Posts Tagged ‘bicycle’

Get Cycling to Work

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on October 13th, 2010

Source: The Ecologist

Image: question everything via flickr CC

From “Pedal power: ditch the headaches and cycle to work” by Juliet Kemp:

Commuting to work by bike is easier – and the reasons not to do it flimsier – than you think. Here’s our guide to dealing with the excuses and improving pedal power in your workplace.

You arrive at the office on a Monday morning, cheerfully invigorated from your cycle ride in, and run into a colleague. ‘Oh, I drove past you on your bike this morning,’ she says. Then, inevitably, you’ll hear: ‘I don’t know how you do it – I could never cycle in myself.’

If you’ve ever had this conversation, you’ll know that there’s a few reasons that people always give for why they wouldn’t cycle to work. The good news is that most of them can be solved, with a little help from your employer.

There’s a business case, as well as an environmental case, to be made for encouraging more people to cycle to work: a recent study estimated that increasing cycling by 20 per cent by 2015 would save employers £87 million by reducing absences, and that cycling to work reduces mortality by 39 per cent. Marshall some of the information from the article, recruit a few other office cyclists to work with you and get your management on board to bust those excuses.

Read the full article by Juliet Kemp, which addresses issues like security, road safety, employer options and bike loan schemes in the UK.

Getting Produce to Market: Transport “Innovation”

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on August 23rd, 2010

Source: Nourishing the Planet: Worldwatch Institute

From “Innovation of the Week: Getting to the Market” by Molly Theobald:

For many farmers, an abundant harvest is only the first step toward feeding their families and earning an income. Vegetables ripening in the field—or even harvested and stored nearby—are still a long way from the market where they can be sold for a profit.

One farmer in Sudan’s Kebkabyia province, Abdall Omer Saeedo, has to travel 10 kilometres twice a week to the nearest market to sell his vegetables and green fodder. Without a cart, truck, or other means of transporting a large amount of goods efficiently, he couldn’t make enough money to cover his production and packing costs, let alone the cost of seeds for the next season, education for his children, and other household needs. And after making it to market with his 10 sacks and five bags of produce on the back of his donkey, he was still at risk for loss if he wasn’t able to sell it all. Instead of dealing with the hassle of trying to pack it back home again, he would throw away whatever wasn’t sold.

Saeedo sought the help of Practical Action, a development non-profit that uses technology to help people gain access to basic services like clean water and sanitation in order to improve food production and incomes. Working with local metal workers, the organisation designed a donkey cart for him. Now, Saeedo is not only able to cart his produce to market twice a week, he can also easily bring back whatever he is unable to sell. His income has increased along with the quality and quantity of his product, which is no longer lost or destroyed by travel time and conditions.

Practical Action’s transportation innovations are helping to improve farmer livelihoods throughout sub-Saharan Africa and around the world. In Kenya, the organisation introduced bicycle taxis as a way for people to earn a living, as well as an energy-efficient means to transport people from place to place. In Nepal, Practical Action’s bicycle ambulances help carry sick or injured people from remote areas to hospitals safely and comfortably. And in Sri Lanka, the group’s bicycle trailers—capable of carrying loads of up to 200 kilograms—are used to transport goods to market, people to hospitals, and even books to local communities.

Read the full article by Molly Theobald.

Pedal-Power Machines for Local Enterprise

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on August 18th, 2010

Source: The Ecologist

From “Reusing bike parts to power water pumps, corn crushers and more” by Mira Olson:

A tiny workshop in rural Guatemala is pioneering cheap, eco-friendly, pedal-powered machines made from discarded bicycle parts.  A group of elderly, indigenous women wearing traditional hand-made dresses sit in a circle and exchange stories. Their continuous pedalling would go unnoticed, were it not for the noisy churning of the blenders placed on top of tables in front of them. The machines have enabled these women to form their own business: the sale of blue agave shampoo produced at their humble, cinderblock home.  The pedal-powered blenders are capable of speeds of up to 6,400 RPM and are used in multiple capacities in the community, from simple food processing to more creative applications.

They are but one example of several bicimáquinas (bike-machines) designed and built at Maya Pedal, a locally-run NGO in the small, rural town of San Andrés Itzapa, Guatemala, which is still primarily inhabited by the Mayan people of Cakchiquel descent.  Thanks to the organisation, community members benefit from water pumps to irrigate their fields, mills to grind corn, devices for manufacturing concrete tiles, electricity generators capable of storing electricity in car batteries, coffee pulping machines that can accumulate up to 8000 pounds daily, trikes and trailers to transport people and goods within the community, and even three-cycle washing machines, all operated essentially while exercising.

The NGO itself is the product of a collaboration that took place in 1997 between a group of Canadians from the organisation Pedal and local mechanic Carlos Marroquín. Jointly, they created what would be Maya Pedal’s first and arguably most revolutionary machine: the bicidesgranadora de maíz, a device that removes the kernels from up to 15 corn husks per minute, allowing farmers to bag up to two dozen 43-kilo sacks per day.  Marroquín explains: ‘It was necessary to find a path and an alternative that would meet the needs of the locals and we researched and invested all that we could to do so.’


More than 4,600 Maya Pedal machines are now in use in San Andrés Itzapa and surrounding communities; some 400 volunteers, many from Europe, have also dirtied their hands to help in the process. And because of its growing international network, several of the ideas from the NGO have been implemented in indigenous communities throughout South America, North America and even in Africa.  This tiny workshop in a forgotten Mayan town in rural Guatemala highlights the ingenious power humans possess to overcome adversity and implement ecologically-friendly solutions for our daily needs.

Read the full article by Mira Olson.

Bike Assembly Station at Portland Airport

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on August 2nd, 2010

Source: Port of Portland via Springwise

Cyclists traveling to and from Portland International Airport have a new tool for at least one leg of their journey. A new bike assembly station on the lower terminal roadway will enable people traveling with bicycles to more easily assemble and disassemble their bikes before and after flights. With many travelers visiting Oregon and southwest Washington to take advantage of bike tourism and to participate in the region’s many bicycle events, the new station will help cyclists more quickly prepare their bikes for travel, whether it’s away from the airport on the PDX bike path or for a return flight home. The station is also available to airport employees who bike to work.

As an extra resource, Travel Oregon and the Port of Portland have basic bike tools available for check-out by cyclists assembling or disassembling their bikes. Cyclists can stop by State Welcome Center, located near bag claim carousels five and six, to borrow a pedal wrench, air pump, or just to peruse literature about bicycling resources in the region.

The Real Value of Cycling: Evidence-based report

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on June 1st, 2010

Source: vicstig Sustainable Transport Interest Group

From “Benefits of bike network far outweigh cost, says study” by Matthew Moore:

AN INNER-CITY network of bike paths would deliver economic benefits more than triple the cost of building it, according to the first full economic appraisal of cycleways in Australia.  The report, commissioned by the City of Sydney and to be released today {14-05-10}, says the 293-kilometre network proposed by 15 councils would deliver $506 million in economic benefits to the community over 30 years, $3.88 for every dollar spent.

The report, produced by the economic research firm AECOM, seeks to quantify the cost and likely benefits of building 160 kilometres of cycleways separated from general traffic and a further 70 kilometres of shared paths running from Kogarah to Chatswood and from Watsons Bay to Rhodes.  Even if building costs were higher that expected, the benefits of the network would far outweigh the costs, with quicker trips delivering savings of $211 million, or 30.9 per cent of the total, health benefits after deductions for injuries estimated at $147 million and decongestion benefits at $98 million, the report says.

It says one of the biggest economic benefits would come from improved ”journey ambience”, or cycling free from the fear of being hit by cars, a pleasure it says is worth $139 million, or nearly 20 per cent of all savings.  AECOM’s principal economist, Katie Feeney, who is one of the report’s authors, said the ”journey ambience” benefit was an attempt to put a value on an economic benefit that was hard to quantify and was calculated by working out what people would be prepared to pay for the improved experience.  ”It’s best practice internationally to assign a value to the improved travelling experience of separated cycleways,” Ms Feeney said.

Read the full article by Matthew Moore.

Read the AECOM report on scribd.