Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lance Armstrong's Incredible Short Cut during the Tour de France

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Celebrating my first year as a bike commuter

When I began writing this post it was twenty-five past eleven; that is thirty five minutes to celebrate Christmas. It has been a hectic year at work but it has not been a year that it will not be forgotten easily. You'll wonder why? The reason is that in the year 2009 I have started commuting for the first time in my life. I have a lot of experiences to tell you after cycling for a year. The feeling and the results have been terrific. I've lost weight, i feel healthier, I'm tanner, I've saved money, etc.. But how all this started? I guess it would be a good idea to start my story right now:

All began in February when teachers come back from the Argentinian summer respite. One of the schools I work at is 7 km away from home. It was then that I thought I should give bike commuting a try. During all these months the feeling of independence is mind-boggling. You get rid of bus schedules, you don't seem to care about about the constant rises in the transport fares. You are only interested in checking the weather forecast before setting off for work.

After a warm summer, autumn and winter came in. All was completely new to me. No experience at all in freezing weather. When i battled freezingly cold days all i had to do was to experience new ways of dressing up. When riding in winter I used to wear double pairs of trousers / socks and gloves. A good jacket was also needed. And of course, no need to mention my woolen scarf/cap. This was basically my garment during our last tough winter.

I don't hold with the idea that riding in winter is not possible. It IS! I only had to cycle for ten minutes to feel perfectly warm. Then the ride is a pleasure. You just need to cycle to reach your destination. Then I'll be posting a new entry giving you some advice on bike commuting, especially in winter. For now I will tell you how positive all this was for me.

Saturday, December 5, 2009



Hi there bike commuters! Apologies as I have not been able to update my blog regularly in the past months due to work responsibilities. As this year is coming to an end and perhaps your bike is getting a noise after so many miles riding to work or wherever, i'd like to introduce you a very useful site that may help you solve some problems with your bike. Check it out..

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bikes and cars: Can we share the road?


With more bikes on the road, drivers are frustrated -- and cyclists are at risk. Now's the time for changes.

Mandeville Canyon Road is a two-lane, dead-end road that twists and climbs for six miles through a quiet Brentwood neighborhood. "It's perfect for bicycling -- like honey to bears," says Jeffrey Courion, former public policy director for Velo Club La Grange, a bicycle touring and racing club.

But with just one lane in each direction and limited visibility in some places, the road has also become a flash point for conflicts between motorists and cyclists. "It's a problem of people competing for space," Courion says.

That competition turned ugly in July 2008. Brentwood doctor Christopher Thomas Thompson is currently facing trial in the L.A. County Superior Court, charged with four felony counts related to a collision with two bicyclists in Mandeville Canyon. The injured cyclists allege that Thompson deliberately pulled in front of them, then slammed on his brakes, intending to hurt them. Thompson's attorney argues that the cyclists had yelled profanities at Thompson and were to blame for the accident.

The number of people riding bicycles has exploded in recent years. U.S. census statistics released in September show a 43% increase in bike commuting nationwide between 2000 and 2008, and Courion's bike club, which often rides in Mandeville Canyon, has seen its numbers nearly double to nearly 500 in the last several years.

This surge of new bicycles on the road frustrates some motorists, leading to antagonism and altercations of which the Mandeville Canyon incident is an extreme example. And though data suggest that cycling fatalities have actually fallen nationwide, one new study suggests that the injuries cyclists suffer in traffic accidents are becoming more severe.

The city of Los Angeles is currently updating its own bicycle infrastructure plan. Even as it does so, cycling experts and enthusiasts can't agree on how to make the roads more bicycle-safe. Some advocate for more dedicated infrastructure, such as bike lanes. Others believe that people riding bicycles belong on the roads just as surely as do cars -- and that the key to greater safety is people cycling in a manner that reflects that right.

Safety in numbers

Evidence does suggest that bicycling becomes safer as more people take part. "When motorists start to expect cyclists on the roads and cycling is the norm, that helps with the accident rates," says Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong, a bicycle advocacy group based in Boulder, Colo. "A lot of cities have put more bikes on the roads without a significant rise in injuries."

Between 1998 and 2008, for example, bike commuting in Marin County increased 66% as bicycle crashes declined 34%.

Cycling enthusiasts cite numbers that suggest the benefits of cycling far outweigh the risks. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, the 716 bicyclist deaths in the U.S. during 2008 represented a 6% drop compared with 1998. The risk of fatality is 1 per 32 million kilometers bicycled, and the average accident rate for commuter cyclists is one accident every 8.7 years, according to Kate Scheider, research coordinator for Bikes Belong.

In a seminal and oft-cited 1992 report -- "Cycling: Towards Health and Safety" -- Mayer Hillman, a senior fellow emeritus of the Policy Studies Institute in the U.K., calculated that bicycling's health benefits -- such as reductions in cancer, heart disease and diabetes -- outweigh its risks by a factor of 20 to 1.

But there are suggestions, too, that the types of injuries cyclists suffer have become increasingly severe. A study conducted at the Rocky Mountain Regional Trauma Center in Colorado measured a threefold increase in the number of abdominal injuries and a 15% rise in the number of chest injuries among cyclists admitted to the regional trauma center over the last 11 years.

"The number of injuries that came in to our trauma center did not increase, and mortality did not increase. What did change is the injury patterns," says Zachary Hartman, a medical student who worked on the research. The exact reasons for the increase in injury severity remain unclear: Hartman speculates that the increased popularity of large vehicles such as SUVs could play a role. Trauma center surgeon Dr. Jeffry Kashuk, who presented the study at the Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons last month, puts some of the blame on Denver city planners.

He'd like to see more money spent on bike lanes and paths. "The city is promoting bicycle commuting without making the infrastructure improvements needed to make bicycles a safe form of transportation," he says.

Still, determining the best way to make biking safer remains controversial, even among bike advocates. Some want an expanded bikeway system, with more separate bike paths and bike lanes. "The future of bicycling in the United States is not on roads that are shared by cars, but on separate facilities," Blumenthal says. He points to cycle tracks -- a kind of bike lane separated from the roadway by a curb or other barrier--as one infrastructure improvement that could encourage more people to ride.

Other bike advocates oppose efforts to move cyclists to separate bikeways and argue instead that bicycles need to reclaim the city streets. "The bikeway system was designed for the convenience of motorists -- the safety arguments are bunkum," says John Forester, a bicycling engineer from Lemon Grove in San Diego County.

Forester is the father of the "vehicular cycling" movement -- a philosophy that views the bicycle as a form of transportation that belongs on the streets alongside cars.

According to Forester and others in the vehicular cycling camp, efforts to push bikes into separate lanes or bike paths reinforce the notion that bicycles don't belong on the street and relegates them to separate and not-quite-equal status. Segregating cyclists to their own paths reinforces motorist resentment toward cyclists and may encourage drivers to view cyclists on the road as scofflaws unworthy of their courtesy, Forester says.

Studies support Forester's contention that bike lanes may make cycling more hazardous. In a study released earlier this fall, Ciaran Meyers from the University of Leeds Institute for Transport Studies in the U.K. found that motorists gave bicycles significantly more room when passing them on a road without a bike lane than they did when the cyclist was riding in a dedicated bike lane.

Bike lanes also tend to abut parking spaces, which can turn the bike lane into a door zone where an opening car door can intrude without warning into a cyclist's path, Forester says. Such "dooring" incidents have killed cyclists in cities across the U.S.

"American bicyclists have been taught to stay to the right or get squashed, but it's actually much safer to ride a bike as you would a car, following all the rules of the road," Forester says.

Claiming the lane

Beverly Hills resident Ron Durgin, who calls himself a "bicycle lifestylist" and has not owned a car for the last 14 years, says when he first began riding, he "was of the mind set to ride in the gutter -- stay as far to the right of traffic as possible." When Durgin rode in that manner, he found that cars came uncomfortably close as they squeezed past.

Then Durgin took a workshop on how to ride a bike in traffic and changed his entire approach. "I drive my bike as if I were driving a car, and I have very few problems now," he says.

He says cyclists can reduce their risk of being hit from the side or run off the road if they obey all traffic laws and claim their space in the road, skills he impresses in bike safety courses he now teaches for the League of American Bicyclists.

Mutual respect is the key to safely coexisting in traffic, Blumenthal says. His group's new slogan, "Bikes are on your side -- we're closer than you think," is intended to create a common identity between motorists and cyclists.

"People on bikes aren't out to get you or slow you down," he says. "We also drive -- and, in fact, we are you."

The city of Los Angeles is currently taking public comments on the newly released draft of the city bicycle plan -- which updates the city's strategy for promoting bicycling in the city via policies, programs and infrastructure improvements.

Among the recommendations in the draft are plans for nearly 400 miles of so-called Bicycle Friendly Streets, which would have signage or traffic-calming measures designed to make them better suited to bikes.

The plan also includes plans for more bike lanes, safety education and bike parking.

Senior project coordinator Michelle Mowery with the city department of transportation calls the draft a big step, but bike advocates criticize the plan for lacking the continuous north-south and east-west bikeways that bicyclists need to navigate the city.

"This plan continues the current mishmash of bike routes," says Aurisha Smolarski, campaign director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. "Sunset Boulevard has a bike lane, but it doesn't connect to Hollywood. . . . Venice Boulevard has a major gap that's missing a bike lane."

Find out more -- or voice your comments -- at the last of five public workshops on the plan this from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Ramona Hall, 4580 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles. View the plan at www.labikeplan.org, or e-mail public comments to jordann.turner @lacity.org.

And read our accompanying stories for tips on what cyclists -- and motorists -- can do to make city streets safer for the people who ride on two wheels instead of four.


SOURCE: LATIMES.COM

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wants & Desires | Commuter Bike: choosing the bike that best suits you





Follow the link below and check out the different kinds of bikes you can choose to ride to work.


Source: A continuous lean


More Schools Encourage Commuting by Bike


The tandem bicycle that Meghan Faux and her 7-year-old daughter Ryan use to get to school got a flat tire last week on the first day of classes. No matter. The next day Ms. Faux arrived at Public School 261 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, with Ryan following closely on a trail-a-bike, a child-size bicycle frame that attaches to the back of her mother’s bicycle.

The 10-minute ride from Fort Greene to Boerum Hill would take at least 30 on public transportation, Ms. Faux said. Forecasts of afternoon rain are not enough to stop them. Nor is the cold — Ryan happily puts on a snowsuit and a mask in the winter. When Ms. Faux cannot ride Ryan to school, her partner, Marie Tatro, tries to. And when one bicycle is out of service, the family has another to rely on.

“We have pretty complicated bike lives,” Ms. Faux said.

There are no estimates about how prevalent bicycle commuting is among parents, students and teachers at New York City’s schools, but a morning spent in front of P.S. 261 gives credibility to Ms. Faux’s claim that she is not an anomaly. P.S. 261, which has about 830 students, is one of 34 schools to have requested that the Department of Transportation install bike racks through the department’s CityRacks program. Last spring, the department installed five bike racks in front of the school, giving parents an alternative to the chain-link fence that they had been using to lock up bicycles to that point.

The school’s principal, Zipporiah Mills, said that the racks had made it easier on parents, and that the popularity of bringing children to school on bicycles had been growing for several years.

Several minutes before Ms. Faux showed up with Ryan in tow last Thursday, Hilda Cohen pedaled up to the school on Pacific Street. Sitting just behind her handlebars, on a custom seat made from a skateboard, was her daughter Esme, 7.

Esme, who has been known to strut through the halls of school with her helmet still on her head, said she preferred riding on her mother’s bicycle to other forms of transportation.

“I don’t like to ride the bus,” she said. “You just sit there.”

Pacific Street slowly filled with young children and their parents. Children jumped from idling cars and climbed out of school buses. One rode by on a Razor scooter. And parents pedaled up on bikes built or rigged to accommodate their elementary-sized passengers, or alongside children who rode their own bicycles. A woman carefully stowed the seat of her daughter’s bicycle in her backpack, rather than leave it to tempt any bike thieves who might walk by during the day, then rode on to work. A man rode past with a young boy and girl riding a seat made for two mounted over his back tire. The bike stopped for less than a minute in front of the school. The boy jumped off and headed inside; father and daughter made a U-Turn and pedaled away to another school nearby.

These commuters described the incentive to get their children to school on bicycles as a combination of convenience and the desire to instill an interest in bicycling and exercise early in life.

“I’m trying to raise two children to be bike riders, so I’m going through all the steps,” said Kim Wiley-Schwartz, the director of Livable Streets Education, an environmental group. She has two children at the school, Nora, 7, and Isaac, 5.

“Some people just attach their kids to their bikes to get them from place to place as fast as they can,” Ms. Wiley-Schwartz said. “That’s also viable.”

For Selina Cardoso, the morning ride from Sunset Park with her daughter Michelle, 7, takes half an hour, about the same time it would take to ride the train. The decision to travel by bicycle, she said, comes with a financial benefit as well.

“It’s exercise, and we don’t have to buy a MetroCard,” she said.


SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Podcasts at usingbikesinbuenosaires

I'll be offering another way to communicate with my visitors. From next weekend, usingbikesinbuenosaires.blogspot.com will be uploading weekly podcasts on different topics for you to enjoy this passion called cycling.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bike to work Victoria, British Columbia

Bumped into this good stuff this morning. The pictures are worth a look.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/biketowork/3796347474/in/photostream/


SOURCE: biketowork.ca/victoria

Frustrated Berlin commuters discover pedal power


"There's a giant explosion of interest," Stark said. "People sitting in a traffic jam see the bikes filing past and it makes them think twice about sitting in their cars."

There are 68 million bikes in Germany, a country with a population of 82 million. The total has risen by 2 million in three years. Bike sales have also remained strong in the past year, defying the economic crisis.

Cycling is a big industry with annual turnover of 1.7 billion euros ($2.40 billion) for cycles and a total of 3.5 billion euros for equipment. It employs about 9,000 people.

In Berlin's government quarter, hundreds of journalists, lobbyists, politicians and businessmen can be seen on bicycles at any time of the day between April and October. There are a growing number of die-hards who ride through mild winters.

Some prominent Germans take advantage of Berlin's bicycle-friendly wide avenues and bike lanes to pedal to work.

Deputy Finance Minister Joerg Asmussen and Martin Wansleben, managing director of the Chambers of Industry and Commerce, are regular bike commuters.

"We're always looking for ways to improve the infrastructure for cyclists to make it even a more attractive alternative," Berlin's Economy Senator Harald Wolf said in an interview.

The city spends 3 million euros ($4.24 million) a year improving 600 km of cycle paths and lanes.

"There are several big advantages of getting around by bike in a city like Berlin," Wolf told Reuters. "First of all, it's a cheap way to travel, and secondly it's positive for the environment because there's no CO2 emissions.

"On top of that it's healthy and in cities like Berlin that have so much traffic the average speed falls so far that you're almost as fast on a bike as you would be in a car."

HAPPY COMMUTERS

Rolf Dieter Peschel is another happy cycle commuter. He sold his car and bought a bike two years ago. The 48-year-old, who now rides about 6,000 km per year, reckons it has saved him about 3,000 euros each year.

"I feel a lot fitter than before," said Peschel, who works as an ambulance medical assistant and commutes 17 km each way to work. "I look forward to my bike ride home all day. It's really amazing how much money you can save without a car."

Bettina Krause, 40, paused near the end of her 30-minute, 10-km journey to work at the Technical University at a bike lane traffic light, where 50 cyclists waited for a green light.

"I'd rather take my bike than squeeze into a crowded train," she said. "The thing I like about biking to work is that you can integrate a workout right into your day. I can't stand getting into the train any more."

Thomas Geithner, a 32-year-old IT worker, said he left his car at home most of the time because the bike was faster.

"It's only about four km each way so I'd end up spending more time looking for a place to park than it takes to bike," he said. "There's just too much stress with the car. I'm here on the bike in a few minutes and in a good mood all day."


SOURCE: REUTERS.COM

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Biking Buenos Aires

Cycle fever in Japan as companies offer special benefits to bicycle commuters



Commuters who would rather not be trapped in jam-packed trains, which may increase the risk of exposure to the swine flu, are recently choosing a different option – bicycle-riding to the office.

Men in suits and ties with a backpack traveling to work have become the new trend, and there are several benefits besides the most obvious – escape from enduring train rides overcrowded with passengers.

“Although I have to wear a mask as soon as I get to the office, at least I don’t have to worry about it on the way to work. I bike about 40 minutes, 10 kilometers every day. I don’t go out drinking as much and I’ve lost 10 kilos in a year. My cholesterol level is better and medical exam results are great,” says one Osaka company worker.

Another company employee, a 10-year veteran as a bicycle commuter, explains he’s built stamina by traveling an hour and half to cover the 30-kilometer distance between his home in Kashiwa City and the office in Shinjuku. “I’m also earning extra money from the monthly transportation fee of 15,000 yen provided by the company.”

According to the Japan Bicycle Association, domestic bicycle shipments in 2008 reached 73.4 billion yen (a 21% increase from the previous year), of which sports-type cycles for town riding accounted for nearly 3 billion yen, a 68% increase. Bike related products are drawing attention as well, such as business suits using materials with enhanced breathing-stretching qualities.

Due to the economic downturn, more individuals are selling off their cars and switching to bike riding, according to the Association.


New businesses are following the trend, such as the “Runners Station Plus Bike” which opened in Chiyoda-ku this February, catering to bike commuters’ needs with locker and shower rooms. For the monthly fee of 23,000 yen, members can use the facilities and leave their expensive vehicles in a secure parking area.

Furthermore, an increasing number of companies are encouraging bicycle commuting as a part of the corporate “Eco” policy. For example, since 2006 Sanyo’s manufacturing facility in Gunma has offered continuous payment of commuting allowances to employees who switch from car to bicycle, provided that the distance is between 2 and 5 kilometers one way.

In the case of Yamaha Motor Company in Shizuoka, employees receive special benefits when they change their travel method from car to motorcycle, bicycle or commute on foot. The system has been implemented since 2004, and currently bicycle commuters are paid 1,000 yen per month from the company.

Last August, shochu manufacturer Okuchi Shuzo in Kagoshima introduced a system to encourage bike commute by offering 10 yen per kilometer. More than a third of its employees now ride bicycles to work.

Journalist Tsuyoshi Maeya, who lost 7 kilos in one year by switching to bicycle commuting advises, “You can avoid overcrowded trains, there’s less exposure to the flu virus and you’ll be able to build stamina and strengthen your immune system. But try to take it slow and easy – don’t attempt riding 20 kilometers to the workplace without giving yourself the chance to practice over weekends and gradually increase the distance you can handle.”

Needless to say, please follow traffic rules and remember that riding the bicycle under the influence of alcohol is a no-no.


SOURCE: JAPAN TODAY

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Everything starts with some mountain biking for Olympique Lyon

French Lyon players kicked off their pre-season campaign with some mountain biking in their schedules.


7h15, in Tignes, all is calm. It is the time of day when the clouds are still stuck to the summits, the hour when late rising skiiers are making their way quickly to the glacier: in four hours it will already be too late, the snow will have started to melt; even the lake seems to be asleep, barely disturbed by the falling melted snow.

7h30, still no OL players in sight. The mornings physical session has been cancelled, the OL squad will discover the sumptuous panorama offered by the mountains in summer on bikes. 8h30, each player has to choose, sometimes with scepticism and sometimes with joy, like Rémy Vercoutre, the machine that will be making them suffer, « during 1 hour for the quickest, 2h30 for the rest » laughs Emmanuel Orhant. While Miralem Pjanic and Frédéric Piquionne ride around doing wheelies, Ederson tries desperately and in vain to put on his helmet much to the delight of Sidney Govou : « that helmet really has a problem with you. »

The trail starts by going downhill, through the forest and along a river that Patrick Collot almost falls in to. It appears obvious thet Cris has been practising his mountain biking during the holidays! The second part of the ride is much more hilly, which doesn’t worry Claude Puel, who finishes in first place accompanied by Nicolas Seguin. The Doc didn’t lie: two and a quarter hours.

Miralem Pjanic’s opinion : « Personnally, I enjoy biking, I like going quickly and being in front. It was quite calm. It was almost all downhill. It’s a nice gentle start to the training camp but we knwo things are going to be a lot more difficult afterwards. »

At the end of the afternoon, the group will be in surroundings that they control better: on a football pitch with a ball at their feet.






SOURCE: OLWEB

Gianluigi Buffon and his family go for a Sunday ride

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and his family went for a ride in Forte dei Marmi, Italy. As you can see in the pics, his girlfriend Alena is expecting their second baby.




Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bike plus train makes easier transportation

Dusty pics for you to see

I was trying to find some interesting shots to upload when suddenly I found these two.
On this occasion I pictured a bike being exhibited at the Transport Museum in Lujan, Buenos Aires. There you can find from the first locomotive brought into Argentina to a bike used to go over the world. The person who used this bike is said to have ridden 85.000 km in 63 countries from the five continents.

Enjoy




Saturday, July 4, 2009

Another bike commuter

Ecuador say yes to bike commuting!

My first six months as a bike commuter

I've been riding to work for six months now; as a matter of fact, my first six months. I have to say the assessment is highly positive. Let's start with the postives: i feel more energetic every time I reach school (I work as a teacher).I'm willing to work, I'm hapier in a a word. I do exercise. I lost 7 kilos. That's marvellous! There are lost of positives such as hearing the birds singing very early in the morning. I also have an air of independence: i don't depend on buses, cars or anything of the sort. I only ride my bike and make it home in style. I really like it!

Only one negative(hope it's the only one this year!) so far: I got a flat in the second week in March. Fortunately, my dad gave me hand and I could make it at my school as usual.

My evaluation has been 100% positive: I love biking and I hope lots of people learn about the benefits of commuting to work by bike!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Potters' pedal power


You might imagine that the life of a Premier League footballer come the summer is relatively stress-free.

Holidays abroad, money to burn and the opportunity to soak up the sun and relax, safe in the knowledge that their gruelling pre-season training schedule is not due to get started for another fortnight or so.

Well, not so for Stoke midfielder Rory Delap.

While the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Rio Ferdinand are splashed across the tabloids sunning themselves on a beach somewhere, Delap and friends are saddling up for a 202-mile bike ride from Newcastle to Edinburgh - all in the name of charity.

With the trip scheduled to take three days, Delap and six others must cover around 70 miles a day in the hope of raising money for the Donna Louise Children's Hospice in Stoke.

Suffice to say, it's not all fun and games. "Aye, I'm a little tender to say the least," Delap tells BBC Sport on day two of the ride. "But we are making good progress and getting some nice support, too.

"We were at a stop in Seahouses in Northumberland washing down the bikes and two Stoke fans were there - they get everywhere I tell you. Luckily I wasn't in too bad a state at the time, but then it was quite early in the ride!

"You know it's going to be hard work, but to be honest I'm out with my mates, keeping my fitness levels up and hopefully raising a bit of money as well. It's all a bonus."

Already, Delap has surpassed his £1,000 fundraising target. At the time of writing, donations on his Just Giving website had reached £2,795 - and the 32-year-old is desperate for people to keep on digging deep.

"It's a tremendous charity," he said. "It provides respite and end of life care for children with life-limiting conditions who are not expected to live beyond their teenage years. But you go in there and it's full of happiness. You would think the children don't have a care in the world, but of course the reality is so different.

"I first went down there on one of the club's Christmas visits, taking a few presents to try to brighten some faces. It really hit home. I've got kids myself and I thought if I can do something to help then great.

"The club has a long association with the charity. The gaffer ran the marathon for them this year, and last year Jon Parkin and Russell Hoult had all-over body waxes.

"I daren't tell the missus that, though. She might like the idea and suggest I do the same. I'd rather get on a bike and just get sore on the saddle, thanks!"

With Delap and his Stoke team-mates due back for pre-season on 9 July, the ride has the added bonus of kick-starting the midfielder's fitness drive ahead of the new campaign.

SOURCE: BBC

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Now You will be able to park your bike in Buenos Aires - In Spanish

Avanza una ley
Habrá espacios para bicicletas en garajes porteños
Las playas deberán tener un lugar con anclajes para ocho de esos rodados cada 50 cocheras


Angeles Castro
LA NACION

Las personas que prefieren viajar en bicicleta para no contaminar el ambiente y para, a la par, realizar un ejercicio saludable, recibirán con agrado un proyecto de ley que avanza en la Legislatura porteña para obligar a los garajes a ofrecer espacios para estacionar y sujetar vehículos de dos ruedas.

La exigencia forma parte de una iniciativa más abarcativa que introduce modificaciones en el Código de Edificación, en los artículos que regulan el funcionamiento de los garajes, que ayer obtuvo despacho favorable de la Comisión de Planeamiento Urbano de la Legislatura, con la firma de diputados macristas y kirchneristas.

Puntualmente, el dictamen establece que los garajes deberán disponer de ocho plazas para bicicletas por cada 50 cocheras para autos. Fuentes de la comisión, que encabeza Silvina Pedreira (Frente para la Victoria), estimaron que ocho bicicletas caben en el lugar que ocupa un auto.

En la Capital hay registrados 2470 garajes techados y 750 playas de estacionamiento descubiertas.

Más allá de ofrecer el espacio, los dueños del garaje también tendrán -por un reclamo de los usuarios de bicicletas- la obligación de asegurar un medio de anclaje o sujeción de las bicicletas. "Intentamos que se disponga de un espacio en serio, no sólo discursivo", explicó Pedreira.

La diputada recordó que la iniciativa, basada sobre un borrador del ex diputado Mario Morando que sufrió modificaciones, ya fue aprobada en primera lectura y, tras ser sometida a audiencia pública el mes pasado, regresó a la comisión, en la que los legisladores realizaron nuevos cambios. Por ejemplo, ampliar la cantidad de cocheras. Con el despacho emitido ayer, sólo resta la ratificación en el recinto, que podría ocurrir en las próximas semanas.

Pedreira y su colega Pablo Failde, también kirchnerista, un defensor de la bicicleta,quien todos los días se traslada en ese medio a la Legislatura, recordaron que el texto original sólo entregaba a las bicicletas un único espacio cada 30 cocheras para autos.

"La promoción del uso de la bicicleta no puede ser de palabra. Debe ir acompañada por medidas que faciliten venir y permanecer en el centro. Por ejemplo, asegurarles un lugar dónde estacionar, sin entrar en conflicto con el espacio público."

Más allá del sector que garantiza la ley, los propietarios de los garajes podrían ofrecer más lugares para bicicletas, si bien las cocheras para autos les dejan más ganancias. Aunque el proyecto de ley que avanza en la Legislatura no lo establece, se prevé que las bicicletas paguen por estacionar un precio proporcional al que paga un auto, según el espacio que demanda.

Los ciclistas muestran su satisfacción. "Siempre dijimos que andar en bicicleta no es andar en calesita, que hay que tener dónde dejarla. El estacionamiento es fundamental. Aunque tuvimos que presionar bastante para que la redacción cambiara, es un avance normativo importante", dijo Néstor Sebastián, presidente de la Asociación de Ciclistas Urbanos.

Ayer, por otra parte, la Comisión de Tránsito dio despacho favorable a un proyecto de Failde que obliga a todas las empresas de transporte automotor que circulan por la ciudad a tener oficinas en la Capital para ofrecer el boleto estudiantil, de modo de evitar que los alumnos deban tramitarlo en la provincia.

Antecedentes

  • El sistema de bicing , que consiste en la oferta de alquiler de bicicletas en una serie de estaciones estratégicamente distribuidas, funciona en grandes ciudades del mundo. Aquí, una ley habilitó al Poder Ejecutivo a instrumentar el sistema en diciembre de 2007.

  • Algunas bicisendas , o sea, carriles para la circulación exclusiva de bicicletas, crecieron en la ciudad durante el gobierno de Aníbal Ibarra. Mauricio Macri prometió extenderlas, pero aún no ocurrió.

  • Disponer de estacionamientos para las bicicletas propias ?no las alquiladas del bicing? será un paso más que dará la Legislatura para promocionar el uso de las dos ruedas.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cold days for a bike commuter

Autumn is a clear sign that I will experience cold rides in the morning. Hitting the road at 7 when it's still a dark morning is something i really enjoy.
Of course, you need some equipment and preparation(you should experience your own ride to discover your own secrets).
Some people at work ask me if I'm in my right mind when riding in the cold morning air and they are astounded when I tell them i ride 7 km every morning and above all, that is fun! . You'll wonder what the secret is behind this lifestyle: Read below for more.

1- Set out earlier than when travelling by public transport. This will help you keep a steady, controlled ride with no worries about time.Remember you are a bike commuter, you are not a F1 driver. Take your time.

2- Use the most suitable equipment: In autumn or winter wear (reversible if possible) jackets, thermal gloves, an extra pair of trousers if you are to cope with low temperatures. Bear in mind to wear a helmet and make yourself visible when driving very early in the morning.

3- Be smart to know when to change your garment: perhaps it is freezingly cold when you left home and after pedalling for a fifteen minutes you feel your body is warm enough. So, maybe you're riding with a shirt, sweater and a jacket and you want to take off your jacket. In my case, what I do is to wear a reversible jacket and take off my sweater. You see your ride is cooler and more pleasant. WARNING: DON'T TAKE OFF YOUR JACKET AND SWEATER ALL AT ONCE AS IF YOU RIDE IN A SHIRT ONLY IN THE MIDDLE OF A FREEZING MORNING YOU WILL SPEND THE NEXT TWO WEEKS SUFFERING FROM PNEUMONIA.

Bike to work day - May 14

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Almost two months as a bike commuter



I have to tell you the feeling is awesome. It's reassuring to reach work with your energy at top levels. You feel you're ready to fulfill your tasks at work as if you're a new man. An early morning breeze would do for that.

In my case, I leave home at seven in the morning so as to reach at 7.30. Helmet, sunglasses, bag on the rear pack and there we go. The sensation is marvellous as you feel you're your own engine. No bus timetables to stick to, no (rising) transport fares, nothing at all. I grab my bike (the one seen above) and i forget about problems.

There are some myths about bike commuting I'd like to go over(myths that are unfounded of course).
Time: Many (non-bike commuters) say it'd take you ages to reach your work. Rubbish! What's worse, it takes me less time than travelling on public transport. For instance, it'd take me 45 minutes to reach home as I knock off at 12.30 and I reach home at 13.15 +/-. The scene is distinctly different while biking. I knock off at 12.30 so that i can reach home at 13.00. I have more spare time at home to check mails at home, hang around or whatever. before setting off to work again.

Garment: Many (non-bike commuters) say biking would make you look like as if you'd been running a marathon for twenty hours. Bollocks! The matter about all this is that you should leave earlier from home allowing yourself some spare time (10/15 minutes would do).You can pedal mind free from timetables . I always cycle in my job attire, pedal for 30 minutes and that's it. There is no need for you to carry a 20-kg bag on your rear pack. Always remember this: You are not a competitor in the Tour de France, you're are regular people biking to work. Take your time and pedal for pleasure, not for pressure.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Portland points the way for Buenos Aires



As many cyclists already know, the city of Portland in the state of Oregon, is the bike friendly city. Hit the link below and read the latest news in Buenos Aires so as to emulate the Portland experience.

http://www.acu.org.ar/noticias.html#n1

Enjoy,
Walter

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Proud Moreno cyclist leaves for Cordoba


I was thrilled to bits when finding on youtube a hometown comrade riding his bike to Rio Cuarto, Cordoba.

This guys hit the road last year travelling 689 km and calling at 22 towns. He set off from Moreno, my hometown, towards Rio Cuarto in the province of Cordoba.

His adventures are brought to you in three sketches. Enjoy.



A promising survey but..


As browsing for some info on bikes in Buenos Aires (the info avaiable on google is scarce and out of date) i found a survey carried out by a national argentinian newspaper asking the following question: Would you commute by bike? To the delight of bike fans, the survey showed that 46% of the people gave it the thumbs up. People want to commute by bike in Buenos Aires, it's a fact.

But beyond people's preference, I guess we should go deeper no only in the figures and statistics but into the comments posted by the readers. While reading you find complains about the traffic, careless bus drivers and so on. Many people claimed they would ride their bikes to work but they don't feel safe with in such a madding city as Buenos Aires.

Whereas some complained about safety facts, many others took up biking as their prefered means of transportation when it comes to commuting. Reasons: less time waiting for a bus, no parking fares, healthy and faster, especially at downtown.




Sunday, February 8, 2009

My first trip after the holidays







It's been a long time since I last dropped a comment on the blog. The main reason is that I had been on holidays for a couple of weeks so i didn't post regularly.
Last Saturday, I decided to ride my bike leaving for a new and promising adventure.

Woke up early in the morning and hit the road for San Andres de Giles, a small town located 103 km away from Capital Federal.



It was advisable to leave home early because of the traffic as that way I'd avoid big lorries on my way. Actually, I was not to avoid them at all further on my way..

It was a sunny and windy morning but a hot day as the clock ticked. I really enjoyed riding along the road hearing the birds sing, admiring fields of pure green as I rode away.

I finally reached the city of Lujan after 1h and 20m improving my previous record from 2007. That ride had taken me 1h 45m.



My watched struck 09.20 and the weather was getting hotter and hotter.
At roughly 10.30, the first event of note took place. I was riding along the trunk road as there was not any service road when I suddenly heard the sound of an apparently gigantic lorry.




I didn't care much about it but that taught me a lesson for my bike trips. The driver honked his horn for me to move aside onto the hard shoulder. As I didn't do so, I felt the powerful wind of a lorry that had gone past like a rocket.
It was an hour after that that my bike and me were on the main road for San Andres de Giles. The last stretch of my trip was kinda endless. Why? Because i was tired, hungry and disoriented as there were no signs by the road telling me how far San Andres was. I was compelled to ask locals (most of them in berets and espradilles) how far San Andres de Giles was. The roadside is tree less on the road 41 but when I finally found a grove, I stopped to restore my lost vitality. I rested for fifteen minutes still wondering how long I had to pedal. After my deserved rest ( I had been pedalling for 4 hours non stop) I drove past a motorcyclist and a motorist who waved me past. Silly as it may seems, it was an extra motivation to reach my final destination. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a large sign by the road welcoming visitors to San Andres de Giles. I clenched my fist as if congratulating myself for the accomplished task. The feeling of making it to the finishing line or your goal on your trip is something that cannot be put into words. You have to experience it by yourself. You won't believe me that I felt the happiest man on earth by then..

It was around 13.30 when my belly began moaning for a deserved lunch. I went to a small kiosk serving hamburgers to have my lunch break. As i gobbled my hamburger with cheese and jam I devoted my time to explore the life style of the residents in that nice town. People seem to know each other, they don't lead as hectic lives as we do, they are more relaxed than we are, they don't seem to be distrustful as we are and above all, they are respecful and hospitable. The adjective hospitable will be useful to describe a future episode in this account. After lunch, i drove around the high street as it were, taking snaps at houses or whatever that drew my attention. I bumped some old and forlorn silos just a few locks away from the centre of the town. It is disheartening to think the town had made his name on the trade of grain and now that was burried in the past and in the memory of the people who have worked there in the golden era of the town. This is obviously a consequence of the plunder polices put into practice by the ones who wanted us to believe that giving away the railways was the solution to be in the black with the ruling financial organizations. Those cunts sank not only the industries of San Andres de Giles but also the industries of lots of towns across and along the country. Along with the industries faded the hopes and identities of the peoples.

After the nostalgia for San Andres de Giles, I took to the road again to return home saying farewell to that great town I was leaving behind.I had pedalled for less than 10 km when the unexpected happened.
As I was coming closer to a grove i heard the typical hissing when you get a puncture. Yes, unfortunately I had got a flat; a flat at 20 km away from the nearest city, Mercedes.

At first, I kept calm as I was carrying a repair kit with me, so at once I put the bike upside down to repair that horrendous and mysterious hissing. I had taken my patching tubes along with the glue. I glued the hole with a patch, inflated the tube in the hope of having fixed the flat when i heard the hissing again. I followed the same previous step when i suddenly spotted the valve had been seriously damaged. My heart stopped beating. I had not a spare tube and that was the only thing that would have solved my problem. I began considering different plans: actually, I had two choices: 1- walk twenty km with the bike by my side or 2- hitch hike. I picked up the first as i thought hitch-hiking at drivers driving at 200 km per hour was a mere waste of time.

I had walked for fifteen minutes when i found a house by the road. I clasped my hands just to wake up the sleeping dog of the house. Not only did I ask the girl for a bottle of fresh water but also for advice.

While drinking water I asked her how I could make it to Mercedes. She claimed the best choice was to hich-hike but i had to be clever when waving the drivers as the drivers prone to stop where the ones living in the area. After the girl's suggestion, I resumed the walking. I had walked for half an hour when i turned around just to spot the the most wanted thing at that time: a helping hand. I saw a Ford pick-up, vintage 1980's, coming closer and closer. I waved at the driver in a desperate and hopeful way at the same time. To my utter surprise, the driver came to a halt and offered himself to give me a lift to the nearest town, taht is Mercedes. That had made my day indeed. Nobody couldn't have written a better ending to my adventure.Nobody but that man..


Monday, January 12, 2009

Transport fares spike.. what is the solution? Biking

As you may have heard or read on the newspapers, both train, bus and subway lines are to raise their fares this week. All this is an intricate topic to deal with as it has an immediate effect on our economy. Not only transport fares have gushed this year but also fuel,tolls,gas and so on.

I distinctly remember our president Cristina Kirchner unveiling a new project on a high-speed train linking the cities of Buenos Aires and Rosario. What for? Obviously, there lots of wads of notes for the KIRCHNER DYNASTY behind that project. Cristina K. clearly thinks the metropolitan transport is at its highest level, so extra money has to be invested on luxurious transportation. She's so narrow minded that anyone on its right sense would realise money has to be invested on newer trains and buses. Commuting is chaotic. During rush hour, there's hardly room for you to commute in a decent way.

Fortunately, we have bikes. If you commute and these rises blow you budget, TRY CYCLING. It's reassuring to see so many people riding bikes these days. Have a try! You'll save money on parking (if you have a car), insurance, sudden transport rises and fuel.You won't lower you social class in society just by using a bike, that is rubbish. You have to experience cycling when commuting; you'll refresh your mind, do extra exercise and feel healthier.

You can see in the snaps uploaded below that more and more people are struggling when commuting using public transportation. As a helping hand, biking comes to the rescue giving you the chance to lead a better life. Many people are using their bikes, not only downtown but also on the outskirts/suburbs of BA.

Now you are free to choose. You have two alternatives: killing for coins to commute on a packed bus after the fares shot up again or cycling to your destination so as to reach earlier without spending a single cent.






Saturday, January 10, 2009

A short trip before THE trip to the Iguazu Falls




Last weekend, Nuria and I decided to go for a short biking spell away from Moreno, my home town. On that Saturday morning, we managed to catch the train to Mercedes, a small town 1h20m away from Moreno. In spite of our excitement on the trip, we almost fell asleep as we woke up at 9.20am when the train departed at 10. We got ready in a few minutes and cycled to the railway station as fast as we could, catching the train with just a few minutes to spare.

The trip seemed to take us less then expected. After talking and listening to some music, we found ourselves in the city of Lujan. This city brings me fresh and unforgettable memories; last year, I cycled there and made it after 1h 45 minutes on a sunny and hot December afternoon.

We reached Mercedes at around 11.30 am. As we didn't carry a map or had a fixed destination in mind, we set off so as to bike around. It was then when at 30 blocks away from the railway station we bumped a Pulperia dating from 1830. A pulperia is like a sort of pub nowadays. That Pulperia is run by Carlos Di Catrina, nickanmed Cacho. You must believe me-stepping into that place feels like being in a time machine and travel back to the nineteenth century. Old pictures are hung on the walls as well as old pieces of furniture and a bricked floored give the place a unique atmosphere. We would have enjoyed a short chat with Cacho, the owner of that pulpuria, but we had just some hours ahead before going back to Moreno.

After leaving the Pulperia, we had lunch and rested for an hour or so on a park, a few minutes away from the railway station. We had to take our train back to Moreno at 5.30 pm so we cycled around for a while before reaching the station. One distinctive feature of the city is that you can find lots of schools in Mercedes. We also came acroos a very picturesque and old Irish Church which made Nuria feel flabbergasted. Fortunately, my bike, nicknamed The Lusitana, did very well as we didn't get a flat or anything. Respect Lusitana!
























































Monday, January 5, 2009

Carriages for bikes in Buenos Aires

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As you may see in the snap, it looks like you have plenty of space to hang your bike in the hooks while commuting. I have to say in the weekend you do have plenty of room to travel with your bike, especially on Sundays. It's another story from Mon. to Fri. You hardly have a single hook for your bike and you have to squeeze in a carriage at rush hour. Currently, cyclists who commute in the Buenos Aires Trains (TBA) line have only one carriage out of nine available for their bikes. The authorities should revise their policies so that cyclists can travel in a more comfortable way.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My first entry at using bikes in Buenos Aires


This passion of riding bikes has inspired me to build this blog.At times when transport fares have shot up in Buenos Aires, the use of bikes will become the means of trasnportation for those who can't afford a rise in fares. It's believed that commuters will face up a spike of up to 25% in bus, subway and train fares.
Not only this but also another issues have encouraged me to use my bike. Being a cheaper (free in fact), healthier and enjoyable way to move around in Moreno, my home town, I use my bike as I had never used it before. Whenever I have to travel downtown, I catch the train, hang my bike in the racks and that's it. Once downtown, I reach my destination faster as traffic seems to be chaotic these days.

In this blog, I'll give you my reactions as to news, curiosities or even my own experiences on two wheels. Hope you visit my blog regularly and enjoy your reading as well as you enjoy your riding.