Bike Shaped Objects

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The Feminist History Of Bicycles
feminist cycling

The most feminist of machines

Tinkle your bells and fasten your helmet. It’s National Bike Month. Which means it’s time to delve into the history of this most feminist of machines. Yes, you read that correctly. In ways both explicit and subtle, the invention and popularization of the humble two-wheeled bicycle in the 19th century moved the cause of female equality and freedom forward in the modern world. Even today, there is no more feminist way to get around.

Before the bicycle came along, women were expected to progress on foot, in carriages, or on horseback. Always supervised and preferably with the utmost slowness and delicacy. How you traveled denoted your class. Walking the streets was seen as a highly suspect activity. It was tightly moderated among 19th century women of the upper classes. They were meant to stay largely indoors or to venture outside only with chaperones and in acceptable public spaces.

Source: Bustle/

Photo by nha.library

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Forgotten Bike Highways

Resurrecting the Forgotten Bike Highways of 1930s Britain

forgotten bike highwaysThe United Kingdom built hundreds of miles of protected bike lanes and promptly forgot about them.

In the 1930s, Britain’s Ministry of Transport built an extensive network of bike highways around the country. At least 280 miles of paved, protected infrastructure dedicated to cyclists alone. For decades, it was entirely forgotten, overgrown and overlooked. So much so that no one seems to remember that these lanes had existed at all.

“There’s all this infrastructure, it’s been there for 80 years, and nobody knows what it was,” says Carlton Reid, author of the forthcoming book Bike Boom. Reid, who’s been a cycling journalist and historian for 30 years, rediscovered the network while researching his book. Now he’s teaming up with an urban planner to reveal the full extent of Britain’s historic cycleways.

Before starting research on the book, Reid knew of the existence of a handful of ‘30s-era bike lanes. But when he started studying the decade’s road-building policies, he found archival maps showing that as new arterial roads were built, they all had cycleways installed beside them. “Every one I looked at showed that there were cycleways built,” he said. “It was clear that there were far more than anyone had understood.”

Source: Atlas Obscura

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Cyclists Protect Riders With a Human Bike Lane
human bike lane

Actually a human bike lane barrier

For one day last week, volunteers in San Francisco locked hands to create what they call a “People Chain Protected Bike Lane.”(AKA Human bike lane) Dividing car traffic from bike traffic on Golden Gate Avenue. The stunt, coordinated by advocacy group San Francisco Municipal Transformation Agency (SFMTrA)—unaffiliated with SF Municipal Transportation Agency—literally put lives on the line to highlight cyclists’ needs and the importance of keeping them safe in their lanes.

“My friend Maureen actually came up with the idea,” says SFMTrA Organizer Matt Brezina. “She thought, ‘I put my unarmored body in this unprotected space next to cars—the bike lane—daily. What if a bunch of us put our bodies in this dangerous space to make a statement about our daily unsafe riding conditions and temporarily make the bike lane more safe for other cyclists?’ I heard the idea and thought it was brilliant.”

Source: Bicycling

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Mosul cyclists contend with mortars and gunfire

You think your bike commute is hard? Try Mosul.

Mosul cyclistsWars always have unintended consequences. In the fight for Mosul, Iraq, it’s the emergence, out of necessity, of a vibrant bicycle culture.

Biking through the rubble-choked streets of this besieged city’s west side, Mohammed Kamal Mahmoud paused to explain his family’s criteria for venturing out aboard its battered, mud-caked, three-speed cycle.

“When the airstrikes are heavy, we are not driving it around,” the mechanic said. As he spoke, Iraqi military helicopters fired overhead, and a few streets away gunfire, mortars and rockets boomed.

Source: latimes.com

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New bike, walking trail would link N.J.’s 2 largest cities
largest cities

N.J.’s largest cities become bike-nected

When the $480 million reconstruction of the Wittpenn Bridge is complete, the wider span is expected to improve traffic along the busy stretch between Kearny and Jersey City.

Bike and walk advocates say the new Wittpenn Bridge can help bridge a gap in New Jersey’s leg of the East Coast Greenway

But the rebuilt bridge will also serve as a vital component of a new biking and walking trail connecting Jersey City and Newark.

“We saw an opportunity with the new WittPenn Bridge,” said Cynci Steiner, executive director of the Bike & Walk Coalition. “And now that that project is well underway, connections are needed on both sides, so that the investment by NJDOT in bike and pedestrian access on that crossing is fully realized.”

Source: NJ.com

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