Another Saturday Bike/Beer Event!?

11 Sep

I’m out of the loop!  And geez, is it possible that we have yet another bike-related event happening this Saturday???

Well, somehow I just now stumbled onto a notice on about the 1st annual New Belgium Pedal Fest, from 12-5 at Haxall Point (I’m pretty sure that’s the part of the canal where the street art is)!  Not surprisingly, beer is part of the deal, along with some music.  And it’s $5 to get in, half off if you come on a bike!  And attending will help funnel some money to Richmond Cycling Corps, a great organization.

Good News and Weekend Events!

11 Sep

A Buffered Bike Lane!

Yes, that’s right.  According to Church Hill People’s News, crews are out today converting the rightmost lane on each side of the MLK Bridge (aka Leigh Street viaduct) into a buffered bike lane.  Let’s hope this is the first of many that will be installed soon.  And the approaches to the MLK lane (if you’re heading east on Leigh) are also in place, with bright green paint and everything!

Traffic Skills 101

Ride Richmond is hosting a Traffic Skills 101 course this Saturday.  The course includes both classroom instruction and on-bike practice to help people ride more safely and confidently in traffic.  The fee is $25.00.

The on-bike portion will be at RideRichmond’s soon-to-be-open Binford Bike Park skills course and Binford Middle School in The Fan to be used for safety drills, and the rest of the class will cover basic traffic laws, best practices, crash prevention, and equipment and gear.  Afterward, there is a group ride to put it all into facilitated practice.

Register here!

Spoke and Hop Fest

And after that’s done you could head over to the Spoke and Hop Fest at Hardywood from 12-9 pm.  Here’s what the Hardywood site says:

Please come out and celebrate handmade bicycles, bicycling in general, great craft beer and beer making and all the cast of characters that come with each.

This event will showcase a combination of over 50 cycling advocates, vendors, Virginia breweries and fabricators at Hardywood, include all-inclusive sampling for guests, live music, film, food and demonstrations.

Proceeds from the Richmond Spoke and Hop Fest will benefit both the Richmond Regional Ride Center, an organization with the goal of rehabilitating and constructing a total of over 70 miles of off-road cycling trails in Pocahontas State Park and the James River Park System, and the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild providing a foundation for our rising culture of craft beer in Virginia.

Tickets are $35 for adults in advance and includes beer samples.  Designated drivers and folks under 21 can get “special pricing,” and kids under 10 are free.

Heart of Virginia

And if that were not enough bike stuff for one day, RABA is holding its annual Heart of Virginia Bike Festival in Hanover County.  If you register today the cost is $55.  10-, 34-, 64-, and 101-mile options available.

Go Bike! Design Contest

2 Sep


You might have seen this on the back cover of the latest Style Weekly, but in case you didn’t…

The local group i.e.* is sponsoring the Go Bike! Design Contest.  I was kind of hoping for a contest for funky bike racks kind of like the ones designed by David Byrne for New York City, but this could be cool too.

Here’s the scoop from the i.e.* web site:

Win $2500 for the design of an iconic artistic symbol to grace the tops of 30 bike racks to be installed throughout the City of Richmond before the 2015 World Cycling Championships.

 We will cast 30 replicas of the winning design in metal, to be bolted atop the city’s bike racks. The metal design will be distributed to 30 artisans throughout RVA who work in a wide variety of media to embellish the symbol into original works of art, creating a customized finish for a uniquely RVA bike rack and art piece.  The locations of the bike racks have been determined based on the City’s Master Bike Plan.

 The winner will be recognized at all GoBike! sponsored events, will be credited with the creation of the original design in official documentation, and will be announced  in local newspapers, the i.e.* website, and in all communications related to the project.

i.e.* describes itself as “a collaborative community initiative to discover, support, and showcase creativity and innovation in the Richmond region, and amplify it to the world.”

So check out the specs by following the link above and start sketchin’!

RVA Bike Jumble Saturday

22 Aug

Ride Richmond is holding its annual bike swap event at the VMFA on Saturday 8/23, 10 am to 4 pm.  Come and check out vintage and used bikes and parts.  If you have just a couple of things to sell, you can add it to the community swap area.

Who is a Cyclist?

19 Aug
Image from

Who is this street made for? Image from

The Virginia Capital Trail Foundation just released a great little video called “I’m a Cyclist!”  It conveys in an upbeat and very Richmond-focused way a basic fact that is easily forgotten on the road: people on bicycles are people — and all kinds of people at that.  I’ve considered getting one of those jerseys with “I’m a Dad” on the back to convey the same message.  But why is that necessary?

Those *&^%^$!

People in traffic — especially in motor vehicles but sometimes using other modes too — find it easy to forget that they are sharing space with other human beings.  A person on a bicycle (or a pedestrian or other car driver, for that matter), all too easily becomes something less than that — an obstacle, an irritation, an “idiot,” or worse.

Bicyclists seem to be the “other” (a lesser being, not where they belong) even more than pedestrians precisely because we share space with cars more; and more than other motorists because, well, we’re not fellow motorists at the moment and we go a bit slower.

The basic, usually unstated notion that people on bicycles are not equal and don’t have the same right to the road underlies a lot of the arguments against bicycle infrastructure.  This is the only way I can make sense of the statement that seems to come up in every debate of this sort: “I’ll be okay with this when bicyclists stop breaking the law.”  I won’t go through the whole rebuttal again, but of course people who see themselves as drivers (and not bicyclists) would never say that about other drivers, would they?  It’s hard in this country to imagine the inverse situation, but doing so underscores the point: if roads were made primarily for bicycles, imagine bicyclists saying, “We shouldn’t widen this road to make room for cars because they don’t always come to a complete stop at stop signs.”

Cars themselves limit our perceptions of  other road users too — by putting us in our own little world, hiding our faces, making us unable to communicate with others much.  And that in a very high-stakes, very social activity of getting around on public streets.  If you think of it this way, it’s really kind of crazy: let’s put you inside a machine that weighs many times more and can travel many times faster than a human body can on its own; and even though this makes your movement much more dangerous to yourself and others, you’ll be constrained in your hearing and sight, and the primary means of communication you’ll have are one loud sound and a couple of lights.

The Message our Streets Send

It also doesn’t help that our society and our roads themselves discourages motorists in particular from seeing bicyclists and pedestrians as equals (much less the comparatively vulnerable road users they are).  Try to imagine what it would be like if our streets were made to give pedestrians and people on bicycles the same or greater priority as cars.  They would look very different.  As it is, a majority of our streets call out to pedestrians and bicyclists something close to: “Tough sh*t.  Your safety is less important than the speed and convenience of those bigger and faster than you.”

People who live on Forest Hill Avenue on the opposite side from the Forest Hill Park had to fight hard, for example, to just get some blinking yellow lights to help them cross the street to enjoy one of the best features of that neighborhood.  And it’s less than fully clear that those lights help much.  What if — gasp — we had crosswalks with lights that actually stopped traffic every quarter mile or so on a street like that?  I can hear the traffic engineers already: “But that would slow down traffic!”  Exactly.

Which brings me to a little preview of sorts.  Based on some reading and a couple of experiments, I’m working on a series of posts focused on safety and speed.  Spoiler: slower is better and really not much slower.  More on that soon!


Floyd Ave. Survey Says “Yes”!

8 Aug


Rvanews just posted the results of a survey sent out by the Fan District Association about the proposed bike-walk street (aka bike boulevard) project on Floyd Avenue.  (Find the survey and comments here).  No one will be surprised that there is some opposition, but here’s the great news:

66% of respondents signaled support and about 10% remain neutral or unsure.  That leaves 24% opposed.  

There is also a breakdown of the responses from those who live on Floyd.  Here too the numbers are clearly in favor, with almost the exact same percentage as the total in favor (67%) and a minority opposed (21%).

There is one concern expressed in the comments that I share, though: the revised plan does very little to divert traffic from Floyd. I can only assume that diverters were taken out to appease critics who were freaked out by them.  I’m a bit worried about Floyd becoming more attractive to car drivers due to the traffic circles replacing stop signs.  But I’m also willing to wait and see — and hope that adjustments can be made if needed.

I really hope this goes through, not just because it will be an important part of a network of bikeways eventually, but also because it’s extremely likely that if it’s built life will go on and the fears that seem to animate opposition (disappearing parking, bikes “taking over,” and crazy traffic on other streets) will be shown to be baseless.

Cultivating Advocates — Could You Be One?

6 Aug
Image from Bike Walk RVA.

Image from Bike Walk RVA.

Bike Walk RVA just announced an exciting new initiative called Bike Walk RVA Academy.  The idea is to educate and motivate new advocates for bicycle infrastructure and education in the Richmond area.  There is some movement around these things in Richmond now, but to be sure that we get an extensive and high quality network of infrastructure, we need a strong network of advocates.

From the site:

The Bike Walk RVA Academy of the Sports Backers will develop local walking and bicycling advocates and enthusiasts into grassroots leaders in their communities. We will empower you with the tools, knowledge, and confidence to effectively advocate for new and high-impact bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure projects in your neighborhood – infrastructure that allows people ages 8 to 80 to get where they need to go on foot or by bike…

The Bike Walk RVA Academy is designed to inspire individuals, create a strong camaraderie among bicycle and pedestrian advocates in Richmond, and facilitate ongoing collaboration with the Bike Walk RVA staff of the Sports Backers.

The Bike Walk site has more details on topics/skills to be covered and dates.

The eight two-hour sessions of the academy are offered free of charge, but there is an application process and limited capacity.



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