The Great Big Any Colour as Long as it's (not) Pink Bike Blog Roundup

This week seemed to bring a number of blogs about what might encourage more women to cycle - from teaching them to 'own the road' to bike trains to bikes that also sell ice cream. While women-specific bike shops are a growing trend in the US and seem to be the answer for some, for others the idea makes them want to run a mile. After all, women who cycle are not all the same - from bike couriers to pregnant bike shop owners to 19th century race and gender pioneers. And when it comes to pink, the real problem may be that grown women don't wear it that much off the bike either - let alone all the creepy comments an ultra-feminine bike attracts. Instead we should be looking at some of the deeper positives to cycling - and allowing ourselves to admit we're having a crap time occasionally.

Of course, that goes as much for men as for women; we all need more positive stories sometimes - although perhaps bike campaigners aren't the best messengers (or perhaps we just need better organised ones. After last week's gloomy mood, some bloggers did seem more positive with reasons to be hopeful, and making the case why everyone should be grateful to cyclists (only don't call us that). The Guardian picked up the stories of some who have swapped their cars for bikes - and Minneapolize celebrates the resulting slowing down of life in general. Downfader welcomes some company in the bike lanes even if it holds him up a little while Countercyclical finds cycling to the shops is just easier. Dave Horton decides to blow off the cycle stakeholder's forum in favour of a bike ride, while the invisible visible man is reminded of the displeasures of driving and Chafe City celebrates a friendship in passing with her fellow cycle commuter. A Korean city discovers the joy of a car free life for a whole month. Cycle Space wonders why we advocate for protection from traffic but not for rain - although it doesn't seem to deter Portland's cycling commuters. Sacramento Kiddical mass celebrates the joy of doughnuts although one downside to being the kid in a bakfiets is is enduring all the adults' lame remarks - although at least you've no need to scold drivers once your three-year-old develops superpowers. And while it seems everyone hates electric bikes the cross-modal dating controversy rages on, although if you do have to carry your date by bike here are some handy tips.

All the positivity in the world, however, won't get rid of the gorilla in the room when it comes to cycling, safety - we may not set off on our bikes feeling vulnerable - but then a lorry grinds up behind us. While the sister of a woman killed in London feels cyclists need more training it's more the network that's the problem - after all if the council won't prioritise a street because not enough people have been hurt there then how are things going to improve? Some bad driving is so commonplace we no longer notice it - but would it really kill drivers to slow down a bit? Movementsci places helmet wearing in the scale of risks but forgets to include swooping birds, stalking cougars or (in Texas, anyway) armed cyclists.

Sometimes, of course, the danger is built into the road design with road narrowing schemes becoming rife in London - there were responses to plans in Shepherd's bush from Hammersmith and Fulham Cyclists and Matthew Butt while in Tottenham the authorities are willing to remove a lane of traffic, but also a cycle track - representing one step forward and one step back for Two Wheels Good. Elsewhere in London a new scheme in Merton doesn't bode well for its 'mini Holland' bid, while if British Cycling really wanted to help everyday cyclists they could start on the roads around the new Velodrome. In Cambridge, two bikes collide at a widely-criticised redesigned junction while Dublin persists with dangerous junction designs despite guidelines to the contrary. And elsewhere a newly laid street in Vienna perpetuates 'death by design' while in California there's a basic arithmetic fail in allocating space on a 42 foot-wide road. And while Stan Fichele isn't convinced by the safety of a Dutch roundabout, Manifietso finds a patriotic British town layout - it's just it's in Houten in the Netherlands. It wasn't all bad news, however, with the US beginning to move away from 'level of service' guidelines that were hampering living streets, and People for Bikes celebrating some beautiful bike separators from around the world.

Reallocating space requires political will, with the Manchester Space for Cycling protest drawing a good turnout but possibly needing more political leadership. In Wales at least the Active Travel Act has been passed - the Guardian looks at the implications. The Road Danger Reduction Forum finds some good points in Labour's Maria Eagle's speech but wonders where the concrete commitments are - and consider just how pro cycling the Lib Dems are (< a href=" chat between Norman Baker and a constituent might help answer the question). At the local level, the picture is not too rosy with local transport bodies planning to spnd exactly £0 out of £900m on cycling schemes - no wonder the LCC wants to make it an issue at the next local election. Newcycling talks to their city's cycle champion. Pedestrian Liberation suggests we're suffering from 'motorism' as a nation, while the People's Front asks if the FTA is Britain's NRA. Or maybe it's the Institute of Advanced Motorists, bizarrely blaming a pedestrian death black spot on crackdowns on drink driving, although that isn't as bizarre as banning bikes to relieve congestion. Still there was support for cycling from some (perhaps) unexpected places with one Derek Hatton criticising the removal of Liverpool's bus lanes and one Gerry Adams supporting lower fines for cyclists who break the rules (that's really going to make the Daily Mail hate us now)

Elsewhere the Federal shut down is closing bike routes in the US (although the roads for cars are kept open). With non-motorised commutes on the rise in America's 50 biggests cities, it's Washington DC that's showing the way (so at least something works in that city). In New York, as the Wall Street Journal takes a ride with Janette Sadik-Khan, the majority back better cycling and walking , but the mayor of LA is selling out to the film industry while a Seattle mayoral candidate seems to be giving out mixed messages while Cycling Christchurch urgest New Zealanders to make their vote count.


Sometimes it's hard to be cheerful when a driver can overtake around a blind bend and cause the death of a cyclist and only be charged with careless driving - and still be cleared - a sign that the British legal system is failing cyclists - especially when whether you're counted as driving or not seems to depend on who you kill. Although while Newcycling would like to talk more to their Police and Crime Commisioner about the police perhaps sticking to the Highway Code, elsewhere it seems that new police guidelines will encourage the police to actually enforce the law, amazingly enough. And while in New York a cyclist hit by a car is warned by the police they could be booked for scratching it, at least in New Hampshire changes in the law are being considered in the wake of two cyclists' deaths. Better than bicycle licences, which are being mooted in California and Georgia).


With Portland examining the economic benefit it gets from investing in cycling, some places are offering concrete incentives: across the US cyclists can earn discounts in shops - while kids in the UK can earn points and Europe is exploring the use of tracking technology to offer incentives - perhaps someone should tell Cambridge council which seems to be charging more to tenants who keep bikes instead of cars in their garages, or indeed the UK government which taxes bike lights as a luxury item. New York considers where cargo bikes fit in to the urban delivery market in Copenhagen it seems they can be used to carry just about anything. The Czech Republic offers a low tech coffee based bike share scheme while the Dutch are taking to the peer-to-peer approach

Here in the UK, a stretch of the national cycle network is to be closed for the rest of the year, with little palatable alternative. In Richmond the Thames towpath get a partial upgrade to a better surfce. And in Bristol, the council plans to use filtered permeability to create a rat-run free cycle route parallel to a busy road.

Further afield, as ibikelondon enjoys biking the Netherlands, Bicycle Dutch wonders if they could learn something from Germany - while Kim Harding enjoyed a relaxed tour of three countries in one day, including unpaved tracks in Germany that were better than many Edinburgh roads. Vancouver seems to be flavour of the week with both Portland and Newcastle drawing inspiration from its new network (while the other Portland is looking to catch up). Chillikebab swaps Australia for California and wonders where all the cyclists are - perhaps waiting for this new buffered bike lane in San Francisco. Oregon turns to crowd funding to create a bike recreation park while the Dutch Cycling Embassy challenges Chicago to think behond just bike lanes - and a city in Brazil launches a whole package of bike measure. And with work finally starting on a trail in Chicago that was 15 years in the making, one San Franciso cyclist who couldn't wait 10 years for a bike path along a bridge creates the ultimate traffic-free commute

And finally, in the spirit of joy and absolute non-disgustedness, we bring you the naked cyclist of Tunbridge Wells. At least that solves the problem of whether to wear pink or not...