Tag Archives: transportation

Carfreedays Does Vélib en Famille

Full velib-station

As Seattle debates the relevancy, solvency, and future of Pronto bike share, I reflect on our family’s (first ever) bike share experience.

In Paris! Continue reading

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No Imact Man? Is Moderation a More Sustainable Message

I just finished reading  No Impact Man. On loan from the library, it languished on my nightstand for two weeks before I decided to read it. Even with the due date looming, I still picked it up and put it down several times before finally struggling to the finish.

Why did I have such a hard time with this book?

It started with the title, No Impact Man. No Impact? Really? Is that possible in our modern society? Is No and Never just  too extreme?

I’m idealistic by nature. I’m all for changing my habits to benefit the planet and live more sustainably. I long for the simplicity of my youth and wish my kids could have an equally carefree childhood. Riding a banana seat bike down the middle of the street, helmet-less and barefoot and without a care in the world—that’s livin’. Tim and I are doing our best to raise our family with simple ideals in mind. But we know that all or nothing is not realistic these days, if for no other reason than it being too tough a message for most people to  accept.

Wouldn’t we being doing more good if we got people to embrace a sustainable moderation message?

I know book titles (and blog titles for that matter) must be catchy to entice people to buy/read them. Shock sells. And people are probably buying the book because they are intrigued by No Impact. “Somewhat Less of an Impact” isn’t as exciting. Why else would Colin’s ass cleaning routine (some sort of secret routine devoid of toilet paper) be the question most interviewers asked him over the course of his project?  Maybe people want to read about extremes.

Fine, but I’m pretty sure most people don’t want to live that way. Continue reading

Transportation Forum + Bike to Work/School Kickoff

I love commuting with my wife

I love commuting with my wife

Friday is a big day.

We kick off Bike to Work month (Tim) and Bike to School month (Anne and the kids).  I’m pretty sure we’ll be blessed with clear (or at least dry) skies, so don’t delay the start of your commute season. Remember, this is Seattle—the weather can only get worse as we get closer to June.

If you find yourself downtown with a spare hour around lunch time, I’d recommend checking out the Forum, TOWN HALL: Visioning the Puget Sound Region’s Transportation Future. It’s part of their ongoing Friday Forums series:

Transit demand continues to skyrocket while operating revenues are plummeting.  How do car sharing, walkable and bike-friendly communities, and transit work together to form a new vision for transportation?

You’re even bring your lunch so if your schedule can swing it—unfortunately, mine can’t— please share any good takeaways. From over here in the cheap seats, it looks like an interesting collection of speakers will be covering some major ground.

WHEN:Friday, May 1st, 12:00 – 1:30 PM
WHERE:
Bertha Landes Knight Room, Seattle City Hall (on 5th Ave.between Cherry and James St.)

More info at the Transportation Choices Coalition website.

-Tim


Could D.O.T. Secretary think bikes are for real?

I mentioned this on twitter last week, but I think it might be worth exploring in a little more depth here with our blog readers.

DOT Fastlane BlogThe US Department of Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood is blogging.

These days a blogging politico is no surprise. However, the things he’s saying have kind of caught me off guard (in a good way):

  • “Bicycling is an important factor in less carbon-intensive commuting”
  • “When I told the League of American Bicyclists National Bike Summit that “Cyclists are important users of America’s transportation systems,” I meant it.”
  • “And, when I wrote that “With DOT, bicyclists have a full partner in working toward livable communities,” I meant that as well.”

To  cyclists, these statements are pretty logical. We get all of this and many of us have been saying the same thing for years. But the problem hasn’t been saying, it’s been the listening. That is, getting the Beltway to listen, and take us seriously (remember last summer’s anti-bike rant by N.C. Rep Patrick McHenry?).

Continue reading

Grocery Getters in the Mainstream Media

Coffee Break

The Seattle Times reports that people are changing their shopping habits. It seems people are abandoning their cars in favor of—and this is really wacky—bikes and feet.

The article mentions Xtracyles and Bakfietsen as good grocery hauling machines. It’s great to see bikes in the mainstream media. Little by little people are realizing how simple it is to use bikes as transportation.

(btw The Times photo editor may need to be enlightened—the bike on the front page of the article is not an Xtracycle, it’s a bike with a rear rack and paniers.)

Have a good weekend!

-Anne and Tim

Bicycle Neglect: $100M Buys Two Bike Racks?

Garfield High School Contruction

Richard Truax, YMCA Earth Service Corps adviser and social studies teacher at Garfield High School wrote an interesting opinion piece in the Seattle PI about what he says is a pathetic lack of bike parking at the Central District school and what he contends is complete indifference on the matter from both the mayor’s office and school district. Give the piece a read yourself, peruse the comments (the one from Beth2000, posted at 3:00 AM, is particularly entertaining – we love the middle-of-the-night-angry-ranting), and form your own opinion. Continue reading

Now *That’s* a Rack

Airgo Rack at Cycleliciousness, the Copenhagen Bike Culture Blog

The Northern European-style lovefest continues here at Car Free Days. This time we’re ga-ga over a lowly bike rack blogged by Cycleliciousness, those Copenhagen Bike Culture bellwethers.

I’ve posted before on our shortage of good racks, and about the Seattle Department of Transportation’s rack request program. And while the program is admirable in scope, the aesthetics (and in some cases, security) of the designs leave something to be desired.

But this 2006 Dutch design winner (either known as the Airago or the Heklucht– feel free to correct me) squashes those issues by bridging urban art, emergency functionality for passing commuters and safe locking space for neighborhood velos.

heklucht at Flickr

I’m sure someone else can point out how the racks are cost-prohibitive (though if we are looking at cost per use, then our beloved cars, ferries, SLUT and the Sounder train would be off the table) or how they’ll require much maintenance in our rainy climes; or even how they’d be a liability issue because someone might stick the hose somewhere it doesn’t belong.

But this time I am not the cynic. I love it!

Since we can’t seem to solve all (any?) of our bike infrastructure problems with any speed, I’d be up for some token public spending on some only moderately practical, but very nice looking bike racks. Personally, I think they’d look mighty swell as the official rack for Paul Allen’s South Lake Union pet project (and as an added bonus: I could use them on my daily commute).

So, how about it Mr. Mayor?

-Tim

The (bike) Revolution will be Stylish

amsterstyle
Nice piece in Momentum about Jorg & Olif – City bike company in Vancouver BC. We get excited every time we read about interesting bike shops popping up. Anne first read about Jorg & Olif in Inhabitat a little over a year ago and was impressed by their stylistic approach to marketing their bikes. It’s a good way to reach a certain segment of the population – you know – the ones who buy $400 shoes. Continue reading

Do you really need a shower?

Interesting discussion on Bike Hugger yesterday about accommodations for bike commuters. I agree – facilities for all types of cyclists are needed in urban areas. It would be great if Seattle provided secure bike storage facilities similar to bikestation around the city. Wouldn’t have to be huge – the size of a couple of parking spaces would probably be enough. Heck – I’d sure ride downtown a lot more for entertainment, errands and shopping if I was sure I’d have a secure place to park my bike. Tim and I often rule out downtown as a date destination because we’re not comfortable locking our bikes on the street while we’re seeing a movie etc. (edit by tim – especially in light of horror stories about stolen bikes, racks and all)

However, I don’t really understand the need for showers in the workplace or in a bikestation type facilities. Do you really need one? I’d think if you could just take a shower at home, dress properly for the weather, slow down a bit so you don’t work up that much of a sweat, you wouldn’t need to shower once you got to work.

Do you think these people shower when they get to work?

Amsterdam commuters

Continue reading

Bike Lust, City Style

ANT Bike with Woody Rack

I love A.N.T. (Alternative Needs Transportation) Bikes out there near Baa-ston. I mean… I LOOOOOVE them. Mike and team harvests the best of the Dutch-Danish-French city-bike tradition as they deliver a stylish, updated ride, complete with with modern steel and components.

Continue reading