A quick take: How bikes are working in two cities.
From The New York Times: “In Portland, Cultivating a Culture of Two Wheels.” It’s a good take on everything the city has done to integrate bicycles into daily life and how people have responded. The accompanying video version of the story — here — is also worth checking out.
From Der Spiegel (the English version for German-challenged types): “Vive la Vélorution:
Paris Rental Bike Scheme Goes Global.” A fairly detailed story on how Paris’s celebrated free-bike system works (in a nutshell, a big French advertising firm does all the work in return for the fat profit it enjoys from municipally granted billboard rights). The story mentions that the free-bike idea is spreading through Europe and may even be tried in Chicago. Somehow, it’s hard for me to imagine the scheme working here. My take on the Paris system was that it looked well tended and thought out. Few municipal services, even those undertaken with private partnership, seem to work well in the States. I also think that somehow Americans have a penchant for senseless, wanton vandalism that would make it hard to keep the nice urban bikes on the road.