TO: Friends of Cycling and Good Living in the Capital Region:
The salutation “Friends of Cycling and Good Living in the Capital Region” expands our collective focus beyond just bicycles. We all need to engage in the larger issue of livable cities. This movement benefits all – residents and visitors – whether they be walking, riding, bussing, jogging, skateboarding, or just sitting.
This focus addresses the broader issues of street safety, air and sound pollution, environmental degradation, affordable (and accessible) housing, and access to food, services and facilities. Aside from the goal of safe connections for people on bicycles, we operate on the unarguable principle that anything done to benefit cyclists will benefit all road users.
Our overarching intent is to update on the bicycle-related scene in our area or to provide information that will stimulate thinking about bicycling as a major component in “livability for all.”
Whenever possible, the entries have a link or a contract (name, email, phone) or a bibliographic citation. Occasionally, the link will be to graphics offered by the source or on this Albany Bicycle Coalition blog.
We also try to encourage your patronizing our several local bike shops. We all know that it is sometimes easier and occasionally cheaper to buy on the internet but always remember – Amazon or some bike shop in South Carolina will not be available to help you with a maintenance problem or to guide you in the purchase of accessories tailored to you and your specific bicycle. (See https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/local-bike-shops/ )
We hope this finds you well and able to be out on your bike. We wanted to give you a quick update on what our activities have been during 2021 and ask for your support to assist us in 2022.
After having to cancel our rides in 2020, this year we bounced back to again sponsor a number of rides and in 2022, we aim to bring back our popular Earth Day ride! This year we were able to gather for our annual Ride of Silence, where we remember and honor cyclists who were killed or injured in collisions with motorists. In August, we instituted the first of our “Slow Roll” rides, through the Arbor Hill/West Hill neighborhoods of Albany. Starting at the Stephen and Harriet Meyers Residence/Underground Railroad House, the ride explored the neighborhood at a leisurely pace, highlighting historic places, the Tivoli Lake Preserve, and the Arbor Hill branch of the Albany Public Library. We then enjoyed ice cream sundaes in the beautiful, shady backyard of the Meyers Residence.
Our second “Slow Roll” was a “Bike the Branches” ride where we explored select branches of the Albany Public Library. We hope to make these “Slow Roll” rides regular events. We will explore different neighborhoods in the City of Albany in a leisurely manner that emphasizes the life of the neighborhood rather than the motor traffic infrastructure. They will be community oriented and open to all levels of riders with families welcome.
We also brought back our popular Albany-Troy Daily Grind ride and capped our riding season with another popular Halloween ride through the Albany Rural Cemetery. Future rides we hope to sponsor in 2022 include a demonstration ride on New Scotland Avenue, a ride focusing on area churches that is part of the annual Hudson Valley Ramble, and a Patroon Creek-Hudson River ride which is a continuation of ABC’s efforts to make the proposed Patroon Greenway Trail a reality.
ABC also continues to take a broader approach to bicycling across the Capital Region by networking with other local bicycle groups to implement a region-wide bicycle infrastructure. As part of this endeavor, we are excited to propose a series of intercity rides in 2022. These will be a series of rides involving ABC, Cycle Schenectady, Transport Troy, and Bikeatoga. This will be one of the biggest projects that ABC has ever undertaken and will require coordination with the other bike groups, non-cycling not-for-profits, as well as private sponsors for each ride.
In addition to sponsoring rides, ABC continues to monitor existing bike infrastructure in the region and make sure it remains safe and useful for bicyclists. This includes the South End Connector, the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, the Mohawk-Hudson Bike Hike Trail (MHBHT), and the Empire State Trail. In fact, our treasurer, David Pisaneschi, practically single-handedly, through years of dogged perseverance, finally got the State DOT to repave unrideable parts of the MHBHT, making for a smooth ride over miles of formerly root damaged trail.
In addition to this work, we’ve also kept a focus on developments on Rapp Road, and Albany’s 2021 Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan. We have greatly expanded our renamed CapitalNYBikeMapto include many more routes in Schenectady, Rensselaer, and Saratoga counties, thus encompassing the entire Capital Region. By attending public meetings, meeting with and communicating with local elected and appointed officials, and keeping abreast of transportation issues, we will continue to advocate for safe streets for all users and safe trails for bicyclists and pedestrians. As evidenced by the recent defeat of the proposed Delaware Ave. Complete Streets project in the Town of Bethlehem, organizations like ABC are needed more than ever.
In order to continue this important work, we are asking for your support by contributing what you can at this moment. A voting membership is $25, but any amount is appreciated. As a reminder, ABC is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization, and all donations are tax-deductible. This year we are excited to introduce new levels of membership: $Free: Basic Member, $25: Voting Member, $100: Century Member, and $250: Long Haul Member.
To assist organizations, such as ABC, in 2020 Congress passed the CARES Act. A provision of that Act allows individuals, who do not itemize their tax deductions, an above-the-line credit up to $300 for charitable contributions. This was extended into 2021 through the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The Consolidated Act also expanded the deduction to $600 for married couples who do not itemize their tax deductions and file jointly.
You can donate through our https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/about/donate/website via PayPal or send a check to Albany Bicycle Coalition, Inc., ATTN: Treasurer, 180 South Main Ave., Albany, NY 12208. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can reach us at email@example.com.
We greatly appreciate any support you can provide and hope to see you soon on a trail and/or street. In the meantime, safe riding.
From your fellow riders at the Albany Bicycle Coalition.
While COVID-19 has limited some bicycle-related activities, the fine fall weather provides plenty of opportunities for socially distanced rides. Looking ahead, there is some nice riding in fall and winter whether for recreation/exercise or errands/work. Here are a few riding tips to encourage your riding and to keep you safe:
Check your lights front and rear. “Too many lights” are just about right in the low light, fall and winter conditions. Your lights are to make you visible (both day and night), but also to avoid those hidden ruts, potholes, and bumps in the street. Road debris at night is another hazard which good front lighting will help you avoid.
Add a helmet or head-mounted lamp to help see those potholes, debris, etc. at night. While a front light in blink mode makes people more aware of your presence, the headlamp helps you see obstacles. The advantage of a headlamp is that when you move your head, the light goes with you. When on trails with little or no street lighting, both the headlamp and front light (in steady mode) will light the path.
Replace the batteries. Keep your re-chargeables charged.
Have someone view your bicycle from behind in the dark with the lights “on.” Ensure that your gear or clothing does not block the light beams (front and rear) and that the rear light(s) aim toward following vehicles.
Spoke lights or spoke reflectors are both fun and provide visibility from the side.
Watch other people on bicycles and judge their visibility index as a guide to improving your own.
Add an extra “blinky light” front and rear and use them both as nighttime supplements and as “daytime running lights.”
Maybe shop for and use a helmet mounted rear-facing light.
Be fair to people in cars – let them see you. Driving can be challenging at this time of year. Don’t join the “ghost bike” program.
You will probably ride safer and smarter if you are comfortable – so plan your riding gear accordingly. Think layers.
As you bundle up, look at your outer layer. If it is dark in color, either choose something that is not or pick up a reflective vest from your locally owned hardware or big box home center for around $20.00. You might add this vest to your year-around “kit.”
Wet leaves and snow are slippery so anticipate your stops and turns.
Pay special attention to puddles of water or clumps of leaves as they can mask the plentiful potholes, ruts, utility caps, and craters in the paved surface. City streets are worse than ever so watch for crevices, bumps, patches, and so on. Good front lighting will help here!
Recall that some pavement markings can also be slippery when wet or extra slippery when covered with wet leaves, snow, or ice.
Keep your chain clean and lubricated (especially after riding in melted slush).
You might want to inspect your tires for wear. You might swap the front to the rear (since the rear takes the most weight and wears quicker). If planning to ride in snow, you might invest in wider, knobby tires for better traction (if your bike accepts them).
Consider reducing tire pressures from max by 5 to 10 psi for better grip.
Sunglasses are very important this time of year as well. With the days getting shorter, there is a greater chance you will finishing or starting a ride in low light conditions. Switch your tinted lenses to a rose or clear lens for better visibility in low light conditions.
When riding into that low fall sun, remember that the people in cars behind may not see you, as they also will be blinded.
Plan your braking and turns to avoid a spill.
Be mindful of slippery metal surfaces (such as utility covers and grates).
Fall and winter is a good time to get ready for next year’s riding with a tune up from one of our local bicycle shops. This is a good time to support your local shop and to help them over the slower winter season. November through March is good time to get that special attention from your bicycle mechanic. Find out where at – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/
On the picture perfect Sunday afternoon, August 15, the Underground Railroad Education Center and the Albany Bicycle Coalition jointly conducted an Arbor Hill/West Hill “Slow Roll” bicycle ride (see stats at end of this post). The fun, safe, low-stress, low-speed bicycle ride took advantage of numerous bicycle lanes, trails, and low congestion streets in the neighborhood. The group stopped at several points where speakers led discussions on the history and future of the neighborhoods. Stops included the Harriet and Stephen Myers Residence, Arbor Hill Park, Tivoli Lake Preserve, Bleeker Stadium/Swinburne Park, and the Arbor Hill Library. The Tivoli Preserve stop highlighted the 9-mile Patroon Creek Greenway Trail currently undergoing study by the City of Albany (see http://albanyny.gov/800/Patroon-Greenway-Feasibility-Study). The new Greenway Trail would connect the Albany Waterfront to the Six Mile Waterworks and points beyond with access from Arbor Hill and West Hill. We also discussed the daylighting of the Patroon Creek and making nearby mountain bike trails more accessible to Tivoli Preserve and its adjoining neighborhoods.
Our Arbor Park Stop pointed out the nearby site of the original Dudley Observatory. We also noted 1962 Urban Renewal Plans for the area that would have put a school where the historic Harriet and Stephen Myers Residence still stands. The 1964 plans are more representative of the current configuration.
RIDE STATS – The ride covered 4.37 miles “door-to-door” and started at 1:15 and ended at 2:45 (1 hour 30 min) with 44 min of actual riding with an average speed of 5.7 mph. The ride thus met its goal of being a “slow roll” that riders of all abilities could enjoy.
We ended the ride with an “ice cream social” in the shady back yard of the Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence.
The Albany Bicycle Coalition will be conducting a “Bike the Branches Slow Roll” in conjunction with the Albany Public Libraries on September 25.