#NPRreads: Slow Down Over These Three Stories This Weekend
#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the#NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.
From national desk producer Laurel Wamsley:
Think "bike culture" means high speeds and spandex? Think again. The authors of this article biked in a number of North American cities and noticed that "the slower the people on bikes were moving, the more mature the bicycle culture, and the better the conditions for cycling." In cities that hadn't prioritized bike infrastructure, cycling was seen as the province of men biking long distances at high speed.
The marker of a place with a thriving bike culture is one where you see plenty of women, children, and seniors riding bikes. Many people won't hop on a bike if they feel they have to pedal fast just to survive. And one benefit of slow cycling is you don't get so sweaty — so you can dress for your destination, not your commute.
I read this article just two days before I was hit by a car while I was biking here in DC — wearing normal clothes, at a slow speed.
I'd add that another sign of a mature bike culture is one where drivers instinctively look for bicyclists before making sudden turns. I guess DC still has a little bit of growing up to do.
From social media editor Lori Todd:
There are few words that can immediately transport you to a distant time and place. Earlier this week, while reading Twitter, I came across one of those words: Pogs.
Instantly, I was sitting on the carpeted floor of my parents house in the early '90s, surrounded by hundreds of colorful cardboard discs, eagerly stacking them up and scattering them with the forceful impact of a thick, plastic disc called a Slammer.
The Pog craze was unavoidable in the early '90s. Pog designs varied widely, from cartoon characters to hologram designs. My most favorite Slammer, curiously, featured a mugshot of O.J. Simpson with the words "OJ in the Slammer" on it.
As a 10-year-old, I never cared to learn the origins of the game, but as an adult I was fascinated by this article. Who knew Pog was a company that manufactured a Hawaiian fruit juice?
The rise — and fall — of Pogs also includes an important business lesson about the value of branding.
From global health correspondent Jason Beaubien:
With all the concern recently about trying to avoid concussions in sports — from the NFL to peewee soccer — Dan Barry's piece "A Fighter's Hour of Need" lays bare the ugly side of a sport where concussions are the goal.
Barry recreates the 60 minutes after Russian boxer Magomed Abdusalamov lost to Mike Perez in a heavyweight bout at Madison Square Garden in 2013. The fight left Abdusalamov, known as the "Russian Tyson," permanently brain-damaged and staggering through the streets of Midtown trying to get a taxi to a hospital.
The piece reads like a cross between a detective novel and an autopsy:
"(Abdusalamov) trudges toward his distant locker room, up two dozen steps and down backstage halls the hue of a yellowing bruise. His face is misshapen, his eyes swollen slits, his brain most likely bleeding."
Barry documents a side of boxing fans rarely see, the moments after the entertainment has been delivered on HBO. And it ain't pretty.
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