Saturday, May 30, 2009

'Bikes And Chill’ By AAArchitecten & UQ Design

AAArchitecten together with UQ Design have received first prize in the Poly Products Competition for their project ‘Bikes and Chill’. Constructed from fiber reinforced composite material the covering hides a semi recessed bicycle parking facility, whilst the outside has the shape of a bench where people can rest and relax. The bike bench consists of separate components that can be connected to form a curving pattern. ‘Bikes and Chill’ was initially conceived for the square outside The Hague central station, the Netherlands but it can also be used in other environments such as schools and parks. With the winning design ‘Bike & Chill’ the designers were not only the main design requirement: the application of a fiber reinforced composite. The jury praised the winners because of the multiple functions of the product. The plastic casing houses a bicycle, while the exterior is designed as a bank. Here, people can relax, read a book or just enjoy the Sunday. The design is also of value as a form response element in the public space. Read more in archiCentral.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Ultimate way to Vanmoof

As one of the densest and flattest countries in the world, The Netherlands has a long tradition of using bikes for transportation means. The bicycle has been our vehicle of choice since the 19th century and the Dutch are leading experts ever since. The world is catching up and discovers the advantages of going around town by bike. In NYC alone commuting by bike went up 34% from 2007 to 2008 and 170 miles of new bike lanes are created. An increase in clogged up traffic and fuel prices stimulated this trend. But the bike innovations did not keep up with the urban needs. Creating a stylish, comfortable, urban-proof bike became the challenge of VANMOOF. “We were inspired by the good old-fashion Dutch bike”, explains the 28-year old Dutch designer Sjoerd Smit. The result is the first bike that is so smooth that it fits your image and yet so functional it makes you go to work whistling. It is the bike you want to be seen on, the car of the future! The VANMOOF has a striking aluminum rust-free frame with a highly advanced solar powered LED light system built inside its tubes. To turn them on, you simply wipe the keychain over the frame.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cycling fashion on the streets of Amsterdam

On Saturday 30 May, 2009 again a fashion show for cyclists will be held on the streets of Amsterdam. The designs are a selection from the entrants in a competition that aimed to make cycling safer and more fashionable, organised by the Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti (NABA) in the Milan shopping district in September last year. This year the show in Amsterdam is an initiative of the Italian Institute of Culture in Amsterdam, in collaboration with the NABA and cyclists’ organisations. More than 60 designers took part in a competition and in September 2008 a cycling fashion show took place in the shopping district in Milan, arousing great attention from the press and the public. A number of selected articles will now be shown in the streets of Amsterdam, as a contribution to a safer mobility and to more comfortable cycling. Saturday, May 30, 2009 – From 10.30 to 12.30. Itinerary: Muntplein, Amstel, Magere Brug, Kerkstraat, Reguliersgracht, Rembrandtplein, Kloveniersburgwal, Oude Hoogstraat, Damstraat, Dam, Damrak, Beursplein. Velo Mondial will take pictures and show them here after the event.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Safety? NOT my Problem!

Safety is often deemed the Cinderella of the transport and travel world, especially in relation to public and collective transport. Car manufacturers and airlines are ahead of the game, but public authorities seem less inclined to spend on preventing events that may never happen! Buses travel at the same speed as cars, but with standing passengers; whereas car occupants are strapped to their seats! Perceptions of safety whilst travelling have become of increasing importance to travelers. Indeed safety issues often act as a barrier to walking on street for even short trips, cycling and using public transport. The loss of revenue, missed health improvement opportunities and positioning the car as the preferred mode of transport is the result, but the real cost to the community is hidden. The CIVITAS MIMOSA consortium has decided to confront these issues head-on in an open workshop in Gdansk on 5 June 2009. If you want to hear set-piece presentations on wonderful solutions to problems then this workshop is NOT for you. Instead we want to present and discuss problems; maybe you have some of the same too? Experts will be on hand to advise, and the outcome will be real plans for tackling the issues in cities.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Famke Jansen rides her Oma Fiets in New York

Bakfiets en meer reports: 'Actress Famke Jansen rides her WorkCycles Omafiets through the streets of New York. Actually it concerns me less that she’s a semi-famous celebrity type (former Bond-girl etc.) than that it’s just a cool photo of a good looking Dutch woman nonchalantly riding her good looking Dutch bike through Manhattan. Yes, the bike is a WorkCycles-Azor Omafiets, purchased from WorkCycles dealer Dutch Bike Seattle.'
One comment Velo Mondial likes reads: 'Famke looks like an ordinary, albeit very pretty, New Yorker getting from one place to another by bicycle. She’s not geared up or sweating, nor is she yelling at anyone, violating traffic laws, praying for anarchy, or nearly running over hapless pedestrians. She’s an effortlessly cool, clean-showered, law abiding bike rider. And, knowing she’s a movie star adds more: she could have anything and she’s choosing a black Azor over a black Escalade and making life easier on everyone else. Thanks, Famke!'
We would like to add: If you see a scene like this in a city, you know that life is good there.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Master Class Sustainable Urban Mobility

Amsterdam: 14 -16 September 2009
How can sustainable mobility contribute to quality of life in urban areas? This is the key question in the international master class ‘Sustainable Urban Mobility’ in Amsterdam. The modern city is confronted with many challenges concurrently: air pollution, noise, spatial segregation, congestion and a lack of accessibility. In the master class urban planning, economics, psychology and sustainability are integrated into the common fields of mobility, transport and traffic management. Participants are introduced to a new approach to sustainable urban mobility: the most optimal blend of economic, environmental and social solutions to the myriad of challenges we face. Nicis Institute, Amsterdam Innovation Motor, Delft University of Technology, Transumo and Velo Mondial have joined forces in the development of this master class. The master class is supported by ‘Amsterdam Cycling to Sustainability’. In the three-day programme 14 -16 September 2009 - the expertise of the various partners is combined to offer the participants state of the art knowledge on the conceptual and practical implications of developments in the field of sustainable mobility in Europe’s cities.
Read more here in the brochure in preparation of the Master Class. Email Bart Nijhof or call him at NICIS: +31703440513. Click here for the registration form.

Catch them young

Healthy habits have to be established at an early age. This is not rocket science, but common sense. Introducing children to cycling in schools as both a way of getting to and fro and a leisure pursuit is therefore key. This is what Bike It does so well. The Bike It officers that we have worked with have inspired children and our own projects, and been a wealth of knowledge. The Bike It project works directly with schools making the case for cycling in their school travel plans, supporting school champions who want to promote cycling, and demonstrating that cycling is a popular choice for children to get to school. The project adds to local investment in cycle routes and bike sheds by involving pupils, teachers and parents and enabling them to take the small steps which are necessary to make a real difference. During 2005/06 Bike It built on the success of the previous pilot year. By June 2006 an average of 10% of pupils in Bike It schools were cycling regularly to school. The National Travel Survey shows that the national average is 1%. Counts of parked bikes during the year show a near trebling of cycle use from a base of 3.7% of pupils cycling in September 2005. Read more about this succesful SUSTRANS program here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bike Europe endorses Spicycles

Bike Europe, a leading European magazine on cycling, endorses the succes of the work done by the Spicycles cities Barcelona, Berlin, Bucharest, Gothenburg, Ploeisti and Rome with their partners Velo Mondial from The Netherlands, ISIS from Italy, Goudappel Coffeng from The Netherlands, DB Rent from Germany, CPI Progetti from Italy, the University of Rome and ATAC from Italy. Bike Europe writes: The huge popularity of public bike rental schemes like Velib in Paris didn’t escape the attention of the EU government. The European Commission initiated an extensive study to the implantation of public rental bike systems in Europe over the past two years. The outcome of this study was recently published by SpiCycles that carried out the study. SpiCycles discusses nine subjects in its final report. These are; finances, the implementation of bicycle measures, the future orientation, institutional cooperation, human resources, bicycle parking, users’ acceptance and preferences, communications and awareness, local partnerships.

Batteries Not Included

Shai Agassi stood in a warehouse on the outskirts of Tel Aviv one afternoon last month and watched his battery-swapping robot go to work. He was conducting a demonstration of the curious machine that is central to his two-year-old clean-energy company, which is called Better Place. Agassi’s grand plan is to kick-start the global adoption of electric cars by minimizing one of the biggest frustrations with the technology: the need for slow and frequent recharges. The robot is the key to his solution. Unlike most electric-car technologies, which generally require you to plug your car into a power source and recharge an onboard battery for hours, the Better Place robot is designed to reach under the chassis of an electric car, pluck its battery out and replace it with a new one, much the same way you’d put new batteries in a child’s toy. Electric cars have long been a fetish object for environmentalists: electricity can be produced from wind, solar or nuclear sources with little or no CO2. But now even the auto industry seems to be taking the idea of the alt-car seriously. When the Big Three filed their restructuring plans earlier this year, all aggressively emphasized their intentions to begin producing electric vehicles and hybrids. Read more in The New York Times here.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Sitting up straight, Glamorously! 2

Are New Yorkers ready for the Dutch bicycle? Some see the World War II-era bike as so retro that it’s become fashion-forward. 200 Dutch-style bicycles are coming to New York as part of the 400th anniversary of the Henry Hudson’s landing in New York City. Not just any Dutch bicycles, orange Dutch bicycles. “Very orange,” as the deputy mayor, Robert C. Lieber, put it at a ceremony introducing the bicycles. They were presented by the Dutch government to the city on Thursday morning on Queen’s Day, essentially the Dutch equivalent of the Fourth of July. The Dutch take their bicycles very seriously — so seriously that they are the only country in the world where there are more bicycles than people in their country, said Frans Timmermans, a Dutch cabinet minister at the ceremony. There are 1.1 bicycles for every person. About 27 percent of the trips are made by bicycle, and it is a standard way to get around their country. And since there are essentially no school buses, children bike to school. Read more in The New York Times.