An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Minneapolis Pedal Pubs: Haters take it to the street, the street fights back

Our old pal Sarah Barker wrote up the "Great Minneapolis PedalPub War" earlier this week,wherein a group of ruffians on the wheel attacked several PedalPub cars with water balloons and supersoakers, and were then promptly assaulted and apprehended by police officers. We don't have a lot ot add to the conversation other than to say this: We have been accused of being divisive and annoying tribalists when it comes to pitting "good" cyclists against "bad" cyclists. Y'know, griping about fixters and poesengers and angry freds and pathletes. But these PedalPub haters seem like an especially difficult group of youngsters. And while we applaud their intention to find good clean fun, they did two things wrong: They picked a pedal pub full of off-duty cops, and they used water instead of glitter. Everyone knows glitter is both more annoying and less legally actionable.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Seventh Seal: The wicked shall tamper with ghost bikes

Here's another sign of the End Times: The thieving of ghost bikes. In  Albuquerque, New Mexico, cyclists are scratching their heads at the theft of a ghost bike marking the intersection where Matt Trujillo was killed in 2011.

This ghost bike commemorating cyclist Matt Trujillo was stolen from Indian School and Washington NE, where Trujillo was hit by a car and killed four years ago. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)Here's the silver lining of the story, though. Ghost bikes in many other parts of the country are routinely removed by city workers or police for various reasons -- often because they become another distraction in what are often dangerous intersections to begin with (duh! chicken, meet egg!) and at other times simply because they can be an ever-expanding eyesore.

But the encouraging thing about the ABQ story is that it's a reminder to all New Mexicans that it's actually illegal to tamper with or move a ghost bike in their state. They fall under the category of descansos (ad hoc memorials similar to, say, a shrine by the side of the road marking the place of a violent death) and are protected. We'd like to see similar laws passed in other parts of the country.

Finally, as more than one person has pointed out, ghost bikes are rarely rideable -- at least by the living. So pinching a ghost bike seems like an especially mean-spirited thing to do, along the lines of desecrating a grave, which is sorta lowest of the low IMHO.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Glock 9MM = Fuji Feather? Miami's Guns For Bikes trade-in program

Guns and bikes: Why must they be mutually exclusive?

Down in Miami, one bike shop owner has partnered with police to launch a Guns for Bikes program, wherein -- you guessed it -- guns can be traded in for bikes. It's not clear how many South Beach thugs are carrying heat because they lack adequate transportation or exercise, but whatevs.  If fixed gear bikes have risen to that level of cool, then so be it.

If you will indulge us for a moment, though, we would like to point out that "More Bikes, Less Guns" is just as gramatically incorrect as "More Beers, Less Gears."  (Hint: It's the same reason why  the "Less than 10 items" express check-out at your local grocer is an abomination.)

With that anal grammarian moment behind us, I'd like to aver that for a small but vocal contingent of cyclists, guns and bikes are not in any way incompatible.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd: Europe loves bikes!

This is an Amsterdam bike parking zone.
Apparently with room for 1 million more!
Bike sales in Europe are exploding, according to sources all over the Olde World. Italy is the Eurozone's biggest bike producer and exporter, but per capita, the Netherlands seems to be consuming the most new bikes. In 2014, the Dutch bought more than 1 million new two-wheelers -- even though the total population of the country is just 16 million.

That points to an especially interesting fact: This growth in bike use in an already bike-crazy culture is not due to population growth.  Most Northern European countries, the Netherlands included, are desperately close to zero population growth, which is a real problem longterm because these highly socialized and progressive countries rely on new taxpayers to help pay for their famous social safety nets -- like paid maternity leave, and liveable pensions.  
Anyone who has ever been to Amsterdam will wonder out loud: How can they even find room for another 1 million bikes per year?!