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May is National Bike Month

Happy National Bike Month! The League of American Bicyclists has a nationwide event guide available to help participants find fun things to do during Bike Month. Check it out by clicking here.


Florida celebrated Bike Month back in March, so there aren’t any big events going on around here in May. So, we’re depending on YOU for vicarious thrills — if there are cool events happening in your area during Bike Month, please let us know about them in the comments section.

Have fun and be safe out there!

New NHTSA Study — Florida Most Dangerous for Cyclists

A couple of days ago, we discussed bicyclist fatality statistics in the comments section of this article.

Well, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just released the findings of a new study, ranking Florida as the most dangerous place in the nation to be a cyclist. Florida led the nation in bicycle fatalities, with 119 deaths in 2007, followed by California with 109, New York with 51, Texas with 48 and Louisiana with 22.

Statistically, the safest places to be a cyclist are the Dakotas, Wyoming, Vermont and Delaware — none of those five states reported a single fatality during the study period. Any of you Florida folks want to head for safer territory?

This study was covered by The Tampa Tribune, among others. Check out the complete article (including lots of blatantly anti-cyclist comments by Tribune readers) by clicking here.

And, click here to read the entire study summary.

Food for thought…

An Interesting Bike Storage Idea

Our friends over at Palm Beach Bike Tours posted a review of a very interesting bike storage idea…a device called a “Cycle Tree”:

cycle tree

Check out their full review and additional photos of the Cycle Tree by clicking here.

For those of us who are bike hoarders, this looks to be a great way to free up floor space in your storage area!

Commuter Profile: Trisha P. of “Let’s Go Ride A Bike”

As promised, here is the second part of our “Let’s Go Ride a Bike” commuter profiles. Today we are proud to present Trisha P., the second half of the stylish dynamic duo behind the blog.


How long have you been a bike commuter?

I started riding my bike to work in April of 2008.

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

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Gas prices were rising, I had just bought a new condo that was close to my office, and I needed the physical exercise. The idea of getting a workout while doing something I needed to do was attractive–I’ve never been the treadmill type. I had fond memories of riding my bike as a kid, and the element of adventure also appealed to me: at that point, I didn’t know anyone who commuted by bike. My commute is about 5 miles round trip, mostly through neighborhoods and side streets. I started out just riding to work, but now I frequently cycle over to local restaurants and bars as well as the grocery store.

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

Bicycle commuting has definitely improved my life! Riding my bike to the office and places in my neighborhood makes me feel more like a part of a community. I am able to experience the weather and the seasonal changes (good and bad) for at least 15 minutes a day before being stuck at the desk. It’s not a big money saver for me, since my commutes are so short, but it does help the environment and my health has never been better. As for relationships, I’ve made many new cycling friends, especially after Dottie and I started our blog in January.


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

I’m an editor at a book review, and I bike commute in Nashville, Tennessee.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

I started out riding the 1990 Schwinn Frontier that I received for my 10th birthday. My very first big-girl bike! Pinkie had been gathering dust for years when I dug her out of my grandparents’ basement last year, but she’s forgiven me the neglect and has been a trustworthy commuting companion. She stands as testimony that you don’t need to spend a ton of money to give bike commuting a try: anything with two wheels will give you a sense of whether it’s for you or not. Unfortunately I thought a pink bike was thief kryptonite—apparently not. Pinkie was stolen in February.


Since then, I’ve been riding a late 70’s Peugeot UO-8, Le Peug, that a fellow blogger updated for me.

Le Peug

That said, when I started bike commuting, I made a pact with myself that if I stuck with it through a winter and a summer, I would buy a new bike. Shopping for a reasonably priced bike made specifically for commuters was quite the headache, but I eventually found a 2008 Batavus Entrada Spirit on an end-of-season clearance in the UK for an amazing price and will be bringing it home in May. First brand new bike in 18 years — it’s been a long time coming.

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

Back in October, Belmont University hosted a presidential debate. My route takes me past the school, so I was able to see how the landscape changed daily as fences were put up for security and lanes were blocked off (thankfully, not the bike lane!). The day of the debate, policemen and private security guards were posted in front of and behind the fence—and one of them called out, “Nice bike!” as I rode by. I like to think it was a secret service agent who later told Obama and McCain about me and my pink bike.

And just last month, I decided to give riding in the snow a try (don’t get many opportunities for that in Nashville) without realizing the precipitation was changing from snow to freezing rain and back again. It was possibly the most miserable commute ever, but at the same time, exhilarating.

Other than that, I’ve been chased by a (friendly) dog and endured the usual cycling headaches of rude drivers, being buzzed, blocked bike lanes, etc., but mainly my commutes are pleasantly uneventful, and I like it that way!

(editor’s note: Trisha is one of very few commuters who has to avoid getting doored by bass boats!)

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

Most people are just plain curious. Some of them think I’m crazy for riding when it’s above 80 or below 40, or when I’m wearing a dress or skirt, though after 10 months my coworkers don’t really comment on it so much anymore. A lot of people ask me if it’s safe (I think so), or if I carry mace (no). Nashville isn’t much for public or alternative transportation, so the idea is a completely new one to many people, like it was for me before I started. But everyone has been supportive and some people have expressed interest in giving it a try themselves. My boss once told me I was “quite a sight on that bike.” Not sure what she meant by that…

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

No, and it’s horrible, since there’s a lot to be done to make Nashville more bike-friendly. Lately I’ve been paying more attention to the city planning committee, which is working on a proposal for more bike paths/lanes and greenways, and plan on attending their next meeting. Other than that, there’s just the little blog Dottie and I started, and my example as a bicycle commuter. Any readers who know about something I’m missing out on in Nashville, get in touch!


Anything else that you want to share with us?

It’s OK to start gradually. My first goal was to ride to work at least twice a week — then it got up to three times, and now I usually ride as many as the weather will permit (I have to admit that pouring rain has so far defeated me). If you keep it fun and comfortable it’s easier to stick to it.

Again, we’d like to thank the lovely ladies of Let’s Go Ride a Bike” for sharing their profiles and their experiences with us (and also showing the rest of us a thing or two about looking stylish on and off the bike!). Check out their blog…it’s chock-full of goodness!

Commuter Profile: Dottie White from “Let’s Go Ride A Bike”

Today we’re proud to present Dottie White, one of the dynamic duo responsible for the excellent blog “Let’s Go Ride a Bike“. Dottie really knows how to blend style and function — and she and her blogging partner really make the rest of us look like bums!


How long have you been a bike commuter?

A year this May. I’ve cycled nearly every day since I started.

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

My commute is usually 14 miles roundtrip on the lakefront bike path, 11 miles if I take city streets the whole way. I started riding because it seemed like fun! I saw a lot of people riding in Chicago, plus Trisha (great friend and now co-blogger) had recently started commuting to work. At the same time, the el train stations were under a lot of construction, making my commute twice as long. And the weather was perfect! There’s no way I would have known where to start during Chicago’s arctic winter.


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

Freedom -The bike does wonders for a woman’s freedom and safety in the city. Freedom from waiting around for or packing into crowded trains and buses. I have been groped while waiting at a bus stop and I was not happy. Freedom to venture out alone at night without being so vulnerable. I used to drive my car to my night yoga classes even though the studio’s only a mile away because I did not feel safe walking by myself. Now I feel perfectly safe being in the street (away from people, bushes, alleys, etc.) and going fast.

Economics – My husband and I recently sold our only car, a Prius (he’s also a bike commuter). We’re now saving money that would otherwise have gone toward monthly payments, insurance, and taxes, plus we can make a small profit renting out our garage. I also save $80 a month not buying a transit pass. Most of my colleagues pay nearly $300 a month to park their cars in our office building downtown!

Health – I feel much healthier and happier now that I ride everyday. A guaranteed 1.5 – 2 hours of exercise daily is a big deal. I also do yoga, but mostly gave up running and pilates when I started biking and I’m in even better shape now. I have a huge sweet tooth (and deep dish pizza tooth, and red wine tooth, and Thai tooth, and Guinness tooth…) so it’s great that I can partake in these pleasures early and often while staying healthy.

Relationships – Half the fun of going on dates to the theatre or dinner with my husband is getting there and back on our bikes. I only wish we had more time to ride together.


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

I’m an attorney working at a law firm in downtown Chicago. I commute from the north side, near Wrigley Field. Chicago is a great city to cycle in (comparatively) and I make use of the lakefront bike trail and the many bike lanes all around town. While at work I park my bike in the city’s secure bike garage (complete with showers and lockers, though I don’t use them) across from my building. Being a lawyer means wearing a suit every day. I could wear suits on my bike but they’re not very comfortable and dry cleaning is expensive, so I took over an empty office across from the ladies’ room and keep all my suits and shoes in there – a nice walk-in closet. As a junior associate, my work days are always 10-12 hours. Sometimes colleagues ask if I ever get too tired to deal with bike commuting. Yeah, I get tired – of sitting around all day! I’m never too tired to ride my bike.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

Currently I have two bikes: an Azor Oma purchased from Dutch Bike Chicago and a vintage 1970’s Bridgestone Kabuki that someone threw out as trash. I had a Jamis Commuter, tragically stolen. I’m on the hunt for a third bike to use when I want to go faster or take really long rides.



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

The best is the day I rode into a Johnny Depp movie set for Public Enemies on my way home! I was about one mile from my condo, on my street, when I came upon a road closure. The police officer looked at me and said, “Oh you’ll be fine, go on through.? I thought maybe there had been a car collision. As I cycled on I saw a bunch of old-timey cars and then I saw Johnny Depp about ten yards away. He looked right at me, probably because I had on a neon pink shirt and a bunch of blinky lights. I stood there for a minute with a few other onlookers, and then took a detour through an alley to get home. Those are the days I wish I always had my camera!

Another noteworthy commute, which is funny in hindsight, is the morning I fell on ice. Before I purchased studded tires (and the reason I purchased studded tires!) I was riding on the lakefront trail and hit black ice. My bike completely slipped out from under me with no warning, going sideways to the left. With my seat suddenly gone, I imagine I hung in mid-air for a millisecond before hitting the ground on my butt. I was not injured and my first instinct was to look around and see if anyone had witnessed my embarrassing moment (no one had). I’m grateful that my bike did not slide right into Lake Michigan.

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

In the spring and summer people are surprised and somewhat impressed, commenting either on the health benefits or on staying safe. In the winter people act like I’m crazy. They simply cannot grasp why I would – or how I could – ride in the freezing cold, snow, and darkness. I’m a pretty mild-mannered and quiet person, so I think it confuses people and they’re not sure what to make of me.

My favorite reaction: After having dinner with a group of former classmates from law school recently, we were all standing by the door putting on our coats, gloves, hats and scarves. One saw me take my helmet out of my bag and she exclaimed loudly (in a swanky restaurant): “DOROTHY, YOU ARE AN ANIMAL! I can’t believe you rode your BIKE today! You are a BEAST!” Funny how she said it, in a shocked but positive way.

el overhead

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

I am a member of the Active Transportation Alliance (formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation) and participate in their big events like Winter Bike to Work Day and the upcoming Bike the Drive. When I have the time and inclination, I participate in Chicago’s Critical Mass rides, which are great fun and raise awareness. I subscribe to
Momentum Magazine even though I could pick it up for free at the bike garage – that must count for something. And then there’s the blog Trisha and I write, hopefully being a positive voice for women commuting. The best advocacy any cyclist does, though, is simply getting out there and riding responsibly.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

Ride safe and have fun! And, if you’re feeling good, wear cute shoes while doing it.

We’d really like to thank Dottie for sharing her experiences with us…check out “Let’s Go Ride a Bike” for great articles and photos and exciting urban commuting tales. Also, please stay tuned when we present part two of our “Let’s Go Ride a Bike” profile…Dottie’s blogging partner and friend Trisha Ping (later this week).