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!

cbus logo
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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.