Monday, November 30, 2015

Annoyed Guy

Riding around on the island, I chased this beautiful bike down–an English Pashley. The guy riding it didn't seem enthused about me harassing him for a picture nor did he care what bike he was riding but hey, that's "Palm Beach" for you. Seen him a couple more times since. Happy Monday
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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Art Bike @Canvas

CANVAS WPB was an event here in West Palm where artists painted on various walls throughout the downtown area. The Sunday that it concluded, we had a special bike ride with 70+ people who came out to see all the murals and hear us give a brief description. Cool to have more things to show out-of-town friends! Now all we need is a craft brewery and a legit bike shop...

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Monday, November 23, 2015

London Beer and Bikes

Met up with this awesome cycling group and they gave me a local's tour around London through the city centre, Olympic Park where the Olympic velodrome still is in active use, and up and around Greenwich Park where I got to straddle the Meridian line. That almost 900-ft climb up the hill was brutal but it gave the best view of London. Lots of bikes and lots of beer!

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The Crew

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This guy in the tshirt is crazy

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Olympic velodrome

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Got rained on

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cycling in London

London has a long and special relationship with the bicycle, or velocipede. It was a very unique experience figuring out how to ride on the "wrong" side of the road.

London doesn't have any cycle tracks per say but they do have bicycle highways, which are denoted by blue painting and usually called C-some number and they crisscross the city. Where they don't exist, the lanes vary in width, sometimes less than a foot of width. Most of the time, the cycle lanes blend into the bus lanes where they become very comfortably wide until there's a bus in the way. There's a love-hate relationship with the buses because they don't care about cyclists and just pull out whenever. They don't care about anyone really because they have to fight the traffic to make this mode of transport somewhat legit in the grand scheme of traffic in London.

In front of every traffic light, there are "bike boxes" that prioritize putting cyclists in a very visible, up-front position for the green light. In general, motorists were patient and respectful and everyone is expected to move promptly and swiftly. Traffic lights in London go Green-Yellow-Red and then Red-Yellow-Green, so as soon as that yellow light comes on, traffic begins to move forward from the red light and it gives everyone a chance to get up to speed without holding anyone up. And everyone stops for yellow lights just as promptly and respectfully. London seems more like Copenhagen with respect to traffic rules. Therefore, cycling in London didn't turn out to be as complicated or terrifying as I had initially thought. However it is noted that there are no separated cycle tracks and cycle lanes can be as wide as 10-12-feet where they blend with bus lanes, and as narrow as a foot, which makes it sketchy to ride and unnerving when enormous dump trucks barrel past you. Parks have specific paths where cycling is not allowed and understandably so, and various other multi-use paths have cycling "sections" denoted from the foot traffic to make it pleasant for all.

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Pedicabs racing each other

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Awesome cycling sculpture in front of the Gherkin in the business district

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TallyHo Cycling Tour where I got to ride around on a Pashley with two other visitors who happened to be from Ft. Lauderdale!

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Denoted cycling section on a multi-use foot path.

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Cycling in Hyde Park on an allowed path you still have to dodge pedestrians


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Experimentarium City

This was like a hands-on science museum on the harbour in Copenhagen. They have all sorts of interactive learning exhibits for kids and adults of all ages to engage in and have fun while learning. There were plenty of "cycling" activities as well.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Patience

Cyclists patiently waiting in Copenhagen for the light as pedestrians cross, cycling regardless of the weather. There is a lot of mutual respect between all street users as everyone waits their turn. Cyclists give way to pedestrians and cars give way to cyclists. This keeps everyone safe.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Monday, November 2, 2015

Copenhagen Cycle Chic

A couple of weeks ago I finally flew over to Copenhagen and I got to meet Mikael Colville-Andersen, founder of the original Copenhagen Cycle Chic blog and founder of his firm Copenhagenize which specializes in helping cities and municipalities around the world build proper cycling infrastructure, decrease their reliance on the automobile, and re-establish livability and democracy within their streets. Had awesome discussions about urbanism in general and potential projects here in downtown West Palm, hopefully the beginning of greater things. Our mayor and our Executive Director of our Downtown Development Authority, Raphael Clemente, had gone to Copenhagen a month prior on a grant from the Knight Foundation to meet with associates from Gehl Architects (who had a great influence in the design of the streetscape of Copenhagen) and other influential figures like Mikael to bring back ideas home of how to improve our downtown and put us on the global map. West Palm was one of a few cities invited to this because of our drive to really make it a livable city. It was amazing to engage once more in dialogue about it and really try to get something established for future work. I'm very grateful to Mikael for taking the time to meet with me and have a deep intellectual conversation that was thoroughly stimulating. And of course, had to ride around on the legendary city's cycle tracks and beautifully-built bridges, like the Cykelslangen and newly opened Cirkelbroen. Video to come soon!

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What I noticed immediately as a difference between Copenhagen and the city which holds my heart, Amsterdam, is that there seems to be a much less rampant theft problem? Bicycles are left everywhere, locked and unlocked. In Amsterdam this was true as well, however they were always stolen. Not sure how problematic it is for the Danes. They seem to be more respectful towards others' properties. However, someone stole an already-opened-and-drank-from water bottle out of my basket and left me a lovely empty Twix wrapper. Thanks Copenhagen...you're gross.

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Lots of "Special Snowflake" parking. Parking is a good problem to have in a City of Bicycles. There are plenty of signs warning people to not lock their bikes to the railings of a building. It's comical.
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And more special snowflake parking. This bike is a funny hack job though. It's got drop handlebars flipped upside down to use as swept back handlebars and the brakes are all weirdly positioned.

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Copenhagen is the city of the "Viking Biking" where people cycle no matter the weather. We have to not make excuses for not investing in cycling because of stupid reasons like the summer heat and humidity. They cycle in blizzards. If they can cycle in a blizzard, you can surely sweat a tiny, TINY bit. Investing in cycling infrastructure is giving everyone an equal footing and equal opportunity for efficient and cheap mobility. The hardcore cyclists will still cycle regardless but if we want the cycling numbers to increase, we have to invest in our cities. We have to invest in the health of our citizens and in their safety. We have to invest in caring about each other's lives. As Enrique Peñalosa, Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia once said, the life of a person on a $30 bicycle is equal to that of someone in a $30,000 car. And if we design our cities for our children, they will be wonderfully livable for all.