Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bike to Work- Guest Post

Thanks to Chris for his thoughts today:
The League of American Bicyclists is promoting Bike-to-Work Week from May 15-19 and Bike-to-Work Day on Friday, May 19. I apologize for being tardy with this post – hopefully there is still time for it to make a difference for someone.

To the Bicycle Racer:
This link is a call for all racing cyclists to get involved at a very low level, the personal level. This website/blog is the home of one of the newer racing teams in the DC area with a, shall we say, “unique” view of the commercialization of bicycle racing, specifically at the local level.

To the Current Bicycle Commuter:
Keep up the good work! Here are some resources to help make your commute more pleasant.
1. The League of American Bicyclists has put together some FREE information to help cyclists become more skilled.

2. Guaranteed Ride Home provides just that, a guaranteed ride home if you are committed to using carpool/bus/bike/walk two times per week. They commit to providing 5 free taxi rides or car rentals per year for members – and membership is FREE. Last year during the holiday season, I got a surprise $10 gift card in the mail just for being a member.

To the Parent of a School-Age Child:
Commuting doesn't just apply to grownups! The weather is beautiful, it's time to walk or ride bikes to school. The Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation is a local organization running the “Safe Routes to School Program,” and has information on various school-based programs.

To the Would-be Bicycle Commuter:
I am not going to lie to you. Bicycling in Charlottesville is tough. And balancing your effort versus speed so that you show up at work on time but not too sweaty is not easy also. However, I find that I have a greater appreciation for the historic architecture, character of individual neighborhoods, and wonderful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the seat of my bicycle. Plus it's a great way to get your U.S. Surgeon General recommended daily exercise. Safety in traffic is a big concern for commuters, since you are travelling at a peak hour for vehicle traffic. Get creative – find that trail, dirt road or parking lot that connects two neighborhoods to avoid the heavily travelled roads. Use Charlottesville and Albemarle County's almost-connected network of bike lanes. Here are a few suggetions/resources to get you going.
1. Spend less than $20 and get smooth (i mean no tread sticking up whatsoever) tires for riding your mountain bike on the road. This makes a huge difference in the amount of effort you'll need to exert.
2. Pick up the FREE Mobility Map free pickup at locations listed here

3. Get some tips on riding safely in traffic at this League of American Bicyclists website

4. Use Guaranteed Ride Home (mentioned above) if you end up commuting regularly

And some more fun reading to help you along
VA DOT bicycling resources
Charlottesville Area Bicycling Alliance

Do I practice what I am preaching?
And now for the fun part – self examination. Do I ride to work? Yes, but.. I got out of the habit this winter, and am working on eliminating my stock of excuses. I am committed to riding to work every day this week (rain or shine), and see nothing but good reasons to continue after this week (hopefully in perpetuity). Do I help others ride to work? I generally make my services available to anyone who asks, but.. I need to do more to proactively advertise my availability to others. I am sending an email to my coworkers to do just that. Am I involved in any advocacy organizations? No, but.. I am getting more involved in my neighborhood association to make our streets more biker & pedestrian friendly, I am writing this blog entry, and I am genuinely interested in advocacy on a local level (Charlottesville/Albemarle County area).

Hopefully this post will avoid the vitreol from 2003's bike to work day...


NYC Taxi Shots said...

bike everywhere

Kevin Cox said...

I usually walk 2.5 miles to work but every now and then I do bike. I wish you had not told potential commuters that biking is tough in Charlottesville. I don't think it's tough at all. It's a lot faster than walking and there are no parking hassles or gas to buy. Drivers have become much more tolerant than they used to be. Most slow down and yield and generally are understanding. There are still some jerks out there but it's not like it used to be. Regular encounters with bikes have encouraged people to accept them. I do wish that all bikers would obey the laws. It may be frustrating at times to follow laws that really are made for vehicles but drivers respect is a critical element in bike safety. If bikers blatantly break the laws then drivers won't be cooperative. More law abiding bikers will help make a safer, easier trip for all bikers. Rather than complain about the hills I have to ride up I like to think about the hills I get to fly down!

mckora said...

Cool stuff Chris!

Anonymous said...

A good map of bike lanes in C-ville is here.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the info on the map!