Category Archives: Article

Bicycle Lanes Gone Bad

Here is what happens when people who never walk and never ride set out to design bicycle lanes.

One would think the first photo one has something to do with a pedestrian crosswalk, but no ….

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 The second photo shows (1) that the bicycle lanes are ON THE SIDEWALK, (2) that there are people walking on the sidewalk, and (3) that, later on, the city of Annapolis put its BikeShare “hub” in the sidewalk area and on its misguided bicycle lane.

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 This scene is from Annapolis MD – a flat, bike-able, and walkable city but one that is totally tuned to an “all cars-all the time” philosophy.

 

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Filed under Bike Lanes, City Review

Ready for the Riding Season?

Unless you are a dedicated year-round cyclist, the condition of your bicycle(s) may be far from your mind. Right now might be the best time to think about how soon spring will arrive and how great it will be to get out for a ride – provided your bicycle is ready to go.

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There are, of course two ways to go – a professional tune up at a local bicycle shop or a do-it-yourself job.

YOUR LOCAL BIKE SHOP – Getting a complete tune up from your bicycle shop makes the bike ride like new again. Even nuisance noises that do not affect the bike mechanically are gone and you can ride carefree. Things you might miss – one brake shoe toed out, a barely noticeable wheel wobble – will not escape the notice of good technicians. They will look over your entire bicycle in the course of doing a pre-season “tune up.”

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Remember that internet retailers will not be there for you when you need advice, repairs, a part in a hurry, or a tune up – your local bicycle shop will be. You may save a bit of change (even after shipping and the hassle of possible returns) and get “next day delivery” (who REALLY needs that?), but you’ll miss all the benefits of a good relationship with your shop’s personnel.

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Here is a list of area shops – see the Albany Bicycle Coalition website for updates. https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/local-bike-shops/

DO IT YOURSELF – If you prefer to do your own work, there are plenty of “how-to” videos – a good place to start is with Park Tool’s at https://www.youtube.com/user/parktoolcompany Just as an example that anyone can use – how to fix a flat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58STtUM-Wow&list=PLGCTGpvdT04SCKR3pm1OsC5mUF9dapUuz

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Speaking of tools, you’ll want to buy the best you can find. For bicycle-specific items, again, Park Tool is a good place to start. Many shops have a display rack of commonly needed tools – by Park and others. For general-purpose tools, Sears Craftsman brand tools are now available at some hardware and home stores. With these or Snap-On, you can’t go wrong.

You can use your multitool for many maintenance and adjustment steps but you’ll be happier and do a better job with regular tools. Save the multitool for on-the-road attention.

tumblr_nn47ut4TWt1t19os5o1_500Another resource for “do it yourself” is “open bike night” at your local community bike rescue. Here you’ll find camaraderie with like-minded cyclists and advice if you get stuck. You might even want to show off your newfound bicycle servicing skills by volunteering at the bike rescue – there’s no better way to learn than to teach someone else.

Bike Rescues – Here is a list of area bike rescues – see the Albany Bicycle Coalition website for updates. Go here – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/albanybikerescue/

  • Albany Bike Rescue – 15 Trinity Pl., Albany 12208, AlbanyBikeRescue@gmail.com, (518) 227-1030 – The Albany Bike Rescue (ABR) hosts community bike repair and educational workshops every Tuesday night from 6:15 to 8:00 PM.
  •  Electric City Bike Rescue189 Jerry St, (off Watt St. at the McGathan Townhouses Community Center) electriccitybikerescue@gmail.com
  • Troy Bike Rescue – 3280 6th Ave., (North) Troy 12180, (518) 328-4827, WINTER HOURS- Wednesday open shop 5-8 pm

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Filed under bicycle shops, Bike rescue, Bike Tech, Shop Local

Riding To Get Somewhere ~ or ~ the Invisible Rider

Many in the City of Albany ride their bicycles because that is their primary means of transportation. We know that there are “a lot” of these bicycle riders who apparently are not engaged in the discussion on bicycle facilities and bicycle safety issues. They do not appear to join with or participate in the activities of “bicycle advocacy groups.” They do not appear at public meetings and presentations on proposed roadway modifications that may affect them.

The question is: How can we engage with these “riders of necessity” so that their concerns can be brought to the table?

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The pictures that follow are from ABC’s collection of people on bicycles” and are not intended to identify or categorize any person or rider but merely to illustrate an issue for outreach and investigation.

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Filed under Activisim, City Review, Riding to Get Somewhere

South End Bikeway Connector Rumbles Along – Cont’d (12/26/19)

Looking south to work-in-progress connecting the trailhead/parking to the cycle track on S. Pearl St. (The traffic light is at Old S. Pearl St.)

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The new CDTA pickup at the north end of the Pearl St. segment of the cycle track (just visible behind the booth).  Ezra Prentiss homes at the far right.

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Those big, stinking, noisy, fuming trucks still very much part of the daily scene – and notably traveling above the speed limit.

The end of the cycle track on the north end of Frontage Rd. at Church St./Vine St. (Tank bombs to the left.)

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Filed under Albany County Rail Trail, Albany Riverfront Park, City Review, South End Bikeway Connector

“Even If You DON’T Build It, They Will Still Come”

Here’s a message for Albany County and the City of Albany – 12,000 bicycle riders can’t be wrong.  

In closing out its third season, CDPHP Cycle! BikeShare confirmed 41,578 rides (and 12,000 members) in the 4-city service area. The BikeShare program has a treasure drove of data telling where people picked up a bicycle, where they went, what route they took, where they made intermediate stops, what they had for breakfast, and how fast they rode. These riders (generally) are NEITHER day-to-day commuters riding their own bicycles NOR people in $200-300 riding “kit” on high-end bicycles. In addition, the BikeShare season is only 8 months long. BikeShare riders also (again, in general) have made a commitment (by registering as a seasonal members) to using the service – they are not all one-time, one-day tourists.

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Bike Share

In addition to these clear data, Albany Bicycle Coalition staff has provided cycling data from Strava as evidence that (for example) New Scotland Ave. is heavily used by cyclists. Strava* compiles monthly heat maps with trip data from cyclists. Municipalities are increasingly using Strava data for planning purposes. Yes, riders who use Strava would tend to be “serious” and committed cyclists but the data are a good proxy for all riders especially (as in the case of New Scotland Ave.) there is only one direct route available.

Therefore, we have data that goes beyond the anecdotal. Hard numbers. Not what someone “thinks” or “was told,” or “heard.” One would be ill advised to discount these data as being about “those bicycle people.”

What’s the message?

If you do not subscribe to the theory “if you build it, they will come,” you might entertain the actuality that people demonstrably want to use bicycles to get “from here to there.” Environment, health, expense, no choice, preference, advocacy – who knows the motivation? The reality still is that there are people on bicycles “out there” who, given similar economic/socio backgrounds pay MORE for road construction and maintenance then their less enlightened petrovehicle colleagues and who want and need safe, direct, connected bicycle facilities.DSC00014.JPG

CDTA CDPHP Cycle! BikeShare has more data (“heat maps”). If you are in government or are an advocate for safe roads and healthy commuting, you might use these data to support your case. Contact – – LindseyG@cdta.org

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*Strava is a social fitness network primarily to track cycling and running exercises using GPS data. Strava offers a free service with no advertising in its mobile application, and a monthly subscription plan called Strava Summit. See – https://www.strava.com/about

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Filed under Activisim, City Review