Cycling as a form of general transport has just got a big boost in the European Union. The European Tourism and Transport Committee has voted to include cycling as part of the multi-billion Euro Trans-European Transport Network. (more…)
Is this the perfect cyclist commuter bag? Read on to find out.
I recently moved to Vancouver, the largest city in British Columbia, Canada, and spent 18 months there. At first, I was a bit disappointed by its lack of cycling infrastructure. I had come from Canberra, Australia, and was used to its extensive off-road bike path system, which there seemed to be no direct analog in the Pacific Northwest city.
But it dawned on me that Vancouver has its own bicycle network, with a hugely different philosophy to what I was used to. It was an on-road system, and a bit hidden if you didn’t know about it. Once discovered, however, I quickly realised what a great system it was.
The greater Vancouver area has a population of about 3 million people, and about the same number of cars. The city was largely built during the mid 20th century, when cars were the only answer to the transportation question. Driving from one end of Vancouver to the other can be an exercise in frustration, gridlock, endless red lights, narrow lanes and tired, intolerant drivers. Taking a bicycle on any of the main roads that go North-South or East-West would be a life-threatening experience.
So for my first few months in Vancouver, I didn’t ride long distances within the city. It was simply too dangerous.
Every now and then, I caught hints that there may be more to cycling in Vancouver. There were cyclist around, an occasional signpost, and finally a bike shop with a free cycle map.
What I discovered is an extensive, almost comprehensive on-road cycle system using a clever variety of techniques to make the cyclist’s journey safe.
Where I hail from in Australia, it rarely rains. So fenders (or mudguards, as we call them) are little used and regarded as very nerdy.
Then I moved to Vancouver, BC. Its a different cycling world here. Here, the weather comes in two flavours: raining, or about to rain. Fenders are an ugly, but useful necessity.
So when I built my Surly Long Haul Trucker, I started looking for the perfect set of fenders to match its cool, retro lines. Somehow, I stumbled onto Woody’s Custom Wooden Fenders.
Like your factory-made plastic fenders, these fenders will protect you from mud, rain and slush. But unlike a factory-made plastic fender, these fenders are custom-made, sustainable and true works of art.
Anyone who cycles at night or during bad weather knows the feeling of vulnerability as they hear a car approaching from behind. “Have they seen me?” is the thought that goes through my mind.
Cyclite have released an all-weather cycling jacket with a surprise literally up its sleeve.
Pedalite is the first integral lighting system for bicycles. Pedalite requires no batteries as the cyclist is the source of energy. Even when the cyclist is stationary or free-wheeling, Pedalite’s unique energy storage system ensures that the high-efficiency LEDs remain flashing for up to 12 minutes. These LEDs provide a 360 degree warning signal to the motorist.
Reelights are unique in their method of generating electrical energy. While the high-performance LED front and rear lights are conventional, they are powered by a wheel-based induction system.
Two magnets are attached to each wheel, and as they sweep past the light/generator assembly, electrical energy is generated, enough to power the lights. Unlike conventional dynamo systems, there is no drag and no wear on moving parts.
One of the big dangers of riding a bike at night is being seen by cars. Sure, you could put the world’s most powerful headlights up front, and a dozen flashing LEDs on your rear, but many bicycle-car collisions involve a car not seeing a bike from the side.
There are very few side-lighting systems available.
Hokey-Spokes fills this gap very well. Hokey-Spokes are a strip of LEDs mounted within the spokes of either the front or rear wheel of your bike. As your wheel spins, the LEDs trace a pattern of light. If you are going fast enough, the human eye’s persistence of vision sees this as a semi-solid face of light.
This is great, but what is really wonderful is that with different combinations of LED patterns, a myriad of images can be created. In fact, the LEDs can be programmed to spell out individual words.