Monday, November 16, 2015

Safety is the new black

Want to see what the well dressed female cyclist will be wearing this spring? Then look no further.

Using materials and colors more commonly associated with safety vests and high visibility clothing. Fashion designer Jeremy Scott has created a line of Chanel inspired women’s wear with a safety motif.
A model wears a safety-yellow Chanel-like suit with reflective white trim.
A model strutted out onto the construction-themed set, serving “chicest site-safety supervisor ever.”

To see the entire line use the link below to see a 3 minute video featuring the entire line.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

What is Open Streets?

In the days following the closure of Center City, Philadelphia there has been a strong sense of euphoria over the sense of freedom that had with car free streets. Much has been made of the great experience that people had and there has been a tremendous rush to replicate this experience again. In the not so distant future. What has not been discussed is what an Open Streets is and how it works.

How prevalent are Open Streets events? They are held in 246 municipalities in Europe, South America, and in 100 U.S. cities last year.

Contrary to what some people may be under the impression, an Open Streets event is not a bicycle specific event. It is intended for pedestrians, runners, and human/muscle powered vehicles. Such as bicycles, rollerblades, and scooters.

The normal layout for a Open Streets event in the United States involves blocking off 3 to 7 miles of a main road to automotive traffic for about 5 hours on a Saturday or Sunday. With the location being cleared of parked cars and multiple cross streets are kept open to allow automotive traffic to move through the city. Along the route there are stages and stations hosting a wide range of activities. Fitness, yoga, dance, and sports classes are offered. Along with music, dance, and theatre performances.

Open Streets origins dates back to 1974 in Columbia, South America. Where Each Sunday and on public holidays from 7 am until 2 pm certain main streets of Bogotá, Cali, Medellín, and other municipalities are blocked off to cars for runners, skaters, and bicyclists. At the same time, stages are set up in city parks. Aerobics instructors, yoga teachers and musicians lead people through various performances. Bogotá's weekly ciclovías are used by approximately 2 million people (about 30% of the population) on 74 miles of car-free streets.

The question that should be asked is, does Philadelphia have the wherewithal to make this a reality? Over the years I have lived in several major cities on the East Coast and Philadelphia never ceases to surprise me. badly. For a major city of its size, Philadelphia residents maintain a small town mentality. Resistant to change and unwilling to make the effort to do so.

While Mayor Nutter is looking into an Open Streets event before his term in office ends and Democratic candidate for Mayor Jim Kenney has expressed an interest in holding one. It remains to be seen if there will  be enough positive public pressure to make Open Streets in Philadelphia a reality.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

I rode to the Spread Bagelry

The great thing about having a bike is that you can decide to go someplace and not have to worry about finding parking or getting stuck in traffic. So I decided to ride to the Spread Bagelry at 262 S. 20th St in Rittenhouse Square.

Bagel baking is a unique process and having spent time working in bagel bakery in my youth I have an intimate knowledge of the process. After a bagel is formed it is boiled in water and then baked in an oven. This gives the bagel a crisp shell and soft interior. It also limits how many bagels can be produced due to the time involved. A shortcut to mass produce bagels involves steaming them instead of boiling. Which produces a bagel that lacks crisp shell and makes it soft throughout. These are not bagels, merely round muffins with a hole in them.

The Spread Bagelry bakes a “Montreal Bagel”. The add honey to the water when boiling the bagels and bake them in a wood fired oven. Their menu has a nice mix of breakfast and lunch sandwiches, along with several custom made spreads. I had a poppy seed bagel with cream cheese, lox, and onion. The bagel came with a sizable portion of cream cheese.

At first glance what really made this bagel stand out was that it was covered in poppy seeds and when I bit into it very few seeds fell off. They continued to stay on bite after bite. With most bagels they usually get a light dusting of poppy seeds and most of them fall off with the first bite. The bagel did have a subtle sweet taste to it.

I brought home two plain and two poppy seed bagels. They traveled well, almost no seeds fell off the two poppy seed bagels. I had my bagel consultant try one of the poppy seed bagels. They to were impressed by how it was covered with poppy seeds and that none of them fell off while they ate it. As well as the subtle, yet sweet taste it had.

If you are looking for really great bagels in the Rittenhouse area, then the Spread Bagelry is the place for you.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I rode with the PopeRide

In early August Alexandra Schnieder posted an event to Facebook to invite her friends to go for a bike ride through Center City when it was free of cars. Fast forward to Saturday, September 26, 2600 people had signed up on Facebook and 3000 rode through the streets of Center City.

During the ride I saw riders of all ages and families riding together. One of the most unique family bikes was a father riding with his two children on a triplet. An adult bicycle built for three modified to fit two children and one adult.

After the ride ended I spent several  hours wandering through Center City and the surrounding area by bicycle. Without having to compete with cars for space on the road or worry about aggressive drivers who view cyclists as an impediment. I was able to see things and go places I normally would not have. Including unique insights into early American history.

One stop was at the Old Pine Church cemetery where I saw the headstone of the man who rang the church bells so the residents of Philadelphia could hear the first live reading of the Declaration of Independence. Another was at the Old Pine Church cemetery. A small Revolutionary war era Jewish Cemetery. Which included the grave of Nathan Levy at Mikveh Israel Cemetery A Jewish merchant who owned the ship which transported the Liberty Bell from the foundry in England to Philadelphia.

I encountered many Philadelphia residents out enjoying car free streets. One of the most memorable moments was watching A mother and father riding their bicycles in street with their 6 year old daughter in the middle. I could hear the daughter asking with great excitement how many miles had they ridden.

#Popenstreets was a unique opportunity for everyone on Philadelphia. One that I hope will happen again.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Game Over

I thought I had seen it all when it came to #unblockbikelanes. Cars, trucks and the PPA unwilling to ticket them no matter how blatant or how long a vehicle had been sitting there. In some cases weeks could go by and a vehicle could go without a single ticket. But this picture took the prize.

What's wrong with this picture, I here you ask? It appears that some city agency has placed a directional sign for oncoming cars in a contra-flow bike lane. Forcing cyclists to ride illegally on the sidewalk or ride into on coming traffic.

At this point we should just call #unblockbikelanes what it is, a charade.To this I can only have one response.

Its time to stop playing a game that we have no chance of winning because the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia made deal with Philadelphia Parking Authority that was unenforceable. Its time to stop posting pictures under the #unblockbikelanes until the PPA management is prepared to enforce the parking laws as they are. As opposed to the selective enforcement they prefer.