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Posts Tagged ‘bicycling’

Much of the work of the NBC is about talking to government. That’s the path to better bicycling facilities, better laws and better law enforcement. The more members we have, the louder our voice and the more respect we get from government.

So join the Nevada Bicycle Coalitiion and add your voice to the chorus.

Here’s the membership form:

NBC Membership Form

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Looking at all of this snow got me search the Web for ideas for winter bicycling. I found this on the NPR.org site to share with you, from a 2007 blog posting by Jill Horner. Look out for those moose holes. – Terry

Jill Homer of Juneau, Alaska, is training to ride 350 miles in the human-powered Iditarod. The race, which starts in February, follows the same route used by the famous dog sled teams.

People sometimes say, “Wow, riding a bike on snow — that’s great. But how does it work?” Snow-biking can be different from regular cycling, so I’ve compiled a list of 10 tips for riding a bike on snow.

1. Think surface area: If you’ve ever used snowshoes before, you know that all that mass at the bottom of your feet can mean the difference between coasting atop power or wading knee-deep in it. Snow bikes work they same way. They incorporate wide tires with a flat profile in order to distribute bulk (you) as evenly as possible, allowing for maximum floatation.

2. Fat is the new skinny. As long as there have been bicycles, there have been weight-weenie types trying to shave grams off wheels. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see a spoke-free wheel sporting tires as thin as razors. But once you slice into snow, skinny tires might as well be razors. Snow-bikers know that fat means float, and have been developing bicycles to accommodate increasingly larger wheels for years. I predict that not too far in the future, someone will build a bicycle frame with room for motocross tires. Look for it.

3. There is no shame in walking. Cyclists hate to admit when they come to a hill or an obstacle they just can’t conquer. I have seen cyclists blow out their knees and face-plant over logs just to avoid suffering the indignity of getting off the bike and walking. Snow-bikers have no such pretensions. We know that bikes are not ready-made for snow, and vice versa. If snow is too soft, or too deep, or too wet, we simply step off and amble along until we can ride again. We learn to enjoy it, like walking a dog, but without the constant slobbering.

4. When in doubt, let air out. Often, snowy trails are what we would call “marginally ridable.” By letting air out of tires, you can increase the surface area and improve your floatation. Sometimes it means riding on nearly flat tires at a pace a snail wouldn’t envy, but, despite what I said in the previous paragraph, it’s still better than walking.

5. Learn your snow types. It’s been said that Eskimos have dozens of different words of snow. Snow bikers also understand the myriad varieties: powder, sugar, corn, hard-pack, sandy, slushy, and so on. Each type comes with its own challenges. But understanding the nature of the white stuff you are trying to ride atop, you can adjust your riding and wheels to meet the conditions.

6. Don’t be disappointed when you fail to set a land-speed record. Snow, like sand, puts up a lot of resistance, and snow bikers are not known for their speed. I have often heard accounts of cyclists who said felt like they were careening down a hill, only to look down and see they hadn’t even breached the 10 mph barrier. In snow races, 10 mph is considered fast. Eight mph is average. Six mph is respectable, and four mph isn’t uncommon. When asked to describe the nature of the 2006 Iditarod Invitational, which was plagued by cold temperatures and fresh snow, third-place finisher Jeff Oatley said, “It was about as intense as a 2.5 mph race can be.”

7. All brakes are not created equal. When contemplating what brakes to put on their bikes, cyclists have all kinds of reasons to choose between disc or rim. But snow bikers, who often find their rims coated in a thick layer of ungrippable ice, have the best reason of all: Rim brakes could mean an icy death by gravity. Go with disc.

8. Re-lubricate and be free. There is nothing that will slow down a snow biker faster than having their hubs freeze up, which is always a possibility when the mercury drops below zero. We have to lube up our moving parts with a special low-temperature grease, sold widely in cold regions like Fairbanks and Minnesota.

9. Stay away from moose tracks. Common injures for road cyclists include road rash and head injuries. Mountain bikers have problems with broken collar bones and bad knees. Alaska snow bikers are always being tripped up by the deep, narrow holes moose leave when they walk through the snow. Avoiding these minefields will help curb post-holing injuries like broken ankles.

10. Stay away from dogs. We talk a lot about fear of angry moose, grumpy bears and rabid wolves, but our most likely animal to have a dangerous encounter with remains the sled dog. They approach so quickly and quietly that we sometimes don’t even have time to jump off the trail. A collision can be disastrous — imagine tangled lines, confused canines and a lot of sharp teeth. Add to that an annoyed musher who’s likely packing heat, and you stir up the kind of fear that convinces snow-bikers to give those racing puppies a wide berth.

Jill Homer blogs at Up in Alaska.

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New Right Turn Signal

New Right Turn Signal

AB247 becomes Nevada law on October 1, 2009. Here’s the gist of it:

 

Legislative Counsel’s Digest:

Existing [Nevada] law provides that every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway is generally subject to the provisions of chapter 484 of NRS which apply to drivers of vehicles. (NRS 484.503) Existing law requires the driver of a vehicle to signal an intention to turn from a direct course continuously during not less than the last 100 feet traveled in a business or residential district and not less than the last 300 feet traveled in any other area. (NRS 484.343) Section 2 of this bill exempts the operator of a bicycle from these requirements and instead requires the operator only to signal his intention to turn at least one time, unless the bicycle is in a designated turn lane or when safe operation of the bicycle requires the operator to keep both hands on the bicycle. Existing law provides for the methods of giving signals by hand and arm. (NRS 484.347) Section 3 of this bill authorizes an operator of a bicycle to signal for a right turn by extending his right hand and arm horizontally and to the right side of the bicycle.

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Nevada Bicycle Coalition

 

With so much emphasis on accountability these days, I thought I would give an accounting of the bicycle advocacy activities of the Nevada Bicycle Coalition, both for you and myself. The NBC was active in many projects and issues in 2008.

 

January – This Blog was born. See it at www.nevadabike.org. This was an effort to get some kind of Internet presence for NBC without spending a lot of cash or time, after getting so many requests for directions to our “website”.

 

February – Police versus Cyclist Bias meeting. What started as an Internet “rant” about the injustices upon bicyclists perpetrated by law enforcement ended with a meeting with about 50 cyclists and 20 Reno, Sparks, Washoe County senior police officials to discuss how to make roads safer for bicyclists and the challenges law enforcement faces. Everyone learned something and left with a better appreciation for the other’s point of view and a commitment to work together to improve bicycle safety. A more tangible result was a video produced by Washoe County Sheriff Haley’s Office discussing bicycle safety, traffic laws for bicyclists and the state of bicycling in northern Nevada. It aired on SNCAT, community access television for northern Nevada, in October.

You can view the video at http://washoe-nv.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=78&publish_id=&event_id.

 

March – Bikes and Big Trucks. NDOT and the NBC started work on a course for drivers of semi-trucks to educate them and bicyclists how to safely share the road. The design team included representatives from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, DMV, Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Associated General Contractors. The vision is that this course will be part of truck drivers OSHA training and distributed by the Nevada Motor Transport Association when completed.

 

April – we participated in the production of a DPS bicycle safety billboard designed and produced by IGT and Jeff Ross Photography, and paid for by the DPS. It was displayed during April on 32 signs in Las Vegas and 13 in Reno.

 

April – improved the language in the Washoe County 2040 Regional Transportation Plan, Bicycle and Pedestrian Element, with regard to bicycle facilities, safety and the promotion of motorist and bicyclist education.

 

April – the NBC was instrumental in the rebirth of the Washoe County Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC). The BPAC is charged in general with advising the Washoe County RTC on bike and pedestrian issues and, more specifically, with mapping the area’s bike lanes and routes and then recommending connections to turn the current hodge-podge into a bicycle transportation network. The mapping project can be accessed through www.nevadabike.org.

 

June – arranged to have the LAB DVD “Enjoy the Ride” shown in rotation on northern Nevada’s community access television station.

 

July – in a joint effort with the Reno Bike Project, the NBC ran a “bike valet” during 8 downtown “Rollin’ on the River” concerts, parking bicycles for free for concert goers. The bike racks were purchased with a grant for the City of Reno.

 

July – the NBC was granted 501(c)3 status by the IRS.

 

September – NBC had a table at the 2008 Reno Green Summit where we talked to people about bicycle commuting and safety and distributed a brochure modeled on the information at www.bicyclesafe.com.

 

September – the NBC and RBP ran a bike valet at the Balloon Races in Reno.

 

October – the NBC proposed and rallied support for a “road diet” for Mayberry Road, arguably the most popular bicycle route in Reno, which resulted in a dramatic improvement in safety for bicyclists despite opposition from some local residents.

 

December – the NBC submitted a proposal for legislation to update the Nevada Revised Statutes with regards to bicycle operation. At this time the status of this request is unknown.

 

So, we had a pretty productive year in pursuing our mission, “to promote safe bicycling in Nevada”.

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Four things need to happen to make Mayberry’s 3 lane design a success:

 

  1. RTC needs to finish the paint and signage. Some curbs need to be painted red around Roy Gomm Elementary School and a few signs need to be installed. The flashing caution sign near Edgewater needs to be removed, too. These changes need to happen soon so that a true test of the design can begin.
  2. Edgewater residents need to learn to make a two-stage left turn to leave their neighborhood during higher traffic times. The first stage is a left turn into the center turn lane. The second stage is to leave the center turn lane and merge with eastbound traffic. Contrary to popular belief, this turn has been legal since 2005. In the old design they had to deal with 3 lanes of traffic at once to make a left turn. In the new design they have to deal with 1 motorist lane and a bike lane at once.
  3. Roy Gomm parents need to get comfortable dropping their children off at school in the new design. Engineers call the area in front of the school a “chaos zone” for good reason. It’s a slow motion free for all that should benefit from the increased organization of the new stripping.
  4. Recreational and commuting bicyclists need to be seen using the new bike lanes. This design was implemented partially in response to high demand from bicyclists on Mayberry. If bicyclists aren’t seen using these bike lanes, residents in opposition will claim that these lanes are unnecessary. They will be missing the point, of course. The bike lanes are there to make the fearful bicyclist feel safer and encourage them to get out of their cars and on to bikes. They are not there to accommodate the experienced Sunday cyclist who will ride Mayberry with or without bike lanes.

 

Change is challenging for everyone. Everyone involved need only change their behavior a little to make this new design for Mayberry a success.

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