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koukoutamba:

Reno is going through this same transformation. #nevadabike

Originally posted on echo in the city:

Lots of people are talking about the announcement that the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is using a Strava dataset to conduct a research study (click here for the article). As with everything in this world, there is a range of people who have different views on this project.

I am a researcher. Spending an afternoon analyzing data sounds fun to me. I read about methodology for kicks. I love long conversations (okay…debates) about epistemology and philosophy.

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My weekend plans? oh, you know, just catching up on some feminist methodology before I dig into one of my Stephen King books.

Why? 

The first question that should be ever be asked about a research project is Why. Why do it, what’s the point? Unfortunately, too many researchers get confused by this simple question. I’ve had a of experiences that go something like this:

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Usually, it’s because they’re doing…

View original 1,101 more words

Bicycling Vegas Style

Bridget – from Las Vegas

I used to spend the majority of my free time in the gym. I would finish work at 5:00 and go straight there. I generally wouldn’t arrive home until after 8:00. Sadly, I didn’t even enjoy my time there. It was claustrophobic working out alongside some many other sweaty people. I wanted a break from this hamster wheel of existence, but I couldn’t figure out how to get my exercise in a different way. Although I had heard of those who run outdoors or ride bikes through the city, these activities seemed dangerous to me. Fortunately, a move to Las Vegas changed my habits.City bike woman

Until I moved, I didn’t realize how much an individual’s place of residence can affect exercise habits. I never thought moving to Vegas would turn me into a proponent of outdoor fitness, but it did.

Upon first moving to Las Vegas, I figured I would have difficulty even getting a minimal amount of outdoor exercise. My notion of exercising outside in Sin City entailed drunks stumbling along the downtown strip. Fortunately, the city proved me wrong.

If a picture of the Las Vegas strip is firmly planted in your brain, it might be difficult to recall that the city lies at the center of the Mojave Desert. This natural wonder features miles of scenic bike trails, and I love exploring them. Of course, getting lost out there would be a travesty, so I use this amazing website to locate and navigate safe trails and help me get back home in one piece.

Did you know that Las Vegas has been named one of America’s Cycle-Friendly Cities? This acknowledgement from the League of American Bicyclists has come after the city spent half a million dollars on bike racks and lockers for the downtown area. Additionally, the city now boasts 390 miles of bike lanes.

Visitors can benefit from the fitness culture in Las Vegas as well. A search on this amazing resource will help you find activities and accommodations at hotels that cater to your individual fitness needs. Today, the city contains many hotels that feature great gyms for guests and provide a broad menu of fitness amenities. While staying here, you’ll also find that guest services at most hotels will be happy to point you toward nearby outdoor fitness venues.

Any fitness buff knows that exercise is only a part of the overall fitness picture. In Las Vegas, many healthy food and drink options have also become available. Juice bars can be found in any corner of the city. Those looking for vegetarian options and other healthy food choices will find a variety of restaurants available in most neighborhoods here, including downtown. It might seem hard to believe that Sin City has a healthy streak. Why not plan a trip here so you can see it for yourself?

Terry – from Reno

Wow, you’ve got to admire the enthusiasm of the recent convert! Bridget sounds like she just joined the Chamber of Commerce and drank the cool aide. That makes me smile. So much energy!

For me the best thing about Las Vegas is the people who are making Las Vegas a great place to ride. In particular, I’m thinking of Lisa Caterbone, Ron Floth and James Little.

Lisa Caterbone runs http://bikinglasvegas.com/. The site is a one stop shop at the intersection of Las Vegas and Bicycling. There’s a ride calendar, maps and cue sheets and a picture gallery with some great videos. Lisa has really done something special for Vegas cycling. Check it out.

Las Vegas bicycle jerseyRon Floth is the Bicycle and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (whew, that’s some title). Ron is the liaison between the RTC and Las Vegas Bicyclists. He’s the “go-to-guy” if you’re a roadie and have a bone to pick with the RTC in southern Nevada. The RTC is a key player in keeping Las Vegas a Bicycle Friendly Community.

James Little is head of the Las Vegas Valley Bicycle Club. Find them at http://lasvegasbikeclub.org/. There’s a potluck dinner on January 9th and plenty of rides on their website.

Bicycling is great in Las Vegas because people make it great!

Cycling is a popular activity in Nevada, with people cycling to work, to school, for exercise, or just for pleasure. However, it is an undeniable fact that, along with pedestrians, cyclists are one of the most vulnerable groups of road users. In 2011, figures show that 677 cyclists were killed on America’s roads in accidents between bikes and motor vehicles, and a further 38,000 were injured. These alarming figures show how important it is that measures are taken to make cycling a safer activity for all concerned.

Roads no longer fit for purpose

One option for improving road safety that is receiving increasing support is the concept of Complete Streets. According to the Complete Streets Coalition, the initiative involves the development of road networks that are “safer, more livable, and welcoming to everyone.”

An article written for the Federal Highways Administration acknowledges that the current road network doesn’t meet this standard. It highlights the fact that roads were originally designed to ensure that motorized traffic could move through the road network as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, although this is good news for motorists, it doesn’t take into account the needs of other road users such as cyclists and pedestrians – a fact that is clearly demonstrated in the number of road casualty statistics.

Considering the needs of cyclists in road design

Local authorities and health bodies are keen to promote cycling for its health and environmental credentials; however there has not yet been a corresponding increase in investment and initiatives to facilitate this cycling and to keep cyclists safe.

Towns and cities that implement a Complete Streets policy would ensure that the road networks developed by transportation planners would always be built with all possible road users in mind and not just cars. This would mean that the needs of bicyclists, pedestrians and public transportation vehicles were considered and accounted for.

Unfortunately, even the safest of roads, designed with every road safety and accident prevention measure available, will still see the occasional accident because planners can’t account for random events, or the possibility of human error. As a result, it is important that cyclists always ensure they have the appropriate level of insurance cover for their bikes. UK bicycle insurance comparison website money.co.uk advises consumers to think carefully about what they need their insurance policy to cover. Bikes can be expensive and represent a significant investment on the part of their owners, so most cyclists will want protection against the risk of theft and accidental damage. However, considering the inherent risks involved in cycling on busy roads, it may also be worth including coverage for some level of personal accident insurance, as well as third-party liability to ensure they are covered for any damage they may inadvertently cause to another road user.

Common road hazards

Evidence shows that vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians are put at risk when they use roads that don’t take into account the needs of these groups. Common hazards include a lack of safe places to cross a busy road, wait for a bus or cycle.

According to the Complete Streets Coalition, there were more than 5,000 pedestrians and cyclists killed on roads in the US in 2008, and a further 120,000 injured. Figures have shown that road accidents involving pedestrians are twice as common in areas without sidewalks. Unsurprisingly, these accidents are least common on roads that have sidewalks on both sides.

Effective road safety measures

The Complete Streets philosophy doesn’t mandate the same design of road layout for all areas, but instead recognizes that the needs of road users will differ depending on where the road is. For example, a road in a rural area will have different levels of use than a road in a heavily built-up urban area. However, all roads designed to meet the Complete Streets standards will have one thing in common – finding the right balance of safety and convenience to meet the needs of all road users.

The types of measures that might be included in a road layout designed with Complete Streets in mind could include:

  • Widening roads to provide dedicated space for different users, such as cyclists, public transport and car drivers.
  • Providing regular and safe crossing points for pedestrians.
  • Better placement of bus stops.

According to the Complete Streets Coalition, a number of studies into bicyclist safety found that the inclusion of well-designed infrastructure specific to the needs of cyclists led to a reduction in the risk of cyclists crashing or sustaining an injury. For example, the inclusion of dedicated bicycle lanes was found to reduce accident rates by around 50%.

Adopting a Complete Streets philosophy needn’t be expensive or complicated, but can have a major impact on road safety, as demonstrated by the figures relating to the introduction of cycle lanes. Any investment into achieving Complete Streets that town and road planners are prepared to make will see major returns in the form of a reduction in the number of deaths and injuries on the roads. - Jennifer Knight

Keystone – Auto-centric design

The Washoe County Regional Transportation Commission and the City of Reno Traffic Engineer proposed a road diet for Keystone in Reno at the August 28th meeting. The Old Southwest Neighborhood Advisory Board (NAB) had been working on the project for 2 years. The NAB had two primary concerns: 1) excessive speed on Keystone made it especially dangerous and 2) a large number of residents in the NAB’s area are UNR students who bicycle to school.

A road diet would address both of those issues, reduce congestion and increase safety for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. The RTC has solid experience with road diets having installed them on Wells, Arlington, Mayberry and California, among others. Each was aggressively opposed before the project was approved, not by residents on those streets, but by motorists who used those streets only as a throughway. In each case, RTC had done their homework and were confident a road diet would benefit all transportation modes. Once installed, motorist quickly adapted and complaints disappeared.

Five people who live from one to three blocks from Keystone (four from a single street) wrote letters of opposition Alas the e-mail campaign in support of the road diet arrived too late to be in the meeting package. The City Council postponed approval of the Keystone road diet until the next meeting, and a planned Complete Streets workshop, but the tone of the meeting was quite negative.

So far, many people have written to support the road diet but nearly all are bicyclists. Of the people who care about Complete Streets, bicyclists are the most passionate and can be counted on to respond to an email blast.

My question is, “Where are the people who complained about the speeding cars on Keystone?” They need to stand up and be counted.

I’m a bicyclist but I’ve traveled Keystone much more in my car. I know that I would feel safer when in my car on Keystone if it were striped as proposed. I enjoy driving at a more relaxed pace and the road diets installed in Reno have not affected my travel times, despite the more relaxed pace. I believe the RTC when they say a road diet on Keystone would benefit all transportation modes.

Somerset – Complete Streets design

Most telling perhaps is that Steve Bunnell, City of Reno Traffic Engineer, is in favor. Among many bicyclists, Steve is considered to be biased in favor of motorists. He may resist the label of “biased.” I believe he is, at least, very, very cautious about reducing road capacity for motorists in favor of space for bicyclist. The fact that he spoke in favor of this project tells me that this road diet will work.

Let’s hope the Reno City Council comes to realize that a road diet for Keystone is very much worth approving.

Terry

ImageBy now we’re all aware of the negative effects of smoking on our health. Smoking can lead to emphysema, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and many other health problems. Despite this, statistics show that 19.3% of adult Americans are smokers. Even more sobering statistics show that smoking is the lead cause of preventable death in the US, accounting for one in five of all annual deaths (Source: CDC.gov). When we’re so aware of the potential risks, why then, do so many of us still choose to smoke? The most common reason is nicotine addiction, and an inability to quit. Quitting smoking is incredibly difficult, and the majority of smokers will have tried and failed to quit several times. In order to effectively stop smoking it is not enough to simply want it. You must have a plan in place, and you must find an alternative to smoking to keep your cravings at bay. Though it may sound strange, exercise has proven to be one of the most effective ways to quit smoking. Outdoor cycling in Nevada is a fantastic way to exercise, providing you with outdoor scenery, the opportunity to meet fellow cyclers, and quality fresh air. Which is why cycling may just be the best exercise to help you quit.

Set Your Goals

recent study conducted in Taiwan found that people who exercise are 55% more likely to quit smoking and 43% less likely to relapse back into the habit. If you’ve been looking for a sign to quit, and a reason to get your old bike out, these statistics are surely it. Before you embark on your quitting journey however, you must set yourself some goals. If you have an achievable target to work towards you are much more likely to stick to a plan and not give up when the going gets tough. Of course the ultimate target is to stop smoking, but it would be unwise to go t-total straight away. Gradually weaning yourself off tobacco using nicotine patches is advisable, and you should consult your doctor about your action plan first.

Set ongoing goals such as: ‘In a month’s time I will be able to cycle twenty miles and will be down to one nicotine patch a day’. Tying your cycling goals into your goal to quit will provide added motivation to stick to both plans. As well as small ongoing goals you should work towards an ultimate target. Try to find a bike race happening this year somewhere close by and sign up for it. Then set your ultimate goal as either completing the race, or depending on your cycling proficiency, give yourself a target time.

Make a Cycle Plan

Having a concrete cycling schedule is a great tool in helping you to achieve your targets, draw one up and make several copies of it. Put one on your desk at work, on your fridge, in your bedroom; make sure that you are reminded of it every day. So how often should you cycle? Well, the Taiwan study concluded that in order to enjoy a higher chance of quitting, you must exercise at least thirty minutes per day. This is a great place to start. Daily cycling will provide you with a frequent distraction from your cravings, give you the chance to experience outdoor Nevada, and the fresh air will help to clear your mind. If you live close enough to your workplace, why not cycle to and from work? This will cut down the amount of time per day that you are ‘passive’, and if you usually smoke in your car, will get you out of that habit. As well as short daily cycles, you should also do at least two long-distance cycles per week. Aim to do one mid-week, and one slightly longer cycle on the weekend.

Cycling in Nevada

If you agree that it is important to be able to cycle in your home town Nevada, you may wish to join Nevada Bicycle Coalition’s advocacy to improve Nevada roads to make them safer for cyclists. To offer your support for the advocacy simply write an email or letter to the editor of the Reno Gazette Journal, and join cyclists all over Nevada who are lobbying for change. Read our advocacy for more information on how to do your bit. - Jennifer Knight

ImageTerry says – Long ago I smoked and I remember how much I liked it. Or, maybe, that was “couldn’t do without it”. Then it was no big deal. Doctors endorsed cigarette brands on TV. Now the evidence of how bad it is for your health is so strong that when I see someone smoking, I think “What’s wrong with that person?” If you are a cyclist AND a smoker, why?

Contributed by Jennifer KnightImage

People start cycling for all sorts of different reason. Maybe it’s the need for a hobby, wanting to get out in the great outdoors, or as a social activity to enjoy with friends and family. While being an enjoyable activity in its own right, cycling is also a great way to get some exercise. In fact, regular cycling is tremendously beneficial to the human body, and helps to keep a person healthy in a number of different ways. Nevada has lots of great places to ride, and tour routes like Lake Mead, Sierra Shadow, and Comstock Country are just the tip of the iceberg.

A Healthy Heart and Healthy Mind

Your heart is the muscle that you need to take best care out throughout your life, so you will be pleased to know that cycling does nothing but good for it. Much research has been conducted into the health benefits of cycling, giving you plenty of reason to hop on that saddle and start peddling. Studies carried out by Purdue University revealed that regular cycling has the power to cut an individual’s risk of heart disease by a whopping 50%. The British Heart Foundation backs up this finding, with research found that by cycling 20 miles every week you are 50% less likely to suffer from heart disease than people getting no exercise.

You might think that cycling to improve mental health is a bit far-fetched, but enjoying a recreational activity while at the same time getting regular exercise goes a long way to reduce stress and depression. Cycling can even give your brain power a boost, according to a study carried out by Illinois University. Research subjects who improved their cardio-respiratory fitness by 5 percent scored up 15 percent better in subsequent metal tests. Professor Arthur Kramer, who led the study, explained the hidden benefits of cycling. “It boosts blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which fires and regenerates receptors, explaining how exercise helps ward off Alzheimer’s.”

Strength and Stamina

Cycling is proven to build muscles strength and stamina, and does so without putting your muscles and joints under too much stress. Your leg muscles receive the biggest workout, and the low-impact repetitive nature of cycling is fantastic for the mobility and flexibility of your knee and hip joints. With regular cycling you can expect to see gradual improvements in leg muscle tone, including your thighs, hips, and backside.

The more you ride, thImagee longer you will be able to ride, as you stamina will improve with regular cycling. Even if you do not push yourself to cycle a little bit further every time, your stamina will improve without you even noticing it. Completing an hour cycle ride might leave you out of breath now, but by riding that same hour cycle ride every week for the next few months it will gradually become much easier to complete. The fact you are enjoying the cycle ride should mean that you want to ride further when you can, in turn building on that increased stamina again.

Tips for Post-Cycle Recovery

With such a hot and dry climate in Nevada, a long ride will probably leave you tired, sweaty, and aching. It is important to rest up and relax your muscle’s after a ride, but you also need to provide them with the protein they need for recovery and growth. Oily fish, white poultry meat like chicken and turkey, or egss are all a great source of protein. If you want to give you muscles a real boost post-cycle, adding an amino acid supplement to your diet can really help with building strength. It is also need to rehydrate your body, and replace all those lost electrolytes you have sweated out. Drinking an electrolyte replacement drink high in sodium, potassium and chloride will help to give back to your body what you lost while out cycling.

An Easy Way to Exercise

The beauty of cycling is that you can do it pretty much any time of year, along any road or trail you like, and it costs you nothing (apart from buying the bicycle in the first place!) You can insert riding into your daily life, whether you choose to ride to work, to the store, or an off-road trail on the weekend. It is very accessible form of exercise which doesn’t require you to join a team, or undergo lots of training to be able to do it. Once you learn to ride a bicycle, you never forget, so ride for life to stay healthy and happy.

Street designWheelchairs in the bike lanes, Cyclists on the sidewalks, are all symptoms of a car-centric universe that is finally being recognized as the road to poor human health and erosion of community. Let’s take back our streets and return to human-centric design.

AB145 – the Complete Streets bill would be a big step in that direction. The bill would provide funding – through a $2 optional fee on vehicle registration – for Complete Streets projects throughout Nevada.

Complete Streets are streets that are designed, constructed and maintained to be safe and convenient for all users including pedestrians, bicyclists, people with disabilities, and transit users as well as motorized vehicles. Example Complete Streets projects would be crosswalk striping, bike lanes, handicapped accessible transit stops – anything that makes streets safer and more accessible for all users.

This is a great opportunity to develop local funding for complete streets projects.

For bicyclists, this means additional dollars for bicycle facilities, e.g.: lanes, paths, etc. Better facilities encourage more bicyclists to ride. More bicyclists on the streets leads to increased motorist awareness, which leads to increased safety for all.

The best way to support this legislation is to complete this form – https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Opinions/77th2013/A/

Or, even better, attend the hearing at 3:15 on March 7th. I plan to be there.

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