Thursday, April 16, 2009

The NYT gets bike friendly

Thanks to M.I. for sending me the link to this NYT feature on Dutch bikes coming to this side of the Atlantic. They present biking as a way to get from one place to another, and in style at that (Complete with details on the $1,900 Prada suits the models are wearing, etc. Personally, I'd rather buy another bike...)

They bring up a lot of good points (that will be familiar to anyone who already rides), but kudos to them for spreading the word. (And some of the photos have the Simple City bike I talked about here.)

I like how they emphasize the state of biking in the States, which is still saddled with a pretty exclusively "athletic" image. That's all fine, but it limits bikes integration into regular family and commuter life - simply as a mode of transportation - and keeps many people's bikes in the garage except on weekend outings to the beach or the park.

There's also a nice multimedia feature too (the NYT produces some really good ones) and while the content attempts to address the impression of a Dutch bike as too feminine (Europeans don't see the step-through frame style as exclusively for women...) the "queer eye" voice over doesn't do much to help that stigma!

But hey, it's all a step in the right direction, and the fashion element of city bikes is a nice part of changing people's attitudes of what bike riding can be about.

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Hothouse Flower - the perfect commuter bike

OK, so I finally solved the riddle - what bike would be perfect for my bike commuting needs? And while it hasn't solved every issue (like I can't tow the bike trailer with it, and it's not a minimalist, single-speed hipster steed), this bike has solved many of them in a truly environmentally sound way - since it's one of the two bikes I already own!!

I know that the bike world can be consumed with the need for the new (well maybe that's more about me...), the need for the super-specific fit between bike technology and bike use, the need to not just be heard, but seen... But isn't not buying anything the truest form of minimalism?

So here's how I commute now. On this - my road bike.

It's been waiting for me patiently all week, pining for the time to free up for that weekend ride to Palos Verdes, kept from the pedestrian chores of errands and my cruise to work like some hothouse flower. Finally I just went, "Crap, I LOVE riding that bike. I should ride it everyday! Why in God's name would I leave that bike at home?"

Now admittedly, I'm not going to leave this bike parked outside some bar for hours while I pound back Jeagers with visual effects data-crunchers from DD and their data-crunching girlfriends (actually anyone that knows me knows I'm exactly 100% more likely to be in bed by 8:30 watching the Daily Show with my lovely wife...). Yes, this bike needs a little love. But my commute isn't filled with hardcore curb-jumping or wheel-tacoing potholes. If it can handle the weekend road-miles it can certainly handle a couple miles through West LA to work. Right?

Obviously, when the confluence of desire and dollars meet somewhere down the line in a lusty surge of materialism, I will succumb. I'm human, after all. But until then you'll see me, waiting for the light to change at Olympic & Centinela, in pin-stripes and wing-tips, clipped in to a logo-encrusted road machine, with my laptop on my back (and a pack of Action Wipes waiting for me next to the Avid...)