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Posts tagged "Bikes"

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Check out the newest 2022 Citi Bike E-bikes (Exclusive kickoff ride with Streetfilms)

When friends heard the release of the new Citi Bike e-bikes into the wild was imminent, many wanted to me give them a review ASAP. Little did I know I would get invited to the first public unveiling where we had a huge geek out over and getting to ride with Citi Bike staff and members of the NYCHA riders program. As you will see we had a great time!

The new bikes feature a different color scheme. But they go farther (now nearly 60 miles on a charge), they accelerate faster, they have new cool safety lighting schemes, the seat is so easily adjustable that your wrists will want to kiss the stem, it has an actual battery-life indicator right on the screen and plenty of other fun features!

So take a look at our sort of exclusive video of the Queens kickoff ride (Streetfilms was the only camera crew at the launch!) One thing I have to mention is that I have covered a lot of group rides. I arrived via my large and heavy Workcycle and the new Citi Bike e-bikes get you so quickly up to speed that I had a very hard time keeping up with the riders to get my footage. But as you'll see I got to use one at the end.

 

 

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Washington DC Blossoms Bike Tour 2022

Come along with "DC's Cycling Concierge" Jeff Miller as he leads a ride to see Washington D.C.'s cherry blossoms in full bloom for this year's Bike Summit Conference 2022 from The League of American Bicyclists! It's a short tour but full of sites and flowering trees. This ride departed at 645am Monday morning on March 28. The temps were in the mid-20s and it was very cold. But it turned out with so few people up that early and the bitter cold provided an excellent ride without crowds so often gathering to see nature's bloomings.

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The Nijmegen Railway Bridge is also a Fantastically Cool Bridge to Bike

Here's a cool one. I have been revisiting some of my old footage as I await being able to travel some. I did a great film about Nijmegen you may have seen. But as with many things I shoot I had to leave a ton of great stuff on the cutting room floor.

The Nijmegen Railway Bridge had a bikeway attached to it in 2004 and it is one of the most thrilling and dreamy bridges I have ever ridden over. For one: Nijmegen is the beginning of the RijnWaalpad, a fast bike superhighway that stretches 16km all the way to Arnhem, its twin city. I also did a video on that one too!

In any event, in looking thru the archives I realized I had ample footage from all sorts of angles to give people the experience of a full-rounded perspective: from the pathway itself, from down by the waterfront looking up, from the tallest structure downtown the church (looking down) and filming from inside the train itself arriving & departing Nijmegen.

One thing I want to point out that is pretty cool about this Streetfilm: I had a production company who inquired about using some of my "drone" footage. But there is none - all of the footage was shot by my very steady hand balancing on a bike. I have been doing that style of filming for nearly 25 years. The kids these days don't realize old school. (Though I am getting pretty old to keep being able to pull it off.)

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Rotterdam Central: A Peaceful Transportation Hive of Human Activity

Last week on the same day I found myself visiting both Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station with my son due to a fun multi-train/subway/bus sojourn all over the city. And while I am appreciating some of the measures the city/state/MTA are taking to making it nicer around our most important hubs, it still compares to every single Dutch train station.

It made me recall my Rotterdam experience a few years ago. I thought having a hotel room overlooking Rotterdam Central made me extra appreciate the lack of cars and the safety for people on all other modes. I also recently picked out my favorite dozen things in all Dutch cities for a short video which Rotterdam Central also made. So I figured why not revisit my footage to give some proper montage love to my favorite.

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Bike Boulevards Debut in NYC: Check out Queens’ 39th Avenue!

Earlier this year the NYC DOT announced it would pilot one bike boulevard in each of the five boroughs. Some were actually on the ambitious side and none more so than in Sunnyside, Queens where 39th Avenue (which was designated an open street during 2020 Covid) was converted to a bike boulevard on an integral connection for bike riders for 8 blocks. The innovative treatments (well for NYC) include a diagonal traffic diverter and frequent lane direction changes as well as swaps for wide protected bike lanes at times. Listen to what supporters had to say!

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Clarence in Streetfilms 2000-2021 (Montage)

So following my 1,000th Streetfilm I put together a quick montage sample of all the Streetfilms/bikeTV to prepare for some media. I will be joining John Simmerman for his 100th podcast interview and it just seemed the time to let people see what I have been doing over the years.

Just so you know this is only a sample montage. I am sure I have missed some of my best appearances, but this at least gives a look into my work - sometimes skinnier, sometimes younger - but fun to check out my metamorphosis and the places I have been!

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Montreal’s Popular Pedestrian Open Streets

No wonder they call it the Great White North.

Last month, I journeyed to Montréal, a city I have visited many times in the last three decades, to see how much progress it has made in reining in the car culture, creating more livable communities, encouraging cycling, making roadways safer and, most important, bringing back freedom to inhabitants long oppressed by car drivers.

The changes are amazing — and they are the subject of two new Streetfilms, my 1,000th and 1,001st of my career. The first one is about open streets. The other is about cycling. Both will make New Yorkers drool … or book tickets.

Of course, Montréal has fewer open streets than New York City does, but the open streets in the Paris of North America are much better. Montréal’s 13 open streets are much longer and operate almost entirely car-free — car-free, meaning no parking, either! — 24 hours a day, all summer long.

“It’s about making the city accessible for everyone,” Montréal’s mayor Valérie Plante told me. “There has to be more room for cyclists and pedestrians, and arts and parklets.”

On Montréal’s open streets, you don’t just see people walking or biking as you see in New York, but also art installations, benches, bioswales, swings (with cupholders!), play areas for kids and bollards to keep out the cars.

Bollards to keep out the cars.

“It just brings so much joy and fun and, of course, safe spaces for our kids,” Plante added.

And local business owners confirm that pedestrianized zones bring in more money for struggling merchants.

A 1.5-mile stretch of Mont Royal Avenue is fully pedestrianized, including some side streets. That’s about the same length as New York’s best open street — 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights — but in New York, the open street is still filled with parked cars and only open between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., limiting what residents can do, how many can do it and how long they can do it for. There’s a movement to make the open street permanent and 24 hours — a position supported by incoming mayor Eric Adams — but opponents in the neighborhood want the open street reduced or even eliminated.

Montréal proves that the real solution should be to double-down on open streets. Barricades keep the cars out — and don’t require a massive volunteer effort. And instead of dismissing older adults’ worries about getting around, the city provides transportation (via pedicabs) for them.

One final note for all us nerds: Make sure you check out the appearance of former Streetsblog contributor Steven Miller in the Montreal open streets vid

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George Hahn: How to Ride Your Bike Like a Gentleman (or a Lady)

Actor. Writer. Minor social media legend. Gentleman cyclist.

This week, Streetfilms tagged along with actor George Hahn for a very special episode: “How to Ride Like a Gentleman.”

In this film, we explore the city with Hahn and learn these valuable tips:

“Don’t ride like a dick.” Don’t roll through crosswalks or frighten pedestrians. There’s no reason for that. “It’s just rude,” he says.
Don’t ride your bicycle on the sidewalk.
Don’t ride against traffic. “It’s dangerous…and rude to everyone,” Hahn says.
Don’t buy special clothes. (Hahn has ridden in a tuxedo, but you knew that.)

Of course, Hahn is courteous to make a point: there is a larger danger on our streets. Watching an SUV driver rudely inch into a crosswalk, Hahn observes the most important rule of the road: “Your destination is no more important than anyone else’s,” he says.

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What do you like about 34th Ave open street?

It was once again time to ask people how much they enjoy the 34th Ave open street in Jackson Heights, so I went out for about an hour yesterday to ask folks to tell me. It wasn't hard to find people to talk since it is one of the most popular things ever in the neighborhood. I only asked that one simple question. Nothing more. But I couldn't believe how many times people used "community" in their answer, I think nearly everyone. (But I had to edit some out due to length constraints.) I think you'd likely find the same answers in just about every open street across NYC. Also: in unsurprising news, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the open streets legislation passed by the NYC Council keeping the open streets program running.

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Manhattan’s 1st Ave Bike Counts Show Bikes Need More Space

A new vehicle count on First Avenue showed that cars and trucks barely outnumbered bikes, despite drivers getting almost 12 times as much space on the uptown roadway — the second East Side roadway whose mode split reveals the need for wider bike lanes and less room for cars.

In the latest count — which follows a similar eye-opener from Second Avenue last week — a crew from Streetfilms set up at the intersection of First Avenue and 60th Street for a total of 42 minutes. The results? There were 698 cars, trucks, vans and such, and 561 bikes and scooters.

That’s basically 1.2 vehicles for every bike or scooter — even though the bike lane is roughly 1/12 the width of the entire roadway. (And the flow of two-wheelers will only grow as the weather gets warmer and as more people head back to offices for work.)

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In NYC You Can Go By Bike on the Pedestrian Signal!

So with a great "new" law on the books that allows bicycle riders to also legally use pedestrian signals (LPIs) to get a 5 to 10 second head start on drivers in NYC why did it take Streetfilms nearly a year to talk to the two people most responsible for it?

Well when it was passed council last year and slated to begin on December 20, 2019 it was the holiday season and freezing cold, and no one cares about watching videos end of year. We finally had scheduled to film it mid-March, but then Covid-19 prevented that.

I circled back around to the idea early this Fall after riding thru the NYC Summer Bicycle Boom™ explosion where I would frequently come upon LPI intersections where #bikenyc riders were frequently frozen waiting for the green light, ignoring the pedestrian beacon telling them, "Please go forth person on your bike with your walking cousins!"

So it's a good time to re-promote this great law that makes it safer for bike riders. Let those innovative who don't know it's legal to use the signals. Also, there are now so many brand new riders in the city that don't know all the rules of the road that frankly need enlightening. There are more than 4,000 of the lights.

We went to Brooklyn to the corner of Atlantic Ave & Smith Street and talked with Council member Carlos Menchaca and "The War on Cars" co-host Doug Gordon about what the law means and the journey to its realization.

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Happy Valentine’s Bike Day Montage!

Well it's February 14th. And I just decided that for the first time ever Streetfilms was gonna do some happy, loving Valentine's Day biking imagery for a card to our subscribers and fans.

I sifted thru about 30 Streetfilms over the past ten years and lifted out lots of scenes of happiness from some of our videos from NYC, USA and around the world.

Bikes = Love

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All of our Ghent, Belgium Streetfilms in a Big Post!

As we worked towards our final edit for the anchor Ghent Streetfilm on the installation of their Circulation Plan, there were many smaller items we knew wouldn't make the final cut or were better off as quick items posted as shorts.

Above, of course, is the main feature. But below you will find some supplemental gems and fun.

This one below dives deeper in to the politics and the media negativism as the Circulation Plan for the city was getting ready to be installed.

In Ghent there is a very unique bridge that raises and lowers for boats WHILE cyclists ride over it, no need for pausing.

While we were on a bike tour of the city Vice Mayor Filip Watteeau showed us a program where neighbors can request and design their streets. Here is a clip.

And finally, there are quite a number of tram tracks, everywhere. And it is amazing and graceful to see the city's residents navigate them successfully, and most of them aren't wearing helmets either.

 

 

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The Innovative Way Ghent, Belgium Removed Cars From The City

Witness the transformation of Ghent, Belgium, who instituted the Traffic Circulation Plan in April 2017, which completely changed the way nearly every resident gets around the city and has inspired unheard of mode shifts. It encourages less car use, more bicycling and more transit use by splitting the city into  seven distinct zones: a mostly car-free city center core surrounded by six zones which have been cordoned off with concrete or controlled by cameras. The only way to reach them is to travel to the ring road on the city outskirts, thus making it not impossible to use a car but motivates those shorter trips to be done via human power or mass transit. Bike mode share in 2012 was 22%, now it is 35% and growing!

This swift, creative strategy of turning Ghent in to a place for people is such a phenomenal story it's a mystery as to why it has not gotten more attention worldwide. It is a city of 262,000 residents, so not a large metropolis, but not a small city either. The metamorphosis was achieved thru a sort of tactical urbanism approach by throwing concrete barriers and planters here and there (some backed by enforcement cameras) and altering the gateways into public spaces and safer places to walk and bike. (There are now 40% fewer cars on bicycle priority streets than before the plan!)

Their main inspirations were the cities of Groningen and Utrecht, both in The Netherlands. And as Vice Mayor, Filip Watteeuw explains they did not have the funds or the time to spend 10, 20 or 30 years to catch up to where they were. So they improvised with interesting tactics and treatments and The Traffic Circulation Plan. And as I have said before what happened was stunning: almost never has their been such a rapid metamorphosis occurred in such a short time. And Ghent isn't stopping there.

Ghent was a fabulous city for many reasons. I highly recommend a visit. It is quiet and lovely and nearly everywhere is attainable by multiple modes of transportation. You can even use a car if you like - but just remember it is a little more complicated.

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Ghent’s Political & Media Obstacles to Implementing the Traffic Circulation Plan

SUPPLEMENTAL CONTENT!

We had to cut out so much from our Ghent Streetfilm on The Circulation Plan and how wonderful it was for the country. We probably could have released a 30 minute version!!

But we had to take out over half of the section on the political obstacles and negative media sensationalism that led up to (and during) the first days. So this was important to retain more of this story in an additional release for those curious. After all, we all know the usual story that occurs when a city, state or country tries to implement an innovative transportation scheme: there are often community scare tactics, the opposing political party tries to take advantage or not support it and - usually standard - the media tries to drum up controversy and say the plans will not work and cause difficulty.

Thus it is a valuable tool to make this expanded story from Ghent as you will hear about some of these (including "death threats" to the Vice Mayor Filip Watteeuw and even Dutch planners, yes the Dutch(!) saying the plans were "political suicide".

But as we know in most cases well-thought plans do work and the public ends up liking it more than the media ever assumes.