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Author Archive: Elizabeth

Ride of Silence rolls around the world TONIGHT!

Today – Wednesday, May 15, 2013, is the 10th Anniversary of the worldwide Ride of Silence (always the third Wednesday in May). What started in Dallas in 2003 as a memorial ride for a fallen cyclist has grown to become a worldwide memorial bike ride to honor all killed and injured cyclists. As of this morning, more than 360 locations have registered a Ride of Silence event, including at least 24 distinct international locations according to the Ride of Silence website.

The Ride of Silence is an opportunity for the global community of cyclists to ride together on the same night and time (locally) in memory of our fellow cyclists who have been injured or killed by distracted, drunk or otherwise impaired, negligent or careless motorists. This ride is our ride to show – in silent procession – that bicyclists are road users too. By riding together we aim to raise awareness of the need for all road users to Share The Road!

10th Anniversary Ride of Silence 2003-2013

10th Anniversary Ride of Silence 2003-2013

If you have lost a loved one due to a cycling crash, please post it as an “in memoriam” on the League of American Bicyclists Every Bicyclist Counts page.

Find a Ride of Silence near you at the Ride of Silence site.

If you’re in Chicago, join us at Daley Plaza beginning at 6pm, for a 6:45pm departure. The Chicago Ride will pass by the sites of several Ghost Bikes, which are bikes painted white and placed at the site of a fatal bike crash.

It’s never too late to show your support for the Ride of Silence via a donation or purchase of a token of the event.

See you at the Ride of Silence! One day. One time. World wide.

Women Bike Shops “Pop-Up” at the National Women’s Bicycling Forum

As a welcome addition to this year’s expanded Women’s Bicycling Forum, the League of American Bicyclists “put out a call for applications [to women leaders in the bike industry] and were absolutely inspired by the diverse array of vendors who responded and delighted to announce the lineup for our Women Bike Pop-up Shop.”

The idea to include vendors stemmed from the theme of this year’s Forum — Women Mean Business, and the vendors who participated in this pop-up shop served to showcase several of these female leaders in the bike industry.

Nearly 20 women-owned bike shops (and causes) decorated the lobby spaces of the National Women’s Bicycling Forum and provided a welcome opportunity for attendees to meet these talented vendors, learn more about their businesses and products, and snag some great deals on awesome bike accessories.

Forum attendees wander the women’s shops showcasing their unique bike accessories.

Cleverhood displayed their rain cape – with reflective accents woven into the fabric for evening visibility:

the reflective grid pattern in the light


And in normal light:

Cleverhood under normal lighting condition

Bird Industries offered stickers saying “Friends don’t let friends wear spandex”:

For keeping a skirt in place, Bird Industries sells a skirt garter, along with other bike accessories


More bike accessories from Bird Industries

Bling from GiveLoveCycle:

Jewelry bling from GLC

Elly Blue and Ellee Thalheimer each had their publications and stickers available:

Elly Blue alongside author Ellee Thalheimer


Ellee Thalheimer’s books


Elly Blue’s publications

Vespertine‘s eco-chic reflective gear:

Vespertine from NYC – chic reflective vest, jackets, belts and pins

Bicyclette‘s bike-inspired accessories for bike, self and home:

Bicyclette’s bike-inspired items

I was especially happy and proud to see Maria from PoCampo (from Chicago!) at this event:

Chicago-based PoCampo’s bike bags and purses

Bikie Girl Bloomers offered a clever way to bike in a skirt (with a skirt hitch- the “skitch”) and fun spandex for wearing under the skirt:

Bikie Girl Bloomers

Nuu-Muu dresses:

Nuu-Muu dresses make biking in sportswear fashionable and easy

Bandbox Bicycle Helmets with their own helmet covers:

This line of bike helmets offers its own bike covers, so you can cycle in your own “hat” style.

Vaya Bags use recycled canvas and recycled bicycle tubes to make bags, purses, belts, wallets, etc.:

Vaya Bags offer items from recycled canvas and bike tubes… I bought myself a cool belt.


In fact, I may be reviewing the Vaya Bags pannier hybrid bag :

Pannier Hybrid Bag complete with backpack shoulder straps, plus clips to attach to a rear bike rack – so you can carry it multiple ways.

Jacquie Phelan of the Women’s Mountain Bike and Tea Society (WOMBATS) also graced the pop-up show with her tunes:

As listed on the League of American Bicyclists’ site, the complete list of Women Bike Pop-up Shop vendors included:

Bandbox LLC
Bicyclette
Taliah Lempert, Bicycle Paintings
Bikie Girl Bloomers
Bird Industries
Elly Blue, Taking the Lane Media
Cleverhood
Cyclofemme
Georgena Terry, Heart of Steel bicycles
Georgia in Dublin
GiveLoveCycle
Iva Jean
Nutcase
Nuu-Muu
Po Campo
Recycle-A-Bicycle
Eleanor Thalheimer, Cycling Sojourner
Vaya Bags
Verspertine

It took all my restraint to not buy something from every vendor. I did buy myself a few items – that were easily packable in my suitcase – but I admired everything I saw and every woman I met. These women have the creativity to meet the needs of fellow female cyclists.

With all this talent in the bike industry, there truly is something for everyone and women need not feel that the bike world is male-dominated. Just demand that your local bike shop stocks these items.

Women in Cycling return to the pre- National Bike Summit lineup

My first full day in D.C. in early March (following an evening bike ride and Women & Bicycles party) ushered in the 2nd annual National Women’s Bicycling Forum held just before the National Bike Summit. The National Women’s Bicycling Forum brought more than 350 attendees rallying around the theme “Women Mean Business”.

As summarized on the League of American Bicyclist’s site

“this all-day event showcased women leaders and entrepreneurs in the bicycle industry and highlighted the economic impact and rising influence of women in the bicycle movement.

The Forum included keynote addresses from industry pioneer Georgena Terry, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth and NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, as well as break-out sessions, a Women Bike Pop-up Shop and plenty of networking.”

Elizabeth with NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan (JSK)

For the fun of it – following the keynote addresses – the New York Bike Dancers graced the luncheon audience with a lively performance:

A year ago, the first ever National Women Cycling Forum in 2012 was simply a 2-hour panel discussion the afternoon before the start of the National Bike Summit. For 2013, it has become a full-day of speakers and break-out sessions… overwhelming in such a good way. So many inspiring female leaders in the bike industry and who work in their communities shared their ideas for how to inspire more women to bike, and the day marked a celebration of the unique (and enhanced) perspective females give to cycling.

A breakout session panel. All sessions were full of attendees.

Add to that the pop-up shops featuring female vendors in the bike industry – each showcasing their wares with distinctive flare.

follow the Women Bike movement

In the spirit of the day – there was even an impromptu photo booth to express bike love:

accessories for the bike photo booth

[Note: this forum was not a repeat of the National Women’s Bicycling Summit (which was held last September in Long Beach).]

The result of this Forum?
“As a take-away for Forum participants and folks around the country, the group created a hand-out with 11 tips to engage more women in your cycling events.”

Nationwide women’s events are already forming and growing, such as the Venus de Miles Ride and CycloFemme.

CycloFemme Pledge:

Take the CycloFemme Pledge

Here in Chicago, our very own grassroots Women Bike Chicago has already formed… and hosted its very first Women Bike Chicago Forum (more to come in a separate post). More fun events to engage women biking in Chicago are in the works… along with planning already underway for a bigger and better Women Bike Chicago Forum in 2014. I was privileged to bring back ideas and energy from D.C. to Chicago; I hope all the people who in attended this National Women’s Bicycling Forum returned to their respective communities with energy to inspire women and all cyclists where they live.

For all you females (and males) now inspired to get more women on bikes in your community – the League may be able to help fund your ideas. Find out more about applying for a mini-grant.

Next up… the Women Bike Pop-Up Shops

From Chicago to D.C. for a kick-off of Women & Bicycles and the National Bike Summit

This past March I ventured (for the second year) to Washington, D.C. for the National Bike Summit.

For those of you unable to attend the event “in-person” I hope that the insights of these next few posts about the National Bike Summit may inspire you to go in future years or to at least check out the presentations now available online for your viewing pleasure.

This year “more than 750 attendees from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces participated in the 2013 National Bike Summit!”

Let’s start from the beginning…

Upon my arrival in D.C. (much chillier this year and not a cherry blossom in bloom!), I perked up at sight of the bright red Capital Bikeshare bikes.
capital bikeshare bikes

I, however, passed by the bikeshare bikes; instead I borrowed a bike from Miriam’s friend (who graciously lent me her bike “Cherry” last year and this year – thank you!).
Cherry

Once on bike, I was equipped to join an evening bike ride organized by the group Black Women Bike. Bundled up, we cycled past several D.C. monuments before circling back to a launch party for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA)’s Women & Bicycles campaign – an outreach and education program geared to get more women on bike.

The event was full of bike love:

Plus books and such from Elly Blue and WABA:

My initial day in D.C. would set the pace for a jam-packed week of everything bike advocacy and meeting awesome bikey folks… especially meeting these other fine ladies named “Elizabeth”:

Ladies named Elizabeth

Friday Musing – know your local bike law?

Last Friday a post about an obscure traffic law that punishes cyclists graced the Streetsblog Chicago site.

The debate continued offline during a friendly chat I had with a local Chicago attorney who represents cyclists involved in crashes. The question is to what degree are cyclists held to the true letter of the law – and in this case – are bikes not allowed to pass cars on the right???

Of course – there have been differing interpretations of this particular law – including a lawyer who says yes, bicyclists may pass on the right.

The specific law in question regards the following:

Section 11-704(b) of the Illinois Vehicle Code, which reads in part:

The driver of a 2 wheeled vehicle may not pass upon the right of any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless the unobstructed pavement to the right of the vehicle being passed is of a width of not less than 8 feet.

Our resident Ghost Rider points out that with any traffic law there’s no blanket “right way” – it’s a state-by-state, municipality-by-municipality issue. What’s legal in CA is wholeheartedly illegal another state, and vice versa.

As noted in this Streetsblog post –

In 2010, California’s legislature revised their passing-on-right statute to fix its ambiguity, and now Illinois advocacy groups are gearing up to push for a similar change at home.

So what can we do? Always “check your own local laws” first. In Chicago, the city has a web page dedicated to its local bike laws. The state advocacy group in Illinois – the League of Illinois Bicyclists – also has a pdf available on its site of the IL state bike laws.

So do a check with your local city/state laws. If nothing else, such stories are an excellent reminder for all commuters (cyclists and motorists alike) to become familiar with the laws that govern their actions in their areas.

Anyone have any oddball law examples to share from your own state and/or your travels around other countries?

We came across a few oddball examples we found to share with you this Friday:

* In Georgia no bicycle shall be equipped, modified, or altered in such a way as to cause the pedal in its lowermost position to be more than 12 inches above the ground, nor shall any bicycle be operated if so equipped. (see weird law #8)

* Bicycles are not allowed in the tennis courts in the state of Idaho

* Ontario, Canada, has several bikes laws with hefty fines (up to $85CAD), including a bike must have a bell or horn in good working order and must signal their turns.
(Jack’s written about a similar bike bell law in Tampa, FL)

* In Fort Scott, KS, “everyone, whether a resident of Fort Scott, or a visitor to town, is required to register their bicycle.”

* And in Sun Prairie, WI, No rider of a bicycle shall remove both hands from the handlebars or practice any trick or fancy riding in any street in the city nor shall any bicycle rider carry or ride any other person so that two persons are on the bicycle at one time, unless a seat is provided for a second person.

We covered bike laws 5 years ago right here on BikeCommuters.comHow long will it take for some of these crazy (out-of-date) laws to change?