July 10, 2008

American Red Cross Charity Bike Ride Along Gulf Coast is Looking for Riders

On Sept. 11, 2005 I wrote a post about a letter I sent out, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

As I wrote, at the time, it was sent: TO EVERYONE IN MY LINKS THAT I CAN REACH ( Feel free to pass it along to people, organizations, and shops that I do not list. )...

I am writing in response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, wondering if there are efforts in the Cycling Community to help the stricken areas, to help stricken Clubs, to help stricken Cycling Advocacy Groups, to help stricken Bike Shops.

Are there Cyclists ( ordinary people, Club members, Advocates, or Shop Owners ) with stories to tell, or events,  links, and other info to share?...

I can help spread the word, in Blog entries, about anything, and everything, related to your efforts, and the efforts of people shops, clubs, and activist groups in the aftermath of Katrina....

Please keep me in mind, as an ally,  and also, after due exploration, please consider adding a link to my blog on your website ( Absolutely NOT required for me to make the above offer ).

The whole letter is here.

By Sept. 24 Hurricane Rita had roared ashore, I'd sent out all my letters, and wrote the following:

My task was completed this morning, and now I will wait, and see.

So far 1 organizaion responded, as chronicled in an earlier post.

Also so far, disappointingly, the League of American Bicyclists, Rails to Trails, and the Congressman who leads the Congressional Bicycle Caucus (2008:The old website had little to recomend it.), have yet to respond.

They were among the 1st to receive my letter.

By the time of my last post on the subject of Katrina, in Nov. 2005, 1 organization, in Texas, had responded, as had the Congressman, in an inconsequential way, that was typical of politicians, considering that what was explained to me then, by his assistant, seems to no longer apply (The new Caucus Webpages have much to recommend them.).

Then there was my friend Larry Lagarde, of New Orleans, and the series of posts related to him, and a few other individuals who wrote, which can be read in the Archive.

As I wrote, and it still applies, BTW, more than ever:

My letter that I wrote to everyone in my links, looking for stories, went virtually ignored, but that does not mean that cyclists are not doing anything.

It just means that some folks don't read, much less respond to, their e-mails, and/or they don't know what to make of little ol' me, and my Blog. ;-D

Anyway...

If you know of any organizations that are working to provide basic, reliable transportation to Hurricane Katrina victims, tell me about their efforts so I can promote them here.

Almost 3 years later there is finally something new to report in response to my pleas for news, and information...

I get e-mails.

An interesting one came through, this morning:

Dear Cycling Dude,

I came across your blog today and have an answer to a question you asked long ago in a Sept. 11, 2005 post, where you asked: “I am writing in response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, wondering if there are efforts in the Cycling Community to help the stricken areas, to help stricken Clubs, to help stricken Cycling Advocacy Groups, to help stricken Bike Shops. Are there Cyclists (ordinary people, Club members, Advocates, or Shop Owners) with stories to tell, or events, links, and other info to share?”

On behalf of the American Red Cross, I wanted to tell you about Tour du Rouge—a 538 mile, six-day ride along the Gulf Coast, from Houston to New Orleans, Oct. 17 – 23, 2008, which will raise one million dollars (our goal) to support the local Red Cross chapters there and raise awareness of the importance of disaster preparedness.

We have close to 100 riders currently, but are looking for 300 total.

It’s a pretty serious ride, with the average daily mileage at 90.

But the tour will be fun too, with a launch and victory party planned, along with daily stops and activities (click here to view the interactive map), but as folks ride along the Gulf Coast, they will have the satisfaction of knowing they are helping their neighbors by making life better in these communities.

I just thought because you have such a tremendous following, I was hoping maybe you could see if anyone is interested in participating?

For more information visit the Tour De Rouge Website.

To make a donation and see who has signed up so far, visit here, or feel free to contact me directly at kathleen @ gregoryfca dot com,  or (610) 228-2131.

Thanks for considering,

Kathleen Rodriguez

Associate Vice President
GREGORY|FCA

As I am about to celebrate my 1000th post, on this blog, this serves as yet another reminder to me that a humble, 5 1/2 year old, blog with a miniscule traffic of an average of 250 hits a day, and an unknown number of folks reached thru RSS Feeds elsewhere, CAN make a difference in peoples lives, and awareness of cycling events, news, issues, and resources.

I get e-mails all the time, most of which I don't blog about, asking for advice, tips, and information, and I do what I can to help.

Many BikeBloggers are still, apparently, unsure what a Trackback means, and can do, after all these years, so I'm clueless to exactly how many folks have linked to posts I've written (Despite my Traffic Counter.), and I get few comments (Many are similar to the e-mails, so don't get approved, but do get responded to.), and I have no clue how many folks link to me on websites of all sorts, but the important thing is that I KNOW that I AM making a difference.

THAT is why I do this.

Thanks, Kathleen for making my day. :-D

July 10, 2008 in KATRINA: Cycling toward Recovery | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 17, 2005

Katrina: Derailer Bike Collective Update

Larry Lagarde has provided an update, on his blog ( Also listed in my Blogroll ), to the activities of the Derailer Bike Collective:

Following are the 3 stages of the Derailer Bicycle Collective's project to help Katrina victims:

1. Build up as many bikes from our shop as we can afford in terms or our own resources (volunteer and material).

2. Drive a bus packed with the bikes and whatever else as well as volunteer bike mechanics down to New Orleans.

3. Spend a week or so helping distribute and build up bikes (the timeframe for the trip is early to mid December).

As he mentions in his piece, they are looking for volunteers, and resources.

November 17, 2005 in KATRINA: Cycling toward Recovery | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 11, 2005

Katrina: Donate a Bike for the Needy

I received an e-mail today from Larry Lagarde, of New Orleans.

Regular readers will remember Larry: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Just over 2 months ago, hundreds of thousands of Americans lost their homes, jobs and possessions to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. As they work to rebuild, many face a huge roadblock: no transportation.

Flood waters that took weeks to recede destroyed everything, cars included. Now, thousands of victims of this disaster have neither the funds nor the credit to replace their useless vehicles. Displaced throughout the USA and without transportation, the needs of these evacuees continue to grow even as government, aid and news leaders turn their attention and resources to other matters.

Although there are limits to what any individual can do, each little step we make to help those in need has value. I've decided to focus my energies on providing victims with reliable and economical transportation, in other words, bicycles.

An abundance of used bikes simply go to waste in this country; yet, bikes are cheap to own, easy to maintain and pollution free. In most cases, putting an old bike to use again requires minimal costs in either time or materials. Recognizing this, grass roots, non-profit groups have been sprouting up around the country, recycling bikes to those in need.

Here's a webpage that describes how anyone can make a difference helping victims meet their transportation needs. The page includes links to community organizations that are accepting and refurbishing donor bikes for victims.


Help Victims recover from Katrina

Please help build this grass roots effort to recovery. Even if all that you do is forward this message to others or whether you decide to add a link to your blog, anything's better than doing nothing.

Respectfully,
Larry Lagarde
RideTHISbike.com

Larry, my friend, you are amazing! ;-D

Following are some of the local community organizations currently accepting donor bikes for Katrina:

Austin Yellow Bike Project.

Texas Bike Coalition.

Chicago: Working Bikes Cooperative.

Denver: Derailer Bike Collective.

Pittsburgh, PA.: Free Ride.

Morgantown, WV.: Positive Spin.

My letter that I wrote to everyone in my links ( Calling All Cyclists! ), looking for stories like this, went virtually ignored, but that does not mean that cyclists are not doing anything.

It just means that some folks don't read, much less respond to, their e-mails, and/or they don't know what to make of little ol' me, and my Blog. ;-D

Anyway...

If you know of any organizations that are working to provide basic, reliable transportation to Hurricane Katrina victims ( besides those listed here ), tell me about their efforts so I can promote them here.

November 11, 2005 in KATRINA: Cycling toward Recovery | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 01, 2005

Katrina: Heading to Maine by Bike

An interesting story of relocating in the wake of Hurricane Katrina comes from the Caledonian- Record, in Vermont:

Travelers along Route 2 in the next couple days may spot Kurt and Betty Jo Norton who say they are survivors of Hurricane Katrina and evacuees from Biloxi, Miss.

The Nortons said they have been traveling for about a month, on foot and by bike, with their dog, Xena, and cat, Sam, trying to get to Bangor, Maine, where they have a vehicle in storage.

Hanging off the side of one of their bicycle-drawn carts is a large wooden sign that reads, "VIETNAM VET STRANDED, BROKE, WITH DOG AND CAT"...

Kurt said they set out on foot for Maine about 30 days ago on their two bikes, carrying the few things they were able to salvage from their home.

He said neither he nor his wife had any living family with the resources to take them all the way to Maine.

Betty Jo said someone gave them an old car in Kentucky, but it broke down not too long after and since then they've been toughing it out on foot.

Story.

Another Story, with Picture.

A tip of the hat to Fritz, of Cyclelicious, for finding these!

October 1, 2005 in KATRINA: Cycling toward Recovery | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 29, 2005

Congressman Earl Blumenauer Responds to Letter

This morning I received the following response, to my letter, from the Office of Congressman Earl Blumenauer, of Oregon, who is the head of the Congressional Bicycle Caucus:

September 29, 2005

Mr. Kiril Kundurazieff
Santa Ana, CA.


Dear Mr. Kundurazieff:

Thank you for contacting me about Hurricane Katrina and FEMA's efforts to
respond.  I too am deeply concerned by the administration's
well-publicized flawed performance. Our response to this disaster has
itself been a disaster and we must make sure that those responsible are
held accountable. What is frustrating for me is not just that this was so
inevitable, but that steps could have been taken to moderate the losses. I
truly believe that thousands of people were killed, injured, or lost their
homes unnecessarily. I am an original co-sponsor of legislation to create
an independent commission -- modeled on the successful 9/11 Commission --
to investigate what went wrong in the Katrina response in order to ensure
it does not happen again.

I believe that many of FEMA's problems started when it became part of the
Department of Homeland Security.  I voted against creating this department
in part because I was afraid that FEMA would get lost in this vast
bureaucracy.  I was pleased that Mike Brown stepped down as head of FEMA,
and I am working to make sure that FEMA is reformed so that it is headed
up by a professional who reports directly to the President.

We need to learn from our past mistakes and ensure that our recovery and
reconstruction efforts on the Gulf Coast do not put people back in harm's
way. Wherever possible, we need to employ natural solutions to protect
people, such as restoring natural floodplains and wetlands. This was the
goal of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004, which I co-authored with
Congressman Doug Bereuter (R-NE), and which the President signed into law
in the summer of 2004. I have also introduced the "Safe Communities Act"
with my colleague Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA) to help communities
prepare for disasters.

Thanks again for sharing your views on this important issue.  The
government's role in preparing for and responding to natural disasters is
something I have been working on for the past three decades, and you can
be sure that I will continue to make it a focus of my work here in
Congress.

Sincerely,

Earl Blumenauer
Member of Congress

An apparent Form Letter sent, by his office, to anyone who wrote him about Katrina for any reason at all.

"I'm Mad at FEMA, and I'm NOT Gonna Take it Anymore!"

Pure politics, probably sent out by every politician in the country in one form or another, to cover his/her Ass, and, though interesting, and informative, very disappointing, considering the subject of my letter, was part of ongoing coverage of the aftermath of Katrina, with a focus on Cycling, and the fact it had absolutely nothing to do with FEMA.

However, all may not be lost...

I ALSO got the following e-mail, from his Webmaster, that is a bit more enlightening, and indicates that the Congressman may actually have been made aware of my letter, and possibly may have even read it, even if he didn't follow the links provided to explore this blog further:

How's it going?

I am Congressman Blumenauer's webmaster, and he wanted me to drop a note to thank you for your work, and to let you know that unfortunately House ethics rules prohibit us from linking to blogs from our Congressional website (versus a campaign/political website).

Thanks, again, though.

Ernesto Omar Falcón

Office Technology Manager

Office of Congressman Earl Blumenauer

That is a good start. ;-D

Encouraging enough that, now that I have an actual e-mail, attached to a real person, I may be able to finally make the Congressman aware of my thoughts about the Bike Caucus, its membership make-up, and its website, and get some serious responses related to Bicycling issues.

Now that my life has settled down I think it's time to write more on the Caucus, and its efforts. ;-D

September 29, 2005 in Congressional Bicycle Caucus Watch, KATRINA: Cycling toward Recovery | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 27, 2005

Katrina: Yellow Bikes responds to Letter!

This just in this morning:

Hi Kiril,

Thanks for linking Austins Yellow Bike.
We've had a huge turnout of volunteer efforts to fix up donated bikes from Austin's Cycling Community and give them to evacuee's. Kryptonite graciously gave us 1,000 locks for the price of shipping. we've given away over 100 bikes with locks since Hurricane Katrina and will continue to flood the city with bikes.

Jesse Slate
Austin's "all volunteer" Yellow Bike Shop Co-ordinator

Good job, Austin!

September 27, 2005 in KATRINA: Cycling toward Recovery | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 24, 2005

Done! The letter has been sent

In the wake of Katrina, I told you of a letter I was sending out to links in my sidebar to see what I could learn about efforts in the cycling community regarding assistance in the recovery efforts, including helping other cyclists, cycling organizations, and shops.

I also was looking for any stories, good, and bad, about cycling in the regions affected.

This also now includes the aftermath of Hurricane Rita.

My task was completed this morning, and now I will wait, and see.

So far 1 organizaion responded, as chronicled in an earlier post.

Also so far, disappointingly, the League of American Bicyclists, Rails to Trails, and the Congressman who leads the Congressional Bicycle Caucus, have yet to respond.

They were among the 1st to receive my letter.

I was pleasantly suprised to see how few of the tons of e-mails were innactive, and that bodes well for anyone in the areas of these clubs, and organizations, who wishes to contact them for whatever reason.

I am just a humble blogger, and an ordinary cyclist, who is working, during his spare time, to make this site a place where other cyclists can find interesting stories, news, rides, information, and links.

It appears it's going to take some work to make those more involved in, and knowledgeable, about cycling, and cycling advocacy, aware that someone like me is out there, and interested in spreading the word, as he gains more knowledge himself, and that I can be a useful resource, and ally.

September 24, 2005 in KATRINA: Cycling toward Recovery | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rita Rumbles Ashore

Well, the good news is that Rita arrived as only a Level 3, and avoided Houston.

Must have been an Astros Fan. ;-D

The bad news is that there is still extensive damage, and flooding.

As I have  reported already there ARE cyclists doing things in regards to Hurricane Katrina Recovery, and I am looking to learn of more such efforts nationwide.

Recovery is going to take a while,and all the help that the affected regions can get will be needed to succee.d

September 24, 2005 in KATRINA: Cycling toward Recovery | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 22, 2005

Rita: At least 1 Houston Cyclist knows what to do

Fritz, of Cyclicious, reports on the traffic situation in Houston, and about one cyclist who knows what his bike is good for as Hurricane Rita nears.

September 22, 2005 in KATRINA: Cycling toward Recovery | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rita: Finding humor in the face of danger

Hurricane Rita is heading towards Houston.

Despite that some locals are finding reason to laugh.

Laurence Simon, of the outstanding Blog known as This Blog is Full of Crap, shares a radio talk show exchange he heard:

Caller: "I'm a bicyclist. I don't have any transportation out of town."
Chris Baker: "Well, you better get pedalin', pal!"

Heh, heh, heh. ;-D

Some of the comments are a hoot!

1. The bike will get you farther than a car with an empty tank of gas.
figure it out genius.
I love smug idiots.

2. If you point a bike in one direction for a while instead of circling around the neighborhood, it takes you to distant places.

3. Dumbass. The world is on the other side of his handlebars.

Why I like Chris Baker.

Laurence Simon is heading out with the 3 kitties. His wife is a TV journalist and is staying at her station, and he's not too happy about that, but as usual, Lair retains his trademark sarcasm and humor.

Good luck to you, and yours, Lair!

September 22, 2005 in KATRINA: Cycling toward Recovery | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack