SEATTLE, WA (BRAIN) — Before crossing Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island for visits at BI Cycle and Classic Cycle, Day 2 of BRAIN’s Seattle Dealer Tour got under way with a sampling of urban riding highlighting the accomplishments of local advocates as well as the challenges they face in easing two-wheel transit in the Emerald City. Straight from our hotel base, we embarked on a stretch of Westlake Avenue where the designated cycling route consists largely of an aisle in a crowded parking lot off the waterfront. Here, advocacy group Cascade Bicycle Club seeks to establish a dedicated bike path to open up cycling on a major arterial flat enough to accommodate a wide range of bike commuters
IRVINE, CA (BRAIN) — Debuting the Bosch system to U.S. consumers for the first time, four bike companies are offering e-bike demos at the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon at Irvine’s Great Park in southern California. The event opened last Thursday and closed Sunday
There were many questions awaiting the industry as we all arrived at Interbike last week. Would the new hall and hotels be an improvement? Would Consumer Day resemble a plague of locusts?
National nonprofit boosts local and state support. LAS VEGAS, NV (BRAIN) — Bikes Belong is rebranding as PeopleForBikes to bring clarity and simplicity to the organization. The Bikes Belong Coalition and Bikes Belong Foundation will be renamed the PeopleForBikes Coalition and the PeopleForBikes Foundation.
Some of you may remember the article about The World’s Youngest Urbanist – Lulu-Sophia – a couple of years back. Since then, Lulu-Sophia continues to fire off brilliant, simple and rational observations about her life in Copenhagen. Many of them are simple observations.
We were riding down the cycle track along a busy street once and then turned off onto a bike path through a park. “Ooh, Daddy! Listen to how quiet it is all of a sudden!”
Always simple but poignant. Noticing things on her urban landscape that often go unnoticed.
A few months ago, Lulu-Sophia took it to the next level. We were walking and had stopped at a pedestrian crossing, waiting to cross.
We were quiet at the moment. Lulu-Sophia’s urbanist mind was, however, in full swing.
She looked up at me and said, quite simply, “When will my city fit me, Daddy?”
Fantastic. And of course, life as a child in a city is spent staring at the asses of grown ups. Garbage cans are as tall as you. The distance when crossing a street is magnified when you’re that short and your legs are that small.
“Don’t worry. You’ll keep growing and pretty soon your city will fit you perfectly.”
She was content with this answer, nodding and saying, “yeah” as she turned back to look around the streets.
As always with Lulu-Sophia’s observations, she makes me think. Right then and there I started a longer thought process, wondering if my city fits ME. A process that has become constant as I move about my city and all the other cities I visit and work in.
It’s an interesting way of thinking. Does my city fit me? Am I at scale on the urban landscape?
If I think about Copenhagen, there are certainly places where my city fits me hand in glove. Riding along the busiest bicycle street in the world – Nørrebrogade – and crossing Dronning Louises Bridge on 5 metre wide cycle tracks, wide sidewalks and only a single car lane in each direction… I feel like my city fits me.
In the medieval city centre – like all medieval city centres… my city fits me. Cities were designed to fit us for 7000 years, after all. Things, however, are different now. Ever since we discarded all rationality and started engineering streets for automobiles.
Even in Copenhagen there are far too many places where my city doesn’t fit or makes any attempt to. Consider Hans Christian Andersen Boulevard, that vast expanse of political and engineering arrogance with eight lanes of crap slicing through the heart of the capital. Even on the wide cycle tracks on this stretch, I am not at scale.
Top left: Hans Christian Andersen Blvd is the place where flowers die, thanks to the emissions of over 50,000 cars a day. Top right: Looking down at an intersection, from above, you lose all sense of city and realise that the engineering Matrix is firmly in control. Bottom left: This should be the ultimate central geographic and liveable point in the city. City Hall Square. Instead, the boulevard roars through like an angry, swollen river, cutting the city in two.
Bottom right: I count around 22 individuals in motor vehicles (excluding the 60 or so on the bus). Look at the space allocated to them, compared to the 50 odd bicycle users.
It used to be different. At left is the boulevard in 1907 – read more about that here – and at right is the late 1940s/early 1950s, with wide medians.
Another place that I don’t feel like my city fits is right outside my flat in the City of Frederiksberg. It’s an intersection in Denmark’s most densely-populated city and yet the city allows over 26,000 “parasites” to drive through. It’s a dead intersection, only used for transport. It’s unique in that it’s the point where north-south and east-west streets meet. It’s also the intersection we used for our Choreography of an Urban Intersection anthropological study.
I use this intersection several times a day and yet I certainly don’t feel like my city fits me. My city doesn’t seem to give a shit. They are keen to prioritize the cars and their parasties by doing things like this. The street in front of my flat used to be so much nicer. And even during my lifetime.
But they still have the nerve to put up this poster at the intersection. “Frederiksberg – the healthy, pulsing, green heart of the Capital.”
Thinking about other cities, there are some where I feel at scale. Amsterdam, for example. A lot of smaller cities in Denmark and the Netherlands, too. But I’m a city boy so I focus on bigger cities. Most cities have pockets where you feel like you fit, but sadly they are often few and far between.
What about your city? Do you feel like it fits you?
Lulu-Sophia, as ever, inspired me. She instigated a new way of thinking for me – and for Copenhagenize Design Co.. A new goal.
The Life-Sized City. We used to be so good at nurturing life-sized cities. We did it for 7000 years. Now it’s time to do it again. With human observation and design principles.
If you follow me, Mikael, on Instagram (@zakkatography), you’ll often see The Lulu going about her daily business. Often on bikes.
SANTA MONICA, CA (BRAIN) — Pedego Electric Bikes continues to expand its reach by opening its seventh Pedego-branded store in less than three months in Southern California. Pedego Santa Monica opened its doors in early May, and will have a grand opening party this Sunday. The 900-square-foot Santa Monica store joins several new beach city locations including Seal Beach, Redondo Beach, Corona del Mar and Dana Point. Pedego Santa Monica owner Barb Wittels operated her company Pedal or Not Electric Bicycle Tours (which are taken on Pedego bikes) out of a 5-foot-wide kiosk for three seasons before pursuing the idea of opening a full-fledged store
Get that money! Get that job! Buy a new bike!
Experienced Bicycle Mechanic (Stoneham)
Green Team Crew Leader (Hyde Park, Boston)
Bicycle Travel Sales Consultant (Arlington)
Sales Account Executive (Cambridge, MA)
Delivery Drivers – Insomnia Cookies Paid Cash Daily! OPEN CALL THURS (65 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge)
The Bicycle Link Weymouth
Bicycle Salesperson (Watertown)
From the magazine Editor’s note: The following article is part of BRAIN’s ongoing series on generational change in the bike industry.
DENVER, CO (BRAIN) — It’s not at all clear what kind of “commute” a pro road racer has, but nevertheless the BMC Racing Team this week has been outfitted with what are possibly the WorldTour’s only official team commuter bikes, the BMC urbanchallenge with Gates belt-drive drivetrains. “The BMC urbanchallenges are fantastic because you can just hop on and go without having to worry about cleaning or lubing a chain,” said Kate Ochowicz, the team’s marketing director.
The term ‘hybrid’ can mean many things in the cycling world. It can take in anything from a super-heavyweight, bike-shaped object bought from your local supermarket to more modest, reasonably specced machines from your local bike shop and even a very well considered machine such as Whyte’s Stirling, which is probably why Whyte prefer to use the term ‘fast urban’ rather than hybrid. Fast urban certainly sums it up nicely.
It has higher-spec kit than some cheaper urban options, most notably in the shape of a carbon fork, Avid’s excellent hydraulic disc brakes and 2×10-speed SRAM Via gearing. The hydroformed 6061 aluminium frame is pretty similar to what you’d get on a ?1,000 road bike, and very well finished too, but the geometry is different.?
It’s based around mountain bike geometry, with a relaxed head angle and a very long wheelbase: 107cm on our medium model, about 5cm longer than on a similar size road bike. The result is a very stable ride when you get up to speed, and thanks to the reasonable overall weight that’s quite easy to do.?
The stability is balanced by a shorter stem, which offers the sort of nifty handling you need in city traffic. The Stirling also has a relatively narrow handlebar – 58cm – with Ergon’s excellent rubber grips.?
The Whyte has more versatility than some urban bikes designed for faster, flatter riding. It’s no slouch when required, but it has a fairly high number of gears and if steep climbs are part of your daily grind, the 32×32 (small chainring/large sprocket) bottom gear offers a real bailout option, while the 48×11 top gear is higher than 52×12, let alone a compact’s usual 50×12 – so you’re not going to run out of top end choices.
Nominally a city bike, the Stirling is actually light and comfortable enough, and has the versatility, to be pressed into longer rides too. It has a full complement of rack and mudguard fittings, and it’ll do sterling service whatever you use it for.?
We even fitted it with mini tri-bars for some fast fitness riding and it performed perfectly. In spite of its stealth looks – or possibly because of them – this is one that thieves might have their eye on, so if you do leave it locked up, make sure you’ve got decent security.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.