Bikes vs Cars – New Debate on an Old Topic

I just came across a new documentary that has been released to address the very old debate of Cars vs Bikes – what is the right preference, how should cities handle traffic and what should they emphasize.

There has been so many debates on this and many opinions – so I might as well list mine.  So, here I go – why do I think the debate is somewhat misguided and actually makes sense to look and use both:

  • Cars – are they best option for everything – of course NOT!  Are they useful in our daily lives ?  Absolutely YES!
  • Bikes – do they cause trouble on the road?  Absolutely NO!   Bikes and cars as people overall should and can co-exist safely and harmoniously
  • Are bikes helping the economy?  YES, YES!   How?  By bringing traffic that is slow – which then allows people to stop and check shops out etc.  I will elaborate on that later.
  • Are cars helping the economy?  YES!  How?  Well by providing great jobs, providing great improvements to productivity – I personally save tons of time by commuting via car – fast and effectively getting to the office (before rush hour)

Here is the trailer and some commentary on the new documentary that is causing the emotions to sparkle again:


And I will continue the discussion in my next posting.  Now I am rushing off to board my flight from Narita (Japan) to Los Angeles (one of the cities highlighted in the documentary above).   Stay tuned for more — and of course I would love to hear / see / read your opinion and thoughts on the topic.

Bike Innovations at CES – Summary

Every year the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) generates tons of hype and excitement (yes, those happen simultaneously — for all cool new gadgets there are also a number of half baked ones). 

This year there are also some hype and some interesting new concepts and some not so new ones in the bicycle world.  Of course – the delineation of "innovative" and "not so much" are purely mine…Some of the companies mentioned may have different opinions wink

  1. Samsung announced that they are partnering with TREK and displayed handlebars integrated docking station for their Galaxy 3 tablet.  I do agree the idea is a good one.  The tablets and smart phones alike pack significant amount of compute capabilties which could be used for series of health and bike monitoring tasks / applications.  Well, but how new is this ? In my view — NOT so much… I have had a braket for my iPhone on my bike for about 2 years now and my iPhone with the assistance of several apps has been tracking my speed, exercise specifics..etc.   Image of my smartphone mountHere is the Samsung one Samsung and TREK
  2. Samsung also announced the ability to charge the Galaxy 3 tablet while pedaling.  Now that is cool!
  3. Schwin announced a simple navigation system which I think is a nice and low cost gadget for many bike enthusiasts.  Schwin NAVthe product interfaces and works with any Android or Apple iPhone device; gives voice turn by turn directions; attaches to the handlebars with an included/provided mount; and uses a 10-hour rechargeable battery;   The NAV system is available for US areas;   
  4. Finally, (for now) Faraday announced a brand new electric bike for use around the city.  The new model is Porteur 2014.  Faraday 2014 Porteurat price tag of $3500.  The company has been taking pre-orders at CES;   The bike is really neat and stylish — key aspect – where are the batteries? 

Bike Share Programs vs Politics in Kolkata

Interesting developments in the huge Indian city of Kolkata – while the rest of the world is adding more and more bike share programs, as listed in my previous article, and as you will soon find in database on this blog, this Indian city is going the opposite (wrong) way.   Kolkata officials have decided to ban bicycles on majority of the city roads.

Admittedly if you have been in any of the Indian cities, you would wonder – how do the bicycles get around and stay unharmed anyway….!  Being on the road in many of those cities is VERY dangerous to your health.   I remember being in Bangalore a couple of times in the last two years or so and in both cases I was strongly advised not to cross most of the city streets on foot.  Why?  Because that is a significant hazzard..!

Ban to bicycles in Kolkata Here is a view from

Angry protests are going on as a result of the ban.  Some local activists are also expressing their dismay at the decision.  Here is a snapshot from one of the India media sites:

Social activist Medha Patkar has appealed to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to revoke the blanket ban on cycling in Kolkata, saying this will work against poor and working class people who are dependent on this "inexpensive" mode of transport to earn a living.

Net-net, this is a strange move and one that will not improve anything.  The space and dangers inflicted by bicycles are not anything major and will be well surpassed by the chaos that motorbikes bring (and the everpresent Bajaj cabs) — so don't expect Kolkata to be somehow in more ruly traffic….won't happen.

So, once again, I think India will benefit big time from getting more bicycles NOT LESS, on its roads in order to maintain green environment as much as possible as well as allow for more sustainable development.


Mopac Mobility Improvement Project

Well, you need to check out the Austin Public Works Department new project — the Mopac Mobility Imprvement project which is part of a larger bicycle related plan for Austin.  Here is a summary from the Official Site of the Austin City Govertment:

"…Phase I includes a bicycle/pedestrian bridge over Loop 360 at Mopac. Phase II includes a bicycle/pedestrian bridge over Barton Creek at Mopac, the restriping of the southbound lanes of Mopac at the bridge over Barton Creek to improve motor vehicle congestion, and improved bicycle and pedestrian connections to Southwest Parkway, Loop 360, and other planned trails in the area (the Violet Crown and the Oak Hills Neighborhood Trail System). Phase III is a wide sidewalk that would accommodate bicycles and pedestrians on the west side of Mopac from Loop 360 to Barton Creek Square Mall, or Tamarron Boulevard. Phases I and II are completely funded. Phase III is not yet funded for design or construction."

For more information you can attend a session on Saturday July 14th 2012 from 8am-noon, at the Johnson Creek Trail Head, located on Veterans Drive, just southwest of the Austin High Tennis Courts near the RunTex water station.



Have You Heard about the Franken Bike Swap Meet? Austin, Texas….of course!

Well, I am sure you have NOT heard of this yet another “Keep Austin Weird” event in this eclectic city…. The event is called FRANKENBIKE The Ultimate Swap Meet and it is held on a regular basis at various locations around Austin.

It is an event where you can find all sort of great stuff (spare parts to whole bikes) for your hobby — of course if biking is your hobby.

The future (this year) events are as follows:

Upcoming FrankenBike meets

May 26, BikeTexas, 1902 E. Sixth St.

June 30, Fast Folks Cyclery, 2513 E. Sixth St.

July 28, Jorge’s, 2203 Hancock Drive

Aug. 25, Cycle Progression, 2153 S. Lamar Blvd.

Sept. 29, Monkey Wrench Bicycles, 5555 N. Lamar Blvd., L145

Additional information is at the event’s web site.