As Anne mentioned recently, we’ve been loving the Bromptons and the role they’ve helped play in letting us live car-light. Beyond the expanded Zipcar range, or the fact that a gorilla-sized dad and his 9-year-old daughter can ride the same bike, we’re in love with how easy they mix with transit. This is especially clear when bussing across the bike-hating 520 bridge (which normally requires us to ride a special—non Xtracycle—bike, and then hope that the bus bike racks are clear).
Altogether the Broms allow for some nifty, who-the-hell-needs-a-car-at least-when-it-isn’t-raining-three-inches-a-day options.
But if we lived in a real city, with real density and real transit solutions, well, the mind boggles at the imagined practicality of our little yellow folders.
Well, thanks to this fine video from the 2010 edition of the Toward Carfree Cities Conference, in which the Little Green Brompton OWNS a freakishly hilly, dense-city commute in Genova (Genoa), Italy— I’m boggled no more.
(hat-tip to video creator Massimiliano Amirfeiz from the Brompton Talk list)
After watching this commute (for the 3rd time or so) I’m also struck by how little* Seattle has done to flatten our fair city for the non-driving folks. How about a Trampe up Queen Anne and Capitol hills, for example?
These motorized bike-lifts can flatten out the steepest sections of a city. Check out the video, but save yourself by muting the sound. If I was slapping them down around town, I’d also like another placed to ferry riders over Phinney Ridge.
I’m sure you’ve got some locations to nominate—0bviously West Seattle, downtown, and Beacon Hill seem like naturals—so let’s hear ’em.
Of course I know this idea is fantasy. A mere mention of the option in San Francisco brought out the haters, who failed to see that this was an option to get non cyclists out of their cars and onto bikes, not a way to pamper already-riding hipsters who don’t want to “walk up the damn hill.”
I can’t imagine the spew and outcry such a plan would generate around here.
Sigh… at least the Brompton video was cool 😉
* Don’t get me started on the SDOT propensity to route bike lanes up and down hills when they don’t have to. Instead of forcing riders to sweat their way up the Dexter hill for a Fremont-to-Downtown bike route, why don’t we just bite the bullet and build better infrastructure a mostly flat and under-traveled Westlake Ave?
Hills like Dexter may be fine for the neon-clad Cascade fitness riders, but casual commuters— you know, the people who don’t call themselves cyclists, but still need to start riding if we want cycling to move out of the transportation fringe—are never going to do it.