Category: Travels and Adventures

Amtrak is finally starting to get serious about offering bicycle roll-on service on their Capitol Limited line, which runs between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. Amtrak conducted a trial of the service yesterday:

Linda McKenna Boxx said she has been trying for more than a decade to get Amtrak to improve accommodations for bicycles on its Pittsburgh-to-Washington, D.C., trains, which closely follow the trails that connect the two cities.

On Tuesday, that goal moved a step closer to reality, when Amtrak allowed 20 bicyclists to take their two-wheelers onto the Capitol Limited train in Pittsburgh in a one-day trial of roll-on service.

Read more by clicking here.

Such a service would be a boon to bicyclists and bike tourists who want to ride on the Great Allegheny Passage or the C&O Canal Towpath…and according to sources, retrofitting baggage cars to handle assembled bikes could be quite inexpensive. Amtrak currently offers bike-as-baggage service on most of their lines, but the bike must be disassembled and placed in a box prior to loading. Let’s hope yesterday’s trial run encourages them to speed up the timetable in offering this new service (which has been in the works for quite a few years).

A-O River! To all the bike commuters that may or may not have followed the past year of sporadic, wtf, travel-inspired posts, the one and only Mir.I.Am is taking off for the cycle kingdom known as Portlandia. Awwww yeah, birches. I can’t wait to be part of the transportation majority! Clip my feet and grow me a beard, I’m getting a tattoo and retiring in my thirties… Bring it Portland.

That would be PORTLAND! The MOTHERLAND!!!

Boyfriend and I have be chillin’ like villains here in the Northwest, revisiting old Seattle haunts, eating blackberries off the side of the road, and cramming our heads full of piping hot brown caffeine juice in the good ole-fashioned PacNoWe way.

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Yes. I did it. This is an emo-romance moment post fancy coffee and sparkling water with the Boyfriend in Portland. P.S. America, when did you start offering bubbly water with your espressos? I thought it was a Buenos Aires thing.

And… You know you’re in the Northwest when the Goodwill has a sweet Schwinn “Suburban” with a front basket and chromed out fenders for $40. A-MAY-Sing.

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Okay, okay… that’s enough sepia-toned photos or photos of sepia-toned drinks. What about the beauty of the green trees, mountains, blue lakes, and tiny red folding bikes you borrow from your friends when you are in town for work!? These are the moments that keep me coming back for more:

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Check out that Tiger’s black leather saddle with SHOCKS. It goes “skreaky-skreaky” everywhere when you ride it. heeeheee.

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A 70’s Japanese-made Tiger folder, or the-best-guest-bike-ever-for-when-your-friends-are-in-town… Yes, I am 5 foot and peas, and my friend who’s 6 foot and carrots rides this sucker too.

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All locked up at this sweet Bike Lounge at the Bullitt Center in Seattle. Complete with Showers and a bike tune-up station.

I can’t wait til my sister ships me my old orange Schwinn Le Tour II from San Francisco… In the meantime, I’ll dream of three-speed red tigers rolling through the bougie coffee shops in the ultimate hang town of Portland, Oregon.  Any PDX bike commuters out there, hit me up with recommendations for bike-specific awesomeness!

 

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How could you not love this tiny bike?! Tiger-powered!

 

Our friends at Independent Publishers Group sent us a review copy of My Cool Bike: An Inspirational Guide to Bikes and Bike Culture by Chris Haddon; photography by Lyndon McNeill (London: Pavilion, an imprint of Anova Books, 2013).

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At first, I was a bit skeptical: “aw, man, ANOTHER artsy book about bikes?!?” I expressed my concerns to my contact at IPG, and she assured me that yes, this was another art/coffee table book, but from the author’s very successful (and quirky) series called “My Cool…” Based on her guidance, I gave the book a fair chance, and I’m glad I did.

My Cool Bike is a fun look at the incredibly diverse world of bike culture, where all kinds of people are represented: punks, artists, designers, scientists, tinkerers, adventurers, free-thinkers. This should come as no surprise to many of you; we’re all pretty different from one another, yet we all share a rather passionate love for two-wheeled machines. Chris Haddon traveled to a number of cities and met with a lot of people, and in the process captured a fairly broad set of bike characters who embody bike culture as we know it. Lyndon MacNeill’s photographs really seal the deal, though — the bikes and the personalities behind them are captured in rich color, and those photographs also perfectly capture the joy and enthusiasm of each bike’s owner.

No hardcore racers or superathletes here; the personalities represented in the book seem to not take themselves so seriously, but clearly enjoy the freedom and individuality the bicycle brings to their lives. I think we can ALL relate to that, yes?

My Cool Bike is an enjoyable book to page through — there are no revelations contained within its pages, but I think you’ll enjoy this look at our unique two-wheeled community. There’s really something for every bike fan here; bikes to drool over, fun personalities you would love to go on a ride with, tales of adventures you’ll want to emulate. After seeing some of the collections of bikes owned by people in this book, I don’t feel so bad about the bike jumble in my own garage. While paging through the book, I did find myself wishing for a larger storage space, though!

Take a look at My Cool Bike, available through a number of online booksellers and perhaps even in your local library (if they don’t have it, ask nicely and they might be able to get a copy for you). You’ll enjoy the ride!

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

With only 48 hours between NYC and a trip to Vermont, boyfriend and I decided to ditch the apple for the bean these last couple of days… And let me tell you, bike monsters, was it worth it!

Boston, I have a major bike crush on you and I ain’t afraid to show it!
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Everybody’s all losing their shiz over Portland and Minneapolis, but summer bike commuting is in full force here in Cambridge, MA.

From the Hubway bike share system, to bike-specific traffic signs, Cambridge will get any solid bike commuter in a full-on bikey tizzy. Check out some photos from my travels including the double decker bike storage racks at the T station in Davis Square:

But, with all these bikes abounding, make sure you Cambridge Commuters lock up your two-wheeled honey with a heavy-duty U lock… It’s also a hotspot for Bikenapping!

Bike Commuters of Boston, where you at!?

I’m sure you’re all aware of the tremendous cycling savvy of the people of Copenhagen, Denmark — one of the places that U.S. cities try to emulate when pushing for increased bicycle ridership. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 35% of Copenhagen’s residents use a bicycle to travel to and from work/school; contrast that with our own #1 bike city of Portland, Oregon, where only 6% of residents are bike commuters.

Copenhagen is discovering that they may have hit a “glass ceiling” when it comes to increasing the number of bike users, however.

Copenhageners are proud of their biking habits. “It’s like brushing your teeth — it’s something everyone does,” says Marie Brøndom Bay, a representative of the city’s bicycling division. But those numbers have been hard-won. And to Brøndom Bay and other city officials charged with minimizing car traffic and air pollution, and promoting public health, even a third of the populace on bikes is not nearly enough.

Greg Hanscom is in the midst of writing a short series on Grist about the city of Copenhagen and the bicycle highs and lows they are experiencing. The quote above comes from part 2, and part 1 is available by clicking here. Part 3 should be coming along soon.

The article series is a refreshing look at a city who seems to get everything right when it comes to transportational cycling, but the city has struggled at times to keep the spirit alive. Take a look at the articles; they are worth reading.