Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bike Rides in Columbus Section Added

For all you folks who are recreational cyclists, I added a section to the right for Columbus Bike Rides. There'll be more there eventually, but I added the Long Street Businessmen's Association's Bike the C-bus ride first!

People, not speed.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Join the Gastric Century Ride!

Looking for some riding to do this weekend? Want to avoid losing a few pounds while riding? Well, then, do Ray George and his Columbus Rides site have the deal for you: the White Castle Hamburger Ride!

Monday evening at 6:00, Ray and some intrepid souls will be leaving the normal Monday Night Ride site at 15th and High Street and visiting EVERY WHITE CASTLE IN TOWN! That's right, sliders galore, folks.

Visit Ray's blog for more on this one!

People, not speed.

Shimano Coasting Bikes? FUN!

After work today, I went over to the Shimano Coasting Bikes Tour tents at OSU and tried out the new technology. There were a couple of great folks helping folks try out these bikes and answering questions.

If you haven't heard about these bikes yet, they sport an automatic transition. Yeah, that's right. They shift by themselves.

So... how was the ride?

The bikes I tried were significantly different than my own Specialized Expedition Sport. I tried a Fuji Del Rey and a Phat Cycles Snap and gave them each a few minute ride to get a feel for them. I'd have liked to try a bike more like my own as a comparison but the event was pretty well attended, so I took out the ones I did.

The bikes sat back a bit more than my bike and were definitely more relaxed. And let me tell you, not having to worry about shifting certainly helped in that regard.

The bikes themselves are three-speeds. The front hub contains the generator that powers the servos and a microprocessor located on the post, located just above the crankset. And the servos and the microprocessor control the cable that shifts gears in the rear hub.

The hubs themselves are designed for the specific bikes that are being sold, so it's not possible to retrofit your existing bike to use the new technology, but the bikes (as real, non bike-shaped-objects bikes go) aren't horribly expensive. The Fuji I rode was $600, and the others ranged from $400 to $800. One of them even came with a front rack large enough to hold a six-pack, and the rack had a bottle opener in it. Sweet...

The shifting itself is triggered by speed, not tension. So I frequently found the bike upshifting as I accelerated up a hill. But other than that, it was a very pleasant experience. It was fun to spin around OSU's campus with no regard to shifting on my own.

One of the Shimano reps was telling me about how he rode the Phat Cycles Snap in the Ride of Silence the other night, and it was a perfect ride.

These bikes strike me as perfect for folks who just want to hop on a bike, go, and not worry too much about anything else. In other words, a nearly perfect commuter bike! So if you're looking for a nice new bike and don't want a lot of fuss, try out one of the models that feature the Coasting technology. It might be something you'd like!

People, not speed.

Be Careful Out There!

With gas prices as high as they are, people are going to be staying in Columbus for Memorial Day in droves, I think. 

But... that certainly doesn't mean that they're not going to drink and drive... they'll just be doing it in town instead of up north.  So, please, please, PLEASE be careful this weekend when enjoying those long Memorial Day Weekend Rides!  We don't want to be having the Ride of Silence for you next year! 

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Columbus Alive Features Biking, Pedicabs

Local Columbus arts and entertainment paper Columbus Alive contains an article this week about how to beat gas prices, and two of the ways involve bikes!

The front-page article about pedicabs and the business that's slowly growing around that is the feature story, but even more interesting is , and the more-than-fair coverage of it! See the included graphic as an indication of that... actually telling drivers that we have a right to the whole lane? Holy sasparilla!

Click on the graphic to see it in all its glory... just to fit it on here I had to shrink it quite a bit. It's large.

People, not speed.

NBC 4 Coverage of Ride of Silence, Ghost Bikes

We have TV coverage... NBC 4 has this all-to-brief video of Wednesday night's Ride of Silence and the placement of the three Ghost Bikes (though they only mention two of them).

People, not speed.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ghost Bikes Appear in Columbus

On the eve of the Ride of Silence, three Ghost Bikes appeared in Columbus in remembrance of Andres Gonzales, Nicole Meifert, and Michael Sonney.

More at Consider Biking.

People, not speed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

2008 Ride of Silence

Tonight was the 2008 Ride of Silence, and Columbus had an EXCELLENT turnout! I'm terrible with estimates of this type, but there were at least 1000 people on our ride - it stretched for blocks!

Consider Biking's executive director Jeff Stephens and City Council member Mary Ellen O'Shaughnessy were the speakers, but there wasn't much to say before the silent ride took off, other than to read off the names of people who had died - both in Columbus and friends from around the world.

It was eerie - it was a ride of silence - and the street itself was quiet as we took our place on the road and the only sound was that of onlookers watching and commenting, clapping, or in a few cases, drunkenly hooting. Sigh...

I took a lot of pictures... enjoy. (If you're reading through a feed reader, please click through to see the pics - the Flickr widget isn't showing up for Google Reader, at the least).

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

People, not speed.

Wave of the Future!

People, not speed.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Join the 2008 Ride of Silence

In honor and remembrance of the cyclists who have died on the road during the last year (particularly local cyclists Michael Sonney and Andres Gonzales), local cyclists are banding together for the annual Ride of Silence.
The Ride of Silence is a slow group ride, akin to a funeral procession, in total silence. The ride is a safe, responsible, professional and mature response to the aggressiveness, intimidation, and carnage that cyclists face on the roads we ride. It is a means to:

- remember and mourn those killed by motorists,
- raise awareness that our community has, and supports, a large population of cyclists,
- show the public that cyclists are not going to stop riding on the roads,
- point out that we ask for respect from motorists,
- remind motorists that we wish only to SHARE the roads.

Please support the efforts of Consider Biking to help us make conditions safer for cyclists!

The event takes place Wednesday night at 7:00, and starts on the State Street side of the Statehouse downtown. It's a slow, ten mile ride, conducted in total silence, and it's a very reverent procession. Please join us!

Questions? Please ask at Consider Biking.

People, not speed.

Bikescape Takes On Issue of Cupertino, CA Bicyclist Deaths

Many of you have probably heard about the deaths of two cyclists outside of Cupertino, CA, when a Santa Clara county Sheriff's deputy veered into their path and struck them. Fritz from covered this magnificently.

This caused a lot of press about bicycling and brought out the problem of bias in the media and among the police in a lot of ways. Jon Winston at the bikescape podcast covered this issue in his latest podcast, and brought out a lot of issues about the treatment of cyclists. Please listen.

People, not speed.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Shimano Coasting Tour Coming to Columbus!

What is going on here? Columbus is turning into bicycling central! Tuesday, it was Lance Armstong and LiveStrong Day... next week it's Bicyling Magazine's BikeTown...

And now Columbus is a stop on the Shimano Coasting bike tour! Here are the details... click on the image to make it bigger. (Hey, I only have so much room here... )

So be ready to try out a new bike, donate some money to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, and have a great time with other cyclists!

Thanks to RTC's Katie Test for calling my attention to this and giving me the image to post up for you!

People, not speed.

Columbus: Biketown!

Can't believe I haven't posted about this yet...

Columbus, Ohio, is about to become BIKETOWN! No, we're not suddenly becoming Davis, CA, but we are getting a visit from Bicycling Magazine and their Biketown travelling bike give-away!

If you can visit the above link, write an essay on why you should get a free bike, and send it in to Bicycling (via the website), then you may have a chance to win one of 50 free bikes! The Columbus deadline is May 22, so if you need a bike, this is your chance!

People, not speed.

Bikes Belong Video Going Viral!

Jeff Stephens, the Executive Director of Consider Biking, asked us to "take this viral." Well, the virus is among us now!

Mat's Commute from Mat Barlow on Vimeo.

People, not speed. Shows the Safest Ways to Ride

Props to Carectomy, with their presentation of a site that I'd not seen before but is a fantastic informational site! has PowerPoint-type presentations and lots of video that show the safe ways to ride in many different situations, including lane control, bike control drills, etc.

Here's an example of one of their fine videos.

People, not speed.

Another Way To Get Some Fitness Into Your Life During Your Commute

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bike Plan Links

At tonight's B2WW event, Jon Gideon announced the websites for the Columbus and OSU bike plans, and I wanted to share those two links with you.  Mayor Coleman just officially released the Columbus plan yesterday, so this is new news to everyone!  

Bicycling and the Law Event for Bike to Work Week

It only took till Tuesday for me to get to one of the fine Consider Biking Bike to Work Week events, which pleases me to no end! I took in the lecture by Jon Gideon of CB (and longtime advocate for cycling in the city of Columbus and its environs) on "Bicycling and the Law." The event was jointly sponsored by CB and Bike OSU, the OSU bike commuter group, and was organized by Austin Kocher.

The lecture was an introductory course, more or less, on the rights and responsibilities of cyclists on the road. Jon began with some of the mistakes that first-time cyclists make:  
  • Sidewalk cycling.
  • Cycling the wrong way on a street, and going against traffic.  
  • Not using lights when visibility is diminished.  
  • Cycling in the door zone.  
  • Weaving in and out when passing parked cars.  
  • Running red lights, stop signs, etc.  
An explanation of the difference between a vehicle and a pedestrian then followed, and Jon clearly pointed out that bikes are VEHICLES, according to Ohio traffic code.  And as drivers of vehicles, cyclists have rights and responsibilities just like cars.  

A key right and responsibility is to stay clear of the door zone.  Experienced cyclists know that this is the three to four foot zone to the left of parked cars, far enough away that if an inattentive driver or passenger of a car opens it that the cyclist won't "win the door prize."  

Jon then handed out copies of, a wonderful resource to explain the safe and legal way to ride in many possibly dangerous situations.  I'll leave that for readers to peruse, but it's a wonderful guide to riding safely in traffic.  

Some interesting points that many folks don't think about:  
  • Traffic laws of all sorts apply to cyclists just like motorists:  including DUI laws.  Yes, you can be arrested for cycling under the influence.  
  • State law doesn't prohibit cycling on the sidewalk, they leave that to municipalities.  However, state law DOES prohibit any law that REQUIRES cyclists to use sidewalks.  
  • There are currently two very important bills that are being perused in the Ohio General Assembly:  a three-foot law; and even more important, a vulnerable users protection law.  I was obviously VERY excited to hear about this!  
Finally, Jon finished with a quick discussion about what to do if you're in an accident:  


The city, state, and other agencies use police report data to create statistics that inform the policy-makers about accident rates, etc.   So the more accurate that data is, the more it will help cyclists in the future.  It doesn't help anyone to keep quiet in these situations, so call the police if you're in an accident. 

And Gordon Renkes, a local LCI, gave us a great idea for reporting "close call" drivers:  use the DUI hotline at 1-800-GRAB-DUI!  There's also a cell phone version at *DUI that we can use.  It's a great way to get drivers to think about what they did and how dangerous they are.  Use the stigma of drunken driving to our advantage!  

I want to thank Jon for all the great information, and Austin and Meredith Joy of Consider Biking for putting this event together!  It was pretty well attended by cyclists of varying levels of experience, and there were some great questions from cyclists of all levels.  

People, not speed.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Other Paper Talks Bike-To-Work Week!

The Other Paper, Columbus's... well... OTHER paper (basically one of our community arts and entertainment paper, but with a few real hard news stories each week), put out a pretty good article about Bike To Work Week yesterday. Check it out - it's one of the few articles they put online, so that works out nicely for us.

Cycling city?

Bicyclists disagree on whether Columbus’s first Bike to Work Week will have a lasting impact

by RICHARD ADES / May 8, 2008

Dan Trittschuh
Out to change people’s lifestyles: Cyclists Jeff Stephens, Matt Young, Meredith Joy and Austin Kocher (from left) are helping to organize Bike to Work Week, which kicks off Monday morning on the lawn of the Ohio Statehouse

Just what will it take to turn Columbus into a real cycling town?

A flat, easily ridable terrain? It’s got it.

Bike racks on buses for trips that can’t be completed on two wheels? It’s got them.

Gas prices in the $4 range? It’ll have them soon enough.

The city also is promising more bike lanes, more bike trails and even Downtown shower facilities as part of its Bicentennial Bikeways Plan.

But all it really takes to turn Columbus into a cycling town, some bike advocates say, is more cyclists. And—oh, yes—drivers who know how to share the road with those cyclists.

Others say it’s unrealistic to think a city as spread out as Columbus will ever become as much of a cycling town as, say, Portland, Ore.

Unrealistic or not, city officials and biking fans will encourage residents to clean the cobwebs off their Schwinns and Fujis next week when Columbus holds its first ever Bike to Work Week. Mayor Mike Coleman himself will take part in a kickoff rally planned for Monday morning on the lawn of the Ohio Statehouse.

Other events include a bike tour, a lecture on how to ride safely and legally, and a two-wheeled pub crawl—during which, for the sake of safety and legality, participants will be urged to postpone their drinking until the final stop.

The week’s chief organizer is Austin Kocher, a 26-year-old Ohio State student who’s president of a campus group called Bike OSU. Kocher said Columbus could become a cycling town even though its size presents a major hurdle.

“It is spread out,” Kocher acknowledged. But he said people can overcome that drawback if they’re willing to change their lifestyles.

“If shopping for us means driving 20 miles to a mall and then another 15 miles to another mall to compare prices,” Kocher said, “we’re never going to be that city.”

On the other hand, Columbus has “fantastic neighborhoods with a lot of diversity,” he said, mentioning German Village, Victorian Village and Clintonville, among others. Columbus can become a bike town if people start scaling their lives back to the neighborhood level rather than the citywide level, Kocher said.

“And that’s what you see in cities that are really bike-friendly. When you think of Portland or Toronto or Quebec or even New York City, all of those cities have scaled themselves down to the sort of really fascinating neighborhoods.”

Bike-friendly cities have another advantage that Columbus doesn’t have, said Meredith Joy, co-founder of a bike-advocacy website called Namely, they have drivers who know how to behave around two-wheelers.

“I mean, I’ve biked in Chicago, and there’s a difference,” Joy said. “It’s just a different feeling in terms of simple things like, you know, cars waiting for you at the red lights and giving you a little bit of space and going more cautiously.”

One possible antidote to dangerous drivers is the creation of more bike lanes. But Joy said cyclists are mixed on whether using them is actually safer than using regular traffic lanes. Perhaps their biggest advantage is that they may encourage more cyclists to ride, she said, which will force motorists to slow down and drive more thoughtfully.

“Like, really, truly, the only way to calm traffic is to get more cyclists on the road,” she said.

One cyclist who doesn’t believe in bike lanes is Casey Bellman. And he believes even less in bike trails, especially in a big, conventionally laid-out city like Columbus.

“I mean, all the roads in this town go straight. So why would you go roundabout to get on the bike trail and go roundabout to get off of it if you’re already going too far as it is on a bike?” he said.

Bellman said cyclists can maximize their safety even on regular streets by riding consistently and confidently so that drivers know how much room to give them. He also suggested posting reminders that bicycles have just as much right to the road as cars do.

“You could put a sign every half-mile on High Street that has a car next to a bicycle—with a slash by it—that lets car drivers know that the roads are meant for cars and bikes and motorcycles,” he said.

As for the argument that bike lanes encourage more cyclists to use the roads, Bellman expressed doubt that many more cyclists will ever be seen on Columbus streets.

“It’s never going to be more convenient to bike from Hilliard to Downtown than it is to drive your car,” Bellman said. Not only is the distance a barrier, he said, but parking is cheaper and easier to find here than it is in many other cities.

“See, the reason why bikes are prevalent in cities like Chicago and New York and San Francisco is because it’s convenient cost-wise,” he said.

A committed cyclist himself, Bellman said he’s happy when he runs into people who have taken steps—such as moving closer to work—that make it easier for them to rely on bikes for transportation.

“So it makes me optimistic,” he said. “But I know the constraints of the city.”

Despite those constraints, Kocher is hopeful that more and more Central Ohioans will begin relying on two-wheeled transportation. After all, he did it himself, and not that long ago.

“The real turning point for me was last spring,” he said. “I had a little Volkswagen Jetta at the time. It was a great, zippy little car, but it kept breaking down.”

At $1,000 or so a pop, those repairs started becoming a serious expense for a college student. So, even though he was serving an internship with a company in Hilliard—one that forced him to make a 15-mile round trip five days a week—he eventually decided to scrap the car and rely on his bike.

“And I just haven’t gone back. I just haven’t found any reason.”

Regardless of whether Bike to Work Week convinces others to make similarly life-changing decisions, at least it will give them opportunities to meet other cyclists and to get some exercise in the process. In addition, said Joy, it will include a “Bike+Art=Show” where they can ogle decorated bicycles and shop for accessories for their own two-wheeler.

“It will be a really fun, festive sort of atmosphere,” said Joy, who is organizing the art show.

She didn’t add that there might be an ulterior motive behind the event: Once people have accessorized their bikes, maybe they’ll be inspired to take them out of the garage a little more often.

People, not Speed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ohio State Ready for Bike to Work Week, Lance Armstong Visit

I've frequently described Ohio State University as doing everything in its power to destroy the myth of the liberal public university... well, they're going to have to work a little harder now. The great folks at Bike OSU (the campus bike commuting group in alliance with our own Consider Biking) have set up a Bike Commuting Challenge with OSU versus Battelle... and I'm on the OSU team (for possibly the first time in my life). Here's the news item from the campus daily newsletter:
Registration for National Bike to Work Week (5/12-5/16) continues in preparation for Ohio State’s challenge with Battelle. If you are participating, remember to follow standard bicycle safety rules and obey university policies. To learn more about the challenge and other events occurring on campus, visit To register, contact university team captain Austin Kocher at

Also, the uber-cyclist himself is going to be at OSU on May 13th for the LiveStrong tour and in support of my employer, the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center.


Famed bicyclist Lance Armstrong has chosen The Ohio State University as one of four stops he will make across the country on Tuesday, May 13, during the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s (LAF) national LIVESTRONG™ Day. Founded in 1997 by Armstrong, a cancer survivor, the LAF is a non-profit organization based in Austin, Texas, that inspires and empowers people with cancer. Armstrong will start his LIVESTRONG™ Day journey in New York City with an appearance on the Today Show, then fly successively to appearances at Ohio State, Colorado and Las Vegas.

Everyone is invited to attend the festivities at OSU from noon-1 p.m. on the Medical Center plaza outside Rhodes Hall, where Armstrong is scheduled to speak at 12:30 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to wear yellow to show that they support LIVESTRONG™.

Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute is part of the LAF’s LIVESTRONG™ Survivorship Center of Excellence Network, which provides survivorship services and enhances survivorship care via research, interventions and sharing best practices. In 2007 the LAF awarded the OSUCCC-James a $1.25 million, five-year grant to develop a cancer survivorship center at Ohio State. The Center is directed by Charles Shapiro, MD, and co-directed by Electra Paskett, PhD, MSPH.
Yeah, it's a good week to be a cyclist in Columbus!

Whoa... did I actually say that? :)

People, not speed.

Hit and Run Cop Gets Jail Time

Lisa Smith, the former police officer who hit 13-year old Justin Richie and kept right on going, has been sentenced to 10 days in jail for her actions.

I've said all I care to say on this specific situation, so I'm not going to elaborate. But I do hope this sort of punishment (or preferably worse) comes to everyone who's convicted of this sort of thing. Drivers of the world need to get used to the fact that cyclists are out there riding all the time. With the way gas prices are going and the speed with which oil is getting used up, there is going to be more of us than you pretty soon.

Well, a guy can dream, huh?
Driver had been at a bar shortly before she hit boy on bike
Wednesday, May 7, 2008 3:14 AM
Lisa M. Smith became a police officer long before Justin Richie was born.

But yesterday, the home-schooled 13-year-old with a 2-inch scar on his forehead said he had learned a lesson that seemingly had evaded Smith.

"I've learned not to drink and drive," Justin said in Franklin County Municipal Court.

Smith, 44, began serving a 10-day sentence in the Franklin County jail yesterday for smashing her car into Richie on Nov. 3 while he was riding his bicycle in Grove City, then leaving the scene. She pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of hit-and-run driving in March and was found guilty by Judge Scott D. VanDerKarr.

She had been a Columbus police officer for 17 years and was on the vice squad before being fired April 28.

A police investigation showed that Smith called in sick on Nov. 3, then watched an Ohio State University football game at a Grove City bar where her son worked. She signed a receipt for several drinks 30 minutes before she struck Justin, who was sent flipping over the handlebars and was knocked unconscious.

Justin's mother, Janet Corkadel, said the call from the hospital that day was a mother's nightmare.

"He's my only child, and he was almost taken from me," Corkadel said. "That's why, Ms. Smith, I have no sympathy for you whatsoever. You are a disgrace not only to the badge but to the community itself."

Smith did not respond or apologize in court.

The lack of an apology "made me feel mad," Justin said. "She wouldn't even look at me. I'm ecstatic" that she was sent to jail.

Corkadel said her son has "suffered severely." He has had nightmares about the crash and sometimes fears being in a car. His family can't afford to replace his bicycle, she said.

He also is grieving the loss of a 14-year-old friend, Raven McConnell, who died three days after being struck by a hit-and-run driver on Hoover Road in Grove City in March, Corkadel said.

Smith's attorney, Gregg Slemmer, said Smith didn't realize what had happened that day on Southwest Boulevard.

"If she was aware she had struck someone, she would have immediately stopped," Slemmer said. In addition to being "a tragedy for the victim, my client has lost her job and a career."

After Justin was struck, bystanders cared for him on the pavement, and a man followed Smith's van to a house on Carrigallen Lane on the West Side. When police arrived, she refused to answer the door for two hours.

Since the two-hour deadline had passed for alcohol breath tests, Grove City police said they were unable to charge her with a more serious offense.

In court, Smith's attorney asked for an extra week of freedom so she could get prescription medications in order. The judge denied the request.

"She may not have expected a jail sentence, but you knew today was coming," VanDerKarr said.

He suspended 170 days of the maximum sentence and placed Smith on probation for two years. He fined her $250, suspended her driver's license for two years and ordered her to perform 100 hours of community service.

Justin didn't buy Smith's excuse that she didn't know she had struck him. "If a 152-pound person hits your car, I think you'd know it," he said.

But, he added, "I know not all cops are bad. Most are pretty good."

People, not speed.

Chico Bags Make Bike Commuter Shopping Easier!

It's not easy to shop when you're a bike commuter, sometimes. If you're like me, and you are trying to keep the weight down so you don't walk into work a sodden, sweaty mess, then you want to cut down on the amount of stuff you carry. So every little bit helps!

Enter: The Chico Bag. This is a tiny little stuff-sack shopping bag that holds a bunch o' stuff. Here's a picture of one in my hand. The stuff-sack is connected to the bag itself so you're never going to lose it. It's got a little carabiner attached to it so you're less likely to lose the bag itself.

And it holds TONS. I stuffed my kid's "Tigger" stuffed animal into it with plenty of room to spare. It'll be great for stopping at the store to get groceries and not have to keep getting those nasty plastic bags.

I'm sure you can order them online, but if you want to shop locally, I got mine at the Clintonville Community Market.

People, not speed.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

More Bike To Work Week Stuff!

This time from the Trek stores in New Albany and Dublin... and courtesy of my lovely wife.

They're (and have been, unfortunately this news got to me a bit late) offering lots of specials and a couple of clinics on beginning bike commuting! Check out the link and enjoy!

People, not speed.

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year....

With all apologies to Andy Williams (and no, I'm not talking about the former Columbus Crew midfielder), I'm excited: Bike to Work Week is almost here! Unlike last year, when I was depressed at the amount of activity surrounding B2WW in Columbus, this year it's sounding great!

Austin Kocher and the folks at Consider Biking have upped the ante this year in a big way. There are lectures about biking planned, the mayor's getting involved, there is an unveiling of a new bike bridge and the like, and even a few more bike-cultury things going on like a bike/art show and a Tour of Columbus ride.

I doubt I'll be able to get out and do any of the during-the-work-day stuff, but I'm definitely making it to as much as I can!

Nice job, Consider Biking... you guys are upping the ante for Columbus cycle commuting!

People, not speed.