Thursday, April 30, 2015

Amtrak Trains to Allow Roll on Bicycle Access.

Click to read the entire article.

While this article is east coast based...the potential for roll on train access right out of Reno might just make for some interesting options.  A west coast tour beginning and ending with a little train access might be fun.  Anyhow, it's a big policy change for Amtrak and another step forward for cyclists.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Midtown Redesign....from my perspective.

There has been a lot of discussion about a big project that is coming to Midtown in the next couple years.  The long and short of it is that they are going to rip out all of Virginia Street and the sidewalks and get a chance at a total redo.  There is contention about what should take priority.

One side of the coin is to stay auto-centric.  Cars would be the focus, with travel lanes and parking getting the majority of the space with only ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) minimum requirements for sidewalks (e.g. narrow sidewalks).  So, pretty much what it is today with just slightly wider sidewalks.

The other side of the coin is more in tune with making Midtown into a pedestrian friendly environment where people want to come hang out and shop.  While it does require giving up a limited (small) number of on street parking spots, it gives back with 10 foot plus wide sidewalks, bicycle infrastructure, and room for benches, trees, and dining / display space for merchants.  Traffic lanes would be narrowed and speeds reduced to help facilitate pedestrian and bicycle movement.

Some people / businesses (who I will not point out) have argued that the auto-centric design is the only way to go.  They continually rally on the necessity of on street parking and how removal of a single spot will be the end of them (either business wise or as a customer trying to use midtown).

In light of this....I decided to spend Saturday night (a busy time?) in Midtown, in the way I use it and see what I found.  Here is the short version of the story....

We visited Craft, Public House, Junkee, and Brasserie St. James.

My with friends (and Junkee is just always fun).

So many options!

While rolling around Midtown between 8-10pm this is what I observed with respect to parking.  And for the record...I was biking, two folks were walking, and one buddy was driving from place to place.

Completely underutilized street parking, no bike infrastructure....and does that even qualify as a sidewalk!?

More unused parking.....less than a block from Brasserie St. James.  A location often sited as a parking problem area!?  Double bonus for catching a Hummer just blowing through Midtown at like 50 mph right next to a billboard that says "Too many pedestrians die on our roads"!?

We had a great time.  Everyone got around just fine.  The consensus was that walking works...but the sidewalks suck and you often have to step into the street.  Biking also works but you better be willing to throw your lot in with traffic and force some respect....because it isn't freely given.  Driving works just fine.  Parking wasn't a problem.

So there's one night in Midtown.  

I'll try to do a mid-day for comparison at some point soon.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What makes Portland America's First Great Bicycle City?

Come out on May 1st and find out.  Panel based discussion to follow.  Perhaps we can discuss how to get Reno to follow in some of these footsteps.

The flyer notes that parking is free after 5 pm.  I'll argue that since you'll obviously be riding your bike to the event....parking is free 24/7!  Also, please note there is a $5 cost for the even but pizza and beverages will be provided!

Ride 24/7!

How many hours a day do you ride?

SE Connector Phase 2....and mega MUP (mixed use path).

The honest truth is I don't particularly care for the SE Connector project.  Building another 6 lane highway in Reno is the complete opposite way I think we should be designing.  However, the project has been on the books for almost 50 years....and now that they have got it started I'm sure there's no stopping it.

On the up side....We are getting a significant MUP put in along the route, separated bridge access, and a good bicycle and pedestrian access path for North-South travel in eastern Reno.  So have a look and see what you think.  

Monday, April 27, 2015

Reno Brew Bike!

Not sure how I missed this but apparently the Brew Bike is now Reno based....

**Sorry about the commercials*** still can't drink on the bike (which is totally lame), but they do take you on a two hour tour that hits a bunch of the local breweries and pubs.  I'll argue it's a lot cheaper and just was much fun to gather your buddies and roll out as a group on your own bikes.  However, it's a great business to promote Reno breweries and if it helps show you the ropes of riding in downtown I'm all for it!

Five Ingredients for a Great Bicycle City.

I was reading an article over at that discussed the 5 items necessary to build a great bike city.  Here's the list as quoted:

I once sat next to Mia Birk at a meeting where she said that in order to create a city that is friendly for cycling you need the following things:
1. Political leadership
2. Advocates (an organized group)
3. City Staff/Planners who ‘get it’ and at least some who actually ride bikes
4. A good bike plan
5. A dedicated source of local money (which can be leveraged toward larger grants)
Getting elected officials who understand the issues and take the lead is the only way that forward movement is going to happen in Portland. The other four items on that list either already exist, or will come after the political leadership shows up.
 Interestingly enough, I think Reno is right on the cusp of this.  Here's how I see it broken down.

1.  Political leadership.....we're so close on this.  Jenny Brekhus is on board, Hillary seems with it, Neoma is slowly learning to roll with it, David and Oscar are in line, and I'm a bit uncertain with respect to Paul and Naomi.  So we're looking at 5 out of 7 in general terms.

2.  Advocates....yep, Great Streets, Reno Bike Project, BPAC, and others.

3.  City Staff/Planners who get it.....RTC is right there with us and loaded with people who do really get street design.  The issue might be getting the old guard planners at City of Reno to take RTC recommendations.  We're in a pretty good place on this though.

4.  A good bike plan.  We do have a legit bicycle master plan.  It's a little fuzzy on the details but it points in all the right directions.

5.  Dedicated source of local money....This one we're a bit hit and miss on.  The RTC does have $$$ for redesign via the slurry sealing program, but this is limited to paint on roadways, not full redesign.  I'm not sure where we find this in Reno exactly.

All in all, Reno is poised (and already started) to redesign step by step via the road maintenance program.  The challenge is the big projects, big picture, and political will.  Areas like Midtown and the 4th and Prater projects need to be done right, with modern protected bike lanes.  Once we see a few buffered bike lanes functioning I think the slurry seal / road maintenance rehabs might be able to get a little more aggressive with their paint based designs (e.g. buffered bike lanes).  From there it might really start to roll.

Finally, if this process garners enough support we might just start attracting cyclist to move to Reno (like they do with Portland).  These folks could further galvanize the advocacy that's already here and really keep pushing.

Anyway, that's how I see it.  While it won't happen on it's own, we're got the bicycle rolling so to speak.  Now we just have to keep pedaling and bring the process along with us!

Midtown Redesign Merchant Preferred Alternatives.

Ok, there has been a firestorm of meetings over the last couple weeks regarding how to redesign Virginia St. through Midtown.  The whole process began because cyclists, pedestrians, and some business owners felt the design was to auto centric.  The tough part is that here is only 64 feet at the narrowest portion (the north end) of Virginia St. from Stewart to Vasser.  After a lot of proposed designs and some conversations (both heated and level headed) a vote was held by the Midtown Merchants group.  These were their preferred alternatives and likely what will be pushed for City Hall to adopt.

As you can see....the southern portions of the redesign have proposed Reno's first buffered bike lanes!  And the northern portion will retain parking (very important from the Merchant's point of view) and introduce the first fully sharrowed lanes along with a speed limit reduction to between 15-20 mph.  All locations will have 12 foot side walks rather than just the legally required 6 foot sidewalks.  A compromised for both sides but hopefully something that will make Midtown a bicycle and pedestrian destination that it should be while still allowing good flow through for traffic!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Even the traffic is telling you to ride your bike!

One of my Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) members sent me a photo this morning.  I'll leave him nameless since he's obviously breaking the cell phone rule while in his car!

Just a reminder that if you need a special week to ride your bike, the time is coming soon.  I'll argue that every week is bike week....but that's fodder for another post!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Earth Day Many Spokes Ride!

Earth Day is right around the corner (it's this Sunday @ Idlewild Park).  If you haven't ever attended, one thing you should know is that while driving to Earth Day is obviously discouraged...parking is always slammed.  So with that in mind....Truckee Meadows Bicycle Alliance is leading some group rides in to Idlewild from all reaches of the city.  It's a great opportunity to get there in a green way and introduce you to riding in the city! 

Here's some more details from the site.  Reno Bike Project will be hosting a bike valet service and there will be local "bike share" to ride from Reno High to Idlewild Park if you do have to drive to the area and still want to be a bit greener!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Check out Reno Bike Tribe!
Click the pic to check it out!

I don't personally own any small children....but for those of you who do, you might want to check out bike tribe.  It's a group trying to revive the "ancient" act of letting kids ride their bikes to school (which is usually about a mile from the house), like I did back in yonder year!  I understand that this type of "free range" parenting isn't all the rage these days, with "helicopter" parenting being so popular.  However, if you're looking to raise a youngster to enjoy being out doors, be self sufficient, and take responsibility at an early age....then this might be right up your alley!

Sometimes Bicycling Blows....And then makes you Smile!

Last night the commute home pretty much sucked....well it blew....literally.  Yep, head wind, straight out of the West.  I could see the wind building all day out of my window, so I knew what was coming.  There's nothing else to do but to put your head down and grind.  And for that reason there are no pictures to document this.

However, I was rewarded this morning rolling back down Mill St.  One of those days when there is a backed up line of cars like 1/2 mile long.  The bike lane traffic was (of course) very I got to cruise at 25 mph past about 100 cars and made every light on Mill Street.  It's not that it's a benefit to a cyclist in any way.  It just makes me smile knowing I'll be to the other side of the airport before they make it past the Grand Sierra Resort.  It really is the little things in life some days!

Kinda felt like this!
 Ride on!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Redesigning design options from Great Streets Coalition!

Sunday afternoon members of the Great Streets Coalition gather for a little design workshop, with the idea being to present some less car centric options to both local merchants and RTC.  I realized the presentation above requires a little introduction and comment, but you'll probably get the idea if you watch it a few times.  Basically, we highlight the section of Midtown we're talking about (red line on the google map) and then give a few design options both for mid-block and intersections for each area (North end, Middle, and South End).  It ends with some NDOT traffic counts for the entire area.
One really interesting point here, is that traffic has been decreasing even as the district has been growing like I guess it shows people really do already walk or bike to the area!?  Such a novel concept!

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Metal Cowboy and Bicycle Adventures.

 I've been rereading several books written by Joe Kurmaskie (a.k.a. The Metal Cowboy).  The man has ridden 100,000 miles plus all over the world.  He's also managed to drag most of his family along behind him at some point.  And it really is literally dragging them behind on a trail a bike and a trailer with respect to his two small boys!

So if you need to hear about an adventure by bicycle, pick up one of his books.  The man is a darn good story teller and the books are a great read.

Here's a little compilation video I stumbled across recently.

Joe Kurmaskie- Metal Cowboy from Luke Harvey on Vimeo.

Working to make Virginia St. (Mid-town) a Great Street.

Last night was yet another meeting...I think we're up to 4 or 5 days in a row (although I've not attended them all) about the future of Virginia St. and making it work for everyone....not just cars.  The Great Streets Coalition is hitting it's stride early and last night we were talking with the Mid-town merchants group.  The long and short of it from our point is that if we build the street correctly (perhaps even giving up a couple parking spots) it will draw people on foot and by bicycle....and we want to remind the merchants that these people shop more often and spend more $$$$ than people who arrive by car.  Check out the cause at:

I took some quality time to review my literature before the meeting at Craft Bottle Shop (yeah, shocking...I know.)

Climber Girl giving a very good presentation on how bicycles and walking are the future for Mid-town and that losing a few parking spots might actually increase their business!

And it was a full house.

Jenny Brekhus has attended almost every meeting.  She really does have her finger on the pulse of this.  My only question is where is Neoma Jardon (since she is the chair of the RTC board)!?

And even better....Jenny arrives by bike! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Mill St. Riding....Not Dangerous Enough...Let's Force Cyclists into Traffic!?

I know, I know....they just don't even think about it.  They really should though. 

I happened to drive through the area earlier in the afternoon.  The construction was legit, with a full lane closed.  However, this is at 5:15 pm....they've smartly halted construction and lane closures prior to rush hour on Mill St.  The part that gets me is while they removed all obstacles to auto traffic, they've left cyclists in a difficult and dangerous situation. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Help Sky Tavern Get a Downhill Mtn. Bike Course!!!

We're currently in the lead against two other western region projects for the $100,000 trail building grant!!  Every vote counts though so click the image or line below.

***Be sure to follow the steps listed at the sight.  Including clicking the link it sends to your email, so your vote counts!!***

Midtown Design point of view.

It's really not that hard folks.  Here's what I came up with in about 20 minutes using  It fits protected bike lanes, bus stops, trees, and parking.  Yep, we give up some parking.  And we make the whole road work better!

One lane each island...that would have turn lanes at "significant" intersections.  Still room for protected bike lanes and 6-14 foot sidewalks.  And the six foot "narrow" sidewalk is only at bus stations.

Where there aren't bus stops....put in a tree, parklet, benches, or wider sidewalks!

Or heck....even add back in some parking.  Yes, I realize the car would have to cross the bike lane to park. 

Perhaps a bi-directional bike lane.  Then the bus stop/tree/parking spots on the left side are more accessible?
 So....come on RTC.  Let's put some options on the table like this!

Virginia Street Design Throwdown and Great Streets Coalition!

As I rolled up to the Virginia St. meeting last night I saw what is starting to be a very regular sight at public meetings when street planning is on the agenda....piles of bikes!

You know it's going to be fun when the bike racks are full and bikes are locked up to every pole in sight!  The meeting itself was no less entertaining. 

Over a year ago we saw "design options" for Midtown and we were to post stickers on the options we liked.  The strongest sentiment by far showed up on the designs with bike lanes and expanded sidewalks.  And it wasn't even 75 percent of the stickers were biking and walking favored option.

Last night we were presented with three updated design options.....not a single one included a bike lane (although wider side walks were there)....but have no fear not a single parking spot was lost.  The response during comment time was rather pointed.  Well over an hour of continuous comments basically all requesting the bike lanes and a large number of comments asking for a Great Street not just a complete street.  Even better these comments came from both cyclists and business owners!

This leads us into the Great Streets movement.  A coalition was recently formed to hold the City of Reno and RTC to the right path on this project.  After all....we won't get a shot at it again for 20+ years.  The Great Streets Coalition is just getting off the ground....but if you want to join in and help make Reno a great town to live in please check out the statement and links below:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Help shape the future of Virginia St. (Midtown to UNR).



The RTC is inviting the community to provide comments and ideas on the future of Virginia Street as part of the Virginia Street Bus RAPID Transit Extension Project.  Two meetings will be held for the public to review preliminary designs for Virginia Street.  The designs feature proposed improvements for Virginia Street from Maple Street to 15th Street near the University of Nevada, Reno and from Liberty Street to Plumb Lane in Midtown.

The proposed enhancements include: wider sidewalks, new bike lanes and extending RAPID bus service north to UNR with new transit stations and intersection improvements.  The project is also intended to better connect the University to Downtown Reno and Downtown to points south including Midtown.  The extension of RTC RAPID would eliminate the need for a transfer at RTC 4TH STREET STATION to UNR, saving travelers’ valuable time.  The project will also support economic growth and redevelopment along Virginia Street and throughout the region.  Additionally, it will help create a safer community that is accessible to everyone under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

While the same information will be presented at both meetings, the public is welcome to attend one or both events.  Free parking is available at both meetings.

For more information on this project, go to and click on Streets and Highways, then Road Projects.

Community Information Meeting One (served by RTC RAPID)
Tuesday, April 14
5 to 7 p.m. with a brief presentation at 5:30 p.m.
The Discovery Museum
490 South Center Street
Reno, NV 89501

Community Information Meeting Two (served by RTC SIERRA SPIRIT and RTC RIDE route 7)
Wednesday, April 15
5 to 7 p.m. with a brief presentation at 5:30 p.m.
University of Nevada, Reno, Raggio Building, room 4001
1664 North Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89503

The odds aren't in your favor.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Drive thru Status....Is it Relevant?

Ok, I'm the first person to say that McDonald's isn't "food".  However, the right to ride my bike through a drive through would in some ways mean that bicycles are considered legitimate transportation in the eyes of one type of establishment.  So with that in mind....guess what's happening in Copenhagen!?

Yep, customizing McDonald's drive thru's for bikes.  I guess it only makes sense if almost 50 percent of people are using bikes rather than cars!  For the record....I bet not a ton of people in Copenhagen eat McDonalds.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Erica Greif Memorial

There will be a group ride departing for Erica's memorial from Bibos coffee at 12:30 today.  Please join us.  The memorial will be at 95 Foothill Rd. At 2 pm.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Remembering Erica Greif.

Last night there was a ride and candlelight vigil to celebrate the life of Erica Greif.  I found myself somewhat amazed at the number of people someone so young had obviously touched.  There were hundreds of riders gathered at Bibo's when I rolled up about 8 pm.  I didn't take pictures at the gathering or during the seemed inappropriate.  I did grab a few shots taken at Bibos and on the ride from RGJ just to show how many people loved this little gal.

The group ride that followed was just as amazing to see.  Virginia St. was completely filled for several blocks (no exaggeration) as we rolled out (with a police escort).  Perhaps the first time in a long time Virginia St. in Midtown has actually been reclaimed by bikes....something I think Erica would have enjoyed. 

It's also worth noting that every aspect of cyclist was represented...hipsters, commuters, bike couriers, mountain bikers, club riders, team/pro riders, and regular people who just ride bikes...Erica had friends in every group and age range there is.

We rolled though the Midtown neighborhood for a bit and ended up at Newland's Park for the candlelight memorial and to place a ghost bike in Erica's honor.

Her family and close friends lead a very nice gathering including a reading from her younger brother about Erica.  If there was a single person who didn't cry I'd be surprised.

As things wrapped up I chatted with several folks I knew, sharing stories about Erica .  I was ready to leave but I felt like things were unfinished in some way.  I guess that's the only way you can feel when someone so young and full of energy and life dies.  So Ride in Peace'll be remembered!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Reno Bicycling Community has Lost a Friend.

Last night I was checking email before heading to bed.  A post from the Reno Cyclocross Contingent caught my eye.  I couldn't believe what followed...

Erica Greif was killed in a car accident Tuesday.

Erica at Clayton Middle School Cyclocross Race.

According to what I've read, she was heading out after taking an final at UNR and driving through the night to race in the Redlands Classic.  At some point on the drive down, there was a head on collision with another vehicle.

I knew Erica through the Sagebrush Cyclocross series (she was the race director) for the last few years.  She was a pint sized powerhouse, both organizing the race series and riding in it.  Since the men's B's race with the Women's A class, it was often my goal to get on to Erica's wheel and try to get around her at some point.  In the last two years, I only beat her once!  What can I say....that girl could ride!!

While I didn't know her well, I did spend a little bit of time with her, Nick, Noah and the rest of the Reno cyclocross contingent prepping courses, setting up, and taking down.  Even after some really long days she was always smiling and ready to have a beer.

There will be a memorial ride tonight (Thursday) at 8 pm leaving from Bibo's Coffee on Sierra St. to honor her memory.

Ride on will be missed.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Trail Building Days with the Poedunks!

Ever complain about the trails up at Keystone Canyon being a little too rocky or washed out?  Ever wish there were some new trails to test your skills on?  Well here's the way to solve that.  Come out and join the Poedunks for a little work on those trails.  There are two more work days this month (see above) and I know they can use all the help they can get!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Let's Ride....

I found this little video over at  It came with this little package of interesting stats:
Trailer stats:
- 4 days of shooting
- 45 extras aged 2-68
- A team of five assistants
- One camera
- 8 Orps
- 3 drift bikes
- 2 cargo bikes
- 1 tall bike
- 1 swing grill bike
- 1 family of six children (the Nichols family)
– 10 quesadillas and 15 sausages grilled on the grill bike at the Skidmore Bluffs as the sun set on Portland
I think we need to shoot one of these for Reno!  If nothing else it'd be a great excuse for a ride that ends in a park with some grilling.  And I know for a fact that we have an even bigger grill bike in town somewhere that doubles as a double tall bike!

**A pic from Feb. 2012**

Anyone know where this thing resides?  Or if it still exists?  I last saw it somewhere down on Dickerson Rd.....but that was a while ago.

Davis Creek s24o Bikepacking Video (from the Cuter Commuter)!

The Cuter Commuter sent me a link to the gopro footage she shot last weekend on our trip down to Davis Creek Park.  I haven't even watched the whole edit (complete with music), but it obviously must be posted immediately!!



Ok, I watched 4 times in a row!  Cuter Commuter did an awesome job on this.  I can't even believe how cool it turned out! 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Get Inspired for a Bicycle Adventure!

The bikepacking trip from Reno to Davis Creek was a resounding success last weekend.  The post also generated a lot of interest based on how many of you viewed it.  I'm not sure if it's because it's local or just because it gets people excited to do a bike ride.  Either way....Adventure Cycling ( is the go to organization that has driven this type of outdoor fun for many years.  They have all the resources you can ever need, a gear store, and a ton of videos and trip reports from adventures all over the country and the world.  So check out the video above and maybe go check out their site for a little more inspiration to get out and explore by bicycle!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

It's a beautiful Saturday Morning... go crush some cars!

Ok, not really.  Seriously though, it's a really nice day for a bike ride!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Banff Mountain Film Festival is Thursday!!

***Note the location change from years past!***

Details below from the Nevada Land Trust:

The adventure begins Thursday, April 2nd at 7p.m. in the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are on sale now, through Pioneer Center (866-553-6605,, Pioneer Box Office, Monday - Friday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.) or REI: (775-828-9090).

General Admission is $22 in advance and $27 on the day of the event. There will be a pre-show exhibit event as well, beginning at 6:00 p.m., outside the showroom. Please note that the bar is CASH ONLY (ATM available).

The Banff Mountain Film Festival is Nevada Land Trust’s largest annual fundraiser, which has helped fund the protection of more than 42,000 acres to date. For more information, please call (775) 851-5180.

This year will be fun / different for me.  For years I've been involved with helping to pick the films we see and volunteering.  Due to a multitude of changes I'm just attending as a guest this year.  I have to say I'm actually looking forward to not knowing what we'll be seeing!

Yet another reason to ride your bike!

No....not me...the sunglasses!

 Road finds.....yep, stuff you find on the road while riding.  It is of course an extremely varied mix of items.  Nuts and bolts and fasteners are probably the most common and kind of make you wonder how some of the cars are still held together.  And there's pocket change....mostly pennies, but sometimes you find a dime or quarter.  As a rule I stop for dimes or larger (I am Dutch after all)...but I've scored a $20 bill within the last month....and even found a $100 bill years ago! 

My other list of treasures includes two nice folding knives, a 6 inch straight blade knife, and an adjustable crescent wrench.  Today I found the best one in a while....a pretty much new pair of Rayban Aviator sunglasses.  Lenses up and no scratches (which is a serious improvement over my own sunglasses)!

So keep your eyes peeled while never know what you'll find!