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Bike Shops: The Unsung Heroes of the Cycling Movement

Around the Streetsblog Network today:

Bike Shops Get People Cycling: Greater Greater Washington posted a great video this weekend on the importance of neighborhood bike shops, particularly in low-income communities, to encouraging people to bike regularly. In the video, Milwaukee Bicycle Works Director Keith Holt explains that if children from an impoverished community can't access bicycle repairs when they need them, that could spell the end of their cycling habits. "Some of the main barriers to folks riding bikes, almost independent of income, was the fact of where to buy a bike and where to get a bike fixed," Holt says. "It's a lot to ask a child or a teenager, if their bike is broken, to have their parents, who are working two or three jobs, to take them over to the other side of town to get their bike fixed."

Copenhagen Takes Bicycle Friendliness to a New Level: Just when you thought Copenhagen couldn't get any more bike friendly, planners have again upped the ante. According to Mikael at Copenhagenize, the city is installing special foot rests for cyclists at intersections. So far, the city has five racks, but they have proven so popular that 20 more are being installed, "for no reason other than spoiling our cyclists and to thank them for cycling in the city" Mikael explains.

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The goodwill even extends to the racks' messaging: "Simple, friendly and encouraging texts like 'Hi, cyclist! Rest your foot here and thanks for cycling in the city,'" Mikael writes. "I spotted one of the new ones the other day. It reads, 'Win a cargo bike. Send in a photo of a lovely bicycle moment.'"

One-Year Update on London's Cycle "Superhighways": One year ago, London installed two new "cycling superhighways" to considerable fanfare. Checking back in, Joe Peach at This Big City reports that the results are difficult to refute: London has experienced a 70 percent increase in cycling along its completed routes. And the progress continues. "London plans to have twelve cycle superhighways by 2015, with two opening each summer until the proposed spoke-like network surrounding the city is complete," Peach reports.

But Peach goes on to say that the cycling superhighways should not be over-hyped. The routes, in some places, force cyclists to share space with motorists and buses at peak hours. To dismiss the new bikeways as a few miles of blue paint, however, would go too far. Peach writes: "It’s frustrating to hear criticism of the Cycle Superhighways. All contain design elements that, if applied more consistently, could improve the experience of cycling in London."

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