Collective concern

I had a fascinating time at Untokening Durham. I am reflecting on of some of the great sessions and conversations I had, especially with Aidil Ortiz, Aya Shabu, Oboi Reed, Josh Malloy and Bonnie Fan. But my most prominent memory right now is of riding to dinner.

Nerdiness and privilege

After my post about the Oakland Rideout, Twitterer Dianne Y. called out my characterization of the event as over-analysissand #plannerdy. Regular readers know that over-analysis is kind of what we do here at the Bike Lab. And being a city planning nerd is not merely a fact, it's an aspiration. But she also challenged me as writing about disadvantaged groups from a privileged perspective, and I wanted to think about that question.

BARTable by bike article series

My advocacy philosophy has always been to model cycling as an everyday activity which does not require special skills or equipment. Anyone able-bodied can do it. One of my tools is the Bay Area Bike Rides web site, which I created in the early 1990s when cycling in the Bay Area was predominantly a recreational activity. Now, thanks to a connection with Mariana Parreiras (station access manager for BART, and Oakland BPAC commissioner), I'm going to be contributing articles to the BARTable web site on BART-accessible bike rides and events. The first one just went up, highlighting this coming Sunday's Niles Canyon Stroll and Roll (September 22). 

Oakland Rideout 2019

Last year I ran into the Oakland Rideout by accident. This year I'm a little more connected, so I heard about it ahead of time and went down to the Beastmode store to check it out. Man, what a spectacular event.

Scraper Bikeway mural day

This weekend the painting work for the Scraper Bikeway on 90th Avenue finally got started. It was a nice event, and it's great to see the community and city support for an innovative space in Deep East Oakland.

Cycling and community

It was interesting to contrast the ride I did with folks from the Oakland Library last week, with the Fourth Fridays in the Park event with Rich City Rides. The librarians are using the bicycle to extend the physical community space of the library out into the streets. Rich City used the bicycle to create a community out in the streets, and on Fourth Fridays they bring it back into a physical space. 

Libraries, bikes and programs

Last week I went on an urban geography bike tour, sponsored by the Oakland Museum and led by Mana and Sadie from the Oakland Library. We learned about railroad history in Oakland, and got lucky with lovely weather to visit Middle Harbor Shoreline Park. As a cycling urban geographer, I love that kind of stuff, and I love that people in the Library also see the bicycle as a tool for contemplating the city. I'm curious about how this alignment of the library and cycling programs in Oakland has arisen.

Book cover: Bicycle/Race. Transportation, Culture, & Resistance

Book review: Bicycle/Race

I was enthused to pick up a copy of Adonia Lugo's latest book at the Bike4Justice event at Rich City Rides a couple months ago. I found it fascinating, but it wasn't exactly what I had expected. Titled Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, & Resistance, with cover art evoking Black power movements, I suppose that I anticipated something overtly political, a critical analysis of power dynamics related to cycling in the U.S. Instead, I found the book to be deeply personal, a memoir of Lugo’s own struggles to find a place for herself in cycling advocacy as a mixed-race woman from auto-centric Orange County. Lugo’s academic work is in ethnography, so it is not surprising that she is skilled at illuminating cultural and social frameworks via her lived experiences. As an ardent follower of Lugo’s work, the book helped me understand her perspectives, and how she arrived at her particular brand of advocacy.

Wide bike path separated from road by metal barrier

Non-cycling culture

I recently visited a friend in Puerto Rico, my first time on the island. I was surprised at just how pervasive car culture is there; public transit is virtually non-existent (there aren't even inter-city buses), as is biking for transport. Our friends own a decent car, and were proud to drive us around the town and to tourist destinations on the coasts. When we'd suggest that we might walk the quarter-mile into town, or wander the streets of Ponce or Isabela, they were genuinely mystified. Why would you do that? We have a car, we can drive you!

Let’s Bike Oakland officially adopted

The new Oakland bike plan was officially adopted by the Oakland City Council last night. I have my critiques, of course, but I also want to give credit where it's due. The plan represents probably the best effort possible in our current planning environment, and it's largely the result of dedicated work by some of the folks involved who pushed back against structures which are not designed to address topics outside of infrastructure. Because of that, there's a lot more in the plan about community programs and equity than would ever have been the case otherwise.

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