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Bike News Roundup: Mark Twain was for bike sharing programs before it was cool a U.N. conspiracy

This week’s roundup looks at bike sharing programs, from innovation to history to conspriacy theories.

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SoBi (see video above) is a concept for a bike sharing system that is supposedly 1/4 the cost per bicycle. Basically, you can mod any ol’ bike with the GPS-based system and lock setup, and bikes can be locked to any bike rack, instead of being docked at certain stations. This almost sounds like a hybrid of a bike sharing program, like Denver’s B-cycle program, and an unregulated yellow bike project (where bikes are painted a certain color and just released into the wild to be used by anyone). Sounds rad. I hope their testing goes well and an idea like this can move forward.

Speaking of bike sharing, you know who was a fan of bike share programs? Mark Freaking Twain. In a visit to the Northwest in 1895, Mark Twain talked bikes and bike policy with the Oregonian. An excellent find by Crosscut. My favorite part is where Mr. Clemens lays out an argument for a government-owned bicycle sharing program (no joke). He also suggested that Portland pave their streets (for the bikes, of course). “…this is a pretty nice, smooth street. Now Portland ought to lay itself out a little and macadamize all its streets just like this. Then it ought to own all the bicycles and rent ’em out and so pay for the streets. Pretty good scheme, eh?”

You know who is not a fan of bike sharing programs? The newly-selected Republican gubernatorial candidate. Biking Bis is tracking the story. I want to believe my one-time state of residence would not elect a guy who thinks the Denver bike sharing program is linked to a United Nations plot to destroy the personal freedoms of Coloradans. My heart says that this guy has to be dead in the water, facing popular pro-bike Denver mayor John Hickenlooper for the Governor’s race. In fact, I lived a couple blocks from the Governor’s mansion for a year. That’s a great biking neighborhood. If Dan Maes moves in there, all the bikers in the ‘hood might drive him deeper into his paranoid conspiratorial hole, afraid to even peek through the windows for fear one more so-called Denver resident (he knows you’re all actually French and Swedish, by the way) bikes down Pennsylvania St and through Governor’s park, on the way to the Speer bike path. For the sake of the poor man’s sanity, vote for Hickenlooper, Colorado!

The Ballard News Tribune reports that a Ballard cyclist set the world record for fastest 1,000 km ride at 31 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds. Congratulations, Chris Ragsdale.

Seattle Likes Bikes asks, what should you do if you recognize someone in the grocery store as the same person you had a road rage incident with before? Do you approach the person and say something? Do you write them a note and put it on their car?

This is an open thread.

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