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Dear Santa

1 Dec

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This fantastic letter/article is by Rachel Ruhlen, from the Hannibal Courier–Post, Hannibal, MO.


Dear Santa,

I love to teach people how to bicycle with traffic, because I get satisfaction from empowering individuals. But I could have more impact by educating motorists how to drive with bicyclists. What every bicyclist wants for Christmas is better drivers!

A bicyclist has a lot of motivation to learn how to bike with traffic and avoid drivers’ mistakes. Drivers do not have much motivation to learn how to drive with bicyclists. To reach other drivers, we first have to find their motivation to listen to this message. It’s easy to say “Those crazy cyclists run all the red lights” or “The highway is no place for a bicycle” and avoid the responsibility.

The best way to educate a motorist about how to drive around bicycles is to put the motorist on a bicycle. Bicyclists report being more aware of other bicyclists and pedestrians when they are driving, and most drivers, both those who also bicycle (91%) and those who don’t (80%), believe that bicyclists are better drivers, according to a survey by the Institute of Advanced Motoring.

Another effective way motorists learn to drive with bicyclists is by driving with bicyclists. In areas where bicycling is common, drivers know what to expect. This summer, I biked across Kansas with 800 other bicyclists, and by the time motorists met me, they had already passed hundreds of other cyclists. I was no surprise to them.

If you haven’t ridden a bike in a long time, I encourage you to ride around town. That will help you be a better driver and increase the population of bicycles, which trains other drivers to expect bicycles. You can give cyclists everywhere a little Christmas present by paying attention to these three lessons:

The most dangerous driver to bicyclists is the inattentive driver. Don’t text and drive. Pay attention. Watch for cyclists at intersections, especially when turning. When pulling out of a driveway or parking lot, watch for bicyclists on the sidewalk or going the wrong way, because many bicyclists don’t know that they are safest on the road going the direction of traffic.

The scariest driver to bicyclists is the one who passes too closely. Allow 3 feet or more when passing, and slow down.

Another frightful driver is one who harasses bicyclists, throwing objects, yelling, honking, and other intimidating and behavior. Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the road, including highways. There is no minimum speed limit except on the interstate. Be patient, and wait for a safe opportunity to pass, just as you would for a tractor. Often, the bicyclist will pull over into a driveway or other safe space and allow you to pass.

My present to you is the parking space close to the store that I’m not using because I biked. However, I understand if you choose to park further away because you know the walk across the parking lot is good for your heart. Happy Holidays!

What’s ahead for cycling?

25 Oct

In my mind there are two predominate issues occurring in the sport of cycling right now: Lance Armstrong and the future of professional cycling.

The larger population is focused on Armstrong in light of the 1000 pages of testimonies and facts in the USADA report. If you haven’t read the USADA report “Reasoned Decision” including the affidavits and other supporting evidence I encourage you to do so. As we used to say at work, “you can’t make this sh*t up”!

Armstrong fans shake down into two main camps: believers that continue to support him and those that did believe but can’t any longer in light of the mountain of evidence against him. My last post Armstrong’s Doomsday told you which camp I fall in to.  If you read my post Lance Armstrong from February of this year, you’ll know I haven’t been in this camp that long.

My larger concern however is for the sport of professional cycling. As a longtime fan, I want to go back to following the Tour de France and posting about it here, and following the many other races throughout the season. As it stands right now, I’m not sure I can.

As reported in my last post, the International Cycling Union (UCI) was complicit in the doping that occurred in the Armstrong era (including the more recent Armstrong years). Under the current leadership of president Pat McQuaid and “honorary” president Hein Verbruggen that will not change as evidenced in their press conference Monday October 22. At the heart of UCI’s complicity is the dual mission to both promote and police the sport. No agency or individual can both promote and police anything. It is a basic conflict of interest.

The international cycling community is pressing for new leadership within the UCI, most recently former Tour de France champion Greg Lemond in an open letter to McQuaid. At a minimum, the UCI leadership must go and their “conflict of mission” changed.

I hope that the move to clean house at the UCI will continue to build momentum and that McQuaid and Verbruggen will have no choice but to step down. I’ve wondered since they burned Armstrong will Armstrong turn the tables on them – he has enough dirt on them to do so. But then that would require he admit what he’s done and that doesn’t seem to be on the horizon although I don’t believe Armstrong will go down quietly. He’s just figuring out what his best strategy is.

Without the required change within UCI I see more of the same for cycling. We went through this in 1998 with Festina and now again. Both times the powers-that-be told us the sport is clean now and we must move on. Moving on without fixing the glaring deficiencies will just give us more of the same – been there – done that and don’t want to go through it again.

The credibility of cycling is hanging on by a thread – and that’s for those of us that are fans. The general public thinks cycling is a complete and utter joke. Armstrong has done so much damage it’s hard to pick the worst, but the damage to cycling’s credibility particularly in the US is one of the worst of his crimes.

For cycling to be a viable and respected sport, it must have strong anti-doping measures and the policing entity(s) to enforce them. As cycling’s governing body UCI needs to step up and make the necessary changes. Penalties must be tougher when doping occurs and no one gets a pass regardless of how big they are.

I want cycling to move forward, but only with the right players and system in place to ensure a cleaner more fair sport. Otherwise, if I watch cycling it will be with the understanding that what I see isn’t real – sort of like watching professional wrestling.

Come on cycling get your act together while there’s still time.

Interview with Endomondo

31 Jul

The interview with Endomondo’s, Angela Purcaro in case you missed it~

Ten Questions With:

Susan of LoveOfBikes.com

Love Of Bikes

Here at Endomondo, we love our users and Susan happens to be one of them. She runs the blog LoveOfBikes.com and was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.

  1. Can you tell us a little about Love of Bikes? All for the Love of Bikes is my Love Of Bikeswebsite and blog that grew from a longtime love of cycling and bikes. I started blogging about 3 years ago, initially under a different blog name.I write about my bike tours, local and national issues related to biking, rider rights issues (not just those of us that consider ourselves cyclists, but anyone who rides a bike), photos, videos, daily posts on the Tour de France every July (I have to justify the hours and hours and hours of the Tour I watch) and just the joy of biking in general. Recently I took a supported bike tour with a company that gave me a discount on the cost of my tour to write about the ride, I hope to do more of that in the future.All for the Love of Bikes can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.



  2. When and why did you decide to make cycling your preferred mode of transportation? I retired from my career several years ago which has allowed me the time and flexibility to use my bike for running errands and doing activities I would have done by car in the past.I don’t commute by bike nearly as much as I would like to but I’m committed to doing it more and more. I definitely enjoy those types of rides. I feel like when I ride my bike in regular clothes to the grocery store or library or downtown to the coffee shop, that other people may see that as something they could do.When we’re clad in spandex I think it makes cycling look like something for athletes only instead of a form of recreation and transportation that most everyone can enjoy—regardless of age or fitness level. That’s one of the great things about biking—just about anyone can do it.



  3. What kind of bike do you ride? My road bike, which is what I ride most of the time, is a 2005 Scott CR1 Pro – all carbon fiber, my commuter/touring bike is a “steel is real” 2010 Jamis Aurora Elite and I also have a 1994 Giant Cadex road bike which I rarely ride and should probably sell but I get attached to bikes so it’s hard to think about selling one.I would like to add a mixte to my cycling corral with more of an upright position for riding in town.I subscribe to the philosophy that the correct number of bikes to own is: [number of bikes currently owned] +1.



  4. What do you love most about cycling? That’s a tough one, but I would have to say it is the freedom I feel when riding. I can be in a funk, or just not in the mood to ride, but by the time I’m 5-10 miles into it I’m having fun and by the end of the ride I’m not ready to stop. That never happens when I run or swim, but it is common with biking.I love the way biking not only transports you physically but it transports you mentally and emotionally too.I also love the experience of riding—the sights, sounds and movement of riding. I love transporting myself with nothing more than my bike and body.



  5. Where is the most beautiful place you’ve ridden? Probably along Highway 1 in California, but Quebec province was also very beautiful. I find that on a bike you can see the beauty of wherever you happen to be riding.



    Love Of Bikes

  6. What are the biggest challenges of cycling in your city?
    The biggest challenge is the lack of bicycling infrastructure—lanes, paths, signage and the lack of acceptance (understanding) of drivers—although both are improving. In 1991 when I started biking again I rarely saw another cyclist and I almost never saw another woman on a bike—that has certainly changed, but it is still uncommon to see people riding bikes for transportation here. We just returned from a trip to Vancouver Island and Seattle, both areas are filled with people commuting by bike and their infrastructure supports it.The single reason most people state why they don’t ride a bike is because they do not feel safe. We need the infrastructure first so people can feel safe to ride on the roads. Once we have that, the cyclists will follow.



  7. Ever had any accidents or run-ins with the law? Unfortunately, yes and yes. A couple of weeks ago I received a ticket for “disregard of a traffic signal (red)”. I had the misfortune of being caught at a stoplight that doesn’t recognize bikes and there were no cars to trip the light, so when it was safe to do so I proceeded through the intersection and red light. There just so happened to be a police officer on a motorcycle there (who I didn’t see) and he stopped me and gave me a ticket. My frustration was that he didn’t give me an opportunity to explain why I took the action I did. We are expected to behave as vehicles yet the infrastructure here does not always allow us to do so.As far as accidents, I was hit by a car in 1995, a girl that had had her drivers license for 2 weeks ran a stop sign and we collided. My lovely old Trek was totaled, but I sustained relatively minor injuries so I consider myself fortunate.



  8. Have a favorite cyclist and/or bike tour? I mentioned being a fan of the Tour de France, I’m a big fan of French cyclist, Thomas Voeckler, who I met in 2010 when we were in Quebec City (after riding there from Burlington, VT) to watch the Grand Prix Quebec bike race. He won the race and came close to winning the Tour last year.I find I love all the bike tours we have done, I think it matters less where I am riding and more about the experience of riding. Last year I rode King Ridge road in Sonoma County and part of Levi Leipheimer’s Gran Fondo route which was by far the most challenging riding I’ve ever done and loved it. We did a one week tour in the Texas Hill Country this spring and I found it to be a perfect place for riding. I’ve yet to ride anywhere that I didn’t enjoy it.



  9. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Probably France, in part because of my love of the Tour de France, but also because cycling is such a part of the European culture it has to be a great place to ride—not to mention the beautiful scenery and quaint towns.



  10. What would you tell someone who is on the fence about taking up cycling? As a true-believer of cycling and all its many benefits, I would encourage them to just get on a bike and ride—even if it is just a block—to recreate the experience that most of us had as children when we rode our bikes and felt that sense of joy and freedom that bicycling brings. Once they get a taste of it, they are likely to want to do it again, I know I did. Cycling is great exercise but it is so much fun you don’t think of it as exercise. I always say if you want to feel like a kid again, go ride a bike!



    Love Of Bikes

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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.