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Car-Free World
alternative transportation news & views

October 5, 2003
Email | BicycleAustin.info
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Research/Tips: Bob Sessa, Loren Schooley, Michael Zakes, Mike O'Shea, Patrick Goetz, Rafael Paonessa, Tommy Eden
Contributors:   Editor: Michael Bluejay


From the Editor

Your Support

Enhancements update


AUSTIN, TX: Bike Rodeo returns;   Moonlight Cruise returns;  CAMPO tries to raid bike funds again?

INDIANA: SUV drivers don't have to wear seat belts

U.S.: SUV owners get tax break


What could $87 billion buy?

Ken Kifer killed by drunk driver


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

KHS Flite 500 road bike, $400. Excellent shape--ridden less than 200 miles. Shimano 105/Tiagra components, Rolf Vector wheels, 56cm Reynolds 520 steel frame. Call 472-8604 or e-mail 09-03

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 Cruiser 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

Two wheels good, four wheels baaaad.

From the Editor

Thank you for your support

Fifteen of you responded to my annual plea for financial support, more than twice as many as last year. Thank you very much! I'm off to spend the proceeds on hookers on booze. If you missed out on the fun, you can always support my work by visiting BicycleAustin.info. You also get a BicycleAustin.info or BicycleSafe.com email address as part of the deal. Another thank you for my benefactors this year:

Chalo Colina | Charles McNeil | Dana Price | Dave Westenbarger | David Lambert | Elliot Kralj | Ezra Teter | Greg Geisler | Jim Summers | Kathy Coons | Michael O'Shea | Michael Shackleford | Mike Librik | Patrick Goetz | Robert Mhyre


    In the last issue we mentioned how the U.S. House of Representatives was poised to cut ALL funding for bike and pedestrian improvements from its Transportation Enhancements budget. Fortunately the measure died, with over 100 Republicans crossing party lines to save the $600 million in funding for the 2004 budget. (more)

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  • Bike Rodeo Returns!
  • Benefit for the Bike Rodeo
  • Moonlight Cruise Returns!

Just when you thought that life wasn't worth living any more, fun returns to Austin. The Cyclecide bike rodeo from San Francisco graces us with their presence again later this month. The rodeo features crazy homemade bikes featured in stunts, tricks, and comedy. There are also rides for the kids (such as a merry-go-round made of bikes, and a bike-powered Ferris wheel), live music, and what's a rodeo without beer? The event is free (but not the beer), and it will also be your last opportunity to pick up an adult tricycle since Jeremy and I will be selling the few we have left at the event.

A week before the rodeo there will be a benefit to help pay for the rodeo, given that the rodeo itself is free and all, and after the benefit there will be another 2:00 AM Moonlight Bike Cruise. If you missed last month's bike cruise, this will be your last opportunity to go on a big bike ride at night through the city until next year. Here are the events:

Rodeo Benefit

Sun., Oct. 12


Room 710 (710 Red River)


Moonlight Cruise

Sun., Oct. 12

2am (technically Monday morning)

Room 710


Bike Rodeo

Sun., Oct. 19

3pm to Dusk

Café Mundi (1704 E. 5th)



  • CAMPO to decide on raiding bike funds again 

You may remember how a few issues ago we asked you to write to CAMPO representatives to ask them not to raid the limited bike funding and divert it to projects to benefit motorists. Dozens of you used the cute little response form we provided, and we ran your comments in the July 16th issue of Car-Free World. As a result of this campaign (well, we don't really know if that was the reason, but we can dream), CAMPO put off their decision about whether bike funds until later.

Well, now it's later. On Nov. 17th CAMPO is expected to take up the topic again. So it's time to write in again. The Austin Cycling Association has come up with their own web-based response form for some reason, so now you have two choices of forms to use to tell CAMPO to preserve bike & ped funding:

If you'd like to make your voice heard even more, a rally is being planned for 5pm on November 17 at the Joe C. Thompson Conference Center, 26th St. (Dean Keeton) at Red River on the UT Campus. The hearing will start at 6:15.

Indiana: SUV drivers exempt from seat belt laws

    As long as Indiana drivers spend the extra $9 on the "truck" license plate for their SUV's, they don't have to wear seat belts. (more) Well, at least this is the only special privilege that the government is awarding to SUV owners. Whoops, it looks like we spoke too soon...

USA: Tax breaks for SUV's

    You can get a special tax break for buying an SUV. The catch? You have to buy a really big SUV. Is this really as retarded as it sounds? Absolutely.

All we can do is shake our heads and think to the end of the decade when oil shortages will make ridiculous deals like this one a thing of the past. Unfortunately it's not the past yet. (more)


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What would $87 billion buy?

But hey, tax breaks for SUV owners is a drop in the bucket compared to President Bush's $87 billion funding request for continued operations in Iraq. What else could $87 billion buy? Well, according to Citizens for Consumer Justice, $87 billion...

  • ...is more than the combined total of all state budget deficits in the United States.
  • ...is roughly the total of two years worth of all unemployment benefits.
  • ...is enough to pay the 3.3 million people who have lost jobs $26,363 each.
  • ...is more than double the total amount the government spends on homeland security.
  • ...is seven times what the government spends on Title I for low-income schools.
  • ...is more than ten times what the government spends on all environmental protection.

So why do we mention this in Car-Free World? Because $87 billion is also:

  • ...forty-three times what the federal government has spent on bicycle and pedestrian enhancements since 1991 (less than 1% of federal transportation dollars).
  • ...seventy-three times the minimum necessary to save Amtrak train service.
  • ...enough to build a 20-mile monorail or light rail system in every American city the size of Austin or greater, with $67 billion left over (give or take a few billion).
  • ...enough to buy every single man, woman, and child in the United States a bicycle, lock, helmet, and lights. And a Slurpee. And a Snickers bar.
  • ...enough to pay busfare for every working American for every working day for an entire year, with enough left over to save Amtrak, quintuple spending on bike & ped improvements, and build several monorail systems throughout the U.S.

We're not shortsighted enough to think that the $87 billion (were it available to us) should go only to transportation needs and not to other domestic needs. The point is just that when the government says they don't have the money for bike lanes, safety enhancements, and mass transit (or, for that matter, education, employment, health, and the environment), they're lying. As long as the government is willing to take on a large amount of debt, it can afford anything. So why are they so willing to take on this debt for a foreign war, rather than helping us here in our own country? Hey, Uncle Sam, remember us? You know, the Americans?

Ken Kifer killed by drunk driver

I'd always considered Ken Kifer my spiritual brother on the web. We offered a lot of the same kind of things on our respective websites, like pages about how to fix flat tires and illustrated guides to not getting hit by cars, as well as a shared philosophy about web design (keep it simple, avoid Java, plug-ins, music and blinking crap). If you'd been to only one biking site on the Internet, there's a good chance you were at his or at one of mine.

So I was shaken to learn that Ken was recently killed by a drunk driver while biking on a county road near his home in Alabama. I didn't know him well, but we'd exchanged some emails, and like I said, he seemed to be my biking brother on the web. Ken was also an expert on cycling safety. So if it could happen to him, it could easily happen to me -- or any of us.

Ken died when a drunk driver crossed a lane of traffic and hit him head-on. The driver has been charged with murder. (Whew, I guess in some ways Alabama is a little more progressive than Texas.)

Ironically, one of the pages on Ken's site --and one of the things I disagreed with him about --goes into great detail to try to prove that bicycling is safe...at least as safe as driving a car, if not more so. The main basis for this argument is that some statistics show cycling to be safer on a per-trip or per-hour basis. But that's a ridiculous way to compare cycling to driving, at least for transportation purposes. The only fair way to compare them is per-mile traveled, and doing it that way even Ken's own statistics show that cycling is twice is dangerous as driving. This makes sense intuitively, because for cycling to be a similar risk as driving then cyclists would have to be no more likely to be involved in collisions, and no more likely to suffer injury when they ARE involved in collisions. Obviously this is not the case.

On the local email list many cyclists picked up the "cycling is safe" mantra, but if bicycling is truly so safe, then why the hell are we lobbying for roadway improvements to make cycling safer in the first place? Sure, I advocate cycling, but I'm not going to deny that by choosing to cycle you engender some risk. Of course, it is kind of hard to encourage people to do something you admit is somewhat dangerous....

Fortunately a number of people have stepped forward to offer to maintain Ken's site, which his family has agreed he would have wanted.


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That's all, thanks for reading!