Thursday, November 29, 2007

What we're up against

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is, according to their mission statment, "committed to achieving clean air to protect the public's health and the environment." Their stated goals are to:
  • Attain and Maintain Air Quality Standards
  • Increase Public Awareness of Positive Air Quality Choices
  • Develop and Implement Protocol and Policies for Environmental Justice
They're the ones behind the "Spare the Air Days" when we all get to ride transit for free so we can all breath.

I wonder then how they can explain this memo that was sent to their employees who, in the course of their duties have to travel around the Bay Area.

I guess when the Board members have their own reserved parking spots in the private garage its easy to become divorced from reality...

In other news, I've recovered the lost sound files for the long promised BORP episode. They need about six hours to be edited but they're next up so stay tuned!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

WNYC on biking in New York

WNYC ran an excellent segment on the bicycle renaissance in New York.

Listen here

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Parking or transit? The 2007 election in San Francisco

As a sleepy off-year election approaches, San Franciscans face a choice of adding momentum to its Transit First policy or gutting it to add 20,000 more cars to its streets, all in the quest for more parking. Bikescape goes to the Saturday mobilization, chats with Susan King of the Green Party and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi. Then we head downtown to talk to Dave Snyder to get the big picture on the destructive power of unrestrained parking in cities.

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Proposition A will add $26 million to transit yearly and give more remove politics from the budgeting and planning process. The full text of the measure is here. (pdf)

Proposition H will allow significantly more parking in San Francisco, a prospect that runs counter to the city's entrenched transit-first policy, which uses land-use regulations and funding priorities to discourage use of the private automobile. Here's the text of the measure. (pdf)

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Walk San Francisco, Livable City and The San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) are among the many organizations that support A and oppose H.

Donald Shoup wrote the definitive book on The High Cost of Free Parking.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Portland, City of Bikes

Bikescape takes the family on vacation on its first bike tour with the kids. We visit Sunnyside Piazza, a grassroots redesign of a neighborhood intersection. Then we meet Todd Fahrner of Clever Cycles, go for a ride on a Dutch cargo bike and look over the unusual merchandise in his shop. Finally we check in with Portland denizens Meghan Sinnott and Ken Southerland and talk about the deep bike culture thay has taken root in their city.

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Your go-to place on the web for cycling in Portland is

Clever Cycles is a most unique bike bike shop in PDX. They sell the Bike Friday Tickets and the Brompton folding bikes as well as the Extracycle. And they have already sold over forty Dutch Bakfiets cargo bikes this summer.

Portland will host the The World Car-Free Network Conference in '08.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

the state of cycling in the uk

In this episode we look at biking in the United Kingdom. We chat with Jack Thurston of London's Bike Show on Resonance FM. Then we get Josh Hart on the line to talk about his take on transportation in the UK as an American expat student of urban planning in Bristol.

Jack spoke of London's success with their downtown Congestion Charge .

Join Josh and his friends at Heathrow Airport Camp for Climate Action as they protest the proposed doubling of the air traffic there.

Josh avoided cars and planes on his trip to Bristol to avoid undoing all of the good he's done by biking. More on your carbon footprint.

Check out the pictures of the life size mousetrap at the heavy pedal cyclecide bike rodeo this year where the contraption worked as advertised a record two times in a row!

Friday, June 29, 2007

North American Cycle Courier Championship, San Francisco

The North American Cycle Courier Championship brought messengers from around the world to San Francisco for this year's games. Bikescape was there to cover the action and put it in your ears.

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There will be lots of links after I get some sleep!

Photo by Condition San Francisco.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

getting hyphy with bikes in oaktown

Over at London's Bike Show presenter Jack Thurston revels in a most civilised form of tweedy touring. He's posted two very charming videos about English touring in the fifties.

Meanwhile, in the streets of Oakland, the kids get hyphy with bikes instead of cars.

Monday, June 04, 2007

bike polo, anyone?

The all but forgotten sport of bike polo is "a most noble tradition invented in Ireland 117 years ago." Now its enjoying a sudden resurgence in American parks both on turf and on hard tops. Bikescape checks in at a jaunty match at Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park. Then we celebrate a victory as the park inaugurates car-free Saturdays on JFK Drive.

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Mallets and balls provided. Bring your own refreshments. Everybody welcome.

Some of the players attend the International Bike Polo Tournament in Dublin.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

An Interview with San Francisco Supervisor Jake McGoldrick

How could transportation policy make a city not just more tolerable but a pleasant, more livable place for community? Bikescape gets some answers in an interview with San Francisco Supervisor Jake McGoldrick. Jake has learned in his travels around the world that car-centered planning leads only to congestion, waste, pollution and danger. We discuss the alternatives that can make the urban experience more convivial, like car free spaces, a charge to drive downtown and better transit.

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Jake mentioned the Paris Plage and London's congestion charge scheme.

Jack Thurston From London's Bike Show interviewed Erica Jobson of Futerra, the London-based sustainable development communications consultancy about London Mayor Ken Livingstone's plans for a green city.

Daniel Burnham's plan for San Francisco was shelved for expediency's sake after the 1906 earthquake.

Volunteer for Bike Month in NY and San Francisco.

The California Bicycle Coalition is pushing Assembly Bill 1358, the Complete Streets Bill.

Stay tuned for an episode on SF bike polo team and their trip to the championship match in

Photo of Jake Speaking for car-free Saturdays in Golden Gate Park curtesy SF Pix.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bike Rocker Attila Horvath

Bikescape goes to the the San Francisco prologue of the Amgen Tour of California race. Levi Leipheimer won the time trials that day and then went on to win the six-stage race, but we weren't there to see that. Attila Horvath of Bike Rock fame was in town where he set up shop next to the Bike Coalition's valet bike parking and regaled the throngs and Bikescape listeners with his bike centric songs.

Buy his CD!!

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In other news, we win one in Golden Gate Park where a part of JFK Drive will be closed to cars on Saturdays after a thirty five year struggle.

Things got ugly after Critical Mass last month. To hear the whole story of what really happened, check out David's interview with me on The Fredcast. If you were dissappointed that the race was only used as a backdrop for this podcast you need to check out The Fredcast where David covers that facet of bike culture better than anyone.

Friday, April 06, 2007

pedicabs at the crossroads in NY

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An old form of public transport, the pedicab has made inroads in some US cities but in Midtown Manhattan over the last ten years the industry has exploded in popularity. The unimpeded views, immunity to gridlock and the sheer fun of riding a human powered vehicle have made pedicabs a true alternative to taxis, busses and the subway for locals and tourists alike.

But with popularity comes growing pains as the business reaches a crossroad. Lack of regulation has encouraged unscrupulous, uninsured drivers to enter the field and has caused complaints leading the City Council to pass broad regulations that would cap the number of pedicabs in New York at 350 and outlaw electric assist motors. There are now upwards of five hundred trikes out on the streets so many hard working entrepreneurs would lose their livelyhoods.

And for obvious reasons, the taxi industry has lent its weight to the fight while the other side responds.

As we go to air Mayor Bloomberg has vetoed the bill and we await an override or new legislation from the City Council. Write to your council member today!

Bikescape catches up with Bicytaxi mechanic Kate Freitag in her Fifth Avenue garage to talk about the state of New York's Pedicab Industry.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Midnite Ridazz in LA

Bikescape spends an evening in Los Angeles and checks in on the thriving LA bike culture. We go on the Midnight Ridazz ride though the Pasadena area. We meet up with activists, fixie afficionados, partiers and the occasional alien.

Listen to the podcast or
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To link up with LA activists, visit the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

Illuminate LA

Get your bike fixed or, better yet, learn how to fix it yourself at the Bike Kitchen or the Bike Oven.

If you like fixed gear bikes, visit LA Fixed.

Get your bike event listed on the Bike Boom Calendar.

Blogs of record in LA
Cycle Santa Monica

San Francisco is gearing up for Bike Spring!

Thanks to Enci, Stephan, Eric, Kelly, and everyone else for their help in getting this podcast out. Photo by DJ Kooya

Thursday, March 01, 2007

hybrid shmybrid

"Try the Patch" uses the metaphor of smoking on an elevator to unveil the truth about transportation pollution. The myth of the "green" car is similar to myth of the "light" cigarette. Both are still toxic. Just as the patch offers a cure to cigarette addiction, the bicycle can end our addiction to cars. Many times more energy efficient during all phases of their life and fueled by willpower bicycles offer promise for a sustainable future.

This film was made by my buddies Jim Swanson and Kristen Steele (scroll way down) and stars Bill Stender, Kristen Steele, our own Andy Thornly and Laura Lent.

Go and rate this film right now at If my friends win the contest they will win two air tickets to Alaska to watch the glaciers melt. (No kidding.)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

a tour of octavia boulevard in 2005

This is a repeat of a March 7, 2005 show. Its being reposted as a follow-up to the previous podcast about Octavia Boulevard.

As Octavia Boulevard rises from the rubble of the old Central Freeway, Bikescape takes a tour along with about thirty others led by Robin Levitt and Tom Radulovich from Livable City. The walk was jointly sponsored by Walk San Francisco and Transportation for a Livable City.

The downfall of the freeway and the rise of the Boulevard is another chapter on San Francisco's ongoing freeway revolt, a grass-roots movement that goes back to the fifties. San Francisco owes its livability, charm and cohesive community to the individual neighborhood activists who banded together at strategic times to fight the auto culture that was treatening to choke the city with cars and blight. Imagine what almost happened: an elevated freeway on Polk St. and six lanes cut into a trench where the Panhandle an Golden Gate Park now stand! And most of these victories (and some of the losses) squeaked by on six to five votes!

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San Francisco Better Neighborhoods plans

Photo by Brian Kustler

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

this right is wrong- cars and bikes in conflict at market and octavia

A woman gets hit (and nearly killed) by a truck making an illegal right turn onto a freeway ramp and San Francisco's cycling community mobilizes. Seventy people gathered last Friday for a rush hour protest demanding that the city re-engineer the intersection to make it safe for cyclists and pedestrians. Bikescape attends the demo at Market and Octavia and reports back with interviews and commentary.
Photo courtesy San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

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Media reports from ABC7, SFist, NBC11, KTVU, KRON, KCBS, BeyondChron, FCJ.

A typical day at Market and Octavia... More sfbc video here.

Sat. 3 - 15th Annual 49-Mile Ride meets at 9.15am at the Pool of Enchantment at the DeYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park. Usual counterclockwise route. For more info, contact Joe.

Friday, January 19, 2007

An interview with Grant Petersen of Rivendell Bicycleworks

What do you look for in a new bike? One made of exotic, high tech materials also found in fighter jets and moon landers or a traditional lugged, steel ride where the "performance" is provided not by high tech but by you, the rider? In this episode, we take a trip out to Walnut Creek in the East Bay to chat with Grant Petersen of Rivendell Bicycle Works to gain insight into his philosophy of the bicycle craft.

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Grant also had a chat recently with Sheldon Brown when they ran into each other at Interbike, the industry trade show.

I mentioned The Bike Hut during the calendar segment (they're looking for a database volunteer) but I didn't say much about this great institution. Here's a link to chase.