Unlicensed Pedicab owners about to catch hell.
New York City’s Pedicab owners have been an ignored business since their inception. The city didn’t pay any attention as long as the bike carriages didn’t get in anyone’s way. But in the last few years, business has boomed and now they estimate that more than 1000 of the trikes are being pedaled around Central Park and Midtown. The city stepped in and required that owners and the drivers of the Pedicabs get licenses. They license only costs $60, but the owners also need to prove that they’re carrying insurance and they need to bring the Pedicabs in for an inspection. A lot of the independent owners haven’t bothered with licenses since they can’t afford the insurance, seatbelts, and turn signals required to pass inspection. It also turns out that a lot of drivers are either working illegally or have so many fines that they can’t obtain a driver’s license. No surprise seeing as how a lot of them are former bike messengers. Beginning Saturday, we’ll see how hard the city comes down on them.
We'll all be able to afford one of these pretty soon.
Now that hipsters have begun moving away from fixed bear bikes in favor of 1970s era mopeds and three-wheeled cars, they’re starting to sell of their fixie collections. This is great news for us. I’ve wanted to get a fixed gear for ages but it’s impossible to pull one down at a reasonable cost in Brooklyn. The demand for the most arcane and needlessly spazzed out bikes drives up the median cost on Craigslist. But as soon as they guys all get mopeds, the market’s going to be flooded with Aero spokes, cheap Brooks saddles, and obscure European frames. They’ll probably hold onto their expensive chain locks and messenger bags until the moped thing dies off, but it’ll be nice to pick that stuff up when they move onto old Nascar vehicles.
Bike parking lots.
This December 11th a law signed last year that requires office buildings to let workers bring their bikes inside will take effect. Basically, if you own an office building that has at least one freight elevator, you’re required to provide a secure indoor spot where people can bring their bikes. This law was an easy win for Mayor Bloomberg seeing as how it costs the government no money and gets riders on his side. It’s stupid that they planned for it to start off in winter when fewer people commute, but at least riders will get to drag their slush-covered bikes across the office carpeting. Building managers are less than excited about having to provide space for no extra cash, but hopefully we’ll see bikes sticking out of cubicle farms all over the city. The NYC DOT is already prepping New Yorkers for the kickoff of Bike sin Buildings with a list of all the bureaucracy and paperwork you’ll need to deal with to get setup.
The outspent underdog of Seattle’s Mayoral race took home the win last week, and good news for our Left Coast friends…the guy’s a biker. He actually campaigned riding around town on his bike, barking at people while wearing a helmet and blazer. Hopefully Washington takes notice and the bike lobby becomes a serious business. Mayor Bloomberg took home a third win in NYC after making vast improvements to the cycling infrastructure and promising even more. Expect good things to come in Seattle.
street sweeper mayhem
Wandering around New York you see locked bikes with folded-in-half wheels. The front or back will be bent so aggressively that would take days of stomping by drunken idiots to get to that point. I always assumed that these bent wheels were some kind of drunken, willful destruction, though I wondered how people could destroy them so effectively. It wasn’t until today that Chari and Co pointed out that this destruction comes from the daily street sweepers rolling through town. Don’t lock your bike with a wheel hanging over the curb.
The Bike Hearse surprisingly does not come from Portland, but from Eugene. I’m sure the Portlanders are constructing Tall Bike Hearses as we speak. They don’t like getting shown up.
Wade Lind, the owner of Sunset Hills Cemetery, sought to offer a greener option into the afterlife, so he built this pedal hearse. I’m not sure if he pedals it from the church to the cemetery or if they hire some Rabobank rider all decked out in spandex. I want one of these at my funeral in Minneapolis. Hopefully it’s winter and snowing like hell. The procession of cars behind it would stop traffic for weeks.
Tom Boonen of Team Quick Step tested positive for drugs in April. He was allowed to continue racing since they weren’t of the performance enhancing variety.
“I was very drunk. I do not know what happened, but the next day I tested positive for cocaine,” he said.
He has an interview on Cycling News talking about not getting blind drunk every time he goes out drinking. Hey buddy, we all ride bikes and drink lots of beer. Don’t get too down on yourself.
Portlanders are into bikes as much as people from Minneapolis. And with bike love comes beer and generalized earthiness. But now Portland is beating us in the new Cold War of beer/bike technology. It’s only a matter of time until we get our own Hopworks-style Bike Bars in the Midwest. I think we still would have gotten that the guy in the video was a biker; he could have taken his helmet off for the interview. I like the idea of having two full kegs on tap that are attached to my bike, but I imagine they’d get shaken to hell. You’d have to pour off half a keg of foam before you got a decent beer. That said, you can’t argue with bikes and beer. I’ll stick to cans and a messenger bag for now-less likely to get arrested.
The 2008 American Community Survey found that bike commuting in the U.S. has gone up 43% since the 2000 census. The percentage of people who commute to work primarily on a bike in the U.S. is at about .5%, so don’t go all bragging on the phone to your friends in Holland just yet. In 2000, bike commuters made up only .38%, and now we’re .55% strong. .55%!
While the increase looks minimal, keep in mind that the change is among people who “use bikes as their primary means of commuting to work.” The small number actually represents a lot of people ditching cars to commute, and likely the number of casual commuters has gone up even more.