Author Archives: Lorenz Worden

A Simple Solution to an Elegant Problem?

A frequent discussion item is the perceived risk for people on bicycles who are forced to ride though hellish intersections. These include, but certainly are not limited to: Central Ave./Wolf Rd., Western Ave./I-87/Fuller Rd., the Fuller Rd. “flyover” on Washington Ave., and Central Ave./Everett Rd.

In 2014 in a similar situation, the Village of Menands with New York State Department of Transportation oversight, installed a short stretch of bicycle lanes on Rt. 32/Broadway at the Rt. 378/I-787 entrance/exit ramps. (This was an earlier component of an overall re-do Rt. 32/Broadway in the village. Notably, much of this was reduction in motor vehicle travel lanes from four to two – as in the stretch in front of River View Center [Montgomery-Wards] leading north over the railway tracks into the village.)

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The first photo (above) looks north just past the soon-to-closed Price Chopper. The iron fence in the left of the photo is Albany Rural’s with CorrCraft and Albany Steel following and the Schuyler Motel on the right with its sign between the second and third utility poles. The second photo (below) looks south with the Price Chopper “plaza” to the right and the Rt. 378 overpass in the distance.

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At the time this was done, NYSDOT stated: “The reduction in the number of travel lanes from four to two with a two-way left-turn median in the center … reduces the frequency of rear-end accidents. We understand . . . that there are not left-turning opportunities at all locations where the median is provided, however it is important that the thru travel lanes have a consistent alignment. There may be a minor reduction in the efficiency of the operation of Route 32 but the safety benefits are significant.”

So … is it possible that low-budget projects (as the above) could provide visible bicycle facilities to guide both people in cars and on bicycles through troublesome intersections? This could be done without a complete (and expensive) re-do of the entire street with full-scale bicycle lanes. If you’ve ridden the section in Menands described above or Madison Ave./Main Ave. intersection, you might have an idea on how this might work successfully elsewhere.

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Madonna del Ghisallo – Patroness of Cyclists

madonna-del-ghisallo-large-14kt-gold-medal-5986lgMadonna del Ghisallo (Patroness of Cyclists – Madonna del Ghisallo (Ghee-SAL-low) also known as Our Lady of Ghisallo or Madonna of Ghisallo)

The legend is that in late Middle Ages in the Lombardy District of Central Italy (see map) in the hill above Lake Cuomo, Our Lady appeared to Count Ghisallo who was being robbed by highway men. He was praying for help when he saw the apparition. Count Ghisallo ran to it and was miraculously saved.  An alternative legend is that Count Ghisallo was near the village of Magréglio when attacked. Spotting an image of the Virgin Mary in a roadside shrine, he broke away from his attackers and ran to it. There he took refuge, pled for Our Lady‘s protection – and miraculously the vision of the Blessed Virgin scared off the highwaymen. In gratitude, the count started praying to her for protection and told the story to anyone who would listen. He instituted a roadside shrine with flowers and candles.

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The Virgin Mary under this title was originally prayed to for the protection of local travelers. As the story gained credibility among the locals, the count eventually replaced the makeshift shrine with a small chapel he funded. Through the years the legend grew. Once the chapel was built, clergy were assigned officially to maintain it. The patronage of Our Lady of Ghisallo evolved from humble foot travelers to recreational bicyclists. These recreational cyclists passed the idea of the protection from robbers to bicycle racers looking for safety from crashes and injury. They must have documented these cases (i.e., official miracles ascribed the intersession of the Madonna del Ghisallo) because Pope Pius XII established Our Lady of Ghisallo as the patroness of cyclists on October 13, 1949. This was at the request of Father Ermelindo Vigano, pastor at the shrine. There is an eternal flame that burns in memory of the cyclists who are no longer with us, and services are held each Christmas Eve and the Feast of All Souls to commemorate them.

The chapel is fitting because the Giro di Lombardia (Tour of Lombardy), bicycle race goes past the shrine built by Count Ghisallo at the top of the Ghisallo climb (the Passo del Ghisallo). The chapel is the finish line for the annual, one-day classic Giro di Lombardi race, and is a regular feature (once every two or three years) stage route of the Giro d’Italia. The shrine includes a cycling museum and a memorial to cyclists who have died.

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The Chapel

The chapel gathered a collection of cycling memorabilia. Bicycle frames, whole bicycles, and jerseys festooned its walls. Over the years, great champions such as Felice Gimondi, Gianni Motta, Francesco Moser, Gino Bartali, Eddy Merckx, Alfredo Binda, Guiseppe Saronni, Mario Cipollini, Gilberto Simoni, and Stefano Garzelli contributed race-worn gear to the chapel. It was believed that one could not be considered a serious champion or potential champion until one donated a jersey or bicycle for display in the chapel. The memorabilia eventually overran the space, and cheapened the spiritual intent of the chapel. In 2000, construction was started 200 yards from the chapel for a Museum of Cycling with the blessing of Pope John Paul II. When the museum was near completion, Pope John Paul′s successor, Pope Benedict XVI, blessed the corner stone on May 31, 2006.

 

One of the great talisman for both professional and amateur bike racers and for cycling enthusiasts all over the world is the Madonna del Ghisallo bicycle medallion. The medal incorporates a crank ring, and the Madonna and Child are framed by a bicycle chain. Even Pope Benedict was the recipient of a custom wooden bicycle with a Madonna del Ghisallo badge affixed.italy_bike

If you are a cyclist or know someone who is, you can purchase a small medal as a reminder of Our Lady’s protection.

Legend – http://saints.sqpn.com/madonna-del-ghisallo/

Museum – http://museodelghisallo.it/

Passo del Ghisallo – Bellagio –

The Climb – http://www.climbbybike.com/climb.asp?Col=Passo%20del%20Ghisallo%20&qryMountainID=2905

See also – Notre Dame des Cyclistes – The chapel of Notre-Dame des Cyclistes is situated in the commune of Labastide-d’Armagnac in Les Landes département in Aquitaine, France. The chapel is all that remains of a 12th-century fortress of the Knights Templar. The Château de Géou was razed by the Black Prince in 1355. It was listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture on 27 February 1996. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notre_Dame_des_Cyclistes

See also – http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=748190

The (Motor)cyclist’s Prayer [SOURCE: http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=2115] – O, dear Father, I ask for you to watch over me as I ride from Point A to Point B. Help all other motorists to see me clearly and help me to stay out of their way. Bring me back to my family in one-piece dear God, these things I pray. Amen.

Blessing of a Wagon or other Vehicle [SOURCE: http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=368] – Be gracious, O Lord God, to our prayers and bless this vehicle with Thy right hand. Send Thy holy angels to accompany it that they may keep from all evils those who ride in it; and as once Thou didst grant faith and grace through Thy deacon Philip to the Ethiopian riding in his chariot and reading the word of God, so now show the way of salvation to Thy servants that, always given to good works, they attain to everlasting joys after the vicissitudes of the journey and of this life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Translated by Most Reverend J. H. Schlarman Bishop of Peoria)

madonnaBlessing of the Bicycles – Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible, we come to you in prayer and thanksgiving. In a world burdened by motorized transportation and consumption, we give you gracious thanks for the wondrous bicycle, on which we enjoy the goodness and beauty of your creation while improving our fitness and health. We ask you to protect the children who ride or who are learning to ride. We ask you to keep all riders, leisure riders to elite athletes, safe from accidents. We ask you to protect all riders from anger and theft. We ask you to give us skill to ride in all sort of conditions, and to help us forgive those who are negligent and mean. We ask you, in thanksgiving for those who build or repair bicycles, that you will guide them to be diligent and competent in their work. Heavenly Father, be with us now and bless us as we dedicate these bicycles and their use to the preservation of lives to your honor and praise. Grant us faith to know your gracious purpose in all things. Give us joy in them and lead us to use all your gifts, including our bikes, with wisdom, compassion, patience and love. We ask this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Fr. Michael Gorchov, Rector, Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, 58 Third St. Troy, NY 12180
8/13/16 ~ http://stpaulstroy.org/

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Why Are You Waiting? – Ride the Erie Canalway Trail

Thanks to the New York Bicycle Coalition, Adventure Cycling Association featured the proposed Empire State Trail in its March 2017 Adventure Cyclist magazine. When the trail is completed, it will be probably be the longest, contiguous off-road bicycle facility in the United States. Out-of-state and out-of-country riders will flock to enjoy the Erie Canalway Trail and the Champlain Canalway Trail to Canada.

Notably, Adventure Cycling represents itself as the country’s largest cycling membership non-profit organization (three times larger than the League of American Bicyclists), and all its members are focused on touring by bicycle. With the Governor’s recent Empire State Trail announcement and 2017 marking the first year of the eight-year Erie Canal Bicentennial Celebration, there’s no better time to head out on the Erie Canalway Trail than now. (Construction began on July 4, 1817 at Rome NY.)ptny-ect-jul-7-16-2017-card-blog-2-27-17

If you’re interested in experiencing the Erie Canalway Trail, consider participating in Parks & Trails New York’s 19th annual Cycle the Erie Canal tour. This eight-day, fully-supported bicycle tour is a great option for cyclists looking to accomplishment a long-distance tour without the effort of carrying gear and preparing meals.

If you are hesitant about the on-road portions (most of which are not overly intimidating), you can analyze the entire trail on Parks & Trails New York’s interactive map .  This map uses the same technology as the Albany Bicycle Coalition’s BikeAlbanyMap.  On both of these, your recommended route will consist of Google Maps’s bicycle-preferred routes (when there are no trail or recommended street routes nearby) and segments of the trail or the recommended street routes.  You’ll always be “pulled onto” the best route for people on bicycles.

On the Parks & Trails New York map, look for the red (paved), magenta (stone dust) or purple (natural – packed earth) portions.  On these portions, you’ll enjoy the bliss of car-free travel – no horns, no hassle, no histrionics.  Thus you can select portions of the Erie Canalway Trail that are mostly or exclusively “off road.”  In all probability, the bicycle you now own is suited to the Trail.

If you are up for the full, 400-mile Cycle the Erie Canal tour between Buffalo-Albany on July 9-16, 2017, go to Parks & Trails New York’s website to register .  There are also two- and four-day options if you can’t do the entire eight days.

If you elect to ride all or some of the trail on a do-it-yourself tour, you’ll want to get the latest “Cycling the Erie Canal Guidebook” to use in addition to the (free) interactive Erie Canalway Trail map. The guide has 42 full-color maps, tips on planning your trip, information on lodging, attractions, and annual fairs, and festivals. Order from Parks & Trails New York for $24.95 plus tax & shipping or pick one up at your locally-owned book store.  While recently opened sections and improvements to the trial that are being made each year by the NYS Canal Corporation and local communities are not in the guidebook,  Parks & Trails New York’s online map is updated regularly.

Go to the Parks & Trails New York website to view the two-minute motivational video. You won’t regret taking the Erie Canalway Trail!

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Upcoming Key Dates

Upcoming Key Dates –

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Empire State Trail Day – Thursday, March 2, 2017

Empire State Trail Day Thursday, March 2, 2017

Join us for Empire State Trail Day, Thursday, March 2, 2017, Albany Register Now! – Join Parks & Trails New York and trail supporters from across New York for a day of advocacy in Albany in support of the Empire State Trail vision.  What is the Empire State Trail? – Governor Andrew Cuomo has included funding for a fully-connected, statewide multi-use trail system, called the Empire State Trail, in his Executive Budget Proposal. By finishing the Buffalo to Albany Erie Canalway Trail, and connecting New York City to the North Country, the Empire State Trail will create the nation’s premier multi-use trail network – a full 750 miles of off-road trail and road connections.  The Empire State Trail will secure New York’s place as a national and international destination for outdoor recreation and heritage tourism. But first, we have to make sure that proposed funding for the multi-year project makes it into the final state budget.    This is where you come in – Join us for Empire State Trail Day on March 2.

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The Mighty Mohawk/Barge Canal

Here are some details: 

  1. A day of legislative advocacy in support of the Empire State Trail vision
  2. Morning program in Albany Room, Concourse of Empire State Plaza, 8:30 AM
  3. Legislative visits from 10 AM – 2 PM
  4. Empire State Trail display in the Well of Legislative Office Building, “Between the Glass Doors” area

Register here

On Empire State Trail Day, you’ll join a team led by experienced advocates. As you arrive, we’ll introduce you to your team members and review the day’s schedule over coffee and light refreshments. Then it’s off to make your voice heard. Team leaders will assist you in making the case for the Empire State Trail vision and funding.  There is no cost to participate, but registration is required. Prior to Empire State Trail Day we will email you information and talking points.   ++++++

Share your #NYTrailTales Lending your voice in support of the Empire State Trail vision will help ensure that it become a reality. That’s why PTNY is introducing #NYTrailTales, a movement calling for all trail users and lovers to tell us how they use the state’s trails.

What is your favorite trail activity? What trail plans do you have for the coming year? Where will you go when new sections of the Empire State Trail are done? Share your #NYTrailTales, or post your trail story to social media and include the hashtag #NYTrailTales. Your enthusiasm can make a difference. You’ll also be entered to win some cool Erie Canalway Trail bike swag!

Want to do more? – In addition to sharing your #NYTrailTales story, expressing your support to your state legislator in a phone call or letter, or sending a letter to your local paper will help to ensure that funding for the Empire State Trail is included in the final state budget.  PTNY will be providing virtual advocacy resources in the coming weeks.

Check the Empire State Trail Day registration page for updates.  Let’s get rolling on the nation’s longest connected trail network – the Empire State Trail! Register for Empire State Trail Day.

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God’s Country

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