Archive for the ‘BIKING CULTURE’ Category
I wanted to give credit to the photographer; but, try as I did, I couldn’t track down the individual’s name.
I think The New Yorker has a thing for bicycles. The cover from the August 2, 2010 issue is below, followed by some other beauties from the archives.
August Sander, Forester’s Child, Westerwald, 1931. Gelatin silver print, 10-3/16 x 7-1/2 inches. Copyright © SK-Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv VG-Bild Kunst, Bonn. Deborah Bell Photographs
August Sander is one of the most esteemed portrait photographers the medium has produced. I did not know of this image, however, until discovering it in the current issue of The New Yorker magazine.
The geo-link below the photo is only accurate at the level of the town (it would be interesting to track down the exact location).
Since I’ve already digressed so greatly from the Angel Island ride report and photos I keep wanting to post, I may as well list some other (mostly contemporary) photographers that interest me (in no particular order):
- Pirkle Jones
- Joel Sternfeld
- Clyde Butcher
- Saul Leiter
- Christopher Burkett
- Michael Kenna
- Edward Burtynsky
- Stephen Shore
- Edward Weston
- Mathew Chase-Daniel
- William Eggleston
- Chris Jordon
- Clark Little
- Jim Balog
And then there’s my current favorite photographer, Laura Mcphee.
With the Tour de France underway, I’m rising early to catch the end of each day’s stage. The race seems wide open this year, although defending Champion from Spain, Alberto Contador, looks well-positioned with the important mountain stages coming up.
Anyhow, I recently came across this book (actually, the publisher sent it to me to review). It’s quite charming. I really like the glossary which includes some phrases that were new to me (e.g. lanterne rouge or red lantern refers to the rider who finishes in last place for the whole race).
I also really like the complete list of Tour winners going back to 1903 with the teams and countries they raced for juxtaposed to a pop-up map of central Paris with the Champs-Elysees, Place de la Concorde, and Rue de Rivoli all on display.
The text also includes insights like these:
More than any other sport the Tour de France has its own culture. In the midst of fierce competition, the Tour follows some unofficial rules of etiquette that are not found in other sports. For instance:
- If a rider loses time because of a fall or collision, it is unacceptable for other cyclists to use that misfortune to gain an advantage for themselves.
- Attacking during a meal break is taboo.
- If the race passes through a riser’s home village, as a sign of respect he is permitted to ride ahead to greet family and friends.
- In celebration of Bastille Day…it is considered polite to allow a French rider to win the stage — as long as it does not affect the overall outcome of the race.
Being a camera nerd, I’ve begun to notice a proliferation of videos featuring a distinctive photo processing technique using implied tilt-shift camera movements and time lapse photography. The results are videos like these which appear to show itty-bitty scale models of cities. Here’s a tilt-shift tutorial for the uber tech-savvy and the website of Ken Loutit, who helped popularize the genre with his bathtub series.
For the first time in my life, I was pulled over by the police while riding a bicycle (during my morning commute).
I’ll explain in a moment, but first a short digression:
- I usually go out of my way to ride conservatively because I see so many bicyclists riding recklessly, which only invites motorists’ anger. (Of course, it’s equally true that many, if not most, motorists drive irrationally, impatiently, and aggressively in terms of how they interact with bicyclists).
- I like to think I see the folly of both sides and so whether I’m piloting a car or a bike, I try to keep the other in mind and set a good example.
Nonetheless, on this day, I rolled through a stop sign fairly quickly after seeing no on-coming cars. Local law enforcement was hiding on a nearby side street. I didn’t see the squad car, but I heard the siren from behind a few blocks later and knew I was busted.
I gave my best Idaho Stop defense and after producing my driver’s license was mercifully only given a short lecture and let go with a warning.
If you’ve never heard of the Idaho Stop law here’s an elegant little video.
Another bicycle commuting video I enjoyed. It’s a 12km daily commute through an urban and, what looks like, a semi-rural Japanese landscape.
What’s the nature of your commute? Have a look at this poll.
I believe this fellow is actually quite mad. Check out his website 14degrees.org. He holds the Guinness long distance skateboarding record, traveling over 12,000km across Europe, N. America, and China (Here’s some video highlights).
I’ve recently started a short bicycle commute (the last few videos reflect this interest) and this makes me wonder how others get to their jobs.
A quiet, relaxed, exhaust-free commute, and no signs of stress or road rage on the streets of Utrecht (The Netherlands).
- Take home message: The importance of quality bike paths cannot be underestimated.
NOTE: I find the Dutch language inscrutable. For instance here’s the proper pronunciation of Utrecht (listen).
Over the week-end the city painted all the bike lanes on Market Street (the same street featured in the 1906 historical film posted here a few days ago).
Much better than mere road stencils, these green colored lanes offer a bold and unmistakable visual cue to drivers that bicycles have a place on the street too.
I’m hoping these colored bike lanes are game-changers — a Caesar-crossing-the-Rubicon, no going back moment in the continuing evolution of the bicycle’s acceptance as a mainstream form of transportation.
Btw, look how practical the bike in the top photo is. Step-through frame. Large front basket. Wide tires. Rear Rack. Built-in kick-stand. Comfortable handlebar position.
A hundred years ago, we had an abundance of transit options with high multi-modal connectivity: streetcars and trolleys running continuously (no waiting for a bus to arrive); automobiles; bicycles; ferries plying the bay; railroads; even climate-friendly horse-drawn carriages.
If you have seven minutes to spare watch the whole video; it’s rather amazing and with the soundtrack quite mesmerizing (click on the button with all the arrows to fill the screen).
Among other things, look for the progenitors of today’s fixed-gear riding San Francisco hipsters (at the 1:05 mark) and horses galloping and trotting down Market Street (at the 3:25 and 4:05 marks).
I recently discovered Brooklyn artist Kevin Cyr and his delightful Camper Bike.
From the artist’s website:
Camper Bike, a functioning sculptural piece, built in April 2008. A stand alone piece and the subject of a series of paintings.
Here’s what he said about the Camper Bike‘s origins in an article on a companion piece, Camper Kart.
“I was eating breakfast in a village outside Beijing when I suddenly had this bizarre feeling like I was camping,” remembers Cyr. That feeling, combined with China’s robust cycling culture, was the genesis for the creation of Cyr’s first vehicle, “Camper Bike,” in which he attached a fully functional 3-by-9-foot camper to a three-wheeled Chinese flatbed bike.
The iPad is here. What does this mean for bicyclists? Not much, actually. The image below is from a fake news story.
But here’s a real iPhone app called Brakelights, which turns your iPhone into a rear light. Point the screen behind you (strapped to your backpack or saddlebag) and you’re set. The app even knows when you stop moving and the screen then goes from solid to blinking red.
In a previous post, I described a new option for getting bicycling directions from Google Maps. Now I’m wondering how this feature deals with odd, highly impractical, or even impossible routes?
Trying to fool Google’s programming elves, I requested directions to a location on the other side of the Bay (i.e., a route from San Rafael to Berkeley).
The challenge, of course, is the bridges; they don’t allow bike travel (except for the Golden Gate Bridge). But Google Maps didn’t blink.
Rather than sending me on an ill-advised circumnavigation of the entire San Francisco Bay, I was instructed, as you can see in the screen shot below, to ride to Larkspur and to put my bike on the Golden Gate Ferry to SF (and then to catch the SF ferry to Oakland) before taking an overland route to Berkeley.
In urban planning circles we call this multi or mixed-mode commuting.
I was surprised Google Maps came up with this solution!
Google Maps today added the option to get Bicycling directions (in addition to Walking, By car, and By public transit). This comes after more than 51,000 cyclists signed an on-line petition urging them to do so.
Google explains how the new feature works here.
For some reason these maps cannot be embedded yet in web pages, but above are some screen shots I made of the new interface and the map generated when I made San Francisco the destination.
Google engineers employ some fancy algorithms to deal with the problem of steep slopes and hills:
Our biking directions are based on a physical model of the amount of power your body has to exert given the slope of the road you’re biking on. Assuming typical values for mass and for wind resistance, we compute the effort you’ll require and the speed you’ll achieve while going uphill. We take this speed into account when determining the time estimate for your journey, and we also try hard to avoid routes that will require an unreasonable degree of exertion. Sometimes the model will determine that it’s far more efficient to make you ride several extra blocks than to have to deal with a massive hill.
Does it work as advertised?
- For the route to San Francisco it missed some smaller bike paths (e.g. the one behind the College of Marin along the canal). Overall, it seemed to make good, safe choices and no blatantly dumb ones.
- However, for a shorter trip to San Rafael, Google had me riding down the Miracle Mile rather than on Greenfield Avenue, which is really, really dumb.
At the very least, this beta version is a useful starting point for getting bicycling directions (and it will certainly become more reliable over time as users report problems).
These bikes come from an urban design house in NYC — Areaware. The folding ifmode is quite elegant (and it’s not a small-wheeler either; it’s a full-sized bike). The Vanmoof uses solar energy for its lighting. As I said before: it truly is a golden age of cycling!
Since a trip to Seattle last fall, folding bikes have been on my radar. I made a silent vow that my next bike, whenever it comes, will fold-up for bus and ferry connections and general urban mobility.
This video got me excited about the Brompton:
Then I heard great things about the Bike Friday Tikit. And now, the latest bike on my radar is the Dahon Mu Uno. It’s The Old Man and the Sea of folding bicycles — a minimalist masterpiece. No gears. No cables. Back-pedal brakes.
I first read about it on design guru, Rob Forbes’ site, Studio Forbes. Here’s how to fold it:
The image on the left (click the thumbnail to embiggen) received an honorable mention last December in Ecovelo’s ‘end of summer’ photo contest. As a prize, I was sent a rather flamboyant wind breaker that I’m slowly gaining appreciation for, especially the heraldry — sable, a griffin rampant — on the sleeve. Thanks Ecovelo!
All the posts from that long day trip down the coast to Santa Cruz are compiled here (or by selecting the destination from the category drop down menu in the right margin).
I’ve bought and sold a few bikes, a pick-up truck, camera equipment and all kinds of other stuff on Craigslist.
There was often a faint fragrance of humor in many of these transactions, but it took the mad-genius behind this video to fully reveal the sweet perfume of an unconsumated Craigslist sale.
Warning: the video may not be appropriate for viewing at work, due to minor bits of colorful language.
Original video and credits can be found here.
Hmmm, what’s with this big van at the end of my alleyway? Something bicycle related it seems.
See the little one peaking out of the trailer? (Good thing she’s wearing a helmet!)
Ah yes, it’s the local bicycle, brat and beer garden! Gestalt Haus 28 Bolinas Rd. on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Here’s my Nishiki mixte making its first appearance on the blog (with my Macbook in the front basket outside the Fairfax Coffee Roastery).
People sometimes tease me for riding a girl’s bike, but I could care less if it’s a girl’s bike.
This is not just a case of a well developed Jungian anima at work. The step-through frame is downright practical for city riding and for things like getting on and off at red lights. But, I cannot dispute that mixtes are especially well suited for the fairer sex. Want proof? Cycle Chic from Copenhagen.
Need more proof?
Then I advise you to visit this mixte riding, coffee drinking, picture taking hipstress at Bikes and The City (and yes, I think I found my soulmate. :))
You may also click here for more mixte pictures from around the site.
Breaking Away: the movie that first inspired me to take up cycling. It’s a wonderful, quirky little film that stands the test of time.
Two thumbs up!
The Dark Ages are behind us and a new Renaissance or Golden Age of cycling is clearly afoot.
The number of people making bike frames, trailers, and custom racks grows day by day. Bike kitchens and co-ops proliferate. Advocates and urban planners are winning battles for better infrastructure and bike sharing programs. Tire and parts manufacturers are reproducing (and improving upon) classic designs. Urban bicycling revolutionaries are re-imagining and reforming societal structures. A few great magazines and hundreds of inspiring blogs are fueling the interest and passion of all involved.
There’s also a cambrian-like explosion occurring in bicycle morphology. Not too long ago one’s options for buying a new bicycle were limited to either a high-tech racing bike or a hardcore mountain bike — with little elegance or aesthetic appeal in either choice.
Now, there’s still racing and mountain bikes, but there’s also: touring, camping, and randonneuring bikes; city and porteur bikes; single speeds and fixies; utility and cargo bikes; commuting bikes; country bikes; and beach cruisers (what am I leaving out? Mixtes! and a huge selection of Folding bikes!). Then there’s all the incredibly beautiful vintage bikes (like this mixte porteur) that live on and on.
It’s truly a great time to be a cyclist!
The two main characters in the absurdist hipster comedy, Flight of the Conchords, get around New York City on bikes! Their rides are featured prominently in the music video, “Mutha Uckers”.
Jemaine’s rig is an urban cruiser with a comfortable seat, fenders and swept back bars. Brett’s appears to be an early 80s steel-framed Japanese sport bike (or is it a Peugeot?). Not a bad way to get around Manhattan’s lower east side.
I’ve spent a little time in Paris and could not resist posting this video clip from the show (if you only want to see the tandem bicycles skip to the :28 second mark). Without the context maybe some of the satire is lost, but still quite good.
The full version can be viewed here.
The Friday Cyclotouriste made a short trip to Seattle. I was not able to get any riding in, unfortunately. But here’s a quick summary:
The trip made me realize how fun it would be to have a bicycle for traveling. My favorite so far is the Brompton. Check this video out to see how cleverly and elegantly it folds and unfolds. What a boon for the multi-modal commuter, right?
In other Seattle bike news the venerable Il Veccio is apparently closing its doors.
And lastly, I made the pilgrimage to both David Schomer’s newest Espresso Vivace cafe and the Pike St. Market on a lovely, bright and sunny Seattle day. Stay tuned for an espresso review.
(Click on the images below for a bigger view)