Monthly Archives: June 2017

How not to lock your bike up

There are lots of ways of locking your bike up and the three essential parts you have to take into account consist in the wheels and the frame. The seat is also important if your bicycle has an easy-to-remove seat post. I am sure you have seen several examples of bikes which lack of a wheel and here I am going to show you extreme examples of harmed ones.

In this picture, the thief has stolen both the seat and the front wheel. This was done because the pad only locked up the frame. If the thief would had wanted to stole almost the entire bicycle, he could have done so.

Going a step further, in this photo the yellow bike’s owner locked it wrongly. He only secured the rear wheel and the frame, allowing the thief to steal the front wheel, the seat and the handlebars, not to mention the apparent low-quality bicycle lock.

Although it could sound a little alarming, having good bike locks and knowing how to use them properly are about to save your bike from thieves.

Road tax for bikes?

One of the main claims in the less developed countries regarding bikes and sustainable mobility is that bicycles should pay a road tax. This usually comes from scared car drivers who see how the bicycle trend takes car lines and transform them into bike lines. Or also how pacification of traffic does not allow them to drive so fast and consequently force them to fulfill the traffic law. This anger scream represents the loss of a false liberty in essence.

Today I am going to focus on the proposition of road tax for bicycles. Why does road tax apply to cars? Because of the negative impacts it has on society. Cars occupy too much space in streets. Approximately, one car has the same surface as eight bicycles. It also impacts negatively on the pavement as one ton (2,204 pounds) machines passing on by thousands or even millions every year on the same streets cause wear in impressive magnitude. Compare this fact with the usual weight of bikes 10-15 kg (22 – 33 pounds) or even less if the frame is made of carbon fiber. Furthermore, road tax is also paid as a result of all the diseases and health problems the poison of exhaust pipes expels. It would not be fair if all the people pay for problems caused by a fraction of the whole population. Not to mention the deaths car causes because of car accidents.

To sum up, it would be a nonsense if bicycles pay the road tax as they do not provoke as many problems as cars do.

Missing Dutchs in the US

Dutch style bicycles are the results of decades of good biking culture and intelligent design: they are durable, they allow to bike in an upright, ergonomic posture, they provide racks for your panniers, and their chainguards prevent your pants from getting stained while also reducing maintenance on the transmission system. As a matter of fact, Dutch style bicycles are great for rainy weather.

But here in the US, and specifically in rainy Seattle, they are nowhere to be found. People don’t ride them, stores don’t sell them, and even some components like chainguards are missing altogether.

Why is so? In my opinion, the social fabric that would use them is missing. Here in the US there are two sides when it comes to biking: the sunny-weekend-only, recreational riders (which ride a good looking bicycle, heavy and with fat tires); and those who ride it daily for ethical or healthy reasons (which usually aim for a speedy and lightweight bike).

So who is missing? John Doe. John Doe isn’t yet using the bike to commute to work or go to the supermarket. And although bike usage keeps growing little by little in the cities, one wonders if in 20 years John will by riding his Dutch bicycle, or he will sitting on a self-driving electric car.