Participate in the LGRAB Summer Games!

Have you heard of the fantastic cycling web site letsgorideabike.com? Well, now you have.

Trisha in Nashville and Dottie in Chicago are behind this fantastic day-to-day cycling site and they have recently launched a Summer Games. Participants cycle, photograph and then post online stories about how they completed each event. Here’s a bit more information from the site:

How to play, you ask?

It’s easy. There are three main categories, and six events in each category. Complete events in each category over a three week period, and tell us about it via blog post link, email or photo addition to our Summer Games Flickr Pool. Entries must include a story and a photo of each event you complete.  If you enter via a post on your own blog, please link to this announcement in your entry, include one of our badges and let us know via email.

Anyone who completes at least two events in each of the three categories will be entered to win the Batavus BuB by random drawing. We’re also giving away prizes as readers complete each category.

May 17-June 6: Social Cycling

  • Go on a group ride
  • Leave a nice note on a bike, or say hi to a cyclist at a red light
  • Schedule a bike date with a friend or partner — dress up!
  • Recruit a non-biking friend for a ride
  • Ride with your family

June 7-June 27: Learning Experiences

  • Perform a maintenance task — big or small!
  • Decorate your bike
  • Read a book about cycling
  • Carry a load on your bike — groceries, etc.
  • Test ride a different type of bike than you normally ride

June 28-July 18: New Territory

  • Ride a greenway
  • Have a bicycle picnic
  • If you don’t normally ride to work, commute by bike, or by bike/train or bike/bus
  • If you do commute, take the long way home: add distance to your usual ride
  • Explore a new part of town by bike

Now, Toronto cyclists may have a distinct advantage here. Starting May 31st, it’s Bike Month in Toronto. That means there are even more cycling events than usual in town (and trust me, we have a lot of cycling events).

I’ll be posting mine and my girlfriend’s entries here, so stay tuned!

The games start today, go here if you’d like to join in the fun.

Scrapertown – More Scraper Bikes from Oakland

Scrapertown screen shot 2010-05-16 at 11.22.44 AM

As I wrote previously, I’m really enjoying hearing about the Scraper bike phenomenon. Here’s another great video:

Scrapertown from California is a place. on Vimeo.

Via BrooklynByBike

2010 Toronto Cycling Map has Bike Boxes

2010 Toronto Cycling Map CoverEach year, the City of Toronto releases a comprehensive map of cycling infrastructure and suggested routes.

The map indicates bike locker locations, stairs with bicycle groves, bicycle rental locations and clearly indicates every bike lane and multi-use path throughout Toronto.

With a stalled Bike Plan, the 2010 edition varies only slightly from its predecessor.

One noticeable change is the addition of bike boxes to the illustrations explaining cycling infrastructure for cyclists (and motorists).

Hopefully we’ll be seeing these installed this summer!

To download PDFs of the cycling map, visit the City of Toronto web site here.

2010 Toronto Cycling Map Bike Box 1

2010 Toronto Cycling Map Bike Box 2

Everyday People, Everyday Bicycles: South Africa

Bicycle Portraits

Via BikeHacks:

My name is Stan Engelbrecht. A friend and fellow bicycle enthusiast, Nic Grobler, and I recently started a project investigating South African bicycle culture, and the lack of cyclist commuters out there on our roads. We want to raise the funds to turn this project into a self-published full-color hard-cover photographic book ( similar to a previous book I’ve done, ‘African Salad’ – www.dayonepublications.com ). We’ll be shooting the entire project from our own bicycles while traveling around the country – this will enable us to meet everyday South Africans out there while they use their bicycles.

Bicycle Portraits from Bicycle Portraits on Vimeo.

Bicycle Portraits – Bongani Ncala from Bicycle Portraits on Vimeo.

Setting an Example: Burrard Street Bike Lane Vancouver

Screen shot 2010-05-11 at 11.01.24 AM

It doesn’t take much to create excellent cycling infrastructure. Take note Toronto, take note…

Via Bike Lane Diary
Photo via Price Tags

Elsewhere Observed: Cycling in Peru

Machu PicchuOver two spectacular weeks, my girlfriend and I traveled through Peru. From Spanish Colonial churches perched upon Inca ruins to winding dirt roads connecting tour groups and local farmers, Peru is both modern and firmly rooted in history.

While two weeks isn’t long enough to truly capture and understand how Peruvians use bicycles, evidence of their use is around every corner.

Narrow, cobblestone roads, pushy drivers and plenty of hills in Arequipa and Cusco meant that not many locals used a bicycle as primary transportation.

Independent mini bus companies and low-priced taxi services (at least for tourists) carry office workers, school children and anyone in between to and from work and school.

While we did see quite a few personal vehicles, the city streets are dominated by mini taxis, mini buses, massive tour buses, delivery vehicles and motorcycles. Stop signs are almost always optional, street lights are few and far between and the pedestrian never has the right of way. More often than not I’d encounter tourists stranded at intersections, watching on as locals quickly jumped and ducked around whizzing cabs. Young and old, you have to be aware of your surroundings on the streets of Arequipa and Cusco. While this felt exceptionally dangerous, I never did see a collision, but as I said, two weeks isn’t nearly enough time to truly understand how this traffic situation works.

Lima, Peru’s capital and largest city, was our flight hub to and from the country. We spent just a few hours here and it was our first encounter with non-stop rushing Peruvian traffic. Our taxi from the airport took us along a developing portion of Lima’s shoreline. Amidst piles of dirt, soccer fields, a long bicycle and pedestrian path and other public spaces are slowly taking shape.

In the neighbourhood of Miraflores, we encountered one piece of urban cycling infrastructure, a coloured portion of sidewalk for cyclists. This was the first and last time we’d find cycling infrastructure in Peru:

Lima Bike Path

From Lima we flew to Arequipa, Peru’s second largest city:

Taxi Arequipa

The streets here are simply swarming with small taxis like the Daewoo pictured above. However, being Peru’s second largest city and a major tourist hub connecting to nearby volcanoes and the stunning Colca Canyon, there’s also a pedestrian-only street lined with shops and restaurants (don’t let the Scotiabank fool you, this is Arequipa, Peru):

Arequipa Pedestrian Boulevard

The majority of bicycles we saw here were to promote downhill cycling trips down nearby Misti volcano. The few we did see were always mountain bikes. This makes great sense when you see the road conditions here. In a matter of only metres you could travel bouncy dirt roads, washboard cobblestones and a smoothly paved street or two.

Bicycle Parking Arequipa

Other than the mountain bike, there is another bicycle that you’ll find in every market throughout Peru. Three-wheeled cargo bikes, or bakfiets, transport tourist tchotchkes, local produce, children and most anything else you could buy. These two were spotted in the busy market in Chivay:

Cargo Tricycles Chivay

And this one in use in Ollantaytambo:

Unloading Cargo Trike Ollantaytambo

While I was often tempted to take one of these cargo bikes for a spin, we had something else planned. The journey to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu can be made in many ways. You can sit for hours on a bumpy bus and then slow moving train. You can trek along the popular Inca Trail, camping under the stars and follow a path used hundreds of years ago. Or, you can save yourself a little money and take an alternate route through small villages. We joined Lorenzo Expeditions (Inka Jungle Trail with a “K”) for 4 days and 3 nights starting with a bike ride down a winding mountain road.

Mountain Bikes

Buses delivered our groups to the Abra de Malaga Pass, 4317m above sea level.

Abra de Malaga Pass

Our destination, accessible by winding roads, was the village of Santa Maria, 1,430m above sea level.

The Way Down

The ride is disarmingly calm, except when transport trucks and tour buses scream past you in either direction. Safety gear on this trip is required, including helmet, full gloves, shin and elbow pads and neon visibility vest:

Safety Gear and Sunshine

Glaciers nearby and a bit of clouds meant the start of this ride was pretty chilly:

Clouds Glacier Bicycle

Winding Road Down

The end, however, nearly 3 km straight down was in the jungle, which required the immediate shedding of layers:

At Rest in the Jungle

In the end, after you’ve hiked up and down mountains and followed a riverbed before reaching Machu Picchu, you’ll to find a refreshing ice cream treat, delivered by bicycle:

Ice Cream Bicycle Cusco

Bicycle Rush Hour in Utrecht, Netherlands

Screen shot 2010-05-10 at 4.32.07 PM

Did you sit on the Gardiner in traffic today, the same songs on the radio that you hated last week, the sun blocked by a steel roof?

There is a better way to work. This is what 33% modal share of bicycles looks like:

Via Twitter:

Screen shot 2010-05-10 at 4.33.56 PM

Scraping on my Scraper Bike!

Screen shot 2010-05-10 at 3.40.44 PM

This seriously looks like a lot of fun. If the page views of YouTube videos are any indication, the “Scraper” scene originating in Oakland, California is hugely popular. I haven’t seen this in Toronto yet (unless you consider this), have you?

Photo via BikeHugger

“Take That!” says angry tree, possibly Banksy

Screen shot 2010-05-10 at 9.18.35 AM

I certainly don’t advocate violence against cars… but it looks like Mother Nature has had enough!

Screenshot via Torontoist … graffiti possibly via Banksy