BikeCommuters.com

Bike Your Drive!

Redline 925

Yesterday I did some grocery shopping and I used my Redline 925. After I came back my 9 year old daughter was asking why I loved this bike so much. Truth be told, I talk about this bike way more than any of my other bikes. So I’m sure she knows that I prefer it more than my other rides. Anyhow, I began to explain to her about the fixed gear thing and how your supposed to use your legs to slow down/brake/less gears, less hassle and so on and so on and so on.

She said, “COOL!” I then asked her if she wants to try it. Sure enough, she did! Check out the video.

I know I know, I’m a bad parent for allowing her to ride without a helmet. But I figured she was on grass. Still, there’s no excuse for riding without a helmet.

13th Annual California Bike Commute Week

May 14-18, 2007

Courtesy of CaliforniaBikeCommute.com

California Bike Commute is a project of the California Bicycle Coalition-a non profit organization that advocates increased bicycle use, access, safety, and education, by promoting the bicycle as an everyday means of transportation and recreation.

Various special activities have been organized locally by ride share agencies, cities, counties, employers, bicycle advocacy groups, bike shops and others who support bicycle transportation in California’s communities.

Events may be planned in your area, including bike tune-up clinics, morning “buddy rides,” pit stops, energizing stations and noon-time rallies. Click on Local Events to find out what’s happening in your area.

Visit the Smart Traveler website for further tips on commuting; a great source of transportation systems and related links in California sponsored by Cal Trans.

Bicycle Box

Check this out….Wouldn’t it be great if your city could do this.

Found on MTC.CA.Gov

A bicycle box is a “reservoir” on a bike lane, located at an intersection between the motor-vehicle stop line and the crosswalk. According to the DETR Traffic Advisory Leaflet 8/93, the bike box should be 4 to 5 meters deep. To increase its effectiveness, a bicycle stencil should be placed in the bike box and a contrasting surface color is strongly recommended for the reservoir and the approach bike lane. Instructional signs and separate cyclist signal heads can be installed in conjunction with the bike box. Encroachment and violation of the bike box must be enforced by local law enforcement.
objective To improve the visibility of cyclists at intersections. To enable bicyclists to correctly position themselves for turning movements during the red signal phase by allowing them to proceed to the front of the queue. To provide a transition from a left-side or median bike lane to a right-side lane.
applications For use at intersections with high motor vehicle and bicycle volume, frequent turning conflicts, and/or intersections with a high percentage of turning movements by both cyclists and motorists.
target population All Bicyclists, Motorists
crash type Traffic Signals and Signs, Improper Passing
advantages

* Increases cyclist visibility, allowing them to move to the front of the line where they are in full view of motorists on all sides of the intersection.Allows cyclist to maneuver to the correct position for turning movements during the red signal phase.
* Does not significantly delay motorists since cyclists are usually able to accelerate quickly through intersections.
* Reduces conflicts between turning bicycles and vehicles by clearly delineating location for movements to occur.
* Provides buffer between vehicles and pedestrians/bicycles crossing the street

disadvantages

* Effectiveness of the bicycle box may be decreased by motorists encroaching into the bike box area.
* Allowing motorists to turn right on red may be hazardous to bicyclists since the approach bike lane leads right up to the intersection (left-turning vehicles in Britain and other countries where motorists drive on the left)
* If the signal turns green as a cyclist is approaching the intersection, they may not have enough time to position themselves properly to effectively and safely use the box.
* Unfamiliar drivers may be confused or uncertain about intended purpose of markings.
* Local traffic laws may not permit the use of this treatment.
* Cost of on-going maintenance to maintain color may be a concern.
* Pavement markings obscured by snow may lead to driver uncertainty in winter conditions

pointers If the bicycle box is shallower than 4 to 5 meters, bicyclists tend to feel intimidated by the motor vehicles, and if it is deeper, motorists tend to encroach.
cost Varies, dependent on the materials and whether signage and new signal heads are needed.
responsibility Public Works

Becoming a Bike Commuter

Courtesy of Bicycling.511.org

Bicycling can be a fun, dependable and virtually free mode of transportation. Bicycling also burns about 500 calories an hour, so you can commute and stay fit at the same time.

Once you discover the freedom, convenience and fitness benefits of biking to work, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start riding sooner. If your work place is too far to bike, consider riding to transit stations or Park & Ride lots. Enjoy the ride!

Getting Ready
Before starting out, take time to consider the following:

* What route will you take?
Use a map to plan a route that avoids freeways and steep hills. Explore the area for alternate routes. If your commute involves a bridge, don’t despair – every Bay Area bridge provides access (either by path or shuttle) for bikes. Click here to find local bike paths.
* What are your worksite’s facilities?
Does your employer offer bike racks and/or lockers? If not, you could try storing your bike in your office or a nearby building. Many employers want to help employees use alternatives to driving alone, so ask your employer if lockers can be installed or if provisions can be made for bicycles inside your building.
* Check your equipment.
Essential items include a sturdy bike that fits you properly, a helmet, biking gloves and a strong u-shaped lock. Depending on the length of your ride, how often you plan to bike, the terrain and the weather, you may need additional equipment. If you already have a bike, be sure it’s tuned-up and equipped with reflectors. If you don’t have a bike, or want recommendations about the best types of equipment, ask friends and co-workers who ride to work. Talk to fellow bicyclists and check with your local bike shop. They can show you all the newest models and equipment. You’ll need a good, comfortable helmet (with “ANSI” or “SNELL” safety certification) and a strong lock. Consider a rear-view mirror, biking gloves, repair kit, a mounted water bottle, bicycling shoes, and wet weather gear if you plan to ride in the rain. A headlight is required by law if you ride at night. Tail lights are inexpensive and are great for making sure motorists can see you from behind. Check out the ‘Selecting a Bike’ section for more information about different types of bikes, gear and bike maintenance.
* Find a Bike Buddy.
Friends who ride to work can give you tips on routes, safety and parking. If they live near you, ask if you can ride with them for the first few days while you get used to your route and traffic patterns. If you don’t know anyone who bikes to work you can find a Bike Buddy through the Regional Rideshare Program’s free Ridematching Service. Bike Buddies are people who currently commute by bike. They are happy to answer questions about biking to work (or biking in general) and may be able to ride along with you your first time.
* Ride the route on your day off.
Carry the same amount of clothes and other items as you would on a work day. Is the route too steep? Is there ample lighting for riding in the evening? Explore alternatives. Imagine traffic conditions during regular commute hours, and remember that your route will look different after dark.
* Know in advance where you’ll park.
Get clearance to use lockers and parking areas. If you park outside, you may want a cable lock to use with your u-lock. Ask co-workers to be aware of your bike and to interrupt any suspicious behavior. If you are biking to a transit station click here for a listing of bike racks and lockers.
* Know the rules of the road.
You are recognized as a legal driver of a vehicle. Therefore, drive your bicycle as you would any vehicle. Obey all traffic laws. Click here for a brief run down on safe bike riding. For more in depth information, both the Department of Motor Vehicles and the California State Automobile Association can provide you with bicycling rules and guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions

* Is riding a bike in traffic during commute hours dangerous?
For maximum safety, take your rightful place in traffic and obey all traffic laws. With advance planning, you can find a route that avoids heavy traffic and other potential hazards. Consider taking a safety course, such as those offered by the many bike coalitions in the Bay Area. Click here to learn more about bike classes being offered in your area.

* Will biking lengthen my commute?
It depends. Some commutes will take longer by bicycle, while others, particularly short distance commutes, will be much quicker and more reliable because you won’t have to sit in traffic or wait for a delayed train. If your ride is roughly five miles or less, it will only take about 25 minutes. Consider that the time you spend on your bicycle is probably more relaxing and rewarding than other commute alternatives. Also, your commute by bike doubles as a workout so that’s one less trip to the gym you have to make.
* How expensive is biking?
You may need to make an initial investment, but even if you buy a new bike and equipment, it should pay off in lower commute costs in no time. It’s best to purchase a bike from a bicycle dealer who will fit the bike to you and provide follow-up adjustments and repair. Many dealers carry used bikes. While some bikes can cost thousands of dollars, you can get a good, reliable bike for just a few hundred dollars, especially if you’re only using it for short distances. And if you’re taking your bike outside or parking it at a transit station, you’re probably better off with a less expensive bike that won’t be a potential target for bike thieves. To find a bike that will fit your needs click here.
* Will my clothes get wrinkled on the way to work?
On a short, relatively flat ride, you will likely arrive in good shape. For longer rides, you’ll find that racks, bike bags and special panniers are great for carrying a change of clothes to work wrinkle-free. You can also leave a small stock of work clothes at the office or use another commute option when you have special meetings that require dress attire.