Saturday, December 31, 2011

Transfer time....and it's not about transportation!

A year old Shiraz....meets a brand new American Oak barrel!

Chili pepper Red and a Wee Heavy....on tap in one week!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A good read about a good ride....the evolution of Portland bicycling infrastructure.

I forgot to mention one of my Christmas presents.  The book Joyride by Mia Birk.  If your interested in improving bicycling in our region you want to read will definitely light a fire under you.

Oh yeah, and it's just a good read....225 pages took me about two days...meaning I didn't put it down much.  If you want to get a copy or read an excerpt go to

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Grocery run and fresh flowers.

I'm off from work this week so the posts might be a bit intermittent.  Biking will continue but with a little more random routes.  This morning it was a grocery run for supplies to make some chicken noodle soup.  While I was out I picked up some fresh flowers for wifey.  Somehow they just seem like a good idea when you're traveling by bike.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Bikey Christmas spoils!

This is some of the bikey loot I scored for Christmas this year!  Reflective stick-ons, an incredibell, spok lights, a black diamond head lamp, and a planet bike stealth super blink tail light.  Oh, and I had to throw in my super cool new toe shoes.  These are specifically so I can look even geekier while running.  However, if I wear them while riding the geek factor should multiply by 100!

Hope you got all the loot you were hoping for.  Merry Day after Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A truely timeless Christmas message!

You know it's cold when.....

There are ice flows in the Truckee river!

Sorry about the crappy cell phone photo.

Needless to say, I wasn't particularly bright this morning and chose the shoes with more ventilation on the ride in.  While I could still feel my toes when I arrived at work.....they didn't feel warm!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I don't want to be a bike Ninja!

Yesterday I put in a few more miles than normal due to an evening meeting.  It was a nice change of pace and gave me the chance to bike some areas I'm not that familiar with in south Reno.  It was also nice because I got the chance to ride with someone on the way home!  One might say doubly nice since that person is my "bike mentor" and one of the reasons I turned to bike commuting. 

Anyway, on the ride home the conversation turned to a topic that we both hold in high regard as regular bicycle commuters....namely, being seen by cars and not becoming a statistic!  So while the rigs that the two of us ride are remarkably similar (mainly because I'm a copy cat) we do use some different lights, reflective treatments, and visual safety systems.  Here's the list between the two of us:


Planet bike 1 watt dyno hub lights.
We both use this light as our primary because you never have to think of batteries and remember to charge.  If the front wheel is spinning, you've got a headlight!

The Niterider Minewt.
This is my extra rechargeable headlight that I employ when in really dark areas or in zones of high traffic when I want to make sure I have more lights for drivers to see me.

The Downlow Glow.
This is the system my friend uses.  The neon under lighting makes for great front, side, and rear visibility and looks cool to boot!  I wish I could get one but they don't seem to be on the market any longer.

Looks something like this in action....very cool!

Planet Bikes Super Flash.  A good way to be seen.

This is the tail light we both use a version of.  The pulsing pattern of blinks is a real attention grabber for the motorist coming up from behind you!
Planet Bike Turbo.  The above with more watts. 
For the record, riding behind the turbo last night was an eye opener.  This stupid thing is so bright I'm still seeing it burned into my retina this morning!

Reflective gear:

Adventure Cycling's reflective rear triangle.

We both use this little gem on the rear of our bikes.  Looks like a traffic sign that drivers are used to and is a big reflective surface.  Most drivers at least slow down for this type of symbol.

Shower Pass Reflective jacket.
This is something the peddling preacher (search earlier posts for this reference) uses.  I don't have a cool reflective jacket yet, but it would be a really good idea.  It's a shame I didn't thing to ask for this for Christmas!

Anyway, that's a quick list of our attempts to be seen by drivers.  What type of gear do you use to be seen?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

City by bike (via the ever improving Google Maps)!

This will be my route today due to work and meetings.  I think I'll sleep well tonight. 

~20 miles of commute (30+ if I go to REI on lunch).
Just as a note....this is the Google Maps bicycle planning and it's almost the exact route I would take if I hadn't looked!  For those of you who don't know, this means that Google Maps is improving!!!  So if your on the Bike Reno Map making squad, keep adding those streets into the system.  You're helping make every route better.

Or if your not involved....check out BikeReno to get involved with improving Google Maps.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

River Path Lighting update.

In an effort to get more of these I touched base with a contact in the Traffic Engineering department for the city of Reno.  He let me know that the lighting is the responsibility of the Parks department (and provided me with a contact).  I've emailed this new contact with the rather grim statistics on how many of the lights are currently working.  We'll have to see what comes of it....I know the parks department was subjected to some pretty harsh budget cuts over the last few years.  Hopefully, they can still afford light bulbs!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Always pay attention to the signs....they may be in your favor!

Powers that be...

My route and ride vary a little from day to day.  It always involves a leisurely trip down First St. to Arlington Ave. and then I've got a lot of options. 

One option involves a jog on the bike lanes on Arlington Ave. and then turn on Island Ave. and rolling past the post office and then through the Sienna's "parking lot". From any of these options I then get a choice of riding the river path all the way to Sparks or jumping on Mill St. in a minimal attempt to show drivers we do use the bike lanes.

Lately, however, I've been more and more interested in how city streets are laid out and which are given priority for improvement or which are ignored. The Sienna's parking lot used to be a section of Mill St. (in the recent past).  They obviously made a deal with the city to create their parking lot across a city street. 

A quick shot looking back at the Sienna "parking lot".
 My question is what rights did the city retain.  The river path faces an an awkward jog at this point and right now requires a rider to dismount and utilize a stairway to continue into downtown.  Could the city still impose rights for a path that runs through the Sienna parking lot?  There's plenty of room and a rider could then utilize Island drive to get access to downtown.  It might provide more connectivity and better flow for folks exploring town by bike.  With all the imminent bridge construction coming up and modifications to the street crossings caused by the bridge design, now might be the perfect time to ask some of these questions.

Friday, December 16, 2011

We're all in this together....

Interesting, this video about a year old but it's new to me.  Seems like it takes the right tact on how we need to build bicycling up (rather than ram it down peoples throats).  It happens to be focused on mountain biking and trail building, but the similarities with bike lanes on the local streets is hard to ignore. 

Anyway here's the trailer to get you thinking!

Pedal-Driven: The Official Trailer from Howell at the Moon Productions on Vimeo.

Mill and Terminal Traffic counts.

I've been waiting on the results of the Mill and Terminal traffic study for some time.  A few months ago I got a little impatient when they weren't posted to the web site ( so I started posting comments.  Turns out the comments sat in moderation for a few eventually I tracked down an email to find out what was up.

I guess I should have done this sooner.  Once day later Katy of Fehr and Peers had the results in my inbox!  So without further ado here are some initial numbers posted with respect to intersection and lane.  The long term goal is to turn the Mill / Terminal corridor into a "complete" street where biking and walking are real options.

Oh, yeah.  If your interested in this project, there will be a public open house on January 26th from 5-7 pm at the Hyatt Place (at the intersection of Plumb and Terminal).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Godfather calls!

The call out has been made at BikeReno this morning. After producing one of the original digital (Google based) bike maps for our area. BikeReno needs our help to update the modern version....since RTC and regional entities have seen fit to grace us with 50 plus miles of expanded bike lanes and facilities! If your interested please read the repost below and get in contact with BikeReno!

P.s. In the land of bicycle blogging this is like getting a "request" from the Godfather! Let's see if we can handle this in the bicycle family and not have to call out the enforcers! See BikeReno if you're not following the reference!

Don Vito Corleone


Reno Bike Map Project

December 13, 2011 By: Jeremy Tags:
Hey everyone, I’m putting out a call for volunteers to work on a mapping project for the Reno/Sparks area.  Basically, I want to compliment the RTC bike map by entering bike lane/path data into Google Map Maker.  This data is used by Google Maps to create bicycle directions.  It’s pretty easy to do (I’ve put a tutorial under Reno Bike Map), and the more people who work on it, the less we have to do individually.  If you’re interested, please send me an email ( and we’ll coordinate who’s doing what streets to avoid duplication of effort.

River Path Update.

Shake the frost and ice out of your beard (or scarf ladies), the results are in for the river path light pole stats and the upgraded entrance ramp.

First up, the construction I noted last week at the "entrance" of the river path was indeed an expansion of the graded section from curb to street level, so you shouldn't have any problem entering even if pedestrians are present (so bunny hopping the curb isn't necessary).  Just for note, I don't believe it is possible to bunny hop an Xtracycle so this works out great for me.

So the other note for today is I did count the lights that were on vs. off on my commute home last night.  Just as a refresher, last week I counted them (each and every one) as I rode in.  Between the automobile museum and fisherman's park there are 92 lamp posts.  I guessed that 50 to 75 percent were not working.  The real numbers (drum roll please) are:

 45 lights like this (working).

47 lights like this (not working).

So for you math folks out there that works out to 49 % working and 51 % not working.  And to top it off, the lights that do work are in some of the nicer areas like parks.  The areas most likely not to work....under bridges and in the longer isolated sections of the trail.  NOT a good combination of factors for safety!

Anyway, those are the numbers.  Now on to the hunt for the most important number....the one that reaches the person who can get these lights working again.  I'll keep you updated if I find it!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A shot in the dark.

It's no secret that I'm a fan of the river path here in Reno/Sparks.  It's a perfect fit for my commute and let's face it, it's probably safer than some of my surface street alternatives (Mill St.).  It is however that time of year when it gets dark early and even with a good light there are some pretty dark and isolated portions of the trail.  It doesn't particularly bother me (and I've never had a negative experience), but I'd wager that some riders find it a little uncomfortable.

I realized however, it really doesn't have to be this way.  When the trail was built someone was on their "A game" and incorporated lighting all along the trail!

And the numbers are impressive!  There are a total of 92 lights between the "start" of the trail at the Automobile museum in Reno and Fisherman's park in Sparks (yep, I counted).

View Larger Map
(Roughly the area shown above or 1.8 miles of trail)

The problem is that about 50 to 75 percent of the lights are not working (I'm guessing at this)!  So that "A game" designer has been defeated by one of three things (at least in my mind).

One option is simple lack of maintenance.  If this is the problem we should be able to resolve this quickly because almost every pole is numbered and should be able to be reported to the appropriate city, county, or "other" entity.  Assuming one can locate the correct person to contact.

Hello, City of Reno?  Yeah, light post #8 on the river trail is out.
Option two, is a little more bleak.  Maybe the powers that be have chosen to kill the lights along the path to save a few bucks on the power bill!?  I hope this isn't the case (since some of the lights work), but you never know.

Option three, is that some of the less reputable folks who use the river trail have messed with the lights over time to try to get access to power and have buggered up the wiring.  This would be the worst scenario as it involves finding $$$ to fix whatever has been done.  However, I've taken a look around several of the lights and there are no obvious signs of destruction.

So, tonight I'll repeat the count on the way home and see if I can actually tabulate the percentage of "out" lights.  Then I'm going to try my hand at some serious city politics and see if we can't get them working!  Lord knows the city wouldn't tolerate street lights that were burnt out in high percentages.

I know it's the Holidays....

The holiday season is upon us and you have to love living in a region where you can ride your bike pretty much year round.  So I guess what I can't decide is....Is this guy going completely overboard?  Or am I just jealous I haven't gotten around to putting Christmas lights on my bike?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Transforming tall bike.

Ok, if anyone want's a cool project for the winter months.....figure out how to engineer this!

Bike path entrace gets an upgrade?

I was planning to ride in on the surface streets and the "dreaded" Mill St. (which is really pretty good), when I notice some orange cones at the entrance to the river path.

So being nosy and needing something to blog about I promptly changed plans.  It looks like they have redesigned or expanded the sidewalk / street interface. 

Sorry about the blur factor....cameras and bikes are fine until you make it 20 degrees and have medium weight gloves to work with!  From the looks of this shot I think they widened the portion of the sidewalk that grades down to street level so you don't have to funnel so narrowly to access the trail.  This is a pretty good improvement, as pedestrians and cyclist were often competing for space on the narrow entrance.

I'll swing by next week to see if my guess on the improvements is right.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bicycle / Pedestrian improvement list 2011 - 2012

If you've ever wondered if there are any improvements coming to your neighborhood, here's your answer.  51 miles of new bike lanes in 2011 and almost 33 miles of new lanes slated for 2012!  Check out the list and then check out the lanes!  Sorry about the low quality scans, it's been a busy morning.

Note the asterisk - if you want to know why it's not done, see my rant here!

Another round of bike rack roundup.

Happened across a few more bike rack options this week during the commute.

Located on Island Ave. (just across from the Episcopal Church), room for six bikes, great location for overflow parking at Wingfield.  Super secure and in a high visibility location.  Thumbs up for another art rack!

Ok, this second one might be a little weak, but it caught my eye.  It took me a minute to this a bike rack?  I think the answer is yes, a portable bike rack (and no I'm not talking about the pole).  Think about it, what a quick and easy way to set up a secure temporary bike parking area!

Located a block from Court street (on the hill above Wingfield Island).  Actual address is Pickard and Flint.  One maybe two bikes.  Not even sure if it's a pseudo-portable bike rack or what.  Cool idea if it is!

Holy BPAC Batman!

Ok, I didn't post and let you guys know that there was an alternate scheduling of the BPAC (Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee) due to the holiday season.  I did think about it, but I figured no one cared.  Man on man was I wrong.  Last nights meeting was basically standing room only and the conversations were dynamic and rather invigorating (as far as I was concerned).

So why all the excitement?  Well, to start with, most of the bloggers that inspired me to get involved in the Reno bike community were there and the conversation amongst the BPAC committee members was on how to make contact with the cycling community (and spread the good word).  So just for reference if you're looking to read about bicycling in Reno you should check out:

Reno Bike Project, Reno-Rambler, Bike Reno, or Bike Carson

The really cool part last night was each of the bloggers (or reps from them) was present last night (with the exception of Bike's a long drive).  The discussion was opened to comments from each of the bloggers and the thought of collaboration, repetition of content, and reaching all age ranges of cyclist was hashed through.  Reference was even made to Bike Portland, which is probably one of the more far reaching and successful blogs in the regional bicycle community.  I think the RTC might be realizing that they don't have to do it all.  If they focus on the build it and they will come mentality, the existing local blogs will get the word out.

If this happens to interest you I'll throw you a last minute bone....

Today at 4-7 pm at the Discovery Museum in Reno the RTC will be holding a public workshop on the Regional Transportation Plan update of 2035.  This is an open house where you can put in your two cents on how our infrastructure grows (both bike, ped, and car).  So if you're ready to get involved come join us!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wacko Nutso Bike Commissioner.

Sorry you have to watch an add on this's totally worth it.  This chic is playing with the big boys and making a dent in transportation culture!

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Entrance Ramps....not just for cars!

Found something that makes my morning commute just that much more fun.  Really its a pretty impressive thing since I enjoy my ride thoroughly!  This particular gem acts like a highway entrance ramp....for bikes!  Most people would call it a bus stop, but that's just silly.  Anyway enough talk...have a look!

Bicycle entrance ramp or bus stop with access to the decide!

Slightly banked turn to maintain speed!

Straight shot entry into the new bike lane!

Nicely disguised as a bus stop so motorists don't get angry about the city building bike infrastructure!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Just back from Portland....

This is what it's like to be a cyclist there......

Well, ok, not really.  It's just a comic from the (meaning this is satirical folks), but to me it illustrates a pretty funny point with regards to drivers in Reno.  Drivers don't want to be bothered with cyclists using lanes on "their" roads and impeding their speedy progress. 

Now that there are a few bike lanes around Reno, there really are areas where it's faster (and now safer) to get around by bike.  And if your speedy and catch the lights right you really can outpace a car for miles at a time (Mill St. is definitely one)!  You know every time you pass a line of cars queued up and then catch the light as it changes to green this is how they feel!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Don't hate me....

Well, maybe you should because I leave for Portland in a few hours and I'm going to be going.....


And Here......

And Here....

And I'm going to be riding these.....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sad news.

Ecovelo has decided to call it quits as of January 1st of next year.  If your not familiar with Ecovelo check it out at  The amount of information is impressive (over 3300 posts with lots of how to) and some really fantastic bicycle photography.  It's also a big loss because they post from just over the hill in Sacramento, so a lot of the events and information were local and open to us Renoites without a super long drive (well at least compared to San Fran or Portland).

The good news is even though the site will go quiet, they are going to leave it up for us as a resource for a couple years.  So get over there and peruse the good stuff while it's there!

Thanks for the ride Ecovelo....we hope you enjoy your rides from here on out!