BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: alan snel

Guest Article – Dispelling “Cycle Ladies” Myths

This article was submitted by Miriam Gee, our homie over in Hawaii. You remember Miriam, don’t you? Well, she’s brought her brand of humor to bear on a topic of great interest to many of us: encouraging more women to join us as we ride our bikes to work. Take a look at Miriam’s irreverent, yet eminently useful, advice:

All my Cycle Ladies, all my Cycle Ladies! Why is it that members of the better half of humanity are less likely to make commuter trips by bikes than those possessing Y chromosomes? Perhaps it is our aversion to tight-fitting clothing, getting a tan, and the hot pink bike jersey. (Whoops! Wrong kind of Jersey…) By politely barraging the inboxes of my female co-workers, family, and friends, I uncovered the three top reasons why (some) women (I know) in America might PUNK OUT of bike commuting! From Seattle, Honolulu, Sacramento, New York City, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Columbus, Vancouver B.C., and San Clemente: meet me at the mall… it’s going DOWN.

uw-bikes-ala-moana_s

Armed with science, nonsense, and bribery, this post is inspired by Alan Snel’s original Top Ten Bike Commuting Myths – BUSTED posted last year. Let’s bust some mythical creatures.

1. Nasty Girl – stringy hair, red in the face, swampy crotch, changing clothes, pit stains, and all around fear of unlady-like stank. Seems that males and females alike both fear the ultimate sweaty walk of shame in the morning in front of your coworkers. Take this response from Emily S. in Columbus, OH: “My office mates are too immature and the male officemates are too gross for me to ever consider allowing them to see me in sweaty riding apparel. Seriously, I don’t even wear skinny jeans around these sickos.” But the bike commuter “Nasty Girl” walk of shame can actually better your career and attract a mate! Consider this wonky logic: sweaty face, glowing skin, and pit stains are signs of a good work out and a healthy lifestyle! Why else would human anatomy continue to spray pheromones out of your armpits!? You will be considered the most fit, the most progressive, and the most fearless Cycle Lady commuter at your workplace when you arrive with a fanfare of glistening sweat and pheromone fireworks each morning!

Still unconvinced?

Solution: Witch Hazel. Mad shout out to Chad Taniguchi from HBL who hooked it up with this tip! Not everyone needs to shower after their bike commuter, just bring a change of clothes, some toiletries or baby wipes and you are ready to talk to corporate! eat a bagel! remember birthdays! promote synergy! Erase that swamp crotch like sham-WOW!

bike-am-routine_s

2. Scaredy Cat – low confidence on two wheels, intimidated by spandex warriors, don’t know local bike safety rules or are afraid of riding in traffic. Take Cecile R. from San Luis Obispo, CA who may cop out of a ride cause sometimes she doesn’t like “competing with boy bikers and their man legs.” Ladies, bike commuters are not terrorists. If I can do it, anyone can ride a bike with confidence! I assure you, as I am the female equivalent of Greg from Diary of a Wimpy Kid or more accurately: Daria. After a couple of months on a beater commuter franken-bike, I became as confident as any fourth grader on a bmx… Cycle Ladies can definitely hang with boy bikers, like this story from LGRAB. Don’t be scurred, ride it and own the road like Shy Ronnie owns the mic.

Still need more?

Solution: Look online for “Smart Cycling” classes offered by instructors approved by the League of American Bicyclists that teach how to ride your bike with skill and confidence. Ride with an experienced friend. Be predictable and be bold! You don’t need testosterone or liquid confidence to ride…. bike commuting is fun, and so easy, any human being can do it!

frank-itb_smart-cycle_s

3. Da Broke Phi Broke – no cash to buy a sweet bike, no cash for a tune up, and no cash for bike commuting essentials. Cash flow DOWN like the economy? Caela B. and Trixie C. are self-proclaimed members of Broke Phi Broke in Seattle, WA, don’t own bikes and think they are too expensive. Wellwz, Cycle Ladies: things can’t be that bad if you have money for a gym membership, gas, car registration, car payments, parking pass, bus pass, running shoes, or a commuter llama. Look, I’m no math expert; math and writing are my weaknesses, but somewhere in my Chinese genetics, I know that bike commuting is saving me loads of cash money vs. driving a car or taking a bus. While saving money on your bills, invest in that first bike and roll up feeling independent! With the bike, no more waiting for the bus, or waiting for parking, or waiting in traffic! Bike commuter freedom for less cash than a car. If we asked Ms. Beyonce, she’d tell em “The bike I’m riding, I BOUGHT IT, cause I depend on me!”

Still super-broke beyond all reason?

Solution: Like Alan Snel says, borrow a bike. When I first showed up in town, I contacted the Hawaii Bicycling League and borrowed the director’s beater mountain bike for free! Check on Craigslist for families moving out of town who need to clean out the garage, or ask friends for one to borrow. Last but not least, if you’re uber broke and unemployed, with free time on your hands you can volunteer at local Bicycle Collective non-profits, where you can usually build a franken-bike out of donated parts and used bicycles. Voila, custom ride for zero dinero.

bike-lockup_s

So, if this post and Alan Snel still doesn’t convince you that bike commuting is too easy for all humans, perhaps you share opinions with some of my friends. Here are some of the most hilarious reasons not to bike from the survey:

1. Maybe I want to pick up a mocha latte on the way to work (don’t judge me)
2. I don’t prefer to shower and get ready at work…cuz you know Shorty’s going to be sweating after an hour bike ride
3. Shitty tube-changing skills, backed up by no public transportation along the route I take to work = too many opportunities for my ass to get stranded in the boonies.
4. Bikes are banned from drive-thrus, and the only way I could really convince myself to ride into work would be the promise of a daily McGriddles fix. Too lazy to lock up the bike and walk into McD’s. Need to roll and eat.
5. That is a big ass hill I’d have to climb (in my opinion) and I’m afraid of having a heart attack.
6. The only people that ride bikes are crackheads, and I don’t want people to think I am a crackhead.

It’s always baffled me why more men are willing to throw on some spandies and fancy footwear than women in the world of cycling and bike commuting. Hopefully this post will make you laugh, and realize that biking is easy and fun for women… Cycle Ladies represent!

Alan Snel Speaks at the Tampa Sierra Club

We wanted to let Tampa Bay-area readers know that bicycle advocate extraordinaire Alan Snel will be giving a talk entitled “Bicycle Energy” at this week’s Sierra Club Tampa Bay meeting. Here are the details:

Tampa Bay Sierra Club January 2011 Meeting: Bicycle Energy with Alan Snel 1/12/2011

PROGRAM: Bicycle Energy with Alan Snel
SPEAKER: Alan Snel, Tampa bicycle rights and safety activist
WHEN: 7 pm, Weds. Jan. 12 (6: 30 pm social time and new member orientation)

WHERE: Hilton Garden Inn
1700 E. 9th Ave.
Ybor City (769-9267) Free parking in hotel lot

Alan Snel covered government and business news for more than 20 years before he went from Tampa Tribune scribe to bicycle awareness/rights activist in Tampa Bay in 2006. Alan can be seen everywhere from city council to the halls of Tallahassee standing up for bicyclists’ rights, pushing for safety measure and bicycle lanes, and forging political relationships to make bicycling more prominent in Tampa Bay.

Alan has biked across the country solo twice and bikes more than 12,000 miles a year on the local roads of Tampa Bay. So he doesn’t just talk the talk — he bikes the bike. Alan created an alliance of retail bike shops called SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers) and used his SWFBUD platform to get Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa to initiate a bicycle safety action plan currently being crafted by the MPO. Alan also believes in appealing to casual bicyclists of all stripes, which is why he created the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club and the popular annual Bicycle Bash festival .

Alan writes a bicycle blog at www.alansnel.blogspot.com and is a font of knowledge when it comes to great biking trails around Florida. His bicycle advocacy work includes getting HART buses to install signs telling motorists to pass bicyclists by at least three feet and local police to deploy portable message signs showing bike-safety messages. Alan will share his personal story of how he became a bicycle activist and how others can turn their passion into a purpose.

Tampa Bay Sierra Club general meetings are free and open to the public. Call Marcia Biggs at 727-797-6261 for more information.

Maybe we’ll see some of you there!

Bicycle Bash Classic 2010 — A Tour in Photographs

Another Bicycle Bash has come and gone here in the Tampa Bay area…the 5th annual Bicycle Bash Classic, which for the first time since its inaugural run was held on the Hillsborough County side of the bay. The temps were cool, the sun was bright and there was enough bikey goodness to go around for everyone. Didn’t see too many St. Pete folks on this side of the bay this year…a little distance never stopped us Tampa dwellers from rolling over there for the Bash, but apparently the cold weather and distance was too much for the Pinellas residents. Bummer — the more the merrier I always say!

Anyhow, on to the tour. A group of eight intrepid riders got out their winter gear and headed into the wind on their way to the Bash. Here we are just as we arrived on the scene (one of our riders went missing along the way):

DSC05381s

Presenting sponsor Cure on Wheels was on hand, with over 300 riders participating in fund-raising rides throughout the day. Here are their registration tents and some volunteers trying to stay warm in the early morning chill:

DSC05378s

Plenty of folks enjoyed the sights and sounds…lots of mountain bikers in attendance this year as well, since the hosting park (Flatwoods) is next-door to some great offroading trails:

DSC05386s

J&B Importers came up from Miami with a big tent, a big trailer and a lot of goodies to show off…many great bikes of all styles:

DSC05392s

As I wandered around, I came across this stunning and sophisticated young lady with an obvious understanding of high fashion. That’s a great-looking shirt!

DSC05385s

My homies at Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium brought a sneak peek…the new Trek “Earl” urban machine: singlespeed freewheel/fixed, doubled top tube that integrates a U-lock holster and bottle opener within, and subdued styling. Nice!

DSC05383s

Here’s a view of the myriad tents set up to display everything from advocacy groups, local bike shops, ratrods, swap meet vendors and dozens of other bike-friendly organizations:

DSC05426s

Tampa-based American Classic Wheels was on hand with a great display of their dreamy wheels…they had some really cool cutaway hubs showing their bearings and unique pawl systems and those displays were fun to check out. If only they offered a “locals only” discount!

DSC05396s

There was a large corral set up for bicycle valet parking this year…here’s the lovely and talented Bridget manning the corral (which was PACKED with bikes!):

DSC05401s

This is a cool tadpole trike…one of many such bikes on display over by the J&B Imports tent. I might just grow a beard and don some SPD sandals for a machine like this:

DSC05395s

There was a somber note to the Bash this year…in light of the many tragic deaths of cyclists in the Tampa Bay area over the past couple months, a special focus on bicycle awareness and safety was presented to the crowd. Here, Bash organizer and all-around champion advocate Alan Snel talks with Cpl. Troy Morgan of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office:

DSC05408s

Michael Ploch of SharrowShirts.com was on hand to show the ever-increasing reflective merchandise his company offers to cyclists, from safety vests to hats to casual wear. You may remember the vest from this recent article. This stuff was a big hit:

DSC05406s

The South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers (SWFBUD) presented their annual “SWFBuddy” awards to a number of folks this year for their advocacy and service to the Tampa Bay cycling community. Here’s a group photo of the recipients provided by SWFBUD; award-holders pictured from left to right are Ed Collins, Christopher Chow, Selena Glass, Cpl. Troy Morgan of the HCSO, Tampa City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern, State Rep. Janet Cruz, and Tampa Police Major John Newman. Not pictured was Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe, who was instrumental in getting the Bash on this side of the bay for 2010:

swfbuddies_s

A good time was had by all — the (rather remote) location was well-received despite some early grumbling when it was announced back in March. The crowd wasn’t quite as big as years past, but if anything the group was MORE diverse…recumbents, roadies, fixed gear riders, tons of mountain bikers and lots of path ramblers. I’ve been to every Bash since its humble beginnings at the St. Pete Times Forum in downtown Tampa, and I’ve watched this thing grow by leaps and bounds. I’ve only got to say this in closing: things bode well for the future of the Bicycle Bash, and I’m already looking forward to next year!

Racing Hits the Streets of Downtown Tampa

Many of us here are fans of bicycle racing…heck, we even sponsor a racing team (Mtnbikeriders.com Team — home of champions)!

So, I was very excited to head to downtown Tampa yesterday to catch the 2nd annual Tampa Twilight Criterium. This was a day-long event, combining 10 individual racing categories and several special events for families and local celebrities. We were able to spend a couple hours there and caught the 35+ Men and Women’s 1/2/3/4 brackets. The racing action was FAST and thrilling!

start

Coupled with the races was the ECO.lution Festival in the Lykes Gaslight Park and surrounding streets. The entire area was bustling with festival-goers, racers and spectators and was a beautiful day for families to enjoy all that downtown Tampa has to offer. Here’s a shot of “tent city”:

festival

The festival was sort of a who’s who in local cycling endeavors…SWFBUD member shops, the Tampa BayCycle folks, the Tampa Bay Bike Co-op and many others were in attendance. I couldn’t walk 10 steps without running into another cycling friend or local celebrity here!

City Bike Tampa and Tampa BayCycle also offered free bike valet parking…and the corrals were packed this year:

bike valet

Here are some shots of the races…men’s 35+ in the first two and women’s 1/2/3/4 in the last two:

race

racing

women

women

(note to self…I have GOT to get a better camera!)

As we walked away from the event, we discovered that the City of Tampa even blocked off a section of street for bike polo, something I’ve known about around here but never seen in person. It was pretty cool to watch, and my kids loved the wheel covers and the players’ bike-handling skills:

polo

This event is an exciting addition to Florida Bicycle Month, and we’re very happy that the Tampa Downtown Partnership helps get this race brought to us here…downtown is a fantastic place to hold a criterium, and we hope this becomes an annual tradition. In fact, I’ve spent the last few hours trying to convince some friends that we need to field a team for next year’s event. Anyone feel like sponsoring a couple of 35+ has-beens?

Google Maps and National Bike Summit Coverage

Boy, you’d have to be living under a rock today to miss the explosive coverage of the new Google Maps feature that offers biking directions…this news appeared on literally dozens of sites today, from Gizmodo to Urban Velo, Bike Hugger to PC World and many more.

map

We have a sort of unwritten policy here at Bikecommuters.com not to post anything that’s been covered to such an extent elsewhere…but this is BIG news. One of our readers even gently accused us of being asleep at the switch for not posting the news sooner…but he made up for it by providing us a link to an article that has a Google engineer describing how it works — an article I hadn’t seen too much of elsewhere. Check that out by clicking here.

All this is my segue into pointing you toward coverage of the National Bike Summit. One of my dear friends, the BRAINy-award-winning bicycle advocate Alan Snel, is at the National Bike Summit. He got to see the Google folks roll this news out IN PERSON. Over at Alan’s blog, he’s doing some fantastic coverage of the breakout sessions and other events going on at the Summit, including the announcement of the People For Bikes campaign, a visit from Lance, various chats with fellow advocates and a bunch of other goodies. Swing on over to Alan’s Bicycle Stories to check out his coverage of the Summit.