Sep 122013
 

Courier News

Sunday afternoon at the BCTC bike-check. Photo by Danny Mayer.

Sunday afternoon at the BCTC bike-check. Photo by Danny Mayer.

To encourage healthy and environmental modes of travel, for the fourth consecutive year the BCTC Sustainability Committee staffed a bike-check service at the internationally known Woodland Arts Fair, which was held this year on August 17 and 18. The service allows fair-goers to drop off their bikes in a secure area overseen by faculty and staff. Previous years have seen such notables as then-mayor Jim Newberry utilizing the service.

This year, the bike-check included several “snail” bike racks welded together by BCTC faculty member Shawn Gannon. And they were needed: over the course of the weekend, faculty and staff volunteers checked in over 170 bikes of all varieties–from 1940s-era three-speeds to modern bike-pulled children’s trailers. BCTC staff member Larry Porter, chief organizer for the bike-check, hopes to expand upon the service next year by providing it for downtown Lexington’s Thursday Night Live series.

Reprinted from the Bluegrass Courier, the student newspaper at BCTC.

 

Sep 052012
 

On ambassadorship

By Dave Cooper

NoC ambassador to Cycling

In July of 1989, my friend Carol and I decided to follow a dream and ride our bicycles across America.  We took leaves of absence from work, packed our bikes and gear into boxes, and flew to Seattle to start our trip.  Carol brought her brown 18-speed Fuji from Massachusetts.  My bike was an orange 15-speed 1970’s model Schwinn LeTour III, with fully-loaded front and rear Cannondale panniers, leather grips and a handlebar pack.  It weighed a freakin’ ton.

After reassembling our bikes in the baggage claim area, we rode out of the airport and wobbled towards downtown Seattle to try and find an REI camping store. Pedaling around an unfamiliar downtown, we got turned around and ended up riding the wrong way against traffic on a one-way street before cutting across the street to the store, blocking traffic in the process.

A pedestrian looked at us and said, scornfully, “It’s people like you that give bicyclists a bad name.” Continue reading »

Feb 082012
 

Out on the streets, that’s where we’ll meet

By Captain Comannokers
NoC Transportation Czar

A television commercial that recently caught some attention featured a wave of night cyclists cruising the streets in a futuristic, neon dream. The commercial had more people talking about the super-cool, glowing rides than the actual product it was trying to promote (cell phones), but that’s the way the marketing world works sometimes—as long as you’ve got ‘em talking, you are still in the game. You’ll actually have to check with college marketing classes or Mad Men to confirm that last statement, but it seems like something they’d teach you, or a line those witty writers would use. Continue reading »

Aug 242011
 

Crawfish, bicyclists, and humans beings in the city

Von Jon Finnie

Editor’s note: Sometimes NoC editors make decisions while at Al’s Bar after we’ve run up a tab. While we always stand by those decisions as sound, if not cutting-edge brilliant, they do sometimes seem, um, unusual in hindsight. Hence this piece in German by Jon Finnie. If readers clamor, perhaps we can talk Jon into translating it into English next issue.

From the author: “Every day, I ride my bike from my house next to SCAPA/Lafayette High School on my way to WRFL, the DLC, Al’s, London Ferrell Community Garden, and so on. I pass over a creek that runs behind Lafayette. There I met a kid who fishes for crawfish. The article frames this kid’s fishing in the context of Lexington’s water quality issues. More broadly, the piece is about what you can learn by biking around the city and, coupled with this kid’s activity, it’s implicitly about how people inhabit their modern urban habitat in ways that are pretty human.”

Die Geographie meines Lebens ist folgendes. Ich wohne in der Nähe von Picadome Elementary und Lafayette High School, studiere und drehe Platten bei der Universität Kentucky und mache ein Praktikum in der Innenstadt. Samstags melde ich mich freiwillig zu einem Garten an Third Street. Wenn ich Freizeit haben, höre ich live Musik, in letzter Zeit beim umlängst verstorbenen Crib Death und Al’s. Continue reading »

Aug 102011
 

Out on the streets, that’s where we meet

By Captain Comannokers
NoC Transportation Czar

Welcome back students! Now sit down, pay attention, and nobody will get hurt (hopefully).

With the autumnal re-population swell in Lexington, the bike traffic in and around campus/downtown becomes much heavier. That is a wonderful thing – the more people use bikes to get around Lexington the more the demand for infrastructure will need to be met. BUT, it also means that cyclists need to get on the same page, which is often a tough proposition in a college town where many people ride their bikes with little regard for safety, let alone common sense. Things have actually gotten better over the last few years, so that’s a positive sign, but let’s not get too excited – on any given day, I still see someone riding the wrong way, head-on, into traffic, talking on a cell phone, and flipping off a driver because, well, I’m not sure exactly why, to be honest.

There have been some recent and significant changes right around campus that everyone should make note of. Maxwell has finally received a good chunk of bike lane – starting at S. Limestone and heading east toward Woodland Park. Street parking has shifted to the north side of the street. Continue reading »

Jun 222011
 

By Captain Comannokers
NoC Transportation Czar

In their infinite songwriting wisdom, the band Toto told us in 1978 to “Hold The Line.” It’s a song about the tricky game of timing in relationships – well, at last that’s what I think it’s about, I mean, this band was splitting time between singing songs about Rosanna Arquette, George Lucas’ THX1138 and blessing the rains down in Africa with lines like “As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti,” so really, all bets are off for me de-coding Toto lyrics.

Anyway, I’m co-opting “Hold The Line” as a cycling mantra for getting around the streets of Lexington. Continue reading »

Sep 152010
 

Out on the streets, that’s where we’ll meet

By Captain Commanokers

NoC Transportation Czar

Once the dust settles from all of the current downtown construction, you may wonder what changes are in store. Perhaps there will be motorized moving sidewalks, or a museum on the CentrePointe block detailing the lifelong struggles of the Webb brothers?

I can’t confirm either of those projects at this moment, but at least one of the changes sounds epic and mystical – floating bike lanes. This is the future! Bikes will enter a special anti-gravity sector where they will levitate over downtown streets, ridding motorists of those pesky cyclists once and for all!

Well, not quite – everyone still needs to cheerfully share the road. In reality, there will be just a slight adjustment to how they share it on Vine Street from South Broadway to South Limestone. According to LFUCG Bikeway/Pedestrian Coordinator Kenzie Gleason, the changes will take place by the week of September 19.

The city has spelled it out in detail at www.floatingbikelane.com. The issue is this: When there is street parking during some parts of the day and not others, what do you do with the bike lane? The city believes that the floating bike lane is the logical answer. Continue reading »

Aug 252010
 

Out on the streets, that’s where we’ll meet

By Captain Comannokers
NoC Transportation Czar

Back to school means back to some cycling basics. Specifically, do NOT ride in the wrong direction in a bike lane. On a recent ride down Euclid Avenue, the proof was on the pavement.

A cyclist had just been to Kroger and was riding west on Euclid back toward campus – unfortunately, in the wrong bike lane. This happens a lot on Euclid. Folks pick up a couple of things from Kroger and instead of waiting and making a left hand turn to get in the proper bike lane, they unwisely choose the improper bike lane.

This particular cyclist was hit by a car pulling out of 5/3 Bank near Park Avenue – crash, boom, bang – and the freshly purchased eggs were splattered on the Euclid Avenue asphalt.

Officer Howard Florence, who patrols Lexington streets on bike, chimed in on the situation. “I’ve seen that happen too many times. Most people ride the wrong way because it’s a bit quicker or easier for them at that moment. Maybe their street is a block away or traffic was heavy and they were too impatient to cross. That’s just human nature sometimes.”

If this is your human nature, do not follow it: it is trying to get you seriously injured. Time to trade in your human nature for a dose of common sense.

“Pointing out how things can go really bad seems to get the idea across,” Florence said. “I don’t just tell someone they’re in the wrong lane. I’ll take a moment and explain that when you go the wrong way, cars aren’t looking for you.”

Euclid has landmines everywhere – side streets, businesses, heavy pedestrian traffic. It’s a tough enough street to ride even with bike lanes. So, keep the Evil Knievel stunts at the skate park or on the cul-de-sac in your comfy neighborhood.

In addition, when students return Euclid is one of the epicenters of the city. Can traffic get heavy on it? Yep. Is it easy to get impatient when travelling on it? Yep. But those are not reasons to improvise your navigation of it. If you do improvise, your eggs (or brains) could wind up on the street, too.

Luckily, this young man seemed to have only scrapes, but another situation was unfolding. The driver was obviously shaken from just hitting someone. He didn’t want to call the police and offered to help pay for the damage to the bike and the lost groceries.

First, it was not the driver’s fault. He owed this cyclist nothing.

Second, Officer Florence explains why it is important to have the police on the scene after an accident.

“If there is more than $1,000 damage or if someone is injured, a police report is required by law. If you decide to make a claim on someone’s insurance, they almost always require a report so you would have to call us anyway.”

“Often in these situations a person may not realize that they are injured until a day or two later. The hospital is required by law to contact the police. It’s difficult to take a report that far after the incident. Too many people just exchange information and, at first, say they will work it out between themselves only to have one of the parties not follow through. Someone then wants a report, but any possible evidence or witnesses are gone,” Florence said.

To borrow from chicken riddle lore – Why did the cyclists cross the road? To get to the other side (where they will ride in the correct bike lane, save their lives and get their eggs home safe and sound).

Illustrations by Noah Adler

Get on noclexington.com or email the Captain at ShareTheRoadLex@gmail.com to continue the discussion. Ask questions. Voice frustrations as a pedestrian, cyclist or driver. Let’s work though our differences in sharing the road. Captain Comannokers over and out.

Feb 282010
 

By Cheyenne Hohman

Bicycle collectives are community resource centers.  They usually offer free workshops or trainings, or simply have a workshop open to the public furnished with necessary tools and other supplies for bike maintenance.  Many also offer services as a space to refurbish bikes that have been donated or scavenged, and given to those that invest the work on the bicycles—or they are sometimes sold as fundraisers. Bicycle collectives are not-for-profit by principle. They are run in a de-centralized, collective fashion.

Bicycle collectives from all over the southeastern region of the US and beyond are headed to Louisville, KY this spring.  For three days, the FreeWheel Bike Collective in Louisville is hosting the second annual bicycle collective conference, or Bike!Bike! Southeast. Continue reading »