Archive for January, 2009

Road to Bloomington Ferry Bridge now plowed

Posted by Doug Shidell, January 25th , 2009.

Amazing what a little legwork and a plow can do for winter bike commuters. Jeff Hall, best known for his mountain bike prowess, made some phone calls and arranged for a “Special use permit” for the two mile road leading from Hwy 101 on the south side of the Minnesota River to the Blommington Ferry Bridge. With that permit, fellow cyclist Tom Cory has access to plow the snow off that road using his own truck and plow. The nearly impassable road is now free of snow and ready for bike travel. Who knew that this option was even available? Congratulations and a thousand thanks to Jeff and Tom.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Twin Cities Bike Swap

Posted by Doug Shidell, January 25th , 2009.

This year the Twin Cities Bike Swap will be held in the Schwan Event Center at the National Sports Center in Blaine. The event will run from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm. $40 per 6 foot table. For more information: Contact Bob Williams. For more information about the Bike Swap, click here.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Bicycle Commuting- Getting Started

Posted by Doug Shidell, January 25th , 2009.

This is part four of a multi-part post on bicycle commuting.

So far we’ve covered the keys to bicycle commuting: gear, clothing, route planning, riding in trafic and, briefly, weather. The biggest challenge, however, is

Getting Started

This is perhaps the toughest challenge you will face. You can plan and plan and plan, but at some point the rubber has to hit the road. How do you get to that first big ride? By knocking down some barriers before you get on the bike.

 Things to do ASAP:

 Get the bike tuned up. Make sure the tires are inflated, the brakes work properly and the gears shift. If you aren’t mechanically inclined, take the bike into your favorite shop and ask them to tune it up.

  • Buy the necessary accessories. While you’re at the bike shop, pick up a helmet, lock and backpack or panniers.
  • Work out locker and shower arrangements. Do you have access to a locker at work? A shower? Do you have to sign up for a locker or do you just use one that is open? If no showers, do you have a roomy bathroom where you can freshen up with a washcloth?
  • Bike parking. Where will you park your bike at work? Do you have a secure lock, and do you know how to use it? How will you carry the lock on your bike?
  • Add a phone number for a taxi or a friend with a car to your cell phone. You may never need it, but it will give you an important back up.

 Two Weeks Before the Ride

This is the time for a dress rehearsal. Ride to work on the weekend. Make it a full dress rehearsal by carrying everything you expect to need, including bike lock, snacks, water, change of clothes, laptop computer, toiletries, etc. A weekend ride removes the stress of getting to work on time. Use this ride to relieve some of the anxiety you may have about bike commuting. Think about the following on your weekend ride to work:

  • Test the route: Does it feel comfortable? Can you ride the distance without getting exhausted? Can you ride this route without getting lost? Does the ride to home work as well as the ride into work?
  • Test the time involved. The first ride will always take longer than future rides, but it will give you a feel for how long it will take to get to work. Make sure you include all of the time involved, such as preparing the bike in the morning, locking your bike at work, walking to the shower/locker room, changing, showering and getting back to your workspace. You will get more efficient with each trip, but this will give you a starting point.
  • Evaluate and adjust. If something still bothers you about the commute, make some changes and try again a week later.

 One Day Before the Ride

If you have a place to store fresh clothes, toiletries, extra lunch and anything else you can think of, bring them in the day before the big ride. Having everything already at work takes some of the pressure off your commute. You won’t have to worry about wrinkles in your clothes, how to pack the load on your bike or forgetting an important item in the morning. If you only ride to work 2 or 3 times per week, you can bring in the extra gear each week on your driving days.  The goal is not to go car free. It’s to develop a bicycle commuting habit that is so enjoyable that you continue riding year after year.

 The Night Before the Ride

Pack your lunch. Lay out your clothing. Fill your water bottle. Check the tires on your bike. Do as much preparation as possible in the evening so you don’t feel panicky in the morning.

 The Day of the Ride

You’ve already done all of the prep work. Get up, eat a good breakfast and ride in. Congratulations. You are a bicycle commuter.

 Helpful Hint: Breakfast is important. It’s the fuel that moves the bike. You can’t run your body on an empty stomach anymore than you can drive your car with an empty fuel tank.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News