1974: Forced to Ride Bikes to School, Now What?

Forced to ride to school

Forced to ride to school, photo: Doug Wilson/NARA

How times have changed, in 74 the gas crisis led to desperate measures

20 School children were forced to use their bicycles on field trips during the fuel crisis in the winter of 1974. There was not enough gasoline for school buses to be used for extracurricular activities, even during dark and rainy weather. (David Falconer/NARA)

Recalling the crisis, Gary Fisher told me once containers of bikes would arrive from Japan, get opened, bikes drug out, and sold right there on the street. Those bikes showed up in bike shops for repairs when gas prices went up in this decade and now there are so many of us riding, activist David Suzuki is wagging his finger, telling cyclists to behave better.

There’s really no doubt: anything that increases bicycle use, from separated lanes to bike-sharing programs, makes cities more livable and citizens healthier. Cyclists must do their part to build support for initiatives that make cycling easier, safer, and more popular.

He’s right, the bike backlash is our PR problem to manage and it’ll take cyclists on the street to do it, to behave better, and make cities more livable. You know the complaints and likely have felt the hate.

Don’t expect the activists, advocates, and academics that got us here with lanes and infrastructure, to handle it either. Responding to bad PR isn’t their thing. They’re still celebrating increased ridership by setting up bike counters so we can admire how awesome we are.

Bike Counter

Spokane Street Bike Counter, photo: S Gluckman

A few hundred yards from those self-praising counters, are some of the most dangerous intersections in Seattle, punctuated by potholes, wrapped by broken-glass sprinkled shoulders, and flourished with sharrows. As I said on Twitter, responding to another serious cyclist injury

Maybe one of those fuel-crisis, desperate kids from 74 is riding now, enjoying the best way to get around the city, liberated from a car.

The behavior of some cyclists riding in the city with that 74 kid doesn’t help make it more livable or the drivers less angry at us. They’re not looking at that bike counter, just at us riding past them.

Cross Racing: Decker Ride the Stairs!


Riding the stairs on a MTB in a cross race? Who would do such a thing? Well, just like a fat bike tearing it up earlier this year at Sea Otter, that’s one way to get press. CX Mag has the story from Raleigh Midsummer Night’s Cyclocross Race yesterday. Next expect a dude to race Cross on an e-bike for the ink.

Aaron Bradford, the Fat Bike racer at Sea Otter in the CX Race, is “da man” too. I raced with him at Tuesday Worlds earlier this year, and he was on a fixed gear, and hairier than the Russian in American Flyers. When you’re that fast, you can ride whatever bike you want in any category of race, with a f all y’alls attitude too.

Haven’t met Decker, but he’s that fast too and a tip of the hat for the Giant show. Dealer Camp and Raleigh got Punk’d.

Note: we’re not quite done with road yet and our Cross coverage starts next month with Issue 03 of our Magazine. What an exciting way to start the season and I guess this means Giant is done being the quiet company in the bike industry. That’s good, cause they make the best bikes in the world.

Both Mark and I haven visited the Giant Factory and met James Hu of Giant. Also Zach who makes sure the factory is turning out a bike every 31.5 seconds.

Communities of Color Cycling

Today on All Things Consider, NPR discussed communities of color that are embracing cycling.

Flip open any cycling magazine and you might think only skinny, good-looking, white people ride bikes. But increasingly that doesn’t reflect the reality. Communities of color are embracing cycling. And as a fast-growing segment of the cycling population, they’re making themselves far more visible.

I noticed the trend here too in the Seattle area with Major Taylor, Tamaraw, and other groups of cyclist seen out riding. When asked, these communities reply, “That’s what we’re working on. More people like us riding bikes.” And great to hear.

Also see what Outdoor Afro is doing and the black experience by bike from Red, Black, Green.


What’ll help too is a more diverse staff at bike companies and less skinny white people.

Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter Flight


Didn’t see this until a reader tipped us to and whoa…with a Cervelo.

The AeroVelo Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter captured the long standing AHS Sikorsky Prize with a flight lasting 64.1 seconds and reaching an altitude of 3.3 metres.

Read more about the competition and flight on Aervelo’s site.

Bring that to Interbike!

Huggacast Shorts: Di2 Servo Sounds


With RED 22 Hydro R in and a Di2 9070 equipped Focus, I’m spending time riding both high-end groups and one note on electronic shifting is the sound. I also wanted to follow up on my post from earlier this week where I mentioned the screech-owl servo motors with a video.

Note that the sound is louder than normal shifting because the chain is on the 26 (maybe a 27) in the back and the button is being pushed to shift into the big ring without pedaling fast enough. I’m doing that so the mic picks it up.

As it breaks in, the Di2 9070 servo motor sound changes to that of a tiny, robotic screech owl call, indicating what chainring you’re in, protesting so much shifting.

The whir, shift, whir reminds you that you’re no longer shifting with cables but by wire with buttons. Very precisely like an iShifting robot.

To Hydro R, did you know you needed more modulation and power with rim brakes?

I didn’t either and it’s great, but not without some issues that I’ll post about in our long-term review.

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