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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Idaho among safest states for pedestrians and bicyclists, report says

From The Times News:

A recently released national study ranks Idaho among the 10 safest states for pedestrians.

The nonprofit group Transportation for America released a 10-year study called Dangerous By Design, which used a formula called the Pedestrian Danger Index to rank the deadliest states for people traveling by foot. In Idaho, 119 pedestrian deaths were reported from 2000 to 2009, accounting for 6.4 percent of all vehicle-versus-pedestrian crashes.

The formula calculates the rate of pedestrian deaths relative to the amount of walking in that area.

Overall, the report ranked Idaho as the ninth-safest state for pedestrians and bicyclists, with Vermont rated the safest and Florida last.

Statistics from the Idaho Transportation Departments Office of Highway Safety show that the 119 deaths represented 4.6 percent of all traffic fatalities through the decade.

Broken down by county, Transportation for Americas study lists Ada County as leading in pedestrian deaths from 2000 to 2009 with 27. Twin Falls County came in second with 13 fatalities, and Canyon County was third with 11. The 13 deaths in Twin Falls County made up 10.2 percent of all its crash fatalities.

Among the eight counties in ITD Region 4 (Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls), Cassia County followed Twin Falls County with seven pedestrian deaths, approximately 7.6 percent of all that countys crash fatalities.

Transportation for America ultimately is lobbying Congress to send more federal funds to states and municipalities to improve roads in ways that make walkers and bicyclists safer.

In November, the Twin Falls City Council formed a subcommittee to research pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly upgrades for any future road work, making the harassment of a pedestrian or bicyclist a misdemeanor crime and forming more right-of-way ordinances.

While few bicyclists and pedestrians are killed by run-ins with cars annually in south-central Idaho, the incidents can be devastating to multiple families.

In June 2009, bicyclist David Webster, 57, of Twin Falls, was struck and killed by Daniel Straub on 4000 North Road. Straub pleaded guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to eight years in prison in August 2010.

A Rupert man, Thomas Oliver, 45, died instantly when his bicycle collided with a Transystems truck in Burley in January 2010.

Annually, Idaho has seen about 200 vehicle-versus-pedestrian accidents, with 5 percent to 10 percent leading to fatalities.

Friday, May 27, 2011

City Cycle

Do I see a business opportunity here? A mobile bar in Coeur d'Alene?
Check out this article for the full story on the City Cycle, which seats about 13 and includes a beer tap.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The physics of a riderless bicycle

My engineering mind finds this fascinating. Maybe you will, too...or you might find it nerdy...

Let congress know you Support Complete Streets

The National Complete Streets Coalition is gathering support for H.R. 1780, the Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2011. The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on May 5 by Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Steven LaTourette (R-OH).  It directs state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to write and adopt Complete Streets policies. H.R. 1780 supports the work of over 200 Complete Streets policies at the local, MPO and state level by ensuring a comprehensive approach across jurisdictions for safe streets for all, regardless of age, ability, or chosen mode of travel. 

You can use this easy online tool to send a message to your representatives showing your support for HR 1780.

Idaho slipping in bike friendly status?

The latest results from the League of American Bicyclists are out. Your neighbor, the state of Washington, leads the nation for Bicycle Friendly America, an annual award. Idaho, however, is a roller coaster of emotions. When the organization began the awards in 2008, Idaho started out at near the bottom [.PDF], ranking 37th in the nation. In 2009, they began to inch their way up to 34th. Last year, they saw their biggest improvement, leaping to 26th. Idaho, what happened? This year you're back down to 30th.

Bike License Plates

Thanks to the yearlong efforts of many dedicated individuals, Idaho is the first state in the nation to feature a mountain bike-themed license plate. Under the law passed by the Idaho Legislature, this new mountain bike-themed plate will benefit all trail users of Idaho’s 17,000-mile recreational trail system.

The plate costs $35 for the initial purchase and $25 for renewals. The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation will receive $22 and $12 respectively from plate sales “exclusively for the preservation, maintenance and expansion of recreational trails" within the state of Idaho, where mountain biking is permitted.

The plate features a mountain biker, but all trail users benefit from buying a plate. Recreational trails are used by many, not only to bike, but also to hike, run, wildlife watch, horseback ride and many other activities. So, even if you don't own a mountain bike, but like to recreate on Idaho's trails, you will benefit!

Click here for more info

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

Even though May is almost over, it's not too late to celebrate National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

Here's an article from teh Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Center:

As we say farewell to winter months and frigid temperatures, many of us are anticipating warm weather to help us get out and become more active. National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is celebrated during the month of May. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adults 18 and older need 30 minutes of physical activity on five or more days a week to be healthy; children and teens need 60 minutes of activity a day for their health. Often we don't consider the activities intertwined into our daily routine as physical activity, but brisk walking or a short bicycle ride can fulfill the daily physical fitness requirements. Here are a few tips to integrate physical activity into your normal routine.
  • Add more steps into your day by taking the stairs or parking further away.
  • Walk or bike one daily trip for which you'd normally drive the car.
  • Get a walking buddy or take a family walk after dinner.
  • Walk a child to school or participate in a Walk to School Day
  • Walk through your neighborhood and rate its "walkability."
  • Take walking meetings at work.
  • Keep a daily activity log. Estimate the mileage you walked or the minutes you spent doing something active.
  • Buy a pedometer and consider wearing it all day long.
  • Form a walking group with a regular schedule. There is encouragement in number.
Even beyond the month of May, remember how bicycling and walking can fit into your everyday routine.

Americans slow to embrace walking and cycling

From Reuters:

Americans slow to embrace walking and cyclingBy Dorene Internicola

Despite wobbling fuel prices, thickening waistlines and an avalanche of evidence lauding the benefits of active travel, Americans have been slow to embrace walking and cycling.

Research shows that walking has increased only slightly and cycling has stagnated during the past decade. Both activities have decreased among women, children and seniors,

Dr. John Pucher, a professor at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, said the increases have been among men, the employed, well-educated and people without a car.

"What struck me was the social inequity," said Pucher. "Most of the increase is in middle-aged men. That says we're doing something wrong in the United States."

He believes American resistance to active travel has more to do with safety concerns than suburban sprawl.

Pucher, who works at Rutgers Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, has been studying transportation and ways to make walking and cycling feasible for 15 years.

In a recent study he and his team analyzed government data on active travel from telephone interviews in 2001 and 2009 with tens of thousands of Americans.

He said data from 2009 shows that 25 percent of all trips in American cities are a mile or shorter, and 40 percent are two miles or shorter.

"Those distances are easily covered by walking and biking," Pucher said. "Children, women and seniors are just not going to cycle on a busy arterial street."

He said other studies have shown that women cyclists tend to make huge detours to get to safer facilities, even if it takes longer, whereas men are more likely to take the most direct route, even if it is a busy street.

Better sidewalks for pedestrians and separate and protected lanes for cyclists would encourage active travel among what he calls risk-averse groups.

"It's done all the time in Danish, Dutch and German cities," he said. "Some American suburbs don't have any sidewalks at all."

In residential neighborhoods, he said, traffic-calming measures such as narrowed streets and lowered speed limits would make roads less threatening to children, seniors and women.

Pucher cited northern Europe, where cyclists and walkers comprise a 50-50 mix of men and women as well as many seniors and children, as a good example.

"We also looked at earlier surveys that were not directly comparable," he said, "and we saw a continual decline in walking and cycling over two-to-three decades."

Danger, both real and perceived, is the main, and very fixable, reason walking and cycling levels are lagging in America, Pucher said.

"It's very clear how to do it, we just don't do it," he said. "Getting from point A to point B is a really daunting experience in many American cities because of such lousy pedestrian and cycling facilities."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Corporate Challenge Winners!

Over 50 Employees
Accurate Molded Plastics

Under 50 Employees
Helbling Benefits

Great Job everyone! Thanks to everyone who participated, volunteered, and donated prizes!

Roots Pursuit Recap

 The Roots Pursuit was a great time once again this year. 26 teams competed this year (twice last year's number). Check out the photos of the action with more great photos at: http://www.kealliance.org/rootspursuit/roots-pursuit. Thanks to KEA and Community Roots for putting on another great event!

 An encore of the winning rap
 Angela Earnheart on the mic
 The Midtown Marauders arrive!
 Monte McCully on the basketball court
 The wheel toss
 Volunteers make it possible
 The Spring Chicks
Roots Pursuit medals (made by Sharon Bosley)
Commuter Challenge trophies (made by Chris Bosley)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hand signals aren't just for rival gangs...

One small step for Idaho...One giant leap for bike safety...

Click here to read a facebook conversation about bike safety

U of I Research Helping the Visually Impaired

From KLEW TV in Lewiston:

MOSCOW - Research done at the University of Idaho is helping the vision impaired safely cross intersections around the entire country.

Crossing an intersection can be challenging for the visually impaired. UI Professor, Richard Wall led the research and development of what's called the Advanced Accessible Pedestrian System. It provides audible signals that help pedestrians with vision impairments.

"The statistics are really quite bad for pedestrians at intersections," said Wall. "You want to be aware when you're crossing the street, regardless of what the light says. Regardless of what the message says, the pedestrian has to take responsibility for his own safety."

The system is currently in commercial production and is being installed in cities throughout the U.S. One is installed at the corner of Sixth and Deakin in Moscow and is the first pedestrian signal in Moscow that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The arrows on the module allow pedestrians to feel the direction of the intersection and the speakers provide a clear, audible message of when it is and isn't safe to cross."

"Audible sounds have no directionality," said Wall. "Visual, you say OK I'm going to be crossing the street in this direction so I know which cross walk the sign pertains to. But a blind person who hears it doesn't necessarily. It just hears walk and doesn't know which direction the permission was given to."

The system is ready for to be widely distributed. Researchers anticipate installing as many as 90 systems this year.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bike Friendly CdA

An article appeared in this morning's CdA Press discussing the bicycle friendly nature of Coeur d'Alene.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Commuting Gear Guide

Momentum Magazine just issued this online bicycle commuting gear guide. It's a great resource for those wanting to begin bike commuting or improve their existing commuter bike.


Corporate Challenge Trophies

Feast your eyes on this years Commuter Challenge Trophies! Lovingly crafted by Sharon and Chris Bosley and made out of recycled bike parts.

More Inspiration...

From the Missoulian:

MISSOULA, Mont. - Lu Haas didn't get the message that school was canceled one day last winter after a frigid, bitter snowstorm blasted the Missoula Valley.

So as usual, he arrived at Cold Springs Elementary, expecting to lead the daily lessons for his fifth-graders, just as he'd done every day for the past 26 years.

"Well, then I looked at my phone and there were two calls from Webb," said Haas, referring to his principal Webb Harrington. "She said, Lu, school's been canceled.' "

It's a long commute back to Haas' home halfway up the Rattlesnake - 6 1/2 miles through town. But the teacher was about to reverse course when his boss told him to stay put.

"She was concerned about my safety," said the 67-year-old Haas, who is retiring after the school year. "So she had her husband come pick me up."

Harrington probably figured that riding a bike through the dark in the aftermath of the worst winter storm of the year was not such a good idea.

Haas accepted the ride, but it was a rare sight to see him in the interior of a vehicle on the way home from school. Only a couple of dozen times over his 26 years at Cold Springs had he ever arrived at or left his school in motorized transportation.

For all those years, and even the 17 years prior when he taught in Berkeley, Calif., Lu Haas has been a committed two-wheel teacher.

Over his years in Missoula, Haas has ridden his bike to and from school to the tune of more than 60,000 miles, logging a minimum of 13 miles a day in the commute. That's more than twice around the globe at the equator.

Think globally, bike locally?

Well, maybe. But asked about his motive, Haas mentioned neither the environment nor fitness, though he believes in maintaining both.


He did, however, mention fishing poles.

A teacher's salary isn't exactly exorbitant, so Haas keeps a pretty tight budget. But 60,000 miles in a car with decent gas mileage, at today's gas prices, works out to more than $11,000.
"So when I think about getting a new fishing rod, I say, Hell yeah, I can afford it,' " said the avid fisherman.

Even on those days when Haas opted not to bike, it wasn't because he couldn't handle the weather.
It's because his bike couldn't.

"You can't bike through a foot of snow," he said. "You just can't do it."

But up to half a foot of snow is doable. And decked out with a helmet, warm gear and a mask, so is pretty much any temperature - except maybe 20 below or colder.

"I think I rode once at 15 below," he said. "And I figured that's about my limit."

Besides a few scary moments skidding out of control on ice or snow, Haas has had no real trouble getting across town and back in those years.

"I've been down a couple of times," he said. "But you probably get banged up more playing ice hockey."

Haas always uses both a bike light and a helmet light - especially because he leaves home around 6:30 a.m., so most of the year he's in the dark.

Biking, especially after the work day, is "almost a Zen experience" that allows Haas to steer this thoughts toward his students, lesson plans and other things instead of having to concentrate on driving - which he considers more work.

"If you bike to work, you're done with your job when you get on the bike," he said. "But if you drive to work, you're not done until you get home."

In June, Haas will take his last ride to Cold Springs - at least as a teacher.

An avid cyclist outside of his commute, though, he'll continue to ride every day.

"I'm going to have to get up and make sure I get some sort of ride in," he said.

Project Aura Bicycle Lighting System

I don't know about you, but I think if I rode with these lights, I would need to ride slow with some heavy bass music playing (low rider style). I also find irony in that the rider in the video has no front headlight, even though his wheels are lit up like a Christmas tree. I guess it's for the dramatic effect...

Root's Pursuit Tomorrow!

Community Roots
presents the finale event of Bike to Work Week 2011
The Roots Pursuit

12 Challenges. 2 Hours.
Bring your bike, your brains, and a little imagination.
A 2-3 person team event.
Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 10:00 am (Must be check in by 9:30)
Shared Harvest Community Garden

See photos from last year and more info at: http://www.kealliance.org/rootspursuit/roots-pursuit

Inspiration on Bike to Work Day

My NYC Biking Story: Lucette Gilbert from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Movie Night Tonight

Don't forget Movie Night tonight at Pilgrim's Market on 4th Street. For Bike to Work Week, they will be showing "Breaking Away". If you haven't seen it, you're missing out. If you have seen it, you know you want to see it again. Wine tasting at 5:30, movie at 6:30.

Pedestrians and Park Planning: How Far Will People Walk?

Posted on May 13, 2011 by Ryan Donahue

As cities vie to attract talented college graduates and sustain population growth, they are focusing attention on parks to increase livability and support a strong economy. Since parks must be convenient if they are to provide their benefits, many places have set goals for the maximum distance any resident should be from the nearest park. But the goals vary widely, from an eighth of a mile in Chicago to two miles in Atlanta. Many people wonder if it is even possible to establish a universal standard.

This is a complex question. An individual’s willingness to walk varies greatly depending on age, health, time availability, quality of surroundings, safety, climate, and many other factors. On top of the variability in walking patterns, a city’s density has a bearing on what is considered a reasonable distance and where it is cost effective to add new parks.

Click here for the rest of the story

Moonlight Ride

Our first Bike to Work Week Moonlight Ride was a success! We had quite a large turn out and the ride was beautiful. We got seperated at the end as some of us thought a Moonlight Ride should be accompanied by a visit to Moontime Bar and Grill on the way back...

Bi-Partisan ‘Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2011’ Introduced in U.S. House

From the Complete Streets Newsletter:

We are pleased to announce that H.R. 1780, the Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2011 was introduced in the House of Representatives on May 5 by Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Steven LaTourette (R-OH). This bipartisan bill directs state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to write and adopt Complete Streets policies. H.R. 1780 supports the work of over 200 Complete Streets policies at the local, MPO and state level by ensuring a comprehensive approach across jurisdictions for safe streets for all, regardless of age, ability, or chosen mode of travel. Check out the great things people are saying about the bill. We expect to see a similar bill introduced in the U.S. Senate next week.
Urge your members of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 1780 by contacting them via our easy online action tool. You’ll be able to customize your letter to include information about why Complete Streets matters to you. And be sure to add your organization to the growing list of groups nationwide that support a federal Complete Streets policy by filling out this quick form. Our federal resources page offers more information on the bill, a sample script to use when calling your representative’s office, and tips for setting up an in-district meeting.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bike to Work Week Kick-Off Ride

Hard Core....Braving the rain for the Bike to Work Week Kick-Off Ride

Moonlight Ride

A KHQ producer is joining us for our moonlight ride tonight and is working on getting a reporter to cover us on the 10 or 11 o’clock news. The weather forecast for tonight is partly cloudy….so the weather will be good (even though we are supposed to get light showers this am). It would do a lot for the image of biking in Coeur d’Alene if we showed up in force tonight. Please show up at Terra Sports on Sherman at 9pm. We will ride out to Higgins Point and back on the Centennial Trail. Dress in layers and bring a headlamp or a headlight (one goes on your head….one goes on your bike). This will be a fun event!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We don't ride bikes?

I saw this on the Huckleberry's Blog:

Hucks Poll: We Don’t Ride Bikes
Monday Poll: A majority of Hucks Nation either doesn't ride bikes or rides them only occasionally. 49 of 108 respondents (45.37%) said they never ride bikes. Another 21 of 108 (19.44%) said they ride bikes only occasionally. Only 5 respondents (4.63%) said they ride bikes every day. Other votes were scattered among those who ride bikes 2-3 times per week, 22 (20.37%). And those who ride bikes once a week, 11 (10.19%).
I didn't understand the math very well. Less than half said they don't ride bikes. It would be far easier to claim that "We Do Ride Bikes", since over half said they do at least occasionally. Still, that's a pretty good percentage. If you asked how many readers crochet or scrapbook or play guitar, I'll bet that number would be considerably lower. I'll take that poll as proof that we have a strong cycling community.

Pedestrians’ Quality Needs

From the 8-80 Cities' Newsletter:

Pedestrians’ Quality Needs by Rob Methorst, Hector Monterde i Bort, Ralf Risser, Daniel Sauter, Miles Tight and Jim Walker

Humans are meant to walk. Yet walking is such a basic way of travelling that it is easy to forget its importance. While almost everyone agrees that it is important to have pedestrian facilities, few politicians give it priority. The Pedestrians' Quality Needs Project (PQN) was established to innovate policy development thinking and to show how policy could be developed to address the needs of pedestrians. The documents sets out specific recommendations for professionals and policy makers on all levels – from small communities, to larger cities right to the national and international government levels.

Read the full document here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

It's Bike to Work Week

And, it's raining as usual...

Surprised at finding ourselves

While combing the internet for ped/bike information, I ran across this on a blog I subscribe to called Where the Sidewalk Starts:

Cool Ped Stuff #10: Bloggers

And you thought I was the only one crazy enough to spend my spare time writing about pedestrians. No indeed, there's quite a confederation of us out there. I've listed some of these in my blogroll, but I think all of them are worth checking out (with the help of google translate, if necessary).

In English:

TBD on Foot (Washington, DC)

Pedestrianist (San Francisco, CA)

Twin City Sidewalks (Minneapolis/St. Paul. MN)

Walk Around Portland (Portland, ME)

Coeur d'Alene Pedestrian & Bicycle Blog (Coeur d'Alene, ID)

WalkBikeJersey Blog

Here is the link to the list with hotlinks to each blog:


Another bike related foreign language music video

Friday, May 13, 2011

Celebrities Being "Jerks" on Bikes

View more videos at: http://nbcnewyork.com/?__source=embedCode.

Friday Fun Video

Bikes Make Life Better

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Plight of the North American Bipeds

Bike Commuting is Habit Forming

According to a May 9th City Fix blog entry, "For those considering participating in Bike to Work day on May 20, statistics presented at the recent Washington, D.C. Transportation Planning Board meeting may be of interest. According to the presented survey of D.C.-area Bike to Work Day commuters in 2010, 17 percent of participants said they had never commuted to work before, 22 percent started biking to work more often after participating, and 10 percent made it a regular commute mode. With all the benefits of cycling, you'd be hard pressed to find a better time to try this active commute alternative..."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Go Green Stamps

The US Postal Service has released a series of new "Go Green" stamps. Three of them deserve recognition on this blog for obvious reasons.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bike Commuting 101

Bike to Work Week is next week. Inevitably, despite the nice weather the last couple days, you'll probably have to deal with rain. Really it's not so bad. Especially on your way home when you can just change your clothes. Don't let the rain discourage you. You won't melt...I promise!
So, to help you prepare for that cursed rain shower here are some more tips from EcoVelo:
Bike Set-up
Any bike that will be ridden in the rain on a regular basis needs fenders. Long, full coverage fenders are best, but if they’re not available, mud flaps increase the effectiveness of short fenders. Unlike the rain falling from the sky, water coming off of the road is oily and dirty, so complete fender coverage is a must, particularly for commuters riding in work clothes.
Visibility is dramatically diminished in the rain, so it’s a good idea to run lights even during a daylight downpour. Fortunately, most lights today are water-resistant, if not completely waterproof, so a standard nighttime commuting set-up is usually sufficient for riding in the rain (read more about lights for commuting here).
Most commuting bikes come standard with tires that are appropriate for rain riding. Just about any touring or city tire at least 28mm in diameter with a bit of tread will work fine. It probably goes without saying that small diameter racing slicks are not ideal for commuting in the rain.
Clothing Strategies
For short commutes in light rain, it’s possible to keep dry using a cape over street clothes. Capes are nice because they allow air flow underneath and they’re easy to take on and off. The downside is that they may not keep you completely dry in a heavy downpour, and they can act like a sail in a crosswind. Chaps are sometimes used as additional protection in conjunction with a cape.
Longer commutes in heavy rain call for full rain suits made from waterproof, breathable fabrics. Cycling-specific rain suits aren’t necessary, though they provide a better fit on the the bike than standard, all-purpose rain suits. To get the most from any breathable rain suit, layer underneath with wicking garments made from wool or modern technical fabrics.
For footwear, I’ve had good luck with lightweight, waterproof hiking/walking shoes. I like the fact that they can be worn all day, eliminating the need to carry an extra pair of shoes. For those who ride in clipless cycling shoes, various neoprene and Gore-Tex booties are available.
Carrying Stuff
Most good quality, bike-specific panniers and bags are either waterproof, water-resistant, or come supplied with rain covers. In the case of simple nylon bags and panniers that provide no protection from water, delicate items can be placed inside ziplock bags before placing into your bike bag.
Riding Strategies
It’s important to reduce speeds while riding in the rain to compensate for slick roads and reduced visibility. Brake early, accelerate slowly, and corner gingerly. Keep a particular eye out for paint stripes, grates, manhole covers, and leaves, all of which are extremely slick when wet. It’s best to avoid riding through large puddles, but if you must, slow to nearly walking speed since there’s no way to know their depth or what lurks under the surface.
Bike Maintenance
There are two opposing approaches to maintaining a rain bike. One is to set-up a rain-specific “beater” bike that’s only given minimal attention, the other is to carefully maintain a nicer bike to keep the water exposure from causing damage. I’ve used both approaches and I can’t say one is necessarily better than the other.
The frequency and depth of maintenance required varies depending upon the bike and the person’s approach. At a bare minimum, the chain should be lubed well enough that it doesn’t rust and squeak. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for rust on other areas of the bike. If rust shows up, a little oil or grease will keep it from turning into something major.
Rain accelerates wear on brakes, and water has a way of working itself into bearings, so it’s a good idea to check a rain bike’s brakes and bearings on a regular schedule. If you don’t maintain your own bike, it’s a good idea to drop by your local bike shop mid-season for a quick once-over.
Wiping down a bike with an old bath towel after a rain ride will help stop corrosion before it starts. A quick rinse with fresh water before towel drying and lubing provides even more protection. Waxing the frame also helps repel water and road grime. This full-on approach certainly isn’t necessary, but it’ll help keep a nice bike in good condition.
Snow and Ice
I live in a place where the weather is mild most of the year, so I’m going to ask the members of our community who live in cold, harsh climates to help us out with advice on how to deal with snow and ice. If you regularly ride in frozen conditions, please share your experience in the comments below.
Have Some Fun
Wet, winter bike commuting isn’t necessarily for everyone, but if you like the idea of riding year-round, rain-or-shine, you should definitely give it a try. Just a few adjustments to your regular routine can turn what could be an unpleasant ordeal into a fun adventure that adds another dimension to your bike commuting experience.

Green (Tree) Crossing

We dream about bikes

Planet Bike from Planet Bike on Vimeo.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bike Commuting 101

With Bike to Work Week right around the corner, here is more from EcoVelo:

Bicycles are remarkably reliable vehicles that require very little in the way of maintenance. They rarely break down at the roadside, and even in the unlikely event of a mechanical failure, they can often be repaired in a few minutes with a few basic tools.

Following is the short list of items we carry in our tool kits:

•Bicyclist’s Multi-tool (at minimum, 2-8mm allen wrenches, 8/9/10mm box wrenches, phillips and flat head screwdrivers)
•Small Pliers
•Tire Levers
•Mini Pump
•Spare Tube
•Patch Kit
•Rag or Wet Wipes
•Cell Phone (the ultimate roadside bailout tool)

As you can see, most of what we carry relates to tire punctures. If you’d rather not repair flat tires, you can remove everything from the list other than the multi-tool, pliers, and cell phone. If your bike has nutted axles, you either need to be sure your multi-tool includes a 15mm wrench, or carry a separate wrench just for the axle nuts. We’ll follow-up with a flat repair how-to in an upcoming installment of this series.

You can carry your tool kit in its own bag (typically a small under-saddle bag or tool roll), or in a side pocket in your existing commuter pannier or messenger bag — it matters not. The important thing is to have a dedicated spot for the tool kit so it doesn’t get left at home.

And finally, if you’d rather not do any roadside repairs at all, be sure to carry a cell phone with you and have a plan in place for someone to pick-up you and your bike in the event of a breakdown (assuming a commute that’s beyond walking distance).

Another Commuter Challenge

From the Coeur d'Alene Press:

Sure, Mike Gaertner, Carrie Martin and Adam Haeusler are competitors.
Can't be helped. Not when all three own bike shops in Coeur d'Alene.
There's Gaertner and Vertical Earth at Riverstone, Martin and Bicycle Sales and Service on Fourth Street, and Haeusler with Terra Sports on Sherman Avenue.
Each loves being part of a growing sector of cyclists. Each would love to provide the bikes, accessories and handle the repairs for anyone to take two wheels on the road. They would love to work together bringing bikes to their community.
They think they've found a way to make that happen and they're calling it the "Coeur d'Alene Bicycle Commuter Challenge."
The idea is to get folks out riding bikes instead of driving their cars, trucks and SUVs to reach their in-town destinations. Not only will they gain fitness and save gas, they can win prizes, too.
"With so many bike shops in town, we compete against each other," Gaertner said. "With this, we get to work together to promote cycling in the community."
"We're forming more friendships, too, which is great," Martin said. "We'll always be competitors, too, but the friendships are great."
Here's how the Bicycle Commuter Challenge works.
Starting May 1 and throughout the summer, stop at any of the three bike shops and pick up a stamp card. Then, each time you're pedaling to work or headed out on your bike, stop and have your card stamped.
Stamps are worth prizes. The more stamps, the better the prizes. At the end of the program, Aug. 31, there will be a drawing for the biggest and best prizes for those who have at least 10 commutes to their credit.
"The idea is, they want people to ride their bikes," said Kent Eggleston, Carrie Martin's father.
Gaertner agreed.
The Commuter Challenge is beneficial for everybody and can easily be expanded down the road if other bike shops would like to get involved.
"If it gets people out biking, that's a good thing," he said.
Haeusler said the community has a high focus on endurance sports, so many athletes are already committed to their bikes. The commuter challenge is an example of how others - kids, students and parents - can spend more time traveling by pedal power.
"It shows people there are other things you can do," Haeusler said. "You don't have to be an Ironman to get out and ride a bike."
Quick trips in town might be easier on a bike, which, when considering gas prices, is the far cheaper option as well.
He also pointed out each of the three bike shops has "a little different focus."
"We are competitors to a point, but this shows people we're on the same page. We're working with each other," he said.
North Idaho is already a popular biking area, with the Centennial Trail and Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes for road bikes, and Canfield Mountain or Farragut State Park for mountain bikes.
And with Ironman and triathlons continuing to gain a strong foothold, cyclists are taking to the roads in groups come spring and summer.
Gaertner hopes they'll keep riding, beyond the competition.
"We're trying to expand that into something more all-encompassing, not just ride for Ironman. Make it a lifestyle," he said.
Martin hopes that leads to more people biking to work.
"We needed something in this community that brings people together who are commuting," she said.
That's easy to do, considering the abundance of paved and mountain trails within easy reach of cyclists. - but not Tubbs Hill.
"You'll get a ticket on Tubbs Hill," Martin said.

With all this rain, this might come in handy...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bike to Work Week Shirts

Here is our new Bike to Work Week T-shirt (we have our own logo now!). The shirts will be Forest Green this year with black and white lettering and are available in a polyester blend (under-armor) or cotton. The cost per shirt is $20 for the Under-Armor shirt and $15 for the cotton shirt. Contact Monte McCully if you would like one, but you need to act fast! Orders must be in no later than Monday morning.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Children have trouble judging speed

From the New Urban Network:
Adult pedestrians can accurately judge the speeds of vehicles traveling toward them at up to 50 mph, say researchers at Royal Holloway College, University of London, England. But for elementary school children, it's a different matter. Children simply don't have the perceptual ability to make an accurate judgment.
“This is not a matter of children not paying attention, but a problem related to low-level visual detection mechanisms, so even when children are paying very close attention they may fail to detect a fast approaching vehicle,”said John Wann, a professor in the university's Department of Psychology.
Also interesting in this article was the concept of speed limiting devices on vehicles:

Certain classes of road vehicles, like heavy goods vehicles and public services vehicles, have maximum speed limiters but we want limiters extended to all vehicles.
... we want the limiter to reflect not just the national maximum speed – currently 70mph – but the maximum speed in any locality. Therefore the speed limiter will ensure the driver could not drive faster than 30mph where that maximum speed applies.
A while ago I drove such a vehicle. The accuracy was stunning. I entered London via the M1 at 70mph and once the 50mph limit came into force the car slowed to 50mph. On moving onto local roads the speed reduced to 30mph. If you imagine a dual-carriageway with a parallel access road a couple of metres away I was able to travel along the dual-carriageway at 50mph but as soon as I moved to the access road I was reduced to 30mph.

Read the whole article here: http://newurbannetwork.com/article/30-mph-traffic-too-fast-children-judge-accurately-study-finds-14515

Letting go of inhibitions...

From the Spokesman Review:
CORVALLIS, Ore. - A 65-year-old Oregon man has been convicted of public indecency for riding his bicycle through a Corvallis park while nude. 
The Gazette-Times reports that David Owen Lamb told arresting officers he found riding without clothes exciting. 
But during his trial, Lamb, who served as his own legal representative, argued he did not have the intent to sexually arouse himself or anyone else in the park and along the bike path. 
Among the witnesses was Benton County Sheriff Diana Simpson, who had been running along the bike path with her husband, Bret Godfrey. 
A judge sentenced Lamb to 20 days in jail after a Benton County jury found him guilty on Tuesday

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Poll Results

The results are in!
When asked if they would bike or walk more if they had better facilities, Ped/Bike Blog viewers responded:
14% bike all the time no matter what
71% would bike more if there were better facilities
7% will never bike
and 7% don't know what a bike facility is.

Take the new poll!
Will you ride your bike to work on Bike to Work Week?

Yarn Bombers

A new form of urban art is appearing around the country as these knitting ninjas leave their creative marks for all to admire. The bike rack idea really isn't too bad. It would save the paint on my top tube.

Read more here: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/inberkeley/detail?entry_id=88273

‘Cycle tracks’ in cities could save bicyclists lives

Public health researcher Anne Lusk argues that installing bike routes separate from motor vehicles will boost cycling and make compact communities work better.

New Urban Network
Dr. Anne Lusk wants everyone to learn a new term: “cycle track.” And not just learn it — apply it to the planning and development of cities everywhere.

A forceful advocate of bicycling, Lusk commanded the spotlight at CNU-New England’s annual conference in March when she received the chapter’s first Achievement Award and repeatedly pressed conferees to make biking an integral part of community design.

Click here to read the entire article

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Bike Clock

The sprockets are all chained together to provide the correct gear reductions for accurate timekeeping! It incorporates 12 bikes. 5 bikes to get a 1 to 1/60 reduction ratio (seconds to minutes), another 5 bikes to reduce the minutes to hours, and then two bikes to reduce hours to 12 hours. Now, to find a place to hang it...

IKEA Bike Trailers

IKEA, that patent purveyor of all things flat-pack just announced that it has just teamed up with Velorbis to offer an exciting new service to its Danish customers: bike trailers. The arrangement will supply IKEA stores with a fleet of free trailer bikes, giving Danes an eco-friendly way to haul their housewares home and proving, once again, that Denmark rocks the bike lane.

A Bike About Town

Would you believe me if I told you that my morning commute to work is like this every day?

Okay, so I don't actually bring my dog to work...