Way back in October, a little birdie told us that Google Maps was going to be launching Bike There directions on Google Maps. Well – it’s here!! At this weeks’ National Bike Summit, Google announced that it will be rolling out “Bike There” in 150 cities around the country. Users are able to enable the biking layer via the “More” button on Google Maps.
Here’s a more detailed article on Wired and check out the video below.
I am a huge fan of Streetfilms so forgive me if I link to their videos all the time – but check out this recent one starring our very own Cycle Chic guru, Mikael Colville-Andersen. He talks about the Copenhagen bicycling infrastructure, which frankly, is mind-blowing to a budding bike town inhabitant like me.
I found this great article in the New York Times, that talks about biking as the new art of living. Aren’t we so hip and fabulous Charleston Cycle Chic-ers? New York City itself has come a long way in making the city more bike-friendly and since most trends and fashions start in the US in NYC, I’m hoping some of their influence will rub off here. 🙂
Here are some excerpts from the article! Click here for the full text.
“Until recently, bikes were merely fashionable. Lately, it seems, they are fashion — and they don’t have to be ultraexpensive novelty items to qualify. As fashion companies start marketing bicycles and bike gear, Mr. Dutreil, a supporter of bicycle-advocacy programs in New York, said he wants to see more cyclists pedaling around in high style, just like that woman in the Randall photograph.
“An elegant lady or man,” he said, “on a bike that is elegant, that’s really the new art of living.”
In fact, bikes have become de rigueur in many boutique windows. It is no coincidence that fashion is having a bike moment at the same time that New York City, the capital of American fashion, has gone bicycle crazy. The number of daily cyclists in the city has jumped to an estimated 185,000, from 107,000 in 2005, according to Transportation Alternatives, a bicycle-advocacy organization. In addition, the city has installed more than 120 miles of bike lanes in the last two years, making it easier for new cyclists to take to the streets dressed to impress, not to duel with cars.
While some cyclists outside the fashion world expressed mixed feelings about seeing their trusty mode of transportation turned into the next gladiator sandal, others looked on the bright side. Even if new riders buy a bike only because they’re the cool new thing, they’re still buying a bike, wrote Matt Simonds, a cyclist who works at a nonprofit agency, in an e-mail message. In such cases, he wrote, “it’s kind of strange what happens when they got on a bike after a long period away from one — they remember how awesome it is to ride one.”
Ok – obviously much has changed for women in 114 years, but this excerpt about Women and Bicycling from Statemaster.com gives us some historical perspective. Bicycles emancipated women – in style, in transportation options, in the ability to explore life on their own. Pretty neat, huh?
“The diamond-frame safety bicycle gave women unprecedented mobility, contributing to their emancipation in Western nations. As bicycles became safer and cheaper, more women had access to the personal freedom they embodied, and so the bicycle came to symbolize the New Woman of the late nineteenth century, especially in Britain and the United States.
The bicycle was recognized by nineteenth-century feminists and suffragists as a “freedom machine” for women. American Susan B. Anthony said in a New York World interview on February 2,1896: “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.” In 1895 Frances Willard, the tightly-laced president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, wrote a book called How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle, in which she praised the bicycle she learned to ride late in life, and which she named “Gladys”, for its “gladdening effect” on her health and political optimism. Willard used a cycling metaphor to urge other suffragists to action, proclaiming, “I would not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum….”
Ok so this post isn’t exactly about Cycle Chic in the ‘chic’ sense, but it IS about something near and dear to my heart (and the underlying motivation of Charleston Cycle Chic) – making a city more bike-friendly. This past weekend, the NY Times wrote an excellent article on how Boston, long known as a ‘cyclists’ minefield’, is turning itself around and implementing measures to become more bike-friendly. Now Boston was established much the same time Charleston was. It has historic buildings, narrow streets and is surrounded by water and bridges. It also has a history of moving a bit slowly to get things done. But not anymore. In fact, Bicycling Magazine recently cited it on it’s Five for the Future list.
What does it take to make a city bike-friendly? As I experienced so clearly on my recent trip to Boulder, CO – it’s about creating bike lanes that go from Important Point A to Important Point B. It’s about having bike racks everywhere (here’s a link to ours). It’s about businesses encouraging bike parking (like Charleston’s Downtown TacoBoy!), and educating drivers about what it means to share the roads.
But it’s also about having leadership that loves to ride. Boston’s Mayor Menino recently discovered the biking lifestyle and realized just how important it is to a city’s sustainability and enjoyment and so quickly got to work. He even started Hub on Wheels, a Citywide Ride and Festival.
So I get it. As much grassroots moving as we can do, it still has to come from the top. So Mayor Riley – here’s what I propose to you. Come ride with me around our beautiful city. If you don’t have a bicycle, I’ll buy one for you. That’s my commitment to you, to this city, and to this lifestyle. Try it! It just might change your life.
Is envy wrong? Check out this super-cool video by Mikael, the gent who started it all across the pond. Look at the teems of bicyclists going about their daily lives, the parents and their kids, the high heels! Charleston – we are not so unlike Copenhagen. Sure they are a bit older than us (only by a few hundred years), but we are both flat, surrounded by water and bridges with fantastic architecture and an incredible mix of people. How about it? Is it in our blood?
A friend of mine forwarded me a link to the most recent New York Times Sunday Book Review, in which author David Byrne discusses Jeff Mapes’ new book “Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists are Changing American Cities.” Here’s an excerpt from the article that states EXACTLY what Cycle Chic is about, and why, all you women out there, we are starting a revolution. Enjoy!
Excerpt….““Pedaling Revolution” is not about mountain biking the Moab sandstone formations in Utah or the network of bucolic paths that link some of the rural Massachusetts colleges; it’s not about racing, Lance Armstrong or what kind of spandex to buy. Nor is it about the various forms of extreme biking that have arisen lately….For decades, Americans have too often seen cycling as a kind of macho extreme sport, which has actually done a lot to damage the cause of winning acceptance for biking as a legitimate form of transportation. If your association with bikes is guys in spandex narrowly missing you on the weekends or YouTube videos of kids flying over ramps on their clown-size bikes, you’re likely to think that bikes are for only the athletic and the risk-prone. Manufacturers in the United States have tended to make bikes that look like the two-wheeled equivalent of Hummers, with fat tires and stocky frames necessitating a hunched-over riding position that is downright unsafe for urban biking and commuting. But that’s been changing for at least a few years now. Whew.
As Mapes points out, when more women begin riding, that will signal a big change in attitude, which will prompt further changes in the direction of safety and elegance. I can ride till my legs are sore and it won’t make riding any cooler, but when attractive women are seen sitting upright going about their city business on bikes day and night, the crowds will surely follow…. “