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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ohio Bicyclist T-boned By Deer

Akron, Ohio
When deer meets bike, nature wins

Over the last 12 years riding the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, cyclist Kathleen Considine has only seen fleeting glimpes of deer deep in the trees. Imagine her surprise when Kathleen was suddenly broadsided by a doe, leaving her with a dented bike, scrapes, bruises, a dislocated knee & deer scent on her clothes.
More about 33,000 acre Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Bike Path In; On Street Parking Out

Metro L.A. (Santa Clarita, CA.)
Locals Choose Bike Lane Over Parking
As traffic congestion grows, residents ditch on street parking in favor of a bike lane and an additional lane for motor vehicles.
More about bike rides and bike trails in Santa Clarita

Monday, July 24, 2006

Folding Bikes & Middle Aged Aussie Bicyclists

Here's a story from Vancouver, Canada about the value of folding bikes and one from Melbourne, Australia about a trend among middle aged men to go bicycling for physical fitness.

Canada: Don't Dismiss Folding Bikes
After fitting 4 folding bikes and bicyclists into a minivan and riding the bikes later on gravel and pavement, Vancouver, Canada writer Gordon Hobbis is convinced: it's time to give folding bicycles their due.

Australia: Men Pushing Life Cycle
With more bicycles than cars being sold in Australia, bike shop owners are reporting that many of these bikes are being snapped up for fitness by men aged 35 to 50.

Landis & Bike Tours In France

The Tour de France typically focuses a lot of free publicity on visiting France. Frankly, it's a great place to go bicycling on vacation so here's a story about how you can, plus one about a new tourism destination, courtesy of Floyd Landis.

Bon Voyage: Take bike tour in France
Associated Press writer Sam Cage describes the fun of bicycle touring through France. Among the bike routes he suggested was "Loire a Velo"; I have bicycled on a portion of this route and recommend it.

Floyd Landis Puts Ephrata, PA On Map
Folks from as far away as France are visiting the town and bike shop where Floyd Landis spent his formative biking years. No doubt, Floyd's winning the Tour de France will keep this Lancaster County town abuzz with tourists for some time.

CA, IL & MI Trail News

Bike Trail News By State

Near Los Angeles...
First Leg of Trail Rolling to Finish
The first 2 miles of a paved, 6 mile bike trail above the California Aqueduct in Riverside is nearing completion. The linear park corridor ranges from 100' to 20' wide with a 10' path in the center. Cost of the project including landscaping and irrigation is $1,400,000.

Near San Francisco...
Santa Cruz Becomes More Bike-friendly
New bike lanes will be added to a busy half-mile stretch of Soquel Avenue, making Santa Cruz more bike-friendly. The $1.1 million project includes traffic signal upgrades, new pedestrian-activated flashing lights at crosswalks on Soquel, relocation of utility poles and removal of parking spots; the work should be complete by January.

Regional Trail Inches Forward
Last Thursday marked the opening of the first segment of the General Dacey Trail. Although less than a mile long, plans call for the trail to run 170 miles.

Near Detroit, Michigan...
Fort Gratiot Extending Bridge-to-Bay Trail
This summer, another segment is being added to the planned 54 mile Bridge-to-Bay Trail along the US/Canadian border northeast of Detroit. The job will add another 1.5 miles to the existing 20 miles that are already paved; the construction cost for the segment is $222,000 and the work will be completed by November.

RAGBRAI, Cycle Oregon, War Vets & More

Well, it's time again for RAGBRAI so here are 2 stories about the ride as well as a sprinkling of stories about other notable rides in the news...

Let's Restore Iowa's Soul: Its Hospitable Small Towns
RAGBRAI rider & Des Moines Register columnist Richard Doak laments the disappearing small town essence of Iowa.

RAGBRAI XXXIV Begins in Northwestern Iowa
The Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa began yesterday in Woodbury County in western Iowa. Organizers expected a crowd of 20000 people at the start of the 444 mile road tour. The tour ends in Muscatine, Iowa on July 29th. More RAGBRAI Stories

- Other Notable Cycling Tour Stories -
Cycle Oregon's Weekend Tour
700 bicyclists rode 69 miles in Saturday's stage of Cycle Oregon's two-day out and back tour from Eugene to Oakland, overcoming triple digit heat, tacks & minor vandalism.

Injured War Vets To Cycle Into Palm Springs
On July 27, a group of US war veterans will bicycle into Palm Springs, California as part of a cross country bike ride from Montauk, New York. The ride raises funds for the rehabilitation of war veterans returning home with serious injuries incurred in military conflicts abroad.

Student Pedals 1400 Miles To Visit Girlfriend
A student at Indiana's Goshen College bicycles from Iowa, through South Dakota and across Montana to visit his sweetheart.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Lake Tahoe Century & Biking Hadrian's Cycleway

By bike, taking a ride of the century
Bicyclist Don Dugdale describes his experiences on America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride, an annual 100 mi tour around Lake Tahoe.

Cyclists invade castle and demand: Get on your bikes
Riders hit Hadrian's Cycleway, a new bike route that follows near the path of Hadrian's Wall, the line of Roman fortifications built almost 2000 years ago across England.

Bike Camping & 3500 Mi Amputee Tour

Bike camping isn't as hard as it looks
In depth story in the San Francisco Chronicle offers bicycle camping tips for the region surrounding San Fran including suggestions on using mass transit, campgrounds and more.

No soft pedaling for active amputees
Amputees Across America is an annual bike tour to spread awareness that amputees can maintain an active lifestyle. Learn about the three amputees making the entire 3500 mi tour as well as other amputees that are participating along the way.

5 Things To Check Before Riding That New Bike

OK. You've bought a bike and are about to ride it for the first time. Before getting on the bike, for safety and your riding enjoyment, it's wise to check a few things - even if you had a pro "tune" it up. Typically, few adjustments need to be made at all and it will only take a few minutes to complete. Here are the 5 steps that I follow:

1. Check tires for proper seating & inflation.
On several occasions, I've received a bike with the tire bead or tube protruding from the rim or with the tire seated in a way that causes the tire to rise and fall when spun. Typically, these situations can be resolved by deflating the tire, reseating the tire on the rim and inflating the tire, watching to insure that the tire seats properly around the rim on each side of the tire while inflating. Proper tire pressure depends on the tire's rating and your comfort level. Under inflation will prematurely wear the tire; over inflation will result in a harsh ride and possibly even a blowout (checking tire inflation pressure regularly is also a good idea because tires loose pressure with time).

2. Inspect all fasteners for tightness.
Quick releases should not be over tightened (as a rule, quick releases should begin to engage at 90 degrees but check with the bike shop that sold you the bike or the manufacturer).

3. Confirm that the front wheel turns smoothly.
Turn the handle bars left & right. If they bind or turn with unusual effort, check the headset as it could be too tight. Secondly, stand in front of the bike with your feet against each side of the front tire. Grasp the handlebars and gently turn the handlebars from left to right to confirm that the headset is tight enough.

4. Make sure that shifting is smooth from top to bottom.
Run through the gears a few times. The chain should move up and down the rear sprockets cleanly. If not, typically, there is a small thumb wheel to adjust on the derailleur. Go counter clockwise to make the chain go 'up' the sprockets and clockwise to make the chain go 'down' the sprockets.

5. Check the brake pads for proper alignment & braking power.
The pads should engage the wheel rims only when the brakes are applied. Spin each wheel, one at a time. As the wheel spins, watch whether the brake pads makes contact with the rim without engaging the brake lever (if it does, the brakes are too tight and must be adjusted). The next test is to apply the brakes, making sure that they grab with appropriate force. Lastly, be sure that the pads to not contact the rubber tire. It may be necessary to loosen the brake pads, set them, tighten, and test again.

The above checklist works for me; however, if you have any questions or concerns about your ability to check or adjust your bike, take it to a bike mechanic.

LL :-)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

4000 Mi. Bike Ride, The Wright Bros. & Cape Code

News stories from across the Internet regarding epic bike trips, interesting bike tours and notable bike trail/bike path info...

Winnipeg, Canada Bicyclist Completes Trans Canada Ride
Ken Livingstone is "tha Man". Over the course of 64 days, Ken bicycled 7600 kilometers (4720 miles) across Canada; in the process, he raised over $51,000 Canadian ($44,860 US) for a Winnipeg Food Bank.

Bike Tours For Wright Brothers Admirers
National Park Service rangers stationed at the Aviation Heritage National Historical Park in Dayton, Ohio are leading free bike tours in the tracks of the Wright Brothers through the Miami Valley.

Cape Code Rail Trail Upgrades
With the completion of a series of improvements, 10 miles of the Cape Code Railtrail (one of the nation's oldest rails to trails projects) have been reopened to travel; 12 more miles are to be rehabed this Fall.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bike Tours In The News

Bicycling Past Castles On The Rhine
Stars & Stripes writer Robin Hoecker describes how to ride one of the Rhine Valley's most scenic stretches.

Test to destruction: The Keith Bontrager diary 2006
Bike component designer & hard core endurance rider Keith Bontrager describes the Garmin/TransPortugal 2006, a long distance mountain bike race across Portugal.

Coast-to-coast bike trip makes stop in Bigfork
Learn about a coast to coast bike tour that raises money and awareness for Habitat for Humanity.

Los Angeles to San Diego by Bicycle

Regarding great bike rides to do from L.A., Michael Tittinger replied this afternoon with the following:

"i believe it's possible to ride a bike all the way to san diego from los angeles, but am unsure of the details. i know it goes well past marina del rey, but i would suggest looking into web sites for LA and Orange counties."

If anyone else has info about bicycling from San Diego to L.A., please add your comments to this post.


MySpace, Santa Monica Beach & Cross Country Bike Trip

This afternoon, I realized that some of my readers may like to know more about me and what I'm doing so I created a link on my blog to my profile on MySpace.com. Additionally, I was corresponding with Colin McDonald, a new writer at the Beaumont Enterprise as well as Michael Tittinger (a writer for the Santa Monica Daily Press).

Colin recently completed a cross country bike tour from Albany, New York to Beaumont, Texas, writing a series of blog entries along the way. Colin's route intrigued me because it appears that I will be riding in some of the same places that he did.

I wrote Michael Tittinger with the hope that he could provide help with the best trails to ride in Los Angeles. Although Michael doesn't claim to be a cycling expert for the L.A. area, he has interviewed Santa Monica Mayor Bob Holbrook about the dearth of safe cycling trails there and also reported on a new bike trail being developed on the right of way of a former light rail line that ran within the city.

By the way, if you're ever in L.A., visit Venice & Santa Monica's beaches whether or not you have a bike. Both are connected by a bike/pedestrian trail about 8 miles long with scenery and people wathching that is a must see.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Small US Town Offers Free Bike Usage

Move over Copenhagen. A small town in Michigan is offering bikes for anyone to use. Just put them back in the rack when you're done.

Menominee Michigan's Yellow Bike Program

New Bike Trails Near Universities

Bicycles and colleges are a good fit. Students that commute to class by bike save money on campus parking tags, gas & auto insurance, plus the need to hunt for a parking space is eliminated too.

Here are 2 news stories from today about bike trails that are making it safer to commute to universities and even elementary schools by bicycle.

Finally, path to UMC is a reality
A new bike trail is being built at the University of Minnesota at Crookston to help students to commute on and off campus.

The Outsider: Third Street Bike Path
With over 500 miles of bike routes and paths, Tucson, Arizona is one of the USA's leading cities when it comes to bicycling as a transportation alternative. Case In Point: Tucson's Third Street Bike Path takes riders to the University of Arizona and is also being used by local elementary schools as a premiere safe route to school.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bike Trails Spur Tourism

I read an editorial today advocating building bike trails to spur tourism. The commentary mentioned that hundreds of bicyclists visit the small Pennsylvania town of Jim Thorpe because it's on a great rail trail and that the same could apply to Buffalo, New York. Since I've been on a bike tour that accidentally included Buffalo, I decided to share my experiences bicycling through Buffalo. Here's what I had to say.

I'm writing in regards to your editorial in today's Buffalo News titled "Bicycles can put Buffalo on tourism path". I do a lot of long distance bike trips; here are some comments regarding a bike tour I did that included Buffalo.

Several years ago, I flew from New Orleans to Buffalo for the weekend to ride the Erie Canal Towpath from Fairport to Niagara Falls and on into Ontario. On the second day of the tour, my riding buddy had a mechanical failure between Lockport & Tonawanda. The nearest bike shop was in Buffalo so we rented a van taxi to the bikeshop and spent several hours awaiting the completion of the repair.

Once we were ready to ride again, we decided to continue riding to the falls directly from the bikeshop. We biked through pleasant residential neighborhoods and 2 beautiful parks but ended up on a nerve wracking stretch of highway with no shoulder and heavy traffic. Twice, cars passed us with inches to spare, zipping by far faster than the posted 45 mph speed limit. The highway led us through a desolate industrial area which was also a bit unnerving; however, we did make Niagara Falls without incident.

Not including airfare, the taxi ride to the bikeshop or the cost of repairs, we easily spent $175-200/day on this trip. We did not stay in Buffalo but would have, provided that Buffalo had better bike trails.

For a great example of a bike tour friendly city, try Portland, Oregon. Their airport has a bike trail that starts right at the terminal. For some bicyclists, there's no better way to begin a bike trip than to unload the bike from the suitcase & go. I've done this on trips to a variety of cities including New York, London & Paris.

Take it from me; done right, bike trails are tourism gold.

Larry Lagarde
Urging bicycling for recreation, commuting, health and a better future.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Bike Trail Projects In The News

County Action In Michigan
With the price of gas climbing ever higher, many people are thinking about getting around on their bicycles. Here's an example of a county that's listening to their constituents. In 5 years, a network of bike trails will connect Flint, Michigan with nearly every existing community in Genesee County.

Interstate Bike Route Contemplated In Pacific Northwest
Did you know that the most bicycle friendly airport in the USA is in Portland, Oregon (PDX) or that the cities of Portland & Vancouver, Washington are contemplating a 38 mile trail network connecting both cities and the PDX airport too? Learn More

City Council In Texas Allots 1.7 Million To Bike Trail
Longview's City Council voted Thursday to award a $1.7 million contract for the construction of Paul G. Boorman Hike and Bike Trail

International Volunteers Build MTB Trail In Vermont
Learn how a coalition of local and international volunteers are working together to create a trail just for mountain bikers in Montpelier.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Map of Bike Trails in North America

Here's a map I'm creating of bike trails in North America as a quick reference for the book I'm writing (45 Great Bike Trails In North America). If you want to learn more about the bike trails listed, just click on the map.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bike Trails In Alaska

Although I've traveled lots, I've never been to Alaska - even though I've always dreamed about it. You can imagine, then, how happy I was to suddenly be corresponding this afternoon with Tim of Bicycles and Icicles.

Tim is a fellow bicyclist in Alaska. He's discovered some epic rides and shared info with me about 2 of them: The Resurrection Pass Trail (near Anchorage) and the Lost Lake Trail (outside Seward). Based on his info, it sounds like the Lost Lake Trail will be the bike ride that I do in Alaska next summer for the Great Places To Ride tour series. Here's what he had to say:

If you want to include an Alaska trail, Resurrection Pass is one of the most accessible. It is remote in the sense that cell-phone service is all but non-existent in those mountains, and rescuers aren't nearby once they're finally notified that someone needs help. Reaching the trail, though, is easy. Hope is only an hour to 90 minutes from Anchorage on a good highway, and the last couple of miles of dirt road to the trail head are passable by any car. There are small communities at each end where gas and food are available.

The end-to-end shuttle is a pain in the rear. You basically need enough people for two cars. Some people pass off keys with friends when they meet on the trail and then meet again later to swap cars. Other options are riding up to the pass and back from either end, or dropping down the Devil's Pass trail and riding the highway back to Hope, with eliminates the Cooper Landing side of the trail.

Another great ride that's easily accessible is the Lost Lake Trail, which begins right outside Seward (125 miles south of Anchorage by highway, and visited by some cruise ships) and climbs into beautiful high country. You can drop back down the trail to Seward, or descend Primrose Trail to the north and then ride the highway back to town. I've done this ride by parking at Primrose Campground, riding 15 miles south on the highway, and then climbing to Lost Lake and and descending Primrose Trail back to the car. That's a 30- to 35-mile loop with awesome scenery and beautiful trails.

Perhaps you may also know of a great Alaskan bike trail that is accessible to a major point of entry into Alaska. If you have any input regarding bicycling in Alaska, please share it with me. I'd love to hear from you!

By the way, here's a map showing the location of the 2 Alaskan trails that Tim wrote about. I'll be using this map to show the locations of trails that readers point out to me. For trails that I end up riding, I'll also have links from this map to local trail maps including photos and other data.

Many thanks to Tim @ Bicycles and Icicles and to BikeTownBlogger; reading your comment on my blog dear lady led me to your blog and the excellent cycling links on it (some of which I've already added to my del.icio.us links). When I decide which trail that I'm riding in Wisconsin, I'll definitely give 'ya a holla' so we can go cyclin'.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

5 Bicycle Commuting Facts

Did you know...

1. According to the US Census, more than 500,000 people throughout the United States commute to work by bicycle.
2. Studies show that bicycles offer the strongest potential for reducing single-occupancy vehicle trips.
3. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, bicycles are second only to cars as a preferred form of transportation.
4. Although the US government offers financial incentives for commuting via carpools or mass transit, there are no financial incentives for commuting by bicycles.
5. Bicycle commuters that are offered bike parking and/or access to showers are 40% more likely to bike to work.

US Senator David Vitter on the Bicycle Commuter Benefits Act

About 3 months ago, I contacted Senator Vitter's office to express my support of the Bicycle Commuter Benefits Act and to urge Senator Vitter to support this important legislation. The legislation allows a benefit currently available to public transit commuters to become available to bicycle commuters as well. This morning, I received the following reply from the Senator:

Dear Mr. Lagarde,

Thank you for contacting me in support of the Bicycle Commuters Benefits Act. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this issue.

As you may know, this legislation would add bicycle commuting benefits that companies may offer to their employees to the list of transportation benefits that qualify for tax deductions.

According to the U.S. Census, more than 500,000 people ride a bike to and from work every day. Increasing the number of people who ride a bicycle to and from work may relieve traffic congestion and help improve air quality. While there are currently some tax deductions for employee parking and public transit, there is not a deduction for bicycle benefits. Please rest assured I will keep your thoughts in mind as Congress considers tax incentives for bicycle commuting and other ideas to encourage bicycle commuting.

Once again, thank you for contacting me about this important issue. Please don't hesitate to contact me in the future.

Senator David Vitter
United States Senator

If you are even thinking about commuting by bike, express your support for this legislation to our elected, federal representatives like Senator Vitter. Acting together, our voices carry far more weight.

To find the contact information for your state's US senator, visit ...

Following is the contact information for Louisiana's US senators.

Landrieu, Mary L.- (D - LA)
(202) 224-5824
Term Expires: 2009

Vitter, David- (R - LA)
(202) 224-4623
Term Expires: 2011

Larry Lagarde

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Folding Bikes Make The News This Summer

Last month, both Business Week and the Philadelphia Inquirer published stories about folding bikes. Additionally, Consumer Reports profiles several folding bikes in their August 2006 issue. Unfortunately, none of the writers rode a Mobiky or Giatex as I'm sure that they would have been serious competition for the other folding bicycles.

This past Saturday (July 22nd), The Orlando Sentinel published "Unfold Your Bicycle And Ride A Hot Trend"; basically, it's a portion of "Wheels To Fold And Go", the story by Don Sapatkin that appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer on June 17th...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Overview Trail Maps - 45 Great Places

I've created a page on RideTHISbike.com to display overview maps of the trails that I will be riding for the 45 Great Places To Ride story series. Thus far, I've uploaded maps for the Spokane River - Idaho Centennial Trail and the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes. I'll be posting more trail maps as time allows.

URL: RideThisBike.com/bicycle_trails/45_trails-overview_maps.htm


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