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DeMint’s “Anti-Bike Lane” Amendment

You may have read on other cycling sites that Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) has offered up an amendment “to prohibit funds for any bike trail path in the version of the stimulus act now in the Senate.”

We urge everyone to contact their Senators immediately to let them know that you want them to support bicycle-friendly infrastructure projects in the Stimulus package and to block the DeMint amendment. The League of American Bicyclists even has a handy Senator lookup feature and talking points for you to call their offices and let your voices be heard. This lookup feature can be found by clicking here.

Talking points for calling or writing your U.S. Senators include:

–Bike/ped projects offer better direct stimulus, because labor is a higher percentage of their cost compared to other transportation projects
–These smaller projects can start more quickly, providing immediate stimulus to local economies
–When polled, Americans call for bike trails and walking paths more than for highway projects
–Better bike/ped connectivity helps the poorest members of society, by giving them transportation options that they can afford
–Bike/ped connectivity is an essential part of Safe Routes to School
–Bike/ped projects are essential in reviving troubled downtowns

(thanks to the Virginia Bicycling Federation for providing these points).

And just so you know, this isn’t just “another day at the office for Republicans”…for U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has also spoken out against using Stimulus funding for bicycle infrastructure.

Let your Senators and other elected officials know that they’re really dropping the ball if they don’t realize that investing in alternative transportation infrastructure of ALL kinds makes quality of life better for all Americans, not just cyclists, mass-transit users and pedestrians.

Special tip of the ol’ “foam chapeau” to Fritz of Cyclelicious for bringing this to our attention.

Commuter Profile: Bike Skirt’s Elisa Munoz

As promised, here is part two of our two-part commuter profiles of the lovely and talented ladies of Bike Skirt. Today I present Elisa Munoz, the other stylish mastermind behind Bike Skirt (in partnership with Anna Carrigan):

elisa
(photo courtesy of T. Scott Carlisle, www.t-photographic.com)

How long have you been a bike commuter?

4 months, give or take.

Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?

I was part of an online contest with friends, Triathablog.com, where each had a sport (running, swimming, cycling) and I decided the best way to get rides in was to combine my commute and my rides. So, I became a bike commuter! It was something I had wanted to do; Triathablog just gave me the boost (and the healthy competition) I needed. My commute is 6 miles each way.

How does Bike Commuting help you with your lifestyle (economics, health, relationships)?

It keeps me in shape for sure. Bike Commuting saves me on gas money and a gym membership. It has also introduced me to a small group of urban riders in Birmingham that I am so thankful for. Plus, I get to meet hot guys on bikes!

What do you do for a living and in what city do you bike commute?

I am a Book Buyer for a large book chain that is based out of Birmingham, AL. I commute from the city to the suburbs. Birmingham is 87/100 of the Unhealthiest Cities for Women, with the lowest % of women riders. Anna (the other half of BikeSkirt) and I are trying to change that, one ride at a time.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

I have one bike, Mick Jagger. He is a Lemond eTape. The love of my life.

mick
(photo courtesy of T. Scott Carlisle, www.t-photographic.com)

Any funny or interesting commuting story that you may want to share?

I was recently profiled for both the newspaper and the local CBS station for being a bike commuter. (editor’s note: Here’s another of her profiles) It makes me laugh that the fact that I do what people all over the world do daily is so foreign in Birmingham that it is ‘news’. That says a lot about the bike culture here.

What do people (coworkers, friends) say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?

“Are you CRAZY?” and “Watch out for cars”. It makes me laugh when non-bikers try to give me cycling advice. I want to say “You know that I ride every day don’t you?” Instead I smile and thank them. I also get looks and questions when people find out that I ride most of the time in a skirt. They are so much more comfortable than pants to me, and much more awesome!! And when your legs start to look like you ride everyday, you want to show them off…

route
(photo courtesy of T. Scott Carlisle, www.t-photographic.com)

How about bicycling advocacy? Are you active in any local or regional advocacy groups?

We don’t have many advocacy groups in Birmingham, but we are trying to change that. I am in the process of starting a Bike Co-op with friends, Bici Coop (www.bicicoop.org) and we are hoping to have a large advocacy presence.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

I can’t imagine anything more fun than riding my bike. Occasionally, I want nothing more than to throw Mick Jagger off of the mountain, but most of the time I arrive at work smiling and thinking that I just had the most fun getting to work. I feel sorry for the folks who will never know that feeling.

refresh
(photo courtesy of T. Scott Carlisle, www.t-photographic.com)

We’d like to thank Elisa for taking the time to submit her profile and photographs…do yourself a favor and check out Bike Skirt — these ladies really know how to roll in style!

We’ve got a few more profiles of stylish commuters in the works…and, as always, if you want to be profiled on Bikecommuters.com, just send us an email.

Commuter Profile: Bike Skirt’s Anna Carrigan

We’re proud to present the first of two commuter profiles from the ladies of Bike Skirt, a new blog about the trials and tribulations of commuting in Birmingham, Alabama. Our first profile is of Anna Carrigan, who demonstrates that bicycle commuting can be a very stylish way to travel:

anna

How long have you been a bike commuter?

I’ve been commuting off and on to school and various jobs for about 5 years.

Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?

I’ve been biking to my current job for two months, but haven’t made the journey very many times. The distance is about 3.5 miles but it takes around 40 minutes owing to a massive hill/mountain, Red Mountain to be exact, in my way and various other hills that require summiting. I have to get off of my bike and walk over Red Mountain, but I hope to conquer it by bike this year! I decided to start commuting because it seemed like it would be interesting to try and a good way to get some exercise.

How does Bike Commuting help you with your lifestyle (economics, health, relationships)?

I believe the greatest thing about Bike Commuting is that I am involved in the journey from home to work in every way. I’m not just zoned out in my car speeding along the expressway to get to work on time, but I’m intentionally leaving my home much earlier that I need to, jumping on my bike, and experiencing the weather, sounds, smells, sights and the burn of my muscles as I travel to my destination. That burn is also very important to me; my health and well-being are being improved every time I ride.

I also bike to school, and the greatest thing about that I that I don’t have to pay or fight for a parking spot.

The environmental aspects are great too: lessening my carbon footprint, less dependent on oil, sticking it to big business and the man…all that mumbo jumbo.

What do you do for a living and in what city do you bike commute?

I work at a city library part-time and am going to school for a Masters in Public Health, focusing on Health Behavior. I commute in Birmingham, Alabama.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

I have a LeMond Tourmalet and a fixed Peugeot Iseran.

lemond

peugeot

Any funny or interesting commuting story that you may want to share?

Can’t really think of anything…pretty boring commutes for me.

What do people (coworkers, friends) say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?

My coworkers think I’m nuts for going over the mountain, and are constantly asking if I biked that day (usually it’s a no). My friends think it’s great…but also a little crazy.

route

How about bicycling advocacy? Are you active in any local or regional advocacy groups?

My friend Elisa and I are writing a blog together called BikeSkirt (bikeskirt.blogspot.com) that chronicles our various biking adventures. It’s surprising to see how many people are rooting for us and it’s so encouraging to hear of others who are also trying commute by bike. I hope we are also encouraging others to get out on their bikes more, especially women who might be reluctant because they think they can’t feel beautiful while riding. I think it’s so much more attractive to be all hot and sweaty rather than being a lazy s.o.b. sitting on my fat ass!

Elisa and I are also working with our friend Alan to start a bike co-op in Birmingham (bicicoop.org) that will be a place for affordable bike maintenance, advocacy, and community development.

Pretty much just being on a bike period in Birmingham is like advocacy because it is so rare here!

route2

Anything else that you want to share with us?

Birmingham is a great city even with the negative things about it; it has a lot of interesting places and great people that the wider world doesn’t tend to recognize. Also, because there is so much lacking in terms of infrastructure, residents all have a chance to really make a difference. You should come visit some time!

anna2

We’d like to thank Anna for sharing her profile with us…stayed tuned for part two of our Bike Skirt profiles, when we’ll introduce Elisa Munoz, the other mastermind behind this excellent new blog. In the meantime, show these gals some support by visiting their blog — a lot of good ideas and images to be had over there.

See, it IS possible to ride a bike and look gorgeous doing it — something a few of us probably knew all along, but it is great to see the word is spreading!

Everything Old is New Again…

Our friends Matt and Ken from Palm Beach Bike Tours had an interesting article a couple weeks ago that we wanted to share with the rest of you — a bike-commuting pioneer from the first U.S. gas crisis.

devon

Take a look at the article by clicking here. Apparently, synthetic fibers were all the rage in commuting clothing even way back in 1974…polyester is KING!

Superbowl Fever in Tampa…but what about bikes?

Anyone who follows professional football knows that next weekend, Superbowl XLIII makes its appearance in Tampa. Preparations are underway throughout the city for an estimated influx of over 100000 visitors for this huge event.

Since I live right down the road from Raymond James Stadium (where the game’s going to be played) and not too far from downtown Tampa, I thought I’d take a bike trip to capture some photos of the preparations and to see if there was any evidence of bicycle accomodations for the event.

First, pictures: how about the stadium itself —
rayjay

Along Himes Avenue, what used to be open grass parking fields have been converted into a “tent city”…event tents, stages and other structures designed to house the press, numerous VIP parties and something called The NFL Experience. It’s really quite amazing to see just how much has been packed into this area:

himes

more development

Huge fences have been erected with security entrances at points along it…the NFL was thoughtful enough to cover the fencing with “no peek” banners so the non-ticketholding-riffraff can’t look in at all those celebrities in attendance:

fence

Elsewhere in Tampa, a number of displays have gone up. Downtown near the Channelside area, two art installations are available for visitors. The first is an NFL-themed interactive sculpture that was part of Tampa’s recent “Lights on Tampa“. This one is called “Tampa’s public mood ring”, as it responds with different-colored lights as the crowd responds to it. The artists were thoughtful enough to set up an online tool to help change this art piece in real time. Play with that by clicking here.

mood ring

The second art installation is located nearby the “mood ring” on a portion of Tampa’s Riverwalk. It is a series of really cool sculptures made out of welded recycled steel and each piece is meant to represent an NFL team:

sculptures
(sorry, the pictures aren’t great…I’m no Russ Roca!)

Just down the street, construction crews have put the finishing touches on the brand-new Tampa Bay History Center, which is a breathtaking building. They had their grand opening last weekend and hope to be 100% operational by the time all those tourists and celebrities make their way into town.

history center

So…what does any of this have to do with bicycles? Good question. As many of you might have heard or read about, the recent inauguration in Washington D.C. saw thousands of cyclists take advantage of the free bike valet parking, courtesy of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA). These folks did a tremendous job in orchestrating this, and with large parts of the city closed to motorists, bicycles made a LOT of sense to get around on.

What about Tampa and the Superbowl? Well, it’s like this: NO ONE I’ve spoken to and nowhere have I heard about or read ANYTHING about any bicycle accomodations for this huge event. There are going to be massive street closures (some of which are listed by clicking here) and because some of the road closures are major avenues through the city, I fear that gridlock is going to spill out into surrounding areas. I’ve got a couple theories about bicycles and the Superbowl, though:

1. If you can afford a ticket to the game or one of the exclusive VIP parties, you wouldn’t be caught dead tooling around town on a bike!
2. They can’t accomodate bikes at this event because they needed the room to park all the limousines, team vehicles, broadcast trucks and celebrity Hummers.
3. The most plausible: Tampa just doesn’t get it. Bikes? Those are for recreation, not transportation!

Anyhow, things should get interesting around here. I’ve got next weekend off, so I am strongly considering putting my pirate flag on the Xtracycle and wading into gridlock over in the stadium area…passing out “Gas Sucks” stickers and showing folks caught in traffic that there IS a worthwhile alternative to burning gas. I think I’ll check out that NFL Experience, too!

Who knows? I might bump into Diddy or Carmen Electra heading to one of those exclusive parties.