I subscribe to the RSS news feed for Bike Radar and most of the stories are really just for hard-core cyclists (which I am not), but from time to time there are great stories that I think anyone at all supportive of bicycling would be interested in. I also subscribe to a few other bike sites that put out some interesting news for the general reader from time to time.
Here are 10 cool bike stories from the last couple months that I think are worth a share:
1. New world record for bicycle-generated electricity
500 cyclists gathered together in the Manchester Velodrome recently and created 72,414 watt hours of electricity (way more than the Austrian record of 12,953 watt hours set in 2008). They also raised £3,500 for The Christie, a specialist cancer hospital in Manchester, in the process.
2. Smart debut electric bike at Paris Motor Show
Daimler’s Smart division, famous for their matchbox size cars, displayed a new e-bike at the recent Paris Motor Show.
Jumping on the same bandwagon as other car manufacturers like Lexus, BMW and Peugeot, the Smart model offers four levels of pedal assistance via a 250W hub motor, which cuts out at 25km/h.
3. Work starts on two more London Cycle Superhighways
“Work has started on two more Barclays Cycle Superhighways in London, following the success of the pilot routes from Merton to the City and Barking to Tower Gateway.”
4. World Cycling Centre planned for Northern Ireland
“Mountain biking in Northern Ireland is set to get a massive boost if plans to build a World Cycling Centre at Magheramorne quarry, near Larne, go ahead.”
5. The bike James Bond would ride?
A concept bike worthy of super-spy James Bond [went] on show at Cycle Show 2010 in London [this year].
The BOND (Built of Notorious Deterrents) Bike features a handlebar-mounted flamethrower, an ejector seat and a rear caterpillar track.
6. St Louis plans bicycle commuter center
While St. Louis can no longer proclaim a love of bikes through the Tour of Missouri professional bicycle race, the city will soon have a new bike-centric highlight — a new downtown bike center that will enable and encourage bicycle commuters.
As soon as this fall, riders will be able to show up to work clean with their bikes safely stored for the day. The city’s new 1,300 square foot Downtown Bike Center will feature bike storage, locker rooms and even showers for those who decide to use pedal power to get to work.
In a released statement, Mayor Francis Slay called the project the region’s ‘first public commuter bike center.’ The city has announced that the Bike Center will open later this fall, and that it will be supported by monthly, daily or annual fees.
7. Cycle motorways and red light turns in Copenhagen
In a bid to further encourage commuting, the Danish government is set to build ‘bicycle motorways’ with three lanes in each direction. The plan is for several hundred kilometres of new bike paths to serve large cities such as Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense and Aalborg.
Bicycle superhighways already exist in Denmark – some of the motorways into Copenhagen have wide, high-quality bike paths running parallel to them – but these new ones are to run along city streets on the most direct routes possible from suburb to centre.
8. Free UK route planning app for iPhone
A free UK cycle journey planner has been launched for the Apple iPhone. The Bike Hub application can work out routes of up to 100 miles, as well as locating nearby bike shops.
And it doesn’t end there – updates coming soon include drop-pin start/end navigation and true turn-by-turn navigation, which will effectively turn your phone into a cycling sat-nav.
Moreover, we can exclusively reveal that ‘voice of cycling’ Phil Liggett is going to record a set of turn-by-turn directions – so as well as the normal “in 20 metres, turn left” you may find yourself being urged to “stretch the elastic” and other ‘Liggetisms’.
9. Poring over the 2009 American Community Survey Numbers
Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists, looks over the newest bike data from the American Community Survey and comes to some interesting finds.
10. Bicycling beats the odds — National bike commuter rate holds steady
Despite predictions that the number of Americans biking to work would fall after gas prices returned to ‘normal’ in 2009, the percentage has held steady at 0.55 percent. The Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) among the 70 largest cities also held steady with a 1 percent increase, while non-BFCs increased their commuter share by 26 percent. BFC cities still have on average about twice the percentage of commuters as non-BFC cities.
Cool and good bike news. Hope you enjoyed it.
Check out our Transport category for all kinds of other cool bike stories — (they are almost all bike stories in there).
If you’re a big a fan of bicycling, you may also want to check out and join the Biking Revolution of Love and Freedom News page on Facebook. Cool bike stories from Planetsave and plenty of other sites are featured there.
Top Photo Credit: TeeJe via flickr under a CC license