The Outpsoken Cyclist (that would be me) was invited to Washington, D.C. to attend Urban Press Camp this past couple of days and I think it deserves a posting here.
Ramping up the the Bike Summit, Urban Press Camp was an opportunity for members of the press to speak with company representatives and see products as well as ride bicycles that are targeted at urban riding. The event was held at the breathtakingly beautiful House of Sweden. This building also houses the Swedish and Icelandic embassies. They are about the "greenest" buildings I've ever seen - from the water dispenser that took water out of the air, to the recycled glass ware for drinking.
I even ran into people I haven't seen in years, including Larry Pizzi, who used to own a bike shop in Philadelphia. He's now with Currie Technologies, the only electric bike company at Urban Press Camp. The bikes were pretty sharp looking. (And I will be talking with Larry on The Outspoken Cyclist later in April).
Public Bike and well as Bcycle were the two "public systems" - sometimes called bike sharing - shown at the event. Now in several cities around the world, Public Bike's Bixi system is probably the most well known in Montreal. In speaking with each of the representatives of these companies, compelling reasons made it difficult not to see a bike sharing system work in every community.
I rode a Civia and a Breezer. I liked the ride of the Civia better but loved the NuVinci shifting on the Breezer! The little shifter "dude" is incredibly user friendly as he "climbs" a little visual hill or sees the road "flatten out" as you shift an inifintely variable system. No clicking, no guessing, no noise. The Civia had a 3 speed shifter and, while I remember riding a 3-speed as a teenager, I like a few more low gears!
So, it wasn't just bikes! We not only saw some new products, but were given a gorgeous Osprey backpack, a new stainless steel Polar bottle (which is VERY cool), a Cateye Urban wireless computer, a pair of new Panaracer Urban tires, and a slick Gore Tex cycling beanie. (I, of course, thinking I would be "miss minimalist" came to Press Camp with a teeny-tiny bag and suddenly had to figure out how to get all this stuff home!)
What I really came away with though is a huge commitment from the cycling industry to getting everyone on a bike. It was a privilege to be invited and stay tuned to The Outspoken Cyclist in the coming weeks as many of these people will be my guest on the show.