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Need a ride? Check out London’s mobile bike library

Photo by London Bicycle Library.

A bus and a library make most people think of boring days locked inside a school -- unless that bus holds an AWESOME mobile bike library! Meet London’s Bicycle Library: This roving bike provider lets Londoners “check out” a bike, just as they might check out a book from a public library (although the bike library requires a small deposit, too).

The librarians provide on-site expertise to teach you about the art and science of bicycles. There’s even a bicycle matchmaking service where a librarian can match you with your true love on two wheels. Given that you can choose from folding, MiniVelo, "fixies" (Fix Gear Single Speed), Ladies Coaster, Mens Coaster, cargo, and electric bicycles, there’s no excuse for not finding something that works for you.

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Temporary tattoos for bike lovers

Design by Mike Lowery.

Are you a little more badass than your typical bike commuter, but maybe a little less than your typical bike courier? Then temporary tattoos are perfect for you, and conveniently, temp-ink emporium Tattly has just launched three new bike designs.

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In New York City, stealing a bike is easy

If a bike gets stolen in the middle of New York City, does it make it a sound?

With his own bike, a bunch of doomed locks, and a variety of tools, Casey Neistat (who you may remember from this video) proves that nope, it basically doesn’t.

The film above is a 2005 version of this experiment. On a busy Tuesday, at well-trafficked locations like Union Square, Astor Place, and 14th Street, Casey and brother Van steal their own bike using a bolt cutter, hack saw, power tools, and a hammer and spike. They act as suspicious as possible. Sometimes, passersby turn their heads and watch. But no one bothers the "thief."

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Watch mildly offensive national stereotypes promote biking

The Dutch are not always bastions of political correctness (cough cough blackface Christmas). So it's kind of a relief that when they chose three national stereotypes to feature in this mid-1980s pro-bike campaign, they went with the proper English lady, the American cowboy, and the horndog Italian. Coulda been worse.

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Electric scooter version of Zipcar hits San Francisco

Photo by Jake Metcalf.

San Francisco’s hipsters are about to get motorized. Scoot Networks, an electric scooter rental system similar to Zipcar, recently launched in the Bay Area.

The system, which is being rolled out to San Francisco-based companies for private fleets, lets users locate nearby scooters with their smartphone and claim the one they want (as with Zipcar, each scooter lives at a certain location). After it’s docked into the scooter, the phone unlocks the vehicle and acts like a virtual dashboard, providing a map as well as information on speed and range.

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The world’s most badass bike anthem

No matter what kind of tough customer you are -- the kind in the leather jacket, the kind in the earflap hat, or the kind in the blue button-down -- you will probably love this profane and catchy paean to biking. At very least, it will leave you without a doubt that riding a bike is for rebels.

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Out spokin’: LGBT bike group rides with pride

Photo by luxomedia.

"It's not that we don't like straight people," explains Jeff Rogers, president of the Windy City Cycling Club (WCCC), Chicago's oldest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender bicycle group. "On the contrary: The biking community at large tends to be made up of very nice people who are very accepting of diversity in general. But gay and lesbian people have a comfort level with each other that's different than with straight people."

That sense of belonging is easy to see as we hang out at T's, a buzzing lesbian, gay, and straight pub in Chicago's LGBT-friendly Andersonville neighborhood, on a sunny February afternoon. A dozen or so club members, mostly women plus a handful of men, are gathered at an off-season social for Dykes Pedaling Bikes, the club's monthly women's ride. Ranging in age from late 20s to late 50s, they kibbutz over $5 hamburgers and tall glasses of hefeweizen with lemon slices as Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" blasts on the sound system. A couple of them wear the club's jersey, featuring a bicycle wheel, the Sears Tower, the Chicago flag, and a rainbow banner.

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MIT students invent bike helmet vending machine

Bikeshares are a really smart idea, so participants obviously know how to use their brains -- but they apparently don't know how to protect them. Helmet use on bikeshare bikes is pretty abysmal -- data from Boston's bikeshare program show that only 30 percent of users wear a helmet. So a group of adorable MIT undergraduates has invented HelmetHub, a vending machine that dispenses bike helmets for $8 a pop. That's a small price to pay to keep your cranium intact.

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Go cargo: Utility bikes take cities by storm

Longtime Washington, D.C., bike messenger "Scrooge" test-driving the author's Dutch Style “bakfiet” cargo bike.

From behind a windshield, my Dutch-style “bakfiet” cargo bike must look like an oddity. My multitalented artist friend Adam Zopf and I built these bikes for ourselves a few winters back. We cut two bikes in half and welded them back together with a long metal bar stretching out the wheelbase. A long steering bar extends from the handlebars all the way to the front fork, allowing the rider to turn the front wheel from the back of the bike. My bakfiet is outfitted with an old wheelbarrow tray acquired through Freecycle, handy for carrying anything too big for a backpack. Adam’s has a “flat bead” for lugging his work gear around that can be mounted with wicker chairs for his wife Regina and their young son Theo. It’s Dutch cycling chic with a little Fat Albert and the Gang twist.

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Spectacular wooden bikes made from salvaged urban trees

Photo by Masterworks.

The Giving Tree should be ashamed of herself. Oh, sure, she let herself be made into a boat and a house and an uncomfortable metaphor for maternal martyrdom, but did she ever turn into a completely sweet-ass bike? Not a chance. That's reserved for the lucky urban trees that fall into the hands of Masterworks Wood and Design.

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