In the culmination of a 20+ year project, the new eastern span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge opened up. And included on that new bridge was a separate bike and pedestrian lane. Those familiar with the area will quickly point out that this bridge only gets you half way across the bay, and that there is a second bridge that still lacks bicycle access that prevents a bike ride completely across. So for the short term at least this is a recreation trail only with no commute benefits. (more…)
While riding the Amtrak Capitol Corridor train again today I found a card advertising a survey (pictured at right). I’ve been riding the Capitol Corridor trains for years, and I had some time to kill on my one hour 50 minute trip, so I figured “why not.” I was a bit surprised, however, when I found out that the grand prize in a drawing of those that take the survey is a Brompton M3L folding bike. Seemed a little bit of an odd give-a-way item, and raised my interest even further.
Once I started taking the survey I found out why that bike was associated with this survey. Seems Amtrak is considering running a rental-bike program.
May is bike month. We all know it, and many of us go on about it. We get bike to school day, bike to work day, and in addition a whole bike to work week! Local coffee shops, bike shops and assorted business get the
excuse opportunity to set up tables along popular bike routes and paths giving away free swag and looking very bike-friendly. This should be a month for me to rejoice – to share enthusiasm and passions with the greater cycling community. A time for us to pat ourselves on our collective back and take stock in how far advocacy efforts have come. And May is action packed with a lot more than just advocacy and riding to work. On the racing front, we had not only the grand american race Tour of California, but also the Giro d’Italia. The Tour of Cali was especially engaging for me this year, as I watched one of my personal favorites – and fellow old guy – Chris Horner appear to struggle through the Time Trial with an anchor on his bike. The setback would have crushed the spirits of other folks. But the drama unfolded in the final significant climbs of the race as Horner, Jens Voigt (another personal favorite and fellow old guy) and others took a flyer off the front. Slowly riders from the break away dropped one by one, until Chris Horner had actually made back all the time lost in the TT and then some. He climbed his way into first place on paper - as Phil Liggett likes to say – and had me on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately the herculean effort was not enough and he was eventually caught. But what a way to highlight what bike month is supposed to be about – enjoying all aspects of bicycles. Rolling the cruiser, commuting to work, or ripping the peloton apart.
Unfortunately, this time around all Bike Month managed to do for me was remind me that the other 11 months are not bike month. June came this year to punch me in the gut and drive the point home. June has brought us the apparent implosion (again) of what should have been the best team in the peloton – RadioShack Nissan Trek. Andy Schleck has been plagued by … something … all season. There are already rumors of the Schleck boys leaving the squad. When the team announced their Tour de France lineup, Chris Horner was not on the list. This lead to all kinds of speculation and drama as to why that happened. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that the presumed Tour de France GC contender Andy Schleck was not going to make it due to injury. Ahh, but poor Bruyneel wasn’t done with bad news yet. Just when we thought it was over, Bruyneel and Mr Armstrong find themselves in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Yup – doping allegations again. What is a cycling enthusiast to do.
But hold on a second…
I once again started my commute on a bicycle this morning in beautiful San Francisco. I passed numerous folks doing the same thing. I continue to ride my bike and enjoy it. And despite the fact that folks are predicting a guilty finding for Armstrong would “destroy cycling” my bike will still pedal and roll regardless of a USADA decision regarding Armstrong.
So that’s what I’ll do. I’ll let June suck for Bruyneel and Armstrong. Come July, I’ll be keeping track of the Tour de France and enjoying it. Bike Month is irrelevant to me, honestly. I don’t have a bike month, or even a bike year. I have a bike life, and plan to until I can’t turn my pedals any more.
I’ve heard rumors through the grapevine (or on the mailing lists, if you want to get technical) that the Amtrak Capitol Corridor trains were considering changing their policies regarding bicycles aboard the trains. Currently, they allow you to take a complete, assembled un-boxed bike on board the train and store it in one of the spaces provided. These spaces include a standing floor rack, or hooks you can hang the bike from. These accommodations vary by train car and equipment set configuration, but cars generally have space for either 3, 8 or 13 bicycles at a time.
Currently, if and when all spaces become full and more bikes want to get on, passengers are allowed to continue to board the train and place their bikes … wherever. There is a walkway with a handrail that has been a particular favorite of many, as well as a large empty spot allocated for wheelchairs.
The rumors flying around are that conductors were going to start denying passengers access if all “official” bike spots were already taken. The facts behind this rumor were revealed in a blog post on the CapitolCorridor website:
You may have heard or read public comments about the Capitol Corridor’s Joint Powers Authority’s (CCJPA) new on board bike storage policy. I want to clarify that on February 1, 2012 we will start our “get acquainted period” to help educate riders who bring bikes on board the importance of proper bike storage. We will begin implementing the new policy several months afterwards in order to give riders time to prepare and acclimate to proper bike storage practices that allow for adequate access and safety.
Kurtrosky further explained the need for this policy change by citing “…our [Capitol Corridor trains] growing ridership and the corresponding increase in bike usage over the past few years.” However, the official policy statement stops short of saying that people will be denied the right to board, using much gentler language:
Several months from now, when the Capitol Corridor’s new bike policy is in place, passengers who board trains with bikes will be required to:
- Secure bicycles to prevent the sudden or uncontrolled movement of bikes in the event of a sudden train stop; and
- Store bicycles so that all passengers (including those in wheelchairs) can safely navigate the train aisle-ways.
Kurtrosky’s blog post gives further details, and a response to the anticipated “why don’t you make more space for bikes” questions. I’ll personally be keeping a close eye on this, as I’m on the cusp of changing from once weekly commutes to 4 times a week. Of course my bike is an integral part of that commute.
Thanks to VeloReviews member, and fellow Amtrak rider Paul Crescione ( @paulcrescione ) for bringing the Amtrak blog post to my attention
The below photo – courtesy of Up Town Almanac – is apparently a collection of bikes left behind at the Burning Man Festival. My question is this – how the heck did they get them all up there in the first place? And what’s it gonna take to get them down?
I’ve seen fuzzy bikes before – but this may just be the fuzziest. Spotted at San Francisco Caltrain station.
Note: I originally wrote this as a guest piece for the awesome BikingInLA blog. Seeing a video posted over on Cyclelicious reminded me a lot of the sentiment of this post, so I decided to share it again.
There are many of us so-called avid cyclists that are big on participating in, but also promoting cycling. I’m one of those folks. For me, this is partially self-serving. The more folks that we have out on the road riding their bikes, the more accustomed to bikes on the road motorists will be. Makes it safer for all of us overall. Socially I think it is a win. The oft-cited benefits to health and the environment seem like obviously beneficial gains to me as well. That, and the natural human compulsion to want other folks to enjoy what I enjoy.
For some, it is about fostering a “bike culture.” A culture where going to the grocery store, or tootling down to the local cafe, or getting the kids to soccer practice, are all things that are perfectly reasonable to do on a bike. A culture where riding a bike in the rain to get to work doesn’t make you extreme, eccentric or even on the fringe. A culture where riding a bike is normal. As normal as driving a car.
And now we have a conundrum.
Bike lanes are both a blessing and a curse, and anybody that has done much commuting in urban environments has likely experienced both sides of that. On the blessing side, studies have demonstrated that bike lanes do, in fact, encourage more folks to ride. However, it may also create a false sense of security, and can even create greater danger in some situations. Here in US cities, most bike lanes are right in the “door zone” along parallel parked cars, causing cyclists to need to dart into traffic unexpectedly should a car door get opened in front of them. Couple that risk with the pretense of “Mandatory Use Laws” and the dark side of bike lanes shows itself.
The American River Bike Trail in Sacramento will be closed on the morning of March 13th for the 7th running of the Shamrock’n Half Marathon.
According to the published map, the event does a loop through Sacramento, and enters the bike trail at Northgate Blvd. It follows the trail all the way into Discovery Park.