Turning The Loss Of Cycling Ability Into A Gain

Life starts with almost unlimited and unknown potential. A newborn is a mystery in that he or she might be anyone, might do anything and might even make a difference in the world we live in.

But, the farther along life progresses, the smaller the amount of potential gets. And, in fact, after middle age, losses begin to accrue.

Among those losses, is the loss of the physical traits one needs to ride a bicycle. Vision, hearing, muscle strength, balance and reflexes all decline with age.

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Pedestrians Are Not A Uniform Group

Road planners tend to look at road design, efficiency, and cost first. Road users themselves, are something of an afterthought, if thought of at all.

The problem with this approach is that it omits the most important thing of all, the needs of the road users. For some road users, this omission is a mere inconvenience. For others, it can mean the difference between life and death.

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As Bicycles Get Smarter Will Bikers Get Dumber?

In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about intelligent bicycles. What is meant by “intelligent” is never clearly defined, but it implies that the bicycle has the ability to do something beyond rolling along on two tires.

Such a bike was released, not long ago, in The Netherlands.

“The Netherlands launched its first-ever intelligent bicycle, fitted with an array of electronic devices to help bring down the high accident rate among elderly cyclists in the bicycle-mad country. Developed for the government by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), the intelligent bicycle prototype runs on electricity, and sports a forward-looking radar mounted below the handlebars and a camera in the rear mudguard.”

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Bicycle Bandits Should Avoid Motor Vehicles

Surprisingly, the use of a bicycle as a getaway vehicle is on the rise. This is probably because robbers can’t flee quickly enough on foot, and a motor vehicle would be too easy to identify.

A bicycle provides the best of both worlds: it moves faster than anyone could run and it is difficult to identify. A well masked robber could jump onto a waiting bicycle and make it out of the sight of witnesses in a matter of minutes.

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With The Advent Of Motorized Vehicles Came The Concept Of Traveling Out Of The Way

One thing about riding a bicycle is that most cyclists try to find the most direct route to their destination. The shorter the route, the easier it will be physically, barring the existence of steep hills, for them to get there.

Regular bike riders learn how to conserve energy. They want to have enough energy to get to their destination, do whatever they were planning to do once they arrived, and to have enough energy in reserve to make it home.

Doing this requires planning. Sometimes it involves scoping out new, more efficient routes.

But, even when old routes are used, planning is still necessary. Novice cyclists often find this out the hard way, by failing to plan for something an experienced cyclist would have assumed to be the case.    Continue reading ….

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Humans Creating Divisions Among Themselves And Drawing Comparisons

If there’s one thing humans like to do, it’s categorize people. Everything from race to religion, height, weight, age, gender, ethnicity, ability, talent and achievement — to name a few — are considered.

Once everyone is classified into at least one group, but more likely into multiple groups, the comparisons begin. Individuals who like to classify everyone in this manner are constantly looking for similarities and differences in those around them.

If two people are alike in any way, they are lumped into the same group, irrespective of whatever differences they may have. This creates a neat little world where every individual has lost their individuality to a group, making only one thing about them apparent.    Continue reading ….

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When Is Being Seated Not Sitting?

As a photographer, I tend to see the world as an interesting and ever-changing collection of “interesting shots.” These shots do not include selfies. For while selfies can loosely be defined as photos, they do not reflect the photographer’s eye or how the photographer views something which is not presently seeing itself.

A good photographer can capture the world through a lens. But it’s important to remember that this lens is not on the camera, it is in the photographer’s brain. It is a way of seeing, not an impression recorded by a mechanical device.

So it was when I was walking in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area not too long ago. I spotted a young man seated on a wall, intently studying whatever was currently displayed on his phone, with his bicycle in front of him.

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Motorcycle And Bicycle Interactions

Most discussions about bicycles on the roads revolve around their interactions with cars. Cars are the dominant and most abundant vehicles on the roads, and bicycles are the most vulnerable and least prevalent vehicles on the roads. So, naturally, given that the two are diametrically opposed, and must share the roads, the conversation revolves around this “David versus Goliath” battle.

Actually, it should never have been a battle. In modern times, most first world countries have come to value cooperation and peace over conflict and war. This is not to say that we have eradicated war. Far from it. War is as much a part of everyday life as it was several thousand years ago. The main difference is that first world countries don’t fight wars on their on territory. They fight in foreign lands in the name of some political issue.   Continue reading ….

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Designing Affordable Bicycle Components For Transportation And Practicality

In the U.S., bicycle components are often seen as luxury items. All sorts of fancy, high tech designs have been created in the name of precision and shaving weight off of the bike. None of these components are designed with durability or practicality in mind.

While this might not present a problem in a wealthy nation where the vast majority of bike riders are reasonably well off — at least in terms of having disposable income — it can prevent people from riding altogether in nations where bicycles are the main form of transportation due to poverty. Such individuals are in no position to spend a fortune to replace warn or broken bike components.    Continue reading ….

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Everyday People Thinking Up New Uses For Bicycles

From even a cursory exploration of the subject, it would seem that there are a finite number of uses for a bicycle. Technically speaking, there are. But, just when it seemed as if we had exhausted all options, someone thought of a new use and had to inquire as to whether it was legal.

At first glance, it’s hard to imagine how any bicycle use could be “illegal.” Other than riding a bike on a sidewalk, which isn’t exactly “illegal,” even though it is prohibited, nothing else comes to mind. That is unless you are someone who does not fit the stereotype of a cyclist.    Continue reading ….

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