Sunday, May 27, 2012

Byrne Bikes New York

This summer the city’s Department of Transportation inaugurates a new bike-share program. People who live and work in New York will be able to travel quickly and cheaply between many neighborhoods. This is major. It will make New Yorkers rethink their city and rewrite the mental maps we use to decide what is convenient, what is possible. Parks, restaurants and friends who once seemed beyond plausible commuting distance on public transportation will seem a lot closer. The possibilities aren’t limitless, but the change will be pretty impressive. I’ve used a bike to get around New York for decades. There’s an exhilaration you get from self-propelled transportation — skateboarding, in-line skating and walking as well as biking; New York has good public transportation, but you just don’t get the kind of rush I’m talking about on a bus or subway train. I got hooked on biking because it’s a pleasure, not because biking lowers my carbon footprint, improves my health or brings me into contact with different parts of the city and new adventures. But it does all these things, too — and sometimes makes us a little self-satisfied for it; still, the reward is emotional gratification, which trumps reason, as it often does. David Byrne is an artist and musician; he wrote this article in the NYT.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Even Los Angeles starts bicycling

It was a warm April morning in downtown Los Angeles, and there was not a car on the road. For five hours, the streets were commandeered by nearly 100,000 people on bicycles — old and young, wearing spandex and silly hats, dogs and babies perched on handlebar baskets — in a celebration that produced a sight that once would have seemed inconceivable in this city of cars. It was the fourth time this city closed its streets for the event known as CicLAvia, and it was the largest one yet. In the past 18 months, close to 40 miles of bike paths and lanes have been created across the city and the City Council passed a measure to prevent bicyclists from being harassed by motorists. On one recent evening, drivers came to a (mostly) uncomplaining stop as swarm after swarm of cyclists breezed through an intersection on Wilshire Boulevard, complete with a police escort. And on Tuesday, there was a “Blessing of the Bicyclists” — with a rabbi, a water-sprinkling priest and bikers in attendance — at Good Samaritan Hospital. Bicycling is no longer the purview of downtown messengers or kamikaze daredevils. Its advocates include hipsters who frequent the bicycle repair cooperative known as the Bicycle Kitchen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cargo Bike Hits Edinburg Streets

Could pedal power be the answer for companies struggling to deliver their goods in the congested streets of Scotland's cities? One young Edinburgh entrepreneur believes so. Neil Bon, of Pronto Pedal Power, has turned his back on a promising law career to run his own cargo bike business and is already winning custom from companies which want to save time, money and reduce pollution too. Cargo bikes, which are specially designed to carry large and bulky items, are already a common sight in Denmark and the Netherlands. They are increasing in popularity elsewhere on the continent but are still a rarity on Scotland's streets. Mr Bon believes that could be about to change, as businesses realise cargo bikes have important advantages over the ubiquitous white delivery van. He told me: "It's primarily about cost. But a lot of companies are looking to reduce their environmental impact, so it's about that too. And, of course, we can make deliveries more quickly than vans in the city centre."
Cycle logistics. Mr Bon said cargo bike delivery riders should not be confused with traditional cycle couriers, with a light bag of documents slung across their backs. Continue reading the main story.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

NY Bike Share Station Locations

The bike-share stations will be pliable, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has said — their assembly so simple that, if problems arise, docks can be removed without leaving a trace.Cars parked near the corner of 25th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan, where a bike-share station is planned. The first bicycles for hire are scheduled to hit the streets in late July. And yet, with the program’s first 420 proposed locations unveiled on Friday, proponents say New York has taken a step toward a watershed moment in the transportation history of the city: Every few blocks throughout Midtown and Lower Manhattan, in splotches of northern Brooklyn and along a small slice of Queens, New Yorkers will have access to a new alternative for public travel. The stations will appear on the sidewalks of Williamsburg and near the edge of the Hudson River, in parking lanes on Eighth Avenue and beside the plaza along Central Park South. Bicyclists who pay an annual membership fee of $95 will be able to shuttle between stations for up to 45 minutes without an additional charge. For bike enthusiasts, the release of the maps was long-awaited. Others worried about the increased competition for precious car parking space.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Big Money embraces New York Bike Share

Citigroup Inc. (C) agreed to pay $41 million to sponsor New York City’s bicycle-rental program, which Mayor Michael Bloomberg said will be the largest such system in the U.S. when it begins in July. The “Citi Bike” program, presented by the mayor and Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit at City Hall today, will offer 10,000 bikes branded with the New York-based bank’s logo at 600 docking stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island City, Queens. New York will share any profits from the bike rentals with Portland, Oregon-based Alta Bicycle Share, chosen as its operator in September. The bike-share program, first advocated by the city Transportation Department in 2009, would provide a low-cost transit alternative in a city where almost half the workforce lives within five miles (eight kilometers) of its place of work, the department said in a planning document. MasterCard Inc. (MA) CEO Ajay Banga, also at City Hall, said his company would pay $6.5 million to provide bike-share stations with “PayPass Tap & Go” payment points and traditional magnetic-stripe terminals as part of its “Priceless New York” promotion of events and attractions for residents and tourists. Similar systems exist in Paris, with 20,600 bicycles; Barcelona, which has 6,000;  Hangzhou, China, which offers as many as 60,600, and Washington’s 1,500-bike system. Read also NYC