I'm very sorry you, Chicago. Sure, you might be reveling in victory now, but what you have to understand is this whole ranking system is cursed. See, back in 2014 we were "Number One," and since then bike fatalities have increased and it's basically all gone to hell:
New York City motorists have now killed 16 cyclists this year, compared to 14 cyclist fatalities in all of 2015, according to city crash data. After yesterday’s crash, Transportation Alternatives called on Mayor de Blasio to pick up the pace of Vision Zero safety improvements.
And of course we succeeded Portland, which was Bicycling's top cycling city in 2012, and which subsequently entered into a period of "biking stagnation" and increased automobile congestion:
(Most Portlanders drive alone because nobody can stand their company.)
Indeed, Portland does seem to be rebounding, what with the opening of Tilikum Crossing (oh, grow up) and the debut of the BIKETOWN bike share program, but it sure took them awhile and I would imagine the Portland smugerati are under strict orders to eject any Bicycling scouts to Vancouver, WA lest their city once again wind up on the top of this ill-fated list.
As for my quiet little hamlet, we're now sitting at number four:
This is a bit irksome--not because we deserve to be ranked higher (we don't), but because of the reasoning behind it:
One reason New York dropped out of the top spot is that the city has had a "really rough year" enforcing good behavior from both cyclists and motorists, Strickland said. New York also needs to do more to build protected lanes, he said.
Whoa. I hope the Tribune is twisting his words, because if anything the NYPD does too much to "enforce good behavior from cyclists." After all, this is the police force that ticketed people on bikes after cyclist Matthew von Ohlen was killed in a hit-and-run. (By the way, the NYPD found the car that killed von Ohlen but there hasn't been a peep about it since, leading to widespread speculation that the driver may have been a cop.)
As for enforcing good behavior from motorists, I certainly agree with him there, which is the primary reason I was outraged when we hit number one in the first place. Frankly, the NYPD's behavior should have been more than enough to preclude us from ever reaching the top spot of any "best bike city" list ever. Then again, maybe making us number one and then knocking us down to number four sends a stronger message than never making us number one in the first place, so perhaps we should be thanking them.
I dunno, it seems to me that Bicycling should just review cities like they review bikes:
New York City
Buy It If: You enjoy riding in protected bike lanes through neighborhoods you can't afford.
Forget It If: You want your friends, family and loved ones to get justice in the event of your death.
Anyway, congratulations Chicago, and I'm sacrificing a chicken now on your behalf in an attempt to spare you from two years under the dreaded "Best Bike City" curse.
In other news, if you've ever had a bicycle shipped to your home you may have noticed that it's not always handled with the utmost care. For example, when I received my Ritte some years ago, I was so excited that after buzzing the delivery person into the building I waited for him in the hall, only to see a bike box come flying out of the elevator. So leave it to those clever Dutch to figure out a solution:
“No matter who was doing the shipping, too many of our bikes arrived looking like they’d been through a metal-munching combine harvester. It was getting expensive for us, and bloody annoying for our customers,” creative director Bex Rad wrote on the company’s blog.
“Earlier this year our co-founder Ties had a flash of genius. Our boxes are about the same size as a (really really reaaaally massive) flatscreen television. Flatscreen televisions always arrive in perfect condition. What if we just printed a flatscreen television on the side of our boxes?
“And just like that, shipping damage to our bikes dropped by 70–80%.”
This makes sense, since the only consumer good we revere as much as the car is the TV.