homeaboutarchives + tagsshopmembership!
aboutarchivesshopmembership!
aboutarchivesmembers!

kottke.org posts about bicycles

How Sevilla Became a Bicycle City in Just 18 Months

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 07, 2018

In just a few years, Sevilla, Spain went from almost no bike paths and low ridership to robust network of bike paths and many people using them. To do it, the ruling party used the positive results of a public poll to move quickly, annexing 5000 parking spots and spending a relatively meager €32 million to build 80+ kilometers of bike paths in just 18 months.

The year after the basic network opened, Calvo said, it seemed like every family in the city had suddenly bought one another bicycles for Christmas.

“Everyone was talking about the success of the bike lanes at that point,” he said. “The sports shops, they ran out of bikes. They needed to get bikes from Barcelona, from Madrid, and over from France.”

Once that happened, it became clear that the huge bike network investment had been a fiscal bargain.

“The whole network is €32 million,” he says. That’s how many kilometers of highway - maybe five or six? It’s not expensive infrastructure. … We have a metro line that the cost was €800 million. It serves 44,000 trips every day. With bikes, we’re serving 70,000 trips every day.”

How the safety bicycle changed the world

posted by Tim Carmody   Jul 09, 2018

early-ad-rover-safety-wikimedia-commons.jpg

This excerpt from Margaret Guroff’s history The Mechanical Horse focuses on the democratization of the bicycle at the end of the nineteenth century, as new designs made bikes more appealing to businessmen, children, and especially women.

In the 1890s, bikes got lighter as well as more comfortable. The average weight of a bicycle dropped by more than half during the decades first five years, falling from 50 pounds to 23. And since new gearings were able to mimic wheels larger than those of the largest Ordinary, speed records fell too. In 1894, while riding a pneumatic-tired safety around a track in Buffalo, New York, the racer John S. Johnson went a mile in just over one minute and thirty-five seconds, a rate of nearly thirty-eight miles an hour. He beat the previous mile record for a safety by fourteen seconds, and the record for an Ordinary by nearly a minute — and the record for a running horse by one-tenth of a second.

The Ordinary — which had by then acquired the derisive nickname of penny-farthing, after the old British penny and much smaller farthing (quarter-penny) coins — became obsolete. High-wheelers that had sold for $150 to $300 just a year or two earlier were going for as little as $10.

The first safeties, meanwhile, cost an average of $150 during a time when the average worker earned something like $12 a week. At such prices, the new bikes targeted the same upscale demographic as the tricycle. But a strong market for safeties among well-to-do women goosed production, and competition among manufacturers reduced prices, making the bikes affordable to more would-be riders and further fueling demand. In 1895, Americas 300 bicycle companies produced 500,000 safeties at an average price of $75, according to one encyclopedias yearbook. Even manufacturers were surprised at the demand among women, who thrilled to the new machines exhilarating ride. As one female journalist wrote, “If a pitying Providence should suddenly fit light, strong wings to the back of a toiling tortoise, that patient cumberer of the ground could hardly feel a more astonishing sense of exhilaration than a woman experiences when first she becomes a mistress of her wheel.”

Cool Ikea hack: make a bicycle out of a FROSTA stool

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 05, 2016

Ikea Bicycle

With just a few modifications, Samuel Bernier and Andreas Bhends made a working bicycle out of a pair of Ikea FROSTA stools.

(via @kellianderson)

How do bikes ride themselves?

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 01, 2015

Here’s something that I knew as a kid but had forgotten about: if you get a bike going on its own at sufficient speed, it will essentially ride itself. MinutePhysics investigates why that happens.

Interesting that the bike seems to do much of the work of staying upright when it seems like the rider is the thing that makes it work. (via devour)

1912 bike shop

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 10, 2010

1912 Bike Shop

The photo is of a Detroit bike shop circa 1912. View it large. Looks like there’s a few motorcycles in there and some records and record players.

Wooden bikes

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 10, 2008

Kevin Kelly highlights wooden bikes from around the world, including those from Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Philippines.

Hypocritical bicyclists

posted by Jason Kottke   May 05, 2008

Tim at Short Schrift, propelled into ranting by an article in the NY Times about NYC’s bike lanes, opines on grandstanding, law-breaking, holier-than-thou, hypocritical bicyclists.

Bicyclists drive me nuts. In Philadelphia, as in cities across this great country, bicyclists routinely flout the law, riding on the sidewalk when it’s convenient and holding up traffic in the street whenever possible. I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen a bicyclist at a stop sign or even a red light, or wait behind a car that is correctly stopped at such an intersection. Instead, the man or woman on the bicycle will weave between parked, stopped, and moving cars to gain a fractional advantage. Yet if an automobile so much as grazes a bicycle lane, all hell breaks loose.

Velocouture

posted by Jason Kottke   May 01, 2008

The Velocouture group on Flickr collects photographs of bicycle fashion fashion, on a bicycle. The best ones are of people who try to coordinate their outfits with their bikes. This gal is particularly fashionable. See also this NY Times slideshow.

I’ve got mixed feelings about NYC’s bikers.

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 08, 2006

I’ve got mixed feelings about NYC’s bikers. On the one hand, I wish there were bike lanes and secure, affordable bike garages everywhere in the city. On the other hand, bikers (especially the hard core ones) can be the biggest assholes on the streets, as much of a problem to pedestrians as cars are to them.

An interesting bike rental scheme from Lyon,

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 24, 2005

An interesting bike rental scheme from Lyon, France: you pay by the hour with a credit card and the rack automatically checks your bike in and out (using sensors and whatnot) and rides under 30 minutes long are free. More information is available on the Velo Grand Lyon site.