Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Backlash Tour: Tonight

Nothing like waiting until the last second to get things posted. But at least it wasn't due to my slackass-ness this time. I just got the email that contained the info I requested over a month ago.

Any-who, plan on heading out to the new Zombie Bike location at 47 w. 1st St. for a slice of that ever so tasty bike friendly Portland pie.

Portland based Rev. Phil. is bringing BikeSmut's Backlash Tour to Jacksonville as part of a 100 day 50 city tour.

Festivities kick off at 8PM and will continue until the PBR runs out. Hopefully I'll have some pictures for you tomorrow.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bus & Bikes - Can't we all just get along?

Here is a safety video for both bus driver and cyclist produced by the Chicago Transit Authority. I think it should be mandatory viewing for all JTA bus drivers. I almost never see them signal their intent when I follow on bike. Which leaves me always guessing when and where they are pulling over for stops, turning or returning to the flow of traffic.

As for passing forget about getting the 3 feet passing distance required by state law. Most busses pass by me so close that I wonder if I should be reaching in my pocket for fare.

The portions of the video directed towards the cyclist are the standard rules of the road. But worth viewing judging from the way I see most cyclists endanger themselves and others with the way they ride through traffic.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Google Adds Bike There Directions

It was the summer of '08 when bike bloggers and cycling advocates began a petition requesting Google to include a "Bike There" routing option in their maps.

Today the Google Gods ended our long wait and announced the release of the beta version of a bike there option in . The Google blog has all the info about the release.

Google say's, "More than 12,000 miles of trails are included in biking directions and outlined on the map, covering over 150 cities across the states. And more are being added."

I tested a couple of the heavily used routes just to see what the suggested routes would be. The first one I did was Downtown to Five Points in Riverside. I used Hemming Plaza as the starting point and Park & Post Streets as the destination.

Looking at the map you may be wondering, why not Riverside Avenue since it has bike lanes? The map did what Google said it would do. That is find the quietest roads with the least amount of hills. And Park St. is far less trafficked than Riverside Ave. Also the Park St. railroad viaduct is a far easier climb that the one on Riverside Ave.

The unfortunate thing is that Google Maps as of yet does not recognize the Riverwalk as a bike trail. Which is the most traveled route between Riverside and Downtown.

As this is a beta release, Google asks that you encounter a problem with bike there directions to use the "Report a problem" link at the bottom of the left hand column as pictured below.

I have already reported the missing Riverwalk and I hope that some of you will do the same.

Notice the dark green lines denoting a bike route on both Acosta and Main St. Bridges. It's really sad that a city bisected by a river keeps cyclist and pedestrians limited to to 2 of the 7 bridges (soon to be 8) that span the river.

The second route I tried was Atlantic Blvd. & Kernan Blvd. to University of North Florida.

This route didn't do near as well as it did with the downtown route. It sends you down Beach Blvd. which is a very heavily traveled 6 six lane road. It also doesn't show the Kernan Blvd. Bikeway that runs along that length of Kernan from Atlantic Blvd. and ends just short of the entrance to UNF. If you use this route please make sure to report as problem using the link provided by Google as mentioned above.

Google does however include in its database both the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rails to Trail and Black Creek Trail in Orange Park.

Overall, I think the beta of the bike directions is outstanding and will only get better more accurate with time and input of local riders.

Try some of your own and let me know how well it works for you.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Arts Market Opening Pictures

Despite the temperatures continuing to be well below average for us here in North Florida. People bundled up and flocked to the opening of the second season of the Riverside Arts Market.

While we at the bike valet didn't take the beating the we took during last year's opening day. We were very happy with the steady flow of people that kept the bikes racks close to full through out the day.

The first bike showed up an hour before the opening of the market. Roxanne (pictured above) and is proudly displaying the first valet ticket of the season. You can read more about Roxanne and her car-free life in her commuter profile she did for Bike Jax a while back.

This mother and daughter traveled from their home 3 miles away. 3 miles is a very short distance on a bicycle and easily ridable for a child as long as you remember that they are a child and let them ride at their pace and not yours.

Our new sponsor Regions Bank was well represented with our new banners. We even had a couple members of the bank ride over on Regions Cruisers. You will have an opportunity to win one of these bikes soon. I'll give you more details on how that will happen shortly.

Speaking of bikes, If you didn't make it out to the market on opening day. Make sure when you do, drop in to check out these beautiful European bikes from Nest Living. They will be on display and available for purchase all season right next to the bike valet.

Bike Jax is very happy and excited to be able to provide the Free Bike Valet for a second season. We are looking forward to keeping your bike safe and secure while you enjoy everything that the Riverside Arts Market has to offer.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bike Valet Returns With Opening of Rverside Arts Market

Tomorrow marks the opening day of the second season of the Riverside Arts Market (RAM). Bike Jax will be there to continue the much requested free bicycle valet service. Only this time we will not be alone.

We are very excited to announce that Regions Bank will be joining us as our sponsor through this season of RAM. Here is the the first look at the new banners we will be sporting this year.

We will also open this season as we closed the last and will be joined once again with Jacksonville's only mobile bicycle repair service, Alex of The Bicycle Clinic. He will be there providing simple tuneups and minor repairs. Stop by and get your bike checked out.

Next to us on opening day in what is now called the Fringe of the Art Market will be Nest Living. Jacksonville's only source for authentic European bikes. Come check out the Dutch made Batavus and Italian made Abici bikes. Take a test ride and see for yourself what style over speed look and feel like.

We are still located in the same place we were last season. If you have not used the bike valet click on the map above.

If you live outside of the Urban Core and you're looking for a way to combine your modes of transport via bike and car or bus you can find all info you'll need HERE.

We also have a very limited numbers of I Bike Jax shirts left. And for the opening of Arts Market they will be $5. Get them while they last.

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's Bike Month in Florida

May is bike month here in Florida. While the rest of the nation holds off celebration of bike month until May. The reason I have been told that Florida has chosen March is that because it's too hot in may. That may very well be the case in South Florida, but here in North Florida with night time temps around freezing and daytime highs of late not much more. Bike Jax will be following the rest of the nation and withhold the celebration of bike month until May.

Our honorable Governor Charley baked to a crisp Crist has reach into his files and rolled his tried and true yearly March is bike month proclamation today.

Here is it for all your reading delight.

It appears that ol'chucky has taken the time to update this years proclamation with the addition of a couple more Whereas's. If you would like past proclamations for comparison, here is 2008 and 2009.