December 2nd, 2010

The next design challenge for architects

Architects might not realize it, but, if the cities in which they work, plan on following Portland's or Copenhagen's example, cultural change is afoot. After spending less on their cycleway system than they might otherwise have spent on just 1km of new freeway, Portland saw a ten-fold increase in the percentage of trips made by bike, from one hundredth of all trips, to one tenth of all trips. Remarkable as that is, scope remains for a further tripling of those rates, if Portland continues toward its goal of reaching the one third of all trips benchmark set by Amsterdam and Copenhagen. On the rapid path to those thirty-fold increases on pre-cycling base rates, fledgling cycling cities like London, Chicago, New York and Melbourne are witnessing spectacles: nude protest rides, valet bike parking stations, tweed runs, bike polo matches, cycle specific clothing boutiques, bunch rides, and bikes littering footpaths outside cafes.
Give the middle class a chance to claim minority status, and they will parade it.
Why, next they'll be wanting bike friendly buildings. Would then every foyer look like The Bicycle Garage in Lilyfield Sydney? The need may comes as well, to revise data in those Metric Handbooks architects keep on their desks, to add minimum dimensions surrounding indoor bicycle storage.     

Airing my sanctimony

My fellow cycling commuter, you simply must buy yourself one of these air horns! While style wise they would make a radio fixed to your handlebars look almost okay, boy oh boy what a hoot. Get it, hoot, lovely. Tonight on my way home from work, a young woman who no doubt deals ice when she is not looking all middle class and "like man, I don't care about yous all, 'cause I is so cool", was power walking along my cycleway route with her dog off its lead, her pretending to be so absorbed with her power-walk mix on her ipod, that she could not possibly have noticed her dog bothering other dogs, those dogs on their leads like they aught, the resulting commotion posing a threat to your beloved Dr. Behooving, riding my bike. Tonight she is soaking her mind with cheap wine, hoping the alcohol might kill whatever part of that pea brain stores the memory of me blasting her head off. Oh, dear reader, I rode straight at her and haaaaarnk. God bless, she did look rather startled.
Revisiting the advertisement for my new Delta Air Zound 115db air horn on cellbikes, I now see the words: "We don't recommend this horn for scaring pedestrians on quiet bike paths". Honest, I didn't see that before, either in the advertisement, or in big letters on the side of the box. So I feel strangely guilty now, like I might go to hell, or worse still, lose your respect, Roberto, my one loyal reader.
Of the available youtube clips, this one  and this one give the best indication as to how fricking loud these things really are. Hiiighly, recommended, along with all forms of civil disobedience one might indulge as a hard-done-by cycling commuter.