Many years ago I bought Kate Carter's 'Wildflowers of Vermont.' I learned about the most common Vermont wildflowers. This year I decided to photograph flowers as they appeared and post the pictures on Facebook. The first flower of the season was Coltsfoot, which I found by the side of the road in Essex. This was during my first long ride of the the spring. I had seen some cultivated flowers in bloom, but that was my first wild flower. A week later I found a blue flower next to the Burlington bike path, but I was not able to identify it.
Burlington Electric Launches Electric Bike Rebate Program and Test Ride Lending Library
Burlington Electronic Launches Electric Bike Rebate Program and Test Ride Lending Library - partners with Local Motion and Burlington Shops to Promote E-bikes as Tools for reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Transportation Sector
Sign up, ride your bike, win prizes!
Join friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors on the roads and paths this May--but skip the car and grab your bike! Sign up for the 2018 Vermont Bike Challenge to win prizes, feel better, save money, reduce pollution, and get fit!
My Ride Home
Last month I described my morning ride from my house in Winooski to Burlington. This month I will tell you about the ride home in the afternoon. My last destination in Burlington, before heading home, is usually City Market. As I am leaving City Market, when it is cold outside, I park my shopping cart in front of a heat vent in the exit alcove. I warm my hands before heading out to my bike. After putting my pannier on my bike, I turn on my lights, put on my helmet and set off.
Every winter morning I travel from my house in Winooski to the YMCA in Burlington. At the Y I alternate days of swimming with days of riding the stationary bicycle and doing yoga. My friend Stewart has remarked on the irony of riding my bicycle to the Y so I can ride the stationary bike, but that extra half hour of work on the stationary bicycle helps me keep in shape for longer rides when the weather turns warmer. It also gives me a chance to listen to books read aloud. If I went by car to the YMCA, I could do it on automatic pilot. My route would always be the same, and I would not have many decisions to make along the way. As a bike rider, things are different. Every ride presents variables that determine my route.
What a winter! The weather has presented more challenges than usual. So far the extreme cold and bad road conditions have not stopped my riding except the day of a big snowfall. With fresh deep snow, my studded tires don't really make any difference. On Saturday the 14th of January I really should have just walked to my job in Burlington. I ended up pushing my bike most of the way from Winooski to Burlington and back, but I did catch a break on The Riverside Avenue bike path. I was able to follow the sidewalk plow up the hill until he reached Intervale Road. Then he crossed the street to head back down Riverside and I had to walk again.
Foldable Bike Helmets, the next big thing in bike travel?!
In November, I had a meeting with Mary Catherine, Education and Volunteer Manager at Local Motion to discuss a bike safety program for Driver Education students. During our meeting, she also showed me a helmet that folds up, I was immediately interested so she gave me one to try out. When I told one of my co-works about it, she was suspicious. So as any good 21st century person with access to a computer does, she did some research and found out that the specific helmet Mary Catherine lent me is French so must conform to EU safety standards. Mary Catherine also mentioned to me in a subsequent conversation that all helmets sold in the United States must also meet American safety standards.
The RadMini: a commuting e-bike for streets and trails
One of Vermont’s well-known characteristics is its rural nature. A lot of us Vermonters don’t live in the City or in a downtown. Our homes are sometimes 10+ miles from a grocery store and on dirt roads, so it feels like our only option is to take the car. The good news is that things are changing so your commutes are more fun, less expensive, and healthier. Although bikes have been an excellent transportation option for generations, many people need something more accessible...something that takes less effort and goes faster than a conventional bike. That’s where e-bikes come into the picture. But not just any e-bike; one that can handle dirt, snow, mud, and pavement.
Because there is no enforcement of bike laws, we are forced to create our own rules. I used to think of us as knights errant, as warriors with a personal code of conduct, but the people in cars are the ones encased in steel, not bike riders. We need to be flexible. Honor is not as important as survival.
E-bikes: The Power Drill of Cycling
Tools are designed and created to make life better in one way or another. Sure, you can build a shed with a screwdriver, but a power drill will get the job done better and faster. The e-bike is just that--a tool designed to help us get from home to work, the grocery store, school, and back home with less sweat and at a faster pace. Cargo e-bikes can be an alternative to a car when you have kids and a few grocery bags to transport. Riding an e-bike is a ton of fun, too.