Tuesday, March 31, 2009

League of American Bicyclists Newsletter - March 30, 2009

March 30, 2009


Ten days ago, I had the privilege of testifying before a Select Committee of the House of Representatives on the topic of climate change. Preparing and delivering the testimony really brought home to me the unique and incredible opportunity we have to influence our common future right now - if we speak up; and if we make our case effectively at the local level. That's why I'm excited at all the news in this edition of our e-news, especially the nine state and local bike summits scheduled this coming month!


Andy Clarke,

National News

Trash Talking
Spring is in the air and people's thoughts inevitably turn to bicycling. Sadly, we are already seeing the predictable rash of not very bright minds turning on bicycling and bicyclists - from members of Congress to radio show hosts (yes, again...) and newspaper readers. See the latest examples, and some possible rejoinders, at the League's "trash talk" page, and also check out this excellent response by Dean Schott and the League of Illinois Bicyclists to some horrible comments posted by readers in response to tragic crashes.

U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant Program
Last week, Vice President Biden and Energy Secretary Chu announced the launch of the Department's new $2.6 billion Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG) to help states and local governments achieve energy and environmental goals. The program does allow funds to be spent on bicycle and pedestrian improvements and updating zoning/codes for smart growth. To see a list of entities eligible for formula grants and allocation amounts, click here. To obtain a copy of the Funding Opportunity Announcement, which contains complete information for grantees on the Program and application process, go to FedConnect and search for Reference Number DE-FOA-0000013. Read more.

State & Local News
Nine Bike Summits this April!
Looking ahead to April, it's pretty exciting to see no fewer than NINE state and local bike summits on the calendar. We encourage you to sign up and participate in the events that are in your neck of the woods - and if there isn't one near you, maybe there should be...!
  • Alaska - Anchorage plays host to the first Alaska Summit since 2001. Click here for the agenda.
  • Delaware - The First State sees its first Bike Summit in Dover.
  • Oregon - The state's forth summit, and the first in Salem with a tight legislative agenda.
  • Idaho - A more low key active transportation summit with a strong bike emphasis. Contact George Knight at gknight@boisestate.edu for information.
  • West Virginia - Stung by a low Bicycle Friendly America state ranking, West Virginia residents are starting at the top with a function at the Governors Mansion in Charleston.
  • Westchester County, NY - This is the first Summit for this well-heeled NYC suburb that is starting to embrace bicycling.
  • Florida - The first legislative day for bicyclists in many years takes place in Tallahassee.
  • Wisconsin - The legislature had better watch out as Wisconsin cyclists decide how to overhaul Washington state in the rankings and move on to world class cycling status!

Madison Drivers Enforced to Look Before
Opening Car Doors
Madison, Wisconsin is taking legal measure to make it safer for bicyclists riding near cars parked on the street. The City Council recently voted to make it illegal for someone to open the door of a parked or standing vehicle into traffic without checking to make sure it's safe. The new law also makes it illegal for someone to leave a door open facing traffic for an unreasonable time. Failing to check before opening a door carries a $100 fine and leaving a door open too long will cost $50. Visit the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin for more information. Source Madison State Journal
Kentucky Bicycle & Bikeway Commission has Approved First Two Grants
Kentucky Bicycle and Bikeway Commission has approved its first two grants through the new Paula Nye Memorial Bicycle and Pedestrian Education Grant program. This program is totally funded by Kentucky's Share the Road specialty license plate program and is administered by the Kentucky Bicycle and Bikeway Commission. The two grants total slightly more than $23,700. Grant money will soon be awarded to Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness in partnership with Bicycling for Louisville and to Camp Ernst YMCA Camp in Burlington, Kentucky.

Minneapolis:1,000 Bikes for Sharing &
State-of-the-Art Bike Center
Two ground-breaking bicycling programs, laying the groundwork for the next generation of bike travel in the Twin Cities, were announced this March by Transit for Livable Communities (TLC), the nonprofit organization that administers Bike Walk Twin Cities.
Topping the list of new metro investments to increase biking and walking in the Twin Cities were:
  1. A bike share program, featuring 1,000 bikes located at 75 security kiosks throughout Minneapolis, and
  2. A first-of-its kind frequent bike rider program, powered by a radio frequency identity system (RFID), which will be installed in conjunction with the new University of Minnesota Bike Center.
These two endeavors plus four other biking and walking projects will receive more than $4 million in grants from Bike Walk Twin Cities, a federally-funded program to increase biking and walking and decrease driving in the metro area. Today's grants are the third in a series of awards announced since 2007 when Bike Walk Twin Cities launched.

Texas Safe Passing Bill
Texas has safe passing bills pending in both the house and senate this legislative session. Visit www.biketexas.org for info.

League News
Smart Cycling Conference 2009
The Smart Cycling Conference is ramping up, and it is destined to be a great one. The League's education program is in the middle of a complete overhaul. Since 2008, we've launched Traffic Skills 101, Traffic Skills 201, Group Riding, and completely revised our Commuter Student curriculum. What's left? Everything! Our kids manuals need to be redone, and our entire League Cycling Instructor Curriculum has to be overhauled. And we need your help!

Come to San Jose this summer to talk about the best way to teach cyclists; to help the League continue to improve our curricula; and to hear news and updates from the foremost cycling educators in the world.

We've lowered our fees by more than 30 percent this year. All fees increase by $100 after the earlybird deadline of May 1.
Register today!

National Bike Summit Rewind
As Congress is scheduled to be on Easter recess from April 6 through April 20, please take this opportunity to contact your Representative and Senators district offices to schedule a meeting and find out about any town hall meetings your Member may be doing. For those of you who were able to attend the National Bike Summit this will give you a great opportunity to follow back home, and for those of you who were not able to attend the Summit this is a great opportunity to make the connection with your Members. You should also take this opportunity to make sure they are aware of the Complete Streets and CLEANTEA legislation that is currently in Congress. Please see our website for in depth information on the legislation.

Also, the National Bike Summit was a great opportunity to hear from our elected officials. The League has video of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood addressing the National Bike Summit attendees at the opening plenary, noting that the DOT will be "a full partner in working toward livable communities". Read LaHood's blog here. We also have video of Representatives Blumenauer (D-OR), Lipinski (D-IL) and Matsui (D-CA) speaking at the opening plenary session.

Additionally, we have made all of the National Bike Summit presentations available online.

*On the heels of the successful 2009 National Bike Summit please note that the 2010 National Bike Summit is scheduled for March 9-11, 2010.

Bike Shops of the Year!
Congratulations to the 2008 Bike Shops of the Year!

Region 1: Belmont Wheelworks, San Mateo, CA
Region 2: Genesis Bicycles, Easton, PA
Region 3: Revolution Cycles, Arlington, VA
Region 4: American Cycle & Fitness, Commerce Twp., MI
Century Cycles, Peninsula, OH
HubBub Custom Bicycles- Cleveland, Ohio
Region 5: Bicycle Sport Shop, Austin, TX
Region 6: Bike Gallery, Portland, OR

The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of America's 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information or to support the League, visit www.bikeleague.org.

People, not speed.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ohio Helmet Law Proposed for Juveniles

It's come! Following the lead of other States of the Union, Ohio's House of Representatives has a helmet bill on its docket. HB 93 would require cyclists under the age of 18 to wear a helmet when operating a bike, OR if a passenger on a bike or bike trailer. Pretty simple.

If a ticket is issued but proof can later be given of the purchase of a sufficient helmet, the fine may be waived. And for the first year after passage, only a warning can be issued.

It specifically states that the fine may only be applied to cyclists and passengers operating on a roadway. I assume this means that sidewalk riders aren't included in the measure. Hopefully that's just kids learning to ride!

Malefactors would be fined $25.00. All money would go to a State Bicycle Safety Fund, to assist parents of low-income families in getting helmets for their kids, apparently.

The entire text of the bill can be seen here:

As Introduced

128th General Assembly
Regular Session

H. B. No. 93

Representative Skindell

Cosponsors: Representatives Murray, Letson, Harris, Phillips, Williams, S., Boyd, Domenick, Luckie, Chandler, Okey


To enact section 4511.531 of the Revised Code to require bicycle operators and passengers under 18 years of age to wear protective helmets when the bicycle is operated on a roadway and to establish the Bicycle Safety Fund to be used by the Department of Public Safety to assist low-income families in the purchase of bicycle helmets.


Section 1. That section 4511.531 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:

Sec. 4511.531. (A)(1) No person under eighteen years of age shall operate a bicycle on a roadway unless that person is wearing an approved helmet that is of good fit and is fastened securely on the person's head.

(2) No person under eighteen years of age shall be a passenger on a bicycle on a roadway, including as a passenger in a restraining seat or in a bicycle trailer, unless the person is wearing an approved helmet that is of good fit and is fastened securely on the person's head.

(B)(1) Whoever violates division (A) of this section shall be fined twenty-five dollars. The parent, guardian, or other person having custody of the offender is responsible for the payment of any fine imposed under this division.

(2) Upon receipt by the court of satisfactory proof that the offender has a protective helmet, the court may waive the fine for the violation.

(3) All fines collected for a violation of division (A) of this section shall be forwarded to the treasurer of state and credited to the bicycle safety fund, which is hereby created in the state treasury. The department of public safety shall use the money credited to the fund to assist low-income families in the purchase of approved bicycle helmets in accordance with guidelines the director of public safety shall establish. All investment earnings of the bicycle safety fund shall be credited to the fund.

(C) The provisions of this section or a violation of those provisions shall not be used as evidence in any civil action.

(D) As used in this section:

(1) "Approved helmet" means a helmet that meets or exceeds the standards for protective bicycle helmets established by the American national standards institute, the American society for testing and materials, or the Snell memorial foundation.

(2) "Low-income family" means a family with an income not exceeding the federal poverty guidelines as defined in section 5101.46 of the Revised Code.

Section 2. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, for the period of one year after the effective date of this act, no law enforcement officer shall issue a ticket, citation, or summons to a person who violates division (A) of section 4511.531 of the Revised Code. During that time, the law enforcement officer instead shall issue the person a written warning explaining the provisions of section 4511.531 of the Revised Code. The written warning may notify the person of the specific date, one year after the effective date of this act, when law enforcement officers shall begin enforcing the provisions of section 4511.531 of the Revised Code.

So... what do you think (he said, can opener firmly poised over can of worms)?

People, not speed.

Friday, March 27, 2009

BREAKING NEWS From 10TV: Michael Sonney's Killer Gets Four Years, License Revoked Permanently

Spencer Andrews, the driver who killed Michael Sonney and then left the scene of the crime, has been sentenced to four years of jail time. In addition, Andrews has had his license revoked permanently. Thanks to 10TV for the info (via Twitter).

What do you think? Too harsh? Not harsh enough?

People, not speed.

Friday Link-O-Rama - March 27, 2009

Columbus Underground - What's happening with bike parking in Columbus? What COULD be happening? Walker's got ideas...

People, not speed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Here Comes the Rain Again...

Sure, today it's beautiful out. But spring is coming, and there most certainly WILL be rain. So what do you do to keep on riding when it's pouring on you?

I put my rain gear into two categories: stuff I always bring with me, and stuff I bring when it's raining as I'm leaving for my ride.

First, one of my panniers always contains a rain cape. Many of you might call this a poncho, but it's a little different as it's designed for cyclists. It doesn't open up flat like a normal poncho, and it doesn't have armholes. What it does have, though, is a two little loops at the bottom front, on the inside, roughly handlebar-width apart. The idea is that you stick a couple of fingers through each loop and then grasp the handlebars. This keeps the rain cape from flapping up in front of you while you're riding. There's another loop on the back flap, on the inside, and near the bottom, that goes around your waist. This keeps the cape from flapping up in back as you're riding.

The whole thing folds up into a small bag, about the size of a can of pop. Very transportable and always available if you need it. It's good for a light rain, or a heavy rain if you're also wearing rain pants.

I also have fenders on my bike. The sport-cycling-focused American bike industry is famous for not putting things like fenders and chain guards on their bikes, and I found a pair of fenders from Planet Bike that work nicely!  They're light and easy to install, and they keep the water from spattering up and giving you a nice stripe along your rear.  

When it's raining as I leave for work, I wear a rain suit.  These don't have to be expensive at all to get a good one.  I have one that I bought from Columbia that was very inexpensive (and I still have it, eight years later).  My helmet fits over the hood so my hair stays dry, and it comes in bright yellow for visibility's sake.  This rain suit is also good for camping and the like, so it won't just be for cycling.  Multi-functional equipment is always nice.  

So, just because it's raining doesn't mean you have to stop riding!  Gear up properly and you'll be getting your ride in while everyone else is moping about rain-relatead traffic.  

People, not speed.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Consider Biking Newsletter - March 2009

cbus logo
Consider Biking Storms D.C.
March 20, 2009

Almost 600 bicycle advocates, including Consider Biking's Jeff Stephens, John Gideon, Tricia Kovacs, and Lois Moss, converged on Washington D.C. for the 9th annual National Bike Summit. The Summit, hosted by the League of American Bicyclists, is a chance for bike advocates to wear our neon-colored bike buttons and enter the halls of the Capitol to speak to our elected officials about the issues and bills that support the interests of cyclists here at home. And, prior to that critical "lobby day" we spent two days conferencing with our peers from across the country to network and learn of best practices to initiate in Central Ohio.
Why We Go & What We Accomplished
logoThis year's Summit was critical due to the impending authorization of the 6-year transportation funding bill, which provides the guidance and funding for bicycle-related projects at the local level. For the 20-year period of 1971-1991, only $41 million total made its way from the federal coffers to the local level for "alternative transportation enhancements." In the subsequent 15+ years, we've realized over $7 billion through the transportation funding package via the ISTEA, TEA-21, and SAFETEA-LU acts that mandate enhancements for our cause. But that's not enough.

With 13% of trips made by cycling and walking, and only a measly 1% of the total transportation funding allocated for these modes, and a transportation system in need of significant reform and re-allocation of investments, our cycling advocates from across the country have put all hands on deck to influence a 21st century funding model at this historical juncture. The good news, is that the stars are aligned at the federal level, with cycling-friendly people in positions of influence. And, history has demonstrated that the impact our peleton of 600 cyclists from 47 states has on our day of congressional visits, is noticed, and "heard!"

The Summit started on Tuesday, March 10 with Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN), the congressmen whose Safe Routes To Schools program has earned him accolades from the people-powered advocacy movement. Oberstar is the chairman of the House's Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where the aforementioned Transportation Funding process is created. We are blessed with Chairman Oberstar's leadership in this critical Committee. He understands our needs, because he is an avid recreational cyclist! We stopped by his office on lobby day, and noticed several pictures of Rep. Oberstar on one of his Trek bicycles, in addition to memorabilia from Lance Armstrong and other famous racers. Cool!

We also heard from the Bike program manager of Copenhagen, Denmark that first evening. The numbers and visuals are staggering. Cycling is just an everyday way of life as 36% of all trips are made by bike. But, what struck me, is that the cycling mode was "only" 10% just 20 years ago. So, the utopian image we have of many European cities such as Copenhagen, have not been "the way it's always been." Twenty years of investment in infrastructure and accommodations, have created the visuals we associate as cycling utopia. I walked away from that presentation with renewed hope that we could see significant change in our cycling environment and behavior in my lifetime. We've got to convince the establishment that re-allocating investments and reforming transportation systems will reap significant rewards.
The second day of the Summit began with a speech from President Obama's Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood. Secretary LaHood started his speech by ensuring us, "that we have a full partner in the US DOT in working toward livable communities." He promised that he and Obama, "will work toward an America where bikes are recognized to coexist with other modes and to safely share our roads and bridges." Wow....pinch me! Check out his blog for more hope. Here's the video of the speech.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) always makes frequent appearances throughout the Summit. Blumenauer, the cycling Congressman who rides to work every day, has made a name for himself as Capitol Hill's most active and passionate cycling ally. He is from Portland, after all. Blumenauer was the one behind last year's Bicycle Commuter Act, a benefits package that allows a $20 per month rebate to commuters that primarily ride to work. Here's his keynote speech. Later in the Summit, Blumenauer spoke of a budget meeting he had with President Obama, where the President said, "You mean there's not enough money for bikes?" Blumenauer paused and assured us that, "The big guy's on message." Big cheers!

And the stream of elected officials continued. We also heard from Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) who was rightfully proud of her district which includes Davis and Sacramento, two of the friendliest communities in the country for bicycles. Her speech is here. We also heard from Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) who proudly pulled his LAB membership card from his pocket to the cheers of all attendees. His speech is here. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), a co-sponsor of CLEAN-TEA Act, the new transportation enhancement funding mechanism, made an appearance at a Bikes Belong reception. This level of appearances by our elected officials, demonstrates that cyclists aren't a fringe element, rather a significant constituency with valuable input into the enhancement of our communities.

LAB OhioThe most significant day of the Summit is Thursday, the lobby day, where we visit our elected officials, or their staff, and provide information, education, and make specific asks. During the Wednesday evening rally of the entire 600 Summit attendees, the moderator said he was tired of hearing the successes of states like California, Colorado and Wisconsin. He indicated that Thursday's lobby day was much like a battle, and we had a few weak spots in our lines, that needed to "be held" until reinforcements could arrive. He said the most significant battle line was...you guessed it...Ohio!
We assume many that are reading this, saw Rep. Boehner's (R-OH) comments on "Meet the Press" last month indicating that constructing bike facilities were a waste of money. So, unfortunately, he's received a great deal of response from cycling advocates across the country. Ouch! For what it's worth, instead of piling on, Consider Biking helped the national bicycle advocacy organization, Bikes Belong, gather some realistic information and support from Ohio contractors to help educate Rep. Boehner that building bicycle accommodations IS a valuable job and economic development investment.

But, back to the Summit. Our Ohio delegation, was specifically called out to "hold the line." And, were' proud to say we did just that! Our meeting with Rep. Boehner's staff was respectful, and we were informed that he had heard an "amazing amount of feedback" from the cycling constituency in the past two months since his ill-advised statement to the national press. It was quite fun to walk the halls of Congress the rest of the day and high-five the other summit participants, and tell them, "We're holding the line in Ohio!"

Our Ohio delegation of six cyclists, had 13 scheduled meetings with Ohio Congress people, and did 8 more "drop-bys" visits to supply materials for the offices which couldn't schedule us in advance. As always, the face to face meetings with the actual elected official are always exciting. We met Senator Sherrod Brown and thanked him for his commitment to sustainable and green efforts, and suggested that he might be a co-sponsor for the reformed transportation funding bill. We met Rep. Steve LaTourette from northeast Ohio who is a huge proponent of passenger rail and transit. Our jaws dropped in amazement when he suggested that "there needs to be a totally separate pot of money to invest in rail, transit, bike and pedestrian infrastructure." We jokingly said, "Uhhh, that's on page #1 of our playbook." Surprises can be good.

And, lastly, we enjoyed great meetings with staff from the Central Ohio representatives, Tiberi, Kilroy and Austria. We touted the exciting cycling developments in Columbus and the Central Ohio region, and reinforced that our local leaders are keen to invest in cycling infrastructure if the federal transportation funding process provides support. It was also wonderful to share the developments that Consider Biking has made with the largest corporations in Central Ohio via our Corporate Caucus, and to indicate that we're working hard to enhance the public/private partnerships which will increase cycling accommodations, and improve the quality of life for our workers.

Wow, what a week in Washington D.C.! While there's much to do at the local and state level, this annual trip to Washington, is critical in our mission to promote bicycling in Central Ohio. Obviously, we need the support of the federal transportation funding to enhance our local needs. And, as we've seen in places like Portland, Chicago, and yes, Copenhagen, Denmark, if we advocate for the investments in cycling enhancements, we WILL see significant changes to our environment in our lifetime!
We hope you'll join us in Washington D.C. in March 2010!
Our Web Presence - What else are we working on?
Mpa processThank you for your patience during our organization's brief absence from the web. We are busy developing a resource intensive and engaging site to meet the needs of all cyclists in Central Ohio. Please stay tuned in the upcoming week as we launch Bike Month content. Our web site.
In the meantime, you might consider joining our Facebook Group or follow us on Twittter, for more frequent updates.

Other significant inititives we've been working on include:

  • working with Columbus to unveil a "Share the Road" campaign on High Street (May 11),
  • working with Leadership Columbus to develop "toolkits" to introduce to workplaces to encourage cycling to work,
  • planning our Bike to Work Week Celebration event (May 11),
  • planning BikeColumbus Tour with Mayor Coleman on May 30th,
  • planning the 6th annual Ride of Silence for May 20th,
  • extending our reach and influence to surrounding communities like Hilliard, Delaware, and Lancaster,
  • If you love bicycling, and would like to help, please contact us! Otherwise...stay tuned!

    Be Counted - Join Today!
    logo Consider Biking is a member-supported organization. We can only accomplish our goals through the support of our cycling constituents. There are over 130 peer organizations across the country, demonstrating a need for cycling advocacy groups. Many of these organizations have THOUSANDS of members, and benefit by the financial support, and the "body of cyclists" that stand behind them when they advocate for enhancements to cycling accommodation.

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

    You benefit by knowing we'll have the resources to fight for our needs. You'll benefit by knowing that we're working hard so you can "just ride." You'll benefit by knowing we partner with strong coalitions to advance the healthy movement of people, not just cars. You'll benefit by knowing we coordinate unique events that serve some of the dynamic segments of our cycling audience. And, you'll benefit by helping us become the primary information resource for bicyclists in Central Ohio.

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

    Information on membership

    Contact Information

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


    People, not speed.

    Friday, March 20, 2009

    Friday Link-O-Rama 3/20/2009

    Columbusite - Tells us about his meeting with city transportation officials to increase bike-friendliness for the Arena District, and also fills us in on some interesting bureaucratic challenges regarding who actually controls the streets downtown!

    BikeCommuters.com  - Now THIS is a commuter bike!  Steel frame, strong racks, full chain guard, dual kickstand... this bike was made to get on and GO!  

    Cyclelicious - When can Columbus schools start with a Freiker system?  Get those kids riding to school, Columbus!

    Orlando Bike Commuter Blog - Strategy for a Bicyclist-Friendly Community.  I like it!  

    Urban Velo - New book released:  Roadside Bicycle Repair (link below)

    People, not speed.

    Thursday, March 19, 2009

    "Cranksters" on WCRS Now Has All Shows Archived

    Zach Henkel of WCRS is the host of Cranksters, the best bicycling radio show in town!  And now WCRS has archived versions of all Zach's broadcasts available for your downloading pleasure.  

    And for those of you who are interested, his interview with me is on Episode 6... Enjoy!

    People, not speed.

    League of American Bicyclists President to Testify Before Congress Re: Climate Change

    The League of American Bicyclists sent out this special report today.. sounds interesting!

    March 19, 2009

    Special Edition

    League President to Testify Before Select Committee on Global Warming
    Washington, D.C. - March 19, 2009 -  Andy Clarke, President of theLeague of American Bicyclists, will speak at the Select Committee Energy Independence and Global Warming hearing titled "Constructing a Green Transportation Policy: Transit Modes and Infrastructure" today, March 19, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2203, Washington, D.C. Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Vice Chair Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) announced the hearing in response to Congress and the Obama administration's pressing agenda items -- global warming, clean energy and job-creating infrastructure projects. Clarke will discuss the considerable role cycling and walking can play in combating climate change and promoting energy independence. Footage of the hearing will be available here. Click here to view Clarke's written statement to the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

    People, not speed.

    Amazing Race Host's Cross-Country Ride to Go Through Columbus

    The host of America's best reality show, Phil Keoghan, is taking his Amazing Race to the highways of America, with a cross-country ride.  The goal is to raise awareness and funds for Multiple Sclerosis research.  And... he's stopping here in Columbus!

    Keep up with Phil's ride, which starts March 28, at the above link.  Also you can follow him Twitter at http://twitter.com/PhilKeoghan

    Good luck Phil!  You're supporting a great cause!

    People, not speed.

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009

    Cyclists May Be at Risk of Bone Density Loss

    Blogger's Note: The purpose of this post is not, obviously, to dissuade anyone from cycling. Rather, it's a heads-up for everyone to be aware of the issue before it becomes an issue for you.

    David at the Fredcast Cycling Podcast brought this story to my attention in his episode #115, and references an article in the Los Angeles Times.

    According to studies reported in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, avid or competitive cyclists are at increased risk for loss of bone density, making fractures due to falls more likely. This is because cycling is a low impact activity and doesn't put stress on bones that would make our bodies add density to them to compensate. Swimming is another sport that might make its participants suffer such a risk, but swimmers obviously don't have nearly the risk of a fall breaking a bone. The lower spine is particularly susceptible to this problem.

    Athletes in sports like running and cross-country skiing aren't affected by this as they are forced to support their weight much more than cyclists are, making their bodies reinforce their bones with minerals.

    Some other issues that might cause the problem are nutritional factors, as cyclists sweat out lots of important nutrients. There are possibly hormonal issues at play here, too.

    The result could be an increased risk of osteopenia - lowered bone mineral density, or osteoporosis - basically osteopenia taken to the extreme. This is similar to the bone conditions encountered in elderly people but is happening in people much younger.

    David (and I) would recommend that you mention this study to your doctor at your next visit, and see what sorts of solutions might be available. In the meantime, increased consumption of vitamin D and calcium can help.

    People, not speed.

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    League of American Bicyclists Newsletter - March 16, 2009

    March 16, 2009


    Thanks to everyone that was able to attend the National Bike Summit and to our sponsors who made the event possible. Below you'll see some of the reasons why this was the biggest and best Summit ever. 


    Andy Clarke,

    National News

    Record Number Attendeded 2009 Bike Summit!
    In total, 580 registrants from 47 states and four countries (Canada, Denmark, Czech Republic and the USA) visited more than 350 Congressional offices on Thursday, March 12. More than a hundred riders joined the snowy Congressional Bike Ride on Friday the 13th, with no ill-effects.  

    Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood addressed the opening plenary, noting that the DOT will be "a full partner in working toward livable communities". The Secretary was followed by Representatives Blumenauer (D-OR), Lipinski (D-IL) and Matsui (D-CA). Congressman Oberstar (D-MN) spoke at the Summit dinner, and Representatives Petri (R-WI), Coble (R-NC), McCaul (R-TX) and Kissell (D-NC) made remarks at the Congressional Breakfast or Reception. 
    The best coverage of the Summit, as always, can be found atwww.bikeportland.org. Presentations, including a video of Andreas Rohl's presentation from the City of Copenhagen will be available soon at www.bikeleague.org

    BikesPAC Event Draws Strong Bi-partisan Support
    Four US Senators and two Representatives attended a BikesPAC event hosted by Bikes Belong on Wednesday, March 11th. Senators Spector(R-PA), Alexander (R-TN), Udall (D-NM) and Merkley (D-OR) met with industry leaders and constituents, along with Representatives Matsui(D-CA) and Mica (R-FL). All had interesting tales of their personal connection to bicycling.  

    Complete Streets and CLEAN-TEA Bills Introduced
    Two National Bike Summit "asks" were introduced into Congress during Summit week. Both provide specific details on two key pieces of the America Bikes agenda: complete streets and linking climate change and transportation policy. 

    The Complete Streets Act of 2009
    S. 584, introduced by Senator Harkin
    H.R. 1443 introduced by Representative Matsui
    CLEAN-TEA: The Clean, Low-Emission Affordable, New Transportation Efficiency Act
    S. 575, introduced by Senators Carper and Specter
    H.R. 1329, introduced by Representatives Blumenauer, Tauscher and LaTourette
    Please ask your members of Congress to sign on as co-sponsors to this legislation. 

    State & Local News
    State News Updates
    Bicycle Colorado has set up a handy tracking page for no fewer than six bicycle-related bills they are tracking this session, including their Bicycle Safety Bill that may have a critical vote this week. The Iowa Bike Safety Bill passed the Senate and is now in the House. Maryland is making progress with a safe passing law that has passed the Senate and has a companion bill in the House. 

    League News
    34 New Bicycle Friendly Businesses Announced
    The League is proud to announce 34 new Bicycle Friendly Business award winners which includes our first platinum designations to New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colo. and Bike Gallery of Portland Ore. This is the second time BFB winners have been announced since the program's inception in 2008 when the League announced the first 13 designees. "We're delighted to highlight these great companies and the ways in which they are getting more people on bikes," stated League President Andy Clarke. "In today's challenging economic climate, businesses with healthy, happy and productive employees are going to be the most competitive and the most sustainable - the Bicycle Friendly Business program recognizes some of the best examples of this in practice." Click here to view all new 2009 BFB award winners. Click here to view 2008 BFB winners. 

    Smart Cycling Conference 2009
    The bi-annual League Education conference is ramping up, and it is destined to be a great one. The League's education program is in the middle of a complete overhaul. Since 2008, we've launched Traffic Skills 101, Traffic Skills 201, Group Riding, and completely revised our Commuter Student curriculum. What's left? Everything! Our kids manuals need to be redone, and our entire League Cycling Instructor Curriculum has to be overhauled. And we need your help!

    Come to San Jose this summer to talk about the best way to teach cyclists; to help the League continue to improve our curricula; and to hear news and updates from the foremost cycling educators in the world.

    We've lowered our fees by more than 30 percent this year. All fees increase by $100 after the earlybird deadline of May 1. 
    Register today!


    Bike New York Hiring
    Bike New York is hiring for two different seasonal, part time positions:
    Bicycle Education Associate, an office administration and logistical position requiring a valid driver's license and ability to accurately update our data-base and perform record keeping tasks.
    Summer Ride Leader / Instructor. Work with small groups of kids in a summer camp setting in New York City, teaching cycling skills and leading short bike rides.  
    Visit Bike New York.

    The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of America's 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information or to support the League, visitwww.bikeleague.org.

    People, not speed.