Thursday, April 12, 2018

Medical pros tell Government “cut car culture and budget for active travel for kids”

12 April, 2018 Mark Sutton

It's a world-wide pandemic. This report could be processed in any county. This one happens to be from UK.

An evidence-based call to action by medical experts to end a “42-year trend” of car domination is gaining traction, with the authors calling on the UK Government to drive a change in transport habits.
Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the authors outline the consequences of not getting tough on childhood obesity, something their studies tie to sedentary travel habits.

An accompanying letter – mailed to UK transport ministers Chris Grayling, Humza Yousaf, Ken Skates and Karan Bradley – calls for dedicated funding of “at least 10% of the national transport budgets to pay for infrastructure interventions supported by a behaviour change programme.”

This is not a new proposal having previously been presented by the Association of Directors of Public Health as long ago as 2008, endorsed by over 100 concerned academic, health, transport and other organisations.

What the latest call to action does pull into focus is the sharp decline in children’s mobility since the 1970s when statistics were first gathered.

“This reflects the fact that across these four decades politicians and highway engineers have planned for increased car use. So that is what has resulted,” write the authors. “Yet, across the same period we have accumulated much greater scientific evidence for the health impacts of this decline in physical activity. The importance of routine physical activity, such as active travel, for heart health, weight management, and mental well-being are just three of the myriad aspects of health gain which are now routinely denied to children.”

The routine investment in the roads while overlooking means to safely choose active travel is “resulting in an environment that often feels too risky for walking or cycling,” it is suggested.

The average length of a school journey has increased by nearly 100% since the 1980s to just shy of four miles in length (2013 figures). In tandem with this, parents have increasingly declared that they are afraid to let children complete the journeys by foot or bike as road safety concerns have grown.

In tandem with removing physical activity, parents are exposing children to increasingly high levels of pollution, with the authors further flagging that most are clueless about how much of that dirty air exists within the vehicle itself.

The cost to benefit ratio of active travel should, in theory, be a huge draw for politicians, believe the authors, with cycling investments shown to have a net benefit (sometimes as high as 35:1) to society. Furthermore, there’s a huge economic contribution.

“We are not starting from scratch,” says the letter. “There are locations across the UK where infrastructure provision is making it possible for more children to travel actively, although that these remain exceptions. Successful UK programmes have occurred recently, not least the Cycle Demonstration Towns and Sustainable Travel Towns programmes in England, the London Cycle Superhighways, and the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme in Scotland. These were shown to be highly effective and had excellent benefit to cost ratios, unlike many schemes devoted to expanding the road network capacity for the short-term benefit of car users. In Wales, the Active Travel Act 2013 has concentrated minds on what must follow if the Act is to be shown to have led to a shift in travel behaviour.”

To read the letter in full, head here.

Want to learn more about cycling’s societal impact and the countless piece of evidence available to back a case for better active travel provision? Check in with our library of data here.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Every Community Should Promote a CicLAvia Event

Inspired by Bogotá’s weekly ciclovía, CicLAvia temporarily closes streets to car traffic and opens them to Los Angelenos to use as a public park. Free for all, CicLAvia connects communities to each other across an expansive city, creating a safe place to bike, walk, skate, roll, and dance through Los Angeles.

Currently, CicLAvia is a Southern California phenomenon. It has been opening streets across Los Angeles county since 2010. Over 1 million people have experienced CicLAvia. It's the biggest open streets event in the US! Participants represent 80% of the population of the City of Los Angeles.

Other Southern California communities are now promoting CicLAvia events in the San Fernando Valley, Culver City, Venice, Mar Vista, Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown, MacArthur Park, South LA, Echo Park, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Boyle Heights, Historic Downtown, East LA, Pasadena, Pacoima, Arleta, Panorama City, and Southeast Cities.

CicLAvia has five times more people using its temporary park space during event day than are using all of the other parks in the city of Los Angeles combined. CicLAvia has impacted local and regional transportation policy related to pedestrians and bikes. 

CicLAvia improves air quality by reducing ultrafine particles in the air by over 20 percent. And that’s just a start of the benefits in the battle to reduce car traffic and enjoy the other benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

EVERY community throughout the entire country should promote a CAR FREE day similar to what’s happening in southern California. If they can do it, with their massive traffic congestion, ANYBODY can do it. Make it a community fundraiser, part of a health fair, a local holiday. The ideas are endless, as are the benefits.

For further information please click HERE >>

Friday, April 6, 2018

Bike use is rising among the young, but it is skyrocketing among the old

There’s no question that Generation Y’s tendency to favor city life and its declining enthusiasm for car ownership has boosted bike transportation.

But as the older Civil Rights Generation and the Baby Boomers who followed them have entered the last third of their lives, they’ve quietly transformed what it means to be the kind of person who rides a bicycle.

Between 1995 and 2009, the most recent year for which National Household Travel Survey data is available, the rise in biking among people ages 60-79 accounted for 37 percent of the total nationwide increase in bike trips.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

How The Humble Bicycle Can Save Our Cities

By Eillie Anzilotti

Designing a city for bicycles is not just a pleasant idea for the cyclists among us. Designing a city for bikes will also achieve the goals we want for our future urban centers, making them more equitable, healthy, efficient, and clean. 

Cities that prioritize bikes over cars effectively reduce carbon emissions, and support public health both by creating clearer air for people to breathe and more opportunities for safe, active transportation. 

Bikes also enable many more people to move through the streets at a time than do cars, and when cities are especially concerned with overpopulation and congestion on the roads, bikes emerge as the more efficient option.

The bicycle’s ability to address all these concerns makes now, according to Colville-Andersen, an ideal time for cities to re-embrace the bicycle as a primary mode of urban transit.

Mikael Colville-Andersen rides his bike everywhere in Copenhagen, but he would never introduce himself as a cyclist. “I’m just one of the 400,000 people riding a bike in this city because it makes our daily lives more effective.”

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Yep, Los Angeles has the world's worst traffic congestion — again


U.S. cities dominate the world's top 10 most-traffic-congested urban areas, with Los Angeles leading in mind-numbing and costly gridlock, according to a new report issued Tuesday.

La La Land, with its jam-packed freeways and driving culture despite billions being poured into rail transit, emerged from the 1,360 other cities in 38 countries to claim the worst-congestion title for the sixth consecutive year in the 2017 traffic scorecard by INRIX, a leader in transportation analytics and connected car services.

Drivers in and around the City of the Angels spent 102 hours battling 2017 traffic congestion during peak hours, INRIX's 11th annual report said.

Based on the overall findings, the U.S. ranked as the most traffic-congested developed nation in the world, with American drivers spending an average of 41 hours a year battling traffic during peak travel times of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

See USATODAY for complete article

Biking in Copenhagen - Example to ALL Cities

37% of commuters use bikes in Copenhagen, and the city is trying to get that up to 50%.

This video showcases a thrilling set of initiatives that the Danes have taken to make bicycling the main mode of transportation in the city, like bike lanes with LED lights set up to alert cars when a bike is making a turn.

Are small kids and groceries part of your day in transportation? No problem.

There are 30,000 "cargo bikes" in the city, nicknamed "SUV's".

Watch this video and get some ideas from the Danes!

P.S. Please share emails and videos with your friends and colleagues.

That's how we grow. Thanks.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Bike to Work

Despite vast improvements in cycling infrastructure in many cities across the continent, the majority of North Americans still don’t bike to work. While the benefits of cycling to work are nearly innumerable, we managed to round them down to just ten so we wouldn’t run out of space on the Internet. Here are the top 10 reasons to bike to work:

1. Fun!

Biking to work is fun, plain and simple. Many people look back wistfully on fond childhood memories of riding their bike around their neighborhood, wishing they could still be so carefree amid the rigors of working life. Biking to work allows you integrate that simple feeling of exhilaration into your daily grind. Observe your surroundings, listen to the birds and wave at passing cyclists as you ride. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself wishing your commute were longer.

2. Fitness

Biking to work is good for you. While the exact calories burned on a ride varies between each person, their speed, and the topography, cycling on average burns as many calories as jogging, with considerably fewer negative impacts on the joints. Cycling improves cardio-vascular and aerobic fitness, lowers blood pressure, boosts energy, builds muscle, and improves coordination. Sneaking the health benefits of biking into your daily commute is so easy it almost feels like cheating!

3. Happiness

Biking to work makes you happier. While most people would not identify sitting in traffic, navigating a congested city, or riding crowded public transit as activities that calm them down or make them happy, cycling to work can actually transform your daily commute into a moderate form of therapy. Numerous studies have shown that daily exercise can reduce stress, alleviate symptoms of depression, improve sleep patterns for individuals with insomnia, and reduce anxiety. Furthermore, exercising outdoors – both in urban and rural contexts – has been proven to boost self-confidence and improve overall mood.

4. Brain-power

Biking to work makes you smarter. While it may not turn you into an astrophysicist overnight, research has proven that moderate, daily exercise can prevent cognitive decline, sharpen memory and learning, and improve overall brain performance. So even if biking to work doesn’t turn you into a Rhodes Scholar, at the very least it will make you better at your job.


A Study Finds Cyclists to Be Six Times Healthier than Other Commuters. Read here.

5. Money

Biking to work saves you money. Lots of money. In 2015, the average American household is forecast to spend $1,962 on gasoline and motor oil. Shockingly, that would be the lowest average fuel expenditure in the US since 2009! Add on vehicle maintenance, the occasional repair, insurance, and the skyrocketing cost of parking, and you have an average yearly cost of $9,000 USD just to own a standard sedan in America. Conversely, a brand new commuter bike retails at anywhere from $250-$1,500 USD depending on the brand, style, and components you’re after, with an average yearly maintenance cost of around $50 USD. Unless you want to maintain your bike yourself, then it’s close to free! One-off purchases of a lock and lights will run you about $60-$200 USD depending on the quality. So even if you went for the most expensive options in each case, you’re still looking at savings of around $7,050 USD in your first year, with savings of up to $9,000 each year after that. Not a bad deal!

6. Money Again

Not only does biking to work save you money, it saves everyone money. A 2011 cost-benefit analysis of biking investments in Portland, OR, by the Journal of Physical Activity and Health determined that Portland residents could save between $388 and $594 million in individual health care costs by 2040 because of the city’s increased investment in bike infrastructure. Add that to savings yielded by employers who invest in a company bike culture, the billions of dollars generated annually by the wider bike industry, and the economic benefits that strong bike communities bring to businesses, and you have yourself a solid financial case for hopping on a bicycle that even the most staunch defender of the automobile would have a hard time talking down.

7. Fresh air

For you and others! The transportation sector accounts for nearly 30 percent of all US greenhouse gas emissions, with cars and trucks delivering nearly 1/5th of those emissions. While a solo driver in an average North American vehicle releases about 1.2 pounds of C02 per mile, the average cyclist releases only 0.7 grams through respiration. And while a bicycle’s life-cycle energy use including manufacturing and maintenance over a 15-year period is 60 kilojoules per Passenger Mile Traveled, the life-cycle energy use for a standard sedan clocks in at a whopping 4027 kilojoules/ PMT. That’s some serious energy savings with a seriously simple change.

8. Convenience

One of the most common misconceptions about biking to work is that it’s inconvenient. But what’s more inconvenient than spending 10 minutes looking for parking every morning or getting stuck in an unexpected roadblock on the way? When you bike to work, finding parking is as easy as spotting the nearest pole, locking up, and walking away. Cyclists don’t get stuck in traffic jams and aren’t susceptible to the usual transit delays of driving or public transportation, making bike commuting as fast or faster than driving for most urban commutes. Panniers and cycling bags make carrying your work materials easy, and many workplaces are now including secure bike parking, showers, and other facilities to make things even easier for employees who cycle to work.

9. Safety

The more cyclists there are on the roads, the safer they will be. A 2008 study from the University of New South Walesdetermined that biking safety is a virtuous cycle. As more people ride in a given city, the number of collisions between drivers and people riding bikes decreases in absolute terms in that city. And this is not simply because there are fewer cars. Driver behavior actually changes to include safer driving practices when the number of cyclists and pedestrians increases. Because the perception of the relative safety of cycling improves with a decrease in collisions, more people then begin riding bikes. Virtuous cycle!

10. Freedom

For most kids, the moment that they first lose the training wheels and go flying down the road on their bicycle feels like freedom. It is a defining moment of many happy childhoods. Then the teenage years roll around and the car comes to define a new sense of freedom. But after a few years and far too many hours wasted in traffic jams or circling a city block looking for parking, the car begins to feel more like a prison. Toss off the shackles and find that feeling of freedom again. Explore the city at your own pace, try a new route, stop for coffee on the way to work and check out a new neighborhood on your way home. Cycling opens up avenues, both literal and figurative, to see your city in a whole new way. It’s your community, go live in it!

Reprinted with permission from Momentum Magazine

How to Become Bicycle Friendly

Whether you’re a business owner, advocate, community member, or agency official, you can take steps to welcome and accommodate visiting bicycle travelers. Check out Bicycle Tourism Resources for links to more information, guidances, and examples. We encourage businesses to implement what is feasible for them. 


Be welcoming to bicycle travelers and let them know that you’re bicycle-friendly.
  • Post welcome signs, bicycle decals, or put up bicycle-related art. 
  • Provide hospitality training for employees 
  • Promote the bicycle amenities & services you offer through your website, social media, etc. 
Provide tourism service information.
  • Maps of the town or area. 
  • Nearby services, like restaurants, grocery stores, breweries, lodging and camping, bike shops and outdoor stores, post office, library, and laundromats. 
  • Local tourism activities – outdoor recreation, nearby trails, attractions & events, etc. 

In addition to the Bicycle Travel Friendly Essentials, businesses can offer these amenities for their customers that arrive by bicycle.
  • Bicycle parking that is preferably secure and protected from the weather. 
  • Recommended bike parking racks. 
  • Make sure the racks accommodate bicycles with loaded backpacks 
  • Complimentary lock for bicyclists to borrow. A coded lock is best so there’s no danger of losing keys. 
  • Complimentary bicycle pump – a floor pump with a gauge is best. 
  • Complimentary water for guests to fill water bottles. 
  • Food fuel – offer high calorie, healthy packaged snacks for purchase. Energy bars or gels, cheese/meat sticks, nut mixes, etc.

These tips for hospitality businesses (hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campgrounds, etc.) provide ideas of amenities and services to accommodate guests that arrive by bicycle.  Also check out Cyclists Only Lodging for examples and recommendations.
  • Bicycle parking that is preferably secure and protected from weather. 
  • Recommended bike parking racks. 
  • Make sure the racks accommodate bicycles with loaded backpacks. 
  • Allow visitors to bring bicycles into their rooms. Or offer secure, separate space in parking garage, parking lot, or storage room. 
  • Complimentary bicycle pump – a floor pump with a gauge is best.
  • Maintenance tools and gear or a repair stand. 
  • Essential tools: bike pump, bike multi-tool, tire levers, pedal wrench, others. 
  • Essential supplies for sale, like tubes, spokes, chain lube, patch kits, lights, etc. 
  • Bike washing station that includes hose, rags, brushes, towels.
  • Complimentary lockers can be useful for cycling guests that arrive earlier or leave later than their check in/out time and need somewhere to temporarily store their gear. 
  • Laundry machines and soap for guest use. 
  • Shuttle service that can accommodate bicycles. 
  • Shipping services for bicyclists to ship home things they’ve purchased but don’t want to carry. 
  • Receive and store bikes for guests in a secure area. 
  • Bicycle rentals for guests who don’t arrive by bicycle. 
  • Courtesy phone and computer can be helpful for cyclists traveling without mobile smart devices, or as a backup if batteries are dead. 
  • WIFI is also essential for many traveling cyclists. 
Community space – bike travelers like meeting each other and sharing stories, and a common area helps facilitate that.
  • If there isn’t room inside, an outdoor fire pit can be another option. 
  • Provide activities like games, ping pong table, books, etc. 
  • Count bicyclist guests to know how many are visiting and using your bicycle amenities. 
  • Provide a guestbook to get stories, kudos, and feedback. 
  • Rent outdoor equipment – bicycle travelers might want to stay and do other activities. 
  • If they’re not available elsewhere, you could rent fishing poles, stand up paddle boards, disc golf, binoculars, etc. 
The Bottom Line is simple
Bicycling Means Business
Call for details and find out how your business can benefit and PROFIT 
by being "Bike Friendly." 406-871-6282. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Bikes Mean Business

Little did she know that they would hit the jackpot with bicycling

By: Carolyn Szczepanski

Pat Brown was just hoping to hang on in a tough economy. When she relocated her art gallery in 2008, it was the rock-bottom rent that drew her to a still struggling strip of downtown Memphis, TN. “We were just trying to survive,” she said.

Brown was betting on a small core of community members determined to transform Broad Avenue from a fast-moving thoroughfare, where traffic whizzed past boarded-up storefronts at 50 mph, into a bustling arts district. Little did she know that they would hit the jackpot with bicycling.

Shortly after Brown opened T Clifton Gallery, Sarah Newstok walked in. The local nonprofit Newstok led, Livable Memphis, had a vision for Broad Avenue, too. They wanted to build a protected bike lane that would pass right by Brown’s door, creating a vital connection between a popular multi-use trail and the city’s largest park. “We’re a retail business, so any time there’s a concept to bring additional traffic directly by your storefront, it’s very easy to say ‘yes,’” Brown recalled with a laugh.

In 2010, after garnering support from city officials and surrounding businesses, Livable Memphis and the Broad Avenue Arts District rolled out the idea in a dramatic way. They painted temporary bike lanes and crosswalks and invited the community to “A New Face for an Old Broad,” a celebration, complete with live music, street vendors and a kids’ bike parade down the freshly striped cycle track. READ MORE >>

"Bicycling in the United States is a $6 billion national industry and one study estimates that the spillover effects of recreational bicycling alone could be as large as $133 billion. But that’s just the beginning, barely scratching the surface of the economic impact of transportation bicycling in communities across North America."

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Apple donates $1.8 million to Cupertino, CA for protected bike lanes

It's starting to catch on across the country as more and more major corporations see the future in biking and are investing in safe biking infrastructure, siting "bikes are the way to go in reducing traffic, pollution and other mayhem caused by auto's." Separating cars from cyclists will be turning point in getting people on bikes and out of cars.
The city of Cupertino, CA has received a $1.8 million donation from Apple Inc. that will help fund the first leg of a protected bike lane project.
The City Council accepted the donation, and staff plans to work early next year with a consultant to design bike lanes separated from vehicular traffic.
The planned bike lanes are called Class IV lanes, and according to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, they are “physically separated from the vehicle travel lane by more than the white stripe. This can entail grade separation, flexible bollards or permanent barriers.”  READ >>

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Cycling is the New Golf

From the Colorado Office of Economic Development

"By now, you’ve probably seen the headlines exclaiming that “Cycling is the New Golf.” Business Insider and the New York Times have covered the trend, and while golf has long been the go-to activity for business meetings outside the boardroom, there’s a new way to network. More and more business people are investing in bikes and hitting the pavement.

This trend isn’t just on the rise in Silicon Valley or on the East Coast—thanks to its sunny weather and panoramic views, Colorado is home to dozens of top-notch golf courses, and has made a name for itself as a prime cycling destination, too. These days, it’s no longer just an after-work hobby—a cycling meeting is now a fairly standard way to network in Colorado." READ >>

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Cyclists over 60. Fastest growth of any Demographic

By Mark Cramer, retiree, cycling advocate, regular contributor to Freewheeling France 

22 percent of the net growth in U.S. bike trips from 1995-2009 is by people ages 60-79. Their biking quadrupled in those 14 years, the fastest growth of any demographic.

During the past 17 years I’ve been cycling on a regular basis. As I’ve aged (I’m 72 now), I have observed an increasing population of senior cyclers around me, especially in France, my home base.

Recently in Paris I presented a slide show on Cycling in Bolivia. The canyon city of La Paz, Bolivia, where I live for six weeks each year, is 12,000 feet above sea level, has no bike lanes and if you find a rare flat street, it’s never going where you need it to. Given the challenge of cycling in an area with sometimes many thousand foot variations in altitude, I expected a younger crowd to attend the presentation. Instead, the audience was comprised mainly of seniors. Mingling with them I learned that their retirements are enriched with adventurous bike trips around the world.

Derren Patterson works in Bolivia with Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking, famous for its bike tours over “the world’s most dangerous road”. He tells us: “we have observed a gradual increase in senior customers in recent years. Just a few weeks ago, two men in their 70s did various mountain trails with us.”

In my frequent interactions with senior cyclers I have noticed an increasing interest in a certain category of travel called “micro-adventures”. They will not cycle for a year from Alaska to Ushuaia, but they love trying something they’ve never done before, breaking routines and thus playing tricks with psychological time in order to expand their lives.

At talks I’ve given to cycling tourists in the Loire Valley, through International Bicycle Tours (IBT), I found the audiences comprised mainly of boomers, with one woman over 80! IBT’s Jules Miller explains that their “clients have consistently been about the same age, which is between 55-75. In the past couple of years, we have started 70 Plusser tours, aimed at participants age 70 and up, focusing on shorter daily biking. Instead of 25-35 miles a day, they do about 15-20 miles daily,” blending the cycling with river barge segments or cultural visits.

Dozens of tour companies like the above-mentioned offer fully-supported bicycle adventures with the sturdiest and most comfortable high-end bikes. Backpacks or panniers are not necessary since the customers’ belongings are carried in a pick-up truck.

If supported bike tours are “the new golf”, as numerous business publications have suggested, what about the increasing number of 60-plussers doing unsupported bicycle tourism? Could independent road cycling for seniors become the new cruise industry, with bike-friendly “ports” along the way?

I have accompanied seniors on unsupported touring, where we carry our own clothing and accessories (and medications!). We make our own maps as we go along, comparing our “found” routes with those of National Geography Institute contour maps or Google bicycle routes.

But when the sun sets after a long ride, we prefer a good restaurant and we’re not embarrassed to stay in a comfortable hotel or bed-and-breakfast instead of camping out. Stopping for activities along the way is not a problem for us since we view the bicycle as both an activity in itself and a means of vacation transportation. We do not have to wait until the next port to partake of local attractions.

I do not pretend to speak for a whole demographic, but I can say that several of my riding companions share a dream. We would like to see a road cycling infrastructure of rest-and-service stops, including restaurants, hotels and bike repair stations.

With the weight of our first-aid kits and the extra levels of packed clothing (we’re more sensitive to weather changes), we would prefer to carry the lightest possible bike locks, even with a lower grade of security, once assured of finding hotels, restaurants and attractions with protected parking.

According to bicycle sales rep, Keith Stark, from Western Canada: “Our dealer base has seen a significant spike in sales from business men and women who have made the transition from golf to biking” (Quote from, Jayson MacLean, “Golf is Dead. Cycling Killed It”, Cantech Letter, May 2017). Stark specializes in high-end bikes.

As one who has come out from a meeting in a wealthy Paris suburb only to find a sawed off bike lock (professional job) and empty space where my quality bicycle had been parked, I will be ready to purchase another high-end bike when I know I will find road and parking services for cyclists, just as automobile tourists have such services available.

The bicycle industry is in a position to be our advocate and to influence both public and private sectors to provide amenities for the growing demographic. Parts of France already have such cycling amenities, and they can be a model for things to come.

In a subsequent article I will present a new idea for long-term bicycle advocacy that will stimulate cycling in all age groups, but especially 60-plussers. The more bicycle tourists, the more security we will feel on the road.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Study proves that electric bike users are far from “cheating”


The University of Colorado Boulder study has buried the myth that electric bike users are “cheating”, demonstrating that riders do indeed get an “effective workout” and the associated health benefits associated with pedal powered bikes.

Published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, the findings lent weight to a decision on whether or not to allow electric bikes on bike paths in the city of Boulder, which partially funded the study alongside the National Institutes of Health. Pete’s Electric Bikes, Republic Cycles and nutrition label Skratch Labs also donated to the funding.

In delivering the study, researchers recruited a pool of twenty sedentary commuters, conducting tests of their overall health, blood glucose regulation and fitness. These commuters were then asked to shift their transport to work to the e-Bike fleet, using a speed and intensity setting of their choice for a minimum of 40 minutes three times per week. Each wore a heart monitor and GPS. READ MORE >>