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Charm City Garden Tours


August 19th, 2010 | Categories: Events | Post Comment


Traffic Changes on Pratt St.


August 18th, 2010 | Categories: Infrastructure | 6 comments

Be careful if you’re biking on Pratt St. The bike & bus lane will not be in effect during Grand Prix improvements.


Performance’s Bike Tube Blow-Out


August 17th, 2010 | Categories: Events | 1 comment

A typical bike shop will throw out a few thousand inner tubes in the course of a year. All those tubes add up to tons of waste when you think about all the bike shops in the Baltimore/DC area.

To counter this trend, Performance Bike is teaming up with Liberty Tire to sponsor the Bike Tube Blow-Out this weekend, which will take place at Performance’s new store in Columbia, MD. Anyone who brings in their flat or unused tubes, from August 20th-22nd, will receive a $5 in store credit, and can trade in up to 3 tubes for a total of $15. The old tubes are then shipped off to be recycled and put to good use.

These “Blow-Outs” have been hugely popular in other cities, and the hope is that bringing it to such a major cycling-heavy metropolitan area will mean even more saved material from the city’s landfills.


Final Beach Thoughts


August 15th, 2010 | Categories: People | 1 comment

Somerset St. at the boards

Ocean City isn’t for everyone – that’s for sure.  As I sit here blogging, the air is filled with the sound of traffic and  roving bands of people yelling “WOOO!”  Even if this isn’t your scene, there are some hidden places that must appeal to everyone.

Somerset Street just of the Boardwalk is a cool, quiet sycamore lined streets with 3 different bike shops.  No asphalt here.  It’s a brick lined street with a curved granite band delineating the vehicular area.Behind the Convention Center at 40th St is a small boardwalk right on the bay.  Great place to catch a sunset or go crabbing.


Beach Biking


August 14th, 2010 | Categories: People | Post Comment

Buffered Bike lane through the Campground (You know you’re on Assateague when…)

The other day, we did a daytrip over to Assateague Island National Seashore.   Assateague is the anti-thesis of Ocean City in all respect: minimal development and commerce (except the Beach Hut and visitor centers).  To reduce the need for vehicles on the island, the NPS created some excellent bikeways.  Starting at the visitor center on the mainland, the bicycle & pedestrian paths cross the Sinepuxent Bay paralleling the Verrazano Bridge onto the island. A mostly separated bike path connects the beaches, campgrounds and trailheads.  Bikes are not allowed on the nature trails, but there’s a bike rack at every trailhead.  No need to worry about aggressive driving here:  Speed Limit 25 is strictly enforced and all bike facilities are separated from vehicular traffic.


A Different Kind of Cycling Community


August 10th, 2010 | Categories: People | 10 comments

I’m down the ocean this week.  Ocean City is Maryland’s unsung bike friendly community.  Not only do they have a shared bike & bus lane (that’s rarely violated) running the length of Coastal Highway, but a bike route over to West OC and onto Assateague Island.  There are bikes everywhere and just as many bike racks. There are at least 7 bike rental places as well.  I’ve been tooling around town on my Citizen folding bike.  It’s nice and compact in the back of the van and gets me where I need to go, but definitely not in a hurry.  But it’s all good – I’m on vacation!.

From a cyclist’s point of view, Ocean City ain’t B’more and here are some differences I’ve observed:

1. People ride “carcasses”.  When we see carcasses (abandoned bikes) in B’more, they’re locked to light posts and street signs, rusting away as they’re picked about; first a wheel, a seat, then the forks until its only the frame.  Here in OC, you can tell a local bike by its rusted rims and frame.  These bikes must be left outside to winter in the salty air making their spring return with a squeaky cry with every crank and turn.  Of course, most bikes here are beach cruisers but they are at a bare minimum – don’t expect lights, clips, computers, etc.

2. Many bikes are left unlocked and unattended.  Just today, I observed 6 bikes left alone in our condo’s garage.  Vast numbers more left unattended at convenience stores, amusement parks, and dune crossings.  Obviously, many of these riders have never involunarily lost a bike.  The bikes that are locked up are on the boards, but done so with a cheap, 1/4 inch combo lock.  I can get through those locks with dull, rusty scissors, let alone wire cutters or tin snips.

3.  Almost all riding here is recreational.  Sure its a resort town what do I expect, but what I don’t expect is for folks to completely check out when on vacation.  All roadies on Coastal Highway still have their wits and senses, pedaling the shared lane with senses amplified even if wearing earbuds.  The Boards are a different environment where folks pedal with reckless abandon not paying attention to those around them.  I can’t tell you how many cyclists I’ve seen pedaling northbound against the storefronts (the extreme left lane).   Cyclists with helmets are also few and far between.

But there’s hope:  maybe these folks don’t ride often and try it out on vacation, return home and pick it up again.  You never know.  Here’s hoping….


The Bob Moore Memorial Moonlight Madness Bicycle Ride


August 7th, 2010 | Categories: Events | Post Comment

Wednesday, Aug 25, 2010 (8:00 PM) at War Memorial Plaza
400 E. Fayette St, Baltimore, MD
Wanna Ride?  RSVP ON SOCIALIZR
There was a lot of ambiguity as to whether this ride was happening or not. So let’s just make it happen!
Ride leaders and sweepers are needed so comment on this blog if you want to help!


The Monument City Bicycle Scavenger Hunt


August 5th, 2010 | Categories: Events | 2 comments

Today’s blog post comes from Matt Kelly, one of the organizers of the Monument City Bicycle Scavenger Hunt that took place Saturday, July 24th.  Thanks for putting on this event, Matt!!

If you’ve ever watched movies from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s you have probably noticed that back then it wasn’t uncommon for characters to mention Baltimore as a place where music and art flourished along side a booming business district and a bustling port.  It was a place where people came to follow their dreams and make it big!   Unfortunately as the years passed businesses moved to other cities, or went bankrupt, resulting in a decline in the cultivation of art and culture as well.

Now a-days when you ask someone what they know of Baltimore more often than not people say “The Wire!” and act as if prior to gang banging and drug dealing the only thing we had going for us was Francis Scott Key and Edgar Allan Poe.

Well Wake up people!  Baltimore is so chock full of awesomeness that everywhere you go you see monuments to someone in this town who did something bad ass.  So much so to the point that Baltimore has gotten the nickname “The Monument City” and on Saturday July, 24th, amid the record breaking heat, brave teams riding their noble two wheeled steeds of carbon fiber, steel, and aluminum converged on the front doors of Sonar for the first annual Monument City Bicycle Scavenger Hunt.  The rules were simple; find as many monuments on a designated list as possible.  The catch; the list doesn’t tell you where any of them are.

Photo by Keith Teket http://bmorefixed.blogspot.com/

There is only one thing cooler than seeing a side of a building lined from edge to edge with bikes, and that is knowing that it means you can get 30-40 people together for a good time without burning any fossil fuels or using motorized modes of transportation (you know humans used to do it all the time).  Oh and the only other cooler things would be any day other than this day, this year, temperature wise at least.

Photo by Matt Kelley             Mkelley@illumecommunications.com

Prior to the start of the Hunt cast members “Waldo” and “Mr.Bufano” made a brief appearance so that the teams would have a better idea as to who and what they were looking for. Yes we know that waldo is not from Baltimore but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t like to visit from time to time.  (Special thanks to Alex Scally from Glass Mind Theatre Company and Kate Lally)

Photo by Matt Kelley Mkelley@illumecommunications.com

People heard what could only be described as a small explosion prior to the beginning of the hunt.  The crowd soon discovered that this was not the sound of a gunshot or a firework going off, but Methistophilese, the spirit of the hunt taking physical form beneath I-83.  Participants became weary as Methistophilese spoke of the perils that lay ahead, but there was no sign of wavering as they heard of strange four wheeled chariots that ride at treacherous speeds or packs of teenage demons that snatch you from your bike when you enter their domain.

Photo by Keith Teket http://bmorefixed.blogspot.com/

Teams followed the footsteps of Indiana Jones in the Quest for the Holy Grail as they took paper and crayon or charcoal to make rubbings of the words on the monuments as proof of completing their quest.

Photo by Mike Anderson andersonphotography@gmail.com

Spirits were high as team “Late and Sweaty” arrived at the Johnny Unitas monument (late and sweaty) in front of M&T Bank Stadium.

Photo by Mike Anderson andersonphotography@gmail.com

Team “Edgar Allan Boh” swept the team creativity categories when they won both coolest team name and coolest T-shirt.  Don’t get me wrong.  There were some fine costumes out there but Edgar Allan Boh clearly put time and effort into their team and that is something that is appreciated at the MCSH.

Once everyone drank gallons of water to re-hydrate from a day of hellish heat and humidity, participants and latecomers were entertained with the tricks and hijinks of Natan the Magician and musical talents of Harwood, The Water, and Pansori.  There is already talk of another scavenger hunt next year.  Only this time it will be held in September or any other month that doesn’t see a heat index of over 100 degrees.


Youthworks on the Gwynns Falls Trail


August 3rd, 2010 | Categories: Programs | 1 comment

Today’s blog post comes from Shatara Lumpkin, one for the Youthworks crew cleaning up the Gwynns Falls Trail….by bike.
“The Gwynns Falls Trail is a beautiful nature trail that extends approximately fourteen miles long through the city of Baltimore, Maryland. Our trail is specifically dedicated to the many walkers and bike riders in and around the city areas. Each day, we have about twenty-five youth workers and five leaders helping to clear miles of invasive, dead branches, and trash about three feet away on each side of the trail. Our major challenge? Well, I’m glad you asked. Every day we ride our bikes for miles to our many different work sites in order to perform our job duties. The Gwynns Falls Trail site is actually the first site in Maryland to have our youth on bikes in order to work. At first, we had about three young adults that had never rode bikes before in their lifetime, but once they got a feel for the bikes and learned balance they were ready to ride nonstop. We also had a few that hadn’t ridden a bike anywhere for about three to even ten years. Getting back in the habit was a bit challenging, but now it brings back childhood memories and makes the job a lot more interesting. In the beginning, the youth not only learned how to ride safely, but to also fix small problems such as; flat tires and chains on their bikes. Now we can all take part in slowly, but surely riding to clean our community little by little.”
“Many people wonder why we ride bikes for so many miles while working instead of getting in a car and making it easier. Well, wonder no more. Riding our bikes is actually cheaper, healthier, less time consuming, and better for the environment. Not only are our youth working on trails, but their bodies as well and you could do the same. Traveling by bike is a lot less expensive because you are saving money on gas. The average person spends an estimate of about forty dollars a week to fill up their gas tanks versus a person riding a bike that may only spend seventy-five cents to put air in their tires. Baltimore City has now even arranged the MTA to fit bike riders as well. Even if you ride to your destination and are too tired to ride back, you can hop on the light rail, bus, and/or the trains and spend one dollar and sixty cent or three dollars and fifty cents at most for the entire day. As for bike riding being healthier, you’re burning calories with each pedal you take and keeping your heart rate steady. Just from experience, the Gwynns Falls Trail youth workers have learned that it is definitely less time consuming as well. We use the trails where there is less is little to no traffic at all, making our trips shorter and easier. While cars are stuck in traffic, we’re zooming right through the city nonstop. Using our bikes causes less pollution in the air. Many vehicles leak gas or have toxic fumes coming from them which pollute our air and make it bad for the people around them. If everyone would ride a bike every once in a while, our community could truly be on its way to being healthier, cleaner, and safer for its people.”

Thanks Shatara for helping keep B’more green, while being green!

Interested in being a guest blogger about your 2-wheeled experiences in B’more?  Contact me via email in the “About Me” section


Weekend Trip to Greenville, SC


August 2nd, 2010 | Categories: People | 4 comments

Twenty years ago, I was introduced to Greenville, SC when my sister was dating my now-brother-in-law who lived there.   It was a moderately depressing town; a 2-block central business district surrounded by low-density semi-industrial sprawl.  When I saw Greenville listed on the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Community list, I was more than perplexed.  This weekend, I returned to Greenville to find a completely different city.

I packed my Citizen Gotham to evaluate the city from a two-wheeled perspective.  My son, brother-in-law & nephews were eager to ride the Swamp Rabbit Trail and other bike lanes downtown.  We started off at the bus terminal and took the bike lanes down to the Swamp Rabbit Trail that runs along the Reedy River.  (The label “river” is a stretch, its more like a quiet stream)  We followed the trail northwest and found a heavily shaded, well-paved trail with a 4′ cushion for runners.  Heading back downtown, we passed a children’s garden, signs to bike shops off the trail, and a well designed mixed use path passing waterfalls, both natural and manmade.

Waterfalls along the Riverwalk & Swamp Rabbit Trail

Falls of the Reedy Park was an old mill area from the town’s founding.  Now it is a highly diversified area featuring high end restaurants, art galleries and hotels revitalizing old structures with new construciton.  The Liberty Bridge spans the Reedy offering an excellent view of the falls.  In addition to the excellent trail & pedestrian oriented development, there was evidence of several road diets downtown as well as

Bike clusters

Reedy River Rickshaws (Pedicabs)

and

 

Bicycle Detectors at signals

(we could use a few of these in B’more)

The Main St Trolley (Circulator) runs through the West End & Main St corridors, adding to a great “park once and go” experience in Greenville.  Even the neighboring town of Easley, SC has a small network of bike lanes connecting downtown to the immediate residential area.  Many things can change in 20 years and I’m glad to see Greenville has evolved!  I’ll be back…


 

 


The views and opinions on this website are those of the author and not of the City of Baltimore or the Department of Transportation. For official Baltimore City DOT news, please visit this page.