jump to navigation

Boulder Bike Swap Sunday 5/22 18 May 2011

Posted by magicdufflepud in Cycling.
add a comment

If you’re in or around Boulder this weekend and like bikes:

The mighty VeloSwap, a bike swap that draws more than 10,000 cyclists to the National Western Complex in Denver every fall — and drains the cash machines there — has humble roots in Boulder.

It started when a local cyclist decided to have an end-of-season swap at a cyclocross race in Boulder. But the fall swap grew rapidly and moved to bigger venues in Denver.

“Since that’s moved away, there’s not a big bicycle swap,” said Gary Gingras, who decided to get another homegrown swap rolling this spring in Boulder.

The Boulder Bicycle Swap will be held this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Boulder Indoor Cycling, on Frontier Ave.

The rest is here:Local cyclists start The Boulder Bicycle Swap – Boulder Daily Camera


B-Cycle Comes to Boulder 16 May 2011

Posted by magicdufflepud in Cycling, Economics.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Why B-Cycle?

Because when you drop “i” from “bicycle” you can trademark it.

More seriously, you ought to B-cycle because it’s cheap, convenient, and now available in Boulder. Starting this Friday, the People’s Republic will receive the iconic bike-sharing initiative that made Colorado gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes an overnight sensation. Maes, as you’ll recall, considered Denver’s celebrated B-cycle program our city’s first step in aiding a United Nations take over of America. No, really. But if the program’s expansion is any indicator, why Maes may yet see vindication in the form of red bikes flitting all across town.

If this is what U.N. domination looks like, then I’m all for it.

A little more about the program:

Fifty dollars a year gets you a B-cycle membership, which offers unlimited use of the bikes around Boulder, and registration takes place online or at a B-cycle location with a credit card (no debit). Just like a Redbox DVD, you can pick up a bike anywhere and drop it off at any other B-Cycle location in the city. Boulder’s program will start with a dozen docks, most around the Pearl Street mall but planned expansion will bring the total to 15.

If you’re not ready for a year-long commitment, you can opt for a week pass for $15 or a 24-hour pass for $5. Not a bad deal, especially if you’re showing a friend around town and prefer pedal power. Be aware, though, that you’ll need to arrive at your destination within 30 minutes, lest additional charges (up to a daily maximum of $65) will apply. The program also takes care of the maintenance and upkeep of all the bikes, so flats, sticky gears and other ailments of the two-wheeled variety aren’t likely to crop up, and if they do, at least someone else is paying for it.

The bikes themselves seem solid and reliable. They’re Treks, kind of cruiser-y with little basket for toting goodies. They won’t offer road or track bike performance and handling around town, so I don’t expect to see many folks “taking the lane” on a B-cycle. But just the same, these bikes get you around without much fuss.

The need for urban bike sharing (and why it won’t work in Highlands Ranch)

At present, we’re a two-car, five-bike household, and B-cycle still makes sense. Sometimes we only want to make a one-way trip by bike; sometimes we don’t want to worry about theft once we arrive; but all of the time, we live in a city that makes cycling possible. Denver’s (and Boulder’s) density affords those opportunities.

Our trips routinely break down into three types: long-distance pleasure (i.e. skiing), short-distance necessities and pleasure (i.e. getting groceries/going to a bar), and commuting. We still need car to accomplish the first and, for C—, the third, but for all the local trips which comprise the plurality of our outings, we can rely on bikes. Everything is that close.

And that, quite frankly, is the magic of the big city. Population density begets commercial density, which is why in our neighborhood you’ll find two grocery stores within a few blocks of each other. Per capita, I’d imagine we have just as many, perhaps fewer, bars than a place like Arvada. But per square mile, we have more of just about everything, including theaters, museums and restaurants. In that environment, biking to the destination often takes less time and requires less hassle than does driving. Given enough people and enough destinations in the same area, B-cycle seemed an eventuality. The same holds true in Boulder.

On the other hand, uber-planned suburb Highlands Ranch offers precisely nothing within walking or biking distance of the average resident, although I suspect that’s part of the appeal. The West is all about Land, after all, and at 4,548 3,018 people per square mile, Highlands Ranch simply has too much land and too few people to make use of services like B-cycle. So instead, sedans abound, along with the attendant difficulties of traffic and pollution. But the houses are big.

Twenty-Something in the bin Laden Era 3 May 2011

Posted by magicdufflepud in Random.
add a comment

Four years from now, I will have lived more than half my life in the post-9/11 era, and, according to the relevant averages, when I die, I will have spent at least four fifths of my time on earth having known the fear of terrorism in America. On Twitter, Facebook feeds and televised interviews on the street, I have seen celebration–jubilation–at the news of Osama bin Laden’s assassination.

As if his death matters.

Soon, my generation will barely remember what life was like before the war on terror began. We’ve lived with that war for as long as we’ve been aware of current affairs. We’ve watched two real wars unfold, littering two countries—countries that most American can’t even place on a map—with the dead and dying. Perhaps we succeeded in Iraq. Perhaps we will still succeed in Afghanistan. But we’re kidding ourselves if we think that bin Laden and the attacks on 9/11 didn’t goad us into it. We have repaid the loss of 3,000 lives with destruction orders of magnitude greater. How to even approach this “Arab Spring” as a twenty-something Iraq?

Yet we look at these wars, and we ask, “Have they made us safer?” That we even pose that question is a testament to bin Laden’s success. Our parents feared a nuclear holocaust, but what could they do? Terrorism, though, offered a face of a sort, a dangerous unpredictability and a threat we could conceive. Far from the dread of vaporization, terrorism threatened to invade our lives, to touch us if we made the wrong decision, if we, say, visited the wrong outdoor cafe one morning. If we picked the wrong flight. In our fear, we  accepted any number of inconveniences, intrusions and outright violations. We accepted (then forgot) illegal wiretapping; we tied drug use to terrorism; we today undergo the embarrassment of a full-body search each time we fly. Are we any in any way safer for all that?

No. Because now we text and drive.

Bin Laden injected a fear into our lives, not so much filling a void as creating a wholly new avenue. And if my generation believe his death marks the end of an era, then we must be sorely mistaken. This remains the bin Laden era. We will die in the bin Laden era. We have seen no roll back in US security, no slackening of our efforts in Afghanistan, in short, no sign that anything at all has changed. Our purpose in killing bin Laden was, evidently, retribution, and life in America remains the same.

But perhaps if we believe otherwise we can effect a different and more rational future. If bin Laden’s death marks the end of something, maybe we can elect to make it end of irrational fear. Maybe I can once again meet my family at the gate when they come to visit. Maybe I can, as my friend Michael put it, at least bring my own shampoo with me when I fly. I would welcome that future, even if (especially if) we no longer see full body scanners protecting us at the airport. Can we really accept an America with more liberty and more danger?

I submit that we can. We have lived a decade in fear of perceived but minuscule threats, committed more than a trillion dollars to foreign wars, while ignoring the death an suffering right under our noses. I am not afraid of bin Laden and his terrorist ilk, but of a society that continually bleats “security” yet demonstrates an indifference to the plight of tens of millions of fellow citizens who cannot afford health insurance. We have allowed one man to create a new America. He is dead. We can become a new America again.