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Everyone in Beijing is ditching bikes, except for the foreigners

In 1986, 60 percent of the citizens of Beijing rode bikes; now 17 percent do. In an age in which every industrialized nation with even the slightest desire to get through the 21st century with its oil-dependent economy intact is ramping up efforts to make its cities more bike friendly, China is undergoing a grand reversal, a de-bikification on a scale only China could manage.

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Gonzo urban bike racing cranks up camaraderie, community

Photo by M. V. Jantzen.

It was the classic test of a longstanding question: Who is the supreme cyclist, bike messenger or road racer?

The field had winnowed to just two riders in the final race of the Diamond Derby, a daylong bicycling event in Northern Virginia just across the Potomac from Washington, D.C. Road racer Michael Esmonde, all Lycra-clad and riding a high-end carbon fiber speed machine, faced down bike messenger Sean O’Donnell, who sported just a cotton T-shirt and cutoff jeans while pedaling a well-worn fixed-gear bike.

Almost as interesting as the matchup between the two bicycling worlds was the event’s location: a parking garage.

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This is the coolest-looking, least practical bike helmet we’ve ever seen

Photos by Natalie Walsh.

Have you ever wanted to have a stunningly beautiful bike helmet that would shatter into dangerous splinters if you ever actually fell on your head? Well, you're in luck, because Instructables user Natalina has posted step-by-step procedures for making a helmet that looks like a disco ball. (She emphasizes that it's meant as a costume piece, since it's, you know, covered with glass -- but you could do it with acrylic mirrors instead for a safer ride.)

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Half-bike, half-car Velomobile goes 80 miles on 6 cents of electricity

Photo by Watson House.

Velomobiles are reclining bicycles with fiberglass shells on top, to make you super aerodynamic, weatherproof, and sort of whimsical.

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We-Flashy sells reflective biking gear that looks like normal cool clothes

Oh yes, you're cool. Your bike looks like a Victorian gentleman. Your helmet looks like a tweed fedora. And your reflective vest looks like ... a shitty reflective vest. You have two options: Embrace ugliness as a hipness signifier (it worked for all these guys), or find reflective clothing that actually looks like something you'd wear on purpose. If you picked door No. 2, Brookyn-based (duh) company We-Flashy is here for you.

Read more: Biking, Living

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This 90-year-old on a tricycle is a total badass

Photo by Brandon Stanton.

The extraordinary Humans of New York -- which is just what it sounds like, terrific photos of humans (and the occasional head-cat) in the Big Apple -- unearthed this dude, and I think he's what we all aspire to be in 50 to 70 years. Here's what he has to say about his tricycle:

Read more: Biking, Cities

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The a$#&^% biker problem: Why it’s hard to share the road

From "Motherfucking Bike," by Sons of Science

It was a Tuesday morning when I watched the cyclist -- decked out in a green jacket and a bright yellow helmet, and laden with bags -- ride into the crosswalk in front of a group of stopped cars, going against the flow of traffic. He was breaking a few laws -- but for convenience and self-preservation, I sometimes break them, too. My hometown, Baltimore, is a terrible biking town.

So I felt some sympathy for the guy -- that is, until he turned to a woman waiting in her car at the red light, and started yelling: “Hey! Hey! You’re not supposed to be in the crosswalk!”

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One mile on a bike is a $.42 economic gain to society, one mile driving is a $.20 loss

Photo by Mikael Colville-Andersen.

Copenhagen, the bicycle-friendliest place on the planet, publishes a biannual Bicycle Account, and buried in its pages is a rather astonishing fact, reports Andy Clarke, president of the league of American Bicyclists:

“When all these factors are added together the net social gain is DKK 1.22 per cycled kilometer. For purposes of comparison there is a net social loss of DKK 0.69 per kilometer driven by car.” 1.22 Danish crowns is about 25 cents and a kilometer is 6/10 of a mile, so we are talking about a net economic gain to society of 42 cents for every bicycle mile traveled. That’s a good number to have in your back pocket.