A Little Guide(ance)

23 Jul


I’m finally back.  I wasn’t really away the whole time, but you know how summer can be.

There are a few things on the burners that will be of interest to people who ride bikes in Richmond, so this will be a bit of a catch-up post.  The first one is a new bikeways guide from Bike Walk RVA — available in paper and pdf formats.

You’ve probably had people ask you what those sharrow things mean and might have witnessed (as I have) someone driving their truck right down the middle of a designated bike lane.  And some people who ride bikes may still be unsure about what all of that white and green paint really means.  Totally understandable.  Some of this is relatively new to Richmond and most places in the U.S.  There’s still plenty of distance to cover on the learning curve.

Well, a guide put together by Bike Walk RVA is now here to help.  Take a look and pass it on.  And at the risk of appearing to engage in shameless self-promotion, I’ll mention that a couple of days ago Channel 8 did a story featuring the guide and some new buffered lanes on W. Leigh — with a little contribution from yours truly.

Here’s a few more things you might want to know about in Richmond and elsewhere:

• The Lakeside Business Association is declaring itself the first permanent Bicycle Friendly Business District in the Richmond area.  Local businesses will offer discounts or other incentives on Saturdays for patrons arriving by bicycle.  The Bellevue area did a pilot BFBD for Bike Month 2015 and is working on something similar to the Lakeside program.  Read more here.  Go Northside!

Richmond 2015 is holding a series of meetings to get everyone up to speed (so to speak) about the races in September.  “Race ready,” as they put it.  Check here for times and locations.

• The new Growlers to Go has installed a hose on the building to allow bicycle riders to use the store’s nitrogen to fill their tires.  There is, as i have now learned, some debate about whether nitrogen is better than regular old air, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be worse.

• A recent study highlighted by Public Radio International says that people report roughly the same rates of knowingly breaking traffic laws when traveling by car or by bicycle.  But as many of us know, some people get especially irate about supposed scofflaw cyclists.  That attitude — and a number of other things — goes back to something that is changing, albeit slowly: seeing people on bicycles as people, and as a normal, acceptable part of everyday life rather than a weird person in your way.

• The official ribbon cutting for the Virginia Capital Trail is set for Friday, October 2 at 5:30, Great Shiplock Park.  There will also be a series of events along the trail the following day.  So we’re basically a month away from having a completed trail!!  Start the count down, get your bike in working order, and get ready to prove all of the skeptics wrong.

Update: Cannon Creek Walk/Ride Rescheduled for July 11

26 Jun

Just found out!  Hopefully the weather will cooperate on 7/11.

Celebrate the Cannon Creek Greenway this Saturday

26 Jun


Did you know that in addition to the all of the new lanes and sharrows in Richmond, we also have a (relatively) new greenway with a biking and walking path separated from motorized traffic?  If you haven’t had a chance to try out the Cannon Creek Greenway (or maybe didn’t even know about it), this Saturday is a great day to check it out.   Not only is it a great trail, it also serves as a nice way to travel between the city’s north side and Shockoe Bottom.  And if that’s not enough to lure you, there will also be free food!

5K Ride and Free Bikes on Saturday`

10 Jun


If Bicycle Y’all wasn’t enough, you’ll also have an opportunity to join a free 5K Public Safety Bike Ride this Saturday organized by the Richmond Police Department (register here).  Kids have to be 8 to participate, and the first 100 kids under 18 who register will get a FREE BIKE and helmet!  A community festival will take place at the end.  Action begins and ends at Calhoun Family Investment Center, on Calhoun Street near Chamberlayne near Gilpin Court.

Bicycle Ya’ll — Bike Stories and Fun Coming 6/13

8 Jun


The end of May clearly does not mean the end of bicycle-related fun in Richmond.  Bicycle Y’all is the best sign of that.  With all of the bike stuff happening in Richmond, particularly the beginning of the UCI championships in less that 100 days (!), you can expect we’ll be on a roll (heh) with such things.

In this case it’s the folks behind Secretly Y’all.  According to the RVA Mag piece about the event,

…the group brings people together in a place around town every other month to share personal stories in front of each other.

“An event where people tell true stories in front of a live audience based on a theme, that’s kind of our bare bones,” King said. “We ask for submissions, people submit stories to us.”

The storytelling events usually take place at Balliceaux, but this time the group launched a Kickstarter campaign and raised enough cash to rent to the old GRTC depot at Cary and Robinson (site of the last street art festival).  Attendees can expect, not surprisingly, stories about or incorporating bicycles, but also bike sculptures, four square beer, music, and a story bike!  And other great stuff.

Co-organizer Kathleen Brady describes the goal this way in the RVA Mag article:

“A big part of the Bicycle Y’all event is to invite in as many people to listen to stories, but also kind of realize that the roads are for everybody in the city,” Brady said. “Cars, bikes, people walking; these roads belong to all of us.”

Heck, yeah!  Tickets are $10 and available here.

One More Week of Bike Month!

25 May
From ilovebicycling.com.

From ilovebicycling.com.

Maybe I’m just bike-delusional, but I feel like I’m seeing more people on bikes these days.  Nice weather certainly helps.  Discounts at Bellevue merchants might play a role, not to mention all the Bike Month events that have gotten so many of us out, feeling free on two wheels.  Whatever it is, it’s good.

We have only one more week of Bike Month, but I’m going to go with the assumption that it’s just the beginning of a rekindled love affair with bicycles in Richmond (or for some of us, just another four weeks of a long-term relationship).

Here’s what’s in store this week:

Tuesday May 26 – Bryan Park Summer Racing Series

Wednesday May 27 – The Rise of Bicycle Boulevards and Bike Lanes in Richmond

Friday May 29 – Bon Air > Downtown Bike Train

Friday May 29 – Floyd Avenue Fun Ride

Saturday May 30 – Armstrong Bike Park Day

Saturday May 30 – Pedal Through Petals Garden Tour

Sunday May 31 – Richmond History Tour

Bike Month Week 3 + We Have a Plan!

17 May
Mayor Jones announces the completion of Richmond's first Bicycle Master Plan at Friday's Bike to Work Day rally.

Mayor Jones announces the completion of Richmond’s first Bicycle Master Plan at Friday’s Bike to Work Day rally.

Bike Month Week 2 in Richmond was pretty busy, with a bike rodeo in Church Hill, commuter bike trains, and Bike to Work Day commuter stations and a rally downtown.  This week is even more packed, with rides around Wetlands, Windsor Farms, playgrounds, and Church Hill; bike safety classes; and a restaurant flash mob!  See the full list with links below.

At Friday’s Bike to Work Day rally, Mayor Jones officially announced the city’s first-ever Bicycle Master Plan.  The RTD story on the plan is here, and you can find more pics of Bike to Work Day on the Bike Walk RVA Facebook page here.

The Master Plan is not a set-in-stone deal, but gives our bike-ped coordinator and the new city traffic engineer (yay!) a starting point in terms of priorities, goals, etc.  As the RTD reports, the city has 12 new projects outlined for the next 4 years, including a pair of protected bike lanes on Franklin and Main downtown, and four additional bike-walk streets similar to Floyd Avenue:

  • E. Grace Street from Laurel Street to N 9th Street
  • S. Meadow Street from W. Broad Street  to Colorado Ave.
  • E Marshall St/Glenwood Ave from Mosby St. to Government Road
  • Maple Ave. from Park Ave. to Grove Ave

More on that later.  For now, we have some biking to do!  Here’s all the great stuff happening this week:

Monday May 18 – Traffic Skills 101 – Bike Safety and Education Class

Monday May 18 – Windsor Farms Tour

Tuesday May 19 – Bryan Park Summer Racing Series

Friday May 22 – Bon Air > Downtown Bike Train

Saturday May 23 – Giro di Playgrounds

Saturday May 23 – Bike the Wetlands!

Saturday May 23 – Church Hill Bike Saunter and Picnic

Saturday May 23 – Traffic Skills 101 – Bike Safety and Education Class

Sunday May 24 – Bikes Mean Business Restaurant Flash Mob

And don’t forget that 10 businesses on the Northside are offering discounts and special offers to customers who arrive by bicycle this month.  A map of the businesses can be found here, and below is the list:

  • Once Upon a Vine (raffle for $50 gift certificate)
  • Rich’s Stitches (10% discount)
  • Stir Crazy Café (10% discount)
  • Omega Grecian Restaurant (10% discount)
  • The Mill (10% discount)
  • The Eclectic Cottage (10% discount)
  • Little House Green Grocery (10% discount)
  • Expressions Hair Salon (10% discount)
  • Nicola Flora (10% discount)
  • Bellevue Dry Cleaners (10% discount)

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