Futurama Redux: Urban Mobility After Cars, a Traveling International Exhibition

One of the highlights of the 1939 World’s Fair was a massive exhibit called “Futurama,” created by General Motors. It promised that within twenty years the working man would live in a glorious future filled with friendly suburbs, gleaming skyscrapers, and extensive highways—all of this made possible by the comfort and convenience of the personal car.

More than 75 years later, most of us are living in the car-centric future prophesied at the World’s Fair, but it is not quite the utopia GM envisioned. Pollution, traffic congestion, and the looming end to fossil fuels leave us wondering: What comes next?

The international exhibition Futurama Redux: Urban Mobility After Cars offers fascinating answers to this question. Continue reading “Futurama Redux: Urban Mobility After Cars, a Traveling International Exhibition”

Can bicycling save the economy?

~posted by Selby

Can biking save oClick here to view Bikenomics in the SPL catalogur economy? This is the main question that Elly Blue tackles in her book Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economy. I was skeptical when I picked up the book. I, like so many people, see biking as a recreational activity or a way to help save the environment. But the economy? However, after reading this book I think Elly Blue may be onto something. Continue reading “Can bicycling save the economy?”

Spring Biking

The daffodils and tulips are finally indicating that it is spring here in Seattle. It is time to shake off the winter doldrums and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. A perfect way to do that in our beautiful city is by bike. Whether you pull an old clunker from storage or plunk down the cash for sparkly new fixie, the library has plenty of biking books to inspire you to get out and ride.

Everyday Bicycling by Elly Blue is a great place to start if you are new to riding or just want to brush up on the basics. Hand signals, types of bikes and how to be safe are all covered in this slim volume. Continue reading “Spring Biking”

Ride your bike to work (and fix it too)!

How did you get to work today? If you’re like the vast majority of Seattle residents, chances are good that you drove your car or took the bus. On your commute, you probably saw at least a few people riding bicycles: according to the most recent US Census data, 3.6 percent of Seattlites use bicycles as their primary mode of transportation to work. That may not sound like much, but Seattle is now second only to Portland in the number of bicycle commuters nationwide. In the past year, the number of people biking to work in Seattle increased by 22 percent.

Image of the Flying Cyclist, courtesy of AbbyWant to join the ever-expanding ranks of Seattle’s urban cyclists? The Seattle Public Library is here to help. As part of the fall Urban Self-Reliance program series, the Library is offering “Introduction to Bike Commuting” classes at five branches around the city. A certified Cascade Bicycle Club instructor will cover many topics of interest to budding cycle commuters including rules of the road, route planning, cycling gear and much more!

If you’re already riding around town but feel helpless when you get a flat tire, check out the Bicycle Maintenance classes in the same series. Friendly, knowledgeable instructors from the Bikery will teach you how to fix a flat, lubricate your drive chain, adjust your brakes and more. All classes are free and do not require advance registration.

If you can’t make it to these classes, or want to learn more about bicycle commuting and maintenance, the Library has many great books on these subjects in our collections. Here’s a short list to get you started:

On bicycle commuting and urban cycling:

On bicycle maintenance and repair:

Check ’em out, and start riding (and fixing) your bicycle today!

Books that are One with the Bike

I’ve been reading some interesting books about bikes and bike riding, racing and commuting. Here are a few books that have an interesting angle or two. Sometimes the angle is from the ground looking up.

This is Parkin’s follow up to his very popular A Dog in a Hat. This time he returns to the states and learns to ride a wide tired bike over snowmobile tracks. When he finally gets his chance to race in America he finds this snow training has been all wrong for the quick and tumble races that lay before him in the American South.

“I’ve been riding a bicycle as my principal means of transportation in New York since the early 1980’s.” So says the author and musician in this book where he recounts his bicycling travels in Berlin, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Manila, Sydney, London and U.S. cities big and small from New York to Sweetwater Texas. Continue reading “Books that are One with the Bike”