German Cycling Autobahn: Wave of the Future?
Just before the end of 2015 and following the examples of some other European metropolitan areas, Germany’s industrial and densely populated Ruhr region opened the first stretch of its Radschnellweg Ruhr, or “fast road for bikes.”
The just-opened 3-mile stretch links the cities of Hamm and Duisburg and is the first section of what is hoped to be a 62-mile-long bike-only highway connecting 10 cities and four universities in the Ruhr region, in west-central Germany. The new highway is totally separated from roads and includes a pedestrian path next to the bike road. (See photo below; credit: RVR, Tom Schulte) The opening stretch runs mostly along decommissioned train tracks.
There can be no mistake from the headline of the Radschnellweg‘s website (http://www.rs1.ruhr/radschnellweg.html) what its true purpose is: der schnellste Weg am Stau vorbei “the fastest way to pass by a traffic jam.” It makes perfect sense, as Germany is well-known (and loathed) for its daily traffic jams on its vaunted but overcrowded autobahn system. It’s also known for its cycling infrastructure and culture; biking locally for everyday life (to school, to work, to the market, to the pub, etc.) is commonplace.
The vision, according to the site, is to provide a “sort of autobahn” for cyclists through the middle of the Ruhr metropolitan area – one of the most densely populated areas in the country, with 8.5 million people. As reported in an article on Takepart.com, Martin Toennes, a representative of the regional development group RVR, said nearly 2 million people live within about a mile of the just-launched initial stretch of the road. “A study from RVR found that the bike highway could result in 50,000 fewer cars per day on roads in the region.”
Here’s hoping the idea catches on widely around the world – for both purely transportion purposes and for “urban renewal” purposes.
RBR’s HQ, Atlanta, is a great example of what can be done with decommissioned rail lines. In addition to an existing bike path (the Silver Comet Trail) that stretches along an old railroad bed from the western edge of Atlanta all the way to Alabama, the city’s growing “Beltline” along a rail corridor encircling its urban core has positively revitalized neighborhood after neighborhood. It’s also sparking interest in additional “greenway” projects to link more bike paths to the Beltline. All in all, very cool, and most welcome.
We’re aware of a similar bike-only road in Minneapolis. Share your area’s cycling development in the comments section below.
Flat Bike Lift a Nifty Storage Solution
Not long ago, in one of our Questions of the Week, 63% of you said you store your bikes in the shed or garage. For those of you in this group, I thought you may like to see this pretty slick solution.
The Flat Bike Lift is a ceiling-mounted rack that folds up to store your bike “flat” against the ceiling, taking up as little space as possible. In a garage, for example, you could pull your car in underneath the stored bike.
Take a look at: http://flat-bike-lift.com/#home The product goes for $269.00 + $39.00 shipping.
Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator
If standard laundry detergents just aren’t cutting through the odor when you wash your cycling clothes, you might be interested in trying this new product, http://www.febrezeinwash.com/.
I tried a couple of samples their marketing folks sent along and had good results. My wife (who runs to earn her sweat) and I also find that simply pouring some vinegar into the wash helps cut gnarly odors from workout clothes.
If you have a laundry solution that works for you, please share it in the comments below.