Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Unite Bike

Now in it’s 3rd official year Unite Bike 2010 is going global!
The idea behind Unite Bike is simple. It is about promoting and supporting a community of individual people who make the choice everyday to participate in an activity that is good for their health, good for the environment, and helps create a better society at large.
Unite Bike is a test of whether our generation really believes in one another and the world we are struggling to create. This fall we can show the best of ourselves, and in the process help create the kind of society we all aspire to, even if only for the brief moment of time it takes to create a photograph.
Biking is an individual and often solitary activity. So as a group of thoughtful, committed individual riders lets band together to Unite… Bike… and take a group photo to show the world what it means to make things better 2 wheels at a time. Let us join together to celebrate and confirm our humanity.
Sign up for the Unite Bike 2010 group photo in your city under the RSVP tab to find out the final location information.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

High crimes: Military towns are among the country's most dangerous

I was wondering why Huntsville is so full of fear and suspicion. It also seems to ber extremely violent.  Now is seems clear.

"The second-ranked neighborhood, thePatton Roadarea near Alabama's Redstone Arsenal, has an estimated property crime rate of 691 per 1,000 residents."

From the Daily Finance

Military bases and the neighborhoods surrounding them often seem like the ultimate refuge of middle-American values. Run with military efficiency and discipline, the well-trimmed yards, cleanly-paved roads and orderly layouts convey an ideal image of life as it should be: safe, peaceful and friendly.

However, as the horrific shootings in Fort Hood demonstrate, this perception of structure and normalcy may be deceptive. According to a study byNeighborhoodScout, which offers neighborhood-by-neighborhood crime analyses, some of America's military towns have crime levels that place them among the country's most dangerous neighborhoods. While the danger in these areas is much more heavily skewed toward property crimes like vandalism and theft than violent crimes like murder or rape, the statistics are startling.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Turn On (MP3s), Tune In and Ride

From the N Y Times

Christian Hansen for The New York Times
A Joyride through Manhattan. Organized by Liz Sherman, the rides plug participants into the same soundtrack.
BIKE riders in New York have a secret, a communal understanding about the pleasures of navigating the urban landscape, flowing through traffic and observing the city in a way that pedestrians and drivers can’t. That secret is often expressed in a smile or a nod to another rider while passing on a bridge or stopped at a light, a conspiratorial acknowledgment of a shared moment with strangers in a city that can seem impervious to them.
Christian Hansen for The New York Times
Jan Peterson and his parrot, Raymond, took part in one of Liz Sherman’s Joyrides.
Now there is a new piece of interactive theater to take advantage of that feeling. Joyride is a group bike ride with a shared route and a common soundtrack. Riders equipped with MP3 players and headphones set off from the same point, pushing “play” simultaneously. They travel individually or in a pack, but each knows what the others are hearing. Gliding through the city on two wheels can already feel like being in a long tracking shot in a very personal movie, especially if you do it while listening to music. Joyride gives that experience an added dimension — an audience of participants.
“I like riding my bike and listening to music, and I thought it would be great to do that with other people,” said Liz Sherman, the theater director who came up with the project. “I thought it would be theatrical without needing to have a narrative or actors.” The sights and scenes of the city — what Ms. Sherman called “the ephemeral of the everyday” — provide the set, and sometimes the drama.
Joyrides have proved a natural match for Summer Streets, the city program that shuts Park Avenue and connecting streets to car traffic, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park, mitigating the potential danger of riding while listening to music. (Legally, riders are supposed to wear only one earphone.) Ms. Sherman limits participation to 50 people; most spots for the ride on Saturday, the last day of Summer Streets, are spoken for, but there are cancellations, and she reserves 15 places for people who e-mail her throughjoyrideo.com with a good argument about why they should be let in. (Hint: mentioning the avant-garde French director Ariane Mnouchkine of Théâtre du Soleil, whose work inspired Ms. Sherman, doesn’t hurt.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Saturday Tomato Festival Ride

Meet Jacqy at the Red Bridge in Big Spring Park @ 8:45am and ride to the Farmers Market on Cook Avenue for the Tomato Festival!

- come celebrate everyone's favorite ambiguous fruit. Free delicious tomato sandwiches - made with local tomatoes.
- oh and if you read the huntsville times - they're wrong ( terrible reporting)- fest is SATURDAY not friday!
- if you can't make the ride come by the Market from 7:30 Till 2pm
Helen Keller's Ukelele will be playing music too (don't forget to tip) - it will be a fun time!

Buy Local - Support your local farmers at the Madison County Farmers' Market. Fresh local produce, pesticide free and sustainable 
products, and some homemade goodies.

Bici Gardens Presents:
maple nut granola
peach tarts
raw power bars (organic nuts+fruit+local honey)
organic oatmeal molasses rolls
parmesan herb crackers (herbs from the garden of course)
organic almond biscotti
Tomato Jam (a perfect combination of sweet and savory)
Pomodoro Sauce (for your pasta of course)

all our products are produced as sustainably and locally as possible - and it's brought to you by bike.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Spokes | Cities Engage in Vast Biking Conspiracy (Shh!)

More from the party of crazy crackers! We won't have to worry about that here because in 50 years Huntsville will have some bike lanes.

From NYTimes

bike pathRuth Fremson/The New York TimesStealth troops of a new world order? New York State’s first lady, Michelle Paige Paterson, left, and fellow travelers along the West Side Highway bike path in June.
Could bicycling around the city for fun and transport have a more insidious purpose? Could it be that all these networked bike lanes, spreading across the nation’s cities like falling dominoes, are actually part of a vast conspiracy by the United Nations to take over America’s urban spaces, and in the process, take away our “freedom”?
The notion of such a nefarious bike plot, floated by one Republican running for governor of Colorado, has drawn puzzled reactions from cyclists in New York and beyond.
“First, Summer Streets, then, the world!” Bicycle Habitat, the Soho bike shop,posted to its Twitter account, referring to the annual event, which closes selected New York streets on consecutive Saturdays each August. (This year’s events begin this week.)
“Phase 1: collect underpants,” posted Matthew Hill, a Seattle cyclist.
Nevertheless, bikes became an issue in the race for governor of Colorado after comments made by Dan Maes, one of three Republican candidates.
Mr. Maes accused the Democratic front-runner, Mayor John Hickenlooper of Denver, of instituting bicycle policies that turn the city into “a United Nations community.”
“This is all very well disguised, but it will be exposed,” Mr. Maes told supporters, and The Denver Post reported. Denver recently began a large-scale bicycle share program, known as B-Cycle; it is one of several cities around the country to do so in the last year. (New York’s own program remains in the planning stages.)
“These aren’t just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor,” Mr. Maes said. “These are very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to,” he said, referring to Denver’s membership in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.
“When we heard the story, we all got a good chuckle,” said Martin J. Chavez, executive director of the organization and the former mayor of Albuquerque. “The next thought in the back of your mind is, ‘Gosh, I hope no one will actually believe that.’ ”
The organization, which is not part of the United Nations, has 605 member cities in the United States, including New York, and more than 1,200 worldwide, providing consulting and other guidance on sustainability.
“Maybe it’s a bit of Rocky Mountain high,” Mr. Chavez said.
A spokesman defended the Denver mayor’s efforts to encourage cycling, noting that the state of Colorado is among the least obese in the nation. “But equating our support of cycling in all its forms — road, mountain, commuting — with an international bike conspiracy is just ridiculous.”
Nate Strauch, a spokesman for Mr. Maes, stood by the candidate’s comments Wednesday, adding, “Something is wrong when cities and states and nations begin to cede their autonomy to extreme environmental organizations like Iclei.”
Mr. Maes is far from the first to lump cycling in with Volvos, universal health care and the World Cup as part of a plot to transform the United States into a Scandinavian socialist utopia. Indeed, the connection is an old one.
To take one example, in 1980, when New York was in the process of removing its new bike lanes amid protest, the conservative writer R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.railed against “New York’s powerful cycling lobby,” accusing Mayor Edward I. Koch, who had implemented a bike lane the previous summer, of having become enamored with “crowds of smiling Maomen pedaling the streets” during a visit to China.
Mr. Tyrrell, the current editor in chief of The American Spectator, saw bikes as not only anticar but also anticorporation. In 2007, he came up with another possible alternative mode of transportation that is certain never to displace the car, or be associated with any devious international plot: the pogo stick.
As for bike programs taking away freedoms, advocates like Caroline Samponaro at Transportation Alternatives saw a logical disconnect: “Bicycle transportation in cities epitomizes freedom,” she wrote, adding that the bike and pedestrian advocacy organization would rather keep its distance from Colorado politics, and from conspiracy theories.
Follow Spokes on Twitter, @SpokesNYT.

Boy struck by car on Dunn Drive in good condition at Huntsville Hospital

Sad that kids can't ride their bikes here without fear of getting hit by car.(I am sure the driver was alert, not on the phone and certainly not texting) What does is say about Huntsville? "Quality of Life" or "Paid for making death and no value for life". It's early and I am not sure. Thanks again go to the city for making the PSA's, now I must go form a sub committee to decide if I can take a crap.
From the HSVTimes
HUNTSVILLE, AL -- An 11-year-old boy struck by a car last night has been upgraded to good condition at Huntsville Hospital.
Police say James Alexander Loudermilk was riding his bicycle in the 3300 block of Dunn Drive around 6:30 p.m. when he crossed the street in front of a car. The driver couldn't stop in time and struck the boy's bike, throwing him several feet in the air.
Huntsville police spokesman Sgt. Mark Roberts said Loudermilk was taken to the hospital with what appeared to be a broken pelvis. The boy remains in Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, but his condition has improved, a hospital spokeswoman said.
The incident has been ruled an accident, and no charges have been filed against the driver.

Pedestrian hit by vehicle on Parkway near Meadowbrook Drive.

Here is how it works. It will be the pedestrian or cyclist fault and all will be ignored. Thanks go out to our pro death mayor and city officials for doing nothing and acting like good ole boys and girls. This is preventable and still no word from Tommy Gun. 

From the HSV Times.
MSI & Fire and Rescue were called to the scene of Memorial Parkway and Meadowbrook Drive around 7:30 this morning for a pedestrian hit by a vehicle. There have been reports the person was possibly riding a bicycle. 

HEMSI units first on the scene reported non life threatening injuries but possibly a broken leg and other minor injuries.

Crews are still on the scene with HPD investigating. There is some slow traffic through the area of the Parkway and Meadowbrook northbound but most activity has been moved to the Chevron parking lot. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bike agenda spins cities toward U.N. control, Maes warns

More stupidity from the White Supremacist Party.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is warning voters that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are "converting Denver into a United Nations community."
"This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed," Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in Centennial.
Maes said in a later interview that he once thought the mayor's efforts to promote cycling and other environmental initiatives were harmless and well-meaning. Now he realizes "that's exactly the attitude they want you to have."
"This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms," Maes said.
He added: "These aren't just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor. These are very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to."
Maes said in a later interview that he was referring to Denver's membership in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, an international association that promotes sustainable development and has attracted the membership of more than 1,200 communities, 600 of which are in the United States.
Denver became a member of the group in 1992, more than a decade before Hickenlooper became mayor. Eric Brown, the mayor's spokesman, said the city's contact with ICLEI "is limited."
George Merritt, a spokesman for the Hickenlooper gubernatorial campaign, said the group's goal is "to bring cities from all over the world together to share best practices and help create the kinds of communities people want to live and do business in. John Hickenlooper believes collaboration leads to smart decisions."
Hickenlooper has often touted bicycling as an environmentally friendly and healthy way for people to commute to work and has said he hopes more people will do so.
Last week, Hickenlooper upset some auto dealers on the eve of a fundraiser when he lauded the city's B-Cycle bike- sharing program at an event and asked: "How do we wean ourselves off automobiles?"
Maes, at the rally July 26, took aim at Denver's bike-sharing program, which he said was promoted by a group that puts the environment above citizens' rights.
The B-Cycle program places a network of about 400 red bikes for rent at stations around the city. It is funded by private donors and grants.
Maes said ICLEI is affiliated with the United Nations and is "signing up mayors across the country, and these mayors are signing on to this U.N. agreement to have their cities abide by this dream philosophy."
The program includes encouraging employers to install showers so more people will ride bikes to work and also creating parking spaces for fuel-efficient vehicles, he said.
Polls show that Maes, a Tea Party favorite, has pulled ahead of former Congressman Scott McInnis, the early frontrunner in the Aug. 10 primary for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Maes acknowledged that some might find his theories "kooky," but he said there are valid reasons to be worried.
"At first, I thought, 'Gosh, public transportation, what's wrong with that, and what's wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what's wrong with incentives for green cars?' But if you do your homework and research, you realize ICLEI is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty," Maes said.
He said he's worried for Denver because "Mayor Hickenlooper is one of the greatest fans of this program."
"Some would argue this document that mayors have signed is contradictory to our own Constitution," Maes said.
Staff writer Jennifer Brown contributed to this story.
Christopher N. Osher: 303-954-1747 or cosher@denverpost.com
Dan Maes said Denver's B-Cycle bike-sharing program was promoted by a group that puts the environment above citizen rights. B-Cycle places a network of about 400 red bikes for rent at stations around Denver. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Documentary to Explore Who/What Shapes Our Cities

Remember the ultra-charming and engaging documentary Helvetica (trailer above)? Well, the filmmaker behind that 2007 gem, Gary Hustwit, is back and this time he’s taking on urban development. According to new information released on his Web site, he’s currently working on Urbanizeddescribed as follows:
The third documentary in this trilogy is about the design of cities. Urbanized looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design, featuring some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers. Over half the world’s population now lives in an urban area, and 75% will call a city home by 2050. But while some cities are experiencing explosive growth, others are shrinking. The challenges of balancing housing, mobility, public space, civic engagement, economic development, and environmental policy are fast becoming universal concerns. Yet much of the dialogue on these issues is disconnected from the public domain.
Who is allowed to shape our cities, and how do they do it? Unlike many other fields of design, cities aren’t created by any one specialist or expert. There are many contributors to urban change, including ordinary citizens who can have a great impact improving the cities in which they live. By exploring a diverse range of urban design projects around the world, Urbanized will frame a global discussion on the future of cities.
The film will premiere in 2011. In the meantime, for up-to-date information about the production and release, you may want to follow Hustwit’s Twitter feed.

Letter: Bicycle helmet law won't cure injuries

Maybe americans have softer heads.

From ChicoER
In his letter to the E-R Sunday, Alex Buchmiller militates for mandatory helmet use by bicyclists.

Bicyclists seem to be an easy group to pick on. The last time such legislation was offered in Sacramento it went nowhere. It shouldn't have gotten that far.

Buchmiller trots out some scary statistics on fatalities, injuries and medical costs. I was wearing a helmet when I crashed and got a spinal cord injury and lifetime paralysis. Believe me, I've contributed plenty to California's medical economy.

One helmet-wearing friend crashed on a group ride a few months back, suffering a severe concussion, resulting in weeks at Enloe, induced coma, surgically opened skull to relieve brain swelling and who knows how much rehab.

Cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam enjoy very high bicycle ridership, next to zero helmet use and extremely low incidence of head injury. Go figure.

If Buchmiller really wants to lower the number of head injuries he should propose mandatory NASCAR-rated helmets for all motor vehicle occupants. Last time I called the neurosurgeon's office, cars were much more dangerous than bicycles. Find a legislator to carry that bill.