Portland Is Getting Shareable Bikes That Can Be Locked Up Anywhere

In cities around the world, bike sharing programs offer a convenient transportation alternative for people without a bike of their own. One downside to this option is that riders can’t just lock up their bike wherever they want, and instead have to plan their route based on designated bike racks around the city. Portland will be one of the first cities to change this with new bikes that can be locked up virtually anywhere.

The city has just signed a five-year, $10 million deal with Nike to fill Portland with 1000 “Biketown” bicycles embellished with the Nike logo. In addition to the financial support they’re receiving from the company, the bike sharing program will also have cutting-edge technology on its side. The city of Portland has contracted the Brooklyn-based company Social Bicycles to manufacture bikes with communications, payment, security, and locking technology integrated into the hardware. That means that users will be able to lock their bikes wherever is most convenient. If a new rider wishes to borrow it later on, they can track down its exact location and punch a special access code into the keypad to unlock it. 

Single rides will start at $2.50 for the first 30 minutes, and membership fees are set to cost between $10 and $15 for the whole year. Portland residents can expect to see the bright orange bikes on the streets starting this July. 

[h/t: Gizmodo]

George Barratt-Jones, Vimeo
This Crafty Bicycle Can Knit a Scarf in 5 Minutes
George Barratt-Jones, Vimeo
George Barratt-Jones, Vimeo

Knitting can be a time-consuming, meticulous task, but it doesn’t need to be. At least not if you’re George Barratt-Jones. As The Morning News spotted, the Dutch designer recently created a human-powered automated knitting machine that can make a scarf while you wait for your train to arrive.

The Cyclo-Knitter is essentially a bicycle-powered loom. As you pedal a stationary bike, the spinning front wheel powers a knitting machine placed on top of a wooden tower. The freshly knitted fabric descends from the top of the tower as the machine works, lowering your brand-new scarf.

Cyclo Knitter by George Barratt-Jones from George Barratt-Jones on Vimeo.

“Imagine it’s the midst of winter,” Barratt-Jones, who founded an online skill-sharing platform called Kraftz, writes of the product on Imgur. “You are cold and bored waiting for your train at the station. This pedal powered machine gets you warm by moving, you are making something while you wait, and in the end, you are left with a free scarf!”

Seems like a pretty good use of your commute down-time, right?

If you're a fan of more traditional knitting methods, check out these knitting projects that can put your needles to work, no bicycle required.

[h/t The Morning News]

Netherlands Officials Want to Pay Residents to Bike to Work

Thinking about relocating to the Netherlands? You might also want to bring a bike. Government officials are looking to compensate residents for helping solve their traffic congestion problem and they want businesses to pay residents to bike to work, as The Independent reports.

Owing to automobile logjams on roadways that keep drivers stuck in their cars and cost the economy billions of euros annually, Dutch deputy infrastructure minister Stientje van Veldhoven recently told media that she's endorsing a program that would pay employees 19 cents for every kilometer (0.6 miles) they bike to work.

That doesn't sound like very much, but perhaps citizens who need to trek several miles each way would appreciate the cumulative boost in their weekly paychecks. For employers, the benefit would be a healthier workforce that might take fewer sick days and reduce parking needs.

Veldhoven says she also plans on designing a program that would assist employers in supplying workers with bicycles. The goal is to have 200,000 people opting for manual transportation over cars. If the program proceeds, it might find a receptive population. The Netherlands is already home to 22.5 million bikes, more than the 17.1 million people living there. In Amsterdam, a quarter of residents bike to work.

There's no timeline for implementing the pay-to-bike plan, but early trial studies indicate that the expense might not have to be a long-term prospect. Study subjects continued to bike to work even after the financial rewards stopped.

[h/t The Independent]


More from mental floss studios