Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Millionaire Who Goes To Bed Hungry

Confronted by a fairly long daily commute, over the years I've devolved
into a state of audio book addiction. Having recently listened to the thought-
provoking "Zero to One" by the fountain of ideas known as Peter Thiel, I noted
this profile of Thiel's Paypal co-founder, tech star and serious roadie Max Levchin,
who rhapsodizes about Strava, etc.    Click here to view article at Business Insider

PS how to promote a book entitled "Beginning Italian" ? Click here to see its cover.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Halter's Cycles is now much closer to Princeton - near the corner of 206 / 518

The article in Town Topics is at

Unrelated to the above, I was chatting with an elderly fellow (even older than me!) at the
Sustainable Princeton Great Ideas Breakfast a few weeks ago. He mentioned "I used to
bike when I was younger, but now am too slow and suffer from balance problems". I asked
why he didn't consider an adult tricycle. "I wasn't even aware of these" he replied. Right on
cue, an item appeared in the NY Times "T" magazine, which can be found at the link below.

           The Third Way: Tricycles             Culture By EMILY STOKES 

Long a favorite of toddlers, three-wheelers have also attracted the attention of British lords, Indian
maharajahs — and now, one writer hopes, a bold new generation.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What Should Be Princeton's Biking And Walking Goals for 2015?

What can we do to make Princeton friendlier to cyclists and walkers? That was a key question addressed by PBAC at our meeting at Princeton town hall on October 23 (read the minutes here). 
Which of the many, many things that we could do ought to be priorities? Our volunteer committee members drew up individual 'wish lists' on the board, which we consolidated into a number of key action areas, which fit within our overall framework of advancing the 'Six Es'. These are:
  • Improving the Built Environment,
  • Education efforts,
  • Encouraging and organizing the cycling community in Princeton,
  • Building ties to local and regional bike/walk planning groups.
You can read our current list of planned 'key results' for 2015 as part of the minutes from our meeting. Our action items take account of input from various members of the public who have attended our meetings or emailed us feedback throughout the year. We are always interested in this feedback, so if you have some suggestions, please get in touch at

At our next PBAC meeting, which is happening this Thursday, November 20, at 400 Witherspoon Street Meeting Room A at 7.30 p.m., part of our agenda will be to revise and approve our goals. Hopefully this will set us on the way for a successful and productive 2015!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Orange is the new tawny

How can one predict what will be trendy ? Could "Meme, Myself, and Irene" ever go viral as a T-shirt slogan ?

IBM's "Birth of a Trend" project studies the science behind predicting online trends that can revolutionize an
industry. Researchers analyzed six years of social media data to study "Cycle Chic," the fashion/transportation
movement dedicated to cycling in stylish street clothes, often atop classic bicycles. Read more about this.

A biking movement called Slow Roll aims to revitalize neighborhoods within bigger cities. It was founded in Detroit
by Jason Hall, who stars in a cool iPad commercial. If inspired to roll your own Slow Roll someday, get approval

In recent years the Gravel Grinder movement - events featuring unpaved roads - has sprouted in the US. Learn
more about this hot new trend in cycling here or here. Or start training for a local event to be held next March 21.
In the Chianti area of Tuscany, preserving the heritage of the white gravel roads has inspired a vintage-bicycle
race that has grown to more than 5,000 participants. L'Eroica, which means "the heroic" in Italian, takes place 
each October. The race was conceived to help prevent the gravel roads from being resurfaced with asphalt. Since 
its 1997 debut, the event has evolved into a model for environmental sustainability.  NYT article: A Race Against Time

As of 2013 there is a sister L'Eroica event in Japan, located near Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi. Video clip.

      "The theme of the event is to preserve the slow lifestyle of the past and enjoying nature, 
      community and sports within this lifestyle; and to promote sustainable tourism and international
      cooperation and exchange."            

More recently, there has been expansion to the UK with L'Eroica Britannia last June, branded as 
"the most handsome bike race in the world".  Getting right into the spirit of it, the official video, or
read a nice article about the UK's vintage cycling movement. 

Whereas the ethos of the UK-based Eroica references "sustainability" only once, the philosophy of the
Tuscan prototype mentions it 3 times. I'm not sure whether this imbalance is due to macadam pavement
having been invented in the UK, or the Slow Food movement having originated in Italy. There also appears
to be some amount of fast food wordplay going on, with reference to "hero" sandwiches rather than "grinders".

The Slow Food movement has as its logo an orange snail, as used by this restaurant in Belgrade. An orange
item is an important prop in the wonderful 2-minute video "Rolling" by NYC's Transportation Alternatives. But
as explained by this SF-based color consultant, the color of sustainability is not just orange, or even green. In
any case, the movement continues to grow in the central part of the Garden State.
Brian Eno, co-composer of the music used in "Rolling", coined the phrase "The Long Now" two decades ago.
It "refers to the idea that in some cultures the word 'now' refers not to the immediate moment, as it does in 
our culture, but to a day, a year, or even 10 generations backward and forward. A project, The Clock of the Long
Now, aims to build a monumental, super-slow astronomical clock - to embody the idea that "sustainability begins with 
taking a long view of our past and our future and adjusting current activities in accordance". Princeton alumnus
Jeff Bezos is funding the project. Details on how the ingenious movement within the 10,000 Year Clock is synchronized
to the sun can be found here.

Meanwhile, around here there's no stupendous techno-marvel, only an iconic sundial. Downtown restaurants dedicated
to Slow Food include the newly-opened and vibrant Jammin' Crêpes at 20 Nassau. There remain several nice unpaved 
stretches of road nearby. Plus you can literally take the long view by biking along Longview Drive ! For sustenance, there
are no heroes or grinders, only hoagies. 

But we can be heroes: a map showing a slow, loopy 8-mile bike ride in search of local colors and such is online here.



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Welcome New Friends Of Princeton Walking And Cycling!

Last Thursday, October 30, 'Sustainable Princeton' held a breakfast session at the Princeton Public Library focusing on 'Creating A Bike-Friendly Princeton'. The turnout was great, and many of the participants signed up for our Princeton Pedestrian and Bicycling Advisory Committee mailing list. I'd like to say 'thank you' to everyone on our mailing list for their ongoing support, and also welcome our new friends! There are over 200 of us now! 

Princeton Pedestrian and Bicyling Advisory Committee (PBAC) is part of Princeton's municipal government, with a mission to advise Council on policy relating to walking and cycling. We don't get to set policy, but we try to make sure that our local government is doing what is best to support everybody who likes to get around on foot or on two wheels. To make that happen, we rely on the community for support, and the time of our committee members, who are local residents and volunteers.

If you have any suggestions for what PBAC ought to be working on, or if you are particularly keen to help, let us know by emailing We also have a website at and a Facebook page at If you're on Facebook, why not give us a 'like'?!

Special thanks must also go to Sustainable Princeton for putting on this terrific event! Look out for other events in their ongoing 'Great Ideas Breakfasts' series.