BikeCommuters.com

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They Sure Take Those Helmet Laws Seriously…

Our friends Nick and Lynn Tucker of New Zealand let us know about a frightening news article of an incident that happened in Nelson a few days ago:

Shaun Taylor, 21, said he was riding along Rocks Rd on Tuesday afternoon when a police officer told him to get off and push the bike because he was not wearing a helmet.

Mr Taylor, a chef, said that when the officer left, he got back on his bike, but near the Tahunanui shops the officer drove up beside him again and said he was going to place him under arrest for failing to stop.

Mr Taylor said an argument started and the officer sprayed him with pepper spray, which got into his eyes and on his face, causing “excruciating” pain.

His instinct was to run, eventually getting away from the officer and back to his bike and, after briefly back-tracking towards Nelson, he continued cycling towards Tahunanui, he said.

By the Tahunanui traffic lights, the officer, who was heading in the opposite direction, saw him and did a “burnout in rush-hour traffic” as he crossed the lanes, ramming him and his bike into a bank, Mr Taylor said.

Obviously, there’s more to the story (click here to read the rest), but man oh MAN do police in New Zealand take those helmet laws seriously or what?

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!