Tag Archives: bicycles

Naked Bike Ride | Demotix.com

Photos from London of the annual Naked Bike Ride – nominally held worldwide, though the date shifts to something a bit more summery in the Southern Hemisphere – on Demotix.com. Joe Bob Briggs says check it out:

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More Ideas: Transportation

Everybody gets so much information all day long
that they lose their common sense.
~ Gertrude Stein

Some discussions, ideas and scientific discoveries from around the internet with implications for transportation…

Every (Ash) Cloud has a Silver Lining

Eyjafjallajökull’s eruption could transform the economics and politics of Europe: Already, the events of the last several days have revealed that we rely on air travel for far more things than we usually imagine. Things like supermarkets—all that fresh fruit—and florists. Things like symphony performances, professional soccer matches, and international relations. In fact, “European integration,” as we have come to understand it, turns out to be utterly dependent on reliable air travel. (via Slate.)

Andrew Simms – 79 months and counting …: Eyjafjallajökull provided a glimpse of a possible future in which the aviation industry’s wings have been clipped [….]

Within hours, airports all over Europe were closing as if giant master switch for the aviation industry had been flicked to off. Why? Fine dust from the vast billowing cloud thrown up by the volcano was lethal to modern jet engines. Planes that had flown through similar clouds in the past had suffered terrifying, nearly disastrous losses of power. For days Europe was grounded. ‘Five miles up the hush and shush of ash/ Yet the sky is as clean as a white slate,’ wrote the poet Carol Ann Duffy.

One of the main arteries of the modern world – cheap, ubiquitous air travel – was suddenly cut. What happened next was revelatory, and possibly a glimpse of a future world in which both climate change and strictly limited oil supplies have clipped the industry’s wings…. (via Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.)

People came up with a variety of methods of coping with the transportation chaos created by the grounding of so much plane travel following the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Monty Python’s John Cleese took what some people were calling the most expensive cab ride in history.

But this is neither an option available to most people, nor a sustainable practice. And we certainly couldn’t transport all those cut flowers from Africa to the tables of Europe in taxis. As a better alternative, let me suggest…

Bring back blimps!: The New York Times asked me and three other people the following question: ‘The Icelandic volcano that disrupted global air travel last week raised a concern: should we be thinking of alternative ways to move masses of people and goods?’ My answer: bring back blimps (and dirigibles).

Their large surface area and inherent buoyancy mean they can be run with solar-powered motors, making them eco-friendly. They can take off and land without a runway, which means they can load and unload passengers almost anywhere (no more airports!). (via Boing Boing.)

Funnily enough, I’ve read a number of science fiction novels recently in which blimps are used as a regular form of transportation – including Red Mars, Antarctica, Dark Light, and The Windup Girl. In the latter, they and technologically sophisticated sailing ships are the primary means of long-distance travel in a world devastated by “both climate change and strictly limited oil supplies.”

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CatEye Commuter – A Carbon Footprint Fail

Wired Magazine‘s “Spring Test 2010” roundup of the latest gadgets for geeks and toys for tycoons includes a new kind of bicycle computer that will not only compute your travel time, but also the amount of CO2 emissions you’ve saved by bicycling rather than driving.

Fail.

On a couple of counts. First, if I were going to have some sort of trip computer on my bicycle, I’d want one with GPS and links to optimal bicycle routes, as well as all the standard features you expect from bicycle trip computers – in addition to these time and CO2 features.

But more importantly, this CO2 emissions calculator would only make sense to me if it included in its calculations all the CO2 involved in producing, packaging, shipping and powering this useless piece of consumerist gimcrackery.

Nerdy Number Cruncher Makes Biking a Blast

There are two pressing questions every bike commuter faces: How long until I get there? And how self-righteous should I feel? CatEye’s new Commuter bike computer answers both.

Program in your trip distance, and the Commuter uses current speed to calculate your ETA. Slow down and watch the number and progress bar grow. Speed up and you’ll know how much time you can waste in GameStop on the way to work.

As for quantifying self-righteousness, the Commuter tells you how much CO2 you’re keeping out of the atmosphere by not driving. Using 2008 averages for gas-powered cars as a baseline, the unit calculates how much CO2 you would have produced for the distance you’ve pedaled. It gives you totals for the day, week, month, year and life of the computer.

(via CatEye Commuter | Wired.com Product Reviews.)

The Revolution Will Not Be Motorized

Gil Scott-Heron‘s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” [listen / info] was right on when it came out – and still is – but I like to think that if he were writing it today, instead of singing “The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat,” Gil might have sang “The revolution will put you in the bicycle seat.” Or something cool and witty about bicycles at any rate.

Bicycles were already a pretty big thing in the Bay Area, and had been for a long time, when I left San Francisco for Europe in 2002 to escape the odious and oppressive atmosphere of post-9/11 Fortress America. While I was gone though, some sort of tipping point seems to have been reached – so many bicyclists, so many bike businesses, so much bike awareness – and bicycle culture became a major, widespread feature of San Francisco life, a player in the San Francisco scene. Continue reading