Most urban commuters can relate to the experience of nearly being mowed down by a reckless cyclist who seems to think that traffic lights don't apply to him. When it happens to us, we tend to walk away fuming. That's because, besides having to cope with almost ending up in the E.R., we fret that these wannabe Evel Knievels give urban cyclists a bad name. In that context, we accept our duty to report that the bike community is continuing to innovate and thrive.
They may not be world champions of soccer, but the Dutch are still an authority on bikes. Not only do they produce stylish bikes
, but they continue to lead the world - in spirit, if not in the raw numbers of China - at using the bicycle as their primary mode of transport. Thus, we were delighted to learn about Rolling Orange, a new Brooklyn importer of Dutch city and cargo bikes, the latter of which can be used to haul anything from groceries to children. Past visits to Amsterdam have left us wondering why these bikes weren't being used by urban families here, but based on recent sightings, it seems that they're finally starting to catch on. Rolling Orange stocks 17 different bikes (from De Fietsfabriek
, Dutch ID
), some of which can carry up to 300 pounds - meaning that the next time we make a trip to our nearby IKEA, we won't have to jostle our way onto the shuttle bus.
Charitable donations to developing nations are commendable in any form, but some consider bike donations
to be one of the best expressions of global altruism. For those with meager means and limited access to modern transportation, bikes facilitate greater self-sufficiency, as they provide faster access to basic resources (including medical aid) than walking. However, despite the inherent value of a bike to those who could use one, high shipping expenses often inhibit people from donating them. Now, through a partnership with Columbia University Earth Institute-based Bamboo Bike Project
and the Millennium Cities Initiative
, the Bamboo Bike Studio
works to support sustainable entrepreneurship by seeding bamboo bicycle factories in developing nations, with a current focus on Ghana and Kenya in Africa. Brooklyn residents who are curious about the program can learn more by attending one of the Studio's weekend workshops, where they'll gain firsthand knowledge of the effort by building their own bamboo bikes. Pedal power, indeed.
Vélibataire: Bike sharing in the US
has yet to take off in the same way it has abroad. Could it be that, in our reluctance to go continental, we're also missing out on potential love connections? A spinoff of Vélib'
, the Parisian bike sharing system, Vélibataire is a new website dedicated to hooking up single patrons of the system seeking cycling-enthusiast companions. The service identifies, for members who opt in, cyclists who frequent their respective neighborhood Vélib' stations. It even goes so far as to alert them in real time when they're en route to the stations. For those who feel awkward about exhibiting borderline stalker behavior, Vélibataire also sets up potential mates on more conventional, open-invite cycling outings. If this really works, Craigslist
might consider establishing a matchmaking service for L train denizens