BikeCommuters.com

Commute

Hope for the Tampa Bay Bicycle Commuter

If you’re a bicycle commuter in the Tampa Bay area, things can feel pretty lonely at times. There’s only about 6 daily commuters in our area (just joking!), and there isn’t much in the way of moral support around these parts.

But wait, there’s hope!
Tampa BayCycle homepage

Tampa BayCycle is a joint effort between the New North Transportation Alliance (Julie Bond, the executive director, is one of our featured commuters) and the Tampa Downtown Partnership, as well as a host of other corporate sponsors. This organization has provided the Bay Area commuter a wonderful resource for advocacy, communication and information exchange, and recently wrapped up their first year’s “Commuter Challenge”, where riders were encouraged to recruit fellow bike commuters or newbies in exchange for the chance to win prizes. They even had a kickass party to celebrate their first Bike To Work Month, where activists were invited to enjoy pizza, billiards, bowling and prize raffles (my wife and I both won light sets for our bikes and I won a Cateye wireless computer — very cool).

In June, Tampa BayCycle rolled out their very own blog, which is geared towards providing the Tampa area commuter another way to communicate amongst themselves and to spotlight local news, commuter profiles and other information of interest to bicyclists. It’s a great resource, and you should check it out and add comments…let’s get some traffic headed their way (after all, they did put a permalink to www.bikecommuters.com on their blog site)!!

Tampa BayCycle Blog homepage

Resources for the New Bicycle Commuter

Know anyone who has expressed an interest in giving bicycle commuting a try? Many of us have talked to someone who wants to do it but doesn’t really know where to begin. Well, here are a couple Internet resources (besides OUR fine site!) you can point them to. The following sites are generally designed for and aimed at beginners, although a couple of them offer information that will be useful for even the most seasoned, long-time commuter.

Paul Dorn’s Bike Commute Tips

Paul Dorn's Bike Commute Tips website

I’ll start with my favorite — the excellent site put together by Paul Dorn. This site has something for everyone, novices and pros alike. It is clearly divided into major categories and is well-written.

Paul also writes an excellent blog that highlights bicycle commuting news from around the U.S. and beyond.

Bike Safety Institute

Bike Safety Institute website

This site, despite its lofty title, primarily serves as an online ride calendar (that isn’t updated very often). Still, there are quite a few tidbits hidden around the site for the beginning commuter. One tidbit I discovered during a recent visit is the table of bicycle fatalities by state, compiled in 2004 by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration‘s Center for Statistics and Analysis. The top ten most fatal states (per one million population) are Florida at number one (boo!!!), Nevada, Hawaii, Washington D.C., South Carolina, Arizona, Puerto Rico, Delaware, North Dakota and California finishing out at number 10.

Bicycle Fatalities By State

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center

Bicycling Info's website

This website is chock-full of statistical information, image libraries, engineering considerations and many other resources. This site is also very popular with transportation planners who are hoping to include pedestrians and bicycles into their urban plans…our local bicycle/pedestrian planners are actually the ones who turned me onto this site!! Plenty of information is geared at beginners, and even more is available to the advanced commuter or active commuting advocate.

Check these sites out — you may learn something new, and you will certainly be able to point someone in the right direction if you’re ever asked “how do I get started commuting by bicycle?”

As always, if there are other sites you could recommend to beginners, please let us know about them and we may include them in future articles.

Why a fixed gear is better than a mountain bike for commuting

My main commuter bike is my Redline 925, its a fixed. But I also have my Ibex/Xtracycle when I need to carry a big load.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I would rather commute on my fixed gear than my Xtracycle which in its core is a mountain bike.

Here’s why I’d rather ride a fixed gear bike than a 26″ mountain bike:

1. Mountain bikes are heavier.
The Ibex/Xtracycle is about 40lbs all together.

2. Mountain bikes are slower
The gear ratio on it isn’t mean for me to get some fast speeds. Smaller wheels, 26″ vs 700c…26 would lose. 700c wheels roll faster and smoother.

3. Less clutter. My fixed gear has one cable coming out of the bar, thats for my front brake. My mountain bike has 4 cables, 2 shifters and 2 brake levers. Fixed gear bikes have less hassle to deal with when riding.

So for me, I’m sticking to my fixed gear as my main commuter.

Liquor Run Part II

One problem with doing any run…especially a liquor run is bringing the stuff back home. Rather than getting my Xtracycle out, I opted for the Banjo Brothers Commuter Back Pack.

Here’s how the back pack looked after we stuffed it with all the goodies. This was pretty heavy!

Here’s all the stuff that was in side it.

3-2 liter bottles of soda
2 large cans of pineapple juice
1 bottle of coconut rum
1 bottle of Captain Morgan Private Stock
and 1 bag of ice

Yup, all that was in the back pack. I also mentioned that this thing was super heavy. If I wasn’t careful, I could have tipped easily over.

So cheers to the Banjo Brothers Back Pack for carrying all the goods!