Young Massachusetts engineers create helmet vending machine; Chris King receives White House invite; Cyclocross season is here; a cycling renaissance, and more

No helmet? Rent one from a bike helmet vending machine. A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers have developed a solar-powered vending machine capable of dispensing and collecting up to 36 helmets at a time. HelmetHub provides helmets on the go, making the vending machine popular among BikeShare programs. The helmets come in three sizes and will likely cost between $2 and $5 to rent, Mills said, and returned helmets will be inspected and sanitized before re-entering the supply.

* Chris King receives invitation to the White House to discuss U.S. job creation. BikePortland reports that Chris King, founder of the Portland-based C hris King Precision Components, has been invited the White House next week for a discussion about how American manufacturing can spur job creation.

* Shortage of crossing guards has Seattle students dodging traffic. KOMO news reports that the Seattle school district hasn’t hired enough crossing guards, leaving nearly two dozen intersections near schools without crossing guards and forcing children to dodge traffic.

Photo byDerek Blagg Photography

*Bikes, mud, obstacles, and cheer – cyclocross season is here! Yes, the weather may still be nice but the first September rain drops fell on Monday morning and the first cyclocross race of the season was raced in Big Finn Hill Park in Kirkland. With two cyclocross series in the greater Seattle area, weekends will be filled with muddy bicycle fun for the whole family.

* Cancer surgeon commandeers little girl’s bike to rush to the hospitalGrist shared a cute story of a Louisiana breast cancer surgeon who, on her way to the hospital, got stuck in nightmarish traffic after a serious accident shut down the interstate. Knowing her patient was waiting at the surgery center, she hopped off the highway, drove to a friend’s house, and commandeered his eight-year-old daughter’s bike and a Disney princess helmet. Even with her knees knocking her chest, Baucom traveled faster than the stopped cars on the highway. She pedaled madly all the way to a police checkpoint, where the officers escorted her to the surgery center.

* Ingeniously designed kids bike grows with the young riders as they age. Spanish bicycle designer Orbea has designed what may be the first line of bikes that expands with the frame of the owner. With a crossbar, stem, and seat that can be lengthened over time, as well as longer-lasting components, the aptly named Grow bikes only need to be replaced every five to seven years compared to two to three years for conventional bikes, according to Orbea.

*A cycling renaissance is taking place in America. Thanks to cycle-friendly policymaking and increases in government spending, more and more Americans are taking to the road on two wheels and Cities are increasingly vying to be bike friendly, says The Economist. Between 1977 and 2009 the total number of annual bike trips more than tripled, while the bike’s share of all trips rose from 0.6% to 1%.

* USA Today (finally) discovered that Portland is a city of bikes, not cars:  America spent 50 years and billions of dollars after World War II redesigning itself so that cars could move people across this vast country more quickly. Now, with many cities in gridlock, one-third of the population obese and climate change forcing innovators to look beyond the internal combustion engine, cities are beginning to rethink that push toward the automobile. Perhaps no place has thought about it more than Portland, where City planners, businesses and, yes, the citizens of this Pacific Northwest city have embraced a shifting of gears designed to enhance the quality of urban living with a nod to the environment.

* Could London get an elevated bike network? A London architect is trying to convince the mayor that the way to expand the city’s bike infrastructure is not on the streets but in the air. His firm calls the idea SkyCycle:

*Elly Blue reviews sharrows, calling them to the “the Jordan Catalano of bike infrastructure”

Anne-Marije Rook's picture
Anne-Marije Rook