August 09, 2009
How a Cross-Country Tandem Adventure Did its Part to Change What it Means to Bicycle
This morning I stumbled upon the story of how the Minnesota organization Blind Inc. began getting its students, and staff members, trained to ride Tandem Bicycles, and enjoy the thrill of a bike ride.
It's an old story, from 2000, but is an inspiring one nonetheless. ;-D
Ron Burzese biked from Los Angeles to Boston this spring, but he didn't see very much along the way. Burzese, of Minneapolis, is almost completelyblind. He rode all 3,390 miles of the trip on the back of a Cannondale tandem piloted by Mike Beadles, a Twin Cities Bicycling Club and tandem stalwart. It was afeat by any measure, but even more so for Burzese, who thought his cycling days were over as he lost his sight to retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disorder.
Hat Tip to The Braille Monitor
November 09, 2008
A Picnic Table on Wheels? Yeah, But is it Street Legal?
The amazing Picinc Table Bicycle!
It even has a cooler and a barbecue! ;-D
June 05, 2008
Pipeline Pirate: Cyclist, Hiker, Bold Adventurer, and All Around Nice Guy
As readers know I get my bike fixed at REI.
There are several of these fine establishments in Southern California, including at least 2 in the OC, and at one I've met an interesting chap in the Cycling Dept. who has helped me in more ways than with a flat tire.
Steve Kennedy is a fan of this blog, and has often told the customers he deals with about it, and helped me place my flier in the store.
Recently he invited me to be one of 2 speakers at a presentation he gave at the store.
It was there that I learned that Steve has been in preparation for one hell of a Grand Adventure. ;-D
He will soon be departing for a trip around the world, or across much of it anyway. ;-D
The first parts of his journey will be as part of 2 groups going to specific places for 2 specific purposes, one related to Astronomy, and the other to hiking.
After that there's hiking in Greece.
In October his bicycle will finally join him in Europe. ;-D
He hopes to travel around Europe on his bike, thru the end of the year, at least, based on the time of his leave of absense from work, before coming back home.
He has set up a blog, and is learning how to use it, the better to share his journey with friends, family, and any other interested party that might come across it.
His Blog is called Freeway Soul, and there are only 8 posts so far, most back dated in order to tell his tale from the begining of planning, but it is a good start to what will be an interesting blog.
It all began on in November:
I'm starting this blog from the point when I made the decision to embark on this expedition. It took several weeks of thought and planning before I decided to go. I struggled with many issues. What about the unexpected? There wasn't any way at the time to foresee the complexity of this endeavor. Another problem was that I wasn't going to anounce that I was going and then cancel. If I say I'm going to do it, I will do it. It all started with a guy that came into the store at REI who was walking with a slight limp...
Planning for the first stages soon began.
Getting in shape was soon on the agenda:
Its fortunate that I have been commuting on a bicycle to work for the past five months. back in May I started a workout routine every morning to get myself in shape. The bike riding and workout routine has served me well so far but I need more. I will be the oldest member of the team going to base camp of Everest and I don't want to be the slowest.
In December he realized he wanted to do more than originally planned and, by May, also lost his taste for golf, too. ;-D
I thought this isn't that much fun anymore. I would rather be enjoying myself near a mountain stream or meeting some new interesting folks somewhere. Its funny how things change.
Yes, it IS funny how something happens that takes your life in directions you never dreamed possible. ;-D
He soon discovered the complications of using a laptop computer in a public place, especially the ones where the access is not free. ;-D
He asked me to help him understand a few things about this blogging thing, and so we met for breakfast the other day. ;-D
I wish him well on his trip, and will keep an eye on his blog, Freeway Soul, to see how things go. ;-D
April 15, 2008
Tow, Tow, Tow Your Boat...By Bicycle
Larry Lagarde, of Ride This Bike, sends me a great heads up about a grand adventure in which bicycles are playing an important part:
A Canadian husband and wife team are going on a 6,500 km human powered expedition from Scotland through Europe to Turkey and onto Syria.
For transportation, they will use 2 row boats.
When they need to portage or if the seas are too dangerous, they'll tow the row boats with folding bikes and trailers that are otherwise stored on board.
The team is composed of National Geographic Adventurers of the Year Colin (the first person to circumnavigate the globe only by human power) and Julie Angus (the only woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean from mainland to mainland).
Starting from the northernmost tip of Scotland, the pair will row south in the open sea in two, custom built, single person row boats designed by Colin.
A unique component of the expedition is the School Rowed Trip, an interactive and free program that promotes physical activity by challenging school aged children to match Julie and Colin’s physical output.
Educators and students are invited to participate in the initiative and over 20,000 students are already involved.
Colin and Julie seek to inspire youth to embrace active living, environmental stewardship, and rediscover the outdoors.
By the way, the bicycles being used during the Rowed Trip are full size folding mountain bikes from RideTHISbike.com.
Colin is riding a flat black SwissBike LX.
Julie is riding a baby blue Montague CX.
The bike trailers have been specially fabricated by Tony's Trailers.
At the end of each day, the two rowboats will be lashed together into a catamaran using the frames from the bike trailers to form a platform for a tent.
The Official Website, with Journal Updates, and more, is ROWED TRIP: A Journey By Oar From Scotland To The Middle East.
Regular updates about the trip will also be available at RideTHISbike.com.
Got A Hankering to Travel? 50 Bicycling Vacation Ideas
A while back I was given a heads-up about a link filled piece by Jessica Hupp, of TravelHacker:
If you’re an active person, you’re probably not satisfied with the regular vacation. Rather, you’re more likely to enjoy a trip that involves biking, hiking, and more. These vacations fit the bill, offering gorgeous views, fun activities, and plenty of open road.
Anyone with the funds to afford these trips will find a wide variety of choices.
April 06, 2008
Equal Parenting Bike Trek 2008: A Journey for Children's Rights
Across the nation there are Cycling Events held for some Cause, or another, or no Cause at all, and there are individuals, and organizations taking Cycling Journeys for some Cause, or no Cause at all, as well.
This evening I received word from Robert Pedersen, of A Child's Right, concerningt Five Fathers about to pedal 758 mile for children’s rights, from Lansing, MI. to Washington DC, beginning in early August.
They aim to "raise awareness of a child's fundamental right to be loved, guided, educated and nurtured equally by both fit and willing parents of divorce.
From the time I was Nine, when my Father became mentally ill, I grew up without a Father in my life to help my Mother raise me, and my two sisters, andt we turned out reasonably well, if you ask me, hee, hee. ;-D
However, there are countless kids of divorce who grow up without the benefit of access to a willing parent who does not have custody of them.
I am doing my small part to publicize this issue by joining many others in spreading the word about this event.
The Website is Cycling4Children.com, and this post shares photos, videos, news stories, and more about the 2008 event, as does this one with regards to the 2007 ride (2007 Photos).
Other sites of interest:
Cycling Study Tours Offered by Brit Family Living in Netherlands
I recently received the following Press Release from Hembro Cycling Holidays/Cycling Study Tours, and let me say, up front, the resources they steer readers to are extensive, and interesting, and the many photos, and videos are a pure joy to look at, and will most likely make you extremely jealous and probably lead you to wonder why the hell can't the greatest nation in the world do some of this, too? ;-D
FACT GUARANTEED TO BLOW YOUR MIND: All Dutch railway stations seem to have thousands of bikes parked at them. ( Just watch the videos if you don't believe it. ;-D )
CYCLING STUDY TOUR
A Study Tour in the world's most cycle friendly country.
For transport professionals, politicians, campaigners and journalists.
There have been many words spoken about reducing CO2 emissions to tackle climate change, increasing the amount of exercise taken by the population to fight obesity and about the streets being made into places where people matter instead of motor vehicles. However, the English speaking world still does not invest sufficiently in truly sustainable transport. In fact, new infrastructure is still designed very much like the old infrastructure, emphasizing flow of motorized traffic above all else, reducing opportunities to take exercise as a part of everyday life, and decreasing the freedom of people to make use of the space outside their home. As a result, use of sustainable transport is low, obesity is growing and children are not given the freedom to get sufficient exercise.
Many countries seem to produce more words than action. Announcements of available money often sound substantial, but they're spread thinly and have low priority. Along with the lack of money there is the problem of a lack of vision about what good quality design for cyclists and pedestrians actually means. Low quality infrastructure makes the use of alternatives to the car unattractive.
It doesn't have to be this way.
Having made different policy decisions over many decades, the Dutch now travel travel by bicycle more often than by car. There is universal well designed infrastructure which makes cycling an appealing option for most people. As a result, most people cycle. Cyclists feel safe and their journeys are efficient and direct. Virtually all children cycle to school daily, incidence of obesity is comparatively low and reliance on fossil fuels is lower.
The Dutch are doing the right things and they have the results to prove it: More cycling, with a better safety record, than any other nation. Real, proven results, not just good intentions or hot air. Their success could and should be copied elsewhere.
In the entire Netherlands around 30% of all journeys are by bicycle. The second highest country is Denmark with around 14%. Most countries have under 2% of their journeys by bicycle, some fewer than 1%. Around 40% of journeys within Dutch cities are made by bicycle.
In the Netherlands, more journeys under 7.5 km / 5 miles are made by bicycle than by any other means.
In the Netherlands, older people are also mobile. Over 10% of cycle journeys are made by over 60s.
Virtually all Dutch school-children cycle to school.
Dutch cycle paths frequently offer shorter routes than the roads. They are smooth and well maintained. Dutch cyclists are not expected to share space with pedestrians, and the standard width for cycle only two direction paths is 4 metres ( 13 feet ).
Levels of public transport usage in the Netherlands are not much different than those in other countries. There is far greater potential for reduction in fossil fuel reliance by encouraging cycling than by subsidizing public transport. In addition it leads to a far greater cut in fuel usage and other benefits for society such as an increase in general health and a reduction in noise and fumes.
London recently announced its largest ever figure for walking and cycling: £500M. This sounds remarkable, and it's very welcome, but breaks down to a level of expenditure which is not particularly high by European standards. The sum is to be spread across several years. For instance, in 2008/2009, £62M is to be spent for both Walking and Cycling. Across London's 7.5M population this amounts to a little over £8 (approximately US$16) per person per year. Another European capital, Amsterdam, currently spends around €26 (approximately £20 or US$40) per person per year on cycling alone. Walking has a separate budget. Unlike UK cities, Dutch cities are not starting from nowhere. They have been spending this much for decades.
So what are we up to with our Study Tours?
Who are we ?
We are a British family who have lived and cycled in many parts of the UK including London, Cambridge, Somerset and Yorkshire. Our cycling experience includes commuting, shopping, tours with and without children, a little racing and even riding Land's End to John O'Groats (the entire length of Great Britain - 1700 km / 1100 miles).
We now live in the green city of Assen in the North of the Netherlands. Winters are cold here and headwinds are fierce, but the population of 63000 people nevertheless makes an average of 70000 cycle journeys per day. We make our share of those journeys.
What are we doing ?
We are organising Study Tours for all interested parties to show how much has been achieved in this country. We will be showing participants the result of design for people rather than for motorised vehicles. We will show the practical results of putting into action long term plans to achieve a more mobile and fitter society.
Over 3 full days we will show commuting routes, school routes, city centres, residential areas, links between villages and the design of new developments. All these were designed with cycling as a priority. We also have a presentation from local experts giving their rationale.
The cost of participating has been kept low in order that it will be accessible to as many people as possible.
Full details of the Study Tour, including photos and feedback from previous participants, can be found on our website:
The first Study Tour this year runs from the 13th to the 15th of May. This tour is now fully booked.
We are now taking bookings for the second Study Tour which runs from the 20th to the 22nd of May and soon will be taking bookings for the third Study Tour which runs from the 10th to the 12th of June.
David and Judith Hembrow
E-MAIL: david at hembrow.eu
WEBSITE: Hembrow Cycling Holidays
***UPDATE - 4/7/08***
David Hembrow has sent me an interesting E-Mail in response to this post. ;-D
January 18, 2008
Amtrak Bike Train - Ideas Wanted
Over the years I've taken my bike on Metrolink all across Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernadino Counties, and the Metro Commuter Trains in Los Angeles, but have never had the chance to use Amtrak.
My friend and fellow advocate for cycling, Larry Lagarde, of Ride This Bike and Places to Ride, was inspired by a story from Canada to look into the implimentation of a similar idea in the United States.
He's looking for serious feedback from cyclists across the country, through blog comments here, or on his blog.
Let him explain:
Just thought I'd pass along that I'm in the initial stages of discussing
a Bike Train with Amtrak. I'm looking for feasible locations for such a
service and would like to put the call out to readers at the CyclingDude.
Last summer, Canada's ViaRail ran a pilot Bike Train with space for 56
unboxed, fully assembled bikes from Toronto to Niagara Falls. The
service was such a success that ViaRail is expanding the Bike Train. I'm
convinced that an Amtrak Bike Train would have the same results.
Ideally, the Bike Train would run from a large metro area served now by
Amtrak. The metro area selected must have a high number of cyclists and
the train must run to a destination that is favored by cyclists and is
just a few hours from the large metro area. The cycling destination
should already be a stop on Amtrak that is staffed by Amtrak personnel.
Based on the above qualifications, if readers have ideas regarding a
potential Bike Train service, please pass them along.
Here's the story by Larry, with a link to the website of the Canadian Project.
See the results of his great straw poll of some bicycle advocates from across the country in "Unboxed Bikes on Trains in the USA."
Here in SoCal cyclists and everyone else, pack the Metrolink from LA to Ventura, and Amtrak to Santa Barbara, and beyond, for day trips on the weekend.
I've heard it can be a madhouse, and I've heard it can be great.
On trains, such as the Surfliner, you sit adjacent your bikes, but space is limited.
When I head out to the Northern end of the Los Angeles River to begin my ride to the beach, soon, I will have to use the Blue and Red Line Trains in LA, and on those you have to stand with your bike in designated areas of each car for the whole ride.
Here is the page on the AMTRAK Website that describes its options for the cyclist.
Metrolink Policy is as follows:
Bikes are allowed on trains at all times.
Regular bikes should be secured using wheel straps available on certain
Folding bikes should be folded, carried onto the train and stored like any other carry-on item.
Train personnel may ask cyclists to wait for the next train if bike storage is unavailable.
Three-wheeled bikes are not permitted on trains.
I like the idea of having special Baggage Cars just for 50 or so bikes.
Larry says that "People have been calling and emailing like crazy about the bike train.
Many have asked what more they can do to help get the bike train underway."
He has some suggestions:
Ways To Build Interest In The Bike Train:
1. Tell others.
More cyclists must be aware of the bike train and express their desire
to use it.
2. Gather statistics.
Providing Amtrak with hard facts on the number of cyclists interested in
the service and where those cyclists want to take the train to go
cycling helps Amtrak guage the costs and benefits of the service.
3. Endorse the concept.
Everything that Amtrak does is scrutinized so demonstrating broad
support is vital. The more entities that speak up, the better.
4. Sponsor the bike train.
Offsetting the initial costs of the bike train service with sponsorships
makes it more appealing for Amtrak to initiate bike train service.
Gene Bisbee, of Biking Bis, has suggested running the bike train
to major cycling events like the Seattle to Portland Bike Classic (STP).
The coordinator of that event (Dave Douglas) believes that a
competitively priced bike train would sell out for the STP and other
rides put on by the Cascade Bike Club.
He has more to say about the issue here.
Like Larry I am very passionate about cycling.
I think the idea of combining cycling and passenger rail is a no brainer and confident that a bike train would be successful
I support Larry's efforts to pursue the idea with Amtrak.
Although my time and resources are limited, compared to many cycling advocates, I'm willing to do what I can to help in the effort.
Let's see what we can do to help Amtrak become more appealing to
August 02, 2007
Get Your Cycling Kicks on Route 66, and Other Roads
I have added a few links in the sidebar, this morning.
There are 8 important websites related to Historic Route 66, the Mother Road of the National, Cross-Country Highway System, now listed under CYCLE USA.
Also there is a Blog called RoadDog's Road Blog, there, by a motorist who likes to travel along America's 2 lane byways, and report what he encounters, news, and other useful info.
In my CA. ROUTE INFO section are 2 sites of interest:
Scott Piotrowski , of Pasadena, has a blog he calls Historic Roads in Los Angeles County:
My interest in Route 66 has grown to other historic roads of interest (Lincoln Highway, Ridge Route, Yellowstone Trail, US-6, etc.), but as I learned at my first "Preserving Historic Roads" Conference in 2002, I am most fond of the "home highway." So, my concentration here is on exploring historic roads in the area I live, Los Angeles County.
Ridge Route is a website "dedicated to that curvy little road that united California."
The Ridge Route Preservation Organization is a California non-profit corporation committed to educating the public to the importance of California’s historic 1915 Ridge Route Highway, an engineering marvel that prevented California from separating into two separate states.
Seventeen point six miles of the original road were recorded onto the National Register on September 25, 1997 and our intent is to solicit federal, state and private support to restore the road that has been void of maintenance since 1933.
We will accomplish these goals through advocacy, public relations, fund raising events and our worldwide web site.
These websites are a goldmine of useful information not just for motorists, but for any cyclist looking for route info, and interesting places to put pedal to pavement for an enjoyable ride.
August 01, 2007
Washingtonian Escaping to Florida by Bike Seeks Help
Okay, all you happy people!
I got this communique, yesterday, and figured that I might be able to get more info for the guy than the links in my sidebar might provide:
Hey, I live in Olympia, WA. and am starting a new job in Florida.
I'm thinking of riding my bike there.
Has anyone ever gone from coast to coast?
Do you know approx. how long it will take or good routes?
Thanx for any input...
Kenny Z ( kzsurvey at yahoo dot com )
There is the Lewis and Clark Trail, to get from Wash. to VA., at least. ;-D
Of course he could haul butt down the coast to connect with the American Discovery Trail, from CA. to as far as Missouri...
Or U.S. Route 40, from CA. to as far as Missouri, as well. ;-D
In my sidebar are a collection of sites under the heading of BIKE TOURING AND CYCLING THE WORLD.
Not to mention all the state by state resources.
Any other ideas, can be posted in the comments for all to profit from, and/or sent to Kenny. ;-D