By Adam Newman
There have been a couple of interesting bike-related pieces in the non-cycling "mainstream" media this week that I thought were worth sharing, and naturally, commenting on. Here they are in no particular order:
Where can I buy a Winterizer?
I read two stories about how to "winterize" your bike this week. Maybe I’m just crazy here, but I can’t imagine there are a lot of folks around the country who read these articles, looked out their windows and thought "Hey, what a great day for a bike ride!".
First up was Wired Magazine. In true techie fashion they created a Wiki page that anyone can edit with tips. Bonus point for that. But the advice they give ("Don’t hit the snowy roads in your sew-up street slicks" and "Some cyclists just move the parts from a good ‘summer’ bike frame to a more rugged ‘winter’ bike frame every fall, then discard most of the parts the next spring.") strikes me as arrogant and nearsighted. You mean I have to buy two bikes now? And what the hell is a sew-up? Let’s hope some real tips get offered up on the Wiki soon.
Second is this piece from the Toronto Star. Now these folks should know a thing or two about winter. Props to anyone who rides there year ’round. Sadly, they offer the same sort of lame advice: "Ride slower." " Disc brakes will work better than rim brakes if you want to fully winterize your bike." Too bad a nice set of disc brakes cost as much as an entry-level bike, and only a tiny fraction of frames can accept the swap anyway.
Here’s my advice for beginners: Put on lots of clothes. Go outside. Ride your bike. Be careful. Fix what breaks. Have fun.
And for seasoned riders who are already riding year-round: Keep an eye out for our Winter Riding Series with real advice learned the hard way. Yes, beginners you can peek too.
Bike + Taxi = Bixi
But then, Wired, you redeemed yourself with a slideshow about the Bixi Bike, the leader of the pack of bike-sharing specific designs. If you don’t live in a city cool enough to offer bike sharing, you can get a look at how the bikes and their rental facilities work. And you will probably want to move to a cooler city.
The Bicycle Race
Finally, Good Magazine examines some of the growing pains Portland is experiencing as it tries to expand its already healthy riding community. One major issue: lack of diversity. While the city has an extensive network of bike infrastructure and bike lanes, the so-called "white lines of gentrification", have failed to inspire a growing ethnic population.
Carla Danley, a year-round African-American cyclist in Portland, offers her take. "There’s a hard conversation that needs to take place about the perception that bike infrastructure in communities of color equals gentrification. And that’s not really considered a polite conversation."
This isn’t just a problem in Portland. Cycling has always been a diversity-lacking pasttime. Women are making up an ever-larger portion of cyclists in America, but potential ethnic riders have been slow to accept cycling and communities, in turn, have been slow to embrace them and entice them.
Is it a Catch-22? What’s going on in your coummuity?