Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Culture of fear

Mikael Colville-Andersen, of Copenhagenize and Cycle Chic fame, speaking today at the TEDx Copenhagen event. Good articulation of the 'culture of fear' - especially surrounding bike helmet use - and how it negatively impacts cycling rates. He points out that a helmet promotional campaign in Denmark (of all places, where cycling is incredibly safe) had the effect of significantly decreasing the number of people willing to bike.

Please, don't respond by thinking 'yeah but I flew 40 feet off my bike and would've cracked my skull open if I wasn't wearing a helmet'. Because first of all, slow down a bit please, maybe reconsider HOW you ride. Sorry, but we need to look at ourselves somewhat in this country, I will say it.

Partly it's the emphasis on biking as sport, not transit. It's also a hangover of the so-called 'vehicular cycling' mentality that has characterized much of our biking for a few decades: ride in traffic, as traffic, claim your lane. Well, if you swim with sharks, you might get eaten. That's also what pisses drivers off the most, a situation in which we can only lose. Or at least look fairly unappealing decked out like a Christmas tree with the requisite lights and reflectors - not to mention the glare off your white knuckles.

But that's all starting to change. Part of the citizen cycling idea is that we can all be ambassadors of a better, safer, more serene and elegant way of cycling that can actually seduce more drivers to get on a bike. Then everyone wins, drivers and bicyclists alike. There's no better way to re-humanize our cities.

Also, as Mikael points out, the evidence of helmet effectiveness is quite split in the scientific community. It's important to be open to the big picture that he presents. That bikes are such a powerful tool for transforming our urban landscapes in a positlve way, on so many levels.

Bottom line, bike as you want, wear a helmet, or don't, but please don't succumb to a psychology of fear. Just bike.

Gangs of DC

Riding home yesterday I came across one of these little herds of kids on bikes, on their way from school. Just south of the Petworth metro, off Georgia Avenue. I see them in the morning sometimes too, passing through Columbia Heights. Looks like how I imagine the Portland bike scene.

I think it's great and cool, but also a little sad in a way. I remember being that age and riding my bike everywhere, by myself or with a friend or two, just launching out on adventures. Kids in the city or suburbs don't get the same freedom now.

Then again, in those days we didn't wear seatbelts, adults smoked a lot more, and a sunburn was a badge of honor. Not to mention the range of unfortunate 1970s fashion choices. But it was a fun time to grow up.

Our Man in Munich - Part II

[Editor's note - Second guest post in a series from my old DC friend Mike Tierney. Now living and working in Munich, he'll provide a closer look at that city's bikescape.]

An opening comment - I have read (including in this blog) that opposition to bike paths is mounting.  As an expat away from the battle lines, I am grateful to all of you who are fighting for the humans, and trying remove the car from its decades-long position as the higher order life form in our country.  Our soul is at stake.

Bike paths and visibility on the intersections

There is a "ring" road - more like a highway - around the perimeter of Munich's original walled city.  This road is rather wide and fast, and cars get bottlenecked at a few key intersections.  One would expect these intersections to be treacherous for bikes, but the city has done an excellent job of making the bike crossings visible.  And let me make this clear: drivers in Munich are fantastic when it comes to looking out for bikes.  It may be that the bike is just one of many forms of transportation in the city, and that every driver rides as well, or knows someone who does.  Even in the busiest intersection, whether from a Maserati, old BMW, broken down Trabant, or Toyota minivan, you are assured of eye contact with the driver as he/she tries to cross your path when turning.  I never take that for granted.

Anyway, this (not so poorly taken as the other photos yet still lousy) picture is of the Lindwurmstrasse bike path as it crosses Sonnenstrasse near Sendlinger Tor, the southern facing gate of the old wall.  This path crosses a set of Tram lines in addition to four car lanes.  Immediately past this intersection to the left is Sendlinger Tor Platz, where a roasted chestnut stand sets up shop for the Winter.  The smell wafts through a hundred meters or so of this stretch of the commute.  I recommend them with a good single malt Scotch.  A bag of eleven costs 3 euros.

The intersection below is at Isartor, the east-facing gate of the original walled city.  The red painted bike path extends across the ring road and around the Isartor toward Marienplatz.  In the evening it is common to be in a pack of bikes on this path.  It is wide enough for abreast.

The same site in a not so jolly time.  These gates are over 800 years old and have seen a lot.  If you cannot read it, the sign says "Death is so permanent, driver carefully," which was obviously meant for occupying US troops.  Note the two bikes to the left.  This image is scanned from a postcard I bought in a bookshop in the Reichenbachstrasse neighborhood.  The postcard rack had ironic war rubble postcards like this, along with early 20th century photos of enormous women carrying ten or fifteen loaded beer steins and Lederhosen-clad men doing the ankle slapping dance.

The glorious dearth of Spandex

Integration into the urban landscape and culture

Engaging all of the senses and observations otherwise missed

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chainguard Revolution

About ten years ago, I was looking for a new bike equipped with something you would think would not be that difficult to find: a chain guard.

Today, […] many manufacturers, from big companies to small start-ups, make specifically urban bicycles, meant for city riding, not laps around the track or careening down a mountain. […] All with that most coveted of things, a chain guard. Some even have the Dutch-style ones, that wrap completely around the chain.

full article

See?? It all starts with the chainguard! That's what I've been tryin' to say!

Grandma rides again

Today my 78-year-old mother got back on a bike for the first time in around 15 years. She had a bit of the wobblies at first but settled into it pretty quickly. Nice and flat, car-free side streets around her house, and I lowered the seat on her old Humber 3-speed so she can put her feet down easily (insert 'granny bike' pun here).

Ok, I'm a little nervous for her, since she didn't really ride much as a kid. But this is the same woman who started playing the cello at age 57, so I'm sure she'll be fine. It'll be good for her hip that's gotten a little funky.

Still, keep it in first gear for a while, mom.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Humber by Hipstamatic

Hanging out at my mom's house on the Chesapeake Bay, nice weekend retreat for me and my daughter. My mom was reading this blog and saying she wanted to dust off her old bike that's been mostly collecting dust for the last fifteen years. So I checked it out and it's this cool Humber 3-speed, an amazing citizen-cycle. According to Wikipedia, Humber was an English brand taken over by Raleigh in the 1930s, up until the 70s.

I'm going to test ride it tomorrow. What sort of things go invisibly bad in a bike that sits that long unused in a basement?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Moving on up

From today's Washington Post:

[...] the District has undertaken one of the most ambitious efforts in the country to promote the use of bicycles.
I've always thought that Capital Bikeshare fits perfectly into the ride-as-you-are concept. So great to see it taking off, along with increased bike use in general. Of course, if you check the comments in the Post piece, the haters are out in force. Incredible how some people can't tolerate the combo of beauty, efficiency, and fun. And as a friend of mine said recently, more biking is better for drivers, they just haven't figured that out yet.

Barbie and zen

Now that's what I call cycle chic. I guess we can count Barbie in for the Chainguard Revolution. As a possible harbinger of mass taste, good to have her onboard. Now we just need Ken on his Jorg & Olif Opa.

Let's make her City Zen Cyclist of the day.

Happy Black Friday shopping (or reading, or sleeping), everyone!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Calvert Street (aka Duke Ellington) Bridge

Happy Thanksgiving from DCC!

A Brooklynite in Amsterdam

Meet Bakfiets en Meer, a cool and wide-ranging cycling blog by an American in Amsterdam:

Another difference between an established cycling culture and the emerging one is that people don’t look for excuses to ride, nor do they often gather for the purpose of riding (a certain type of) bikes. Critical Mass, Tweed rides, Cycle Chic rides, bicycle house moves etc are certainly all harmless fun and, depending on your perspective, good or bad for the promotion of cycling. But for me there’s just something artificial or staged about them.

Another post with the blogger's interesting backstory is here:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Going Dutch

Ok, so you may be saying, where can I get these Dutch bikes? Well, in DC the options are limited, but do exist.

The Bike Rack has been open since 2007, located at 14th and Q Streets. They are the only DC dealer (or East Coast dealer south of New York) that carries Batavus, the Dutch brand that's been making quality bikes since 1904. Pictured are the Old Dutch Classic (foreground, priced at $825) and the Favoriet ($1000), which has a cargo-style front rack.
They also carry the Batavus BuB at $650, and can order other models. For another option with chainguard, fenders etc, there's the Giant Via ranging from $380 to $550.

I took my Electra there for a minor issue and found their service to be very friendly, quick, and knowledgable.

Boy & Bicycle

Via the cool blog of Sanitov Bicycles, a clip from director Ridley Scott's first film in 1965, shot in 16mm black and white. Not sure if this was a random short or a clip from something longer. But it sure has a great aesthetic. Like Jimmy from Quadrophenia on a bicycle.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Connecticut Ave and Q St

Garrett, age 63, has the music in him, singing praises, a one-man, one-bike band. A super nice guy. Said when he's done for the day he just gets on and rides home.

The passing students have that look of those who don't get out in the city much.

Our Man in Munich - Part I

[Editor's note - Today's guest post, first of a series, is from my old friend Mike Tierney. Not to date ourselves, but we met during our common salad days of DC's great 1980s music scene (he's an exceptional Foxton/Entwistle type of bassist I'll have you know). Now living and working in Munich, he'll provide DCC readers an exclusive portal to that fine city's bikescape.]

I am grateful to Bill for the opportunity to join in. For just over two years I have been bike commuting from the center of Munich to the southeastern outskirts of the city, where I work. This and subsequent guest posts will include observations about how Munich facilitates bike commuting, and how it is integrated into the urban landscape and culture.

Please note: I am not a professional photographer, which will be apparent in the following photos. 

The bike itself

It's a steel frame single speed that I had built by a shop in the Au (pronounced like "Ow!") neighborhood on the east side of the Isar river. The side bag is by Vaude, a German company that manufactures for the domestic market. The bag is waterproof (critical) and can carry three bottles of Weißbier without throwing off the balance too much. Here the amateur photographer is about to be attacked by "Mimi," the Hausmeister's chronically furious Yorkshire Terrier. Note the fast (or is it slow?) shutter speed capturing the blur of tiny rancid paws carrying the little monster to his prey. Moving on...

Bike lanes on the sidewalks

Munich is laced with bike paths, many of which are integrated into the sidewalks in the form of a strip of asphalt running down a concrete or brick sidewalk. Not all of the main streets have sidewalk-based bike paths. The city government publishes a map of the city showing where they are. Or, with a diligent Google Maps satellite image, search one can identify all the best bike paths between points A and B.

The best type of sidewalk-based bike path provides a few feet between it and where the cars are parked. The pathetically amateurish photo at left is of the path along Lindwurmstrasse near Sendlinger Tor - the southern gate of the original walled city. This path is on my commute route. Most pedestrians (the locals in particular) are good about keeping off the bike paths. Unfortunately, they are not always apparent to the hapless tourist, especially during Oktoberfest, which will be discussed in gruesome detail some other time.

Another type of sidewalk-based bike path is not as safe, but is likely the only solution for a narrow sidewalk. The poor excuse for a photo at left is of the path along Rosenheimer Strasse (also part of the daily commute) near Rosenheimer Platz. This is near the Gasteig, Munich's version of the Kennedy Center. One of every three trips on this route you encounter someone with a cello case strapped to his/her back, looking like some form of high-velocity flotation device. Anyway, the problem with this type of bike path is that you have to be on the lookout for suddenly-opening car doors. Better to keep a bit to the right.

Note the derelict bikes strapped to the trees like hurricane storm surge victims. You find these all over the city, some of which have not moved since the heyday of Einstürzende Neubauten [Editor's alert - 80s reference], but this is a topic for another time.


Visibility on the intersections

The glorious dearth of Spandex

Integration into the urban landscape and culture

Engaging all of the senses and observations otherwise missed

Monday, November 22, 2010

Just ask Adrian Fenty

And this from today's NY Times:

The efforts by the Bloomberg administration have placed the city at the forefront of a national trend to make bicycling viable and safe even in the most urban of settings. Yet over the last year, a backlash has taken hold.


In Washington, soon-to-be-former DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, feels that pain. His replacement, Vincent Gray, has given mixed signals about bike lanes. But some of Gray's comments make people a bit queasy about keeping DC's momentum on the biking and livable cities front.

Angry defenders of suburbia?

Lovely. Are the Tea Partiers going to be pro-sprawl as well?

The Tea Party targets... sustainable development?

Are those who support walkable communities, transit-oriented development, and smart growth ready for an onslaught of Tea Party activism? Mother Jones reports that some conservative activists believe that "smart growth is really a global conspiracy to herd Americans into 'human habitation zones.' "

[...] The issue even flared up briefly during the midterms, when Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes accused his Democratic opponent of using a bike-sharing program to convert Denver into a "United Nations community."

More DC chic

Another case of understated DC cycle chic. As I wrote when I started District Citizen Cycling a couple months ago, I didn't think my native Washington was necessarily a chic kind of town. What counts as relatively fashionable here might seem modest by European standards. But the ride-as-you-are (chic or not) ethos of so-called 'citizen cycling' seemed a good fit.

I'm certainly no biking fashion guru. In yesterday's photo, a stylish hat and coat was enough to make me notice the girl riding down 15th Street. This young woman on Q Street is a similar case - ok, no chainguard for the purists (too bad, she could lose the pants strap), but a sweet bike with fenders, somewhat more upright posture, bringing home the shopping, riding slowly, in casual/stylish clothes that made for a nice holistic presentation with her bike. A great ambassador for DC citizen cycling.

Just watch out for that taxi.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rambler's Highway

Rambler's Highway is a US undergrad's wonderful blog, providing a very thorough, interesting, and accessible take on European cycling infrastructure and how it shapes the urban experience itself.

DC chic

This chic young woman had the newly two-way 15th Street cycle track almost to herself yesterday. Well, I think she looks pretty chic.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Not-babies-anymore onboard

With my daughter now four and a half, she's been motoring around great on her training wheels. But even as she progresses in riding on her own, sometimes I'd like to be able to put her on my bike with me for short rides. I've seen the Bobike Junior (see pic), which says it's for kids 5-10 years old (!).

Anyone have experience with it, or other options? I'm not a fan of the trailers, and my daughter is too big for the front-mounted kid carriers.

Here is a good article, if a couple years old, from the Portland Oregonian on the subject. I figure Portland oughta know.

Easy Rider

Check out that chopper. 

[Fabienne: Whose motorcycle is this? 
Butch: It's a chopper, baby. 
Fabienne: Whose chopper is this? 
Butch: It's Zed's. 
Fabienne: Who's Zed? 
Butch: Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead.]

Always happy to get a slice of DC neighborhoods in there too. That stretch of Q Street has to be one of the most beautiful in the city, and has a nice bike lane. Not bad for cruising on a balmy November afternoon.

photo © Bill Crandall

Friday, November 19, 2010

ThinkBike wrapup

Final recommendations Thinkbike Workshop DC

View more presentations from NLandUSA.
Thanks to the Dutch for their great ideas! Bring on the downtown cycle tracks!

CaBi on VOA

Here's a video segment my wife produced about Capital Bikeshare for Voice of America:

Washingtonians Embrace Bike-Share Program

More and more cities worldwide are embracing the idea of bicycle-sharing programs. Officials and advocates say it's convenient, cheap, healthy and promotes a greener environment. As other cities in the United States are working to introduce the concept, Washington, DC recently launched the largest bike-sharing program in the country. Mariama Diallo reports.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Batavus vs Electra

Sounds like a pro wrestling match. But no, from the blog of Curbside Cycles, a Toronto bike shop specializing in Dutch bikes:

There's a long but vigorous and interesting debate in the comments, comparing these two bikes. So if you're considering buying a Dutch bike, it's a very informative thread.

I still love and stand by my Amsterdam, especially for the price and lighter weight, but it does have its flaws. The Batavus does sound really well-made, like a bike to last a lifetime. The Volvo of bikes.

To be fair, it's not really a fair comparision. Batavus is a storied Dutch brand with decades of experience satisfying the discriminating Dutch customer. Electra is just getting into the citizen cycling game, relatively. The two bikes are not really in the same league or price point, though here is a Batavus three-speed that's only a bit more expensive than the Electra and would last longer even if you store it outside.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

ThinkBike workshops

The Dutch government, DDOT, and the Metro Washington Council of Governments just completed the two-day ThinkBike workshops, to discuss how to make DC more bike-friendly. Some of the interesting and practical recommendations that came out of yesterday's closing session are here.

So DC is trying to take best practices from the Dutch? Be still my heart, we could be onto something. I'd be interested to know how many of these ideas will actually be implemented, like into plans for the east-west cycle tracks downtown.

More info in the original press release here.

Mount Pleasant St

photos © Bill Crandall

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Under my nose

I spent a lot of time in Prague in the 90s. I remember people always saying, when walking in Prague don't forget to look up (or you'd miss a lot of the architectural beauty along the rooflines).

Sometimes it pays to look down - like this wet morning, wondering where today's photo would come from, walking my bike through a blanket of leaves. Ok, it's no Prague but I liked it.

photo © Bill Crandall

Danish cycle tracks

From the Cycling Embassy of Denmark [Ed. note - you know your bike culture has arrived when it has its own 'embassy']

[...] Over many years a fine-meshed network of cycle tracks has been constructed along with other measures that prioritise bicycles. It is all easy to use, and cycle tracks aren’t something you need to look for: They come to you as you go.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tweed and be seen

Sunday turned into a work day for me yesterday, I was bummed to miss the DC Tweed Ride. But on the way home in the fading light, I did luck out and stumble on a bit of the afterparty in Adams Morgan.

Jay Westcott has a bunch of great shots from the actual ride over on the TBD site here.

photos © Bill Crandall

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Staying mobile

Well, this was interesting and unusual:  a bike with a built-in holder for a walking aid. Meaning for this nice woman, walking is obviously problematic but still she bikes around town. I think that's great. Even not knowing the full story, it does kind of lay bare some of the excuses the rest of us may have for not biking, within our limitations. I actually crossed paths with her twice in the same recent afternoon, near Dupont Circle and again crossing 16th Street.

photos © Bill Crandall

Friday, November 12, 2010

About last night

photo © Bill Crandall
Good morning, darling. Glad to see you're still there and intact.

So sorry to leave you like that overnight in Georgetown. It's just that the event ran pretty late, and I was a little worse for wear at the end. I thought it was best if you didn't come home with me. But I did feel guilty, and was nervous until I saw you again today. No hard feelings?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Poet in motion

Today's City Zen Cyclist is Holly Bass, an accomplished DC writer, poet, performer, director, and journalist. I didn't know her but she's a friend of a friend. Before I recognized her I had already chased her down 18th Street for a pic (non-creepily I hope!) just because she looked so cool and chic going by on her bike. In fact, I was once told I should shoot Holly for this blog, so it worked out perfectly by chance.

photos © Bill Crandall

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bike of the Day - WorkCycles Oma

The WorkCycles Oma is available at Adeline Adeline in NY. I'm pretty sure this is the bike I spied on U Street here.

From their website:

The iconic Dutch granny's bike with gracefully curved tube and tall head tube to sit upright or fit a front child seat. Our oma is hand-built in the Netherlands and constructed with large diameter tubing and a reinforced seat tube so it's much stiffer and stronger than similar looking frames from other manufacturers.
WorkCycles city bikes are practical, beautiful and durable transportation built to provide decades of reliable service in all conditions. Like all Dutch bikes they're equipped to ride comfortably upright, stay clean and dry in street clothes, and carry your groceries, gear and children.
It goes for $1599. Hey, no one said good bikes are cheap.

Reason to bike #437

I think it's safe to say drivers don't have as much fun at stoplights.

photos © Bill Crandall

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wish and you may receive

15th Street protected bike lane is now two-way. BeyondDC has it here.

On Capital Bikeshare

photo © Bill Crandall

DCC interview with Chris Holben, DDOT Project Manager for Capital Bikeshare:

How did Capital Bikeshare come to be? What was your particular role? CaBi is the expansion of the Smartbike DC program. Started 2 years ago, Smartbike was very successful except for its limited size. DDOT wanted to expand right from the start and it took about 2 years to make that happen. We partnered with Arlington County to make the first regional system and now the largest system in the US. Also, we switched to a new system, Public Bike Share or Bixi, that is solar powered, modular and extremely easy to install. My role was to manage (as part of a great team) that two year period of expansion including the contracts, station siting and installation, and now operations.

How were sites chosen for stations? The sites were chosen from a few different methods including a Smartbike member survey, a GIS location suitability matrix, a crowd sourcing exercise, DDOT staff knowledge, and common sense.

Is CaBi designed as a bike rental system or a transit system? We think of it as one option in the large offering of transportation options: a self-service bicycle transit system. It is complementary with bus, train, walking, taxi, and soon to be streetcar.

Who are the target users? Anyone 16 and over!  Really, we want them all:  the daily commuter; the fair weather rider; the rider who “needs to go to the further away grocery store that is too far to walk but not too far to ride”; the downtown office worker who can run errands, go to lunch, go to meetings quicker and cheaper than a taxi; and day users: tourists, friends of bikers who need an extra bike, need to get to Union Station but don’t want to deal with your own bike, etc. Really, everyone.

What are the most common arguments by critics and naysayers, and what is your response? Occasionally, I hear “I already have a bike, no thanks”. My response is that there are times when you want a bike and don’t have yours with you or you don’t want yours with you or you don’t want to deal with yours (lock, messy weather, etc). CaBi allows for an opportunistic ride or a very specific one way ride where you don’t necessarily want your own bike.

How does CaBi plan to deal with keeping bikes evenly distributed according to usage and need? Our contractor, Alta Bicycle Share, is tasked to do this with redistribution vehicles. Also, as we add more stations to the system, the redistribution happens more naturally by riders. The members shift more bikes around and there are more stations to go to and more stations to take bikes from.

Have you had many issues with vandalism and/or stolen bikes so far? We have had some general graffiti and minor bike vandalism but that was to be expected with an unattended publicly accessible system. We have cleaned/repaired the bikes and stations quickly to show that we won’t allow the system to degrade and attract more of the same. Soon everyone will get used to seeing these bikes and stations around town and we hope that they will become as commonplace as bus shelters.

Personally, what city in the world is your ideal biking city? I am a pretty experienced city rider so I like to explore all new cities by bike if I can. But I spent some time in Bangkok and really liked biking there. Granted it was always late late at night. During the day would be no fun!

Do you ride CaBi yourself? Oh yes! I was a more or less daily bike commuter but I have been actively using CaBi since the Petworth station was installed. I have a couple of my regular trips:  Petworth to 14th and U (work commute); 14th and U to Columbia Heights (pick up kids from school); 14th and U to Dupont Circle (lunch); 14th and U to 4th and M, SW (work meetings). I average 2-3 trips a day. All under 30 minutes.

When will we see more protected bike lanes? We are constructing the 15th street, NW cycle track right now! It will be a 2 way bike way that will eventually run from Euclid Street down to Pennsylvania Avenue. Also, we are starting to plan the L and M Street, NW cycle tracks.   

Which comes first, more bike infrastructure or more bikers? Same time! We have been building trails and bike lanes for the last 10 years as the number of riders has been increasing as well. I think with CaBi, you will see, and more importantly, be aware of many more cyclists on the road.  

Check out the website for more info: www.capitalbikeshare.com

Monday, November 8, 2010

Look North

from Bespoke, the online magazine of Fourth Floor distribution:

Want to find one of the oldest and most prolific cycling cultures in North America? One that survives the nastiest weather and that pumps millions of dollars into bicycle infrastructure? Look at Montreal.

17th St and Kalorama Rd

This used to be the wrong side of the tracks in Adams Morgan, to the east of the nightlife hubbub of 18th Street. The kind of area you probably shouldn't be walking around. Now you've got loads of new high(ish)-end housing, including these pricey condos (on the right) above a youth arts center, down near the roller rink that was converted to a Harris Teeter grocery store.

Classic DC case of used to be afraid-to-walk-there, now it's can't-afford-to-live-there.

photo © Bill Crandall

Friday, November 5, 2010

17th and R St

I must have passed this building a thousand times in my day, but never really noticed the cool roofline. What would you call that turret-type thing, architecturally-speaking?

photo © Bill Crandall

The Church of Sit-Up Cycling

Interesting Canadian biking blog to pass your way, this from their FB page:

The Church of Sit-Up Cycling was established to allow believers in safe, leisurely cycling to practice their wholly rational faith without fear of a fine.

In Vancouver, BC, it is illegal to sit on a bicycle without a plastic hat. An exception is made if the wearing would interfere with an essential religious practice.

[Editor's note - Ahh, I see where this is going]

The Church believes that mandatory helmet laws encourage fewer, faster cyclists, when in fact more, slower cyclists would make a safer and more pleasant city for all.

And for more clarity, from the mission statement on their website:

Wearing their normal work and play clothes is an essential religious practice of members of the Church of Sit-Up Cycling.  This may or may not include wearing plastic hats.

Believers wholly endorse the use of such accident-preventing safety measures as lights, bells, height, strict compliance with traffic signals, a leisurely pace and the use of dedicated cycling streets and lanes.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

14th Street

Sweet move. Yeah, that is a tough hill up to Columbia Heights.

photo © Bill Crandall

Trumping the Joneses

This is a short and savvy ad for Batavus bikes. In Dutch but you'll get the idea easily, or for a translation check the post on Cycle Chic here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Face the future

Face the future: downtown Vancouver bike lanes are proliferating and cars are not going to be part of the city’s growth.

15th and U St

Along U Street in the late day light.

photo © Bill Crandall

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Exit the dragon

I wasn't able to go to the Stewart-Colbert rally over the weekend, but did catch the tail end. Of the dragon float, that is, as it made its way back up 14th Street that evening.

Sounds like it was a good time. The signs were pretty funny, gave me renewed faith in American wit. Some of my favorites from what I saw online:

What do we want?
When do we want it?

(This sign intentionally left blank)

Anyone for Scrabble later?

Palin-Snookie 2012

Gay Muslim Mexicans for legal weed

I'm mildly irritated and I'm going to keep taking it!

photos © Bill Crandall