Monday, May 31, 2010

H.G. Wells was awesome

Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.

H.G. Wells (1866-1946)

Ponder that for a minute people.

Another Frank Gray Article

Some great press for the Critical Manners/Courteous Mass. Frank contacted me after I sent him an email after his last article on biking.
What failed to come out in the article is that I understand why people do Critical Mass. Riding your bike is fun. I just personally feel that it is counterproductive for bike commuters.
Also, after some discussion with Vince, we will continue to start from Lawton until further notice.

Published: May 27, 2010 3:00 a.m.
Honking off drivers silly, cyclist says
Frank Gray

FORT WAYNE – Something called Critical Mass made its debut in Fort Wayne about two years ago, and it hasn’t set well with P.J. Thuringer.

Thuringer has been a bicycle commuter for five years. Time was he’d take the bus to work in the winter, but two years ago he decided to ride his bike year-round, rain or shine. In fact, he was probably about the only guy out on a bike during bike-to-work day last week when a storm hit just about quitting time, pounding everything with torrential rain and hail.

By and large, he says, motorists have been pretty nice to him. There have been some run-ins with unhappy motorists, but so few that it’s negligible.

Critical Mass, though, threatens to undo a lot of that goodwill.

Critical Mass involves getting as many riders to gather in a single spot and go for a spontaneous ride as a group. The concept sounds like fun, and the attitude that the pack doesn’t stop when a light turns red seems a little defiant, but harmless.

But the slow-moving packs have gotten so strung out in some past rides that traffic was getting blocked for several traffic light cycles. If you miss one light, at least you can entertain yourself watching all the people ride by. But when cars are forced to sit through several lights, it gets irritating.

“It gives us a terrible name,” Thuringer said. It emphasizes the attitude that people on bikes don’t obey traffic laws, makes bicycle haters hate cyclists more, and strains the patience of even bicycle lovers.

So not long ago, Thuringer said, “Me and a buddy decided to try something different.”

They started a ride called Critical Manners. A group of riders get together at 6:30 p.m. at Lawton Park on the second Friday of each month and ride through town, obeying all the laws, stopping at stop signs and red lights and signaling turns and that.

The rides aren’t that long, only about eight miles, but it takes a lot of time to cover eight miles on a bike when you’re stopping at every traffic light and stop sign.

They’ve had only two rides so far. Only six people joined in on the first ride, and only nine the second time, but it will grow, Thuringer said.

The group stays off major roads, such as Clinton Street, but they have ridden Fairfield Avenue to Rudisill Boulevard and taken Calhoun Street back downtown.

“We want to be seen obeying the laws,” he said.

Thuringer hopes it pays off. More people are riding bikes for fun, for basic transportation and for little trips to places like the grocery.

“I see more people with bicycles with baskets on front going to Scott’s to buy a bottle of milk,” Thuringer said. “We don’t need for them to catch heat” because of other riders who cause problems.

Thuringer has written about his ride in a personal blog, but he hasn’t promoted his alternative ride too much. He doesn’t want it to get too big. “We’re just trying to keep it positive.”

Lawton Park is also where Critical Mass rides have started, but Thuringer wants to distance himself from that event, so he’s looking for a new place for the ride to start. So far he doesn’t have one.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Frank Gray article

Published: May 18, 2010 3:00 a.m.
Ignorance of bicyclists nears critical mass
Frank Gray

A few months ago the city painted nice bicycle lanes on some of the streets downtown.

The lanes are marked with bright white lines with drawings of bicycles every so often. You can’t miss them.

Or can you? I haven’t seen that many people on bicycles using them. Most of the cyclists I’ve seen use Main Street or Broadway, and once in a while I see people riding the wrong way on Ewing Street, which irritates me. People on bikes need to obey the rules, too.

What I have noticed is that cars driving down Wayne Street, which has one of the bike lanes, don’t seem to notice the lanes. They drive right down the middle of them.

One could ask, “What difference does it make?” There weren’t any bicycles there, so no harm done.

The Rest of the story HERE

I do appreciate that Mr. Gray wrote the article.
So much so that here is the email that I sent him.

Mr. Gray,
I would like to thank you for bringing light to some of the positive and also some negatives of the bicycling effort.
I too get annoyed when cyclists don't ride with traffic, don't use hand signals, and fail to stop at stop signs or red lights.
I myself am a bicycle commuter. I have ridden to work every day since February of 2008 (yes, even in the winter). I agree with you that Fort Wayne is not one of the most bicycle friendly cities but I believe that the situation is improving. I think that the education portion of the City's Bike Fort Wayne plan is one of its most important aspects. Recently some like minded individuals and I decided to organize Critical Manners/Courteous Mass. We ride downtown and around the core of the city while following all traffic laws in an effort to educate the riders on the way that we need to ride in order to garner the respect of people driving cars. We have had three rides and are numbers are still growing but hopefully this small step can help the cause.
Kindest Regards,

P.J. Thuringer
Fort Wayne

Friday, May 14, 2010

Critical Manners/Courteous Mass for May 2010

Hey there kids!
Sorry about the ate notice but....

Do you like to ride your bicycle? Do you want to meet other people who ride bikes? Would you like to reduce the level of antagonism between bicycles and cars? Then join Critical Manners/Courteous Mass on the second Friday of the month. Riders should gather around 6:15 at Lawton Park so the ride can begin at 6:30.

All parties are welcome to join and help bring common courtesy back to the streets. For those who need a refresher on what Critical Manners/Courteous Mass is, here is the deal:
• The ride will respect and abide the city’s traffic laws.
• Rides will be on the slow side to ensure no one is dropped and that the Mass stays a mass.
• The Mass will only take up one lane, two when necessary for safety.
• The ride will stop at red lights and stop signs. If a light turns red mid-mass, the riders who made the light should safely pull over to wait for those who were caught by the light.
• Riders are asked to signal turns, call out danger, and communicate their intentions to other riders.

The goal of these rides is to be a visible and positive example of the cooperation that can exist between cars and bicycles when people respect the laws and each other. So join the Mass and help make Fort Wayne a better place for bicycles.This Friday at Lawton Park by the Softball Field.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Want to Prevent Oil Spill Disasters? Stop Driving

AlterNet / By Jason Henderson

A submerged oil well is spewing a river of oil toward Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. Birds and fish will die, wetlands and beaches will be ruined -- all because we drive cars.
But comrades, seriously, consider how you could make modest changes toward a lifestyle centered on walking, bicycling and transit. Imagine if we used less oil, and used it more wisely. Even in the lowest density suburbs in America, 40 percent of car trips are under five miles, within a comfortable spatial range of bicycling. Grocery shopping does not require a car. One can simply walk, bike or take transit, and either come up with creative ways to carry the load, or have a jitney service take care of the delivery. Consider the physical activity and health benefits for your children from walking and bicycling. And consider how un-progressive it is to use oil to make short trips, or to waste billions of barrels to make disposable plastic bags or other throwaway commodities, when we need to save it.

Imagine if we used less, and used it more wisely. We could set most oil aside for the switch to other energy sources, which will require a huge infrastructure program -- high speed rail, transmission systems, urban infill projects, new bicycle networks, light rail systems, new electric or hybrid buses, and new ways of organizing work and shopping spaces.

The rest of this timely article is available HERE

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bike Summit!


WHEN: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday with free vendor expo from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and free post-summit bike rides from 3 Rivers Velo Sport at 12:30 and 1

WHAT: Free bike summit with keynote speaker, updates on Fort Wayne Trails and the Bike Fort Wayne plan plus workshops on bikes as transportation, sharing the road for drivers and bicyclists, grassroots advocacy and details about trails and the bike plan.

WHERE: Allen County Public Library downtown. Keynote address will be in auditorium. Vendor expo will be in the Great Hall. The bike rides will depart from the east plaza at the library.

WHO: Offered by the City of Fort Wayne, the summit is open to the public featuring keynote speaker Randy Neufeld, a Chicago area cycling advocate. The vendor expo is open to all summit participant and library patrons.

Summit sponsors are Summit City Bicycles and Fitness, Trek Bicycles, the Ronald G. Repka Foundation Inc., Fort Wayne Outfitters and Bike Depot, Carson Boxberger Attorneys, the Downtown Improvement District, Fort Wayne/Allen County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Engineering Resources Inc.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Little help please from the Roadies....

Hey everyone.
I received this email a few weeks ago and told Joe that I would put the word out to the Fort Wayne contingent in order to try to solicit help that I myself can not provide.
His email is listed below so give him a shout please if you have any great ideas for him. Or email me and I will be sure to get it to him.
Thank You.

I’ll try to make a long story short.
I was just researching via the Internet if you bike legally and safely from the intersection of the 69 and 24 on the south side of FW to the Carmel area near Indianapolis.
A little history/background
I love biking.
Graduated of IU in 88 and 92. I’m 42
I have worked in FW
I have family and friends up and down all of Indiana but my wife and family live in Thousand Oaks, CA.
I’m a decent endurance MTB.
This summer I'm flying out to Indiana to visit my parents in Bloomington, my brother in Fort Wayne and several friends in Indianapolis. I'm also bringing my MT bike to ride BCSP and race in the Super D race in Aug.
In a nutshell, as I map out my travel plans from city to city, it's turning out that it will be very inconvenient for my brother to shuttle me back to Indy to the Carmel area on the day I want to travel (Aug 11th). I was somewhat serious when I suggested to him that I wouldn't mind biking from the intersections of 69 and 24, through Huntington, through Marian, through Elwood to Carmel. route 24, 9 and 37. It's just under 100 miles.

Question: Have you ever tried to bike along those roads to Indy? Is it legal? I don't remember any biking lanes but the shoulder lanes are wide but a little rough. Do you know of anyone who has ever made the trip along those roads?

Overall, the distance and elevation wouldn't be an issue for me. Yesterday, I did a MTB training ride here in southern CA of 57.5 miles and 8,200 feet of ascent. (Next week is my first endurance race of the season, 86 miles and 12,000+ feet of ascent.)
I'm just concerned about the safety and legal stuff of riding on those roads. Should I be concerned about anything else?

Thanks for your advice

I tried the new Google Maps Bike feature but it takes me off 24,9,37 on a few places to hit the back roads. I'm not 100% why it allows me to ride on the state highways at times and takes me past the corn fields on some other miles.