study

Fred Clements: Are bikes the black hole of IBD profitability?

A blog by NBDA executive director Fred Clements.

Amercian Students Rethink Copenhagen Neighbourhood Part 02

Mikael, on behalf of Copenhagenize Design Co., is a teacher in the Bicycle Urbanism Studio led by urban liveability expert Bianca Hermansen at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS). Since 1959, DIS has given American students the chance to study in Denmark. Our Bicycle Urbanism Studio features American architecture students.

Mikael led a portion of the course involving a massive Desire Lines analysis of two intersections at either end of the Dybbøls Bridge in the Vesterbro neighbourhood. The students’ final project was broader than that. They were given the task of rethinking the entire area. The wide swathe of unused railyards, access to the harbour and bicycle traffic through the area.?

Working with the students was brilliant and inspiring. Mikael was also an external examiner on the final projects at DIS. We thought it worthwhile to get the students to present their projects in short form. Showing off their abilities, ideas and visions. We’ll divide them up into two articles. Here’s the second one.?

Many of the students mention “Bicycle Snake – Cykelslangen”. This refers to the coming elevated cycle track in the area. Here’s a map of the area in question.

DAVID MITCHELL

Our Urban Design Studio features the analysis of the existing bicycle infrastructure connecting Vesterbro, Fisketorvet Mall and the Fisketorvet Bridge and a proposal based on the information documented in our research. ?The research component of the studio consisted of video taping bicycle behavior (monumentalists, recklists, and conformists), counting the number of parked bicycles by the hour, and documenting conflict zones. ?These details, which are so often overlooked by the every day user, are the components that we, as designers, used to design. ?This form of development is called “fact-based decision making” and is a form of research that I found to be enlightening. ?At a personal level, I chose to focus on how to best resolve areas of conflict between cyclists and pedestrians, reduce automobile traffic, and facilitate the needs of families living in Vesterbro. ?
A whopping twenty-four percent of residents in Vesterbro own cargo bikes. ?This means that these people have found an environmentally friendly way to not only travel, but perform errands, whether that be grocery shopping, dropping off kids at friends’ houses, or picking up flowers. ?Improving safety conditions for these travelers is the driving factor behind my design. ?Also, a statistically significant aspect of the project is how many users per day currently use the inconvenient staircase depicted below. ?A staggering 4,700 users on the day of our observation. ?And, with the installation of the snake, we can expect travelers between Vesterbro and the bridge to increase.
Nearly 5,000 travelers use this staircase to get to their final destination, daily. ?Proposing a convenient and safe alternative to this is one of the demands of the project.
The plan proposed is meant to be a realistic reconfiguration of the site. ?The bridge, which currently has a large void ought be filled. ?With the creation of new space I propose a walking promenade with a series of overlook and nodal spaces which allows for people to sit and watch pedestrians go along to either the mall or Vesterbro. ?Beneath the bridge, and expanding northeast and southwest is a park which connects with the larger context of Amagerfaelled. ?Access would be gained from the s-tog platform or ramps descending from the bridge.?
Riders ascending to the level of the shopping mall are greeted by a bi-directional bike path, with distinguishable paving patterns, to clearly delineate spatial usage. ?By combining the bike lanes, pedestrians are no longer at risk of accidents by bikers. ?I have proposed to close down one of the ramps curving up to the plaza level and be replaced by a department store and a series of mom and pa shops which align the northeastern edge of the street. ??
A section of spatial types along the proposed bridge shows which type of users are being provided for; green= pedestrian, yellow= bicycle, red= automobile, blue= bio-swale, and orange= nodal space. ?This section cut goes through two nodal spaces, the larger of which overlooks green space to the northeast.

ELAINE STOKES


The area surrounding the Fisketorvet shopping center consists of zones of extremely high and extremely low use.? While the bridge crossing over the Dybbølsbro S-Tog station experiences such high pedestrian usage during afternoon and evening hours that people overflow sidewalks and crowd the cycling lane, the unused land below the bridge is left completely vacant for the majority of the day.? Additionally, most road space leading up to Fisketorvet is allocated to cars, even though car traffic falls far behind cyclist and pedestrian traffic during all hours of the day.

The Cykelslangen, or “Bicycle Snake,” is the current solution supported by Copenhagen municipality to improve cyclist flow through the Fisketorvet-Dybbølsbro area, yet this design fails to improve the livability of the neighborhood, nor does it increase resources for pedestrians who pass through the area.
Instead, the Inhabit—Habitat proposal seeks to remedy the Fisketorvet-Dybbølsbro area by creating accessible connections between retail, the harborfront, and open green space, while also improving storm water management and the natural habitats of the site.? Instead of simply remedying the cyclist route through the area, this proposal calls for a complete restructuring of the traffic hierarchy of the site.
First, by transforming the Dybbølsbro Bridge into a gradual ramp rising from the ground level of the Fisketorvet mall to cross over the S-Tog stop, cyclists could remain at ground level while traveling past the mall from Brygge Broen.? This, in turn, would eliminate the need for the Cycle Snake to be elevated.
Next, the car entrance to Fisketorvet would be relocated to the southwest side of the mall and the freeway along Kalvebod Brygge would be simplified and narrowed, making the northern side of Fisketorvet available for additional retail space reflecting a typical Copenhagen streetscape.



Finally, the unused land adjacent to the S-Tog stop would be allowed to return to a natural habitat, with inlets from the harbor uniting the park to the new retail development and the waterfront.? Through these measures, the disjointed spaces of the Fisketorvet-Dybbølsbro zone would be refitted to form a cohesive, environmentally conscious, accessible, and livable neighborhood center.

MICHELLE WOODS

Urban Current: a surge of life through Dybbølsbro

With 26 total hours of recorded video footage made up of 13 hours of documentation at the Fisketorvet Shopping Center intersection and 13 hours at the Dybbølsbro intersection, a large amount of data and insight into how cyclists move through and within our site was observed.

First Impressions

From on-site observations and viewing of the video footage, the first thing I thought of was how this site did not seem to reflect the values of Copenhagen.? Cars and other vehicular traffic are placed ahead of cyclists and pedestrians. The infrastructure allows for easy and flowing car movement, while cyclists and pedestrians face crowded spaces, stairs, and other obstacles throughout the site.

The site also creates a large disconnect between the vibrant neighborhood of Vesterbro and the harborfront. While walking across the Dybbølsbro bridge, there seems to be no presence or atmosphere. The punctuation of the bridge in the Fisketorvet mall also does not add much to the site.

Proposed Solution

A 20 year plan that restructures the site will help to bring life back to the area.?

The first proposed action would be to make a huge infrastructural change. A bridge with infrastructure of separated lanes for cyclists and pedestrians should be built on both sides of the car lanes. Eliminating the bridge and flattening the infrastructure by Fisketorvet would result in a ramped structure that would curve to connect cyclists and pedestrians directly into the ground level next to the mall, creating a smooth connection. A new, normal intersection would be created. This change places the needs of cyclists and pedestrians ahead of that of cars and stays in line with the values of Copenhagen.

The next step in this plan would be to develop the empty land beneath the current bridge. Having a development of mixed-use buildings and great public streets and gathering spaces can bring a new vibrancy to the site. This development would also be able to pay for the large infrastructural changes that would occur prior to this.?

Although a large and ambitious plan, I think that this restructuring and development of the entire site would in the long run bring a new and exciting life to the site that would celebrate the everyday cyclists and pedestrians.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Fred Clements: 2014 predictions involve more than weather

A blog by NBDA executive director Fred Clements. Editor’s note:  This blog post was written by  Fred Clements , executive director of the  National Bicycle Dealers Association

Cycling while pregnant: tips and advice

Forget the scare-mongering, cycling while pregnant is a matter of common sense, and it has health benefits too.

One thing pregnant women never go short of is advice: cut back on that, don’t do this, stop eating that. Where does cycling fit in? Is it a sensible way to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy, or are there risks for mother and baby? The official line from the NHS is clear cut – cycling is a definite no-no. The NHS website contains a list of sports to avoid, and cycling is included alongside horse riding, downhill skiing and gymnastics. The reason? All these activities have “a risk of falling”. But ‘cycling’ encompasses everything from tootling along a towpath to downhill mountain biking, with varying levels of risk.

No need to stop, but do take it easy

More reasonably, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) offers a less simplistic assessment of cycling in its leaflet ‘Recreational exercise and pregnancy: information for you’. Riding a bike is still listed alongside horse riding, skiing and gymnastics, but instead of a straightforward ‘no’ the RCOG suggests these are exercises to be undertaken with “particular care”.

Keen cyclist and GP Dr Andy Ward thinks this cautious approach is more?sensible than putting your bike in a shed the moment you find out you are expecting. “If a pregnant woman was a confident cyclist prior to getting pregnant,?I would have no problem with her continuing to ride during pregnancy. You are just as likely to fall off as you were before!” he said. “I would make her aware that there?is a potential risk to the pregnancy if she did crash – BMX racing might not be the best idea!”

Long-distance cycle tourer and author Josie Dew chose to continue cycling through her two pregnancies, and agrees with Andy that normal everyday cycling is a reasonable thing for a pregnant woman to do. “I wouldn’t career headlong down a steep rocky hillside off-road, but I think normal cycling is fine – and is actually very beneficial,” she said.

If you’re a regular rider anyway, there’s no reason not to carry on when pregnant: if you’re a regular rider anyway, there’s no reason not to carry on when pregnant

Within moderation, cycling is a good form of exercise during pregnancy. Listen to your body

Benefits of cycling while pregnant

What are the advantages of continuing to ride a bike? “The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists advises that maternal benefits appear to be both physical and psychological in nature,” says Andy Ward. “Many common complaints of pregnancy, including fatigue, varicose veins and swelling of extremities, are reduced in women who exercise. Additionally, active women experience less insomnia, stress, anxiety and depression.

“An argument for public health is that women who incorporate exercise into their routine during pregnancy are more likely to continue exercising after birth. These benefits are not exclusive to cycling, but if that is a woman’s preferred method of exercise, then it beats a sedentary lifestyle.”

However, while Andy sees many positives to cycling while pregnant, he concedes it’s not entirely risk-free, of course. “The two main risks of cycling while pregnant are falling off and injuring the foetus, and overheating, which can cause abnormalities in the baby if it occurs in the first trimester. To avoid overheating in the first trimester it is advisable to wear cooler gear, maintain hydration and avoid riding on very hot days.”

One condition that pregnant cyclists may be at increased risk of is pre-eclampsia, characterised by high blood pressure and increased levels of protein in urine. This condition can develop into eclampsia, with life-threatening consequences for the mother and baby. However, the risk remains small and the evidence of increased risk is mixed.

“There was a 2009 Danish study that showed a small increase in severe pre-eclampsia in women who cycled for more than 270 minutes per week during the first trimester of pregnancy,” Andy explains. “The problem with the study is that although severe pre-eclampsia is serious, it is rare (affecting only 0.5 percent of pregnancies), so even if your risk is doubled you still only have a one percent chance of getting it (the increase in risk was actually a bit smaller). A subsequent systematic review published in 2012 suggested that exercise may actually help prevent pre-eclampsia (although it did not give an idea about the optimum amount).”

This illustrates the value of doing your research, something Victoria Hazael, senior communications and media coordinator of cycling charity CTC, took very seriously during her first pregnancy. “I thought about whether to cycle and did some research online. I realised that there’s a lot of conflicting information out there and it depends which website you look at.”

As your pregnancy progresses make sure your bike set-up is still comfortable for you: as your pregnancy progresses make sure your bike set-up is still comfortable for you

If you’re a regular rider anyway, there’s no reason not to carry on when pregnant.?

Consult with your midwife?

When Victoria spoke to a midwife, she was advised that as she already cycled it was sensible to continue if she wished. “I was told that as I cycle everyday anyway and use my bike as transport, it made sense for me to carry on.”

However, not every medical professional Victoria spoke to was as enthusiastic. “You don’t always see the same midwife throughout your pregnancy, and I met one who was not supportive at all. She told me I shouldn’t have cycled from work to my appointment, so I explained the research I had done, that I cycled every day, and that I didn’t fit in a lot of other exercise. She backed down!”

Josie Dew found that her midwife was happy for her to continue riding. “When I asked her is it okay to keep cycling, she thought I meant maybe half a mile down the road to the shops. But no, I meant 10, 20 or more miles a day. When she realised I normally did a lot more than that a day, she was surprised but very supportive. But she stressed that I shouldn’t push myself, which I didn’t. I just rode the number of miles that I felt like riding.”

Don’t overdo it

If you do decide to cycle during pregnancy, riding sensibly and not overdoing it makes sense. It’s a time for staying healthy, not starting an ambitious training schedule for a sportive or long charity ride. “Fitness and activity levels will naturally decline through the pregnancy, so setting realistic goals is important,” says Andy Ward.

Victoria Hazael’s GP gave similar advice. “He said to really listen to your body. He talked about not getting out of breath, and not taking on something big or training for a long-distance ride. You need to realise that your energy levels won’t be the same as normal, and think about the oxygen levels in your blood.”

As your pregnancy progresses you may want to adjust your position on the bike to make it more comfortable. “I raised my handlebars so the riding position was more upright,” says Josie Dew. If you usually ride a road bike, you may want to swap to something more comfortable. Victoria Hazael explains, “I rode to work on a mountain bike and later a Brompton folder.”

Towards the end of your pregnancy, you can expect to feel more tired and to find cycling more difficult. “As the pregnancy progresses, cycling does get more tricky, especially when you have a physical bump in the way. But I didn’t feel particularly unstable. If I had felt unsteady I probably would have opted to walk or take the bus into work,” Victoria says.

As for when to stop riding altogether, different cyclists come to different conclusions. While Victoria stopped at eight-and-a-half months, largely because of snowy weather, Josie continued to ride to within days of her due date. “I rode up until just a few hours before both girls were born. In fact, I think it was cycling over a bumpy, badly surfaced road that set me into labour with my first child!”

Andy Ward suggests it’s better not to push yourself. “Not being too ambitious in later pregnancy would be my advice. Ride with someone as much as possible and always carry a mobile phone. Comfort and energy levels are probably the biggest factor.”

In the end, how much you cycle during pregnancy boils down to listening to your body and using common sense.

Cycling while pregnant can be a good form of exercise : cycling while pregnant can be a good form of exercise

As your pregnancy progresses?make sure your bike set-up is?still comfortable for you.?

Cycling in the different trimesters of pregnancy

First trimester?

The first 12 weeks is a crucial time for the foetus to grab a firm hold inside the womb, and this period is the highest risk of miscarriage. Keep cycling but do it gently and only if you feel like it – fatigue and morning sickness, which can last all day and all night, might force you to stop for a while. Listen to your body. Cycling off-road is not recommended – it comes with too many jolts and bumps and to high a chance of being sent over the bar.?

Second trimester

During months three to six the chances of miscarrying fall dramatically. The tiredness and nausea of the first trimester are likely to have eased too, meaning you might have more energy than before. Cycling at this stage will keep you fit and supple which should help you cope with any aches or pains from carrying extra weight. Just remember to remain cautious despite your newfound energy, because a tumble won’t be good for mother or baby.?

Third trimester

From month six to your due date your bump will be big and active. You might get short of breath, especially on the hills, and leaning over the handlebar can be challenging. Dutch style bikes have a position that avoids leaning over on your stomach. Many pregnant women are plagued by haemorrhoids so a wide saddle with a gel seat cover might be required. If you feel unstable with the bump, it’s time to put your bike to one side, but this is a personal choice. Cycling keeps you fit, pliable and gives you stamina for the labour itself.?

Medical advice

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists advises that exercise in pregnancy can help reduce varicose veins, tiredness and swelling. Active women tend to experience less insomnia, stress, anxiety and depression. The main risks are related to possible falls and overheating. Be sure to keep hydrated. Stop cycling and seek medical attention if you experience excessive shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, abdominal pains, leakage of amniotic fluid or bleeding.

Note: while the advice published here has come from medical professionals and cycling experts, you should always consult your GP before cycling during pregnancy

This article was originally published in The Essential Guide to Kids Cycling.


????

Tips and advice on cycling while pregnant

Forget the scare-mongering, cycling while pregnant is a matter of common sense, and it has health benefits too.

One thing pregnant women never go short of is advice: cut back on that, don’t do this, stop eating that. Where does cycling fit in? Is it a sensible way to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy, or are there risks for mother and baby? The official line from the NHS is clear cut – cycling is a definite no-no. The NHS website contains a list of sports to avoid, and cycling is included alongside horse riding, downhill skiing and gymnastics. The reason? All these activities have “a risk of falling”. But ‘cycling’ encompasses everything from tootling along a towpath to downhill mountain biking, with varying levels of risk.

No need to stop, but do take it easy

More reasonably, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) offers a less simplistic assessment of cycling in its leaflet ‘Recreational exercise and pregnancy: information for you’. Riding a bike is still listed alongside horse riding, skiing and gymnastics, but instead of a straightforward ‘no’ the RCOG suggests these are exercises to be undertaken with “particular care”.

Keen cyclist and GP Dr Andy Ward thinks this cautious approach is more?sensible than putting your bike in a shed the moment you find out you are expecting. “If a pregnant woman was a confident cyclist prior to getting pregnant,?I would have no problem with her continuing to ride during pregnancy. You are just as likely to fall off as you were before!” he said. “I would make her aware that there?is a potential risk to the pregnancy if she did crash – BMX racing might not be the best idea!”

Long-distance cycle tourer and author Josie Dew chose to continue cycling through her two pregnancies, and agrees with Andy that normal everyday cycling is a reasonable thing for a pregnant woman to do. “I wouldn’t career headlong down a steep rocky hillside off-road, but I think normal cycling is fine – and is actually very beneficial,” she said.

If you’re a regular rider anyway, there’s no reason not to carry on when pregnant: if you’re a regular rider anyway, there’s no reason not to carry on when pregnant

Within moderation, cycling is a good form of exercise during pregnancy. Listen to your body

Benefits of cycling while pregnant

What are the advantages of continuing to ride a bike? “The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists advises that maternal benefits appear to be both physical and psychological in nature,” says Andy Ward. “Many common complaints of pregnancy, including fatigue, varicose veins and swelling of extremities, are reduced in women who exercise. Additionally, active women experience less insomnia, stress, anxiety and depression.

“An argument for public health is that women who incorporate exercise into their routine during pregnancy are more likely to continue exercising after birth. These benefits are not exclusive to cycling, but if that is a woman’s preferred method of exercise, then it beats a sedentary lifestyle.”

However, while Andy sees many positives to cycling while pregnant, he concedes it’s not entirely risk-free, of course. “The two main risks of cycling while pregnant are falling off and injuring the foetus, and overheating, which can cause abnormalities in the baby if it occurs in the first trimester. To avoid overheating in the first trimester it is advisable to wear cooler gear, maintain hydration and avoid riding on very hot days.”

One condition that pregnant cyclists may be at increased risk of is pre-eclampsia, characterised by high blood pressure and increased levels of protein in urine. This condition can develop into eclampsia, with life-threatening consequences for the mother and baby. However, the risk remains small and the evidence of increased risk is mixed.

“There was a 2009 Danish study that showed a small increase in severe pre-eclampsia in women who cycled for more than 270 minutes per week during the first trimester of pregnancy,” Andy explains. “The problem with the study is that although severe pre-eclampsia is serious, it is rare (affecting only 0.5 percent of pregnancies), so even if your risk is doubled you still only have a one percent chance of getting it (the increase in risk was actually a bit smaller). A subsequent systematic review published in 2012 suggested that exercise may actually help prevent pre-eclampsia (although it did not give an idea about the optimum amount).”

This illustrates the value of doing your research, something Victoria Hazael, senior communications and media coordinator of cycling charity CTC, took very seriously during her first pregnancy. “I thought about whether to cycle and did some research online. I realised that there’s a lot of conflicting information out there and it depends which website you look at.”

As your pregnancy progresses make sure your bike set-up is still comfortable for you: as your pregnancy progresses make sure your bike set-up is still comfortable for you

If you’re a regular rider anyway, there’s no reason not to carry on when pregnant.?

Consult with your midwife?

When Victoria spoke to a midwife, she was advised that as she already cycled it was sensible to continue if she wished. “I was told that as I cycle everyday anyway and use my bike as transport, it made sense for me to carry on.”

However, not every medical professional Victoria spoke to was as enthusiastic. “You don’t always see the same midwife throughout your pregnancy, and I met one who was not supportive at all. She told me I shouldn’t have cycled from work to my appointment, so I explained the research I had done, that I cycled every day, and that I didn’t fit in a lot of other exercise. She backed down!”

Josie Dew found that her midwife was happy for her to continue riding. “When I asked her is it okay to keep cycling, she thought I meant maybe half a mile down the road to the shops. But no, I meant 10, 20 or more miles a day. When she realised I normally did a lot more than that a day, she was surprised but very supportive. But she stressed that I shouldn’t push myself, which I didn’t. I just rode the number of miles that I felt like riding.”

Don’t overdo it

If you do decide to cycle during pregnancy, riding sensibly and not overdoing it makes sense. It’s a time for staying healthy, not starting an ambitious training schedule for a sportive or long charity ride. “Fitness and activity levels will naturally decline through the pregnancy, so setting realistic goals is important,” says Andy Ward.

Victoria Hazael’s GP gave similar advice. “He said to really listen to your body. He talked about not getting out of breath, and not taking on something big or training for a long-distance ride. You need to realise that your energy levels won’t be the same as normal, and think about the oxygen levels in your blood.”

As your pregnancy progresses you may want to adjust your position on the bike to make it more comfortable. “I raised my handlebars so the riding position was more upright,” says Josie Dew. If you usually ride a road bike, you may want to swap to something more comfortable. Victoria Hazael explains, “I rode to work on a mountain bike and later a Brompton folder.”

Towards the end of your pregnancy, you can expect to feel more tired and to find cycling more difficult. “As the pregnancy progresses, cycling does get more tricky, especially when you have a physical bump in the way. But I didn’t feel particularly unstable. If I had felt unsteady I probably would have opted to walk or take the bus into work,” Victoria says.

As for when to stop riding altogether, different cyclists come to different conclusions. While Victoria stopped at eight-and-a-half months, largely because of snowy weather, Josie continued to ride to within days of her due date. “I rode up until just a few hours before both girls were born. In fact, I think it was cycling over a bumpy, badly surfaced road that set me into labour with my first child!”

Andy Ward suggests it’s better not to push yourself. “Not being too ambitious in later pregnancy would be my advice. Ride with someone as much as possible and always carry a mobile phone. Comfort and energy levels are probably the biggest factor.”

In the end, how much you cycle during pregnancy boils down to listening to your body and using common sense.

Cycling while pregnant can be a good form of exercise : cycling while pregnant can be a good form of exercise

As your pregnancy progresses?make sure your bike set-up is?still comfortable for you.?

Cycling in the different trimesters of pregnancy

First trimester?

The first 12 weeks is a crucial time for the foetus to grab a firm hold inside the womb, and this period is the highest risk of miscarriage. Keep cycling but do it gently and only if you feel like it – fatigue and morning sickness, which can last all day and all night, might force you to stop for a while. Listen to your body. Cycling off-road is not recommended – it comes with too many jolts and bumps and to high a chance of being sent over the bar.?

Second trimester

During months three to six the chances of miscarrying fall dramatically. The tiredness and nausea of the first trimester are likely to have eased too, meaning you might have more energy than before. Cycling at this stage will keep you fit and supple which should help you cope with any aches or pains from carrying extra weight. Just remember to remain cautious despite your newfound energy, because a tumble won’t be good for mother or baby.?

Third trimester

From month six to your due date your bump will be big and active. You might get short of breath, especially on the hills, and leaning over the handlebar can be challenging. Dutch style bikes have a position that avoids leaning over on your stomach. Many pregnant women are plagued by haemorrhoids so a wide saddle with a gel seat cover might be required. If you feel unstable with the bump, it’s time to put your bike to one side, but this is a personal choice. Cycling keeps you fit, pliable and gives you stamina for the labour itself.?

Medical advice

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists advises that exercise in pregnancy can help reduce varicose veins, tiredness and swelling. Active women tend to experience less insomnia, stress, anxiety and depression. The main risks are related to possible falls and overheating. Be sure to keep hydrated. Stop cycling and seek medical attention if you experience excessive shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, abdominal pains, leakage of amniotic fluid or bleeding.

Note: while the advice published here has come from medical professionals and cycling experts, you should always consult your GP before cycling during pregnancy

This article was originally published in The Essential Guide to Kids Cycling.


????







Friction Facts: measuring bottom bracket drag

Our friends at Friction Facts are at it again, this time with a new test fixture to measure the friction generated by bottom brackets. In this round, Friction Facts tested 35 different models from twelve manufacturers: C-Bear, CeramicSpeed, Chris King, Enduro/Wheels Manufacturing, F1 Ceramic, FSA, Gold Race, Hawk Racing, Hope, KCNC, Shimano, and SRAM. Also compared were other variables such as bearing materials, seals and lubricants, and even fitment type. The results might not be quite what you think.

Lesson #1: Ceramic is not always better than steel

Ceramic bearing-equipped bottom brackets – or hybrid ceramics, to be more precise – are generally much more expensive than their stainless steel cartridge-equipped brethren. Manufacturers claim that they’re not only faster by virtue of generating less friction, but in some cases, also more durable.

Friction Facts’ new jig isn’t equipped to test durability but in terms of drag, the ceramic myth has been thoroughly debunked.

“Bottom Bracket efficiency is predominantly based on the design and the quality of materials used, not the material itself,”Friction Facts principal Jason Smith wrote in his latest report.

According to Smith’s data, the difference in drag between the top steel model (0.32W) and the best ceramic model (0.29W) was just 0.03W – virtually nothing. Moreover, out of five manufacturers with comparable steel and hybrid ceramic models, three actually posted lower friction values for the steel models than for the otherwise identical ceramic ones.

Hybrid ceramic bottom brackets are not always better than ones using stainless steel cartridges: hybrid ceramic bottom brackets are not always better than ones using stainless steel cartridges

Despite what the marketing tells you, bottom brackets with hybrid ceramic bearings don’t always spin with less drag than ones with stainless steel bearings

Lesson #2: Small variances between individual models but additive effects can be big

Save for one outlier built with roller bearings instead of ball bearings, the spread between the remaining 34 models is quite small. The best sample generates just 0.29W of drag while the worst one records a still-good 1.64W – with just 1.35W in total when comparing average values. In addition, the average drag for all of the bottom brackets tested is just 0.77W.

In other words, bottom brackets do different significantly drag-wise in terms of percentages but as far as actual watts are concerned, we’re talking relatively small numbers here that most general cyclists aren’t likely to notice. For riders that are much more concerned with power losses, however – such as time trial racers and number crunchers in general – Smith suggests that there are easy gains to be made as long as you’re willing to spend a little money.

Moreover, Friction Facts says the brands posting the best drag figures for the bottom bracket test also happen to offer some of the most efficient derailleur pulleys. Coupled with drag data Friction Facts has recorded from other drivetrain variables such as chains and chain lubes, riders could get as much as an 11.29W swing just by swapping out a few key component, depending on their starting point – a huge value for fit riders and racers that are already nearing their peak fitness.

Average frictional losses for the 35 bottom brackets tested by friction facts range from 0.29w to 2.13w: average frictional losses for the 35 bottom brackets tested by friction facts range from 0.29w to 2.13w

There isn’t a huge amount of difference between the bottom brackets tested but for those that are seeking every last second, the additive effects can be significant once you start incorporating other drivetrain components

Lesson #3: Drag and cost aren’t always related

Bargain hunters will be happy to know that you don’t always get what you pay for, at least when it comes to drag. For both the SRAM and Shimano bottom brackets tested, Friction Facts found that the lower-end units were actually more efficient than the more expensive options. The implication being that the higher-end units are also better sealed than their more affordable counterparts, something that should also figure into your buying decisions.

Lesson #4: One fitment standard isn’t necessarily better than another

Adherents to oversized bottom bracket standards such as BB30, PF30, BBright, and BB386 EVO love to go on about how their systems are better than conventional 24mm bottom bracket spindles – but according to Friction Facts’ data, what they can’t rightfully claim is that they’re more efficient, at least in terms of bearing drag.

(Click here to read BikeRadar’s complete guide to bottom brackets.)

According to Friction Facts’ latest report: “No statistically significant difference exists showing a general advantage or disadvantage of a standard type under similar loading conditions. It appears the frictional losses are heavily dependent on the manufacturer, quality, and design of the bottom bracket, not the standard itself.”

That being said, Friction Facts’ testing didn’t take into account other factors such as component weight or the torsional stiffness of the crank spindles under load.

According to friction facts, there is

Does a BB30 bottom bracket spin with less friction than a standard threaded one, or vice versa? Neither, actually

Lesson #5: Seals and grease matter

While most of the attention for bearing components is paid to materials and ABEC ratings, Friction Facts says the seals and lubricants used actually have an even greater affect on total drag. C-Bear, for example, offers the exact same bottom bracket for both road and mountain bike applications, varying only in the robustness of the seals and the viscosity and amount of the grease that fills the cartridge.

According to Friction Facts, the road variant generates just 0.31W of drag while the presumably more durable mountain bike one records a figure that’s more than twice as high at 0.85W.

Lesson #6: Drag isn’t everything

Keep in mind that all of Friction Facts’ bottom bracket testing pertains only to drag and doesn’t factor in other metrics such as durability, weight, or weather-sealing – all of which should also be factored into your purchasing decisions.

One of the more extreme cases is Gold Race’s BB30 ceramic bearings – the outright winner of the test – which posts extremely low friction numbers but doesn’t use contact seals or grease. In fact, you can see right through them. In fairness, Gold Race only recommends these particular bearings for indoor/track use, but it isn’t hard to see how a friction-obsessed buyer could easily be lead astray.

Gold race's bb30 hybrid ceramic bearings spin with ridiculously low friction. however, they also don't have proper contact seals (yes, you can see right through them) nor do they have any grease inside: gold race's bb30 hybrid ceramic bearings spin with ridiculously low friction. however, they also don't have proper contact seals (yes, you can see right through them) nor do they have any grease inside

These Gold Race BB30 bearings spin with ridiculously little friction – but you wouldn’t want to use them on the road or trail

Finally, drag obviously isn’t everything. Buyers who aren’t as concerned with efficiency may very well want one of the models that posts the highest friction numbers as they’re also likely to use the most robust seals and lubricants.

Ultimately, consumers should consider their priorities when it comes to purchasing a new bottom bracket and evaluate different models accordingly. Thanks to Friction Facts, we now have some better data to help us make an informed decision.

While we’re able to share general trends and the key findings of this study, we can’t divulge specific data. For the results of each bottom bracket model and more information on specific testing methodologies, visit the Friction Facts web site to purchase the full report.


????







Bikes Infrastructure Makes Traffic Run Smoother

In Manhattan they did anyway, with the help of more pedestrians and higher transit rates, as well as the new bike share program.

traffic_transit_cbd_dot

?

After several blocks in the heart of Times Square were pedestrianized and protected bike lanes were added to five avenues in the middle of Manhattan, motor vehicle traffic is actually moving more smoothly than before, according to the latest release of NYC DOT’s annual Sustainable Streets Index PDF.

The report, which gathers data from the MTA, the Taxi and Limousine Commission, and DOT’s own counts, also shows that the volume of traffic entering Manhattan has basically stayed flat since 2009. At the same time, transit ridership has started to rebound from the recession and service cuts.

Even with population and employment levels increasing after the recession, car traffic into the Manhattan CBD declined 1.7 percent in 2011. Since 2003, traffic volumes are down 6.5 percent, while transit trips to the area have increased 11.3 percent.

The annual report incorporates numbers on bike-share usage. Between the Memorial Day launch and August 26, Citi Bike riders made more than 2.5 million trips covering more than 5.5 million miles. There have been eight crashes involving Citi Bikes, none causing injuries classified as serious. Of stations sampled during the final two weeks of July, the busiest included those near hubs like Grand Central Terminal and Union Square.

?

Read the rest of this fascinating article here. It seems obvious that if you take a bunch of people out of cars and instead they take public transit/ride a bike/ or walk that traffic would move better, but its always nice to see some real world data to prove it.

What I think is the real take home from this study is that peoples lives are improving.  They are being more healthy (even public transit is healthier than driving).  They are saving money, they are reducing their impact on the planet, and even the people who are still trapped in their cars are happier because traffic is moving smoothly.  I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they were happier as well.  Its a win win win win.

People defend cars, and get very upset when you try to make it harder to use them, but they really have so very few benefits and so very many drawbacks.  I think what we are seeing is that this fact is finally sinking in.

Thanks Ben for the heads up on this.

Apparel maker’s study sees opportunity for IBDs

BEVERLY, MA (BRAIN) — Working with a research firm, apparel maker Craft Sportswear North America recently surveyed more than 1,000 cyclists about how they shop for clothing and accessories—and saw opportunity for specialty bike dealers in the results. Respondents were almost evenly split in indicating their preferred channel for purchasing clothing, with 37 percent wanting to shop online and 34 percent looking to their local bike shop. For accessories, however, specialty dealers far exceeded online as the preferred channel, 60 percent versus 25 percent.

Blog: A formula for high-profit bike stores

A blog by NBDA Executive Director Fred Clements Editor’s note: This is the first BRAIN blog post by Fred Clements, Executive Director of the National Bicycle Dealers Association. Clements’ previous blogs can be read on  bikedealerblog.wordpress.com .    The average bicycle retail store earns annual pre-tax profit of 5.5 percent, but the top 25 percent bring home nearly three times that.

University survey seeks e-bike riders

PORTLAND, OR — Do you ride an electric bike or know someone who does? A university researcher is asking U.S