Wednesday, December 31, 2008

WAD Monthly Commuter Ride: January 15, 2009

Brett Allen and the intrepid doers of the Westerville/Arena District Bikeway initiative are once again taking their show on the road and trekking down Cleveland Avenue in an attempt to take the roads back for two wheelers! Join them on January 15th for their latest excursion.

Click here for the Google Map, with directions, notes, and instructions.

People, not speed.

Consider Biking Newsletter - December 2008: Year End Edition!

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Consider Biking Newsletter

December 31, 2008

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In This Issue
Year-End Giving
2008 Accomplishments
2009 Goals
Greetings!
As 2008 rolls to an end, Consider Biking is proud to report on incredible successes in the promotion and advocacy for bicycling.

See a few details below.

2008 has been a time of explosive growth for Consider Biking (formally known as COBAC) We'd like to thank you for signing up for our newsletter list at one of our events or display booths this summer, or by virtue of registering on the Consider Biking website, or through past involvement with COBAC.

The momentum we're generating as a trusted resource for objective information, has drawn many to our cause of making Central Ohio more friendly for bicyclists.

Make a Year-end Gift today!
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We hope you'll acknowledge our success, by making a year-end gift today! (And get that final tax deduction for 2008.)

You can make a donation in three ways:

1) Send a check (payable "Consider Biking") to our physical address - P.O. Box 937, Worthington, OH 43085. (Hint - If you date your check Dec. 31st, you'll be eligible for 2008 tax benefits.)

2) Go to www.paypal.com and choose "send money" and "send money online." Next, enter the e-mail address jeff@considerbiking.org and choose an amount and the "services/other" option. Your donation will go directly to the Consider Biking business account.

3) Or, if you'd like to call Consider Biking Executive Director, Jeff Stephens, and make your donation via the phone, his number is 614-579-1127.
What Have We Accomplished in 2008?
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We represented Ohio cyclists at the League of American Bicyclists' Washington D.C. Summit and lobby days in March. We advocated face-to-face with four Ohio Congressmen for the support of the Bicycle Commuter Act which passed into law this October!

MayorWe helped coordinate Bike to Work Week activities in May. Columbus Mayor Coleman unveiled the long-awaited Bicentennial Bike Plan at our kick-off event and this incubated the extraordinary media exposure we generated regarding all facets of cycling for the rest of the year.

Consider Biking organized the 5th annual Ride of Silence, which was reported to be the largest of over 250+ such rides in the United States!

We helped attract Bicycling Magazine's "Biketown" project to Columbus which provided bicycles for thirty deserving individuals, and gained the validation as one of the "Cycling Cities of the Future" by the cycling industry's leading voice.

We provided consultation and support for Columbus' mandatory childhood helmet law which passed into legislation in July.

DKWe provided leadership and grassroots feedback from everyday cyclists, to the enhancement of the Columbus Traffic Code as it relates to bicycling. The resultant legislation that passed on December 15th, is both a great enhancement to operation standards, but contains "Complete Streets" language which will ensure our roads are developed with accommodation for cyclists! This is one of the country's most progressive cycling laws, and is the culmination of years of our work!
We also had a presence at countless events, provided educational workshops, distributed thousands of pieces of educational materials, and championed the efforts of great advocates like Charlie Pace & Maryellen O'Shaughnessy (pictured above) and the everyday cyclists that had the courage to use a bicycle instead of a car for some of their transportation needs.

Finally, on the operational side, through the support of Columbus Outdoor Pursuits, we hired a full-time staff member in March. We built a 14 member Board of Directors, that is representative of all our community's cycling interests, and bring years of passion and experience in the cycling industry and are committed to developing the resources that our organization is deserving of! We have finally laid the foundation to grow Consider Biking into a self-sustaining organization that will vault Central Ohio into a world-class region for bicycling accommodation.
What's Ahead for 2009?
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Consider Biking will explode in the mainstream consciousness this coming year! We will finalize a strategic plan of action in the coming month, and provide a glimpse of our ambitious goals soon. In the meantime, we'll tease you with a few major goals that are well underway.

roadConsider Biking has provided leadership to the development of a "bike usability" map for metro Columbus (Franklin County). This is long overdue, and we are confident you'll see a map by May 2009.

We'll again provide significant leadership to Bike Month and Bike to Work Week activities in May 2009.

We'll continue our work with Columbus to implement the Bicentennial Bikeways Plan. Look for our involvement with a High Street Share the Road Campaign, in addition to other initiatives.

You'll also see Consider Biking as a primary partner with Mayor Coleman and the Institute for Active Living in the Tour of Columbus event.

cowtownersWe'll continue to promote all events that champion bicycling. Look for our support of Peletonia, the massive fundraising event to support the James Cancer Hospital.

And, we'll launch a new website very soon. We'll realize our vision to be the most comprehensive resource for all matters related to cycling in our region. We'll be more than a forum to voice your opinion; rather a robust compilation of all the cycling information, news, events, and opinions, in a user-friendly format.

Stay tuned.....2009 will be great for bicycling!

Contact Information
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Executive Director, Jeff Stephens - jeff@considerbiking.org 614-579-1127

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People, not speed.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bike Commuters: Get What's Coming To You!

You've been dutifully pedaling to work, the store, the movie theater, and everywhere else that there's a road. Starting January 1, 2009, the federal government wants to reward you for that!

The League of American Bicyclists is here to show you how to get that Bike Commuter Tax Provision. Your questions will be answered and keep going back to this page, as it'll be updated over time.

As a side note, I won't be posting much through the end of the year. I'll still be monitoring comments and correspondence of all kinds, but new content will be coming at the beginning of the year.

People, not speed.

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Equipment Idea: Briefcase-holding Pannier

As I've mentioned before, one of my goals in bike commuting is to do so in a way that allows one to do it without LOOKING like I do it. When I get to work, I'd like to be able to walk directly into work and sit down at my desk and not have to worry about changing clothes, etc. as much as is possible. And this is not to say that I'm trying to HIDE my bike commuting (as you might imagine, having a bike commuting blog is not the way to remain anonymous) but rather to be an example to others who have considered it but don't do it because of personal appearance or convenience issues. We all know people who think this way.

One thing that I'd like to be able to carry is a regular briefcase. Sure, my panniers work great at getting my stuff to and from work and around, but they don't exactly have the great look of a regular briefcase. Also, I'd like something that allows me to just pick it up and go on those days when, for whatever reason, I don't bike - I take the bus, have to actually drive, etc. I don't want to have to transfer a bunch of stuff from pannier to briefcase, and I'm not going to USE the pannier as my briefcase.

The idea of a briefcase pannier came into my head, as I've seen plenty of them advertised or displayed in places like Performance Bike. But I see two problems with these:

1. I'd like a hard-back briefcase. I personally don't care for the "modified duffle-bag" look of many of the modern briefcases and ALL of the briefcase panniers I could find. Call me a traditionalist.

2. I bike year-round. And, especially during the winter, my current panniers to get covered with salt, road grime, etc. I see no reason to suspect that a briefcase pannier wouldn't have this same problem. I don't want to be constantly cleaning off my briefcase every time I get to work all winter.

So here's my thought: a pannier that's just a bit bigger than my briefcase, and one that I could simply slip my briefcase into, close up, and be on my way. That way, I'd get to work and it would be ready to go, with all my daily stuff already in it, and clean and presentable. I could stash my grimy panniers under my desk and not have to worry about them.

Does anything like this already exist?

People, not speed.

Friday, December 12, 2008

First Real Cold Weather Commute of Winter '08-'09

Between my week of training up in Dublin and a bout of a cold brought on by my traitorous fifteen-month old daughter last weekend, I haven't been on my bike since the day after Thanksgiving - took the bus all this week. So today I climbed back on (as I could finally breathe almost normally) and rode to work. It was a beautiful morning for a ride, and I left the house at about 7:30 after getting all my gear together.

For those of you who are still perusing the idea of a winter bike commute, here's the weather situation for today:
  • Clear Roads - no ice or snow
  • Temperature: 20-25° Fahrenheit (-4° Celsius)
  • Wind...negligible
And here's what I wore:
Disclaimer: I do not work for Pearl Izumi.

I was plenty warm... perhaps a bit too warm. On the way home, we're going to see how I do with a simple UnderArmour t-shirt underneath the fleece (as it's supposed to warm up significantly today). I do find that the balaclava doesn't do a real good job at keeping ears warm, hence the earmuffs over the balaclava.

The commute itself was fine, though I seemed to miss EVERY light on the way to work. Cars gave me plenty of space, even when I crossed over I-670 on Summit (which is the only part that makes me nervous with all those cars coming off the expressway).

I keep a pair of shoes at work to change into when I get there, and also brought a polo shirt, undershirt, and pair of non-thick socks.

It took me about five minutes once I got here to get changed and cooled off a bit. I keep a small fan on my desk to aid with that.

So I'm hopefully back to commuting by bike for the foreseeable future... no more bus trips for a while. I'll miss being able to read on the bus, but I do love the exercise as well!

People, not speed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

WAD Monthly Commuter Ride: The Assault on Cleveland Avenue - Dec. 18th

Not content to sit on their laurels, the activists of the Westerville - Arena District Bikeway Initiative are now taking their ride to one of the most direct routes downtown... Cleveland Avenue!

Brett Allen and company have some great tips and information for the ride at Google Maps, including what to do if you have a flat, links to what to wear, etc. You should also note the change in starting location for the ride.

These are folks who aren't content to let the city do the work of making way for cyclists, they're barnstorming commuters who are going to take the lane and not give it back! Good work, WAD!

People, not speed.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Using Wind Power To Recharge Your Phone While Riding!

One thing that all we cyclists have in common is wind. Even if there's no wind when you're standing still, you're gonna create some as soon as you get on your bike. Now you can take advantage of that wind and use it to recharge your cell phone!

The HyMini
is a multi-functional recharger that works with many of your small electronics. It contains a small Lithium-ion battery that holds the charge, and a small wind turbine to do the charging (it's even got a solar cell for when you're not moving!). And it's got a USB port on it for recharging against your computer at your desk, a conventional 120 volt adapter for home recharging, a small hand crank for when you're really desperate, and more. And when you're ready, you can hook up your phone or iPod or whatever and recharge it from that battery. Pretty smart!

It's available from the Discovery Store and a few other places.

Thanks to Bike Hacks for calling attention to this product!

People, not speed.

New Twitter Feed

I'm adding a new Twitter Feed today on the right side of the screen, but it's not just for everything that I personally post... it's a keyword feed. The keyword is #bikecolumbus (strangely enough, eh?). Anyone (that's right, ANYONE) who wants to post some news about bicycling in Columbus is welcome to use that keyword in their Tweets to post cycling news.

If you have questions about Twitter, feel free to ask me!

People, not speed.

Friday, November 28, 2008

OSU v. Olentangy Multi-Use Path, Part 2

Because of an errand my wife asked me to run on the way to work today, I took the Olentangy Multi-Use Path to work today. And I got to witness first-hand just how much it's been bollocksed-up by Ohio State University (and please pardon the brit/soccer-isms today... I'm still completely stoked by the Crew winning MLS Cup 2008).

As usual, the trail was just fine up to the point when I got to Woody Hayes. I went under the bridge there and was actually impressed with the work that had been done. The path was right along the river, and moving along nicely. It was wide enough for bikes to path easily, and I was really getting impressed.

Then I got to the messed-up part. Seeing no signage to tell me otherwise, I saw the path going off in a direction that might lead one to believe that it went under the next bridge (near the northern-most of the two OSU towers, I don't know the name of it). I decided to see if I was correct.

I was not.

It didn't go under the bridge... it didn't go ANYWHERE. It stopped. Dead end. Luckily, I'd built up enough speed that I was able to make it up the short but steep incline in the grass and up to where the path continued. Consider it my attempt to see how stoked I'd be to try CycloCross (which I do want to try out sometime. Just not on my commuter bike with full panniers!).

At that point, I looked around for where to go next. And I saw the "Under Construction" signage for the path as it went back the way I came... I guess the wizards at OSU just figured that the only folks who mattered were those were already on campus and trying to leave, because I don't recall seeing any signs for those trying to get through campus. So after a couple of tries, I went down in front of the Drake Union (I think that's the name of the building, the one just north of the junction of Cannon Drive and John H Herrick Drive) and was able to make it back onto the nasty section of the path as it goes past the electrical station just south of the aforementioned junction.

I'm not impressed with the steps OSU is taking to fix the path right now. It's half-done at best. And the signage to successfully reroute path users around is nearly nonexistent. And the real problem spot, up by the electrical station, is still too narrow and poorly paved.

I can accept that it's under construction. I can't accept the idea that OSU can't handle proper signs to reroute people around up there and point them in the proper direction. At most points, I had to rely on the still-existing painted path signs for Bike the C-bus. Pathetic.

OSU, for all its posturing about being an important part of the Columbus community, is still obviously all about OSU, and their treatment of the path is just the latest outward indication of that fact.

People, not speed.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

iPhone-Friendly Feed

Found a new service called DoYouFeed.com that allows you to set up any RSS feed for the iPhone. Here's the link I set up for this site: http://tinyurl.com/5ldet9

Please, if you have an iPhone (which I don't) try it out and let me know how it works!

People, not speed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Columbus Street Study Looking To Remove More One-Way Streets

In an effort to improve street safety in Columbus, city officials are investigating the idea of making Summit and 4th, currently one-way avenues into and out of downtown, into two-way streets.

This is an absolutely great move. It'll slow traffic down, make it safer for everyone using the roads, and the slower speed will help to improve visibility for the neighborhoods and businesses that are along those routes. This is a win-win situation for all involved!
Study May Change Downtown Driving
Monday, Nov 17, 2008 - 01:41 PM Updated: 05:07 PM
By Donna Willis
E-mail | Biography


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Speeding on two major Columbus streets is causing officials within the city to think about how to curb the problem.

The area in question is east of The Ohio State University's campus on Summit and Fourth streets.

By the end of Monday, city officials and residents will have a better idea whether or not to continue with a plan that would dramatically change two streets.

Summit and Fourth streets are both one-way roads and they're widely used by motorists, joggers and bicyclists.

The roads are also at the center of a safety plan put on by city officials that would take Summit and Fourth and make them two-way streets instead of one-way.

Rayniecia Ratliff and her 1-year-old daughter travel Fourth Street several times a week.

"I think it will help a lot if they just change it to a two-way street, things will be easier," Ratliff said.

Local business owners said they support the plan as well.

A mobility plan meeting was scheduled for Monday night at the Grace Baptist Church on North Sixth Street.

Stay tuned to NBC 4 and refresh nbc4i.com for more information on this developing story.

People, not speed.

Columbus Foundation Match Day Is TODAY! Support Consider Biking

A reminder from Consider Biking:

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Columbus Foundation Match Day begins at 2:00 pm TODAY!
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Don't miss this opportunity to help Consider Biking continue our work toward ensuring everyone has the opportunity to experience the joy of bicycling for active transportation, recreation, fitness, and sport.

Beginning at 2 pm on Wednesday, November 19, (TODAY!!) anyone may visit www.columbusfoundation.org, to make an online gift to their favorite nonprofit. The Columbus Foundation will match 50% of all public donations of $2,500 or less made online with a credit card through PowerPhilanthropy, while funds last. So we ask you to act this afternoon! Anyone can give, starting with a $20 minimum. Please give a gift to Consider Biking and support our education, encouragement and advocacy efforts in Central Ohio.
Click here to login and give a gift on Match Day.


People, not speed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Neighborhoods Looking To Increase Walkability

It's not explicitly bike-related, but it's on the same track. The Dispatch today is discussing the creation of neighborhoods with increased walkability, neighborhoods that are incorporating businesses that normally would require a drive to reach. And there's also mention of bike paths and their incorporation as well. Very encouraging to see!
Home is where the businesses are
Developments bring work, play closer
Monday, November 17, 2008 3:02 AM
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

TOM DODGE | Dispatch
Curb work is being done at Oak Park in Dublin, a new development that makes it easy to get around by bike or on foot.
The Oak Park development, rising from a Dublin field in Union County, will contain a bit of everything --- town homes and single-family houses, stores, offices and restaurants.

The deal is that, if you live there, you can walk or bike to shop, get a bite to eat, go to the bank or even to work, not to mention visit the nearby Glacier Ridge Metro Park.

No driving means not using gasoline, which means not contributing to the ever-present carbon footprint.

Dublin is among a number of central Ohio communities that are encouraging neighborhood-friendly commercial developments, hoping to better combine shopping, working and living.

"One of the things we're trying to do with neighborhood centers is get away from strip malls, trying to make sure uses are mixed," Dublin senior planner Carson Combs said.

Even better is using bikeways and sidewalks, as Oak Park will, to tie the centers to nearby neighborhoods, which helps cut traffic on major roads, Combs said.

New Albany's master plan calls for such development, and Hilliard also is pushing for more neighborhood-friendly commercial areas, said Amy Lowe of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.

The aim is that people won't have to drive across town to buy a gallon of milk, Lowe said.

That will make the neighborhoods more like Worthington or Bexley, which attract the young, well-educated urban professionals whom area leaders are struggling to keep in Franklin County.

"We want to make sure central Ohio is competitive," MORPC Executive Director Chester Jourdan said. "We're competing against other parts of the country, other nations."

Look at Columbus' own German Village, where century-old brick houses sit next to restaurants and stores, said Ken Meter, who heads the Minneapolis-based Crossroads Resource Center, which focuses on building strong local economies.

Residents frequent those businesses, keeping dollars in the neighborhood. That helps sustain not only the businesses but also the value of the homes around them, Meter said.

Traditional strip centers cater to neighborhoods, too, but they are auto-oriented, said Jennifer Evans-Cowley, a professor of city and regional planning at Ohio State University. "If you're a pedestrian, it's not a safe route."

Columbus ranks 27th for walkability among the country's 40 largest cities, according to Walk Score. That's a Web site, www.walkscore.com, where you can plug in your address and gauge how car-dependent your neighborhood is, based on your home's proximity to stores, restaurants, libraries, schools and parks.

New Albany's master plan calls for retail strip centers near Rt. 161 interchanges, while the village's center would offer offices and specialty shops linked to neighborhoods by trails, said Jennifer Chrysler, community development director.

Bike paths also link office parks with retail centers near 161, she said. And Mount Carmel New Albany Surgical Hospital on Rt. 62 is next to the developing Smith Mills Shoppes, a mix of neighborhood-scale retailers, offices and homes.

"The fact we had the hospital developed as part of the community helped shape the retail development," Chrysler said.

Hilliard City Council will vote Nov. 24 on whether to pay a consultant $1.24 million to develop a comprehensive plan that better integrates sidewalks and paths with development so people can walk from their homes to stores or parks.

Hilliard has zoned land along Britton Road west of I-270 so that offices, homes and a neighborhood town center would be linked, Service Director Clyde "Butch" Seidle said.

"You get some responsible residential growth, not the untethered growth that you saw in the late 1990s and early 2000s," he said.


People, not speed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Paul Dorn Releases The Bike to Work Guide

Long time bike advocate and blogger Paul Dorn (one of the guys whose website got ME started with bike commuting, I'm proud to say) has released his new book: The Bike to Work Guide: What You Need to Know to Save Gas, Go Green, Get Fit. I haven't read it yet myself, as it's new, but as soon as I can get a copy I'll make sure to review it here for you.

But if it's at the same level as Paul's website (which you can find on my links in the right column) then it'll be spectacular!

People, not speed.

WAD Monthly Commuter Ride Update - Nov. 20th

Here's some great news from Brett Allen of WAD, including a great opportunity to try out some new bike commuting hardware:
The WAD Bikeway Association's monthly group commuter bike ride is next Thursday, November 20th.

This month we are taking over High St - in a civilized kind of way.

Map and Itinerary - 20 NOV 08 - Click Here

Thanks to roll: Polaris we will have demo Light & Motion light gear available for trial use. See wadbikeway.blogspot.com for more information.

Free showers downtown. Five free day passes available at MetroFitness on E Long St. ID required.

See you there,
Brett Allen
Thanks, Brett, and thanks to roll:Polaris for making the equipment available! As I said, this is a great opportunity to test drive new lights, making our rides easier and more comfortable!

People, not speed.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Consider Biking Newsletter - November 2008

cbus logo
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Consider Biking Newsletter
November 2008

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In This Issue
Columbus Foundation Match Day
Dutch Kitchen Holiday Dinner
Milton Ave. Bike Boulevard
Become a Member
Greetings!
Wow! 2008 has been a time of explosive growth for Consider Biking (formally known as COBAC) We'd like to thank you for signing up for our newsletter list at one of our events or display booths this summer, or by virtue of registering on the Consider Biking website, or through past involvement with COBAC.
The momentum we're generating as a trusted resource for objective information, has drawn many to our cause of making Central Ohio more friendly for bicyclists.

We hope you'll find the news of our challenges and accomplishments to be relevant and inspiring.
Columbus Foundation Match Day 2.0 - Please Donate!
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Consider Biking has recently been approved to accept gifts through the Columbus Foundation. We are fast becoming a credible non-profit organization in Central Ohio!

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The Columbus Foundation recently announced an exciting funding opportunity through their Power Philanthropy program: Match Day 2.0, November 18 and 19. If you are considering making a donation to Consider Biking, this is a great way for you to increase your support with a match from The Columbus Foundation - gifts up to $2,500 that are made online during this program will be matched by the Foundation at fifty cents to the dollar. For example, a $100 donation would receive a $50 match.

Consider Biking has demonstrated great success for bicyclists in the past year, but we need your support to continue our work. Please take advantage of this opportunity to give through the Columbus Foundation on Match Day 2.0.

In order to give, you must have a Columbus Foundation Power Philanthropy account. If you don't have an existing account, you must register on the Foundation's website by Friday, November 14. Please click here to go to the log-in site. It's quick and easy.

Here's how Match Day 2.0 will work for donors and the community:

Starting at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 18, we will match online grant suggestions from Columbus Foundation donor advised funds and supporting foundations to PowerPhilanthropy nonprofits in the amount of 50 cents of every dollar contributed, up to $2,500 per fund, while matching funds last.
Starting at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 19, Match Day 2.0 opens to the public, and we will match all online credit card donations to PowerPhilanthropy nonprofits in the amount of 50 cents of every dollar contributed online through PowerPhilanthropy, up to $2,500 per individual, while matching funds last. Anyone can give, starting as low as $20.
Earlier this year, the matching funds provided by the Columbus Foundation were exhausted in the first hour(s) of the program; so please consider making your gift promptly at 2:00 p.m. on the appropriate day.

We sincerely thank the Columbus Foundation for this opportunity. However, it is your gift that will enable us to fulfill our vision that everyone experience the joy of bicycling and walking on a daily basis, and that cycling and walking are safely integrated into our transportation system.

Join us for the Dutch Kitchen Holiday Dinner
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logoThe Dutch Kitchen in Plain City has been an epicenter of cycling culture and advocacy for decades. Over the years, hundreds of cyclists gather for breakfast and lunches on Saturdays, and many more frequent this cycling harbor throughout the week.

Each year, the Dutch Kitchen closes to the public for an evening, and hosts a festive evening to celebrate the cycling community. This year, Consider Biking has been asked to help organize the event and provide the core program for the evening.
logoAs in years past, we will honor two cyclists that have advanced cycling causes in our community. Then, we will highlight some of the exciting initiatives in Central Ohio that will make the cycling environment better for us all!

The event is Wednesday December 3rd, and runs from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. Here is the link to the flyer for details and registration information.

The event is capped at 150 people, and always sells out in advance. So please make your arrangements now!
Consider Biking Applauds New Bike Boulevard!
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Consider Biking joined other bicycling advocates and community leaders to applaud Mayor Coleman, Council member O'Shaughnessy, and City Staff for their incredibly quick action to implement the Bicentennial Bikeways Plan at a press event on the new Milton Ave. Bike Boulevard.

logoThis Milton Ave. Bike Boulevard demonstrates that the city is serious about providing accommodation for bicyclists. This stretch of road is probably the most heavily traveled by bicyclists in the city. The City's use of the progressive, but simple, technique of creating a bike boulevard and bike boxes, demonstrates that the City is serious about creating a world class infrastructure for cyclists. Here is a link to more pictures of the Bike Boulevard.

Bicycling magazine recently named Columbus as one of the five "Cities to Watch" for bicycling accommodation. Monacle, an international design magazine that annually ranks the world's most livable cities, referenced a high expectation for Columbus' plans to become "one of the United States most bikable communities." We owe this expectation to the City's great work in the last year to develop one of the most progressive bicycle Master plans in the country.

However...a plan, regardless of how progressive.... is only worthwhile when it is implemented. This Milton Ave. Bike Blvd treatment is an important "quick win" that should send a powerful message to our community that the City is very serious about implementing the Bicentennial Bikeway Plan. So, Consider Biking unanimously endorsed the Columbus city bond issues that will affect bicycling infrastructure, and celebrates the approval of these issues at the polls on November 4th.
Let's remain persistent in our push to City officials, to implement the plans for construction as outlined in the Bikeway Plan...and hence, continue to develop Columbus into the vibrant, livable city we all envision!
Become a Member Today!
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Consider Biking is a member-supported organization. We can only accomplish our goals through the support of our cycling constituents. There are over 130 peer organizations across the country, demonstrating a need for cycling advocacy groups. Many of these organizations have THOUSANDS of members, and benefit by the financial support, and the "body of cyclists" that stand behind them when they advocate for enhancements to cycling accommodation.

We'd like to ask you to
join Consider Biking. We need your support to represent our common interests in Central Ohio.

What's in it for you??
You benefit by knowing we'll have the resources to fight for our needs.
You'll benefit by knowing that we're working hard so you can "just ride."
You'll benefit by knowing we partner with strong coalitions to advance the healthy movement of people, not just cars.
You'll benefit by knowing we coordinate unique events that serve some of the dynamic segments of our cycling audience.
And, you'll benefit through our on-line presence, where ALL cyclists are welcomed, respected, and have a safe place to share their perspective.

Your membership donation to Consider Biking is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. We thank you for your support.

Information on membership here.

Quick Links...
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Contact Information
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Executive Director, Jeff Stephens - jeff@considerbiking.org 614-579-1127

President Board of Directors, Meredith Joy - meredith.a.joy@gmail.com
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People, not speed.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

REI Joins the Fray with Commuter Cycling Section

One of my favorite gear companies, REI, has entered into the commuter cycling world with a whole new section of their website that discusses commuter cyclist news, reviews, tips, and naturally merchandise.

The site includes lists of tips, How-to Videos on maintenance and bike operation, and even schedules for live classes at some of their locations. REI is taking this seriously... look for more companies to join this wave as gas gets more scarce and cycling gets more and more attractive.

People, not speed.

Friday, November 7, 2008

My First Foreign Object Tossing Incident

I've changed my home-bound commute from S. High Street to going up 4th Ave. instead of Front Street and N. High Street. And for the most part it's better as far as time goes. It's not as much fun as the previous route, which took me through the Short North and some of the fun areas of High, but with fewer stops I get home quicker, which is nice.

But yesterday, for the first time, I had something thrown at me. I was crossing over I-670 on 4th, and a pickup decided that I wasn't over far enough (in other words, I wasn't riding on the shoulder, which I refuse to do for multiple safety reasons). So he started honking at me. I looked back with a rather withering glare and kept going. As I got to the other side of 670 and pulled over to the right-most lane, the truck roared past me and someone in the passenger seat threw a wad of paper at me.

It was only paper, and it didn't even come close to hitting me... but this was a first for me. I try very hard to ride in a way that's both safe for me and considerate to those around me. Granted, if push comes to shove and it's one or the other, I opt for safety. And that was the case yesterday.

But it was disheartening to have that happen for the first time. I've NEVER had problems with that sort of thing, and I'd always counted myself lucky in that regard.

I guess it's just a matter of time before we all run into an asshole, though, so be careful out there. And don't stop taking the lane.

People, not speed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My New Commute

As some of you know, I started a new job this week down in German Village/The Brewery District (where does one end and the other begin down there?). I was fortunate to have the opportunity to do some searching around and find the best way to go during the previous week, and here's what I found (keeping in mind that I live in Clintonville, east side of High Street, between Weber and Arcadia.

Starting at home, I get onto Arcadia and take it out to Indianola. Once I get across Hudson, Indianola becomes a pretty solid route but it doesn't go too far. So I cut over to Summit at Wyandotte.

Summit's actually not a bad bike route. The right lanes are VERY wide and even if folks are parked there it's easy to stay out of the door zone. And there are plenty of lanes to the left that cagers can use to get past you if they're just that impatient.

Once you hit the area where the off- and on-ramps for I-670 come into play, however, things get a bit nervous. At this point, Summit's become 3rd Street, by the way. The right lane vanishes onto I-670 Westbound and you have to get over to the left. There are two lanes going over, and then there's an off-ramp to deal with as you get close to Chestnut. Hold your ground if you're riding through... the off-ramp lane is pretty long and there's plenty of room for drivers to get over.

Downtown, you just stay in the right lane almost the whole way. There are a couple places where it turns into a right-turn only lane, but keep your eyes open and you have plenty of time to signal to get over and it's not a problem.

I then take a right onto Fulton to avoid having to switch lanes into the mess where folks can go straight through, get onto I-70, I-71, etc. That's a mess that is best avoided by using Fulton. Fulton has two left-turn lanes that go over I-70. Stay in the right-most lane. Take a left onto S. High Street.

My office is just next to the Hi-Beck tavern (no, I haven't taken advantage of that yet, but I'm sure I will) and it's easy to get into.





On the way home, I prefer to cross High Street and get onto Front Street. Front is a pretty straight shot up past North Market, where I take a right onto Goodale and then take High Street up to Lane Ave. At Lane, the on-street construction on High Street gets REALLY bad, so I take a right, get back onto Indianola, and then simply reverse my trip from the morning.

A nice ride, all in all. I enjoy going through the Short North on the way home and seeing what's new in this popular area of town. Getting through the campus area can be a pain sometimes, but I did this when I worked at OSU so I'm used to it.

So, if you're looking for a good way to get downtown, try this route out!




Ride assertively, signal lane changes and turns regularly, and be courteous without being a shrinking violet and your rides this way will be fun and quick!
People, not speed.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Third Hand Bicycle Co-Op to Host Post-Critical Mass Halloween Bash

Looking for a great event for Halloween? Want to do some good? Want to support one of Columbus's best bicycling resources?

Then Third Hand Bicycle Co-Op's Post-Critical Mass Halloween Bash is for you!

From their flyer:

Friday, October 31st, 2008
174 E Fifth Avenue 7-11 PM
~A Fundraising Event~

Come one, come all
for a wicked night of
bicycle mischief!

Kick Ass Silent Auction
Crazy Costume Contest

Tasty Pattycake Treats
Booze

And Rootbeer Floats
W/Jeni's Ice Cream

People, not speed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ann Fisher Article Highlights WAD's Third Thursday Rides

Dispatch columnist Ann Fisher is quickly becoming one of our best friends, isn't she! Fisher's latest bike-related column not only highlighted the fun and exercise of a bike commute, she also called attention to the need for better-thought-out bike trails and to one of the fine advocacy rides we have in Columbus: the WAD Third Thursday Ride.

Read the article and send a thank you note to Fisher for bringing some positive attention to cycling!
Commentary
Cyclists pedaling for new bike trail
Friday, October 17, 2008 3:14 AM
By Ann Fisher


We met at a Worthington crossroads. A light but steady rain had turned the early-morning darkness into a glittering collage of reflected headlights, brake lights, street lights, traffic lights and -- just a few -- blinking bicycle lights.

Ours were among them as we pedaled across Rt. 161 to the Olentangy Bikeway and into Downtown on the Third Thursday bicycle-commuter ride in support of the Westerville to Arena District Bikeway.

Brett Allen, a violist for the Columbus Symphony, returns to rehearsals today; but last month, he organized the first Third Thursday ride, the goal being to attract attention to the nonprofit group that is working to create a bikeway on an abandoned rail grade running through the Northeast Side.

Allen said the proposed route is ideal for commuters from the Westerville area, who now are forced to use city streets, for the most part, across the northern reaches of Franklin County before getting to the Olentangy Bikeway.

In September, the Third Thursday riders confronted felled trees and other debris from the remnants of Hurricane Ike.

Yesterday, 49-year-old Allen and I pedaled together the 10 miles from the Worthington checkpoint to Downtown. All along the way, Allen stopped at other checkpoints, looking for latecomers.

But there were no others. Maybe we should have been disappointed, but the weather was almost perfect for the ride.

A half-hour in, the rain changed to a light mist; and by the time we hit the 3rd Street bridge, the damp was gone with the dawn.

When you're riding a bicycle by the Olentangy River, you can hear the lapping waves and smell the particular aroma of autumn in the trees and the earth. And as we traveled the path around the Ohio State University campus, we were lucky enough to come upon an ROTC training exercise. (At least, I felt lucky when I realized that they were holding imaginary rifles.)

And I had some good news to share: Tacked on to the $700 billion (plus pork) bailout bill was a change in the U.S. tax code that will credit companies when they pay a monthly stipend to workers who commute by bicycle.

The Bicycle Commuter Act takes effect Jan. 1.

Dispatch reporter Tim Doulin wrote yesterday that U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, had worked for several years to add bicycle commuting to other voluntary, tax-exempt work benefits, such as parking.

The employer decides who merits the benefit and can offer merchandise vouchers instead of cash.

And before those among you who oppose the bailout get on your high horses, you should know that Blumenauer voted against it, even with the tax change for bicycle commuters that he had championed.

So, it looks like Congress did the right thing in this case regardless.

It must be the bicycle gods.

Let's hope that they also favor the bikeway the Westerville to Arena District group has proposed.

For more information, go to wadbikeway.com.

Ann Fisher is a Dispatch Metro columnist. She can be reached at 614-461-8759 or by e-mail.

afisher@dispatch.com

People, not speed.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Best of Interbike: Of Interest to Commuters

InterBike is the major bicycle trade show in the US, and is held each fall out in Las Vegas. I've put together this post of what I think is the best of InterBike as reported by my favorite blogs and podcasts.

There's a lot of neat stuff coming out for commuter cyclists this next year, as these reports show. I really hope that we see more cyclist clothing that isn't lycra and skintight, though, and hopefully stuff that's more "business casual" than simply casual.

Still, what's out there is exciting.

The FredCast Cycling Podcast: Interviews from Day 1

The FredCast Cycling Podcast: Interviews from Days 2-3

BikeCommuters.com: New Offerings from CygoLite (video)

BikeCommuters.com: New Offerings from Zoic (Mountain Bike and Commuter Clothing) (video)

The Bike Geek: New Offerings from Planet Bike (video)


People, not speed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dispatch Editorial Hits the Mark: Temporarily Low Gas Prices Are No Reason To Celebrate

This is one of the better editorials we've seen out of the normally conservative Dispatch, I think.

There are so many reasons to agree with this that it's almost too hard to think of them all.
  1. Fossil fuel usage is the number one reason for global warming being the problem it is.

  2. $3.00 gas isn't all that cheap - compared to where it was a few years ago. Our expectations that oil companies were concerned about the communities they serve have just diminished.

  3. Cars promote danger. 40,000 people died in car-related accidents last year alone... ten times the number of US military deaths from the Iraq War since its inception.

  4. Fossil fuels make us sick - whether via pollution from exhaust, pollution from drilling and the industry that goes on around it, or pollution from the refining process.

  5. Cars promote obesity.

  6. Cars create a sense of disconnect from the world around us.
I could go on... but I won't. Read the editorial and enjoy the common sense.
Don't look back
Temporary dip in gasoline prices shouldn't wipe out recent gains in conservation
Tuesday, October 14, 2008 2:53 AM

Americans, don't start your engines.

Don't rush out and buy a bargain-priced SUV and cancel the bus pass, just because gasoline has dipped to $3 per gallon. Continue to plan ahead so that numerous errands can be accomplished with one trip.

Don't stamp out those fragile little shoots of conservation and energy efficiency that have recently taken root.

Less-expensive gasoline is something to celebrate, for the relief that it brings to low-income families and for the drag that higher prices exert on the U.S. economy. But it shouldn't be the signal to rush back into the bad habits that have helped place the country at the mercy of foreign oil suppliers.

Americans' willingness, at long last, to try to rein in their use of fossil fuels has been the silver lining to the spike in oil prices. It's an important benefit because it goes beyond saving money and oil; less pointless driving, combined with a move toward better fuel efficiency, has meant less pollution.

High gasoline prices have encouraged more central Ohioans to take COTA buses to work, cutting down on traffic congestion and giving the system a shot in the arm that could help pay for better bus service.

Taking a longer view, high gasoline prices have spurred interest in compact urban development and discouraged long-distance commuting -- trends that could preserve farmland and open space and make communities more livable.

Of course, many people love their cars and their suburban homes, and some won't give a moment's thought to resuming gas-guzzling habits as soon as they can afford it.

But even those who aren't moved by the threat of climate change or the look of Downtown parking lots should consider a hard fact: Regardless of what it costs, oil is a finite commodity, and the United States consumes far more than it ever can hope to produce.

Shortages, and thus higher prices, are the inevitable future for oil. National security and economic health depend on people weaning themselves from the stuff and turning to alternatives.

Developing energy sources and technologies, along with improving the efficiency of our machines and our personal habits, are among the keys to future prosperity and comfort.

The future of oil is a dead-end.

People, not speed.

Help Clean Up the Bike Path

Columbus Underground and Consider Biking are hosting a bike path cleanup this Sunday at 11:00 am - here are the details!
ColumbusUnderground.com and Consider Biking are completing the third and final Bike Path Clean Up Day for the summer!

Join us on Sunday, October 19th at 11am!

We'll start at the parking lot entrance at Fort Hayes on Jack Gibbs Blvd (near Cleveland Ave) and will be cleaning the path heading eastward towards St. Clair Ave.

We'll have all of the cleanup tools ready, just bring yourselves!

Should only take about an hour to clean up!

See you all there!
If you're a commuter and you use the bike trails, this is a great time to give back to the community, get to know some more cyclists, enjoy the outdoors, and to show Columbus just what great people cycling commuters are!

People, not speed.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cat Eye Releases World Commute Website

From David Bernstein's excellent The Fredcast Podcast comes an interview with Ellen Hall from CatEye, the maker of lighting systems for you bike.

Ellen talks about the World Commute website, where people can enter data for their car and then daily keep track of the miles they rode, ran, biked, skated, or otherwise. The website will give users the amount of money and gas they've saved, carbon they've prevented from going into the environment, and more. There are plans to create social networking functions, the ability to create groups for friendly competition, and more. It's really a great resource and I look forward to entering some data into it so I can give it a thorough review later on!

Check it out now and see what you think - those of you who like to crunch numbers to see just how much you're saving will love this!

People, not speed.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Open Letter to Mayor Coleman

Here is the text of a letter I've written to the mayor regarding the hiring of a new police chief.
Dear Mayor Michael Coleman,

On behalf of the cycling community of Columbus, Ohio, thank you very much for all the hard work you are doing to improve the city for all forms of transportation, and most especially bicycles. It's regarding this very topic that I wish to make a request.

The retirement of Chief of Police James Jackson brings the possibility of a change in the way the city handles traffic code. Too often on my website, I find myself asking the city's police to simply enforce the law as it exists now, and especially so every time I read a report of a cyclist being killed, injured, harassed, or endangered in any way. In almost every case, the problem has been uninformed drivers and cyclists.

The problem of uninformed road users is one that is plaguing not only our city, but the entire country. Till recently, the results of this problem have been incidents of inconvenience as they seldom result in more than a simple fender-bender.

But with the increase in citizens using their bicycles for transportation on our city's streets, the problem becomes more deadly. What is a simple fender-bender for a pair of cars in an accident can become crippling when one of the vehicles is a bicycle. I don't need to belabor this point as it's a matter of simple physics. But as the city increases the amenities and infrastructure to favor cyclists, pedestrians, and transit, it also needs to increase traffic enforcement to make sure these forms of transportation are protected properly and adequately.

The search for a new police chief, then, must look at an officer who has such issues in mind when he mandates goals for the division of police. We need a chief who will look past the traditional role of cars as our primary transportation concern and will adopt a "Complete Streets" mentality. We need a chief who will present police academy trainees with increased coursework on handling bicycle traffic along with car traffic. And one who will enforce traffic law equally between cars and bikes.

Frequently you hear claims that cyclists don't obey the law when riding, and to an extent this is true. But there are two issues here. One is that road users of all types don't always know the law as it exists for bicycles, and the other is that police don't enforce traffic code as it is written.

So cyclists who do obey the law are frequently harassed by motorists who think cyclists must give way to cars, no matter what. Cyclists who don't know the rules get themselves into trouble by riding on the sidewalk, on the wrong side of the road, without proper lighting, etc. And motorists who don't obey the law are ignored by police as they do things like roll through stop signs, force cyclists to unsafely hug the side of the road by passing too closely, and try to pass cyclists in intersections. The list goes on and on.

So my request to you is to keep these sorts of issues in mind when choosing the next chief. We need a chief who will mandate consistent enforcement of all traffic laws, mandate safety on the roads over speed, and educate officers on how to properly enforce traffic code equally.

Columbus is well on its way to being one of the most bike-friendly cities in the nation, but we can't do it through infrastructure alone. We must also look to education and enforcement, and the proper choice for police chief can go a long way toward achieving that goal.

Sincerely,
James Fellrath


People, not speed.

WAD Third Thursday Ride Being Held October 16th

Brett Allen and the Westerville to Arena District Bikeway initiative are once again hosting the Third Thursday Commuter Ride this coming October 16th. The details and map are available via Google Maps.

Last month's ride was challenging due to being not long after the post-Hurricane Ike windstorm, and Brett comments that he wishes he'd had a broom hooked to the front of his bike. This month should be better... but be sure to have your bike lights charged as it'll be dark!

People, not speed.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bike Commuter's Non-Bike-Commuting Wife Tells Cyclist to Take the Lane!

My wife had an interesting story today about her commute home yesterday. My wife drives as she drops off and picks up our kids from day care.

She was driving down Bethel Road and had come to a stop at a location where there was a right-turn-only lane. A cyclist rode up past her, sitting RIGHT ON TOP of the white line between her lane and the right-turn lane. My wife, being sensitive to the issues of cyclists, figured she'd wait to make sure he wasn't going straight through the light instead of turning (as he hadn't really picked a lane).

Then, he moved over into the right turn lane more completely, so my wife then figured that he was indeed turning. And as the light turned and the two cars ahead of her went forward, she started to do so as well. Imagine her surprise when he started to go straight - and attempting to swerve into the lane next to her out of the right-turn lane!

At the next light, my wife pulled up next to him and let him have it with the same advice that most experienced commuter cyclists give most inexperienced ones: TAKE THE LANE!

He complained that was concerned about slowing down traffic, and didn't want to take the whole lane. And my wife then explained to him that she'd rather he slow down traffic and be predictable than he be out of her way but she have no idea what he was going to do!

Folks, I get a few emails now and then asking for advice on how to start out, and the first thing I tell every single cyclist who asks for advice is this:

STOP CARING IF YOU HOLD UP TRAFFIC!

You're slower than cars. You're going to hold up traffic. It's simply going to happen. So do the smart thing, and TAKE THE LANE. Take it just as if you're in a car and be predictable. Sure, you'll piss off a few people because of your speed, but you'll be safer.

And did I mention how proud I am of my wife for telling him to take the lane? :)

People, not speed.

Bike Commuters to Benefit from Passage of Wall Street Bailout

Say what you will about the recent $700 billion bailout of Wall Street, like it or leave it. Attached to that bill was another bill... one that will benefit the Bike Commuter!

That's right, for the first time in recorded history I love the fact that a rider on a bill actually went through. Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer has been championing this bill for a long time, which is an incentive for businesses to provide incentives to their employees to ride to work - to the effect of a tax credit of $20 per month per employee.

A few things on this from the ever-flowing fountain of opinion that is Jamie Fellrath:
  1. I have ultimate respect for Congressman Blumenauer, as he voted against the bailout despite the fact that the Bike Commuter Bill was attached to it.

  2. Is it a big incentive? Nope. Is it going to convince employers to start putting up showers and lockers and have valet bike parking? Nope. Is it going to get some small businesses to give their employees some incentives to ride? Yep.

  3. What's more - it's a start. Once more people and businesses start taking advantage of things like this, it'll only get better.

  4. This is probably the only way we were going to get this bill passed given the current administration. We might have just waited till Obama was elected (hopefully) but that's not something to bank on.
So... we're stuck with the bailout, but we also have more incentive to ride!

People, not speed.

Dispatch Columnist Joe Blundo Talks About Learning to Ride the Streets

Dispatch Columnist Joe Blundo commented in one of his offerings a while back that he likes to ride, but he's just not comfortable doing so in traffic. So to his rescue came Gordon Renkes, a League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor from Columbus.

This is a great column that discusses taking the lane, cyclist rights, and my personal preference on the segregation/integration issues as regards cycling traffic (I'm also an integrationist).
So to Speak
Class makes bike rider less shaky on streets
Tuesday, September 30, 2008 3:09 AM
By JOE BLUNDO


I wrote a column on July 22 declaring that, although I ride a bike, I avoid the streets. Too dangerous, I said. I stick to bike paths.

This prompted Gordon Renkes, a veteran rider from Clintonville, to offer me a lesson on riding in traffic. He's a certified instructor with the League of American Bicyclists (send him e-mail at gdr1950@sbcglobal.net or visit bikeleague.org).

Because $4-a-gallon gas has made biking a hot topic, I decided to give the class a try. And so, on a recent Saturday, I found myself pedaling down Weber Road with a COTA bus on my tail and a stream of cars coming in the other direction.

I wasn't exactly delighted to be in that situation, but Renkes says it's where cycling is safest -- provided the cyclist observes the rules.

"If you're behaving like traffic, then everybody understands what you're doing," Renkes said.

Regular students of a certified instructor spend several days learning how to survive in traffic. Renkes gave me a two-hour "crash course" -- not a literal description, thank goodness.

Renkes, a 58-year-old laboratory manager at Ohio State University, is no wild-eyed bike cowboy. He uses hand signals, wears a helmet and has about 30 years of bicycle commuting behind him.

(He even rode to cardiac rehabilitation after a heart attack a few years ago.)

He has had one accident: While in graduate school in California many years ago, he collided with a Volkswagen Beetle that failed to yield on a left turn. He crash-

landed -- fortunately without incident.

"I could tell I wasn't hurt, but I just laid there awhile to torture (the driver)."

To avoid similar misfortune, Renkes told me:

• Don't hug the curb. It might seem safer, but it makes me less visible to drivers and more vulnerable to getting clobbered by an opening door. Evidence also suggests that traveling too far to the right encourages motorists to pass without adequate clearance.

• Use the left lane when appropriate. As a slower vehicle, I should stay in the right lane most of the time. But some cyclists abruptly cut across two or more lanes to make a left turn. That's hazardous.

• Stay off sidewalks. Cars turning into driveways or pulling out of side streets often nail cyclists on sidewalks because they aren't expecting a fast-moving vehicle there.

(For a summary of state bicycle laws, visit www.dot.state.oh.us and click twice on the bicycle symbol.)

In the often-contentious world of cycling advocacy, some favor segregation (bike paths, bike lanes) and others integration (streets).

"I'm an integrationist," Renkes said.

Bike paths have at least two flaws, he said: Too few exist to make bike travel practical, and studies have shown they have a higher accident rate than city streets (although the accident will not involve me and a 2,000-pound Honda).

My quick course also included a safety check (my crank is a little loose) and practice in the art of looking back while keeping the bike straight.

I've done some limited street commuting since and have found it less intimidating but not yet comfortable.

On the other hand, when cycling through traffic, you never want to get too comfortable.

Joe Blundo is a Dispatch columnist.

jblundo@dispatch.com



People, not speed.