A companion site (THE PRACTICAL CYCLIST) is home to
genuinely practical information about using bikes for transportation.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Power Up at Rock the Bike

Summer is for outdoor music and fun, and Rock the Bike has gone way over the top by creating The Biker Bar, a cycle-powered power source.

With 300 Watts of average power and the headroom to reach 1000 Watt peaks, you can run a respectable Pedal Powered Stage that gets 500 people dancing at a music festival, including mains, monitors, mixer, and a decent amount of lighting, too. And you can easily haul it all there on the Biker Bar. We're still experimenting with other applications and will post more of our findings soon.
Oh, and you can take it with you, and your dog too. Can't do that at the club.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Compressed Air Car: No Hot Air Here

French auto engineer Guy Negre has developed a car powered by compressed air. Good idea, I think: efficiency similar to electric vehicles, but no batteries, faster refuelling, and (my favorite part) they run COLD, like ice build-up cold, so you get free A/C. Reported in The Gaurdian.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Biking Rules

It sure does. But we still have to follow the rules... thus a new program from Transportation Alternatives (TA) called, no surprise, Biking Rules. The guiding principle is deceptively simple:

Hither-to-now this position has been sorely overlooked by bicyclers. We, as bicyclists, should reject excuses for breaking the law. If we do break the law, we should accept the consequences. This is tantamount to non-violent resistance. The abuse of power will expose its own injustices, as it has in the past.

In the meanwhile, we can comfort ourselves with the serenity that comes from living a modestly unified ethos: treat others as you treat yourself; treat yourself as you treat others; both with respect, particularly in the face of adversity or animosity.

Ride with ruthless pragmatism and radical acceptance. Here's how it breaks down, as far as TA is concerned:

PEDESTRIANS RULE Pedestrians always have the right of way. PERIOD.

CROSSWALKS Leave crosswalks free and clear for safe walking. A bike in the crosswalk can take up as much space as a car. (Law: VTL §1231)

CLAIM A LANE Claim space on the street, not the sidewalk. We know we hate it when cars drive in bike lanes. (Law: AC § 1976)

RIDE RIGHT Ride in the direction of traffic. When we're on bicycles, we ARE traffic! And it is safer for everyone else on the street. (Law: VTL §1231)

UNTANGLE INTERSECTIONS No one can see how good-looking our bikes are if we speed through intersections. And new cyclists will be following our example. Take a break and relax at red lights. (Law: VTL §1231)

LIGHTEN UP Don't be invisible. Front and rear lights are our eyes to the world at night and make us bigger and brighter on the street. (Law: VTL §1236)

SOUND OUT Having a bell lets people know we are approaching and it's fun to make some noise! Give your bike bling some ring. (Law: VTL §1236)

HELMET HEAD RULES Bike brains are beautiful, and NYC needs them if we are ever going to convince more people to ride a bike! Learn to love that helmet hair.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thinking about an XTRACYCLE?

Get one! You won't regret it, not for a minute. Xtracycle, Inc., has a spankin' new website, good for the checking out. Also, they sent a plea, so to speak, to "not hold back" on Xtra-pruchases:

A Humble Request

We here at Xtracycle are proud of all the changes we've seen in the last year - for our company, our community, our country. But sometimes that pride gets in the way of being true to the fact that we are still a company that has employees, an office, and a warehouse full of stuff (even a forklift!) - and all of these wonderful things cost money.

The recent economic slowdown has affected our distributors, our retailers, and in the last few months we've felt it as well. We are proud, but we should be honest too. We need your support. We need your business, and we need it now. We are committed to make it through tough times stronger, more resilient, and focused on the goal of building bikes that change lives. And we also have to pay the bills. Purchasing Xtracycle products, right now, will keep all of us healthy and strong.

Help us sell 100 Xtracycles by the end of may - we all know someone who will benefit from becoming an Xtracycle owner. We'll keep you posted on our progress each day - check our blog for updates. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve you. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve you.

Xtracycle - The Original Longtail Company

If your family has more than one car, ditch one in favor of a cargo bike. It will pay off twice over by the end of the year, and you'll be happier and healthier to boot. Like Han Solo says,

Trust me.

Bike there, with directions: