up to. Plus, for every 30 folks to take the pledge, 30DaysofBiking will donate a bike to Free Bikes 4 Kidz, a group of compassionate cyclists who refurbish used bikes and donate them to folks in need.

 


U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame accepting nominations through April 1

usbhofSince 1987, there has been an annual induction of Americans who have achieved success in racing or who have enhanced the sport of cycling through their lifelong efforts to the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame. Nominee consideration looks at achievements that have made significant and extraordinary contributions to the sport of competitive bicycle racing.

Inductees can be selected as competitors who have had success at the national and international level, or contributors who have advanced the sport through technology, coaching or promotion. Inductees can have a background in road racing, track, BMX, cyclocross or mountain biking.

There are four categories for 2014:

  • Veteran: Road and track – 1980 and prior.
  • Modern: Road and track – 1981 to 2009.
  • Off Road (including BMX, Cyclocross and Mountain Biking)
  • Contributor (any discipline)

Anyone can nominate a candidate, but must provide supporting documentation of the nominee’s accomplishments in order for the nominee to be considered for placement on the ballot. Please be as complete as possible and document major accomplishments. A list of what are considered a nominees top 10 accomplishments is a good start. Entries for the 2014 induction are due April 1. Chosen inductees will be notified and invited to attend the induction ceremony in November, in Davis, California, which will be open to the public. 

You can download a nomination form here.


Alliance announces 2014 Advocacy Award winners

allianceEach year at the National Bike Summit the Alliance for Biking and Walking announces its winners for the Alliance Advocacy Awards, a way to recognize exceptional groups and individuals who lead in advancing active transportation in North America.

The Alliance received 210 nominations for the 2014 awards, and the final winners were chosen by a panel of past award winners, leaders in the industry and Alliance staff. The People’s Choice Award winner was, of course, chosen by a vote.

Click here to see the winners


Next in bicycle infrastructure: protected intersections

I was in Amsterdam all last week getting to know Dutch bicycle culture and logistics (more on that soon), and one of the key tenants of what makes cycling so simple there is the cycle paths. More than just bike lanes, the cycle paths are almost always separated from traffic by parked cars, curbs, or other street features.

The practice is catching on in the US, with New York leading the way with protected lanes on some major thoroughfares. But even those lanes leave cyclists vulnerable where they need safety most: in the intersection.

Urban planner and designer Nick Falbo has put together this piece about how intersection design can make cycling safer and more accessible. His video and other collected works are part of a proposal for the George Mason University 2014 Cameron Rian Hays Outside the Box competition, a challenge to find new solutions to transportation policy challenges.

 


Supreme Court decision may threaten rail-trails

A ruling by the Supreme Court Monday could limit the transformation of railroad right-of-ways into bike and pedestrian corridors. The 8-1 decision ruled that when a railroad had been abandoned, the right-of-way reverts back to the property owner and its future use is at their discretion.

It could derail plans to construct new rail-trails built on former federal land, especially in the West, while the government could also be required to compensate landowners who have converted rail-trails crossing their property.

Read more.


London to spend $500M on cycling and pedestrian infrastructure

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Click the map for a larger view

London has become synonymous with cycling and pedestrian danger, as the city has claimed more than 150 serious injuries or deaths in the past three years. Now the city, led by Mayor Boris Johnson, himself an advocate for cycling and pedestrian safety, is pledging $500 million to radically transform 33 intersections and roundabouts across the city.

Roundabouts at Archway, Aldgate, Swiss Cottage and Wandsworth, among others, will be ripped out and replaced with two-way roads, segregated cycle tracks and new traffic-free public space. The Elephant & Castle roundabout, London’s highest cycle casualty location, will be removed. At other intimidating roundabouts, such as Hammersmith and Vauxhall, safe and direct segregated cycle tracks will be installed, pending more radical transformations of these areas in the medium term.

“These road junctions are relics of the Sixties which blight and menace whole neighborhoods. Like so much from that era, they’re also atrociously-designed and wasteful of space,” Johnson said in a statement. “Because of that, we can turn these junctions into more civilized places for cyclists and pedestrians, while at the same time maintaining their traffic function.”

The move is part of the Safe Streets London campaign, a detailed plan to reduce the number of persons injured on London’s roads by 40 percent by 2020.

 

 


Bicycle Times is hiring

Last week Bicycle Times’ Publisher Maurice Tierney and Karen Brooks, the founding editor, mutually decided to part ways.

“I’m proud of the work I’ve done with both Bicycle Times and Dirt Rag, and am excited to go off in new directions,” Brooks said.

“We wish Karen all the best,” Tierney said. “We’re also really excited about the future of Bicycle Times.”

Rotating Mass Media, parent company of Bicycle Times and Dirt Rag magazines, is now looking to fill the position of Editor of Bicycle Times or Online Editor.

Get the details here.


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