Friday, December 19, 2008

Tour de Lights despite the drizzle

I didn't expect many people to show up, but they kept rolling in! I think we had between 100 and 150 bicyclists. It was great to see everyone with their lights, tinsel and costumes. Ryan, of course, had put tons of work into his trailer--a container of coal! (Ryan, you won a gift basket from Mast General--congrats, and just stop by there to pick it up downstairs!) There was also a huge gift-wrapped box that produced fog. Andie had a whole Nutcracker theme going on, and Shelaugh was Ms. Claus.

We enjoyed treats from Rita's before the ride, along with bike safety checks by Harper's and Fountain City Pedaler. After the ride, Mast General provided hot cocoa and cookies. Prizes for best decorations were donated by Mast General, Tomato Head and Rita's. It is so great to have support from our local businesses. And much thanks to KPD for their help with traffic control.

Hopefully the weather will be better next year. I can't wait to see what costumes and decorations there are for the 3rd annual ride! It just gets better and better.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rain, rain, rain

Commuting in the Rain on a Budget

By Brian Miller

For the last year, I've cycled to work about 80% of the time. From time to time, I get caught in the rain at the office, and either wait for a break in the rain or just get wet and change when I get home. Getting motivated to get on my bike in the rain on the way TO work is another matter... especially when there's a perfectly good car sitting in my driveway. Today, I broke that trend. Rain cycling on a budget?

Try a $2 rain parka, and old bike tube, two plastic shopping bags, and a baseball cap (for those of us who wear glasses).

I cut up an old bike tube and used it like a belt to tie the back side of the parka around my waist. This gave me extra protection from the water while preventing the back from flapping in the wind like a giant flag.

The front of the parka drapes nicely over the handlebars, covering my arms and hands. It also provides a big "roof" over my legs, keeping them relatively dry as well.
The plastic bags cover the shoes. You can fasten them with a rubber band or just tie them around your ankles as I did.

My "Glow-in-the-Dark" Commuter Bike

From Brian Miller, courtesy of SMW website:

Okay, so it doesn't really "glow," but it sure kicks up some light... at night and in the rain. It took me a while to embrace the idea of covering my classic Bridgestone (it was their entry-level mountain bike before I "commutified" it) with 3M reflective tape, but I'm glad I did.

Previously, I had bought some regular reflective tape, but it was too narrow (only about 1/2" wide), which is good for detailing, but not good for all-out wrapping. I did use the narrow tape to make accents on my helmet though.
What I finally found that worked for the bike was 4" wide tape made by 3M and sold by the foot at VersaLift. It's only about $1.50 / foot and I used about 4 or 5 feet of tape. I used white tape on my black bike, but they also sell blue and red at VersaLift. You can buy just about any color though if you shop around.
Full story and more photos at

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

DIY bike storage

From Ryan Cooper:

I faced the same problem that I'm sure many avid cyclists have- "Where do I put all these bikes?!" I have a mountain bike, a commuter/utility bike, a fixed gear, a bike polo bike, and my wife's hybrid bike too. I used to keep them piled in my basement but every time I wanted to ride a specific bike I had to move 3 other bikes out of the way to get to the one I wanted.

I knew there had to be a solution but my searches for a storage solution were nearly fruitless. I found several different styles of bike racks online but everyhting I found shared 2 common elements. They were all overpriced (generally $200+ if I hoped to store 5 or more bikes), and they did not appear to offer much in the way of space savings over my current method. I knew there had to be a better and cheaper solution. I keep a couple 18"x24" whiteboards in my garage because I'm a visual person who needs to see things to fully understand them. I spent a few evenings in my basement with a tape measure and my whiteboards measuring the bikes and the room and sketching designs. After many scrapped ideas, I settled on a modified A Frame design that would be pretty easy to make with basic tools. I loved this design because it could store 5 bikes in the space of 3 without compromising the ability to get to any bike at any time. A $25 trip to the hardware store later I was ready to start building.

It came together pretty easily and now that it's complete the rack works just like I'd hoped. 3 bikes on the bottom and 2 bikes on the upper level with space for the future addition of a shelf inside the "A" frames to store a bike pump, chain lube, and some spare tubes. The upper bikes stay in place just fine but I did add bungee cords to secure them just in case of an unexpected earthquake or Godzilla attack.

It's not the prettiest piece of furniture I own, but it gets the job done and for 1/8 of what I would have spent on a ready-made unit I'm happy.

Leaner nations bike, walk, use mass transit

Link found between 'active transportation' and less obesity in 17 countries

AP story

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Jim Richards is no kid, but he loves to ride his bike. At 51, he has become a cycling commuter, pedaling 11 miles from his home in the suburbs to his job in downtown Knoxville.

"It really doesn't take that much longer" than driving, he insists.
And he gets 40 minutes of exercise twice a day without going to the gym, which he attributes to a 20-pound weight loss.

Full story:

Photo credit:
Wade Payne/AP

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Let's get visible

The singing's pretty bad, but the message is oh so important: be visible when cycling.

And a warning for those with delicate sensibilities: the video is just a little bit risque.

Thanks to the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, Momentum Magazine, and the B:C:Clettes for making the video.

Turn on your lights, everybody!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tour de Lights reminder

Join us for the second annual Tour de Lights!

Wed., Dec 17
7 p.m.
Krutch Park, next to Market Square

Experience the beautiful holiday lights of Island Home and downtown by bicycle. Meet at Krutch Park for the Tour de Lights, sponsored by the City of Knoxville and the TPO Bicycle Program. Free bicycle safety checks start at 6 p.m., until the ride leaves. Hot chocolate and cookies will be provided after the ride by the Mast General Store. The ride will be less than 6 miles and does not have many hills.

Prizes will be awarded to ride participants for best decorated person, best decorated bicycle and best decorated helmet. Riders should get creative with specialty bike lights or battery-powered LED lights. All ages are welcome. Helmets are required along with a white front light visible from 500 feet and a red rear reflector. Rear lights are recommended. for more info

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Holiday gift idea

New cycling guidebook covers best routes in nine-county region
By Morgan Simmons Knoxville News Sentinel

Knoxville's first bicycling guidebook was worth the wait. Now available in area bike shops and book stores, "Bicycle Routes" includes route descriptions of 40 of the best scenic rides around Knoxville. The book covers a nine-county radius and includes maps as well as some wonderfully clever photography, courtesy of the author, Elle Colquitt.

As past president of the Smoky Mountain Wheelmen, Colquitt saw the need for a guidebook dedicated to Knoxville's cycling routes. The result is "Bicycle Routes," a reference tool that will be invaluable to local cyclists as well as to visitors from out of town.

The book is broken down into four sections, including routes north of Knoxville (Clinton, Big Ridge State Park, Norris); south of Knoxville (Townsend, Friendsville, Pigeon Forge); east of Knoxville (Kodak, Seymour, Sevierville): and west of Knoxville (Kingston, Lenoir City, Melton Hill Dam).

The start locations and routes are color-coded for easy reference, and each route description is accompanied by a map marking the stores and restrooms along the way. Knoxville cyclist Jon Livengood did the maps and deserves credit for making them detailed and accurate, yet easy to read.

Colquitt spent one year researching and compiling "Bicycle Routes." She cycled 4,300 miles and always carried a camera. Her color photographs offer a veritable travelogue of East Tennessee's back roads as seen from a bike. Local cyclists likely will recognize some of Colquitt's eye-catching images, whether they be license plate sculptures, totem poles or a herd of bison grazing next to a rural road.

The cycling routes profiled in the guide book range in distance from 20 to 65 miles. Alternate start locations are suggested for each route, and whenever feasible, Colquitt includes directions on how to access the route from downtown Knoxville. Elevation gains and route profiles are provided to help the cyclist determine a route's degree of difficulty. In choosing routes for the guidebook, Colquitt looked for roads that were scenic and free of heavy traffic. She cycled every inch of road covered in the guidebook and came away with a few favorites.


In researching the book, Colquitt tapped into the collective knowledge of Knoxville's cycling community to draw a bead on the best roads and routes close to Knoxville. The book includes contact information for 18 bike shops, seven bicycle clubs, and numerous bicycle tours and races around the region.

"Bicycle Routes" sells for $24.95. The book is available at Knoxville bicycle shops, as well as Mast General Store and Carpe Librum. Information about the book, including a gallery page and sample route maps, is available online at

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Another new bike shop

They opened while I was out, so apologies for late notice. Bike shops are opening as car dealerships are closing. Hmmm....

7328 Norris Freeway
Knoxville, TN 37918-5746
(865) 922-1786

Friday, November 21, 2008

Biking Saves Money!

Investment in Bicycling and Walking Will Save Billions: Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Releases Active Transportation for America Report to Congress, Rep. Oberstar

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) presents today the "Active Transportation for America" report to Congress via Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), who serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The report quantifies—for the first time—the national benefits of bicycling and walking. Putting figures to facts, the report documents the transportation, energy, climate, public health, and economic benefits of bicycling and walking. Never before has the case been made so clearly that relatively modest federal investment in bicycling and walking can save Americans tens of billions of dollars each year. The report compiles success stories from communities across America to show the potential to realize these benefits. ..

For full report:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tour de Lights is coming!

Sorry for being out of touch--I am just getting back from maternity leave. I saw a lot of you at the Neighborhood Bike Ride, which was a great success. More than 250 people came out for that. Hopefully we will have that many for the second annual Tour de Lights.

Wed., Dec 17
7 p.m.

(bike safety checks from 6 - 7 p.m.)
Krutch Park, next to Market Square
Experience the beautiful holiday lights of Island Home and downtown by bicycle. Meet at Krutch Park for the Tour de Lights, sponsored by the City of Knoxville and the TPO Bicycle Program. Hot chocolate and cookies will be provided after the ride by the Mast General Store. The ride will be less than 6 miles and does not have many hills.
Prizes will be awarded to ride participants for best decorated person, best decorated bicycle and best decorated helmet. Riders should get creative with specialty bike lights or battery-powered LED lights. All ages are welcome. Helmets are required along with a white front light visible from 500 feet and a red rear reflector. Rear lights are recommended. for more info

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pedal Power video from CBS Sunday morning

"Pedal Power" is coming into its own these days, as Americans of all ages are coming to realize biking can be practical, economical, and good clean fun - or should we say, good GREEN fun? Our Cover Story takes us from California to Cambridge, and is reported by Serena Altschul

"Learn to ride a bicycle," Mark Twain once wrote. "You will not regret it if you live."

On a cool Summer morning, a dozen bicyclists are living the good life on two wheels. Their backroads tour out of Sonoma, Calif., takes them through wine country.

"There's really no better way to see something, to see a place really well than by biking," said one rider. "You're presented with the smells and sounds of nature. For me, this is a very Zen ,relaxing thing."

Relaxing, and refreshing.

Today's ride of about 40 miles is new for some ("I actually am not a big biker<' admits one), and for others, it's just another day.

"We ride about 5,000 miles a year," one couple said. "A hundred miles a week."

A coast away, at the Bicycle Riding School in Somerville, Mass., a drama is unfolding as Sue Ghezzi and three other students are about to take the saddle for the very first time.

"Isn't that a shock - I've never ridden before," she said. "I grew up in New York City and I probably didn't see a bike until I was a teenager."

Full story and video:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New bike shop Grand Opening

Long time no blog!

Sorry for the quietude around here, but Kelley was on bed rest for her pregnancy (she's a mom now!) and I'm supposed to be her backup for bike stuff but I was on vacation.

But I'm back, and with news!

From Luke Grieve at the new Fountain City Pedaler bike shop:

Well, we've been open for a couple weeks and it's time for the Grand Opening. It will be Saturday 7/19/08. We'll be open from 9-5 but will be there into the night to celebrate. We will have cold beverages and some food. We will be grilling hotdogs starting at 12:00 until around 2:00. We will have more food for later for when the Tour de France is on to watch. Hopefully most of you can make it out to have some fun and hang out. Our address is 4620 Old Broadway Suite 102, Knoxville, TN 37918 if you need to mapquest directions. Our phone # is 357-1580.

Luke tells me they're working on getting a website up, so we'll add that info when it's available.

Come on out for the Grand Opening, or come by another time to support this new shop. Luke says they have the fastest repair in town -- I hope none of our other bike shops are offended by my posting that :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Next bike ride coming up

Are you ready to ride? East Side Story, part of the 2008 Knoxville By Cycle Summer Ride Series, is a repeat of the 2007 Neighborhood Bike Ride route. Some said it was their favorite route ever! These bicycle rides are for all ages and skill levels, with a different theme each month. This ride will meet at Ashley Nicole Dream Playground (Caswell Park), 620 Winona St. on Saturday, July 12, 2008. The 11-mile ride highlights the Parkridge, Holston Hills and Burlington neighborhoods, Chilhowee Park, Speedway Circle, and Knoxville Botanical Gardens. All participants should be on site and ready to ride by 9 a.m. More information is available at As always, helmets required.

Bike class rescheduled

Learn the hows and whys of safe bicycling with our Confident City Cycling class! You'll learn how to ride safely in traffic, how to use your bicycle more efficiently, and even basic maintenance. This class combines classroom learning with on-bike exercises and a practice ride on Knoxville's streets.

The class is for adults and older teens, and is taught by League of American Bicyclists-certified instructors. The $30 fee includes the League Guide to Safe and Enjoyable Cycling. You’ll need your bike and a helmet for the class. You must be 16 or older to register.
Confident City Cycling Saturday, August 29 a.m.-1 p.m.Cansler YMCA, 616 Jessamine St.

Please spread the word to anyone you think would be interested. Pre-registration is required, and the sooner, the better!
Registration form at For more information, pleasre visit our webstie at

NBC video "What Works" bike commuting and your health

There was also a story the evening before this one about bike commuting and saving money on gas. What, is there something going on with gas prices?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Confident City Cycling class

Do you mostly ride on greenways but would love to ride more on streets? Do you already ride on streets but aren't sure about where to position yourself at intersections? Would you like to learn some emergency maneuvers to help avoid crashes? This class can help with that...and more!

Confident City Cycling (aka Street Skills for Bicyclists)
Sat., June 14
8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Blount Mansion Visitor Center, 200 W Hill Ave (corner of Gay St and Hill)
$30 fee includes the League Guide to Safe and Enjoyable Cycling

Please spread the word to anyone you think would be interested. Pre-registration is required, and the sooner, the better! Registration form at

Also, remember the next Knoxville By Cycle bike ride is Sat., June 28th at 9 a.m.! looking for interesting commute stories

Do you fight your way through traffic each morning, even with gas prices surging to record levels? Do you bike to work, or use public transit? We want to see the sights and sounds of how you get to work. Document your daily travel schedule. (Drivers, please be careful not to distract yourself behind the wheel.) If you have a unique way of getting to work, please tell us about it. Send photos, video and audio to share the story of your commute.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bicycle resolution passes in House

Last week, the House passed a non-binding resolution calling for a national bicycle strategy. The preamble includes this language:

"Whereas bicycle commuters annually save on average $1,825 in auto-related costs, reduce their carbon emissions by 128 pounds, conserve 145 gallons of gasoline, and avoid 50 hours of gridlock traffic;


Whereas 57 million adults in the United States bicycle each year, and bicycling and walking currently account for nearly 10 percent of trips and 13 percent of traffic fatalities, yet less than 2 percent of Federal transportation safety funding is currently spent to make bicycling and walking safer; and

Whereas communities across the United States are seeking ways to reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, increase the safety of their neighborhoods, and decrease petroleum dependence, bicycles offer a simple, healthy, energy-saving alternative to driving"

This resolution is mentioned in this blog entry:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ride of Silence

On May 21, 2008, at 7:00 PM, the Ride of Silence™ will begin in North America and roll across the globe. Cyclists will take to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn't aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves.

The Ride Of Silence is a free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph and remain silent during the ride. There is no brochure, no sponsors, no registration fees and no t-shirt. The ride, which is held during Bike Safety month, aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for those who have been killed or injured.

For the Metro Knoxville area, cyclists will meet in Maryville at 6:45pm in the Blount County Courthouse parking lot. A few words will be said, then our ride will leave promptly at 7pm.
You can find a map and route details here:

Friday, May 16, 2008

Happy Bike to Work Day!

We had good turn-out this morning at Market Square for Bike to Work Day. About 30 people came through to claim their "thank you" treats for choosing to bike commute today. If you biked to work today but couldn't make it to the square this morning, just log your commute with Smart Trips by Monday morning and we will mail you your gift certificate for a free coffee and pastry at Trio Cafe or Starbucks in Bearden.

Once everyone has logged their commutes, I'll update this to include the total number of bike commuters for the day. Last year, we had about 140!

Happy biking!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Running errands faster by bicycle!

The bicyclists, Adam Dattilo and Katie Ries, finished the 3rd annual Pedal Vs Metal Race in record time. They completed the three errands in 17 minutes! The motorists, Public Health Officer Martha Buchanan and MPC Director Mark Donaldson, took nearly 40 minutes to run the same errands. All racers followed the rules of the road. Specators were able to keep track of the racers' locations via GPS units. It made waiting at the finish line a lot more exciting to know where the participants were during the race.

Thanks to Sprint and the University of Tennessee's Office of Information Technology for their assistance!

This event was part of Smart Trips Month. Remember that Bike to Work Day is next Friday, May 16th. More info on the event at

Photos not available yet, but check soon.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Get Outdoors Bike Ride

This is the first of the Knoxville By Cycle summer series:

May 17, 10 a.m.Get Outdoors Bike RideIn conjunction with the Get Outdoors Festival at World’s Fair Park, this short bike ride will showcase the new Second Creek Greenway connection to Neyland Greenway and the new skatepark at Tyson Park. Thanks to KnoxRevolution for leading this ride! Meet at World’s Fair Park on the south end of the festival grounds.

Other rides are:
June 28, Blooms and Bikes
9 a.m. Meet at entrance to UT Gardens

July 12, East Side Story
9 a.m. Meet at Caswell Park (playground), 620 Winona St.

Aug 9, Scavenger Hunt
9 a.m. Meet at Market Square

Save the Date!
Sept 27, 8th annual Neighborhood Bike Ride, 10 a.m., Market Square

Helmets required. All ages and skill levels welcome. More information at or call 215-3815.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bike to Work Day

May 16, 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Whether you’re already biking to work or just starting out, stop by Market Square or in front of Hodges Library at UT to accept a token of our appreciation. Bike commuters will receive a coupon for a free coffee and pastry, as well as a tire patch kit.

Guided Bike Commutes
Want to bike to work, but aren’t sure about the best route? Or would you just like some company along the way for a change? More and more people are choosing to bike instead of drive. Meet at one of these locations to join the movement (call 215-3815 for more info or to sign up):

· 7 a.m., North Knoxville to downtown and UT. Meet at Office Depot/Food City parking lot on Broadway, 4212 N Broadway.
· 7 a.m., East Knoxville to downtown and UT. Meet at Holston River Park, 3300 Holston Hills Road (top parking lot by pavilion).
· 7:15 a.m., Bearden to downtown and UT. Meet at Third Creek Greenway trailhead, 130 Forest Park Blvd (former Bi-Lo).
· 7:15 a.m., South Knoxville to downtown and UT. Meet at Food City parking lot, 4580 Chapman Highway.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Innovative Bike Parking

Check out this underground bicycle parking system in Tokyo--stores more than 9,000 bikes!

While not automated and not as cool, there are bicycle lockers in the Market Square parking garage available for day use. So if you're headed to Sundown and can't find a good place to lock your bike outside the gates, just remember to bring a padlock with you and stash your bike in one of the lockers. That way you don't have to hold your helmet all night or worry about your panniers getting broken into!

Some of the lockers are reserved for people to "rent" (at no cost) on a quarterly basis. These are geared toward bike commuters. The registration form is online.

Info on these lockers is at
and the ones at KAT Park and Ride lots (Cedar Bluff, Farragut, and Halls) is at

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Smart Trips Month and Knoxville By Cycle

The 2008 Knoxville By Cycle ride series starts May 17th, with a bike ride in conjunction with the Get Outdoors Festival at World's Fair Park. Details are available on our website at and I've listed the series dates below.

Also, Smart Trips Month kicks off May 1st. We have a ton of fun events and promotions going. If you pledge to use an alternative to driving alone during May, you can get an Undriver's License that comes with benefits from local businesses. The 3rd annual Pedal Vs Metal Race between bicyclists and motorists is May 9th--will the bicyclists win again? Bike to Work Day is May 16th, and there are plenty of roadside bike repair classes to choose from during the month. And there's much more! May also kicks off our special, SmartFIX 40-influenced Commuter Challenge. We'll be giving away $10,000 in prizes to people who use alternative transportation to work at least 5 days a month. Info at

Knoxville By Cycle series:
May 17, Get Outdoors
10 a.m. Meet at World’s Fair Park

June 28, Blooms and Bikes
9 a.m. Meet at entrance to UT Gardens

July 12, East Side Story
9 a.m. Meet at Caswell Park (playground), 620 Winona St.

Aug 9, Scavenger Hunt
9 a.m. Meet at Market Square

Save the Date!
Sept 27, 8th annual Neighborhood Bike Ride, 10 a.m., Market Square

Helmets required. All ages and skill levels welcome.

Thanks to our sponsors!
Mast General Store
Smoky Mountain Wheelmen

Friday, April 18, 2008

Article about bike racks in Maryville

On Saturday, April 19, Boys Scouts will install bike racks at several downtown locations, including Tomato Head, Capitol Coffee, Professional Hair Designs and the Blount County Public Library.

Keith Webb, whose son Scott is a member of the troop, helped the group settle on this project after he learned Maryville College bought more than 20 racks through a state grant with Knoxville Transportation Planning Organization in 2007. “They were the first ones to take advantage of the program,” he said.

The TPO grant pays for 80 percent of the cost of the bicycle and the business is billed for 20 percent of the rack cost plus shipping. “The grant covers the cost of the rack, not the installation so we wanted to make it easer for businesses and organizations to take advantage of the program by offering installation service through Boy Scout Troop 87 out of Maryville at Broadway United Methodist Church,” he said.

Full article:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bike Circus at the Birdhouse

BIKE CIRCUS at the Birdhouse
May 3, Saturday, 3-7 pm

Come be part of Knoxville's bike community with games, challenges, bike maintenance, and more.

Schedule of Events
3:00 Circus Opens - Huzzah!
4:00 Bike Polo Match
5:00 Inner Tube Slingshot Making and Battle
6:00 Group Bike Ride

Ongoing Events
Basic Bicycle Maintenance
Photo-portraits of you and your bike
General bike hilarity and enjoyment
Silent Auction benefiting both the Knoxville Bike Collective and the Birdhouse.

Fun for all ages! Bring your bike. Wear a helmet!
Email for more information.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Become a Genuis in 31 days or less!

Smart Trips Month is coming up in May, with a lot of fun events to get you thinking about alternatives to driving alone. With gas prices going up and up, and I-40 through downtown about to be closed, you may want to consider biking (or carpooling, transit, walking, telecommuting...) instead! Check out the schedule of events at

Make sure to sign up for your Undriver's License online or at one of our Undrivers License Stations. When you pledge to undrive during May, you can take advantage of some great discounts at participating businesses.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Magazine for people who ride bikes

Sent to me by a friend who discovered this at a Portland handmade bicycle show:

Momentum Magazine reflects the lives of people who ride bikes. Momentum provides urban cyclists with the inspiration, information and resources to help them fully enjoy their riding experience and connect with their local and global cycling communities.

The articles are available online, and there are links to various blogs. One recent posting is about a High Heels bike ride in Vancouver!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Spring Tune Up in Blount County

Please help spread the word to your friends and neighbors!
Spring Tune-Up 2008
Get your bicycle ready to ride! Local bicycle shops’ mechanics will perform basic bicycle safety checks to make sure your ride is safe and ready for the season. Minor adjustments are free and additional service can be arranged as required. We will also show you how to deal with typical roadside repairs (flat tires, broken spokes, etc.). This event is designed for all ages and to meet the needs of the full spectrum of bicycle riders in our community. It would be great to see whole families of cyclists taking advantage of this opportunity. Here are the details:

WHAT: Bicycle Basics, Safety, and Maintenance
WHEN: Saturday, April 19th, 2008 10am – Noon
WHERE: The grassy area in front of the parking garage adjacent to the Tomato Head restaurant in Historic Downtown Maryville (211 W. Broadway, Maryville, TN 37801)
Cycology Bicycles (865-681-4183)
Mountain View Bicycles (865-977-4200)
The Tomato Head (865-981-1080)
Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation
SIGN-UP: To sign up for the Spring Tune-Up 2008, send an email to and type in “I want to ride” in the ‘subject’ of your email. Be sure to tell us in your message how many people/bicycles you plan to bring with you. Availability is somewhat limited, so sign up as soon as possible.
COST: Free!

Loop Detectors at Traffic Lights

A recent commenter on a post said they couldn't get the loop detectors at traffic lights to work for them. There is some confusion over how these work. The loops detect metal, not weight. If you can see pavement cuts forming a box, or two parallel lines, you should position your bike over the righthand pavement cut. This is where it's most sensitive. If you see three parallel pavement cuts, like on Clinch at Henley, you should position your bike over the center cut.

If you try this and still can't get it to change (give it a couple of minutes--it's not instantaneous), you can let me know which intersection ( and I will get the City (or County, but I don't know that the County has many intersections with loop detectors) to look at it and adjust the sensitivity.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Complete Streets legislation

Dear Bicycling Friends of Tennessee,
Please see the Safe Routes to School National Partnership website regarding Complete Streets legislation and how you can support efforts to make roads safe and user-friendly for bicyclists and pedestrians. We approached Senator Lamar Alexander in early March asking him to co-sponsor the bill; however, Senator Alexander chose to not take on co-sponsorship. We are now asking Tennessee constituents and bicycling organizations to send letters to Senator Corker asking him to co-sponsor the legislation. Please send letters as individuals and as leaders of bicycling clubs and organizations. It would be helpful if you sent a copy of your letter to us at Walk/Bike Nashville to keep track of all constituent correspondence. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

How to get in touch with Senator Corker:

Thank you,
shannon hornsby
executive director
walk/bike nashville

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

One more place to bike in Knoxville, coming soon

Greetings, area bikers!

I'm a co-worker of Kelley's, and she invited me to post on the blog a while back, and I've finally come up with something (semi-)interesting to say, so here goes:

I called TDOT's construction office this afternoon about progress on the bike/ped addition to the Buck Karnes (Alcoa Highway) bridge, and was told that the finishing touches (railings, etc.) would be completed within 2 weeks.

Juuuuust a little behind schedule, but I'm looking forward to taking it for a spin nonetheless.

For those not familiar with the project, there's an on-ramp to the bike/ped bridge from where the Neyland Greenway goes under the Buck Karnes. On the other side of the river, there's a ramp that (I'm told) connects to one of the service roads on UT's property.

Eventually this bridge will link to the greenway that the city's building down to Marine Park. That greenway will eventually link with the greenway TDOT's supposed to build as part of the Alcoa Highway project, which will eventually link to the Maryville/Alcoa greenways, which will eventually link to the Smokies, etc., etc., ad infinitum.

But for now, there's a new bridge coming. Wear your helmets! (When biking, at least.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bicyclists at fault for 60% of crashes in Bay Area

Some excerpts from the article:

Bicyclists were twice as likely as drivers to be at fault in the nearly 2,000 collisions that killed or severely injured Bay Area bike riders in the past decade, an analysis by The Chronicle shows.

(Bicycle and safety) advocates say large numbers of cyclists fail to follow the rules of the road, running stop signs and red lights, and drivers are becoming more aggressive. "There is a juggernaut out there - the tension between the cyclists and the drivers is so high that it's become a war," said triathlon coach Marc Evans, who is starting a campaign to get the cycling community, drivers and motorcyclists to put more focus on avoiding deadly collisions on the roads.

Bicycling advocates said the statistics might in part reflect a bias among police officers, who they say often "blame the victims," especially because cyclists might not get to tell their side of the story as they are being carried off on stretchers. "There is a prevalent perception among police officers that bikes don't belong on the road," said Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

Yet even the most staunch cycling advocates acknowledge that some cyclists give others a bad name by failing to obey traffic laws. "When I see a rider run a red light, I cringe," Shahum said. "Not only is it totally unsafe, it makes me and all other cyclists look bad."

The number of serious Bay Area crashes in which cyclists were at fault has hovered at about 100 per year for the past decade, but the number in which motorists were blamed has steadily risen - from 38 in 1997 to 61 in 2006, the last full year for which data were available. In addition, the number of accidents involving drivers hitting cyclists and then fleeing has spiked in recent years. Hit-and-run drivers killed four cyclists and severely injured 26 others in 2006 - significantly more than any other year in the past decade.

"There seems to be a natural tension between bicyclists and motorists," said Susan George, town manager of Woodside, who finds the streets in and around her hilly San Mateo County community swarming with cyclists, motorcycle riders, equestrians and drivers out for a good time on weekends and lunch hours. Groups of dozens or even hundreds of bicyclists sometimes take over the roads, blowing through stoplights and disobeying signs, she said. At the same time, some motorists retaliate aggressively, tailgating the bicyclists, honking at them and trying to force them off the road. The majority of cyclists obey the rules, and the motorists, too, but then you get these outlaws," George said. "It's an ongoing battle, and in recent years the tensions have gotten worse."

full article

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Climate Benefits from Biking and Walking

An interim report to Congress, confirmed by the US Department of Transportation, states that there are climate benefits when a community works to incorporate bicycle and pedestrian travel into its street network. The report outlines the plans for the federal Non-Motorized Pilot Program, and an evaluation process that includes challenges to implementation.
Interested readers can view the interim report here, and the final report will be published in 2011.

This report summarizes the progress and initial results of the four pilot communities' participation in the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP) from its inception through May 2007. The NTPP was authorized in August 2005. Over the span of 4 years, the legislation provides $25 million in contract authority for each of the NTPP's four pilot communities (Columbia, Missouri; Marin County, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Sheboygan County, Wisconsin) "to construct ... a network of nonmotorized transportation infrastructure facilities, including sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian and bicycle trails, that connect directly with transit stations, schools, residences, businesses, recreation areas, and other community activity centers."

Already, the research team estimates that walking and bicycling for utilitarian purposes reduce driving by about 1 to 4 percent, depending on the community. Because of the large populations involved and the ongoing nature of this reduction, this seemingly modest contribution leads to significant long-term results: the total reduction in all four program communities, over the course of an entire year, is estimated to be in the range of 156.1 million miles of avoided driving.

(It will be interesting to see what the final results since I doubt any, or many, physical projects have been built yet with this funding. Keep in mind that just because the program was authorized in 2005 doesn't mean the communities got the money anytime close to that year!)

Awareness Ad

This is the best share the road-type ad I've seen. The British really know how to do humor...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Most Innovative Commuter Bike Ever

Trust me, you've got to see this to believe it. If someone gets one here, please let me know!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Year of the Bicycle

By Neal Peirce

Bicycling’s best year since the start of the auto age? That’s the argument likely to be made March 4-6 as hundreds of cyclists from across the nation gather in Washington for the National Bike Summit sponsored of the League of American Bicyclists. A crescendo of trends and developments makes the case.

First the trends: oil costs are surpassing $100 a barrel, global warming alarm calls are mounting, polluting autos and trucks increasingly clog city streets, and health concerns about a sedentary and fattening society are mounting.

And now the developments: Handy bike-for-hire stations are proving instant hits in Paris and other European cities and seem poised to invade urban America. Moves to add painted bike lanes along city roadways are being eclipsed by proposals for entire networks of “bike boulevards” -- roadways altered radically to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. And a companion “Complete Streets” movement -- making roadway space for cyclists and pedestrians, not just cars and trucks -- is gaining traction nationwide.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), founder of the Congressional Bike caucus (now 160-bipartisan members strong), claims a new pro-bike politics is forming, that it can mobilize a 1-million-plus national constituency and force clear recognition of the role of bicycles in the next (2009) federal transportation bill. He and the Bike Summit will be pushing a sense of Congress resolution recognizing the potential of bikes to undergird a greener, healthier and more efficient national future.

Cycling, nationwide, still counts for tiny portions of commuting and shopping trips. But Portland’s experience shows the potential, Blumenauer insists: since that city’s bike program began in the 1990s, the “modal split” for bikes has quadrupled and a $100 million industry of bike shops, bike sales, a start of manufacturing and bike tourism, accounting for 1,000 jobs, has emerged.

Paris’ “velib” bike rental program -- the name combines “velo” (bicycle) and “liberte (freedom) -- opened last July and registered an astounding 2 million trips in its first 40 days. Twenty-thousand bikes are available at 1,450 cycling stations across the city. Insert a credit card to sign up ($1.50 a day to $43 a year) and you can drop your bike off at any other station, the first 30 minutes free. Paris’ sturdy bikes have three gears, good hand brakes, adjustable seat levels and “sit-up” handlebars. They’re equipped with antitheft and global positioning devices. Cost of the biking operation is offset by revenues from advertising at bus shelters and other “outdoor furniture.”

Almost identical systems are sprouting up across Europe -- in Lyons, Rennes, Barcelona, Oslo, Stockholm, Seville, Brussels, Vienna. Many others are soon to come including London and Rome. There’s also reported interest in Moscow and Beijing. This April the first serious U.S. fast bike-rental system is due to open in Washington, D.C., followed shortly by San Francisco. Considering the idea or in active negotiations are Houston, Tucson, San Antonio, Portland, Cambridge and Boulder.

Among possible U.S. cities is Chicago -- Mayor Richard Daley tested a Velib bike in Paris last summer and came back a fan. Add Louisville: the health giant Humana has bikes for its own workers and Mayor Jerry Abramson likes the idea of a citywide system. And the U.S. Capitol complex -- It’s a small city of 12,000 workers and, Blumenauer suggests, “government needs to lead by example.”

On the bike boulevard front, London sprang to world leadership with Mayor Ken Livingstone’s February announcement of a £400 million ($787 million) system of 12 two-wheeler superhighways connecting popular residential areas to city center. The roadways will have continuous, wide cycle lanes, dedicated junctions and clear signs, cutting a swath through traffic. Planners hope the London system will attract a “critical mass” of cyclists. Even diverting 5 percent of people from their cars and the tubes and buses, it’s estimated, would result in 1.7 million cycle trips each day. The Londoners also hope to set up special cycle networks around 15 suburban towns, connecting residences with schools, train and bus stations, parks and shops.

Portland has its own version of bike boulevards -- remakes of residential streets that had been degraded by motorists using them as cut-throughs. With a minimum of traffic-calming devices such as speed bumps and traffic islands, cut-through traffic was effectively excluded. Contentious when they were first introduced a decade ago, the Portland bike boulevards have created quality environments raising nearby home prices significantly. But perhaps most important, they’ve marked a major shift from meeting needs of expert and intermediate cyclists. The focus, instead, is on making cycling welcoming for everyone -- kids, families and novice cyclists included.

And in the long run, that’s what the worldwide and U.S. bike reforms will have to achieve -- a world of safe cycling for people of all ages, both sexes, all skill levels. If we get there, you can mark 2008 as a big year on the route.

© 2008 Washington Post Writers Group

Friday, February 29, 2008

Greenway opening article

This News Sentinel article features some local bicyclists!
Ryan Cooper rides his bicycle 60 miles per week, preferably on Knoxville greenways to avoid traffic. Now he'll have an easier time getting to World's Fair Park, thanks to the opening of the Lower Second Creek Greenway.

"It's almost faster for me to ride a bicycle down here from West Knoxville than it is for me to get into a car and ride down here," he said.

Cooper and other greenway users were on hand Thursday at a ribbon-cutting celebrating the 0.15-mile extension's opening. The extension, along Second Creek across from World's Fair Park, connects 14.8 miles of greenways with a 1.1-mile trail in World's Fair Park.

Knoxville now has more than 16 miles of connected greenways. Bikers, runners and walkers can travel from Morningside Park in East Knoxville west to the Bearden Village Greenway.
The greenways provide users with a safe area to run, walk and ride bikes. Kerry Brown, 24, of North Knoxville commutes to work by bicycle and said riding on the road is stressful and dangerous. Now that she knows about the interconnected greenways, she said she plans to use them more often.

"If I have the choice between road and greenway to get to someplace, I'm definitely going to go with the greenway," she said.


Knoxville has more than 40 total miles of greenways throughout the city. The new Lower Second Creek Greenway is an example of the system's continued expansion, Haslam said.
"This is part of a network and the more you connect it, the more the pieces work," he said.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Second Creek Greenway Ribbon Cutting

Mayor Bill Haslam and Interim University of Tennessee Chancellor Jan Simek will join others in opening the new Second Creek greenway on Thur, Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. across the street from the Bridgeview Grill beside Neyland Stadium. This greenway restores a path connecting World's Fair Park to the Tennessee River along Second Creek.

The new greenway extension connects to World's Fair Park across Cumberland Avenue either by crosswalk at street level or by the pedestrian bridge. People can reach Neyland Greenway and Volunteer Landing via Second Creek Greenway by either taking the tunnel under Neyland Dr. or the crosswalk at the street level.

Haslam also noted that the City has plans to eventually extend Second Creek Greenway from the northern end of World's Fair Park into the Old City. People attending the Second Creek Greenway ribbon cutting may park at the lower parking lot on Cumberland Ave. across the street from the Convention Center. (ed. note: you could also bike or walk there!)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lance promotes bike commuting!

Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong...plans in May to open a bike shop, commuting center, training facility and cafe in a 1950s-era building at the northwest corner of Fourth and Nueces streets.

"This city is exploding downtown. Are all these people in high rises going to drive everywhere? We have to promote (bike) commuting," Armstrong said Wednesday, gazing up at the towering 360 condos rising next to the site of his new shop. "This can be a hub for that."

Armstrong said he'd like to see Austin evolve into a place like Portland, Ore., where biking is part of the culture and people pedal to work, to restaurants and to run errands. "Walk outside, and the streets are lined with bikes — because they have a safe place to ride," Armstrong said of the city long known for its bicycle-friendly amenities and policies.
Besides road bikes, Mellow Johnny's will sell commuter bikes, mountain bikes, triathlon bikes, fixed-gear bikes, low-riders, cruiser-style bikes and even hand-made "art bikes" that look as good hanging on a wall as they do rolling down the street. Stock will also include gear by Giro, Nike and Oakley.

Car Free Sundays

An article in the Feb. 11th issue of Gil Penalosa's newsletter, Parks, Greenways, Trails, Great Places to Walk & Bike & Read asks, "Do you want to get hundreds of thousands physically active, walking and bicycling? Using the infrastructure that you already have? No need of capital investment, just operational budget, political will (guts), and community engagement is needed. It works just as well in a city of 50,000 people than in one of 10 million, anywhere in the world. It is CAR FREE SUNDAYS.

From Street Films director/producer Clarence Eckerson:"Imagine 1.8 million people using 70+ miles of car-free streets to run, bike, walk every Sunday? Well, in Bogota, Colombia they do exactly that during CICLOVIA!'"

Way more info about bicyclists than you want

No, really, this survey is extremely interesting to bike planning geeks like me. Warning: it is very long and detailed!

The new study by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), is the most comprehensive look at bicycling ever done in the Delaware Valley, and may be the largest of its kind ever conducted in the United States.

'Bicycling in the Delaware Valley in 2005' provides information about the behavior of adult bicyclists and the trips they make. Data was collected about trip purpose, length and duration of the trip, use of supplemental modes of transportation (transit, vehicle), frequency of bicycle travel, reasons for riding, crash experience, safety habits and more.

Key findings included:
- Nearly two thirds of daily bicycle trips are for utilitarian transportation purposes, rather than for exercise or recreation.
- Approximately 60 percent of adult bicyclists were observed without a helmet.
- One out of three bicyclists reported having been in a crash or fall in the preceding year and slightly more than one in six were involved in a crash involving a motor vehicle.
- Bicycle lanes are favored by bicyclists over any other facility type; other popular facilities included wide roadway shoulders and education of motorists on sharing the road.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Yield to Life

This group seems to be just getting started so there is a lot of "coming soon" on the website, but it looks promising.

Yield to Life will engage in a vigorous awareness campaign to promote positive attitudes toward cyclists and replace any hostility that exists between motorists and cyclists with understanding, respect, and appreciation for all life on the road. Safety for every cyclist is the top priority of Yield to Life.

Cycling is a healthy, life-affirming, environmentally-sound activity that adds value to anyone’s life. Since cyclists' lives are often in motorists’ hands, motorists must understand the vital role they play in a cyclist's safety.

Yield to Life will concentrate on road-rule education programs for motorists and cyclists alike through driver's education programs, public awareness movements and media campaigns in order to ensure a safer and more harmonious environment for all those on the road.
Yield to Life will engage in a hands-on educational program with target audiences that range from school assemblies to corporate conventions. Workshops will be created to arm cyclists with tips for navigating through traffic and tools for riding in a safe and responsible manner. Yield to Life will work on a database for cyclists to find the best, the safest and the most accommodating roads for commuting and for recreation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

KnoxRevolution greenway ride

KnoxRevolution bike club is leading a greenway bike ride this Saturday (Feb 16). Meet at the old Bi-Lo parking lot on Forest Park Blvd (off Kingston Pike across from Mayo's in Bearden) just before 1 p.m.. The ride will head to Ijams, mainly on greenways. On the way back, there will be a little tour of downtown, returning to Bi-Lo by about 4 p.m..

(Even though KnoxRev is a women's bicycling club, they welcome non-women to come along for this ride.)

Club website:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Valentine's Day Bike Ride

From the KnoxVegasBikeForum on Yahoo Groups:

KNOXVILLE CYCLISTS! Get ready for the LOVE PARADE! Join us and other cyclists to celebrate Valentine's Day. Meet at the Sunsphere on Clinch Ave around 6 p.m.. We're riding around Downtown, including visits to UT Campus, 4th &Gill Neighborhood, the Old City and Market Square. Handmade Valentines will be handed out to Businesses/Points of interest in Knoxville that we love! There will be music along the way....dressing up and decorating bikes is encouraged.

To join the knoxvegasbikeforum group:*

Friday, February 8, 2008

Gold star bicyclist!

Talk about a dedicated bicyclist. Ryan went out with a shovel and cleared Third Creek Greenway behind West High. It had become overrun with mud, making for a slippery ride. It's now safe to ride again, thanks to Ryan!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Knoxville By Cycle summer ride series

We're starting to plan the 2008 summer ride series. Last year, we had the Ice Cream Ride, a Scavenger Hunt, a tour of historic homes and a ride to Ijams. With the popularity of the Tour de Lights, we can probably get more creative this summer. Do you have ideas for a ride theme or route? Share them here in the comments section!

Monday, February 4, 2008

idea for getting kids to bike

From Missoula, MT:
"The Missoula County School District meeting room was full. Parents, students, teachers, volunteers, elected officials and others interested in the safety, health and welfare of children were engaged in dialog. High school students were busy taking notes. Professor Running talked about the effects of climate change and how we could each do our part. He has been a life-long bicycle commuter and continues to ride to work at the University. He shared his personal dilemma; he could not convince his daughters to ride their bikes to Hellgate High School. 'It seems that riding a bike is not cool,' he said."

Professor Running answered questions from the audience. As questions slowed near the end of his speech, a man in the back raised his hand and walked forward, placing his hands on the shoulders of a young lady -- a senior at Sentinel High School. He looked at her name tag and said, 'Gracie, what would it take to get you to ride a bicycle to school tomorrow?' The table erupted with comments from her fellow students -- a new bike, helmet, fancy riding clothes and so on. After a few minutes of loud discussion and deliberation, she looked up at the man and said '$10.00.' He said 'Great!' He then pulled ten dollars from his wallet and handed it to Gracie. He turned to the crowd and said, 'I am willing to give my high school daughter $50.00 per week to ride her bike to school. I will be saving money by doing it."

'Think about this, no second or third car, less insurance, no parking fees, no new tires, and most important to me, no passengers in a vehicle with my child at the wheel. I cannot own and operate a vehicle for $200.00 a month.'

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bike Racks

Do you bike to a business that doesn't have bike parking? We have a grant program that pays 80% of the cost of racks. We also have handy cards that you can print, sign and give to the manager/owner to let them know you'd like a place to lock your bike.

What are we up to?

2007 was a great success. We had more than 140 people commute by bike at least twice during Bike to Work Week in May. The new Knoxville By Cycle summer ride series had 50 - 75 people participating each month. We had beautiful weather and wonderful welcomes from the Zoo, Town Hall East, and the Botanical Gardens for the 7th annual Neighborhood Bike Ride. And our first Tour de Lights ride in December was incredible. I never in a million years expected 200 people to show up with their bikes decorated, much less for people to come in full costume!

We're in the midst of planning for Smart Trips Month this May. There will be tons of bike-related things going on. Look for a bike ride as part of the Get Outdoors Festival on May 17th at World's Fair Park. The third annual Pedal Vs. Metal Race will have two bicyclists competing against a motorist to complete three errands (bicyclists have won the past two years!). And there will be a bike commuter booth at the downtown Farmers' Market every Wed in May. We'll have a schedule of events ready by late March/early April.