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Solar Freakin’ Roadways! Weekly round-up #6

Cycling Blog

Solar Freakin’ Roadways! Weekly round-up #6

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May 17th, 2015

This week’s round-up takes a look at the Giro d’Italia, the age-old rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge, forward-thinking infrastructure design, and the bicycle’s role as a stress-reduction technology.

The world-famous Giro d’Italia is in full swing over in Italy this month. Cycling News are covering the whole event and have a great round-up, while the Guardian have gone for a more historical look at the event.

A gallery on their site showcases some striking images of the ride’s history, all the way back to its first edition in 1909. Some key moments covered include a cold and exhausted Charly Gaul being carried after collapsing on winning the Dolomites stage in 1956, Alfonsina Morini (the only woman to have completed the race) visiting a bike shop, and many more.

Looking through the gallery gives us good memories of when the Giro graced our shores last year with Irish introductory stages. Check out the video below for an overtly epic reminder:

Oxbridge are neck and neck

It seems that the university league tables aren’t the only place where Oxford and Cambridge are tussling for top spot. The two cities have recently changed places in the bike theft rankings, with Cambridge soaring into first with 17.56 bikes stolen per 1,000 (Oxford holds second place with 11.91). This shocking news was reported in Cycling Weekly, although local police insist that they are aware of the numbers, and that they are growing within expected boundaries for cities of their size.

Watch out if you’re riding in those areas!

Reduce stress, save money

It’s not all bad though – even in the most prolific theft areas there’s only a 1.76% likelihood that your bike will be stolen. The positive benefits of cycling (which we’ve banged on about plenty) comfortably eclipse this.

Last week we wrote about MAMiLs (Middle Aged Men in Lycra) getting into debt to fund their new-found cycling habits. It was comforting, then, when we found an article from researchers at Lund University in Sweden who have found that it is six times cheaper to travel by bicycle than by car (on both  individual and societal levels).

The research includes the excellent metric that it costs society 0.15€ for every kilometre travelled by car, but society earns 0.16€ for each kilometre travelled by bike. Find out how they reached that conclusion in the suitably jazzy video below:

Not only is it cheaper, but it also reduces your stress. Last week we also mentioned research that cycling may benefit elderly, and an article in The Telegraph this week reveals that it may benefit you too! Researchers at Stanford Calming Technology Lab tracked 1,000 commuters on 20,000 commutes and analysed their heart rate and breath rate, and found that they are up to 40% less stressed than car commuters.

It makes sense really when you consider how unpleasant it can be bundled up in a trundling (or worse, stationary) vehicle (and then compare that to the joy of whizzing past a traffic jam on your bike).

Solar Freakin’ Roadways

Another piece of good news to end on today. The Netherlands (of course) have been trialling solar roadways technology on a 70m stretch of bike path for 6 months, and in this time it has generated enough energy to power a household for a year. This is fantastic news, as that was the upper limit of predicted efficiency (meaning, essentially, that it’s working very well!

This is reassuring, especially given the hostility that met the solar roadways technology when it was announced! We hope these trials can continue and that the public perception of this technology becomes more positive.

Looks pretty slick!

A solar bike path being laid (linked to source)
Featured image from (source)

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