Is cycling a sign of gentrification?

Living in the city of San Francisco in 2015, you are constantly confronted with issues of class struggle and gentrification.  In most parts of the city the rent you’d pay for 1 month in a 1 bedroom apartment could buy you a functional used car elsewhere in the country (or one hell of a nice bike). I also happen to live in a neighborhood that was, until recently, one of the most affordable (relatively) in the city. As a predominately African American community, this puts the area directly in the crosshairs of everything potentially bad about gentrification and displacement. Lots of new people moving in, demanding change. Lots of established families that have been in the neighborhood for generations feeling pushed out both socially and economically.

It is against this backdrop that I came face to face with an issue that at first seemed completely unfathomable for me: for many, cycling is a sign of gentrification. Keep reading →

Washington State Still #1 According to Report

600px-WTO_protests_in_Seattle_November_30_1999Ahhhh Washington. The state where white cops spray pepper spray at white protesters. Birthplace of Starbucks, popularizer of flannel shirts, and home to some wicked volcanos (And this post is going out just days before May 18th coincidentally.) And despite the persistent yet very inaccurate impression that it rains there non-stop, it has spent 7 consecutive years on top of the list of bike friendliest states published by the League of American Bicyclists. Keep reading →

Do you know exactly who the highways were built for?

15pr34-1“Hey – do you know who the highways were built for?!?!”

It has always been a source of contention in the debates over how to allocate road space. “Roads are made for cars,” “Motorists pay the taxes that build our roads,” and “Why should I have to pay for infrastructure for cyclists” are among the many complaints that are made about the allocation of transportation funds in our municipalities. I’m going to avoid the tax issue for the moment (planning on a much longer post about that in the future.) Besides, many others have taken this issue on already.

I would like to address the idea of who roads were actually built for. And interestingly enough it would seem that the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) has some thoughts on the matter themselves. Keep reading →

Another bike month is here

Ah the month of May….

The flowers return from a long winter’s absence (if there is any water left), the sun is appearing (if it actually every went away), fans flock to baseball games (if allowed) and numerous employees are encouraged, berated, bribed and pressured into throwing a leg over a bike to get to work. That’s right folks – May is bike month. And while I’ve made fun of it before, you gotta love it.

I will say this though. My current hometown of San Francisco definitely seems to embrace the event whole heartedly. Sure, many of the local bicycle advocacy groups continue to use fear of death and dismemberment as their primary means to gain political power and thus “improve cycling.” But despite what some might like to say, this city is pretty damn supportive of cyclists.

Which has lead me to be a whole lot less cynical about this particular May as compared to every bike month prior. What have I really noticed? Well, aside from folks weaving all over the bike lane at 10 miles per hour, unstable on the bike they haven’t ridden since last May*, I’ve noticed something a lot more wonderful. Clusters of folks with bikes , pulled off on the sidewalks and out of the way, smiling, chatting. Phrases like “Oh – you rode today too?” and “Oh hey – what a great bike” flowing forth from smiling lips.

Ah the month of May.

 

For the record, I have no problem getting stuck behind these folks. I would never want to deny anyone the joy of rediscovering the simple pleasure of riding a bike. I just may chose NOT to upload that particular commute to Strava….

Attacking Bike Thieves

bait_bike_stickerBike thieves suck. Plain and simple.

A recent article on Gawker tells the story of one unique approach to the problem – public shame and fear. But does this approach actually work?

San Francisco Police Department has been using this approach for some time now in full force. Part of their active approach involves the deployment of bait bikes – bikes locked up around the city with GPS tracking devices in them. This program has been coupled with a PR campaign run in conjunction with the nonprofit Safe Bikes in an attempt to erode the brazen attitude of serial bike thieves. Local cyclists have snapped up the free stickers, placing them on their personal bikes. This proliferation serves as a constant reminder to bike thieves of the presence of the bait bike program.

Only time (and statistics) will tell if these programs have an impact on the alarming number of bike thefts occurring here in San Francisco. Until then, of course, the best action to take is to learn how to protect yourself and your bicycle.

Pacifica woman to marry her bike

20140201145400-Semester_on_Cycle_generalI know… it sounds like one of those annoying meme-style headlines. “This Pacifica woman to marry her bike – and you won’t believe what the honey moon will be like!” But this is actually something that someone is actively promoting. I know that the anti-marriage equality crowd has been warning us for a while that gay marriage will lead to marrying animals – but marrying a bike? Well according to a campaign recently posted on indiegogo, that is exactly what Lisa Nelson is trying to do. Keep reading →

Do you know how to properly signal a right hand turn?

putthefun_sticker_white_smHand signals. We all use them when riding on the roads. Right? Right?!? But do you actually know how to do it properly?

Between now and noon Feb 1, I’ll be taking your answers to the following question. 3 random folks will be selected from the correct answers and get a complimentary “Put the fun between legs” sticker. Postage paid. $0.00 out of pocket. Just answer this question correctly: Keep reading →

Propaganda flows both ways

BTA-logoFolks familiar with my writings will know I have a bit of a flair for the dramatic. JustAnotherCyclist has always been an OpEd platform. However, one thing I’ve always tried to maintain is a link with the truth. It is possible to make dramatic statements without distorting the truth. However, it can be all too easy to slide on the wrong side of that divide. That is why I was unfortunately not surprised to hear of the Oregon Department of Transportation taking issue with some facts recently stated by Oregon bicycle advocacy group Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Keep reading →

I think Scion is afraid of hipsters

I ran across this commercial the other day while watching some drivel on TV:

I was immediately struck by the very prominently displayed bicycle line drawing art (which I now want by the way.) I did find myself wondering “Why in the heck would the advertisers do that?” As an urban cyclist, I more often view the bicycle as something to be used instead of a car. It reminded me of a MotorTrend article I had read recently examining the decline in car ownership in the younger generations: Keep reading →

Cyclists always have the right of way?

Craig Kelly
Craig Kelly

Lawyers are a highly educated bunch – right? I mean, when they make a statement of law they know what they are talking about (goes the common wisdom). So boy was I excited when I read the following, written by a Nebraska Attorney:

Bicyclists always have the right of way […in Bellevue, Nebraska]

Really? Someone from Nebraska – tell me it’s true! Keep reading →