Monday, May 31, 2010

Another Ciclovia Hits the US


The concept of the Ciclovía started in Colombia, more specifically in Bogotá where every Sunday and holiday the main streets are blocked off to cars and reserved for cyclists and pedestrians. The idea has spread to many other countries (you can see a list here) including the U.S., and the latest Ciclovía-like event took place in San Jose. It looks like it was a blast. See for yourself by checking out the great video below!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Design Competition=Future of Bike Parking

Here's a great example of forward-thinking urban planning: a downtown, all-in-one bicycle parking facility that prioritizes human-powered transportation. The competition entry BIKE for the Delaware Valley Green Building Council by architect Annie Scheel recently won first place - and for good reason. It's a proposal would not only reduce urban congestion and pollution in downtown Philadelphia, but also would include all the bike-related bells and whistles, making the bike a more attractive choice for city commuters.
scheel4.jpg
Half of the project would be set aside for bikes, while the other half would be developed for commercial purposes. Scheel's design is intended to replace an existing parking lot at a centralized location in Philadelphia, with easy access to the business district and public transporation, and features four levels of storage for 690 bikes (compared to 100 cars on the same area) and support services like a bike shop, restaurant, courtyard, showers, meeting rooms, bike sharing and bike rental for tourists. In the future, the concept could also expand to other parking lots in the city.
scheel5.jpg
The multi-story bike parking is visible from the street and is a screen to the central courtyard, with a L-shaped building in the rear that would house offices, restaurant and bike shops. The central courtyard is a great idea to help bring in natural daylight, in contrast to the dim atmospheres of regular car parking facilities.
scheel3.jpg
I am delighted to see urban concepts like BIKE gaining acceptance - hopefully other cities will similarly go in the right direction - whether it's more bike lanes, raising cycling awareness or city bike-sharing programs.

Check out the other finalists at the link below and see some more very interesting concepts for this same space.
Delaware Valley Green Building Council 2010 Sustainable Design Competition

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bicycle Only Development

bikecityhouseresized

Say hello to Bicycle City—Gaston, South Carolina’s entry into sustainable, green living. The planned bicycle-only development, which will not allow cars, will be home to 10 eco-friendly houses and 4.5 miles of inter-connected bicycle and walking trails.

Founder and co-developer Joe Mellett hopes to begin construction this summer/fall on homes situated on the 160-acre tract of land that he and his fellow investors purchased for nearly $1 million. The company has the option to purchase an additional 600 adjacent acres.

“There are other industries—solar, wind, what have you—that address the individual components of climate change, but Bicycle City puts it all together into one home,” says Mellett.

Bicycle City’s homes, which will be up to 1,600 square feet, will be constructed according to one of two eco-friendly building guidelines—the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certifications or One Planet Living’s ten principles. Lot price tags will range between $25,000 and $35,000, with individual homes clocking in at around $200,000. Plans for “bicycle taxis” are in the works.

“The beauty of that is that if you want to live next to your car, you buy a lot on the perimeter of the community and you’d be within under a minute’s walk to your car,” says Mellett.

Eighty-seven million Americans ride bicycles, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. And there are more bicyclists in America than skiers, golfers, and tennis players combined, according to a survey conducted by the National Sporting Goods Association.

“It is a fairly bold plan that reflects the growing awareness on the part of Americans that bike-friendly places to live are good places to live,” says Tim Blumenthal, President of Bikes Belong, a nonprofit organization dedicated to getting more folks on bikes more often.

Developer Mellett’s first foray into bicycling-for-the-better came in 1986. That year, as a member of Alpha Phi Omega, Mellett and two friends, in an effort they named “4,200 Miles For Kids,” cycled cross-country to raise more than $1,000 for Big Brothers and Big Sisters and United Cerebral Palsy.

“I saw what a great way bicycling was to see the country,” says Mellett.

The idea to develop a bicycle-only community didn’t germinate until after Mellett read John Naisbitt’s national best-selling book “Mega Trends.”

“He said the future of communities will be high tech-high touch—with people more and more having an overload of technology, that they would embrace the high-touch side of life like nature, exercise, and community,” says Mellett.

Fast forward to 2006 when Mellett was finally in the financial position—he and three others sold the rights to People Working With People, an online college directory website, to Monster.com—to make his dream come true.

Mellett says the Gaston location was chosen for three reasons. One, it is relatively close to Columbia’s numerous college communities. Two, Gaston is located in Lexington County, which has recently built many bike-only green ways that connect the county car-free. Three, this summer, a state of the art South Carolina State Farmers Market will open, which Mellett says he hopes will entice home buyers with a penchant for organic farming.

Newton Boykin, the project’s Director of Land Acquisition and Development, says that Mellett has been hyper-conscious about ensuring that Bicycle City is eco-friendly and sustainable from the get-go. “When I was creating the bike paths, he wouldn’t let me cut any trees that were over four inches in diameter,” says Boykin.

And what of Bicycle City’s potential pitfall, needing cars in the case of emergencies? “There will be a permeable services access way, that has a strong gravel support underneath it, such that an emergency vehicle can drive over it,” says Mellett.

On Monday night, Mellett met with Lexington County officials to go over the plans for Bicycle City. “It went well—they are very supportive of bringing this green destination to the area.”

In addition to taking Bicycle City to the national level, Mellett plans to move into one of the community’s first ten homes—though only part-time at first.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Safety in Numbers

"Active Transportation for America" makes the case and quantifies the national benefits—for the first time—that increased federal funding in bicycling and walking infrastructure would provide tens of billions of dollars in benefits to all Americans.

By making active transportation a viable option for everyday travel, we will cost-effectively reduce oil dependence, climate pollution and obesity rates while providing more and better choices for getting around town.
 

Simply increasing bicycling + walking from 10% to 13% of all U.S. trips could lead to fuel savings of 3.8 billion gallons a year, equivalent to replacing 19 million cars with hybrids.

Read the report to learn more about how adequate federal investment in bicycling and walking will create healthier places for healthier people.

My favorite section breaks down my theory on more people on bikes = higher comfort and safety levels for cyclists. Designing communities to foster active transportation improves the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.
In 2006, more than 4,784 pedestrians and 771 bicyclists were killed on U.S. roads. Despite this disproportionate share of fatalities, federal funding to address bicycle and pedestrian safety has been sorely lacking.

In European countries that have invested considerably in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, such as Germany or the Netherlands, fatality rates for non-motorists are about 10 times lower than in the United States. Australian cities also report increased safety for bicyclists as a result of infrastructure investments and increased bicycling.

Portland, Ore., is a prime example of how investment in bicycle infrastructure results in increased safety. Since 1991, Portland has steadily expanded its network of bicycle facilities, and observed a constant growth in bicycling, while crash and fatality rates among cyclists significantly decreased. Between 1991 and 2006, Portland was able to reduce the crash rate by more than 69 percent. In that time period, the number of bicyclists grew more than four fold, while the number of fatalities remained low, between zero and five per year.

Infrastructure investments are clearly an effective and necessary measure to increase the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. Additional measures, such as education of motorized and non-motorized traffic participants, and various forms of traffic regulations can further improve safety. Simply said, there is safety in numbers and the fastest way to increase numbers is to invest money in facility infrastructure.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bike Trees

Bike parking takes less space than cars but can still cover a lot of ground. Then there is the rampant theft. The bike tree deals with both problems; Abhinav Dapke of Bahrain and India designs a "parking stand design for congested bicycle parking."

The control panel includes finger print recognition sensor with some controls for locking/unlocking the bicycle onto the stand. The panel branches out of the trunk at user friendly height.
For locking your bicycle
1. Place your bicycle in the vertical slots
2. Manually lock the rim
3. Press start
4. Finger print
5. OK/ CANCEL
For releasing bicycle follow the similar path.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

7-Tips for Bike Commuting

You might have excuses for not riding your bike to work--and if you do, Bicycling Magazine has answers for all of them. Today is National Bike To Work Day. To celebrate, here are some great tips to help you make the leap to healthy, low-carbon commuting.

Traffic Scares Me
Two simple principles greatly improve your safety: ride predictably and ride visibly. On wide roads, ride just to the right of the traffic lane; on narrow roads, stay just inside the traffic lane so vehicles must partly cross the middle line to pass. (This removes the temptation to try to squeeze by you.) For turns, work your way into the proper lane 150 feet early; if you can't get there 40 to 50 feet before the turn, go straight and double back. Stay several feet away from curbs--passing autos push debris to the curb, creating a littered path.
I don't Have Time
Studies by groups such as New York City's Transportation Alternatives have shown that trips of less than 3 miles are often quicker by bike, and urban trips of 5 to 7 miles usually take about the same time. Plus, you can use your ride to work as an extra cardio workout. The average American drives 29 miles per day. If you substitute one day’s worth of driving with riding per week, in a year you’ll burn enough calories to lose 19 pounds. You’ll also reduce auto emissions by 1,248 pounds of CO2, and save more than $800 on gas and maintenance.
I'll Smell

If your office has showers, drive once or twice a week, carrying a few days' worth of clothes you can store there. Or, you could shower at your gym if it’s near your office. If neither of those is an option, wear a sweat-wicking jersey and bike shorts on your ride in. After arriving, wait 10 to 20 minutes for your body to stop sweating, then wipe off with baby wipes If you showered that morning, you should be suitably fresh.
There's No Place to Keep My Bike
To lock your bike safely out on the street, use two different types of locks, such as a U-lock plus a chain-and-padlock. (That forces thieves to carry several tools--which means they'll look for easier prey than your bike.)
I Live Too Far Away
Can't commit to 15 miles or more each way? Cut the mileage in half: The first day, drive to work with your bike, then ride home that night. Ride to work the next morning, then drive home. Repeat euphorically.
I Have to Drop the Kids Off

Drive your kids to school and ride the rest of the way to work. Or, organize a car pool in your neighborhood. Or best of all, ride with your kids to school--they'll be the envy of their class. If you carry them in a trailer or a trail-a-bike you can often arrange to leave it at the school until you return.
My Boss Says No
Tell them it'll improve productivity and reduce absenteeism: 80 percent of people who switch from driving to bike commuting improve the function and health of their heart, lungs and blood vessels in 8 weeks, according to the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rush Hour In Holland

This cool time-lapse video shows rush hour in Utrecht, Holland. Unlike rush hour in America, the situation is pretty serene and clean, with people smoothly getting to where they need to be.

The lesson here is more bikes, less cars.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Florida Racing Magazine May Issue #2

Final Day of Bike to Work Week Tomorrow

Today has had ups and downs for me and my cycling world. Not only is tomorrow the last day of Bike to Work Week, but yesterday was the Ride of Silence in many cities around the country. I am pumped about the high numbers of riders that have participated in their Bike to Work Days and plan more tomorrow morning. Cities like DC had 8500 riders pre-registered yesterday for their ride tomorrow morning. Key Biscayne had over 3000 riders for their Ride of Silence.

It is a weird time to be excited about all of the people trying out commuting by bike, but then in the same week be thinking about all of the fallen riders that happen each year. Either way it is great to see that more and more people are becoming aware of cycling and are pushing for more advocacy and political will for bike infrastructure.

Today was also a tough day in the professional cycling world with Floyd Landis revealing that he was guilty in doping 4 years ago, and preceded to throw fellow teammates like Lance Armstrong, Leipheimer, etc, and even coach Bruyneel under the bus and accused them of doping well. I can't take the word of someone that denied allegations for four years and then finally gives in and squeals on everyone that he associated with at the time. Poor form.

On top of that Lance Armstrong fell and had to pull out of the Tour of California. Fortunately for him, he didn't break any bones and was just left bruised and bloody. He also looks like he and Team Radioshack is in decent form for the Tour de France. The other teams in the race and in the Giro D'talia also look pretty strong and makes predicting the team and individual winner for the Tour de France, impossible. July is going to be a fun month!

Finish Bike Month with a bang, and come out for many of the weekend rides and commute next week to work by bike. The weather is going to be great...Ride On!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Orlando Ride to Work 2010

This morning was the Ride to Work Day for the City of Orlando, and a group of coworkers and friends met up and bike bussed to Infusion Tea to meet the Mayor and the group. Mayor Buddy Dyer spoke to the 150-200 assembled cyclists and spoke of the upcoming bike improvements that the city is working on. He mentioned the agenda to increase the number of miles of bike lanes and to work on implementing some of the initiatives in the Complete Streets program that the city passed.

After a few photos and hand shakes, the Mayor and the group headed from College Park to City Hall. We had a full police detail to cork intersections and guide us conflict free down the road. It basically was just like a Critical Mass ride, but this time we had the police on our side.

Finally, we made it to City Hall and the Mayor did another brief speech and everyone hung out for more pictures and freebies. Overall it was a successful event and there were probably about 50 more riders than there was last year. The "ride to work" effort in Orlando hasn't been that impressive. I haven't noticed very many new riders on the road this week and the new riders I saw today were all people that attended the morning ride with the Mayor. People still have the misconception that riding a bike is uncomfortable, dangerous, and foolish. They can still think that while I save money from no car payment or bills that come from that (fuel, parking, maintenance, insurance, etc), increased health and fitness, and experience the peaceful type of commute that can only come from cycling.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

CONTINUE EFFORTS TO VETO HB 971

Tomorrow is Orlando's Bike to Work Day, and a great way to celebrate, other than riding to work, is to help Florida get the HB 971 bill vetoed by the governor. Below is a letter from Laura Hallam, the Executive Director of the Florida Bicycle Association.  FBA has prepared a letter to Governor Crist and representatives of FBA (Laura Hallam, Mighk Wilson and Mike Lasche) will meet with the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff before the bill is presented to the Governor.

The time is now for each of us to leap into action in support of the veto – the Governor needs to hear that passage of this bill will make conditions for cycling dangerous.  Please take the time to consider composing a letter as FBA has set forth below.  E-mail is good, a real paper letter is better.  If you have time to call the Governor’s number and tell him that you’re a cyclist and that mandatory use of bike lanes can place you at risk, all the better.



FBA needs your help to continue efforts to veto HB 971.  A letter was sent to Governor Crist May 17 signed by FBA Board president David Henderson.  FBA representatives will be meeting with Chuck Drago, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor, later this week to provide supporting arguments and local examples of why HB 971 is unsafe for bicyclists and pedestrians.

We are also encouraging bike clubs and advocacy organizations to follow suit with their support of the veto and have contacted these organizations directly. Thank you, individually and through your club or advocacy organization, for the many phone calls, emails, letters and faxes already generated to stop this bill. Please keep up the momentum.
 
Call, email, write or fax Governor Crist today with this message:

"Please veto House Bill 971. The mandatory use of bicycle lanes poses a number of significant safety and legal problems for cyclists.  Allowing motorized vehicles on sidewalks sets a bad precedent.  Vehicles belong on roadways, not on sidewalks.  HB 971 will make the law and its enforcement more complicated, not less, and will make cycling less safe and enjoyable."

The Honorable Charlie Crist
Governor of Florida
The Capitol, Suite PL05
400 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee FL  32399


fax: 850-487-0801; phone: 850-488-7146; email: Charlie.Crist@MyFlorida.com

Monday, May 17, 2010

White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report to the President

In February, First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Let's Move! campaign to solve the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation. As part of this effort, President Barack Obama established the Task Force on Childhood Obesity to develop and implement an inter-agency plan that details a coordinated strategy, identifies key benchmarks, and outlines an action plan to end the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. The action plan defines the goal of ending childhood obesity in a generation as returning to a childhood obesity rate of just 5 percent by 2030, which was the rate before childhood obesity first began to rise in the late 1970s. In total, the report presents a series of 70 specific recommendations, many of which can be implemented right away.

The third section of the Task Force's report is "The Built Environment" and has 5 recommendations that promote bike/ped infrastructure and encourage physical fitness to reduce childhood obesity. How communities are designed and function can promote-or inhibit-physical activity for children and adults. The built environment consists of all man-made structures, including transportation infrastructure, schools, office buildings, housing, and parks. Children’s ability to be physically active in their community depends on whether the community is safe to bike or walk, with good sidewalks, comfortable biking facilities,  and reasonable distances between destinations.


Recommendation 5.8: Reauthorize a Surface Transportation Act that enhances livability and physical activity. 
A complete network of safe bicycle and pedestrian facilities would allow children to take more trips through active transportation and get more physical activity. New Federal aid construction projects should accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians by incorporating “Complete Streets” principles. As improvement projects for existing facilities are undertaken, transportation infrastructure should be retrofitted, where feasible, to support and encourage bicycle and pedestrian use. State and local money can also be leveraged to support safe facilities for children to walk or bike to places like parks, playgrounds, transit, and community centers. The reauthorization could adopt Complete Streets principles that would include routine accommodation of walkers and bicyclists for new construction, to influence retrofitting of existing communities, and to support public transportation. In addition, it could enhance authority for recreational areas on public lands.

Recommendation 5.9: The Environmental Protection Agency should assist school districts that may be interested in siting guidelines for new schools that consider the promotion of physical activity, including whether students will be able to walk or bike to school.

Recommendation 5.11: The Federal Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) should be continued and enhanced to accommodate the growing interest in implementing Safe Routes to Schools plans in communities.

Recommendation 5.12: “Active transport” should be encouraged between homes, schools, and community destinations for after-school activities, including to and from parks, libraries, transit, bus stops, and recreation centers.

Benchmarks of Success

Increase by 50% by 2015 the percentage of children ages 5-18 taking safe walking and biking trips to and from school. An increase of 50% would mean that 19.5% of school trips would be by biking or walking.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Road Racing Hitting Its Stride

It is May 16th and another beautiful day in Florida. I rode the Lakemont Ride yesterday, which has added a 4th group to it, so there are even more riders coming out. The D Group is being led by Billy Hattaway, a past co-worker with me and a really good guy. The ride is 40 miles with a stop halfway and a pace that is a consistent 18-20mph, with no drops. I encourage any of my rider friends that may have been intimidated by the other groups, because of their speed and intensity, to try out this ride and get into the Lakemont experience.

The other great parts of it being May 16, is the Giro d'Italia is on stage 8, the Tour of California starts this afternoon, and Bike Month is halfway finished. The Giro d'Italia is always a tricky race and this year has been no different. Several of the big name riders (Armstrong and the Radioshack team, Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia), Andy Schleck and Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Tom Danielson (Garmin-Transitions), Tom Boonen (Quick Step), and Lars Boom (Rabobank), Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo Test Team) and US Champion George Hincapie (BMC Racing)) are not there because they are riding in the Tour of California this week. The World Champion from Australia, Cadel Evans (BMC), is currently leading in the Giro and the race has been full of crashes, beautiful Italian scenery, and typical race antics. The Tour of California is a good primer for the Tour de France and many riders are choosing to ride it instead of the Giro, because it isn't as long and taxing and they can go all out for just 8 stages and make adjustments for the Tour de France.

Tomorrow stats the official Bike Week, so I am hoping for many new cyclists out on the road. Coordinate riding to work with friends and co-workers and try to ride on days other than your city's Bike to Work Day. Give commuting by bike a chance for a week and I promise that you will see how easy it can be and you might get hooked.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dirt to Work

Ten feet or ten miles, whatever it takes.

On May 19th — Orlando's bike to work day — Take some time to appreciate the natural world around you. Whether it’s the path through the park or some ripping single-track, make sure to seek out some dirt on your way to work.


Dirt to Work from WTB on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fuel Up for This Weekend's Rides

A few weeks ago I wrote a post that described the huge benefits of eating properly during a long ride. Many cyclists consider sports bars and gels to be handy pre-ride snacks and a good source of calories during rides. These energy sources help provide ample carbohydrates, with minimal amounts of fat and protein.

When cyclists forgo meals or don't eat the right things, their blood glucose drops and you're more likely to get the "bonk" on a ride. Eating a high-carbohydrate sports bar an hour or so before cycling will help to maintain your blood glucose levels so that you can perform optimally.

Researchers at Ohio State University found that performance was improved by 12.5 percent when carbohydrate was consumed an hour before exercise. They advised to consume 40 to 75 grams of carbohydrate in the hour before your workout. The energy boost you get from eating a sports bar or gel before or during exercise comes primarily from the carbohydrate in the bars (about 25 to 47 grams) and gels (about 20 grams to 25 grams), which elevates your blood glucose to provide energy to your cycling muscles.

There's nothing special about the carbohydrate that sports bars and gels supply. You can get the same results from traditional high-carbohydrate snacks such as Fig Newtons, bananas, low-fat granola bars or breakfast bars are also good, less expensive alternatives to sports bars or gels. Sports bars and gels also are an accessible energy source during your time on the bike. Consuming carbohydrate during rides lasting an hour or longer enables you to ride longer and harder by providing glucose for your muscles when they begin to run out of glycogen (glycogen is stored carbohydrate in the muscle).

Filling Up

High-carbohydrate foods such as sports bars, Fig Newtons, and bananas provide a feeling of "fullness" that you won't get from drinking fluids or sucking down gels. Sports bars and gels purposely have a very low water content so that they can be compact and easily carried. Concentrated carbs are definitely the way to go.

To get the amount of carbohydrate supplied by one Clif Bar (40 to 45 grams), you'd have to eat 1.5 bananas (45 grams). One gel packet supplies only slightly less carbohydrate (25 grams) than one banana (25 to 30 grams).

The low water content of sports bars and gels also has a disadvantage. You should consume about 6 to 8 ounces of water when you eat a sports bar or carbohydrate gel before or during exercise. Otherwise the product will settle poorly and you may feel nauseated because of the slow digestion. In addition to aiding your digestion, drinking water after consuming the bar or gel encourages you to hydrate adequately.

The bottom line on sports bars and gels is that they're a convenient way to help meet your carbohydrate requirements before and during cycling.

Below is a recipe that I found online of a "homemade goop".

Homebrew Power Goop
  • 7 and 1/3 tablespoons of honey
  • 3/4 teaspoons of blackstrap molasses
  • 1/10 teaspoons (just shy of 1/8 tsp) of table salt
Be sure to mix everything together well. It should make enough to fill a five-serving GU flask.

The honey in the recipe provides a bunch of good carbohydrates and vitamins. Honey alone is nutritionally very close to power goop, but it lacks a bit of sodium and potassium. Molasses has a ton of potassium, and if you can find blackstrap molasses, it has even more! As for the sodium, just add some salt.

Try these tips out and ride longer and ride farther! The main thing is to get out there and ride!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tour de France Joke

These videos never get old. I want to be a part of one of these pranks or I want to make one up.

I have to credit one of my riding buddies, Jeff Macre, for sending me this video. Good stuff.

Bike to Work Week


May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, and now is the time to encourage your friends, family and co-workers to bike to work, school and for errands. Bike to Work Week is next week, May 17-21 and the official Bike to Work day is Friday, the 21st. Check out events in your area here. Help make every day Bike to Work Day!

Here in Orlando we are having our Bike to Work Day on Wednesday May 19th. Join Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer in support of reducing our impact on
the environment!


The group is gathering at Infusion Tea, at 1600 Edgewater Dr.


Gather 7:30 a.m.-8:00 a.m., Ride at 8 a.m.
Ride into Downtown ending at Orlando City Hall.
Group Competitions: Medals award for the largest groups!


Free Coffee or Tea (with your mug), Tune-ups & LYNX one-way passes to College Park!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bike Rack Fail

I really enjoy advocating for cyclists and doing whatever I can to empowering more people to get on their bikes and ride, but sometimes the actions of other riders makes me wonder why I even try.

I spend my days designing the most comfortable and safe facility options for different cities around the country, but getting people to use them in the way that they were intended isn't always easy. In my daily commutes I typically see the majority of riders not wearing helmets, riding on sidewalks, running red lights/stop signs, riding against the flow of traffic, etc., and people wonder and try to blame everything except for the uneducated riders for our horrendous crash statistics.

Common sense and transportation experience informs most people how they are supposed to ride a bike on the roadway. You would assume that common sense would also inform people on how to use a simple bike rack, but assuming such a thing would be too easy. On a short trip to Barnes and Noble tonight, after grabbing a bite to eat, I get the fun realization that one bike is taking up the entire, lone bike rack. Let's see, do I find a sign or other street furniture to lock my bike to or do I just roll back home. I decided to go on home, since I didn't want to use their silly "wheel bender" of a bike rack anyway. If I could hand out parking tickets for bikes, that bike would have definitely been tagged.

Monday, May 10, 2010

New Bike Lanes on Ferncreek!

I had been seeing the road department's pavement equipment down on Ferncreek all last week, but I didn't even think about them repaving the whole street and striping in new bike lanes! I happened to ride that way on Sunday and saw the new asphalt and bike lanes, so I rode on it on my commutes today. It was pretty awesome.

I used to ride that road everyday when I lived on that side of Colonialtown, but I was happy to have my new route on Hampton when we moved into our house. The old Ferncreek was full of potholes and was so wide that cars tried to fly past you. Now with the narrower lanes, the cars are driving a lot slower and the new pavement resolved the pothole situation.

The other plus is the new striping at the Ferncreek-Colonial intersection. That was another location where the cars would try to make it around you by using the center left turn lane, but now the striping allows the cyclists to take the lane and the cars seem to queue up behind and wait patiently to let you get into the bike lane before they start passing. It is another study that shows that a little white paint has a ton of power to keep cars off your tail.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gainesville is Livin In The Bike Lane

Yesterday I had the pleasure to head up to Gainesville to teach a Saturday course at the University of Florida and it is amazing how much the university and city has changed since I was last there in '09. The real pleasure came from seeing all of the new bike facilities that they have introduced.
The most noticeable change was on SW and NW 13th St. The city took the old bike lanes and when they re-striped the road, they added a 2-3' striped buffer between the cyclists and the cars. They also widened the lane to at least 6' and added several bike route signage. This route is a main thoroughfare in and out of the city on its North-South axis and is where many road cyclists train and ride toward Micanopy and Ocala.

Almost all of the other streets that we drove on seemed to have added 5' bike lanes when they re-striped the roads and narrowed up the travel lanes to gain the extra distance that they needed.  The city added roundabouts at intersections of roads that were labeled as bike routes, to keep the flow of cyclists continuous and reduce the amount of stop and go movements. The city also added planted medians to some of their center turn lanes, to create a boulevard type feeling as you ride down the street. The campus itself still has bike lanes on every street and is building its bike culture to be prominent enough to place Gainesville as one of the top 50 biking cities in the US. 
Another interesting change that I haven't seen in too many places, was the addition of a large sign at the city limits, that listed their current safety record for pedestrians and cyclists. It was reminiscent of factories or industrial areas that place a sign or billboard that states how many days it has been since an accident. It definitely made drivers think about pedestrians and cyclists being on the roads and at intersections and was a good way to draw attention to how safe Gainseville's streets are for biking and walking.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Florida Racing Magazine May Issue

Ride Right, Drive Right

The zMotion cycling group (Zimmerman Advertising team) have used their advertising talents to put together a nice advocacy campaign that includes the TV commercial and pamphlet below. 

Ride Right, Drive Right” is zMotion’s campaign to educate both motorists and cyclists about the need to share the roadways. The campaign’s goal is to make the roads safer and to save lives by building awareness. At the center of the campaign is the belief that cycling laws are poorly communicated. Many motorists are simply unaware of these laws, which render them ineffective. By educating both the cyclist and motorist alike, “Ride Right, Drive Right” can initiative a positive change.

“Ride Right” refers to the cyclist’s credo to know and obey all traffic laws; be courteous to other cyclists; never challenge a confrontational motorist; and to share the road. “Drive Right” reminds motorists to know laws as they relate to cyclists, including giving at least three feet of clearance when passing a cyclist, looking for cyclists when entering and exiting the road, and remembering that cyclists could be in their blind spots.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

CALL GOVERNOR CRIST TODAY TO VETO HB 97


While I like bike lanes when they are done well, a mandatory "Ride in the Bike Lane" bill does not help cyclists and is a barrier in getting all types of riders out on bikes.
HB 971 Bad for Bicyclists and Pedestrians
Unbeknownst to Florida Bicycle Association, a mandatory bike lane use provision was included in the Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles bill.  The bill also allows local governments to permit mopeds, golf-carts and other motorized vehicles on sidewalks and trails.
Call Governor Crist as soon as you can to ask him to veto this bill. Executive Office of the Governor Switchboard: (850) 488-7146
If you're on Facebook, post the link to this blog post to spread the word!
Why it's bad for bicyclists:
Motorists who learn of the bill will have one more very strong excuse to harass cyclists who "aren't in the bike lane." There are many striped-off areas of roadways that are not really bike lanes, but some believe they are. They will also likely be ignorant of all the exceptions to the law (because they'll hear it second hand) and even if they read it in full, they won't understand many of the good reasons cyclists need to leave bike lanes.
Visit the FBA blog or CommuteOrlando.com to view a photo of how a bicyclist outside a bike lane is put in a defensive position and must prove his or her innocence. Many bike lanes are substandard in width, force cyclists into door zones, or are improperly placed to the right of right-turn-only lanes, but many officers don't understand these problems.
Motorists get another new excuse when they hit a cyclist: "He left the bike lane."
Why it's bad for pedestrians:
It's bad enough that pedestrians have to suffer parked cars blocking sidewalks, being blasted by sprinklers, sidewalk bicyclists who don't announce themselves when passing, and thousands of other nuisances, now they'll have to share stretches of sidewalk in some jurisdictions with motorized vehicles.  Local governments will be able to permit mopeds, golf-carts, motorized scooters and other vehicles which don't belong on sidewalks and on "bike paths."  The law limits such vehicles to 15 mph, but how will that be enforced?
Currently on the books: 316.1995  Driving upon sidewalk or bicycle path.--No person shall drive any vehicle other than by human power upon a bicycle path, sidewalk, or sidewalk area, except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway. (page 10 of the combination Florida Bicycle/Pedestrian Law Enforcement Guide)
The bill also allows drivers who have had up to four DUIs to get their licenses back.  From a Jacksonville TV station:
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - If you get four DUI's in Florida, you could lose your driving privileges. However, if passed, a bill would allow drivers with four DUI's to get their licenses back.
The driver would have to go through a program, which includes educational classes and installing a breathalyzer in his or her vehicle. The device is called Life Safer Interlock, and costs about $70 to install and about $80 a month to maintain.
It's time for Florida's bicyclists and pedestrians to send a strong message:
"We will not be marginalized."

Mighk Wilson
Metroplan Orlando

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bike Safety PSAs

Below are 2 PSAs that help inform riders how to ride smart and be aware of "dooring" and "right hooks", and it also sends a message to automobile drivers-to look out for cyclists. Please share these on your own blogs, Facebook, email, etc. A good blend of education, properly designed facilities, and social encouragement is the best way to provide a comfortable ride to all users. The more cyclists that are out on the road, the safer and more comfortable it is for everyone.



Monday, May 3, 2010

World Cycling Blog Rankings

Click on the image below to nominate yours truly for an opportunity to get in the running for the 2010 World Cycling Rankings. Thanks

DC Bikestation

Sorry for the lull in posts. I was in DC through the weekend and was a pretty busy. Either way, every time I visit that city, I get so inspired about cycling and the future of bike commuting in our country. DC is just swarming with bikes and the deeper I explore the city and the initiatives that they are pushing, the more that I love it.

Bikestation Washington, D.C. houses over 100 bicycles in a 1,600 sq.ft. ultra-modern glass and steel design, and is part of a growing network of Bikestations and related transit centers springing up in cities across the U.S. It is a completely secure facility available by membership, Bikestation Washington, D.C. represents this new approach to alternative transportation. The facility is staffed 66 hours per week and available to members 24/7. In addition to secure bike parking, the facility also provides a changing room, lockers, bike rental, bike repair and retail sales. The Bikestation location at Union Station allows commuters to take public transportation to the station, pick up their bicycles and go to work, shopping or entertainment.

Below are some shots of the new Bikestation DC at Union Station, bikes that were chained up to the White House fence, and a video of the station and how it works, from Street Films.