This blog is moving

I'm very lucky indeed to have attracted a fairly large, and undoubtedly loyal following to this blog, and will feel luckier still if most of you adjust your dial now, to:
I'll be blogging there under the same old loveable pseudonym, Dr. Behooving, in that old-letch professor voice I have honed. But with my own domain and wordpress platform, I can do more than just blog. I can take on a talented editor/photographer/web developer, the great Gusto, who I've known for a few years now as a true bike nut like myself, and a pretty good student. We're partnering, to split all the moolah, and marry our unbridled energy for changing the world, through what we know about cycling and architecture.  
While you're adjusting your RSS feeds, please take a moment as well, to follow @cyclespace via twitter. I'll still be posting on twitter as @BehoovingMoving, but Gus will be posting using @cyclespace. will run like a blog, but eventually have pages providing a more accessible resource, mainly aimed at helping bike loving architects and urban designers.
BehoovingMoving will stay here as an archive for as long as Livejournal's Russian Mafia owners allow. Despite the occasional glitches, I highly recommend livejournal, to anyone starting out blogging. For $25 per year, you get an easy to use diary, that other people can read. That's how I've always treated this: as diary writing. But it has out me in touch with like-minded souls all over the world, some of whom I have had the chance to stay with during my travels. I have some great friends, thanks to this diary, and hope this change of address doesn't mean we'll fall out of contact. 
If you have any trouble reading, or leaving comment at, please let me know via twitter: @BehoovingMoving, or via email at BehoovingMoving [hec hem]
See you in cycle-space dudes.

I've gone commercial!

As soon as I figure out how to upload a gif to my sidebar, I'll be advertising for Brompton. And as soon as all my readers (566 yesterday, can you believe it!) click on their banner, to let Brompton know traffic is coming to them via me, well then I'll be sitting in their boardroom (or them in mine) holding out for a cool million per year, to endorse their fine product in perpetuity. Not that I don't endorse their bikes now. Hell, I own one, that has survived baggage handling in Naples. Plus their bike made my list of 5 bikes of importancce to architects, way back when the thought of being a highly paid pro Brompton blogger was merely twinkle, somewhere in my subconscious.

Is cycling pulling you away from your computer?

If so, have you considered cycling in cyber space? The dude there in the middle, in blue: he's my bicycling avatar. I haven't yet bothered to choose him a more tasteful jersey, though that option exists. In the darkness of my front room each evening, I have been exploring virtual reality models of islands, designed purely for sports riding pleasure. I can leave the virtual road, ride through virtual buildings, race artificial intelligence competitors, ride on the right to pretend I'm in Europe, ride on the left to pretend I'm still at home (if I need to pretend), all safe in the knowledge that these virtual roads, have no virtual cars. The worst that can happen, is crashing into the stencils of trees marking the extent of the model, and realizing I'm inside some kind of Truman Show. As well as riding VR mode, I have been watching footage shot from the front of a car driving over the Alps, that reels toward me at a rate proportionate to the effort I put in. The resistance in the roller is calculated by the nano-second, to fool me into thinking a person of my weight, is actually riding over whatever I'm seeing on my screen, be that filmed or derived from a VR model.

I'm also one of 46,000 registered tacx users, all paying an annual license fee (that's almost as hefty as a real-world license to race), to have real time races in these virtual worlds. If you're reeling, I'm reeling more. I'm the bunny who has unwittingly stepped into this bizarre virtual world of hard-core race training, without the prospect of injury.

The timing couldn't be more ironic. The day before my tacx system arrived, I had undertaken a straw poll of people following @BehoovingMoving on twitter. I asked people to say in one tweet, what cycling means to them personally. More than half said cycling stimulates their senses, by putting them back in touch with their environment. Cycling, to my twitter followers, is an antidote to all the time they spend at their computers, following @BehoovingMoving on twitter for instance, or reading my attempts to make sense of the wide world of cycling, and now, a virtual world of cycling as well.

But I'm seeing more than just stimulation for my heart and my hamstrings, coming from this. A decade ago, architects were talking of practicing their art in virtual worlds, or at least using cyber space to test some ideas. Do let me know if you are adept at building VR terrains. It would be nice to build a cycle-space city, then use the tacx system to ride it.

At war with the motorist

As well as being a great name for a blog, "at war with the motorist" is a common state of play for we who have opted for the healthy, green, cheap mode of transport. We want to be all "peace and love bro", truly we do, but if you risk our lives, or our children's lives, with one of these contraptions you wield around town, it's only fair we fight back: kick your car, yell abuse, pin you down and pluck hairs from your nostrils, etc., etc., etc.. Remember this scene from "The World According to Garp"?

In December, my dear Primrose and I will be ridding our lives of our rust-bucket (our car) once and for all—we're just waiting for our kids' prepaid swimming lessons, out in the burbs, to wrap up. And I have realized, we will no longer have our metaphorical glass house. And this means, we can start throwing stones!

I am appealing to my gentlemanly readers, for moderate words of advice at this time. I fear a manic phase may be brewing, of excessive exuberance, for I have had visions of: letting down all my neighbours' car tires at night; of telling Jihadists I am bin Laden, back from the dead, and that from now on we'll be blowing up roads; of moving wheelie-bins out into the middle of the road; of leaving anything on the road that I can find; of generally becoming a pest.

Does this energy I have for such mischief need bridling? Or am I onto something profound? Have you not sensed also, that we have been raised from the womb to view smooth traffic flows as somehow sacred, to the point where we turn a blind eye to obstacles blocking footpaths or bike paths (builders' hoardings, rubbish skips, police cars, etc.), but react as though heaven is falling when confronted by something blocking a car lane? A campaign of civil disobedience, hindering the smooth flow of vehicular traffic, and generally inconveniencing our poor car-dependent relations, might at least get people questioning this dogma we seem to have received from our parents, that roads and cars are, in any sense, good. Or as I have been to be prone, am I being extremist?

Bikes in schools of architecture

I've been around schools of architecture since 1987, and there have always, always, been people riding inside them. I remember when I was in 5th year, how I would ride from my bedside to my drawing board in the design studio, without putting a foot on the floor. Parking their bikes in the studio remains a natural right of architecture students, as natural as cutting balsa on any surface, stealing miniature trees from models left unattended, or finely dotting walls green when spray painting contour models the colour of lawn. So here is my question: with so many architecture students riding inside, why aren't the buildings they design, when they "grow up," more inviting of bikes in the hallways? Skip to 2.17 in this vid for the best bike bit, or watch the whole thing if you like students' mess.

Learning from "The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan", and their amazing shape-shifting van

Prohibitions in America, that for example exclude bikes from most pathways in New York's Central Park, stem from the erroneous assumption that a bicycle can be nothing other than some kind of a vehicle. Landscaping plans preventing cyclists from making good time, by forcing them to mingle with walkers, stem from an assumption, rife among architects and town planners, that riding a bike is like walking, only not so hard on ones shoes. Bike paths that radiate out from train stations, but which do not link one town to the next, flow from the assumption that cycling cannot replace transit, but is at best a way of augmenting it.

With a bicycle, I can be a vehicle, I can be a pedestrian, and I can be a train. I can assert myself among cars, making them yield; I can ride among pedestrians without causing them angst; I can ride alongside a train and, assuming the train makes frequent stops, I can reach the next town almost as quickly. 
You might say I'm just bragging about being an unusually strong cyclist, but I can tell you I've ridden behind Danish mums who I'm sure would beat me in a time-trial. And while I'm skilled enough to ride among walkers, you would not want me on your bike polo team. Don't give me a job as bike messenger either: I'm hardly the world's most adept vehicular cyclist. I'm as strong and skilled as most people would be, if they were raised in a built environment that reaped the full potential of cycling, as a kind of vehicular transport, a kind of walking, and a kind of moving from town to town.
Designers have to stop putting bikes into a box, with their limited and limiting expectation as to how most cyclists are going to ride.  Some will always ride fast, some always with aggression, and some will always ride slow. Most though, will morph between states at will. Designers need to go back and watch the Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, and take special note of their shapeshifting van. 

Why in government reporting, bike paths seem to cost more than freeways.

I would love some advice from an economist here. When I looked at these pie charts, I expected expenditure on roads would account for a huge slice of government spending. An alien looking down from above, or an archaeologist sifting through our remains, would see no greater testament to government spending, than roads.

But the actual dollar cost of all this road building, is reported on a so-called accrual basis. What's that mean? As far as I can gather, it means reporting net losses, instead of gross costs. The cost of roads, we are to believe, is offset by increased revenue from fuel tax, when new roads increase peoples' driving. So on paper, roads cost very little, despite their enormity, and cost to the planet, and people's health. On paper, a bike path would cost as much per kilometer as a new stretch of freeway, because cyclists aren't paying fuel tax. On paper, spending on cyclists looks like spending on welfare, that we're meant to believe is a bottomless hole, with no returns. Likewise, education, something we spend on and get nothing back from. Roads though: they're built for profit. A really smart government, according to this cockeyed logic we live by, would spread cities out even more, anything to necessitate more roads, and greater reliance on cars, and therefore more money from fuel tax. 

Looking at this summary, all the green/sustainable infrastructure projects are surprisingly expensive, while the federally funded roads look surprisingly cheap. I mean, mountains are moved to build roads. Light rail is tiny. Hopefully a carbon tax will do something to redress these absurdities.

Commuting via the underworld

A reader, who I shall call Mr Do-Bee, today showed me the route he takes, on his mountain bike, each day to work. He came to this city from Montreal, a decade ago, and has taught himself every off-road route in three council areas. He can go from anywhere, to anywhere else, and never touch bitumen, unless it's simply to cross a road.

I'm not sure how my neck and kneecap will be tomorrow morning. I've fallen off three times, just trying to keep up with ol' Mr Do-Bee, who is the fastest descender I've ever accompanied on a mountain bike ride. Actually, without me to wait for at the bottom, he would have no use at all for his brakes. He commutes with a laptop and clean clothes in his bag, in a manner best kept secret from his life insurer, laptop insurer, and probably his wife and his children. We've been through creeks, down washed out gullies, through culverts that cut beneath freeways, and somehow popped out on a hill overlooking another city. In the mind of Mr Do-Bee, The Great North Walk, The Glenrock mountain bike trails, and obscure tracks behind fence lines otherwise only used by folk walking dogs, are part of a labyrinthine network of secret passageways, allowing him to treat the world we're living in, here in the light, as though he's of an underworld, and has the power to disappear and pop up anywhere else. As a mostly on-road rider, I feel like a spoilt prince who has only ever been shown the carpeted rooms of his palace, until some mad French-Canadian came and showed me how this city works behind the fake walls. His mind contains what I would call a highly developed, and radical, cycle-space map of this city.


Bicycle designers have set their minds on speed, off-road handling, folding, utility, style, integration (of lights, locking) and perhaps a few other things that don't come to mind at the moment. What about cleaning? Whatever weight penalty I had to pay, to be rid of half the rear triangle, and half the fork, of a bike I did not want to go fast on, would be doubly rewarded by the ease of cleaning afforded, oh, and let's not forget, the ease of changing a tire without removing the wheel.
I know all you major bike makers are avid readers, so here is your mission: look at these non-production designer bikes—Christophe Robillard's Victor Bike and Inoda Sveje's Bike 2.0— and spare a thought for "the help", you know, those little folk to whom we pass our bikes to be cleaned after each ride, so they stay looking like the bikes in your ads.
If you know of any more easy-clean bikes, drop me a note. I might make a list. Belt-drive. Rod drive. Lefty forks. Righty frames. Full high clearance mud guards. Oh, and nothing stays cleaner than raw titanium.  

Film by '70s porn stars that raised driver awareness of cyclists

Me ol' bike blogging buddy Mikael has really been putting in the yards this weekend, trawling the archives for dirt on General Motors, but remarkably uncovering a GM produced video, teaching drivers to look out for cyclists. That's not quite so remarkable as the cast: Ron Jeremy (2.00) Marilyn Chambers (3.26) John Holmes (6.33). I'll admit, I couldn't watch it right the way to the end, to let you know if in fact the entire adult film industry had a hand its making. The pacing would certainly suggest the involvement of porn producers. (Anyhow, it's the weekend. Relax.)