Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Two History Making Events Debuts This Weekend

After 14 years of planning this weekend is the grand opening of the Riverside Arts Market. It is is going to be big and sure to change the face of Jacksonville's cultural image. Take a few minutes and read the history of RAM.

Bike Jax is proud to be part of this history making event by making a little history of own. We will be providing Jacksonville's first safe and secure Free Valet Bike Parking.

Learn more about what bike valet is here.

Help us get the word out and click on the image above for the full size image and email, Facebook and/or Twitter it to your friends and family.

We look forward to see you this Saturday.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Taken For A Ride - The Murder of Mass Transit

Ok this is isn't bike related. But it does have some Jacksonville transit ties.

Taken for a Ride is an amazing documentary by Jim Kleina and Martha Olson that documents the efforts to derail mass transit in America.

Ever wonder why the U.S. has the worst mass transportation system in the industrialized world? Using historical footage and investigative research, this film tells how GM fought to push freeways into the inner cities of America, and push public transportation out. More Info at New Day Films.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bike Valets At RAM & Green Expo

Bike Jax is happy to announce that in conjunction with the organizers of the Riverside Arts Market (RAM) Free Bike Valet Parking will be provided every Saturday during the market season April 6th to December. Bike Jax will also be providing the free service during the 2 day Jacksonville Green Expo at the Prime Osborn Convention Center April 25th and 26th.

Let me explain a little more about what the Bike Valet service is and why it's a good thing for events.

How Does The Bike Valet Work?:
I'm sure most of you already know how car valets work. You pull up, give them your keys and they drive your car off to some unseen unprotected parking lot.

Bike Valets are nothing like that. They work more like a coat check. You hand off your bike and are issued a numbered ticket and the Bike Jax staff guards your bike and accessories in a secure enclosure until you are ready leave the event.

Why Should I Use The Free Bike Valet Service?
People don’t ride to events where they have to worry about their bikes being stolen or vandalized. A bike parking service ensures that even small bicycle accessories and lights will be safe. Cyclists appreciate the peace of mind of knowing that their bicycle is being guarded by an organization they trust.

Bike Jax is also able to spot safety issues with bicycles that are checked in and either correct them or alert the owner. We can also advise on routes and other useful information for their next trip.

Where Will The Bike Valet Be Located at RAM?
You can find us in the North East corner Just Off Riverside Ave. and the Riverwalk.

Click For Larger

We are still working out the details for the Jacksonville Green Expo and we will let you know more about it once the event draws closer.

Valet Bicycle Parking encourages people to bike to public events. We are currently working with the city to make providing valet bike parking at all events of 2000 people or more mandatory. That would include all major sporting events as well as many other civic festivals and events.

Here is a video from the city of Santa Monica's farmers market to help you with gain a better understanding of how the a Bike Valet works.

Hear more about RAM from Event Director Tony Allegretti today at 5:30 on Urban Jacksonville Weekly live stream.

Friday, March 20, 2009

North Florida TPO Disbands BPAC

Bike Jax has just learned the local Transportation Planning Organization, North Florida TPO has put an end to the all volunteer Bicycle/Pedestrian Planning Advisory Committee (B/PAC) stating the TPO's "effectiveness and efficient use of resources, particularly in this time of economic struggles."

Please re-read the bold text above, followed by the italicized text. You must be in bad shape when free ain't cheap enough.

Before I villainize the TPO, I will be meeting with them early next week to gain a better understanding of what the TPO's thought process is for disbanding the BPAC and what their vision and future plans are. Look for that information in a post to follow.

Below is a copy of the letter handed out at yesterdays BPAC meeting. Click it for full size.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Weedend Happenings

Couple completely different types of bike events happening this weekend.

Smart Cycling Training

Click For larger


Super Fun Fest - Facebook Page

Update: Event moved to 2pm at Riverside Park. Alleycat Still begins 1pm Riverside Memorial Park.

With Tangerine Fest not taking place this year a few kids decided we needed to step up and fulfill it with something quite like it. Super Fun Fest is an idea from a wide array of kids and will involve a bunch of people getting together and throwing everything we got into a bunch of free fun. There will be a Supercat Alleycat bike race @ 1 o' clock and there will also be a ton of workshops and free food, art and games.

So far in the works..

3v3 soccer tourney
baby plant giveaway
free t'shirt printing
(we make the screens, you bring the shirt and print yourself a beauty)
painting and chalk art
pinata making and breaking
bike maintenance workshop/set up
bike jousting
cake walk
cowboys and indians bike manhunt
and hopefully a lot more, we need emails with ideas and anything YOU would want to see or learn or play

and then there are two other parts of this fest that we need a bunch of support and aide with
the really really free market
what this means, is that on your way to the park March 21st, grab a little box of things in your house that you don't need or use anymore. Maybe its a couple books, that blazer you never really fit into or a blender that you used back when you were on some smoothie diet. Whatever. You bring these extra things and we'll have booths set up where you can deposit what you don't need, and then peruse the other booths for things you might need.

A huge swap of sorts! A lot of fun, and something everyone can get involve in!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Power of the Bike Bell

As a kind of follow up to this previous post. I thought I would share this little video on the how people are conditioned to react for the jingle-jangle of the lowly bike bell. It even works on escalators.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Riverwalk isn't a speedway

Found in the Times-Union, "Something needs to be done to regulate the traffic on Jacksonville's multimillion-dollar Riverwalk before somebody enjoying a peaceful stroll on the magnificent walkway gets hurt by speeding bicyclists. Or the area should be renamed Riverside Bikeway instead of a treacherous walkway. The beautiful walkway was built for the taxpayers and tourists to enjoy in a quiet, family-oriented, park-like environment. But somebody had the bright idea to set up bicycle stations all along the river as an open invitation for bicyclists to race without giving strolling residents, playing children and exercising runners any warning, leaving them scurrying to safety at times."

I have been fearing the day that this became an issue. Although this little blurb is far from making it an issue, I'm surprised that it has taken this long for people to start complaining. I have seen and been embarrassed by the total lack of regard for other users of the Riverwalk by certain cyclists. On far too many occasions I have felt the need to extend apologies for guys wearing their sisters pants on fixed gear bikes and mullet headed lycra covered dillweeds that think they are actually impressing someone by scaring the hell out of them.

Yes, ipod wearing joggers and walkers are an unpredictable hazard. Yes, rampaging unsupervised kids are yet another hazard. Yes, the lunch walkers walking five abreast deep in office gossip without thought or consideration for other users of the path are a major pain in the ass. But they all have the same right to enjoy their time on the Riverwalk as us cyclist do.

You would be surprised what a simple bike bell will do for you in clearing a path and creating a positive impression. The ringing of a bike bell is such a universally recognizable sound that literally every single person on this planet understands what to do when they hear the sound of an approaching bell.

Don't have a bell? Get one. Until you do, try a friendly "On your Left/Right". If you take the Left/Right approach, please don't wait until you are 5 feet away and start screaming at the people in front thus scaring the crap out of them. Start calling out 15 to 20 feet back in loud but friendly tone. A smile and polite "thank you" as you pass will gain you major positive karma points in the eyes of those you've just passed.

The biggest issue that the person in T-U had was speed. And he is totally correct when stating that "the Riverwalk isn't a speedway". If you need to get Downtown or to Riverside in hurry, keep your ass on Riverside Ave. It has perfectly functional bike lanes that are considerably faster for reaching Downtown or Riverside than the Riverwalk is.

On the road we are the little fish that is at the mercy of automobiles. Countless amounts of money is spent on awareness campaigns so that drivers will look out for our safety. On the Riverwalk we cyclists are the big fish and just as we hope that drivers are looking out for us. We cyclists need to be aware of how our actions effect the other Riverwalk users. Florida has a 3 foot passing law on the roads and we should also make every effort to afford the same to other users of a multi-use trail.

When you are lucky enough to find yourself riding a bike along one the most beautiful rivers in this country and into the most beautiful skyline in this state. Slow down and enjoy the ride.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Two Wheels Is All You Need

Found on JaxScene Tumblr with the caption:
1 bag of dry dog food, 3 cases of wet dog food, two wheels is all you need.

If you have not added JaxScene and and JaxScene Tumblr to to you reader or RSS feeds than you are truly missing out on the best stuff happening in Jax.

What special interest lobbying is all about

The National Bike Summit is currently taking place in Washington DC this week. You can find any number of news and blogs covering the event with a quick google search.

The title of this post comes from a posting by Jonathan Maus on BikePortland. The story gives an inside scoop of a dinner and reception hosted by BikesPAC a political action committee founded by the non-profit Bikes Belong Foundation.

The interesting part of the story is the telling of Florida's Seventh District Rep. John Mica visit at the reception. Mica happens to be House Minority Leader of Transportation and Infrastructure committee. Bike Portland writes, "Mica boasted that Florida leads the nation in rail-trails and then said in a self-deprecating tone, “That’s pretty good for a right-wing, knuckle-dragging conservative.” The article then follows with, "Mica said that as a Republican he has to support biking “quietly”. “I did a path over an interstate years ago,” he said, and then began to smile, “but we didn’t send out a press release on it.”

What Mica fails to mention is the vast majority of those rail-to-trails are in the middle nowhere and do nothing to help cycling as an alternative to driving.

Isn't also more than a little sad when raising the quality of life for your state has to be done "quietly" so as not to attract the attention of your party?

Read the full article here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bike Month In Florida

Ok, so today is the 12th of March and this my first mention that it is Bike Month in Florida. Why? I don't care. Really, I don't. The rest of country has recognized May as the official bike month for sometime. But here in Florida we must do Bike Month in March because it gets "too hot in May".

Are you kidding me? Too hot in May? It's Florida it's supposed to be hot. That is why we live here!

And the real reason I failed to mention anything about Bike Month earlier is I didn't have anything to report in the way of happenings for the month. That was until I went thought my gmail spam folder found all the bike month emails neatly tucked away. My apologies for taking so long to post.

Anyway, in celebration of Florida's Bike Month. Here's the obligatory proclamation from our fine governor who by the way, requested zero dollars for cycling, pedestrian or rail infrastructure in the recent stimulus package. Click on the image for full view.

One good thing happening this weekend the 14th and the next on the 21st. is a Bike To Work Workshop sponsored by North Florida TPO.

Click image to enlarge and print.

The 3 hour program cost $10 to attend and will be lead by Certified League of Cycling Instructor, Theodore Petrisch.

The locations for the two weekends are:

Saturday March 14th:
Jacksonville Beach - 9:30am - 12:30pm
Comfort Inn - 1515 N. First St.

Downtown - 2pm - 5pm
The Main Library - 303 N. Laura St.

Saturday March 21st:
Orange Park - 9:30am - 12:30pm
Comfort Inn - 341 Park Ave.

St. Augustine - 2pm - 5pm
The Meeting Room - Ponce de Leon Mall
2121 U.S. Highway 1 South

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More Negitive Bike Ads

I have posted a couple examples of positive images of cyclist recently. You can check them out here and here.

While driving to Orlando last week I couldn't help but notice 20 or more billboards from Florida Hospital that line I-95 and I-4 from Daytona and into Orlando.

Nothing like sending a positive message is there? This might not be so bad if Florida Hospital had instead of placing 20 some billboards with only the bicycle graphic. But also used other sport related images. I'm sure they see far more baseball, football, basketball and skateboarding injuries than they do cycling related ones.

Make: Bicycle Rodeo Video

I was up into the wee hours last night/this morning working on some personal projects. And being cable free leaves one with few options when it comes to after hours television. Thank goodness for the digital conversion that is currently happening throughout our great country. Instead of being bombarded by infomercials and religious wingnuts. I can now enjoy 5 channels of PBS bliss. On one of those channels last night I caught the following segment of Make: Television that feature a bike rodeo and "Cyclecide, an inventive band of performance artists who build outrageous bicycle contraptions straight out of the dump".