New York Times: don’t send world “back to their bicycles”

Aaron Naparstek | Party on

Aaron Naparstek was a little taken aback by one sentence in a recent New York Times editorial. Overall, he agrees with the message, that China’s migration to cars and greater energy usage will have profound environmental impact unless the US helps China leapfrog oil and also makes sacrifices to reduce the US oil habit.

So far, so good. Then, we get:

The United States doesn’t have the right to tell a third of humanity to go back to their bicycles because the party’s over.

The assumption, as Naspartek notes, is that bicycling represents a backward step, which doesn’t match his own perceptions:

That’s so different than how I see it. Getting on my bike to drop my son at day-care, run an errand, or go to a meeting isn’t a sacrifice. It doesn’t mean “the party’s over.” It doesn’t represent some sort of personal or societal failure. The way I see it, a city filled with bike traffic is the party.

Naspartek also provides a link to this awesome book cover, by Mona Caron for the book Critical Mass: Bicycling’s Defiant Celebration .

Fat Cyclist on cycle commuting

Fat Cyclist | Self-Importantly, I Agree to an Interview

Elden over at FatCyclist did an interview with Dahon’s Christopher Hess for their newsletter. It touches on how Elden commutes to work, what he thinks of the Dahon Flo he’s been, um, borrowing, and what he likes about bike commuting.

Best exchange (no Microsoft pun intended):

6. What do you think are the benefits of more enviro friendly transport solutions and less cars in urban centres? Actually, I think there will shortly be more and more cars in urban centres (you British are so adorable the way you spell!) — it’s just that they won’t be going anywhere, what with gasoline and gold costing the same amount per ounce. Cars will come to be regarded as exciting obstacles cyclists can use in trials maneuvers and in urban mountain biking, which I believe will be the next big thing.

High-end road bike demand surging

The Boston Globe | Would you spend $14,000 for this bike?

Douglas Belkin writes about how high-end road bike sales, and prices, are through the roof. The most expensive built bikes now are around $14-15,000, but dealers say you’ll see a $20,000 road bike soon.

”The first time I saw a $10,000 bike was a few years ago,” said Stephen Madden, the editor of Bicycling magazine, which is based in Pennsylvania. ”It kind of blew my mind, but now it’s really pretty easy to spend $8,000 on a bike. I know that sounds kind of crazy, but there are plenty out there.”

Belkin says sales have increased from 145,000 high-end road bikes in 2000 to 498,000 in 2005.

Along those lines, Greg Lemond introduced a new all-carbon fiber frame whose 55-cm examples weigh 950 grams. It’s called the Triomphe.

No brakes down Lombard Street

Top-ranked Kryptonite
Bring Your Own Big Wheel 2006

Bring Your Own Big Wheel is an annual Easter Day ride down San Francisco’s Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world. On tricycles, Big Wheels, or other childhood conveyances. There’s only one rule: No rubber wheels.

Plastic wheels + brick pavers = entertainment! Riders do their best Fred Flintstone to regulate their speed as they twist their way down the hill.

From the San Francisco Chronicle race coverage:

“This race may seem ridiculous, but it transcends ridiculousness,” said veteran competitor Luke Powell. “This is about something else.”

Sunday’s was the 6th annual event.

Links:

Semi-official site (with music)

SFGate.com | Eat your heart out, Lance Armstrong

Flickr photoset 1 | Flickr photoset 2 | Flickr photoset 3 | Flickr photoset 4 | Flickr BYOBW group

YouTube video of the 2006 ride

Download a minidocumentary of the 2003 ride

Slate reviews chains and U-locks

Slate.dom | The best lock to protect your bike. By Scott Elder

Top-ranked Kryptonite
Slate’s pick:
Kryptonite NY Fahgettaboutit U-Lock

Scott Elder looks at the whole range of bike locks, from cables to the newer flat-key U-locks to the monster 10-pound chains.

Rather than simply trying each one and judging them for ergonomic factors and perceived security, Elder played bike thief, going after each with either a 30-inch bolt cutter, a crowbar, a hacksaw (with unspecified “special blades”), and my father’s favorite tool, a standard claw hammer.

The verdict: don’t waste your time with the cable locks. The improved U-locks are slightly better.

The monster chains, including the Kryptonite New York Chain with EV Disc Lock and the OnGuard Beast Chain & Padlock, survived all his tools, but are a load to haul, so the top marks went to two enhanced U-locks, the $89.95 Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboutit U-lock, and OnGuard’s Brute STD, which retails for $69.95.

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