January 28, 2009

Are Helmet Laws turning Aussies off of Bicycling?

Are they lazy?

Are they Cost Conscious?

Are they afraid of making the wrong fashon statement?

Statistician and avid cyclist Dorothy Robinson has pondered this conundrum.

She reckons that repealing laws passed in the 1990s requiring cyclists to wear helmets would get bikes out of garages and onto the roads.

Robinson noted that in the two years after the law was passed, bicycle use was halved.  

Cyclists find the laws a bother because helmets are expensive, easily stolen, mess up your hair and are of marginal help in reducing injuries in traffic accidents.

No one looks better in a helmet.

The reasons are probably as numerous as the cyclists. ;-D

No-one looks better?

How would you look after an accident w/o a helmet?

Yes, one might not help much in certain accidents, but...

I prefer to use a helmet rather than have no protection at all.

For more - Monsters & Critics.

Robinson wrote her piece in 2006, I learned, from a Google Search, and one must either be a member of the site, or buy the article to read it in full.

January 28, 2009 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 11, 2009

No Radical Safety Improvement in 2009 Class of Bicycle Helmets?

The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute has released the following:

Helmets for 2009
 
We have posted our review of helmets being sold in 2009.

It covers trends, new developments and individual models.
 
In brief, there is no radical safety improvement this year that would
compel you to replace your current helmet. Almost all of the helmets
we describe meet standards and offer good if not excellent protection.

There are new helmets in 2009 that are worth a look if you need a new
one. There are more new models appearing with the rounder, smoother
profile that we think is best when you crash. The legally required
CPSC standard ensures good protection in the US market. Without
comparative test data we usually do not know if a model exceeds the
requirements of the standard and offers superior protection. We hope
for a new article from Consumer Reports during 2009 with some test
data on the current crop of helmets.

The rounder, smoother "compact," "city," "urban" or "commuter" models
that we recommend are still growing in number, and most manufacturers
have at least one in their lineup now. The higher priced helmets have
big vents, but no verifiable advantage in impact performance.

There are no new radical impact materials in bicycle helmets this
year. Strap adjustment fittings--buckles and side pieces--badly need
improvement. Most of them slip too easily. Ring fit systems, the "one
size fits all" solution, have taken over for most of the less
expensive and mid-range models.

We still recommend looking for a helmet that:

1. Meets the CPSC bicycle helmet standard.
2. Fits you well.
3. Has a rounded, smooth exterior with no major snag points.
4. Has no more vents than you need. More vents = less foam.

We have a long list of rounder, smoother helmets for 2009, and
sections on Value Helmets, Extra Large Helmets, Extra Small Helmets,
Helmets for Rounder Heads, Helmets for Narrow Heads, "Women-Specific"
Designs, Made in USA Helmets, Models available outside the US,
Cooling performance, Prices and a very long section describing almost
all of the helmets you will see on the 2009 market.

As always, we appreciate feedback!
 
___________________________________________


The Helmet Update - Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
Randy Swart, Editor - randy@helmets.org
4611 Seventh Street South
Arlington, VA 22204-1419
(703) 486-0100
info@helmets.org 
Website
 
Previous Newsletter Issues


Helmets are an important accessory for all Bicyclists, and the institute is one of the many great resources out there for useful information.

January 11, 2009 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 04, 2009

Former Pol has D'oh Moment While Out for a Bike Ride

So there's this former Fort Lauderdale city commissioner, see...

Recently he had his bike snatched while trying to help at a car crash!.

Tim Smith said he saw the traffic accident while cycling.

So he leaves his bike on the sidewalk and rushes to help.

After finding no-one to be hurt, he went to retrieve his bike, and noticed something very peculiar...

 No bike!

To add insult to injury, Smith — as a commissioner — was one of those responsible for a citywide bike registration program that helps the cops track stolen bikes...

But, um, when he called the police to report his own stolen bike...he had to admit it was not registered.

Can you say OOPS! ?

I KNEW you could! ;-D

From AP Story = Man who aided bicycle theft plan has bike stolen

January 4, 2009 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 14, 2008

New Specialized Concept Store to open in Palos Verdes

In the words of the Press Release:

PV Bicycle Center was already arguably the best bike retailer in the entire South Bay area of Los Angeles. Well known for having a state-of-the-art Specialized certified professional bicycle fitting studio, enthusiasts are more than willing to take the scenic trip up Hawthorne Blvd to visit with proprietor Steve Bowen and talk about the racing or touring scene.

Yeah, so?

Maybe some folks were whining...What have ya done for us lately? or something... because there have been some changes in them thar hills lately. ;-D

They have moved 1/2 mile from their original location into a new, state-of-the-art stand-alone retail space located at the intersection of Hawthorne & Silver Spur,  at the 4B Peninsula Center, in
Rolling Hills Estates.

On the weekend of November 21-23 there will be a Huge Ass Shindig to acquaint SoCal Cyclists with what the place now has to offer.

Something about a "Completely New Retail Experience in this latest Specialized Concept Store."

PV Bicycle Center will change all your impressions about bike retail environments and set the standard for the future.  Then, during this grand opening weekend, there will be a bicycle cornucopia of events, games, group rides, prizes, free stuff, demonstrations, industry super stars, and fun for everyone in the family.

There will be rides around the area every day, and on Saturday...

From 12:00 - 5:00 there will be booths set up in a mini exhibition of leading edge products for all your cycling needs.  Expected exhibitors include Specialized, Look, Raleigh, Mavic, Kona, Fluid Nutrition, Bonk, Sigma, Easton, and Ennervit.  Learn about new product breakthroughs and ways to enjoy the sport even more than you already do.  Free samples and special sales offers are also part of the day.

PRESS RELEASE with all the details: Fun Filled Grand Opening Party at PV Bicycle Center in Palos Verdes California

Visit the PV Bicycle Center Website.

November 14, 2008 in Cycling News Network, EVENT GUIDE (California and Selective Others) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 09, 2008

Obama on a Bike Ride, Will McCain be Far Behind?

Bho_bikes

You knew this was going to happen sooner or later, admit it. ;-D

Just count your lucky stars Hillary didn't win the nomination. ;-D

There I am watching the news, this morning, when this story shows up.

Barack Hussein Obama on a Bicycle!

The first question is: Is this just a cute photo op to show that he's one with us regular folks, or does he actually ride regularly, and care about issues important to bicyclists?

The 2nd question is: What's he doing riding a mountain bike, and not a hybrid?

UPDATE - 6/10: As can be seen by the 1st comment below...I may stand corrected! Um, hee, hee!

As regular readers have long known...I've made no secret that I'm no expert on all things bicycling.

In asking the question I was hoping to get some possible answers on exactly WHAT he was riding, from readers. ;-D

Thanks to, to LAist, for the link, and for a larger, better, picture that confirms the brand name, and for this glasses wearing Conservative, that the tires ain't knobbies, hee, hee! ;-D

The 3rd question comes from seeing the image below: Is his back tire going flat, and if so did he get it fixed?

Pres_cyclists

In recent years we've been treated to Presidential candidates, and the President, tooling aroung the countryside on bicycles.

I suppose we should count our lucky stars that none of them have taken up Rollerblading, or Skateboarding. ;-D

So, is there anything on his Official Website even remotely related to Bicycling?

What about John McCain?

I am a Republican (One who has never owned a car, BTW, and walks, bikes, or uses transit to go everywhere!), and plan to vote for McCain, but Bicycling Issues are extremely important to me, and what the candidates say, have said, and have done, related to Bicycling, is extremely important to Cyclists of all varieties, and all political persuasians.

I went looking so you don't have to! ;-D

On the Obama Site I found something. ;-D

From page 3 of a document with this imposing subject: Strengthening America's Transportation Infrastructure - Investing in 21st Century Transportation.

Strengthen Metropolitan Planning to Cut Down Traffic Congestion:

Our communities will better serve all of their residents if we are able to leave our cars, to walk, bicycle and have access other transportation alternatives.

As president, Barack Obama will re-evaluate the transportation funding process to ensure that
smart growth considerations are taken into account.

Obama will build upon his efforts in the Senate to ensure that more Metropolitan Planning Organizations create policies to incentivize greater bicycle and pedestrian usage of roads and sidewalks.

As president, Obama will work to provide states and local governments with the resources they need to address sprawl and create more livable communities.

So, um, is there anyone out there who can verify that he DID make "efforts in the Senate to ensure that more Metropolitan Planning Organizations create policies to incentivize greater bicycle and pedestrian usage of roads and sidewalks" ?

What's his record in his home state?

On the Official Website of John McCain I found no Issues Subject titled Transportation, and a search for anything with the words Bicycle, or Bicycling, in it turned up...no documents.

Is there anyone out there who can tell us what he's done for cyclists, nationally in the Senate, and in his home state?

***UPDATE - 6/24***

Matt O'Toole, of the Blog of the Va. Bicycle Federation, has taken my report and pedaled a few blocks farther with it, in an interesting, and informative follow-up.

Check it out.

***END UPDATE***

June 9, 2008 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 21, 2008

BART Says Welcome to Folding Bikes in Bay Area

Larry Lagarde, of Ride This Bike, reports:

Thinking about cycling in the San Francisco area? Here's some good news for you. Bay Area Rapid Transit is actually encouraging mass transit users to take folding bikes aboard their BART light rail network.

BART recently released a video profiling a woman cyclist that uses her folding bike in combination with rides on BART to commute and get around. The video is part of BARTtv News, an effort to communicate with more potential transit users via the Internet.

Larry links to the video, and includes the transcript of the story in case it doesn't work.

This a great news for users of Mass Transit in the Bay Area.

May 21, 2008 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 04, 2008

Hailing a 21st Century Rickshaw in Toronto, for Free

Eco_cab According to Wikipedia:

"Cycle rickshaws are Human-powered, often used on a for hire basis, equipped with one or more seats for carrying passengers in addition to the driver.

Cycle rickshaws are widely used in major cities around the world and are usually found in major urban centers, tourist attractions, and events that draw large crowds. Many cycle rickshaws have replaced less-efficient rickshaws that are pulled by a person on foot."

Wikipedia has some great info, including about where the contraprions are actually prohibited, and photos of different styles from around the world.

Cycle rickshaws are found in most large European cities, and have been gaining footholds in America, in New York, and CA..

The latest entry has just begun operation in Toronto, Canada, and won't charge a dime (or whatever the money in Canada is called!).

The above photo accompanied a story on Intelligent Traveller, which is one of two blogs I found that have reported on this.

Apparently this version, called an EcoCab, "runs mostly on a trained driver’s pedal-power, and is powered by a rechargeable electric battery".  (Toronto has hills, don't ya know, hee, hee!)

These emission-free three-wheelers go a spritely 7.5 miles an hour in bike lanes!

Rides are free, funded by advertising on the outside of each cab.

Intelligent Travel: Free EcoCabs, Eh?

According to the Torontoist:

"The Star also pointed out that the free service likely won't go over well with the notoriously cutthroat (not really) cadre of local rickshaw drivers (most of whom are merely in it for the money and—let's face it—glamour). It can't hurt, however, to have a new resource available for those environmentally conscious travellers who are willing to put up with a bit of B.O. so the earth doesn't have to deal the extra CO2."

Torontoist: Toronto's getting a free ride.

The comments on both blogs, about this, are an interesting mix. ;-D

May 4, 2008 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 06, 2008

Equal Parenting Bike Trek 2008: A Journey for Children's Rights

Across the nation there are Cycling Events held for some Cause, or another, or no Cause at all, and there are individuals, and organizations taking Cycling Journeys for some Cause, or no Cause at all, as well.

This evening I received word from Robert Pedersen, of A Child's Right, concerningt Five Fathers about to pedal 758 mile for children’s rights, from Lansing, MI. to Washington DC, beginning in early August.

They aim to "raise awareness of a child's fundamental right to be loved, guided, educated and nurtured equally by both fit and willing parents of divorce.

From the time I was Nine, when my Father became mentally ill, I grew up without a Father in my life to help my Mother raise me, and my two sisters, andt we turned out reasonably well, if you ask me, hee, hee. ;-D

However, there are countless kids of divorce who grow up without the benefit of access to a willing parent who does not have custody of them.

I am doing my small part to publicize this issue by joining many others in spreading the word about this event.

The Website is Cycling4Children.com, and this post shares photos, videos, news stories, and more about the 2008 event, as does this one with regards to the 2007 ride (2007 Photos).

Other sites of interest:

DaddyBlogger.com has an extensive report on the 2008 National Fatherhood Summit with a ton of links to coverage.

April 6, 2008 in Cycling News Network, Have Bicycle, Will Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cycling Study Tours Offered by Brit Family Living in Netherlands

I recently received the following Press Release from Hembro Cycling Holidays/Cycling Study Tours, and let me say, up front, the resources they steer readers to are extensive, and interesting, and the many photos, and videos are a pure joy to look at, and will most likely make you extremely jealous and probably lead you to wonder why the hell can't the greatest nation in the world do some of this, too? ;-D

FACT GUARANTEED TO BLOW YOUR MIND: All Dutch railway stations seem to have thousands of bikes parked at them. ( Just watch the videos if you don't believe it. ;-D )

CYCLING STUDY TOUR

A Study Tour in the world's most cycle friendly country.

For transport professionals, politicians, campaigners and journalists.

There have been many words spoken about reducing CO2 emissions to tackle climate change, increasing the amount of exercise taken by the population to fight obesity and about the streets being made into places where people matter instead of motor vehicles. However, the English speaking world still does not invest sufficiently in truly sustainable transport. In fact, new infrastructure is still designed very much like the old infrastructure, emphasizing flow of motorized traffic above all else, reducing opportunities to take exercise as a part of everyday life, and decreasing the freedom of people to make use of the space outside their home. As a result, use of sustainable transport is low, obesity is growing and children are not given the freedom to get sufficient exercise.

Many countries seem to produce more words than action. Announcements of available money often sound substantial, but they're spread thinly and have low priority. Along with the lack of money there is the problem of a lack of vision about what good quality design for cyclists and pedestrians actually means. Low quality infrastructure makes the use of alternatives to the car unattractive.

It doesn't have to be this way.

Having made different policy decisions over many decades, the Dutch now travel travel by bicycle more often than by car. There is universal well designed infrastructure which makes cycling an appealing option for most people. As a result, most people cycle. Cyclists feel safe and their journeys are efficient and direct. Virtually all children cycle to school daily, incidence of obesity is comparatively low and reliance on fossil fuels is lower.

The Dutch are doing the right things and they have the results to prove it: More cycling, with a better safety record, than any other nation. Real, proven results, not just good intentions or hot air. Their success could and should be copied elsewhere.

Quick Facts:

In the entire Netherlands around 30% of all journeys are by bicycle. The second highest country is Denmark with around 14%. Most countries have under 2% of their journeys by bicycle, some fewer than 1%. Around 40% of journeys within Dutch cities are made by bicycle.

In the Netherlands, more journeys under 7.5 km / 5 miles are made by bicycle than by any other means.

In the Netherlands, older people are also mobile. Over 10% of cycle journeys are made by over 60s.

Virtually all Dutch school-children cycle to school.

Dutch cycle paths frequently offer shorter routes than the roads. They are smooth and well maintained. Dutch cyclists are not expected to share space with pedestrians, and the standard width for cycle only two direction paths is 4 metres ( 13 feet ).

Levels of public transport usage in the Netherlands are not much different than those in other countries. There is far greater potential for reduction in fossil fuel reliance by encouraging cycling than by subsidizing public transport. In addition it leads to a far greater cut in fuel usage and other benefits for society such as an increase in general health and a reduction in noise and fumes.

London recently announced its largest ever figure for walking and cycling: £500M. This sounds remarkable, and it's very welcome, but breaks down to a level of expenditure which is not particularly high by European standards. The sum is to be spread across several years. For instance, in 2008/2009, £62M is to be spent for both Walking and Cycling. Across London's 7.5M population this amounts to a little over £8 (approximately US$16) per person per year. Another European capital, Amsterdam, currently spends around €26 (approximately £20 or US$40) per person per year on cycling alone. Walking has a separate budget. Unlike UK cities, Dutch cities are not starting from nowhere. They have been spending this much for decades.

So what are we up to with our Study Tours?

Who are we ?


We are a British family who have lived and cycled in many parts of the UK including London, Cambridge, Somerset and Yorkshire. Our cycling experience includes commuting, shopping, tours with and without children, a little racing and even riding Land's End to John O'Groats (the entire length of Great Britain - 1700 km / 1100 miles).

We now live in the green city of Assen in the North of the Netherlands. Winters are cold here and headwinds are fierce, but the population of 63000 people nevertheless makes an average of 70000 cycle journeys per day. We make our share of those journeys.

What are we doing ?


We are organising Study Tours for all interested parties to show how much has been achieved in this country. We will be showing participants the result of design for people rather than for motorised vehicles. We will show the practical results of putting into action long term plans to achieve a more mobile and fitter society.

Over 3 full days we will show commuting routes, school routes, city centres, residential areas, links between villages and the design of new developments. All these were designed with cycling as a priority. We also have a presentation from local experts giving their rationale.

The cost of participating has been kept low in order that it will be accessible to as many people as possible.

Full details of the Study Tour, including photos and feedback from previous participants, can be found on our website:

The first Study Tour this year runs from the 13th to the 15th of May. This tour is now fully booked.

We are now taking bookings for the second Study Tour which runs from the 20th to the 22nd of May and soon will be taking bookings for the third Study Tour which runs from the 10th to the 12th of June.

References:

Articles in English about Dutch cycling policies

Photos:

Photos of Dutch cycling conditions.

Contact Details:

David and Judith Hembrow

E-MAIL: david at hembrow.eu

WEBSITE: Hembrow Cycling Holidays

***UPDATE - 4/7/08***

David Hembrow has sent me an interesting E-Mail in response to this post. ;-D

***END UPDATE***

April 6, 2008 in Cycling News Network, EVENT GUIDE (California and Selective Others), Have Bicycle, Will Travel | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 01, 2008

GM Stuns Cycling Industry: Becomes New Owner of Specialized

***UPDATE - 530PM***

APRIL FOOLS!!! ;-D

As one of the pranksters responsible writes me:

Well, the cat's out of the bag.

Specialized had a good laugh about it, but then they asked us to pull the story so we did.

They were getting overwhelmed with phone calls from dealers.

Thanks for posting that link, Kiril.!

Richard (aka Fritz), of Cyclicious

BikeBiz started getting e-mail, soon after posting, from folks around the world, all atwitter over the news. ;-D

The story linked in my original story, below (I was one of several BikeBloggers approached to help "report" the news of the original stories.), have been updated with details on those responsible, and reaction from Specialized, which found it very amusing, even as they found themselves swamped with phone calls from dealers expressing concern. ;-D

A trade news website was among those initially fooled, as reported (With a captured image, from a Google Search) by another conspirator, who shares links to some other spoofs, including cycling ones.

***END UPDATE***

General Motors announces it's taking over Specialized Bicycles!

Wow!

Being a proud, longtime, owner of a Specialized Sirrus Sport Hybrid Road Bicycle, this story caught my attention.

The boards of both companies apparently agreed to this on Friday, according to the report in the San Jose Business Journal.

The deal is expected to be completed later this year pending regulatory approval in the US, and elsewhere.

I found the following quote to be quite interesting:

"In light of global concerns about climate change, GM has been at the forefront in developing new transportation choices that limit our impact on the environment," said Flora Lopi, GM's vice president, Environment, Energy and Safety Policy. "GM's engineering, marketing and distribution expertise combined with Specialized's branding among cycling enthusiasts make this a winning combination for GM investors and consumers."

Just as interesting was the following by Specialized founder and president Mike Sinyard:

"All of us here at Specialized are thrilled to be a part of GM.

"Specialized will maintain commitment to the IBD as well as now being available across the nation in GM dealerships. These are quality retail outlets, not big box discounters. Specialized will never be available in mass merchants.

GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner sounds real gung ho about this, too, saying someting about "changing the way we address our transportation needs", and "leveraging the unique synergies of the bicycle community to introduce some of our ideas for addressing critical issues concerning energy, the environment and globalisation."

It will be interesting to see how industry, media, and ordinary folks reactions will play out in the coming days.

I'd love to hear from readers in the comments to this post as well.

Do you think this is a good move by the parties involved?

Is it good for bicycling ?

Along those lines...

There will apparently be a conference call with Specialized founder Mike Sinyard, and Robert Kruse, an Executive Director for GM's North American Engineering Staff, later today.

BikeBiz.com reports it will book a slot on the call:

If you have a question for Sinyard or the GM execs, leave a comment at BikeBiz and they promise to try to use some of the questions during the conference call, which starts at midday, US mountain time.

April 1, 2008 in Bicycling Humor, Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack