Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Tell me a little bit about you (name, age, occupation, carfree or carlite, where you live).
"Laurie Chipman, 50s, graphic designer, illustrator, carlite, Midtown KC"
When did you start using a bicycle for commuting?
What inspired you to start?
"I went to Chicago and saw the many cyclists and heard about Chicago's program to encourage bicycle use for trips up to 5 miles. It made sense to me. I also went to Holland in 2006 to partake in and observe a cycling nirvana. I decided that I want to live like that. I want to take my options to ride a bike, walk, use transit or drive."
What is a day in your bicycling life like?
"There is no typical day. Some days I do short commute rides for errands anywhere between Waldo and the Missouri River. Some days I do recreational rides between 16 miles up to 50 miles."
Do you recommend cycling to friends/family members/others? Have any taken you up on it?
"Yes, some people have tried it but I'm not that aware of any influence that I've had."
What kind of bike are you currently riding?
"Steel or aluminum bikes for touring, commuting, and fun."
In your opinion, what’s the best part about cycling?
"Seeing my environment at a slower pace, enjoying the outdoors, meeting people, having more interactions with my surroundings and the people in it, being self-propelled, being free from the constraints of cars, easy parking, getting exercise"
What’s the worst?
"Rude people and bad weather"
What are three pieces of advice you would give to someone starting/ considering commuting by bike?
"Get a bike that fits, learn your route or ride with someone else to help you, learn the rules of the road and your rights."
Anything else you would like to add?
"Riding is just as much fun as you remember it as a kid. Don't be afraid. Learn the skills. Most roads most of the time don't have much traffic—learn where they are. Have fun!"
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
National Bike Summit 2010 - Building on 10 Years of Progress
Bicycling has come a long way in the last 10 years. Our movement has grown larger and more effective; the number of people riding is growing in almost every community in the nation. We need more people on bikes more often, and the reasons just keep on growing. Whether it’s obesity, health care, climate change, air quality, energy independence, traffic congestion, economic development or quality of life issues – bicycling has got to be part of the solution. In 2010, Congress and our Federal agencies will be setting national targets and goals for 2020. They will be writing transportation, climate, health care, natural resources and other critical pieces of legislation that will shape our future. Bicycling must be prominently featured in these important pieces of legislation, documents, funding streams and programs.
Ten years ago, the first National Bike Summit brought just over 100 advocates and industry leaders to Washington, D.C. – this year we need to be closer to 1,000 participants to make a strong impact. Join us and speak up for bicycling; discover how your voice can truly be heard. Help the League of American Bicyclists celebrate 10 years of progress, and help us propel into a new decade of the bicycle!
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
In the spirit of “The Golden Age of Bicycles” the Groody Bros. Bicycle Restoration Project cordially invites you to participate in the first annual Kansas City Tweed Ride – Velocipede & Tweed Indeed! Please join us on Saturday, April 3rd, 2010 at Loose Park in Kansas City, MO for an afternoon of sophisticated social revelry upon the most marvelous machines ever devised by man.
We will congregate under the shelter located at 52nd and Wornall Road at the hour of 12, with the ride to commence at approximately one o’clock. Dress in your finest turn of the century era wools, tweeds, silks and argyles*. Riders, and their machines, will have the opportunity to be judged and awarded prizes based on appearance, authenticity, originality, and creativity. Categories to include, but are not limited to:
Most Flattering Female FineryMost Dashing & Debonair MaleMost Period Authentic MachineMost Handsome Mustache (Masculinely Male)Most Delicate Mustache (Fictitiously Female)Most Intriguing Accessory upon a PersonMost Intriguing Accessory upon a Bicycle
Our route will pass through some of the finest and most elegant neighborhoods in the Kansas City area with regrouping locations allowing for fine refreshment. The length of our journey will be no greater than ten miles and at a speed of the most casual nature. This is about style not speed, elegance not exertion. This is to be considered a family affair to be enjoyed by the young and old alike. Light refreshments of tea and biscuits will be provided. We invite you to bring your own picnic fare to share.
While at the event you can expect to have your image captured in candid fashion by none other than world renowned urban cyclist photographer, Chris Thomas.
Another local artist of the brush and canvas variety, Kevin Nierman, whose works have graced the covers of such esteemed and prestigious publications as Dirt Rag Magazine and Bicycling Times has generously donated an original painting created just for this event. This work of art will be made available to one fortunate member of the general populous through a chance drawing. Raffle tickets will be available for a nominal donation on the day of the event. The proceeds will benefit a local youth cycling endeavor and assist to defray a portion of the event expenses.
Current sponsors include Groody Bros. Bicycle Restoration Project, Poindexter Recruiting, Boneshaker: A Bicycling Almanac, Kevin Nierman Graphic Design, Chris Thomas Photography, Chipman Design, Family Bicycles, LLC, Adventure Cylcling Association, sponsors still at large…
Contact us if you wish to volunteer, donate prizes or become a sponsor. Please feel free to direct your comments, suggestions and inquiries to TweedRideKC@gmail.com . Any and all R.S.V.P. to this address would be greatly appreciated so that we might properly prepare for the onslaught of participants.
This event does not include rider support by those infernal internal combustion machines. In the interest of safety, proper headgear is strongly recommended and encouraged for the pedaling portion of the festivities. All riders should arrive with a bicycle in proper working order and be aware that their participation is purely and completely at their own risk. Riders are expected to observe and obey all rules of the road and behave in a dignified and civilized manor during the course of the event.*The sporting of denim, spandex or Lycra is to be highly discouraged. The organizers of this event consider these fabrics to be in exceedingly poor taste. The wearers of such apparel can expect to be openly scorned, chastised and run the risk of being “tarred and feathered” by an angry mob
Monday, February 15, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Answer: Good question. Here are my thoughts based on my experience. (Note-everyone is different; the type of bike, clothing, and accessories I like and use may be different for someone else-so I would encourage you if you have something you like to share it for the readers.)
First compared to recreational cyclist, the carfree/ carlite person is interested in three main things durability, functionality, and comfort, much as a long distance bicycle tourist. Things like weight, speed, and fashion are not so important. For me, I prefer a heavier steel frame bike, with 21-27 gears. My bike is a lower end bike that I made into a very tough commuter, a Trek 820. I added higher end wheels. I also use Tuffy liners so I do not have to worry about flats. The quality of the tire is important too- I like Continentals Contacts.
Clothing: If a person is going to be on the bike for longer than an hour, clothing is very important. I want light weight, breathable, sweat wicking materials that will keep me warm and dry in winter, and cool in the summer. For example: I use the Touring jacket from Showers Pass out of Portland for temps from 70 f to 10 f . The jacket is incredible with its range of uses, but is a rain jacket, but with layering can be a great winter jacket.
Accessories: Typically we carry more things-tools, clothes, electronics, depending where we are headed, how long, and if the weather may change through out the day. Some people use courier bags or back packs, I have a rear rack and use a rack bag from Arkel, of Canada, called a Tailrider. I use two front lights from Trek and rear lights form Planet Bike, Superflash. I ususally have four lights on at once for visibilityand night and cloudy. This is compared to the recreational cyclist who may only carry a light jacket and flat tire change kit.
Share your thoughts!
Right now it is 24f, light snow, a wet cold. I am going to ride to the gym and do the stairmaster and watch some of the Oylmpics. Peace.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I remember watching the TV show Northern Exposure years ago and one of the characters an old trapper named Walt was prescribed a light visor to trick his brain into thinking it was light in the darkness of the Alaskan winter the brain would produce mood enhancing natural drugs so he would be happy. He ended up using it too much, became addicted. His friends had to intervene and take the visor from him dooming him to the melancholy winter life.
What is it like to be a carfree American? It is hard.
What did you think I was going to give you some fluff telling you how great it is? Well?
Let's start with the American part of carfree American. I am an American, and proud of it. Ever since I was a baby (maybe before) I have been indoctrinated that cars and America go together- I am NOT proud of that.
I was under the impression I would ; die, be ridiculed, be embarrassed, be stranded, uncool, be limited in my local travel, if I did not own and drive a car. I never heard the term carfree until I was 36. I read in a book called Divorce Your Car.
When I was younger I remember being jealous of the people walking and biking places, they seemed happier.
I can tell you 100% for sure, I am a happier American being carfree.
Why is being carfree hard?
For me, I live in a car-centric environment. There is no public transportation. So, my choice for transportation is limited to walking and biking. I love both, but sometimes I wish I had a car. (Told you I am brainwashed).
Winter is the hardest, at night, below 10f, when you are warm and toasty but you want something bad. You have to put on the layers for protection. It is serious business depending how far you need to go to get that snack, or groceries, or whatever else you think you have to have enough to make you go out in the night, in the snow and ice.
Once the walk or ride starts, something happens, whether you are walking or biking. You start moving, all your senses come alive-see a gorgeous world, smell the fresh air, feel the earth below you or the bike under you, and hear the world around you. In an instant that hard inconvenience becomes a adventure and you are doing what most will not-experiencing life in the moment-aware of everything around you and not be confined to a unnatural metal cage. The wishing I had a car goes away and I remember why I am carfree, and thinking, "this is awesome!" And it is, maybe it is your bodies natural mood enhancers-your own natural dope.
NOTE: Last year I rode my bike 9,178 miles- the majority was for transportation on a local level. I loved every minute of it.
carfree American Tip 1: One thing I do everyday is try to notice something I have never seen or notices before. It keep the commutes fresh and it is fun to be aware of new things!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I have to admit, I sometimes feel like a superhero. There is something about being a carfree American that exudes toughness, the type of toughness our ancestors had before the automobile. Back then, to go from point A to point B one had to plan, plan for the weather conditions, time, terrain, clothing, what will be needed, plan for the unknown and be physically fit.
It has been nine years since I first started walking and biking for transportation. Now almost everywhere I go I see people I know and they ask, "Did you ride your bike?" or "Still riding your bike everywhere?" or "We saw you out at so and so location, wow you ride everywhere don't you?" or "Did you walk here or bike?"
I like it the most when parents explain to their children that I walk or bike for transportation. The eyes get big, and the smiles are wide, they look at me and then look at the bike, some understand, some don't, that is OK I think to myself, they will see me on the road sometime and it will click. It does.
I sometimes get another reaction from people. "You rode your bike in this? Your nuts!" or "Your crazy, I could never do that." Yep, I guess I am a little crazy, and I am OK with it.
Anyone can buy and drive a car these days. To walk, or bike, or rely solely on mass transit and be an American who can afford to own a car, just sounds wrong. But it feels right. It is an adventure.
Now when someone says " your nuts for riding in this weather" or "You walked here your crazy." I realize I am doing something very few other people do in the suburbs, but they should try it. You should try it.
I am a carfree American
Here is a little added fun from one of my carlite friends Sam S.
"Now I used to think that I was cool
Running around on fossil fuel
Until I saw what I was doin
Was driving down the road to ruin"