Sometimes, if you can’t get to Portland….Portland will come to you. A traveling roadshow of sorts has been traversing the Midwest and East coast since the beginning of May and will continue on, ending in Chicago on June 4th. Titled, Dinner and Bikes, the group consist of Joe Biel of Microcosm Publishing and Cantankerous Titles fame, Joshua Ploeg as The Traveling Vegan Chef, publisher and writer Elly Blue, and independent journalist Aaron Cynic.
Each stop kicks off with a seven course meal (yes, SEVEN) that is entirely vegan and gluten-free, prepared by Joshua Ploeg, followed by a presentation on bicycle economics and transportation equity by Elly Blue. Soon after Joe Biel brings the Portland influence by reading from a coming project called Aftermass, which details the history of cycling in Portland. Once all the presentations have completed, a pop-up bookshop allows attendees to pick up some of their favorite and latest bicycle themed and cooking themed books and literature.
Upcoming stops will include St. Louis, Madison, Iowa City and Chicago, but check the complete list to see if they will be rolling near your town.
Well, it’s officially official. The Country’s largest bike share program, CitiBike in NYC, has launched to much excitement. The program does have it’s NIMBY’s and naysayers, but given a little time, everyone will surely fall in line as the program expands and succeeds. Proven successful in other cities around the country and world, the CitiBike program will ultimately prove to be no different and for that the whole of NYC will benefit. It’s great to see this continued progress and I look forward to more cities around the country following suit.
First things first. This project has already been funded and it STILL has 23 days left on Kickstarter, which lends great credibility to its desire in the cycling market. It is, undeniably, a well thought out product complete with an extensive list of figurative bells and whistles, offering visibility, security, tracking, and more. The primary function of the Helios handlebars is the illumination, achieved through an integrated front light that boasts 500 lumens, as well as two rear facing LED’s that alert others behind you, but also act as turn signals and a speedometer of sorts. The lights can be activated by the user through phone technology and proximity, meaning the lights turn on and off depending on how close you are to the bike with your phone. It can also be tracked in a similar manner should your bike get stolen. There are other fascinating features you can peruse on their Kickstarter page, but I want to address the one obvious drawback. These bars entail all integrated features, which means the rider will have to adapt to an entirely different hand position while riding (maybe not so much for the bullhorns) on the drop bars. The design creates an awkward placement at the top curve, which may make or break the decision for more picky cyclists. Overall though, these will appeal to the urban rider and there seem to be plenty of varied hand placements for the rider to choose from. I’ll be interested to see how these hold up in real world usage and if the tech features make the riding experience more enjoyable.
This seems to me yet another project that is great in concept, great enough to win a Red Dot Design Award, but still impractical in a real world setting. The concept is called Lumigrid, developed by Sichuan University, and it is essentially a handlebar mounted bike light the projects a grid in front of the rider instead of a focused light, which allows the rider to view irregularities in the road, whether they be potholes, dips or rises in the pavement. The product is meant to warn the rider of irregular pavement so they can change their path of travel away from the hazard.
Three questions immediately come to mind though, 1. Are cyclists going head over handlebars to such a degree that this is necessary? 2. When moving at speed, will the cyclist be able to see the irregularity, process the information and then react in sufficient time? 3. How is a standard light to be used at night when the grid is in use?
What do you think? Is this just design tinkering or could it have real world benefits for cycling safety?
Ah, the conjoined stupidity of social media and youthful naivety, where kids today think EVERYTHING should be shared even if it’s a crime they just committed. As this article details, a young driver clipped a cyclist with her mirror, sending him off the road, into the trees, suffering minor injuries…but…but…instead of stopping and making sure he wasn’t DEAD or anything, she instead decides to tweet it out to the world and even justifies the act by saying cyclists don’t pay the road tax, so it doesn’t matter.
Other cyclists disagreed with her and retweeted her to the Norwich UK police, who contacted her via Twitter and suggested she turn herself in. As it stands, the police are now in contact with both the cyclist and the driver and the matter is being pursued.
In another twist of the plot, the cyclist didn’t initially report the hit and run because he didn’t want his girlfriend thinking it was unsafe for him to be on the roads, which although isn’t as nefarious as the crime committed by the driver, certainly doesn’t do much for the rest of us in holding drivers accountable for their actions.
Regardless, the advent of social media sure has brought us into a new world, where both oversharing and undersharing have become quite problematic. In this case, at least, justice will hopefully be served by the new form of communication. Happy Friday.