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October 17, 2012

New section of MetroBikeLink Trail opens Thursday

Filed under: bicycling,Illinois,trails — Roger @ 10:07 am

The St. Clair County Transit District on Thursday will officially open a 2.2-mile section of the MetroBikeLink Trail that will connect the Swansea and Memorial Hospital MetroLink stations.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the paved trail is set for 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the Swansea MetroLink Station. After the ceremony, people will be able to bike or walk the trail. In addition, STCCD representatives will explain how bicyclists can use MetroLink and MetroBus to expand their trips through the St. Louis area.

“Our goal is to create a complete trail system in St. Clair County and this new segment is one big step in the right direction,” Bill Grogan, managing director of the St. Clair County Transit District, said in a press release. “We have already seen spurs, and connections to neighborhoods off of the current trail, including a new one at Southwestern Illinois College to the adjacent neighborhoods. It is our hope that this trail system, with the ability to hop on MetroLink or MetroBus, will link our system to the Missouri side of the river.”

The new extention expands the trail to 6.9 miles. In coming years, SCCTD hopes to extend the trail 3.5 miles westward to the Fairview Heights MetroLink Station and 3.5 miles eastward to the Shiloh-Scott MetroLink Station.

Next year, SCCTD plans to build an bridge that will take bicyclists over busy Green Mount Road in Belleville. Currently, bicyclists have to wait for traffic to pass to cross the road.

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September 25, 2012

Cardboard: The next revolution in bicycle frame technology?

Filed under: bicycling — Tags: — Roger @ 3:58 pm

All kinds of materials have been used to make a bicycle fram: Wood. Steel. Aluminum. Carbon Fiber. Bamboo.

But Israeli inventor Izhar Gafni set out to create a bicycle made out of cardboard. The video below shows what he came up with:

Discovery News recently wrote a story about Izhar and his cardboard bike. Here’s an excerpt:

“To my delight, I only discovered similar concepts based on bamboo. But when I started asking engineers about the possibility of producing a cardboard bicycle, I was sent away and told that the realization of my idea is impossible. …”

Well, it is possible and the proof is above. Discovery News says origami techniques helped Izhar make the bike capable of handling riders up to 485 pounds. The bikes take about $9 worth of cardboard to build, and Izhar hopes they hit the market in 2013 for around $60.

It certainly sounds like a way to bring bicycling to less-fortunate people around the world.

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Why you hate cyclists

Filed under: bicycling,commuting — Tags: — Roger @ 3:23 pm

I really enjoyed this article on Slate.com titled “Why You Hate Cyclists”. The subhead for this story by Jim Saksa reads: “Partly because of jerks like me. But it’s mostly your own illogical mind.”

Here’s one excerpt from the story:

 ”… Lots of drivers assume all people on bikes are assholes like me. In doing so, these motorists are making an inductive fallacy, not unlike saying,’ Of course he beat me at basketball—he’s Asian like Jeremy Lin and Yao Ming.’”

You really need to visit Slate.com to read the rest of the story.

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September 4, 2012

CyclingSavvy coming to Belleville

Filed under: bicycling,Illinois,Missouri — Tags: , , — Roger @ 1:31 pm

CyclingSavvy, a series of three three-hour courses designed to help bicyclists become more comfortable with riding in traffic, is coming to Belleville on Sept. 27 and 29.

The first part of MetroEast CyclingSavvy, called Truth & Techniques of Traffic Cycling, will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.n. Sept. 27 at Southwestern Illinois College’s PSOP Building, 201 N. Church St. in downtown Belleville. Through guided discussion with videos and animations, this classroom-based session familiarizes students with bicycle-specific laws, traffic dynamics and problem-solving strategies. That class is free, thanks to a donation from McCarthy Construction Cos.

The second part, called Train Your Bike, is from 8 to 11 a.m. at the PSOP Building. This session is conducted in a parking lot, and is limited to 10 participants. Train Your Bike consists of a set of progressive drills designed to increase students’ control and comfort handling their bikes in various situations. The cost of that class is $20. The normal cost is $30, but thanks to a donation from the Metro East Parks and Recreation District, the cost is $20.

The final course is the MetroEast Tour, a ride through Belleville and Swansea.  That takes place from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 29, To particpate in the tour, you have to complete the other two courses. The cost is $20.

The same courses will be offered Oct. 4 and 6 at locations in St. Louis city and St. Louis County. (Learn more about the St. Louis October Workshop.)

CyclingSavvy’s traffic cycling curriculum was developed in 2009 by the Florida Bicycle Association. While it contains elements of courses such as the League of American Bicyclists course and Effective Cycling, FBA says Cycling Savvy “was built entirely new ‘from the ground up.’ It is built upon an understanding of the needs of adult learners and the challenges of changing behavior that is strongly rooted in our traffic culture.”

Karen Karabell, a daily bicycle commuter and a former board member of the now-defunct St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation, has been the strongest advocate of CyclingSavvy in the St. Louis area.

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August 30, 2012

Moonlight Ramble postponed because of Isaac; Gateway Cup still on

Filed under: bicycling,Missouri,racing — Tags: , , — Roger @ 1:07 pm

(Updated on Tuesday, Sept. 4)

The 49th annual Moonlight Ramble scheduled for Saturday night (Sept. 1) has been postponed until Sept. 15.

The reason? The remnants of Tropical Storm Isaac are expected to hit the St. Louis area on Friday and will continue to dump rain on the region through Saturday. The National Weather Service is predicting 3 to 5 inches of rain to fall on the region. There’s a 60 percent chance of rain Friday, a 70 percent chance of rain Friday night, an 80 percent chance of rain Saturday and a 70 percent chance of rain Saturday night.

UPDATE: Emmis Communications has posted the following about the rescheduled Moonlight Ramble:

  • Emmis Communications, which is putting on this year’s Ramble, will be offering refunds for those riders who are unable to participate on the new date.
  • Registration will be extended: You now have until noon Monday, Sept. 10 to register and receive the full benefits of participating including an event shirt!
  • Late registraion: Beginning Monday afternoon, you may still register online. However, your registration will no longer include an event shirt. You’ll be ableto enjoy the pre-event entertainment, vendor village and the post-ride party. Late registration will close at 5 p.m. Sept. 12.
  • Day of event registration: Due to popular demand, rider organizers have decided to hold day-of-event registration. The fee will be $20 but does not include an event shirt. There will be a limited number of shirts available for sale at the event.

Before deciding to postpone the Ramble, event spokeswoman Ellie Sertic told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Our first concern is with the safety of our riders.”

As for the four-day Gateway Cup bicycle races and its accompanying recreational rides, event director Mike Weiss has  said orgainzers plan to go “full-steam ahead” with the event, including the three accompanying recreational rides. All four races took place as scheduled.

He said Saturday’s Tour de Francis Park race and the Ride to Unite recreational ride would be the events most likely to be affected by the heavy rains.

Here’s the schedule for the Gateway Cup (Click on the individual races and rides for more details):

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August 13, 2012

Bicycle blogger wants TV station to show him the money

Filed under: bicycling — Tags: , — Roger @ 1:52 pm

Noted media blogger Jim Romenesko today shares the tale of Tucson, Ariz., bicycle blogger Michael McKisson, who has billed a Tucson television $300 for airing footage from one of his videos in a recent newscast.

McKisson, editor and publisher of the Tucson Velo website, did a story in June about a Tucson-area grade school that has installed a bicycle track.  He shot this video of the track:

Last week, KOLD-TV in Tucson did this story about the track:

Tucson News Now

“I was not contacted by the station to use the footage, nor was any credit for the footage provided,” McKisson told Romenesko.

This is one of those hazy areas of media law where it isn’t totally clear who’s legally right.

On one hand, it can be argued that McKisson retains the copyright to the piece, even though he posted it on YouTube.

On the other hand, the TV station might be able to cite the “fair use doctrine” to defend its right to use the footage. Under that principle, media outlets generally can use portions of a copyrighted work as part of their coverage of an issue.

The TV station clearly erred, though, in that it didn’t site McKisson or Velo Tuscon as the source of the material.

Will McKisson ever get the $300? Maybe, maybe not. But at least he brought up the issue, and good for him!

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July 28, 2012

Moonlight Ramble registration is open

Filed under: bicycling,Missouri — Tags: , — Roger @ 2:21 am

This week, more details have emerged about the 49th annual Moonlight Ramble on Sept. 1 in St. Louis:

Registration is open: Advance online registration for the ride is open now through Aug. 24. The cost of the ride is $25 for adults and $10 for children ages 5-16, A special premier level costs $40 and includes a special event T-shirt, puts you in the first wave of riders and gives you a free beer after the event if you’re 21 or older.

People who sign up in advance will not need to check-in the night of the event. This year, the Moonlight Ramble will host packet pick-up events in the days leading up to the ride. When and where those parties will be have yet to be announced.

The website offers no information about day-of-ride registration.

The routes: As always, the routes are kept a secret until the evening of the ride. The event begins at Ballpark Village at Broadway and Clark near Busch Stadium. There will be a short route of 10.5 miles and a long route of 18.5 miles.

Who benefits from the ride: With the dissolution of the St. Louis-based Gateway Council of Hostelling International, Emmis Communications is running the ride this year. A portion of the proceeds will go to Cardinals Care, the charitable arm of the St. Louis Cardinals, and to Hostelling International-USA, which maintains a network of hostels nationwide. Emmis Communications is the parent company of four St. Louis radio stations, including KSHE-95.

The rules: All cyclists must wear a helmet. Toe clips and cycling shoes are not recommended. Keep to the right side of the street. See the full rules here.

From my experiences on the Moonlight Ramble, the first mile or two can be a little hairy as the faster riders seperate themselves from the slower ones. Also, be careful on the hills because less-experienced cyclists are likely to stop without warning.

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July 16, 2012

“Dead Red” law now in effect in Illinois

Filed under: bicycling,Illinois — Tags: — Roger @ 1:55 pm

The League of Illinois Bicyclists is reminding us Illinois’ “Dead Red” law is now in effect.

What it means for bicyclists and motorcyclists in Illinois is that they can treat a red light like a stop sign if the traffic signal fails to detect them. A minimum wait of two minutes is required before they can proceed through the red light. The law covers all of Illinois except for the city of Chicago.

Actually, Illinois has had a “Dead Red” law in effect since Jan. 1. Last year, the General Assembly passed a bill allowing bicyclists and motorcyclists to proceed through a traffic light after a “reasonable period of time” if the signal fails to detect them.

Gov. Pat Quinn used his amendatory veto powers to send the bill back to the legislature because he wanted at least a two-minute wait before bicyclists and motorcyclists could proceed through the light. Both the Illinois House and Senate voted last fall to override the amendatory veto, and the law went into effect Jan. 1.

While the legislature was overriding the original bill, state Sen. Gary Forby, D-Benton, introduced a bill that included the two-minute wait Quinn sought. The House and Senate passed those in the spring, and Quinn signed the bill into law July 6 and it took effect immediately.

The original bill was suggested by a motorcycle group, A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education, commonly known as ABATE of Illinois. State Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, introduced that bill to cover motorcyclists. An amendment added bicyclists.

While LIB says it welcomes the legislation, the group  prefers installation of traffic light sensors that would better detect bicycles. In the meantime, LIB offers these tips:

  • Position your bike over the right perimeter of the rectangular in-pavement loop detector – which is sometimes visible, sometimes not, but always located just behind the stop line – and lean your bike to the left (into the detector).
  • Buy and install a small neodymium magnet to trip the sensor.
  • If there’s a pedestrian signal button, you may push that.
  • If there’s a car behind you, motion for the car to come closer to the stop line to trigger the sensor.

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July 10, 2012

Police officer confronts cyclists over stop sign on Iowa trail

Filed under: bicycling — Tags: , , — Roger @ 2:00 am

(UPDATED JULY 11) The Iowa Bicycling Coalition is concerned about a recent confrontation between two bicyclists and a police officer who stopped them on the High Trestle Trail in Sheldahl, Iowa.

Cyclists Cathy Olson and Lisa Schaa told the Des Moines Register they approached the trail-road intersection during a June weekend ride. They had seen the officer’s car. Olson said drivers often wave through the bicyclists at such stops, and she expected the deputy to do the same. When he didn’t, she said the pair stopped. Here’s what Olson said happened next:

(Polk County) Deputy Dale Petersen began speaking to the pair in what Olson said was a condescending tone, asking them if they knew what the stop sign meant, and if they had planned to stop. Olson said Petersen claimed that Schaa had not planned to stop, calling it an “emergency brake.”

Olson said she then crossed the road, only to have Petersen chase her down in his car. Olson received two tickets, while Schaa received one. They have filed a complaint about Petersen’s actions with the Polk County Sheriff’s Department, which in turn has said it has received several complains about cyclists on the trail not stopping at the stop signs.

KCCI-TV also interviewed the women, and you can see the video here. Olson has written about the incident on her blog.

As for the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. it acknowledges bicyclists failing to stop at stop sign is a problem. But it says few stop-sign crashes have been reported in Iowa.

“To move forward, the Iowa Bicycle Coalition wants to see community, law enforcement and cyclists efforts focused on responsible and realistic actions to solve the real threats to the safety of bicyclists (and all traffic for that matter).” the group wrote on its website. ”Tactics that are used to intimidate bicyclists should not be tolerated.”

Update: On Wednesday (July 11), the Des Moines Register — Iowa’s largest newspaper and the sponsors of RAGBRAI, the nation’s largest cross-state bicycle ride — published an editorial calling on the Polk County Sheriff’s Department to investigate the incident and fully inform the public of its findings.

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July 3, 2012

B-cycle set to launch today in Kansas City

Filed under: bicycling,commuting,Missouri — Tags: — Roger @ 4:37 am

B-cycle, a company that has launched a series of bike-sharing operations nationwide, will debut its newest operation today in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas City B-cycle opens up shop with 90 bicycles and 12 B-stations, all in downtown Kansas City. Locations range as far north as the Missouri River to the Crown Center, and there are stations in the popular Power & Light District and Union Station.

Today, volunteers will take a ceremonial ride across the Heart of America Bridge on the B-cycle bikes about 11:30 a.m. today. The bikes should all be at the docking stations and ready to use by the public by about 2 p.m., according to The Kansas City Star.

The debut couldn’t have come at a better time. On July 10, Kansas City plays host to Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals. While Kauffman Stadium is at least 8 miles from downtown Kansas City, B-cycle is hoping visitors will use the service to hop from downtown hotels to restaurants to downtown attractions.

Kansas City B-cycle is free for the first half-hour after you buy a daily, weekly or annual pass, then $2 a half-hour after that. A daily pass costs $7, a weekly pass costs $15, a 30-day pass costs $25, and an annual pass costs $65.

B-cycle operates similar bike-sharing programs in other urban areas, including Chicago, Denver, Des Moines, Omaha and Broward County, Fla.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is the primary sponsor of Kansas City B-cycle, and the BikeWalkKC advocacy group is a major supporter of the program. Nationwide, B-cycle is a joint venture between Trek Bicycle Corp., Humana Inc. and
Crispin Porter and Bogusky.

 

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