From 15 feet away and more this looked like Starbucks, but no, it wasn’t. Not even close. I travel with my own coffee, and Senor Muggy, but when needed I’ve found that Starbucks works. Zeldman told me that once. He said Starbucks was a trusted, known source, of mediocre coffee – consistently mediocre. I was like whatever, but that’s totally true in Taiwan. While the Taiwanese do buffets right, corporate coffee is bad just like everywhere else.
[UPDATE - Another local group is sending bikes as well:]
Village Bicycle Project provides sustainable and affordable transportation for Africans. Owning a bike promotes poverty reduction, rural development and personal empowerment. Millions of Africans do not have basic, reliable transportation. 99% of Africans cannot afford cars. Public transportation is expensive and unreliable. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
During our visit to Dahon’s offices, the Keiko Bike stood out: we admired, discussed, photographed, and after much deliberation described it as having a strong femininity. Matthew Davis, Manager – Global Sales and Marketing, gave us the backstory of the bike
Keiko Itakura approached us, and we decided to collaborate on this bike. It has been in the works for a little over a year, but the results were well worth it. They exceeded everyone’s expectations and we are now trying to figure out what kind of limited production run makes sense. If demand is strong we’ll definitely take that into account. It definitely gives off the “Strong Femininity” vibe, much in the way filigree does with the extremely delicate details taking form from intricately worked metals.We’re working with Keiko now to figure out how to execute the launch and final announcement properly, but we’re happy to have given Bike Hugger reader’s a sneak peak at this special bike.
Whatever the final version of the bike is, it’s going to further establish the connection between artists, designers, urban mobility, and bikes.
Much like Beijing, there’s a flow in Taipei, and we just rode in it. We were surrounded nearly at all times by scooters. I’ve never seen so many scooters. The don’t have specific bike lanes, except around the business district, but relatively wide lanes, and cars give you room. There’s a roadie scene and even a Tour de Taiwan.
Most of the ride, Jason was hanging out behind us with Matt from Dahon until we had some betel nut. Then he was all sprinting from stop lights, taking pulls, dropping us, mister energized on the bike – watch the video. Then I climbed a hill like never before on a folding bike, while I heard Once in a Lifetime in my head. I expect my legs to really hurt tomorrow.
Betel nut is a chewable stimulant sold in stands, similar to cocoa leaf, and it’s dispensed by girls in lingerie. A betel nut sports drink would make Red Bull seem like kool-aid. It also turns your mouth red, sort of like the spice in Dune, and is part of the Taipei experience.
If we get tired blogging at the IDF, I know where that stand is.
By now Dwell Magazine is arriving in the mail and on newsstands with an urban bike report. Bike Hugger provided the expert commentary for the report and other insights. Check the related story online and see these snapshots I took during the photoshoot. Bikes in the report include
As <http://bikehugger.com/2007/10/critical_manners.htm#comments”>promised, we’ll be gathering at Westlake, 5:30 tonight for a Critical Manners ride. Look for Matt McClung when you arrive. We’ll probably leave Westlake around 6:00, actual manners observed will be negotiated at the gathering and maybe we’ll pick a snazzier name next time around.
This is a great chance to get out and have some non-confrontational interactions with traffic and pedestrians, and a great ride for anybody who’s ever been put off by traditional Critical Mass tactics. I’ll report back after the ride.