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Dispatches from The Daily Rider

Book Review: In The City of Bikes by Pete Jordan

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Pick up your own copy from our friends at Solid State Books 

Cycling in Washington, DC is much better now than it was even ten years ago. The city has installed bike lanes, paths, and other infrastructure to make it easier to get around by bicycle. Yet, we’re still at only about 5% of modeshare, or the percentage of people using bikes to commute. How do we grow this? How can we become a great cycling city?

Why can’t we be like Europe?

Like Amsterdam?

Dutch canal bike parking

In The City of Bikes by Pete Jordan describes how the Dutch became a country of cyclists all while the United States grew its automobile infrastructure.

You don’t become the cycling capital of the world by accident.

It takes a concerted effort from policy makers and road users alike.

The movement called Stop de Kindermoord (literally, Stop the Child Murder) formed following a rise in road casualties in Amsterdam. These protests bought about changes in road design and an emphasis on prioritizing “people-focused” streets.  Parking laws had been in place since the advent of the automobile, prohibiting the parking of private vehicles on public space. 

Bikes parked at a Dutch train station
A train station’s bike parking facility

Pete Jordan takes a journey through Amsterdam from one side to the other in search of cycling nuns and a stolen bike, while telling the history of bicycles and cycling culture. He shares his admiration for the Dutch determination to keep riding on wheels without tires during the occupation. He keeps notes on numbers of bikes passing his windows, split into categories like: 


Cycling with an open umbrella


Cycling while on a cell phone


Cycling with dogs as passengers


Dogs like bikes as well!

 Pete doesn’t lay out a plan for how to build a cycling city, but he does show how the Dutch got there. What does this mean for Washington, DC? Can we become a cycling capitol? Just looking at the bikes in the shop this week (Yuba Mundos, electric assist Gazelles) I think we can. Fully 80% of the bikes in for repair have some sort of rack or basket, indicating their utility. 

We’re not quite Portland or Amsterdam yet, but our numbers keep growing. 

Pick up a copy of this book from our neighbors at Solid State Books , and let them know Loren sent you. 

Small Business Saturday Sale

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Save big on all Fuji bikes starting this Friday. Small Business Saturday starts early!
2018 Fuji Absolute

Was: $699

Now: $599

This Saturday, we’re celebrating Small Business Saturday along with our neighbors. Have a coffee at The Wydown, take a look at some books and gift ideas at Solid State Books (we hear there’s hot cider there), and then stop by for a test ride. 

We’re putting all of our winter gear on sale as well. So if you missed our “Wall of Warm” before the cold hit, you’re in luck. Hats, gloves, and Turtle Fur are all included.

Lights?

Yeah, we’re putting lights on sale.

Never been done before. A lot of people don’t know that. 

Stand by for some specials on kids bikes coming up in the next week. 

I don’t want my bike to get stolen

We don’t want your bike to get stolen either. Which is why you’ll notice a lack of cable locks in our shop and a focus on keeping your bike and accessories secure. 

Let’s take a look at what we can do to make your bike as theft-proof as possible.


Street Parking or Garage?


Before we get to locks and locking accessories, let’s talk about parking your bike on the street. Many restaurants and retail establishments dissuade customers from bringing bikes inside so there’s a possibility that your Yuba is going to have to take dinner al fresco. See if there’s a possibility of bike parking in a nearby garage (required by law in DC) as it is more secure and weather protected than street parking. 

If you’re parking on the street, you may notice a variety of bike racks and fixtures for affixing your fixie. The quality and security of these vary greatly. Ring racks are ubiquitous in DC and are decent security (when correctly installed) and provide simple locking options. Place your bike with your non-drive side (the side without the gears on it) next to the rack. This makes it easier for the next person to use the rack without entangling their bike in yours.


No Rack? What now?


Don’t lock to trees (for their health and your bike’s security) and choose street furniture carefully. Street signs are fine as long as the bike and lock can’t be lifted up and over the top if the sign is missing. Locking to a uniformed police officer is a safe method, but always ask for permission before doing so. Less safe spaces and structures are chain link fences (easily cut) and anything wood (same deal). A good rule to follow is to always lock to something that is harder to defeat than your lock.

We’re going to assume that you already have a good quality U-lock or link lock (like the fine Abus Bordo pictured above), that is long enough to get through both your frame and the fixture you’re locking to. 

Lock through your frame and back wheel or use the “Sheldon” method by going through the rear wheel inside the rear triangle of the frame. Now, attach your second lock.

Wait. Second lock?

Yes. Here’s the thing with wheels. They’re what make your bike move and they’re really easily stolen on most bikes. If you have quick release wheels, consider the new Abus Nutfix wheel locks or a similar solution from Pitlock.



The Pitlock locking skewer will protect your wheels, saddle, and other accessories from disappearing 
The Abus NutFix skewer is a keyless solution

You can also use a second lock to attach between the front wheel and frame. This solution may seem extreme, but you might consider it if you lock up in high theft areas (Metro stations, nightlife destinations) to improve your chances. 


Take some photos


Of course, all of these things can be defeated, so take a moment right now to take a photo of your serial number (its probably underneath your bottom bracket) and store it somewhere safe. As long as we’re talking about preventative measures, register your bike on BikeIndex today. Its free, and an open source solution accessible to anyone with an interest in preventing bike theft. Some pictures of your bike and any distinctive markings or stickers can be posted here as well. 


Reading this too late and your bike has disappeared? We have a post for you as well. 


My Bike was just stolen. What do I do?

We understand. That really sucks.

We started our shop after Beth’s Bianchi Milano was stolen from our shed, so we really know what you’re going through right now. 


Make the call


A Celeste Bianchi Milano
Bianchi Milano. Gone too soon. 

First thing you’re going to want to do is call and make a police report. This can seem like a waste of time, but it is important if you want to make an insurance claim or get it back if it ends up in a police property room. 


Get Online


Bike Index Logo
The wonderful folks at Bikeindex want to help get your bike back. Post a picture and description with dates and locations to get the word out. 

Next, take to the web. Resources like Bike Index and the DC Stolen Bikes Facebook page are great open source ways to get the word out about your missing Mongoose or purloined Pegoretti. Post on your personal Twitter feed and Instagram account. Pictures help. You did have pics of your lovely steed, correct?


Contact local shops


You know who hates bike theft? Bike shop employees! We’ve all seen shady characters pushing bikes through our doors asking how to use the shifters or valves on a bike way too big or too small for them.

So give your local shops a call or email. We put our messages up on our internal Slack channel dedicated to this very issue. We’ve recovered several bikes in the shop and successfully returned them to owners, so don’t lose hope. One bike we recovered had been missing for over a year. 


Set up alerts


Set up alerts on Craigslist , OfferUp and EBay along with other sales sites to see if your disappearing DeRosa makes its way to online commerce.

In our experience, most bikes that show up on these sites do so rather quickly so scan them as soon as possible. If it turns up on one of these you have a few options. One can take the rather unconventional yet effective method of stealing your own bike back like our customer Danny  did a few years ago. We do not endorse this method as it could lead to losing more than your bike in the process. We have heard of DC police setting up sting purchases for these cases, but don’t count on it. 


Find a new friend


After all this is done, you’re going to want to replace your faithful Fairdale , and we know just the shop who can help you out. If you’re looking to prevent this heartache, read our post on bike security procedures

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