But the moment of folly seemed to provide an aperture for new thinking. In the face of this fanciful idea (a traffic-busting flight!) it became possible to demonstrate that cycling, often taken as a non-serious or marginal or even annoying (to some drivers) form of transportation in the U.S., could seem eminently reasonable: Not only the cheapest form of transportation, not merely the one with the smallest carbon footprint, not only the one most beneficial to the health of its user, but the fastest.
But would it be faster just to bike? Never mind the lesser environmental impact.
Tune in tomorrow -- or perhaps later today -- and find out....
ETA: Victory for bicycles and public transit! From dragonfly:
1. The bicyclists, 38.4 miles in 1 hr 34 min.
2. The public transit riders in 1 hr 44 min.
3. A rollerblader in 2 hrs 40 min (her start location and time was unwitnessed, so we should call her unofficial *g*).
4. Airline commuters, 2 hrs 54 min.
Came to me from the Bike Friday mailing list digest, this morning; you'll notice what he's posing with in the picture, there.
Which reminds me, I should go downstairs and get on the stationary bike before bed, or all my summer plans are going to look really, really optimistic....
If you join a group bike ride in the US, you may be asked to sign a waiver that, in the words of commenter and Portland Cycle Chic blogger Portlandize, "sounds like if you look at the bicycle funny, it will suddenly throw you 20 miles into the jaws of a waiting Indian tiger, to be chewed up and spit into a pit of boiling lava."
The photos of Copenhagen bike-riders in the post are a wonderful counterpoint to the American madness being reported on. The woman in the first one is older than me! A little better-dressed, too.
If you lean towards the Cycle Chic side of bicycling, and have never visited Dottie's Chicago Cycle Chic blog Let's Go Ride A Bike, I recommend it as a visual feast and a great source of inspiration.
Portlandize covers the Cycle Chic beat here in my hometown, and his occasional updates are what support me in my own slow-bike preferences when I'm surrounded on the bikeway by muscular athletes in barely-there spandex faux-team jerseys.
Copenhagenize is the sometimes-snotty, sometimes-amusing, tolerantly-anti-American blogfather of Cycle Chic. Proceed with caution: Mikael made his case based on photos of pretty schoolgirls in short plaid uniform skirts on bikes, but, that said, he has a good case to make for bikes as daily transport rather than as competitive sporting equipment.
He speculates that bicycling uses a part of the brain not affected by the disease. It's a provocative idea. I thought my fellow bike enthusiasts would find it interesting.
"Cyclists are scofflaws and always blow stop signs" is a common complaint by motorists who sometimes seem to think that this fact rules out funding for cycling infrastructure (or, in extreme cases, justifies attempted vehicular manslaughter).
This video, by Spencer Boomhower, is the clearest, most rational explanation I've seen for why the Idaho stop law makes perfect sense as a general cycling strategy on streets and roadways shared with cars. It's well worth showing to non-bike-riding friends and family.
( Check it out! )
Don’t forget that tomorrow is the first FURLOUGH FRIDAY for the City, so don’t come to work. In case you missed Wednesday’s Council meeting, an emergency ordinance was passed to create furlough days for all employees on the first and last Friday of each month. The salary savings will be used to fund the new Portland Bicycle Streetcar Project, which makes specialized streetcars available for bicyclists who don’t want to get wet when it rains. Each streetcar is equipped with treadmills so the bicyclists can ride their bikes while riding the streetcar. A Portland Loo will be installed in each car. The Portland Bicycle Streetcar Project is part of City Council’s desire to get 150% of all citizens to ride bicycles by next Thursday.
* In the Daily News, the production of a waggish friend of mine.
"Today, I want to announce a sea change. People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.
We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities."
SO! We got any Minneapolitans in the house?
(Also, a random mention in the article seems to imply that the Grease Pit did in fact get re-established at some point, which does my heart no end of good.)
The first one is a quote on bicycling's contribution to feminist progress:
"The bicycle has been responsible for more movement in manners and morals than anything since Charles II. Under its influence, wholly or in part, have wilted chaperones, long and narrow skirts, tight corsets, hair that would come down, black stockings, thick ankles, large hats, prudery and fear of the dark; under its influence, wholly or in part, have blossomed weekends, strong nerves, strong legs, strong language, knickers, knowledge of make and shape, knowledge of woods and pastures, equality of sex, good digestion and professional occupation--in four words, the emancipation of women." --John Galsworthy (1867-1933), winner of Nobel Prize for literature in 1932.
Up next is a BBC article from 2009 which asks 'Are women in more danger than men?': 'This year, seven of the eight people killed by lorries in London have been women. Considering that women make only 28% of the UK's cycling journeys, this seems extremely high.'
And, finally, something I hadn't really ever considered before - safety considerations for women cyclists on a website that offers some excellent tips for bike commuting.