We’re Bronze! The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) recently designated Ferguson as a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community. According to their website (http://www.bikeleague.org/content/communities): “A community recognized by the League as Bicycle Friendly welcomes bicyclists by providing safe accommodation for cycling and encouraging people to bike for transportation and recreation. Encouraging bicycling is a simple way towards improving public health. With more people bicycling, communities experience reduced traffic demands, improved air quality and greater physical fitness.”
We join Clayton, Kansas City, Lee’s Summit, Springfield, and St. Louis as the only bronze-level Bicycle Friendly communities in Missouri. Of course, there are higher designations to aspire to…within Missouri, Columbia is at the silver-level. And there are gold-level and platinum-level communities around the U.S. The entire list of communities can be seen on the LAB website.
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It used to be that there were no doubts about who the most dangerous motorists on the road were: drunk drivers. Now there’s a whole new category of dangerous drivers: texters. Someone came in the bike shop the other day and said, “I’d rather have a drunk behind me when I’m riding my bike than a texter. At least the drunk will see two of me…” Kind of gallows humor, but something to think about. Please don’t be a texter (or a drunk) when you are driving your car!
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If you’re reading this column then you know that I like to write about things relating to bicycling. But I’m not the only one in Ferguson who writes about bicycling. For other takes on bicycling, try:
- Blue’s Bike Blog – can be found at http://bluesbikeblog.com/. In it Blue writes about her bike travels with her husband Craig and also does reviews of bicycling gear. She and Craig just got back from a bicycle trip from Prague to Vienna. You can read all about it on the blog.
- Think Bicycling Blog - Martin Pion writes many articles focused on bicycle safety and using a bicycle for transportation. A recent post discusses some of the safety issues with the use of bicycle lanes: http://thinkbicyclingblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/bike-lanes-and-bike-boxes-degrade-safety/
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A few months ago Ferguson painted about 11 miles of streets with sharrows (shared lane markings). Sharrows show a symbol of a bicyclist along with arrows painted in the street. Sharrows are designed to make it easier for motorists and bicyclists to share roads by reminding motorists that bicyclists may be traveling in the traffic lane along with other vehicles. They encourage safe passing. They also influence bicyclists to ride in the same direction as traffic and help bicyclists with proper road position.
If you want to see the ultimate in sharrows, check out the “green lane” sharrows on Paul Ave. just off S. Florissant, in between the Ferguson Brewing Company and Marley’s. These green lanes were painted for free by a company that wanted to test how well the paint would hold up in weather, traffic, etc. Green lane sharrows are very attractive and give a clear message: bicycles are welcome to ride down this road!
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The weather is getting colder, but don’t think that this will bring an end to bicycling opportunities for the year.
- Sunday, November 3: 4th Annual Ferguson Twilight Ramble! Free helmets, bike expo, live music, free cookout, 1 mile ride at 3:00pm, 5 mile ride at 3:30pm, and 15 mile ride at 4:30pm. All rides begin and end at the Plaza at 501 (501 S. Florissant Rd.) in downtown Ferguson. More info and online registration at www.twilightramble.com
- Wednesday, November 6, 6:30-9:30pm: Cycling Savvy! Being a confident, competent cyclist has nothing to do with speed or bravado. Cycling Savvy offers cozy indoor sessions in the fall and winter. No bicycles needed. Learn more and register at http://cyclingsavvy.org/2013/09/healing-center-st-louis-to-host-november-session/ for this session to be held at The Healing Center, 734 Demun Avenue, Clayton, MO 63105
- Sunday, December 8, 3-7pm: Ferguson Holiday House Tour! Last year the Ferguson Bicycle Shop led a group of 14 bicyclists on the popular holiday house tour in Ferguson. Even though the tour was in early December, it was about 70 degrees out and a beautiful day for bicycling! Well, we’re going to do it again in hopes that we will influence the weather to be nice and warm! Here’s your opportunity to improve your health, be good to the environment, and tour some beautiful homes, all at the same time! The homes will be open from 3pm - 7pm. Many homes along the way will also be lit up so the evening should sparkle. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 on the day of the tour, and all proceeds benefit the Ferguson Caring League. Please contact Gerry Noll at Gerry@FergusonBicycleShop.com if you are interested in riding on the Holiday House Tour with us.