Thursday, July 29, 2010

"It's Not the Heat..."

"...it's the humidity!"  When I was working at a convenience store when I was younger, I nearly came unhinged every time I heard someone utter this from the other side of the counter.  But it's true.

And it's been a while since I did an update on what I'm wearing for my rides and what I do to clean up.  A couple folks on Twitter have asked about this with all the nasty sticky weather we've been having recently, and this seems like a great time to discuss this topic again.

First, what I wear.  We'll just go head-to-toe here.

Head: well, a helmet, right?  And a pair of cycling glasses.  They'll keep the wind and dust out of your eyes.  TIP:  When you get to a stop (you DO stop at stop signs and lights, right?), pull your glasses down to the end of your nose so that they don't fog up.  Then as the light changes and you're pushing off, push them back up.

Torso: I always wear an UnderArmour or some other type of technical shirt.  It's cool, loose, and breathes easily.  Plus, it dries quickly during the day so that I'm not putting on a damp shirt to go home.  Avoid pure cotton if you can - that'll just keep you soggy the entire ride and take forever to dry.  No one likes to put on a damp t-shirt to go home in.

Pearl Izumi Vagabond Jacket, XL, Screaming Yellow/Shadow GreyI also wear my Pearl Izumi Vagabond jacket with the sleeves pulled off to make it a vest (the sleeves come off as one of the features).  It breathes pretty well, and the visibility is awesome.  You could also just wear a reflective vest which would cost a lot less.  And it's got some pockets for keys so that they're not jangling around in your shorts (if you're like me and already carry too much stuff in your pockets).

Below-The-Waist: Okay, to answer the question ladies have been asking for years, I'm a boxer-briefs man.  And the boxer-briefs I like most are, once again, from UnderArmour.  They keep their shape, dry quickly, and wick the sweat away from... yeah, those parts.  I've recently tried out a pair of boxer-briefs from Slix as well with good results, we'll keep you posted on that.  Once again, cotton is bad, for the same reasons it is in t-shirts.  An added nasty bonus is that when it is dry it'll be stretched out and bunched up and uncomfortable.

Over that I just wear a pair of shorts - usually cargo shorts because I like the pockets.  My bike has a pretty wide, padded saddle and I don't need padded shorts for my ride every day (about 11 miles round trip).  If your bike DOES have a more racing-style saddle and you want the padding, I suggest something a little more like this - still has pockets for convenience but also has the padding to keep you comfortable. I wore a pair like this for the recent BikeColumbus Festival Mayor's Twilight Ride and they were great.

Feet:  My bike does not have clipless pedals, so I just wear a pair of stiff-soled sandals (what my wife calls "Mandals.").  Stiffer soles make riding more efficient, and these particular sandals help keep debris away from my feet as well as help me avoid stubbing toes, etc.  And they're nice and cool.

And that's it.  I have two panniers, one to hold my work clothes and extra gear I like to have along on my commute (a rain cape, small towel, and some extra tubes and the like) and one that doubles as a messenger bag/briefcase for my work stuff.

As far as cleaning up, I don't have a shower or locker rooms available where I work so I use Action Wipes.  The link gives you my review of these gems, and they're well-worth it.  Two things I'll add to the review: they also come in single-packs now if you just want to toss a couple into your saddle bag or keep them in your briefcase.  Very convenient.  And keep a couple used ones around in a baggie or something when you're done - because for my money, nothing gets bike grease off you as well as an Action Wipe.

And for the final step, have a small desk fan in your office/cube/whatever if possible.  A few minutes sitting in front of that will cool you down nicely.  Seriously - I perspire rather heavily and it gets me cool quickly.

So there you are - the update on what I'm wearing and how I'm getting clean and ready for work.

What tips do you have for new riders on what to wear and how to clean up?  Share it in the comments!  

People, not speed.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

St. Louis Area County Bike Ban Proposal - What Can We Learn?

A number of blogs and other cycling news outlets have reported on a proposed bicycling ban in St. Charles County in Missouri.  Council member Joe Brazil has proposed this ban which will come up for a vote Monday in the county.

Yes, it's the wrong Band-Aid on the problem, and I'm not going to get into whether it's wrong, stupid, anti-progress, or what have you.  It is all of those things.

But what can we learn from this?  Fritz at Cyclelicious listed a number of talking points for this bill for those who might be calling their county representatives in Missouri to combat this bill, and this one struck home for me:
Brazil says he is addressing a common constituent complaint. “I get more complaints about this single issue than any other issue,” he says. Since Brazil is acting on constituent feedback, it’s time for St. Charles County cyclists to flood their representative inboxes with complaints about dangerous traffic on county roads and demand controls on the motor vehicles creating the hazards. Anybody driving 55 mph on a 2 lane road when the corn is more than knee high is driving too fast for safety.
St. Charles County is probably not the only county in America where people are complaining about more cyclists being on the roads.  Whether they're riding for recreation or using their bikes to get from A to B, cyclists are becoming more prevalent as people get more conscious about health and how driving isn't the way to stay healthy.  And people also want to avoid paying for gas - whether because of financial reasons or ethical reasons .  There are plenty of other reasons.  

So perhaps what needs to happen is for cyclists to go on the offensive.  Perhaps cyclists need to badger their government representatives with complaints about road quality, speed limits being too high, dangerous drivers' habits, what have you.  Take the momentum away from the motorists who are complaining about our presences and let our government officials know that we, as taxpayers who pay for roads, have a right to operate on the roads safely and completely, regardless of whether someone painted some lines and a picture of a bike on the road.

If we're able to flood our officials' offices with calls about what WE find dangerous about our roads, we can take the upper hand and let those officials know that 1) we're out there, 2) we have rights to the roads, too, 3) that we vote for our officials just like everyone else, and 4) that safety for everyone is more important than motorists being inconvenienced for whole seconds at a time!  And we'll take some of the wind out of the sails of the motorists who are complaining about us by turning the tables on them, in a way that's likely to get things done.

Thoughts?

People, not speed.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

BikeColumbus Festival extends registration deadline for events

Looking to take part in the BikeColumbus Festival but haven't gotten your registration in for one or more of the events yet? Fear not - the online registration period has been EXTENDED to Thursday noon.

After that point, riders will need to register at the event (and pay $5.00 extra for the privilege of joining the rides!).

Plenty more information follows from Consider Biking:

BikeColumbus Pre-Registration Discount until noon Thursday!

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Wow....the registrations for BikeColumbus events have been pouring in the last few days. The weather forecast looks great - We're gearing up for a great weekend!

We've extended the pre-registration discount until Thursday noon. We'll turn off the on-line registration at that point...and, you'll pay an extra $5 if you register on-site at the events on Friday or Saturday.

Pre-registering helps us plan the food, supply and volunteer needs. Plus...it saves you a few bucks. Won't you please register now?

If you register on-site, we'll only be able to accept cash and checks. No credit cards.

Both the Mayor's Twilight Ride and the Barbour Memorial Ride are fully supported events. Through the generous sponsorship of our partners....you'll have a wonderful experience that includes marked routes, course marshals, food, music, and tons of great goodies. You'll get MORE THAN YOUR MONEY'S WORTH....and you'll rest assured that the proceeds will support bicycling safety and awareness programs. 'bout time, eh?

And INEEDA Bike Swap is bursting at the seams with vendors and individsuals bringing their bikes, parts & accessories to sell. There's still a limited amount of selling space available...if you have stuff to sell....please register soon.

Read on below for a few last minute pieces of information. We look forward to your participation this weekend!

Last Minute Bike Festival Fact Sheet / FAQs

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Twilight Ride, Friday July 16th; 6-10 pm

Where is the event? Columbus Crew Stadium; 1 Black and Gold Blvd; Columbus, OH 43211

Where do I park? Parking is Free at Crew Stadium. For lot specifics, click here.

What time do we start?

  • Please join us for pre-ride festivities starting at 6 pm or come as early as 3 pm and enjoy the Ineedabike Swap activities.
  • Whether you choose the 20 mile route or the 9 mile neighborhood ride, both will get started at 8 pm.
  • We'll have the riders for the longer ride start first, then the 9 mile ride so we can assist riders along the route of their choosing.
  • Thanks to the Westerville Bike Club and others, we will have plenty of volunteers along the route to keep riders safe and to assure everyone makes the correct turns.

Where are the rest and food stops? Rest stop for 20 mile ride at McFerson Commons, 218 West Street at the Union Arch. Beverages, snacks. Light meal for both rides, Crew Stadium.

The fun of any ride is the Goody Bag, what SWAG can we expect? At the event...

  • Please visit the Crew table to pick up your hat and Crew Game Ticket which is free to registered riders. The game date is August 28 versus FC Dallas.
  • Get pumped for the Twilight ride by visiting the TREK table and get your cool bicycle blinkie tail light!
  • When you check in, we'll have you sign an emergency contact form and you'll receive a goody bag with a few more surprises.

Our Requests:

  • This is a ride at Twilight, so take steps to "Be Seen" like using a bike light, even a flashlight and duct tape works! Wear reflective clothing and maybe even get creative with glow sticks and such!
  • Adults and Youth must wear helmets. (If needed, loaner helmets will be available.)  Let's demonstrate rider safety as we're Cranking it Up through the streets of Columbus!  


Steve Barbour Memorial Tour, Saturday July 17th; 7 am - 5 pm

Where is the event? Downtown Columbus, McFerson Commons, 218 West St, Columbus, OH 43215  (The park with the Union Station Arch on Nationwide Blvd)

Where do I park? Arena District parking (pre-paid pass available)

What should I bring with me?

  • Your Registration Packet with maps / cue sheets and WRISTBAND provided.
  • Please Don't Forget your HELMET!
  • Always a good idea to carry a form of ID, (when bicycling)
  • Bike and Bike gear, i.e. Shoes, Spare Tube, Sun Protection, and potentially rain jacket / gear (DOW)
  • Water Bottle(s) for bike  *Water provided at Park

Can I bring a Friend or Family Member to ride with me? Yes, "Day of Ride" signups for all routes are available from 7:00am to 9:00am at the Registration Tent. You can also sign up prior to Day of Ride at any of the three Columbus BikeSource locations. If desired, please have Friend or Family Member arrive in plenty of time to leave with you. Let them know to bring $30.00 for "Day of Ride" Registration fee.

What time do I need to be ready to ride?

  • Rider Check In: 7:00am - 9:00am
  • Early Light Breakfast Snacks & Coffee Provided

Will all route distances be leaving at the same time? No, the scheduled start times for the 4) Route Options are:

  • 200K and 150K Rider Start: 7:30am
  • 100K Rider Start: 8:30am
  • 50K Rider Start: 9:30am

What is the easiest way to follow the route I have chosen? You will have multiple methods to KEEP YOU ON the Route!

  • Road Markings - All routes will have road markings that are visible in the form of WHITE painted stamps (see Signs at Registration Tent on Day of Ride). The flame at the end of the candlestick will mark the direction of your route, with any route turnoffs clearly identified.
  • Maps - Provided in your Reg. packet.
  • Cue Sheets - Provided in your Reg. packet.

Where are the Lunch/Snack Stops?

  • Lockbourne: YMCA Hoover Park - Available to 50K Riders ONLY
    Hours of Operation: 10:00am - 2:00pm
  • Circleville: Ted Lewis Park - Available to 100K Riders for Lunch Stop & 150K, 200K Riders for a Lunch and Return Snack Stop
    Hours of Operation: 9:00am - 5:00pm
  • Adelphi: Adelphi United Methodist Church - 200K Rider Lunch Stop ONLY
    Hours of Operation: 10:30am - 2:00pm

If I do one of the Barbour Memorial shorter routes, will I need to find transportation back to McFerson? No, all routes regardless of distance will START and END at McFerson Commons in the Arena District and will be round trip loops. There is a small portion of the return route (except 50K) that will overlap the same route out of Ted Lewis Park. The split for the return route is at S. Bloomfield Royalton. You simply stay on Walnut Creek for the return loop back into Columbus. (See Cue Sheets for exact turn by turn directions.)

There will be Support Vehicles (SAGs) driving all routes in order to assist you with any help you may need.

What happens if I get a flat tire while on the Ride? The Steve Barbour Memorial Tour is a fully supported ride with coverage for mechanical failures and other minor incidents via our SAG vehicles to make sure you arrive back to McFerson Commons park safely.

How do I identify a SAG vehicle should I need assistance? Look for large SAG magnetic signs on the SAG vehicles along the route. They are experienced support personnel and will be on the lookout for any mechanical or rider malfunctions.

What happens after we complete our 1rst BikeColumbus, Steve Barbour Memorial Tour?
Return to McFerson Park to enjoy the festivities of the day with a nice relaxing massage to ease those achy muscles, pickup your BikeSource / Specialized ice cold water bottle directly in front of the Arch, a bottle of EAS Myoplex or sample of MonaVie. Scamper over into the park for a delicious bite to eat while enjoying the camaraderie of your fellow cyclists for a "ride well done" and a thank you from Consider Biking, BikeSource and Columbus Outdoor Pursuits for your participation and support.

How do I make a donation to the Steve Barbour Memorial fund? Please make all checks payable to: Consider Biking with Steve Barbour Memorial Fund in the Memo line. You will receive a receipt for your donation within 4) weeks.


Ineeda Bike Swap, Friday July 16th; 3 pm - 7 pm

Where is the SWAP? VIP Tent on the plaza at Columbus Crew Stadium; 1 Black and Gold Blvd; Columbus, OH 43211

What is it? Bicycling buyers and sellers unite! For buyers, the Ineeda Bike Swap is your chance to find deals on the parts, bikes, and accessories you need to keep rolling. For sellers, you can lighten your gear load and make someone's day by offering great stuff. Don't miss this great event packed with private sellers, big name bike shops, educational seminars, plus food and beverages!

Who is selling? An updated list of the vendors can be viewed here.


Garrett Wonders Criterium, Sunday August 1, 12 - 7 pm

The Garrett Wonders Criterium is an exciting race which transforms the Downtown riverfront District into a bicycle racing wonderland for everyone from beginners to professionals.

Details and Registration link can be viewed here.


Other Questions:

What will be done with the money that is raised from the Bike Columbus Festival? All proceeds from the various events will support bicycling initiatives via two organizations:

  1. The Institute for Active Living at Columbus Public Health works to increase access to physical activity and nutritious food, to tackle the childhood obesity epidemic. It supports everthing from community gardens and local food systems to physical fitness equipment and bike safety. Consider Biking will use proceeds to support safety and awareness campaigns for cyclists on our roads.
  2. The Steve Barbour Memorial Fund will be used to provide education, encouragement and infrastructure needs to increase safety of bicyclists on our roads.

I have friends/relatives/coworkers who are interested, What should they do? We have online registration open until late on Wednesday July 14 or folks can register onsite for $30 for either ride (or $50 for the combo of Twilight + Barbour Memorial Tour). For further details, click here.

Cash and Checks are the only acceptable payment methods onsite, please plan accordingly.

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Contact the Festival Team

For more information about the BikeColumbus Festival, you can reach us by phone or email.

Phone: Consider Biking @ 614-447-8894 (weekdays 9am - 6pm)

Barb Seckler @ 614-645-4798 (weekdays 8am - 6pm)

Email: bikecolsfest@considerbiking.org or bjseckler@columbus.gov

Web: www.considerbiking.org & www.bikecolumbusfestival.com

Further Consider Biking Contact Information

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Web site - www.considerbiking.org

Facebook - Facebook Page

Twitter - Considerbikeoh

Office Phone -(614) 447-8893

Executive Director, Jeff Stephens - jeff@considerbiking.org

2 by 2012 Campaign Manager, Bryan Saums - bryan@considerbiking.org

Membership & Events, Suzanne Birk - suzanne@considerbiking.org

Operations, Jody Dzuranin - jodydz@considerbiking.org

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People, not speed.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

More Swag Coming Your Way!

Yesterday, I gave away a Columbus Marathon MP3 player armband that the good folks at the Marathon supplied for me.  I got home last night, and found that they'd dropped off THREE of them, not just one!  So, to get you ready for RunFest on Saturday, we'll give away the other two today.

So the first question today: who was the first person I interviewed here on Bike Commuting in Columbus? Again, if you know the answer,  email it to me, or visit our Facebook page and leave me a message!

As soon as we have winner #2 in the books, we'll release the question for the third and final armband!

BINGO! We have yet another winner - Scott (that's all he identified himself as) figured out that the first interviewee we had here was Meredith Joy of Yay Bikes!

And now, for our final Columbus Marathon armband... who can tell me why I told people NOT to bike to work?  


2:10 PM - And we have our final winner - Alec Fleschner found that I told you not to bike to work when it's -3 degrees outside, back in February of 2007!

So congratulations to Mark, Scott, and Alec.  Your armbands will be headed your way soon.  And thanks everyone else for playing!

People, not speed.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Columbus Marathon Invites You to RunFest 2010

Blogger's note: This is a bit off topic, but the health-minded bike commuter might also be interested in other means of attaining fitness for cross-training or personal goal achievement, so I thought this appropriate.

The Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon is inviting you to RunFest, to be held at the Frog, Bear and Wild Boar in the Arena District on July 10th from 1:00-4:00 PM.

RunFest is a celebration of fitness, and is the official kick-off for the 2010 Columbus Marathon. They'll have resources on hand for people who want to know more about training for the marathon or running in general. With free food and soft drinks, live music by Double Barrel and lots of giveaways ($1,000 in running store gift cards and free marathon entry for life), this is definitely going to be a fun afternoon!

The invite and further information is on Facebook (same link as above), but no RSVP is required for the event.

In addition, I'm giving away a free Columbus Marathon MP3 Player armband to the first reader who can find the following information on this blog:  what was the first bicycle I ever owned?  Email the answer to me here!

Note:  WE HAVE A WINNER!  Mark Nye of Columbus was correct in his guess of a red Schwinn Bantam.  He'll be receiving the Columbus Marathon armband as soon as I get it from the Marathon folks!  Thanks to everyone for playing!  

People, not speed.