Bike Commuters by State — VT in Middle of Pack

Chapin

Posted by on Oct 04 2012
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On the heals of Vermont’s 1st place finish in the National Bike Challenge, a study reporting the bike commuting levels by state has been released.

While the study’s findings only go up to 2010, it offers some good insights:

  • Vermont remains in the middle of the pack per capita for bike commuting.  Clearly we were well organized to take the top spot in the National Bike Challenge!
  • Our public investments in walking and bicycling per capita, by contrast, are second highest in the nation. Nice going Vermont! While not shown in the figures below, Vermont does have the second highest percentage of residents walking to work — due in part to our continued investment in pedestrian facilities and our promotion of active lifestyles.

The data is based on the American Community Survey undertaken every year by the US Department of Commerce.  See the full interactive tool at: http://www.myassettag.com/state-cycling-statistics.

Vermonters, keep biking and walking!  Let’s get Vermont higher in the rankings each year.

Cycle the City Getting a Makeover

Nic

Posted by on Sep 27 2012
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Where is that?  What is it?  Can I ride it now? Is it easy to follow?

The Cycle the City route has been around for 15 years and is an awesome 10 mile clockwise loop that sees almost every sweet part of Burlington.  Waterfront, Suburbs, Parks, Intervale, Old North End, UVM, Hill Section, Champlain College…you name it, you probably will bike past it on this loop.  It is easy to follow (you can always chat with Local Motion staff before heading off) but the plan is to make it even easier to follow, more informative and more user friendly.  Not to mention looking pretty damn sharp.

We have been working with JDK on redesigning the logo, all signs, the map, the brochure and the web.  They have been putting in some serious time and some serious collaboration (I think I have received 55 emails from them in the last few months, not to mention how many I have sent them!!) and trying their hardest to be the best designers in the industry!  They have my vote!

The new logo has been set (below), signs are almost in their final stage for ordering (will give you a sneak preview some day) and they are now working on the brochure, map and web.  Super exciting stuff.

Refreshed Logo – Looking crisp and clean!

2013 Launch Party!  The next big thing is to get all of this stuff compiled and ready for release.  Hoping to have a big ol launch of the information and a slow ride around the route (preferably in period costume…anyone have a penny farthing?) at the end of April, 2013.  New flowers and growth for spring with new signs and cycling enthusiasm too.  Looking at having a cool event to launch Bike Month 2013 so watch this space for new posts and some fun times ahead!

The Invisible Bicycle Helmet — Fabulous or a Fad?

Chapin

Posted by on Aug 19 2012
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Yup, the lady in the picture is wearing a helmet.

Check out the videos below to see the amazing invention these two Swedish women have developed.  It’s called a Hovding and you’ve got to give them credit for creating an entirely new approach to protecting one’s head while cycling.

Do you think a product like this, if it comes down in price, would catch on in the USA?  We’re certainly curious to find out.

For cycling in Vermont, we’re wondering if this helmet could do double-duty as a neck warmer (hint, hint).

The Invisible Bicycle Helmet | Fredrik Gertten from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.
 

 

Thank you to Abby Mattera from Vermont Safe Routes to School for sending us this link.  What an interesting innovation!

Cycle the City Refresh

Nic

Posted by on Aug 10 2012
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News update…

We have embarked upon a process for refreshing the entire Cycle the City route with the support of JDK, Local Motion, BWBC, DPW and Parks and Rec.  This refresh involves having JDK update the identity (logo, font, colors etc), the online presence through the Cycle the City page on Local Motions Website (http://www.localmotion.org/ctc/), new brochure/guide, map and rack card and new physical signs and stencil.  All very exciting stuff.  Essentially a total refresh of every aspect.

At present the Cycle the City route is not well known, although Chapin, Luis and others have been taking tours on it for years, and this is the opportunity to try and bring it to the forefront as one of our great cycling routes around Burlington!!!  It is an amazing 10mile route that sees some of the best parts of Burlington…downtown, waterfront, New North End, Ethan Allen Park and Homestead, The Intervale, Historic UVM, the Hill Section, worker homes of the South End and the Arts District….awesome.

Today we received the first design plan back.  JDK did a cool presentation and we dialed it down to our favorite with a little sign demonstration out front (as one part of the project).

Little sample to see how the signs ‘might’ look from afar

I have attached the Cycle the City Presentation (edited).  At this time we are looking for feedback on the identity.  How the signs etc will look in terms of the way-finding details will come later but at this time we want to move forward on the identity bones…namely the logo, font style, icons etc.  Color can and will be changed.

This is where you come in…if you are an avid designer or just think there are some things we should think about, please provide comments to me directly at nanderson@ci.burlington.vt.us if you have any within the next few days.  Remembering that the only thing we are trying to focus on right now is the logo, font, icon, color etc (Here is a cut out version of the CTCLogoOption, right click to rotate).  Any suggestions, improvements, criticism etc is what we desire.  If we hear an overwhelming reaction either positive or negative then we can always go back to the drawing board.

Thanks in advance for your comments.  Our hope is to have the refresh in place by the end of October for some fall riding and maybe a big launch party and ride…fingers crossed!!  Watch this space.   We hope that we can refresh the route and help make it the most ridden route in Burlington (after up and down the Waterfront Path that is!!)
Cheers
Nic

320 Cyclists Support LM at Islands Bike Tour!

Chapin

Posted by on Aug 06 2012
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Thanks to the great weather and great coordination from Vermont Farm Tours, the Islands Bike Tour on July 14, 2012 was a smashing success!

The participants meandered along multiple routes and loops through the Islands exploring farms and galleries along the way.  In addition to having lots of fun, the riders raised $1,200 for Local Motion’s work to make the region a better place to bike and walk!

Thank you to Chris Howell, Melissa Meece and the entire VT Farm Tours crew!  Do you want to thank them for raising funds for Local Motion?  Friend VT Farm Tours on Facebook!

Did you like the Islands Bike Tour?  If so, you’ll love the Tour de Farms on September 16 in Addison County.  It’s a benefit for the VT Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition as well as ACORN and Rural Vermont.

One Revolution & Local Motion Storm Green Drinks

Chapin

Posted by on Jul 31 2012
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On the last evening in July, cyclists and walkers flooded the Green Drinks event at Main Street Landing. Hosted by Skinny Pancake, over 130 attendees enjoyed good beer and good conversation overlooking Lake Champlain.

The bike and walk culture is thriving in Burlington.  Young and old alike talked about what we can do to make Burlington an even better place to walk and bike.  Local Motion co-sponsored the event with One Revolution — a great bike delivery company in the Queen City.  Check out their compost pick-up service!

Rylan of One Revolution and Local Motion intern Alyson hang with friends at Green Drinks.

Attendees check out Local Motion’s table with information on The Big Fix.

Alexis gets her bike from the secure bike parking area thanks to volunteer Rob and Bike Parking Coordinator Thomas.

Thomas chats with a Green Drinks attendee.  Check out the rest of the 2012 bike parking schedule here.

Our awesome Skinny Pancake servers Matthew and and Leah!  They poured the 125 free brews within the first 20 minutes of Green Drinks!

 Check out One Revolutions’ Facebook page here.  Local Motion is going to contract with One Revolution to pick up our office compost.  You should too!

 

Got $70 Burning a Hole in Your Pocket?

Jason

Posted by on Jul 12 2012

HEADS UP:  the Burlington Police Department is stepping up enforcement of all traffic laws for bicyclists!  You could get a $70 ticket if (among other things) you:

  • Go through a red light or stop sign
  • Travel the wrong way on a one-way street
  • Ride at night without lights (front and back)

    During a recent multimodal outreach and enforcement detail, the Burlington police talked with lots of people who were walking (23) and biking (25) about the rules of the road. They only issued one ticket, though: to a motorist who went through a red light. Over the next few weeks, they will add more tickets to the mix.

The police are also stepping up enforcement for motorists, with a focus on things that could get walkers and bicyclists hurt:  speeding, running red lights, failure to yield, and so on.  They are also issuing more tickets to pedestrians who cross against the light.  Their goal is to reduce crashes and injuries for people on foot and on bike.

Why is Local Motion on board with more tickets for walkers and bicyclists?  Two reasons:

  1. FAIRNESS.  The police are focusing on the serious stuff -- and they’re being evenhanded about it.  Whether you’re walking, biking, or driving, if you do something stupid and dangerous, they’ll give you a ticket.
  2. RESPECT.  If we in the bike community want Burlington to make a serious investment in more bike lanes and other infrastructure, we’re going to have to earn the support (and the respect) of the non-bicycling residents of our city.  Riding by the rules is one of the best things we can do to build momentum towards a transformation of our streets.

So riding right not only could save you $70 — it could also get you a better city for bicycling.

Bike Racks, Bike Racks Everywhere!

Jason

Posted by on Jul 03 2012
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Bike racks are popping up all over Burlington!  The city Department of Public Works is constantly investing in new racks in the public right of way.  The Vermont Agency of Transportation has launched a new program to provide racks to communities racks at no charge.  And businesses are putting in racks themselves as part of their investment in their customers.

Among many other great examples, here’s a fantastic addition to the built-in rack at City Market:

Brent Demers and Pat Burns of City Market (shown above) designed and installed this rack system with help from Metalworks, a metal fabrication shop on Flynn Avenue.  It has several great features:

  • Extra-long racks for greater bike stability
  • Plenty of space between racks
  • Bollards (the vertical yellow plastic tubes) to prevent cars from backing into bikes

Kudos to City Market for giving up a car parking space to make more room for bike parking.  In exchange for one car space lost, they gained over a dozen new bike parking spaces!

 

Down on Pine Street, Lake Champlain Chocolates installed some great new racks as part of a parking lot reconfiguration:

These racks are deceptively simple, elegant, and straightforward.  They aren’t fancy, but it is clear that a lot of thought went into their placement and design.  A couple of important features to note:

  • The racks are inverted U style, which is one of the best options for an economical rack that works great for bikes
  • There is plenty of space between racks so bikes aren’t crowded
  • The racks are located right in front of the main entrance — great visibility and easy access!
  • There is plenty of space to wheel bikes in and out of the racks without running into a wall or other obstruction

Great job, Lake Champlain Chocolates!  Burlington needs a lot more racks just like yours.

How is Bike Sharing Working in Our Region?

Chapin

Posted by on Jun 12 2012
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While there isn’t one of the new generation fully-automated bike sharing systems up yet in Vermont, it is good to see that bike sharing around our greater region is thriving.  There is a lot of buzz around the large launch of NYC’s 10,000 bike system next month!

Boston Hubway Exceeds Expectations, Now Expanding Regionally

New York‘s CitiBike Launches Next Month with 10,000 Bikes

Montreal Bixi Launches Promotions for Bus Riders, Velo Quebec Members

Waiting for bike share to come to Burlington?  A Local Motion initial feasibility study indicated that the core of Burlington needs a more robust on-road bike lane network before a critical mass of residents and visitors would hop on a bike share bike.  Help make Burlington more bike-friendly and bike sharing will have a greater chance of coming to BTV!

In Search of a Bike Without a Chain

Chapin

Posted by on Jun 12 2012
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Guest Writer
Local Motion Member Damon Lane

Last fall my office moved from one mile away to two, and my beater commuter bike was falling apart. I began to search for a bike that provided transportation with no fuss. Not a bike for sport, and not for a hobby, for transportation. I’d ridden a bike like that when I lived in Sweden, with a full chaincase that never tore or stained my pants and didn’t require re-lubrication after riding in the rain. The US has a dearth of bikes for transportation. I planned to ride this bike to work year round, generally wearing long nice pants, and I know an exposed and dirty chain is the cause of many of the problems I sought to avoid.

 

 

I put the question of a chain-less bike to the Burlington Walk/Bike Council (BWBC) email list and got several good responses. Many people are loyal to Surly for utilitarian bikes, and they definitely have made important innovations in load carrying ability, but they aren’t any different from other bikes when it comes to hopping on and off for months on end with clean pants intact and no maintenance. To get these benefits, it seems the options are: a fully enclosed chaincase, a belt drive, or a shaft drive.

 

Breezer makes bikes with full chaincases and lots of commuter features and would probably be a good choice, but I like to be different and wanted to fill the early adopter role for a even more unusual bike. I hate to admit this was probably a style choice too. Belt drives are being accepted by manufacturers and shops. Jim Brooking rides a belt driven Trek Soho DLX that he had ridden for 1,000 miles and had no problems with it. He told me the belt gets no dirtier than the rest of the bike, and the 8 gears is enough, but not ideal for waterfront-to-UVM trips. I’d heard that one version of belt drives had trouble with snow causing the belt to slip, but the design was changed to overcome that. It does appear that a belt fulfills my requirements, but the allure of an internal drivetrain proved strong.

 

With all moving parts of the drivetrain inside, a shaft driven bike should not be able to eat pants, sticks, dirt, or anything else it shouldn’t. And the look of the bike is simplified. I like the clean look of fixies even as I think they are not at all practical. Through my BWBC list inquiry, I was connected with Spencer Taylor, who let me ride his Biomega Copenhagen. This is a gorgeous shaft driven bike that had really caught my eye. The test ride quelled some fears for me: a shaft driven bike is a bike; while you’re riding it, it’s not really any different from a chain bike. Opponents say a chain is more efficient, while proponents say only clean well-lubricated chains are more efficient, and how many commuter bikes have those? The Copenhagen rides well and smoothly, but does not feel fast. Which is a bit of a shame because it looks fast.  See below, no chain on this shaft-drive bicycle!

 

 

Biomega makes some other shaft driven models, and I selected the Amsterdam because I think it looks the speed it rides, and to avoid treading on Spencer’s turf by getting the second Copenhagen in town. I had asked a couple local shops about shaft driven bikes. Other than the 100 year old ones at the Old Spokes Home, no one carries them, but the people I spoke with were curious. I ordered my Biomega from www.commuterbikestore.com who carries a variety of bikes for transportation.

I’ve ridden it to work nearly everyday for the past seven months and am happy with it. It has an upright riding position that is comfortable and puts my eyes just above the roofs of SUVs. The simple look has caught the eyes of several people, mostly non-cyclists who like the look but don’t know why. The gears do sometimes slip, or fail to engage, which I attribute to the Shimano internal hub as opposed to the shaft. Since I am usually pedaling lightly on my commute, it is not much of a problem. The bike has a rear roller brake (like a car drum) and mechanical disk in front, so both are good in sloppy weather though they may squeal when wet. The rear one has been perfect, while the front always seems to be either too loose or rubs. This is my first disk experience and also with non-quick release hubs so maybe I just don’t know how to adjust it. I had to do some assembly of the bike, so maybe some of the issues are my fault. The final issue is that it sometimes makes an odd noise, almost like a quack, when peddling and I haven’t figured that out. Also it’s heavy, 36 lbs I think. This only affects me when I lift it up my front steps into my hallway, but it would be a factor for people who hang up their commuters or otherwise need to lift them more. In an effort to quell the quack, I’ve put grease at both ends of the shaft, and I’ve also made the simple adjustments to take up the stretch of the new cables. There’s a line across two parts in the hub. You just shift to a certain gear, and use the twist adjustment until the line across the parts is straight. That is maintenance anyone could do and it takes just a couple of minutes. I suspect now that I have it broken in, it won’t require adjustments more than once a year, if that.

 

Overall the bike is no-nonsense transportation, so much so that I’d forgotten to write this review for a few months. I appreciate the help I got from the Burlington Walk/Bike Council listserve and would be happy to talk with anyone interested in exploring chain-less bicycle options.

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