Friday, August 26, 2011

Mexicans get fed up of their government; university students build their own bike path

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In Guadalajara, Mexico, a group of students from the Tec de Monterrey have built a 2.5-kilometre long bike path all by themselves, because they were fed up with their city's lack of will to build bike paths.

Translation:

Santa Margarita Avenue between Central avenue & Aviacion
10 January 2011

"City for all and other citizens"
Students of the Tec of Monterrey (a private university) and the University of Guadalajara decided to unite and build a cycle lane for workers and students that pass through [there] daily

Guy speaking:
Well since our politicians are not doing anything, [can't make out]

Citizen Cycle Lane

Guy in cap speaking:
At this time we're starting the work that for years our city and government have not given a damn, [can't understand], inaugurate, formally, the start of the first citizen cycle lane in the city of Guadalajara.

[sound of horn!]


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Car congestion woes? How about trying cycling.

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Bike... and truck. Scary comparison indeed.

Recently, prices for COE have gone through the roof. What was $20,000 is now $50,000+. The most unfortunate thing is that people these days are complaining that COE should be repealed/reduced/changed totally. However, if you think of it, the government would never do that. You have to remember that the chief goal of the government is to control car population, and it'll make whatever money it can along the way.

That said, another greater issue lies in the fact that these days, we're increasingly getting more and more congestion. Yesteryears' large quotas have resulted in there being more and more cars on the road, and only recently did the quotas shrink and most likely, we'll see the improvement in congestion in years to come, but not now.

However, with regards to congestion, a lot can be done today. If you'd ask me, ERP is becoming more and more a revenue source and a way to keep people out of certain roads - and congest others. ERP is not really that effective as a country-wide decongestant. In fact, the best way to fight congestion is to think in terms of transportational efficiency, rather than cost. A lot of Singaporeans who can drive are middle-class, so the cost of a car isn't that big of an issue when compared to the unpleasantness of squeezing with others on overcrowded buses, or having to wait long long for the bus to arrive.

The car is, today, still one of the most attractive ways of transportation because Singapore was designed to be moved around by cars. Roads were designed for nothing but cars and buses. There's absolutely no other alternative if you want to go places quickly, and efficiently. And as a result, having efficiency outstrip cost, it just doesn't make sense for anyone to forgo the car.

But one thing that can be done to make cars less attractive is to put in effort to think about the efficiency of alternatives, especially when it comes to bikes. Middle-class people don't bike much unless it's a hobby of their, and often in my observations, few cycling enthusiasts take their bikes on commuting rides - they're weekend warriors and then they'll take the car on weekdays.

One of the biggest reasons is that Singapore is quite an unfriendly place to cyclists, especially beginners. You gaze out on the street and you see a small guy on two wheels side-by-side a 5-ton truck. You gaze above and see the sun blazing. You hear stories of bike theft.

But the biggest problem to a beginner has to be the unfriendliness of riding on the road. Tackling this is a big challenge, although I believe that the best way to tackle this is to just get on the road and learn-as-you-go. I do, however, consider bike lanes to be one of the more attractive options to get people out of their cars and onto bikes. Bike lanes increases the attractiveness of cycling, by assuaging people's fears of riding next to a big truck. With beginners, 1.5m really matters.

And what most people don't know is that cycling is actually very efficient. But once you start, you'll realise that you can get to places faster than buses do. And you don't need to walk at all, because bikes can get you right to the doorstep of your destination. No parking woes either.

Unfortunately, the LTA has stated that it won't be able to build bike lanes because we don't have enough land. I believe that it's more of a lack of will, and also how large-scale a project such as this will be - to convert a city built on cars as a main mode of transport to something like a hybrid of bikes and cars. But I also believe that anything can happen if there's an impetus, and the proof is in Marina Bay Sands.

When you see a lycra-clad cyclist on the road with a fancy Pinarello, heading into the city. People should not think, "wahlau, get off the road lah". Instead, it is a good sign because the person who's riding a bike is not in a car. One less car on the road - imagine if more people cycled.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Time to leave

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As it is, I am a week away from heading out to Toronto to further my studies, and as result, I would probably still write and ride, but definitely I will be a bit detached from the Singaporean cycling scene. Cycling has been one of my passions and I'd like to further it overseas, especially since there's lots of area to tour when I'm over in Canada.

The future of this blog is uncertain, but I suspect I'll move this blog elsewhere. However, if you'd like to write the Singaporean-related portion of this website, do get in contact with me!

Friday, August 12, 2011

New world record in one-hour cycling set - 91.556 kilometers

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This sleek, human-powered missile on wheels is called Eiviestretto and it's one of the world's fastest recumbent bicycles or HPVs (human powered vehicles). On August 2nd, Francesco Russo of Switzerland rode this custom-built streamliner to beat the world record in one-hour cycling by covering a distance of 91.556 kilometers (56.89 miles). The new record was set on the DEKRA Test Oval track in Klettwitz, Germany.
Source: Gizmag 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dahon v Tern: Tern wins first battle

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The ongoing case on the lawsuit brought about by Dahon against Tern had me keeping all eyes on it, and after about ten days of no news - Dahon has lost its first battle against Tern in its efforts to deny Tern from producing bikes.
US federal judge denies Dr David Hon's request for Tern to quit 
"It is very unfortunate that Dahon North America and Dahon China, both managed by my father David Hon and a group of mostly new associates, have decided that the legal arena is the best place to try and compete in the market. Although I am constrained in what I can share publicly about the facts of the lawsuit because it is in court, please rest assured that we are confident that once the true facts are examined, it will be clear that the case has no merit. 

My father and his group have already requested that the court in Los Angeles stop us from doing business with our new company. They submitted their arguments to a United States federal judge who read their alleged evidence and denied their request in an order he made on July 19, 2011. We are pleased to receive this favorable ruling at the very start of the case and are very confident that if it is not dropped, the entire case will eventually be resolved in our favor."

Via BikeBiz

In related news: Tern has a new website that features their whole bike range!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

San Francisco Anti-Bike Theft Vigilante

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Watch this video, skip to 20s and start.

Two things to think about...

1. Don't use a shitty lock - if this thief is similar to those in Singapore, then you have to think of it this way - if they can get only one bike, will they spend their time hunting down one that has a massively steely lock, in broad daylight where people frequent?

2. After you chase the thief away, what do you do?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Ugly Truth

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Unfortunately, this is how we feel but it's often just anger expressed at nobody. Thieves are going to be around for as long as you have a bike.

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