Lovely PA

We’ve spent the last couple of days in lovely Bucks County, PA, mostly in-and-around the charming little town of Doylestown. The area is oozing with history, the architecture is absolutely stunning, and the people have been warm and friendly; it’s a wonderful place to ride bikes and snap photos. The absence of CA-style sprawl and strip malls has been sooo refreshing. We have to say goodbye this evening, but we hope to return someday and explore the area in more depth.

Big Ol’ Jet Airliner

We burned a year’s worth of carbon for two people today. Yup, we got on a big-ol’-jet-airliner and flew coast-to-coast. This was a big deal for us because we’re pretty much homebodies most of the time, staying close to family and work, staying out of the car and off of airplanes, takin’ it easy on Mother Earth, etc. …LOL. We’re super-excited to be on this trip though; we’re doing a photo shoot for one of our favorite bike companies for their 2010 catalog. This will be Alan’s first official gig as a “professional” photographer (we’ll use that term loosely). We don’t have any idea where this adventure will lead (not this little adventure, the larger adventure of capturing images for compensation), but we’re having fun and stepping through a door that’s been opened for us. Stay tuned — we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled program in a few days.

Bike-to-School Bans

I’m sorry, but the wrong-headedness of this is mind-boggling. From Streetsblog:

As schools across the country open their doors for another year, Robert Ping of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership says students are increasingly facing “bans” against walking and biking to campus.

Even though they have no jurisdiction over students prior to their arrival at school, an increasing number of school administrators are discouraging students from riding or walking to school, some going so far as to remove bicycle parking facilities. Reportedly the concern is liability, but this also appears to be yet another symptom of our tendency in America to over-protect our children, while actually causing harm in the process. I wonder if it dawned on any of these over-zealous administrators to look at the statistics? If they did, they would be encouraging biking and walking and discouraging parents from driving their children to school.


One Piece of the Puzzle

Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), wrote an interesting piece for Slate titled What Would Get Americans Biking to Work? (Decent parking).

Bicycle parking is an overlooked, and often serious problem in many places where bicycle use is on the rise. Even in world-famous bike-friendly cities such as Copenhagen, bike parking is not meeting demand. From the article:

Of course, even in a bicycling paradise like Copenhagen, bicycle parking is hardly ideal. “Parking is the last great challenge in a bike culture,” as Mikael Colville-Andersen, who writes the Copenhagenize blog, told me. In its 2004 “Traffic and Environment Plan,” the city of Copenhagen, noting that bike parking wasn’t even assessed until 2001 (when it was found there were 2,900 spaces in the historic center), declared: “Only one third of cyclists are satisfied with their options for parking their bicycles and other road users, particularly walkers, are increasingly annoyed by parked cycles.”

Bike commuting rates have been directly linked to the availability of secure bike parking, so it’s imperative that bike parking is given serious consideration along with other infrastructure improvements. In many cities across the country, bicycle parking is not tied to the actual number of potential bike commuters in the area, so availability can be extremely spotty. Fortunately, we’re starting to see a few cities look at the problem more seriously, with Portland leading the way (no surprise). Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Los Angeles (among others) also have plans in the works to improve their bike parking facilities.

As important as it is, bike parking is only one piece in the bike commuting puzzle. We also need more and better separated facilities, comprehensive training programs, better integration with transit, and work-related transportation benefits on the level of what we see for motorists and transit riders.

Read the Article in Slate

Gallery: Alan’s Independent Fabrication Club Racer

Our Independent Fabrication Club Racer project bike is essentially complete. Specs are as follows:

  • Frame: Independent Fabrication Steel Club Racer
  • Handlebar: Nitto Noodle 177
  • Stem: Ricthey Pro 26.0 100mm 107 degree
  • Brake Levers: Cane Creek SCR5 Ergo
  • Brakes: Shimano BR650 Long Reach
  • Headset: Chris King 1-1/18″ No-Thread
  • Crankset: Shimano R600 Compact
  • Shifters: 9spd Dura-Ace Bar-Ends
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano FDR770 flat-bar designed long throw (best for bar ends)
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra RD6600-GS SL med long cage
  • Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 9spd 12-27
  • Chain: SRAM PC991 Hollow Pin
  • Gear Housing: Shimano Dura-Ace
  • Brake Housing: Jagwire braided compressionless
  • Front Wheel: Shimano Alfine Dyno 32h hub, Mavic A719 Touring rim, DB 2.0/1.8 DT Competition Black spokes
  • Rear Wheel: Shimano Ultegra 6600 36h 10spd/9spd hub, Mavic A719 Touring rim, DB 2.0/1.8 DT Competition Black spokes
  • Tires: Panaracer Pasela TG 700x28c
  • Fenders: Honjo Fluted
  • Seat Post: Nitto Lugged
  • Saddle: Selle An-Atomica Titanico

Many thanks to Rick at Gold Country Cyclery for all of his work on this project. If you want to work on a build like this with one of the most knowledgeable mechanics around, give Rick a call.

The Economic Benefits of Bicycle Infrastructure Investments

The League of American Bicyclists’ recent policy research report, The Economic Benefits of Bicycle Infrastructure Investments, contains some real gems. Here’s a sampling:

  • The bicycling industry contributes an $133 billion a year to the U.S. economy.
  • The bicycling industry supports 1.1 million jobs and generates $17.7 billion in federal, state, and local taxes.
  • $46.9 billion is spent annually during bike trips and tours.
  • North Carolina’s Outer Banks spent $6.7 million on bicycle infrastructure and they’ve seen an annual nine-to-one return on that one-time investment.
  • In 2000, Quebec’s La Route Verte generated $95.4 million, corresponding to approximately 2,000 jobs and $15.1 million in tax revenue.
  • As a result of policies to encourage bicycling and maintain urban density, Portland residents travel 2.9 billion fewer miles and spend 100 million fewer hours, saving $2.6 billion a year.
  • A 2009 Portland study found that a disproportionate share of the bicycling occurred on streets with bicycle lanes, separate paths, or bicycle boulevards and concluded that the data support the need for well-connected neighborhood streets and a network of bicycle-specific infrastructure to encourage more bicycling among adults.
  • A 2006 Minneapolis study shows that 83 percent of the time cyclists will choose a longer route if it includes a bike lane, and respondents were willing to add 20 minutes onto their trip in order to use a bicycle trail instead of riding on roads with facilities next to parked cars.
  • An NHTSA study found that Urban households without a car, bicycle to work nearly three-and-a-half times more often than households with one car.
  • In urban areas bike lanes can accommodate 7 to 12 times as many people per meter of lane per hour than car lanes.
  • For the cost of repaving 3 miles of rough pavement on Interstate 710, CalTrans could sign and stripe 1,250 miles of California roads for bike lanes.
  • Along San Francisco’s Valencia Street, two-thirds of merchants surveyed four-and-a-half years after bike lanes were painted said that the lanes had a positive overall impact on their business.
  • A 2009 study of Bloor Street in Toronto found that people who biked and walked to the area spent more money than those who drove there.
  • A study of home values near the Monon Trail in Indianapolis, Ind. showed that homes within a half mile of the Trail gained an 11% increase in value.
  • Researcher Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute estimates that replacing a car trip with a bike trip saves individuals and society $2.73 per mile.
  • A 30 percent mode-share in the U.S. would lead to an estimated savings of $163.8 billion a month (nearly two trillion dollars a year).
  • According to the Texas Transportation Institute, gridlock costs the average peak period traveler almost 40 hours a year in travel delay, and costs the United States more than $78 billion each year.
  • The results of a study of 33 large U.S. cities showed that each additional mile of bicycle lane is associated with an approximate one-percent increase in the share of bike-to-work trips.

The full report is well worth a read.

The Economic Benefits of Bicycle Infrastructure Investments

Violet Crown Ma Ferguson

Here’s a real beaut’ fresh out of the Violet Crown shop. Sweet.

Violet Crown Cycles

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