November 30, 2009

Copenhagen 1937

Thanks to Inari at Cycle Consultants, Helsinki, part of British Council's Challenge Europe Climate Advocacy programme, for putting me on to this wonderful video of Copenhagen back in the day.

James A. Fitzpatrick's Traveltalks The Voice of the Globe

November 12, 2009

NYC Bike Fashion Show

Chic cycling, street style at 'Bike Style' fashion show in NYC. Credit: Emma Grady

Hudson Urban Bicycles (HUB) in the West Village, New York City, hosted Bike Style Saturday night, a fashion show premiering chic urban cycling looks. Friends of HUB donned tailored bicycle wear--blazers, cropped pants, and caps--from designers Lela Rose, Reiss, Sheila Moon, and Outlier; strutted and danced 'cross the runway to DJ jams; mounted European-origin bikes from Batavus, Abici, Moof, and Linus, and rode out into the rainy NYC night. Click through for our videos--the def jams might have you chair dancing--and more photos from the show.

Norreport Station CPH

Copenhagen based COBE Architect have won first prize for their bike friendly station design

COBE Architects blasted away its competitors with a sexy and bike-friendly new design in the recent competition to redesign Copenhagen’s Norreport train station. Almost retro in its lines, the architects’ vision of the new station is composed of a series of rounded, floating roofs set upon striking glass pavilions. Since bicycles are a preferred means of transportation in Copenhagen, ample bike parking was a main feature of the new structure, and other green features will include energy-efficient lighting and natural ventilation

Norreport Train Station is the busiest train station in the Danish capital, with over 25,000 people bustling through it daily. The main stipulations for the updated transportation hub were that it be able to accommodate lots of passengers and lots of bikes, and also be a place where people can gather and connect with one another. In an effort to make the station even more convenient, passengers can easily be dropped off on the street alongside their desired entrance, or ride their bikes and leave them at the station.
Eleven ventilation towers are placed around the plaza, which will help naturally cool and ventilate the train platform below. These towers also act as information boards and plaza lighting, utilizing LED screens and energy efficient lighting to direct passengers to their departing trains. The towers can also be used for advertisements, announcements and cultural events.

Fahrrad und Bahn

Translated from

The Bicycle and train are highly complementary. The way to the train station or bus stop can be wonderful to travel by bicycle. Once there, stand under the bike and ride in the city of Stuttgart is often covered parking available. At the main station and the S-Bahn station Schwabstraße bike boxes can be rented. At stations in Möhringen Vaihingen and take the employees of the bike service stations at the good plays.

Those who want to cycle at the destination may take their bicycle in urban and suburban trains usually for free. Restrictions apply during peak periods. Thus, the carriage of bicycles in the light rail is permitted between 6 am and 8.30 clock and not in the evening between 16 and 18.30 clock. In S-Bahn, DB regional trains and the trains of the Württemberg railway company TRAIL may always bicycles are taken away. However, due in the morning peak period between 6 and 8.30 clock a child ticket.

A peculiarity of Stuttgart is the bike transport rack of the Marienplatz to Degerloch. With the help of special Vorstellwagens the "wave" brings you your bike comfortable, safe and free of charge from the valley to the Filderebene.

Photo: Stuttgart Department of City Planning and Urban Renewal

At stations in Möhringen and Vaihingen the staff of the bike service stations offer their services. Here bicycles can be parked safely. While the parking time from Monday to Fri from 7 am to 8pm you can clean his bike too, and wait. The bicycle service stations can also rent bicycles on offer. The donated and brought up to scratch bike can be rented for three to five euros a day.

The bicycle-service stations are open Monday to Fri from 7 20 clock. The prices for a "Bicycle Parking" as follows:
$ 0.50 per day
2 euros per week
5 Euro per month
50 euros per year 

Operated bicycle service stations from social enterprises "New Work". The employment project is helping young unemployed people on their way into a job on the first labor. Who his bicycle in a bicycle parked service station, so not only does his bike a good thing, but also helps in the integration of young unemployed.

Photo: Stuttgart Department of City Planning and Urban Renewal

Bike Boxes

Especially popular are the bike boxes at the central railway station at Schwabstraße. As in a mini-garage, the good pieces there are safe from thieves and protected from wind and weather. The bike boxes can be used for 5 euros or 50 euros a month in rent for the mobility counseling in the i-dot.

Photo: Stuttgart Department of City Planning and Urban Renewal

Bike Parking Design

Interesting new concept parking designs from Desiner Yinnon Lehrer

November 11, 2009


A friend of mine found a mint-condition mountain bike on a skip near his house recently – a prime example of “throwawayism”. According to Social Entrepreneur Ireland award winner Anne Bedos, it’s quite common for people to throw good bikes away. Rather than just get mad about it, Bedos decided to do something – she believes that salvaging abandoned bikes is an environmental imperative, and can also be used as an instrument of social change.
Her bicycle recycling organisation Rothar saves bikes from the scrap heap and works with at-risk people from Dublin youth groups to fix them up. The spruced-up bikes are then sold at a community-based bicycle shop, typically for less than €100. Genius.

Vélib Thievery

Vélib, the Parisian bike-sharing program, is great. But it would be incorrect to pretend that tout est parfait dans le meilleur des mondes (lit. transl.: everything is perfect in the best of worlds). Vandalism and theft has been a problem, and the latest news aren't good: About 80% of the original 20,600 bicycles have been damaged or stolen and the resources required to fix them or replace them are straining the program's budget. There's even a black market for stolen Vélib bikes in Eastern Europe and Africa...

The NYT writes:
Many of the specially designed bikes, which cost $3,500 each, are showing up on black markets in Eastern Europe and northern Africa. Many others are being spirited away for urban joy rides, then ditched by roadsides, their wheels bent and tires stripped.
The first thing that jumps at me is the reported cost of the bikes. Maybe the New York Times has bad information, but if the bikes really cost that much, that's probably the first thing that should be changed.
JCDecaux must repair some 1,500 bicycles a day. The company maintains 10 repair shops and a workshop on a boat that moves up and down the Seine.JCDecaux reinforced the bicycles' chains and baskets and added better theft protection, strengthening the mechanisms that attach them to the electronic parking docks, since an incompletely secured bike is much easier to steal. But the damage and theft continued.

There will always be a certain amount of vandalism (especially if France doesn't solve its problem with the alienation of the banlieues), but using such expensive bikes makes them a much bigger target for thieves who want to make a buck, and they inflate the replacement costs, making the whole scheme a lot less profitable (and thus sustainable) than it could otherwise be. It must be possible to make rugged bikes for less than that...
In some areas, it can be hard for would-be cyclists to find working bikes. But despite these problems, Vélib has had 63 million rentals since mid-2007 and surveys show that Vélib users are still happy with their experience.
It will be very interesting to see if, as other bike-sharing programs grow, they attract the same kind of problems as Vélib or if this is more of a specifically Parisian problem.

Via NYT + Treehugger

London - Paris Cycle Route

London-Paris cycle route planned for 2012

AFP - A cycle path linking London and Paris will be completed by 2012, French and British local authorities said here on Friday as they formally launched the "Avenue Verte" (Green Avenue) project.
"We want to symbolically link the Tower of London to the Eiffel Tower with an alternative mode of transport to the car that crosses landscapes of great quality," said Didier Marie, head of France's Seine-Maritime department.

The 350-kilometre (218-mile) "Avenue Verte" will use existing national cycle network routes in southern England, passing through the counties of Surrey and Sussex.

Cyclists will need to take a ferry across the Channel from Newhaven to Dieppe.

In France, the cycle path will follow a route through Normandy as it winds its way south to Paris.
The route will incorporate stretches of disused railway lines as well as using regular roads where cycles will have their own dedicated lanes.

"These (existing dedicated cycle paths) were built for tourism but we quickly noticed they were being used by people going to work," said Matthew Lock, a local councillor from the English county of East Sussex.

Amphibious Velomobile

From an ambitious inventor in the Czech Republic, we bring you the HEPAV — the Human Powered Electric Amphibious Vehicle.
How does it work? Simply put, the HEPAV 1.1 is a recumbent tricycle with electric assist and a buoyant shell that allows riders to drive directly into and out of ponds, rivers and lakes. Inventor David Buchwaldek says he designed the HEPAV 1.1 to be like a kayak in that it can be transported by vehicle but ridden directly into the water. Video proves the viability of Buchwaldek’s design, but it remains unclear how practical it is. The HEPAV 1.1 seems pretty slow in the water at this point.

Unfortunately, the HEPAV 1.1 is still far too expensive to build to be commercially viable, but that may not be the point of the vehicle. Buchwaldek’s process and thinking is enlightening in itself and worth a trip to his website, Among other projects documented there are a human-powered airplane, an innovative bike rack available for purchase, and appropriately ‘esoteric’ advice like Life Tips and Tricks #25. “Progress is the realization of utopias.”

Share Space

In the German town of Bohmte, the highway code has been abolished in order to create a common code to cardrivers, cyclists and pedestrians. (Report: B. Boussouar)

Via France24

Innovative Fold-Up

Innovations in folding bikes have helped urban cyclists cram their vehicles into tiny apartments for years now--and the designs keep getting better and better, and smaller and smaller. And this new folding bike concept by Victor Aleman may take the cake--as you may or may not be able to tell, even the wheels fold up on this bad boy. More pics after the jump.

Via Tuvie

Sceptic about Electric Cars

You should be, Electric Cars will not be dramatically cleaner than those powered by fossil fuels until they rely less on electricity produced from conventional coal-fired plants, according to US National Research Council.

“For electric vehicles to become a major green alternative, the power fuel mix has to move away from coal, or cleaner coal technologies have to be developed,” said Jared Cohon, chair of a US National Research Council report released this week entitled Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use.
About half of US power is generated by burning coal, which emits many times more of traditional pollutants, such as particulates and smog components, than natural gas, and about twice as much of the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
Advances in coal burning, like capturing carbon at power plants for permanent burial underground, could also help electric cars become a cleaner alternative to vehicles powered by fossil fuels, he said.
Pollution from energy sources did $120 billion worth of damage to human health, agriculture and recreation in 2005, said the NRC report, which was requested by the US congress in 2005 and sponsored by the US department of the treasury.Electricity was responsible for more than half of the damage.
Electric cars have other benefits such as reducing imports of foreign oil. But they can have hidden costs. Materials in electric car batteries are hard to produce, which adds to the energy it takes to make them. According to the report, the health and environmental costs of making electric cars can be 20 per cent greater than conventional cars, and manufacturing efficiencies will have to be achieved in order for the cars to become greener.
Emissions from operating and building electric cars in 2005 cost about 20 cents to 15 cents per mile traveled, it said. In comparison, gasoline-powered cars cost about 0.34 cents to $5.04 per mile traveled.
The report estimated electric cars could cost more than gasoline-powered cars to operate and manufacture in 2030 unless power becomes cleaner.

"Our research has shown that on average our electric vehicles' 'well to wheel' lifecycle emissions are 59 per cent lower than petrol cars. But in France, where electricity is primarily generated using nuclear, emissions are 97 per cent lower," he argues.

Hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles with batteries charged by the driver braking scored slightly better than both gasoline-powered cars and plug-in hybrids, which have batteries that are charged by the power grid.
– Reuters

Biking in NYC

NYC DOT explains Bike Lanes in the Big Apple

Bike lanes: In some cities people are literally dying to have them and some people go so far as to mark their own. Here in New York City, it feels like every time I get on my bike there is a new bike lane - sometimes on the left, sometimes buffered, and sometimes completely separated from automobile traffic. To understand these lanes, I had the opportunity to go for a ride with the NYC DOT bicycle boys. They explained the classes of bike lanes and showed off some of these inventive facilities. You can use Ride the City to find a safe bike route in New York City and watch this video to see what lanes are used on your route.

New Audi Ad

What are you talking about Audi, I love cycling in the rain!

Berlin brothel goes green

Stung by the economic crisis, a brothel in Berlin has leapt on the "green" bandwagon and is offering discounts to clients who can prove they arrived by public transport or bicycle -- with some success.

"Everyone's a winner," explained Regina Goetz, a former prostitute who runs the "Maison d'envie" (House of Desire) brothel in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg, a district in the former East Berlin, which is a stronghold for the ecologist Green party.

"The environment is a topic on everyone's lips and it's pretty difficult to park around here. So we came up with the idea of an 'eco discount' of five euros (7.40 dollars) to anyone who leaves the car at home," Goetz told AFP.

"The crisis has slashed our turnover in half in the last year," the 56-year-old told AFP over coffee and cakes, flanked by scantily clad prostitutes.

But the green discounts have proved a roaring success and got business back on track, she said.
Fifteen minutes in the brothel costs 25 euros (37 dollars) rather than 30 euros for environmentally-conscious punters, around 10 percent of whom have taken up the offer.

To qualify for the discount, "clients who come by bike show their helmet or their padlock keys," she said. "Others hand in their ticket or monthly pass if they have come on the bus."

The brothel itself is a model of discretion -- only a small brass plaque advertising "the little sexy address" betrays the true purpose of the building, housed in a block with a bike shop, a burger bar and a pub.
Clients pass through a courtyard scattered with rubbish dumps, pushchairs, kids' bikes and buggies before arriving at a corridor where a doormat emblazoned with a red heart indicates the hoped-for destination.

"We have a really nice atmosphere here, the neighbours are great," said one of the prostitutes, a pretty blonde in her thirties with short hair sporting fishnet tights and sexy red lacy undies under her turquoise dressing-gown.

She said she had already welcomed several customers on the eco tariff, like all her colleagues, about a dozen woman aged between 20 and 45, the majority of whom work part-time.

One of them said she was a nurse secretly moonlighting as a prostitute. Another said she was a dietary counsellor in a gym -- "but times are hard". A third said she was a housewife.

As for the clients, they come in all shapes and sizes, from all social classes and all ages, right up to the "doyen", who is 86 years old, said Goetz.

All the employees of the "Maison d'envie" wholeheartedly approve of the eco tariff. "Regina is full of good ideas," said one.

The establishment also offers special "weekend rates" with Jacuzzi options and a "two-for-one" rate.
For Goetz, the brothel is "a business like any other" and prostitution is a legal sector in Germany with around 400,000 employees.

"In these tight times, we are cutting costs. We've binned the tax advisor, reduced the hours of the cleaning lady and I only buy low-cost cleaning products," she said.
And like any other head of industry, she is careful to appear bullish on the sector's prospects.
"In a business like ours, there are always ups and downs. But we want the recovery to come quickly. I check the stock market prices every day," she revealed.

via france24

Cycle Chic

Cycle Chic hits the streets in Cork

Last weekend saw the second annual cycle chic fashion show.

Critical Mass Budapest

This Hungarian music video was filmed during Critical Mass, Budapest.

Apparently, this guy sings about environmental issues, shame it is in Hungarian, possibly one of the most indecipherable languages out there....ah well roll on the eurovision!

Another great video on Critical Mass in Budapest is produced by MTV for the Make Me Green Campaign.

Innovative Cities


Getting Doored

6 Ways to Reduce Your Chances
1. Three Foot Rule
Ride with your handlebars at least three feet from parked cars.
2. Stay Left
As the folks at BicycleSafe postulate that it's safer to ride "far enough to the left that you won't run into any door that's opened unexpectedly" because "you're more likely to get doored by a parked car if you ride too close to it than you are to get hit from behind by a car which can clearly see you."
3. Watch for Sudden Stops
If a car stops in front of you suddenly, slow down, look for exiting passengers, then pass on left. Keep an especially close eye on taxis slowing down near intersections.
4. Use Mirrors
If you can catch the driver's eye in the side-view mirror of a stopped car, you can make her/him aware of your presence.
5. Watch Lights
If a car's brake lights are lit, it may have just pulled in. If, at night, you notice a car's interior lights are lit, expect someone to exit that car soon.
6. Be a Savvy and Safe Cyclist
Wear your helmet, stay in bike lanes, scan the streets as you approach, and know the traffic rules in you area.

What to Do if You're Doored

1. If you see it coming but can't avoid it, stay upright and try to extend your right foot to reduce the impact. It may be safer than swerving into traffic.
2. Once the dooring has happened, it's recommended that you report the accident, gather information from the motorist, and get medical treatment if necessary.

Via Treehugger