A few snaps from today’s errand run. It felt nice to get out of the house and breathe some fresh air after a weekend full of indoor holiday festivities. Did you get in a ride today?
I’ve ridden bicycles nearly my entire life. I started early, and unlike most people, when the time came to get interested in cars and “put away childish things”, I never lost interest in bikes. Here I am, many years later, and though my priorities have changed, bicycles still hold a special place in my heart and mind.
I grew up in a small town. To me and my ragtag troop, bikes represented freedom and joy. Year in and year out, we rode all over the countryside, riding wheelies, jumping through drainage ditches, riding no-handed with a Snickers bar in one hand and a Dr. Pepper in the other, just traveling and looking for adventure wherever the bicycle took us.
As a young adult, club riding and racing became my primary focus. Bicycles became a way to sow my competitive oats while spending time with friends and meeting new people. They became more of a vehicle for socialization than a vehicle to get somewhere or accomplish something concrete. In other words, they became a piece of gear—a “sporting good” if you will—rather than a tool or a mode of transportation.
Finally, I’ve come full circle to a point where bicycles are once again about freedom, independence, and transportation. As well as being a way to get around, for me, bicycles also represent the freedom associated with self-reliance, individuality, and sustainability. They get me out of the car and off of the freeways while saving me a significant amount of money. They maximize the usefulness of my commute by providing exercise and mental refreshment. They provide a sense of satisfaction that can only be obtained by getting around purely on my own physical efforts.
Through all of this, I’ve had a love affair with bicycles as works of art and craft. Their simple elegance and unrivaled efficiency have always amazed me. There’s still nothing quite like the subtle curvature of a well-designed handlebar, or the geometric patterns created by a spoked wheel juxtaposed against a handmade diamond frame. After all these years, bicycles still spark my imagination more than any other man-made object, and they continue to be intertwined in the fabric of my daily life.
We’ll be taking a few days off to spend time with family. Have a wonderful holiday!
—Alan & Michael
We’re terribly disappointed to report that Renaissance Bicycles is closing up shop. From the Renaissance website:
Renaissance Bicycles will be closing the virtual Shop doors on December 31st, 2010. We are extremely appreciative to all of our supporters and suppliers who made this venture possible. We hope they can carry on the spirit of “renaissancing” and continue to appreciate the virtues of well crafted steel bikes.
For the immediate future, the website will function as a way for us to sell off the remaining inventory. Select Closeout Inventory link from the left menu to view the items available for sale.
And if you would like to know more about our difficult decision to close the business, please visit our News page.
Again, thanks and best wishes to all in the New Year.
— Bryan, Kyndra, Grayson, and Carina
We want to thank Renaissance for the generous support they’ve provided as a sponsor of EcoVelo. It’s been an honor and a pleasure working with them over the past couple of years.
We wish Bryan and family all the best in their future endeavors!
—Alan & Michael
Here’s our “Why I Ride” Photo Contest Grand Prize winner Mitchell Connell on his new Civia Midtown. For those who missed the contest back in October, Mitchell took top honors over nearly 300 photographers. His prize consisted of the Civia Midtown pictured here as well as a grab bag of cool accessories from our other contest sponsors.
Many thanks to Civia for donating the bike for our contest, and congratulations to Mitchell on his much deserved win. It looks like he’s having a great time with his new bike!
The Mayor of London’s Transport for London report was recently published and the numbers look good: the number of bicyclists passing count points increased by 5% between 2008/09 and 2009/10; and bicycle ridership into central London at peak commute times increased by 123% between 2001 and 2009.
The report contains an entire section on the “Year of Cycling” initiative. Data for the Barclays Cycle Hire bike-sharing program is particularly interesting. From the report:
Barclays Cycle Hire was launched in July 2010 for members, and currently comprises approximately 5,000 bicycles and 350 docking stations, spread across 45 square kilometres in the centre of London.
In total, more than 100,000 people have signed up as members of the scheme, making an average of around 20,000 journeys on the bicycles every day. More than 1.7 million journeys had been completed by 19 November 2010.
Most of those using Barclays Cycle Hire do so regularly, with eight in ten using the scheme at least once a week and two in ten using the scheme five days a week or more.
Barclays Cycle Hire has attracted people who were not previously cycling in London, many of whom have now started to cycle frequently; six in ten scheme users surveyed in September and October 2010 had taken up cycling in the last three months.
The fact that 6-in-10 bike-share users have taken up bicycling in the past three months is very encouraging!