Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bike fun for Christmas

The "Tree Huggers" entry in the Santa Claus parade in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario shows off some imaginative cycling options, several of them from Bike Forest:



I particularly liked the back-to-back tandem/sociable!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Trike trains



We were out riding around Minneapolis on Veteran's Day with two "delta" recumbent trikes (one wheel in front and two in back) hitched together, when we encountered two different folks with trikes that could hitch on to make a 3-trike train. Both of them enjoyed the fastest trike ride of their life, and we had fun making new friends.

We rode the two linked trikes on the St. Paul Classic ride on September 9 this year, going just over 50 miles (80 km). I rode the rest of my 100 miles (160 km) for the day on a two-wheeled recumbent to complete my fourth "9/11 Century" ride.

video

In the still photo above, the front trike is a prototype of the Greenspeed Anura, the second one is an older-model Kettwiesel from Hase, and the third one is a SUN EZ-3. In the video, the third trike is a newer model aluminum Kettwiesel. Linking trikes like this is a great way to let people with visual or mobility impairments enjoy cycling. As many as a half-dozen blind riders can ride with a sighted leader this way. People whose strokes have left them with one-sided weakness and poor peripheral vision can safely ride in groups or traffic. Other delta trikes that can be linked in this way include those from Lightfoot and the Sinner Comfort. Hase in Germany, which introduced trike trains, has taken it to greater lengths than anyone else, with its 2007 chain of 93 trikes. (Trike train videos on YouTube)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Midwest Recumbent Rally

video

August 10-12, 2007, around 300 recumbent cyclists assembled in Stevens Point, Wisconsin for rides along quiet country roads as well as opportunities to admire and try new bikes and trikes.

The Hostel Shoppe, a dealer, importer, and manufacturer of fine recumbents, hosted the event.

Three-wheelers were prominent this year. We considered riding velomobiles, but decided on two Greenspeed trikes, because they were somewhat easier to transport and it's easier to communicate with other riders.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Dutch treat

Cycling options in Minneapolis expanded this weekend, when two local entrepreneurs introduced the Dutch Fietscafe to the Twin Cities. This 16- or 17-passenger rolling pub is one "bike" that easily upstages the Cab-Bike! I cycled cycled over to the Mississippi River, enjoying the Cab-Bike's good protection against the rain and puddles, and lined up for a free ride on the Pedal Pub. (The Dutch name, we could hear from the puzzled questions -- "fights-calf? Is that the guy who built it?" -- just wouldn't work in the Midwest.) Despite the cold, rainy weather there were plenty of eager riders. More than thirty of these party bikes are for rent in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, serving tourists, wedding parties, and other groups. They aren't built for speed, but they have lovely cup-holders and an old-world tap which in Minnesota will have to dispense non-alcoholic beverages from the front-mounted keg. We rolled back and forth across the Mississippi on the Stone Arch Bridge, which has been turned over to cyclists and pedestrians. Despite the dismissive comments of a local news program's overly made-up talking head, we greatly enjoyed the ride and can only hope that more human-powered fun catches on!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Celebrating the ordinary cyclist



Sometimes we just need to celebrate an ordinary cyclist -- like this guy who rides in a foot of fresh snow, perhaps because that's the only way for him to get where he's going.

We were out in the car, because we didn't think anybody could bike in this stuff, but we saw half a dozen cyclists on the streets.

Friday, February 16, 2007

World Velomobile Market


What's happening in the world velomobile market?


Astrophysicist and science journalist Yvan Dutil has been talking with manufacturers and velomobilists and has written an article on velomobile production around the globe.  Click on the header to read what he's found out.

Briefly, velomobile production has been going up, and velomobiles are spreading across more of the world.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ice-Biking



What do you do in Minnesota if the temperature is dropping from 22 to 13 degrees (minus 5.5 to minus 10.5 C), and the wind is gusting to 36 mph? You go to the Ice-Bike races. These weren't the January 28 mountain bike races on a Minneapolis lake described in a New York Times article, or the mountain bike race in Bloomington, Minnesota that was also mentioned in that article. These were the Original Minnesota Human-Powered Vehicle Association 16th Annual Ice Biking World Championship races on January 27. We may have to retire that "world championship" name now that there actually ARE some (quite a lot, in fact) other ice bike races in the world.

Friday, January 12, 2007

New York's street scene

This video on YouTube shows the challenges New York cyclists face, and contrasts them with conditions in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Stockholm. It's a very polished production and runs a bit over 8 minutes. The header links to "Streetsblog," which posts some further discussion.



Heavily blogged in recent days, this should be required viewing for city planners. It shows the hazards and limitations of on-street striped bike lanes in busy traffic. Those lanes actually aren't too bad on the right kind of streets. We have some in Minneapolis that work well -- and others that just marginalize cyclists into laughably narrow, glass-strewn, potholed gutters full of "temporarily-"parked cabs, postal vehicles, and pizza-delivery cars.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Cycling progress in the Netherlands


An article on Fietsniews (Bike News, December 29, 2006) in the Netherlands looks at some new developments for bike commuters: "The bike is faster on the commuter route between Delft and Pijnacker. Well, drivers ought to know about that. And they will, with posted comparisons of travel time along the way." Cyclists have been aware that they could outpace cars on this short (less than 4 km) drive from the small town of Pijnacker into the city of Delft. Bikeways along the road allow the cyclists to speed past traffic jams. "So for 2007, they're planning to flash digital comparisons of the travel times on the information signs. Cyclists and drivers can see with their own eyes who's fastest."

In another part of this project, "Wachttijdvoorspellers" (Waiting-time count-down clocks) are being added to the intersections with traffic lights, beginning with one at a busy intersection in Delft, and followed by 8 to 10 additional ones elsewhere along the route. This is primarily to improve safety for cyclists. Project spokesman Van Norden explains 'By predicting the waiting time, we encourage more cyclists to just wait for the light to turn green. This works particularly well with long wait times." (On this particular route, though, cyclists wait an average of only 15-20 seconds.

The photo is of a bike-path crossing in Hoorn, another city in the Netherlands. Here, a sensor was recently added so that cyclists and pedestrians don't have to push the button to activate the traffic light. Elsewhere in the Netherlands, some traffic sensors detect bikes approaching intersections so that the light turns green just as they get there. Thanks to Ligfiets.net for the link. The header above links to the Fietsniews article, in Dutch