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Car-Free World, a publication of and ©2003 by
covers alternative transportation, especially bicycling.
We're not opposed to cars,
we're opposed to the car
culture. CFW is published sporadically, and may be
discontinued at any time without notice. We currently have
nearly 700 subscribers. Here are links to subscribe
or unsubscribe. Articles are by the editor if uncredited. Articles by
others may have been edited for grammar, clarity,
conciseness, superstition, or just for the hell of it.
Car-Free World, a publication of and ©2003 by BicycleAustin.info, covers alternative transportation, especially bicycling. We're not opposed to cars, we're opposed to the car culture. CFW is published sporadically, and may be discontinued at any time without notice. We currently have nearly 700 subscribers. Here are links to subscribe or unsubscribe.
Articles are by the editor if uncredited. Articles by others may have been edited for grammar, clarity, conciseness, superstition, or just for the hell of it.
I did it, I went to Oklahoma with my friend Jeremy Rosen and we bought a bunch of Worksman industrial trikes and hauled them back to Austin. You'll be happy to know that the truck we used runs on propane which burns much cleaner than gasoline and isn't imported from the mideast.
In the last newsletter I said we'd be selling them for $350 to $500. Well, good news, we're offering them at the lower end of that scale, $350. Even better news, the first five people to respond can get one for just $300. These trikes normally cost $1000 from Worksman ($800 + $200 shipping -- they're too big to be shipped UPS so they have to go on a freight truck).
Worksman makes the heaviest-duty industrial trikes on the planet, and they have an incredible payload capacity of 450 lbs.
Here's what you get:
I own seven bikes and my Worksman trike is my favorite. It's not just sturdy, it's fun to ride. Here's why you might want a trike:
Ironically, the trikes are from a General Motors plant that retooled and liquidated their fleet of 200 or so trikes. Bikes used to make cars -- who would've thunk it?
Enough blab, let me know if you want one. Oh, we'll also be at the Cyclecide Rodeo to show them off (see below).
[Update, Nov. 2003: We're all sold out. They moved as fast as we could fix them up. No more to be had, sorry.]
Cyclecide Bike Rodeo this weekend
This Saturday and Sunday is the Cyclecide Bike Rodeo at the new Ruta Maya, 3601-D S. Congress. (Noon to 8pm both days, and it's free.) Here's how Ruta Maya describes it:
"If running down a crowded narrow Mexican street alongside bull-shaped floats packed with exploding fireworks sounds like a good time to you, you're not alone. The punks of San Francisco's Cyclecide are gearing up for their annual tour / detour to the Tultepec Pyrotechnics Festival in Mexico --but they're making a few stops along the way to spread the Message of the Reconstituted Bike. For two days, Austin's venerable Ruta Maya Cafe will be transformed into a full-on interactive BIKE RODEO, featuring live bands, stupid acts, glamorous rodeo clowns, and plenty of balls-out bicycle mayhem. Participants can try their luck on wheeled monstrosities like the Bike Ferris Wheel, Bike Carousel, Dizzy Toy, Lawn Mower Bike, Spanking Bike, Chupacabra, Golden Gate Bike, and the infamous pyrotechnic-packed Homeland Security Bike. Idiots within the Cyclecide crew will cheat death (maybe) with some tall-bike jousting. If that's not enough, Los Banos, the Bike Rodeo's official band, will bust out eardrums as bones get broken. All in the name of the almighty bicycle."
UT plans to remove cars from the inner campus and re-establish the core as a safe haven for pedestrians. This will be a slow process, taking decades, but the work has already started, such as the closure of part of Speedway between 21st & 26th/Dean Keeton to cars -- and, controversially to even bicycles.
UT says: "Under the new master plan, all daily traffic and parking will be removed from Inner Campus Drive, Speedway, and 24th St. between Whitis Avenue and Speedway. These streets will become pedestrian right-of-way and will, over time, be redesigned withnew and more pedestrian-friendly walking surfaces, landscape elements, street furniture, and lighting. Parking spaces displaced from these streets will be replaced in new, carefully designed structures that will include parking for the disabled, and be built in or near the central part of the campus. Service traffic will be restricted to specific times of day and destinations. Conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists will be resolved by creating separate bicycle lanes and establishing a dismount zone within the 40 Acres where all bicycles will be walked. In time, Speedway, to be renamed North Congless Street, will become a central location for informal gathering and food service, featuring a vital, densely populated, accessible and accommodating linear plaza with both hard and soft landscaping. Its redesign will establish it both as a daily source of casual interaction and as the site of street fairs and special events, such as the 40 Acres Festival."
The UT Master Plan is online, though it's not optimized for computer screens and is kind of hard to navigate and read.
Pedal-powered computers in Laos
Lee Thorn served as a bomb loader for Navy warplanes that flew missions over Laos during the Vietnam War. Now he's trying to help the villagers of Ban Phon Kham, Laos build their local economy and get wired to the world, by setting up a computer network for Internet access. Interestingly, the computers will be powered by bicycles. (read more)
Motorists charged to enter Central London
This week London, England made history by charging an $8 fee to motorists entering Central London, with the goals of reducing congestion and pollution. It also plans to funnel the fees towards improving the city's ailing public transportation system. Initial reports say the plan is successful, dramatically reducing congestion on the city's overcrowded streets.
The idea is "radical", but only in the sense that it hasn't been tried before, at least not on this scale. In common-sense terms, it's actually quite practical.
That's not to say it's without controversy. Rather than having toll booths, motorists are expected to pay an the honor (honour?) system, and police catalog the license plates of all the cars with security cameras posted throughout the city, sending fines to motorists who haven't paid. This raises obvious questions about privacy.
Several Internet sources note that traffic in London today moves at less than 10 mph, virtually unchanged since the days of the horse and buggy 100 years ago. (read more)
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