Bicycle Wins Race vs. Car, Motorcycle, even Helicopter!

30 09 2009


Being the business hub of South America and one of the largest cities in the world has its bitter side: São Paulo has been drowning in a sea of automobiles (6 million and counting) for quite some time, and the future doesn’t show any signs of improvement. Insufficient buses and subway lines, together with private vehicles mostly with single occupants, compose a scenario of daily chaos, with frequently over 80kms (50mi) of traffic jams in the main avenues.

This car-centric urban transport model is showing signs of exhaustion. The average São Paulo inhabitant spends almost three hours a day stuck in traffic jams. That’s about 15 hours a week – or almost 2 working days. Apart from the economic and psychological damages, let alone the carbon footprint, this situation is a true hindrance for the city’s development and for the well-being of the people who live in it.

It was in this scenario that the São Paulo Intermodal Challenge was held. The challenge was simple: to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible – during rush hour – using the mode of transportation of your choice. The goal was to raise awareness regarding a number of alternatives to cars, and to promote the World Carless Day, by proving that avoiding traffic – and its consequences – might just be a matter of choice.

The means of transportation chosen ranged from cars, bikes, motorbikes, and a helicopter to buses, metro, their own feet and even a wheelchair. Contrary to all forecasts, a biker won the challenge, with a total time of 22 minutes – more than 10 minutes faster than the person on the helicopter, who spent a total of 33 minutes and 30 seconds between going to the heliport, waiting for takeoff clearance, flying and landing.
The car came way behind, with a total time of 1:22– slower than the runner, who took 1:06, the bus (1:11) and just 10 minutes faster than the person who chose to walk the whole path (1:32).

To move beyond the car paradigm is a necessity, one that gains an even greater importance due to São Paulo’s size and economic relevance. The Intermodal Challenge may not present any real solution to the problem, but at least it brings some attention towards a fundamental question that is urban mobility and how it impacts the ecosystem we live in every way.

Contributed by Mauricio Soares


Columbia, Missouri. We need more of this.

28 09 2009

How do we get this guy elected president?


For a bicyclist, Darwin Hindman is rather nattily attired, wearing a crisp tweed blazer and an orange silk tie as he pilots his ancient mountain bike through the center of Columbia, Missouri. Hindman, 76, (pictured) is this Midwestern town’s mayor and a survivor of both esophageal and prostate cancer. As he glides along, coattails flying, he is savoring the streets of Columbia, which he’s transforming into one of the nation’s premier cycling cities.

“Here outside this café is a huge corral of racks for locking your bike,” Hindman says, riding along happily. “And here, we’ve painted a bike lane. We want bicyclists to feel as happy as larks out in the road.”

Read the rest of the article!

Hi five for riding in cars!

28 09 2009

Electric Mountain Bike Gets the Equivalent of 2,287 MPG

24 09 2009

Heres an electric bike i actually like, they need to mainstream the production of this ASAP.

The Optibike OB1 electric bike gets an equivalent of 2,287 MPG.* Could bikes like these be the future of transportation?

Ever wonder what happens when you cross the finest mountain bike components money can buy, an 850w brushless DC motor and a 20ah lithium-ion battery with motocross styling and sensibilities? You get the Optibike OB1, an electric bike that can get up to 45 miles on a nine-cent charge, and what is arguably the finest electric bicycle in the world.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

Family defies no-bike policy at Maple Avenue Middle School

15 09 2009

A link from the Saratogian about a family fighting for their bike rights! You know its serious when they call the state troopers out on elementary school kids.


Click to enlarge

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The first day of school, already a happy and trying event for any student, saw a little additional stress for Maple Avenue Middle School student Adam Marino.

Marino and his mother, Janette Kaddo Marino, left for school by bicycle on Wednesday morning, as they often do in good weather, despite a phone call placed to students’ homes by school officials, asking parents not to allow students to walk or ride bikes to school.

After a cold reception on Wednesday, local transportation advocates are rallying around the family, and plan to accompany the pair to school today in a bid to bolster calls for a policy change.

The Marino family had previously encountered trouble while cycling to school in May, when school officials informed them they were in violation of a school policy that forbids students from walking or riding to Maple Avenue Middle School. They rode anyway, noting that the family regularly rides for exercise and recreation.

Following the May incident, the school district charged a policy review committee to examine the rule, but the committee has not yet reached a conclusion. In the meantime, Kaddo Marino said she felt the district was stepping on her toes.

“I think it’s my parental right to transport my child to school in the way I deem is appropriate. I think the district is usurping its authority by telling me that I can’t,” she said.

One section of the school policy states: “The Board of Education forbids the riding of bicycles by students to and from Maple Avenue Middle School.” Another section also prohibits riding to elementary schools.

In an apparent contradiction, a third section states: “Secondary school pupils may ride their bicycles to school and shall park them in the racks provided.”

The policy was written when the Maple Avenue school opened in 1994, and has never before been reviewed, Superintendent of Schools Janice White said.

“At this point, the committee’s work is in the final stages, and the board has not yet considered what, if any, changes will be made,” White said.

While White acknowledged that the district does not have any apparent authority over how parents choose to bring students to schools, they do have a right to control activities on their property.

“The policy, when originally put in place, was put in place because of the location of the building,” White said. “The rights of individuals to ride their bikes on Route 9 is their decision.”

Route 9 is designated by the New York State Department of Transportation as a bike route.

Upon arriving at school on Wednesday, Adam and Janette Kaddo Marino were met outside by school officials and a New York State Trooper, who were on hand for the first day of school. They were informed that they were “out of compliance,” and had a lengthy discussion over where Adam’s bike could be locked.

“I was extremely bothered,” Kaddo Marino said, “after reviewing the way we were met at the school. It was very intimidating to be met by these three men, one of whom was a trooper.”

Kaddo Marino, who is involved in reviewing the transportation policy, said she knew she and Adam might raise concerns if they rode to school and left the decision up to him.

“Adam feels pretty strongly about it,” she said. “I told him I didn’t know if there would be an issue.”

Still, even after their icy reception on Wednesday — which ended with Adam going to school, his bike left locked outside — they decided to ride again on Thursday, this time accompanied by a group of adult friends.

Friday’s rain kept the bikes inside, but members of transportation advocacy group Saratoga Healthy Transportation Network sent a call to members on Friday, requesting that more cyclists join the Marinos for their ride to school today.

“I feel we must support and ride with Janette and her son, Adam, every morning we can until something gets resolved or until it gets too cold to ride,” SHTN member Charlie Samuels said in an e-mailed message. “If it causes a ruckus, which it seems the school wants to avoid, then we win because it will attract attention …”

Members of the group plan to participate, but SHTN has not yet taken a formal stance on the matter.

Although Kaddo Marino said she did not initially intend to make a political issue out of her son’s commute to school, she sees validity in SHTN’s adoption of the issue.

“If SHTN is going to rally around anything, this is probably a good enough cause. It’s not just a school district, but a municipality that is quite resistant to making this safe for bikes, cars and pedestrian traffic,” she said.

Caroline Stem, another member of SHTN who is also involved in examining transportation policies, said that while the Marinos’ plan to continue riding to school will bring necessary exposure to the issue, she hopes it will not undermine efforts to examine district policy.

“It’s bringing an awareness that kids should be able to walk and bike to school,” Stem said. “If safe conditions don’t exist, we should create those conditions, and if a parent decided to walk or ride with their kid, they should not be reprimanded for doing so.”

Stem pointed out that while SHTN members are planning on riding with the Marinos today, it was not a formal action by the group.

“As an individual, I think it’s very grassroots and makes a statement, but I personally want to work the formal channels as well,” she said.

Doug Haller, another SHTN volunteer, added he hoped the policy committee’s review would be meaningful and lead to changes.

“We’re hopeful that they’re going to progress a little bit, especially because of the movement throughout the state and country to get kids to ride to school,” he said. “It feels to some of us that they are not moving forward.”

Superintendent White declined to discuss proposals that may come from the committee on the bicycling policy, saying that work should be completed before it is discussed publicly. The committee will report to the school board at a Sept. 21 meeting.

In the meantime, White said the district plans to continue to work with Kaddo Marino to ensure that district policy is followed.

“We are trying to come to some reasonable understanding,” she said.

Keiichi Iwasaki travels across 37 countries on $2

14 09 2009

This is a really short story, unfortunately, but still a tribute to the man and his bicycle.


Keiichi Iwasaki travels across 37 countries on $2

Keiichi Iwasaki

Keiichi Iwasaki has travelled across 37 countries on his bicycle with only $2


Ex-air conditioning company worker packs it in and cycles his way around the world – and has so far been arrested, attacked by a rabid dog and robbed by pirates. Picture: Barcoft Media /

A TOURIST has spent eight years travelling across 37 countries with the equivalent of $2, relying on his bicycle for transport.

Keiichi Iwasaki, 36, left his Japanese home in 2001 with just 160 Yen ($2) in his pocket after becoming bored with his air-conditioning job, the UK’s Telegraph reports.

After cycling the country for a year he decided to extend his journey to South Korea and, eventually, 36 other countries.

During his trip Mr Iwasaki was attacked by a rabid dog in Tibet, robbed by pirates and was even arrested in India.

He cycled over 45,000 kilometres during his marathon adventure and become the first Japanese man to climb Mount Everest from sea level without using any transportation.

Mr Iwasaki said he raised funds from performing tricks, and only his “strong will” has kept him on his bike.

He chose to avoid air travel and opted for cycling or ferries for transport in order to soak up the atmosphere.

”I didn’t want to use aeroplanes because I wanted to see and feel everything with my own skin. With bicycle, I can always feel the air and atmosphere of the place.”

Mr Iwasaki is in Switzerland and hopes to climb Mount Blanc, Europe’s highest peak, before travelling to Africa and the US over the next five years.

He plans to write a book about his adventure.

Columbus Micro Brew Festival

10 09 2009

Participating local microbreweries include: Barley’s Brewing Company (Ale House No. 1), Barley’s Smokehouse & Brewpub (Ale House No. 2), Columbus Brewing Company, Elevator Brewing Company, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, Hoster Brewing Company and Weasel Boy Brewing Company.

Do this.