Author Archives: Lorenz Worden

Dead, Dying, and Born Again . . . Plus the Winners

Update on changes and stability in the bicycle magazine world.

Urban Velo – Dead. Urban Velo passed away at issue #45, December 2014 with an all-black cover. ABC fondly recalls that Urban Velo sponsored our showing “Premium Rush,” a 2012 bicycle messenger action-thriller, at the Madison Theater and gave us multiple copies of the magazine and frame stickers. Uraban Velo’s content had been slipping slowly away during 2014 . . .Urban Velo DEAD 12-14 COMP

They closed with this statement: “It has been a good run. . . . Most every city has taken it [cycling facilities] up to some degree, with the best featuring a spider web of lanes and dedicated paths, ample bike parking, and a healthy and diverse bike culture. Large-scale bikeshare was unthinkable not long ago . . . Simply riding a bicycle is hardly countercultural at this point, and there is no doubt that some of the closeness of the relatively under-the-radar city bike culture has gone to the wayside as the pool has gotten larger. The change isn’t without growing pains and nostalgia for the way it was, but the way it is shaping up to be the way we always wanted it to be. It is a good time to be a bicycle believer.”

Read more here.

“Bicycle Times” – Dying. Losing its way. Once editor Karen Brooks departed (abruptly – boom!), “Bicycle Times” seems to be lost in space and seems to be recreating itself as a music and beer mag. Have to watch how this develops. . .

Bicycle Times 2011 COMP

“Bicycling” After years of imagining that everyone on a bicycle wants to be super fast and thin, ride on carbon only, and is rich, “Bicycling” has recognized that there are other markets out there – cargo carriers, commuters, fat-tire fans, parents, e-bike advocates, women, people who can’t spend $12,000 on bicycle No. 26 and $425 for a GPS, and so on. So far, “Bicycling” seems to be hitting a nice mix with the last several issues. Now if they could just get past the cutesy language, the superlatives, and meaningless personal reminiscences in their reviews, we’d be all set.

Bicycling July 13 COMP

And the winners are . . .

“Momentum” – Remains the ultimate “unracer” bicycle magazines for the real world with lots of practical (and some impractical) tips, pointed reviews, great layout, and news for people on bicycles. Well worth the modest subscription price (print – $19.95, digital – $4.99) or pick up a comp copy at the Downtube Bicycle Works.Momenturm Winter 2014 COMP

“Bicycle Quarterly” – The absolute best from a technical viewpoint. No poetic baloney to wade through (like “Bicycling”). Hard hitting reviews, technical competence, clear editorial theme, tremendous photos, great ride stories, and no ads for cars, beer, sex toys, or “Blue Lagoon Skin Care” (again, a la “Bicycling”). Not only are the reviews plainly presented but also the manufacturer is given an opportunity to comment on the review as part of it – great strategy.

Bicycle Quarterly Spring 2014COMP

Special Interest  . . .

Two other special-interest mags are Adventure Cyclist and American Cyclist. Under the editorial leadership of Michael Deme, Adventure Cultist has a nice mix of ride narratives, product reviews, and bike touring tips. American Cyclist, the bi-monthly published presence of the League of American Bicyclists, features legislative/lobby efforts and successes and victories for people on bicycles and promotes education, cycling, bicycle clubs, and the benefits of the cycling lifestyle. Both of these are very well done and are provided as part of membership in the sponsoring advocacy organizations.

Leave a comment

Filed under Article

People on Bicycles – Welcome to Albany!

The City of Albany recently installed bicycle lanes on Northern Blvd. at Rt. 377/Van Rensselaer Blvd.  This is one of the major entries to the city.  The new lanes run from Van Rensselaer Blvd. to the Rt. 9 overpass.  The understanding from Albany Police Department’s Division of Traffic Safety is that, at some point, the lanes will be extended on into the city passing Memorial Hospital, a couple charter schools, and the (former) Livingston Middle School (being converted into residences).

??????????????????????????????? A closer look shows 5+ foot paved shoulders, 6 foot bicycle lanes, 12-foot right-hand (inside) lane on the south-east side (11 on the north-west side), and a left (outside) lane of about 11 feet.

Installation of the new lanes comes after a long dry spell since lanes were put in on Clinton Ave. (from Ten Brock to Lexington).  The Northern Blvd. area has always been a challenging ride.  The presence of the bicycle lanes should cause some traffic calming and may encourage more people to commute on bicycles.???????????????????????????????

Leave a comment

Filed under Activism, Bike Lanes, City Review

Is There Hope for I-787?

tumblr_l3fmm8IrTN1qzl4rno1_500On 3/4/15, the Times Union stated that “Supporters of the effort to give downtown Albany more access to the Hudson River should take heart from what’s happening 300 miles to our west” and then described how Buffalo/Niagara falls is ridding itself of  a 2-mile stretch of parkway to allow enjoyment of the Niagara Gorge and Falls.

Read the complete story here.
Albany now has a chance to right a 50-year-old disaster, the riverside I-787 and return it to a surface street with city-appropriate speed limits, traffic patterns and cross streets.

I-787 is just one of many misguided “all-car-all-the-time” projects that plague Buffalo, Binghamton, Endicott, Syracuse, and other cities across the state and nation – four-lane, limited access highways that cut cities and neighborhoods in half, block views of architecture, lakes and rivers, and add to noise, congestion and crashes.

Depending on which plan is adopted, the I-787 change may cost between $30 million and $50 million.  Not cheap, but there always seems to be plenty of public funds for local motor-centric projects like the following:

  • $99.7 million to add two more motor vehicle lanes to the 7 miles between exists 23 and 24 NYS Thruway ($14 million per mile)
  • $18 million for the fly over etc. on Fuller Road
  • $29 million for the repaving the Thaddeus Kosciusko Bridge (Kosciusko, 1746 – 1817, Hero of America and Poland)

The paper noted “. . . the Riverfront Arterial, the steel and concrete roadway that became Interstate 787 was part of the massive Empire State Plaza project. Thousands of state employees needed [it] to get in and out every workday. A massive highway system was deemed more important than maintaining access to the scenic Hudson River.”

Stay tuned for public meetings where those who care about a new and lively Albany can speak their piece.

tumblr_loptfhMnk81qzu3e6o1_1280

Leave a comment

Filed under Activisim, City Review, Riding in Albany, Support the Cause

Breaking the Ice – Ride #1 South End Bikeway Link

PRE-RIDE – We kicked off the monthly series of planned orientation rides on the proposed South End Bikeway on Saturday, March 7, 2015. Nine intrepid riders – with the youngest being 18 months old – met under the (pounding) I-787 at the Boat Launch/Row Center in the Albany Corning Preserve. We started with a League of American Bicyclists mini “Safe Cycling” course sponsored by the Albany Bicycle Coalition. We had several adults and one youth for the class which featured a description of the full course, helmet selection and fit, pre-ride “ABC Quick check of our bicycles,” signaling, “rock dodge,” and scanning (to the rear).

HEADING OUT – Leaving from the start of the Erie Canalway Trail and the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, we headed along the current multi-use pathway to the central parking area where we learned about the $8-million Albany Corning Preserve project and the proposed South End Bikeway Link. He pointed out the “flyover” – an adaptive re-use of an unneeded I-787 ramp into a multi-use “high line-like” parkway for people on bicycles and on foot. This would connect the waterfront to Clinton Ave. as well as to the bike-hike path over the new Livingston Avenue Bridge that, in turn, would open a water-level route to Rensselaer and to S. Troy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A LITTLE ICE – With temps in the high teens, we were bound to, and did, encounter a few icy spots but a little walking or a steady had on the bars got us through that so when we arrived at our next orientation spot at the Slater we were all nicely warmed up. At the Slater, we looked at the terminus of the Albany County path and then to the 1.8-mile on-street gap separating us from the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail head on S. Pearl.

TERMINUS – With the sun getting warmer and warmer, we headed south past the choke point at the U-Haul on Broadway toward Island Creek Waterfront Park (with its potential as a spot where people can begin their rides or walks) where we again paused to look at the planned off-street crossing, the Island Creek Waterfront Park, the UA Alumni Row Center, and the proposed full-service marina on Broadway.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA LITTLE HISTORY – Just before the rough-and-tumble railroad crossing, we looked at the reported site of Fort Nassau, the tank bombs, and the off/on ramps for I-787, one of which will be the protected bicycle lanes for the South End Bikeway Link. We swung around to western ramp, noted the super wide shoulder, and went on to S. Pearl. We stopped at Mt. Hope Drive to hear about Ezra Prentiss, Joel Rathbone, and other historical notables who lived in or settled the area. We learned about the now-vanished Kenwood village and gained an appreciation for the powerful history of the immediate area and how it will enrich the SEBL’s value for all. We observed how critical would be enhanced signalization at Mt. Hope and Pearl to facilitate people crossing form the west side of S. Pearl (from the 2-way cycle track) to the I-787 ramp, one lane of which will become the protected bicycle lanes.

CRAZY STREET – While heading toward the end of our tour, even the experienced road riders noted the aggressive, on-your-tail, outta-my-way behavior of the people in cars and trucks and how meaningless the shared lane markings and “share the road” signs were in helping us along. In covering the route, we noted with sadness the loss of life – Jose Perez (2006) and Qazir Sutherland (2013) in the very streets we are trying to bypass on our preferred route. This enhances the urgency for protected bicycle lanes by this fall in time for the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail opening.

START HERE – At the intersection of South and Old South Pearl, we looked at the railroad overpass, the area of the planned 12-car parking lot, and the to-be-closed pedestrian tunnel under the roadbed. Crossing under the railroad overpass, we swung onto Binghamton St., went to the end, and learned about the Mohawk and the Mohicans. While we did not spot the promised bald eagle, we did see a red-tailed hawk.

TANK BOMBS – At this point, we made our way speedily back on our route, using the eastern I-787 ramp. Our plans to return via Broadway were dashed by the stopped fleet of DOT 111s on the crossing. We noted sadly that yet another 103-tanker train had yet another derailment in Illinois. With 34,500 gallons in each car, the explosion/conflagration caused evacuations in a one-mile radius where the Galena River joins the Mississippi. (By the way, if about half of those gallons was converted to gasoline [the rest being waste, heating oil, spillage, plastic bottles, etc.] an Escalade could go 1,326 miles – well worth it Commissioner Martens!) In any case, we returned to our starting point via Quay St.

For info, go to:

https://www.facebook.com/albanybikewaylink

https://www.flickr.com/albanybikewaylink

https://www.twitter.com/albanybikeway

https://www.facebook.com/albanybikewaylink

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Activisim, Bicycle Boulevards, Bike Lanes, Rides, South End Bike Link

Time is Running Out – Protected Bicycle Lanes Needed in Albany

tumblr_mbppcbAY5g1qz7afco1_1280If we want protected and/or separated bicycle lanes, we need to push for them. Remember, if you are getting this e-mail, it is likely that you are already interested in cycling or in supporting cycling. However, please recall that protected bicycle lanes may not be for YOU but they are for those who want to ride but who are unaware of this campaign.

Please support your desire for progressive bicycle facilities by writing to the mayor (or the addressee you prefer).

       The Honorable Kathy Sheehan

             Office of the Mayor

             City Hall, Rm. 102

             24 Eagle St.

             Albany, NY 12207

If you live, work, or do business in the City of Albany, you should feel more than comfortable writing to the mayor. If not, write to your town supervisor or other official instead.

Author a to-the-point letter on why you want safe protected or separated cycling facilities in the City of Albany. Your request could be in general or specifically for both Madison Ave. AND the link connecting the new Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail to the re-built Quay St. protected bicycle lanes at the Albany Corning Preserve.

Use your own arguments or chose from the following Protected Bicycle Lane benefits:

  1. Protected Bicycle Lanes shield people on bicycles with a physical barrier. They are the safest, most inviting way to ride.
  2. Local business benefit from Protected Bicycle Lanes.
  3. Safer for all – 40-50% fewer crashes for people on bicycles, on foot, or in cars.
  4. Protect people on bicycles with a physical barrier. Ordinary bike lanes not protected from traffic.
  5. Less pollution and wear and tear on streets.

 

If you want a sample letter to get you started, go here.

If you want to review and use other points, go here.

Sign and mail your letter.

If you have additional addresses (e.g., town supervisor, Common Council member, NYS Assembly or Senate member, neighborhood association) who you think need to get behind Protected Bicycle Lanes, send then each a similar letter/e-mail.

If you do not feel that protected bicycle lanes are a good fit for part of Albany’s bicycle route system, would you write to support your own ideas for making a better place for people on bicycles? How about: education about on bicycles for people in cars, way finding signage, conventional bicycle lanes, re-engineered roadways and intersections, bike boxes at some intersections, advance green lights for people on bicycles, maintenance of existing bicycle and shared lanes (e.g., Clinton Ave. and Western Ave. in Guilderland), special training for police officers on investigating crashes involving people on bicycles hit by cars, removing pejorative laws that impeded cycling, adding “no bicycles” signage on sidewalks, city-sponsored League of American Bicyclists “smart cycling” classes, or whatever else you think will help.

After you’re done and if you have not done so already, “like” both of these Facebook sites:

Leave a comment

Filed under Activisim, City Review, protected bicycle lanes