BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: bike commuter

Minneapolis commuters get some Canadian love…

A nice article about one of my very favorite world cities — Minneapolis — caught my eye today. Here it is, straight from the Winnipeg Free Press:

Think it’s futile to build up a massive cycling network because of frosty winter temperatures?

One of Winnipeg’s U.S. neighbours has proven a bit of snow and sub-zero winds don’t mean a city can’t be a top cycling spot.

Minneapolis is at the forefront of urban cycling and is among a handful of North American cities considered leaders in building a network of paths that encourage recreational and commuter travel. About 3.5 per cent of Minneapolis residents bike to work, and the city is on track to increase that to seven per cent in the next two years.

Take a look at the full article by clicking here.

It has long mystified me that many of the top bike-friendly cities in the U.S. are plagued with less-than-favorable weather. Minneapolis has cold and snow, Portland has a lot of wetness, Chicago gets downright cold and windy…meanwhile, bike commuters exist in relatively tiny percentages in more fair-weather areas. Florida and California should be at the top of the heap for year-round bicycling dominance, but they’re not. As the article above points out, it’s not just about weather, but the attitudes and forethought of city planners that make or break a city when it comes to bicycle friendliness. And, of course, the character of the riders themselves…a heaping helping of “can do” attitude goes a long way in beating the weather nasties.

A gas station that welcomes bicycles…

This Propel Gas Station in Fullerton caught a ton of attention from local media for the mere fact that they had a small “bicycle station” on their property. I decided to ride down there and investigate to see what all the fuss is about.
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At first I didn’t really see it because it’s not readily visibly. In fact, the view was blocked because the station’s repair shop had cars parked next to it.
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Here’s the sign on the station — very friendly and welcoming.
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I thought the work stand was pretty clever.
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The stand has a great assortment of tools.
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There it is… not a bad way for a gas station to look more eco-friendly to the local community. But I can’t help feel kinda odd about seeing this. I mean, think about it: it’s like McDonald’s serving up “healthy” choices on their menu…it just doesn’t go together.
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Introducing Hermes P.

Please help us welcome the newest Associate Writer for BikeCommuters.com, Hermes Pagulayan. We first featured Hermes in a Commuter Profile about a year ago and he’s even contributed a guest article.
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As BikeCommuters.com continues to grow, we found the need for another staffer to help us with spreading the good news of bike commuting. I actually know Hermes through church and he’s is probably THE ONLY person I know who lives in Orange County, Ca. who doesn’t own a car. That’s a pretty big deal since SoCal is such a car-centric part of the country. When I learned that he used a bicycle to get to and from his clients, dates, and church, I was thoroughly impressed. We look forward to seeing what Hermes has to offer the BikeCommuters.com readership.

Ukes and Bikes – Ride Aloha!

Hey guys, remember back in the day when I had a dream sequence involving Jake S. and his ukulele?  Turns out it wasn’t a dream after all!  Check out the final cut of the public service announcement sponsored by Farmer’s Insurance Hawaii and Hawaii Bicycling League.  Ride Aloha…

Enjoy your weekend, velodactyls!

Two Girls and Two Bikes in the City of Light!

Salut les Bike Commuters! Mir.I.Am is fresh off the jet from France and ready to report on the lovely life on two wheels from the City of Light – Paris.  I just spent several weeks in France (oui, oui, depending on your point of view, cue a “scowl of disgust” or “sigh of extreme jealousy,” dear readers).  Ever since investigating the bike share options in Paris and Bordeaux last year, I’ve been anxious to see Paris from a bike’s eye view.

From the Bike's Eye View in Paris

Two Girls – one with a Backache. My Parisienne friend was incapable of taking the Metro around the city.  Thanks to a chronic back injury, she was on intense medication with doctor’s orders claiming no standing on her feet for more than two minutes at a time. Walking was out of the question and the Velib bikes near her house were always checked out, since she lives on the top of a hill.  Lucky for us, the two bikes in her garage were the perfect option for two girls touring around the City of Light!  We packed up our locks, bags, and water for the road, and set off for a day of errands and sight-seeing rolled into one!

Marion on her B*Twin step through, with my pink bag in the basket.

Two M’s: Marion & Mir.I.Am. Just like Task Force Chicago, we played follow the leader, with Marion as the leader and me the tourist sheep on two wheels.  It’s so stress free to follow a seasoned local bike commuter when you’re brain is in vacation mode, no need to tape maps to handlebars or plan out routes!  A bike commuting tip from Marion: make sure to loop part of your bag over your handlebars if your bag is in the front basket since bags are easily snatched at red lights or while biking through slow traffic in Paris.

My Parisian ride was the silver "Le Super"

An atypical bike commute for me, I was without helmet (don’t judge), blessed with a slow-leaking back tire, riding a single speed (by default due to broken cables), with a busted built-in generator headlight, but hey – Le Super bike was $free.99 with legit street cred.  I mean, look at the thing!  I climbed aboard with enthusiasm and a smile, as we pedaled through Paris running errands with plenty of scenic architecture along the way like the Paris Opera.

Flowers in your back rack!

Everywhere you look, bikes in the street.

Strangely enough, I noticed that bike lanes and routes were often in the opposite direction of traffic on One-Way streets.  We navigated several roundabouts, green painted bike lanes, bike boxes, sandy paths in parks, and construction zones.  The two girls on two bikes snaked through the city, avoid congested boulevards in favor of smaller back alleys.  Marion explained to me that we give right of way to the traffic coming from the right (at least this is what I think she said in French), and that there were several laws we were breaking but she’s never been caught!  Welp, no time to ask questions, so we ride on and do as the locals do.  Off to run our errands: picking up some new duds for me and maybe some bling bling.

First errand - pick up a new outfit for me, just my size!

Off to the next destination!

Second errand, pick up my necklace from the jewelers...

Two hours of Biking = What an appetite! All smiles and a light sweat later, with errands under way… time for a tasty lunch in a car free zone at Rue Montorgueil!  Merci to Marion for taking me to another great local spot.  There were tons of bikes shackled up against the fences, and the pedestrian quarter was short but sweet.  Sunshine, cigarettes, and salad at a tiny table and chairs at an outdoor cafe was exactly what we needed to recharge.  Bon appetit, mes Bike Commuters.

Getting hungry after a few hours of running errands, off to find FOOD!

The best parking spots - for BIKES only in the pedestrian quarter!

Nom, nom. Salad time.

Two Bikes round up the Sites. We ended our day (a total of 6 hours of girly fun bike time) by taking the scenic route home, through Pere Lachaise Cemetery.  In all my visits to Paris, I had never been to this famous cemetary.  We rolled up to the automobile entry and were halted by the lady at the guardshack.  To our surprise, she told us it was interdit to bring bikes into the cemetary!  We expalined to her that we fully intended to walk our bikes through, as it is pretty steep, bumpy with cobble stones, and I was riding Le Super default single-speed.  But, there was no reasoning with the law, she said we would have to lock our velos outside the cemetery and walk around inside without them.  We left the auto entry and turned the corner, where we decided to sneak in via the pedestrian entry and carry our bikes up the staircase.  I went up first with Le Super to check for a guard, so Marion wouldn’t have to carry the B*Twin up the steps if we were going to get caught.  Lucky for us, a group of 30 middle schoolers were at the top of the staircase, creating a perfect diversion for us to sneak past…  Merveilleuses Marion and Mir.I.Am made it into Pere Lachaise!

Well worth the effort of sneaking in with our bikes!

The cemetery is enormous, like a mini-neighborhood

The Bike’s Eye View is the BEST Eye View of  Paris. So touring about Paris from the saddle of a junky old bike, I decided I liked what I saw.  Two girls playing follow the leader on two bikes in the City of Light was the best way to get around Paris in the summer.  Imagine all the things we would’ve missed in the Metro!  Imagine how sweaty we would be if we had to hoof it around the city instead.  It was so fast to get around by bike that it made the big city feel small.  Enjoy your summer, and enjoy your vacation commutes, Cycle Ladies and Gents!

A little Bike Love from France!