Instead of a blog post, tweeting from the Bike Symposium hosted by Bike Maryland was much easier and instantaneous.
Catch what you missed at on Twitter #BikeSym
In case you missed Baltimore DOT’s presentation of the Downtown Bicycle Network, here’s what we’re talking about:
The Downtown Bicycle Network public meeting held at the Enoch Pratt Library last night was well attended by cyclists (above) and their bikes (below)
As the state transportation bike & ped plan is now complete, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is seeking public input on the final draft of the Land Preservation and Recreation Plan, developed to enhance recreation areas and services on State lands. The plan was devised using public input gathered during a random telephone survey, an online survey and through four regional stakeholder meetings.
The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) is pleased to announce the release of the Twenty-Year Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. The final Plan can be accessed here.
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan establishes a 20-year vision to support cycling and walking as modes of transportation in Maryland. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan supports the Maryland Transportation Plan, or “MTP”, and other key statewide planning efforts. This Plan updates the Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan adopted in 2002 and, going forward, will be updated every five years.
MDOT thanks all participants for their contributions to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. We look forward to continuing to work together with all partners to improve walking and biking in Maryland, using this Plan as a foundation.
The long-planned Downtown Bike Network for Baltimore will be unveiled next Tuesday, February 4th from 5-7 pm at the Enoch Pratt Central Library on Cathedral Street. Not only will plans for Baltimore’s first cycletrack for Maryland Avenue and Cathedral Street (above) be presented, but also the long awaited connection for the Jones Falls Trail at Madison Street (below). More details available on the Facebook event page.
In New York for the weekend, I had to try out Citi Bike, the local bikeshare system. Having sampled various bikeshare systems across the country, I was eager to see how the nation’s largest system operated. With only three major bikeshare system in the U.S. (PBSC, B-cycle and SoBi), I didn’t expect the bike to be different from other PBSC-based systems, but biking around NYC is fun!
After breakfast at Chelsea Market, the next stop on our tour was the 9/11 Memorial. While our group opted for the subway, my wife and I walked across the street and signed up for a 24 hour CitiBike pass. The kiosk has a decal stating: “MasterCard-preferred”, but I tried using my Visa. After a brief moment of frustration, I called the number on the kiosk and talked to “Mike”. He indicated that the transaction did not go trough and try another credit card; perhaps a MasterCard if its available. (It is). It was probably a good thing I called because Mike filled me in on how to access bikes for subsequent trips. (“Request New Code”) I whipped out my MasterCard, breezed through the instructions and received two 5-digit codes (consisting of only 1s, 2s and 3s) to unlock our bikes from the terminals. With bikes in hand, we adjusted the seats and began pedaling south on Hudson Street through the West Village. Not to worry, some of the bike lanes were blocked by double parked cars and taxis. Continuing south on 7th Avenue, the traffic here was a little heavy for my wife’s liking so we meandered over to the Hudson River Greenway and followed this choice bike route south. We found a CitiBike station not far from our final destination and returned our bikes.
As we planned on heading to Herald Square, I opted for bikeshare while my wife opted for the subway. No problem: This would be our own unofficial time trial. I picked up a bike at Bowling Green and headed back toward the greenway. A section of the path was closed, but a well marked detour with ‘bike blazes’ helped me through pedestrian heavy Pumphouse Park. Back on the greenway, I managed a leisure pace. The low gearing of the bike is great for amateur ‘no resistance’ riding. Sadly, the bike I picked up had the loosest, rickety bottom bracket I’ve ever used. I swapped this bike at the station on 34th Street and 11th Avenue, where I activated the maintenance light at the dock. (Yeah, come fix this bike right here.) The ‘new’ bike was a little tighter, which I needed on 34th Street. On the greenway and other streets with and without bike lanes, I noticed a plethora of cyclists. The 50 degree temps and abundant December sunlight was bringing everyone outside. Not so much on W 34th Street. Heavy traffic and poor pavement conditions made this stretch not so pleasant. The low gearing doesn’t make speeding through yellow lights easy: I had to get up on that Citi Bike like a BMXer pedaling out of the 1st turn. I returned this bike to one of the Herald Square stations and arrived a full half hour ahead of my wife. This gave me time to observe the hoards of pedestrians oblivious to the Broadway cycletrack they were walking in; kinda like around the Inner Harbor.
Overall, I really like CitiBike. My experience was accentuated by the number of bike lanes, cycletracks and greenways to choose from. I used the CitiBike app to locate stations and bike routes, but wish the bikes had a smart phone holder. Sure would make navigation easier. See the below Google “Biking Directions” screen shots at similar map scales. Despite NYC being a much more densely developed city, the connectivity of its bike infrastructure makes bikeshare work even better. Note that the Citi Bike system is operational in Manhattan south of Central Park and in Brooklyn, where the bike infrastructure is already in place.
With abnormally cold weather lately, biking around Baltimore requires a little more prep. You almost have to dress like a ninja to protect against this bitter cold and let a some air out of your tires to get a little more traction
1. Join a local bike advocacy group - C’mon what’s $25 a year? Whether it’s Bikemore, MORE, or Bike Maryland, your membership funds along with hundreds of others add up to fund full time advocacy positions which in turn creates a more bike-friendlier environment for everyone.
2. Participate in a local fundraiser ride – Whether its Tour dem Parks, Patapsco 100 or Tour du Port, these rides help fund many other bike events throughout the year. Even though more competitive in nature, the Charm City Cyclocross also qualifies here.
3. Request a bike rack – Now that Baltimore City Department of Transportation has bike racks in stock, let them know where you’d like to legitimately park your bike. Email the city’s new bike & pedestrian planner Caitlin Doolin or post on Social Cyclist to file a request
4. Bike commute or semi-bike commute at least once – So you live 15 miles from your office, drive a little closer and ride in. Try it first on a weekend, just to test the routes. If you need route suggestions, post questions below.
5. Attend the ABW Winning Campaign or the Bike Symposium
6. Take a non-riding friend for a bike ride There are few things more rewarding than seeing a friend discover the joy of riding. Besides the whole exercise/zero emissions thing, its the ‘fun factor’ that can’t be overstated.
7.Set a personal biking goal and do it! Biking across the U.S. isn’t for everyone, but if that’s your goal, then do it! Consider a mileage goal for the year, biking to a destination, participating in a bike race, or trying a new type of riding (mountain, road, distance, touring, cyclocross, etc.). If you need help meeting goals, Strava can help.
8. Attend the Maryland Avenue Cycletrack public meeting, February 4th.
9. Go for a slow bike ride Not every ride needs to have a purpose. Go for a ride as slow as possible and just have fun! A beach cruiser would probably be best suited for this ride.
10. Take a spin class The winter is the best time of year to do a spin class. Not only will you get a decent workout, but also awaken different muscle groups to improve your overall riding. Spin classes are available at local gyms, rec centers and the YMCA.
11. Volunteer for non-riding bike event like bike counts, assist with any of the events listed in #1 above, table for any of the organizations in #3 above or for Rides Around the Reservoir or Laps Around the Lake. The Baltimore Family Bike Party can always use shepherding help as the parents are typically tending to their children.
12. Ride the Kinetic Sculpture Race, this year held on May 3, because no Baltimore Bike Year is complete without it.
Happy New Year! Pedal On Safely!
The great thing about the holidays is less traffic to contend with. Fewer cars mean fewer close calls and a little more road space for group rides. So Christmas Eve morning is a good time for an urban mountain bike ride. This has been Phil Kennedy’s tradition for 10 years. Starting at 7 am from the edge of Rodgers Forge, this annual ride winds through the city for about 30 miles, spreading Christmas cheer along the way. With colder temps, ugly Christmas sweaters are an acceptable apparel.
This signal-optional ride with occasional salmoning is more easily done with knobby tires. Crossing the Melrose Avenue bridge, riding down the Roland Avenue median and hoping on the Stony Run trail, the group of 9 hit some usual Baltimore spots: Druid Lake, Graffiti Alley & Mt. Vernon Place. Riding down the stairs at Washington Monument is no problem for fat tires. Circling through the Westside and out to Bond Street wharf for the 1st break. Climbing up Caroline Street for another break at the corner of Greenmount and Chase (Google it), then over to Oliver to check out the future pump track site and try out some of the local obstacles. No Christmas ride is complete without a stop at 34th Street, then to check out the newer section of the Jones Falls Trail. Returning to the country, take Roland Heights Ave & Evans Chapel for an easier climb out of the valley. This ride is a very cool way to kick off the holidays!