The Outside Blog

Adventure : Biking

Protected Bike Lanes in Cities to Nearly Double in 2013

8265901844_073b12f188_hDowntown Chicago. Photo: Transitized/Flickr

Late at night on Friday November 30, Chicago's Department of Transportation began construction on the city's first protected two-way bike path with dedicated bike signals. They started on Dearborn Street in the heart of downtown, and not all motorists took kindly to the construction and loss of a lane for car traffic. Mayor Rahm Emanuel didn't budge after the complaints began. “I made a pledge that we were gonna do 25 miles of protected bike lanes throughout the city each year, so we could [reach] 100 miles by the time my term was done," the mayor said in the Chicago Sun Times. "And we’re on course to achieving that.”

Emanuel is adding the lanes in hopes that the city can attract more high-tech and start-up businesses. The Windy City isn't alone in making changes favorable to bike commuters. This past Saturday, the Green Lane Project released a preliminary report of protected bike lanes in the United States—they call them "green lanes." The organization said that U.S. cities had only 62 green lanes in 2011. By the end of 2012, they predict 102 green lanes will be completed in 32 U.S. cities. The Green Lane Project said more than 80 percent of the increase comes in eight cities: Austin, Texas, Chicago, Memphis, Portland, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and New York City. By the end of 2013, the organization predicts there will be 200 protected bike lanes in U.S. cities.

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A Video Ode to Bike Designer Alex Moulton

"One must always go back to the fundamentals. And get your face out of the computer."

So said Alex Moulton, an engineer and the designer of a handmade, small-wheeled steel bike with rubber suspension, who died this past Sunday. He was 92. The Brit first built a Moulton bike more than 50 years ago, designing a prototype that in 1959 Raleigh refused an offer to buy. They said the new bike wouldn't sell. So Moulton began his own factory. Eventually Raleigh made a similar frame and Moulton sold the company to them. Later, Moulton bought back his patents. Since then, cyclists have used Moultons to pedal to work in England, to ride across New Zealand, and to journey 6,000 miles through China.

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Inside the Mind of a Dirt Merchant

Jason Fenton owns Halter's Cycles in Monmouth, New Jersey, a bike shop that opened in 1987 and admittedly stocks way more rigs than they need to so that customers have plenty of options. Since 2004, Fenton has been building and maintaining the trails at Six Mile Run Reservoir so that he and others have a good place nearby to ride. For an hour or so a day, he chainsaws and digs and rakes to bring an extra second or two of improved riding to his region. The above video by Adam Nawrot tells his story.

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A Dog Leash for Biking

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Do you wish you could take your dog for a spin, but aren’t sure how to manage the mechanics? Love to take your Lab for a lap on the local singletrack, but don’t have a way to roll with him safely to the trailhead?

Biking with a dog can be awkward and dangerous for both you and your pooch. While you have one hand on the bars and one on a leash, an energetic dog can throw you off balance dashing to pursue a squirrel or greet the neighbor’s schnauzer, or when he doesn’t stop at an intersection. Without the use of both hands, it's hard to stop safely, and there’s the danger that your dog will get tangled in your spokes, which is guaranteed not to turn out well for either of you.


The Walky Dog Plus dog bike leash solves those problems. A seatpost-mounted horizontal metal bar that houses springs and a leash, the Walky Dog connects your bike to your dog’s harness or collar, forcing a safe distance between dog and the bike’s spinning parts, without giving Rover too much play. Internal springs temper your pup’s pulls, and give you significantly improved control of your bike.

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Holiday Gift Guide: Gear Up Your Gal This Season

Holiday gift guides abound this time of year. But they're mostly filled with gifts that you hope you'll get, not gifts you'll give. Stumped as to what to buy your lady this season? This guide is for you.


She'll wear it as a scarf, and wear it as a shawl. Either way, this 650-fill goose down wrap will keep her warm all winter. Variegated quilt and stripe patterns add subtle style—she will too as she configures this infinity looped wrap the way she likes it. $90;


This jacket is functional and beautiful. The merino shell has a wind-resistant membrane that keeps the heat in and the weather out. A zippered inside pocket stashes a wallet or passport, while the soft, stretchy internal cuffs give extra warmth. Simple, sophisticated, and at home in New York, Aspen, Paris, or Oslo. And to speak to her love of mountains, the lining has a subtle topographical map pattern. $350;

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