Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Woman's Ride - The Water Fight in PIctures

This past Sunday was the monthly Woman's Ride. Each month usually has a different theme. This months was The Great Water Fight and what a enjoyable battle it was to behold.

The ride starts from the Starlite in Five Points at 2 PM on the last Sunday of the month. You can find updates and complete info for up coming rides and events at Actionville.

This ride like the others in the past are about pure unadulterated fun on bikes. Ride what you bring, wear what you want and be who you want to be.

The Ride:

See all images from the ride HERE.

The Great Water Fight:

See all images from the water fight HERE.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Spotted at Riverside Arts Market

Artist Darlene Muto was spotted sporting an I Bike Jax tee at this weekends Arts Market. The movement is on people.

Let everyone know you support cycling and bikes as transportation in Jacksonville. Sustain the revolution and get yours HERE.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Signs of Change

We all know it. We've all seen. It has been beaten, bantered and embedded into our collective conscious. Share The Road. It has been the main stay of the cycling activist for a long, long time throughout Florida. But is it enough? Does it do enough to inform both cyclist and motorist of what actions can and should take place?

And what does Share The Road really say? For me, each time I see this this sign planted roadside. I envision a tattered clothed orphan extending an empty bowl towards the uncaring motorist and pleading for a little of the roadway. I don't know about you, but I'm tried of asking, pleading or using any other form of politeness a Share The Road sign implies.

What about where roads are too narrow to be shared? I'm speaking of roads with lanes that are below the standard 14 foot width. Lanes that are too narrow for both a motor vehicle and bicycle to share. All cyclists at one time have experienced the horror of a driver baring down on them with pure evil and vengeance in their eyes in a substandard lane. The reasons why certain drivers are so frustrated when confronted with a lowly cyclist on the road in front of them are varied. But I'm going to make a huge assumption here and guess the vast majority of motorist that honk, scream at, throw stuff and buzz cyclists do so for one reason. They are unaware that cyclists are not only allowed to be there. But are also entitled to take control of the lane. 316.2065(5)(a)3

So lets assume one of these substandard lane roads happens be along your daily commute. Let's also assume you are lucky enough to have this section of road ah blaze with Share The Road signage. You clearly see them and the motorist clearly sees them. But a Share The Road sign means two distinctly different things to each of you. For you, the sign means you have right to be there. To the motorist however, he/she reads the sign as you can be there until they feel you are in their way. At which time you should pull over let them pass.

Which brings us in a long drawn out way to the topic of this post. The Southside Blvd. Service Rd.. A mile long roadway with lanes so narrow a JTA bus just barely fits within it.

This Road was designed and built for one purpose. To keep turning traffic and merging traffic from disrupting the flow along Southside Blvd. The north end Allows entrance from SS blvd. but no exit. About midway along the service road is a signaled intersection that provides an exit off the service rd.. The south end allows both access into and out of the service rd.

Along the Service rd. are a massive variety of apartments and condos. To reach any shopping, dining or any other place of business everyone is forced to funnel out of the midway signal or the south end of the service rd.

There are no Share The Road signs along this service road. But I believe they would make little difference even if there were for the reason stated earlier. Why do I think that? Because as of late I have spent a fair amount of time riding that roadway. I have felt the brunt of the poor unfortunate motorist that is delayed the 3 minutes that it takes me to get from where was to where I need to be. But I'm lucky, unlike this guy. I'm not one of the many people that commute by bike daily along this service road suffering abuse from drivers during both directions of their commute. I'm thinking we need something with a little more punch than Share The Road here. Something that leaves no doubt to the motorist what the cyclists rights are...

Does the sign above leave any questions about where a cyclist is capable of riding within a lane? Does this sign leave any questions as to what a motorist is to do when they encounter a cyclist controlling the lane? Are you aware that Florida has no such sign?

Enter the folks at Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 2. Believe it or not, there are some very intelligent, capable and bicycle/pedestrian friendly people that work there. I made the call to the District 2 offices and spoke with Chris LeDew an Assistant District Traffic Operations Engineer to discuss what could be done in way of signage along the service rd.. And after a lengthy conversation that consisted of me explaining what the problems are along this roadway. And a just as long explanation from Mr. LeDew on the FDOT signage approval process. I was told he would have someone check into it.

Fast forward to the next week. I get a call from Scott Lent the District 2 Safety Engineer letting me know that he had visited the roadway and wanted to talk to about their thoughts on a solution and hear what my suggestions are.

Mr Lents suggestion was of course to place Share The Road signs. But through his conversation with Mr. LeDew, Mr. Lent already knew I was seeking a new sign altogether. He actually asked me if I could provide examples of the verbiage for the signage I was thinking about. I had to check to make sure I wasn't being punk'd as State agencies don't have the reputation for being this helpful and/or responsive.

Through all of this I have to keep reminding my self that I am actually having a positive experience with a state agency. I have in a weeks time talked with two different State of Florida employees. And both times they not only very patiently explained the FDOT process. But they also asked for and attentively listened to my suggestions. This may well be a first in the history of our great state.

The bottom line is we just may end up with a new sign. One that will greatly benefit both motorist and cyclist on substandard lanes is now in the process of design and approval. While there is no promise of the sign being added to the FDOT library. There is positive change within the FDOT for cyclists and pedestrians. And that my friends is a good sign.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Parking a Bike Downtown Illegal?

It appears it just might be. While doing some research for an another post I came across the Jacksonville ordnance posted below.

Sec. 804.907. Parking.
No person shall stand or park a bicycle on a sidewalk within a business district. Violation of this Section shall constitute a class A offense.
(Ord. 68-82-59, § 136; Ord. 70-650-526; Ord. 71-397-181; Ord. 83-591-400, § 1)
Note: Former § 312.907

It also looks to be that this ordnance might also be a left over from a long gone era in Jacksonville history. I'm told by Councilman Don Redman who is currently looking into the validity of the ordnance that it is perhaps a leftover from as far back as the 1950's or 60's when downtown was bustling. The majority of all the city's ordinances governing bicycle regulations have been truncated to reflect those set by the State of Florida. The other hint that this is a long lost and forgotten ordnance. The large abundance of bike racks found throughout downtown.

Just incase you are wondering what the penalty is for this heinous criminal act is.

Sec. 804.911. Penalties.
Every person not a juvenile, as this term is defined by the laws of the state, found guilty of a violation of a provision of this Part shall be punished, if not otherwise provided, by a fine of not more than $25 or by the impounding of the person's bicycle for a period not to exceed 90 days. Where a minor person is in violation of a provision of this Part, the Sheriff shall immediately impound the bicycle and hold it until such time as the court having jurisdiction may determine.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bike Jax Bike Bell Ringtone

Some projects just seem to get set aside for months at time for some reason or another. Then something comes along and reminds you about that long forgotten project. Today I got one of those reminders in the way of a post on Bike Pittsburgh where they released their "official" bike bell ringtone.

My first thought was, "cool". My second was, "hey I never did post the one I made." Why a bike bell ringtone? Can you think of any other sounds that are so friendly and recognizable. So here it is, the "offical" Bike Jax Bike Bell Ringtone.

Download Bike Jax Bike Bell Ringtone HERE (Or from the link in the sidebar)

You can now choose between two different chimes. Or be the first on your block to collect them all.

Download Bike Pittsburgh Bike Bell Rinetone HERE.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How to Ride in a Skirt : A Tutorial

This a repost from the gals of Bike Skirt. If you've not had the chance to check then out do so. They are working hard to bring cycling chic to Birmingham, Alabama.

I have watched many of my female friends struggle with attempting to mount, ride and dismount a bike while wearing a skirt and not expose their under bits. I usually find this a humorous endeavor as I have seen these same women don a couple of strings as swim wear and not give it second thought.

Hopefully the ladies of Bike Skirt can help your battle with the hemline.

How to ride in a Skirt : a tutorial

Riding in a skirt has its challenges, but is truly the way I prefer to ride year round. Summer you get a nice breeze, fall you can add tights if need be, but never get too hot. Winter is all about tights, over the knee socks and tall boots. Spring wasmade for riding in skirts. Going for a hard, epic ride in lycra…keep it classy and wear a little cotton skirt on top of the lycra. The skirt offers endless possibilities for riding fashion and function.

However, many women are scared to ride in a skirt. What if the wind blows wrong? What do you do when going fast downhill? What if your bike isn’t a step through (which, by the way, neither mine nor Anna’s are)? Here are the tips and tricks for maintaining your dignity whilst wearing the skirt and enjoying your ride.

1. Pick your skirt- pencil skirts are never a good idea on a bike with no step through. You are looking at it riding up and constantly pulling and tugging. A-lines, looser cotton skirts and mini skirts are best. Long skirts work if you have a skirt guard and chain guard (which I don’t). Dresses are also a great idea b/c you are not worrying about the back riding up too much and showing rear end cleavage (the worst kind of cleavage)

2. How to get on the bike-this is assuming you are riding a regular bike with no fancy step through. Step one: stand to the side of the bike. Step two: squeeze your knees together. Step three: lift your leg, keeping your knees as close together as you can. Standing on your tip toes is also a big help. You can give yourself extra protection by holding the center of the skirt down. Step four: at this point, you should be straddling the bike. In order to keep the skirt down it is best to put one foot up on a pedal. Tilt the bike a bit and you are good to go. Do this all in reverse to get off gracefully.

3. Riding in a skirt-ride as normal, keeping your legs close to the bike (something you should be doing anyway) and keeping one leg down while the other is up during coasting moments. For going downhill, I find that standing up keeps the wind from making you less than modest.

4. Leggings or shorts really help-I will wear a pair of leggings or cycling shorts if I am going a very long distance or am at all uncomfortable. This keeps you covered AND allows the fabric to slide up nicely as opposed to bunching up and riding up uncontrollably. Also-no thongs. This is just asking for trouble. Not to mention, unsanitary. Ick…

5. Have fun-sometimes you will flash. It is inevitable. When that happens, throw your head back and laugh. It really is quite funny! Also remember that with all the biking you are doing, your legs probably look amazing so flaunt them.

I hope this has helped. I am a firm believer in riding in skirts, both for the statement and the comfort. Ride on and feel the breeze in ways that the boys will never fully get to appreciate!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Do You Bike Jax?

If you Bike Jax then show it and let everyone you know that you support cycling and bikes as transportation in Jacksonville. Grab some swag and help us keep the Bike Valet rolling and promote new local bike programs and events.

Get your Swag HERE!