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Monday, December 31, 2007

A few Boston observations

Image of bike rack in Brookline, Massachusetts
Image of bikes locked to fence in Beacon Hill in BostonI've neglected my blog for nearly two weeks, as I traveled to Maine and Boston for the holidays. I didn't have time to really investigate bicycling conditions in Boston, a city on the cusp of serious progress for bicycling thanks to a supportive Mayor Thomas M. Menino. I enjoyed this whimsical bike rack in Brookline, as well as these bikes locked to a fence in my onetime neighborhood of Beacon Hill.

I also had an opportunity to walk along the new Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, created by the expensive burying of the Central Artery (Interstate 93). The infamous "Big Dig"--or what I like to call Tip O'Neill's parting gift to Boston--was declared officially "finished" this month after 16 years of disruptive construction.

The elevated Central Artery was certainly an eyesore, one of the highway era's most criminal assaults on a city's life. The Big Dig "remedied" this foolishness by burying the roadway, becoming the most expensive highway project in U.S. history as its cost swelled far beyond the original $2.7 billion estimate to a final price of just under $14.8 billion (Graft? In Boston?!?). For that sum the Boston region could have created a world class transit and light rail system, and eliminated the need for any freeway.

Boston is certainly much better without the elevated freeway blight. The city's waterfront is reconnected to downtown, and the new greenway is a welcome amenity for visitors and residents. And just as San Francisco's demolition of the Embarcadero Freeway attracted new waterfront development, new projects are springing up in the wake of I-93's undergrounding. Perhaps it's time for a national movement to roll back freeways and restore the vibrancy of urban life?

Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Wall Street Journal: Earl Blumenauer Profile

From the Wall Street Journal, 12.29.07:

For Congressman, Life in Bike Lane Comes Naturally
Earl Blumenauer of Oregon Rides to the White House; Look Out for Motorcades

Some members of Congress come to Washington and get in the fast lane. The 59-year-old (Earl) Blumenauer came to Washington and got in the bike lane. Few members of Congress care more than he does about cranks and sprockets. Mr. Blumenauer's "obsession with bicycling borders on the interesting," sniffed TV satirist Stephen Colbert.

"Bikeman," a House colleague from Oregon calls him. Mr. Blumenauer owns seven bikes. His congressional office is one of the few -- if not the only one -- that didn't even apply for a parking permit. On occasion, Mr. Blumenauer has cycled to the White House. On Mr. Blumenauer's first visit, the Secret Service, more accustomed to limousines, was flummoxed at the sight of his bike. "I leaned it up against the portico," Mr. Blumenauer says.

Mr. Blumenauer has been a pedal pusher since his days on the Portland City Council, when he pressed for more bike lanes and set an example by riding around in his suit and a big bow tie. When Mr. Blumenauer arrived in Washington in 1996, he didn't bring a car. Soon he was preaching the benefits of pedaling.

He launched the Congressional Bike Caucus, a bipartisan group that promotes public investment in cycling. In his early days, he tracked down Speaker Newt Gingrich in the House gym to pitch transit-fare subsidies for House workers. He got them. As the ranks of the Bicycle Caucus have grown -- there are now more than 170 members -- money for bike projects has grown, more than doubling during his time in office.

In his more than 10 years in Congress, Mr. Blumenauer says he has saved tens of thousands of dollars by not driving, money that helped pay for the townhouse he bought. And when he cycles across town to an event, he often gets there faster than his friends in Congress do. (Read more.)
We certainly need more people in Congress like Earl Blumenauer. The article also details Representative Blumenauer's unsuccessful efforts to date to pass the Bicycle Commuter Act, which would encourage employer benefits to bicycling employees, comparable to those received by workers who enjoy a "free" parking space or a discounted transit pass.

Visit: Wall Street Journal: Building a Better Bike Lane
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips
Thanks to Bike Commute Tips Blog reader Jack Painter, for sending the link to this article.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Paris' Velib is chic, trendy, hip

Image of bicyclists on Velib bikesFrom PopMatters, 12.14.07:

Move Over, iPhone, the French iBike is the New Black
There’s no doubting Paris’ credentials as one of the world’s capitals of culture and style. From handbags to glad rags, from nouvelle cuisine to Nouvelle Vague, the French touch brings a sense of panache to our daily lives--when the City of Light sneezes, the world catches a Gallic shrug.

This year, as if to mark its 218th anniversary, the city of Paris launched its most audacious campaign to date. As Parisians awoke on the morning of 15th July with their retinas still questioning the worth of the previous night’s fireworks, they folded back their volets to discover a brand new dawn.

Thousands of bicycles now populated the city, offering themselves to the inhabitants like willing beasts of burden, only with a handy basket welded to the front. And so Vélib', the public bicycle hire scheme, came to Paris.

The launch of Vélib’, coupled with the proliferation of bicycle lanes, has definitely changed the face of Paris. It is difficult to say if there are fewer cars on the road, but as any motorist will tell you, there are definitely more amateur cyclists. (Read more.)
Has the debut of any bicycle improvement anywhere ever attracted as much attention as Velib' (short for vélo en libre-service or self-service bike)? From the BBC to NPR, from the Christian Science Monitor to CounterPunch, it seems no journalist can visit Paris without remarking on the city's inspiring introduction of bike sharing. The popularity of Velib' surged during Paris' recent transit strike, which challenged city residents to embrace pedaling among other mobility alternatives.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: A bicycle built for Paris sightseeing, Newsday
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Take a classic spin this Christmas

Image of Santa Claus on a bicycleFrom the Times (Munster, IN), 12.13.07:

If you're still looking for holiday-shopping inspiration...this may be the year to consider bicycles.

In the days before video game systems, a new bike was probably at the top of most lists that Santa Claus received from American kids. A new bike has long symbolized freedom and independence to kids, the way a new car symbolizes it to teens and adults. Bicycles today can also symbolize environmentalism, health and clean living. It is this newer view of bicycles that has inspired the Village of Homewood to create a bicycle plan.

In 2006, the village commissioned the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation to create the plan, which proposes a bicycle network and defines a 10-year program to improve key components of the network that will make bicycling safer, more convenient and more fun in Homewood. The village's goal is to use the plan to develop a bicycle-friendly environment that encourages residents to bike for transportation, recreation and good health. The program is organized by short-term, mid-term and long-term recommendations.

And if you are still looking for a present, consider a childhood favorite: a red bow on a new bike under the tree. (Read more.)
I can personally attest to the transformative power of a gift bicycle. As I describe on my Bike Commuting Tips site, my own recovery of bicycling--the gap being teenage drivers license acquisition until mid-30s--came as a result of a very thoughtful Winter Solstice gift. This columnist's commentary uses the holiday gifting season as a launching point for an endorsement of the community's efforts to become more bicycling friendly.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Squirrel encounters bike tire, survives?

Two species proliferate on the campus of UC Davis where I work: bicyclists and squirrels (sciuridae griseus). This is not always a healthy mix. For the most part, my encounters with squirrels have been relatively trouble free. They loiter on the bike paths, but generally zip off when a bike approaches.

Not last Thursday. I was tooling along when a squirrel dashed toward the bike path, paused, then made a quick dart right under my rear wheel. I could feel the bump, as if I'd ridden over a small stone. I stopped and looked back, and no squirrel. It had managed to scamper off somehow.

So my question to readers who might be biologists or zoologically inclined: How guilty should I feel as an animal-loving vegetarian bike commuter? Did this critter sustain fatal injuries? Darwinian natural selection at work? Should I feel lucky it wasn't worse? If it matters, I weigh, well, let's say north of 200 pounds and was riding a touring bike with 38 mm tires.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Make Miami a bicycle friendly city

Image of bicyclist in MiamiFrom the Miami Herald, 12.13.07:

An increasing number of cities, large and small, welcome bicycling as an energy efficient, healthy and economically sustainable means of alternative transportation. Chicago, for example, is currently implementing its Bike 2015 Plan, which makes bicycling an integral part of the city's daily life through infrastructure projects, programs and policies. Likewise, a bicycle master plan underway in Portland is upholding and expanding its reputation as the most bicycle-friendly city in America.

In contrast, Miami is choosing not to compete. To date, locating a sidewalk bike rack is more difficult than securing a Saturday night parking spot...On-street bike lanes simply do not exist. Nor do street signs directing motorists to share the road with their two-wheel "subordinates."

Cyclists do not have a bicycle sharing program to look forward to, or even a simple bike map showing them the friendliest streets on which to travel. What's worse, there seems to be surprisingly little commitment by the city to improve the situation on any level. This runs counter to America's most vibrant cities like Chicago, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and even our own Miami Beach, where an official citywide bicycle master plan is currently adding signage, bicycle racks and bicycle lanes with great success.

Yet the city of Miami could become a great bicycling city. We have fantastic weather, bicycle friendly flat terrain and a population that seems to enjoy the abundance of outdoor activities that South Florida provides. (Read more.)
While cyclists in much of the U.S. are shivering and busy with snow shovels, from sunny Florida comes this impassioned cri de coeur from a bike planner and advocate in Miami.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Logistical Challenge: Access To A Shower

Image of bicyclists in Hartford, ConnecticuFrom the Hartford Courant, 12.09.07:

I live in West Hartford Center, three miles and change from my office, hardly an Armstrongian tour. I biked to the office for a week in early October. For the most part, it was fun. I love the idea of getting exercise while getting to work, and leaving a car in the driveway. I would do it more often if it were just a bit safer.

The one logistical challenge to biking to work involves access to a shower. Companies that had the wherewithal could be helpful to bike commuters by providing showers and lockers, bike racks and loaner cars for appointments or interviews during the day.

Leaving the car in the driveway for a week saved me about 35 miles of driving. If more people did it more often, we'd be talking real numbers. Commuters use bicycles all over the world, and for good reason. A bike is cheap, efficient, calorie-burning and clean transportation. The people are onto this, if the politicians aren't. Every day I saw other riders, both commuters and city dwellers. One day I rode along Capitol Avenue with a guy who was smoking a cigarette. You don't have to be a health nut to bike. (Read more.)
Interesting first-person account by columnist in Connecticut's largest city, where bicycle commuting is presently at a low level.

Image: Hartford Courant. Bicyclists in Hartford.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Biking on rural roads to improve?

From the Sacramento Bee, 12.11.07:

Woodland to Davis via bike road?
Each week, hundreds of bicyclists ride through the farmland of Yolo County on rural byways that connect the cities of Woodland and Davis. Some bike for pleasure. Others commute to work or school. All share the danger of being hit by cars and trucks that blow past them at highway speeds on narrow county roads.

In October that danger became a reality when 60-year-old Woodland bicyclist Francisco "Willie" Lopez was struck and killed by a car on County Road 99 during his daily ride to work at UC Davis.

In the wake of Lopez's death, the county plans to widen sections of some routes favored by cyclists. At the same time, proposals are emerging to create a route only for bicycles and electric vehicles from Davis to Woodland. A Roseville engineering firm has proposed a paved thoroughfare connecting East Street in Woodland with F Street in Davis via a railroad right of way. (Read more.)
Davis is already widely acknowledged as having the most bicycling-friendly streets in the U.S. The roads outside Davis? Not so much. Fairly standard rural roads in California, i.e. freeway speed traffic on two-lane thoroughfares.

In the wake of a tragic incident, some Yolo County leaders are pushing for improvements to better accommodate bicycling commuters between Davis and its neighbor seven miles to the north, Woodland. The article suggests there are more than 1,300 people presently commuting between the two communities, which are separated by a mere 30-40 minutes of pedaling over flat terrain. And many who now drive might bike, if only conditions were more appealing.

Image: Paul Dorn. Rural road in Yolo County near Davis.
Visit: Editorial: Fear Factor, Sacramento Bee.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Monday, December 10, 2007

Turn a pedal, burn fat

Kudos to the great folks at Chico Velo, who produced this great public service announcement, slapping motorists while pitching bicycling. Chico, California is great bicycling town, and Chico Velo sponsors one of California's most popular annual century rides, the Wildflower Century.

Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Michigan bike path gets citizen push

Image of winter bicyclistFrom the the Observer & Eccentric Newspapers (Northville, MI), 12.06.07:

Group aims to show benefits of bike riding
Dave Duffield has been a bicycle enthusiast for the last 35 years. It was at that time, in Grosse Pointe, that two of his teachers made the conscious decision to offer youngsters an alternative to the run-of-the-mill sporting activities.

Today, as an adult, bike riding remains an important part of Duffield's life, as he routinely opts for the two-wheel form of transportation as he travels to and from work...Duffield takes the I-275 nonmotorized pathway to work as often as Mother Nature will allow.

As a way to promote usage of the path, Duffield, members of the Friends of the I-275 Bike Path group and members of the Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance (MTGA) hosted an informational session last night on the work underway by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to plan the renovation of the I-275 Bikeway and new connections to it.

"Having ridden my bike for so many years and coming from a family that believes in giving back to the community, I felt (establishing the group) was something I would not only believe in, but something I used myself to commute to work on," Duffield said.

"It's so important today because the cost of gasoline is not going to go down any time soon and the benefits of more and more people on bicycles for global warming is obvious, not to mention the health benefits from cycling. This might help Michigan get off the list of most overweight states in the nation." (Read more.)
Recreational bike paths inevitably become important travel corridors for bicycling commuters. And, as this article illustrates, these commuters often become the best advocates for path enhancements.

Image: Observer & Eccentric. Bike commuter Dave Duffield.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Champaign plans for bikes

Bike parking at the Illinois Terminal in ChampaignFrom the News-Gazette (Champaign, IL), 12.03.07:

Enhanced biking part of new plan
When Champaign resident Rick Langlois heads out the door for his morning commute to the University of Illinois, he doesn't turn the ignition to his vehicle. He starts pedaling.

Langlois is one of the hundreds of local residents who commute to work each day by bicycle. And he's thrilled that the city of Champaign, in its new draft transportation plan, Champaign Moving Forward, is putting an increased emphasis on making the city bicycle-friendly. "I think it's a good start," Langlois said. "It's really great to work with city and county planners who are recognizing biking as a solution to a lot of problems...This is happening all over the country."

"We're a great community for bicycling," (Rob) Kowalski (Champaign's assistant planning director) said. "We have flat terrain. We have downtowns that are very accessible and the University of Illinois campus is great for bicycling, so it's important for us to have a plan that provides for enhanced bicycling opportunities throughout the city. The more we can promote bicycling and walking, and mass transit, the better balance we create in our transportation system. It can lead to less congestion and keep our commute times low." (Read more.)
Among the elements of the bike planning for this important university community: sharrows, development of a bike route network, and developer regulations requiring bike facilities.

Image: Bike parking at Illinois Terminal Building.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Monday, December 03, 2007

This bike looks like a car

From the Toronto Star, 12.02.07:

"That's quite the little thingy you've got there," says a young he passes Ray Mickevicius's bright yellow vehicle, sleek as a dolphin...

The "thingy" is a velomobile, a ground-hugging, three-wheeled horizontal bicycle, sheathed in fibreglass. About three metres long, it looks like a miniature race car, but it's powered by pedalling. It has a steering bar, 27 gears, turn signals, lights and a speedometer.

A cyclist who watched the velomobile skim by...said longingly, "I want one." While its aerodynamic form allows for speed--Mickevicius easily cruises at 40 km/h or more--its protective shell may offer a solution to the problem of cycling in Toronto when the weather turns foul.

Could velomobiles be the future for energy-conscious Toronto commuters? (Read more.)
Over the years, recumbent enthusiasts have wondered why they haven't gotten more love. I'm among those who may have neglected 'bents, never having had one. But this article from Toronto demonstrates the benefits of enclosed recumbents, especially in colder regions such as Canada.

With their cost, novelty, and weight, velomobiles may never attract more than the most serious human-power enthusiasts. But there are certainly appealing aspects of such machines.

Image: Web capture.
Humor: A real bike car - video from Toronto
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Friday, November 30, 2007

StreetFilms: Transportation Ethics

Clarence Eckerson at StreetFilms presents this provocative conversation between Mark Gorton, executive director of the Open Planning Project, and Randy Cohen, author of The Ethicist column in the New York Times Magazine and occasional commentator for NPR. As shown in this interview, Cohen is also an intelligent and articulate voice for Livable Streets.

I'm typically wary of ethical/moral arguments against car culture. Certainly there is a personal responsibility argument to make against non-conscious automobility. However, bicyclists win few friends with a self-righteous posture. Our project is to push public officials for more comprehensive, inclusive, sustainable, and community-centered transportation systems. We shouldn't simply be scolds.

Most Americans don't wake up and say "I think I'll pollute the air, endanger children and seniors, deposit toxic residue, create noise, consume petroleum, contribute to global climate change..." No, most Americans wake up and say "I'm off to work." And thanks to decades of automobile-centric government policies, they have few reasonable choices but to drive. Transforming the priorities of transportation policy is our political project.

This interview is provocative, without plunging into off-putting moralism. Cohen suggests that policy-makers have the primary ethical responsibility to favor community over private interests. And there's a great segment illustrating the rampant criminal abuse of public parking privileges by New York City officials.

Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bike commuting for health, sanity

From the MetroWest Daily News (Massachusetts), 11.26.07:

Gas prices got you down? Try a new spin on the daily commute
Henrietta, N.Y.--While most of us are seated behind the wheel, our foot alternating between the gas pedal and brakes as we contend with traffic on our way to work each morning and evening, Corey Brandes is pushing some different pedals. The physical education teacher at Roth Middle School in Henrietta and Rush resident takes in breath-taking views of the sunset and wildlife from the seat of his bike on the Lehigh Valley Trail.

By road, Brandes’ commute is 12 miles round trip. By trail, it's more like 26. He estimates he has ridden more than 1,000 miles since Sept. 1. Brandes began commuting to work on a bike almost a year ago. "This summer we dropped from two cars to one, so there's no backing out now," he said. "Not that I would ever want to. It's a way for me to get exercise and work at the same time. It kills two birds with one stone."

Cars can be scary, he said. "When you are in your car, you are not as connected to the outside world, so you are kind of going through subconsciously and driving," he said. "I always assume people are driving that way or are distracted. Some people say that it's kind of insane to be out on the road when it's that cold out, but I really like the natural aspect of it. I see things most people don't see in their car." (Read more.)
Inspiring story, featuring comments from Jason Crane of Rochester, NY, creator of the popular commuting site

Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Monday, November 26, 2007

Wisconsin bicycling progress

Image of a badger on a bicycleFrom the Sheboygan Press (Wisconsin), 11.25.07:

(Employers) continually ask why they should participate and/or how can they participate in encouraging non-motorized transportation. There are multiple answers to this question.

An answer to "why" is usually the first item on people's minds, and that is the bottom line. As a business, promoting bicycling and walking as part of your wellness efforts undoubtedly makes economic sense.

Studies have shown that for every dollar spent on wellness programs, the average return on that investment is $3.84. Companies running effective wellness programs typically see reduced absenteeism, higher productivity, reduced health care costs, and have happier employees. All increase profits. Promoting bicycling and walking is an easy physical activity that can be incorporated as part of any wellness program.

The health and wellness benefits are not the only items that affect an employer's profits. Providing automobile parking is expensive. Instead of building a new parking lot or refurbishing an old one, encouraging the use of a bicycle or feet to get to work is an economical alternative. Victoria Transport Policy Institute studies show that it costs about $1,500 per stall in a new surface parking lot and the annual maintenance cost is about $200 per stall.

Walking is free for an employer and providing a bicycle rack typically costs less than $200 to install and there are virtually no maintenance costs. (Read more.)
An update on progress in Sheboygan County, featured earlier on this blog, one of four communities in the country awarded a $25 million Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program grant, passed by Congress in July 2005. (The other communities are Columbia, Missouri; Marin County, California; and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.)

Image: Web capture. Presumably, this is a badger.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Night Cycling: Is it safe?

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer 11.26.07:

From the perspective of a cycling motorist two main factors contribute to the difficulty of watching out for cyclists:
1. Many nighttime cyclists are not properly lit. This ranges from cyclists who completely lack lights, to cyclists who are poorly lit, to those who are well lit, but the lighting arrangement is visually confusing.
2. The behavior of many cyclists (night time or not) is often unpredictable from the perspective of a motorist, even this motorist who cycles (or this cyclist who motors). (Read more.)
Interesting and timely blog post from Seattle, featuring charts of local collision reports. Darkness shouldn't discourage bicyclists. Thoughtful caution, responsible riding, and effective lighting make bicycling after dark possible and even enjoyable.

Bicycle headlights have gotten significantly better: more affordable, more efficient, brighter.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Bike commuting in the dark,
Visit: Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, primer on lights by Trek staffer
Visit: Night Cycling, helpful essay by Steven Goodridge
Visit: LED Headlights: Just better and better, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Friday, November 23, 2007

Dallas moving to bicycles?

Image of bicyclist in Dallas, TexasFrom the Dallas Morning News, 11.19.07:

Dallas-area planners boosting bicycle commuting with new projects
Urban planners are looking to enlist more mild-mannered Clark Kent-like bicycle commuters to help battle Dallas-Fort Worth's air-pollution and traffic congestion woes. They want more people to consider bicycle commuting for short distances, either directly to work or to link to mass transit. The enlistees need not be faster than a speeding bullet or more powerful than Lance Armstrong.

"We have this picture of cycling commuters as being like supermen, and that discourages other people from doing it," said P.M. Summer, transportation alternatives coordinator for the city of Dallas. "When I came into this job, our thinking was we needed to enable cyclists to make 40-mile bike trips. Now my thinking is we need to have development in place that allows a cyclist to make a one-mile bike trip. It becomes a very natural extension of walking. The idea of being able to go get on a bike and ride for 10 minutes to get to your destination, rather than a half-hour walk, is a huge incentive." (Read more.)
A great article from Dallas, a city that presently ranks in the bottom ten for bicycle commuting. The story includes comments on health improvement, trail development, and enhanced transit access.

In my favorite television documentary program, King of the Hill--hey, it's about Texas, right?--the only characters who regularly bicycle are the youngsters Bobby and Joseph. Good luck to Dallas and my friends at the Texas Bicycle Coalition.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Dallas-area resources for beginning cyclists, Dallas Morning News
Visit: Dallas placing new focus on bicycles as commuting alternative
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Can bikes save the planet?

Image of bicycle burning in San Diego area fire of 2007From the Redding Record Searchlight (California), 11.18.07:

If you missed it, Monday's Record Searchlight carried an Associated Press story...that has public health officials trying to link obesity rates in the United States and global warming.

One scientist interviewed calculated that if every American between 10 and 74 walked a half-hour a day instead of driving, the annual U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide would be cut by 64 million tons. Some 6.5 billion gallons of gasoline would be saved...and people would shed more than 3 billion pounds.

Interestingly enough, Trek recently rolled out a new campaign to get people riding called 1 World, 2 Wheels ( "The solution to some of the world's biggest problems is in your garage," the Trek literature said. The humble bicycle.

Trek will commit about $1.6 million over the next three years to support the League of American Bicyclists' Bicycle Friendly Community program and to fund trail development with the International Mountain Biking Association. The goal is to increase trips taken in the U.S. by bicycle to 5 percent, from the current 1 percent by 2017.

And with some 40 percent of all car trips taken in this country being less than 2 miles, it's an achievable goal. The directive, the hope of 1 World, 2 Wheels: If your destination is two miles or less, ride your bike.
Great article from NorCal touting the health and environmental benefits of bicycling for transportation.

Image: Web capture. Bicycle burning in San Diego fires, October 2007, a conflagration made worse by sprawl and car-dependent development.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

N.Y. Times on Portland bicycling

Image of bike parking in Portland, OregonFrom the New York Times, 11.05.07:

In Portland, Cultivating a Culture of Two Wheels
Cyclists have long revered Portland for its bicycle-friendly culture and infrastructure, including the network of bike lanes that the city began planning in the early 1970s. Now, riders are helping the city build a cycling economy.

There are, of course, huge national companies like Nike and Columbia Sportswear that have headquarters here and sell some cycling-related products, and there are well-known brands like Team Estrogen, which sells cycling clothing for women online from a Portland suburb.

Yet in a city often uncomfortable with corporate gloss, what is most distinctive about the emerging cycling industry here is the growing number of smaller businesses, whether bike frame builders or clothing makers, that often extol recycling as much as cycling, sustainability as much as success.

In a report for the City of Portland last year, (Alta Planning and Design) estimated that 600 to 800 people worked in the cycling industry in some form. A decade earlier, (Mia) Birk said in an interview, the number would have been more like 200 and made up almost entirely of employees at retail bike stores. Now, Ms. Birk said, the city is nurturing the cycling industry, and there are about 125 bike-related businesses in Portland... (Read more.)
Interesting article and video by the nation's paper of record, on the burgeoning bicycle economy in Portland, Oregon. The city has long been hailed as a the country's leading bicycling-friendly community. And this growing bike culture is encouraging businesses that serve bicyclists. And the bike economy's employees become a political constituency.

This photo presents a bike parking model I wish more cities would embrace: Removing car parking to create space for parked bikes. Don't force bicyclists and pedestrians into conflict by crowding sidewalks with bike racks. Get rid of the cars.

I'm late reporting this significant article, see also the comments at And my friend Bob in Portland--taking time from his ceaseless search for Sasquatch--commented: "There's something happenin' here, what it is ain't exactly clear. There's a man on bike over there..... Critical Mass? Maybe, but perhaps it's just the realization that it's the twilight of the age of the automobile."

Image: New York Times, bike parking in Portland
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Moving Boston to two wheels

My blogging was interrupted for a while, as my beloved Boston Red Sox rolled to their second World Series championship in four years, consuming all my leisure time. So upon returning to bicycle blogging activity, it makes sense to look at what residents of Beantown have been up to in terms of bicycling, now that Fenway Park occupies less of their attention.

At the end of October, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino--a newly enthusiastic bicyclist--convened a four-day summit of bicycling experts, titled "Role of Bicycling in World Class Cities." The event at Boston City Hall attracted more than 100 participants, and is intended to launch Boston's efforts to improve bicycling conditions. The summit also attracted significant media coverage.

From the Jamaica Plain Gazette:

According to Nick Jackson, who works for a Chicago-based bicycle and pedestrian advocacy firm, and was hired by LAB as a consultant for the conference, Boston has nowhere to go but up. "(Boston) has the distinction of consistently ranking as one of the worst big cities for bicycling in the country," he said.
From the Boston Globe:
To coordinate its efforts, (Boston) also brought in Jeffrey Rosenblum, cofounder and executive director of the nonprofit Livable Streets Alliance, to serve as a consultant for the program. "I'm an advocate, so I'm not going to say that I totally trust everything that the city is going to do," he said. "But I feel that the level of collaboration and cooperation the city has shown since August has just been a completely refreshing breath of fresh air."
From Boston Now:
Cities of Boston's size are good for cycling, said Andy Clarke, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based League of American Bicyclists. "We're saying not to put on spandex and ride 50 miles, but just to ride two or three miles around their neighborhoods," he said.
From the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News:
"Boston is an iconic American city with a very particular reputation for traffic issues—so to turn around a city like Boston is going to be a real challenge and a really strong message to others that it can be done,” Clarke said.
Best wishes to Boston in its efforts to enhance bicycling. As I've said on this blog before, transforming the bicycling conditions in a community depends on grass roots activism by bicyclists. But having a supportive chief executive certainly helps.

Image: Boston Mayor Thomas Menino at Boston Bikes Summit Press Conference
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pedal power is the way to frugal fitness

Image of bicyclist with front rackFrom the The Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), 10.15.07:

Maybe it's because I can take great satisfaction from saving either my bus fare or parking charges for the car. Maybe it's because I'm an eco-warrior, out to save the world with one less car exhaust pipe contributing to climate change. Or maybe it's just because I love scooting past irate drivers when they're stuck at the latest traffic jam and I'm able to glide to the front of the queue, ready to accelerate away from them when the lights change.

Whatever the reason, I'm a born-again cycle commuter. And it's become something of an addiction--maybe it's all those endorphins pumping round my body. Unlike many cyclists, who hang up their fluorescent jackets when it gets cold, I'll be continuing this winter.

The benefits of a daily commute are unquestionable. I work up a healthy sweat twice a day going to and from work, without spending money or precious time. In fact, I get to and from the centre of Glasgow from the south-side suburbs quicker than any car, bus or train could take me--that's a fact. And when I arrive, I'm brighter and more energised than I could possibly have been if I'd been sitting on the bus - and certainly less stressed-out than if I'd been driving. (Read more.)
Inspiring first-person account from the UK, citing European research on how cycling can extend life-spans and improve health. The writer also discusses his preparations for cold, wet winter weather, optimistic that his cycling will continue.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Eugene: How to ride in rain

From the Eugene Register-Guard (Oregon), 10.15.07:

Riding in the rain: Good gear and preparation will help you keep cycling through winter
Those who are brave or crazy enough to continue their two-wheeled commutes as the rains begin often suffer what local diehards call "The Willamette Valley Racing Stripe"--an aptly-named strip of road sludge spattered on your front and back.

They battle slick conditions, flooded bike lanes and distracted motorists. But advocates say the benefits--saving on gas, getting exercise and going green--are worth it. "You can ride all year 'round in Eugene," says Lee Shoemaker, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. "You just have to have the right kind of gear."

"It takes a certain amount of preparation to be ready to commute and do it efficiently in the rain," says Joe Peck, manager of Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life on Alder Street. (Read more.)
Comprehensive article about wet-weather cycling from Oregon, where they know a fair amount about such things. Among the useful advice offered in the article: breathable rain gear, fenders (!), lights, wider tires, greater caution.

It's impossible to overstate the importance of fenders. In my early days of bike commuting, I learned about the "mud stripe" up the back. As I write on my bike commute tips website, "...the worst feature of wet weather cycling isn't the precipitation that falls down; it's the muck that splashes up."

Also reported on Cyclelicious.
Video: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
Visit: What About Weather? - Bike Commute Tips Site
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Davis retains platinum status as bike capital

StreetFilms' Clarence Eckerson visited Davis recently, and produced this great video showing the amenities enjoyed by residents of the only platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Community in the U.S. Davis' status as the bicycling capital of the country was recently renewed by the League of American Bicyclists.

Visit: Sacramento Bee, 10.09.07, Raising bar on biking: Cited for success, Davis takes on new challenges
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Retailers make room for bikes

Image of bike stuck in a tree in Hattiesburg, MississippiFrom the Hattiesburg Clarion Ledger (MS), 10.09.07:

Hattiesburg officials, store owners make room for bikes
Finding a spot to park a bicycle in downtown Hattiesburg has always been a sort of random act for University of Southern Mississippi junior Richard Easterling. "I ride on weekends to go downtown and listen to music," the student said. "That way, you don't have to drive and find a place to park your car. I usually tie mine to a tree or something."

So Easterling was excited to learn that downtown officials and business owners are installing 16 bicycle racks and making a concerted effort to increase awareness of bicycling issues.

Jonathan Cothern, chairman of the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association's design committee that came up with the idea for bicycle racks and Saturday's events, said he sees bicycling and downtown living going hand-in-hand. "One of the initiatives long-term is to promote living and working downtown," Cothern said. "Part of the fun of living in a dense urban environment is that you should be able to leave your car behind."

(Richlain) Robinson, a former resident of Los Angeles, said his love of cycling goes back about 30 years to his time in that urban environment. "We were avid bicyclists in Los Angeles," Robinson said. "I've always said, 'Bicycling: It's better for you than a week at a Beverly Hills psychologist.'" (Read more.)
I'm a few days late getting this online--my job is keeping me busy these days--but how could I not post that psychologist quote.

Image: Web capture. Tree near Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Monday, October 08, 2007

U.S. cities encourage bicycling

Bicyclists travel on New York City's West Street bike pathFrom USA Today, 10.08.07:

Big cities try to ease way for bicyclists

Cities are accelerating their efforts to encourage commuting on two wheels, putting bike racks where cars once parked, adding bike lanes and considering European-style bike-share programs to get residents out of their cars.

"There's never been so much attention from cities collectively for cycling as a mode of transportation," says Loren Mooney, executive editor of Bicycling magazine. "Cities are recognizing that it is a realistic and inexpensive solution to a lot of different problems — to the traffic issues, to pollution issues, to personal health issues because instead of sitting in cars for an hour you have people out burning calories."

"This whole movement has taken place in tandem with resurging interest in cities and developing downtowns," says Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group that promotes walking, cycling and public transit in New York City. (Read more.)
An encouraging "trend" story in the national color daily, featuring bike encouragement efforts in Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago. And some obligatory skepticism from the Cato Institute. Interestingly, in this brief survey of bicycling-supportive U.S. cities, no mention is made of Portland, Oregon, doubtless the preeminent major city for bicycling in the U.S.

Image: USA Today, Bicyclists travel on New York City's West Street bike path.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Seasonal joys of bike commuting

Image of fall bicyclistFrom the Journal Gazette Times-Courier (Charleston, Illinois), 10.06.07:

Bicycling to work means 'experiencing the seasons'

(Molly) Daniel tries to ride her bicycle from her home on the northeast edge of Charleston to her job as a grant specialist at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center at least four days a week.

She said it’s a seven-mile, 35-minute trip if she takes the most direct way on the Lincoln Prairie Grass Trail bike trail, but she likes to take other routes for at least an hour-long ride. "I just connect to the outdoors a lot more," she also said. "I'm experiencing the seasons the way I did as a kid."

Bad weather doesn't necessarily stop Daniel from making her bike trek, though she said "35 degrees is my limit" as for how cold it can get before she'll travel another way. Wind can be "pretty discouraging" and rain was "a little intimidating" at first but now she enjoys riding in the rain sometime. "You're going to get cold more than you're going to get wet," she said of riding in the rain, as long as you have a rain jacket. (Read more.)
Profile of a bike commuter in Illinois, who enjoys the outdoors on a bike. (Who doesn't.) The fall is a particularly great time to be a bike commuter. So get some lights and keep riding.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Music star pushes cycling lifestyle

From AMNewYork, 10.08.07:

Envisioning a city where bicycle traffic gets priority over automobiles, singer David Byrne, a longtime city bike commuter, hosted a program Saturday that explored ways to make New York's streets more like those of bike-friendly Copenhagen.

About 35 percent of the workforce in the Danish capital commutes by bike, said Byrne, the "Talking Heads" star who visited the city with the folding bicycle he carries around the world with him. Less than one percent of New Yorkers commute by bike.

Josh Benson, director of the DOT's bike program, told the large New Yorker Festival audience Saturday that "it's an exciting time to be a cyclist in New York," and said bike ridership has tripled in the past seven years. He described the city's new "complete streets" philosophy, which includes equal room for cars, pedestrians and bicycles. (Read more.)
Streetsblog previously reported David Byrne's commitment to bicycling. And now Byrne is using his celebrity to galvanize support for bicycling in New York, convening this public panel on bikes for transportation. Which gives me the opportunity to feature my favorite Heads tune on this blog.

Image: Talking Heads, "Life During Wartime."
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Bike trail leads to economic boom

Image of Root River State Trail in MinnesotaFrom the Winona Daily News (Minnesota), 10.07.07:

Small-town turnaround in Lanesboro: Bike trail led to economic boom

Nestled in a southeastern Minnesota valley, Lanesboro, population 788, is much like any small town. Passersby wave and say hello. Conversations often erupt on the sidewalk. People give their phone number as four digits. Coffee shops and diners ooze gossip. Yet it is like no other.

On summer weekends, the overnight population can triple. Main street bustles as tourists jockey for parking spaces on their way to restaurants and artists’ galleries. Kayaks, canoes and inner tubes jam the Root River, while a steady parade of bicycles rolls along the adjacent trail.

In the past two decades, Lanesboro has reinvented itself as a tourist mecca and a bedroom community, avoiding the fate of many small towns...Things took a downward turn in the 1970s as farmers suffered, the trains stopped and the small downtown started to fail.

Julie Kiehne, Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, said before 1985, when a bike trail was built on the rail bed, the town didn’t seem to have much of a future. "The town was boarded up; much of main street had vacant store fronts," she said. "People wondered if the school would survive."

The passenger trains...stopped long ago, but the tourists still follow the same route into Lanesboro. Most residents credit the bike trail, built in 1985, with saving the town. On sunny summer evenings--even weekdays--bikers stream through the downtown, stopping for dinner at the area restaurants or heading to one of the bed and breakfasts. On summer weekends, the town easily doubles its population. During big events it can triple.

Built on the former Milwaukee Railroad bed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Root River State Trail is more than 60 miles of paved multi-use trails that follow the river through bluffs and farmland. In an average year, Fillmore County welcomes about 200,000 visitors.

The trails spawned a river-based tourism industry. Businesses started to rent canoes, kayaks, inner tubes and bikes to visitors looking to spend time outdoors.(Read more.)
This article is more recreational bicycling than commuting. But it's great evidence that bicycle facilities can have a positive economic benefit, something advocates can use to persuade their community to embrace bicycling.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bike commuting in suburbia

From the Roseville Press Tribune (California), 09.29.07:

I think I'll ride: Bicycle commuters take to Roseville streets, two wheels at a time
Excessive fossil fuel consumption and an out-of-shape populace are two hot-button topics on peoples' minds these days. But there are some Roseville residents taking action on both issues at the same time--and they have the city behind them.

With more and more of the local workforce commuting by bicycle, the city has stepped up its efforts to provide them with safe and convenient resources.

Pascal Joly makes the 8-mile round trip commute from his downtown Roseville home to Hewlett-Packard just about every workday of the year.

"I am more apt to drive to work because of the heat instead of the rain," said Joly, who grew up in France and sees the challenge Roseville faces in becoming a bicycle friendly city. An avid participant in BikingRoseville, Joly realizes that transforming a car-based culture such as ours does not happen overnight.

It's more like riding a bicycle uphill in high gear. It doesn't happen fast. With city hall behind you, though, at least people aren't pedaling backwards.

"Lots of people think of biking as an off the street activity," said (David Allen, of BikingRoseville). "I see it as a means of transportation, not just recreation. It's great exercise and it's easy on the wallet, but it's also a great way to get around."

Around your neighborhood and around your town. A way around polluting your environment and, hopefully, a little less around the waistline. (Read more.)
Interesting article from the fast-growing Sacramento suburb of Roseville, where the bicycling community appears to be straddling the "facilities or accommodation" divide (i.e. advocacy pushing for bicycling friendly infrastructural enhancements, or trying to educate cyclists to adapt to challenging conditions.)

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Bike commuters save gas, get exercise

Image of bicyclists in Vail, ColoradoFrom the Vail Daily News, 09.27.07:

It’s just another day at the office for Dominique Mohrman as she packs up the streamlined trailer attached to the back of her touring bike and rides down U.S. Highway 6.

In the morning and evenings, when most people are getting in their cars to go to and from work, some valley residents like Mohrman would rather make the work commute by bike. Most days when the weather permits, Mohrman and her husband, Jeff, ride from their home in Avon to Eagle-Vail, where the couple runs Colorado Bike Service.

It is about a 15-minute ride uphill to the bike shop, Dominique Mohrman said. "You definitely get a good sweat in the morning. It's good exercise — the perfect way to balance out your workweek. You get some mileage and fresh air," she said. In her trailer, she usually carries a cooler with lunch and drinks, rain gear, 5 gallons of water and her business bag. (Read more.)
Five--five!--gallons of water? This favorable article features insights and observations from several Vail-area bicycle commuters, and includes a list of helpful tips.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Sheboygan pushes for bike lanes

Image of bicyclist in Sheboygan, WisconsinFrom the Sheboygan Press, 09.28.07:

Be biker-friendly: City streets may get bike lanes

Jim Sobczak rides his bike everywhere in Sheboygan. "I enjoy riding," Sobczak said. "You see more when you ride." But one thing Sobczak has noticed is that riding in the city can be a dangerous experience.

The city is making an effort to change that. The Common Council recently passed a resolution supporting an application by Sheboygan County to the county's Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program to fund nearly 42 miles of bicycle lane striping on city streets. "I think it's a real good idea to have the bike lanes marked," said (Alderwoman) Marilyn Montemayor, who authored the resolution. "It's for the safety of those who ride bicycles and maybe it will encourage more people to ride bicycles." (Read more.)
More bicycling news from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, featured earlier on this blog. What is significant here, is that Sheboygan County is one of four communities in the country awarded a $25 million Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program grant, passed by Congress in July 2005. (The other communities are Columbia, Missouri; Marin County, California; and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.)

The program--won through the advocacy efforts of Bikes Belong and the League of American Bicyclists among others--provides $25 million per year through 2009 to be used for programs and facilities that promote a transportation change from driving to walking or bicycling in these four pilot communities. In a sense, these areas become laboratories for bicycling and walking, similar to what Denmark has done with the city of Odense.

In bicycling terms, $25 million per year is hugely significant--such a sum is a mere rounding error on many highway or military projects. By comparison, the state of California only funds the Bicycle Transportation Account at a meager $5 million, distributed among communities across the entire state. (Many California communities of course use other funding sources to create bicycling facilities.)

Again, another example that advocacy works for bicyclists.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Respect bicyclists on the road

Image of Critical Mass in San FranciscoFrom the Kansas City Star, 09.18.07:

We get bored driving the same old roads all the time and we start pressing the gas pedal to get wherever we’re going quickly. Improved street and highway designs and coordinated traffic lights have enabled us to keep rolling without the mental annoyance of a slow down...

So our habits are jarred when a bicyclist is visible through the windshield, moving at what seems like a slow speed with their body fully exposed to harm. Well friends and neighbors, it’s time for an attitude adjustment on our part. I’d suggest we need to keep working on making bicycling a bigger pastime in our communities...

Still, there’s plenty of work to be done to improve safety for bicyclists on the street and the highway. It’s a pollution-free form of travel that helps the users save money and improve their physical health. Every time someone chooses to ride a bike instead of driving, we all benefit a bit.

So slow down and respect bicyclers on the road. Let’s look for ways to improve riding conditions on the pavement.

A bicycle on the street is a sign of good health, for the rider and the community. (Read more.)
Favorable commentary from a driver's perspective by a writer in Kansas City, which has the lowest rate of bicycle commuting among the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Image: HolisticGeek. Critical Mass in San Francisco, gaining respect for bicyclists since 1992. The 15th Anniversary ride is Friday, September 28.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Boston mayor pushes bikes

From the Boston Globe, 09.21.07:

Pedal pushing: Menino mounting bid to make city a bicyclist's dream

Potholes, narrow roads, mean drivers. Riding a bicycle in Boston is something akin to combat. Cyclists routinely rank the city America's worst.

Stung by national criticism and hoping to take a bite out of traffic and air pollution, Mayor Thomas M. Menino is vowing to change that. A newly converted cyclist himself, Menino will announce today the hiring of a bike czar, former Olympic cyclist Nicole Freedman, and a first phase of improvements to include 250 new bike racks across Boston and an online map system.

In the next several years, Menino said, he plans to create a network of bike lanes on roads such as Massachusetts Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay and the Fenway. "We need to get more people to take the bike around. It's good for their health, it's good for the environment, and there's less congestion on our streets," Menino said. "It's time for this issue to come to the forefront."

Boston has much to overcome if it's to be a biking mecca. Last year, Bicycling magazine put Boston on its list of worst cities for the third time since 1999, citing its "lousy roads, scarce and unconnected bike lanes, and bike-friendly gestures from city hall that go nowhere."

"It kills me," said Stephen Madden, a Dorchester native and editor of Bicycling magazine. But, he added, "I'd be derelict in my job not to put it on that list. My hope is to one day not just remove it from the worst places list but to put it on the best places list. The Red Sox won the World Series. Anything can happen." (Read more.)
You know that bicycling is truly on the ascendant in the U.S. when you see Boston embracing pedaling commuters. The article indicates that Menino is also looking favorably at adopting a bike-sharing system similar to Paris' wildly successful Vélib. Despite the occasional retrograde remark by the federal transportation secretary, bicycling really is emerging as an effective urban transportation mode.

Visit: Boston by Bike, Boston Globe, 09.20.07
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Ride a bike? You must be rich

Image of bicyclist in a suitFrom The Times (London, UK) 09.21.07:

The richer people become the further they cycle, according to official figures overturning conventional wisdom that the bicycle is largely a poor man’s mode of transport.

The richest fifth of the population cycle on average 2.5 times as far in a year as the poorest fifth. The Department for Transport’s National Travel Survey indicates that the poorest fifth, despite being five times less likely to have access to a car, are very unlikely to consider cycling as a solution to their transport needs.

The London Cycling Campaign said that people on higher incomes tended to be better educated about the health benefits of cycling and more concerned with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown that regular cyclists typically enjoy a level of fitness equivalent to someone 10 years younger, and those cycling regularly beyond their mid-thirties add two years to their life expectancy.

Cycling groups believe that a lack of education and negative stereotyping of cyclists are the main reasons why poorer people appear unwilling to hop on bikes.

Roger Geffen, the (Cyclists Touring Club’s) policy manager, said "We need to counter the powerful status symbol of the sports car by finding iconic figures to demonstrate that the bicycle can be cool. A few positive role models could have a transformative effect." (Read more.)
I suspect that most readers of this blog are bicycle commuters by choice, not economic necessity. The observations suggested in this article from London are likely equally true in the U.S.: that lower-income workers are more concerned with the immediate personal needs of making a living than with the longer term social hazards of global climate change.

The perceived "status" of driving is also a likely discouragement to low status workers. Car makers strive to create a perception of automobiles as more than a mere transportation vehicle, but as a means of personal empowerment.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Get rich and gorgeous--and save the planet
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tulsa: Bike commuters save, rave

Image of bicycle in TulsaFrom the Tulsa Journal Record, 09.18.07:

Bike commuters tout physical, financial perks
Sometimes when he pushing uphill against a harsh winter breeze, David Darcy wonders just what he's doing riding his bicycle to work. But even when the north winds howl or the rain pelts his back and legs, Darcy reminds himself how much money he's saving riding his bike 30 miles to work and back four days a week, how much exercise he’s getting in, how much tension he’s releasing, and how much he just hates traffic.

(Darcy is one) of the many Tulsans who choose to commute by bike on a regular basis. About 40 participate in the Indian Nations Council of Governments Bike 2 Work program (, which seeks to raise awareness of cycling as legitimate transportation.

As it prepares to wrap its second year of tracking bike commuter miles, INCOG bicycle pedestrian planner Patrick Fox said Tulsa workers logged more than 8,500 miles in 2007 despite an especially wet year, up 11 percent from 7,602 last year. Officials estimate this cut carbon monoxide emissions by 870.4 pounds.

Being an accountant at heart, Darcy said biking in results in definite cash savings beyond the $6 a day his ‘97 Ford F-150 pickup burns in fuel making the trip. First there’s parking, which runs $50 a month downtown. "I feel like I've been able to accomplish getting into work for free and my exercise for the morning," he said, without having to pay a monthly health club fee. "And it only takes a half-hour longer. I feel I’m breaking even on time because it used to take me an hour to go out and take a daily run in the morning." (Read more.)
A favorable article from Oklahoma, featuring several interviews with local cyclists and several helpful suggestions for would-be bike commuters.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips