Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Funnies - Multimodal Commuter

SEPTA should make a video like this to attract new customers.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review - Riverbend Cycles

Deceptively, deceptive is how Riverbend Cycles can be described. From the outside Riverbend Cycles blends in with its surroundings.

Inside Riverbend Cycles is a masterful example of making the most out of the space they have. On the ground floor they have a repair area and nice selection of cycling accessories and clothing. And if you need to get your caffeine fix they have a cafe complete with a great selection of hot and cold coffee, tea, and snacks which you can enjoy on their outdoor patio. 

Follow the staircase in the repair area up one flight and you will find a showroom with a wide array of new bicycles for sale. If you have friends from out of town Riverbend Cycles has rental bikes so you can take them for a ride on the Schuylkill River Trail.

Riverbend Cycles is located at 1 Station Ave. in Conshohocken at Miller’s House at Spring Mill. Located behind the new apartment complex, Courts of Spring Mill, and across the street from the Spring Mill SEPTA Station with easy access to the Schuylkill River Trail.. Riverbend Cycles is sure to have a thriving business for many years to come.

Monday, May 18, 2015


SInce the inception of the #unblockbikelanes the campaign has been flawed. The PPA is using it to create a database and enforcement is “mixed and inconsistent”. As witnessed by the pictures in “We Are Not Amused” where the same car blocks a bike lane and a trolley stop for seven days without a single ticket being issued by the police or the PPA.

I feel it's time for some street theatre. I believe that the concept listed below is an effective solution to raise awareness. It could even be used to promote pedestrian crosswalks that have heavy traffic by having coneheads provide a temporary crossing guard service.

I hope that someone will take this idea and run with it. Perhaps a joint effort between 5th Square and Spoke Magazine.
Bike Lane Flash Mob
Coneheads will gather for 30 minutes at [INSERT LOCATION] and line the bike lane with awareness comes. Raising awareness of the bike lane and creating a safe passage for cyclists to promote Vision Zero.  At the end of 30 minutes we will gather our awareness cones and depart. Please do not block the sidewalk or entrances to nearby businesses and homes. Take a moment to consume mass quantities from a local business where we are gathered.

  • Who are we? We are Coneheads. We have gathered to promote vehicle safety and Vision Zero.
  • Where do we come from? We come from France.
  • What colour and size should my cone be? Every cone is welcome, the prefered cone is a standard 28” orange cone.
  • What is our purpose? Coneheads are creating public awareness of the bike lane to promote Vision Zero. Accessible bike lanes mean cyclists do not have to choose between riding in traffic or riding on the sidewalk. Which benefits pedestrians and drivers.
  • Who is in charge? Introduce them to the Spokescone  and tell them what time we will be leaving at.
  • What if someone tries to create a problem? Have everyone start recording with their cell phone cameras. Do not engage with anyone who is trying to confront us.

The four “M”’s of a bike lane liberation.

* DON’T MESS WITH LITTLE KIDS!! Parents are very protective of their children, especially if the parents are not around. NOTHING and I do mean nothing, says “please kick my ass” by saying something to a child that is not yours. Remember when a ten year old boy lied to his parents about getting hit by a stranger? We do not need this to happen.

* DON’T MESS WITH THE COPS!! IF the police ask us to leave, WE LEAVE. This is a peaceful, informational event. If you insist on debating the legality of what is happening and the police don’t like it, you are on your own. Nothing says love like having to call your significant other and ask them to post bail.

*DON’T MESS WITH MOTORIZED VEHICLES OR THE OCCUPANTS!! If someone insists on driving through or parking in a bike lane, let them. Remember they are driving a two ton vehicle that can cause injury. If someone yells something obnoxious  just wave back and let them drive away. Bottom line, if some wants to be a jerk let them. If you want to be a jerk than this is not the place for you.

*DON’T MESS WITH OTHER CYCLISTS!! Do not block the bike lane. If other cyclists ride through the lane, stay out of their way. Cheer them on from the sidewalk.

* STAY TOGETHER AT ALL TIMES. While ‘No force on earth can stop a hundred cyclists” might be true, there’s a lot of forces that can stop one or two cyclist. Not everyone likes people on bikes  and there are a people who would use this as an excuse to start trouble.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

We are not Amused

Let’s face it the #unblockbikelanes effectiveness has been very limited and is a source of frustration for many cyclists who have watched and participated in this effort. Enforcement has been haphazard at best, as the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s own statistics have shown.
1st quarter - the same number of tickets were written in 2014 as 2013
2nd quarter 96% more tickets issued in 2014 vs 2013
3rd quarter - 20% fewer tickets issued in 2014 vs 2013
4th quarter - 40% more tickets issued in 2014 vs 2013

Inconsistent is the best description regarding the effectiveness of the PPA to follow through on the #unblockbikelanes. Something that is confirmed the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s own report. Which includes statements as:
"There does not appear to be a sustained effort to enforce parking regulations."
"Enforcement efforts before and after a concerted effort to address violators has been mixed and inconsistent."

Contrary to popular belief the PPA does not have a secret crime fighting lair, like a Batcave or a Fortress of Solitude, from which they dispatch agents ready to write tickets at a moments notice.

So in an attempt to placate the cycling community the PPA recently created an interactive map that is 6 months out of date. Along with stating their latest goals.

  • Give citizens the opportunity to report blocked bike lanes via Twitter.​
  • Compile relevant data highlighting the most problematic areas with blocked bike lanes in the city.
  • Engage active voices within the Philadelphia community, in particular, The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.​

There is only one goal missing; enforcing existing parking regulations regarding bike lanes.

A point driven home by these two posts on Twitter 7 days apart.

May 4, 2015

May 11, 2015

How does the PPA ignore this for seven days? There have been renewed Tweets about the failures and frustration of the #unblockbikelanes. Along with replies asking people to keep tweeting so more data can be compiled. It seems that all this data does is point out the PPA's unwillingness to do their job.

We need a solution that is more than a map full of pretty colors and outdated information. I'd like to  think the time is right for a Bike Lane Flash Mob. Where cyclist will gather at a specific bike lane for 30 minutes and everyone will bring an awareness cone to line the bike lane. Participants could call themselves Coneheads, say they come France, and consume mass quantities from nearby merchants. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The War on Cars? Fact or Fiction

It was only matter of time before Stu Bykofksy's paranoia came through and in his latest column he is in full bloom.( What should have been a column about the Philadelphia Parking Authority's new app only lasted half the column before he expounded on his latest crackpot theory about Philadelphia's war on cars. The only thing missing was claims about black helicopters and one world government.

The research department at the Philadelphia Bicycle Journal have found a new video that supports Mr. Bykofsky's crackpot theory. Sort of. Complete with factual data from traffic engineers and psychologists. Check out the secret video we have unearthed.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Review - Philly Pumptrack

With spring finally here it’s time to reward your inner child with a trip to the Philly Pumptrack. A Pumptrack is a loop trail with a series of berms and dirt mounds (rollers) that allows a rider to pump the bike with there body. If done correctly you can ride the track without pedaling.

The Philly Pumptrack is a rare gem hidden within Philadelphia. The collective vision of a small group of individuals who raised the funds and found land owned by the Philadelphia Parks Department to build on. Professionally designed, the Philly Pumptrack is no ordinary hole in the ground. Both the beginner and advanced tracks offer challenges for riders of all levels of experience. It is maintained through the efforts of a committed group individuals, including many of the local children and parents who live in the community.

Last summer when I had out of town guests I took them and their kids to the Philly Pumptrack. The 9 year old was having some challenges mastering the technique of riding while standing on the pedals. So he could pump the bike more effectively. One of the Pumptrack volunteers worked with him for about 5 minutes and soon he was doing laps on the beginner track without putting his feet down to catch his balance.

The Philly Pumptrack is a wonderful experience for children of all ages, I would recommend for everyone to try at least once. The track has helmets and bicycles free to use, just make sure to leave a donation before you leave.