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Framing the debate.

People reclaiming the streets and other ...

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There’s a lot of bad news in the world right now, so I’ve been trying to think instead for a day or two about the news in the past year that’s been most inspiring and hopeful. The best of it has involved people around the world stepping up and making public spaces their own, joyously […]

Why bicycle transportation will save Por...

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Portland is undergoing a process to create something called the Portland Plan, a guiding document aimed towards achieving an ambitious list of environmental, educational, and economic goals by 2035. I wrote the letter below the jump as testimony to the importance of bicycle transportation in achieving the plan’s economic goals. It’s not exactly smooth reading […]

Twitter and the grammar of the Occupatio...

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“Bike check!” is how you know the mic check is for the bike swarm. One of the reporters for our local daily has recently started using Twitter, mostly in live reporting Occupy events. Two things were immediately clear: First, that he didn’t really get Twitter (he learned fast) and second that he really didn’t get […]

Cycling's gender gap, explained

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I’ve written about why there is a gender gap in cycling in the U.S., and have struggled to explain that it isn’t because women are so damn womanly but rather because we’re an economic underclass and our transportation choices are more constrained than those of our male peers. So it was great to read a […]

Tea parties, chicken suits, and falling ...

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For the past year and a half I’ve been shuffling around a half-written essay about the ways in which the tea party is hopeful and exciting and, in some ways, just what this beleaguered country needs. But I never quite knew what to make of my mixed feelings, especially the part of that mix that […]

Why I type funny

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Before someone uses my computer to look up a bus schedule or check their email, I try to remember to switch it back to normal. But often I don’t catch them until they’ve begun to type and are staring at the gibberish on the screen in baffled frustration. “Your keyboard is broken,” they sometimes say. […]

Bikes on the base

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Photo courtesy of Minnesota Air National Guard Earlier this month, I wrote a short column about the historical use of bicycling in the military. While I was researching it, I chatted with Justin Haugens, who is the only person he knows who commutes by bike to the military base in Charlotte, North Carolina where he […]

Parking and the percents

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Free parking and one of its not-so-hidden costs – induced demand. From an Atlantic Cities interview with a city planner who’s trying to help cities wean themselves from free parking, as good as an explanation as I’ve ever seen of the class divide underlying the economics of transportation – and what we can do about […]

The battle of the yield

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A guy on a bike stopping at a yield sign. (Photo ¬© Elly Blue) My column last week at Grist was about the discourse around bikes at stop signs, and how the way we talk about bikes is different, in this case, than what actually happens on the road. The response has been interesting, and […]

Portland bike route mini-reviews

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The northbound MLK experience: A lost classic in experimental thrash riding I’ve been reading Our Band Could Be Your Life, a history of the U.S. indie music that I didn’t listen to in the 80s. The author clearly honed his catchy style writing record reviews and I was inspired to attempt a similar treatment for […]

The rubber terror

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That a popular consumer product would have a dirty secret hidden far from end users’ eyes in the Global South is almost to be expected these days. A century ago, the bicycle was high on this list. 1890 was the year that a company called Dunlop Rubber formed primarily for the purpose of producing a […]

Time to quit

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On Thursday night I quit Facebook. The instant I decided, I put on my hat, made my excuses to the friends I had just met up with, and got on my bike and rode home to click through the process before removing my hat or setting down my bag or saying more to Joe than […]

Can hitchhiking save the economy?

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The folks at Freakonomics don’t always nail it, but they I love the way they tackled the economic benefits of hitchhiking, debunking the myth that it’s a huge risk, and suggesting we bring it back into the mix as a part of getting our financial feet back under us. I hitched a lot during my […]

My preoccupations

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As the Occupy movement grows, I’ve been thinking more and more about a topic that’s already been on my mind for some time – how do we build a viable economy on a human scale? At the same time, I’m still struggling to build a viable living on a household scale. As I work and […]