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Dress shirt uses spacesuit technology to keep you dry on your bike commute

You know how you don't bike to work because you get hot and sweaty and gross? A group of MIT graduates has stolen that excuse. They copied technology from spacesuits and used it to make what BikeBlogNYC has rightly dubbed "the TANG of dress shirts" -- a sharp-looking top that regulates your body heat. No sweaty pit spots! No overheating before your meeting! Now helmet up.


The shirt's called the Apollo shirt, because it's space technology and presumably also makes you look like a Greek god. The creators, whose company is called the Ministry of Supply, say that it pulls heat away from your body and stores it "like a battery" -- when you get into your badly climate controlled office, you get that heat back to battle the A/C. (Although you, Grist reader, of course work in an office that properly manages its temperature in a sustainable way.) Also there are vents for airflow, and we're going to give the Ministry of Supply bonus points for creating a wrinkle-free shirt without formaldehyde.

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Quite possibly the best bike-for-sale ad ever

A dude in St. Louis SAN LUIS OBISPO is giving up on his hipster dreams, and therefore on his fixie. Result: one of the funnier bike-for-sale Craigslist ads we've seen.

I tried so hard. I dated a girl from Portland. I criticized cheese. I applied the term artisanal to every inanimate object that went in or on my body. I burned and singed my forearms just to make it look like I was going to culinary school. I grew Carol Brady hair. I got itchy from the finest flannel and I cut off circulation from the waist down with jeans that made my ass look like an elevator button.

... And I rode a fixie.

No more. It's all gotta go. The hair, the macrame, the texting overages, the Netflix and Hulu Plus. The record collection (have you ever tried to box up and move an effin stack of LPs?!) ... and the bike.

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U.N. tries to inspire world bike revolution, doesn’t

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stood at a podium outside the U.N. on Friday wearing a dashing bike helmet — only to break my heart.

A promise had been made to me that I would get to ride bikes with the secretary general. To be fair, the promise was only implied; the invite from the Embassy of the Netherlands and its associated partners read only, "U.N. Bike Ride." But I definitely was under the impression that the secretary general of the U.N. and I would very possibly be riding bikes simultaneously, in the same vicinity, in concert. Discussing issues of the day; inspiring others around us to celebrate the bike as a low-carbon -- high-fun! -- means of transport.

This is not me.

I hadn't been to the U.N. before. People that live in New York don't really go there. Only in New York City would an international organization tasked with keeping the world prosperous, healthy, and at peace be relegated to a strip of land by a murky river and then ignored. The complex sits like a once-great college campus at the end of 42nd Street, oozing stale optimism onto the highway that runs underneath it. It's a symbol, not a destination -- for this idea that we can all work together to change the world for the better despite a great deal of evidence to the contrary.

With the Earth Summit -- or as it's officially known, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (oh, bureaucracy) -- now days away, we're in one of our hopeful periods about the U.N., like we just bought a lottery ticket that probably won't pay off but-what-if-this-one-time. Maybe this time, the U.N. will shift the world on its axis.

And how better to inaugurate that sentiment than a bike ride through New York City? A rainbow-colored coterie of diplomats and press and New Yorkers sweeping out from behind the high gates of the U.N. like Willy Wonka stepping into the public light, a show of solidarity revealing a magic that inspired the world. Or, at the very least, a visible statement of the utility and rationality of using bikes in America's biggest city. I mean, it works in the Netherlands, and bike use is expanding in the U.S.

The very least I could do is join in.

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Bereaved husband sues NYPD for failing to investigate pedestrian death

Last summer, 28-year-old Clara Heyworth died while crossing the street in Fort Greene, Brooklyn -- she was hit by a car piloted by an intoxicated driver who only had a learner's permit. The NYPD never conducted an investigation, and the driver received only a violation for driving without a license. Today, Heyworth’s husband, Jacob Stevens, is suing the New York Police Department and the driver in civil court.

Heyworth’s case received basically no police attention. The NYPD’s Accident Investigation Squad, with its staff of just 19 people (who we assume are extremely overworked), called off the investigation after an hour or so. The squad only investigates crashes where the victim is "likely to die" and in Heyworth's case, they concluded based on one call to the hospital that she didn't fit that category. Stevens said the police who responded to the crash told him from the get-go that Heyworth had little chance of making it, and, in fact, she never regained consciousness.

Heyworth's death alone would be a tragedy, but as Stevens points out, "it fits a pattern." In New York City, drivers in cars routinely kill people and get away with it. Death is just what happens when people drive heavy pieces of metal at blazing speeds down busy roads. No one investigates, and the drivers who kill people get back on the road. The man who killed Heyworth had his car back later that evening.

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Teaser: Ridin’ bikes with U.N. suits

This afternoon, the United Nations had an event to promote urban bicycling in advance of Rio+20. Full story is coming on Monday, but, for now, please relive the excitement -- nay! the grandeur! -- of a six-block bike ride with our planet's much-maligned sorta-bureaucracy.

Read more: Biking, Cities, Urbanism

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NYC learns to heart bicycles

A version of this article originally appeared on Transportation Nation.

Photo by Ed Yourdon.

Let’s go back in time to December 2010. The city’s tabloid editorial pages are just beginning to sink their teeth into the transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, for -- among other things -- her avid support of bike lanes and pedestrian plazas. In Brooklyn, well-connected residents are preparing to sue to remove a bike lane.

On Dec. 9, 2010, New York’s city council holds a standing-room-only, overflow-room-inducing, five hour-plus hearing on bikes and bike lanes in New York City. Bronx council member James Vacca, who chairs the council’s Transportation Committee, kicks things off first by warning the crowd to be polite, then sets the stage by pointing out “few issues today prompt more heated discussion than bike policy in New York City.”

In the hours that followed, he was proven correct: Sadik-Khan was grilled, interrupted, and accused of ignoring the will of the public, prevaricating, and acting by fiat.

And she was put on the defensive, repeatedly exclaiming “That’s what we do!” when yet another council member excoriated her for not soliciting sufficient community input.

At one point, Lewis Fidler, a council member from Brooklyn, told Sadik-Khan her answer was “kind of half true. I don’t say that to be snooty. I say it because I think maybe you’re not aware.”

And then he reeled himself him. “This is not like you’ve got to be for the cars or you’ve got to be for the bikes or you’ve got to be for the buses. It’s really not … the cowmen and the farmers can be friends.”

The mood at this week’s Transportation Committee hearing, held in the same room as the 2010 hearing -- and with many of the same players in attendance -- was markedly different.

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Stray dog follows bikes for 1,000 miles (and beats most of the cyclists)

This adorable terrier-looking pup was hanging around a group of cyclists when they took a break, so one of them gave her chicken. Well, you know what happens when you give a dog chicken: She never leaves your side again, even if you're riding your bike from China to Tibet, covering nearly 40 miles a day and climbing 16,000-foot mountains. The dog, nicknamed Xiaosa, had no choice but to run alongside the bikes for more than 1,000 miles. Because love. And also chicken.

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Cape Cod woman finds bike she lost 40 years ago

Forty years ago, in 1970, little Lisa Brown was riding her totally rad banana-seat bike through the woods of Cape Cod. She approached the Herring River, but the only way to cross it was a rickety plank board bridge. When Brown started out on the bridge it was two feet wide, but halfway across it narrowed to 12 inches, and she had to turn just a little bit to stay on track.

In a split second, she was in the river.

"I went in with the bike, I floated to the surface, I kicked away from the bike, and I must have pushed it down way into the mud," she told Cape Cod Times.

Brown came out "smelling like a snapping turtle,” and her bike was nowhere to be found. Until one recent day, when her wife Deirdre spotted a glint of metal off a nearby path.

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Congress raises a middle finger to young bicyclists

She's off to school, with helmet on head and doll in tow. (Photo by carfreedays.)

A small federal program is punching holes through the unsafe barricade of freeways, busy roads, and rushed drivers that surround the nation’s schools. Yet despite the program’s success, Congress is now threatening to terminate it -- not to save money, but to redirect its funds toward more car-centric infrastructure.

In 2005, Congress initiated a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) national partnership. The SRTS program coordinates infrastructure improvements across the country to make walking and biking to school safer and more practical for students and educators. By most measures, the program has been a resounding success.

Testifying to Congress about a pilot project, director Deb Hubsmith stated, "In only two years, we documented a 64 percent increase in the number of children walking, a 114 percent increase in the number of students biking, a 91 percent increase in the number of students carpooling, and a 39 percent decrease in the number of children arriving by private car carrying only one student."

Children represent over 12 percent of pedestrian fatalities. And bicycle-related injuries send over a quarter million children to hospitals annually. But SRTS currently receives just 0.2 percent of the U.S. Department of Transportation's safety budget -- and even that tiny slice is now in jeopardy.

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