Urban Velo

Rap Battle – NSFW


This has been around the block…but it’s good for a few more spins. Surely the creators are working on an urban version?

Pedicab Drivers Dwindling in NYC

pedicabAaah New York…always trying to find a way to get over on the tourists.

According to this summary by AnimalNYC, a number of pedicabs drivers were price gouging riders, culminating in one ride costing $500. In response, NYC stepped up regulations on pedicab drivers, creating something of a disincentive to get in the business or stay in the business. Let’s hope this is just a weeding out process and ownership / ridership rebounds.

As AnimalNYC detailed:

Since the city has tightened regulations and cracked down on pedicab drivers, the number of pedaling transit providers has taken a steep dive. Only 903 drivers decided to renew their license this year. That’s down from 1217 at the beginning of 2014.

After an incident in which some tourists were charged $500 for a short pedicab ride, there has been increased scrutiny on the service: Regulations were put in place requiring drivers to charge by the minute, post visible prices, and use timers approved by the city.

Road Rage Psychology

rageI’ve always felt the argument that one rule-breaking cyclist (“You ran a red light?! Now we’re all gonna die!!”) is what compels drivers to hate all our collective guts, is very weak. Human nature is far more complex and subconscious than this, as is argued by BBC writer, Tom Stafford, as he pulls from evolutionary theory and social psychology to give a more thorough explanation of this road rage phenomenon. He explains,

…It’s not because cyclists are annoying. It isn’t even because we have a selective memory for that one stand-out annoying cyclist over the hundreds of boring, non-annoying ones (although that probably is a factor). No, my theory is that motorists hate cyclists because they think they offend the moral order…

… Humans seem to have evolved one way of enforcing order onto potentially chaotic social arrangements. This is known as “altruistic punishment”, a term used by Ernst Fehr and Simon Gachter in a landmark paper published in 2002. An altruistic punishment is a punishment that costs you as an individual, but doesn’t bring any direct benefit. As an example, imagine I’m at a football match and I see someone climb in without buying a ticket. I could sit and enjoy the game (at no cost to myself), or I could try to find security to have the guy thrown out (at the cost of missing some of the game). That would be altruistic punishment.

I don’t think there is much of a cooperative answer to this problem of cyclists avoiding generally accepted traffic laws, in part as a way of protecting ourselves, but maybe this theory can help you shrug off the haters as you circumvent the moral social order next time the light turns red on you.

Via BBC Future

Newton Bike Shop Hostel

Newton Bike Shop “Trans Am Bicycle Trail Hostel” from Newton Bike Shop on Vimeo.

The Newton Bike Shop & Hostel is located along the Trans Am Bicycle Trail, so it was a logical move to add a hostel to their services, but this would be a great idea for any shop with extra space to utilize. Cyclists could stay in a casual bike-centric environment even just during short weekend trips or vacations. Skip to 1:30 for the information on the hostel aspect of Newton’s Bike Shop.

Funbikes Scrap Race 2014

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Funbikes Scrap race in Prague.

Bike Mechanic

Bike Mechanic by Rohan Dubash and Guy AndrewsVelopress recently released a new book giving you a behind the scenes look from those who keep the peleton’s bikes rolling smoothly…the mechanics. With photos and interviews, Bike Mechanic gives us detailed stories from the UCI World Tour along with practical tips and tricks to use on our own rides.

Crisp photography makes Bike Mechanic a tool-lover’s dream, with drool-worthy images of the machinery and equipment that keep bicycles running smoothly. Mechanics reveal their favorite workflow during races like Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France, open up their toolboxes and workshops, and show off the techniques for bike tuning that they’ve honed during years of practicing the craft.

Bike Mechanic is available for $24.95 through Velopress.

Travel With Care PSA

PFP PSAThose good friends at People For Bikes have just released a nationwide PSA campaign called, Travel With Care, showing cyclists as everyday people, wearing occupational gear instead of lycra and helmets. As they explain,

Travel With Care inspires the general public to see every bike rider as a neighbor, friend or family member—just a normal person who chooses to bike. In addition to humanizing bicyclists, the campaign’s message is built around bettering behavior by both people in cars and on bikes by asking them to travel with care and to “melt icy relations on the road.”

The campaign consists of billboards, print materials and placements on buses and street furniture. The campaign spawned from a similar PSA initiated in our Urban Velo hometown of Pittsburgh PA.

Solar Bike Paths Are Here (or there)


Pardon the annoying video, but the description of what a solar roadway is, how it works, and it’s larger social potential is well described. Fittingly, one of the first solar roadways just went down in the Netherlands, as a 70 meter bike path. Yes, bikes leading the way, of course. It’s an expensive technology, but if the funding can be found, the returns down the line will continue to expand practical usage on a larger scale. This article at Collective Evolution gives a good summary of the first solar roadway now in use.

Fixed Gear Ghent

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Australian Cyclists Party

Richard – Australian Cyclists Party from Australian Cyclists Party on Vimeo.

Voting on the basis of cyclist’s needs sounds relatively absurd, but with what party policies get passed today…why not?!

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