Call the Midwife, a BBC show now broadcasting on PBS, is the story of independent young women working as midwives in 1950′s London. The portrayal of these women (the opposite of something like Grey’s Anatomy) is refreshing and I’m especially charmed by the shots of them bicycling around the city to and from jobs.
Love the bikes, love the outfits. :-)
There is even a storyline about one of the midwives learning how to ride a bike as part of the job.
Here is a fun behind the scenes look at the role of bicycling in the show.
Does Critical Mass help or hurt the cause of bicyclists? This question is as rife with tension as the big helmet question. Neither is a debate I’m interested in dredging up here. Personally, I think Critical Mass in Chicago is great, but I can understand and respect arguments to the contrary, subject to the same caveat I have for any argument: that it be thoughtful and intelligent.
This week, some guy who wants to sell his book on “urban cycling” wrote a highly inflammatory post against Critical Mass, using the horrifying photo of a car driver crashing into (and killing members of) a group of cyclists in Mexico with the caption, “When is something like this going to happen in Chicago thanks to Critical Mass?” The text of his post is as bad, with gems like this: “Critical Massholes are to fundamentalist terrorists what Islam is to cycling.” That does not even make sense, but you get the idea. His book cover is equally awful, a yellow and black graphic of a bicyclist plunging over a car.
I am very tuned in to Chicago’s bicycling scene, but I had never heard of this guy or his blog until today. I’m not buying what he’s selling and I won’t link to his site from here, but apparently his distasteful publicity stunt is working, because he also got the attention of the press.
Earlier today, Chicago Tonight, a local PBS/WTTW news show that I watch nightly, had a discussion about Critical Mass, featuring this guy, along with Gin Kilgore, a Mass participant and creator of Bike Winter and all-around awesome woman, and Ethan Spotts of Active Trans. Host Phil Ponce did a great job moderating. Overall, I thought the segment was a positive piece for Critical Mass. You can check it out for yourself below. After the intro, jump ahead to 3:25 for the discussion.
I am not interested in starting a Critical Mass debate, but I do want to share this video and point out that there are ways to argue against the Mass with dignity and respect. It’s a shame for both sides when those who fail to do so get the attention.
Let’s Go Ride a Bike is featured in the upcoming issue of Yes! Magazine, an award-winning, ad-free, non-profit publication that supports people’s active engagement in building a just and sustainable world. The issue is on building community resilience and one of the features is 8 Crash-Proof Ideas, highlighting people and places building skills now that will come in handy in a future without oil. We (meaning us and all of you out there) are Resillent Idea 3: Bike Anytime, Anywhere, As You Are.
You can read this part of the article by clicking on the image above. The issue comes out sometime in the next week or two. You can purchase it at Borders, Barnes & Noble, Whole Foods, other book/magazine sellers or subscribe here. I highly recommend supporting this intelligent, interesting and unique publication.
The Chicago Sun-Times published another super positive piece about biking today, an op-ed by the President of Bikes Belong. To my pleasant surprise, the paper used my picture to accompany the piece.
Photo by Keith Hale, Chicago Sun-Times
The entire op-ed, which also appeared in the Chicago Tribune, is below.
Why just ride to work when you can ride everywhere?
This week, commuters in Chicago are celebrating Bike-to-Work Week. An unprecedented number of commuters will savor the benefits of two wheels for health, fun, the environment and their bank accounts.
While Bike-to-Work Week is a great concept, I like to think of it as Bike-to-Anywhere Week — the store, a friend’s house, a trail, school. More than 70 percent of the trips that Americans take each day aren’t work-related. Nearly half of our trips are three miles or less.
For these short outings, riding a bike makes sense. Going six miles by bike instead of by car saves an average of $3, and three hours of riding a week can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by half.
But after 30 years as a cycling journalist, national bike advocacy leader and regular rider, I think I understand what will discourage most Bike-to-Anywhere neophytes from continuing to pedal next week.
If people are going to bike regularly, riding needs to be safe. It needs to be relaxing. Ideally, the route should be scenic. And when you arrive anywhere, a secure and convenient place to park your bike is essential.
Although cities like Chicago have made big steps toward becoming more bike-friendly, in too many cities and towns across Illinois and our whole country, these conditions don’t exist — at least not yet.
My organization, the Bikes Belong Foundation, is trying to change this. We’ve created a new national bike movement called peoplefor bikes.org. Our goal is to get 1 million Americans to sign a pledge of support for bicycling.
Close to 50 million Americans ride each year. A few cost-effective investments in facilities could help bicycling become even bigger, and more helpful in addressing key national challenges such as obesity, air pollution and dependence on expensive, nonrenewable sources of energy.
We like to say that when people ride bikes, great things happen — for the individual, the community, the nation and the planet.
You’ll see the appeal of two wheels on the faces of the people who ride this week. Look for smiles all around, just from the simple act of riding a bike to anywhere.