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Wednesday, October 26th
Offsite Blogging XXXV
Flying Pigeon sees me pontificate on rain riding to its hapless audience today in Water from the Sky!, while Orange 20's viewers are treated to a disquisition on The Power of Nagging--nagging LADOT in this case.

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 26 Oct 2011 12:27:28 -0800 [link]  

Monday, October 24th
Bicycling, Economies, and Thinking Outside the Metal Box
Let me recommend two excellent articles centered on bicycling and the economy which I came upon while searching for Twitter fodder this morning:

From Elly Blue, writing in Grist, comes "Tearing down urban freeways to make room for a new bicycle economy," with plenty of hard numbers on the financial and civic futility of addressing congestion with freeways:

Read it here.

And from Jay Walljasper, writing for Planetizen, we have "The surprising rise of Minneapolis as a top bike town," examining how this frigid heartland city is moving from car-addiction to accommodating human-powered travel despite traumatic winters, sprawl, and recession (some intersections see more bike than car traffic, and have been rebuilt to reflect that):

Read it here.

Regarding winter, I find it odd that people who will cross-country ski without a second thought, will think that cycling (with studded tires), a physiologically almost identical activity, is "impossible" in the same weather, wearing the same clothes.... Though Bicycle FIxation does sell a lot of our knickers to folks who in fact engage in both activities.

Richard Risemberg on Mon, 24 Oct 2011 08:40:04 -0800 [link]  

Saturday, October 22nd
Out of the Fog: New Article on San Francisco Cycling
We're happy to announce a new article, a short essay on San Francisco (which, as you know, we visited last month), with a good number of the photos we took there, concentrating on bicycle infrastructure and the city's growing number of streetriders.

So take a look at Out of the Fog: San Francisco After the Injunction, and you'll see how quickly the city made up for lost time after a NIMBY lawsuit stalled its bike plan for four long years.

And how quickly the city's residents took to two wheels--once they could feel there was a place for them on San Francisco's streets.

Richard Risemberg on Sat, 22 Oct 2011 15:51:05 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, October 19th
Offsite Blogging XXXIV
I'm still in the afterglow of our visit and bike rides in the Bay Area, so Orange 20 readers got a rhapsodic if brief expatiation on San Francisco's generous support of cycling in Built It, and They Came, with some pix.

Moving on to Flying Pigeon a few days later, I still managed to sneak in a reference to San Francisco and a photo of Octavia Boulevard in Sharrows: Sorrow and Consternation? (Which question is but a rhetorical device; I have come around to favoring sharrows, though it took me a while.)

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 19 Oct 2011 18:18:08 -0800 [link]  

Thursday, October 13th
We Review the Public D1
For a long time, we've wanted to review a cheap, classic city bike, so when we decided to go to the Bay Area for Gina's birthday (she was working on a project up there) and to take photographs for an upcoming article in Cycling Mobility, we contacted Public Bikes, which is headquartered in San Francisco. They promptly arranged for the loan of a D1, their base-model bike, which I proceeded to ride around SF, Sausalito, Oakland, Emeryville, and Berkeley in search of photos.

Though the bike was never meant for such extensive riding, it performed quite well, and I had little to complain about. I rode it over, through, or into hills, wind, a spot of rain, ferryboats and BART, hotel elevators, and (of course) cold and fog, and left it locked all over various towns, and it soldiered on steadfastly.

Read the full review here.

Richard Risemberg on Thu, 13 Oct 2011 20:20:25 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, October 12th
Stitching the River, Fall 2011 Edition (No.6)
stitching_08 (95k image)Back by popular demand!

Yes, increasing numbers of friends, colleagues, and readers have been "reminding" me that it's been too long since I led one of Bicycle Fixatian's much-loved "Stitching the River" rides.

So here you are: we will be riding across all the classic bridges crossing the Los Angeles River in downtown LA between Broadway and Olympic on Sunday, October 23rd. Meetup's at 10:30am, and we'll roll at 11:00.

This is a short ride of fourteen to sixteen miles that takes place entirely on open city streets in and around downtown Los Angeles and Boyle Heights. There are some short but steep climbs, there may be traffic, and some of the roads are rough, but you will see the River and downtown as you never have before. (Unless, of course, you have been on any of our previous rides!)

We'll meet in Chinatown's Central Plaza, by the statue of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, and will stitch our way back and forth over classic Art Deco bridges, some of which are threatened with demolition in the next few years. The ride is easily accessible by Metro's Gold Line (Chinatown Station) or Red Line (Union Station) trains, or by bike; car access is a little more problematical but can be done, but the parking lots and structures, though numerous, are not immediately apparent. There is plenty of bus service as well. Here's a map.

This is a social ride, neither fast nor political, and all participants are responsible for their own safety. Dress well (it may be hot), keep an eye on the road, and ride politely. We will obey all CVC regulations, including actually stopping at red lights, and may pull over for photo opportunities, mechanicals, short lectures on local features, to regroup, or simply because someone is tired. Sturdy tires are recommended; aside from that, anything goes: cruisers, road bikes, fixies, custom randonneuses, whatever you got. So long as you can handle a few short climbs on it.

Past results do not guarantee future perfomrance, but the ride has always drawn a great bunch of folks.

Use our comments page if you have any questions.

And, this being Los Angeles, rain cancels....

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 12 Oct 2011 13:51:14 -0800 [link]  

Offsite Blogging XXXIII
This week, of course, I'm posting on CicLAvia, LA's open streets event, which took place last sunday, On Orange 20's blog, I show a few of the Faces of CicLAvia, and at Flying Pigeon I transmit a friend's request that the event's planners devote a little more attention to kids in An Open letter to CicLAvia.

Next week, I'll post some more on my Bay Area journey.

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 12 Oct 2011 12:22:58 -0800 [link]  

Monday, October 10th
A CicLAvia Sampler
Yesterday, Los Angeles liberated 10 miles of streets from Boyle Heights, South Los Angeles, and the Plaza to East Hollywood--by keeping cars out for five hours and making room for self-reliant residents to travel, play, and shop on their own power.

CicLAvia, LA's johnny-come-lately take on the ciclovías that Bogotá pioneered forty years ago, began only in October of last year. Yet it burgeoned into an instant success, with streets crowded by tens of thousands of cyclists, walkers, rollerskaters, and more in its first iteration, and drawing more and more participants--into the six figures--in April and October of this year.

Old and young, fat and thin, every race, every gender...hordes of happy people pedaling along free from the dread of being mowed down by oblivious motorists....

What this really shows is how much people want to bicycle on LA's, and how much our city's traffic policies restrict the population's freedom of choice in transportation. Ironically, this freedom, if allowed to be exercised, would result in huge savings to the city--bikes require far less room to operate and park than do cars, and don't wear out streets. Public health savings have also been shown to be considerable in cultures where cycling is prevalent.

Indeed, what CicLAvia shows is that we should have streets dedicated to bicycles only, streets connecting residential neighborhoods with employment and shopping areas, bikeways forming a comprehensive access network that will free our city's people from the structural mandate to drive a car.

Fewer people will then be compelled to own cars, and they can spend the money they save on local businesses that provide healthy, local employment--as CicLAvia riders were doing in great throngs, in crowded restaurants and shops along the route.

You'll see a few small samples of that festive freedom in the pictures below....

So how about it, City of Los Angeles? The people want it, demand is there...where is our network of bikeways? After all, we have miles of wide, oppressive car-only streets called "freeways" fragmenting our city. For the cost of one mile of urban four-lane freeway, we could build close to 300 miles of bikeways--as Portland has done.

And it's about time we did.

Richard Risemberg on Mon, 10 Oct 2011 11:04:33 -0800 [link]  

Thursday, October 6th
A Glory of Bikes in San Francisco

Gina and I were riding around San Francisco pretty much at random a few days ago, exploring the city and evaluating its bikeways wayfinding signs, when we ended up in Golden Gate Park.

Which we also rode through pretty much at random. It was a sweet cool sunny day, the dahlias were blooming around the Conservatory of Flowers, and folks were strolling or pedaling around contentedly while we roamed about with nothing much in mind except getting back to the hotel sooner or later.

So we turned down the park's John F. Kennedy Drive, since it headed towards the Golden Gate and a number of bikepath choices back to downtown, when we came upon the phenomenon Gina captured in the iPhone video at the upper left:

A vast array of temporary bike racks, almost entirely filled with thousands upon thousands of bikes. It was stunning. On and on we rode, around the gentle curve of the road, and it seemed never to end. When it finally did, we found we were at the entrance to the "Hardly Strictly Bluegrass" music festival, which was winding down that day.

In other words, as Gina noted, all this bike parking was not for a cycling event! And this wasn't even the only bike parking provided for the festival.... (Though it is true that several park roads were closed to cars for the occasion.)

San Francisco has been doing it right, These were not "enthusiast" or "lifestyle" cyclists--I doubt there are that many hardcore cyclists in SF--they were for the most part everyday folks who ride bicycles to get around, some or much of the time.

What a happy sight!

Well, I won't feel too bad for LA in comparison, as our own CicLAvia is coming this Sunday.

But that's a bicycling event, of course.

Richard Risemberg on Thu, 06 Oct 2011 20:27:06 -0800 [link]  

Offsite Blogging XXXII(a)
Well, Flying Pigeon LA's blog is back online, so you can punish yourself a little with another of my posts, this time on wayfinding in the Bay Area in Show Me a Sign....

Richard Risemberg on Thu, 06 Oct 2011 13:21:48 -0800 [link]  

Sunday, October 2nd
Offsite Blogging XXXII
With Flying Pigeon's website temporarily down (got hacked), you need suffer only one of my offsite blogging posts this week, and it is on San Francisco and its pretty good wayfinding signage. Click on over to Signs & Signals and see some of what I've been enjoying as I pedal round the Bay Are this week.

Richard Risemberg on Sun, 02 Oct 2011 10:02:02 -0800 [link]  

Saturday, October 1st
Another Clever Bike Rack
We all know that cyclists often park at parking meters, whether it's legal or not...I do it all the time, regretfully, but I do it. Even cities with lw bicycle usage, such as my own Los Angeles, are desperately undersupplied with bike parking. (Which is one reason they suffer low bicycle usage, after all!)

But up here in San Francisco, I saw a row of bike racks in the Financial District which actually seem inspired by parking meters! So of course I took a photo:

Knob top bike racks

While these can hold only one bike each, they still work quite nicely, and...perhaps the design could be modified to convert disused parking meters to bike racks on streets where paystations have been set up.

It might provide a simpler, cheaper way to provide bike parking in cash-poor US cities than the slipover rings I've seen used so far. The rings are superior, as they can park two bikes each, but if these knobs are cheaper we might see more of them.

It's good to have options. And a lot of inverted-U racks--the most often recommended type--can't really fit two bikes least not two bikes that have racks, basket, or pannier (or all of the above).

Even San Francisco, which I'm bicycling in this week for the first time, doesn't have enough bicycle parking. Every little bit extra will help a lot.

Bike lanes don't matter much if you can't park your bike safely when you get where you're going.

Richard Risemberg on Sat, 01 Oct 2011 09:30:04 -0800 [link]  

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