Friday, May 29, 2009

No Bike Valet at RAM This Week

Sorry gang, but you'll need to bring your locks to the Riverside Arts Market this week. Due my stupidity and forces outside of my control the bike valet will not be available for tomorrows market.

My most humble apologies for not being there for you guys.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Women's Ride VI - Bellys Out Ya'll



This Past Sunday I found myself arriving at the Starlite Cafe in Five Points for the Monthly Women's VI (that's 6 for you non Roman types). Every month the ride has an underlying theme and this months theme was, "Belly Out." Despite the fact that it is billed as a women's ride, men are more than welcome join in. Why or how can it be a women's ride if the guys are allowed to tag-a-long? The blog Actionville explains it this way: "This isn't (and never was) about superiority, what this is, is about inclusion. This is about dropping the macho, dropping the aggressiveness and promoting friendship. This is about getting on a bike (any bike bmx to cruiser) and having fun on a sweet themed ride. This is about winding through our city, about a mass of bikers on a Sunday afternoon, about waving to pedestrians and fellow traffic, about showing that, hey bikes exist too. This is and always will be about fun."

All participants (men included) were encouraged to sport some type of half shirt or mid-drift that would present the riders belly for all the visual delight that it would bring. Or in my case, less on the visual delight and more along the lines of fear and loathing, so I opted to not go belly free and save some innocent child from the impending nightmares my uncovered gut would surely bring.

Even though I chose not to ride Belly out, I had a great time with the ladies. And how could one not with such a great group of diverse individuals? Gay, straight, married, single, young, old, tattooed, non-tattooed, male, female, The woman's ride is not about what gender or social class you happen to be. It truly is about getting on bike and taking an easy Sunday afternoon roll through the Urban Core meeting new people and making new friends.



To see all the images from the ride Click Here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Woman's Ride VI "The Belly Ride"

Just got this in. For a change I'm not to blame for it's lateness. This is one ride that has the possibility of turning ugly fast. I predict, seconds after I show up in a half-shirt with my ultra sexy gut hanging out.

From the site Actionville:
"After consistent strong turnouts of women, we're dropping the "boys only with skirts" clause and want to make sure everyone is included. After all, this isn't (and never was) about superiority, what this is, is about inclusion. This is about dropping the macho, dropping the aggressiveness and promoting friendship. This is about getting on a bike (any bike bmx to cruiser) and having fun on a sweet themed ride. This is about winding through our city, about a mass of bikers on a Sunday afternoon, about waving to pedestrians and fellow traffic, about showing that, hey bikes exist too. This is and always will be about fun."


Call For Bike Valet Volunteers!

We are in need of few bike loving community service orientated souls to help us valet bikes for the Jacksonville Jazz Festival (May 22- 24) and the Riverside Arts Market (May 23rd).

As a Bike Jax Bike Valet you'll receive:

  • Free Admission to all the music stages of Jacksonville Jazz Festival.
  • Free Admission to Riverside Art Market
  • The admiration of the cycling public.
  • And last but lest, a few bucks for your effort via tips.

Yes, I know both the Jazz Fest. and RAM are free to everyone. But you'll get to enjoy them as a Bike Valet. It's like being a superhero. Just without the cape and silly tights. You'll be a bike god or goddess for the day. Crowds will part, beers will be drunk in your honor, (pick your preference for this next one) men will lust and women will swoon for you...The Bike Valet.

If you're interested in helping out or know someone that may be, send your or their contact info to: [email protected]

Or stop by and talk with us at the Bike Valet this Saturday during the Riverside Arts Market.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Commuter Profile - Donna Moore

It's been awhile since we have done a commuter profile. One of the things that providing the Bike Valet for the Riverside Arts Market (RAM) has done is allow us to meet cyclists from of every ilk and from every corner of Jax.

Meet Donna Moore. She has been one of the many weekly users of bike valet. She has been such a regular visitor to the bike valet that she is now one of our newest Bike Valet Volunteer and will being helping us out at RAM.

Donna is a transportation coordinator for H J Heinz, a certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor, along with being a member of Hands on Jacksonville.

What do you use your bike for?
Going to work

How often do you ride?
At least 6 days a week

How long have you been commuting by bicycle?
A month now

What would you say to convince someone who is considering commuting by bicycle to go for it?
My day at work is so much more enjoyable than before.

What could the city do to make biking better?
Make drivers aware of bike rules of the road.

What reaction do you get from co-workers?
WOW!!

What’s the best thing about commuting by bicycle?
Being outside

Can you give a brief description of your route?
From Riverside to Westside Industrial Park.

Where are your favorite places to bike in Jacksonville? Least favorite?
I love riding down to the landing, none yet.

What do you like about biking in Jacksonville? And dislike?
The weather is bearable, the darn headwinds.

Have you ever combined transit and biking or used a bus bike rack?
No

Do you commute in cycling or street clothing? And if cycling clothing, how to handle the change to street/work clothing? cycling clothing,
I work in a warehouse and wear a work uniform I just change at work.

Any bike gadget/gear cyclists should not go out without?
None yet.

Are you a member of any cycling organizations/clubs? If so, which ones? No

Favorite or Funny bike stories?
When I was young I did the old "run over the stick trick" yep, it stuck in my spokes and I went flying off.

Scary bike stories?
None

Anything else you would like to add?
Exercise is the Fountain of Youth


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Twelve Reasons to Start Using a Bicycle for Transportation

This is a repost via LighterFootstep. It being Bike To Work week and all. I thought I would pass along this list as some fuel for thought for those still undecided about taking a bike for a spin.

  1. It’s easier to finance a new bicycle than a new car. Thanks to the recession, auto loans are hard to find these days — even if you have good credit. But for the price of a single car payment, you can buy a well-made bicycle that should outlast most cars. Add a few hundred dollars more for rain gear, lights, and accessories, and you have all-weather, anytime transportation.

  2. A bicycle has a tiny manufacturing footprint when compared to a car. All manufactured goods have environmental impact, but bicycles can be produced for a fraction of the materials, energy, and shipping costs of a car.

  3. Bicycles produce no meaningful pollution when in operation. Bikes don’t have tailpipes belching poisonous fumes into the atmosphere. They also eliminate the oil, fuel, and hydraulic fluids dripped by automobiles onto the road surface — which means less toxic runoff into local waterways.

  4. Bikes save taxpayers money by reducing road wear. A twenty pound bicycle is a lot less rough on the pavement than a two-ton sedan. Every bicycle on the road amounts to money saved patching potholes and resurfacing city streets.

  5. Bicycles are an effective alternative to a second car. Perhaps you’re not in a position to adopt a bicycle as primary transportation. But bikes make great second vehicles. You can literally save thousands of dollars per year using a bicycle for workday commuting and weekend errands in households which might otherwise be forced to maintain two cars.

  6. Using a bike for transportation can help you lose weight and improve your overall health. The health benefits of regular aerobic exercise are well known. Depending on your riding style and local road conditions, you could easily burn 600 calories an hour through brisk cycling. Most bike commuters report losing 15 to 20 pounds during their first year in the saddle without changing their eating habits.

  7. You can store a dozen bicycles in a single automobile-sized parking place. Parking lots have enormous environmental and financial impact, particularly in urbanized areas. The more bikes you can get on the road, the fewer parking spaces you need to build.

  8. Bicycles don’t burn gasoline. Fuel is cheap compared to last year, and the economic downturn is likely to keep a lid on petroleum demand for a while. But we’re not producing any more oil today than we were when it was more than $100 a barrel. A healthy bike culture will help ease pressure on supply once demand returns.

  9. Bicycling may be faster and more efficient than taking a car. We’re not talking about the crazy — and illegal — antics of New York bicycle messengers. But bikes are often faster than cars in urban areas, especially when city designers have set aside proper bike lanes. There’s nothing more satisfying as a bicycle commuter than breezing past a long line of gridlocked traffic.

  10. Bikes cost much less to maintain and operate than automobiles. You’ll never throw a rod on a bicycle, and dropping a transmission on a bike usually means replacing a bent derailleur hanger or worn-out chain. Bicycles do require service, but you can learn to perform most of it yourself. Even if you have a shop do things for you, costs will be trivial compared to a car.

  11. Bicycles provide mobility for those who may not qualify or afford to drive.Not everyone can get a driver’s license (or wants one), and the cost of purchasing, insuring, and maintaining a car is out of reach for a lot of people. Almost everyone can afford some sort of bike. Other than walking, bicycles are the most cost effective transportation on the planet.

  12. Studies show that bicycle commuters are healthier, more productive, and require less time-off at work. This is why most enlightened employers are eager to accommodate commuting cyclists. Healthy workers are better workers — and that’s good for the bottom line. Bikes are smart business.

So there are twelve reasons to dust-off that bicycle in your garage in time for Bike to Work Day. Can you think of others?


Bike To Work Day is Friday


Have you Ridden your Bike to Work Lately?

Join Council Member Don Redman and the North Florida Bicycle Club on May 15, 2009 for “Ride Your Bike to Work Day”. Organized group rides will depart from 3 locations in Jacksonville. Each group will have an escort provided by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Bike shop owners have also volunteered vans to transport other personal belongings for the trip Downtown. The Police escort and Van service will not be available for the return trip.

  • The Arlington group will depart at 7:05 AM from the Food Lion located at 966 Arlington Rd N, Jacksonville, FL across from Champion Cycling. The contact person for this group is Jim McDonald 904-724-4922.
    Route: West in Arlington Expressway Service rd: south on Cesery blvd merging to University blvd: West on Atlantic blvd: north on Kings ave: west on Prudential dr: north on Hendricks ave west on Gulf Life dr: over Acosta Bridge: east on Water st : north on Hogan to Hemming Plaza.
  • The Southside group will depart at 6:50 AM from Kmart located at 9600 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville, FL near the intersection of San Jose and St. Augustine Road. The contact persons for this group are Phil Foreman 904-982-4380 and North Florida Bicycle Club General Director Bert Shaw at 415-425-2334.
    Route: North on San Jose Boulevard: north on Hendricks ave: west on Gulf Life dr: over Acosta Bridge: east on Water st: north on Hogan to Hemming Plaza.

  • The Westside group will depart at 7:10 AM from Publix located at 4495 Roosevelt Blvd #103, Jacksonville, FL. The contact person for this group is Charlie Fetzer 904-716-7364 and North Florida Bicycle Club General member Jeanne Hargrave at 904-563-7724. Route: North on St Johns ave: west on King st: north on Riverside ave: east on Water st: north on Hogan to Hemming Plaza.
We will all meet briefly on Pearl Street between the CSX building and the Times Union Center for performing Arts before ending at Hemming Plaza around 7:30AM. Mayor John Peyton, Council
Member Don Redman will gather for a short ceremony where Mayor Peyton will present a proclamation to the North Florida Bicycle Club. Council Member Redman will provide juice and bagels for the riders. The North Florida Bicycle Club will provide Cycling Guides.

On May 13, 2009 three bike shops will provide commuting workshops from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Champion Cycling will host a workshop in Arlington, 724-4922, and Mandarin 262-5744.
Lakeshore Cycling, 384-7945, will host a Westside clinic. All bicycle commuter workshops are free
and open to the public.

Please visit www.jtafla.com for information concerning bikes on buses.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Florida the most dangerous state for bicyclists

The above heading comes by way of an article by reporter Larry Hannan in today's Florida Times-Union. The story's origins are derived of a recent release of a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration listing Florida as the leader in bicycle fatalities for 2007. I've gone ahead and included that page of the NHTSA report that lists the fatality data. Click on the image below for full size.

The articles main focus is to point out how much higher Florida's cyclist death rate is in comparison to states with much higher populations. The reporter in his attempt to offer answers as to why the Sunshine State isn't so sunny for cyclists does so with provided quotes from a few local cycling advocates (Yours truly included) and shop owners. And as one would expect the answers are wide and varied.

Scott Gross Manager of Open Road Bicycles finds that, “People are very nice to cyclists in other parts of the world, But around here they just want you off the road.

Not my experience with Jacksonville roads or drivers at all. I find that most drivers are very polite and concerned about my safety. Of course there are those meatheads that believe bikes have no business on the streets. But from my experience, they are few. I do guess however that it also depends how one rides and uses their bike. I'm willing to bet that weekend club riders encounter a whole lot more frustrated drivers than do the daily commuters since they (club riders) tend to ride in large packs and take up more roadway.

Miriam Gallet, of the North Florida Bicycle Club, is quoted, "drivers and cyclists both need more education." and “Florida needs to add bicycle awareness to its Florida drivers license exam,” I couldn't agree more. But she then goes on to say, “and bicyclists need to understand when they are riding on roads they are considered motorists and must obey all traffic laws.” Last I checked, my bike has no motor. Thus I cannot be a "motorist." I do however operate my bike as a Vehicle according to Florida State law.

She also goes on to add, "Some cyclists don’t wear helmets, either, and as a result the trauma to the head on impact is too great." Pay no attention that Florida State law does not require the wearing of a helmet of anyone over the age of 16. Or that bicycle helmets are designed to withstand an impact of 12 mile per hour. Or ruffly what would happen if you were standing at a full stop and suddenly fell over striking your head. Bicycle helmets are not designed to withstand an impact with a couple tons of steel at any speed.

There are many variables that contribute to why Florida has such a high fatality rate. The most obvious would be our year round excellent weather coupled with a mostly flat terrain which allows and encourages more people to ride bikes. You can also point at the lack of education for both the cyclist and driver.

But the real answer to why the death rate is so high here is lack of infrastructure and poor planning. By infrastructure I'm not speaking of just the lack of bike lanes and bike paths. I'm talking about connectivity. That's right Mr./Mrs. mayor, council person, city/state/federal planner and road engineer, connectivity. Say it with me, con·nec·tiv·i·ty, connectivity. If there were more of a connection with neighborhoods and roads, cyclists and pedestrians would have the ability to ride/walk on less heavily traveled streets and not forced onto the main roads causing them to be exposed to the risks and dangers that those roads bring.

And to the drivers that do feel the need to scream out your window as you pass. I think you need to understand what your actions look and sound like from a cyclists point of view.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Jazz Festival to Offer Two Bike Valets Stations

The City of Jacksonville has seen what a success the Bike Valet has been at RAM and asked Bike Jax to provide the service for this years Jacksonville Jazz Festival.

This years Jazz Fest breaks out of the confines of Metropolitan Park to run ramped throughout downtown May 21 - 24th.

This years line up of talent is a strong one with musicians performing on five stages spread throughout downtown. And all of it for free!

The city will be closing down Laura St. from Duval St. to Water St. starting Friday afternoon.

And since the Jazz Festival is so going to be so big and cover such a large foot print of Downtown. Bike Jax is going to be providing not one but Two Free Bike Valet Stations Friday, Saturday and Sunday during Festival hours. We are also happy to annouce that Action Wipes is supplying Bike Jax with their excellent product to hand out to those that use the Bike Valet.

We will have a valet station on Duval St. in front of City Hall and another just off the RiverWalk on Hogan St. next to the Landing. We are very excited about being a part of this years Jazz Festival and hope you will not only make plans to attend but to do so by bike.

We are also in desperate need of volunteers to help valet the bikes Saturday & Sunday. If you would like to help out please drop by the Bike Valet at RAM and talk with either Me (Matt) or Abhishek. Or you can drop us an email at [email protected]


Bike Valet Back Where We Started

After a quick but unsuccessful experiment with moving the Bike Valet to a new location. The Riverside Arts Market powers that be have heard your cries of protest and indignation and moved the Bike Valet back to it's original location. And that is where you will find us Saturday. No more weaving your bike through the crowd to get to us. No more scorched seats and grips as we have ample shade for all. See you under the bridge.


Riverside Arts Market from Michael Walter on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Art Imitates Life...

But life Imitates TV. is a line from a song by a true American artist Ani Difranco.



I Found the above image of a wheatpasting of gal on a fixed gear sometime ago. So long ago I don't even remember where. So can't credit it. If anyone knows, please let me know.



Today while browsing thru my RSS feeds on I came across it once again only this time with original image that it was created from on Girl On Bicycles.

Sure would like to see some work like this make it's way to walls around Jax.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Do We Really Need These?

As I rode thru downtown Jacksonville yesterday doing errands and killing time prior to being the guest on Urban Jacksonville Weekly.

I came across this Chilean Naval Ship docked along the Riverwalk. As I admired the majesty of a ship of this size. I couldn't help letting my dirty hippie leftist self seep out just a little and I found myself asking...


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bike Jax Live on Urban Jacksonville Weekly Today

I'll be on Urban Jacksonville Weekly today at 5:30pm. Listen live for a big announcement for Bike Jax and Bike Valet.

Urban Jacksonville Weekly is a weekly radio show that discusses urban issues, downtown neighborhoods, culture, development, local blogs and media, etc in Jacksonville Florida. Brought to you by Urban Jacksonville, The Urban Core and Jacksonville.com.

Todays topics:

  • Ghost Bikes and Bike Valet

  • Deal pending for historic downtown Jacksonville buildings. An unknown buyer has a sale contract for the property.

  • Jacksonville developer threatens demolition of historic buildings in Riverside to build pharmacy. Preservationists are upset by developer's proposal to tear down structures

You can watch the live stream here at 5:30pm. Or you catch the podcast in couple of days at Urban Jacksonville Weekly or on iTunes.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bury Your Bike Two Pics

Due to Bike Jax's commitments to Riverside Arts Market I haven't had much time to spend at Bury Your BIke Two (BYB2).

Friday evening the Zombie gang Left the confines of Springfield in Critical Mass mode and I was lucky enough to grab a few shots as they rolled thru Five Point during the 1st Fridays shenanigans. See full set here.

Despite feeling like a baked potato after spending the previous six hours at the sunniest bike valet station in the nation. We stopped by the BBB Warehouse to see what was going with BYB2. We arrived to a mostly empty place as most were out terrorizing the streets of Downtown in the Zombie Chase Allycat. Here are a few of the images we got once they returned. See full set here.


I'm sorry I didn't have the time to spend on coverage of BYB2. Thankfully Tom P. was on the job and additional Pictures can found on JaxScene Here and Here. Pictures by Jack Diablo are Here.Video by JaxScene.Bury Your BIke Two


Friday, May 1, 2009

Girls On Bikes

I'm not sure how many of you are aware of the plethora of blogs that celebrate the females of our species and their two wheeled transport.

Recently a new blog called Girls On Bicycles has been the darling of the bike blog circuit. This new comer to ladies on bikes scene along with others like Bike Skirt, Chic Cyclist, Riding Pretty, Chicks and Bikes and the one that started it all Copenhagen Cycle Chic all have one thing in common. They all promote the positive image of woman riding bicycles. And the girls and women on bikes today are the mothers on bikes of tomorrow. And a mom on a bike usually leads to kids on bikes. Which means the potential of a future with more bike riders. And that is good thing.

With Spring in the air it's been impossible to not notice the abundance of ladies peddling around our fair city. I started thumbing thru the Bike Jax photo archives to find some of our Bike Jax Gals and thought it time to salute our ladies of two wheels. Click on the images for larger view.


BIke Valet Moving Locations at Riverside Arts Market


I know this is very late notice. But things happen the way they happen and not much can done to prevent that. We are however making a southernly journey down the Riverwalk this weekend. I'm not sure if this a temporary move yet or not. I'll let you guys and gals know more when I do. Thanks for all your continued support. Click on the map of full size.