Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How to Live Well Without Owning a Car

Elisa Munoz wrote a great review of the book How to Live Well Without Owning a Car, by Chris Balish. I read the article on BikePortland.org, but it was originally published on BikeSkirt.com.

I have not had the chance to read the book yet, but after reading Munoz's review, I am looking forward to it. Here are two clips from the article:

"Balish covers all the bases, talking about biking, transit, carpooling, walking, motorcycling…even inline skating! The advice is simple and well thought out. Real life examples pepper the pages, telling of suburbanites and city dwellers who went carfree for a multitude of reasons and have found success."

"Wondering how to get groceries, meds, shoes and diapers without a car? All covered in this book that I am now calling my 'non-drivers manual.' Tips on arriving fresh and maintaining good hygiene are also covered, and I found the ideas to be right on track. Dating without a car scare you? Check out Chapter 22."

Elisa Munoz (Photo by T. Scott Carlisle)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tscarlisle/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Any reference that can help me get more diapers and groceries on my bike is welcome! I cannot wait to start reading!

Friday, October 23, 2009

More Business Travelers Bring Bikes

A New York Times article by Tanya Mohn describes a trend in which more travelers are bringing bicycles with them on business trips. When these road warriors arrive at their destinations, the bicycles help them to stay sharp, avoid traffic and experience foreign lands in ways which would be impossible for travelers who spend all their time in hotels, taxis and office buildings. Mohn interviewed Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, who said, "Health, being green and, more recently, economics were among the reasons more people are cycling to work. Many riders are continuing the habit on business trips."

Christopher Bennett, a civil engineer, experiences Tbilisi, Georgia on a bicycle

The article also discusses the difficulties in transporting full-sized bicycles on airplanes, but the recent introduction of many wonderful folding bicycles allows travelers to pack high-performance machines into small suitcases. Airlines may charge extra for travelers bringing bikes on planes, but this expense can be small in comparison to the money saved by getting around on a bicycle once you have landed. Alison Chaiken, a software engineer in the San Francisco Bay area, "estimates that she saved the company hundreds of dollars by not renting a car and avoiding the high price of gas overseas. And she skirted rush-hour traffic."

We are told that the world is getting smaller all the time. Business travelers who bring their bicycles, or rent bicycles once they arrive, have the chance to expand it a bit by seeing how people live outside of office buildings and fast-food joints in destinations across the globe.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sales Booming at U.K.'s Largest Bicycle Retailer

Bloomberg just reported that bicycle sales are booming at Halfords, the United Kingdom's largest retail outlet for bicycles and car parts. Strong consumer demand for bicycles is driving the company's record profits. Sales are up 2.2%, and profit margins are up as well.

Cyclo-Commuters in London
Photo by Sara Richards

“Cycling is a good-news market,” David Wild, Halford’s chief executive officer, said in an interview with Bloomberg. “It’s in tune with health, sustainability, and the economy. We’re helping the move towards more cycling in the U.K.”

If sustainability and economic concerns are driving the growing demand for bicycles in the U.K., then we may have cause to hope that more British folks are opting to ride bicycles for their daily transportation needs. If London and Edinburgh join Amsterdam and Copenhagen in terms of becoming bicycle-oriented cities, then perhaps this trend will gain enough momentum to become a world-wide phenomenon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fashion Meets Function in Po Campo Bike Bags

Maria Boustead and Emily Siegler have added a new twist to good, ole' American entrepreneurial spirit. They have introduced a line of bike bags that not only work well, but also look FABULOUS! According to Boustead, "Po Campo continues to place emphasis on bags that look as good on the bike as off and function equally well as both a purse and bicycle accessory."

A stylish rack bag with a clip for a blinky light. Now that's my kind of fashion statement!

The company is selling both handlebar bags ($92 MSRP) and rack bags ($160 MSRP). While they are not Walmart-cheap, they are much less expensive than a Gucci bag, and that Gucci will be destroyed if it gets chain grease on it! The Po Campo bags, on the other hand, are made with water resistant materials that "will wipe clean easily with a mild soap and lukewarm water."

Po Campo handlebar bag

All Po Campo products are made in Chicago and come with a full one year warranty. Check out their website at www.pocampo.com.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

More Palo Alto Students Cycling to School

When it comes to children and bicycles, most of the news we get these days seems bad. Children are becoming increasingly sedentary and obese. School districts are prohibiting bicycles for safety reasons. Parents do not have time to ride with their kids. With all these discouraging trends getting media attention, it is especially encouraging to see that the City of Palo Alto, California is proving that bicycles can be a practical, enjoyable option for school transportation.

This article in Palo Alto Online, by Chris Kenrick, describes the sustained growth in the number of Palo Alto students cycling to school over the last decade. Currently, more than half of Palo Alto elementary school students, and one third of high school students, get to school without using a car. The article discusses the city-sponsored "Walk and Roll" week which includes many activities designed to encourage more students to make the switch from cars to bicycles. It also discusses measures which can be taken to make cycling on school routes as safe as possible.

These students in Portland, Oregon show that bicycles can be a safe, fun way to get to school. Photo by Jonathan Maus, BikePortland.org. Some rights reserved.

Cycloculture salutes Palo Alto and encourages the city to publicize its many advancements in integrating bicycles into its overall transportation plans.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bike Sharing Poised to Hit the Heartlands

According to this article by Todd Erzen in the Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa is poised to join visionary cities such as Paris and Denver in implementing a bicycle sharing program.

Tim Lane with a Trek city bicycle he proposes to rent from downtown kiosks. Photo by Rodney White/Register Photos

Tim Lane, of the group "Friends of Central Iowa Trails," is proposing to rent up to sixty bicycles from kiosks located in various spots in Des Moines. Apparently, traffic congestion has made it difficult to get around town. "I don't even go out for lunch because when I come back there won't be a place to park," says Lane.

Lane is looking for roughly $100,000 in start-up funding to get this project off the ground. Cycloculture wishes him the best of luck and hopes he starts a trend that takes off across the Midwest and the rest of the country!