Items tagged with 'cycling'
The annual Saratoga Fat Bike Rally is this Saturday, February 11 in Saratoga Spa State Park. The schedule includes races, group rides, and other activities.
Fat bikes are kind of like mountain bikes with oversized, squishy tires that all for riding in snow and mud. Rally blurbage:
The Saratoga Fat Bike Rally sprang out the minds of three individuals one night in February, 2014 while riding around the Saratoga State Park. Three hours and maybe a couple of Craft Brews later, we had a mission. Jim Adams, Shawne Camp, and Tony Ferradino set out to tell the world about Fat Bikes and to share our passion with other Fat Bikers. Our original ideas were very grand and involved complicated event planning and strategic alliances with every bike manufacturer known. In the end we decided we just wanted to ride our Fat Bikes with other enthusiasts.
The events start at 8:30 am at the warming hut in the park ("Look for our tent village.").
Also going on that day is the annual pond hockey tournament. Registration for that is already closed, but it might be fun to head over to watch for a few minutes.
photo via Saratoga Fat Bike Rally Facebook
CDTA opened its new Navigator fare card to the general public Thursday. The new system includes a bunch of potential benefits for riders as well as the transit org -- and it opens some interesting possibilities for transportation in the Capital Region that extend beyond the bus (hello, taxis).
"It makes everything quicker, everything more convenient," CDTA CEO Carm Basile said Thursday. "But most importantly, the customer manages their own account. They do what they want to do when they want to do it and how they want do it."
Here's a quick overview, along with a few bits about the upcoming bike share and a common taxi system for the Capital Region.
One of the many proposals to floated during Andrew Cuomo's ongoing State of the State tour this week is a plan to build the Empire State Trail -- a 750-mile multi-use path that would stretch from NYC to the Adirondacks and from Albany to Buffalo.
The Cuomo admin says it'd be the longest state multi-use path in the country.
CDTA is planning to start its new bike share pilot next summer, the transit org said Wednesday.
It was one of the details the accompanied the announcement that CDTA has selected the company Social Bicycles as the operator of the two-year pilot program. The company runs bike shares in a bunch of cities around the country.
Bike share press release blurbage:
That interactive map of bike-friendly routes through the city of Albany that the Albany Bicycle Coaltion has been working on is now online -- go have a look. The map/app will be formally introduced at an event at the Downtube Friday.
Objective: an online, interactive Albany bike map with bicycle-friendly routes.
Primary considerations: safety and comfort. We especially want to encourage novice riders, visitors, and new residents, by showing that you can cycle throughout Albany on mainly bike-friendly streets. The map concentrates on secondary roads, side streets, and bike-pedestrian paths. Major arteries are used only where necessary to make connections. Traffic density is indicated by color coding. Traffic advisories, where needed, are indicated by "caution" triangles.
The map includes preferred routes, bike shop locations, and there's even functions for mapping out a bike-friendly route between two places and measuring distances. It's also set up to work on mobile devices.
ABC has been working on this project with Parks & Trails New York and Mohawk Valley GIS, it was funded in party through state grant money (coordinated by local state Assembly member Pat Fahy) and local donations.
New-to-us pedestrian and bike infrastructure, a continuing (?) series: Jodi pointed out to us on Twitter this week that there are now bike ramps along the stairs leading to the pedestrian bridge that connects Corning Riverfront Park/Jennings Landing and downtown Albany. That's her pic above.
We hadn't seen ramps like this before. And while it might not be a big thing, it is another way of 1) making things a little easier for cyclists and 2) communicating that, yes, there's a place for bikes here.
Which reminds us... we have to get over Corning Riverfront Park and check out how the pedestrian and bike upgrades project is coming along. We've spotted the (very, very) green bike lane in a few spots lately.
The Albany Bicycle Coalition's effort to create an interactive map of bike-friendly routes through the city of Albany is almost to the finish line. ABC has posted a preview of the map, and it's working on the interactive version.
The org says it's still looking to raise $1,500 to complete the project. Details on how to contribute are at that link above. A fully-functional test version is expected to be ready this month.
About the project:
Objective: an online, interactive Albany bike map with bicycle-friendly routes.
Primary considerations: safety and comfort . We especially want to encourage novice riders, visitors, and new residents, by showing that you can cycle throughout Albany on mainly bike-friendly streets. The map concentrates on secondary roads, side streets, and bike-pedestrian paths. Major arteries are used only where necessary to make connections. Traffic density is indicated by color coding. Traffic advisories, where needed, are indicated by "caution" triangles.
We have made many revisions the past few months, based on your input. We incorporated valuable advice from many people, and have made significant changes to many of the routes.
(As mentioned this past spring.)
The city of Schenectady's ongoing work toward a master plan for bike infrastructure includes a demonstration project that starts today (Wednesday) and runs through the weekend on Craig Street in Hamilton Hill that's focused on bike lanes, shared lanes, and street calming. Blurbage:
As part of the Schenectady Bike Infrastructure Master Plan, riders and residents are invited to participate in this community demonstration project showcasing street-level bicycle improvements designed to increase safety and connectivity. The temporary installation through funding from CDTC, is designed to explore bicycle-related Complete Streets options for improving Craig Street as a City, Neighborhood and Schools connection.
The demo includes a bike fest Wednesday afternoon from 2-6 pm with bike-themed activities and prizes. And the Electric City Bike Rescue will be there helping with repairs and maintenance.
This is the second demostration project as part of the bike master plan process. Earlier this year there was a demo of a contra-flow bike lane on Washington Ave.
As mentioned, the city of Albany has started re-striping Madison Ave has part of the road diet in the works for the corridor between Allen Street and, eventually, Lark Street. So we took a a few minutes Tuesday to stop by the western-most section to see how it's looking.
That's a pic above, and there are more after the jump if you're curious.
The Madison Ave Road Diet is changing the street from two travel lanes in each direction to one travel lane each way with a center turn lane and bike lanes running along both sides.
The goal behind changing the road design is to "calm" traffic -- getting cars to move slower and making the corridor more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists -- with an eye toward making the street safer. A representative of Creighton Manning, the firm that's overseeing the road diet project, said at a public meeting earlier this year they're projecting a 25 percent decrease in accidents because of the redesign.
The tour offers four different routes in lengths of 10 miles, 25 miles, 50 miles, and 100 miles. The routes will be supported with rest stops and aid stations All routes start and end at Druthers on Broadway in north Albany, and there's a free after-party there as well.
Early registration fees start at $25 for the 10-mile ride and increase from there. (They jump to $100 and up after September 2.) Of course, this is a fundraiser, riders are encouraged to raise money from supporters for the entry fee (and more).
Habitat says last year's event raised $11,000 for the org.
This plan is being developed to address the needs of all user types ranging from novice neighborhood and trail bicyclists to expert road bicyclists. Please take 5-10 minutes to fill out this questionnaire. Your response will help to build a better understanding of area needs and priorities. Even if you do not bicycle regularly, your feedback will be helpful.
The survey is pretty much what you'd expect: questions about why people bike, what would encourage them to bike more often, and priorities for making bike infrastructure upgrades.
The city is working with the Capital District Transportation Committee and Alta Planning + Design on the bike plan. (Alta is a go-to consultancy for bike projects -- it's also working with the city of Albany on the waterfront bike trail connector.)
Bikeatoga is sponsoring a "Traffic Skills 101" course for cyclists this summer at the Saratoga Springs Regional YMCA. Class blurbage
Traffic Skills 101 is designed to develop individual's knowledge and expertise in the craft and science of bicycling-- the ability to use a bicycle with confidence and competence for pleasure, utility and sport under various highway, climate, terrain, and traffic conditions. This course combines classroom discussion and parking lot activities with on-road practice of the principles of vehicular bicycling. The instructor for this course is certified by the League of American Bicyclists and has years of experience and training.
The class is July 20, July 27, and August 10 from 6-9 pm. It's $25 per person, and each person needs a bike, helmet, and lock. Pre-registration is required: Claire Nolan at 518-209-6477 or email@example.com.
Also this summer, there will be a class for people would like become instructors certified by the League of American Bicyclists. It's at UAlbany this August 19-21. It's $300.
The Carey Institute in Rensselaerville has an event coming up the weekend of September 16-18 that could be fun if you're into cycling (and beer). Blurbage for Rensselaerville Ride: From Hill to Hollow (link added):
It's a family friendly weekend with challenging routes for all ages and abilities, with rides ranging from a 3.3-mile time trial to a 64-mile ride through the Helderberg Hilltowns. Fall foliage will be at its peak so it's sure to be a beautiful weekend. Come early for the Pond Hill Challenge and stay late for live music, good food and craft beer. The Carey Institute has a brewery on its estate and plenty of New York State craft beer.
There's a schedule of events at that link. Entry fees for the rides range from free up to $80 -- the fees will increase at the start of September. (We also hear there are some early bird deals on lodging and meal packages if you're looking to stay there for the weekend.)
Rensselaerville is a beautiful spot in southwestern Albany County. While you're in that area, it's also worth stop at the Huyck Preserve, which has a series of hiking trails and some good waterfalls.
The city of Albany's ongoing process to plan for a more walkable and bike-friendly future took another step forward this week with the public presentation of a draft of the city's "complete streets" manual.
And if that sounds a little wonky... well, it is. But think of it this way: The manual is like a cookbook for city streets, with recipes (so to speak) about how to incorporate elements such as bike lanes. And it's online for public review -- the city will be accepting comments July 27.
Here's a little bit more about the idea, and a few things that caught our eye while looking over the manual...
Windham Mountain Resort's Bike Park recently opened for the season. We get the impression is works kind of skiing -- there are trails, equipment rentals, even a lift. And there's a beginner's area, too. Blurbage:
A Skills Park (designation: Green Circle [Beginner]) where new mountain bikers will be born. This is a beginner area to learn the basics - braking, weight distribution, how to stand on pedals, controlling the bike over obstacles, including rollers, roots, and berms. This area will be simple with small features, including eight berms, a mini rock garden, mini drops and skinnies that will allow riders to really experience their bike for the first time in a controlled MTB setting. First-timers welcome!
The park is open weekends until July 1, and then it's open Monday-Sunday through September 5, before switching back to weekends through October 10.
Regular lift tickets are $36 for adults. And bike rentals are $75. Protective gear is also available for rental (helmets are required).
Mountain Bike Festival at Grafton Lakes State Park
Speaking of mountain biking... The Saratoga Mountain Bike Association is hosting a mountain bike festival at Grafton Lakes State Park this Saturday, June 11 from 9 am-4 pm. The lineup includes bike demos, trail rides, kids activities, and vendors.
Individual registration is $10 / family registration is $20. Festival proceeds will go to support mountain biking trails around the Capital District.
A paved section of the Albany County's Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail recently (officially) opened from Slingerlands to Albany's South End neighborhood. That end point on South Pearl is just about two miles from where the Mohawk-Hudson Hike-Bike Trail picks up along the Albany riverfront.
And that proximity, of course, prompts the idea: Hey, maybe these should be connected in some meaningful way, right?
The question of how that make connection happen is at the center of the Albany Waterfront Connector project. And Thursday night there was a public meeting laying out some of the possible options.
Here's a quick look.
The project aiming to connect the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail and the Mohawk-Hudson Hike-Bike Trail in Albany's South End has a public meeting lined up for June 2. The purpose of the event will be to gather comments from the community about the creation of the trail connector.
There's been a lot of work going on recently with both of these bike/hike trails. The paved segment of Albany County's Helderberg Hudson trail between Delmar and the South End will officially open this month (it's been unofficially open for a while). And the city of Albany has a $5 million project under construction to upgrade pedestrian and bike amenities along the Mohawk-Hudson trail along the Hudson riverfront.
So this connector project is about figuring out the best to link these two trails. As Kate Lawrence, a senior planner and sustainability coordinator for the city of Albany, told us recently: "With [the waterfront connector] study what will be important is to get feedback from people in what they want to prioritize for that multi-use path because there will be a few options available." Among those options will be deciding the route of the connecting path, whether it bypasses or goes through the neighborhood, and how it negotiates I-787.
The public workshop is Thursday, June 2 from 5-7 pm at the Howe Branch of the Albany Public Library (105 Schuyler Street). There will be a project open house from 5-5:30 pm, a presentation from 5:30-6:30 pm, and the open house will continue from 6-7 pm.
We were walking by the Albany Public Library's Bach Branch and had a chance to check out one of the library system's new bike repair stations, which were unveiled last week. Blurbage:
The stations, manufactured by DERO, contain all the tools riders need to perform basic bike repairs and maintenance, including changing a flat tire, adjusting brakes, and fine tuning gears. Each station includes the following tools: Philips and flat head screwdrivers, various Allen wrenches, a headset wrench, a pedal wrench, several sizes of box wrenches, tire levers, and an air pump. The tools and air pump are securely attached to the stands using stainless steel cables, but are still easy to access for those using the stations. The stands have hanger arms that allow users to spin the pedals and wheels while making adjustments.
There are a few pics after the jump.
The free-to-use stations are at three branches: Bach at 455 New Scotland Ave, the Delaware branch at 331 Delaware Ave, and the Arbor Hill/West Hill branch at 148 Henry Johnson Blvd.
Funding for the stations came from the Capital District Transportation Committee's Capital Coexist program.
Check it out: The Albany Bicycle Coalition is putting together of map of bike-friendly streets in the city of Albany. And it's looking for help. Blurbage:
Objective: an online map of bicycle-friendly streets in the City of Albany.
Primary considerations: safety and comfort. We hope to encourage novice and first-time riders, by showing that you can cycle throughout Albany yet avoid most busy streets. The map concentrates on secondary roads, side streets, and multi-use paths. Major arteries are used only where necessary to make connections. Traffic density is indicated by color coding.
This is a work in progress, and we value your input!
We encourage you to download and print any of the DRAFT files below, and ride as many routes as you want. Your feedback will ensure that the final map is a valuable tool for the Capital Region cycling community. Please email us:
Comments & suggestions about maps - firstname.lastname@example.org
General questions & comments about this project - email@example.com
The org is also breaking individual maps out in to their own maps. (The maps are at that link above.) Example: Center Square to the Hannaford on Central Ave.
ABC says it's working with Parks and Trails New York to develop an online interactive version of the map.
The annual Bike to Work Day is May 20 -- which means you still have some time to organize your team for the Capital Region Bike to Work Challenge.
What is this challenge? Blurbage:
Trophies will be awarded in each county for the following categories. Winners will "own" the trophies until Bike to Work Day 2017.
+ Organization with the largest number of riders
+ Small organization with the highest percent participation (20 or fewer employees)
+ Organization over 20 employees with the highest percent participation
+ Person who rode the farthest.
The challenge is organized by the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC), Capital Moves, and Bikeatoga. There's sign-up info at that link above.
Competition aside, this sort of event can be a good prompt to try cycling to work. For some people it's just not going to work because of distance or whatever. That said, we suspect it's a bit like riding the bus: If you don't do it often, it might seem impractical or a big hassle. But you might be surprised by how well it works out. You just have to give it a fair shot.
How many people bike to work?
Bike commuting in the Capital Region core ranges from .4 percent of adult commuters in Albany County to .1 percent in the other counties, according to the most recent Census Bureau estimates (2010-2014). That adds up to... not a lot of people -- something just under 1,000 people.
The percentages are bit higher for some of the places within the Capital Region, such as the cities of Albany and Saratoga Springs.
Here's a national list of the cities (population 100k+) with the highest percentage of bike commuters -- it includes cold-weather spots such as Cambridge (Massachusetts), Madison (Wisconsin), Ann Arbor, and Minneapolis. All of those places have rates about 4 percent. (It'd be interesting to learn more about the bike infrastructure in those places.)
Check it out: The Downtube storefront on Madison Ave in Albany is set to reopen this week.
The bike shop's building was damaged in a second-floor fire a year ago, and its first-floor retail space suffered extensive smoke and water damage. It's now been restored and renovated. There are a few pics after the jump.
The Downtube's Adam Hahn said they had been doing bike repairs out of the shop's garage last spring and summer and into the early winter. The shop has been closed the last few months for the renovations.
"We're here and ready to sell bikes, fix bikes," Hahn said to us this week during our quick peek at the space.
Hahn says The Downtube is aiming to be open this Thursday and Friday, and definitely this Saturday. (The shop had a soft open day this past weekend, too.) Hours going forward: Tuesday-Friday 11 am-6 pm, Saturdays 10 am-5 pm.
The Downtube has been operating since 1972, and at this location since 1980.
The city of Albany has made a choice of which direction to go on the much-discussed Madison Avenue Road Diet, a plan to calm traffic along the busy corridor in an effort to make it safer -- and, at the same time, friendlier to pedestrians and cyclists.
The long-developing project has recently been getting more attention because of a push for the inclusion protected bike lanes in the road re-design. A coalition supporting the idea has argued the lanes are both safer for cyclists and feel safer, which would lead to more people cycling.
Consultants for the project explained the reasons for the selected choice at a public meeting Wednesday evening at Saint Rose. So, without further ado, here's the selected plan.
The city of Albany has a public meeting set for March 9 at Saint Rose to discuss options for the Madison Ave Road Diet. As you know, that's the project to reduce the number of traffic lanes along the corridor and, perhaps, add some sort of bike lane.
Blurbage from the meeting flyer:
The City of Albany is progressing a Locally Administered Federal Aid project to design and construct a road diet along Madison Avenue from South Allen Street to Lark Street. The project will reduce the number of travel lanes, while improving bicycle accommodations and completing all work between the existing curbs. The purpose of the meeting is to review concepts and trade-offs for two feasible alternatives and to obtain public input on the preferred Complete Streets solution.
Update March 7: From a new press release from the city Monday: "The meeting will present the preferred Complete Streets alternative, including the selected bicycle infrastructure."
The path to this point hasn't been a straight line. After the city presented five options for the road diet last summer, it scheduled a public meeting last November to present proposed plan -- and then the meeting was cancelled.
One of the most vocal groups leading up to road diet decision was a coalition pushing for protected bike lanes along the corridor -- these would lanes that are separated in some way from car traffic, either by some sort of barrier or parked cars. The argument for these lanes is that they are not only safer for cyclists, but they also feel safer, encouraging more people to bicycle. The argument against is that they could cut into the number of parking spaces available and would be more costly to maintain.
It appeared at the time, based both on the earlier public presentation and unofficial word circulating, that the city was probably leaning toward "regular" bike lanes rather than protected bike lanes. But then the meeting was cancelled and the city said the road diet was getting further review.
So... it'll be interesting to see which options are presented at this meeting -- and the arguments made for and against those options.
The public meeting is Wednesday, March
6 9 at 6:30 pm in the Lally School building (1009 Madison Avenue) at Saint Rose.
Earlier on AOA: A new pitch for protected bike lanes in Albany
Back in November the city of Albany was set to present the much-awaited plan for the Madison Ave Road Diet. And then, just a few days before the public meeting to announce plan, the city canceled the announcement and there's been no public word since then about what's up.
There are a bunch of interesting ideas wrapped up in the road diet, among them that the city can reduce the number of travel lanes to slow speeding vehicles while at the same time maintaining overall volume and flow of the corridor. But the idea that's gotten the most attention is the possible inclusion of protected bike lanes -- both from advocates who say the lanes would be a big step forward in the city's effort to become friendlier to cyclists, and from skeptics who worry about the cost of maintaining the lanes and their effects on the number of parking spaces.
It's hard to say what exactly is holding things up. A spokesman for mayor Kathy Sheehan told us this week that the city is still gathering info from its consultants on the project and there weren't any new developments. But there's a sense among cycling advocates that the bike lanes are probably a sticking point.
So now those advocates have a new pitch that is, essentially, the city should do an experiment.
At some point in the near future the city of Albany will be releasing its plan for the Madison Ave Road Diet, an effort to reshape the traffic flow a long a large portion of the Madison Ave corridor.
Bike lanes are expected to be part of the plan, and exactly what sort of bike lane has become a hot topic -- "regular" bike lanes separated from car traffic by a stripe on the road, or "protected" bike lanes that are separated by some sort of barrier (such as parked cars or vertial pylons).
Listening between the lines this past summer when the city and its consultants presented the options for the road diet, it sounded like the city might be leaning toward regular bike lanes because of concerns about the impact on the number of parking spaces and the costs associated with clearing snow. And ahead of a meeting that had been scheduled for last week (and was then canceled) to release the plan, word was circulating that the city would be heading in that direction.
Perhaps in an attempt to make a pre-emptive case, a group called the Albany Protected Bicycle Lane Coaltion released a report today that attempts to head off some of the arguments against protected lanes.
So, let's have a quick look.
Update: The meeting has been cancelled, according to the Albany Police Department (traffic engineering is part of the APD), and will be rescheduled. [APD FB]
The city of Albany has a public meeting lined up for Monday, November 9 to present the recommendations for the Madison Ave Road Diet. The meeting is at the College of Saint Rose's Lally School Building (1009 Madison Ave) from 6-7 pm.
The Madison Ave Road Diet is a project to reconfigure the lanes on the busy thoroughfare with the aim of calming traffic and making the street more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists. That could involve reducing the number of traffic lanes from the current two in each direction, to one in each direction with a turn lane.
The part of the project that's gotten the most attention lately is the possibility of the addition of protected bike lanes to the corridor.
The Troy preRAMBLE -- and alternative transportation festival -- is lined up for this Saturday, September 26. What is it?
The preRAMBLE (to the Collar City Ramble) is an alternate transportation festival exploring Troy by alternate means. Tour Troy by foot, bike, boat or whatever - discover places you've never seen. The event includes group tours as well as self-guided tours for biking and walking. There will also be kayak rides, bike safety classes and giveaways. Many local venues will be open for our event. The day-long festival concludes with a tour to Freedom Square, 101st St and 6th Ave, for a free concert with community food. All events are free.
There's a schedule at that link above.
The preRAMBLE is organized by a coalition of groups that are looking toward the creation of the Collar City Ramble, a non-motorized transportation path that would string together various sites throughout Troy.
That recent post about the "great popularity of cycling" in Saratoga Springs around the early 1900s and the all the discussion of late about building protected bike lanes in Albany got us looking into the history of bike paths. And, as so often is the case, the past seems like a completely different place.
For example: There was once a law in New York State that allowed a group of just 50 bicyclists to petition for the formation of a commission that would be tasked with building bike lanes.
While flipping through the 1900 Saratoga Illustrated guide book for background on that ostrich farm, this photo caught our eye because it's just sort of goofy.
But we thought this nearby passage about bicycling in turn-of-the-century Saratoga Springs was interesting -- both because of the glimpse it provides of cycling before the advent of the mass car culture (production of the Model T would start in 1908):
The citizens of Saratoga, recognizing the great popularity of cycling, and the demands of so many visitors to Saratoga for proper facilities for this healthful and delightful exercise, have prepared several cycle paths especially set apart for the use of bicyclers. At considerable expense several delightful paths have been laid out, running from Saratoga Springs to various points in its vicinity. Recently a cycle path has been constructed along the side of the carriage road from Saratoga Springs to the several geyser springs. Another has been constructed along the south side of Union Avenue from Saratoga Springs to Saratoga Lake, making a route of eight miles for the round trip. Another very important path is from the village of Saratoga Springs to Glens Falls and return, making a round trip of forty miles.
After the jump is a set of cycle routes listed in the guide book -- it indicates there were cycle paths between Albany and Saratoga.
There's another photo/illustration in the book that depicts two very large rows of bicycles on Broadway (the image quality isn't great -- it's on pdf p. 29). And the descriptions of the some the hotels mention they provided bicycle storage rooms for guests.
Anyway, the guide book -- which is available as a pdf from archive.org -- is full of illustrations and descriptions as Saratoga Springs appeared around that time, including many of the grand hotels and other tourist attractions.
The Tour de Habitat is making a comeback this year after a few years off. The cycling event -- a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity Capital District -- is set for September 26 in Albany.
The tour offers four different routes in lengths of 10 miles, 25 miles, 50 miles, and 100 miles. The last three make their way through both Albany and Rensselaer counties. All routes start and end at Druthers Brewing on Broadway in north Albany. The routes will be supported with rest stops and aid stations.
All rider receive a Tour de Habitat t-shirt and ticket to the post-ride party at Druthers, which includes free food and beer.
Entry fees start at $25 and increase as the route length increase. And because this is a fundraiser, riders are also encouraged to raise donations from supporters.
Can Madison Avenue in Albany's Pine Hills neighborhood be a better version of itself, one that both moves cars along but also provides a safer, more comfortable experience for cyclists and pedestrians?
That's the question at the heart of the proposed Madison Ave Road Diet, one of the region's most interesting transportation projects -- and a high-priority focus for cycling advocates pushing for protected bike lanes. Wednesday night at the College of Saint Rose city officials and consultants unveiled the menu of proposed options for reconfiguring the thoroughfare.
"It's most important that we get it right," Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan told the crowd Wednesday in emphasizing the importance of public feedback on the project. "We're really going to have one opportunity and then this will become the model for what we do in other parts of the city."
Here's the menu of options, along with a few thoughts...
This Wednesday is a big day for one of the most interesting transportation projects in the Capital Region because the city of Albany will be publicly presenting options for the Madison Ave Road Diet. The range of options will be on display, and public comments collected, at the College of Saint Rose Wednesday at 6 pm.
The project is aiming to make the popular thoroughfare through Albany's Pine Hills neighborhood safer by reducing the number of lanes in an effort to "calm" traffic. It's a notable example of how the thinking about the way people get around is evolving from a perspective that places a high, almost sole, priority on cars, to an approach that intends to be more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists.
The Madison Ave Road Diet is also potentially important because it could end up including the first protected bike lane in the city of Albany -- that is, a lane designated for bikes that's protected from car traffic by some sort of barrier. Cycling advocates have been pushing for such an amenity, and see it as a significant step towards more bikeable city.
Here are three thoughts about the push for protected bike lanes.
May is almost here, and that means Bike Month events. Here are a few...
Albany Bike Expo 2015
The Albany Bike Expo will be back at the Washington Park Lake House May 3 from 10 am-4 pm. The event is organized by the Albany Bicycle Coalition. Admission is free.
The event includes tables from bike shops, bike clubs, and advocacy orgs, along with some food vendors and music. Past years have also included a sidewalk sale of bike equipment.
Troy Bike Rescue BikeFest
The 5th annual Troy Bike Rescue BikeFest is May 30 from 5-8 pm at the Sanctuary for Independent Media.
The day includes a family fun ride, bike info, music, burritos, and cake. Tickets start at $10 and are available online.
A "mini-festival" of films from the influential Streetfilms project -- which is focused on urban planning, cycling, and transit -- is queued up for the Madison Theater in Albany on April 13. Event blurbage:
These short films show how smart transportation design and policy can result in better places to live, work and play. The event will include a Q and A with Streetfilms' own Clarence Eckerson following the screening. Mr. Eckerson, a UAlbany alum, is often called, "the hardest working man in transportation show biz" for his dedication to making difficult, wonky concepts more accessible and entertaining to the general public. He's been documenting transportation advocacy for 15 years and has produced over 600 Streetfilms.
The short video embedded above -- Gronigen: The World's Cycling City -- is an example of the sort of film Streetfilms produces.
The Streetfilms Mini-Festival is being organized by the Albany Protected Bike Lane Coalition, which (as the name would imply) is working to get protected bike lanes built in the city. We hear that about eight short films will be screened, with a total runtime of about 45 minutes.
The screening at the Madison on Monday, April 13 is at 7 pm. (Information tables will be set up at 6:15 pm.) Admission is free.
Here's an interesting idea: The South End Bikeway Link -- a proposal to connect Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail with the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail and Albany waterfront.
A coalition of local bike, rail trail, and neighborhood group is supporting the idea. And there's a public meeting this evening (Wednesday) at the Albany Public Library main branch at 6 pm to share info and rally support.
Press release blurbage:
The proposed bike link would extend the existing Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail further south and tie into the new Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail. This much-anticipated "Rails to Trails" route will stretch 9.3 scenic miles to the Village of Voorheesville from the South End. The link will be wildly popular with bicyclists, runners, and walkers when the final Bethlehem-South Albany segment opens in late October 2015.
A few bits of follow up on last week's post about the Capital Region bikeshare:
Protected bike lanes
We mentioned that one of the ideas to make parts of the Capital Region more bike friendly are protected bike lanes -- generally speaking, these are bike lanes that are separated from car traffic by some sort of barrier. These sorts of lanes are said to be safer for cyclists, and they may help more casual cyclists feel better about using a bike for transportation.
As it happens, there's a group organizing to support the creation of protected bike lanes in Albany, specifically as part of the redesigned Madison Ave (the "road diet"). The group's FB page is posting information about protected bike lanes and other bike-friendly ideas.
Also, a proposed Madison Ave redesign that incorporates protected lanes floated our way. The design is above -- here's a large-format version. It was created by Lorenz Worden of the Albany Bicycle Coalition. And it provides an easy-to-understand layout of how redesigned Madison Ave could maybe work.
We gotta admit we're not totally sold yet that protected lanes will prompt a significant number of people to start cycling more often. But the idea looks promising and it's worth a shot. Madison Ave seems like as good a place as any to try it.
Over at the TU, Tim O'Brien has some numbers from the Capital Region bikeshare now that the pilot has ended: there were more than 250 participants, who averaged 2.8 rides during the trial period.
The Capital Region Bikeshare pilot is finishing up this week in Albany after week-long stints in Schenectady, Troy, and Saratoga Springs. The test run finishes up this Saturday, August 16.
We were curious about the program, so on Thursday we registered and took one of the bikes for a spin. Here are a few thoughts about the program, and about cycling in Albany generally...
The Capital City Brewcycle, which started operating in Troy this summer, puts a different spin on the pub crawl -- or, to be more accurate, you put the different spin on the pub crawl. Because the trolley-like Brewcycle is powered by the pedaling of 12 of its passengers.
I got a chance to give it a try this past weekend.
A test run of a bike sharing program is planned for Albany, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, and Troy later this summer. From the Capital Moves project:
There will be 25 bicycles available for use between 10am and 8pm at one or more locations in each City. Locations are planned to include Jay Street at State Street in Schenectady, Riverfront Park in Troy, Broadway at Division Street in Saratoga Springs, and Washington Park in Albany. Once registered, participants will receive an ID number allowing them to use the bikes for the rest of the month. There will be no cost to participants, although a credit card will need to be on file as security for the bikes. In addition, participants will need to sign a waiver and provide positive identification.
Over the Gazette, Justin Mason has an article that includes a bunch of details about the program. [Daily Gazette]
The program will run from July 10-August 15. Dates for each city are after the jump.
It'll be interesting to see how this pilot goes. Bike sharing is one of those things that sounds like it could useful/fun, but the details also seem hard. One of the most famous bike share programs is the Citi Bike system in New York City, which turned out to be very popular during its first year -- and also faced significant financial problems. And the system is apparently still trying to shake out some of its operational problems. [NYT] [NYDN]
A couple of bicycle events coming up this month (it's now May, you know):
Lined up for the event: tables from bike shops, bike clubs, and advocacy orgs; along with some food vendors and music. Also: a sidewalk sale of bikes and bike equipment.
Admission is free.
Later this month: The Troy Bike Rescue has its annual BikeFest lined up for May 31. Blurbage:
Join the TBR cast of volunteers for a kids bike rodeo, raffle prizes, delicious burrito dinner with live acoustic music, and a covetous cake auction. All to be followed by bicycle cinema, including the capital region premiere of the new film Riding Bikes with the Dutch.
Events start at 3 pm May 31 at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy. Admission is free.
The Albany Tweed Ride is returning this year on April 27. Blurbage:
Time for our third Tweed Ride! Sunday, April 27th. Don't have any tweed? Don't worry: just dress in your Sunday best & leave the spandex & dayglo at home.
Meet at The Cheese Traveler at 540 Delaware Ave at 10am. They will have breakfast specials.
We'll depart around 10:30am.
We'll have marshals* to help us through intersections & keep us together. This is a casual ride, it is not fast or competitive. No one will be left behind. There will be a group photo in Washington Park.
We'll end at Olde English Pub & Pantry for brunch! Riders will get 10% off their orders.
Previous Tweed Rides have looked like a lot of (very civilized) fun, full of friendly people. If you're looking forward to getting back on your bike this spring, and meet some other bike-friendly people, this could be a good opportunity.
Earlier on AOA: Photos from Albany Tweed Ride 2013
Can we talk about something? Bicycle riding on the sidewalks seems to be on the rise. I'm a believer that the sidewalk is for pedestrians, and that the bicycles go in the street (exceptions if you're under 15). I noticed that in west coast cities bicycling on the sidewalk was ubiquitous, but appreciated that our east coast corner of the country did a better job of keeping the wheeled traffic on the proper side of the walkway.
But there's a shift happening, and I don't like it. We can reverse this. And safety-wise, I know we're not a city replete with designated bike lanes, however, oddly enough, accidents decrease when there are no bike lanes in the streets. Because when you're right there next to the cars, the cars are more cautious. You don't have a siphoned off safe space...you know it, and the cars know it. It's human behavior at it's oddest (this isn't praise for our lack of lanes, just truth). So my question is this: adults on bikes on city sidewalks: friend or foe?
As avowed pedestrians, we generally frown on cycles on the sidewalk because we don't like dodging bikes, especially when they approach from behind without warning. And in many places -- such as the city of Albany -- it's against the law (if you're not under 10 years of age) to ride a bike on the sidewalk.*
That said, having seen some less than accommodating behavior by motorists with regard to bicycles on streets around town, well, we can't exactly blame someone for taking refuge on the sidewalk in some stretches. And while we've heard the claims (and counter claims) about how bikes and cars flowing together is a good thing -- as Alison states above -- we're skeptical. Maybe it works OK if you're a confident, in-shape cyclist. But you shouldn't have to be Hardcore Bike Guy to tool around town on a bike.
This specific topic -- and Alison's question -- get at the broader issue that legislation like Albany's recently-passed "Complete Streets" ordinance is intended to address going forward: that streets should be designed to safely accommodate cars, bikes, transit, and pedestrians.
One arrangement that we've thought could be good for the Capital Region: bike lanes like those in Copenhagen -- where it's traffic | parked cars| bike lane | curb. Of course, you need a wide street for that arrangement. But, as an example: one of the options in the "road diet" proposed for Madison Ave in Albany includes lanes for traffic, bikes, and parked cars (in that order). So maybe there's a way to make it work.
* Other parts of city code related to bikes: all bikes are required to have a bell, and there's an 8 mph speed limit.
Super Girl asks via Twitter:
just searched @alloveralbany for recommendations on bike repair shops in the area, but got no results. please help! have no clue where 2 go!
We checked, too, and it doesn't look like we've had this question before.
So, where should Super Girl go to get her bike fixed?
We stopped by Washington Park on Sunday for the second Albany Tweed Ride. It's pretty much what it sounds like -- people dressed in civilized attire, pedaling their way around town. This year the ride started at All Good Bakers on Delaware Ave, headed over to the Hudson River Coffee House on Quail, then into Washington Park for a stop, and then on to the Olde English for lunch.
It was a beautiful day, and there were lots of smiles. Here's a handful of pics from ride's stop in Washington Park...
Righto, ladies and gentlemen! The Albany Tweed Ride is returning April 28 for a most civilized ride through Albany.
Tweed ride? Cyclists don their best tweed and wool skirts, caps, argyle socks, and other stylish riding togs and pedaled through the town. Here are a smattering of photos from last year.
The refined cycling starts at All Good Bakers on Delaware Ave at 9:30 am on the 28th. Along the way, the group will stop for coffee, tea, and socializing. Then it will be off for a bit more cycling before lunch at the Olde English.
Over at the blog for the Schenectady County Historical Society's Grems-Doolittle Library blog there's a very interesting post about cycling in Schenectady around the beginning of the 20th century.
Bicycle garages at GE! A bike toll road along Route 5 between Albany and Schenectady! Early 1900s hipsters! It's kind of amazing how robust the cycling culture was then.
The post includes the above photo, from the Larry Hart Collection. From its description:
Two women stop during a bicycle ride around the Schenectady area, ca. 1900. Women's participation in the bicycle craze during the 1890s led to the decline of corsets, inspired "common-sense" dress, and allowed greater mobility for women. Women also joined men as members of cycling clubs formed during this period. Many suffragists and women's rights advocates saw the bicycle as a mechanism for women's freedom; in 1896, Susan B. Anthony told New York World reporter Nellie Bly, "I think [the bicycle] has done more to emancipate woman than any one thing in the world. I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel. It gives her a feeling of self reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammelled womanhood."
As we've said before, the library's blog is totally worth a look. Lots of good stuff there.
This topic has come up a few times, so... you might be interested to hear that Plaine and Son in Schenectady and Broadway Bicycle in Albany are now offering bike rentals. From a recent email newsletter:
Plaine and Son and Broadway Bicycle Co. has teamed up with Specialized to bring bicycle rental to the Capital Region. You can choose from a selection of Specialized Road and Fitness bikes.
Road bikes - $20 for up to 4 hours, $40 for the whole day, $30 for each additional day, or $150 for a whole week.
Fitness bikes - $20 for up to 4 hours, $30 day, $20 for each additional day
Capital CarShare, the group planning a non-for-profit car sharing org for the Capital Region, has put together a very detailed plan for the service. It includes explanations of how the service would work, neighborhoods where it would set, and projected finances.
The report is at the link above. It's also embedded after the jump.
The proposed service would include three membership levels (with discounts for yearly memberships):
+ Basic - $0/month, $9/hour, $0.25/mile
+ Silver - $10/month, $7/hour, $0.25/mile
+ Gold - $30/month, $5/hour, $0.25/mile
The plan also ranks areas in the order of expected roll out of the service over three years:
1. Downtown Albany, Center Square, and University Heights
2. Albany's Park South and Pine Hills neighborhoods
3. Arbor Hill, South End, and Delaware Avenue neighborhoods
There are a lot more details in the reports and it's worth taking a look if you're interested.
Earlier on AOA: Lauren Alpert talked about the car sharing plan on Soapbox back in June.
[via TSTC / thanks, Matthew]
The city of Albany, Capital District Transportation Committee, bike-planning-famous consultancy Alta Planning and Design are (emphasis added) "conducting a study on what bike route signage is needed in the City of Albany and how bike sharing might be implemented here." There's a public meeting about the study next Monday (September 24) at The Linda at 6 pm. The blurbage says they'll also be looking for public input at the meeting. (Poster embedded after the jump.)
We recently happened upon this "bike shelter" tucked into a parking garage near Albany Medical Center. The storage area is protected from the elements and has a locked door with swipe-card access.
We know there are a few office buildings around the area that have bike rooms, but we'd never seen a bike parking garage this big before. It seems like a nice amenity for people who work there.
A few more pics post jump if you're curious.
Update: From Albany Med's Facebook page:
We're happy to provide this service for our employees and do the same for families and visitors. Simply ask any of our security personnel about our visitor bike rack and they will be more than happy to assist you secure your bike for the duration of your visit.
By the way: Apparently the new thing in bike parking is the "bike corral" -- cities such as San Francisco and Pittsburgh are turning car parking spaces into specifically-designated bike parking with racks. [Good]
AOA is taking a little R & R this week. While we're enjoying a little summer, we've rounded up a few experts to share their tips for making summer fun simpler. Enjoy!
In most people's minds, summer is the time for biking.
But maybe you haven't ridden for years, and you find all the new bicycle styles and technology more than a bit daunting. Don't let that keep you from getting back on a bike and enjoying the absolutely amazing riding that the Capital District offers.
Here are some tips on how to buy a new bike.
The bizarre drama over whether a kid should be able to ride his bike to Maple Ave Middle School in Saratoga is rehashed in a recent issue of Bicycling magazine. The long article by David Darlington -- "Why Johnny Can't Ride" -- details the many turns in the story, but also argues it's part of a broader context involving health, urban planning, and helicopter parenting:
Schoolwise, this might be referred to as the Maple Avenue Mind-Set: passive acceptance of a status quo that promotes not only pollution and disease but also the lesson that children (who grow up to be citizens--and parents) are helpless. Amid this grand civic failure, the chief cause for encouragement comes from individuals who refuse to give in: the Marinos, Olsons, Skenazys, and Robinsons who prioritize fresh air and exploration and exercise, the powers-that-be be damned.
In a twist we wouldn't have guessed, the Shen school district and its superintendent -- Oliver Robinson -- are held up as an example of a more bike-friendly district.
photo: Nathaniel Welch / Bicycling
The weather was unfortunate, but oddly appropriate.
After a week of summer-like temperatures, Albany put on its cold, wet, gray English countryside look just in time for Sunday's Tweed Ride.
A couple of dozen cyclists donned their best tweed and wool knickers, skirts, caps, argyle socks, and other stylish riding togs and pedaled from the Ultraviolet Cafe on Delaware Ave, through Washington Park and down the hill to The Olde English Pub in Albany's first Tweed Ride, organized by Ethan Georgi.
After the jump, some of our photos from the morning, and a few from Dave Mercier, who followed the cyclists through the park and down to the pub.
So, what is a tweed ride? Basically, people dress up and ride bikes -- the more classic and vintage the better -- in a most civilized manner. The ride is organized by Ethan Georgi. As he writes: "Don't own any tweed? Don't know what 'plus four suits' are? No worries. Just leave the spandex and chartreuse at home, and dress nicely."
Earlier on AOA: Local holiday wish list: Ethan Georgi
The annual Tour of the Battenkill cycling event is coming up April 13-15 in Washington County. Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond will be there for the weekend -- he'll be at Battenkill Books in Cambridge on Friday signing a book about cycling jerseys. He'll also be in riding a non-competitive "bike marathon" that's open to recreational riders on Sunday (you have to register online).
This year's pro/am race starts Saturday morning in Cambridge at 8:30 am -- the last racers are expected to finish around 6:30 pm.
The pro race -- with more than 150 pro cyclists, riding for 29 teams -- is Sunday. It starts at noon in Cambridge. The riders expected to pass through Cambridge again around 2 pm on the first lap of the 124 mile race, and finish around 4:30.
photo: A Mengel
Check it out: Rob Gierthy emailed us with a video he created of commute home via bike:
I have a small video camera attached to my bike that I record my commutes with. This past Monday was such a surprisingly nice day that I thought I would share it and uploaded the video to YouTube. It documents a slow ride up the sidewalk on Madison (I know I shouldn't be on the sidewalk, but the traffic is so congested there that it seemed safer), down and across Swan to Hudson, and then through Washington Park. It might not be that exciting but for me it is a celebration of the arrival of spring.
There's a surprising zen quality about watching the video. And the images (cinematography? biketography?) are beautiful in spots -- the wide angle lens makes the sky look huge.
A little more from Rob about his commute
I've been commuting by bicycle the two miles to my job at the Empire State Plaza for almost a year now. My initial plan was to keep going until it got too cold and then stop, but a combination of a mild winter and my stubbornness kept that from happening. Covered in wool from head to toe during those cold months I forgot how enjoyable biking actually is. Now that it is suddenly warm enough that I can bike in shorts and sandals it is a revelation. No longer is it a mental and physical struggle to fight the wind and cold. Instead it is fun and liberating. The warm breeze feels great and actually seeing people out reminds me that I don't live in a barren lifeless wasteland.
The Capital Region might not be the best place in the country for bicycle commuting, even though plenty of brave souls do bike to work via our car-dominated streets daily. But when it comes to biking recreationally through natural, scenic landscapes, our area is hard to beat.
When I was a teenager growing up in Latham, I'd regularly leave the house in the morning and head to the bike path along the Mohawk River, then ride to Rotterdam and then all the way to Rensselaer and return home in the evening. There's nothing like the feeling of taking off aimlessly on a bike for a couple of hours, or even for an entire day. If you have a properly functioning bicycle, proper clothing and plenty of time, adventures will practically make themselves.
Here are a handful of bike trails around the Capital Region...
Here's something to look ahead to: the 2011 Tour de Habitat.
The entry fee is $100 -- and the hope is that riders will get sponsors to help cover the fee (and then some). The fee includes a fully-supported route, t-shirt, and -- because Evans Ale is a sponsor -- a
pre- and post-race meal at the Pump Station, as well as two post-race pints of beer.
We saw today that Jen is interested in riding this year, so we decided to sponsor her. AOA is matching $50 of the money she's able to raise toward the entry fee -- so head on over and hit her a few bucks.
I wanted to know where I can rent bikes in the capital district region. I live in a small apartment with no balcony. Although I want to buy a bike, there is no space to keep it in my house.
Got a suggestion for Maya -- either for where to rent, or maybe how she might find space to store a bike? Please share!
Earlier on AOA: Where to buy a bike?
The Troy Bike Rescue will soon have a new home. From the info we got today:
Over the next two weeks, Troy Bike Rescue will be closing down their normal operations of twice-weekly bike maintenance clinics in preparation for a move to a new home. On May 21, they will be loading up a caravans of cargo bikes, trailers, and other vehicles to transport the bulk of their downtown shop to a new home in North Troy. The move to a larger and dedicated space will allow them to grow their mission, expand open shop hours, and create youth-specific programming in the North Troy neighborhood.
TBR is also having a fundraising party on May 28 to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The full release is after the jump.
Before TBR heads uptown, it has a concert coming up at the soon-to-be-former space at 51 3rd Street this coming Monday (May 16): one-man band Jason Webley playing "a suave style of gypsy/folk music" -- plus Ashley Pond, and The Nightmare River Band.
What's the Troy Bike Rescue? From its about page: "Troy Bike Rescue is a collective of cycling enthusiasts committed to removing bikes from the waste stream and getting them back on the streets."
UAlbany student Dan Patterson is an avid cyclist who's biked across South Africa, England, Scotland, France, Spain and much of the U.S.
His next trip: Central Asia. After graduation, he and another recent UAlbany grad -- Marta Grzegorek will spend six months biking from Istanbul to Shanghi, that's about 5,000 miles.
But this time, cycling just didn't seem to be enough.
So Dan and Marta will be stopping in towns along the way in an attempt to help people solve social and environmental problems.
The photo above is from Neil Grabowsky's photoset of racers in last weekend's "Tour de Troy" events, coordinated by the city of Troy and the RPI Cycling Club. The Times Union called it "one of the largest collegiate bike races in the country."
You can see more photos by Neil, of Through the Lens Studios, after the jump.
Michael DenDekker, a state Assemblyman from Queens, has introduced legislation that would require registration and license plates for personal bicycles (he's also introduced a separate bill for commercial bicycles that would require insurance coverage).
Registration would cost $25 for the first year, and $5 each year after.
Gothamist talked with DenDekker about the bills yesterday. From the interview:
I had various constituents contact me concerning bicyclists in the Woodside/Jackson Heights area that don't obey the traffic rules, that are driving down streets the wrong way, driving on sidewalks and actually being very reckless. And their concern is that when they do this there is no way to report them because there is no way to identify the bicyclists, per se, so that has been the reason for it. It's just natural now that we're investing so many resources into making this the new mode of transportation, which I'm all for, we're just going to need to regulate and register the bicycles so we know who everybody is who is sharing the road with us.
(Don't miss his thoughts on cameras for bike lanes.)
Under the "justification" section of DenDekker's bill, the Assemblyman argues that bike usage on streets has risen steeply (citing stats from two decades ago), and "... it is essential that the state of New York be able to identify the bicycle riders. The issuance of license plates will ensure personal protection for cases such as bicycle theft or bicycle accidents, to name a few."
A few municipalities around the country have tried mandatory bike registration laws -- with what appears to be limited success. Long Beach, California recently dropped its longstanding law, in part because of criticism after a bunch of cyclists were ticketed last fall during a critical mass ride.
Snarked Jim Tedisco today on his blog:
In the annals of bad bills, here's a real winner: a new bill from Assemblyman Michael DenDekker requiring license plates for bicycles. Really?!!!? Are 10 year-olds now going to have to stand in line at the DMV to get a license plate for their bike? If you have training wheels on your bike do you have to have a learner's permit? What's next: targeting big wheels, tricycles and skate boards?
DenDekker's bills have been referred to committee. We're guessing they'll be parked there for some time, perhaps permanently.
Check out this awesomely absurd bike built by people at the Troy Bike Rescue:
Weld one bike on top of another? Sure, why not.
By the way: The TBR was the early entry winner in the ChangeMakers Strong Communities competition (and got $500). It's now up for a $10,000 prize.
The annual Tour de Habitat bike ride is coming up September 26. From the brochure:
The Tour de Habitat gives riders a choice of pedaling a 100, 50, 25 or family-friendly 10 mile route to benefit Capital District Habitat for Humanity. All rides start and finish at the Albany Pump Station, with a post-ride reception featuring food and beer.
The entry fee is $100, for which the org is hoping people will get sponsors. The fee includes "riding a fully supported route, pre- and post-ride meals at the Albany Pump Station, two pints of any Evans beer after the ride and a souvenir t-shirt."
Earlier on AOA: Scoring your very own urinal at Habitat ReStore
Tom Benware might have passed you in traffic. On his bike. Which was on the side of a bus.
Tom appears on a CDTA bus as a part of a new initiative launched in April encouraging Capital Region motorists and cyclists to share the road.
In real life, the Delmar resident is a transportation guru, public transit advocate and 1,000-mile-a-year cyclist. He worked at the state Department of Transportation for 14 years and now he's the senior legislative analyst for the New York State Senate Transportation Committee. Just last week he helped advance new legislation that would require New York roads be designed with all users in mind - not just drivers.
I took a moment to talk with Tom about biking in the Capital Region, his favorite places to ride and what it's like to see yourself on the side of a bus.
@MindyKB asked via Twitter:
Know any good places for a beginner to buy a bike, preferably a relatively simple, cheap one?
We're betting you have good suggestions for Mindy. Please share!
Bonus Troy Bike Rescue item: TBR has Bike! Bike! Northeast, "a meeting of the minds on all things bicycle culture in the Northeast US," coming up this weekend.
photo: Troy Bike Rescue
At one point during this weekend's Tour of the Battenkill pro cycling race in Washington County, eventual winner Caleb Fairly told Velo News he was thinking: "I hope someone is taking pictures."
And, of course, they were! A whole of bunch of photos from the race are up on Flickr.
Fairly finished first (he won some chocolate milk), followed by (momentary Tour de France winner) Floyd Landis and Jay Robert Thomson (full results). Danny Goodwin (grifwin) has a photo of the winners on the podium (and from the start). Fairly and Landis dueled toward the end before Fairly pulled away solo.
The Battenkill course was 25 percent dirt road -- muddy conditions captured by Daniel Sharp (d_sharp) and Flickr user ffron. And from this picture by Meghan Eddy, it looks like there was plenty of spatter.
Even more photos: Ian Creitz (IanC83) has posted a huge photo set from the race -- almost 700 photos.
And here's a set from Amy and Aaron Mengel (that's their pic at the top). A trio of video clips they shot are embedded after the jump.
Check it out: a cycling site called MapMyRide has a bunch of cycling routes for the Capital Region.
The site also includes routes for runs. And there's an iPhone app.
Legislature back today, Tonko and Murphy split on health care vote, the weekend in stabbings, police chase half-naked suspect through Watervliet
The legislature is back this week for at least a few days. Today's schedule includes a joint session this afternoon in which David Paterson will speak about the state budget gap (whatever size it may be). A special session is schedule tomorrow to take up measures to address the gap -- and, maybe for the state Senate to vote on the same-sex marriage bill. [Fox23] [TU] [NYDN] [Daily Politics]
The two local House members split on the health care reform vote his past weekend. Paul Tonko voted "yes" -- in a statement he said the bill will provide coverage to 22,000 people in his district. Scott Murphy voted "no" -- in a statement, he said the bill didn't do enough to curb costs. Murphy was one of 39 Democrats to vote against the bill -- and one of three from New York. [TU] [Paul Tonko] [Scott Murphy] [NYT] [Daily Politics]
The Army has called the death of Colonie solider Amy Seyboth Tirador "a non-combat related incident" in Iraq. But her family says the staff sergeant was shot in the back of the head -- though beyond that, they say the military hasn't given them any more details. [Fort Lewis press release] [CBS6] [Fox23]
Week two of the Joe Bruno trial begins today. On a Friday Leonard Fassler, a longtime associate of Bruno, testified that the senator set up meetings with government officials, including then-Governor Pataki, for companies which were paying him consulting fees. Fassler said the consulting fees were paid to Bruno because he helped Fassler become a "better executive." [CBS6] [TU] [Troy Record]
The final bicycle master plan for the City of Albany is scheduled to be presented tonight. From the flyer for the event:
The City of Albany, in partnership with the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) is finishing a Bicycle Master Plan to identify a network of bicycle routes to help make cycling a more viable way of getting around the City. On Tuesday, October 27th, 2009, the final meeting will present the final plan, concept goals and priorities, maps, and detail graphics to clearly and logically incorporate bicycling into the City and region's overall transportation network.
The presentation starts at 7 pm in the large auditorium at the main branch of the Albany Public Library on Washington Ave.
CDTC has some info about past public bike plan meetings posted online,
though it doesn't look like there's anything posted for tonight's presentation.
Update: here's the final draft report, via daleyplanit.
- Helmet and bike fit
- Clothing and accessory basics
- Nutrition and hydration
- Gears and cadence
- Tire pressure and repair
- Safety checks for a good working bike
- Hand signals and safe scanning
- Crash prevention
- Rules of the pathways and the road (overview)
- Riding skills
The class is at the YWCA in Schenectady from 11 am - 2 pm. Participants should be 14 and up -- and bring their own bike, helmet, water, and a snack.
The cost is $20 (you get a $5 discount if you sign up in advance). Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 399-5104 to sign up or for more info.
photo: Tamara Flanders
We'd like to bike more in the Capital Region. Really, we would. But frankly, we're a bit, well, chicken. OK, maybe not exactly chicken. It's just that riding a bike in an area with few bike lanes and often-inconsiderate drivers seems a bit hazardous.
Which is why Tamara Flanders new class on how to "drive" a bike looked interesting to us. Flanders is a holistic health teacher who added a class for novice adult cyclists to her repertoire this spring.
It was no contest really. For the 6th year in a row the bike beat the car and the bus in the National Bike Month Commuter Contest. The race from Starbucks on Pearl Street to Eastern Mountain Sports in Stuyvesant Plaza ran a little bit slower than last year, but the wind and rain could account for some of that. Here's how it all shook out:
The New York Bicycling Coalition is holding its annual Commuter Contest this Thursday. From the org's press release:
This exciting competition pits bicyclists against motorists and transit riders during rush-hour traffic to determine the most efficient means of transportation. This friendly contest is designed to highlight the merits of a bicycle as a form of clean, low-cost, zero-carbon form of transportation. For the past 5 years, the bicyclist has been the winner--join us this year to see if we can make it 6 in a row!
(Results from last year's competition.)
The first 50 people to enter this year's competition will get a free safety light.
The dash starts at the Starbucks on North Pearl in downtown Albany at 5 pm and ends at the Stuyvesant Plaza Starbucks (that's 5.2 miles, according to Google).
Bonus bike fun: There's a showing of Veer, a documentary about Portland's thriving bike culture, at the Madison Theater Thursday night.
Bonus alternate transportation item: that commuter cruise between Albany and Troy is on Wednesday this week.
It's a canned food drive! It's a bike race! It's both!
This race takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving every year. There's no registration fee, but riders bring money with them, because the checkpoints are all grocery stores. At these grocery stores, they have to leave their bike outside, run in, and purchase a specified food item. Once they've collected all of the food items and have finished the race (we check the receipts to make sure they didn't cheat), all of the food gets donated to the Albany Homeless Action Committee.
Registration starts at 8:30 pm Saturday night (you'll need $20, a bag and a lock -- and, we're guessing, a light) at the memorial near State and Henry Johnson in Albany's Washington Park.
By the way: if you're curious about the backstory to Cranksgiving, it was started by bike messengers in New York City in 1999.
Check out the video Sebastien shot of this past weekend's bike polo action in Washington Park:
Yep. It's polo, on bikes, and it's heading across the river to Albany on Sunday.
We first saw The Big Pink Bike (our name for it) after Jess spotted it back in August. And since then, it seems like we've either been seeing it, or hearing about it, everywhere.
So who is this guy who rides The Big Pink Bike?
His name is Andrew Franciosa. He's a junior at UAlbany. And he was nice enough to answer a few questions we had -- most of all, why?
Check out this vintage tandem bike Jess spotted on the local Craigslist. The listing says it's from the 1890s -- it has a wooden chain guard and fender!
Sure, it might be getting a little chillier, but there's still plenty of bike-riding weather left. And if you don't have one of your own, the Troy Bike Rescue can help you out with that.
Alright, you know riding your bicycle is good for the earth and good for your physical fitness. Did you know it's also good for getting you discounts?
We first noticed this memorial to Diva de Loayza on Western Ave in Albany a few weeks ago. It marks the spot where de Loayza, the founder of Some Girls Boutique, was hit by a minivan while riding her bike last summer. She died a few days later from her injuries. The memorial seems to have been in place since May.
Bicycle memorials like this one are called Ghost Bikes. They first popped up in 2003 in St. Louis as a way to remember bicyclists who died while riding on the street. The idea has since spread all over the world -- and there are a handful here in the Capital Region.