Category Archives: blog

Lessons for bike planning from Italo Calvino

Forget Copenhagen. I can draw you a picture of a real bicycling city, where riding in the weather is an option but most people would ride under roofs (like those of an airport) and they would ride on dry polished … Continue reading

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Why a bike city? Why not a mix of biking and transit?

Like the visionary architects of the 1930s who imagined a city where everyone would drive cars, I am imagining a city where everyone cycles. So much has been written about the folly of single mode travel, and the spurious ethics of the … Continue reading

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Is the Church of Green Piety a hinderance to cycling becoming mainstream?

Whenever I am in trouble for leaving my clothes on the floor, or am caught sneaking parcels from online bike shops into the man-cave, I like to distract my dear Primrose with prophesies about the end of the world. Simply … Continue reading

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Systematically assaulting the e-bike until it is banned.

My last post got under the skin of some pedelec owners, because they know I am right. They picture that gap between their seat tube and their rear tire and hear my critique going around in their heads. Their chain … Continue reading

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The pedelec as a metaphor for mutant cities of the machine-age

The architectural theorist/historian Kenneth Frampton is best known for teaching architects to mine their own region for wise ways of building, rather than following every international trend. Less known, but even better, is his idea that architects should adopt something he … Continue reading

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Cyclelogistics + Housing = Activation of Lonely Bike Routes

Guys and gals, it has occurred to that: 1. most cities have a few lonely cycleways running through logistics land. I’m thinking in particular of a cycleway that I used to ride every day, wedged between a canal and the … Continue reading

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Speaking out against lesser evils

The trick to looking like a vital activist is to rally people against an unarguable evil that they’ll never be able to change. Movie stars, politicians and crowds will always come out to walk against “want”, or say they don’t … Continue reading

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Toward an elegant model for city planning

If we disregard post-WW2 sprawl, few major cities measure more than 15 kilometres from one side to the other—if you don’t believe me open up Google Earth and use the ruler tool there to check for yourself. You will see … Continue reading

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Dry & drive, or drink & ride?

To spare myself the trouble of looking up the actual law, I’ll just tell you what a former police officer recently told me, that cops on the beat are no more concerned about drunken people on bikes than drunken people … Continue reading

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Lessons from the 2014 Venice Biennale for bicycle urbanism

I’ve just returned from my 4th grand tour of Italy in 6 years, with a few sketches and big dose of inspiration from the 2014 Biennale in Venice. Let’s face it, Italy is the world’s premier source book for architecture … Continue reading

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Awoken from bourgeois dilutions by 3 weeks in Schengen

I’ve just returned from a month-long tour of historic centres in Italy, and as usual have been more impressed with the airports I passed through than the cities I was heading to visit. Confirmation that I am not the only … Continue reading

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Not packing my bike to visit old pedestrian cities

Today I’ve been packing for a month in Italy. I lead architectural history tours on an annual basis—it’s all just a ruse to buy shoes. Anyhow, for the first time since I bought it back in 2011 I was having … Continue reading

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Helical perimeter blocks would make cyclists’ lives easy

Any purpose-built bicycle city really would need to be dense. That would not be to negate the possibility of riding in an athletic manner on a bike built for speed, but to give a mother on a heavily laden bakfiets … Continue reading

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Helmets have turned my sport into a blood sport

I have been racing bikes every weekend for more than twenty years, a period spanning the introduction of helmets in professional racing. Some key dates: 1990: Mandatory bike helmet laws introduced in Australia. 1992: Dr. Behooving starts racing bikes 2003: … Continue reading

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Jacques Rancière and the art of bike planning

Quite a few ambiguities could be ironed out if we stopped pretending that bicycle planning was some kind of science, and accepted that it is an art. The first hint that it should be viewed in this way comes from … Continue reading

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