[TheThinkTank] Clear Channel Bike "Share"

Bruce Lien bikedadlien at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 16 18:16:40 PDT 2007

I really don't think we have to worry about a shortage of people in need of bikes.  "We can not afford to allow the bottom-line calculus of  Clear Channel and the other billboard-industry giants, to decide for  us how we share our bikes." Regardless of how many bikes the corporate world dumps into the mainstream, there will be those in need who will want their own bikes.  We have advertising on the local buses, bus stop benches, and taxis. If someone wants to give bikes for the masses to use and this results in less cars and pollution as well as making the lives of those who could not afford a bike that much easier, then I wish them the best of luck, though I bet the big oil companies would love to see this plan shot down.  And we will always decide how our bikes are utilized in the communities.

Bruce, Bicycle Recycle Program
Bikes Not Bombs <mail at bikesnotbombs.org> wrote: Hello folks, here's just a heads up that Clear Channel, mega- 
advertising giant, may soon have Boston city contracts and be running  
a large scale "bike-sharing" fleet with stations, including of  
course, advertising on all surfaces.  These Clear Channel  
negotiations are very new and are underway in hundreds of cities,  
maybe yours.  (check out http://bike-sharing.blogspot.com/)

Mayor Bloomberg of NYC went to Paris and checked out their new city- 
wide bike-rental systems and wants the same in NYC.

Hooray to more people using bikes!  Hooray to greater interest in  
addressing the ills of automobile choked cities and environmental  
foolishness and overconsumption!  Boo to "permanent sidewalk or  
vehicle defacement by ads touting the same corporate culture of over- 
consumption that got us in this mess" in the first place!  (ie: Clear  
Channel advertising.  The quote is taken from Steve Stollman, full  
text below.)

Have you heard about this?

Also bike activist Steve Stollman is selling a building in NYC, and  
wants to reinvest this money in real estate to buy buildings for  
community bike orgs, maybe yours!  (ideally outside of the high- 
priced cities of NYC and Boston).  He would then work to sell these  
buildings to the bike orgs over an extended period of time so that  
they eventually own their spaces.  I've pasted some text about that  
in further below.  If you're interested you should check in with  
Steve at SteveStollman at LightWHEELS.com

Bikes Not Bombs

 From www.lightspeed.com, Steve Stollman, NYC

Handlebars and pedals make bikes into three-dimensional objects. If  
these protrusions can be flattened to the body of the bike when not  
in use, the vehicle is about 6” wide and much easier to both store  
and transport in the close company of other people. Current  
technology permits this modification to be performed safely and  

There would need to be a large number of somewhat-identical bikes  
using variations of this simple design, with adjustable seat heights,  
to keep initial costs low while providing for the fastest and widest  
proliferation. At most times, these sturdy bikes will be fine. Buying  
a shipload will reduce their cost to such a low figure that a few  
months of advertisements, removable after all costs are covered,  
could finance the entire exercise. Ads for one month a year or less  
could finance ongoing top-level maintenance. If properly designed  
they can be free to use and possibly not need to be locked at special  
locations as current systems usually demand. http://bike- 

Permanent sidewalk or vehicle defacement by ads touting the same  
corporate culture of over-consumption that got us in this mess is not  
necessary. We can not afford to allow the bottom-line calculus of  
Clear Channel and the other billboard-industry giants, to decide for  
us how we share our bikes.  Across this country, before this massive  
invasion of profit-driven, probably sub-standard systems take hold,  
Community-based bike collectives and other people-friendly  
individuals and organizations, including some local bike businesses,  
must begin to assume these responsibilities.

This will not destroy the existing bike business, because shops can  
help create, maintain and upgrade the fleet continuously. Many people  
will want their own machine regardless, and far more people will be  
riding all the time. When seas rise so do boats. Paris today is a  
good example.

A second system needs to be established, designed and built, which is  
comprised of unconventional vehicles, multi-passenger, weather- 
protected, electric-motor assisted, art-inspired and plain fun.  
Access to this fleet would need to be restricted and require credit- 
card id, GPS location devices, special maintenance and a fee-system  
to help pay for it. Some support should come from the government  
since it will provide many benefits to the public as a whole, the way  
other publicly-accessible transit systems ordinarily do. Self-support  
is ideal and achievable. This could enable a much more creative and  
adventurous effort than one sponsored by a corporation or government.

It is also being suggested that all this be done in tandem with a  
local-neighborhood based, ambitious and creative system, for sharing  
rides and vehicles of all kinds. This facility can also accept tax- 
deductible contributions, some as valuable as cars etc., and generate  
income from the small fees earned for expediting these much needed  
various transportation-related companion efforts to reduce traffic.  
Anchored by a robust and growing community bike effort, a strong  
framework for positive change can be constructed. If a substantial  
decrease in the number of cars on the road is achieved this will also  
help in the improvement of roadway safety for cyclists and others.

The soonest path to the safest and most appropriate and convenient  
system with the least expensive continuous operating costs, that also  
rocks, is the goal. The proliferation of these new forms of transport  
will also require the taming of our highways back into the streets  
that they were intended to be. We must demand civility and respect  
from large and dangerous Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)-Age  
vehicles, and the complete eradication of their people-unfriendly  
behavior. The reward for this change will be an historic flowering of  
enjoyable, human-scale, responsible and healthful transportation in  
our cities and towns.

SteveStollman at LightWHEELS.com  |   212 431 0600  |  49 East Houston  
Street NYC 10012


Bikes and Property

I want to invest my profit from selling a property in Manhattan to  
help enable 10 bike shops to establish themselves in their own  
spaces. Each will each be given an option to buy the space they are  
renting after a few years, to enable them to grow more rapidly and to  
own and benefit directly from the improvements they make to their  
properties and businesses. In some cases this would involve buying  
existing locations, in others it would mean finding a great local  
building for sale at a good price in a good location. (As each group  
is able to purchase its building, the money paid is made available to  
another group in another state so that they may be able to purchase a  
building etc...

If this property investment methodology helps in bringing forth  
better means for bike store owners to control their own futures and  
expand their businesses, others may decide to invest this way as  
well. As mortgage credit tightens, the strength of this industry, in  
the face of $3+ gas and frightening obesity and diabetes rates, could  
entitle it to an alternate form of investment capital.

There are many people today on every stratum of society who are  
starting to come to terms with the damage being done to a seemingly  
robust, but actually dangerously fragile, ecosystem. The central role  
of inappropriate transportation is conspicuous in that picture. They  
want their kids to be healthy, have a future and love them and they  
want to have a cleaner conscience. At the same time they want their  
investments to be sound financially. A program such as this could  
satisfy all of their needs, while giving bike stores some valuable  
additional leverage against overly-aggressive landlords, and a better  
shot at economic justice and self-determination.

It is also my intention to use this opportunity to help gain more  
visibility through these stores for hybrid human-powered/electric- 
assisted vehicles, including safe, road-worthy and weather-protected  
wheelchairs. In an aging population, many stores may find this to be  
one of the most high-growth elements of their businesses and one of  
the most gratifying.

Meanwhile re-defining cycling as basic transportation, not just a  
pleasurable, recreational activity, will help drive the  
infrastructure improvements that we so badly need. These upgrades, a  
flood of new and more utilitarian machines, and the dramatic  
increases in bicycle and other lightweight vehicle use that they will  
trigger, will finally begin to bring this vital activity its due  
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