A Bike Share Bicycle Built for Two

As you may have heard, there was a pretty big wedding in London, UK on Friday, April 29th, 2011.

While everyone was buzzing about a dress that looked like some other dress, a carriage that is over 100 years old (OLD!) and a convertible… there was one item that received very little attention and has pretty fantastic Canadian roots.

A specially commissioned tandem “Boris Bike” was gifted to the Royal couple by London’s mayor, Boris Johnson.

Via Bike Hub:

The bike was paid for by Serco, operator of the London Bike Hire scheme, and made by the Public Bike System Company, the same Canandian company that makes the standard Boris Bikes.

The bikes used in London were first used by PBSC in Montreal, Canada and is known as the BIXI. The bikes are designed by industrial designer Michel Dallaire and built in the Saguenay, Quebec region by Cycles DeVinci.

The tandem has an oversized downtube, seven speed gears, an adapted braking system, a greater wheelbase (1800 mm vs 1111 mm) and two bells.

Roger Plamondon, chairman of the Public Bike System Company said:

“We are very proud of the work we have accomplished to make this special gift a reality and are delighted to find our BIXI at the heart of the royal festivities.”

But why just a one off? With Toronto’s Bixi launching on May 3rd let’s get a couple of these on the streets for real!

Image via Mayor Boris Johnson’s Twitpic
Story via Bike Hugger

Sci-fi Super Bikes (and a little History too)

More illustrations by Mike Joos.

Via Superb

Riding the Trails with Your Dog

Awesome. Via Pinkbike.com

The Bicycle Cap – A Love Story

Via prolly

Poor Planning at Martin Goodman Trail and Ontario Place

The photo above should be studied by city planners and infrastructure builders around the world. And the lesson should be, this is the worst possible way to build an intersection.

Every one of the signs in the photo, including the two cattle gates, are an admission of planning failure.

“Yield to pedestrians because we’ve created a terrible intersection where pedestrians are expected to wait to cross Lake Shore Boulevard in the same area where through traffic from the path is expected to proceed.”

“Watch for turning vehicles because we haven’t planned to properly handle conflicts that arise from turning cars and trucks and we’d never make them actually stop because that impedes traffic flow.”

And then there’s the cattle gates. A sign states that no unauthorized vehicles are permitted on the trail so these may be to keep pushy, lazy drivers from taking a shortcut on the mixed-use trail. But they also work as the last line of protecting-our-ass infrastructure because who ever designed this intersection was unable to learn from 100 years of street design and handle pedestrians, cyclists, rollerbladers and motorized vehicles.

All of this may not be instantly obvious, so let’s have a look at what trail users are expected to do upon approaching this intersection:

1) Yield to pedestrians – If you’re on your feet you simply stay right as the path narrows, watch out for other people and act like you do on any sidewalk. As a cyclist you must avoid a) the cattle gates, b) watch for oncoming pedestrians, cyclists, rollerbladers, whatevers and also c) watch for pedestrians approaching from your right who have just parked their cars and plan to cross Lake Shore Boulevard to access the CNE grounds.

2) Watch for turning vehicles – While watching for pedestrians, avoiding the cattle gates and preparing to cross the intersection you must also shoulder check to your left to watch that vehicles turning from Lake Shore into the parking lot both see you and are prepared to stop. While you’re at it, also shoulder check to your left even further to make sure that whoever is behind you is prepared to slow down while you navigate the cattle gates and isn’t about to overtake you. And once you make it into the intersection you have to watch again for turning vehicles exiting the parking lot because a right turn on red is legal in Ontario and while stopping in a crosswalk is illegal, the legal turn often requires the illegal stop and when’s the last time you saw someone ticketed for stopping in a crosswalk?

3) Watch for and obey the pedestrian and bicycle lights – While looking to your left, right and rear you must also be aware not only of the cattle gates in front of you but also of the bicycle traffic lights where green means “Go” but doesn’t mean “Go because turning traffic from Lake Shore isn’t going to just pop-up in front of you.”

Are you exhausted yet? Is this how anyone should be expected to handle an intersection? Yes, we must approach all crossings with caution and be aware of our surroundings but why would someone intentionally create any intersection where the possibility of a collision is actually increased by the infrastructure?

While trail user heads are bobbing and twisting to stay aware of every possible conflict point, what are drivers expected to do? A medium-sized yellow sign instructs drivers to yield to pedestrians and cyclists. Excellent. Yield is a specific command that means proceed only when clear. Wait, aren’t we missing a step? How are drivers going to know that there isn’t anyone approaching if they do not stop? The lights controlling motorized traffic do nothing to ensure that drivers stop and properly yield here. Solid green, yellow, and red are the only lights you’ll see. Green means “Go,” so who’s going to read that yellow sign? Red means “Stop and proceed right when clear,” but when is the last time you actually saw a driver stop at a red light before a right turn?

I’m not a city planner and yet I can identify that this intersection above is an absolute mess. An absolute mess built in just the past few years. This isn’t old infrasture, everything is new.

Did the planners here not know about traffic lights that can be used to control right turning traffic? Did the planners not see that pedestrians waiting to cross Lake Shore would be standing directly in the path of oncoming trail traffic? And why does pedestrian and bicycle traffic split while crossing the parking entrance forcing awkward merging that in my experience no one does.

If Team Ford is so gung-ho on building off-road trails and if this is the example they’ll be following then I’d rather ride my bicycle on a 400 series highway. At least there everyone will be going the same direction.

Life Imitating Comics

The Solowheel, the safety brigade will crap bubblewrap over it but all I can think about is a sweet B.C. tie in:

Vancouver Group Pedalling to the Polls

Learn more at Riding 4 Ridings
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Via The Deadly Nightshades

Bike share brings out creativity

Bixi Toronto is set to go live on May 3, 2011 and we can’t wait!

With bike share systems already up and running in many major cities we’ve already had a look at some creative uses for the system.

Here’s a Boris Bike Flash Mob Spin Class:

A pro BMX rider put the London Cycle Hire Scheme through some rigorous strength testing:

And Bixi Montreal is even filming “alleycat” style races that promote legal riding and provide information about cycling infrastructure in the city: An “Alleycat” Race on BIXIs?

What to do if your bicycle was removed by the City of Toronto

Abandoned bicycle

Although contrary to the snow and cold of this April it is spring in Toronto and with the season change comes a clean up on our streets. Bike lanes are swept and potholes filled and abandoned bicycles are tagged for removal.

But what happens to these bicycles?

via Twitter lindsaybanack

Abandoned bicycle clean up and recovery are handled by Right-of Way Management and Litter Operations.

If you have left your bicycle locked to a City installed ring and post rack and returned after a few days to find it missing, your ride may have been removed by Litter Operations. Bicycles that were not claimed after a notice was given yet are in working condition (no missing parts or excess rust) are photographed and stored with information of where the bicycle was removed from. To claim your bicycle simply call 311 and they’ll assist you in recovery.

Also, if you’d like to report an abandoned bicycle that is taking up much needed parking space then also call 311.

In short, if you’re missing a bicycle you left locked up for an extended period of time; call 311.
If you want a bicycle removed; call 311.

Information via 311 Toronto
Bikes in a truck photo via Twitter

New dandyhorse Magazine Website

dandyhorse website

The magazine that gives you an inside look at the people, the fashion, the issues and the bikes that keep Toronto moving has a new home online:

dandyhorsemagazine.com

The website brings you a look at past articles and a sneak peek at their upcoming issue to be released in May.

Subscribers get an extra treat by being able to access all back issues through the site.

Not a subscriber? Become one here: Subscribe to dandyhorse magazine.