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Archive for November, 2012

One of the handful of phrases a bunch of us learned last night at the ‘2 Wheels & Heels’ Columbus Ladies Night.  Last night, I organized this month’s ‘2 Wheels’ event at Paradise Garage.  A handful of ladies have brought up how much they would love to learn more about their bikes.  So, with winter surely upon us, why not learn the basics about your bike so that you can be prepared and as safe as possible.

Emily and Sara of Paradise Garage were pumped to educate these women.  Immediately, when I walked into the shop, I felt comfortable and welcomed as I always do at Paradise.  Women of all ages and backgrounds started showing up and the ‘meet and greet’ hour began.  Right around seven, twelve of us women went into the back repair area where chairs and pairs of tire levers were laid out for all of us.  The backroom setup was immediately inviting and it made me even more eager for the education session to begin.

The 1.5 hr session went through everything from PSI pressure, to brake pads, to chain lube, frayed cables, to learning how to fix a flat.  Fantastic questions were asked throughout the entire session.  I would look around and see women taking notes and being completely focused on what Emily or Sara were saying.

After the session, the girls changed a few flats and realized how easy it is to take the back wheel off if you have your chain in the smallest ring 🙂  It was such an empowering evening for everyone and again, SUCH a comfortable and inviting environment.  If all bike shops provided this type of comfortable and relaxed feel, women feeling intimidated when in bike shops would be minuscule.

Last night was another absolute pleasure.  Enjoy these incredible and empowering pictures.

Be safe and keep riding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So, the weather has been a bit of a roller coaster for us.  I personally love it that its mid – high 50’s during these months.  It makes winter less ‘meh’ for me.  Every year I think I say, ‘I need to move’ and each year its been staying milder and milder so we’ll see.

Anywho, through out the awesome rides we’ve done, I’ve asked a handful of ladies if they’d appreciate a ‘basic mechanics’ class and each of them RAVED.  So, before winter DOES hit (if it does), I thought it would be swell to hold a little class for ladies to get to know their bicycles a little more.  Like I always say ‘knowledge is power.’

This Wed. we’ll convene at the lovely Paradise Garage in the Short North where I asked a couple of my favorite bicycle ladies to teach the ladies a thing or two.  We’ll meet at our usual time – 6pm at Paradise Garage.  You can bring your bike or not.  There is a parking lot just South of Paradise Garage as well.

If you have any questions, shoot me an email.  My email address is found under the ‘About’ tab of my blog.

Be safe and keep riding!

New air pumps have been installed at certain bike shelters around Cbus.  I LOVE it.

 

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Opinions are like assholes – everyone has one.  When it comes to bicycle infrastructure, assholes seem to be the reigning force.  I, of course have my opinions as well.  However, a big deal for me when I discuss my ‘opinions’ is that I do the research first.  I ride the current topic of infrastructure discussion instead of just ‘winging’ it.  I’ll go to that area, ride around, sit and look at human interactions with that area, desire lines, parking, signage, lighting, speeding, speeding, and speeding.  Once, I’ve finished my research, I’ll make my conclusions and give my ‘opinion.’  I’d rather give you m opinion based on actual experience than sitting behind a desk and thinking I know what I’m talking about b/c I live in the next neighborhood over and drive through it everyday.

Change is the number one constant in life.  People HATE change.  People get really sensitive when you come into their neighborhoods advocating for better streets; safer and slower streets.  I’m car-free and so are many of my friends and more and more are choosing to take this way of life.  I can’t live in all neighborhoods but I sure as hell bicycle through many of them.

I don’t think I need to remind anyone who reads this that we have an obesity issue here in our city; adults AND kids.  When it comes to playing outside, its night and day difference when I was young.  Its sad.  I work with youth therefore, I’m attending Elementary Schools and Middle Schools regularly and there are days I’ll get home and just become a pile of sadness b/c of how overweight some third grader is and they are already getting their fair share of fellow student heckling.

Our streets in our neighborhoods need to be updated so families and kids can feel safe playing and WANT to be outside.  Bicycle infrastructure helps.

If you all have been asleep with regards to what I’m passionate about, open your eyes and read this:  I’m passionate about making our streets enjoyable, slower, and safer in order for more families and women to feel confident enough to make the choice to ride their bikes to the YMCA instead of driving (arbitrary destination I chose).

Engineers still design roads in the mindset of men, why – b/c most engineers ARE men.  Another profession still heavily dominated by men.  We need to alter that to where they are thinking:  Will my grandmother feel safe riding this street to get to church?  Can Molly take her two kids on this street to get to Magic Mountain?  8 to 80 – the age range that engineers need to have burned in their brains when redesigning streets.

So…..  along with my bigger ‘2 Wheels & Heels’ ladies ride, I’ve come up with another more intimate ride.  Lots of new infrastructure is being built here in Columbus and a lot MORE will be popping up -very soon.  I thought a good idea would be to take small and intimate groups of women to experience the new infrastructure around town.  I take them there, we ride and then at the end we discuss.  They discuss.  They tell me how THEY feel – as mothers, as sisters, as grandmothers – as WOMEN.  I actually write up their experience as detailed as I remember and submit them to our city engineers which they HIGHLY appreciate.

This recent ride was experiencing the newly built and very contested Tamarack Circle roundabout bike lanes.  Residents are saying that congestion is happening b/c a travel lane has been removed in order to have a dedicated bike lane built.

I’m from this area, I was raised on the north side of town.  When the new infrastructure was built, my mum drove me over here so that I could see it.  Again, driving next to it and actually experiencing it – two different animals.

So, this past Tuesday, myself and four other women were able to make time and ride over to the area to get a feel of this new infrastructure.  We parked at the YMCA and rode down the new lanes on Sandalwood and then took our time and rode the roundabout. The final result in our evening was overwhelmingly unanimous.  The ladies were extremely pleased with the infrastructure.  The bike lanes were a comfortable six feet in width.  There is a buffer throughout the roundabout that separates the parked cars from the bicycle lane.  That buffer is a comfortable six feet.  This gives not only the person on a bike comfort that they won’t be door’d but it gives peace of mind to the driver who gets out of their car as they have ample room to get out and not immediately be in the bike lane and worry about any conflicts.  The cars were courteous.  They slowed and yielded to us when they needed to make any right turns.

I think the successor of the evening was the buffer.  Normally, you see three feet buffers between parked car lanes, bike lanes, and / or travel lanes so have six feet of buffer was like riding on puffy clouds.  Buffers give off that extra sense of safety that so many folks are looking for.  Again, this isn’t just directed towards people on bikes, its directed towards the drivers exiting / entering their cars as well. The drivers who need to keep their door open to strap in their child to the backseat child seat.  Even with three foot buffers (which is about the length of a car door) they don’t need to feel rushed in order to not impede a bike lane.

We all rode with leisure.  We rode slow, with no feeling of having to ‘hurry up’ for the cars behind us.  I rode with my hand in my back pocket.  We took our time and laughed.  When you create streets in which people riding bikes can ENJOY, that street then becomes a  destination.  And yes, the street will be the destination and not a ‘pass through.’  That’s what makes city streets come alive – when you make the streets themselves a destination place of their own.

Be safe and keep riding

The lovely ladies who joined me.  Thank you

 

Shot of the six foot wide bike lane down Sandalwood.  ROOMY

 

Clearly marked.  Proper boundary width.

 

Entering Tamarack roundabout

 

You can see above the parking lane and the six foot wide buffer and the bike lane.

 

We all pulled over and discussed how we were feeling and now we’re hoppin’ back on our bikes.

 

 

A shot of the girls with a car next to them.

 

Six foot bike lane with the buffer to the right

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I was headed home after a meeting this morning and waiting at a red light, on the corner of 4th and Gay St. I noticed a bike locker!  It was totally  unexpected and put a smile on my face.  I immediately dismounted my bike, walked across the crosswalk and checked it out.  I took a few pics (see below) and was just really delighted about another piece of bike visibility in our downtown area.

I also thought it was very smart that the orange people on bikes branding is the same as the ones on the top of some of the bike shelters in downtown Columbus.  Its those little things that matter.  Consistency is key.

These bike lockers have been provided by the downtown Special Improvement District (SID).  You should see them peppered on corners here and there.  The bike locker is free to use, you just need to make sure you bring your lock.  The downside is that not all bikes will fit in these lockers.  More upright bikes will not fit.

Stay warm, be safe and keep riding.

 

 

 

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I’m all for promoting GOOD music.  What makes this blog post a little different is that not only do The Infamous Stringdusters jam out and push their limits way beyond Bluegrass, they are bike enthusiasts!  Yep, whenever they have time, they are riding bicycles!  So, how can I not promote them.  I LOVE that.

Their deluxe edition ‘Silver Sky’ was just released in Oct. and its taking off.  Check it out:  http://thestringdusters.com/site/home/

Do you want to Win 2 tickets to see the Infamous Stringdusters? They are a great bicycle-friendly band, playing in Columbus at the Basement on Thursday, Nov. 15th.

Here’s how to win 2 tickets from WCBE 90.5 FM:

1) Like the WCBE Facebook Page
2) Then post “Infamous Stringdusters with a tag for Consider Biking.
3) Cross your fingers and wait to hear from WCBE!
We will announce the winner a few days before the show!
I’ll leave you with a few photos of these awesome guys on bicycles and jamming out!
Be safe and keep riding!
Travis, ready to ride!

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Simple.  Concise.  Clear.  Exercise the freedom you were given to make change.  VOTE

Be safe and keep riding.

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