Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Official Night Ride Site

Ok, Gang. The site for The Night Ride is up and running. Check it out see what's in store. It has been a ton of work just to get to this point. I wouldn't have got this far without the help of the community. The businesses of Riverside and Five Points stepped right up and offered whatever that was asked of them. Please make sure to support the fine folks that have given so generously to make this event happen.

I also want to thank Anna Berken for all her design talents. Anna you are the shnizzal!

Fernandina Beach to St. Mary's To Cumberland Island Bike Ferry's Open

I received an email a few days ago announcing the opening of two very long awaited and long needed Bike Ferry's.

The first is between Fernandina Beach and St. Mary's GA. Despite standing in Fernandina and being able seeing both St. Mary's and Cumberland Island. There has been little choice for the cyclist wishing to travel to either St. Mary's or Fernandina. The only way being a long round-the-horn 40ish mile ride on a very busy and dangerous US17. That is until this week when Kevin McCarthy, the owner and operator of Amelia River Cruises started operations.

Below is an excerpt from the email I received.

"This ferry service will re-establish an historic transportation link between our two coastal cities and create many new opportunities for residents and visitors. Notably for cyclists, this service will put in place the over-water linkage of the East Coast Greenway (see ) between our two states, enabling touring cyclists to avoid a very dangerous stretch of US Hwy 17 on their North-South route. It will also allow our local bicycle enthusiasts to take their bikes along for day trips between the cities, to create new business and tourist opportunities for our local citizens, and add a new over-water link to the Cumberland Island National Seashore ferry which departs daily from St Marys.

While service will begin with this "soft opening" tomorrow, Kevin does plan to organize an "Official Opening Ceremony" for the service around the middle of September, and to invite numerous dignitaries and supporters from both states to participate. Start of this service was delayed for over one year due to a USCG re-certification requirement on the largest vessel in his fleet, a 99-passenger boat.

You can help this ferry service be successful by riding the ferry yourself, and by sharing this information with your friends and associates, especially among bicycle enthusiasts and clubs, adventure travel planners, and tourism writers. This operation is a wholly private venture and will receive no government financial support.

You can reach Kevin at [email protected], or call 904-261-9972. Reservations are recommended. He does also schedule his vessels for private charters for groups which may have a more critical timetable or special requirements

The second is the Ferry from St. Mary's to Cumberland Island National Island. This ferry also has been a very long needed service. If you have ever visited cumberland Island you know just how much of hike it is to get around the island. Taking a bike has previously been near impossible. Oh, sure there were a couple charters that would transport you and your bike to the island. But you had to have some pretty deep pockets. The last time I inquired, I was quoted $75 each way. Now with Amelia River Cruises new scheduled service that rate is a very reasonable $15 roundtrip. Guess who's already planning their next bike camping trip.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Royal Carriage

The Democratic National Convention is in full swing in Denver this week and bicycles are front and center as a mode of transportation during the DNC. Humana along with Bikes Belong have joined forces to supply 1000 bikes for not only the DNC this week. But will also be providing the same for the Republicans during their convention.

You can find more info and even watch live streaming video about the Freewheeling bikes here and here.

A few of the Denver bike bloggers have pretty good coverage also.

A Year of Bike Commuting

Cycle Jerks

This is how Crown Prince Willem Alexander of the Netherlands and his family get around.

Dutch Royal Family Photocall

These are the main sources of transportation our faux King George relies on.

Isn't about time for change?

Yes, I know that should Obama be elected, he will also be using the same modes of transport as Dubba. But at least Obama is aware that bicycles are viable sources of transportation. And not just a photo opportunity.

Obama's VP nominee Joe Biden, well he too understands the need for mass and alternative transit. He commutes via amtrak day in and day out between his home in Wilmington, DE and Washington.

While MaCain: "The Arizonan has said shutting down Amtrak — he's if elected — would be "a non-negotiable issue" for him. Short-sighted, indeed."

How the does the current VP commute you may ask? I couldn't find any hard data on how he gets around. But I'm going to take a guess that it looks something like this:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Peloton and Other Random Stuff

This is kind of a link dump of stuff I have been trying to figure out how and where to post it. This is how and where.

The first link is The Peloton a series of images by photographer Timm K├Âlln. The Peloton is a gallery of professional bike racers taken just moments after they crossed the line after a brutal long stage of 2006's Giro d'Italia. After a hundred miles of racing, the riders dump their gear and enter a makeshift tent for a quick photo among the finish line chaos.

Next up is the Speed Vest. According to the designer, "The SPEED-VEST is a bicycle safety device and advocacy tool which displays the wearer’s current speed on their back in easy-to-read lighted numerals. It improves rider conspicuity while legitimizing bicycle speeds on the roadway. Originally conceived by Brady Clark and engineered by Mykle Hansen, it just won the Hub Bike Shop’s Bike Gadget Contest in Minneapolis, MN."

I'm really have no idea the what need there is for this vest is. Being more visible is great. But I don't see why cyclists need to "legitimizing speeds on the roadway". Now if this this vest had turn signals and blinky lights. That would be something useful. With it's currently design, bubba will think that the number on your back is your current point value.

From Post-Carbon Comics comes the beginnings of Bicycle Zombie Slayer.

Click On Images To Read.

Lastly I present to you you The Adventures of Dangerous Dave & Brutal Bob. Kind of a whack-a-mole game with the exception that the whackee is the cyclist.

See if you can beat my best 1269.4m

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Date With Fay

Tropical Storm Fay has been like a drunken party hookup that hasn't taken the hint and is still hang out at your house 2 days later.

I have been lucky so far and only lost power twice for about 30 second both times. Unlike Hurricane Frances which left my hood without power for almost week.

There was finally a break in the rain this afternoon. And It seemed like the rest of the Riverside residents, like me, were tried of being held hostage in our homes by the wind and rain. We all took advantage of the the break in weather to get outside and shake off some cabin fever.

I jumped on my bike headed towards the river with my camera. You may not be aware of this, but 25-35 MPH headwinds suck. Below are the pictures I took while out and about.

For the most part Riverside seems to have weathered the storm pretty well. There is the expected flooding along Riverside Ave..

8th day Tattoo had it's awning ripped off the building and it was laying on the ground not far from the store front. The Anomaly & Nicotine shared awing looked like it was just barely hanging on.

There were lots people at Memorial Park enjoying the flooded park and white capping river. There were actually fish in the fountain.

I guess no good deed goes unpunished. The just opened section of the Riverwalk had a large section of the bulk head collapse under the Fuller Warren Bridge and I stood there and watched as each large wave took a paver or two with it as it withdrew.

The area around Avondale and Boone Park seems like it suffered the most damage from downed trees. Most of the area had been without power since early last night according one of the residents sitting on his porch. The Boone Park bike path is littered with trees and so much debris that at times it was difficult see the path.

View Album

I hope all is well with you Bike Jax'ers who have had to suffer this drunken tramp's unwelcome stay.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back To School - Why Can't Johnny Ride?

It's back-to-school time and all the shiny, happy boys and girls have their new clothes, along with a long list of school supplies ready for the new school year. Chances are, however, a bike is not one of the items kids are prepping for the coming school year here in Jacksonville.

I live across the street from an elementary school here in Riverside. About two months prior to the end of the last school year, I started to pay attention to the traffic flow around the school prior to class letting out for the day. What anyone who has a child in school knows is that about an hour before school lets out, the mini vans and SUV's start lining up, putting an end to any hope of normal traffic flow for any road that happens to be on the inlet side of a school.

One day I noticed that there were very few kids who walked away from the school. I then realized I had never seen a child ride a bike to or from this school. I thought this kind of odd, considering Riverside is ideal for children to get to and from school under their own power.

This got me thinking. Why weren't kids walking in large numbers? Why weren't they riding bikes? Does the school even have a bike rack? Is it because the school is a magnet school? Are kids walking or riding to other schools in the area? When was the last time I heard about bike safety programs at this or any local school?

To find some answers, I grabbed my camera and my bike headed out to pay a visit to the area schools.

My first stop was Central Riverside Elementary.

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At Central Riverside Elementary, after some searching I finally found a bike rack. It was, however, just about as far from the main building as it could be and still be on school property. It was also completely inaccessible, as it was behind a locked gate.

I inquired at the main office if Central Riverside was indeed in the magnet program. The answer was, "yes." I then asked what percentage of the students are local to the Riverside area. I was told "about 50 percent."

According to the Duval County Schools website, there are 389 enrolled students. Half of that is 195 (rounded up). I counted on numerous days an average of about 30 kids walking home from school. And a big fat zero on bikes.

I then rode over to Robert E. Lee High School. In what has to be the largest bike rack in Jacksonville, there was one lone bicycle. The student size, according to school board website, is 1,884. One bike. ‘Nuff said.

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My next stop was West Riverside Elementary.

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I like to show you a picture of West Riverside's bike rack. But the school doesn't even seem to have one.

I don't have kids, so I admit I don't have the same insight of a parent. I am baffled as to why, in the urban core, more children are not going to school under their own power. We have gridded, tree-lined streets, sidewalks, and slow-moving traffic on all but a couple of main arteries.

I also can't help but think that if kids are not riding bikes to school here in the urban core, what must it be like in the suburban schools?

Have parents succumbed to the fear-mongering by the media that everyone is out to abduct or molest their children? Or are we so entrenched in our car culture that biking or walking are not even given a thought? Are there other reasons I'm just not aware of as a non-parent? Why are kids being cheated out the absolutely joyful sensations of independence and learned responsibility they attain by riding a bike to school?

I read in numerous blogs and news articles about how other cities are adopting Safe Routes To School programs. But as of this writing, I have not been able to find any type of bike or pedestrian safety programs within the Duval County school system.

I'd really like to hear from you, the parents. Why don't your children walk or ride a bike to school? If your children do ride or walk to school, tell me the commute length. What are your concerns about their commute? Does the school promote walking or riding? Do they have an adequate amount of bike racks?

Mom, Dad, help me understand why Johnny can't ride.

According to this New York article I just found thru the Chic Cyclist in Boston. Children not walking or biking to schools is a nation wide problem.

"Forty years ago, half of all students walked or bicycled to school. Today, fewer than 15 percent travel on their own steam. One-quarter take buses, and about 60 percent are transported in private automobiles, usually driven by a parent or, sometimes, a teenager."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

UpDate! The Night Ride Call For Artists

Ok gang. Due to the overwhelming response we have had from the call for artists for The Night Ride. We felt a change to a larger venue was necessary. We are so happy to announce that the The Night Ride Art Show will be hosted by Flux Galley in Five Points.

(click on image for larger view and to print)

For those of you that have not yet made a visit to Flux. You should make the time for a visit. Despite having only been open for a few months, Flux has quickly become a premier gallery for Jacksonville's finest artists.

Now for the bad news. With the move to a larger venue, more costs are incurred and we have had to raise the sales split to 80/20. That however is still better than most any other gallery in the city by a large margin.

Now that we have more room. We need more art. So start painting, drawing, sculpting, photographing or creating with whatever media inspires your bike related art. Not sure what bike art is? Google "bike art" or "bike art show" for some direction.

Thanks to Shea and Tim of Flux Gallery for stepping up for this event.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Bubba Bike?

I think I may have found the future peak oil bubba bike. With hunting season fast approaching and fuel prices soaring. Bubba and his cohorts (Clarence, Cletus, and Slim) will have to make some tough decisions before this year of hunting. Beer or gas.

Ok, so it's not really built to be a swamp buggy. It was however built to get around this years Burning Man. You can see plenty of build pictures here. And here are pictures of The Dogsled on a test drive.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Friday is finally here. I have been swamped with emails and phone calls concerning The Night Ride. The Support from not only local businesses, but artists, film makers, bike builders and readers of Bike Jax has been truly overwhelming.

Here are just a couple of things that made me chuckle in the last couple of days.

Apparently Springsteen is coming to Jacksonville. A forum for his tour has been bombarding us with hits on the post we did about Jax Bike Taxi. From reading the posts, I get the feeling that the Springsteen fans are planning on consuming more than a few adult beverages. It should be a good night for downtown bars and eateries.

Found in another forum about local filmmakers that linked to the The Night Ride Call For Artist.
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As I was walking down an aisle in Publix a couple days of ago. This caught my eye.

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Publix, I think you may have missed the target market with this image. Everyone knows we cyclists have no shame. When nature calls we will try and relieve ourself with a little discretion. But when push come to shove we don't care who or what is around and won't hesitate to hang or squat. Perhaps Publix should have gone with a crazed broken hearted astronaut.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. I also hope you are working on you Bike Art or Funktastic costume for The Night Ride.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Night Ride - Call For Artists

Bike Jax has had tons of great support so far for the event and things are starting to coming together. Top notch venues have stepped up to host not only the art show but also the films. And speaking of films, the screening list is getting pretty impressive. Eat your heart out Jax film fest. We will formally announce the event venues soon.

For now I would like to officially place a call to all artists for The Night Ride Bike Art Show. Any media, any format, anything you can dream up. If you have any questions please feel free to email them to me here at Bike Jax.

Also feel free share the flyer with anyone. Click HERE for a downloadable 8 x 10" PDF of the flyer. (Note: while the text is not showing on the display file image. It is all there once you download.) Or click on the image for the full size image and submission details.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Four Wheels Good, Two Wheels Better.

An absolutely fantastic article from the Washington post.

Cycling Back Around
Four Wheels Good, Two Wheels Better. In the City, an Old-Fashioned Conveyance Returns

By David Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 2, 2008; Page C01
This is the summer of women on bicycles riding around town free as anything, wearing long dresses or skirts, sandals or even high heels, hair flowing helmet-free, pedaling not-too-hard and sitting upright on their old-school bikes, the kind with front baskets where they put their laptops, and handlebars that curve gently back in a bow shaped like the upper line of someone's perfectly drawn red lipstick.

They never appear to sweat. They make you think you are in Paris or Rome. No, they make you think you are in a movie about Paris or Rome.

This is the summer of men rolling down 14th Street NW with briefcases in the grocery pannier, ties flipped back over the shoulder by the breeze, wingtips inserted into toe clips. In the movie version, they would return home at day's end with a baguette under one arm and maybe a bouquet of flowers. Instead, their left hand grips the handle of a Whole Foods bag while their right presses a cellphone to the ear.

This summer in Bicycle Washington, it's back to the future. Old bikes are back, new bikes look old. The riders, too, seem sketched from another age.

The machine of the moment is the 1969 Schwinn Deluxe Racer, picked up on Craigslist for $75, with lightly rusted metal fenders and a three-speed Sturmey-Archer shifter on the upright handlebars. Or it's a new Jamis Commuter, or a Breezer Villager, this year's models that aren't ashamed of the primitive, durable genius of an old Schwinn.

"Somewhere along the line, we made biking a hobby and a sport instead of a way to get around," says Alexandra Dickson, an architect who commutes from Southwest Washington to her downtown office on a blue Breezer Villager that she calls Babe, after Babe the Blue Ox. "I'd like to see it get back to being a way of getting around."

Shopping by bike, she says, "feels more like an adventure than a chore." The other day, she tied a milk crate to her rack, biked to a hardware store on Pennsylvania Avenue and carried home a flat of flowers on the crate.

Riding to the office, sometimes "I wear heels and skirts," she says, "and I'm not the only girl in town who does. It's like, Why not? I'm not running. I'm just using the pads of my feet. . . . People need to see bikers dressed like that, so they can say, 'I can do that.' "

She says: "When you first take off your training wheels, the first excitement of being allowed to ride to school -- that was the first level of freedom. I think that's something you never lose."

This is the summer of bike-parking attendants at Nationals games, of a new fleet of communal unisex Treks at the U.S. House of Representatives, of a proposed bike-share program in the city, of street musicians strapping keyboards and speakers to milk crates on beater bikes, of thick, bright orange German-made contraptions pedaled by diplomats, with metal child-seats built on back and metal cargo carriers installed in front.

This is the summer when every day you witness astonishing feats of two-wheeled conveyance of everything from 30-packs of Bud Ice on the handlebars to gift baskets of fruit on the homemade wood-and-PVC-pipe trailer behind. This summer it makes perfect sense that columnist Bob Novak, after hitting a pedestrian with his Corvette, should have the police called on him by a lawyer commuting by bicycle.

Your first three-speed was a Schwinn. It was built to live as long as you did -- except you left yours behind in some dank, enchanted basement of discarded Flexible Flyers, little red wagons, scooters, badminton nets, croquet mallets and fishing poles.

Read The Rest of The Story