the magazine for people
building for bikes
architecture and planning for a cycling lifestyle
san francisco gearing up for the weather john pucher on bike parking
november/december 08 momentumplanet.com
Architect David Baker
leed Leads the Way 18 Riding in the Rain Gear 21 profile:
Seattle’s 20/20 Cycles
photo by adam aufdencamp
Holiday Gift Guide 26 Bike Aid to Africa 36 momentum Rocks 48 the Runway at Interbike Editorial 3 Letters 5 Gleanings 9 Style 22
The Bay Area, birthplace of Critical Mass, continues to nurture bike culture with a rich mix of organizations and events.
Your Guide to Post-ride Polish
Soup and Pie
Carry It on a Bike Helmet Cozies Serious Winter Riding Disc Brake Shuffle
illustration by josue menjivar
Human-Powered Home Geography of Nowhere Froggy Rides a Bike Nowtopia
photo by city of chicago.
Cycling for Everyone Part II:
Make Your Own
John Pucher examines options in northern Europe and in North America’s leading bike parking cities: Toronto and Chicago.
A fabulously stylish cape design that will have you praying for rain.
on the cover momentum magazine reflects the lives of people who ride bikes and provides urban cyclists with the inspiration, information, and resources to fully enjoy their riding experience and connect with local and global cycling communities.
Built for Bikes (and pedestrians and Wheelchairs) Oakland’s B. Spoke Tailor, Nan Eastep and son Salmon use the Berkeley I-80 bridge on their daily travels. The bridge, opened in 2002 for $6.4 million US spans the Eastshore Freeway in Berkeley, California to allow bicycles, pedestrians, and wheelchair users access to the Berkeley Marina, Eastshore State Park, and the city. Photography by Seng Chen iheartbrains.com nov/dec 08 · #36
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Iâ€™m sick of young people today â€“ theyâ€™re all so in yo face and messinâ€™ wid my shizzae. Dang! You are one terrific lady.
#36 Âˇ nov/dec 08
www.momentumplanet.com publisher Amy Walker firstname.lastname@example.org associate publisher Tania Lo email@example.com marketing & advertising director Mia Kohout firstname.lastname@example.org editor/books editor Terry Lowe email@example.com copy editor Paloma Vita food editor Nicole Vanderwyst firstname.lastname@example.org webmaster Wendell Challenger email@example.com photo editor David Niddrie davidniddrie.com designer Chris Bentzen thisisplanb.net cover photo Seng Chen iheartbrains.com writers Jamie Bond, Anna Bowen, Sam Bradd, Rob Brownie, Wendell Challenger, Gavin Davidson, Talia Fanning, Joel Gillespie, Shawn Granton, Flick Harrison, David Hay, Christie Hurrell, Elizabeth Obreza Hurst, John Imsdahl, Lori Kessler, Terry Lowe, John Luton, Frances McInnis, Margo Mctaggart, Don Morin, David Niddrie, Jodi Peters, Aaron Pettigrew, Karen Pinchin, Adam Popper, John Pucher, Ron Richings, Nelson Rocha, David Shapiro, KristenSteele, Janel Sterbentz, Eliza Strack, Christina Thiele, Lyle Vallie, Nicole Vanderwyst, Tom Walker, Denise Wrathall photographers & illustrators Tom Akin, Adam Aufdencamp, Chris Bentzen, Peter Berkeley, Sam Bradd, Eric Harvey Brown, Eric’s Bike, Owen Cherry, James Gemmill, Shawn Granton, Flick Harrison, Dustin Jensen, Ben Johnson, John Luton, Richard Masoner, Paddy Megahey, Josue Menjivar, Margo Mctaggart, Jeff Miller, Dave Niddrie, Chris Oram, John Pucher, Ron Richings, Alicia Sanguiliano, Shelly Schroeder, Miriam Stuart, Jim Swanson, Lyle Vallie, Nicole Vanderwyst, Amy Walker, Sam Wise proofreaders Tyee Bridge, Talia Fanning, Andrew Fleming, Terry Lowe, Margo Mactaggart, Kathy Sinclair Send correspondence to: momentum magazine Suite 214 – 425 Carrall Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 6E3 office 604 669 9850 | fax 604 669 9870 firstname.lastname@example.org to carry momentum in your store Contact email@example.com subscriptions Six issues per year $19.95/year Canada + US | $39.95 international www.momentumplanet.com/subscribe Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily coincide with those of the publishers, sponsors, or anyone else for that matter. publication mail agreement #40565523
small spaces big changes in
editorial terry lowe
sometimes it’s hard not to think of cars as the
enemy. In the course of riding around town for about two hours on a recent afternoon, I counted eight drivers deliberately driving through red lights, often speeding up to do so when other lanes of traffic were either slowing or stopped. These were drivers who decided that stopping at a red light was just too inconvenient, so stomped on the gas and blasted on through. I was nearly run over by one, and this was observed by two members of the local police department sitting in their own car, who did nothing. The problem is that for the last half-century road design has focused almost exclusively on optimizing the movement of cars while marginalizing all other road users. Small wonder some drivers feel they own the road: everything in their driving experience reinforces that notion. However, the numbers of cyclists on our streets is growing: we’re here, we’re riding, and we’re not going away. Advocates have been pressing for a more bike-friendly environment for long enough that this is finally starting to happen. We’ve begun to win access to bridges and transit, and progressive cities are experimenting with reduced speed limits and car-free events. The next step is to design and build more of our urban environment with the bike in mind, and to reduce motor vehicle dependence. In this issue we meet some of the people who think about this, and some of the places that can and should influence future policies. John Pucher continues his “Cycling For Everyone” series with a report on advanced bike parking facilities. We show how LEED-certified buildings enhance the lives of cyclists; learn how urban planning for bicycles has improved both the quality of life and the economic base in Portland; and meet an innovative architect in San Francisco who puts people first by putting cars elsewhere. I dream of a sensible city that has streets built for people, where kids ride their bikes everywhere, and where people walking and riding through its neighbourhoods have a car-free street or two to go home to. The advocates are working on this now, too, and I am optimistic that we’ll see it more sooner than later. In transit: Our “Mitey Miss” columnist, Ulrike Rodrigues, will soon alight in India, where she will be riding, writing, and exploring for the next six months. We are eagerly awaiting her next column from Bombay.
terry trys out the separated bike path on vancouver’s new carrall street greenway, right outside momentum’s office.
call for submissions
momentum is largely created by the people who read it and, as our readership grows, it keeps improving. We are always surprised and delighted by the creativity and imagination of our readers. Please keep it coming: send us your ideas for articles, photos, artwork, etc. We will consider and respond to all queries. We are also specifically seeking a News Editor, a Gear Editor, and an Arts & Culture Editor for 2009. Please look under “Get Involved” on our website for details. Thanks to everyone! www.momentumplanet.com
nov/dec 08 · #36
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I just received your fashion issue. This photo is of me and my wife Jane on our way to a wedding last summer in Boulder. Barry Schacht, www.mirrycle.com Boulder, CO
cycle-centric “lifestyle” attractive to veterans
and new recruits alike
Over the past 20 years I have been regularly reading a variety of bicycle periodicals in five languages and I’d say yours is rapidly becoming my favourite. Not only do I find momentum interesting and entertaining, but I believe it is filling a vital niche in promoting utilitarian cycling in a manner likely accessible to a broad audience. Yours is a rare cycling publication that should be effective at recruiting new members to the cyclecentric lifestyle. The latest style issue in particular should appeal to both sexes, whether they ride already or not… I’ve never seen so many attractive women in a bike mag! Thomas J. DeMarco M.D. Whistler, BC PS: On the subject of attractive women, any chance of resurrecting your personal ads?
a breath of fresh air
for the windy city
I pick up momentum at the Millennium Park bike station in Chicago where I park my bike and take a shower after my daily commute. Your magazine is a breath of fresh air. When I first saw it I almost didn’t pick it up thinking it was an ad brochure, but I figured since it was at the bike station it probably was interesting. I was quite surprised. I really enjoy the fashion articles, the stories of people that use bikes in their daily lives (the article on the L.A. photographer is great), and the gear page. BTW, Arkel in Canada makes a great convertible pannier/ backpack called the Bug. The article by John Pucher really resonated with me. The only other bike magazine I subscribe to is Carbusters out of Europe since most other mags seem to be aimed at racers. Jon Babbin Chicago, IL
we’ll be right over!
I just finished your Sept/Oct issue, and loved it! I had never heard of a fem biker magazine before my boyfriend just found this copy at our corner bike shop (Box Dog), brought it home and said, “Hey, I got this for you, it looks like your thing.” And it is very much “my thing.” Whenever I’m riding to an event in the evening in my three-inch heels and a biker guy yells something like “way to go!” I always say that it’s easier to ride in them than it is to walk. I’d like to encourage you to come to San Francisco. With all of our hills and train tracks, it’s a unique place to ride. And like me, there are tons of girls who ride everywhere, rain, fog, or shine. We are not very fancy because of the endemic bike theft that plagues this area, but we have fun! The SF bike coalition is going strong, our Critical Mass can get out of hand, and “Sunday Streets” (our version of of Ciclovía) is popular. So please come visit and take lots of photos! I ride a purple and red Raleigh mountain bike with a girls’ seat and a loud bell. I’ve been hit by cars and won the door prize enough times to know that a hefty, truck-style bike can save my life!
loves laser jacket
You mentioned that you could not find a stylish rain jacket that also functioned for cycling, and I have something of that nature that I’m very fond of. It’s that Mammut Laser jacket, which is a waterproof softshell that is designed for rock climbing, but functions very well on the bike. It’s shorter in the front than in the back, and doesn’t bulk up anywhere when you’re leaning over the bike. It also has little thumb holes on the sleeves that keep it from slipping up your arms. Aaron Zwiebel more letters on page 7
of Chicago, Illinois for winning the Brooks Saddle and Tool Bag Thanks to brookssaddles.com
Nina De León San Francisco, CA We have a couple of SF stories in this issue (page 12) and we are inspired by the talented, helpful, wonderful Bay Area bikers whom we’ve met and who have contributed to this and other issues of momentum. We hope to visit SF during SFBC’s Winterfest on Dec 7, 2008. – Ed.
nov/dec 08 · #36
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everyday clothes are
not for everyone
I have been commuting daily rain or shine for the last five years. The only impediment to my riding is slippery roads due to ice or snow. 1.5 hours daily (30kilometre return trip) on the bike in different weather conditions has prompted me to write and point out that wearing everyday clothes is really not an option in all circumstances. If your ride exceeds 30 minutes in relatively heavy rain you will get awfully soaked. If your everyday clothes are jeans and other similar material, you will regret being on the bike. In this case it is better to stick to well-established cycling gear as it will provide the appropriate level of comfort and safety. We ought to show sensibility and intelligence in our approach and suggest that different commutes and bike rides will require different attires. No one set is going to work for every possible weather and bike trip. Please keep publishing what I feel is a very good magazine. Yetvart Hosepyan
momentum welcomes Madison as our 15th FREE distribution city! Find free copies of momentum in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Minneapolis, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria and Vancouver. To find a free pick up spot near you, go to momentumplanet.com/about/distribution In 2009 momentum will also be expanding to Philadelphia, Austin, Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. We are looking for small-scale and selfpropelled distributors in these locations â€“ as well as funky cafes, groceries and bike stores whoâ€™d like to carry momentum.
Please send us your feedback. We seek to continually improve our coverage of self-propelled culture, and we need your help. Tell us about your local cycling scene. Send us your photos too. Letters may be edited for length.
firstname.lastname@example.org #214 - 425 Carrall Street Vancouver, BC, Canada V6B 6E3
corrections: We failed to mention the Electra Amsterdam bicycle featured on last issueâ€™s cover was graciously provided by Julie and Justis of Denman Bike Shop. Thanks Julie and Justis! The photograph of a Copenhagen bike route accompanying John Pucherâ€™s â€œCycling for Everyoneâ€? article in issue 35 was incorrectly attributed to John. It was actually taken by Susan Handy who is a professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of California at Davis. Also omitted in that article were the captions which should have accompanied the photos. A caption on the Copenhagen image should have read: â€œWomen dominate cycling in central Copenhagen, where almost half of all trips are by bike. The bike lane shown here serves over 55,000 bike trips per day.â€? On the following page a caption should have read: â€œThe new 9th Avenue bike lane in Manhattan is one of the first European style bike lanes in the US. Its design protects cyclists from moving traffic as well as parked cars and greatly reduces conflicts with turning cars at intersections.â€? Source: NYC Department of Transportation. We neglected to include Karlene Harveyâ€™s name in the masthead. Karlene provided us with beautiful illustrations in our British Columbia regional Bicycalendar. We regret these errors â€“ and we are eager to learn from our mistakes â€“ so donâ€™t hesitate to let us know if thereâ€™s somewhere weâ€™ve gone wrong â€“ or if you see something we could improve upon. â€”Eds.
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contributors kristen steele (San Francisco p.12 and David Baker p.16) is a San Francisco-based writer, mother, and activist. Her day job is with Thunderhead Alliance, the North American coalition of bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations.
“car-free” john pucher (Cycling for
Everyone Part Two: Parking p.30) is a professor in the Bloustein school of planning and public policy at Rutgers University. He has spent over a decade researching, speaking, and writing about cycling in Europe, Canada, Australia, and the USA. Currently, he is principal investigator of a US Department of Transportation project that analyzes cycling trends and policies in large American cities.
david niddrie (Your Guide to Post-Ride Polish
p.22 and Flickr Bikes p24) is a photographer and writer who is regularly found on the sharrows of Vancouver, buzzing along to photo shoots for momentum and other forward-thinking ventures. He is a year-round cyclist, live music addict, and lover of those elusive “out there” sights and sounds. You can see more of his work at www.davidniddrie.com
#36 · nov/dec 08
lori kessler (Leed Leads the Way p.18 &
Designing for Bikes: Environmental Benefits p.19) is a Vancouver architectural designer with Grant + Sinclair. Originally from Atlanta, she’s currently designing an art gallery and school board centre. She bikes to work and is a performing member of the B:C:Clettes. Bike tours include Rocky Mountains, northern Europe, Arctic Circle, deserts, islands…
seng chen (cover photo of Nan Eastep) is a Bay Area-based photographer who likes playing music, eating tomatoes, and training parkour. He doesn’t like that the BART trains stop running after midnight, severely limiting bike-accessible public transportation options. He is the director of photography at Hyphen (hyphenmagazine.com) and works on occasional independent film projects. www.iheartbrains.com adam popper (Helmet Cozies p.40) is studying Urban Planning at McGill University in Montreal to eventually make our cities more friendly to cyclists. He rides, fixes and dreams about bikes often under a Helmet Cozy.
best of the blogs + elsewhere
3a civilized use
for a cargo trike
In Southampton, England, an enterprising pedalling peddler has fitted out his cargo trike as a mobile tea shop. With custom dividers to keep his flasks of tea, boiling water, cream and such in their place, and a hinged top that can become a table, this vehicle is ready for some serious tea service. Unfortunately the local bylaws prevent him from using his trike to its full potential, so he is using it to sell boxed tea at market events for now. Pity. In some areas and at special events he can sell prepared tea or provide free samples. All very British. Pass me a scone. And some Devonshire cream. And perhaps the strawberry preserves.
practicality and style
photo byo sam wise www.velochocolate.co.uk
photo by paddy megahey crazyguyonabike.com/paddymegahey
senior gets 4
This 82 year-old woman had to be persuaded to try a tricycle, but after pedalling on the car free street, she signed up for a program to ride every week. While some seniors face a loss of freedom and mobility, she found a whole new world opening for her. On the left in the photo is Kirsty Hall, originator and operator of Portland, Oregon’s Seniors on Trikes program. A British import, she gives seniors the attention and care that makes them eager to participate. This happy occasion was possible because of Portland’s Carfree street experiment in June, where six miles of local roads were closed off to traffic. A great time was had by thousands of cyclists, including this newly minted tricyclist.
This group of fixed gear riders, helmetless and confused, demonstrates the problem with simply following the rider in front of you. Thinking that they were on a bike route, they just kept going round and round and round. Unable to stop, but never reaching a destination, they have been riding constantly since the early 1900s.
This is the body of an old Swedish Primus pressure kerosene stove, complete with bicycle frame mounting clip. Popular in England for bicycle tourists in the early to mid 1900s, the Primus stove was lightweight brass and certainly made to last, as evidenced by this unit that is still in use today. No plastic clips to break, carbon fibre to shatter, or fancy pressurized gaz containers to search for. Pour in a bit of liquid kerosene, pump it up, and you are good to go. Similar stoves have been used by generations of sailors, mountain climbers, and hikers. Kerosene still remains the fuel of choice in many developing countries. Not the slickest, quickest, or easiest way to go, but if you want a stove and fuel that you can count on, this is it. And in your spare time, if so inclined, you can polish the lovely brass finish – the better to admire your reflection.
a chainfree, pedalfree tandem photo by ron richings
Watch a video about the program: www.streetfilms.org/archives/category/issues/ elderly-disabled
This design exercise is especially suited to minimalist tandem riders. No chain to lube and clean, no pedals to make your feet sore and tired after a long ride. But both riders share in the work, pushing down on the long treadles. Something like riding your great-grandmother’s treadle-powered sewing machine. Unclear if it is intended as a single speed. For multiple gears an internal hub would have to be used. Suspension seats to keep both the captain and stoker’s butts happy. Doesn’t appear to be designed for touring – where would you put the panniers? And the frame does look a bit – what? – spindly perhaps, particularly the stoker’s seat support. All in all an interesting design, but not one I would expect to ever see produced, at least not in this form.
nov/dec 08 · #36
grant greases the chain of chicago’s sunday parkways events
by anna bowen
in january 2008, the REI/Bicycle Friendly Communities program started
that have the least green space and that “haven’t seen the public and civic investment that more affluent neighbourhoods have.” issuing grants to community bike projects in cities across the USA. The program For Sunday Parkways in these neighbourhoods, the leadership, vision, and offers funding to bicycle friendly communities (as designated by The League organization of the events was taken on by the communities themselves. of American Bicyclists) that are trying to increase ridership in urban areas. The “The community groups are extremely well organized, have sought a lot grants – ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 – are awarded through Bikes Belong, of funding, and CBF is now just an event consultant,” explains Welty. For and made possible by funding from Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI). example, the REI/Bicycle Friendly Communities dollars are going directly to The grants have supported a wide variety of different projects; funded “culturally appropriate, community-driven” activity stations along the route proposals include everything from organizing community bicycle surveys of the event. These community-led activities include salsa dancing, basketball, in Colorado Springs to running a bike-rack design competition in New York, kickboxing, Muévete (a creative “move yourself” dance), and kids’ projects. orchestrating car-free celebrations in Chicago, and launching the first bicycle In one sense, this grant initiative marks a commitment on REI’s part to event in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. fund sustainable national initiatives. The company – ranked in the top 100 One such success story is the Sunday Parkways events that launched companies to work for by this October, organized by Fortune magazine for 11 the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation (CBF). In consecutive years – “ is the conversation with Arline nation’s largest consumer Welty, CBF’s Director of co-op with more than 3.5 Development, the energy million active members.” and optimism behind this Since 2006, REI has been new initiative is clear. Welty conducting a greenhouse explains that Chicago is gas emissions inventory of well situated to be moving their staff and business, forward with new bikeand aspires to be a zero friendly events. waste company by 2009. “Bicycling in Chicago is In addition to their support the best it has ever been,” through the grant, REI explains Welty. “When I has offered to deploy commute to work, there are roaming bicycle mechanics four, five, six other people throughout the Sunday waiting on their bikes at Parkways events in Chicago. the traffic light when I get The beauty of the cyclists enjoy car-free streets on chicago’s sunday there – businessmen with REI/Bicycle Friendly parkways event, october 5, 2008. photo by jeff miller. briefcases, people in jogging Communities grants is pants, young people in stylin’ outfits – all kinds of different people are getting their flexibility: communities determine where their needs lie – whether on their bikes right now in a way we have never seen happen before.” at the planning/visioning stage, on the organizational level, or in basic The first Sunday Parkways events took place on October 5 and 26 this material needs like pavement markings or bike racks. Grants are available to advocacy organizations and city planning departments in League-designated fall. These festivals are car-free community bicycle celebrations inspired by Bicycle Friendly Communities. Although the grants may not necessarily be Ciclovia, a Latin American celebration of cycling and community. A few years administered in the same way in the future, Bikes Belong has independently ago, the former executive director of CBF and current chief strategic officer, been funding bike initiatives for years and will continue to do so in the future. Randy Neufeld, traveled to Bogotá, Colombia specifically to experience Whatever their source, such grant programs are what grease the chain Ciclovia. Neufeld was “totally inspired by the transformation that he saw of new projects and initiatives like Ciclovia or Sunday Parkways to get on happening there.” This inspiration was followed by the Healthy Streets the road. Explains Welty: “it takes a lot of political will, culture change, and Conference in 2005, and a return visit to Bogotá by a delegation of CBF staff; movement-building to change the biking culture in a city. I think that what this is when Chicago officials decided to experience Ciclovia first hand. bike advocates have to fight for is investment all over the place – from private The next step consisted of approaching communities in Chicago to bodies and also from federal legislature. Private funding for the Sunday see where Sunday Parkways events could effectively take root. Because Parkways event has been absolutely instrumental for enabling us and the the events are “scalable, practical, and affordable for public health and community groups this year – it has accelerated the process, and it has civic infrastructure,” CBF was able to gear these events to underserved encouraged more private funders to buy in and to believe in the project.” communities within Chicago, in particular Latino and Black communities
#36 · nov/dec 08
nov/dec 08 路 #36
“San Francisco has more biking, walking, and transit advocacy organizations than any other metropolitain area in North America”
photo by adam aufdencamp. map illustration by jim swanson.
by kristen steele san francisco has always welcomed emerging and fringe cultures. The
city saw the origin of the Beats in the 1950s, the Hippies in the 1960s, and was a centre of the gay rights movement in the 1970s. San Francisco has the perfect climate to nourish the flowering of new ideas, and its winds send the seeds of change across the globe. Bicycle culture is no exception, and Critical Mass is just one testament to this. The monthly ride in celebration of cycling started here 16 years ago and has since spread to communities across the globe. The ride began with just dozens of cyclists and has grown to a steady showing of thousands. Cycling in the city has more than doubled since. Even the city’s chilly summers and hilly streets don’t deter the local cyclists. An estimated 120,000 of the city’s roughly 800,000 residents ride a bike. In a recent survey of San Francisco residents, five per cent said the bicycle is their primary method of travel and recent counts by the city have shown that bicycles outnumber cars at peak commute hours on downtown’s Market Street. Proximity is the pedaller’s privilege in this city. Everything is close by. San Francisco is second only to New York as the densest US city. This makes the bicycle the most energy-efficient way to get around the city, as well as the most timeefficient. Bicycling trips most often are faster than taking the bus or driving. A bastion of progressivism in the US, San Francisco’s culture of activism and expression is another big reason why cycling has made such strides in the last three decades. Founded in 1970, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) is one of the oldest bicycle advocacy organizations in North America and now has the highest per capita membership of bicycle advocacy organizations in major US cities. At 9,500 members (one in every 78 San Franciscans), the Bike Coalition has been heralded as “one of the most potent political forces in the city” by the San Francisco Chronicle. And advocacy in the surrounding Bay Area is also impressive. The metropolitan area has more biking, walking, and transit
#36 · nov/dec 08
advocacy organizations than any other metropolitan area in North America. The combined power and influence of these coalitions has helped create a region where the connectivity among walking, cycling, and transit makes it relatively easy to not own a car. Before the SFBC was founded, bikes had limited access to streets and transit. In the 1970s the SFBC won access for bikes on the Golden Gate Bridge and – with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition – won access for bikes on BART trains (the Bay Area’s regional rapid transit system). Today bicycles are allowed on almost all transit vehicles in the Bay Area. Caltrain trains even have dedicated bike cars with places for cyclists to lock or tie up their bikes and go have a seat. Accommodating bikes is now institutionalized with the city’s Transit First Policy, which states, “Decisions regarding the use of limited public street and sidewalk space shall encourage the use of public rights of way by pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit, and shall strive to reduce traffic and improve public health and safety.” For those who love bikes and biking, the local cycle calendar is full of flavourful events. February brings Love on Wheels, the 1970s-style dating game and party hosted by the SFBC. Easter is the date set for the Bring Your Own Big Wheel Ride down Lombard, San Francisco’s “crookedest street.” In April, local cycling heroes are cheered at the SFBC’s Golden Wheel awards. May’s Bike to Work Day rewards tens of thousands of commuters with coffee, treats, and more at 25 energizer stations throughout the city. In June you can ride with the Bicycle Music Festival and help pedal their human-powered PA system. July entertains with cycling flicks at the Bicycle Film Festival, and with the Tour de Fat’s fire-jumping bike acts, cycling games, a bike parade… and beer! In September, new and inspiring public spaces emerge on PARK(ing) Day – a day where car parking spaces transform into temporary public parks; the Cyclecide crew hosts its Pedal Monster bike rodeo event; and Critical Mass celebrates its birthday.
san francisco is known for its
hilly streets and awesome views, but how do cyclists deal? Many local cyclists savour the hills. The uphill climbs build strength fast and the downhills are lots of fun. If you’re not feeling like a workout, there are usually routes you can take to avoid big hills. The San Francisco bicycle map shows the grades of city streets, allowing you to plan the flattest route possible. In some cases, the city has already done this for you: “The Wiggle” is
a popular bike route on the way to the Haight-Ashbury district and Golden Gate Park; the route “wiggles” around the hills, directing cyclists to the easiest course. But inevitably, cycling through the city leads you to some challenging hills. In this case, cyclists aren’t ashamed to get off their bikes and walk. No matter how much work the uphills of San Francisco are, the downhills always deliver a sweet reward. www.sfbike.org/download/map.pdf
At other times in the year you can check out the San Francisco Bicycle Ballet, a fascinating display of choreographed cycling, viewed from above and accompanied by marching band-style music. Every Sunday is Car-Free Sunday in Golden Gate Park, and – for half the year – a stretch of the park is closed to cars for Healthy Saturdays. The city’s new Sunday Streets feature biking, skating, yoga, and dancing along four miles of waterfront streets closed to cars. Bike Polo games (with mallets provided) happen every week in Speedway Meadow. You can fix your own bike at the Bike Kitchen. There are also frequent cycling classes, bicycle rides, history tours, and other bicycle events. The Bike Coalition, Critical Mass, and a thriving bike culture make it impossible for this city to ignore cycling needs. San Francisco has now implemented 201 miles of bike network (the city is only 49 square miles) which includes striping over 40 miles of bike lanes, creating 23 miles of bicycle paths, and posting 82 miles of signed bicycle routes. The city has also painted 1,250 “sharrows” (shared lane markings) on San Francisco’s Streets. The city also has the strongest requirements for indoor bike parking at public events in the country. Any public events that anticipate more than 2,000 people must provide valet bike parking. The San Francisco Giants ballpark even has a permanent bicycle parking station. A recent lawsuit has halted progress – a downer for cyclists – on implementing the city’s Bike Plan until a complete Environmental Impact Review is performed. Bike lanes bad for the environment? But this lawsuit hasn’t slowed down San Francisco cyclists; in the last year alone, cycling has increased by 30 per cent. The SFBC continues to press the city for more carfree spaces and better pavement quality for bikes, and the city currently has a widespread public education campaign aimed at educating motorists and cyclists on sharing the roadways. The “Coexist” campaign covers city buses, transit shelters, and billboards with messages promoting mutual respect between cyclists and drivers. On top of this, Mayor Gavin Newsom has set a goal for 10 per cent of all trips to be made by bike by 2010. The pioneering culture that surrounds cycling is the most impressive thing about San Francisco. Two San Franciscans were among those responsible for the advent of mountain biking in neighbouring Marin County. And besides being the birthplace of Critical Mass, San Francisco is also ground zero for Bike Summer, the Bicycle Ballet, and the Bicycle Music Festival. It is rumoured that the first Bike Prom was dreamed up during a 2005 San Francisco Critical Mass. Since then, Bike Proms have emerged in Victoria, BC; Chicago; Washington, DC; Denver, CO; and Lexington, KY. The “sharrow”, the shared lane pavement marker, was first studied and institutionalized on San Francisco streets. Bicycle Magazine was founded in neighbouring Berkeley. And PARK(ing) day was also invented here and has since spread to over 50 cities around the world. New culture is created through the spread of good ideas. And San Francisco has proven to be a leading exporter of cycling’s seeds of change.
bicycle film fest. photo by dustin jensen
the hills of san francisco
san francisco bicycle events + links Bicycle Film Festival www.bicyclefilmfestival.com
Sunday Streets www.sundaystreetssf.com Cyclecide bike rodeo www.cyclecide.com
Bicycle History Tours by Shaping San Francisco www.shapingsf.org/biketours.html
Tour de Fat San Francisco www.tour-de-fat.com/city/san-francisco
Bicycle Music Festival www.bicyclemusicfestival.com Bring Your Own Big Wheel (BYOBW) (semi-official site) www.jonbrumit.com/byobw.html Car Free Sundays and Healthy Saturdays in Golden Gate Park www.sfbike.org/?ggp Love on Wheels www.sfbike.org/?love
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition www.sfbike.org Critical Mass www.critical-mass.org Bike Hut www.thebikehut.com The Bike Kitchen www.bikekitchen.org
Parking Day www.parkingday.org
San Francisco Bicycle Messenger Association www.ahalenia.com/sfbma
San Francisco Bicycle Ballet www.sanfranciscobicycleballet.org
San Francisco’s Bicycle Program www.bicycle.sfgov.org
scraping on my scraper biiiiike!
by jamie bond & momentum photo by shelly schroeder scraper bikes are a bike decorating style spawned by teenagers in Oakland, and
popularized by the hip-hop group the Trunk Boiz. Scraper bikes are a continuation of Oakland’s scraper car aesthetic and are distinguishable by the pinwheel-like decoration of the spokes with colourful, often recycled materials. The video of the Trunk Boiz song “Scraper Bike” is catchy and and caught attention on YouTube this summer with almost three million views. Tyrone Stevenson Jr, one of the Trunk Boiz, has been making scraper bikes for a couple of years, and has started making a living by making the bikes for other people. This summer the Trunk Boiz, in collaboration with Bikes 4 Life and Silence the Violence, presented the Scraper Bikes 4 Life ride and barbecue in west Oakland. The message was to stop the bullets and violence by calling for a gun truce. It was also a celebration of creativity and expression mixed with a physically active lifestyle and the love of the bicycle. The mile-long bike ride to the park drew at least 100 people and consisted mostly of youth riders and tons of really amazing scraper bikes doing wheelies. Watch the Trunk Boiz video on youtube or see scraperbikes.net for more inspiration – then go build your own scraper bike.
more san francisco on the next page
nov/dec 08 · #36
san francisco cycling agents of change name:
Claim to Fame: Founder of modern-day San Francisco Bicycle Coalition; Dave reignited the SFBC in the 1990s after it had been dormant for most of the 1980s. He served as Executive Director for 11 years. Dave also founded Livable City, an organization working to create more bicycle habitat by creating a city less reliant on automobiles. What inspired you to re-ignite the SFBC? The desire to act locally and in the self-interest of my own community, and at the same time have a positive impact on an important global project – reducing the USA’s imperial impulses. How do you think the SFBC has inspired advocacy in other cities? Incredibly positively. Having nearly 10,000 members inspires people to realize that there’s a huge latent demand for an organized bicycle movement. It’s helped people all over the country realize that they too can be politically powerful. One of these days, the conditions on the street will also be inspiring. What do you love about biking in San Francisco? The proximity of everything. The fact that it’s downhill to my house. The courtesy of the drivers for the most part, and the sheer numbers of fellow riders. The cultural acceptance of bicycling by so many types of people: executives, radio DJs, event promoters, transit providers, you name it! What’s one thing you think San Francisco cycling lacks? One thing? A complete bicycle network that is so safe that it attracts children and seniors. Same answer I gave in 1999. And there’s still not even a
photo by dustin jensen
plan to bring this into existence! We’ll keep trying, though. I figure that given political realities and the time things take, it’ll be the year 2020 when we have that network. I will be 54 years old then and still biking, if all goes well, so at least I’ll get to enjoy it before I die! What would you tell a cycling visitor in San Francisco to check out? Oh my gosh. The tourist stuff is definitely worth checking out but they can read that in any tour book. I would add to that a few things that bikes are especially good for. Easy: The wave organ. Medium: Bike camping in the Headlands, The East Bay hills, Twin Peaks.
photo by dustin jensen
#36 · nov/dec 08
Claim to Fame: Founder of the San Francisco Bicycle Ballet. Carla founded the SFBB in 1996. This was the earliest known bicycle ballet and the concept has spread to cities worldwide. Carla also produces a local cable TV show, Bicycles! East Coast West Coast Bike Stuff, which celebrates all things bike culture.
the derailleurs by janel sterbentz and eliza strack
What’s the San Francisco Bicycle Ballet all about anyways? The beauty of the ride, the joy of the glide, glorious intermingling motion is our focus. What inspired you to create the San Francisco Bicycle Ballet? I invented the term to illustrate the dance of bicycles and took my inspiration from marching bands, Busby Berkeley swimmers, fireflies, and then integrated movement of traffic patterns as they evolve in passage. What’s your favourite thing about biking in San Francisco? My favourite part about biking in San Francisco is how incredibly fun it is on so many levels. It’s exciting being on a bike here because you get to see everything. It’s action packed. It’s also awesome exercise here. You get really strong really fast because of the hills. Even if you didn’t feel like exercising, (if you’ve biked) you already did without trying. What’s one thing you hate about cycling in San Francisco? I think there needs to be a better understanding of good manners to your fellow neighbour, no matter what your mode of travel. It’s really important for people on bikes because one bike’s snotty action can
“We believe in the power of bicycles as a mechanism through which our community, and the world can unite.” – from the B.A.D. mission statement
photo by dustin jensen
cascade into a driver’s bad attitude about them. I think a lot of bike riders in this city lack good manners and it makes it set a pattern of annoyance ahead of common respect between drivers and riders. What tip would you give to a cyclist visiting the city? My tip would be to go on any road you want. Keep your eyes on the road and give yourself plenty of space for people stopping short right in front of you, wayward pedestrians and doors. Where would you tell someone visiting the city they should go for a ride? I would tell them to ride their bike to the beach, down the coast, and then to San Francisco’s east coast (the bay), and everything in between.
The Bay Area Dérailleurs (B.A.D.) were sparked in March 2008. The previous summer, bicycle dance masters the Sprockettes and B:C:Clettes separately rocked the city, unaware of the magnitude of the bike dance aftershock of which they were the harbingers. A year later, The Derailleurs made their virgin performance at The Maker Fair. These crafty ladies incorporate bicycle parts like bell belts, flat tires, scraper wheel parasols, minibikes, tricycles, and bmx in their performances. They love to incorporate fire toys and light bikes on fire when the venue will allow. Currently the Bay Area bike dancers include Agents Chaos, Verve, Flux, DoubleOO, Contrary, Joke Star, Agitator, Take the Lane, and Edge. They have performed at The Trunk Boiz Bikes for Life and Silence The Violence Ride, The Sprockettes Bicycle Bash, ArtSF’s Art of Bicycle, Sprock Out With Your Cog Out, and Cyclecide Bike Rodeo’s Pedal Monster. The Derailleurs are working on secret plans to be revealed in the spring of 2009. They are members of the International Bike Dance Summit and will be pooling fun and funds with other bikedance teams to organize an overseas tour. This will focus on the developed countries that need a bike rejuvenation in an oil-crisis world. Keep your eyes and ears open, tires pumped, and put your dancin’ shoes on. The Derailleurs are coming through – and they’re changing all the gears! Contact and booking information: www.myspace.com/bayareaderailleurs photo by alicia sanguiliano
Claim to Fame: Co-founder of Critical Mass. A former San Francisco bicycle messenger, Jim was one of the original instigators of the monthly group ride. Originally called The Commute Clot, Jim was inspired to change the name to Critical Mass after viewing Ted White’s Return of the Scorcher. He has also been an artist in the San Francisco bike culture for the last 16 years. What inspired the creation/formation of Critical Mass? A desire to have bikes be more visible on the street and to use the public space of the streets for something public. We were used to riding and being shunted to the side and we thought, if we ride en masse we can’t be ignored – due to our strength in numbers.
How has Critical Mass changed San Francisco for bicycling? I think Critical Mass has made people more aware of bicycles than they were before. Pre-1992 someone would be more likely to think, “Get that toy on the side walk.” Now there are more bicycles out there to be aware of too. How do you feel about the spread of Critical Mass to other cities? Ecstatic. What makes San Francisco special for bicycling? San Francisco is a beautiful city with great weather and lots to do close by. You can find good food,
beautiful scenery, and your own house all within a half-hour bike ride of each other. What should others know about cycling in San Francisco? Watch out! Where should a visitor to the city ride? I would tell them to ride through Golden Gate Park, over the Golden Gate Bridge, down to Sausalito, take the ferry back, ride up Market Street, take a left on Valencia, and go to Zeitgeist (a bike-friendly bar). Market to Valencia to Zeitgeist was the original Critical Mass route for the first few rides.
nov/dec 08 · #36
making less space for cars more space for people by kristen steele
photo by dustin jensen
“Parties at his office have valet parking for the hundreds of bikes that show up.” 16
#36 · nov/dec 08
the ground level of 145 Taylor Street in San Francisco is home to a lush
courtyard with a planted tree, ferns, and a reflecting pool. The basement has 6,000 square feet of office space for a local non-profit. The rooftop features an outdoor deck, laundry facility, citrus trees, and a community garden with individual planters for residents’ use. None of this would have been possible had architect David Baker not convinced the city to allow him to forgo inclusion of car parking in the design. This might seem like a crazy idea in the US, where most places require at least two parking spaces per unit for new developments. But in the case of this 67-unit affordable housing project, where most residents don’t have a car, it made sense. A number of Baker’s projects defy convention by being “car parking lite,” having unbundled parking (buyers can purchase parking separate from the
housing unit), or no parking at all. According to Baker, requiring parking drives up project costs, reduces the number of units (and thus density), and increases congestion. Also, reducing parking means more space for people – like his signature courtyards and community spaces. While more and more builders are jumping on the “green building” bandwagon, Baker has long been leading the parade. Founder of San Francisco-based David Baker + Partners – an award-winning firm that designed the city’s first LEED-certified building – he is known for his urban design sensibilities, open spaces, and innovative parking strategies. But most unique is the perspective he brings from his car-free lifestyle and membership in cycling’s “cult” (his term). Designing bike parking is tricky, he says. “Most architects, because they’re not cyclists, have trouble doing it well.” You have to consider visitor parking, think outdoor bike racks; semi-secure and accessible parking: such as in a garage, and bike parking rooms with numbered spaces and a shared key. “If you build 200 units right now you’d probably have close to 200 bikes – a lot of people have more than one bike. 200 bikes, that takes up quite a bit of space.” Baker’s transportation philosophy extends to his own workplace where he offers secure bike parking and a shower, and gives monthly gift certificates to employees who walk, bike, or take transit to work. Fifteen out of twenty people in the office qualify. He’s also had to install more bike parking for clients and consultants who visit the office. Parties at his office, which include fundraisers for local biking and walking advocacy causes, have valet bike parking for the hundreds of bikes that show up. And one of the newest of his 12 bicycles is a Dutch bakfiets, which he uses to transport boards and models to meetings. About the future, Baker is generally optimistic. He sees a big change from his early days of bicycling to work, when his partners and clients would ask if he was having marital problems or feeling ill. Public perception towards his “parking lite” projects is shifting too. “It used to be you would go to a planning commission meeting and there’d be 200 neighbours for a four-unit building with four parking spaces, and they’d be screaming for the blood of anyone who’d impose this horrendous life-sucking blight upon them, and no one testifying for it. And now, we just had a hearing for an affordable housing project and had 200 people testifying FOR it.” He sees progress being made to reduce and in some cases eliminate parking requirements. San Francisco recently created parking maximums in some areas of the city and this seems to be spreading to other places. Of San Francisco, he says, “We’re a leadership place which has tremendous influence on California, the country, and the world. We have a duty to be progressive.”
by nelson rocha
in some progressive cycle-savvy cities, bicycles
are starting to become big business, and they are beginning to have a visible effect on the built environment and the way we shape our cities. Portland has been a pro-bicycle city since 1971 when Oregon created the Bicycle Bill which proposed to set aside one per cent of the state’s highway funds for bicycle and pedestrian development. Since then, it has paid off to the tune of $90 million in revenue for Portland alone. Portland is making the bicycle an important component of everyday life with its 143 bicycle-related businesses, nearly 4,000 annual rides, races, events and tours (that’s about one every 27 minutes!), and the recent addition of bike-friendly buildings. It’s no surprise that in May of this year it became the first major city in the US to achieve “Bicycle-Friendly Community” Platinum status from the League of American Bicyclists. In a survey done this year by Portland-based Alta Planning + Design, economic activity related to Portland’s bicycle industry jumped 38 per cent from 2006, bringing its estimated economic contribution to $90 million. The report boasts that Portland’s expanding bicycle economy provides between 850 and 1,150 jobs to its cycle-happy residents. If you roll through some of the 435 kilometres of dedicated bike lanes, bike boulevards, and paved bike paths you will see a few businesses finding creative ways to celebrate Portland’s love of bicycles with unique bike-friendly features. Black Sheep Bakery, as the name suggests, is known for setting itself apart from the crowd. Realizing that coffee is to cyclists what gasoline is to SUVs, owner Amanda Felt decided to try a bike-thru window – no cars allowed. The small shop features a bike-only lane separated from cars and a handy little window just the right height for cyclists to roll in, grab a cup o’ Joe, and roll out. Asked if having a bike-thru has benefited her business, Amanda replies, “In so many ways. Sales, exposure, and it’s just the right thing to do.” To help promote the latest trend in caffeine consumption, Black Sheep has thrown together a bike-thru special: a 12 ounce coffee, muffin, and bike patch kit for six bucks. Amanda and the discerning staff also offer nose wipes and horns, and are looking into stocking shock-absorbing cup holders so you don’t lose any of your immaculately whipped latte on the way to work. Obviously, they are business-savvy, and know a thing or two about what cyclists want. Follow Portland’s Willamette River north along various bicycle paths and bike lanes, and you might also glide by ¿Por qué no? Taqueria. Last year the
“Portland boasts 143 bicycle-related businesses, nearly 4,000 annual rides, races, events and tours (that’s about one every 27 minutes!)”
photos clockwise from top right: patio and bike parking at ¿por qué no?. parking outside hopworks urban brew pub. inside hub looking down over the bar. the bike-thru window at black sheep bakery. photo by
restaurant, which serves up flavours of Mexico, replaced two parking spots alongside its front patio with on-street parking for over twenty bikes. “We are a biking town and the community that surrounds ¿Por qué no? is especially fervent about biking. It makes sense to have an increased number of options for bikes as opposed to cars. For six months of the year, the bike parking is filled to the gills!” claims el hombre behind the taco, Bryan Steelman. So we’ve got coffee, food ... what’s missing? Oh yes, that third indispensable life-sustaining element: beer! Described as “Portland’s newest bikey brewpub,” Hopworks Urban Brewpub or HUB is another establishment deciding to forego the ordinary and cater to an environmentally conscious pedal crowd. Brewmaster, owner, and bike lover Christian Ettinger wanted to create
wonderful, tasty organic beer and a unique and relaxed atmosphere to savour it in. The popular pub has parking for up to 50 bicycles, a bike repair stand near the front door, spare tubes on the menu, and is lit up with an elegantly assembled light sculpture made of 44 old bike frames. “Bike decor was a natural use of scrap material. I loved the process of weaving bikes into the design. The possibilities are endless.” Portland’s thriving cycling culture is transforming the city scene. In the collective view of three successful proprietors Portland provides a model that “creates a very positive and healthy energy that is contagious” through progressive bicycling policy, a robust network of cycling paths and infrastructure, and its inspired businesses bringing “bike-it-tecture” to the masses. Let’s hope this trend spreads. nov/dec 08 · #36
left: ground level plan, bike racks at main entry. right: parking level plan, secure bike storage and shower. facilities comply with LEED SSc4.2
leed leads the way
bicycles in green buildings by lori kessler
as we have become more aware in the last decade of the significant
impact we make to our environment, we have taken strides to develop more sustainable practices, from transportation to manufacturing, farming to recycling. Construction and architecture play a significant role on the environment; from energy-efficient heating and cooling to sustainable materials, from location choice to disposal of construction waste. A growing number of people took a critical look at the impact caused by buildings, and created a demand for sustainable building practices and “green design.” LEED, or “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,” is a voluntary rating system to define green building in a North American context. It was developed by the US Green Building Council and the Canada Green Building Council. LEED recognizes buildings that are healthy and high-performance with reduced environmental impacts. The rating system has five principal categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality. Documenting compliance to required prerequisites (plus a number of additional credits) can earn a building LEED Certification, and possible higher levels of Silver, Gold, or Platinum. Although there is some controversy with the time and costs associated with documentation, LEED is recognized as the most consistent and accepted rating system for green building throughout North America. City, state, and provincial governing bodies have been taking stands to mandate new public buildings to be LEED Certified, often specifying a
#36 · nov/dec 08
Silver or Gold rating. Certification has also been mandated by many school districts, universities, and corporations, and has also been voluntarily sought by a myriad of private building owners. What does this mean for cyclists? Secure bike storage and shower facilities! One of the available LEED credits that can be earned towards certification – and likely the most popular one – is “Alternative Transportation: Bicycle Storage and Changing Rooms.” The intent of this credit is to “reduce pollution and land development impacts from automobile use.” To earn this credit, commercial and institutional buildings must provide secure bicycle storage and convenient changing and shower facilities for at least five per cent of the building occupants. A minimum of one shower for every eight cyclists is required. Residential buildings must provide covered storage facilities for securing bicycles for at least 15 per cent of the building occupants. Regardless of building type, if a local authority (such as a municipal or regional building code) has a more stringent requirement for bicycle facilities, that requirement must be met in order to receive the credit. This is good news, both for committed bike commuters and those willing to start. LEED is a registered trademark in both Canada and the US – Ed.
designing for bikes:
environmental benefits by lori kessler
as of 2001, there were 520 million cars
worldwide, 217 million of which were in Canada and the US. All drivers expect a paved parking space to be available for each of these cars, and to any location they may choose to travel to. In addition, there are many projects built specifically for cars: parking structures, gas stations, car washes, and service shops. That’s a lot of pavement! Besides the environmental benefits of cycling itself (reducing fuel consumption, gasoline production impacts, air and water pollution, and greenhouse effects), let’s also look at the environmental benefits of designing infrastructure for bikes. Four main environmental benefits come to mind in this category: reduction of stormwater runoff, reduction of urban heat island effect, increased green space, and less building material. As bicycles become more widely used and both designers and building owners anticipate and encourage less use of the automobile, the amount of paving needed for parking can be reduced. Numerous bikes can park in a single car stall; twelve in fact, as demonstrated at the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition on Park(ing) Day, Friday Sept 19. Even more if bikes are stored vertically. Reducing the size of parking areas also reduces the volume of stormwater runoff occurring on non-permeable surfaces. This decreases erosion and environmental impacts on the receiving waters (streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans) both in volume and in contamination from oil, fuel, combustion by-products, tire wear, and de-icing salts. This helps to maintain the natural aquifer recharging cycle. In addition, the infrastructure required to convey and treat the stormwater (pipes, sewers, and treatment facilities) can further be reduced. Reducing the amount of pavement also decreases the urban heat island effect. Dark paving materials – such as asphalt, with a Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) of only 0.05 to 0.10 – absorb solar heat and radiate it back to the surrounding areas. This results in an urban heat island: ambient temperatures in urban areas can be artificially elevated by more than 5.5 ºC (10 ºF) when compared to surrounding suburban and natural areas. This results in increased cooling
[twelve bikes can park in a single car stall] 26 car parking lot = 681.9 square metres (7340 square feet) 26 bike parking = 22.8 square metres (245 square feet) = 3% stormwater runoff and urban heat island is reduced by 97%
loads in the summer, requiring larger air-handling equipment and energy for building operations. Decreasing the pavement required for parking directly increases the available green space for vegetation. Vegetation provides cooling via shade and evapotranspiration; it increases air quality and lowers greenhouse gases. Minimizing site disturbance allows for greater biodiversity and habitat for plant and animal species, and provides natural water infiltration. On a final note, building for bikes instead of cars decreases the amount of material and money needed for construction. At one-twelfth (or less) the amount of parking space, and onequarter the road space, that results in much less mining, production, and transportation of asphalt
for surface parking. It also reduces the need for concrete, reinforcing steel, weatherproofing, artificial lighting, and mechanical exhaust systems needed for underground parking. The cost of building one underground parking space can be $30,000 to $50,000 per stall depending on the construction market and site location. This does not include the cost of operation (lighting, exhaust, ventilation). And although underground parking does not contribute to the urban heat island effect or stormwater runoff, it does affect the natural water table and therefore the surrounding vegetation. So, for a lighter impact on our built environment, with both short- and long-term benefits, let’s design more for bikes instead.
designing for the wheel(chair) ever think about similarities between bikes
and wheelchairs? Thanks to the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, all buildings for “public accommodation” and commercial use are built to be accessible to people with disabilities. Pre-1990 public buildings were retrofitted. Canada followed suit. A happy side benefit is that these buildings accommodate rolling bikes. Ramps or elevators are found at all public places: courthouses, schools, train stations, restaurants, etc. Although not always required by law, stairs are usually accompanied by ramps, whether in a city park or a university campus, and sidewalks have “curb cuts” at crosswalks. Cyclists, thank the wheelchair, and equal rights advocates!
nov/dec 08 · #36
recycling advocate braves downtown traffic
by margo mctaggart photo by david niddrie
helen spiegelman remembers her black Raleigh “English bike.” It was
a three-speed she got when she was in high school, a big step up from the balloon-tired Schwinn that was its predecessor. Helen rode her Raleigh all through her high school and undergraduate years in her native Madison, Wisconsin. In 1966, her final undergraduate year, she returned to her parked bike in front of the campus library to find a bouquet of flowers tied to its rack. They’d been placed there by an anonymous admirer who she later discovered to be George, now her husband of over forty years. Bikes have always been part of George and Helen’s daily lives. They rode them to work as graduate students in Madison and later in Seattle. Helen cycled through her pregnancies in the 1970s, but paused due to safety concerns when her children were young – the child seats available at the time were less than roadworthy. She rode again when her children were older, and city cycling continued to be part of their family life when they moved to Vancouver in 1978. Her lifelong affection for self-propulsion was confirmed during a two-week bike jaunt in the south of France in 1995. Her new mount for the trip was a sporty Bianchi, purchased second-hand. She was in her mid-fifties when she and the Bianchi first braved downtown Vancouver’s rush hour traffic, riding to her job as Communications Director of the Recycling Council of British Columbia. “It was white knuckles the first summer, because I really understood my own mortality,” she recalls. “The biggest difference between younger and older people is that sense of your own mortality.” Fears successfully conquered, Helen remains a confident urban cyclist in her sixties. Following an unnerving car accident, she has chosen to stop driving in all but emergency situations. She feels she has greater control and a better line of vision when on her bike than she would in a car. She has watched Vancouver’s cycling infrastructure develop over recent decades. Visible infrastructure is important, she points out, because it “affirms to non-cyclists that we’re out there.” She’s pleased to see the growth in cyclist-controlled traffic signals that allow her to easily cross major arterials, but observes that the spacing and height of some bike route signs are scaled to cars rather than bicycles. In a neighbourhood of two or more cars per household, the Spiegelmans own an older Honda Civic they use so seldom it’s fueled only once every six weeks. This is natural, considering the couple’s involvement in environmental issues. Helen is an expert on solid waste – proud of her nickname “The Doyenne of Discards” – as well as a promoter of public involvement in the issues that surround its management. The concept of retirement remains theoretical for Helen as she continues to work
“It was white knuckles the first summer because I really understood my own mortality”
to raise public awareness and insist on political accountability for an incineration mega-project under discussion for British Columbia’s Lower Mainland. She blogs for Zero Waste Vancouver to help keep citizens informed of new developments. Helen’s husband, George, commutes in all weather to teach Environmental Science at the University of British Columbia. At home, he tinkers with bicycles to keep gears adjusted, tires inflated, and chains lubed. There is a concerted effort to make the bikes go the distance; a well-maintained bike not only runs better, it stays out of the waste stream longer. Proud grandparents, George and Helen have purchased child trailers for each of their sons’ families. The new generation of Spiegelmans won’t need to stop pedalling any time soon. Margo is a touring cyclist whose hair is as grey as Helen’s. She is getting braver about downtown cycling and thinks Helen sets a wonderful example.
Uniting Canada to become a leading cycling nation.
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#36 · nov/dec 08
riding in the rain winter gear suggestions As we leave behind the sunny summer weather there’s no need to stop riding. For an enjoyable autumn commute invest in the right gear to keep you dry and warm on your ride. Here are a few ideas.
Novara Stratos Rain Pants - Women’s www.rei.com $99 USD Designed specifically to fit a woman’s shape,
Brooks Rain Seat Cover
these waterproof, breathable cycling pants
will keep you dry in a downpour.
MSRP: $10 USD Waterproof nylon with a nylon cord around the perimeter with a cord lock to get it on the saddle
Waxed Cotton Raincoat www.joyriderclothing.com $400 Designed and custom made by Nan Eastep of B. Spoke Tailors (formerly Joyrider Clothing) Available in maroon with orange trim and black with maroon trim. Features include deep back pleat, detachable hood, 2-way YKK zippers. Photo by Richard Masoner.
Planet Bike Cascadia Fender Line www.planetbike.com $44.99-54.99 USD Our fenders have got you covered from the rain, sleet and snow. These polycarbonate beauties
MEC Cyclone Tights
are simple, resilient and affordable. The Cascadia’s
130mm mudflaps provide extra coverage and the
hardware is all stainless-steel and pre-installed for
Made of stretch 75-denier
hassle-free mounting. The fenders come in four
polyester knit laminated to
sizes for Road, Hybrid/Touring, ATB and 29ers and all
Entrant® EV, a non-porous
versions are disc brake compatible.
waterproof-breathable membrane these cycling tights feature a relaxed fit that’s ideal
Here are some other items that can
for rainy day commuting. Made
make your winter riding more enjoyable:
Waterproof jacket, Waterproof panniers (we like Ortlieb), waterproof gloves, balaclava, fleece ear covers, neoprene rain booties, disc brakes, plastic bags over your shoes, wallet and anything
Rainmates by Rainlegs
else you want to keep dry, rain cape/
poncho, mud flaps, lights, lights and
more lights, breathable layers – wool
Easy and fast to put on with
and silk are natural fibers that work well.
nov/dec 08 · #36
your guide to
by frances mcinnis
photos by david niddrie we arrive at dinner parties slightly sweaty, cheeks
aglow, or show up for job interviews towing a helmet and backpack. We are notorious for dishevelled hair and scraped shoes. Cycling is great for our earth, our health, our wallets, and our happiness, but leaves us looking – well… like we’ve been cycling. But there is no need to accept a slightly scruffy fate; some inventive tips from hairdressers, clothing designers, and bike commuters mean we can all look presentable – even gorgeous – post-ride. I resign myself to putting my hair in a ponytail so I plan ahead and bring a cute headband along! Leigh Bryant, Vancouver I usually wear a pair of crappy underwear and sweats when it’s rainy, because without good fenders the splatter soaks through both garments. I used to change into my work clothes in a bathroom stall before work, and back when I left for the day if I didn’t want my work clothes to get soggy. I adopted this practice after sitting through my first day at a new job with wet underwear and a mud stripe up the back of my white top and skirt. Marit Mitchell, Toronto
Yes, helmet hair sucks, but it’s not an excuse to leave the helmet at home. While ventilated helmets minimize sweat, Suzanne Millard of Vancouver’s Axis Hair Salons believes that salons are the real frontline in the war against bad cycling hair. “Tell your stylist that you ride your bike regularly, so you can find a cut that will work,” she says. “For women, bangs are not the best choice – they’re high maintenance and can look silly after you take off your helmet. Super-straight hairstyles can also be tricky, although BaByliss does make a rechargeable, portable flatiron.” In contrast, wavy or curly styles permit the stylish cyclist to pile hair under the helmet, and shake it out upon arrival. Hair can also be pulled into a braid or a ponytail with elastics every few inches to keep it kink-free and out of the way while riding. Products do exist to make hair behave. “I tell a lot of my regular clients, especially the guys, not to be embarrassed to have products at work,” Millard says. To banish helmet imprints she advises mixing equal parts water and leave-in conditioner in a spray bottle; spritz hair when you arrive, finish with some wax or finishing cream, and voilà – helmet hair is a distant memory.
#36 · nov/dec 08
The cyclist regularly stands at a sartorial crossroads: wear it or pack it? Wearing one outfit all day requires a bit of planning. Clothes with some stretch or extra room in the shoulders and thighs make cycling easier, but particularly voluminous garments (full skirts, wide-leg pants, monastic robes, etc.) need to be tied in a knot or restrained with bike clips. Leggings are a godsend for female cyclists who want to ride comfortably and modestly in short skirts. Avoid delicate tights, however: bicycles are home to countless pointy bits, all just waiting to tear a hole or start a run. The sweat factor can also dictate outfit choice. “I avoid grey and light blue because they advertise sweat stains to the world at large,” explains Steve Astin, who cycles in sweltering Miami. Layering also minimizes sweat, permitting the stylish cyclist to bike in the bare minimum, and add layers upon arrival. For those of us who wear helmets, I must admit, it’s kinda hard to pull that off and still look good 40 sweaty minutes later. Besides a change of clothes and a headband to cover up helmet-head, my tricks of the trade are limited to biking with the least amount of clothes on to produce the least amount of sweat, or wearing clothes that you can bike in and still look okay (it’s not always cycling shorts and dry weave tees). Morgan Passi, Toronto My biggest problem tends to be helmet hair. I’m often late, so I get out of the shower and jump right on my bike and it can get pretty bad. If I need to look good before I enter a building, for example, when I can’t go straight to the washroom and straighten myself up in the mirror, I’ve been known to pull alongside a parked car and look in its mirrors. Beyond that I just try to go slowly so that I don’t get sweaty. Or coast a lot to catch a breeze and cool off. Zachary Durisko, Durham, Maine
Packing clothes circumvents the headache of planning a cycle-friendly but stylish outfit but beware: pure cotton, linen, and some silks rarely survive a pannier-ride crease-free. Conversely, cotton blends, wool blends, knits, washable silk, jersey and stretch fabrics pack flat and are more resistant to wrinkles.
Other cycling must-haves? A couple of commuters advised filling a thermos with a washcloth and some boiling water for a steamy sponge bath in the bathroom upon arrival. (For a slightly less luxurious version, baby wipes do the trick.) Add to that a wallet, water bottle, keys, etc, and the stylish cyclist now has rather a lot of stuff. Luckily, there are places to stash a bag if an occasion – a meeting or job interview, for instance – requires you to be sans luggage. Coat checks are often available at the concierge desks of department stores, shopping malls, museums, libraries, train stations, and hotels: a cheap way to
wet weather means soggy clothing, runny makeup, and wet hair. Don’t despair, though – both ponchos and rain suits can be effective shields against Mother Nature’s worst. Linda Sanchez, owner of Oregon’s J&G Cycle wear, advises choosing raingear based on the situation. “The poncho is popular in regions where it’s hot and humid and you need extreme breathability.” Ponchos are small, cheap and light, and keep both your top and bottom halves dry if you hold the front of the poncho across your handlebars like a tent. But even though they have better air circulation, they do increase wind resistance and are prone to pools of water that require periodic dumping. Plus they look kind of dorky. Rain jackets and pants, in spite of breathable fabrics and vents, can be sweaty; they’re a better choice, though, for windy and cold weather. For both ponchos and rain suits, make sure the hood is large enough to easily fit over your helmet, and does not interfere with your peripheral vision; otherwise, you’ll need a helmet cover.
unload most of your stuff while you swing about town with the bare necessities.
Consider investing in a few inexpensive bike accessories. Fenders and a chain guard, for instance, will ensure mud and oil are kept off clothing. Alex Martin, a student from New Jersey, explained that saddlebags or a basket are also worthwhile: “One thing I would advise is to avoid wearing backpacks while biking. Although you might think it’s not that hot out, the points of contact between back and pack are torrid. This consistently results in a really sweaty back.” Enough said.
Most importantly, give yourself plenty of time! Time to pack everything you need before you leave, to ride at a leisurely pace, to take detours to avoid sweatinducing hills, and to hit the washroom for a onceover upon arrival. Make sure to also add time to take a couple of seconds to revel in how good you look. nov/dec 08 · #36
“I think it’s more of a literal and metaphorical ‘lens’ through which to perceive a culture”
self portrait of eric harvey brown with the purple bike.
flickr bikes have purple pedals by david niddrie
taking a spin on your bike with your camera is always a great way to get out and experience your neighbourhood. Whether you are a shoulder slinger, a hip shooter or you have a third eye on your helmet, documenting a ride can be quite revealing. Yahoo has taken a different approach and let the bikes do the shooting. They gave 15 custom, purple city bikes (Electra Townie 8s) to urban cyclists around the world. The bikes are equipped with a bar-mounted, solar-powered GPS camera phone and upload images to photo-sharing site Flickr every 60 seconds while in motion. By checking out the bike’s photostream (and let’s be clear – the bike takes the pics, the rider steers and points), you get a visual tour of the ride from the point of view of the bike itself – low angles and lots of randomness. You also get to see where each image was taken on the accompanying GPS-plotted map. Eric Harvey Brown is a New Jersey-based cyclist and photographer (known as ‘dogseat’ on Flickr) who
is the proud poppa of one of three east coast bikes. He got a call one day and within weeks ‘Moose’ was delivered and he was mobile and transmitting. Brown’s riding style and methods have been altered as he navigates from ‘A’ to ‘B’ – from home in Jersey City to work and play in NYC every day. “If ‘B’ includes a night time destination necessitating the bike being parked outside, that trip might not happen – there are a lot of easy to steal bits on the bike,” Brown says. “I find myself doing more lunchtime errands. I left my other bike in Jersey City and took the train in, so I usually don’t have my bike at work. Now, I have this big purple thing and have cause to use it more.” While the images generated in an afternoon trip can be a little overwhelming, it’s the secondary function that calls out to Brown’s subversive side. He is experimenting with writing via the GPS map and is considering taking the bike on urban race events in New York City. “The mapping function is my favourite part. I can go out on a ride with the idea of photos in
mind, but you can also go out on a ride with the mapping in mind,” Brown muses. “What will my map look like? What can I say with my map?” As the bike-cams are part of a large ad campaign, implications of cultural appropriation have been raised, but Brown shrugs it off. “I think it’s more of a literal and metaphorical ‘lens’ through which to perceive a culture,” he says. It may have started in the corporate world, but the personalities involved have taken this project into new forms and from there, who knows? We’ll have to wait and see what the bike artists come up with.
dogseat’s bike on flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dogseats_bike/
the bike’s gps map: www.flickr.com/photos/dogseats_bike/map/ yahoo purple pedals blog: www.purplepedals.com photos by dogseat’s bike.
#36 · nov/dec 08
2020 vision by david shapiro
cross the threshold of 2020 Cycle and you will
find yourself in an inviting open space with about a dozen bikes – in for repair – hanging on hooks to your right and, facing you, an industrial-strength repair stand with clamps for two bicycles in front of a fully-stocked workbench. To your left and up a couple steps, is a low stage with a comfy couch, a coffee table, some chairs, a water cooler, and – more often than not – a bag of food that may have been scavenged from the local bread dumpster offered for sharing. Along with countless bicycle parts, both new and used, you will see art – mostly from local artists, like Marissa Moore from the Bellinghambased band, the Trucks – covering the walls. “It’s like a coffee shop; it’s a third place,” explains Alex Kostelnick, owner of 2020. “So, of course you have art. It’s what the customers are making. It’s the flavour of the neighbourhood; it’s a way to be involved with people.” Being involved with people is what 2020 Cycle is all about. “The first thing I bought for this place was a fake fireplace,” says Alex. “I knew I needed a hearth, where people could sit, eat some cake, drink some tea.” There’s almost always music playing; today it’s the new record by Stephen Malkmus which is then followed by some James Brown. Alex, whose first ambition was to be a record producer, knows as much about tunes and artists as he does of spokes and sprockets, and he shares it with you with the same enthusiasm and love for detail. Everyone is welcome to hang out and that’s just what I’m doing this afternoon, enjoying the scene as customers trickle in and out. Here, a young woman with her dad drops off a hub and picks out a rim for a wheel to be built. There, a guy pushes his justrepaired city bike out the door, all smiles to have his refurbished rig back. Now, a couple of fixie kids sift through the used bin for parts; later, a middle-aged man with a mountain bike chooses some brake pads and a new chainring for his two-wheeler. Then a homeless person, who carries all his possessions on a beat-up Huffy, comes in to have his rear wheel trued. Alex keeps up a running commentary with everyone, making especially sure people who arrive on bikes and need them back for transportation will have them fixed in time to get home. In the front window, along with announcements of upcoming cycling events, posters for shows by local bands, and flyers from people looking for lost dogs or stolen bikes, hangs a faded typewritten page with the 2020 Manifesto:
alex kostelnick keeps it real
“I am a metal farmer harvesting bikes from the from 23rd and Union, one of the most troubled bushes and back lots of Seattle. You don’t need intersections in Seattle, the site of regular police to buy a slave labour bike shipped 3,000 miles activity and two murders in the last few years. from China and trucked another 3,000 miles so “When I opened up, I had people selling and you can ‘save the environment.’ You don’t need to smoking crack right in front of my shop. And I was melt these bikes down to recycle the metal – they the white guy showing up with this potentially already work. They just need a few things. gentrifying business, but I was also totally open to The bikes are already here. I’ll fix one up for you.” anyone coming in. And one day, early on, my sister And that’s what Alex has been doing since 2006, had made this huge chocolate cake, and this guy, when at the urging of his fellow REI employee – a trip outfitter named Boots – he opened 2020 after scouting locations in Seattle for all of two days. “It just so happens that I opened the right shop at the right time in the right place; I got lucky as hell. All of my marketing and demographic was me and my friends, and I used the best ideas of guys like Val Klietz from Bikesmith, who always had ginger snaps and coffee at his shop, and Aaron Goss of Aaron’s Bike Repair, who was the first person I knew who put his repair stands right out on the shop “The first thing I bought floor, not behind some counter for this place was a fake or in a separate room.” fireplace. I knew I needed a Alex had worked in Seattle place where people could bikeshops since 1983. “I was the sit, eat some cake, drink guy who always tried to save the some tea.” old bikes because it was more interesting; it gave me challenges and enabled me to hone my skills. You reuse stuff – that just makes sense, plus so much new stuff is just awful. It’s expensive and made by practically slave labour, and you want to think of that person as a fellow tradesperson, your brother, not just some photos by tom akin nameless person in China.” Jerome, this 75 year-old black man comes in, takes “When you’re a cyclist, you ride at the speed of a piece of cake, makes a tea, sits down and spends sociability,” says Alex. “It’s the speed of stopping to the whole day just talking about stuff with me, visit, talking to people. You pull over, change your all that’s happened around here in the last halfplans – you’re a vacuum cleaner for experiences. You century or so. It was like welcome to the block, and find stuff, and in this neighbourhood, you would he’s hooked me up with all kinds of people since find bikes. They were thought of as trash. That’s then. What I learned then was that if you just chill how I started this shop; I just started collecting out and be cool, you’ll have a successful business. bikes in my girlfriend’s yard and fixing them up.” People will either come or not. But if they do, Today 2020 is much more than just a bike shop they’ll feel right at home.” – it’s a community centre, just two blocks away At 2020, they have and they do. nov/dec 08 · #36
’s uide m u nt ft g e om y gi Gift ideas for anyone you m a know who loves to ride a
id l ho
bicycle. Or for those who’d love to ride, and just don’t know it yet…
WALD quick-release basket www.waldsports.com Average Retail Price: $28 USD This front basket offers easy installation and simple release for carrying off the bike. Great for frequent stop-shopping. Available in gloss black and white.
Subscription to Momentum www.momentumplanet.com $19.95/year Give the gift of Momentum! Delivered 6 times a year.
SKS chainboard chainguard www.sks-germany.com $27.99 USD $39.90 CAD The NEW SKS Chainboard chainguard will provide full protection against chain grease and snags. Trouser-rolls no longer required! Silver or Black, three sizes available. It is recommended to have a mechanic mount the chainguard to your bike.
Membership to your local advocacy organization Give the gift of bicycle advocacy. Sign up your friends + family for a membership in your local cycling advocacy organization. Advocates in your city are working to improve cycling conditions and facilities.
Rhinestone kickstand Practical and fun, and you can make it yourself.
Down Low Glow Lights www.rockthebike.com MSRP: $115 USD single tube system $149 USD dual tube system The only safety product bikers can’t wait to use! Down Low Glow Lights pictured on the Yuba Mundo. MSRP $799 USD A simple, rugged, ready-to-ride cargo bike.
#36 · nov/dec 08
Smartwool socks www.smartwool.com $18.95 USD Make it a double tall, a lotta stripes and two shots of fun. This non-cushioned knee-high screams “I’ve got personality” peeking out from boot-tops this winter.
Fabric Horse spats www.fabrichorse.com MSRP: $58 USD Handmade from waxed canvas and reused bicycle tubes to keep your ankles warm, your feet dry, and your pant leg out of your bicycle chain.
Knog Beetle + Bullfrog Lights www.knog.com.au MSRP: $23-39 USD LED lights. Lots of new colours and flash modes; same cool wraparound, hardware-free designs.
Bike clock bikeclocks.blogspot.com $75 CAN One-of-a-kind timepieces handmade in Vancouver, Canada, from recycled bicycle parts with new Quartz mechanisms by collaborative artisans Robert & RedSara. International shipping. Sourced by bike. Awesome.
Dynamo Hub + light www.shimano.com MSRP: DH-S501 Alfine Dynamo: MSRP $129.99 CAN Disc Brake Compatible LP-R600 Sport Lamp: MSRP $69.99 CAN Great for city commuter use, Shimano’s eco-friendly generator hubs require no batteries. With minimal rolling resistance, the rotation powered Dynamo hubs provide up to 3.0W of power. The LP-600 lamp is the perfect companion. With its daytime running LED blinker, it also features a halogen beam that can be switched on and off. Skuut www.skuut.com MSRP: $89.99 USD MSRP: $124.99 CAD The Skuut is a wooden balance bike without pedals for children ages 2 – 5 and is perfect for learning balance, steering, coordination and independence. The Skuut makes for an easy transition to a traditional two-wheeler bike.
Gothic Glove www.arcteryx.com 24.95 USD Itch- and stink-free Merino wool ensures excellent warmth and comfort. These lightweight gloves are ideal for wearing inside a waterproof shell during nasty weather or alone on bluebird sky days.
nov/dec 08 · #36
books the humanpowered home choosing muscles over motors by Tamara Dean New Society Publishers, 2008 288 pages, $29.95
reviewed by joel gillespie ever since the Industrial Revolution, developed
nations have turned their backs on the potential available in human-powered devices, choosing instead to refine motorized technologies while their manual counterparts stagnated. Publications such as Mother Earth News and organizations like the Intermediate Technology Development Group renewed interest in self-sufficiency during the first energy crunch in the 1970s, making great strides in several areas; now The Human-Powered Home catalogues the innovations happening all around us as fossil fuel supplies continue to dwindle. Tamara Dean does an excellent job of providing historical context for the machinery that humans have utilized since antiquity, tracing a path that leads from the (surprisingly late) development of the hand crank, which facilitated
the geography of nowhere
the rise and decline of america’s man-made landscape By James Howard Kunstler Simon & Schuster, 1993 275 pages, $11.00 USD
reviewed by terry lowe this book is about freeways,
suburban sprawl, monoculture subdivisions, and the commercial strips that line the roads between the shopping malls. Kunstler explains how all this came to pass, how quickly it spread (and why), and the effect this has had on the daily lives of people who live there. The author knows whereof he speaks. Born in 1948, he lived as a child in one of the first suburbs on Long Island; also in Manhattan, and in several classic small towns in upstate New York. In the author’s opinion, how suburbs came to pass is only a little short of criminal. He documents how great American cities were gutted by commercial interests – primarily car
#36 · nov/dec 08
the invention of the Archimedes’ screw, through the spinning wheel, cotton gin, treadle sewing machine, and on to the bicycle and human-powered electrical generators. Along the way are numerous fascinating case studies, including a look at compulsory human power from slave and prison populations throughout history. After setting the stage, Dean moves on to a study of the potential contained in the human body and the methods available to capture it. In many cases, the leading edge of human-powered technology can be found at Maya Pedal in San Andres Itzapa, Guatemala, a non-governmental organization which has developed bicimaquinas, or bike-powered machines, to drive blenders, water pumps, macadamia nut shellers, and tool sharpeners. A bike-powered washing machine designed by MIT students is still in the prototype stage. What is most striking about Chapter 2, Putting Human Power to Work, is the futility and inefficiency of human-powered electrical generation by a single person. A reasonably fit person riding a bike-powered generator can expect
to produce, on average, 75 watts of electricity over an extended period of time; not even enough to power a small television. Fortunately, the mechanically-operated devices offer a much less depressing outlook. The second half of the book focuses on how to build or procure your own human-powered machines. Extensive, detailed plans are included for eight different implements, from a bikeframe cultivator to a pedalpowered electrical generator. If you’re not feeling that ambitious, Dean also profiles commercially-available alternatives at several points along the price spectrum. The Human-Powered Home is a level-headed book which focuses on informing and entertaining. There is no utopian hyperbole, just useful facts and anecdotes that provide the foundation necessary to take appropriate action. Dean has produced an accessible primer for novices in the area of people power as well as a book that is thorough enough to benefit even experienced tinkerers.
manufacturers – and their populations dispersed to bland far-flung hinterlands. During the Depression, the US government poured money into building roads as a way of providing employment for people. The government also provided guaranteed “no money down” mortgages for servicemen returning from the war in the late 1940s. These were available only for suburban houses since, by then, the downtown housing stock was dilapidated and in need of replacing and most economic activity – promoted by powerful real estate developers – was far away from the inner city. Levittown on Long Island, where builders could assemble 150 houses per day, was the first such suburb to be built. Levittown quickly grew to 17,000 identical houses, and real estate developers across the continent copied it, eventually dividing human life into widely dispersed pods: the identical residential pods where people live; the office or industrial pods where they work; the
shopping mall pods where they go to buy stuff, and the school pods where their children are taken by bus each day. There are now two generations of people who have lived in suburban landscapes all their lives, and who know nothing else. As such, they have lost all sense of community. If all places are identical, they are also meaningless and thus not worthy of much respect. What, after all, is there to respect in a landscape of strip malls and parking lots? “The least understood cost [of the automobilecentric suburban life] – although probably the most keenly felt – has been the sacrifice of a sense of place: the idea that people and things exist in some sort of continuity, that we belong to the world physically and chronologically, and that we know where we are. This has left us with a public realm that is composed mainly of roads. And the only way to be in that public realm is to be in a car, often alone.” This book is an informative and usually entertaining read. The author is clearly biased – he hates suburban sprawl – but strong opinions make for better books.
froggy rides a bike by Jonathan London, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz Puffin Books, 2008, $5.99 CAD
reviewed by gavin davidson,
with assistance from kait and sophie
jonathan london follows a long
storybook tradition of ascribing anthropomorphic tendencies to wild animals. In this adventure, Froggy gets a new bike and learns to ride. The happy ending is foreshadowed by the title page showing Froggy planting a kiss on his new bike. I turned to my kids Sophie (8) and Kait (almost 3) for their input on the latest Froggy adventure. I read it to them and asked for their thoughts. Sophie said, “It’s good,” though her body language suggested she
by Chris Carlsson AK Press, 2008, 288 pages, $18.95
reviewed by tom walker
The subtitle to Nowtopia claims the book explores “how pirate programmers, outlaw bicyclists, and vacant-lot gardeners are inventing the future today.” Yogi Berra once cautioned that the future is hard to predict, so it’s no surprise that the claim is overblown. What the reader gets instead are tantalizing glimpses of state-of-the-art Marxist theory tentatively melded to vignettes of ordinary people struggling to carve out deeper meaning from the non-work margins of their lives. A central premise of the book is that the work people do outside of the traditional wage- labour relationship is becoming increasing central to how people define themselves socially – or, “what you see me doing isn’t what I do.” Carlsson frames his essay with a breakneck historical account of “the rise and demise of a blue collar working class” from the mid 1800s to the present. This is apt because the question it addresses is “who is the revolutionary subject?”
wasn’t entirely convinced. However, Sophie has been riding a bike for several years, and recently started reading chapter books on her own. She is not part of the target market for this story. Kait exclaimed, “I want a pink bike.” Her response does not suggest outright acclaim, but she was listening. I think that the author would have been pleased by her reaction. Clearly Kait has a positive association with bicycles and is keen to get one. After further questioning, the kids offered some additional insight.
Kait admitted to an interest in riding her pink bike. Sophie thought it odd that Froggy wanted both a bell and a horn for his bike – until I reminded her that her own trail-a-bike had, at one stage, no less than three noisemakers attached to the handlebars. We were all impressed that even after falling off his bike Froggy got back on and tried again. We also liked the fact that the book contained a lot of onomatopoeic phrases. Kait then threw a sheet over her head and shouted, “BOOOOO! I’m a ghost!” which derailed the discussion entirely. If you are the parent of a child around 3 to 5 years of age and you are interested in exploring the challenges and joys of choosing a bike and learning to ride (while making lots of silly noises), then this is definitely the book for you.
Karl Marx’s answer was “the proletariat.” The Nowtopian “inventors of the future” are more diffuse and might be summarized, somewhat wordily, as “members of communities that arise around shared engagement with appropriate technologies.” In common with Marx’s proletariat, though, these new subjects of history are not yet entirely conscious of their putative revolutionary role, even if at times they allude to it rhetorically. Carlsson integrates his theoretical perspective into concrete descriptions of everyday activities: people recovering urban wasteland for organic vegetable gardens; recycling old bicycles to promote ecologically-sound transportation; or developing computer code for social integration rather than commercial purposes. Whether he succeeds or not depends on one’s prior familiarity with Italian Autonomist Marxism, French Situationism, or “The Fragment on Machines” from Marx’s Grundrisse. For the theoretically well-versed, Carlsson’s observations are thought-provoking even if
not entirely convincing. For the uninitiated – particularly those with a stake in one of the featured communities – the individual chapters can serve as an intriguing introduction to some deep thinking. Taken as a whole, however, the repetition of the theoretical themes from chapter to chapter becomes tiresome. Politically, Nowtopia dwells too insistently on the glorification of oppositional stances and gives short shrift to the possibilities for transformation within the constraints of the corporate empire. The danger here is exaggerating superficial postures of culture jamming and thereby missing real possibilities for transformation. Consumerist late capitalism is a complex mix of both good and bad things and doings. For many, fear of losing those good things constrains any overt resistance against the bad. There are some interesting and even important ideas here, but not a convincing and coherent vision of the future. Carlsson has identified a few of the constituents of the future but he hasn’t succeeded in showing how we get there from here.
nov/dec 08 · #36
toronto is installing secure bike lockers throughout the city for long-term parking. photo by city of toronto.
by john pucher the first article in this series focused on
the various cycling rights of way, as it seemed obvious that having a place to ride is the most basic prerequisite for cycling. However, many studies have shown that good bike parking is also important. Just as a car driver relies on being able to park at both the origin and the destination of each trip, so does every cyclist. In this article, we will first examine bike parking options in some of the most bike-friendly cities of northern Europe. We will then turn our gaze to Toronto and Chicago, two cities leading the way in North America.
bike parking in europe
There are extensive bike parking options of various sorts available in most Dutch, Danish, and German cities. Local governments and public transport systems directly provide a large number of bike parking facilities. Moreover, private developers and building owners are required by local ordinances to provide a specified minimum level of bike parking both within and adjacent to their buildings. Aside from the large number of bicycle racks throughout these cities, the most visible and innovative aspect of bike parking policy are the state-of-the-art parking facilities at train stations. Immediately in front of the main train station in Muenster, Germany, for example, there is a modern, attractive “bike station” (built in 1999)
#36 · nov/dec 08
“Although Toronto has been leading North America in bike parking, Chicago is rapidly catching up” that offers secure parking for 3,300 bikes as well as bike repairs, bike washing, bike rentals, and direct access to all train platforms. Since the bike station is usually full, Muenster is now constructing a second one just behind the train station, with enough spaces for an additional 2,000 bikes. Amsterdam is also building a new bike station in front of its main train station that will provide sheltered parking for over 10,000 bikes and the same range of services as Muenster’s. The main train station in Groningen (Netherlands) offers three different bike parking facilities: a guarded parking facility with 1,700 bike parking places, an unguarded parking lot with 4,150 spaces, and a bicycle parking deck for 900 more spaces. Indeed, most northern European cities offer a range of bike parking facilities at their train stations. At the very www.momentumplanet.com
least, virtually all long-distance train stations offer simple, unsheltered bike racks. Train stations are not alone; local and regional public transport stations in Dutch, Danish, and German metropolitan areas also offer extensive bike parking of one sort or another. This includes suburban rail stations, metro stations, and even some light-rail stops. In the Berlin region alone, there were already 24,600 bike-and-ride parking spots at local and regional train stations in 2005, with an additional 7,000 bike parking spots planned by 2010. Many European city centres also offer special bike parking facilities. The City of Odense, Denmark, recently added 400 sheltered bike racks near its main shopping area as well as a stateof-the-art automatic, secure parking station. Groningen offers 36 major bike parking facilities in its town centre, including seven guarded ones. In 2007, Muenster added a secure, sheltered parking facility for 300 bikes adjacent to its main shopping district. Copenhagen has 3,300 bike parking spaces in its centre and added 400 between 2000 and 2002. Amsterdam has 15 guarded bicycle parking facilities in its downtown area. Current policy in Dutch, Danish, and German cities focuses on improving the security of bike parking, since bike theft is a major problem. In addition to bike stations, some cities provide bike parking areas with especially bright lighting and
conversion of car parking to bike parking in san francisco. photo by san francisco bicycling coalition
video surveillance. An increasing number of bike parking lots have an attendant who personally guards the parked bikes and controls access to and from the secured parking area. Many Dutch and Danish schools have been introducing guarded bike parking to prevent theft of bikes during the school day. The fee for guarded bike parking is modest but fully covers the costs of such facilities.
above: this cycle centre in chicago offers parking for 300 bikes as well as bike rentals, bike repairs, cycle touring, and showers, lockers, and towel service for cyclists. photo by city of chicago. left: chicago has installed over 10,000 of these sidewalk bike racks over the past ten years. photo by city of chicago.
bike parking in toronto
Toronto has long been the North American leader in bike parking. Its comprehensive bike parking program offers two levels of services to meet cyclist needs: short-term parking includes over 15,000 post-andring bike stands on sidewalks; long-term parking is provided by 152 bike lockers and by the city’s first bike station at Union Station in downtown Toronto, which will open in spring 2009 and offer spaces for 180 bikes. There are plans for a much larger bike station at Toronto City Hall. In each of the coming years, the city plans on adding another 1,000 post-and-ring bike stands on sidewalks as well as 100 more bike lockers. There are also plans for secure bike parking kiosks at subway stations. The Greater Toronto Area has not been left out; it has benefited from the vastly expanded bike parking at the suburban rail stations of the Greater Toronto Transit Authority (GO Transit). Metrolinx, a regional transportation funding agency, has provided $2.2 million for numerous racks and bike
below: simple, convenient bike parking at bus stop in odense, denmark. photo by city of odense.
above: the city of toronto has installed over 15,000 of these post-and-ring bike racks on sidewalks for short-term bike parking in toronto. photo by city of toronto. left: wall-mounted bike racks at a cta subway station in chicago. photo by city of chicago.
lockers at stations throughout the region. GO Transit is installing covered bike storage areas to provide better security and protection from the weather, which can be severe during Toronto’s winters. At least half of GO Transit stations will have bike shelters by winter 2008-2009, with the rest to be installed by winter 2009-2010.
more bike parking on page 33
nov/dec 08 · #36
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The City of Toronto amended its zoning bylaw in 1993 to require all new residential and commercial buildings over 2,500 square meters to provide bike parking. New parking standards for selected land uses (e.g. office, retail, residential) are currently under review by city staff. The City of Toronto has also developed “Guidelines for the Design and Management of Bicycle Parking Facilities.” It provides specific information that planners, developers and property managers can use to improve the quality of bicycle parking secured through the City’s development approval process. The guidelines will help new developments meet official planning policies standards and environmental targets of the Toronto Green Development Standard.
and publicize the advantages of bike parking when issuing building permits. All applications for building permits must report the number of bike parking spaces provided. Planning to include bicycle parking is one of the strategies a developer can choose to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification points and be designated as
bike parking in chicago
Although Toronto has been leading North America in bike parking for at least two decades, Chicago is rapidly catching up and, in some respects, may have even taken first place. Between 1993 and 2008, the City of Chicago installed more than 12,000 bike racks on public property (e.g., on sidewalks and in schools, parks, and transit stations) – more than any other city in the USA. As the number of people cycling in Chicago increases, so too does the popularity of bicycle parking. To meet the demand for new bike racks from the general public, aldermen, and business owners, 500 new bicycle racks are installed each year. One of the city’s most impressive accomplishments is the Cycle Center in Millennium Park. The Cycle Center, which is easily accessed from the 18-mile Lakefront Trail and downtown Chicago, provides secure, indoor parking for 300 bikes. Convenient lockers, showers and towel service, bike rentals, bike repairs, and guided bicycling tours are also available. Chicago’s zoning ordinance now requires the provision of bike racks for short-term parking as part of all new commercial, office, multi-family residential, and institutional buildings; planned developments; and some commercial parking garages. The City will be training its staff to rigorously enforce these bike parking provisions
Metra suburban rail stations. In Chicago, indoor or sheltered bike parking is available at 83 CTA stations, more than any transit system in North America. That provides weather protection and greater security, since the indoor bike racks are often within sight of station attendants and passengers. The current plan calls for more bike parking facilities at both CTA and Metra stations. The City is now installing sheltered parking facilities for 382 bikes at four CTA stations, all with special brighter lighting and located in highly visible locations to enhance security. Recently, the city received a $400,000 grant to install bike shelters for 250 bicycles at five transit stations in 2010.
Northern European cities have a long history of providing extensive bike parking, and they have also been at the forefront of advances in the design of parking facilities to make then convenient, multifunctional, sheltered, secure, and integrated with public transport. More and more North American cities have been learning from the successes of these European cities. Toronto and Chicago have surely been leaders in this area, but San Francisco, Vancouver, Ottawa, Seattle, and Portland also provide examples of innovative, forward-thinking provisions for bike parking. North Americans can only hope that these pro-bike parking policies spread to as many other cities as possible. top: interior view of millenium park cycle center in chicago. photo by city of chicago. bottom: bike station next to main train station in muenster, germany. it has space for 3,300 bikes and offers bike rentals, bike repairs, bike washing, and cycling touring. photo by peter berkeley.
an environmentally friendly “green” building. A new initiative aims to help developers learn how to include bike parking in projects where LEED certification is sought, and the city’s Green Permits program rewards developers who obtain LEED certification with expedited building permits. In order to integrate cycling with public transit, bike parking is available at 110 of the 124 CTA subway and elevated stations and at 50 of the 76
for more details and background reading, readers may consult the following two articles: “making cycling irresistible,” transport reviews, july 2008, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 495-528, accessible at: policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/pucher/irresistible.pdf and “at the frontiers of cycling,” world transport policy and practice, december 2007, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 8-57, accessible at: www.eco-logica.co.uk/pdf/wtpp13.3.pdf John Pucher is a professor in the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey).
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Dually 29’r cross nov/dec 08 · #36
food the soup peddler’s
one hill at a time recipe:
slow and difficult soups
By David Ansel Ten Speed Press, 2005 $16.95 US, $ $23.95 Cdn, 192 pages
reviewed by karen pinchin on a bike named Old Yellow, assembled from a
motley collection of junkyard bike parts and with part of a beer can wedged in a cannibalized handlebar stem, David Ansel became the Soup Peddler. After fleeing his job at a software company in Austin, Texas, and with $60 left in his bank account, Ansel sent his close family and friends an e-mail, offering to deliver soup to their houses for $10 on his bike. As word spread, his soup-delivery service boomed and he accumulated a loyal following dubbed “Soupies.” Battling weather, steep hills and traffic, Ansel delivered gallons and gallons of soup on his bike and makeshift bike trailer. The Soup Peddler’s Slow and Difficult Soups, an accumulation of stories and recipes from Ansel’s second season selling soups, is actually a cookbook/food memoir. This means the reader gets only 35 recipes (plus five guidelines for soup stock) in almost 200 pages. However, the upside is that each recipe has an interesting backstory and the concoctions he presents are original and unique, including Ash-e-joh (a hearty Persian barley soup featuring a bowlful of herbs), Bouktouf (a cold zucchini-lemon-cilantro blend), and Moqueca Baiana (a Brazilian fish stew featuring coconut milk). The downside is that many of his ingredients, including Old Bay seasoning, pomegranate syrup, and filé powder may be hard to find locally.
The accompanying narrative, while entertaining, is questionable. This includes Ansel tackling his neighbourhood Ice Cream Man to the ground and prying his stolen lucky ladle from the culprit’s hands as well as conflicting stories on the origin of the first recipe in the book. But perhaps sticking to the truth isn’t the point. This book is a tribute to one entrepreneur’s obsession with soup, but is also a touching homage to a slower, more community-oriented way of sourcing one’s food. At various points in the book, Ansel laments the deterioration of our nutrition and our environment. He writes in the foreword, “the repair of the world…is a hopeful, participatory theory unto which one must cleave when civilization appears to be in rapid decline.” So although the Soup Peddler no longer delivers his soup himself, he is trying to make a point about our cluttered, disconnected lives. And if the reader gets to make some innovative, delicious soups in the process, then so be it.
glow with the flow
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#36 · nov/dec 08
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 2 onions, sliced lengthwise into thin cresents 3 tablespoons tumeric 1 cup dried garbanzo beans, soaked overnight 1 cup pearl barley 1 cup dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight 1 cup lentils b /c cup uncooked long-grain white rice 2 bunches parsley, finely chopped 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped 2 bunches scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped 1 bunch fresh dill, finely chopped 2 bunches spinach, finely chopped Salt Juice of 2 lemons Heat the olive oil in your soup pot over medium-high heat and sauté the onions for five minutes. Add the tumeric and sauté for two minutes more. Stir in the garbanzos and cover with water to a depth of b /c inch. Bring to a simmer, decrease the heat to medium, and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in the pearl barley and cover with water to a depth of b /c inch. Return to a simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in the kidney beans and cover with water to a depth of b /c inch. Return to a simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in the lentils and rice and cover with water to a depth of b /c inch. Return to a simmer and cook, covered, for another 20 minutes, or until all of the beans and grains are tender. Stir in the parsley, cilantro, scallions, dill, and spinach and season with salt. Just barely cover with water, return to a simmer, and cook for five minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Add the lemon juice and adjust the salt. Serve hot. Serves 10 to 12 Reprinted with permission from The Soup Peddler’s Slow and Difficult Soups by David Ansel, ©2005. Published by Ten Speed Press.
plum and nectarine galette by nicole vanderwyst
Galette is a French term for a rustic flat pastry, cake, pie, or crepe that is baked on flat surface such as a baking stone or, as in this recipe, on a cookie sheet. If you can’t find plums or nectarines, or you prefer to eat seasonally, try a combination of ripe peeled and cored Bartlette, Bosc, or D’Anjou pears with a sweeter type of baking apple such as Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, or Empire.
1 and 2/3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour 3 tbsp unbleached cane sugar 1/2 cup plus 4 tbsp margarine 2 tbsp cold water 1/3 cup toasted pecans, very finely ground in a food processor
2 cups ripe plums, seeded and cut into slices 2 cups ripe nectarines, seeded and cut into slices 3 and 1/2 tbsp unbleached cane sugar 1 tbsp unbleached flour 2 tsp ground cinnamon Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Cut in the margarine with a fork, two knives, or pastry cutter until it looks like a pea-sized coarse meal. Add the water and mix with your hands until the mixture forms a ball of dough. Do not overly knead the dough; mix it until just combined. Line a cookie sheet or
pizza pan with parchment paper lightly greased with a bit of margarine. Pat the dough into a circle and transfer it to the sheet, rolling it out into a large circle of about 1/5” thickness. Let the dough rest while you prepare your filling. Don’t refrigerate the dough or it will be too brittle when you need to fold it over the filling. If you prefer, use a deep or shallow pie plate instead of a cookie sheet. Cut the plums and nectarines in half and deseed them. Cut all around, following the cleavage line of the fruit from the stem section. Gently twist the halves apart and remove the pit. Combine the fruit in a mixing bowl with the cinnamon, sugar, and flour and turn the mixture with a spoon to combine the ingredients. Pile the fruit mixture in the centre of the dough. Gather the sides up and over the filling. You may end up with a few cracks around the edges of the galette. Not to worry; simply pinch the dough together or patch it up with a pit of dough from the top of the galette. If you’re using a pie plate, gather up the free edges of the galette dough and fold over the top of the pie filling. Whether using the cookie sheet or pie plate, the edges will be rough and will not cover the entire top of the galette, and they’re not supposed to. You may have some of the juice from the filling run out, but this is a rustic sort of pie and a little juice should come out of the seams. Place the sheet with the galette in the oven for about 40 minutes, keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. When done, remove from the oven and let sit for 15-20 minutes before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
nov/dec 08 · #36
b ik e a i d
by denise wrathall
bike aid can refer to any development project that uses bikes. The most
common interpretation that comes to mind is the redistribution of used bikes overseas, but bike aid doesn’t stop there. There’s a plethora of bike aid programs in North America, and this article will only scratch the surface, but here’s a basic introduction based on conversations with people who are involved in bike aid projects. Bikes Not Bombs is one of North America’s oldest bike aid projects, with partners all over the world. Their efforts include empowerment programs in the United States, as well as many international partnerships. The Vancouver chapter of Bikes for Humanity collects bikes exclusively for one partner in Namibia, the Bicycle Empowerment Network, which takes a container of bikes and turns it into a local bike hub – container and all. Often programs also provide training overseas and make efforts to develop a local bike industry and infrastructure. Some programs don’t collect used bikes at all. Project Rwanda, for example, aims to stimulate the local economy by making new bikes available at subsidized prices as well as increase the profile of cycling by supporting the national cycling team, among other projects. Many programs view educating and raising awareness at home about Africa’s development and environmental issues as an integral part of their programming. Some programs may receive government funding, but most of the ones mentioned here run on private donations. Some even use money generated through bike programs to fund other projects, such as Africycle’s bike shop in Malawi, which supports a school called Grace Orphan Care. So what makes a good bike aid project? The basic philosophy behind credible bike aid resembles that of other solid development projects. The Canadian Council for International Cooperation has a code of ethics which covers development and partnership principles and includes a code of conduct for partner relations, finances, organizational governance, and more. The discussion on ethics available on their website is a helpful resource for anyone concerned about best practices in international development. Designing a good program requires some creativity and attention to the African context. The projects we researched used bikes to transport raw coffee to local processing stations more efficiently; to ensure that girls can continue their education after elementary school, when the distance to high school would otherwise be too great; to transport health care workers and HIV educators so they can cover a wider area; to support small business owners; to help women recently released from prison generate an income… the list goes on. Successful projects are not just about randomly giving away bikes – the bike is only one element of a comprehensive development program. The bike is used for a wider goal, such as stimulating the local economy, empowering disadvantaged groups, providing employment, and building a local bike industry. And how does a North American organization become familiar with the local context anyway? Partnership, partnership, partnership! Both African and North American partners have to be good at what they do and there has to be a solid working relationship between the two. The African partners are the experts about their country, and many North American partners speak about
#36 · nov/dec 08
“After suggesting a $10 donation with every bike… they now receive fewer junk bikes.” participants using project rwanda’s purpose-build coffee bike. credit: project rwanda
humility, about how much they have to learn from their partners, and the work they do overseas. Partnership extends beyond the relationship between African and North American organizations, though. Bike collection efforts are most successful when they are supported by community based organizations, such as schools, rotary clubs, and church groups. Partnerships with the North American bike industry can also be beneficial, but more on that later. Many bike aid projects report successful partnerships with shipping organizations as well; shipping is one of the biggest expenses for many organizations and so support from a North American shipping company can go a long way. A good bike aid organization knows their local community and builds relationships at home as well as abroad. The surprise partnerships come from bike aid organizations working together. “Some bike aid organizations don’t allow their African partners to
bikes for humanity volunteers loading a shipping container with donated biycles. credit: bikes for humanity
work with anyone else,” says Keith Oberg of Bikes for the World. “But we feel that we can work more effectively if we cooperate with other like-minded organizations.” For example, Bikes for the World has shipped bikes to Village Bicycle Project partners, and Bikes for the World partners overseas have received bikes from Bikes Not Bombs. The two organizations are also working to see if they can reduce costs by negotiating shipping contracts together. For all this local relationship building to bear fruit, an organization has to maintain the interest of North American constituents, or the source of bike donations (and local volunteers) dries up. For this reason, projects which also focus on educating North Americans and providing a well-managed volunteer program have an advantage. For North American supporters to stick with an organization in the long run, they have to feel that they are contributing and that they are getting something out of it. Environmental and development education are two of the big things that North Americans have to gain from these programs, as well as feeling good about their contributions of time and money. When asked if people donate bikes that are too junky to use, responses were mixed. Bikes for the World finds that mountain bikes, beach cruisers, and hybrids work best for the road and load conditions of most of their partners in Africa. But they also have a partner in Barbados, where local conditions are more suitable for road bikes, so they send more road bikes there, and are thus able to accept all types of bikes. They look for bikes of reasonable quality, because cheap department store bikes often don’t last long. They used to get bikes that really belonged in the landfill, but after suggesting a $10 donation with every bike to help cover shipping costs, they now receive fewer junk bikes. Bikes for Humanity on the other hand, has found that even cheaper bikes and bikes that at first glance appear to be inappropriate, can still be useful. Some bikes are shipped as parts, and the Bicycle Empowerment Network with their partner in Namibia, modifies bikes to fit the local situation. The common thread here is that it’s important to consider what is suitable for the local environment, and make shipping decisions and bike adaptations based on that. And the bike industry – where does it fit? Industry donations are controversial and there is a lot of skepticism about whether their involvement really is helpful. Is the bike industry just dumping garbage with their donations, and
getting some positive PR out of it? Again, there were mixed responses to these questions, but well-managed bike aid projects take this into account. Some manufacturers, like Kona, have bikes that are built especially for the African environment. Other manufacturers show their support by donating parts and bikes that they can no longer use. Sometimes a manufacturer purchases parts which end up not being used due to sales or marketing data. In these cases, perfectly good parts or whole bikes can be donated. Scott Slater of Bikes for Humanity has only positive things to say about the support that his group has received from Norco, and Tom Ritchey of Project Rwanda commented that even older parts are useful in Africa, where they are still technologically better than what is normally available. You might also be wondering if all these donated and subsidized bikes undercut bike manufacturing in Africa. Although it varies from place to place, the general sense is that since there is very little bike industry in most partner countries, donated bikes serve to stimulate a local bike economy. There isn’t much bike manufacturing in Africa and that which exists – as in Senegal – is often too expensive for the average consumer. Programs based on donated bikes appear to stimulate the local economy and spawn side industries, such as bike basket production and bike repair. Maybe in the future these side industries will turn into full-fledged bike manufacturing ventures, but for the moment no one is even close, so undercutting local industry is not an issue. On the whole, bike aid projects come in all shapes and sizes, just like any other development projects. There are challenges, obstacles, ethical debates, and a lot of grey areas; but some good work is being done, and there are many needs that can be addressed through this kind of programming.
Project Rwanda www.projectrwanda.org Bikes for the World www.bikesfortheworld.org Bikes Not Bombs www.bikesnotbombs.org Africycle www.africycle.org Canadian Council for International Cooperation www.ccic.ca Bikes for Humanity www.bicycles-for-humanity.org Village Bicycle Project www.pcei.org/vbp/
nov/dec 08 · #36
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#36 · nov/dec 08
carry it on a bike
we invite readers to share their own experiences transporting something not usually carried on a bike. send your stories to email@example.com – here are two to start.
a cat from flick harrison, vancouver The vet is really close but I didn’t think I could take the kitty sans auto until I took a chance on this. The cat loved it! She wasn’t worried at all, and stared out the door the whole time. I put my shoulder bag in the basket as a cushion under the carrier. Removed the strap from the bag and adjusted it to hold the cage down. Wrapped the strap around the carrier-handle to keep it centred. Point the open end backwards for max visibility. Go slow to avoid bumps – cat legs are okay shock absorbers, but don’t push it!
a bed from lyle vallie, nyc This idea dawned on me while I was preparing to carry two sets of bed slats across Manhattan. I figured I should let the bike do the work for me. I passed the ends of two loop-ended security cables through each other until they looked something like a pair of novelty aviator glasses. I placed the load through the large looped ends. I spaced them as far apart as my top tube is long, and mounted them on the bike. The mass of the load pulls each loop tighter, but I still secured the entire bundle with a belt. I had to lower the saddle an inch to create the “bowleggedness” required to ride the bike. It was quite stable, once I got over the initial changes to handling made by adding 60 pounds to the top tube.
nov/dec 08 · #36
helmet cozies by adam popper
photos by owen cherry the same device that can save your life
– your helmet – can be bulky, ugly, and is often uncomfortable. But now there’s an ecological way to bring your bucket back into fashion. Nevena Ekimova, a globally-minded artist, said about her design, “I saw a need. People don’t wear their helmets, and I think part of it is because people think wearing one is ugly or unfashionable.” In fact, a study done by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota discovered that it is very common for people to not wear their helmets, especially adolescents and young adults. Some of the most common reasons given were that they are annoying or that bicycle riders simply do not own one. Says Ekimova, “I like the idea that I am helping people express themselves, and maybe making their rides a bit safer and more comfortable.” These hand-crafted Helmet Cozies are made with mostly recycled wool. Not only do they encourage helmet use, but many have reflective strips artfully sewn on to add to nighttime visibility. But for Ekimova, encouraging people to wear their helmets through fashion and comfort is just part of it. “I do it because it’s fun,” she says. “I love riding my bike and I love crocheting the Helmet
#36 · nov/dec 08
Cozies. It’s a good way to change things up, to match my wardrobe, to stay warm in winter. I never thought they would be so popular.” Helmet Cozies took off through word-of-mouth and can now be seen on the streets of Toronto, Montreal, and Oslo. There are practical designs such as the “Winter Rider,” which has thick wool and scarves attached for colder climates, but by far, says Ekimova, the best sellers are the “Pedal Heads.” They range in colour, style and shape, but are universally sized. Some mimic mushrooms or flowers, others are horned monsters or animals like chicken, wolves, and dragons. www.momentumplanet.com
“The most popular ones, people design themselves,” Ekimova continues. “They send me the brand and size of the helmet, and what they want it to look like, and I custom make it for them. People love the one-of-a-kind feel.” Maogosha Pyjor, who was a long-time bike messenger working for the Community Bicycle Network in Toronto was one of Ekimova’s first clients. She uses it both on her bike and her snowboard helmets. “I don’t like wearing helmets,” she admits. “But I love my Helmet Cozy! People smile as I ride by. That makes me smile.” www.HelmetCozy.com
serious winter riding by john imsdahl
for the winter bicycle commuter, dressing
properly can make or break the experience. Properly attired, a rider can make the trip in comfort regardless of temperatures that can reach as low as -15 or -20Â°F (-25 or -29Â°C). Paying attention to detail is important, as small oversights can lead to large amounts of discomfort. In this article, I will offer some advice and pointers that can keep you on the bike throughout the coldest winter months. Ironically, one problem many people face in cold weather commuting is overdressing. Overdressing can lead to serious discomfort and can even be a factor in contributing to hypothermia. A rider who is overdressed will sweat, and adding moisture to cold temperatures is a recipe for disaster. The key to avoiding this problem is properly layering the clothing you wear. Weâ€™ll start with base layers. Base layers come in a multitude of fabrics, thicknesses, and purposes. Synthetic materials are preferable to cotton, which tends to soak up and retain moisture. My personal favourite base layer is made by Craft. Craftâ€™s proprietary material, Pro Warm, is an excellent wicking layer that will keep your body dry and well insulated. On top of the base layer comes your insulating layer. Your insulating layer will vary depending on the temperature you are riding in. I will wear a heavier fleece layer in temperatures from -20 to +10Â°F (-29 to -12Â°C), and a long sleeve jersey or second base layer in +10 to +30Â°F (-12 to -1Â°C). As with base layers, synthetics will work best at keeping you insulated, all while breathing and keeping moisture away from your body. The shell layer is a critical piece of apparel. Over my legs I wear Gore-Tex pants by REIâ€™s in-house brand. I have worn them for a couple of years now and they do an excellent job of protecting my legs from the elements; the Gore-Tex material lets moisture escape, keeping me dry. Although not as aerodynamic as tights by Pearl Izumi or Castelli, I find them to be a more economical choice and something I can use during other outdoor activities. I wear a Craft Windstopper Thermal Bike Jacket for
my outer layer. Worn alone, the jacket will keep me warm in temperatures from 50 down to 30Â°F (+10 to -1Â°C). Pockets on the back of the jacket have plenty of room for an extra hat or glasses, and reflective piping and lettering helps drivers see you better in the dark. On extremely cold days, I layer another Gore-Tex shell on top of this jacket for a little extra warmth. Keeping the extremities warm is one of the big
challenges of winter riding. Hands and feet are the first to get cold on a long ride, but this problem can be overcome with the right gear. On my feet, I wear at least two pairs of socks: first a light wicking layer and a heavier insulating sock on top. Smart Wool socks are an excellent choice. Ski shops or outdoor retailers such as REI will have these or something similar. Over my cycling shoes, toe covers or booties are essential when the mercury drops below freezing. Pearl Izumiâ€™s AMphib shoecovers are an excellent option. Keeping water and slush off your feet will go a long way to ensure your feet stay warm when temperatures are cold. To keep my hands warm, I wear a full-finger glove below 50Â°F (10Â°C). When the temperature drops below 35Â°F (2Â°C), I wear a light liner glove with full-fingered Windstopper gloves, both by Craft. Below 15Â°F (-9Â°C), I wear mittens by REI. Many riders swear by lobster gloves for extreme cold. Lobster gloves are a compromise between full finger gloves and mittens and give the benefit of extra warmth while not sacrificing all your dexterity. Up top, I wear a cycling cap under my helmet down to 35Â°F (2Â°C). I add a Windstopper Skull Cap by Craft when it drops down to 15Â°F (-9Â°C). Below 15Â°F, I add a balaclava by Pearl Izumi, and I also wear a fleece neck warmer or scarf. Last, but certainly not least, is eyewear. Protecting your eyes from the cold and wind is important. I wear Smith sunglasses, which allow me to change lenses to suit the lighting conditions. One common problem is fogging of the lenses from breathing, which I help prevent with a product called No Fogging Way. This product is made by a Canadian company and is usually used by hockey players on their helmet visors. It can be found in many hockey shops. I hope these tips will help you stay on the bike and add comfort to your winter ride. You may come to find, as I have, that the winter can be one of the best times to ride your bike while missing the crowds on the trails.
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nov/dec 08 Âˇ #36
COLLAR CUT X
make your own
rain poncho by don morin
illustration by josue menjivar poncho body
Square 90° down and across from 0 using the set square. 0-1 = A + B; square 90° across. 1-2 = A; square 90° across. 2-3 = 1 b /c" 2-4 = 3 b /c" 2-5 = C + 1"; square 90° across. 5-6 = 2"; square 90° across. 0-7 = b /c of D. Square 90° down from 7 to locate 8 and 9. 2-10 = 3 b /c" Draw in a shallow neckline curve from 2 to 10 using French curve. Draw a deep neckline curve from 4 to 10 using French curve. 7-11 = 7-9. 8-12 = 9-8. Join 11 to 12 to locate 13. Arc a curve* pivoting at 9 from 7 to 13. Arc a curve* pivoting at 9 from 8 to 13. 17 is located at intersection of line 5. 17-18 = 1"; this is the tie opening.
#36 · nov/dec 08
11-19 = 2" 12-20 = 2" Join 19 to 20. POCKET (optional) 6-14 = 4" 14-15 = 6"; square 90° down. 14-16 = 6"; square 90° across. Trace off patch pocket.
Cut body 1x on fold. Cut sides 4x Cut collar 2x Cut pocket 2x (optional) Cut sash 1x Add seam allowances to all pieces.
21-22 = measurement of curve 3-10-4. 21-23 = 21-23 Square 90° up from 22 and 23. 22-24 = 3" 23-25 = 3" Join 24 to 25; round corners at 24 and 25 using French curve. Grainlines are parallel to center front (CF) and center back (CB). * Note: To create the arc, tie a string to a pencil with the desired length and pin to point 9 to make a simple compass.
Sew each pair of sides together using flat-felled seam. To create the flat-felled, place wrong sides of fabric together SIDE FRONT and stitch seam. Then press the seam to CUT X one side, i.e., the direction it was sewn. Trim the bottom seam allowance in half. However, remember that you have to have a neat fold and the top-stitch goes through three layers. Having folded the top seam allowance over the bottom allowance, top-stitch close to the fold. Also, you can stitch the seam allowance on the other side down. 2. Sew each paired side to body using flat-felled seam. Leave 1 inch unsewn for sash-tie opening at 17-18. 3. Apply patch pocket (if using) to each front and sew in place by topstitching around three sides. 4. Cut along CF line. Insert separating zipper along CF line. 5. Hem outer perimeter of poncho using a b /e" double-rolled hem. 6. Sew top and under collars together with right sides together along outer edge. Trim seam allowance. Turn collar right side out and attach to neckline. 7. Fold in short ends of sash-tie. Then fold tie in half lengthwise with right sides together and stitch along long edges. Turn tie right-side out and press flat. 8. Topstitch around perimeter of all pieces.
Tape measure Ruler French curve Set square Kraft paper (parcel wrap) SIDE BACK String CUT X Push pin Separating zipper (equal to CF line minus 2") Fabric (suggestions: waterproof Marilite® nylon or waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex®)
CUT X ON FOLD
you will need:
Don Morin is a clothing designer, patternmaker and educator living and working in Toronto, Canada. He has been working in the Canadian apparel industry for 30 years creating men’s and women’s private label collections and his style forte is outerwear. Don writes a creative patternmaking blog online called Weekend Designer.
COLLAR CUT X
CUT X ON FOLD
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doin’ the disc brake shuffle by wendell challenger photos by amy walker
most riders are familiar with rim brakes. A more
recent addition to the urban cyclist’s stopping arsenal is disc brakes. Both take a different approach to braking surfaces. Rim brakes use the wheel’s rim as a braking surface, while disc brakes use a separate dedicated braking surface (a stainless steel disc, called the rotor), attached to the wheel hub where it is more sheltered from the elements. To slow the wheel, disc brakes use a caliper that is attached either to the fork (front wheel) or to the frame (rear wheel). The caliper holds the
now be found on a variety of newer urban bikes, including hybrids, cyclocross, and touring. While the increase in braking performance has been welcomed by many, everything has not been sunshine and roses. Although disc brake technology is nothing new in the motorcycle world, miniaturizing the system for a bicycle has brought problems. While earlier problems of excessive weight and stratospheric prices have largely been resolved, disc brake setup and maintenance can still be fiddly.
less likely to experience failure since that would require the cable to snap. Another potential problem with adopting disc brakes is compatibility with urban-oriented add-ons such as fenders and pannier racks. The disc brake calipers (remember, they are mounted to either the frame or the fork) can interfere with the fender or rack stays, requiring modifications to the fenders and rack. A number of manufacturers are addressing these problems with ingenious frame design as well as disc brakespecific component designs. Performance aside, disc brakes also offer other advantages to the urban rider. Every time a rim brake is used it wears the rim. This is compounded in wet and grimy conditions and, given enough time, the rims can wear to the point of failure. Disc brake rotors, on the other hand, usually only need replacing when
rim brakes wear away the rim surface.
brake pads and squeezes the pads against the steel disc, thereby causing friction and decelerating the bicycle. This is different than rim brakes which function by having brake arms squeeze friction pads against the wheel rim. Using a dedicated surface brings disc brakes are being included on many of today’s commuter bikes. a number of advantages to braking performance. Disc brakes offer more power, finer modulation (control), and provide Disc brakes are activated either by cable or consistent braking performance under a vast hydraulic fluid. While hydraulics offer more array of weather conditions. Most well-weathered power and control than cable-actuated brakes cyclists will confirm that rim brakes lose both (an important consideration for mountain bikes), power and control in rain or snow. Under the same these brakes have a higher price tag and, more conditions, however, disc brakes perform nearly often than not, maintaining the hydraulic system identically as in warm and dry weather. is a more involved process; this puts them out This is one of the main reasons disc brakes were of reach for all but the most dedicated bike introduced to the mountain bike world well over a maintenance guru. decade ago. The increased braking power allowed Properly “bleeding” hydraulic brakes is an art in riders to use much larger tires with more traction itself. If done incorrectly, air bubbles can enter the while the “all-conditions braking” performance let system, which could lead to catastrophic brake them confidently tackle a variety of terrain. failure. Cable-activated disc brakes are cheaper, No longer restricted to the dirt, disc brakes can easier to set up by the average user, and are much
#36 · nov/dec 08
the brake pad only grips the disc, meaning less wear and greater control.
damaged. In the same damp conditions, rim brake pads will wear much more quickly than disc brake pads (since a softer compound must be used against the wheel rim). Disc brake pads typically require changing only once a year, even in the most demanding urban situations. Whether disc brakes are right for you depends on your riding conditions and braking needs. If you’re unsure, you may wish to seek out the opinion of more experienced urban cyclists in your area. Either way, you can expect to see more disc brake-equipped urban bikes as more manufacturers include disc compatibility in their touring and urban offerings.
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