Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday News Roundup: Consider Biking Announces Bike Friendly Buildings

From the desk of Consider Biking:

On May 11, 2009, at the Bike to Work Week Celebration, Consider Biking recognized 12 downtown properties as “Bike Friendly Buildings.” We applaud these properties for their thoughtful accommodations to those tenants, and visitors, that choose to ride a bicycle as a means of utilitarian transportation.

Consider Biking would like to thank Capitol Crossroads Special Improvement District (CCSID) for their partnership in this Bike Friendly Building designation. We are excited to have their visionary leadership in helping showcase downtown Columbus as a more sustainable, “green,” and attractive neighborhood for work and play. Twelve properties were identified as “meeting or exceeding” expectations for bicycle end-of-ride facilities. Safe, secure, covered parking was a bare minimum for this designation; shower and locker facilities added additional points to the scoring. These twelve buildings make up the inaugural “Bike Friendly Building” designation:
  • Rhodes Tower (30 E Broad),
  • Huntington Center (41 S High),
  • Capitol Square Office Tower (65 E State),
  • Riffe Center (77 S High),
  • William Green Tower,
  • Nationwide Buildings,
  • 280 North High Street,
  • Lazarus Office Building / Government Center,
  • Miranova 2 Office Tower,
  • Motorists Mutual Building,
  • US Bank Building (175 S Third),
  • SERS (300 E Broad)

Consider Biking applauds these properties for their leadership in this simple, but effective measure, to make our downtown workplaces more attractive to healthful employees and visitors.
People, not speed.

Monday News Roundup: Traffic Will Be Brutal After OSU Games, So Pedal Instead!

Traffic snarls around High Street and 315 are expected to slow post-Buckeyes game traffic down to a crawl, taking many fans up to 2 hours to get out of the parking lots, reports the Columbus Dispatch. That two hour projection goes up to THREE hours for the USC game on September 12th. The construction is not done, obviously, and will not be finished in time for the September games but should be done for the Wisconsin game on October 12.

So... what does that mean for those of us who are wise and beautiful? Ride your bike! The fine folks at Pedal Instead will be set up to protect your bikes at EVERY game, not just the September ones. The location of the Pedal Instead Bike Corral can be found here, and the award-winning Pedal Instead is always looking for volunteers to help with the task of running the corral. You can look up available shifts for OSU games and all sorts of other city events at the website as well.

Also, for businesses who would like to advertise using banners at the Pedal Instead Corral, there's information for you as well on the website. Here's the link for OSU game advertising, and you can find more information for other events at the website.

People, not speed.

Monday News Roundup: Pedestrian Killed by Distracted Driver

From 10TV - a pedestrian was killed by a motorist when the motorist was changing CDs in his car while operating. The car swerved up onto the pavement and hit the pedestrian from behind.

This is another example of why distracted driving needs some legislation to curb it (no pun intended). This guys was just walking down the street, apparently getting married in a week, and someone's need to change a CD while moving ended his life.

People, not speed.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Link-O-Rama: 8/28/2009

Cool Green Science - The Nature Conservancy's blog gives some good tips about commuting - how to look clean at the office. - Pearl Izumi is ready to carry the war to the front lines. I like it!

Find more videos like this on VeloReviews bike product reviews and gear ratings

YouTube (via @carltonreid) - Don't you love those drivers who simply HAVE to be in front of cyclists? Here's some sweet comeuppance.

Totcyle | Family Biking - The best argument against school-driven bicycle bans I've read. What's the real danger? CARS!

Columbus Rides - The alternative to clipless pedals and toe clips? Feetbelts!

People, not speed.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

NEWS UPDATE: Barbour Arraignment Cancelled

Consider Biking made the announcement today that the scheduled arraignment for Edward Miller, the accused in the drunk-driving death of cyclist Steve Barbour, was cancelled for tomorrow (Friday, August 28, 2009).

The code that appeared on the court system's schedule indicates that Mr. Miller posted bail, which is apparently tantamount to the formal acknowledgement of the charges against him - which is what the arraignment is for. So there's no need to hold that hearing.

The pretrial and/or trial date has not yet been set. Consider Biking will make the announcement of the date when that date is available. And Bike Commuting in Columbus will echo that date as soon as we hear from them or elsewhere.

People, not speed.

Thursday Cycling Soapbox: Is Cycling Suffering From Faulty Accident Reporting?

As many of you know, I recently finished the League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor Certification seminar and am now an "LCI In Training" (# 2571, to be exact!). During the seminar, we did presentations of information that was contained within the League's Traffic Skills 101 course. A primary part of that course was accident avoidance and proper riding techniques. And one of the statistics we learn in that course is that the ratio of driver-caused- to cyclist-caused-accidents is 1:1. That is, it's about a 50-50 split. This is based on a study of police reports and what the police reported as the cause of the accident.

I've taken this ratio with a grain of salt since I learned of it. The primary reason for that is that I don't believe that most police, with minimal cycling background, truly understand the causes of accidents. And the other reason is that the law, for some reason, seems to too-frequently accept the driver excuse of "I didn't see them" as a defense rather than what it should be: an admission that the driver wasn't watching the road properly.

Now along comes Dr. Chris Cavacuiti of the University of Toronto. Dr. Cavacuiti is a phyisician and experienced racing cyclist who, after being sidelined for a time after a an accident which gave him multiple bone fractured and other injuries, did a study of the reasons for cycling accidents and came to the conclusion that the cyclist is responsible for bike/car accidents a whopping 10% of the time... much less than the 50% that the League puts out.

The primary reason for these accidents? Simple aggressive driving, lack of bike infrastructure, and a lack of proper education for motorists. These problems don't exist in places like northern Europe as they do here because of rigorous motorist education and legal ramifications which put the weight of responsibility more on drivers (the EU's Fifth Motorist Directive that I've mentioned before) as the operators of more dangerous vehicles.

More studies like this are necessary to overcome the unintended prejudice of police who don't understand the needs of cyclists when making decisions about who's at fault in accidents. It's refreshing to see a major university publishing such research and I look forward to more of it.

People, not speed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Yay Bikes Newsletter - September 2009

From the great folks at Yay Bikes! (and thanks for the link love, Meredith!):

Welcome to our first Yay Bikes! monthly newsletter! You are receiving this newsletter because you are registered on or websites. Our aim isn't to spam, it's to share opportunities for bike love and celebration - so do unsubscribe if the information isn't useful to you. Regardless, we hope you'll participate somehow in making our cycling community grand!

This month Yay Bikes! is moving into an office space inSummit United Methodist Church! This will allow us to haveregular office hours (Tues 6-9, Fri 2-5, Sun 12-3) and host other special events. In September we have the following activities planned:

BIKE DRIVE | Sun 13, 12-4
We're building a bike fleet so that people without their own can have one to ride during fun and instructional rides. Please bring bikes to donate during this time!

LADIES' BIKE TALK & RIDE | Sun 13, 5-9
This month will mark our first women-only conversation about bikes, which we'll follow by meeting up with the Ladies' Ride leaving at 7pm from 15th & High. Come to one or come to both!

Those who ride to Sunday service can stay afterwards to have their portrait taken! Photographer Jen Duane will be on hand to capture cyclists with their bikes. Cyclists' pics & bios will then be featured on our bulletin board.

OPEN HOUSE! | Fri 25, 6-9
Tour our new office, eat healthy food, meet great people, hear our plans for the future!

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genuine creative logoA big thanks to Liz of Genuine Creative for our brilliant new logo. We hope you love it, because we do! The logo is still something we are collecting funds for; if you'd like to contribute even just $20, it would be so very generous of you!

Make a Donation
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bike cbus logoThis ride is the biggest & best neighborhood ride Columbus has to offer.
The entire ride will cover approximately 30 miles over 4 segments and will feature stops that highlight change that is occurring in our neighborhoods. Join us for a fantastic, leisurely bicycling morning (and a beautiful t-shirt by Genuine Creative)! Learn more and register at

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pedal for pets logoPedal for Pets is one of CHA Animal Shelter's newest fundraisers. To emphasize how cycling and pets help extend and improve our quality of lives, YB! & the shelter are partnering to make this ride a huge success. There are routes for everyone, come join us! Learn more and register at

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lci poloAs noted recently by Bike Columbus blogger Jamie Fellrath, Central Ohio just increased by 7 its number of certified bicycle instructors! These 7, alongside the 2 instructors already operating locally, are now available to offer unparalleled bicycle riding education to meet any need. Contact Yay Bikes! for more information on courses for kids or adults.
Thanks to you for reading our news! I invite you to contact us directly if you have comments or questions regarding any of it. Also, please be in touch if you'd like to be involved or support our fledgling efforts. We look forward to hearing from you.
Bike on,
Meredith Joy
Yay Bikes!

People, not speed.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Equipment Roundup: Karma Army

A tip of the helmet to Cyclelicious for the impetus and info for today's post!

Today's equipment roundup is not about actual equipment - it's about a new website I recently found: Karma Army. Here's their mission:

The KarmaArmy Mission is crystal clear: If you're out there riding your bike, skiing or snowboarding, surfing, kayaking, etc. you're enjoying an active, healthy lifestyle. Your gear is sacred. We get it.
Our General Mission is to grow an active, like-minded community that understands what our gear means to us. A KarmaAlert will let our K.A. Community and many other targeted outlets, know about your Just Stolen Bike!!
So overall, we're here to:
  • Educate
  • Inform
  • Protect
  • Prevent
  • Recover
  • Spread Good Karma
  • Help our world be a better place
  • Enjoy Life.

That's right, consider the Karma Army (KA) the mafia of stolen gear. Not just for bikes, but also kayaks, skis, skates, what have you. If it's active gear, and it can be stolen, than this is the site for you to help protect your stuff.

How it works: First, it's a place for you to keep all your data about your bike and other gear, including serial numbers and descriptions. That's one part. Then, if your gear gets stolen, then you can announce it via the KA website and immediately everyone in the Karma Army is informed of your loss via a "KarmaAlert." From their FAQ:

This is the driving engine of KarmaArmy. We have developed the proprietary KarmaAlert which acts as our ALARM system notifying our members, rss subscribers, twitter followers, facebook groupies, forums, Police, campus security offices and each of our partners. Once you put up a KarmaAlert, you will automatically have the entire Membership of the KarmaArmy on the lookout for your Just Stolen article!! Let's go find your stuff!
So it's not just a database of serial numbers and stolen bikes, it's an active network of people looking for your stolen bike. It's word of mouth and real eyes - people looking for your gear. It's a real-life social network with a purpose: get your gear back!

Try it out. Karma Army.

People, not speed.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday News Roundup: Seagull Bags Featured in Dispatch

The cycling community continues to make the mainstream news as the Dispatch featured an article on local messenger bag company Seagull Bags over the weekend. The "I couldn't find what I wanted so I made it myself" business plan is the story here as the reporter Liz Kersjes tells the story of Daniel McKewen, company founder and the creator of the first Seagull Bag.

Congrats to Daniel for the attention!

People, not speed.

Monday News Roundup: Legal Doings In Barbour, Corbin Killings

In legal news in the Columbus cycling community, the trial of Michael Cline, the accused in the death of Tracy Corbin, began this morning in Columbus. Corbin, you'll remember, is the cyclist who was hit on Alum Creek Road despite the steps he'd taken to be visible and legal on the road. A temp worker who used his bike to get to work, Corbin was killed just over a year ago, but the trial was delayed by the defense as they prepared their case and kept finding more witnesses, apparently. You can follow this trial and discussion thereof at Yay Bikes.

Also, the arraignment for Edward Miller, the accused in the death of Steve Barbour, is today at 1:00 pm. in Courtroom 1B at the County Courthouse on 375 S. High St. A high turnout of cyclists and supporters is expected in this case, but if you can make it, wear your cycling gear or at least carry a helmet!

The new Dispatch "Bike Blogger," Steve Warteberg, attended the Sunday memorial ride for Barbour and has this report on it.

Thanks to Andrew Hulvey (LifeOnTwoWheels on Twitter) for the links on this story!

People, not speed.

Monday News Roundup: Bike The C-Bus Coming Sept. 5th!

From Ray George of Columbus Rides:

Join us for the Bike the C-Bus Bicycle Tour, Saturday, September 5, 2009
Our non-profit partner, the Eldon and Elsie Ward Family YMCA is providing online registration for the event this year.

If you are on Facebook please become a fan of both the blog
and the event
and let us know you will be riding
and follow us on Twitter.

People, not speed.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Link-O-Rama: 8/14/2009

Carectomy - How to buy a used road bike. Great tips.

Carbon Trace - avoiding the door zone. I'd love to see (or even make) more great tips like this for YouTube. - Bikes now welcome in Burgerville drive-through lanes. Have YOU ever been denied service for riding a bike in a drive-through lane in Columbus?

The Bike Nazi - More impatience on the road from clueless drivers. We've probably all had this situation, he just handles it really well. Better than I usually do.

Bike Shop Girl - Great tips on riding with your kids.

Carbon Trace - To all college students: you're not children any more. Don't ride like it. - Nationwide, bike-to-school bans are on the rise. The reason: liability. Sigh...

Cycleliciousness [Copenhagen Bicycle Culture] - How to get your RV on by bike.

People, not speed.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Equipment Round Up: Ohio Community Carts

Going into the Clintonville Community Market last night, I noticed a pretty nice looking bike cart outside and large placard in front of it:


This is a new local company that's on the cutting edge - making simple utililty carts for bikes to haul. I took a look at the cart itself. Nice wheels with quick-releases, sturdy construction, smooth movement, and from it seems, an easy install. The website says that it can handle 200 lb. of cargo.

And the best part is: they're made RIGHT HERE in Columbus - Franklinton, to be specific. Here's a description of the company from their website:

Community Carts is a small community-based business located in Columbus, Ohio. It is owned and operated by a group of folks devoted to simple and sustainable living, peacemaking, and the work of justice. Proceeds from the business go directly to support the life they share with their neighbors in Franklinton--an economically-depressed neighborhood on the Westside of Ohio's capital.

I can see this being a great product for businesses who deliver by bike, for dedicated utility cyclists, and many more folks. And the design of the carts really seems to lend itself well to customization. Nice work - and I look forward to trying one of these out!

People, not speed.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday News: Bike Sharing Starts in the Short North

The Short North, always a forward-thinking and vibrant area of town, has added to its allure by offering ten free bikes for use by visitors to the area. With the district's expansion and revitalization of so much of its area, it's become a little harder to see on foot, hence the move by participating businesses.

Users can get a bike by leaving credit card and driver's license numbers at one of three locations (Tigertree, What the Rock?! and Sandbox). The bikes are available for two-hour stints and must be returned to the same location. Locks are provided as well.

The eventual goal is to have 40 bikes available in the Short North, and 100 total between the Short North and Downtown. Each bike, a Kona AfricaBike, was purchased by one of ten participating businesses in the district. Kona donates one similar bike to home health care workers in Africa for every two sold elsewhere.

More information can be found at

People, not speed.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Link-o-Rama 8/14/2009

EcoVelo - How to overcome the "Windshield Perspective."

StreetFilms - How removing traffic lanes can make traffic BETTER.

Instructables - Build a bicycle dog walker!

Cyclelicious - Urbana Bikes' Configuration Designer. How fun is this!?

Biking Bis - A great natural way to get some quick energy on your ride... if it's available to you!

Bike Commuters - Review of Outlier Summer Shorts.

BikeHacks - Make your own 340 lumen headlight for cheap!

Cyclelicious - DIY Pedal Straps!

And, of course, I have to give props to the NUMEROUS bloggers and Twitterers who posted this little gem. Can't wait to see the fixie rebuttal video!

People, not speed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday Cycling Soapbox: My Bike Commuting Philosophy

It's been a long time coming, but today I want to share with you my personal philosophy on bicycle commuting and how I prefer that it be done. This is not to say that I think EVERYONE should do it this way, as everyone is different and has different situations at their place of employment (or whatever destination you may have). But these are my goals, and everything I post here is in an attempt to reach these goals, so please keep this in mind as you read!

First of all, I'm not a recreational cyclist. I do enjoy riding my bike, that's for sure. I wouldn't be as avid a cycling commuter if I didn't like it. But I have no problem taking the bus to work and my current job makes it very easy to do so. If I'm looking for something to do on a weekend afternoon, I'm not particularly likely to grab my bike, some snacks, and a water bottle or two and go out for a century ride.

My bike riding is about destination as much as it is about the cycling experience. I am cycling to get somewhere. That I choose to do it on a bike is more about getting some exercise on the way, reducing my carbon footprint, not wanting to spend my money on car-related things, etc.

To continue with this train of thought, a major goal of mine is to be able to ride with as few bike-related changes upon reaching my destination as is possible. I don't want to have to change sweaty clothes as much as possible. I don't want to have to constantly be switching my stuff between a regular briefcase and a pannier. In essence, I want to look like anyone else when I get off my bike and begin my day.

That being said, I do sweat a lot. I'm just one of those people. So at some times of the year I have no choice but to wear shorts and a t-shirt (usually a wicking t-shirt of some kind/brand) while I ride, and quickly change upon arriving at work. I want to look good.

Now please don't take this to mean that I have anything at all against training riders who use their bike commuting as part of their regimen, and must undergo complete clothing changes when they arrive at work. And if you're a recreational rider who doesn't feel comfortable unless you're wearing bibs and a jersey, that's totally cool, too. I respect you too. In fact I'm a big fan of pro cycling races and commend you in your efforts. So if that's what makes you comfortable in riding, then I'm all for it.

But my idea in bike commuting is that it should not be about cycling specifically - it should be about the option to travel around by any means you want. For me, that means riding my bike. I look at places like Copenhagen or Amsterdam, where cycling isn't considered anything more than basically a way to get around that's a bit faster than walking and easier and cheaper than driving. That's the sort of attitude I have.

So as much as possible, I don't buy bicycling-specific equipment for my riding. I don't own a cycling jersey. I don't have a messenger bag. I think the only items of bike-specific clothing I use on a regular basis are for cold-weather and safety - a balaclava and lobster-claw gloves for the winter weather, and a fluorescent yellow jacket for safety. I also wear a pair of cycling glasses to keep dust, rain, snowflakes, etc. out of my eyes during all times of the year.

My bike itself is for comfort riding. It's a 2007 Specialized Expedition Sport model, sturdy and comfortable. It's got a wide saddle, twist gear shifts, is sturdy, and it's easy to maintain. The only thing I'd add to it is a chain guard (I fail to understand the American bicycle industry's dislike of chain guards, especially on bikes like mine!).

I use panniers on my bike instead of a messenger bag or backpack. I like to arrive at my destination ready to go, as I said, and I don't want a sweaty back. I also don't want to have to swap items between a pannier and briefcase every time the weather changes or something else happens so that I can't ride on a specific day. So one of my panniers carries my briefcase each day. A bag in a bag may sound odd to some of you, but to me it reduces the amount of time I have to take with my commuting.

So to sum up, my attitude on cycling is pretty minimalistic. I like to keep it simple, have a quick and dirty routine that gets me where I'm going. I like to get some moderate exercise on the way but I'm not going to hammer unless I'm in a hurry to get somewhere. I'm probably never going to own a road bike simply for riding's sake - my bikes will be utilitarian and sturdy, probably pretty slow, but easy to maintain and easy to ride.

And everything I espouse on this site will be toward a similar end. If I see something that looks like it'd be useful, I'll let you know. But it'll be useful for simple transportation, and not necessarily anything to do with a hard-core fred's loves. I keep up with a few sources of hard-core roadie stuff in case something sounds useful for commuting, so don't expect I'll ignore anything because of the source of the information. I take it all in and sift out what looks useful.

And I hope this explanation helps you understand where I'm coming from and what you can expect here.

People, not speed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Commuter Cycling 101: Stay Visible

I've often said that the two most important things regarding safety in commuter cycling are being predictable and being visible. Today we're going to talk about that second item: visibility.

It goes without saying that being visible as a cyclist can only be a good thing. If motorists see you, they probably won't hit you. And it behooves us to know the best ways to stay visible, which we'll address today with two factors: equipment and riding technique. Too often we hear the excuse made by motorists who hit cyclists: "I didn't see them." And whether that's a valid excuse (I believe that it is not) isn't the question today. We're going to do what we can to MAKE ourselves visible.

First, it's obvious that having the right equipment is very helpful for being visible as a rider. This starts with a jacket or vest. I've mentioned my Pearl Izumi Vagabond jacket on numerous occasions (including yesterday's update review) and how much it's helped me remain visible on the road. It's bright fluorescent yellow/green and shows up a mile away.

But on occasion I also wear a simple vest - also fluorescent (this one orange) - and it works just as well (while being much cheaper an option). Either way, it gets me noticed.

Also, there's a reason that cycling jerseys are occasionally flamboyant and brightly decorated - it allows you to be seen. If you're riding down the street in a bright orange Wheaties Box-decorated jersey, or in a jersey with a big yellow picture of SpongeBob SquarePants, you'll be noticed.

Another item that helps is having lights on the bike, particularly at night. I use a pair of Reelights on my bike. These lights run off a set of magnets on each wheel, and therefore never shut off when I'm riding. Easy to maintain (there's NO maintenance) and they're always there. I also have a regular headlight and taillight on the bike. Lights and reflectors aren't just the law, they're darned smart.

But let's move on to a frequently undiscussed aspect of staying visible: riding technique. As often as not, riders who hug the curb too much are the ones who are most often missed by drivers. And why? Simple - in their efforts to stay "out of the way" they've made themselves invisible to drivers who quickly scan to see what's in front of them before they go back to talking on phones, scanning their iPod for the next tune, taking a sip of their Frappuccino, etc.

So remember what I said a couple weeks ago about taking the lane. That applies here as well. Taking the lane puts you right out into the view of drivers, making it hard to miss you. And stay in the lane. Don't swerve in and out of parked cars as space becomes available to the right. Stay out in front where you can be seen. It's much safer than weaving in and out of traffic, and it's perfectly legal.

Also, ride on the correct side of the road. Many cyclists don't get seen because they ride on the incorrect side of the road (usually the left, though one-way streets are a different matter at times), and drivers don't look for them there. Case in point: a driver comes up to High Street and is looking to make a left turn onto it from a side street. He scans the traffic moving from right to left for an opening, occasionally glancing to his left to see that the closer lane is clear. On comes a wrong-way cyclist, riding close to the cars on the left side of the road. The driver, not expecting a vehicle to be there, sees his opening and pulls out... and the wrong-way cyclist flies smack into the side of the turning vehicle... or worse.

Staying visible is a key factor in being a successful and safe cyclist. It's one of those things that really isn't so hard, but takes a bit of practice and some proper equipment to do.

What other ways do you stay visible on the road?

People, not speed.

Dispatch: Steve Barbour's Sister's Letter to the Editor

Today's Dispatch had a letter from Diane Barbour Davidson, the sister of Steve Barbour. Not much else to say but that the Columbus cycling community should be proud.

On July 18, life completely changed for my family. My brother, Steven Barbour, was critically injured in a collision between his bicycle and a motor vehicle. He subsequently died on July 22 ("2-wheeled cortege rides to honor fallen friend," Dispatch article, July 28).

One can never be prepared for such a tragic event. Amid our grief, however, my mother and I have been comforted by the outpouring of love from family, friends and the central Ohio cycling community. So many people have shared stories of Steve's friendship, kindness, patience, eagerness to help and passion for cycling.

We were deeply touched by the memorial rides to Schoedinger Funeral Home and the funeral. People have reached out in so many ways, far too many to mention in this letter. The staff at the Ohio State University Medical Center and Lifeline of Ohio provided exceptional care to Steve and the family. They were skilled, professional and compassionate.

We will be forever grateful to Father Michael and Father Joseph of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral for their tender loving care. My mother and I were unaware that there were so many angels in our midst. Our thanks to each and every one of you.

Saint Joseph, Mich.

People, not speed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Equipment Round Up: Pearl Izumi Vagabond Jacket, Review #3

I haven't gotten any new equipment recently, but this is an excellent time to go back and do some further review of my Pearl Izumi Vagabond Jacket. I've got some new comments on the jacket to share.

In previous posts, I've mentioned that I think the jacket was made for someone wearing cycling gear specifically since it's a bit tight around the shoulders when I wear a fleece underneath (for cold-weather riding). I also gave some comments on its water-shedding properties.

Today, it'll be a bit of discussion on the jacket's durability. I've been wearing it almost every commute I take since getting it back in November 2007 and it's holding up very nicely. The removable sleeves have made it a great item for summer and winter (as well as the other seasons!), making it very functional.

There are a couple of places where the stitching is starting to come loose a bit, on the left hand pocket and on the zipper of the left sleeve. But that's easily fixed, with some restitching, no big deal there for the amount of time I've worn it.

The aforementioned pockets are mesh inside, and a year of having my keys in the right pocket wore a small hole in that mesh, about the size of a quarter. That's pretty easy to fix, too, with some thread or string to tie that hole together. Given the amount of riding I do in it, which is around five hours a week, it's doing remarkably well!

The one thing I haven't been able to fix is that it's getting a bit dingy looking. A couple years of riding will do that, obviously. And the dinginess is hardly noticeable unless you get close. But washing the fabric isn't getting all the stains out. But jacket is retaining its color (the bright fluorescent yellow-green) nicely despite the stains, and I'm still as visible to the world as I've always been!

For the lightness of the material and the amount of mesh in it, it's very strong. All in all, I continue to stand by this jacket as a great product. And I'm adding another reason to love it - it's made to last!

People, not speed.

Jeff Mapes To Be Keynote Speaker at Miami Valley Cycling Summit This Friday

Mostly I'm going to try to keep my news to Mondays or Fridays in the Link-O-Rama, but today's was sort of time-sensitive and I wanted to share it with you.

Friday, August 14th, is the Miami Valley Cycling Summit, part of the local Drive Less Live More campaign, which is exactly what it sounds like. It's being held at the University of Dayton (directions available on the website) and the keynote speaker will be author Jeff Mapes, whose latest book Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities is getting lots of attention and opening eyes for a lot of people.

The all-day event will feature discussion groups, panels, and lots of camaraderie as the cyclists of the Miami Valley get together to study and discuss what can make their communities better for ourselves, our children, and the future. Join the fun!

People, not speed.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday News: More Companies Offering Fashionable Bike Clothes has an article today with some new offerings in the world of commuter fashion, and I'm not talking about more lycra and spandex. Nope. This is stuff that you could wear anywhere, and whether your mode of transportation had two wheels or not.

I love the first line of the article:

The whole point with urban cycling is to make it work with whatever your lifestyle and your sense of fashion (or your work clothes requirements) are.

Sure, you can get all spandexed-up and ride, nothing wrong with that. I know plenty of people who ride and change every day - I do it myself in the summer.

But is that practical? Is it easy to just jump on your bike and go down to the store when you feel the need to ride in nothing but jersies and bibs? Not at all. So clothes that lend themselves to cycling are being developed to allow us to ride anywhere conveniently. Check out the article, it's got some interesting stuff.

People, not speed.

Monday News: Bikeway Improvement Meeting

Columbus Recreation and Parks is holding a meeting this coming Thursday (August 13) at 4:30 pm at the Harrison Park building on the southwest corner of West First Avenue and Perry Street. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss bikeway improvements on Goodale Street.

The topic will be a bikeway connector between Olentangy River Road and the Future Harrison West Trail connector.

Thanks to This Week News for the article.

Meeting to provide information about potential bikeway improvements
Thursday, August 6, 2009 4:18 PM

The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department and the Ohio Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, to discuss Goodale Street bikeway improvements.

The meeting will be held at the Harrison Park building on the southwest corner of West First Avenue and Perry Street.

The meeting will be conducted in an open house format and will continue until 7 p.m. There will be no formal presentations. Representatives of Columbus Recreation and Parks, ODOT and URS Inc., will be at the meeting to answer questions and receive public input on the proposed project.

The public will be able to learn about the alternatives under consideration to provide a bikeway connection between the existing Olentangy River Road bikeway and the future Harrison West Trail Connector.

The proposed improvement will be designed to increase safety for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists and provide a link to the Olentangy Trail from Goodale Street.

The comments received from the public will be considered during the selection process of the final alignment.

Those unable to attend the Aug. 13 meeting can direct their comments to Brian Tatman, ODOT environmental specialist at (740) 833-8065. Written comments can be sent to the Ohio Department of Transportation, District 6, 400 E. William St., Delaware OH 43015 attention: Brian Tatman.

All written comments should be submitted by Monday, Sept. 21.

People, not speed.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Link-o-Rama 8/7/2009

Streetfilms - Check out the word on Scraper Bikes, a cycling style from Oakland, CA. It's positive, it's creative, it's green, and it's a heck of a lot of fun! See the video below.

Wired Gadget Lab - Food for thought: Should Bikes Be Treated As Cars? Not a remarkable article, but remarkable for where it's being published! Should foster some good discussion.

Ottawa Citizen (via @bikeride) - Ottawa, Ontario police start sweep to ticket and inform cyclists. But... $110 for not having a bell? I hope the cyclist was mute and couldn't yell "LOOK OUT!"

Cycle*Dallas - Nine and a Half things Motorists should know about bikes.

National Public Radio - What problems do you have with your organized rides? Inconsiderate drivers? Unthinking city planners? In Tijuana, they worry about DRUG WARS! But they still find time to ride...

Mountain Xpress - Gunman in "Stay off the road" shooting update. Three word preview: Cycling Community Outraged.

People, not speed.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thursday Cycling Soapbox: Cyclist Courtesy Goes a Long Way

This week, I'm pleased to bring you an op-ed by my friend Shelley Guilfoos. Shelley lives in a rural area where she frequently has to pull a horse trailer and has a few words to say about the behavior of some of the cyclists in her neck of the woods.

Some of you may ask why I post an article like this. After all, isn't this a cycling blog? Aren't I always on the cyclists' side?

Well, to say it simply: no.

I am an advocate of vehicular cycling. I want cyclists to be treated as the drivers of vehicles, whether the vehicle burns gas or blood sugar. And as someone who wishes for a better transportation environment for everyone who wants to break away from the "need" to drive a car, it irks me to no end to see cyclists who flout the law because they don't want to be bothered with things like stopping at red lights, signalling to change lanes, riding on the correct side of the road, etc. In such ways, they're no better than drivers who do the same thing.

And I've often called for consistent enforcement by the police of ALL traffic laws, no matter who's breaking them. My philosophy can be simply summed up by the stickers that our instructor handed out to us at our LAB League Cycling Instructor seminar last weekend: Same Roads, Same Rights, Same Rules.

Now obviously this post is more about recreational cyclists than it is about commuter cyclists, but the same rules should apply to ALL cyclists, no matter if they're riding a $10,000 Cervelo or a rebuilt fixie. In my mind, we're all cyclists and we all should follow the rules.

So here's a post by someone who does not ride, but would - if not for a set of circumstances that makes her afraid to take to the road.

So please, welcome Shelley!

I hate spending a lot of money on gas. I make a lot of “quick” trips around the area within a few miles of my condo on the Northeast Side of Columbus, near New Albany, and hate using gas for those trips. I drive a 2000 Honda CRV, and although the gas mileage isn’t bad, it is still gas I am using. The easy solution would be to pull my bike off of the hooks in the garage and ride it on these trips instead. Fresh air, exercise, save money; sounds perfect. In town, such as around campus, it seems much more practical to be able to jump on your bike and go somewhere. I know that those who ride in town have their own problems and think how much easier it would be on the open road. We have hazards of our own out here, and one of the biggest hazards I fear on the three mile trip north on Harlem Road each day are recreational bicyclists.

Ahh, the recreational bicyclists in the New Albany area are the bane of my existence and a reason I feel it is not safe for me to make honest trips on my bicycle around the area to run my errands. How can you feel unsafe from other cyclists you might ask? Well, recreational cyclists have been a big fixture in this area for many years. We are close to the “city” and it is a pretty route that is kind of rural and close; easy to get back to town. Wednesday nights are a big deal for some reason and there are cyclists everywhere. All you have to do is be outside and see 20 go by and someone will say, “Oh yeah, it’s Wednesday.” So because the “locals” and motorists have had to deal with the rudeness and law breaking of these riders for so long, any cyclist is viewed as “bad” or a nuisance. (And no, I am really not trying to rewrite Breaking Away here.)

The stuff I see some cyclists pull on a regular basis is going to get more people killed. I know that a cyclist was killed around here recently and I am not saying that it wasn’t terrible tragedy; I am sure no motorist wants to go through life having killed someone on a bike. I do believe, however, that the actions of some cyclists have caused many accidents and cause motorists to be scared, leery, or even make mistakes based on not knowing what the cyclists are going to do, since laws are often broken.

One of my favorite “stunts” usually happens at the two four-way stops I cross through at least five times per day. Imagine being in your car at a stop sign with your right turn signal on and as you look in your rear view mirror to turn, six bicyclists come tearing up the right side of your car, blow the stop sign, and continue straight. After you pick your heart up out of your stomach realizing you could have hit all six, you get really pissed. If cyclists are on the road with cars, aren’t they supposed to follow street laws too? So take a neighborhood full of people that encounter this on a daily basis; it makes them a little jumpy. It is bad enough no one knows when to go at a four way stop, but now at the cyclists into the scenario and everyone gets really jumpy. The ONLY time I have seen a group of cyclists actually come to a halt at one of these stops was because they realized there was a sheriff sitting there watching. These cyclists know they are supposed to stop; they just DON’T. Now, every time I encounter recreational cyclists at one of these intersections, I have to guess what I think they are going to do. What should really happen is that I should know what they are going to do because they are obeying the law.

Not long after that incident, I was heading North on my usual trip to the barn and noticed a group of cyclists ahead. It appeared to be three men wearing all of their gear. As I checked the other lane and moved over the center line to pass them, they began horsing around as if I wasn’t even there. One guy pushed one of the other guys and he took a big swerve, almost into my car. I swerved and almost peed my pants. They started laughing and kept going. I wanted to stop and ask how that was funny.

So as someone who just wants to use her bicycle to not be such a gas guzzler and to be kinder to the environment, how do I cope with this? How do I ride with these cyclists who piss off all of the drivers then go back and get in their Escalades? (Because really, I feel like a schmuck making these easy trip and admire those of you who spare the environment on your bicycles each day.) Because I will tell you what, as a motorist, they sure as hell piss me off…and when I am on my bike I don’t want to be near them breaking laws and causing accidents; it scares the crap out of me.

I realize that motorists are often at fault, but I know that some of the problems come from the cyclists as well. The communication between motorists and cyclists is tarnished. No one knows what the other will do on the road and are quick to point fingers at each other. I really want these lines of communication opened back up so I can ride my bike. I don’t want to see this crap continue so every motorists cringes in fear when they see any cyclist. So how do we do this? Enforce the street laws more on bicyclists? Make more information available so motorists know what is expected from them and a cyclist when they encounter one on the street?

In the meantime, I will keep driving. With these groups of recreational cyclists out each day running stop signs, I just don’t think the time is right. It really stinks too. The weather has been amazing and I could be doing a lot of good by using my bike.

People, not speed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Commuter Cycling 101: Take a Class

Last weekend, Columbus was the proud location of its first League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor Seminar. In one fell swoop, Columbus increased its number of League Cycling Instructors from two to nine! And I'm very proud to include myself among that number.

I've most certainly mentioned the league before. Here's our mission statement:

To promote bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation and work through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America.

So what does this have to do with Commuter Cycling 101? Simply this: with 9 instructors in town, we're making plans to do a LOT more classes. And let's face it - though I type till my fingers fall off, nothing can replace a face-to-face class with an experienced cycling instructor who can give you all the basics, evaluate your riding and make suggestions to improve it, and answer your questions as they arise and to your satisfaction.

So today's Commuter Cycling 101 suggestion is: take a class. The LAB classes that would interest commuter cyclists the most are Traffic Skills 101 and Commuting. Here are the course descriptions from the LAB website:

Gives cyclists the confidence they need to ride safely and legally in traffic or on the trail. The course covers bicycle safety checks, fixing a flat, on-bike skills and crash avoidance techniques and includes a student manual. Recommended for adults and children above age fourteen, this fast-paced, nine-hour course prepares cyclists for a full understanding of vehicular cycling.

For adult cyclists who wish to explore the possibility of commuting to work or school by bike. This three hour follow-up to Traffic Skills 101 covers topics including route selection, bicycle choice, dealing with cargo and clothing, bike parking, lighting, reflection, and foul weather riding. Included with the class are handouts and student materials.

Also, look into the works of John Forester. Forester is considered by many to be the guru of transportation cycling in the US. His books that have influenced the way the league teaches and the material we teach. Reading doesn't replace a class with a qualified instructor, to be sure, but Effective Cycling by Forester will certainly give you a LOT of knowledge on the subject.

We are also happy to customize a course for you and/or your organization if you would like. In the past LCIs have done courses with the very basics of traffic riding and commuting for specialized audiences, for example. The above courses can be shortened or expanded upon for your audience as well! We can teach sub-topics of the courses above as well. If you're not interested in the recreational aspects of cycling but really want some riding tips and practice, for example, let us know!

The League also offers classes in advanced traffic skills, age-appropriate classes for kids, and even classes for motorists wanting to know more about cycling and expectations of cyclists in traffic. The goal, of course, is to create educated cyclists AND motorists!

If you're looking for classes, check the LAB website for class and instructor listings. And keep an eye on this blog for class offerings for the Columbus and Central Ohio area. Feel free to contact me or any of the other instructors listed on the LAB website with questions and requests for classes - if you want a class, get hold of one of us either via our email address on the LAB site, the comments on this blog, or by posting at Yay Bikes, and one of us will certainly contact you to see what you're looking for.

People, not speed.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Equipment Round Up: Wheels and Spokes: What's YOUR Suggestion?

Since mid-June, I've broken two spokes on my back wheel. This, naturally, is the wheel that my panniers are kept on. The added pressure of the weight of the stuff I keep in my bags during my commute is apparently enough to put extra pressure on my spokes and they're breaking off right where head of the spoke laces into the hub (which is the weakest part of the spoke due to the elbow bend there).

It's not that I'm not mechanically-minded, but more of an issue that I'm still new enough to cycling that I'm still learning a lot of the maintenance issues. The issue of spokes breaking is pretty new to me.

I've had the bike since November 2006, and only lost two spokes. I've ridden through three winters and I'm of the slightly educated opinion that the combination of winter riding, frequent riding, and weight over that wheel is what's causing the problem.

So to all you mechanical types out there, let's throw around the issue a bit: should I get the wheel rebuilt? Replace spokes as they break? Is the quality of spokes a concern?

What say you, Columbus?

People, not speed.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday News: ULoop Offers Classified Ads for College Students to Buy/Sell Bikes

Are you a college student looking to buy or sell a bike? There's a new website called ULoop that is offering Craigslist-type classified ads for any college student with a *.edu email address. The listings are organized by university and offering type, with Ohio State bicycle sales included!

There are also listings for Capital University, Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus State Community College, DeVry Columbus, Franklin University, Ohio Dominican University, Ohio Wesleyan University, and Otterbein College.

People, not speed.

Monday News: Arraignment for Accused in Steve Barbour's Death

The biggest story in the Columbus cycling community recently has been the death of Steve Barbour at the hands of an allegedly drunk driver, Edward Scott Miller. Miller's arraignment was scheduled for Tuesday, July 28th at Franklin County Courthouse. Consider Biking put out a call for cyclists to be present at the arraignment and wearing their helmets as a show of support for cycling and to remind the proceedings that cyclists were indeed paying attention to this case. The Dispatch's Bruce Cadwallader and Jeb Phillips cover the story quite nicely.

Here's the correspondance I've had with Jeff Stephens, the Executive Director of Consider Biking, regarding the morning. Jeff's comments also include those of long time Central Ohio Cycling Advocate Jon Gideon.

I’m going to snip John Gideon’s play-by-play. Bottom line is that Judge did address us personally. He explained the process in layman’s terms…and answered every question we had. He displayed insight & compassion to our cause. Good guy! Most importantly….I’m so proud of the 50+ cyclists that represented our constituency with dignity, respect, and polite behavior. The “buzz” throughout the courthouse will be favorable….that the cyclists are watching/attending in mass, and…maintaining the “reasonable” demeanor that has won us so many local advocacy victories in the past few years.

Media is also watching…and noticing our favorable actions. The media will be vigilant on our behalf…and, will take lead in investigative reporting. (I’ve been in direct contact with many outlets….)

<Jon's Snip>

I got there just before 9:30. It was standing room only. Bikers holding helmets lined the room and took up most of the seats. I didn't see Mrs. Barbour.

A number of other cyclists arrived after me. Didn't see Edward Miller. Most of the folks who were at Schoedinger's Sunday were there. Mabye 50 to 60 cyclists.

Reporter Cadwallader of the Columbus Dispatch was there, standing up front near the Judge's bench.

The courtroom was packed and a little noisy. The judge (Judge James Green) had to pause and tell people to be quiet early on. He ordered a couple of people out of the courtroom for talking. Municipal courtrooms, especially arraignment courtrooms are usually somewhat noisy anyway. All the court personnel and prosecutors and attorneys were constantly scurring up and down and back and forth and calling defendants' names. One defendant after another was arraigned, and usually on very minor charges (like possession of drug paraphernalia) and making pleas and getting sentenced (fined).

Finally, maybe about 10:15 or so, someone (of us cyclists) was asking around if the case was definitely on the docket. I had assumed that someone checked that before I came in. I went up to the table and asked the courtroom cop and he showed me the list of defendants and the name Edward Miller. His case hadn't been called.

I then went out in the hall to see if Miller was out there. He wasn't. I had a confab with Jeff Ferriell and a couple other cyclists and explained that Miller's case could be called very quickly or it could be called around lunchtime.

We went back in. Shortly thereafter Judge Green's bailiffs and assistants could be heard asking around if there were any felony defandants in the courtroom. Then Judge Green could be overheard from the bench softly asking his assistants if anyone had or had seen the file on Edward Miller. It seemed that no one had it.

Shortly after that Judge Green addressed the courtroom (possibly upon being advised by Reporter Cadwallader that the room was filled with bicyclists) and asked people for a show of hands who were there "on the bicyclist case"?

When he saw 50 to 60 hands raised he went "WOW"! He immediately asked all the cyclists to go out into the hall and he would come out into the hall and talk to us.

We did.

Judge Green told us that he understood and appreciated our all coming down to the arraignment/preliminary hearing, and we were all welcome to stay, but that nothing significant was going to happen today, that he was going to have to reschedule the case for 15 days. And during that 15 days, because Miller was being charged with a felony, the County Prosecutor would be taking the case to a grand jury and the case would be handed over to a Common Pleas judge.

Judge Green mentioned that he was a cyclist, the two-wheel kind without a motor, and that not long ago he became a "biker" of the two-wheeled kind with a motor. And he said that he is very concerned about his safety on the road.

He also again repeated that he understood our reasons for being there, but that he thought we should go home and leave justice up to the justice system.

Jeff announced that we would be keeping everyone updated on the Consider Biking website and by newsletter and Facebook and Twitter.

Cadwallader mentioned that he was doing a story that would be in the Dispatch tomorrow.

As the crowd began to break up I noticed a TV camera near the door of Judge Green's courtroom. The cameraman may have been filming Judge Green's talk to the crowd of cyclists.

Most of the cyclists left then, while little groups of cyclists stayed and chatted and talked about getting lunch.

I had to run over to the Columbus Police Department for a police report on a motorist failure to yield to a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk back in Sept. 2007. The case was on NBC4 back in Oct. 2007 and we're using the news report in support of our "Vulnerable Roadway Users Right-of-Way Protection Bill." Only problem is we didn't have the name of the motorist. Until now.

Hope that gives you the flavor of what happened this morning.

I was really glad to see so many cyclists. It really sends a message about this case and about the attitude of the bicycling community.

People, not speed.