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 Marissa.smith@mail.house.gov.

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, aliceborodkin@aliceborodkin.com
Randy Fischer, randy.fischer.house@state.co.us
Gwyn Green, Vice Chair, gwyngreen@yahoo.com
Steve King, steve.king.house@state.co.us
Claire Levy, claire.levy.house@state.co.us
Don Marostica, don@donmarostica.com
Liane McFadyen, Committee Chair, mcfadyen2002@hotmail.com
Frank McNulty, email not available
Michael Merrifield, michael.merrifield.house@state.co.us
Diane Primavera, dianne.primavera.house@state.co.us
Joe Rice, joe.rice.house@state.co.us
Jerry Sonnenberg, jerry@electsonnenberg.com
Spencer Swalm, spencer.swalm.house@state.co.us
Glenn Vaad, glenn.vaad.house@state.co.us

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.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Council Member Ben Manvel Announces he Will Run for Re-election in April

The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported the following announcement today:

Fort Collins City Council member Ben Manvel announced he is seeking re-election to the seat for District 1, which covers the northeast portion of the city.

In a prepared statement Wednesday, Manvel said if re-elected to a second four-year term, he would focus on the city's economic health, neighborhoods and transportation.

"In District 1, the progress made recently on North College and the River District is heartening, but difficult economic times demand that we continue to actively nurture those areas," he said.

Manvel taught mathematics at Colorado State University for 34 years before retiring in 2004. His community work includes involvement with United Way of Larimer County, Poudre Wilderness Volunteers and Foothills Unitarian Church. [End of Coloradoan report]

Manvel is shown below on the right with Parks Planner, Craig Foreman (left) and Fort Collins City Manager Darin Atteberry (center).

Ben Manvel has been a strong supporter of bicycling in the community, is a cyclist himself and bicycles to most City Council meetings from his home in Old Town. Manvel led the effort to salvage our Bike Coordinator's positioin in 2005 and was also a leader, with colleagues Kelly Ohlson, David Roy and Lisa Poppaw, in the effort to create a city Bicycle Advisory Committee.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

No Money? No Problem. No Car? No Problem. No bike? PROBLEM!

Get your unofficial & unauthorized Bike Library T-shirt today! Be the first to wear your own "mellow Johnny" - maillot jaune on your street.

$19.95 includes shipping and handling
Order your shirt today!

T-shirt size

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Council Member Kelly Ohlson Announces he Will Seek Re-election

The Fort Collins Coloradoan announced today that Fort Collins City Council member Kelly Ohlson announced Wednesday he is seeking a second four-year term on the council.

Ohlson, who serves as mayor pro tem, has been politically active in Fort Collins for nearly 30 years. He served on the council from 1983 to 1987, including as mayor the final two years.

In a prepared statement, Ohlson said if re-elected he would focus on several issues, including the city's finances, the community's economic health, regional cooperation, and transportation.

Ohlson represents council District 5, which covers the west/central portion of the city. No other candidates have announced intentions to run for the seat.

Below is Ohlson's press release in its entirety:

Kelly Ohlson, city councilmember and mayor pro tem, announced today he is running for re-election for City Council, District 5 (West central Fort Collins).

“It is an honor and privilege to serve the residents of Fort Collins and District 5,” Ohlson said. “Though much has been accomplished in the past 4 years, there is still a great deal to do. I will continue to work hard to keep Fort Collins one of the best places in the country to live, work, raise a family, and retire.”

Ohlson said he will continue to focus on the economic health of the community, City finances, regional cooperation, neighborhood livability, and transportation. He said that the City organization should focus attention on what its role is in helping entrepreneurs and local businesses as well as addressing the problem of poverty in our community. Also important to Ohlson are protecting the Poudre River, imple-menting the newly revised Climate Action and Energy plans, and supporting urban renewal projects such as North College, downtown, and College and Prospect.

Ohlson has been actively involved in the community for decades. He was first elected to the City Council in 1983, and served as mayor in 1986-1987. Ohlson received a master’s degree from Colorado State University. He has lived in the same home in District 5 for 29 years and is married to Linda Stanley, a research scientist at Colorado State University.

In 2008, Ohlson received the etown national E-chievement award recognizing his leadership for over a quarter of a century in protecting open space and natural areas in Fort Collins and Larimer County and supporting trails and other recreational opportunities. He currently serves on the City’s Leadership Team, Finance Committee, Legislative Review Committee, and the Downtown Development Authority Board of Directors.

Ohlson concluded, “I believe my breadth of experience, pragmatic problem solving, and proven dedication to the community will be valuable during this challenging time for our country and Fort Collins.”

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bike Fort Collins Board Member Opposes Use of Cell Phones while Driving

Soapbox published in The Coloradoan, January 1, 2008.
By Jeff Emmel

The tragic death of fellow cyclist Erica Forney has started a grass-roots effort for a long overdue solution for inattentive driving by in-vehicle use of cell phones and communication devices.

Erica's death was not a crime against a cyclist as much as it was a crime against a little girl coming home from school, doing what little girls do. We ask you to become part of the solution as this campaign rapidly grows across our entire community.

Inattentive driving, primarily by the use of cell phones for voice and messaging, has been the leading cause of crashes on our state roads and highways for the past 10 years and is increasing in pandemic proportions. The accident danger is so great that the U.S. Department of Defense bans any use of cell phones while driving on all military bases.

Cell phone use while driving is affecting us daily and in record numbers, but it is most cruel by taking our family and friends one or two at a time. And the harshest reality, the driver usually kills others as they kill themselves. An inattentive driver struck and killed a little girl coming home from school Nov. 25 in Fort Collins. Last week, it was an entire family in Nebraska driving home to visit relatives for the holidays. A 97-year-old grandpa on his way to his birthday celebration in Boulder.

Using a cell phone while driving is a choice and is avoidable. Avoidance will be difficult because cell phone use, by design, is addictive, demands complete attention and has been drilled into our society with precision marketing. We are now faced with the perfect storm of the increasing use of attention-demanding technology, increased congestion on our roads and the primary use of the moving vehicle as an office or phone booth.

The solution starts as individuals. Give yourself a gift of not using your cell phone in your own car. Make your calls and messages before or after you are in your car. Put a short note in your outgoing greeting like, "I can't take your call right now. I am either out of the office or in my car ..." Do it for your own safety. Do it for the dad working on the road crew just ahead. Do it for the family coming the other way going to visit their friends. Do it for the little girl coming home from school.

Then give this gift to your spouse, your closest friend or your teenage driver with the words, "Because I would rather talk to you in person when you arrive home."

Then help answer the other part of the equation:

> Why do you feel you need to use your cell phone in your car?

> What would it take to keep you from using your cell phone in your car?

We are the change. Starting Jan. 20, if we are ever to recover from this economy, job losses or address the No. 1 killer on the roads in our own community, we need to work together for a sensible solution.

Decide for yourself. Visit bikefortcollins.org for a list of references, feedback and how you and your group can become part of the solution.

Read the Bike Fort Collins call to action to help educate our community.

Jeff Emmel lives in Fort Collins. He is the director of a grass-roots effort to find a solution to cell phone use in automobiles and traffic safety.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Is Steamboat’s Claim to Ski Fame a Lesson for Fort Collins?

No, we have no hopes of becoming a ski town, but what about 70 Olympic athletes training here and people coming from all over the country because we’re the cycling capital of the US?

That’s the hope, anyway of the Fort Collins Velodrome Association.

The example from Steamboat isn’t all that farfetched. Read how Howelsen Hill in Steamboat got started as the only ski resort in Colorado to make the Colorado State Register of Historic Places. One of the oldest operating ski resorts in the country, National Public Radio did a feature on the ski area in December 2008.

So why not a Fort Collins cycling park, criterium course, and indoor (or outdoor) velodrome to replicate Howelsen Hill?

The photos show kids from 6 - 16 on an Italian velodrome in Forli, Italy.