Amy Walker, cofounder of Momentum Magazine which chronicals and inspires urban bike culture, has now edited and published a collection of writing that mines the how and why cycling is changing people’s lives. “On Bicycles: 50 Ways the New Bike Culture Can Change Your Life” inspires a better world by the simple act of riding your bike. Ask for the book at your local independent book store – it is a must read! Here’s a excerpt of an interview with GreenMuze and Amy:
This book is about ways that bicycles can change people’s lives. Why do you think people’s lives need to change?
In 2006 the film An Inconvenient Truth made the issue of climate change a topic of discussion at dinner tables across mainstream America. With such clear and incontrovertible evidence that human activity is a threat to our own survival and to the well being of all the diverse and amazing life forms with whom we share this planet, we have the choice to ignore the facts or to do whatever we can to reduce the environmental impact of our lives. We can do this by living more simply. Biking for transportation is one way to take a load off the environment – and have a lot of fun while doing it. Since people’s lives are always changing anyway, my interest is to shed light on a path for positive change that I have found to be effective and joyful.
If bicycling is so great, why isn’t everyone doing it already?
Everyone is not bicycling already because our cities and suburbs were designed around cars and favor automobile drivers so it’s not always possible or feasible to make bike trips to work, school, shopping, etc., given the distances between these destinations, the quality of the road space and surface, and the traffic patterns which currently exist.
Though many cities are bikeable, there is some planning and re-engineering which must occur to make our North American communities truly bikeable. Where this is being done, you’ll see the cycling population rising. Where it is not being done, you’ll see people forced to rely on automobiles for their transportation. In many cities, towns and suburbs there are not even safe ways to walk from home to a variety of destinations. The 20th century obsession with automobiles created suburban sprawl and rights of way that only accommodate cars. Cyclists need safe, continuous networks of bikeable roadway (shared with cars) bike lanes, or multi-use paths. Read More
Something like a bike race, more like a phenomenon – a motley brand of cyclists to shun the convenience of multiple gears, that favor beer over Gatorade as their performance enhancing beverage and dress up in somewhat deranged semi-cycling attire more appropriate for the final throes of an all night drinking binge during Mardi Gras. A race where the winner is sometimes the first person to cross the finish line on a bike or maybe even decided by a final Go-Kart race between the top finishers. An event esteemed with tradition, most notably the top finisher for the guys and girls get a tattoo instead of a trophy and the location of the next year’s event is determined by an eclectic assortment of contests which over the years have ranged from horizontal bungee, to American Idol -esque contests, to basketball games, drinking relays or even herding a squad of recalcitrant sheep through a couple of gates. Anybody can sign up and participate, so long as they use a one geared bike – and every year this event draws a surprisingly competitive crowd of athletes (even if they are dressed like aardvarks) with riders like Adam Craig, Carl Decker, Kelli Emmet and Marla Steb having been dubbed SSW champions in years past.
The 2011 SSWC took place in Ireland with a local rider Niall Davis getting crowned with the prized tattoo on his left buttock and Heather Holmes from USA winning the women’s side and getting the tattoo on her left tricep. Check out the SSWC ’11 Facebook page for a glimpse into some of the debauchery, chaos and bike piles that occurred.
After 5 fierce rounds of competition including air guitar, salsa dancing, hula hoop, and Riverdance – South Africa was proudly awarded the opportunity to host 2012′s SSWC in their country.
Stay tuned for sign ups.
Beyond making our lights in the USA, we do everything we can to reduce our environmental impact, from waste reduction to encouraging our employees to bike to work. So we’re excited that CoolCalifornia.org just gave us their Small Business Award.
More info after the break.
This is the message that we can support together when I ride to DC with Tim Johnson’s Ride on Washington for the National Bike Summit.
This is the organization that we support through donations to The Bikes Belong Foundation in conjunction with the ride to the summit.
Bikes Belong is one of the most effective non-profits in America. It manages to convert every dollar it receives into $1,800 in government funding for bike paths, bike lanes, bike programs and bike facilities. Visit www.bikesbelong.org for more information.
With your help, I hope to raise $1,000 for Bikes Belong. http://www.mmcyclist.com/2011/02/18/bikes-belong/ Together, the participants of Bike On Washington have set a goal of raising $100,000. Bikes Belong can convert these funds into $180 million in government funding. This funding promotes initiatives and programs in communities across the nation that provide access to the necessary resources that allow each of us to ride our bikes safely.
Please visit my fundraising page to learn more and make a donation:
Thanks in advance for your (as always!) incredible generosity.
The Los Angeles Times published a story today on the Ghost Bicycles that have been haunting cities across the globe. Bicycles painted white and sometimes decorated are positioned at the scene of a tragic bicycle accident – A “dignified and somber” memorial to serve as a reminder to cars, cyclists and pedestrians to look out for each other.
In New York, the practice began in 2005 after 28-year-old Elizabeth Padilla died beneath the wheels of an ice cream delivery truck in Brooklyn. It was started two years earlier in St. Louis, where volunteers began erecting ashy white bikes to remember fallen cyclists. Now, there are ghost bikes in as many as 134 cities in 35 states and 21 countries, according to http://www.ghostbikes.org, which tracks the activities of the volunteer groups that maintain the bicycles.
Some have questioned whether the practice actually intimidates other cyclists given the grim nature of the reminder. The New York City Street Memorial Project, “believe[s] that drawing attention to unsafe conditions and advocating for better cycling amenities, as well as uniting the cycling community around these issues, is the best way to encourage new cyclists. Ghost bikes don’t create unsafe streets; they remind everyone that initiating safer streets is a collective act and requires participation of all street users. They also make visible the cost of ignoring traffic justice issues.”
Some cities have even made an issue of these bikes, claiming they are “eyesores” and should be removed after a period of time. This brought about some headlines in Washington where the cities stand was met with resistance from family members and supporters of the Ghost Bike tributes.
When it comes down to it, just about any one of us could be in the wrong place at the wrong time and these bikes are subtle tribute to all cyclists and the unfortunate risks they have when they share the road with other cars. So, let’s be safe out there all you bicycle people.
Light & Motion sponsored athlete Rebecca Rusch wins the 2010 Leadville 100 setting a new time record for the women and beating her winning time of last year by 27 mins. Congrats Rebecca! Check out the new video produced by Specialized on her 2010 win.
Big choir, 6 stunt bikers and 3 beatboxers and only 4 weeks preperation time with a cast & crew of over 160 people.
The Bicycle Portraits project was initiated by Stan Engelbrecht and Nic Grobler early in 2010. Whenever they can, together or separately, they’re on the lookout for fellow commuters, and people who use bicycles as part of their everyday work, to meet and photograph. They’re finding out who rides bicycles, why they ride bicycles, if and why they love their bicycles, and of course why so few South Africans choose bicycles as a transport option. There is no specific range of questions asked, they’d rather just establish a conversation around the rider’s life and where his or her bicycle fits into it.
If you’ve never seen footage of the Copenhagen people riding bikes during rush hour – get ready – it’s quite a site, as nearly 38% of all transportation trips in Copenhagen are done by bike. With plenty of safe, bicycle infrastructure (including hundreds of miles of physically separated cycletracks) its no wonder that you see all kinds of people on bikes everywhere. 55% of all riders are female, and you see kids as young as 3 or 4 riding with packs of adults.
Post via Streetfilms
Oakland, California’s Scraper Bike Project has done amazing work to give kids a positive outlet that promotes the green movement through customizing bikes. Founded in 2007 by 20-year-old Tyrone Stevenson (aka Baby Champ), the project has engaged over 250 youths in building, repairing, and customizing bikes. The name “Scraper” comes from the slang for custom painted, low-rider cars with over-sized rims so large that they sometimes brush the wheel well. These Oakland kids may not be able to own an expensive, tricked-out gas guzzler, but Stevenson’s intention is to enable then to have the same empowerment and artistic expression by customizing a more sustainable mode of transportation.
The Scraper Bike Project invites Oakland residents as young as 7 years old to customize their bike using upcycled materials like candy wrapper and soda cans. But in order to be eligible to remain in the crew, the member must keep a 3.0 Grade Point Average and follow bike safety rules, such as riding single file. Once a rider has ridden their bike ten times with the crew, Stevenson, known also as the Scraper Bike King, and his “Captains” can decide if the two-wheeler is up to par, or if it needs more creative flare.
A viral Youtube video (with almost 3 million views) featuring local rap group Trunk Bois has helped the project gain notoriety and funding to purchase bike parts for the crew. The Scraper Bike crew also has generated publicity by rallying for rides against gun violence or other initiatives that promotes healthier lifestyles. Stevenson has been invited by universities to speak about motivating youth culture, and was also named the “ Best Green Transport Innovator” by the East Bay Express. Most recently, the Scraper Bike project was shortlisted for the NAU Grant for Change.
“Oakland has been taken over by scraper bikes,” says Stevenson. The media has been paying attention too. Sharing the crew’s interest in tinkering, Make Magazine and Instructables covered the project, and the crafting of Scraper Bikes has spread internationally. “There’s people from literally across the world making these bikes, from Portland, Oregon, to Japan to Australia to Jamaica.”
Stevenson has bigger plans for Scraper Bikes as the non-profit evolves. In a video interview, he speaks passionately about his vision for a green-tech education facility and bike shop headquartered in Oakland. With the project’s green innovation, and guerrilla marketing as effective as critical mass, we think this dream is not too far off.