Philly Pedals http://phillypedals.com The Hub of Cycling in Philadelphia Tue, 03 Jan 2017 22:54:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.19 Boring Bikes for Better Tourshttp://phillypedals.com/boring-bikes-better-tours/ http://phillypedals.com/boring-bikes-better-tours/#comments Mon, 18 Jan 2016 17:02:15 +0000 http://phillypedals.com/?p=4673 Touring is not like other cycling, so different equipment rules apply.  Instead of always leaning towards lightweight, fancy components, it can be advantageous to stick… Read More ›

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Touring is not like other cycling, so different equipment rules apply.  Instead of always leaning towards lightweight, fancy components, it can be advantageous to stick to slightly overbuilt and commonplace parts.  Carbon frames with ultralight components are great for a road bike, but how would they handle 2,000 fully loaded miles?  Hydraulic brakes are a high-end, frictionless braking alternative on mountain bikes, but how are you going to handle a fluid leak in the middle of the Rockies?  Those are extremes, but it’s important to remember that even minor non-standard parts can leave you dead in the water.

On a pleasant, summer day, while riding just outside of Lusk, WY, I had the misfortune of snapping a chain.  Having repair tools in my pannier, I quickly fixed it and continued my ride.  But then it snapped again.  And again.  And again.  By the time I rolled into Casper, WY, I knew there was no way I would be leaving town without a brand new chain.  The next morning, I headed to the now defunct Ragged Edge Sports outdoor equipment store in search of drive train repair.  After swapping out both my chain and cassette, I hit the road confident that my breakdown woes were behind me.  I would quickly learn that this was false confidence, as the first hard, uphill push while on my middle chainring sent my crank zipping forward while my chain stood still.  My worn-down middle chainring could no longer properly catch my new, unstretched chain.

Photo by Troy Mustache

A great place to ride, a terrible place to find replacement parts.

For those new to or unfamiliar with bicycle maintenance, I’ll give a quick explanation of what had happened.  Brand new bicycle chains fit very nicely within the teeth of both the chainrings (the large cogs connected to the right-side crank arm) and the cassette rings (the little cogs on the right-side of the rear wheel).  As miles are traveled, the chain will pull on the teeth of those different cogs so that instead of being straight up and down, they start to lean towards the front of the bicycle, like a plant towards the sun.  This is typically unnoticeable, though, because while the cogs are stretching, so is the chain, becoming suited to those less-vertical cogs teeth.  So while the cogs are no longer perfect, the chain matches them in their imperfection, making their union more perfect.  Very romantic.

Unfortunately, should the chain be replaced, a lovers quarrel may arise between the two new partners.  The shiny and new, unstretched chain may not be able to sit comfortably within the sloped teeth of the old cogs, depending on how old the cogs are and how far they lean forward.  This is what was happening to me.  My unstretched chain could only sit well enough in my middle chainring (my most frequently used chainring) to function properly under low to medium force.  Any real pushing (like what is done while traveling uphill or when first getting up to speed), caused the cassette to slip out from under the chain making a loud grinding noise and spinning my legs underneath me, while doing no real damage.

Now, I knew that the resolution for this was simple.  I had replaced only my cassette with my chain because I had assumed my front chainrings did not need replacement.  As I was now proven incorrect in that assumption, I would simply have to replace that middle chainring.  Easy enough, and here we come to the whole point of this article (this is why I told you to bring a snack).   While the labor required to replace a chainring was minimal, since I was riding an older, non-standard crankset, the act of procuring a new chainring was going to be much more difficult.  My crankset was an old Shimano Octalink setup that had been discontinued years prior, and while parts were available, they were no longer standard stock for the average bike shop.  If I wanted my chainring replaced, they needed to order the part.  I needed to hit the road, so I decided to order the part to a shop I’d be reaching in a week or so, and just stay off that middle chainring as much as possible.  It was not a great solution, but it was all that could be done if I didn’t want to wait around in Casper for a few days.

Still no spare parts...

Still no spare parts…

That day I learned an important lesson, pickins can be slim while on tour in the middle of nowhere, so it’s better to have run of the mill components than to get fancier gear that can leave you in a bind.  If I had a standard 74/110 chainring configuration on my crankset, I could’ve hit the road with a smile on my face instead of a slightly disconcerted grimace.  Learn from my mistakes.  Make sure your components can be easily repaired or replaced if need be, as the need will inevitably eventually be.

  • Frames – Steel all the way.  While carbon and aluminum are lighter, steel is less prone to cracking, as it will bend before breaking.  On top of that, if carbon or aluminum crack, the frame is shot, whereas steal can be welded.  Alternatively, if money is not an issue, Ti is a durable, lightweight option, though any cracks would require frame replacement (usually covered under warranty).
  • Bottom Bracket – Square taper is the most common, and therefore the easiest to replace without changing up the rest of your drive train.  Any bike shop will have at least one type of square taper BB, which even if it’s the lowest of low end will at the very least give you the mileage to get to a different shop.  Also, if you break a crank arm (strip, crack, etc.), you’re more likely to find a cheap, used square taper arm than a proprietary arm.
  • Cranks – Solid, not hollow.
  • Cassette/Chain – On tour, 9-speeds should be plenty.  Additionally, 9-speed chains are cheaper and more prevalent, should you need to replace them.  When purchasing a chain, do yourself a favor and buy one with a removable link (Powerlink, for example), which will make installation easier.  Spare removable links are also recommended for breaks.
  • Clipless Pedals – Each riding style has a different clipless preference.  Road racers lean toward Look and triathletes prefer Speedplay, but the easiest to find at a sporting goods/recreation store is SPD.  They are not fancy, but they are cheap and everywhere.  Additionally, SPD/platform dual-pedals are available, allowing you to wear regular shoes while riding around town after finishing for the day.
  • Brakes – Rim brakes are the easiest to find replacements for, but brake component breakdown is a fairly uncommon problem (cables snap, not calipers).  Due to this, I would have to lean towards mechanical disc brakes since they have long pad life, grab hard, can wet without losing much in the way of stopping power, and they won’t heat up your rims on extended descents.  Hydraulic are riskier, since repairs can’t typically be handled without adding a significant amount of gear to your kit.
  • Shifters – You probably don’t want STI shifters on your bike as they would be more difficult/expensive to replace should they break, but I’ve always had them, so go ask someone else.
  • Tires/Wheels – In the US, 700c wheels are a standard and available at all shops.  Finding wider tires (32, 35, and beyond) can be difficult depending on where you are, but you’ll at least be able to make due with a narrower tire for a time.  If you plan on traveling to other countries, especially in South and Central America, you may want to think about 26” wheels.  Not only are 26” more likely to be available, they also take a fatter tire providing more comfort.  If you’re sticking with 700c down south, carry spare spokes and tubes and avoid cracking your rim.

Regardless of how you build/select your touring bike, one of the goals you should have is to not put yourself in a position where a single component failure can end your tour, either by taking too long to fix or by costing too much money.  This is one time you don’t want to be unique.  Get a tattoo, don’t get a carbon crankset.

Everyone has different experiences, though, so if you have any other component recommendations or thoughts, please leave a comment below.  I know some stuff, but there’s a lot more stuff that I don’t yet know.

Photos by Troy Mustache

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Keeping Warm on Winter Rideshttp://phillypedals.com/keeping-warm-winter-rides/ http://phillypedals.com/keeping-warm-winter-rides/#comments Thu, 07 Jan 2016 21:04:45 +0000 http://phillypedals.com/?p=4665 Now that we’re firmly held in winter’s icy grip, many people will feel the urge to put their bikes in storage for a few weeks. … Read More ›

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Now that we’re firmly held in winter’s icy grip, many people will feel the urge to put their bikes in storage for a few weeks.  Resist this urge!  Winter riding can be invigorating fun, and on top of that, it will help you to better appreciate the nice riding weather we have for most of the year.  I know it’s tough to get on a bike when the temperature is in the mid-20’s, so here are some tips for keeping warm that may help get you on the road:

  1. Layer Up – Don’t wear a parka and ski pants.  Wear multiple, lightweight layers.  Start with a base layer of thermal undies and work your way up to a jacket.  You’ll be warmer and more comfortable on your bike.
  2. Wick Away – Wear fabrics that hold in your body’s heat, while allowing your sweat to escape.  If you’re not a fan of synthetics, tight knit wool works great.  Avoid fabrics that hold water, such as cotton.
  3. Resist the Wind – A windproof shell will keep icy winds from wearing you down.
  4. Mind Your Dangly Parts – Extremities are the first casualties in the battle to stay warm.  Warm gloves and socks are a must, and on really cold days can be layered.  Mittens are the warmest option, but may hinder dexterity.  Lobster mittens provide the best of both worlds.  Headbands and helmet flaps are great for your ears, and both easily fit under your helmet, unlike a hat.  Your nose is tougher to keep warm, but on the really cold days, a full facemask is the way to go.
  5. Stay Hydrated – A properly hydrated circulatory system is far more capable of maintaining core and extremity temperature than a dehydrated one.  As a doctor friend of mine put it, “[Proper hydration] increases blood volume, and helps the circulation in your dangly parts!”
  6. Keep Moving, but Don’t Overexert – Moving your body will burn calories, releasing energy, and creating heat.  Yay, heat!  Overexerting your body will create a whole lot of sweat, which will then be cooled by the cold temperature around you, making you colder faster.  Boo, cold!  If overexertion is inevitable, make sure to only wear clothes that wick away moisture so you don’t freeze yourself in your own sweat.
  7. Avoid Prolonged Exposure/Take a Break – If your feet are numb and your nose is turning a dull shade of gray, get inside for a little while and warm up. You are only human; a fragile human that will only be allowed small victories while never truly conquering nature.
  8. Protect Your Skin – Moisturize and protect (SPF) your exposed skin.  A wind burned face, cracked hands, and chapped lips are a real turn-off.  Also, they’re irritatingly painful.
  9. Avoid Alcohol before Riding – Alcohol is a vasodilator.  As blood vessels expand, they lose heat more quickly.  Booze doesn’t keep you warm, it just tricks you into thinking that you’re warm.  Also, booze dehydrates you (see #5).
  10. Learn the Wim Hof Method – He climbed Mt. Everest in running shorts.  If you can learn how to do that, ignore 1-9.

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Oh, snap! I broke it!http://phillypedals.com/i-broke-it/ http://phillypedals.com/i-broke-it/#comments Tue, 01 Dec 2015 16:56:07 +0000 http://phillypedals.com/?p=4651 Hey Pedalers, Troy Mustache here.  While riding up from the Royal Tavern to “Live Band Karaoke” at Fergie’s the other night, I had a near… Read More ›

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Hey Pedalers, Troy Mustache here.  While riding up from the Royal Tavern to “Live Band Karaoke” at Fergie’s the other night, I had a near disaster.  I’d just turned left onto Catherine St. when all of a sudden my right foot slammed into the ground, my butt hopped out of the saddle, and I lurched forward into my handlebars.  As confused as I was about what had just happened, I had the wherewithal to grab onto my left brake lever and run my bike to a stop.  Once I came to a stop, I looked down and saw this:

Something's missing...

Something’s missing…

Oh, right.  That.

Oh, right. That.

Whaaaat???  Holy moly!  That was a new one for me.  I have broken many parts on my bike, but I’d never ripped a crank arm in half before.  I can only assume it was the fault of my piston-like thighs, and not the 10,000+ miles of abuse slowly wearing down a hollow crank arm.

Anyway, that crank got me thinking about all the different things I’ve broken on a bike over the years (chains, frames, rims, and more), and it made me curious about the stories you might have about your own bicycle breakdowns.  Have you ever broken your bike in a way you didn’t think was possible?  Ever have a near disaster where you were able to save yourself but not your bike?  How about a break down in the middle of nowhere that resulted in you hitchhiking to a bike shop in the back of a chicken truck?

In any case, send your best bicycle breakdown stories to phillypedals@gmail.com, along with any supporting photos you may have.  I’ll post the best ones up on the website as I get them.  Coolest story wins a high five.

Photos by Troy Mustache

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The Case Against Bicycle Repair Nihilismhttp://phillypedals.com/bicycle-repair-nihilism/ http://phillypedals.com/bicycle-repair-nihilism/#comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 04:27:41 +0000 http://phillypedals.com/?p=4635 You need to take care of your bicycle!  I know that not caring about anything is cool, but you’re not an angsty high schooler anymore,… Read More ›

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You need to take care of your bicycle!  I know that not caring about anything is cool, but you’re not an angsty high schooler anymore, and your apathy is more lazy than hip.  Also, you’ve seen The Breakfast Club enough times to know that even Judd Nelson cares in the end.  So pretend your bicycle is Molly Ringwald, and give a damn.  Even if it’s in secret and with an angry look on your face.

I see and hear bicycles in varying states of fixable disrepair everyday, and it drives me crazy to know that people can be so disinterested in the fast moving machinery between their legs.  Your bicycle makes your life so much easier, so why are you making your bike’s life so much worse?  That grinding noise is your bike’s cry for help, and you’re ignoring it, you sadist.  And an ungrateful sadist, at that.

Two recent events really got my lycra in a bunch over this lack of care riding rampant through the streets of Philadelphia.  The first was my roommate telling me that she needed a new bicycle because hers was too slow.  After spending an hour or so adjusting the front fender so it wasn’t pressed firmly against the tire, removing a rust-frozen chain, replacing some cables and housing, and thoroughly lubricating all moving parts, I asked her how the bike felt.  She said it was like new.  That was $20 worth of parts and an hour’s worth of work to save the bike from Craigslist.  Would you throw away your laptop because you’ve spent too much time on questionable websites and now it’s slower than a fully loaded Long Haul Trucker in the Black Hills?  Almost all of the slowness on your bike is your fault, much like all of the sketchy malware on your laptop, and all you need to do to fix it is take it to a professional for some typically inexpensive work.

Adjust that clicky rear derailleur!

Adjust that clicky rear derailleur!

Later that very same day, while riding on Spruce, I could hear a loud grinding noise coming from the bicycle that was half a block ahead of me.  I knew what it was well before ever catching up with the rider.  It was the sound of a bicycle chain violently rubbing up against a front derailleur.  The fix for this issue is usually as simple as moving your left hand ever so slightly, adjusting the front derailleur out of the direct path of the chain.  It is basic bicycle usage, not maintenance, and is one of the most common sounds to come from a nihilist’s bicycle.  How could someone ride a bike with a loud grinding noise following them the whole way without stopping to see what was wrong?  Would that same person drive a car while smoke poured out from under the hood?  Seriously, just move your left thumb and it’ll stop.  How are you just ignoring that???

If left unaddressed, any bicycle issue is only going to get worse.  If caught early, most common problems, like brake, derailleur, and chain issues, can usually be resolved for $15 or less.  When ignored, quick, minor repairs can turn into major problems that involve new components and costly work that lands your bike in the shop for a week after it gets added to the bottom of the repair list, behind all of the other people that heard that clicking noise but didn’t think anything of it until their chain snapped, they flew over their handle bars, and misaligned their whole bike.

There are plenty of great bicycle shops in Philly that would love to quickly make minor repairs on your ride.  Regardless of your neighborhood, you’re seldom further than two miles from a qualified professional.  Who knows, you may even live on the same block as a mechanic, and if you’d just be more social, you’d be able to trade a six-pack for a tune-up.

That pedal is tight (but not too tight)!

That pedal is tight! (but not too tight)

But maybe you’re not a nihilist; maybe you just don’t know any better.  That is completely fine, and likely not your fault!   How are you supposed to know about bicycles if none of your friends know about bicycles?  Well, if that’s the case, and you would like to know better, there are people out there to help you learn!  Many different bicycle shops and organizations offer bicycle repair clinics (some free, some not) that will set you on your way to self-reliance.  Within a few classes, you’ll be able to handle flat fixes, chain snaps, brake adjustments, and more.  Here are just a few links, so be sure to walk into your neighborhood shop and ask if they have classes:

(If you’re crippled by social anxiety, maybe in-person classes aren’t for you.  In that case, you can always search through YouTube or go to one of my favorite bicycle sites, SheldonBrown.com.)

Remember, DIY is just as punk as nihilism, so turn that uncaring anger into caring anger.  Then direct it at all the people around you that don’t properly maintain their bikes.  Now go put some air in your tires; you’re going to get a pinch flat.

Pump it up or blow it out.  The choice is yours.

Pump it up or blow it out.

All Photos by Troy Mustache

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Bicycle Coalition Needs to Shift to Higher Gearhttp://phillypedals.com/bicycle-coalition-needs-shift-higher-gear/ http://phillypedals.com/bicycle-coalition-needs-shift-higher-gear/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 20:35:31 +0000 http://phillypedals.com/?p=4405 Editors Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position… Read More ›

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Editors Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of this website.
 

The Bike Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has made a number of missteps recently, most recently their uncritical support of the now-stalled Project 250 Velodrome.

Their leadership was late to the party and failed to oppose or even seriously question plans by Children’s Hospital to jam a parking garage ramp onto the South Street Bridge; this will pour 500 to 1,000 cars across the sidewalk and bike lanes of the best (for now, at least) bike-and-ped span in Pennsylvania. The BCGP even backpedaled on their own blog ( this blog entry seems to have been removed), apologizing for expressing concern over CHOP’s suburban-style development. Of course, CHOP has one of their execs on the BCGP board, who did not bother to keep the BCGP in the loop about the garage ramp plan. The ramp will be a disaster for east-bound cyclists–and the BCGP appears to have given up on any protections for them.

Their recent merger with the Cadence Cycling Foundation looks to be a win for sport and racing cyclists–but will commuters and Fairmount Park supporters get traction for their concerns? The decision to support an entertainment-and-bike-racing venue and its giant billboard seems like a real stretch away from the Bicycle Coalition’s original principles of a civil and beautiful city, and a bit of a sharp stick in the eye to Parks & Rec. — a natural ally.

When Councilman Greenlee scotched the 22nd Street Bike lanes, the BCGP was well behind parents’ groups and Philly Kidical Mass on the issue.

With regressive forces on City Council and within local neighborhood groups gearing up to protect parking at the cost of commuters and kids’ safety, the BCGP might need to be a little less “insidey” and work on their advocacy chops a bit!

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New Year, New Gear: Fixies are Out, Velocipedes are Inhttp://phillypedals.com/fixies-out-velocipedes-in/ http://phillypedals.com/fixies-out-velocipedes-in/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 14:52:24 +0000 http://phillypedals.com/?p=4122 Hey, tight pants, you still riding a fixie?  Get with it, bro.  It’s 2015, and that means it’s the year of the velocipede.  Sure, you… Read More ›

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Hey, tight pants, you still riding a fixie?  Get with it, bro.  It’s 2015, and that means it’s the year of the velocipede.  Sure, you already have no gears and no brakes, but it’s time to up your cycling game and go no-chain.  That’s right, with a pede, you don’t have to worry about chains slipping, snapping, or getting grease on those jeans that leave so little to the imagination.

So pull up your suspenders, wax your Civil War-era mustache, and hop onto a pede!  Get ahead of the curve that everyone was already ahead of, but will soon be behind again!

Tricked out Pedes

Tricked out Pedes

Rollin' on a fly Pede

More Fly Pedes

Photos by Troy Mustache

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Silva Cycles porteur rackhttp://phillypedals.com/silva-cycles-porteur/ http://phillypedals.com/silva-cycles-porteur/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:54:01 +0000 http://phillypedals.com/?p=4358 We first saw this on Instagram last week, and have been crushing hard since on this front rack modification that Silva Cycles out of Campbell California… Read More ›

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We first saw this on Instagram last week, and have been crushing hard since on this front rack modification that Silva Cycles out of Campbell California is doing. Bronson, Tony and the crew are modifying the already amazing front rack made by Surly into a classic porteur style rack. Enabling it to carry substantially more on the top portion of the rack while still being able to attach two front panniers.

silvaporteurfin

photo courtesy Silva Cycles

silvaporteurinst

photo courtesy Silva Cycles

silvaporteurprog

photo courtesy Silva Cycles

The rack normally costs around $125 at your local bike shop who gets it from Surly, at almost 3 pounds it’s no joke if you plan to tour or want to carry a bunch of gear on the front of your bike. It can carry up to 70 pounds and is made from 4130 cro-moly tubing. Silva’s custom modification definitely brings this rack to a new level, among the array of porteur racks available. The new Silva porteur rack with mod costs $300, direct purchase from them, and includes basic color powdercoat. $120 to modify a Surly rack you already own, plus shipping of course. We have already begun to save our pennies to include one on a future bike build. Nice work gentleman, looks sharp!

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#PhillyBikeLove Photo Contest Winnershttp://phillypedals.com/phillybikelove-photo-contes-valentinesdayt2015/ http://phillypedals.com/phillybikelove-photo-contes-valentinesdayt2015/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 05:11:00 +0000 http://phillypedals.com/?p=4324 Our #PhillyBikeLove Valentine’s Day photo contest had some great submissions earlier this month — Thanks to all who entered and to all those who love to… Read More ›

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Our #PhillyBikeLove Valentine’s Day photo contest had some great submissions earlier this month — Thanks to all who entered and to all those who love to bicycle around The City of Brotherly Love! You can see Instagram photos tagged with #PhillyPedals and #PhillyBikeLove on our photo gallery page here.

Also, thanks to our guest photographer judges Matt Stanley and Dave Londres.

Check out the winners below and let us know what you think in the comments, see you all out there and ride safe.

‘Philliest’ Photo

Our two Photographer judges each chose their favorite photo for this category. The two ‘Philliest’ photos will win a free case of beer from Sly Fox Brewing Company, in Pottstown and Phoenixville.

philiest2

winter shadows by rebourne_marni

Matt Stanley says: ”When I think of being out on the streets of Philly, murals are the first thing that come to mind. I love the bright colors here, and the framing with the kid and his shadow fit in perfectly.”

 

philiest1

The curious gaze by jbrower4g63

 

Most Adventurous Photo

We had many great photos that would fit this category, our judges had a hard time with this one. The winning photo will win a free Fat Bike rental from Brewerytown Bicycles on West Girard Avenue.

mostadventerous

Endo’d half way down this. #snowpigeonsbicycleclub by jedgun_spbc

 

Least Ordinary

Our two Photographer judges each chose their favorite photo for this category. The two Least Ordinary photos will win a prize pack from ALLONEWORD Caps made right here in Philly!

leastordinary1

Throwback to when I took Lucy to Prom. by mlong728

 

leastordinary2

Philadelphia NACCC. by demoncatslookbook

 

Editor’s Choice

There were so many good photos, but we only had a few prizes! For wooing our Editor Steve Taylor, he chose this for his own category. Our last case of beer from Sly Fox Brewing Company goes to areyoukittenme.

editorspick

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Call for Submissions: What does bicycling mean to you in Philadelphia?http://phillypedals.com/call-for-submissions/ http://phillypedals.com/call-for-submissions/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:26:20 +0000 http://phillypedals.com/?p=4316 What does bicycling in Philadelphia mean to you? Send submissions of 200–1000 words to publisher Travis Skidmore at travis@phillypedals.com. We also welcome submissions of photography, drawings,… Read More ›

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What does bicycling in Philadelphia mean to you? Send submissions of 200–1000 words to publisher Travis Skidmore at travis@phillypedals.com. We also welcome submissions of photography, drawings, poetry, and video. Deadline: Friday, March 20th, 2015, 5pm.

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Philly Bike Share + Independence Blue Cross = Indegohttp://phillypedals.com/philly-bike-share-independence-blue-cross-indego/ http://phillypedals.com/philly-bike-share-independence-blue-cross-indego/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 00:45:46 +0000 http://phillypedals.com/?p=4280 This morning, Mayor Michael Nutter announced the title sponsor for Philadelphia’s bike share program. Philly Bike Share, now called “Indego” will be a sponsored by Independence… Read More ›

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This morning, Mayor Michael Nutter announced the title sponsor for Philadelphia’s bike share program. Philly Bike Share, now called “Indego” will be a sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. They will contribute about $1.7 million each year for the next five years as title sponsor. This is a big first step in launching the program in Spring 2015. Prior to the title sponsor funds, there was an initial $3 million capital investment by the City of Philadelphia and more than $4.5 million in state, local and foundation funding to design, implement and manage the system.

Mayor Nutter attempts a one-handed track stand on a new Indego bike while MOTU's Andrew Stober, Independence Blue Cross President and CEO Daniel Hilferty, and Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler wait for a turn on the bike.

Mayor Nutter attempts a one-handed track stand on a new Indego bike while MOTU’s Andrew Stober, Independence Blue Cross President and CEO Daniel Hilferty, and Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler wait for a turn on the bike.

This spring, Indego rolls out a fleet of 600 bicycles that will be available for anyone to use. The exciting component to this system that makes it unique is that it will not require users to have a credit card. Community outreach, engagement, and education is planned in key neighborhoods around the city to ensure broad access to the system. The bicycle sharing system developed by B-Cycle will enable anyone to check out a bicycle from 60 bicycle docking stations that will be located across the city. The system will be operated and marketed by Bicycle Transit Systems who will maintain the bicycles and be in charge of redistributing bicycles to docking stations. Philadelphians were asked to be part of the process of suggesting where the best locations for these docking stations would be. This resulted in an interactive map where people could pick a location and write comments.

Bike share has been a long time coming for Philadelphia. Since 2008, Russell Meddin of Bike Share Philadelphia has been the person pushing for this to happen. With the help of Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU), and local politicians, Philadelphia will now join many other urban centers around the world with bike share systems.

The first community bike programs of this kind emerged during the 1960s in Europe; the United States began adopting the same model in the mid 1990s on the west coast. Currently, 23 US cities have a bike share program. New York City’s Citibike is the largest with more than 330 stations, 6,000 bicycles, and riders checking out bicycles more than 34,000 times a day.

The official City of Philadelphia announcement here.

February 2010 “concept study” developed for Philadelphia Bike Share here.

August 2013 Philadelphia Bike Share Strategic Business Plan here.

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