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Many thanks to Utility Cycling for the video.
Bearing in mind that the difference between the cost of petrol to society and the much lower price at the pump amounts to a government subsidy, how exactly will increasing speed limits on motorways from the current 70mph to 80 mph, and causing a 20% increase in fuel consumption, help to reduce the budget deficit in the UK?
Answer that one Mr. Hammond.
And then answer this one.
I mentioned before that I have learned a few juggling tricks, and on the off chance I actually have the energy and won’t be simply melting into the carpet, I’m going to try and learn this while I’m in Japan
Readers who know me are requested to refrain from making observations about my coordination and self-discipline.
Briefly surfacing from a mass of paperwork, I noticed in passing that it’s Saturday and I haven’t even begun to think of an entry. Then I came across this video which manages to include three things I’m interested in; bicycles, railways, and theatre:
As an additional advantage it’s not completely off topic either: on Tuesday we’ll be catching the bus at some unknown hour and then the train to Frankfurt, Brussels, London and York.
Apparently this is the work of a non-profit working to bring attention to inequalities between north and south. I’m guessing the idea is to remind the northerners that bicycles are a pretty good form of transport. I’m not too sure about driving down steps as a piece of bicycle advocacy- on a couple of occasions pedestrians had to jump out of the way to avoid descending dirt bikes, but overall it’s an interesting and well put together idea. I like the little girl at the end especially. What do you think? Does it work, or is it annoying?
(Hat tip to Richard of Louisiana for the video)
In ‘other news’: We’ve hit a problem with the apprenticeship because the Handwerkskammer (Trade guild) says my boss didn’t pass the test he needs in order to train me. On the other hand he’s planning to apply for a master’s qualification anyway, starting in Autumn 2011. The Guild they said that if he applies for this Master’s Qualification, he can train me as soon as the application comes in, even if that’s in September this year. This makes no sense to us, but we aren’t arguing.
At last the snow isn’t falling. A bit of sun helped too, and now the roads are clearing. Good thing too: the one lesson I learned from this is that the Bakfiets doesn’t like snow. The Xtracycle coped better, although the new tyres don’t quite have the grip of my older Michelins, so I’ve been walking as much as cycling. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.
We’ve been holed up inside and looking at how our ‘people powered’ lifestyle can develop beyond simply cycling as transport.We’ve found the Transition Movement, whichI immediately liked because it seems to be about finding answers as much as highlighting problems and protesting (valid though that is). It also seems positive and optimistic, and community based, and as I’ve long since decided politicians are the last people to turn to for solutions, I’m all for that.
The charity seems to be about preparing people and towns to move to more localised economies in the face of Peak Oil and Climate Change. Their video sums up their work well although its just under an hour long, so you may want to scroll sown to the first in a set of YouTube videos which present roughly the same film in more bite-sized ten minute chunks.
We’ve started on our own path along this way already, but it’s good to although we may be crazy, as our local society says, we’re in good company.
You Tube version:
Aarg.. sometimes someone tells a story so well, I’m just envious.
This is in German but with English subtitles. Wait until the end, it’s worth it.
(Via the European Christian Environment Network)
There’s been a lot of blog-based discussion of This article in the New York Times about the car-free suburb of Vauban in Freiburg, which I’m all for: much as I moan about how hopeless Ostfildern is, I live in Germany because I love the country, so it’s good to see some all-too-rare positive reporting about Germany in an English language newspaper, and with a slide show, no less. Mind you, they really should have checked their facts: Vauban isn’t just an ‘Affluent Suburb’ but has different income groups (It just looks affluent because it’s pleasant), and a sign showing a bike and ‘Frei’ written underneath actually means bikes are permitted, but there we go.
I’ve not been able to post about it as quickly as I’d like, but on the other hand I can now include this video of the place and its place in Freiburg as a whole, along with an interview with the mayor, who is part of the Green Party, about how they have worked to make Freiburg a more sustainable/pleasant/livable city.
(Thanks to ‘Cycling is good for you’ for the video)
Ostfildern had the opportunity to do the same, but of course decided to build a new road and make it easy to drive through, but it does at least show that when we do this sort of thing in Germany, we do it well.
Vauban’s English-language website, showing their aims and ideas is here.
Sometimes I need a bit of a shock to remind me that no matter how lukewarm Ostfildern manages to be, no matter how reluctant to improve cycling infrastructure, or even reign in cars a bit, it could be worse. Fortunately Karl at Do The Right Thing provided just such a shock with this video of a local bike lane, which managed to be a mere 10 Metres long and includes a kerb in that distance. Unfortunately this sort of half-hearted and dangerous cycle lane is fairly normal from experience in the UK.
Monty Python couldn’t improve on that one…
One of my favourite cycling videos which I recently rediscovered thanks to this link from David Hembrow. Apparently the text at the end says: ‘If we like cycling so much, why sit in traffic jams to go to work?’ I particularly like the fact the car is a BMW.
I’ll post about the (happy) ending to the broken Xtracycle story next week.