Ron Werner

Ron Werner is a photographer who captured day-to-day common activities in New York, specifically in City Island. His family arrived to the USA by running away the nazis from his mother Austria. He opened a gallery called Focal Point Gallery to show his works at the beginning and finally he opened it to other artists, not only from the photo field but also from other artistic areas. Focal Point Gallery has evolved from an extremely large space, in which he also lived there, to a smaller one with impressive windows throughout which he used his camera in an efficiently way. Among all his photos, people with bikes emerge as icons. He affirms that he takes photos of bikers because it gives back memories when he was a boy and enjoyed pedaling.

Dom Whiting

The Covid pandemic made us modify our habits in many ways. Those people with a job in direct contact with other people suffered a stop or it was re-double as in the case of doctors and nurses. Dom Whiting belonged to the first group. He had worked as DJ in an event company and was open-minded enough to take advantage of the situation.

He modified his bicycle to include a mixing desk and a microphone on its handlebar, and carried on with outdoor music sessions in order for people to spend a good time dancing while pedaling. This active user of social nets has played in Dublin, Brussels or Barcelona to name a few. His parties include colored smoke bombs and confetti. To complement it, loudspeakers are attached to some other bicycles so that you can hear the music no matter where you are located in the pack. But the process of establishing a performance starts before since he first visits the city, them choose the route and finally pedal on it twice before the final event.

His passion for bikes started when going to school as it was the usual way of transport and he had continued using it to go to work from time to time.

Can e-bikes help in the fight against climate change?

E-bikes are criticized by traditional bickers as somewhat in between a car and a the common bicycle. It is clear that they do not pollute as much as a car, but neither do they use they only the energy of your legs. Rather, they need electricity for a propel functioning and all depends on the pool of energy the electricity comes from. For example, if you live in a country where all the energy is produced by renewable energy, that is OK, but if your country generates 20% of it from green sources and 80% from pollutant origins, then the e-bikes are not so environmentally friendly as one can thought. Still, it is better than a pollutant car, and environmental activism should be done to contribute to the change of the energy sources in the last country.

Some figures I have found on the carbon footprint related to e-bikes are the following:

– 75% is generated in the production process

– 15% goes to the batteries charging

– 10% compromises logistics, packaging and the recycling of the e-bike at the end of its life

– The carbon footprint of an e-bike is around 14 CO2 grams/km. Compare it with 150 CO2 grams/km of a car or the 60-80 CO2 grams/km of the public transport

Moreover, an e-bike consumes about 7 Wh. If a 500 Wh battery is incorporated to the same bike, it can travel more than 80 km. For a comparison purpose, this energy cost is similar to a microwave working for 30 minutes, a computer for 2 hours or a refrigerator for 60 minutes.

Besides, the cargo e-bike allows transporting impressive loads from common shopping to a piano. Indeed, more a more parcel deliveries are using them in what is called the last mile delivery which is usually done inside cities and villages.

Fietsenstalling Stationsplein

Utrecht, The Netherlands, is the home of the biggest subterranean bike parking in the world. This infrastructure is called Fietsenstalling Stationsplein and up to 12,500 bicycles can be parked here. It shows three levels, access ramps and direct connection to the Utrech train station. This 7,100 squared meters building costed 50 million Euros and received the Concrete Award and one the Architizer A+ Award in 2018.

Before building the Fietwenstalling Stationsplein, the former Centraal train station was an old, gray square next to Hoog Catharijne (a shopping center) and a big exhibition center as a legacy of the widely used urban style in Europe in the XX century. Fortunately, this urban style is being substituted. No only did the square name changed from Stationstraat to Stationsallee, but also it became in a spacious, ventilated new place for people with gardens and a fountain.

The Fietsenstalling Stationsplein counts with three levels, a workshop and round-the-clock vigilance. Moreover, it 1,000 public bikes are placed there so that if a visitor arrives in Utrecht by train, he or she can use one of such bicycles and move cheaply without polluting the city. Indeed, every level is dedicated to specific uses. Thus, public bikes are separated if you are a subscriber, long distance or sporadic user. The parking can be toured without stopping your bicycle thanks to ramps and screens at the end of every row in order for bikers to see if that row has empty parking spaces. A large canopy and openings in the exterior walls allow the parking to receive a lot of natural light.

This is a perfect example of bike+train intermodal mobility which is really inclusive since different actors from local authorities and pedestrians to transport company workers and, of course, riders were consulted in the process of designing the Fietsenstalling Stationplein.