Monthly Archives: April 2008

Xtracycle Shuttle

Xtracycle Shuttle on flickr

Tim had knee surgery last week and hasn’t been able to ride to work for a few days. Since walking downhill is a bit painful – I offered him a lift to the stinky bus. I wouldn’t want to ride very far like that, but downhill for a few blocks was just fine.

 - Anne

Seattle’s Got a Whole Lot of Bikin’ Goin’ On

Just a bike commuter in SeattleI had minor knee surgery Thursday. I’m surprisingly mobile, (three laps around the block yesterday!) but not quite up for my normal ride. That meant a trip home from work via Metro bus today. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a very good bus commuter. I resent buses being late and early (and sometimes on time). Mostly it’s my problem because I have time issues. Regardless, I’d rather ride.

One advantage of the bus, I found today, is the ability to check on the state of the Seattle bike commute. On my daily ride, I see a few folks out there but don’t get a sense for numbers. I don’t pass a lot of riders and don’t get passed too much either. Mostly I just roll along alone, occasionally waving toward oncoming riders. Am I alone or just riding in a bike-free bubble? It’s hard to tell.

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Bike to School Month Family Bike Extravaganza

We kicked off Bike to School Month in style this morning with a fantastic family-focused bike event at our elementary school. Judging from the turnout – easily more than 100 people -  it seems there’s no better way to get families excited about biking to school than getting them biking at school. Of course a rare sunny (this spring in Seattle, anyway) Saturday didn’t hurt numbers. Continue reading

Bike Rack Capacity: Tokyo vending-machine style

Too many bikes and not enough racks… around here, we’d be happy with with a few more two-bike units. Sorry, that’s way too simple for Japan. There they turn the engineers loose. Visitors to Toyko are frequenty awed by the crazy vending machines: Hot Ramen, socks, umbrellas, eggs, kerosene, and more. One count puts it at one vending machine for every 23 people.

So it only makes sense that bike parking would benefit from this technical vending genius. Understanding Japanese would add to the experience but we managed to get the gist. Combine this baby with the giant bike parking garage we saw in Amsterdam and we’d be in bike-parking dork heaven.

-Tim

via Streetsblog and Gizmodo

Pacific NW Per-Capita Gas Use Down to 1966 Levels

Gas Consumption is DownAccording to the Sightline institute, gas consumption is down in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington and Idaho. For more stats and details, read the full report.)  In terms of weekly gasoline consumption per person, Oregon and Washington are in the top 10 least consuming states (Washington D.C. actually leads the pack.)

This is good news–way to go northwesterners, but don’t go celebrating just yet.

Our total consumption, keeping pace with population growth, has not dropped. Per-captia we still consume more gas than a handful of states including New York, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Alaska, Utah, Illinois and Pennsylvania. And compared against the world, the report reminds us we still have a long way to go:

Despite recent reductions, northwesterners still consume prodigious amounts of gasoline. Daily consumption in the Northwest states remains nearly twice as high as the global average for high-income countries. 

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You know how we said spring had sprung?

Lovin' the Late April Snow

Um…. I think we might have been a bit premature.

I got really wet both directions on Friday. I had rain gear but it was not raining when I left so I thought I’d risk it. On the way home I thought “what are the odds that it will start raining on two trips in a row.” I didn’t think to ask about the odds of snow.

Of course by the time I decided it was probably prudent to gear up, it no longer mattered. It’s only water, right?

-tim

Micro-Mobility for Micro-Distance Transport Needs

Kickboard scooter at Pasta&VinegarIn my work life I need to keep up with whole lot of online community, user experience, and assorted other tech blogs. My bike blog reading (and posting) has taken a real hit. So maybe you can understand why I get pretty excited when I find tech folks turning their brain juice on issues I care about—in this case, car-free transportation.

It seems everyone these days is talking about microformats and microfinance (unfortunately, microbrews don’t get the attention they used to), but here’s a buzz term I can really get behind: Micro-mobility. It’s the idea that a car (careful, this might blow your mind) isn’t the appropriate vehicle for many transportation tasks, especially when you are talking about micro-distances.

From Pasta&Vinegar:

“When it comes to mobility, people are in general mesmerized by Velib or Zipcar lately but there are there sorts of devices that I find very intriguing: aluminium scooters or K-2 Kickboard Scooter. Some people would argue that this for start-up pricks (because real value is in pure P&P skateboarding gear) or that it is childish and useless but I don’t think so. I don’t have any scooters but what I find interesting here is the notion of “micro-mobility” and the balance of cost…”

I can relate. Even the Xtracycle can be too much transportation tool. For example, if I want to run somewhere close to my office in the middle of the day, I think hard about whether the bike is worth the effort (getting it from the parking garage, unlocking, riding, looking for a bike rack, locking, the errand itself, unlocking and back again), or if I should just suck it up and make do with a long walk. A little micro transport device, kept in my unused file drawer could be just the ticket.

I don’t expect many of my peers to be jumping on the kick-board wagon any time soon. They think I’m a freak for riding my bike, for crying out loud. But what about the generation of kids who grew up with razor scooters and skateboards as a normal thing? I can imagine a world, partially assisted by $300/barrel oil, dense urban planning, and a less car-dependent infrastructure, where micro-mobility devices aren’t merely a gimmick, but instead are a serious transportation option.

-Tim

The Bike Rack Dance

 

This bike rack makes us laugh. It’s really old and rusty and it’s not bolted to anything. Very effective!

I only shop at this Safeway when I’m feeling lazy: it’s at the top of the hill so I can cruise down the hill on my grocery-laden bike for a change. 

The other day the five year old did an impromptu dance on the rusty-non-bolted rack. He was really loving the music he created. The fake burp at the end of the video is the best – you gotta love five-year-old boys.

 - Anne

May is Bike to School Month

I saw this video on Copenhagenize last week. Wouldn’t it be nice if biking to school in America was that pleasant? I love the shots of really young kids riding on their own. Continue reading

Road Riding Skills for Kids

RidingA few days ago we mentioned that the kids are getting heavy enough that carrying both long distances can be a chore. While the Stokemonkey, is an obvious (though unobtainium) solution, we think we might be on to something else —kid power!

The seven-year-old is getting interested in riding on her own. By this summer, when we don’t have school and more time to get places, I’ll probably experiment with having her ride on her own and just haul the five-year-old on the Xtracycle. She needs to get some miles in before then. She’s pretty timid and not very comfortable with speed just yet. Continue reading