Sunday, November 15, 2009

News Cycle 2

The bike news I've shared in some of my recent posts has either been comical (the Fendi bike) or disappointing (the sorry state of Velib, Paris' bike-sharing program). So it is with a big virtual smile on my face that today I bring you glad tidings about local events (and one that's not-so-local) that involve bicycles.

Bikes for the Poor
In early October, my church, St. Mary of Sorrows in Fairfax, Virginia, hosted a Bikes for the World bicycle collection. 33 volunteers gathered in the church parking lot on a cool autumn morning and collected 57 bikes and one tricycle. In addition, donations totaling $1,045 were designated to cover the cost of shipping the bikes to developing nations. The church bulletin stated that the "generosity will have a positive impact on the lives of many poor people, both near and far away." We donated one girl's bike and one boy's bike. Now my family of four is down to six bikes (from our high of eight) and yet we still have no garage.

Vienna Bike Shop Wins Award
Not too far down the road in Vienna, Virginia, there was more good news. The Adventure Cycling Association awarded its 2009 Sam Braxton Bicycle Shop Award to Bikes@Vienna. The ACA recognized, among other things, Bikes@Vienna's commitment to serving riders of all abilities, including those with physical disabilities, and applauded the shop's community involvement. It praised owner John Brunow for creating "positive change in his community" as an "engaged local leader."

I've visited Bikes@Vienna twice: once to snoop around and again to rent a crank forward bike which I rode on the W&OD Trail. John Brunow was a great help both times. His receiving this award confirms my initial impression of him - that he's well-respected, civic-minded, and an all-around good guy. If you need a bike, want to rent a bike, or you're looking for some honest two-wheeled advice, give him a call.

New Bike Lanes in DC
On November 14, The Washington Post reported that the District of Columbia has opened a new bike lane on a stretch of 15th Street that runs from U Street to Massachusetts Avenue. That section of 15th Street is one-way northbound. The bike lane, called a contra-flow lane, is only for southbound bike traffic, and so-called because cyclists are riding against traffic. (Northbound cyclists have to share the lanes with cars.)

Photo courtesy of Gerald Martineau of The Washington Post

The bike lane, pictured above, is different from most others in two important ways. First, it is closer to the sidewalk than the parking spaces. The cars in the photo are parked and form a wall between cyclists and traffic. Second, the flexible yellow posts were installed to separate the bike lane from the parking lane and protect bike commuters from getting "doored" by people exiting their cars.

Photo courtesy of

Some disgruntled cyclists wrote to Dr. Gridlock, the Post's traffic guru, and complained about the hazards of the bike lane. What the District really needs, though, is not a traffic flow expert, but a bike lane proofreader. Remember this photo the next time you "trun" left.

Best Buys to Start Selling Electric Bikes
Best Buy, the uber-giant electronics retailer, has begun selling electric bikes and scooters at several of its west coast stores. Just think: you can purchase a Samsung French door 25.5 cubic foot refrigerator with thru-the-door ice and water for $1,600 and, for another $500 or so, you can get an electric bike, strap the fridge on your back, and zip on home. Save on delivery costs and get a low-cost environmentally friendly vehicle to go with it. I called my local Best Buys (in DC's Viriginia suburbs) and no store has any electric bikes in stock, nor does any store expect to receive them in the near future. Still, it's nice to hear about a Big Box store embracing a Little Box idea.


  1. CAT--I love this posting almost as much as I enjoyed your Nov 9 entry. U r 2 cool. Bike on, baby!

  2. I thought about you yesterday and hoped you were spending the sunny sunday outside biking! As for the post, I laughed out loud many times,esp the section in which you write about strapping the fridge to your bike, fantastic... oh and the picture at the end... ha!

  3. I think the event your church did is great and it's also fantastic that Bikes@Vienna got recognized within its community.

    It's nice to see bike events that make a difference (sorry, I have never been a fan of critical mass, which seems more annoying than productive).