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Monday, November 21, 2005

Memphis Newspaper Article About The Mississippi River Trail

A story on the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) appears in today's issue of the Commercial Appeal (the major newspaper in Memphis, TN). Titled "Let's get wheels turning for MRT", this article written by John Nelson highlights some of the benefits that the MRT offers as well as the challenges faced by the Trail regarding routing issues. It's a well balanced article that's worth reading.

The complete article can be found here:
Let's get wheels turning for MRT

By the way, the story also mentions the Bikes For Katrina project that I'm coordinating...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bike PGH Update... More Bikes For New Orleans?

David at Bike PGH just emailed the following to me:

We spoke with our Free Ride! people, and they told me that you left a message on the machine - thanks. We are holding several bike build-a- thons over the coming weeks to get bikes ready for giving to local children and adults who cannot afford bikes. We may be able to build more bikes than we can give away, and in that case, we can always send more down to Plan B. Why don't you check in with us in a couple of weeks?

Naturally, I'll be back in touch with David to see if they were able to come up with more bikes for Katrina victims.

If you have a bike you no longer ride, don't let it sit collecting dust. Donate it to someone that will put it to use. Chances are, at least several Katrina families are in your town and could put those wheels to good use.


Bikes From NYC For Katrina Victims

About a week ago, I received this email regarding Bikes For Katrina. According to the message, they have bike mechanics in New York City that are ready to travel down to New Orleans but need cash to do so. Since I cannot fund their project and since they're not part of one of the bike coops, I was hesitant to promote them. Nevertheless, not promoting them could also mean that a great volunteer offer was lost. Therefore, I leave it in the hands of my readers.

Below is the message I was sent. If, after reading it, you feel you'd like to help them, then go for it!

Larry Lagarde


Hello my name is Kevin Stewart, I'm a courier in Philadelphia, and also a
volunteer at the Neighborhood Bike Works. Jimmie at the bike works gave me
your contact info. Some friends of mine in NYC have organized this trip to
New Orleans, and we need to raise some money. Below you will find most of
the information that we have to date. If you are interested in helping, or
have any information on anyone who might be, you can contact me at
5tew4@phillybma.org thank you for your time.

New Orleans Bike Build Project
Please make a donation to New Orleans Bike Build via Reycle-A-Bicycle. Help
us raise $13,750 to send 10 volunteer mechanics to New Orleans and put 350
bicycles back on the streets.

Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters in the history of
the United States. One of the many consequences was the destruction that
crippled the entire city of New Orleans. A group of volunteer bicycle
mechanics has formed (Dec 1-7) to offer assistance on the New Orleans Bike
Build Project. A bicycle is an efficient and sustainable form of
transportation. We want to give the people the tools to help themselves and
to aid in New Orleans's reconstruction.

A local New Orleans non-profit bicycle project, Plan B (
http://planb.bikeproject.org/), received donations of over 600 used bicycles
for residents adversely affected by the hurricane. Plan B is a community-run
bike project that functions as an open workspace for bicycle repair as well
as a bike shop that sells recycled bicycles. Its building remained intact,
and volunteers are struggling to refurbish the large volume of donated bikes
to put back on the street as quickly as possible. The majority of these
bicycles are not in working order and require an average of 2 hours/bike to
make them safe. As bikes are completed, they are offered to the people of
New Orleans for a nominal fee of $15.

Our mechanics are taking time off from work, and donating their time to help
Plan B meet its mission. We estimate that each mechanic will repair at least
5 bikes per day. If we raise enough money to send 10 mechanics, we will be
able to repair 350 bicycles for the people of New Orleans. The cost of
sending each mechanic to New Orleans is $500 for travel and food. We hope to
raise $25/bike to cover the cost of repair materials. This sets our total
budget at $13,750. Please help the New Orleans Bike Build Project reach this
goal with a non-profit donation through the Internet or by mail at the
address noted below. Your support is tax-deductible.

Please donate through the Network for Good (
www.networkforgood.org) When you get to
the web site (
www.networkforgood.org ) search for:
is a NYC non-profit that is serving as the fiscal conduit for New Orleans
Bike Build.

Alternatively, make checks payable to: Recycle-A-Bicycle, and mail to:
New Orleans Bike Build
55 Washington Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Thank You,
Jared Krumrine

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Update on the Mississippi River Trail

Thanks to Kiril Kundurazieff, the Cycling Dude, I was invited by Terry Eastin, the Executive Director of the 2000 mile Mississippi River Trail (MRT), to attend the annual meeting of the MRT's board of directors & to participate in their round table discussions concerning the MRT's future, a future that is bright indeed.

Not only is the MRT creating a new and exciting website, the MRT is also (among other things) spearheading the String of Pearls project to promote growth and awareness of trail projects up and down the course of the Mississippi River. For example, one portion of the project known as a Pearl In The Rough concentrates on redeveloping the MRT in the New Orleans area. Given New Orleans' flat and compact layout and that the city is still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, this project could make a major impact on improving the local quality of life.

The MRT has asked me to come up with 3 ways that I can help promote and develop the trail both for today and for future generations. As step one, I've created a Yahoo Group to serve as a discussion forum and information archive that further leverages the power of the Internet for trail advocates and users. The group is open to everyone; users can opt to be notified whenever new topics or posts are added or can opt out at any time.

To join the MRT's Yahoo Group, visit...

The MRT's website address is http://mississippirivertrail.org

Best wishes,
Larry Lagarde

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Derailer Bike Collective Help For Katrina Victims

Last week, I reported on RideTHISbike.com about bicycle advocacy groups around the country that are donating and distributing used bicycles to Katrina victims that lost their means of transportation as a result of the Hurricane. Earlier today, I received an update from Chris at the Derailer Bicycle Collective in Denver regarding their project to send bikes to Katrina victims in New Orleans.

Following are the 3 stages of the Derailer Bicycle Collective's project to help Katrina victims:
1. Build up as many bikes from our shop as we can afford in terms or our own resources (volunteer and material).
2. Drive a bus packed with the bikes and whatever else as well as volunteer bike mechanics down to New Orleans.
3. Spend a week or so helping distribute and build up bikes (the timeframe for the trip is early to mid December).

The Derailer Bicycle Collective is a purely non-profit, 100% volunteer run organization that offers a variety of cycling related services in Denver absolutely free of charge. The Collective's operating budget is derived completely from community donations and is comprised of roughly a whopping $150 per month; yet, the Collective manages to send out 100 bikes a month and helps repair twice that amount to those who need it.

As you can imagine, the Derailer Bicycle Collective is stretched thin for volunteers and resources already so their project to help Katrina victims is truly awe inspiring. Any help that folks can offer to the Derailer Bicycle Collective would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Great Bikeways In Minnesota

Special thanks to Michelle Natrop of the Minnesota Office of Transit for submitting the following info regarding noteworthy bikeways in her state (which I've supplemented w/additional info).

State Trail Overview Map (pdf file)

Mesabi Trail
132 mi (97 miles paved) rail trail that zig-zags up, down and through the Mesabi Iron Range, around piles of taconite tailing and ore, through pines and poppy fields with few houses and little highway noise.

The Gateway State Trail is a 18.3 mile long multiple use trail starting in St. Paul. This paved trail cuts through a cross-section of urban areas, parks, lakes, wetlands and fields in Ramsey and Washington Counties.

The Heartland State Trail was one of the first rail-to-trail projects in the country. It is a 49 mile multiple use trail between Park Rapids and Cass Lake.

The Paul Bunyan State Trail will be a 110 mile long multiple use trail between Brainerd/Baxter and Bemidji. Currently, 74.5 miles of the trail is paved. The remaining 35.5 mile section is undeveloped with variable surface material ranging from the original railroad ballast to sand.

The Willard Munger State Trail consists of 63 paved miles that connect Duluth and Hinckley. This trail also consists of the Alex Laveau Memorial Trail, a16 mile route that combines an off-road paved trail, and paved shoulders to connect New Duluth and Gary, and the Boundary segment, a 80 mile natural surface trail used primarily for snowmobiling, horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking.

The Root River State Trail is a 42 mile long multiple use trail meandering through the quaint and picturesque rural communities of Fountain, Lanesboro, Whalan, Peterson, Rushford and Houston, and winding along the Root River on an abandoned rail bed.
MNbiketrails.com's trail description

Harmony/Preston Valley Trail
12 mile rail trail through
hills, woods and tall grass prairie with great views; connects to the Root River Trail.

Lake Wobegon Trail is a 46 mile long, paved trail extending from the city of St. Joseph to the city of Sauk Centre. The trail also has an extension on the west side of Albany heading northeast to Holdingford.

Midtown Greenway is a nonstop bicycle highway and walking path in Minneapolis parallel to and north of Lake Street. When completed, the Midtown Greenway will connect the Chain of Lakes with the Mississippi River.

Central Lakes Trail
55 mi paved rail trail along I-94 in Central Minnesota.

Cycling for fun, fitness & practicality.

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