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).