May 10, 2006

A Poem all Cyclists can Relate to

I came across a poem, this morning, while perusing the website of the Different Spokes, which bills itself as "SoCal's Most Diverse Cycling Club".

The poem is by Mike Gleich, and is in memory of his Father.

My Friend Strong as Steel.

May 10, 2006 in Voices From The Open Road | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 23, 2006

Cyclist takes Sarasota Florida to task

Back in January the death of a college student cyclist caused a writer to lash out:

As a fellow student, and frequent bike rider, I am outraged. I am furious that while a city closes its sidewalks to build multimillion-dollar condos, it leaves its pedestrians and bicyclists to fend for themselves.

It would seem only common sense to provide safe passage around such construction.

I am furious that the infrequent bike lanes, if they are usable, are narrow and often obscured by debris. I am furious that utility poles, which bicyclists must dodge, are located directly in the middle of the sidewalks along U.S. 41 and other streets.

Um, it seems this city won't make any list of cycling friendly US cities, doesn't it. ;-D

However, all is not lost!

City Transit has Bike racks on its busses!

There IS a County Bicycle/Pedestrian/Trail Advisory Committee.

Sarasota has a Cycling Club. ( Though the nearest Cycling Trails of note are in the St. Petersburg, Largo, and Tampa regions.  A State Cycling Map can be had here. )

You can even report issues related to needed routine preventative maintenance including the edging, sweeping, and structural repair of bike paths or trails on county maintained roads, here.

For financially strapped and ecofriendly students alike, a bike is sometimes the most popular, if not only mode of transportation. While bicyclists must obey traffic laws and take certain precautions, drivers, too, must be aware that others share the road.

Good points.

The city of Sarasota needs to step up to the plate and protect its citizens. Instead of being known as an affluent beach town, why not be known as one of the most pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly cities in a state that has the highest percentage of bicycle-related fatalities?

Residents, who regularly utilize the busy and dangerous roads, cannot afford to wait.

Alexandra DiSclafani

In my wandering around the city website I had hoped to see more info on cycling in the city, but was disappointed.

The City Manager, Michael McNees, has a 9 month old Blog on Blogger, but a search for the terms Bicycle, Bicycling, and Bike Trails sadly turned up no results.

HERALD-TRIBUNE.COM ( 1/25 ): Bicyclists treated with too little regard.

April 23, 2006 in Voices From The Open Road | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 26, 2006

Bike Riding Does a Body Good

Martino, of Martino's Bike Lane Diary, shares an absolutely fabulous 3 1/2 min. video of a cyclist on a  glorious ride to remember.

Sit back, and enjoy.

March 26, 2006 in Voices From The Open Road | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 16, 2006

Has the HiWheel Bike replaced Recumbents and the Gym

A few months ago I received an e-mail from a David Toppin, Captain of the MA. Chapter of The Wheelmen, regarding a book excerpt from message sent out to a mailing list for the National Bicycle Greenway website.

I just found the e-mail again and wish to share it with you.

What is a HiWheeler ( aka the Penny Farthing )?

Well, let's just say that bicycles ain't what they used to be these days. ;-D

Things were a little different 118 years ago, and there are people that are dedicated to  riding these bikes, and preserving their heritage: The Wheelmen are among those adventuresome, and dedicated, cyclists.

Anyway the author of an upcoming new book has been spreading the word about it, and a national Bike Ride/Author Tour scheduled for 2007.

How America can Bike and Grow Rich, The National Bicycle Greenway Manifesto by Martin Krieg.

As the author explains:

This excerpt comes to you  from "How America can Bike and Grow Rich, The National Bicycle Greenway Manifesto"  that will be a part of the 2007 Nat Bike Party that my author tour will engender. It explains why the HIWheel bike has placed recumbents and the gym both of which have been such a huge part of my life, in a holding pattern.

"All right Fred, you made it! And yahoo Phil, this is rockin'," I said as I started working my way off my tall bike.

"Well Martin you were right, I think we are gonna turn some heads." Phil observed.

After a few minutes getting everyone introduced, I said, "Yeah, here is where it gets interesting. I remember when we rode this stretch seven years ago and the locals were all cheering Steve Stevens on. They weren't looking at our high tech recumbents or the tandem trike Larry loaned me from his shop, they were looking at Steve."

Steve Stevens (no relation to the Thomas Stevens who circumnavigated the globe on a bicycle in 1884), had just completed a ride from San Francisco to Boston on his HIWheel. He had done so in an amazing 29 days, a new world record that still stands today. And unbeknownst to me at the time, seeing all the attention he and his bike were getting, he had planted a seed.

Even though I could now see that the HiWheel created a lot of excitement, the notion of my riding one was easy for me to dismiss. Reasoning that I needed to keep the playing field leveled between myself and cars, there was not going to be any way that I could build one into my world. As a transportation cyclist, I needed to be able to get places fast without a lot of effort. And it was for this application that I knew that the HiWheel was in a word, IMPRACTICAL.

I was closed to the possibility of doing anything more than admiring what is also called a Penny Farthing  until two years later when I pedaled a tall wheel for the first time. I had bought a well used, replicated version to bring attention to our booth at the NBG Festivals we used to produce. However when I finally worked up the nerve to try it, even though it was not mechanically sound, the joy of floating above the cars and the rest of the world below forced me to rethink my priorities. The danger of being so high off the ground suddenly paled in comparison to the sudden feeling of magnificence that soon overwhelmed me.

I determined if I could learn how to walk again and do what it took to reverse my paralysis and all of the other complications brought on by my 1977 head injury to ride a traditional bicycle and then a recumbent across the US, then I could ride a few blocks on a HiWheel bike. Besides, I now did yoga and had been doing so every day since I had completed my last coast-to-coast bike ride. I knew that no matter how bad my bones got shaken out of alignment, that I could still remedy the situation.

I also loved making people smile. The joy riding my HiWheel  brought to others told me I had to do what it took to be able to ride it more. But where would I find the time, I wondered.

Soon I determined that if I rode one a few days a week when I was not working out with weights, that I could develop enough expertise to be a able to ride it in a parade or two. However, once I got the bike repaired and it became evident that the longer I rode, the less energy I had for the gym, I asked myself if I could ride more and work out less. When I could see that my body felt and looked as fit as it ever did the more I HiWheeled and the less I pushed iron, I did a very hard thing.

I gave up my gym membership!

I traded in the safety and familiarity of a social world of fellow health seekers sequestered from the rest of the world  by walls and windows for asphalt, cars and the fit and the mostly unfit. For 24 years,  working out had been a way of life for me. It had gotten me beyond the helplessness of my head injury setback. I had become so accustomed to seeing my body change as I focused on different parts of it with resistance training  that I was only minimally aware of the fact that most people only paid attention to their bodies when they were sick.

As such then, I would be using the time I had spent under a health club roof to place the National Bicycle Greenway vision before an America that really needed it. The several hours a day I spent riding to and from the gym, as well as working out in it, I began to spend on my HiWheel bicycle. And just as soon I could see that just by riding the Penny Farthing  I was bringing hope to the the young and the old, the overweight and the fit and all the different ethnicities that make up the world around us. All the happiness that resulted pushed me on.

Five years ago, I would have been happy with a couple of blocks worth of pedaling, while being able to ride a parade or two would have tested the limits of my joy. And yet here now, I was on my way across the country on the bicycle where it all began; that forever changed the way man would move about.

Besides connecting me to the people on the street, the HiWheel was also connecting different cyclists to one another. Since even within the ranks of cycling there are different factions all with their own agendas, needs and desires, the HiWheel bike had built in leadership qualities. As I got around on the HiWheel and more and more touring, racing, training, commuting, off-road, recumbent and casual cyclists got a chance to see  motorists give me more respect than they were getting, I could see that more and more of them wanted to be a part of my family. And as my  family grew, a critical mass of us would be elevating the public consciousness to show how important it is for us to be on the road.

And it is here that I count mountain bike cyclists as an interested party. Even though their preferred riding turf is off road, in getting to the dirt many of them pedal the road. And more of them would travel that way if the streets were safer for them to do so. Nor does any off this account for the fact that studies have shown that most of the off road bikes  that are sold today spend most of their time riding not off road, but on road.

And then there are the people who ride recumbent bicycles, a marginalized population of cyclists indeed. They are seen by many of the mostly younger cyclists who ride traditional upright bikes, as being less capable. They dismiss the recumbent rider as being a man or woman who is limited by age, health or weight problems. So the fact that since 1983, I had only been riding recumbents, partly to get attention for the National Bicycle Greenway, seemed to communicate that I had special needs. It was this that served to limit the support I needed for our vision.

I could not wait to return to the speed and the comfort of a recumbent bicycle but for now I was a man on  mission. Besides now it wasn't just going to be one Hi-Wheel biking turning heads through DC, there were _____ of us!!

"What do you say we get moving?" Larry offered. "I don't want to be late this year and we can't afford any wrong turns with all these high bikes.  All those roads that lead to the Capitol can get so confusing. "

"That's why you guys  got me. This is pretty much the commute to my shop," Phil said. "I'm not far from the Mall and that's pretty much where DC City Hall is. And so what I did is get us on the quiet route and not the route I take when I am hammered. And I'm always hammered. But what I have will be very pleasant.   And you're right, we should get going."

The Book is set around "a visualization of the upcoming 2007 coast-to-coast author tour that Martin Krieg will be doing on an antique, turn of the century HiWheel bicycle. In his book, he and his small team (pictured in the margins here), will be using his booksignings and their dialogue with reporters, each other and the people they meet along the way to describe what will happen when Krieg's business plan for the National Bicycle Greenway (NBG) gets funded and then starts producing results."

Read more about this here.

Krieg also has a website with an Online Book called How to Bike the US.

March 16, 2006 in Voices From The Open Road | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 13, 2006

Angry Coloradoan 5: Bikes on Street Sort of OK

Well, now, see that wasn't so bad.

Curt DOES have a reasonable bone in his body...

AND he likes this Blog, too! ;-D

"No wonder so many people are disgusted with you. ;-D"

There are just as many people around here who cheer me.

Neither is what I really wanted, just trying to provoke some thought, and bring to light a few points.

The reason ( I imagine ) that CDOT restricts bikes on that stretch of road is because of the amount of traffic, and the fact that there is a frontage road on both sides of it for a good portion of its length.

I googled it long ago but had not thought to do it again until recently.

I do appreciate the fact that you posted the second letter, and I am not totally against bikes on the street. Both motorists and cyclists could stand to clean up their acts ( I, as everyone, could probably stand to do some spring cleaning ), some more than others.

I have a sense of humor, but I also like to stir the pot, and sometimes, unfortunately, I bring up some really bad stuff from the bottom ( which I seem to have done this time ) and the humor is taken out of context.

And by the way I think that you have an excellent web site.

Thank you for the time that it takes to keep something like this going.

Thanks again for posting my Letter.

And, that, Boys, and Girls is that. ;-D

Thank you, Curt, for being such a good sport and responding, thus contributing to a discussion that I'm sure has been enlightening to those who have taken the time to read it.

Technorati Tags: Bikes, Cyclists, Streets, Traffic, Motorists

March 13, 2006 in Voices From The Open Road | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 12, 2006

Angry Coloradoan 4: I believe in what I say

In my last post I shared the previously unpublished Letter of Curt Groen to his local newspaper, and my response to that letter.

Now I wish to publish the response of Curt to my post of yesterday:

Why is it surprising that I have responded to your piece?

Is it the fact that I believe in what I say?

Or that no one should have the gall to go up against the cycling community?

In your response it says "That he implies that many of Ft. Collins cyclists are Drunken Motorists, deprived of their drivers licenses, and desperate for any mode of transportation to get them around town does not deserve a response."

What it really says is "quite a few" and to me there is a hugh difference between quite a few and many, but I guess that is a matter of opinion.

The fact that it does not deserve a response may be due to the fact that it is the truth.

Now if you want to read into it that I feel ALL cyclists are a problem, I guess that is your prerogative, and I guess it further advances your side of things to your benefit.

You ask "Are they in addition to the usual striped Bike Lanes?" in reference to the sharrows:

No at this time there is no bike lane there.

It is a busy state highway, and also South College Ave., of which most of South College is restricted from use by bikes.

Now in regards to the Bike Bridges:

No, they are not in addition to the striped lanes.  They are meant to move the Bike traffic off the auto bridge (for the safety of the cyclists mind you).

A FEW bikers choose to ignore the fact that there is no Bike lane across the bridges where this occurs ( Too bad: It must be the same cyclists that are doing it EVERY time I am on that street, giving the MAJORITY of the good cyclists a bad name ).

RE: "Cyclists ARE drivers of vehicles and, as such, they have the right to safely use the streets in any way the law legally allows."

Just because someone has a concealed weapons permit, and feels that they can justify shooting someone, doesn't mean that they should unless there is no other option, whereas cyclists have many options open to them and are rarely put in a do or die situation. ( I'll bet you have fun twisting that one around. )

Just because you "may" doesn't mean that you "should".

Now about "That Curt is a Motorist with "issues" toward cyclists, who claims to BE one himself, is a matter between him, and his Psychiatrist.":

My statements bring up valid concerns, but "Does Curt feel guilty that he rides a bike, and just how often DOES he ride the poor thing?".

No I do not feel guilty that I ride a bike, and I take it to places where I will not endanger myself by putting myself in the potential path of a steel projectile coming up behind me.

I realize that it is just a bike, a mode of transportation, not something alive and with feelings:

RE:  "and just how often DOES he ride the poor thing?"

Now just who needs the Psychiatrist?

Is the fact that you are attacking me due to the fact that I have hit home with some points that maybe you are guilty of?

Are you a part of the "ME, ME, ME, NOW, NOW, NOW" crowd?

It sure sounds as such.

JESUSCHRISTONABICYCLE ( or JCOAB for short ) !!!

I'm just a harmless little fuzzball, Curt... Pedalling across the land on his Trusty Steed. ;-D

Curt, my last post addressed your fear of bike riding in the street, and made another suggestion for where you can learn helpful tips on how to overcome it. ( See the end of this essay for more such resources )

As Ken Kifer says: "There are many people who think that bicycling is especially dangerous, not recognizing that cyclists travel more miles per fatality than pedestrians and more hours per fatality than passenger vehicle users."

I was surprised not that you would defend yourself, only that it took an essay by me to get you to do so in a public forum.

Afterall, the same Google Search my Stats said you made yesterday, if made anytime after January 27th, would have led directly to a place where you could have posted your unpublished letter for those closer to home ( or here ), including the some of letter writers, to maybe come across long before now.

I am also not surprised that you believe riding in the street is too dangerous to do, and/or that cyclists do not belong on the street next to cars: You are not the 1st person that I have encountered with those misguided beliefs and, sadly, won't be the last, I'm sure.

Quite a few, or many, who's gonna go out there and count [ Or run around with a breathalizer to catch those stupid enough to risk being caught PUI ( That's "Pedaling Under the Influence" for you folks in Rio Linda ) ? ] You?  Me?

We both lead busy lives, and I don't have the extra cash for the trip out of state, anyway. ;-D

RE: "if you want to read into it that I feel ALL cyclists are a problem".

I calls 'em as I sees 'em, and I see a man who thinks his fellow cyclists, or many of them anyway, are a problem, should not be allowed to ride on the street.

And what is the motivating reason for this belief?

"I have made a choice, and that is not to ride my bike in this town because it scares me to death".

As you say that is YOUR choice.

You believe that your fellow Motorists, like your fellow Cyclists, or many of them both, anyway, have no business on the street, and so you choose to ride your bike where you fee safe, and are agitating for the city to do things that will force your fellow cyclists to do the same, whether they share with your fear, or not.

No wonder so many people are disgusted with you. ;-D

I'm curious as to why a street would be a "No Bike" street, but as far as busy State Highways are concerned here in California some of ours run through residental, and business districts, and some have Bike Lanes on some stretches, and the sensible cyclist survives them all quite nicely.

As for Bike Bridges:

If there is a sign that said I MUST use the bridge then I'd use it, if safe to do so.

If there is no such sign, and the street going over the bridge is like those going over similar places I encounter every day, then I'd safely take the lane until I'm over the bridge.

If I judged the Bike Bridge unsafe I'd find an alternative route, if not able to use the street bridge, until the problem was taken care of.

Just because there is no Bike Lane on a street does not mean I can not travel safely on that street.

Your apparent idea that a "Bad" Bicyclist is one who rides where there is no Bike Lane is misguided.

IF it is safer for me to take the lane instead of using the Bike Lane available to me then I will do so, or choose an alternate route if convenient for me to do so.

If a Bike Lane is strewn with debris, or is one of those stupid ones to the left of park cars, you can bet yer sweet bippy I'll take the lane for however long I need to if I have to.

I WILL NOT get on the sidewalk, as so many people think cyclists should do in that situation.

As for your Gun Analogy:

Bicycles don't kill people. People do. ;-D

Example based on your Anaolgy: Just because I can ride my bike on Bristol Street during rush hour, and can justify doing so, doesn't mean I should unless there is no other option.

The point IS that, unless there is a posted sign telling me that I CAN'T do so, it is entirely up to me whether I want to do so, or not.

I know what to expect riding along Bristol ( It's one continuous Rush Hour during the day ), but it IS safe for any cyclist unafraid to ride on the street, and experienced in doing do.

You may not feel guilty about riding a bike, but you certainly seem to be afraid to do so.

Just because you can ride your bike elsewhere than the street, and can justify doing so, doesn't always mean your should.

Get over your fear, and you will get a whole lot more out of the experience of being a cyclist

Just because someone disagrees with you does not mean they are attacking you.

You made a public statement.

I responded, and offered you the opportunity to respond in turn, AND the opportunity to share a letter that would not have seen the light of day otherwise.

I did NOT have to do any of that [ I think I deserve a free sample of your fine, quality, BBQ Sauce for being so nice! Hee, hee. ( Damn, but that stuff sure looks tasty! Honest! ) ], and am sure there no doubt are many Bloggers who would not have.

You DID NOT have to respond, and showed courage in doing so ( You have dared to pedal where several Journalists, Activists, and Politicians, have feared to ride ).

I respect that.

In turn you should have expected that I would try to continue the dialogue, and that others might toss in their 2 cents as well.

I am not guilty of anything except being "An ordinary road cyclist spreading the word", and the word is BICYCLE! ;-D

As for: "I realize that it is just a bike, a mode of transportation, not something alive and with feelings".

Curt, my friend, you really MUST relax, and develope a sense of humor. ;-D

Mine is, um, rather peculiar, and I don't care who knows it. ;-D

USEFUL READING:

1. How to not get hit by cars.

2. Bicycle Transportation Institute.

3. "Cyclists ought to act and be treated as drivers of vehicles."  The Books and essays of John Forester.

4. Ken Kifer on Bicycle Traffic Safety.

5 -13. See the 9 links in the group titled "BICYCLE SAFETY: Information that can save your life."

Continue to part 5.

March 12, 2006 in Voices From The Open Road | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Angry Coloradoan 3: The Letter not Published

Curt Groen has responded to my post yesterday.

This came about due to an e-mail I sent him:

Dear Curt,

Thank you so much for your comment to my coverage, a while back, of your letter on cycling in Ft. Collins.

It always pleases me when the subject, or writer, of a story I Blog about responds.

I promoted your comment to POST status because I believe that it, like your original letter, deserved a wider audience, and a response.

I will be alerting Fritz, and Pedaller, as I imagine they too will be quite interested in what you have to say.

Sincerely yours,

KIRIL KUNDURAZIEFF

Before we get to that I wish to share, as promised, the letter by Curt that was never published.

As he explains it:

The letter that was not published, that you say was my first, was never put out that it was first. It was a response to the folks in my community.

As you will see, I stand corrected on that point as his letter is a response to those letters sent to the newspaper in response to his published piece.

Since Curt didn't indicate this point in his response to me I made the wrong assumption.

Here, in its entirety, is Curt's response to those in his community:

First of all, I own a bike also.

Next, to answer Paul Miller and Rick Price.

Paul first:

Have you noticed how many right turn lanes and acceleration lanes have disappeared around here lately, gone to the bike lanes?

And yes, who typically wins when you pit a two-ton vehicle against a 20-pound bike, why are they being put in a situation where they can be pitted against each other?

I am not after the majority of bikers out there, just the ones that cannot abide by traffic laws, and the City Traffic Engineers.

Which brings me to Rick:

If we had "Transportation planners on city staff who do a fine job" the bike lanes would be bike paths, co-located with walking paths, that were incorporated into alleys and the city parks so as to encourage bikes to stay away from traffic and out of the danger of mixing with traffic.

When I lived in Colorado Springs, I don't remember bike lanes on the city streets, I remember bike/walking paths, which were used extensively by both pedestrians and bikers.

I enjoyed riding on the paths there so much more than riding in a bike lane as I am forced to in this town, worrying about the car behind me getting me from the rear.

So that Price won't have to open his eyes, I'll summarize:

Vehicular traffic has to slow down and accelerate to get around the bikers that crowd the traffic lane or ride where there is no bike lane.

Sharrows (which is what started this line) will greatly slow traffic where installed, and in the case of south College greatly endanger Bike riders, and the disappearance of right turn lanes and such forces vehicles to sit and idle at lights.

If Mr. Price is President, Friends of the Fort Collins Bicycle Program, Inc., I think his time would be better spent on trying to get the City to go with bike paths instead of the present bike lanes.

Gas taxes pay for highways, nothing that comes from a bike pays for them (not speaking of the owners who own autos also).

I have made a choice, and that is not to ride my bike in this town because it scares me to death because I have to share the road and the way people drive in this town, which is atrocious, but that is a whole other subject.

Oh, so as not to forget, just what can be said about Gary Pugh's statement:

Gee, sorry about your Aunt, maybe she should look into one of the new International pick-ups, you know one of the really big ones.

Oh, brother... where to begin, where to begin?

Curt, just because you are afraid to ride your bike in the street is no reason to try to make life difficult for your neighbors by encouraging changes that affect their right to choose where to ride their bike. ;-D

Preachers of Vehicular Cycling, and of Safe Cycling Techniques, understand that knowledge is power, and the more informed a cyclist is the better a rider he/she will be.

I strongly recommend that you, and anyone else afraid of the street, read an 8 part series by Biking Toronto called 8 Secrets to Cycling in Traffic ( The series, in its entirety, in 1 shot, was posted 3/15/06 ).

While some Vehicular Cyclists would do away with Bike Lanes all together, and recommend people avoid Bike Trails, I'm not one of them, except where Bike Lanes to the LEFT of cars that are allowed to park next to the curb are concerned.

As for Gary Pugh:

You DO realize that whole piece was a JOKE don't you?

You must have wrote your reply before Joel Nolte sent in his, or you would have seen this:

After reading through the letter (in the Jan. 27 Coloradoan) titled, "Cyclist has negative impact," it seems obvious to me that Gary Pugh is in reality lampooning Curt Groen's letter from Jan. 8.

Read Pugh's letter again, taking careful note of the vehicles involved in the alleged crash, and the stated damages to each vehicle and occupant. Don't overlook the hilarious final sentence.

It seems that a different title might have been appropriate for the letter - perhaps "Writer's tongue planted firmly in cheek?"

You DO have a sense of humor, Curt, I hope? ;-D

Continue to part 4.

March 12, 2006 in Voices From The Open Road | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 11, 2006

Angry Coloradoan Defends Letter and Berates BikeBloggers

In January I wrote about the Angry Coloradoan who thinks Cyclists should pay taxes.

Based on the content of the letter published in the newspaper, I, a few BikeBloggers and, apparently, many of his fellow Coloradoans had some choice words for him.

You simply MUST read the wonderful collection of responses to his January letter gathered on The Reading Room Blog of the Ft. Collins website called Experience Plus.

Now, quite surprisingly, I find that Curt Groen has responded to my piece ( but NOT to the folks in his own community, over at EP ), and certain comments left by 2 readers.

What follows is what he has to say ( Promoted, from mere Comment Status, to this post where it can get the attention it deserves. ):

The letter that says that I own a bike, but that I am scared to death to ride on the streets of Fort Collins because of the way the bike lanes are laid out was never published.

The point of the letter that was published was the use of sharrows, and the fact that the City wants to put them on an extremely busy highway, which I believe will expose bikers to a great deal of danger.

Yes, there are a lot of bikes being used in Fort Collins, quite a few are due to the fact that people have DUI's and have lost their license and need transportation.

If those who do ride would use the bike lanes properly, things wouldn't be quite so bad, but we have people who ride in the car lanes rather than using bridges that were built for the cyclist.

Yes there are motorists that run red lights, but not to the extent of some of the cyclist.

Motorists will run the tail end of a yellow light or the beginning of the red, but cyclist's will run it dead in the middle of the red light because stopping will break their momentum.

Money for roads come from the use of motor vehicles.

I don't mind sharing the road with bikes, but from what I have been seeing the cyclists think that it is their right to have full use of the roads, and yes even being a bike rider myself, I still think that that there should be some sort of use tax set up of the cyclist.

As far as "sweeping generalizations" and "becoming self-righteous", reading your posts it is easy to see just who that refers to.

Curt Groen

Oh yeah...

Frizt, as far as who the Bozo ( a foolish or incompetent person )
is, you just want to throw out the comment and not really say any thing relevant.

I think that you have described yourself.

After reading this I'm still of the opinion I expressed before, and have more to say now.

For those who don't know what a Sharrow here is a brief description as they apply to the streets of Ft. Collins ( Based on a blurb for the archived original article by Jim Strine, on December 31st, 2005 ):

Shared-lane arrows are markings on a road signaling to motorists that bicyclists share their lanes.

Lanes shared between motorists and cyclists will be marked by shared-lane arrows or "sharrows." The painted markings depict a bicycle with two chevrons above it.

My 1st question after reading this is: Does Curt feel guilty that he rides a bike, and just how often DOES he ride the poor thing?

He tosses off his "street cred" 1st as an aside about how his "1st"  letter was never published ( I'd publish it HERE, if he still can send me a copy ) and later as an afterthought conclusion to, this, his 2nd rant against his fellow cyclists, and I'm supposed to take anything he says seriously?

Questions 2 and 3: If Curt is so afraid of riding on the street has he done anything to overcome that fear, such as taking classes on Safe Cycling Techniques offered somewhere within convenient travel distance by car, or buying a copy of John Forester's book called Effective Cycling, and reading it?

If not, then why not?

Question 4: What's with the continued sweeping generalizations?

Curt continues to write as if ALL cyclists are a problem, instead of just those who are ignorant, and foolish in the way they ride their bikes.

That he implies that many of Ft. Collins cyclists are Drunken Motorists, deprived of their drivers licenses, and desperate for any mode of transportation to get them around town does not deserve a response.

Cyclists ARE drivers of vehicles and, as such, they have the right to safely use the streets in any way the law legally allows, including avoiding designated bike "bridges", and even Bike Lanes ( if for their safety they need to move to their left and "take a lane " among moving motor vehicle traffic ).

Sharrows seem to be just making clear what Motorists, especially, should already be aware of, and if by being there they help edumicate both Motorists, and Cyclists, in how to get along then I'd like to know, in more detail, what the problems are with them, especially in the eyes of any cyclists.

A more important question regarding them is a 2-fer:

Are they in addition to the usual striped Bike Lanes?

If so, then isn't that redundant?

That Curt is a Motorist with "issues" toward cyclists, who claims to BE one himself, is a matter between him, and his Psychiatrist.

Ft. Collins, with a Bicycle Co-ordinator Office funded by the city, and 150 miles of Bike Lanes, must be doing SOMETHING right.

Continue to part 3.

March 11, 2006 in Voices From The Open Road | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 24, 2006

Angry Cyclist takes Sarasota Florida to Task

Sometimes it seems as if Cyclists are treated with little regard.

A college student in Florida, Alexandra DiSclafani, vented her anger, last month, in the aftermath of the death of a fellow student, and cyclist:

New College of Florida lost a member of its community on the evening of Jan. 18. Fourth-year student John Roewert, 24, was killed when the bicycle he was riding was struck by a vehicle near the intersection of U.S. 41 and 10th Street in Sarasota.

As a fellow student, and frequent bike rider, I am outraged. I am furious that while a city closes its sidewalks to build multimillion-dollar condos, it leaves its pedestrians and bicyclists to fend for themselves. I am furious that the infrequent bike lanes, if they are usable, are narrow and often obscured by debris. I am furious that utility poles, which bicyclists must dodge, are located directly in the middle of the sidewalks along U.S. 41 and other streets.

For financially strapped and ecofriendly students alike, a bike is sometimes the most popular, if not only mode of transportation. While bicyclists must obey traffic laws and take certain precautions, drivers, too, must be aware that others share the road.

The city of Sarasota needs to step up to the plate and protect its citizens. Instead of being known as an affluent beach town, why not be known as one of the most pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly cities in a state that has the highest percentage of bicycle-related fatalities?

Residents, who regularly utilize the busy and dangerous roads, cannot afford to wait.

HERALD-TRIBUNE.COM ( 1/25 ): Bicyclists Treated Wth Too Little Regard.

February 24, 2006 in Voices From The Open Road | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 26, 2006

Winter Bike Riding

"Hey, it snowed last night, wanna go bike riding?"

Most people, when asked that question would respond with a hearty, and heartfelt, "Are you Nuts?" ;-D

Then again, the folks in the following story, out of Minneapolis, Mn., are definitely NOT most people. ;-D

On the most frigid winter nights, they are a startling sight.

Out of the darkness they appear: the flicker of a bicycle’s back reflector as the rider cruises over icy streets and past the bumper-to-bumper traffic.

From Minneapolis to Milwaukee, from Alaska and Illinois to Sweden and even Russia, winter bikers – and the clubs and Web sites devoted to them – are springing up all over the place. Some cyclists are in it for the workout, some because they want to live in a world with fewer automobiles and less consumption of fossil fuels...

On a Web site heralding winter cycling in Moscow, Grisha Strasnij says winters are perfect for ice biking and downhill racing because “the ice adds new challenges and requires new skills.”

AP Reporter Patrick Condon decided to give it a try, and gained a new perspective regarding folks he previously thought must be just a little insane.

He interviewed Winter Cyclists who own cars but also bike Commute on occasion, and 1 who doesn't own a car at all.

After getting a few tips he was ready for his excursion.

He was  dressed to the 9's. ;-D

It was 4 degrees above on the December morning I chose for the 4-mile ride to my downtown office.

I felt like a Navy SEAL suiting up for a mission.

Dri-fit long underwear (to help sweat evaporate off my body). One more layer on my legs and three more on top. Two calf-length pairs of wool socks. Black ski-mask covering my entire head. Goggles and helmet. Two pairs of gloves.

The goal was enough gear to ensure that not a centimeter of bare skin would be exposed. I knew I’d look ridiculous, but I also knew that subzero wind chills can be deadly in minutes.

How can you pedal in all that gear?

Seems it wasn't that hard... in the beginning. ;-D

The first few blocks on my seven-year-old mountain bike were a breeze. The tires gripped the slushy streets nicely, and – while the chilly air penetrated the layers – my pumping legs generated enough warmth to make it tolerable.

I even started to feel a little cocky. Coasting across a bridge, I saw multiple lanes of stop-and-go traffic. “Enjoy your gas guzzlers, suckers!” I thought to myself.

Over confidence is a Bitch, heh, heh. ;-D

A few blocks later my feet were cold. I noticed how my heavy panting inside the face mask was condensing into a chilly mush around my mouth. And how the sweat evaporating off my back made it feel like I was standing with my rear to an open refrigerator.

In another few blocks, my no-fog goggles started to fog. My feet felt as if I’d soaked them in ice water, and my fingers weren’t far behind.

No pain, no gain, the saying goes, and the further he went the more he gained confidence.

But with the pain came a feeling of hard-won confidence, and it propelled me as my destination grew closer. I started to think, “This really isn’t that bad.”

The last few blocks, I really hit my stride, and by the time I got to the office I wanted to keep riding. It’s a feeling, I discovered, that’s common to many winter bikers.

I'll stay here, in the OC, and ride my bike in the sun, and rain, thank you. ;-D

Cyclists who do this consider it a Lifestyle Choice, and are always gals to meet others of like mind.

As one cyclist said:

“When people wonder about it, or say that I’m crazy for doing it, I just tell them it’s really not that hard. The hardest part is the mental adjustment. Once you get past that, it’s pretty easy – you’ve gotta believe that you can, or you won’t ever do it.”

Not being sure how long the link to this story will stay active I'm sharing here Patricks list of Winter Bicycling Tips:

1. Any bike can be ridden in winter, but a mountain bike or bicycle with studded tires helps with traction. Some bikers add fenders to block flying winter sludge and snow buildup on tires.

2. It gets dark earlier and visibility can be bad even in daytime, so lights front and back are a must. Most states require them year-round after dark anyway.

3. Skip the heavy, padded clothing. Use lighter layers, but don’t overdo it; a little chill when you start out is just right. You’ll warm up.

4. Avoid moisture-absorbing fabrics like cotton, especially for the layer closest to the skin; try the so-called “wicking” fabrics that move sweat away from the skin.

5. The top layers should have Gore-Tex or other material that keeps out water and wind.

6. Hands and feet are most likely to get cold. Several pairs of gloves and socks are a good idea; so are shoes or boots that are warm without being clumsy.

7. In extreme cold, leave no skin exposed. That means a ski mask and goggles. A helmet is a must; wipeouts are even more likely on wintry streets.

Good advice, all of it.

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette ( 1/8/06 ): Ice Adds new Challenges to Bicycling.

January 26, 2006 in Voices From The Open Road | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack