Thursday, April 28, 2011

Carfree American News-Tweed, caps, fun, and far away expeditions

Whats this? A carfree Tweed ride??? This years the KC Tweed Ride will be held at the historic Cliff Drive which is carfree on the weekends.

In the spirit of “The Golden Age of Bicycles” the Groody Bros. Bicycle Restoration Project cordially invites you to attend in the second annual Kansas City Tweed Ride – Velocipede & Tweed Indeed! Please join us on Saturday, April 30th, 2011 at Cliff Drive, Kessler Park in Kansas City, MO for an afternoon of sophisticated social revelry upon the most marvelous machines ever devised by man.

 "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.  We encourage you to bring your own picnic fare enjoy at a designated stop along the route. We are considering a prize for the most creatively clever picnic portage contraption!"

I will be there talking about the carfree expedition- Cycling W3R and will have some cool Taddihogg Tweed Cycling Caps with me for a few lucky riders.


Taddihogg is a new KC based cycling cap company who is a sponsor for the Cycling W3R Expedition and Carfree American. Thecaps are very comfortable and functional!

Hope to see you at the Tweed Ride!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cycling for transportation is an epic expedition

 I am, in partnership with the National Park Service,  leading a carfree expedition this summer on the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route (W3R). I'm handling planning and logistics for the 700+ mile, 9 state expedition to map out a safe Bike Route for cyclists. I am finding, with the exception of the marketing and fundraising, this large expedition is similar to the short trips for transportation I do everyday.

Making sure the bicycle is ready to roll
While cycling for transportation I am always aware of the weather, my route, how long it will take, the possibilities of side trips, what gear I need to have-and what is optional, the terrain, my bike-wear on tires, potential for emergencies, how I feel, and the list goes on.

Every trip is a mini expedition, and can be just as impactful as going on a long bike tour.

Short trips can be epic trips
Back in 2001 when I learned about the Adventure Cycling Association I quickly realized how my cycling for transportation trips were similar to the adventure stories I read in their magazine, Adventure Cyclist,(they will send you a free copy). The "how to" advice for travel by bicycle was exactly what I needed to learn as it helped me to be a successful an confident cyclist.

Cycling for transportation is relative to each individual, what may be a short trip for one cyclists, may be a grand adventure for another. When I first started bicycling for transportation that first 14 mile ride to the gym was as epic, in my mind at the time, as any ride I have done since. :)

Sarah getting groceries for her family
 I have a friend, Sarah who bikes 3 miles to work and goes to the store on her bike. Married with kids, her bike trips involve the same careful planning as mine. When I talk to her, she will tell me stories of her exploits on that six mile commute that are every bit as interesting as more lavish cycling expeditions.

Epic fun!

Follow me this summer, starting July 1st,  as I roll through wilderness, suburbia, and urban wilds as I map out a safe cycling route on the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route (W3R) National Historic Trail.

Friday, April 15, 2011

One picture post

Thanks to whoever took/ made this pic, nicely done! Carfree American
 This picture is worth a thousand words.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Riding the bus can be an adventure

My first time using a bike rack on bus
How do you ride a bus?
On April 16th, in Kansas City, there is a "How to ride the bus" clinic.

April 16: Waldo, 75th & Wornall, on the far side of the CVS parking lot, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Almost sounds silly, but in these days of high gas prices many people want transportation options. Here in Kansas City the bus is the only mass transit option.

I remember the first time I put the bike in the bike rack on the bus, it was intimidating.

"According to the American Public Transportation Association, riding public transportation saves individuals, on average, $9,904 annually and $825 per month based on the March 4, 2011 average national gas price ($3.47 per gallon-reported by AAA) and the national unreserved monthly parking rate."

But be well assured, it is all easy and there is not reason for embarrassment. Everyone had to have a first time.

Giving yourself more options for transportation can be fun. Make a game of it, and instead of thinking of it as something daunting. This of it as an adventure-map it out and explore.
So walk, bike, or take mass transit.
Peace, Bill
A starter kit for bus riding in KS

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Product Review-Arkel Tail Rider

Tail Rider from Arkel.
After 6+ years and more than 40,000 miles of commuting, S24Os, and micro adventuring, through four seasons every year, in all weather(even a blizzard, numerous thunderstorms, 100f + degree heat, hail, sub zero temps, etc.), the Tail Rider is my choice for a trunk bag.
From Arkels site:
"In a nutshell: People sure are vocal about what they want - and it suits us just fine! Arkel has designed what might be the sleekest trunk bag available. A single glance shows how different it is: sleek, uncluttered and aerodynamic. The Tail Rider is fully insulated, has an immense opening, many internal pockets and a divider to keep the content from shifting around. Waterproof zippers keep a sudden rain outside, but for longer rides the Tail Rider has an integrated rain cover. That's sweet! A built-in expansion bellow will stretch for more carrying capacity when needed. Finally wrap it all with lots of safety features and the package is the best you can wish for short or long rides alike!"

Love the built in raincover!
I love the Tail Rider, I have been commuting now for 10 years and tried different trunk bags, but none had the durability, functionality, nor the room of the Tail Rider.
 I cannot say anything bad about it.

The color has faded on it over the years, but I see that as a badge of honor rather than a negative.

Arkel's customer service is excellent too, over the years I had questions about the Tail Rider and other products and I always received a quick responses from the owner and great answers to my questions.

Being a carfree American and bicycle commuter I have to have a product I can rely on 100% of the time. Arkel is that company, the Tail Rider is that product. Thank you Arkel!

Tail Rider
$108.95 US
Two colors: Red and Black

Monday, April 4, 2011

Five car-free tales from the streets.

1. I interviewed for a job recently, they made me an offer,
with one condition,
they told me: "You have to own a car."
I said, "If I do not buy a car is that a deal killer?"
"Yes." They said. "You have to own a car."

2. I was rolling on the road, the day was cold, in the teens. A car slowly passed me, it was surreal, I looked over to the left, only to see two little blonde girls looking at me with faces pressed up against the glass of the mini-van window. I thought, how I must look like an animal in a zoo to them, as they looked at me in awe. But then thought, no, they are the ones in the cages, I am free.

3. The day was hot, 96f, high humidity, I was heading south on Lamar. I felt this heat before, it was nauseating, I tried to not get stuck at a stop light with cars next to me spewing exhaust. I cannot see it, but I know it is there. Exhaust, ozone, the wind blows lightly, it does no good, the temperature on the bike computer reads 110f, the asphalt is at least 120f. I feel sick and anxious, what if there is no air. "Shit!" I think, " I will die at this intersection, at the hands of the automobile." Then the light changes, and I can breath again. I roll away and life is good again.

4. I saw this man crossing the street with his bicycle.

He had all of his belongings on his bike, so many in fact, he could not ride the bike, it had become a shopping cart like bicycle.

I said "hi", he looked up and gave no indication he wanted anything to do with me.

5. On a Spring day, I was running some early morning errands on my bicycle. I was rolling in midtown KC.

It was one of those fresh Spring days low 70s, sunny, slight breeze, with the smell of flowers blooming. Perfect.

I pulled up to a truck full of Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation employees while waiting for the light to change. They were all black. I looked over at them and they looked at me, a white guy on a bike in a major intersection at 7a.m. We all smiled, I said, "How are you all?"

One gent, laughed, big grin, he was a heavyset man, and said, "Awww man we are doing great! How are you?"

We all talked gloriously about the weather, my bicycle, and work. The light changed and we said goodbye. As they pulled away, I remember thinking how stupid racism is, people are people, and it does not matter the color of their skin...period.

Got any carfree or carlite tales to share?
Peace, Bill