Hills and wind

I live and ride a bicycle in Wellington, New Zealand.

It’s the windiest city in a windy country. Our ‘Windy Welly’ is probably the windiest city in the world.

And it has hills! Big, steep, “Wilcome to Sen Frenciscou” hills.

Wellington

That’s why I love riding here:

About half of my trips are tiring, heart-racing slogs into the wind and/or uphill. But the other half – gliding down an incline, exercising only my brake pads; sailing along the street with a forceful wind-assist; delighting in a combination of both after a long, tiring workday – those trips make the other half absolutely, positively worthwhile!

Quote of the day: hard to imagine less downside

The bicycle is an incredibly supple and finely-grained way of using urban space. To be kind of wonky about it I don’t think that there is any finer tool in the psychogeographer’s toolkit than the bicycle. It allows you to traverse comparatively large stretches of ground in short order, and yet you still have something of the pedestrian’s ability to make instantaneous decisions about: I’m going to stop here, I’m going to turn down this corner. And yet as opposed to walking it lowers the opportunity cost of having made a bad decision.

The bicycle is just… It is hard for me to imagine a technology that has less downside and more upsides than the bicycle. It’s just an incredible thing…

- Adam Greenfield, via How We Drive

Quote of the Day: the environment invites you

I always thought I cycled a lot when I lived in the UK, but in this country the environment invites you to cycle more than you would otherwise. [emphasis added]

Basic bicycle infrastructure, via David Hembrow

from David Hembrow in the Netherlands

In case you needed another reason…

In case you needed another reason to change your life and ride a bike...

If you take no notice of other scientific breakthroughs this year, epigenetics [long but readable article] is the one you need to know about. Let’s call it Darwin 2.0.

Epigenetic research has found evidence that your diet, stress levels, environmental stimuli and exercise levels (especially at a youngish age) have a fairly strong influence on the DNA of your kids, and your grandkids.

It has been demonstrated in fruit flies, bees, mice, citizens of rural Sweden, women who were pregnant during 9/11…

So get those wheels rolling and give your kids a head start!

Hiatus explanation

A double-tipped reason for my prolongued absence from the Interwebs:

-On 4th January, Seoul had its heaviest snowfall in at least 70 years. (How to make a city very pretty, very fast.) The city government did its utmost to clear the carpaths [roads]. However, footpaths and bikepaths remained treacherous for more than a fortnight. Not many bikes about round here, including underground-bound me.

5th January - Seoul

5th January - Seoul

-More pertinantly, I threw a few numbers into a calculator. It’s so cool how much time and money I save by only irregularly using public transport. (Not to mention not wasting time and money on a gym.)  Let’s just say these went a long way towards the 1-year distance learning course I’m now busy studying via the London School of Economics.

It’s the infrastructure, stupid

Excellent film from StreetFilms and Mikael.

Although David Hembrow made a convincing argument that the Netherlands makes its bicycle infrastructure more child-friendly by separating it physically from motor traffic, the fact remains:

Infrastructure is the key. Build it and they will come.