BikeCommuters.com

Bike Your Drive!

A little girl on a bike is faster than a car

You guys may have seen my daughter’s bike before, its an early 80’s Freespirit Brittany. Nothing special about the bike other than it being pretty cute.

This morning I had some freelance work I had to do at one of my client’s offices. This meant I needed to drive there in order to get to the location on time. I had to drop off my younger daughter at school so Priscilla could pick her up later with the Xtracycle.

Breanna got on her bike at the same time as I got in my car with my other daughter.
Anyhow, as we’re driving to school, I say to Aleah, “I wonder if we’ll beat Breanna to school?” But as we kept driving, I didn’t see Breanna anywhere. I actually started to get worried until I spotted her already walking her bike on school grounds!

I was blown away on how fast she got there. We left the house at the same time, but by the time we got in the car, buckled up, drove out of our alley, waited for traffic to pass so I can get on the street…she had already pedaled herself through our neighborhood, on the bike lane and to school.

It did encourage me to see that even a little girl on a bike is more practical than a car when going to school.

Though I normally take my kids to school on the Xtracycle, I’m STILL the only parent that accompanies their children to school via bicycle. I was hoping it would catch on, but all the parents ever do is comment how cool my bike is or stare as they are driving away in their big SUVs…I just wished there were more parents that could see the benefit of taking their child to school on a bike, or at least letting them ride their bikes to school on their own.

Fixed Gear Friday: 2008 Redline 9-2-5

We have posted pictures of the new Redline 9-2-5 before. Personally, I didn’t care for the color scheme, but when I actually saw the Redline 9-2-5 at the SBS booth it totally changed my mind.

The bike looks really classy and the bullhorn handlebars basically say “I dare you to ride me hard and fast”. Equipped with fenders, this bike is also ready to tackle rainy weather. If you are in the market for a fixed gear commuter bike, you should consider the New Redline 9-2-5.

Alternatives to the Safety Flag

A few weeks back, we posted a review of a safety flag…and while the device worked well, a number of our readers commented that it might be too dorky or ineffective for their uses.

The safety flag in question:
D-Tour safety flag

Those comments got us thinking: what could be some good alternatives to this flag? We came up with a couple novel ideas that we wanted to share. Let’s head to the Bikecommuters.com Secret Laboratory, located in the hooker-infested wastelands of central Tampa, to see what we came up with!

The secret lab

Mad scientist and all-around great guy Noah came up with our first alternative. It is still a flag, but we GUARANTEE that this will draw far more attention than some puny, fluorescent flag — here it is:
Noah's pirate flag
This flag creates a tremendous racket when flown — the flag flaps in the breeze, the pole clanks and rattles. It sounds, well, like a pirate ship! We’ve found that this flag is most effective if some verbal invective is used simultaneously…you know, “Avast, ye scallywags, give me some space or I’ll SWAB THE DECK with ya!!!”

Our next alternative was created just after Florida passed their “step in the right direction, but unenforced” 3-foot passing rule. This alternative provides both a visual passing distance indicator as well as a text-based indicator. Here it is:

Friendly side

Had a rough day and don’t feel so charitable? Well, this alternative is reversible…just unscrew the two bolts and flip this badboy over to let motorists know how you REALLY feel:
Not so friendly

There you have it — two alternatives that might make you feel a bit less dorky and keep you VERY visible to motorists. That’s how we roll at the Bikecommuters.com Secret Laboratory…coming up with great solutions to all your commuting problems!!!

Thanks to my homie, Terry, for allowing me to plunder his collection of yardsticks.

Commuter Choices Week in Tampa Bay

Commuter choices week header

All this week, Bay Area Commuter Services is having their annual “Commuter Choices Week“, with festivities and bike rides throughout the Tampa Bay area. On October 1st, I attended their “Party on Poe Plaza”. There were representatives from local bike shops, bicycle/pedestrian planning organizations, the area’s two municipal bus services and many others in attendance.

part of the crowd

Even better, this event was attended by folks from the national, state and local governments. It was a veritable “who’s who” of Senatorial staff, Congresspeople, County Commissioners and planning chiefs — someone from U.S. Senator Mel Martinez’s office came and made a speech, our U.S. Congressional Representative Kathy Castor said a few words, and Hillsborough County Commissioner and all-around great lady Rose Ferlita gave the keynote address to the gathering.

Here’s Rose Ferlita (behind the podium at left) addressing the folks in attendance:
Rose Ferlita

Everyone in attendance seemed to agree that more work is needed in the Tampa Bay area to get people to use alternative forms of transportation. Although there was a lot of talk about “light rail” solutions, plenty was said about building bicycling infrastructure throughout the area. As this is the event’s 11th anniversary, it is apparent that the Tampa Bay area is really looking to change for the better — the event is better-attended every year and with all the politicians and planning professionals mingling with the crowd, good things CAN happen if we’re patient (and vocal!).

Oh, did I mention that Thunderbug, the mascot of NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning (2003 Stanley Cup Champions) also came to the event on his custom-made trike? Here he is:
Thunderbug

Going to this event also gave me the opportunity to talk with the organizer of Tampa Bay’s upcoming Bicycle Bash By the Bay, which the Bikecommuters.com team will be participating in. Stay tuned for more info on that event, which will take place on November 4th at the Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg.