Archive for category 2011

City of Folsom plans ToC “viewing event”

The small, historic town of Folsom, east of Sacramento, will host a “viewing party” along Sutter Street on May 17th. Spectators will congregate to watch Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California, which starts in Auburn and ends in Modesto.

The racers will enter Folsom and cross the local landmark Rainbow Bridge around 10.45am before continuing south through Rancho Cordova and on to Modesto. The intersection of Sutter and Riley in Old Folsom – a short, steep climb for the cyclists – marks the first unofficial “sprint point”, according to Robert Goss, director of Folsom Parks and Recreation. This section has been dubbed “The Folsom Prison Breakaway Sprint”.

From Sutter Street, the riders will proceed to Blue Ravine, Prairie City and White Rock Road – all of which are familiar routes for Sacramento area cyclists.

Local businesses and the Folsom Tourism Bureau have offered a $1,000 cash prize for the first cyclist to reach the “sprint point”.

Festivities on the morning of the event, which begins at 9.30am, include a DJ, street vendors, and a prize draw for a customized bicycle donated by popular local bike shop Bicycles Plus. The event is expected to wrap up around 11.30am.

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More bike lanes for downtown Sac

Sacramento city council has approved plans for an increase in the number of downtown bicycle lanes over the next 18 months. The Department of Transportation has been given the green light to develop two phases of bicycle lane construction; projects which will introduce dedicated cycle lanes on some of the city’s busiest streets.

The cash-strapped city managed to find $629,000 to allocate to the project, which will proceed this summer in conjunction with scheduled maintenance on the city’s streets. The first phase of the project will add painted bicycle lanes to J Street, I Street, 9th Street, 5th Street, 10th Street and Capitol Mall, where the roads are typically wide enough already to accommodate a dedicated cycle lane. In many cases, substantial bikeways can be added with little or no impact on existing traffic lanes or parking.

The second phase will oversee the removal of existing traffic lanes from several major one-way streets. A single lane of traffic can be split to provide a dedicated cycle lane on each side of the road. Streets scheduled for the second phase of development include stretches of 5th Street, 9th Street, 10th Street, G Street and H Street.

The plans aim to create an environment downtown which resembles the bike-friendly portions of midtown, where cycling is popular and bikeways are more common.

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By Bike | Week 13 (Miles 1084-1149)

It’s difficult to go out of town and leave the bike behind, more so when you’re on the way to a place that almost demands a bike ride. And so, it was with some sadness that, after a nice few days of warmish, dampish commutes, I drove to work on Friday and left Eva in the garage.

You know when you want to go for a ride and can’t and suddenly see bikes everywhere? And even though it’s windy and rainy and cold, you’re jealous? Yeah, that.

The tables turned by Easter weekend when other family met us in Carmel and, many of them having driven a couple of hours to get there, started off the morning complaining about gas prices. Now, gas prices affect me too. My wife drives our two kids to and from places all week long. In fact, she had only just recently complained that it was costing her too much to get the kids to and from the places they go to and from (keep in mind, my kids are both under 3 so we all understand this going to and from is only going to get worse). But, I realized as gas prices were discussed first thing Easter morning that I actually had no idea what the average price near my house was.

Ignorance can be bliss.

Today, I’m back in saddle, riding to work, trying not to spend my entire commute calculating how much money I’m saving.

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CHP announces new fines for cyclists

The California Highway Patrol has announced plans to introduce penalties for cyclists who use a cellphone while riding. The fine – $20 (before additional fees) is for first-time offenders. Repeat offenders would face fines of $50 for each incident.

The new penalties were outlined in a bill that was approved by the state Senate on Monday, April 25th. The bill also increases penalties for drivers who use a cellphone while driving. They could face fines of more than $500 for repeat offenses, once fees have been tacked on to the basic fine. The bill was introduced during April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

As cellphones become ubiquitous, it is not unusual to see cyclists pausing to retrieve a ringing phone from a pocket while they cruise along city streets. Motorists have been doing the same for many years, often with tragic results.

But the bill has its opponents among cycling advocates, who maintain that cyclists need greater protection, not more restrictions, when riding on the road.

“This is only going to be one more obstacle for someone who uses their bicycle for transportation.” Said Tani Walling, a bike shop owner from southern California. “Everything about how our streets and sidewalks are set up favors cars.”

Every year, law enforcement hands out tens of thousands of citations in California for drivers using cellphones to talk or text while driving. Over 18s are required to use hands-free devices, while under-18s are prohibited from using any kind of phone while driving a car.

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Imaginary interview with Sam myself

Yesterday, Sam asked, “how do you propose to conduct press business while you’re slogging up King Ridge?”

My response:

Perhaps I’ll just interview you as we ride.

“This is your third year riding Levi’s Gran Fondo, what keeps you coming back?”

“Honestly, right now, I’m not sure.”

“I’ll put that down as masochism.”

“And stupidity.”

“Insanity?”

Of course, this says more about me than anything else.

,

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Bicycle Film Festival returns to Sacramento

Bicycle Film Festival – the New York-based cycling art and culture showcase – will return to Sacramento this May, coinciding with the popular May Is Bike Month initiative and the Amgen Tour of California. BFF had its Sacramento debut last year, and the positive reception secured a return for the international festival.

“I’m stoked we’re bringing the Bicycle Film Festival back to Sac, where we had such a huge turnout last year,” festival Director Brendt Barbur told The Sacramento Press. “Sacramento is a perfect city for BFF due to its love of the arts and music and rich cycling heritage.”

BFF will arrive on Thursday, May 12th, when the Crocker Art Museum will host the opening party before showing a selection of short films. The festival will then move to Fremont Park at 16th and Q for Friday and Saturday, where more films will be shown, along with competitions and music. The event is sponsored by Hot Italian and Sierra Nevada Brewing, and admission and bike valet parking are free.

Bicycle Film Festival started in 2001 in New York and quickly gained the attention of the mainstream media. This year, the festival will visit more than 20 cities in a dozen different countries.

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By Bike | Week 12 (Miles 972 – 1084)

I turn 30 next month. The big three-oh, they say. One of those important numbers that’s a multiple of 5.

I mention this only because I’ve realized a couple of things in the last few weeks:

  1. I’m in the best cycling shape of my life.
  2. I might be in the best overall shape of my life.

It was easy really. I didn’t need interval workouts or hill repeats. There were no special 6 hour rides or trips to the gym to lift weights. I didn’t get on the trainer once. All it took was an almost daily ride to work and back and few Saturday rides with Sam.

I’m not saying I couldn’t be faster-trust me, I’m not that fast. If I were going to enter a race, I’d probably need to do a few intervals and hill repeats and make myself suffer in ways I can only vaguely remember from my years on the cross-country team. But, the beauty of all this, is I’m not going to enter a race. Every ounce of strength I find in my legs is for me. So, it doesn’t matter if I take a day off. It doesn’t matter if, instead of bringing myself to the redline, I just spin home.

But we’ll see how I really feel when Levi’s Gran Fondo rolls around and I’m faced with the prospect of climbing King Ridge Colman valley Road…

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Riderless bike serves as poignant memorial

A solitary white bicycle has appeared chained to a traffic post outside CSUS, the scene of an accident earlier this month which killed one of the university students. The bike, spray-painted a stark, ghostly white, was left anonymously leaning against the post on a traffic island immediately in front of the entrance to the university campus on J Street. Beside the bike, flowers and ribbons add color, while a photograph of the victim, Arlene Sasse, reminds pedestrians how risky the city’s streets are for cyclists.

Sasse was crossing J Street on her bike shortly before 2am on April 1st when she was hit. She died at the scene. The driver of the car claims she did not see Sasse, whose bike reportedly did not have lights or reflectors.

Arlene Sasse was due to to graduate from CSUS in May with a psychology degree. She had hoped the qualification would help her find work as an occupational psychologist. Before transferring to Sac State, she had previously attended American River and Sacramento City junior colleges.

The Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA) responded to the tragedy by issuing free bicycle lights to Sac State students, in an effort to encourage safer riding practices. Sacramento’s roads – already unfriendly and often deadly for cyclists in the daylight – can be lethal after dark. Though the city claims to be cycling-friendly, many major routes are effectively off-limits to bikes. Cars frequently abuse cyclists by parking illegally in designated cycle lanes or behaving aggressively towards law-abiding bicycle traffic.

“Ghost bikes” are a sad but common sight in metropolitan areas, appearing in more than 35 US states, and more than 20 countries worldwide. They almost always offer the same sombre, elegant memorial: a white bicycle beside a small photograph of the victim. Sacramento residents have noted at least half a dozen of the bikes, which are eventually removed by municipal workers.

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Troubled Elk Grove mall site donates dirt for bike park

A new dirt-bike and BMX park in Elk Grove will be constructed using tons of dirt from the stalled Elk Grove Promenade mall site. The bike park, the first of its kind in the south Sacramento area, will be located on the western edge of the Elk Grove Regional Park, replacing the Green Diamond softball field, which will move eastward inside the park.

The Consumnes Community Services District approved plans to spend $365,000 on the new park, awarding the contract to Parker Landscape Development, Inc. The donation of dirt from the mall site will save the district an estimated $200,000.

“This is going to be a quality park…the design really reflects the needs of the cycling community.” Said local dirt-bike park advocate Keith CoBen in the Elk Grove Citizen.

The 2.4 acre park will feature a series of challenging jumps, mounds and pathways, many of which were designed by local cyclists. Bike park specialist Hillride also contributed to the overall design. Volunteers are on hand to see the park through the construction phase.

The new park is scheduled to open in August, 2011.

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1000 Miles | Panda Shot

A few days behind, but I hit mile 1000 this afternoon. Photo taken pretty near the 1000th mile – I’m guessing 998.

 

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