COFFEE WITH A SIDE OF BIKES

Bikes + Coffee = bike share of the future?

Bikes + Coffee = bike share of the future?

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!

XOXO

LADY OWNED, FOCUSED, AND RUN BIKE SHOP OPENS IN PORTLAND, OR

More Women riding bikes more often.

Gladys Bike Shop in N Portland, OR

Gladys Bike Shop in N Portland, OR

That’s precisely the goal of Gladys Bikes, a new bike shop located inside the HUB building along the heavily ridden Williams corridor in Portland, OR (2905 NE Alberta Street, Portland, OR). If you’re a Lady riding Vancouver/Williams, you need to check this place out.

Owner Leah Benson has stocked her shelves with essentials for a comfortable and fabulous ride, from reflective flower pins and helmet bows, to rain jackets, saddles, helmets, and more. Also offering Lady-run maintenance, classes, and bike fittings from an oh-so-accessible $50, Gladys is exactly the kind of shop that makes entering the realm of riding feel approachable for Women of all ages and abilities.

And did I mention free cookies?

Lovely reflective pins!

Reflective pins… and cookies

While the face of two-wheeled travel is still predominantly male, shops like Gladys are tapping into what happens to be the fastest growing segment of the two-wheeled world: Ladies! From the League of American Bicyclists:

Looking at the gender breakdown, the data shows the total number of women bike commuters in 2012 grew to 236,067, which is an almost 11% increase from 2011. More broadly, women commuting by bike has grown by 58.8% since 2006. What’s more, the ACS data shows that the growth in bike commuting by women is outpacing that of men. Between 2011 and 2012, the growth in bike commuting by women was 10.9%, compared to 8.4% for men.

The lovely Leah Benson, owner of Gladys

The lovely Leah Benson, owner of Gladys

Gladys Bikes is a lovely shop in a great location with a wonderful owner and mission worth supporting. Check out the accessories and awesomeness in the space just behind Ristretto next time you’re riding by, and in the meantime, you can check out and LIKE Leah’s shop on facebook, and attend her clinic “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Bike (But Were Afraid to Ask) on 10/17 @6:30pm at the shop.

Keep pedaling, supporting local Lady-run businesses, and enjoying the ride, Ladies!

XOXO

NEW BIKE SALES OUTPACE NEW CAR SALES IN VAST MAJORITY OF EUROPE

Ladies, Ladies everywhere! (…and Lady-lovers, too!)

According to a recently release study from Europe, of 27 different countries where data is recorded, 23 have seen bicycle sales outpace new steel-box sales. Only Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Ireland saw the inverse.

While some attribute the sales to shifting behavior patterns related to the recession, this data has been trending towards two-wheels since 2000. The shift was potentially fueled by post-recession lifestyle changes, and shows no signs of stopping.

Huzzah!

More from TheGuardian:

Bike sales exceeded those for cars in all but 4 of the 23 European countries we looked at (those were Italy, Spain, Belgium and Ireland). The biggest gap was in the UK where in 2011, 1.3 million more new bikes were sold than new cars were registered.

So many Ladies! So much more street livability!!

So many Ladies! So much more street livability!!

Two-wheels trending upward, much like  the splendidness of the streets where Ladies ride :)

Two-wheels trending upward, much like the splendidness of the streets where Ladies ride :)

More people are choosing two-wheels for more trips, and the industry boom is creating jobs and revenue across the globe. Fabulous for the economy, connecting communities, and increased daily joy.

Keep riding, encouraging your friends to ride, and smiling as we pedal toward Fall, Ladies!

XOXO

 

LADYGYVER: TIP #1, THE ESSENTIAL HAIR TIE

I’ve discovered over the past several years some repurposing, rethinking, reusing, and DIY-able loveliness for the daily Lady (& Lady-lover) commuter.

I’ll be sharing these tidbits and tips in my new segment “LadyGyver”. And if you think you have a tip worth sharing, contact us through the “why I ride” section of the website and we’ll share you’re ingenuity with the world!

Essential LadyGyver item: The Hair Tie

Essential LadyGyver item: The Hair Tie

LADYGYVER TIP #1: The Essential Hairtie

A Lady is always prepared. And a hair tie can prove one of the most useful preparation tools to carry atop two-wheels! I just leave it around my wrist when not in use, but you can also leave one or two lassoed to your handlebars, just incase. In a pinch, a rubber band can also do the trick!

-HAIRTIE AS LEG STRAP: In the Fall and Winter, I leave my hair down to cover my ears (if it’s long enough) so I don’t need ear warmers, and use the hairtie as a leg-strap to keep my pant leg out of my chain. I can then pull my hair back upon arrival at my destination. Lovely :)

-HAIRTIE AS LIGHT HOLSTER: No place to attach your rear light when you’re wearing a dress/borrowing a bike/some-other-reason-it-won’t-stay-on-your-bike? Use your hair tie to tie your hair low on your scalp, and clip your rear light to the elastic band . Voila! Instant visibility.

Hair contained? Check. Blinky light attached and visible? Ci! Fabulous!

Hair contained? Check. Blinky light attached and visible? Ci! Fabulous!

-HAIRTIE AS BUNGEE CORD: Need to attach, well, anything to your rack/basket/person? Hairties are great, flexible lassoing tools in a pinch.

REMOVE PARKING, ADD BIKE LANES, SALES INCREASE 400%*

But if you take our parking, you’ll destroy our businesses! Our customers NEED to PARK!

Anytime improving street access for lovely Ladies (and Lady-lovers) and/or Ladies who walk involves reclaiming street space originally dedicated to steel boxes, or to storing private property on publicly funded land (aka parking), the outcry from “business” becomes deafening. Here in Portland, it’s the PBA (whose members do not truly represent all small business owners throughout Portland), nationally it’s the Chamber of Commerce (a lobbying group comprised of large corporations, NOT small business owners. And NOT a governmental agency despite the deceptively official name).

Well someone finally decided to test this outdated steel-box parking=$$ theory, and guess what? It’s poppycock!

More from TheAtlantic:

Rowe collected city data on taxable retail sales in the corridor before and after the bike lane on 65th Street went into place. He compared the 65th Street sales figures to those generated by a similar retail corridor where no changes had been made to the street, and also to the sales made by retailers in the entire neighborhood. What he found isn’t exactly subtle…

After the city removed 65th Street’s 12 parking spots and striped a bike lane there instead, the sales index in the corridor exploded 400 percent. Now keep in mind that Rowe didn’t have the experimental controls to say that the bike lane caused the increase — some other factor may have played a greater or contributing role — but it’s quite safe to say business didn’t suffer from it.

To make sure 65th Street wasn’t a fluke, Rowe also looked at a lane installed in the Greenwood district…

Rowe says the unequivocal takeaway is that bike lanes have no ‘negative impact’ on retailers:

‘Looking at the data, one conclusion can clearly be made, these bicycle projects did not have a negative impact on the business districts in both case studies. This conclusion can be made because in both case studies the business district at the project site performed similarly or better than the controls.

Want to see the graph for 65th street? Check it out. Everything after the green stripe is economic activity after bike lanes were installed:

Hmm... that looks like a bit of an increase.

Hmm… that looks like a bit of an increase.

I notice the temporary decrease, too, as perhaps a transitional period as Ladies and previously steel-boxed customers get used to the new infrastructure (or learn that it exists and start to use it). After that… wow.

In general, places where bike lanes take over parking perform the same or better (MUCH better) than neighboring areas. This happens for a lot of reasons, like more people meandering past business store-fronts rather than speeding by, streets becoming lower traffic and therefore more hospitable to Ladies who walk, therefore increasing foot-traffic in and around businesses, etc.

And of course there’s the additional loveliness-quotient increase as more Ladies (and Lady-lovers) take to the streets.

And this conclusion doesn’t stand alone. An additional study conducted in NYC also showed a lack of negative impact and a general positive correlation between expanded access for Ladies atop two-wheels & Ladies atop two-legs and increased economic activity.

And a witty-Lady side note: these studies focus on the “lack of negative impact” not because there isn’t an obvious POSITIVE impact: it’s because it is dicey, scientifically speaking, to claim exact causes. Most studies represent “correlations” (or trends with identifiable links), so research from awesomely intelligent Ladies (& Lady-lovers) wont usually go so far as to make an assertion of cause, but their language in these cases is generally PhD code for “more bikes = more business”.

So Ladies, when your city is thinking about adding more access to our streets, speak up and speak to your local businesses. Their impact will be positive if anything at all, and the benefit to Ladies and our neighborhoods is priceless.

Keep riding, stopping at little local shops, and changing the world, Ladies!

XOXO

Return to riding

Ahhh, scenery. One of many joyful jaunts atop two-wheels this summer!

Ahhh, scenery. One of many joyful jaunts atop two-wheels this summer!

Well hello, Ladies! Long-time no post!

Over here at TWAAL, we’ve had a summer packed with… well… everything, but as the crispness of mornings stirs memories of flaming foliage, cozy consuming sweaters, and 4pm sunsets, it’s finally time to settle into the grounding beauty of Fall.

Days get shorter, commutes get chillier, and tips for riding gracefully through the transition will be all up in this Lady’s posts! So will lovely gear suggestions, recipes to fuel your ride, livable streets news and commentary, ideas and wares for living simply, plus ideas for two-wheeled autumnal travel.

So Ladies – grab your skirts, tall socks, layering cardigan, beautiful boots, or whatever the fuck makes you smile while you pedal! It’s time for Fall riding.

Keep pedaling and enjoying life, Ladies! Looking forward to riding along with all of you :)

XOXO

“THE SUMMER BIKES TOOK CONTROL”: THE BICYCLIZATION OF URBAN AMERICA

Citibike rolls out 10,000 bikes, launching bikeshare for Ladies (and Lady-lovers) of the Big Apple. Chicago is slated for 4,000 in their initial bikeshare launch, and have already installed miles of new bike lanes. Indianapolis opens the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, a physically separated cycletrack and pedestrian walkway connecting five major cultural districts in the city center. The mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner, vocally advocates for increased biking and pushes through the conversion of Balboa Park, a former parking lot, into a car-free plaza.

Ladies (and Lady-lovers) are reshaping the urban landscape across the USA. And they're here to stay.

Ladies (and Lady-lovers) are reshaping the urban landscape across the USA. And they’re here to stay.

Two-wheels are ushering in a wave of livability and sensibility to an urban landscape typically dominated and divided by automobile-centric design, and the sea-change in cities across the US is now undeniable.

The rise of the bicycle through bikeshare and infrastructure implementation, against all odds and detractors, has taken hold, and it isn’t stopping anytime soon.

On Citibike in NYC:

The bottom line is that one contentious month since the launch of New York’s program — with riders as bad as they’ll ever be, and the blue paint without any sun-fading to tone down the gaudiness — the actual majority of New Yorkers love the bikes. Numbers released yesterday from Quinnipiac University showed overwhelming approval…

See also Copenhagenzine‘s graph of the typical timeline of “whining” around the launch of bike-share programs worldwide: a steady rise during the months preceding, followed by a precipitous drop to almost zero shortly after launch. The dissenting New Yorkers are not an original phenomenon. If precedent holds, they will fade…

No transport system is perfect, but bike-sharing is promising, and among the best we have.

And from the NYTimes article, The End of Car Culture:

…recent studies suggest that Americans are buying fewer cars, driving less and getting fewer licenses as each year goes by.

…things are converging which suggest that we are witnessing a long-term cultural shift…

Part of the explanation certainly lies in the recession, because cash-strapped Americans could not afford new cars, and the unemployed weren’t going to work anyway. But by many measures the decrease in driving preceded the downturn and appears to be persisting now that recovery is under way…

Demographic shifts in the driving population suggest that the trend may accelerate. There has been a large drop in the percentage of 16- to 39-year-olds getting a license, while older people are likely to retain their licenses as they age, Mr. Sivak’s research has found…

A study last year found that driving by young people decreased 23 percent between 2001 and 2009. The millennials don’t value cars and car ownership, they value technology…

[BILL FORD of Ford Motor Company proposed] partnering with the telecommunications industry to create cities in which ‘pedestrian, bicycle, private cars, commercial and public transportation traffic are woven into a connected network to save time, conserve resources, lower emissions and improve safety.’

The landscape is changing, Ladies, and this time of momentum (pun intended) for the joy of two-wheeled transport is an opportunity for inspiring projects and creation/extension of bike networks that are not only the best in the USA, but can set an example for what is possible to the rest of the world.

The first car-free downtown in the US? Uninterrupted bike thoroughfares connecting people to places they want to be and/or need to go? What if Broadway, a major route through the heart of Portland, was converted into a cycletrack and pedestrian plaza lined with shops, offices, and greenery? What all could this do for the city and its people?

So much is possible, and finally, the tides have turned in favor of Ladies and Lady-lovers all over the USA.

What do you want to see in your city?

Keep thinking big, riding, and changing the world, Ladies!

XOXO

TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT: WALKABILITY CREATES SUCCESS

Living next to the tram isn't the key to increasing transit use and developing areas around them. But a walkable "20 minute neighborhood" near here? Perfection!

Living next to the tram isn’t the key to increasing transit use and developing areas around them. But a walkable “20 minute neighborhood” near here? Perfection!

This Lady has had a thought when passing many an apartment complex lining the Max rail-lines in N Portland: the city has offered incentives for transit development projects (apartments and the like) right along the tracks, but who would want to live there? And why are so many of the projects still mostly empty?

The noise of the max, some of the crime that circulates around the stations… most Ladies would rather live a little ways away and enjoy riding to their destination (or riding two-wheels to the Max). Well, according to a planner from Berkeley, transit isn’t the key to transit-oriented development, it’s walkability.

From The Atlantic:

‘In these data, the lower auto ownership and use in TODs [transit oriented developments] is not from the T (transit), or at least, not from the R (rail), but from lower on- and off-street parking availability; better bus service; smaller and rental housing; more jobs, residents, and stores within walking distance; proximity to downtown; and higher subregional employment density.’

After modeling all the material, Chatman found that transit-oriented development did indeed have a positive impact on several measures of car dependency. When he drilled deeper into what TOD elements were most responsible for this benefit, however, proximity to rail didn’t carry its expected weight.

Take car ownership. Chatman found that it was 27 percent lower per capita in new housing near a rail station compared to new housing far from one. But once he controlled for housing type (rented or owned), neighborhood parking, and area bus stops, the significance of the rail station disappeared. Rail proximity was no longer linked to car ownership; instead, the scarcity of off-street parking was a powerful predictor.

…’Current sustainability policies are often quite focused on investing in rail and developing housing near rail stations. … Such a focus primarily on TODs to reduce greenhouse gases could miss the boat. These results suggest that a better strategy in many urban areas would be to incentivize housing developments of smaller rental units with lower on- and off-street parking availability, in locations with better bus service and higher subregional employment density.

Much like the presence of bike lanes alone does not make Ladies comfortable riding, plopping transit and apartments along a stretch of a city does not make people use it or want to live there. But quiet, low traffic streets? The ability to walk and ride atop two-wheels to the grocery store, shops, and work? All of these increase our use of the public realm, all of which makes us more likely to utilize transit if, say, the front axle is totally shot and one now has no upright two-wheels upon which to experience the glorious summers of Portland (purely hypothetical…), so a Lady may choose to walk and, for longer distances, hop on a local rail-line to get a bit further.

And, as always, re-purposing parking for other uses is one of the best ways to alter transit choices in the urban core. Reclaiming public space that is utilized for private storage of steel-boxes makes a lot of sense, and so do walkable neighborhoods. And all of this plus easy, intuitive bicycle infrastructure and adequate and speedy public transit? Sounds like a fabulous city of the future!

Keep walking, riding, and enjoying your neighborhoods, Ladies!

XOXO