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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Wandering The World By Folding Bike

Tim Patterson and his trusty Brompton folding bikeby Larry Lagarde

Tim Patterson is a promising, young writer from Vermont with a lust for travel. What makes him extraordinary are the many miles he's traveled with a backpack strapped to his Brompton folding bike.

After graduating in 2004 from Williams College (noted by US News & World Report as the top liberal arts college in the USA), Tim left behind the West for the Far East. He moved to Hokkaido, Japan to teach English and bought a Brompton folding bicycle to get around.

As he grew more confident, Tim began touring with his small wheeled folding bike. A sleeping bag, pup tent & backpack all wedged precariously over his rear wheel, Tim pedaled along Cambodia's Lost Coast, in northern Thailand, Laos and through New England. By his estimates, he's biked thousands of miles.

Earlier this month, I asked Tim if he had any tips to share regarding taking long tours by bicycle. Tim responded with the following...

Tim's Tips For Cyclists Planning To Travel By Bike
Time is the ultimate undervalued resource, money the overvalued equivalent. Take a big block of time and ease up on your schedule. Pick an area that interests you and explore, keeping your options open. With a folding bike, you can be totally self-sufficient and still have the freedom to pack up and take a plane, or a bus, or get a ride in a car whenever you please.

Stay flexible and open minded. Prepare for crappy situations and keep smiling, even when you're pulling your bike along the side of the road with a busted tire.

Good maps are worth 100 times their weight in gold. Keep a candy bar in your pocket at all times. Make time to talk with people along the way. Wear a helmet and only ride drunk if you really need to. Drink lots of water.
Tim Patterson's writing style reminds me of the late gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. A mix of fact and fiction written in the first person, Tim's words are entertaining and thought provoking. Already, his stories have been published in places like Get Lost Magazine, Tales Of Asia, Matador Travel and Common Language Project.

Currently, Tim's writing a book about his Cambodian travels. For excerpts, visit his personal website (RucksackWanderer.com) but to dig deeper into Tim's life journey since college, check out his blog (Sleeping In The Mountains).



Monday, July 30, 2007

Carryable Folding Bike - Prototype Photos

Featured below are the first photos of the exciting, new, extremely light (sub 18 lbs.) yet strong, magnesium aluminum alloy, diecast, Carryable Folding Bike. These photos depict the essential metal elements of this folding bike in unfinished form.

Photos of a finished version as well as pricing and specs will be available in the near future; production is slated to begin in about 2 months.

For a rendition of how the finished bike will look and function when complete, see this animation. Once I have one to review, I'll shoot video of the bike in action in the real world too.


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Friday, July 27, 2007

Study: Moderate Cycling Good For Gals

Kate C., a RideTHISbike.com reader located in the UK city of Bedford (pop: 140,000 & home to Cranfield University), shared word today of a German study researching the health effects of cycling on pre-menopausal women.

According to data compiled between the years of 1999-2000 by the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, premenopausal women that cycled at least 3 hours per week at a moderately high intensity level experienced a 34% drop in breast cancer risk. The researchers postulated that moderate physical activity may enhance the immune system by elevating the number of natural killer cells.

More information about this study can be found in an article published in 2003 in the American Journal of Epidemiology (Case-Control Study of Physical Activity and Breast Cancer Risk among Premenopausal Women in Germany).

By the way, according to Health Statistics Quarterly Summer 2006, breast cancer is the seventh leading cause of death for females in the UK. Per Kate, that's 12,400 deaths each year in the UK.

My thanks go to Kate C. for sharing word of this interesting study. If you know of a study regarding the impact of bicycling on health, prosperity, mobility, behavior or the environment, please share it with me so I can alert other readers of RideTHISbike.com. Together, we can be part of the solution rather than the problem.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tell Congress To Support Bicycle Projects

The League of American Bicyclists notified me today that a new amendment before Congress threatens funding for bicycle projects across the nation. Basically, the amendment allows states to cut funding for bicycle projects that have previously been approved.

To stop this amendment, all it takes is to contact your congressional representative. Tell them that you oppose the Mica Amendment to H.R. 3074.

Read on for more info.

Support the Priorities Established in SAFETEA-LU

Take Action!
Oppose the Mica Amendment to H.R. 3074

Sorry for the extremely short notice, however we just received word that Congressman Mica, (R- FL), will be offering an amendment to H.R. 3074, the fiscal year 2008 Transportation-HUD Appropriations Act, that strikes a provision that is necessary to ensure that rescissions of unobligated highway contract authority are implemented in a manner that does not undermine the priorities established in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users ("SAFETEA-LU").

In implementing previous rescissions, some States have consistently chosen to target specific programs for disproportionate cuts, programs such as Transportation Enhancements, and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality, which are both major sources of funding for bicycle related projects.

For those of you who have a chance, please call your Congressional Representative immediately to oppose the Mica amendment to H.R. 3074.

Thank you in advance for your efforts.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Wyoming To Buenos Aires By Boat & Bike

by Larry Lagarde

Wind River in Wyoming © James G. HowesImagine that you're a 60 something living in a small community in the center of Wyoming. You're yearning for a big adventure; what would you do - traverse the Wind River Range by horseback, ride a bike to Yellowstone, climb Devil's Tower? How about build a boat and sail it to Argentina? That's what adventurer Spike Hampson is doing.

Spike built a flat bottomed boat, launched it on the Wind River and slowly has been motoring eastward across North America, using a folding bike to run errands and sightsee when docked.

Kobuk in Halifax, Nova Scotia © Spike HampsonThus far, Spike has navigated his 20' flat boat 5500 miles through rapids, rivers, & reservoirs, across the Great Lakes and all the way down the St. Lawrence River. Now in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Spike's trip is a long way from completion but he's in no hurry. For Spike, the joy is the journey.

Before winter sets in, Spike will cross the Bay of Fundy (where tides range up to 60') and head south to New York or New Jersey. While there, he'll continue teaching geography online for the University of Utah. Sometime next year, he'll resume his southward journey via the Intracoastal Waterway.

Eventually, Spike will island hop the Kobuk through the Caribbean. When he reaches the mouth of the Orinoco, he'll head upriver and eventually transition into the Amazon drainage system. From the Madeira River, he'll portage once to the Pantanal and float the length of the Rio Paraguay, into the La Plata (the widest estuary in the world) and dock in Buenos Aires.

For more about Spike and his incredible journey, visit SpikeHampson.com. Spike's voyage logs are particularly interesting.

Photo Credits:
Wind River in Wyoming - James G. Howes
Kobuk in Halifax, Nova Scotia - Spike Hampson


Friday, July 20, 2007

2nd Bike Ride in Eastern New Orleans w/Dr Blakely

Map: Mary Queen of Vietnam Church, New Orleans, LA.Saturday outing will end with Q&A session at Mary Queen of Vietnam Church

NEW ORLEANS, LA (July 19, 2007) Dr. Edward Blakely, Executive Director of Recovery Management, and District E Councilmember Cynthia Willard-Lewis will host a bike ride through a portion of New Orleans East on Saturday (July 21) morning.

Saturday's bike ride is part of Dr. Blakely"s series of neighborhood bike rides that are designed to engage all New Orleans citizens in the recovery process. The 4.5 mile ride will focus on both commercial and residential sites in the area.

"Residents of New Orleans East, like those throughout much of the city, continue to demonstrate their resolve in rebuilding," said Dr. Blakely. "As they do so, we want to ensure that we are in communication with each other and work together in accelerating our recovery."

This is the second of three bike rides that will be held in New Orleans East. Dr. Blakely hosted last week's ride along with District D Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell.

"It is important that everyone have the opportunity to have access to the important information that involves our recovery," said Councilwoman Willard Lewis. "I encourage all the business leaders, civic leaders, and residents of Venetian Isles, Lake Catherine, Oak Island, Little Woods and Village D'lest to take part in the tour and information session."

The ride will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Old Gentilly Road near the Folgers Coffee plant. Residents not participating in the ride may join the group for a question and answer session after the ride at Mary Queen of Vietnam Church, 5069 Willowbrook Drive, at approximately 12:15 p.m.

The Bike Rides allow for an up-close look at neighborhoods, during which rebuilding activities, existing assets and investment and rebuilding opportunities. They are intended to encourage civic participation in the city's recovery and rebuilding. They also provide participants an opportunity to see places outside their own neighborhoods.

The Lake Forest Plaza in New Orleans East is one of 17 target recovery areas identified in the city's $1.1-billion recovery action plan. The action plan focuses redevelopment at the level of the neighborhood.

The route for Saturday's ride follows:
Begin at Old Gentilly Road near the Folgers Coffee plant.
Proceed down Michoud Boulevard, past Chef Menteur Highway to Willowbrook Drive.
Right on Willowbrook Drive to Dwyer Road
Left on Dwyer Road to Alcee Fortier Boulevard
Right on Alcee Fortier Boulevard to Chef Menteur Highway.
The group will then turn around and ride back to Mary Queen of Vietnam Church

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Greater Buffalo - Niagara Bicycle Network

Niagara River GorgeBy Steve Tigner

If you are ever in northwestern New York State, you will find a cycling delight in the Greater Buffalo area.

My wife and I just returned for a trip that included a stop in Buffalo. We were NEVER expecting the area to provide the inspiring beauty and exhaustive bike routes that we found.

The Regional Transportation Council has developed 100's of miles of bike routes. This is a combination of street routes with well marked street signs, specific bike lanes and dedicated bike paths. On the Canadian side there is a sister system that is also over 100 miles long. Easy access to the system information can be found at The Greater Buffalo - Niagara Regional Transportation Council web site - www.gbnrtc.org Then click on Bicycle Route Guide to get pdf files of the area map.

Buffalo's Riverwalk bike path along the Niagara RiverYou can begin a ride in downtown Buffalo on Lake Erie and follow the dedicated bike path north along the shoreline into the north side of the City of Tonawanda. This section of this system is 9 miles long and called the Riverwalk. As the Riverwalk travels north, the east shore of Lake Erie becomes the east bank of the east branch of the Niagara River. It is a beautiful path with great scenery and few cross streets.

At the south end of the City of Tonawanda, about midway along the Riverwalk, a bike route branches off to the north, over the East Branch of the Niagara River onto Grand Island. The bike route travels across Grand Island. About 2 miles from the north end of Grand Island the route joins up with a dedicated bike path. After a couple miles through wetlands in the Buckhorn Island State Park the route crosses the Niagara River again on the north side of the island and follows the north bank of the Niagara River & the south side of the Robert Moses Parkway west to the American Reservation State Park. The beauty of this area is considered one of the Wonders of the World! It is truly spectacular and awesome. AND YOU GET TO SEE IT ON A BIKE! If you have not been to Niagara Falls, this ride needs to get on your MUST DO list.

After pedaling through the park and under the Rainbow Bridge (the main crossing into Canada at The Falls) the path continues north along side the Robert Moses Parkway past Whirlpool Bridge and through Whirlpool Park. The beauty along the river gorge north of The Falls should not be missed. The dedicated path ends near Niagara University but the route continues up the river to Lake Ontario. From there the route goes east along the south shore of Lake Ontario for over 20 miles before turning south and ultimately looping all the way around and back to downtown Buffalo.

If you do not exit the Riverwalk in South Tonawanda, you will continue to the north end of town. At that point the dedicated path ends and the street route travels east to the New York Barge Canal Path in Amherst. This dedicated path starts at the intersection of Tonawanda Creek Road and Sweet Home Road a little east of Niagara Falls Blvd. It ends 6 miles later at Tonawanda Creek Road and East Canal Rd where there is parking.

Downtown Buffalo to north side of Tonawanda - 9 miles

South Tonawanda to Lake Ontario through Grand Island - 25 miles

North Tonawanda to end of New York Barge Canal - 12 miles

While you are in the Buffalo area, you may want to visit The Pedaling History Bicycle Museum in Orchard Park on the south side of Buffalo. www.pedalinghistory.com

Steve Tigner at the American FallsAbout the Author
Steve Tigner is a regular tandem rider that cycles about 100 miles a week. Steve prefers to ride on dedicated bike paths that are paved and has published a web site dedicated to compiling a nationwide listing of such paths. www.pavedbiketrails.com

Do You Have A Cycling Story?
If you know of a great place to go cycling or have been on an inspirational cycling journey, RideTHISbike.com is a great place to share it with like minded cyclists. You'll receive full credit for the story as well as links to your website so readers can learn more. To submit your story idea for consideration, use the email address listed at the bottom of this webpage.


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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tour New Orleans East By Bicycle This Weekend

by Larry Lagarde

Satelite Image - Hurricane Katrina LandfallYesterday, I received an email announcing the latest in a series of free neighborhood bike tours being led by the New Orleans recovery czar (Dr. Ed Blakely). The tours are designed to focus awareness and attention on the state of recovery of New Orleans neighborhoods ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. The upcoming tour will focus on a section of New Orleans East. Following is the press release.

Start of tour: Downman Rd at Chef Menteur BlvdCouncilmember Hedge-Morrell & Dr. Ed Blakely invites you to a Bike-Ride Tour in Eastern New Orleans on Saturday July 14th, from 10am-12pm. The Bike-Ride will be led by Councilmember Hedge-Morrell and Dr. Ed Blakely, Director of Recovery focusing on points of interest as it relates to the revitalization of the neighborhoods and commercial corridors. The route starts at Downman Rd. at Chef Menteur Hwy. (Spur Gas Station)heading North on Downman Rd. to Morrison Rd. then making a Right at Morrison Rd. to Crowder Blvd. and ending at Saint Maria Goretti Parish Hall. Residents who are not interested in participating in the Bike-Ride Tour are welcome to 11am. Councilmember Hedge Morrell & Dr. Ed Blakely will give brief remarks.

Hurricane Katrina Damage - New Orleans EastPoints of Interests along Route:
Downman Rd. Corridor
Pines Village
Chimney Wood
Spring Lake
Lake Willow

Post Katrina Recovery - St. Maria Goretti ChurchJared C. Brossett
Chief of Staff, District "D"
Office of Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell
1300 Perdido St. Suite 2W20
New Orleans, LA. 70112
Office 504.658.1040
Fax 504.658.1048

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Cycling for fun, fitness & practicality.

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231 Dauphine St
New Orleans, LA. 70112
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