Amsterdamize


Pedaling Hard
July 23, 2008, 1:12 am
Filed under: amsterdamize, news, special | Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve just about finished working on two new interweb homes for Amsterdamize:

The first will show a new design, but the same familiar content, text, photos and videos. I created the second (Amsterdamize : Bicycle TV) for your convenience, so you can browse through all of the videos in one place. Much better, I think.

Things left to do, which will probably take a few days:

  • Automatically redirecting you and other visitors from the ‘old’ blog to the new one
  • Transferring the rest of the extensive blogroll and other info
  • Tweaking quite a few posts for optimal performance

Things for further consideration:

  • If you’re subscribed through this feed, you don’t have to worry about changing it for the new blog, it’s still the same one
  • You can now also opt to just subscribe exclusively to the videos through the Bicycle TV RSS feed, iTunes or Miro.

Special note: I’d like to thank NunoXEI for creating that amazingly fitting logo for the new blog. I owe you one, my friend!

Let me know what you think of it all! I appreciate suggestions and ideas!

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Building Momentum
July 8, 2008, 10:45 am
Filed under: news, video | Tags: , , , , ,

Back to the future! I watched this last night, but couldn’t for the life of me find the real video embed stuff (way to go MSNBC!). No panic, of course another bike blogger would’ve seen it too! Bingo:

On so many levels this has never happened to me:
1. I watched the news and felt upbeat and excited afterwards
2. I watched the news and two stories (1 & 2) in a row were showing what used to be ‘alternative’ ideas as mainstream.
3. I watched the news because I turned it on, and I didn’t walk away
Thank goodness I was waiting for Hub to get ready to go get his bike at the shop or these great things would have never have happened to me.

 

building a bicycle infrastructure in Boston

building a bicycle infrastructure in Boston

I think this news item is good, but when it comes to exposure, building awareness and promoting usage, the web is already light years ahead. I just know the cycle phenomenon has grown way bigger in the US than most assume right now. It’s just a sad state of affairs that one still needs acknowledgment from the MSM to feel legit, public scrutiny and all.

(Speaking of scrutiny: no, I couldn’t even embed the video on Amsterdamize. The code is not compatible. But I’m happy linking you to a fellow bicycle nut…)



Links with your coffee – Saturday
June 28, 2008, 1:05 pm
Filed under: amsterdamize, news | Tags: , , ,

Sent in by faithful reader Gabemac:

  • Turn signal biking jacket
    “This tutorial will show you how to build a jacket with turn signals that will let people know where you’re headed when you’re on your bike. We’ll use conductive thread and sewable electronics so your jacket will be soft and wearable and washable when you’re done. Enjoy!”

World

UK

  • The Big Question: Is Britain really getting on its bike and turning into a nation of cyclists?
    “Why are we asking this now?Because cycling’s time has come – or so it seems from a flurry of initiatives sweeping the country as politicians and planners wake up to what is increasingly seen as the transport of the future.

    So how do we compare with the Continent?
    “Cycling on the Continent is embedded in the culture – in northern European cities, anyway. There are reckoned to be as many bikes as there are people in the Netherlands, and anyone who has visited Amsterdam will know that cycling there is the norm, while car-driving is, relatively speaking, a fringe activity. Road design, and the conduct of drivers, reflects this balance. The bike has priority over the car, whereas in British cities, it remains the other way round. The result is an abiding perception of danger that continues to dissuade people from taking up commuting by bike.”

Europe

North-America

  • Baby steps for bicycle lanes
  • Bicycle interest on the move
    “Irvin said he even sold bicycles to a couple who plans to abandon their automotive ways. “They were selling their cars and … using that money to buy the bikes.”
  • Not all new customers have gone that far, but Walt’s manager Sarah Ashman said there has been high interest in bikes for commuting to work.”

  • Bicycle lanes: do it right or don’t do it at all
  • Commuters ditching cars for bikes, foot power
    “Those who bicycle say they get benefits beyond just buffeting their budgets from gasoline prices.”It’s the fastest way to get to work. Compared to Muni, it takes half the time,” said Tumlin. “I bike because I can change my route and stop off and run errands and see people along the way. It is great exercise and I find a significant difference in my productivity when I bike to work. I am smarter when I bike. I’m more patient when I bike.”

Asia

Australia



Links with your coffee – Saturday
June 21, 2008, 1:02 pm
Filed under: news | Tags: , , , ,

Sent in by Amsterdamize faithful NunoXEI:

  • Google’s Sexy Bicycle Giveaways and Africa’s Versatile Bike Trucks
    “The Internet search engine company Google, now a reputable green icon with its solar powered Mountainview headquarters, last year gave away bicycles to its staff in Europe, Asia and Africa as part of its efforts to reduce the impact of transportation on the environment.”

    “In Africa, bicycles to those who can afford them are everything and never to come in sexy, trendy models as those Google, or the Swedish furniture maker, Ikea, were offering their staff for free. Versatility is everything and depending on where you are, a bicycle can be a large farm truck or an ambulance saving lives deep in the African jungle.” 
  • Bicycling in Peru: An Art of Adaptation
    “In some places in Peru it is just as common to see people bicycling as it is driving cars. Most Peruvians cannot afford cars and for this reason, bicycles provide an excellent, inexpensive means of quick transportation. Peruvians also are masters at modifying their bicycles in creative ways so that they can be used to transport goods and tools for their work and businesses. Fruits, vegetables, construction materials, ice cream, meat, bananas, pets, and countless other items can be transported by bicycle, when a cart has been added. Unlike in the United States though, these aren’t your everyday bicycle carts.”

More links:

  • Germany Looks to Boost Biking as Europe Pedals Past
    “Germany wants to double its bicycle traffic by 2012. While breaking Germany’s car addiction has proved a major challenge, other European cities have shown it’s possible to make the switch.”
  • Wheeling Out A New Idea For Commuters (Canada)
    “Montrealers will get to try North America’s first self-serve bicycle rental system as early as this fall, said André Lavallée, the city’s executive committee member in charge of transportation.
    The new system will feature public bike stations set up across the city where commuters will be able to use a credit card, rent a bike for a minimal fee and then drop it off at a second station near their intended destination.” 
  • As oil prices soar, for-hire bikes make US debut
    “In the next few months, the US federal capital, Washington DC, will be the first city in the United States to have a two-wheeled transport solution unveiled under its nose.A rival of Jean-Claude Decaux, whose Velib are popular on Paris streets, Clear Channel Outdoor is bringing the biking scheme stateside. The US company also hopes to branch out into other US cities soon such as Minneapolis, Albuquerque and Portland, Oregon.”
  • Taste the freedom that comes with bicycling (Australia, Dreams On Wheels Exhibition)
    “”It’s a bit like how having a car is a status symbol in some countries – do you have a red Porsche or a white Peugeot? In Denmark, if you have a Christiana bike (a trike which can carry children, weights and loads), or a Biomega cycle, you’re saying who you are.” 
  • Her dream quest: Woman and her children bike to Maine to fulfill lifelong yearning
    “I don’t see many problems,” she says in the days before departure. “We’re going to camp and meet people. Can’t you just imagine people along the way offering you dinner or a place to camp? I think those people exist out there and we’re going to meet them.”
  • Quotes About Cycling (hat tip to Cyclelicio.us)
    “I thought of that while riding my bike.” — Albert Einstein, on the theory of relativity

    “At that age, it’s one of the worse things in the world to wake up and not see your bike where you left it.” — Hip-hop star 50 Cent, real name Curtis Jackson, on the theft of his childhood bike 

    “The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.” — Iris Murdoch, ‘The Red and the Green’

    “I hope that cycling in London will become almost Chinese in its ubiquity.” — Boris Johnson, The Guardian, March 18, 2006

    “If you brake, you don’t win.” — Mario Cipollini

    “Bicycles are almost as good as guitars for meeting girls.” — Bob Weir, Grateful Dead

    “Cyclists…are the gods of the road.” — Actor, Nigel Havers, ‘The Daily Mail’, 13th June 2006 



A’dam Cycle News
June 12, 2008, 4:56 pm
Filed under: news, special | Tags: , , , ,

Here are some excerpts from regular/local Amsterdam and Dutch national news outlets. (The English translations are mine.)

From our local newspaper Het Parool: (published from the national press agency ANP)

Tree Root Pressure On Sarphatistraat Dealt With
“Good news for all cyclists who frequently commute via Sarphatistraat. For years they got ‘launched’ by the bump in the road near the Amsterdam-Amstelland Police Academy. As of this week, however, the bump is gone. Finito. Disappeared.
map
According to Denise Juthan of the Communication Department of the city of Amsterdam, these bumps were caused by ‘root pressure’. The tree roots alongside Sarphatistraat’s bike lane were pushing up the asphalt. Having received many complaints about this over a long period of time, the bigger ‘thorny’ problems are now dealt with. First locally, and next year the smaller bumps will also be taken care of during the city’s ‘general maintenance’ round, putting down all new asphalt.”

Amsterdam Bike Theft Probability Goes Down
AMSTERDAM – Most Amsterdammers won’t risk it anyway. Their brand new bikes will stay indoors and for their commutes downtown their old and rusty bike will do the trick. Yet, the odds for bike theft are declining, municipal research shows.

Transporation official Tjeerd Herrema announced that the risk of having your bike stolen is now hovering at 8 procent. In 2001 that percentage was twice as high. The city counsel is aiming for 6 procent in the next few years. diefstal

According to the counsel, one of the most important means to battle the bike thiefs is the Amsterdamse Fiets Afhandel Centrale (AFAC), roughly translated into ‘Amsterdam Bicycle Processing Center’. All bikes that are removed or found are processed here, registered and referenced whether they have been stolen.

This program has put Amsterdam ahead of the curve, but other cities like Zwolle, Tilburg, IJmond also initiated such a center. Nijmegen is about to start one.

Amsterdam has about 550.000 bikes that are actively used. The AFAC has so far registered, cross-checked and coded 25% of them. Once it’s established a bike was stolen, it will be returned to the rightful owner.

‘British Designated Biker Often Pissed Drunk’ 
AMSTERDAM – Els Iping (Labour Party), chair woman of the City Center Counsel, is declaring war on the Bike Cafe. This vehicle, which can carry 10 to 17 people at a time and enables drinking while biking, will shortly be banned from the city center. According to the chair woman, the riding cafe is causing too much trouble in the inner city of Amsterdam.

 

Iping decided to intervene after the police had confirmed the increasing number of complaints about loud and drunk British tourists, wobbling into people and traffic.

Their presence in the city is growing, going by the names of The Bike Cafe, The Ladies Bar (my link insertion to my video post) and The Corny Bike Cafe.

Officially, the beer bike is not supposed to be steered under the influence. At least one person in the group needs to be sober. “However”, says Iping, “reality shows us that the British designated biker is also pissed drunk. Even if he/she is not, they are aggravating and hindering other cyclists at an unacceptable level.”

On Iping’s initiative, the Justice Department, police and City Center Counsel have decided to ban the bike cafes.



The Big 3-7
June 6, 2008, 10:36 pm
Filed under: amsterdamize, news, photos | Tags: , , , , , ,
 

bikes of Amsterdam, originally uploaded by stjerne.

I was so preoccupied running around the interwebs, I forgot it was 23 minutes past midnight. I’ve already turned 37 years young. That deserves a fitting picture, especially on this new blog of mine.

Will decide this weekend on the how/where/when to celebrate this momentous occasion..:)

Update: I just have to post this great article from The Independent, with one particular excerpt:

‘Wheel life: A guide to Britain’s new bike tribes’

There are more bicyles on Britain’s roads than ever before – and in more shapes, sizes and styles. But who’s who in the nation’s new bike tribes?

The Tribe: Sit-up-and-beg Brigade
The Rider: Sian Emmison
The Bike: Bobbin Playbike

Riding traditional uprights is all about sitting up and cruising around town serenely – not tearing around with your head down. It’s not aerodynamic but we’re not interested in speed so much as comfort and style.

My bike has really wide handlebars which I can hang all my shopping from, and I’ve got a lovely straw pannier on the back.

You get a weird cross-section of people who go for uprights. There are young retro girls who want a bike to go with the whole vintage look, Europeans who are used to that style of bike, older people who want a bike like the one they used to ride, and trendy kids who want something vintage but edgy, painted in bright colours.

I’m a retro girl. I wear a lot of vintage clothes on my bike and can even cycle in a skirt and a mac.

My bike really sums up my values – it’s all about looking old-fashioned but being modern. Pashleys fall into the same category but I think the bikes are a bit square to be honest – people who look like librarians ride them.

Pashley or Bobbin – we all tend to get ignored on the road, especially by couriers who hate us because we’re always going too slowly for them. They just act like we’re not there! 



Good & Bad News from Arizona
June 2, 2008, 9:10 am
Filed under: news | Tags: , , ,

At least once a week I try to lift something from the bike news feeds that is either remarkable, uplifting, alarming or just informative. Today I bring your attention to an article from the Arizona Republic that brings both good and bad news. First the good part (excerpts):

Valley commuters rediscover bikes

As gas costs rise, firms move to accommodate workers who cycle 

Skyrocketing gas prices are prompting more commuters to try bicycling to work – or at least to the nearest bus stop.

Several Valley cycle shops report higher sales of commuter models and demand for tuneups on bikes that have been gathering dust in back rooms or garages.

“We don’t have good data because so few cities do bicycle counts,” said R.S. Matt, spokesman for the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists and a Phoenix resident. “But you see more of them in the streets, and we’re getting lots of calls for bicycle education.”

The trip takes 90 minutes, but Zhang, 59, said it’s worth the time considering gas prices, environmental issues and health benefits.

Since he started cycling to and from bus stops three years ago, his cholesterol level dropped from over 200 to 120, and his body-mass index is a healthy 20.

Alan Blackmore, an employee with Global Bikes in Chandler said sales of commuter models have climbed 25 to 50 percent in recent months.

Some customers mention fuel costs, but most claim they’re trading gas pedals for bicycle pedals for the health and fitness benefits, he said.

With so many novices calling his organization for information, Matt said he spends a lot of time handing out safety advice: Obey traffic laws, wear bright clothing and a helmet. He expects a slowdown during the summer months because few employers offer shaded bicycle lockers or showers. 

…etc
Now the bad part: so much potential, but these good people let themselves be marginalized by bicycle myths! Also illustrated by the article’s tips on the side: 

Tips for bicycle commuting

  • Plan your route, selecting, where possible, wide roads with less traffic. Take a weekend test ride to spot hazards. Time the trip.
  • Be safe and predictable. Wear a helmet and signal turns.
  • Dress to commute; avoid wearing sandals or high heels. Ankle straps can keep pant legs out of gears.
  • Have the bike tuned and checked. Carry a tire pump, patch kit and small tool kit. Know how to repair a flat or fix a chain.
  • Pack briefcase, lunch or clothes in front or rear rack, backpack, basket, saddle bag, seat bag or a trailer. Secure cargo with bungee cord if necessary.

See the bad part? People from Arizona who read this article might get jazzed up about the option of biking (as it makes more sense financially, for their health and socially), but quickly find more and more excuses (obstacles) NOT to proceed and actually do it. 

We need to brake that spell. Push harder, show the alternatives (less is more), because people deserve better.

Update: this is extraordinary:

High Gas Prices Cause Bike Shortages in N.Y.

‘They’re All Gone. It’s Wicked.’