Monday, October 26, 2009

Tour de Lights is famous!

Tour de Lights is the Cool Ride of the month in December's issue of Bicycling magazine!

Tour de Lights
The only time Santa and the Grinch are friends.

Rolling up to the start, we're surrounded by a sea of Santa hats, helmets with reindeer antlers and bikes festooned with LED lights. A custom-built sleigh trailer holds Santa and a bag of gifts; one bike pulls a cart with sacks of coal for naughty cyclists. The Grinch and his wife ride a tandem. Bystanders cheer as we loop around downtown to the waterfront, our lights twinkling against the Tennessee River. After pedaling through the Island Home Community, we ride back into town with the bike boom box blaring a bluegrass version of "Joy to the World."
--Ryan Cooper and Monika Miller

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Biking up!

Some good news for a rainy month. Recent data shows that bike commuting is up nationally, as well as in Knoxville!

In 2000, the Census Bureau estimated that 198 workers commuted by bicycle in Knoxville, a 0.25 percent share of the total local workforce. By 2008, it is estimated that the number of bicycle commuters doubled to 416, or 0.5 percent of all work commuters.

Nationally, 0.55% of American workers use a bicycle as the primary means of getting to work. This is up 14 percent since 2007, 36 percent from the first ACS in 2005, and 43 percent since the 2000 Census.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


We did a survey of Neighborhood Bike Ride participants. The results were pretty interesting. Check them out here
A common thread was that people would like more of these rides. The Bicycle Program just isn't equipped to do that. We tried, you may recall, a monthly summer ride series for two years, but were only getting between 30 - 50 people each month. I don't think most people realize how much work it is to put this "simple" ride together. It's hard to find enough volunteers just for the NBR and the Tour de Lights each year, much less any other events. We decided to concentrate on what was working the best, which was these two rides. I would love it if a bike club or clubs would step forward and offer similar rides in the spring and summer.

The Bicycle Committee has been meeting about how to implement the new Bicycle Plan. Meeting notes will be posted on our website soon.
We're also about to schedule the next committee meeting, and I'll post the info once it is set.

Remember, the Tour de Lights is coming up!
Wed, Dec 16, 2009
7 p.m.
Krutch Park/Market Street
This fun, easy bike ride is mostly an excuse to get creative and bring some light to a winter evening. We start at Krutch Park and bike around downtown a bit, just to make sure all the people strolling see us, then head north to look at holiday yard displays. There are prizes for the best decorated bicyclist, bicycle and helmet. And if that weren't enough, Mast General greets our return with hot cocoa and cookies! It's free. Helmets are required, because we care about your brain. Sponsored by the City of Knoxville, the Knoxville Regional Bicycle Program and Mast General Store.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Good sign

As I was biking over to UT for a meeting this morning, there was a bicyclist behind me. Then suddenly along Clinch, there were 5 of us biking in a row! A bike train, here in Knoxville. I was so proud. Plus, four of us were wearing helmets! Unfortunately, I seemed to be the only one that obeyed all the stop signs and traffic signals.

How can we get the word out to bicyclists that the traffic laws do apply to us and that it's for our own safety? When motorists see us breaking the law, the message is "look at that crazy person--running red lights, jumping up on the sidewalk for one block then back on the street--they don't belong on the road." We have to show respect to get respect.

Online reporting tool

(Kelley's note: please also report things to the appropriate authority so they will be fixed--don't just write about it on a blog or in this database! We have a list of phone numbers to call about dogs, potholes and aggressive motorists)

One way to make cycling safer is to know where the danger points and trouble spots are located.
Where have cyclists experienced "close calls"? Where have they been hit and injured?
Where have dogs chased them?
Where are pot holes located?
Where have cyclists been harassed by motorists?

The FIRST global tool for reporting, marking and sharing the geo-locations for cycling incidents and trouble spots. The goal of Road Guardian is simple: to save lives. And our success in meeting this goal depends upon all cyclists reporting, marking and sharing information on the danger points and trouble spots we encounter. Please tell all your cycling friends and buddies about Road Guardian… this can become a powerful tool for all of us to use in making cycling safer for everyone.