Tuesday, October 4, 2011

China Discovers the Joy of Leisure Cycling

Long accustomed to cycling as a means of quick and cheap transportation, Beijing's denizens are only just beginning to learn of the pleasures of recreational and competitive riding.

Via AFP:
Riding bikes as a sport is a new phenomenon in China, where many people prefer buying cars as a symbol of wealth and status.

"More and more people are involved in riding bicycles as a sport rather than a way of getting around," said Zheng Peidong from the National Bicycle Quality Control Centre, a government body that tests bikes.
The trend looks set to continue as the Chinese capital readies itself to host riders from around the world at the inaugural, five-day Tour of Beijing tomorrow.

China: Bicycle Races Are Coming Your Way

I could not think of a more appropriate music video to share in honor of the first Tour of Beijing (which commenced today):


I am certain that there is no better song about cycling!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cycling a Boon to the British Economy

I was just reading about Britain's 10th annual Cycle Show -- which kicked off yesterday in the city of Birmingham -- and was astounded to learn that cycling is worth a whopping £3 (or $4.67) billion to the UK economy per year. This figure is based on a report put out in August by the London School of Economics (LSE).

Over one million people started riding last year, bringing the number of cyclists in the UK to 13 million -- nearly a quarter of the total population.

from The Independent:
The success of Britain's elite cyclists is credited with fuelling the boom. Team GB won eight cycling gold medals at the Beijing Olympics and Cavendish became the first British cyclist to win the sprinters' green jersey at this year's Tour de France.

But increasingly that interest is filtering through to Birmingham and streets and B-roads across the country, which is beginning to adopt a cycling culture more common on the Continent.
Read the LSE press release (includes key report details)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Scantily-Clad Young Women on Bicycles!


Relax folks, it's art.

Earlier this month in Hong Kong, up-and-coming London-based artist INSA unveiled his first photo set from an "ongoing public installation project" simply titled "Girls on Bikes."

A brief synopsis from his own website:
Working with volunteer models, bikes (INSA’s current preferred icon of commodified culture), and large scale painted walls INSA creates momentary installations in public spaces.
In this set of photographic works INSA orchestrates a conflicting dialogue between all the elements and explicitly subordinates the value of his own street art to both the possessed object of the bike and the overtly sexualized female presence. Thus questioning our individual perceptions of ownership of public space, of sexuality and of belonging(s).
For more on INSA, read about the "racy artistry" of a Tate Britain commission from last year and watch a related interview with the anonymous artist.

(photo via cult/riot)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

NYC Plans Major Bike-Share Program

Last week, the New York City DOT announced the details of the city's much anticipated bicycle sharing program. Alta Bicycle Share, Inc. will administer the program, which will see 10000 communal bikes hit the streets of all five boroughs sometime next summer. The Portland-based kicked launched North America's first such program with Capital Bikeshare in Washington in 2008.

From WSJ:
Promoting cycling has been a top priority of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Transportation Commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan.

The initiative faces several hurdles -- from finding a corporate sponsor to finding locations agreeable to neighborhoods and the city's Public Design Commission.

But if all goes to plan, city officials said about 600 kiosks holding a few locked bikes each would eventually be in place, starting in the middle of 2012. Once a user pays -- either through an annual membership fee or a one-time charge -- a bike is released. It can be returned at any station.
This past spring, I had the pleasure of attending Pratt Institute's graduation ceremonies, where Ms. Sadik-Khan delivered an excellent commencement address. She spoke enthusiastically about the ambitious PlaNYC goals, and I came away truly impressed by her seemingly genuine commitment to enhancing New York's cycling infrastructure. Looks like she's delivering on this front.

Gothamist has more details.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Départ

I love cycling and I love writing. Much time and energy is spent indulging these twin passions, so it was only a matter of time before I undertook a project like this. Since I believe autumn to be the finest time of year to ride, and I thought that today would be an appropriate time to launch this blog.

I plan to use this space to share relevant news items, personal reflections and other bicycle-related miscellanea with those of my ilk. I may occasionally wax poetic about a particularly beautiful machine or an especially pleasurable ride, but I'll try to stop before approaching the point of fetishizing (a commonly-observed element of the online discourse of bike geeks).

NB: This blog is named as it is because I had tremendous difficulty finding an appropriate Blogger subdomain that was not already claimed. No association with Stefani Germanotta was intended.