Bikes That Work

I’m cleaning out my email inbox again, and I’ve got a pair of bikes to share with you. The first comes from my friend Ken, who snapped photos of this bike at the Design Museum of London:


From the design team responsible for the bike:

The Aquaduct is a pedal-powered concept vehicle that transports, filters, and stores water for the developing world. The functional model was designed and constructed over a three-week period for the Innovate or Die contest hosted by Specialized Bicycles, Google, and Goodby, Silverstein and Partners.

More information on this concept can be found by visiting the Aqueduct website.

The next bike comes from Fixed Gear Gallery’s recent “Grocery Getter Contest“. While there were many creative entries, the hands-down winner was crafted by David Mahan. Fixed Gear Gallery and David graciously allowed us to use photos of this amazing machine:

David started by taking this…:
(photo courtesy Fixed Gear Gallery/ David Mahan)

…and applied some heat, metalworking skill and general wizardry to come up with this:
(photo courtesy Fixed Gear Gallery/ David Mahan)

What’s best about this bike is that the “cargo” part of the cargo bike removes to become a shopping cart…how cool is this?!?

(photo courtesy Fixed Gear Gallery/ David Mahan)

Check out the rest of the Grocery Getter contest entries by clicking here. For a more detailed start-to-finish look at David’s creation, please check this out.

Blasts from the Past

Some of you may know that when I’m not living the high-flying, glamorous life of a bicycle blogger, I spend my days as a reference librarian in the local public library system. One of the benefits of my job is that I’m exposed to all manner of cool informational artifacts…and one of my favorites is old photographs.

The library system where I work is blessed with a fantastic collection of old photos from the Burgert Brothers Photographic Studio, a commercial outfit that captured life in Tampa and the surrounding communities from 1899 until the early 1960s. Our library owns about about 15000 images from this prolific studio and the subjects range from buildings to festivals, people of importance and many other aspects of city life. You can read more about the collection by clicking here.

While browsing through the collection the other day, I ran across two photos I wanted to share with you. The first is titled, ” Students crossing street at school crossing zone on Memorial Highway west of Gomez Avenue : Tampa, Fla.” This photo is from 1952:

(Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System)

The second is titled, ” Messenger boys lined up with their bicycles in front of the Western Union office at 604 Franklin Street: Tampa, Fla.” This photo is from 1921:

(Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System)

It’s pretty cool to see a slice of life from our fair city’s past…and bikes were an important part of that life back then.

Not Allowed to Ride to School?

Many of us around here are big fans of encouraging school-age children (and their parents) to ride bicycles to school…it gives kids much-needed exercise and helps teach them that it IS possible to live car-lite. Besides, riding a bike to avoid gridlock around the school is a fantastic way to start and end the day.

And, with the incidences of diabetes and childhood obesity running rampant through the U.S. population, finding a way to use muscles instead of gasoline makes a lot of sense from a health perspective. So, it’s always troubling to hear when kids are thwarted in their attempts to do something positive for themselves and their environment…when school officials don’t allow children to ride bikes to school, we’re ALL in trouble. Here’s an example from last month, an incident in Saratoga, New York:

School officials in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., reprimanded a mother and her 12-year-old son for riding their bicycles to school on national Bike to Work day and confiscated the boy’s bike, according to a story in The Saratogian.

Janette Kaddo Marino and her son, Adam, 12, pedaled the seven miles from their home to Maple Avenue Middle School.

“After they arrived, mother and son were approached first by school security and then school administrators, who informed Marino that students are not permitted to ride their bikes to school,” the story said. “School officials took her son’s bike and stored it in the boiler room. They told her she would have to return with a car to retrieve the bike later in the day.”

Read the full story at Seattle PI by clicking here.

And, strangely enough, this isn’t a U.S.-only phenomenon. In fact, a very similar incident occured in Portsmouth, UK a week later:

A Portsmouth youngster has lost his year-long campaign to be allowed to cycle to school. Sam O’Shea, 11, has been told that the road outside St Paul’s Catholic Primary School is not safe enough to use.

Authorities are sticking by their October 2008 decision – despite the fact that Sam and his family persuaded the city council to bring forward a planned redesign of the road layout. They also arranged for a professional risk assessment, which found that the street was safe for children to cycle on.

The full article can be found on Bike Radar by clicking here.

Troubling times, indeed. A tip of the foam hat to our friend Shek for bringing these two articles to our attention.

If any of you have had similar run-ins, please let us know about them in the comments.

Up close look at the Tour de France

If you like bikes, bike touring, bike racing and/or are following the Tour de France, then check out George Christensen’s blog about his worldwide bicycle travels, which ultimately take him along the Tour de France route every year.

From the his posting on July 20, 2009:

Friends: There was simply too much pep in the young legs of Lance’s teammate Contador and the Schleck brothers for the old war horse Lance to keep up on the climb to the Swiss ski resort of Verbier and the finish line of the 15th stage of The Tour. Lance has looked painfully hollow-eyed and at his limit whenever there has been any climbing during the previous 14 stges. It was no act, as he once hoodwinked Ullrich. He needed his German teammate Andreas Kloden to pace him the last few miles, finishing over a minute and a half behind Contador, though holding second overall in the race. Eight riders finished ahead of him, including Cadel Evans by nine seconds. I couldn’t tell if he muttered to Lance as he passed him, “c’est fini,” as Lance has pronounced of Evans over a week ago.

To read more from this post and his other travels, visit his blog at

Safe travels, George! See you in Chicago soon.

A women’s “PEDALING REVOLUTION” and Summer Elegance

In a recent review by David Byrnes of Jeff Mapes’ new book “Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities? in the NY Times, I found this comment of particular interest:

As Mapes points out, when more women begin riding, that will signal a big change in attitude, which will prompt further changes in the direction of safety and elegance. I can ride till my legs are sore and it won’t make riding any cooler, but when attractive women are seen sitting upright going about their city business on bikes day and night, the crowds will surely follow. A recent article in a British newspaper showed the pop singer Duffy on a pink bike. The model Agyness Deyn claims never to be without hers, and Courteney Cox reportedly presented Jennifer Aniston with a Chanel bike last year. Tabloid fodder does not a revolution make, but it’s a start.

His comment already has me anxious to get my hands on a copy of this book and read it for myself.

In the meantime, I had the pleasure of joining our friends Dottie and Trisha of Let’s Go Ride a Bike on the inaugural Summer Babes and Elegant Bachelors Ride. We had a wonderful night on the town in Chicago, proving that bikes can be both an attractive and feasible mode of transportation even on a rainy Chicago summer evening in cocktail attire.