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Wednesday, August 31, 2011


According to an Aug. 30th Daily Mail article, "Taking intense exercise helps you live longer than if you choose long periods of gentler activity, research shows. A study found fast cyclists lived up to five years longer than those who cycled at a slower pace -- and the speed was more important than the duration. The 20-year study, involving 5,000 healthy people who cycled every day, found men who cycled quickly survived 5.3 years longer than those cycling the most slowly."

"Men pedaling at an average pace lived 2.9 years longer. Among women, fast cyclists lived 3.9 years and average speed cyclists 2.2 years longer than those in the slow lane. Fast cyclists who spent no more than an hour a day on a bike had the best chance of avoiding premature death from any cause, the Copenhagen City Heart Study found. Dr Peter Schnohr, who led the research at Bispebjerg University Hospital, Copenhagen, said: 'This study suggests that a greater part of the daily physical activity in leisure time should be vigorous, based on the individual's own perception of intensity...'"

Bicycles in Movies Montage

Untitled from Todo Mundo on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Arrested for Riding Bike to School

How did we get to this?

Read about it over at Bike Walk Tennessee.

Longboarding on the Centennial Trail (and the Prairie Trail)

Found over at Bikes and Brews Northwest.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy Commuting

From the Toronto News:

Cyclists are the happiest commuters. And walkers, too. That isn’t according to bikers and pedestrians, but to Statistics Canada, which released a study on travel time to work Wednesday.

Read more here.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Spokesman Review Letter to the Editor

Here is a great response to an inaccurate letter to the editor that appeared last week claiming that bicyclists are getting a "free ride" on public streets.

Letter to the editor: The Spokesman Review

SPOKANE - When Richard Haste shared his thoughts on bicyclists, he left me with the impression that he doesn’t personally know any bicycle enthusiasts. Unless the bicycle riders are underage, they most likely also own and operate a motor vehicle and they do pay their share of taxes, fees and insurance premiums.

They are not getting a “free ride.” The vast majority are responsible adults who are gainfully employed. They choose to ride bicycles because they want to conserve gasoline, reduce pollution and maintain physical strength, resulting in a healthier lifestyle. Shouldn’t we all strive for those goals?

A mature person knows that they are responsible for their attitude. Instead of being annoyed at the bicyclist, we can choose to appreciate their efforts in these areas and recognize that the bicyclist is contributing to society in a positive way.

I think Mr. Haste’s remarks were a little “Hastey.” We can all agree that some motor vehicle drivers and some bicycle riders are discourteous and forget the “rules of the road,” but with patience and mutual respect, we can make our roads safe for everyone.

Joyce Henry,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

BSU unveils cycle learning center

From KTRV TV in Nampa:

Boise State University is beefing up its bicycle-friendly campus, with a grand opening for its new Cycle Learning Center.

The CLC will be the school's centralized source for repairs, instructional clinics, and alternative transportation info. Transportation officials say it all boils down to three things: education, access, and health.

J.C. Porter with BSU Transportation Department explains, "We want to help promote health and have a healthy student population, and we thought cycling was a good route to promote a healthy student body."

The CLC will also offer a bike rental program for students, featuring one-of-a-kind Bronco bikes, which were created at the school.

The Cycle Learning Center is located in the Lincoln parking garage, right across from the student union building.

Quote of the Day

“I have witnessed the most conservative, anti-bike/ped engineers transformed once they are on a bike and realize firsthand the challenges and obstacles bicyclists face. This training, along with similar pedestrian and ADA trainings, should be offered by all state and/or municipal DOTs. ”– Mike Amsden

In response to "Michigan Puts Road Engineers on Bikes"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bikes Fly Free with Frontier Airlines

Cyclists taking their bikes as checked baggage in recent years have faced ever-escalating fees and charges from every airline. So for once, for those of you who fly Frontier, there is good news! Frontier has removed the flat fee for checked bicycles and will now include them in the standard baggage allowance, meaning customers traveling on Classic or Classic Plus fares can include their bike as one of their two complimentary checked bags and Economy passengers would pay $20 if the bike is one of their first two checked bags. Read more about the rules on bikeleagueblog.org.

Back to School Safety

As part of AAA's annual School's Open ― Drive Carefully campaign, AAA offers tips to help reduce the number of school related pedestrian and bicycle fatalities and injuries.

 Ditch distractions. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing.

 Stay alert. Don't rush into and out of driveways. Expect pedestrians on the sidewalks and bicyclists just about everyplace, but especially around schools.

 Stop at all stop signs. Obvious, yes, but research shows that more than one third of drivers roll through stop signs in their own neighborhoods.

 Watch for bikes. Children on bicycles are often unpredictable; expect the unexpected.

 Brake for busses. It may be tempting to drive around a stopped school bus, but it's dangerous and it's against the law.

 Plan ahead. Leave early for your destination and build in extra time for congestion. Modify your route, if possible, to avoid school zones.

 Look for Safety Patrollers. Many are AAA patrollers at 31,000 schools across the country.

 Slow down. It's the most obvious way to see what's going on around you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How to become a cycling "ambassador"

A new cyclists' initiative has become a buzzword in US bike advocacy, but what does it mean to be one?

Sorry, too long to post it here...

Read the story at The Guardian.

Walking for Exercise

From the Examiner:

Minneapolis is one of the country’s most walkable cities according to recent news reports. Of course, for those of us who live here, this isn’t really news. The abundant walking paths, trails and parks are popular with residents all over the metro area. For some, a walk around the lake is just a chance to get outside and enjoy the scenery. For many, the daily stroll is exercise. So what’s the difference? Knowing exactly what makes walking a workout may help some exercisers become more successful at reaching their fitness or weight loss goals.

The best way to evaluate your walking workout is to monitor intensity. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that healthy adults should get 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise for a minimum of five days per week. According to the ACSM, “moderate intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation.” Another great way to monitor the intensity of a workout is to wear a heart rate monitor. In order to reach a moderate intensity, 65-75% of your maximum heart rate, your walking stride needs to be fairly brisk.

Keep in mind that the ACSM does not recommend using a pedometer to measure exercise quality. While the step counting devices can accurately compute the quantity of steps taken each day, they don’t measure intensity and therefore do not help exercisers adhere to the recommendation for moderate intensity exercise. They can, however, be used to measure steps per minute. By walking 3000 steps in 30 minutes, researchers have found that most exercisers should reach the recommended intensity to meet the ACSM guideline.

The local walk and run specialists at Marathon Sports are a great resource for walkers who need to get equipped. On your next walk around Lake Harriet, stop in to check out their selection of heart rate monitors, walking and running shoes and training logs to make sure that your workouts stay on track.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Is walking really exercise? - Minneapolis fitness | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/fitness-in-minneapolis/is-your-walk-really-exercise#ixzz1VlsqGtoH

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bicycle Education at the DMV

Bike Louisville has managed to get bicycle and pedestrian safety banners at drivers license centers in the city. The banners, located in five driver centers, were paid for with the share the road license plate funding. This would be a great thing to implement in Coeur d'Alene, or even better, in all of Idaho.

Choose. Bike. Be Happy.

Two Mornings from Sierra Club National on Vimeo.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What is the impact of your commute?

Michigan Engineers Get Training on Bicycles


This is certainly a step in the right direction. As a transportation engineer who rides a bike nearly everywhere I go, I can say that this will be a real eye opener for a lot of these engineers.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Street Dancer - The Fun Theory

"Nobody pays attention to the little man who indicates us to stop and wait. Maybe he should do something more than simply be standing there. Can we give to people an entertaining way of waiting before crossing in a right form? Yes! With the red dancer man nobody will want to miss the show. A led display shows his movements, accompanied with the rhythm of a cheerful music that comes out from small incorporated speakers."

Speed Camera Lottery - The Fun Theory

I've got your plans for Monday night right here...

Help support the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation!

Head to Bardenay Monday August 15 between 5 – 8 pm.

20% of sales of food and drink
will go to the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation.

Please spread the word and encourage your family and friends to come down.  And to really show your support, ride your bike there...on the Centennial Trail...then become a member of the Foundation...

Update: I guess I shouldn't assume that everyone knows where Bardenay is. So, here is a link to their website and the map to their location at Riverstone.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Coffee Brake

A sturdy mug for sturdy folk.

Created by a world traveler who dared to ask the question:

"What good is a sturdy metal mug with a flimsy plastic handle?"

Whether you're a hardcore coffee drinker or a dabbler, this 14 oz. double-walled insulated stainless steel mug is what you're after. Non-skid bottom and snug-fitting plastic lid.

Necessity is the mother of addiction...er, invention.

More info at: http://www.the-scallywags.com/

Dutch Cycling Federation Advertisement

Award-Winning ADA Sidewalk Hazard Abatement Program Creates Walking Friendly Community

If you’ve driven down 7th Street recently, your eyes will be drawn to the many, bright, yellow-domed pedestrian ramps that have been added to sidewalk corners. You’ll also see the city’s Street Maintenance Department crews completing new sidewalks.

Although spring was not conducive to concrete work, Field Supervisor Robert Royce and his team of sidewalk enhancement experts have been pouring some of the smoothest, travel-friendly sidewalks this side of the Mississippi. Last week, the concrete crew finished the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)-funded portion of 7th Street.

The ADA Sidewalk Hazard Abatement Program started with the passage of the 2008-2009 budget. In that budget year, City Council created a program supporting systematic sidewalk repairs, tied to foregone taxes. The program is budgeted at $200,000/year and produces approximately 5,000 linear feet of sidewalk repairs annually, based on a five-year plan.

Although homeowners are still responsible for sidewalk repair and maintenance in accordance with Municipal Code Chapter 12.20., the city's five-year plan is a systematic approach to meeting ADA standards. Within the five-year plan area, work is accomplished primarily by the Street Maintenance Department. The city anticipates sidewalk repairs to pose some of the same challenges as pedestrian ramps, with which city street crews are already familiar. They've learned that every corner in town is unique just as every sidewalk repair will have its distinctive features.

This ADA Sidewalk Hazard Abatement Program account will fund repairs for ADA sidewalk deficiencies that are included in a Five-Year Priority Plan that will be updated and approved by the City Council on a yearly basis. The ADA Sidewalk Hazard Abatement Program was created from input by the ADA Transition Plan Advisory Group. The group consisted of community members, staff, and representatives from the community who are disabled.

Of particular note is a contribution which led to more efficient sidewalk planning. “It was such a learning experience to have input from those representing the community who are disabled,” said Renata McLeod, Project Coordinator. “They were able to open our eyes to the need for having complete routes, even if it was just one side of the street.” Because of their contributions, first-year sidewalk abatement on 3rd Street from Harrison south to Lakeside was all on one side of the street to create a “complete route.”

In general, ADA guides cities to prioritize repairs first in civic areas, followed by commercial areas, then residential areas. The first Five-Year plan focused on "catch up" work necessary to establish an accessible route to connect the investment already made in the 300+ pedestrian ramps constructed on 3rd Street, 4th Street, Lakeside Avenue, Best Avenue, and Harrison Avenue. By completing these areas first, the pedestrian ramps already built and paid for would provide a complete and usable ADA route. In general, they are also in high traffic, civic corridors with some residential and commercial benefit.

Since the program was adopted, over 17,500 linear feet of sidewalks planned for abatement have been completed and over 400 truncated domes on sidewalk corners have been poured in place. At the 2011 Association of Idaho Cities Conference, the city’s ADA Sidewalk Hazard Abatement Program was recognized with an AIC City Achievement Award. Winners are selected for improving quality of life, reducing the costs of resources, or solving a community problem.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Teach your kids to ride a bike in 15 minutes

Hiawatha Trail Sets Attendance Record

From the Coeur d'Alene Press:

Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area announced a new Route of the Hiawatha record on Tuesday.

An unprecedented 12,766 bicyclists rode the famous rail-trail in July - a 12.7 percent increase over the same month last year, according to a press release.

"It's been really steady, and there haven't really been any off days," said Lookout spokesman Bill Jennings.

Last Saturday, for instance, nearly 1,000 cyclists explored the 15-mile route.

"Word's getting around," Jennings said. "What's interesting is seeing people from around the world. You hear lots of different accents. It's pretty cool."

Throughout the busy season, Jennings has encountered travelers from England, Scotland and Germany, he said.

The Route of the Hiawatha was inducted into the Rails to Trails Conservancy's Hall of Fame in April 2011. Winding through 10 tunnels and 7 high trestles, the gentle downhill grade traverses the rugged Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana.

It's known as the "crown jewel" of the U.S. rail-to-trail system, the release said.

Lookout Pass operates the route in a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service. A shuttle service operated by the ski area returns riders to the uphill trailhead.

"It's just a great opportunity for people who aren't used to getting up in the mountains to have a real easy way to do that," Jennings said. "A lot of the country that you see on the Hiawatha trail you would have to backpack for a couple of days to get to."

July 2011 revenues increased 11.3 percent over July 2010, the release noted.

Last year, more than 34,000 paid visitors rode bikes on the Route of the Hiawatha, a mark that could be surpassed by the time the trail closes on Oct. 2.

"Even though the cold, wet spring delayed our projected opening by about three weeks, we're on pace to break all the records our customers set in 2010," Lookout President and CEO Phil Edholm said in the release.

Car-free Families

Here is a link to an article on being a car-free family: http://streetsblog.net/2011/08/03/the-road-less-taken-car-free-family-life/

Although my family is no car-free, we are what we consider car-light. We have only one car and it sits idle most of the time. My kids often head to their bikes when we are going somewhere, and when we tell them we have to drive the car to get there we get an "Aww, why do we have to drive the car?" from them. I'm a bit proud of that.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Signal lights return to Fifth and Sherman with audible crosswalk alert

From the Coeur d'Alene Press:

COEUR d'ALENE - The signal, after all, was right where it belonged.

Now, just like before, traffic by both foot and motor will be controlled by lights at Fifth Street and Sherman Avenue.

With the old, new addition comes an added wrinkle - an actuated, audible crosswalk that beeps and barks orders.

"Having (the light) without actuation was problematic," said Jon Ingalls, deputy city administrator, on the old signal that was removed in November on grounds that it was outdated, breaking down, and ran on a predetermined timer system that could hold up traffic unnecessarily, and vice versa. "Actuation was the best thing, especially with the amount of pedestrian traffic."

A review by the city's Engineering Department showed that the vehicle and pedestrian cross traffic was minimal, and the signal wasn't warranted there, according to a press release at the time.

Since then, though, City Hall has fielded its share of concerns, including a pair of letters to the editor in The Press questioning the change.

The city reanalyzed the light and, as of last weekend, it was resurrected with actuation, which is a timer-based technology that can switch its time limits based on demand.

"I know people are happy to have it back," Mayor Sandi Bloem said, standing near the intersection Tuesday afternoon.


Some - especially those hanging out right next to it - could do with a little less noise.

The signal, designed to aid the visually impaired, beeps to indicate its location and tells you when the coast is clear.

"Beep, beep, beep ... Wait, wait, wait, ... Sherman, cross," for example.

Eating lunch Tuesday at Scratch Restaurant's outdoor seating on Sherman Avenue, just a few feet from the crossing, Deb Saunders and Brenda Gabriel spent 40 minutes or so listening to the beeping and commands.

"Grrrrrrr," Saunders said on how she was handling the noise, which she later articulated as: "It'd make me certainly not want to come back here."

The beeping grates worse than the talking, both said, but the talking commands are catching passersby off guard, too.

"You see people turning around looking," Gabriel said, of the voice that seems to come from nowhere.

Jeri Schaffner, Scratch manager, said she's worried it could be something that could negatively affect business if the beeping isn't tweaked, although she's thrilled to have the crosswalk back. After the old light was removed, the pedestrian walkway wasn't controlled by anything except the old pedestrian-has-the-right-of-way rule, and Schaffner said she saw dozens of pedestrian and vehicle near-misses.

"And that's just one person," she said. "That's huge, the light."

As signals need to be replaced, verbalized, Americans With Disabilities Act compliant crosswalks will be the direction the city goes, City Engineer Gordon Dobler said. The city, which has been adding several of the signals over the last two years, will lower the beeping levels at the Fifth Street intersection.

The new devices, several of which are around town including at Kathleen Avenue and Government Way, are music to Larry Kimble's ears.

The legally blind Coeur d'Alene resident lives near the one on Kathleen Avenue, and it has made a "phenomenal" difference, he said.

"Absolutely," he said. "That's a great thing."

His advice to people who are put off by the noise?

"I'd tell someone like that you may lose your eyesight yourself or someone in your family may have diabetes and lose their eyesight," he said. "You never know."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cars parked in the bike lane?

Perhaps the City of Coeur d'Alene should get one of these...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bike Parking at Art on the Green

For the third year in a row, patrons of Art on the Green can come and go from
the event with more ease while saving time and gas thanks to a “bike corral” organized by the
North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation with support from the Kootenai County Young
Professionals. “The Bike Corral is basically valet parking for your bicycle,” said Charlie Miller,
Manager of the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation. “Parking and traffic can be a huge
challenge during Art on the Green, but people can easily ride their bicycle to the event, leave it at
the Bike Corral, and enjoy the festivities knowing their bike is looked after.”

The Corral will be located at the main entrance to Art on the Green on the North Idaho College
Campus and will be manned during the hours of the festival, beginning on Friday, August 5 and
ending on Sunday, August 7.

“We want to encourage people to get out on their bikes and enjoy the community. The Bike
Corral was a huge success the past two years, and we hope to see even more people on bikes this
year,” said Miller.

The Kootenai County Young Professionals will help run the corral but anyone form the community
interested in volunteering is encouraged to spend a few hours in the shade tending to the corral.
Contact Charlie Miller at (208) 292-1634 or charlie@nictf.org to sign-up for a shift. "This is a great
opportunity to not only ride your bike, but also to help out.”

The North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation is a membership-based organization that strives to
help preserve, develop, and improve the trail systems in our community. Visit http://www.nictf.org/ for
more information.

The Dutch Way: Bicycles and Fresh Bread

From the New York Times:


AS an American who has been living here for several years, I am struck, every time I go home, by the way American cities remain manacled to the car. While Europe is dealing with congestion and greenhouse gas buildup by turning urban centers into pedestrian zones and finding innovative ways to combine driving with public transportation, many American cities are carving out more parking spaces. It’s all the more bewildering because America’s collapsing infrastructure would seem to cry out for new solutions.

Geography partly explains the difference: America is spread out, while European cities predate the car. But Boston and Philadelphia have old centers too, while the peripheral sprawl in London and Barcelona mirrors that of American cities.

More important, I think, is mind-set. Take bicycles. The advent of bike lanes in some American cities may seem like a big step, but merely marking a strip of the road for recreational cycling spectacularly misses the point. In Amsterdam, nearly everyone cycles, and cars, bikes and trams coexist in a complex flow, with dedicated bicycle lanes, traffic lights and parking garages. But this is thanks to a different way of thinking about transportation.

To give a small but telling example, pointed out to me by my friend Ruth Oldenziel, an expert on the history of technology at Eindhoven University, Dutch drivers are taught that when you are about to get out of the car, you reach for the door handle with your right hand — bringing your arm across your body to the door. This forces a driver to swivel shoulders and head, so that before opening the door you can see if there is a bike coming from behind. Likewise, every Dutch child has to pass a bicycle safety exam at school. The coexistence of different modes of travel is hard-wired into the culture.

This in turn relates to lots of other things — such as bread. How? Cyclists can’t carry six bags of groceries; bulk buying is almost nonexistent. Instead of shopping for a week, people stop at the market daily. So the need for processed loaves that will last for days is gone. A result: good bread.

There are also in the United States certain perceptions associated with both cycling and public transportation that are not the case here. In Holland, public buses aren’t considered last-resort forms of transportation. And cycling isn’t seen as eco-friendly exercise; it’s a way to get around. C.E.O.’s cycle to work, and kids cycle to school.

It’s true that public policy reinforces the egalitarianism. With mandatory lessons and other fees, getting a driver’s license costs more than $1,000. And taxi fares are kept deliberately high: a trip from the airport may cost $80, while a 20-minute bus ride sets you back about $3.50. But the egalitarianism — or maybe better said a preference for simplicity — is also rooted in the culture. A 17th-century French naval commander was shocked to see a Dutch captain sweeping out his own quarters. Likewise, I used to run into the mayor of Amsterdam at the supermarket, and he wasn’t engaged in a populist stunt (mayors aren’t elected here but are government appointees); he was shopping.

For American cities to think outside the car would seem to require a mental sea change. Then again, Americans, too, are practical, no-nonsense people. And Zef Hemel, the chief planner for the city of Amsterdam, reminded me that sea changes do happen. “Back in the 1960s, we were doing the same thing as America, making cities car-friendly,” he said. Funnily enough, it was an American, Jane Jacobs, who changed the minds of European urban designers. Her book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” got European planners to shift their focus from car-friendliness to overall livability.

When I noted that Manhattan’s bike lanes seem to be used more for recreation than transport — cyclists in Amsterdam are dressed in everything from jeans to cocktail dresses, while those in Manhattan often look like spandex cyborgs — Mr. Hemel told me to give it time. “Those are the pioneers," he said. “You have to start somewhere.”

What he meant was, “You start with bike lanes” — that is, with the conviction that urban planning can bring about beneficial cultural changes. But that points up another mental difference: the willingness of Europeans to follow top-down social planning. America’s famed individualism breeds an often healthy distrust of the elite. I’m as quick as any other red-blooded American to bristle at European technocrats telling me how to live. (Try buying a light bulb or a magazine after 6 p.m. in Amsterdam, where the political elite have decreed that workers’ well-being requires that shops be open only during standard office hours, precisely when most people can’t shop.)

But while many Americans see their cars as an extension of their individual freedom, to some of us owning a car is a burden, and in a city a double burden. I find the recrafting of the city in order to lessen — or eliminate — the need for cars to be not just grudgingly acceptable, but, yes, an expansion of my individual freedom. So I say (in this case, at least): Go, social-planning technocrats! If only America’s cities could be so free.

Russell Shorto is the author of “The Island at the Center of the World” and a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine. He is working on a book about Amsterdam.