Tuesday, March 31, 2009

two classics and the new guy...

well kids, spring is here (i'm sure it will stop snowing any day now) and we all know what that means...
it means it's time to get on your bike and ride! not just those blue lipped, white knuckled, dr. zhivago commutes through the arctic wastes but actual rides where you can, you know, enjoy yourself. crazy right?
here's the skinny, we've got three no-drop rides to pick from this year;
first off there is our always popular women's casual ride, ride what you brung, the idea is fun. every monday evening at 6:00pm starting april 13th, meet up at the minnehaha shop and bring a helmet.
next up there is our long running women's road ride, 15-20 miles, faster paced and road bikes are recommended. same deal as the casual ride, meet up at the minnehaha shop 6:00 pm every monday staring the 13th of april and bring yo' brain bucket.
last up is the new kid in town, we're calling it the "quiver picker". here's the idea, over the course of the next few months we are gong to try to build fitness, skills and confidence for you wonderful folks by offering a set of rides that get longer and more challenging as the season gets on. we call it the "quiver picker" because the early rides will be pretty flat and about 15 miles or so so if you want a challenge on 'em pick a non-road bike from your quiver (that's nerdy cyclist slang for your bikes). the rides are open to anyone and are no-drop but the emphasis is going to be on longer rides at a brisk pace, cruisers are not recommended unless you're an ex-pro who likes to show off. these are going to start the week of the 13th, go here for more.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Comment on The Minnesota Statewide Transportation Plan

Act fast! Minnesota needs to hear from you about funding bicycle friendly infrastructure. We should have gotten this up early, but better late than never.

A slightly amended repost from The City of Minneapolis Bicycle Program:

Bicycling Update Subscribers,

A draft of the Minnesota Statewide Transportation Plan is currently available for public review. MnDOT will be taking public comment on the draft plan through next Monday, March 30th. To view the entire plan, visit http://www.dot.state.mn.us/planning/stateplan/download.html. Directions for commenting on the plan are available at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/planning/stateplan/comment.html.

The purpose of the Statewide Transportation Plan is to establish a transportation vision, along with supporting policies and strategies, to focus investments and services over the next 20 years. The plan is redrafted every 5 years.

Bicycling is addressed throughout the plan; however there are specific areas that may be of interest to bicyclists. On pages 10-13 (or 12-15 of pdf readers) of the Introduction/Executive Summary, 10 policy areas are described. Details on each policy are described in Chapter 7. Bicycle travel is explicitly described on pages 28-30 of Chapter 3 – Transportation System Description. A Metro District Highway Investment Plan is also available for review.

Happy Riding,

City of Minneapolis Bicycle Program

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The 2009 National Bike Summit

I recently returned from the National Bike Summit in Washington DC.

As a first timer, the Summit was a great learning experience. First there were the stories. The cycling community is amazingly creative and motivated. I heard about building mountain bike trails in downtown New York and Seattle, kids riding their bikes to school en mass, and how people around the country are finding effective ways to spread the word that bikes are a part of the answer (to virtually every problem society faces). There were seminars that spanned a huge array of current issues and many were hosted by sympathetic aids working in Washington and the staffers of nationally recognized non-profits. The last advocacy training was based off American Idol. Naturally it focused on what not to do.

The big day on capital hill was an interesting attempt by everyone to dress in business formal. I did my best with a thrift store suit that I altered at home with the help of friends. There were a fair number of interesting interpretations of business formal and many included the ubiquitous Cordura attache bag. We met mostly with staffers, all of whom were polite. The one legislator I met in person was Michele Bachmann, go figure. She told us about how much she liked the Gateway trail (it's in her district so watch out). At each stop we made our presence and issues known, hopefully to lasting effect.

Possibly the biggest challenge of the week was finding the secure bike parking in the underground parking garage of the monstrous Ronald Regan Building (visualize an unmarked door amid a multilevel garage of unmarked doors and unknowing staff). I figured it was the summits way of keeping it real.

Overall, The League of American Bicyclists put together a good summit. The seminars covered the spectrum, the food was great, and they kept it fun and to the point.

Check out some of our issue papers below:
Complete Streets Bill: Transportation infrastructure for everyone = revolutionary
CLEAN-TEA: Clean Low Emission Affordable New Transportation Equity Act
Congressional bike Caucus: Encouraging other legislators to join the bike partisan caucus. We almost have a majority!
America Bikes Agenda for the 2009 Transportation Bill

Find more info and followup at The League's website: www.bikeleague.org

See ya on the streets,