Willamette Week releases its annual Portland bike guide -
Money quote from the intro (which ludicrously wonders why anyone drives in Portland, though that’s probably just comment bait): This is one of the few American cities where you can properly enjoy this perfect human-powered machine, and enjoy it you should.
So far, 40 cyclists plan to bike 800 miles from Joplin, Mo., to New Orleans to raise money for people who lost their homes in recent natural disasters. There’s still time to join the ride, and plenty of time to donate to the cause, which will aim to support people hit hard by Hurricane Katrina, the Joplin tornado and Hurricane Sandy.
Here are the event’s goals:
Saudi women can now ride bikes and motorcycles in public — but only for fun, not for transportation. It’ll be just like Audrey Hepburn’s wacky adventures in “Roman Holiday,” but with a little more fabric. According to Al Jazeera, “women must wear a full-body abaya, be accompanied by a male relative, and stay within certain areas.” (It is recommended that they not travel where young men gather, “to avoid harassment.”) Let the adventures begin …
[This excellent image is apparently by Mohammad Sharaf, posted on the Uprising of Women in the Arab World’s Facebook page.]
A Waterfront Park biker catches some cherry blossom action.
bus benches are portals to floral dimensions
As part of his first exhibition at Galleria Continua in San Gimignano, artist Ai Weiwei has installed 760 stacked bicycles in a sprawling installation on a raised stage within the gallery. It’s important to note that the bikes are not simply “stacked” but have been physically attached creating a single cohesive structure which can be explored from within, similar to his 2011 work Forever Bicycles. [via Colossal]
Avis acquires Zipcar in $500 mil deal -
From the press release:
Car sharing has grown to be a nearly $400 million business in the United States and is expanding rapidly in major cities around the world. Zipcar has led this industry, leading in innovation and world-class service. Zipcar now has more than 760,000 members, known as Zipsters, with a market-leading presence in 20 major metropolitan areas in the United States, Canada and Europe, and fleet positioned at over 300 college and university campuses.
Researcher: To control weight, get out of your car -
This advice might be better targeted to those experiencing higher temperatures than, say, Wisconsin has right now. Still, money quote: “These small changes in our driving and dietary habits can lead to long-term significant changes in obesity issues.”
After hearing about Apple’s map debacle all those months ago, I resisted upgrading my iPhone software for the longest time but finally succumbed in mid-November. It took me only a couple of days to get annoyed at the subpar search and zero transit maps from Apple Maps (it tries to make up for that by catapulting users off to a list of separate routing apps). Thankfully, though, Google Maps’ new iPhone app saved me from the headache after only three weeks.
As a car-free city dweller, I use my stupid-expensive smartphone mostly as a map — to quickly figure out where to catch the next bus, usually in the rain/cold. PDX Bus is a good app, but the original Google-powered map on my phone was always a better option when I didn’t want to look up an address first to paste into PDX Bus. (Sometimes I’m in a hurry, or my fingers don’t work well when it’s below 40º. First-world problems, I know.)
When the Google Maps app arrived last week, I pounced on it, and so far I’ve found it to be slick and extremely useful — even better than its previous iPhone incarnation. (Highlights are predictive search, 3D-style scrolling, saving a default type of directions: walking/driving/transit.)
I do have two complaints: First, when I was done running errands a couple of miles from home and looked up the next bus back to my place, Google didn’t recognize my home address and placed the destination about 10 miles off course. It did find the random street number I typed in on the next attempt, though. Second, there are still no bike maps. That’s not a major concern in Portland, where most bike commuters can learn the best routes pretty quickly, but I still consider it a flaw (though I still have no plans to switch to Android).
Another nice thing about the app, though? It’s always sunny in Portland on Google Maps:
Update: Hey, morrispavilion. Yes, you can drop pins on the map. I hadn’t done that yet, since I downloaded it only two days before. But also, it simply did not know where I was trying to go and guessed completely wrong, even though I am sure I didn’t make any typos.