If the newsletter below doesn't appear to be formatted properly (or doesn't appear at all), you can read the newsletter online at: http://BicycleUniverse.info/newsletters/2003-10-19.html

Car-Free World
alternative transportation news & views

October 19, 2003
Email | BicycleAustin.info
Read Back Issues
Subscribe | Unsubscribe

Editor: Michael Bluejay


From the Editor

CAMPO Update


Moving an oven by bike


AUSTIN, TX: Bike Rodeo TODAY, 10th anniversary Critical Mass, ECT Survey

RALEIGH, NC: Radio station encourages violence against cyclists

BARCELONA: BicycleSafe.com translated into Catalan


Christmas lights for your bike

World Car-Free Day

Miss America kills bicyclist

Scooters in the news



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
$169 Nishiki Pueblo 19"
$199 GT Palomar 20"
$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"

$179 Univega Activa 200 17L
$269 Sun Marathon 17L

Road Bikes
$ 99 Alpine Sporten 15"G
$149 Maruishi RX-3 21"
$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

$950 $599 Kona Caldera 20"
$1050 $629 Kona Muni-Mula 21"
$1700 $999 Kona Explosif 18"
$1500 $899 Kona Mano Mano 14"

Inventory as of Oct. 5, 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

If you were riding your bike, you'd be having fun by now.

From the Editor

CAMPO Update

    The CAMPO meeting where they'll decide whether to raid bicycle funds so they can spend the money on roadway projects has moved to Nov. 17. It's still at 6:15pm at the Thompson Conference Center at UT (26th/Dean Keeton & Red River).

    Some of you asked why the Austin Cycling Association made a "Send Email to CAMPO" form when I already had one on BicycleAustin? Beats me, ask them. Anyway, now you have your choice of websites to use to tell CAMPO not to raid bicycle funds:


    We were excited to receive some email praise recently from Ken Martin, former publisher of the esteemed In Fact newsletter and current publisher of The Good Life, for those interested in "living an involved and engaged life filled with enthusiasm". Poking around GoodLifeMag.com, we found a really good passage in a column by Tim Walker:

"Austin's bad air stems directly from what we do every time we hop into our cars. So while we hope and agitate for better public policy on roads and air quality, we must recognize that, at bottom, it's not someone else doing the polluting.
"Here's my advice: For every complaint you make about, say, Bush's approach to the environment, do something that physically reduces your own output of pollution. Skip using your car a day or two per week. Have someone drop you off at work, or share a ride with a colleague. Tune up that old ten-speed and ride it to work or to the bus stop. If you're an employer, figure out how to let your employees telecommute or work on a compressed schedule, for example ten-hour shifts four days per week. Buy a monthly Capital Metro pass for any employee who will use it."

Moving an oven by bike

    When I moved into my new place in June (by bike) it didn't have a stove, so I've just been cooking with a hot plate. But it's kind of hard to have someone over for dinner without an oven and a few burners. So I bought a used oven at a shop up near Anderson Lane and hauled it home to East Austin with my pedicab.

    Before you start calling me crazy, how would you do this with a car? Easy, you couldn't. My pedicab can haul things you could never fit in a car (besides the oven, there's also my 88-key electronic piano). You could haul the oven with a truck, but most folks don't have trucks even if they own cars. You could borrow a truck, but why? In the time it would take me to call a friend with a truck, wait to hear back from them if they weren't around, go over and pick up the truck, use it, take it back, and then go back home, I could have already had the oven home by my own means. And I did.

    I'm not suggesting that everyone has to go out and haul appliances with bikes. Just that if I can haul an oven across town by bike, can't everyone else bike to work at least once a week?

Thanks to Mike Librik of Easy Street Recumbents for taking the photo.

back to contents



  • Bike Rodeo today!
  • 10th Anniversary Critical Mass
  • Envision Central Texas survey

Bike Rodeo Returns!

    Just a reminder that the Cyclecide bike rodeo from San Francisco graces us with their presence again today, Sun., Oct. 19th, from 3pm to dusk at Café Mundi (1704 E. 5th).

    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. (more)

10-year Anniversary Critical Mass Halloween ride

    Regular readers of this newsletter know of my love/hate relationship with the local incarnation of Critical Mass. I started riding at the beginning, but I quit a few years ago when the riders started doing things like taking up every single lane on every single roadway; riding as slow as possible in front of cars, daring motorists to hit them; and looking for any excuse to start a fight. They also seemed to do everything they could to ensure that the ride would get police intervention, having no idea how hard we worked in the early days to make CM a police-free event.

    Early CM'ers were also active and informed -- speaking at City Council, researching and writing articles, and starting email lists and websites. But today's Critical Massers can't even be bothered to join the local bike email list. Or to even read any of the local bike press -- the fliers they made list a start time of 5:30, even though the standard 5:00 start time has been listed on the local websites for almost a decade, and for nearly five years in every issue of the ACA's Cycling News (available for free at bike shops and Wheatsville).

    That said, it's kind of hard to ignore the ten-year anniversary. (Those same fliers with the screwed-up ride times said that the September ride was the ten-year anniversary, but they're wrong, the ten-year anniversary is this month.) It's even harder to ignore considering that it falls on Halloween itself. Halloween CM rides are generally the largest and the most fun, and the anniversary makes it even more compelling.

    So here's what I suggest: I encourage all Austinites who get this newsletter to go on the 10/31 Critical Mass ride (leaving at 5:30pm from the UT West Mall on Guadalupe between 22nd & 23rd streets). If even a fraction of local readers show up then we'll dwarf the regular riders. If most of us are riding positively, then we'll have a mostly positive ride, even if there are a few riders trying to cause trouble. If our numbers are big enough maybe we can even convince everyone to leave one lane open for cars on a three- or four-lane roadway. In any event, riding with dozens of other cyclists in costume should make for a fun event.

Wear a costume, and bring water and lights.

Envision Central Texas survey

    There's a lot of buzz in the local transpo community about the Envision Central Texas survey of area residents, aimed at finding out whether we want future growth to be based on sprawl or on more dense development -- which will determine whether traffic congestion will continue to get worse or whether we have a shot at moving people around efficiently. Ballots appeared in local papers and on the web, and they've received a fair amount of ink and attention in the press and elsewhere.

    Citizens can choose between four growth scenarios (A, B, C, and D). The best ones for reduced traffic congestion and environmental preservation are C and D.. Here's an excerpt from a group called Liveable City:

"The big difference is that Scenario D puts virtually all of the growth in currently developed cities. In contrast, Scenario C creates new towns in undeveloped areas. As a result, Scenario D is lowest in land use and air pollution, but adds the greatest amount of density to existing neighborhoods; Scenario C preserves the greatest amount of aquifer land."

    We recommend either C or D, your call, but definitely not A or B.

    We're not quite as excited about the survey as everyone else. First, the locals don't have a stellar record of choosing sane transportation choices, rejecting light rail while approving any bonds for new roads no matter how high the cost -- in both economic and environmental terms. Second, our government doesn't have a stellar record of implementing sane transportation choices even when the public demands them. Remember that in Austin it's legal for cars to park in most bike lanes, where it's actually illegal there's barely any enforcement, and local leaders are poised to raid what limited funds go to bike and pedestrian projects in the first place. Finally, ECT is a non-profit organization and, so far as we can tell, has zero ability to compel local leaders to implement the results of the survey even if the citizens make good choices.

    That said, it only takes a few minutes to fill out the survey and it certainly couldn't hurt. We filled it out right away. Our point is just to not get your hopes up about this being a bold new doorway to a wonderful transportation future. That may yet happen, but we'll believe it when we see it.

Take the Envision Central Texas survey

Raleigh, NC: DJ's encourage violence against cyclists
with reports from BikeLeague.org

    People think I'm exaggerating when I say that justice for bicyclists is a civil rights issue. But that's exactly what it is. When you can expect to be treated differently by the criminal justice system or be more likely to suffer a violent attack against you solely because of a group you belong to, that's a civil rights issue.

    Would we tolerate radio DJ's advocating violence against blacks or gays? Probably not. But when radio DJ's encourage their listeners to run over cyclists or run them off the road, usually the only people to complain are the cyclists.

    Three radio stations (in Raleigh, NC, Houston, and Cleveland) owned by Clear Channel Communications broadcasted talk show hosts and call-in listeners encouraging this kind of violence. Raleigh station G105 offered suggestions on how to run cyclists off the road, and urged listeners to call in with stories of harassing them. One listener, quoted in the Raleigh News Observer , said a DJ joked of pelting cyclists with empty Yoo-Hoo bottles.

Barcelona: BicycleSafe.com translated into Catalan

    We're flattered at the number of readers who have translated BicycleSafe.com into their local language. The latest version is one in Catalan, by bicyclists in Barcelona.


back to contents


Christmas lights for your bike

    A reader asked how to run Christmas lights off batteries so he could put them on his bicycle. Well, it turns out that any standard set of Xmas lights can be rewired to run off batteries. Here's our article on how to rewire Christmas lights.

    As luck would have it I recently found some large strings of Xmas lights in a dumpster. Any Austin readers who wants some free Xmas lights to rewire can pick some up at Waterloo Cycles, 2815 Fruth, phone 47-CYCLE.

Car-Free Day

    September 22 was Car-Free Day, with cities around the world closing off their downtown areas to cars (with exceptions for taxis and emergency vehicles), or at least doing other things to encourage non-automobile traffic, such as reducing or eliminating transit fares.

    Cities all over the world except in the United States, that is. No American city participated in the event (at least none that we could find). Montreal, Canada did, though, and during the five hours that their downtown was closed to cars carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide levels plummeted by 80%. Most of the action was in Europe, where 1,000 cities and more than 20 countries recognized Car-Free Day.

    We can look forward to a time when U.S. cities have a Car-Free Day, but as long as we're dreaming, let's dream big: Let's look forward to every day being a car-free day.


Miss America kill bicyclist

    A former Miss America killed a bicyclist with her car. (more)


Scooters in the news

    You've heard my prediction before that the biggest change in personal mobility in future years won't be bicycles or even electric cars, but rather electric scooters. You've also heard my opinion that the Segway scooter is a joke and won't sell well, at least not until the price comes down from its ridiculous $5000.

    Recent news confirms this and scores one for scooters in general and one against the Segway. The company that makes the Segway was recently forced to recall every Segway sold because of a minor safety issue, but the real news was that the recall forced them to release their previously highly-guarded sales figures. Turns out they only sold a piddling 6,000 units.

    As for scooters in general, a new local shop called Alien Scooters is selling nothing but electric-powered scooters. (And they don't sell the Segway.) Just like we have bike shops, look for "scooter shops" like this one to start springing up all over the world over the next several years.

  back to contents

That's all, thanks for reading!