More information: MobileStreetsAlive.org
More information: MobileStreetsAlive.org
Bicycle Month t-shirts are now available. Order online, be sure to arrange a pickup location.
We are out of blue L and blue XL (we still have red L and red XL)
Question: What has 100 legs, 100 wheels, wobbles when it rolls, can’t throw and steer at the same time and takes more than two hours to go three miles?
Answer: The motley crew of bicyclists who took the Order of Venus up on an invitation to ride in Monday night’s parade through downtown Mobile.
This very unusual experience began to take shape in late January, when word began to spread via the Mobilians on Bikes page on Facebook: The Order of Venus had invited interested bicyclists to participate in their upcoming Mardi Gras parade. Details were spelled out on an accompanying events page.
On Monday, night, in accordance with those instructions, elaborately dressed bicyclists began lining up their rides on Claiborne Street outside the Mobile Civic Center. Most had made some effort to decorate their bikes; everyone seemed to have come up with their own method of carrying beads and other throws.
Grant to Mobile United will create a strategic plan for the implementation of the Crepe Myrtle Trail (CMT) in Mobile
Mobile, Ala. – Mobile United is pleased to announce that they are the recipient of a two-year planning and assistance grant through the National Park Service’s Rails, Trail and Conservation Assistance Program. The grant will jump start planning and implementation of the Crepe Myrtle Trail.
Awarded through the National Park Service’s Rails, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program, the grant will provide staff assistance to engage stakeholders, plan the trails routes, create funding plans, and identify groups, individuals, business, local government officials, and nonprofits that will spearhead the project.
“The momentum and support behind the creation of a permanent Crepe Myrtle Trail is higher than it has ever been,” said Mobile United Executive Director Katherine Pitman.
“More than a dozen organizations and 150 people participated in the inaugural Crepe Myrtle Trail Ride in June of this year and we’re thrilled to be able to continue our work on this great project for Mobile. Mobile United is grateful for the assistance from the RTCA program to undertake this critical first step in engaging all stakeholders in this planning process,” Pitman said.
What started as an idea in the 1990’s, the Crepe Myrtle Trail arose as a solution to the lack of waterfront access in a waterfront City that aims to stretch a minimum of 14 miles worth of dedicated paths and shared lanes. The route begins at Three Mile Creek, runs through Downtown Mobile, hugs Mobile River, traverses the Peninsula of Mobile neighborhood and the beautiful shores of Mobile Bay and ends at the Dog River, while connecting at least seven existing parks, and other natural areas that have access and recreational opportunities. The trail will be a multi-use path that will be used by pedestrians and cyclists, tourists and locals, young and old, and people from all socio-economic backgrounds.
The grant carries no financial award, but provides two years of project planning assistance. The goals of this phase of the project are to develop a Strategic Plan for the official creation of the CMT, to confirm or identify the most reasonable trail route and/or alternatives, and to create a conceptual design of the portions of the trail that pose the biggest challenges. The trail length will ultimately be decided by the community and other stakeholders, as the process of planning continues. Currently, the proposed route of the trail is approximately 14 miles. Opportunities exist for loop trails and extensions that will be useful for exercise outings, races, or other activities such as geo-caching, bird watching and sightseeing that could increase the size the trail complex to 25 or 30 miles.
Mobile United’s mission is to develop, support and encourage a comprehensive network of trained and engaged leadership that is inclusive and adaptable to community needs, taking action on programs and projects that lead to a better quality of life for our citizens.
For more information or additional inquiries, please contact Katherine Pitman for additional inquiries 251.432.1638 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about Mobile United can be found online at: www.mobileunited.org or on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mobileunited1.
ALDOT will host two public hearings for the Mobile River Bridge project. Officials will be on site to answer questions about the proposed bridge and Bayway widening and solicit comments and concerns from the public. It is very important for as many proponents of a bicycle path to go to these meetings and make their voices heard.
You must sign in to speak (2 min) and all comments must be on ALDOT’s comment form. There will be a court reporter as well.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 – 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Alabama Cruise Terminal
201 S. Water Street Mobile, AL 36602
Monday, September 29, 2014 – 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Five Rivers Delta Resource Center
30945 Five Rivers Blvd,
Spanish Fort, AL 36527
For your opinion to count, it must be made in person or via an official comment form (These will be available on http://www.mobileriverbridge.com after the first meeting)
Please use the following PDF as a resource as you sign up to speak.
bridge handout (PDF)
You can review the full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on ALDOT’s project website: http://www.mobileriverbridge.com/documents.html
What are we requesting?: The BPAC petition simply expresses a desire and need for area residents to have a means to cross the Mobile River and requests that ALDOT & the Federal Highway Administration CONSIDER / STUDY including those facilities. The feasibility of such a project in terms of COST or SAFETY would have to be studied by those entities and if deemed infeasible then hopefully alternatives or mitigation would be considered. Dozens of bicycle and pedestrian paths exist on federal highway & interstate bridges (see list below) – safety standards are already developed and this is not a novel concept.
Why should we request it?: The federal government is building the bridge in Mobile to make it easier for people to get through Mobile quickly. The bridge will have some negative effects in Mobile. The bike/ped path is an amenity that they are required by federal law to provide us. If the federal government is going to build this massive structure in Mobile that will last for hundreds of years and be used by our descendants then we need to make sure it is done right and not miss this opportunity.
What benefits will it have?: The path has the potential to provide us the health and economic benefits outlined in the petition, as have happened with the similar Cooper River Bridge in Charleston where 66% of residents say they got more exercise because of the path. Additionally – biking infrastructure has been named the most sought after amenity for educated young people – which our economy needs – when deciding where to move.
What will it be like?: Engineering has yet to be done but it will likely be a concrete barrier SEPARATED bike-pedestrian path. Again – these exist on numerous interstate bridges and have been proven to be safe. ALDOT has said that it will have a 4% grade – equal or less that the Charleston or Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridges. The assertion that only “world class” bikers will be able to use it is easily refuted by talking to an average area biker – not to mention the fact that most people could easily walk it.
Will it delay the bridge? ALDOT has stated in MPO meeting that including the path at this point will not delay the bridge. In fact, NOT including the path will lead to a potential delay – as bridges built with federal funds are required to include consideration of bike-pedestrian facilities (see statute below). Not including them will likely lead to a lawsuit which will only mean more delays. Plus, its inclusion may help to mitigate some of the other potential concerns that would otherwise delay it.
How will it be funded? Funding for the bridge as a whole is yet to be determined, but the bridge is a federal project and will be funded primarily with federal dollars, with a smaller match by ALDOT. There is dedicated federal bike/ped funding for projects like these that can be utilized. If this path is not built then those dollars will simply go to another city. We will NOT get a tax rebate check, unfortunately. Since we are ranked #49 in the nation in bike infrastructure it will likely go to a city that already has better facilities than we do. Mobile has received relatively very little bicycle-pedestrian infrastructure dollars in the past and is already significantly behind most cities.
On Aug. 9, Little Flower Catholic Church & School presents its 2014 Petal and Pace Duathlon, an event that gives cyclists the chance to roll through the Bankhead Tunnel, which is normally off-limits. Participants start on the Little Flower grounds, on Government Street at the Loop, and cycle straight down Government through the tunnel to Battleship Memorial Park, a 5-mile ride. A 5k run takes them to Felix’s Fish Camp and back, then the event concludes with the ride back through the tunnel to Little Flower.
Individual registration is $35 through July 27, $45 after; registration for two-person teams (one rider, one runner) is $60 through July 27, $80 after. Cyclists must be at least 10 years old, runners must be at least 7. Advance registration in open through noon on Aug. 7 at McCoy Outdoors and Run-N-Tri in Mobile and Running Wild in Fairhope. Online advance registration continues until 4 a.m. Aug. 8 at eventbrite.com.
Event organizer Lyle Coleman said that proceeds from the event will help fund physical education and sports programs at Little Flower Catholic School. For more information, call 251-421-4014.
Streetsblog.og has a fantastic article using US Census data that tie walking and biking commuting to household income. Making bicycling and walking safe is not for a primarily wealthy contingent, it’s primarily about providing safe transportation for those who have no other options.
from the article:
The U.S. Census Bureau just released its first-ever report exclusively on walking and biking. Using data from the American Community Survey, the report shows how rates of active transportation vary by age, income, education, race, and the availability of a vehicle. It’s a lot more detail than the usual Census data release on how people get to work, which only breaks active commuting down by gender.
The Census report shows that low-income people bike and walk to work the most, hands down. Of those who make less than $10,000 a year, 1.5 percent commute by bike and 8.2 percent walk. In the $25,000-34,999 range, those numbers are halved. Then at the highest earning levels, active commuting rates start to creep back up. The income stats provide more evidence that safe walking and biking infrastructure isn’t mainly the concern of geared-up weekend warriors with expensive bikes.
So you’re thinking about commuting to work by bike this summer? Congratulations, your life is about to get a zillion times more fun. But where to begin? The insular world of cycling can seema little, uh, confusing to those unfamiliar with it—it’s hard to know what you really need to get started riding.
Cycling, it turns out, can be a lot like high school. There are cliques. There are highly-codified rules about how to act, and about what to wear, and how to wear it. There is a whole unspoken language attached to your bike, your gear, your clothing. Like any subculture, it is opaque and confusing to beginners—and you shouldn’t let it drive you away… So to speak.
Because, really, riding a bike is simple. It’s one of the most uncomplicated, magical experiences you can have as an adult living in a city. It will make you feel like a little kid, rather than the ennui-laden sad sack you’ve become. You get on, you focus on staying alive, and you lapse into an absent-minded kind of joy. As Tim Kreider put it in The New York Times, “When I’m balanced on two thin wheels at 30 miles an hour, gauging distance, adjusting course, making hundreds of unconscious calculations every second, that idiot chatterbox in my head is kept too busy to get a word in.”
As you get into it, there are going to be all kinds of things you want to buy: A full toolkit! A work stand! Clipless pedals! All kinds of outlandish getups! Another bike! Another bike! But for now, let’s keep it simple: What do you really need?
The most important thing—the thing you’re probably the most freaked out about—is staying safe on the road. Before you buy anything else, buy a helmet (this is best done in the store, so we’ll skip it here). Then, buy lights. After that, we can move on to making sure your stuff stays safe while it’s locked up. But those two things are far more important, in the long run.
There are nearly as many lights out there as cyclists, and everyone’s going to have their own preference. There are a ton of really clever new products hitting the market, too, but try Knog’s Blinders. They plug into your computer’s USB port to charge, and are as brilliantly bright as their name suggests. If you’re not convinced, Gizmodo’s full bike light guide is here. [$30, Knog]
Again, everyone will have their own preference here. But over the course of several years of riding in New York (and, more recently, Chicago), my trusty Kryptonite U-Lock has never let me down. Get a cord if you’re worried about your front wheel going missing while you’re inside. The smaller U-Lock will fit in your back pocket, too. For further reading on locks, check out this guide. [$43, Amazon]
Riding a bike will make you extremely happy. That being said, your bike may be a pain in the ass at the worst times—in the rain, in the dark, in the snow. If you have a few simple tools with you, you’ll be fine. And you’ll have a cool story to tell (hey, remember that time I fixed a flat under the BQE during a thunderstorm at 4am?).
This is one of those items that just make you feel safer, even if you never have to use it. But you very well may: Whether to raise your seat, break your chain, or tighten up a screw. And then you’ll be glad you had it. This little 17-tool version is tiny but powerful. [$27, Crank Brothers]
Fender!, you say, I don’t need no stinking fender! Yes, you do, if you don’t want all your co-workers to think you pooped your pants on the way to work again. It doesn’t have to be permanent, either—Ass Savers’ origami-style folding version is awesome and easily removable. [$11, Ass Savers]
This might be the kind of thing you want to leave to your friendly local mechanic, but that’s dumb. Maintaining your chain is way more important than you think—it’s also extremely easy to do, and you’ll feel like Al Borland afterwards. There are a ton of good high-performance options out there, but this stuff is inexpensive and gets the job done. [$5, Amazon]
When your phone dies at 4am coming back from your friend’s apartment in god knows where, you’ll be kicking yourself for being so dependent on Google Maps. Get the real thing—even a credit card-sized one—and put it in your wallet. [Free at NYC.gov or $5, Amazon]
A Good Key Clasp
You’re going to be taking your keys out a lot: To lock up, to unlock, to get into your house, to open beers, etc. Having them on your hip at all times will help! And also avoid having them slip out of your pocket. [$3, Amazon]
You will get a flat at some point. If you’re riding in a city, odds are good that there will always be a shop nearby when this happens. But changing a tube is actually pretty easy once you’ve done it once, and it’ll be a future source of pride when you help out some other poor schmuck. To do so, you need a few very inexpensive tools.
The little plastic levers you’ll need to get your tire off your rim. These only cost a couple bucks and they’re super light. [$3, Amazon]
A Patch Kit
Once you have your tire off, it takes just a minute or two to slather some of this stuff on the tear and press a patch into place. Again: Tiny, cheap, light, invaluable in a pinch. [$6, Amazon; Image: Kate McCarthy]
A Short Pump
Once you’ve got yourself all fixed up, you need a way to fill the tire back up so you can go on your way. Try a short pump—these are just a little longer than the length of your hand, and fit easily inside a back pack. Another options? A tiny CO2 canister, which is more expensive per use but smaller than a pump. But keep in mind, you should only use these in emergencies—you’re going to want a floor pump for home use. [$27; Amazon and $20; REI]
Unless you’re an alien, you’re going to sweat. That’s OK. There are a few different approaches to dealing with it. One: Don’t give a fuck. Two: Bring a change of clothes so you can change once you get there (hopefully there’s a shower, as there is at my lovely workplace). The third way is a compromise: Bring a kit that includes the essential elements of a faux-shower.
A Bathroom Kit
Wet wipes. Deodorant. A tooth brush. A comb. They sell kits for camping for not much money online, or hit up the travel-size aisle at Target. Add or subtract as you see fit—dry shampoo, clean socks, and so forth—but you’ll thank yourself for lugging these seemingly inconsequential tools when you really need them. [$12, Amazon]
The commuter’s best friend. A quick wet wipe “shower” will make you feel a thousand times better if you’re faced with sitting in your own sweat for eight hours. [$.65, Amazon]
Ha ha, a little levity! But I am deathly serious. Getting your jimmies (or the female equivalent) twisted in a pair of underwear while moving at high speeds in traffic is the modern-day equivalent of the medieval Pear of Anguish. Do not let this happen to you!
Avoiding wedgies starts with underwear: You could try something fancy, like Urbanist Cycling’s chamois-embedded numbers, but any pair of seamless underpants will do the trick to (the same goes for dudes). [$50, Urbanist and $12.50, Victoria’s Secret]
As a wise person once told me, “pants and underwear form an unholy matrimony for commuters.” One is only as good as the other. Think stretchy, but not too stretchy. You want to find the perfect tensility that gives enough to allow movement, but isn’t so thin that it feels like you’re riding naked, which would hurt.
Outlier’s Daily Riding Pant comes highly recommended for both dudes and ladies. But if you’re looking for something cheap and you don’t mind giving money to Urban Outfitters, I’ve found that BDG makes a serviceable pair that last long enough to become a great pair of jorts when summer rolls around. [$198, Outlier; $58, BDG]
Ask any cyclist: Racing saddles are uncomfortable. Especially for the first few months, when they feel like pieces of wood. But Brooks, the venerable … Read…
This isn’t exactly a basic necessity, but consider investing in a comfortable saddle. If you’re a lady, check out Terry—they make female-specific saddles and clothing. We’ve had great luck with Brooks’ Cambium, which is a road cycling-style saddle made from rubber. It’s softer than a normal Brooks, and absorbs bumps a bit better. [$130, Brooks]
The most important part of riding in the city is keeping your head on straight: Be aware of what’s going on around you, always throw a glance over your shoulder when you’re turning, and if you’re going to listen to music, only use one earbud. But there are a few basic rules that will endear you not only to cyclists and pedestrians, but also to cars—which is important:
It also wouldn’t kill you to do a little reading. A great guide to not acting like a total dick is Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike [$14, RivBike]. But also check outBikesnobNYC, the blog of Eben Weiss, who covers cycling culture and the city in general (here’s his take on shoaling). It’s really, really funny writing, and a reminder to not take yourself to seriously.
Now go forth and use your legs to power your way to your place of employment! And be sure to drop your essential items below—again, this list is far from complete, but should be enough to get you started.
Via People for Bikes
Many people mistakenly believe that taxes levied on gas pay for road construction and maintenance. However, the funding from gas taxes makes up a relatively small amount of transportation funding. According to a 2011 report by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, gas taxes and other “user fees,” like automobile registration, fund only about half of the nation’s road expenses. The remaining costs are covered through general government funding.
This means we all pay for our roads, whether we drive on them or not.
After a few false starts with the penny-farthing and aptly nicknamed “boneshaker,” the bicycling boom took off in the late 1800s, after the introduction of the safety bicycle and pneumatic tire. Bicycles in the U.S. and Europe quickly became mainstays of travel for modern and elite classes and were even referred to as a woman’s “freedom machine” by Susan B. Anthony. But the burgeoning groups of bicyclists lacked good roads to ride.
In 1880, bicyclists, riding clubs and bicycle manufacturers formed the League of American Wheelman and founded the Good Roads Movement. The movement gained momentum through conventions, demonstrations and political involvement, which eventually led to the creation of what would become the Federal Highway Administration.
At first glance, it seems like bicyclists are safest on sidewalks, separated from automobile traffic. Riding on the sidewalk does reduce the incidence of accidents involving cars passing bicyclists, but sidewalk riders significantly increase the risk of being hit by turning drivers.
A 2009 review of 23 studies on bicycling injuries found the best places for bicyclists to travel were protected bike lanes, closely followed by on-road bike lanes and separated bike paths. It turns out that the most dangerous way to ride is the way many of us were taught as kids: on the sidewalk against the flow of traffic.
Flipping through nearly any “bike buying guide” can make anyone freak out a little. While there are new (and pricey) innovations every year, the truth is that bicycles have been around since the mid-eighteen hundreds and the design hasn’t changed all that much. For every high-zoot scoot, there is a used bike waiting to be loved by someone new. If you don’t want to go on a Craigslist adventure or hit up the 7 a.m. garage sale beat, look for a bicycle co-op in your town or other non-profits who refurbish pre-loved bikes. If want a good deal on a new bike, the onset of the new year’s bike bling usually means bike shops have priced last year’s models to move.
Bicycling isn’t magically devoid of the self-absorbed nitwits found in every corner of society. However, most people on bikes out there are simply that: people.
Whether we’re choosing to go by bike or car, we’re all just trying to get somewhere. It behooves us all to be a little more considerate and, perhaps most importantly, to give each other the benefit of the doubt. No one wants to have his or her day ruined by an accident.
Bikes inspired cars and roads and aviation. They laid the foundation for much of the modern transportation and road infrastructure we use today. Bicycling is also a $6 billion industry.
And, yes, bicycles are kids’ toys, but have you seen the way a kid smiles when he’s figuring out how to pedal or racing his best friend on a hot summer day? If the definition of a toy is an object of amusement and a creator of smiles, then, yes, bikes are toys. But bikes are also tools. They’re exercise equipment and art and a way to get from here to there. Bikes are many things to many people. If bikes bridge the gap between the fun of childhood and goal-oriented confines of adulthood, well, isn’t that a feature more so than a downside?
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