Saturday, August 30, 2008

Thoreau speed of cars, bikes and walking

There's an interesting discussion here about Thoreau speed:
In Walden, Thoreau proposed a modification of the traditional formula for calculating speed. Instead of merely dividing the distance traveled by the time it took to cross it, Thoreau proposed reckoning also the cost of the ticket.

So, after some assumptions and calculations, where are we left?
Kifer has also assessed the costs and the Thoreau speed of bicycles, into the bargain. He estimates the Thoreau speed of cars as between 4.8 and 14.4 miles per hour, and the Thoreau speed of bicycles as between 8.9 and 14.8 miles per hour. Though beaten to the punch, I'm posting anyway, because my sources and method are different yet I end up confirming Kifer's conclusion: When costs are factored in, cars are not faster than bikes and only twice as fast as walking.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Paging Dr. Triathalon

The Trib reports on somebody who didn't follow doctor's orders:

After a swollen right knee caused the Englishman [Stuart Hayes] to take a $1,300, two-hour trip to the emergency room Saturday evening, the pain and swelling mysteriously subsided and Hayes became Sunday's improbable winner in 1 hour 48 minutes 9.2 seconds, earning $10,000.

"The doctor told me to take off two weeks," Hayes said. "I guess he's not going to like that I didn't listen."

Hayes, 29, considers the victory a breakthrough after 10 years of competing in triathlons with few major victories. His last major win came in 2005 in his hometown of London.

I guess if you've come all this way you might as well give it a go.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bike the Dog

In imitation of the Evanston Bicycle Club's Hot Dog Ride and CBF's Bike the Drive, next month features Bike the Dog, which is a bike tour of 9 hot dog places in Chicago on September 13.

The EBC's hot dog ride was yesterday. We visited 3 places this year (sometimes we do 4). I had an encased meat product at all 3 -- the Thai sausage with peanut sauce and coconut at Hot Doug's wasn't exactly a hot dog -- and fries at 1 place. I didn't eat again until today.

I can't imagine visiting all 9 places and eating at all of them. Maybe going with 3 other people and having .25 of a hot dog at each would work.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Real Estate bike tours

Today's WSJ reports that some realtors are leading bike tours around to show houses. This is a good way to show off some of the features of the neighborhood as well as show several houses to multiple people.

I'd like to think of it that way, rather than a sign of desperation in the housing market ;)

One of the things it illustrates is that access to bike paths is something you want to show off. All those NIMBY people who slow down bike path construction turn out to be wrong -- it doesn't lower property values.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Book Bike

From Joe Ferguson on the BCHI list comes this gem:

Once upon a time, there was a bibliophile named Gabe Levinson who
wanted to spread the word about his passion for books.
So he did the obvious: ordered a custom-built tricycle with a 200-
pound capacity and wrote to dozens of publishers asking for book
donations. The hook: He’d ride around in his Book Bike and give away
free books to the masses.

The responses flooded in — from McSweeney’s, Dark Horse Comics, Not
for Tourists, Drawn & Quarterly, and Washington Square Press, to name
a few.

Levinson now spends his Saturdays pedaling around Chicago parks giving
away free reads. Cops have tried to stop him, but he woos them with
his bounty.

This Saturday, you, too, can be wooed (check his website for location).

Pretty cool in our book.

For locations, go to <>

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beijing by bike

There's a nice photo essay on riding a bike in Beijing in the New York Times today.

Jason McCartney of the U.S. Olympic cycling team rents a commuter bike and goes for a ride. It's a bit different than being in the peleton.