Sunday, December 16, 2007
Following the lead of Pacific Cycle and Saris, Planet Bike issued its own challenge to participants in the Interbike Industry Criterium. The race was held at the Mandalay Bay Casino on the opening night of Interbike 2007. Planet Bike stepped up to donate $5,000 to the Thunderhead Alliance in the name of the last place finisher, which turned out to be Dave Parrett, Marketing Manager for Thomson.
“My son will never let me live this down,” he said upon learning of his “prize” for being the last rider to cross the line. “I’m honored, but I’m already training for next year.” Parrett raced aboard a Storck bike that he had borrowed from the Hawley Company for the crit.
Back on the floor of the Sands Convention Center, Planet Bike hosted its second annual Ping Pong Tournament. Like last year, $3,000 in advocacy donations was again on the line for industry folks who were willing to battle it out on the tiny table.
This year, Ken Fong’s blistering play earned him the championship. Fong, of North East Cycles in St. Petersburg, FL, requested that Planet Bike make the $3,000 donation in his name to the Florida Bicycle Association. “I really like what the FBA does for the cycling community here and the events they sponsor, I wanted to keep it as close to home as possible,” said Fong. The FSA is committed to "uniting all types of cyclists...to create a statewide bicycling community bound together in common pursuit of a more bicycle-friendly Florida."
Planet Bike designs high quality bicycle accessories that make it easier and safer for people to ride their bikes. Since its inception in 1996, Planet Bike has believed that the bicycle can improve our environment and our quality of life. Therefore, each year it has donated at least 25% of profits to causes that promote and facilitate the use of bicycles. By the end of 2007, Planet Bike will have donated more than $500,000 to the grassroots advocacy movement.
2402 Vondron Road
Madison, WI 53711
David McMurray – 608.256.8510
Dan Powell – 608.256.8510
Friday, December 7, 2007
The visit features an IMBA Trailbuilding School, a group ride and a social. This is your opportunity to rub shoulders with the IMBA Crew while learning all about trailbuilding. Check out the details below and come join in the fun.
6:00 - 9:00 PM: Social with IMBA/SORBA at Higher Ground on Mahan Drive
8:00 - 8:30 AM: Registration and light breakfast at State Division of Forestry conference room, 3125 Conner Blvd
8:30 AM - Noon: Trailbuilding School classroom session
Noon - 1:00 PM: Lunch Provided at Tom Brown Park
1:00 - 3:30 PM: Trailbuilding School field session at Tom Brown Park
9:00 AM: Group ride, Meet at Tom Brown Park
Please RSVP for this event. For more information, contact Jim Schmid.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
This link takes you to a very cool video filmed in Portland, Oregon. It shows a herd of bicyclists helping a woman move her household goods from one abode to another. The riders can be seen hauling items as large as couches and a boat (maybe).
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
In his latest book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell describes the Implicit Association Test (IAT) developed at Harvard. This test exposes hidden biases by having subjects respond quickly to word associations (check it out at http://www.implicit.harvard.edu/). Gladwell explores how people score on the Race IAT, which makes associations with African-Americans and Caucasians. Over 80 percent of those who’ve taken that test showed “pro-white associations,” and even half of African-Americans have done the same. This is not evidence of racism or self-hatred, but about the many messages we receive from our culture on a continuous basis. As Harvard psychologist Mahzarin Banaji is quoted: “You don’t choose to make positive associations with the dominant group, but you are required to. All around you, that group is being paired with good things. You open the newspaper and turn on the television, and you can’t escape it.”
I have argued that the culture-wide relationship between bicyclists and motorists is similar to that of Native Americans and Americans of European ancestry. Like Native Americans, we were here first, and got in the way of the automobile’s Manifest Destiny. We "dress funny," have strange customs, make motorists uncomfortable when we gather en masse, and are being moved into reservations (trails, bike lanes) “for our own good.”
The automobile industry spends over $13 billion dollars a year for advertising, and whether one argues that the purpose of such advertising is to promote auto use in general or just to push one brand over another is really beside the point; all auto ads support the attitude that car use is good, and that even more car use is better still. News reports on the 42,000 annual deaths and 2 million injuries, global warming, ground level ozone, and the myriad other ills generated by auto use are of little consequence compared to such an advertising onslaught.
Bicycling and bicyclists are more often than not portrayed in negative terms: risk-taker, sacrifice, jobless, car-less, discomfort, geek, tree-hugger, freeloader, obstruction, slow, casualty… And where is the multi-billion dollar ad campaign to promote cycling?
The IAT results imply that, even though we know consciously and intellectually that bicycling is a better activity (healthier, greener, cheaper, more sociable, less dangerous to others, inspiring, etc., etc.) than automobile use, we might still (collectively) tend to defer to motorists as superior members of society.
Gladwell points out that it is in spontaneous situations when these cultural biases most affect our behaviors. With a 4,000 lb. vehicle breathing down the back of your neck it’s too easy to give in and make way; to feel as if you are the interloper.
Well, change is coming. You may have seen the Region’s Bank ads that use bicycles as symbols of freedom and joy. Lance Armstrong was a huge boost, even though he was not a symbol of the everyday bicyclist (and Floyd Landis has unfortunately become a negative symbol; two steps forward, one step back). This morning the price of gas was $3.10 a gallon and there’s serious talk of $4.00 by next summer.
As always, I try to leave you with something you can do with this new knowledge. Unless you can afford to buy lots of television air time to promote bicycling, I suggest you figure out ways to block out the pro-auto voices that permeate the culture. If the title of this post seems too extreme an option, you could instead use the mantra made famous by Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley (portrayed by Al Franken) as you bike down the road:
“I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
This coming weekend the park hours will be like normal but on the last weekend we will open the park on Thursday 11-1-07, Friday 11-2-07, Saturday 11-3-07 & Sunday 11-4-07 from 9am to dusk and camping and night riding will be allowed all four of those days. An informal farewell party is planned on Saturday night (all are invited) 11-03-07 at the park (more info to follow). Again the last day to ride Razorback will be 11-04-08 a Sunday.
This also means that the scheduled final round of the Florida State Championship which was scheduled for Razorback will now be moved to the Santos Trails with the date remaining the same 12-09-07. The Santos location will be the best choice for the final event even though the seventh round is also at the same location.
The popular 12 Hours of Razorback (scheduled for 2-16-08 ) will be moving to a course in the area and information will be released ASAP. Also the first round of the SERC series will now be held in Gainesville at Haile’s Trails on 3-16-08 .
Please help pass the word as it is such short notice for everyone!
compliments of http://www.goneriding.com/ and the Gainesville Cycling Club, http://www.gccfla.org/.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Norman Benzing climbed tall mountains, sailed to far-off islands and bicycled
across the country -- twice.
Before 9 a.m. on Thursday morning, while he
and his wife strolled along the sidewalk on South Orange Avenue, a car jumped
the curb and hit him from behind.
Friends and family members of the
67-year-old man were shocked that he was killed while walking down the street.
See the Orlando Sentinel story here.
I didn't know Norman, but sometimes saw him and his wife riding their tandem in the neighborhood; they only lived about a mile away.
Tell Sen. Martinez that Florida needs more opportunities for walking and biking, not less.
Sen. Martinez’s vote was in support of an extreme amendment proposed by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that blamed bicycle and pedestrian funding for the August Minneapolis bridge collapse. This claim was made despite the fact that, since 2006, states have returned more than $2 billion in unspent bridge project funding to Congress. Coburn’s amendment was defeated 80-18.
This misguided scapegoating attempt cannot go unchallenged.
Please explain to Sen. Martinez why cutting trail, walking and biking funds would be a huge blow to Florida.
Bicycle facilities and trails have strong transportation value, produce zero emissions, support healthy lifestyles and provide economic development opportunities. We need more, not less, funding for bicycle facilities and trails. Federal funding has helped to create numerous miles of highly used bike lanes and trails: the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail and Cady Way Trail; regional connectors such as the Withlacoochee State Trail and the Suncoast Parkway Trail; and the soon to be constructed 50-plus mile East Central Regional Rail Trail and 49-mile Palatka to Lake Butler Rail Trail.
After you have taken action, please be sure to ask other Floridians to act as well. By multiplying our voice, we can convince Sen. Martinez to do the right thing in the future.
Floridians deserve better transportation choices. Please act now by visiting this link.
Monday, October 8, 2007
So the question for cyclists is: "What can we do that's of value to the community that also benefits us, and how do we make it happen and publicize it?"
Sunday, September 30, 2007
And while you're perusing Wired, check out this piece on the mountain bike downhill speed record.
Friday, September 21, 2007
First and foremost, use of public rights-of-way is a basic liberty, not a privilege of taxpayers.
But even if it were not a basic liberty, cyclists (and pedestrians) are certainly paying their way (and then some).
“User fees” such as gas taxes, vehicle taxes and fees, and tolls, account for only 60% of transportation funding; the other 40% is from property taxes, bonds, general funds, and other taxes, all of which are paid (directly or indirectly) by non-motorists. According to Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute,
“On average, local and regional governments spend $300-500 annually per automobile in general taxes on local roads and traffic services, averaging more than 6¢ per mile driven on local roads. Only 0.7¢ of this is paid through vehicle user charges, meaning that driving is subsidized through general taxes by about 5.6¢ per mile on local roads.”
Most gas tax money goes to widening roadways to accommodate more cars (thereby encouraging more driving) and to maintaining roads. Virtually all wear and tear on roads is due to motor vehicles (especially large trucks), not cyclists, and certainly not pedestrians. The cost of accommodating cyclists and pedestrians is generally less than 2% of the total cost of a road. Non-motorists therefore overpay for their use of roads, while motorists underpay.
Those who shop by bike, walk or transit pay gas taxes indirectly. Shipping costs, which are included in the costs of virtually all goods, include gas taxes.
Of course, most cyclists DO buy gasoline, since most own and drive internal combustion vehicles. To say one must always use the vehicle that makes the taxpaying necessary is an absurd trap. "You have no choice! You must drive a car because you paid the tax!" This argument also implies that those who pay more in taxes have greater rights than those who pay less. Those who drive electric cars might similarly be accused of driving on roads without paying “their fair share.” An electric car owner would only pay about one-third as much in “user fees” as the owner of an internal combustion engine vehicle.
Print and save for when you get into that inevitable argument!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
See the Daytona Beach News Journal story here.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
The City of Lake Helen will be presented with 1000 Friends of Florida’s Better Community Award for its citizen engagement and visionary planning to protect the community’s historic, small-town character. The award will be presented by 1000 Friends President Charles Pattison at an “Ice Cream Social” to be held in the City of Lake Helen on the evening of Tuesday, September 25 at 7 p.m. Residents of Volusia County are urged to attend this event at Lake Helen’s community center, historic Hopkins Hall, at the corner of Euclid and Connecticut Avenues.
“The City of Lake Helen has done what many other communities only contemplate,” says Charles. “It has engaged its citizens, established a compelling vision, and then incorporated that vision into its local plan.” The community was nominated for the award by Sam Tollefson of Cassadaga. “Having been an activist fighting to control the growth machine that has swallowed much of Southeast Florida, I have been alarmed to see such growth coming to Central Florida and other parts of state,” says Sam. “I was delighted to learn that Lake Helen has the insight, vision and courage to implement a growth plan that, if sustained, will enrich the lives of the people that live here for generations to come.”
In 2001, the community held a series of visioning sessions, and it soon became clear there was strong public support for maintaining Lake Helen’s unique, small-town, historic character. As a follow up, the city commissioned a population build out study on its 1992 comprehensive plan. Citizens and community leaders alike were shocked to realize that it would allow the distinctive community to grow dramatically in population.
Under the leadership of Mayor Mark Shuttleworth, Lake Helen then embarked on a four-year planning process to update the community’s comprehensive plan. In 2005 the city amended the plan, directing development first to infill areas, and incorporating smart growth principles for development outside the central core. The new plan slightly more than doubles the current population of almost 3,000 residents, which is considerably less than the 12,000 residents contemplated in the previous plan.
Mayor Shuttleworth attributes their success to two factors. “For years, our citizens have clearly expressed their desire to preserve Lake Helen’s small town atmosphere and quality of life,” says the Mayor. “They were willing to forgo ‘economic development’ and ‘jobs’ promised by strip malls and highway convenience stores in order to maintain our community’s environmental quality.” He goes on to note that the citizens trusted local government when it rezoned two-thirds of the town to ensure a population cap of about 6,500 at build out.
Mayor Shuttleworth also credits City Administrator/Planner Don Findell, who has guided the city’s planning and municipal infrastructure development program over the last eight years. “Don has been invaluable,” says Shuttleworth. “He brought many years of experience from other locales, and helped develop an acclaimed planning strategy to ensure the survival of this small Central Florida town.”
“The City of Lake Helen is a shining model for other communities across the state,” says 1000 Friends President Charles Pattison. “While its 1992 plan maximized the city’s future population and growth potential, the 2005 plan incorporates focuses on maintaining Lake Helen’s distinctive, small-town character.”
1000 Friends’ Better Community Award is presented annually for plans that have been implemented and projects that are completed that use the principles of smart growth to create livable, vital environments. 1000 Friends of Florida is also presenting six other awards for individual achievement and journalism at separate events over the course of 2007.
A statewide nonprofit organization, 1000 Friends was founded in 1986 to serve as Florida’s growth management watchdog. It has been presenting awards for innovative growth management efforts since 1990. For more information on 1000 Friends, visit www.1000friendsofflorida.org.
Here are descriptions of the types:
Integrates with other traffic, but “doesn’t play well with others”
High level physical skills
BUT with poor understanding of vehicular cycling principles and practices
Attitude: “I know what I’m doing; I don’t care about your stupid laws.”
Crash Risk: Moderate-to-High
Bike Lanes: may “calm” this user in some circumstances, but will not teach him to share the road
Paths: often treats other users as hindrances
Education and Enforcement Needs
Training on principles and practices of cooperative vehicular cycling
Enforcement of stop signs, signals
Poor physical skills (as well as poorly-maintained bike)
Poor understanding of vehicular cycling principles and practices
Low consideration of their own responsibilities
Low expectations for motorist behavior; usually on sidewalks; often “invisible”
Attitude: “I can’t wait ‘til I can get a car.”
Crash Risk: High
Bike Lanes: often won’t use them, (stay on sidewalk); will still ride wrong way when they do use them
Paths: use them, but likely to ignore rules, especially at intersections
Education and Enforcement Needs
Training on nearly everything
Enforcement of stop signs, signals, wrong-way riding, lights at night
Modest physical skills
Modest understanding of vehicular cycling principles and practices
High consideration of their own responsibilities
Poor expectations for motorist behavior; keeps to local streets and paths, sidewalks on busier streets
Attitude: “I wish I could bike more but it’s so dangerous.”
Crash Risk: Low-to-Moderate
Bike Lanes: likely to use them, especially after training; will recognize that they don’t address most safety problems
Paths: enthusiastic, responsible users; but want to use roads to get to them
Education and Enforcement Needs
Training on nearly everything
Tend to obey the law
High physical skills
High understanding of vehicular cycling principles and practices
High consideration of their own responsibilities
Modest expectations for motorist behavior; travels everywhere, rarely on sidewalks
Attitude: “I wish I could bike more than 5,000 miles a year but I don’t have time.”
Crash Risk: Low
Bike Lanes: likely to use them, but not upset if they’re not available; understand that they don’t address most safety problems
Paths: will use them if they are convenient and uncrowded
Education and Enforcement Needs
Virtually none -- well-trained and tend to obey the law
So, where do you fit in this scheme?
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
"The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a flier to combat myths about the flu vaccine. It recited various commonly held views and labeled them either "true" or "false." Among those identified as false were statements such as "The side effects are worse than the flu" and "Only older people need flu vaccine.""
"When University of Michigan social psychologist Norbert Schwarz had volunteers read the CDC flier, however, he found that within 30 minutes, older people misremembered 28 percent of the false statements as true. Three days later, they remembered 40 percent of the myths as factual."
"Younger people did better at first, but three days later they made as many errors as older people did after 30 minutes. Most troubling was that people of all ages now felt that the source of their false beliefs was the respected CDC...the studies show that the brain uses subconscious "rules of thumb" that can bias it into thinking that false information is true...."
"The research also highlights the disturbing reality that once an idea has been implanted in people's minds, it can be difficult to dislodge. Denials inherently require repeating the bad information, which may be one reason they can paradoxically reinforce it..."
"Mayo found that rather than deny a false claim, it is better to make a completely new assertion that makes no reference to the original myth..."
The lesson for cyclists: the more you say "That road is dangerous," the more people believe you don't belong on it. Then, as other advocates say, "It's a myth that cycling on the road is dangerous," it only get reinforced even more.
The more motorists believe cycling on roadways is dangerous, the worse they will treat us.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
"[T]oday I came across something that I consider a great idea. While reading this week's RoadBikeRider newsletter, I came across a tip submitted by roadie Michelle C. of Griffin, Georgia. "An 'investment' in goodwill and safety for roadies."
"In the constant struggle to make peace with auto drivers, I stumbled onto a clever idea while on a Saturday morning ride.Again, this is a great idea, and something to consider next time you are given the opportunity to help all cyclists by doing something as simple as giving some loose change to a kid.
We made a store stop to refuel. I found myself at the checkout standing next to a boy about 7 and what appeared to be his grandfather. I spoke to the youngster, who was gawking at my kit and shoes with wide-eyed amazement.
My chocolate milk and water cost $2.70. I gave the cashier $3. I hate change on the bike because it rattles and annoys me, so I smiled at the young man and handed him the 30 cents and told him to put it in his pocket. You would have thought I gave him a hundred dollars.
But perhaps more importantly, his grandfather was genuinely impressed with such a simple act of kindness.
Perhaps for 30 cents I purchased one driver who next time he encounters a cyclist will slow down and move over because it might be that nice person who made his grandson smile. And in a few years maybe that little boy will ask for a bike like mine and take to the road."
Monday afternoon saw the kickoff of the Florida Traffic Justice Coalition, with leaders in law enforcement, the judicial system, engineering, education, and bicycling advocacy expressing their desires for a safer street system for ALL users, and developing the beginnings of a strategy, with core principles and short term priorities. (More to come on this in a later post.)
The Conference itself ran from Tuesday morning to Thursday afternoon, beginning with impassioned welcomes from City of Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan, and Orange County Commissioner Linda Stewart. Metroplan Orlando Executive Director Harold Barley challenged the attendees to "get cranking and step it up!," because "We are poised at a moment in which cycling and walking are increasingly seen as parts of the solutions to important global issues: health, climate change, energy costs, urban sprawl, traffic safety, and child development. Walking and bicycling shouldn’t be seen as sacrifices for the common good, but as liberation from a broken system."
The Conserve by Bike Study, ordered by the Florida Legislature and recently released by the Florida Department of Transportation, was a popular topic of discussion. The report shows strong preliminary justification for the provision of bicycling facilities, showing that such facilities do indeed increase cycling, and that the increase in cycling results in significant savings in gasoline consumption, CO2 emissions, and health costs.
The Conference finished up with concurrent meetings of FDOT District bicycle and pedestrian Coordinators, and of local coordinators. Such meetings offer unique opportunities for professionals to strategize ways in which the bureaucracy can function better for cyclists and pedestrians. Look forward to a compelling effort by FBA to communicate key remedies in this area to the Governor's office.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Poor driving behavior is rampant in Florida. According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles there are over 120,000 licenses revoked each year, and another 29,000 suspended due to points alone. Over 114,000 motorists were convicted of driving with a suspended or revoked license in 2006; for all types of criminal driving violations there were over 235,000 convictions. 2.8 million non-criminal citations were handed out to Florida drivers in 2006.
Florida’s fatal crash rate is rising while the national rate drops; it is rising faster than our population. The cost of this mayhem falls hardest on our streets’ most vulnerable users – pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists -- but all users of our roads are affected. It is an injustice that we permit the careless and reckless to continue to wield such power, while those who present little or no risk to others are discouraged from using our streets.
The former president of Boston University Dr. John Silber said, “The only standard of performance that can sustain a free society is excellence.” Considering the destructive power wielded by those in motor vehicles, we must raise our expectations. As humans we almost always fall short of our goals, so a goal of mere adequacy in motor vehicle operation inevitably results in too many incompetent motorists. Our goal must be excellence. Dr. Silber went on to ask, “[D]o we have the right as citizens in a free society to reject excellence on behalf of others who may not be so foolish?” No; the vulnerable among us deserve excellence behind the wheel.
Florida Bicycle Association invites you to join us to discuss problems and solutions, to build a coalition with a vision for change and plan for action, at the first Florida Traffic Justice Coalition meeting at the ProBike®/ProWalk Florida Conference in Orlando on August 27th from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Downtown Embassy Suites Hotel, 191 E. Pine Street. While legislative solutions are certainly on the table, we’re looking for more; for creative approaches to changing the culture to one with high expectations for users of our public ways.
The format of the meeting will be as follows:
1:30-2:00 Overview, why we are here, encapsulate issues, break-out instructions
2:00-3:45 Focus groups
4:00-4:15 Recap group discussions
4:15-4:30 Next steps
Mohandas Gandhi said, “You must make the injustice visible.” That is the first step. Only when injustice becomes fully visible and the voices of the victims are heard can we understand what is needed to remedy it.
Please join us for this important meeting. There is no fee, however, if you wish to attend the ProBike®/ProWalk Florida Conference, visit http://www.probikeprowalkflorida.com/ for details. Please contact Conference Director Bill Richards at 352-377-8342 or by email at email@example.com regarding your availability to attend the Florida Traffic Justice Coalition meeting.
Healthy Community Makeovers:
Designs and Programs for Active and Healthy Lifestyles
August 27 - 30, 2007
Orlando, FloridaEmbassy Suites Hotel Downtown
You should attend if:
- You walk or ride a bicycle
- You care about your community
- You care about the environment
- You are an educator
- You want to make a difference
- You have a program or idea to share
- You are a health or safety professional
- You are an elected official
- You are a member of Law Enforcement
- You work for a planning or transportation entity
- You work for a state agency or department
THE TENTATIVE AGENDA:
Monday August 27— Pre-Conference Workshops
Tuesday August 28— Morning
- Welcome— Orlando Commissioner Sheehan and Orange County Commissioner Linda Stewart
- Keynote Speaker—Gil Penalosa
- FBA—Annual Awards
Wednesday August 29 — Sixteen Breakout Sessions
Thursday August 30—Morning Eight Breakout sessions
Thursday August 30—Afternoon Post conference sessions
Mornings—group walks around downtown & Lake Eola
Evenings—bicycle rides and/or walks
All the time—networking