Category Archives: Urban cycling

Bike racks on ambulances


Some morbid musings while riding a bike: If I would have an accident and have to be hauled away in an ambulance, what would happen to my bike?

Would someone call my wife or a friend to rescue the bike and bring it safely home, even if it’s a mangled wreck?

Cyclists in Fort Collins, Colo., no longer have to worry about that dreaded scenario.

The Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, home of Colorado State University and hundreds of avid cyclists, has equipped all 14 of its ambulances with bike racks after encountering increasing numbers of cyclists who had accidents or medical emergencies while riding, The Associated Press reported Friday.

A Poudre Valley Hospital ambulance equipped with a bike rack. Photo by University of Colorado Health

A Poudre Valley Hospital ambulance equipped with a bike rack. Photo by University of Colorado Health

Steve Main, the hospital’s emergency medical services director, was quoted by the AP as saying that some people were reluctant to leave their bikes behind at the accident scene — whether because they were high-dollar recreational bikes or the patient’s main form of transportation.

Also, Main said, ambulance workers were spending too much time going back to unlock the bikes once patients could retrieve them.

The Fort Collins newspaper, The Coloradan, which first reported the installation of bike racks on ambulances, quoted Main as saying that cycling accidents and bikes left at the scene – locked up by ambulance workers – were becoming all too frequent.

He said some accident victims would tell ambulance crews: “I’m not going to the hospital if I have to leave my bike here.”

“When you have a $3,000 or $4,000 bike,” Main said, “even though the wheel is out of round or the handlebars are bent, you have real concerns about abandoning it at the scene.”

So the Poudre Valley Hospital spent about $5,000 to install the racks, or $356 per ambulance.

“It’s just a bike crazy town,” Main said of Fort Collins.

2 Comments

Filed under Americana, Cool stuff, Urban cycling

Proposal by bicycling app


It’s one of the most creative uses of a bicycling app that I’ve ever seen – a marriage proposal mapped out on the streets of San Francisco.
Cyclist Murphy Mack, according to Mail Online, the website of London’s Daily Mail, rode 18 miles and burned 749 calories to trace out the words “Marry me Emily” surrounded by a heart.

Proposal by Strava

His ride, which took 80 minutes, was recorded by the free software app Strava, which cyclists and runners use to record their routes, speed, elevation and calories burned.
The girlfriend, Emily McLanahan, said yes.
The Strava app, reported the Mail Online, has spawned a new craze as cyclists and runners create artwork with the red route line recorded by the app using GPS technology.
But not all the artwork has been as romantic as Mack’s. One guy from Brighton, in southern England, Mail Online said, used Strava to draw a man’s private parts.

2 Comments

Filed under Americana, Cool stuff, Urban cycling

Derring-do atop a bridge


I guess it was inevitable.
Fort Worth’s new
West Seventh Street Bridge, with its 12 graceful arches with flat top surfaces and the silhouette of a roller coaster, would be a tempting challenge for a daredevil bicyclist.
The first one to test his skills on the bridge – and probably the last – was Mat Olson, a professional BMX stunt rider.

The flat top surfaces of the 12 massive arches of Fort Worth's new West Seventh Street Bridge. Photo by Jim Peipert

The flat top surfaces of the 12 massive arches of Fort Worth’s new West Seventh Street Bridge. Photo by Jim Peipert

On Saturday, a spring-like January day, Olson showed up at the bridge with a team of helpers and a film crew.
The helpers put plywood spacers between the bases of the six arches on the north side of the bridge so that Olson could transition from one arch to the next. The top surfaces of the arches are no wider than a sidewalk. There are no guardrails, no net.
A small group gathered on the Trinity Trails below the bridge as Olson began his ride on the east side of the span, which connects downtown with the city’s museum district.
One of the onlookers was Travis Baker, who had been riding his bike on the trails along the Trinity River, when he stopped to see what was going on. He shot video of Olson’s feat, which he shared with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“It seemed like I was on top of a mountain,” Olson said in describing his ride over the 24-foot-tall arches to the Star-Telegram.
“It seemed like I was on top of a mountain. It was all windy and crazy when I was up there. It was pretty exhilarating, that’s for sure.”

It was also, apparently, pretty illegal, the newspaper noted.
Fort Worth police officers who happened upon the scene told Olson after his ride that they could cite him for criminal trespassing, improper use of a vehicle and destruction of property.
But they let him off with a warning.
“I think I kind of smoothed them over,” Olson told the Star-Telegram.
“They said: ‘To be honest, we’re glad you’re alive. We don’t want to see that on our watch. Tell your friends we’ll be watching out for this and we won’t be lenient the next time.’ ”
If there is a next time.

********

POSTSCRIPT: Here’s an additional video, apparently put together by Olson’s camera crew.

1 Comment

Filed under Urban cycling

Bikes and jazz at the Plaza


Every vibrant city needs a public gathering space – a plaza, piazza, town square – a place to celebrate civic accomplishments, welcome visiting dignitaries, bring in a new year, or simply hang out on a nice day.
My hometown, Fort Worth, now has such a place: the Sundance Square Plaza.
And, with hardly any hyperbole, I will say that it is magnificent.
A quarter-century in the making, including 18 months of construction, the plaza opened Friday with a weekend of events and entertainment in the heart of downtown.

Erik Hansen, the leaping Danish Viking, and the Sunday morning neighborhood bike group in Sundance Square Plaza, Nov. 3, 2013

Erik Hansen, the leaping Danish Viking, and the Sunday morning neighborhood bike group in Sundance Square Plaza, Nov. 3, 2013

On Sunday, our neighborhood bike group included a stop at the Sundance Square Plaza during our weekly ride. We took some photos, lolled about in the fine autumn weather and listened to music by the Gloria D’Arezzo & Friends Jazz Band.
The one-acre space, anchored by two new buildings at the eastern and western ends of the plaza, sits astride Main Street.
It is bordered by Third and Fourth streets on the north and south and Commerce and Houston streets on the east and west, respectively.
The plaza features a 216-jet fountain that is illuminated at night and four 32-foot retractable umbrellas that resemble giant blossoms.
Check out the time-lapse video of the plaza’s construction by friend Brian Luenser, who lives in a condo in The Tower, a skyscraper overlooking Sundance Square.

Or the report by the local NBC station, KXAS/Channel 5, on the opening of the plaza.

http://www.nbcdfw.com/entertainment/the-scene/Sundance-Square-Plaza-Opens-in-Fort-Worth-230232381.html

Kathy McReynolds, Missy Gale, Kathy Hansen and Kelly Pinto with the Chisholm Trail Mural in the background, Sundance Square Plaza, Nov. 3, 2013

Kathy McReynolds, Missy Gale, Kathy Hansen and Kelly Pinto with the Chisholm Trail Mural in the background, Sundance Square Plaza, Nov. 3, 2013

Phil Love strikes a heroic pose with the Chisholm Trail Mural in the background, Nov. 3, 2013

Phil Love strikes a heroic pose with the Chisholm Trail Mural in the background, Nov. 3, 2013

Mark Gale, in his London Harlequins jersey, points out to Erik Hansen a feature of the new Sundance Square Plaza, Nov. 3, 2013

Mark Gale, in his London Harlequins jersey, points out to Erik Hansen a feature of the new Sundance Square Plaza, Nov. 3, 2013

Sundance Square takes its name from Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, aka the Sundance Kid, seated at far left in this painting of an iconic photograph taken of the Wild Bunch gang in Fort Worth in November 1900.

Sundance Square takes its name from Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, aka the Sundance Kid, seated at far left in this painting of an iconic photograph taken of the Wild Bunch gang in Fort Worth in November 1900.

2 Comments

Filed under Americana, Cool stuff, History, Texana, Urban cycling

Happy Halloween, 2013


I shot this last week during a visit to my hometown, Alton, Ill. This skeletal motorcycle rider was part of a "Sons of Anarchy" Halloween display.

I shot this last week during a visit to my hometown, Alton, Ill. This skeletal motorcycle rider was part of a “Sons of Anarchy” Halloween display.

Leave a comment

Filed under Americana, Cool stuff, History, Travels, Urban cycling

Changing the mind-set in L.A.


This is another one of those who-woulda-thunk-it
stories.
The Los Angeles Times, the
nation’s second-largest newspaper in one of America’s most car-centric cities, has declared editorially that it is “pro-bike.”
The weekend editorial coincided with the newspaper’s launch of a specialized webpage called Roadshare, which will focus on “bicycling, bike culture, and the controversy over creating safe space on the street for all road users.”
One of the initial pieces on Roadshare asked whether L.A. could become a city for cyclists.
“Los Angeles, a city once in love with the internal combustion engine, has begun a romance with the bicycle,” the Roadshare article said. “Can it last? Should it?”
Los Angeles sealThe editorial that kicked off a “weeks-long exploration of changing transportation priorities” was unambiguous on where the newspaper’s editorial board stands on the issue.
“The Times’ editorial page is pro-bike,” said the editorial, posted on the Times website Friday evening.
“We have noted repeatedly and with approval that cycling reduces traffic, cuts fossil fuel use and pollution and improves the health of those who do it; in fact, it’s beneficial in so many ways that cities, especially those such as Los Angeles that are beset by automotive-related problems, should go to great lengths to encourage it.”
The editorial encouraged cyclists, drivers, pedestrians, taxpayers and others to take part in the conversation by logging in to Roadshare to read, comment and make their voices heard.
So Los Angeles, where automobiles, freeways, congestion and pollution have defined the city for decades, is embarking on a serious conversation about the bicycle as a means of transportation?
Who woulda thunk it?

1 Comment

Filed under Americana, Environment, Urban cycling

Spectral images of fallen cyclists


Ghost bikes, as most cyclists know, are white-painted bicycles, placed in memory of cyclists who have been killed in road accidents.
Some of us have participated in memorial rides for fallen cyclists or seen ghost bikes erected in their memory. Many of the ghost bikes are adorned with flowers and messages scrawled on bits of paper.

Ghost bike placed in memory of Dan Valle, killed Feb. 18, 2009, in New York City. Photo by Genea Barnes

Ghost bike placed in memory of Dan Valle, killed Feb. 18, 2009, on the bike path on the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge in New York City. Photo by Genea Barnes

More than 500 such memorials are secured to fences, streetlights and signposts across the United States.
San Francisco-based photographer Genea Barnes says she discovered ghost bikes while shooting in New York in 2010, “and their symbolic power affected me powerfully.”
She set out to photograph bicycle memorials around America as part of what she calls The Ghost Bike Project.
“I started The Ghost Bike Project because we can pass a memorial hundreds of times and eventually forget that it is there to commemorate a human life,” Barnes wrote on a webpage that launched a KickStarter fund drive to finance a road trip last fall to photograph the ghost bikes.
Photo by Genea Barnes

Photo by Genea Barnes

“I combine photos of Ghost Bikes with images of live people, shot in my studio and manipulated through Photoshop to look like ghosts. The resulting images remind us to keep each other safe and represent a spirit that is no longer with us.”
A selection of 87 photos from that trip are on display through Oct. 5 at The Dog Patch Cafe and Art Gallery at 2295 Third Street at 20th Street in San Francisco.
Barnes wrote in an email that this will be her last major show before moving to Brooklyn at the end of November.
The next phase of The Ghost Bike Project is a book of the best images.

1 Comment

Filed under Americana, Cool stuff, Urban cycling