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Old 11-04-11, 12:59 PM   #1
christ0ph
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Found interesting photos of Amsterdam cyclists+BMJ article on cycling and health good

Two links which I wanted to share before they get lost in my info-cloud.

1.) This is a photo-essay on the differences between cycling as seen in Amsterdam, and comments on how the situation differes from what the author sees as we "ghettoized" cyclists in the US.

http://www.ski-epic.com/amsterdam_bicycles/

2.) Good and interesting article (still current, even if 11 years old - worth reading) in the British Medical Journal about cycling from a doctors perspective. (you may have to register, but its free..)

http://www.bmj.com/content/321/7276/1582.full

" BMJ 321 : 1582 doi: 10.1136/bmj.321.7276.1582 (Published 23 December 2000)

* THE QUALITY OF LIFE

Three lessons for a better cycling future

1. Malcolm J Wardlaw, business analyst (A.Wardlaw@btinternet.com)

+ Author Affiliations

1.
92 Drymen Road, Bearsden, Glasgow G61 2SY

Cyclists were the only group of road users in Britain whose death rate increased sharply during the 1990s,1 yet cycling was in decline throughout the decade.2 How could this happen, when attention on casualties was the most intense in the history of the bicycle? Perhaps a vision of the near future will be instructive
Summary points

Recent safety campaigns have destroyed faith in the bicycle as a safe means of transport, reducing participation, compromising public health, increasing the risks, and decreasing road skills

Deaths of cyclists have increased since the introduction of helmets

Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles

Promote cycling for a safer road environment"
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Old 11-04-11, 02:18 PM   #2
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People of the Netherlands are by far more healthy than Americans. I attribute that fact to cycling. They just cycle a heck of a lot more than we do.

- Slim
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Old 11-04-11, 06:30 PM   #3
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People of the Netherlands are by far more healthy than Americans. I attribute that fact to cycling. They just cycle a heck of a lot more than we do.

- Slim
I thought the BMJ made a good point in that it was better that people cycled, even if they didn't wear helmets, than not. That things that made cycling less natural, like bike lanes (vs. people riding on the streets normally) hurt rather than help health in the big picture if they make people cycle less when they don't have them.
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Old 11-12-11, 09:09 AM   #4
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As far Europeans still using generator powered lighting, I wonder how much of this has to do with bicycling being more of a mode of transportation as opposed to our mostly weekend use and bike trails. Maybe because biking has been such a utilitarian mindset for for them they are more prone to being economical as opposed to being market driven for the newest and best toys. Most Americans still depend on our cars to get us anywhere even if it is to the convenience store a few blocks away for lottery tickets (myself included). What about the environmental impact of millions of used batteries being dumped daily into landfills? Maybe, someday, we will have to go back to the old technology at which time I'm sure the headlight manufacturers will totally convince us of their value. I'm just saying!

PS - I use a battery light before anybody gets their underwear in a wad.
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Old 11-12-11, 10:00 AM   #5
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Well I have just invested in a hub dynamo for my commuter, along with ReeLights and PedalLites, thereby never never needing or having (or forgetting) to change batteries, or forgetting to bring them with me in the first place.

Hub dynamos are much better than bottles, but bottles are under-rated, especially some of the newer ones. Same goes with the lights, the newer LED lights are much better than the old halogen ones.

Don't forget one of the reasons Holland is so full of cycles is that it is practically flat, unlike most of the rest of the world (especially SF - if the images portrayed on TV are anything to go by).

That said, I do think the attitude to cycling Europe is more utilitarian. But then we have smaller engined cars as well - maybe the petro-chemical companies are more to blame here. That and the governments - in the UK we have the cheapest fuel in Europe before tax, and the most expensive fuel in Europe after fuel duty and VAT has been added.
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Old 11-12-11, 03:15 PM   #6
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Well I have just invested in a hub dynamo for my commuter, along with ReeLights and PedalLites, thereby never never needing or having (or forgetting) to change batteries, or forgetting to bring them with me in the first place.

Hub dynamos are much better than bottles, but bottles are under-rated, especially some of the newer ones. Same goes with the lights, the newer LED lights are much better than the old halogen ones.

Don't forget one of the reasons Holland is so full of cycles is that it is practically flat, unlike most of the rest of the world (especially SF - if the images portrayed on TV are anything to go by).

That said, I do think the attitude to cycling Europe is more utilitarian. But then we have smaller engined cars as well - maybe the petro-chemical companies are more to blame here. That and the governments - in the UK we have the cheapest fuel in Europe before tax, and the most expensive fuel in Europe after fuel duty and VAT has been added.
This one thing that a lot of people seem to forget when they write about how many people in Holland ride and then also point out the typical single speed Dutch bike with coaster brakes. I live in SF and yes there are some steep hills here. I think the steepest street has a 24% grade meaning that for every 100m traveled, one also climbs 24m.

Most of my riding is not flat. My commute to work involves a 1mi climb, about 1600m, that is average 8% but there is a 100-120m section that is around 12% to 15%.

Depending where I'm trying to go, it is possible to go around many of the hills here. A bit of preplanning before I start riding can mean minimizing elevation change. For example if I take a direct route from point A to B, it might mean climbing up a hill only to descend it on the other side and then climb back up to point B. With some preplanning, I might still have to climb the first hill, but I can avoid or minimize the descent. Initially a topographical map helps a lot, but after getting familiar with the area, I pretty much have in my head which is the best direction to go.
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Old 11-12-11, 03:37 PM   #7
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Re: hills!

San Francisco is a very hilly city. And San Franciscans are very hill-aware people. The first thing SF drivers learn is how to park on hills.. (at the curb with wheel facing in resting against curb, with parking brake engaged) There are many streets in SF, where the immediate drop after leaving a cross street is so high that from an average car or bicyclist's height you cannot see where you are driving until AFTER you have committed, and really, (on a bike unless you are going VERY slow) started down the hill. In other words, to a visitor it has to be an act of faith when you make that turn that there will even be a road there! It looks to you like you are driving off of a cliff! Obviously, you can't see whats there until you start, so people need to be careful. Bicycling up those kinds of hills is next to impossible for me. You have to go around it or walk the bike up it.
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Old 11-12-11, 03:41 PM   #8
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There appears to be a free SF bicycling app on Source Forge.net that calculates SF hills and calculates the best routes from point A to point B within the City.. Have not had the time to check it out as I can't use it right now.

Just curious, what street/block is that 24% grade? There are so many major grades there. Walking around the city builds up your legs because there are always hills to climb. I am very glad that they had the foresight to keep most of the hilltops parks or open space. I wish they had done that where I live now.

SF also has a great many carless roads on hills, which have street names but they are typically paths or in some cases, landscaped areas with stairways on both sides.. The people who live there have to walk that last block on foot.

Some of the stairways are hidden, but of course the neighborhood folk know about them. They might start out in a clump of plant growth fairly low down and there, the steps of the stairway are invariably almost invisible - then they wind up and up, often between million dollar houses, for block after block, emerging onto streets and then continuing up or down roughly in the same place on the other side. They are public property and have street signs, but the signs are sometimes missing and even when not, they are easy to miss.

Most of them are large enough to carry/walk a bike up them but not all of them are. And you have to be sure footed. There are many similar stairways in the East Bay, especially in the Berkeley/Oakland area..

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Originally Posted by jsdavis View Post
This one thing that a lot of people seem to forget when they write about how many people in Holland ride and then also point out the typical single speed Dutch bike with coaster brakes. I live in SF and yes there are some steep hills here. I think the steepest street has a 24% grade meaning that for every 100m traveled, one also climbs 24m.

Most of my riding is not flat. My commute to work involves a 1mi climb, about 1600m, that is average 8% but there is a 100-120m section that is around 12% to 15%.

Depending where I'm trying to go, it is possible to go around many of the hills here. A bit of preplanning before I start riding can mean minimizing elevation change. For example if I take a direct route from point A to B, it might mean climbing up a hill only to descend it on the other side and then climb back up to point B. With some preplanning, I might still have to climb the first hill, but I can avoid or minimize the descent. Initially a topographical map helps a lot, but after getting familiar with the area, I pretty much have in my head which is the best direction to go.

Last edited by christ0ph; 11-12-11 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 11-12-11, 06:38 PM   #9
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I stand corrected! According to Wikipedia, Filbert Street has a 31.5% hill between Hyde and Leavenworth. It climbs 65 vertical ft over a distance of 206.25 horizontal feet, or 19.8m vertical and 62.87m horizontal.

According to this blog, there are many streets with grades over 30% and one section of road at 41%!
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