Happy holiday Monday, Ladies & Lady-lovers!
Here’s your internet interestingness to launch an inquisitive week!
The food may be delicious (scrambles and benedicts and biscuits, oh my!), but I’d have to agree with this opinion piece from the NYTimes – the peaking popularity of wake-up-at-noon, binge-until-coma, peter-pan-non-adulthood brunch culture may finally be on its way out. The new fad in noshing? Good ol’ fashioned breakfast at early-enough hours that allow for a full day of adventure and living :)
Three $500,000 (read: VERY CHEAP) road diets in Portland, OR have reduced crashes by 37%, traffic volumes by 6.41%, and speeds by 9.82%. Wow! As has been proven time and time again, reducing road size and improving two-wheeled and two-footed access reduces congestion and makes streets more livable – for everyone. Always nice to see more research bolstering the concepts!
The culmination of a series from The Atlantic Cities, this article reviews the culmination of their research – cities are increasingly implementing multi-modal, active transportation systems. Looks like the end of the “cars for everything” era may finally be upon us, Ladies!
Who knew that a cooler with a broken vial of blood from a nun in the Congo would lead to the discovery of the incredibly virulent disease that the globe is facing today? An Interview with the original scientist behind the discovery is like reading the transcript to a terrifying film – mysterious death, unknown cause, sneaking samples away from government authorities for further testing, inoculating mice who seem initially seem fine, then one by one, start to die… very interesting context provided by this BBC interview.
From the article:
The object we call a book is not the real book, but its potential, like a musical score or seed. It exists fully only in the act of being read; and its real home is inside the head of the reader, where the symphony resounds, the seed germinates. A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another… Writing is saying to no one and to everyone the things it is not possible to say to someone. Or rather writing is saying to the no one who may eventually be the reader those things one has no someone to whom to say them… writing is speaking to no one, and even when you’re reading to a crowd, you’re still in that conversation with the absent, the faraway, the not-yet-born, the unknown and the long-gone for whom writers write, the crowd of the absent who hover all around the desk.”
Have a beautiful Indigenous People’s Day, and keep on riding and enjoying life, Ladies!
A glorious smells-like-fall Monday to you, Ladies & Lady-lovers!
Here’s your internet interestingness to start the week with open and fascinated minds :)
Scotland may soon be fully independent – haggis and kilts for everyone! The link above explains what’s going on (note: according the the BBC…) and provides arguments for and against this historic vote.
Got some innovative ideas and designs for wave power generators? Now’s your chance to change history! NASA and the DOE want to move us towards sustainable technology by cracking the code of wave power. One problem: they’re stuck. Much as the Arab Spring harnessed the power of the public via the internets, so, too is the government seeking new perspective by tapping ideas from any and everyone across the USA. They’ve provided open source software to measure the effectiveness of your designs, so if you’ve got a good idea, submit it! Some lovely open-source do-goodery for the environmental and Ladies everywhere.
3) E-BIKE CONVERSION KIT THAT PROVIDES ASSIST TUNED TO YOUR HEART-RATE (EXPLAINED TO OVERLY-DRAMATIC MUSIC)
Falco already provides some great and durable kits to convert your bike to a pedal-assisted e-bike, but their new design offers off-road capable, heart-rate controlled assist – new technology that sounds incredibly cool! Their kickstarter video explains the technology with the giggle-inducing bonus of background tunes appropriate for the lead-up to battle in LOTR or GOT. Seriously – who picked the music?
Yep – building safer infrastructure for Ladies & Lady-lovers on two-wheels can actually IMPROVE congested roads, and now there are studies proving it. From the article:
Rather than increase delay for cars, the protected bike lanes on Columbus actually improved travel times in the corridor. According to city figures, the average car took about four-and-a-half minutes to go from 96th to 77th before the bike lanes were installed, and three minutes afterward—a 35 percent decrease in travel time. This was true even as total vehicle volume on the road remained pretty consistent. In simpler terms, everybody wins.
It only took 126 years, but huzzah for closure! The info and process appears to be legitimate – testing of a shawl with both the blood of The Ripper’s victim and semen from the attacker – and has led to a 100% mitochondrial DNA match to a known suspect: Aaron Kosminski. I’ll still hold out on official declarations until I see this news re-printed by a source other than The Daily Mail…
C.S. Lewis’s book The Four Loves examines the different intimate bonds we form with one another, including what he considers the “rarest, least jealous, and most profound relation” – friendship. From the book & post:
In a circle of true Friends each man is simply what he is: stands for nothing but himself. No one cares twopence about anyone else’s family, profession, class, income, race, or previous history. Of course you will get to know about most of these in the end. But casually. They will come out bit by bit, to furnish an illustration or an analogy, to serve as pegs for an anecdote; never for their own sake. That is the kingliness of Friendship. We meet like sovereign princes of independent states, abroad, on neutral ground, freed from our contexts. This love (essentially) ignores not only our physical bodies but that whole embodiment which consists of our family, job, past and connections. At home, besides being Peter or Jane, we also bear a general character; husband or wife, brother or sister, chief, colleague, or subordinate. Not among our Friends. It is an affair of disentangled, or stripped, minds. Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities.
Hence (if you will not misunderstand me) the exquisite arbitrariness and irresponsibility of this love. I have no duty to be anyone’s Friend and no man in the world has a duty to be mine. No claims, no shadow of necessity. Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which gave value to survival.
Have a wondrous week, and as always, remember to enjoy the ride, Ladies :)
1) Physically separated, one direction bicycle facility*
2) Goes where “people want to be” (directly to commercial store fronts)
- Make it wider – riding a bike, unlike driving, is a social activity. It’s nice to be able to ride abreast
- More greenery :) never enough nature
- Continue the separated lane – dumping into traffic and disconnected networks are no bueno
* Why I don’t like two-direction facilities, even when they’re physically separated: accommodating space for both directions means each lane tend to be narrower; constant caution – as people pass, etc. coming towards you – makes riding less leisurely and less enjoyable
Ladies of Toronto, our Lady heart goes out to you.
First your idiot mayor removes newly installed bicycle lanes on Jarvis Street, wasting city resources and removing more-equitable* options for Ladies throughout the city. Then your idiot mayor is caught smoking crack (perhaps explaining the aforementioned situation). Now, more Ladies on two wheels, Ladies on foot, and Ladies in steel-boxes are crashing into one another along the bicycle-lane-memorial-that-is-Jarvis-Street.
Le sigh, ay. Can’t a Lady of the north catch a break?
Well, Ladies, it turns out there IS a lesson to be pulled from this caddywhompus affair, and it may help make the case for future bicycle infrastructure: data shows that bicycle lanes may help make streets safer for all road users.
Huzzah! A somewhat pyrrhic victory, but a victory all the same! And considering your permanently-santa-cheeked leadership, any victory is worth celebrating!
According to data from the City of Toronto obtained between 2008-2013, crashes have increased along the infamous Jarvis Street for street users of ALL modes. Quite frankly, this blows all around. But what is so interesting is the ability to look at crash rates pre, during, and post bicycle lanes. The data looks something like this:
This well-reasoned article from The Grid breaks down the data, what it means, and the timeline for the whole Jarvis Street fiasco.
There’s a lot we don’t know: Could a greater proportion of collisions involving cyclists have gone unreported when the bikes lanes were there? Could Jarvis losing its reversible centre traffic lane have made things less confusing, and, as a result, less dangerous? Could it all just be a coincidence? It’s possible.
But from what we know now, Jarvis seems to have been a safer street with bike lanes on it than it was before, or has been since—and that goes for everyone who took it, were they pedestrians, cyclists, or drivers. In other words: it was a win-win, but not anymore.
In line with what we are already seeing, bicycle infrastructure is magical for communities, Ladies (& Lady-lovers), and everyone and everything else.
Perhaps the presence of people on bikes leads to reduced speeds, forcing drivers to pay more attention to prevent running over another person (since no one wants to run someone else over… or maybe that’s not totally true…), but regardless of the mechanism, two-wheeled citizens being seen and being treated equitably in our transportation models is a true win-win. For everyone.
These lane removals were justified by the mayor with a parallel, lower-traffic lane going in to appease bicycle riders. But that’s the thing – we should be making MORE space and networks for less-damaging modes, not continuing to fail to meet a base level of safety and accessibility for anyone but those in steel.
And removing bicycles from main streets and commercial corridors? It just reinforces the mentality of lovely Ladies being “out-of-place”, accessory, and a problem that must be put “out of the way” of “real traffic”. Take note, Portland (and this, too, though great infrastructure on BOTH roads would expand our network, and would be lovely).
But I digress. Till your weebles mayor is ousted under the weight of his own stupidity, Ladies of Toronto, at least you’ve got some proof that can help stop future bike lane removal. And it may just help Ladies (& Lady-lovers) around the globe, too.
Keep riding, fighting for equity, and smiling for it all, Ladies!
*Perhaps we should say less-abhorrently-absent routes, since our two-wheeled infrastructure is nearly non-existent, and usually an afterthought (though this mentality would be just lovely :) ).
Wreaths tacked upon doors, grills, and fenders. Lights stranded meticulously… or haphazardly. Seasonal dustings of warmth atop tops of trees and bushes; neighboring properties swallowed in blizzards of night-time fluorescence (and unfathomable utility bills).
Torrential breezes muffled-yet-audible near globes and larger-than-life-size rotund men in red suits, made more roly-poly in appearance with seams stretched taut, rhythmically rocking with each gust. These inflatable totems contain the “holiday spirit” much like our belts contain our widening ham/tofu/cookie-filled bellies – limits tested and eager to explode.
Walking and riding past each individual display, I can’t help but notice the variations on “holiday” each presents, and how they speak to the lives of the people within.
*A single strand thrown lopsidedly across an overgrown tree: 20-somethings sharing a home, “hey, we decorated!” attempt at creating a more adult home.
*A cascade of perfectly positioned lights from corner-to-corner and back again: wealthier couple with children whose father or mother has made this able-to-enact-whilst-watching-the-kids hobby a yearly tradition, expanding in exorbitance from year to year.
*A modest, imperfect wrapping of several trees and shrubs: 30-somethings, likely a couple, expressing their nostalgic holiday memories while creating new traditions of their own.
Of course this is assumption, but it’s fun to imagine. And all of this nuance, this imagining, these lovely displays soak in more fully when passing atop two-wheels (or two-feet). Taking time to notice. Taking time to absorb all the life, in all its displays, around us. Taking time… it’s something I do too rarely, and something we all need a bit more of.
I feel blessed to live in a place where I can walk (mostly) safely and ride (mostly) without fear, and to live surrounded by so many people who are so different, yet so open, so non-judgmental of the idiosynchronicity of others. Where you can embrace your quirks and uniqueness fully, and where you’re not only free of the pressures to be-as-you-should, you’re more respected for fully being whoever you really are.
There is so much to be grateful for so much of the time. And from this foundation of gratitude, I’d like to share 3 wishes I have this holiday season. Feel free to leave a comment with wishes of your own.
1) I wish our streets were safer. For everyone.
Morgan Maynard Cook. Joseph “Joey” Randall Ransly Stone. ViJay Dalton-Gibson. The list of victims goes on, and on, and on, and on. Every time it breaks my heart. Every time I think about the families left without loved ones during the holidays, left with empty chairs at the dinner table, and empty spots in circles gathered round roaring fires and festooned trees. Spots that will remain empty forever. A void that never stops feeling… empty.
My parents were nearly left with that void a year and a half ago when a careless driver ran a stop sign into a neighborhood greenway… into me.
We’ve learned to just accept this carnage and tragedy, at a rate of over 88 people killed per day (that’s about 4 deaths per minute), not to mention the enormous numbers of serious, life-long injuries. Why? Because we want to be able to travel when we want to, and most importantly, because we want to drive ourselves to the places we need to go (and in many places, because that is our only option). Equity in access to transit and safe biking and walking facilities is abominable, and more and more the ability to walk near your home is becoming a privilege.
Enrique Penalosa, the former mayor of Bogotá, Columbia, came to speak in Portland a little while ago, and I remember being taken aback by one particular statement he made: “cars kill people”. “That’s a bit inflammatory,” I remember thinking. But overtime, the statement sunk in, and it became apparent that the sentiment wasn’t radical. It was truth.
If you are riding a bike, if you are walking, if you take a bus, if you take a train – all of these options contain a chance of death and injury to yourself and others (so does living). But walk into someone on a sidewalk, accidentally run into someone on your bike… the consequences of inevitable human error are far less disastrous when not backed by thousands of pounds of environment-muffling steel.
We will always fail. We are human. But when we fail at 40mph, even at 20mph, in steel, people are far more likely to die, including people just engaging their legs as they’re intended (or those playing, as children often do, in their own front yard).
I still drive occasionally, and I grew up driving for nearly all of my trips. I know how hard it is to see the realities of something considered a touchstone of American life. An essential. The truth is uncomfortable, and it implicates us all: Every time we drive our car, we put other people and ourselves at risk. Not only due to crashes, but due to the pollution we cannot see that gives us and everyone living around us cancer, breathing ailments, and more.
We can do so much better, and we owe it to ourselves, our neighbors, and our communities to try. Just try. What if we drove less? What if we spent less on roads for steel-boxes and more on education? What if more people could live longer and better because they added activity to their day during their commute? What if you could save your own life, your mother’s life, you friend’s life, a stranger’s life by taking an extra 5, 10, 20, 30 minutes to get to where you’re going? Wouldn’t that be time well spent? And what if our city policy prioritized equitable transit for all, with preference for expenditures based on greatest benefit to surrounding communities (walking first, transit second, bike facilities third, high-speed rail fourth, driving last)? It’s a lot of change, which is not and will not ever be well received at first, but more importantly it’s progress. For our health, our budgets, our happiness.
This holiday season, all I wish for are representatives WITH VISION, the kind who see the damage of a freeway running through downtown and stop saying “we have to account for SOV driving demand” and start asking “how can we eliminate the demand in the first place?”.
Most importantly, I wish for streets that unite us, where we can gather and see one another, and where we can live and commute without the daily reality of wondering whether or not we’ll make it home alive.
2) I wish I could remember how lucky I am. Everyday.
In the words of the venerable Kanye West, “time is the only luxury.”
My family. They’ve supported me through the hardest year of my life, they’ve frustrated me to no end, and they’ve given me love for being exactly as I am. How often do I forget how many people do not share this luxury? How many people wish they’d had the opportunities, support, and care that I have taken for granted?
How many people have no families to even have the option of going home to? And my dearest friends who have become my family out west… we all like to feel we could do it alone, but the reality is we can’t. I forget to open my eyes and see all the goodness in my life from time to time, and all I wish for this holiday season is to remember to see it more often.
Legs that (luckily) still work and take me where I’d like to go. A roof over my head and lovely people to share it with. The opportunity to educate myself everyday. Access to warm showers and heated rooms. Sidewalks and neighborhood greenways and transit that free me from the constraints of car travel. Amazing and not-so-amazing neighbors and strangers who smile at me for no reason, or say “hello” as they pass me by. There are so many things everyday that make life worth living and bring me happiness. Much as I savor my surroundings when pedaling past, it’s time I savored my living as it passes me by.
3) I wish that I could do more and be a more active part of improving the lives of everyone in my community.
Finding the time to volunteer, to push for change, to shape the world in my backyard. That time is there, and I often find a way to be involved. As I once heard a young poet say, “your observation becomes an obligation.” If I know it is wrong and I know it can change, then it is my duty to refuse to be silent. All I wish for this year is to continue that drive, not to give up because I am frustrated, and to keep trying to be the change I wish to see. I hope more of you will join me, and I hope we can all work together to create a better future for ourselves and future generations.
Have a wonderful holiday season, and as always, Ladies (and Lady-lovers): Remember to enjoy the ride.
Your morning brew with a side of bicycle? Lovely!
A creative, low-fi bike share program based in coffee shops has started in the Czech Republic.
Grab a cup, put down a deposit, and ride your new foldable bicycle for the day.
Despite obvious reservations a Lady (or Lady-lover) may have at first conceptualization (theft? damage? what if I hate coffee?), the program has been awesomely effective.
More from TheAtlantic:
Brno’s project is small – so far only five bike points are involved – but the city’s alternative and apparently unique model still has some very useful lessons for other cities looking to get more citizens biking.
Firstly, Brno shows that you don’t always have to go big, either in bike numbers or in sponsors. Major bike-share schemes typically involve major enterprises like Citibank and Barclays, but Brno’s participants are all small, local businesses – its hub is a café, bar and arts venue in Brno’s old city called Kavarna Trojka. While participants like Trojka need to take a long view, they clearly believe they can recoup their investment in a few bikes by encouraging more customers to buy drinks, by developing user loyalty and creating a city-wide publicity platform for themselves and the events they host.
Secondly, micro-schemes mean you don’t necessarily need to invest in new infrastructure. Brno has no docking stations, specially designed vehicles or bike redistribution system. All it relies on is participating venues having enough space to store some fold-up bikes.
Thirdly, Brno proves that you can have private bike-share start-ups even in cities lacking the cash or political momentum to create larger public schemes.
Creating a devoted & loyal customer base, eliminating the need for large corporate sponsors (a problem Portland’s bike share has already encountered)… these Ladies (and Lady-lovers) may be on to something!
While this model may not be effective in every city, the idea of micro-share, or at least placing bikes and stations at locally sponsored and run locations, can open up bike share to larger swaths of the city and give citizens a greater sense of ownership of, and therefore responsibility for, the program. Imagine if in, say, Portland, communities could operate and fund bike share by-the-station rather than a large, random corporate donor overseeing the entire network?
Alberta share stations brought to you by the Vernon Neighborhood Association and Alberta Main Street? Downtown station brought to you by the Ace Hotel? This could expand bike share to where it’s really needed: beyond downtown.
What do YOU think Ladies (and Lady-lovers)? Would you like a bike with your coffee? Or perhaps a bike with your neighborhood main street?
Keep riding, supporting local business, and spreading the love, Ladies!