Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sacramento Bee profile of multimodal bike commuter

Image of bicyclist Paul Dorn boarding the Amtrak Capitol Corridor in Sacramento
From the Sacramento Bee, 04.30.09:

Commuter: A 'multi-modal' journey

In 1992, Paul Dorn sold his car, which wouldn't be such a big deal, except he never bought another one. Now he has written a book showing others how to get by with less car use or no car use at all.

"The Bike to Work Guide: What You Need to Know to Save Gas, Go Green, Get Fit" (Adams Media, $7.95, 218 pages) focuses on helping the 57 million cyclists in the United States "extend the fun they have bicycling on weekends to their daily commute."

"I didn't set out to become a bike commuting expert. I had a modest goal of creating a Web site, and that led me to have an ongoing conversation with bicyclists," said Dorn.

Dorn is not a bike rider fixated on speed. He equips his touring-style bike with a rear rack. He usually rides wearing loose-fitting hiking shorts instead of tight-fitting Lycra. "People should ride whatever they are comfortable in and whatever suits their style," he said.

Asked his position on helmets, which are not legally required for adults, Dorn says, "I'm not one of these helmet-enforcement types. I'm not a bicycling advocate who accentuates the danger. I accentuate the fun. Bicycling is safe. More people die in bathtubs every year than riding a bike."

"There are so many people who ride bikes for recreation. The real challenge is to encourage them to ride it during the week, too. A lot of people get started for various reasons – to lose weight or improve their health or save the planet. But they persist with bike commuting because it's fun." (Read more.)
An overwhelming article in today's Sacramento Bee, by bicyclist and journalist Blair Anthony Robertson, with an impressive video by Andy Alfaro.

I'm glad my comment about "the ongoing conversation with bicyclists" made it through the editing process. By means of this blog and my website, I've been privileged to have an extensive dialogue with bicyclists and would-be bicyclists from around the world. Everything I know about bicycle commuting is the product of the comments readers have sent to me or left on this blog, and I've learned a great deal from the bicyclists in San Francisco, Davis, and Sacramento.

Let's hope this article encourages a few more folks to consider bicycle commuting.

Image: Andy Alfaro, Sacramento Bee.
Visit: Biking Journalist: Interview with Blair Robertson, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site

Friday, April 10, 2009

Velorution coming to Boston?

From the Boston Globe, 04.10.09:

Is Boston Ready For a Revolution?
Can Boston really go from being the worst city for bicycling to the best? The mayor and his spitfire bike czar think so, and they're determined to launch the biggest bike-share program in the country. But as one visit to Paris reveals, bike share is about more than cool racks and shiny two-wheelers...

I'm visiting Paris to see how its new bike-sharing program has transformed and energized the city. Boston is exploring the idea, and while plenty of bike fanatics and clean-air enthusiasts are ecstatic, a lot of others think it's lunacy, given that our street system is a mess, our drivers are maniacs, and our weather isn't exactly ideal for biking...

When I arrive, Paris is having a rare cold snap and there's a dusting of snow...Even as I'm trying to keep my legs from shaking in the cold, a steady stream of undeterred commuters rides by on Velib bikes...I walk down to get my bike. A green light blinks, telling me to pull it out of the locking system...I ride down the block. The bike is heavy but handles well.

Mayor Menino commutes to work on his bike some days. He's convinced Boston can be transformed by a sustained effort to get citizens out of cars and onto bikes. He is not alone. "Bike share would allow non-riders to get on a bike with a very minimal change to their lifestyle," says David Watson, executive director of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition. "Forty percent of car trips are within 2 miles of home. If bike share helps us shift just a small percentage of those trips to bikes, it will have a huge impact on our citizens' health, on the environment, and the vitality of our community."(Read more.
A writer for a major daily newspaper visits Paris, and is impressed by the city's innovative Velib program and imagines how it might transform Boston. He's not alone. The success of Velib has attracted significant attention, and inspired initial efforts in many cities.

Image: Boston Globe.
Visit: Boston Tries to Shed Longtime Reputation as Cyclists’ Minefield, New York Times
Visit: Bike-Sharing Blog
Visit: Boston improves as a bike city, Boston Globe
Visit: Bike sharing sweeps Europe, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Boston: Paths to safe cycling, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Josh Switzky Interview, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site