January 2016

California once imagined a car-free future with this bike superhighway

Drivers in Los Angeles spend an average of 90 hours a year stuck in traffic. But back in the 1890s, California imagined a different future for the city’s streets.

The state planned to build a for-profit, six-mile bike-only highway only for bikes that would stretch from Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles. It was the brainchild of Pasadena resident Horace Dobbins, who began construction after city approval in 1897.

Three years later, it opened as an elevated tollway that collected 10 cents per biker, or about $2.50 in today’s money.

Only 1.3 miles of the cycleway were actually built. The city tore it down a decade later since it never made a profit.

The cycleway may sound like a far-fetched idea today, but at the time, most Americans moved through cities by foot, Norton tells Tech Insider. City folk weren’t yet sure if they should adopt cars.

“Many experts and ordinary people agreed that cars didn’t really belong in cities,”says historian and author Peter Norton. “They made a lot of sense in the country, but in the city, they demanded too much space, drove pedestrians off the streets, and injured too many people.”

The California Cycleway likely failed because it was meant for recreation, rather than for efficient commutes, says Norton. For those who rode bikes as an inexpensive way to get around, the toll seemed steep. The timing of the construction was also unfortunate; the Cycleway was built just as recreational cycling was going out of fashion.

Local cycling clubs and activist groups like the League of American Wheelmen competed against powerful auto manufacturers and wealthy car owners.

“The future was not so much a natural evolution, but more a struggle for control,” Norton says.

Today, most city infrastructure is still planned around the needs of cars. But many cities (especially European ones) are trying to change that by building extensive bike lanes and improving public transit. Oslo recently announced that it will ban cars from its city center by 2019, and Madrid plans to do the same by 2020. The city of Copenhagen is also building 26 cycling superhighways that will span 186 miles.

Although it’d be a giant feat, Norton says a similar cycleway could work in California and elsewhere in the US.

“The sheer madness of America’s lavish energy consumption and public health disasters have compelled people to look for good alternatives, and there are plenty,” he says.

From TechInsider

For the love of cycling, Ten Dam sets out for California

In recent years, there has been an increasing tendency for footballers from Europe’s top leagues to cross the Atlantic and seek one final, hefty pay day in Major League Soccer, but Laurens ten Dam can only smile when asked to compare his relocation to the United States in 2016 with those of Messrs. Pirlo, Gerrard et al.

Given that his original intention was to race simply on the perennially cash-strapped domestic circuit in the US, after all, financial considerations scarcely entered the equation as Ten Dam set about planning his American adventure.

“For the love of cycling, I wanted to get back to basics. Standing next to a car in my naked ass changing my bibs instead of being on a fancy bus doesn’t matter to me, you know, so that’s why I was ready to race for Jelly Belly or Bissell,” Ten Dam told Cyclingnews at the Giant-Alpecin presentation in Berlin last week.

Not that the love of a more rustic form of cycling was the primary reason for Ten Dam’s decision. When he reached Paris in a state of exhaustion at the end of last year’s Tour de France, the Dutchman counted backwards 100 days and realised that he had spent a total of ten nights at home with his wife and young family in that period. At 35 years of age and 13 years into his professional career, Ten Dam felt that something had to give. A training crash ten days after the Tour convinced him.

“After the Tour, man, I was done with Europe, because I wanted to balance my family life, and I decided I wanted to go to the US,” Ten Dam explained. “It was what I wanted ten years ago, and I’ve done everything in cycling that I wanted, and I wanted to just go and ride for a domestic team – and that’s certainly not for the money because a domestic team doesn’t pay much.”

Ten Dam’s agent Joao Correia was, rather understandably, reluctant for Ten Dam to slip quietly away from the European scene when a steady stream of WorldTour teams were still interested in paying a more competitive salary for his services, and he persuaded the Dutchman to give him time to broker a compromise solution.

“I phoned my manager and he said ‘Whoah, whoah, whoah – maybe you can combine,’” Ten Dam said. “Several teams didn’t take the bait, they probably thought that I had checked out a little bit, like you said about footballers going to Major League Soccer.”

LottoNL-Jumbo, where Ten Dam had raced since 2008, was ultimately prepared to accede to his desire to base himself across the Atlantic, but he ultimately opted for Giant-Alpecin, having raced with the squad at its humble beginnings as Shimano-Memory Corp back in 2005.

“I thought I was changing things anyway so I might as well change completely and I decided to come here,” Ten Dam said of the switch to Giant-Alpecin. “The first point I had in the negotiations was ‘I want to move to America’ because I didn’t want to talk bullshit with them, I wanted to be honest. So then we talked about the programme, and I knew we would have to decide early about when I was going to be in the US and when I was going to be in Europe to race.

“In the end, it’s all worked out nicely for me and the team. We’ll have to see at the end of the year in September if it’s been good or not. For now it’s ok and I’m looking forward to the year.”

Read More at Cyclingnews.com

Los Angeles is famous for it’s gridlock and love of cars, but a young mayor wants to bring the masses back to the sidewalk.

“NOBODY WALKS IN L.A.”
—Missing Persons, “Walking in L.A.,” 1982

There has never been a more quintessentially Los Angeles family than the Farriers, who in the 1960s made the freeways their home. They had owned a house in Tujunga, but it became too expensive to maintain, so they sold it. They were left with a camper and the asphalt ribbons that weave through the canyons and valleys of the unruly city. The freeway was both their means and their end.

In the morning, they drove from the downtown lot where they parked each night north on the Hollywood Freeway, to where Steve Farrier worked in Burbank. Then Marilee Farrier drove on the Golden State and San Bernardino freeways to El Monte, on the east side of Los Angeles County, where she deposited the couple’s baby with her mother. She then got back onto the San Bernardino and drove to West Covina for her job at a department store. In the afternoon, she used the San Bernardino to return to El Monte for her baby. Following that, the Golden State and the San Bernardino whisked her back to Burbank. Reunited, the three Farriers cruised on the Hollywood Freeway back downtown.

They drove this 128-mile route each day, but being freeway nomads did not bother the Farriers all that much. “We’ve really begun to feel that the freeways, particularly the Hollywood Freeway, which is a beautiful road, belong to us,” Steve told Cry California magazine, where the story of his remarkable family first appeared in the summer of 1966. His chief complaint about living in the camper was the frequency with which the toilet demanded emptying. “Frankly, we use the toilet as little as possible,” he confessed.

Read More Here

Marcelo Gutierrez’s winning run in Manizales

WOW!!! On board for a very fast lap through the slick streets

Oakland Unveils City’s First Solar Electric Bike Share Station

The city of Oakland wants to make it easier than ever to get around on two wheels instead of four.

The new technology, a GenZe bike, unveiled Wednesday is being manufactured in the East Bay.

Oakland’s mayor is getting lots of attention these days and not just about saving the Oakland Raiders. She also wants to save the planet.

“A solar-powered electric bike share station is so Oakland. This is us,” Schaaf said.

Mayor Libby Schaaf cut the ribbon on a station in Jack London Square that charges shared electric bikes using only the sun as a six-month pilot program.

“It’s a blueprint for what will happen in the world, which is the move toward electric transportation, which the Bay Area is already a champion of,” said Danny Kennedy of Sungevity and California Clean Energy Fund.

The bikes can be manual, electric, or somewhere in between. They sell for $1,500. For twice that price, riders can buy an electric bike that’s specifically made for life in the city.

“You can change the battery while it’s in the scooter, or it’s removable as well,” said Natalee Elmasian, a spokesperson for Mahindra GenZe.

Riders can park outside and charge inside and there’s plenty of room to lock up belongings.

“The seat lifts up for extra storage. And then we have a port here where you can put a USB in there where you can charge your phone,” Elmasian said.

There’s even talk they could make good delivery vehicles for the new on-demand economy.

“It’s going to be so much easier to get in and out of a grocery store, in and out of local errands in this vehicle than it will in any car,” said Daniel Hamilton, Oakland sustainability manager.

It tops out at 30 miles per hour, but don’t worry, the app will make sure riders won’t get honked at.

“If you tell the app where you want to go, it maps out all the roads that are 35 mph or below,” said Mahindra Genze CEO Vish Palekar.

Because as cities get more crowded, Schaaf says “we need to change certain things about the way we live, and dependence on cars is one of them.”

Read more here

The Easiest Way to Start Riding Every Day

The Easiest Way to Start Riding Every DayFind new bike routes, get out the door faster, and make riding every day a reality with tips from our new online course

Ever wondered how your life might change if you started riding your bike every day?

In 2016, Bicycling dares you to find out.

Committing to a daily ride habit is a powerful thing—much more so than planning to ride even five or six days a week. When you go on a ride streak, you eliminate the question, “Am I riding today?” Over time, you learn to streamline routines like getting dressed, doing pre-ride checks, and cleaning up post-ride so that the whole process becomes more efficient. Most importantly, you lay the foundation not just for a new habit, but for a new lifestyle based around having fun on two wheels.

Bicycling’s new 21-Day #RideStreak Challenge e-course, part of Rodale’s “New Year, New You” e-course program, will help you complete a three-week ride streak—a solid step in making cycling a natural part of your daily routine. Designed by the editors at Bicycling, this online program provides a practical lesson each day—you’ll get pro tips on things like how to find new routes, get out the door faster, hack your day for more ride time, what to do when your legs are tired, and more. You’ll also get motivational anecdotes from the Bicycling team, just to give you that extra push when it might be a little tougher to get out. Finally, you’ll gain access to the online forums, where you can share your experiences and lessons with other #RideStreak participants.

This program is designed for riders of all disciples and ability levels. Wherever you’re starting from, we can guarantee two things: When you’re done with your #RideStreak, you will be a better cyclist—and your life will be substantially more awesome.

Read more at Bicycling.com

Fairfax Avenue Bicycle Lane Project

As part of the Fiscal Year 2015-2016 budget, the City Council amended the 5-Year Capital Improvement Program to include a project for the Department of Public Works to design and construct bicycle lanes along Fairfax Avenue between Fountain Avenue and Willoughby Avenue.

BACKGROUND ON THE PROJECT

On February 18, 2015, the West Hollywood Transportation Commission unanimously recommended to the City Council to make installation of bicycle lanes on Fountain Avenue a priority implementation project. This was in follow up to the City of Los Angeles’ recent installation of new bicycle lanes on Fairfax Avenue between Hollywood Boulevard and Fountain Avenue. At this time, the Department of Public Works has developed a conceptual layout for Fairfax Avenue for establishment of the bicycle lanes.

EXISTING CONDITION
The following exhibits show the current lane configurations for Fairfax Avenue. The roadway has a posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour. Traffic counts were conducted during the last week of September 2015. The Average Daily Traffic (ADT) for the roadway is 29,600 vehicles per day. The average daily bicycle volume is 375 bicycles per day.

Fountain Avenue to Norton Avenue
From Fountain Avenue to Norton Avenue, the roadway currently consists of two through traffic lanes in each direction with a two-way center left turn lane. There is unmetered on-street parking on both sides of the street.

Read more here.

Pedaling to dominate the stationary bike industry

Rather than rubbing sweaty elbows in a cycling class at the gym, a new company is giving the fitness conscious the luxury of doing it in the privacy of their own homes.

Instead of traveling to the gym or a class, Peloton Cycle lets customers purchase stationary bikes and partake in live streaming classes from their houses. These bikes track speed and progress, and lets riders directly compete with others around the world.

With the fitness craze in full swing, the concept is one whose time has come in the eyes of investors. Peloton initially got its start on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, and has raised more than $100 million last year from Tiger Global, True Ventures and most recently Catterton Partners.

Peloton CEO John Foley told CNBC his objective is to give back people their time as they attempt to reach their fitness goals. “For the young mother, who is 40 years old, who has a 3-year-old napping in the next room, we’re allowing her to take a high energy cycling class without getting a babysitter, and without the travel time.”

Read more at CNBC.com

Tested: Yeti SB4.5c from Bicycling.com

This mountain bike offers big wheels, bitchin’ suspension, and some awesome shock tune options.

There was a lot of anticipation for the Yeti 4.5c. The model it replaced—the SB95—was one of our favorites. But more important, this is the first 29er to incorporate Yeti’s unique Switch Infinity suspension design.

The signature feature of Switch Infinity is a link above the bottom bracket that slides up and down (or, as Yeti’s engineers say, “translates”) on a pair of shafts. Yeti designers claim this allows them to control the wheel path and shock rate in ways a rotating link cannot, and that the way the link moves—vertically—is more efficient, too.

This sounds like the usual suspension design hype. But the first two 27.5-inch wheeled Switch Infinity models—the five-inch-travel SB5c trail bike and the enduro-oriented SB6c—were so exceptional that they can legitimately be labeled game-changers. And the 4.5c largely lives up to the hype, too.

With 4.5 inches (114 millimeters) of rear travel, a 140mm-travel fork, a longish front end, lowish bottom bracket, and slackish head angle, this bike is, like many of the new breed of short-travel trail 29ers, a mashup: more descent-capable than an XC race bike and faster uphill than a trail bike. But you can choose which personality the bike skews toward. Yeti offers two tunes of the FOX FLOAT DPS EVOL shock—XC and trail—which change its character noticeably.

With the XC-tune shock, the rear suspension is firm, noticeably progressive, and rides higher in its stroke. There’s little bob and it holds the bike up well, keeping it from wallowing when you’re rolling through slow-speed, ledgy terrain. It has a sporty feel that wouldn’t be out of place on a pure XC race bike—which is great on smoother trails and climbs, but makes the back end start to skip around on rougher descents.

Where is the most cycle-friendly city in the world?

The Dutch and Danish cycling utopias of Amsterdam, Groningen, Utrecht and Copenhagen are high up the list – but what about the rest of the world?

The future of cycling in the UK was dealt a bad hand when George Osborne’s Spending Review revealed a new commitment of £300m to cycling investment to 2020/21. While that might sound like a lot, it equates to around £1.40 per person per year in England (outside of London), and a significant step backwards from previous commitments to minimum funding of £10 per person per year. To put this in perspective, the average investment in the Netherlands is around €30 (£22) per person per year.

But while the UK government may be limiting the chances for British cities to become the most cycle-friendly in the world, across the globe many metropolises are taking huge steps to improve conditions for people on bikes. One Danish study reveals that for every kilometre cycled, society enjoys a 23 cent (16p) profit, while driving the same distance produces a net loss of 16 cents (10p). Of course, cycling also increases fitness, tackles stress levels and one less car on the road will help to lower pollution levels.

Notable success stories come from the hailed Dutch and Danish cycling utopias, where investment into cycling is highest. But even they’ve had their share of problems. During the urban modernisation of cities after the second world war, cars became a dominating force on the streets of Copenhagen, and modal share of bicycles fell to as low as 10% before the city sought to tackle the problem through a combination of car-free days, the removal of parking spaces and pruning areas for pedestrian use. Today, Copenhageners on bikes account for over 50% of trips within the city centre; in Amsterdam, it’s 48% in the urban core, and in the university city of Groningen, bikes are used for 61% of all trips (rising to 70% of trips made to educational institutions). These cities are all obvious contenders for the most cycle-friendly crown, but there are other factors to consider besides numbers.

Read more at theguardian.com