ary s r e v i ann issue
a ll ages +
perennial favourites: mitey miss, gleanings, the advocate, and comics by shawn granton
the magazine for people
seattle calzones summer fun
#39 may june 09 /
photo by david niddrie.
Cycling at All Ages 26
Seattle 20 Real Life on a Bike 24 Editorial Letters The Messenger Shawn Granton The Advocate Mitey Miss Gleanings
5 7 13 33 37 42 48
Arts & Culture 30
films: Breaking Away books: The Practical Cyclist Custom Bicycles Pedaling Revolution
Food 34 Gear 38
xtracycle radish children's bike trailers
photo by david niddrie.
These 'outside-in' pizzas are a perfectly portable food.
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.
Larry VS Harry Cargo Bike photo by ben johnson.
on the cover
Clockwise from upper left: Omar Bhimji, 31 with son Sachaa Pyar Rudrum Bhimji, 22 months; Marion Orser, 70; Mac Fleming, 16. Photographed at Trout Lake Park in Vancouver, BC. Thanks to Jett Grrl Bike Studio for the purple Velocity wheel. Photo by David Niddrie.
RAK ES D IS CB SPO
Introducing 8-speed gearing solutions with the appearance and simplicity of having only one gear.
Alfine hubs are compatible wth disc brakes or rim brakes. Also available in Silver.
ÂŠ 2009 Shimano Canada Ltd.
Nexus hubs are also available in 3, 7 and 8-speed models. 8-speed SG-8C31 coaster brake model shown.
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THE ART OF
commu tin g
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 arts editor Stephen Irving firstname.lastname@example.org food editor Diane Eros email@example.com copy editor Paloma Vita webmaster Wendell Challenger firstname.lastname@example.org photo editor David Niddrie email@example.com office assistant Talia Fanning designer Chris Bentzen thisisplanb.net cover photo David Niddrie davidniddrie.com writers Greg Borzo, Gwendal Castellan, Jean Chong, Shawn Granton, Samuel R. Hester, Stephen Irving, Shirley Johnson, Terry Lowe, Richard Masoner, Christopher Newgent, Erik Neumann, David Niddrie, Ron Richings, Ulrike Rodrigues, Meghan Sinnott, Kristen Steele, Eliza Strack, Amy Walker, Amanda Wenek, Denise Wrathall photographers & illustrators Chris Bentzen, Derek Bisbing, Andrea Bodnar, Josef Bray-Ali, Sara Brickner, Trevor Browne, Gwendal Castellan, Benjamin Damm, Christopher Dilts, Tate English, Shawn Granton, Stephan Gruber, Peter Held, Silvia Izzi, Dustin Jensen, Ben Johnson, Galen Maynard, Kate McCarthy, Mike Mcquaide, David Niddrie, Hugh Rodman, Karl Seifert, Paul Turnbull, Amy Walker, Amanda Wenek, Travis Wittwer proofreaders Terry Lowe, Sarah Ripplinger, Lindsey Wasserman 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
four more years
editorial amy walker
with this issue, momentum celebrates four years in our current incarnation. In truth, we began publishing eight years ago, as a regional newsprint publication which launched in 2001. Our concept was to publish stories about people who cycle and incorporate a self-propelled approach into all aspects of their life. We were greeted with support and assistance from people who felt as we did: that those of you quietly “being the change” deserved more attention in the public eye. If that meant creating our own media, well, that’s what we were going to do. In 2003, after 2.5 years publishing as a nonprofit, and with 16 issues under our belts, we struggled to help our well-received “baby” become financially self-supporting. Not finding any immediate answers, we went on hiatus. In May of 2005, momentum was re-born. The first re-launched issue had a glossy cover, and 16 newsprint pages. Since then, momentum has steadily grown. In each issue we have added more pages, a new advertiser, better production values, or a new distribution city. Many people have volunteered their time or worked for peanuts to co-create a magazine that reflects our cycling lifestyle. We have contributed something of value to “bike culture,” and I am proud we have made it this far. We have enriched the conversation about everyday biking, we have seen exciting new bike-related businesses flourish, and we have learned about the vision of cycling advocates and the common challenges we face in making North America more bikeable. momentum now prints 50,000 copies, and is
distributed in 20 cities across North America. With this issue, we are launching two new regional sections for our readers in Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area, in addition to those we already include for our readers in Toronto and Vancouver. We’re especially proud as we are beginning to achieve our goal of connecting the local and global cycling communities. We are now “Seeing the Change,” and it’s beautiful! And we want to help our bicyclebased economy keep blossoming! So we hope you will support the advertisers you see in our pages as they are leaders offering us tools to create and populate the Bikeosphere. We also ask you to buy a subscription to momentum, as this directly supports our work – plus it means you’ll never miss an issue – and we’ll have a lot of exciting news and views to share in the years to come! Lifetime subscriptions are available on our website. There are going to be A LOT more people getting onto their bikes for transportation and looking for alternatives to cars in the coming years. Our infrastructure and technology are only part of the answer. We also need inspiration, education, support, dialogue, and empathy – and that’s what we like to work on here at momentum. This issue’s theme is Cycling at all Ages because we want to share the needs of families with young children, elders, and everyone in between so we can make our cities and towns truly bike-friendly. We also want to know what matters to you. So please send us a note and share your thoughts. Enjoy the ride!
You may have noticed on our cover that Utne Reader has nominated momentum for an Independent Press Award. We are honoured, and look forward to hearing the results on May 17. In our quest to continue improving our content, and to pay our contributors fairly, we have established an Editorial Fund in partnership with the Alliance for Biking and Walking in the US, and PEDAL Foundation in Canada. Check out the inner back cover of this issue to learn how you can help us achieve excellence – and get a tax-deductible receipt while you’re at it!
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.
congratulations to subscription prize winner sarah bronstein of seattle, wa who will receive the bionx pl-250 light 250w motor. thanks to bionx.ca
publication mail agreement #40565523 may/june 09 ı #39
letters i really enjoyed the last issue of momentum, and also wanted to let you know that our partners in the Share the Road class have really been excited about the interest the article (Learning to Share the Road, momentum 38, March/April, 2009) generated in the program from cities across the continent. Thanks for all you do to help communities learn from and connect to each other’s efforts!
regarding richard dugas’ letter in the March/April issue: “Be respectful of others , and not the rules…” Bravo for the most sensible thing I’ve heard regarding appropriate cyclist behaviour in traffic. It has always been my habit to treat stop signs and red lights as “yields.” Every time you stop it costs you the equivalent of 100 metres of cycling.
i couldn’t agree with you more that kids WANT to walk, bike, or scoot to school. One of the joys of being a self-propelled family has been to watch my son develop an understanding of how our neighbourhood is laid out and learn the routes to school, the recreation centre, the supermarket and the toy store. It gives him a great sense of independence, which doesn’t seem to be hindered by the fact that we still escort him everywhere. These days he is scooting a bit ahead of us, and I see how we will gradually supervise him less and less, so for us there will never be a big scary day when he is released from the “safety” of a car’s back seat to a world we haven’t explored with him first.
Thomas J. DeMarco Whistler, BC
Alison Kranias, Ottawa
Stephanie Noll Programs Manager Bicycle Transportation Alliance
Please send us your feedback. We seek to continually improve our coverage of selfpropelled 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
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Just stop thinking... Thatâ€™s better!
#39 Äą may/june 09
contributors momentum welcomes diane eros as our new Food section editor. Check out this issue’s recipes for calzones and raw food lasagne. Here’s what Diane had to say about being a self-propelled foodie: “In my family, they have something they facetiously call the “Zero Net Fitness Program.” It means that we like to hop on our bikes and cycle to town to eat large chocolate dipped ice cream cones. The equation is simple: the more you move, the more fun you have – and the more room you have to enjoy a bite. I grew up on a farm, so loving food is almost mantric. You worked hard for it, now enjoy it!” Diane can often be found on streets of Winnipeg, Montreal, and soon, Toronto, riding, walking or jogging, often with a bottle of wine in her bag or a hot dog in hand. She also write a blog called La Cuisinette which may be found at: dianeeros.blogspot.com
Originally from Prince Edward Island, stephen irving is a heritage conservation consultant and manager of freelance artists based in Vancouver. Stephen has recently come on board as momentum’s Arts and Culture Editor, and hopes to use the section to galvanize the excitement behind bicycle-related arts and culture in North America. When not cruising around East Vancouver on his vintage CCM city cruiser, he can be found in Sunnyside Park overlooking the ruins of the Charles Dickens Elementary School and quietly penning his memoirs, presently titled The Mercutio of Mount Pleasant Meadows: A Life of Stephen Irving.
erik neumann is Seattle Editor for momentum. He rides his bike a lot – sometimes across other states and countries – plays music, and embraces the crusty side of boating. Read Erik’s profile of Seattle on pg 20. Contact Erik at email@example.com denise wrathall (Calzones, p.34) cares a lot about food security issues and building community. She likes camping holidays involving bikes or canoes, fuzzy clothes and new food. Denise is looking forward to a summer of exploring, gardening and eating the proceeds of the garden.
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Who wouldn’t want to get delivered right to their doorstep six times a year? If the excitement of finding fresh self-propelled content about people, cities, culture, food, books, current events, and gear in your mailbox every two months isn’t enough, you can take satisfaction in knowing that your subscription is key to momentum’s survival So pat yourselves on the back for helping to promote transportation bike culture in North America.
You deserve it. may/june 09 ı #39
Brainiac in Taipei Kristin of VĂŠlo Vogue, San Francisco
ISPO girls, Munich Jack, Boston
London Rollergirls, London
Eva & Martin, Austria Cal Poly Human Powered Vehicle Team, San Luis Obispo
Iron Mike Ketellapper, the Netherlands
Wheelies in New Zealand
Miriam in Munich
Camilo, Colombia Swims with Sharks, France Red Carpet Superstar, Friedrichsafen
Three amigos, somewhere in Europe
Fly Girl, Essen Little Nutty Early Rider, Austria
Head Butt, Portland
Karate Kids in Tokyo
Elladee & Nikki, Canada
edmonton’s cycling festival by samuel r. hester the bikeology festival, a celebration of cycling descends on Edmonton in June during Bike Month. The festival brings together all the diverse types of cyclists who live in Edmonton. Though Bikeology as a festival is technically a one-day affair that takes place on June 20, “Bikeology” is an ideal and a term used throughout Bike Month in association with many events. The festival is a celebration for everyone, including the kids. The festival organizers provide bike parking and free tune-ups in addition to a plethora of activities. The Bikeology coordinators, called Bike Gears, organize many events in June that lead up to and follow the actual festival. My personal free tune-ups at the festival. photo by paul turnbull. favourite is the Clean Air Day Commuter race, where individuals get points not just for speed, but for efficiency. You can usually see some bicycles-for-two zooming along in this friendly competition that ends in a breakfast with prizes at the Library Plaza. Other events include a 24-hour repair-athon, an outdoor ride-in movie, and a Bike-nic in the park. On Monday nights, cycling films are played at the Metro Cinema. They are free of charge and prizes are given out, but the best bonus is “Barb’s Bike Shorts” shown at the start of each film. Many people enjoy the bike breakfasts, where volunteers serve up vegan pancakes, coffee, and juice at several major cycling crossroads on Friday mornings throughout the month of June. And no bike festival would be complete without pedal-powered smoothies… the Bike Gears are on top of it, organizing two “Mocktails on the Bridge” events to quench cyclists’ thirst. If you are in Edmonton and want to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Website www.bikeology.ca
we are awoken
cycling in a postnahbs indianapolis by christopher newgent
indianapolis bikers pose for momentum's photo booth at nahbs 2009. for more photo booth photos, see www.flickr.com/photos/momentum_magazine photo by david niddrie.
over the last few years, Indianapolis has been moving towards cycling with a new bike lanes initiative, legislation in the works to enact a three-foot passing law, a Mayor’s Bike Ride, and growing media coverage. Still, the winter interrupts our cadence. When the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) rolled into town in the middle of February; it came with more than just pretty bikes. It came with a reason to wake up, stand taller, and suck in our guts. “The city was alive with energy,” says Nancy Tibbett, Executive Director of the Indiana Bicycle Coalition. “The number of people who rode to the show, in spite of the colder temperatures, was astounding. Our parking corral was full to capacity on Saturday afternoon.” NAHBS is well-over now; and the city has taken on a bit more colour. “It is probably too early to tell if the show created any increase in advocacy or memberships,” Tibbett says,
but we both agree that the city’s morale has been greatly affected since the show bikes were packed up and shipped out. “It was inspiring to see the number of bicycles chained together on the streets and to feel the energy from the show vendors, sponsors, and participants,” said Tibbett. It was as if the Indy cyclists needed to see the thousands of others from across the country and the world who came not only to see our city, but also ride our streets, inhale our chill winter, and enjoy our Circle.* It reminded us that our streets, our trails, and our city are things to be enjoyed. *In the centre of Indianapolis, a large roundabout called Monument Circle surrounds the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, erected in 1887-1901 and dedicated to the 24,000 “Hoosiers” who gave their lives in the Civil War. It was designed as the city’s focal point and as a gathering place. the messenger continues on page 15 may/june 09 ı #39
One Bicycle. Many Possibilities. A modular system. Jango introduces the Multi-Activity Bike . Everything is possible. From a sporty fitness bike, to a fully equipped touring bike with trailer, to anything in-between. Jango bikes and accessories are perfectly matched, user friendly, and developed by Topeak. Installation of Jango accessories is practically tool-free with no complicated technical knowledge required. Our innovative and modular bike + accessory system guarantees enjoyment. Itâ€™s all simple.
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carol on the spincycle during the 2008 multnomah county bike fair, part of pedalpalooza. photo courtesy bikesmut.com
pedalpalooza month! by ron richings and meghan sinnott
above: the bike car in a typical commute-period train is packed to capacity. left: an adjacent car in the same train has many empty seats. photos courtesy of benjamin damm.
bike plus train
the perfect combination by shirley johnson in the San Francisco Bay Area, bike commuters can considerably extend their travel range by bringing their bikes on board Caltrain, the commuter rail line from San Francisco to San Jose. Commuters can bike to the train, take the train for a fast trip, then bike to their destination. Bike commuters not only “green the last mile,” but receive one of the lowest subsidies among all Caltrain passengers, because bicyclists do not use parking lots, city buses, or shuttles at either end of their commutes. Bicycling is often faster and more convenient than public transportation, particularly at suburban stations, hence the extreme popularity of Caltrain’s onboard bicycle service. Unfortunately, Caltrain has not planned to meet demand, and bike cars are routinely packed to capacity, while the rest of the train has many empty seats. Bicyclists are denied boarding, or are “bumped,” due to insufficient bike capacity, while walk-on passengers are never bumped. Bike capacity on Caltrain varies unpredictably from 16 to 64 bike spaces, and waiting passengers never know how many bike spaces an arriving train will have. Many
cyclists cannot afford to gamble on their commutes, so they have reverted to driving due to the unpredictability of Caltrain service. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) formed the BIKES ONboard project to encourage Caltrain to improve its onboard bicycle service. Thanks to SFBC’s strong advocacy, Caltrain intends to add eight bike spaces to bike cars this spring, a step in the right direction, though inconsistency in bike spaces from train to train will remain. Once Caltrain improves consistency and adds enough bike capacity to eliminate bumping, cyclists who have abandoned Caltrain will return, and new cyclists will come aboard. It will be a positive outcome for all – more farebox revenue for Caltrain, less congestion on Bay Area roads, and a healthy commute for cyclists. www.sfbike.org/caltrain_bob
Shirley Johnson is a dedicated bike commuter and leads SFBC’s BIKES ONboard project. Contact her at email@example.com
portland is gearing up to celebrate its eighth summer of bike mayhem and fun. Dubbed “Pedalpalooza” in 2004, June means over two weeks worth of coordinated bike fun with nearly 200 bike events. The majority of events are free and many of them are for all ages. This year’s festivities run from June 11 - 27. Anyone can come up with an idea and lead a ride. Visit the Shift link below to learn more about events ranging from bicycle kiss-ins and naked bike rides to family rides and biketo-skate excursions. A quick “cherry-pick” of the latest (but far from final) schedule reveals the following gems: ÿÿ Unicycle Polo ÿÿ Father’s Day Trailer Kids Park Tour ÿÿ Grow Flowers By Bike: Throw Seedballs! ÿÿ Epic Pizza Ride ÿÿ Sausage Fest – Sausage Salvation is at hand ÿÿ Bike-In Movie – featuring Long Road North ÿÿ Unimproved Road Ride (knobby tires recommended) ÿÿ Benson Bubbler Bonanza – a tour of public water fountains The World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) alone had 2,000+ participants in 2008 and hopes to officially break the world record in 2009. There is no better time for bikers to experience Portland than June. If you want to be there for all of the fun, consider starting with the Pedalpalooza Kickoff Dance Party, which corresponds with the Portland WNBR on Saturday, June 13, 2009. www.shift2bikes.org/cal
the messenger continues on p16 may/june 09 ı #39
#39 覺 may/june 09
the a cyclist takes a moment on broadway near times square, nyc. photo by silvia izzi.
opening on broadway: a street to bike and walk
love is the new black
hollis hawthorne dancer, doer, maker, muse by eliza strack
in february, Hollis Hawthorne – a member of the Bay Area Derailleurs bicycle dance team – was travelling in Southern India when a serious motorcycle collision left her in a coma. Hollis’ boyfriend, Harrison Bartlett, administered CPR for 30 minutes at the site of the accident, flagged down help, and stood by her side in many hospitals. Hollis’ story reached tens of thousands of people through a blog created to keep people informed of her situation. Friends also mobilized to raise funds. Within three weeks, the site had over 65,000 visits and raised $100,000. Within five weeks of the accident, there were fundraisers in San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, Seattle, Gerlach, Nevada, New York, Kentucky, Austin, as well as Ottawa and Vancouver, Canada. Many folks who didn’t know Hollis started organizing because they were touched by the story. This enabled Hollis to ride home in an airplane with her two doctors, Harrison, and her mother, Diane Allison. For more info on Hollis’ condition and the worldwide outpouring of support, please visit: www.friendsofhollis.com www.agentchaosproductions.blogspot.com
seattle to get summer streets
according to Feet First, Seattle, WA is launching a new Celebrate Seattle Summer Streets program this spring. Modeled after similar cicloviatype events in New York, San Francisco, and Vancouver, the events will welcome bicyclists, walkers, skaters, and people of all ages and abilities to enjoy temporary car-free streets. Twelve dates are scheduled for Celebrate Summer Streets between April and September. A different Celebrate Summer Streets partner will coordinate each event. For more details see www.seattlecan.org/summerstreets
san francisco aims for big 56 for bikes
the san francisco Bicycle Coalition has been counting, and over 1,000 days have passed with no bicycle improvements in the city due to the injunction on its Bike Plan. But with the injunction being lifted this spring, 56 bicycle projects are up for approval and the SFBC wants to see all of them get implemented. This February they launched the Big 56 for Bikes campaign to do just that. The Coalition has organized activist groups in each of the city’s neighbourhoods where projects are up for approval to help make the push. Nearly 200 individuals have signed up to reach out to local groups, gather signatures, and help ensure the complete bike plan is implemented. If you live in San Francisco and want to get involved check out www.sfbike.org
ride of silence
hosted in hundreds of cities around the world, The Ride of Silence is a free ride to remind motorists, police, and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for those who have been killed or injured. For more information, check out www.rideofsilence.org
according to New York City’s Transportation Alternatives, “Mayor Bloomberg announced New York City’s biggest-ever livable streets initiative.” The pilot project being implemented this spring will transform sections of Broadway in Times Square and Herald Square into pedestrian space. Other stretches of Broadway will feature protected bike lanes, pedestrian zones, and local traffic-only vehicle access. Transportation Alternatives has long worked to see Broadway become a great pedestrian street – soon New Yorkers will reap the benefits. For more information see www.transalt.org
texas cyclists suit up for annual lobby day
on april 20, Texas cyclists converged on Austin, TX for their annual “Cyclists in Suits” lobbying day. This year the Texas Bicycle Coalition, BikeDFW (Dallas/FortWorth), and others talked to their state legislators about SB488, the Vulnerable Road User Bill, which aims to define the safe distance for passing cyclists on roadways. Many states have similar laws and Texans think it is time their state’s cyclists are protected too! For more information see www.biketexas.org.
started in eugene, Oregon in August 2008, Kidical Mass is a ride, inspired by the idea of Critical Mass, to help kids and families feel comfortable riding on our streets, especially as a larger group. Eugene’s Kidical Massers ride the third Friday of every month, starting at 6pm in Monroe Park. Kidical Mass has also spread to Portland, Toronto, and could come to your neighbourhood if you bring it! To learn more, see www.kidicalmass.org ı
– kristen steele may/june 09 ı #39
TOWNIE® aNd WaY TO ROLL™ aRE TRadEMaRKs OF ELECTRa BICYCLE COMPaNY®, LLC. ©2009
TAYLOR KNEPPER / Sometimes going from good to great takes the right connection, a nudge in a new direction and someone behind you who believes. This talent recruiter propels creatives through corporate complexities to make business more beautiful. TOWNIE SPORT 105 / Rethinks conventional fitness and flat bar road bikes by blending performance road bike componentry with Electra’s upright, foot-forward ergonomics for a NEW kind of ride. Light, fast, 700c wheels, 20 speeds and Townie agility, control and comfort.
#39 ı may/june 09
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a rainy sunday didn’t stop cyclists from converging on san francisco’s bike kitchen to help move the entire shop’s contents to its new location at 650h florida on february 22, 2009. sf.streetsblog.org/2009/02/25/critical-soggy-move/ photo by dustin jensen.
may/june 09 ı #39
seattle by erik neumann
in 2007, the city of Seattle published the Bicycle Master Plan which set out to make Seattle “the most bicycle-friendly city in the nation.” It’s a lofty goal for a place with more than a few cycling challenges – perpetually rainy climate, sizable hills, and waterways that complicate travelling in a straight line, as well as highways and interstates that cut the city into different pieces. However Seattle is also a place that’s great for biking, for roughly those same reasons – streets washed clean by the rain, terrifying rides down rollercoaster hills and along twisting waterfronts, countless neighbourhoods and parks that grew around major roads. The bike community is not unified, but broken into pockets of culture here and there: racers, activists, freak-trikers, and commuters. It’s a city that’s confusing, but also constantly refreshing. This morning, I’m sitting at a coffee shop called Monorail Espresso. It’s a coffee shop in the smallest sense of the word. Opened in 1980 as Seattle’s first coffee cart, owner Chuck Beek built a reputation for Monorail on strong coffee, even by Seattle standards. Today, Monorail is mostly known as a bike messenger hangout. At any given time a half-dozen sweaty, moustachioed and tattooed cowboys of the steel
(l-r) mark villegas, jordan williams and kim cozzetto ride through seattle's sculpture park. ı may/june 09 20by galen maynard,#39 photo bikehugger.com
horse can be seen sitting out front, where they can watch their bikes, waiting for a delivery. I ask the barista why so many messengers get coffee here and she answers: “Some of us date them, and they get a better discount here than at other places.” As I sit drinking, I’m suddenly interrupted by the clink of a quarter placed on my table. “Bicycle discount,” Beek says before walking back to his shop. “I didn’t see it when you first got here.” Inspired by the encouraging start to the day I hop on my bike and ride up 5th Avenue into Seattle’s downtown. In the Seattle Municipal Tower, I meet Peter Lagerwey, senior transportation planner with the Department of Transportation. Lagerwey was project manager for the Bicycle Master Plan. His chipper, no-nonsense tone is that of a city official who can quickly cut through public criticism, without sounding patronizing.
Next door, in a much quieter and cleaner office, is the Bicycle Alliance of Washington (BAW). Along with managing Bikestation Seattle, this advocacy group lobbies for cycling infrastructure, monitors transportation legislation, and serves as a policy voice for Washington cyclists. Currently BAW is lobbying for a variety of state transportation bills, including the Three-Foot Passing bill (HB 1491) which would legally define cars’ safe passing distance for cyclists as three feet. Another, the Traffic Actuated Signals bill (MB 1403) would require all new street construction in Washington to include traffic signals capable of recognizing bicycles as well as cars. Bike Alliance represents the kind of behind-the-scenes policy work that’s vital to good transportation planning. Another great thing about Bicycle Alliance is the plethora of free bike maps they have on site, ranging from Vancouver, British Columbia to Portland, Oregon, and everywhere in between. The City of Seattle maps not only include the downtown core, but also routes around Seattle’s outside neighbourhoods and suburbs. Advocacy work, however, means little if it cannot be experienced in real life, so I leave the Bicycle Alliance with a handful of maps, riding west to the Seattle waterfront and the Elliot Bay trail. The Elliot Bay trail is one of Seattle’s most interesting routes, snaking through Myrtle Edwards Park along the city’s waterfront. I ride past the Olympic Sculpture Park, under a giant insect-like grain elevator seattle continues on the next page
illustration by stephan gruber
“We’ve been in a remarkable period,” he says, discussing the bike plan thus far. “Because of the Bridging the Gap levy that was passed, we have a fair amount of funding available, and we also have a mayor and city council who’ve been very supportive. We have a unique combination of funds and political will.” I ask him why it will take ten years to implement the plan, especially when so many cyclists are looking for signs of change. “Some of the stuff will show up quickly, if they’re signs and paint. Other large capital projects can easily take five years or more to put together and we’re not going to do all of those at the same time. We have a certain capacity in terms of what we can do and also a capacity in terms of the amount of funding.” Included in the list of projects to hit Seattle’s streets are trails through greenbelts, and new bridges and underpasses across 15th Avenue West, one of Seattle’s most dangerous roads to navigate. Recently a few large onstreet bike racks have appeared, taking up one street parking space apiece. One, with a metal car-shaped profile, is a snarky reminder that one parked car can be replaced with enough parking for eight to ten bikes. Despite what some consider slow progress on the Bike Master Plan and the recent threat of even greater economic drag, Seattle has a rich array of existing cycle facilities. I head out of the Department of Transportation to my bike, and ride five minutes south to Pioneer Square where I stop in front of Bikestation Seattle. Bikestation is a downtown bicycle parking garage where commuters can store their bikes. Inside its long, skinny storefront are two rows of bike racks. The shop houses up to 75 bicycles, and can be accessed 24 hours a day with an electronic key at the front door. Seattle is the fifth Bikestation site, the other four other facilities being in California.
mark villegas follows jordan williams through seattle's sculpture park. photo by galen maynard, bikehugger.com
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and through the Balmer train yard, squished between two fences just wide enough for my handlebars. As I reach the end, crossing the train tracks and 15th Avenue West, I follow signs for a bike path up an on-ramp that will take me to another trail called the Burke Gilman. As cars whiz past, fighting their own centrifugal force, I’m struck by the feeling of being in the wrong place. It feels like I’m about to drop out onto a highway, not a connecting path between two neighbourhoods and prominent bike trails. Herein lies one of the biggest problems with biking in Seattle: connected bike trails. While the city has made strides with the Bike Master Plan, the biggest hurdle to making bicycle commuting a real transportation option for many Seattleites is the inconsistency of its trail network. Bike lanes and trails often end abruptly at busy intersections. “I wish there was more connectivity,” says Katie Chevalier, a Seattle bike commuter. “Right now everyone does something different. If we’re going to truly be a commuter city you need to be able to get wherever you want to go on a designated route.” Unscathed from the ride, I arrive in Fremont and dismount at one of Seattle’s oldest bike shops, Wright Brothers Cycle Works. Inside, Italian and French flags hang from the ceiling and a stocky wood stove fills up one corner. Inside, Wright Brothers has a co-op bike space with benches, stands and tool sets, where owner Charles Hadrann teaches classes in bike maintenance and wheel building. This afternoon, a few coop members are sitting around, tinkering on their brakes and drivetrains in a quiet, mechanical sanctuary. If new bike co-ops springing up around the country are geared towards young bike punks, Wright Brothers caters to an older cyclist – either in age or aesthetic. Hadrann opened Wright 22
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(this page) above: wright bros cycle works at 219 n 36 st. in seattle. photo by peter held. right: charles hadrann, owner of wright bros cycle works. photo by peter held. (facing page) left: nein frankenstein working on a wheel at the bikery. photo by peter held. right: davey oil, from community bike shop bike works in seattle. photo by sara brickner.
Brothers in 1974. He’s known for his personal wheel-building technique, called “double lacing,” where spokes are actually bent in order to increase the number of contact points where they cross and the strength of the wheel. Wearing a black beret and a mischievous grin, he tells me: “If you care about something enough, you’ll learn how to do it yourself.” Shops like Wright Brothers and Monorail Espresso are reminders of the pockets of alternative cycling culture alive in Seattle. It’s a city with a broad ridership – from the spandex sporting, carbon fibre racers to denim-clad cargo bike riders. Shops like Aaron’s Bicycle Repair, 2020 Cycles, Counterbalance, and Free Range Cycles actively support bike culture and community building with seasonal rides and in-store events. Seattle’s bike community can feel disproportionately sporty and upper-class, but a number of organizations are working to promote cycling across the socio-economic spectrum and break out of the 15-25 year-old white male demographic. Davey Oil is passionate about bikes. And if there’s one thing he’s more passionate about, it’s getting other people riding bikes. When I www.momentumplanet.com
meet him, he rides up wearing a black, skullcap helmet and large red sunglasses. Oil, a self-proclaimed “lifelong cyclist” works at Bike Works, a non-profit bike shop in south Seattle, focused on bicycle education for underserved youth. “I think it’s a lot easier for upper middle class, people of privilege to make the choice to cycle, or for cycling to not be foreign to them. If they don’t do it, they have friends who do it. I think it’s something that’s a lot more foreign to people of colour, people of lower income, people of lower socio-economic class,” Oil says. “Cycling is something that has been used as this dandy recreational pastime. It's like if we were all riding horses to work. We’re that slow, we’re taking up that much room, and we’re shitting all over your neighbourhood. And we’re wearing these stupid clothes. And I think that’s a problem.” Later that day, Oil’s comments sink in a little more. I’m riding on the Burke Gilman, Seattle’s longest and most functional bike trail. Spanning 17 miles, it is used by approximately 1,800 cyclists on a typical weekday. As I leave Fremont, a wealthy, white neighbourhood, I head towards the University District, another mainly
white, well-off neighbourhood. The Burke Gilman will continue for another ten miles through other upper-middle class, white neighbourhoods, as does the Alki Trail, and the I-90 Trail, three of Seattle’s four dedicated bike trails. As I ride past the University of Washington, the Burke Gilman bends north, so I turn off onto another smaller bike route, heading once again towards downtown. I stop in the International District, close to where I began my day’s ride. I chose this route because it passed some of the city’s best cycling spots and I was able to ride almost entirely on trails or in bike lanes. My final destination is Seattle’s newest bike addition, the Bikery. Stuck between a Mexican Carniceria and the Supreme Cornershop,
seattle bicycle events seattle bike-in Summer 2009
www.nwfilmforum.org/live/page/ calendar/394 Every summer, the Northwest Film Forum and Seattle’s many bike clubs partner to bring a night of music and bicycle films.
seattle summer streets Weekends, April 10-September 20
www.seattlecan.org/summerstreets/ Seattle Summer Streets is a series of street closures throughout the city. SSS highlights streets as a public commons, incorporating farmers markets, art walks, and parades.
family bike expo
Sunday, June 14 – 10am to 4pm
Seward Park, Seattle (coincides with Summer Streets). An event for families to test-ride any of 10 different types of child-carrying and cargo bikes including: tandem, trail-a-bike, front-loading childs
seat, Madsen, Xtracycle, recumbent pedicab with electric assist, and more! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
fremont solstice parade June 20, 21
www.fremontfair.org Each June the Fremont Fair brings you arts and crafts, greasy food, and, you guessed, naked bike riders. One of the Solstice Parade’s main attractions is a no-holds-barred community ride, light on props and heavy on body paint.
seattle to portland bicycle classic July 11, 12
www.cascade.org/EandR/stp/ The STP is a two day, 200 mile ride between two of the West Coast’s best bike cities. Organized by Cascade Bicycle Club and Group Health, a Washington health-care provider, the event attracts up to 10,000 participants who ride through rural western Washington.
ongoing rides & clubs it occupies a modest storefront. According to Oil, “the Bikery was conceived as a community bicycle shop for hands-on bicycle education. You’re recycling used bicycles and creating an educational program around bicycle maintenance and bicycle riding.” The day of my visit, half a dozen people in their twenties are working on their bikes – overhauling hubs, tightening headsets, and greasing chains. The shop is small, with rows of bikes, wheels, and parts boxes slowly smudging the white walls into a cloudy grey. The Bikery is open four days a week, one of which is themed “Gears, Cheers and Queers,” the day of the week focused on creating a “visible queer presence in Seattle’s bike culture.” So far the Bikery is entirely volunteer run. The organization’s non-profit status is pending, but for now, members spend their time putting on classes and partnering with other groups in the community. “Cycling is a lot like the experience of walking with very long legs,” Oil says. “As we take these long-legged steps, we learn to take part in civic life, not just by giving a little head nod to other cyclists, but making eye contact with all the drivers. Not just traversing through, but experiencing every inch of our trip.” ı
Cascade Bicycle Club www.cascade.org Spokespeople www.spokespeople.us Point 83 www.point83.com Seattle International Randonneurs www.seattlerandonneur.org/index.php Seattle Critical Mass www.seattlecriticalmass.org Aaron’s Bicycle Repair www.rideyourbike.com Dead Baby Bikes www.deadbabybikes.org Different Spokes www.differentspokes.org Marymoor Velodrome Association velodrome.org/mva Redmond Cycling Club www.redmondcyclingclub.org Seattle Triathlon Club www.seatri.org Single Track Mind www.singletrackmind.com Easy Riders Bicycle Club www.seattleeasyriders.net
seattle resources online
Bike Hugger www.bikehugger.com Seattle Bicycle Club www.seattlebiketours.org Seattle Bikes Live Journal community.livejournal.com/seattlebikes/ Bicycle Master Plan and City of Seattle www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikemaster.htm
The Bikery www.thebikery.org Bicycle Alliance of Washington www.bicyclealliance.org may/june 09 ı #39
the classic four-kid carfree family, all juiced up on bikes, even in the eugene, oregon winter. left to right, torrent (age 6), monica (mom), dare (down front, (age 3.5), sanguine (age 3.5), paul (daddy), and rainy (age 8).
paul adkins, 42
Graphic Designer & Website Developer Eugene, OR Passion: Riding my bike, helping others it has been 37 years years since I started using my bike to go places. We are about to hit our one year anniversary of going car free as a family. With young kids it has been really fun. We’ve been able to invest in bikes and gear and still save a ton for the year. I sometimes find myself smiling so big because I’m on my bike and doing the best thing for me, for my neighbours, my community and the whole big world. When I ride around Eugene I love seeing all the people out on bikes and walking. I tune into the smells: from the rain and flowers in Spring to the bakeries and whiffs of Thai in the Whiteaker neighborhood. I really appreciate the friendliness my family encounters. I think the car drivers feel it too. They see my wife and I with our four kids rolling in-line down the bike lanes or grouping up on the residential streets and everyone just smiles. I think this must be what it feels like to be beautiful. That may be the best part – all the smiles we get. 24
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I do not like when people use their speeding cars as threatening weapons. And when yells come from drivers in a rage because they are having to wait behind me for a few moments. When I am with my family they don’t treat me that way, thank goodness. I do find that when I ride my bike with respect for other road users I usually get respect back.
“We eat waffles or burritos and let our bodies turn that into strength to crank our pedals to go places.” I am a big bike activist. I believe that if the cyclists obeyed the laws and treated other road users respectfully by not blowing through stop signs and lights we would be given more respect. Then the chain reaction would start: less rage, safer feeling streets, civilized riders, more people riding everyday, slower and more careful drivers, and it just keeps building. I think if we could work to improve the knowledge of people about laws and etiquette while driving and riding that would help. Locally we have an advocacy group called GEARs. They are working on all the things that www.momentumplanet.com
I mentioned above. There are lots of people in Eugene who really are making a great investment in building a stronger bike culture here. Kidical Mass is big in Eugene. We ride every third Friday all over town and go from park to park and end up getting a treat and letting the kids have fun. We try to teach them how to ride well in the city. We follow all the laws, stopping at stops signs, riding single file when there is traffic behind us, working hard to be predictable, and watching closely what other people are doing. I am a believer in “less is more.” I like riding in regular clothes. I used to race and wear lycra and now I just think that biking has reached a new level where it is cool to just wear regular stylish clothes. My helmet is probably my favourite piece of gear. Being self-propelled means we are our own source of power to move across town or across the country. We eat waffles or burritos and let our bodies turn that into strength to crank our pedals to go places. We love the freedom to eat to fill the tank and keep our economy local. www.eugenegears.org www.kidicalmass.org
dan canada, 70 San Francisco, CA
canada has lived in the Bay Area all his life. As a youth, from age 14 to 24, he rode bikes a lot. Although physically active as a hiker and kayaker, he didn’t cycle much thereafter, until three years ago, when he was having problems with his spine. “It was just such a mess that the doctor at a pain clinic said: ‘Why don’t you start cycling?’” Since he had been a serious cyclist so many years ago, Canada didn’t think he needed to do anything differently to get back into it. But after several collisions, two of them involving being hit by cars, and several broken arms, Canada decided to slow down, take a course in urban cycling, and work on his conditioning, reflexes, and strength. There are a few particular hazards for cyclists in San Francisco: potholes, getting “doored,” and the slipperiness of cable car tracks on a rainy day: “When the rainy season starts, all the hospitals are prepared for radial arm fractures, because we’ve got so many streetcar tracks, and when these babies get wet, it’s incredible how treacherous they are. My first broken arm, the doctor said, ‘Hi. Radial arm fracture?’ For him it was like, ‘Oh, you’ve got the common cold.’” It’s been a three-year transition and Canada is now a dedicated cyclist and an active member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition: “I’m really the greybeard. I’m trying to get more older riders out there, but the average age of our members is 34 years old.” Cycling makes more sense for Canada, whether he’s heading to the neighbourhood hardware store or attending an event at the Officers Club at the Presidio. San Francisco is a small city (just seven miles across each way) so everything is a bikeable distance, plus it’s healthier, faster, less hassle than driving and finding parking, and less expensive. San Francisco has bike-friendly transit, including the BART trains, MUNI buses (Canada can get a monthly seniors’ pass for just $10), and ferries. Canada describes all of these as, “super friendly,” which makes combining modes for longer trips an easy option. One of Canada’s favourite rides is to go up and do laps over the Golden Gate Bridge, where there is always variety in weather, wind, changing tides, and colours of the ocean, shipping traffic, and birds: “You can be biking along and you look down and there’s a brown pelican just hung in the air, along with you. I don’t get bored with my bridge.”
photo by dustin jensen
Pain is an every day reality for Canada. “I gave up trying to be pain-free maybe 10 years ago and once you do that you have a whole other mind set.” He describes many people, including seniors as being afraid to get hurt or worried about not being in condition. “All the books say, if your knees hurt, they won’t hurt more if you’re riding a bicycle – so once you get a pain level you can manage, then do things! People think: ‘It’s easier to stay here and watch TV.’ Well you’re not doing your body any good, you’re not doing your mind any good. My whole life has been living life, not being a spectator. Be a participant. Be active. Be in the arena.” Several years ago Canada was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. He also lost two of his close friends within the same month to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). So Canada has ridden to raise money the past two years for research into these diseases. He will do so again in the Tour de Cure (for Diabetes) on June 14 and he’ll be riding for ALS in September. The one thing Dan Canada loves more than just anything else in San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge. “I am going to be 71 in July, and the Golden Gate was opened in May 1937, so the bridge and I are about the same age. I look at the bridge and it’s as beautiful as it was the day it was built. And it’s even stronger than when it was built, because it’s been retrofitted. So, I think: “That bridge still looks great, and it’s strong. I use the bridge as my aesthetic and my driving force to keep me going.” may/june 09 ı #39
omar and sachaa bhimji. photo by david niddrie.
all-ages cycling at
by amy walker
if you look at most mainstream cycling publications, you’d think that the only people riding bikes in North America are youthful, fit people from 20 to 45. It’s rare to see the rest of us: cycling kids, teens, grandmas and grandpas, represented in the media. But biking is not just for thrill-seeking adrenaline junkies. We are not all messengers and triathletes. People at all ages and abilities, and at all phases of life choose cycling for everyday transport – because they enjoy it and because it makes so much sense. But when the media only shows the hipsters on fixies and the sporty-looking young athletes, the rest of the population gets a skewed image of what cycling is all about. Learning from the experiences of cycling families, and elder bikers, and making our roads and cycling culture more inclusive will help us create cities and neighbourhoods that invite everyone to ride. For this issue we wanted to learn more about cycling at a variety of ages and stages of life. What we found is that this subject is huge and there’s way more here than we could possibly fit into one magazine. We acknowledge that this is the tip of the iceberg – about cycling with children, about cycling as we get older and about all the ages and stages in between. We’re very inspired by what we are learning – and we’ll continue seeking out the stories of children and families – as the safety and education of young cyclists is a fundamental part of transforming our society into one that considers cycling first and foremost as a great way to get around.
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tillie and rebecca margulies. photo by hugh rodman.
When should you bring your baby into the world of biking? Many parents we spoke to began bringing their children in a trailer or bike-mounted seat when their infant was about 10 months to one year old – or when the infant’s neck muscles were strong enough to hold their head up. A helmet adds extra weight, which can put too much stress on the infant’s neck – especially iwith any jostling movements. Decide the right time based on the child’s development and strength, not their age. While some prefer the trailer as a more stable option and some prefer the bike-mounted child’s seat to keep kids close while riding, ultimately it is a personal decision based on what the parent prefers and what the child will accept. Here are some of the experiences we heard about in the parent’s own words:
Learning to Ride
above: front-mounted child seat, photo by andrea bodnar. middle: push bike photo by kate mccarthy below: tom huntley and son on the xtracycle.
There is such a great feeling of anticipation and excitement when heading out for the babies first ride. It’s a rare thing to get to enjoy something we love so much for the first time all over again. Charles Johnson, 34 Minneapolis, MN My advice for starting with infants is to start easy, ride slowly, look for a trailer with good suspension, and choose your route to favour smooth roads at first, but don’t necessarily wait for the recommended one year before riding with the baby. Selena Lam, 35 Vancouver, BC We almost always ride as a family. Having a wing man (or woman) to help negotiate traffic takes away some of the stress of sharing roads with cars; you also have someone to help load and unload the child seat. Most child seat accidents occur when not moving - NEVER trust a kickstand to hold your bike up while loaded with a child. I have also found that having a good, heavy-duty basket on the front of the bike is awesome when using a rear mounted child seat. You need somewhere to put the diaper bag / toys / picnic basket. Lastly, Have fun. Our kids LOVE travelling by bike, and prefer it to any other type of transportation. Justin Shufelt, 31 Vancouver, BC Be confident that you are doing a good thing for your child, yourself, and your community. Don’t be afraid (where it feels reasonably safe) to take your place in traffic, instead of relegating yourselves only to sidewalks and bike trails. Dress your child in layers, and bring extra provisions like snacks and small toys. Affix a bell or horn to your child’s seat that only s/he can control. Point out fun things, sing silly songs, count birds… Lisa Phillips, 37 Chicago, IL
If I had to do it again, I’d use the trailer and perhaps the Xtracycle with the infant seat attachment. We’ve been using the Xtracycle for two kids, now aged five and eight. I cannot overstate how useful I find the Xtracycle. With the centrestand attachment, it is much safer to load kids than any bike with a regular kid seat. Jun Nogami, 49, Toronto, ON It is a FANTASTIC way to get around, to show your children the neighbourhood they live and go to school in. This is the most fun way to get around, to work, school, etc. I think the fact that he was always out with us on the bike seat when he was little primed him to become a real bike commuter by the time he was eight. Rebecca Margulies, 37 Berkeley, CA About riding with kids: You need to use your parenting instinct - I know four-year-olds who are able to sit on an Xtracycle without a kid seat and I know six-year olds that I would only take in a bakfiets (preferably sedated!). Martina Fahrner, 43 Portland, OR
These days, using training wheels is almost unanimously discouraged in teaching young children to ride, as kids do not learn balance and can become dependant on the training wheels. Instead, parents prefer the pedal-less Runner Bike, Like-a-Bike, or Skuut at first to teach balance. Another approach is to remove the pedals and cranks from a small child’s bike until they are able to balance and cruise. Then replace the pedals and cranks and see how they do at pedalling. Find an open space like a schoolyard for practicing to give your child more freedom, and you less worries. Nick Wilson, a mechanic at Rapid Transit Cycles in Chicago and father of a seven-yearold, says: “A bike is a transitive thing. Kids are going to outgrow it.” Your child will go through several bicycles. The initial bike will probably be a 16˝ wheel bike with coaster brakes as young children’s hands are not strong enough to squeeze brake levers. Over the next couple years they can move through a 20˝ wheel – and possibly a geared bike at around age eight, a 24˝ wheel around age ten and by the time they hit five feet tall they can get into adult-sized frames. Nick recommends teaching kids early to keep their fingers out of the moving parts and not to drop the bike: “I tell them it’s like a horse and will get hurt like a horse.” And some more words of wisdom from the parents: “Teaching balance separately from pedalling makes so much sense. Both our daughters went straight from the Like-a-Bike to a regular bike without training wheels.” Jun Nogami, 49 Toronto, ON “A key prop in the teaching process is something we called the “Fred-stick” named after my dad, who used it to teach me to ride when I was growing up in NYC. The Fred-stick is a long, thin piece of wood attached to the kid’s bike seat. The parent can run along with the kid, and doesn’t have to break his/her back by bending all the way over. When the kid seems fairly comfortable, let go of the Fred-stick, and watch your baby fly away!” Rebecca Margulies, 37 Berkeley, CA “Making sure they can stop at the corners is job one. Watching your child roll through an intersection into the path of a car is a nightmare – I know!” John Robert Williams, 54 Traverse City Michigan continues on the next page may/june 09 ı #39
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Learning to Ride with Traffic
Making sure children have the riding skills, as well as the attentiveness required for the road are important. Using a trail-a-bike attached to the back of the parents bike, an Xtracycle, or a modified tandem can give young kids the experience of riding in traffic without the responsibility for their own safety. At about 7 to 11, once they have learned to ride a pedal bicycle, kids are probably ready to start learning more riding skills and street sense. Enrolling children in a streetwise cycling program avoids parentchild stresses around biking, and leaves the job up to the experts. These courses should teach bike-handling skills and introduce common hazards. They can usually be found through local cycling advocacy groups. Cycling with kids is a great way for them to learn about their neighbourhoods. Being ferried around in a car is no match for riding and discovering on a bike. Small steps in orientation and independence also make for an easier transition when children are older and ready to to explore on their own. More thoughts from the parents: Both my kids were about 10 or 11 when they learned the traffic laws, and would ride into town to the library or to visit the toy store. My son rode two miles each way to school when he was about 12. He wore a helmet, had a headlight and a rear blinking light, and rode with the morning traffic. You teach kids how to ride safely, and to ride defensively: never assume drivers see you or will stop. It is important to obey the traffic laws and be courteous to pedestrians and drivers. Wendy Peabody, 49 Monterey Bay, CA
Mac Fleming, 16
Vancouver, BC We heard from a handful of teens about their choice to bike to school and to get around. The were all very up-beat and matter-of-fact about their choice to bike. All of the teens we spoke to said the environmental impact is an important reason for their decision to bike, and they also all had a great love of cycling and the independence it brought them . Mac Fleming, is a student at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary in Vancouver. Here’s her take on cycling:
When did you start riding to get around? Probably two years ago. I decided that I didn’t need to take a car or a bus. I could just ride my bike. It’s faster, it’s easier, it’s more convenient, and it’s a lot more fun. Do your friends ride to school as well? Yes, and one of my friends bikes almost all year round as well, but I think I’m the only one that bikes in the snow. What do you enjoy about riding your bike for transportation? I always feel really independent when I bike because I can go pretty much anywhere – in pretty good time! I ride to school and back everyday which is about 4 or 5 km. I bike to soccer, movies, downtown, the beach, pretty much anywhere that’s accessible by two wheels. Yet it’s only my own two legs, some gears and two wheels that get me there; the freedom of biking just feels so good. What would improve your biking experience? The thing that would make riding better is if drivers were more educated on road conduct when it comes to bikes because I’ve been cut off more times than I’d have liked. Is there a bike club at your school? Pedalheads. They ride bikes, sometimes they fix bikes,
Simple and to the point, Casseroll Single is a road bike that gets you where you want to go with its singlespeed gearing. A singlespeed road bike you say? Yup. We’re talking one gear that you pedal fast or slow, up hills and down, and all around town. Designed around long reach brakes, the Casseroll frameset allows you to run nice large road tires: 700c x 37mm without fenders and 700c x 32mm with full fenders. Plus, you can run a rear rack.
©2009 Salsa Cycles
Casseroll Single is all about riding while not fretting over what gear you’re in. Just roll up those pants cuffs, spin those cranks, and go somewhere.
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photo by david niddrie.
sometimes they have bike competitions, they play bike polo – which sounds like a lot of fun. Do you feel that the school is supportive of biking? It could be more supportive. My school is very academically-minded and I don’t think they focus very much on the environmental impact of the school and therefore they don’t really focus on biking. If Pedalheads were to expand and could get the word out to more people, I think the school would be more onboard in encouraging people to bike to school.
My husband, Hugh, and son, Max (9), have a language of hand symbols when Hugh rides in front of Max. If Hugh rides past a parked car and notices a person inside the car, he will point his right pinkie finger at the car and shake it to make Max aware that someone’s in the car, and that the door could open at any time. Another game we played was giving Max “points” every time he noticed a person in a car and shouted it out. Max is now a great street rider and commutes to school with his dad (six miles each way) three days a week. Rebecca Margulies, 37 Berkeley, CA We take part in the Kidical Mass rides that are really helpful and a lot of fun! www.kidicalmass.org Martina Fahrner, 43 Portland, OR
Elders I ride with cyclists as old as 80. I wouldn’t speak of seniors in terms of limitations – not seniors who ride bicycles, anyway. I had to train for two years to keep up with one 74-year-old woman. Most of them have been riding since the 1960s. Many put thousands of annual miles on their bikes. Diane Strock Royal, 57 Washington, DC My dad is now 89, he still rides – a stylin’ recumbent trike. He was having balance problems after an illness and he fell off his bike. My long-time friend had this cool 27-speed recumbent trike. I brought it home for my dad. He thought we were trying to put him in a wheelchair and resisted. But everyone loved the bike and asked him questions. He realized it was a cool bike. He could sit and chat and not tip over. He’s got a remote for the garage door mounted next to his headlight and speedometer. We put a basket on the back, he shops with it and goes to meet the guys at the coffee shop every morning, instead of driving. The nice thing about recumbent trikes is the low step-over height. John Robert Williams, 54 Traverse City Michigan ı
Marion Orser, 70
New Westminster, BC What would your advice be for someone who is a car driver but they want to try biking more? It’s really hard to know what bike you want until you’ve ridden for a while, because you don’t know what your riding style is going to be. You can coast down the hills, but you have to get up them, so having really low gearing helps. Taking a [streetwise cycling] course can be really beneficial. And getting a bicycle map, so you know where the routes are, is really important, so that you’re not cycling down major car streets. Describe some of the work you’ve done as a cycling advocate? Bikes on the buses, and bikes on the SkyTrain. It used to be that I would never consider doing some of those things, even though I was an advocate. But now I think, Wow! I made part of this happen and it’s really important to me now. I use the transit with my bike if I get tired or if I just don’t have the time. How do people perceive or treat you as a cyclist? People don’t know you’re a senior, they’ll scream obscenities out the window. This is someone that’s old enough to be their grandmother and they’re yelling out the window. Just because you’re riding a bike and they’ve got a right foot that can push on a gas pedal. What are your future cycling plans? I am doing a trip near Quebec City in the summer with a group. I used to do a lot of cycling alone but I think I’d be more comfortable riding with people for the most part now. I love camping. I figure I’ve cycled everywhere in BC but Haida Gwaii, and I’d like to do that. What do you feel like after a ride like that? I can do this. I am an older woman and I can do this. It is a sense of accomplishment: I did it. When I first started riding to work I’d be going down a hill and I’d be swinging my legs back and forth, like, the joy of riding! If you’ve been off your bike for a while it comes back in a flash and you think: “Why haven’t I got myself out? This is fabulous!”
issue #40 ? july/august 2009 To advertise, contact email@example.com
photo by david niddrie.
In our next issue we'll focus on the craft revival and how it's quicker, better, and more fun when we do it together. may/june 09 ı #39
culture san francisco’s bicycle music festival
shoots for carbon negative fun by stephen irving
More information on Rock The Bike’s Pedal Powered Stage is available at www.rockthebike.com/pedalpoweredstage
#39 ı may/june 09
san francisco's bicycle music festival. photo by dustin jensen.
movies losing your innocence,
finding your way by greg borzo
for cyclists who love movies, Breaking Away (1979) is as good as it gets. From chases to races, bikes are integral and omnipresent. What a treat to watch the hero, Dave Stoller, joyously bike around town singing opera, fervently true a wheel, confidently draft behind a truck at 80 kph, and – less confidently – use his bike to woo a girl. The film also leads up to a suspenseful race based on the Little 500, Indiana University’s famous annual bike race. Held since 1951, the Little 500 is America’s largest collegiate bike race. In addition, the acting is great and the characters well developed, evolving over the course of the action. In the beginning, you feel the frustration of Stoller and his buddies. Later, you cheer their lifechanging decisions. The greatest strength of this film, however, is the writing. The story is engaging and the dialogue authentic. The screenplay is powerful because writer Steve Tesich followed the adage “write what you know.” He attended IU (1962-65) and rode with distinction in the Little 500. One year, Tesich was part of the winning
illustration by trevor browne
looking for an excuse to head to San Francisco for Summer Solstice? Why not check out the 2009 Bicycle Music Festival (BMF), the largest 100 per cent bicyclepowered music festival in the world. The free, all-day – and late into the night – event rocks out in San Francisco on the Saturday closest to the longest day of the year, which this year falls on June 20. Festival organizers promise that the Third Annual Bicycle Music Festival will bring together outstanding local music, cruiser rides, LiveOnBike mobile performances, and a 1500-watt pedal-powered stage. Setting up and tearing down four times throughout the day to move to different locations, the mobile festival turns up in parks and plazas, where volunteers charm onlookers to join in the pedal power effort. Fans support the bands by pedalling and by throwing tips in the buckets of the “Golden Goose” mascots. Rather than aiming to be carbon neutral, the Bicycle Music Festival claims to be the first “carbon negative” music festival in the world, a claim that reflects the powerful, inspiring, and lasting positive effect that BMF has on participants. How do they do this? According to Codirector Paul Freedman, the festival inspires regular people to pull their dusty bikes out and start replacing car trips with bike trips year round. BMF also provides volunteer-run repair stations at the event so people can address the little quirks that keep them from riding. Turning ordinary people into bike people, the Festival aims to reduce car use, celebrate local culture, and spread the bike message throughout the year. The message has become so popular that other cities – including Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and Chico, California – now also host their own Bicycle Music Festivals. ı
team and he modelled Stoller on Dave Blase, their opera-loving team leader. No wonder Tesich won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 1980. Plus, Breaking Away is laugh-out-loud funny. In one scene, a pocket protector plays a role in a seduction. After seeing this film, you’ll never be able to eat Italian food without thinking of Stoller’s father’s tirade against “ini” food. And the final scene will leave you with a big smile. ı
bike culture events spartanburg, sc
may – august
artcycle is a new initiative that will promote seven regional artists, each of whom have been commissioned to build an outdoor sculpture from recycled bicycle parts. The sculptures will be on display in Spartanburg’s downtown area from May to August 2009. The project is a collaboration between Creative Energy, Hub-Bub. com, and Partners for Active Living. Artcycle celebrates the City’s national designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community, which made it the first in South Carolina to receive that honour. www.spartanburgcreativeenergy.com
right on track thursday, may 14
right on track is a track bicycle art project, where artists have donated their time to create one-of-a-kind track bicycle frames that will be sold at auction, with all profits going to support Right to Play, an international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace for children and communities in disadvantaged areas of the world (www.righttoplay.com). The auction takes place at the Bamboo Lounge (1201 - 1 Street SW). www.rightontrack.org
the kensington kinetic sculpture derby saturday, may 16
The Third Annual Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby, sponsored by New Kensington Community Development Corporation, celebrates art and human-powered transit by pitting mobile sculptures against one another along a three mile urban obstacle course of cobblestones and mud pits through the Kensington and Fishtown neighbourhoods. kinetickensington.com
theatre skam presents “bike ride” may 22-24 and 29-31
theatre skam will lead a collaboration of 12 Victoria performance companies, each creating a new ten-minute performance piece (dance / theatre). The pieces will be presented in the underused green spaces along the Galloping Goose Trail and audiences will ride bikes from play to play. Refreshments and kids’ activities will be offered. www.skam.ca/contact.htm
left: right on track, dave brunning www.thekidbelo.com. photo by derek bisbing. right: kensington kinetic sculpture derby, philadelphia, 2008. photo by karl seifert.
bikes without borders’ walk and roll saturday may 30
bikes without borders will transform the Toronto Islands into an African village (and a remote health clinic). The Toronto-based non-profit organization is putting on the family-friendly bike/walk event to raise awareness about transportation issues in rural Africa, and hope to raise $100,000 toward their project in Malawi, providing 400 new bikes and 100 bicycle ambulances to community care workers in rural districts. Walk and Roll includes a BBQ picnic and an afternoon of Toronto’s hottest local bands. To register visit www.bikeswithoutborders.org or call 647-999-7955.
bicycle art iv friday, june 5
altered esthetics’ 2009 Bicycle Art Exhibit will feature a variety of awesome ways to get engaged with other artists and cyclists. This year’s show will feature bicycle-themed art, sculpture and video, as well as an interactive Spoke Card Art installation as part of the exhibit! www.alteredesthetics.com/events/47
new york, ny
learn to ride (kids) and bicycle sculpture unveiling saturday, june 6
Bike New York’s “Learn to Ride” class will be held in conjunction with a full days’ worth of activities in Queens celebrating the centenary of the Queensboro Bridge. In addition to the bicycle riding class, there will be a bike parade, the unveiling of NYC DoT Urban Art sculpture made by Recycle-A-Bicycle youth, a birthday party for the Queensboro Bridge with music provided by DJ Hank Pollard, and a lecture on the bridge’s history by Rich Melnick, President of Greater Astoria Historical Society. Pre-register at www.bikenewyork.org ı
Have an event for next issue’s Arts and Culture calendar? Email details to: firstname.lastname@example.org
may/june 09 ı #39
books pedaling revolution
custom bicycles a passionate pursuit
how cyclists are changing american cities
Images Publishing Group, 2009 240 pages, hardcover, $60 USD
Oregon State University Press, 2009 288 pages, $19.95 USD
By Christine Elliott and David Jablonka
By Jeff Mapes
reviewed by david niddrie
reviewed by terry lowe
custom bicycles is a hefty tome best suited to a prominent position on your coffee table where you will no doubt spend hours glancing through the pages, trying to answer the question: “If someone offered me anything in this book, what would I choose?” Some days, it might be the minimal randonneur built by Robin Mather, on others the elegant swooping lines of Signal Cycle’s city bike, or maybe the go-anywhere fattire Moots custom Snoots. With 39 custom builders featured, there is a style for most everyone, and the argument over top picks can be everlasting (and good fun)! At first, the high-quality photography is the main draw. Showcasing a few designs from each builder, the images are gorgeous and highlight the individualistic nature of each bike. Many photographers are featured and there is a style to match each design, giving the book a dynamic feel from lug details to action shots.
this is a useful and very informative book on the current state of transportation cycling in the USA. It begins by examining the recent history of advocacy and activism, detours through the cycling success stories of Amsterdam and Copenhagen, then settles in for a long examination of American cities, the people who are making cycling succeed there, and how they are doing it. Mapes talked to everyone: advocates, politicians, transportation planners, teachers, academics, medical experts, performers and filmmakers; and even presciently mentions then Senator Barack Obama and his campaign platform supportive of cycling. A chapter on Davis, CA shows how a city’s cycling-friendly status can be endangered by complacency driving up housing prices: “The ten-square-mile city is eminently bikeable, but only by those who can afford to live there.” A chapter on Portland is more optimistic, but raises an interesting point to show how most cycling advocates do not ask for nearly enough: all of the cycling facilities built in Portland from 1993 to 2008 cost less than $100 million, compared to $143 million to rebuild just one freeway interchange. Other cities visited are New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. The author owns and rides at least three bikes that he mentions, and is a longtime cycling commuter. He has also been a reporter for 30 years, and it shows: the book is very well written, firmly based on extensive research and personal interviews, and is a delight to read. If you only have time for one overview book on urban cycling culture, this is the one to get. ı
However, this is more than just a (very pretty) picture book. Builder profiles coincide with stories of how they got their start, and the passion that fuels their fire. Life meets art when we hear of Stephen Bilenky’s past as a rockin’ bassist or Dave Bohm’s lead up as a fine-arts silversmith. Influences come from everywhere, not just on two wheels. In addition, there are many first-hand accounts from the lucky folk who take home a bicycle completely built to spec for their needs. It’s these little glimpses into the builder/rider relationship that make this a rewarding read. The intersection where form meets function is an exciting place and Custom Bicycles drops you right in the middle. ı
the practical cyclist bicycling for real people By Chip Haynes
New Society Publishers, 2009 178 pages, $14.95 USD/CAD
reviewed by jean chong this introductory book is an easygoing ramble through the basics and joys of cycling for anyone who has just mastered riding or is returning to the bike after a long hiatus. Haynes, a commuter cyclist in Florida, aims to encourage more regular local riding and commuting with practical tips on selecting from various types of bikes; basic bike mechanics; gear, and accessories. He avoids much discussion on cycling-specific clothing, which can be intimidating to a newbie who may have recently bought a bike but is still testing the waters for a 32
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long-term commitment on cycling. As he states several times, his book is not a bike repair book. However a drawing of a bicycle with labels for bike parts discussed in some chapters would have been helpful as a useful reference for any neophyte bike owner. There is an adequate explanation of proper bike fit, a key requirement for sustaining bike comfort and converting a cycling newbie to a regular cyclist – but with no drawing of a person on a bike to illustrate fit. Nevertheless, this practical, low-key approach eases the reader into integrating cycling more often into their life for pleasure or health and as an affordable, flexible, local transportation option. ı www.momentumplanet.com
may/june 09 覺 #39
calzone A Perfect Bike Food by denise wrathall basically, calzones are inside out pizzas. They are self-contained and fit easily in a pocket. Do not confuse them with the commercial pizza pops (those are gross); homemade calzones are nothing like them. Make a batch, freeze them, and you’ll never wonder what to do for lunch again. Calzone fillings need to be moist and oily enough to balance out the bready wrapper. Pizza toppings are popular fillings, but you don’t have to be limited to just those. Here is a basic calzone dough recipe, as well as a couple of my favourite fillings. Make a little extra dough, and improvise a bit!
Any pizza dough recipe will work, but here’s one possibility:
1 cup warm water (wrist temperature) 1 V teaspoon active dry yeast (just the plain kind – not instant or anything fancy) 1 tablespoon honey 1 V teaspoon salt approx 2 – 2 V cups whole wheat flour Olive oil ÿÿ Mix the water, yeast, and honey in a bowl. Let sit five minutes. ÿÿ Add the flour one cup at a time, add the salt. Start mixing with a spoon and, when this becomes too difficult, knead the dough with your fist directly in the bowl. Once all the flour is added, continue to knead in the bowl for five minutes. At this point the dough should be firm, like relaxed, toned cyclist buns. If the dough is sticky, you will need to add more flour. Make sure to add a little at a time until the right texture is achieved. ÿÿ Pour a few drops of olive oil on the dough and spread it over your entire working surface. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover it with a clean tea towel. Keep in a warm place and let it rise until it doubles in size, usually about an hour. This is a good time to cook up your filling. 34
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ÿÿ Preheat the oven to 450 F. ÿÿ Punch down the risen dough. Divide it into six equal sections and roll each one out on a floured surface until they are about V inch thick. ÿÿ Place V cup (or more) of the filling in the centre of each circle, leaving a half inch space around the edge. ÿÿ Dip your finger in a bit of water and run it along the edge. ÿÿ Fold the circle in half, and press the moistened edges together. ÿÿ Dip a fork in flour and use it to crimp the edge of the calzone tightly closed. ÿÿ Poke a few holes in the top of the calzone with the fork. ÿÿ Spread a bit of oil on the bottom of each calzone and place it on a baking pan. It’s okay to let them sit for a few minutes while you finish up the other calzones. If the edges come apart at this time, crimp them together again with the fork before putting them in the oven. ÿÿ Bake for 10-15 minutes, until crisp and lightly browned. ÿÿ Serve hot or at room temperature, depending on the filling. ÿÿ Calzones freeze well. Defrost them at room temperature and heat (if desired) before serving. www.momentumplanet.com
squash, brinjal pickle and cheddar filling
2 cups moist winter squash, such as baked1 pumpkin, butternut, or delicata squash. 1 V cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded V cup sunflower seeds, toasted 1 medium onion, finely chopped 4 tablespoons Brinjal pickle2 (or to taste) salt to taste 3 tablespoons oil or butter for sautéing ÿÿ Fry up the onion in the oil or butter. Add a pinch of salt. Cook until it starts to brown. ÿÿ Mix in all the remaining ingredients and stir so you have a pasty mush. Be careful not to add too much salt, since the cheese will provide some. ÿÿ Taste the filling, and add more salt, or Brinjal pickle as needed.
Life is Beautiful
Ride There photos by david niddrie
sautéed pear, caramelized onion, and oka cheese filling 3 pears, ripe but not mushy, peeled, chopped, and cored V cup white wine (optional) 4 sprigs fresh thyme (don’t even consider dried – it’s not the same!) 2 cups Oka or Raclette cheese, shredded, about 150g 2 W cups onions, thinly sliced salt to taste 2 tablespoons butter
ÿÿ Melt the butter on medium heat and add the onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté the onions on medium heat until translucent, reduce to low heat and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized – an even, beautiful dark golden colour – about 25 minutes. ÿÿ Add in the wine and thyme, and cook on
medium heat, uncovered, until at least half the wine has evaporated. ÿÿ Add in the pears and sauté on medium heat uncovered, stirring often until they are soft but not mushy. ÿÿ Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Remove the stalks from the thyme sprigs. ÿÿ Add more salt if needed. ı 1. To bake squash, cut it into two symmetrical halves, oil the cut edges, and place on a baking tray, cut side down. Bake in a 350 degree oven until soft – usually about 30-40 minutes, but it depends on the size and variety of your squash. 2. Those come in mild, medium, and hot – make your own choice. Patak’s brand is available in many grocery stores. Use the leftovers to make Brinjal pickle, cheddar, and apple sandwiches. Thanks to Hoopdriver for discovering those!
Denise Wrathall rides mostly for the food.
Dutch Bike Co Chicago 651 W Armitage Ave Chicago, IL 60614
312 265 0175 DutchBikeChicago.com Dutch Bike Co Seattle 4421 Shilshole Ave NW Seattle, WA 98107
206 789 1678 DutchBikeSeattle.com may/june 09 ı #39
photo by amanda wenek.
lisa’s living lasagne adapted from a recipe in Rainbow Green Live-food Cuisine
3 medium-sized zucchinis W teaspoon salt
some like it raw by amanda wenek
with her friendly smile, bouncy brown ponytail, and enthusiasm, it’s hard not to stay riveted to 21-year-old Lisa Trudel’s every move. She stands at the kitchen counter in her small Montreal apartment, and tells me about the homemade lasagne she’s made in anticipation of her Dutch boyfriend’s arrival. Her main ingredients: tomatoes, zucchini “pasta”, and seed “cheese.” Trudel is a raw foodist. She follows a diet of unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, and seaweed. Raw foodists believe that cooking fruits and vegetables destroys the food’s enzymes, which are a natural aid in the digestive process, and diminishes the nutritional value and life force of the food. They assert that nothing should be cooked over 118 degrees Fahrenheit. “If you add heat to something, you kill it,” explained Trudel. “You eat live food to be alive; you don’t eat dead food to be alive. What’s your brain made out of, pizza and pop?” All your vitamins, minerals, and nutrients come straight from the earth,” Trudel added. “I get my protein from sprouted legumes, nuts, and seeds, whereas most people get it from a factory farmed chicken that has never seen sunlight and is stuffed full of antibiotics and hormones.” Anne-Marie Stelluti is about Lisa’s age, but she has a different take on raw food. Having graduated from the Dietetics and Human Nutrition program at McGill University, Stelluti feels that the underlying reasoning of the raw food diet is problematic. Stelluti says that while cooking food can denature enzymes (meaning that they are no longer active), she adds that “your body is super efficient at using its own enzymes 36
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to digest.” So this loss of enzymes in cooked foods doesn’t necessarily hamper digestion. “In fact, cooking your food might even make it easier, since it partially breaks it down,” said Stelluti, comparing it to an elderly person’s or a baby’s mashed food diet. Stelluti advised that before you turn to such a diet, you should consult a nutritionist or dietetic technician to be aware of the risks involved and any possible nutrient deficiencies. This is why it is important for Trudel to stress that, for her, raw food is most importantly about being healthy and getting more live foods into your diet, rather than this strict and intimidating idea that you can’t eat anything cooked. “Raw food isn’t an all or nothing thing. We could all benefit from adding a little bit more ‘life’ into our diet, for example having a salad or a smoothie as a meal,” she suggested. “It’s about adding more fruits and veggies into your diet that will give you energy and just make you feel amazing.” “Personally, I have so much more energy. I feel in tune with the natural world and with my body,” said Trudel of the changes she has noticed in herself, “I have more energy, increased alertness, increased awareness of my body and its needs, and my skin glows.” Trudel placed the finishing touches on her lasagne and hid it away in the fridge. “It’s going to be hard to wait to eat it until tomorrow,” she said with a laugh. Then, as a final thought, she said: “Everyone has an opinion about raw food. I forget who said it, but there’s a saying ‘it’s easier to get a man to change his religion than his diet.’” “So, to all the haters,” she says with a smirk. “If you haven’t tried it, you have no idea.” ı
Julienne the zucchini with a mandoline or a vegetable peeler. Sprinkle with salt and let sit.
2 cups almonds, soaked 1 cup sesame seeds, soaked 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon salt X cups water
Purée in a food processor until as smooth as ricotta, adding more water if necessary. Set aside.
4 large tomatoes 2 red or yellow bell peppers 1 V cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in water 1 cup water from soaked tomatoes V cup olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh basil 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon fresh oregano X teaspoon fresh thyme V teaspoon freshly ground pepper Again, process until smooth, adding more dried tomatoes for a thicker sauce, or more water for a thinner one. Set aside.
3 medium-sized zucchinis, grated, sprinkled with salt, and rinsed V cup seed “cheese”
Combine grated zucchini and “cheese.” Set aside
3 cups spinach, finely chopped V cups seed “cheese” Combine and set aside.
to assemble lasagne
As with any lasagne, alternate the layers. Use a 9 by 13 inch glass dish, lined with plastic wrap (that way, you’ll be able to lift the lasagne out once it sets). Start with the zucchini “pasta,” tomato sauce, “cheese,” zucchini “cheese” filling, spinach filling. Continue alternating until you run out. Let set in the fridge for a few hours. Carefully lift out of the pan, and serve!
green Going For
according to carol potter of Mountain Trails Foundation, when Park City, Utah grew into a resort community, it also grew into a “real town.” And when the second homes for skiers became single family homes, parents realized their streets were no longer safe for their kids to bike and walk to school. Potter and others got active, starting with a “Share the Road” bike ride to their city council meeting. Potter says, “We made quite an impression on our Council, especially the kids wearing “Share the Road” pyjama-size T-shirts as they did not hesitate to tell the Council that they could not get to school from their houses.” When the receptive Council offered to put $1.9 million in the budget for biking and walking at their next meeting, one advocate stood up and said, “Cut the crap. That’s not good enough.” With cheers from the gallery, the Council and Mayor agreed that if the group wanted more money, they would entertain the idea of a bond. Potter’s group decided that $15 million would “seriously dent” their wish list. The group set out to convince voters using the slogan “YOW, Yes on Walkability.” They raised $8,000 for a campaign that included newspaper and radio PSAs, hundreds of yard signs, stickers, and old-fashioned grassroots marketing. The bond passed in 2007 and today Potter and others on the new Walkability Committee are prioritizing projects – from bike lanes to stop signs, crosswalks to paved trails. Their community’s wish list covers 160 projects, more than the bond will cover. Potter said that after the bond passed, someone told her she should have asked for $40 million. Historically, cyclists are a cheap date. One mile of bike lane costs about the same as one hundredth of a mile of a four-lane urban highway. While the government happily treats the car driver to roads and highways – the steak and potatoes of our transportation diet – cyclists must beg for their side salad. Bikeways are too often considered the add-on in a transportation project, easily substituted or easily left out. In the US, although biking and walking make up nearly 10 per cent of trips, only 1.5 per cent of transportation dollars go to these modes. But things may be starting to change as biking and walking advocates lose the fear of being rude, and ask for a fairer portion.
Advocates are becoming increasingly savvy on the money trail. The theme of the recent National Bike Summit, “Going for Green,” wasn’t referring to smaller carbon footprints. When more than 500 advocates and bicycle industry leaders converged on Washington, DC, they came to talk about and lobby for more funding for biking and walking in the next US Transportation Bill. And this wasn’t the only pot of money they were buzzing over. The recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (known as the “Stimulus Bill”) sets aside three per cent of the $26.5 billion in state highway funding for the Transportation Enhancements program; a major funding program of biking and walking in the US. Three per cent is a floor, not a ceiling. More funding can go to biking and walking as part of the Complete Streets projects. It is up to those at the state and local level to convince decision makers that this windfall be invested wisely. Grassroots advocates have tremendous power to leverage money for biking and walking. As biking and walking advocacy in North America matures, advocates become more politically savvy, and the money trail becomes a little easier to navigate. And as our confidence increases, we are less afraid to ask for our fair share. As in Park City, it starts on the ground and takes good old-fashioned relationship building. Going for the green is an art that advocates practice. We might not always strike it rich, but when an $8,000 campaign nets $15 million for biking and walking, our communities enjoy the nice return on investment. ı resources for the money trail: www.RailsToTrails.org/AFTA to help make the case for a greater investment in biking/walking www.PeoplePoweredMovement.org/Benchmarking to see how US states and cities compare on bike/ped funding www.PeoplePoweredMovement.org and search “elected officials” for tips on meeting with your legislators Kristen Steele works for the Alliance for Biking and Walking, the North American coalition of bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations. To locate your local biking and walking advocacy organization, visit www.PeoplePoweredMovement.org
Advocacy Partnership Program
Discounted subscriptions are offered to members of the following organizations; and for every subscription sold we donate $5 to your group Bicycle Transportation Alliance • San Luis Obispo County Bicycle Coalition • Cascade Bicycle Club • Bike Denver • San Francisco Bicycle Coalition • Indiana Bicycle Coalition • Toronto Cyclists Union • Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition • Transportation Alternatives • Active Transportation Alliance Interested in becoming a partner?
may/june 09 ı #39
ER T PU M CO
HT G I L AD E AH
The best part of commuting is the ride home
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by gwendal castellan how to make a cargo bike not feel like a cargo bike? It was this challenge that the people at Xtracycle had in mind when they designed the Radish. They already knew how to provide more carrying space, but how to make it feel as easy as riding a regular bike? I asked Dominique and his five-year-old son Luc to see if it would work for them. They live at the foot of one of the biggest hills in the city, and would like to do more daily activities by bicycle. The Radish came with the Kickback, a very stable double kickstand with the word “relax”
emblazoned on it. While on their trip to the grocery store, Dominique noted how easy it was for his son Luc to climb up and find a seat on the back deck safely. “Loaded down with Luc and a light load of groceries it felt much better than my trailer. It feels safer visibilitywise, and it requires much less effort to get it moving and keep it moving.” The eight-speed rear derailleur has sufficiently low gears (32 teeth front and rear) to let you go up most modest hills. But if you live in a particularly hilly place you may consider having your local bike store add a front derailleur with lower gears. The Radish is comfortable and smooth; check out the big balloon tires and wider pedal stance. The frame geometry borrows the angles of a classic beach cruiser while staying nice and light. While it felt stable to ride, we noticed that while cornering (both loaded and unloaded), the front wheel had a tendency to keep pulling towards the direction of the turn and did not feel neutral. www.momentumplanet.com
The sloped seat tube angle brings your feet a little further forward making it a lower height to step down from the saddle. The Glowspeck LED pedals will make you wish all your bikes had the integrated LED lights that flash at least two dozen times per revolution. Xtracycle have created a bicycle that integrates their modular, load-carrying “Free Radical” kit seamlessly, so it does not feel like a cargo bike. When a bicycle is this easy to pull out and ride, you will find yourself using it more often. The Xtracycle Radish retails for $1,199 USD.
photos by gwendal castellan
The Stoker Kit is a package of accessories made for taking a child with you. It includes footsies, a Stoker bar and padded deck for $99 USD. For younger children a modified Peapod child seat is in development and will be available shortly. Xtracycle.com
The Bullitt Cargo Bike
Danish Designers Larry vs Harry Revive a Classic modifications, I had the fastest cargo bike I by gwendal castellan
my work as a home energy consultant entails carrying 90lbs of equipment (blower door kit and a step ladder) to all the homes that I visit. The job could either have been my worst nightmare (spending the entire day driving everywhere) or a dream job of cycling to every house call. So I began a quest to find a way to do my job by bicycle. I started off with an Xtracycle with wide loaders and a Stokemonkey electric assist. My needs were being met, but my curiosity brought me to the Larry vs. Harry website. Like discovering that a wonderful old wool sweater is as warm and breathable as the latest petrochemical fabrics, the creators of the Bullitt have looked to the past for inspiration. “Larry” and “Harry are actually Lars Malmborg, 46 and Hans Fogh, 44. Hans explained that the name Larry vs Harry was “what happened when we became international. The “vs” refers to the chemistry in our working process; best friends and worst enemies. Behind every little process, there is a great discussion/argument.” I asked Hans about the inspiration to create this bicycle: “I have had my own company as a carpenter for 15 years with an old Long John bicycle as my only transportation. After a few
had ever dreamed of. “Meanwhile Larry was designing the Winther Kangaroo (a child-carrying trike), in my opinion, the best three-wheeled cargo bike in the world. The problem was that my modified Long John was much faster, with a larger range. If a 50-year-old, two-wheeled cargo bike was able to beat the crap out of the Cadillac of cargo bikes, it was time to make a modern version of the Long John.” There are ten models of Bullitt available, each with slightly different components and colour. With names like Bluebird ’71(bright blue), Clockwork (orange), and Little Boy (pink), plus the faces of icons like Burt Reynolds, Steve McQueen, and Albert Einstein emblazoned on the frames, each bike seems to have its own personality. The aluminum frame is the same in all models, but riders can choose from Shimano Alfine, Nexus, XT drive and SRAM i-motion drive trains. The prices range from M1800 to M2680 based on the components included. There is also a whole page of accessories available such as boxes, billboards and a front hub dynamo. The Bullitt Clockwork is more than an everyday load carrier. Every aspect of this bike, from the Shimano Alfine 8-speed internal hub, to the hydraulic disk brakes and Schwalbe puncture-proof tires, is meant to turn heads. Hans says, “In order to make people believe in the idea of cycling, it is important that the bikes look cool and ride like they have a tailwind. We have tried to make the Bullitt a 21st century bike, packed with style and humour.”
The Bullitt is unique in that the frame integrates with the cargo flatbed. The flatbed is made of a light honeycomb material and measures about 28˝x16˝. This keeps the overall weight of the bike down to a reasonable 24kg (52.8 lbs). The low centre of gravity, plus the fact that the cargo is closer to the middle, allow you to easily carry a load without even strapping it down. The two-leg kickstand is sturdy and leaves no doubt that you can load up without any fear of the bike tipping over. Under load the steering remains very easy and free. Vancouver has 100 per cent more hills than Copenhagen. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that the gear ratios available with the Shimano Alfine 8-speed internal hub allowed me to go up steep hills with all my equipment comfortably. I was even able to stand up and dance on the pedals and found that the load and the bike stayed very steady. The Bullitt’s design and purpose seem to be immediately appealing to onlookers. Everybody from seasoned truck drivers, bottle collectors, gardeners, professional painters at the hardware store, and even children saw in it something useful. As cycling becomes a greater part of our lives in North America, we have something to learn from these two Danish entrepreneurs. They have taken a great old design and breathed new life into it. My hope is that more work in cities will be done on the backs of bikes like the Bullitt. How to get one in North America? Calhoun Cycle in Minneapolis and Circumference in Ann Arbor Michigan are currently the only listed dealers. www.calhouncycle.com www.piedee.com www.larryvsharry.com/english www.kangaroobike.com
photo by ben johnson may/june 09 ı #39
trailers by richard masoner
you’ve committed to using a bicycle for your shorter trips, but you also have children. Do you really need a minivan to transport them to the local park? For smaller children, bicycle trailers from companies like Burley, Chariot, Wike, and Croozer can be hitched to your bike to tote your children and even a little cargo. Bike trailers for children typically are a metal frame with a heavy duty fabric covering and seat, with designs that can carry one or two children. A harness keeps the child in his seat. The trailer typically weighs from 20 to 40 pounds and can carry a child up to 52 inches tall weighing 75 to 100 pounds. Many trailers convert to jogging strollers, and some can even be converted to snow sleds with ski kits for cross country skiing. Look for a trailer with good ventilation for hot summer days, as well as a way to close those vents. You’ll work up a sweat as you pedal your bike, but realize your child sits exposed to the breeze, sedentary and chilly. Because the trailer is immediately behind the tire, a fender is a very good idea to keep road debris out of your child’s face. Child bicycle trailer hitches almost universally connect to a receiver mounted to the axle through either a quick release skewer or a nutted axle. If you switch frequently between different bikes, consider getting extra hitch mounts. According to Josh Lipton, who operates Biketrailershop.com as president of Wandertec, hitches are one of the biggest drawbacks to trailers from discount retail stores. Warranty support and replacement parts are generally not available for the least expensive trailers, with “lots of no name brands that pop up and disappear.” One of the most common questions at his store is about replacement hitches for these orphaned brands of trailers. Almost all child trailers have two wheels. Plastic wheels are less expensive; metal spoked wheels are more comfortable for the child, according to Lipton, because they provide more suspension. New trailer users should be aware that any two wheeled bike trailer can flip over, especially if you turn too fast. Many new users who aren’t accustomed to the trailer 40
#39 ı may/june 09
selena lam with son barrett. photo by amy walker.
width often take a corner too tightly, hitting the curb and flipping the trailer that way. The hitches are designed so that if the bicycle falls over the trailer will remain upright. I’ve pulled child trailers with “racing” style bikes, but a trailer is not something for weight weenies. Dragging a 30 pound parachute with 40 pounds of child inside is not a recipe for fast riding. In general, higher prices gets you better suspension, more adaptability, less weight, higher quality materials, and options such as cup holders. Because the child sits directly over the wheel axles, his ride can be very bumpy. My children never complained – the usual reaction to hitting bumps was “Whee!” – but smaller children may be more comfortable with better suspension. Bike trailer companies don’t recommend bike rides for infants less than a year old, but many of them offer miniature seats like Burley’s “Baby Snuggler” that fit in the trailer, with the warning that this “Snuggler” is for use only when the trailer is in its stroller mode. Helmets should never be used before the child is able to support his head. Because the trailer is out of sight behind you, Lipton advises caution and care when transporting your child in a trailer. Trailers provide minimal crash protection, so parents should ride carefully and defensively. Most trailers have reflective piping, come with an orange safety flag, and provide some place to clip lights. ı Richard Masoner’s two children have both graduated to their own bicycles. Thank heaven. He blogs as “Yokota Fritz” at www.cyclelicio.us/
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
chicago – alex wilson
northampton, ma – robin barber
I regularly move things by bike and have built several trailers and cargo bikes to do so. Here’s me transporting bikes for various youth programs I have instructed.
Mike Hagans and Bill Winter of Northampton’s Pedal People confer outside our house on January 28, 2009 as they make their rounds.
I had three chairs that needed serious repairs, and the only place to repair them was a fair distance away. I managed to strap the three chairs to a very basic, borrowed trailer (made of a simple frame and corrugated plastic) using old inner tubes alone. Provided I didn’t alter my speed too quickly, and that I avoided major potholes, it was a smooth ride. Now that I’ve done this, I know I could move just about anything by bike!
austin – adam butler
photo by tate english
vancouver – sheena urquhart
A seven foot tall black eyed pea goes for a ride downtown as part of First Night Austin (eating them at the New Year is a Texas/ Southern tradition). Blue Genie Art fabricated the pea. Bikes at Work built the trailer. My company, The Butler Bros. came up with the idea and I provided the legs. Thousands of people in Austin rubbed the pea for good luck. The Austin economy is doing better than most. Coincidence? may/june 09 ı #39
mitey miss ulrike rodrigues
i was recently asked to write a story on bike culture, and I found myself thinking about my desire for a bike community when I first arrived in Goa, India for an October-toApril sabbatical. I’d been getting around by bicycle in Goa for a few months and I noticed that – of all the people around who ride bikes – I was the only woman. In fact, local magazine Goa Today thought I was such a novelty that they did a full-page story on me in their January 2009 issue calling me “the venturesome bicyclequeen, Ulrike Rodrigues!” I felt a little glum about it as I set off on my weekly Sunday village ride. I was taking it easy down a long slope on the Chogam road and spotted a person on a cycle who didn’t look like the others. First, it was a she. Second, she was actually pedalling up the hill when us one-speeders have to walk up it. And third, she wore a Hydrapack and her bike wore panniers. A bike traveller! And a solo female cyclist at that! I coasted over to her side of the road to meet her. “Hello!” I called out, “How’s your trip going?!” “Er, fine,” she huffed and continued pedalling. Silly me – of course she’s not going to stop to chat in the middle of a climb. I should know better. I stepped on my pedal and stormed up the hill to a driveway near the top. I waited and smiled as she drew nearer. I wanted to tell her I was like her – a solo cyclist – and that I could
tribe of one? offer her information and encouragement for her onward trip. My imagination raced. Maybe I could invite her over to my house – we could sit on the verandah and sip tea, sharing stories of bike adventures, destinations, troubles, laughs. If she’s nice, I could even let her stay over a night and take her on a tour of the village roads I’d been exploring. We could have cold coffee and prawn curry in Nachinola, and fresh coconut water at the Moira turn-off! She approached the flat area where I waited with my bike, gave me a look... and kept pedalling! I watched her continue up the road and suddenly felt very sad. Why didn’t she stop? Didn’t she know that we female bikers in India are rare? We’re a tribe, we need to stick together! Any bike traveller will tell you it could have been any number of reasons: she’d just started her day and didn’t want to stop yet; she needed to make a connection; she had a hundred kilometres to do that day; she was sick of talking about her trip; she was stressed, grumpy, tired, or menstrual; or she just didn’t like the looks of me. I looked at my bike – while hers was a kitted up American Mongoose, mine was a dusty Indian mongrel. It didn’t tell her that I was a biker, and I – with my brown skin, sneakers and floppy hat – probably didn’t look like one either. And yet, we were both in a place that was foreign to us and we were
both making our way through it, one pedal stroke at a time. We’d both felt the smooth roll of pavement under our wheels, the shafts of morning sunlight on our shoulders, and the stares of strangers on our backs. But where – like many bike travellers – she was going through, I was going around. Using Porvorim as a hub, I was exploring Goa in an ever-widening spiral. One day I’d get only as far as the hilltop moats of Fort Aguada; another day my circle might include Pomburpa’s springs, Aldona’s bridge, and Mapusa’s market, pausing in Saligao for fresh-squeezed cane juice, and then Anjuna beach for a swim. Was I seeing less of India than her? Was I being less of a traveller? Had I gone so native that I’ve become unrecognizable to my own “tribe?” In my floppy hat and one-speed bike I felt like a tribe of one. Eventually a few Goan cyclists found my blog and contacted me, and a few of us started our own bike club. A few days before I left Goa, the local newspaper ran a feature story I’d written on cycling in Goa – for Goans. People phoned and emailed, telling me how much they’d wanted to cycle in Goa, but thought they were the only ones. I told them no, they weren’t – there was a whole, new tribe of us out there. ı Ulrike Rodrigues created a blog of her time in Goa: www.girlgonegoa.wordpress.com. Visit Goa Cycles! at www.goacycles.wordpress.com.
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#39 ı may/june 09
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pac designs it’s the love of the bicycle that got me where I am now. I originally moved to Ontario with a half-dozen art scholarships, but soon fell head over heels in love with the bicycle and dropped out of OCA to start a career as a bike messenger. I sometimes lamented throwing away my artistic talents but I quickly forgot that as I sang and flew my way through the work day. In 1989 I started making messenger bags for friends, doing things a bit different, as it seemed I always did. Some 20 years later I’m still making bags (not in Toronto any more but on a small island in Lake Huron) and riding with my kids every spare moment I get. I’m still a lover of the bike: all aspects of it (which is what I love about momentum, the love of everyday bike). SO… do what you love, and do it how you want, and never worry that it is not what the world thinks you should be doing!
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#39 ı may/june 09
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You can change the lives of children. Start or fund a Trips For Kids program. Many kids never leave their own neighborhood to enjoy the beauty of nature. That’s why we started Trips for Kids, a national non-profit organization that provides mountain bike rides and environmental education for disadvantaged youth. You can start a Trips for Kids chapter in your area. We’ll assist you, at no charge, by supplying bikes and helmets, and support based on 20 years of experience. Or make a difference by donating money, bikes or equipment (new or used). All donations are tax-deductible.
may/june 09 ı #39
best of the blogs + elsewhere
what do you get when you cross outgrown children’s overalls with a bike? If you are Travis Wittwer of Portland, Oregon you get a very useful Bike Bag to hang on the handlebars of your bakfiets. A devotee of repurposing, reusing and recycling, Travis and family hate to see anything useful go to waste. So the overalls were reborn in their new role. The bottom sewn together to create the major bag, and the existing overall pockets used as… pockets! Unlike more expensive store-bought handlebar bags, everything he needs is easily at hand. Gloves, snacks for the kids, and his cell phone all find their place in the bag and pockets. If it gets dirty, a quick trip through the laundry and it is restored. If anything happens to get torn, a quick session with a needle and thread can put it right. And of course it was essentially free. What more could you want? See more of Travis’s repurposed bikey stuff at tinyurl.com/boxhgx
of course bakfietsen have been used to deliver many things, but delivering a baby? Actually just taking the kid out for the first of many rides in the box. Josef Bray-Ali of Los Angeles had to get his bakfiets imported via Canada, but once received he started putting it to good use. All that is missing is the view that his little daughter had. Out in the fresh air, gazing into the sky and at her father – a far better way to start experiencing the world than being in a car. Undeniably cute, what was she thinking? Probably wondering when she will get a bike of her own – or perhaps when her next feeding will be. More of Josef’s photos and writing can be seen on his blog at tinyurl.com/cr2sh8
¯ floral is the
mountain bikers sometimes get a bad rap from their citified cousins. Black, greasy spandex, strategically ripped, with maybe a frosting of caked-on mud seems to be all that is expected of them. But some have more of a fashion sense, as exemplified by this fellow (name withheld) who makes a statement of what spring is about in his chosen flowery outfit. Note the matching hat panel and band at the bottom of the left leg. And of course the effect is set off by his choice of marvellous solid pink fabric. Who says pink isn’t masculine? I think he carries it off rather well. It starts with one, then two, soon a dozen – and before you know it you have a movement. A movement for mountain bikers everywhere to express their true nature through the biking clothes that they wear. No tweed, no wool, no subtle shades. No sir!
a boy and
his bike ˘
a little bit of a touch-up getting his decorated bike ready for the “big ride,” circa 1938, as part of the National Rice Festival in Crowley, Louisiana. Single speed, coaster brake, pulled back handlebars, and big, big tires – in many circles it would be considered a trendy cruiser today. And in all the years that have passed a common thread remains. The desire to make a bike your own unique conveyance, then take it out and just ride. 48
#39 ı may/june 09
top: repurposed overalls. photo by travis wittwer. middle left: baby in the bakfiets. photo by josef bray-ali, flyingpigeon-la.com. middle: floral biker. photo by mike mcquaide, mcqview.blogspot.com bottom: photo from 1938 shorpy.com www.momentumplanet.com
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Including Cycling for all Ages, Seattle city profile, The Messenger section, Arts & Culture : Breaking Away film review, Food:calzones and r...