Monthly Archive for November, 2010

Winter Bike Traffic Counts

It’s that time of year when the sun hangs low in the sky and is only up when we’re at work.  So we ride when we can, and that usually means during a commute.

After September’s successful bike counts, its time for Baltimore to take it to the next level:  Setting our wintertime bike traffic baseline!  Signup for a location and time between Tuesday, January 11th and Thursday, January 13th -3 DAYS ONLY!

Just click here to register!

Thanks for your help!

Burn off the Turkey with 7 Rides this Weekend!

Just like Halloween weekend had many rides, the B’more cycling community is repeating for Thanksgiving.  No matter your riding style, there’s a ride for you.

Turkeybike courtesy of B'more Fixed

Thanksgiving morning, the annual Patapsco mountain bike ride leaves from the Rolling Road trailhead. Growing in participation over the years, the ride starts with a traditional panaramic shot of all the cyclists.  This ride WILL BE CANCELLED if its raining or if the trails are wet.  (ok, so maybe this isn’t a ride to burn the turkey off, but is a good appetite builder.)

Friday, the Friday morning ride leaves from City Hall at 7am and Critical Mass rides from Washington Monument at 7pm

Saturday, the Cranksgiving 2nd edition does a 70 mile roundtrip from Ellicott City to Annapolis via country roads and the B&A Trail.

Sunday, Bike B’more leaves from Fell’s at 9am and Penny’s leading a road ride from Harford & Chesterfield at 6:15am. B’more Fixed hosts a Murder Session ride leaving from Hold Fast HQ at 1pm.

For more info on rides happening in and around Baltimore, join the Biking in B’more meetup group.

Bike Maryland’s Ambassador Program

Want to help your community realize biking is fun, easy and not as dangerous and previously thought? Want to help kids cycle safely around town? Then join Bike Maryland’s Bicycle Ambassador program.

Just fill out a quick info sheet here

Student vs. Alum Bike Locking Styles

Last week, I had the privlege of returning to my alma mater to assist seniors in mock interviews.  The interviews turned out to be more like career counselling, which was even better.  When I moved back to the area years ago, I was within earshot of the high school.  Sometimes in late summer, we can hear the marching band practicing on the fields.

Naturally, I rode my bike the event (same as my polling place) and locked up to the bike rack in front of the school.  To my surprise, there was already another bike chained to the rack.  One glance at the bike, I knew this person never had a bike stolen and still had much to learn.  I locked my bike the same way when I was a student here.

It’s all good though – hey, they rode their bike to school!!!  Sure beats the cheese wagon or clogging up Ebenezer Road with cars. 

Just a couple differences in the locking styles:
1.  Clearly, the rack is no good; out-dated and not powder coated and the slates make it near impossible to get a 2″ tire in there.  While I used the outside of the rack, the student just pulled up and put the front tire against the rack.
2. While I used the preferred 3 Point locking method and cable through the front tire, the student locked only the front tire to the rack.  (One quick release away from someone else getting a free bike).  The only thing a thief is getting off my bike is the bell.
3. It’s going to take a serious theif that knows their way around a Kryptonite lock to work my bike loose.  The student used a chain with a padlock.  It would take a sharp pair of scissors to get through that lock. 

I’m not saying I’m the best at locking a bike up.  If I was, I would have brought it inside.

The only institutions that really teach proper bike locking techniques are the School of Hard Knocks and the University of Life.

Want More Bike Lanes? Tell The City!

“I have a problem with marking up our streets with the stupid bike markers.  I can’t tell you when that last time I saw a person on a bike in my area. Who thinks up these stupid ideas!”

Baltimore's Second Contraflow Bike Lane on Lancaster St

Not everyone is happy with the new bike networks in Southeast and Park Heights.  Over the past two years, the cycling community was excited about the planning and design of these new bike networks.  Now that they’re actually being constructed, those not into ‘the whole bike thing’ are none too pleased.  Despite all our efforts, the city can not reach everyone effected by street projects.  Many residents don’t find out about projects until the constrution crews break ground.  (Just look at all the resources and attention to detail the 2010 Census had, but still many people were not counted.)

So, now that there’s extra paint on the asphalt, for BIKES of all things, many people are contacting their elected officials to complain.  Most of these comments (like the one above) are sent my way, which gives me a chance to talk about how great biking is and how it improves a community, even for those NOT cycling. 

Are these the kind of remarks our elected officials need to hear about bike improvements?  That saying about the squeaky wheel is true!  Don’t let these unsilent minority complaints be the squeaky wheel.  Call, email or visit your elected officials THANKING THEM FOR THE NEW BIKE LANES (and ask for more while you’re at it!)

Progress on Lanvale St?

It's not the "official" progress we're hoping for, but it IS keeping more cars out of the bike lane. (Thanks to Light St Cycles for the picture)

Had a bad bike/bus experience? MTA wants to know!

The MTA needs to be seen as a partner to the cycling community.  Public transportation helps get more cars off the road and (except for MARC) is completely interactive with bikes!  On a personal level, MTA also gives me the chance to take a nap on my way home.

Last Wednesday on my multi-modal commute in, I was pedaling east on Baltimore St approaching the Charles Center Metro Stop in the right lane.  From my left, an MTA bus made an unnecessary leapfrog, bringing me within inches of my life.  I avoided the collision and made mental notes of the incident as I passed the now stopped bus on the left.  Like most of you, I’ve had some close calls with buses, nothing too serious, but this incident was different.   This was a clear case of vehicular harassment.

I got in touch with Joe Sietz at the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), who apologized for the incident.  Joe also wanted to know if any other cyclists have had less than favorable experiences with buses.  If you have (and I know many of you have), then post about it below

If you want change, make your voice heard!


On November 20th, at 6pm, join local bike shops, frame builders, small businesses, and special interest groups that support Baltimore City’s bicyclists for a pre-screening event in MICA’s Brown Center. Get information about upcoming events, rides, and workshops from the Velocipede Bike Project, Baltimore Bike Works, and others.

Life Cycles tells a spectacular story of the bike, from its creation to its eventual demise. A visually stunning journey, with though provoking narration, Life Cycles uses Ultra HD to document the many stories surrounding the mountain bike and its culture. For more information on the flm, please visit our website.  Compete in goldsprints provided by Mobtown Velo, a max-wattage
contest from Twenty20 cycling, or just enjoy the company of good people who support bicycling in all it’s forms. The MICA Cycling Assocation and MICA’s Students of Sustainability will provide student resources, bike share certifcation, and valet bike parking for all attendees.

Public Input On Street Design Needed

Have you ever expected a bike lane on a street resurfacing, but it never came?   Do you have ideas on making transit stops better?  Want to see a more pedestrian-friendly Baltimore?  Here’s your chance!   With the passage of the Complete Streets resolution, a citizen’s advisory council will assist in overseeing street design projects.

Come find out how you can help at the next Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee:  this Tuesday, November 16th, 6 pm in the Department of Planning’s Conference Room (417 E. Fayette St, 8th Floor).  We’ll be meeting with Councilmember Mary Pat Clarke, who championed “the Bike Bills”, on how we can assist the city in future street projects.

Also at the meeting, we’ll need your help with

  • Preparing for the informational hearing with the Baltimore Police Department
  • Requesting areas of enforcement for vehicular traffic parking in bike lanes
  • Making recommendations to the city for adhering to the Cyclists Bill of Rights
  • Representing biking interests in the B’more Streets for People program

 Many hands make light work!  Come help your city and fellow cyclists make Baltimore more bikeable!

Ride a Bike to Work? Get a Guarenteed Ride Home!

If you bike, walk, take the bus, vanpool or carpool at least twice a week, and some crazy emergency comes up during day, don’t worry:  You can get a guarenteed ride home!  Guarenteed Ride Home is a FREE commuter insurance program for those commuters using alternative modes of transportation within the Baltimore & Washington D.C. metropolitan areas.  By signing up, your eligible for 4 free rides a year. 

Signing up is quick, easy and FREE!  Just click here

For those folks already using alt. trans. for your commute, this is just an extra perk.  To those folks on the fence about taking transit or biking to work due to those unforeseen circumstances, this should help your decision!