Thursday, January 7, 2010


In the past few days I have enjoyed viewing Bike by the Sea and the ubiquitous "Waltz of the Bicycles". Bike by the Sea is based in the Santa Monica area, and mostly features photos of stylish cyclists. I am astounded to see that an American city has so many people riding bicycles as part of their everyday life! And they do it with grace and style (and a few celebrities) in a stunning location. Yes, I am jealous. And Waltz of the Bicycles...that speaks for itself.

The Waltz of the Bikes from mike rubbo on Vimeo.

One thing you notice in the video is how smoothly the bicycle transitions from pure vehicle, traveling in lanes according to traffic rules, to the human scale, where riders chat with each other and mix in chaotic settings guided by subtle signals and body language.

So, after enjoying these gems, I headed out into the cold Atlanta evening. Colder than Alaska, according to the local paper! The weather is keeping most cyclists off the roads; I saw a few utility bikes parked at the library and that was it. I was warm and comfy in the rugged winter boots that I swore I would never wear in the South.

Motorists have been especially awful lately. Not to me in particular, just generally. I'm not sure it the cold weather fogging up their windows? The threat of snow which terrifies people from these parts? Their angst at returning from holiday?

Or maybe it is me - maybe seeing all these happy places is making Atlanta look worse in comparison. Maybe my new front basket is blocking my headlight too much, or making me look slow or wobbly, and inviting aggressive behavior from others - if so, I may have a solution - you'll see. Maybe I look less fetching when I'm all bundled up. Or maybe the cold is keeping other cyclists and pedestrians indoors, so the streets look vacant and good for speeding. I walked to the train today in anticipation of the inclement weather.

In other news, it appears that car ownership dropped in 2009. Teenagers in particular appear to be driving less, and even postponing getting their driver's license. The article suggests that cars may seem more like an inconvenience than a necessity as cities densify. It sounds to me like teens should be a target market for transportation cycling! This could also help prevent the large proportion of car crashes caused by young drivers.

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