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An honest thread about why bike commuting is better

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An honest thread about why bike commuting is better

Old 02-02-15, 03:50 PM
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An honest thread about why bike commuting is better


Worth your time. It really describes the effect of cyclocommuting on a city and how it takes the small people first (us!) to really generate momentum.

The best (really!) bicycle video I have seen in a very long time. (I also have an application running in Brussels ... but I don't have much hope.)
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Old 02-04-15, 03:58 AM
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Awesome vid! Definitely gave me more motivation to bike commute rain or shine.
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Old 02-04-15, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by TrekNerd View Post
Awesome vid! Definitely gave me more motivation to bike commute rain or shine.
It's quite a good video with the language, cinematography and score.

edit: At the end, it describes why more people need to commute by bike.

Last edited by acidfast7; 02-04-15 at 04:45 AM.
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Old 02-04-15, 07:35 AM
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Brussels had begun a big push a couple of years ago to massively increase cycling and reduce congestion. It seems the whole thing kind of died on the vine. Hopefully as the naysayers see things happening in London and elsewhere they'll get back on board.
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Old 02-05-15, 03:20 PM
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I think if I lived there, I would get into the business of printing unflattering stickers to be affixed to double-parked vehicles.
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Old 02-05-15, 04:43 PM
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It's a great video, but it reminded me that there are some cities I don't want to live in. NYC traffic can be described as hostile, but it's heavenly compared with that of Brussels.
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Old 02-05-15, 04:53 PM
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Good video.

How does he manage without front brake? Those drivers must be predictable. In my city people never signal turns, lane changes, so I always make sure my bikes have very good front brakes - for emergency stops.
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Old 02-06-15, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
Good video.

How does he manage without front brake? Those drivers must be predictable. In my city people never signal turns, lane changes, so I always make sure my bikes have very good front brakes - for emergency stops.
Don't you have fixie hipsters riding brakeless in your city?
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Old 02-07-15, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Don't you have fixie hipsters riding brakeless in your city?
Most bicycles are without front brakes. Like this one (that front brake is almost useless:



Love them for the city, market etc. They are OK for slow riding, but not between lines of cars in dense traffic, or at any greater speed. Too risky without the front brake. People change lanes without signaling, cut you off etc.

As far as hipsters go, most I see ride only during critical mass events and perhaps a few days during spring and early autumn. Summer is too hot, winter too cold. But they enjoy "being bikers!"
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Old 02-07-15, 06:47 AM
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1. Many bike couriers use fixies (fixed speed) bikes with no brakes at all, which mean the pedals are connected direclty to the back hub...ie no freewhee...ie, if the pedals stop, the wheels stops and vice versa. They stop these bikes by applying backward pressure to the pedals and skidding the back wheel...It's kind of dangerous, but sort of a status thing.

2. I used to commute on my bike into downtown Boston during rush-hour...and it was exciting to be sure, but not quite the deadlock that brussels seems to be. I loved it.
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Old 02-07-15, 07:38 AM
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We can all romanticize about the utopian idea of everyone riding their bikes to work, but that isn't going to happen. That is the nature of progress; everyone is looking for an easier way of doing things. The horse and cart replaced walking, cars replaced bikes, and maybe in a few decades or centuries flying hovercrafts will replace cars. People aren't going to take a step backwards, even if it's for their own good. How many people do you know still have flip phones?

FWIW, I did enjoyed the video. Thanks for posting.

I try to bike to work as often as the weather allows me to, but I'm not optimistic that anyone else at my work place will be joining me in this cause.
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Old 02-07-15, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
We can all romanticize about the utopian idea of everyone riding their bikes to work, but that isn't going to happen. That is the nature of progress; everyone is looking for an easier way of doing things. The horse and cart replaced walking, cars replaced bikes, and maybe in a few decades or centuries flying hovercrafts will replace cars. People aren't going to take a step backwards, even if it's for their own good. How many people do you know still have flip phones?

FWIW, I did enjoyed the video. Thanks for posting.

I try to bike to work as often as the weather allows me to, but I'm not optimistic that anyone else at my work place will be joining me in this cause.
While I agree with your idea that people are always looking for forward progress, I think you misstate where the bike fits in the forward progress spectrum. Mainly because bikes and cars can have different purposes and pros/cons. Nobody rides a horse and buggy anymore to work, because the car does everything a horse and buggy could do and more. Not true with bikes, which have their own little niche. They can beat congestion, they're small, they're a free form of exercise if you use to commute, etc. Of course their are downsides, but if the pros outweigh the cons, then people commute on bike. Not the case with horse and buggy.

Technology certainly could force out more bike commuting, though. Self-driving cars certainly seem poised to remove some pros from the bike side, if they could coordinate with other cars to increase speed in congestion, plus give you free time to do whatever you want inside the car. Bikes still win in price and free exercise, though.

In any case, people have taken steps that seem backwards, but aren't, necessarily. Bike use dropped off a ton from its early/mid 70s peak in the US but has slowly climbed back up somewhat. Nothing like the complete dropoff of something like 8-track technology. Heck, even with the recent re-popularization of vinyl, sales are still a drop in the bucket compared to the heights of the technology.

But yeah, the fact remains that in the US, for the vast majority of commuters, bikes don't make sense right now. Convenience and ease are king.
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Old 02-07-15, 08:16 AM
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What does the former mayor of Copenhagen Klaus Bondam do in a video about Brussels? (I skimmed the video without sound)
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Old 02-07-15, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by tougher View Post
What does the former mayor of Copenhagen Klaus Bondam do in a video about Brussels? (I skimmed the video without sound)
States that he's scared of riding in Brussels. Also, he states that the when the new government arrived at Borgen to be sworn in, they arrived on bikes, which had a massive impact. I used to live directly overlooking Gråbrødretorv and I do miss it, especially during the Jazz Festival.
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Old 02-07-15, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Bromp View Post
But yeah, the fact remains that in the US, for the vast majority of commuters, bikes don't make sense right now.
Overeating and no exercise don't make sense either...
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Old 02-07-15, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
We can all romanticize about the utopian idea of everyone riding their bikes to work, but that isn't going to happen. That is the nature of progress; everyone is looking for an easier way of doing things. The horse and cart replaced walking, cars replaced bikes, and maybe in a few decades or centuries flying hovercrafts will replace cars. People aren't going to take a step backwards, even if it's for their own good. How many people do you know still have flip phones?

FWIW, I did enjoyed the video. Thanks for posting.

I try to bike to work as often as the weather allows me to, but I'm not optimistic that anyone else at my work place will be joining me in this cause.
What a party pooper.
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Old 02-07-15, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
What a party pooper.
Just being a realist. [shrugs]
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Old 02-07-15, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Bromp View Post
While I agree with your idea that people are always looking for forward progress, I think you misstate where the bike fits in the forward progress spectrum. Mainly because bikes and cars can have different purposes and pros/cons. Nobody rides a horse and buggy anymore to work, because the car does everything a horse and buggy could do and more. Not true with bikes, which have their own little niche. They can beat congestion, they're small, they're a free form of exercise if you use to commute, etc. Of course their are downsides, but if the pros outweigh the cons, then people commute on bike. Not the case with horse and buggy.
I don't think I did. In regards to commuting, the bike and the car accomplish the exact same thing--gets one to work. My point regarding progress was that who'd want to ride a bike 10 miles for 60 minutes when one can get there in less than twenty, and without the physical effort. I imagine that unless you have a heavy load to carry to and from work daily, that you could bike commute 80-90 percent of the time. Think how many fewer cars would be on the road. The only limiting factor, and it's a colossal one, is the distance. This is a huge obstacle, especially for the North American culture where people like their space and are willing to move and live many km's from their place of work making bike-commuting all but impractical, if not impossible.

It's not enough that bike-commuting is good for the planet, or that it'll save them money. The culture of cars is too deeply ingrained into the psyche of Americans and Canadians alike. Change will not come about unless there is a change in perception. That isn't going to happen anytime soon. We love our cars too much.
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Old 02-07-15, 10:33 AM
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Can we keep the discussions of car-free utopias where they belong, in LCF?

No, we won't get *everyone* to switch to bike. But, bike-commuting is growing in North America for a lot of reasons (fun, exercise, saving money, etc), and that's worth celebrating and encouraging.
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Old 02-07-15, 11:31 AM
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I somehow fail to see the connection between me cycling (to get practically everywhere I go) and other people cycling. How does that improve my life, why do people get "happy to see more cyclists"? I love winter when everyone is in their cars, because there's more room for me to filter and the whole cycling lane is free.
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Old 02-07-15, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
I somehow fail to see the connection between me cycling (to get practically everywhere I go) and other people cycling. How does that improve my life, why do people get "happy to see more cyclists"? I love winter when everyone is in their cars, because there's more room for me to filter and the whole cycling lane is free.
Then you fail to see the world beyond your own front door.

More people cycling means that maybe politicians and government will see it as a priorities for urban planning. More bike paths and bike lanes, more bike shops, more demand, more supply, lower prices for gear and equipment. It all trickles down and we all benefit from it.

Edit:
And I didn't even mention the health benefits as a society. Think of the savings in health care.

Last edited by mcours2006; 02-07-15 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 02-07-15, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Worth your time. It really describes the effect of cyclocommuting on a city and how it takes the small people first (us!) to really generate momentum.

The best (really!) bicycle video I have seen in a very long time. (I also have an application running in Brussels ... but I don't have much hope.)
Great video, thanks for sharing. Makes me want to go out and ride!
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Old 02-07-15, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Then you fail to see the world beyond your own front door.

More people cycling means that maybe politicians and government will see it as a priorities for urban planning. More bike paths and bike lanes, more bike shops, more demand, more supply, lower prices for gear and equipment. It all trickles down and we all benefit from it.

Edit:
And I didn't even mention the health benefits as a society. Think of the savings in health care.
Quite on the countrary. Looking far beyond the front door. Here's what I'm thinking (correct me if I'm wrong):

Lanes and infrastructure are always step (or more) behind the traffic. Just look at those car traffic jams. Does government make wider roads with more lanes? Plus the effect that more lanes and roads often result in even more traffic, since more people will find it convenient. And so on.

The only efficient means of transit (both from ecology point of view and from economic one, as well as practical) is public transport. Everyhing else, even cycling is at least two of the following three:
1) less efficient
2) more expensive and
3) less eco


So for me, more cyclists means jam in the bicycle track - same problems you see when driving: people taking more than one lane, talkin on the phone, riding too slow, not paying attention etc.


I'm sure people who drive cars are not excited that there are so many cars. Are people in Holland happy to see so many other cyclists? Here's Amsterdam (I believe), not very appealing to me:

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Old 02-07-15, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
The only efficient means of transit (both from ecology point of view and from economic one, as well as practical) is public transport. Everyhing else, even cycling is at least two of the following three:
1) less efficient
2) more expensive and
3) less eco
Cycling is, and can be, none of those three. If we define efficiency as taking least amount of energy and time and generating the least amount of waste, cycling is, and can be, none of those three.

I agree that mass transit a great way to go, it is not necessarily cheap, but it is certainly cheaper than operating a vehicle in most cases.

Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
So for me, more cyclists means jam in the bicycle track - same problems you see when driving: people taking more than one lane, talkin on the phone, riding too slow, not paying attention etc.
I would disagree with you here. I do not think that we will see the day when cycling lanes are jammed with cyclists like the picture posted. If it ever does get that far, hopefully the powers-that-be would have had enough foresight to addressed the problem. And I don't think we would encounter the same problems that motorists indulge in. [/QUOTE]

Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
I'm sure people who drive cars are not excited that there are so many cars. Are people in Holland happy to see so many other cyclists? Here's Amsterdam (I believe), not very appealing to me:
People will always fine something to complain about. Transit users are not happy to be filed in like sardines into subway car with thousands of other commuters. Motorists aren't happy about the stop-and-go bumper-to-bumper traffic. Cyclists aren't happy about other cyclists on the bike lane/MUP. Even pedestrians are happy about slow walkers blocking their way on the sidewalk.
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Old 02-07-15, 01:50 PM
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Of all those, mass, public transport is the most eco, efficient and probably (train definitely) the cheapest way of traveling. For distances below 5 km, bicycle can be close to mass transport though.

So I'm not at all excited about more people cycling. Inspiring people to cycle etc. If you don't get thet by yourself... well it's a bit sad. How much brains does it take for one to figure they could ride a bicycle to work? It amazez me. Like someone inspiring people to walk, like: "WOW, COOOL, WE COULD WALK TO WORK.... like, no car?!"


Having said this, in past 8 years, I've apparently, without wanting to, inspired two coworkers to cycle commute. I commute all year long. First they thought I was crazy (most colleagues still think so), then they started asking questions like is it cold, tough etc... then one first, then another one realized it's easy and more practical than driving. Now we joke when one of the bikes isn't parked, especially during the winter: "oh you *****, just a little flu and you go by car?!"


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