Only a few days to go to support Bike Pittsburgh’s Drive With Care campaign

Our hometown, Pittsburgh, has been making big strides in the past few years in promoting cycling and making the streets safer. At the forefront of that movement is Bike Pittsburgh, an award-winning advocacy group.

In August 2013, Bike Pittsburgh installed four billboards and 15 bus shelters with its Drive With Care campaign. Featuring real cyclists and real people, it reminded drivers that people on bikes aren’t a nascence in the road, they are nurses, students, daughters, sons and star NFL players. Yes, one billboard features Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is a football town after all.

Now Bike Pittsburgh is raising funds to expand the program to other neighborhoods, create a web campaign where riders can share their stories, and spread the word to drivers that all road users are people, not impediments.

The Indiegogo campaign is raising $50,000 to fund the following:

  • $10,000 – 15 bus shelters for two month
  • $14,000 – 45 bus cards (aka “Queens”) on the sides of buses divided between four routes, for two months
  • $16,000 – Strategically placed billboards around Pittsburgh for two months
  • $10,000 – Web development and app creation for people to take their own pictures and make Drive With Care profiles

More than just making streets safer, your donation will earn you a little something too.

Various donation levels will earn you prizes, including T-shirts, cycling caps, water bottles, a spot on one of the billboards or my favorite: Rick Sebak will record the message on your voicemail or answering machine. Pittsburghers are going to especially excited about this one.

The campaign runs through April 20, so don’t delay—donate now.

 


Supreme Court decision may threaten rail-trails

A ruling by the Supreme Court Monday could limit the transformation of railroad right-of-ways into bike and pedestrian corridors. The 8-1 decision ruled that when a railroad had been abandoned, the right-of-way reverts back to the property owner and its future use is at their discretion.

It could derail plans to construct new rail-trails built on former federal land, especially in the West, while the government could also be required to compensate landowners who have converted rail-trails crossing their property.

Read more.


London to spend $500M on cycling and pedestrian infrastructure

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Click the map for a larger view

London has become synonymous with cycling and pedestrian danger, as the city has claimed more than 150 serious injuries or deaths in the past three years. Now the city, led by Mayor Boris Johnson, himself an advocate for cycling and pedestrian safety, is pledging $500 million to radically transform 33 intersections and roundabouts across the city.

Roundabouts at Archway, Aldgate, Swiss Cottage and Wandsworth, among others, will be ripped out and replaced with two-way roads, segregated cycle tracks and new traffic-free public space. The Elephant & Castle roundabout, London’s highest cycle casualty location, will be removed. At other intimidating roundabouts, such as Hammersmith and Vauxhall, safe and direct segregated cycle tracks will be installed, pending more radical transformations of these areas in the medium term.

“These road junctions are relics of the Sixties which blight and menace whole neighborhoods. Like so much from that era, they’re also atrociously-designed and wasteful of space,” Johnson said in a statement. “Because of that, we can turn these junctions into more civilized places for cyclists and pedestrians, while at the same time maintaining their traffic function.”

The move is part of the Safe Streets London campaign, a detailed plan to reduce the number of persons injured on London’s roads by 40 percent by 2020.

 

 


Bicycle Times #27 is on its way

We’ve been busy writing and editing and shooting photos and drinking excessive amounts of coffee and staying up too late—and now the next issue of Bicycle Times has been sent off to the printer. This is what we’ve cooked up for you.

Subscribers usually see it in their mailboxes before it hits store shelves, so be sure to sign up for a subscription of your own and you’ll never miss an issue.

In this issue

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On the cover: Trina Haynes and the Breezer Downtown 5. Photo by Jon Pratt.

Click here to see what’s inside.


Shimano opens new business center in CA

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Photos by Maurice Tierney and Shimano

In response to its rapid growth, Shimano American Corporation has expanded its Irvine, Calif., office building by some 48,000 square feet turning it into a massive 51,000 square foot distribution center. An entirely new, modern business center also opened directly across the street for Shimano’s marketing, R&D and inside sales staff.

A recent move by Shimano to go dealer direct with its products, which also includes Pearl Izumi and a host of fishing brands, not only means lower prices for the customer but a need to expand warehouse capability for shipping, receiving and storage. Even after a year the project is still being completed with a new fire sprinkler system being installed, new hi-tech conveyers being finalized and large storage spaces being prepared. Other changes to the former offices include a fishing rod and reel repair and warranty center for quick turnaround.

Shimano’s Marketing Manager Joe Lawwill, who raced professionally for over 10 years and won a Masters Downhill World Championship in 2002, showed us around the entrance to the new, highly modern Business Center. Visitors are treated to an action video loop on the main screen while a smaller interactive monitor showcases Shimano’s history in cycling.

Join us for a tour of the new facility.


Love adventure? Apply to become a Blackburn Ranger

To paraphrase a famous Army cadence:

“I wanna be an Blackburn ranger / I wanna live the life of adventure”

Sponsorships for the non-racers out there can be rare. Blackburn is stepping up into that gap and offering support to the adventures out there with the Ranger brand ambassador program.

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The main criteria for Ranger-hood is a commitment to ride either the Pacific Coast bicycle route or the Great Divide mountain bike route. Of course, Rangers will be responsible to share their adventures via the various social media platforms. In return Blackburn will outfit Rangers with Blackburn gear (including prototypes!) and a small travel stipend to help defray the cost of your adventurous undertaking.

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Also in the perks category: Ranger Camp at the Whiskey Off-Road in Prescott, Arizona, paid for by Blackburn. I don’t know about you, but I’d be down with missing out on some spring showers to hang out in Arizona April 25-27. The application process involves submitting a short essay, a few photographs and uploading a short video to YouTube. Best get busy!

Learn how to enter here.


Kona debuts new titanium road bike

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Building on its journey along the “Neverending Road,” Kona announced on its blog today a new project to be hitting the streets this summer, the titanium Esatto road bike. Built in Tennessee by Lynskey, the Esatto is designed as an endurance road bike, capable of fitting larger tires (up to 32c) and featuring a more relaxed geometry. Details include laser-etched graphics and hidden fender eyelets.

Highlights:

  • 3/2.5 seamless Ti material
  • Tapered HT (integrated HS design)
  • Ovalized DT and chainstays
  • New Endurance Comfort geometry
  • Kona Carbon monocoque fork with slight curve for smooth and compliant ride
  • Full fender and 28c tire clearance (up to 32c without fenders)
  • “Invisible” removable fender attachment eyelets
  • Available in six sizes (49, 52, 54, 56, 59, 61)

The titanium frame and proprietary carbon fork will retail for $2,499. Bikes are available now, so contact your Kona dealer if you are interested.

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SRAM publishes ‘stop use immediately’ notice for hydraulic brakes

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Disc brakes have made a big push into the cyclocross and even road bike markets in the past year, but they certainly have had their share of bumps in the road along the way. SRAM, Shimano and TRP have all issued recalls for some of their disc brake products, but the latest news from SRAM trumps them all.

Despite an earlier recall that affected only a small production group of SRAM RED hydraulic disc road brakes, the new recall covers ALL hydraulic disc and rim brakes, and recommend riders stop using them immediately for their own safety.

Click here to read the full text of the announcement.


NPR: Low-income riders are rare on bike share

Bike sharing systems are meant to make simple and practical transportation options available to more people, but rates of ridership among low-income users is incredibly low. According to Transportation Alternatives, only 0.5 percent of riders on New York’s CitiBike system are categorized as low-income.

[It] may have something do with where the docking stations are located. But the people who run these systems say they’re businesses. And they have to start where the demand for cycling is greatest. Paul DeMaio is a consultant who worked with Capital Bike Share in Washington, D.C.

Systems are forced to go for the low-hanging fruit — the neighborhoods that have the highest density of commercial, of residential. And that are gonna provide the most ridership to help pay for the service. And then hopefully catch up with the outlying neighborhoods as quickly as they can.

But it’s more than just location. Even when these stations are sited in low-income neighborhoods, they often go under-used. Partly, this may be about price. A typical bike-sharing membership costs somewhere between $60 and $100 a year. Many of these systems offer discounts for low-income riders, but they’re not always well-known or advertised.

Listen to or read the full story from NPR here.

 


Bike Trains in LA on NPR

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NPR did a profile this past week about LA Bike Trains, a service that helps new cyclists feel more comfortable on the road by arranging commutes in groups. An experienced conductor leads the group along safe roads and the pack of cyclists inherently leads to more comfortable riders and better visibility.

Since launching L.A. Bike Trains in May with just a few routes and no budget, the system has grown to a dozen volunteer leaders, covering Los Angeles by bike by as much as 20 miles per trip each way, like the route from Silver Lake to Santa Monica.

Still, bike trains are far from seeing mass adoption.

Herbie Huff, a policy researcher at UCLA, says there are lots of obstacles to taking part in bike trains. Instead, Huff thinks infrastructure like bike lanes would be a bigger winner, or a concept like bike sharing could be an easier entry point.

“In order to go on the bike train, you need to already have made a commitment,” Huff says. “You need to already have a bike.”

Read more about Bike Trains here


We went to the Philly Bike Expo and all we got was a really great time

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By Shannon Mominee

If you like custom frames, clever accessories, cool components, and good people the Philly Bike Expo is the place to be. Dennis Jordan of The Leather Arts Store displayed his handmade toptube leather wine bottle holsters, saddlebags, belts, and shoulder bags. Jeff Williams’ booth featured bike-themed paintings. A display of vintage Schwinn Paramount track and road bikes were on display across from a sprint competition sponsored by RELoad Bags.

Click through to see what you missed. Read the full story


335 miles – 24 hours – 1 bike – 2 sore butts

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By Seth Gernot

It was the best of ideas, it was the worst of ideas. Well, at least it was an idea. Pictured above are two people that are having fun, right?

Fun isn’t the right word. It was a combination of fun, pain, and pain. We still can’t figure out who had the idea to ride to DC in 24 hours on a tandem…

The last you may have heard from us, Rebecca and I were poised for our trip. The support crew was ready, the gear was all set, and the weather was looking beautiful. The start was set for 7:30 a.m. at Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh.

I don’t know about you, but I get pretty excited before big events. My inner child gets all wound up. Sometimes sleep is hard to come by when you’re on the precipice of something big. So, I figured drinking a single bottle of beer around 9 p.m. the night before would help usher in a couple of sinking eyelids.

Instead of grabbing a bottle opener I took a shortcut and popped the top off with my multi-tool. I’m not very good at this maneuver. Not very good at all. In fact, in one quick motion the cap flew off, the multi-tool broke the bottle, and the big knuckle on my right index finger drove into the newly shattered bottle. It was bad, quite bad. And the timing was awful. I needed sleep more than stitches. So, gauze and a duct tape was all that was used to stop the bleeding.

The next morning Rebecca inquired about the liberal use of duct tape on my now swollen hand. I admitted that the cut was pretty serious, but the show must go on. I decided then that a full-fingered glove would be placed over the hand and not removed until we reached Washington D.C.

As you can tell from the statements above, I am not a doctor. But, I can ride a bike and I’m kinda stubborn, so let’s continue and see what happened next.

Read the full story


Proposed bike trails to connect 9/11 sites

On the twelfth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance is putting into action the plan to finish a series of bike paths connecting the cities where the planes crashed and the memorials to the victims.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Somerset County, Pa., has received $100,000 in grants to begin work to connect a path from Shanksville, Pa., where Flight 93 crashed, to the Great Allegheny Passage. The GAP trail, along with the C&O Canal Towpath, already connect Pittsburgh with Washington D.C. where Flight 77 struck the Pentagon.

From there the trail will extend up the East Coat Greenway, a long-term project to connect all the major cities on the East Coast with a traffic-free corridor.

The final leg, from New York to Shanksville will follow roads and rail trails through central Pennsylvania, though the exact route has not been decided.

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Film: ‘The Road From Karakol’—a bike, hike and mountaineering adventure

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In Summer of 2011, alpinist Kyle Dempster set out across Kyrgyzstan’s back roads on his bike. His goal – ride across the country via old Soviet roads while climbing as many of the region’s impressive peaks as possible. He was alone. He carried only a minimalist’s ration of climbing gear. Ten Kyrgyz words rounded out his vocabulary. He’d purchased his bike just weeks before and had never bike toured.

Upon arrival, Kyle found himself pulled into the Kyrgyz culture – heavy drinking, friendly curiosity and families carving existences out of yurts in the foothill. From his maps, he picked a circuitous path of back roads between the regions incredible mountains. When he arrived, he found that the roads had been abandoned. Crumbling roads led deeper into the heart the Kyrgyz wilderness before disappearing all together. After crossing a few rivers and nearly being swept away in the process, Dempster realized that his path back was blocked. He had to keep, pedaling, pushing and carrying his bike. It meant crossing rivers raging with summer snow melt and navigating game trails.

Read the full story


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