Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Panda Bicycles Makes Innovative Bamboo Bicycles in Fort Collins

Fort Collins' very own Panda Bikes hit the big time this week with coverage on Denver's CBS4. Yes, indeedy, we're getting famous as a bike town with the passion and persistence of a bunch of bike folk.

Check out the CBS4 coverage of Jacob, John and Mark at Panda Bikes.

Monday, November 9, 2009

City should rethink stance on bike safety

Soapbox in the Coloradoan, Nov. 11, 2009
by Rick Price, Ph.D.
Safe Cycling Coordinator for the Fort Collins Bicycle Cooperative

Thanks go to City Council member Lisa Poppaw for questioning funding for bicycle safety at the Sept. 1 City Council meeting. That question, and the discussion that followed, gave us Traffic Engineer Joe Olsen's study of bike/car crashes, which appeared Nov. 1 on the front page of the Coloradoan.

Although data on bicycling are sparse and the statistics on bike/car crashes are preliminary, we can make some interesting inferences from the data we do have. Hopefully, these inferences will help the City Council rethink funding priorities for the city's bike program.

According to the estimates of the American Community Survey, a project of the U.S. Census, 5.4 percent of commuters rode their bicycles to work daily in Fort Collins in 2006 (about 3,800 people). In 2008, that percentage had risen to 7.4 percent (5,800 people), a jump of 37 percent. With this increase, we saw a 31 percent increase in bike/car crashes compared to annual growth in the single digits for most of the early part of the decade (one exception was the increase of 13.5 percent from 2003 to 2004). (We don't have data on the increases of cyclists during the early part of the decade as this information has been collected only since 2006.)

Based on these statistics and observations, most of us would agree that bicycling in Fort Collins is on the rise and so, it seems, are bike/car crashes. Is this because we reinstated the bike coordinator's position in 2006, or is it because there is a bicycle revolution going on across the country? Probably both, but the alarming increase in bike/car crashes and the deaths in the last year of two children suggest that we have an issue that needs the immediate attention of the City Council.

Our bike coordinator will be funded from federal monies at about $287,500 per year for two years beginning in 2010. Those funds are allocated as follows: $70,000 to promote bicycle events; $70,000 to fund the bike coordinator's position (including benefits and training); and $32,500 to fund "regional bicycle coordination and marketing" so we can help Loveland and Greeley become more bicycle friendly. Finally, $100,000 a year will continue to fund the Bike Library. By comparison, $38,500 of other federal funds will pay for a Safe Routes to School Program during 2009/10. As yet, no funds have been awarded for Safe Routes in 2010/11.

The council has scheduled a work session Feb. 9 to address "transportation safety." That session should focus on a review of the city's bicycle policies and take a serious look at reallocating funds from bicycle events and encouragement to bicycle education. And by education, I mean just that: "providing knowledge and training through formal schooling, teaching and learning," not through pamphlets and posters.

Is it not reasonable, given the present situation in Fort Collins, to suggest that federal funds be reallocated so that we are spending $250,000 annually on bicycle education and $38,500 on encouragement and events?

If you have an opinion on this, please let City Council know.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bike Co-op Schedules Open House Saturday, November 14

The Fort Collins Bike Co-Op would like to invite you to come help us celebrate our Grand Re-Opening/Open House at our new location at 331 N College Avenue on Saturday, November 14th, 2009 between 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. (We have glass in our windows now! You must see to believe!)

We are excited to show off our new space (our fourth home since 2003) and encourage the public to drop by and see what we’re all about. Bring along your neighbors, friends, and people you meet in the bike lane on the way there. Its a great chance to learn more abut the Bike Co-Op’s programs and discover how you can learn about bike maintenance and bike safety. Join our army of volunteers and help us give back and encourage a better bicycling community. Drop off a business card for a chance to win our Bike-A-Way.

The Fort Collins Bicycle Co-Op is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to 'Building community through bicycling". Our programs and services are designed to give back to the northern Colorado community through your open bike shop, bike education, bike recycling, bike donations, and coordination of bike parking at local events. We put a strong emphasis on a zero-waste goal to help minimize the impact on our environment. Please contact us at for more information or we’ll see you on the 14th! Spread the word - pass this information on!

Come and see how our pile of bikes for Ghana has grown! More importantly, come and see what a pile of 500 bikes looks like!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Phys Ed: Do More Bicyclists Lead to More Injuries

Great article by Gretchen Reynolds in yesterday's NY Times Blog

Recently, surgeons and emergency room physicians at the Rocky Mountain Regional Trauma Center in Denver noticed a troubling trend. They seemed to be seeing cyclists with more serious injuries than in years past. Since many of the physicians at the hospital, a Level I trauma center serving the Denver metropolitan area, were themselves cyclists, they wondered if their sense of things was accurate.

So the doctors began gathering data on all cycling-related trauma admittances at the hospital and dividing them into two blocks, one covering 1995-2000 and the other 2001-6.

The data, which were presented in mid-October at the 2009 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons in Chicago, revealed “some pretty alarming things,” said Dr. Jeffry Kashuk, an associate professor of surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, attending physician at the trauma center and an author of the study. Over the years, the severity of the bodily damage, as measured by a standardized injury severity score, had significantly increased. The number of chest injuries rose by 15 percent, while abdominal injuries tripled. The typical length of cyclists’ time in the intensive care unit grew. Meanwhile, the average age of the injured riders had risen, from 25 to about 30, and when the researchers plotted the most recent injury sites against a map of the Denver area, they found smatterings of accidents along bike paths, but large clusters downtown.

“What we concluded was that a lot of these people were commuters,” Dr. Kashuk said, adding, “If we keep promoting cycling without other actions to make it safer, we may face a perfect storm of injuries in the near future.”

There has been an enormous push in recent years to increase bicycle ridership, in hopes of improving both individual health and the environment. Cities like Denver, New York and Portland, Ore., have added bike lanes, given away helmets and otherwise tried to lure more cyclists onto the roads. But the Denver study seemed to indicate that getting more people to ride meant more would be hurt.

But that is not necessarily so, a well-established body of counterintuitive science promises. This research, which has examined bicycle-riding patterns in the United States and in Europe, has found that in virtually every instance, when the number of riders on the road increases, the likelihood of accidents declines. This surprising result is known among its researchers as the “safety in numbers” effect, and it has been repeatedly documented. In Britain, for instance, the number of cyclists soared by 70 percent during the oil crisis of the 1970s, a 2002 report on cycling safety there pointed out, but the number of annual deaths among cyclists then fell.

Similarly, in the Netherlands, a nation that loves its bicycles, the level of bike use rose 30 percent from 1980 to 1990, while the number of cycling-related deaths declined by a third. Closer to home, when a California public-health expert compiled data about accidents involving cyclists and walkers in major cities in California, he found that, as his 2003 study reported, “the likelihood of an injury is not constant, but decreases as walking or bicycling increases.”

How can more cyclists mean fewer accidents? “It seems unlikely that people walking or bicycling obey traffic laws more” just because more of them are on the streets, the author of the California study wrote. “Adaptation in motorist behavior seems more plausible.” In other words, when more cyclists show up on the roads, car drivers become used to them and respond appropriately. As the British report pointed out, “common events are safe, and rare events are dangerous.” Making cycling safer, the report concluded, “ requires that it become more popular.”

There is a Catch-22 in that proposition, of course, and studies like the one from Denver underscore the issue’s complexity. In the early stages of increasing bike ridership, injuries may increase, as may their severity, since drivers will not yet be acclimated to the influx of two-wheeled traffic (and many of the early-adapter riders will not be attuned to the nuances of negotiating in traffic). At the same time, according to surveys conducted over the years by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, most people say that the primary reason they do not ride bikes is a concern for safety. So reports about an increase in injuries, even if it were ultimately short-lived, could blunt the rise in ridership, making those who do cycle less safe.

What, then, can be done? No solutions are easy, said Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and an avid cyclist who, with others in his department, is studying how best to increase bicycle safety. “It’s definitely a good idea to promote bicycle riding for a multitude of reasons, foremost among them better health,” Dr. Willett said. “But as with any health-related intervention, there are benefits and side effects.”

Transportation experts cannot agree, for instance, about whether to segregate bicycle and automobile traffic, using concrete barriers along bike paths or creating separate bikeways. In the short term, such an approach should protect cyclists. But if if drivers are not given the opportunity to acclimate to riders, will it actually make it more dangerous for bikers in the long run? No one knows. “We need studies; we need data,” Dr. Willett said.

In the meantime, as more cyclists are taking to the roads but drivers and cyclists have not yet reached an accommodation, individual responsibility seems the best response. Bicyclists must obey traffic laws, an obvious prescription often flouted, at least according to a study in May of cycling behavior in Midtown Manhattan. It found that many riders ran red lights and illegally ribboned through traffic. Even more egregiously, an April epidemiological study of bicycle fatalities in New York City from 1996 to 2005 reported that alcohol was detected in 21 percent of the cyclists killed.

Finally, do not assume that, should you dutifully follow the rules, you are freed from constant vigilance. Individual driving behavior, no matter how many cyclists ride, will always remain unpredictable, if not perverse. Consider the results of a 2007 study from Britain, which found that, when cyclists skipped wearing helmets, drivers yielded more of the road to them while passing; if the cyclists did don their helmets, the drivers tended to crowd dangerously close.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bicycles are a Pimple on the Butt of Fort Collins

Here's a great little video from Street Films shows how some people view vehicles on our roads. (This is worth your time while you wake up with a cup of coffee.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Does Stop REALLY Mean Stop?

How do we get bikers to obey traffic laws? Asks Christopher Beam in the October 16 issue of Slate online. "Why bother?" Would seem to be his answer. In this thoughtful and provocative essay Beam addresses the social and legal complexities of treating bicycles as vehicles. He discusses the "Idaho stop," which allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs and he cites the failed attempt in Oregon in winter/spring of 2009 to institute the legislation there. He also has a succinct explanation of the divide among the two camps of "vehicular" (those who believe cyclists are vehicles and belong on the road) and "facilitators" (those who believe cyclists belong on bike paths or lanes separated from the road.) An interesting essay.

The above sign was (was) in Fort Collins until the spring of 2006 when it was called to the attention of our streets engineer. It disappeared within a few weeks.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Shared Lanes: Sharrows are a Great Educational/Engineering Tool to Promote Sharing the Road

(Scroll down for additional photos)
Fort Collins transportation planners conducted an experiment in February of 2006 along Laurel Street near College. Never mind that the "sharrow" ("shared lane arrow") shown here is placed incorrectly and quickly dissipated in the grit and snow, the symbol communicates clearly to cyclists and motorists exactly where cyclists can be expected to ride in the travel lane. This particular series of sharrows was west of College Ave. on Laurel where the street is too narrow (because of on-street parking) for a bike lane. Here bikes should ride in the center of the travel lane.

"Share the lane signs" went up on College Avenue in Old Town Fort Collins in September. The signs (a total of eight signs both north and south-bound, between Laurel and Cherry Streets) were placed along College as a part of the new campaign to discourage cyclists on the sidewalks in Old Town. Signs such as the one below communicate clearly to cyclists and motorists alike that bicycles are both allowed and encouraged on College Aveune in this part of town.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bike Co-op Offers League of American Bicyclists Smart Cycling Class Nov. 7th

The Fort Collins Bike Co-op is offering a Smart Cycling class for both experienced and novice cyclists Saturday, Nov. 7. This class is part of the wide ranging curriculum of smart cycling courses offered by the League of American Bicyclists. The goal of the class is to teach the principles and practices of “vehicular” cycling.

The course gives all levels of cyclists critical knowledge about where to ride in traffic, how to ride in traffic and on multi-modal trails, and what bicycle to select for your specific needs. The class will also address cycling techniques for commuters and recreational cyclists and recent changes in Colorado law that affect cyclists.

This course is ideal for parents or PE, health and wellness educators who are interested in teaching better bicycling to their own children or to their students. The class is also a required course for anyone seeking to achieve the League of American Bicyclists “League Cycling Instructor” – LCI - certification. The Co-op will offer an LCI certification class in late winter so if you are considering pursuing that certification the Nov. 7th class is a great opportunity to complete the Traffic Skills 101 (TS 101) prerequisite.
The class is sponsored by the Fort Collins Bike Co-op:

To register for this Traffic Skills 101 course, contact:
Rick Price
Contact Email:
Signup is required in advance
Contact the instructor by e-mail or phone: 970-310-5238
Fee: $60 (Scholarships, educator & student rates are available)
Equipment required: Bring your bicycle and a helmet (required for sure)
Date: Saturday, Nov. 7 - 8:30 to 5 p.m.
Instructor: Rick Price
Location: Fort Collins Bike Co-op: 331 North College, Fort Collins, CO 80524
Fee: $60 (Scholarships, educator & student rates available)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Deadline to Join a City Citizens' Advisory Board Extended to Oct. 12

The post below is still valid but the following boards or commissions received few applicants so the City has extended the deadline to Oct. 12.

- Affordable Housing Board
- Air Quality Advisory Board
- Community Development Block Grant Commission
- Landmark Preservation Commission
- Senior Advisory Board
- Women's Commission
- Zoning Board of Appeals

Just wanted to let everyone know that the application deadline has been extended to October 12 for boards and commissions. Applications will be accepted for all boards and commissions, however, the following received equal to or less than the number of vacancies:

Fort Collins City Council relies on boards and commissions for advice on policy issues, on how to spend money, and on many other things. We can build a better bicycle community with more cyclists on these citizen boards or commmissions. The application process is pretty simple. You'll then have an interview with a couple of Council members, and then they'll decide. Time commitments are 4 - 8 hours per month on most boards or commissions.

We would really like to see cyclists on the following boards:

Air Quality Board
Art in Public Places (we need more bike Art!)
Downtown Development Board
Economic Advisory Commission
Land Conservation and Development Commission
Natural Resources Advisory Board
Planning & Zoning Board
Senior and Youth Advisory Boards
Women's Commission and others....

Visit the City web site for more information and for application procedures.

Applications are due Sept. 30, 2009.

If you have questions about how all this relates to better bicycling in Fort Collins call Rick Price at 310-5238.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

City Director of Planning, Development and Transportation Responds to Budget Questions about Fort Collins Bike Plan

The City's Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) met last night and heard from Jeff Scheick about the City budget. The question and and answer session with Mr. Scheick and his staff (Bike Coordinator, Dave "DK" Kemp and Kathleen Bracke, head of Transportation Planning) was especially informative.

Questions were ask by a number of members on the BAC. The focus was the 2010/2011 City budget with specific reference to bicycle services, the bicycle program, and the bike plan implementation. Answers were provided by Scheick, Kemp and Bracke.

(The photo shows a bike education class with second graders in Commerce City. See questions h and m below for responses to questions about the City's priorities for bike education, the bike library and the FCBikes program).

This section is from the Draft minutes of the BAC meeting. Complete minutes will be posted on the City web site in the near future.

a) What about snow plow operations? These are funded at past levels.

b) Street sweeping? Cut to twice a year on collector streets. Eliminated in residential areas.

c) Are contractors required to sweep drag-out from construction sites? Could we enforce that? Scheick: Good point, we can and should do that, yes.

d) Parks has had significant cuts. What cuts there will impact bicycles? Scheick: $2M cut from Parks and Rec. Since this is not my area I can’t say how that will impact bikes.

e) What use might be made of Natural Resource dollars in our natural areas? Scheick: Open space dollars are dedicated. Skutchan: Yes, but they are being used creatively.

f) Can you speak to the two BFO offers from FCBIkes and the Bike Co-op that we heard about last meeting? DK: I can’t speak to the Bike Co-op offer (I don’t know if it was funded). FCBikes offer was above the line. Price: the Co-op offer was not even acknowledged by the City. It was not funded.

g) Can you comment on the BFO offer from the Bike Co-op? Scheick: I cannot. I read the offer and understood it but do not know how decisions were made to not fund it.

h) We were hoping to hear more from you about the Bike Program and funding for FCBikes. At Council on Sept. 1 Lisa Poppaw pulled the Safe Routes to School program from the consent agenda. Questions were raised about the $38,500 for educational expenditures versus funds of $100K for the Bike Library and $192K for FC Bikes. At what point does the City or does staff begin to reprioritize these allocations given the need for educational outreach to school children in particular? Scheick & Bracke: The CDOT grant for Safe Routes is comprised of specific funds as requested in the grant proposal.

i) The bike program is funded primarily by these three grants (exclusive of engineering funds). Council expressed concern about these priorities. Do we rely on Council to review priorities or should this group be making recommendations to Council in this respect? Scheick: Joe Olson, our traffic engineer is reviewing the 40 school zones in the City. We will bring this study to Council in Feb. 2010 to discuss transportation safety, including this topic. We are also working with Poudre School District on how to partner with them on educational outreach.

j) Has the FC Moves program been funded? Bracke: this addresses metrics for all modes of transportation. We will do this as a part of our regular planning budget. Skutchan: Metrics for bicycling is appearing as one of our priorities. Will the department be able to address this? Bracke: We will work with your group on this. We won’t do this by ourselves but welcome your input. The depth at which we measure bicycling will depend on resources.

k) There are lots of City departments that impact us as bicyclists (streets, cleaning, traffic engineering, park, etc.). How does this new organizational structure of PTD impact the ability of departments to communicate and work together or with the BAC? Scheick: Tell us what you’d like and DK can have any of these programs or departments come and talk with you. Skutchan: Will the reduction in staff impact your ability to respond to our needs? Scheick: You won’t see any change based on our reorganization. On the contrary, they should be more efficient now (pavement management is a good example.)

l) Do you expect snow removal to be maintained at the same level as in the past? And will that be prioritized as in recent years, including our trails through the Parks program? Scheick: I’ll have DK follow up on this. I don’t believe there is a change in street plowing. DK: Streets is very receptive to our priority bicycle routes. Scheick: Can you follow up on this.

m) The BAC is formulating a work plan. You don’t have a large budget to work with. Among the three current CDOT grants (Bike Library, FCBikes, and Safe Routes) what flexibility do you have to shift funds around? Scheick: We have no capability to reallocate funds. Council would have to support those changes and then CDOT would have to approve them. Price: So if this group were to recommend to Council that we shift our priorities, that’s a possibility? Scheick: Yes. Bracke: As you work on your plan and create your priorities that would be very interesting for us; what are the areas that you’d like to focus on? For example, CDOT is doing the next call for projects for Safe Routes to School in December. So your timing is ideal. If you have new ideas for us this is perfect timing. Also the NFRMPO is doing a new call for CMAQ funded projects soon. So I encourage you to shape your vision and work plan and we can help seek out funding for those programs. We have been very successful in seeking funding. Your ideas and support as a board would be very meaningful in moving forward those applications. Please don’t feel that we are “stuck” by the current funds. We’re lucky to have them but there are a lot of other opportunities as well.
Scheick: Very well said, Kathleen. The transportation pie is only so big. If you can help us make that pie bigger and help figure out how to slice it differently we could do greater things across multiple modes.

n) Are the $125,000 in B.O.B. funds “ours” to spend? Bracke: That is capital funding from Building on Basics. Ballot language specifies how those funds can be spent. It is for bike plan implementation. So if you have some ideas, let us know. Cardona: The language does say it can be used for “programmatic activities, special events, clinics, and services to promote cycling and safety” at the rate of $125,000 per year through 2015. Bracke: That’s another potential funding source for your ideas. Often those funds are used for matching funds. But yes, these funds are there for you to help prioritize. BOB funds have not yet been targeted for 2010 and 2011. So your timing is good for that. This year those funds were used as matching funds for grade-separated crossings. But they get used for a variety of different things. Morrell: So for ’10 and ’11 there are no earmarks yet? Bracke: Not yet. Price: Have the B.O.B. funds ever been used as programmatic funds or just capital improvements? Bracke: Only capital improvements.
Cardona: But the ballot language allows it to be used for programmatic purposes. Bracke: That’s correct. The City attorney’s office must verify that the projects qualify under the ballot language.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fort Collins Bike Co-op Offers Bicycle Education Classes

The Fort Collins Bike Co-op is offering a series of Bicycle Education classes in September and October leading to certification by the League of American Bicyclists through their League Cycling Instructor program.

League Cycling Instructors, or LCIs, teach cyclists to ride safely and motorists to share the road. Since March the Bike Co-op has trained eight new LCIs in Fort Collins. The program this fall is designed to double that number. Ultimately, the Co-op hopes to “train the trainers” and see a number of P.E. teachers, law enforcement officers, bicycle advocates and other local school teachers become certified instructors under this program.
Certification as an LCI requires thirty-three hours of in-class and on-the-bike instruction. The required courses include a nine hour “Traffic Skills 101 (TS101)” prerequisite class which must be taken before the twenty-four hour League Cycling Seminar. Classes offered this fall are as follows:

Traffic Skills 101:

Date: Saturday & Sunday morning Sept. 19 & 20, 2009
Instructor: Rick Price
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Fee: $60 (scholarships or waivers are available for those who will teach or assist with teaching classes in Fort Collins)

Course Description:
The course gives cyclists the confidence they need to ride safely and legally in traffic or on the trail. The course covers bicycle safety checks, fixing a flat, on-bike skills and crash avoidance techniques and includes a student manual. Recommended for adults and children above age fourteen, this fast-paced, nine-hour course prepares cyclists for a full understanding of vehicular cycling and satisfies the prerequisite for the LCI seminar we will offer October 16 - 19, 2009.

To sign up: Contact or call 970-310-5238

Traffic Skills 101:

Date: Saturday Evening & Sunday morning Sept. 26 & 27, 2009
Instructor: Anthony DeNardo
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Fee: $60 (scholarships or waivers are available for those who will teach or assist with teaching classes in Fort Collins)

Course Description:
The course gives cyclists the confidence they need to ride safely and legally in traffic or on the trail. The course covers bicycle safety checks, fixing a flat, on-bike skills and crash avoidance techniques and includes a student manual. Recommended for adults and children above age fourteen, this fast-paced, nine-hour course prepares cyclists for a full understanding of vehicular cycling and satisfies the prerequisite for the LCI seminar we will offer October 16 - 19, 2009.

To sign up: Contact or call 970-472-8855

League Cycling Instructor Seminar

Date: Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, October 16 – 18, 2009
Instructor: John Rider, LCI #699 from Madison, WI
Description: The League Cycling Instructor (LCI) Certification Seminar focuses on developing skills for instructing beginning and advanced cyclists. Technical bicycling knowledge is not emphasized in the Seminar. Therefore, it is essential that all participants bring a common bicycling background to the Seminar. This is accomplished by requiring Traffic Safety 101 as a prerequisite for the LCI Certification Seminar. Please see the two TS101 classes offered above in Fort Collins in September. These satisfy the prerequisite for admission to the October 16 LCI seminar. For complete details on why you might want to become a League Cycling Instructor visit the League of American Bicyclists education pages.

Fee: $200 (scholarships may be available for this, contact Rick Price).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Conference Bike" Offers Unique Experience

So our "non-book" group gets together once a month to talk about books we haven't read, politics, the state of the nation and world, health care reform, transportation policy, hand built guitars, beads and necklace making, and everything else that comes down the pike. Since this is a bike town and there are six of us and the Conference Bike offered for hire by Septacycles accommodates six plus a driver, we decided on an August evening on the town by bike.

We recommend it highly. We hired both bike and driver since our idea was to make the rounds to some of the bicycle bars in town just for the experience. Indeed, it was an ExperiencePlus! We started at the Bike Co-op on Laporte Avenune and pedaled down Howes, then Laurel to Road 34 on West Elizabeth. We were greeted with cheers and cameras! From there we headed to campus, around the oval and then back to Laurel and College. We "took the lane" and headed down College Avenue to Old Town Square where we took a break for pizza and drinks at Coopersmiths. We completed the evening by returning to the Bike Co-op.

So what did we learn: The Conference Bike has no gears. So you can only go so fast (and good luck to the folks who try riding up to Horsetooth Reservoir). We could cruise at about 10 MPH and we found that it took only three of us pedaling at a time to move it along nicely. So we counted off - 1,2 - 1,2 - and the commander called for the ones to pedal while the twos rested, and so it goes. Would we do it again? In a minute! (And you should too!) Contact Septacycles here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists are Changing American Cities

A Book Review by Rick Price, Ph.D.
(by Jeff Mapes, Oregon State University Press, 2009)

The author of Pedaling Revolution, Jeff Mapes, covers politics for the Portland Oregonian;, he is a blogger, a bicycle commuter, and by virtue of having spent nights and weekends from 2004 until April of 2008 thinking about and writing this book, he has become a bicycle advocate. Put him on your list of people to invite to your bike summit or alternative energy fair as recently Mapes was the keynote speaker at such disparate events as the energy - SolWestFair - in John Day, Oregon and the Miami Valley Cyclists’ Summit in Dayton, Ohio. (Oh yeah, did I mention, that Mapes’ family just purchased a cargo bike with the capacity to haul 400 lbs of cargo? Now that’s the sign of a committed bicycle advocate.)

So what makes Pedaling Revolution a great book? And what makes Jeff Mapes the latest candidate as spokesperson for our very own bicycle “revolution”? Stories, that’s what, the stock-in-trade of the “literary journalist.”

Mapes is no John McPhee or Tracy Kidder just yet, but he has pulled together a great collection of interviews, stories, and accounts of personal encounters with the people who have made this revolution. And in so doing he reminds us of the value of personal passion, local advocacy, and the role that we all might aspire to play in the revolution. I especially like the nuggets of history and advocacy that he has dredged up in his quest to understand the resurgence of the bicycle in this country.

Take Davis, CA, for example. Why is Davis, widely known as “bike town USA,” head and shoulders above the rest of us for its bike culture? In part, explains Mapes, because of the seeds sown by Davis’s University Chancellor Emil Mrak in the early 1960s. Mrak loved to bicycle and when he became Chancellor he asked his planners and architects to “plan for a bicycle-riding, tree-lined campus.” Then he banned motor vehicles from the central part of campus. The rest is history.

There are other hints of how one person can effect change and help sow the seeds of a bicycle revolution. For example, where did all those bike paths in our bicycle friendly cities come from anyway? Well, you may remember New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He was a sociology professor and as a young academic Moynihan wrote an article in 1960 called “New Roads and Urban Chaos,” in which he predicted that urban chaos will break out if States were allowed to build the Interstate Highway system with unrestricted funding from the federal government.

Thirty years later, as chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee, Moynihan created local metropolitan planning organizations designed to provide a check and balance on every state’s “roads only” Department of Transportation ( you know, the DOTs) and to mandate that these planning agencies fund “transportation enhancements” that included bike paths and other multi-modal facilities. The result of that legislation is a legacy of nearly two decades of funding for bike paths and bicycle and pedestrian coordinators at the State and city level across the country.

From this personal level of stories about key individuals who have influenced bicycling in the US, Mapes expands his narrative to include a series of readable case studies of cities in Europe and the US. He writes about Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Paris, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle, and he goes into depth on Davis, Portland, and bicycling in New York City.

You can’t write about the bicycle revolution in the US without exploring the roll of Critical Mass (if you aren’t familiar with “critical mass” your primer is here:, urban bike messenger culture, and the controversy within the bicycle community itself over the assertion of people like John Forester, that “cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.” Mapes does all of this and he does it well.

After his great introduction to the recent history of bicycling and bicycle advocacy, Mapes wraps up his narrative in three chapters on bicycle safety, health, and “Bringing Kids Back to Bikes.” It is, in short, a call to arms, to get involved and to bring the revolution to your community. What’s holding you back?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Big News: The Bike Co-op is Moving!

The Bike Co-op would like to announce that we're moving a few short blocks to a new permanent home at 331 N. College Ave! We just signed the lease yesterday (on Friday). Its awesome, there's nearly 9,000 sq ft of space, it's all heated and insulated, there's plenty of storage, workspace, two bathrooms, a retail area, a great parking lot for test rides, plenty of room out back for donations and recycling. You've just got to see it for yourself to believe it.

Volunteer Opportunities

Come on down today (Saturday 8/22) at 3pm to 331 N. College if you'd like to lend a hand cleaning it up before we start to move in. Please bring any large push brooms and cleaning supplies you might have available. Then at 5pm this evening we'll be moving Ghana bikes from Steele's market over to the new space. We have a 16' trailer to move them but could use more hands on both ends to speed the process.

Please also plan on joining us tomorrow Sunday 8/23 for a work day (closed to the public) during our normal shop hours Noon-6pm for a work day at 222 Laporte getting things organized for our big move! We will not re-open the shop until everything is moved over to 331 N. College, so please watch for more emails in the upcoming weeks announcing further work/move days.

We will not re-open the shop until everything is moved over to 331 N. College, so please watch for more emails in the upcoming weeks announcing further work/move days.


If you would like to contribute financially, we sure could use some funds to help us offset the costs of repairing/renovating a few areas of our new home, keeping our tools and parts well stocked, and helping out with monthly rent. You can donate via Paypal by credit card, bank account, or Paypal account and all donations are tax decuctible. Please visit our website and consider a one time or subscription donation. Thank you in advance!

Grinning from ear to ear,
Your Friends at the Fort Collins Bike Co-op soon 331 N. College!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bike Co-op Offers Valet Bike Parking Services

Thomas Edwards is the volunteer at the Fort Collins Bike Co-op who heads up the Valet Bike Parking project. Thomas works with two board members to coordinate and organize our valet parking events but above all he hauls bike racks on our cargo trike and trailer, staffs the parking events, and coordinates volunteers.

The photo of the trike and loaded trailer was taken during a time trial race on CSU's oval while the other two were taken at New West Fest, 2009. Bicycles left over at the end of an event are hauled back to the Bike Co-op and logged in as abandoned (see photo). The owners can pick them up by calling the Co-op and stopping in during open hours. Note Thomas holding the bolt-cutters that the Co-op volunteers use to cut the locks on bikes that abandoned at the end of an event

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Old Town Fort Collins Dismount Zone

Have you seen the latest warning handout for those who violate the Old Town Dismount Zone? Probably not unless you violate the ordinance and are one of the lucky ones to get a warning from a private security officer rather than a ticket from a District One police officer. Some of us are wondering why stores and law-abiding cyclists can't have a stack of these to hand out to the scofflaws riding on the sidewalk downtown.

The image shows the business card handout front and back. Note the following FACTS:
1) It is illegal to ride your bicycle or skateboard on sidewalks downtown.
2) It is legal to bicycle on College Avenue downtown.

Note the following opinions of FCBikes:
1) Bicycling on College Ave. is recommended for experienced cyclists.
2) Always wear a helmet;
3) Ride with a light at night.

This is all great but the MESSAGE should be: DON'T RIDE ON THE SIDEWALK because there are older folks, children, and because it just makes sense to respect the Old Town Pedestrian environment.

So if you see FCBikes on the street, why not tell him that!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tim Anderson Recovering at Craig Hospital

Those of you who follow bicycling in Fort Collins know by now that Dr. Tim Anderson, president of the Fort Collins Velodrome Association, suffered a bad crash at Vic's Espresso Criterium in Longmont August 8, 2009. Tim is now is recovering at Craig's Hospital in Denver. You can monitor Tim's progress in recovery at

The photo shows Tim at his birthday celebration at Boulder Indoor Cycling in February, 2009 (that's Collegiate National Champion, Dan Lionberg trying his best to catch Tim).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bicycle Colorado Reports that JeffCo May Seek Authority to Ban Bikes on Some County Roads

(From Bicycle Colorado)

County commissioners in Jefferson County announced that they are asking for statewide legislation that would let counties ban bicyclists from county roads of their choice, according to an article in the Columbine Courier.

Local advocacy group Bike Jeffco requested and received a draft of the legislation from the County verifying this is the case.

If such legislation were to pass, county roads anywhere in the state could be closed to bicyclists, including critical cycling routes like Deer Creek Canyon in Jefferson County, Swan Mountain Road in Summit County, Horsetooth Reservoir in Larimer County, and many more across the state.

We need your help to ensure
access and equality for bicyclists
on public roads.

Here is what you can do:

1) Join the Movement - Now is the time to add your voice to this issue. Join Bicycle Colorado. If you don't know if you are a member, ask us online.

2) Spread the Word - post this information to your blog and Facebook page, forward to friends, teammates and clubs.

3) Get Connected and Be Ready to Call - Invite others to sign up for eNews to receive updates on this issue and to receive the alert for when to call your legislators.

Bicycle Colorado members have worked to successfully overcome bike bans and caps on events in the past. However, this issue may be the biggest challenge yet to bicycling in Colorado. If you ride a bicycle, you need to be involved and informed.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fort Collins Police Respond to Complaints of Lack of Enforcement for Bicycle Scofflaws

One big happy family?!
The image shows CSU Corporal Scott Anthony with Chris Gaughan (Vice Chair of the City's Bicycle Advisory Committee), and Colin Pinney (Bike Co-op volunteer and former Co-op board member) on the CSU campus.

In response to a recent citizen cyclist's complaint about Fort Collins police officers not stopping and ticketing local cyclists for breaking the law City Manager Darin Atteberry shared the following response from Police Services staff member Lieutenant Szakmeister.

"Thank you for taking the time and making the effort regarding your observations on the enforcement of bicycle laws by Fort Collins Police Services. You are 100 per cent correct in that these actions by bicyclists are a violation of traffic safety law.

You ask, “Why do Fort Collins police officers treat bicyclists differently?” It is not a matter of treating individuals differently but rather enforcing laws that could have a greater impact on the public good. Just last week an officer stopped and cited two bicyclists for their bicycle violations. The officer made an observation that their actions constituted a greater danger. By the way, the officer’s sergeant received an angry phone call complaining that the police are “picking” on bicyclists.

While I may not be able to satisfy your concerns, I can tell you that police officers are entitled to exercise discretion with regard to the many traffic violations they see in the course of their duties everyday. For instance, when an officer is working a speed zone with radar, the officer many times chooses to take enforcement action when the driver exceeds ten or more miles over the speed limit. From reading your message, this may be considered dishonest or corrupt. If an officer stopped you for going over the speed limit by 1 mile per hour, he would be justified in doing so according to the letter of the law. But is it the right or ethical thing to do? I would propose to you that it would not be right or nor ethical as a general rule. Nor would it be practical.

Officers throughout their work day attempt to stop people for what they consider to be serious violations that might lead to dire consequences, similar to what Officer Deyen told you. If officers stopped everyone for every violation they see and write tickets to each violator, let alone bicyclists, it would not be reasonable or practical.

That is why the law allows officers to exercise discretion in the exercise of their duties to enforce the law. The courts have long held to this as well. It is not a matter of being dishonest or corrupt, but ethical and correct. Being sworn to uphold the law does not mean that each and every observable violation must be acted upon.

I would agree with you that if the officers are not busy taking care of other matters, officers should enforce bicycle laws as well as other laws. A discussion will take place with these officers, not as a matter of discipline, but as a reminder that citizens like you are cognizant of what’s going on out there and that there is an expectation that officers take action when possible or expedient.

Thanks again for your inquiry."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Polaris High School Freshman to ride the Colorado Trail

Thursday, 30 April 2009 21:07
To whom it may concern:

I would like your assistance in raising money for the Fort Collins Bicycle Co-op. I am looking for sponsors who will contribute directly to the Fort Collins Bicycle Co-op as I spend 2 weeks mountain biking the Colorado Trail. I will cover all my own expenses, carry my own gear, ride during the day and camp out along the 500 miles of trail between Denver and Durango.

I felt I could make my 2 week trip even more rewarding by raising money for the Fort Collins Bicycle Co-op . The Bicycle Co-op is a nonprofit organization that promotes the health, environmental and economic benefits of bicycling in Fort Collins and abroad. They do this primarily by collecting and repairing old bikes and reusing them here as well as in developing nations over-seas.

There are several ways you can support my cause for a more bicycle friendly world. You can go directly to the Fort Collins Bicycle Co-op web site and donate on line at the Fort Collins Bike Co-op or mail a check to the Fort Collins Bicycle Co-op 222 Laporte Avenue Fort Collins, CO 80521. If you prefer you can pledge a donation now, either a set amount or a dollar-per-mile amount and I will collect from you after I finish in July. If you contribute direcly to the Bicycle Co-op please let me know so I can track it.

Thank you for your support. I appreciate your contribution.


Cassi Mason
freshman Polaris High School

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bike Co-op Seeks Volunteers for Collegiate National Road Cycling Championships May 8 - 10, 2009

The Fort Collins Bike Co-op is looking for 80 volunteers to help marshal the 2009 Collegiate National Cycling Championships May 8, 9 and 10, 2009.

The best part about this is that the Convention and Visitor's Bureau, the Fort Collins Cycling Festival have come up with 84 (you got it, EIGHTY-FOUR awards that will be given away by drawing to VOLUNTEERS ONLY!!

The list is below but the bike at the top is one of the prizes donated by the Co-op - it's a sweet single speed Raleigh Grand Prix complete with mustache handlebars. (And if it doesn't fit or it's not your style, bring it in and we'll trade it for something that fits you AND your style!)

Other awards for volunteers for the races include:

Sense of Place: $20 Gift Certificate
Mountain Whitewater Descents: T-Shirt, Guided Rafting Trip, Book
Coopersmith's Pub & Brewing: 25x2 Free Beer Coupons
Austin's, Moot House, Enzio's: 10 $10 Gift Certificates
Vern's Toffee: 1 lb box of Vern's Almond Toffee
Kilwin's Chocolates & Ice Cream 4x2 Single-scoop Waffle Cones
Cambria Suites 10 Single Night Stays
Bisetti's Ristorante $25 Gift Certificate
Quality Inn & Suites Complimentary one night stay
Courtyard Marriott Complimentary weekend night stay
Residence Inn by Marriott Complimentary weekend night stay
Hampton Inn One Complimentary Night Stay
Hilton Garden Inn One Complimentary Night Stay
Copper Creek Restaurant at the Fort Collins Marriott Complimentary "Sunday Brunch for Two"
Alpine Arts $20 Gift Certificate
C.B. & Potts (2) $20 Gift Certificate
Fort Collins MOCA Free Individual Membership to the museum
Super Shuttle (2) Complimentary Round Trip Airport Shuttle
Bas Bleu Theatre (4) Main Stage or Readers' vouchers Theatre Super 8 Motel Complimentary one night stay
Cheyenne Frontier Days (2) complimentary Ticket to the rodeo
A Wanderlust Adventure One Complimentary rafting trip
Fort Collins Bike Co-op One Raleigh Single Speed Commuter Bike "Sweet!"

Contact Rick [at] to volunteer for your spot on the road TODAY! We especially need volunteers for May 8th. And this is going to be a spectacular race from Hughes Stadium along Horsetooth Reservoir to Masonville and back!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fort Collins' Own BHA Design Leads Boulder's Valmont Bike Park Design Team

We've got the expertise, we just don't have the . . . what? Vision, political will, money, drive, organization? BHA design, based right here in river city, headed by landscape architect and planner Bruce Hendee, was chosen as the lead designer for Boulder's Valmont Bike Park. Read about it here, on BHA design's blog
or here on the Valmont Bike Park blog.

BHA Design is designed the new on-street bike parking in Fort Collins that was installed last month.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bike Co-op Achieves 501-c-3 Designation

The Fort Collins Bike Co-op recently received its very own 501-c-3 designation and at about the same time it signed a contract with the City of Fort Collins to handle:
1) Bike maintenance through 2009 for the Bike Library bikes and, 2) Valet Bike Parking for the City Parks Department at a variety of events. The Co-op also has undertaken to be more visible in the community through tabling events at CSU and in Fort Collins. The photo shows Co-op founder and Rafael Cletero and volunteer Steve Burns staffing a table at the CSU Earth Day event April 22nd while stuffing themselves with Kasbah Pizza (Kasbah is a Co-op sponsor!)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Denver is Planning a City-Wide Bike Share Program

Mayor John Hickenlooper and several community partners today (January 14, 2009) announced plans for a citywide bike sharing program – Denver B-Cycle – that will make 500 bikes available to the public at 30 to 40 stations throughout the city beginning this summer. Read all the details here. In the photo note the fully enclosed bike with the docking station and the Parisian businessman ready to head off for a meeting. Read more about this system by clicking on Bike Share at the bottom of this post where the labels are.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fort Collins Bike Co-op Seeks Volunteers: HELP (WANTED)!

Bike Mechanics– Experienced or apprentice mechanics to help with Earn-A-Bikes, prep library bikes, and restore impounded and donated bikes.

Bike Co-op Greeters- Friendly greeters needed every day the Co-op is open. Help Co-op customers with bike problems, issues and answering questions.

Bicycle Retrieval Squad- Help needed to retrieve lost and abandoned bikes as necessary. Have a truck? All the better. Or use our bike + trailer to bring bikes in.

Bike Co-op Art Department- Help wanted to provide artwork for shirts, murals, posters, diagrams, signage, decals, and countless other fun stuff!

Bike Library Checkout Volunteers- Meet, greet, and entertain visitors to the Fort by checking out library bikes from the kiosk or Bike Co-op during the week.

Community Outreach, Bike Safety & Mechanics Classes- Join our team to take bike ed. To school groups, CSU and other community groups.

Earn-a-Bike Assistants- Help organize, coordinate, and promote our E-a-B program to any & all who would like to build and earn their own recovered bike.

Fundraising and Grant writing needed- Help us find that next mini-grant, major donation, and $5 monthly subscription to feed the Bike Co-op system!

Ghana Bikes Project- Help us & the World to send 450 abandoned bikes to Ghana with the Village Bicycle Project.

Iron mongers, tinkers, tinsmiths and blacksmiths needed- we need help recycling iron, steel, aluminum and more to keep it out of the landfill.

League Cycling Instructors in Training- Join our team of League of American Cyclists Bike Ed instructors who will develop and teach Bike Ed. To schools!

Newsletter Editor- We need a wordsmith to help us tell the world what we’re doing! Work with all our lead volunteers to keep people informed, inflamed, and inspired!

Racing Volunteers- Help monitor, and cheer the National Collegiate Cycling Championships in May 2009 and 6 day races around the oval this summer.

Valet Bike Parking- Bike Parking at community events make the Co-op more visible in town, spread the word, and ask for tips and donations to the Co-op.

Volunteer coordinators- Every single activity listed above needs help with coordinatin’, innovatin’, and activatin’. Maybe that would be you?!

Tabling- Customer service and sales people need to help spread the work about the Bike Co-op and our need for volunteers of all flavors!

Check out the Co-op web site today and get in touch!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

On Street Bike Parking in Downtown Fort Collins: The Back Story

The story that follows, from the Coloradoan, announces 5 brand new on-street bike parking racks in Old Town Fort Collins sponsored by New Belgium Brewing. This brief note brings you a few photos and a little bit of the back story of how these racks came to be. (Maybe our Bike Coordinator, Dave Kemp, will follow up with some further commentary). About 2 years ago the folks at Matter Bookstore and the Bean Cycle asked for an on-street bike corral to accommodate all the bikes in front of the Bean (bottom photo above). One business on the street objected to the loss of one automobile parking spot.

So Dave Kemp went to work and came up with five spots around Old Town for racks like the one shown in the first photo - a net gain of something like 100 parking spots since each rack holds twenty or so bikes! Nice work, Dave!

Now all we need is that on-street rack in front of the Bean Cycle!

Old Town Fort Collins adds On-Street Bike Parking

In a copyrighted story today, Trevor Hughes writes in the Coloradoan about new on-street bike parking in Old Town Fort Collins. (Although we don't like the lead sentence): "Depending on how you look at it, Old Town has either just lost five parking spaces or gained dozens more."

(Trevor, why not write: Downtown Fort Collins just got dozens of new, free parking spaces, thanks to New Belgium Brewing!)

Here's the rest of Trevor's story:

"Workers on Friday installed five permanent bright red bike racks in five downtown parking slots, blocking the slots off from vehicle use but offering dozens of new places where cyclists can lock up while patronizing downtown businesses.

The racks went up in front of Café Ardour, La Luz, the Rio Grande, Trailhead Tavern and Mugs Coffee Lounge. City bike coordinator Dave "DK" Kemp got signatures of support from business owners on each block, spending more than a year answering questions and addressing concerns.

"This makes a statement about our community," said McCabe Callahan, the owner of Mugs. "I think it's a great thing. It's encouraging more people to ride their bikes and not drive cars."

New Belgium Brewing Co. - the Fort Collins-based bike-friendly brewery - partnered with the city to create the racks. New Belgium provided the $10,000 necessary to design, build and install the racks, and the brewer's logo is featured on each. The racks,

designed by BHA Designs and built by M&R Fabricators, also resemble the city's new logo, with swooping curves topped by Horsetooth Rock.

The rack locations were chosen because the neighboring businesses see large numbers of cyclists al-ready. The existing racks outside Ardour, for example, are packed on weekend mornings; and on nice Saturday afternoons, bikes are locked to virtually every object in front of the Rio.

Kemp said moving the bike parking onto the street makes sidewalks more inviting and easier to travel, something Callahan said would help his business.

The racks also have the backing of the city's Downtown Development Authority. Executive Director Matt Robenalt said Kemp did a good job securing widespread support for the project.

"It's responding to a definite increase in bicycle traffic in downtown," Robenalt said. "Fort Collins is a cycling community. It's part of the lifestyle here."

On Friday morning, cyclist Sarah Uhl was one of the first riders to use the new rack outside La Luz. Uhl, originally from Philadelphia, said she's impressed with Fort Collins' commitment to cycling. Uhl works at New Belgium as a tour guide but said she had no idea her company was helping put in the racks.

"It made my day," she said. "It was a really wonderful surprise.""

Friday, March 6, 2009

New Belgium Recognized as Platinum Bicycle Friendly Business

Congratulations to New Belgium Brewing! This just in from the League of American Bicyclists. The photo shows New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins hosting a winter bike to work breakfast.

Washington, DC - March 05, 2009 – The League of American Bicyclists is proud to announce New Belgium Brewing is named as a platinum level Bicycle Friendly Business and is one of the 34 new BFB award winners. This is the second time BFB winners have been announced since the program's inception in 2008 when the League announced the first 13 designees.

“We’re delighted to highlight New Belgium and the ways in which they are getting more people on bikes,” stated League President Andy Clark. “In today’s challenging economic climate, businesses with healthy, happy and productive employees are going to be the most competitive and the most sustainable – the Bicycle Friendly Business program recognizes some of the best examples of this in practice.”

The BFB program recognizes socially responsible businesses that promote healthy, happy, and green workplaces and provides a road map to become even more bicycle-friendly in the years to come. “Businesses across the nation are rising to the challenge of reducing their carbon footprint and improving the health of their employees - we are excited to be able to provide a roadmap to help achieve both these goals, and to recognize those companies that are leading the way," said Clark.

“It’s an honor to be recognized at the League’s highest platinum level rating,” said New Belgium spokesman, Bryan Simpson. “As a brewery founded on a bike ride through Belgium, we do bike advocacy from Tour de Fat to Team Wonderbike because it’s an important part of who we are and how we want to manifest on this planet.”

Bicycle Friendly Businesses are corporations, organizations, nonprofits and associations that weave bicycling into their business culture and give employees and customers the opportunity to be active stewards of their personal and environmental health through bicycling. When bicycling is infused in an office or company culture, great things happen: reduced health care costs; more productive employees; improved worker and customer; satisfaction; smaller carbon footprint; and increased corporate social responsibility.

Applying as a BFB is easy and free. Applicants receive technical assistance from the League staff as well as tools to evaluate and assess their bicycle friendliness through the application process. The BFB application is available online at

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What Does City Council Have to do With a Platinum Bike Plan?

Everything. City Council sets policy in 2-4 year increments. They approve plans (like the Parks Master Plan that was just approved or the Bike Plan approved last Oct. 7, or the Bicycle Advisory Committee created by Council also last October 7th.)

Some people seem to like bike lanes, bike trails and paths, others think they are "extras," or childish, or even wasteful.

We've got several candidates running in Council districts 1, 3, and 5. We think you should support Ben Manvel in district 1 (that's Ben with the "One less car" on his shirt in the photo), Dale Lockwood in Distruct 3, and Kelly Ohlson in district 5.

Keeping incumbents, Manvel and Ohlson on Council is absolutely critical. Adding Lockwood would be a great touch to a supportive Council.

If you want a great summary about all these races, read Eric Fried's latest piece in Fort Collins Now. Pay special attention to his comments about Kelly Ohlson's opponent, Andrew Boucher: "all his columns rehashed the same points. Ready? Regulations, fees, taxes: bad! Nanny state: bad bad! Free market, Realtors, entrepreneurs: good! Open space, bicycles, transit: childish. Cars, roads, development: grown-up. Unions: bad. Poppaw, Manvel, Roy: badder. Ohlson: baddest."

Do us all a favor: Send Kelly Ohlson $25 today to help with his campaign, and vote for Kelly Ohlson, send Dale Lockwood another $25 and vote for him too. And send that last $25 contribution to Ben Manvel and vote for him if you're in District 1. Your vote, of course, depends on your Council district. But they all need your $25!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fort Collins Velodrome Group Visits Boulder Indoor Cycling

On Feb. 20, 2009 Tim Anderson took several members of the Fort Collins Velodrome Association and Team Rio Grande to Boulder Indoor Cycling for a two-hour ride on the new track. Dan Lionberg, 2008 national collegiate omnium champion (best all-round track cyclist) joined them for some fast paced laps. That's Dan in the photo.

Click here for more photos of Dan and the rest of the crew at Boulder Indoor Cycling. Click on the photo to see Dan's big smile.

And for more photographs of the Fort Collins cycling scene click here.

Boulder Indoor Cycling is here.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Re-elect Kelly Ohlson - Read our Recent Post

We recently posted an appeal to the community to support Kelly Ohlson in his re-election bid to Fort Collins' City Council. Read that post by clicking here.

Bike to Breakfast in Portland & Salem, Why not Fort Collins?

In Fort Collins our City Bike Coordinator throws a breakfast bash during Bike to Work Week in late June and during Winter Bike to Work Day in December. Click here for photos of this last December.

But in Portland and Salem, Oregon they do Bike to Breakfast monthly! I've linked to some photos here and suggest we consider a monthly bike to breakfast to encourage more pedaling, more camaraderie, and more visibility for bicycle commuting. The difference from what we now do twice a year, with fancy breakfasts, corporate hosts, pancakes, heaters, and all and what Portland and Salem do is simplicity. They just serve coffee, juice and sweet rolls. Of course in Portland they do Breakfast on the Bridges over the Willamette River with great views. But still . . . we could find one place, one host, and do a simple gathering the last . . . take your pick, Wednesday, every month.

BUT - This is a job for the community NOT the City Bike Coordinator. As the recent Community Bike Safety Forum (see post below) indicated, the community thinks our Bike Coordinator should focus on safety, not encouragement. So let's get Bike Fort Collins to sponsor a breakfast, then Diamond Peaks, then Rotary, then New Belgium, then . . . . . are you with me?

Check out Portland's Bridge Breakfasts here.
And Salem's breakfast by bike here.

And the photos here.

Community Bike Safety Forum Focuses on Education

Details will be forthcoming in a report from the Center for Public Deliberation at CSU but the results of our Safety Forum this last week were the following action items in order of priority.

1) Require bike rights and responsibilities questions in the State Driver's Manual;
2) Educational outreach for K-12;
3) Educational outreach for the general public;
4) Educate the motorist on the rights of cyclists;
5) Educate college age cyclists;
6) Increase overall numbers of cyclists;
7) Start another "Smart Trips" program;
8) Move away from our "car-centric" culture;
9) Move toward better law enforcement;
10) Improve and expand infrastructure.

The top five are educational initiatives, including the driver's manual rewrite, which is better acted upon by Bicycle Colorado since it requires legislative action.

Seems to us that the easiest way to achieve a lot of the educational outreach suggested is to have the City Bike Coordinator focus laser-like on education for students age 6 - 20 (that would pick up the K-12 and CSU students and reach the public as well through school groups, parents, PTAs, etc.)

In short, maybe it is time the Bike Coordinator stopped encouraging cyclists (who shows up for winter bike to work anyway? The already committed!) and start educational outreach programs by leveraging existing groups to help: CSU students helping CSU students; the Bike Co-op reaching out to school kids with a "kidz on bikes" program; and Bike Fort Collins using their $5,000 REI grant for educational outreach (whatever happened to that program, anyway?).

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bike Forum Thursday, February 12, 2009

How Can we Create a Safer Bicycle Culture in Fort Collins? A Community Cyclists Forum
Cyclists to Discuss Bicycle Safety at Community Forum on Feb. 12

The forum will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 12, at the Drake Centre, 802 W. Drake Road. Click for details.

Support Kelly Ohlson (and our Bike Policy) for Re-Election to City Council

A letter from local cycling advocate, Rick Price:

Dear Fellow Cyclist and Environmental Advocate,

Cycling and environmental advocate, Kelly Ohlson, is running for re-election in the upcoming city election this April. For over a quarter century, Kelly has been a solid supporter of bicycling, trails, and natural areas. (He recently won Etown’s national Echievement award for his more than 2 decades of work protecting open spaces and natural areas in Fort Collins and Larimer County.)

It is crucial that Kelly be re-elected to City Council if we are to continue making Fort Collins a sustainable, bicycle-friendly community that has both a healthy economy and a high quality of life.

Because successful campaigns need financial support, I have personally committed to raising $1,500 to help Kelly get re-elected. Furthermore, my wife Paola and I have each contributed $75 (the maximum allowed per person).

I’m writing to ask you to contribute to Kelly’s re-election campaign. Your financial support is vital! Won’t you help today by going to Kelly’s web site and matching my donation of $75? Or mail your check to: Citizens to Re-elect Kelly, 2040 Bennington Circle, Fort Collins, CO 80526. The election is only a few weeks away.

Thanks for your support and as you pedal those bike lanes and bike paths or hike those natural areas and do your birdwatching at Wigeon Pond, think of Kelly!

Thanks! (and please circulate this to your friends!

Rick Price, Ph.D.

Monday, February 2, 2009

How Can we Create a Safer Bicycle Culture in Fort Collins? A Community Cyclists Forum

Cyclists to Discuss Bicycle Safety at Community Forum on Feb. 12

The forum will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 12, at the Drake Centre, 802 W. Drake Road.

The Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation, or CPD, will host the “Bicycle Safety Summit,” a community forum to discuss bicycle safety in Fort Collins.
Although Fort Collins has been recognized as one of the nation’s most bicycle-friendly communities by the League of American Bicyclists, developing safe cycling practices is still a work in progress.

Recent public concerns regarding safe cycling issues, and the deaths of two cyclists, are leading city officials to turn to the community in search of solutions.
David “DK” Kemp, City of Fort Collins Bicycle Coordinator, said that the goal of the “Bicycle Safety Summit” is to respond to safety concerns in the community, with a goal of gathering ideas for creating a stronger culture of safety in the community.
“We need to acknowledge that the city cannot fix the issue on its own,” Kemp said. “Community involvement and cultural change is essential to finding a solution.”
The forum is designed to gather concerns and ideas for action at all levels of involvement. The idea of a “summit” is symbolic of the collaboration of individuals, the community, local organizations and government.

“One of the hopes of the CPD is to help our community think of all the different ways we can approach issues,” said Martin Carcasson, CPD Director. “This is an issue where a simple policy solution is not likely, but rather requires us to work together as a community at multiple levels.”

The forum is co-sponsored by the City of Fort Collins and local cycling organizations, Bike Fort Collins and the Fort Collins Bicycle Co-Op. The event is open to the public, and community members are encouraged to participate.
Light refreshments will be provided. Non-partisan student facilitators from the CPD will moderate the forum, and the discussion will be documented to ensure that concerns, ideas and questions will be addressed. The results compiled at the forum will be utilized by the City of Fort Collins and cycling organizations to move forward on this issue.

About the CSU Center for Public Deliberation
The CPD was founded in 2006 and is dedicated to enhancing local democracy through improved public communication and community problem solving. The organization coordinates and hosts numerous events in the Fort Collins and Loveland communities. Student associates are trained as non-partisan facilitators and conveners, and focus on helping the public unite and address critical issues in a more effective manner.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Time for Plan B: B-Cycle is the Next Generation Bike Library

OK, this is the next generation of bike sharing and, maybe, the Fort Collins Bike Library: Plan B. You gotta see this short video then you ABSOULTELY need to click on the "Who wants it more" button. Better yet, just click on this link and vote for Fort Collins.

Now, when I voted Jan. 27 I doubled the votes for Fort Collins - to two! That's right, two. Boulder had 55 votes! Yikes. Please get in there and vote today. Then ask them to send your vote to the Mayor.

Plan B. B-Cycle! That's what we need.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

University of Wyoming Bike Library Benefits from Student Fees and Sponsorship

The University of Wyoming trustees just approved a student fee increase of 8.14% for the 2009-2010 academic year, about a $33 increase. The Associated Students of the University of Washington have requested a further fee increase, a part of which would be used to pay for a bike mechanic for the University's bike library. Read details about the fee increases here.

Read more about the University of Wyoming Bike Library here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Call to Action on Two Urgent Legislative Issues for Better Bicycling Here in Colorado!

If you are concerned about better and safer cycling in the North Front Range, please write your state or federal legislator right now! about these two issues:

1) Bike projects in the Economic Stimulus Package
2) Banning cells phones while driving

Economic Stimulus Package

The feeding frenzy among state Departments of Transportation for economic stimulus package funding seems to be ignoring bicyclists. Really, all we need is assurance that a portion of funds allocated for bridge reconstruction, freeway interchanges, roundabouts, highway widening and resurfacing be allocated for bicycle (and pedestrian) accommodations. That means including new bike paths on new bridges or on intersections (so we aren't instructed to "dismount and walk your bike" as we now are at Harmony Road and I-25.)

Our new representative to congress from District 4, Betsy Markey, sits on the House Transportation Committee. Congressman Oberstar, from Minnesota chairs that committee and has been a friend of cyclists over the years.

So please write to Betsy Markey's office and ask her to bring this up in committee: all we want is a portion (4% is what we've had for bicycle and pedestrian enhancements over the last 16 years in the Transportation Enhancements program) for bicycles and pedestrians. Help us out, will you, Betsy! Call her office or write to her legislative aid, Marissa at

Or call her and talk with Marissa or anyone who answers - chat them up. If they get 25 calls they'll take note: (202) 225-4676.

Using Cell Phones While Driving

Our Colorado State House Representatives have drafted a bill to limit the use of cell phones by drivers in moving vehicles. House Bill 09-1094 is taking the first step to be coming a law being reviewed in the House Transportation and Energy Committee on Feb 3rd. Take action today to have your voice heard to make this a law for all of us.

1. Email the Transportation and Energy Committee:
The committee's contact information is listed below. A message with personal experiences indicating the non-partisan nature of this issue would be most effective. Include in your letter any personal stories you have regarding cell phone drivers and your reasons for support.

2. Attend the committee meeting:
House Transportation and Energy Committee on or about Feb 3rd, 2009, State Capital Bldg, Denver (Location and exact time will be announced next week along with car pooling information on the Bike Fort Collins web site.)

Here is a link to the bill drafted by Rep. Claire Levy, Dem. Boulder
Colorado State House Bill 09-1094 Concerning Wireless Telephone Prohibitions for Drivers

Members and e-mail addresses of the Transportation & Energy Committee

Alice Borodkin,
Randy Fischer,
Gwyn Green, Vice Chair,
Steve King,
Claire Levy,
Don Marostica,
Liane McFadyen, Committee Chair,
Frank McNulty, email not available
Michael Merrifield,
Diane Primavera,
Joe Rice,
Jerry Sonnenberg,
Spencer Swalm,
Glenn Vaad,

Thanks for your help!

Further notes on City of Fort Collins cell phone ban: City Manager Darin Atteberry announced Jan. 22 that City employees are prohibited from using cell phones while driving except in case of an emergency. City police are exempt from the ban.

(Note that the National Safety Council has called for a similar ban on using cell phones while driving. For details click here.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fort Collins Winter Ralleye - New Photos of the Ansel Watrous Overnight Winter Bike Tour

We've posted ninety plus new photos of the ride Jan. 17 up the scenic Poudre River Canyon to Ansel Watrous campground. Temperatures were mild.

Go right to the photos by clicking here.

For Yann Ropars best mountain bike photography of 2008 click here.

For more local bicycle photos browse both these above Flickr sites.