Bixi Goes Global

From Bixi:

After having won numerous awards for being the best system in the world, BIXI has now been recognized by two large metropolises as the public bike system par excellence.

The mayor of London announced today the granting of a contract to set up a public bike system project. The mandate was given to the London-based group Serco, in association with BIXI. The project foresees creating a network of 6,000 bikes, 400 docking stations and 10,000 docking points that will be in service by 2010. The system in London will adapt Montréal’s system in order to respond to the specific needs of the city of London.

As well, BIXI has been granted the mandate to set up and operate a BIXI system in central Boston as well as the right to negotiate to expand the system to neighbouring municipalities. Central Boston will be served by a network that includes 2,500 bikes, 290 stations and 3,750 docking points, with the potential to expand to a 5,000-bike system.

Read the full press release

Water By-Cycle

Casey Trees, an organization working to restore, enhance, and protect the tree canopy of Washington D.C., has initiated the nation’s first bicycle-powered program to water and care for a City’s trees. From their website:

Conceived as an environmentally responsible and more efficient way to reach trees located in neighborhoods with limited street parking, Water By-Cycle crew members will inspect, maintain and water Casey Trees-planted trees located in Bloomingdale, Columbia Heights, Dupont Circle, Eckington Park, Downtown, Embassy Row, Georgetown, and Mt. Pleasant. 

Water By-Cycle is comprised of street bikes and a custom 6′ cargo trailer carrying watering hoses, safety cones and tree care literature led by a full-time Bike Crew Chief and Casey Trees’ Urban Forestry High School Interns as part of their introduction to the work force and environmental careers. Water is accessed from City fire hydrants with permission from the DC Water and Sewage Authority and paid for by Casey Trees.

The Water By-Cycle program allows Casey Trees staff to get to tree planting locations faster — no fighting traffic or hunting for a legal parking space, better interact with the people on the street, and reminds vehicle and pedestrian street traffic to water trees on or surrounding their property with 25 gallons of water per tree per week — part of Casey Trees’ 25 to Stay Alive campaign.

Casey Trees

A Metamorphosis

I’m not going to say much other than the following link takes you to one of the most amazing bike transformations I’ve run across:

Fixed Gear Gallery: Grocery Getter

Just start at the top and scroll down slowly to see a real creative genius at work.

Thursday Morning Commute: Golden

If you’re wondering why I posted these morning commute photos this week, it’s because the sunrises have been so lovely, and each day they’ve been completely different. This morning, for example, the light had an intense golden hue that I haven’t seen in a very long time.

I’m also hoping these photos serve as a reminder that we’re not likely to have these kinds of experiences from behind the wheel of a car.

IF Club Racer Project: Getting Close

We’ve made good progress on the Independent Fabrication Club Racer project bike. I was able to take it out for a ride for the first time the other day. It’s a lovely bike. The frame is lively, the steering is precise, the drivetrain is crisp and accurate, and even though it’s not light by today’s racing bike standards, it’s relatively light compared to most of the bikes I’m accustomed to. The best feature of the bike is the fact that the frame is proportioned specifically to fit my body. It’s been a number of years since I’ve been on a custom frame and I had almost forgotten what an excellent fit feels like.

At this point I’m waiting on small parts and tires. As I was afraid of, the Honjo fenders are turning out to be anything but a simple bolt-on affair. The Club Racer is designed for relatively beefy tires (it is, after all, a “light touring” bike), but a 32mm Marathon Supreme, combined with a long reach Shimano caliper, is asking too much; the combination simply does not allow enough clearance for a Honjo fender on the front. The solution is to drop down to a 28mm Panaracer Pasela, but it will still require denting the fender to create enough clearance under the brake. I also have a fork crown daruma and a pair of Problem Solvers on the way which should simplify the process.

This is turning out to be an interesting bike. The build is quite eclectic and represents an almost odd mix of the retro and the new. That said, it all works together quite well, and with such a beautiful frame at the heart of it, it’s almost impossible to go wrong.

A number of people have asked how I’ll use the bike, and to be honest, I’m not quite sure yet. I suppose I’ll end up using it like I use most of my other bikes, for a mix of commuting, errands, light touring, and weekend joy rides.

Hopefully, the next post in the series will be on the completed bike. —Alan

The Car-Free Mayor

Photo © L.A. Times

Berkeley, CA mayor Tom Bates sold his car 4-months ago and has been car-free ever since. From the L.A. Times

As the noisy bus rumbles along San Pablo Avenue, Bates says his newly car-less life has been an education — once he got over the shock of seeing his empty driveway and thinking, “Damn! I made a mistake.”

Walking “opens up a whole new vista in seeing the city in a different way,” he enthuses. “The city is beautiful. I’ve fallen in love with spring again, and the flowers.”

Bates is a life-long environmentalist and one of the most eco-minded mayors in the country. Now we just need to get him on a bike!

Read the story in the Times

Free Fall

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