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Tuesday, August 07, 2007
  Yahoo's company car
By Yokota Fritz 

"The limited edition Yahoo! bike" photo from Yodel Anecdotal.

Yahoo held a huge bike fair at their Sunnyvale headquarters last week. The bike fair was organized to encourage bicycling as transportation. Specialized, local bike shop Mike's Bikes and the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition were on hand to display bikes and help people with bike commute routes.

Five lucky Yahoo employees also won a special Yahoo edition of the Specialized Globe Comp IG8 bicycle. The Globe Comp IG8 is a commuter bike with Shimano's Nexus 8 speed hub in the rear wheel, carbon fiber front fork with fender mounts, and 700x42 flat resistant street tires.

Yahoo special edition from Specialized
Yahoo special edition from Specialized
Yahoo special edition from Specialized
That purple bike is pretty hard to miss; I ran into one of the lucky winners -- Daniel -- at the Caltrain station in Mountain View, California last night and learned about the Yahoo bike fair.

Cleantech blog notes that Yahoo! is among the most successful when it comes to encouraging Yahoos to use alternate means of transportation:
36% of Yahoo headquarters employees get to work without driving solo. This is double the 18% mode-shift that the corporation committed to the City of Sunnyvale when building permits were first issued. Yahoo’s cool commute program is comprehensive, popular and getting results.

Yahoo provides employees with free VTA Eco-Passes for bus and light-rail. Many of the Yahoo commuters are able to get extra work done using laptops and other mobile devices while commuting on public transit.

Yahoo’s results are impressive considering that Silicon Valley workers are widely dispersed in search of affordable housing. Technologists work long and irregular hours, which makes ridesharing more challenging. Many Silicon Valley locations provide a long and uncomfortable walk in the dark to public transit.

Yahoo addresses these problems in a number of ways. One is that it provides a guaranteed ride home. Yahoo will pay for a late worker’s taxi or rental car. Many at the workshop agreed that a guaranteed ride home is critical to a commute programs success. All agreed that employees rarely use the guarantee, making the cost minimal.

Yahoo has a fleet of shuttles to get people to and from transit, between Yahoo locations, to airports and sometimes providing an emergency ride. Some of the shuttles run on B20 biodiesel.

It is not easy to get employees to change their commuting behavior. Yahoo used surveys, education, an intranet website to help people find others for ridesharing, and YahooGroups to encourage collaboration, and monthly reward competition for those who avoid driving solo.

Yahoo encourages the use of the zero-emission vehicle owned by one billion people on this planet – the bicycle. Yahoo provides bicycler riders with secure storage of their bikes. Free lockers and showers are available. To help people quickly navigate Yahoo’s campus of buildings, loaner bikes are also available.

Please remember to click on the Digg and CycleCluster buttons below if you like this article!

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Saturday, February 24, 2007
  President Bush has his priorities straight
By Yokota Fritz 
During an important emergency response drill on Saturday, top White House officials participated with other federal agencies to test the response of the U.S. federal government during a simulated terrorist attack against ten U.S. cities. During this morning drill, President George W. Bush went on a bike ride. Via .

If more people started their day with a bicycle ride, this world might be a better place. Then again, the bike ride didn't end so well for these folks: "Three suspected Pakistani militants were blown to pieces by their explosives on Saturday when they rode over a bump on a bicycle outside a town in the central province of Punjab." According to police, none of these cyclists wore a helmet, clearly proving that helmet use should be mandatory for bike-riding bombers.

I found the story about Bush after creating my latest handy bike-searching tool using Yahoo Pipes. This feed combines the data from many of the most popular blogs and searches for mentions of bicycling related topics. This way, I don't need to read all of these high-volume blogs just to find the occasional mention of a bicycling story.

Other finds via this tool: MAKE visits Cyclecide and How to knit bike helmet ear warmers.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007
  The Federal Register, bicycling and the cost of compliance
By Yokota Fritz 
I've created a RSS feed for the bicycling information junkies out there: The Federal Register and Bicycling.

The Federal Register is a daily compilation of U.S. Federal regulations, notices, presidential proclamations, executive orders, and other federal agency documents of public interest. I've taken an RSS feed from several Federal agencies and filter for bicycling-related terms to create this new feed using the Yahoo Pipes service.

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The first item I've caught is this request for comments from the Consumer Product Safety Commission on collecting information about the paperwork burden created by Public Law 103267, aka the "Children's Bicycle Helmet Safety Act of 1994."

This law creates the standards by which bicycle helmets can be sold in the United States, specifying impact standards, testing methods, and record-keeping requirements. According to the CPSC, helmet manufacturers and importers spend from 100 to 150 hours per model per year to comply with the law. With an estimated 200 models of bicycle helmets sold in the United States, that works out to about $1,000,000 of paperwork every year.

I'm sure all kinds of fascinating information can be obtained from this feed. Feel free to subscribe to this RSS feed or view the formatted output. Let me know if you think this is a useful tool.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007
  Yahoo Pipes and bicycle love
By Yokota Fritz 
Yahoo Pipes is flexible and easy to use, but with advanced features that promises some cool tricks. I spent 10 minutes reading the intro, looked at a couple of examples and created my first Pipe: The Cyclelicious Bicycle Love photos. Total time was maybe 20 minutes.

The Cyclelicious Bicycle Love pipe takes the Cyclelicious feed, runs it through Yahoo's "Content Analyzer" module, and uses that output to find photos that are somewhat related to Cyclelicious posts. If you're a Flickr fiend, there's even an RSS feed for this set of photos you can subscribe to. If you like, you can open up my Pipe, edit it to include your blog's RSS feed instead, then save it yourself.

I intend to explore Yahoo Pipes some more. You can filter on keywords, combine feeds, translate, use localization (mapping) modules, sort input, take user input, and do string manipulation.

If you have ideas for interesting mashups involving bicycles or if you've created your own pipes, please feel free to comment and post your links here.

Update: Here are some more pipes I've created --

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