Friday, February 29, 2008

March Is Bike Month In Florida

Click on Image to Read

A full to 2 months ahead of the rest of the country. March has been declared the month of the bike. We (Florida Cyclists) even have a very official letter from the Governor.

While no city in Florida can come close to to being as bike friendly as Portland, OR. Some are working hard and making strides in that direction. Below is an excerpt from an article by Terry Tomalin, the St. Petersburg Times outdoor editor.

"We had started our conversation talking about Baker's City Trails program. When completed, it will add 150 miles of urban trails, making St. Petersburg one of the most cyclist-friendly cities in the United States.

If you don't ride a bike, you may not notice the new bike lanes all across St. Petersburg. This is great news for two reasons. First, it keeps people safe. Second, the safer the streets, the more people will consider riding to work, which will also make St. Petersburg a carbon-neutral city.

It's too bad more local governments aren't as progressive. It seems like safe streets for kids to ride bicycles should be an unalienable right guaranteed under the Constitution.

Yes Terry, it is too bad more local governments (read Jacksonville) are not as progressive as Tampa/St. Pete.

While Jacksonville has no City sanctioned Bike Plan. There is a vibrant bike culture here. Within the city and an hour drive outside of it are well over a hundred miles are some of the best mountain biking trails in the Southeast.

Jacksonville has some of the fastest & strongest Road racers and Triathletes  in the State. The single speed scene (aka Fixie) has continued growth.

Due to gas prices and traffic congestion. More people in Jacksonville are turning to cycling as their main source of transportation.

We have quite a few exciting projects starting to happen. Two different bike co-ops are in the beginning stages of making their mark on the community. (What's a Co-op?)

A new bike shop specializing in fixed gear bikes is opening in San Marco.

Critical Mass will soon be making is presents felt in Jacksonville's Streets.

Bike Jax along with many other individuals & groups are working hard to make a more progressive city for cycling.  Will we ever be on equal ground with the likes of Portland. Most likely not. But we can make plans to catch and surpass the likes of Tampa, St Pete and Miami.

In the mean time. What is the best thing you can do help the cause this Bike Month and beyond? The answer is simple. Get out and ride.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Man Walks $4000 Bike Out of Local Bike Shop

On January 31st a white male in his mid to late 40's walked into Bicycle Etc at 8036 Phillps Hwy #8 and pulled out a 08 Scott Spark 30 and went out the front door with it for test ride. He never returned from that test ride.

The details are:

Retail Value $4,000.00

2008 Scott Spark 30 Size Med.

Serial # F20M07060314

Incident Record # 90983

If you locate this bike please contact MIke Scarbrough At Bicycle Etc. 904-733-9030

With the Value and popularity of bikes increasing. This type of bike theft is a growing trend around the country. It has lead once laid back and open bike shops to now require a picture ID and credit card to test ride high end bike.

Recently, DNA was used from a coffee cup left behind to ID a serial bike thief in Seattle. The tests lead police to a respected physician and bike racer who apparently couldn't control himself around high end bikes. And here is the sad update to the rest of this story.

Bike Jax is a bicycle community endeavor. Any bike shop or individual that has or knows of a bike stolen is welcome to email bike jax with all information for posting. 

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bikes Outsell Cars Down Under

Australians bought more bikes than cars last year by a record 40 percent margin, according to a report released this week by the Fund's report. It was the eighth straight year bike sales topped auto sales, bolstering appeals to re-direct government spending toward bike-ped projects, such as those developed in Melbourne since the 1990s.

More details from the Fund's report:

The nation sold a record 1.47 million bicycles in 2007, compared to 1.04 million cars, while the government is believed to spend $7.5 billion on road related expenditure compared to the $100 million spent on cycling infrastructure.

"Soaring petrol prices, concern over climate change, crippling traffic congestion and the desire to lead healthier lifestyles all contributed to the record breaking year" said Elliot Fishman, policy advisor at the Cycling Promotion Fund.

"Recently released Census figures show that many Australians have rediscovered the bicycle as a great way to commute, with cycling trips to work growing at an average 22% across Australian capital cities; with Melbourne soaring 42% between 2001 and 2006," added Fishman. The Cycling Promotion Fund, together with other national cycling organisations and over 60 councils across the country, have called on the Federal Government to adopt its Healthy and Active Transport (HEAT) proposal on the back of the figures. The HEAT programme involves a Commonwealth contribution of $50 million per annum direct to local government for walking and cycling infrastructure projects.

The Cycling Promotion Fund, in case you were wondering, is an Australian advocacy group . Could a spike in commuter bike sales here in the US spark similar industry efforts?

Story via: Streetsblog

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Bicyclist - A Two-wheeled sitcom

So I just finished watching a web-isoid sitcom called "The Bicyclist." It is written and produced in that bike town of bike towns, Portland. There are currently 24 episodes with numbers 25 & 26 to be released soon.

As you watch the first few episodes you notice the production and writing get much better throughout the series. Give it view and enjoy.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Clarence: The Purple Traffic Calming Wizard

I can not get a enough of these guys at StreetFilms. Here is another from them showing how to properly create a bike line. The separation of the bike lane from the traffic and the addition of bike signals make for the safest travel for both cyclist and vehicular traffic.

Is anyone from the city watching?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Moving House By Bike

Via: StreetFilms
Inspired by a previous Streetfilm from Portland, Oregon, filmmaker Nicholas Whitaker decided to answer the challenge and bring you, Bike Move Too!

When his girlfriend Jes Schultz was priced out of her Fort Greene Brooklyn apartment, they decided to call a few friends with bikes and move her out, futon and all, to a new apartment in Crown Heights. This film illustrates how with a little ingenuity, determination, and friends, it can be done without creating a huge impact on their environment.

It also may be the first New York City bike move movie. (An hour scouring the web, calling friends, and searching YouTube tags turned up nothing.)

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Death of Springfield's Resurgence.

I find Jacksonville to be one continuous disappointment after another. Every time I think we as a city are making strides towards a livable urban core. The city manages somehow to trip it self up during one those strides and winds up falling further back than where it started.

Let's talk about Main St. traveling through Springfield. While most city's are concentrating on creating Liveable City's (Example: Here & Here) and Shared Spaces. Our glorious city continues to kill any chance of either a liveable city or shared spaces.

Springfield had been in the last few years enjoying a renaissance of it's once former glory. But recently things have come to a screeching halt. I am aware a lot of thing have contributed to this stoppage in growth. The economy, the realestate crash, deadbeat scumbag commercial property owners, etc.

But the nail in the coffin and what will for years will haunt the revitalization of Main St. is the current traffic flow construction.

It pretty much makes it impossible to walk or bike from the east side to the west side of Main St. while creating a freeway type environment for autos.

You can clearly see in the pictures above there are no breaks in the median for either vehicle or pedestrian traffic. There are no crosswalks painted. Nothing at all to allow for access to public buildings or retail shops on opposing sides of the street. Nothing to slow traffic down through these very long stretches solid median.

You will also notice on the left of the upper most picture. What should be marked as a bike line by Florida state law. Would force cyclist into traffic lanes at each intersection. Beautiful planning.

Rest assured that once construction is complete and the economy and other factors recover. Retail will continue to fail along this stretch of Main St. due to the lack of access for either pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

While I still have great hopes for Jacksonville and what it could be. I will forever morn the death of Springfield.

Parkdays Sundays

I had been planning on starting Bike Jax for sometime now. And in the process I had been compiling and bookmarking stories for information that would be pertinent to Biking in Jacksonville.

One of those items is a film by Streetfilms about Ciclovia in Bogotá, Colombia. Every Sunday and holiday of every week, the City of Bogotá closes down over 70 miles of roadways to cars and let people bike, walk, talk, exercise, picnic, sunbathe, etc.

But alas, I was beaten to the punch on this one by Tony Allegretti over at The Urban Core. Damn you Biggie Tee... Damn you.

Here is a very limited route throughout downtown I think that could work. It allows for the Baptist to get to and from where they need to be. It also allows for downtown residents access to their buildings. While this map only shows a small portion of the route on the Riverwalk. The whole length would be use for Sunday Parkdays.

Click On For Larger View

As mentioned in the film a number of US cities are in the planning stages of Parkways. Here is a link to the Portland, OR. plan.

So let's hear what you guys think. What routes would like to see or think that could work?

A Day In the Life at the Bike Jax Offices

Sometimes you just have kick around a few ideas.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Banging the Ball Around

Here are a few pictures of bike polo held at Inertia in Springfield today. If your interested in joining in. The games begin 4pm on Sundays. Inertia is located on Main St. between 5th & 6th.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Weekend Happenings

Once you get all your weekend errands, shopping and cleaning done Saturday. Plan a trip over to Springfield Sundays for some good old fashion bike fun.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Finally! Tickets for parking in the bike lane

I’m happy to see people getting tickets for parking in the bike lanes along Hendricks Avenue. Just another example of how people in this city don’t respect bikes, or even think about them.

Originally post by Urban Jacksonville

Lance Armstrong unveils his new commuting bike shop

"This city is exploding downtown. Are all these people in high rises going to drive everywhere? We have to promote (bike) commuting," Armstrong said Wednesday, gazing up at the towering 360 condos rising next to the site of his new shop. "This can be a hub for that."

Mellow Johnny's, named for the nickname Armstrong earned while wearing the Tour de France leader's "maillot jaune," or yellow jersey, will be housed in a yellow- and red-brick building next to the music venue La Zona Rosa. It is a block north of the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, a path that will cut east-west through downtown Austin.

Armstrong said he'd like to see Austin evolve into a place like Portland, Ore., where biking is part of the culture and people pedal to work, to restaurants and to run errands. "Walk outside, and the streets are lined with bikes — because they have a safe place to ride," Armstrong said of the city long known for its bicycle-friendly amenities and policies.

Full Story

Gainesville Bike Builder Villin Cycle Works Wows-'em In Portland

The North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) was held this past weekend in what is the most bike friendly city in the US, Portland, OR.

I would like to send congratulations to Alexis at Villin Cycle Works in Gainesville for an outstanding show. I can't tell you how nice it was see blogs from all over the country posting pictures and gushing over his beautiful bikes.

Pics: UrbanVelo

This Copper wrapped tied and soldered logs, Bendix two-speed kickback hub beauty is just one of the bikes from Villin. (boy, that's mouth full)

The big winner from this weekends show was from Naked in Quadra Island, BC, Canada.

Just to put things in perspective of the popularity of the show. Take a look at how congested the parking was at the Oregon Convention Center.

Get your fix of pictures

Congrats again to Alexis at Villin Cycle Works.

Is Barack Obama the Livable Streets Candidate?

Barack Obama is a long-time cyclist

The current crop of Presidential candidates are busy debating the energy crisis, national security, climate change, health care, all of which potentially pose a serious threat to America's future. We can begin to address all of these issues simultaneously by transforming our cities into more sustainable communities and adopting the principles of complete streets. A modal shift away from the automobile toward more bicycle and pedestrian orientated streets will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, slow the rise of C02 emissions and improve the overall health of Americans.

With the exception of John McCain, none of the Republican candidates seem to be interested in any of this. You may remember their colleague Patrick McHenry, Republican Congressman from North Carolina, who while debating a proposal for a $20/month tax break for bike commuters in the energy bill ridiculed bicycles as a "19th Century solution" to our current energy problems. The tax break was eliminated from a weakened version of the energy bill that was just passed by the Senate.

The Oregonian, however, has discovered that one candidate does understand the importance of this "old fashioned" form of transportation:

Portland's fervent bicycling community has discovered that Democrat Barack Obama is the only one of the Democratic presidential candidates who explicitly encourages bicycle transportation in his platform (and I didn't find much from the Republicans either, other than that Mike Huckabee rides his bike to the grocery store). Here's the relevant quote from Obama's energy platform:

As president, Barack Obama will re-evaluate the transportation funding process to ensure that smart growth considerations are taken into account. Obama will build upon his efforts in the Senate to ensure that more Metropolitan Planning Organizations create policies to incentivize greater bicycle and pedestrian usage of roads and sidewalks, and he will also re-commit federal resources to public mass transportation projects across the country. Building more livable and sustainable communities will not only reduce the amount of time individuals spent commuting, but will also have significant benefits to air quality, public health and reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

Via: StreetsBlog

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

One Got Fat

Here is a creepy yet strangely entertaining bicycle safety film from 1967 called “One Got Fat”.

These kids demonstrate what not to do on bikes while wearing the freakiest monkey masks. Which gives the film that nice warm and fuzzy planet of the apes feel.

Bike Jax is bike culture blogged

Our mission is to establish Jacksonville as a city that is increasingly safe, accessible, and friendly to bicycle transportation.

Jacksonville is a diverse and widely varied land mass located on one of the most beautiful rivers in the world and a coastline with miles of beaches. We intend on making sure cyclists are able to easily access these amenities as well as neighborhoods by way of safe, cheap, clean and quiet transportation alternatives, including: clean fuel buses, light rail, pedestrian walkways and bike routes and lanes.

Jacksonville has some of the finest year round weather in this country and should be a leader in presenting the bicycle as an alternative source of transportation.

Our Goals:

*Pursue the implementation of a City Bike Plan

*Promote Jacksonville as a bicycling community

*Represent the interests of bicyclists

*Endorse the bicycle as a viable, economical, and desirable mode of transportation

*Educate bicyclists and motorists on road safety

*Assist local agencies in establishing bike-friendly policies for Jacksonville

*Strengthen ties amongst community Development Corporations, businesses, and the bicycling community

*Contribute to Jacksonvilles' health and environment