No wonder no one rides bicycles!

From the Indianapolis Star, 1980:

"Not only are bicycles dangerous, they are as antiquated a form of transportation as the rickshaw. In no advanced city on earth will you find civilized people cycling to work. The urban cyclist is generally a crank, either profoundly antisocial or hopelessly narcissistic and following the strenuous life in hopes of achieving immortality or a legendary sex life. When you encounter him give him a wide berth and never turn your back on him."

Check out the whole article here.

The Downside of Riding

Parents & Kids (Take II)

Last year, I posted several photographs of parents and their children on bicycles. Their numbers seem to have doubled. Here are some parents, showing how to do it in style:

Some parents prefer the rear-style Cargo bike

which can be used as a stroller...

A very Euro front bike-seat.

The ultimate goal being, of course, to get them on their own bikes. That's how you propagate a bike culture.

But, if I ever have a kid, I'm getting one of these:

(photo from Christiania)

A Bike Culture

People in normal clothes, doing normal things... on their bikes.

Hauling oranges

Heading to yoga class

Going to work (or racing cars?)

Going out on a Saturday Night.

Why Bloominghagen?

What right-minded town wouldn't want to emulate Copenhagen? Here is a wonderful video to demonstrate why:

As part of my role as a commissioner on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Commission, I have advocated for segregated bike lanes and identifiable paths (including colored lanes) that run through intersections. These measures would drastically increase the safety of bicyclists because they would be separated from traffic and more visible when crossing intersections.

Wouldn't it be nice if Bloominghagen looked like this?

(Thanks to Mikael at Copenhagenize for his images, videos, and, well, leading the advocacy for this cause)

Props for Bloomington

Let there be no doubt: much can be done to improve Bloomington's bike-ability. But, in my criticism, it may seem as if I believe that Bloomington has done nothing to promote a bicycling and pedestrian friendly city. To the contrary, for a small town in Indiana, Bloomington has done much. To wit, the amazing B-Line trail.

This trail, which will eventually link to a Rails-to-Trail south of the city, is on what used to be part of the Monon rail line. After phase 1, the paved trail goes from 2nd street to 11th Street, which is straight through downtown Bloomington. The highlight of the trail is right outside City Hall, where, every weekend, people converge on the Farmer's Market.

I'll just say it: I love the B-Line. It is beautiful. It is easy. It is fast. And since it opened late last Spring, I have seen tons of people use it to walk to shops, the farmer's market, and restaurants. I can easily hop on from my neighborhood, and in about 5 minutes be at my office. From my office, I can quickly walk on the B-Line to Bloomingfoods for lunch or dinner provisions. With the B-line, my commute is fast and safe, not to mention scenic.

Here are some photographs of the trail.

Artwork on the B-Line.

My other half (on the bike) stopping for breakfast at Le Petit Cafe's walk-up window.

The Farmer's Market, on Saturday (above and below).

Every Girl Crazy 'Bout a Sharp Dressed Man

10 points if you can guess who that sharp-dressed fellow is (on his way to work).

What Other Cities Do

Aside from a few select cities (Portland, OR, San Francisco, CA) in the United States, the idea of the bicycle as legitimate transport has not caught on. But this has not stopped even car-loving cities from trying to do something. On a recent (May) trip to St. Petersburg, Florida, I was completely shocked that this town, in an otherwise car-loving state, had put in segregated bike lanes. I adore segregated bike lanes. I wish Bloomington would create segregated bike lanes.

Isn't this beautiful? The bicyclists travel down this lovely tree-lined lane, completely safe from car traffic and opening doors.

In St. Pete's, the lane has traffic going in both directions. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but it's better than nothing!

Here the lane crosses an intersection. You can see how bicycles are given a striped crosswalk, which helps bring bicyclists to the attention of motor-traffic. Bicyclists are given their own crossing light.

But, even with this great infrastructure, some still choose the "safer" sidewalk.

A Revamped Site

After sitting on this blog and doing practically nothing with it for the past year, I've decided to re-publish it with a new name and a new title: Bloominghagen. The inspiration for this blog came from the bicycle culture in Copenhagen and the sites that promote it (see links to the right). Copenhagen made the decision around forty years ago to promote a culture where bicycles were a primary mode of transport. Over the last few decades, the city has closed down roads to vehicular traffic, created a vast network of paths and segregated bike lanes, and encouraged other bike-friendly infrastructure, such as bike elevators to and from the subway and bike racks everywhere. As a result, 55% of all trips are made by bicycle, and 37% of commuters to and from work or school choose to go by bike. I don't see any reason why a similar investment here couldn't have the same result.

I believe part of the problem with Bloomington's lack of bike culture is that bicycles have for too long been the province of recreational riders or competitive athletes, those who don helmets and spandex and other fancy apparel. Also, our culture has developed a fear of bicycling, believing that it is a dangerous activity. But it doesn't have to be this way. I hope to show, by photographing individuals riding in regular clothing and doing regular things, that a bicycle can be a fantastic and easy mode of transportation, and you don't need any special equipment. More bicycles mean cleaner air, less noise, and safer streets for cars, pedestrians, and other bicycles alike.

So you want to help start a revolution? Dust off the bike. Put on your high heels and skirt. And hit the road!

Getting Chicks on Bikes = A Good Thing

The number one reason that women do not ride bikes* is that they don't feel safe. Creating bike lanes that are segregated from traffic is a first step towards making women feel safe.

We all know the benefits of bicycles. Obviously, if people are choosing to ride their bikes rather than drive, there is less traffic, less congestion, less pollution, less noise, and everyone is safer--both pedestrians and cyclists. Getting more women on the road is one step we can take in the right direction. Sign the petition:

* This is from my own informal survey, as well as from information gleaned on the bike belles website.