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Bike Day–Bike Month–Bike Time

15 May

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bikesI’ve been around awhile. I’m in the 25th year of my biking life – part 2. Part 1 lasted from around the age of 5 to about age 22 and part 2 started in my mid-30’s and is still going strong. Suffice to say, I’ve spent a big part of my life biking.

I’ve ridden when it was common and all my friends did it – childhood –  and when hardly anyone else did – including none of my friends or anyone else I knew for that matter. I rode when it was rare to see an adult on a bike, and even rarer to see an adult female.  Probably the “where” I lived and biked (Oklahoma) also had a lot to do with my solitary experience as a bike rider.

Nevertheless here we are in 2015 and bikes are common. Heck, bikes are cool! And it’s not just the cool kids riding – young, old, female, male, rich and poor alike are riding in record numbers. Granted not as many females, but the numbers are growing, and most riders are still white, but that’s improving too.

I see many more people riding bikes now than any other year I can remember. I read and hear more about bicycling than at any other time I can recall. More cities and states are developing bicycle master plans, incorporating Complete Streets concepts into road plans and improvements, discussing and planning how to make their cities and communities more hospitable for people. In the past many of these conversations and efforts focused on finding more space for vehicles.

Look at bike share. Every major city in the U.S. and many not so major cities have bike share programs now. According to Grist, “the combined fleet of shared bikes in the United States grew to above 18,000 (in 2013), more than a doubling since the start of the year (2013)”.  Many colleges and universities also have bike share programs.

For some individuals the first time they get back on a bike as adults is renting a bike through bike share, and for some of them no doubt, it is just the beginning.

Things are looking up for bikes and those of us who love riding and for those of you who would like to ride but haven’t taken that step – foot on the pedal if you will – yet. A recent study that I can’t put my hands on at the moment found that 1/3rd of the respondents who did not presently bicycle stated they would like to but hadn’t because they didn’t feel safe.

Imagine if the number of people biking grew by 33%! Safety would improve, studies have repeatedly shown the more people bicycling the safer it is for all us. Infrastructure would improve, bicyclists would have a larger voice and demand and support programs and people who supported bicycling. Many of the health related problems facing us would improve – obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression, to name a few.

The numbers of Americans commuting by bike has certainly grown. According to League of American Bicyclists, “since 2005, states have seen, on average, a 46% increase in the share of people commuting by bike”.

 

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Today is Bike to Work Day, this month is National Bike Month and this year has more people on bikes than in previous years – and most importantly – it hasn’t peaked and things are still improving. No doubt there is still much to do. We are in the infancy stage of creating an equal status for bicyclists, and pedestrians too, on our streets and roads, in our communities, but we should also take time to celebrate the gains we have made.

We’ve come a long way baby!

Rethinking Streets

1 May

Rethinking Streets, An Evidence-Based Guide to 25 Complete Street Transformations, available free in PDF and hard copy format, is a book detailing 25 complete streets projects from around the U.S. The following article discussing the book is from Planetizen.

The book written by, Marc Schlossberg, John Rowell, Dave Amos, and Kelly Sanford, may be downloaded here.


“Rethinking Streets,” a new report by the University of Oregon’s Sustainable Cities Initiative, provides detailed information on 25 complete streets and streetscaping projects. It is available free in PDF and hard copy format.
It’s time to rethink the street.

For too long we’ve been building streets as though they have one function–to move cars quickly. The reality is that streets can to do more than just move cars. They can move people on foot, on bikes, on transit, without hurting vehicular throughput and safety. They can be more than a way to get somewhere else. Good streets are good places, too – public places where people meet, sit and socialize, conduct business, wander about, play, and more.

This new book uses evidence from completed street projects from around the United States in order to help communities imagine alternative futures for their streets. The book does not show hypothetical street re-designs, but actual examples from typical communities to show how they did what they did and see what resulted from the change.

 

Take the Pledge

27 Mar

Take the pledge to ride a bike each and every day in the month of April. May is Bike to Work (and School) month, but April has become ride your bike month. I took the pledge by signing up at 30 Days of Biking.

By taking the pledge, we agree to bike every single day in the month of April – no matter how long or short the ride is – the point is to just RIDE.

I’m not actually sure I’ll be able to ride every single day because we’re going to be traveling in April and although it’s a bike tour I don’t know if we’ll have access to bikes each and every day we’re away.

My attitude is if I have a way to ride, I’ll have the will! One thing is for sure, by taking the pledge I’ll bike more than I normally would.

What do you have to lose, why don’t you take the pledge.

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Happy New Year!

2 Jan

new-year-image2013 is the fourth year we’ve rung in together!

Like many of you this is the time I set resolutions/goals for the new year and check to see what I accomplished (and didn’t) with the goals/resolutions I set in the year just ending.

I fell short of my mileage goal for 2012 (3200 miles was my goal, finished with 2961) which has made me more focused not to let it happen again. I typically do everything in my power to make sure I hit my mileage goals – usually picking up the pace in the latter part of the year and meeting or surpassing them. That didn’t happen this year (with cycling, running I exceeded my goal but who cares) which motivates me even more to do better this year.

Additionally, I’m thinking about what I want to do here on All for the Love of Bikes which I’ll discuss later on.

Stupidly perhaps, I increased my mileage goal to 3500 miles for 2013. That’s an average of just over 67 miles a week, I know it’s doable, I’ve done much more than that in the past – I just have to create more opportunities to ride.

One way to do that is to ride when I’m running errands close in, commuting to my volunteer “job” and by doing many other short rides. Biking for me in the past centered on long fitness rides. Last year I changed that somewhat by doing more short, half an hour or so rides and more commutes, but I need to do it more regularly.

Why not? I enjoy riding, it’s good for me and the more of us out there riding, particularly dressed like “Jane Q Public” and not like “Cyclist Jane” the more inclined other’s will be to ride. It is a proven fact that more people riding results in – well… more people riding. A wonderful cycle of cycling!

What about you, have you set any riding goals for this year? Want to share your goals here – we’d all love to hear them.

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For the Love of Bikes Blog by Susan Lash (2009 - 2014) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.loveofbikes.com.