Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Airless bike tires!


Not a totally new idea....but perhaps the technology is actually up to the challenge.



If you want to check them out....there is a great article on them here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Last weekend's Ride.

Nothing interesting happened on the ride today (as is often the case).  So, here's what wifey and I and a few friends did last weekend.



Yep, shocking I know, we took a bike ride.  To surprise you even more....it was to various bars around town to drink beer. 

This was however an organized ride sponsored by Under Cover Ale Works with Susan and Rich (owners) at the helm, so I'm not apologizing. 






Basically, it was just a social ride to hit up locations that are currently stocking their beer.  These locations would include, Campo (on the river), Craft (on Martin and Virginia), Lincoln Lounge (on 4th), and Becks Brewhouse (on McCarren).  We managed to hit 3/4 on the tour before wifey and I split off and headed out for some prearranged dinner plans.  All in all a good way to spend a lazy Saturday. 

On a side note....At some point this fall/winter we'll be heading up in the camper to crash out at their brewery (it's only an hour away).  They are setting up a disc golf course on their property and don't particularly care if you camp in their parking lot!  So if you like beer or disc golf make it a road trip.....it will be worth it!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cycle Chic Reno....fall styles.

I don't think I've ever done any Cycle Chic posts, which is kind of weird since I have a very attractive wifey who likes to ride her bike in skirts.  Wifey is additionally cool because she is not a normal bikey girl who goes dormant when the weather gets a little chilly.  In fact, she is so tough she still rides in a skirt dress!


Kind of hard to tell in this one since the camera opted to focus on my shoulder.  


Ok, so here's the proof.  Skirt Dress (check), stylish boots (check), smart leggings due to 39 degree temperature (check), stylish yet practical and highly visible down jacket (check).


Ride to work in a dress and still show up with perfect hair and style.....check.  So there it is folks, Reno Cycle Chic and the cool temperatures all in one.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Magic disappearing bicycle lanes....update.


My big problem with the very lengthy write up below is the lack of process.  If you don't know, it takes a ton of work to get a bike lane striped on a road (even when room is available and people want it).  I'm talking about getting the people in charge to put the idea on an agenda and get it discussed, getting the idea to an engineer, measuring roads for evaluation, creating multiple lane configuration options, presenting to the public (multiple times), and final presentation and adoption by the city.  Basically, years of work before these lanes appear.

However, if you want to remove a bike lane....apparently you need a complaint and a quick (one day) study and we can wipe it away.  NO PROCESS....NO OVERSIGHT....NO PUBLIC....NO REVIEW...AND A SUPER DANGEROUS PRECEDENT!


Ok, so now I'll try to lay out the whole case on this.  First off, location (Capital Blvd.)....this is an industrial park area located south of Mill St., West of McCarren Ave., and north of Rock Blvd. or here:


The thin red lines are existing bike routes and the ridiculously thick red line is Capital Blvd. and the infamous disappearing bicycle lane.

Here's a picture from last year (mid-October):






Notice the idiots parked in the clearly marked bike lane....


And a picture from this year (mid-October):

Notice anything missing? 


Well, the parking volume is the same....but the bike lane is MIA!  This prompted me to email RTC regarding whether we were in the habit of removing bike lanes.  My original email is below:



Hi Guys,

I took a little lunch time ride today out by my office (Mill / Rock).  Not a great place to ride but the bike lanes on Mill have really made it more pleasant and give access to the industrial area and University farm (Clean Water Way).  I was tooling my way along Capital Blvd., which in the past has been a place that folks like to park in the bike lanes even though every building has adequate parking.  Here’s a picture from October of last year….





No big deal…it’s easy to ride around.  However, here’s a picture of the exact same location today.


 


While the parking situation remains the same…..something seems to have been forcibly removed!  I sure didn’t see this announcement come up at any BPAC or RTP meetings in the last year!!

So, does anyone know anything about bike lane removals.  More specifically, I’m curious who paid for the work and how it got approved?

Any insight would be great.  If anyone’s interested the approximate address is 1300 block of Capital Blvd.

Cheers,

Andy


This email was bounced around RTC (including the bigwigs) and nobody knew anything about it.  It was then sent through the City of Reno staff (and nobody seemed to know anything).  Until it finally found it's way to Steve Bunnell, (Traffic Engineer).  He sent out the (in my opinion) very carefully worded email below:


We did receive a complaint on Capital Boulevard that it had improperly striped and signed bike lanes.  We did a field investigation back in June and found that there was heavy on-street parking demand and a 7.5 feet stripe that was functioning more as a parking lane than a bike lane through this section.  Adjacent businesses were contacted and they claimed to have never been informed that on-street parking was being removed when it was initially striped.  Because of the heavy on-street parking demand along certain sections of Capital (and low bike usage), we determined it would be best served to continue to allow on-street parking in this industrial area.  This was also the request of the adjacent businesses. 

We initially checked and found that Capital Boulevard isn't designated for any existing or future bicycle facilities on both the RTC's 2012 Reno/Sparks Bike Map and in the RTC's 2011 Reno Sparks Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.  Edison Way is the designated bike lane section through this area.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks,
Steve
    

Steve Bunnell, P.E.
Traffic Engineer
City of Reno
Phone: 775-334-2333 

 Here's my initial rip of Steve's email (my comments to each part of his email are in red)....which I only sent to a friend so I could vent:



We did receive a complaint on Capital Boulevard that it had improperly striped and signed bike lanes.

Improperly stripped and signed?  When is adding a bike lane ever improper?  Especially when there is room?

We did a field investigation back in June and found that there was heavy on-street parking demand and a 7.5 feet stripe that was functioning more as a parking lane than a bike lane through this section.

So when we want to improve streets (e.g. add bike lanes) we do exhaustive studies over months or years that require multiple public meetings and input from the City Council (Plumas as an example)….but if we want to remove bike lanes, it takes a single complaint and a quick one day study???

There is ABSOLUTELY NOT “heavy on-street parking demand.  I ride this area regularly and it’s usually less than 3-5 cars parked on street.  The parking lots for businesses on Capital are huge and always have empty spaces.

Adjacent businesses were contacted and they claimed to have never been informed that on-street parking was being removed when it was initially striped. 

I find this hard to believe given the normal public process we go through to restripe roads with bike lanes.

Because of the heavy on-street parking demand along certain sections of Capital (and low bike usage), we determined it would be best served to continue to allow on-street parking in this industrial area.  This was also the request of the adjacent businesses. 

Again, there is not heavy on-street parking….if they did a study, let’s see it.  True, not many people bike here….but now even less people will!

We initially checked and found that Capital Boulevard isn't designated for any existing or future bicycle facilities on both the RTC's 2012 Reno/Sparks Bike Map and in the RTC's 2011 Reno Sparks Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.  Edison Way is the designated bike lane section through this area.  Let me know if you have any questions.

So if we’re looking at the RTC's 2012 Reno/Sparks Bike Map and in the RTC's 2011 Reno Sparks Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan as the gospel….we better just mark every street as “future bicycle facilities”! 

I also find it ironic that the city of Reno had time to do this study and remove bike lanes and signage that were already there …..and point to Edison as the go to bike route, when anyone who drove down both streets could clearly see that Edison Way is the road with Heavy on-street parking and no current bike lane designation.

Also it’s ridiculous to spend city dollars to remove bike lanes (especially as the 1st step).  How about putting in the bike lanes on Edison and then removing the lanes on Capital?  Can you imagine if you reversed this situation with a road for vehicle traffic.  Sorry, this was supposed to be a sidewalk only so we took out the road.  The designated road the plan is Edison….but Edison Way is currently only a sidewalk!  Completely ridiculous.

Ok, so that’s my rant.  I’m debating on whether to send a copy to Steve directly and ask for comments.  At the very least the system appears to be biased on how easy it is to remove a bike land vs. put one in.  Something for BPAC to tackle I’m thinking!!

Thanks for the update.

Cheers,

Andy
Now of course I didn't send this to him.  I now am in the process of writing a real letter to Mr. Bunnell which I will copy pretty much everyone I can think of on.  Right now it looks something like this:



Hi Steve,

I was forwarded your response to the inquiry regarding the removal of bicycle lanes on Capital Blvd.  As someone who uses this route while riding, I’d like to voice a few points of concern.

I sit on the Regional Transportation Plan citizen’s advisory board and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board (BPAC).  I’ve watched the rather involved process that occurs to restripe an existing road way with bicycle lanes.  RTC conducts traffic studies, prepares multiple lane configuration options, presents ideas and options at public meetings and gather public comments, and then presents the idea to the city council.  A rather cumbersome process if truth be told, however, it seems much less is needed to remove a bicycle lane and I find this rather disturbing.

I specifically am bothered that a single complaint ended in the removal of a bicycle lane.  The complaint apparently resulted in the field investigation that was done in June of 2011 that concluded that there was heavy on-street parking demand.  I’m surprised that no additional process was required.  RTC was unaware of the decision, BPAC wasn’t consulted, and no public process or city council vote was apparently needed.  While I don’t ride there regularly, I’ve never seen more than 5-6 vehicles parked on Capital Blvd. and each business in this area have large parking lots. 

The suggestion that Edison Way is the designated bicycle route is also problematic as it has significantly more traffic and actually does have heavy on-street parking (even in my opinion) making it a poor choice for future development of bicycle lanes.

Finally, I’m concerned about the cost of a field investigation and removal of the bike lanes and signage.  Given the fact that it often takes hard won dollars from multiple grant sources to build bicycle lanes, it seems a poor choice to spend money removing lanes. 
So, basically I'm calling him out on removing a bike lane one the sly (in my opinion).  Not sure if this is the final format the letter will take, but it's a start.  If anyone has comments or edits feel free to let me know.  I'm planning on pulling the trigger on it in about a week or so.

 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Nip in the Air!

The nip in the air is real folks.  Time to start thinking about winter riding.


For Reno, it's really not that hard.  Layer up, find a good hat and pair of gloves, maybe include some windstopper in the mix.  With this new look, 90% of your winter riding days are now covered.  If you really love the snow, slush, and mush.....find a set of fenders and maybe some studded tires!  I'm thinking of making the switch early this year.  If I do I'll give you a few pics on the transition.  Until then enjoy the chilly ride....it lets you know you're alive!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Back to Bicycles....movie premier tomorrow!

Ok, I'm back from vacation and I'll probably put up a few pictures that aren't bicycle related this week.  However, I was doing a little blog patrolling this morning and Reno Rambler has a great write up on a movie that will be in our area tomorrow only!!

Please pop over to Reno Rambler for the full write up, but here's the preview.


Screening and ticket info here.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

Riding biycles in the Rain...woohoo!

Did you ride today!?  I love the changing seasons, you just don't know how fun the commute can be until it gets a little interesting weather thrown in.  I've talked about the cool weather and some of the additions I make, but rain is a different story.

Today the cloud cover actually kept temperatures up over night so not all the cool weather gear was necessary.  I opted for a long sleeve shirt over the t-shirt and jeans, but stuck with sandals for foot gear and gloves just weren't needed.  I'm sure many of you opt out of the ride when it rains, but today it was just spitting rain and a rain coat wasn't even necessary.

Fenders are the key!  I know you don't need them very often in Reno, but the other riders I saw out today probably had wet backsides!

Note the spray off the wheel!

Here's a few shots of the roads and even another brave soul (I did see about 6-7 riders on the way in).  Sorry about the fuzzy pics, not sure what's up with that.


I think the fuzzy shots are due to me thinking about slick roads and snapping the pics really quick.


The glow of tail lights in the cloudy morning.


A very fuzzy fellow cyclist. 

That's right...snow on Mt. Rose, time to get the studded tires ready and the skis tuned!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Seasonal Changes.

It's that time of year again, you wake up and the house is a little chilly in the mornings.  That first cup of coffee isn't there just for the wake up, but to help warm you up.  And when you're getting dressed for the ride in, it's no longer just the shorts, t-shirt, and sandals.

Instead you stand in front of the closet and think about how the morning temperatures are going to combine with a 20 mph breeze you create while riding.  How to prevent it....shoes and socks instead of sandals, a long sleeved shirt over the t-shirt or maybe a nice windstopper vest, pants instead of shorts, and maybe even some long fingered gloves.  Yep, it's official, it's fall.  So what do you add to make the fall commute just right?  Here are a few of my choices.

smart wool liner cap

Pearl Izumi soft shell gloves

Patagonia jeans

shoes

Windstopper Vest

Wool Shirt


The best part is once you're out on the ride, it's refreshing and crisp and gives the ride a new quality.  I love the change, do you?


Monday, October 8, 2012

Bicycles make Bucks $$$$$ !

There's a new article out that shows what we've all known for a while.  If you cater to bicyclists, pedestrians, and urban dwellers you'll make more $$$$.


The basic premise is that if you make it a place that people want to ride bicycles and walk and hang out you will attract people and make money.  The full article is here:

There IS a Bicycle Economy, Two Cities Find

for the record the article is written by A.K. Streeter for Treehugger.com and pointed out to me by the local Bicycle Preacher!

Here's another version with a little bigger write up I just found:

How Bicycling Creates Economic Impact: A Tale of Two Cities

By Leon Kaye | October 4th, 2012 
 Transportation Alternatives Portland new york city new york Manhattan Leon Kaye Kelly Clifton East Village business case for bicycling bike paths bicycling bicycle lanes
Protected bike lanes in New York have boosted local businesses

Weekend biking to Monday commute.

Ok, so I don't really have any organization to this so I'm just going to dump a bunch of random images and thoughts on you.  Get over it....it's Monday.  There was biking this weekend, and running, and eating, and drinking.  Some of those things were repeated.

Saturday morning biking to breakfast was the kick off.  We me up with our combined friends who we'll call "Chonnie" down at Daughter's Cafe on First St.  Totally cute little place with a nice patio dining area that was perfect for the crisp morning we all wanted to enjoy.  The service was great and the food was fantastic.  If you haven't been you need to go....it's not a quick in and out place....plan to hang out a bit.  It was perfect for our breakfast as we had 6 weeks of catching up to do!

The "onnie" part of Chonnie
 
Followed by the "Ch" part of Chonnie.
Looking swanky upon their arrival!  "Onnie"'s bike is the prize from the Gonads-n-strife poker ride a couple years back and "Ch" is on a refurbished New Belgium cruiser he picked up from a Patagonia raffle.  Lucky bastards! 


Me and the Xtracycle on the way home.


Wifey on the way home.

Ok, that was Saturday for us....and then we hoped in the car and beat feet for Susanville.  Wifey and the Preacher's wife had a marathon to run and we needed to check out the new brewery in Susanville to boot.  As a side note, good supportive husbands that we are....the Preacher and I ran a half marathon and kicked a little ass of our own.

For whatever reason I didn't take pictures of the brewery....take my word for it the beer is spot on (with 11 beers on tap) and the food was fantastic.  And we really do know for sure because we visited 3 times in the day and a half we were there.  Yes, we know....we have a problem.

So that leads into this morning.

First up, it's that time of year.  Sun in the morning is low angle and blinding on the bike.  More specifically, it's blinding through dirty car windshields!!  Even the ones who are careful probably don't see you soon enough or at all, so be extra careful on the commute.


Finally, a blurry picture to end with....the camera battery was dying so I didn't take much time.  On the commute in I ride by Fisherman's Park.  Its a very popular place for day laborers to hand out and try to pick up work.  I'd guess 20+ people are here every day.  So some ambitious politician or campaigner parked the Subaru and put out coffee and OJ and was working for the Latino votes.  Pretty ambitious and since most of these guys are on bicycles....I'll call this out as the first attempt to grab the bicycle lobby by a politician in Reno!


So anyway, that's the weekend to present for me.  Hope you're keeping as busy and enjoying the crisp fall weather.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Seriously!?....Who removes bike lanes?

  

So it's Friday, and Wifey and I decided to go out to lunch today.  Nothing fancy....in fact we tried to stay as "local" as we could over here on the east side of the airport.  The problem is that it's an industrial wasteland in terms of fine dining.  So our choices were Joe Bobs (and I do like their wings) or Wongs Genghis Khan (an unknown).  The reviews on yelp weren't bad, so off we went.  The food is buffet style Mongolian and sushi.....all you can eat.  I'd rank it as average and a few dishes were probably even in the good range.  If they cleaned the place up a bit it would probably get higher reviews.  However, I bet this doesn't happen because the lunch crowd was huge despite my mediocre review.

Afterwards we decided a little bike ride was in order to burn off a few of the grease laden calories.  So we took a tour of the industrial streets on the way back to work.  I've ridden here before just for lunch time entertainment.  There are bike lanes although people like to park in them.  About a year ago I took this picture.


No big deal, the roads aren't busy and you just ride around them.  The question I had, is why they park here.  Every building has tons of parking!  Parking here just means you walk father and you know Americans aren't renowned for walking on purpose!

So today let's see an update of the same location.....


WTF!!!  Who spent money to grind off the bike lane markers!!!???  I know nobody was handing out tickets to the clowns who were parking in the bike lanes anyway.  So who or why spend $$$ to wipe out designated bike lanes?  Is this tax dollars?  City of Reno? RTC?  Local business who wants street parking?

I don't know but I'm sure going to try to find out.  This is not cool people, Reno is just starting to get on the band wagon for building bicycle infrastructure.  Two steps forward, one step back is not a game we need to start playing!