Daily Bread for 5.22.24: Jane Jacobs on Cycling

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater be windy with a high of 71. Sunrise is 5:24 and sunset 8:18 for 14h 54m 38s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 98.9 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Community Involvement and Cable TV Commission meets at 3:30 PM.

On this day in 1968, “Milwaukee Bucks” is selected as the franchise name after 14,000 fans participated in a team-naming contest. 45 people suggested the name, one of whom, R.D. Trebilcox, won a car for his efforts. 

On this day in 1849, Abraham Lincoln is issued a patent for an invention to lift boats, making him the only U.S. president to ever hold a patent. On this day in 1906, the Wright brothers are granted U.S. patent number 821,393 for their “Flying-Machine.”

I’ve posted before about Jane Jacobs, the late journalist & activist on urban planning. (Jacobs had a libertarian period in her writing but later drifted away from that outlook.) While most of her work was about urban life, many of her observations have broader applicability.

A recent link from Jeff Wood @ Urban Milwaukee (‘Jane Jacobs, The City Cyclist‘) leads to Peter L. Laurence’s Jane Jacobs, Cyclist @ Common Edge.

Laurence writes of Jacobs’s grasp of cycling’s positive role within a community:

In 1956, when car ownership and the suburban development that this enabled were just being embraced as American cultural ideals, pioneering urbanist Jane Jacobs wrote that the U.S. was becoming “an unprecedented nation of centaurs. … Our automobile population is rising about as fast as our human population and promises to continue for another generation.” She continued, “the car is not only a monstrous land-eater itself: it abets that other insatiable land-eater—endless, strung-out suburbanization.

Anticipating more than a half-century of suburban sprawl, Jacobs was an early critic of car-dependency and its impacts on the built environment and land use in general. But more than that, Jacobs’s analogy of drivers as centaurs has become all but real today. In Greek mythology, as iconically depicted on the friezes of the Parthenon, centaurs were vicious half-men, half-animals at war with mankind. As Jacobs observed, the car could turn a man half-vehicle and less than fully human in his relationship with others. “Road rage” is perhaps the most familiar of car-induced pathologies.


Although Jane generally wasn’t comfortable in front of a camera, some of the most relaxed photos show her with her Raleigh bicycle. She clearly enjoyed the freedoms and joys of the bike. No surprise, bicycling was part of her childhood in Scranton, Pennsylvania, but unlike the typical American who gave up the bike at age 16 when they acquired a driver’s license, Jane didn’t. She never learned to drive. Although her father, a physician, was an early adopter of the automobile and purchased his first one in 1910, when Jane married Robert Jacobs at her Scranton family home in 1944, the couple rode off on their bicycles for a cycling honeymoon in upstate New York. According to their eldest son, Jim, born four years later, both Jane and Bob were “avid” cyclists. One of the many things they had in common was the bike. Before meeting Jane, Bob had done a number of bike tours in the 1930s, traveling between youth hostels; he made one cycling trip to Mexico while he was an art student to see the murals of Diego Rivera and another in 1936, to Holland, Belgium, and Germany, to see the Bauhaus, while he was an architecture student, a trip on which he acquired a German NSU (NeckarSulm) bike that he brought home. 

This libertarian blogger isn’t opposed to cars (not at all). There is, however, a useful reminder for us (residents of a small town) in her observations: there is more than one way to get around (and bike travel is inexpensive). How one gets around may begin with individual choice but affects development as much as development affects individual choice. One might design a city to encourage or discourage cycling, but it’s just as possible that, over time, a choice for cycling will compel changes in design.

Tucker the hippo celebrates his 21st birthday:

Daily Bread for 4.7.24: Cycling For Everyone

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be cloudy with scattered showers and a high of 49. Sunrise is 6:23 and sunset 7:29 for 13h 05m 18s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 2.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy battleship Yamato, one of the two largest ever constructed, is sunk by United States Navy aircraft during Operation Ten-Go.

From the Dutch Cycling Embassy‘:

Cycling For Everyone from Dutch Cycling Embassy on Vimeo.

The Dutch Cycling Embassy is a public-private network for sustainable mobility. We facilitate cycling worldwide as the most modern, efficient, bicycle-inclusive and sustainable method of transport by sharing our expertise and technology as the world’s number one cycling country.

Who are we? The Dutch Cycling Embassy is a comprehensive network of private companies, NGO’s, universities, research institutions, national and local governments.

How Hertz’s Bet on Tesla Went Horribly Sideways:

Daily Bread for 1.7.24: Blanco en Botella’s Re-Discover: One day trip on a gravel bike

 Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 35. Sunrise is 7:25 and sunset 4:37 for 9h 12m 33s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 17.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1610, Galileo writes of his observation of the four Galilean moons: Ganymede, Callisto, Io, and Europa, although he is not able to distinguish the last two until the following night.


RE-DISCOVER – One day trip on a gravel bike from Blanco en Botella on Vimeo.

Family Dog Eats Nearly $4,000:

Daily Bread for 9.3.23: Gravel

 Good morning. Sunday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 93. Sunrise is 6:22 AM and sunset 7:25 PM for 13h 03m 02s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 83.2% of its visible disk illuminated. On this day in 1783, the representatives of the United States and Great Britain sign…


Sometime later today, Pres. Biden will sign a bill, having passed overwhelminmgly in both the House and Senate, to make Juneteenth a national holiday.  The House saw only 14 members opposed (one being Tom Tiffany, R-WI 7) and the Senate voted after Sen. Ron Johnson withdrew his opposition to a vote. Making Juneteenth a national…

Thirsty Koala Drinks from Cyclist’s Water Bottle

  View this post on Instagram   There were about a dozen cyclists around me watching this (all men) and several commented that it was genuinely the best thing they’ve witnessed. What a truly wonderful experience. Check out my previous posts this morning for explanation. : : : #cyclingtips #cycling #roadcycling #roadbike #roadbikelife #lifeonabike #travelbybike…

The Common Council Session for 1.20.15: Complete Streets

I posted briefly yesterday on Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, and in that post mentioned that I would look a bit more at some of the remarks for, or against, the Complete Streets ordinance that passed Tuesday night.  (I supported the ordinance.) Council discussed this issue previously, on December 16th.  See, Common Council 12/16/2014. I’ve included…

In Support of the Complete Streets Initiative for Whitewater

This Tuesday, January 20th at 6:30 PM, Common Council will consider a Complete Streets ordinance (item O-3) for Whitewater. A Complete Streets program simply requires planners to consider bike and pedestrian travel, for example, when either building or reconstructing streets within our city. (I listened closely to discussion of the idea at our 12.16.14 Common…

Friday Poll: Lance Armstrong Doping Charges

There are new doping charges against Lance Armstrong, from the US Anti-Doping Agency. (These are new charges, but not new allegations.) Unexpectedly, some of the most thorough newspaper coverage of doping investigations about Lance Armstrong has come from the Wall Street Journal. What do you think? Armstrong Doping Charges: Yes, No, Not Sure

The Ride

Phil Keoghan’s 2011 documentary, The Ride, is about a charity bike ride across America to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I saw the film this weekend on Showtime, and it was interesting from first to last. It was more than interesting – it was inspiring. Along the way, Keoghan and his comrades meet thousands…