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Car-Free World
alternative transportation news & views

July 8, 2003
Email | BicycleAustin.info
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Research/Tips: Mike O'Shea, Travis Hartnett, Roger Baker, Car Busters
Contributors: CAMBA, Howard Lenett   Editor: Michael Bluejay

From the Editor

Poll Results

The Segways are Coming? Not

Safety: Don't ride on the sidewalk

Bicycle Dreams


AUSTIN: Bikes Across Borders events

CLEVELAND: Radio station promotes violence against cyclists.

PHOENIX: Hit & run bishop resigns

SEATTLE to get bike helmet law

SPAIN: 250 naked cyclists take to the streets


America's car industry in its death throes?.

Apocalypse is coming. Get your tickets

What would Jesus drive?

Story of the month: Re-cycling

Used Bikes for Sale

see below

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 over 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.

Bikes for sale

Free bike ads

Send us your bike ad and we'll post it. Ads are FREE for individuals and run for at least four months or until you tell me to remove it. Please keep it to four lines, don't write a novel. :)

Used inventory at
Waterloo Cycles

Inventory as of June 16, 2003. All bikes subject to prior sale, limited to stock on hand, not responsible for typographical errors, prices may change without notice, batteries not included.

ATB/Mountain Bikes
$179 Maruishi AT-12 20"
$229 Diamondback Sorrento 16"
$369 Haro Extreme Comp 19.5"
$399 KHS Montana Comp 19"
$399 Diamondback Response 14"
$449 Diamondback Response Elite 20"
$549 Kona Lava Dome 20"
$699 Cannondale F400 21"
$699 Kona Sex One 20"
$269 Sun Marathon 17L
Road Bikes
$ 99 Alpine Sporten 15"G
$399 Specialized Allez 53cm
$499 Specialized Sirrus 58cm
$549 Diamondback Expert 58cm
$549 Fuji Opus III 49cm
$599 KHS Aero Turbo 54cm
$699 Bianchi Campione 54cm
BMX/Kids' Bikes
$99  Schwinn Aerostar
$129 Diamondback Impression
$329 Redline Signature Cruiser 24"

My other car is a bicycle.

From the Editor
Poll results: You want the action comments

    In the last newsletter I published the comments that you all sent to CAMPO in asking them to not cut bicycle & pedestrian funding, and asked whether that was the kind of thing you'd like to see in the future, or whether it was just a waste of space. The results were clear: a full 100% of those responding said to publish reader feedback in future issues. So that's what I'll do. Next time we all write to our legislators, I'll share your comments here in the newsletter.

The Segways are coming? Not

    Giving way more attention to the issue than it deserves, the Statesman recently ran a front-page story on how "The Segways are Coming" to Austin. They note that ten (count 'em) units have been sold here since March. Big deal, I've sold way more adult tricycles than that since March, and probably hundreds of bicycles have been sold in Austin during the same period of time. While I've never doubted that electric scooters will rise in popularity in general, it's not going to be the Segway in specific, at least not until it costs less than $5,000.

Safety: Don't ride on the sidewalk

    About the last ten times a friend has told me that (s)he crashed, I immediately ask, "Were you riding on the sidewalk?" Their usual response is, "How did you know?" But whether they're surprised how I knew or not, the answer has been Yes, they were riding on the sidewalk, in almost every single case.

    It's ironic that riding on the sidewalk is dangerous, because many cyclists take the sidewalk thinking it's safer. But in fact it's more dangerous because (1) Cars can't easily see you when you're crossing the street from one sidewalk to the next, (2) Cars backing up out of driveways and parking lots can't see you. (3) Obstructions in the sidewalk are hazardous, and (4) Uneven pavement can send you flying.

    Less than two years ago Krishan Walters was riding on the sidewalk on South 1st, hit a garbage can, fell into the street, and was run over by a Capital Metro bus. She died. A couple of weeks ago I witnessed a cyclist in West Campus take a nasty spill. The sidewalk was uneven so she went onto the grass, but when she tried to get back on the sidewalk her front tire was parallel with the sidewalk and she lost control. There were zero cars on that street at the time it happened. Statistics show that you're 19 times more likely to be involved in a crash or collision if you ride on the sidewalk. Our advice: Don't.

Bicycle Dreams

    Recently I had a dream that I was bicycling somewhere on a four-lane road (two lanes in each direction), and a motorist was delayed by a couple of seconds while waiting for the traffic in the left lane to clear so they could pass me. As they passed, the passenger flipped me off. As it turned out we both happened to pull into the same store parking lot. When the passenger got out of the car, I said, "Nice day isn't it? I only just caught you waving to me out of the corner of my eye, you were almost finished when I looked over. I just wanted to thank you, because you know, I do a lot of bicycling -- I don't have a car, this is how I get around -- and sometimes people are so mean to me, honking, yelling, sometimes even throwing things -- and that's really hurtful, because what did I ever do to them? So anyway it really lifted my spirits that you went out of your way to wave to me today, and I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate that."

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AUSTIN, TX: Bikes Across Borders events, July 12th

With the typical lack of communication in the Austin bicycle scene, we received the press release for these events third-hand. From what we can gather (it's a bit of a jumble), there are three events on July 12th related to Bikes Across Borders, which sends fixed-up used bikes to Central America and Cuba:

(1) Potluck at 5pm to welcome Pastors of Peace Caravan, 5pm at Rhizome Collective (300 Allen St.)

(2) Benefit at Ruta Maya at 8pm (3601 S. Congress Ste.D-200 and behind Expose)

  • Live music by Nelson Saga and Weapons of the Soul, and Hot Cuban Salsa with TIERRA BRAVA
  • Colorful Entertainment and political Imagery with the Radical Cheerleaders, Photography from Cuba, Cycle Circus Comics, the Bikes Across Borders Documentry and the Beehive Collective Banners.

(3) Shipment of much needed shipment of bikes, parts, tools, and custom-built bike trailers to Cuba by boat via Mexico.

"Resources are scare in Cuba; this shipment will be going directly to a bike advocacy group that provides Cubans with human powered transportation. Last year Bikes Across Borders traveled with Pastors for Peace and delivered 23 bikes, bike parts, and two complete tool sets to Cuba."

The group is calling for help in fixing up bikes and making bike trailers, and they appear willing to help train those without experience. For more info or to volunteer call the Rhizome Collective at 385-3695.

CLEVELAND, OH: Radio station promotes violence against cyclists
from a report on the website of CAMBA, the Cleveland Aria Mountain Bike Association

A DJ on WMJI-Majic 105's morning show read an e-mail from a listener saying that bicycles shouldn't be on the roads in the Cleveland Metroparks.   At least one of the DJs told listeners who were in cars to do things like:

  • speed past the bike, pull back into the lane and slam on your brakes.
  • speed past the bike, open your passenger door and put on the brakes.
  • yell and/or honk at all cyclists as you pass in your car.
  • throw things out your window at cyclists.

I gave Jimmy Mallone at the station the phone number of a cyclist (Kim) who was the victim of an assault by a motorist.  She was purposely run off the road in the Cleveland Metroparks last Sunday and now has a broken rib and a concussion.  Her helmet split in half, but she feels lucky to be alive.  The behavior that the DJs are condoning is not fun and games; it could be someone's life or death.


PHOENIX, AZ: Hit & run bishop resigns

    The Roman Catholic bishop of Phoenix resigned after being arrested for killing a pedestrian with his car and then fleeing the scene. This same bishop had already been wrapped in controversy for allegedly protecting priests from complaints of sexual abuse. There's some clever line here about hit-and-run motorists being on the same level as child molesters, but we can't think of it. (Read the article)


SEATTLE to get bicycle helmet law

       Seattle is expected to approve a new law on July 18 requiring bicyclists to wear helmets. We support the use of helmets, but oppose helmet laws because they're enforced selectively and unfairly (90% of the no-helmet tickets given to kids in Austin go to black and Hispanic kids), they allow at-fault motorists who hit unhelmeted cyclists to avoid prosecution and civil suits, they single out cyclists (crash helmets on motorists could save lives too), and no matter how good an idea helmet-wearing it's not the government's role to protect us from ourselves, only from each other. More on the Seattle law  |  Austin's failed helmet law


SPAIN: 250 naked cyclists take to the streets

    For the third year in a row, Spanish cyclists took to the street naked. I love how Google's language tools translate the Spanish article on the event: "250 people circulated with their body to the naked one to denounce the violence of the private automobile and to vindicate one more a more human city, in which pedestrians and cyclists can move with freedom and without fear."

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America's car industry in its death throes?

    A recent article argues that U.S. carmakers are headed for bankruptcy or extinction. What's significant is that this article doesn't come from some obscure, low-credibility website. It comes from the renown British journal The Economist. (read the article; you have to click Detroit's troubles look terminal when you get the "Problem with link" error)


Apocalypse is coming. Get your tickets.
by James Howard Kunstler, July 1, 2003

    Walking down the street of my traditional small town the other day I saw a bumper sticker that said it all: "War is not the answer." I emphasize, a bumper sticker. On a car.

But you see, war is the answer if you insist on a car-dependent, oil-addicted mode of living. Nobody in my crowd of middle-aged, ex-hippie, environmentally enlightened, putative political progressives has opted out of the American drive-in utopia. In fact, all spring they were driving down to the peace marches outside the post office. Now the Law of Perverse Outcomes is biting them on the butt.

That law states that people don't get what they expect but they get what they deserve. And what oil gluttons will get, whether they are Republican realtor jingoists or Democratic leftist peacenik commuters, is war.

The world is leaving the cheap oil epoch behind and that will change absolutely everything. The key to understanding what is about to happen is this: We don't have to run out of oil to suffer tremendous disruptions in our sprawl-dominated living arrangements. All that's necessary is to cross the tipping point of global peak production and enter the downward arc of depletion. The best estimates are that this will happen between now and the year 2010. The weight of opinion is lately pointing to the early end of the scale. (read the rest of the article)


What would Jesus drive?

    The organizers of this campaign believe that Jesus wants people to drive the most fuel efficient, least polluting vehicle that truly meets their needs. We think even this is kind of weak, and that Jesus really wants people to walk and ride bicycles more. After all, remembering Jesus' credentials as the Ultimate Pedestrian, not just walking, but walking on water. If Jesus can walk on water, most of us can walk to the store. WhatWouldJesusDrive.org


Story of the month: Re-cycling
by Howard Lenett

    While tossing branches in the dumpster after doing some yard work I failed to look inside first.  I toss in a load of branches and they begin to shift and tremble.  Then a used bike apears from beneath the green curtain of leaves I have created. I help the levitating bike out of the dumster where it is the followed by a ragged-looking fellow who had found a beat-up although ridable means of transportation in the dumpster.  It even had air in the tires.  He apologized for being in my way and hopped on the bike and rode away.

     He might sell it or it might get swiped from him but he was very happy on his "new" bike as he put his pack on the handlebars and rode down the alley. Re-cycling in its truest meaning.


Easy Street Recumbents

Recumbent bicycle sales, service, and rental for Austin. Free Urban Cycling classes with your purchase of a bike. click to visit

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That's all, thanks for reading!

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