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Car-Free World
alternative transportation news & views

September 3, 2003
Email | BicycleAustin.info
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Research/Tips: Dave Morrison, Rafael Paonessa, Chris Rowe, Light Rail Now, Stuart Werbner, Dave Troxell
Contributors: Roger Baker, Lee Nichols, Dennis Abbot  Editor: Michael Bluejay


From the Editor

Your Support


Quote of the Month


Stop popup ads


AUSTIN, TX: Royal riders against driving; and another hit & run

TACOMA, WA: Return of Light Rail

U.S.: No improvement in fuel economy;
    Fed funding for bikes & peds to be slashed;
    U.S. Rep runs stop sign and kills motorcyclist


"Bike Like U Mean It" airs nationally

Hokey Spokes

Dangerous older drivers

CEO's bike to work

Sprawl makes you fat



Bikes for sale

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 800 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

VooDoo Bokor mountain bike, $450. Deore XT components, White Industries rear hub, Judy Rock Shox fork, Sugino 900 cranks. krsbrns(at)yahoo.com 8-03

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

Waterloo ships to the 48 states for $40. Just click to order.

ATB/Mountain Bikes
$219 Trek 830 14", w/24" wheels
$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

$179 Diamondback Coaster 18L
$329 Redline Signature Crusier 24"

Road Bikes
$ 99 Alpine Sporten 15"G
$399 Specialized Allez 53cm
$499 Giant OCR3 small
$499 Specialized Sirrus 58cm
$599 Diamondback Expert 58cm
$599 KHS Aero Turbo 54cm
$699 Bianchi Campione 54cm
BMX/Kids' Bikes
$99  Schwinn Aerostar
$129 Diamondback Impression

Inventory as of Sept. 1, 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.

Easy Street Recumbents

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

click to visit

Visualize using your freakin' turn signal.

From the Editor

Thank you for your support

    I make this pitch only once a year, so please bear with me: I run the bicycle websites and this newsletter as community service projects on a volunteer basis. The time I spend doing this is time I can't spend earning an income. Sure, I keep my expenses low -- I don't have a car, air conditioning, cable TV, hot water, a bed, or a girlfriend (come to think of it, maybe those last two items are related), but I still manage to spend some money. If my guide to How to Not Get Hit By Cars has prolonged your life by 30 or more years, or if my websites or newsletters have simply awakened a powerful new consciousness inside of you which has allowed you to experience all objects and events in the universe with unexpected and brilliant clarity and transformed your soul into a dynamic multidimensional receptacle for positive energy and love, then please consider supporting my work by making a tiny-ass donation. As a thank-you I'll be happy to provide you with your very own BicycleAustin.info or BicycleSafe.com email address, and list you on the Supporters page of the website.

    I'd like to thank those who responded generously to last year's pitch, including:

Bobby Sledge | Jay Weinshenker | Mike Librik | Dave Troxell
Elliot Kralj | Marilyn Shashoua | Kathy Coons


    Here's the correct link to James Kunstler's article about the end of cheap oil and how we can expect more wars for oil in the future.

Quote of the Month

"Because of our early 1980's agreement with King Fahd to provide Saudi oil for military protection, with a current price tag of $50 billion per year, we must now add the $4 billion a month cost of occupying Iraq. This now totals about $100 billion per year for what? Armed oil addiction supply protection using borrowed money. Does that sound like a prudent investment to anyone who isn't used to operating inside the Mafia?" -- Roger Baker, July 18, 2003

From our Readers and Email List Participants

I just got back from a vacation in Norway. The transportation system there was amazing -- very good trains, and next to every road there was a little bicycle highway. I'm guessing this isn't new to you -- actually, a friend had told me about this from his vacation to Finland a few years ago -- but it was amazing to actually see it. My friends in Oslo live in the suburbs, yet they almost NEVER ride their cars -- the trains work just fine for them, and their neighbor actually bicycles into his job in downtown Oslo, in complete safety, never having to actually venture out into the auto road. Imagine living in Round Rock and biking into downtown Austin and surviving. From what I could tell, the little bike highways are adjacent to every road throughout the nation. -- Lee Nichols

My daughter started 1st grade last week and my wife, who has hardly touched her bicycle in years, decided to drive the 3 blocks the drop her off. It took over an hour with all the pissed off Moms and Dads jockeying for position to drop off their kids. The school is at the corner of two major collector roads and the neighborhoods have walled off pedestrian access to it. Well after day two she said screw it and dusted off the bicycle and is now taking the girls in the trailer. Trip now takes 15 minutes round trip and she talks about how convenient it is. -- Dennis Abbot, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Stop Popup Ads

If you're as annoyed by popup ads as we are, considering signing our petition to stop popup windows. We're calling on Google to de-rank sites that use popups (i.e., if a website uses popups, it won't rank well in Google). That will be enough to get webmasters to voluntarily stop using popup windows, without any onerous government legislation. And if you have your own website, please consider linking to our petition campaign.

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AUSTIN, TX: Local News Items

"Royal Riders Against Driving" Bike Shop. Part of the shift towards a less car-centric culture includes the rise of non-commercial, community-based bike shops where cyclists can go to use tools or get help in fixing their bikes. The Yellow Bike Project pioneered that concept in Austin, with two local shops serving the public. Now the Royal Co-op, one of nine houses in a student co-op housing system called ICC, has opened its own shop to serve the 187 ICC members in West Campus. For now the shop is scheduled to be open from 2-5pm on Saturdays, and might broaden its hours if they get more volunteer support.

TACOMA, WA: Gets light rail

    Tacoma, Washington is the latest city to get light rail. The electric trains (which originally disappeared from the city in 1938) will provide a fast and comfortable alternative for citizens tired of being stuck in traffic and searching for parking. (more)

U.S. Congress Follies:

    Senate rejects fuel economy improvements. To no one's surprise, the U.S. senate recently rejected a proposal to increase the fuel economy of the nation's automobiles, which reached its best level in 1988 under President Reagan and has been declining steadily since then. (To those who want to lay all the nation's problems on Bush Jr., we note that Clinton was no friend of fuel economy either. Fuel economy declined over his eight-year watch as well.) (more...)

    Congress set to eliminate bicycle funding. Wait, it gets better. Congress is getting ready to cut all bicycle, pedestrian, and trail projects from its Transportation Enhancements budget. That's right, down to zero. At the same time, a subcommittee voted to increase highway spending to $34 billion, $5 billion more than even Bush asked for. Transportation groups are encouraging citizens to contact their representatives to tell them to save bike/ped funding. (more from Rails to Trails | more from America Bikes)

    U.S. Rep runs stop sign and kills motorcyclist. It's always amusing, if sad, when law-makers break the law. U.S. Rep Bill Janklow (R-SD) recently ran a stop sign and killed a motorcyclist. A one-time, honest mistake? Hardly. Troopers allege that Janklow was speeding to the tune of 71mph. And this isn't the first time. In the early 80's law enforcement threatened to take away his license because he had so many speeding tickets, and he was cited 12 times for speeding between 1990 and 1994. News reports in South Dakota say he's been involved in seven previous accidents in the past 10 years, one of them resulting in minor injuries.

    So why is Janklow still allowed to be on the road? Here's one reason: In the early 80's he'd been warned that he could lose his license for speeding, but then as governor he signed a law exempting speeding violations from the point system used in South Dakota to track bad drivers. And with no penalty other than a small fine, there's nothing to keep Janklow -- or other drivers -- from speeding. As Janklow himself said: "Bill Janklow speeds when he drives -- shouldn't, but he does. When he gets the ticket he pays it, but if someone told me I was going to jail for two days for speeding, my driving habits would change.

    Of course, if all this wasn't damning enough, the fact that Janklow refuses to resign his congressional seat tells us everything we need to know about how much responsibility he takes for his bad driving.

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"Bike Like U Mean It" airs nationally

    Susan Kirr & Rusty Martin's 46-minute documentary about bicycle culture airs on the Trio cable network Sunday Oct. 5th at 11am and 5pm CST. The film focuses on people and activities in Austin, Texas but will be of interest to anyone interested in bike culture. Highlights include the police's failed attempt to stop Critical Mass, Amy Babich's one-woman letter-writing campaign, the Yellow Bike Project, and more. The film moves quickly and is rather amusing. (more on the film)

Hokey Spokes

    This is the most amazing product we've seen in a while. They're computerized lights you attach to your spokes that generate fabulous designs as the wheels spin. We hope to start carrying these on BicycleSafe.com soon. In the meantime, check out the pictures and video at HokeySpokes.com.

Dangerous older drivers

    The American Medical Association is about to release a 226-page guide to help doctors determine when their elderly patients are no longer fit to drive. This comes on the heels of an octogenarian driving into a market in California in July, killing ten people and injuring dozens of others, although the guide was in the works before that. While this might be a step in the right direction, a more effective solution would be tougher re-licensing and re-testing requirements by the states' Department of Motor Vehicles -- for drivers of every age. Having lived in Austin's West Campus I tend to fear younger drivers at least as much as older ones, though it's admittedly easier to test whether an older driver has lost physical ability than whether a younger driver is going to intentionally drive like an idiot once they get behind the wheel. Long-time readers of this newsletter might remember the genius who totaled his pickup right outside my house while I was putting the newsletter together a few years ago. Of course, as we mentioned in an article above, U.S. Rep. Janklow has a 20-year history of reckless driving and no one took his license away. (more...)

CEO's bike to work

    BusinessWeek recently ran a surprisingly positive article about bicycle commuting. Notable was that they profiled several CEO's who bike to work. Who would have thunk it?

Sprawl makes you fat

    New research shows the obvious: People who live in suburbs where it's hard to get around by any means other than driving are likely to be fatter than those who live in traditional cities with an infrastructure that supports walking. (CNN article | Reuters article)

Honku (Haiku for Cars)

    Most of us are familiar with haiku, the Japanese poems about nature in the form of 7, 5, and 7 syllables. Now Brooklynite Aaron Naparstek has come up with "Honku", poems with the same structure about cars and traffic, featured on his website and in his book, Honku: The Zen Antidote to Road Rage.

    While many of the honku point out the problems of car-owning and car-driving, its purpose is definitely not to be in indictment of the car culture. Rather, it seems largely to be a vehicle for motorists to bond with each other about their frustrations with traffic and parking. For example:

There are only three
types of drivers - the insane,
the morons, and me.
LAX pick up
Danté never mentioned this
tenth circle of hell.
My Ford Explorer
on a never-ending quest
for a parking spot.
  On the other hand, many others point out the absurdity that accompanies the car culture:

Gruesome hit and run
fatalities up ahead
how awful - I'm late.
April signs of spring -
nesting doves, blossoming trees
blood-spattered roadkill.
The forest's burning
but don't worry - we've still got
the Toyota Sequoia.

    And there are many that we can truly appreciate:

If you really love
America, hang that flag
on a bicycle
The air in Houston -
too darn thick to breathe but our
sunsets look pretty
Gas-guzzler flying
little American flags -
the Saudis thank you

     Of course we can't let this one go without offering a few of our own:

How to avoid a
red light ticket? Hit cyclist
when running the light.
We must obey laws
to gain motorists' respect?
Drivers break laws too!
Monster S.U.V.
He rides around so proudly.
Really small penis.

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That's all, thanks for reading!