The 2017 World Bike Forum

A World Bike Forum (WBF) is a yearly event in which most of the issue related to urban cycling and mobility are discussed. One can find planning of cities, innovative actions on bike infrastructure or the main tendencies in urban cycling. It started in 2011 as a result of the tragic collision first anniversary. On the eve of the Critical Mass in Porto Alegre, a mad driver deliberately collided with around 20 cyclists on February 25. The next year, the first edition of the World Forum took place in the very same city. The Brazilian city repeated as WBF host city the next year. In 2014, another Brazilian city organised it. Then, it moved to Medellin (Colombia) in 2015 and Santiago (Chile) in 2016. This year Mexico city will be the city host of the WBF.

Among all, the best way to define it is freedom. The key principles are:
– Freeness: All the activities in the Forum are free
– Horizontally: The organizing work is done by volunteers, all the information is public and only flat organisation is allowed
– Most of the activities are self managed
– It is done by people for people, hence no publicity, logos or trademarked brands are allowed

The event will take place in Mexico in April 19th-23th 2017. It is so important that even the United Nations has cover its press conference launching (http://webtv.un.org/watch/launch-of-the-sixth-world-bike-forum-in-2017-in-mexico-city-press-conference-habitat-iii/5176866406001?page=1). You can’t miss it!

The Pitiusona

Once a year, a big, interplanetary Critical Mass called the Criticona is done in a different location in Spain. It has been taken place in Madrid, Bilbao, Valladolid, Gijón, Valencia and Barcelona in the past. Everyplace has adapted its name to the specific event. In this edition, the Criticona will full Ibiza with bikes. For such a reason, the Criticona is called Pitiusona as “pitiusas” is another name for the Balearic islands.

The central activity will be developed on the 29 of April, consisting of a easy ride on decorated bicycles with colored strips, banners and balloons on Ibiza. Nevertheless, a lot of activities will be producing from 28 April to 1 May.

  • 28 April: Visit to the Bicycle museum on the morning. On the afternoon, riding to the Can Jordy Blues station
  • 29 April: Ride to the natural park Ses Salines and working-class eating on the morning. Interplanetary Pitiusona at 18:00. When finalizing, the location for the next Criticona will be made.
  • 30 April: Riding the bike to San Antonio cycle track and bike activities. Big paella to eat. On the evening, cycling to a small, secret bay to admire the sunset.
  • 1 May: Farewell

Organizers help with accommodation and meals, offering them at low prices or even free. You can not miss it!

All the information can be found in The Pitiusona (in Spanish).

Locking bicycles (2/2)

As I previously wrote about, locking the bike is key if you want to enjoy it. Today, I am going to focus on how to avoid bike thefts. Of course, the best way is to lock your bike at home, specially on nights, but this is not always possible. When you lock your bike in the street, you should consider a few points:

  • Locking bikes on thin metal bicycle parkings is a bad idea. Better, locked it to a sturdy, hard to hack post or a tree (this last point could be controversial according to some local laws)

  • Difficult, but not impossible: Locking wheels to the frame so that they can’t turn, but not locking the frame to a post or something. Bicycle can easily be carried away and locks open at one’s convenience at home.

  • Locking just wheels, not the frame itself, to a post or a tree. Wheels are simply taken off, left, while the rest of the bike is carried away.

  • Locking the frame, but leaving the chain close to the ground. Ground provides lots of leverage for different cutting tools. Keep locks as high as possible.

  • Having too long to wide locks and padlocks, leaving room to insert leverage metal bars, car lifting jacks etc – is also a bad idea.

  • Combine at least two types of locks so that thieves must use at least two different tools.

  • Lock the frame to a strong immobile object, putting the lock through the frame so that it can’t be taken off without cutting the frame (or the lock).

  • Lock both wheels (to the frame, or an immobile object).

  • Make sure saddle, or other expensive parts are either taken off, or locked to the frame as well.

No method is 100% safe. Even a well locked bicycle with a good lock takes about 20 minutes to hack. If the thief uses a battery powered angle grinder, it is just few minutes. However, if the bike is better locked than the other bikes in the street and it doesn’t look more expensive, there is a greater chance you conserve it the next day.

Locking bicycles (1/2)

When one thinks about locking the bike to a cycle parking or a piece of a street furniture, it is always useful to consider three key elements in whatever bike. No matter if you have a folding bike, tandem or mountain bike, all have the same parts. Saddle, front and rear wheels should be properly locked as these elements are the most common target of bike thieves. Of course, they can steal the whole bike, but it is normally faster to just rob one part. Nevertheless, I will write about the whole bike and the ways of locking it right in other time. For now, take into account how your bike elements are secured because it is not the same having fast-open locks, locking skewer or traditional nuts. The last ones make thefts to take more time, because an adjustable wrench is needed. Also, try to use different locks so that you have an indirected advantage: more than one tool is need.

As it comes to bike locks, you can find several types in the market.

  • Chain and padlock: Hardened steel chains are heavy, but flexible. Try to use one with hexagonal profile so that cutters press on a wider area, creating less force per mm. It should be at least 10 mm thick.
  • Cable with lock: Cable locks use to be easy to carry and flexible. However, they are a bit easier to cut and I recommend use them as additional locks.
  • U-lock: Lower weight per level of protection and easy to carry, but it has the lowest flexibility and you need to find a proper post.
  • Folding lock: The best locks joint with the U-locks. The folding locks offer good security and are easy to carry.

Cheap bad locks and poorly locked bicycles are taken within a minute or less with ordinary tools every small thief has. Better use a combination of good locks and lock the bike in secure, crowded places.